#18  Sit With Yourself

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#18

Sit with Yourself

Do you know someone who can’t sit still? Or others who are uncomfortable with being alone? Are you able to go to a movie or eat in a restaurant by yourself? Learning how to be comfortable with time by yourself turns out to be a critical component to true happiness. Having alone time is important.

An Hour or Two

Spending as little as an hour or two each week is all it takes to improve your sleep, your attention, your commitment, and your stress level. It doesn’t matter if the hour or two is in one fell swoop or if it is broken into segments. Perhaps it’s only a half hour at lunch four days a week. Maybe it’s getting up a half hour early or going to bed before everyone else. At the very least, it may be an hour on Sunday evening while the rest of the family is watching a movie or reading.

Alone Time

The kind of alone time that is suggested here is being ‘still’ with yourself. It’s not intended to be a time where you clean, work, or talk on the phone. It’s not taking an hour to scroll through social media or even read, or watch television. It’s quiet time; sitting and being. It’s for introspection, creative thinking, and thoughtfulness. It’s for mental planning, self nourishment, and emotional recharging.

Doing so may be the antidote you need for the stressors of daily living or a stressful work environment. It may be the time you need for the creativity spark that will help you finish a story, inspire a painting, or adopt an idea. It may settle you mind long enough so that the solution to a problem becomes crystal clear. It will likely help you find your voice – to sort through your thoughts sufficiently enough that you are able to articulate more fully in the process of communication. It will likely help you hone into your perceptive energy, encourage deep thinking, and hence, improve your relationships all around.

There is much to be gained when you commit to spending time alone where you just…

Sit with yourself.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

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I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#23  Know Your Worth

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#23

Know Your Worth

I’m giving a seminar on this topic in a few days and it was the center of several counseling conversations this week – a clear sign from the universe not to forget to mention this in the pursuit of the things that can help you live your best life. Indeed, it may be a the very top of the list. Without a sense of self-worth, happiness may be unsustainable.

Born Worthy

I will often ask clients to think about the last infant they saw and imagine that infant smiling with big eyes, back at them… what about that baby right there and then isn’t worthy? That sweet human is entirely deserving of all life has to offer – love, liberty, and success at the very least. And so is every other person on the planet. This is a universal given. And then… as we move from infant to toddler, from childhood to adulthood – we come to believe otherwise.

Shaping Beliefs

Those beliefs develop in a variety of ways perhaps starting with our home environment where a long list of ‘shoulds’ exist and value statements are transferred from one generation to another without examination. They develop as we perceive societal and cultural expectations and begin to compare ourselves against the published ‘norms’. As we are told or as we determine that we haven’t or don’t meet those expectations, we begin to internalize a value of self and an inner dialogue begins; sometimes under the surface of our level of awareness.

Tangled Up

We fail to distinguish the quality of our behaviors from the quality of our BE’ing and the resulting shame from behaving badly or making mistakes is wrapped around our self worth until it is so intertwined that it feels as if it is one piece. And we deny our worth.

Untangling

The antidote to a broken sense of self begins with untangling the value judgments and seeing oneself as a human being just trying to make it through the world. Most of us wake up each day with the intent of living a good day, of being decent, of connecting. Start there. BE those things. Connect with people, be decent, and make the day count in some way. Get to know your own heart and values; live by them. Look at the big picture and put things in context.

Loving Kindness

Practice self compassion. Practice loving kindness on yourself everyday. Use “I am” affirmation statements that validate your worth. “I am kind”, “I am a hard worker”, “I am a good friend”, etc. And each time those old tapes play in your mind – those messages that were adopted when you didn’t know any better – move your attention to what you know is true now…

“The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention.” ― Sharon Salzberg

Maybe the most important step in the pursuit of happiness is understanding that you are now, and have always been ‘worth it’. Don’t let another day go by without working to discover or making the effort to validate your value. Living your best life is at your fingertips when you…

Know your worth.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#39 Overcome Self Doubt

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#39

Overcome Self Doubt

Do you ever doubt yourself? Do you doubt you can do whatever it is you’ve set out to do? It’s perfectly normal. We all do it. Self-doubt is something anyone faces at some point in their life. And for some of us it can be a real struggle. When self-doubt – which is defined as the lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities – keeps us from doing that we want to do and from reaching our goals, it’s time to take action and work towards overcoming it.

And since self-doubt by definition is caused by a lack of confidence, the solution is obvious. We need no to work on becoming more confident. But how do you go about boosting your self-confidence? Saying “You need to be more confident” is easy, actually doing it can be a little harder, but it can be done.

Fake It Until You Make It

I’m serious. As odd as it sounds this actually works. By acting confident, you can trick your mind into becoming a more confident person. Stand up tall, talk with conviction and take some action. Act like a confident person until you become just that.

