Honestly!

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We are taught growing up that we must not lie, and yet at the same time we are told not to tell the truth.  We are taught “Shhh, that will hurt someone” or, “That would be rude” or,     ” That is just a feeling, ignore it”.  We are taught that if we tell the truth no one will be able to handle it, especially ourselves. Honestly!  That is the biggest lie ever!  We can handle the truth, we are liberated by the truth. We are also taught that lying is something we do to others, not something that we do to ourselves, when in reality lying to ourselves is often the first person we mislead and delude on a consistent basis.  This leads to a very unhealthy pattern of denying our authentic self.

Honesty to yourself is the most important thing you can do.  At any crisis moment, this the the first thing that you owe to yourself.  Be bold and ask the question, “What is the truth here for me?”  Ask yourself how you feel, what you think, and what you believe.  Determine to be honest no matter what.  This can be painful, and very difficult, kind of like poking a hole in your toenail to relieve the pressure if you have hit your nail with a hammer (good visual of level of difficulty), but the results, energy and huge relief that are gained from being honest about anything that comes your way are awesome!

By telling the truth you allow others to fully respect you as well, although those that have been accustomed to the shades of the truth that they have experienced(this includes yourself) may have a very hard time accepting the new moves to be straightforward.  This is a time for gentle change, being honest must be done with love.  It you are just honest, and have no compassion or caring, then it will be harsh and scathing, that is true.  When you are teaching yourself to be truthful, you must be truthful with love and compassion.  This is what will allow growth and healing, for yourself and for others.

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Simplifying

Continuing to simplify means that I need to set clearer boundaries.  That is a process and often I find myself travelling in a direction that I know leads me to “complicated” not “simple”, but I carry on anyway, usually because the thing that is complicating my life seems like a good thing!  The truth is- often it isn’t a good thing. I carry on until I get so uncomfortable with my own self-made impediments that I am forced into honestly looking at and fixing the mess I have got into.

The difficulty lies in the fact that usually the things that are making my life complex are also things that appear to be really valuable and important to do.  Things like volunteering or activities that aid our children, or social commitments. What do we do when those conflicts of “goodness” happen? Then there are the situations where what I am about to do is all about pleasing or appeasing someone else- when that happens we are in big trouble.  I can use up so much energy on mental gymnastics, when if I just made a personal policy in the first place and stuck with it- life would be simple! Is that the secret then? To have a plan and be clear about priorities and values before the complicating factor presents itself? Imagine that we are the author of our own snafus and if that is the case then we are also the author of order and clarity.

So, if I have learned anything about my goal to simplify, it is that I need to create my own mental policy manual before I encounter a potential jumble. I need to be really clear about my values, my limits, my likes and dislikes, and not be afraid to use these things to keep my life in priority and to be able to enjoy the simple things. Life can be super meaningful when we do the things that matter most to us personally, and not the things that suck our energy.  Easy. Simple. Beautiful.  Fun.

Please send me a comment or thought on how you keep your life simple….

I Dreamed a Dream

I am re-blogging the story below that I wrote a year ago on The Last Laugh’s On Me (my other blog that I seem to have let drift into cyber space).  As it is Christmas, I thought it was fitting to revisit the story, as once again it is time to have special family time.  This year we have opted to let the children choose the movie(s) for our holiday time.  Ha Ha, wouldn’t want to bore them or coerce!  The funny thing is, both movies that they have chosen have a deeper meaning as well, just a little more disguised and appealing than that which we subjected them too last year.  This time we will visit The Hobbit- Part 2 and The Hunger Games- Catching Fire.  Both a very interesting look at society, community, and the relationships that bind.   The desired outcome of this time together is to spark conversation and provide connection with each other.  Hopefully more fun for them than what they experienced last year- though Les Miserables did have a lasting impression!  One year later we are still talking about it and I have to ask- what kind of deep topics will be discussed as a result of this year’s selections?  I love how movies, books, and music allow us to experiment with how we feel, and what we think about certain concepts in a way that can be very thought provoking and life changing.

Below is last year’s movie selection.

I Dreamed a Dream

Did you know that Les Miserables is the most tedious, boring, awful movie, and story in the history of the earth?  I didn’t know this until I was informed by my children. I was seeking bonding, they were seeking entertainment.

Scenes from inside the theatre (involving my children and my son’s friend) included but were not limited to: laying prostrate across my lap, hat over eyes with jaw open, dirty looks, yawning, and tugging on my arms with pleas of needing immediate escape.  Meanwhile, I am moved to tears.

