All three of these words are powerhouses; the core foundation of authentic living. For true alignment, all of them need to fluidly co-exist. First and foremost, one needs to know oneself well enough to know what is in alignment within.
I have a ‘rule’ that I hold myself to. I give myself permission to complain about something to get it off my chest and move on. However, if I find myself complaining about the same thing three times, I have to either do something about it or stop complaining. That’s my rule. I don’t want to hear myself complain about the same thing over and over and I’m sure nobody else wants to either. Something isn’t sitting well within and it needs to be addressed.
As odd as it may sound, it takes courage to know what my needs are. My needs may be very imperfect in the eyes of other people, and that’s where the courage comes into play. I have needs that others may or may not understand. What I have discovered about myself, though, is my natural tendency to sacrifice my needs for the comfort of other people. I will stuff down what I’m feeling and what I most need to avoid offending someone else or triggering a defensive fear response. I am certainly imperfect in that way. However, knowing this about myself allows me to take a step back, breathe, and understand the intention behind my decision.
This pattern of putting the needs of others before mine took a lot of courage to accept. There has been marked improvement throughout my life, but now there is conscious awareness…and empowerment. I find myself struggling the most with people I am close to…spouse, close friends, professional colleagues…My compassion for others can get easily muddled into sacrificing my needs for theirs.
The next step for me is to set boundaries; acknowledging what is or isn’t acceptable. Often times it is easy for me to know in my head what is acceptable, but not so easy to give voice to…especially to the person with whom the boundary needs to be set. The boundary can be met with resistance, defensiveness, blame and other intense responses. Courage gets to weave back into the mix, offering the heart strength to honor and give voice to the boundaries.
I have also found myself to fear what the next meeting will be like. Will there be awkwardness? Resentment? Bitterness? Openness? It takes a lot of vulnerability to stand in truth over and over and over again. It feels like subjecting me to the judge and jury, waiting to see if the verdict is in my favor or not. It’s a vulnerable experience to allow my heart center to be open to whatever unfolds before me. This also reinforces the need to choose loving the person, without getting hung up on their words or actions.
Giving voice to my needs is a work in progress and often uncomfortable. I’m not too sure that the discomfort will ever ease completely, but I am certain that I have gained every time I found my voice. That’s enough of a love nudge for me to continue to strengthen my voice, set boundaries and be vulnerable.
Do you need a ‘love nudge’ to live authentically?
We all walk together…each of us uniquely imperfect.