Apr 302013
 

Self_Acceptance_Challenge

If you follow my Facebook page you’ll notice that every now and then I’ll post what I’ve been calling, “Today’s Self-Acceptance Challenge”. I haven’t done it every day but have thought about it. Our journey to Self-Fulfillment, Self-Awareness, Authentic Living, yadda…yadda…yadda is a lifelong journey. As nice as it is to read quotes online and talk about Universal Vibrations, Oneness, Abundance, Manifesting, and Divinity the reality is your world isn’t going to change one bit without practice. It takes DAILY practice of making conscious and willful choices about how you’re going to respond to life.

So, I decided to bring these daily challenges to the site here. I don’t know if I will post them every day as that will depend on several factors including whether you like them or not. One thing I do know though is that it took a daily practice of responding to life based on the pain we faced to turn into who we are today. It’s going to take a daily practice of love, vulnerability, strength, and power to become the person we know we are.

Are you ready?

Today’s Self-Acceptance Challenge (the reason this is #120 is because it’s the 120th day of the year. Woo Hoo!)

Often times we go throughout the day worrying or feeling anxious about something that might happen later on. That worry and anxiety can often times consume us and it’s quite uncomfortable. This is quite different than having a healthy dose of concern. That’s a feeling that shows up and brings awareness to an outcome in the future but you move on throughout your day knowing you’re safe and in the end it will work out. Anxiety and worry are much more sticky and often times cause us to make rash decisions and worst of all they rob us of present living. Today, take the following steps to avoid anxiety and worry:

1. When the feeling of worry shows up say, (in your head or out loud) “Hello Worry!” You are not your feelings so saying Hello to your feelings gives you some extra space to separate YOU from your feelings. Plus it’s kind of fun! 🙂

2. Acknowledge that what you’re worrying about may or may not happen and is in the future. The future is not life, it’s your imagination of what’s to come.

3. Ground yourself in the present (your life). Notice the physical sensation of whatever your hands are grasping (desk, steering wheel, chair). Feel your feet firmly planted on the ground. Look up and around you and take in all the different colors and sights/sounds of your environment.

4. Finally, take 3 long and slow deep breaths acknowledging that your friend “Worry” is here but this is YOUR life and your life is in the NOW.

Having feelings like worry isn’t the problem. The problem comes in how we respond to the feelings. You can still acknowledge worry in your life and CHOOSE to not borrow your future feelings. Worry lives in the future and you, my friend, live in the NOW!

Much Love,

 

Josh_Sig

 

 

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Apr 282013
 

04_29_13_True_Friend

I received a message from a Reader asking for some advice. This is actually the first time I’m posting a response to someone on this site but love the idea of doing it again. if any of you have any questions I can answer please email me directly at Josh at isimply.am. I’ll post my response on the site and will always keep it anonymous.

Dear Josh,

A friend I “broke up with” last fall has reached out that she misses our friendship. Deciding to part ways was a very healthy choice for me. I don’t know how or if to respond. 

First, I want to respond by celebrating how you showed up for yourself in the first place. “Breaking up” with a friend can be a very challenging thing to do. Many people, myself included, have continued unhealthy friendships because they’ve been afraid to break it off. The fact that you allowed yourself to see this was an unhealthy relationship and then have the courage and strength to break it off is huge!

A No to you is a Yes to me!

I bring this up because a lot of people struggle with saying No to others. When we redefine our No’s to focus on the Yes we say to ourselves it can make it not only easier but more rewarding to be selective about our response. Clearly you said Yes to yourself on the day you ended the friendship.

Unfortunately, it seems like there may be some unwelcome feelings as a result of this new communication. I don’t know specifically what you are feeling but it wouldn’t be out of line to consider you could be feeling some guilt (over ending the friendship), sadness and grief (over the loss of what could have been) and some anxiety/fear about doing the right thing now. I mention this because now is an important time to honor your feelings. Explaining away the feelings or mitigating them is only going to discount what your body is trying to tell you.

There are a lot of factors in deciding whether to accept this friend back in your life. Sometimes it makes sense and it can be a great learning and growth experience for both of you. Of course, allowing her back in your life can also be a recipe for disaster as you may find yourself in the very situation you struggled so hard to get out of.

To give you my best response I’d want you to consider two questions. It’s going to take vulnerability and honesty to answer these well but it’s important nonetheless.

1. Has this ex-friend changed?

Sometimes this is something you can answer if they’ve been indirectly in your life. Perhaps they’ve sought some Therapy or Support Group. Maybe they’ve had some life changing circumstances come up or some deep personal awareness that’s allowed them to grow. You simply may just not know this though.

2. How well are your boundaries in place?

Boundary work is very intentional and takes years and years of willful and daily practice. Having boundaries doesn’t mean putting up walls and it also doesn’t mean just allowing others to use and abuse you. Having healthy boundaries allows you to take in the things that you choose to be true and throwing everything else away. Having healthy boundaries means that what others say and do have little to no effect on your self-esteem but you still get to decide to not be around them if the situation warrants.

If this person has changed and your boundaries are healthy and intact I would recommend an honest approach of some reconciliation. Perhaps a conversation would go like this.

“I was really hurt in our friendship and ending things was very difficult for me. When xyz (whatever the problem was) happened it really didn’t work out for me. I’m hopeful that this isn’t an issue anymore and would like to start a friendship back with you again. Is that something that would work for you?”

Ignoring this woman is passive aggressive and I don’t believe would serve you well. Instead, I would kindly respond to her in the following way (as a suggestion).

“Our friendship didn’t work out for me and I don’t believe it would now either. I’ll be thinking well of you even though our friendship didn’t work out.”

However, you respond make your statements about you. Don’t blame the person or rehash what they did wrong to cause the relationship to end. Rather, simply explain that it wasn’t working out for you and that you aren’t in a place to renew it. Making it about you will diffuse any retaliatory response from her and allow you to own your decision.

I hope this was helpful and I have every confidence that you will make the best decision for you. It’s clear you’re a strong, sensitive, thoughtful, and caring person and it sounds like this friend of yours lost out on a great opportunity. Fortunately, there are millions of people in the world who are deserving enough of your loving attention and friendship.

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

Apr 112013
 

04_11_13_Comparing

Self awareness is a BEautiful thing although sometimes you find out that what you become aware of isn’t so pleasant. This happened to me last week and it really helped me to understand something I find myself doing from time to time. The wonderful gift of awareness is the ability to change what isn’t working.

I saw a Facebook post from a friend of mine that shared some activities he’d been doing. One of them happened to be some writing he was contributing to some large online sites. Another person I am friends with was sharing how they were leading some workshops in their area of expertise. In each of these cases I had all kinds of thought and feelings come up.

Hello Thoughts and Feelings!

My first and immediate response was not one of joy for them but of disgust and frustration. I had all kinds of thoughts like, “Why are they writing for that site?” and “I should be writing there” or “I need to be doing that!”. I was feeling annoyed, frustrated, and jealous. It seemed like a thousand thoughts and feelings were rushing at me and through me. It didn’t take more than a minute of this before I became an Observer of what was happening.

We can’t become aware of anything unless we first observe.

Most of the time life is spent reacting and responding to thoughts and feelings. Usually so fast that we don’t even realize (we’re not aware of) the very thoughts and feelings we’re responding to. Stepping back (in your mind) and in a non-judgmental way we can observe those very thoughts and feelings. We can then make our choice of how to respond based on our awareness and conscious reflection not our previous conditioning. That’s what was happening here…

I realized that I was getting a charge here and thought more about what was going on. I realized I was comparing myself to those people. It was then that it occurred to me how evil comparing really is. There are two deadly things that occur when we compare to others and they both happened to me.

