Archive | May 2012

Get Connected

No one changes or realizes their blind spots alone, so it’s a huge benefit to have a nurturing support system, as you walk through your life experiences. Taking down your guard and sharing yourself is a wonderful experience, and the release you’ll feel can be life changing. But of course, you will want to be discriminating with respect to the level of depth you choose to share with any given person or group. Developing or enhancing your circle of support requires some action on your part, and there are several ways to do that:

Support groups. Encouragement can be found in 12-step support groups, if that’s appropriate for your situation; or meetings facilitated by a coach or therapist. Attending groups with individuals who are going through the same challenges can be very healing. In such forums, you’ll be able to openly share your feelings in a supportive environment and move past those areas where you feel stuck. It’s helpful to learn how others handle issues similar to yours; and to feel a sense of camaraderie, strength, and encouragement from such like-minded individuals. This type of support helps you confront your fears and take the action needed to move forward in a life-enhancing direction.

Self-improvement seminars, retreats, and workshops. These types of groups will motivate you, and fill you with positive emotional sustenance. What distinguishes one from the other is often the length of time involved, and the degree of commitment expected. For example:

  • A seminar may be several hours and have a lecture format.
  • A retreat is often an entire weekend of a more intensive nature.
  • A workshop is usually a mixture of lecture and group participation for 3-4 hours.

Recreational groups.  You may have a hobby that lends itself to joining a group such as a cycling or book club. Engaging in entertaining activities of this nature puts you in contact with people who share the same interests you do, which can create special bonds, leading to both friendship and fun. Being a part of this type of community can ignite creativity, joy, and a sense of teamwork with those who share the same goals, as well as the exhilaration of participating and interacting with others.

Family and friends.  It’s important to make every effort to connect with, and strengthen your bonds with, the special people in your life, such as family and friends. This connection is extremely important for your emotional health, as it brings out the best in you. You’ll want to take some action in this area by actively and consistently keeping in contact with your loved ones and spending quality time with them.

ACTION STEP:

Take the time to connect with your support system by contacting them regularly and seek to make some new connections as well.

Check out www.helpwithyourlife.com/workshop for information on my upcoming event in Phoenix, AZ.

Attitude Adjustment

“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their life.”

William James

Our attitude is the overall disposition we display to the world each day, and can be described as being either pessimistic or optimistic. We decide on a daily basis whether to view the events of our life as negative or positive. The truth is, our attitude is a choice regardless of the circumstances or situations we face.

If our attitude is negative, then we will not be a magnet for upbeat, confident people. Changing our attitude isn’t about being phony and artificially upbeat in order to attract a companion though; it’s about feeling different inside. We don’t necessarily have to delve into psychoanalysis in order to dissect our moods and their origins. However, we can make choices that lead to a more positive mind-set and outcome.

For example, a friend of mine recently went through a location change in her place of employment that put her home much of each day. She went from working at the office to working from her primary residence. The first week in this new arrangement left her feeling lost and depressed as she tried to adjust to her new situation. She noticed her attitude start to deteriorate.

The second week she decided to get up early and go to the gym each morning, and her attitude drastically changed. She started to feel optimistic about being at home and the freedom and opportunities it afforded her, and most important, she started to feel good about herself as a result.

That act of self-care turned a seemingly negative situation into a positive one, and the good feelings it engendered started to extend to others she came in contact with, including her partner.

ACTION STEP:

Where on the attitude scale are you? Very positive? A bit negative? What will you do to change your attitude today?

Set Personal Boundaries

You have the power to decide what you allow in your life and the level of involvement you have with people. Setting personal boundaries helps you limit how much you reveal to others, while protecting your body, mind, and soul. Boundaries help you filter out anything or anyone that threatens to invade your peace and serenity. By refusing to permit the negative energy of others into your life, you’re able to create healthy space that allows positive influences to come in.

It’s important to realize that you don’t have to yell or get angry when you let others know what you will allow and what you will not. When others request your time, assistance, financial help, or anything else, your response can be delivered in a gentle and firm manner while stating your honest feelings. This isn’t an ego-driven experience where you’re trying to get even, settle old scores, or control others. It’s just living your truth. You don’t want to put up walls or be confrontational, as that only demonstrates the very behavior you’re trying to purge from your life.

All you need to do is acknowledge that you’re not required to provide a lengthy explanation to anyone about why you will or will not do something. This may feel uncomfortable initially, but it will eventually become more automatic and natural. You’ll discover that it’s actually more loving to have boundaries, be authentic, and take care of your feelings as they arise. Otherwise, you run the risk of resenting others, loathing yourself, and ultimately projecting your anger outward. These negative feelings inevitably lead to unloving behavior which is inconsistent with the intention of harmonious living.

