To watch more of this video, visit me over on YouTube, by clicking www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ETxlPgsbKg.
The number one hack for balancing your life (Demanding Career, Loving Home & Family, Friends, Travel, Etc.) & Having It All
Hey everybody, I’m here with you today to share a little bit about finding the balance in life between having it all (you know, a demanding and rewarding career, loving home life and family, friends, travel, all the things…) and keeping your sanity.
There’s a very delicate balance between “having it all” and keeping your sanity in this super busy and highly frenetic world that we live in, and I’m here today to help you put it all together so that you can begin to learn about what it takes to manifest a life of deep satisfaction.
This is more important now than ever, as our world is starting to “open back up” a bit after two years of pandemic related social distancing, closures, and quarantine. As people are beginning to get back out into the world, the pace is beginning to pick back up.
Whether you are a business owner or not, a parent with children, or have a demanding career and work life, finding your sweet spot between keeping busy with meaningful activities and maintaining your sanity in this fast-paced world is one of the hardest things to achieve and maintain.
What is true is that having 24/7 access to technology and social media makes certain things much easier to get done, sometimes this constant access can lead to an overload of information and options. Which can bring feelings of overwhelm and pressure to keep all the plates balancing at the same time.
Especially for high functioning, Type A, overachievers who have a hard time downshifting anyway on a good day.
If you’re one of those people who feels like they must be productive, otherwise you feel like you have nothing to show for your time, you might even feel worthless if you haven’t accomplished something or checked one more item off your list, then I’m talking about you.
There was a science experiment conducted by a Dutch scientist in 1665 who first noticed a phenomenon in pendulum clocks that when put next to each other for a designated period of time, would synchronize no matter how out of sync they were when they started. This experiment was conducted again with a room full of pendulum clocks, and again, the same result was found. What was determined to be the cause for this odd synchronicity was that there was a subtle energy exchange between the clocks. So basically, these scientists found that energy affects energy at whatever surrounding momentum exists.
Translated to human beings, what this illustrates is that the energy you surround yourself with will impact your speed and pace of life. If you surround yourself with fast paced, always “on”, intense expectations that you must operate at a high level at all times, then you will stay at that speed.
Choosing excellence in everything that you do is an outstanding trait to have as a human being. It’s amazing that you want to go the extra mile, however, when you start going the extra mile every single time...you begin to set that extra mile as your normal routine, which means you are pressured to always achieve more and more.
I always like to remind folks that whenever anything no longer feels like a choice in your life, there’s a decent chance that it’s become more about emotional self-preservation than actual motivation to keep the high level of functioning up.
This is an incredibly hard concept to grasp for high achievers who often receive many accolades and lots of support from the world for your ability to “have it all” and function at a high level. You know, “keep it all together”. With a smile on your face.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone reflect back to me (and this is especially true of Enneagram Type 3’s) “how could this be a problem- to want to have it all and function at a high level”?
For some people, their “busyness” and perfectionistic qualities actually serve as energetic distractions from what you might have to feel if you were to downshift and do less.
I’m talking about what you might have to feel if you gave up trying to keep all the plates spinning at a high level, all the time, or give yourself a break, or accept results that were “less than perfect”.
When I ask someone who comes to me for personality typing or therapeutic coaching “how would it be if you went home and did nothing this weekend” and they look at me like a deer in headlights, that’s how I know I’m on to something.
Sometimes, high levels of achievement and “nothing but the best” attitudes are actually clues that a person is managing some intense emotional feelings deep inside, that without the busyness, might catch up with them.
So they keep running. Doing. Accomplishing. Pushing. Having. Achieving. It never stops.
Sadly, what often happens too, is that this pressure often gets transferred onto their families, children, friends, employees, co-workers, pets and becomes almost impossible to shut off.
To do this all the time is just not sustainable long-term not to mention that it takes a tremendous toll on your physical and emotional health and well-being.
So, I’m going to share with you a tried and true “hack” for learning how to balance your life AND have it all.
Are you ready for it?
Give it up. Stop trying to have it all.
