Have you ever had those moments in life where you feel like God or the universe is trying to get your attention and show you something really important?
Over and over again in the last 24-hours, the same theme has been coming up.
Yesterday when it first hit I was like “that’s interesting”.
Then when it came up again this morning in a different context I thought “oh wow, what a coincedence”
And then the third example just moments ago, I literally sat down and said out loud “really??, this is that important??”
Clearly, someone or something that cares deeply about me is trying to make a point right now.
And I can’t think of a better reason to sit down at the keyboard and try to capture/express the depth of the message for others to share.
I’m talking to a friend yesterday, one of my closest. I know his story and he knows mine and we actually still like each other. (those in accountability relationships will get the humor in that)
He has had his share of weaknesses and struggles; childhood neglect can create emotional cavities that manifest in less-than-desirable ways later in life. And even in our best intentions, we will hurt the ones we love, and be hurt by them.
That is just life, we can learn how to minimize the damage, but few, if any, will ever be completely immune to it.
This time it was about his wife, she was triggered. He had done something that “this time” he was completely innocent but it flared up fear and anger in her.
We talked for an hour trying to assess the reality of the situation.
Yes, his past actions have helped create her insecurities, but the reality that she is responsible for her emotions and he is responsible for his is still the bottom line.
However, knowing the truth, and having our emotions follow along with that logic, are two VERY different things.
He was feeling insecure, kinda fearful. Any husband knows when his wife is upset with him there is unavoidable tension on the horizon and no way around it, you just have to step up and into it.
At one point he said, “ but I don’t have to own her emotions“.
And that was big, for both of us.
We are both very familiar with how our childhood woundings molded us into people-pleasers. We have become skilled at keeping the peace to avoid emotional conflict, it was the highest priority in our emotional world before enlightenment began to rewrite the narratives.
And we know the role codependency plays in that, the act of “feeling” responsible for other people’s emotions and making them responsible for ours.
In that one sentence, he proclaimed his freedom; he realized he was about to give his power away and he reclaimed it.
It wasn’t mean, it wasn’t selfish. He simply stated the fact that “just because my wife is upset doesn’t mean I have to be upset also”.
By him choosing to remain emotionally stable and still meet his wife where she is instead of having to somehow “make her like him again”, or “fix her”, he was then freed up to now simply love his wife instead of needing to change her state.
Sure it was a good desire, but it wasn’t necessary for his well-being.
That was true freedom example #1
This morning I was awakened by a phone call; it was my old boss.
Just last week, after a year of me being on a medical leave of absence, we sat down and I signed termination papers. I had to surrender my job of 19 years. We were both saddened; but also trusting that God is manifesting new things.
So when my “ex” manager called this morning, I realized that I picked up the phone effortlessly, I was happy to see his name on caller ID.
I noted that awareness immediately because over the past year I have felt anxious, maybe even guilty, every time he called.
He was having a crisis at the office and was calling to get my opinion. I’m glad he did because what he was considering doing was a suicide run with the customer; a setup for disaster that could potentially make a bad situation much worse.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a solution for his issue, and I told him I would at the very least I would pray and we both agreed God is always faithful and this will work out, it always does.
When I hung up the phone I was at total peace… and that was unusual.
So much so that I began to journal and reflect on it.
What I realized is that even though I have been on disability for the last year and I was on an approved medical leave of absence, I “felt guilty”.
Somehow my boss represented my failure to perform, my inability to work meant I was less than a man, I was somehow useless.
But this morning when he called I had none of that experience.
I realized he was still the same person, it was only my perspective that shifted.
For the last year (probably more like my whole life) I had given my self-worth (another aspect of personal power) away to my job, my career.
Somehow my illness made me less of a person and all I could “feel” was how I was “letting them down” even though it was my illness that made me incapable of working my old job.
Throughout my entire career, I’ve always had the knowledge that “I can only do my best” but I always had the feeling like “it was never good enough”.
That’s how I got sick, my over-achieving workaholic, perfectionism mindset provided me great career success, but also drove my body and mind to the brink of exhaustion.
And a year later, I’m still trying to recover.
Again, emotions were driving my reality, not wisdom.
That was true freedom example #2
And then the icing on the cake was soon after that phone call another close friend called to share an experience he just had.
He was at work yesterday and his boss and his cronies came out of an office as he was walking down their hallway. He instantly had this pang of anxiety. What are they going to say, am I in trouble, what will they say about this tomorrow?
Granted there is a lot of history that I won’t share here that makes this scene make more sense, but in a way, it’s kinda like my other friend and his wife. It is a relationship that has ups and downs, and it now generates “what is going on now” fear-based emotions.
