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Taking Responsibility – You can change your circumstances!

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One of the most important principles of personal development is that you take 100% responsibility for your life.

 
It’s important to understand what responsibility is, especially in relation to blame.
 
What does it mean to take responsibility for your life?
 
Responsibility
noun:  re·spon·si·bil·i·ty \ri-ˌspän(t)-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē\
the state of being the person who caused something to happen
 
It’s essential to understand that you are the common denominator in your life. You are present at EVERY interaction, activity, decision, event, and experience that happens to you! You are the one, and the only one, that determines how you are going to respond or react to everything in your life.
 
With this knowledge, YOU must realize you are completely responsible for all of your successes and failures and of your happiness or unhappiness.
 
This is different from being at fault or to blame for something. Some events are things you may not want at all, yet they still happen. Car accidents, assaults, and burglaries are not things we want; yet they happen. Casting blame or fault comes as a form of chastisement, whether belittling oneself or belittling another. Ultimately, it’s how you respond to the situation, undesirable or not, that determines the final outcome.

For example, if one finds themselves mugged and beaten-up one night, they have choices which may be:

  • Be fearful for the rest of ones life and not go out at night anymore,
  • Take responsibility and enroll in self-defense courses, empower themselves and rebuild their self-esteem,
  • Or do nothing and blame others, the police, themselves for not preventing it. 

 
Blame and responsibility are on opposite sides of the spectrum. One brings on depression, and the other raises self-esteem and facilitates healing.
 
Blame is a negative, depressive state, which halts growth.

Responsibility is a proactive, positive state and allows active change.
 
If you don’t understand the concept and practice of responsibility, you will feel stuck in your life and you will fall into a victim mentality.
 
The negativity of excuse making will prevent you from succeeding. If you find yourself in your current position, personal or professional, claiming your problems are someone or something else’s fault, then you really need to take a hard look your life. No matter the situation, there is always a solution you can apply.
 
How to take responsibility of your life:

  1. Be willing to see your situation differently
  2. Make no more excuses and no more blame
  3. Listen to your thoughts – thoughts turn into actions
  4. Look for solutions and be proactive about them

 


 
What do you do when you’ve done something wrong or said something hurtful?
 
When you take responsibility and acknowledge that you’ve done something wrong you move into a positive proactive state. It can feel uncomfortable, but this discomfort is temporary because you are taking measures to correct what you’ve done. You are in a state of humility and openness.
 
How to take responsibility when you’ve done something wrong:

  1. Take ownership of your behavior and admit your misconduct.
  2. Apologize for it, and be sincere!
  3. Correct what you’ve done. Do your best to fix it and make amends.
  4. Don’t do it again.

 
Being honest and showing humility when you’ve been hurtful will improve your relationships dramatically; but you must be sincere and committed to improving yourself so you do not repeat the hurtful behavior again.
 
Taking responsibility for your actions is the key to being a genuine person.

 

Listening to your Inner Voice

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The other day I attended an unusually hot Bikram yoga class. Somewhere in the middle I needed to lie down, as my heart felt like it would burst. While lying there, staring up at the ceiling, I suddenly had a voice inside me speaking words told to me long ago by my High School art teacher:

“An artist always knows when a painting is complete”

 

After hearing this, I felt something, like a deep knowing, then it shifted to a physical sensation that washed inside me and I realized what this meant. These words don’t necessarily apply to just creating art, but to life. It’s important to recognize when something is over it’s just over. If you keep putting time and energy into it, it’s wasted effort or you may ruin it, just like an overworked painting.

This is a powerful intuition indicating completion.

This is also a lesson on intuition, how it speaks to you, and interpreting it.

So how does your intuition speak to you?

Sometimes, it can be a small voice inside you; it can be flashes of visual images, a feeling in your stomach or even knowingness in your heart. The one consistency is a lack of visceral emotions when the intuition hits. It’s just a message delivered… then after the message is delivered, the emotional response happens.

 

It works like this because the way you process information:
1) Message
2) Mind receives message and thinks about it
3) Emotions follow thoughts

Sometimes you receive the message and process it so fast, you go right to the emotions. (i.e.: As soon as I walked in, I instantly felt sick and tired.)


The easiest way to tell the difference if a message is a thought, or an intuition is your emotional response.

