Philip Island, in Victoria Australia, plays host to one of the greatest nature experiences possible. On the shores of Philip Island are the burrows of thousands upon thousands of fairy penguins, extraordinarily cute little birds that stand only 30cm or so tall. Every morning the adult penguins head out to sea to catch fish. At the end of the day they return to land to bring back food for their chicks. Watching them get from the water to their burrows is both funny and exhilarating. The penguins surf in on the waves, then gather in groups at the water’s edge. Their burrows are 100 metres or so away, with the open space of the sandy beach between them. All of a sudden a group of penguins will take off, waddling as fast as their little legs will carry them across the beach. But then, having got 10 or 20 metres they’ll suddenly turn around and waddle back to the water. They wait, then try again. One group makes it, but another performs this strange ritual of turning back. And on it goes, through the dying light of day, until finally the penguins have all crossed the beach and met their chicks in their burrows.
What’s going on? Why the strange stop-start-return ritual? The answer’s quite simple. At sea the birds are fast swimmers, able to dive deep. At sea they’re safe from predators such as eagles and hawks and dogs and cats. In their burrows their safe below ground. But on the open beach they’re vulnerable and exposed. On the beach they can only waddle slowly and are easy pickings for predators. And so, as they cross the beach, the moment they see a shadow or something out of the corner of their eye, they turn back and race for the safety of the water.
It seems that we humans are a lot like those fairy penguins. When confronted with challenging situations we find ourselves like the penguins standing at the water’s edge. We know where we’ve got to go, we know we’ve got to get across that beach to get back to the burrow, but it can be so terrifying. When we step out of the water and start waddling across the beach we leave our safety zone behind, we’re in no-man’s land where it’s dangerous, uncertain and where we’re vulnerable. Yet to get to the burrow we must leave the safety zone behind and strike out into the danger zone.
Michael Jordan is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. And yet, he was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach didn’t think he had enough skill.Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest and most successful businessmen, was rejected by Harvard University. Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin empire, is a high-school dropout.
Most of us will stumble and fall in life. Doors will get slammed in our faces, and we might make some bad decisions. But imagine if Michael Jordan had given up on his dream to play basketball when he was cut from that team. Imagine if Richard Branson had listened to the people who told him he’d never do anything worthwhile without a high-school diploma.
Think of the opportunities you’ll miss if you let your failures stop you.
It’s only natural to want to avoid the thing or situation you fear. But when it comes to conquering phobias, facing your fears is the key. While avoidance may make you feel better in the short-term, it prevents you from learning that your phobia may not be as frightening or overwhelming as you think. You never get the chance to learn how to cope with your fears and experience control over the situation. As a result, the phobia becomes increasingly scarier and more daunting in your mind.
The most effective way to overcome a phobia is by gradually and repeatedly exposing yourself to what you fear in a safe and controlled way. During this exposure process, you’ll learn to ride out the anxiety and fear until it inevitably passes. Through repeated experiences facing your fear, you’ll begin to realize that the worst isn’t going to happen; you’re not going to die or “lose it.” With each exposure, you’ll feel more confident and in control. The phobia begins to lose its power.
It’s important to begin with a situation that you can handle, and work your way up from there, building your confidence and coping skills as you move up the “fear ladder.”
Make a list. Make a list of the frightening situations related to your phobia. If you’re afraid of flying, your list (in addition to the obvious, such as taking a flight or getting through takeoff) might include booking your ticket, packing your suitcase, driving to the airport, watching planes take off and land, going through security, boarding the plane, and listening to the flight attendant present the safety instructions.
Build your fear ladder. Arrange the items on your list from the least scary to the most scary. The first step should make you slightly anxious, but not so frightened that you’re too intimidated to try it. When creating the ladder, it can be helpful to think about your end goal (for example, to be able to be near dogs without panicking) and then break down the steps needed to reach that goal.
Work your way up the ladder. Start with the first step and don’t move on until you start to feel more comfortable doing it. If possible, stay in the situation long enough for your anxiety to decrease. The longer you expose yourself to the thing you’re afraid of, the more you’ll get used to it and the less anxious you’ll feel when you face it the next time. Once you’ve done a step on several separate occasions without feeling too much anxiety, you can move on to the next step. If a step is too hard, break it down into smaller steps or go slower.
