Quick workaround in the aftermath of an emotional expectation unmet:
1) Ask: How did I want this other person to behave or respond?
2) Ask: What would that have meant about me? Repeat the question several times, until you get to the quality or underlying emotional experience desired (i.e. It would mean I am.... valid, desirable, good enough, worthy, etc.)
3) Remember that the person who disappointed you is just another human work-in-progress, doing the best they can, acting and reacting from their own fixed beliefs, perspectives, and level of awareness. They are dealing with their own insecurities, their own internal atmosphere, and not to mention, their own daily tasks. Nothing is personal.
4) Ask: Why am I giving this other being so much control over my self-opinion? Why am I giving them so much authority in MY own life?
5) Take that quality or qualities from step 2 and affirm to yourself that you already are and always have been _______ (i.e. enough, worthy, important). No one else is the source of you feeling ________. Another person can be the activator, but all emotional states of being originate and are sustained from within.
6) Repeat step 5. Every day if you have to. Be your own activator.
There are times when I'll hook into someone else's opinion of me. I'll imagine what they must see, the role they've cast me in, the identity I take on, the category I get filed into, and whether I am regarded highly, poorly, or with total irrelevance. If I'm not mindful, I can carry this with me throughout my day. I can feel really good about myself or really shitty depending on the judgments I perceive. It's tempting and quite typical to gather a self-opinion in this manner. Yet, the way other people relate to you - how they see you or value you - says a lot more about them than it ever has to about you. Allowing the possible opinion of another to determine who you are and what you can be is to give your personal power away to a temporary illusion.
There is a world within you that is beyond human judgment and categorical thinking; a place of infinite magical potential; a well of unconditional and regenerative love. It is where you come from, your first identity. It knows the truth of your being. It is the source of your power. And it is where you can always go to remember who you really are.
A guilt trip is not a mandatory voyage. People may invite you along but you never have to accept the offer. Trust your own intuition and where it's leading you. Keep moving in the direction that feels best for your soul. Like everything, where you go and how you go is just a choice. Your choice. So, choose you.
Today I will look in the mirror without criticizing my appearance; wishing this or that was smaller/bigger/tighter. I will not reject any reflection of this holy body, the current home of my soul. I will release myself from the clutches of popular opinion, remembering that trends are ever-changing, that standards can be optional, and that perspective is merely a choice. I will say goodbye to old habits of self-criticism. I will welcome the euphoria of self-approval and the personal power that can only come from self-appreciation. I will recognize the purpose in my uniqueness and the miraculous magic of the human form.
And I will revel in my freedom.
Nothing is personal. How people behave is based on whatever they’ve got going on with them. Everyone has their own insecurities, stressors, triggers, anxieties, and challenging life circumstances. We’ve all got our own burdens. Light or heavy, we’re all carrying something with us into our daily interactions.
Just because someone else’s treatment of you is not personal, doesn’t mean you should ignore your emotional reaction to the situation. Spiritually bypassing a negative emotion is only prolonging the inevitable. Often the best way out is through. Emotions are energy in MOTION. They want/need to move. Whatever arises within you, face it, feel it, forgive it, and let it work its way through your system. Never underestimate the healing power of a 5 minute ugly-cry.
Everything is purposeful. Take whatever time you need to emotionally process. When you’re ready and able to, take the focus off of your reactionary self. Look through and above the situation, from the highest vantage point possible. Ask your wisest self (who already knows): what is this really about? What is the opportunity for me here? What awareness have I gained? What has this situation inspired in me? What new choice can I now make? What new energy can I be? What new actions can I take? And what kind of lasting positive change can I hope to experience in MY life as a result? Move forward accordingly.
Just as important as what we are ready to say yes to, is what we are ready and actually willing to say no to. I've noticed that every time I want to move forward with something, life will bring me an out, or more of the same situations that I am used to.
In moments like this, it's almost as if life is offering up a little test, waiting for us to take a different action, giving us an opportunity to make a new and more self-supportive choice. A choice that feels good and true and freeing in the body. A choice that is made out of self-love and not out of self-sabotage or fear.
Sometimes we pass the exam, sometimes we don't. It's all ok. It's all about readiness. And we can't be what we are not. But I do know that each and every time that I've been up to the challenge, it's been these new positive choices and actions that have eventually led to entirely new conditions. Like magic.
Old goal: to be happy all the time regardless of circumstances.
New goal: to be present and patient with whatever arises within me, to practice self-care over self-rejection, to no longer shame myself for any ugly or unpleasant thoughts and emotions, to not force a state of being that does not feel authentic or true, to sit with what is and to listen.
Old goal: happiness
New goal: freedom
Sometimes I forget that there is no one else out there preventing me from feeling how I want to feel. I am the storehouse of my resentments, the holder of my anger, the keeper of my judgments, the defender of my limitations, and the perpetuator of my dissatisfaction. I am the guardian of my beliefs, the thinker of my thoughts, the director of my attention, the curator of my perceptions, the authority on my actions, and the one who wields the power of my will. I am the one who chooses. I am the only one responsible for my happiness.
Sometimes I forget just how much is up to me.
Sometimes, mid-prance, my dog Remy will abruptly stop and sniff the air. Following her nose to the apparent source of her intoxication, she'll attempt to walk back the way we came, pulling me with her in the process. My usual response is, "come on, Rems. We move forward, not backward. You want treats? Let's get some treats!" This is always effective.
I actually use the same technique on myself, whenever I feel the pull to relive my past or replay my worst/greatest hits. Yes, the past was necessary. You wouldn't be where you are now without it. Yet, you do not need to go back there. You can't physically go back there. And would you really even want to? Thank the ground you've already covered. Feel the spot of earth that is currently beneath your feet. And walk in the direction of your future destination, where an infinity of possibilities - and treats - await you.
