Sunday, January 23, 2011

Feed A Soul - Starve a Demon (Part 2)

Part 1 can be read here

Negative Internal Self-Talk

"If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It's very important to be aware of them every time they come up." ~ Deepak Chopra

We all have several conversations and thoughts with ourselves throughout our days. "Will he like me?" "I'm too fat." "I don't have time for this. I'm going to be late!" "I should've known better!" We tend to fill our heads with tons of negative thoughts and images then wonder why such things come into fruition. As Mike Dooley says, "thoughts become things".

Negative self talk feeds into the fears we have. It prevents us from stepping outside of our comfort zones. Most negative self talk stems from us allowing other's thoughts become our own internal messages. Were you criticized by a parent, a teacher or bullied by other kids? Did someone belittle you in an attempt to raise their own self-esteem leaving you to doubt yourself? Many times our well meaning parents point out our faults in an attempt to get us to address them but without their help to get through such things, we ended up just blaming ourselves. We begin to internally focus on all the wrong things. We often can't control the things that happen to us in our lives but we can change how we react to them and how we allow them to determine how we talk to ourselves.

To start to change some of these messages to ourselves, begin practicing in small steps. How many times have you responded "Fine" when asked "how are you?". I tell my daughter that fine means Feeling, Internally, Negative Everyday. Instead, when someone asks how you are, respond with "Fantastic!" or "Life is good!" with a smile. It will begin to change how you view things and perhaps your smile will give you the added bonus of brightening their day as well.

You can manifest change in your life by merely changing your perspective. If all you see is the negative in the world, that's all the universe is going to show you. Instead begin to think about what you want in life then begin to verbalize those things. When you offer positive thoughts and comments, the world will hand you those same gifts back.

Find ways to put a spin on your negative self talk to turn them into more positive affirmations. Instead of telling yourself "Ugh it is another Monday" tell yourself "It's the beginning of a great week." Eliminate the words "could've, would've and should've" from your self talk. These just begin to add resentment over time and cause you to regret. Eliminate the words "I'll try" because that implies the potential for failure and your goal is to succeed.

For the next three weeks, when you are having negative conversations with yourself, take conscious steps to change it. You need to understand that you are worthy of love, attention and a great life. You will begin to see the beauty in the world and be amazed at how much better you begin to feel.

What ways have you found to replace negative self talk with positive ones?

Part 3 of this series can be found HERE

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Feed a Soul - Starve A Demon (Part 1)

What are your personal demons? They are those things that eat at your quality of life. They live off your shame, fear, guilt, worry, self-esteem and cause you to view yourself as a victim. We need to learn how to quit feeding them - starve them into submission so that you can move forward. We need to understand the price we are paying for keeping them alive and keeping ourselves stagnant.

The three demons I am going to focus on are:

* Fear
* Negative Internal Self-Talk
* Toxic Relationships

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." ~ Mark Twain

Fear immobilizes you and prevents you from enjoying and living life in the moment. It prevents you from moving forward toward your goals. The first step is to define what your fears are. Do you fear failure? Success? Criticism? Rejection? What are you afraid of?

Failures are moments where you have risked something and it hasn't worked out how intended. It doesn't make YOU a failure. You should strive to learn from the decisions you have made and perhaps make some adjustments on your approaches in the future.

Success comes with new responsibilities. It means having to accept the accomplishment rather than using the lack of success as an excuse. It can be very scary to step outside your comfort zone. You know what they say about the lesser of two evils and the comfort of the evil you already know rather than accept the potential for more difficulties.

We place so much importance on what others think that we fear that they'll find fault within us and criticize us for them. Truthfully, the only person you need to truly appease is yourself. You need to realize that no one is perfect. Constructive criticism can be a great learning lesson for self-improvement. Someone criticizing your decisions and choices to be hurtful don't have your best interest in mind to begin with. Those who feel compelled to knock someone down in order to lift themselves up are usually just showing their own insecurities. Take what they have to say with a grain of salt.

Rejection comes in a lot of different forms. For example, it might be the rejection of a business idea or a rejection of a potential mate. Rejection by one does not mean rejection by all. Think of how many authors, singers and actors who get rejected on a daily basis. Persistence is the key! They take the insights and feedback provided and learn from them to increase their chances of success in the future.

I like to think that fear is the world's way of saying I'm truly living because I'm taking a risk. By facing our fears, we take those chances that propel us from one place to the next.

