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self-development

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Do You Honour Your Word?

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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.

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Your Strength Is Just Hiding Under A Pile of "Stuff"

It's wonderful to watch people go from strength to strength, taking the difficulties and wounds from their lives and chipping away at the healing and growth that come with time, practice and patience. We're really pretty amazing beings.

We can "take a licking and keep on ticking", as the advert for Timex watches used to say a million years ago.

People don't always react in the same ways to particular stressors. Some people seem to sail through extreme difficulties, whilst others crumble with fairly minor setbacks. What is it that makes the difference?

Well, there's no simple answer to that. Personality plays a part in it. Some people are just generally more easygoing than others, right from childhood. There are those little kids who never seem to get wound up, and others who come unglued over the littlest things.

So we've got a predisposition to cope well - or not - right from when we come out of the chute, so to speak.

Then you throw in learning and experience. Are you someone who has been through a long list of challenging events? Has the universe been hurling things at you over and over again? Have you been finding ways to cope with them through counselling, or support from groups or friends?

Or have you just slammed the door on all of that, and muddled through somehow, despite feeling completely overwhelmed?

People who have seen a lot of adversity may have developed some coping skills that those with less difficult lives haven't needed to use. It's the kind of practice no one wants, but whether we like it or not, some of us get anyway.

Whether your problems are enormous by someone else's standards or not is irrelevant. If they feel like they are to you, then they are. No one else has to live in your shoes or deal with your experience, just you.

So what do you do when you're overwhelmed by troubles? When you feel like you've had one boulder too many piled on top of you?

I've lived there far too often in my life, so I know what that's like. Sometimes I've bounced back quickly, other times not so fast.

It's always hardest when the only light you see at the end of the tunnel is the train coming at you.

There have been times when my usual tricks haven't worked. When it got really bad, I mean really, really bad, I couldn't find even a glimmer of hope, and that's a terrible place to be. I'd look down the road ahead and couldn't see anything positive.

All I could think was that there was no point being here any more, because it was just too much of a struggle with no end in sight.

It's not often that I've been in that place - thank heaven. But at least I've found something that helps me to get out of it.

When looking ahead doesn't do it for me, and in fact just makes it feel worse, I look behind me. I look at some of what I've been through in the past. I look at the traumatic and terrifying times, or the extreme financial struggle, or the life-threatening health issues.

I can look back through my entire life and see decades of difficulties lying there behind me, events I thought I'd never survive, struggles I thought would never end.

But here I am. I did survive, and those troubles did end. So when things get really awful now, I remind myself of that. I look behind me and see what I've overcome. I remember that I didn't think I could have done this or that - but then I did. It's like losing your car keys or that all-important pile of documents you need first thing in the morning. You know they're here somewhere, buried under a pile of 'stuff'. You just have to dig around a bit to find them.

When you're feeling like you can't go on, or you don't know how you're going to cope with the mountain of stress or problems you're encountering, you can reconnect with your strength by remembering that you've had it in the past.

You've come a long way, dealt with so much, and quite possibly with a whole lot worse than what you're going through right now. But you got through all of those hard times. And you found more of your strength with each problem you overcame.

Your strength doesn't leave you; it's always there, hiding under a pile of 'stuff'. You just have to remember it.

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Your Vulnerability Is Your Greatest Asset

It is time to risk sharing your feelings and stop fearing the judgement of others. You might fear letting people see “the real you” but if you always let this stop you from truly being yourself, you will never know the full extent of your capabilities and gifts.

Rather than keeping your feelings to yourself so no one can judge you for them, you would be better served by learning to trust that you are entitled to feel however you want to feel. Sure, some people might disagree with you or even criticise you, but so what? 

You don’t have to let it bother you. They can feel however they want - and so can you. Your thoughts and feelings are a reflection of who you are and no one has a right to judge you. 

In fact, more often than not, when people are spouting angry, judgemental nastiness at others, they are really talking to themselves. Let them rant all they want; you don’t have to take it on board unless what they say really hits home and stirs something in you that you know you would love to change or improve.

Some people will understand and appreciate your feelings; others will not. Just as you can relate to certain people and their situations, no doubt there are others that you just can’t figure out no matter how hard you try. At the end of the day, all of us are essentially the same. All of us feel fear, hurt, anger, and embarrassment as easily as we feel love, joy and happiness. 

When you hold yourself back from others and don’t let them see the truth of who you are, you don’t let yourself see it either. Better to come from a place of having faith and confidence in yourself for being who you’re meant to be, and bravely letting the world see who that is. 

By allowing yourself to be vulnerable and authentic, you will connect with the world in a much more deep and meaningful way. 

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Need Help Saying "No"?

Do you need more Vitamin N?

What's Vitamin N, you ask?
 
It's the ability to say, "No."
 
It's absolutely essential to your good health, to your well-being and to your happiness - just as surely as all the usual assortment of vitamins and minerals are necessary for you, too.
 
How often do you find yourself saying "Yes" when you really mean "Oh, please, NO, I really do NOT want to do that!"? How often are you deciding whether to go through with a commitment you felt obliged to make, or to dream up some palatable excuse as to why you can't go through with it?
 
Oh dear, such a waste of energy, and so damaging to your own health and life on all levels because of the negativity associated with all of that.

Why is it that some of us have such a hard time just saying "NO"? Why is it that we worry about "hurting someone's feelings"?

The truth is, you can never "hurt someone's feelings." We choose our feelings and how we respond to the events and people around us. We can decide whether or not to feel happy or peaceful just as easily as we can choose to feel insulted or angry.

So forget the notion that if you tell someone "No", you're "hurting their feelings." They can be respectful of your decision - or they can take it personally. That's their business, not yours. If they truly care about you, they'll appreciate your honesty and your ability to stand up for yourself. They'll respect you for it and might even take a lesson or two from you for modelling these attributes.
 
Your time is precious. It's your most limited resource. Every time the clock ticks, your remaining seconds, minutes and days become that much more valuable. You can't get back time you spend on people or events that don't add anything of value to your life in some way.

Even worse is spending them on people and events that add negativity

Why would you choose to do that? Would you want that for the people you love? You ought to be at the top of that list.

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Don't get me wrong; doing things you don't particularly like but doing them out of love and a desire to help someone adds value to your life. I'm talking about something else entirely.
 
And beware the dangerous question, "What are you doing on Saturday afternoon?". This is a common way that people begin a request for a favour or to have you accompany them to some event that they would love but you would not.

If you're someone who asks questions in this way, you might want to rethink and say, "I would really appreciate your help/company for (whatever) on Saturday afternoon. Are you available/interested?" That would be much more respectful than boxing someone into an awkward and empty corner.
 
When someone asks you, "What are you doing on _____?" the best answer is "I don't know, I'll have to check my calendar. Why do you ask?"
 
Should you feel obliged to make an excuse as to why you aren't able to attend an event that is of absolutely no interest to you, for example? No. You don't have to be interested in all the same things as anyone else. You can just say, "I'm glad you're excited about it and thank you for thinking of me. It's just not for me."
 
You owe it to yourself and to the people who love you to say "No" when it's what you really want to say. Self-love and self-care are two of the best gifts in the world.

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