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.

 

 

2 Comments

George

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

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How we are with them, when they are their everyday selves and when they aren’t so adorable, will build their view of three things: the world, its people, and themselves. This will then inform how they respond to the world and how they build their very important space in it. 

Will it be a loving, warm, open-hearted space with lots of doors for them to throw open to the people and experiences that are right for them? Or will it be a space with solid, too high walls that close out too many of the people and experiences that would nourish them.

They will learn from what we do with them and to them, for better or worse. We don’t teach them that the world is safe for them to reach into - we show them. We don’t teach them to be kind, respectful, and compassionate. We show them. We don’t teach them that they matter, and that other people matter, and that their voices and their opinions matter. We show them. We don’t teach them that they are little joy mongers who light up the world. We show them. 

But we have to be radically kind with ourselves too. None of this is about perfection. Parenting is hard, and days will be hard, and on too many of those days we’ll be hard too. That’s okay. We’ll say things we shouldn’t say and do things we shouldn’t do. We’re human too. Let’s not put pressure on our kiddos to be perfect by pretending that we are. As long as we repair the ruptures as soon as we can, and bathe them in love and the warmth of us as much as we can, they will be okay.

This also isn’t about not having boundaries. We need to be the guardians of their world and show them where the edges are. But in the guarding of those boundaries we can be strong and loving, strong and gentle. We can love them, and redirect their behaviour.

It’s when we own our stuff(ups) and when we let them see us fall and rise with strength, integrity, and compassion, and when we hold them gently through the mess of it all, that they learn about humility, and vulnerability, and the importance of holding bruised hearts with tender hands. It’s not about perfection, it’s about consistency, and honesty, and the way we respond to them the most.♥️

#parenting #mindfulparenting
Anxiety and courage always exist together. It can be no other way. Anxiety is a call to courage. It means you're about to do something brave, so when there is one the other will be there too. Their courage might feel so small and be whisper quiet, but it will always be there and always ready to show up when they need it to.
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But courage doesn’t always feel like courage, and it won't always show itself as a readiness. Instead, it might show as a rising - from fear, from uncertainty, from anger. None of these mean an absence of courage. They are the making of space, and the opportunity for courage to rise.
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When the noise from anxiety is loud and obtuse, we’ll have to gently add our voices to usher their courage into the light. We can do this speaking of it and to it, and by shifting the focus from their anxiety to their brave. The one we focus on is ultimately what will become powerful. It will be the one we energise. Anxiety will already have their focus, so we’ll need to make sure their courage has ours.
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But we have to speak to their fear as well, in a way that makes space for it to be held and soothed, with strength. Their fear has an important job to do - to recruit the support of someone who can help them feel safe. Only when their fear has been heard will it rest and make way for their brave.
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What does this look like? Tell them their stories of brave, but acknowledge the fear that made it tough. Stories help them process their emotional experiences in a safe way. It brings word to the feelings and helps those big feelings make sense and find containment. ‘You were really worried about that exam weren’t you. You couldn’t get to sleep the night before. It was tough going to school but you got up, you got dressed, you ... and you did it. Then you ...’
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In the moment, speak to their brave by first acknowledging their need to flee (or fight), then tell them what you know to be true - ‘This feels scary for you doesn’t it. I know you want to run. It makes so much sense that you would want to do that. I also know you can do hard things. My darling, I know it with everything in me.’
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#positiveparenting #parenting #childanxiety #anxietyinchildren #mindfulpare
Separation anxiety has an important job to do - it’s designed to keep children safe by driving them to stay close to their important adults. Gosh it can feel brutal sometimes though.

Whenever there is separation from an attachment person there will be anxiety unless there are two things: attachment with another trusted, loving adult; and a felt sense of you holding on, even when you aren't beside them. Putting these in place will help soften anxiety.

As long as children are are in the loving care of a trusted adult, there's no need to avoid separation. We'll need to remind ourselves of this so we can hold on to ourselves when our own anxiety is rising in response to theirs. 

If separation is the problem, connection has to be the solution. The connection can be with any loving adult, but it's more than an adult being present. It needs an adult who, through their strong, warm, loving presence, shows the child their abundant intention to care for that child, and their joy in doing so. This can be helped along by showing that you trust the adult to love that child big in our absence. 'I know [important adult] loves you and is going to take such good care of you.'

