Humility

Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.  ~ attributed to Charles Haddon Spurgeon

First off, let me apologize for taking so long to get another blog post up! Now that that is out of the way on to the topic for the day, humility! For those who have yet to read any of my blog, and as those who have been reading already know, my blog is about discovering and bettering ourselves, and gaining more understanding about life in general. Humility may seem like a diversion from previous blog posts in which I have encouraged the reader to embrace themselves with love and a greater understanding of their own talents and true worth, but in truth it isn’t, in fact not only do I believe that it fits right in with learning these things, I also feel it is essential to living a truly discovered life. As the quote above states, true humility isn’t about hating yourself or undervaluing yourself, but is instead the ability to understand yourself, both strengths and weaknesses. It is only when we have a “right estimate” of ourselves that we are able to learn and grow. Humility is the ability to be malleable, the ability to be taught and the ability to admit to our own weaknesses so that we may use our strengths to combat them and become stronger individuals. If we close ourselves off to our weaknesses due to fear and insecurity we are crippling any chance for true and lasting change, in short a person who isn’t able to have true humility will merely live a stagnated life. It is important to understand that as unique individuals we have an unique mixture of both strengths and weaknesses, as well as it is important to understand that if we aren’t careful, even our own strengths can become a weakness, if we allow them to cloud are ability to be humble. We all have within ourselves the capability to be both teacher and student, and it is only when we are able to find the appropriate balance of the two that we can grow wings and fly to new heights of understanding and development. The truly humble will see the world as a constant teacher, and will be continuing to experience life with fresh perspective and constantly gain greater wisdom. As I have stated before, a person needs to be completely honest with themselves in order to truly change, to heal, to learn, to progress. It can be hard, it can hurt, but it is worth it, the greatest things do always take the most work after all. Also we need to allow criticism in our lives; even criticism that seems nonconstructive can hold a lesson, hurt feelings often arise from insecurities, and can actually help us explore our inner self to see where the weakness is and how it is we can fix it. Life is a journey, and true journeys are filled with many lessons and much change. Humility will help make the lessons easier and the change greater. So allow yourself to be teachable and you will be giving yourself an invaluable gift, the gift of becoming the best version of yourself possible!

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Mindfulness

I strongly believe that the greatest way you can help a person is by teaching them that they are the only person who can ultimately help them and to give them to the tools they can use to make the changes they want happen. So today I wanted to write a post on one tool I was given that I have found to be of great use, and that is mindfulness and in particular, meditation. Meditation is truly a great tool that we can each use to shape our minds into patterns that will aid us rather than harm us. Various forms of meditation have actually been studied and found to have a permanent, positive impact on the way our minds work. Previously it was understood that meditation most definitely had immediate impact on the mind and also body, most particularly the autonomic nervous system, which is  where our stress signals originate. Now it is beginning to be understood that meditation actually changes our autonomic nervous system if we make meditation a habit, even when we are not meditating! On top of this we can learn to gain greater concentration and a clearer understanding of how our minds work that are imperative in teaching us how to better use our greatest instrument. But don’t let me be the only one telling you! Check out these other resources I found when doing research for this post. It is pretty fascinating how much science can teach us! Hopefully you can use this tool to help act as a catalyst to positive change. 

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200105/the-science-meditation

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112150339.htm

 

Lights, Camera, Action!

