You have the strength and resources you need to create the balance that you deserve in your life. But there is a way to achieving balance that many people aren’t aware of. Well, 6 ways in this episode to be exact.
Balance creates more consistent states of happiness, and also allows you to make decisions and take action from a place of power, not fear.
In this episode, we dive into some deeper-level stuff that you may not necessarily have associated with balance. But by the end, you might discover something about yourself that helps you resolve some of the challenges in your life.
(This is the transcript for episode #0036 of The Overwhelmed Brain)
It’s been said that you have all the resources you need inside of you to resolve almost all of the problems you have in your life. However, problems stick around because we haven’t figured out where those resources are, or how to access them. Let alone, some people believe that no such resources exist, and that they’ll stay victim to whatever is going on in their life. I’m here to say that we have most of the resources we need, but not all.
The actor Christopher Reeve suffered a spinal injury in 1995 after his horse refused to jump over an obstacle. This sent him flying over the horse, landing on his head, and shattering his first and second vertebrae. After that point, he couldn’t breathe without a machine, and couldn’t move his body from the neck down.
To say that he had all the resources he needed to resolve his problems might sound a bit arrogant and presumptuous. But at one point, after some time, he was able to move an index finger, which shocked his doctor. And he eventually felt cold and hot temperatures on his body, indicating that his body was learning to heal itself.
Though today’s show focuses more on the resources we have inside of us to get unstuck and work through some of the more psychological challenges we have in life, I wanted to present the Christopher Reeve analogy to show that the potential we all have to heal and work through stuff is enormous.
Some of us can get so stuck on some seemingly small emotional thing that we take with us throughout life. Always thinking about it, worrying about it, fearing it, stressing on it, so on and so on. That one “problem” becomes the biggest issue in our life and it is the foundation from which all of our decisions and behavior come from.
But when something even bigger like a spinal cord injury happens, it kind of makes many of our previous issues seem irrelevant, or at least not as impactful. I mean, if your very existence hangs on the reliance of a breathing machine staying connected, you’ll likely not have as many other things to worry about. At least in the grand scheme of things.
I’m not saying that what you may be holding onto is unimportant. In fact, we only always know our own suffering best. You could have been abused or simply looked at the wrong way, but our brains tend to hold onto things that no longer serve us. After all, unless it’s happening right now, the cause of the pain has usually passed long ago.
Today we’re going to learn about the inner strength we have inside to get through some of the challenges that may be going on in our lives. We may not have every single resource we need to get through anything that comes up, but we usually have a lot more than we think we do.
Think of the last leg of a marathon. You’ve run 25 and a half miles, and only have a half mile left. You know you can’t make it – you absolutely know it, but somehow, from somewhere, you pulled that last half mile out. You knew you wouldn’t make it, yet, you did.
By the time the episode is over, you’ll have access to some resources inside of you that you may not have considered before. We can end up going through life paying a lot of attention to what’s outside of us. It’s that survival mode, where we make sure our surroundings always benefit us in some way. Whether it’s the people we hang out with, or the environment we live in, we’re continuously observing our external circumstances to make sure we are safe, secure, and comfortable.
Our awareness about our internal resources is usually less emphasized. Most often, we have the answer to a problem, but it’s usually clouded by the problem so much, that we can’t seem to find it. Hopefully, by the end of the episode, you’ll know how to access your resources every time you need them.
Before we begin, think about a difficult situation you have going on right now. Maybe it’s a memory you can’t quite get out of your mind, or perhaps it’s a struggle you’re going through as we speak. Think of something you want resolved. You got it?
Now, feel the emotions surrounding that situation. I’m assuming they don’t feel so good right? Now here’s the question I just want you to plant as a seed in your unconscious mind. Don’t look for an answer, just plant the seed of the question so that your unconscious can think about it while listening to this show.
The question to ask yourself is this:
“What is stopping me from resolving this problem now?”
Or if don’t like that wording, try this:
“What is something I haven’t done yet to resolve this problem?”
