My intention in this post is to outline how I have been working on leaving an ego centred landscape to now residing in a place of love. The word love is thrown around so often these days that it’s hard to define.We all use the word in different ways, tones and situations. In this post my talk of love is not romantic but simply the love that is available to all. It’s the light that shines on you when everything else fails. It’s the light that shines into dark places so that eyes can be opened. My own eyes were turned away from that light in recent years when I experienced deep and recurrent episodes of depression. Through those years I have gained a deeper insight into not only myself but of others too. I have explored at great length the commonalities that connect us and the undoubted need for love.
There is a common belief that we are all broken and need fixing, a belief that we are somehow not enough. Perhaps there is nothing broken. Perhaps you’re already perfect and simply need to see that within yourself, through yourself and others. It is in each other where we will find support, love and honesty. It is in each other where we will see the truth of our connectedness – our oneness.
It took me many years to realise that my spirit had been broken through a series of life events and physical changes and for a long time, I thought I had no control over them. I’m not a religious person and nor do I put any faith in a power higher than myself. I have faith in my own power and my own spirit because I think that is what we all have – our own power and our own spirit – power is energy and in that way we are all connected. We are all made of the same stuff – somewhere along the way we forget what we are made of and begin to think we are different. We’re not so different – we all want love, we all want to give love and we all thrive when we reside in a place of love.
Our reactions to life events either takes us to a place of love or away from it. The problem is that so many of us are unaware of there being a place of love to return to when things get tough. What we fail to realise is that we leave that place of love as soon as we act or feel in a way that is not loving. This includes when we act or feel unloving towards ourselves. Often we seek to avoid feeling certain emotions, so we escape the feeling and in doing so we are running away from the place of love. If only we would reside in that love and let it soothe us while we work through the emotions we are desperately not wanting to experience.
So what is this place of love?
It’s your own inner strength, your support network and your physical well being. All three things are as important as each other. It’s not a bricks and mortar building or a community hall that you go to. The place of love must always be available to you no matter where you are. Your place of love is your own kingdom of heaven – available to you here and now – not as a reward when you die. It gives you peace and clarity which is so important for your well being.
Everything we do for and to ourselves comes from ourselves. It can be love based or from fear. No matter what is going on in our lives, we are responsible for how we respond. I want to be very clear on this. Things that happen to you are not always in your control – but how you respond to these things is very much in your control. What happens to you does not define you – how you respond does.
I have come to deeply know that the combination of inner strength, a good support network and my physical well being is important because without all three I will struggle. Without a support network you may well still be able to reside in a place of love but it will be much harder to stay there and to be honest, most of us are not that high powered in spirit to attain it and maintain it. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to. I crave the connection that revealing ourselves creates with others. Without inner strength, your support network will be less effective and the same goes for your physical well being. All three are needed for optimal results. So let’s move on to these three important elements.
Our inner strength is what helps us deal with everything that life throws at us. It’s the difference between crumbling at the first sign of trouble and standing tall with your feet planted firmly on the ground when trouble comes knocking on your door. Your inner strength is just that – inside. The only way to find your inner strength is to find yourself by getting to know yourself with honesty.
Knowing And Accepting Yourself
Knowing your personality enables you to understand who you are and how you function best. You can use your best personality traits to your advantage and being aware of your not so good personality traits can help you to gain a new insight about yourself. Your so called faults are merely the unknown or unacknowledged parts of yourself. The negative aspects to any person’s personality is usually based on fear. Getting angry all the time? Then perhaps ask yourself what are you afraid of? Or what are you avoiding?
We often think we know ourselves far more than we really do. If you think about the way you dress you might think that your fashion choices are based solely on what you like. But what if that’s not true? Have you ever seen an item of clothing and your very first reaction was a rush of joy because you really like it? Then was that thought immediately followed by ‘reasoning’ with yourself ‘don’t be ridiculous’? I know for many years I would see certain items of clothing or accessories and would get that rush of joy simply by looking at it – but something would stop me from trying it. That something was the fear of being judged. People might think I look silly or too much like a guy. You see I’m not a fan of skirts or dresses – I love three quarter pants, hippy pants, jeans and leggings. I like the freedom of being able to sit however I like without doing the ‘breakfast show’. When I wear skirts I feel quite awkward because I feel like I am being someone else. I have always been quite a tomboy and instead of fighting that based on a history of others telling me that’s a bad thing (as well as dressing like a guy apparently!), I decided to embrace who I really am. I don’t call myself a tomboy or anything other than I AM.
You might think your fashion choices have nothing to do with knowing yourself but the decisions we make about how we dress and WHY we make those decisions is very indicative to how well we really know and accept ourselves. Are you dressing yourself or are you being dressed by society? Has someone told you that certain colours just don’t suit you, yet you love those colours? Do you wear the colours you love or do you avoid it because of what others say? These are interesting questions to ask yourself because it lets you slowly chip away at being moulded by others versus being your true self. When you honour your true self – you are building and honouring your inner strength.
Do you cry easily? Are you often told that you are just a softy as if to imply that you are weak? I have quite a few friends who get leaky eyes very easily and who others perceive to be ‘overly emotional’ while I see them as more of an empath. They just feel things deeply. I think that’s an excellent trait to have – so it leaks a few more tears – so what! What a wonderful trait to have – to be able to feel so deeply and to be open enough to show that through tears. In a world that tries to hide tears or sadness or grief – it’s a welcome relief.
