How you receive advice depends on a lot of things. Your season. The giver. Your willingness to listen. In the past I’ve been both desperate for direction and unwilling to take it. I’ll bet many people have found themselves, at one point or another, in the situation of not wanting advice at all but a quick fix. I wish it were that simple, but it’s usually not.
I asked my online followers what the best piece of advice they’ve received was, and I got wisdom that ranged from practical (don’t talk religion & politics & everyone stays friends), to spiritual (don’t worry about what you can’t control). My friends talked about the importance of perspective and kindness, the definition of success (definitely another blog in the making), how to manage finance and driving advice. All well-heeded. All important (especially that one about politics!)
A quick internet search suggests themes of forgiveness, effort, and growth are most popular, and no doubt those things are important. In years past, I’ve struggled with a sense of self & purpose. I’ve struggled hard, and I leaned on “don’t give up” to get me through some some dark places. But the truth is, there are times you have to give up. Knowing when to dig in and when to let go – well, someone show me that advice. I’m not sure you can. It’s intuitive, but trusting your intuition? That’s up there, too. There’s something I’ve been thinking about lately that trumps all that, though.
Show up with love.
Someone gave me this advice in a roundabout way, and it never really left my heart. I was first introduced to this idea in Marianne Williamson’s “A Return to Love,” one of my very favorite books. You can’t go wrong by letting love guide your every interaction and decision, but it’s not easy. Ego gets in the way. Emotions get in the way. Pride gets in the way, and fear? Just look at Mr. Miyagi’s quote up there. Yes, if you’ve seen the Karate Kid 3, Daniel was in quite a pickle at this particular moment. It’s a dramatic example, but fear can guide even my small, quiet moments if I’m not careful. Fear can shape who I am. It has, actually. I’m trying to unshape that. How? How do I show up in my life with love?
There are a million answers and probably many, if not most, are better than mine. I can’t define love. Better people than me have tried since the beginning of time. I can take a stab at what love means to me, and what it means to show up with it.
It starts with being mindful of the present moment, not allowing the fears of the past or the anxieties of the future dictate what I’m doing. Daily meditations have helped a lot with this. Showing up with love involves checking in with my intuition and following it even if it’s telling me something I don’t want to hear. Your heart knows the way, and the way isn’t always easy or simple. In fact, I’d venture to say the right way is rarely either of those things, but worth it? You bet it is. Daily journaling has helped with this practice too, (thanks to Lisa, my accountability partner, for encouraging this practice!)
The biggest piece of all is empathy. Showing up with understanding and grace. Listening. Granted this is something that comes more naturally to some people than others, but the truth is even those of us who have it in spades forget sometimes. It’s ego again, selfishness… fear. It’s difficult to lead with those things when you show up by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Does this practice get me walked on? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Yes. Always.
I’m an intuitive, empathetic person, but the hardest part for me is showing up in my own life with love. Directing my decisions toward what’s right for me. Understanding myself. Listening to my intuition. Honoring my needs. Loving myself. I’m not sure why that’s so much more difficult for some of us than others, but if that’s you – I see you. And I encourage you to see yourself. To show up in your own life with love, however that looks.