What a whirlwind of a year it has been so far! At the start of 2020, I was told “this is a year for seeing clearly.” As I reflect back on what has happened over the first 5 months of the year, I can’t help but be amazed at how many issues have been brought to light to impact change. Then to think that one small virus was the catalyst is mind-boggling. However, this has also heavily impacted our emotional bodies. It has challenged our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Not only as individuals, but as a country, a society, and as humans on this Earth. The impacts of what is happening are also happening around the world in their own way.
As I sit with my thoughts, feelings, and emotions after the incident in Minneapolis, I have felt feelings of anger, helplessness, resentment, optimism, hopefulness, and humility. You may notice that this is a plethora of contradicting feelings. This is an issue my eyes were widely opened to about 15 years ago and has led to a deeper understanding on the complexity of it. I will not be sharing my opinion, as my opinions are not what is important. There is information that is very well articulated available, and I have shared some on my Facebook page if you would like to see them. I believe the understanding of the complexity of the issue is important to understand, but requires a willingness and desire to be open-minded and gain a new perspective on all sides of the coin, for like I said this issue is much more complex than most realize.
Great Change is coming, matter of fact, it is already happening. So at this time I feel the most important message to share is this: IT IS TIME TO HEAL!!! Often people read this and think about the ways inside of them that they want to heal. While this is hugely important, it is also hugely important that we CONNECT with others and help them heal too. For the connection and camaraderie that is created through connecting with others, is the type of change that we need. As a planet our children are not being raised with barriers to disconnect us as a human race. Our children have access to children all over the world. Being able to learn and practice acknowledging our own unconscious fears and biases is one of the most valuable lessons we can learn, as well as teach our youth.
Here are ways that we can help each other heal and start to make deep rooted changes that positively impact the changing world around us.
1. Listen to Understand… not just hear
Listening is actually a very hard thing to do. It can be exhausting! Listening to understand involves managing your own thoughts and emotions, so that you can stay present with what the other person is saying. This also involves paying attention to non-verbal communication. Using body language, tone, context, etc these help add the color to the picture that is being painted with the words. Many people think in pictures, which can make using words to verbalize what they are trying to say in the context they are trying to say it difficult. I often comment on “If only we could speak in pictures” with clients who think this way, because words don’t seem to fully grasp what we are trying to say. Being present and aware opens you to understanding and widening your perspective.
2. Learn to Be In Control of Your Thoughts and Feelings
This is a challenge in our day and age. Our thoughts usually hijack our brain and take us down rabbit holes that can be narrow-minded, and usually lead to negative emotions that make us feel uncomfortable. Learning to control your thoughts and emotions takes practice and a conscious effort. However, like everything else, the more you bring your awareness to it and focus on being an observer not the thinker/feeler, you will begin to experience your own freedom and healing. The more you practice the easier it becomes. For tips on doing this check out this blog.
Regardless of your thoughts and feelings, it is necessary to build an understanding that we are all HUMAN and are trying to do the best we can with the life we have. Doing things the “right way” or “wrong way” are just labels we place on the things based on our perception. Understand that there may be more that one way to live. Empathy helps stop the push and pull of arguments. Empathy by definition is “the ability to understand and share feelings of another.” Having empathy doesn’t mean you have to agree with someone else. You have the right to have your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Adding empathy to a conversation is similar to watching a movie in 3D at the IMAX rather than watching it on tv.
4. Observe the Subtle Changes in Your Body When Encountering Unpleasant Situations
This seems so simple, but it is not. What we have learned more of over the past 10 years is that our bodies hold our emotions. They are like storage capsules for unresolved emotions. This is why some mental ailments can lead to physical health issues if left unexplored. As a society we have utilized logic and our mental processing as ways to protect ourselves from the fears of life. Evidence and proof have trumped trusting our instincts and intuition. To bring balance to our lives, we need to acknowledge both as valid.
How to do this is by bringing your awareness to your body. Again, with practice this becomes easier. Many people I work with have become numb to every day living. They tend to not know how to express or understand their emotion. The emotion can be logically acknowledged, but not physically felt. Being aware of changes in how your body feels, especially in unpleasant situations, will bring insight into areas of yourself that are blocked. Many times, exploring these blockages will unveil biases, judgments, and perspectives you didn’t know you had.
5. Be Non-Judgmental – To Yourself Too
The words Unconditional Love and Non-Judgmental always seemed like fairy tales to me. Something that sounds amazing, but is it actually possible? Yes! Yes, it is! The first step is to realize judgments that you have. Sometimes these are obvious and other times they are unconscious. A good way to start is noticing the judgment you place on yourself. Notice self-criticisms you tell yourself (that’s the judgment), and then counter it with self-love and empathy. As you get better at countering your own harmful judgments of yourself, the easier it becomes to let go of judgments of others.
