How to Get Over Your Own BS

It’s all about the stories (lies) we tell ourselves.

If you were to write down your perfect day, what would it look like? Who would be in it? What would you be doing? Where would you be? Maybe you’re at home, curled up with 4 books piled around you, a to-do-list is non-existent, and the only thing you take a break to do is to have gourmet food served to you on a platter by the fire. And maybe chat it up over the phone with a few super smart friends about the meaning of life, latest stock market trends, and leadership techniques while you make your own house wine. Perhaps your day is filled to the brim with one adventure after another, planned snorkeling in the Maldives followed by zip lining and attending an exclusive beach party where you mingle with some of the wealthiest people you’ve ever met. And yet, maybe it looks like a day with your family taking a leisurely road trip to a local landmark and singing along to songs with everyone. You have a picnic in the fall leaves and play games and laugh until your bellies hurt.

Now think bigger. What about your life? Who would you be? What would you have? Where would you be? Go ahead, get wild and really put it all out there.

Would you have the short hairstyle that you’ve always wanted but are too afraid to try, wear fancy hats regardless of what anyone else thinks, have a different look every single day because you are so diverse in your tastes and in what inspires you or expresses who you are and why the hell not? Maybe you would be 20 lbs lighter or happy with your current size because you volunteer your time to more nobler causes than body-image and #donthavetimeforthat so everyone who thinks you could stand to lose a few pounds can go kick rocks. You know who you are.

Would you have a million friends or none at all? What would these friends and you do together?

Would you be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a freelance artist (a very successful one, of course)? Is your dream job a stay-at-home ____ (mom, wife, just a stay-at-home person, for all we care). Do you want to jump ship and make a major career change into something you have no experience in and sort of no idea exactly what it entails, but you just want to do it anyway?

Would you have two homes, one in Naples where you spend your summers, and one in Montana in the mountains because you’ve always loved ranches and dreamed of having a horse, or 4. Would you live overseas, a new place every 6 months so you can explore and immerse yourself in cultures across the globe? Would you make a killing in this lifestyle and be a travel journalist? Or food Vlogger? Would you be exactly where you are now, but maybe just upgrade the design style of your home, invest in some fancy-ass furniture that you keep eyeballing at West Elm, finally build out a master suite above the garage, and throw away all the ratty old things you keep holding on because “you have to”?

By now you’re probably smiling, feeling a little inspired, and totally ready to tell me to just shut up and tell you how to make this all happen already, amiright?

You can have everything you want, be your truest self, see all of the things you want to see, do all of the things you want to do, and live the life of your dreams

How?

Just stop getting in your own way. Stop feeding yourself B.S with all of these stories and lies that keep you from living out your life.

The stories that we tell ourselves (aka, the lies) are what is preventing us from doing anything we want in life. Sometimes, we do things we want, right? But how much of a struggle is it to get to that point? How hard was it for you to do something you wanted, the last time you did it? And was it a small thing, or was it actually a big thing that really made an impact on yourself or your life? Chances are, it was a small, little baby want. But if it was in fact, a big want and you did it, AWESOME – how did it feel? I bet you felt pretty BOSS-like, huh? Wouldn’t you like to carry out that fire and passion and act on your wants and manifest your dreams into reality every single day?

Many of us want to call out our BS and say goodbye to it forever, but we lack doing what we need to do in order to be successful.

Do you tell yourself that you really want to be the new Director at your current job, the position is open, and you have the natural skillset to absolutely crush it, but you tell yourself (pay attention, this is the B.S; the story, the lies) that you’re not qualified enough or don’t have the right experience and likely won’t get it anyways, so you don’t even bother for it? This is what I’m talking about.

So often when we say we’re not qualified for something, what we’re really saying is that we’re too scared to try it, not that we can’t do it – Jen Sincero

Maybe you want lots of friends, but right now you have none. You tell yourself you’ll never have any friends because there isn’t anyone out there who “gets you”, you’re too misunderstood so everyone gets too offended by you or doesn’t invite you to do anything. This is the story you tell yourself, so guess what happens? You likely use it as an excuse to not try to put yourself out there, meet new people, hang out where smart people go, insert yourself into conversations, or invite other people to do things with you. Ergo, you are friendless and your story remains “true”.

We don’t have the things we want, the life we want or are not the people we want to be is because we tell ourselves that we can’t, shouldn’t, won’t, or aren’t enough

That, and we don’t do the things we need to do in order to make them happen

This ends today.

