Find Your Authenticity and Discover Happiness

You have to be real with yourself, before you can be real with anyone else.

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This is a perfect place to begin today. This blog has been a struggle to maintain for a few weeks now. I have started a new job and have some worries about the direction of my professional world. All to say, these things have really taken my focus from my writing. Writing is a joy and something that takes up a lot of my pastime. But lately I have reorganized my professional and personal lives that have brought about a question of priorities. Unfortunately my family has taken a back seat while I pursued my doctoral degree and now I am reinvested in what makes them happy.

Now that I look at the big picture I am pleased with my choices. Though it has taken a toll on me as I worried about my absence affecting others. No matter if I have one or one thousand followers I was concerned about all of your opinions of me. Then I saw this quote and it sparked a real internal energy, one that has been lacking as I tried to figure out a new direction in life. Rather than worrying about letting others down I must refocus on what this all means in my life. I am no good to anyone else if I am not complete. By no means does this insinuate that I care less about my followers or others that seek out my positivity it just reinforces that I am human and I have to focus on my path.

Authenticity has been an attribute that I hold close to me and is one of my best qualitities. Yet I have noticed that lately my regrouping has left me somewhat out of sorts.   Today I take back my authenticity. By doing so has helped free me from the worries and is the aid that I have internally sought. The focus of my message today is to not force some of the tough decisions on the horizon, allow them to manifest in a nature and fully exposed way. When decisions are boiling in the background don’t force them, trust me when it is time they will emerge. I know this because I had no intention of writing this morning. Even though week after week I have looked for quotes and hoped something would come to me, but to this point I came up empty. But today I found a message and the words flowed. So there you have it, when a decision needs to be made allow it the time deserved and it will happen.

In the end, don’t forget to be yourself. I hope to continue the postings as they come. So if you would like to be included in my internal discussion then please subscribe I would enjoy you being on this journey. Always be yourself and thereby beautiful.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 13: Get Unstuck By Releasing Fear

Unstuck

The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are – Unknown

Well this quote appeared perfect since my blog has been at a standstill for a few weeks despite the promise that I would do a weekly update. As the weeks were breezing by I had periodic internal thoughts that told me I was behind and that I was not keeping my word. But excuses or fatigue kept me from moving forward. These are things we all experience. Maybe you have a lot going on in your work or personal lives that set you off track somewhere. It may not be happening at this moment but it will happen in your lifetime.

I am glad to bring a part of my own life to this blog as a way to demonstrate that we all have challenges. That does not stop me from living a positive life or thinking in a positive manner. Though, it is about improving and perfecting a strategy. Whether you are playing a sport, at the office, with the kids or on a vacation your state of mind and how you think about particular situations come down to your approach. Evaluate your internal thoughts – are they commonly negative or can you find the one bit of hope in a terrible situation. Unless you have been taught through positive parenting or some other source of positive living then likely your thought processes have some negative connotation.

Recognize when your thoughts are negative and work toward finding a gleam of hope is a challenge, but possible. Such as – Oh my I am not writing in my blog, I am so far behind, I failed by giving others my word and now all I have done will fail. Instead think of the situation in a clear and positive manner – Wow it has been two weeks without a posting, I know I have been tired and started a new job but I will wake up in the morning and give it my best shot.   Once I began thinking like the latter well here we are, I am writing.

Self-exploration is vital to curing the stuck-in-the mud feeling. You will remain stuck unless you explore why you are stuck or what the fear is of moving forward. Yes, here I go again you may think, but change takes a lot of trial and error and correcting what once worked but is now broken. Think about what may be holding you back from taking that step forward. Avoidance always has a hidden message and agenda. When you are avoiding something, fear is at the center of the decision making process. Again, fear is what robs us from happiness.

Using myself again as an example, my fear about writing the next blog included the fear of letting others down, not keeping my word and the lack of follow-through, which equated to being unreliable. After I was able to identify those fears I could effectively challenge them. Yes I did not keep my word and failed with follow-through, however, I showed my human side and openly shared what others may also experience. Recognizing my setbacks allowed me to rationalize my fear and overcome what was holding me back. You have sole control over the correct timing to make a move and only you will know when the stagnation of staying where you are is no longer effective. Listen to the internal cues and when faced with fear challenge irrational thoughts to help overcome judgments that will keep you stuck.

Today is the day to challenge the fears you have comforted and nurtured. When you feel that pit in the bottom of your stomach, sit down and evaluate its origin. Write down all those thoughts that are rummaging through your mind. Once they come to life in front of you, stare down their untruths in an effort to overcome the lies that have held you down.

Take out a piece of paper and think about a decision that has been on your mind. Jot down the negative aspects about that decision. Canceling out those thoughts could be obvious for some but for others may be a more difficult process. Using the positive people in your life could lend the helping hand that you need.

