Practice What You Preach
It’s official! Half the year is behind us. July is a great time to check in and see if those lofty resolutions we posted about in January are anywhere near taking effect. Or if you’re in the league of many who have cottoned on to the fact that resolutions don’t work maybe check your Instagram feed. What are some of the bullshit inspirational quotes we post to appear to be on track but really it's just empty content?
This post is about love. More specifically, tough love. We all deal with personal challenges all the time. I am no different. In the last two weeks, I've been processing two very specific kinds of personal challenges. One a life challenge, the other a health challenge. Since learning about the challenges I am confronted with, I realised this was my opportunity to do things differently. To ask myself the tough question of what have I learned from my mistakes and to make different choices.
Here is what I've learned. Talking to your tribe isn't always a good thing. It's often a waste of time. All it really does is allow you to suffer comfortably. So, I didn't speak to anyone except my mum (who will show up on the sima says blog from now on as Mummyji) and my Department Of New co-founder, Christina about what I'm going through. Why? Because Mummyji is my ride or die and because Christina (aka CP) and I spend a lot of time together, even though she lives in India. My challenges would impact my work schedule, so she needed to know. What did I do differently? I chose two people who are not sensational and value time and provide the gift of listening. No solutions, just listening and maybe a suggestion. Mummyji suggested, imagine everything working towards the best result and in your favour. Followed up with her mantra of 'stay on the path'. CP said, "I'm taking all non-essential meetings off your calendar and you should take some time off." Both very straight. No drama. Extremely positive, practical and practically supportive.
This month, I'm practising the practice of 'practice what you preach'. Not just with myself, but with everyone else I engage with. I'm pretty good at walking my talk now, it requires constant practice, but like a muscle, the more you work it out, the stronger it becomes. This is what I've found, when I hold myself accountable for walking my talk, there is very little actual talking in my life. I'm more engaged with growing, experiencing, learning and integrating. I don't need to suffer comfortably anymore. I haven't for a long time. But what I still do from time to time is be someone who allows others to suffer comfortably. Because the opposite means tough love. The opposite means telling a person who is complaining to do things differently rather than panic, get pissed off, complain and continue the cycle of their suffering. We are so conditioned to do this. To suffer the suffering of others. When really, what would be more productive would be to practice what we preach. Which is to reiterate the slogans & suggestions we post online and deliver them offline. You know the ones, 'stay positive', 'create an atmosphere for a different outcome', 'you can't change others you can only change yourself'. Why in heavens name do these go out the window when someone wants to vent or complain? Personally, I think it's because we don't want to hurt someone else's feelings but even deeper than this is, telling the truth is dangerous and comes at a price. That price is pissing that person off, losing a relationship and more drama. But to accommodate these kinds of conversations is not an option for me anymore. Why? Because it takes up time I will never get back. It takes up time I could be using to create the life I want instead of listening to someone complain about how much they hate the life they have or a situation that simply needs three deep breaths, a walk in nature, or some time to let a solution surface. We need to raise each other up. Being honest about time sucking, go nowhere conversations is a part of this call out for me.
My first challenge required me taking in information which resulted in one of my worst fears (yep, I have a few, not just one!) coming true and feeling like I was having an out of body experience. You know the kind where you can feel your pulse in your face then immediately need to visit the toilet? Yeah, that kind. Then, I had the most amazing opportunity to observe my personal growth. Once the news passed through me (literally and figuratively) I was okay. I had to immediately take multiple different actions that required my direct involvement. That's a pro-life tip: what happens in your life isn't going to change without you becoming actively involved. So instead of creating drama by putting it on blast on one of your many Whatsapp groups, deal with reality. After I took all the action steps that were available to me, I had to wait and be patient and my least favourite 'hope for the best'. These words are like death for someone like me who lives life in a large and in charge kind of way. I realised I was in charge of nothing except for taking the actions I was instructed to take. But again, the most amazing thing happened. I was able to revisit the act of surrendering and refocusing my time to thinking of what I want, not fear what I don't want. My time was being used differently. My time was spent focussing all my energy on being mindful, not fearing the lack of control I had in the situation. The first part of this crisis has already worked out in my favour and now I'm back to square one, or the starting line, which is much better than where the cluster fuck of what I was dealing with two weeks ago landed me at the false finish line. It wasn't an ending, it was simply a you gotta start over because someone made a big mistake.
Change Your Mind
My second challenge is health related. A life-changing experience from twenty-three years ago with injuries which have surfaced in the here and now. Dealing with my skull, neck and head means changing my days to incorporate new ways of working, and rearranging my work days to accommodate treatment. Both require placing me and my needs before those of anyone else. Because the only person who lives with this injury and its consequences is me. And the only person who can change how this has manifested in my body is me. All of this means I have become extremely clear about how and where I spend my time. If it doesn't support my healing, it's not happening. Feelings of guilt and obligation come up often for many of us. I also feel it. Trying to be 'there' (wherever there is) while barely being able to be present for me. I don't hold myself a prisoner to guilt, however. I feel it, acknowledge it and let it go. Because I'm also acutely aware that no one can fix this except me.
My question to you is, where are you falling short on what you preach? So much has become a slogan or a hashtag. But slogans and hashtags, although they may make our social media accounts more visible aren't going to solve our real-life problems. Becoming very diligent with our time is. My intention for July is to stay on my path which means less time wasting, less chatting for no reason and yes, less accommodating the moans and groans of others. The saying is true, you can't help others unless they want to help themselves. I really want to be my greatest ally in creating the life I want and living with optimal health. These two challenges I am dealing with, as inconvenient and fear-inducing as they are, also serve as a reminder for a workaholic to get the balance right.
I want the best for you, just the way I want the best for me. Let's get more honest and intentional together. Because tough love is better than no love.