By Kay Newton
For many people worldwide, 2020 has been annus horribilis. Yet, every cloud has a silver lining and the beginning of this decade has been no exception.
For me, four words are constant this year, four words that offer simple solutions to handle what life throws at you in the years ahead.
Yes, the first is a swear word. Do not cringe! Swearing is something we have in common; it is universal. (You may not do it verbally, yet you cannot stop the mind from thinking!) If you grew up in a home where swearing was an essential component of emotional language, you probably swear naturally.
Expressive communication can help you to come to terms with current circumstances and relieve stressful situations. There are many benefits to uttering expletives, for example:
- Helps you to connect with others
- Helps you focus on the present moment
- Creates social bonding
- Allows you to express yourself
- Releases emotions, frustrations
- An outburst of blasphemy is said to reduce your pain level
Yet, there is a word of caution: cursing is only powerful when used occasionally, in certain types of social situations and never in front of children.
When you hold on to hurt, pain, resentment and anger, the harm to you will be far more than the damage to the offender. When hate remains in your heart over long periods, it will make you ill, both mentally and physically.
When you forgive, you move on. Allowing yourself to let go of anger, contempt or the need to seek revenge creates freedom from within, allowing space for growth and happiness. Also, it frees you to live in the present.
The act of forgiveness instils compassion and reduces stress levels. Forgiveness is not saying what happened was okay. Forgiveness states that you are not going to let what happened to you ruin the future.
Forgiveness is not just for other people, forgive yourself too. Probably, the most powerful of all actions.
What does it mean to be free? Freedom comes from letting go of fear and other emotions that create chaos in our inner world. Internal disarray and being out of harmony with your true nature will be reflected within the chaos of the outer world. If we want to end conflict, corruption and poverty, we first have to let go of the fear within.
Your attitude to life is all that matters. When you handle what life throws at you without falling into the trap of victimisation, complaints and disempowerment, when you feel grateful for the things you have in life rather than what you do not have, you will be free.
Freedom comes in simple steps:
- Love the body you are in, warts and all
- Pursue your dreams and not those of others
- Let go of fears related to money, relationships or death
- Experience life in different ways, new cultures, foods, places
- Conquer addictions to food, social media, drink, sex, et cetera
- Accept that struggles make you stronger
- Be yourself – everyone else ‘is taken’
- Trust that everything in life happens for a reason, you do not need to know what it is
- Help others more vulnerable than yourself
- To give to others, you must also be willing to receive
- Be true to your own core beliefs
Freedom also means to become detached from the moods and emotions of others, and to let go of your expectations, disappointments and projections on those around you.
Fun is probably the most important of all and certainly has health benefits. Fun diminishes stress. Stress is often seen as a cause of weight gain and the inability to fight infection.
Make a habit of daily time to relax and smile. Each day, engage in activities that you enjoy. Fun equates to consistent lower stress levels, positive feelings, better sleep, better coping abilities, and improved relationships.
Fun can be as simple as:
- Deciding to smile before you get out of bed each day
- Stopping after completing a task and doing a happy dance
- Sending a loved one a joke or fun comment
- Smiling at the next person, you meet on the street, for no reason other than you can
- Spending time with people who make you happy
We only have one chance at this life. No matter what is happening around you, you have a choice to laugh or cry. Life is for living. As many-faceted beings everyone will have their version of the four Fs (F***, Forgiveness, Freedom and Fun). Why not let the conversations begin?
Find Kay on KayNewton.com
First published in eShe’s November 2020 issue