Viewing entries tagged
self-awareness

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Two Quick and Easy Ways to Lift Yourself Out of a Funk

1 minute 47 second read

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Right now, you might be struggling with some sort of life challenge. Perhaps you've even got a few of them weighing you down. You're certainly in good company; heaven knows I've certainly been there and loads of others are in the same boat. 

You might even feel so low that you're having a tough time doing even the most essential things to take care of yourself. I know what that's like, too. Getting dressed or even brushing your teeth feels like climbing Everest. And forget about preparing healthful meals. You might feel like you've accomplished a monumental task by opening a tin of soup and throwing it in a pot.

There are lots of things you can do for yourself to shift out of this energy and begin to feel better. I don't want to overwhelm you with a long list so I'll keep it simple. Let's stick to just two.

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First, how you feel is always directly related to what you're thinking about. If you've got sad, heavy, depressing thoughts roaming through your mind all the time, it's no wonder you haven't got the energy to do anything more than breathe. Those thoughts are loaded with heavy, oppressive negative energy and they'll weigh you down just as surely as if you've got a boulder around your neck.

For example, if you're always thinking things like, "My life sucks and it's completely miserable," no wonder you feel awful. There's nowhere to go with that. It's like you're stuck in it and that's that.

So the first thing you've got to do is start adding some positive thoughts into the mix. Every time you catch yourself thinking something negative, add a positive, progressive statement, something that allows movement toward things being better.

Add something like, "but I'm ready for it to get better." Or even, "but I'm open to it being better every day." The more you do it, the quicker and easier it gets. There are few things you can control but one of them is your thoughts. It just takes a little practice.

The second thing you can do is find a way to help others. Whether it's someone you know, or if you offer to help as a volunteer somewhere, do something to brighten someone else's day. Leave an inexpensive grocery-store bouquet on the doorstep anonymously. Or ring the bell and say, "Hey, want to get out for a walk?" 

Charities are often looking for an extra pair of hands. Diving in and being of service in your community can give you a new perspective on your own troubles, and the positive energy you'll get from doing something to make a difference in the world will be well worth it.  

The more you can get out of your own "stuff" and help someone else, the better you'll feel. It's one of the quickest ways to lift your spirits and remind you of what's really important in life.

Please pop into the comments below and share your favourite way(s) to lift your spirits. You could really help someone else with your ideas.

Is anxiety keeping you stuck? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on either the photo or the button below!

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Mirror, Mirror, Everywhere, Show Me Now Why I Should Care...

1 minute 44 second read

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Everywhere you look, there are mirrors. Not the kind you glance in to fix your hair or freshen your lipstick.

No, I'm talking about the other kind. They will also reflect parts of you that you show the world but it's because they are nudging you to look at something inside yourself. You can try to ignore them. You can look away and pretend they aren't there. But until you look in those mirrors and address what they're trying to show you, it will keep presenting itself in an effort to make you to face it and do something about it.

There are mirrors in all of your relationships. There are mirrors in every interaction you have with others. There are even mirrors in every thought you think and every reaction you have to the events and circumstances in your life.

Whether pleasant or unpleasant, whether palatable or not, we are constantly being shown who we are. When someone "rubs you the wrong way," or whenever you feel offended, dismayed, or upset by the behaviour of someone else (whether it's directed at you or not), it might be that they're demonstrating a behaviour of your own, and something that you really don't like about yourself.

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Or it could be that they're showing something about yourself that still needs healing or improving. How can you tell?

Perhaps you get defensive and feel attacked or threatened. Maybe you feel insulted, offended, or indignant. If so, it's your Ego talking, the human part of you that is trying to keep you safe. It's well aware that it's not perfect. It knows that you've got some insecurities or vulnerable spots and it just wants to protect you.

But it's not doing you any favours by refusing to let you see what's really going on beneath the surface. And that's exactly where you need to look in order to move forward in life. That's what the mirrors will do. They give you the opportunity to see the places where you've still got room for healing or improvement in some way.

They'll also show you the positive aspects of yourself. The more loving and kind you are, the more it will be reflected back to you. And when you treat others in that way but you don't get it in return, it's because those people still have healing to do and you've been a mirror for them, offering an opportunity for them to see why they struggle to accept it.

