How to Communicate Hard Feelings Effectively

Our choice of words matter, and when it comes to close relationships, like our partners, our children, our parents, etc. it really truly matters a LOT!

communication

Today I would like to focus on the way we sometimes express our frustration, anger or disappointment to a loved one. First of all, it is totally normal to feel frustrated, angry or disappointed with the people we love, however, the way we express those feelings can be detrimental to our relationships or,  it can be constructive…

After many years of therapy, self-reflection, and serious work on becoming more conscious and mindful, I have found that there are ways to make our communication positively impact our relationships, but it takes some practice and awareness, for sure!

But, first things first, when we are hurt or angry, it is hard so see clearly and act mindfully, so the first thing to do is to take a little distance from our feelings and become more objective and more conscious.
Now, how exactly do we do that…. well, unless you have a well-established mindfulness or meditation practice, this doesn’t come very naturally for most people, so it is important to have some tools that can help us take that distance from our emotions (sometimes on the spot! before we jump at our loved ones with all our complaints and rage!)

I work with kids, and as a mom as well as a yoga teacher, I have found some techniques that are very helpful to calm down negative emotions, here are some tools that any adult can use and/or share with children in their lives:

1. Take 3 deep breaths before you react to whatever is making you angry
2. Go outside and take a brisk walk, run or kick a ball
3. Punch a pillow
4. Listen to music that you like or sing a song
5. Close your eyes and think of a calm place or pleasant thought or something funny
6. Draw a picture
7. Write down your feelings, or a letter to the person you are mad at (you don’t need to send it)
8. Talk to someone about your feelings (not the person you are mad at!)
9. Ask for a hug, make sure it lasts a few breaths! (Again, not to the person you are mad at!)

The first one is the fastest and most accessible one, for adults and children alike. As simple as it may seem, taking deep breaths is incredibly powerful, simply because when we breathe slowly we are counter-acting the “fight or flight” response that kicks in automatically when we feel threatened (in this case angry,) the brain gets the message to slow down and lower its guards, so we can see the situation for what it is and not for what our blurry vision – affected by our feelings – will make us see.

There is a difference between the reality and what you see as “the reality,” when emotions are involved. Knowing this, and accepting it, is the first step to becoming more conscious.

So, let’s say that you can efficiently distance yourself from the emotion (whether it is anger, frustration, sadness, etc.) so you are able to calm down on the spot, which doesn’t mean you don’t feel the emotion anymore, it simply means you are able to acknowledge it for what it is and take responsibility for it. This doesn’t mean you just ignore what the other person did or said, or the fact that you feel angry, but it is important to take responsibility for your feelings!

Nobody has the power to MAKE YOU feel this way or that, YOU are the only one with that power, in other words, what you feel is your responsibility alone, which in turn, does not mean that the other person has NO responsibility in the matter, they are responsible for their actions just as much as you are for your reactions… do you follow?

So, it is crucial that if you want the relationship to stay healthy and grow, you need to handle communication effectively. So now we come down to the choice of words.

See, once we have taken responsibility for our feelings, we don’t need to blame the other person, but we can, and should, point out the facts, and express our feelings in a way that does not trigger the other person’s defensiveness or other negative feelings.

If we communicate in a healthy way, it will be clear enough for the other person how we are feeling, and they will have the opportunity to take responsibility for their part, without becoming defensive.

Here is a simple everyday situation as an example of how communication can go wrong, or right depending on the words we use:

Case Study:

Husband and Wife are getting ready to leave the house for an invitation and they are running late, they only have one key to their car and they can’t find it! (The last person who drove the car was the husband). The wife is starting to feel angry at a familiar scenario, and she hates to be late!

Scenario #1:

Wife: “You have lost the key again! You always do this, why don’t you leave it in the key holder by the door, it isn’t hard, that is why there is a key holder there!!! Now we are going to be late!” (in an annoyed tone)

Notice the direct accusation and blaming: YOU have lost the key, YOU always do it!

