Have you ever watched a child play? They have fun and explore within the context of what they know. Before they can walk, they play sitting. With each developmental step, the range of their play increases. As adults, we have the ability to play in bigger and bigger ways. But sometimes we don’t. Instead, sometimes we get bogged down.
We all have areas of life where we get bogged down in fear, frustration and pain. The world turns dark and we lose perspective or hope. Anxiety and worry pollute our psyches and peace of mind. We wish to have fun, to be light, to feel joy; but how can you feel joy, confidence, exuberance, lightheartedness, if you are feeling fear, anxiety or worry? You can’t. If heaven is a state of being, how can we tip the scales in the direction of joy?
Start to know your triggers. For instance, you can get triggered by people who remind you of a parent, a former boss, a former friend. Some triggers are from past events that were traumatic. Some triggers are around challenges that we do not know if we can overcome. I know there are situations that trigger me. Confronted with one of these situations, I can feel a truckload of yucky feelings creeping up on me. One minute I am fine, and the next, it feels as if a cavern has opened and swallowed me up. Feeling trapped and desperate, my body tightens and my mind starts spinning thoughts of doom and destruction.
I am coming to know the landscape of my inner world, to see the pitfalls even before I am fully in them. I am learning to tell myself to stop and find another way to look at things. I can ask for help. I can let go of having things go the way I think I need them to. And if I do fall in, I can be kind to myself. I can forgive myself. After all, I am not torturing myself (or my partner) on purpose.
What are you afraid of? Do you know what your biggest fear is, and how it is impacting your life? How it gets triggered? Some fears include:
Not feeling loved or not feeling deserving of love
Not being able to be yourself
Being in danger or overwhelmed
Hurting someone or being hurt or abandoned
Not having enough
Not being enough
What do you do with your fears? Do you react or get possessive? Do you attempt to bully or control? Do you worry, run away, isolate, or imagine horrendous futures? None of the above will improve the quality of your life.
Sometimes a fear comes up in the context of relationships. Wanting to feel safe, we attempt to control events and people, partners and children. Rather than creating the safety we are seeking, this usually makes the other person feel trapped, resentful, fearful, or in some way compromised. It becomes a misuse of our energy. Safety comes through being in life as it is, and being willing to experience loss, grief, joy, or whatever is occurring. And trusting that we can and will handle whatever happens.
How do you not act out of fear? By taking a stand. You can have a fear, but it does not have to dictate who you are and how you behave. Taking a stand is a position that you hold no matter what is occurring in your life. It is a choice to find another way. Maybe we change our internal statement from “I’m never going to make this happen,” to “I choose not to take this situation personally,” or “I’m going to make the best of this situation”.
We get to decide who we want to be. Even if we get reactive in the moment, we can choose to develop the ability to control our responses over time. Like training for a marathon, practicing for a speech, or learning a musical instrument, we teach ourselves to step up to that which we wish to accomplish. These positions become a guiding force in our lives. When we say:
“I will live a life free from fear or worry”
“I will make each day as fun as I can”
“I will not worry over things I have no control over”
“I will find meaning and purpose in everything that occurs in my life”
and start to take actions to support these positions; we become a positive force in our own lives.
Once you decide what attitudes you want to carry, and take a stand in terms of what you want your life to be about or not be about, you can begin to witness moment-by-moment what you are doing, and how you are creating your own experience. You can begin to play with life more and fight with it less. If you are playing a song on a violin, you have to both learn how to play the notes, and discover what sounds beautiful to you. You have to develop knowledge and skill of that particular instrument if you are going to be able to play with it. Have you ever heard a musician in training ‘fight’ his violin rather than play it? If you do not learn enough about yourself to play, how do you think your song will sound?
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