If you're ever going to progress and be happier and more at peace within yourself, be brave and look at what is being reflected back to you throughout your days, whether it's validating the good or pointing you to something that still needs healing. Be grateful for the mirrors. They are beautiful gifts that will enable you to be all you are destined to be.

When has something triggered you in a way that didn’t feel good, and what did it show you about yourself that needed healing or completion? Let me know in the comments below.

Is anxiety keeping you stuck? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on either the photo or the button below!

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Bothered by the Behaviour of Others? It Contains Precious Gifts...

1 minute 39 second read

It can be too easy for us to get ourselves bent out of shape about what the behaviours of others. They were rude, they were inconsiderate, they were thoughtless or selfish. We label them with our judgement.

No doubt there have been a lot of times you've heard yourself say (with great indignation), "How dare he do something like that?!"

And we allow ourselves to become upset by their words and actions, often while stewing over the offending behaviour.

It has been said that the things that irritate us about other people are behaviours or aspects of ourselves that we don't like. When I first heard this, I was very young and absolutely disagreed without thinking about it. But as I aged, I began to discover that although it wasn't always the case, there were definitely more occasions on which that was the truth than I wanted to admit.

The beauty in that, however, is that once I was willing to look at it, I could see the gift in it because it allowed me another layer of self-awareness. I could see that there were times I'd been upset with others for doing a version of something I had done, too.

The more I paid attention to my reactions to events that I found to be upsetting when I was on the receiving end, the more I was able to find room for improvement within myself.

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It is also true that not every occasion was about one of my own behaviours. In some cases, whatever it was that I found to be upsetting was a trigger, reminding me of a past incident, something that still stung. Often, there wasn't anything particularly rude or disrespectful in the behaviour; it was merely my interpretation because of my own issues.

The gift in this was in discovering wounds that had remained unhealed. This was especially helpful when I'd thought an issue had been resolved but apparently, there was another layer lurking and interfering with my life in some way.

Now, if I find myself feeling irritated by the behaviour of someone else, I ask myself why I feel that way. I take a good look to see if there are ways in which I am exhibiting the same behaviour. If I'm not, then I dig into why I feel triggered by the event.

At the end of the day, unless the behaviour of others impacts me directly (e.g. someone hits me or trashes my home), it's none of my business. I can choose not to react. I don't have to feel anything one way or another. Their behaviour is no reflection on me, unless I choose to make it about me. I can just observe and move on.



Is anxiety keeping you stuck? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!

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How Do You Discover Your Purpose for This Life?

1 minute 43 second read

I can't tell you how many times people have told me, “I have absolutely no idea what my purpose is or what I’m meant to do in this life!”

To be honest, I don't know if there's just one answer to that burning question anyway. I mean, we are complex beings who are capable of having numerous gifts, abilities, and talents that could make us think “Oh, that's where I’ll find whatever it is that I’m supposed to be doing in the world!”

Further complicating the issue is that we are bombarded with life events and circumstances that can adversely affect our lives — or positively impact them, as well. Sometimes those events seem to lead us into something that we think we're meant to do, or a message that we're supposed to share.

In that case, we might find ourselves asking, "Is this my purpose? Is this my destiny? And if it is — or isn't — how will I know?"

If we have any chance at all of knowing the absolute truth about any of those questions, we won't know for sure until we're back in the spirit realm. Actually, we don't even know that there is a point or a purpose to our lives, although I choose to believe there is.

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In the meantime, I've come up with a sort of recipe to help people discover what it is they're meant to be doing during their time here on the planet. Or at least, what might be a good use of their time and skills if there isn't actually a purpose for any of this.

First, think about what you really love to do. What lights you up? If you could get up every day and not have to worry about money or anything else and could just do whatever you want, what would it be?

For some it's various kinds of creativity like art or dance or music. For others, it might be playing with numbers, or creating Sudoku puzzles (I cannot imagine...). Still others want to play with little children, work with homeless people, build bridges or see the world.

The next step is to think about what you're really good at doing. What are your natural abilities? You know, those things you can do that always amaze others even though you think they're no big deal because they're so easy for you. What is it that comes easily to you?

