So we talk a lot here about there being two ways of living – fear and love – and that we have to pick one.
Fear leaves us grasping. It’s the drowning victim flailing away in the water. It’s the cartoon character falling from ridiculous heights, trying to hold onto any leaf or branch they pass on the way down. It’s the labouring woman clutching at the hand of their partner with such force that no one’s certain whether a hand will end up broken during this process, and if so, whose.
The problem with grasping is that it doesn’t work. If the drowning victim actually grabs hold of their rescuer, chances are they will pull the rescuer down with them. If the cartoon character ever gets hold of a tree, even cartoon physics means that the force of their momentum can be enough to pull the tree out of the ground. The labouring mama clutching at her partner’s hand is more likely to make him terrified than to calm herself down.
So what’s the alternative?
The alternative is love, which allows us to become grounded.
When we’re grounded we can separate our perspective from the conflicted messages inside of us and the complexities of the situation.
We might start by asking, ‘what leaves us grasping’?
We might even come up with some ideas of some steps we can take right away to lower our grasping response.
It’s possible that some of these might work. But I think ultimately it’s more important to find out what causes us to feel grounded?
For many of us, the way to feeling grounded comes in knowing where ‘we’ as an individual start and end. Discovering our core identity – our values – helps us to make wise, grounded decisions as we respond to the everyday challenges of our lives.
Our values help us wade through the complex and simple decisions in life. So often, all we can hear as we try to make a decision is the clamour of the noise of what other people think we should say, or do, or how they think we should act. This leads us to intense feelings of contradictions, which can paralyze us with fear or leave us responding in ways we never set out to do.
Our values also help us sort through our messages – those internal ideas that leave us feeling conflicted about all sorts of things including money and how we spend our time, what our priorities are, how we engage in relationships and all sorts of other areas. And since it’s the conflict between our values and our messages that is often responsible for us triggering, finding out our values can even help us to make progress with these seemingly uncontrollable experiences.
And we get to our values by asking ourselves questions about who we are, what works well for us, what matters to us in our relationships, etc.
Once we have the answers to these questions, we can then look at our examples and see what the common themes are that run through them, looking for the values that are woven throughout these vignettes.
When we’re done, our final step is to try to narrow our words down to the top five or six words that best encapsulate our values – who we are at the core of our being. Then we take the time to try to define what each of these values means for us.
If you’re interested, I’ve created some worksheets for your personal use. (If you’d like to use them for business purposes, please contact me for permission.)
To complete the Grounded Not Grasping discovery process, use the instructions above along with the steps in these images:
Or download the full PDF here.
I encourage you to do this work with a friend, partner or family member who knows you well.
If you’re having trouble with any of these steps – I’d love to help!
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