10 Reasons Why You Should Never (Ever!) Settle In Love

I Found the One Whom My Soul Loves Song of Solomon 3:4

Over the last several weeks, I have been reminded of the importance of never settling when it comes to love – that love that you will (or should) call that love of your life. I have been happily married to my sweet, amazing husband for 40 years now. And…that is my point: NEVER SETTLE WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE!!!

I have seen the divorces and the heart-wrenching situations of those who settled. In reality, there is no such thing as settling, there is only succumbing (briefly) to the belief that no one will ever love us. As I have witnessed those relationship wrecks, I have cried for those broken souls who let the belief sink into their hearts that no one would ever truly love them. I don’t know who or what they doubted more: that God would provide them with a true love or that they were worthy of such.

Love is worth sacrifice. It is worth living alone. It is worth living with uncertainty. It is worth passing up the one you think may be the only person who will ever want you. No one finds true love by settling for the one that “will do”.

It is with that thought in mind that I share today’s article. I hope you enjoy!

Trust me, all singles get to that place. Oh, you know the one…

You’ve been single for a while, and since you really really want to be in a relationship, you start to bargain with yourself. You think, “Maybe I could just settle for someone I like just enough” instead of waiting for one who will truly make your heart floweth over. Well, here’s the sign I’d post in that puddle of pessimism: No settling allowed!

As anyone who’s already read the preface to Meeting Your Half-Orange knows, I’m all about being picky.

To make it clear why I don’t think you should settle for “eh” when it comes to a lifetime love partner, here are 10 reasons why settling works against you. Don’t settle for love, because…

1. Settling is a choice made from fear.

Don’t choose a relationship because you’re afraid to be alone. Or because you’re afraid you won’t find someone better. Or because you’re afraid you’re not good enough to attract someone who’s nuts about the real, true you. Be strong, not scared! You’re a tough cookie and you know you’re meant for more, so don’t let fear make decisions for you. Trust in the good life can bring you.

2. Passion is like a hot pepper in a good soup.

In other words, it changes in flavor, but it doesn’t diminish. If you choose a relationship with a passion and attraction to the whole person (not just their looks), the rewards of that emotional attraction can still be there decades later. But choose a relationship without that emotional passion? You could end up with a soup with no flavor at all.

3. Friendship marriages are different than deep, romantic ones.

Yes, some people can commit to an arranged marriage and still stay together for the long run. But it can take years to develop any emotional zing—if ever they do at all. Relationships can offer so much more than someone who cleans the toilet or puts gas in the car every other time. You can have more if you want it.

4. Love isn’t a business contract!

I read a quote from a woman who says she feels okay that she settled for her partner since marriage, after all, is like “a mundane non-profit business.” A mundane non-profit business? Goodness, what kind of marriage is that? Personally, I prefer to be alone than spend time with people who don’t speak in some way to my heart. Don’t you? Marriage or your big relationship should be the same way! Let your heart have a say.

5. When the novelty of coupledom wears off, you’re stuck with each other.

All day. All night. All weekend. All the time. Watching not just your favorite shows but theirs. Withstanding not just their acceptable habits, but their annoying ones, too. Do you want to spend all your quality time with someone you wouldn’t give your high-quality stamp of approval?

6. Settling is a sign you’re pessimistic about your future.

It says you think you’ll never meet someone who adores you, who’s healthy and right for you, and who you love wholeheartedly in return. Be a dating optimist! If you want to feel happy, challenged, smart, pretty, safe and attracted to your partner, you can. You first have to believe the right partner is out there for you, and then begin asking for him or her to come rolling on into your life.

7. You deserve more!

If you want to feel amazing about yourself and feed your healthy self-esteem, you should partner with a wonderful, respectable person you’re madly attracted to in some special way. Settling with someone you don’t respect and adore is a way of diminishing yourself. You deserve someone as great in heart and soul as you are.

8. If you settle, there may come a day later in your life when you feel you’re missing something.

Are you prepared to battle with that? Someday, when you see couples who seem to care deeply for each other in palm-sweating, butterfly-churning ways, do you want to think, “What have I done? I never had that…” or do you want to smile, hug your honey and say, “Love is amazing. We have that, too.”

9. You deserve a big, bad, wonderful love!

Long-term commitments are marathons, not sprints. If you’re going to go the distance, you want someone next to you that makes the run worth doing—through the highs, the lows, the effort and the exhaustion. Give yourself the gift of a wonderful life for the whole long run.

10. If you’ve settled with a so-so someone, you won’t be open when your half-orange comes along!

Your other half is so desperately hoping you’ll be open. Do yourself the favor of making sure you are. Don’t lie down into a relationship if it’s not going to make you stand up and shine. Celebrate yourself and the love you’re meant to have and don’t settle for anything less!

Today’s article was written by Amy Spencer,

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4 Things That Truly Matter

What matters most are those things which, in the presence of God, still matters most JoAnna Oblander“It is not living that matters, but living rightly.” ~ Socrates

When we live lives disconnected from those things that truly matter, sidetracked by the unimportant, lost in the frivolous, distracted by the superficial, our lives start to ring hollow, empty and vacant.