Start making progress towards the life you want by paying attention to your current stories. Why don’t you have the things you want today? Why are you not being who you really are? Why aren’t you in the job that you want? Spend some good time thinking about these stories and write them down.

How do these stories benefit you? There is a reason we tell ourselves these things. Do you tell yourself, in the case of the job instance, that you are underqualified or not well-liked enough to get the job? That you don’t measure up to their ideals, or that people won’t like it if you got it. How does this benefit you? Well, if you don’t go after the job and you stay in the job you have, you don’t have to deal with change, you get to stay nice and comfortable. If you don’t go for the job, you won’t have to work any harder than you do now, so you get to keep your cushy work schedule.

In most situations, the stories or lies we tell ourselves are for the purpose of protecting us, keeping us safe, and for lessening the chances of anything negative happening. But if we don’t face fear, get a little uncomfortable, and change our stories, we risk being miserable sacs for the rest of our lives, never fully living out our dreams or expressing who we really are. That is a heck of a lot sadder, dontcha think? So once you know your stories and know why you’ve been telling yourself these things all along, get rid of them! Literally and metaphorically.  Throw out the paper, rip it to shreds, wipe the slate clean. Then write some new stories. What do you want to start telling yourself instead for each of these?

Once you’ve settled on your new stories and you’re feeling a little inspired and motivated, set a plan to get out of your routine. You will risk telling your old stories to yourself again and continue to have a hard time living out your new stories if you keep the same old routine. If you keep not going after a job, if you keep putting off furthering your education, if you keep avoiding places where you know successful people hang out, if you don’t make small talk with people who interest you, etc. Really work at it. The universe will make it hard for you, but that means you’re making a big, positive change and are on the right track. Don’t be a quitter, new stories are not an overnight thing. You need to start living it and keep at it every single day until they become your habit, your truth.

Lastly, don’t fall prey to the downward spiral. When something goes array (because it almost certainly will at some point), whatever you do, do not go into a drama-filled suckfest with every area of your life, just because the one is off today or this week. Meaning, no doing this: This meeting new people is too hard. I have been out 3 times each week for 2 weeks and still didn’t meet any good new people. I will never find any good friends to have deep connections with. It’s likely why I can’t find a partner either. Nobody gets me. I’ll likely end up alone for the rest of my life, never get married, and never have kids. And because I am so pathetic with people, there’s no way I’ll ever go on my dream vacations because that involves other people, but that’s just as well since I can’t get a high-enough paying job for those trips since no one likes me at work. I’m the last person they would think of to promote. Yeah, none of that, please. Let it be what it is in the moment for the one thing, and move on.

You have the power to control your own life. You can change it anytime you want and you can keep changing it as often as you’d like. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t have what you want, that you can’t be who you want, or any other excuse-laden reason to not fulfill your deepest passions. We can manifest anything we want into reality by calling out our BS, and rewriting our own stories.

Photo by Min An from Pexels

How Being In Nature Impacts Your Health and Wellbeing

More than two-thirds of people choose a natural environment when they are feeling stressed. Why? Simply because Nature gives us a relaxing environment – one in which it’s easy to let go of all of our pent-up stress. While in nature, we are able to rejuvenate our minds and bodies, gain clarity, and reduce stress levels. In turn, this makes us happier, kinder, and more creative people!

When you were last outside enjoying nature, do you remember feeling good? The fresh air, possibly the sun, open space, and the wonderment of it all gave you an “I’m letting go of it all” kind of feeling. You were happy.  We know that nature tends to do this, which is why we all love it so much and find ourselves yearning for it at times (like during stressful, busy days, or if we have yet to get out), but do we know why we benefit so much from time outside? Here are 5 ways that time spent in nature helps regulate our health; giving us properly functioning bodies and a healthier, happier mindset.

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1. Your Brain Gets Much Needed, Down Time

In a study published in the National Academy of Sciences, conducted by a group studying the Psychological effects of city dwelling, walking in nature resulted in less blood flow in the subgenual prefrontal cortex. This is the part of our brains that is responsible for the broken-record fretting. You know the, why are there so many things wrong with me, why isn’t my life better, why don’t I have these things, thoughts. The act of continually having these negative thoughts is called rumination. When studying adults who lived in cities – it was found that a walk along the paved sidewalks vs. a walk along tree-lined paths are not the same. Only in the ladder case, when one is truly walking in nature, does this part of our brains become less active.

