Joyfully accepting ourselves. Something that sounds so easy is so hard for a lot of Americans. Beyond our own internal self-judgment, we have a ton of external forces working against us.
This is an unprecedented time in our society. Hidden behind computers and social media, people feel a false sense of power. A lot of people in the world feel insecure about themselves and are looking for ways to inflate their own egos. So instead of trying to heal their own inner wounds, they bully, harass, and harm other people through their words online. They put others down so that they can feel good in comparison.
But this strategy comes at a price. People get hurt. They become emotionally scarred sometimes physically hurt. When harassment happens to the wrong person, the consequences can become deadly. The rates of teen suicide have gone up 70% in the past 10 years, a direct correlation with the growth of social media.
So enough is enough.
We have to become kinder and gentler towards ourselves. It is time to command joy through self-compassion. Starting today, we end the self-judgment and self-evaluation. Starting today, we simply accept ourselves with an open heart. We treat ourselves with the same compassion and caring we would show someone we love.
Having compassion for ourselves feels unnatural to a lot of people. When we are a hot mess and going through a rough patch in life, we may think “if I am too self-compassionate, won’t I just be lazy and selfish?”
Here’s the deal. Self-criticism – despite being socially accepted – is not at all helpful. It makes things worse. We don’t make ourselves a better person by beating ourselves up all the time. Instead, we become inadequate and insecure. We beat ourselves up so much that we become full of self-hate.
We can easily turn the self-hate into self-compassion with three key things.
1) Self-kindness. Becoming gentler and understanding of ourselves instead of harshly critical and judgmental.
2) Connectedness. Recognizing our common humanity by feeling connect with others instead of feeling isolated and alienated.
3) Mindfulness. Practicing staying in the moment. Instead of worrying about the future or reflecting on the past, holding onto each moment. Here and now.
In order to be truly self-compassionate, we have to work on those three areas.
The best part about self-compassion is that it opens us up to a sense of calmness and inner peace. Instead of the constant questioning “Am I as good as they are? Am I good enough?”, we fully accept ourselves.
We stop the constant self-criticism, we start the self-love.
While it takes some work to develop self-compassion, especially if you have spent your entire life being self-critical, nothing else in life can help us feel more alive! It’s worth it.
So, tell me, in the comments below, how have you helped yourself feel more self-compassion?
There are times when we look back at our lives and wonder how we ended up where we are. We find ourselves just going through the motions, instead of being in charge like a CEO. In my conversations with people over the years, I have noticed that most of us don’t believe we have the power to control our lives to the extent that we actually can. Some of us feel out of control, overwhelmed, and unable to stop all the things we have obligated ourselves to. We don’t feel like we can take back the steering wheel and go in the direction we want to go. We have too many demands.
Here’s the deal: we have the ability to control our lives way more, and I mean WAY more than we give ourselves credit for! We are the CEO of our life.
But CEOs have to believe in their power.
The thing is that most of us don’t know how to take control of our lives. We think outside circumstances are the cause of our problems and that those things will never change. So we give up. We don’t try. Oh we think we are trying to make real, lasting change in our lives. But we don’t REALLY try. It’s hard to form new habits. So when we come across an obstacle, we give up. We don’t believe we have the power to control our life to the extent that we can.
Some of us also think its too much work because we don’t really have a plan. We don’t know which direction or path to take. So we just don’t take any. Or we fear making a mistake and ending up on the wrong course.
The good news is that it is EASY to figure out what kind of life you want to be CEO of.
As a new CEO, ask yourself:
· In my everyday life, what do I find myself doing because I am good at it but I don’t find it energizing or fulfilling? This could be any groups or clubs, helping others in volunteer roles or as part of your work, even your job.
· How many hours per week do I waste on activities that are boring or simply time filling? Things like posting on social media, sitting on the couch watching TV/ movies, hanging out with friends you only sort of like, reading, playing games? Ask yourself, “What am I getting out of this?”
· Look back at your calendar over the last 60 days – and ask, what appointments or activities did I do that were truly exciting, that used my talents and knowledge, and that left me feeling energized when done?
· How much of your life is spent doing what you really want? If time and money weren’t a concern, what would you be doing? Take out a piece of paper or do it on your laptop. Write “I want_______.” And then fill in the blank. Do this 200 times. It can give you an indication of what you truly madly deeply want in your life.
· What do I want my life to look like? Write a story of your life five years from now. Use very detailed descriptions of where you live, who with, what you do on a typical day, what you wear, listen to, eat, dream about, touch and smell. This will help you figure out what you really want to do and who you want to become.
We all have things that we want to do and accomplish in our lives. Over time, we lose our sense of who we really are and what we really want. It is easy to understand why this happens. Our wants get pushed aside as we set out to please society’s expectations of us. We hear from our parents, our teachers, our friends about what we should do with our lives. We have been pushed and pulled by other peoples’ expectations of us. We lose our voice.
But each one of us, as CEOs, have our own unique lives to create. We get to choose. We are in charge. And we can do whatever we decide to commit to doing. Starting right now.
So tell me, in the comments below, what is one action you took when you decided to become the CEO of YOUR life?
Feeling guilty never works. This was proven in an experiment conducted by two psychologists. In the study, they wanted to find out if people would indulge less in things they love to eat if they do not feel guilty about it.
They found women who were watching their weight and invited them to participate in a study. They wanted to encourage them to eat donuts and candy to see if they were able to hold themselves back if they didn’t feel badly about it. The researchers had 2 groups of women: one group that they attempted to make feel better about skipping their diet, and the other group they allowed to feel guilty about it. They told the women that they were participating in studies that were measuring the effect of food on a person’s mood and a taste test of several different candies.
Then they watched to see which group ate more donuts and candy. The first group asked each woman to choose between a chocolate and a donut and to finish it with a full glass of water in 4 minutes. They knew that this would make the women feel guilty and uncomfortably full.
The second group was given a statement to help them not feel so bad about indulging. It said something along the lines of “sometimes participants feel guilty about eating an entire donut, but you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Everyone indulges sometimes.”
The first group was not given any sort of statement and were left to their own thoughts and feelings.
Afterwards, the psychologists left both groups huge bowls of candy and asked each woman to sample the candy, rate it, and encouraged them to eat as many as they’d like to achieve a definite rating. Then they watched to see which group ate more donuts and candy. Surprisingly, the women who read the message about letting themselves indulge ate significantly LESS than the other group – by 60% PERCENT. The women who were encouraged to feel better about indulging ate less than half!
So feeling badly about something doesn’t help us, it actually makes it worse…like way worse. If feeling guilty ISN’T the answer, what do we do instead?
· Talk to yourself like you would your Best Friend
o Instead of thinking of yourself trying to accomplish a goal, think that it is your best friend. What would you say to him or her? We often give better advice to our friends than we do to ourselves!
· Give yourself permission to Fail
o Anytime we are changing a habit, we are going to fail. We will do “good” for a while. Then slip back to old habits. Then do good for a while, then slip again. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN. It’s okay. We can fail – it is part of growing and changing.
· Forgive Yourself
o We have figured out how to forgive other people, but we haven’t figured out how to forgive ourselves. Be kind to yourself. Staying in guilt decreases your motivation. Loving ourselves is one of the strongest natural motivations we have. When we believe that we can accomplish something, the part of our brain responsible for willpower becomes more active and stronger.
The bottom line? Be stronger than your need to beat yourself up for past mistakes. Ask yourself what you would say to your best friend. Know that you are perfect as you are. We are each unique, special, and unconditionally loved.
Tell us, in the comments below, what have you felt guilty about and how did you overcome?
Every year, thousands of new applicants sit down in a crowded, cramped classroom, nervous and scared. They are there to take a full day’s test. But it’s not just any test. A test that will determine the outcome of the past 8-20 years of their life. Years of dedication, excruciating pain, commitment, and borderline obsession. This little test is the final barricade to determine if an American medical student is allowed to legally practice medicine in the US.
The United States Medical Licensing Examination is a test that any future M.D. is required to pass. Although they have already gone through medical school, this final test was designed to weed out any of the weak links – only those that truly know medicine will survive.
