living intuitively

blog

Posts tagged healing
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-





FREESTYLING
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Keep it simple. Keep it honest. Keep it real.

With each post, I assign it a theme. A definite thought to write to and discuss. I aim for structure and cohesion. I have a growing list of topics I want to address, and each time I go to create a new post, I consult the list and decide which topic I'm vibing with at the moment, which topic speaks to me at the time, and most importantly...which topic I have the mental bandwidth for at the moment, because let's be honest - I'm usually trying to squeeze in a post at the end of a chaotic, work-filled day. Ya girl is SPENT. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like that!

There are countless concepts I want to write about, but not without taking the time and brainpower to do them justice. I try to ground my writings with supporting evidence and insights, to create as full of a picture as possible. 

But you know what???

Authenticity is magnetic.

Sometimes that just feels too...structured. Intellectual. CONTRIVED. Sometimes I feel it prevents me from fully connecting with you. Letting you in on the wild thoughts running through my head on the daily. Don't get me wrong - every word I speak and write is absolutely, 100% genuine. I feel that shit in my SOUL, or else I don't write it (yes, even the style posts because #fashionfreak). But it has such a chilling effect on the nature and volume of what I write. I pour considerable amounts of time, thought, and energy into each post, and while I do feel that's important - I also feel it's important to sidestep structure every so often and break free. I've said it before and I'll say it again - BALANCE is the key to life. 

So I've decided to sprinkle in more "freestyle" posts where I flip structure the finger, and just write off the cuff, so to speak (or should I say, so to write? That sounds awkward). Anyway, bottom line - prepare yoself for rambling posts where I let you in on my current thoughts, feelings, and inclinations. Because we're all humans, navigating this crazy world of ours and trying to make sense of what comes our way. And please - comments are welcomed, embraced, encouraged, invited, loved, cherished...even high fived!

xx,

-w-

freestyle image 2.jpg
F O R G I V E N E S S
Images taken by Abbey Armstrong Photography  Images edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images taken by Abbey Armstrong Photography

Images edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.
— Lily Tomlin

Think about the last time you were physically hurt. You likely did something to address the pain, right? Popped an aspirin, threw on a rad Power Rangers Band-Aid (because everyone knows cool BandAids are more effective than regular, boring Band-Aids). Even if you try to avoid medicine, you probably took some measure to ease the discomfort (cold washcloth/rest/essential oils/etc). How long did you wait to do something about it?

forgiveness image 2.jpg

In her book You Are A Badass, author Jen Sincero brilliantly articulates the power of forgiveness. She highlights the distinction between how we typically treat physical pain as opposed to emotional pain. As she notes, we're typically very proactive and quick on the draw to banish our physical pain...even if this involves the initial discomfort of pouring stinging disinfectant on an open wound or powering through getting stitches. We're motivated to do it right away, because we're intent on our ultimate goal of R E L I E F.

forgiveness image 3.jpg
They caused the first wound, but you are causing the rest; this is what not forgiving does. They got it started, but you keep it going. Forgive and let it go, or it will eat you alive. You think they made you feel this way, but when you won’t forgive, you are the one inflicting the pain on yourself.
— Bryant McGill

However, when it comes to emotional pain, we're apparently down to see just how much torture we can endure, wallowing in our "guilt, shame, resentment, and self-loathing, sometimes for entire lifetimes." Ring any bells?

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
— Buddha

We prolong our misery by clinging to our ill feelings. We do this by badmouthing our boss/fantasizing about telling our overbearing mother-in-law where to stick it/pondering the many reasons our enemies are wrong and the many reasons we're right. As Sincero points out, we relive our worst moments over and over and over instead of letting them go. Doing so, we pick at the emotional scabs, thereby refusing healing and preventing the pain from subsiding. 

Reminder: Forgiveness is a process. A choice you have to make over and over, until you’re free from the negative feelings.

