"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -Martin Luther King Jr.
I love this quote. It beautifully exemplifies what MLK dedicated his life to, and now his legacy.
His work reminds me about the importance of using our voice to advocate for what really matters to us.
When I reflect back on my life, I realize of one of the greatest skills I have learned is how to gracefully navigate challenging, highly emotional charged interactions.
I learned because I am dedicated to raising consciousness on the planet and enhancing well being for all people and animals. For a long time I didn't know how to speak up with grace. It cost me.
Instead I showed up as a judging, intense, impatient, controlling, intellectual know it all. Instead of building up a relationship, I often did the opposite. Sometimes I even intimidated people!
I was allowing my emotions to rule me rather than inform me.
I was "justifying" the rightness of my behavior because I felt my cause was sincere. I was reacting. I was creating divisiveness.
The truth is - the divisiveness was within. I was frustrated at myself for not using my voice to effect positive change because I was both afraid and unskilled.
Like most of us, as a child I didn't learn how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way. They were either repressed, and then I would blow up like a volcano. Or, I would stay silent and suffer internally.
When I got tired of not getting the results I wanted, I was ready to learn new ways.
If you're still reading, you may be wondering what those new ways are. I will break them down to 5.
1. I was willing to look in the mirror with compassion and forgiveness for myself and for others. I adopted the mantra, we are all doing our best, based on our level of awareness. We know better, we do better.
2. I was willing to change and give others the benefit of the doubt. I knew most of the time we could create a win/win if we could put our defenses down and find the shared value/vision/interest.
3. I was willing to be vulnerable - to actually be seen and heard without fear of rejection and abandonment.
4. I was willing to humbly stand in my power, grow up, and stop wasting time.
5. I was willing to get support in the areas I was unable to "see" & be held accountable.
Being willing has paid off handsomely in all areas of my life.
While I don't look for challenging interactions, they abound.
Whether I am dealing with an unhappy client who disagrees with our policies or is unwilling to let us make it right, or asking my husband to take on more of the household chores, I strive to interact with grace.
By grace I mean with compassion, kindness, love, respect, integrity, sincerity, forgiveness, and non-attachment if it goes sideways. After all, I can't (and frankly don't care to) control them. What I can control is how I show up.
Imagine if we all learned how to communicate with grace? Imagine if we felt safe to speak up and felt safe to listen?
As MLK teaches us, we must speak up and advocate for what matters.
Remember-->It's HOW we do it that determines the impact.
Namaste Fellow Travelers,