When We Stop Being Defensive We Can Truly Open Our Hearts To Others

Whenever we have a difficult time with someone else, we naturally start defending ourselves.

We think the other person is attacking us, and we must defend our position or our opinion.

The argument with our coworker or our sibling turns into an offensive on our very being.

So what do we do?

We close out hearts and we go into our heads.

We start analyzing and rationalizing why we are right and they are wrong.

We create all kinds of stories around the incident that make us feel better about ourselves and feel not so good about the other person.

And where does that lead us?

To more hard feelings and a breakdown in communication.

All because we think it is all about us.

There is another way.

If when we are in the middle of the disagreement we keep our hearts open and realize that it is not about us but about the other person, then we can be more compassionate.

We can ask them what’s wrong and listen.

We can hear and feel what’s going on with them instead of putting up a wall.

We can be present with them and see where it takes us.

And we may just find out that is not about us at all.

It’s about the hard time they are dealing with at home, at the office, or in some other aspect of their life.

Suddenly we have evidence that it really wasn’t about us, or the subject of the discussion, it is about them and the difficulties they are going through.

Yet we would never get to that point if we did not give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and assume there is something else going on.

When we stop defending ourselves and assuming that the other person is against us we can transform the situation.

Being present and feeling the pain the other person is in not only helps us to feel better about ourselves, it helps diffuse the tension and energy of the situation and brings healing to everyone involved.

Isn’t that worth the effort to keep our hearts open?

~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant

Trusting Ourselves Is The Great Gift We Can Give The World

Trusting ourselves may be one of the hardest things to learn.

It is hard not because we are untrustworthy.

It is hard because of how we have interpreted our experiences throughout our life.

It is very common for us to feel that bad things happened to us because it was our fault.

We must have done something wrong for that bully to beat us up.

We must be wrong for wanting the things that we need as children yet didn’t receive.

There must be something really wrong with us for us to experience all that pain we felt.

We turn all the blame inwards not knowing how else to understand the world around us.

Yet as we unravel the traumas we experienced when we were young, we can begin to see that it was not our fault.

We are not to blame for other people doing bad things to us.

We are not to blame for losing people close to us.

We are not to blame for desiring to have our emotional and physical needs met.

Indeed, all it means is that we are human.

And if we are not to blame for how the world is around us, then we can trust ourselves more.

We can change the story around those experiences and learn that we are basically okay.

Our presence is a gift to others.

Our contributions are valuable.

Our point of view does matter.

And ultimately, there is no blame to go around, there is only the experience of life.

The magic is that once we start to truly trust ourselves, life will give us more reasons to do so.

The more we trust ourselves, the more we can trust ourselves.

And as we practice trusting ourselves, we can inspire others to trust themselves as well.

~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant

Expectations Exist In The Future – Reality Exists In The Now

We all have expectations.

We expect our relationships to go one way and our careers to go another.

We expect our friends to treat us a certain way and our family to treat us another way.

All these expectations and more lead us down a path to one thing – pain.

Why do expectations almost always lead us to pain?

Because our expectations are rarely met, or if they are met, they are met not in the way we desire.

Another reason why expectations lead to pain is that they take our out of the moment, out of the now.

To be truly present at any given moment is to be beyond expectations.

Expectations exist in the future. Reality exists in the now.

When we are present with our friends, there is no judgment.

When we are present with any given task, there is no right or wrong.

In the present moment, there is only what is in front of us.

Our fears often take us out of the given moment, as do our hopes.

Our mind is rarely, if ever present.

Our bodies always are present.

To pay attention to our bodies is to be more present than paying attention to our minds.

To get out of the trap of expectations, perhaps we just need to be a little present to the moment.

In the present moment, everything is perfect.

~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant

The More We Push Against Our Trauma, The More It Persists

It is so common to push against the uncomfortable experiences of our lives.

We cut ourselves off from our trauma and our heartbreaks.

We look to “fix” and “resolve” those experiences and how they have affected us.

Yet the more we push against them the more they persist.

The more we separate ourselves from those experiences, the more energy we give to them.

For those aspects of our lives will always push back with an equal or greater force.

What we look to deny and disavow in our lives ends up defining our lives.

This is why the abused turn into abusers.

Is there a better way?

How about stopping the act of pushing against them and giving them space to breathe?

How about acknowledging those aspects of our lives, and allowing them to have a voice?

What would they say to you? Are there lessons there that we are not listening to?

Can we learn to feel the pain and not judge it?

We are so programmed to only feel those feelings that comfort and elate us.

Yet there are so many feelings that don’t, and we are taught to judge and deny those feelings.

And the more we deny them, the more trouble they will cause in our lives.

When we embrace them, dance with them, hold them without judgment or disdain, then we can process them and move beyond them.

The more we learn to allow all of the feelings that arise in our lives, the freer we become to live life fully.

~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant

To Heal Our Deepest Wounds We Must Speak The Truth About Our Pain

In order to begin our healing process, there is something we must be willing to do.

It is not just about taking better care of ourselves or changing our lifestyle.

It is about something far deeper and more difficult.

To start the journey to healing and wholeness we must be willing to speak our truth.

The truth about how we feel deep inside.

The truth about our pain and suffering.

The truth about our desires and secret wishes.

