Balance Your Life in 2014
A new year is on the horizon. Many of us use this time to reevaluate our lives and set new goals for the clean slate ahead of us. 2014 is no different. Looking at the 365 days coming our way, we have a choice.
Choices – we all have them. We can choose to let our past and the negative experiences in our life keep us from living an optimum life or … we can choose to move on and live an empowered life. Robin Marvel, author of LIFE CHECK – 7 STEPS TO BALANCE YOUR LIFE! chose the later. Situations in her childhood would have kept many of us locked into dysfunctional patterns, crippling our adult lives. Robin acknowledges that her young adult life had some unwise choices. She could have remained there, repeating the cycles and struggling through life. She chose not to. Robin chose to recreate her life, a life of empowerment, courage and strength.
She chose a different path than what she had been shown as a child. Robin is now the author of five books and is a popular motivational speaker. Her latest book, Life Check – 7 Steps to Balance Your Life!, was nominated for two awards in 2013; the 97th Annual Society of Midland Book Award, and the 2013 Pushcart Book Award. Robin’s other books are: Reshaping Reality: Creating Your Life, Awakening Consciousness: A Girl’s Guide, Awakening Consciousness: A Boy’s Guide, and Awakening Consciousness: A Woman’s Guide.
Today, Robin joins Writer’s Zen as a guest, sharing an excerpt from her latest book, encouraging us to forgive and heal as one step in balancing our life. Let’s step into 2014 together, balancing our lives one step at a time.
Leave Your Baggage~ Excerpt “Life Check-7 Steps to Balance Your Life!”
If you are like me, you have made some choices, big and small, that you’d rather not look at again, but it is important to face all aspects of who you are so you can forgive and heal. Healing is an inside job and it must start with you. One of the most important things you can do on your path to success is to forgive yourself and others. Forgiveness is by far one of the most powerful words in existence, and will change your life forever. Although it is not always the easiest task, it is imperative to move forward and experience emotional closure. The first thing to understand about forgiving is that it is not something you do for other people, it is something you do for yourself. It is allowing yourself to break free from the heaviness of anger and frustration. These negative emotions will eat at you physically, mentally and emotionally, taking away from your happiness. Start with forgiving yourself. After all, you cannot give what you don’t have, so if you are unable to forgive yourself, you will struggle with forgiving others. Everyone has a past. Some are neat and tidy while others are scarred with battle wounds. If your past is one with battle wounds you have proof that no matter what you faced, it has passed and you survived! Now you need to figure out if you are willing to embrace those scars and heal them, or cover them up with a fake smile and conformity. Only you can make this choice.
Life Check 2-1: Past is Present — How much of your present life are you losing to your past, to the person you use to be? Are you still blaming yourself for something you should have, could have done? Here is a challenge for you. Carry around a suitcase full of rocks. Each boulder symbolizes an emotion like shame, guilt, should have, could have—(insert your word here) and bring this heavy burden with you everywhere you go. There is no setting it down; you must carry it at all times. Don’t you think that would get exhausting? I know it would. So, why then do you insist on carrying the weight of your past like that? This is what you do when you hold on to guilt, remorse and anger for who you use to be, choices you use to make. Allowing yourself to be exhausted and defeated, struggling with the present all based on your actions in the past.
Life Check 2-2: Baggage Check — Evaluate how your past baggage is preventing you from moving forward. What do you need to release, make a list and start unpacking. You aren’t the only one. We all have this baggage that we think is necessary to keep with us, holding on to it, thinking that we are better people if we feel guilty about our past actions. When you tell yourself that you must be accountable for who you were then, it allows past emotions to manipulate the present. You are your biggest critic and can really give yourself a hard time. The fact of the matter is that we have all done crazy things and said things in the past that we wish we could take back, and that is part of living and growing. You do not get a “do-over” for the past, but you can make a choice in the present to let go of it. Forgiving yourself allows freedom from the emotional baggage, releasing the guilt and disappointment you have attached to those situations. Embrace your experiences, good and bad, and appreciate the growth they provided. Use your “get out of jail free” card and allow yourself peace of mind. Face it, you are not given a manual for living, and it can be easy to lose direction. These lessons were necessary to build your character, and to help build who you are in this moment. The fact is, you have tied so much emotion to the action you took or didn’t take that you are unable to let it go. Today, look at the situation and search for the lesson that was provided. Accept the lesson, accept your choice and move forward. Finding the strength to forgive yourself will remove the heaviness you carry with you. This allows you to live life with the happiness and peace that you deserve. Many years ago, when I was around twenty-two years old, I made the choice to go on a drinking binge, and I lost complete control of who I was. For four months I was not a very good mother or wife, because my focus was on drinking every night. I was repeating a pattern from my childhood. There were days when I didn’t even see my daughter, because I was sleeping all day to prepare for the night out. When I thought of these days, I used to feel disappointed in myself, it was very unfair to the people that I love the most in my life. It would be very easy for me to carry around the energy of my past and punish myself in the present, but I made the choice to forgive myself and to learn from the experience, allowing myself to live fully in the present. I have apologized to my husband, my daughter and to myself. I realize that I am human and I learned many lessons from that point in my life and I appreciate that. Be kind to yourself for your past choices, because they don’t define who you choose to be today.
Life Check 2-3: Learning from Mistakes — Give yourself a break. You are human and making mistakes is part of learning. So, relax and quit holding yourself hostage in your own mind. Look at past situations and search for the lesson that was provided to you. Accept the lesson, Accept your choice and Move Forward. Use what you have learned from your past to share with others facing the same situations. Encourage them by being an example that everything will be okay.
Who are you mad at? What is the one name that makes all the blood rush to your head? You probably know someone who infuriates you. This is someone, somewhere who has been rude to you and hurt you emotionally, mentally and/or physically, and you cannot imagine forgiving them. They have just caused way too much pain for you and must pay for it. You vow revenge and have lost a part of who you are to the hatred you feel. I recently did a workshop at a domestic violence shelter and started to share the topic of forgiveness, the way I am discussing it here. I was focusing on the importance of forgiving those who have wronged you no matter the extent, not for the other person but for yourself. Encouraging the idea that forgiving others allows you to take your power back and frees you from all the hurt associated with the situation. A woman who had been battered raised her hand and said, “I’ll never forgive my husband for what he did to me, Never.” I responded to her by sharing that the more anger you have, the longer you hold the hatred for him, the longer he holds your power. I told her that every time she gets mad, curses him and talks about how much she cannot forgive him, he wins—because in those moments he is in control of her emotions and she is giving away her power to him by feeling that same anger she felt in that moment he abused her. She got a look on her face and told me “I haven’t ever thought of that, it makes sense to me.” It was her “aha” moment. Now she can move forward in her life and be free from the emotions of her abusive husband. He lost some of his hold that day! Now it’ll take work, because she will have to look within and really forgive the situation but she is one step closer to freeing herself from his emotional hold. Continuing to carry a grudge and be angry at the person who wronged you is only hurting yourself. As the great Buddha said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” I could not agree more. Each time you harbor that anger and resentment, you lose part of your happiness. Why would you willingly sacrifice one moment, giving your power away to someone who angers you? If they were so horrible to you, do not continue to feed their negativity. Be in charge of your emotions and give no one your power. I am in no way suggesting you forget what was done to you, all I am saying is that it is time to forgive and let it go, freeing yourself. When you make that decision, you will physically feel a weight lifted from your shoulders and the relief of taking your power back.