For example:

Negative thought: I want to start my own business but I don’t have what it takes.

Counteracting thought: Well I have been a manager for 5 years, I know how to be in charge.

Positive People: I remember my last 3 evaluations and my supervisor said “you are a self starter, the company has grown since you have been a manager.”

I hope this blog post was helpful when considering how to challenge fears. Get out there and make some changes and move forward. If you would like to get a notification to stay in tune with this blog please subscribe.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 9: Create Your Masterpiece

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(photo: Alex Alemany)

Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself – George Bernard Shaw

 

This journey called life can be very confusing, trying and at times pretty painful. However, by taking on a positive outlook all those adverse feelings can be transformed into a constant encouragement meant to improve oneself. Life is a process that has no manual; there is no right or wrong way to exist aside from laws and social structures that govern our behavior. But none of those restrictions produce happiness, creativity or originality.

 

Life is a noun that requires animation and distinguishes the existing from the departed. This quote uses two animated words to describe life and discerns the difference between finding and creating. The word ‘finding’ gives the notion that a mental picture of a searched out object has been formed. Therefore, if I am ‘finding myself’ essentially I have a mental picture of someone else and I am attempting to make myself into that notion. No two people are alike and thereby my mental picture of what I am ‘finding’ will not be exact. In my opinion looking to ‘find myself’ is an automatic failure since I cannot recreate the vision of another person. Yes I can look to recreate something similar but then I would not be exactly ‘finding myself.’

 

Now lets envision ‘creating yourself.’ A creation may have a rough draft or key ‘must haves.’ However, a creation will end in a unique manner. This style is similar to ‘finding’ but has distinct differences known as personal modifications. A ‘creation’ has no definitive lines and has very vague expectations. Creations afford room for error, mistakes and redo’s. Also, those mistakes and errors become part of the unique artwork of the creation. Oversights are the blemishes that put final touches on a masterpiece.

 

Life is a specific term that defines an ambiguous process. With finer lines that easily blur provide for a happier outcome. ‘Creating’ that process puts you in the driver seat and helps life to be drawn to you rather that being on a wild goose chase trying to replicate another’s process.

 

Think about your own life process. Have you been hunting all this time trying to be like a parent, co-worker, boss, friend, and partner? On the other hand are you able to borrow traits from others who are in your life and make them your own and make them work for you? Do some personal self-exploration. I ask this important question as I have too been on the chasing end of things. I have wanted to be the best at all I do and thereby would look for the best role model in that area and then tried to replicate their efforts using my own perception. Let me tell you that didn’t work too well. Though, what I have found to work for my life is to look at a person’s motivation, relationships with others, compassion, empathy and use those particular traits to help me create my own masterpiece. Again focusing on ‘creating’ rather than ‘finding.’

 

Think in terms of a masterpiece. Do you see yourself as a replicated Mona Lisa or will you take a blank canvas, look at what angles, colors and dimensions you adore of the Mona Lisa and then use your expertise you make your own art. If you see yourself as a ‘masterpiece’ and a one-of-a-kind creation then the downfalls to life that will inevitably happen will be less overwhelming and self-destructive. Da Vinci found flaws in his own work just as we do in life. However, to the naked eye those flaws are less apparent or undetected. The author or ‘creator’ will always know the entire piece better than others but others overlook the minor imperfections. Embrace those as part of the creation; they are part of your greatness. Gather the traits you adore in others and get busy making your own work of art. You are worth it.

 

To stay posted and follow a full year of positive and uplifting ways of life please follow my blog. We can be on this road to happiness together. Enjoy your week and embrace your creativity and flaws, you are unique.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 8: Tear Down The Walls And Enjoy Life

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(photo: Chris Fry)

You are confined only by the walls you build yourself – Andrew Murphy

Well here I am at it again.  I realize that it is Wednesday and my hope was to get my weekly posting up by Monday morning to help guide everyone’s week. That has not been the past few weeks and I am learning to accept that.  But truthfully I have written this post a few times and something was just off.  I felt unable to convey my true thoughts and believe it or not I got stuck on my words countless times.  Something about what I was doing felt lifeless and without inspiration.  Maybe I work best under pressure or I am dealing with another beast.  I will not bore you with all my internal thoughts, however, most of it relates to this week’s posting.  It was obvious that I was building a wall around myself, I put confining parameters on what I hoped to bring to this blog.  Slowly but surely those parameters were sucking the life out of my idea to uplift those around me.

As a result, I have found that it’s time to change things.  This week begin evaluating your own journey, hopes, dreams and aspirations.  Are they alive and well or are some of them drowning?  If nothing is broke please don’t tinker on it, but if you are finding to some degree an area that is out of align with the picture take a step back and evaluate it.  I have yet to do that myself with this blog but when I saw the quote above it really stood out and I knew that was my dilemma.  And my words began to flow as usual.  Talents are not intended to be boxed up and dictated, the beauty of art is to allow free flow of creativity.