I am not what happened to me in the past. I am not what that person said I was. I am not who I used to be. These things may have been relevant once upon a time, they may have applied before, but they no longer get to define me.
I get to define me.
I am a constant evolution, a perceiving, deciding, and acting point of consciousness. I change, I grow, I become.
I choose who and how I want to be.
Did I make good choices? Did I take any new positive actions? Did I step in the direction of my desires? Was I honest with myself? Was I honest with others? Do the people that I love, know that I love them? Did I do the best that I could do?
Ok, then. Cool. Today was a good day. Today was a success. And even if it wasn't, even if I didn't get a passing grade, tomorrow I'll get another chance. Tomorrow I'll have another go.
Sitting and sulking, feeling invisible, hoping someone will read your mind and getting disappointed when they don't - is one way of doing things. Another way? Asking for what you need. Coming from a place of honesty and vulnerability and making a verbal request shows just how much you believe you deserve it. It shows how much you value you. And more than anything, asking for what you need greatly increases your chances of actually receiving it.
Back when I was acting, I brought a "touched up" headshot into an audition. By "touched up" I mean completely airbrushed. My skin was perfect porcelain and there was not a wrinkle, line, or any evidence of sun damage on my face. After I read for the part, the casting director said, "Can I give you some advice? Get new headshots. This looks like your much younger sister or someone else. You've lived life. You've had experiences. This isn't you. We want to see you." As bluntly as it was put, I still appreciated the truth bomb.
What if all the wear and tear and wisdom that life has gifted you is what makes you interesting? What if it makes you you? What if you didn't need to be anyone else? What if you were perfect just as you are?
The time between crying "what was I thinking??" and laughing "what was I thinking!?!" gets shorter in length when you actually let yourself cry, laugh, and recognize that you were just doing the best you could as the person you were at that time.
We are constantly changing and growing in awareness. It's a lifelong process of education and evolution that we can choose to fight or embrace. Either way, it means that wherever you happen to be- it's temporary. And more than that, it means that whoever you happen to be- you are enough - just as you are right now.
Sit in front of a mirror. Say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” Picture someone you have been upset with. Even if they were the one in the wrong. Say “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” Repeat until it takes. Repeat as needed.
I may have messed with the standard order of these phrases but I find this arrangement to be super helpful especially when feeling overwhelmed by heavy energies, like frustration and resentment. Pretty sure I recommend this life-changing practice at least once a day.
I was in Sprouts the other day and “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music soundtrack was playing, which is a pretty odd supermarket music choice, right? I thought so. Either way, I was really happy I heard it because it made me realize something: that song is pretty much THE answer. To EVERYTHING.
Ok. Not to everything. But possibly to every negative shift in mood. Every fearful reaction - thought or feeling.
“... I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”
Um yeah. Duh. When you focus on your favorite things or think of people that you appreciate and love, you don’t feel AS bad. It doesn’t mean that you ignore your emotional reaction or “spiritually bypass” your current circumstance, but you just don’t linger there in helpless identification too long.
It’s not that the shitty stuff that happened or the issue you are dealing with is going to go away but it definitely prevents the fear and negative momentum around it from growing. It raises your overall mood (energetic vibration) so that you can actually get space around whatever circumstance you’re in and view it with some distance. And more than that, you can be energetically open enough to receive solutions. Because as we know, solutions are never found at the same level as the problem. I mean, even Einstein said that.
And because our nervous system can’t tell the difference between something that we are actually presently experiencing and something we are just imagining or remembering as an experience - we can have the same emotional reaction to an actual event as to a memory or fantasy of an event. This is the reason why people say “think of your happy place” and it tends to work.
My Favorite Things. So simple and totally worth doing. I mean, isn’t that what we really all want anyways? To not feel so bad... or really, to feel good/better/happier?
Thanks, Sprouts and the musical theater lover who chooses your playlist.
Creativity is a process. Healing is a process. And you can only ever be where you are in the process. Some days you want to do cartwheels. Some days you want to hide under your coffee table.
Either way, it's all fine. You're walking a path. Be wherever you are on the path. It's more than ok. It's necessary.
Who or what outside of me have I been allowing to define me? To choose my identity? To limit my expression? To restrict what I believe is possible? To determine what I am here to do or be?
Today is a good day to ask those questions. And an even better one for consciously choosing to let go of whatever it is that may be holding you back.
You can be a "spiritual" person and still:
get so angry that you throw your coffee mug on the ground- shattering it into a hundred pieces, cry until your eyes are swollen and puffy and you feel like vomiting, enjoy awful TV sitcoms, call something awful, prefer vintage dresses and combat boots to peasant skirts and Birkenstocks, laugh at farts, lose your patience, desire to feel successful and accomplished, get lonely, act silly, experience fear, have ugly or fat days, hate bad hair days, care about your physical appearance, go to the gym and work on your body, feel jealous at times, really enjoy sex, make a lot of $, have a retirement account, buy and own things, drink alcohol when you feel like it, eat meat when your body asks for it, do or say something you wish you hadn't, make a "mistake," not have all the answers.
You can be a "spiritual" person and still be a beautifully complex, perfectly flawed, constantly evolving, real human being - experiencing and enjoying this dimension of duality - this crazy thing called life - just like everybody else.
Making a wish is easy. But believing it can actually come true and taking new actions in support of your desired circumstance, takes openness, fearlessness, and courage. No wonder we make our wishes by blowing on dandelions, the flower whose name means "lion's tooth."
In magic and in life, there really is no substitute for self-advocation.