Being Human: 21 Ways to Master the Art

Being Human: 21 Ways to Master the Art

Being human is an art and living bravely is one of the best ways to master it. Living bold, brave and fearless doesn’t always end as predicted, but what is predictable is that the potential for full flight is so much more likely when courage leads behaviour, than when fear does. There may be the occasional two steps back, but even with two steps back, those who live bravely will still be ahead of where they would have been otherwise.

But wait. Before temptation wins out and sees us racing off on the backs of wild horses to fulfil a dream or two, there’s something else – being brave and being sensible are a beautiful duo, and must be allowed to tag. There are times to be conservative – times to hold tight and hold back. In fact, sometimes saying ‘no’ is the bravest thing in the world. What’s important is basing the decision sensibility, rather than fear. 

Living brave allows for full expansion and full engagement. The beautiful thing about living brave – it’s in all of us. Within every person is the means to reach his or her full potential. Sometimes it gets lost, sometimes trapped under the rubble of life, but it’s always there. We humans are remarkable like that. Here are some things to know master the art of being human:

  1. Feel the feelings. All of Them.

    There is no feeling that ‘shouldn’t’ be felt, but there are some that shouldn’t be acted on. Being able to fully engage with feelings, means that even if you choose to give something else to the world (a smile instead of a slap) at least you are being honest with yourself and more able to give yourself what you need. Feelings are just a sign of an unmet need. Listen to them and acknowledge them – they’ve got a good reason for being.

  2. Don’t compare yourself. Just don’t.

    Don’t compare yourself. Your own wisdom and experience will have uniquely shaped you for wherever you need to be and wherever you are heading.  Be grateful for what you have – even the lumps. You never know the person you might be without it.|

  3. Act as though everything is geared in your favour.

    People are drawn to happy, hopeful, optimistic people and opportunity is drawn to the same. Act as though you know it’s on its way – and it will be.

  4. Take time to be in the present moment.

    Focussing on the past or future is the fast way to an uneasy mind. Be mindful of the present.

  5. Put yourself first.

    Not in a selfish way, but in a self-loving way. When you have attended to your own needs,  there will be more of you to share with others – if you want to. It’s not easy to cultivate relationships and connectedness if you’re feeling drained, taken for granted ( by you). Constantly sacrificing your own needs will eventually take it toll.

  6. Be generous.

    And know when to stop. Give when it’s appreciated. Stop when it’s not. It’s really that simple. Give with a full heart and a generous spirit. Give without expectating of receiving, but if there comes a point where that giving is taking too much from you, then stop. Giving when it’s appreciated or acknowledged is one thing. Giving because someone feels entitled to it is another.

  7. You don’t need people to like you.

    Some won’t. And that’s okay. You weren’t put here to win everyone’s approval. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them or something wrong with you. It just means that you don’t combine well together. Don’t put too much weight on what other people think of you. It’s usually more about them. 

  8. See the opportunity in failure and the protection in a rejection.

    Take the lesson and sit tight for the opportunity to use it to grow to something extraordinary. The opportunity will come. Make sure you’re ready when it does.

  9. Celebrate diversity.

    Celebrate the differences in people you meet and look for what they know that you don’t. There isn’t a single person on the planet we can’t learn from. Even if it’s how not to be.

  10. Realise the power you have.

    You have a profound capacity to shape your own destiny.  If the path to the left isn’t working, try the one to the right. Trust your capacity to cope with what tests you.

  11. Full living comes with a price.

    We can protect ourselves from pain but shutting down the risk of hurt or disappointment also involves shutting down the good that could come from that risk. When a need isn’t met, wisdom and experience will be delivered in its place. Would be excellent if there was another way to gat that wisdom and experience, but generally, there isn’t.

  12. Being vulnerable is okay. Actually it’s so much better than okay.

    One of the best things about being human is being close to other ones. By its very nature, intimacy involves a certain amount of vulnerability. There is such abundance in being fully present with someone, provided of course, that we have chosen that someone wisely. Sometimes it will get messy, and that’s okay. People will disappoint. And you will disappoint people. It’s all part of being human.