“An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” Attributed to Arnold Glasow
“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” Attributed to Peter Marshall
Over the past several weeks, I have brought up quite a few topics that are meant to inspire the individual reading them to learn to love themselves, and learn tools they need to become a better more productive person and to achieve a greater level of happiness in life. Today I felt it absolutely imperative to talk about the one thing that will make the difference between reading those ideas and becoming them, and that can be summarized in one word, action. Being a person with bipolar disorder I know all too well what depression feels like. I know the apathy, lethargy and shocking lack of emotion, even in the presence of great emotional elicitors, it brings. Depression is the opposite of action, it stagnates you, it crushes you, it makes it seem like the only thing you can possibly do is lay in bed, staring blankly at a wall. There is only one thing that can save a person from depression, whether it is situational or chemical, and that one thing is action. The need to get your gears moving again is essential to overcoming the great stillness of life that depression can cause. Complacency is also another beast that traps the human potential. The fear of failure, and of change, keeps us locked in our comfort zones never attempting to reach higher than what we already know we can do, no matter how little, or how much that is at the time. The only answer to any of this is action; ideas are all good and dandy, inspiration for a moment, warm and fuzzy, but what are they if all we do is go back to our former way of living? Did you know, potential is not a set thing? I believe it is like a muscle and if we continue to work it our potential continues to grow exponentially. But what good is it to know all this if we never take the steps to becoming something greater than we already are? It means nothing; it becomes a fading thought that was once entertained briefly in the fabric of our memory. I’m not the only person out there trying to use my words to motivate and encourage people, plenty before me and plenty after will. Yet, it seems that more people tend to live way below what they are capable of, and much less happy than they have the right to be. Why is this? Even when they have read and heard from many individuals time after time, the great things we can do and become? It is because of the lack of action after hearing these thoughts and ideas. Whose fault is it then? If you aren’t living the life you want to live? If you aren’t seeing the accomplishments you want? Whose fault is it if you find yourself falling back into your old habits and old patterns of thinking? Is it mine? Is it the countless others out there telling you the same thing? Is the advice not sound? No, and no again. If your life isn’t changing it’s because of you. The only person that can change your life, that can teach you to love you, the only person that can bring purpose and action and beauty into your life is you! The responsibility rests on your shoulders, again I will say, if you really want something, you will make it happen. You need to overcome your fears, and your habits, you need to really want change, despite the discomfort it brings, in order to see a change in your life! The only way to make that happen is with action. You need to do what it is you are afraid of doing. If you want to become healthier, go to the gym, and get on that treadmill, even if it is for just 15 minutes! If you aspire to be a writer, go on Google, put in “writing prompts” and select one, then sit down and do it! If you want to be a cook, find a cooking class! If you want to become a better mother, identify one area you aren’t as strong in, maybe it is actually listening to your kids, then take action, and try to listen a little harder. The actions we can take are unending, but you need to be the one to take that action, one small step at a time. The people who are doing something, and succeeding, and appear confident beyond what you could ever imagine, are people just like you, and every step they take feels as shaky and frightening as the steps you take. The difference between them and you, is that they know the discomfort is well worth the result and so, they take those steps, they take action in their life, they become the agent of change in their life, they act rather than be acted upon. Your action my friends, will change your life, way more than reading a blog post written by some girl ever will. Be the agent of change your life needs! Now, please do yourself a favor and realize, this is an extremely hard practice; you will not succeed all at once. Some days will be better than others, and some results will take a very long time to see. Just remember, be proud of yourself for the actions you are taking no matter how small, don’t get discouraged long enough to keep you from continuing to change, don’t let thoughts of inadequacy ruin the action you have already taken. Remember to love yourself, and remember you are worth the change and happiness you want to see in your life.

Human Potential

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” -Anne Frank

Today’s blog post is inspired by the above quote. Anyone who has been following my blog up to this point knows how strongly I feel that every human being is worthy of so much more than most ever will believe, and that they can accomplish so much more than they ever thought possible. So I think it comes as no surprise that I love this quote. Most of the posts up to this point have been about how to treat ourselves in order to gain a greater understanding of our self-worth. Today I want to return to a quote I used earlier “Be good to yourself so you can be good to others.” Ultimately the goal of learning to love ourselves and live to our fullest potential is to share that with others and to help them realize their importance. So today, I want to talk about something we can do for others, something I believe is extremely important to the development of the human race, and that is, learning to treat others to their potential. What I mean by this is, to one, realize that the above quote is TRUE, that we can be greater than we thought, love more than we ever felt, accomplish much more than we ever believed and achieve a potential we could never have imagined, and then to realize that every single person you encounter has that exact same good news in them, and to treat them as the person they can be! Every person has both good and bad in them, and too often we focus on the bad, and treat them as if they are that person rather than the good news lying dormant, just waiting for someone, anyone, to discover and help them unlock! So please, do others, the world and yourself a favor, treat other people as the people they can and should be! People live up to how we see them and how we treat them, so the more you treat a person like crap, for whatever reason, then they will continue to live to the potential you are treating them. Treat a person like the talented, beautiful person they really are, even if it is just dormant, and they will begin to slowly realize that maybe they really are that person and eventually they will live to the potential you treat them!  Best part is, sometimes, it is actually easier to see the good in others, but as you practice seeing that and treating others like that, you may just begin to discover the good news in yourself as well. So everyone, go proclaim the good news that we are amazing, incredible individuals! Be the best you can be, love to the greatest stretching of your heart and soul, don’t be afraid to accomplish fantastic things and unlock your greatest potential!

