I stood up slowly with my husband Victor’s help then sat right back down.
It was about 15 degrees out at Lake Louise, or, should I say, on Lake Louise. We had just finished lacing up our ice skates on a bench out in the middles of the frozen lake.
It was breathtaking. I could have sat on that bench for hours and just looked at the mountains and the ice and the trees covered in snow. It was all very like Narnia. It felt unreal.
Less magical, though, was the oh so familiar unstable feeling of being on skates. Every time I ice skate, I spend the first half hour or so along the wall, convincing myself I’m going to be okay. Only this time, there were no walls. We were on a lake for goodness sakes.
That Moment of Self Realization
I had convinced myself for years that I didn’t like ice skating because when I was ten, my dad fell and busted his head on the ice. It was a scary incident, but, honestly, it was one of those things that happened and we solved. My dad had to get stitches, but he healed up really quickly and was fine. I used his accident, though, as my logical reasoning against ice skating for years. It felt like a safe explanation. No one could argue with it.
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But as I stood up and then sat right back down out at Lake Louise and then made myself do a lap around the natural rink clutching onto Victor, I realized for the first time that this had nothing to do with my dad’s infamous ice skating incident of ’07.
I just don’t like ice skating.
It was a profound moment. I started laughing as we walked back to the car. “I don’t like ice skating,” I said to Victor, “And that’s okay!”
It was very liberating to allow myself to not enjoy something. I’ve known for a long time that I’m not a fan of rollercoasters, but even that, I had always felt embarrassed by. But now, as I stood with the picturesque mountains surrounding me, I felt perfectly okay with not liking ice skating or rollercoasters.
There’s something in me that likes my feet firmly on the ground. I’d much rather take in the view at the lake than glide across it on blades. It’s a pleasure to watch others, but I myself am happier soaking in the nature around me.
The Power of Listening to Ourselves
At the end of it all, I walked away a lot happier than I had skated into the situation. I had listened to myself and learned something.
My life tendency has been to push myself to master everything. I pride myself in being a quick study, so I have built a habit of driving past uncomfortableness to a point of accomplishment. That sounds fantastic, even admirable, but trust me, it’s not. It’s enslaving.
Applause only lasts a few brief seconds.
I’d much rather live my life knowing myself and honoring how my Creator made me than trying to prove to the world that I am something I am not.
I’m not a thrill seeker. It doesn’t go with how God has wired me. Instead, I prefer the quiet moments of life because it is in those moments that I can be sensitive to what is going on around me. I like to take in beauty. It’s part of God’s purpose for my life. I am a sensitive and creative person, so my preference for having two feet on the ground to observe life around me matches with the path God has set out for me. It’s different for everyone, but our seemingly insignificant likes and dislikes all play perfectly into the purpose God has set in place for each of us.
3 Steps to Listen to Yourself
In those uncomfortable moments we can decide to listen to ourselves or shove in what our spirits are telling us. It’s as easy as 1,2,3.
- Pause – if we stop for even just a second, it gives things a chance to slow down. Instead of chugging forward, a pause allows us to take in the moment for what it is. When things are on pause, we can assess things as a whole instead of feeling like we’ve been plunged into something with unstoppable motion. Even if you physically can’t pause in the midst of a moment, you can pause internally and take a quick assessment of the moment.
- Listen – What is your spirit telling you. It really is as simple as listening within ourselves to see if we do or do not want to do something. Our spirits are much more pure than our minds. Our minds will reason with us one way or the other and sometimes both ways at once. But our spirits are clear. They do not waver. In the pause, look past the mind and into the spirit to hear what it is you do or do not want to do.
- Act – Once we know what we really feel about a situation, we can act accordingly. I can choose to keep ice skating or be okay with the fact that I don’t enjoy it. We can shove down what our spirit has told us or take it in and make our choices accordingly. It’s a matter of self-respect. God has made us each different. We are not all made to do and feel the same ways. We will find freedom when we honor what God has put within us.
If we take the time to listen when we feel uncomfortable or even when we feel immense joy or peace, we will learn new levels of ourselves. We are deep and intricate people, each of us. It’s a beautiful thing to self-discover. Every moment of our lives is an opportunity to learn and grow more aware of ourselves and, from that place, more aware of our master Father and Creator. He has a purpose for each of us that is intricately woven into our DNA. When we learn to listen to what our spirits are telling us, we grow closer and closer to walking in our complete purpose.
Learn to listen to yourself. Sometimes it really is as easy as taking off the skates to enjoy the view.