When faced with challenging situations, do you find yourself quick to blame others, make excuses for yourself or become easily upset, angry, irritable, frustrated, resentful, jealous, defensive? Do you complain frequently? Is your focus more on what you don’t want, than what you do want? Would you agree that a large percentage of your thoughts are focused on negative emotions from the past? Do you find yourself frequently disappointed by your unrealistic expectations of others? Do you spend much of your time fussing and worrying? If you can say ‘yes’ to more than three of the above, then your emotional stress is definitely managing you. And if you are in that situation its best you do something about taking control of circumstances before they negatively affect you in very profound ways.
We often find ourselves instinctively in resistance, instead of flow. Our inability to simply accept life as it happens, people as they are, unexpected events as they occur leaves us with a sense of anguish, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, frustration and often anger. When we are able to be in flow with what is in this moment and come to the quick realization that to resist would simply give us more of what we don’t want, we then have the opportunity to step into the magic and gratitude of ‘what is’ and begin to count our blessings. Once we do that, we can watch with wonderment as life begins to unravel itself with all the endless possibilities of what we are able to create and observe in the presence of what is, as it is right now.
To achieve this is to surrender, which is an act of faith, even though you may be unable to anticipate the outcome of a situation or simply allow it to be as it is. For example, when grieving we focus on the shock and personal loss to ourselves, while indulging in self-pity. But if we are able to accept and appreciate the blessings, learning and the journey that we were able to experience with the departed, we are able to quickly turn grief into gratitude.
This is a huge step for any individual to come to terms with, if they are used to the ‘blame game’. They may be used to drowning in a pool of guilt or wallowing in the opportunity to come up with excuses (often called ‘white lies’), rather than the simple, uncomplicated and rational idea of being able to take responsibility and accountability for their part in what happened previously or is happening now. Everything that happens to you, and everyone that is in your life right now, has meaning and purpose. The point is which ‘you’ shows up when challenge and adversity knock on your door? If everyone in your life right now is your teacher, what kind of student are you? Are you ready to be the accountable and responsible adult, or does it come naturally to you to look for excuses?
How often do you use the word ‘but’ in your sentences? Mind your language and your excuses will quickly be replaced with accountable and right action. It is at this point that you come to the realization that there is much value in acknowledging your mistakes and failures and by taking the lessons and turning them into your successes. ‘It is better to try and fail than fail to try’ – by being accountable you have the opportunity to express your unbounded and unlimited potential and to live life from a position of power and creativity.
Do you know what you want?
If you get up in the morning and sit behind the steering wheel of your car without having a clue as to where you are going and with no sense of direction, would you consider this to be madness? Then how is it that we spend much of our time not knowing where we are going in our lives or what it is that we really want? When you are unsure of what you want, you tend to be focused on what you don’t want. So if you are going to be the result of what you focus on, then when are you going to get really clear about what you do want, so that you can have more of that? You will be the result of what you think and feel and the actions that you take. Your intention, what you pay attention to and the right action that you take toward your goal will be the determining factors in your achieving great success in your life, simply because you have clarity on what you want. It is very important to pay attention to the details to ensure you are going after exactly what you want.
Stepping into the present
We often speak of being present, being in the now, showing up for your own life, but was does all that really mean when it comes to applying it in your daily life? We call ourselves human beings and this implies that we are here to be in a state of being-ness before we embark on the doing and the having. Most of us have experienced what it is to run after something that we really want – the car, the house, the job, the university degree – only to realize soon after attaining our goal that happiness is eluding us. We have missed the magic in the moments of co-creating what it is that we desire.
We need to be able to allow ourselves to be present in a child-like curiosity, alongside excitement and bewilderment, and say to ourselves, ‘I wonder what’s going to happen next?’ At the same time, we need to allow ourselves to be intuitively spontaneous, even when we may feel that we have no idea what the outcome might be, but nevertheless have a sense of knowingness that the adventure itself could somehow lead us to what it is that we desire – and possibly much more. This is when life really becomes magical. To cast a spell means, literally, ‘to utter words’. So in the knowingness of ‘what is’ in that moment, be careful of what you say and think as the magic of what you dare to imagine is waiting to surprise you. Your ability and sense of awareness to constantly be prepared for celebration, bewilderment, spontaneity, joy, bliss and uncertainty will together give you all the opportunities you need to experience what it is to live right here and now in this moment. In this you will discover the reward of being present in your own life, as you go about doing and having in a whole new world of your own.
Turning fear into faith
As we willingly choose to spend much of our thoughts in the past or the future, we unknowingly allow ourselves to dwell and sometimes even drown in negative emotions that do nothing but keep us trapped in our fears and insecurities. The illusion that we create for ourselves is a ‘false expectation appearing to be real’ (also known as fear). This fear can be used to either drive us or cripple us in our own lives. As we choose to create an awareness of the fears that hold us back the most, we can also find ways to break through those fears and set ourselves free to create more of what we want. On the other hand, we could use faith to override those fears and face life head-on with drive and enthusiasm, in the knowingness that courage and faith will take us through what might appear to be the impossible at the time. Be aware of the conscious mind that thinks reasons and makes decisions – this is where your free will is exercised. Then you have the subconscious mind that expresses itself through you, in your thoughts and actions. The subconscious mind is the spirit part of you – it knows no limits other than the ones that you consciously choose. It is in the knowingness of this that you are able to choose fear over faith or turn fear into faith. So, being aware of what you think and feel will give you the conscious awareness of the power that lies within you to create your own reality.
What we have right now in our lives is the result of our perspective. So if you have chosen a perspective that does not work for you, before you know it, you have willfully become a victim in your own life, only to wonder, ‘why me?’ Well, the ‘why me’ is you choosing to see things in a certain way. We are often our own worst enemy, as we buy into our interpretations of our own story that, in turn, keep us stuck in more of what we don’t want. Let’s say that you lose your job and all you can think about is, ‘why me, why this, why now?’ Then you look for someone to blame for the injustice as you see it. But when you look within yourself, you may come to the realization that maybe you didn’t really want your job, maybe you didn’t like the hours, the pay, the work involved, the people that you work with, and so therefore, if you can be really honest with yourself, you actually got exactly what you asked for. However, because you refuse or simply are unable to realize this for yourself, you sit with a perspective that keeps you stuck in blame and self-pity, instead of focusing on all the benefits of not having that job anymore and all the new opportunities that lie waiting for you. Your perspective will be determined by your attitude and your ability to be totally true to yourself, while being accountable for your thoughts and feelings that give you exactly what you have right now. Change your perspective and you will change your life.
Without the awareness of the importance of self-love you can never truly manage your emotional stress because the needs of others and the opinions of others will always be more important to you than your own self-worth. It is through the experience of self-love and the appreciation of self love that we are able to live life from a place of self-fulfillment. Many of us may have been told that it is virtuous for us to be selfless and it is bad for us to be selfish. However, the balance of the two is to be self-full, where we are able to powerfully choose to be selfless and selfish from the centredness of being self-full. This is where we are aligned with ourselves at a soul level in which any decision that we make is one in which we can always choose to be happy.
We have been divinely gifted with our own free will, so that whatever we do or say is always from a space of choice for which there will always be consequences. It is in the awareness of these consequences that we are also able to manage our emotional stress as we take ownership of the fact that everything in our lives right now has been created as a result of our thoughts and feelings.