2017 has been quite a year for many of us who might have been feeling stretched emotionally, relationally, physically or spiritually. It’s not necessarily intense in a destructive way, but it’s about acknowledging how each moment is here to offer its unique message for us to reflect upon.
I’d like to share with you some key lessons that I’ve learned throughout the year, and they are all connected somehow. Perhaps you can resonate on a personal level.
1. Being Our Own Witness: Honoring Our Emotions
We can never overdose ourselves on too much Self-Awareness. To birth a better version of ourselves, we need to relinquish what no longer serves us. But, we cannot change what we don’t see. Don’t you agree?
On this path of personal development as a highly sensitive being, I have had my moments of frustration, confusion, anger, and anxiety. When I got caught up in an emotionally charged event, the attempt to act out, play the victim role or shame myself felt almost inevitable. My dear protection mechanism was so ready to kick in with its primal urge to save her master from falling down the rabbit hole.
But, instead of trying to fix myself right on the spot, acknowledging what is “bubbling up” within me without additional judgment can be very liberating and even empowering.
The mainstream society emphasizes on how important it is to be happy, peaceful or fulfilled. Yet, there’s a subliminal message or tendency to judge the “not-supposed-to-have’s” when we are experiencing “negative emotions” such as anger, jealousy, hatred, fear. Rather than expressing how we truly feel, we sometimes feel obligated to brush it off by saying “I’m Fine,” “It’s Ok…”
While it’s easy to attach negative connotations to certain emotions and look at them as “bad,” it’s important to be reminded that emotions aren’t good or bad, they just are. So, what I realize is that as human, we are meant to experience a full spectrum of emotion ranging from joy, hope, disappointment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, fear or hatred to learn about our inner dialogue, how we perceive things (The Emotional Scale).
Allowing ourselves to be a witness, sitting with the complexity of emotions is a process of self-honoring and self-respect. Emotions are our magnetic north. They are amazing teachers, giving us clues on what we value the most at the time.
Cultivate a simple habit to have a quick check-in with yourself whenever possible:
- How am I feeling now, (your name)?
Emotion is Energy in Motion ~ Ralph Smart.
2. Being Human: Trusting the Process
Being a recovering perfectionist, I can still be hard on myself from time to time. At the end of the day, I realize that the energy and the attention spent to make sure things turned out the way I wanted just isn’t “cost-effective.”
Having undesirable feelings doesn’t make you a negative person, but more human. Whatever emotion surfaces, it doesn’t define who we are. It’s a piece of us that are being neglected and is longing for our caring attention. In fact, when we consciously choose to stop bypassing how we truly feel inside at the moment and start getting curious about the way we respond (or react) to the outer events, says a lot about our personal values lie beneath the surface. “Why am I feeling so Angry?” Is my boundary being violated?
Notice the way you talk to yourself (or others), and there’s no need to jump to conclusion. Looking at things from different angles with curiosity can be a juicy daily practice. 🙂
- How can I MAKE SURE? –> Can I really MAKE SURE 100%?
- I should’ve/could’ve/would’ve –> Am I spending my valuable time ruminating on the past that’s not changeable?
- What if it’s (negative…) –> Worry is the misuse of my imagination. What if it’s Better than I think?
As humans, we have the deep need to feel secure. It’s normal to want to be in control to feel safe. Anything that gets in our way of basic survival, we feel stuck in limbo. But, it’s potent to let go of the micromanaging part of us and being willing to trust the process so that we allow ourselves to be guided by the natural flow of things when emerging into the unknown where the possibilities lie. By trusting, this is how we begin to reclaim our precious inner power.
Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later. ~Bob Goff
3. Everything is THANKABLE
Like a snake shedding its skin, being able to witness myself as a clear observer takes practice. It can be uncomfortable sometimes because my ego doesn’t want to be “stripped naked” nor get stretched. But when I choose to lean into the discomfort zone regardless of the outcome, a different layer of me gets revealed with an epiphany, and I can feel a crazy amount of gratitude flooding my body.
I thank the daily mundane outer world. Without situations occurring in life, I wouldn’t be able to practice self-awareness about what needs to be changed or released. I wouldn’t possibly comprehend the depth of every virtue (e.g., Faith, Patience, Courage, Trust, Surrender) that is overly used in random conversation but it actually lives in my heart!
At the same time, I thank the critical parts of me for trying their hardest to “protect” my ego through my old patterns (e.g., lashing out, judging, blaming, resenting, isolating, overthinking). Without taking a closer look inside, I wouldn’t appreciate what it means by trusting my intuition.
Everything is serving your highest good. The Universe is always generous and patient. It will provide you the second, the third or the fourth occurrence of different, yet similar events till you fully master the lesson.
4. Looking Through the Surface
As said, being grateful for everything is key, but what if a curveball is just being thrown at you and you can hardly feel supported. Unexpected events taking place makes you just want to scratch your head and say, “Ok…what now? Why is it happening here? Why do I have to deal with another problem?!”
Family can be one of the trickiest karmic lesson for many, including myself. There were times that I was very righteous when it comes to communicating with loved ones. I got so attached to my own perception of looking at things and resisted to see from a different angle. In the end, all I “earned” was feeling not appreciated, exhausted and miserable like a total victim.
Looking back, I was the one choosing to hold on so tightly of my own story and wondered why others were so difficult to cope with. In fact, a part of me got mirrored back that my righteousness was getting in the way of enjoying a harmonious relationship with the people that I love!
Insisting on being right, usually caused a lot of pain and energy leakage at both ends. There’s no need to convince whose opinion is more valuable than another. After all, we are all made uniquely different from the very start, and it is ok to express and get curious about different versions of truth on the same subject rather than debating to win.
Through involving in relationships with others externally, we may sometimes experience undesirable interactions, but it opens up hidden opportunities for us to unravel what’s going on within our subconscious mind (things that we are unaware of and need more of our loving attention. e.g., hidden fears, insecurity).
Once we can witness ourselves without judgment but with compassion, we have the power to choose to do something about it rather than being slaved by our emotional baggage and continue to react to the external events with fear. We can still choose to respond from a more loving, gentle place. A place of peace and grace.
5. Don’t Forget to Play (When life gets too serious)!
Sometimes, I just want to scream when I realize how wrapped up I can get in the “importance” of my day-to-day. “When did I learn to take myself so seriously?”
This is an urgent reminder that I am in “serious” need of some laughter and good old school play time.
My nieces and nephews (1.5 – 5 years old) are amazing masters of laughing! They sing off-key at the top of the lungs and dancing horribly just for the fun of it. They relentlessly chase each other around till they fall. They ask the craziest questions without caring about what anyone thinks of them.
These kiddos constantly remind me to let go of the agenda in the head, be free, spontaneous, imaginative and most importantly, be true to how my heart feels like to express at each moment! Move more! Laugh more! Sing more! Paint more! Smile more! Connect with nature more! Speak the truth more! Life itself is serious enough and it’s ok to let your little girl/boy come out to PLAY even when things might get a bit messy sometimes. 🙂
If SELF-AWARENESS is the name of the game, and the rule of this game is to PLAY PASSIONATELY as your own observer, we allow ourselves to detect what’s going on inside of our headspace like catching grasshoppers in a field (e.g., the limiting beliefs, the old patterns) without judgments. It’s a fun game, a life-saving one. Then, we have all the freedom in the world to determine how we’d like to feel inside instead before taking any proactive action to create the outer experience in 2018!
So, I’m curious. What are your top 3 lessons you’ve picked up from 2017? What wisdom nuggets are you taking away with you to 2018?
As always, sending you lots of love, joy, peace, and happiness,