When you can bring these two elements of yourself together — what you love and what comes easily to you — this is where you will find your purpose. Or at least, one of them! You might discover several at that intersection.

I'd love to hear what you believe is your purpose. How are you lighting up the world in your own special way? Go ahead and share in the comments below.

Is anxiety keeping you stuck? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!

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Are You Stuck on the "Toxic People" Merry-Go-Round?

1 minute 52 second read

There are those people in life who are struggling, lost, or challenged in a way that adversely impacts not only their own lives, but the lives of those around them. It might have been due to a messy childhood or other unhappy circumstances. Or perhaps too many things caved in on top of them all at once and they've gone off the rails for a while. Some people just seem to live there and we never really know how they got there.

We love these people even if we don’t like their behaviour. They might say and do some terrible things to us, to themselves, and to others. They might shock us with how much hurt they can inflict, or just how plain mean and spiteful they can be.

Sometimes they're simply misguided...lost and seeking answers, seeking help, rescue, love. They might not even know what it is they are seeking. Rather than taking action regarding the circumstances they don't like, they live in constant "reaction". They make choices that usually involve a lot of emotional response with little (if any) rational thought or helpful decision-making ability.

We see the hurt. We see their pain. We may or may not understand it but we recognise it. We see their self-destructive choices, their Egos that are desperately trying to protect themselves from further damage but really they're just causing more by hurting everyone around them.

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They say they want help and that they just want to be happy. We offer our support and our love. We suggest and coax and encourage. But they keep throwing themselves off one figurative bridge after another, disregarding all efforts to help them and refusing to help themselves. And worse, they take a lot of prisoners with them, hurling insults or accusations about how no one cares about them, no one loves them, or no one ever wants to help them.

Perhaps they fear change. Maybe it just feels too hard and overwhelming. Or maybe it's because they're just so used to living in a state of crisis and drama that they really don't know how to be any other way.

Whatever the reason, their refusal to help themselves wreaks havoc on the lives of everyone around them. We get yanked along on the horrifying roller coaster of too many crises and too much chaos to the point where it adversely impacts our health and our happiness until we say, "ENOUGH."

It is absolutely true that you cannot help those who do not want (or try) to help themselves. It's one thing to support and assist loved ones who are obviously doing their part to try to turn their lives around. Does that mean they won't slip now and then? Of course not. But as long as they keep doing their best, it makes sense to continue to support them.

As for the ones who just keep living in the midst of a nightmare and they want you to live there with them...as long as you choose to stay there, you're destroying your own life as much as they're destroying theirs.

Is anxiety making you feel stuck in life? Click on the button below for my FREE GUIDE - “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck!”

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Do You Honour Your Word?

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1 minute 47 second read

How many times have you made yourself a promise that you would do something and then put it off? Whether it's starting a diet, exercising more, being more organised, stopping smoking, eating less junk food, or anything else on the planet, how often have you made a plan and then not followed through on it?

If you're like many people, it's a lot.

Maybe you tell yourself you're just being patient, and although you desire a particular result from the change you say you'll make, you're prepared to wait just a little longer for it. You pride yourself on not feeling frustrated about your current weight of lack of fitness. You call it "self-acceptance" and you smile as you promise that you'll still make those changes but there's no great hurry to do it.

It's true, self-acceptance is important. However, it's also important to be clear about what's behind your lack of follow-through because it might just be self-sabotage more than anything else. It might be an underlying lack of self-love and self-respect that keep you stuck in unhealthy behaviours that validate how you really feel about yourself on a deeper level.

It's likely that the excuse of being "patient" is really just a nice word for procrastination. And so is the excuse that you didn't use the word "promise." It was just "something you said you'd do but you have the right to change your mind." Look, this is about following through and keeping your word, whether you called it a promise or not.

You might think it doesn't matter if you don't keep your word to yourself because no one knows about it but you. But if that's the case, you're not always keeping it in other areas of your life either. It shows a lack of integrity and others will notice it, even if you don't.

If you're not honouring your word to yourself, ask yourself why. What negative beliefs about yourself are you validating? What positive beliefs would you like to cultivate?