So back to getting angry. When you read above about your anger being about fear or avoidance, what thoughts went through your head? Ask yourself these kind of questions often enough and be OK with your honest answers. If you are continually trying to stop yourself from answering truthfully then it’s a clear indication that you are in fear of the truth.
I used to get angry a hell of a lot. I still do get angry to be honest but only very occasionally now. My anger used to frustrate others and myself but it felt like it had been imprinted on me by others as a permanent personality trait. I didn’t accept that because deep down I know that anger is not meant to be a permanent trait nor does it reside in love, the place I knew I wanted to be. So the work I did with myself involved asking questions, taking notice of the answers – and trust me, the answers were not always truthful. We as humans are masters of deception when it comes to protecting ourselves.
I have a history of addictions (drugs) and I know myself well enough to know that I must revisit all answers to personal soul seeking questions – I can’t always rely on the first ‘still in fear’ answers. So I just kept asking the same questions over time and eventually I was moving closer to a place of love wherein I was able to admit to myself that my anger was often a reaction to feeling like I wasn’t being heard or believed.
So the only option other than anger is to express that feeling properly by simply asking whoever I was dealing with – are you really listening to me? It also meant I had to accept that not everyone is going to believe me and that’s out of my control. Not everyone is going to listen to me and when that happens, rather than get angry I should simply speak my truth and then let it go. I don’t deny when I feel angry – but I don’t permit it to take control of me any longer. I acknowledge I am angry, I am aware of why I am angry and I then I am able to diffuse the situation in my head rather than letting it explode.
I accept that I have a somewhat short fuse but my refusal to permit anger to rule my life any longer has helped me to reside in a place of love and when I reside there all of my responses to life stresses are calmer and heart centred rather than ego centred. In doing all the work I did in regards to my anger I also had to look at my whole lifestyle to pinpoint areas that were not helpful or loving towards myself.
When we think about how we deal with anger or how we dress, it might not occur to us that these things would have anything to do with knowing or accepting ourselves but it is these small things all combined that really do determine what we think about ourselves. What we think about ourselves is shaped by what we do and how we react to things.
Accepting yourself where you are at right now helps you to move forward to where you want to be. This whole road for me has been one step forward and two steps back with one sideways kick for good measure! I resisted change in the past, but now I welcome it. When that change happens and it’s hard to cope with, I remind myself that this too shall pass. Everything is temporary – including us. How you feel today is not how you will feel next year. Who you are today will not be who you are in the next decade. Change is not optional – we need to accept that and get on with our lives in the present. My father died suddenly last year and my daughter is about to have her first baby – life keeps going and we need to keep up with it. Being able to share our emotions along the way rather than bottle them up enables us to accept our vulnerability which in turn builds our inner strength because we are truly knowing and allowing ourselves.
Accepting ourselves how we are right now means we can cut some slack too. I was forever beating up on myself for not getting to some perceived goal on time. I would consider myself a failure and give up. Over time my support network kicked into gear and reminded me of who I am and why I am lovable and worthy. When you are down it’s really hard to give yourself love unless you believe you are worth it.
I wouldn’t be able to keep this post at an accepted level of words if I even tried to explain fully how I came to truly love and accept myself. I spent years confusing self love with needing to look good, like whatever image the media portrayed for that year as ‘hot’. Well I got over that thank goodness and got on with actually finding myself and what makes me tick. The things that are important to me have nothing to do with looks or body shape – how pretentious and boring. I was seeking beauty of the inside of a person (including myself) and when I found that in a supportive network, this beauty was reflected back at me. I was finally able to see my own inner beauty. I knew my support crew – my tribe – were awesome but now I knew that I was fucking awesome too. The most amazing thing is that I was part of other people’s support network as well. It works like that because being a lovely supportive person while being supported yourself breeds even more supportive and lovely people.
Knowing yourself and accepting yourself is key to building your inner strength.
Your Support Network
Surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family members is so important. These are the people who accept you in your highs and lows. They offer you honesty with love and no bullshit. If they think you are self destructing – they step in and say so. If they think what you are doing is great, they let you know. They offer you true kindness and love which of course helps you to thrive.
We all have had people in our lives who have back stabbed us or betrayed us in some way and we know it’s an awful feeling. This is what toxic people do to you. Do not let toxic people remain in your life. Hell we only have one life to live – live it without the cocktail of bitchy friends who only ever make you feel like the hangover from hell.
Your support network is where you seek advice, encouragement and honesty. They are not the people you use or become addicted to. Your own inner strength is boosted by these wonderful people – not your own personal ’emotional bank account’. Be mindful of your own needs versus their needs and don’t let it get out of whack. Be willing to really listen to these people when they have your best interests at heart.
It should go without saying that unless we look after the mind and body – everything else will be worthless. What’s the point of everything you create in life going great guns if you aren’t well enough to enjoy it all? Look after yourself – and that looks different for all of us. Eat foods that are good for you and make you feel vibrant. Do activities that use your body to the best of your ability and give you mental clarity. Take time to be by yourself with time to reflect on life and what you want from it. Learn to be grateful for all that you have and offer thanks to whoever or whatever you feel is your higher power – or just simply be grateful.
When you get all of these things into place – then you are able to reside in a place of love – always.