Plot Twist

this is not about me

Plot twist: My story isn’t always calm. But, it’s my story to tell, and in my own way.

The key to my own happiness has been consistently and mindfully letting go of expectations and outcomes and letting it all unravel one glorious moment at a time. Letting things be what they are and not what I’m expecting or hoping for has been a labor of love and worth every effort. Being grateful and seeing the glass half full leads to feelings of peace, pleasure and calm. But, instead of finding the strength to be grateful, often we settle into feelings of entitlement which leads to bitterness, sadness, or frustration. Both of these ends of the human experience spectrum can be born from both chaos or calm, the reaction is always in the hands of the person enduring the circumstance. Even if the pain and the struggle are real, we all process emotion and produce the resulting behavior according to our inner process, motives and our needs in the moment. And that is human.

We all find a different lesson in the same mess. So, what’s YOUR process?

One choice is catastrophozing (an irrational thought process leading us to believe that something is far worse or much more intense than it actually is) a situation or outcome and I wonder if this behavior serves people well or if it is simply a negative attention-getting strategy. We often create a happy-chaos or good-madness just to be surrounded by drama. Some people exist better in crisis mode, or at least feel more relevant or needed when there is a problem to solve.

The opposite of catastrophizing is occhiolism (the awareness of the smallness of your perspective) which may help you stay more grounded and capable of navigating the authentic storms when they pass through your life. Or maybe the opposite of catastrophizing is magnificentizing… it all depends, and it’s all ok, just let it go. It’s really not about you, no matter how much it feels like it is. Too much self-concern can overwhelm a person to the point of having no room left for humility. Too much narrow focus on your own problems creates a warped vision and experience of reality. (Google synonyms of “selfconcerned” for a more detailed list of the mean and negative words that this practice can lead to… spoiler alert: narcissism)

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure” Henry Kissinger. So what becomes of the coal that cannot stand the pressure? It becomes dust, even though it had the natural potential to be a diamond. It’s not always easy to stay present and let go of the urge to fall apart and catastophize, but think of the potential for that little piece of coal that was able to grin and bear it… it becomes something that cannot be broken… But, sometimes being broken is human. “She was brave and strong and broken all at once” -Anna Funder

So, imagine yourself happy and let go of expectations. What is your current process? If you begin to be mindful and more aware of your process, will that lead to more moments of calm? There will always be storms and there will always be rainbows. The key is to find the lesson in the mess.

Great Expectations

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Sometimes I see other people having nice, sweet relationships and I think that’s what I should have too. But you can’t always get what you want. Truth be told, several of my most cherished relationships have been tested lately. It has taken a lot of energy to process how I feel about all this. I feel shocked. I’ve experienced some disappointment. But, I also feel empowered. When the supports that you count on, or thought you could depend on, start to fall away one by one, you begin to realize that you can exist despite it all. No matter what my relationships were supposed to afford me (purely by society’s definition of their role) they never cease to surprise me.

People will basically tell you just about anything to serve their own needs if it means enough to them. What I don’t understand is how people can treat the ones closest to them with blatant disregard. I believe every person, no matter who they are, will ultimately do things solely to serve themselves. As I carry on further down this path, I hope to keep becoming the kind of person who can see beyond that type of self serving behavior and honor myself, as well as those who mean the most to me, by making a valiant effort to think of others as well as myself. If I want to be treated with loving kindness then that is what I need to be giving others. Sometimes when others are not showing you kindness is when they need to be receiving it most. I need to consider other’s feelings as much as my own, even if others are not doing the same. I am willing to love the bad as well as the good from those I care about. I am willing to consider how my actions and words will affect the ones I love, but not everyone is strong enough to do that.

I feel like expectations have been the worst things I could have. “Expectation is the root of all heartache” – William Shakespeare  As I reflect on my experiences over the last few months, it is my own expectations that have let me down, not the people around me. In the end, it is me who has complete control over how I feel and ultimately how I let things affect me. It will serve me best to simply love what is, not fight against it. I can’t make someone feel differently about me and I can’t force anyone to feel obligated to show me kindness.

And so, I continue down this road, learning more and more about myself, my relationships and ultimately what I want and don’t want for myself. I am in complete control of my own happiness.