2. Fresh Air Improves Blood Pressure, Our Heart Rate, Makes us Healthier, and is Good for Our Digestive System

Wow, what? Yes – getting out of heavy-polluted environments and high-traffic areas gives our body a full detox, all thanks to the increased oxygen that you’ll breathe-in in nature. Fresh air increases the flow of oxygen, which in turn, helps us digest food more effectively. Oxygen helps our white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections and bacteria, keeping us nice and healthy. Fresh air also helps improve our blood pressure and our heart rate, because of the decrease in pollution. Talk about a body detox!

3. Oxygen Affects Your Sense of Well-Being

In addition to the benefits that were previously mentioned to our bodies with the increase in oxygen, it also helps improve our sense of well-being. You may have noticed when coming indoors from being outside, you feel a little brighter, more refreshed, and ready to tackle what’s next? Oxygen gives our brains the ability to better function, resulting in increased concentration and a boost to our energy. Next time you feel a little unfocused, burnt-out, or have hit your afternoon “slump” at the office, find a nearby park to take a stroll in. You’ll come back refreshed and eager to tackle the remaining tasks of the day.

4. Natural Light and Fresh Air Help Regulate Your Sleep

Ok, so we’ve covered that more oxygen is pretty much the key to a properly functioning body, so it’s no wonder that fresh air helps us feel calm, happy and relaxed. Natural light is another factor that can help us snag more sleep each night. By getting ourselves out in the daylight (exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning is best), we produce more serotonin. Seratonin is a precursor to melatonin, which controls our sleep and wake cycles. So why is sunlight in the morning the best? Simply because by exposing ourselves to the sunlight during the sun’s cycles, we keep our bodies aligned with the natural cycles of light, better regulating ourselves and allowing our bodies to “wind down” during the evening time to prepare for sleep.

5. Bacteria In Soil Makes You Happier

Quite Literally. Scientists have found a harmless bacteria that only exists in soil that in a way, doubles as an anti-depressant. It has been linked to boosting our serotonin levels. Serotonin is a key player in the regulation of our moods and our general sense of well-being. And because low serotonin levels have been linked to multiple mental health issues, such as depression, we want to naturally boost these any way we can. This same bacteria also helps our immune system by decreasing inflammation, thus helping to alleviate symptoms relating to heart disease or diabetes.

By understanding just how nature can help us live healthier, happier lives, I hope this inspires and motivates everyone to get out there more regularly. No matter the weather, no matter the activity, just spending 5-10 minutes outside can do wonders for our mental and physical health. Won’t you make a promise to take better care of yourself and spend more time outdoors? 

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Sources: 
11 Scientific Reasons Why Being In Nature Is Relaxing
6 Benefits of Getting Fresh Air
How to Improve Your Sleep with Morning Sunlight

Photos: Pexels

Good Relationships Make The World A Better Place

In reading this month’s copy of Happinez magazine, I stumbled across an eye-opener of an article about Relationships. It was a series of interview questions from a world-class relationship therapist, based in New York, who has written two groundbreaking books on modern love. Her name is Esther Perel.

Esther gave such a fresh perspective on today’s relationships and modern views on love, and has clearly lived a life of purpose teaching these perspectives to couples to help change the dialogue of love. She speaks of how love and the expectations or rules that may have existed in love just a decade ago, no longer exist or apply today because “the role of love in our lives has changed so fast”.  Ester goes on to stress the importance of communicating about love and working with your partner to identify how you want to be together. In today’s day, those conversations aren’t likely to happen. Most relationships lack communicating about what their love will look like and feel like to them. Most couples assume the rules that society has applied to couples of years’ past.

Ester is dedicated to helping remove the pre-established rules of love and helping couples build their own views and rules (which will change throughout the course of a relationship – and should!). This view may work for couples today, but because the world is changing – and fast – these conversations must continue to happen.

When things happen in relationships, especially with happy-couples, such as infidelity, Ester is energized to help couples understand why this occurs and then helps them decide how to move forward. “In order to answer that question”, she says, “you have to move past the whole mentality of victim and perpetrator and look at the context of the affair. Often, when someone new catches your eye, its not because you want to leave your partner, but because you want to leave the person you’ve become.”  She is most interested in affairs within good relationships because she believes that “Rather than the quality of the relationship or the wish to leave your partner, an affair sometimes reflects the desire for a missing piece of yourself.” She goes on to say, “It isn’t to meet another because there is no greater other than a newer version of yourself.”