Fake It Til You Make It!

For today’s blog post I’ve decided to post on yet another way of becoming a better and truer version of ourselves! The topic being based on the advice “Fake it til you make it”. In other words self-fulfilling prophecies. Now most of us have heard that term, but it tends to have a negative concept applied to it, in the sense that someone is either told by others that they are something and they believe it and become that, or we belief it our self.  You think, “I’m a loser” and others see that you think this and what happens? They treat you like a loser! But what if you turn it on the other coin, with the advice of fake it til you make it? What can happen? Can pretending to be something you want to be really be healthy for you? I’ve actually tried this technique and I can tell from personal experience that, yes it DOES work! The reason is because as you pretend being eventually you learn how to actually be that way, you see that the ability to pretend you are confident, talented, loving, patient, competent, a great writer, a good nurse, a smart student, etc. etc. shows that you really are that way! Slowly or quickly, depending on what it is you are trying to change or become, it does happen, and you find you are just as awesome as you pretended to be 🙂 The idea also applies to this, if you really want something then you’ll make it happen, the motivation and drive, the ability to keep on trying and not get scared at the hurtles or set backs you may have can really drive your life in the direction you used to only dream could be possible. The idea of faking it til you make is one I’ve used, so I understood from a perspective of trial and error that it works, but seeing that I wanted to write today on this I looked up a blog on Psychology Today that not only backs up my point but also explains why it works. In the article there is a little round graph indicating the concepts of ourselves and our interactions with others. Pretty much what happens is this, you have an idea about yourself, you act out based on that concept, others see it and treat you likewise which then reinforces your idea about yourself and your further actions. This applies both negatively and positively. It’s pretty neat just what we can learn in our quest to change for the positive! I want to bring out one other concept here, and that is, if you are really focused on wanting to become something or achieve something, I suggest making something called a vision board, this is also something I’ve used and will continue to! It may seem like a cheesy concept at first but it can have a powerful impact on your life as a constant reminder of the things you are working for. Make it however you want, find pictures of places you want to visit, things you want to accomplish, use quotes that inspire you, or pictures of people you’d like to be like. The possibilities are endless, because it is YOUR vision board. If you make one and place it somewhere you can see every day, you will have something to continually motivate you and remind you of your goals; something strange may begin to take place, as you look at it day after day you may just find yourself fulfilling many of those dreams of yours in your day to day activities, nothing is more rewarding than realizing you are actually achieving your goals, even if it is one small step at a time! So my advice for the day, if you aren’t fully convinced yet on anything it is you want to change in your life, or ideas about the you you want to be, or goals you want to accomplish or even the concept that you are WORTH achieving the things you want in life, then do yourself a favor, fake it til you make it, others will see quite quickly the beauty in you then, and you will find that you weren’t really ever faking it, it was there all along, you just had to find it! Good luck my friends with all you wish to accomplish!

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/psychology-writers/201210/using-self-fulfilling-prophecies-your-advantage

 

 

Living True To You

Today’s post was inspired by both a quote and a poem I once wrote. So I will share them first.

“When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.”

