We all have ups and downs in this life. In my experience as a social worker, I have seen many people go through highs and lows, and like most humans, I have felt this in my own life as well. However, there is nothing more soul grabbing than watching someone you love, particularly your own child, go through hard times. As a parent, we want nothing more than to see our children thriving and well. We expect that they may have some bumps along the way, but when we see that they are deeply hurting, whether mentally or physically, it can rock the very foundation of our emotional world.
I remember feeling helpless when my younger son went through a tough period in middle school and spent much of his summer isolating himself in his room. Like most of us have felt at some point, he was experiencing a false sense of “not measuring up,” and his social life reflected this opinion of himself because our outer world always reflects what we believe about ourselves.
That was one of the tougher times as a parent for me. I am generally a happy person most of the time, and although I have experienced other life challenges, I was usually able to gain perspective and find a sense of well-being. But with the ones we love, it’s the things we can’t control, the circumstances that are out of our hands, that can rock us to the core.
We Can Only Create In Our Own Lives…But Can We Influence With Our Perspective?
At the time when my son was struggling, I felt helpless to do anything to help him because he would not allow me in. I felt my heart shrink and my emotions plummet because I could feel his pain. I wished that I could take it on for him, but of course, that doesn’t work. Life felt harder to navigate because of the weight of the situation, and the feeling of helplessness made it harder. My strategies could not change the one thing that I felt I needed to feel better, which was his happiness.
But…I did continue to practice meditation, and it allowed me perspectives that DID HELP me. I realized that my son is strong and wise, even if he was not in touch with that part of himself at that time. I also realized that part of him could guide him through that difficult time, or through anything. I began to focus on that aspect of him, and then to speak to him as if that part was present, even though he was not demonstrating it at that moment. And you know what? That deeper and wiser part of him showed up more often. Not all the time, but it did come out. Over time the more I absolutely knew and treated him with this higher perspective, the more that side of him made an appearance. Circumstances and events also showed up to reinforce this, and he began to live his life with more of that aspect in himself present. He has had his ups and downs like any teen, but he works through them for the better.
By Paying Attention To What is Good Or Bad In A Situation We Conger More Of It
I learned some important things from that experience. When we act and treat those around us as if they are their best version of themselves, that version may show up more and more often. The same goes if we expect the worst version of a person or situation. We DO NOT control others or their experience, but we have some influence when we choose to see the best, or worst, in them. They get to decide what they focus on and therefore create in their own lives, but what we think about them does influence what they show us, and potentially what they see in themselves.
We have all had experiences when we were in the presence of someone who expects us to behave in certain ways, and unless we are very steady and prepare for these patterns to emerge, in those times we may find ourselves falling into living out those expectations.
- Have you ever been in a family situation, even as an adult, and found yourself responding to family members in a similar fashion to what once was? Or have you ever been in the presence of someone who you felt was critical or judgemental, and found yourself making mistakes or unable to do the things you normally do more easily?
- However, if someone is loving you, and genuinely believes in you, you are able to do things and see things more easily. Being in their presence is uplifting and you are able to see the good in yourself more easily.
- These are examples of how perception and expectations can powerfully influence outcome and behavior. We also live up to our own expectations of ourselves.
We don’t always have control over outer circumstances, but what we focus on and how we think about things is reflected back to us in what we experience. As members of humanity, we are going to experience some significant challenges from time to time. But how we think about those challenges, and what we choose to focus on has everything to do with what circumstances we are attracting into our own lives.
But Life Is About Going Through Experiences, Not Hiding From Them… What Strategies Can Be Helpful?
What Strategies Can Be Helpful? Allowing circumstances to BE, without trying to fix them while we are feeling unsettled. Just let them BE for a while. Give your mind a rest.
Meditation, which simply means allowing your mind the luxury of not thinking. Here are some strategies that can be helpful:
- Listen to meditation music with your eyes closed, and do deep belly breathing, for 10-15 minutes. When thoughts come, just breathe through them. Understand that a meditation practice lightens everything and allows mental/emotional healing. Like a cut needs disinfectant and a bandaid to protect it from infection, meditation allows healing to do its thing…and it works. It allows the wiser part of you to flow into your experience.
- Self-talk like “It is what it is” or “It will work out” or “No big deal” or any inner statement that helps you let go without the mental struggle.
- Gain an inner perspective by stepping outside the situation and giving yourself, “mental space.”
- Use the power of distraction to take your mind off the situation, and allow perspective.
- Direct attention to positive outcomes as much as possible.
- Practice the art of appreciation, to recognize positives in the situation.
- If you are unable to find positives in the immediate situation, redirect attention to anything positive in life. It can be as simple as, “I feel better today because the sun is shining.” or “ I look forward to having pizza for dinner” Any small point of appreciation will work.