The happening of an affair is not the end of a relationship. In our lifetimes, most of us will have several marriages, or long-term relationships, and some of those could be with the same person. Ester does believe, however, that the happening of an affair is in fact, the end of a marriage. But, she then asks her couples if they want to begin a new marriage with one another. By asking her couples this question, she says they have a sense of dignity, as though they can come out better or stronger, and not be defeated or feel powerless. Her goal is to help couples feel energized by their relationships, to feel in control of them and to determine the outcome and course, themselves, without any external pressures or societal expectations.

This all ties in so expertly well of the model offered by capitalism consumerism today, which is ‘Not enough’. This model applies to every area of our lives, and Ester is helping her couples have more control in the Relationship area of their lives. What I found most insightful in this article and Ester’s views, was her ability to shed light on the fact that while infidelity is wrong, by your own definition of both infidelity and wrongness, it shows these deeper layers of people and what they be missing from themselves or within themselves – which is exactly the model we are living in.

What this all meant to me, was that her work is to have people feel as though they are enough and to establish communication with the people they are in relationships with in their lives about their views and needs. She helps people grow, to understand themselves, and to have healthy, happy relationships – not only with others, but with themselves as well.

Spread the love and remember that we are all good enough. Pay attention to what you do on a daily basis; what actions are you taking that may be an indicator of you thinking you may not be enough in your relationship? What conversations do you think you need to have with your partner? Write these things down and then take action on them. Make the conversation happen and open up opportunities of happiness and love into your life!

Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya from Pexels

You Must be Dreaming

When is the last time you dared yourself to dream?

Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, we lose sight of our deepest dreams and all of the things we want for ourselves and our lives. We tell ourselves what’s the point, I won’t ever have that, or I can’t do that because of [insert excuse here], but really, we stop dreaming because we sneakily avoid holding ourselves accountable for taking action towards our dreams. Instead of spending the time dreaming up what we want in all areas of our lives, and admitting to ourselves what they are, we cowardly avoid it all together because we can’t face the fact that even though we are responsible for our own dreams becoming a reality, we continue to day in and day out, not take any action towards them. We would rather not admit to them at all. How sad, right?

I am currently reading a book called Maybe It’s You by Lauren Handel Zander and she is a wizard in helping people from all over the world get out of their own way and not only realize their own dreams, but finally do something about them all. I won’t share my opinions on the book quite yet, but there is an exercise in the beginning where you are to write out your dreams in all 12 areas of life that I think is particularly interesting and exciting.

If you want to start living your dreams, first you need to identify what those dreams are in the following areas:

  • Self
  • Body
  • Love
  • Spirituality
  • Career
  • Money
  • Time
  • Home
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Fun & Adventure
  • Community & Contribution

Do you remember how to dream?

The key to writing out your dreams is to remove any negative feeling and any negating words. The point is to write these out as if they are already happening and as if you are already living them. Describe them in detail, describe how they make you feel, and be very specific. This is the part where you have to be honest with yourself and remove anything that might hold you back from writing out your own truth. Nothing else matters – not whether or not they can happen, not whether or not someone else reads these – write from a place of inspiration. Dig deep and find what sparks your soul and what you know would make you happy.

This can be a very exciting exercise and one of significant self-discovery. It could unfold some new dreams you never realized you had because you never allowed yourself to spend time dreaming of them, or affirm some existing dreams you’ve long since tried to make a reality.

To sum it up, here are high-level steps to keep in mind when writing these out:

  • Be specific; capture what your dream looks and feels like so you can fully visualize it.
  • Write in the present tense; it keeps you accountable and allows you to accept that this is your dream.
  • Be kind; focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.
  • Be honest; admit to everything you want, otherwise how can you fix what isn’t working now so you can get to what you truly want?

Here’s an example taken from the book itself of how a well-written dream may sound:

The area is SELF:

When I walk into a room, people want to know me. I’m that guy Bold, happy, and unstoppable. I am always looking for the next adventure. I am proud of the contribution I am making to the world. I am decisive, transparent and, did I mention, confident. I am exceeding my every dream and then some. I am a leader everywhere in my life: professionally, socially, and with my family. Yes, even mine! I am a masterful ring-master, proud of the difference I have made and how open, honest, forthright, and fun I am with everyone. I am deeply happy.