With aching heart, and bemused mind
the wanderer stopped and stood some time.
Enveloped about in Winter’s stony grip,
he felt his facade begin to slip.

With the wind, the forest tore asunder,
each creak and crack a booming thunder.
The moaning pain of the Forest’s fight,
seemed to echo his own soul’s plight.

With tears stinging coldly in his eyes,
he lifted his head to the stone gray skies.
He finally bellowed out his Soul’s desire,
and in it’s truth his body warmed with fire.

Truth ran rampant through his veins,
healing what was once deceit’s grimy pains.
Now that his mask had left and gone,
His Soul sang out it’s ethereal song.

With trembling heart and exposed mind,
the wanderer laughed and thought some time.
With fresh eyes he saw anew,
the magic brush of winter, that around him blew.

While in the sparkling gleam of ice and snow,
in his mind a thought began to grow.
And he walked along a glistening stream,
it seemed as if he was lost within a dream.

“In the forest there is perfect harmony,
everything fulfilling what it was meant to be.
every creature and every plant knows,
the part they play to make the forest grow.”

As he thought about the forest,
standing on a hill’s tall lone crest,
He saw the lesson he had to learn
about why our soul’s for certain things will yearn.

“When we try to live another’s vision,
we will fill our life with our own soul’s derision.”
Because in time’s eternal round, we have our part.
And from this moment, mine I intend to start!”

With that thought his soul was freed,
he vowed there and made his final creed.
From that tall lone crest he looked out,
and began living his part without fear or doubt.

Often times in life we learn to try to live and be things that parents want us to be, we try to live the lives a teacher, friend, lover or anyone important in our lives feel is the right life for us to live, and we develop an interesting personality; we become chameleons, always adapting to others. This type of living is not the way we should live, ultimately it will backfire on everyone involved. A person who is something they don’t want to be, or lives a life they don’t believe is crushing their true self and depression, anxiety, fear, apathy and confusion can and do take over. Those whispering of our true desires and beliefs will always be there, no matter how crushed they may be and the sadness and apathy in which we live a life that is a lie will take over. Those we love, will see it, and not only in the end will you hurt but also those that genuinely care about you will be too. We have to be true to ourselves, we have to realize we are unique  and for a reason, we need everyone to live the life they feel is true, and to do the things they are truly passionate about. We need everyone, we need architects, and plumbers, we need gardeners and politicians, we need scientists and artists. So don’t be afraid to be who you are, it isn’t until you stand for yourself and what you believe in and are passionate about that you can truly be alive; it is not until you are truly alive that you can add your vibrant and much needed thread to the tapestry of the human race. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, those who matter will still love you, and you will love yourself. Life can be beautiful, and should be beautiful!

Mind & Body

Well, hello everyone! Sorry it’s been a bit since I last posted, but Seattle was great fun! Today’s blog post is inspired by a little article I read on psychology-today (go figure). The article itself discussed how if we apply the physical action of writing a thought down and then throwing it away we are actually signaling to our mind that particular thought is invalid; the physical act of throwing it away significantly registers with the brain. The same thing happens when we take a written down thought and keep it with us or treasure it; in this case we are signaling to our brain that this is a good thought we should keep with us! What I found most interesting in the article is that the same results of letting go of a negative thought or keeping a positive thought by imagining throwing it away or keeping it in your pocket does not yield the same results of actually completing the action. What I took away from this, besides a nice activity to try for a little self help, was the idea that our body and mind are so intricately connected that they are almost one and the same. Not only is this an idea that is gaining popularity in recent science but it is also something that has been recorded throughout centuries of the human existence. One prime example of this is the practice of meditation. It is even recorded that in some cultures meditators were able to keep their bodies alive in extremely low temperatures while wearing little to no clothing, and others were able to completely block out the pain of being burned. (I would not suggest anyone try this out!) Another example is from India, and the Shamans who learned how to lay on beds of nails, or walk on glass and other such activities. There are stories of people healing themselves from life threatening disease simply through faith, or mind power. The list goes on and on of human kinds fascinating abilities to use their mind to overcome their bodies. But it isn’t just the minds ability to overcome physical sensation that points to the mind body connection. The body itself also has a significant impact on the mind as well. People who experience chronic pain are also at a much greater risk to become depressed, and if they do, the depression increases their pain. Also, on a more positive side of the picture, people who work out and eat well increase their minds ability to concentrate, handle pain and can even compute faster. No matter what way you look at it the mind and body are intricately connected to a degree that it is often hard to tell where the line ends and starts with each; and maybe the reason why we can’t seem to find this distinctive line is because it doesn’t exist. Our mind dictates what we do with our body and how it feels, and how our body feels affects our emotions and what we do with our mind. 

