The beasts you waste your life hiding from are only figments of your imagination.
You are the master and creator of who you get to be, how big you allow yourself to dream, what limits you decide to cater to, and what beliefs you do or do not shrink in front of.
Any discomfort you must face to liberate yourself is worth your courage and determination a million times over.
The potential of your being is limitless and the sooner you face the things that feel unbearable and boldly walk through the dark jungles that haunt your mind, you’ll discover these fears are all simply illusions of your ego. Your soul will laugh and heave a giant exhale at the relief and wonder of what truly is relative to what you used to believe.
Sometimes, no matter how much it hurts or how much you want it, understanding and resolution of conflict between you and someone else will not actually happen with that person. It may be because they are no longer alive, because they are no longer connected to your life, or because they are not willing or able to engage in effective and meaningful process.
This is hard, because we innately want to alleviate pain, and we tend to look outside ourselves for that relief. This is why it’s essential to understand that resolution and healing is always something that you can give yourself and that your wholeness, peace and wellbeing are never dependent upon anyone else.
When navigating conflict with someone isn’t an option, what’s the alternative? Turn inward, seek as much understanding of what’s happened as you can, seize opportunities to challenge your thinking and behavior, and allow for as many inspirations for your own growth as possible. Then move all that energy—cry, scream, write, read, run, meditate, go outside, confide in people whose counsel you trust, repeat as needed, and move forward.
Responses to conflict have less to do with what anyone “deserves” and more to do with how we relate to ourselves and our understanding of our emotions, fears and defenses. Try to not take others’ limitations in conflict personally; some comfort can be found in accepting that we’re usually all doing the best we know how to do in the moment.
If the person you’re struggling with isn’t in your life anymore, then moving forward is just that: moving forward without them. If they are in your life, then challenges and disappointment in conflict resolution don’t necessarily have to be deal breakers regarding whether or not you maintain the connection. You may want to look at shifting how close you allow them to be to your innermost circles, where you’re most vulnerable, but remember that too is fluid. Long-term relationships usually ebb and flow in intimacy and distance depending on where people are at in their lives and their individual growth; this is normal and you can allow for it without compromising your own boundaries and wellbeing.
It’s the assumption that some of the basic tenants of being human are WRONG, combined with running, avoidance, and distraction from these experiences that truly drives our suffering.
What we resist or try to work around will only scream at us louder and push on our lives harder. I know there are dark chapters that make this nearly impossible to believe, but there is nothing that you cannot face. Your soul is infinitely powerful and loving. It’s the fragile human ego that confuses you about your unyielding capacity for courage, grace and evolution.
When you find yourself holding your breath, stop to BREATHE. Relax the body. Ask yourself what it is you are resisting. Trust yourself enough to move beyond what you believe your limits are.
We will never know true peace or fulfillment by hiding, waiting for “better” or “safer” circumstances, or holding out for more ideal versions of ourselves or lives to appear FIRST.
Whatever is in front of you right now is going to show you the glory of who you really are. It’s in consciously walking through the things you’re most scared to face that you’ll find the greatest liberation possible. Know that through every step of it, you are surrounded by profound love.
On a flight home last week there was an infant in the row behind me making every amazing infant noise and expression. This was on the eve of my oldest’s 10th birthday, and my heart began to reminisce about how mothering a newborn on a plane felt both like something that happened last week and like something that happened to a different woman entirely.
Time is such a strange mystery this way. Things can feel simultaneously like they just happened and like they were a lifetime ago… because both are true. Linear time, if you believe in such a thing, does seem to move quickly, especially the older we get. And along the way, each week, month and year, new and different you’s are being born and shed, created and lost. The you that experienced that memory of a year or a decade or several decades ago was a different lifetime of sorts because it was experienced by a different you.
Given these inevitable changes, I think we’d find more fulfillment and liberation in celebrating time’s fluidity and evasiveness. Let’s respect its magic by obsessing less about controlling, managing and balancing it all and more about simply giving ourselves permission to live fully in the moment. The clichés are true: the present is all we actually have and we will never again have the opportunity to experience its unique and precious gifts.
“nor·mal/nôrməl/ : conforming to a standard; usual, typical, expected.” – Could there be a less inspiring sentiment?
The true meaning of “normal” has no life or vigor and yet our fear-based egos desperately watch, measure and assess how who we are and what we are doing compares to everyone else. It tries to hide the parts of us it fears deviate from the norm because we are too sensitive, messy, complicated, challenging… or not motivated, creative, humorous or successful enough. In front of vulnerable truths ego would prefer to place shiny facades and carefully crafted PR blips.
There are so many heartbreaking problems with this form of defense. It keeps us terrified that we aren’t truly worthy or lovable because no one knows the REAL us. It keeps us alienated from meaningful connection because no one can reach us behind all the cover up. And perhaps most persistently problematic, it maintains the groupthink that there even is such a thing as “normal”, which perpetuates misunderstanding of what is honorable, honest, raw and meaningful about the human experience.
So I beg of us, if not for ourselves (though I want for that to be the greatest motivator), then for each other, let’s give up trying to be what we think we should be and start wholeheartedly being—simply being. I am certain we will find greater peace, energy, love and fulfillment liberated from the chains of assumption about other people’s expectations of us.