Walk away from this frenetic, fast paced, must-have-it-all-together approach to life, your career, your family, your children.
This is far easier said than done. Believe me, I understand.
I, too, am one of these “high achievers, who likes to keep up a frenetic pace when I’m not able to be with intense feelings yet opening up in my growth process and life.
That’s usually my clue that it’s time to double-down on therapy sessions because I need help understanding what’s really going on in a place that is #deeperthanwords or cognition.
For you to deepen your understanding of yourself and transform your life in a powerful way, you’re going to have to figure out what your high level of momentum is keeping you from having to feel, and then learn how to be with those uncomfortable feelings.
All feelings are important and necessary as they are the energetic messengers about what you “truly” need in your life to be satisfied and at peace, based upon your unique and particular MBTI & Enneagram personality type configuration.
All feelings. The good ones, the bad ones, the ugly feelings and everything in between.
And what each of us needs to be satisfied and peaceful often differs based upon who you truly are, not the version of yourself the world has taught you to be.
And when I say “figure out” what your tendency to live from a place of pressure is protecting you from having to feel, I don’t mean listen to a podcast or read a book or try to figure it out with your brain or talk it over with a friend.
Feelings are energy, they are not cognitive thoughts.
That’s why talk therapy can only get you so far into deeply transforming your life and finding a level of balance that feeds you. Feelings exist in a place that is #deeperthanwords and is nonlinear.
To get to the heart of the matter about what pressure is really keeping you from feeling, the place where it’s hard to downshift, you’re going to need help getting to the depths of your feelings inside so that you can untangle this knot once and for all.
Not in your brain, rather in your body.
Linear thinking and cognitive processes help solve problems. Nonlinear healing transforms lives.
You might find that after learning how to be with and learn from all your feelings, including the “unpleasant” ones, you might still choose to keep up with life at a high pace.
Fine. The deciding factor in this case is that you’re choosing this, instead of doing so from a place of pressure.
Unless you’re in a true life or death kind of situation, pressure is ALWAYS a clue that you’re living from an emotionally protective and defensive position in what you’re doing.
And this is always going to keep you running around at a frenetic pace, multitasking everything (including your relationships) while being truly present for nothing.
It’s easy to get caught up in this idea that you have to work at 200%, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in everything that you do, and then, when you are successful, or the chores are done, the house is clean, or the kids grow up and move out, or you reach a certain amount of money in the bank, you can take it down a notch.
There is always more to be done.
This is the very illusion that keeps you imbalanced and trying to have it all in such a way that you enjoy nothing.
Because I’m such a quote gal, I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes of all times from St. Augustine who speaks to this idea of downshifting in life:
People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.
Don’t let your life speed by without exploring and discovering who you really were meant to be in this lifetime.
That’s what it’s all about. Finding yourself so you can have it all.
I wish that for you, your family, your career, your children and everyone and everything whose life you touch with yours.
There’s peace to be found if you’re willing to take an emotional risk and begin to feel what you’ve spent your busy and highly productive life out running.
This starts by downshifting with support.
I got you!
For more information about my work and how I can help you deeply transform your life and relationships, visit my website at www.kateschroederlpc.com and be sure to join my email list in order to get the latest updates about my services, programs, classes, and workshops.
Bye for now.
The other day it dawned on me that one of the things that happens as Fall begins is that our daylight becomes shorter and the darkness becomes longer. And for many people, this is the beginning of a difficult time.
Add to this, the fact that we all are beginning a second fall season, against the backdrop of a pandemic, and it’s pretty clear that people continue to need connection now more than ever.
Connection is a very important piece of support you can bring into your life when you are struggling or having a difficult time in your life. So, I decided to write about connection in the hopes that this might offer a piece of helpful information about why some of you might struggle to feel satisfied with the kinds of connections that you have in your life.
One of the beliefs about connection is that closeness is enough.
For some people it is.
Sharing a lot of time and space with another person, regardless of how deep the connection goes, is enough for you. You feel filled up by closeness to another person and don’t need depth in order to feel satisfied.