When, on the other hand, we live our lives dedicated to those things that matter most, a greater sense of happiness rubs up against us, walks beside us, calls on us, and even moves in and redecorates our bathrooms.

The choice is obvious. But deciding what matters and what doesn’t is sometimes, and for some people, less obvious.

This is especially true in a Hollywood-centric, pop-culture saturated media-driven ethic.

In such a culture, the substanceless can appear heavy with content, the silly can look profound and the meaningless can seem pregnant with meaning.

So what then truly matters? Here’s a few items on my list. See if they match up with yours.

4 Things that Matter

1. Values Matter

Our values identify what’s important to us and how we prioritize our time, energy and attention. They reflect what we stand for. They define the outer limit of what we’re willing to tolerate and what we’re not. They determine the context of what we’re willing to pursue and what we won’t.

We’re set adrift to flounder in the uncertain moral muck of life when we lack a well-defined set of moral values on which to stand.

Values matter because a life without them is ultimately utilitarian, self-absorbed and unhappy. Our values act as anchors in storms and strings on kites, adding the tension that creates lift but also keeps us from nose-diving into trees or flapping aimlessly in the wind to nowhere.

In the absence of values, we’re rudderless in the pull of moral riptides and trapped in the quicksand of “anything goes.” And when anything goes, everything tends to, including things like self-discipline, self-confidence and self-respect.

2. Relationships Matter

How we treat those closest to us is more significant as a measure of our character than how we treat the stranger or the person we want something from.

I’ve seen families where parents treat their children worse than their friends and their spouses worse than strangers. This is sad to me.

The quality of our relationships is a predictor of the quality of our lives because most of life’s meaning lies within the context of other people. We’re mothers and fathers and spouses, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, employers and employees and teachers and students. So it’s in those relationships that we can do the most good and experience the most meaning.

We are at our most noble and decent when we are in the service of others. When we lift people, we are likewise lifted.

Besides, an isolated life is a self-absorbed one. But the irony is that a life exclusively or even mostly focused on the self is a life missing a fundamental ingredient to purpose and happiness.

So love those who are open to being loved and figure out a way to love those who aren’t. In the process of doing both, the rising sense of meaning and purpose and happiness in your life will be a much more constant companion.

3. Faith Matters

We live in an age of growing faithlessness. People have lost faith in tradition and God, in organized religion, in the institution of marriage and in others. There is less faith in governments and programs and ideologies, in political parties and even in humanity.

The problem is that faith is a principle of action. It inspires and leads and directs and moves us to do, to overcome, to believe and accomplish.

What you believe in — what you trust as right and wrong, true and false, good and bad — plays a significant role in how happy you are able to become. Whether we are talking about faith in God or humanity or Truth or yourself, that faith is critical to living life anywhere near its potential.

Faith is the expectant exercise of hope. It is the root to the tree of action. It is the seed of planning and goals and steps taken toward dreams and through challenges and into happiness.

Faithlessness is life at the edge of hopelessness. It is a life untethered from an assurance beyond the obvious, seen and tangible.

Faith propels us into the dark through to the other side of night. It takes us by the hand across the bridge or along the ledge when the next step is obscured and uncertain. It’s what takes us to the heights of possibility because we believe that wherever we rest now, there’s something more, something higher, something greater down the road. That too is the offspring of faith.

For many of us, faith in God is an added bedrock of assurance upon which we can build. That faith becomes a lighthouse in the darkest moments in our lives and a more accurate mirror of who we are and what we can accomplish when we’re thinking very little of ourselves.

4. Self-Respect Matters

Self-disclosure is not the same as self-exposure. This is a strange age we live in when individuals and families go on national TV to display their family’s dirty laundry. Others clamor for their 15 minutes of fame as reality show contestants who reveal all their darkest secrets and character flaws in shameless overkill. Sports stars and others write tell-all autobiographies that open bedroom doors far too wide for propriety or dignity to have place.

As a matter of fact, that’s just the thing that seems to have been lost by a growing number of people – a sense of dignity that knows when self-disclosure has crept into the exhibitionism of self-exposure.

But the ability to like yourself, born of a deep respect for who you are and are becoming and the potential that is also part of your identity can radically revolutionize your life.

Self-respecting people therefore simply live differently than those who aren’t. They don’t do the same things. They don’t think the same things. They don’t believe the same things. And they don’t allow the same things from others. They simply live different lives in some fundamental ways.

Don’t get me wrong. They both eat and sleep and love their kids. But what they think about themselves and how they treat themselves and talk to themselves and what they believe about themselves are profoundly different. And that’s a dividing point between those who are happy and those who struggle much more than they need to.

Afterthoughts

When I was young, I had an aunt who liked to wrap empty boxes to make Christmas appear even bigger and grander and more exciting than it already was. Sometimes we would forget which presents under the tree were the extra boxes she had wrapped. Someone would inevitably tear into the wrapping, excited about the prospects waiting inside. But all that would be had was an empty shell of a gift. All ribbon and wrapping; no substance.

That’s what life is like when we spend it in the pursuit of things that don’t matter. The packaging may glitter and sparkle, but there’s nothing inside but emptiness.