Find A Cheerleader

If you’re the kind of person that thrives on praise and gets a big boost in confidence whenever they receive a compliment, go find yourself a cheerleader. Talk to a friend, find an accountability partner, or hire a coach or mentor. Let them know that you work well with praise and ask them to cheer you on as you work on your confidence.

Make a List of Accomplishments

There are probably dozens of things that you’ve accomplished over time. Make of list of all of the challenges that you’ve mastered, the goals you’ve reached, and the problems you’ve solved. This list will act as a reminder that you’ve been here and done that; that you have a track record of accomplishments.

Take On A Challenge

Setting and reaching a goal is another big confidence booster. Set yourself a challenge. It doesn’t matter what it is or what area of your life it applies to. Then tackle it and rise to the challenge. Reaching your goal – whatever it may be – will boost your confidence overall and help you in all areas of your life.

And don’t stop there… throughout your daily life pay attention to your confidence. It won’t take you long to get out of the habit of doubting yourself and becoming the confident and productive person you’ve always wanted to be when you use these tricks to …

Overcome self doubt.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#101 Get Inspired

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#101

Get Inspired

Understanding that inspiration is an internal energy that drives action is an important concept. Dr. Wayne Dyer described it like this…

“Inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.”

Inspiration, because it comes from the inside – is an authentic energy; one that we need to find and listen to. How do you find inspiration as you move from day to day? Are you in the habit of noticing when you are inspired?

People

There are people in your life that encourage you to ‘do’ – not what they want you to do – but those things that you talk about doing. Listen and notice when what they are saying connects to an inner part of you… that is inspiration. For example, when someone encourages you to do something and you experience an inner drive to go ‘do’ it… that’s inspiration. “She inspired me to run a 5K.”

Nature

Nature is full of inspirational energy because it is living and moving. We can be inspired by what we see, hear, feel, and smell as we move through nature. I remember standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and feeling quite insignificant against the backdrop of one of nature’s most compelling creations. That feeling tugged at my core in a way that inspired me to find a way to be more significant in the world… to give back.

The Arts

Dance, music, sculpture, paint, theater… all of the arts are filled with opportunities to discover inspiration. It may be color or form… posture or voice that moves you from the inside out. Even if the arts don’t inspire you to create art – they may tug at your heart in a way that moves you to support the arts or participate locally in a way that benefits others.

Words

Literature, poetry, and lyrics offer, perhaps the most common, form of inspiration. Quotes from these bodies of work are daily inspirations for thousands of people around the world today and there is no shortage of places to find them.

No matter the source, make it a habit to listen to your ‘heart’, the sensation that is activated when inspiration is triggered from your core. These internal vibrations are signals that your most authentic self has recognized something on which to focus your attention. It is the voice that allows you to…

Get Inspired.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#208 Reflect Honestly

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#208

Reflect Honestly

Survival

I’ve encountered a lot of people who prioritize truth telling yet lie to themselves. If we are attempting to live our best possible life, it’s important to self reflect with complete honesty. We avoid the truth because it may induce feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment; none of which feel good. We conjure stories about our lives that help us cope with living them – sometimes regardless of whether or not it’ a reflection of what is real. We create subjective narratives for emotional survival.

Objective View

One way to access our life honestly is to step back from it and view it as if it is a stage play with players you don’t know or perhaps a television show with characters that are not emotionally attached to you. If your life was a television show – would you watch it? Would you be screaming at the screen trying to tell one of the characters something? Would you be disgusted and turn it off? How would you rewrite the script?

Sometimes taking this perspective means seeing things we don’t want to see. It means we may need to make a change that we don’t feel prepared for or equipped to make. It means accepting that what we wanted, may not happen or what we believed, is actually false.

Support

If you believe you have been avoiding a compelling truth in your life, garner a support system be it another family member, a trusted friend, or a counseling professional and begin the unraveling of what is true. Sometimes it’s a simple effort; at others, it’s more complicated because one lie often begets another and they become convoluted and woven into reality. It may take time and patience to see yourself in well focused light.

As a professional, I often find myself in the position of helping people in this manner and one of the distinctions is aiding clients in understanding the difference between ‘who’ they are and ‘what’ they do… one is personality and the other, behavior. Clarity may take time but the benefit is authenticity.