Why am I here? Well, if God does exist, that means He is ultimate reality. If He created you for a reason, that’s ultimately why your here. If you’re valuable to Him, that’s ultimately what you’re worth. What He says is right is absolutely right and what He says is wrong is absolutely wrong. We may be free moral agents with the freedom to make moral decisions, but that doesn’t mean we can choose what actually is right or wrong; that just means we’re capable of choosing to be right or wrong. God makes the rules. The question is: will He enforce them? Will God ever hold us accountable for our moral decisions? The prevailing instinct among the majority seems to be that, yes, God will hold us accountable. It’s as if most people instinctually know that one day they’re going to have to explain all the bad things they’ve done (which of course means that they also instinctually know that there is such a thing as moral absolutes).
The point is, if God really does exist, terms like “justice,” “purpose,” and “morality” aren’t abstract notions: God has a purpose for you (that’s why He made you), He’s the one who instituted morality, and in the end He’ll see that justice prevails. That’s a comforting thought to some, but it’s terrifying to others.
So don’t begin by asking, “Why am I here?” Begin by asking, “Does God exist?” If He doesn’t exist there’s really no point in asking “why am I here?” – everything is ultimately pointless. And if He does exist, you’ll discover your reason for living when you discover who He is. So begin at the beginning. Does God exist?
There is a lot we can learn from plants. Plants take in carbon dioxide and give back oxygen. They give energy, shade, shelter, fruits and seeds. Even after they are dead plants still contribute. Always look at the big picture to understand your place in the ecosystem of life. Learn everything you can about your life, in the people you interact with, in the school you attend, in the social or school group you are in, in your organization, and the marketplace. Look for opportunities to give back to others. There is so much we can do for ourselves and others, like plants we were put on this world for a purpose, to give and receive. “ Our abilities to give and receive are at the core of our capacity to create and experience true prosperity” Shakti Gawain.
In his book Rich, Free, and Miserable, sociologist John Brueggemann shared a great story that illustrated why. Climbing Mount Everest is one of the challenges that inspire people to do something big. Lots of people try, even though nearly 10 percent of the people who do, die in the process. Many of the corpses still line the path up the mountain. Yet people still want to climb the mountain — though it has no real redeeming social value.
A few years back one climber, David Sharp, was clearly in trouble on the mountain. There were 40 climbers who noticed his obvious need but passed him that day. He died on Mount Everest because none of the other climbers were willing to put their personal goal on hold to help him.
That’s us. Our own personal drive to have more, be more, and do more causes us to lose sight of what really matters. But that isn’t how God wired us. Life isn’t about what you make, who you know, or what you do. Life is all about love — loving God and loving others.
Jesus tells us in Mark 8:35, “Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live” (TLB). God wired you in a way that you’ll never be happy unless you’re giving your life away in his work. You were made for something greater than yourself. The Bible calls this your mission in life. Significance doesn’t come from status, salary, or sex. It comes from service. Only by giving your life away can you feel that your life has significance.
“In this life we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” — Mother Theresa
In 2004 Victor Yushchenko stood for the presidency of the Ukraine. Vehemently opposed by the ruling party Yushchenko’s face was disfigured and he almost lost his life when he was mysteriously poisoned. This was not enough to deter him from standing for the presidency.
On the day of the election Yushchenko was comfortably in the lead. The ruling party, not to be denied, tampered with the results. The state-run television station reported “ladies and gentlemen, we announce that the challenger Victor Yushchenko has been decisively defeated.”
In the lower right-hand corner of the screen a woman by the name of Natalia Dmitruk was providing a translation service for the deaf community. As the news presenter regurgitated the lies of the regime, Natalia Dmitruk refused to translate them. “I’m addressing all the deaf citizens of Ukraine” she signed. “They are lying and I’m ashamed to translate those lies. Yushchenko is our president.”
The deaf community sprang into gear. They text messaged their friends about the fraudulent result and as news spread of Dmitruk’s act of defiance increasing numbers of journalists were inspired to likewise tell the truth. Over the coming weeks the “Orange Revolution” occurred as a million people wearing orange made their way to the capital city of Kiev demanding a new election. The government was forced to meet their demands, a new election was held and Victor Yushchenko became president.
