Negativity… it comes from others. And from ourselves. Even when we aren’t aware! Recently, I was shamed by someone I respect. Except maybe I wasn’t? Maybe I was only shaming myself?
Let me share the story with you…
I had planned to take part in a guided meditation. I was really looking forward to it and had invited two friends to attend with me.
The meditation was being led by a shaman I truly love and respect, and was being held a good distance away. To get there, I had to drive on icy roads, drop off my son, pick up a friend, and even walk the dog to ensure she would stay calm during the meditation.
It was a lot of prep and, sure enough, it didn’t go smoothly. When I arrived, my first thought was, “Finally, I am in a safe place. I can relax and take in a beautiful meditation.” My second thought was that not only was I exhausted from all the preparation, I was also 30 minutes late! To top it off, the dog was now antsy from the extended car ride and needed another walk to relax.
I could have embraced it for what it was: circumstances outside my control. I can’t control the road conditions. I can only respond to them. I can’t control my dog’s energy. I can only respond to it. I couldn’t control her need for exercise, I could only lean into it. I could even have taken a deep breath and welcomed the walk after being cooped up in the car myself.
But, I was late and I didn’t feel good about that.
By the time I entered the building, I was very late.
When I walked in, the shaman leading the meditation told me she hadn’t started because she was waiting for me to come in with the dog, and that there was quite a crowd waiting downstairs.
Oh my! As her words came out, I felt my body constrict. I clammed up. My reflex – my reactive pattern – was to leave. But I couldn’t. I had invited two friends along and it wouldn’t have been fair to leave them.
I began coaching myself in my head. I told myself to let it go and focus on the benefits the meditation would bring. I managed to open my mind and enjoy the meditation, which turned out to be pretty incredible. It was about letting go of what isn’t serving us and focusing all our energies on co-creating what we want for our future.
Although I truly enjoyed the meditation, after it was done and I said goodbye to the shaman, I still felt that negativity within me. I was upset with her. I had felt like I was coming to a safe place, but it didn’t feel safe when I came in and felt scolded.
As a coach, I believe in having those difficult conversations that need to be had. I believe in not letting negative thoughts or feelings become stagnant. I believe in openness and honesty in all relationships.
What should I do? Do I confront her?
Co-Active Leadership in Action
That’s when my learnings from my Co-Active Leadership program kicked in: “A leader is someone who takes responsibility for their world.” I am always coaching others not to stifle their truth, but to bring it forward, even when it’s hard.
I knew I had to walk the walk. Why did it feel so hard?
Well, my Gremlins were quick to answer that for me: “Who am I to confront a shaman?”
Sorry, Gremlins. No microphone for you! Let’s hand it over to my inner leader.
A key factor of self-acceptance is honouring your feelings and living your life in accordance with your values. Your feelings are there for a reason. It’s ok to feel whatever you are feeling.
And so, taking responsibility for my world, I accepted that I was feeling “less than” in the conversation. I accepted that my body had constricted and reacted strongly. I accepted that my inner leader was speaking to me and that it was the voice I needed to hear. I accepted the light and the messy within me.
Self-Authority = Self-Acceptance in Action!
Now, how do I take this self-acceptance and put it into self-authority? Meaning, how do I bring that self-acceptance forward and embrace confrontation with my shaman?
Trust the process. When you use self-acceptance and self-authority, you live your life with an open heart, knowing you are enough and honouring yourself in all your perfect imperfection. When you lead from this place, you know you are leading from your best self; your high vibration self. Whatever follows will be for your highest good.
It’s hard to stand in self-authority, but I chose to trust. Later that day, I texted my shaman and told her how I felt. I was a bit afraid, but I chose growth over comfort. To be the best me, to be the best leader, I had to embrace a tough conversation.
I held my breath. What if this ended my relationship with her? What if she reacted negatively? I would hate to lose her. I love her so much. I kept telling myself, “Trust, Melissa. Trust the process. You are speaking your truth from an open heart.” I believe that the path to true intimacy is to be so vulnerable that it risks losing the relationship. After all, if we can’t be fully open with the people closest to us, what’s the point? I needed to trust.