Thought – if you had very intense emotions at the same time as the message
Thought – very negative feelings and obsessing over message
Intuition – when the message came you didn’t have any emotions
(Maybe exception of compassion)
Intuition – after receiving the message, even if bad news, you felt a sense of relief or as thought you already knew the answer already.


Where does this message, this information come from?

 

Sometimes that inner voice is you, these are your thoughts which are influenced by your past experiences. Other times it is your Higher Self, also known as intuition, which is actually your Soul; your Soul is directly plugged into God the Divine and touches the entire Universe.

This is how every question you have is always answered. And it is ALWAYS answered and usually as soon as you ask! But, why you don’t think you have an answer is because the answer you received isn’t want you want to hear, so you dismiss it and claim you don’t know what to do.

Perhaps the biggest step in working with intuition is trusting it. When you know that you’ve receive the truth and it feels like the correct course of action in every aspect, it’s important to trust it and follow through.

And if it means something is over, which is often difficult to accept, take comfort knowing that now there is room for something new to begin…

 

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Dealing with an Envious Friend

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Have you ever gotten that long awaited promotion or new job, shared it with a friend whose response was: “Oh, that’s nice.” Or worse yet says, ”What was wrong with you that you couldn’t get it sooner?”

Or maybe you’ve returned fresh, filled with tranquility and joy from a spiritual retreat, excited to tell a good friend all about your personal discoveries, and they immediately dismiss it or generalize your experience.

And then it seems we all have that one friend that always seems to be competing with you to be bigger or better.

 

This is Envy.

 

It’s normal to feel a little envious of others every now and then, but it’s different when it’s consuming, and deliberately hurtful.

 

Morrissey even wrote a song about it
which sums things up pretty well:

morrissey_single
We hate it when our friends become successful

And if they’re northern, that makes it even worse
And if we can destroy them

You bet your life we will destroy them
If we can hurt them
Well, we may as well, it’s really laughable
Ha, ha, ha
You see, it should’ve been me
© Morrissey – We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful

 

I’d like to quickly point out that Envy and jealousy are often confused.

Envy is when you want what someone else has, but jealousy is when you’re worried someone’s trying to take what you have. Jealousy is most often seen in insecure relationships.

 

The root of envy is a mentality of poverty or lack.

This mentality is driven by comparison and the belief that they will never achieve a desired status, income or aren’t any good at something or at least not as good as the one being compared to. This stirs up powerful feelings of desire or covetousness for the lifestyle, possessions or what-have-you of another.

The emotion of envy can be triggered in circumstances that
involve a social comparison where someone perceives that you have possessions, attributes, or attainments that diminish their own status (Silver & Sabina, 1978; Smith & Kim, 2007).

Envious people will never say it directly, but the distain they have towards you will come out verbally and sometimes subtly as criticism or disrespect for you.

 

Envy is a sign of weakness.

The greater the envy experienced, the more weak and inadequate the envious one believes they are compared to the other person. This insecurity causes a higher tendency to be defensive or verbally lash out.

A powerful emotion like envy can even influence ethical decision-making, promoting the justification of deceptive behavior.

___________

Recognizing envy in others:

 

  1. Withdraw: They aren’t available and don’t behave like the person they were before learning of your achievements.
    This person may not answer your phone calls, emails, or texts. You find they give you the silent treatment and just be overly unavailable. Truly, they wish good things were not happening to you and can’t bear to hear about your happiness.

 

  1. Invalidate you: This includes subtle and not so subtle belittling, generalizing and/or devaluing your achievements and experiences. This often includes comparison to others.

 

  1. Rudeness toward you for no reason when things are just starting to go well for you. This can display as dismissiveness, a lack of responsiveness, to outright belittling on hearing of your good news.

 

  1. They are never happy for you.

 


___________

How to handle an envious friend

There are several methods to deal with these situations and personalities, but firstly, I recommending taking a step back and evaluating the overall relationship and determining if this ill behavior is a long-term pattern, or a one time issue.

 

  1. ) Do NOT take things personally! Usually when someone is negative, it has to do with them and their issues and nothing to do with you.
  2. ) Be proud of yourself and your achievements. You worked hard to get where you are – own it! Do not downplay your own success and hard work because of another’s feelings of inadequacy.