Philip Yancey writes
“When I heard the story behind the orange revolution, the image of a small screen of truth in the corner of the big screen became for me an ideal picture of the church. You see we as a church do not control the big screen. (When we do, we usually mess it up.) Go to any magazine rack or turn on the television and you see a consistent message. What matters is how beautiful you are, how much money or power you have. Similarly, though the world includes many poor people, they rarely make the magazine covers or the news shows. Instead we focus on the superrich, names like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey.… Our society is hardly unique. Throughout history nations have always glorified winners, not losers. Then, like the sign language translator in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, along comes a person named Jesus who says in effect, Don’t believe the big screen – they’re lying. It’s the poor who are blessed, not the rich. Mourners are blessed too, as well as those who hunger and thirst, and the persecuted. Those who go through life thinking they’re on top end up on the bottom. And those who go through life feeling they’re on the bottom end up on the top. After all, what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”
Source: Philip Yancey, What Good Is God, pages 184-186
Many people are living their entire lives without ever standing up and stepping out. But it’s exciting to witness the rare few who dare themselves and step out of their personal bubbles to work on acheiving something worthwhile.
Most of use live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today’s work. We consistently hold onto this belief and keep procrastinating until work becomes a heavy burden.
Left unchecked, we always default toward a more comfortable path. Your comfortable zone provides a state of mental security. You can understand why it’s so hard to kick your brain out of your comfort zone.
How do you give a voice to yourself and others to stand up?
Respect, that is where it starts.
It starts with self respect. That’s the most important thing that you can do. Know your value, your worth, your potential. Have confidence in your abilities and banish all thoughts of self-doubt and fear. Know that you have the power, the authority to start change not only in your life, but in the lives of others. Support yourself in the same way you would support others.
Don’t stand in the way.
If people don’t help each other out, who will? We’ve all seen it – sometime we have people discounting each other’s accomplishments, holding others to unreasonably standards, sabotaging and being mean to others. The biggest problem of all is that we end up perpetuating the stereotypes and preconceived notions we’re working so hard fight against.
Share your story.
Stories are powerful tools. They’re inspirational, motivational, and empowering. When we inspire others with our stories, we open up paths for them to follow that they might never have known existed. Let others learn from your successes and failures. Motivate them to conquer their fears and push boundaries.
Share your story to the fullest extent and spare no details. What challenges did you overcome? What obstacles did you face? How did it feel when you got what you dreamed of? What did you do to celebrate your accomplishment? How has it made an impact in your life? How did you do it?
Speak up, speak out, and speak with conviction.
Take a stand and make your voice heard. You can’t change people’s minds by staying silent. Have conversations that challenge the accepted norms. Take a stand against stereotypes and inequality and challenge people’s assumptions. Those conversations can be uncomfortable and difficult. Have them anyway. Stand up for what you believe in and be an agent of change.
Don’t let the opportunity pass, remember Jesus says: “Don’t believe the big screen – they’re lying. It’s the poor who are blessed, not the rich. Mourners are blessed too, as well as those who hunger and thirst, and the persecuted. Those who go through life thinking they’re on top end up on the bottom. And those who go through life feeling they’re on the bottom end up on the top. After all, what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”
Wabisabi describes a way of looking at the world. It’s about accepting the transcience and imperfection of things. And thus, for the time we have left, seeing beauty in the things around us. For example, take a rough, cracked, asymmetrical, simple piece of pottery – seeing beauty in that is wabisabi.
The term is made up of two words. The first, wabi, signifies the kind of apparently paradoxical beauty caused by the imperfection of something, such as the wonderful example of kintsugi: the art of repairing cracks with gold resin to embellish the scars. The second word, sabi, refers to the kind of beauty that can only come with age, such as the rust in an ancient bronze statue. The two words combine to express a very specific aesthetic principle – and of course a metaphor. This text by Andrew Juniper sums it up well:
The term wabi-sabi suggests such qualities as impermanence, humility, asymmetry, and imperfection. These underlying principles are diametrically opposed to those of their Western counterparts, whose values are rooted in the Hellenic worldview that values permanence, grandeur, symmetry, and perfection.
Wabi-sabi is an intuitive appreciation of a transient beauty in the physical world that reflects the irreversible flow of life in the spiritual world. It is an understated beauty that exists in the modest, rustic, imperfect, or even decayed, an aesthetic sensibility that finds a melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things.
Perhaps precisely because the term suggests the opposite of our idea of beauty, wabi-sabi is so important on this side of the world. We need to forgive accident and anomaly, because we ourselves are made of that. We are finite and full of asymmetries.
How can an understanding of wabi sabi help us to better understand world around us? What effect might an appreciation for wabi sabi have on our lives?:
All things are imperfect. Nothing that exists is without imperfections. When we look closely at things, we see the flaws. The sharp edge of a razor blade, when it is magnified, reveals pits, chips, and variegations. And as things begin to break down and approach the primordial state, they become even less perfect, more irregular, and perhaps more lovely.