If negative self-beliefs are sabotaging your desires to improve yourself or your life in some way, you'll struggle to keep your promises. So instead of swearing you'll stick to that diet, or that you'll exercise more often, just make one promise to yourself: That you will honour your word - to yourself and to others.

Set yourself up for success by only making promises or declarations that you know you can keep. Be realistic in your expectations of yourself.

When you see that you're following through on everything you said you'd do, this will jack up your sense of self-worth and self-respect in a big way.

It will also help to boost self-confidence and once you see that you are honouring your word and you see how much better you're feeling about yourself, it will be easier for you to start making those changes you desire with diet, lifestyle or whatever else you choose.

Is anxiety making you feel stuck in life? Click on the button below for my FREE GUIDE - 7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck!

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the Art of Trusting Your Intuition: Sharon Sayler Interviews Liberty Forrest

Each week, Sharon Sayler, host of The Autoimmune Show, brings you top-notch experts and fantastic 'thrivers' interviews, chats and positive thoughts to empower you to live well regardless of your diagnosis. Honestly, it's the info she wants to hear... because she's an autoimmune thriver too!

In this episode, Sharon interviews Liberty to discuss the importance of listening to your intuition, and in particular, listening to your body’s wisdom to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Did you know there are over 100 conditions that people are suffering from every day that compromise their immune systems and if it’s not one of the “big ones” like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis you might be told 'it’s all in your head,' or 'people your age…'

Your host for The Autoimmune Show, Sharon Sayler knows the pain and suffering of autoimmune disease. Her struggles to find the right answers to her decades-long autoimmune disease experience created what friends call an “irrational-passion” to encourage and inspire others to live well, whole and complete… 

With that, The Autoimmune Show  was born… the premier location for information to empower you to live well, thrive and create a happy, healthy, wealthy life regardless of your diagnosis. The Autoimmune Show, the #1 listened to show on OMTimes Radio has new shows every Friday night at 7 PM ET on OMTimes Radio. 

You can watch video selections, full interviews, positive thoughts and meditations on our YouTube channel.  And grab the podcast at all the great podcast places like Spotify, Spreaker, Blog Talk, Podbean, SoundCloud and many other popular places plus on iTunes at iTun.es/i6Y95hR 

Be sure and join the Courage Club for The Autoimmune Show! They have most shows in transcript PDF available at no-cost at www.understandingautoimmune.com/TranscribeTribe plus more goodies like videos and downloadable meditations....

And other great opportunities to be part of their community: 

www.understandingautoimmune.com/Facebook www.understandingautoimmune.com/iTuneswww.understandingautoimmune.com/OMTimes www.understandingautoimmune.com/YouTubewww.understandingautoimmune.com/Google+ Instagram: autoimmunehour Twitter: @autoimmunehour

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Feelings. Better Out Than In.

Far too often, most of us choke on our feelings. We feel tears welling up with that awful, aching lump in the throat, and we take several deep breaths, forcing the emotions back down where they can do all kinds of damage. They make us sick or depressed, give us physical pain and discomfort, sometimes with the weirdest symptoms that doctors simply cannot explain.

We fear being seen as weak. For some reason, our culture thinks a display of emotion means we're out of control. But there are only two occasions on which emotions can hurt us.

One is when we stuff them and do not acknowledge them. The other is when we make hasty decisions purely because of our feelings, without thinking them through, and end up hurting ourselves - or others - as the result of our poor choices.

But there is nothing wrong with having painful or difficult feelings, and there is nothing wrong with expressing them (appropriately). Having them makes us human. Expressing them helps to get rid of them and it connects us with others, many of whom will offer support and comfort, thereby strengthening our bonds with one another.

The best way to get rid of unwanted feelings is to immerse yourself in them. Take a little time and allow yourself to really feel every bit of whatever it is that hurts. If you want to cry, cry. Lots. Until you can't cry any more. You'll feel a whole lot better for it. If you're frightened, feel the fear. Ask for some hand-holding. And remind yourself that you are strong enough to get through anything.

Do whatever you need to do when bothersome feelings are standing in the way of you and your happiness, and let them out. Get it over and done - once and for all.