I sat down with my friend Jimmy to understand more what the USMLE testing process was like. “It’s as if everything is resting on the last 20+ years of your life. Ever since I was a child I dreamed of becoming a doctor. Was my entire life’s work worth the struggle? The financial burden I put on my parents? The relationships I ignored, the parties I didn’t go to, the fun I didn’t have as a kid so I could study? Was it all a waste of time? Did any of it mean anything? Sure, you could take the test again if you didn’t pass, but it would mean, once again, delaying the life you know you were meant to live. The income you desperately needed. The anxiety and tension was excruciating. But that is how it is with the entire medical profession, it really is that only the strong will survive. It takes serious GRIT.”
For a hundreds of students, they wouldn’t pass the test. They would have to shelf the dream they had spent their entire lives working for. So much for a happy ending.
As we were talking, I grew more curious about this idea of GRIT. It is “a passion and perseverance to accomplish long term goals whatever the obstacles are and no matter how long it may take.” Facing insurmountable tests of intellect and medical understanding, a doctor has to be aggressive yet compassionate in order to survive the years of work. Tenacity is a core element of GRIT. Without it, a doctor won’t last too long in the profession. The school requirements alone would break them. While nothing comes easy in life; staying the course and holding to your convictions can be incredibly hard. GRIT is more than tenacity; as Jimmy realized, it’s about staying the course with enthusiasm.
GRIT is about being willing to make sacrifices to pursue what is most important. It isn’t strength or smarts or leadership potential that predicts whether or not a medical student would pass the test and be able to practice. It is GRIT. It is the perseverance and passion to achieve your goals that makes the difference.
Here’s the deal – GRIT impacts every area of our lives. From our work to our health to our relationships—it is our amount of GRIT, our perseverance that will help us achieve our level of success. In other words, intelligence and talent is overrated.
People with GRIT don’t let negative events or circumstances prevent them from continuing the striving towards their vision. They make a habit of building up themselves and the people around them—not just once, but over and over and over again. They are consistent and work on a schedule, not just when they feel motivated.
The good news is that GRIT can become our defining trait! No matter what card we were dealt, we can learn to become more consistent and develop superhuman levels of mental toughness.
GRIT is like a muscle. It needs to be worked to grow and develop. If we haven’t pushed ourselves in small ways, we will shut down when things get really difficult. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Developing GRIT is about the daily habits that makes it easy to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions over and over and over again.
So how do we develop GRIT in real life?
We have to prove to ourselves that we have GRIT – in a series of tiny wins – to show us that we have enough GRIT to get into the ring and do battle with life.
GRIT comes down to our habits. It’s about doing the things we know we are supposed to do on a more consistent basis. It’s about our dedication to daily practice and your ability to stick to a schedule.
We can do it. We can all develop GRIT. Today. So tell me, in the comments below, how have you demonstrated true GRIT in your life and what did you do?
So we showed up at another book club meeting. This was the 12th one in 2 years. We were a Personal Development book club focused on non fiction books that would help us develop our leadership skills at our jobs.
As I looked around at the people in my book club, I wondered, “what have we done with all of this knowledge we have read?” From what I could tell, not one of us had been promoted in our careers, or had done half the things we said we were going to do.
Here’s the deal. Reading these books is great for development. It does help us stay motivated and inspired, and can give us some fabulous ideas for our businesses or life.
BUT WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING WITH IT.
We have to stand on all of the books we have read, and take a GIANT LEAP into action. It is hard. And for our book club, this was the scary part that no one seemed willing or able to do.
So this got me thinking. What is the point of all of these books and the hundreds of dollars and time we have spent reading them?
As it turns out, the personal development industry is a $9.9 BILLION DOLLAR cash cow, and is projected to grow another 5.6% per year. American consumers are willing to pay lots of money for self improvement products and services!
So what have we done with all of this information? If we don’t hold ourselves accountable, it isn’t good for much.
Right then and there, we each made a commitment to each other. No more excuses. We were going to hold each other accountable. We were going to take 1-2 ACTION items, that made sense to us, to do something with.
Then we were going to check in with each other every month at this club and say “did you follow through? Did you ACT on what you said you were going to act on?”
