7 REMINDERS that keep me on the path to peace and freedom
Try as we might to avoid them, some emotions continue to creep up on us and pay us an uninvited visit. Feelings like fear, anger, jealousy, embarrassment, resentment, scarcity, and so on, are all part of life and learning. While they’re not always bad, they can pull us off course and deter us from our true self and intentions. It’s important to listen to our feelings, be open and honest with ourselves about them, give ourselves the chance to feel them, and communicate them to others when necessary. Denying them or stuffing them, only makes them grow. It’s possible they may be leading us toward something our heart is needing. For example, we may not like feeling lonely or have a hard time talking about it, but it can lead us to connection, if we let it. Grief can feel uncomfortable and unwanted, but when we let ourselves experience it fully, it can lead to transformation.
I’m working hard not to deny my feelings these days. Communicating them to the people I love, leads to happier more fulfilling relationships. There are times that my thoughts get the best of me, however. Times that I let stress, fear, anxiety, or exhaustion take over, leading to irrationality. Those feelings are usually liars. In those times, I find there are a few reminders that can bring me back to center, where my heart and soul are in the driver’s seat, keeping me on the path to peace and freedom. Some of the reminders I hear myself saying often are:
You are worthy just as you are.
When I’m feeling internal pressure to be perfect, push harder, or get more done, this is a helpful reminder. Of course I’m not perfect. It’s not fair to expect myself to be. I’m entirely done “hustling for my worthiness.” (Thank you for that Ah Ha! Brené Brown.) Longer to-do lists and great achievements don’t necessarily make me a better person. Often they just make me worn out mentally, physically, and emotionally. That doesn’t help anyone.
There is enough for everyone.
There is enough good for everyone. There is enough money for everyone. There is enough achievement for everyone. There is enough joy for everyone. You name it, there is enough. I not only want to celebrate the achievements of others, but also help them get there. I can’t do that if I get caught up in that icky feeling of scarcity, causing me to feel a tinge of jealousy for another’s accomplishments. This reminder helps me when I get off track. Knowing there’s enough for everyone, means there’s even enough for me. That helps me have confidence in taking steps toward freedom in my life, financial and otherwise.
Always act out of love.
Enough said…pretty much. When I’m angry, taking things personally, feeling resentful, or having trouble with trust, I do myself a service by taking a deep breath and choosing to act from a place of love.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Victor Frankl
Things are rarely black and white.
The world around us often presents things as black or white these days, as good or bad. This is a powerful tool in advertising, politics, fitness, etc., as it incites fear and judgement. Making decisions out of fear is not a good idea, unless you find yourself on a path with a grizzly bear, and even then it’s questionable. I find that things are rarely black and white. Most often, there are many, many shades of gray. I use this reminder when I hear myself labeling things, people, or situations as good or bad. It’s a helpful reminder when I’m judging others too, a quick way to open the door to empathy.
You find what you’re looking for.
This is such Pollyanna thinking, (If you don’t know that movie reference, you better figure it out!) but it’s so true. The more I look for the good in the world, the more I find it. I know it seems so obvious when stated as such. I can still find myself complaining about the town I live in, the state of such and such, parents these days, or any number of things people complain about. You know what happens when I complain about the town I live in? I continue to find more and more wrong with it. If I want to complain about bad parents or problems with healthcare or politics or the issue of the moment, etc., I can find plenty to complain about. BUT if I want to find good parents and good things happening in the world, there’s plenty of that going around too. There are no doubt times for action, when you feel called to change something that you see is wrong, but even positive action is hard to do from a place of complaint. A funny thing happens when you start looking for the things you want to see, you find them. Maybe not right next door, but at least down the street. Eventually, you see far more of the “good”, and far less of the “bad”. Think about it this way, if I was allergic to dogs, would I do myself any good hanging around the animal shelter and calling all their names? It doesn’t really make sense in the other areas of life either. I call out the good. I look for the good. Eventually, the good comes looking for me too.
I choose to live in trust.
So much that happens around us is out of our control. We only control our own actions, words, and deeds. The way others interpret, react to, and share what we say and do isn’t in our hands at all. In fact, it’s really none of our business. I can often be guarded with myself, keeping my interactions on a very surface level. These days, I’m searching for something much more REAL. Real isn’t always about lightening the mood with a funny joke or giving people the answer I think they want to hear. It’s much more open and honest than that. Sometimes being real is funny or joyful, and sometimes it can be sad or serious. Either way, it’s so much more meaningful than keeping everything on the surface. Because I’m searching for true connection these days, I have to remind myself to live in trust. After all, I can only control my own actions, words, and deeds. I cannot control what others do with them. When I live in trust, I do and say the things my soul is calling me to do. I can do them without worrying about what people think of them or me or what they might tell other people about me or what I’ve said or done. I can act from a place of authenticity with far less fear, anxiety, and regret, and I don’t waste nearly as much time worrying about how others are acting or treating me. I allow myself to trust that they are doing the best they can as well. This creates lasting connections and lessons that allow me to continue my path of learning and growth, to lead a life of fulfillment and freedom.
Nobody needs a martyr.
I find joy in serving others. I’ve often felt called to do what I can to better the lives of others, and I know my life is also better for it. Sometimes, as a wife, mother, and community member, I feel OBLIGATED to serve. That’s ok, but not when I’m a martyr about it. Truly, nobody needs a martyr. If I clean up the kitchen every night when I’m tired and would rather go to bed, then make my family feel guilty about it, I do no one any good. If I didn’t want to do it, I shouldn’t have done it. I could have asked for help or waited until the next morning. If I volunteer to coach my kid’s t-ball team, but then walk around with my shoulders slumped and complain about how busy I am to the other parents, I’ve done no one any good. I could have said no. I could have asked another parent/s for help, or I could have chosen not to complain. If I’m serving because I wan’t recognition, sympathy, or accolades of others, I’m best not serving at all. I’m learning to say no more often. I’m learning to ask for help more often, and I’m learning to not guilt or make others feel bad if I’ve taken on too much or done something I really didn’t want to do in the first place. Nobody needs a martyr, and hopefully reminding myself of that is helping me be one a lot less. I would much rather be the “trickster”, as Elizabeth Gilbert puts it.
…the path that does not worship suffering and torment, and does not…say that life is nothing but a grim march of pain…this is the path of the trickster, not the martyr. The trickster (represented forever in world mythology as the fox, the crow, the coyote, the monkey) sees through our delusions of seriousness and exposes the play underneath all our drama. The trickster says, ‘You are welcome to die for your cause if you really want to, but I’m not here to spend my life suffering.’ “- Elizabeth Gilbert
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these reminders, or if you have some additions of your own. Imperfect progress is so much better when shared. Do share!