AND Reach Out Your Way

March 4th, 2018

Social media today seems to have accelerated our addiction to comparing ourselves to others and their lives as a means of knowing if we are good enough, how we should portray ourselves, and how to feel about our lives. When we are unconsciously inclined to learn about who we are by comparing ourselves to others and to what we were told growing up, both in the family and at school, we often lose touch with our own lived experience to know what is true.

It is time to take any situation, relationship, conversation, and encounter we find ourselves in and, after having experienced it, pause. The pause is to remember that what we tell ourselves unconsciously and what others tell us about how to label or assign meaning to the experience is only one perspective. We would be better served to consider our labels and those of others, including any source of media, as one piece of data to consider in our decision.

The next critical step is to run the label or meaning we are assigning against our lived experience. Does it feel true? Do we feel more joy-filled and alive by accepting or rejecting the label assigned? If not, the courageous act is to go against conventional wisdom and choose the action that fits our inner wisdom.

So often we mask our true strengths to appear to have the strengths that we believe society or people in our life, whose approval we seek, value. AND as a result we work in less than satisfying jobs. We stay in unhealthy relationships. We feed fears. AND we shut down our joy.

Celebrating a birthday recently, I was filled with joy when my ninety-one year old father called to sing to me. A dear friend greeted me with “happy birthday” every time I called that day (which was often). A special client and friend whistled “happy birthday” when he called. Cards and messages filled me with light.

And yet, these means of reaching out, we sometimes tell ourselves are not enough. There is more we can do, should do. Really?

It is time to tap into what gives us joy, share it with others, and live into the unique strengths we bring into this world…regardless of others’ reactions. Think of how much more joy could fill our lives when we stop giving our power to any outside source to assign meaning in our lives. When we tap into our hearts to check on what we truly feel AND reach out to share our joy and gifts our way, we light our own joy and the lives of those we touch.

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