I'm sure this isn't the first time you've heard this. We all know we should release our resentments and let that shiz go. It's one thing to know it - it's another to do it. And I can completely relate. I'm definitely not immune to the self-inflicted pain by clinging to past wrongs others have done me, particularly the big whammies. Through effort and mindfulness it's become much easier, but I still have my moments. Rarely do the negative feelings immediately dissolve upon deciding to forgive. They can linger, sometimes re-surfacing after you thought you'd fully released them. Depending on the severity of the wrongdoing, forgiveness is usually a process. A decision you have to make repeatedly. Be patient with yourself and know it's okay if you occasionally get sucked back into the angry/hurt vortex - all that matters is that you find your way back out. 

forgiveness image 5.jpg
When someone does something wrong, don’t forget all the things they did right.

We all have our own stories of people royally screwing us over. It's life. We've (unintentionally or otherwise) done wrong by others. Here's what I remind myself to make the process easier:

  • Being a human is hard sometimes, and a little grace toward someone goes a long way. Hurt people hurt people.
  • I'm so grateful for the forgiveness others have extended to me. Who am I to withhold it from others?
  • it's friggin' EXHAUSTING to hang onto hurt/anger/resentment. 
  • Empathy, understanding, and compassion dissolve anger/guilt/resentment. I always try to understand why the person did what they did - every time, I'm able to trace it to fear/insecurity/hurt the other person is feeling. This immediately reminds me of our collective humanity, and effectively softens my heart toward them. This doesn't mean you condone their actions, but it allows you to empathize, accept the situation, and move onnnn.
  • People fight battles we know nothing about.
  • Jumping to conclusions and automatically assuming ill intent often proves wrong. Allowing the person the benefit of the doubt is usually the best tactic. If possible, communicate with the other person to express your concern and provide them with a chance to explain themselves. 
  • It's often not about you. Step back and be honest with yourself: Are you allowing your insecurities to color your judgment? 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This also applies to self-forgiveness!! Be kind to yourself! Forgive yourself for your own indiscretions and slip ups, and be patient with yourself as you work to forgive others. 

xx,

-w-

forgiveness image 6.jpg
H O N E S T . L O V E
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Befriend the man who is brutally honest, for honesty is the highest form of respect.
— Daniel Saint

One of the things I value most in my friends is their willingness to tell me like it is. They're never abrasive and intentionally brutal - but they love me enough to call me out when needed, and to sidestep the sugarcoating. That right there is true friendship. True honest love. 

Think about a time when you were hesitant to be completely honest with a friend for fear of hurting their feelings, making them feel worse, etc. As friends, we often feel compelled to show support. Solidarity. Multiple exclamations of "I gotchu, girl! You tell 'em!" High five them for letting their boss have it, praise them for sticking it to their spouse, applaud them for blowing off an obligation to go out with friends instead. Rationalize their decision for ditching their goal to do xyz. That's what friends are for, right?! W R O N G O.

Now it's time to be honest with yourself. Ready? Okay, here we go. Ask yourself: Why am I reluctant to be honest with my friend? Is it because I feel unsupportive if I don't confirm and validate their action/opinion? Is it possibly because...I am trying avoid the discomfort of telling them like it is? 

honest love image 2.jpg
The vulnerability that honesty requires isn’t something that everybody can handle. Lying allows people to be comfortable.

Chances are...it's the latter. Of course, a small part of it is us truly not wanting to rub salt in the wound/make our friends feel bad/worse. But if we're being honest with ourselves - we just personally don't want to experience the uneasiness of acknowledging the truth. Right?! It's easier for everyone to just pretend like, "YES - lighting into that biotch for daring to look at your man was totally the right thing to do." "You go girl for quitting your third job this year - they clearly don't appreciate what a gem you are." "That guy is DEFINITELY into you. He's obvi scared by how much he likes you, so he's not texting." "Yes, you should absolutely buy those $200 jeans even though money's been tight - they look phenomenal on you!"