Here’s the thing. We can eat the food we buy or we can eat the receipt that shows how much we spent on the food we buy. We can have a meal of the substance or of the packaging the meal comes in.

One satisfies. The other leaves us hungry for something more. One nourishes. The other fails to provide us with the life-sustaining nutrients of meaning and purpose and joy our lives crave to have.

Roller coasters are fun. But at the end of the ride, you’re at the end of the ride. The deeper things of life like service and decency, on the other hand, are not always fun. But at the end of that ride, there is a glow in the heart that keeps on giving long after the event is over.

There’s nothing wrong with roller coasters, of course. But in the end, a roller coaster doesn’t take you anywhere.

So look closely. What have you filled the empty slots of your life with? Take stock. Evaluate. Then go to work focusing more on those things that matter most, pushing the time-wasters further into that background, opening yourself for greater and deeper levels of meaning and opportunity, love, joy and success in those things that truly matter.

You, after all, have inherent value. You’re worth the effort at learning to love the weightier things of life. Find them. Recognize them. Embrace them. And let them take you to a life that is deeply and richly rewarding, meaningful and happy.

Today’s post is shared from the following website: http://meanttobehappy.com/4-things-that-truly-matter/

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How to Change the Stories You Tell Yourself

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite William Blake

Around and around I went.

Like a Ferris wheel. 

It was only a pattern, a habit, an unexamined cycle. 

It wasn’t something I was proud of, but it was my reality.

It was the world I created for myself.

It was full of fear. Full of scarcity. It was survival.

I lived in it for many years until I examined my prison.

Fortunately, I was open to changing my perspective. If I am not open to examining my perspective, I accept I can create a mental prison.

It’s invisible. I had many blind spots.

Blind spots create pain.

Blind spots create struggle.

Blind spots create unhealthy realities.

When I examined my mental world, I realized it was full of scarcity.

My worthiness was scarce, although I had several accomplishments.

My happiness was scarce, although I did many remarkable things.

My finances were scarce, although I had plenty in the bank.

Love was scarce, although I was loved by many around me.

Relationships were scarce, although I personally knew many people in the area.

I was always afraid, although I was never in physical danger.

I had various phrases I used to think and tell myself.

Here are some examples of mental stories I told myself…

“You’re not good enough.”

“Who are you to do this?”

“You’re not old enough to do that.”

“What will others think of you?”

“What if you get rejected?”

And I’ve changed these stories. This article shares what I’ve learned in the process.

Powerful analogies to the stories we tell ourselves

When I get a flat tire while driving, it’s immediately noticeable that I get a flat. I feel the bumpy driving. Maybe I hear the tire get punctured. I know what needs to happen next.

In life, the equivalent of a mental flat is when we struggle for too long. It’s a mental growing pain. Until we look at this behavior under this lens, it can be a blind spot.

When a painter paints on his canvas and is too focused on the small area where he is painting, he can’t see the full picture. Sometimes, in life, when we don’t see the stories we tell ourselves, we fall into this trap of being imprisoned by the stories, stuck in a small area, thinking small, and living small.

When the CD skips and the music abruptly jumps, we know the CD is likely scratched. What’s the solution? Clean the CD. For this to work, we must first understand that it’s only a CD. It’s only a mental story. It’s not us, it does not define us.

The rear-view mirror of a car says, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” For us to gain another perspective, we must seek it. We must look for another perspective. Use another mirror or look over the shoulder in a car. This is not a reactive act. This does not happen by accident. This is a proactive practice.

When we’re consumed in fear, it’s hard to see our story. Fear, a biological survival instinct, used to keep us alive. Now, it can keep us in survival mode. In survival mode, we cannot detach from our story, we are simply consumed by it because we’re fighting for our survival. This takes effort to transcend.

Why you would want to change your inner narrative

Maybe you don’t realize it, but the story you tell about yourself says more about you than the story. The way you see the story says something about you. Neither good nor bad, it simply is. I want to raise your self-awareness to help you consciously and proactively decide if you want that story.

Until you understand your story, you may attract others with the same story. There are reasons why cycles and habits and patterns live on through generations of families. Objectively speaking, it’s because we don’t invest the time to understand our story and the way it’s affected us (possibly because we never had an opportunity to learn or it never entered our awareness). Conscious or not, who you choose to surround yourself with says something about you and the stories you tell yourself. Nothing good or bad, it just is. (Same is true for me)

Maybe you’re tired of blaming external circumstances. Maybe you’re ready to change yourself. Maybe you’re ready for one of the most meaningful journey’s you can take… the journey to better understand yourself. Blame is the discharge of comfort and pain. Maybe it’s time to face within and stop blaming.

The empowering truth about your story

You decide your truth. You decide what truths you want to accept. If you accept these truths, you will find yourself with less friction to change your story.

Believe that you are not your story. Your story does not define you, it’s just your story. Sure, it’s the only thing you have that’s unique to you. But it is not you. The more you attach your identity with your story, the more friction you create for yourself in changing your story.

