This is how gossip destroys relationships! (and 7 ways to put a FULL STOP to it)

Gossip: A weed watered by words Soul Dancer

“We are not gossiping, we are just networking!” – If you are discussing the negative information about others in their absence, you are already gossiping.

Gossip brings serious irreversible damages to relationships! We all might have been involved in ‘gossip’, in one way or the other, and we all have once been a victim of it. In this post, I would like to share with you what I learned about how gossip adversely affects personal relationships and how to put a full stop when someone starts gossip!

I have observed families being broken, relationships getting affected, and communities being destroyed, all because of  ‘few words’, which were conveyed by someone, which were not completely true.

Before proceeding, let me give you the proper definition of gossip so that you can check for yourself whether you are involved in any type of gossip or had been a victim of it.

Gossip is the casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true. [Oxford Dictionary]

Here is a simple definition, (restructured into simple words)

If you have ever involved in a conversation, where the topic is about some information about another person, in his/her absence, which are not confirmed as truth, then you have already taken part in gossiping.

I will give you a scenario:

There were three people, lets say, Person A, Person B and Person C. A and B are good frienABCds. B and C were good friends, but now they were not in good terms. A doesn’t know C personally.

A and B started a conversation in the absence of C. A and B started talking, and after some time they started to speak about C. Even though, they started discussing the positive things of Person C, B unintentionally shared some of the ‘negative things’ of C, to his friend A. Person A believed this report. Person A was curious to know more and the conversation became intense and both of them started to discuss more about C. Most of the things B shared about C were not fully true, as B had a grudge towards C.

Suddenly Person C comes and joins A and B. A and B started to act as if they were discussing something else.  

Now just imagine, how would the conversation proceed? A had already got a negative impression about C, from his friend B. Even if C tries to build a good relationship with A, as long as A has the ‘wrong information about C’ in his mind, it would be very difficult for the relationship to be genuine and strong. Isn’t it?

This is how relationships are adversely affected.

So, what is gossip? With regard to personal relationships, it is a conversation about any information, about a third person, which is mostly not confirmed to be true.

Gossip is like a ‘forest fire’

Once affected, it is impossible to revert the damage caused by it.

There is a story that is often told about the dangers of gossip. One version tells that a woman spreads untruths about a neighbor in her village. When she wants to make amends, she approaches an elder in the community, tells him how sorry she is, and asks what she can do to apologize. He brings her to the top of a hill on a windy day with a pillowcase full of feathers. He instructs her to open the pillowcase, and the feathers fly everywhere. He then asks her to collect the far-flung feathers. She protests, saying that it is impossible to track down each feather. He responds that so too is it impossible to undo the damage that gossip causes, for each piece of gossip told catches the wind and travels far, just like the feathers.

Let us see what the Bible tells about the power of the tongue

the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3: 5-8 [NIV]

  • The tongue is a small part of the body but it can greatly boast
  • The tongue is a fire, and it can cause great damage like a forest fire
  • It is very difficult to tame the tongue
  • It is full of deadly poison

Therefore, we need to be careful about using our ‘tongue’. If you can control your tongue, you can control your whole life.

Now is YOUR turn – You can either quench the fire!! or pour fuel into it and spread the fire!!

Your choice!

7 simple ways to put a FULL STOP to gossip.

Nobody ever starts the gossip intentionally. It mostly happens in the daily conversations even without we being aware of it. Here, are some simple things to consider, to escape from the deadly poison of gossip. (Mostly to be applied in personal relationships)

1. Never ‘believe’ the facts about a third person without proper evidence

Even, if the facts that were given to you, is by a trustworthy person, make it a habit not to quickly believe it, without considering the evidence/facts. If you clearly set this principle in your mind, then you can be sure that you will not be easily pulled into gossiping.

2. Never believe ‘half-truths’

Some facts may seem to be true but are half-truths. Half-truths are whole lies!

Example: Jack and Bobby are brothers. Jack tells his mother, “Bobby hit me”. Mother immediately punishes Bobby. Bobby starts to cry. The truth was that Jack hit Bobby first, and they both fought among each other. But, in order to escape the punishment of his mother, Jack ran towards his mother and complained to her about Bobby, before Bobby could ever tell her. 

Here, what Jack told is ‘truth’, but was a ‘half-truth’. The mother took the wrong action, because she didn’t take time to inquire from Bobby on what happened.

Therefore, never take action on hearing half-truths. Listen to all the parties involved, before jumping to a conclusion.

3. Learn to stop a conversation when it turns into gossip

Listening eagerly to a gossip is also equivalent to gossiping. Therefore, if you observe that, the conversation you are involved with, is shifting to ‘gossip’, gently and politely decline or change the topic. This is how you put a full stop to gossip.