What is the point of all this you may ask? The point is this, that on our path to self-discovery, happiness and living to our fullest potential, we can not ignore the mind body connection! In order to feel our best we must pay attention to both, we need to work out, eat well, and take time to unwind our minds (meditation really is a GREAT way to do that). I will leave you with two quotes attributed to Buddha, and please, ponder their meaning, and find away to apply them to your life, as well as the ideas suggested in the psychology today article. I firmly believe that all of this can have the potential to make an extremely positive difference in your life! I know they can because I personally have experienced how much of an impact taking care of both your mind and body can have! Now for the quotes!

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

“What we think, we become”

and the article-http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brainstorm/201212/writing-thoughts-down-can-help-quell-the-bad-keep-the-good

What Tragedy Teaches

Hello everyone! I just wanted to post something real quick, because I am visiting a friend in Seattle I won’t have much time for posting! I wanted to touch upon a subject that is a popular one right now, and especially infacebook statuses, the CT shooting. I have read many statuses of people being horrified at the event, and for good reason, but I have also seen many, many posts saying how people have lost hope in humanity and are just sick with the human race. This too is understandable, but I want to put out a different view. I have seen humanitie’s reaction to this tragedy and what I saw was sadness for the loss of life, compassion for the families affected and a desire to hold their loved ones closer and love them greater. So let us focus on this, that most people are compassionate and not cold blooded. Remember what this season is about, love, peace on earth and goodwill to men. We never said that would come all at once, it is something we need to work on, and that starts and ends with the individual, we can change the world, one person at a time!

Dreams, just for childhood?