  3. ) Try talking to your friend about it. If their behavior doesn’t improve, or if you believe it to be a pattern, bring it up gently and try to work it out. But remember, it is they, not you who must do the work.

  4. ) Give it space or if needed, let them go. Usually, time and space apart is enough to minimize another’s ill feelings toward you. If they continue to react to you in hurtful and negative ways despite efforts to remedy the situation, it’s in your best interest to let them go.

  5. ) You cannot and never will please everyone. Just do your best to be a loving, honest and compassionate person.

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.”
John Lydgate

 

We all might feel envious at times, but those who really understand that the source of their suffering is actually within themselves, will try to fix their problems, because truly, the feeling of envy is painful.

 

You are not competing against anyone in this life but you. You only ever need to focus on your own path and goals, continually improving yourself and well-being.

 

 

 

 

Alone but not lonely

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alone-notLonely

It was a chilly day, the wind whipping across the water as we stood out on the deck of a ferry crossing Milford Sound in the south island of New Zealand. She, a stranger, held out her camera to me and asked that I take her photo. I was careful to capture the crisp mountains and rainbow waterfalls framing her perfectly. She, then asked,” You traveling alone?” “Yes.” I replied. “Me too!” She laughed, “Guaranteed good company! When you’re by yourself, you’re guaranteed good company!”

Guaranteed good company…

 
I hadn’t thought of it that way, but she was right.
One thing I always liked about traveling and venturing out on my own was all the impromptu adventures and friends I made along the way.
 
But, there are a great number of people who fear being alone. Many of us find it frightening to travel alone, to take a class alone or find there’s no one to ask for help.
 
To avoid this fear of being alone, we will socialize endlessly, from jumping from one relationship to another, emailing constantly, or becoming absorbed in social media. Often times, to avoid being alone, we’ll end up in a relationship with someone who isn’t really good for us.
 
There’s a difference between being alone and feeling lonely.
 
Alone means there aren’t people with you.
 
Lonely is a feeling of disconnect, or longing despite having a great deal of social contact with others, or being in a relationship.
 
As mentioned in an earlier post Understanding Loneliness, people who struggle with feelings of loneliness of find their struggles have deeper roots.
 
Being alone is what you make of it.
 
To truly understand what makes being alone so painful, you must recognize that it probably comes from a deeper situation that may be uncomfortable to address.

  • Sometimes can be traced back to an unpleasant experience or past memory.
  • Some simply are bored when they are alone.
  • When in solitude, unpleasant thoughts and feelings can arise that you must then reflect on and process.
  • Sometimes, as an adult you keep trying to bring people into your world to soothe the lack of nurturing from childhood.
  • Social anxiety and fear of the thoughts of others.

 
So how can we learn to enjoy being by ourselves if it seems intimidating?
 
The secret to being alone you’ll find, is that it’s empowering. You make all the decisions and can be completely focused on and present in every experience.
 
You will be learning self-sufficiency and emotional independence, which is an act of strength. Time alone is an opportunity for growth and to get to known yourself.
 
Becoming acquainted with time alone may start small and simple.
 
Try spending small amounts of time alone, without your phone, laptop, TV, or radio. This quiet will allow you to become aware of yourself and surroundings. Ask yourself things like: What is my body telling me today? How do I feel today?
 
Eventually if you keep at this, you’ll grow used to setting time aside for yourself to be by yourself. You may spend your time going on hikes, reading books, creating artwork, or even writing that novel you’ve been thinking about.
 
I encourage you to go off on an adventure of your own, my friends, and know you’re guaranteed good company!
 
If you feel I may be of help, please call me at 206-428-1975
or email me: joanna@ascension-healing.com

with love,
Joanna 

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Cultivating Self-Love

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“In order to be able to truly love another person, a person needs first to love oneself, in the way of respecting oneself, and knowing oneself (e.g. being realistic and honest about one’s strengths and weaknesses).” – Eric Fromm

Hi Friends,
 
For anyone who’s ever been on a commercial flight, I’m sure you recall listening to the airplane safety presentation before take off. It includes elements such as these:
 
Exits are in the front of the plane, back, and over the wings; be aware the nearest exit may be behind you – look around.
 