For many others of you though, closeness is not enough.
You might have many close friends and acquaintances that you connect with quite a bit, yet often feel dissatisfied or like something is lacking in those relationships. You might even struggle to understand why you could have so many close connections and still feel so unhappy or dissatisfied.
I want to let you know that there’s a very important reason why you might be feeling this way. You’re not crazy or defective or ungrateful.
The truth is that closeness is not enough connection for you.
You also need depth and meaning as well in your close connections, in order to feel full and satisfied in your relationships. There are different kinds of connections.
Connections can be close. Connections can have depth.
You can have closeness without depth. You cannot have depth without closeness.
Many people confuse closeness with depth while in fact, these are two very separate and distinct experiences.
If you’re someone who wants closeness and not depth, then I’ll bet once the conversation takes a turn into a real, authentic and vulnerable conversation, you get uneasy.
And if you’re someone who needs depth and meaning in your life, then I’ll bet that just being close to someone, although a nice way to spend time, often leaves you feeling like something is missing.
You're not alone.
I, too, need depth and closeness in my connections. If I don’t have a particular amount of deep and meaningful connection in my life, then I become imbalanced, unhappy and dissatisfied.
Once I understood that closeness does not equate depth, this helped me to not only understand myself more deeply, it also gave me the ability to understand why I was often unhappy around certain kinds of connections in my life.
They just weren’t enough of the kind of connection that I needed.
Truth is, I appreciate connection in all its forms. As a social species, we would not survive without some form of connection in our life.
The fact is, though, that for me, I cannot feel alive without connection that is deep and meaningful.
I’m glad that I understand that now and that I’ve learned how to seek out the kinds of connections that bring depth and meaning to my life. Because there’s a distinct difference between closeness and depth.
Regardless of how you live your connections to others, my wish for you is that you find more of whatever kind of connection you need in order to feel supported and satisfied this Fall season.
“We have to protect our mind and our body rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”
These powerful and wise words came from 24-year-old, Olympic champion, Simone Biles after announcing she was withdrawing from several Olympic events in Tokyo.
Granted, this was a 24-year-old who was intimate with the experience of performing on a world stage. But still… 24 YEARS OLD!!!!!! Heck, at that age, one’s soft spot in their cranium hasn’t even closed yet.
How courageous she was to make this decision on the world stage like this!
Mixed sentiments from across the world came in – some relegating her as a quitter, or national embarrassment. Others praised her bravery, acknowledging the strength and courage it takes for a star at her level to understand her limits and set boundaries.
What was interesting to me as I observed everyone’s reactions was the range of emotions people were expressing in response to Simone’s decision to pull back instead of push through.
Some people were super supportive and recognized the power and courage it took to pull back instead of push through, others were offended that someone with this privilege as an elite athlete, wouldn’t push through in order to perform for others.
It was all really so interesting, and reflective of what parts of mainstream society still believes when it comes to self-care: pushing through is ideal, no pain no gain.
In the few weeks following Simone’s decision to prioritize her emotional and mental health over accomplishing a goal, I found myself using her as a role model in my own life.
In one instance in particular, after remembering what she did, I gave myself permission to have a “rest day” as opposed to pushing myself to go to the gym and work out, which ended up in an injury the last time I pushed through.
Thanks for modeling this again for us Simone!!! And in such a big way.
What if we could all recognize those limits, and learn to balance our own growth, against the pressure of others (and sometimes, even more difficult, ourselves)?
As humans with ever flowing emotions, and multifaceted relationships, it is natural to want to push yourself to make others proud and come off as the hero. Heck for some, this was the only way they ever got (still get) attention and connection from others. Attachment is not an option, so we’ll do whatever it takes to get connection.
I want to share something with you though: pushing yourself to insanity, to panic, into depression and anxiety is not heroic.
Recognizing your growth zone and how you pit it against your pressure zone is brave. It shows an internal strength that is bigger than all the outside pressures that we face, whether we are students, stay at home moms, CEOs, sports super stars, or car mechanics.
