Have you noticed how easy it feels to slide into ruts of fear and judgment these days?
When my attention gets hijacked by all the negative, polarizing “news,” I find myself ruminating on everything that is wrong with “those people” and spiraling down into sticky, alternating cycles of righteousness and despair.
The moment I notice that I’m back in that old, unproductive place, I remind myself of the following four things:
1. We all live in very different realities.
We’ve had different childhood experiences, grown up in different cultures and educational systems, experienced the world through different identities and social statuses, internalized different beliefs, and operate on a different set of assumptions about humanity. Remembering and honoring this allows us to do two things:
1. Take ownership of and responsibility for understanding our own traumas, our own experiences, and the various events that lead to our own awakening, healing, and growth in life. We are the only ones who can do anything meaningful or creative with our histories.
2. Get curious about the ways in which other people’s perspectives are shaped, limited, and defined by their unique set of life experiences and seek to understand them more deeply.
2. Accept that some people are not ready to wake up yet and stay focused on our own growth and development.
As much as we long to have collectively deeper conversations, increased insightsm and compassion for ourselves and others, we will continue to share space on this planet with people who are committed to living out of their unawareness, their righteousness, and their defenses.
Our first task is to practice love for all beings, no matter how different they are or how much fear is stimulated inside of ourselves.
That fear is ours to transform.
Furthermore, as much as I’d like to think of myself as awake, aware, connected and compassionate, I remember the principle of shared humanity. I remind myself that I too can show up unaware, defended, and righteous, and so I practice responding with compassion to myself and others no matter what.
Instead of spending any energy on trying to save or wake others up, let’s stay committed to our own journey, our own work, and our own capacity building. When I stay focused what I am able to transform – myself – it brings me hope and keeps me focused on evolving my own soul.
3. Embrace being misunderstood and making mistakes.
A long time agom I remember lamenting to one of my dearest friends how much I wanted to be understood by someone, and how painful it was for me to be misunderstood and not seen for who I was. I remember her asking me in all earnestness, “Do you think it’s possible for us to truly understand each other?”
I’ve mulled over that question ever since. Being seen, known, and understood are core human needs, and I believe we have a drive to reach for these needs. When people misunderstand and judge us, it’s painful. When we misunderstand and judge others, it’s painful for them too.
However, when I stay true to my deepest values and life purpose, I feel less triggered by people not understanding me, accepting me, or seeing me for who I think I am. I am less dependent on others’ meeting those needs for me to experience a sense of well-being.
Instead of being dependent on the whims of the external world, my source of well-being lies in my alignment with life-energy itself.
When I am living with deep integrity and self-respect, surrendered to a set of principles that I hold sacred and precious (truth, kindess, and beauty) I can be compassionate with myself as I make mistakes along the way.
We learn to meet our needs to be understood, known, accepted, and treated with gentleness and compassion in our relationship with ourselves first.
As we do this, we shift our self-talk: “I’m gentle with myself. I’m human. I ‘m not going to get everything right. Failing is part of learning. I am perfectly imperfect and embrace being a work in progress.”
4. Trust our heart’s desires.
When we follow our desires, our intrinsic motivation, our heart-energy, we find ourselves with less inner conflict and more ability to tolerate discomfort in the short term.
When we have less inner conflict and are aligned with what energizes us, we find ourselves trusting joy, love, and goodness and discovering our deeper gifts and talents.
As we start living from our authentic gifts and inspirations, our energy increases.
As our energy and joy increases, we inspire others. When we inspire other people, they are more likely to wake up and begin healing and growing as well.
What about you? When you find yourself stuck fear and judgments of others, what helps you switch gears and live from more compassion and consciousness in your own life?
I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.
WANT TO GO DEEPER IN THIS WORK?
Here are a few of my programs that might be of interest to you: