Oct 302012
 

We often here people talking about “boundaries”. For many of us boundaries are like obstacles we put up between ourselves and the outside world. Perhaps you might think of it as an imaginary line that can’t be crossed. These are certainly ways to view boundaries as a mindset that helps protect and preserve our core self.

Pia Melody does an amazing job of disecting what boundaries mean to her. She distinguishes mainly from two types of boundaries. One type of boundary is an internal one that protects your self-esteem and the other is an external boundary that protects your physical self (the body). Today I’m going to focus on what physical boundaries mean for me and how I apply them with other adults and even my own children.

Having external boundaries is nothing more than just having an awareness of your and others physical space. This helps ensure everyone is physically respected and feels safe in the current environment. While conceptually easy it’s sometimes hard to actually put into practice.

Of course your boundaries are going to be more or less open depending on whom you’re speaking with and in what situation. If you’re arguing with your partner you may want more physical space between the two of you. If you’re having an intimate date with them you’re likely going to want less space between you. This may seem obvious as you read this but many of us don’t spend actual time considering the impact of the personal space around us both for ourselves and for others. You don’t need to be in a heated disagreement with someone to consider boundaries. In fact, you can practice noticing yours right away.

The next time you’re in conversation with another or even just surrounded by people notice the following:

How close am I to others around me?
How am I feeling as a result?
Are others standing and I’m sitting or vice versa?
Do I feel safe and physically supported?

Just the act of awareness when it comes to noticing your physical boundaries can make a big difference in how you’re able to respond and communicate to others. Notice how moving back just a foot or two or even moving closer a foot or two can change how you respond to a situation. Play with this a bit today and see what you notice works for you.

Of course, there is more than just yourself around when you’re interacting with others. It’s sometimes hard to come out and ask someone if you’re standing too close or otherwise. However, it’s not hard to ask them if you can touch them.

Having a serious conversation with someone? Ask them if you can put your hand on their shoulder.

Is someone emotionally upset about a sad situation? Ask them if you can hug them.

Want to express how much you love your children? Ask them if you can share a hug or a kiss.

I once put the last suggestion out on Facebook and I had several parents respond that they didn’t need to ask their children if they could hug or kiss them. They replied that “they knew their children well enough”. While this may be true on certain levels these parents’ focus was on themselves and not on their children. They took the position that “they knew best” and/or that they could read their children all the time. This excercise isn’t about you getting into the heads of others (even your children) to determine what works for them. This is about teaching your children that they have a choice. Many children grow up being touched (even appropriately) without first getting their permission. This sets the stage for children to believe that their bodies are not fully sacred. This teaches them that others can touch their bodies without having to ask first. I’ve seen my kids sitting on the couch watching TV and thougtht how cute they are. It just made me want to go over and kiss them. By all outward appearances they looked like they were willing to accept a kiss from me (on the cheek). However, there have been times when I ask (sometimes I forget and/or don’t) and they actually say No. This allows them to honor their own bodies and gives their bodies a voice. While it may make me feel sad, I’m happy knowing they are in control of their physical space and not me.

I know when I first learned about external boundaries I thought, “this is crazy” or that this didn’t really apply to me. However, once I really became aware of my physical space and that of others (I’m still learning) I came to appreciate how much of a difference it made for me. Others will begin to feel closer to you and you’ll have a deeper appreciation for yourself. Most importantly you’ll begin building and/or continue building upon the most important relationship you’ll ever have with anyone. YourSELF.

 

Photo Credit: http://media.photobucket.com/image/hugs/FindStuff2/Love/Hugs/hug-1.jpg?o=5

Oct 262012
 

Last night was not unlike many other nights with respect to dinner time.

Jake: Daddy, I want ice cream!
Me: After you eat your dinner you can have ice cream.
Jake: No, I want ice cream now!
Me: After dinner, Jake.
Jake: I’m not your friend anymore Daddy!

Of course, this is probably a pretty standard conversation many parents have with their 3-year old children. However, one thing occured to me immediately following the conversation that hadn’t any other time.

