Accepting Life’s ChallengesPosted on Sunday, May 6th, 2012 at 6:20 pm in All of Jennifer Lehr MFT's Blog, Empowerment, Self Reflection.
I am in a chapter of my life where I am sifting, sorting and reorganizing who I am. Sometimes I see the more expansive parts of myself – the parts that can hold a goal over along period of time and work towards them without much coming back in return, or the parts that have kindness, or patience, for example. It feels good to be able to recognize where we have developed ability, wisdom or some other quality.
Other times when I look at myself, I see the small parts of myself. These are the times when I am excruciatingly aware of the ‘little me.’ The little me can get stuck in many things. One minute I am fine and then a plan gets changed or something else occurs and I see myself momentarily ‘fall’ into a bad mood. Sometimes there is a big challenge that is in my life. Perhaps I feel afraid or frustrated. Perhaps I am starting to obsess.
For example, I have been feeding a wild (sort of) pair of mallard ducks that come to the pool. Except I was out of town for a day and so the ducks missed some meals. My fiancé told me that when I was out taking the dogs for a walk the ducks came and were banging against the door – obviously hungry. But he didn’t feed them. What if they hadn’t eaten? What if they didn’t come back? But they did come back a few hours later and I fed them. Later I realized that I had lost perspective. I had ‘fallen’ into my childhood where I was often alone in caring for the animals I rescued. In the moment however, I could not see any humor in the situation. I only saw potential tragedy and pain.
Why do I allow myself to have this response? What can I do?
As I continue on my path of releasing the parts of me that get stuck in negativity or where I give away my power, I have to find new ways to ‘vision’ my life. I have to find new perspectives. Sometimes I can see the way out – I can see that if I just take a small step out of my self, there is another more expansive place to stand – almost like I am another person. Other times, I cannot see past the ‘obstacle.’
In order to ‘get myself back,’ I can ask myself – what is the gift of this challenge? What am I being asked to learn, or overcome? What qualities am I being asked to develop in myself?
This can be a tricky question because we have to know ourselves well enough to answer it without self-deception. We have to know our strengths and weaknesses. We have to know where our edge is – where we are growing. This is where we can be misled if we seek advice from someone who has his or her own agenda or who doesn’t accurately see the trajectory of our growth from the past moving out into the future. For our path depends on what we are learning – not what it may look like from the outside. In other words, if someone is working on developing her boundaries and increasing her ability to care for herself, what she may need to do to continue on this path of growth may look selfish or reactionary from another’s perspective, and yet, it is completely appropriate from the perspective of this person’s path of greatest growth.
How do we figure this out? Ask yourself, historically what are my issues? For example:
• Bad boundaries
• Emotional instability
• Giving too much and then being angry
• Getting caught in ego instead of seeing the higher spiritual point of view
• Inflexibility or difficulty going with the flow
• Seeing events from a perspective of fear
• Needing to be in control
Further, some of these may pair together. I may need better boundaries while also going with the flow. These pairings indicate a greater lesson of fine-tuning and balance. How do I hold better boundaries while also letting go and allowing?
There are two key pieces to assist in making this leap into a lighter more functional you.
When I find myself brooding, I have learned to stop, and self correct by focusing on gratitude. I can create the feeling of gratitude regardless of what is occurring on the ‘outside.’ This in effect disconnects me from allowing my outer life to dictate my experience, my thoughts, and my mood.
Accepting what is. Accepting limitation.
Perhaps I didn’t get enough sleep and I am tired. I hang onto the thought that I need more sleep. I hang onto the grumpiness that thought creates and my tiredness reinforces. Or I can accept that this particular day has the limitation of tiredness and not fight it.
Or perhaps there is a person in my life who is ‘pushing my buttons.’ Can I accept this person and their limitations instead of needing them to be different? If I can accept what is, I will be free of my fighting this thing. I can allow it to be what it is and release my inner battle, choosing instead to take whatever actions are most appropriate.
Or perhaps something I am working on is in the embryo stage and I get impatient for the birth. I can accept the gift and learning of this stage instead of pushing for what will be next – the birth and flowering.
Life is cyclical. It cannot always be flowering. Sometimes the roots are growing so that the future plant and flower will be supported. Sometimes I am developing and overcoming my ‘smaller parts,’ or learning patience, persistence, vision or something else.
Life’s challenges may give us an opportunity to sort out our small ego reactions and develop the bigger perspective of the soul.
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