1. Breathe into pain
Whenever a painful situation arises in your life, try to embrace it instead of running away or trying to mask the hurt. When the sadness strikes, take a deep breath and lean into it. When we run away from sadness that’s unfolding in our lives, it gets stronger and more real. We take an emotion that’s fleeting and make it a solid event, instead of something that passes through us.
By utilizing our breath we soften our experiences. If we dam them up, our lives will stagnate, but when we keep them flowing, we allow more newness and greater experiences to blossom.
2. Ask your heart what it wants
We’re often confused at the next step to take, making pros and cons lists until our eyes bleed and our brains are sore. Instead of always taking this approach, what if we engaged a new part of ourselves that isn’t usually involved in the decision making process?
I know we’ve all felt decisions or actions that we had to take simply due to our “gut” impulses: when asked, we can’t explain the reasons behind doing so — just a deep knowing that it had to get done. This instinct is the part of ourselves we’re approaching for answers.
3. Engage your shadow
Many of us who are on the personal development path get caught up in embracing characteristics we want to have, like happiness, compassion, love, and passion. In this pursuit we end up losing parts of ourselves that make us whole, such as suppressing our negative qualities instead of engaging them. Try asking yourself a few questions:
What parts of myself could I do without?
How do I get in my own way?
Is there anything I’m hiding from myself?
Don’t be afraid of what comes out; you might want to run from the answers, but instead, acknowledge them and be with them as much as possible. Once you’re a little clearer about what exactly you’ve been hiding, from it gets easier to shine your light on it.
4. Spend time alone
For most of our lives we’re surrounded by people: our friends, colleagues, peers, family members, loved ones, and strangers. How often do we really spend time alone?
When you spend time in solitude, you’re free from the influences of other people, and can truly open yourself and explore whatever you’d like. See where your thoughts take you. The golden ticket here is to not let yourself become distracted; just see what it’s like to be alone.
5. Get outside of yourself
This may seem a little contradictory to the last tip, but in reality, they actually work hand-in-hand. After you’ve explored the depths of yourself, you come away with a new understanding.
Now, it’s time to share that — not through telling others, but through being with others.
When you’re in a group of people, try to give them your full energy and attention so you can understand them just as you did yourself. Appreciate their uniqueness, as if they are an extension of you. Lose yourself in the beauty of others; see what they can teach you about yourself.