I’ve often considered what makes a good friend. I can recall times in my life when I thought, “How am I benefiting from this friendship?” or “What are they bringing to the table?”. I looked at the friendship (not with malice intent) as a means to benefit myself in some way. I’m not talking about receiving physical gifts from friends but rather my focus was on spiritual or emotional gifts from friends. Was I getting support? Was I getting attention? Was I accepted? and so on…

When Jake told me he wasn’t going to be my friend anymore I knew it was only because I wouldn’t be giving him the ice cream unless he ate dinner. At 3-years old he’s (on some minor level) equated friendship with what we get from others.

However, in that moment it occured to me that true friendship isn’t based on what you can get from the other person. True friendship is based on what YOU can give to them. Again, I don’t just mean material and/or tangible things here.

Do they allow you to be yourself?
Do they accept you?
If you make a mistake do they quickly forgive you?
Do they make it easy for you to give fully of yourself?

Some of these questions may sound like things they are giving you (ie; acceptance, forgiveness, allowance) but these are actually things you need to be able to give. The type of giveness I’m refering to is Authentic Expression of who you are.

Friendships can be based on so many things. However, I’m realizing that giving of ourselves in an authentic and real way is the only true path to love. Surrounding ourselves with people that support this authentic giving of ourselves is what true friends do.

While my 3-year old son may not understand this yet, I’m hopeful this will be a lesson he’ll learn at a much earlier age than I did. In a world where the focus is on “what’s in it for me?” or “I get mine” it’s refreshing to know that truth doesn’t live in popular trends but rather authentic expression of our true nature.

Sharing that Authentic Nature with another in a supportive and accepting way is what friendship is all about, for me.

 

Photo Credit: http://khamneithang.files.wordpress.com

Oct 252012
 

These two terms can be confusing for many of us. Often times we confuse self-confidence for arrogance and vice versa. The problem with confusing these terms presents itself in many ways.

“I can’t say nice things about myself.”

When we confuse self-confidence (self-esteem) with arrogance we make it harder to acknowledge things that are true about ourselves. We’re afraid if we remind ourselves that we’re beautiful, smart, visionary, awesome, and valuable that others will think we’re full of ourselves. As a result, we walk through life minimizing these qualities about ourselves. Even if someone reminds us how creative or beautiful we are we’ll play it down or dismiss it all together.

Fred: “You look really beautiful tonight.”

Sarah: “Me? No, you must have had one too many drinks!”

We often use sarcasm or other self-depricating measures to ensure that what others are saying about us isn’t fully appreciated, even when it’s true!

“That person really has it together.”

Everyone has at least one person in their life who’s constantly talking about all the good in their life. Whether they’re talking about the latest thing they bought or what famous or rich person they “know”. The conversation is always centered around them and rarely, if ever, do they inquire about you. On the surface they seem to have their stuff together.

The reality of the matter is that their arrogance is not self-confidence. In fact, arrogance is a disguise for the suffering they feel inside. When we feel “less than” our Ego wants to protect us so it puts on this mask that we’re “better than” or that these things in our life reflect how well life is.

So what is the real difference between self-confidence and arrogance?

Arrogance

1. Assigning value and attaching self-worth to external things (cars, houses, jobs, people).

2. Comes in the form of “over sharing” and is unsolicited from the people listening.

3. Little to no concern over the other person. It’s all about me.

4. Arrogance is always verbalized externally to others.

Self-Confidence

1. A quiet and internal appreciation (not normally shared with others).

2. Awareness of inherent qualities (ie; beauty, intelligence, creativity, worth, etc.).

3. Share in moderation with others and only when appropriate.

4. Don’t need to focus on self (around others) and can give healthy attention to others

It’s probably easy to see now how self-confidence is very intimate and is about personal awareness, acceptance, and appreciation. On the flip-side the ugly mask of arrogance is never about inherent qualities and always about attaching to external things in the world as a means to make oneself seem bigger than they really are. So go forth appreciating all of the wonderful qualities about yourself knowing that what makes you enough is right there inside for you to discover!

