Freedom, Listen

Suffering is Ironic

When I was a young adult a very wise person gave me a loving jolt, a call to wake up if you will.  I was caught up in my own suffering, complaining about how terrible and hard life was for me.  I had it with all the injustices I witnessed at work, in the world and was deep in the blame game of why I was so miserable.  Of course, it was all someone else’s doing.  It was the government, it was corporate America, it was the American culture, it was….  Well it was anyone and anything’s fault but mine.  I could not see beyond my suffering to see any other options.  Suffering was just life and it was all because someone else was doing something that stepped on my toes and kept me from being where I wanted to be.

Well, this wise person finally had enough of my suffering and mindless musings.  She abruptly interrupted me and asked: Do you think you are the only one?  You cannot possibly think you are the only one who has a hard time in this life.  Everyone struggles with something and you are here sounding like you are special and the only one who ever had it rough.

Not only was that a shock to my system, but it shook me out of the bitterness I had been holding on to.  She was right about many things, but the one thing that it really made me look hard at was the fact that yes, I did think I was special.  I thought I was the only one who saw these things and I wanted to put a stop to it.  I realized my suffering, my musings about the injustice of it all were mindless and would never solve anything. The reality was I thought I was so special that my complaining would get someone else’s attention and they would do something to change it and save me once and for all.  Ironic.  While I sat there and complained that it was everyone else’s fault I also deeply buried a belief that it was also someone else’s responsibility to help me and to stop these terrible things from happening to me.

In moments such as these, we all have to make a choice.  We can continue to complain and suffer and hope someone comes to our rescue or we can see that the ownership lies with us.  We are not special we are not unique in this world filled with differing opinions.  We all suffer in our own way and it is by our own doing, not anyone else.  We are all looking for solutions to the same underlying problem.  We all want to feel a sense of freedom to be in this world, but we have allowed someone else to stop us.  Read that line again.  It is we, the individual who have allowed someone to stop us.  No one can ever make you think or feel a certain way.  Choose to be in this world.  Choose to see your own ability to feel and think for yourself.  And finally choose to see it all starts and stops with how you choose to see yourself and this world.

Thank you to the wise woman who jolted me awake.

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Freedom, Listen

Define Your Needs vs Your Wants

Here we are. Most of us find ourselves staying home for our own safety and for the safety of the world. For many this is a new experience, not being able to go where we want to go whenever we want to go. With any new experience comes new insights, new opportunities to see things not seen before. Without the constant movement, distraction and demands of life pulling you in all directions, you are most certainly going to uncover some valuable truths that have been waiting patiently for you to discover.

A truth you are probably seeing for yourself what you actually need in this life. This is somewhat the same for all of us – the need for safety, food and connection. But the underlying items that create these can vary greatly from person to person. Now that you are in a situation that is forcing these realities to surface do yourself a huge favor for your future: write down what you need versus what you want (those nice to have but not going to break without).

Here is what I came up with for myself. I need sunlight to not only feel a sense of connection but also a sense of safety. For me, opening my blinds to let the sun rush in gives me a reminder that life is still out there, still going strong and provides hope. This has been a must have in my life I discovered many years ago when I was battling depression. Sunlight makes me feel safe and gives me a feeling of connection to all of life itself.

Another great focus area is on food. Food is a source of life. There are so many choices out there today, but which foods are an absolute must for your continued health and sense of well-being? Personally, I love popcorn. But popcorn is not a need, it’s a nice to have want on my list, a luxury item if you will. A need for me is vegetables: spinach, onions, tomatoes and bell peppers are a must have in my pantry.

What about connection with others. Now that we are “social distancing” and sheltering in place what do you feel like you need more of when it comes to connecting with others. Do you need a daily phone conversation with someone, watch a live stream, have a video call with a loved one? What does that look like for you?

You have this opportunity to uncover what your needs are at a very real level. Do your future self a favor, identify these for yourself so you can bring these into your life moving forward. This can be a real game changer.

If there is any support you need from me, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask.
With much love,
Elizabeth Roberts

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Listen

Transform Your Relationships with Listening

Are your relationships where you want them to be?  Maybe it’s time for a relationship tune up.  One of the easiest ways to transform a relationship is to simply listen to the other person.  We have become so insistant that others need to listen to us we forget they may feel the same way leaving us in a stale mate.  All parties feeling unheard and bitter.

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.  Attached is an exercise to help you get started on the journey.  Just click on the link to access the worksheets: The Practice of Precense in Listening

Let us know how it works for you.

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Freedom, Listen, Uncategorized

How to Win a Fight

If you prefer to listen click the link to the audio

Have you ever used the phrase fighting fire with fire when it comes to an argument with another person?  I always picture someone spewing a ball of fire from their mouth into an already out of control fire only to see the fire completely engulf both people bringing them both down. Yet I see this mindset and strategy used all the time when human beings are engaged in a battle.

The term fighting fire with fire originated from a 19th century fire fighting method where small fires were set in advance of a larger fire coming to reduce the “fuel” in the larger fire’s path.  The concept seems great but it gave rise to other issues.  Without a way to put out the smaller fires before a larger fire approached, the whole strategy backfires resulting in fire completely devastating the area.

