Quite often when we are shrouded in the clouds of darkness we feel that there is no ray of hope/light. Much to the contrary, light is always surrounding even the darkness and is only finding one small opening to pierce through the dense darkness. There cannot be darkness without light and hence light is always around us. Our ray of hope could be a person, situation, higher power, nature, love or a simple word of encouragement we receive. The key here is having that ‘opening’ or creating one to receive and make space for the light to enter. This is a choice we ought to make as humans.
1) Stop the harsh inner critic and make way for mistakes
- You do not need to be perfect for anybody. We let a lot of people influence our lives and believe it or not they become our inner voice. Sadly enough, not all of these are loving voices.
2) Learn to say NO
- Understand your emotional, physical and mental boundaries. Respect yourself enough to say NO to requests or assert your disagreement. People pleasing is one of the fastest ways to get into a vicious cycle of hurt, blame and burn out.
3) ME time
- Give yourself some time in a day/week where you engage in an activity that helps you recharge/rejuvenate. It could simply be an hour of listening to your favorite music, taking a walk, etc.
4) Stay away from Toxic environments
- You know it when a certain friend, relative does not mean well for you. Try and limit your time with such people and environments where you do not feel loved/respected.
5) Reframing your criticisms
- Find a way to reframe the critical remarks you subject yourself to into statements that are loving, affirmative and non-judgmental. For example: Criticism: I just cannot do anything right. Counter this statement with a fact saying: This is not true since I was recently complimented at work for my presentation. Reframe: I am generally good at work and just need to improve on my report making skills.
6) What’s in your goodie bag?
- As you spend time collecting all the negative remarks, make an effort to identify atleast 3 good things to counter one negative remark. Any and all the compliments you have every received need to be respected. Learn to pat yourself when you have kept your calm during a stressful situation or kept your commitment towards ME time.
7) Enhance your inner dialogue using affirmations.
One of the easiest ways is to begin with using the stem ‘I am’ followed by any thing you wish to grow in yourself.Remember to repeat this as often as you can. No harm repeating the good stuff, right? We have enough of negatives coming our way and most of us aren’t kind to ourselves.
Ex: I am loved.
I am beautiful.
I am successful in achieving my goals.
I love my job.
The road to Loving and Respecting yourself begins with making room for understanding and accepting yourself with a kindness that you would extend to a friend or your child.
Happy Self Loving:)
Mind-Body connection: According to Energy Medicine, the third chakra located in the solar plexus region governs self esteem issues, our comfort/discomfort with our personal power, choosing to blame or assume responsibility and move forward. It is yellow in color. The physical organs connected to the health of this chakra are liver, gall bladder, pancreas, diaphragm, spleen, stomach and kidneys.
This video covers a portion of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s work on grief, death and dying. The video talks about an individual’s response to death & dying.
Five stages of grief include:
I draw from her work to support my clients through the process of grieving surrounding various life transitions.
Don’t ask me why but today while reading the DSM IV-TR (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) I came across a whole spectrum of disorders that originate from not wanting to acknowledge the negative that exists in and around us. This could be negative emotions i.e. fear, jealousy, anger, insecurity, feeling blue etc. or undesired life circumstances i.e. loss of a loved one, loss of a job, physical illnesses etc. When we look around we are taught to always keep smiling, push things under the carpet, ‘sleep it over’ or ‘drink it over’. The sad part of it is that sometimes the people we love cannot see us in pain longer than what they would expect. This subtle expectation stems from a place of love but leads to us choosing unhealthy coping so as to pose perfectly in front of our loved ones.
Using computer parlance, all of this data does not get deleted on its own or leave the system. It exists in there, somewhere. If we continuously keep storing files in the system and never delete cookies or unwanted files, what does it do to our system? Well, we know it, it slows down. Being a human being and not a machine adds several other complexities and in addition to slowing down, we tend to find ‘releases’ or compensate our pain with temporary pleasures like drugs, meaningless sex and series of addictions.
Our culture today does not teach us ‘Emotions 101’ and we find ourselves battling with them day in and out. Emotions have been portrayed as something that needs to be controlled just as man has attempted to conquer Mother Nature. It is not a war unless we make it one. Akin to our physical ailments where we know the ‘symptoms’ and treat them, emotional symptoms are ignored or the person with the symptoms is looked down upon as ‘the problem’. This is where the individual goes to a doctor and gets prescribed some pills to alleviate the symptoms. The negative emotions continue to stay inside and we just don’t realize they exist, similar to pain killers where pain is numbed not cured.
