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Ya F E E L me?

Now on to the second Great Untruth, as outlined in The Coddling of the American Mind (an amazing book I read and first mentioned in an earlier post):

Always trust your feelings.

[Note: This relates to your emotions, not your intuition.]

Don’t get me wrong, emotions are helpful. Emotions are valuable messengers, revealing what’s going on below the surface, in your subconscious. They illuminate unhealed/repressed/insecure/etc parts of your being.

However, it’s imperative you view them through the right mindset: tools to increase your self awareness and heal yourself. Means to make you even more of a BAMF (bad ass motha you know what). Doing so requires willingness and discipline. It can be all too easy to give in to your initial feelings of anger/envy/contempt/fear/etc. But nope - be stronger than that.

If someone says something says something that rubs you the wrong way, or triggers feelings as resentment or rage, ask yourself:

  • Could I possibly have misperceived their words/intent?

    • Maybe I misheard them, or misunderstood them. Maybe they misspoke, thereby concealing their true [pure!] intent. Did they offend you unintentionally? [Have come across the wrong way? I know I have!] Try not to assume!

  • What can you glean from your emotional reaction?

    • Why did it affect you so strongly, in that way? Did it hit a nerve with you based on some past slight, of which the person is unaware? If so, this is a great opportunity to resolve the issue(s) within yourself

Do yourself - and others - a favor by going that extra step to check your automatic emotional reaction. If you operate off pure [initial] emotion, you’re limiting your self/interactions/connections and dooming yourself to a life of victimization, hurt, anxiety, and ostracism - regardless if these emotions are justified.

And so what if they are justified?

What if the person actually was intending offense? By reacting hostilely and lashing out (as tempting as it can be), you only deepen the divide and nurture the status quo.

Again, try to avoid assumption. If something rubs you the wrong way, respectfully acknowledge your possible misperception. This allows them: 1. an opportunity to clarify; 2. an opportunity to learn and see how their words/reasoning could be misconstrued and negatively impact others. (Wouldn’t you appreciate the same opportunity, if roles were reversed?) This likely heightens their awareness, thereby hopefully bridging the gap, lessening those divisive lines, and decreasing the likelihood of it happening again, to you or someone else. And maybe they stand by their assertion and maintain their racist/sexist/homophobic/ etc intent and view. It is what it is.

At least by responding with love and respect you can rest assured you’re not contributing to the problem. You can hold your head high knowing that by choosing to respond with love, you’re doing your part to soften the divide. And don’t get me wrong - sometimes you need to show a little fire to emphasize your point; but if you’re all flame and fury, you’re only exacerbating the situation.

A great principle to live your life by is the principle of charity: interpret others’ statements in their best, most reasonable form, not in the worst or most offensive way possible. The ease with which you do this shows how solid within yourself you are. If it’s still challenging - time for some self reflection, amigo.

And while you’re self assessing, try not to label emotions as negative or positive - they’re just emotions! Like, I said, they’re tools to help you become happier, healthier, and stronger. Means by which to become S O L I D.



Choose not to be harmed - and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed - and you haven’t been.
— Marcus Aurelius

I’m a big fan of stoicism and Marcus Aurelius.

Don’t let others control your mind and cortisol levels. There will ALWAYS be offenses and offensive content (especially online!). Good news! It’s not up to you to right every [perceived] wrong, and school those with whom you disagree. (How easy would it be for them to change your mind? It’d likely be just as tough to change theirs.) As we strive to lessen hatred and heal divisions, we must all pick our battles and ignore some of what we see, and just carry on with our day - if only for your own sanity’s sake!

Shine on, babes.

xx,

-w-





I ACCEPT YOU
Images by Whitney Richardson Photography  Model: Jennifer Servais

Images by Whitney Richardson Photography

Model: Jennifer Servais

Watch carefully, the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves.
— Atticus
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Let's start this post with an informal poll: Have you ever been irritated by someone? How about intimidated by someone? Angered by someone?

Call me presumptuous, but I'm going to go ahead and say we've all been there. Just hazarding a guess here.

If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time, cease to react at all.
— Yogi Bhajan

Feeling those feelings is part of the human experience. It's natural. It's what we do with them that matters. And I don't know about you, but I'd like to keep riding my high vibes. Don't get me wrong, those "negative" emotions - while not fun to feel -  really are absolutely necessary. Here's why: 

  • They balance us out
  • They enhance the "positive" feelings, making them that much sweeter
  • They reveal areas of potential growth and self-evolution
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Love people for who they are and not for who you want them to be. That’s where the disconnection starts.

However, we never want those feelings to control us. So how do we handle those feelings and still feel good, without crossing over into the land of denial, delusion, and insincerity? How do we reclaim our power from those power-leaching feelings when they arise? It can be really friggin' aggravating when an acquaintance keeps the conversation focused on them, or the guy in line behind you keeps hawking a loogie, or a family member keeps leaving a mess for you to clean up, or someone does something SO NOT COOL. Right?! And this isn't limited to feelings of ire: It can be unnerving to be intimated by someone. That's not fun to feel, either.

Remember, people are the least lovable when they need love the most.

So here's what you do: think "I accept you." Really mentally and emotionally commit to that sentiment. Accept that person, despite their annoying habits, or selfish ways. Connect to their humanity. Embrace them in all their flawed glory, just as you'd hope others would do for you. We all screw up. It's not a question of if, it's a question of how. We're still all diamonds, baby.

People do not need to be fixed, they need to be loved.
— Robert Tew

This doesn't mean you should become a pushover and toss all boundaries. If someone does something truly unacceptable, or at least something you feeling strongly enough about to address, then communicate this to the person tactfully. Do it early and do it kindly. However, ideally you'd do it from a place of acceptance and love, not fire and vexation. At the very least, it allows you peace of mind and freedom from those gnarly emotions.

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.
— Pema Chodron
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Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.
— Wes Angelozzi

This tactic also works brilliantly in times when you're feeling insecure in someone's presence. Simply thinking, "I accept you" shifts the focus from your insecurity to your capacity. From passivity to activity. It allows you to reclaim your power by stripping the other person of their control over you [whether intentional on their end or not]. Moreover, it does so in a way that is loving and good-vibe inducing [told you, all 'bout dem good vibes]. "I accept you." So the next time you find yourself in the same room as Gigi Hadid [seriously, am I the only one this keeps happening to?], you can tell her how to stop being intimidated by you. Poor girl. But seriously, it's a useful tool for when you're interviewing for a job, or meeting new people, or delivering a speech. Try it!

xx,

-w-

Be the type of person who makes everyone they encounter feel perfectly okay with being exactly who they are.
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