You’ll Be OKAY

You’re walking down the street, and you’re worried about being late for meeting someone.

You’re anxious about what they might think of you. You pass some people and worry a bit about what they think of you, without realizing you’re doing it.

You’re worried about some things at work, and all the things you have to do in your personal life (taxes, errands, bills). You have this feeling you should be doing more, doing something else. All the time.

You worry about how you look, about how you’re perceived, about how you’ll do, about whether you’ll fail, about how much you have to do, about what you don’t have, about what you’re missing out on, about how you compare to others.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We all worry about these things.

Here’s the thing: in all of these cases, you’ll BE OKAY. Life will turn out just fine.

We’re always worried about what might go wrong, about the bad things people think about us, and so on. We’re focused on the bad outcomes only.

Those bad outcomes are just a few possibilities out of many, and they’re unlikely to come true.

And even if they do (let’s say someone thinks badly of you), the bad outcomes rarely ever mean anything disastrous for our lives.

Even if the bad things come true, you’ll be OKAY.

Picture the things you’ve worried about in the last few years: little things mostly. And in all of those cases, you turned out fine. Life didn’t collapse.

If you start to build confidence that you’ll be OKAY, you can let go of the worries (when you notice them). You can feel good, rather than being consumed by worry and anxiety all the time.

You walk down the street, relaxed, with a smile on your face.

What Would You Do If You Had a Short Time To Live?

It’s hard, from within the storm of every day life, to see things with real perspective, to know what’s important and what’s simply pressing on our consciousness right now, demanding attention.

We have people emailing us for information and requesting action, we have phone calls and visitors and a long to-do list and a million chores and errands to run and all of the slings and arrows of our daily reality … and yet, what is important?

Ask yourself this: if you suddenly found out you only had 6 months to live (for whatever reason), would the thing in front of you matter to you?

Would those 20 emails waiting for a response matter? Would the paperwork waiting to be processed matter? Would the work you’re doing matter? Would the meetings you’re supposed to have matter? Would a big car and nice house and high-paying job and cool computers and mobile devices and nice shoes and clothes matter?

I’m not saying they wouldn’t matter … but it’s important to ask yourself if they would.

What would matter to you?

For many of us, it’s the loved ones in our lives. If we don’t have loved ones … maybe it’s time we started figuring out why, and addressing that. Maybe we haven’t made time for others, for getting out and meeting others and helping others and being compassionate and passionate about others.

Maybe we have shut ourselves in somehow. Or maybe we do have loved ones in our lives, but we don’t seem to have the time we want to spend with them.

When was the last time you told your loved ones you loved them? Spent good quality time with them, being in the moment?

For many of us, doing work that matters … would matter. That might mean helping others, or making a vital contribution to society, or creating something brilliant and inspiring, or expressing ourselves somehow. It’s not the money that matters, but the impact of the work. Are you doing work that matters?

For some, experiencing life would matter, really being in the moment, finding passion in our lives, seeing the world and traveling, or just seeing the world that’s around us right now, being with great people, doing amazing things, eating amazing food, playing.

These are just a few ideas … but what would matter to you?

I highly recommend that you spend at least a little time now, and regularly, thinking about this question … figuring out what really matters … and living a life that shows this.

How do you live a life that puts a great emphasis on what matters? Start by figuring out what matters, and what doesn’t. Then eliminate as much as you can of the stuff that doesn’t matter, or at least minimize it to the extent possible. Make room for what does matter.

Make the time for what does matter … today. Put it on your schedule, and don’t miss that appointment. Make those tough decisions because choosing to live a life that is filled with the important stuff means making choices, and they’re not always easy choices. But it matters.

Spend time with your significant other, show them how important they are. Take the time to cuddle with your child, to read with them, to play with them, to have good conversations with them, to take walks with them. Take time to be in nature, to appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Take time to savor the little pleasures in life.

Because while you might not have only 6 months to live, I’m here to break the news to you: you really do only have a short time to live. Whether that’s 6 months, 6 years or 60 … it’s but the blink of an eye.

The life you have left is a gift. Cherish it. Enjoy it now. Do what matters, now!

MINDFULLY LETTING GO OF SHAME.

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”

I was talking with a friend yesterday who is going through a very hard time, and of all the emotions that have come up for them during this struggle (anger, despair, etc.), shame has been the most challenging emotion of all.

We all feel shame, and it’s perfectly OK to feel it. There’s nothing wrong with us if we feel shame, it’s a very human emotion.

But it isn’t very helpful in most situations, and so we can bring mindfulness to bear on the shame. And practice letting it go.

Before we can let go, it’s worthwhile to mindfully work with our shame.

What Shame Shows Us.
When I said shame isn’t very helpful, I didn’t tell the full truth, actually, it’s very useful, in showing us what we think about ourselves.

When we feel shame, it usually is because we’ve done something that we think says something shameful about us. And so it shows us where we believe there is something wrong about us, something inadequate, ugly, unworthy of love.

Of course, that belief is not true. But in order to let go of that ingrained belief, we have to see it first. Shame shows us where that belief lies hidden.

I’ll give an example from my own life:

I felt a lot of shame when I fell into debt. This brought up shame that showed my belief of being bad at finances, bad at taking care of my own self, bad at being the first of two. And again, inadequacy and unworthiness of being loved.

In the end, the core belief is that we are inadequate and unworthy of being loved. But the reason we believe those is that we believe we haven’t lived up to some expectation: being successful, being lean, being disciplined, being generous, being a contributor to society, being environmentally conscious, etc. The expectations are in our minds, but they were given to us by society’s messaging, since birth. These expectations and beliefs are not so solid as we believe. Once we can see them, we can bring mindfulness practices to work with them.

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