Sometimes you can push through things and sometimes you can't. Learning when you need to slow down and when you can push through is something I've tripped over a few times. I want to give you the low down so you don't have to do this yourself. So, let's talk about it!
Do you see the value in what's being offered through the experience?
That's the first question to ask. Your life experience is offering you something. Do you see the value in that?
When it's what you perceive to be a negative experience or a problem, you may not see it so clearly. You may be focusing on the problem. If that brings up any sort of fear, you'll run away from it if you don't check the fear first. Where's the fear? Are you just afraid of a bad outcome? What else is going on?
I've sat in that fear many times. But as I did it more I started to see the value in the experiences even though they weren't necessarily turning out the way I wanted them to. I understood the reward that came with sitting in the fear of problems. Understanding the reward made it easier and easier to stay there and not be in fear. I was more willing to take on problems because I was no longer afraid of them.
The second piece of this is your focus. What are you focusing on?
When you're sitting in a problem or a potential problem, you do the best you can to make a plan. Sometimes you can fix it and sometimes you can't. Sometimes it's not even yours and you just need to recognize that so you can walk away. Once you've made a plan, if there is one to make, then you commit to the plan. You make a strategy and commit to it.
The commitment can run aground if you start arguing with the problem. That's why your focus is so important. When you focus on the problem, your mind will make up reasons why the strategy you have won't work. It makes you run away from your commitment to the solution. That's when the "what if?" stories start. That's when the fear shows up. That's when all the best worst-case scenarios get created. It's because you're arguing with the problem and it's causing you to make up reasons why your plan won't work.
I can't tell you the number of times that I have done exactly that. I couldn't write enough blogs to explain all the times that I've done this to myself. In my business, I've created programs and products and services to "fix" problems in my own life. I start arguing with the problem and I run away from my own strategy when I don't share the thing I created or I don't post about anything, I don't offer anything. I get stuck in the problem because my focus is wonky.
The solution to my problem was to keep posting and sharing. It wasn't that it would have necessarily resolved the problem. The ability to work through it while maintaining my focus was the skill I was meant to learn. That's why that was there. When I went back to arguing with problems, I'd get to redo the lesson again. It became a cycle for a while until I was able to maintain my focus, then the cycle stopped happening.
Am I focusing on what I need to pay attention to or am I focusing on what I think I'm supposed to be paying attention to? Can you see the difference?
Life taught you to focus on problems because those are the priority. Life lied to you. Don't do that because it doesn't help. It takes your focus away from where it needs to be. When you argue with problems it gives your mind an excuse to make up all kinds of stuff. But when you focus on what you need to be doing or the plan you've created for yourself, then you're not making up stories. Your mind isn't running wild. The problem can be there and you can still be okay within yourself. It doesn't bring up all the stuff anymore.
None of this means that you get the outcome you want. All it means is that you're okay in your own life. The world around you stops being able to throw you off so easily. You're less ruffled. You feel better. That's the power of focus.
Guess what? Now you've learned to make yourself comfortable in your own chair (your current reality). Now you don't need reality to shift a whole bunch so you can feel better. Now you're okay in your own chaos. Notice what we didn't do - we didn't fix the outside world. We fixed our focus. We learned how to respond differently. We learned how to leave problems where they are and not argue with them.
Now that you're comfortable in your own chair, you can begin to figure out what you actually need to fix. You know what? Those solutions are different than they would have been if you were still arguing with the problems. Those solutions are different because you're no longer working from pain. Pain makes you want to avoid problems and so your solutions are based on problem avoidance. But life isn't about avoiding problems. Life is about learning to manage problems because the problems are always going to be there, kind of like dust. dust is always there. You just learn to live with it.
This also gives you the ability to push through things without getting distracted. Your focus will be okay so you'll have awareness of yourself. You'll recognize when you can push through and when you can't because you'll be aware of your own focus and consequently your own emotions.
The difficulty in self-awareness happens because we don't have control over our own focus. We're all over the place because we let the mind decide what to pay attention to. That's like living with a squirrel in your head. It creates chaos. When you're deciding what to pay attention to and not your mind, it offers you calm. Calm allows for easier self-awareness, even when problems are present.
Self-awareness is how you recognize when you can push through and when you can't. It's how you become aware of your own avoidance of things. You don't want to deal with that feeling so you avoid it and squish it. Eventually you run into it and probably trip over it. Eventually it stops you from moving forward.
You avoided it, consciously or unconsciously, and now it's in your way. You have a choice. You either continue to try to run over it or you deal with it. I get this because I've been here. I know what this is. When you're me, I literally do self-awareness for a living. It's not just me taking care of me, it's me showing you how to do it for yourself through my own experience of it. Well guess what? I procrastinate on this stuff too. And yes, I trip over it sometimes because I don't want to deal with it some days either. But I have to and I know what happens if I don't.
It's okay to be human. It's okay that you avoided that thing. It's okay that it caused you trouble because you avoided it. It's okay that you learned from that. This self-awareness stuff is a 24 hour, 7 day a week gig. It doesn't ever really end. I've learned lots of skills and I am really good at managing my own focus and I've made my chair pretty comfortable for myself without changing a whole lot in terms of my circumstances. But I'm going to tell you something - I get lazy with it too sometimes. I avoid it for a day or 2 if I can.
I have a saying now and it's this. It's not about whether or not I'll do the work on myself, it's just how long it takes me to get there. How long will I procrastinate? How long will I avoid it? How long will I argue with it? Eventually I will do it. That underlying commitment to myself and to you is why I keep going and ultimately do the work anyway.
It doesn't end you just get better at it. For me now, it feels a lot less like work than it used to. I used to have to really try to do these things. There was major effort involved. Now for most things, I'm not trying as hard anymore because I don't have to. I have the skills in place now. It's not like life never challenges me or that the difficulty level doesn't go up sometimes. It's just that I'm better at it now. Repetition helps.
Let's have a bit of a full-circle moment and bring this back around. You have to push through your commitment to focus at first. You have to make a concerted effort to do this when you first get started. You've lived a certain way in your own mind for a very long time. It's a habit and your mind enjoys the role that it plays. It doesn't want to give that up. When you commit to taking control back from your mind, your mind will yell loudly and you will have to push through that. If you can understand the value of the reward that comes from winning back control from your mind and you can push through the yelling in your head, you will be very happy with how you feel afterward. It will make your life a lot easier.
Are you willing to make the commitment to do this?
It's a way forward that not many people talk about. I'm talking about it because I see the value in it for myself and I understand what it can change in your life when you commit to it fully.
It's a way of being and you have to want it. I started this to just fix problems. But I promise you it's become so much more than that for me. It's a way of life now and one that I wouldn't give up for anything.
You can do this too when you're ready.
Love to all.