Talents come in many forms.  This posting encompasses way more than writing alone,  life has to be creative and free.  Containing your joy leads to its demise and will leave you stuck.  Keeping your eye on the goal is fantastic but be careful not to completely contain your efforts as you may sacrifice the joy of experiencing the goal and the life around you.  Many times we become focused on a life dream or success and leave behind having fun and enjoying the place in which our feet are planted.  Once more I caution against building that wall as it is all marked with fear.  Fear of not accomplishing the set out goal.  Just like the quote ‘work hard, play hard’ we have to enjoy life, but life is not enjoyable if it is restricted.

This week I challenge you to look at the walls you are building to protect your success or due to the fear of failure.  Where can you make adjustments as a way to experience the fullness of life.  Even Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz found her way off the path and enjoyed the poppies (despite them being poisoned) but she still found her way home.  Trust in the  process and your goal will come true.  When you achieve your goal you may be too tired and exhausted to enjoy it if the parameters are too restrictive and lack joy.  Take down the walls that confine and risk suffocating your joy and creativity.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 7: Take a Leap of Faith

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Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase –

Martin Luther King Jr.

All right so we have discussed the process of positive change.  Up to this point the focus was solely internal.  However, for the change to occur one must seek to the outside world and make a move.  The terror continues but none-the-less a step that can be accomplished.

At this juncture the finish line is not important but many parts of the future are dependent on that first step.  This step often forces you to rely on faith and the desire to change.  Essentially the significance of faith reduces the fear of the unknown that is directed toward the unimaginable personal transition one stares in the eye.  Often the threshold of our desires and hopes for change are set well below our actual abilities.  My friend Cristen directed me toward the video below that is worthy of mentioning and discusses the purpose of faith and external factors that reduce the fear of being left alone on a limb.

The task this week is to focus only on the step forward; even if this is a baby step or one that is only noticed by the self.  Don’t worry about the consequences of that step or the “big picture.”  Stay tuned to the step alone.  I will elaborate on that a minute since I commonly talk about living outside of the box and now I am suggesting that you box up your progress for a moment.  I have a method to all this.  Looking at too much too soon can overwhelm a person.  Fear becomes the result of fantasizing too far into the future and may prevent progress all together.  So for the moment when change and progress is a new concept one may need to box it up a bit.

Setting a Goal – AKA making your staircase

The goal that you would like to work toward will lead you to the essential first step.  Therefore, starting with a goal is vital.  For instance, learning to live a reduced stress lifestyle is the set out goal.  Well that is easily mentioned or even thoroughly discussed but does anyone know how to achieve this lifestyle.   Well first off one has to realize that each person’s stress is individual as well as the contributing factors.  So I will walk you through my staircase of achieving a reduced stressful life. 
  1. 1. Let go of uncontrollable situations
  2. 2. Making a schedule to manage my time appropriately
  3. 3. Remove or minimize interactions with negative people
  4. 4. Accept my shortcomings and work around them not against them
  5. 5. Think positively about situations and expel positivity to others
  6. 6. Make sure to engage in fun activities
  7. 7. Do not take on too many tasks
*This is where my staircase becomes hazy
Recognize that many of the steps took internal energy and few took the work of the external world.  I am not sure if the goal of the staircase will change or if there is even an end to the staircase.  That is the pleasure and importance of not knowing where the staircase will lead – that is relevant to the universe no the person.  

Now that I put the abstract into reality it is also relevant to quickly discuss the fear of change.  Anything that fear attaches to has the potential of robbing your progress.  Fear and disbelief is a sure fire culprit that prevents or stunts change.  But looking beyond the fear of change one can move further toward the goal than ever imagined.  However, I will not ignore consuming abilities of fear.  Even mentioning change is a fear stricken event.  Learning to accept the fear related to change helps when taking that first step.  Welcome the fear and do not try to dispel it but rather work around that feeling.  But whatever you do avoid allowing the fear to control your taking risks.  Once you have fear under control by acknowledging its existence and inevitable presence then stepping out on a limb will not be an unbearable task.

Once the fear is at least tolerable set out to imagine the first few steps or movements toward change.  Do not be consumed with the big picture, again it is not important.  Just as the video mentioned, taking the steps and moving toward change is your job but the universe has its responsibility as well.  The staircase and what is waiting for you is part of the universe and what it has to offer.  Be secure that it will come through and do its part.  Being positive and believing in your abilities will take you beyond your best fantasies.  Plus realizing the world is not on your shoulders, you have supporters and the universe that must contribute to your change.

Good luck tapping into your universe and doing your part.