 

Photo Credit: www.bradgosse.com

Oct 172012
 

So perhaps the words, “for me” aren’t actually the two most powerful words. Though I don’t think  the title, “The Two 43rd Most Powerful Words…” would have worked for a headline. Stay with me though as I think you’ll begin to see how important these two words actually are.

Ever have any of the following situations occur to you or at least witness any of them?

1. Your partner says, “It’s hot in here!” and you immediately respond, “No, it’s not!” followed by an argument.

2. Your friend says, “This new couch you bought is too hard” and you respond, “Excuuuse me?”

3. You’re driving in your car jamming out to some tunes and the passenger turns and says, “It’s too loud!” and you reply, “Whatever!”

It’s obvious in these examples that we can easily take things personally. In fact, these are pretty normal conversations and many of us are just conditioned to respond this way when we hear others (especially those close to us) with a differing opinion about our environment. It’s almost as if we interpret these statements as people telling us what we are. Instead of, “It’s cold in here” we hear, “You made me uncomfortable”. So what happens here?

The first thing that happens is we judge what the other person is saying. Typically we judge it as bad and therefore needs to change. Then we assign blame to this “bad thing” on ourselves. We determine that it must be our fault and that there is something wrong with us (Hello, Not Good Enough!). Our response back is out of defense since our Ego has to protect ourselves from being reminded of our False Belief.

So we’ve done a lot of talking but haven’t mentioned those “two words” I brought up earlier. The quickest solution to the above scenarios is to quietly (in your mind) repeat the words, “for me” after every similar statement someone else makes. Those same statements would then read (in our minds):

1. “It’s hot in here, for me.”

2. “This new couch you bought is hard, for me.”

3. “It’s too loud, for me!”

Do you see how the same thing is being said but you’d likely have much less, if no charge at all? By adding, “for me” to the end of these statements we’ve made these statements all about the person making them. It’d be hard to get defensive as you’d basically have to tell the other person that they feel differently than they do about themselves.

These two little words are also powerful when you’re talking or sharing with others. This works especially well when you’re teaching and/or attempting to convince others to consider a point-of-view. It softens your approach and let’s your audience know you’re talking about an experience that you had.

The world is constantly doing its best to remind us of our false beliefs. Sometimes the things we say can cause others to remind them of theirs. When we own our thoughts and feelings by using words like, “for me” we do our part to end that cycle of self-abuse. Likewise, when we add those words (silently in our mind) after others speak we allow them to own their own thoughts and feelings.

Two words that can make a big difference in our response to how we view others and more importantly how we view ourselves. This approach has worked well for me and I invite you to try it for yourself!

With gratitude and appreciation,

 

Josh

Oct 152012
 

 

 

Self-Love can only be fully actualized when we live from our emotional Adult state of being. Just saying, “I love myself” isn’t enough to actually love yourself. Loving yourself takes great courage, strength, and vulnerability. After all, the Ego is doing its best to convince you that your False Beliefs are true and that you’re not good enough to love…not even yourself.

One obvious example of someone not loving themselves is when they become self-depricating. Of course, many people blow that off as “just kidding” but there’s normally deeper roots in there. Beating yourself up in public is one way of not loving yourself but there’s other ways we do this and it’s not so obvious. Often times our heart desires something but we’re not conscious of what that need is or that one even exists. Have you ever had a strong desire to do any of the following?

  • Buy something you knew you couldn’t afford?
  • Share sexual intimacy with someone you didn’t really love?
  • Share too much about yourself all in an effort to make others laugh or draw attention to you?
  • Say Yes to someone when you really meant No?