Think of it as housecleaning. Gathering all the rubbish and putting it out on the drive to be collected on trash day. If you keep digging, eventually you'll find less and less “stuff” that needs removing and turfing.

This doesn't mean it's a good thing to sit around and feel miserable every waking minute either. You must strike a balance. But certainly, choking back unhappy feelings is not any better for you than spending 24/7 whining about your miseries for days, weeks and months on end. Once the crying jag is behind you, take some time to look at the positives in your life. Set some goals and take a step or two (even if they're teeny) toward achieving them.

Just don't be afraid of your feelings. Allow them to be heard. You can't fix what you don't acknowledge, as the good Dr Phil says. Give your feelings a chance to speak up so you know just what's on your plate. Chances are, the more you do this, the quicker the issue will dissolve or will find a resolution in your heart.

You wouldn't let an infection fester below the surface or in your blood. You'd be off to the doc, figuring out how to fix it because you know that infections left untended can kill you. Well, negative emotions can do it, too. Quietly and insidiously by giving you cancer, heart disease or a million other ailments, or a little more overtly by making you say and do some very hurtful things to yourself and/or to others.

Expressing your emotions is the great equaliser. It makes you the same as everyone else. It levels the playing field. It shows your strength. It shows your vulnerability, your softness.

It helps people get to know you because they see just what affects you on a deep level, which then connects you with everyone else on the planet because really, we are all pretty much the same in many ways. We are unique in our personalities and in our perceptions of our life experiences, of course, but everyone hurts, everyone needs, everyone feels some version of the same emotions. How we do all of this and how we express these aspects of ourselves is what separates us from one another.

But we're really not so different in terms of our emotions. So go on. Stop hiding behind a wall that you think keeps you separate and sets you apart from everyone else. Because I can assure you, you're not fooling anyone. We know you hurt, too.

And we'll be here for you when you're brave enough to tell us about it.

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How to Tell When It's Time to Say Goodbye

Do you ever find yourself struggling with certain people who are your friends or romantic partners? Does it seem that no matter how much you love them and try to make the relationship or friendship work, you spend more time being miserable than happy? Do you feel like a salmon swimming upstream, constantly fighting to get somewhere, to make progress, or to make it feel right and to be happy, but you just can't seem to get there?

Perhaps those people keep blaming you for everything that's wrong between you. If only you were more like this or less like that. If only you would do this and not do that, they wouldn't get upset. You live your life, carefully tiptoeing around on eggshells, worrying that you will say or do the wrong thing, trying your level best not to cause a disturbance.

You become anxious, always anticipating what might set them off. You think it's all your fault that they are unhappy - because this is what they tell you - and therefore, it is your fault that you are unhappy, too, because your happiness depends on theirs. You feel rejected; you believe you're a failure and that all you've done is cause those people nothing but of misery.

And then you have a break from those people. Someone goes on holiday or you and your partner separate for a while. After a few hours or a few days, you start to breathe easier. You begin to relax. You smile again, and it feels foreign on your face. You giggle a bit and maybe even laugh a lot. You associate with other people who think you're bright and funny and sensitive and kind.

You begin to feel like your old self. You start thinking perhaps their misery is not your fault after all. Perhaps those people have some issues. Maybe they're just impossible to please. Maybe they're demanding or miserable or irritable, or just plain selfish, through and through.

You're outside the box now, with some breathing room, able to look at those relationships with a different perspective. You see that they're very lopsided. You do all the giving, and the other people do all the taking until you have nothing left to give. But away from them, you feel your strength returning, your sense of worth, and your dignity. You vow that you will not be treated like that any more.

Then the break is over. The holiday ends. Those people are back in your life, in your space, and almost immediately they're complaining about this and that, and you're sliding back into that place of believing that their unhappiness is your fault.

In a heartbeat or two, you're back where you started, feeling worthless, depressed, resentful, frustrated, and desperately lonely.

You're as miserable as you ever were, and once again, you're that poor little salmon, swimming upstream, fighting against the oppressive currents of negativity and control that are swallowing you whole.

The pattern continues. Every time you separate for a while, you feel better and are happier. But when you're with them, life is miserable and you don't feel good about yourself.

