A few weeks ago, I went to a sporting event with my husband and teenage daughter. My daughter had been on crutches for the past few weeks. She was feeling a bit worried about managing in the sporting arena with the crutches and was hesitant to go. My husband was able to secure handicapped seating and she agreed to attend the event.
In speaking with her about the upcoming event she had one request. She asked if we could, “please have a fun day”. When I asked her to clarify what she meant by the word fun she went on to share that a lot of the times the three of us (she, my husband and myself), get into “bickering” over nothing and it ruins our time together. Now, of course, this was not news to me. It is something that I find very upsetting myself and something that happens repeatedly. At my daughter’s suggestion we all agreed to not bicker.
The way she asked this particular day, how she approached it so calmly, rationally and conversationally allowed me to listen to her with my heart open and hear her at a different level.
One of my favorite authors is Dr. Shefali Tsabary. She writes and teaches about conscious parenting. She is a clinical psychologist and the author of 3 books. My favorite one is, “The Awakened Family.” One of the many things that Dr. Shefali teaches about conscious parenting is that our children are our greatest awakeners. And I have found this to be true time and time again. This was one of those Ah-Ha moments of awakening for me. A time when I really took notice of what happened within me. When my daughter asked if we “could just have fun”, it forced me to look at myself and see how I was co-creating the environment and energy of not having fun.
When we are able to pause and listen to our children, loved ones or anyone we are in relationship with, with an open heart we can learn much about our self as well as what our child really needs and is asking of us.
This day I heard her. I heard her in a way I had not before. I decided to step up to the plate and make a commitment to her, my husband and myself to follow through on this. Though I am writing this from the perspective of mother to child you can apply the power of pausing and this approach to all relationships in your life.
The way I decided to take action toward this goal was to pause before speaking. Sometimes, well a lot of the time, I talk too much. I realized that taking a pause would be a great idea. Not only would I pause before I responded to someone, but I was also going to pause before sharing my thoughts. In the pause I decided I would pay attention to the words that wanted to spill out of me. I decided I was going to pay attention to any feelings I experienced that were connected to the words in my mind.
Sometimes we use words to avoid feeling the feeling. The words we use are always connected to an internal feeling state.
I would take that moment to examine the words and examine if they even needed to be said at all. I needed to look at my thoughts and see if what I felt I had to say was coming up in reaction to another. In other words, is what I am saying coming from a place within me that has been triggered. And if it is in reaction then I know it is coming from a place inside of me that is wounded in some way. It is up to me to be responsible for my feelings and not to project my pain, wounds, or hurt onto others. Taking pause gives me the space to acknowledge what comes up for me. Once I pause and look at the thoughts I can decide if I am able to respond from a place of inner alignment. When I am in that place of inner peace and alignment I am less likely to project my emotions to the other.
Projection happen when we are reacting from an unconscious place.
Projection means that we are taking a feeling we hold inside and we put it onto the other person. This allows us to blame them for the issue, for how we are feeling and allows us the false belief that we are not part of the problem. That the problem is the other. That the problem is outside of the self and we falsely believe that we are not to blame and therefore have no responsibility in what is occurring. For me, projection was causing much of the bickering. I was often in an unconscious reactive state and the words would fly out without thinking through my response first and without tuning in to feel what was happening with in me. The other issue underlying the bickering was need for control. All three of us want control but my daughter and myself are definitely the worst offenders. Again, the need to control is coming from a place of an emotional need that needs attending to. It is up to me to uncover what this is, to do my own work and not project it onto another.
The pause gave me the opportunity to ask myself:
“Is it necessary to comment?”
“Can I let this go?”
“Can I just take a breath here and not say a word?”
“Can I take care of myself in this moment?”
These were all questions I asked myself. I spent the entire day following through on my commitment to pause before speaking. My husband and daughter also followed through, in their own way, and kept to their word not to bicker as well. In the end we had a fun day at this event. There was no bickering at all.