If you said, “Yes” to any of these examples you were likely needing something on a deeper level than you realized. We express love in many ways but at the root of it Author, David Richo suggests that it boils down to the “Five A’s” (Acceptance, Allowance, Affection, Appreciation, and Attention). That is, we give and receive love with the “Five A’s”. If this is true then it would suggest that in every one of the scenario’s above our heart is telling us we need one of those “Five A’s”. Of course, what comes out on the surface can be something quite different. However, that’s not surprising to see as we often seek love outside of ourselves.

Loving ourselves involves others less than we think it does. However, we can’t do it alone either. Rather, when we enter our Adult emotional state of being we stop our passive behavior and request what we want directly. Even if others don’t give us what we want, it’s loving enough of ourselves just to ask others in the first place. We can give ourselves the love we need. In fact so much so that my Mentor, Fred Jealous, at the Breakthrough Center in Carmel, CA suggests we should give ourselves the love we need 75% of the time and only need to get the remaining 25% from others. This relative ratio shows very clearly what a co-dependent person looks like (which I once was) when reversed. A co-dependent person (someone that seeks love, validation, acceptance, etc. from others/external) must get 75% and even more from external sources and only love themselves the remaining 25% or less. This idea of blending where our source of love comes from (internal/external) weighs very heavily on our shoulders when living in a centered, grounded, adult, self-actualized place.

So how do we go about loving ourselves? What happens when one of those scenarios above comes up for us? Here are 5-steps for you to take the next time you’re in a similar situation:

1. Stop what you’re doing and just breathe. This pause will allow you to ground yourself and go to your center.

2. Ask yourself what you really need. Is it some affection? some attention? some appreciation? some acceptance? some allowance? Maybe it’s a combination.

3. Once you have your answer and/or at least an idea, look for ways in which you can give it to yourself. Examples would include the following:

Attention: look in the mirror, touch/massage your body (not talking sexually here), meditate and focus on your inner thoughts.

Affection: touch/massage, feel the feeling of love for yourself, focus on all the loving things you’ve done in your life.

Appreciation: remind yourself how beautiful, intelligent, creative, whole, and thoughtful you are.

Acceptance: remind yourself you are perfectly imperfect just the way you are. You were born with everything you ever needed and you are still that person.

Allowance: don’t try and change the real you. You don’t need to please everyone all the time. Allow yourself to express who you are naturally.

4. If you’re not able to give yourself any of the “Five A’s” (in Step 3) ask someone directly if they can give you what you need. For example, ask your partner the following: “Do you think you could hold my hand and listen to me for a few minutes? I really need some attention.”. This does take some getting used to but remember that it’s your Ego that’s teasing you about looking silly or feeling uncomfortable with this.

5. If in Step 4 the person you ask says, “No”, remember that they are protecting themselves and it has nothing to do with you. Now is a great time to remember that just the very act of asking for what you need (this is what adults do) is loving enough of yourself.

This is a very hard process and one that takes much time and practice. However, I promise you that if you take the time to implement this in your life so much will change for you and for the better! You will begin loving yourself more. You will take greater responsibility for your own happiness. You’ll blame others less for things that are in your control. You’ll take away that victim label we often carry around. You’ll truly begin living in a state of happiness instead of just having happy moments.

Let me know what you think. I want to hear from you as your thoughts on this are just as valid as mine and there are many views about the same topic. So if you have something to share please do so in the comments below!

With love and appreciation,

Josh

Oct 102012
 

Making a mistake is probably as common for some of us as eating. Of course, there are varying degrees of mistakes in addition to how often they occur. There are millions of reasons why we make mistakes and getting into that isn’t really the purpose of this post. Rather, I want to focus on the meaning that many of us apply to our mistakes and those of others. Often times mistakes are turned into something so much more (from an emotional/spiritual perspective) than is really warranted. How many times have you seen a friend make a mistake only for them to beat themselves up for hours over it? How many times have you seen a friend (or even yourself) make a mistake and immediately call out, “I’m such an idiot!”? We all do it to varying degrees and it’s not healthy.

We can’t change the things that happen to us but we can change how we respond to them.

Fallibility is an inherent quality in us. This means we’re born with the capacity to screw up! That’s right, making a mistake isn’t a learned characteristic it’s something that we get to do as our birth rite! So why aren’t we celebrating our mistakes? Perhaps we should! However, for many of us mistakes are reminders of our false beliefs. Many of us believe we’re not very smart. Hence the response to the mistake, “I’m such an idiot”. Sure, you can play this off by saying, “Josh, I’m just kidding or giving myself a hard time.” but are you really? People that are confident in their intelligence and value don’t put themselves down. It may not seem like a big deal but consider there’s a lot more going on than you may be aware.

These false beliefs we carry are buried very deep in our subconscious mind. Often times we walk around not even realizing we carry them. Different triggers throughout our day remind us or bring to surface these false beliefs. What happens is that our response to our mistakes completely reinforces the false beliefs and that part of your subconscious mind continues to grow. After time making mistakes becomes something more than just a personal attack about your intelligence. You begin to form anxiety around what others think of you. “Will they think I’m stupid?”, “Do they still want to hang out with me?”, “Am I going to get fired?” We fill our minds with fear of what others think as a result of our mistakes. I believe Perfectionism is a result of years of insecurity and attachment to false belief compounded. Perfectionism gives a false sense of control to that person. Mistakes are completely unacceptable and often times hidden if at all possible. Perfectionists are constantly judging themselves and others and as a result living in a state of unrest. It can’t be a relaxing feeling being a perfectionist as you’re constantly judging  and criticizing and what’s worse is that it’s a vicious cycle that will never end.

We are perfectly imperfect

As I said earlier, making mistakes is our birth rite. Does that mean we walk around making mistakes without care? Of course, not. We can learn from our mistakes and do our best to mitigate them but when they happen we can also celebrate that this is who we are. Sometimes when I mess up (I’m not talking about a massive mistake that threatens someone’s life either) I’ll raise my hands in the air and say out loud, “Woo Hoo! I screwed up!” It actually feels good! The reality of the matter is that the mistake is already made so my response isn’t going to change it. Celebrating my mistake affirms that I am intelligent, I am good enough, and I do matter.

I GET to make mistakes!

Affirming this allows me to immediately go into resolving the issue without tearing myself or others down in the process. It’s also so freeing as well! To release all that crap we carry around immediately after a mistake is made opens us up to give to others. When we beat ourselves up that energy is stored in us and takes away from that giving energy we have for others and ourselves.

Here’s a quick 4 step process to consider after you make your next mistake!

1. Affirm your mistake by saying out loud or quietly to yourself, “Yeah, I screwed up!”

2. Remind yourself that you are intelligent, important, and good enough.

3. Don’t judge your mistake as good/bad or right/wrong, just accept you made a mistake and leave it at that.

4. Leave your mistake where it lives, in the past, and consider what you can do right now to mitigate the affects of that mistake and learn from it.

The beautiful thing about all this is you’ll likely get to try it out today! Yes, I get practice daily too! Remember, we’re built to make mistakes and that’s okay. Of course, you could make the argument that you want to make less mistakes but it’s important to focus on how you respond to them. By following this process or one similar to it you’ll actually be in a position to make less mistakes moving forward. Often times our mistakes are a result of our lack of confidence in a given situation. Affirming our inherent qualities including our fallibility will make us more confident and less prone to errors.

So give this a try and let me know what you think! or don’t give this a try and let me know if you think totally differently about this. Either way I’d love to hear from you as your thoughts on this topic are just as valuable and matter just as much as mine!

With love and appreciation,

Josh

Oct 082012
 

For the last year and a half I’ve spent countless hours working on my self from an emotional and spiritual perspective. I can honestly say that I love myself. However, when I look in the mirror and see the extra 30 lbs. I’m carrying around I can’t help but to question the integrity of the statement…

“I love myself.”

I’m not talking about the fact that I don’t look like a model or that I couldn’t grace the cover of a newsstand magazine. I’m just under 5’10” and I weigh 210 lbs. I have no medical condition (that I’m aware of) preventing me from weighing a more healthy weight.