Sitting back and realizing, “I need a break”, is something you can and should be able to do without fear. Perhaps one of the most courageous aspects of Biles’s actions is her ability to say, “I need a break. I need to protect my mind to protect my body to protect my mind.”
If you can take away anything, Biles’s choice to sit out rather than risk injuring herself, but then come back when she felt she could compete safely, is a beautiful metaphor for daily life. The goal ought to be to aim to achieve a safe balance that allows yourself to respond to pressure in a therapeutic and mindful way, rather than a way that will send you spiraling.
Imagine a world in which humans feel confident and safe enough to take that break.
When you take good care of yourself, you can better care for others. An essential part of your humanity is compassion to others, and yourself. It is not what you do, what medals you win, how much money you make, or how big your house is. It’s much bigger than that.
I encourage you to reach out and invest time in yourself to learn these skills, and more. In case you’re looking, I offer guidance through individual therapy, as well as group work for people needing more connection and support. Learn more or sign up at https://bit.ly/3c9mhY6 .
Listen folks, it’s time to grow.
How easy it is to make something different from you, bad or wrong. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about all the ways that “different” is just that: different.
Sadly, much of our world immediately categorizes anything unusual or “out of the ordinary” as something to be avoided, something to question, and most of all, not something to accept right away.
I get it. As a species, you’re biologically programmed to question what is not familiar to you. That is, in fact, the way that your cave dwelling ancestors survived long enough to keep evolution going.
Problem is, fast forward to today, and many people still react in a similar manner to anything that is “not like us”.
Whether it’s how someone looks, how they talk, what they choose, what their issues are, what they’re good at or struggle with… doesn’t matter. Most people struggle to accept others’ differences as anything other than a defect or flaw.
Accepting differences as not bad or wrong, does not imply that you don’t get to have your own feelings and preferences about something. On the contrary.
Acceptance can ONLY happen after you’ve had a chance to make your way through all of your own feelings and experiences, so that you can make room for others’ experiences too.
That’s the only way.
Developmental theory says that all you can do is support where you are and this will automatically lead to the next step.
So, for many of you, this first step might look like beginning to recognize that you have judgment towards anything that is different than you. This can be hard to see sometimes, especially if you grew up in a family or environment in which everyone was expected to be the “same” or pretty darn close to that.
It’s only by accepting where we are and what is real, can we even begin to move forward
in our life.
For this experiment, here are the steps:
The other day I was reflecting on something that had happened that rubbed me the wrong way. As I played it out again in my mind, I noticed how little time it took before I went down the “I can’t believe how wrong this is” rabbit hole.
And I mean it.
I was hell bent on coming up with 100,000 ways that this thing that had happened
TO ME was just plain WRONG. Awful, in fact.
Which of course (from this perspective), meant that the person involved in this interaction with me was also VERY WRONG. Not just wrong though.
Undeniably, insanely wrong. Defective, flawed, a hopeless case.
So wrong in fact, I could feel with 100% absolute certainty in my body, that this person was not fit for society.
Talk about a raw nerve being touched.
Thankfully, it didn’t take me too long down this rabbit hole to recognize that I had emotionally slipped back into my childhood. I quickly realized that the intensity and irrationality of my reaction was more about some historical experience than what was happening in the here and now.
I mean, I did not like what had happened to me, but that didn’t automatically qualify this person as bad or wrong.
Something was obviously amiss for me and the last thing that I needed was to be harsh or judgmental towards myself for something this unconscious getting touched inside of me.
So, I took a deep breath and stayed gentle with myself as I breathed into my discomfort.
Later, as I reflected on this experience, I began to consider how many people make things that they don’t like, things that are different or even dissatisfying to them, bad or wrong.
I imagine that the number of people who do this is probably astronomical.
It’s a simplified way to try to make some sense of feelings happening in the here and now that feel intense or maybe even a wee bit irrational.
And it happens so fast, far below your radar of consciousness.
The confusing part is that although these feelings have been triggered in the here and now, your irrational reaction to what is happening, really isn’t about now.
