Embracing Tension To Live Your Best Life

Photo by Dave77459

Photo by Dave77459

A Life Filled With Tension

You had a horrible night sleep because your baby is really colicky right now. You’re in a bad mood, and you’re about to take it out on the rest of the family, especially your spouse.

You just stepped on to the elliptical machine at the gym. You’re only a couple of minutes into your workout routine and you’re just not feeling this exercise thing, today. You’re about to step off the machine and find something easier to do or maybe even just go home.

You just picked up the kids from childcare on your way home from work. They’re being obnoxious in the back seat of your car. You’re exhausted from a long day of work. You’re on a tight family budget. You are also trying to eat healthy meals at home, but then out of the corner of your eye, you see a fast food restaurant at the next intersection.

What do all these scenarios have in common? They all contain a point of tension. A point when you need to make a decision on where you are going to allow this tension to lead you. In that very moment, you can make a good choice or a poor choice. In some points of tension, there may not even be a decision to be reached. You may just need to hold on to your tension for the time being.

Tension Resolution

I have come to the conclusion that we as human beings do not enjoy these points of tension. We will do almost anything to avoid them. And, it’s just too easy to slip into our default mode and make a poor decision as a result of the tension.

In the examples above, our default response is to be grumpy with our families and take it out on them when we haven’t had a good night’s sleep.

Our default reaction is to seek pleasure and comfort over a strenuous workout.

Our default reflex is to save time, energy, and the hassle factor for dinner by going through a fast food drive thru on our way home from work.

In the majority of situations, our default response is to take the easy way out in order to resolve our point of tension.

Living With Tension

So, what should we do with these points of tension?

First, be aware that they occur in your life multiple times during the day. Simple awareness that this is going on can help you in deciding on what to do with the tension.

Second, recognize what your default response is in any of these situations. Everyone’s default is pressing the easy button to get out of the tension as fast as possible.

Third, establish a compelling vision of your ultimate life. Compare your default reaction to these points of tension and the life you ultimately desire.

Fourth, embrace the tension. Recognize the tension for what it is. Realize that you don’t always need to seek comfort by resolving your point of tension as quickly as possible.

Fifth, make the BEST choice that lines up with your life vision. You DO have a choice in these tension-filled situations. Plan ahead what your reaction will be in order to avoid hitting your default key. Decide in advance what the best choice is for you.

Questions: So, how aware are you of these points of tension and your natural default reaction to resolving these tensions in your life? Now that you’re at least a little more aware of them, what is your plan in order to deal with them from this point forward?

Harnessing The Power Of Awareness To Initiate Change

Photo by here'slookingatyou,kid

Photo by here’slookingatyou,kid

Cluelessness Rules

It blows my mind how clueless many people seem to be. Many appear to be simply beboping through life. Whether it’s going from one activity to another or running back and forth between work and home life, many seem to have their heads stuck in the sand without much awareness of what is actually taking place around them.

On the surface, everything seems to be going okay in their lives. If you were to dig a bit below the surface, though, I’m guessing things would probably be a mess in many areas of their lives.

Their finances are a disaster. They have no monthly budget. They have no short or long-term goals. They have debt. They are living lifestyles beyond their ability to sustain long-term. As a result, they are living paycheck to paycheck with no fruit to show for all their labor.

Their relationships are sketchy. They don’t spend quality or quantity time with their spouse or children. They don’t see their extended family very often. They have a handful of friends they rarely see. As a result, they feel isolated and lonely.

Their spiritual lives are lukewarm. They make no time for Bible reading. They have shallow prayer lives. They bounce into church if they just happen to have a couple of hours on a Sunday morning when they aren’t at the lake. God just isn’t on their radar very much. As a result, they feel unfulfilled and spiritually dead.

The Power of Awareness

There is a better way, though. If we will just take some time and occasionally cease our relentless, daily activity, then we can create some space in order to become more aware of what is actually taking place in our lives. Once we become aware of what is going on, then we can begin the process of making necessary changes to move in a different direction.

Here are some methods and practices to “press pause” on our hectic personal lives so that we can take time to reflect and become more fully aware of what is taking place around us.

  • meditation: I’m not talking Far East mystical practices here. This is more the Michael Hyatt approach. Just take several minutes each day to stop any activity and quiet your mind.
  • journaling: This is a great activity to become self-aware of what is going on in your life. You can write about your successes and failures. You can write down your dreams and goals. You can list out everything that’s going great in your life right now, or maybe even not so great.
  • talking and listening: Sit down with your spouse, children, and friends. Talk about what is taking place in your family and each other’s lives. Try to do more listening than talking. Really dig deep, ask a lot of questions, and be on the lookout for some key thoughts on what is really happening in the lives of those closest to you.
  • counseling: There is no shame in seeking out the services of a professional counselor. They have been trained to help you unpack your life stuff. They can be a useful resource for you to develop greater awareness in your life. They will do more listening than talking. They will ask you leading questions and reflect back to you what you are saying.
  • coaching: A life coach will push you into greater awareness for what you really want to accomplish in your life. They’re going to give you the “kick in the rear” you need to set goals and to get moving on those goals as quickly as possible.

Questions: How aware are you? Do you really have a handle on what is taking place in your life? Are you living with a sense of purpose and direction? Have you tried any of these 5 practices I have listed above? Which of these practices work best for you?