Therefore, it is definitely more beneficial and worthwhile for all concerned, when you are true to yourself and live in a way that is congruent to how you really feel. This means doing what works best for you, instead of what works best for everybody else. You also need to be cognizant of the ways in which you might be infringing on other people’s space and boundaries. This can be especially true in families where you see yourself as one unit and not a group of separate individuals. It might be difficult to hear someone tell you that you’re not respecting a certain boundary, but it’s better to hear the truth than to let resentment fester, which can often mean the end of a relationship.

ACTION STEP: 

Today, write down the requests and/or favors that others have asked of you recently that you said “yes” to even though you wanted to say “no.” Think about how you will modify your behavior in the future, and how you think this will make you feel.

Training Your Mind

One of the most nurturing things you can do for yourself on a daily basis is to become more conscious of your inner dialogue. The conversations you have with yourself in the privacy of your own mind can make you feel wonderful or terrible, depending on the quality of your thoughts. When your self-talk is primarily negative, then the partner you attract will likely be negative as well, because it’s really true that your thoughts create your reality. Thinking negatively does nothing to help you feel good about yourself and is self-defeating in so many ways. Conversely, thinking and saying positive things will attract empowering experiences and people to you. This is because your thoughts create your feelings, and you attract what you think about.

So, the more uplifting and happier your self-talk, the more you’ll generate good feelings within you and draw more joyful experiences toward you. This spiritual truth offers you a great opportunity to consciously use your mind for something productive and meaningful, rather than giving in to the low-level thoughts you may currently create.

What doesn’t work is to look to others, in the hopes that they will make you feel good about yourself. If you’re still telling yourself negative things, you will ultimately end up feeling bad again no matter what goes on in the outside world. Just about everyone gets into mental ruts at times; however, you do have the power to change what you think and say. Therefore, if you find that you’re being hard on yourself and blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong, you can combat this negative chatter by replacing it with inner dialogue that is nurturing.

Action step:

— Reframe your thoughts.

Notice when you’re not feeling good, and then stop and reframe what you’re saying to yourself in that moment. Choosing good-feeling thoughts such as I have so many opportunities today, instead of I’m so bored, will immediately boost your emotional energy. Keep training your mind to consciously do this throughout the day until it becomes automatic and natural for you. Make feeling good a top priority, and know that no matter what is happening around you, it’s up to you to shift the way you feel.

When you understand that no other person has the ability to accomplish this for you, it’s a liberating truth, and creates less dependency on others. As a result, it makes you less likely to waste a lot of time running around looking for love, relying on the praise and attention of others, or worrying about being liked or not. Instead, you are in a constant state of loving yourself, which is the foundation for creating a healthy life.

Now- how would your life change if you upgraded your inner dialogue every day?

Look at Your Beliefs

“Let one therefore keep the mind pure, for what a man thinks, that he becomes.”

— The Upanishads

Your beliefs drastically impact your level of happiness by dictating how you feel and behave. What you believe you deserve in relationships makes a huge difference in the results you receive. If you believe that you’re worthy of all good things in life and have a deep respect for yourself, then you will naturally feel . . . good. This positive feeling will empower you to take the necessary actions to create a beautiful life. However, if you believe that you’re not good enough to have a successful life or relationship, then you will obviously feel . . . bad. This negative feeling makes it unlikely that you will take any positive actions on your own behalf.

You weren’t born with your beliefs, but they may have become such a part of you due to repetition in your thoughts that they seem true and unchangeable. However, you originally learned or interpreted them from your environment and the people in it, so you can unlearn them as well.

This reminds me of that childhood game called “Telephone” or “Whisper Down the Lane.” Kids sit in a circle, and someone starts the game by whispering a message into the ear of the person next to him or her. Then, that person passes it on in the same way to the next one until the message goes around the entire circle. Then, the last person says out loud what the original child’s whispered message was. Usually, by the time the message has made it around the circle, it’s fundamentally different from the original message. Everyone hears or interprets things differently, which alters the intent of the words.

Similarly, your beliefs develop from your individual interpretation of events, the things people say to you, and your listening abilities. Unfortunately, you may go your whole life believing you heard the correct message, when in fact it may have just been something you misunderstood or interpreted, or which you took out of context.

For example, if you were treated unfairly or ignored in high school by your peers, you may have concluded that something was wrong with you. However, if the truth were told, you may have found out that they were just jealous of you because you got the good grades or were very attractive.

The behavior of your classmates may leave you feeling unhappy and insecure even now because you still carry that residual pain around from long ago. You may continue to think that there’s something wrong with you and measure yourself by the reactions of others rather than embracing yourself no matter what others say.

ACTION STEP:

List as many beliefs as you can think of that you currently adhere to. Then, make another list beside it with alternate beliefs you would like to adopt.

For example:

I need to lose weight in order to have a great relationship.”

Alternate belief:

 “I deserve a wonderful relationship no matter what size I am.”