Tackling Fear, Developing Trust, & Embracing a Wholehearted Life
Welcome to Season 3 of my Ramblings. Let’s start off with a challenge and consider that perhaps we should give our brains something better to do than watching the news or dwelling on the past. They can both bring you down!
You become what you think about all day long. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Stop and think about this statement, it sounds simple enough, but after a period of reflection the deeper meaning becomes apparent and the need to put this into action can create either a sense of fear and challenge or (if we’re lucky enough) comfort.
It sounds so easy, “do not dwell on the past,” but as intelligent creatures, our brains have a magnificent capacity to remember, especially when it comes to relationships. There are things in our lives (perhaps from a past relationship) that can hit us at the core of our heart, mind, and soul that are difficult to move beyond. The problem is if you don’t deal with something, it can manifest into an unhealthy mindset whether you are aware of it or not. Instead of simply dwelling on something, tackle it head on and resolve it so that it becomes part of your “conscious intelligence” and not a behavior flaw that prevents you from living your life in a wholehearted and healthy manner. We can become intentional in living out what we have learned and use it to strengthen our relationships moving forward.
I find that getting really personal, really vulnerable, not just with others, but with yourself requires the ability and acceptance of giving up some control.
I am not sure what is most difficult and creates the most fear: wondering what may happen when you “give up” (or share) control or actually having the courage to give away some control to someone else. I believe it’s an act of vulnerability. I have struggled with this for a long time and have discovered that allowing others to be in control is liberating. It helps us build relationships, create intimacy, comfort, and trust. Is it possible to have mutual, or collaborative control? I am of the conclusion this is called “a partnership!” whether it is in business or our personal life.
What do we gain when we release our grip on control? We can be more relaxed and have more meaningful experiences in our personal and professional relationships. We gain increased personal value and productivity. In business, we can develop a more positive and creative work environment. In our personal lives, we can gain a more meaningful and closer connection of the mind and soul with our partner that has priceless long-term value. In both our professional and personal lives this value carries us through the inevitable ebbs and flows of life especially when we encounter detours and roadblocks. When we build relationships that have trust at their foundation, we can not only survive life’s challenges and conflicts, but flourish.
So how is this done? I can only share what has worked for me.
- Reading: What a miraculous discovery! (I wrote about this in an earlier blog) As I have spent more time reading, my perspectives have changed. I have created more depth in my life and find that I have more meaningful conversations that go beyond chatting about the weather. And it has shaped my heart, too. Reading books on diverse topics has clearly helped improve my relationships. I believe you need to love yourself and value yourself before you can offer love to someone else (particularly romantic love). Remember the saying: “Beware of the naked man who offers you his shirt.”
- Life experiences: We can either live in a bubble, or go outside the bubble and experience life. Think about the Caribou Coffee slogan: “Life is Short, Stay Awake for it!” For me, staying awake requires engagement, leaving my comfort zone, and experiencing life through travel, volunteering, and social engagement. When I travel I try to intentionally absorb what I’m seeing and experiencing and learn from it.
- Recognize that change is good: (but it can also be very difficult) I believe we can experience borderline dysfunctional failure in our personal and professional life when we continue to repeat the same mistakes and get the same unsuccessful outcomes. If we do not like the results we’re getting, we need to work on discovering the trigger points and commit to changing. But it needs to be for your reasons, not anyone else’s. However, while the reasons need to be our own, it doesn’t mean we need to do it by ourselves. . .
- Get help from others: We cannot stop growing and must get help from others who are objective and have a caring heart. I spend time with a pastor and a mentor who are teaching me about wholehearted living. Need a kick start on doing some of this work for yourself? Check out Brené Brown’s Ted talks and then read her book The Gift of Imperfection. Adopt her trust process of BRAVERY and start living a Wholehearted Life! I encourage you to listen to this from Brené Brown on how empathy helps us create connection with others: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw&sns=em
- Develop a friendship with someone who truly and deeply understands you (and vice versa!). Allow for emotional intimacy as it will carry you farther in life than physical intimacy (but don’t dismiss the value of physical intimacy). You can develop intimacy through vulnerability, passion, and wonder—I believe this is a God-given gift that is the foundation of LIVING A WHOLEHEARTED LIFE. A truly intimate relationship will carry you through the difficult times as you live your life and get older.
- Develop a few MARBLE JAR relationships. These are based on:
Embrace life and challenge fear head on! Live like there is no tomorrow. Develop strong relationships, a sense of grace, and the belief of being truly blessed.