“An unexamined life is not worth living”Plato
Here it is another New Year’s Day! It’s a time to reflect, re-set, and re-create. We consider our health, wealth, relationships, spirituality, and our purpose and visions. Many get determined to set new goals. That got me to thinking about people I meet who are willing to reflect and grow, as contrasted with those who are not. Here’s some of what makes the difference.
Operating on autopilot
A vast majority of our behavior comes from our robot brain; autopilot reactions based on conclusions we adopted about life, and ourselves long ago, and then fell asleep to questioning. For many, they have seen modeled that living asleep is how life is intended to be and that anything more is “thinking too much.” They are repelled by and fearful of, self-examination, and find it tedious and suspect to re-consider existing beliefs and open to new and different ideas.
Fear of vulnerability
Brene Brown, world-renowned author, researcher, and lecturer on shame and vulnerability says that while vulnerability is the doorway to joy and lasting fulfillment, many are afraid to be vulnerable, uncertain, and imperfect. They often think that if they question and change their minds and behaviors, they are then guilty for what they did previously, and in our world, making mistakes is too often equated with knee-jerk punishment, shame, and rejection.
Fear of unworthiness
Too many desperately want to belong, but often, don’t believe they are worthy. They think there is something innately flawed in them, and this very belief makes it difficult for them to show up and wake up. It’s the difference found between people who “play it safe” and those able to live what Brene Brown calls, “whole-hearted living.”
The need to be part of the herd
Many want desperately to feel part of a larger team, and often follow the team over the cliff. They buy into rules and fear the pain and loneliness of separation from the pack if they challenge them, not realizing they are much more valuable being authentic. The courage to separate from the pack is seen at this time, as women break the silence held for centuries, and speak out about sexual harassment and abuse. This is not for the faint of heart. Caroline Myss, author and mystic says it this way, “An insight the size of a mustard seed is powerful enough to bring down a mountain-sized illusion that may be holding our lives together. Truth strikes without mercy. We fear our intuitions because we fear the transformational power within our revelations.”
Fear of being powerful
“We fear we are powerful beyond measure” Nelson Mandela stated in his famous quote in which he also adds, “we are called to make manifest the glory of God that’s within each of us.” Many equate power with danger, guilt and punishment, something to downplay, and figure out on our own. This does not help! It’s time we celebrate the most authentic power there is: Our ability to use our power to love. It’s time we learn practical applications of love to help one another. So, as you go into the New Year, I invite you to have the courage to reflect, change and grow. Our world needs you at your best, now more than ever. Let me know if you’d like to partner with me to help fulfill my mission, “To create a world in which all people love their lives!” Happiest of New Years to YOU!
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This article was published in The Women’s Journals, January/February 2018