In my previous blog on this thought-provoking topic, I focused on how we need to view our value in relation to the various facets of our lives, and not as a metric for how each of those facets are progressing. Once we have formed the habit of being present in the different situations we are in, our energy and attention becomes more streamlined and intentional, and so we naturally begin responding to where the good energy is and move away from the toxic energy.
When we are in this frame of mind, it becomes easier and more productive to check-in with ourselves regularly to gauge our triggers and responses. Can you see how closely aligned our value is with our mattering because they are both intentional thought patterns?
Now what happens when external forces appear to collude against us? This time of year, the “-bers” as my sister-in-law calls the month from September through December, seem to move at warp speed and to-do lists get longer while time gets shorter. On top of that is the great weather, but then it’s too hot. And where is the rain we so desperately need? Cue the long-awaited rain, and we’re like “when is this rain going to stop so everything can dry out?” We’re all in limbo watching the Springboks give their all every weekend, but that means staying up until 9pm. And now there is an egg crisis!
When we attach our value to external validation only, all these things and more exert full control over our emotional state including our energy. We feel frazzled and tired, and sadly, many of us barrel into our December holiday on the verge of burning out. So, we spend the first few days in recovery, before we can really start enjoying the break. This is not life, and this is not how you should be living.
When we adjust our value-compass to internal, we remove the noise and volatility of external factors. There will still be an egg shortage, and the price of fuel will still be exorbitantly high, and your to-do list at work will still feel never-ending. But if we can take ownership of our response and control our behaviour, we can mitigate the impact these external factors have on us.
It is in this manner that we protect our value and, in turn, our mattering. Remind yourself consistently – I am valued, I add value.
But how do we find calm in the chaos around us? Just practice your ABCs ~
A – strive for authenticity. This is both for you being your authentic self, and therefore finding environments and people who support you and encourage your authenticity, and also for the tribe you surround yourself with. Authenticity is a beautiful quality, and author and speaker Brené Brown describes it as ‘the daily practise of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.’
B – keep breathing. When we’re stressed, we tend to pant which automatically stresses the body more. Be conscious of your breathing, and practice regular deep breathing exercises.
C – aim for calm. While it is true that no one in the history of being told to calm down has ever calmed down, aiming for calm is severely underrated. Surprisingly, calm is not the same for everyone so find your calm and then aim for that. Calmness requires intention and practice and is directly related to your value. Renowned author Bryant McGill says ‘your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.’
S – seek out glimmers. When the world around us is crazy and we feel out of control, we need perspective. Very often, we overlook the little glimmers happening around us, the small things that bring joy and calm.