~Be honest with yourself that you’re feeling low–don’t sugar coat it or ignore it;
~Get rid of the self-judgment and self-punishment–give yourself permission to be glum;
~Give yourself the space you need feel this way–to understand and process your feelings;
~Be kind and tender with yourself–gently ask yourself why you’re feeling this way (what were the causes) and, even more gently, ask yourself what you might be able to do about it.
The important things are to be honest and gentle with yourself.
Let me know in the comments below how this technique worked out for you. Thanks!
If we do our best; if we do not magnify trifling troubles; if we look resolutely, I do not say at the bright side of things, but at things as they really are; if we avail ourselves of the manifold blessings which surround us; we cannot but feel that life is indeed a glorious inheritance.~Sir John Lubbock
It’s important to gain perspective on the trouble. I do this by taking the time to think it through–seeing where I stand with it and, if I’m able to at this time, to think a little bit about the worst case scenario and what I might do about it. Then I call a trusted and wise friend or loved one and talk it over with them. I’ll do a little more thinking on my own about what we discussed.
But then, I make sure I take the time to step back and breathe–metaphorically and literally. Gazing out the window at Mother Nature is restful and restorative, and it also helps me reconnect with the Flow of Life. When I do this, I find I can begin to be glad I have a window to gaze out of and that there are interesting and beautiful things to see. Although I look out onto trees and a suburban scene, even if you see a cityscape outside your window, that, too, can be restful and restorative in its own way.
I can delight in watching birds and animals living their lives–or enjoy myself people watching if I happen to be in a more urban setting. Doing this pulls me out of the direness of my troubles and I begin to feel more hopeful.
Describing this technique here can seem like I go from glum to gloriously happy in about two seconds. That isn’t usually the case. Depending upon the trouble it can take hours or even days or weeks working with this technique before I begin to restore my equilibrium.
As the quote says, though, to do my best each moment, accepting the fact that some days my best is more than and better than other days; doing my best to keep everything in perspective; and doing my best to enjoy the little bits of wonder and awe in each day.
This morning I was thinking about Friday’s post on Strong Emotion and pondering what I’d say to you. Of course I could say the old bromides that tell you to “buck up” and “look at the bright side” and “you have so much to be thankful for”. While these are true and can be helpful at times, when you’re feeling down and someone says any of these to you, if you’re like me, you want to punch them in the nose for treating your mood so flippantly!
I found two thoughts that resonated with me and today I’d like to share one with you.
Life indeed must be measured by thought and action, not by time.~Sir John Lubbock
I thought about this quote when I talked to a friend who is a caregiver by trade. She was telling me that recently one of her client’s passed but in the last few weeks of her client’s life, he was able to reconnect with his son from whom he had been estranged for decades. She was telling me that those last few weeks of his life were some of his happiest. Right before he died, he shared with my friend that the sweetness of the few weeks of reconnection far and away made up for the decades of estrangement.
The message I get from this story and this quote is to not fret over how much time I may have left and not lament the time I’ve already had that I may have wasted. Instead, my energies are better spent making sure that my thoughts and actions are in line with the wishes of my heart and soul.
If I can do this, then perhaps I, too, might know the sweetness of days well spent.
Here are a few more quotes that can help you have a fresh perspective on yourself and your life.
Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. ~Dalai Lama
Civilizations greatest discoveries and inventions have come out of failures, disasters, and mistakes.
Ask yourself “What’s good about being where I am right now–all that is happening and isn’t happening; all that’s gone my way and all that hasn’t?” Jot down all the thoughts, impressions, and ideas that come to you. Don’t judge them, don’t edit them, and don’t dismiss any of them! And, nothing is too small or immaterial or “dumb” to include!!
Dreaming is, after all, is a form of planning. ~Gloria Steinem
Now take the ideas you generated from the first quote and plug them into your daydreams and see where they take you!
Here are a few quotes that’ll make you change your thinking–just a little bit. And that little bit might be enough to let in the idea that’ll make the difference for you.
There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. ~Aristotle
What this is telling us is that no matter what we do or don’t do, there’s always someone who will find fault with it, tell us they’ve already done it, that someone else is doing it better…etc.. So don’t worry about others. Keep your mind and actions focused on what your heart and soul are guiding you to do.
Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart. ~Ancient Indian Proverb
There’s all sorts of flashy, sparkly things that capture our attention. Oftentimes we think we ought to go after these because everyone else is. But our eyes can sometimes mislead us so it’s important to take what our eyes see and run it through the wisdom of our heart and soul. If it captures them, then we can proceed. If not, then we should let it go and continue looking for that which thrills our heart and soul!
Let me know what you think of these–if they’ve resonated with you. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks!
A friend of mine mentioned that this time of year is filled with a lot of strong emotion and throughout the holiday season, we may experience all of them.
We can be happy and excited. This time of year is filled with special celebrations to look forward to. We can feel harried and rushed because of all the preparations that still need to be done but we feel we’re running out of time!
We can feel melancholy because we might not be able to see or spend time with everyone we care about. We might feel sad because some of those people live on only in our fond memories of them.
During this time of year, it isn’t unusual to feel discouraged. The first half of this month we talked about our 2016 goals and resolutions–the ones we achieved, the ones we’re still working on, and the ones we didn’t touch. Even though we saw that there is plenty to celebrate and feel proud of, we still might feel a little discouraged anyway.
We can feel disheartened, too, as we prepare for 2017. We might be anxious about whether or not 2017 really will be different–better–than 2016. At times we might be worried that 2017 will be more of the same–or worse.
