Friday, August 29, 2014

Do You Distance Yourself From Others?

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use it change the world.”
                                                                                            -Nelson Mandela


It is September and the older I get, the more I appreciate this month. As I am an empty nester, I find that September is a good time to go on vacation. I don’t have to be concerned about anyone’s school schedule, temperatures are still moderate, and I don’t have to brave the crowds. This is a prelude to say that I don’t like crowds. The more I learn, the more I know that there are certain things in all of us that are difficult to change. The more we work on ourselves, the more there is to work on. Isn’t that the way it is? Much of what gets in our way is not really who we are, but how we have defended ourselves to survive when we were younger. 

One of these things that I constantly work on is my tendency to distance myself from others. On the surface it doesn’t look like I do. I have friends, I work on my relationships with friends and family, and I do like going out. Yet underneath this strong veneer is a tendency to not feel certain feelings too deeply and a need to have time alone as I am also an introvert. I have a sensitivity to others’ energy, and find it difficult to separate my thoughts and feelings from others when I am with them. This last difficulty can manifest as my wanting to please others and so temporarily misplacing my own sense of knowing and self. So I distance myself to supposedly help me to retain my sense of self. I share these aspects of myself to also show that these little things in us can disguise themselves so that we can easily miss them. And it is these very little things that require constant work. 

As I talk about being in the present and living fully, I have come to understand that no matter who we are and how far we have come, living in the present is not without the absence of work, feeling, and difficulty. It is living and knowing what we need to work on and actively doing so. I am presently actively working on being with others while being myself, and engaging with them and feeling my feelings. Whew, that is work. What are you presently actively working on? Do you also distance yourself from others, and what can you do about it?

Work is not a bad thing; it is a good thing. Work is part of living in the present and being present. It takes work to move from feeling alone, depressed, lost, angry, etc., to creating healthy distance, perspective, boundaries, and so on. Sometimes we think that if we are on a good track or path, we should feel good most of the time, and the work is over. The work is ongoing. I think the main difference is that as we actively are in touch with our essence, and not our egos that limit us, our work becomes part of our daily lives. By looking to connect to our souls we feel better, vital, and healthy. 

Having distance from others in order to become stronger and fuller in us is a helpful thing. Having distance from others as a way of not feeling is a different dynamic altogether. How do you distance from others, and is it helpful?


Shift Your Story, Shift Your Life

So here is a simple exercise to do which can help to shift your life.

Have a piece of paper and pen with you. Write down a story you find you tell yourself a lot; about you or your family or about an event.

Ask yourself if this story is really true, and if so, how is it true, and how is it not true, if it is not.

Ask yourself if there is something you would like to change that in some way relates to the story you tell yourself and that is getting in your way. Write down what that is. It could be that you keep telling yourself things that aren’t really true, or that you do connect, when you really don’t in some ways,…..etc.

Lastly, write down steps you can think of that someone would actively take, daily, to change distancing, or anger, or whatever is getting in their way or keeping them disconnected or keeping them lost or angry. This could be anything from digging up roots in their garden and thinking about what this represents, to catching their selves actively distancing or not feeling, and so on., and instead, doing something different. This could be stopping feeling sorry for yourself and instead embracing yourself or someone you wish you could. This could be noticing that you are actively taking on other’s feeling as your own, and restricting that action even though it feels weird.

Take this paper and read it and actively work on what you have written down daily, even if it feels weird or wrong. See how you feel after doing this for 2 weeks, and again, feel free to contact me with any questions or stumbling blocks along the way. I would also love to hear how this works for you and what you have noticed!