Believe that age has nothing to do with it. It’s easy to say, “I’m X years old, this is not for me, I should have this figured out!” I believe that I am doing the best I can, with what I’ve been given, with where I’m at in life. Because I believe this for myself, I give this gift to everyone else. It is the foundation of my empathy and compassion. When we learn how to respect our own journey, we can respect the journey of others. Age has nothing to do with this. We are never taught this truth in school.

Believe that it’s only a story. To center myself, I like to zoom out. I like to remind myself that I am 1 of ~7 billion people on this planet. BILLION. That’s a lot of people. Everything I experience is affected by only 2 factors: 1) my biology. 2) the stories I tell myself (the inner narrative). If I had 3 hours of sleep last night, it will affect the way I experience the next day. If I tell myself I am afraid of what others think of me, then I live in that fear of what others think of me. I like to ask myself, “What am I telling myself that is making me feel this way?” After I acknowledge the story I am telling myself, I then ask, “What can I tell myself to better serve me?”

This is not about happy thoughts and positive thinking. This is about having the self-awareness to understand the stories you tell yourself so that you can rewrite your stories to reach new levels of awareness and personal growth. Not for yourself, but for others. For legacy.

Understand how your story affects your biology

I’ve written before about my past story of personal surrender.

It was the moment life brought me to my knees and I was forced to examine the story I was telling myself. It wasn’t serving me anymore.

A scab on my leg from a mountain biking accident didn’t heal itself after several months.

Eventually, I took notice.

The scab on my leg was not healing itself because my body’s immune system was weak.

Why?

It turns out, eczema (a skin condition) took over my scab.

Why?

My eczema is aggravated and triggered by stress.

Why?

Stress is experienced by what I believe about stress (and other thoughts). Yes, if I believe stress is good for me, then I experience it in a positive way. If I believe it’s bad for me, I experience it in an unhealthy way. Actually, if I believe it’s good, I live longer. If I believe it’s bad, I die sooner. If this sounds crazy, watch the TEDx talk.

Our thoughts, and the words we use, and more importantly, the relationship we have with the words we use, have the potential to affect our experiences.

I covered this in-depth in an article about self-awareness.

Burn out, depression, and having a stroke can be the result of weak stories that we tell ourselves that are not sustainable.

If you proactively practice gratitude, you’ll live longer. Think about it. Scarcity is fear-based. Gratitude is abundant and truly powerful. If you don’t believe me, Google it.

Stress and anxiety also manifest in our bodies in other ways. How about sweaty hands? How about sweating from nervousness? How about talking too fast? How about being unable to sit still? We can blame certain factors and pop a pill, or we can accept that maybe the world we’ve created for ourselves isn’t serving us. (It’s ok, it’s just a story…)

Why we have weak belief systems

At HX Works, I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection.

I believe there are 2 ways to respond to life: out of trust, or out of fear.

Often, we learn how to respond to life before we’re able to understand what we’re doing. Meaning: there is a childhood response driving us all (until we examine the behavior and move beyond it).

These seeds of stories get planted by society, caregivers, parents, teachers, bosses, professors, and various connections we make to others throughout our developing years (and even into our adult years).

Often, we have these experiences, and we cruise through life in autopilot, not aware of the stories in the mind. Since I am the only person I have to live with throughout my life, I invest the time to live with myself.

I believe that vulnerability is power.

Vulnerability is embracing uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure (Brené Brown). Vulnerability is the foundation of creativity, change and innovation.

All of these stories we often tell ourselves prevent us from vulnerability.

Many of the stories I told myself above tried to keep me away from being vulnerable. Or my struggles with perfectionism. Or how I gave my power away to others. All of this prevented me from being vulnerable.

When we embrace vulnerability, we embrace the truest sense of reality.

The reality is, life is uncertain. There are risks involved. If we’re not exposing our emotions to someone or managing them, they’ll force a surrender.

This is a natural law, like gravity, it cannot be fought.

Yet, the voice in our head makes it easy to avoid it and to ignore our objective reality.

I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection.

The root of many of the voices in our mind are rooted in the fear of disconnection from others. This takes effort to transcend.

Because we don’t experience life as it is, we experience life as we are, many high performers, entrepreneurs, and high achievers, are driven (conscious or subconscious) by the fear of disconnection. We’re not living to make a difference, we’re living to be worthy. (This used to be me, I know this story) When this is not understood, these things take power over you and they feed your blind spots.

Blind spots can lead to pain, discomfort, struggle, burn out, depression, or strokes… either we consciously decide to understand ourselves better, or natural law forces a surrender.

I like to ask myself, “Am I making this decision based out of fear or trust?”

Trust overpowers fear if we allow it to.

This is about self-awareness. I realize it’s easy to read this stuff and automatically think, “Well, that’s not me.” I challenge you to reflect on this. Not for me, or yourself, but for those around you.

Oh, and for the record, this cancerous lie we tell ourselves of “fake it until you make it” is not healthy. It disrespects our objective reality and further propagates weak belief systems.

When we trust, we embrace uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. We’re living.

When we fear, we seek certainty, perfection, rigidness, and absolutes. We’re surviving. (This also weakens us by forcing us to surrender our power to others)

This is about living more proactively and less reactively.

Understanding the 5 stages of competence

In psychology, the conscious competence learning model can help us understand the progression of changing our inner narrative. I’ve modified it with a 5th element.

