I was scanning Facebook as so many of us are apt to do, and a post from “Awake: The Life of Yogananda” caught my eye. They are conducting a Gratitude Challenge, and today’s challenge was “What do you know that you never want to forget?” It got me thinking about the things that I have learned through various teachers that continue to guide me. Here is a quick, off the top of my head Top 5:
1. I Can’t Hear You, Your Actions are Speaking to Loudly – this one speaks (pun intended) to not having your words and actions aligned. It came into play at my old employer A LOT. There are too many examples that I could reference, but one in particular stands out—The Culture Team. Some of the members (not all) who were responsible for creating the culture of the organization repeatedly acted in ways that were in direct opposition to the culture they claimed they were trying to create.
2. Vulnerability is Power – this one came about in discussions with my Life Coach, and really was embedded through the words of Brené Brown. I learned that sharing feelings and asking for understanding or help was a way to really connect with others, with excellent results. It was difficult at times, and sometimes even a little awkward. However the more I did it the better I got and I continue to be amazed at the power you truly hold when you are able to do this.
3. There are Times in Your Life Where the Hero Has to Sit Down (from a David Whyte CD) – There was one point in my life where I had to do EVERYTHING. Make all the decisions, make all the plans, do all the work, cook all the food, do all the shopping – you name it I did it. Why? Two reasons: 1) because I thought it was easier (insert laughing here) than explaining to someone else how to do it. And 2) of course I thought my way was the best way. But when I combined Vulnerability is Power and this one, and learned to delegate and ask for help, my life got a WHOLE LOT easier. And no one has ever turned me down when I asked for help from a place of authenticity.
4. Speak in a Way Other People Will Hear – another Life Coach gem. The two corollaries are 1) take the heat off and 2) use I instead of You. When people are triggered and things get heated, no one is listening and everyone is resentful. So I learned to realize when I am triggered by noting my physical reactions (flushed face, heart racing, stomach dropping) and get myself back in check before I say or do anything. Then when the inevitable silence from the other person arrives, I calmly say something like, “I am very upset right now, I need a minute” instead of “Why don’t you just shut up and let me talk! You are so inconsiderate!” If I took the latter track the other person would have shut me down cold. Asking for some time gives both of us time to chill and I use that time to carefully measure what I am going to say next. Again, it is something that takes practice, but it does become automatic and it is so effective. After all, the whole point of communication is to be heard, right?
5. Holding onto Anger is Like Drinking Poison and Expecting the Other Person to Die (Buddha)—the quote is new to me but the sentiment is not. I learned a long time ago that the only one that is hurt when I hold anger is ME. Oh I still get angry, and I still vent. But then I let it go. I forgive. I apologize. I do whatever it takes to shed that negativity before it runs rampant through my head and my life. I also personally believe holding anger takes a physical toll on your body, resulting in things like disease and sickness. So releasing that anger also helps my stay healthy physically.
So there you have it. And there are probably so many more. How would you answer “What do you know that you never want to forget?” I am sure you have a few gems of your own to share and I would ask that you put them out there in honor of the Gratitude Challenge. Share your wisdom with others – what a great gift this time of year that costs nothing but is so rich.