Dreams and childhood, what magic these two words can hold, what promise, what sweet memories. That is what today’s post is inspired by, and a lesson I learned by almost losing both of these precious gifts. It is one I will never forget for that reason alone. It is a well-known fact that many species of animals young “play”, and that this play is really meant as lessons for surviving later on in life. Wolf cubs growl and tussle and nip at each other, these games later turn into very real battles for pecking order that is essential in the wolf’s hierarchy. Big cats cubs pounce and swat at bugs, grass and really anything that moves, later on this will translate into a seasoned killer, able to stealthily pounce and kill its prey. An animal’s play is necessary for its survival as an adult. Human beings are no different. Children enjoy playing games that mimic the situations adults face in their day to day life. If a child’s play is essential to their later success as an adult, wouldn’t it stand to reason that a child’s dreams hold great importance too? Then why is it so many of us lose sight of these dreams? Why do we squash them, and become something we never would have imagined for ourselves? I think the reasons can be easily found when a person knows where to look. For one, societal norms dictate what a person can and cannot do within the realm of what is considered normalcy; watch a person step out of bounds from that and you will see the ridicule that follows. Societal ridicule is most definitely not a comfortable thing, and neither is stepping outside of your comfort zone. This, however strong it may be, is not the only reason we tend to let go of, forget and bury our treasured dreams. Even greater ills may hold a stronger hold. Life can be brutal, death, illness, war, abuse so on and so forth, are prevalent all around us. When such events intrude into the carefree life of a child the damage can be irreparable. A child forced too quickly to grow up, in order to cope with the harshness of life, can lose the chance they need to grow and flourish and to become the person they are meant to be. Having to take care of others and fighting to survive have a certain way of squashing a person’s ability to gain interpersonal skills and stunt the ability to learn and become what  they otherwise would have been.  Finally, one more reason we may learn to give up childhood dreams, and this can be the absolute hardest to overcome, is being told throughout childhood and adolescence by adults around us, no matter how good their intentions may be, that these dreams are silly, or worse yet, that we aren’t capable of achieving them. When a child learns that he will be scorned for their creativity and the things they truly enjoy, and when a child is taught through harsh words and negativity to hate themselves as an individual, this stays with them and creates an adult who is afraid to live. Low self-esteem and dis-belief in oneself crush all joy and all you have left is an individual only half alive, just living and working, never fully loving life as they did once upon a time. I think a lot of us have experienced many of the above mentioned reasons for abandoning what we once longed for as children. It is a sad state of affairs, to watch an amazingly creative and talented child slowly grow more and more cold, closed off and sad as an adult. Yet it happens, more often than it does not, at least to some extent. But it does not have to be this way! Each person has the ability within themselves to heal and to once more dream as a child does, and to add to this the talents and abilities learned as an adult! Imagine the power of the combination of a child’s endless hope, imagination and creativity coupled with the intelligence and means of an adult! Imagine what it would be like if each person loved and trusted themselves enough to ignore the scoffs of the other crippled adults around them to reach out and make their dreams possible! Do you think the atom was discovered because someone shied away from their dreams when others laughed at their silliness? Do you think we would’ve ever landed on the moon if the scientists involved listened to every naysayer?  What about great music? Art? Computers? Smart phones!? The only way to overcome the fear of naysayers though, is to overcome the greatest one of all, ourselves. Once you believe in yourself, anything, I repeat, ANYTHING is possible! So please, do me a favor, be strong enough, and willing enough to look back on your childhood. Remember what once made your blood boil with excitement! Can you be honest enough, to fight through your walls, to dig through what you have buried? It isn’t until you face those things that hurt, it isn’t until you stop hiding from yourself, from the reason for your insecurities and fear, that you can ever be able to heal. Honesty is essential to fighting your demons, it is essential to thinking and believing like a child again. It isn’t easy, and it will hurt, but it can be done. If you are not whole now, please believe me when I say, you can be whole again! You can grab onto your childhood dreams once more, you can love yourself enough to live the life you truly desire! Please remember this, the world wants you to be that person again, society needs each individual to be free, and whole and hopeful again. Childhood dreams can equate into great achievements and advancement for mankind! Self-love will become compassion for others as well and our world needs all the compassion it can get. I believe that each individual has the keys within themselves to become the whole and beautiful picture of the person they wanted to become as a child. Don’t give up on your dreams, follow them once more, and dare to dream even bigger!

Willpower- a muscle?

Willpower…what comes to mind? Diets, exercising  studying. All things we humans don’t always enjoy because it seems to mean cutting back on things we don’t want and sacrificing time doing things we don’t want to do. I read an interesting article today on psychologytoday about willpower, and it stated that willpower actually acts like a muscle! Well, what does this mean you may ask, it means, we can strengthen our willpower in the same way we strengthen a muscle during physical exercise. This is exciting news because it means we can gain the power we need to take the steps necessary to gain the goals we all desire. We can have success! We can learn that language, write the book, loose the weight, get the career we want! And it can be easy, if we go about things in a smart way. One step at a time, small things first, and focus on one goal at a time and you can get a stronger willpower, which means future goals to be accomplished will take less willpower and feel less painful, and it could even possibly become fun! Just like a physical skill learned well can become fun once it is strengthened! Willpower is essential to making changes in our lives, including learning to treat ourselves and others with more compassion. I’ll leave you with one last thought too, and this one I find is very true, if you really, truly want something then you will make it happen!  So, if you aren’t seeing the success you’d like to see in whatever it is you are trying to achieve, take a step back and honestly ask yourself, “Do I really want this?” Then do yourself a favor and answer honestly. Let’s go out there and gain some stronger willpower! Why? Because, we are worth it.

For anyone who wants to read the article here is the link

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-face-adversity/201207/strengthening-self-control

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