Husband: “Stop blaming me! you are the one who was taking for ever to get ready, if you could skip your hour long sessions of hair brushing we could be ready much earlier and then deal with this with less stress, plus I told you ages ago to make another copy of the key!” (in an angry tone)

Notice how the husband, feeling accused and blamed, goes immediately into “defensive mode” and tries to retaliate by taking his turn on accusing his wife of the first thing he can think of.

So, in this scenario the angry and negative feelings keep escalating, and there is a full blown fight, which is not about the lost key anymore but about the couple’s feelings overtaking them and completely shutting off communication.

Scenario #2:

Wife: “You have lost the key again! You always do this, why don’t you leave it in the key holder by the door, it isn’t hard, that is why there is a key holder there!!! Now we are going to be late!” -Same as scenario #1

The husband feels accused, but takes a few deep breaths and realizes that his wife is really worried because she hates to be late and it is her frustration talking at him, he also realizes that she may have a point about him being a bit disorganized, in fact he was already feeling a bit guilty for the loss of the key… so here is his response:

Husband: “Honey, I understand you are mad because you hate to be late, and I am sorry we cannot find the key, you are right, I often put it in different places which makes it harder to find it, I apologize but let’s try to find it together and make a note to make a copy so we have a backup key in the future, and I will be more careful to leave it in the key holder”

To this, the wife’s anger immediately deflates and she replies:

“I am sorry honey, I didn’t mean to blame you, we don’t really know what happened, it is just that I really dislike being late, but never mind, we just have to keep looking and yes, we need to make a copy, sorry I have not gotten to do that as I offered. Let’s keep looking and hopefully will find it soon. I will call our friends to tell them we will be late.”

Scenario #3:

The wife is feeling really annoyed at her husband, but before she says anything, she takes a deep breath and notices that he is frantically looking for the key and probably feeling bad already about not finding it, so she says:

“Honey, I feel really frustrated because we are going to be late, I know these things can happen, but it is a good idea to leave the key always in the key holder to avoid this happening in the future” (In a loving tone, not an accusatory one!)

Husband “I know, I am sorry, I will find it and will be more careful in the future to leave it in the holder when I use it, why don’t you call our friends to tell them we will be a bit late and let’s make a note to make a key copy as soon as possible”

In scenarios number 2 and 3 one of the partners averted a fight by being mindful, but at the same time expressing their feelings and the facts in a very effective manner.

You can see how the example above can be applied in many other cases and with different relationships. The specific situation or facts don’t matter as much as the way we react to them, and how we choose to communicate.

So, here is how we can avert fights and grow our relationships:

1. Taking a step back, before our feelings take over our actions and reactions

2. Choosing the right words to express ourselves, here are some ideas:

State the FACTS instead of accusing the other:
We will be late, as we can’t find the key (fact) vs
We will be late because YOU lost the key (accusation)

Take RESPONSIBILITY for your feelings instead of blaming them on others
I feel frustrated when we are late, it makes me feel embarrassed (taking responsibility for one’s feelings) vs
You make me look bad, because of you we will be late, and it is embarrassing! (blaming the other for our feelings)

DON’T ASSUME the other person is guilty, even if it seems obvious!
I wonder where the keys can be. Do you remember what happened after you parked the car last night? (Unassuming) vs
You lost the key again! (Assuming the person is guilty)

If you take these simple steps and practice them over and over, I assure you that your relationships will grow stronger and healthier and that you will feel a lot better with yourself and others!

Thanks for reading!

Unfolding the layers of purpose

“Living a life of purpose” is a phrase that I often come across, it seems like a very popular phrase nowadays, but what does it really mean? How do we actually DO that? What is our purpose in life anyway? Living our purpose is easier said than done!