Flotation devices are under the seats in the event of a water landing
 
If air pressure drops in the cabin, oxygen masks drop down from the overhead. Be sure to put your oxygen mask on before children or helping others.
 
Be sure to put your oxygen mask on before children or helping others.
 
It may seem selfish to take care of yourself first in a dangerous or potentially dire situation, but it really is an astute safety measure. The point is to make sure you can breath and are stable before assisting others; otherwise you will become a liability causing resources and time to be used to help you whereas otherwise it would have been unnecessary.
 
When you take care of yourself first, you can be more productive and then help others. And just like taking care of yourself first on an airplane, if you practice self- love and take care of yourself, you too will be more helpful, productive and overall happier in life.
 
It’s important to point out that loving oneself is different from being conceited, or egocentric. It means you care about yourself and take responsibility for yourself.
 
“Regaining of a quiet sense of pleasure in being one’s own self.” – Carl Rogers
 
Being aware of yourself, your needs and recognizing your worth are the keystone of cultivating self-love.
 
This starts by gradually learning to accept your weaknesses along with your strengths. It builds out of the thoughts and actions that you choose.
 
A few tips to help cultivate self love:
 
Mindfulness:
Start by checking in with yourself – begin to recognize what you feel, think, and want. Your thoughts dictate your emotions and actions. Slow down and listen what you’re saying to yourself and the thoughts that you’re having. Ask yourself how these are impacting your mood and behavior.
 
Self-Care
It’s important to enroll in healthy physical activities and exercise, and make sure you’re getting adequate sleep and nutrition. Set time aside for play, social interaction or quiet contemplation. Loving yourself through an established practice to meet your basic needs sets a foundation for further personal growth and wellness.
 
Boundaries
Consider what you can tolerate and accept and what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed. This is a good way to set limits and recognize activities or interactions that aren’t good for you. Tune into your feelings to recognize what feels good and helpful or what stresses you and feels wrong. Be direct and clear with your wants and needs.
 
Loving ourselves isn’t a one-time thing.
It’s an ongoing process.

 

 

The Science of Inspiration

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Inspiration is derived from the Latin word inspirare, which means, “to breathe into.”

 
To inspire achievement, action, a breath of infinite possibilities is passed from one individual to another. Inspiration hasn’t a singular effect, but raises the dreams of others as well.
 
When the active fire of inspiration ignites within us, it moves swiftly like a gust, a brief powerful breath of wind. And when it’s gone, we are left longing for its return.
 
Inspiration seems to be driven by the work itself and isn’t something you can control. The Greeks believed it to be the ethereal Muses and Christians may say it’s God, or the Holy Spirit moving them.

Is there a way to encourage it?
Producing new ideas is actually the hardest intellectual work.
 
While revelations are something you can’t really control, there are ways to encourage and enable them to arise by understanding how they work. (Unglamorous part)
 
There are three different parts of the brain that are used in creative thinking and inspiration.
 
The Attention Control Network, which helps use focus on a task and concentration on complex problems.
 
The Imagination Network, which is used to imagine the future AND remember past events.
 
The Attention Flexibility Network, monitors what’s’ happening around us as well as what’s inside our brain.
 
Your brain will change in structure or function in response to experience; it’s called cognitive plasticity. The more dynamic and varied the experiences are, the greater the plasticity is developed. This is because your memory sorts and connects information based on their relationship with each other, the more plastic your brain is, the more you’re able to form creative or inspirational thoughts.
 
Think of it as mental flexibility where your mind is able to make connections easier with sometimes seemingly random or unrelated items or topics, to reveal a clear pattern or answers to problems.
 
A few ways (there are many) to encourage Cognitive Plasticity:
 
Exercise – something dynamic and mentally challenging: martial arts, boxing, dance, or team sports i.e. Basketball.
 
Reading – directly activates the imagination and creativity.
 
Meditation – during meditation, your brainwaves literally change from Beta (awake & alert) to Alpha and Theta, which are slower and more receptive. Often inspiration comes during this quiet time.
 
So now you’re developing a flexible mind that will work dynamically and see new patterns and solutions where before there seemed naught.

 
The Next part to awaken the Spark:
 
Reduce your Attention to Control and allow the Imagination and Attention Flexibility to flow.
 
What does that mean?
 
Stop trying so hard!
 
