Tag Archives: Self
There are many blessings in disguise that aren’t always apparent to us, and many of these blessings are afforded to us simply for being alive!
As long as we have life, we can learn to be grateful for it, and uncover our unique human blessings despite the hardships.
Below are some broad and general blessings that you may have overlooked.
Imagine you were told you have 30 days to live. How would this change you?
Would you begin to live life differently? Would your overall perspective change?
The idea of living like you’re dying can be an eye opening consideration. It would influence who you spend time with, what you spend time doing, and what you view to be truly important. It would provide a chance to see the crystal clear truth about what your life is all about.
When we rely on others for certain things, we often end up hurt and disappointed. Not always because others intentionally let us down, but sometimes because they simply cannot fulfill our desires. On the other hand, when we do not rely on others we often end up feeling very alone and lacking a place in our life that I call community. As humans we naturally crave connectivity to other humans, when we are in solitude for long periods it can literally feel unnatural and we lack community with those around us.
I have learned to discern what I should and should not rely on others for. Now that I have, there is much more freedom to appreciate others for what they can and cannot give me. And I now know what must come from within my own self. In the past it was very black and white. I had unrealistic expectations of others and was often disappointed and hurt when I should have realized others were not responsible for my happiness. On the other hand, I would often avoid relying on others so I did not have to be disappointed and that made me feel very alone.
Choosing between black and white scenarios is a deceptive way of ‘thinking’ we have control. We ‘think’ we know the outcome and can control our feelings and reactions. What really happens is that we sell ourselves short of being free to rely on ourselves and others. I have learned:
I never rely on others for;
- my happiness
- my peace of mind
- my responsibilities to be fulfilled
- my feeling joy
- complete understanding and agreement about who I am
- 100% commitment or follow thru
I always rely on others for;
When we remember that ‘always’ and ‘never’ are subjective words, we know that there are exceptions to the rules. When we learn to be flexible and open to both our expectations of ourself and others, we can feel at ease. Living life without a constant feeling of disappointment in myself and those around me, helps me to appreciate the good things and celebrate each day joyfully. I find I have many good relationships with friends, family and colleagues simply because I can always and never rely on them!
How can you learn to never and always rely on others?
- Think about the times you were disappointed with others over something that is your own responsibility
- Seek out those around you that engage in community; connecting, supporting and encouraging via communication and learn to rely on them
- Realize that just like you, we all have times that we cannot be 100% committed to each other or completely understand one another
- Think about ways you have successfully relied on your own ability to be happy
Everyone has a message. Everyone wants to be more persuasive. Whether you are an employee working for someone else, an owner of your own business, a student, a blogger, etc. you need to be heard. In that sense we are all marketers. The world is drowning in information and when you speak you need to make sure your message gets results.
The following are 10 ways to be more persuasive. They are all proven effective in controlled experiments.
- Social Proof – When the course of action is not clear, people look to others for guidance (even though they will deny that fact). Put more simply, people tend to do what other people similar to them do. This behavior is programmed into our genes and is well established. Social proof is more influential when we areobserving others we perceive to be similar to us. So if you are trying to sell someone on something, be it an idea or a product, a powerful method is to show how others like them have already bought into it.
- Mirroring – People respect, like, and are most easily influenced by people who they perceive to be similar to themselves (see Social Proof above). So one way to influence someone is to mirror them. Mirror their speech and their actions. If you verbalize back to someone something they have said and in the same words, you instantly become more influential. The same thing applies to posture and actions. If you want to influence Mike, then you need to act like Mike. If he is leaning back in his chair, then you would be wise to do the same.
- Offer Few Choices – People are paralyzed by choice and if given too many options, will simply fail to choose anything. So if you are offering up alternative products, services, or ideas, be sure to limit the choices to only a few. Two choices is often better than three.
- Reciprocation – Do someone a favor and they are more likely to return it. There is an interesting twist to this. People who do you a favor once are more likely do do you another favor in the future. Once someone has done you a favor, in their mind you become more important to them; you must be worthy of their time. So get someone to do you a small favor, and they are more likely to listen to you or do you an even bigger favor in the future. The best way to get them to do you a favor in the first place is to do one for them.
- Baby Steps – We want to act consistent with our previous actions. Further once we buy into something or someone, we tend to become much more committed to it or them. This is the foot-in-the-door technique. No matter how small a step you can get someone to take as far as agreeing with your idea, product, or service, those small steps will lead to larger steps in the future. This even works on yourself. Start small. Get your target to say yes to anything first, and then they will be much more likely say yes to what your really after.