You know, that uncomfortable space where somebody might do or say something and without knowing their motive we worry about “what are they thinking about me”.
We all say we don’t worry about what other’s think about us, but I would hazard to say that is b.s. for a vast majority of the population.
Our social survival is pinned to what other’s think of us, and our amygdala (the fight or flight response) is ALWAYS judging body language, tone of voice, and actions of others against past experiences to determine if the situation is safe or a threat.
But what he was so excited to share was the epiphany at that moment when he realized just seeing his bosses created this emotional response.
His inner dialogue went something like this:
“Why should I fear them, they are just men.
“Sure they hold the power to fire me, but so what.”
“God is bigger than my circumstances, this isn’t the only job on the planet that I’m qualified for.”
“I don’t even like this job.”
“If I ran into them at the grocery store they would mean nothing to me other than old acquaintences.”
WHY AM I CHOOSING TO GIVE MY POWER OF WELL-BEING OVER TO THEM”
At that moment, he was set free. His revelation gave him his power to choose how to feel about them and himself.
He simply needed to be respectful and do his job, and his bosses were free to have a good day or bad day and be grumpy or friendly as they choose.
They may control his time when he is on the clock but they will only control his emotional well-being to the measure of his internal dialogue and the power he places on their state.
That was true freedom example #3
From there I started to recognize just how prevalent this lack of emotional freedom is throughout my whole life.
When a police car pulls up behind me I get nervous… BUT WHY???
Well, in my teen years I was a party animal and used to drive wasted all the time (God’s mercy that I never hurt anyone) and cops were terrifying. Could my body’s emotional memory of those years still see police as a threat today?
Back then I was truly doing something wrong and should fear them, but that is not my reality today.
Wow, I realized that’s an actual description of PTSD. Past experiences creating unrealistic emotional responses to current events.
Or my son not replying to my text right away… could that mean he is in trouble or he’s upset with me?
Why would I go there… it could also mean he is just busy. (And that is all it means every single time).
When my son’s mother mentions that our son needs new tires on his truck, is she just “being a bitch that only calls me for money?” That depends upon how I “choose” to view the situation.
She’s just stating a fact and I am blessed with a son and with that comes the opportunity and obligation to help keep him safe.
If someone else doesn’t like us, does that mean we are unlikable?
If someone else didn’t think we did a “good enough job”, does that mean we didn’t give it our best and our efforts were wasted?
If someone else thinks our dreams to be an entrepreneur or to go back to school or take up sky-diving is stupid, does that mean us dreaming or desiring more is stupid?
If someone else devalues us, judges our motives, treats us poorly, says mean or unsupportive things… does that mean they know us better than we or God knows us?
We Choose to Believe What We Believe
- I choose to believe I will or I can’t
- I choose to believe I have options or I’m stuck
- I choose to believe I am empowered or I’m a victim
- I choose to believe that success simply has obstacles or life is cruel and unwinnable
Our Choices Create Our Reality
- I choose to eat healthily or eat crap
- I choose to risk being vulnerable with people or wall them off by wearing masks
- I choose to go for my dreams or talk myself out of them
- I choose to exercise or rest, save money or spend, like myself or hate myself.
Our Emotions Seek Survival Not Success
- I can choose to be excited about the day ahead or feel burdened by it
- I can choose to let courage propel me or fear to stop me
- I can choose to be happy or sad
- I can choose to be hopeful or hopeless
- I can choose to take risks or play it safe
- I can choose to feel alive or dead
Power is not something others bestow upon us, our true power exists in the way we value ourselves and how we interpret the circumstances of our life.
Some of my favorite ingredients for success
- Don’t Live Small; Have a Compelling Vision
- Own Your Shit; Then Strip Away Conditioning & Fear
- Live With Intentionality By Making Decisions and Taking Action
- Don’t Judge Outcomes as Good or Bad; Simply Measure Results
- Fall In Love With The Process
I’d say today’s message falls under #2 above, stripping away the conditioning and taking ownership for our lives.
Self-Awareness Is The Key
The committee (as I call them, the subconscious inner-workings) have agendas that do not align with change and growth and risk.
We have to become hyper-aware of the ways in which our thoughts and emotions try and trick us into submission and complacency to living “less-than” lives through an exaggerated pursuit of “safety”
We have the ability within us to create the lives we desire… but we must make the choice to believe that and to then wield our God-given power in ways that brings healing and hope to a broken world.
Join the conversation: How have you either given your power away or discovered ways to take it back?
My desire for LMP (The Life Mastery Project) is to create a fully-engaged community of overcomers who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other
Let’s Do This!
Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner
Founder of Nikaos Strategic Coaching
Developer of The Life Mastery Project