As we drove home I began to think about my part in all of this. You see, it is much easier to project and blame the other when something goes “wrong”. Since nothing went “wrong” and there was no need to project anything and it gave me space, and in a way, permission to examine myself and look at my part. I realized that I showed up differently all day. I brought a different energy with me when I showed up. I had a clear intention to keep a promise not only to my husband and daughter but to myself.
And in showing up all day in a calm, present way and pausing before speaking my energy shifted. And with the shift in my energy, I believe it helped to keep the energy we all brought to the day balanced, calm and peaceful. The end result was a fun day. The kind of day my daughter asked for and that all of us needed. A day of being and feeling connected to one another.
There is power in the pause.
The power is that you get to learn about yourself, you get to be in better connection to yourself and you get to be more genuinely connected to those around you. When you are connected to yourself, your heart and your inner emotional landscape then you can better connect to another. And don’t we all want to be connected and feel connected especially with our children and spouses?
Open yourself up to the power of pausing. I am going to commit to it again tomorrow and the days that follow. I want this to become a habit, a new way of being which will have the ability to help me be present, in tune and aware of my feelings. When I am in this place of equanimity then I feel whole and I can bring my true self into my relationships with others.
The commitment to self care must be a daily job. You would not blow off your work day and make excuses not to go, therefore, you can not blow off your commitment to yourself.
This idea was sparked after having a conversation with a friend of mine. She is a spin instructor, in addition to her regular 9-5 job. We were together on a Friday night and she said she had to be at work to teach spin at 8:30 the next morning. And my thought was her job is to exercise. She can’t decide not to go because she doesn’t feel like it, there are students who are counting on her, who specifically wake up early on a Saturday morning just to take spin class with her.
Exercise is something that I have never had a great love for. It is an aspect of my life that I do because I know my body needs it, it keeps me in shape, in less physical pain and allows me to enjoy yummy food without calorie counting(too much). Let me state this again, I actually do not like exercising. It is not something I feel compelled to do, most of the time my body does not crave it. Usually, if given a reason to miss my regular work out days I will easily let working out fall to the side for another activity, commitment or appointment somewhere.
I have been exercising regularly, a minimum of 3 times per week, at my gym for 15 years. So on the outside it looks like I am committed to myself and I suppose, in a sense, I am. Have there been weeks where getting to the gym has not happened at all? Yes. Have there been months at a time where I was not able to work out due to an injury and wound up in physical therapy instead? Yes. Have there been vacations when I did not make working out a daily priority? Yes. As I said I am good at finding reasons not to exercise and I am sure many of you can relate.
This conversation with my friend sparked a different perspective. This perspective is that my commitment to my self care must be made daily. I must renew it each day. A daily commitment to myself to exercise, as if I had to get up each day and go to my job to exercise because people are counting on me to be there. The person counting on me is me. And is one thing about my personality that you should know is that when I give someone else my word I stick to it. If I can stick to my word for someone else, I asked myself, aren’t I important enough to stick to my word for me?
Yes, I can honor my word to myself. I can make a commitment to myself. Then how do I approach this commitment to make it achievable. I do not want to sabotage myself and set myself up to fail. That only leads to a lot of negative self talk, I told you so’s, etc.
I decided to begin a silent experiment with myself that very evening when I spoke with my friend. I will share it with you and I invite you to do the experiment too. This experiment is about making a daily commitment to yourself for your own self care. For me it is exercise, for you it may be something else like; good food choices, meditation, journaling, practicing a craft, reading something up lifting. You get to pick.
Here is the catch. When you make the commitment it is decided on daily and only for the next day. Break it down. Your commitment to your own self care is the job you need to do for you. It is a daily practice.
