What do you tell yourself?

Loving yourself means being kind to yourself, and this includes thinking kind thoughts. Louise Hay is famous for telling people to look in the mirror and say “I love you. I really love you.” She says this all the time, but that is because it is one of the most powerful tools she can give to the world. Self-love includes kindness, and everyone knows that words can do harm.

In our last post, we suggested that you may have beliefs that come from the outside and are really not part of who you are. If you have a belief that contains a negation, then reframe it in a positive way. What is the opposite of that negative thought? For example, you may think “I will never be able to afford the home I want.” Change the thought to: “I can afford the home of my dreams.” Such affirmations are effective in altering our views.

When you think more positive thoughts, it does not result in instant manifestations, but it will point you in the right direction. With the new thought, you may come up with a way to save for the home that you now believe will come into your experience. Similarly, when you think “I am ugly,” you set yourself up for negative experiences. You believe that other people will think your appearance is unsightly, and you act as if you are unworthy. However, think the opposite thought: “I am beautiful.” Your day will go a whole lot better.

We suggest you notice all the negative things that generally go through your mind and write its direct opposite. Begin to use these affirmations daily. These are actually good to use prior to meditation. Meditate after reading a list of these positive thoughts, ask the universe to make these a reality, and brilliance will flood into your experience.

What we tell ourselves is tied to what we believe, but we can change what we believe by what we tell ourselves.

Question Your Beliefs

To get to know yourself better, question your beliefs. When you recognize a belief, question whether you know it at your core, or whether it is something that someone told you about yourself. Think about what you believe and where the beliefs come from. Likely, they are attached to your religion, your parents’ beliefs, and the influence of community leaders or teachers. However, if you have already done work in this area, and are in touch with your inner self, the knowledge about yourself may be accurate.

We all grow up with beliefs that emerge from our culture and other environmental influences, but we sometimes fabricate beliefs based on a single incident. Did someone tell you that you were shy when you were a small child? Did you believe them? People label children all the time and they grow up to maintain false beliefs about themselves. Of course, this phenomenon is not limited to childhood. Does your mother still tell you that you are selfish, or does your boss insinuate that you will never be promoted? If you believe that such criticisms are true, they will become a part of your belief system.

The truth is that you have the power to define yourself today. You do not have to blindly believe people’s perceptions about you. Rather, question what someone says about you. Question the beliefs you grew up with. When you go through this type of fearless inquiry, you often discover that some of your beliefs are not really yours. When we believe something about ourselves that is not true, it holds us back from creating the life we want. So for true growth to take place, we must only keep the beliefs that serve us, and let go of the rest. Tearing through your belief system, knowing who you really are, and integrating your true likes and dislikes, helps you to make better decisions.

Finally, choose to live in a way that resonates with you based upon what you know to be true. When you do this, you shed limiting beliefs and embrace the qualities that are in alignment with your authentic self.

Not Enough Time? Maybe You Just Think You Are Too Busy!

Often, stress arises when we feel we do not have enough time to do everything we’d like. The problem is not that things do not get done. The problem is attached to the things we tell ourselves.   Such thoughts are often not very pleasant. These negative thoughts are what creates the stress, not the unfinished task.

The out of control feeling  we have when we walk through the house and realize that not everything is perfectly in place, or the disappointment we experience when we look at our lists of things undone, is tied to perception. We attach meaning to things that are neutral. So someone else might look at the stain on the rug and think “so what,” but every time you walk by, you remember that your neighbor’s kid dropped the grape popsicle and you should have bought the stain resistant carpeting and you wonder about the warranty and whether using shampoo will void it.

That’s one example of a re-run, a thought we have many times per day. Most of our thoughts are re-runs. How often do you have these types of negative thoughts? First, realize that your thinking is creating the stress and chill. Relax because now is all you have, but you needn’t give up on getting things accomplished. Oh no. Not at all! If you are procrastinating and that is causing anxiety, begin by analyzing the tasks.

There may be reasons that lurk behind the procrastination, or maybe it is mere overestimation. You may think about a project and believe that it will take too long to accomplish now, so you wait for a time when you have a gap in your schedule. Of course, such a time never arrives, so you continue to put it off.  What is the answer? You must make time to do it. Realize that we tend to overestimate how long a given task will take.

Get started. Plan to go at it for an hour and revisit the task during another scheduled time next week. If the task includes multiple components, make a list of possible steps. For example, Step 1. Call the carpet manufacturer and find out about the warranty. Step 2.  Research ways to get grape popsicle out of the rug  and so on. The next time you walk by the spot, you will know that you are taking care of business and the mind clutter is gone. Once you get started, you gain momentum and may go beyond the planned hour, or you may realize that the task was not as time-consuming as you thought. And when you accomplish one thing, it is easier to finish other things. What’s next on the list? Yes, that is what you will be thinking as opposed to feeling overwhelmed.

We like Nike’s advice: just do it. When you just start your tasks rather than either over thinking or ignoring them you get the satisfaction of achievement without the mind clutter and without the angst.

What to do about life’s little interruptions

Interruptions are inevitable. When you want to get something done, and you live with others, there will be times when your plans are thwarted. Sometimes, you really can accomplish what you set out to do no matter what, but it is less enjoyable and the intrusions lead to frustration. How do you recover from being interrupted? Do you keep going back to it after each pause, or do you give up? There is no right or wrong answer for this, but living in the “now” can really help.

Pema Chodron once said: “Every moment is unique, unknown, completely fresh.” In one of her talks, she discusses the fact that even when you fold laundry, it is a unique experience. Housework appears repetitive, but it is not. Recognizing that every moment is new and precious and that you really never know what is going to happen next, may at least help you deal with the nature of change. After all, the interruption may not have been part of your plan, but it is life. It is what is happening at the moment.

And there are practical things you can do too. Plan your tasks and do them in spite of what is going on around you. If you do not finish what you started—unless you have a hard deadline, schedule it for another time. If you do have time constraints, arrange your environment so you are not interrupted again. But when you plan to do a few ordinary tasks, and they don’t get done, lighten up. As Scarlett O’Hara famously said “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Sometimes, we have to just call it a day and start again the next.

What Will You Be Doing in 2013?

You may not be planning a bold move, but even if you will be working the same job and you will be living in the same home, you can change things up. What kind of energy are you going to bring to work? How do you want your home to look one year from today? How might you improve your appearance this year?

Preparing for the New Year does requisite tools you may have already purchased such as a new wall calendar or a portable planner.  A vision board—a sheet of paper with pasted pictures representing your dreams—can help those goals become a reality.

Your goals may begin to come into being just with an intention, but you will not achieve your goals by watching your life. You must actively participate.

Discern small steps to achieve each one of your goals. Include these steps on your calendar. Check them off  as your accomplish these steps. Then watch your life change.

Happy New Year!