  13. The more you live brave, the more you live brave.

    The more you do things that scare you, the more confidence you’ll get to take on bigger challenges and make bigger changes and bigger strides forward. Be open to everything and everyone, unless of course they they prove they don’t deserve you.

  14. Sometimes you feel scared.

    Living on the edge of your capabilities can be terrifying. But so too is living life as though it is a thing of eggshell fragility. The experiences and the decisions you make, and the  and experiences don’t need to be huge – they just need to be uncomfortable enough and unfamiliar enough to set you up against your limits – just enough to expand them. 

  15. Listen to your intuition.

    Somewhere in each of us are a lifetime of memories, wisdom and experiences. They don’t disappear, they stay and become the collective wisdom that informs our intuition – that voice and those feelings that whisper,  just loud enough to get our attention. Listen to it. 

  16. Love honestly, openly and abundantly.

    And make no apologies for it. Relationships never fall apart because people are too emotionally generous. They fall apart because at least one person keeps the warmth, appreciation and love safely stored away where no-one can touch it. It might be safe. But it’s useless.  

  17. There’s no shame in failing. Nope. None.

    Shame is one of the most debilitating emotions. It’s so powerful that even the fear of shame – regardless of whether or not it’s real or perceived – is enough to keep courage sidelined. There is no learning where there is no failure.

  18. Let go of what you can’t change. Fight hard for what you can.

    Every need we have is legitimate and valid, but the ways we try to meet them might not be. Be ready to let go of people or behaviours that constantly drain you or leave you feeling compromised. This will make room for a more effective way to meet your needs.  Know the difference between hanging on to something worth hanging on to  and and hanging on to something that was gone long ago. If it’s important to you, be fearless in the chase. If it’s important to you, it’s important. You don’t need to explain it, apologise for it or minimise it. Fullstop.

  19. You won’t have to have it all figured out.

    Always look for what you can learn and the possibilities will start to open up.  Seek  to grow wiser, stronger, better. Acknowledging that you don’t know everything, or that you sometimes need help, is key to expanding.

  20. Leave room for the unexpected.

    It’s where the best things happen.

  21. ‘N’..N.. ‘No’.

     ‘No’. It’s a small word that tends to stick to the tongue tooo It’s about self respect and healthy boundaries. The more you are able to say ‘no’ to the things that don’t work for you, the more you are able to say ‘yes’ to the ones that do.

 

 

8 Comments

Maria P

❤ Loved it. I needed to read this. Feeling totally inspired. Thank you so very much, thank you!!

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S budu

This moved me positively so much they i am grateful to come across your site.

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George

Existencionall crisis lessened… I am definitelly going to learn this to other people. Everyone should think about this!

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Visitor01

Thank you. I’ve been having a hard time accepting things. After reading this, it knocked me into realization and now I think I now what I have to do. Thanks again:)

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When you can’t cut out (their worries), add in (what they need for felt safety). 

Rather than focusing on what we need them to do, shift the focus to what we can do. Make the environment as safe as we can (add in another safe adult), and have so much certainty that they can do this, they can borrow what they need and wrap it around themselves again and again and again.

You already do this when they have to do things that don’t want to do, but which you know are important - brushing their teeth, going to the dentist, not eating ice cream for dinner (too often). The key for living bravely is to also recognise that so many of the things that drive anxiety are equally important. 

We also need to ask, as their important adults - ‘Is this scary safe or scary dangerous?’ ‘Do I move them forward into this or protect them from it?’♥️
The need to feel connected to, and seen by our people is instinctive. 

THE FIX: Add in micro-connections to let them feel you seeing them, loving them, connecting with them, enjoying them:

‘I love being your mum.’
‘I love being your dad.’
‘I missed you today.’
‘I can’t wait to hang out with you at bedtime 
and read a story together.’

Or smiling at them, playing with them, 
sharing something funny, noticing something about them, ‘remembering when...’ with them.

And our adult loves need the same, as we need the same from them.♥️
Our kids need the same thing we do: to feel safe and loved through all feelings not just the convenient ones.

