Our Choices Affect Everything
We are constantly choosing, even if subconsciously, to drown in the darkness or to chase the light. Neither choice is right or wrong; they each serve a purpose and have significance in life. What we choose affects everything though. The more awareness we can bring to our choices, the more we actively participate in our lives. When we choose unconsciously, we’re more likely to react instead of respond. When we begin to understand the why behind the choice, the purpose and the safety it provides, we become open to new understanding of ourselves. In turn, we’re more open to new understanding of others as well.
As much as we like to think our choices only affect us (“It’s MY life! I can do what I want!” – Anyone ever said that? I know I have… Even if it was just in my head), they don’t. Our choices affect all of those around us. Which, in turn, affects the people around those people. On and on and on, essentially affecting the energies of the world. (Helloooo butterfly effect)
When I teach yoga, I talk a lot about giving and receiving. I’ve said numerous times that many of us often don’t receive as much as we need to. Receiving might look like:
- Asking for what you want
- Accepting a compliment without the need to explain it
- Taking some time for self care
- Allowing someone to help you
- Enjoying the moment in its fullness – AKA not thinking of the past or worrying about the future
Each time we give and receive, we make a choice as to how to feel about it. We react, or we respond. Reacting is mostly unconscious and more of a learned behavior; I think of it as instinct. On the other hand, responding requires a pause, a taking in of all the information, and a decision as to how you want to feel/act in the situation.
Last week, I found myself inviting my students to allow themselves to accept compliments without the need to explain them away and/or rationalize. When I speak, I often feel myself embodying the ideas I’m putting words to; I feel like I’ve already learned the “lesson” in a way. Funny how wrong we can be about ourselves though…
The next day, I attended a TRX class taught by the studio owner, Amber, a good friend of mine. As I positioned myself to do some plank to pike drills, Amber looked at me and said, “Your legs look skinnier!” I was caught off guard. Honestly, I didn’t really believe her. So I said, “Really?” She responded with a nod and, if I remember right, some form of “the work you’re doing is paying off.”
In that moment, I had two choices:
- Accept the compliment and feel good that someone was noticing, what I consider, a positive difference. Say “thank you” and have a great day! (Chase the light!)
- Explain why she thought she was seeing that, but it probably wasn’t true. (Drown in the darkness)
I’ve never been very good at receiving, whether it be compliments, gifts, help, etc. I’ve also always been concerned that I’ll seem conceited or selfish if I just simply receive. Because of this, I’ve taught myself over the past 27 years to just not receive. In this situation, I’ve learned that if someone gives me a compliment I have to either give one back, OR not accept it by explaining it away. I chose the latter. I reacted and said, “Oh, well, I’m wearing black pants. It must just be the black pants.”
* Face palm *
That idea that I invited my students into the DAY BEFORE, that I thought I had embodied and learned... It went right out the window. In the moment, I didn’t notice it. It wasn’t until I was driving home that I realized I hadn’t allowed myself to receive that compliment. Instead, I pushed it aside, explained why it couldn’t be true, and continued to believe that the work I had been putting in wasn’t doing anything. I inadvertently put myself down. Kept myself small.
You might ask how that would affect others around me, especially since I noticed what I did shortly after… Here’s the thing that belief lives inside me; the belief that I’m not worth of a compliment, of being successful at something. I can’t take back the fact that I explained it away and those words have energy. Whether you consciously feel it or not, every word you say to or about yourself affects how you show up in all of your relationships. It affects how I feel when my boyfriend compliments me. It affects how I received praise for a job well done in my career. It affects how I interact with the clerk at the grocery store. It affects everything. It’s an energy that you carry with you.
I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again… Awareness is always the first step. Now that I’m starkly aware of this block to receiving, I can begin to break through it little by little. Next time someone compliments my figure, I’ll be sure to say, “Thank you,” and tell myself exactly what he or she told me all day long. It might not be easy the first 5, 10, 15, maybe even 20 times. It may take some real effort to pause and respond instead of reacting. It will be worth it though, to unlearn that pattern of reacting that doesn’t serve my highest, Queenly self.