What can we learn from the 19th century fire strategy?  One, we don’t even use is correctly when we fight. Iit’s not a very smart strategy when it comes to human behavior.  And two, why start additional fires when the goal is to put the fire out?

If we are only starting fires, elevating our own anger, in the face of someone who is already angry we are only successful in intensifying the anger in the room.  With both parties now angry, and fuming, no one can see above the flames.  No one is in a state of mind to reduce the heat and hear the other person.  We are now in a battle to out anger the other party and create even more destruction.

More Fire = More Anger = More Destruction

Fires don’t put out fires.  Fighting doesn’t create peace.  An eye for an eye doesn’t bring about vision.

Instead of bringing more fire to the fight, try to understand why the person is upset to begin with.  Try hearing them out.  That’s really all they want.  They want to feel heard.  They want to calm down too and not feel they have to fight their way through life.  To win a fight you must first stop fighting.  Then you can hear what needs to be heard and you will see the fire, the anger, the fear in the other person turn down and end its destruction.

If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share.  Be a life changer. You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.

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Freedom, Listen

What To Do When You Let Yourself Down

If you prefere to listen, click here for the audio recording

We all know the feelings of guilt and shame when we let ourselves down.  Sometimes these feelings can be overwhelming and can feel like we are carrying a boulder with us everywhere we go.  While many may be holding on to old events in our life that gave us a feeling of guilt or shame, it doesn’t mean we have to keep carrying this around moving forward.

One of the quickest ways to eliminate guilt and shame from our minds is to begin by keeping our promises.  Especially the promises we have made to ourselves.  Think about it.  We all make promises to ourselves, usually promises that give us hope for a better life. Things like our famous New Year’s resolutions, the promise to do better this year than last, the promise to take better care of ourselves and to do better with others.

Whenever we break these promises to ourselves, we tend to spiral down into guilt and shame.  That hopeful, flying high feeling the promise gave us is quickly replaced with crippling doubts about who we are and what we are capable of doing.  Don’t let those crippling feelings take away the hope that had you feeling so high on the possibilities of life.  Those possibilities are still there, it’s only your thoughts that would have you believe otherwise.  You can still get back to that hopeful feeling and keep that promise to yourself.

Whenever you get that feeling you are carrying around a guilt or shame boulder, stop and ask if it’s keeping you from your promises.  If it is, then you have an awesome opportunity to bring that promise and hope back to life.  It means you still want it. We all take steps back on our way to what we want, but this is no reason to stop.

Children make mistakes all the time on their way to learning anything.  We don’t tell our kids to stop when they come up against an obstacle or allow them to wallow in misery about an innocent mistake.  We help them understand what happened and encourage them to keep going because it’s worth it.  You can do this for yourself too.

Once you have noticed that your feelings of guilt or shame are keeping you from what you want, take a moment to identify what prompted the feelings in the first place.  This will help you find where you are making yourself feel like you did something wrong.  Now that you know what it is, ask yourself what you can do to either make it right or what you can do to move forward.  Maybe you just need to slow down, give yourself permission to learn along the way, adjust the timeline or even make adjustments to the original promise.  It is in our mistakes where we learn what it is we really want and can then make the necessary course corrections to get back to it.

You can do anything you put your mind to when you allow your mind to work for you, instead of you working for whatever your mind says.

If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share.  Be a life changer. You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.

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Freedom, Listen

Looking for Some Understanding?

If you want to know a person, seek to understand them.  We all want to feel like we are, at the very least, being heard so someone can understand where we are coming from.  Isn’t this why we continue to argue our case and make our point known?  Yet in our efforts to make our point we often don’t extend the same to others.  Our need to be right, our need to hold tight to our point of view and our need to bolster our sense of self keeps us from the very things we desire:  to be understood and to feel a sense of connection with others.

How can we demand someone understand us when we do not strive to understand others?  We can’t demand what we ourselves are not willing and capable of doing.

So, if you would like to know someone, seek to understand them.

Start with the people closest to you. The people you actually want around in your life. It’s easier to start with these people as you already have a genuine desire to really get to know them. Begin with the simple act of listening. Not what you are currently doing as listening, but begin to listen with you whole mind and heart. That means clear your mind of your own inner dialogue and judgments while they are speaking in order to actually hear what they are attempting to reveal to you. You can’t understand someone if all you have in your mind is a list of ways to dismiss what they have to say. If you really want to know someone, get curious and listen to them completely. This may take some practice at first but in time this will become much easier.

Remember, leave judgement behind.  You can’t possibly know what led a person to where they are, with the decisions they are facing and the life events they find themselves in at any moment.  All of us have gone down some rocky roads at some point in our life and only wanted someone, anyone, to understand and accept us for who and where we were in that moment.  This is an example of what love looks like every day.  A genuine desire to understand and accept where people are, not to judge, shame or kick them when they are down.

As you become more comfortable with this new style of listening, you will start to notice a few things.  First, you will begin to gain a better understanding of people.  You’ll see what they want from life, what they value in the world and what makes them tick.  Secondly, as you have a greater understanding of someone, you will find yourself naturally compassionate toward them.  You may also find they trust you more as a byproduct.  And this could lead to them wanting to understand you better.  Now that you have given them an example of what understanding looks like in practice, they too can start to listen to you with the goal of understanding.

If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share.  Be a life changer. You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.

 

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