Now, just plant that seed in your brain. Allow it to sink way in, not looking for the answer (though if one comes up right away, certainly write it down or take action on it if you need to). But as that question seeps further and further into your unconscious mind, let the part of you that’s paying attention to this show dive right into the topic at hand: How to live a more balanced life by accessing your inner strengths
For this episode, I am going to use the word “balance” when it comes to keeping up with all the investments we have in life. From love and connection, to financial situations, to mental and intellectual stimulation, to spiritual and religious beliefs, to the other aspects that help us stay in a mostly comfortable and safe state of being. We don’t all have this balance, but it does seem to be a common goal to have a more well-rounded, fulfilling life.
But what if you’re not in balance? Well, let’s figure out what balance is first of all. Balance, in the way I’m going to use it, is the feeling you have when things aren’t too crazy and aren’t too mundane. It’s the point in between extreme jubilation and complete boredom.
You can’t be excited all the time, and you can’t be depressed all the time. Well, you can be, but that is typically not what most people want. The balance we seek is that more-level state of being where we can return after excitement and after boredom. It’s like a scale with a plate on one side, and a plate on the other. When the scale is tipped too much, we feel that something is off. We might say we’re off balance or out of synch or something. When the scale levels out, then we are back to a place of comfort and feeling good.
But some of us live our life in off-balance state. Sometimes our career is fantastic, but our love life is in the tubes. Or our health is terrible, but our finances are great. Or, we could be off balance when we don’t know how to handle certain situations. Maybe someone calls you a name, or puts you down – you might be the type to submit and let them walk over you, or you could snap back in defense which starts a huge argument or even a fight.
There are many ways to be off balance, but when you are able to come to a place of balance and level-headedness, all of your decisions and behaviors will be rooted from that place. That doesn’t mean the rest of the world will comply or agree with you, but you will be coming from a more sound and stable place inside of you when you can find your balance.
Here’s an example:
Someone comes up to you in a parking lot and starts screaming, “Why don’t you look where you are going, you almost cut me off back there!”
Now, the first thing that happens inside of us is typically the fight or flight response. Unless you already have balance in your life, you know what I’m talking about. You either get angry and yell back, or you get scared and apologize profusely. If you’re balanced, you’ll see the situation objectively and try to see this person’s point of view. That is, unless you are in immediate danger, then you will likely have to jump into fight or flight mode.
Most of the time, people yelling are coming from a place of fear and anger and just want to make it known how bad and unintelligent you are. This is usually a trigger moment. Will you be triggered to fight, or triggered to retreat?
Being balanced most of the time builds within us a stabilizing mechanism that permeates our behavior the more we use it. In other words, the more you practice objective analysis of a situation, the more unconscious and automatic the process becomes.
So when someone triggers you, like in the parking lot example, you don’t react. You respond. Your trigger moment is actually a response to the facts, not a reaction to the intensity of the situation.
Martial artists practice this. They are taught not to be emotionally attached to anything if they get into an altercation with someone. If they get angry, they will lose control. They use their defensive techniques to neutralize a situation before it gets out of hand. If someone attacks them, they stay out of trigger mode, and pop into response mode. It’s something they practice everyday.
You create your responses by practicing them. Let’s go over the steps that you can take to create a more balanced life so that you are responding to the challenges you face, and not reacting.
1. Put yourself in their shoes
The very first thing to practice when it comes to building the responses in your life is to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. I know, this is so overused and overstated. But let me share with you something that happened to me. A few years ago, I was driving behind someone who stopped their car for what appeared to be no reason. I got impatient and beeped my horn, and I almost started to drive around them, until I noticed someone crossing the street! If I had reacted and drove around them, I would have hit a pedestrian or two, simply because I chose to believe that the person ahead of me was being an idiot.
Since then, whenever I’m in a situation where someone is doing something that doesn’t make any sense to me, I tell myself, what they’re doing must make sense to them, so let’s wait and see what happens. If it turns out to not make sense, then so be it. You took a chance to err on the side of caution instead of risking it by reacting aggressively.
The driver ahead of me stopped for a reason. The reason I made up at the time was that he was just looking for a house or something, and that he was being a selfish idiot by stopping traffic just so he could find an address. After all, there’s no reason to stop traffic. Just move over to the side of the road or something!