Authentic Self

Authenticity is not possible without truth. When we are hiding from what is real, we are unable to demonstrate our most authentic self; to feel our absolute best. There is great freedom in living only from a truth place. It’s the origin of true happiness and possible only when we …

Reflect honestly.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Welcome Back

Continued from Silver Linings

“There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.” ~ Kate Douglas Wiggin

Our focus became our family. We loved to take the girls camping and did so many times throughout the summer. They were good times. When we were away from the world, from work and responsibilities, we were the epitome of a happy family. On our camping weekends, we were about hikes and reading; about relaxing and campfires. It was a time before electronics and so we enjoyed what nature and the campground had to offer. I loved those weekends. They were what I wanted my daily life to be like.

Hubby and I talked a lot. We had learned so much about communicating with each other in counseling and much more about ourselves. When we were being introspective and taking personal responsibility, it was easy to be together. We were developing bigger dreams for the future of our business as it was growing in success year by year. The ‘hard’ times were ending and we could clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. We were preparing to enjoy the successes of our years of dedication.  We traveled a bit for work that year and got to know a few colleagues across the country who were similarly dedicated to growing their businesses. We enjoyed our time together and made tentative plans to create more travel opportunities together.

Trust remained difficult for me. I stopped several times a day for a small, silent prayer for strength to stay focused on where we were rather than where we had been. I still watched and waited with baited breath when he was a bit late but my concentration was centered on reminding myself that I was there by choice – that keeping my family intact was the number one priority. Things had changed – Hubby was different. He was attentive and involved. We were more emotionally connected than we had been in years. I had hope.

My relationship with Abee had been extraordinarily elusive. I was so unforgiving of that breach of loyalty that I honestly wondered if it could ever be mended. Mom was in an impossible position. She lived with and enabled Abee. Mom was tired and beyond conflict and so she surrendered to the outspoken desires; wishes; gentle demands of her daughters. Most frequently to the one that was there all the time – the one that looked out for her – the one that made mom’s life easier – at least in theory. My goal was to keep mom a part of my life yet because Abee was so intricately woven into hers, mom’s availability to me was often limited. When it looked like my life was going to work out and I was feeling happier, she would express deep sadness because I wasn’t willing to include Abee “what about holidays for the rest of our lives?” she would ask.

I had emotionally shut the door on Abee but I could see that mom was struggling. In truth – if I didn’t veer on the path we were traveling, this family would never again enjoy a Thanksgiving or a Christmas altogether. Was I really expecting mom to take sides? Our therapist began working with us together. Once a week Abee and I would meet together with the counselor and word by word we attempted to unravel the convoluted mess that now existed in the space between us. She would sit in a recliner in one corner of the room so that she didn’t have to look directly at me, sitting on one end of a sofa as we both kept our eyes focused on the person who was trying to help us find our way back to one another. By fall we were starting to talk outside of therapy. Sometimes at lunch, we would sit out back of the office on a picnic table and it would – for a tiny minute – feel like old times. I could go to moms if Abee was home as long as she wasn’t sitting right there in the room with us. I agreed to let her come to the house to see the girls if I was home but I wasn’t willing to have her interject herself back into their lives at full force. I still didn’t trust her either.

From time to time I continued to be plagued with lightheadedness and shortness of breath. Since my exams and tests hadn’t identified anything conclusive, I trudged through the ‘episodes’ as they came but I was always a little afraid of ‘what they may have missed’ and when my mind got carried away with visions of a slow and painful death from some rare brain tumor, I would pick up a book of inspiration and read.

One of the sentiments from the first book Conversations with God (pg. 54) is the quote: “Emotion is the power which attracts. That which you fear strongly, you will experience”. I thought about that quote a lot because so much of my life in recent years was based on a collection of fears that had accumulated over time.

My fear of never being able to satisfy my husband sexually.

My fear of not being needed at home because Abee could simply step in and never skip a beat.

My fear of not being able to provide for myself.

My fear of people finding out that I was living a life of lies.

I coupled those thoughts with the principle I had learned in SAGE regarding the Law of Attraction and suddenly I was wondering if I had created all of this drama in my life just because I had been afraid… was I responsible for all of this? Was the universe allowing these incidents to happen so that I could face my fears? Was this more than just some ‘silver lining’ lesson?

My therapist was wonderful about helping me digest many of the thoughts that moved through my awareness, listening, validating, and encouraging me to keep thinking. She would gently settle me when I was too hard on myself and yet would push me to move beyond my mental comfort zone when it appeared as though I was settling for the easy answer. I reconciled that I was certainly NOT individually responsible for everything that had transpired. I created a list of the areas where I was most admittedly culpable and I understood how I had ignored myself; my voice, for many years. I vowed to make sure never – ever – to move that far away from ‘me’ again. For the first time in my life, I felt proud of who I was and could acknowledge the strength that so many people had seen in me.

I realized then that like so many others in my life, I, too – had abandoned me. One day, I looked in the mirror and smiled saying “Welcome back Les… don’t ever leave again.” And I knew I wouldn’t.