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You may see your purpose as the work you do, the career you have built, or maybe the family you are raising, the relationships you cherish, etc. But remember that none of those things can really qualify as your purpose if you somehow feel empty, or feel like something is missing…

Your true purpose in life is your mission, that what fills your life with joy, strength, fulfillment, confidence, and true excitement. This mission lies at the core of your being and it is the very reason you exist, and yet it can seem very elusive at times. How do you find it?

Here is an interesting new concept I read about recently and gave me some clarity on this topic: There seems to be many layers of purpose around our lives, and in order to get to the core and to the deepest truth of who we are and what our mission is, we first need to shed all the layers that cover us, one by one. This shedding process is like a slow unfolding that cannot be bypassed if we are to find our true purpose.

All these layers are superficial layers, and by that I do not mean they are less important, but they are more “external” to our being. Because of the fact that the layers need to unfold, there is an inevitable factor of constant change in order to unveil the truth, in order to reach our essence. You must be willing to change everything in your life in order to move from one layer to the next, and this change is often feared and resisted.

By fearing and resisting the inevitable change, we can get stuck in the process and we can stay stagnant in one of these superficial layers for the rest of our lives which is the same as living a mediocre life devoid of true purpose, no matter how much money we make or how perfect our family life looks like.

Every job, enterprise, career, relationship in your life will serve its purpose; but you may have to move on in order to grow, and that means you may be faced with difficult choices like: completely changing careers, divorcing your spouse of many years, leaving behind a secure job, etc. I am giving the examples of the major changes that will create the most fear and resistance; but there are many other small or not so small changes that still need to be dealt with every day.

The good news is: the journey is more important than the destination, so all these layers of purpose are meant to be lived fully, because they are part of our purpose, the problem is when we feel something is not right, when we feel something is missing, but we are not willing to look deeper, when we are too scared of what we will find and we decide to just stay in the safety of the known, we simply decide to numb our feelings, to distract ourselves with meaningless acts, and by doing so we block the process of unfolding and ultimately our process of growth and fulfillment.

Living our purpose goes hand in hand with living with presence, so if you are present, you are living a life of purpose, it is as simple as that, because that presence will clearly direct your life’s unfolding one step at a time. This is the most important thing to remember because only if we live with presence we will indeed find our true mission.

By living with presence we will be able to live every layer fully and we will have the clarity of letting go when the time has come to let go. After completing one layer, we might not know what to do next and that can be very scary but if we live with presence we will find the guidance, the vision, and the next path to take.

Also, if we live with presence, we won’t be “using” anybody or anything for our purpose, but we will be giving our best every day and in every way. So there will be no victims nor damage in the paths we leave behind, no matter how hard it may be to move on.

At the time of transition though, you will need to pay close attention to connecting with your inner wisdom, by finding stillness to fully BE with yourself, clearing your head of thoughts, and avoiding filling your days with meaningless distractions that will take you away from that connection (ex.: watching tv or using alcohol to numb your feelings)

If you are living your life without purpose (or without presence), you are not living fully because you are not really present. Not being present means you are living in the past or in the future (you are either ruminating about the past or projecting into the future,) you are not giving your full attention to what is going on in the moment, to the people you are with, and to the situations that unfold in front of you.

Our lifetime is a constant process of unfolding layers and it is easy to resist this process, to fear it, but the only reason we fear it is because we are stuck with the expectations or commitments of the past, or we are projecting into an uncertain future and imagining negative outcomes.

So the answer to finding and living your purpose is simply to leave with presence, to pay attention to the moment and to let go of the past and the future, completely let it go. In the richness of the present moment you will find clarity, your will find joy, and you will find peace, and your purpose will unveil.

If you wish to read more about presence and purpose, I have listed below a few related articles and books.

Have a great week!

Related Articles:

Be Present in the Present

Your Senses, A Gateway to the Present Moment

Every Ending is a New Beginning

Living the Life of Your Dreams

Books:

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

The Way of the Superior Man (written for men)

Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential

 

Breaking The Silence and The Taboo!