But my impatience got the best of me, and I honked the horn. When I saw the person in the wheelchair crossing the street, suddenly I felt like the selfish idiot. Why couldn’t I have waited just a few more seconds before reacting. I should have waited! But that program was running in my subconscious mind. The program that says, when people stop on the road, they are most likely being selfish and stupid, especially if I can’t see why they are stopping.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. People do things because they think that is the best way to do them. When you find yourself in this situation, where someone is doing something that is ticking you off, ask yourself the question:
What other reason would they be doing this behavior?
When you make up a story about a situation, you could be right or dead wrong. Why take the chance either way though? Stay balanced and focused, and ask yourself, what other reason would this person do this behavior?
Even if you can’t figure out the reason, just those few moments to pause are moments of tension release. It’s like counting to 10 when you’re angry. But at least in this case, you have a mission while you’re cooling off. You’re mission is curiosity. Being curious why someone would do a certain behavior allows you time to respond instead of react.
Putting yourself in their shoes and thinking about the reasons you’d display a certain behavior if you were them gives you a new perspective, and will probably keep you out of trouble.
2. Accept the fact that some people are so insecure within themselves that they have to put you down.
When you get judged, ridiculed, or bullied, that’s usually a projection of what’s happening inside the person doing the deed. When you can step out of any insecurities you have about yourself, and almost all of us have them, and accept the fact that this person is simply doing these things out of fear and insecurity himself, then you can keep a level head.
I think all of us at one time or another have taken what someone said to us to personally. It’s worse when someone we are close to does the judging or bullying, as we already feel more safe and vulnerable with them more than other people.
But none of us are inherently mean intentionally. Well, at least we’re not born that way. We are born to get along and rely on each other. Then we imitate our role models and pick up mannerisms and behaviors from our peers. And soon, we’ve developed our “own” personality, which is just a culmination of all the influence we had growing up. Of course, you learn new things every day, so what makes you You is more than just your environment. It’s how you process information and select which beliefs to adopt too.
Regardless, the point is that sometimes people say mean things, but that doesn’t mean they are inherently mean. Many times the person is simply afraid or angry, and doesn’t know of a resourceful way to release that energy, so it comes out in the form of hurtful things towards us.
I know it sounds like I’m making excuses for these types of people, but I’m really not. What I’m doing is giving you a way to keep your power, to stay balanced in a situation like this. If you understand where hurtful comments or behavior comes from, then it’s not such a blow when you experience it.
Of course, in the moment, it’s painful, because we are typically in a vulnerable place when it happens. I mean, it’s more painful when you feel the most safe, because that person is already within your personal boundaries, where you are most sensitive.
It can be hard to jump into a level headed space when someone puts you down in any way, but here’s something you can do when it happens. When someone judges you or bullies you or does or says something that really hurts you, take a step back and ask them:
Did you mean to hurt me just now?
This will usually be a question the other person doesn’t expect, but it will open their eyes to what they’re really doing. Because they are likely in trigger mode at the time they are doing these things. If they are in that fight or flight mode, they will say hurtful things out of survival. But by bringing them into the awareness that their behavior is hurting you, it may snap them out of it.
Or, if they really are intentionally hurting you, then that’s a really good piece of information to have. Because now you know you aren’t safe. There’s no guessing. And you can make a solid decision on what to do next.
3. Don’t invest your entire identity into a cause or relationship.
This is a deeper level behavior that we sometimes don’t know we’re doing. Think of the sports fan whose entire day is ruined when their team loses. When your happiness or fulfillment in life depends on the success of someone else, you are setting yourself up for huge disappointments, but also massive excitement. It’s a bipolar way to live that never seems to stabilize. This rollercoaster perspective tends to seep into other parts of life too. I know huge sports fans that also have very bad tempers.
I don’t mean to pick on sports fans, I’m just calling out the actual fanatics, not the fans. A fanatic, whether of sports, relationships, or whatever, are those people who experience the major highs and lows of life almost daily. There is no middle ground typically, and no time to rest. It’s a lot of “all is great” or “all is terrible” mentality. They rarely experience things as pleasant or peaceful.
Inner strength is hard to access when your behavior is so dichotomous. You are either on a huge high, and are at the peak of emotions and energy, something that some might consider inner strength, or you’re at an all time low, with nothing left over.