6. Open Your Mind to Other Perspectives
This is getting redundant… because it is important. Seeing multiple perspectives is empowering! Look at any successful CEO. They never take one perspective of a problem. The successful ones gather as many perspectives as possible to gain a greater understanding about what is happening, and then makes an informed decision based on all the information that they have. Why should you settle for anything less in your life. You are the CEO of your destiny. Do you want to continue to live in the narrow perspective of what you were raised with, or do you want to gather many perspectives so you can make an informed and educated decision on how you live your life. Without being open-minded you cannot break family cycles that your heritage has been stuck in for generations.
*Please note… being open-minded to other perspectives is different than being brain washed by the first thought or idea that you feel is right or you are connected to. The passion you feel toward what you perceive as right is a powerful emotion, and so is the passion toward the opposite or what is perceived as wrong. This is where the fight comes in and the push/pull begins. Open-mindedness to other perspectives is managing this passion to gain insight on other right and wrong ways. So instead of it being 2 ways (one right and one wrong), you may be able to see 15 ways (some right, some wrong, some better than others, etc). It’s kind of like buying the first thing you see at the store versus shopping around a bit.
This is the ability to look at ourselves. It is interesting to me how we as humans tend to self-criticize all of the time. I shouldn’t have done that, I should go do this, if only I was skinner, I can do better, etc. This makes it hard to look at ourselves because we always make ourselves feel like poop. Introspection is the only way to set us free. The more we practice seeing ourselves as beautiful beings and stop the negative dialog, the more we can see unconscious bias and judgment on ourselves which always translates to being able to see others without bias or judgment.
8. Be Not Afraid – And Be Protected
Fear, Shame, and Guilt have controlled us a species for centuries. We respond emotionally to protect ourselves because we are flooded with these emotions. The more you can practice the tips given in this blog, the less you will see through the lens of fear. The less we look through fear, shame, and guilt the more grounded and protected we feel. The best way I can describe it is starting to feel like you are standing on your two feet securely on the ground versus treading water to stay afloat.
9. Practice Self Care and Self Love
Hate creates more Hate. Love creates more Love. Learning to love yourself and care for yourself increases your ability to have compassion and empathy for others. Think about it… when you are feeling like you are in a dark place, it is hard to care about others because all you can think about is “What about me.” This is normal human behavior. Learning to protect yourself from getting to that dark place is essential.
In addition surround yourself with people who will respond compassionately and empathetically to you and your needs. If you are surrounded by people who don’t care about making you feel better breeds the behavior of protecting yourself by building walls and pushing people away. I promise you are important, your needs matter, and you deserve to have people who love you in your life. Remember people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a life-time. Most are for a reason- once the reason is learned it is healthy for them to leave your life; a season- they impact your growth and development for a while, but then must leave your life so they don’t stunt your growth; and a few for a life-time- these people tend to grow and expand as you do. It is ok to allow this process to happen in your life. Letting people go can be hard. Being brave enough to do so will open up space for the next person you need in your life to enter.
10. Challenge Yourself with Optimism
Life is a blank slate right now. COVID-19 has uprooted everything that was considered normal. You now have the ability to live the life you want. Challenge yourself to make changes and step outside your comfort zone. The optimism part is important! The more you can see the positive things that will come out of you challenging yourself the more you will fly. There are always positives and negatives when stepping outside of your comfort zone. Trying to avoid the negative creates a perspective that only notices the negative. Keeping your eye on the prize (positives) forces your brain to look for what is going right and how can it be done better. Remember you don’t ever lose. You either win or learn.
Healing is a powerful superpower that we all have! Practicing these 10 tips will positively impact your life and the life of those around you! These things have to be embraced moving forward for our country and the world to see the changes that we want to see. I would love to help support you in your growth, and I have many resources to help. Contact me for a free consult at 720-767-1994, by email at [email protected], or by visiting my website at www.crystaldeichert.com.
Crystal Deichert LPC, of Positive Assist, offers a full suite of counseling and holistic services for those wishing to get unstuck and move forward in their lives. She is trained in several evidence-based modalities and holistic approaches to help her clients see their barriers through their soul’s perspective allowing them to break free and fly. If you’d like to discover your true self, you can schedule a free consultation at www.crystaldeichert.com, by calling 720.767.1994, or emailing [email protected]. Check me out on Facebook at Crystal Deichert LPC