There are numerous reasons why we get into these situations or why we stay in them but I can at least tell you this: If you have several good relationships with people who appreciate you and enjoy your company, and with whom you get along well, but there is a certain person in whose company you are consistently unhappy, take a closer look.

We can learn a lot about ourselves from difficult relationships, and sometimes we can work within those relationships to make them better. When both parties recognise that there's a problem and want to fix it, that's a good starting point.

But when one of the people refuses to accept any responsibility and does nothing but point the finger of blame, and has made it clear that he or she has no intention of working at what's wrong, then it's probably time for you to end your association.

I'm all for trying to fix a problem in any kind of relationship. But there are times when we must recognise that it is beyond our control. Sometimes we have to see that being in the company of certain people is destructive, that it's toxic and will only adversely affect us.

When it is clear that this will be ongoing and the other people involved refuse to budge, then you must walk away, for your own health and your own happiness.

You can bet that those people have troubled relationships elsewhere, too, and that they blame other people for everything that's wrong in their lives. You can bet that they are not happy people in themselves, but this is their stuff to fix, not yours. You're not responsible for anyone else's happiness or loneliness or social life.

When you have ongoing problems with a certain person, but no amount of talking has helped and you just feel more and more unhappy or your self-esteem has plummeted, bear in mind that you've always got the best gauge for figuring out what to do. That gauge is your own feelings. Just look at how you feel when you're with that person, or involved with that person. And then notice how you feel when you have some breathing space and some distance. If you're consistently or frequently miserable in the company of that person, and happier on your own, that's all you need to know.

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"I'll Stop Procrastinating Tomorrow!"

Some of us hit the ground running in the morning and dive headfirst into a busy day, accomplishing, overachieving, burning through tasks like there's no tomorrow (and if there wasn't going to be a tomorrow, frankly I'd just as soon not work my backside off today).

Others of us drag ourselves out of bed and stumble through life, doing what we want, doing some of what we must - leaving all kinds of things for another day.

And then there are others who are in between somewhere, which is probably best anyway, as extremes are never good and balance in all things is a really good plan.

If you're at all familiar with my books or my blog, you'll have heard me go on about taking breaks, about leaving some things for another day, another time. You'll have heard me say, in essence, "Don't do today what you can put off till tomorrow."

And here I am today, saying the opposite. Today, I want to talk about procrastination. So how can I keep telling you to slack off and have some down time, and then I turn around and say, hang on a minute, quit goofing off and get back to work?!

Well, it's not too complicated really.

Let's start with the basics of procrastination. There are loads of reasons why people keep putting off things that need to be done, whether it's household tasks, mundane errands, tedious stuff at work, difficult conversations with people or anything else they'd rather not do. And just as burning the candle at both ends and in the middle isn't good for anyone, neither is being at the other end of the spectrum and just leaving things undone as a regular occurrence.

The reasons for both behaviours will be emotional issues that could stand healing because whether you're a workaholic or a procrastinator, both are destructive and will keep you from being all you're meant to be - which keeps you from happiness and fulfillment.

Why do people procrastinate? For some it is an issue of control. If people feel like they have little or no control in their lives, they will sometimes delay doing things that are expected of them. It's a form of passive aggression, a way to say "I'll do it when I'm good and ready, and not when you tell me, or not when you want it."

People who are notoriously late for everything often fall into this category, as well.

Sometimes people procrastinate because of self-sabotage. This can have all kinds of roots but they run deep and can manifest in numerous ways over the course of a lifetime. Shooting oneself in the foot is usually the result of low self-esteem, feeling undeserving of good things, or believing that you're not meant to be happy. So you set yourself up to fail in order to validate what you believe about yourself.

For people who don't feel worthy of having a wonderful life, they will often do things that will make certain things go wrong as often as possible. They might "lose" a document or "forget" to meet a deadline that could give them a better job or some opportunity that could benefit them.

Procrastination can sometimes be the result of fear. It allows people to avoid facing their fears of failure, success, confrontation, the dentist, bad news from the doctor, telling a partner "It's over" and a million other things.

But not facing those situations doesn't make them go away. Avoidance only allows the fear to grow stronger as it takes on a life of its own, and often ends up blown way out of proportion - and then procrastination seems an even better idea. The chicken-and-egg cycle continues, sucking the energy out of anyone who is caught in it.