This kind of reaction towards someone or something else is always a clue that you’ve emotionally reverted back to your childhood.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
Nowhere in all of nature and mankind does right/wrong exist, other than in math. Nowhere.
For sure, there are things that happen that you like a whole lot more than other things that happen that you find offensive or don’t like.
That’s what personal preferences are all about.
Each of us are wired differently, need different things or approach the world differently based upon our unique characteristics, our life stories. And yes, people very often have different preferences than you.
That doesn’t mean those things (or people) are bad / wrong.
It simply means that they’re different from you and want something other than what you need to be satisfied with life.
It means that you have a preference for some other choice or type of behavior than what is happening.
It means that you prefer to be treated differently than what they are capable of doing.
It means that you have a different approach to life, loving, or managing your affairs than them.
It means that you would choose a different way to communicate or talk to someone.
But all these differences do not mean bad or wrong for the “other” and good and right for you..
It just means something different.
Sadly, our world does not do a fantastic job of supporting individuality and uniqueness. Here in the United States of America, our country prides itself on rugged individualism and “going for what you want”.
Yet, the minute someone deviates from the “norm”, they are vilified and made “extreme” or radical.
How sad and confusing then, for those brave people courageous enough to “go for their lives” especially if doing so looks different than the rest of the crowd.
I mean face it, who’s going to stay connected to their own “true north” if that means ostracization from society and those they love and depend upon for support and survival?
What I have come to learn in my work as a therapist is that in many cases, “different” touches fear inside of people.
People are afraid of what they don’t understand. Whether that happens inside or outside of them.
It’s a survival approach to life, an old vestige from our early ancestors who had many more threats to their literal existence and often only could survive if they made quick conclusions about their primitive encounters.
It was very effective then, but today leaves little room for connection and understanding.
It’s hard to move towards something that you’re afraid of, even if it’s not a scary thing. No wonder so many people feel disconnected from each other.
I realize how counterintuitive it is to consider that your way of operating and understanding the world might not be as evolved as you’ve been led to believe.
It is difficult to consider this. Especially when someone or something so different than you is standing right in front of you.
You might ask yourself though, the next time this happens, is this person or experience really bad or wrong or am I afraid of what it is about them that I don’t understand?
It’s worth a shot.
Making room for “other” does not mean that you have to change or give up who you are.
It simply means moving over so that the other person can have a seat too.
I often like to say that all growth has a gas pedal AND a brake pedal.
What I mean when I say this is that most emotional growth is not a linear, straight line. Nor does it follow standard rules of time.
Emotional growth is a non-linear process that has starts and stops, side turns, detours and even sometimes can just seem to stall.
Yet everything that happens along the way is crucial and has to happen exactly the way that it happens, in order for you to find your way back to your spirit, you know, the “who” you were supposed to be when you were born.
Way back before the world got ahold of you and said “do this, do that, don’t go there, why would you want that, feel this way, don’t feel this way and so on”.
To be sure, some of these messages are helpful along the way, for a functioning society, however, many of them end up having a gigantic effect on our ability to stay connected to our heart, and to our vulnerability. Most of all, though, to our needs and feelings.
And this is usually the point at which people find their way to my work, asking me to help guide them back to their aliveness, back to their heart.
One of the concepts that I believe is so difficult for people to grasp, along this journey, is that most everything happens for an important reason, whether we are aware of that reason or not.
I do not believe in coincidences. I gave those up a very long time ago.
That said, it can be difficult at times, to ascribe to the idea that every experience that happens in your process, is essential and brought to you, as another opportunity to find your way back home to yourself.
Especially if you’ve lost connection with emotional support inside.
This can be really, really hard to believe, in the midst of difficulty and conflict, discouragement, disappointment and the sense that you are stuck in an endless loop of despair. This is usually a sign that you’re in a place of impasse.
I believe that the place of impasse is a very important and essential part of your growth process. It is the in between place where you cannot go back to the old ways, yet the only ways you have at your disposal to cope emotionally with what is going on either are not working as well or are not at your disposal. Nor do you have enough supports yet to have a different response.