Self-Esteem Killer

When I began to compare myself to my friends I had a bunch of very unpleasant feelings. These feelings all came from my own fears and my own False Belief. Jealousy, hate, anger, and annoyance all come from fear if you trace them back far enough. I knew I must have been carrying around a False Belief from my past. That False Belief that I wasn’t good enough or that I didn’t matter showed up. It makes perfect sense. In that moment when I read those updates from my friends I was wearing my glasses of False Belief so it went something like this…

Thoughts: John Doe is writing for a website
Meaning (based on my false belief): this person is more important than me and I’m not good enough to be doing the same thing
Feelings (produced as a result of the meaning I applied to the thought): angry, frustrated, jealous, and annoyed
Response (we almost always respond based on our feelings): negative talk and time spent thinking negative thoughts
 

So in the end, my comparing of myself to my friends only reinforced my False Belief that I’m not good enough and that I’m not important. I had all those feelings because I was reminded once again that I’m not good enough.

The truth is, I am good enough and I am important. The truth is, my friends are very talented and deserving to do all the things they do. The truth is, I support, encourage, and cheer my friends on to be the best expression of themselves. The truth is, their accomplishments say nothing about me (good or bad).

Keeps Me Small

If I’m wearing my glasses of False Belief I’m going to stay small. When I compare myself to others the False Belief is amplified and the feelings I produce as a result do as well. If I walk around feeling pissed off, frustrated, jealous, and angry how much room am I going to have for my Inherent Qualities of love, creativity, joy, flexibility, intelligence, and passion? Very little, right?

The only way I’m going to live the dreams I have for myself is to be the BIGGEST and FULLEST expression of mySELF. My authentic self are not those feelings but rather my inherent qualities. Those inherent qualities get crushed and thrown aside when we walk through life wearing our glasses of False Belief.

I know that when I compare myself to others it’s my own False Beliefs showing up again. I know that I don’t need to compare myself to others. In fact, I shouldn’t do it! The next time I find myself comparing I’m going to remind myself that I don’t want to be small and instead I want to be the best expression of my Authentic Self. My/Our best expression is completely independent of what others think and do! Completely independent.

Just like it’s literally none of our business what others think of us it’s also literally none of our business what achievements and accomplishments others make. Do you find yourself making comparisons to others? When you do, what thoughts and feelings come up for you? Can you make out what False Beliefs you’re carrying around?

Please share your comments here on the blog, I’d love to hear them!

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

Apr 052013
 

04_04_13_Fear

Fear is one of those feelings that can and usually does stop us dead in our tracks. In fact, it’s the number one thing that prevents us from doing what we say we’re going to do. How many times have you made the decision to take that next big step only to never take it? Yup, there’s fear showing up again.

I often read very compelling and informative articles about how horrible fear is and how we should get rid of it. I completely agree that fear is a very uncomfortable feeling to have and unless it’s there to let me know I’m about to face some imminent danger to my body I don’t know that I want it hanging around. I take a slightly different approach and in fact don’t believe you should try and get rid of fear. In fact, I think it’s impossible to get rid of all fear from your life and doing so will not only be futile but will be a complete waste of time. First of all, fear is responsible for anger, anxiety, worry, guilt, shame, and resentment. While those are generally not feelings I like to keep around, I can’t imagine how realistic it is to expect you or I could or would ever void ourselves of all those feelings.

Fear is not the problem. The response to fear is.

Feelings aren’t good or bad, they just are. But we judge them to be good or bad and as a result we respond to them. Fear is a feeling that we associate very negatively with and it’s one of those feelings that can overcome our entire body. Often times we have physical sensations in our bodies as a result of feeling fear. This can be very paralyzing and as a result we often times avoid any activity associated with that feeling.

What if I told you there were 3 things you could do, not to get rid of fear, but to free yourself from its grip? After all, you probably wouldn’t mind feeling fear every now and then if you were still able to live your life’s dreams, right? Well, I’m confident if you follow these 3 essential rules you can live your fullest life and still have your fear!

Rule #1: I am. I feel. I am not what I feel.

You are many things my friend but you are not an emotion. You have emotions. In fact, you are the Producer, Creator, and Director of your feelings. If you are the source of your feelings then clearly you must be something other than them. The problem is we confuse who we are with how we feel. We feel scared and we become scared. We feel alone and we become lonely. We feel anger and we become violent. We feel sad and we become depressed zombies.