Until we take the GIANT LEAP CALLED ACTION with this information, it is all just wasted time. ACTION coupled with ACCOUNTABILITY is even better.
So tell me, in the comments below, what have you learned from self development books and what are the things you are going to take a GIANT LEAP into to TAKE ACTION on today?
So I am super predictable. Every day, I hit the wall at the exact same times. It is pretty annoying. Especially when I have a lot of work to do and just need to crank it out.
I deal with THE GREAT FOG…Every. Single. Day. I find it hard to focus, I feel disorganized, overwhelmed, and can’t think. It is like a FOG has flooded in my brain and has taken over. A cloud that I can’t see through. I have memory problems, I get into a bad mood, and I just can’t get anything done.
My brain and my body are TI-RED. It usually happens right when I need to be WI-RED! THE GREAT FOG IS THE WORST.
What to do about it? I talked to some doctors to learn more information about what this is and how I can deal.
To break out of THE FOG slump, there were common themes:
Since THE FOG is because we are fatigued, one of the best things we can do is get a good night’s rest. They say 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night should be our target. No screens allowed in that bedroom though!
2) GETTING A MOVE ON
Moving our bodies is sometimes the easiest way to clear THE FOG on out of here. When our brains aren’t getting enough H2O, we get THE FOG. So exercise can improve circulation. Even a walk or light stretching can help us.
3) TAKE A BREAK
It’s good for us to take breaks sometimes! Positive coping skills that relax or turn off our brains may clear up THE FOG. Meditation, taking a hot bath, reading, or doing whatever gives us joy will help improve our mental health, and THE FOG will disappear.
When we are going through THE GREAT FOG, it is often hard to get ourselves to do any of these things, but the results are totally worth it. We can give ourselves a big boost and shake off THE GREAT FOG by just changing how we do a few things.
So tell me, in the comments below, have you ever encountered THE GREAT FOG and what helped you get through it?
She leaned in towards me, focused on my every word. There was a look of concern in her face as I kept telling her my story. Her eyes were kind, full of concern for me. I could actually feel the love she was sending my way.
As I told her how much I missed my Mother, the gut wrenching guilt I go through every day, and why I feel like I need to keep torturing myself, she listened to my every word without interrupting. When I said all I could say, she sat back, folded her arms, and looked me right into my eyes. She said, “the fact that you are feeling this way is an indication that you are a good person. Your mother knew you loved her. That is enough. You are enough.”
As I breathed out, I felt a huge weight lifting off my shoulders. I felt flooded with happiness. It was almost like I was intoxicated. I felt as content and happy as a sleeping puppy.
What was it about this woman that made me feel so calm, confident, content? Why did I want to be around her longer, forever if I could make it happen? I had a feeling of being intoxicated. I was on a liberating high.
I was Emotionally Intoxicated.
Later, as I thought more about the high I was on when I was around her, I realized that the reason why I felt like that came down to one thing.
She was fully present with me.
When someone is present in the moment, who is not mentally rushing around in their heads about the next thing to do or think about, we feel it. We can sense the connection they have with the moment and with us.
Being around a present person is Emotionally Intoxicating.
To be around someone who is confident in the moment, who isn't in a hurry to do more or get more, we feel the calm and the confidence. People in the present moment know they already have enough, that they are enough.
It is Emotionally Intoxicating, and it is powerful. Being present in the moment is a powerful attribute bosses look for who want to promote leaders for their team, because it comes across as confidence. It is a powerful and attractive quality to potential romantic partners who want to be with someone with a special charisma. It is powerful to children because it gives them a soothing sense of calm when they are around an adult who is present.
It is powerful across the board. And it is Emotionally Intoxicating to be around.
So tell me, in the comments below, how are you going to show up with more in the moment presence today and create this Emotional Intoxication for people you are with?
Ahhh….the NEW YEAR!! Isn’t it great? A time of new beginnings and new starts. An opportunity to start fresh, a clean slate. An entire year at our fingertips. Whatever we want to do in the next year we can achieve. So much to look forward to!
And for 40 - 50% of Americans, we will start with a list of New Years Resolutions. A list of things we want to achieve or accomplish in the upcoming year. So when did we start making these New Years Resolutions anyway? Why did we start doing this? I did some research online to find out more.
