Good morning and Happy New Year!
What a great day to become more aware of ourselves and our relationship to our lives! Did you awaken this morning rested, smiling, and excited about the possibilities today brings? Are you looking forward to the Rose Parade, a good bowl game, and dining on black-eyed peas and greens while still in your pjs, or are you feeling hung-over, angry over the hardships of last year, and annoyed that you won’t be able to eat whatever you want today because your health requires limitations?
Do you feel content or dissatisfied?
Are you too busy or numb to even know how you feel?
I will admit it would be easier to force a smile, make the usual list of resolutions to be ignored, growl over every healthy choice as though it’s deprivation and have a glass of wine to take the edge off. Perhaps you can even reward yourself with dessert tonight since you skipped the doughnuts this morning. After all, that’s the norm, right?
Unfortunately, it’s a norm that’s often reinforced by our surroundings, our friends, our families, and the media. And there’s a certain amount of comfort in conforming to the norm. If we fit the mold, conventional wisdom tells us, then we’ll be seen as “good”, acceptable, and lovable. Yet many of us work hard, perform well, do what’s expected only to spend most of our time feeling as though we’re pushing ourselves from one struggle to the next. We do not feel more loved or more joyous.
How can we stop struggling? By controlling our circumstances, right?
If removing struggle is predicated on controlling our environment, we will always be fighting our surroundings, feeling angry and dissatisfied that we never seem to get ahead. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. We may believe that we can be masters of our own destiny, but we cannot control our spouse, our boss, the reckless driver who hits our car, or the tornado that hits our home. We can do everything right and life will still present us with challenges over which we have no control. The longer we choose to fight, the longer we choose to struggle. If we struggle long enough, we will drown any possible joy under the weight of perceived difficulties.
Like the drowning swimmer, we believe that fighting to keep our head above water is the way to preserve ourselves. Like the drowning swimmer, we must calm ourselves and allow our surroundings to buoy us in order to survive.
By now, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. That’s okay with me. I cannot control you. Not only that, I don’t want to. I do want you to stop struggling and start living!
How can you do that?
First, recognize that it will be a process. There’s no quick fix for a lifelong struggler.
Next, develop practices that support the process. You’ll need these for reinforcement when fear stands in your way.
Third, begin to recognize the preconceived ideas with which you filter life experience. Get curious about how another point of view may feel and allow yourself to experience that difference without expectation regarding the outcome.
Fourth, let go of your protective persona in order to allow your authentic self to be known. This will require setting boundaries and making choices. With good boundaries for protection, you can begin to open yourself to receiving. This is the environment in which real connections begin.
Fifth, step into your personal power. You must be present to win! Experiencing personal power is all about being present.
Sixth, practice, practice, practice. Note the experiences that make you feel more whole, connected, encouraged, supported, and joyous. Repeat those experiences when you can. Visualize them when repetition is not available. (Here are a view visualization possibilities for me.)
Eighth, acknowledge and appreciate yourself.
Ninth, acknowledge and appreciate others.
Tenth, sit still, do nothing, be, be, be. You are enough. When you know you’re enough, you will live a full life and make a great contribution. When you know you’re enough, you will make healthy choices. We like to call that thriving!
Is all of this easier said than done? Of course it is. But feeling better is worth it and we’ll be here to feed and nourish you along the way.
Happy New Year!