Without admitting to ourselves what we are experiencing, without admitting what we are feeling, without admitting to ourselves what we truly want, we cannot move forward.

What we hide inside ourselves will continue to control us.

What we shun and fear will continue to affect our lives.

The truth we deny within ourselves will fester and grow until it must come out.

It is not easy to admit the truth to ourselves.

It takes courage to be brutally honest about how we feel and what we want.

Yet we do it not for others, but for ourselves.

To be whole again

To be at peace.

To heal the deepest wounds that stay with us our whole lives.

These are the wounds that kill us, if we do not address them.

These are the wounds that drive us, if we do not speak them out loud.

It is only by shining the light of our own truth upon the blackest corners of our soul that we free ourselves from their shackles.

~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant

Wanting Pain To End Is Not Bad – It Is Human

It is hard to admit when we are in pain that we just want it to stop.

We don’t care about the consequences, all we care about is stopping the pain.

Perhaps the pain is seeing a loved one dying, and we just want it to be over.

Perhaps the pain is seeing our own deterioration, and we just want to end.

Perhaps the pain is seeing someone else destroy themselves, and we can’t take it anymore.

It’s normal and human to want it to end.

The hard part is accepting how we feel about it without judging ourselves.

It is easy to fall into guilt, shame, and self-loathing over how we feel.

Yet those emotions do not serve us, and indeed, harm us.

What must we do to accept that we are human and we it is all right to want the pain to stop?

It doesn’t mean we have to act on it.

It doesn’t mean we have to do something about it.

It just means that we are in pain and we want it to stop.

Can we learn to forgive ourselves for that desire?

Can we learn to let go of the guilt and shame and be gentler to  ourselves?

Can we learn to love ourselves enough that we forgive ourselves in spite of how we feel?

~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant

We All Have Dog Days Every Now And Then

We all have dog days every now and then.

We all sometimes feel like the world is against us.

We all wake up on the wrong side of the bed once in a while.

The key is not to marinate in the misery.

Feeling awful? Great! Feel it!

Let’s not stuff down the uncomfortable feelings.

Let’s not ignore the signs that tell us it’s time to take a break.

Let’s not forget that will always be ups and downs.

If we can stop judging the downs as bad, we can get through them with greater ease.

When we truly accept all that life brings to us, regardless of how good or bad it feels, somehow things just go smoother.

It’s okay to have a dog day, just don’t drag it around with you for the rest of your life.

~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant

When We Validate And Love Ourselves Others Will Surely Follow

It is not uncommon for us to look for acceptance and validation from the outside world.

When we were young, perhaps we didn’t receive the love and attention that we craved.

Perhaps we were compared to others and felt that we didn’t measure up.

Or maybe we didn’t receive the comfort we needed at a moment of despair or pain.

There are many reasons why we might look to others for approval and support.

That can be a trap. Looking for something as elusive as acceptance from others is a tricky game.

We may get it, or we may not. Yet there is a better way to go about it.

Ultimately, all acceptance comes first from self-acceptance.

We may look for love and validation from others, yet when we love and validate ourselves first, the desire for it from others dramatically decreases.

Not that the desire for the love and approval from others ever goes away.

Yet if we are aware and conscious of that desire, and learn to direct it more inwards than outwards, we can find what we are truly looking for.

The side benefit is that when we truly accept ourselves, others are much more likely to as well.

Once again, doing the inner work of self-reflection and self-realization brings on more rewards in the outside world than we imagined.

For there is no inner world or outer world, there is only one world, the world of now.

~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant

Although we do not like to think about it, death is our constant companion.

Most people fear death, for it is the great unknown.

That is because we don’t understand how to use it properly in our lives.

Death is a part of our lives, and we can use it to help be more present on a daily basis.

Death helps to give us perspective and to see what is truly important to us.

Death helps us to let go of the inconsequential and sharpen our focus.

Death is the reminder that all things are impermanent.

The conversation around death in our culture is one that only sees it as a loss in life.

It is so much more.

The most important aspect of death is our own death.

From seeing our own death more clearly we empower ourselves to be more decisive.

Death is not a trap or a fiend. Death is a tool.

Not one to use against another person. It is a tool to use against our own bad habits.

Death is the purest characteristic of life as it treats everyone the same.

Death comes to everyone – the old, the young, the sick and the healthy.

When we keep death as our constant companion we are free of the attachments that limit us.

Death is the ultimate transformation, yet we do not have to wait until we meet it to transform.

Death can transform our lives for the better if we allow it to.

~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant

Hate Is Not About Hatred

Hate is not about Hatred.

Anger is not about Rage.

Fear is not about Fright.

When we go deep enough, what underlies them all is pain and sadness.

When we are in pain we lash out. We lash out without thought and without understanding.

We may pick a specific target for our hate and anger, yet it is not about that specific target.

It is about our pain. And underneath that pain is a profound sadness.

In the moment, all we can feel is that if we cause someone or something else pain, it will take away ours.

Nothing is further from the truth.

Pain only causes more pain. To stop the pain, we must be present to it, we must allow it to run its course without stuffing it down.

We all have pain and we all feel pain, the difference is how we deal with it.

The most important thing is not to pass it on.

So let’s give ourselves some space to feel our pain, to feel our sadness, and to allow our bodies to process it with time.

Perhaps when we learn not to pass on our pain we will see less pain in the world.

~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant