Hello again my Friend!
Today let us continue our conversation about taking responsibility for your life - true, deep, emotional responsibility.
It basically boils down to the idea that when you are taking responsibility for your life, you are stepping out of a victim role. You are empowering yourself and you are making way for yourself to have a JOYFUL experience in your life - no matter what your circumstances are. Whats more, you are making way for yourself to feel LIBERATED in your life, no matter what. You are creating a space where you never again feel trapped or forced or backed into a corner. Where you will feel the spaciousness of your true nature.
Imagine that. Being able to be happy and grateful, being able to see the bright side of all things - no matter what.
Being able to have underlying joy, even in times of pain, sadness, loss, grief or turmoil.
Yeah. Sounds amazing. And it is totally and completely possible.
Here is how you do it.
So How Do You Take Responsibility?
Now that you are getting on board with the idea that taking responsibility for your life and your emotional state is in no way accepting blame or admitting to being wrong, now that you see that it is simply a reflection of that fact that you are ready and willing to step into greater ease, greater alignment with yourself, a greater and more expanded view of your power - you are probably thinking, "Alright Ali, this all sounds stupendous. But how in the heck do I actually DO IT?! What does taking responsibility for my life LOOK LIKE in practical terms?"
Don't worry friend. I got you. Let’s break down taking responsibility for yourself in your life into simple, doable steps. No sweeping life changes needed.
First step: You Douse Yourself In A Huge Wave Of Love, Compassion, Respect And Reverence, Letting Yourself Feel Whatever You Actually Feel.
The very first and most important step on the journey to taking responsibility for yourself and your life is acknowledging all that you have been through, all that you have overcome, all that you have learned and all you have traversed. While you do this, you accept and embrace whole heartedly that you feel what you feel right now about all of that.
This requires that you take some time out to mindfully and whole-heartedly bless yourself. Love on yourself. Celebrate yourself. Allow yourself to grieve any disappointments or losses. At the same time, you allow yourself to be angry or sad or resentful of the past if you must. No more telling yourself that you should feel differently than you do. No more denying that you feel what you feel.
You allow yourself to own who you are and what you feel in this moment.
This step is massively important. Please give yourself the time and space to process any emotions that are living and active within you now. To notice how your current life circumstances are making you FEEL and simply taking the time to feel those feelings. Learning how to acknowledge your feelings without having to project them outwards in the moment is going to serve you on the rest of the journey. Learning how to acknowledge your feelings and not pretend that they do not exist, or that you should not be feeling them is also vitally important.
Notice where you tell yourself that you 'shouldn't' feel how you feel, and replace that with understanding. Notice your resistance to allowing yourself to feel what you want to feel, and deeply question that resistance. Notice how telling yourself you should not feel how you feel does not actually prevent you from feeling how you are feeling - all it does is cause you to lash out and express these feelings at inappropriate times, or to engage in self destructive behaviors in order that you may distract yourself from your feelings.
Learn to get still and be with your feelings without trying to fix yourself. Acknowledge feeling.
This step, this first step of learning to love who you are in this moment, and learning to accept what you feel as not ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ but a new area within yourself to love is a whole journey in and of itself.
This is no overnight process. Give yourself lots and lots of time and space for step number one. Also recognize that you will return to practicing this step of self-love, self-celebration and self-acknowledgment/honesty many, many times for the rest of your life. In fact, you will want to practice this step so often that it simply becomes your second nature to respond to yourself in this way.
How Do I Process All This?
There are a few techniques for this section that I recommend:
Journalling: Get yourself a journal, and commit to writing in it for at least 15 minutes a day. I highly recommend 'stream of consciousness' writing. In this practice you set a timer for 15 minutes, and during that 15 minutes you write without allowing yourself to move your pen from your paper. Allow all the surface stuff to be filtered through off the top of your head, and then start to allow the deeper, truer emotions, thoughts and feelings to be revealed. Remember, no censoring yourself or telling yourself you 'should' or 'shouldn't' think or feel something. You are where you are. Then, in all those 'ugly' or 'scary' emotions, send yourself love and compassion rather than judgement or shame and see how you feel. Illuminate, love repeat.
Trusted Friend Venting: Sit down with someone you know you can deeply trust who can hold space for you to vent and express and share with them all that is on your mind and heart. Pick someone who is capable of seeing you in your light, even when you can't see yourself in your light. Someone who has no intention of 'fixing you' but rather who just thinks you are the bees knees, and knows you will always come to your own answers. If they freak out with you, this is not the right friend.
Therapist: Get a therapist: A therapist who can be an impartial witness to your process is absolutly amazing for this part of your journey. If you can find someone who can create a space for you to vent and accept who and what you are in this moment, go for it.
Personal Inquiry Work: When you feel a strong emotion, when you have a strong desire to do something self destructive, when you sense yourself resisting reality and pushing against what you are - this is the time to stop, go within, FEEL your emotion, and then send love to that area. Spend at least 15-20 minutes every day in silence with yourself. Feeling what you feel. Thinking what you are thinking. Watching your habitual patterns of either racing to fix or change yourself, or to wallow in victim mentality. Start to become LOVINGLY self honest about where you are at in this moment. Again, lovingly is important.
Loving What Is Meditation: Here is a great meditation to get you started with making peace with your negative emotions that you want to run from -
This step is not about trying to ‘fix’ or ‘heal’ or ‘change’ anything about you. This is about owning who and what you are in this moment, and seeing the beauty and perfection in that.
Remember, this is illuminate what is, love what is, repeat.
Stick with this. It is so worth your time and energy.
Second Step: Give Yourself Space To Consider That Nothing Could Have Been Any Different Than It Was.
In this step, you will start to heal the mental and emotional wounds of your past perceptions.
Allow yourself to sit in the idea that everything in your life – all the good stuff and all the painful stuff - worked out exactly as it was always going to work out. There were no other options; no other ways things could have gone in the past. Hindsight does not count for you 10 years ago, or 2 years ago or 6 months ago or 2 minutes ago.
You knew what you knew then, and only that. You didn’t know then what you know now. They did not know then what you or they know now.
All the events in your life went how they went. Again, give yourself space and time to process, and come to terms with this.
It was no ones fault. It was what it was.
At first, you do not even need to look for 'meaning' in what happened. Just try to bring yourself to a place where you can embrace the fact that the past was the only way the past could have been. That you have not made any mistakes.
Once you can start to wrap your mind around the idea that perhaps things could not have been any other way than the way they were, consider everything in your life that you have had regret about up to this point. That you have thought should have been different. That you felt went down in a way that they should not have. All those situations in your life that you look back on and think ‘if only I had done or said this or that differently.’ “If only they had done this or that differently.”
Let Yourself Morn It One More Time:
Let yourself indulge in the fantasy one more time.
Let yourself fully morn the fact that things did not go how you wanted them to, and to visualize everything you wish had gone down.
Feel in your body what this kind of regretting and fantasizing feels like.
Consider The Learning:
Then consider the fact that the wisdom that you have now that is enabling you to wish things had gone a different way was only obtained through them NOT going that way.
The only reason you know what you know now, is because things went precisely the way that they did.
You are who you are now, knowing what you know, only because of the fact that things went ‘wrong.’
Notice how that feels in your body.
Review Your New Understandings:
Now, take everything that you know NOW because of what you have been through. Look at all this knowledge as a blessing. Look at all the wisdom, knowledge and better decision-making skills you have now, having gone through what you have gone through.
Allow your past to be something that offered you new knowledge that you did not have before, rather than something that was a mistake in which you should have known better.
You know better NOW because of not knowing different THEN. You have the information you have now, because of not having it then.
Start to apply this to all your regrets.
Notice how it feels to tell yourself things could have gone no other way, and how it feels to simply allow yourself to integrate the information those circumstances provided for you.
Use Your Wisdom Rather Than Beating Yourself With It:
You have the wisdom now. You don’t need to beat yourself up for not having it then anymore. Once you stop using your new knowledge as a bat to beat yourself over the head with, it can be what it was meant to be - a tool to help you do better NOW.
If you keep focusing on how the past should have been different, you will never fully integrate what the past was teaching you, and will never fully be able to live out the new information you now have.
You cannot change what happened. But you can use what happened to help you change your NOW. But only if you stop regretting what happened.
You have to let go of the fantasy in order to take the wisdom of the reality.
Give yourself a chance to do differently NOW by understanding that the past could never have gone any other way. You should not have done better before, but you CAN do better now. That is all the past was - a school that empowered you with new information, which you can now apply to make your life better today.
It was what it was, so that you could become who you are NOW, not so that you could be who you are now back then.
Take some space to integrate this stuff. To stop fixing you, and start loving you. To start seeing how your past served you, instead of pointing out how you suck.
Next week we will wrap up this taking responsibility business. For now, practice.