Impasse is like a mountain climbing base camp for your soul; its the place where your emotional molecules are adjusting to the depth and intensity of the emotional experiences around you.
Without going through impasse, you would plunge into emotional experiences that would overwhelm you and be destructive for your growth. You’d fall into the death zone without a tether to keep you alive.
Impasse allows you the time and opportunity to grow more emotional supports for taking the next step into your emotional experiences.
Impasse is a very sacred experience of “no”.
When you can learn how to support your “no” for taking another step towards growth, this process creates the support inside to allow the next step to organically happen whenever it is in your highest good to move.
We cannot get there, if we cannot be here.
And what is beautiful about this process is that moving forward towards something because it is organically time and we are deeply drawn to it, is a very different and energizing experience than moving forward towards something in order to get away from something else.
So, that’s what today’s experiment is about: learning how to bring support to the places in your life where you might feel stuck or idling in neutral. This place of impasse is how your own beautiful spirit is protecting you from moving forward before it’s time.
For this experiment, here are the steps:
On the heels of 2020, and still in the midst of COVID surges amongst the unvaccinated, we all have endured a lot over the past 18 months.
There’s only so much people are able to endure, before eventually you're going to run out of emotional support inside for being able to handle any more.
As I am writing this, it dawned on me that four months ago today, I was fully vaccinated from COVID19, including the extra two weeks after my second shot.
In the past, this would have been such an odd thing to have put onto a calendar as a reminder, yet if we’ve learned anything over the past 18 months, it’s been anything but “normal” and we have to consider things that we would never have dreamed of two years back.
Keeping track of vaccines, shots, quarantining, who’s been vaccinated and who has not…will this event be outside or inside… did I forget my mask... considering all these things became our new “normal”.
COVID19 and all its trappings has consumed our minds, our bodies, our time, our energy for way too long now..
And I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling weary of this and ready to have some fun and put energy and focus into restoring myself.
’m going to confess something right now about myself though, something that makes “emotional restoration” challenging sometimes for me……
Sometimes I struggle with powering down.
I have a hard time sometimes with doing less, with relaxing, with being easy.
My modus operandi is to power ‘through’ most things, complete one more task, accomplish one more thing, create or develop something.
I tend to stay pretty busy.
My experience though, is that after eighteen months spent supporting others through a very intense emotional experience on a global scale, I’m weary.
And I need a break.
I used to joke that before I started this deep emotional therapy, I used to get so much more done on a daily basis. I laugh as I say that because “getting more done” is
not necessarily a good thing.
Fortunately, I’ve also grown enough in my own process to be able to live more embodied. Which basically means that I feel my limits more quickly. Much more quickly. And this makes it incredibly more difficult to ignore my weariness and fatigue like I used to.
This is a good thing though because these experiences are experiences that show up to communicate that it’s time to make some changes, power down, rest for a while.
And that’s what my goal is for this summer.
Take some time to create more room for relaxation, restoration and fun, so that I can spend more time doing those things that feed me and fill me back up.
It’s time to do less, so I can feel more.
The “old” me I wouldn’t have ever considered doing this in the past. Now it’s imperative that I do.
I am ready to give bandwidth again to, you know, things that are “fun”.
I do hope that whatever brings you joy and fills you back up, that you make lots of room to do that over the summer..
And that if you find yourself struggling to give yourself permission to relax and restore, well, then, I hope that you have someone you can reach out to that can help you get unstuck.
You deserve it..
Let’s make Summer 2021 a summer of restoration and fun!
I’ll see you around.
I continue to be humbled by the constant lessons for how to deeply be alive, that come from nature. You don’t have to look too far in nature, to see mirrors and parallels in the outside world, for the process of growing and evolving inside.
It delights me that still, in mid-life, nature touches me deeply in this way. I am grateful for this.
One of the examples of nature’s parallel for growth is how some animals and organisms can sustain an injury or wound and grow back stronger for it, regenerate a new body part.