You Know What They Say About “Assume”…
The shaman’s response was full of wisdom: “A person’s interpretation of another is from the base of how they feel about themselves and the daily world they live in. It’s not through others or the world outside of us that our emotions arise, it’s from ourselves, our interpretations and our thoughts. That’s what creates our emotions. I must say I am truly sorry if these emotions were triggered in you, but let’s look at it as a gift. It’s a map. A map to what seeks healing within you. I couldn’t reach you (she had called and texted, but I had been focused on driving) and the people downstairs were getting antsy. I didn’t want to start until I was sure you were okay. Interestingly, you could have just as easily felt my worry and concern for your safety instead as you did for feeling scolded. You chose to feel that because that is your programming. That’s the one that needs healing or it will keep playing out in your life.”
Oh my. Lots of truth and takeaways here. For starters, I had assumed the shaman was scolding me and had gotten it all wrong. For another, why had I jumped to that assumption?
I try to always follow Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements, but I had clearly dropped the ball on agreement #3, which is to not make assumptions. It was a human moment – yes, even we coaches have them :) – so it was important to forgive myself and accept what was in me. And it was equally important to investigate what had led me down that path, so that I could do things differently in the future.
Reprogramming Our Thoughts
The shaman was right. Thinking about it, I often felt scolded by people, and I would retract. As Dr. Dain Heer says, “Our thoughts create our reality.” My reaction had more to do with my thoughts than with the shaman’s words.
This programming was showing up everywhere in my life, business and leadership. I had to own this and clean it up. I had to reprogram my thoughts. I identified the currently running program as the “Scolding Program” and I terminated it. I chose to download the new program as “Loving Kindness”, and I visualized it downloading into me.
Sounds crazy, but in many ways, our minds are like a bunch of running programs. We need to actively evaluate which programs are not working for us, disable them, and replace them with ones that work towards what we want to co-create.
When you can do this, it helps keep you aligned with who you are, your values and purpose. It helps you take authorship of your life so that you are the one truly calling the shots.
Keeping Your Vibration High
Keep your vibration high so that you can bring your best forward. Your best at home, at work, in your business, etc. How? By removing programs that don’t serve you. By meditating daily to connect with your core and show up with your best energy instead of letting other people’s energies run your day. By doing energy work. By exercising. By prioritizing your connection with your inner leader.
If we don’t do this, we stay at a lower vibration. Imagine we are all on different floors of a building. Those who continuously work toward being their best selves are on a higher floor and possess higher vibration. Those who focus on what isn’t working and wallow in unhappy situations exist on lower floors with a lower vibration.
If you maintain an upper-floor vibration, people look to you, wonder what you are doing, get curious and start to raise their own vibrations. If, on the other hand, you lower your vibration to match theirs (or to match the running program in your mind), you’re not doing yourself, or anyone around you, any favors. Choose to go with your highest vibration, always. This is what brings the best you forward. It’s what creates your most positive impact. It’s what creates the magnetism of a true leader. This is what it means to vibrate at a higher frequency. A business or organization can only go as high as it’s leaders. Likewise, as individuals, we can only go as high as we empower our inner leaders to go.
When that negativity came in, I could have swept those feelings under the rug, but that would have brought me down to that lower vibration where external circumstances can so easily run our lives. By choosing to tap into my highest self and be guided by my inner leader, I learned a powerful truth about myself and began a new healing journey. I also strengthened my relationship with my shaman and with myself. Like a domino effect, trusting the process and accepting my whole self has led to even stronger trust and greater self-acceptance.
It isn’t easy to get to that higher vibration. There can be a lot of old programs running that stand in our way. If you would like guidance on how to increase your leadership vibration, your confidence, your clarity, your self-acceptance, self-authority, impact, bringing yourself forward in the world, bravely and unapologetically… connect with me.