Gossip kills three people: the one who speaks it, the one who listens, and the one about whom it is spoken – unknown

4. If a person gossips about another person to you, remember he/she will gossip about you TOO

This is a simple check to test whether a person is trustworthy. The one who gossips to you cannot be trusted. Therefore refuse to share your secrets or confidential matters with such a person.

5. Never ever spread a negative information about another person

Even if you know that it is the truth, you need not share it with others. It will spoil his/her reputation. Spreading negative information about others will make yourself a less trustworthy person. (Refer the previous point). Speaking evil about others is a negative personality trait.

6. Try to find the positive in others

The next importing thing is to train yourself to find the good in others. Even though someone told wrong about that person, still he has some good in him. Find those and appreciate it. Therefore, whenever someone gossips to you about that person, you can change the conversation by discussing the good about him. Isn’t a good idea?

7. Always remember this warning – You are responsible for your words

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matt 12:36, 37

Therefore, if you have already fallen into this great sin of gossip, it is high time to feel sorry about it, and request God to forgive. God is merciful and will forgive your mistakes. Also, only God can heal the damages caused by gossip.

Here is a self-checklist

  1. Am I quick to believe the negative reports of someone I do not know?
  2. Did I ever spread a wrong information?
  3. Will I be curious to know the personal private facts of others?
  4. Will I encourage someone who gossips to me?
  5. Am I quick to judge others based on the information I received?
  6. Do I seek information from all parties before believing the report?

These are some of the questions you can ask yourselves. If you have ever been involved in gossip, you will never know how much damage it may cause to the various relationships you are involved with.

Here is a simple prayer

Father, knowingly or unknowingly I have believed the wrong reports about others. I am sorry for it. I chose not to believe it. Help me not to be interested in the negative things of others. Help me to put a stop to gossip next time someone starts it. Give me the boldness to discourage such conversations. Help me to build relationships and not to destroy it. Help me to recognize the traps set by people to pull me into unwanted conversations. Please help me to bring glory to you, by properly taming my ears and tongue. Help me to bring glory to you. Thank you, Jesus, for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Today’s article was written by Donny Thomas Kurien and is shared from the following website: http://hisvoiceonline.com/gossip-destroys-relationships/

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5 Ways to Give Everyday & Attract Abundance

If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away Mark Twain

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran

What is the quickest and most effective way to achieve abundant prosperity? The answer is that to receive more abundance in our lives, we must give freely out of pure love and generosity, without expectation or the desire for recognition. Giving and receiving are the exchanges of energies, two parts of the whole, and they must exist equally for the maintenance of energetic balance. Abundance is your birthright, and it is perfectly acceptable to expect prosperity in all of its forms.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word “abundance?” For many individuals, “abundance” is directly related to material goods, often money, and the act of giving calls forth similar images of material gifts or monetary donations. But what if I told you that giving does not require money and abundance is not confined to material possessions but rather includes those components as pieces of the prosperity pie?

Each one of us has many different gifts to offer, and during these difficult economic times, it is understandable if those gifts are more of services rather than goods. When you come from a place of generosity and abundance rather than a place of poverty and lack, the possibilities for giving and receiving are endless.

Below are five ways to give non-monetarily so that you can create more abundance in your life.

1. Say a Silent Prayer – As you go through your days, send healing prayers to those who need your good thoughts and silently bless them, wishing for them that they receive all that they need and desire. We are all connected as energetic beings, so your sending of positive energy will ultimately affect those who you direct it toward in positive ways.

2. Be Friendly – Your smile can brighten up a room, and it can also brighten up the day of someone you encounter. Start a conversation with someone about the weather, compliment someone on a beautiful piece of clothing, or just smile and say “hello.” I’ve been on the receiving end of friendliness from a complete stranger more times than I can count, and it has always made a lasting positive impression on me, even changing the outcome of my days.

3. Perform Random Acts of Kindness – Random acts of kindness are so often surprising when you are on the receiving end and deeply fulfilling when you are on the giving end of these hidden gems. If you see someone struggling to open a door or carry all of his/her grocery bags, offer to help. You will open yourself up to all kinds of positive energy and prosperity by the giving of kindness.

4. Lend a Helping Hand – If you know someone in your life is struggling, offer to lend a helping hand, such as taking a disabled or acutely ill friend’s dog for a walk, babysitting the children of a busy single mother you know, or writing thank you notes for an elderly neighbor who can no longer see. These helpful acts are often much more valuable than any material gifts could be.

5. Love – Love is the universal energy that connects us all, and when we are plugged into our source, the potential for love is limitless. Share love, spread love, preach love or teach love. Whatever you decide to do, do it freely and with love, and abundance will be yours for the receiving.