It’s so astounding!
Earthworms, star fish… when hurt or wounded, despite losing an appendage or part of their body, they grow it back over time as they heal.
What a parallel for what emotional healing is like on the inside!
I heard someone once say, that we get broken open over and over and over again, until one day, we finally decide to stay open.
What a concept. At first, I had a huge reaction to this, much earlier in my life, when I hadn’t worked all that much on healing my deeper wounds. I thought this was one of the most ridiculous things in the world: “who would deliberately support themselves being impacted over and over like this and think it was not only necessary but a good thing?!?!?
Now, I understand so much more fully, the deeper meaning behind this. When we are broken open, over and over and over again, and each time grow and heal back stronger, we do become more able to live more open-heartedly in all that we do.
Difficulty precedes growth, paid leads to rising back again stronger.
Like a piece of weathered wood, life bumps against us, nicks and scratches you over and over again, creating a new visage of who you are with each passing time of your life.
Isn’t this wonderful?
What an idea to consider that your difficulty, your distress, your pain and discomfort are actually sacred parts of your deepening and reconnecting to your heart.
Amazingly, if an earthworm is cut into two, each cut half becomes a whole again.
And one day you’re going to arrive at the place where you stay whole and open-hearted in all that you do, if you can learn how to integrate and grow from your cuts and wounds.
So, that is what this month’s experiment is all about: honoring your wounds and cuts as the sacred experiences that they are in your emotional healing process.
For this experiment, here are the steps:
Did you know that the energy of “right” and “wrong” does not exist anywhere in the universe, other than in the subject of math?
Many people get hung up around whether something they want or think or feel or choose or have said is actually “right” or “wrong”. Trying to sort this out inside (especially with your brain), is a debilitating experience sometimes for many people.
It can also often be the source of a lot of mental health distress, ultimately leading to things like depression, anxiety, addictions and so on.
And yet, I’m here to tell you a little secret:
There’s no such thing as “right” or “wrong”. Only in math.
There certainly are options or choices that might be more satisfying, feelings that you have that you are more accepting of, but that does not mean they are right or wrong.
There might be ways of showing up in the world or of treating others that you feel more satisfied with than others.
Right and wrong are constructs that are learned over the course of life, in response to contact and connection from the environment. It’s a classic case of classical conditioning: a child does something that an adult approves of and they are rewarded; however, when a child does something that an adult does not approve of, they are punished.
Overtime, a child begins to be shaped by someone else’s internal guidelines of what is “right” or “wrong”, whether that fits for them or not.
Sometimes this guidance is helpful in terms of learning how to be a functioning part of society, connect with others in loving kinds of ways.
Many times, it’s not. Instead, it’s dis-spiriting.
The problem becomes when choice is erased from the equation. Instead of presenting an option or solution, a belief or a feeling as just that, “one way of having this experience”, these dualistic interpretations of the world get presented as dictates.
And yes, this always ends up turning out badly somewhere down the line.
“Right” and “wrong” preclude “other”.
They preclude a “third way”.
They preclude “another”.
They preclude “different”.
Sadly, the world becomes much smaller for everyone as you eliminate the possibility of another experience showing up that might teach you invaluable lessons about yourself, the world, your needs, etc.
Right or wrong, black or white, fast or slow… these kinds of dualistic mentalities always indicate that you’ve regressed back into a younger emotional self inside.
They’re simplistic ways of trying to manage the world.
So, the next time that you begin to operate from this right or wrong way of thinking, see if you can catch yourself doing this. It might not be until after the fact, but hey, growing satisfaction in your life means growing awareness, even after the fact.
That’s the beauty of mental health and emotional wellness- it doesn’t know time.
So, if this happens, you might take a step back and recognize that this is a sign you’re regressed and no longer are quite the emotional adult you that you might hope to be.
And this is a fantastic time to begin to explore what’s happening deep inside so that you can grow.
If you begin to focus on what feels right, as opposed to what ought to be right, you’re going to end up right for you far more than you can possibly imagine.
It’s always time to grow.
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.