Is it better to meet our emotional wounds with KINDNESS or WILLPOWER?

This video explores the question “Is it better to meet our emotional wounds with KINDNESS or WILLPOWER?”

Transcript of the Video below

Today we’re going to be asking the question “is it better to meet our emotional wounds with kindness or with willpower?”

now throughout my 25-year healing journey, I would have said for a big bulk of that I would have answered “willpower”. as I was concerned my problem was is I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t push hard enough to change and grow and move forward. if I could just pick up this kind of “huge tire of dysfunction” and sort of throw it over, then everything would be good and I just kind of get on and move forward. The reality is by failing several times over and over and over, I concluded that that method of grit, force, and determination just didn’t work. certainly for me and gradually what I came to understand is it was better to meet my wounds with loving-kindness, compassion, gentleness, and understanding than it was to meet them with kind of hard work, determination, and grit.

now don’t get me wrong, there is a place for determination, there are moments in our life where we are required to be resilient, focused, and determined. Yet where that determination arises from is probably more the important question, rather than we have it. For a lot of us to begin with that sense of a kind of “go for it” arises from a deep sense of shame, a sense of panic, a sense of anxiety, a sense of living up to other people’s expectations.As it just ends up unsustainable. so what I’ve discovered is that approaching my wounds with kindness is it works and it works for several different reasons.

now the first thing is that when you view yourself from a position of kindness and you view your wounds from a position of kindness, the very act of doing that weirdly creates a separation from the wound. you know that which you are witnessing or that which you’re looking at. then the act of loving observation or kind observation and noticing, so the very act of witnessing and approaching and looking at our wounds from a position of loving-kindness, has a way of kind of peeling us apart from the intensity of that dysfunction. It creates a kind of inner separation between the wound and the awareness of the wound. as you start looking yourself more for a position of kindness, in a strange kind of the way it takes a charge out of the intensity or the weight of the dysfunction itself. So just looking at it feels like it’s helpful and we’ve all had that as children when we grazed our knee or we hurt ourselves, and we come running to our mother or father and they just look at it and give us a little bit of attention and put a band-aid on it. there’s a feeling of just the act of being cared for and the act of being acknowledged seems to take some of the sting away. So there is a kind of a psychological version of that. the other thing is as we come at our wounds from a position of loving-kindness a funny thing kind of happens. Because being kind to ourselves is not a passive thing, that it’s not just taking a day spa and treating ourselves. You can do all those things but it’s a deeper perspective, that we look at ourselves from the lens of compassion then determination and activity can arise out of that. Yet it arises from a sense of love and care, rather than shame, guilt, and anxiety

When we act from love and care that is sustainable. We are tapping into a source of energy that is literally infinite. When we act from love and care it enables us to do things and act in a way that we wouldn’t from a position of shame and difficulty.

So we witness our wounds from loving-kindness, the activity of setting boundaries, the activity of really caring for ourselves, the activity of doing what’s in our best interests, all of that arises as we view ourselves more and more from a position of loving-kindness.

So if you’re at a point where you’re you’re trying and you’re getting a sense of “I’ve got these issues I need to deal with” and you feel that urge that “I’ve got to write my to-do list, so I’m gonna get things done” this Tony Robbins angle of “I’m gonna go for it”. Don’t get me wrong all those things do work for some people but for me, it didn’t. So if you’re in that position try to think about this from a position of love and kindness. For some people that may feel very abstract, it may feel like a very like “yeah it’s easy for me to say it but what does it even look like? How do we even get a sense of what that means?” If you are feeling that’s abstract and you have a whole history of internal narratives and internal dialogue that are constantly kind of whipping you into action. Think about how you are with children or think about how most of us are with children. I have two teenage daughters and throughout their lifetime, when they’ve come to be upset or distressed, the degree of care and compassion I show them is often to degree and the severity of what they’re upset about. If they’ve come to me over the years with things that have upset them, I will meet that more or less (I haven’t been a perfect father) I will meet that with understanding with concern, I’ll try to listen. What I’ve never done is said “you know what, you need to shut, you need to pull yourself up by the bootstraps, you need to stop moaning, you need to try a little bit harder and dry your eyes and stop being such a baby” I have never said that to my daughters. Who does who says these things? I’ve never said that to a friend, but what’s interesting is how we can be so severe and harsh with ourselves, in a way we wouldn’t be with anyone.

so if you’re trying to get a sort of an intuitive sense of what is it to care for ourselves, what is it to look at our issues with love and kindness, just think about how you are with children or think about how you are with a friend in distress. Think about how you approach other people’s pain and you’ll get a pretty clear sense of what that looks like for you

Lastly what I just like to say is to be kind to yourself because it is hard out there. You’re deciding to work on yourself and deal with your issues, as opposed to just numbing out and checking out of life, it takes a lot of courage and it’s a painful route. There are enough messages of “get on with it and be tough” in our modern media and our culture and our internal processes. I don’t need anymore, if we need any more of anything it is kindness towards ourselves and others. so it’s tough out there, so please I implore you and encourage you to be kind to yourself. Not only is it a good thing but it works.

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