Be what you want

It is impossible to create immunity from the harmful, painful, and at times devastating statements and opinions at times, but I think there is a better way to insulate ourselves and promote hope than by making sweeping statements of separation or reacting with anger and fear.  Be honest, when was the last time that you effectively persuaded someone to change their values or character by simply ‘telling them something”?

We do not need lessons to teach people, we need to be models of what we hope for.  You don’t have to quit your job and become a full time activist, just be truly active in your life.  If you are reading FB posts that hurt your heart, commit to posting something that lifts you up.  If you see a negative news story that causes you to feel fear or uncertainty; acknowledge your fear and make a decision to move past that fear.  If you find yourself feeling anxious and uncertain, empower yourself with knowledge and seek out your own answers.  It’s not about avoiding pain it or pretending fear doesn’t exist, it’s about finding ways to appease it.

Make a commitment to express gratitude every single day, tell someone you love them, offer help to someone in need, be thoughtful about your communication with others, be open to the possibility of hope, and make a conscious decision to express compassion in every single interaction you have.  If you think of the most powerful ‘lesson’ you ever learned, think about how that came to be….chances are that it was through your own action and decisions.  If I had to ‘tell’ someone just one thing, I would simply share the wise words from Gandhi’s- “Be the change you wish to see in this world.”

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Need space?

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Regardless of annual income, or lack thereof, the only real estate that we all have guaranteed to us is our own personal space.  I’m not talking the walls that house and shelter you, I’m talking about the intangible energies that embody who we are and how we conduct ourselves.  We are constantly maintaining, creating, and promoting the space around us.  Think about the last time you said, “I just need some space.”  What is it that you were craving at that time?  My guess would be you were looking for a sense of peace, calm, or perhaps clarity that seemed unattainable at that moment.

A combination of our thoughts, perceptions, and ongoing behaviors create the space that we call our own and each of those things perpetuate either positive or negative energy around us.  What I continue to learn most is that if I am in a place of fear, uncertainty, insecurity, and separation…I tend to react with tension and even anger to people around me.  However, when I’m relaxed, feeling connected to the world around me, and open; I am more likely to experience patience, tolerance, and warmth to those very same people and circumstances.  Notice, I said, “more likely”.  It’s not as if we become immune to all those things, but perhaps we become more adaptable.

All sorts of things can negatively impact the equilibrium we experience within our personal space and at the end of the day it is up to us to decide if there is going to be a small ripple of a current or an all-out smashing wave of discontent that smacks us in the face. It may be the ongoing responsibilities that seem to pile up during the work day.  But it can also be the uncomfortable feeling when you are not feeling yourself and someone close to you asks what’s wrong and you simply don’t know how to put your feelings into words.  Often though, it’s that sense that the world is crashing down, things are changing too fast, and nothing feels certain.

Whatever the case, we can arm ourselves with tools that help us create, maintain, and promote the best possible space around us that is full of love and hope.  I’m not suggesting we put our heads in the sand and pretend that bad things don’t happen or that some days are not going to be harder than others.  However, if we become intentional about our personal space and diligently assess our interactions, we will begin to realize whether our perceptions, thoughts, and actions are being impacted by fear and uncertainty.  And ultimately through increased awareness, we can determine if the space we need is a complex layers of a process which identifies our true need…which is love.

Complaint free day

What if you spent an entire day without complaining? How would that change your perspective?  How uncomfortable would it be to refrain from voicing a complaint and accept the reality of a situation and continue to move forward?  I’m not suggesting that we all become passive and not speak up about unequitable, unjust, or unacceptable behaviors, I’m suggesting we think about how to voice our feelings and thoughts in a more productive and healthy way that result in either a reasonable solution or follow up plan of action.

We all have our moments of complaining and it’s totally understandable.  Especially when we feel frustrated, upset, fearful, confused, and overwhelmed.  At the end of the day we have to ask, what is the point of complaining?  Are we seeking validation from other people?  Maybe.  Do we need to complain about how tough our day was in order for people to understand that we are struggling?  Or are we looking to excuse our own behavior through the fault of something/someone else?  Maybe we complain to connect with others.  I’m sure many of us have complained about another person or event to someone and it made us feel closer and more connected than before.   Are we complaining often because we don’t feel that anyone hears us otherwise?  Or are we complaining because we are fearful?  The next time you hear yourself complaining or feel the need to air out a complaint, ask yourself these questions:

What is the purpose of my complaint? Or What do I need right now from this situation? 

Is this something that serves me well or can I let it go?

If this serves me well or I feel strongly enough about it, what can I do to positively impact the situation or create change?

Once you realize those answers you can more easily determine how to frame your thoughts and feelings in a productive and helpful way instead of simply complaining about it with no means of appeasing your emotions tied to the situation.

The challenge is not about complaining, it’s the discovery of what is driving the complaint.  Ultimately if we approach our struggles with more self-understanding and awareness we are more likely to find a solution that not only helps our own sense of well-being but promotes more peace and contentment within our immediate environment.  I do not envision a world without complaint, but I love the idea of changing our personal space and space around us to a place where complaints are less frequent and ideas of action/resolve are the common theme.

There is an important disclaimer about increasing your awareness of your own complaining:  once you become aware of how often (and honestly, how easy) it is to complain within yourself….you will start noticing it much more in everyone else around you.  This is not an easy thing to navigate because as you begin living with an intention to complain less and act more, it can be incredibly taxing to be more attuned to everyone else’s complaints.  The best advice I can offer in those moments is to practice love, understanding, compassion, and kindness for both the other person and especially yourself and to remember that it is not your place to learn lessons for other people.  After all, lessons can be helpful but the models of those lessons are way more powerful.  Be a model of Love, Understanding, Compassion, and Kindness and enjoy the space that you create around you.