So here’s something new. I want you to affirm you are something other than your feelings. I want you to affirm you are your inherent qualities. These qualities are never changing, you were born with them, and they don’t fluctuate depending on your mood. Some of those qualities include lovable, precious, strong, magnificent, intelligent, beautiful, and creative. You get to be all these things all of the time. This is who you are. But you are not your feelings, you HAVE feelings. See the difference? Therefore, you get to be strong and feel scared. Therefore, you get to be intelligent and creative and feel scared.

The only way you’re going to “find yourSELF” is by separating how you feel from who you are. This is a very challenging thing as we’ve been taught to self identify with our feelings. In fact, most of our language supports this. I am angry, I am sad, I am upset, I am frustrated are all ways we affirm who we are. The problem is we are not our feelings but when you place those feeling words after your “I am” statement you’re essentially affirming that’s the case.

Today, I’m going to invite you to HAVE your feelings AND acknowledge you are not them. The best and easiest way to do this is with Rule #2.

Rule #2: Hello Fear!

This is actually a fun rule to put into play and works with all your feelings. I’m hoping by now you’re seeing how we confuse who we are with how we feel. You should also be realizing how doing that sets us up for failure every time the feeling of fear shows up. Implementing Rule #2 allows us to further separate who we are with how we feel. Doing so will free you up to live the life you want. I Promise!

Calling out our feelings (yes, out loud) is not only funny as heck but it really works in helping to pull you apart from your feelings. The exercise isn’t designed to get you to not feel your feelings. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We only want you to have them and not allow them to have you!

Okay, so the next time you feel scared/worried/anxious/fear, etc. I want you to say out loud, “Hello Fear!”. You can even embellish a bit and say, “Oh Hello Fear, I see you’ve decided to show up again.” Giving yourself this extra bit of distance allows you to remain whole as you are AND still have the feeling. What? No one told you, you could do both? Of course! You can be whole, strong, courageous, smart, and everything you have always been AND feel fear at the same time!

Saying Hello to fear allows you to push just far enough away to remain grounded and centered. Don’t you think you’ll make better decisions (ones that are aligned with your fullest self) if fear wasn’t at the drivers seat?

Rule #3: Take Fear on a Ride!

Now that you have a sense that your feeling of fear is floating somewhere outside of your body you have some room to breathe. Notice that the fear is very close but it’s not sitting smack dab inside of you, consuming your entire being. You know that you’re the creator of your fear and that it’s not who you are so you get to decide what to do with it. You get to choose how to respond to the fear.

Ideally you can do this exercise standing up, feet shoulder width apart, back straight, and slightly bent at the hips. Got that? Well if you’re not doing it perfectly then celebrate that too! Woo Hoo! That’s right, you get to do things wrong around here! LOL Okay, so put your hands out in front of you like you’re holding an imaginary ball. Now place all that fear into your hands and imagine yourself molding it into a nice ball.

Make sure you’re doing some nice slow and deep breathing while you’re doing this. The ball should be getting smaller as you’re molding it in your hands. Can you feel it getting more compact and tight? It’s probably the size of a small ball now. Okay, so take the ball and put it in your pocket or attach it to your hip. We’re going to honor the fact that you’re feeling fear. We’re not going to make pretend that it’s just going to go away. However, if that does happen that’s great too.

Now, go take that next step you weren’t able to take before. When you make that step look down at your fear. Do you notice something? Notice how it’s smaller than you? Notice how you’re carrying it and not the other way around? Notice how you get to have your fear and still live your fullest you?

These 3 Rules have made an incredible difference in my life. They do take time to incorporate though so don’t give up if after a few tries you find yourself having trouble. Remember, you’ve likely spent your entire life (as I have) under the wing of fear with little room to move. Practicing these 3 rules will slowly (but surely) allow you to pull away enough to take back your power.

Remember, you are many things, and many wonderful things, but one thing you never were nor ever will be is your feeling.

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

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