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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Freedom

Answers For Who Will You Become

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We spend a great deal of time and energy thinking about what we want from life and how we don’t have it yet.  Being caught up in our desires for the future, we forget to look at today.  We have forgotten to cherish the experiences of the moment that always let us know how we are doing and how we are making progress toward a future of our dreams.

Are we striving so hard for a “future” we don’t even pay attention to what we are creating today?

In order to design a life you want to live, you must first see and experience the moments of today.  No one has your unique set of experiences, desires, group of people or even outlook on life quite like you.  If you are trying to fit yourself into someone else’s formula for the good life you will always feel a bit out of place.  Perhaps it is time to come up with your own answers and create your own formula for living your best life.

The answers are only in one place.  The answers are inside of you.  Deep down you know who you are and who you want to become.  Instead of looking to the outside for the answers it’s time to look inside and remember who you are.  Looking to the outside only gives you the “shoulds” our society would like to see.  To live your dream life, you will need to shake of those “shoulds” to reveal the life you were born to live.

Finding the answers starts with the asking yourself the right questions. Spending time listening to yourself in quiet contemplation is necessary on the road to your best life.  If you are not sure what to ask, here are some sample questions from my book, A Year of Questions.

  • What is your overall dream for your life?
  • How would you describe yourself? What makes you, you?
  • What are your values?
  • What reoccurring thoughts do you have that keep you stuck?
  • What would you like to think about yourself, others and the world you live in?

Take some time to come up with your own personalized answers to those questions.  You never know where they may take you.

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

Life is Not Difficult

There is a message out there about getting what you want.  It always seems to be delivered with the idea, the assumption, that getting what you want or making a change is hard and has to be difficult.  But does it?

Of course this life will be hard, when we aren’t living the life we were designed to live. When we are continually chasing after the very things that will never fulfill our individual soul.  We go out, follow someone else’s plan and think somehow, we will get a life specifically designed for our own personal happiness and fulfillment.  This conditioned way of thinking that tells us life is hard, getting what you want is hard, living itself is hard is nothing more than a way to keep people distracted and doing life in line with someone else’s agenda.

We MUST see, once and for all, that one person’s idea of success, one person’s vision of the “good life”, one person’s path to a life of joy is NOT the path, vision or idea for everyone.  Our need for acceptance, connection and love has been used and exploited to convince us that there is only one way for every human on this planet to have a successful and happy life.

Following someone else’s formula has led to the state of the world we find ourselves in today.  We are experiencing the highest levels of depression, anxiety and misery today more than any other time in history.  Following someone else’s idea of a well lived life has denied us the greatness that is lying dormant in each and every one of us.

When will we see that our desires are unique?  They are ours to discover and uncover, not something we can be can told.  We are put here to listen and to develop and to experience who it is we really are.  When will we shift into a knowing that who we are is easy, fulfilling and creates the passion and the drive to be just that?

The next 3 years of your life will look like the previous 3 years of your life only if you buy into to the notion that getting what you want is hard and there is a certain prescriptive way to get it.  It’s only when you decide you want to change, decide you want to develop yourself and decide to see that you are able, capable and designed to change that you will.

 

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Freedom, Uncategorized

Listening is an Act of Love

The simple act of listening holds the power to change lives and the world we live in. The power comes in many forms: the power of connection, the power to uplift, the power to hear and the power of understanding. Listening gives each of us the power to change our own lives and the lives of others.  Imagine creating a world where people feel heard, understood and accepted so they are free to become who they were born to be.

Every single one of us has a need to feel understood and accepted.  We desire to connect and to feel safe around others.  When we are vulnerable enough to speak our truth from our heart, we are looking to fully express who we are.  Sometimes we get what we are looking for, that feeling we have been truly heard, and other times we are left feeling crushed, saying never again will I show my true self.

Let me offer some reassurance to those who feel misunderstood and feel they need to hide.  You don’t need to hide; you just need to find the right people who can hear you.  Often we go to people who are not properly equipped to really hear us.  This is not their fault; they just don’t know how to effectively listen or how to hear you with the aim of understanding you.  It is not that they desire to harm you in any way; in fact, most people believe they are helping you.

None of us will make it through this life without running into people.  Sorry you can’t hide.  You need people in every area of your life and people need you.  Your friends and family deserve your attention and understanding.  If you are married, you expect your spouse to hear and understand you and they expect the same from you in return.  Children need us to hear and understand them as they grow so they can fully embrace who they are to live a boldly awesome life.

To Listen is to Love, it is part of the package to living a fulfilled and joyful life.

Even at work, every person has thoughts, desires and hopes beyond the workplace.  Humans are not made to compartmentalize their lives.  We bring all of us to every situation and environment. Whether we realize it or not, even at work we need to feel heard and understood so we can bring our best performance and motivation to the environment.  True leaders know and understand this, they lead by understanding and they understand through listening.

Learning to listen will open a whole new world to you.  Your stress will decrease, possibilities and answers will be revealed to you, relationships will be renewed and even strengthened, you will raise motivated confident children and if you happen to own a business or hold a leadership position, you will have employees who love to work with you because you make them feel valuable.

Do yourself and your loved ones a favor, be an example of what it means to listen.  You can do this by simply being present for another person.  Remove distractions.  That means you will need to put the phone away, turn off the television, walk away from the computer so you can give them your attention.  It also means focusing with the intent to hear and to understand.  The mind can only focus itself on one thing at a time.  We can’t really hear someone if we are distracted with our own thoughts, judgement or if we are busy formulating a response.  Practice turning down the volume on your own thoughts so you can tune in and hear other people.  It is only when you can tune into others that you can trust yourself to know what to say and when to say it.

My hope for you is to shine a new light on what it means to listen so you can be the example of what it looks like to listen with the aim to understand. Take the insights and concepts into your home, workplace and even to the grocery store and you will start to see the life changing power of listening.

 

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