Unconscious incompetence is the first stage of the model. Unconscious incompetence happens when something is in your blind spot. You don’t know what you don’t know. You may deny what you don’t know. Until you recognize what you don’t know, and see the value of the new skill/awareness, you can’t move onto the next stage.

A basic example of this is when you were a toddler and you didn’t know that one day you’ll probably drive a car. Until you accept that you don’t know how to drive a car, and until you see the value of learning how to drive, will you move onto the next learning stage. The same is true of your mental patterns. Since they’re abstract and not as concrete as driving a car, they require effort to work through. Usually, you need a powerful cause to force the effect of changing your beliefs. But does everyone need to learn the hard way?

Next is the conscious incompetence stage. At this point, you recognize that you’re conscious, or you understand, what you don’t know. You see your incompetence or lack of understanding or skill.

In our driving example, at this point, you’re in your mid-teens and you’re starting to see the value of driving for yourself. You accept you don’t know how to drive but see the value in it.

Thirdly, we have the conscious competence stage. This is when you understand or know how to do something. However, it requires focused concentration. The process needs to be practical, simple, and broken down into steps.

In driving, this often happens in a focused format during driver’s education. First, there is reading material and videos to learn from, and then there is focused time behind the wheel. Heavy concentration is required to carry this out. In the context of changing your inner narrative, this is often where people get stuck. People may, at some level, know what they’re doing and what they need, but it never moves beyond that because effort is not invested (or practical solutions are not discovered).

The last stage of the official conscious competence model is unconscious competence. This is when the skill or inner narrative becomes second nature. No effort is required because it’s automatic.

In driving, this is when you can talk on the phone, eat food, and drive with your knee. No, I’m kidding, I hope you’re not multitasking while you’re driving! However, most of us live our mental lives like this… we never see clearly because we’ve never turned on the windshield wipers to learn how to see past the dirty window. Strong belief systems give you power to live with strength (for yourself and those around you). It’s just a story, that’s it.

The last added stage to this model is mastery. It’s when what you’re doing happens with unconscious competence and you know what you’re doing enough to teach it and explain it. When you can teach what you’re doing, you can fully detach from it, examine it, and explain the behavior.

Simple strategies for changing your inner narrative

Before I continue, I want to repeat something I said earlier. I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection. Many of our behaviors can be described under this lens.

If you woke up one morning and you realized you put on socks that you didn’t like, how do you change them? Take them off and put on a new pair, duh. 🙂

Changing your narrative works the same way.

To change it, you must disconnect from the old story and connect to a new story.

Here are simple and practical tips to changing your narrative…

Understand the source

Some say this helps, some say it isn’t necessary. I want to include it here because I think it’s valuable. It’s easy to tell someone, “well, just change your thoughts.” When you understand the root of your thoughts, you may uncover other patterns and/or thought patterns related to that. Identify the fear or reason underneath the thought.

Understanding where that fear came from (maybe a person or an experience) can also be valuable to deeply understand how, conscious or not, you affect others.

Accept your narrative, but don’t embrace it, yet

Accept the narrative. If you don’t accept it, you add tension to moving past the narrative. No judgment, no critical thoughts, no negative feelings towards the thoughts, simply acknowledge the thoughts for what they are… thoughts. After you’ve taken off the sunglasses, or the narrative you have, analyze it. Ask yourself, is it serving you? Is it beneficial? Or is it holding you back? What would the narrative be if you focused on something else? It’s all perspective.

After you’ve accepted and detached from your narrative, how can you laugh it? Imagine all of your old narratives and stories that you tell yourself as gummy bears on the floor. Then imagine stepping on them. Seems silly, right? The more you can laugh at your narrative, the more you reduce the friction for getting away from it. It’s a mental game.

After you’ve accepted, detached, laughed, and examined your narrative, find a new narrative that you want and start to attach to it.

Be mindful of your body and how you feel

Depending on your life experiences, “feelings” may not be something that are valued. You may even be moving so fast onto the next thing that feelings are the last thing you think about.

Be mindful of slowing down and paying attention to your body. Pay attention to how food makes you feel. Pay attention to how your thoughts make you feel. When do you feel great? When do you feel uncomfortable? When do you feel nervous? The more you become aware of the tension within, the more you’ll be able to uncover the thoughts and patterns that create the tension.

Journal nightly

To detach yourself from your narrative, journal nightly. Express yourself openly and honestly. How was your day? How did you feel? Did you do what you wanted? When you’re done writing the summary, read it back to yourself. Disconnecting and connecting yourself to your story helps raise your awareness to your narrative and how you are. Be honest.

If you’re working through a certain narrative, or if there is a specific thought that you want to change and not have, ask yourself a question to counter what you don’t want.

For example, when I struggled with self-acceptance, I asked myself, “What do I accept about myself?” When I struggled with fear in my life, I asked myself, “What do I trust in?” When my world was full of scarcity, I asked myself, “What am I grateful for?” When I wasn’t aware of my wants or what I wanted in life, I asked myself, “What do I want?”

I asked myself various questions for hundreds of nights. Answering a question that counters a limiting belief for hundreds (or even dozens of nights) will raise your self-awareness.