Being honest doesn’t get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.
— John Lennon

But if you're truly a good friend - you'll prioritize your friend's overall well-being over your present comfort. You'll sacrifice your comfort for their welfare. Ask yourself: What will serve them best long-term? Leveling with them and gently acknowledging their hurtful behavior (hurtful to you, to them, to others)? Kindly helping them face facts and address their issues? Guess what?! Doing so will help them significantly more in the long run, by helping them grow and evolve and escape their limiting thoughts/actions.

Once you've spoken your truth, offer support and love. Provide encouragement. It's not enough to just identify the issue - actually help them through it! If roles were reversed, wouldn't you rather have someone give it to you straight, instead of simply placating you? It might sting initially, but trust me - confronting the issue head on now stings a helluva lot less than if you were to avoid it and have it grow and sucker punch you later. 

honest love image 3.jpg
Be honest, brutally honest. That’s what’s going to maintain relationships.
— Lauryn Hill

Furthermore, when you're honest with someone, your praise and compliments will carry considerably more weight. They'll recognize your authenticity and know you mean what you say. 

Honesty has a beautiful and refreshing simplicity about it. No ulterior motives. No hidden meanings. An absence of hypocrisy, duplicity, political games, and verbal superficiality. As honesty and real integrity characterize our lives, there will be no need to manipulate others.
— Charles Swindoll

The truth is... I love you all.

honest love image 4.jpg

 

xx,

-w-

C H A N G E
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography


Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
— Rumi

C H A N G E. Depending on your mindset/circumstance, change can be welcomed or dreaded. Accepted or resisted. 

If you're stuck in a job you hate and are suddenly offered your dream job, change is pretty great. If that dream job is across the country in a completely unfamiliar city, away from family and friends...it might seem daunting and stressful. 

change image 1.jpg

LIfe is about change. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s beautiful. But most of the time, it’s both.
— Lana Lang

Some people naturally thrive on change - even seek it. Some avoid and resent it. And some fall somewhere in between. Where are you?

However, no matter where you fall on the spectrum, change is inevitable. As they say, the only constant is change. So since we know it's a given, let's talk about tips for accepting it. 


The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
— Socrates

1. View it as a developmental opportunity.

As Socrates advises, the trick is to stay forward-focused. Try to minimize time spent reflecting on how great things were pre-change. Try to emphasize the positives the change will bring - or at the very least, the opportunity for you to incorporate positivity.

Decide to make it as beneficial and enjoyable as possible. It's happening - and it's ENTIRELY within your power to make it a good thing. Instead of focusing on loss, focus on gain, particularly regarding your power. Change can leave us feeling powerless, so spin it and focus on the power you DO have - and how you'll use it to your benefit. 

Change is a fantastic opportunity for us to step into our full potential and become a better person than we were before. If you reject change, you'll deny yourself - and the world - the chance to become all you can be, thereby denying the world your full talents and gifts. Please don't do that!


Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed, and rearranged to relocate us to the place we’re meant to be.

2. Trust everything happens for a reason.

Know the universe is conspiring for you, not against you. Think back on every significant change you've experienced thus far. If you're anything like me, the changes that sucked the most to endure were the changes for which I was ultimately most grateful. They taught me the most/improved my life the most. 


Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.
— Eckhart Tolle

3. Know you are not alone.

Everyone feels doubtful and uncertain sometimes. These feelings are 100% normal, and the sooner you recognize and accept this, the sooner you will reach peace. Acknowledge your emotions, feel them without repressing them, and let them float on their way. 

4. Allow others to support you.

Let others help you. Please don't enable pride to prevent you from doing so. If you lack supportive friends/family, seek out other resources to help with what you need, whether it's a moving company, support group, etc. Chances are, you're not the first one to go through this change, so there are likely established resources to ease your adjustment. We're all in this together!!


Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong.

5. Take care of yourself.

Now more than ever is a crucial time for you to practice self-care. Eat nutritious food. Move and stretch your body. Ensure sufficient rest. Practice meditation, or at least incorporate down time into your days. Take care of you, so you can meet the change(s) with your best self. 


Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.
— Robin Sharma

xx,

-w-

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
— Charles Darwin
change image 3.jpg