Friday, November 30, 2012

Choosing Your Life (Part 2)

If you have not yet read my original post titled Choosing Your Life, please do so! I promised to continue that train of thought with a follow-up post. Some of the things I talked about in that post needed a little time to sink in and do their work. If you did read it, hopefully you have applied some of the positive thinking strategies to your life and worked on rejecting negative beliefs and thought patterns. You must do that first, before making any more tangible changes to your life or you will find yourself wondering why you still aren't happy.

If you don't change your perspective of the world, you will find yourself falling into the same old rut. Moving to a more beautiful climate, acquiring wealth or possessions, meeting the man or woman of your dreams. You may think these things will make you happy, and for some they can be a component of happiness, but if you still have that self-defeating or negative outlook it will never be good enough. So it's important to examine yourself and be sure that you are ready to know happiness when you find it. The things that I discussed in the last post are just a start. There will be much more work to do and it won't be easy but it will be rewarding every step of the way.

Self-defeating beliefs and negative thought patterns need to be eliminated before you can get down to the real work at hand: getting to know and love yourself. It sounds simple, but we all know that it isn't. We all have flaws and we tend to be our worst critics. Mental illness such as an anxiety disorder is not helpful and can make confidence hard to find. But as you learn to think in more positive terms, it will become easier.

Getting to know yourself-

Before you can love yourself, you need to get to know yourself. You don't spend more time with anybody in this world but yourself, yet it often takes people a long time to figure out who they really are. The reasons for this and how to attain self-discovery could easily fill up their own post, so I won't delve into it them here.

“He who knows others is learned;
He who knows himself is wise.”


Here are some basic things you can do to get to know yourself better:

Look at those around you. Or more importantly, look at how you view them. Often attributes that we find positive in others are the things we really like about selves, and the things that irritate us about others are attributes that we may be unhappy with in ourselves. Take a look at how these relate and you may find some very positive attributes hiding in the shadows, waiting to be developed. Or you may find some areas that you will want to work on, but at least this gives you a starting point.

Journal. Expression is a great way to get more in touch with your emotions, your wants and needs, and your personality. Starting a journal or blog can be a great way to do this! It has definitely helped to make a lot of things clearer for me! I suggest giving it a try. It may feel awkward at first, but once you get going you may not want to stop.

Spend time with yourself. Humans are social creatures. We tend to spend most of our lives surrounded by other people. And even when we are alone, we aren't really alone. We're strapped to a computer or in front of a TV if not occupied with some other task. And don't even get me started on smart phones! They are great. I have one and use it often, but the smart phone keeps us constantly connected and occupied. It's important to spend some time alone once in a while, without these distractions. Spend some time in thought and spend some time without even that, just listening to your heart beat or concentrating on your breathing.

Learning to love yourself-

It's important to love yourself. You're going to be spending a lot of time with yourself. You can't really avoid that. Everywhere you go, there you are. So if you don't love yourself, how can you expect to be happy? Much of the things already address will have done a lot of the work for you. By adapting to more positive ways of thinking and getting to know yourself, your self-esteem will be on the rise. You simply have to take that momentum and keep going with it. Here are some ways to improve your self-image, self-esteem, and love for yourself.

Forgive yourself. We've all had disappointments and failures in our past. You have to forgive yourself for these things. Holding a grudge against yourself won't get you anywhere. I have written another extensive two-part post on forgiveness and self-forgiveness. I highly suggest giving that a look-see.

Let go of the past. Get those skeletons out of your closet and move on with your life so you can focus on the present. Grant yourself a tabula rasa or blank slate. Today is a new day. Leave the worries of the past behind.

Start working toward living your life the way you want to live it. Clear out all the "can't" and "what-if" ideas in your mind and just ask yourself "what do I want in life?" Let me be clear that I am not referring to material things or ideas here, but core values. Too many people spend their lives living out of harmony with who they really are. We conform to who we think we should (there goes that word again!) be or are confused as to who we want to be because we haven't yet fully gotten to know and love ourselves. In either case, it's time to realign your life with who you really are.

Be yourself. Live, love, laugh, enjoy life! Don't apologize to anyone for being you!

Treat yourself like you treat your best friend. Don't be your own worst enemy, be your own best friend. Give yourself the same respect, understanding, and compassion that you give to ones you love most. Whenever you catch yourself beating up on yourself emotionally, and think of how you'd talk to your best friend.

Love others. Being kind to those around you boost your spirits. You'll likely find that the way that they react to you on a daily basis will reflect your own kindness. These positive responses from others will make you feel like a million-bucks. You get what you give in this world.

Adopt an attitude of gratitude. November was the season for being thankful, but it really should be practiced year round. Identifying something that you are grateful for each day can lift your spirits up a great deal. Identifying something about yourself to be thankful for can increase your self-esteem.

Once you've come to know, understand, and love yourself the world will open up for you. You'll be back in alignment with who you really are more positive experiences will naturally find you. You'll be free to choose the life that you really want. This can mean many different things; following your dreams, changing your surroundings, or just embracing all that is you and living a fuller life. Realize that great power comes from becoming in touch with yourself. A person who truly knows and loves his or her self is a force to be reckoned with. The sky is the limit! You'll be able to pull out the barriers that have been stopping you from doing the things you've always wanted to do by realizing that they were never there in the first place.

Stop taking "no" for an answer. If you can daydream it, you can achieve it. The only thing stopping you was yourself! Today is the day to get after it! Best of luck!

Thank you for reading.

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