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.

 

 

6 Comments

Maria P

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

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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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Anxiety is a sign that the brain has registered threat and is mobilising the body to get to safety. One of the ways it does this is by organising the body for movement - to fight the danger or flee the danger. 

If there is no need or no opportunity for movement, that fight or flight fuel will still be looking for expression. This can come out as wriggly, fidgety, hyperactive behaviour. This is why any of us might pace or struggle to sit still when we’re anxious. 

If kids or teens are bouncing around, wriggling in their chairs, or having trouble sitting still, it could be anxiety. Remember with anxiety, it’s not about what is actually safe but about what the brain perceives. New or challenging work, doing something unfamiliar, too much going on, a tired or hungry body, anything that comes with any chance of judgement, failure, humiliation can all throw the brain into fight or flight.

When this happens, the body might feel busy, activated, restless. This in itself can drive even more anxiety in kids or teens. Any of us can struggle when we don’t feel comfortable in our own bodies. 

Anxiety is energy with nowhere to go. To move through anxiety, give the energy somewhere to go - a fast walk, a run, a whole-body shake, hula hooping, kicking a ball - any movement that spends the energy will help bring the brain and body back to calm.♥️
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#parenting #anxietyinkids #childanxiety #parenting #parent
This is not bad behaviour. It’s big behaviour a from a brain that has registered threat and is working hard to feel safe again. 

‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what the brain perceives. The brain can perceive threat when there is any chance missing out on or messing up something important, anything that feels unfamiliar, hard, or challenging, feeling misunderstood, thinking you might be angry or disappointed with them, being separated from you, being hungry or tired, anything that pushes against their sensory needs - so many things. 

During anxiety, the amygdala in the brain is switched to high volume, so other big feelings will be too. This might look like tears, sadness, or anger. 

Big feelings have a good reason for being there. The amygdala has the very important job of keeping us safe, and it does this beautifully, but not always with grace. One of the ways the amygdala keeps us safe is by calling on big feelings to recruit social support. When big feelings happen, people notice. They might not always notice the way we want to be noticed, but we are noticed. This increases our chances of safety. 

Of course, kids and teens still need our guidance and leadership and the conversations that grow them, but not during the emotional storm. They just won’t hear you anyway because their brain is too busy trying to get back to safety. In that moment, they don’t want to be fixed or ‘grown’. They want to feel seen, safe and heard. 

During the storm, preserve your connection with them as much as you can. You might not always be able to do this, and that’s okay. None of this is about perfection. If you have a rupture, repair it as soon as you can. Then, when their brains and bodies come back to calm, this is the time for the conversations that will grow them. 

Rather than, ‘What consequences do they need to do better?’, shift to, ‘What support do they need to do better?’ The greatest support will come from you in a way they can receive: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘You’re the most wonderful kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen. How can you put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
Big behaviour is a sign of a nervous system in distress. Before anything, that vulnerable nervous system needs to be brought back home to felt safety. 

This will happen most powerfully with relationship and connection. Breathe and be with. Let them know you get it. This can happen with words or nonverbals. It’s about feeling what they feel, but staying regulated.

If they want space, give them space but stay in emotional proximity, ‘Ok I’m just going to stay over here. I’m right here if you need.’

If they’re using spicy words to make sure there is no confusion about how they feel about you right now, flag the behaviour, then make your intent clear, ‘I know how upset you are and I want to understand more about what’s happening for you. I’m not going to do this while you’re speaking to me like this. You can still be mad, but you need to be respectful. I’m here for you.’

Think of how you would respond if a friend was telling you about something that upset her. You wouldn’t tell her to calm down, or try to fix her (she’s not broken), or talk to her about her behaviour. You would just be there. You would ‘drop an anchor’ and steady those rough seas around her until she feels okay enough again. Along the way you would be doing things that let her know your intent to support her. You’d do this with you facial expressions, your voice, your body, your posture. You’d feel her feels, and she’d feel you ‘getting her’. It’s about letting her know that you understand what she’s feeling, even if you don’t understand why (or agree with why). 

It’s the same for our children. As their important big people, they also need leadership. The time for this is after the storm has passed, when their brains and bodies feel safe and calm. Because of your relationship, connection and their felt sense of safety, you will have access to their ‘thinking brain’. This is the time for those meaningful conversations: 
- ‘What happened?’
- ‘What did I do that helped/ didn’t help?’
- ‘What can you do differently next time?’
- ‘You’re a great kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen, but here we are. What can you do to put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
As children grow, and especially by adolescence, we have the illusion of control but whether or not we have any real influence will be up to them. The temptation to control our children will always come from a place of love. Fear will likely have a heavy hand in there too. When they fall, we’ll feel it. Sometimes it will feel like an ache in our core. Sometimes it will feel like failure or guilt, or anger. We might wish we could have stopped them, pushed a little harder, warned a little bigger, stood a little closer. We’re parents and we’re human and it’s what this parenting thing does. It makes fear and anxiety billow around us like lost smoke, too easily.

Remember, they want you to be proud of them, and they want to do the right thing. When they feel your curiosity over judgement, and the safety of you over shame, it will be easier for them to open up to you. Nobody will guide them better than you because nobody will care more about where they land. They know this, but the magic happens when they also know that you are safe and that you will hold them, their needs, their opinions and feelings with strong, gentle, loving hands, no matter what.♥️
Anger is the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. It has important work to do. Anger never exists on its own. It exists to hold other more vulnerable emotions in a way that feels safer. It’s sometimes feels easier, safer, more acceptable, stronger to feel the ‘big’ that comes with anger, than the vulnerability that comes with anxiety, sadness, loneliness. This isn’t deliberate. It’s just another way our bodies and brains try to keep us safe. 

The problem isn’t the anger. The problem is the behaviour that can come with the anger. Let there be no limits on thoughts and feelings, only behaviour. When children are angry, as long as they are safe and others are safe, we don’t need to fix their anger. They aren’t broken. Instead, drop the anchor: as much as you can - and this won’t always be easy - be a calm, steadying, loving presence to help bring their nervous systems back home to calm. 

Then, when they are truly calm, and with love and leadership, have the conversations that will grow them - 
- What happened? 
- What can you do differently next time?
- You’re a really great kid. I know you didn’t want this to happen but here we are. How can you make things right. Would you like some ideas? Do you need some help with that?
- What did I do that helped? What did I do that didn’t help? Is there something that might feel more helpful next time?

When their behaviour falls short of ‘adorable’, rather than asking ‘What consequences they need to do better?’ let the question be, ‘What support do they need to do better.’ Often, the biggest support will be a conversation with you, and that will be enough.♥️
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#parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #anxietyinkids

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