You can still get excited and root for your favorite team, but can you still enjoy the day when they lose? Or do you contact all your friends and tell them how down you are that they lost?
There is no right or wrong answer here, it’s just a gauge to see how much of you is invested into something else that brings so many highs and lows.
Some would say that marriage does the same thing, which is probably not far from the truth for a lot of people. Continuing along the sports fanatic line of thinking, this type of person essentially “marries” his or her favorite team, and gets disappointed when they don’t live, or play, up to their standards.
Think about what you’re invested in. What is a lot of your time, money, and energy invested in? Does it give you constant highs and lows? Are you OK with that? If so, like I always say, don’t change a thing. But if it’s a constant source of worry, it might be time to let go of some of those things that keep you on the roller coaster ride of emotions. Sometimes the peace of balance wins out over the inconsistent highs of big wins, and the eventual losses of huge failures.
I don’t want to talk you out of risk and reward, that’s not what I mean. Sometimes you take big risks because you believe that the reward is possible. I’m talking about a consistent state of contrast. One moment you’re overly excited, and the next your down for the count.
Inner strength comes from a practiced consistency. It builds upon previous examples of what worked in the past. When you decrease the highs and increase the lows by not investing too much of yourself into the outcomes of other things around you, you’ll feel more balance and inner strength naturally.
I realize it might not be too much fun to decrease the highs, as that’s where all the excitement is, but you can start small and on the down side to see if it works for you. In other words, try to catch yourself reacting negatively to something.
For example, if you get overly upset about something, ask yourself the following:
If I just experienced a spinal cord injury, would this thing matter?
This may help you put things into perspective. We all have our own levels of pain and anguish, but remember to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to perceive the world in a different way. If I just experienced a spinal cord injury, would I really care that my boss yelled at me? I’d be like, Hell no, if she can’t treat me with respect and dignity, then I won’t give her the time of day. After all, I just got a spinal cord injury!
This new perspective, even though it isn’t real, does help to keep more in mind in all situations. And soon after just a few times, you’ll be doing it automatically.
4. Let go of desperation. Coming from that place always seems to repel everything you seek.
This was something I’ve had to have a lesson in over and over again. Desperation creates disharmony in the soul. Let me repeat that, desperation creates disharmony in the soul.
When you are desperate, you do not act rationally. You do not respond to things logically. You react out of raw emotion and primal survival needs.
And many people, especially women, have a keen sense when someone is desperate. Maybe because women are more in touch with their feminine side than men. And the feminine side is where emotions are honored and expressed. And since desperation is a place of fear and hope and a few other states mixed in, there’s a lot of emotion in that cocktail. Women seem to be more empathic to emotions than men, so they just get a good sense of when someone is more desperate.
Desperation however tends to repel the very thing we are desperate for. It’s an odd occurrence, but it seems to happen often, if not all the time. This is especially true with relationships. How many times have you seen a breakup where the person who is still in love gets desperate, and starts stalking the other person and sending them messages, and calling them all the time. This type of energy always pushes away the person they are desperately wanting back in their life.
This happens in almost every facet of life however. Desperation will draw towards you the very things you don’t want in life, and repel the things you are desperate for.
Think of a time when you were desperate for something. In my case, one time I was desperate for work. It had been several months since I’d worked, and I eventually ended up going to a soup kitchen every morning. Well, I was so down at that time, and I desperately wanted a job to get out of that situation.
I finally got offered a job at a low wage, but it was a job. However, 3 weeks into the job, I felt like everyday was a compromise on my values. Every day I went to work for someone that didn’t care what I had to say, and didn’t want my input. They only needed a warm body to make them money and keep their clients happy.
I couldn’t stand it. My desperation for work and money kept me there, but I was dying inside. I suddenly realized how much better I felt standing in line at the soup kitchen. So, I quit. I actually gave up the income, and went back to the soup kitchen every morning.
Getting a job that compromised my values made me realize what desperation brought into my life, so I decided that I was perfectly fine standing in line to get food. I mean, I didn’t give up searching for work, I just stopped being so desperate about it. When I dropped my desperation, I was soon offered a position at double the amount of the first job, doing something that turned out to be fun and adventurous.