All things are incomplete. All things, including the universe itself, are in a constant, never-ending state of becoming or dissolving. Often we arbitrarily designate moments, points along the way, as “finished.” But when is a plant complete? When it flowers? When it goes to seed? When the seeds sprout? When everything turns into compost?
Wabi-sabi represents the exact opposite of the Western ideal of great beauty as something monumental, spectacular, and enduring. Wabi-sabi is found in nature not at moments of bloom and lushness, but at moments of inception or subsiding. Wabi-sabi is not about gorgeous flowers, majestic trees, or bold landscapes. Wabi-sabi is about the minor and the hidden, the tentative and the ephemeral: things so subtle and evanescent they are almost invisible at first glance.
At any given face walking by us are two eyes, two ears, one mouth and a strange thing called a nose. Hair is hair – – it rarely behaves. And there are eyebrows too! Some are imperfect from our perception, but each of them has significance and beauty.
Take a moment to read this statement by C. S. Lewis concerning the “Weight of Glory”:
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you see them now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – These are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
Over the years I have learnt a thing or two about working under pressure. I have learnt that when one acts or live under intense pressure one start to create survival environments for themselves. I have seen people who live in survival journey making impulsive judgments, angrily rushing to bring closure to whatever matter is at hand. He or she feeling is compelled to get the problem under control immediately, to extinguish the perceived danger lest it destroy him or her. . They forget the big picture and the goals and values they stand for. They lose their “cool” or feeling at peace, they lose their creativity.
I can’t help but think we’re a lot like that when life presses down on us. When the pressure gets too intense, we start looking for ways to bail ourselves out from under the thumb of circumstances that seem too much to handle. And all too often we are tempted to bail in terms of our attitudes, feeling angry, bitter, or even mad at God—or anyone else we can blame our problems on. Or, we are tempted to bail in our actions by refusing to persevere in righteous ways.
Apparently, gaining a sense of mastery or learning one is able to handle problems early in life, e.g. in monkeys who get good mothering and social support when young, seems to protect the adult from serious anxiety. Although fears are generally based on primitive automatic emotional reactions, more intense panic and specific fears occur when we feel particularly vulnerable–open to being seriously hurt. Some of this vulnerability may be genetic tendencies but much is probably learned, often at an early age. How are these dangers, these “Wow, that scares the hell out of me!” reactions, learned? Sometimes, we see the actual results of a real danger–a heart attack, an auto accident, someone going crazy–and we vividly imagine that might happen to us. Examples: Panic attacks often are exacerbated by the scary thoughts that the tightness in my chest and high anxiety means I’m dying from a heart attack, going to faint, going crazy, etc.
Sometimes, we are given specific instructions by others to expect danger, e.g. some social phobics have been told that interacting with others can be disastrous–“they will think you are stupid or weird,” “you can’t trust them,” “you’ll make a fool of yourself,” etc. Sometimes, we have started to think in a certain way (the source may be totally unknown–a TV, movie, book, or just our own fantasy as a child) that implies some situation is dangerous. Examples of this might be:
“Oh, what I just said sounded really selfish… dumb… critical…
” which grows into “I’m going to mess up when I talk to them,”
“I’m not good at socializing,”
“I can’t think of anything to say,” or “I get really uptight and start to sweat when I try to talk to someone.”
We can create, in effect, our own dangers, and may be especially prone to do that if we are given certain genes and childhood experiences.
Norman Vincent Peale tells how a young business man asked him to talk with his father, the head of their business. He said. “I’m very worried about Dad. He is so nervous and tense. There are so many pressures and problems in the business and my Dad is giving way under them.”They went into his office and he looked nervous and tense. “Glad to see you Norman. There’s always so much to do.” He commented. Dr Peale encouraged him to relax and talk over his problem of pressure in the business. After a time, Dr Peale said to him, “I don’t suppose you ever read the Scriptures do you?”
“Certainly I do” the man replied.
Dr Peale said, “You read them but you don’t practice them.”
“Of course I practice them, I’m a moral man.”
“I wasn’t talking morals and ethics, I was talking about the healing power of God. Have you ever read the 26th chapter of Isaiah, 3rd verse – ‘You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you’?” Peale then went on to explain that the father had not been keeping his mind on God, he’d let it dwell too much on his problems. He urged him to repeat the text three times a day to get it fixed in his mind and heart. Faith in God, more than anything else, helps us to keep things in perspective and cuts our pressures down to size
It boils down to whether or not we want comfort or character. You or I may think that life should be a bed of roses, but if that’s your take on life, you’re in for a big surprise—trouble happens! The issue is not if you will face trials, it’s how you will respond to the inevitable pressure that the problems of life bring. It may be that you face pressure at work. In the face of a seemingly insurmountable project, it’s easy to think, “If I just fudge a little bit I could get this job done faster.”