This week I would like to explore one of those sensitive topics that became a taboo subject and people rarely talk openly about. Do you guess what it is…?

sexfeetbed

If you guessed SEX, you are right! So lets talk a little bit about sex, porn, sexual education, and sexual awareness.

Sex is a normal human activity, one that is widely practiced yet very seldom talked about openly. People of all walks of live are too ashamed to talk about it in public, and even with close friends. The most shocking thing is, that even long-time sexual partners have a hard time talking about sex with one another.

If you can’t talk about sex with your own sexual partner (that you have known for a long time) and, in the privacy of your own bedroom, then when, where and with whom can you do it!? I wonder…

This widely accepted silence around sex creates a lot of misconceptions, confusion, frustration, conflict, etc. It is very unhealthy to say the least.

The reasons why sex became a taboo in the first place are many, most of them have a religious origin by which the act of having sex was seen as a sin; others are the fact that sex can be an outlet for violence and therefore a way to abuse and dominate others. But the bottom line is: Sex is not good nor bad, it is one more human activity that can be a source of deep pleasure and/or greater connection and love, or a source of shame, frustration, and in extreme cases an outlet for addiction, anger, violence, etc. It all depends on how every person has learned to be around sex.

Now, human beings learn everything by observing, by following models, by repeating what they see. Sex however, is not something that our parents model for us, nor something that our teachers show us how to do; sex education is not even part of every school curriculum, and when it is, it’s often biased. So, how do teens and adults learn about sex..?

Experiencing it is one way, of course, but by the time people experience sex, they already have many misconceptions, expectations and beliefs that were “learned” and shaped by the limited information they could get about the topic.

Nowadays, thanks to widespread internet access, it is a lot easier to find resources about sex online, however, filtering the good and bad information becomes critical, especially for young learners that are so impressionable and vulnerable. The need for other forms of information and healthy guidance is more pressing than ever. For instance, it is a fact that most young boys get their sex education from watching porn, and that is a big problem.

“Men tend to focus on performing sex acts rather than being the recipient of them, so they may be more likely to replicate in real life what they see in porn. Also, the younger a guy is when he starts surfing porn sites, the greater the potential influence on his sexual expectations. Porn becomes their reference. More often than not what these young boys watch becomes their definition and even their expectation of normal sex. As we don’t typically watch other people in the bedroom, it’s often through sexually explicit media that these sexual scripts are presented to us.” – Source: Men’s Health article: Is Porn Harmful?

What inspired this post was an interesting, “uncensored” TED talk by Cindy Gallop Founder of Make Love Not Porn (MLNP). She has taken over a very ambitious enterprise, which many will condemn and frown upon, but I personally admire her courage and her vision, and agree with her concern.
She founded MLNP in order to give people in general, and young men specifically the opportunity to see real sex in action, in order to understand the major differences between porn and real sex. She wanted to give them an alternative to porn.

She offers a website where adults can submit personal videos of having sex or making love with their partners (whether the encounters are casual or within a committed relationship), so that others can see what real sex is like. Real sex is way more interesting, more exciting, more messy and more surprising than any porn movie or video will ever be, simply because it is REAL!

This site is not only for curious and inexperienced young adults, it is for everyone, because no matter how experienced you may be in the sex arena, chances are you may still learn something new or interesting by seeing what other normal people do.

Sexuality in humans is quite complex, so it is important to understand how our own criteria about sex was shaped and if it is a healthy criteria or not and if it works for us or not! But if this remains a taboo in our lives, we won’t even be able to have that internal conversation with ourselves! The first step for opening up as an adult is to reevaluate your own sexual beliefs, your sexual definitions, your sexual expectations, where do they come from? How were they shaped? Do they really represent your own preferences, desires, feelings, interests?- Have you ever had an open conversation with your own self about your sexuality?

