Apples/Oranges

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“The quickest way to joy is to let yourself soak in this moment a bit more,”  Ashmi Path. The essence of joy comes when we allow.  I wrote yesterday about the fruit being sweet meaning the wait is worth it, the journey is worth it while learning the art of balance and time and what you put value on.  What is valuable in your life, on your journey, doesn’t look the same as what is valuable for me.  I won’t spend my time seeking what you do if it isn’t of value to me and vice versa.  It’s so important to know what we value and the way to know what is of value is to be in the moment.  It’s in evaluating how you spend your time and what goals you’re trying to achieve.  And sometimes it’s in doing nothing, rather pausing, and listening to what your soul is telling you.  Presence isn’t as simple as “Be present, be aware.”  It takes practice.

For hyper-active mindsets, minds with racing thoughts and lots of goals/ideas, minds with lots of divided responsibilities, this is especially challenging.  There is a constant sense of tasks and needing to move onto the next thing, like there is always something better we could or should be doing.  This is when we revisit an old practice we discussed: get back into the body.  Even if it just starts with the breath, get back into the body.  Feel your heart beat.  Find some belief that all is well and that you are ok.  If you can’t be in the body, look at what’s around and find something that catches your eye.  Appreciate what’s around you, look at what you’ve built.  Try to hear that inkling of what comes next.  Try to hear what your soul is telling you.  Then try again a little later.  And again.

The more you can be aware of joy in your life, the more joy you allow in.  You recognize what feels good and it only increases from there.  Sometimes that wait for the fruit is challenging.  It isn’t always easy to find joy in the journey because there are parts that simply don’t make sense or there comes a point where we simply want what we have been working for.  It happens to all of us, we are human.  Part of life is experiencing the miracles around us and sometimes that means allowing things to unfold as they are meant to, not how we want them to.  It won’t change the fruit at the end of the day.  But we have to learn that even if we somehow end up with an orange instead of an apple, it can still be as sweet, and we still achieved our goal.  So we just have to allow.            

Fruit

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Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet.  That’s another tough one that I quickly wanted to acknowledge.  I mentioned I’m a fast thinker—not always to my benefit—but my mind races at top speed nearly 24/7.  It’s painful and something I’m working on addressing.  Clearly patience is not my strong suit.  If you struggle with patience, chances are you also have anxiety or you don’t see things through.  They all go hand in hand.  Throw in some racing thoughts on top of that anxiety and you aren’t getting much done.  You may start a million things, but that doesn’t mean you see them through—it’s more for fear of failure than anything.  If you let it go because you see it going a certain way, then you can’t get hurt.     

The art of slowing down is just that: an art.  It takes time to feel your way into trust, knowing that results come.  And even results that don’t turn out as expected are results.  Life is a learning curve and no one ever said we were supposed to get all things right on the first try in perpetuity.  Sometimes we have to jump and try again and again.  It’s such a fine line between putting in the work and knowing when to quit.  You only learn it through experiencing it.  The truth is when the flower blooms, it’s worth it.  We wouldn’t rush nature by trying to open the bud, so why would we do it to ourselves?  Give yourself time and allow things to unfold. I’m working on it too.

Responsible?

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“We are all responsible for everything in our lives,” Louise Hay.  This is a tough pill to swallow.  Louise Hay spoke these words in the context of relationship with the universe, trying to explain how the universe responds to energy in the form of the thoughts we give out.  She plainly and simply states that there is no judgement from the universe, it can only respond to what we give it—what we give, we get.  We’ve spoken often about the power of our thoughts so this is not a new concept.  But when it comes to being responsible, that suggests an intent in the form of selecting our thoughts.  If you’ve ever read Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love you know Richard from Texas states you have to select your thoughts like you select your clothes.  In all honesty I never thought it was that simple.  I never appreciated the milliseconds of pause before a thought comes out where we get to decide if we want it or not.  Granted, my mind moves at an alarming pace on multiple tracks at times, but I’m no exception, that pause is still there.  We choose our perception.