Or, when the problems at home won’t go away, we find ourselves wondering, “Maybe I’ll just leave so I won’t have to deal with this anymore.”
The sin of pride causes us to respond to problems with thoughts like, “I don’t deserve this.” And soon our attitudes are in the dumper and God’s work is derailed.
The most common phrase used when people are trying to describe resilience is ‘bouncing back’, but I prefer the term ‘bouncing forward’. Sometimes you can’t get back to where you were before a serious challenge came your way – and that’s OK. To bounce forward implies that, while you might have been knocked off course, you can move on from it. According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is your capacity to deal with stress, adversity and uncertainty. Resilience is about bouncing back, rolling with the punches, getting back up on the horse. It’s our ability to take what life throws at us and use it to grow stronger. Our careers are no longer a matter of making a decision about what we want to do with the rest of our lives, getting an education and then following a straight-line career path to that dream job. Those days are long gone.
When you build your resilience, you are in a better position to adapt to ongoing changes. You accept change as a part of life and see change as an opportunity, not as a series of insurmountable obstacles.There are many problems in people’s lives and in communities. However, there are also many people who have faced great difficulties and traumas, but have survived. In fact, many have become even stronger as they faced and overcome their challenges. These people are role models for us, whether they are elders, youth, middle-aged adults, or even children. Science is now identifying the factors that create resilience, but Inuit traditionally have been using similar strategies.
Resilience can also help you feel more in control. You’re able to keep things in perspective and to see yourself as an actor in your life, rather than as a victim. High resilience also allows you to be more pro-active in responding to whatever gets thrown at you. It’s about believing that setbacks are often just a problem we haven’t solved yet, and that things can and will get better. The key is recognizing the realities of your situation and figuring out your options to move forward, without getting overwhelmed. Practicing resilience means avoiding catastrophising – exaggerating negativity and assuming that is the most likely outcome – by keeping things in perspective.
While this may sound difficult, or something reserved for those facing life-changing adversity, resilience is actually a capability that can be used every day in everything you do. People who are resilient are often referred to as being strong – particularly, mentally strong – when in fact, they’ve usually found different techniques like resetting, using positive self-talk or flexible thinking to work through problems. It might not seem obvious, but reaching out and asking for help is also a great way to develop resilience. It’s allows you to stretch and to grow though hardship and difficulty, while knowing that you have options and support.
People who are resilient are able to believe that although bad things and distressing feelings can happen, they can be overcome. They also have belief in their own ability to handle difficult situations. They have developed a variety of positive ways of dealing with problems. They are able and willing to learn or try new actions and new ways of thinking. Resilient people are often even stronger after difficult times, because they have learned new or better ways to cope and have developed even more faith in themselves. Inuit Elders stress that traditionally, children were taught from an early age that life will often be difficult but that difficulties will pass or can be overcome
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain. – Anonymous, more recently attributed to Vivian Greene.
The quote starts by saying what life isn’t about waiting. Consider the impact of focusing your attention on fighting the storm, solving challenges and problems waiting for the weather to improve. While the newspapers are filled with news of the storms’ terror, many other people across our nation and world are experiencing storms that are just as devastating, yet not as obvious: storms of divorce, disease or death; storms of betrayal, bankruptcy or blindness; storms of abuse, adultery or addiction; storms that leave shattered lives, broken hearts and shredded hopes; storms that turn dreams into nightmares.
Does the ‘storm’ ever really pass? Storms are always occurring somewhere every day, we are all faced with some form of turbulence to be managed and challenges or problems to be solved. The problem is that working in challenging times can mean we fail to take time to consider our own way of managing those storms, to enable us to become more effective.
We all go through rough weather at various points in our lives. Sometimes we sit down, to wait for the storm to pass, and then forget to get back up. Take a moment to consider where in your life you might have paused for a break in the weather, and never gotten back to it.
Because life’s storms have a way of making a lot of us cut the safety net a loose; many people are placing their life on hold to wait for just the right moment before beginning to live life again. It is not easy to know how to continue living during the worst of a downpour. Nonetheless, life is not all about waiting for the storm to pass, nor is it about avoiding it. It is about learning how to enjoy living life and discovering ways to dance in the rain in the midst of a rainstorm.
