So, let me just start by saying that I am not giving up the cookies or the pizza. Because the truth is that there are other energetic calories that we are consuming that are draining our energy and possibly keeping us overweight as well, especially if you are sensitive and empathetic. I worked really hard this year to set myself free from the energetic webs that I weaved into my life. So, I want to share what I am working on shedding in the hopes that you will feel lighter and more refreshed. Walk with me and let’s give up these things as often as possible once and for all.
1.People Pleasing – This was a big one for me. I am empathetic and sensitive and I have a huge heart. I love to help and nurture and unconsciously. I always feel that others are my responsibility. People pleasing comes in many forms. It takes form when we take on others’ burdens and it also takes form when we shut off our internal guidance and do and say things out of obligation or fear of rejection. This was and is still hard for me to completely shake off, but it’s the progress that counts. I learned this year that we can care and love someone without energetically taking on their challenges. We can love and care for others without always having to say yes. We must learn to say yes to ourselves.
We all came here to experience hardship on some level. Some of it is karmic, some is just cause and effect from our choices, and the rest is a mystery we will never be able to solve. So, the best we can do is love everyone, have tons of compassion, but guard our energy. Saying yes when we mean no is also a huge waste of energy. Not only does it drain us, it also weakens our voice and leaves us feeling depleted and lost. First, we fill up our cup, then it flows over to others from a place of fulfillment and not obligation. I cannot provide you with black and white rules for this one. But from my journey, I can say that this will require practice, time and patience. I have been at this for 365 days and I learn something new every day. The first time I said no when I had been accustomed to saying yes was the hardest, and I even felt guilty, but as time went on, I felt empowered and refreshed. It was an experiment for me and it still is. Only you can decide what is a full body yes for you, rather than a yes from obligation, guilt or conditioning.
2. Judging – Oh, this one sneaks up on us in the weirdest ways. Some of us judge in our sleep. There are many forms of judgment. Too many to describe here. Some judgment is actually discernment and is necessary. But most of the time, judging is a waste of your energy. Commenting on another’s life without the intention of helping them directly or telling them how we feel in person is a huge waste of time. We all have a soul map and the gift of free will, so I have no business commenting on the life or choices of another human being. Do I do it sometimes? Yes! But I have learned that the energy I devote to judging drains me and does not help whomever I am talking about, so unless I am staging an intervention or praising someone, I try to leave people who are not in the room out of my mouth and thoughts. I also try to honor everyone’s path and the lessons they are learning.
Here is how I know I am judging. My sentence usually starts with “How ridiculous is he/she?” “She/he really did that?” “I would never do that.” “You know, they should do that instead.” I have learned to stop myself in the midst of a tirade by asking this question. “What is it that I need to work on in this moment?” There is always something that needs my attention that does not involve judging. So now I try to monitor myself when I speak, and the minute I catch myself saying something about another person, I determine whether it is kind or whether it is hurtful. If it is hurtful, I turn inward and ask myself, “What do I need to improve in my world today?” Give it a try, your energy will shift immediately.
3. Assuming – I am the queen of assumptions. But this year I learned from Byron Katie that when we choose to let go of assuming, we invite peace. I cannot possibly know or understand the path of another human being or the rich and complex nature of being human. Most of us do not even know ourselves, so how can we pretend to know anything about another person? There is no value in assuming if it causes suffering. Unless we can say with 100% certainty that we know something is the absolute truth, it’s better to shake it off and focus on something else. If we need to know so badly, we can always ask the source to be clear with us. Assuming is the cousin of judgment and it drains our energy slowly and mercilessly. Stop cold turkey today.
4. Pushing – Our society and culture in the west really sets us up for anxiety and burn out. Some of us are conditioned to chase and go after whatever we want, but how often do we check in to see how it feels to chase whatever it is we are seeking? And how often do we check in to see if what we are chasing is something we truly desire from the heart? I have learned this year to practice receiving instead. It is a practice because in our very busy society receiving is seen as weak and passive. If you are not hustling or being a “boss”, then you are not seen as attractive. Social media is inundated with images of hustlers and paper chasers. While, there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting financial freedom, we must stop to ask what is the price we are paying? The answer will vary from person to person. Leaning back and learning how to receive in the flow of action and rest is just as profound and powerful as taking action. How many of us are built to keep going like the energizer bunny? There is a template out there with a checklist that determines what success should look like, but to me success equals feeling refreshed, productive and relaxed. Granted, there are moments of pressure and deadlines, but that comes with the gift of being alive. But if our lives are defined by only the hustle, where can we find time to enjoy the sun on our face?
5.Comparing – All that glitters isn’t gold. My mentor taught me that when I compare myself to another, I am essentially shutting the door on my soul. I am losing oxygen. I am dishonoring who I am. Aside from the fact that we never have a clear picture of someone’s life, nor their thoughts, or hardships, comparing adds no value to our life. Instead try admiring instead of comparing. Admiration is inspirational and beautiful, but constant comparing is destructive. It is draining and it serves only to breed frustration and suffering. Besides we are all unique expressions of the Universe, so there is no need to compare. Whenever I catch myself comparing, I shift the energy by saying, “Wow, thank you for showing me the possibilities.” That mantra has shifted me tremendously.
6.Denying – We all have shadows. We all have blind spots. It’s time to take inventory of what we are refusing to see and what is not working. It is time to design our lives around everything and everyone that is serving and contributing to our lives. It’s time to say goodbye to relationships that are one way streets where you are the one doing all the work, perhaps explore a new career, and find more creative outlets. This last year I got rid of a ton of stuff that I thought I needed (half of an apartment to be exact!). I started to watch what I was buying in hopes of stopping mindless consumption. I learned how to paint and I got real with myself. I stopped denying what was not working for me and I invited new energy and new beginnings into my life. My heart was grateful. Yours will be grateful too!
7.Complainig – I complain. I admit it. That’s why I can preach because I have walked the talk. Whenever I get in the zone of complaining, I catch myself and I say – “How can I change this or how can I accept this? It is one or the other. If change is possible, I have learned to take small bite size action steps toward change when I feel the frustration build up. Frustration is a sign that I am about to complain. While we cannot change everything in our world overnight, we can certainly take small steps to change things that have expired. If we cannot change something, we can shift our attention to learning how to accept it as quickly as possible, so we can move through it.
I have been working on every single one of these and although I will undoubtedly slip from time to time, I feel lighter and less burdened. Even if you only pick one to start, like me, you will soon find that one small change sets energy in motion and pretty soon you will want to change many things. Before you know it, every inspired action will lead to the next. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!