Tough love shines through- determining that my children will continue to be exposed to good culture and deep stories that change lives.  Stay put!  Wake up!  This is momentous! Drink it in!  Look for the beauty and redemption!

Post movie, more comments of negativity.  Much discussion in the car.  Apologies made for torturing them,  but assurances that this story would revisit them in their lifetime, and how they would love it! “Impossible!” they said.  Through a seeming defeat in effort, I was certain that the story would bore into their minds.

Cheret, Jules - Les Miserables

Cheret, Jules – Les Miserables (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Victory follows!  My son and his friend sang“ I Dreamed a Dream” in the high school halls as a mockery, only to discover that it was “famous and good” and now so were they!   My daughter used concepts in creative play as we were all been assigned “numbers” and complex techniques for gaining entrance to her bedroom (hideout). The future is bright!

Loving Detachment

Have you ever got caught up in so much drama that wasn’t yours that you thought you would go crazy?  I have been sucked in more times than I can think of and it has taken some very serious discipline to learn to detach from these situations, and to be responsible for my own reactions to challenging situations.   It also took a long time to realize that it is in fact a loving thing to do to remove myself from trying to control other peoples drama.

So what is detachment exactly, such a big sounding word?  The dictionary definition says: aloofness, as from worldly affairs or from the concerns of others.  HMMM, sounds a bit cold hearted, which is not the purpose.  Here is my definition: detachment is caring for others while first and foremost taking care of ourselves.  It is a way of looking at things in a different manner, by not being stuck on an particular outcome for someone else, and by letting go of a need to control others.

Nagging, controlling, and anxious feelings when in the midst of a situation are indicative that its time to detach from a person, or an outcome (or both), or that perhaps(?) we are trying to live our lives through someone else.  When you feel out of control or helpless in your own life, it is easy to think that you can organize and direct someone else (and that seems like a good solution at the time).  This little round robin leads to caretaking others (not allowing them to take responsibility for themselves), and thereby dismissing your own needs.  When you get into a caretaking mentality, the result is often “psychosomatic” illness for yourself.  My particular choices were chronic stomach upset and migraines.  These occur in my life when I need care but am unwilling to ask for it, instead I get busy controlling others.  This adds ridiculous pressure to my life and leads nowhere.  When I care for myself first and detach (according to my definition of detachment), my stomach issues and my migraines do not bother me at all.  It can be hard to admit to myself that I can be the cause of my own ill health.  Yowza!  That might mean some thinking needs to be done, some questions asked, and some action taken- in my own life- and to stop trying to organize someone else’s.

Detachment offers a solution that enables you to care for yourself and still care for others, but in a way that allows them to be them and you to be you.  You are separate from others.  Their outcomes are not yours, their choices are not yours.  You are not in control of them.  The only person you are in control of is you and understanding who you are and accepting others for who they are is the first step to detaching.  We can still love others in this state, only this love comes as a gentle acceptance and compassion, and not feeling responsible for other peoples choices, feelings or situations.

The Heart

Changing Thoughts

It’s amazing how changing thought patterns and processes can change everything in life.  All it takes is a different perspective and we can choose that perspective and attitude instantly with the help of a few perspective gaining questions.

One-Point Perspective.

When this is done, situations that were once responded to negatively or reactively, can become opportunities for deep growth and understanding.

Changing thoughts and attitudes gives the chance to brainstorm ways to handle a challenge in a new way.  When a situation arises that provides a growth opportunity, ask yourself these key questions to gain perspective.

Two-Point Perspective.

  1. Is this true or am I storytelling to myself?
  2. What is in my power to change?
  3. What actions can I take to create change?
  4. What vision do I have for how I would like to see this turn out?

These questions help get you out of the past, and into a creative space that allows confidence in the present and great hope for the future.

Three-Point Perspective

“A person cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.”  

As a Man Thinketh

No Explanations Please

I love epiphanies- those moments when the AHA is so joyous that I want to do a cartwheel.  I wonder how I never saw the truth of the matter before, and I wonder why I  didn’t set that particular boundary before!  Especially when the results are like having a giant concrete block removed from its resting position on my chest.  Wow.

Xbloc Concrete Block

Over the summer, a major epiphany was noted when I understood that I was still effecting a behaviour that I practiced in my past.  I was concerned with how I might look if I wasn’t perceived by someone as “Miss Nice”.  Does it matter how I am perceived if I am groveling for the acceptance? Does it matter when the person who’s acceptance I am seeking is not someone I need to have in my world, a person who has caused significant damage in the past.  When I turn to my persona of “Miss Nice”, I whip up a cocktail for myself of anxiety, shame, and depression, and the only thing that happens is I feel terrible.  I don’t think this is a good idea.

