So you’ve read Part 1 and in your effort to lose weight, stop drinking, eat healthfully, stop smoking, etc… (fill in your own blank of ANYTHING you want to change) have decided that you’re ready to sit in the Space of Want. But how do you start? What will you need? You start with an open-minded willingness to become uncomfortable, understanding that enduring discomfort is necessary for growth and change and will not destroy you. You need to want something. That’s the easy one; we want a variety of things, pretty much continuously. Pinpointing what you want most by delaying or eliminating momentary gratification is the one that will sting. But you can handle it. Each sting you sit through makes the next more tolerable.
The only thing that I can tell you here that you’re not already certain of is your ability to do without anything non-essential to your livelihood. So I’ll say it up front: you have this ability. It’s inherent. Don’t call it willpower and tell yourself that you have none. Call it an ability that’s essentially a weak muscle that needs to be strengthened and work on strengthening it. The only way to do that is to use it. And that is what you’re doing when you’re sitting in the SOW. You are training yourself to work a muscle that has been neglected. Consider it a workout and be diligent in training by doing the work. This means pushing past what’s comfortable in order to begin a process of breakdown and repair in order to bring about strength and growth. In this case, strength and growth appears in the form of your ever increasing ability to withstand denial of what you want now for what you want most.
As with every workout, your abilities will increase over time. Start small by allowing yourself to feel discomfort. Use routine situations as opportunities to train. By this I mean don’t put that sweater on the instant you get chilly. Turn the water to cold during the last minute of your shower. Skip a meal here and there and allow yourself to experience hunger. Get uncomfortable so that you will understand that you are bigger than the discomfort! As this becomes easier, add the “weight” of working on the more difficult habits/behaviors you want to eradicate. This will put you in a position to more readily adapt to not having what you want the very second you want it, thus enabling you to dig deeper and uncover what you want most.
We are each individuals, which is why there is never one precise “cookie cutter” method for anything in life that will work for everyone. I’d be wary of those who try to convince you otherwise. That is why it is essential that you sift through what you read here or anywhere else and dig deep within in order to seek, then utilize, that which speaks to you in a way that sheds light where you were having difficulty finding any. In my own experience with every soul training exercise I’m working on, this has meant slowing down. The most difficult part of sitting in the SOW for me was sitting through what I wanted to rush past or escape completely through methods, substances, or people outside of myself that would “take the edge off”. It still crosses my mind to do the same thing and in that moment I’ll believe I WANT to do that thing-that-I used-to-do-to-make-it-all-“better”. But the muscle has been strengthened and the mind has been trained to slow down. Which gives me time to choose. And that time increases my odds of choosing wisely.
What is the 5 word Secret? Give yourself what you need.
You don’t need the world to understand you. You may want the world to understand you, but you don’t need them to.
“Understanding from others is like dessert: enjoyable when you get it, but unnecessary for survival.” -LA Holmberg
Desiring understanding from the outside world is similar to money in the sense that it becomes most available to you when you need it the least. Financially speaking, if you have a substantial amount of money and assets, you have what you need to secure additional money and assets. Whether this seems unfair to you is irrelevant. This is yet another instance where I am going to ask that you deconstruct your conditioned thinking. Right, wrong, fair, unfair, yada yada yada- there is unfairness in the world. If you haven’t yet reconciled yourself to this it is what it is fact, I urge you to work on it, because as a person who struggled tremendously with a need for fairness, my path became much easier to navigate when I adapted to what clearly was instead of bemoaning what I felt should have been. Maybe you feel it should be, but it isn’t. Capisce? The upside of resigning yourself and adapting to what is is that you can put what is to work for you in every area of your life.
How do you do this? By giving yourself what you need. It’s the 5 word secret that is so basic you probably aren’t even aware that you’re not doing it. But if you require understanding from others, you’re not. The only one that needs to understand you is you. That doesn’t mean you “do unto others, then split” (my fave 1970’s era bumper sticker 🙂 ) but if you are trying your best to live a life of integrity and uprightness and keeping those qualities at the forefront of your behavior by being accountable and accepting responsibility for your life decisions, you do not need to waste energy worrying about how others feel about your actions or whether they understand. Period. At the end of the day, they are not the ones living your life. YOU are.
If you think you don’t possess the fortitude necessary to go boldly forward in your own truth without the acceptance of others, let me assure you that you do. It just requires a new way of perceiving yourself and lots of practice. For the former people-pleasers out there (hand raised) it may help to do some visualizing in the beginning. Yes, that means pretending– stick with me here. See yourself as split into 2 people. Get that inner badass that is within each of us out of yourself and “see” them beside you at all times. Really feel them there. Let the other half of yourself give yourself everything that up until this point you believed you needed to obtain from outside sources. Sound a little too woo woo for you? That’s okay. Use whatever method you come up with that achieves the bottom line of you getting what you need from yourself. It may feel foreign and fake at first (click here for more on FakeItTilYouFeelItMode) but as you grow in it and become adept in giving yourself what you need rather than relying on others to fulfill wants and desires that many times they are not even aware of, you will feel the empowerment of understanding that you truly are in control of your destiny. And that’s the kind of understanding that will serve you.
*You may find that giving yourself what you need is not as easy or automatic as it sounds. Like all soul stamina training, it requires workouts to build the muscle of “learned” behavior, which we’ll be covering in future posts. *