I accepted that I would be poor for as long as it took to get back on the saddle again. I lost the desperation. And by doing so, I gained the perfect opportunity.
I’m not saying there’s some invisible force out there that knows we’re desperate and draws things toward us and keeps things from us, but I will go as far to say that by being desperate, you behave and make decisions in a desperate manner. You might say Yes or No to things that you normally wouldn’t if you weren’t desperate.
Dropping the desperation helped me be grateful for what I had, and make decisions that were right for me. By doing so, I saw the world differently. I wasn’t sending my resume out to everyone anymore, but only to the jobs I would enjoy doing. Job searching became more fun, and I accepted where I was in life.
I’m not saying I liked it, because if I did, I would have become comfortable. I’m just saying that coming from a place of focus and being action-oriented is a much more resourceful place than coming from a place of desperation.
So what if you feel desperate? What if you have a family to feed and you are desperate for money or food week after week? Well, ask yourself the following:
Have I always found a way?
I’m assuming you have, since you are alive listening to this show right now. Thinking about week after week of desperation that I went through, I never thought that I was actually doing OK, all things considered. My needs were being met, and I certainly didn’t want to be there, but I still “found a way” and stayed on the path I was on until I found another way.
Another thing to ask yourself is:
Is there advice I’ve been given that ‘m not taking?
In other words, am I listening to other’s opinions or suggestions on what to do? Sometimes we think that we can handle everything that life throws at us and want to do things on our own, or prove to others that we can handle anything that comes our way.
I have a friend who always had issues with his ex-wife. He always complained and complained about how bad she treated him. When I would offer suggestions, he never once applied any of them. And every time I told him to respond to her differently in certain situations , he didn’t, which kept her doing the same things she’d been doing to drive him crazy.
Sometimes we make our own misery because we refuse to change how we behave around others. We are almost in a desperate space of wanting to be right no matter what. Even though one small shift in our behavior could change everything.
This friend I had only saw things his own way, and chose to not listen to my suggestions, or anyone else’s to improve his situation. Sometimes people have gold nuggets of information to share, but we stop ourselves from listening to them. Perhaps out of wanting to be independent, or out of a place of wanting to stay in misery for some secondary gain of some sort.
Secondary gain is when you stay in a bad situation because you are gaining something from it. For example, my friend probably gained something by keeping the relationship as it was so that he could keep her in his life somehow. I’m totally guessing, but we usually change our behavior in a situation that we want to get out of, unless there’s some sort of benefit for behaving the same way over and over again. Even the most terrible relationships have this phenomena.
If you find that your situation isn’t changing, then maybe it’s time to behave in ways you haven’t tried yet. I mean, if you get the same results from doing the same things over and over again, perhaps it’s time to listen to someone else, and try what they think will work.
You can keep your independence because you are drawing from all the resources in your life and making decisions that benefit you. In other words, you, by yourself, don’t have all the answers. But keeping an open mind to suggestions, even ones that would be out of character for you to implement, might just be what you need to resolve a situation.
5. Allow people to be who they need to be by dropping your judgments
If you take away one lesson from this episode, let it be this one. Dropping your judgments about others simply opens the door for people to feel safe around you. When people feel safe, they tend not to be triggered. When they aren’t triggered, there is less tension and strife. There is less arguing and defensiveness.
When people feel safe to tell you anything, they will tell you anything. The more safe they feel with you, the more balanced your life will be.
One of the biggest issues I’ve had my whole life was judging people. Don’t eat that, don’t drink that, you name it. It has destroyed virtually all of intimate relationships. The women in my life would feel safe and close to me, but as soon as I judged what they did or said, a little part of them would close off. Eventually, the love would disappear altogether, and the relationship would end.
However, after my last breakup, I finally realized my problem: I don’t make a safe environment for my partner. Because they felt less and less safe with me when I judged them, they got triggered.
What I mean is, when I made a judgment, that triggered their defenses. This created a volatile environment for the relationship. It also created an internal turmoil for everyone involved.
I remember when my girlfriend of 13 years got a tattoo. I didn’t like it because it was just huge. I mean, it was a nice work of art, but it covered a lot of skin and it kind of turned me off. And even though I supported her getting one, I still told her I’d rather see her skin than the tattoo. This is something you don’t say to someone who just made something permanent. By saying this, I was judging her decision, and judging her appearance. She covered her skin with a lot of ink, yet the way I supported her was by judging her. Well, it was a weird combination of I support you but I don’t like it.