In the dirty depths of mind-work and developing self-esteem, there are some truths that I frankly HATE—or at a minimum struggle with.  Being responsible for everything in our lives is one of them if I’m fully honest.  I don’t like the implication that we work in a vacuum or that we are supposed to have super human powers and not react with emotion—as humans do. I also struggle with the idea of selecting thoughts (although this isn’t so visceral for me personally).  I like to make quick decisions and that means familiarizing myself quickly and making equally fast judgements.  That doesn’t give a lot of time for thought processing.  Truth be told, I know this hasn’t ALWAYS served me well, but I find value in keeping the momentum moving forward.  The other concept is that we choose everything we do.  This falls in the same vein of responsibility.  I struggle with this because it again suggests that vacuum.  I feel it oversimplifies human nature and our relationships with others.  While I fully support that we CAN’T control other people, I believe a relationship is an undertaking where people operate within agreed upon parameters.  Not to say they need to be robots (we are human after all) but that there should be an implied and understood knowing of how to work with each other.  Put simply, I’ve always felt we are allowed to react based on people’s actions before our thoughts.

I’m not saying those reactions are correct, not by any means.  I even acknowledge that taking a beat and really feeling out how we feel is more valuable than bursting out in anger.  But I still stand beside the fact that if someone says something, they mean it.  It’s a contract of sorts.  If someone knows better and still chooses to act a certain way, then a breach has occurred in my mind.  Holding someone accountable is a perfectly reasonable thing to me.  I didn’t choose their indiscretion—they did, I did NOT choose to bring that into my life.  That responsibility lies on them to make it better.  That isn’t to say we don’t have a say in the matter of forgiveness or how we move forward, but to suggest I chose someone else’s actions is unfair.  I CAN choose whether or not to continue with this person, that is true, and yes, that is where the responsibility lies.  But suggesting we came to that juncture out of thin air, that we are responsible for someone’s behavior towards us, or that we allow our boundaries to be crossed, is out of line.  We do NOT have that power.  Yes, once it happens we can decide if we continue to surround ourselves with that behavior, but when we are hurt, I’m not comfortable with the idea we choose to be hurt.

There is a middle ground.  While we don’t choose what people do to us, and we may be owed things in way of apology, we can learn to stand in our self worth and know we didn’t deserve it.  We can choose to firm up the boundary and remove ourselves.  We can choose to wait for what we need.  We can choose forgiveness and second chances.  We CAN embrace the pause and evaluate the feeling, what’s really going on underneath it all.  These are things in our control.  At the same time we are allowed to feel what we feel and if we are hurt, no one gets to tell you you’re not.  No one gets to say that you chose to be hurt when it comes to what others actually do to you.  Those are not supportive people.  While we ultimately do get to choose what happens, sometimes it’s nice to have someone acknowledge to the “offending party”, “Yeah, what you did to so and so was really shitty.” Instead of saying to the person whose hurt, “Well, you stayed, you chose this.”  Because it’s not that simple.  Sometimes the person stays because there was an understanding.  With that said, one thing we can all choose is kindness.  Don’t hurt people, and if you do, take responsibility because THAT responsibility goes both ways. 

Journey of Love

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“The Self-LOVE journey begins when you realize you’re worth changing your life,” Mel Robbins.  And we are back to this, my friends.  How many of us actually love ourselves? How many of us know what love really is?  We throw the word around like a hot potato, or like an endless supply of tickets at a gaming place.  Have we ever really stopped and considered what love means?  The literal definition is an intense feeling of deep affection or a great interest and pleasure in something—straight from Merriam- Webster.  What does that MEAN?  And how do we apply it to ourselves?  Do we need it?  The short version is, as social animals, yes we need love.  We need to feel accepted and validated and cared for in order to thrive.  That doesn’t need to solely come from someone and not that others are responsible for providing it, but we do need to know on some level we are part of something outside of ourselves.  That we have worth. 