The more they put off, the heavier the burden, as 'thing' upon 'thing' piles up, one on top of another, on top of another, leaving them feeling completely overwhelmed with 'stuff to do' but not having any idea where to start. And for those people who live in a constant state of procrastination, that's an awful lot of negative energy to willingly add to their lives because they don't want to face their fears.

If we're going to have productive and happy lives, it is essential that we see to the boring bits of life - and sometimes it means facing the scary parts, too. Often, the thing we fear never happens anyway and meanwhile, we've been holding ourselves back from the possibility of success and happiness. When we don't 'take care of business' in our lives and just let things pile up, we're deliberately adding more stress, more worry and more negative energy to the mix. Nothing good can ever come of that.

Being a workaholic is not good. Neither is procrastinating. It's never good to live in an extreme situation of any kind; it is unnatural and unhealthy. The key to finding balance is to understand when something is causing you harm.

Whether you're doing too much or too little, if it's to your detriment and is causing problems in other areas of your life, then something needs to change. It's hard enough to find happiness in this life with all the obstacles that are thrown at us. But we don't have to make it harder on ourselves by being out of balance because of the choices we make.

If we ever hope to find happiness, it has to begin with a point of balance between work and play, between responsibility and 'goofing off'. If procrastination is a problem in your life, perhaps start with the simplest things. Make a list of everything you know you need to do, and find the ones that you think you can tackle without too much trouble. Keep working away at that list and as you see things getting done, you'll feel the load lighten and your energy increasing.

As you move through the process, examine the feelings that come up and if necessary, find a good counsellor or even a self-help book to assist you.

And one last thing: Don't be thinking, "This is a great idea! I'll do the list later!" If it's a great idea and you want to get moving in your life, feel better and be happier, do the list now.

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Don't Let Excuses Block Your Path to Happiness

So. You're thinking of doing something that's difficult. Or perhaps you think it's impossible, or that it won't be particularly successful.

Maybe it's something you have to do, even if you don't want to do it. Either way, you're having trouble figuring out how on earth to do it.

You come up with an objection. There's this "thing" in the way and that's why it won't work. Maybe someone offers a solution; you might even think of your own. But then there's another "thing" in the way, another roadblock. And the longer you sit there, dreading doing it (or dreading that it won't work), the less you're inclined to try.

Instead, you keep coming up with one obstacle after another. And the hours and the days keep ticking along right past you.

Still, it needs to be done, or you really want it to be done, but nothing has changed, although you do have a lovely selection of obstacles, roadblocks and excuses stockpiled for future reference.

There will always be a reason not to do something. Whether you want to find it or not, there will always be yet another potential problem standing between you and a difficult challenge.

It won't get easier if you drag your heels. It will only grow in your imagination, becoming much more of a mountain than a molehill and the longer you put it off, the more difficult it will seem.

I was always one to encourage my children to try something new. When they hesitated, unsure about whether or not they could do a particular thing, I asked, "How will you know unless you try?" 

That seemed reasonable to them and all of them would try without another thought - and usually with very positive results. All except for one of them, that is. For some reason, one of my sons would always say, "I can't!" before he tried. It took a fair bit of convincing to get him to believe that maybe, juuust maybe, he could.

If no one ever tried anything new, we'd still be sitting around waiting for Thag to chisel a wheel out of a chunk of stone. Sure, there will always be failures but so what? The successes are worth the attempts, and besides, you only fail when you stop trying.

Samuel Johnson summed it up rather nicely: "Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome."

Exactly. You can sit around and come up with one objection after another, as long as you want to avoid actually doing something. But that'll never get you anywhere.

Don't let excuses block your path to progress and success. They'll only send you down a very miserable detour on a dead-end road.

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Metamorphosis: Not Just for Caterpillars...

About a million years ago (or so it seems - I was still at school), I read "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka. I did not really "get it." But then, I was young, just beginning my own evolution - which, decades later, is still ongoing (exactly as it should be).

"The Metamorphosis" is the story of an unhappy man, Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman who lives with his family and awakens one day to discover that he has transformed into an enormous beetle-like creature. To make a long and very peculiar story short, no one takes the change very well. They avoid him, they fear him, and they shun him. They do not speak to him. His voice and speech have changed; he speaks to them yet they do not understand him, nor do they try.