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time”  -Maya Angelou  

photo courtesy of hotblack on morgue file.com

The Empowering Journey From Never Enough To Perfectly Imperfect

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At so many times during my first 40 years I’ve wasted energy feeling like no matter what I was doing, it was just never enough. We are all human, we crave connection and validation so we often fall into traps of guilt or obligation to satisfy what others need from us. At your core, no matter how much confidence, ability and talent you possess, you have the desire to be loved and feel safe and accepted and will often go against instinct to achieve it. Maybe that’s human nature. But, action should come from a place of love, not a place of obligation. We are all born with potential that we may not recognize initially. It’s time for me to turn off this tap that spews energy in the wrong direction. It’s time to stop pouring myself into the expectations of others and begin to cultivate that energy and direct it inward to myself.

Why do we struggle? We look around to see how others are perceiving us and what they are demanding from us, when at the end of it all, it was only us who created our own story. The minute you stop paddling so vigorously against the current and let go, it will all flow. “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are” – Chinese Proverb

The only constant, the only thing we all have every moment of our lives is breath. Breathing in and out is a universal constant if you want to sustain life. Another universal constant is change. One day, the breathing will stop and your story will be over.  Before you get there, change will happen over and over and you will be there to see it all. You are not now the same person you were when you woke up this morning nor will you be this person when you wake up tomorrow. That is life. That is living. Why would you waste a single breath, in or out, taking in or giving away energy that doesn’t align with your true life intention? Do what creates what you believe to be the greatest version of yourself, not what others think will bring you to such ends. Breathe every breath.

Are you becoming who you are meant to be? Or are you letting yourself become what other people need you to be? Can you let go of the negative path to perfection, and start to accept and relish the perfectly imperfect life that is yours to enjoy? “If this is what you are doing with the negative, imagine what you could do with the positive” – Maya Angelou

When you embrace the idea that you will never be perfect, and accept that you will be the perfect version of you, life will begin to flow. Pour your energy into yourself and who you want to become. “Strive for progress, not perfection” – Unknown  And, when you have learned all that you can and grown as much as possible from someone or somewhere, it’s time to move on to your life’s next master class. There is so much left to learn, so many mistakes to learn from.

“I want to be all used up when I die” – George Bernard Shaw

Be who you are.

I am again grateful for my friend Shannon and her pretty toes showing us how to truly let it flow

The Thing About A Promise

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A promise is your word that you will accomplish something.  When you make a promise to yourself, it’s a promise that simply can’t be broken without serious consequence.  So, that’s the thing about a promise to yourself, it’s a pretty serious undertaking.  If I can’t keep a pact with myself, I am only accountable to me.  No one to blame, nowhere to hide.  So, I accept this obligation with great urgency.  I did this to myself, pledged this oath all on my own.  The punishment for failure is far too great for me to consider even straying from this path for a second.

I know a lot more about what doesn’t make me happy and who I am NOT than what does make me happy and who I AM.  But that’s a start.  I want to get to know myself better.  Part of this journey is understanding who I am and where my happiness comes from.  “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.”  ~James Openheim   So have I been foolish?  Have I been seeking happiness off somewhere else instead of seeing it and nurturing it right here where I am?  Maybe.

Self honesty is an important part of inner balance and in turn, inner peace.  How you honestly feel about yourself and how you truly feel about your values and your life will form your real opinion of yourself.  See your true value and speak it in your own mind and in your own heart.  Make it a habit to see the positive things about yourself and others will see them as well.   We are usually our own worst enemy.  “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James

‘My Happy Promise’ is a promise I made to myself, and even on the days when I don’t feel at my peak, I hold myself to my highest expectations.  I have seen people go to great lengths, both positive and negative, to gain the approval of others and I hold strong on my need to only gain the approval of myself.  It is not through the eyes of other’s expectations and perspective that I choose to measure my happiness.  Don’t get me wrong, I seek counsel from those whose truths and values are similar to my own, but even they know that I make the ultimate decisions.  It is the best teachers in life that guide your hand but don’t solve the problem for you.  And so I challenge myself yet again to get to know myself in a brutally honest way.  I pledge to be mindful of my thoughts and responses like a research scientist.  I will gather data and record my findings.

How well do you really know yourself? Do you truly acknowledge all the real things about you?  Are you the best possible version of yourself or is something holding you back?  If you can’t have this conversation quietly in your own mind, then you can’t move forward and truly find peace. How can you hold yourself to your own standards, understand your own values or visualize who you want to become if you can’t take the time to understand who you are today?

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