And looking back, I realize now that what I said to her was like saying, it makes you look ugly, but that’s ok. My judgment about that tattoo didn’t help an already disintegrating relationship. And eventually, because of more my judgments, and I’m sure a few other things, she left.
This put me into a 2 year depression that took a long time to heal and grow from. So if you can allow people to be 100% of who they are, and feel safe that you won’t judge what they do or what they say, they will trust you with their life. You will be an angel in their eyes. This is a powerful space to be in. I’m not talking about how they look at you either, I’m talking about how you look at them. When you can accept someone just as they are, you will feel more balance, serenity and inner strength than you can imagine.
But how do you turn off judgment? In my newsletter, and in a recent episode of minutes to momentum, I talk about how to turn judgment into compassion. It’s not always easy, but it’s what I’ve been practicing anytime a judgment comes into my mind.
When a judgment pops up, I immediately pretend I am the person that’s being judged, then ask myself, why am I doing this behavior? Meaning, Me, the person being judged, is doing some behavior that is triggering someone else. Regardless of whether this behavior is good or bad, why am I doing it? It’s a place of curiosity about myself, as I pretend to be that person.
This allows me to step into their shoes, just like we talked about in number 1, then pretending I am them, come to a realization on why I am doing the behavior that is being judged. In the case of my girlfriend, I could be her and ask the question:
Why am I getting a tattoo?
My answers are much different when I pretend to be her than when I am judging her from my perspective. This helps me understand her better and even become compassionate towards her, taking me out of the judgment space.
When you can turn judgment into compassion, you squash the negativity inside yourself, and create a balanced perspective that will only draw people closer to you, rather than push them away.
6. Embrace and nurture both the feminine and masculine aspects of yourself. I think this one might surprise, or even offend some people.
We all have a feminine side and a masculine side. Typically, we will favor one over the other, but we should never block the less dominant one, because both parts are so important for every decision we make and every action we take.
The masculine part of us is where we draw our strength, willpower, determination, physicality, intellectual intelligence, assertiveness, and self-esteem and confidence. Whereas the feminine part of us is the caring, nurturing, sensitive, emotionally intelligent, gentle, loving, and loyal part of us.
Both are needed to create completeness. And this isn’t a take on men versus women, in fact, it’s far from it. These are strengths within all of us that we can draw from anytime we need them. The problem is that many people don’t think about these things. Some men believe that being a man should only involve displaying masculine qualities. And some women believe the same thing about feminine qualities. We all have access to both, it’s just a matter of realizing and honoring both aspects of ourselves.
If you have more feminine aspects about yourself, and notice people walk on you, or you’re “too nice”, maybe it’s time to connect with the masculine part of you that will honor your personal boundaries, or be assertive when needed. These qualities are inside all of us, it’s just a matter of pulling them out.
If you have a more masculine energy about you, and find that you can’t keep relationships for very long, or you can’t seem to connect with people at an emotional level (which is a good way to lose a relationship), then you might benefit from drawing from your feminine side, to show more compassion, more caring, and emotional sensitivity.
These are extremely important aspects of all of us, and you will find your life becomes much more balanced when you start embracing all of these aspects of yourself. You have them all inside you – these are resources you can pull out anytime you need them, you just have to allow it to happen. You can still hang on to your femininity and use your masculine traits when needed. And you can still hang on to your masculinity and use your feminine traits when needed. These qualities don’t define who we are, they are just components of a larger model of being. In other words, they are small pieces of a large puzzle that we call living.
More men have an issue accepting that they have a feminine side, but we all do – sorry guys! And we can all benefit from nurturing all the qualities within us.
When I met my wife, I was very feminine. I was really more childlike than anything. Fearful, mousey, and always making sure to keep the peace. I had more feminine qualities than masculine. Then she taught me how to access those masculine qualities in myself, which allowed her to feel more safe with me, and closer to the man she wanted me to be.