How motivating and inspiring is that?

Don’t be discouraged if you’re finding this to be a little bit more difficult than you originally thought. We have spent so much time not dreaming that of course it is going to be hard or feel a little awkward at first, but if you keep working on them, you’ll eventually get them right. I am currently on draft #2 of most of mine and am still finding it hard to allow myself to dream. The hardest part is the actual dreaming – what do I really want, what would this look like if it could be the exact way I want it? Those are hard questions, but I just start writing. Then I edit. Then I get more specific. Then I describe.

You’ll know it’s right and complete when you are able to read it back to yourself and it makes you smile and feel motivated, inspired, and excited, just as reading that above example made you feel. When you can’t help but feel completely overcome by happiness in reading it that you can’t wait to get started on making that dream become a reality, then you know it’s done.

So, get to work – start dreaming!
Photo from Pixaby on Pexels

How to Make Difficult Decisions Less Difficult

A major life decision is never a choice, but rather a realization that the decision has already been made. – Doug Cooper

We’re all faced with difficult decisions that we must make. Most of the time, we struggle over large, life-changing choices like ending a relationship, moving someplace new, leaving a job, starting your own business, getting married, and so on. It’s no surprise that these come with the stress and pressure of choosing the “right thing” – and even figuring out what that “right thing” is.

But even the seemingly smaller decisions can hold such a weight in our minds that makes it difficult to choose for even those. Sometimes it’s hard enough to decide where to go eat for dinner, what clothes to wear today, whether or not you want to cut your hair, or if you should press snooze one last time.

I recently made yet another life-changing decision (because I somehow cannot get enough of these), and have decided to leave my job. I don’t need to share my ‘now what’ plan or explain why I chose this in order to get the point across that this was no easy decision to make. But, it was without a doubt, the right decision for me to make for myself, which is exactly why I did it.

The good news is that these decisions, no matter how big or small, don’t have to zap you of all your physical or mental energy. They don’t need to be so difficult that you can’t seem to think straight, or you make yourself ill over them.

Sometimes the hard thing to do and the right thing to do are the same.

So how do you know what the right choice is? From my very personal and very recent (2 days ago) decision to put in my notice, I want to share some advice. I would like to say that I flowed very effortlessly through these helpful tips for making difficult decisions less difficult, but it was not until after my decision was made that I then reflected upon the process. I thought about what it was like for me to go through the journey ultimately arriving at my decision, the extremes and messiness in between that I had experienced and felt, and how I could have made it a little easier on myself.

“Doing what is right means doing what benefits your body, mind and soul. It has to light you up. If it doesn’t, it isn’t right for you.” – Tara Jean

Here are my steps into making difficult decisions a little less difficult:

  • Leave your emotions out of it
  • Don’t ask for anyone else’s opinion
  • Pretend you’re alone in the world and are in charge of the outcome
  • Don’t ask Google and don’t read any articles telling you what you should do
  • Don’t add in any additional decisions; no matter how small. For now, it’s just A or B.

The biggest favor I could have done for myself would have been to disengage from everything and everyone for just 10-15 minutes with no interruptions to just hear my own internal voice. What was it telling me I wanted or needed – not what did so-and-so think of it, not what will so-and-so think of it, not what did I fear about it, not what was the right way to decide this, not how will people think of me if I do this, and certainly not what would I do after this decision (that doesn’t matter quite yet). No. Had I been able to just think for a minute about what I wanted and why I wanted it, the decision would have been clearer a lot sooner and wouldn’t have caused me so much internal distress. It’s only when we allow our emotions to get in the way or allow ourselves to listen to others, that decisions become difficult for us to make.

And here is what not do after your decision has been made:

  • Apologize
  • Explain yourself or find a reason to justify it
  • Put anymore thought into it
  • Wonder if it was the right thing

The hard part is over. There is absolutely no need to be so hard on yourself or make it more difficult than it needs to be. Never be sorry for something that is right for you. Just like you are fully capable and entitled to make decisions for your own life, so is everyone else (and they do), so never apologize for yours. Also, instead of spending time thinking more about it, lay it to rest. I am only 2 days after making such a large decision, but I spent most of yesterday thinking about it, the conversation I had with my boss, what everyone else will think when I tell them, and if I did the right thing. I wish I hadn’t wasted my mental energy on those thoughts yesterday, because really, it doesn’t matter. I know it was a decision I needed to make and am happy I made because I feel a sense of relief and excitement, a sense of pride and bravery for doing it, and an entirely new sense of calmness as I stare into the face of the unknown.

