“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”~ Lao Tzu
In working with professional women, I often find that they have trouble identifying their strengths, their talents, and their value. Yet, it’s so important to know who you are and what your story is in order to excel at work, to market your skills, and to feel fulfilled in life.
When someone asks you, “What’s your story?” do you freeze? And then you say, “Oh, there’s nothing special about me. I really don’t have a story.”
Or someone asks, “What are you really good at?” Do you reply with some self- deprecating comment because deep down you don’t think you’re special?
How well do you know yourself?
Often others know you better than you know yourself. They know you’re capable of so much even when you don’t think so. If this remotely describes the battle going on inside you, the first thing you need to assess is: Are you able to love yourself unconditionally?
When you know yourself well, you will unconditionally love yourself and recognize and honor your own worth.
Over the decades, I’ve seen so many extraordinary women crippled by their lack of self-compassion and negative self-talk. They can’t look at themselves in a mirror without criticizing themselves. And they can’t accept a compliment.
This negative mindset shows itself in two distinct ways:
- You review your past performance and judge yourself as “not good enough”.
- You experienced deep pain in the past and are convinced you’re worthless.
Often this negativity comes from learning to control your emotions and actions by punishing yourself rather than encouraging yourself. You either heard or told yourself hurtful things like: “You’re so stupid.” “That was dumb.” “Your older sister never did a bonehead thing like that. Why can’t you be more like her?” “You don’t deserve anything better because you always mess up.” “You deserve to be hurt, because you’re not lovable.”
It’s time to get to know who you are and see all the good and wonderful things about yourself. You are an exceptional person worthy of honor, love and respect.
Let’s turn the negativity around so you can motivate yourself through positive encouragement! You can retrain your brain to analyze your feelings, sort out what’s true and what’s not, and focus on the positive in everything you experience.
Learning to love yourself unconditionally is a process you can master with practice. You’re going to be peeling back the layers. Be willing to experience pain and accept, not judge, your emotions and feelings. Don’t give up. With persistence it will get easier. The pain will diminish over time.
It’s taken you a lifetime to get to where you are today. Be patient with yourself as you retrain yourself to come from a place of self-compassion and love.
When you do learn to love yourself unconditionally you can:
- Be the real you and feel comfortable in your own skin.
- Recognize the amazing talents you have.
- Feel more empowered and energized to take advantage of new opportunities.
- Find more inner strength to stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
- Be able to ask for what you want and need.
- Be more resilient and persistent in the face of challenges.
- Bounce back from failure and suffer less from stress.
- Experience wellbeing and happiness.
- Build warm, positive relationships.
Be happy and proud that you’re an emotional being with values, needs and wants. Learn to honor these so you can feel whole. Explore and identify how your “Inner Critic” is trying to protect you from pain, and then accept its direction as it motivates you toward excellence.
Don’t allow a moment, a situation, or an experience to define who you are. You may have a moment of depression, anxiety, or anger. But that’s not who you are. You have the power to identify what triggers those emotions and you get to choose how to deal with those emotions. Take my 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment and get to know yourself on a much deeper level.
“The pursuit of happiness” is one of our unalienable rights, according to the U. S. Declaration of Independence. Isn’t that interesting? They focused on the process of searching for happiness. Not happiness itself. They knew that the process is what contributes to our feeling of wellbeing.
Why is our feeling of wellbeing dependent on the process or life system we use?
What makes me happy isn’t what makes you happy. For example, I love my pets, cats especially. Life wouldn’t be complete without them. But you may hate cats, or you may be allergic to them, so they make your life miserable.
We’re all so different. So to define happiness is impossible. But to mindfully choose to be happy – to choose to see the beauty in every situation – is part of the process.
Yes, everybody wants happiness. Sadly many people today find it elusive. Perhaps it’s because they focus on the wrong things. As the writer Denis Waitley noted:
“It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.”
What should you focus on to increase your feeling of wellbeing?
If you had to list what makes you happy, can you easily do it? Or is it difficult to define? Is your list the same as it was 25 years ago? Most likely not!
In his book Flourish, psychologist Martin Seligman, provides some clues that will help you find your happiness. (He’s known as the face of positive psychology.) He proposes the PERMA Contrast – the need for a balance between five different components of life. When you master these, you’ll increase your happiness and feeling of wellbeing.
The PERMA Model
1) Lead a life of Positive Emotions – maximize positive emotions and accept and understand negative emotions. Your feeling of wellbeing comes from things deeper than fleeting emotions or moods.
2) Lead a life of Engagement – seek out activities that allow you to be in flow. (You’re so involved you lose track of time and self.)
3) Lead a life of Relationships. It powerfully plays a role in supporting the other four components of wellbeing.
4) Lead a life of Meaning – belong to and serve something that is bigger than self. (Family, religion, community, country, ideals or causes.)
5) Lead a life of Accomplishment – pursue excellence and mastery, both as goals and as processes.