The more we understand our own sexuality, the better we will feel and the better we can guide younger generations so that they can have a healthy relationship with their own sexuality.

Teens need to be positively guided on how to form their own sexual criteria and identity, as well as understanding all its meanings and reaches (physical, psychological, possible risks, differences in gender behavior, etc.). We can’t let the internet do the job! It is the responsibility of parents, teachers, schools and governments to start talking openly about this, but in order to do that we need to break the taboo that surrounds this topic, starting in our own bedrooms and homes!

A good way to start this education is by teaching children to know their bodies well, to not be ashamed of their bodies, to honor them, to respect them, to take care of them, etc. The more they know and respect their bodies, the healthier their relationship to sex will be in the future. (and this goes for adults too.)

Have a good week!

Related Articles:

Knowing yourself and honoring your needs

One of the wonderful things that life is teaching me, through experience and (unfortunately) pain, is that until we know our self and honor our needs, we are likely to make the wrong choices, feel frustrated, depleted, depressed, etc. over and over again.

needslist

About 9 years ago, when I had been struggling under the grips of depression for almost a year, I read many books in the hopes of finding a way out of the darkness, one of these books was called: Creating Optimism
and I remember one thing about the book that made an impression on me.

There was a specific section about relationships and personal needs with a suggested exercise on making a concise and clear list of our personal needs and share them with our partner, the needs had to be divided into three zones: red (non-negotiable), orange (important but open to negotiation) and green (a wish or a want). We also had to give our partners a clear way to meet our needs which had to be:
action-oriented, concrete, appropriate and doable, so as to make it as clear as possible.

This exercise took me quite a while… I had a hard time identifying my needs! when some came to mind I would dismiss them as not really important, I wasn’t sure of what was a true “need” or just a “want”, it was really hard to do! luckily the book offered a lot of help in clarifying things, so I eventually came up with my list and gave it to my partner and asked him to do the same.

However, as soon as I felt better from my depression, I forgot about the list… and it wasn’t after a few years had passed and I was going through a lot of suffering and badly struggling with my relationship that I came across that list again and realized that I had totally forgotten my needs! How could this happen! especially for the needs on the red zone, which were needs essential to my self-esteem, personal integrity, safety, etc. The ultimate boundary! But there I was, years later realizing that even after having found what my needs were, I had not honored them! I had locked them into a drawer hoping they would not show up again and unconsciously pretended everything was ok.

Well, I learned the hard way, but now I feel so much more clear about who I am and what I want. This clarity gives me courage, power, freedom, and it feels good. Of course I wish I had known myself better earlier in life! it would have saved me a lot of pain, but the truth is, I am grateful for the discoveries and realizations that have come to me through pain, I guess it had to get really dark for me before I could see the light.

Now, I don’t believe that everyone’s fate is to be confused, make mistakes and finally wake up after deep suffering. That does happen to a lot of people though, but as a mom, I would like to help my children avoid some of the confusion by teaching them tools to explore their own self and understand better who they are and what they need at an early age.

I feel like our societies are changing for the better, and there is now a greater wisdom about this, before, we were solely focused in learning academic stuff and fitting into a cookie-cutter model, now however there is much more emphasis in introspection and self understanding and acceptance, so hopefully our new generations will get better and better at knowing themselves, and honoring their needs, so that they can live a more fulfilling life.

This whole thing is a work in progress for sure, I am still working on honoring my needs, something I have to remind myself every day, but I feel like I am getting there, just like I did with my shoes! (I find this is a funny analogy that many women may relate to:) For as long as I can remember, I had really nice looking shoes: sexy, shiny, fashionable, etc. but most of them where not that comfortable, I often had blisters in my feet and couldn’t wait to get my shoes off!. Well, after having twins, running around everywhere, and having a broken foot, I decided, that was it!, I would never own nor purchase any shoes that wouldn’t fit me like a glove! that was the bottom line! I wasn’t going to take it anymore! DONE with that! I would not put my feet through that again!