If I say I will exercise every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next year I am bound to miss one of those days. When I do, I will view it as letting myself down and that can cause a spiral of letting go of the commitment all together because once we “screw” it up we have to start again and many of us don’t. It is like the New Year’s Eve resolution that lasts a week, month or even two. And we say, “I tried.” Try is a kill word to yourself. The deeper mind hears the word try and says to itself, “I don’t have to.” In hypnosis one of the laws of the deeper mind is the harder you try the more you can’t. You say, “I tried to get up early but I hit snooze 4 times and did not get up early, but I tried.” I say you did not try, you gave yourself an out by saying try. Try is a failure word to our deeper mind. It tells the deeper mind that you really don’t mean it, it really does not have to happen, you can actually skip it and fool yourself that you made an effort. Instead, we must use different words in our self talk vocabulary. Words and statements like; I will, I am going to, the effort I am putting into this is, my intention for the day is, my commitment to myself is, it is important to me to accomplish this task. Can you see how the energy and meaning of words and statements like these are different from, I’ll try?
Here are the daily commitment steps, and they are really very simple.
Step 1: Remember this is a daily practice. Step 2: Everyday you pick what that self-care activity will be, for the next day only. It may be the same thing each day or it may be something new. Step 3: Everyday you pick the time for the next day that you will do your own self care. Step 4: Say it out loud to yourself. When we do this we are stating our intention out loud not only to our self but to the universe. We are then using more of our senses. Speaking it lets us hear it. Everything we say has a vibration and we feel it. Saying it out loud to yourself, or someone else, makes it real. When it is real we are less likely to blow it off. Step 5: When you wake up the next day keep the commitment you made to yourself the day before, at at the time you set, do it!. It is your job. Step 6: Once you follow through and keep that commitment, thank yourself for for doing it, for following through. Feel proud. Step 7: Pick tomorrow’s commitment.
Life changes daily, if we are firm and inflexible we are bound to not take care of the self. That is why when you decide day to day about your commitment to yourself you set up a scenario where you can succeed. When we then follow through with the commitment we feel good. We tell our inner self that she/he is worthy, important and loved. It is your daily job to take good care of you physically, emotionally and spiritually. No one else can do this for you. Make it happen, you can do it, one day at a time you can accomplish anything.
There is no room for self doubt if there is to be growth. Doubt slows you down and gets in the way of growing into who you are truly meant to be. It is the false beliefs about self, based on programming from your life that takes over. First, we must understand what the false self is in order to see how it is influencing us. In eastern psychology the false self is our Ego. It is the part of us that has been telling us all the things we are not, for example: ”you are not smart enough, athletic enough, creative enough.” “You can never earn enough, or reach your dreams.”
These and many others thoughts like these(we all have different ones) are all the limiting beliefs we have internalized and have come to buy into and own as the truth of who we are. They are the voices of self-doubt that run through our mind daily. We learned these things based on different experiences in life and we bought into them as true. I am here to tell you these thoughts are not who you are. As Michael Singer says in his book, The Untethered Soul, “we are not our thoughts.” This is a very powerful concept to understand and begin to believe and embrace. If you wish to transform out of self doubt and lack based thinking and into abundant, expansive, limitless potential based feelings then you must pull the cover off of self doubt and expose it for what it really is. Self doubt is a thief of the true essence of the empowered and enlightened self. Do not be fooled or misled into believing the lies of the false self, they can be seductive at times, and seducing you into believing in them is a way to keep you feeling that you are safe, quite the opposite is true. Believing them keeps you stuck, in place, not growing, not expanding or becoming.
It is time to begin to look inside and find your voice, to find your true self, to get in touch with your essence and call the lies of the false self out, to reprogram them and to heal. As this happens you will find a decrease in anxiety, you will focus better, think clearer, won’t get frazzled as easily and when you do you will be able to come back to center more quickly. You will be more confident in yourself, your abilities and trust in your potential to create for yourself the life you want. I ask you to flow into it, flow with it, do not fight what is there inside of you. Nurture yourself to make space for that which is ready to break free. It is time for growth and transformation.
If you are inspired by this and are ready to begin your journey, reach out to me. Private sessions are now available. email@example.com or on my contact page of my website www.JanetPhilbin.com and we can set up some time to connect. I look forward to connecting and supporting you on your journey.