The key to becoming a more soul-full you: Love, Don't Fear.
I actually had a reaction to thinking about this title. It sounds like it's something we'd say in "Fantasy Land." It may seem counterintuitive to even think that responding from a love is something that can be done in our age of chaos, uncertainty and escalating worldwide violent acts.
It isn't. Responding from love is practical and doable with enough practice. It won't get you to Nirvana, whatever that may be, but it will get you to taking charge of your life and making choices that empower you to give the best of you to yourself and others. It will shift you from being a reactive puppet to cutting those strings and choosing your own path.
When things don't go well, I ask myself, "Deborah do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?" I believe that this is my soul-full self talking to me and I try very hard to be open to hearing and using that guidance. Start asking yourself that question and try to listen. Doing so will help you to reconnect with your own more soul-full self.
Slowing down, breathing and understanding my beliefs and the way that they trigger me into a fearful and reactive place has helped me to develop the self-understanding that shifts me from reacting from fear to responding with love. Unlike when we respond from a place of fear, responding from a place of love helps us stay focused on our goals or, at the least, gets us back on track more quickly.
When I speak of love, I don't mean the conditional kind of love most of us have experienced: "I'll give to you if you give to me." I am talking about an emotionally mature love that emerges from dark nights of the soul. Letting go of resistance to the way things aren't and surrendering to the way they are. Recognizing your own human blunderings to what life is all about, having self-compassion and taking new actions.
When I speak of love I speak of the kind where your actions are less focused on yourself and more on something outside of you. Here some examples, see where you find yourself:
- Feeling compassion for a stray dog or cat. In spite of not needing or wanting a pet, you are drawn to take care of it and protect it. You listen to your innate desire to care of and protect something that is innocent and hurting.
- After a stressed and difficult day, at dinner, your child spills their milk all over the table, looks up at you and screams. A rage begins to rise. In that eye to eye contact, you see your child's fearful face, fearful at YOU. Something shifts in your heart and soul. You reach out and comfort her while you clean up the mess and get her another glass of milk.
- You realize that focusing on how you have been hurt has blinded you from the harm you have done to others. That awareness lets you know you are back on the path of soulfull-ness as you recognize your own humanness.
- For no particular reason, your heart feels full of gratitude for being alive. In this moment of peace and calm, you realize your power to shift your emotional state by what you focus on. The significance you put on an experience is more powerful than the experience.
- Facing the fear of rejection by setting a healthy boundary with some you love is an act of kindness and care for both of you.
My experiences as an emergency medical technician taught me that if your heart is beating, you are getting air and not losing blood, you are in good shape. Our over-reactive survival systems are giving significance to every experience as though it is a matter of life and death. When we are emotionally triggered as a result of stress, anxiety, anger, or sadness, we are conditioned to react from fear, rather than responding from love.
Sometimes these feelings feel like facts, but they are not. Reacting from fear should happen when we are fighting for our lives, not when we are angry at our spouse for forgetting to pay the phone bill.
I'm sure you have recognized yourself in some of the above actions, though they may be far and few between. It is important to recognize that you are already doing the 'responding from love' rather than 'reacting from fear' dance of life. You are not as practiced at the responding part of yourself as you are the reacting.
What we repeat we make stronger. What we focus on is where our energy goes. When we feel ourselves going astray, we only need to make a tiny shift back to the path of responding rather than reacting. Each time we shift from engagement in reacting, we are strengthening our response-ability muscle. It is important to note that you will go back and forth between the two. This is all part of the process of shifting from being part of the problem to becoming part of the solution.
Stress isn't going away. However, when we learn to shift our stress reaction to more response-able actions, solutions are much easier to find. The good news: we aren't going to do this perfectly. Now you can relax. We will journey back and forth between our humanness and our soulfulness. The goal is about living less from human reactivity and more from our soulful selves. That part of the journey is where we will experience a mature love that leads to self and other caring. When enough of us do that the world will shift from reacting to responding.
Deborah Chelette-Wilson is a Licensed Professional Counselor, speaker and life coach who has helped many women find that elusive "something missing" in their lives. We are often pulled in so many directions, that it's difficult to know how to put ourselves on our own To Do list. Deborah offers a 15-minute free life coaching session to help you identify what steps you can take to finding a more stress-free and soulfull You.