We’ll talk about these emotions for the rest of the month. Feel free to let me know if there is an emotion you’d like me to write about. Leave your suggestions in the comments below. Thanks!
Since the beginning of December, we’ve done excellent work with our goals and resolutions of 2016—especially the ones we really want to achieve but yet didn’t work on at all this year.
I don’t know about you, but I think we need to celebrate this!! I know it’s the middle of the week (almost!) and this time of year is busy with year-end activities and holiday celebrations, but we must pause and acknowledge the hard work we did. We must give ourselves credit for sticking it out, getting insights and answers, and now having a clearer understanding of ourselves and what we’re trying to achieve.
We done good!!
Acknowledge yourself. Take a moment to tune into the good feelings you have.
Please note: This is celebration time ONLY! This is not time to be judgmental or to compare yourself to others or to say “woulda, shoulda, coulda”. And, it doesn’t matter if you made leaps and bounds or if you took just one eensy weensy teeny tiny step. It all counts!!
It’s all worthy of celebration and you deserve to pat yourself on the back!
Yesterday we talked about brainstorming ideas for handling the sticking points in our goals and resolutions. We reviewed a technique of Earl Nightingale’s where he encouraged people to list 25 ideas–and not to get up until those 25 ideas were written down! He said that the first few ideas were generally easy to get and it gradually gets harder until you reach number 18 or 20. Then the task seems impossible! But, he urged, if we stick it out, there’s pure gold in those ideas.
And, those ideas don’t have to be totally fresh and new. I’ve found that they are usually a combination of ideas I’ve already written down.
Now that you have your list of at least 25 ideas that you CAN implement, ask yourself one final question:
“What am I WILLING to do about these?”
Saying that you can do something is a totally different ballgame than saying you will do something.
Saying you can do a thing means that you are capable, you are competent; that you have the skills and knowledge or are confident that you can acquire these as you need them.
Saying you will do a thing takes it one step further. Not only are you saying that you are capable, you are competent, and that you have the skills and knowledge or are confident that you can acquire these as you need them, you are also giving your word that the thing will be done.
When you say you will do something, you are committing to do the thing.
The next step in understanding why we didn’t touch those 2016 goals and resolutions that we reallyreallyreally wanted is to brainstorm.
One of the two most important questions to ask ourselves is: What can I do about this?
Take a look at all the answers to your questions from this weekend and yesterday. Ask yourself what you can do about each of the sticking points.
Please note: We’re in the brainstorming phase so ALL ideas are valuable and must be written down. This is NOT the time for judgment or being practical or thinking realistically. Sometimes your most significant steps forward can spring out of a harebrained, ridiculous, impractical idea.
What are your sticking points and what can you do about them?
For instance, perhaps your concern about your looks blocks you from doing some of the things you want to do. What can you do about this?
~read about plain-looking people who significantly improved other people’s lives (Eleanor Roosevelt);
~study how others with physical limitations didn’t let that stand in their way (Stephen Hawking);
~learn good personal hygiene and grooming techniques;
~find out about the clothing styles that are comfortable and flattering to your shape;
~move to a culture that thinks people who look like you are stunningly gorgeous;
~live on the moon where there’s no one’s around to make you feel awkward (!)
~develop a fantastic smile so people see only that about you;
~build up an interesting aspect of your personality so others see only that about you;
~become great at something so people don’t notice or care about what you look like;
~be at peace with the way you look and not care what others think!
Earl Nightingale, my all-time favorite motivational speaker, was an advocate of brainstorming and he urged people to list 25 ideas, regardless of how practical or realistic–or not!–they were.
He said that the first 10 or so ideas are relatively easy to come up with and by number 15 or 20 you might find yourself really struggling. He encouraged people to forge ahead to the 25th idea because he said that the last few ideas have gold in them. They are the ones that force you to dig deep and pull out all the stops. This is when your creativity really flows and some original, breakthrough thinking takes place.
Now it’s your turn! Sit down with a pencil and paper–or your favorite way of capturing your thoughts–and let your mind go wild with ideas about what you can do. Make Earl Nightingale proud by welcoming those whack-a-doodle thoughts!
This weekend we were thinking about the goals and resolutions that we didn’t touch this whole year. We’ve probably had a few insights that helped us understand ourselves a little better.
If you’re anything like me, you probably discovered that some of your goals you took on because you wanted to make someone happy and yet other goals were thrust upon you. You may have also noticed that with some of the goals, “your eyes were bigger than your stomach” meaning that these goals might be nice to strive for in a perfect world, but in your world it just ain’t happenin’. Then there are those goals that are more about proving yourself to someone….
It’s fine to put these goals to the side right now and not expect oursleves to even think about them, much less do anything about them, for the next year or two. Some of them–such as the ones motivated by other people–are just fine to completely, totally, and permanently cross off our list.
Let’s concentrate on the goals that we haven’t touched since we wrote them down last January yet we reallyreallyreally want to achieve them.
We’re intimidated (“I can’t…”), overwhelmed (“They’re too much…”), and frightened (“What if…?!”) by them. But we can’t let them go because they won’t let us go! And we would be really sad if we did let them go and they actually left us.
What’s holding us back? Are we afraid of what others’ will think, whether “those others” are friends and loved ones or society in general? Are you concerned that you don’t have the specialized knowledge or skills needed to go for your dreams? Are you worried about leaving what’s comfortable and familiar, even though it isn’t a good fit for you, and step out into the unknown toward your dreams?
Get really clear on all the sticking points for these goals–be specific! Tomorrow we’re going to talk a little more about them.
Good for you for hanging in there with me in doing this work. It’s hard stuff and you’re finding your way through. Yay!