Mel Robbins talks about the relationship to self as foundational in creating a good life and for moving forward.  I couldn’t agree more.  When our foundation crumbles, when we don’t see our worth, when we need validation from others to move forward, life stagnates, we lose sight of what we are doing and why, and we seek the answers on the outside.  When we throw in the concept of self-love, that changes things.  Suddenly the answers are on the inside and we need to trust what we are feeling.  I’m not necessarily talking about an emotional reaction, I’m talking about when something feels right.  There are times when it feels like all is falling apart.  That is usually a good indicator that we need to reflect on how we feel about ourselves.  You have to ask why you continue to allow things to happen if you’re getting the same painful result. 

When you no longer want to move forward as you have been, or you feel the inkling that it’s time to make a change, that’s usually the indicator you need to follow your gut and something needs to change.  That isn’t to claim it’s easy.  That isn’t to say it feels good.  It certainly isn’t to suggest switching directions and listening to something new is comfortable.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing to do.  Sometimes the right thing is one of the most painful things we must do.  It’s still worth it in the end.  Learning to love ourselves is awkward and scary and uncomfortable because we know everything about ourselves.  We know the mistakes and all the perceived flaws we were told to hate.  We have to go against everything we were trained to despise.  And on the other side, you find the foundation to stand on.  It’s shaky at first, but with more practice, you stabilize and center.  You are worth love.  You are worth loving yourself.  It’s better than what you’ve been doing, so give it a chance and watch how your world changes. 

The Perfume Vial

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I’ve had this weird little sample of perfume in a vial since I was probably 10.  It still holds remnants of its original smell although quite aged.  It has survived an entire childhood, teen years, young adulthood, and four moves.  I don’t know the full reason I hold onto it.  But it does remind me of something.  When I was a kid I was alone a lot.  I learned about control and loss and using control to avoid loss early on.  I sought security in things even though I didn’t know that’s what I was doing at the time.  So I have a lifetime of things that I’ve accumulated that I don’t know how to make peace with, but they evoke a certain memory.  See, this perfume vial came from one particular sleepover out of countless with my best friend at the time.  Once we reached a certain age, our sleepovers consisted of looking at different teen magazines and they used to offer this thing where you mailed in a request for free samples whether it was perfume or makeup and we always felt so grown up about it. 

A few years later, I turned on that friend.  I didn’t do it consciously, but given the opportunity I found out I didn’t want trouble (and I didn’t want to cause trouble for my family) so I let her hang on the hook for something we both did.  This moment stands out because it was pivotal for me.  I saw how much I hurt her and I honestly didn’t think I could ever go back and fix it.  I know now it was stupid adolescent stuff and I should have just told my family the truth, but it was a big deal to me then.  My “image” was a big deal to me and I was heavy into being the “perfect child” at that time. It doesn’t excuse it—and I have NEVER done anything like that since.  In fact, I went hard the other direction and take blame for shit I’m not even involved in.  But I have carried the guilt since.  Even the parts of the story I HAVE reconciled, I still find my mind repeating it. 

In the end, I think I hold onto this thing because it reminds me of a time when things were so good, so easy, and life just flowed.  I have never hidden the fact that I was very fortunate as a child in spite of learning some messed up survival tactics, and I miss those days when a smile was really a smile, when the most I had to think of was homework and who I was going to sit next to.  Maybe that’s something to dive into later, I don’t know.  I miss the days of knowing who friends really are and feeling that unconditional support and giving it back.  And I hate the story after that because it didn’t have to be that way.  Although I will acknowledge that if the universe didn’t want it to go that way, it wouldn’t have.  Regardless, it’s important to remember how certain things trigger us. 

Maybe some day I will be able to throw it out.  I actually still talk to my friend.  I’ve never told her the inner turmoil because that is mine to carry.  Part of me wants to tell her in an effort to remind her that I know what I did was wrong and that her friendship meant more to me than she will ever know.  That I made a stupid mistake.  And on some level maybe I keep it for me.  To learn to let go of the stupid mistake I made.  We’ve grown, we are still in touch, we have kids of our own now.  I can be a good friend to her now.  And maybe I can forgive myself and stop making myself pay for things over and over again.  It doesn’t need to be a scar, it can be an awesome memory of times we had and we can measure how far we’ve come.  And part of that growth is letting go of the hurt.  It’s firmly knowing who we are now, really knowing who we are period.  And letting the rest fall into place from there. 