- Labeling – Marketers use this one on you all the time: “You seem like a smart person and smart people buy X”. Tell someone they are smart, sophisticated, thrifty, a risk-taker, etc. and ask them to take an action consistent with that label. There is a powerful inner drive to stay consistent with what we have demonstrated in the past. If someone labels us, we believe we have demonstrated that trait (especially if it is positive).
- Ask the Right Question – Recently I was given a pitch for a timeshare. All throughout the pitch, the agent was asking me and my wife questions about what would we do or what we would like to do. This was leading to the final push on the actual sale. Before asking someone to do something, get them to say they would do it or something consistent with it. Get them to verbally express an inclination or desire to do something. Then when asked to do something consistent with what they have previously expressed, they are much more likely to agree.
- Smile – Smiles are powerful influencers. People like people who smile. But your smile needs to be authentic. Humans have a remarkable ability to detect false smiles (it’s all in the eyes). So find something in the other person that you can authentically appreciate and then smile about it. In general, just practice looking on the bright side of things and being happy. You will naturally smile more and thus be more influential.
- Keep it Simple – I once read that studies showed the most persuasive writing was written at an 8th grade level of comprehension. This is true even among people who were capable of comprehending much more complex language. There is a convergence of data showing that simple is better. Simple and easy to remember names and ideas are the best. Resist the urge to show off your knowledge and sophistication and instead K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid).
- Scarcity and Exclusivity – Making whatever you are offering, including ideas, unique and thus scarce is a very effective technique. People love and value what is scarce. Think about a high-end Mercedes sedan. Part of what makes it so desirable is the fact that it is rare; the overwhelming majority of people cannot afford it. At first glance scarcity might seem to be counter to the social proof phenomenon described above, but in reality they go together. When you buy the high-end Mercedes, you are joining and exclusive club of rich and sophisticated people who also value such quality and sophistication in an automobile. They are people like you. Mac owners are a small minority of computer owners, but they also believe they are a group of exclusive and sophisticated computer users. They know better. So offer something unique, but package it in a way that when people buy into it, they also are attracted by the social proof of others.
Only the time and attention we give ourselves demonstrates how much we love and admire ourselves. Self love requires that we place ourselves at the top of our priority list.
Self-nurturing is everything that makes us feel positive, happy and joyful.
When we decide to honor ourselves with the love we need and deserve like the sun we radiate a glow, touching everything and everyone in our lives.
Below are 60 ideas for glowing:
60. Eliminate shoulds.
59. Enjoy down time.
58. Run towards your fears.
57. Be dependable.
56. Embrace self-responsibility.
55. Be completely honest.
54. First meet your own needs.
53. Notice the beauty around you.
52. Open your mind to change.
50. Set attainable goals.
49. Go at your own pace.
48. Honor your individuality.
47. Open yourself to umlimited possibilities.
46. See the humor in things.
45. Celebrate your imperfections.
44. Reward yourself.
43. Be flexible.
42. Be gentle with yourself.
41. Be open to being wrong.
40. Laugh for no reason.
39. Light candles.
38. Enjoy nature.
37. Get a message.
36. Congratulate yourself.
35. Know yourself.
34. Appreciate where you are today.
33. Give yourself space.
32. Breathe mindfully.
31. Communicate your emotions.
30. Learn to relax.
28. Say no more often.
27. Experience new things.
26. Take mini breaks throughout the day.
25. Create personal affirmation cards, use daily.
24. Hang out with positively happy people.
23. Schedule fun times for yourself.
22. Make your car a sanctuary.
21. Dress for success.
20. Be impecably groomed.
19. Balance your energy.
18. Recharge your batteries.
17. Refuse to argue.
16. Balance your diet.
15. Sleep sound.
13. Feel and express gratitude.
12. Give up self put-downs.
11. Develop your intuition.
10. Learn to hold your own hand.
9. Accept your physical appearance.
8. Keep your cool.
7. Vent in a positive way.
6. Speak kindly of yourself.
5. Be brave.
4. Learn to calm yourself.
3. Listen to music.
2. Make the most of every opportunity.
1. Start fresh each day.
Image Source: jamalvy
The very notion of ‘self-improvement’ can often imply a deep dissatisfaction with ourselves and with life. This is rather unfortunate, because such an attitude can be pretty counterproductive if we want to change ourselves! Let’s first explain how accepting ourselves does not mean giving up on improving ourselves; in fact it makes the whole process of self improvement much more joyful:
- We Get To Set Our Own Standards For Self-improvement: Often we are unhappy because we judge ourselves by some unrealistic standard, which has often to do the expectations set by other people and society. By accepting some external guideline for what constitutes self-improvement, you are in effect comparing yourself to others. Accepting ourselves allows us to judge our self improvement not by criteria set by others, but by our own previous marks.
