Living an inspired life is not just about beautiful sunsets and inspiring quotes. Sometimes you have to put on your warpaint and fiercely protect what’s yours. And what is more yours than your very self, your spirit?
We want to live a more inspired life – of course we do! It’s what this website and community is all about. And to help us do that, it’s wonderful to fill our lives with good, beautiful and inspiring things – things that nourish us and feed our spirits.
But sometimes, just trying to make space for those in our lives isn’t enough. Sometimes we can sense that something deeper is going on – that something important to us – perhaps our very sense of self – is somehow being threatened. When this happens, we are called upon to actively defend who we are and what we need for our souls to feel acknowledged, to feel supported and safe, and for our spirits to shine. This can take fierceness, determination and even (horror of horrors!) a willingness to upset others.
I am very much a peace-loving soul. I value harmony and connection highly, and will give up much to keep the peace and to not upset others. I also feel good when I see others happy, and being able to help others is very satisfying for me. But I find I don’t always treat myself so well. My default mode is to set aside my own needs for the sake of group harmony and being helpful.
This is not wrong in itself. Sometimes it can be a really good thing. But the problem for me comes with the way I push my own desires and needs down so deep that I don’t even really know what they are. Or if I do recognize them, I devalue them by straight away making them less important than those of others. When I find myself doing this, I’m particularly skillful at rationalizing away my treatment of myself and finding plenty of excuses for my behaviour -“They need it more than me”, “I can look after myself some other time”, “it will make me happy to see them happy”, “I should be modelling forgiveness, friendliness, tolerance, professional or mature behaviour” (whatever that is). My list is extensive, and you may well be able to add a few excuses of your own…
Lately, I’ve begun to recognize the many small wounds I inflict upon my spirit when I do this. And as I’ve learnt to listen more deeply, I feel that my spirit has begun to assert itself more – to become more insistent, and more fiercely protective. I’m learning to understand and value my own needs, and to see where I am leaving them ignored or unacknowledged. I’m getting better at recognizing the outside forces (sometimes seemingly benign and therefore harder to spot) that can rob me of that connection to spirit.
And I’m learning the importance of not judging myself. I feel what I feel, I need what I need. Downplaying, trivializing, rationalizing or ignoring does not work, and always leads to those things being expressed some other way – through emotional outbursts, unexplained sadness, physical illnesses or fatigue, self-condemnation – one way or another, spirit will out!
And of course it doesn’t mean I will put myself above others, or let everything out without thinking, or stop working for harmony. But I’m resolved now to listen to my soul and body, and to find ways to give it what it needs. Then my actions and connections with others can come from a more genuine place. But that maybe is a subject for another blog …
What needs have you been ignoring? Are you ever surprised by a need you didn’t know you had? How do you protect that “inner you”? Are your enemies without or within? There’s a space for comments if you keep scrolling down, so we’d love to hear your experience:)