Someone Else’s Life

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My son has this amazing little friend at school and my husband and I have been fortunate enough to befriend his parents as well.  They are phenomenal people.  They’ve been together as long as my husband and I have been together, they are also high school sweethearts, and their love shows in everything they do.  I know anyone can say there’s a performance behind it or anyone can make all the pictures look good—or even that there are no pictures of the bad moments.  That’s all true.  But seeing how other people live and the lives they make together, the things they do together, the ideas they share together and what they invest in together to make it work sometimes hits a sore spot when you feel a lack of something.  I’m the first to admit that I feel such a lack in myself.  I see all the things I wanted and some I didn’t know I wanted played out right in front of me and it hurts.  It feels like such a waste.  I see the joy in their lives, the way they allowed life to happen and I feel a strangle hold on myself for not living. 

One of the first things they say in self-healing work is to stop comparing.  Don’t compare at all, especially your chapter one with someone’s chapter 20.  I tend to jump ahead a lot.  I also have expectations, like, we’ve been together the same amount of time, why aren’t we in the same place?  The truth is, I can’t see all the work that went into their lives in a highlight reel.  I can’t see the moments that weren’t captured because they aren’t shown—it doesn’t mean they weren’t there.  Same goes for us.  I’m going through a really messy season right now and I’m struggling to figure out what it even means.  But I know this isn’t a conducive time to ask why.  It is, however, a time to realize some of those fundamentals.  How did they make it work?  How did it happen?  And to appreciate what I CAN see as an example of what I want.  Some clarity.  Things happen for a reason. It isn’t to show you that something is “wrong.”  Sometimes it’s to show you that you’re on the right path.  It’s a window to what CAN be.  That, my friends, is hope. 

When it comes to living, we all need hope.  We need belief and we need to know that things change and it always works out.  Just because it doesn’t look a certain way doesn’t mean it isn’t working.  Sometimes it’s just about identifying where you’re at and where you want to be. Sometimes it’s about frequency and adjusting and others it’s about standing firm.  It’s all a dance.  It’s appreciating and celebrating the beauty and working through the muck.  It’s about not getting hung up on a choice, it’s about making the best of it.  It’s about understanding it’s not what the image looks like in the end, it’s about recognizing there was work and things can always work if you put in the time and effort.  Most importantly, it’s knowing who you are and your worth.  Because when you know who you are, you know what works and what doesn’t and that means you know your direction and can see when someone isn’t on that path.  Knowing who you are is key.  When you know who you are, the rest falls in to place. 

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for dealing with force and change.  Have you ever known you need to do something, and you feel like you’ve done it, but it keeps coming up?  I’ve been dealing with a lot of that lately, not unlike anyone else, or anything I’ve been through before.  However, this time it’s personal.  I’ve spent years putting the onus of a certain situation on one other person in particular, and nothing has changed.  We constantly repeat the same things over and over again.  I’m now being forced into a situation where it’s on me to decide what I want to do about it. I don’t want to repeat the pattern, but changing means potential for things to go another way.  I’m not sure I’m prepared for that other way, but I have to accept the possibility.  The reason I’m grateful is because I have new avenues to look at in my life.  I have new things to examine and take responsibility for.  I have a certain degree of choice and power here.  I just have to decide what that means. 

Today I am grateful for help.  I’ve had to reach outside of my regular circle of help for some additional assistance.  It’s different here. It feels foreign in so many ways and I fear taking up the mantle of what comes next.  There are new ways to take responsibility for what comes in your life.  Sometimes getting help means acknowledging where you’ve played the victim—even if you have legitimately been victimized, you have to acknowledge that you can move forward.  If you’ve made yourself the victim, it’s time to find a new identity.  Then there is the middle where you get to see that, yes, you were hurt, but you can choose what happens next.  I’m grateful for the reflection of what needs to be fixed.  It’s a different kind of strength. 