To maintain a feeling of wellbeing all five of these needs must be met and balanced. Try applying the 20/80 rule to your life. Spend 20% of your time on small mindful practices such as exercise, centering, meditation, reading, appreciation and gratitude. When you do, you’ll find that you’re able to handle 80% of your day in a positive way. No matter what circumstances you encounter.
Remember: it doesn’t take great changes to make you happy. It’s the small acts of self-love, mindfulness and appreciation that matter.
Of course, being happy doesn’t mean you’re smiling all the time. It means you’re living the life that you’re meant to live. Then you’re able to accept whatever comes your way.
Your feeling of wellbeing increases when you understand yourself and your core strengths and use them daily. Do you see areas that could benefit from some attention? Would you like to learn how to live a balanced life? Why not download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. It’s a great way to start to reconnect with your body, mind and spirit.
And if you want to grab a copy of Dr. Seligman’s book, Flourish, you can find it on Amazon. (In full disclosure, I’ll receive a few pennies in commission. It won’t affect your price at all. Enjoy!)
“There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.” ~ Celia Thaxter
While I’ve enjoyed summer immensely (my trip to Italy was fantastic!), I’m eager to welcome the beauty of fall colors and yummy foods. It’s a life-renewing break from the intense heat of summer and the smoke-filled air. Also I have some boots and sweaters I can hardly wait to wear again. They’re so comfy!
But I have to admit there’s a down side for me too. If I’m not careful, I find myself dreading winter because the dark, rainy weather can really get to me. I have to be mindful of the cues and deliberately take action to ease the impact and effects of this change of season.
Are you affected by the changing seasons, too? Does SAD (seasonal affective disorder) have you in its grips? It’s very common in the Pacific Northwest. So, here are some suggestions to help you stop dreading winter and turn the coming season into your special time of renewal and productivity.
Here are 8 tips to help replace “dreading winter” with a routine that restores your strength and rekindles your joy:
Ramp-up your nutrition. Summer brings local fresh produce, but it also brings a hectic schedule. So, if you’ve been eating on the fly, slow down and start eating more mindfully. Sometimes we need additional help from a doctor. For example, you may need to increase your Vitamin D and Serotonin levels to offset the sadness, sluggishness, and lethargy that come from a lack of sunlight.
Take a break from all things digital. People get so busy with social media, texting, talking on the phone, watching Netflix or surfing the web they forget to interact with the people sitting in the same room! Regularly turn your devices off and have a conversation, play a game, or plan a fun activity. Do things that build love instead of walls.
Force yourself to slow down. Go for walks. Read a book. Do that thing you’re always saying you’ll get around to later. Actively look for the beauty around you.
Exercise regularly. get tough with yourself (It might be helpful to improve your discipline) and introduce more movement in your schedule. Consciously look for ways to do more fun things, walk more, climb more steps and sit less. Exercise lowers your stress level and increases serotonin (the happy chemical in your brain).
Manage your ideals and keep your expectations realistically. The holiday season is coming and often there are unrealistic demands on your time, emotions, energy, and budget. Say “yes” when you can, but feel comfortable with saying “no” when you can’t. Learn acceptance. If a relative always acts out, expect it and think of ways to keep your buttons from being pushed. If things get uncomfortable, go for a drive and adjust your attitude.
Unload the clutter and get organized. Gift giving is a big part of celebrations, but the best gifts are good memories and acts of love. Too much stuff causes stress. Why not get your family and friends involved in giving time to someone in need instead?
Use winter to be more introspective. Work at becoming more observant and parsimonious with your energy. Don’t think you have to be the “be everything, do everything” person. Let yourself think. (My 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment is a great place to start!) Some things to reflect on:
- What allows me to be most resourceful during the cold weather?
- How can I make up for the harsh cold and lack of light?
- What kind of daily practices or routines could be supportive?
Get excited. Get the most from each day you live. Take a class. Make a new friend. Rekindle a neglected friendship. Begin a new project. This really keeps the winter blues at bay.
I understand what the changing season can do to a person. If you’re determined to stop dreading winter and actually embrace this time for personal and/or business development, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
”Be in a state of gratitude for everything that shows up in your life. Be thankful for the storms as well as the smooth sailing. What is the lesson or gift in what you are experiencing right now? Find your joy not in what’s missing in your life but in how you can serve.” ~ Wayne Dyer
What do you do when life gets messy? Your schedule is blown out of the water…people don’t respond as you expected…LIFE happens.
Do you crawl back into bed? Retreat into a movie marathon? Become paralyzed in inactivity and depression?
OR…do you know how to let go and see the beauty in the experience? If you’d like to handle change in this more positive way, then you are going to be blown away with the exercise I’m going to share with you…
Our brains crave order and simplicity; so change throws us off-balance. You want a “perfect” or ideal world. You want everything to be smooth sailing. So when you run into choppy water and the ride starts getting bumpy, it catches you by surprise every time.
