Preface: Should You Listen to Me?
Am I the picture of ideal health? Nope. What I am is reasonably fit, have relationships that I find satisfying, aren’t overwhelmed by emotions that I can’t handle and my thinking usually serves me well. At this point in my life I’m pretty happy about where I am.
So, where do I get off offering advice? I have two answers to this.
1. I try not to offer advice. What I try to do on this blog is explain an issue or an approach and how it may be useful to you. I do talk about what has worked for me and how this can be explained (I think the explanation is important – it is one way to use my experience to benefit you).
2. People come to my blog, hopefully, to get some useful ideas to make a positive difference in their lives. I have my favourite approaches, so that in a sense I push these in preference to other ways of doing things. I use and talk about (and so promote) what I have come across that makes sense to me and has worked for me.
What I’ve Learnt
1. Our emotions affect us. This may not be news to those of the female persuasion, to those who aren’t of Anglo-Saxon extraction and who weren’t bought up in Evangelical Christianity. However, it was big news to me – being male, of Anglo-Saxon extraction, brought up in Evangelical Christianity.
Our emotions can be a good part of life – even the ‘negative’ ones like anger. They can all be used in productive ways to live a more fulfilling life. Our emotions provide us with vital information (if we are willing to listen to them – and listening doesn’t mean impulsively doing ‘whatever we feel like).
I have no desire to remove or master my emotions (to find an Eastern equanimity or to become a Western success).
2. We are our bodies. If you think that Evangelical Christianity is hostile to our emotions, its attitude to our bodies is in a whole other realm. The body is ‘the shadow’ – usually unmentioned and a hovering threat.
[This is mind-numbingly inconsistent for a faith based on the Incarnation of God. To think my way through this I wrote a book that is a Christian physical spirituality.]
I have found that if we pay attention to our bodies that our lives can be pleasurable and we will usually be guided to a healthy way of living.
3. Simple and easy is often quickest. It took me many years to learn this. I am someone who can get excited by ideas and who then tries to change me and everything around me in accord with a new idea. I then get exhausted and find that I haven’t changed much at all. Doing the first easy thing isn’t nearly as exciting as thinking about changing everything – it has lead me to more positive change though.
Doing something simple and easy is usually successful. This has the advantage of building up a store of good feelings about the change I want to make. In this way change be a positive path – where each step feels good. It is easy to feel motivated about walking this path.
That’s what I know in a nutshell. If you were to try and sum up what you have learnt, how would you do it? Let me know in the comments.
Would you like to feel less stressed?
Could you do with more joy in your life?
The answer is living authentically. Buy the book or sign up for the course now from my Living Authentically website.