Today I am grateful for reminders that I am worthy.  We all need that reminder every now and then.  When you do true, deep, self-healing work, you come face to face with parts of yourself you may not like that much.  It’s hard to find love in those places.  Those are the places you hope someone holds together while looking the other way.  But there comes a point where you realize that no one will see your full value until you do.  You can’t find your worth in other people.  You can’t let other people determine that for you.  Your true self is needed and has a valuable message to share.  My true self is no exception.  There is a reason for the journey we all decide to undertake and that is found in the truest expression of who we are.  Step into that version of yourself, unapologetically.  I’m learning.

Today I am grateful for clarity that I can’t continue as I am.  No one can stay the same.  Staying the same when things aren’t yielding any type of result is madness.  So I can’t continue to push forward knowing it’s not working.  I am grateful because for the first time, I’m not upset about it.  I genuinely feel like this is the next right step.  I have a sense of security that all will be ok and that it’s simply just the right time to move forward into the next part of me.  Things serve their course and to get to the next level we have to embrace what comes next.  We can always choose to widen the track and run the same circles, but there is a time when that simply doesn’t work any longer.  I am grateful to myself for getting here and for trying as hard as she did.  That type of strain isn’t needed here any longer.  This is the time of abundance and ease, and that starts with taking in what IS.  I am grateful.

Today I am grateful to stop repeating old habits.  As things change, we change along with them as I indicated above.  Over the last few weeks I’ve spent a bit more than I should.  It’s for different reasons and it includes gifts and prep for the upcoming holidays.  I had a moment today when I spent a bit more than I wanted to, where I told myself to knock it off.  All is well.  I am fortunate and I know this is just the beginning for me.  I had a lot of negative stigma around money in my life, I made mistakes before, and I used to hold on to the fear that created with a vice grip.  It did me no good—all it did was add another layer of stress and fear.  I am by no means in a position to waste money—and that is the difference.  The things I’ve done over the last few weeks were not a waste.  I am still working, I have multiple streams of income, and I am providing for my family.  I don’t need to fear loss.  I am grateful I have the means—and that is a distinctly different habit to have. 

Today I am grateful to simply live.  I’ve been trying to handle multiple lifestyles at once instead of finding myself and, after a little bit of work, I understand that I need to connect to me, to spirit again.  The answers are there.  It means I need to pause on some projects for a bit and redirect a few things but that doesn’t mean it goes away forever.  Things change, we all need to pivot.  The most important thing is to find the next right thing for me and my family. Right now it comes down to me, specifically, so I have to take a step back from all the things I did around here as well.  What is really important.  Aligning with what matters.  I didn’t realize how heavy things were getting.  How much hurt there was/is.  It is no longer a time for distraction.  It’s a time for honest, authentic, total connection.  That means letting go and just being.  We all have to begin again, sometimes. 

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.     

Be Gentle

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In life we often plow ahead and plow through everything.  If we want to get it done, we will.  We may bitch and moan about it, but there comes a point we will put our noses to the grindstone and we will take up the yoke of whatever “it” is and do the work.  Whether it is in our work, with our friends, with our families, or cleaning the house, or doing the dishes.  I know people where even if the car is making funny noises, they will continue to push the machine until it can’t go any further.  Whatever it is, we all know that feeling.  There were moments I undertook the entire journey of life like that.  Constantly waiting for the shit of one day to simply fall on me and then I would figure how to uncover myself, shovel by shovel, until I could breathe again.  And then I would do the same thing the next day.  Or even if I was having a good day, I’d rush through it thinking I was still working for something better.  I literally thought that was life: living every day prepared for the absolute worst, hoping there wouldn’t be too much to dig out of today, and then exhausting myself.  I had no clue there was anything different.  Many of us live like that and we think it’s normal.  It is not.

I’ve had to come face to face with some personal demons over the last month.  Things that I thought were simply part of my personality began to destroy my life and I had to evaluate if those things were really me or if they were just things I was doing because they were habit, part of the plowing ahead with the singular focus.  I’m specifically talking about the control demon.  Part of my issues is that I’ve always believed we have entire control of our lives in the respect that anything can be broken down to get to where we want to go.  Yes, anyone can lose 100 pounds, or get their degree, or change a habit simply by breaking down the why they want it and taking the steps to get there.  I stand by it, that is TRUE.  But that doesn’t always mean it’s the right thing to do.  It doesn’t always mean that the people around you feel the same way or will undertake the same changes and steps willingly.  When you try to make them, even if it’s a goal you’ve agreed upon, that becomes control.  I’ve also had to come to terms with the fact that not everything is in our control.  Life will find a way to do what it needs to regardless of your steps or your plan.  In fact, those moments have a funny way of making us question moving forward and wondering if we can do what we sought to. 

So, in the middle of a break down about control, life being unfair, and quite frankly being hurt, I had a moment where a light went off for me: I’m not sure I love myself enough.  I spend all this time working with people and telling them to take care of themselves and love themselves, I thought I was an example of it myself, only to find that I don’t know if I REALLY love me.  I’ve wanted a certain kind of life and I did things for people hoping I would get something in return.  I KNOW it’s the wrong thing now.  All I needed to do was authentically be me and allow the right people to fall into my life.  Like everything, I needed to take my hands off the wheel and go gently.  I’ve been trying to drive 40 cars at one time, and even when I let someone else behind the wheel, I was still trying to tell them what to do.  That isn’t living.  But it all comes down to the fact that I don’t love myself enough to feel worthy that what I want will unfold so I’m trying to control the outcome.  Sure, results sometimes happen, but it’s EXHAUSTING. 

So while I was breaking down over my place, wondering if anything I’ve ever done has been real, I started to realize this isn’t something I can plow through.  Finding authenticity is also about authentically listening to yourself and others.  That means taking the time to hear yourself, hear the response in yourself to others, hear the response of the universe so you understand your feelings.  It means being gentle.  It isn’t about control at all.  The flower doesn’t bloom because you pull at the roots or peel open the bulb.  It blooms when you offer it what it needs and allow it space to grow.  The same is true for you, for me, for the entire world.  When we are gentle, we are showing trust that the universe knows what it’s doing and that, no matter what it looks like, all is as it should be.  Gentle is not about letting go, it’s about setting the course and taking your hands off the wheel and nudging in the direction we need to go as the winds change.  Gentle is one of the most powerful things you can be.  It opens to the love we need, to the person we really are.  Gentle is the answer when the world gets a little too tough.      

Unqualified Disqualifiers

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“Stop letting people who haven’t done any of the things you dream of tell you you can’t do them.  Don’t let someone who is unqualified, disqualify you.  It isn’t their business.  They’re telling you you can’t do it because they can’t do it,” Tabitha Brown.  In the midst of deep change, I think we all need this reminder.  Doing the work of becoming the people we want to be has a tendency to open all kinds of wounds.  Questions of worth, ability, value, perception of reality, flow, and change create enough chaos just by looking at the foundation of who we are.  There is enough inner turmoil through change that we don’t need outside opinion on the matter.  I’m not talking about the mirror relationships we spoke of yesterday.  I’m talking about the outsiders, the naysayers.  The ones who have no real impact but we let them in our ears.  This is a reminder to keep going and to let that go.  Those who don’t know you and offer an unsolicited opinion don’t deserve space in your mind.  Don’t let their negativity be an ear worm of your own fears. 

I’m experiencing all the fears I listed above.  My husband and I have been together 21 years and we are still evolving and growing.  We’ve hit a patch where some behaviors (on both sides) need to be questioned and evaluated to see if we are still heading in the same direction.  As terrifying as it is, I’m trying to welcome it because it is the best for our own growth; that DOES echo what I was talking about yesterday in mirroring the work we need to do with each other and deciding where we are in the dance.  The changes I’m addressing in myself, however, are reminders of the things I’ve been afraid to address all along. My worth and my ability to do things on my own in particular as well as what people think of me.  This brings up values (again) and it echoes Tabitha’s words:  if you know something in your heart of hearts, don’t rely on the opinions of people who haven’t played the game you are in.  My husband and I are in the same game, so his opinion matters to me—he is qualified even if we are on some shaky ground. 

But for those outside my inner circle—and those outside of your inner circle for that matter—the words they say should carry little weight.  We have so much focus on outside perception that we would willingly sacrifice our dreams if we believed people would like us.  If someone wants to be in your life, that means they need to be an ally and support you.  Let the rest go.  Don’t let those who barely know you trigger an insecurity that stops you from doing what you love.  Change is a challenging thing, and we need to learn a new relationship with the fears that come up.  We need to create space for those fears and we need to learn to deal with them.  People talking in your ear shouldn’t take up space and neither should that negative inner voice.  If you have the dream it’s meant for you and if you can align with it, all will fall into place regardless of what you “know”.  Don’t create limits that don’t exist and don’t allow others to do it either.  They aren’t running your race anyway.  Keep going. 

What They See In You

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I’ve spent the last few weeks deep into some soul searching after some rough events made me question my role and my identity with where I am in life right now.  I’ve put aside a few of my projects because I realized I needed some very deep work.  I could no longer just read the books and mark the passages I like.  I needed to take some time to integrate and process and act on the information.  My relationships at home and at work were/are suffering and I really have to evaluate where my responsibility is and isn’t.  When you people-please you tend to ignore your own needs and then feel disrespected when people don’t do the same for you.  When you heal those patterns and set boundaries, they may react poorly.  I struggled with taking offense to this.  I had been very diligent in learning to take care of myself and to set goals and when I needed them to hold up their end, they were nowhere to be seen.  A colleague brought up something I haven’t done a deep dive into yet: When we work on themselves it can trigger for them to do their own work—and a lot of people freak out with this.

Humans don’t adapt well to change—there are countless books on the subject from personal development, divorce, leadership challenges, coping skills, general life changes, and the list goes on.  It’s no secret that our primal brains view any change as dangerous so we don’t like it.  When those core people around us have defined who we are in their minds, any change we make throws them for a loop.  Suddenly they question themselves and their environment because they don’t “know” how you operate now and they need to learn how to adapt to that.  There are some who are open enough to this flow and accept your changes as the work you do and you are able to dance in the parameters of your new boundaries.  Then there are some who can’t handle it and they engage in some challenging behaviors like reverting to old patterns or gaslighting because they reach their limit on changing themselves to meet the “new” you. 

Depending on the relationship it may be appropriate to let this person go.  If they are a drain or aren’t that close, does their opinion really matter?  Let the dance take them away.  If it is someone close to you and you value what you have with them, you may need to give them some space and you may need to have the tough conversation with them about your needs changing.  Your values are allowed to change—we aren’t fixed beings.  That’s the ironic part of dealing with change: we are meant to bend and adapt but we hate it and it makes us feel unsafe.  Our very safety lies in the ability to go with it and we have to be secure enough in who we are to state, “This is what I need in this season of my life,” and accept the other person’s response.  We are all catalysts on some level and we don’t operate in a vacuum and neither does anyone else.  Know that what we do will cause a reaction in those around us.

The key at this point is to not let the reaction of others stop us from getting what we need.  I’m not suggesting taking the “My way or the highway” mentality because that won’t get anyone anywhere regardless.  If it’s a value-based decision and it’s important to you, then no one should stop you no matter what (unless there is harm to others).  If it’s something you can compromise on, then that’s fine as well.  But for those who refuse to move simply because they are stuck or comfortable, you may need to examine what the future looks like.  Compatibility is a different story than fear of moving forward and it won’t resolve on its own. Bottom line, just don’t be surprised that there is a reaction to the work you do.  We all create ripples in our lives just through the act of living.  Sometimes you are the ripple and sometimes you are the mirror.  Accept it all and allow it because someone will be the mirror for you too some day.  Be patient and work with it.