“Selfishness is a virtue, unless you think it must come at the expense of others. And why would anyone think that? Oh yeah, that’s what all the people who don’t “get it” told you.”
My purpose is to cause conditions in which people love their lives. Imagine this common scenario: Two or more people are having trouble creating caring and cooperation. They are couples, friends, relatives, co-workers, or neighbors. There is contention and frustration and no one knows what to do. When I ask people, “What matters most?” love is the most common answer.
And while I agree love is crucial, many don’t know how to make love a practical, daily felt experience within themselves and with others. They fail to participate in a love that creates positive and transformative outcomes. And they are perplexed in what to do.
When we bump up against relationship challenges, most often, we judge others and reflexively try to fix, convert, and heal them. We unconsciously close in protection. We think our negative experience is rooted in the behavior of others and that if we can just influence them to change, all we be well. Until we see evidence of this, we remain guarded. What’s actually causing our distress is our choice to close in fear instead of remaining open, willing to learn, grow and heal; that’s key to our results and experience.
So in light of the question, “What matters most?” the answer is: Be personally responsible. But what does this mean? It means growing in self-awareness and self-management so we are centered, mindful of our power and able to maintain peace. It means being aware in any moment, when we are breathless and closed, then choosing to open instead. When we are closed, we usually don’t know what we’re feeling and what we want. We lose sight of the part of us committed to cause from love. We forget our free will choices, our highest purpose and our worth. When we are closed, we are dismissing, defending and departing (emotionally and physically). In contrast, when we are open, we are receiving, respecting and remaining (emotionally and physically).
In order to remain open, we must first learn to stop dismissing, defending and departing with ourselves. When we feel emotions, especially sadness, despair or anger, our receptivity, respect and commitment to remain in the face of them and choose self-care and self-kindness is key. When we see our negative behavior and outcomes, we choose to seek support to see and address limiting, fearful beliefs and discouragement underneath them so we grow and heal. When open, we take action, gain information, support, and change our behavior to create positive breakthroughs.
I frequently say to people, “Mind your own business.” This is not said to be disrespectful or harsh; its simply good advice. When we spend the needed time (which is considerable) to fully understand what it is to manage ourselves, and remain open to learning and growing no matter what shows up in our experience, we are doing what matters most. We then effectively manage our relationships and live love. I leave you with some practical tips to be personally responsible:
- Notice personal relationships that need addressing and do so. Don’t dismiss, defend or depart. Commit to learn the skills to be the cause for change, not at the effect.
- Ask those you live and work with how they rate your relationship on a scale of 1-10. Anything less than a 10, ask them, “What would make it a 10?” Try out their advice.
- Learn how to live by 8 values that build trust: be honest, straightforward, receptive, disclosing, respectful, follow through on commitments, give recognition and seek excellence.
- Consciously choose to eliminate gossip and other forms of blaming and criticizing (closing to) others.
- Frequently ask, “What am I feeling and what do I want?” “What do I want to cause from love?”
- Refrain from behaviors that stem from “I have to”, “I ought to”, “I need to”, “I should”, or “I can’t.”
- Commit to your personal and professional development, especially mastering your social and emotional health and intelligence.
- Slow down, breathe, pay attention to your common coping mechanisms so you can transcend them and make new choices to open in receptivity, respect and remain connected to your innate wisdom.
- Utilize a life coach and mentor. I have one and plan to always have one because I can’t see my own blind spots or the many options to grow and heal.
Let me know if I can be of help. My greatest joy is helping you live a life you love! Call me at 314.239-4727
As published nationally in The Women’s Journals December 2013/January 2014