I am inclined to give away all my ability to be empowered by offering explanations as to why, all explanations offered in a perfectly lucid and righteous way.  Little tools like begging, pleading, rationalizing, cajoling, being nice, and kissing ass to get what I want are never effective for getting what I want or need.   How about using straight talk?  I need such and such.  Or I would like such and such.  Period.  The End.  Stop.    It is all about learning to leave out the because.  If you are hearing yourself say I need such and such because…. to a person who’s acceptance you are seeking, then there will be a negative consequence. Hello angst! Hello self-reproach!  Which is commonly referred to as giving away your power.  Instead we must go into a negotiation or circumstance by being very sure of our ok-ness, and if we don’t grasp and own our enough-ness, then explanations will only lead to our not being ok, in our minds and our actions.

Seeking approval gives away our power.  We give away our power when we story-tell to ourselves.  We give away our power when we imagine obstacles that don’t exist, or haven’t happened.  We give our power away when we feel a need to explain ourselves, or we try to be super nice (keeping up appearances).  In fact, the very act of trying to keep everything nice is actually passive-aggressive, and is that a tactic that we want to use in order to meet our needs?  Not for me it isn’t.

So, I am finally catching on.  No explanations.   Just I want or I need.  Try it, you’ll like it.

Your Circle of Influence

Each of us has a circle of influence. The circle works two ways- we are the influencers and we are also the influenced.  This can work as a terrific advantage for us or it can be to our detriment.

This point has been the most difficult for me to grasp, and it has been a process that has taken several years to come to terms with.  I have spent much time being sentimental about old connections, when those connections have long since changed and moved on.  I have not been specific enough in my selection of influencers in the past, becoming very loyal once a connection has been made.  I have this tendency, and it has caused me great pain, so at one point I tried to protect myself by doing the opposite of saving old connections, and closed everyone out all together- only letting in those very few that felt the safest (that still didn’t mean a profound relationship). This was not a good plan and left me bitter and lonely.  Through a lengthy and difficult process, I have been able to analyze all the relationships in my life, and have determined those that need to grow and those that need to go (or be minimized).  Once in a while I run into an old “close” friend and suddenly find myself back in a awkward place, acting in a persona that I don’t like in an attempt to win approval.  This is not a good plan either!  Winning approval is never a good idea!  Last I checked, I need to be myself, acceptable just for me.  What I ultimately need to arrive at as well is: this relationship had its time, it meant something, and it is ok to let it go.  A bit like the song, ‘Someone I Used to Know’.

Think of the five people that you spend the most time with.  Are these people lifting you up?  Are their lives going in a direction that you want yours to go?  Do they support you and encourage you?  Do you feel loved and accepted by them?  Are these people who you feel a deep connection with, a connection that enhances your lives for the better, making life richer and better because you know each other?  These are vital questions to ask yourself as you design your life to be the way you dream of it to be.

Who you spend the most time with is who you end up being.  If you spend most of your time around those who’s life is in constant chaos, then you are likely to have a life that will feel and be similar. If you are around negativity all the time, then it is a given that you will assimilate that negativity- even when you do not want to.  It is vital that you choose your companions carefully and that you seek out mentors who’s lifestyle and personality are ones that you can have a deep respect for, and want to emulate.  Choose people who’s lives match the outcome you would like for your own self.

Now is the time to do an inventory of who has the most influence on you.  This exercise may send you into panic, and you might feel that it is a very harsh chore, but it is vital if you are to grow. We start to think that if we hack away at our social influences, and get rid of negative influences, that we will have no people left, that we will be all alone. This is simply not true (although it will feel true, so you can prepare to cry).  With the right attitude, we can find new friends, where we can share and have deeper and more profound relationships, because we have been selective and purposeful.

What qualities do you need to have when choosing friends?  What things are the most important for you to share?  When you have defined these things then it is relatively easy to find friends.  Those that are negative and take away from your life, you need to either eliminate from interaction with, or minimize contact.  Energy drainers can alter or limit our growth.  You may also find some awesome positive influences with whom you need to spend way more time with!  Hurrah!  We all have some of these people in our circle or could have when we take a closer look.

Fill your life with positive people who love you, support you and who challenge you to be all that you can be – the authentic you.

English: Gandhi smiling. Français : Gandhi sou...