One of the most important things I've learned in the past year, as I wrote and re-write Ana's story and as I reinvent my own life, uncovering my true Self, is how to observe and listen without attaching judgments or assumptions. And it took a while, it was a hard habit to break. Because I kept it all out there. At times it felt like the entire universe was trying to teach me this: let go, stop analyzing, just go do your thing, stop thinking, it all works out for the best, focus on YOU, pay no mind to opinions, etc...mind your own business, basically. And I'm always screwing it up and learning more as I go, to be sure. It feels like human nature to observe and learn from others, rather than ourselves. To seek advice externally, rather than from inside. That's how we've gotten by, up to this point. But I've reached another plateau. A breathing space...regrouping, reflecting, feeling grateful.
I think learning to listen with a patient heart is as much for us as it is for others. Rather than reacting and diving into clouded thoughts, we can let those thoughts float by, and decide calmly what to absorb. To figure out not just how we feel about what's being said, but more so what the other person is communicating -- not just what we think we ought to retort with. People can tell me things over and over, but until I live through it and understand it, through my own experience, my own perspective, they're just words. Call me stubborn, but I have to learn things my way, in my time, otherwise it's pointless. We can read all we want but I think that true knowledge comes from listening within to our own higher selves, our own voice, our intuition. And then pulling out our guts, spreading them around, and deciding what doesn't work for us. It can be difficult to explore yourself in this way, because you must let all your notions of being right fly out the window. To think that we are all-wise, without needing re-education, to think that we know all we need to know based upon our past...is foolish and will only stunt our growth. I think those old ideas are exactly what we need to let go of, if we are really striving to be the greatest versions of ourselves.
It's a true liberation to be able to witness thoughts, words, and opinions, and let them exist and then fade back into neutrality. Like clouds passing by across a backdrop of blue sky. Let them pass, take a look, let them go. To not take things personally. To not get put off track by people who oppose or seek to diminish you. And to not read too much into anything, for that matter. What is the information, what is being communicated?
And on the flipside, to express authentically, without self-judging. When we learn to respect and hear ourselves, it makes it that much easier to pay attention and hear others, beyond the mess and surface confusion. We are all so similar. That's why self-love and self-respect and self-confidence are all so important. In learning to love and respect ourselves, we not only set a standard for how we should be treated, but we also learn valuable perspective, in the love and respect of others. When we make peace with our own inner-demons, we are more patient and flexible with others. When we allow self-love we learn how to love others, and how to accept love from others as well. To shut out or ignore this process, this stripping down, is to stay stuck in a former version of yourself, and consequently, makes a choice to stay in the past and fight against a different future.
An on and on and on. All of it -- everything -- must start within. Within each of us, individually, that we might grow and evolve collectively toward our greatest good, with a healthy mindset and perspective for the ups and downs in the lives of others. Understand yourself, understand the world.
Start within. Learn to listen. xo