But the way she did it was by telling me that she didn’t want a little boy in the relationship. She didn’t want me to tip toe around issues or just comply with anything she said just to keep the peace. She wanted someone who was strong enough to stand up for himself, and speak up when he felt needed to. It took a while, but I finally started embracing the more masculine aspects of myself, and soon I was honoring my boundaries and helping to create a more balanced relationship.
Think about any area of your life that you feel needs more emphasis. Some people have a problem standing up for themselves, so they might need to access the masculine aspects of themselves. Some people might have trouble connecting with others or keeping friends, so they might find that accessing some of the softer feminine qualities will be more resourceful in certain situations.
Whatever you need is inside of you right now, you just have to let it out. But here’s the problem that some people run into: They never had a positive role model for the quality that would benefit them in life. What I mean is, if you never had a strong role model in one or both masculine and feminine, you may not even know how to respond or behave at certain times. You may be so used to doing what you do, you just don’t know how to access what’s inside of you.
Even though you don’t think you have it, I’m willing to bet it’s in there anyway. I know it was for me. For example, my role models in life were mainly women: My mom, and older sister. I learned how to behave and respond to situations from a mostly feminine perspective. Even though they both possessed some masculine qualities, they were more feminine, and I had very little access to positive male role models growing up.
So the situations I had the hardest time with were the ones that required me to be assertive and stand up for myself. I was a “yes” man. I would say yes when I didn’t want to. This made me the most loved person everywhere I went, because I did just about anything for everyone, but I never addressed my own needs. I had very receptive and caring qualities, both feminine aspects of my personality, but I didn’t have an assertive aspect from which to reference. I never learned how to be assertive, or take a stand on anything.
So where did I learn this quality? If I was never taught it from any positive male role-models, how could I have possibly created it out of thin air?
The way I did it was by facing my fear.
I stepped into it straight on, and honored my boundaries. When a situation came up where I really wanted to say something, but also felt like I should back off, I decided that I was going to just take a chance and face my fear, and say something anyway.
It was extremely difficult I’ll admit, because I didn’t know what would happen. After all, what if they yelled at me, or even hit me? I just had no reference to what would happen, so I was walking into the unknown.
But I must have drawn this courage from somewhere inside me. But that is something I didn’t believe I had either: Courage. So what was it then? What finally pushed me into standing up and being assertive?
It was the acceptance of the worst case scenario. If I got yelled at, then that’s how it will be. It felt like I was going to die, but I decided that it’s better to honor myself and welcome death, than to go on living in fear and misery.
Of course, I knew deep down that I wasn’t going to die, but I chose that analogy anyway. I thought to myself, “What’s the worse possible thing that could happen?” and “Death” was what came up for me. So, I said “Alright, then it’s time to accept death as an outcome”.
This is similar that we talked about earlier, where we compared a problem we had to getting a spinal injury. “If I had a spinal injury, would this problem really matter so much?” In the same sense, “If I assert myself, and death is the result, can I accept that?”
Now, being in a dangerous situation could definitely lead to death, so don’t really accept death as an outcome when you are in real danger. But you know what I mean. There are certain situations that feel like you are going to die, but when you step outside of yourself and look at it from a different perspective, you realize that there really is no physical danger at all in most situations.
The first time I asserted myself started my road to gaining masculine aspects I never had. Of course, I didn’t know what assertion was at the time, but I faced my fear and stepped into it, “knowing” that this could lead to death. Not real death, but it was that scary! Acceptance helped me build what I needed to create balance of my masculine and feminine sides.
So when you think about what you could use more of, the most likely reason you don’t access what you have inside you is probably, 1, because you don’t know it’s there, and 2, because you are afraid to access it.
Fear drives so much of our behavior, but acceptance of any outcome helps us honor ourselves to the fullest.
What can you accept as an outcome? The more you are willing to try, the more you are on the road to balance and inner strength. And yeah, I know, ‘there is no try, only do or do not’. Well, sometimes we need to start by trying to know that we can do something. Start by trying, then do it. You’ll be creating a synergy inside you that will only benefit you every time you do it. It’s a process. You are building yourself into the complete person you’ve always wanted to be.
So here’s a quick recap of what we talked about today.
