Kristin Armstrong Column for January 2021
Examine all aspects of life, ask yourself how you want to feel and begin now
Any true healing or lasting transformation is always an inside job.
There is no external source of motivation strong enough to sustain the commitment to persevere when willpower fades, which it inevitably always does. There is no love outside yourself that can make up for a lack of self-love on the inside. Trust me, I’ve tried. I’ve tried to love a depressed man to happiness. I’ve tried to love an empty man into abundance. I’ve tried to love an angry person to peace. I’ve tried to love a faithless person into expansion. I’ve tried to love a confused person into clarity. I’ve tried to love a jealous, grasping person into confidence. I’ve tried to love a desperate person into the will to live. I’ve tried to love a dying best-friendship back to life. I’ve tried to patch up relationships that were not mine to patch.
I agonized, prayed, offered, struggled and depleted myself to no avail in every one of these situations. I always thought I was someone who had so much love to give that I could eventually make everything better. I thought I could fix anything, even if all that was left to work with was my stubborn refusal to give up. I was confused, because in every single case, I was on the outside of an inside job. Even when I was creating external patches to repair internal leaks within myself: I needed to fix my fixing.
I’ve been an emotional contortion artist, twisting myself into untenable positions and folding myself into cramped spaces far, far too small for me—until I finally woke up and decided to stop doing that.
This contortion artist turned inward and went deep within myself and found more space than I ever knew existed. Who knew that everything I wanted was already here? Well, actually lots of wise people already know this. I guess I needed to learn it for myself—make it mine. Stretch out and inhabit myself. As it turns out, there is (and was) nothing to fix.
Now this wide-open space is my favorite place to play, whether it’s with my treasured friends, family or the amazing, inspiring clients I get to work with. I find I’m meeting people at the perfectly appointed intersections, and discover we’re going in the same direction and the light is green.
As the calendar changes and 2021 finally arrives (thank you, God), it’s high time to decide what direction we want to go. This is what I will be asking myself and my favorite people: What do you really want? Or, even better, my favorite question, How do you want to feel? That’s the only reason we ever want anything in the first place, because we think we will feel a certain way in the acquisition of it. If you could imagine living beyond the limitations of fear, what would that look like? If you choose to stop contorting yourself to fit everyone else’s needs and expectations, what could you begin to expect from and for yourself? Take the time to examine your life categorically—body, spirit, mind, emotions, career/financial abundance, relationships and passion/play/adventure. Consider how you want to feel in every one of those areas by the end of 2021. From there, we can make choices to cultivate those feelings now, and take inspired action in the direction of everything that is there, waiting for us to begin believing it into receiving it.
We don’t go through a year like 2020 and come out the same, but it’s up to us to decide what will be different.