In this series we are going to explore ways to strengthen your mental abilities to cope with the challenges life will inevitably throw your way.
We are not going to take a macho approach though, but rather take a look at how the little nagging voice of negativity in daily life can become that which sinks us in times of real trouble.
We are going to reflect on how that voice of doubt and criticism can be softened through some simple changes to how we approach each day to reveal the empathic, and steadier, side of our hearts. Then in times of trouble, one will have access to this natural empathy to help one navigate such times rather than be sunk by the voice of negativity.
Initially, we’ll be taking a look at what feeds the inner voice of negativity as understanding this is key to softening the patterns that feed into it.
Then we’ll be looking at practical everyday stuff that can be done in terms of strengthening one’s heart via the simile of building a house.
Personal boundaries will be the simile of the foundations.
Mindfulness will be the simile of the walls.
Unearthing one’s inner integrity will be the simile of putting the roof on.
So far we have the following blogs:
To give you a taste of what all this is getting at, here are some initial reflections on this starting with the view of what weakens our inner house.
Unclear personal boundaries that as a consequence cause harm to others, can be like three-course fine dining to negative thought patterns.
For example, say we find ourselves bullying someone at work, perhaps not intended but it falls into that pattern of dominance. If we have some access to the natural warmth in the heart, we could regret it after – conscience and concern and access to this is another topic we’ll look at.
Along with that regret, we may also feel annoyed at ourselves and in comes the damaging thoughts.
We’ve all been there in some situation or another! So, putting in personal boundaries can prevent this in the first place.
With personal boundaries in place, our likelihood of causing hassle, at worst harm, to others is minimised. By not causing harm to others, negative thought patterns don’t have that aspect of life to feed on.
Training around personal boundaries strengthens one in dealing with challenges; the foundations of a good inner house.
Sitting and turning inward quietly gives you less of a hiding place from your actions, as there are fewer distractions there to escape in to.
While we are distracting ourselves, un-dealt with remorse can sit beneath the surface, and this can weaken our inner house because, I’ve found at least from past mistakes, the energy to keep it hidden can be weakening.
Mindfulness can also reveal the way inner mental habits can build up and often cover up that sense of conscience and concern, or put it another way: our natural empathy.
Empathy can be a great way to help us navigate life’s challenges.
So, developing mindfulness via meditation and present moment living is a great way to do this and we’ll be looking into this with some practical exercise you can learn and apply.
Lastly, both of the above themes require integrity.
For example, honesty is positive, but there is also a time and a place for it, plus how it is delivered is important also. While our intentions might be good, our delivery might cause more harm (potentially feeding our inner critic) and it is that sense of integrity which is important here.
I’ve found the inner critic patterns can at times be like a tiger waiting to pounce. A little slip and off it goes! “Oh, why do I always mess up?” “Bla bla bla” off it goes.
So, taping into your natural integrity is important.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “I’m not the most integral type!”
Well, neither was I to begin with and it is something I’m still working on.
Fortunately, there is plenty someone can do to help to let that inner integrity emerge, and it plays into the other themes of personal boundaries and mindful awareness.
For some additional reading check out How to Develop Personal Integrity. It’s a great starting point.
We’ll be exploring this in more depth over two or three blogs.
You might feel a bit like your inner house is just a pile of bricks at the moment; a few bags of cement and a mixer that you are not sure how to operate.
Well, everyone has to start somewhere, so check out what Cara Brookins has managed: she built a real house from scratch with little experience and a lot of YouTube videos.
So, as a starting point:
Let’s say that again.
It is a start.
Start looking after your inner house today and it will reward you, in dividends later.
Finally, of course, reflect and apply it all for yourself and I’d love to hear about your experiences on this.