As it turns out, humans have been making resolutions for thousands of years. THOUSANDS OF YEARS. The ancient Babylonians were the first people to make resolutions over 4,000 years ago and were the first to hold celebrations in honor of the new year. They made resolutions to their Gods promising to return borrowed objects and pay of their debts. If they kept their word, the Gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If they didn’t? They would fall out of God’s favor – a place no one wanted to be.
Then in ancient Rome the Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, which is how we got the name January. Julius Caesar changed the calendar to make January 1 mark the beginning of a new year, circa 46 B.C. Romans believed that Janus looked ahead into the future, so they offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.
Christians started a watch night services practice around 1740. Commonly held on New Years Eve or New Years Day, it marked the time to think about one’s past mistakes and resolving to doing better in the future.
Today, most New Year Resolutions are focused on self-improvement. For most of us, the common resolutions are to eat healthier, get more exercise, and save more money. Yet studies show that only a small percentage of those who made a resolution stick to it. According to one study, 80% of us will fail by the second week of February.
So what gives? Why do so many of us fail?
According to researchers, it comes down to the enjoyment factor. For most Americans, their New Years Resolutions are looked at as sacrifice, pain, and misery. Instead of thinking of how great we will feel when we can fit into our favorite jeans again, we focus on how awful we will feel when we have to order the salad instead of the Burger. We focus on the short term pain, not the long term pleasure.
We also have a tendency to overthink it. Instead of just going for a run after work, we have an internal battle in our minds between doing what we want to do (relaxing) and what we should do (running). We analyze, think, dread it. Then we convince ourselves its too hard, we are too tired, its all too much. We would have been better off just running. Not thinking about it so much.
We should all over ourselves. Instead of thinking “I should save my money and not buy this dress” we can transform the conversation in our mind to “I will save my money and not buy this dress.”
It’s a 3 Step Solution to the Resolution:
My New Years Resolutions? In addition to exercising more, eating more healthy, and saving more money, I have a mantra of Own It. Own my own business, my own car, my own home. Own my life and stop blaming other people or circumstances for the position I am in today. No one got me here except myself.
So tell me in the comments below, what are your New Years Resolutions for 2019? How are you going to be sure to Own It for yourself?
With 2018 winding down, I wanted to say THANK YOU.
THANK YOU for inspiring me every week with your comments, words, and wisdom.
THANK YOU for fearlessly believing in the right that each of us has: to Command Joy in our lives.
THANK YOU for making this world a better, more positive, and happier place to be.
THANK YOU for all the joy we will create, here, together, in 2019!
Cheers to a happy, healthy holiday season!
Our inner guidance system has the directions to our intended destination. It is there at all times, keeping us on the right road, leading us, directing us, telling us where to go and what to do. It is guiding us in the direction of our path. It keeps us on course. It tells us the road we should be taking.
But we don’t always follow the GPS!
In life, we get off course. We go the wrong way, we turn down the wrong street, we get lost. We stop listening to our GPS system. Sometimes we turn it off completely. We ask for direction. We listen to and follow the route that others tell us to go on. In effect, we turn off our compass, we ignore our directions. We go the way others tell us to go. We take the recommended safer route, putting us on a path that we were never meant to travel.
It is easy to get lost and to ignore our GPS. But we can change that starting now.
The way we do it is by questioning any negative feelings. When we feel or experience any negativity, we can stop. The negative feelings we are experiencing is because our GPS is telling us to go a different way or down another road. Like our smartphone’s GPS, it will tell when we need to stop, turn around, go back.
We will feel it in our bodies – our inner voice will be shouting, we will feel tense, anxious, on edge. That’s how we know we went the wrong way. We may need to turnaround or re—route entirely.
When we are on track with our GPS system, we will feel energized, excited, enlightened. That’s our inner GPS. Our inner guidance system, leading us, directing us, telling us where to go and what to do. It will give us the fastest, shortest route to where we need to go.
Starting today, we can listen and follow our inner GPS, our guidance system that is always there for us.
Tell me, in the comments below, when have you followed your GPS and where did it lead you?