- Be easy on yourself if you have rough moments, and realize that is part of life. Know that you can allow more flow and ease in your life.
DO NOT FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT!
If you are feeling really bad, do not try to pretend to feel good. DO NOT FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT! You cannot fool the universe and pretend to feel different than you do, but you can slowly ease into a better feeling, by thinking something slightly better, and keep moving up the emotional scale. Things you can do are:
- Say more general statements to yourself like, “Whatever” or “It is what it is.”
- Until you feel slightly better and can make a TRUE statement, DO NOT TRY TO PRETEND TO FEEL POSITIVE.
- Until you can make a statement that FEELS true to you, it will just cause more resistance.
- You can ease into better feeling statements like, such as, “I may not know or understand why this is happening, but I know that somehow it will work out for me.” Or “I know everything is working out for me, and even when I don’t see or know exactly how it will somehow work out.” Or “Even if I don’t know how at this time, I know something positive will come from this situation.
- So don’t try to say you feel good when you feel terrible. Just use neutral statements that help you ease into a better feeling.
- Once you ease up the emotional scale to feeling slightly better, you won’t be lying to yourself when you say something more positive.
- When it feels like it could be true, is when you know it is working for you.
- When you do work yourself up to feeling good, you can use more positive statements like, “All is well” and “Everything is always working out for me” or whatever statement feels most natural to you.
- But like a seed does not grow into a flower in a day, your beliefs need time to grow and show themselves, as well.
We Only Have Something To Offer When We
“Fill Our Own Cup”
I learned that feeling bad for someone may feel like you are helping by empathizing with them, but in reality, you are only adding to the “suffering pool.” In order to inspire, we have to be solid in our confidence in the good or positive outcome. If I had joined in with my son and let him know how sorry I was that life was treating him badly, it would have been easier for him to feel bad about life and therefore reinforce that belief in himself, creating more of that reality in his life.
In other words, if we stand at the top of a sinkhole that someone has fallen into, we can throw a rope down so that they can climb out if they choose to. But they have to decide to climb out. How exhausting to try and carry them up…And it would not work anyway! If we jump in with them, we have no way of helping and only make ourselves helpless with them. As Abraham Hicks says, “You can’t feel bad enough to make anyone else feel good.”
You Can’t Resolve A Problem From The Mindset Of The Problem
When you try to resolve a problem from the mindset of the problem, you end up with solutions that are unsatisfying or lead to more problems.
In order to allow in the most beneficial resolution, it is important to let go and get into a more relaxed and open state of mind to allow in solutions that are beneficial. Some of the greatest thinkers, including Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, were known to take naps when they felt “stuck.” When they woke up, they would find the answers to questions they were stuck on. Giving your mind a rest without trying so hard to think, allows the most beneficial answers to come.
Meditation, sleep, appreciation, exercise, distraction… All of these things can help to get your mind in a more relaxed state. They can create a “Mind Reset.”
Reacting To Outer Circumstances Of Our Lives
Most of us react to the circumstances and outer events of our lives. The Law of Attraction shows us that by reacting to events, we give them attention, which creates more similar events. But by choosing to consciously focus on something else, we pattern interrupt and then create in a different direction.
We may not be able to go from fearful or anxious, to happy and well, in an instant. But we can shift into something a little better, and we can move to a more hopeful perspective. From that thought, it is easier to move in a more positive direction.
Truly Helping the Ones We Love, Or Helping Anyone…
In order to help or inspire anyone, we need to be able to conger up the best version of them and treat them as if… If we are not able to do that, and in some cases, we may not be, then we are best to stay away. Helping people by stating what is wrong will not help. As humans, we think we are helping by warning them, or by helping them to be aware, which makes sense in our “reality.” But we create reality with our perceptions and beliefs, and others can be influenced by our beliefs, especially if they are not stable on their own.
So… to truly help is to see the best in others. Sounds simple, and it is. But if we cannot do that, stay away and think as neutral or as little as possible about that person, until you can have thoughts about them that are not negative.
As I write this, I know that there are those people and circumstances in my own about myself and others, that I sometimes struggle to see the positive in, or that I feel critical of. And there are the moments I feel frustrated, angry, or overwhelmed. But with that said, my motto is: Be as kind as I can to myself, know all is well, and keep reaching for the better feeling though…
Our experience is meant to have times when we feel deeply challenged, because life could not expand into greater things without that... But we are not meant to stay there. When we can see the greater part of ourselves and others, and treat them AS IF, then we activate what we want in any situation. And when we can be okay with ourselves and others when we have those challenging times and know better things are right there and keep coming, then we can walk on through to the sunnier side of life!