Today’s article was written by Maria Mooney and is shared from the following website: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4876/5-Ways-to-Give-Everyday-Attract-Abundance.html

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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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Make Room for You, for God and Rest

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop Ovid

Everyone has a story.

All of us were once little boys and girls. We all have memories. 

Some happy. Some not.

Some we share. Yet, many more lay hidden in the secret pages of our heart.

So that we can be strong. So that we can be happy.  So that we can be free.

That’s what I thought, until one day, I stood at the cusp of a childhood dream about to come true.

I was going to write a book.

But as my pen hit the paper to capture those moments, they all came alive.

My memories were no longer stories I once told myself.

And I began reliving them.

Unexpected. Painful memories.

Trauma.

Anxiety.

Just a Visit

I was seven years tall.

I didn’t want to be afraid. It was supposed to be simple. Just a visit.

On the weekends, my father would come see my sister and me.  After the divorce.

I was supposed to climb into the car with the cracking vinyl seats, into the car with the peeling rooftop — of my daddy’s olive green Nova.  It smelled like old, dirty ashtrays, as I slid in the back.  It smelled sad and lonely.  But, I didn’t say anything.

I kept quiet as my little sister with chubby wrists and cherub-rose cheeks toddled in to sit beside me. I felt small and awkward, my hands on my lap and shoulders hunched over as my daddy turned around and smiled a little too widely, his eyes begging for me to smile back.

But, I didn’t know what to do. Because my momma said nothing about this visit.  Other than I better not take anything from him.  I better not come home with anything, other than what I left with that morning.

Which was nothing.

As we rode across town, across the train tracks, up and over the metal buildings and smokestacks of the old Del Monte cannery in Sunnyvale, everything stood eerily silent.  It was Saturday morning and everyone and everything was still in bed.  The streets rolled by empty, as I looked out the window and wondered where we were heading.

I still remember how big the Kay Bee toy store looked as my father tried to hold my hand walking through the parking lot. The square letters spelling K-a-y-B-e-e were suspended kid-tousled happy on the signage way up high.

Even though my little sister couldn’t read, she didn’t need to.  She was getting excited, her little feet hurrying ahead.

But, I knew better. Nothing ever came simple for me.

That day at the toy store ended up just as I had feared.  Not simple.

Who I Could Be

The journey of rest has been the same.  Not simple.

How do you rest when life is less than perfect — with stress marring the daily journey?

I’ve tried to find rest by making a safe place for myself, by putting myself to the side.

By problem solving.

By being strong.

By doing.

I wrestle my anxieties into action plans and check lists to shield myself from vulnerability. I was thankful, sincerely trusting God in what I could do — but missing out on who I could be — by trusting Him to rest.

Here I was, all grown up, mom of two beautiful boys, married to a loving husband.  Yet, I somehow came to believe  incorrectly that if I had faith in God, stress, doubt and pain couldn’t touch me.

Awaken Your Heart

It’s so much easier to take care of everyone, to tend to problems and everything else. It’s easier to be strong and not need or feel.

This is how I’ve lived my life. Fine and functioning.

Surviving.

But, deep inside, where no one knew — where I seldom ventured myself — I was weary. I longed for rest.

Soul rest.

Sometimes the deeper journey of faith is found by following your heart to rest.

Putting our hearts first — letting Jesus love us — is a deep, intimate journey of resting with him.

Make room for you.

Feed your soul.

Slow down.

Breathe.

As much as I longed for all this, I didn’t know how. Until Jesus took me on a  journey of faith to awaken my heart. To be real. To be known. To rest.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the day at the toy store would be our last visit together. My daddy and I.

Something New

As I journeyed through stories long forgotten, God was using all my broken pieces to make something beautiful.

Something new.

God transformed my brokenness into a story of discovery.

A story of rest. To find the things I somehow lost along the way.

Quiet.

Stillness.

Intimacy with God.

In that secret place where I dream dreams. Where I can just be me.

In my search for answers, I made an important discovery:  we all need spiritual whitespace.

Spiritual Whitespace

White space is used in art and design. It’s the space on a page left unmarked.

It’s not blank – it breathes beauty. It gives the eye a place to rest.

Without it, clutter takes over the page.

Just as beautiful art needs white space, our souls need spiritiual whitespace.  We need rest.

God, after all, is an Artist and we are his work of art.

My story is really everyone’s story. Everyone long to find a place to breathe –

to dream dreams,

to slow down,

feed their soul,

and be free.

To feel more deeply connected to God. And others.

Make Room For Your Story

Learning to make room for yourself to rest requires risk. It’s vulnerable to say, I can’t do it all. I need rest.

I eventually went on to complete writing my book about my journey to find rest.

As I uncovered my story, I am finding kindreds on this journey of rest. I realize I’m not so alone anymore.  

I think of Jesus. How He made room for you and me.

By living a beautiful, broken story of love. He told this story. By living it.

Sometimes the hardest stories to tell are the most beautiful.

Our stories are the greatest, most beautiful gifts we can offer: ourselves.

Take the journey of spiritual whitespace.

Uncover the stories deep in our souls, to create space in our hearts and in our schedules.

For beauty. For rest. For God.

So we can live a better story.

Today.

Today’s post was written by Bonnie Gray and is shared from the following website : https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/bonnie-gray/make-room-for-your-story-for-god-and-for-rest.html

 

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Doing the Right Thing…Is Always Rewarded (Eventually)

 Doing the right thing is like drinking a green smoothie... I may not always love how it tastes but I always Love how it feels. JoAnna Oblander

A NEW JERSEY TEEN GETS AN AMAZING SURPRISE AFTER DOING THE RIGHT THING

RETURN TO OWNER

I recently had a friend tell me the inspiring story of teen named John.  John told my friend his story began when he was 15 and he and his parents were shopping at the mall one weekend. While his parents were at the food court he decided to venture into an electronics store. Since he didn’t have any money, he was window shopping and see what kind of interesting gadgets they had displayed on the shelves. He was looking at an item on one of the shelves when he noticed a brown leather wallet lying upon the shelf beside some of the boxes. He picked up the wallet and took a look inside to see if he could find any identification to identify find the owner of the wallet. As he was looking for the I.D, he noticed the wallet was very heavy, In fact, he discovered there was at least several hundred dollars contained within the wallet.

John admits he day dreamed for a brief moment about how nice it would have been to have been able to buy anything he wanted in the store with all of the money he had found. But then he thought about how he would feel if he, or his dad, or someone he knew had lost their wallet. Wouldn’t he want to get it back? Yes, there was no question; he had to get the wallet back to the rightful owner.

FINDING THE OWNER

John said a couple of minutes later his dad came into the store. He showed his dad the wallet he had found and his dad looked through the wallet until he found the I.D. “Oh” his dad had remarked, “this person looks familiar. Let’s head home and I’ll give the number the call. I am sure they are worried sick over this wallet.”

When they arrived home, John’s dad gave the number a call, gave the man on the other end their address and told him he could arrive at any time that evening to pick up his wallet. What happened next was very surprising to John.

John couldn’t believe who showed up to obtain the wallet. The reason why the man in the picture had looked so familiar was because the owner of the wallet belonged to John’s Principal, Principal Radcliff.  John recalls how thankful and relived Principal Radcliff looked when his dad gave John the wallet to hand back to Principal Radcliff. John recalled the story of how he had found the wallet while browsing in an electronics store. Apparently, Principal Radcliff had just made a large withdrawal from his bank and had went to the mall to buy birthday presents for his daughter, but he had forgotten his wallet when he received a phone call and had to rush home.

JOHN GETS SOME HELP

Principal Radcliff became very fond of John after he returned his wallet. He admired the honesty and integrity of the teen and often gave John advice when he was having issues in school. John says the most amazing thing happened his senior year in high school; he was applying for colleges and having little success. He had good grades, but the most prominent of colleges were looking for more than good grades, they wanted exemplary students.

John says at this point, Principal Radcliff had been promoted to Superintendent Radcliff.  So they didn’t get to talk as often as they did when he and John were in school together, but Superintendent Radcliff still called John on occasion to discuss his future. John said he still remembers the day when Superintendent Radcliff called one evening after John had just received another rejection notice from a college he was really looking to join. “Have you tried Princeton yet, John?” Superintendent Radcliff asked over the phone. John responded that he had not, because he did not feel he had any chance of getting into one of the top schools in the US after being rejected by other colleges “I think you should apply, in fact, I’m going to write you a letter of recommendation. Please attach it with your application.” Superintendent Radcliff responded. John thanked Superintendent Radcliff for his offer; and received the letter from him two days later. John says he went ahead and filled out an application and attached the letter.

Three weeks went by before John received a letter in the mail from Princeton. He expected it to be another rejection letter, but to his surprise, he had been accepted! At the bottom of the acceptance letter was a small note that read, “the one thing that made your application stand out; was your display of honor and integrity; which Superintendent Radcliff spoke so highly about in your letter of recommendation. We look meeting with you soon.” John said he was utterly astonished, but equally excited.

That fall, John began his college classes at Princeton University; and it all went back to a wallet John had found in the store; where he did the right thing.

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