If you are tired of the same ol’ same ol’ life story, the one that just feels difficult, it’s time to ‘out’ your own tricky ways and get to the root of what’s really going on.
Somewhere deep within, I think we are programmed to believe that some things — the things that take us to the next evolution of who we were meant to be or the things we really desire — need to be hard. And let’s face it, who wakes up and says, Hey, let’s go for hard today? Let’s tackle the tough stuff. No one.
So instead when we sense danger, discomfort or unpleasantness in any form…what do we do? We put our earbuds in as if to say….la, la, la, I can’t hear you…and we carry on business as usual, pretending something’s not gnawing away at our sparkle, that we don’t want out of a relationship or job, or that we simply don’t want more from life. That can just feel too overwhelming. We stuff down those wishes and desires so we can avoid ‘things being hard’ — and we get really good at doing so. You can call me the ‘Chief Avoidance Unicorn’ around here. Hold on a minute, don’t I have another load of laundry to put into the machine or a junk drawer that needs to be cleaned out, right now?! We all have our ways to do anything to avoid dealing with the things we’d rather not face off with. What’s yours?
We call on our knee-jerk ability to immerse ourselves in busyness, to self-medicate ourselves with distractions.
Frankly, that kind of thinking is more the norm than not and requires more work than facing it all. The path of least resistance is can sometimes be the path of greatest pain. I know, an oxymoron of sorts, right? But it’s actually a spiritual epidemic that plagues just about everyone you know to some degree. The good news is that we can shift our lives at any time of our choosing, the key word being ‘choosing’. Laundry pile or spiritual evolution? Hmmm.
Life always has some juicy nugget awaiting our attention, some pearl of wisdom — your very own customized ‘Ah ha’ inspirational moments. And yet, we ignore them regularly and instead carry the load of untruths about ourselves throughout the moments, hours, days of our lives. Have you ever imagined life without those burdens? Now that’s what I call an exhale!
Here’s the thing: that which we ignore doesn’t magically disappear.
In fact, it grows and will eventually use its tenacity to find its way out, even if sideways. That’s why we sometimes look at people (or they look at us) and think, WOW, that was a big reaction. Well, it may very well have been, but I assure you that there is a story beneath that reaction that has tentacles that probably go quite far back.
The danger is that big reactions, which is code for ‘unaddressed emotions’, can emerge in a display of let’s just say…not your best self! Honestly, I hate when that happens for me. I also know that it’s going to take up a lot of space and require industrial strength clean-up. Then to add insult to injury, if you are anything like me, you beat yourself up after having a big reaction to something, feeling like, I should’ve known better, I should be more evolved, God, I really don’t have it together’. You can fill in your own chastising flavor. Look, our work is never done. It rears up in big ways and small, in dinner conversation and broader life conversation.
Something recently came up at my dinner table with the resident teenager. Let me set the stage. First off, for anyone who has kids or interacts with them, you can appreciate that look they can give you when you start freaking out on them about something; you know the, do you have 2 heads look. The details of my explosion aren’t important to share, but the essence of the conversation is. I got triggered and I ultimately flipped out. It wasn’t pretty and I had a lot of clean-up to do afterwards. It was one of those tough parental moments where there was merit to what I was saying, a necessary ‘bad cop’ moment — however I certainly could’ve polished up my delivery.
Ultimately, there was much I wasn’t proud of, but I think it’s healthy for our kids to see us express our emotions. I think they need to know that action creates reaction and that we don’t always get to decide how our words land on another. I think it’s healthy for our children to see us as fallible human beings. And most of all, I think it’s important to demonstrate how to execute a killer clean-up conversation where we can all play a starring role.
There is so much power in sharing the power.
Truth be told, I was so angry with my son that I was willing to go off to bed like that. I know. It wasn’t until he came to me and said, “Mom, you promised that we would never do this, we’d never leave each other angry,” that my own words pierced me. In that moment, I started crying, grabbed him and thanked him. It was a rough way to work through something and I’m not recommending that path per se, but ultimately we stayed the course and found our way to deeper understanding of each other and the issues at hand.
I’ve also been witnessing two close friends transition through enormous life changes…quickly. As one on the sidelines, It’s had me a bit stunned, to be honest. Now, let’s be clear. It may not seem ‘quick’ to them, but as an outsider who had a tendency to drag out my own discomfort and pain of transformation over the course of years…this is quick. That’s not to say that this isn’t accompanied by their own wounding, pain and grief. It is to say, however, that it is possible to get clear on what you desire from life, what steps you need to take, to remain calm and that it doesn’t need to proceed in an excruciatingly slow process.
The world around us is shifting and cracking open to new paradigms. The old ways that are no longer serving us have to go. The bottom line is that you know what they are. You know what feels good and conversely what doesn’t. If you don’t do something about it, if you don’t take a step on behalf of the truest stirrings of your soul, if you hide behind the laundry pile — you will suffer. I’m not asking you to flip your life upside down. You probably took a long time finding your way to this spot, therefore it may take some time to unravel. I’m suggesting that you find a way to insert some self-nurturing back into your life and into your routine, to make it a non-negotiable. And in doing so, become the witness of your own healing. This is where the evolution of our souls and spirit reveal themselves.
Self-care births ease, fresh air and laughter.
There will be hiccups along the way, messes to clean up, amends to make. But there are no greater amends to make than the ones to self. Self, I’m sorry I’ve bypassed you. I’m sorry I’ve ignored your call. I’m here now. Help me know where to begin. What is life calling on me to do and see? Will you stand with me and give me the courage to stay the course? Together we’ve got this.
How is life calling on you?
Here are a few ideas to keep in mind during the process:
Get out of your head and out of your own way
Stop erecting roadblocks before taking action steps. When we disallow our feelings by backing down to the perceived barriers of fear — we remain stuck in a place we were never meant to take up residency. Ask yourself what’s in the way, what’s stopping you? Just imagine what would happen if you stood before it and puffed your chest out.
Don’t be a consensus-seeker
Everyone will grant you lots of opinions about what you should do, when you should do it and with whom. Gather info if you like, but then sort through it. Like mining for gold — cull the gems of wisdom that resonate and discard the rest. You’re the one who has to live with the end results. Everyone else gets to go back to their own backyard.
You were meant to live vibrantly
Stuffing emotions aside doesn’t resolve anything. It actually weighs us down. Things call out for our attention for a reason. Lighten the load. Give your shoulders a break. Face the boogey man under your bed. Remember, he’s bigger in your mind than in reality. Face your fear and let that shit go! On the other side of fear is our vibrancy.
All this to say, there is no one path, one way or right way — but the human experience is meant to push us and pull us in the most glorious of ways as we grow into our best selves, the version of ourself that is better today than it was yesterday. We aren’t broken or flawed or less than anyone else — we are human and alive and doing the best we can. Some days I go deep. Some days I just eat ice cream. They each have their role…and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Just love yourself through it, ok?
As always, I love hearing from you. How does this show up in your life? Where do you get tricky with yourself and how do you take it down? Let me know in the comments below. This self-help stuff takes a village and I’m glad you are a part of ours!