Think about the storms presently in your life? They are the things which this quote is specifically focused. Take a moment to consider what, where, and how severe are your storms at this moment in time.
Are there storms in your family life? Are there storms with or between your friends? Are there storms at work, between co-workers, or even between your company and the customer? What about your social groups, are there any storms there? Weather can come up fast from any direction, can’t it?
But the question remains, what will you do? It’s easier to restart the things placed on hold due to rough weather, once the weather is passed. But what about things which you have put on hold where the weather is still less than great?
My friend, when the world seems unreasonable and even ridiculous, do all you can to rise above it. Think of these storms as your mortal enemies, then catch them off guard and DANCE. They certainly won’t be expecting that.
My friend do not let the rain bring you down but instead realize that it is as beautiful as the sun meant to be cherished. So dance. Dance my friend, dance your own unique dance under the sky and feel the freedom to be you. Be one with the struggle and the reward. It is a new day!!!!
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward!”
Those are the lines from Rocky Balboa (2006).
Steve Jobs was fired from the company that he started. He did not give up. He used this experience to build up his character, leadership and turned his struggles into strengths.
Eventually, Jobs went back to Apple and transformed the company into one of the most valuable companies in the world.
The same thing happened to Walt Disney. He was fired by a company due to his “lack of imagination”. However, that did not deter his spirit to start his own company and built the Walt Disney theme park and Mickey Mouse into stardom.
As you can see, if you want to make a comeback, you must learn how to manage your failures. You must learn how to rise up when life knocks you down.
Always remember this, life can knock you down seven times, but you can decide and get back up again for the eighth time.
In The Pursuit of Happiness, Will Smith said:
“Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, their gonna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.”
You heard him. Go get it, period. No one can tell you what you are and are not capable of, and don’t let them. Hard work will get you far; but determination, farther. Keeping your head above water will always be the hardest part, because everything you face is pulling you down. However you will get stronger; strong enough where it doesn’t feel like treading water anymore, but something like swimming. We come out a little bruised, but our skin thickens. We’re all going to make it, everything will turn out exactly how it’s supposed too. So I hope you’re all enjoying your bumps and detours, because I’m just starting mine.
Here’s are some tips to help you get up when knocked down:
- THEY SHED SHAME
At first, it’s not unusual to feel embarrassed and ashamed. Get rid of it. It will only make it harder for you to find your way out. Realize that people make mistakes and bad decisions, he says. When you catch yourself wallowing in shame, work on changing your thoughts to what you can do about the situation to make it better and take action.
When the worst happens, one of the most important things you can do is find a way to cultivate hope and a sense a promise of something better ahead, Hammond says. His book, Lessons of the Lost: Finding Hope and Resilience in Work, Life, and the Wilderness, chronicles the stories of people who have survived being lost in the wilderness.
One woman survived 48 days in a van in Nevada and says finding a symbol of hope was crucial. She planned a family reunion to keep her mentally focused on reconnecting with the outside world, and to give her something to hope for.
- THEY EMBRACE THE CHOICES YOU HAVE
If you just lost your job or got diagnosed with a serious illness, it may not seem like there is any choice at all. You can choose to let a terrible situation consume you, she says. “Or we can make choices about how we respond to things in the moment and how we want to approach a situation moving forward.”
- THEY SEEK OUT SUPPORT
As a teenager, Cheryl Hunter was traveling overseas when she says she was abducted by two men who attacked her and then left her for dead. She’s since turned that experience into a career as a motivational speaker, coach, and author of Use It: Turn Setbacks into Success. One of the important areas of her recovery she says was to have a supportive community to give nonjudgmental feedback and encouragement. You may find this among friends and family, support groups, therapists, or others who can listen to what you have to say without correcting or trying to fix your feelings or words.
“That’s essential when you’re going through something negative so you don’t like groove those neural pathways of habitual, negative thought,” Hunter says.
- THEY REFRAME
You have to reframe the situation in a way that you can authentically believe it, Hunter says. You can choose to look at your setback as a horrible embarrassment, injustice, or tragedy. Or you can look the situation as a series of circumstances you didn’t choose for yourself, but are challenged to endure and overcome.
Think about a time when you were faced with a similar break in your path to achieving a goal. That outcome of that situation likely tied directly to your reaction to it.
Do you want to repeat that outcome or create a new one? That is entirely up to you.
“Can you help me?” is a question often asked. This question is sometimes preceded by comments such as:
- I just need to lose this extra fat.
- I don’t like my cellulite.
