It Starts With You

Today, I have a special workout for you that is designed to release stress and evoke a sense of self-acceptance and peace within you. When you treat yourself with kindness, the world will reflect that back. And if we are going to make any significant change, we must focus on love.

But first, I want you to talk about reclaiming a sense of power within yourself when things feel out of your control.

That is what today’s post and workout is all about.

 

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My Way of Thinking Isn’t the Only Way

Here’s a story for you.

Back in June, I had the privilege of going to Israel with an incredible group of wellness entrepreneurs, funded by the amazing Schusterman Foundation.

We spent time on the Syrian/Israeli border and dove into the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. We had the opportunity to hear facts about the events that have taken place there over hundreds of years, and we also heard personal stories of heartbreak from many different perspectives.

After one particularly emotionally charged day, we ended up on a hilltop near the Syrian border to watch the sunset.

Everyone was feeling the weight of humanity. We were feeling the sadness of lives unnecessarily lost.

Many of us were feeling overwhelmed by the idea of having such little control over any of it.

After being up there for a few minutes, a small subset of our group peeled off and formed a little singing circle.

The singing evolved and became joyful as more people joined in.

But some from the group did not think the singing was appropriate after what we had just experienced—including hearing gunshots coming from not too far away.

At first, I was one of those people.

Let me be totally candid with you, my friend.

I wanted them to stop singing.

The weight of my emotions was too much. The singing did not feel right. And the more they sang, the more irritated I became.

Why did they think this was an okay time to be celebratory? Why weren’t they taking the time to mourn like the rest of us?

At the root of my thinking was this: I am right. They are wrong. They are VERY wrong.

They should be acting and thinking the same way I am acting. They should be respectful. And because of that, in this moment, I am unwilling to accept their point of view.

Instead, I will see them as other, less than, and different.

However, as I let this linger on my mind, something very clear occurred to me.

I began to realize, “Oh my goodness. THIS is the problem. My way of thinking in this moment, is the exact same problem we experience on an individual and societal level.”

When we take on the perspective that our way of thinking, being and feeling is the ONLY way, we close the door on any sort of forward movement.  

Moving Into a Deeper Sense of Acceptance of Different Feelings

With this perspective, there is no room for negotiation, no room for growth and truly no room for change. We shut the door on the idea that perhaps there is, in fact, room for all of it.

I know, it’s hard to swallow.

You see, in this moment, there was no reason they couldn’t sing, while I could also have my more intimate moment. We could co-exist.

And while I realize this is not as easy as it sounds, if you are interested in making not only the world a better place, but also want to feel better yourself, I encourage you to open your mind to the idea that more than one feeling, idea or thought can co-exist within you and around you.

And the moment you allow for this, you will begin to open. When we are open, we have access to higher level thoughts and solutions.

While this applies on a societal and community level, I believe it also applies to us as individuals.

What happens when we are supposed to be excited but we also feel a sense of sadness at the same time?

What happens when a situation like loss arises, but somehow we also feel a sense of relief that perhaps something has finally come to an end?

Usually what happens is that we do everything in our power to SHUT. THOSE. FEELINGS. DOWN.

We don’t want them to see the light of day. And it is often the same way when someone from “the other side” starts to speak and we disagree. SHUT. THEM. DOWN. Do not tolerate it for a single second.

But as humans, we are not just one way.

And certainly as a society we are not just one way.

We have the capacity to hold and embody a variety of emotions and thoughts, some of which are in complete and utter contrast to others.

Isn’t that bizarre?

But I believe that by moving ourselves into a deeper sense of acceptance of our own varied feelings and emotions, we have the opportunity to extend that compassion and understanding to the world around us.

A Special Workout to Help Relieve Stress and Evoke a Sense of Self-Acceptance and Peace

The next time you notice yourself judging someone who does not believe what you believe, perhaps you can check in with yourself and ask yourself why this scares you. As an inquiry.

Ask yourself, “What am I most afraid of here.”

The same goes for when you are judging your own feelings and thoughts. Ask, “Why am I so uncomfortable with my own feelings? What about this scares me?”

They are great questions to simply begin a self-dialogue that hopefully promotes deeper understanding. Additionally, you can apply these same questions in a loving, gentle way to a person you might be having a conflict with. (Provided they are willing to have a dialogue.)

Don’t forget to download today’s workout.

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Of course, when we can feel into our own bodies, we can feel more powerful in this moment.

As always, I really enjoy hearing from you. Do you allow different emotions to live inside of you? Do you allow others to feel what they are feeling? Is that challenging for you? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment over below.

Here’s to positive change and compassion for those we agree with—and those we don’t.

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See the Comments

21 Responses to It Starts With You

  1. Rachel says:

    Thank you for this. This is exactly what I needed to hear.

  2. Brenda says:

    Safety first.

  3. Mary Jane Mulholland says:

    Thanks, Erin. A timely reminder to remember who we are and to bring mindfulness to our lives whenever we can. We are here to learn and to grow. Opening our hearts and minds is key.

  4. Karin says:

    Erin – awesome blog! First time I’ve tweeted one of your quotes – this one really resonated with me on many different levels. The 5 min workout was very fitting. Thank you for all you do.