So for anyone else out there facing a difficult decision, I hope this reaches you and helps you be more confident in what you already know to be the right decision for you. Stay true to yourself and your needs and believe that you are strong enough to get through anything. You’ve got this.

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Instead of Looking to Others, Look to Yourself

The relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for the relationship you have with others.

Ever realize that so often you look externally for specific characteristics and qualities in others – whether it’s in a close friend, a spouse, a partner, a relative, or even a coworker – instead of being those things for yourself? We’re looking for specific things that we don’t possess or rather, that we want others to possess for us. Instead of finding the right person or friend, you can be that person to yourself. This is one of the biggest gifts you could possibly give to yourself.

Just like you would do these with or for a friend or partner, add the following things into your daily life to create and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself.

Treat Yourself to Some ‘Me’ Time

You don’t need to fill your time up with social events. It might seem scary or difficult at first, but work to spend some quality time alone – staying in or even going out. It doesn’t have to be extravagant with a solo vacation or an expensive shopping splurge. Just pencil in some time to do those activities that you keep thinking about but always pass off. Those things that you keep meaning to do or starting up again, but continually sacrifice. Having dedicated time regularly to yourself to do whatever it is that brings you joy is crucial to having a solid relationship with yourself. It allows you to explore your passions and interests and to invest in yourself, which in turn creates more happiness and satisfaction in your life. And bonus, if you go out alone and make that a regular habit, that really kicks butt in empowering your independent spirit. Warning: you might really like it.

Check-In Every Once and A While

If you’re finding yourself wondering who am I and what am I doing with my life or something similar, chances are you’re not asking yourself frequently enough. This is a sign that you’re a little out of touch with your self. Take some time to sit in a peaceful area where you’re most comfortable and check in with yourself from what thoughts are surfacing on your mind lately to how your body has been physically feeling. Ask yourself questions that you would ask to a friend whom you’re catching up with.

Truly Listen to Your Self and Take Your Own Advice

When you are consoling a friend in despair, it’s likely that you don’t interrupt with criticism or negative talk, so don’t do it to yourself. When you’re having a rough go, don’t let your inner bully try and dismiss your feelings or make you feel unworthy of feeling upset. We can be ultra hard on ourselves, never allowing ourselves to fully feel and process our feelings and emotions, making it difficult to move on from whatever it was that caused them to begin with.

Listening is only part of it though, you have to then carry out that conversation and give sound feedback and advice to yourself, but then also listen to that advice – without judging it, without shooting it down. Give yourself time to think through how you would help a relative in this situation or how you would help your best friend. You can be this friend to yourself, and in fact, it’s important that you do so. Being able to guide yourself through difficult times gives you the strength and abilities to be mentally present to help and guide others through theirs. Otherwise you’ll relate whatever your friend is going through to something you are personally experiencing and haven’t figured out yet – and that won’t be very helpful at all.

Evaluate What You Seek In Others and Why

Self-reflection is a major component into having a good relationship with yourself. This goes a little deeper than the am I happy with where I am questions and dives further into the why am I seeking xxx in others, what is it that I am truly missing or not experiencing that will allow me to feel fuller and more satisfied in my life? These can be terrifying questions for some that may not regularly work through these with themselves, but it’s really no different than doing this exercise for someone else. If it helps, write in a journal or even on a sheet of paper that you then throw out (hey, it doesn’t matter if you keep it, just that you do it).

Be Self-Serving, Not Self-Consumed

Essentially this means that we need to not spend so much time looking for ways that other people can serve us or help us, but rather, turn our energies onto helping ourselves and then helping others. So many people are losing what it means to have deep and valuable relationships because people are looking to others for the wrong things. Instead of seeking out relationships that we want to be a part of and nurture with support and compassion, most people look to find relationships that will serve them or benefit themselves individually. Ever notice how most relationships, although sad, tend to sway in the favor of one individual? Or at the very least, it’s very rare that both people in the relationship are elevated in equal amounts at the same time. You have the power to change this in your relationships by focusing your energy into being the person you need, for yourself. And then being that person for others, too. This is the more rewarding path.