Emotions need to flow just as water flows. When we try to block the flow of water, it only forces itself out through some opening. How do we maintain this flow? Being open to experiencing emotions, acknowledging them and not to judging will help. Expecting not to feel a certain way is counterproductive. Journaling on a regular basis will help increase awareness. Once we have an increased awareness, the shadows of blocked waves from the past cannot take us by surprise. Seeking professional help to manage emotions also works. I personally love using Dialectical Behavior therapy which draws from Buddhist philosophy of acknowledgment and acceptance.
On a side note, more often than not, our emotional symptoms point to greater unresolved issues i.e. unhealthy interactions in family, societal disparities, cultural incongruities etc. Our individual systems are constantly interacting with the environmental influences..let me save that for another blogJ
Let it flow!
My dirty laundry epiphany
I am beginning this blog with a confession for a change.Here it goes..
I spend a lot of my time denying my humanly flaws and limitations. Somewhere I nurture a belief that I am superior to others or better than others in some ways. Where I learned that from? Well, I will give myself credit for some personal work I did through self reflection and seeking feedback from people whom I placed at a pedestal. For the most part of my life ( just so you know..I am not 50 years old) I have also been what many people understand as a ‘spiritual seeker’. During my associations with several spiritual organizations and teachers I believed that I was being ‘good’ and doing ‘good’ by being of service to people in different ways. I was almost convinced that I did not have much stuff to process and that I was just a few meditations away from having a ‘halo’ around my head ( I smile as I write this). My life was hunky dory until some relationships mirrored my stuff to me i.e. rigidity, ‘I am right and you are not’, extend your wisdom only when asked. My intention in writing this here is to say that today I am willing to acknowledge my own ‘shadows’ or ‘ego issues’. I have often found myself irritated and frustrated when I have projected my issues onto other people which in itself has been a learning process. Phew! An example of a epiphany would be that I may be available to help another person in some kind of distress with insights/tools/experiences/ways to better themselves etc etc..but every individual has a choice to not accept my offering at that point. Also, I may not necessarily be everyone’s ‘teacher’ ( there’s that dreaded word). I have had to learn to hold back and offer myself only when asked. Believe me, it’s a very hard lesson. Why am I writing all of this? Today while I was in the gym, I stumbled upon the idea of relating the process of washing clothes in a washing machine / manually to our internal cleansing process if you will. Bear with me as I describe this mundane process: we take our dirty laundry, insert in a machine, choose the spin cycle depending on how dirty the clothes are or the nature of the fabric, add detergent and let the cleaning begin. The inherent assumption here is that we recognize we have some dirty laundry. If we refuse to see it (and I have lived with some roommates who stunk the rooms with their laundry…digressed, ok), it keeps piling up and the stench grows. Assuming we are fairly reasonable people, we take our laundry and begin the process of cleaning. Our detergent is our external cleaning agent to intensify the process and our helpers are the adjustments in the cycles. My aha moment happened when I thought…there is a point in the cleaning process when the dirt coexists with the cleaning. These are simultaneous occurrences and over a period of time and effort, the dirt gets washed off. Beep, beep!!! In my personal life, I have found relationships to be instrumental in highlighting my dirty laundry. It does take a couple of blows in different intensities to identify and acknowledge – ‘my bad’, ‘ I am wrong’ and the likes. I know it in my body when I am trying to deny something that has come up for me. I become defensive, feel tight in my shoulders and breathe shallow. Some individuals tend to use guilt and shame towards themselves to which I can say today ‘hey..whatever works for you’. However I love myself too much to put myself through that ‘spin’ and I tend to choose a gentle cycle. Interestingly enough, I am now fairly comfortable acknowledging my flaws and find it easier to relax knowing that ‘both are needed’ i.e. the dark and the light (I thought of the Chinese yin-yang symbol while writing this).As I work on my strengths and increase my capacity to be aware of my limitations, I need to sit with some level of discomfort on a daily basis. I can also say that ‘this is just a part of being human’. As I accept myself better, it will also reflect in the nature of my relationships. As is said in some schools of thought, once your awareness has increased, you cannot be the same person as you were. Our external cleaning agents which we can use could be journaling, meditation, talking to a friend, personal coaching and just being open to that inner voice that exists in all of us. Isn’t it much easier to be in the flow..instead of holding on to dirt and adding unwanted weight!So..what do you need to clean up? Hahaha.