Quite often when life gets you down, your self-awareness is able to grow because you are much more likely to become acutely aware of the choices you are making. Without self-awareness, you probably don’t realise those choices are about whether you think and act through the ego thought system, or through your higher self.
When life challenges hit, you are more conscious of how negatively you are feeling. When you are feeling negative you are making the choice to view life through the ego thought system. This is a great sign in reality because those negative feelings are inviting you to think again and align your thinking with your higher self.
You are thinking with your higher self when you feel good and are in the flow of life. When you think positively, you can attract all you want and miraculous things seem to happen. You know you need to align your thinking with your higher self when you constantly feel down or miserable, or have lost even a little bit of hope. Sometimes feeling this way stems from a sad life event, or simply the day-to-day stresses of life.
As I explained in my recent article about grief, I have experienced my fair share of loss in my life. A few years ago, I was in a good place, I definitely felt good. Many years of aligning with my higher self meant I felt happy a lot of the time. Where I was feeling less than happy and content, I knew I was attracting learning experiences designed to challenge my trust and faith.
I remember having a day out with my daughter Donna, we went to see my sister in all but name, my friend of 40 years. We caught up, laughed as we always did, hugged, and then I made my way home. I clearly recall that feeling of deep happiness at feeling surrounded by goodness, love and dear people. As I got out of the car and went to open my front door, I saw two white feathers.
To me, white feathers are a symbol which shows you are being looked after. Some people believe in angels, others in universal energy, and others in the phenomena of love. Whatever your belief, the demonstration that there is a higher self can result in symbols. So I picked up the white feathers, happily acknowledging they were a symbol of my inner contentment, peace and love. I was so grateful for feeling that way.
From good to devastation
The phone call came the next day. My dear friend had collapsed at work and was rushed to the hospital. After two gut-wrenching days, she passed away, leaving her close family and her vast circle of friends devastated and shocked. For days and weeks afterwards, I was in a complete daze, shocked to the core. At that time, I didn’t for a minute think about how I was going to find my way through this nightmare or think how I could align with my higher self.
I wrote about the concept of “falling up” in my article on resilience. The idea of “falling up” was taken from Shawn Achor’s great book The Happiness Advantage. Achor describes three ways we can react following a crisis or adversity. The first way is to simply go on as we always have. No change is the end result. The second way is to react negatively and attract further negative consequences and so things just get worse and worse. And finally, the third way is where a person uses the crisis or negative event to grow stronger and end up in a happier, wiser place. The third option, “falling up”, is what happens when you align with your higher self.
5 practices to align with your higher self
My grief on those fateful days a few years ago varied in intensity. Some weeks I was able to focus and forget and get on with life and work pretty efficiently and happily. At other times, the sadness was crushing and I was often a nanosecond from bursting into tears at any time, in any situation. Always though instead of feeling happiness and contentment there was an underlying feeling of negativity and hopelessness. However, because I know how to get in touch with my higher self, practice self-awareness and know I have to build back up my muscle of contentment and happiness, I introduced some techniques in my life aimed to get my inner state of peace back. . So here I share some of the daily practices which helped me to get back to my happy self.
1. release your sad feelings
It’s no good repressing or denying your feelings. Many of us are actually afraid of negative feelings. So we distract ourselves, indulge ourselves or seek other ways to feel better. All the time those feelings are eating away at your insides and literally creating “disease”. Allowing yourself to feel those negative feelings, knowing that by doing so they will heal, is the answer. To be successful here, you need to allow yourself some quiet time to manage your feelings, otherwise, they will end up managing you. If you really don’t feel safe allowing negative emotions to come up by yourself, then you must seek some professional help to guide you through.
2. Do anything you can to feel better
This might be listening to music, catching up with people or even some “you time”. Pamper yourself, treat others, and be kind. While you must allow negative feelings to come up and be healed, you must practice feeling better. With the best will in the world, you can’t go from devastated to joyful on a consistent basis very quickly. So you must make your way up the emotional scale and try to find ways to feel a little bit better every day. Inch by inch, you will reconnect to your higher self.
3. Get purposeful
Sometimes a negative experience or a period of stress can strip you of your purpose in life. It’s easy to lose hope, faith and trust. Hopelessness can be countered by having a purpose in life. If you can’t find your life’s purpose, then find a purpose for the next day, week or month. When my kids grew up, I went through a period of depression, or empty nest syndrome, because bringing them up well had been my purpose for so long. My purpose is now around reconnecting to inner wisdom, and helping others on their path, but it took me a while to realise this. In the meantime, I used to set myself goals and things to do on a shorter-term basis, which helped me through the abyss of lack of meaning in my life.
4. Intend your days
Taking some time to think about how you want your day to be, both in the way you are feeling and what you want to get out of your day. Intending your day is a powerful way of deliberately creating your life step by step. A client was dreading a work get-together. I asked her to imagine she was driving home from the event. I asked her how she would like to feel and what she would like to be saying to herself about it. Of course, she wanted to feel good and to have self-talk about how great the event had gone.
With this in mind, on the day she found herself giving a spontaneous speech to the team, telling them how great they were and genuinely sending warm feelings of love to them. Not only did she feel good, but her team reported it was the best get-together they had ever had. How different than if dread had been her driving force?
5. Take small steps and celebrate success
There is no easy way to bounce back when life gets you down. The process is successful when you take small and powerful steps to feel better and heal. There will be days when you feel like you’re in reverse mode, and others when you feel you can climb mountains. Always expect progress, but don’t be hard on yourself either. Write down your successes or remember to give yourself a virtual pat on the back about how far you are progressing. Even if you don’t feel good immediately, know you are definitely making a difference and your contentment and happiness will return.
So there are my methods to bounce back when life gets you down. What are yours? I’d love to read your ideas!
I help leaders develop self- mastery, helping them to become confident in their own inner guidance.
I collaborate with leadership experts, managers and HR professionals to help them get their own message and unique services and products to a wide audience.