You can write this down in an app (I like DayOne for iPhone), or you can write it down by hand in a physical journal. Whatever works best for you.

Speak the new narrative out loud

When I focused on gratitude, it didn’t stay in my journal. My gratitude found its way into my language. I started saying phrases such as, “I’m grateful to be here.” Or, “I’m grateful to have this time with you.” I also started using phrases such as, “I trust that…” when talking with others. Or, “I accept that I …” This process can take months or years. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done for myself.

To make this more real, tell a close friend or significant other what you’re doing. Share what you’re proactively working on. Share this article. Maybe even have them let you know when your old narrative comes out (whatever you want to replace). (You might inspire them)

Meditate

Meditative practices mean different things for different people. Maybe this means sitting in silence and paying attention to the thoughts in your mind.Don’t try to control them, simply observe. The more you do this, the more you intentionally connect yourself to yourself (crazy thought, eh?).

Maybe this means a guided yoga practice to do something different, focus on breathing, and focus more on being mindful of your body.

Maybe this means going on a walk every night and reflecting on your day.

Whatever you do, set reminders to do it daily. Everything I’m sharing with you are things I’ve worked on. Set triggers to help remind yourself.

Find a greater meaning

Victor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, coined the phrase “logotherapy.” Logotherapy is the process of finding a greater meaning behind your experiences in life.

For instance, if I had a bad accident, I could focus on the pain and my accident. Or I could focus on the lesson the accident taught me and believe that it’s preparing me for something greater. This meaning is highly personal. Where can you find deeper meaning in your life?

This, in a way, changes the inner narrative because it can put your focus on something greater than yourself. It can be something meaningful to you.

Mind your connections

Again, I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection. The sum of your connections brought you to this moment in life. You’re connected to your body, your DNA, the stories you tell yourself, your life experiences that have brought you to this point, and more. The more you understand all of these connections, the more you can shape them to serve you so you can create the greatest impact in the things you do.

The more you unpack your narrative, the more you can understand the narrative you want to change. The more you understand this, the more you can understand what’s connected to your narrative.

For example, when I was changing my inner narrative in the past, some of my narratives were tied to certain friends. While I proactively worked on that narrative, I limited my time with those friends so I can strengthen my narrative and gain control of it. (I could have also brought my friend’s awareness to what I wanted to change about myself, but I didn’t think of this at the time)

Often, we get caught in our narratives because we’re not evolving our environments and our relationships. Imagine if you hit a “refresh” button on all of your friends and you could start over by being whoever you wanted to be.How would you be?

Think about that for a moment. I’ve scheduled dozens of lunches with new people simply for the sake of re-telling my story and finding out what I enjoyed the most.

Friends, or environment (Facebook?), or significant others, or employees, or even parents, have the ability to influence your inner narrative (some more than others). When this happens, you get put in a box. In psychology, as the labeling theory says, you act out as you’re labeled.

At some point in your life, you taught others how you are (consciously or not), and that construct of who you were may be difficult to change. The more you’re aware of how others do this to you, the more you’ll be aware of how you do this to others. Pay close attention to the language. Be mindful of statements such as, “Oh, that’s just how he/she is” or “it’s ok, that’s just you.” These are powerful words.

Or maybe you connect your inner narrative to fear about your environment and decide to stop watching horrific news.

Or maybe you discover that the “I’m not good enough” narrative is getting old so you take a break from social media and seeing what everyone else is “doing.” Maybe, you decide to be selfish.

Be mindful of your connections. They often have more power over you than you think.

Know your connections, know your focus

Part of changing your narrative is by changing your focus.

When I’m mountain biking in advanced trails in the Southern California mountains, errors can result in intense pain. Boulders, rocks, roots, ruts, cactus, and cliffside exposure are the norm on many rides. When mountain biking, I focus only where I want to go. Not a split second of thought gets focused on where I don’t want to go.

In life, the same lesson applies. It’s a game of focus. I’ve explored this in-depth in my article on what mountain biking can teach us about focus.

Before I get on stage to speak in front of an audience of dozens or hundreds, I focus on my breathing. I slow my breathing down. It calms my body. Having done this dozens of times, the nervousness eventually goes away. If you want to escape a mental pattern, focus on your breathing. It affects your whole body.

When you understand your power, you’ll understand how to focus your power on what matters – often, your narrative. Willpower is finite. Your ability to make effective choices is limited. To optimize your days, focus on things that deeply matter to you.

And while I’m at it, who do you focus on the most? Yourself, or others? If you focus on yourself, what do you get out of that? For me, I get understanding about myself (which, as I write in a powerful article on self-awareness, helps me understand others). If you focus on others, what do you get out of that? I imagine, if I spent more time focusing on others, I would miss out on opportunities to learn about myself.

Reframe your narrative

Ah, the power of reframing.

I could tell myself, “But I have no experience in this, I’m not good enough.” Or I could tell myself, “My strength is that I have no experience in this, I bring a fresh perspective.”

I could tell myself, “I’m not old enough, I don’t have enough life experience.” Or I could tell myself, “I have the resources to learn and the ability to adapt and the energy to make it happen.”

