Never Let Any Circumstance Define You…EverWe frequently define ourselves and others by the different stages of life we’re in. Youth, middle age and old age seem to have accompanying built-in assumptions and definitions. Youth is often associated with vitality, middle-age with crisis and old age with decline. Logically, we know that it’s ridiculous to define a group of people with one word. However, it can be challenging to move beyond these word associations when so many believe in them. If you don’t, these common adjectives can influence and overshadow your life. The word “vitality” associated with youth is upbeat and positive but it can produce guilt in a child who has a lack of it. I often hear the expression, “words can’t hurt me.” Yet, many of us have felt the sting of targeted words armed with angry emotions when they are hurled toward us. But what happens when we’re the target and the one who pulls the trigger? Life provides us with a variety of circumstances. All of which are valuable so let’s be careful as to how we label them – especially while going through them. No Armed Vehicles or People Allowed in Here When going through difficult circumstances many people make it more difficult through heavy-handed judgment. To judge your circumstance and yourself blocks the view to what it’s trying to show you. It also adds more stress, triggering erratic emotions, which muddle your concentration. It took me years to realize that each circumstance I experience, no matter how grim it might feel, is there for a reason. In-fact, a good reason. Each experience we have is a gift and it’s up to us to discover what we can learn from it. If you’re busy beating yourself up you’ll miss the lesson, plus, most likely prolong the experience. How to Release Self-judgment and find a Sense of Calm in the Storm There’s a huge difference between self-judgment and self-assessment. Self-judgment is a critical act and puts its owner in the handcuffs of blame. Self-assessment is an honest appraisal of self, which frees the owner. It’s easy to discern the difference but it’s not always easy to apply when confronted with challenging circumstances. The key to unlocking the handcuffs is self-awareness. When you catch yourself putting yourself down – stop. Even if you need to do it 1000 times over – stop. Consciously remove negative thoughts and words and replace them with supportive ones. Remember you are shaping your life with your mental focus and verbal output. Because of that, why entertain something unpleasant? Would you allow a harmful presence into your home? Or would you rather your home be a sanctuary of peace and comfort? When we take charge of ourselves in a difficult circumstance we can move through it with a presence of mind that can handle anything. We no longer let external influences rule us, upset us or define us. Every challenge we go through has one ultimate purpose – to reveal more of our humanity. The circumstance allows you the opportunity to strip away the burdens of self-denigration, fears and doubts. And eventually the door opens to a more fulfilling life, which you are fully prepared for.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ~Haruki Murakami