  5. Jenny says:

    I am open, loving, and tolerant to the different ideas of other “everyday”people around me; but, how do we accept and be peaceful with the ideologies of those people who are obviously ruining the world? (For people and the environment). The bigger picture is what I struggle with, and I try to bring myself back into doing just what I can do, but it’s very frustrating not to be able to change the minds of people in power. (I hope this makes sense. It’s still early here haha)

    • Stace says:

      Jenny, I used to think this but you know what, I don’t believe anyone has such power. For example, even if Mr DJ Trump is President and does a few of the outrageous items on his promises, I believe the checks and balances and power of electing someone else in four years will be able to mitigate anything he does if he goes too crazy in one direction. Also I used to work in government, just in local and people put petitions forward on all sorts of items and some people and interest groups write letters on so many topics. If a group of people are concerned about an issue, the department and/or the politicians concerned acted. Of course there were budgetary constraints and a system to go through. Maybe you could join a group or two that address/taken action on an issue close to your heart? At the council I worked at one environment group – mostly full of older retirees – got so powerful council had to notify them of any trees removed!! But in other areas, developers got things through too hastily. I began to extremism bad but we are all blessed with a point of view and need our fellow societal members to help look after the bits we missed – so your mission – your special talent and calling might be to take action on one particular cause. I wish you the best.

  6. Julianne says:

    Erin, thank you for this post!!! It sounds so simple: Understanding (or at least attempting to understand), tolerance (or at least being respectful of the rights and beliefs of others), and willingness to have a more loving response to others (even those we do not agree with). Your tweet about perspective closing the door on forward movement is BRILLIANT parenting advice. Thanks again for this timely story that you shared.

  7. Karen says:

    When someone has something to share that doesn’t sit right with me…I mentally step back to create space- space for them to express themselves and for me to observe but not absorb.

  8. dee says:

    thank you for your helpful reminder about acceptance. Agree, this is timely advice!
    I received a 22 minute workout and wonder if there is a different link to practice the 5 minute workout?

    thanks again for sharing your insight.

    • Erin says:

      Dee, did you click on the banner in this post below the main image, or did you click on the the pop up that is right beneath the video? I think you may have simply clicked on the wrong thing. But if you go back, you will get it:) Let me know if you have questions! xo

  9. Sue says:

    This really resonated with me today. It’s been a particularly rough week. I am engaged to a wonderful man and we are trying to merge a family with 4 teens. (One from him and three from me.) It has been very challenging in many ways. An only child with a single parent merging with 3 siblings who have divorced parents can have many complexities from many different relationship perspectives). And often I feel and revert to many of the things you discuss in this piece. I think the situation of “right vs wrong” becomes more complicated when there is a parent/child relationship involved. It’s very hard to find the line between guiding and parenting vs co-existing and not judging and working from a place of love as you speak of above. The questions you asked at the end really helped me focus on my fears and my tendency to try to shut feelings down. Thank you for this. It gave me a lot to think about today.

  10. Miriam says:

    Hi Erin,
    I’m commenting because your post came to me just minutes after being enlightened on just this topic! I’m a Christian and for all of my Christian life, I didn’t know how to respond to the gay issue. I know what the bible says, and that’s why I got a knot in my stomach anytime the issue came up. Similar to what you described when those people started singing. I prayed for God to show me the truth. I always thought those people just need to earnestly seek God to be “healed”. My answer to prayer came in this youtube video featuring several precious individuals who tried and prayed to be changed but weren’t. It truly opened my eyes to the turmoil that they already endure without Christians adding their two cents. I’m thankful for this video and at the same time heartbroken that us Christians have made gay people feel so unloved. As I mentioned, soon after watching this, I got your email and just had to respond! This is the video in case anyone is interested.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxBg6wWJ9rA

  11. Lexie says:

    Thank you for sharing this great blog post. I especially love the suggestion to ask ourselves “What am I most afraid of here?” Lately I have struggled with how to act and react to others’ actions and reactions, feeling like I am not justified in any kind of response even though I don’t think they are justified either. (What a great way to implode ugg!) But what you have shared here gives me food for thought and tools for action–Action that does not equate with ‘stand your ground and assume you have the best perspective’.

  12. Excellent response. Thank you for sharing and for bringing it back to mindfulness, curiosity, attention to and awareness of all of the feelings… our light and our shadow, our calm and our storm. Bringing both self-inquiry and global inquiry, along with acts of compassion are so pivotal in finding our way forward. Thank you for being brave and speaking up.

  13. Pam says:

    Erin…you are such an inspiration. I have been going through some medical issues and have come to an impasse between myself and the doctor’s advice for more testing. Time to take a step back and see my doctor’s point of view and reconsider. In the meantime I will put this exercise and mantra’s to good use to nurture myself. Thank you

  14. Stace says:

    Wow, what an inspiring way to be “inspired” or antiinspired by many fanatical views happening right now. I have attraction/resistance feelings all the time = one minute, I feel I can’t take it anymore, the next I feel love and gratitude for something supportive done for me. I believe the fear is two fold – one – is being rejected for being different and two – the fear of hating someone you are meant to love. It is great to be challenged but also to feel at home, we need both I believe. I do admit to thinking you stupid moron at some people’s outburst and their lack of willingness to engage or expand. It is frustrating to listen to these views when they are family or colleagues you can’t avoid.

  15. Michael Ye says:

    Thanks for this post Erin,

    In a way I feel like people are always so quick to talk about what’s wrong with the world and only focus on that. It doesn’t accomplish anything and that negativity isn’t doing anyone any favors. I’m guilty of this too. Each time I was ashamed of what I was thinking. Who am I to impose my beliefs on to other people? All that does is stroke my ego. Part of the reason I was so unhappy was because I was so self-absorbed. After I let go of trying to control that, I was so much happier with myself and the people around me. In the end we should all respect each other and be open to learning from everyone around us.