This means releasing control of an outcome and allowing the answer to arise on it’s own. The word you don’t want to hear is: patience. It takes time to prepare your mind to be creative, motivated and SAFE enough to reveal ideas.
 
Setting time aside regularly sends a signal to your mind that there is time and space to safely work on creativity. Go back to your memories and recall when you felt most inspired even back to childhood.
 
Sometimes, just let your mind drop it and allow your subconscious do the work.
 
Dreams are an excellent way to allow your subconscious answer questions.

How do you come up with ideas? I’d love you hear your thoughts.

Understanding Loneliness

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understandingLoneliness
We’re going to talk about Loneliness.

I’m not going to give you a top 10 list of ways to meet people. You can find that all over the Internet and frankly, it won’t really help and will probably just piss you off because, I know that’s how I’d feel.
 
We’re going to go a little deeper.
 
This is especially poignant because I’m writing this while living in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Seattle, Washington, which is nationally known for the “Seattle Freeze”.  A good way to describe this “freeze” is that most folks that move here find it immensely difficult to make meaningful friendships or truly experience anything beyond surface pleasantries. People here are nice enough, but emotionally and socially distant. Another way to phrase it is: “You’re welcome onto the porch, but never in the house.” Thus “lonely” is a word often heard and an experience often felt.
 
When I initially moved out here to the Pacific Northwest, I was a resident in a local Buddhist Monastery. While living there, I had a close confident in an 86-year-old nun whom also was originally from the East Coast. She told me the reason people move out here to Seattle is to heal. There’s something about all the water and remoteness that draws those who are suffering.
 
Her point of suffering is where we’re going to start addressing loneliness.
 
Being lonely can mean not feeling part of the world despite having a great deal of social contact with others, or being in a relationship.

This is Internal Loneliness, which is different than the sort of environmental loneliness brought on by something like a relationship suddenly ending or a recent move to a new location. It’s important to understand the difference because it goes so much deeper.
 
Internal loneliness is a deeper more prolonged sense of loneliness. The causes usually come from within ourselves.

This deep sense of loneliness can happen for a number of reasons:
Low self-confidence
Seeing yourself as less or unimportant
But most importantly, a deep sense of loneliness may stem from childhood, and could be linked with feeling unloved or cared for as a child.
 
That’s a lot to take in, as this requires you to look back over your life and the length and breath of this loneliness and feelings of exclusion. This requires courage, so take a deep breath and give yourself a lot of patience.
 
If you’re looking back and seeing a long pattern of loneliness, it very well may be the result of childhood abandonment, and thus you abandoning yourself. (Remember to breathe)
 
Childhood abandonment results from:
• The loss of one or both parents to death or divorce
• Physical/sexual abuse
• Neglect
• Withheld nurturing, affecting or stimulation
• Or even a parent whom had an alcohol or drug addiction or mental health condition.
 
Children are totally dependent on caretakers to provide safety and basic needs. When this isn’t provided, the grow up believing the world is not a safe place, that people cannot be trusted, and that they do not deserve positive attention and proper care.
 
When we are children, we have no other experience of the world and this being the first experience, it becomes the baseline or standard for everything else.
 
As an adult this can manifest as:
• Feelings of insecurity & mistrust

• Depression
• Anxiety & Isolation
• Inability to commit or follow through
 
A common adult symptom of abandonment issues, is finding yourself in unhealthy relationships that reinforce negative beliefs, even though you’re looking for love & acceptance.
 
Does this sound familiar?
 
What does one do?
 
First it’s important to understand that this isn’t your fault! It is by no way an indictment of your innate goodness or value.
But it does take time, hard work, and patience to separate fears from the past from the reality of the present.
 
These feelings of loneliness and abandonment can seem overwhelming, but they can be managed and overcome.
• Explore ways to care for yourself
• Develop a way to ground and center yourself when feeling fears arise
• Communicate needs
• Have appropriate boundaries
• Build a sense of trust
 
My friends, you all deserve love and happiness.

 

Recognizing a Parasidic Draw or Energy Vampire : Part 1

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One morning, I jumped in my car and when I turned the key in the ignition, the engine turned over, but didn’t start. “Oh no…” I thought, my stomach suddenly feeling queasy.  (We all know this feeling!)
I tried again, the engine turned over a few times, didn’t start.
Then a third try, the engine finally turned over and started.
 