- I can’t control what I eat.
- How do I stop obsessing over food?
- I wish I could love my body.
- And other similar statements.
Some of these women and men feel like they’re fighting a lost battle. They seem to think that no matter what they do their fate has already been determined. They’ll never “look like that” or “have that body” or “be that strong”.
Labeling ourselves and others helps us to feel safe, to feel protected, and feel like we know what to expect when we “open that drawer.” And while I’m sure a blog post about judging others would be helpful, I’d rather put the focus on you. How do you label yourself? Maybe you think you’re “the nerd”, “the quitter”, or as I often called myself, “the black sheep.” Whatever you think you are, you’re probably wrong. And that’s a good thing.
The negative labels we apply to ourselves and others in our automatic thoughts are almost always vague and ambiguous because they are automatic. If you try to write an essay from your automatic thoughts–you may think of them as your “opinions”–you will find that it consists of nothing more than a string of labels. If you are going to write well about your opinions, you will have to bring them beyond the stage of automatic thoughts and give reasons for those opinions that make sense to other people. In order to do that, you’ll have to define the labels you’re using. If you can define your terms clearly and give evidence for your beliefs, then you have gone beyond automatic labeling and begun to engage in reasoned argument.
Ask yourself the following questions in order to start identifying and evaluating your labels. Write your answers down so that you can review them later.
1. How do you label yourself? Are you a career woman, a mom, an accountant, a politician? Are you a failure or a winner? Are you a “fat girl” or a “pretty girl?” Write down all the labels you attach to yourself, going back as far as you can remember.
2. Where did these labels come from? Did they come from you? Your parents? A teacher? A friend? Look at each label you wrote down in the above question, and identify where each one came from.
3. Are you living to your labels? How are your labels working for you? What are your payoffs?
•“Believe in yourself and stop trying to convince others” – James De La Vega
•“Never try to impress a woman, because if you do she’ll expect you to keep up the standard for the rest of your life.” – W.C. Fields
•“I’ve reached a point in life where it’s no longer necessary to try to impress. If they like me the way I am, that’s good. If they don’t, that’s too bad.” – Corazon Aquino
•“The most common trouble with advertising is that it tries too hard to impress people.” – James Randolph Adams
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”
~ Will Rogers
Will Rogers said this years ago, before our culture was taken hostage by consumerism. I think this is one of the blessings of an economic downturn — people are forced to clarify talking their priorities and differentiate between needs and wants.
Letting go of impressing others is one of the keys to happiness — you have to live your authentic life, not the one others tell you to live. This is the wisdom we often achieve after years of chasing the dreams of other people. The “mid life crisis” is not actually a crisis at all, but a call to authenticity.
So how do you want to change this?
Use these tips next time you find yourself in a situation to impress others:
- The people you want to impress, just want you to be yourself. Ignore the comparisons and expectations you set upon yourself. No one is judging you. If they are, they are not the right person to have in your life. The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. The RIGHT people will like you for who you are and appreciate all the things you bring to their life. Stop changing your beliefs and learn to love all the great things you can offer others. The key is to be patient. Sometimes you have to get through the bad to get to the right people.
- Life isn’t a race, you have nothing to prove to others. As the saying goes, “it’s not about the destination, it’s the journey there.” Some people like to race through life and make a point that they reached their goal first or made it to the top first. The truth is, your growth occurs when you’re climbing to reach your goal and not when you reach the top. Life is not about rushing through it. It’s meant to be enjoyed, every step of the way. Let go of the need to do what everyone else is doing. They are not living your life, you are. Life is the journey that you’ve created for yourself.
- Failure is a part of life. We learn our greatest lessons from our failures. Any client that I train, I tell them to expect failure on their journey. This is not a negative thing but rather a process to find your inner strength and how to use it moving forward. We are all a work in progress. Our life goals never end, they continue. If you try too hard to impress others with your perfection, you will stunt your growth. Don’t spend all your time looking a certain way instead of living a certain way. If you are too afraid to fail, then you are not truly living. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail as long as your journey is about moving forward.
- YOU are the only person that can change YOUR life. If you are waiting around that someone else is going to make you a better, happier, healthier person, you are going to die a lonely unhappy person. It is your responsibility that if you want to change your health situation, it is completely up to you. Don’t let the opinions of others interfere with the reality of life. What YOU are capable of achieving depends entirely on the path you choose for yourself. Stop worrying about what everyone thinks. They don’t have to wake up in your shoes every morning, you do. They don’t choose what you eat, you do. They don’t choose your healthy or unhealthy habits, you do. Keep living your truth.