The answer lives in changing the perspective. Take whatever you think is a weakness or a narrative you don’t like and find the opportunity or the strength in it.

After you’ve changed your narrative

After you’ve changed your narrative, you choose your world.

This requires focusing your power on the thing you have control over, your self-awareness.

Imagine showing up exactly as the person you want. No doubts, no insecurity, no limiting beliefs, no old you, only the new you that you want.

Too many die with their music inside because they don’t invest time into this process or were never aware of it. Don’t let that be your story.

As you take this journey, remember, personal growth is not personal. It has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with your children (if you choose to have them), your friends, the people you work with, and the people you love the most. This is about how you affect them. That is your legacy.

Your external world is a result of your internal world.

Do you value self-awareness and want to strengthen your beliefs?

Today’s article was written by Michael Gallizzi and is shared from the following website: https://hxworks.com/insights/how-change-stories-you-tell-yourself/

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How to Build Your Personal Mission Statement and Transform Your Life

A personal mission statement becomes the DNA for every decision we make Stephen CoveyHow to Build Your Personal Mission Statement and Transform Your Life

In order to know where you’re going, it helps to know where you’ve been. All right, I promise, only one cliché for this piece. Keep me honest and bear with me! I start with this to say that in order to best position yourself for a life of happiness, it is extremely helpful to have a philosophy around what you hope to be, and what you intend to accomplish.

Some people call this a personal creed or mission statement. This is written documentation that establishes three things:

1) Your Purpose
2) Your Direction
3) The substance of things that matter to you

Your purpose — or your raison d’être — is the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing with your life. As I wrote about previously, I encourage you to look at this from a blank slate in order to get to the brass-tacks truth of what you really want your mission to be in life. This should be organic and developed only by you — free and unfettered from any influences or emotions of the moment.

Your direction is your plan — and the actions that you must take in order to fulfill the requirements of your plan. Too often, many people doubt themselves because they don’t think they’re ready to begin moving in the direction of what they want to accomplish. They think it’s not their time, they’re lacking in a particular area or they’re too young — they’re hindered by limiting beliefs which beget doubt and fear.

Oftentimes, it simply makes sense to begin even with very tiny steps toward completing tasks and goals that match up with your purpose. This is where writing out your goals and putting them into a plan comes in. This is your direction — the compass that will guide you when life gets in the way, you’re too busy, too tired or hungry. Planning is essential.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” — Maya Angelou

The substance of things that matter to you are part and parcel of your purpose, and should be incorporated, as much as possible, into what you do each day. These are the core values, ideals, principles, people and also the things that bring enthusiasm and passion to your life. Beliefs or activities that get you exciting and mean something to you.

In other words — as Bono once sang, “all that you can’t leave behind.”

The Power of Planning

Successful businesses, schools, hospitals, sports teams and individuals begin by stating their goals and addressing how they intend to achieve them. These collective individuals understand the importance of accountability, and the power behind committing to a specific philosophy. They understand their purpose, what dedicating time and effort to a cause means and what taking ownership over something is all about.

Equally as important as writing a mission statement, is to define — for yourself — what your definition of success is. Never let anyone else define success for you. You should always take the time to do this for yourself. In a competitive landscape, it’s easy to be concerned with how others are doing. To stress and worry about such things is natural. It’s human.

When you have a mission statement, you’ll realize the power behind deciding for yourself how successful you can and will be. Your mission statement and definition of success serve as the foundation for all future attempts at becoming who you hope to be. Several years ago, I wrote mine. Here it is:

To live each moment to the fullest by having a positive attitude, a smile and a genuine enjoyment for life, while giving everything I have to love the people and environment around me and make it a better place.

You’ll notice that this is indeed a philosophy, a high-level view of how I’d like to conduct myself in this world, and a few of the actions I’d like to take. This is not a series of marching orders or specific goals intended for a short duration. Your philosophy is strategic, while short-term goal setting is tactical.

Setting goals helps you focus on specific things you aim to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish them. The mission statement is crucial for establishing the things that matter to you. This leads to the development of your own personal values and principles.

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission.” — Zig Ziglar

There have likely been millions of thought impulses that have flashed through your mind during the course of your life. Even for those of you in your teen years. These thought impulses are acted upon, left in the recesses of your subconscious mind or ignored. Your thoughts lead to your life’s experiences and those experiences are often shared in the company of others.

All of these things have an enormous impact on how you make decisions. Your decisions will impact your course in life and whether you will find yourself happy, ambivalent or disappointed.

When I think back to putting together my philosophy, I reminisce about past relationships, experiences, thought impulses and emotions. I think of the times when I’ve been happiest, times I’ve been down, moments of peace and distress, and the times I’ve found my greatest inspiration. My inspiration is derived from my core philosophy.

“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” — Mahatma Gandhi

My motivation comes from the “fire” inside of me, the indescribable power that fuels my dreams and inner creativity. I acknowledge this “fire” as a gift that God has given me. A beautiful, divine power that I believe all of us can tap into if we have the desire and we believe.

