spiritual

“We are the Choices we Make”

“We are the choices we make”…Meryl Streep

News flash…you will never “find” yourself. The truth is, we “create” ourselves…every moment of every day.

That means our thoughts, our language, what we choose to act on, and what we choose to skip, all will have an effect on our lives. And not just our lives, but the lives of others as well.

We all know that saying “one person can change the world”…well, the reason it sounds cheesy is because there is truth to it. The ripple effect is real. There was a study done on this very topic. (“Implications of Vascular Theory of Emotions”…very dry read!) It’s summary states that 1,000 people are within 3 degrees of each other. That was not a typo…you are 3 degrees away from effecting the lives of 1,000 people. So how you show up in your life really matters. There is no better time then right now, to own our lives and the actions we take. And not just the big juicy actions…the little decisions matter too. And how you talk to yourself is crucial to your success and self worth. Despite how small this distinction is, it’s effects on your life are huge.

Do you ever listen to what you say to yourself? We all do it…we all have that running commentary going on in the backs of our minds. Who does your voice sound like? A cheerleaders or jailer? A loving supporter or destructive tyrant? A compassionate parent or an abusive one?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” is total Bullshit.

Words mixed together into sentences are bundles of emotions. They can move you to tears of joy, or tears of pain.

Words matter.

Most of us have some fairly vile self talk that we fall victim to sometimes. And we all know that we would never say those things to another living being. For some of us, our self-talk is so violent it’s not fit for anyone to hear. Yet we listen anyway.

Why is it important to change our inner dialogue? Well, let’s apply some common sense. Let’s say the only water you drank was polluted and toxic? What would eventually happen? You would BECOME polluted and toxic.

It’s the same with thoughts! If all you feed yourself is harsh criticism and shame, you will BECOME fearful of everyone and most likely paralyzed by your shame.

So how can you expect to go out and take risks, and make the world a better place, if you think you are something to be ashamed of?

It’s time we changed our relationships with ourselves. And it starts by tuning in to what we tell ourselves on a daily basis.

I call the negative talk in my head “YSR radio…You Suck Radio”. And when it’s on in the background, I don’t just turn down the volume, I change the damn station!

I’m over simplifying, I know. But this self monitoring doesn’t’ have to be a total drag either.

Pull out your journal and write out your own “You Suck Radio” program. This won’t take long because you know it by heart by now. But taking the time to put it on the page is useful because then you can use your own words to shift your perspective.

For example, maybe you are unhappy with your weight. Write out all of your self talk around how much you weigh, why you’ll never improve, why you are destined to be as fat as a house for the rest of your life…(that was my self talk by the way), etc. Go for it. Let that vicious voice in your head have it’s say…and write it all down.

Now reread what you wrote. Is any of that true or helpful in any way? Does thinking you’re destined to fail motivate you to take positive actions in your life? And can the opposite be true as well…like the times you actually DID succeed at something?

What are you focussing on? Your successes or your failures? Is “You Suck Radio” blaring in your head? And if so, how do you think that will affect your day? How will it affect all the people you interact with today? Remember…we are all just 3 degrees away from affecting 1,000 people.

Start to listen to your thoughts about yourself. Your words matter whether they are directed at you or other people. Write them down and question their validity. Tune in to what station is playing in your head. And if it sucks, change the station.

Don’t forget to forward this to your friends, repost, and retweet!

Attack thoughts…turning anger into peace

We’ve all been there…wagging our finger at someone who we feel need’s shaming. But, as Marianne Williamson says, “It’s not our job to police the universe”.

But sometimes it feels like it IS our job!

Sometimes, someone does something that hits all our angry buttons at once and we not only fly off the handle, we hold onto that anger and stoke it like a fire. Anything can set us off if we’re triggered the right way…unconscious drivers, obnoxious coworkers, demanding family members…personal or not, there are times when we get overly upset and feel the need to rant and rave.

Whether it’s your boss, spouse, parent, child…we all have had the experience of been so angered that we start an entire make belief fight with them in our mind. Usually this involves you being vindicated in some way and almost always leaves them feeling ashamed and feeling horribly remorseful.

If this sounds familiar, it’s important to take a “time out” for yourself and notice the endless loop you are in. Whether it’s in your head, or on the computer as you rewrite an angry email over and over…however it’s transpiring, notice that you are stuck in an anger rut. (And don’t sent the email!)

Then, ask yourself how YOU are feeling. If you want to prove them wrong, that’s an indication that you feel you were let down and wronged in some way. It’s a signal that somehow, your expectations were not met. If you want to make them feel ashamed, take a look inward…are you ashamed of something yourself? Did they hurt you in some way? The desire to hurt someone else almost always comes out of our own feelings of being hurt.

First question to ask yourself: will confronting this person help me in any way? Will it open up the channels for communication, or will it lead to more negativity and failed communications?

If there is something you can do about the problem, I recommend taking at least 3 deep breaths. Then, respond respectfully and proactively rather than knee jerking a negative reactionary thought. And, if you feel like you will likely still overreact, go home and address it tomorrow after you’ve had a good night’s sleep.

If however, you know you are being irrational and want to let this go, there are a few things you can do to transform your feelings of upset into a more peaceful mindset.

#1. Ask yourself: Do I want to keep these attack thoughts? Can I find the place inside of me where I can genuinely say “I don’t want to feel this way towards them.”?

Then ask:

#2. Am I WILLING? Am I honestly willing to give up making them wrong over and over again in my head? Another way to ask that question is…what do I have to give up in order to let those thoughts go? What am I hanging onto?

Chances are, you will have to spend a good amount of time answering these questions. This is where journalling can be a huge help. It keeps your mind focussed in the present rather than drifting back into your anger again. You can clearly see your assumptions and your thoughts and then more easily find the place in you that’s ready and willing to drop this negative thinking.

Then what? Let it go. Some people visualize their thoughts in a balloon floating away. Or drifting down a stream or getting swept up in a breeze. For some people, just stating out loud “I am willing to let this go. I am now, letting this go.” is enough to feel peace.

However you do it, just do it. And then, when those feelings crop up again, (because they usually pop up again a few more times), you can kindly remind yourself that it’s actually in your best interest not to dwell on those thoughts anymore. You’ve examined your feelings on the matter and would rather feel peace, than anger.

As you know, I always like to start small. Start with the person that was so engrossed in their smartphone that they failed to look before they stepped in front of your car. Yeah, that unconscious idiot…start with your attack thoughts about them. Go through the process of asking if keeping these attack thoughts are helping you feel good. Find out where within you, you could be willing to let those thoughts go. And then, let them go…
I would love to hear your stories about this!