Gosh it’s hard though. I’ve never lost my (thinking) mind as much at anyone as I have with the people I love most in this world.

We’re human, not bricks, and even though we’re parents we still feel it big sometimes. Sometimes these feelings make it hard for us to be the people we want to be for our loves.

That’s the truth of it, and that’s the duality of being a parent. We love and we fury. We want to connect and we want to pull away. We hold it all together and sometimes we can’t.

None of this is about perfection. It’s about being human, and the best humans feel, argue, fight, reconnect, own our ‘stuff’. We keep working on growing and being more of our everythingness, just in kinder ways.

If we get it wrong, which we will, that’s okay. What’s important is the repair - as soon as we can and not selling it as their fault. Our reaction is our responsibility, not theirs. This might sound like, ‘I’m really sorry I yelled. You didn’t deserve that. I really want to hear what you have to say. Can we try again?’

Of course, none of this means ‘no boundaries’. What it means is adding warmth to the boundary. One without the other will feel unsafe - for them, us, and others.

This means making sure that we’ve claimed responsibility- the ability to respond to what’s happening. It doesn’t mean blame. It means recognising that when a young person is feeling big, they don’t have the resources to lead out of the turmoil, so we have to lead them out - not push them out.

Rather than focusing on what we want them to do, shift the focus to what we can do to bring felt safety and calm back into the space.

THEN when they’re calm talk about what’s happened, the repair, and what to do next time.

Discipline means ‘to teach’, not to punish. They will learn best when they are connected to you. Maybe there is a need for consequences, but these must be about repair and restoration. Punishment is pointless, harmful, and outdated.

Hold the boundary, add warmth. Don’t ask them to do WHEN they can’t do. Wait until they can hear you and work on what’s needed. There’s no hurry.♥️
Recently I chatted with @rebeccasparrow72 , host of ABC Listen’s brilliant podcast, ‘Parental as Anything: Teens’. I loved this chat. Bec asked all the questions that let us crack the topic right open. Our conversation was in response to a listener’s question, that I expect will be familiar to many parents in many homes. Have a listen here:
https://www.abc.net.au/listen/programs/parental-as-anything-with-maggie-dent/how-can-i-help-my-anxious-teen/104035562
School refusal is escalating. Something that’s troubling me is the use of the word ‘school can’t’ when talking about kids.

Stay with me.

First, let’s be clear: school refusal isn’t about won’t. It’s about can’t. Not truly can’t but felt can’t. It’s about anxiety making school feel so unsafe for a child, avoidance feels like the only option.

Here’s the problem. Language is powerful, and when we put ‘can’t’ onto a child, it tells a deficiency story about the child.

But school refusal isn’t about the child.
It’s about the environment not feeling safe enough right now, or separation from a parent not feeling safe enough right now. The ‘can’t’ isn’t about the child. It’s about an environment that can’t support the need for felt safety - yet.

This can happen in even the most loving, supportive schools. All schools are full of anxiety triggers. They need to be because anything new, hard, brave, growthful will always come with potential threats - maybe failure, judgement, shame. Even if these are so unlikely, the brain won’t care. All it will read is ‘danger’.

Of course sometimes school actually isn’t safe. Maybe peer relationships are tricky. Maybe teachers are shouty and still using outdated ways to manage behaviour. Maybe sensory needs aren’t met.

Most of the time though it’s not actual threat but ’felt threat’.

The deficiency isn’t with the child. It’s with the environment. The question isn’t how do we get rid of their anxiety. It’s how do we make the environment feel safe enough so they can feel supported enough to handle the discomfort of their anxiety.

We can throw all the resources we want at the child, but:

- if the parent doesn’t believe the child is safe enough, cared for enough, capable enough; or

- if school can’t provide enough felt safety for the child (sensory accommodations, safe peer relationships, at least one predictable adult the child feels safe with and cared for by),

that child will not feel safe enough.

To help kids feel safe and happy at school, we have to recognise that it’s the environment that needs changing, not the child. This doesn’t mean the environment is wrong. It’s about making it feel more right for this child.♥️

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