- We Get To Focus On The Positive: Often we spend so much time poring over our faults and failings that they occupy our entire mental space, leaving no room for us to appreciate our good qualities. By constantly ruminating on our weaknesses we give them a kind of power and we feel more and more helpless to overcome them. However by accepting yourself as you are, warts and all, you can then focus on increasing and expanding your good qualities – you will notice that your weaknesses will decrease in strength as well. Indeed, the most effective way of reducing your weaknesses is not by focusing on them, but by invoking its opposite positive quality instead.
- We Live In The Moment: Self acceptance means accepting whatever you did in the past, no matter how deplorable, is done and there is nothing you can do to change it now. Any time and energy spent wondering what might have been is therefore pointless. You have to start from where you are, here and now, at your current state of development, with what you have at your disposal.
- We Change Our Attitude To The World: A poor self image leads to problems relating to other people, and excessive time wondering how others perceive us. However if we are happy in our own skin, then we begin caring less about what people think about us, and more time caring about people.
So how do we go about cultivating a philosophy of self acceptance? Here are a few tips:
- Create Space To Acknowledge Your Good Qualities. Our mind often seems automatically geared to think of only the bad about ourselves, you have to consciously shift the focus to the good. Even a simple five minute daily exercise of writing down the good things you did (no matter how small), or positive thoughts and inspirations you have had helps enormously.
- Don’t Identify With The Mind. We often see our minds as the final arbiter over our behaviour, and take anything it tells us very seriously, especially when it tells us something bad about ourselves. However a practice of meditation can help you access a deeper part of your nature, and take your thoughts much less seriously.
- Compete With Yourself Rather Than Others. Whether it be work, sports or any other field of endeavour, try to set your challenges not so much as achieving a fixed goal or competing with others, but more about transcending your own personal best. This relieves the pressure of outside expectation, and you will get tremendous joy from knowing that you have gone beyond anything you have previously done.
Image Source: notbukataklat
We live in a time when we have more possessions, more opportunity and more alternatives than ever before. Just a few decades a go, people would have been awestruck by the prosperity that we have. Despite all this, people seem more stress out and unhappier than ever.
There really is no reason for people to be so discontent. For the most part, we get our basic needs covered and have steadily gained more freedom to express ourselves in our work and leisure time. If anything, we should be happier than ever.
In Norway we have a saying that goes “Excess wants more”. It basically means that when we have a lot, we tend to want even more. Instead of cherishing what we have, we constantly push for more. It is stressful and makes us unhappy. It’s time to do something about it.
There is a magic bullet that can help you instantly break out of this kind of mindset: gratitude. Every single one of us have countless reasons to be grateful. Most of the time we don’t think about these things, instead we focus on the things we wish were different, what we want to have more of, thing we want to improve.
There is nothing wrong with trying to better oneself or ones lot in life. There is however something wrong with being so obsessed with everything that can be better that we lose sight of all the things we have that are great.
The best way I know to stay in touch with all my blessings is to start the day off with a gratitude session. I usually do this on my way to work. It simply go through all the things in my life that I am grateful for and make sure I feel truly grateful for them. A simple exercise like this makes it virtually impossible to get a bad start to the day. Instead of starting the day off angry about not getting to sleep longer, or how terrible traffic is or the latest upsetting morning news, I start my day of in a great mood feeling grateful for the many blessings in my life.
The best part of starting the day of this way is that over time you condition your mind to always seek out things you are grateful for. When you feel yourself starting to be negative and feel down about something or someone make it a point to switch your thinking to something you are grateful for. You will find that focusing on the things you already have will make you a lot happier than thinking about all that you don’t have.
A time comes in your life when you finally get…when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out…ENOUGH1 Enough fighting and crying and blaming and struggling to hold on. Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.
This is your awakening.
You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to magically appear over the next horizon.
You realize that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you…and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are…and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.
You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself…and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.
Your stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you – or didn’t do for you – and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.
You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and everything isn’t always about you.
So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself…and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.
You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties…and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.
You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.
You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with.
You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for you next fix.
You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.
You learn that you don’t know everything, it’s not you job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.
Then you learn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not mean lonely.
You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.
You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs.
You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drinking more water, and take more time to exercise.
You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.
You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.
More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it’s OK to risk asking for help.
You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms.
You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.
You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people…and you lean not to always take it personally.
You learn that nobody’s punishing you and everything isn’t always somebody’s fault. It’s just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.
You lean that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.
You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.
Then, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than you heart’s desire.
You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.
You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind.
Finally, with courage in you heart, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.