External Forces

Yes, life is hard but one of the ways to make it sweeter and to empower ourselves in any and all situations is to learn how to sort out what is 100% in our control and what is not. By doing so, we shift the paradigm for our lives.

Life teaches us that, as hard as we might try, we cannot control people and many of our external circumstances. But, here is the good news: If someone or something is about diminishing us, breaking us, or steering us away from ourselves, our superpower is that we get to choose our thoughts and our actions in any and all situations. We can redirect, recalibrate, and reorient our mental compass back to center which in turn helps us show up and behave in a way that serves us.

If our thoughts have the power to create our feelings, and if our feelings generate our actions, don’t you think it is wise to pay attention to our internal landscape and how we think about ourselves, and how we interpret the circumstances in our lives since those beliefs literally become our experience?

I am working with a few clients who are struggling in their relationships. They feel unsatisfied and unhappy and believe that if their significant others would just act in a certain way, and/or do certain things, then they would feel better. Our work has been to shift the focus from believing that the outside world has to change in order for them to feel better, and we have turned the focus inward to shed light on their thought processes and belief systems. Amazingly, most of us don’t even question our inner dialogue and from where our beliefs and interpretations come, and yet it drives so much of our relationship with ourselves, our interactions with others, and our actions and results in life. It is beautiful to witness when we gain awareness and shift our thoughts/beliefs from diminishing ourselves to empowering ourselves. No more victim mentality. No more blame game. This internal shift alone changes our external landscape in profound and unexpected ways, and our relationships are often the first things to change. And the best part?? We didn’t even need to manipulate/change the people or circumstances to make this happen!

This afternoon, while writing this blog, we had a large UPS delivery for our new business, Shred415. The UPS lady was fabulous and the two of us spent almost 10 minutes unloading boxes and talking life. She shared that her path to UPS occurred in 2004 when her daughter was born with a frontal lobe injury incurred at birth. Since her husband was self-employed and his insurance was mediocre at best, she decided to get a job that offered exceptional health benefits for their family. Insert UPS. Without knowing it at the time, she helped pave the road to healing and empowerment for herself and her family in a very difficult and scary situation. Although she had been home full-time for 10 years, she pulled together her resume and secured a position with UPS 6 weeks later. She has been with the company for 15 years and she reports that she loves her work for both the care and stability it provides for her family and the many interesting people that she crosses paths with on her deliveries. She even gets in a fantastic workout in the process! Her story is a sobering example of external forces at play, and how her internal fortitude and thought process kicked into gear and responded with empowerment to something that was otherwise traumatic and out of her control. What a gift to be in the presence of such a badass.

How do we figure out how to thrive in difficult and hard environments?

We show up, we assess, we adapt, we learn, we seek out guidance, and we grow — all while embracing being human in this messy and beautiful world. We learn that we are not captive to people or situations in the long run. The beauty of cultivating our inner landscape is that we always have some form of control — in our hearts, in our minds, and in our actions — regardless of our situation, regardless of the external forces. Gain perspective, anchor yourself, ask for help, process out loud, believe in what is possible, grow in courage and wisdom, and create a narrative that allows for grace and healing to occur. Xox