There are attempts to treat him as they did when he was in human form. There are attacks on his body. There is ridicule, there is weeping. There is persecution and a stubborn refusal to accept who he has become.

Eventually, Gregor's love for his family makes him see that they will never accept him for who he has become. He sees that his metamorphosis is only causing them pain, embarrassment and unhappiness. He is unable to leave his room, or leave their home. So in order to spare his family any more suffering, he crawls into his bed and dies.

It seems most peculiar to me that I did not understand this story when I read it so long ago, when in fact, I was living it then, and I'm still living it now. I suppose I took it too literally and couldn't work out why someone would write a story about a salesman who turned into a giant beetle.

Throughout much of my life, no one understood me, or bothered to try. But then, for many of those years, I did not understand myself either.

Thankfully, this changed a few decades ago when I embarked on an ongoing journey of self-discovery. I've reinvented myself several times, with the most dramatic changes occurring in the last several years. I'm blessed to have some people in my life who welcome and embrace those changes, and who understand them and appreciate them.

For decades, many people have judged me rather harshly for making those changes. They seemed unwilling - or perhaps unable - to understand me, or the changes I was making. And they didn't even want to try.

It is one thing to dislike or reject change in oneself or one's own environment. But it something else entirely to stubbornly refuse to accept change in someone else.

This is where the first cracks appear between people, as change can signal the impending death of a relationship, a friendship, or a business arrangement. How each of them accepts the change - or doesn't - will determine the outcome of their association.

Others see in us what they want to see. A mother sees her grown children as her babies. A father sees his married daughter as "Daddy's little girl." Adult siblings still see each other as the pains in the neck they remember as kids - and sometimes still rival for the attention and affection of their parents.

Although it may seem sweet and sentimental to cling to the past, and to former identities and relationships, it is not a healthy way to live. Change is inevitable. For some of us, there is a lot more of it than for others.

Like many others, I've had a fair number of extremely challenging experiences and circumstances throughout my life. They have allowed me to continue to grow, to learn and to evolve, like a snake shedding the skin it has outgrown. And by sharing what I've learned through my willingness to change, I'm able to assist others through their difficulties or their desire for transformation in their lives.

Think about that word for a moment. "Trans" means across or beyond - so "transform" is rather like "beyond the form". The entire form or structure of something has changed, like a metamorphosis, in which something goes from one state to a completely different one - eg. a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

For people who are experiencing this kind of transformation, or metamorphosis, it is beautiful, empowering, and freeing. But for those who are left behind, it can be frightening and lonely unless they choose to understand or at least accept and acknowledge the evolution.

There are those people who will be able to do this. And there are those who will not. Some people are simply unable to comprehend such dramatic changes. It is not a flaw, not any more so than needing change is a flaw. It is just one of many differences between people.

It is one of the most difficult ones because it means some people move forward and into new situations, new lives, new ways of thinking - and some do not. When this happens, two people who were once traveling at a similar pace and in a similar direction are no longer even on the same road. One will have wandered off down a side road, taking a detour, disappearing into the trees on another path to discover Parts Unknown.

Change, evolution, transformation, metamorphosis...these are necessary for life to continue. At a very basic level, our cells die, and new ones are created all the time. If not for this, our bodies could not grow. Nor could they heal from damage or recover from illness.

But think about how we began - two tiny little cells that merged into one. And look at us now. If that isn't the most astonishing metamorphosis, I don't know what is. As I said earlier, if we didn't change, we'd still be sitting around, waiting for Thag to chisel a wheel out of a chunk of stone.

Change is a part of life. Greater change allows a greater life. And if you want to go the distance and transform your life, you must transform yourself. There may be people who throw themselves on the path, grab you by the ankles and try to hold you back. But if you allow this, you will not be happy.

It can be painful to leave those possessions, those places, or those people we love, and move forward in our lives. But sometimes it must be done if we are to pursue our own freedom, express our own individuality and uniqueness, and discover our own greatness.

And if everyone did that, just imagine what a magnificent world this would be...

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