Focus! It seems we are always hearing how important focus is to reaching our goals and bringing our desires to us. However, sometimes our focus is totally off. We work hard, do what we think we should, spin our wheels, and run faster on the hamster wheel, only to remain stagnant. Why do you suppose this is? Well, one possibility is that when we are determining our focus, our brains are actually numb.
To explain what I mean, here’s an illustrative story from my own archives of experience. Picture this: my husband is sleeping soundly, snoring a bit, only to be awakened by me, legs and arms jabbing him in uncomfortable places, doing the army crawl across his body. I was determined to get to the other side of the bed and out of there. And I was intently focused!
When my husband raised his head, protesting loudly at the irreverent way I was traipsing across his body, I patted his cheeks and said, “Sh, sh, sh, it’s okay,” and continued with determination on my way. But once my feet touched the floor on the other side of the bed, I promptly started my return back across him, telling him to shush, and that it was okay. Then I settled down into my spot and resumed my somewhat-normal sleep.
Was I focused? Very. Deeply asleep? Yes.
So, besides the humor in this story, why am I sharing it? Because it illustrates what many of us are doing. While somewhat “asleep” we are fully intent and focused on carrying out our daily lives, getting to the “other side”, even attempting to achieve goals or dreams.
Sometimes, our minds and hearts have become numb and we are making decisions based on survival, rather than fully living.
Perhaps you are living fully, with a clear brain, consciously aware of life and your choices. However, for those who think “living numb” might apply to you, here are a few of the many ways numbness can occur:
when we suppress our emotions and don’t allow ourselves to fully feel.
when our busyness keeps us from having precious time with family or close friends and our hearts become resentful and lonely.
if our over-spending has driven us to live until the next paycheck in worry or stress, causing our bodies to become overworked and our brains overloaded.
when we are trying to do it all, feel as if we are “not enough”, and suffer self-condemnation.
when there are so many difficult things that happen to us that we just can’t allow any more feelings in order to survive.
Many of you have no choice in some of this. Having limited resources or being without a job and just barely making your bills—or not being able to pay them at all—creates a horribly stressful situation. And I truly do understand how one could stuff emotions because of being so overwhelmed by the things that happen in our lives! Please do not feel pressure or criticism from me if you are a bit numb right now. I get it because I’ve lived it.
Another life-point: things hurt and it isn’t easy. Life is hard, contrary to how some people believe it should be. I hate to go all “old school” on you, but for 99% of us,
most of what we have gained in life has been through hard work, making correct choices, and learning from our mistakes!
I don’t really see any other way around it.
And if you are someone with the idea that you shouldn’t have to feel pain, disappointment, grief, loss, disillusionment, and other less-than-desirable emotions, then realizing these are all part of the fullness of life might help you. Otherwise, after experiencing all of these you could be setting goals and choosing your focus while angry, hurt, and numb.
So if being numb means being dazed, dead, senseless, or asleep, what is the opposite? Being alive, awake, responsive, sensitive, and compassionate.
Wouldn’t you rather live like that? But how?
For me, it meant taking care of some personal and emotional business. It was a process (oh how we hate that word) and took time (what? you mean it isn’t instant? I want INSTANT!). It also meant I had to deal with my tendency to believe lies and not let others influence how I felt about myself. You can read about that process in my post, Are You Believing Lies?
Ways To Awaken
Contentment and gratitude. These are some of the most important ingredients to living fully! Simplistically, being grateful for what we have rather than lamenting what we don’t have can really change our lives. This is such an important element that many have adopted the habit of writing a list of things they are grateful for each day. Doing so directs our focus toward our abundance rather than our lack. (For starters, if you are able to read this you are more blessed than two billion people who cannot read at all.)
It takes time to rid ourselves of limiting lies and behaviors, but it’s so very worth it! We also need to take the time to sit quietly and reflect. I know that we are filled to overflowing with tasks and expectations and burdens, but might I suggest that you take even ten minutes a day to merely sit and reflect? Or meditate and let your mind rest. We all know that thirty minutes of daily exercise is benefiting to our physical health. Likewise, time to sit without distraction and turn inward to our feelings can bring us mental and emotional health.
Read. Research. Get outside of your own abilities and let others guide you. In my case, I had no idea my spirit was dying and my brain was numb. I knew I was miserable, but wasn’t conscious of why. There are many authors to help you.
Perhaps you have heard the illustrative story of the frog in boiling water. The story goes that if you put a frog in a pot of cold water it is perfectly content to hang out. Start heating up the water and the frog is still just fine. But eventually the boiling water will kill the frog, when it could have jumped out at any time to save its life.
How does this relate to us? Many of us don’t even realize that we are like that frog, in a pot of rapidly heating water. What we need is someone to alert us—to turn off the flame for us and help us save ourselves. And that is why I suggest that you seek out available resources or find a friend to help you.
4) Talk to someone. Find someone in your close circle of friends whom you trust and can confide in.
It wasn’t until my friend identified the abusive situation I was in that I realized my life was slowly killing my spirit.
And at that point, there wasn’t a whole lot of life left in me. I was performing all of the expected tasks—mom, wife, teacher, daughter—but my spirit and self-will were dying, and my shining light had become quite dim. I had become numb.
Give your friend permission to tell you what they see in your life and habits. Listen with your heart, not a self-condemning agenda. Love yourself. Give yourself grace. You are amazing, and the fact you have made it this far in your journey shows that you are a fighter!
Perhaps you want to do something different in your life. I realize my suggestions are minimal, but they are intended to be a launching pad for your actions to become more fully alive. Select some of the items listed to incorporate into your life and make the determination toward regaining consciousness instead of numbly living. You are worth that, and the world needs your shining light.
Why is it so important to live fully alive, and not numb? Because we need to make choices as our true and authentic selves, rather than as a replication of others’ expectations and opinions of us.
To be emotionally healthy, we need to allow time for our emotions, and our brains, to settle and heal. Instead of being a shriveled up version of ourselves, we need to be the full, glorious person we are created to be. Then we can experience authentically and make sound choices. Then we are more able to direct our focus and reach the goals we desire.
We all have a unique light to shine, a place in our world that only we can fill.
Our wisdom, experiential knowledge, gifts, talents, and abilities are needed. But most of all, you deserve to live with a spirit that is fulfilled and alive, not one that is slowly dying and has become numb. That’s a waste of a very good, precious, and worthy life–yours.
So what about you? Have you ever experienced being numb? If so, will you please tell me about it?
You are so important!
Love and big hugs, Mimi