As with my shoes, I am starting to feel that I cannot settle for less than having my personal needs met (at least those in the red-zone). Now that I have been able to come up with a nice and clear list, I intend to honor it over and over.

For some reason, it seems like man are much better at having their needs met than women are, so women need to look at this more carefully. I recently watched a video called Men Are Better At Getting Their Needs Met by Connie Podesta, it made me laugh out loud, I highly recommend you watch it whether your are a man or a woman, because it will help you understand how differently we are wired! And if anything, it might make you laugh!

In order to truly honor our needs, we need to be more compassionate and loving towards our own self, and we also have to learn to speak our truth clearly so that people around us know what we are willing to accept and what we are not (this is especially important in relationships).

We can’t settle for less than having our “red-zone” needs met, first by ourselves and then by the people in our life. If we find ourselves in a relationship where our needs are not being met, and for some reason cannot be met, honoring them may mean having the courage to let go of the relationship altogether. Honoring our needs is not always easy, even once we know them, it takes courage, self love, understanding, compassion, etc. But it can really open up a much more fulfilling experience of life for yourself and those around you.

So, I encourage you today to really, truly reflect on who you are, what your wishes are , what your needs are? Relationships, and especially those where there is struggle and pain are a good way to start, as they can help you figure out what your needs truly are, the discomfort you feel in a relationship most likely comes from needs that aren’t being met. Also, try to prioritize, use the red, orange and green zone principle to differentiate between wants and needs.

Note that this is not about blaming others for not meeting your needs, nor expecting that other people have the key to fulfilling all your needs. This is more about knowing yourself better in order to make better choices, in order to own and speak your truth clearly to others, in order to live more fully!

Have a good week!

Related articles:

How to establish healthy boundaries in our relationships?


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Every Ending is a New Beginning

Most of you have probably heard the phrase that I chose for today’s title: “Every Ending is a New Beginning” and it may sound cliche, but it is worth thinking a little bit about the depth of its meaning.

startagain

Sometimes in life we may feel the ground underneath us is shaking, we may feel we are loosing all of our bearings, or we may feel that our safety is being threatened; These can all happen at the same time during and earthquake (pretty awful feeling by the way, I’ve been there!), but we can also experience one or all of the above when we are faced with a very difficult life event, such as a divorce, a job loss, a serious health condition, the death of a loved one, etc. And more often than not, people resist these events because they resist change. Change is scary, especially a life-altering change that is totally unwelcome and unplanned.

But change is inevitable, it is the very nature of our human life, everything around us changes constantly and so do we, so even if we live under the illusion that we control the variables of our lives, the truth is: we don’t. Change is always present, and the more we resist it the more we suffer.

There is no denying that the deep pain and enormous suffering that can accompany a challenging life event can drown us like an ocean storm would sink a tiny boat. And although it is important to allow our bodies to cry and mourn and go through the whole range of emotions (denial, anger, pain, guilt, fear, etc.) it is just as important to hold a vision of hope, trust and opportunity.

If we are willing to see a life-altering event as an opportunity for growth, for understanding and for starting anew, we will be able to navigate through the ocean storm and stay afloat until we make it to the other side. We are all capable of turning a breakdown into a breakthrough, and by doing so, we will move from a place of fear and overwhelm to a place of self-awareness and empowerment.

One of my wise friends who went through a very difficult divorce years ago told me that the secret for her staying strong was to live “one day at a time” (in other words: to be fully present), and the belief that in the end she would be better off (holding the vision of a positive outcome).

We can hold a vision of hope that can carry us through the pain, and if that vision is always present, we will only grow stronger after the whole ordeal is over. But in order to hold that vision at all times, we need to be perseverant, patient, resilient and forgiving, we also need to be present, to stay connected with what is, as opposed to being stuck in our negative thoughts or a victimized attitude.

If we accept change as an opportunity, if we see it as a door that is opening in front of us, as opposed to a door closing behind us, there is a great chance to reinvent ourselves, to restart anew, to discover our true self.

I recently watched a video of a 78-old man who had lost his wife of 50 years, he was deeply sad but his eyes were also shining with excitement, as he had decided to carry-on with a “bucket list” that he and his wife had put together. He was determined to travel the world and do most of the things in the list that they could not do together, he was doing it in honor of the greatest love of his life. I was really touched by this man, by his vision of a new beginning, a new adventure despite his age. It is never to late to start over!

Anyway, I send you all my love and the thought that we are the architects of our own lives, no matter what we encounter during the building process, we can always decide the path to take at any given moment. We are not victims of life events, we are creators, designers and visionaries!

Have a good week!

Related Articles:

Finding True Peace

Respecting our healing process

One Day at a Time


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Surrender… What does it mean?

Lately I have been reflecting on the idea of surrender, what exactly does it mean in the context of spiritual and personal growth?

whiteflower

For a long time, I did not like the idea of surrender very much, I resisted it because to me it meant: giving up, loosing, and ultimately weakness. However, with time I have come to understand that the idea conveys a totally different scenario that is in fact empowering, liberating and exciting.

I see surrender under a totally different light now, and just like everything else, the real meaning is in how we perceive it, so, if your perception changes, so does the meaning. In fact, we give meaning to everything! Isn’t that something!?

Anyway, to go back to the idea of surrender (as I see it now,) it is a wonderful capacity that can make your life a LOT easier. By surrendering, you let go of what doesn’t serve you any more, you free yourself from the attachments that hold you prisoner, and you let go of resistance in order to start living a life of harmony and flow.

Surrendering is simply letting go of control, or rather letting go of the illusion of control.

We go around in life trying to control everything and everybody to suit our idea of what’s right, our desires, our needs, etc. but the ultimate truth is: we have NO control over anything nor anybody, except for our own self, and even then, we do not really have control of our self until we fully recognize we do.

What I mean by the last point is, we often let the external world dictate our beliefs, our values, our goals, etc. Therefore our thoughts are not really under our control, and those thoughts determine our emotions and our actions; so we have no real control over those either. Most of this happens without us even realizing it, we are trapped in our ego and don’t know it.

However, as we become more aware and conscious, we are able to take a step back and witness our mind, we can then detach from our ego and connect to our higher self, at that moment we realize we can take control of our thoughts/emotions/actions. This realization is incredibly powerful and liberating.

At this point, we start to surrender false beliefs, set ideas and other references that were keeping us in the dark, this is to me the first phase of surrendering and it is wonderful, as it gives us freedom to be who we are really meant to be.

Once we realize the power we have over ourselves, we can shape our thoughts/emotions/actions and we can bring them in line with our true values and desires. But then, we need to surrender, yet again, to the outcome of our actions, for even if we take the appropriate actions towards a desired outcome, we have no control over the outcome itself. So, the next phase of surrendering is to let go of desired outcomes.

This second phase of surrender means we just accept that everything comes when it should and how it should, and we can’t attach ourselves to the how and when because it is not in our control. By letting go of outcomes we are not giving up on them, instead, we are entering the flow of life and finding harmony in every moment.

By entering the flow of life, we can be totally present and have no limiting ties to our past or future. Living in the present means living with ease and harmony. By living fully in the present, we are able to seize the real opportunities and magical moments that are guiding us, teaching us, helping us.

By surrendering you no longer resist the flow of life. Resisting is the non-acceptance of what is.

For instance, a simple example, if the traffic is really bad and you are late, you have two choices:

  1. you can surrender to the moment and let go of resistance (be in the flow), or
  2. you can resist what is, which will make you feel angry, frustrated and anxious and act on those feelings.

Which one would you choose?

By surrendering, you find peace, calm and also the clarity to find solutions. For instance, if you are in the flow, you are much more likely to remember a shortcut that might get you out of the bad traffic.

Surrendering does not mean giving up! You should always take actions towards your goals. If your actions come from a place of awareness, they will bear their fruit, but you have to focus on the journey and not the destination, for the journey is a learning space, full of surprises.

Part of the beauty of life is precisely not knowing what comes, this can be a great excitement. If you have your future all “figured out” so to speak, you loose all the beauty of the present moment, and that is the wonder of life.

Our life journey is a continuum of growing and learning, we can’t possibly try to figure it all out at once! Life is a never ending flow of changes, but each one of them comes to us for a reason. Surrender allows us to enter the flow of life, we can then be surprised every moment and find the wonder and excitement of a small child! For every step is there for a reason and we can’t skip it.

True surrender requires great faith, faith that you will have what you need when you need it, not before, nor after.

The essential surrender happens within you, it has nothing to do with anybody outside you. The basic surrender is a relaxation, a trust – so don’t be misguided by the word. Linguistically, surrender means to surrender to somebody, but in a spiritual sense, surrender simply means trust, relaxing. It is an attitude rather than an act: you live through trust.Osho 

So surrender your resistance and get in the flow of life!

Have a great week!

Avoid Unnecessary Hurt

I recently came across a quote that I found interesting and I wanted to share it with you today:

“When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sand paper.
They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up worn out.”

– Chris Colfer

pinkflowers

Although by no means we should allow people to hurt us over and over, it is important to keep in mind that we have little control over what other people say or do, but we certainly have control over our own emotions and reactions.

I strongly believe that people are not out there to hurt you, but they have their own issues and challenges and if they can’t keep their negative emotions under control (envy, resentment, anger, etc.), they may say or do things that hurt others; whether they do it on purpose or not, it is still a result of their own lack of emotion control. Your reaction is also the result of your own emotion control.

You can choose today not to let other people’s comments or actions bring you down, you can decide to grow in understanding and wisdom and raise above it or, you can sink in despair, anger, resentment,t etc. But remember, it is always YOUR choice!

Some people believe they have little control over their emotions and they feel victims of their circumstances, but the truth is we always have a choice, and we need to become responsible for our own well-being, therefore responsible for our own emotions and reactions. Once we accept this simple truth, we can work towards achieving peace by learning to tame our emotions, one of the best ways to do this is to quiet our minds, because our thoughts and beliefs are responsible for our emotions.

We are not victims of our surroundings, we are the creators of our life, so we can choose how to live, it takes some effort and commitment but it is worth every minute spent on it. Knowing that you don’t depend on others for your happiness is an empowering thought. This to me was a wonderful realization, one that gave me freedom from the people around me and the circumstances around me.

This does not mean we should let people get away with anything, when dealing with difficult relationships we should certainly take action to prevent further hurt. But ultimately others can only hurt us as much as we allow them to. Below is a short list of what we can do to start:

  • Avoid people who tend to say or do hurtful things, if you can
  • Talk to them when you are both calm and at peace, let them know your feelings, without blaming them
  • If neither of the above are possible, practice detachment and self control when you are in their presence

The list above can be used in many different contexts and situations, not only in regards to difficult relationships but also for difficult circumstances. If you find yourself in a situation that is less than desirable, you have 3 choices:

  • You remove yourself from the situation, OR
  • You fix the situation, OR
  • You accept the situation and learn to live with it, in peace

As Eckart Tolle would say: “resisting your present reality can only lead to frustration and despair.” By resisting he means resenting your current situation and allowing it to bring you down.

Some people find it hard to believe that they can become immune to hurtful actions and words from others, but they are hurtful only to the extent that we allow them to be. With some conscious work on yourself, you can little by little attain freedom from external circumstances. If you want to read more on this topic, I have a few more postings that might be of interest to you:

Have a great week!