“Good fences make good neighbors”-Robert Frost
What exactly is a boundary, when it comes to relationships? Simply put, a boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends. Think of it as a fence in your backyard. You are the gate keeper and get to decide who you let in and who you keep out, who you let into the whole back yard, or who you let just inside the gate. You may still be keeping a distance, but you are giving them a chance to prove their trustworthiness both physically and emotionally. The purpose of setting a healthy boundary is, of course, to protect and take good care of you.
Healthy boundaries do not always come naturally or easily. We learn to “be” in all kinds of relationships by modeling. In other words, by watching how others handle relationships. In early childhood, it is our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, and who ever else we were around on a regular basis. As we grow into adolescents, we rely less on parents and more on our friends to help us define ourselves and our boundaries or limits in relationships. If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, then chances are you have not learned how to set a boundary or even really know what it is. Learning to set our own healthy boundaries is an exercise in personal freedom. It means getting to know ourselves and increasing our awareness of where we stand and what we stand for. It means letting go of the unhealthy people in our lives so that we can grow into the healthy person that we were meant to be.
Here are a few tips to help you get started establishing boundaries with your partner in your relationship:
- Communicate your thoughts with one another. Be honest, but respectful when sharing your thoughts and feelings with your partner. It’s totally normal and okay to need time to gather your thoughts and feelings, but don’t use that approach to avoid the conversation.
- Never assume or guess your partner’s feelings. Making assumptions can create a lot of misunderstandings in a relationship. You may feel like you know your partner very well that you feel you’re entitled to assume what they want or need without asking them, but it is always your best bet to ask rather than assume.
- Follow through on what you say. Setting boundaries and not executing them lets the other person think they have an excuse to continue to overstep your boundaries. You shouldn’t make any exceptions to your own boundaries without careful consideration because you may soon find yourself on compromising things that aren’t acceptable to you.
- Take responsibility for your actions. Instead of immediately blaming your partner for the situation or how you’re feeling, take a step back and think about the choices you’ve made in the relationship and see if they may have contributed to the situation. Both partners should be doing this!
- Know when it’s time to move on. You can only share how you desire to be treated in the relationship, and you can’t be responsible for your partner’s feelings or communication. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and fairness. If your partner can’t respect your boundaries, then it may be time to end the relationship.
Setting and establishing healthy boundaries is a skill, and it takes time! Remember, healthy boundaries don’t come easy, but if you trust your instincts, be open, and practice with your partner, the relationship will only get stronger over time.
“Be kind to unkind people. They need it most”. Ashleigh Brillian
This quote is often reiterated by many people, but extremely difficult to follow through. Hate often spreads like wild fire, and leaves a bitter mark on innocent hearts. But I believe that kindness brightens our world. It can change perspectives, turn a dire situation around and bring hope to mankind.
Often, when we turn on the television or flip today’s newspaper, we come across unsettling headlines, followed by disheartening news. While there are several things that are well beyond our control and reach, be assured that we can still bring light into the darkest of corners.
Kindness starts within us. When we exude happiness and kindness, we are reinforcing LOVE. I am inspired by love. Love encompasses empathy, compassion and kindness. We are all brilliant, unique individuals who are capable of giving love and kindness to each other. When I look for something encouraging, I always go back to the times I have been showered with kindness when I needed it most. These are the things that keep me going.
Kindness renews my spirit. It is often difficult to show kindness to those who has spewed hate towards our direction. It may be even tempting to be trapped in the vicious cycle of hate. But what makes love rise beneath it all? That is kindness. As Ashleigh Brilliant had so eloquently put it so, unkind people need love and kindness the most.
Where can I apply this in my life?
I believe we can all use, and give, a little more kindness. I believe it can be done anywhere in our lives. At the store, on the roads, at home, at work, in any and every situation. Even if you don’t think you have anything to gain from being kind, do it anyway, for the cost is negligible.
If we take the time to think about it, we have an unlimited well of kindness within ourselves. We can be kind to anyone, and not have any less to give to the next person. Yes, we can get tired of it. Yes, we can get bored with it. Yes, it can hurt if we expect something in return. But we still have more to give, if we so choose.
It’s our choices of how we react, or ignore, that can make a difference in their lives.
I challenge you to try to change how you would react to one person this week. maybe let me know how it went. I’d love to hear how it goes. I bet that the person it makes the greatest impact on will be you!
Enjoy your day! and thanks for reading.