Throughout the next few days I watched the behavior of my car. It would have trouble starting in the morning, but in the afternoon or anytime after that initial morning start, it would start right up with no trouble at all.
 
What was happening?
 
This isn’t typical behavior of a failing starter engine or perhaps an alternator problem…
 
Finally I brought my car to the mechanic where we discovered I had what’s called a Parasitic Draw. Sounds creepy, right?

parasite
 
A Parasitic Draw is when there is an electrical component in your car that slowly drains the battery of energy. This typically isn’t noticeable when driving because the operation of the car itself is designed to charge your battery; but when the car isn’t operating, like at night when you’re home in bed, the energy drain can be noticeable enough that there isn’t enough juice in the battery to start the car the next day.
 
“Whoa!” I thought … “I’ve experienced Parasitic Draws in my personal life too!” I’ve been with people or in places when I felt exhausted or sick, only to be back to normal as soon as I got away. My energy returned and I was back to myself again.
 
And sometimes, like my car, they aren’t that easy to diagnose either …
 
A more common name to describe something or someone that is sucking up your time and energy is: a psychic vampire or energy vampire.
 
This energy drain happens on many different levels and we’ve all experienced it.
All of our relationships are governed by a give and take of energy and this affects the quality of our lives and health. It’s usually an unconscious competition for energy that underlies energy vampires.
 
Often times these vampires don’t know how they are affecting others. A bad day at the office, and injury, or hearing bad news can make anyone into a temporary energy vampire. When you are suffering, you naturally reach out for support.
 
Sometimes a person has suffered a serious trauma they haven’t healed from and are unconsciously sucking energy from others to support themselves. Where does this energy go that they keep drawing? When there’s an unaddressed trauma, there usually are leaks in the aura where energy escapes, or the energy is sent back in time surrounding the trauma itself to protect the psyche of individual who is suffering.
 
It is important to have compassion for this person, for you do not know their pain. But, also be mindful of yourself that they don’t suck your energy dry. There are ways to help without sacrificing your own well-being.
 
It’s also important to note, that there are some vampires who are much more conscious of the rush they receive from an energy draw. Some even go so far as to control, overpower or manipulate others or situations because they know it’s a quick way to boost themselves.
 
They best way to figure out if you’re on the presence of an Energy Vampire or a Parasitic situation is to:
Listen to your body.
 
Ask yourself: How do I feel in this situation or with this person?
What is your first instinct?
 
Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel aware? Are you backing away? Are you seeing red flags? Are you crossing your arms? Do you feel tired or irritable?

These are all things to be aware of – your body language and feelings will indicate what is happening. Your body will unconsciously respond to the truth regardless of what your mind is thinking. And be aware that your mind will try to dismiss these signals.
 
This intuitive listening with your body to determine energetic quality can be applied to sensing work environments and living arrangements as well as relationships and meeting new people.
 
Always ask yourself: How do I feel?

_______

 

 

Be sure to check out Part 2 to this post: Different types of Energy Vampires

 

 

 

Differentiation: Finding your own voice

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Our parents are our first and greatest teachers. They are our first introduction to the world and all of our experiences. As children, we are blank slates and have no experiences with which to compare and evaluate anything. It is natural to model ourselves after our first teachers.

Sometimes-I-Open-My-Mouth-funny-mothers-day-card-for-mothersday-800x800
 
But what if your beliefs as an adult differ from that of your family? This can generate turmoil both within the self and in the family dynamic.
 
Differentiation

Differentiation relates to ones susceptibility to group pressure and influence. The less susceptible to the pressure of others, the higher an individual’s differentiation level.
 
As adults, we grow, explore and develop our own beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. Sometimes this journey of self-discovery can be difficult, thinking or being different than that which we grew up with, or even believed most of our lives.
And this doesn’t just relate to the family dynamic, but our immediate culture and environment. It could be political, cultural expectations, or religious communities with which you realize just don’t fit any longer.
 
How does one differentiate, essentially discovering and holding onto your own core beliefs and values?
 
Here are a few tips:
 
Explore and question the actions of others and the world around you. Develop an inner dialogue: Does this serve me? Does this make me happy or stress me out? Is this appropriate? Reflect on your feelings and initial responses.
 