Learn to face fear like an adrenaline junkie! Recognize the sweaty palms, the gasp and holding of your breath but take that leap of faith, that first step off the cliff because it causes your blood to race, your heart to pump and lets you feel how alive you are! Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, says “every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.” The trick is to learn how to nurture that seed so that the fear dissipates and blooms into opportunities.

Educate yourself about the risks, the alternatives, and the possible outcomes. This helps take some of the wind out of fear's sails. Don't let fear paralyze you into inaction.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Red Light / Green Light or Freeze Tag

Have you ever noticed how life is like the childhood games Red Light/Green Light or Freeze Tag?

For those of you who don't remember, someone was chosen to become It. If you were playing freeze tag, they would chase everyone and if you got tagged you had to freeze exactly how you were at that moment. If you moved, you were out. You had to wait until everyone was frozen before you could move again.

Life is kind of like that. Events happen that cause us to freeze or stop where we are and either deal with an event or pause to consider the consequences of a decision or action. You can't move forward until you have dealt with those issues because life kind of has a way of bringing them back up and slamming you with them until you do. Sometimes we are fortunate enough that everyone around us is pausing with us. The more difficult times are when we are completely frozen by our decisions that we can't seem to find our way to move on.

If playing red light/green light, the person who was It would say Green Light and everyone would try to run to them to touch them but when they said Red Light, you had to stop exactly where you were. If you moved, you were out. The first person to touch the person who was It, won.

Sometimes we are chugging along toward a goal when all of a sudden something happens that causes us to have to stop. The trick is to not let such a set back prevent us from ever moving forward again. We need to get over our perfectionist attitudes and realize that it is just a momentary pause where life had to retouch us to get us to move forward. Perhaps it is that we just needed a moment to regroup before we could move on.

In either case, you need to get to the point where you are moving again. Being frozen in time and/or not dealing with all the curve balls that life is throwing at you just prevents you from playing in the game. Everyone has to become It at some point, so make the most of the game while you can.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Finding Joy - A Challenge

"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day." ~ Henri Nouwen

There are times in our lives where we feel like our lives are spiraling down into a black hole from which there is no escape.

Have you ever noticed that when seemingly bad things being to appear in your life it just seems like life keeps throwing more and more of them at you? I think that is because we become so overwhelmed and get stuck into such a rut that we forget what joy feels like and begin to focus all of our attention on the negatives.

I am always telling everyone that if all you see/notice is the negative in the world, that's all the universe is going to show you.

We need to learn to rediscover the little moments of joy in our day-to-day lives so that we can slowly pull ourselves back up out of the darkness and into a more positive light. I know that it is difficult when you are in such sorrow or so stressed out about the bills piling up, the kids being sick, the car not running right or one of a million other things.

For the next 30 days, I challenge you to look for the random everyday moments of joy that we all take for granted. For example, on my way to work Monday morning, there was a HUGE rainbow in the sky. It brought a huge smile to my face.

Even on our worst days, we can find something to be joyful about.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chapter 1: New Year's Day

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

So my New Year Resolution is to "Improve Myself: Physically, Spiritually, Mentally and Financially" and hopefully this blog is going to help me do that by tracking my own healing journey. If you happen upon this site, take any comfort or wisdom you may find that speaks to you and leave the rest. There is no judgment here.

One of my down falls is that I'm a perfectionist at heart. They say admitting your faults is half the battle! LOL! My perfectionism turns into stumbling blocks for me. I tend to set these lofty goals for myself and when anything deviates from what I think should happen, I stop. My goal is to take each day as a baby step to a much larger picture.

My Traditional New Year Toast

Tis a Scottish tradition:

Four gifts are offered to those who drop by to visit:
* Coal, to symbolize warmth;
* a black bun for healthy food;
* a bottle of Scotch whiskey for prosperity;
* and then some salt, to remind us that all the good things of life don't come without sadness.

Pouring each of my family & friends a shot of whiskey, raising my glass in toast:

At the sound of the tolling midnight bell
A brand new year will begin.
Let's raise our hopes in a confidant toast,
To the promise it ushers in.

May your battles be few, your pleasures many,
Your wishes and dreams fulfilled.
May your confidence stand in the face of loss
And give you the strength to rebuild.

May peace of heart fill all your days
May serenity grace your soul.
May tranquil moments bless your life
and keep your spirit whole.

Here's to the bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old;
Here's to the things that are yet to come
And to the memories that we hold