 

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 6: Life Happens, Show Your Human Side

Life happens, welcome it with open arms –

Dr. Michelle Scoggins

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This quote had to be self-authored as it exemplified my recent experiences. Despite my mind having an idea and perspective of how I would like things to occur the universe does not always align with your personal hopes. No matter how you feel about the experiences happening in real time you must take them in and process the situation in some manner. When you cannot slow down the speed of the day or mitigate the lack of determination – the only option is to welcome the storm. When all attempts to create your own path fail or take a sharp turn, dispel the internal resistance and rely on your own resources that have safely brought you through other tough or seemingly impossible situations.

Being open to situations and change inevitably reduces stress and anxiety. There is a calming effect related to giving up on the fallacy of control. For many reasons humans like to imagine where they are going in life or even in the moment. However, our unreal ability to control situations can lead us to become depressed, increase anxiety or give up hope all together. Yet that also is not reality. Some situations are not meant to control.

When you find yourself in the middle of a storm of uncontrollable events, take a step back and take a deep breath. My week has had many moments of deep breathing and refocusing. I have let go of control that things could be different and that I “should be” doing anything other than what I accomplished. However, in the end forward progress is required and hence the reason I pushed forward and put out this posting.

I hope to have demonstrated a few things in this one small posting. First of all we are all human and even when promises are at stake life may take alternate moves. Also, no matter what happens take a step forward, even if you are behind schedule. Learn to show your human side because others are looking and you can teach onlookers a thing or two. Breathing and taking a step back can put things in perspective and lastly prioritize tasks.

Especially important this week is to show that human side. I had a friend check in on me as she was waiting for my weekly post, so others are looking. Thank you Iris for helping me to move forward and realize that others do care. Never lose your human side for the desire to live outside of your abilities and tasks in front of you.

Have a great weekend and experience your storm with grace and understanding. When the current dies down just a tad be sure to take a step forward. You all can do it within the time that is meant for it to happen, don’t push it.

If you hurry you may miss the scenery.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 5: Letting Go

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When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be – Lao Tzu

Letting go in life is often the most difficult part of change.  The avoidance of letting go is also what keeps you from becoming who you are meant to be.  So as we move through this year of positive thinking there will be moments of pain and struggle. Similar to trying anything new.  For example, when starting the gym or an exercise routine for the first time, you may feel ready and excited to start and probably work out that initial day with copious enthusiasm.  But come that next morning you wonder if this new routine is worth it since you feel like you have been run over by a truck. Well keep sight of that pain as change can take on a similar form, though mostly emotional.  Mind you that months down the road after starting this new routine you have accomplished things that were previously unimaginable or felt as if they were out of your league.  Change is very similar, you have the potential of becoming a person that was once thought to be impossible.

This quote really magnified the need to trust ones internal self.  Besides all that you believe about yourself  is often minimized and/or skewed.  It is difficult to incorporate the positive parts of life and thereby we frequently live by this distorted sense of self, which falls below our potential.  But letting go of all the past failures, tragedies, losses and inflictions one is able to open their internal eyes to what the world has been saving for you all along.  We miss our own blessings and happiness when our eyes become fixated on past grief.

I can tell you that letting go of bad thoughts about yourself will truly open doors in your mind and your life.  Becoming free is a process and one that silences internal fear.  Fear robs us of our greatness and keeps our potential hushed.  Take control of your life by letting go and accepting that it is hard to makes changes and that it is normal to experience fear but none-the-less challenge yourself to improve.

A quick exercise:

This quick exercise can help to push you toward a positive path and the right track.  Often to internalize reality we must see it first.  Like the old saying, ‘I will believe it when I see it.’  Well here you go.  If you are one of those people then I encourage you to take part.  Take out a blank piece of paper, any will do, and tear it up into small pieces like 1” by 2” – just enough to scribble on.  Now write down the negative parts of yourself that you want to change on individual pieces of paper.  Include fears that you have about changing those negative patterns on other pieces of paper.  This part of the exercise works best when you are as open and honest with yourself as possible.  Tackling fear includes acknowledging its presence.  Now write down on individual pieces of paper what attributes will replace the negative ones.  Once you have recorded the focal points you wish to challenge, toss the negative attributes and fears in the garbage.  That is where they belong.  This symbolizes that you no longer need those aspects and that you will keep the positive, more adaptable parts.  Place the negative parts of yourself somewhere you can see them often as a reminder.

It may look like this –

Negative Positive Fear
I am a disappointment I am not responsible for others thoughts about me I will make someone unhappy

 

By learning the most about your fears one is able to be free from your perceptions about yourself and others.  It is impossible to be responsible for others thoughts but in some facets we believe that we have control.  By living a negative and fearful life you become consumed by a vicious circle of false thoughts and perceptions.  But being free is a choice and one that takes work and maintenance.  I also stand by the perception that nothing is perfect but continue trying to improve where things are “good enough.”  I wish you all good luck throwing out the negative and fearful thoughts and stop by sometime and let me know how this process is going.