It’s not letting up! I mean the mental and emotional duress. The strain of all the issues illuminated during this past year is building within us and loneliness, fear, doubt and depression are all competing for space in our minds.
Our regular fixes of celebrity envy, prosperity gospels, make all your dreams come true in six months webinars, 21 days to your best body EVER and endless secrets for success are unable to mask or address the complex, multi-faceted problems causing inner conflict in our lives. We are facing life-changing issues that have created inner turmoil and sleepless nights.
Even though things seem to be slowly coming to a place of being able to maneuver through life again, albeit differently, unresolved conflicts within ourselves lead to blame, shame and the desire to have someone else’s life, or at least the one we once called “normal.” But this one life is all we have right now and we have to address the hidden conflicts within us somehow.
Let me share what’s been working for me.
You all know how I feel about listening. I believe that the most valuable skill in any conflict you are engaged in especially with yourself is deep listening. During the challenge of loss and all things COVID19, my body was talking to me (headaches, severe stomach aches, fatigue) and trying to teach me something about myself, and I needed to listen. No judging, just really listening.
Taking the time to admit my emotional exhaustion and nurture myself, rather than fight my body, was the beginning of deep listening. Answers surface when we let all of who we are have a voice in our life. I know this is not always easy, because worry can become another full-time job that we need to take time off from in order to tune in. But give it a try anyway.
Right now, tune in and see if you can hear what your body is saying to you. Close your eyes, focus in, breathe through your nose in 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds and then out through your nose, four seconds.
Take a Step Back
Whatever consumes us controls us. Refuse to be controlled by what you view as your limitations. The inability to resolve inner conflicts is temporary if we do not allow it to make a permanent impression on us.
Do something with me please. Breathe in again, visualize it and literally take a step back, breathe it out, leave it there and walk away. It’s there anytime you want it back.
Practice Being Fully Present
Gary Zukav, a prominent and, I think, thoughtful author says, “We have to feel. Emotional awareness is the first step to spiritual growth.” In other words, being fully present allows us to tune in and actually experience our real life rather than the fantasy that masks our true feelings, good or bad.
Taking in and feeling what is really happening as it is actually and currently happening helps us come to grips with reality and understand that many times we are feeling a whole lot better or a whole lot worse than we are acknowledging. Know that the answers will come. After all, if we look back at our previous challenges, we realize that they always have. If they don’t, then identify what you need help with and reach out for it. Therapy, hotlines, true friends, spiritual family, choose one or two and let them know what you are struggling with.
I have written before about inner conflict and and the importance of acknowledging and nurturing your mental and emotional health. But I don’t think we can talk about it too much. Too many of us are letting cultural messages, norms (Black folks don’t need therapy, we got Jesus!… is just an example), our own insecurities and just plain fatigue get in the way. But as we slowly go back to living and adopting this new way of life, I want us to take a new approach to what is most important, Inner Peace.
Without it, there is no chance at world peace.