So what is this about?

My whole life I’ve been under weight. I was teased in school because of how skinny I was. I used to lay in bed awake at night dreaming I was fat. I figured if I was fat, I could at least lose the weight. When I first starting putting on some weight in my early 20’s I was so relieved. I began working out and even took interest in body building. However, that “hobby” didn’t last very long and my weight continued to climb while that muscle went away. It seems for many years having those extra pounds was more of a novelty. Almost as if I were wearing a fat suit but the problem is I could never take it off.

I wear my weight well and aside from some particular cut shirt exposing my gut you’d probably just think I had a few pounds to lose, if any. The other day I went for a check-up at my wife’s work. They offered a general health exam to help reduce the employees insurance costs. During the exam they took your waist measurements along with your height and weight. It’s hard to believe but according to my BMI (No, it’s not completely accurate) I’m actually obese by 1/10 of a point!

Yikes!

Of course, there’s all the stigma with the word, “obese”, and one could let their head spin out of control at the thought of what that means. However, before I get all wrapped up in my ego wanting to scare the fudgsicle out of my hand, I need to look at a couple of considerations:

1. These extra 30 lbs. are a symbol of how I’ve been protecting my emotional self at the cost of my physical body.

2. I’ve been consuming in excess both in terms of calories as well as unhealthy processed foods.

3. In general I have little to no exercise in my day. Walking to my car from the house doesn’t count as a work out.

I think the first statement holds a lot of weight (no pun intended). Eating often becomes an emotional crutch. We eat when we’re feeling down, we eat to feel good, we eat to celebrate, we eat to mourn, we eat even when we’re not hungry. I suppose this begs the question, “Why do we eat?” If we’re not eating to sustain our physical bodies one could argue it must be to meet an emotional need, positive or negative.

It’s clear to me that we have a very distinct mind-body connection. The health of our physical bodies can and often does have a very big impact (positive and negative) on our emotional outlook. Our emotional outlook also has a very distinct affect on our physical bodies (both positive and negative) as we’ve just discussed. For me, it’s not hard to see that whatever unprocessed coping I have from my past can be found in that 30lbs.

Loving my body means eating things that my body was designed to consume (not tons of processed foods, fat, and sugars). Loving my body means giving it the exercise it needs. Loving my body means giving it the rest it needs throughout the week. Loving my body means not using it as a vice to cope with unresolved hurt in my life.

The next time I eat I’m going to ask myself the following:

1. How will this support my body at a comfortable and healthy weight (for me, that’s probably around 175 to 180)?

2. How am I feeling as I sit down to eat this (frustrated, happy, sad, angry, anxious, etc.)?

3. Am I hungry?

Of course there are probably more questions I could ask myself but I think these 3 are a good start and ones that will help steer me in a direction of actually loving my body. I know once I align myself to the idea of a loving physical body as well as mind and spirit that I will be even more grounded and centered in my life.

I’ve also said that awareness is the first step and I can choose not beat myself up about being overweight. It is what it is and today I can make a choice to change that. Could it be scary? Sure! In those moments I find myself eating to cope with something else in my life I might have to face that emotional struggle. You know what? That’s a good thing! The more times I face them and resolve them instead of cope with them the quicker I will move down my path of a more enlightened and fulfilled life.

We don’t reach fulfillment by coping with our struggles rather fulfillment is the gift we give ourselves as a result of resolving the struggles we must face. This shows up throughout our lives and for me it certainly does when it comes to food.

With love and appreciation,

Josh

Oct 012012
 

Today if you find yourself struggling to convince others or even yourself of who you really are consider the following:

You’re already everything you’ve ever wanted to be. The moment you begin seeking that approval from others look inside and remind yourself you matter and you always have. There’s not one other person in the Universe exactly like you. There has never been nor will there ever be. Do you need any other reason to prove how awesome you are?

I think not…

Loading...
Get your FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge eBook!