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The Power of Thought on Self

A Man is but a product of his thoughts – what he thinks, he becomes. – Mahatma Ghandi

The Link Between Thoughts, Feelings, & Your Behaviors

What we think and continue to nurture with repetition and emotion, will become our reality. When your thoughts are in control of Self, it’s important to understand the link and recognize harmful patterns so you can work to correct them. What you think directly affects how you feel. How you feel directly affects how you behave. And then how you behave is a reinforcement on the initial thought. So, if you think you’re not good enough, you’ll feel like you’re not good enough, and then you will behave like you’re not good enough (missing out on potentially amazing opportunities and experiences). What that cycle does is reinforce that you must then, not be good enough.

The Implications of Bad Thought Patterns on the Self

If we then don’t feel good enough, we continue down the dark path of self-limitation. Our brains will likely continue to look for ways to reinforce this thought or we will not listen to anything (thought or verbal) that is contradictory to this original thought. Think of times when you’ve gone through these patterns. You might have a day where you tell yourself you’re a failure. Immediately, that follows with a strong negative emotion. You then look for other instances in your collective memory in which you’ve “failed”, or at least deemed yourself a failure. That spirals into I must be a failure. I failed today, I’ve failed at these other 5 things, I will continue to fail. This on repeat becomes toxic to our Self and will ultimately lead to our defined reality.

If in those times you’ve had a friend, family member, or even boss reassure you “Hey, don’t worry about it, we all make mistakes, you are not a failure“, how many of those times have you listened? How many times has what they said changed your reality of your Self? Likely none. This is because our thoughts have more control over our realities than anything anyone else can say. If you think it, you believe it, you become it.

How to Gain Control and Change Thought Behavior

Although this can be disheartening to many at times, especially when those thoughts feel uncontrollable, the negative patterns of bad thought – bad emotion – repetition – reality, are completely within our power to change. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to change the thoughts were having, or at least control how we view those thoughts.

Dissociating Feelings of Thought with Self

When you have a thought such as I am a failure, one of the first steps we can take is to remove our Self from the thought, lessening the opportunity for us to define ourselves with these thoughts. Instead, replace it with a feeling thought. So I am a failure becomes I feel as though that project was a failure. It helps shift the perspective unto something else and away from the Self. Only then can we truly analyze the why something felt that way. I was in charge of the project and I didn’t do a good enough job leading my team to complete it on time, so the project was scrapped. This isn’t a good thought either you’re still associating the feeling of failure as a direct result of something YOU did, which puts the Self at risk of being defined as a failure, keep digging. The project was not a top priority for our department so another path was followed. That really is what is at the root isn’t it? The project simply was a no-go not because you are a failure. It just simply didn’t happen.  Why does everything have to have a reason behind it? Why do we have to analyze everything and tie it back to ourselves? We don’t and you can control whether or not you do so.

Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go.

Replacing the Bad with the Good

It’s also very important that we practice telling ourselves good stories. Ultimately, if we are going to define our own realities, why would we ever want to choose something so terrible for ourselves? Surely, that is not what we’d prefer. So we must work at having good thoughts with good feelings and repeating that process until that becomes what we believe and ultimately our realities.

Not all Thoughts are Created Equal

It’s important to remember that the power of these thoughts on Self is determined by not only how often you have the thoughts, but also the strength of the emotion tied to those thoughts. It does no good to you if you have one-off good passing thoughts throughout the day, but then continue to have habitual negative thoughts for the rest of the day. Essentially thoughts cancel themselves out and your reality is a sum of all of your thoughts plus the strength of each. If your emotions and frequencies are higher for negative thoughts, those good thoughts will be of little help.

The key is to start with simple awareness. Just entering a state of awareness of all of the thoughts passing through on a daily basis will give you insights into which types of thoughts you’re experiencing more of (negative vs positive), the frequency in which you have them (daily or often each day), and the emotional strength of those thoughts (scale of 1-10 on how they make you feel). 

Then build to replacing those unwanted thoughts. If the disassociation process is a little too difficult right now (it will get easier), start with replacing a bad thought with it’s positive equivalent. For every I am a failure and will always be a failure, replace it with I am successful and will continue to work hard at my success. Then, think of specific instances in which you did work hard, accomplished something you were proud of, and allow yourself to feel those strong positive emotions in thinking about it. If this process is repeated, you’ll begin to notice a change in how you shape your own reality and what that reality looks like.

Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.