Last Sunday morning, between my morning cup of coffee and heading out to brunch with friends, I was skimming through some of my favorite books looking for nothing in particular and everything in general. I have a deep trust that sentences, inspiration, pieces of music, or literature will come and find you if you provide an open-hearted opportunity for them to pop up.
On this particular morning it was Louise Hay’s words that whispered some truth into my heart. In You Can Heal Your Life she writes:
“Be gentle and patient with yourself as you untangle your own mental knots. Get help if you need it. Above all, love yourself in the process. The willingness to let go of the old is the key. That is the secret.”
Think of what you're currently tackling in your life. What has been on your mind that you're seeking an answer for? Perhaps you're unsure if your current relationship is right for you? Maybe you're unsatisfied at your job and don’t see a way out? Perhaps you're in disharmony with your body? You feel too fat, too skinny, too tired, too unattractive, too soft? Maybe you're hung up on painful moments from your past that are keeping you a prisoner in your present life? True joy just doesn’t quite seem to enter your realm of emotions.
Did you ever consider that the missing piece might be how you are approaching your struggles? Are you providing loving support for yourself as you are problem solving?
When people struggle with their weight, for example, they tend to put their lives on hold, convincing themselves that absolutely nothing good can happen to them until they lost at least 10 pounds.
They self-hate their way through weight loss expecting this self-hate to turn into self-love once they achieved their goal.
The same is true for career struggles and tumultuous relationship battles. We tell ourselves that once this project or this disagreement is over all our negative feelings will reformulate into inspiration, motivation, adoration, kindness, and flow. We push and rush through our struggles holding our breaths and aching for the end in which everything will be beautiful, yummy, and cozy.
However, we are not untangling our true mental knots. We are not letting go of the old. We don’t even know what “the old” is, because we choose to stay blind to it.
We don’t like to see the truth, which is that painful memories don’t simply go away because we pretend like they never happened. We have to look the truth in the eye and be willing to treat ourselves with gentleness and patience, even — especially — in those moments we dislike ourselves at first sight. This is the only way we can truly untangle our own mental knots and release our past pains.
If your relationship is difficult, resist the distractions and the petty talk and allow yourself to feel your own emotions. Only if you stay close to your own authentic experience, holding the tension between a challenging situation and self-love, can you make judgments that will eventually lead you to a happy place. If you don’t actually feel the pain of your relationship battles when they happen, how can you make a conscious choice about whether your relationship is truly nurturing and sustainable in the long run?
Only if you love yourself throughout the untangling of the knot can you remain a close supporting witness of your own experiences and arrive at a place where you're a conscious part of the creation of YOUR life. Only if you treat yourself lovingly can you maintain your new weight, continue to grow in your relationships, and evolve into a career direction that you truly enjoy.
Before you can start this process, you have to become aware of what is currently happening in your life. You have got to see yourself fully.
The daunting question remains: HOW do you approach this untangling process?
As Louise Hay suggests in the above quote: Share your struggles with someone you trust. Your troubles can enter a new realm of reality when they are acknowledged in the real world. You don’t have to carry everything on your own shoulders. The world is full of love and kindness, so find a trusted source to share your pain.
Observe and track how your emotions change from one day to the next. Feelings are rarely ever constant and static. They change. This is part of what it means to be alive. Be curious about yourself. That is one form of showing up for yourself.
As you become an ever-closer witness of your authentic experience, your mental knots can begin to unravel, and past pains can begin to be released. Goodness and positive decisions can grow out of this new space of self-love.