1. Put yourself in their shoes. Changing your perception changes your thoughts. It’s a refreshing way to look at things, and gives you new insights, and even new behaviors.
2. Accept the fact that some people are so insecure within themselves that they have to put you down. It’s unfortunate, but true. Some people are missing some aspects of themselves that would balance them out, so they take it out on others. We can go into immediate defense mode and stir up all kinds of things, or we can learn how to respond instead of react. Asking, “Did you mean to hurt me just now?” can help people see the situation a different way, and may decrease the tension immediately.
3. Don’t invest your entire identity into a cause or relationship. When you invest all of yourself into the outcome of something, you risk huge disappointments, but also open the possibility of huge rewards. The problem is, the balance is always off, and you’re living on the edge constantly. Sometimes just comparing a problem you have with something else that could be much worse helps you gain a new perspective on things.
Your favorite team losing doesn’t mean you’re a loser, it just means they lost. Just like, when your partner breaks up with you, it doesn’t mean you’re broken, it just means they left. Keep yourself with you when things don’t go as planned, otherwise the outside world will keep taking your power from you.
4. Let go of desperation. Coming from that place always seems to repel everything you’re seeking.
This is really a lesson in acceptance. Accepting things as they are, and not placing too much meaning on what’s happening, helps. Coming from a place of desperation really puts you at a disadvantage, because many of your decisions come from a weaker state of being.
There are times where desperation is certainly justified. If you are truly hungry, and will die if you don’t eat, desperation becomes your lifeline to survival. But if your basic needs are taken care of, save the desperation for the worst of times.
Ask yourself, “Have I always found a way?” The answer is usually yes. And if it isn’t, you’re still here to talk about it. And sometimes, the toughest moments in life can be powerful lessons for ourselves and others.
5. Allow people to be who they need to be by dropping your judgments
I’ve read quite a few stories about the Dalai Lama, and all of them involve people just wanting to be near him. There was one story in particular where the maids at the hotel where he was talking all came up to him and just wanted to be in his presence. The maids couldn’t understand what he was saying, and he couldn’t understand what they were saying, but they just felt good being in his presence. Why? Well, it was never written in the book I read, but each story led me to believe that he was simply non-judgmental.
He didn’t judge people. This made them feel safe and secure to be themselves around him. When you can drop your judgments about others appearance, behavior and whatever else comes up, you will find a lot of the stress in your own life goes away. Who knows, perhaps it’s even the path to enlightenment.
6. Embrace and nurture both the feminine and masculine aspects of yourself.
Both men and women have both aspects. What we embrace more is what the world sees more of. However, remember there’s a balance to life, a yin-yang to the universe, and when you are balanced on the inside, your outside world will reflect this.
Don’t think of masculine and feminine as men and women, think of them as characteristics, or resources from which we all have to draw. A warehouse of assets ready to be utilized when we are willing to take a step into the unknown.
Now, as the show comes to a conclusion, allow your mind to continue nurturing that seed you planted at the very beginning. That difficult situation you may have going on right now, or that memory you just can’t seem to get out of your mind.
There may be something you haven’t yet tried to do to resolve the problem. Bad memories, or difficult challenges or whatever, you just filled your subconscious mind with even more resources that may help you see things from a different perspective. And even if you’re one of those people that are like, yeah, I already knew everything you talked about, then just allow your knowing to make the changes needed to help you resolve whatever difficulties you are facing now.
The seed has been planted, so just allow it to blossom in the time it takes for you to be ready for the change. If you aren’t ready to change yet, then when you are ready, the answers will sprout from below and grow into a resolution.
Wherever you are in life, there’s always the seed of something bigger on the horizon. And sometimes it takes doing something a little different than you’ve always done to get it to start the process of change.
Creating balance is something we hear over and over again, but how many times do we actually know how to do that? A lot of the time, we are in reaction mode. We react to situations instead of proactively seeking ways to prevent problems from happening. Don’t wait for things to happen, hoping that they won’t, address them straight on.
This is your life, and you want to enjoy as much of it as you can while you’re here. Creating balance gives you inner strength. And I don’t mean bursts of strength, I mean continuous, consistent inner strength that allows you to be ready for any situation. When you are in this state, you are more at peace, and you will have the resources you need to go create your life.