To help your young one feel held on to by you, even in absence, let them know you'll be thinking of them and can't wait to see them. Bolster this by giving them something of yours to hold while you're gone - a scarf, a note - anything that will be felt as 'you'.

They know you are the one who makes sure their world is safe, so they’ll be looking to you for signs of safety: 'Do you think we'll be okay if we aren't together?' First, validate: 'You really want to stay with me, don't you. I wish I could stay with you too! It's hard being away from your special people isn't it.' Then, be their brave. Let it be big enough to wrap around them so they can rest in the safety and strength of it: 'I know you can do this, love. We can do hard things can't we.'

Part of growing up brave is learning that the presence of anxiety doesn't always mean something is wrong. Sometimes it means they are on the edge of brave - and being away from you for a while counts as brave.
Even the most loving, emotionally available adult might feel frustration, anger, helplessness or distress in response to a child’s big feelings. This is how it’s meant to work. 

Their distress (fight/flight) will raise distress in us. The purpose is to move us to protect or support or them, but of course it doesn’t always work this way. When their big feelings recruit ours it can drive us more to fight (anger, blame), or to flee (avoid, ignore, separate them from us) which can steal our capacity to support them. It will happen to all of us from time to time. 

Kids and teens can’t learn to manage big feelings on their own until they’ve done it plenty of times with a calm, loving adult. This is where co-regulation comes in. It helps build the vital neural pathways between big feelings and calm. They can’t build those pathways on their own. 

It’s like driving a car. We can tell them how to drive as much as we like, but ‘talking about’ won’t mean they’re ready to hit the road by themselves. Instead we sit with them in the front seat for hours, driving ‘with’ until they can do it on their own. Feelings are the same. We feel ‘with’, over and over, until they can do it on their own. 

What can help is pausing for a moment to see the behaviour for what it is - a call for support. It’s NOT bad behaviour or bad parenting. It’s not that.

Our own feelings can give us a clue to what our children are feeling. It’s a normal, healthy, adaptive way for them to share an emotional load they weren’t meant to carry on their own. Self-regulation makes space for us to hold those feelings with them until those big feelings ease. 

Self-regulation can happen in micro moments. First, see the feelings or behaviour for what it is - a call for support. Then breathe. This will calm your nervous system, so you can calm theirs. In the same way we will catch their distress, they will also catch ours - but they can also catch our calm. Breathe, validate, and be ‘with’. And you don’t need to do more than that.
When things feel hard or the world feels big, children will be looking to their important adults for signs of safety. They will be asking, ‘Do you think I'm safe?' 'Do you think I can do this?' With everything in us, we have to send the message, ‘Yes! Yes love, this is hard and you are safe. You can do hard things.'

Even if we believe they are up to the challenge, it can be difficult to communicate this with absolute confidence. We love them, and when they're distressed, we're going to feel it. Inadvertently, we can align with their fear and send signals of danger, especially through nonverbals. 

What they need is for us to align with their 'brave' - that part of them that wants to do hard things and has the courage to do them. It might be small but it will be there. Like a muscle, courage strengthens with use - little by little, but the potential is always there.

First, let them feel you inside their world, not outside of it. This lets their anxious brain know that support is here - that you see what they see and you get it. This happens through validation. It doesn't mean you agree. It means that you see what they see, and feel what they feel. Meet the intensity of their emotion, so they can feel you with them. It can come off as insincere if your nonverbals are overly calm in the face of their distress. (Think a zen-like low, monotone voice and neutral face - both can be read as threat by an anxious brain). Try:

'This is big for you isn't it!' 
'It's awful having to do things you haven't done before. What you are feeling makes so much sense. I'd feel the same!

Once they really feel you there with them, then they can trust what comes next, which is your felt belief that they will be safe, and that they can do hard things. 

Even if things don't go to plan, you know they will cope. This can be hard, especially because it is so easy to 'catch' their anxiety. When it feels like anxiety is drawing you both in, take a moment, breathe, and ask, 'Do I believe in them, or their anxiety?' Let your answer guide you, because you know your young one was built for big, beautiful things. It's in them. Anxiety is part of their move towards brave, not the end of it.

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