How are you showing up?

This winter I’ve already made several visits to the hospital to see family members. Not fun. The hospital is one of my least favorite places to be – and let’s face it, isn’t that true for most everyone? Yet instead of going there with dread and a tightly-clenched jaw, I’ve taken time to relax and show up with a smile and good posture.

Why? Because the way you show up in the world has a profound effect on your experience.

Even setting aside the non-physical factors like your energy system and the vibrations you send out, other people can tell how you’re feeling. Whether consciously or not, they pick up on the subtle clues they get from your body language and the look in your eyes. In turn, they will react to those cues in the way they treat you when you interact with them.

If you approach a situation with anger, fear or sorrow, those you interact with will probably either confront or avoid you. It’s not because they’re trying to be cruel. It’s a human tendency to reflect back the energies you’re receiving from someone; or if their emotions feel threatening or unwanted, to try and avoid dealing with them altogether. The people around you may not even realize they’re doing it.

It’s not just other people either. Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a rush, that’s when all the traffic lights turn red before you get there, it starts to rain and the store you needed to stop at closed early for renovations? That’s because, much like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, the vibration you’re putting out is “I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!” Events will obligingly conspire to ensure that you’re right.

Although it may not seem like it at the time, it’s all about how you’re showing up.

Depending on the situation, changing your approach can mean a simple adjustment or can pose more of a challenge. If you’re on your way to get groceries and you feel resentful and harried, it’s easy to change things up. Take a few deep breaths. Stand up straight. Think about how lucky you are that you can afford to purchase food for yourself and your family.

When you go into the store make a point of smiling at an employee, saying a polite “excuse me” when you pass someone in an aisle and calmly choosing your grocery items.

Not only will you feel better having let go of your resentment, you’ll have a more positive experience because your energies will be calm and present in the moment. You’ll receive more kindness than you would have if you were grumpy and rushing through the aisles to get your errand done in record time.

It’s admittedly a bit tougher if you’re on the way to the Emergency Room because your elderly parent has fainted and fallen – but no less important. Your worry is real, and you don’t want to deny it or repress it. However, in order to help your loved one you want to bring your best self to the situation.

The best thing to do is to express your fears and worries to a trusted friend – telling them in advance that you just need to vent – or maybe to take a few minutes alone to cry or rant. Then call upon your inner resources. Wash your face, say a prayer, do a two-minute meditation, breathe deeply, think about your love for the person you’re visiting.

As you walk into the hospital imagine yourself wrapped in a mantle of protection from unwanted energies. Walk with confidence, shoulders back, head up. Be polite to the staff even if they are telling you there’s nothing to do now but wait. There’s always a lot of waiting in hospitals – bring an uplifting book or magazine or your earbuds so you can listen to your favorite songs on your phone.

When you do get to see your loved one, hug them or hold their hand and listen to their own concerns without adding yours to the mix. Be supportive and kind. Let go of frustration.

These techniques for showing up as your most positive self can be adapted for many situations. If you hate your job, think about the benefits it brings to your family – like money to pay for your home, put food on the table and keep you all clothed. Make a plan to change your situation, but in the meantime, bring your best self to work each day even in a less than ideal setting. If you need to stand up for yourself, do so firmly and calmly. Your supervisor and co-workers will notice that you’re bringing your best self to work and you’ll receive more respect – or at least less negative attention.

Let me be clear that I don’t mean you should put on a false mask of “everything is fine” when it’s obviously not. That doesn’t fool anyone – humans or the Universe. I’m talking about dealing with your emotions on your own time, then choosing to focus on the brightest side of things even while you’re working to create change.

You can’t control other people’s behavior, but by standing true in your own highest light, your energies and intentions will affect what you experience. The energies you put out, especially when you’ve found a way to be authentically kind even in a challenging moment, will affect your experience for the better.

Choose to show up as your best self in each situation and you’ll notice the difference it makes.

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Nikki Starcat Shields is an author, writing coach and leader of transformational writing retreats. She's also a licensed Pagan priestess. She invites you to a process of unfolding creativity. The world needs your unique wisdom - now is the time to finally take your inspired book idea and bring it forth into the world. Learn more at NikkiStarcatShields.com.

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