On Life Lessons and Being Able To Receive

heather o'neill coaching - photo by designingjoe

Sunset in handsIt’s interesting how things transpire in our lives to teach us the things we need to know. I believe that the lessons we are to learn are ones that we draw in through our experiences, both the good and the bad, the joyous and the painful, so that we can come to know the things that will not only lead us to what we desire most but to also help us to live as our true selves, as the people we really want to be. Sometimes, on some level, we know we need to learn things to help us progress in certain areas and then sometimes when things do show up, we are not quite ready to embrace the change. But I think it serves us to be aware of these lessons. Of how they show up in out lives. And if they do, in fact, keep showing up. For instance, if there is some lesson you are to learn that you feel keeps coming up in different areas of your life, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself if you are really ready for what you are wanting. A great example is folks that are seeking a relationship yet keeping ending up finding people that are unavailable on some level. Perhaps inside something really isn’t quite ready for a relationship, perhaps you fear you will lose your freedom or something of that nature.

So when we experience life lessons that come up, sometimes it takes a little digging into what’s happening so that we can learn what we need to and turn any crisis into an opportunity for learning and growth. I recently pulled my back out worse that I have ever experienced before. And when I started exploring what I was to learn from it I kept trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. And looking for what I was doing wrong was frustrating and confusing and all it did was make me feel awful about myself. And I realized that although the information I was seeking was very valuable, the questions I was asking in my search were completely dis-empowering. So I stopped asking to be shown all of the things I was doing “wrong” and started asking “what things can I change”, “how can I bring more well being into my life” and “what can I do to improve my health?” Self blame was doing me absolutely no good, but asking the right questions was.

Self accountability is an important thing but it is not synonymous with self blame. Accountability is knowing that you are responsible for the choices you make. Realizing you are responsible for your choices and that if things are not working out optimally for you, you can explore different choices is a very different mechanism than blaming yourself. Self blame leads right down the path to victimization. And while being a victim is a real circumstance, being stuck in victimization or driving yourself down that road is a result of how you choose to respond to being a victim. So I just wanted to make the distinction between blame and victimization as opposed to holding yourself accountable and then assessing what could be done differently. The latter is a solution oriented mindset. Being angry with yourself and searching high and low for what you have done wrong is not.

When my back was out and I could barely move and I needed help. I don’t like asking for help. One of my biggest challenges in this life is to not only ask for help but also be able to receive it. So many of us have trouble receiving. We can feel happy to give and yet quite blocked from receiving and thus create imbalances in our life. What we fail to realize is that receiving is actually part of the cycle of giving. To receive is to allow someone else to give and giving feels good. We are not on this planet with billions of other people to go it alone. In my head I know this and in my heart I must work on keeping it open to receive. And so along with needing help and then in receiving help, I realized I needed to be able to be vulnerable. So many of us shy away from that because we are afraid of getting hurt or maybe not living up to the images we think others need to have of us (perhaps we feel we need to be “strong” or devoid of heavy emotion). Myself included. But being in that kind of pain and not able to do for myself left me vulnerable. And I had to be OK with that. And I didn’t fight it. And it allowed me to see the love and the care within others that they were offering to me.

It was very telling that my body had to go to such lengths not only to slow me down (which is another story altogether) but to show me that it is OK to be vulnerable. Doesn’t mean I will never get hurt, getting hurt happens even when you have walls up. But it means that in my vulnerability I am wide open to receive; to receive love, help, camaraderie, friendship and all kinds of good stuff. So check your experiences for any life lessons, be investigative, be open and aware. The growth that comes from these things is immeasurable.

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