Holding our own emotionally, in spite of what’s going on – it’s a great goal that we would all love to achieve I’m guessing. I suppose my hope for myself is that I study and consume a lot of personal growth information, so maybe I have a better chance of not allowing what is happening or other people to set my tone. When I made a call to my mentor Jim Taszarek a couple of years back to talk to him about something I dreaded telling him, I will never forget his first comment… “Well, welcome to the human race.”
Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug. We are ALL impacted by what’s going on around us, that’s the way it’s supposed to be to a certain extent. So what do we do when we feel like we’re simply not enough? Those times when you seem to be gathering piece after piece of evidence that confirms that you must have missed some very important days in school where you learned things about how to survive being human and what to do when things hurt.
My go to strategy is often to “suck it up”. Get tough, put a steel cage around my heart and gut it out. That used to work pretty well for me but what I didn’t realize is that there is a heavy toll with that tactic. You forget how to feel your feelings. You forget how to access your vulnerability and as Dr. Brene’ Brown says – the only way to get to courage, is THROUGH vulnerability.
One tool I have used and learned about is called “The Work” created by Byron Katie. It’s a series of four questions and a turn around to help you let go of pain through investigating it. The four questions are:
So let’s see if I can demonstrate by using the feeling of not being enough that I mentioned earlier. The statement might simply look like “I’m not enough, I lack what I need to be enough.”
The Work is very powerful also when you are shoulding. When you're thinking you or someone else SHOULD do this, they SHOULDN’T do that. An example might be something like “Sandy SHOULD appreciate me”
When I’m feeling like "the bug", my counselor Joy tells me to “breathe and observe. Give it time to unfold”. Letting things unfold and not forming the outcome as a means of protecting myself and my heart... is super challenging for me. There’s no way to know that the painful thing that is happening may lead to. Perhaps it is here to open the next door to the greatest good in your life. The Divine has its own way of doing things to get you to what is best for you and it’s usually NOT on your time table or plan. It makes me think of this story you may have heard before…
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically. "May be," the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed. "May be," replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "May be," answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "May be," said the farmer.
Something I think is important in this story, is that the farmer never BLAMED anyone or anything for what appeared to be something bad happening. When we feel like we’ve been squashed like a bug, it’s a strong tendency to find someone or something to blame. When we blame and criticize others, we are avoiding some truth about ourselves. It’s hard to accept personal responsibility sometimes, yet no one is doing anything TO us, we are creating it ourselves. So to try to blame when we get squashed we just end up making the pain worse than it already is by abandoning ourselves and giving our empowerment over to the “villan”. I try to remember to ask myself “what frequency am I on that I am drawing this to me?” or “What is there here to teach ME?” We get what we are, not what we want.
One thing that always seems to get me back on track when I am playing the role of the victim is to get myself on the frequency of what it is I desire. If I am focused on what is, I will likely get more of what is. If I can get myself in the feeling state of what I want, things always feel better. To do this, I ask myself "what is the next right step I can take to move me closer to what I WANT to feel?"
On the days we feel like we are the bug smacked into the windshield of life by events, other people, or anything that seems to hurt – try doing The Work on the painful thought. It is never the event that causes our pain. It’s the meanings we put on the event is what causes the pain. Examining the thought through inquiry of The Work is very powerful.
Or some other tools that help me are listening to music… LOUD music! Or dancing, running doing something physical and changing my physical state. Or journaling/writing. My former life coach Delia Knight said that the act of hand writing out your thoughts and feelings on paper is very powerful and she is 100% right about that.
Or if we can take a few breaths, open our heart, and do our best to let go of the outcome, the storm will pass through. You may need to physically stand up and expand your chest or do some yoga poses to open your heart when the emotional pain is intense. I have a tattoo to remind me of this. It was the most incredibly painful tattoo I’ve had done so far. Maybe that is appropriate. When the pain is the most intense, that is exactly when we must open, love and let go.
A big thing I learned from my counselor Joy is that it’s not about avoiding being “the bug”. It’s not about trying not to fall or feel pain. It’s about can I recover faster WHEN it happens? Because it’s going to happen. If you are a human being and you are actually participating in life, there WILL be pain. What next step can I take to get back on my own frequency, love myself, be there for myself. And who knows, just maybe that painful event is what leads to the next great thing for you. May be.
"The Bug" song by Dire Straits
Sandy Edie Hansen
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