How do you adjust your grip on life so you can hang on and still enjoy the ride? It’s a matter of learning how to let go and re-center on the positive. Counterintuitive isn’t it? Learning how to let go in order to hang on!
No, it’s not simple. But it’s a system for life that you master if you practice long and hard enough. Here’s how you do it…
How to Let Go and See the Beauty in Everything
- Notice when you’re getting anxious or frustrated. Are you tired, hungry, cranky, or have unexplained pains as your body is trying to communicate with you?
- Recognize that the problem isn’t the external situation. (Don’t play the blame game.) The cause of your anxiety is coming from your internal ideals. For example, you want order, but your high ideal for orderliness (that isn’t being met) is causing frustration and anxiety.
- Breathe, re-center and calm yourself. This helps you become mindful in the moment, with no ideals, seeing the situation with new eyes and an open heart.
- Let go of the ideal that is causing you pain or discomfort. Visualize it floating out of the room or away on the breeze.
- Own the fact that you have the power to create a new ideal for the situation at hand. Instead of looking outward, take some quiet time to look inward.
- Start seeing your current experience as perfect. That’s right! No matter how messy or uncomfortable it may seem at first, look for and see the beauty in it.
These steps are easy to say, but not easy to do. Why? Because we fight change. We hate to relinquish control. It takes real effort to see beauty in chaos. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to open up and soften yourself. How do you do that?
- Feel the hardness in your heart when someone disappoints you. Feel the frustration in your neck and shoulders when someone interrupts you or makes a mess of things.
- Notice your resistance. You either don’t want to let go or you can’t yet see the beauty in the moment.
- Consciously and deliberately open your heart and mind. Even if it’s just a little bit. Work at being more accepting of what’s happening. Maintain your attitude of gratitude. Look at it from the other person’s point of view. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Look for new opportunities that have suddenly opened up for you. Look for ways to express kindness, love and joy.
Change is hard for so many people. Sometimes you just have to get tough with yourself and make yourself do it. Would you like some help in mastering the messiness of life? I’d love to help you learn to let go of your ideals and focus on the beauty. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s work through the rough patches so you can more fully feel the exhilaration of life.
Stuck in a rut? Taken a wrong turn in life? Can’t seem to find your way back to your dreams? Maybe you’re even wondering how you got to where you are in life. Perhaps years ago you started down a path and it’s taken you further away from the life you expected. Now you don’t know how to get back on track or how to keep moving forward.
Even if you feel lost, the good news is that it just takes one baby step at a time to move forward to where you want to be.
Discover seven ways you can keep moving forward towards your dreams:
- Learn to love yourself more. Isn’t it true that we can be our own worst critics? It’s a battle of the mind. Just remember, your mind is under your control, not the other way around. So don’t let your mind get the best of you. Give yourself some slack and choose to always think the best of yourself.
- Realize you are not broken! About 15 years ago, when one of my teachers showed me that cultivating self-love could be the answer to my anxiety and depression, I was shocked. I wondered, what did that have to do with what I was feeling? I really thought I was totally broken! But it was refreshing to realize that a bit of self-love could change the quality of my inner environment.
- Don’t be afraid to start over. Don’t define yourself in one way only. Embrace everything that you are. If the career you chose a decade ago isn’t making you happy, try something new. It’s okay. It’s not wasted time. You’ve learned a lot in your life’s journey that will help you build the type of life you really want.
- Let go of things you no longer need, even if they once meant a lot to you. It’s easy to settle or compromise. You may not get everything you want, but if you pay close attention, you can make the best of every outcome, and still get a lot of what you want in life. Learn to manage your time, energy and attitude appropriately. Asking yourself, “How much do I really want or need this?” will help you determine if it’s something you can let go or something you need to fight for.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The more you expand your comfort zone, the more you’ll look forward to growing. Subconsciously you may have been taught that discomfort should be avoided. Yet, you’re made to feel upset, sad and hurt for a reason. These and other feelings are a natural part of living. The key is to face discomfort and learn from it. This is what ultimately molds you into your best self.
- Do your best and be content with achieving competence. Comparing yourself to others or even a younger version of yourself is not productive. Obsessing over perceived “flaws” will blind you to the beauty of your diversity. Remind yourself that you are good enough.
- Remember, it’s not all about you. Sometimes we have the tendency to put ourselves at the center of the universe, and see everything from the viewpoint of how it affects you. When self is your sole focus, you may start feeling sorry for yourself. Looking for little ways to help others will get you out of the pity party. And it helps solve feelings of self-consciousness and inadequacy too. It’s interesting how serving others benefits the giver more than the one who receives.
Look back over the years and reflect on how far you’ve come…the obstacles you’ve overcome, the fears you’ve conquered, the dreams you’ve made come true. Now, think about what’s next on your Keep on Moving Forward wish list.
If you’re ready to form an accountability partnership, I’d love to discuss your options. Why not contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Dreaming doesn’t change your life. Actions do. Are you ready to keep moving forward?