I am struggling with what we’ve been seeing in the world - the blatant lack of respect for fellow human beings. I’ve read everything I can on it, talked with close friends, ordered books that I think will help make sense of it all. It wasn’t until I stopped “seeking” answers and turned inward that I found what I was looking for.
I got out my watercolors, sat down on my front porch and painted a favorite scene of Hilton Head Island from a photo I had taken recently. In the solace of this mindful activity clarity began to emerge.
The world is full of scarred souls - souls who don’t know how to love because they’ve never been loved or feel they don’t deserve love. Love is the very basic of all emotions. Everything emanates from there. So if we can’t love, we can’t connect, be open, grow, be happy, feel liked, love others etc. When we are void of fulfilling emotions and don't turn inward to work on what needs to be resolved, we notice an outside nagging sense that we aren't worthy and don't belong. And to get away from this haunting feeling we start to do what kills everything good mentioned above - we judge. We judge others to get away from the subliminal judgment we invoke on ourselves far worse. Yet the haunting feeling of not belonging doesn't go away . It becomes a vicious cycle. Judge - self-judge. Judge - self-judge.
I was a scarred soul. My lack of fulfillment was overshadowing everything in my life, including my relationship with my children. I began reading every self help book I could in order to feel more connected. Nothing worked. It wasn't until I looked inward at who I was instead of outward at what I should "do" that the smoke and mirrors of my own self-deception began to clear.
I had to admit the truth of how I felt. Although I was a successful business leader I never felt good enough to enjoy success. I had allowed a failed marriage and bitter divorce to wear down my self esteem. I had always been a hard worker. But as a result of this life experience I felt that I had to strive even harder to prove myself, never allowing for joy because I was afraid it wouldn't last. These flawed assumptions launched my time on the treadmill to nowhere.
To love others we must love and accept ourselves first. We do this by staying in the moment and not guilting about the past or worrying about the future. Consistent time in this space allows vision to unfold. Here we see a plan of personal intention and action that grows awareness. There is a discipline to building self-esteem. It takes intention and practice.
Once I was able to accept myself with all my imperfections I was able to draw better boundaries between what I would and would not allow in my life. I no longer was willing to allow work to be my only driver because it had been the only thing I felt I was good at. (Corporate America is very happy to let you work yourself to an early grave.) I got "smarter" about work and set limits on my hours (which I still have trouble with). Mostly, through mindful daily practices I stopped worrying all the time and was able to listen to understand, ask the right questions, laugh, sleep better, love, smile and play in the local swimming pool with my children without feeling I should be working. That is freedom.
Wishing you mindful daily practices today - such as a walk where you notice everything and think about nothing, reading a special passage, mediation, yoga, crafts, prayer - that bring you the silence that freedom needs to hear.
For a FREE guide on Mindful Daily Practices here's a link to my FREE Flow-on-the-Go Guide - Weekly Planner for Your Well Being
If you are struggling with uncertainty and feel exhausted, disconnected and as if you can't execute at your best watch my FREE Training on Three Ways to Move to the Next Level In Your Career Right Now to 1) identify the right role for you, 2) position your transferable skills and 3) create a career portfolio that sells you before you even get an interview. If you don't know where you will be at the end of the year, you are already there.
P.S. Feel free to send this link to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in life looking for a hand to hold. Sometimes we must be the hand that reaches out.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 19-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships. Request a free consultation call.
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