Encourage yourself, developing self-esteem for holding your own. Center and ground yourself whenever you make a choice contrary and possibly disappointing to someone in your life.
 
Find others to support you. This could be friends, family members, a coach, teammate or a therapist.
 
Develop and articulate your values and boundaries. If you’re clear about what is important to you, you’ll be able to call upon and reinforce it when pressured.
 
Notice when you feel uncomfortable or resentful. Discomfort or resentment can be a sign that trying to fit in with someone’s agenda, neglecting your own values.
 
Remember, everyone is on a path of development and growth until our very last day on earth. We are all doing the best that we can at this time, even you.
 
Especially because Mother’s Day is nearly here, lets take time to reflect on and appreciate all that our mothers have done for us; and also appreciate our family, how they influenced and helped us grow into becoming ourselves, differentiated in our own individual potential.

Handle Uncertainty and Master your Fear

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One Sunday morning, I was at the Ballard Farmers market when I spotted a man who looked familiar. “My”, I thought to myself, “He looks like Patch Adams.”

For those of you who haven’t heard of Patch Adams MD, he was a doctor at a children’s hospital with an unorthodox, humorously silly approach to treatment, on which a movie was based featuring Robin Williams.

Shortly after noticing him, he came over and introduced himself to my friends and I.

“Hi, I’m Patch Adams.” he said, ”Have you heard of me?”
“Yes!” I exclaimed, “I knew it was you!” Happy that I was correct in my recognition.
He smiled.
Then, I asked, “May I take a photo with you?
Of course!” he smiled even bigger,
”But only if you stick your finger up your nose.”

“No, thank you.” I said, and turned to walk away.

“Wait a minute!”, he asked, “What do you think will happen whenever you look at a photo of us with our fingers in our noses?”

I thought a moment.
“I’ll laugh.”

“Exactly,” he said.

Then it suddenly occurred to me all the times I’ve said No, and turned down opportunities because I was concerned about what other people thought, afraid of disapproval.

This was a moment of enlightenment.

I’m sure you’ve a similar story of hesitation and doubt, though probably much more stressful. In retrospect, because I really wasn’t attached to the outcome, as there were no real ramifications, it afforded me the moment to reflect on my own inner dynamics.
(I did take the picture with Patch Adams, MD with our fingers in our noses in-case you’re wondering 😉

Uncertainty, fear, and doubt are painful emotions that we all endure. These are the things keep us up, enduring another sleepless night worrying…

Fear deconstructs you.

Fear negatively impacts your view on life, your confidence levels, and even your potential. Fear of failure stifles creativity, destroys promising ideas, and stops us from realizing our dreams.

When you’re afraid and uncertain, your motivation diminishes.
Yes, my friends,
fear actually is the root of procrastination.
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So, how can I manage and overcome my reluctance and fear?

  1. Acknowledge And Appreciate Your Emotions, Knowing They Support You.
  2. Recognize that you are feeling fear. This will help you get to the source.
  3. Determine the under laying cause. This requires self-reflection, which may be difficult while engulfed in the experience. It may require time alone afterwards in a safe place, to fully assess the situation.
  4. Check in with the conversation you’re having with yourself. What are your thoughts and words your saying to yourself? Are you deconstructing yourself? Are you repeating something negative someone once said to you? You may not be able to articulate into words the sensations you’re experiencing, so be patient.
  5. What is the message of the uncertainty and fear:
    – What else could this mean?
    – What can I learn from this?
    – What is my belief causing me to feel this way?
    Am I really: afraid of failing, being ridiculed, facing change, etc.?
    It’s important that you recognize your fear and attempt to define what it is that makes you frightened.Asking these questions will help change your perception of the situations that intimidate you, your perception of yourself, and improve how you’re handling things.
  6. Probably the best method that works and will improve your confidence over time and over all is to purposely face your fears by doing activities that push you outside of your comfort zone. Now is the time to take that public speaking course. Or maybe next time, take the path over the footbridge with the long drop below. Often times you’ll find all those lions you thought were in your pathway were just kittens. Just try.

Remember, YOU are the source of all your emotions; you are the one who creates them. Be patient with yourself while following these steps as you awakened to your own inner dialogue, perceptions, and work on the changes to release your fears to live life more abundantly and joyfully!

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