If you were to take two different people… one of whom has learned the art of gracefully navigating challenging situations… and the other, who hasn’t. And you were to put them through identical challenging situations. And then you monitored their experience.
What you will observe… is two totally different processes. Different decisions. Different emotions. Different thoughts. Different outcomes. And even though it’s the same challenge… each person is going to walk away with a completely different story to tell.
So what gives? What’s the difference between someone who understands how to navigate challenge… and someone who doesn’t? Well thats what this conversation is about.
And in it, I’m going to share a simple strategy that will help you to generate a relatively calm, balanced and resourceful inner environment, even in the midst of chaos.
But before we get into the strategy… first let’s take a step back and briefly talk about one of the most common unhelpful responses to challenge. Which I’m going to call… Pushing Back Against Reality. What does it mean, and why does it makes things worse?
So, these are the moments when I am feeling overwhelmed because I am experiencing challenge… and instead of conserving my energy, and quietly meeting the situation head on… I fight back. And I resist the truth of what is here and now.
Or maybe, I don’t like what is happening… so I spin into a frenzy, and I come up with all sorts of reasons about why what is… shouldn’t be. And I obsess over the situation. And I formulate all sorts of arguments and theories as to why reality is wrong. And I am right.
Or maybe I express this habit by turning away from an emotion that I disagree with. And I put up a wall in between me and my emotional feeling state. Or I deny a thought that frightens me. And I bury my head in the sand. Or I refuse to acknowledge my trauma. And I lock the damaged parts of myself in the closet.
And if you’re anything like me… then you probably know exactly what it feels like to respond to life from this pushing back orientation. It’s chaotic, it’s anxious, and it’s terrifying. And it leaves us feeling totally burnt out, disoriented, and traumatized.
So in general… this is the dynamic which I’m referring to when I say… pushing back against reality. What i’m trying to point to is the turning away, shoving down, fighting back, auto-response that gets activated in difficult situations.
Which on one hand… is a totally reasonable and understandable reaction to being challenged. Because of course, nobody likes feeling pain. And nobody wants to feel unstable. So it makes perfect sense why we would push back against those uncomfortable situations.
But on the other hand… this is also an incredibly unhelpful response to life. Because no matter how hard we try… the reality is that we can’t strong arm life. And we don’t get to dictate to the world, what should or shouldn’t be.
Just like we cant control the weather. Right? And it would be totally ludicrous if our response to a storm was to try and force it to go away. And instead of finding a way to work within the reality of a storm... we stomp our feet, and demand for it to leave us alone.
Or we pretend that it isnt effecting us. And we deny its existence. And we make decisions that arise out of this pushing back… fighting against what is, mentality.
Which of course, is only going to make things worse.
Because when you stand on the outside of challenge… and you respond to it from a controlling, fearful, and unbalanced orientation… the end result is of course… more chaos, more anxiety and more frustration.
And even though you may think you are responding appropriately… and that you are working to solve the situation… what actually ends up happening is that you compound the problem, and exacerbate the pain it’s causing you. Which is of course the opposite of what you would want to happen.
So instead of standing on the outside, and pushing back… the trick is being able to work from within the challenge. And to respond to feeling uncomfortable from a place of acceptance and openness.
Which is exactly what our strategy is all about.
Okay, so the strategy is called… Embrace What Is
And meet reality, from within reality. Or in other words, look at every situation directly in the eyes. And acknowledge its fundamental right to exist. And open yourself to the truth of what is here and now… even if it’s challenging and uncomfortable.
Meaning… Face it, feel it and stay present within the reality of each situation. Whether thats an emotion, or a thought, or a sensation. Or you’re going through a break up. Or you’re feeling dysphoria. Or you’re loosing your job.
There you are… embracing what is. And allowing for the reality of your life… to be exactly as it is. And instead of denying it. Or fighting back against it. You are meeting it head on. And you are positioning yourself in a way where you are open, relaxed, and balanced… from within the challenge.
Kind of like placing yourself within in the eye of the storm… sinking even deeper into the core of the situation, and grounding into the chaos. And even though there is all sorts of movement, and distraction, and turbulence… there you are, allowing for everything to be just as it is.
And then from within that place… allowing for the natural intelligence of life to elicit a response from you. And instead of trying to figure everything out… and control the process. You are simply allowing for the process to evolve naturally and organically.
And you are allowing for a challenging situation to be exactly what it is. A challenging situation. Or a temporary weather pattern.
And even though you can’t control the weather… and you are being pushed beyond your limits… there you are, fully embracing your painful, messy, chaotic life.
And you are working with the challenge, and the pain, and the heartache… as opposed to against it. This means making decisions, thinking strategically, and doing your best to respond appropriately… but doing so from within the natural current of life.
So in general, thats what it feels like to embrace reality. And to go with the flow of painful, challenging situations. Which of course is an art, and not a science. So keep in mind that I’m simply offering you a guiding principle, or something to set your sights on… as you learn how to more effectively navigate the challenges of your life.
So if you are feeling dysphoria. Then feel it. And give it permission to be here. Or if you are going through a break up, or a rough patch. Then be here… on the inside of the situation.
And if you are feeling totally unbalanced, and insecure, and unsure about how to show up for your life… then tenderly embrace each and every part of that experience. And see if you can tune into the spaciousness which is surrounding each sensation.
And in general… see if you can give yourself permission to soften, and relax into the heart of your life. And into the core of what is troubling you. And see if you can get in touch with that ground zero… or the center point within the storm.
And if you want to learn even more about cultivating resilience… then you should watch this video. Because in it, I share a simple strategy that will invite the energy of transformation into your gender exploration.
Okay my friend… thanks for sticking around to the end. Ill talk to you soon.