This power will lead us to personal freedom, greater clarity of thought, vitality and energy to bring into our everyday lives. All this requires is a willingness to believe in God and yourself, and the desire to get to the core of what fuels your inner fire. Introspection and deep, personal reflection are key to living a life of freedom.

They help us to analyze our experiences and thoughts, and determine how we can use them to our future advantage. They provide us with a greater sense of direction and purpose. Along with your mission statement, they form the backbone of your future destiny.

Today’s article was written by Christopher D. Connors and is shared from the following website: https://medium.com/personal-growth/how-to-build-your-personal-mission-statement-and-transform-your-life-5b77e59717d8

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5 Ways to Shape Your Life With Positivity

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. Eleanor RooseveltThere are all kinds of theories about how to shape your life to get the most happiness, the most peace of mind, the most whatever it is you hope to achieve in your life. And then there is reality.

You get up every day and face the world – the world of traffic, the world of politics, the world of news, and the world of people you encounter socially and professionally. Your world is full of surprises, risks, brave actions and deeds – in essence, the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes, as you’re immediately waking up, you might think that it’s just not worth getting out of bed, or it’s too difficult to create the energy necessary to face the day with a positive spin.

The truth: it’s not that hard to cultivate positive attitude—optimism, expectancy, and enthusiasm – because these three mindsets make everything in life and in business easier. Why wouldn’t you want to have an easier life?

A positive attitude can tear into you like a hurricane up when you’re down or lift you up like a rocket when you’re already “on a roll.” People ask me every day how I do so much at 73 years of age. They want to know where I get my energy. How do I do so many things in life? What drives me? Some people take offense that I have a positive nature about what I do and how I feel, so they simply walk away.

But, if you don’t want to walk away from a person who shapes his or her life with positivity, here are 5 ways how to cultivate your own positive attitude, regardless of what’s happening in the world.

1. Control your attitude.

You shape your life with the attitudes, either positive or negative. These attitudes translate into activities that reflect your positive or negative mindset.

You don’t have to get up in the morning with a negative attitude about what’s going to happen that day. You have a choice. Of course, there are challenges, struggles, and unpleasant encounters, but you can choose a positive approach to each detail of your life. By steadfastly holding on to your strong and grounded core beliefs, you can achieve what you truly desire every day. This is the way you honor your life with a profound sense of self.

2. Control what you let into your life.

Your core beliefs about who you are and how you present yourself in your personal and professional world will consistently keep away the negatives and firm up the positives. However, if you choose to let in the bad energy of arguments and other people’s anger, you will slowly sink into quicksand. Your life will be stall mode. Nothing accomplished. Nothing gained.

Today’s world is full of haters and seekers of division. Avoiding situations that cause you to feel bad about either yourself or others is crucial in maintaining the positive. Limit the bad stuff and keep your inner life in positive control.

Caution: too much exposure to news and media can result in flooding your mind with negativity. Negative exposure limits your ability to maintain a positive attitude; it actively interrupts your brain and makes you more apt to have a negative mindset. Turn off the television, radio, and monitor how much social media you take in. Read a book, ride a bike, go for a swim and decompose.

3. Create a litany of positive thoughts.

One of the most effective ways to strengthen a positive mindset is to meditate 10 minutes a day. Let all negative thoughts go by, release their hold on you, and focus more on positive mantras instead of limiting opinions.

The ability to let thoughts go by without labeling them as good or bad gives you time and space for inspiration, and even perhaps, motivation to create the most positive mindset. If you do this regularly, you’ll have consistent clarity of thought and the ability to manage your feelings when events don’t go exactly the way you’d prefer. Then everything takes on a positive spin. My yoga teacher used to say: “It’s all good.”

4. Watch your words.

Do you think you are more hard-wired to think negatively? If you do, you will certainly use more negative words on a daily basis. But turn that around and describe yourself as hard-wired to think positively. If positive is your bent, then the words that come out of your mouth aren’t just a reflection of what’s in your brain—they’re programming your brain how to think. Therefore, if you want to have a positive attitude, your vocabulary must be consistently positive.

It takes full awareness, full consciousness to process your emotions and put them into the appropriate emotional context. Most negative words relate to fear, shame, guilt and disgust and require more mental processing than does using positive words.

Try taking a mental assessment of how many negative words you use during the day and see if you can determine the ratio of negative to positive words you use. What’s interesting is that you have more negative words available to you than you have positive words. Hint: avoid the shaming, blaming, hate words. Focus on neutral words to express unpleasant situations, such as, “I’m annoyed,” and not “I’m enraged.”

5. Ignore whiners and complainers.

There is nothing worse than listening to whiners and complainers. To ward off people who have an ax to grind with the world, listen closely to how whiners and complainers couch their emotions. You can usually spot a “negativo” within the first five minutes of conversation. They spread their “poor me” life before you and tell you everything that’s wrong with their existence. And they want everyone who can hear them to be as miserable as they are in their world because they can’t bear to see somebody else happy and satisfied.

So next time someone asks you how you are or “how’s it going,” tell them that you never felt better – and mean it! That’s when you are shaping your life with the positive.

Today’s article was written by Joan Moran and is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5-ways-to-shape-your-life-with-positivity_us_589a5df7e4b0985224db5b85

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