Jan 302014
 

Lady with hands stretched standing on beach

Feeling good is the expectation for all of us, isn’t it? After all, if someone asks you how you’re doing and you respond with anything other than “good” they’ll immediately jump down your throat asking, “what’s wrong!?”

We’re smothered with commercials, ads, and social media all telling us how we can and should feel good! Every day we look for things to make us feel good and I’m not even talking about alcohol or drugs! Getting that morning cup of Joe from Starbucks, eating that piece of candy after lunch, surfing Facebook, even gossiping!

I could write a whole post just on the things that we do to make ourselves feel good! God forbid we feel anything other than good! When we do it’s really short lived and half the time we don’t even acknowledge it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve responded with, “fine” or “good” or “ok” to the question, “how are you?”.

There’s a negative stigma around “feeling bad”, don’t you think? If you’re feeling bad something MUST be wrong with you and everyone and their brother must FIX you! When’s the last time you shared with someone that you were feeling sad, angry, upset, frustrated, or disappointed and they didn’t try and fix you or make you feel better?

How many times have you shared a sad story or experienced something that was painful to you only for the person your sharing with crack a joke? People cannot stand being around any other feeling than “happy” (good). We’re always searching for happiness, right?

That’s exactly why I want to share this with you today. There’s a secret about living a life of happiness. A secret about feeling good more often. That secret is poop! Okay, not the kind of poop my 4 or 5 year olds talk about. I’m talking about feeling poopy! You know? All those feelings we try and avoid!? Those are the feelings we need to feel.

The trick is that you can’t not feel some feelings and then fully feel other feelings. It just doesn’t work that way. This also means you no longer have to waste your time chasing happy! How tiring is it to always think you need to feel happy? You are a whole person with a vast array of feelings. Why should you be expected to only feel one thing all the time?

Of course you want to feel happy a lot and so do I! So what if we both decided to stop judging ourselves – to stop judging our feelings. And instead of doing things based on how we’re going to feel, we do things based on who we are!? It’s clear all too often that we mistake how we feel with who we are so let’s not do that anymore. Let’s instead do things because we are creative, intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate, silly, courageous, and enough! Then just let whatever feelings come up pass through.

After all chasing feelings is a tiring effort that just never has an end in sight. It’s akin to a dog chasing its tail and after a while that dog is just going to get dizzy!

So my challenge to you is to forget about “trying” to feel good all the time! Instead focus on who you are and allow yourself to become an expression of all those wonderful qualities. Once you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you feel, including those poopy feelings, you’ll begin to notice something…

You’ll begin to notice that what you’ve been chasing all this time is right there in front of you. What you’ll see is that you don’t need to feel good to know how amazing you are. In fact, your whole world will open up! When we refuse to judge ourselves and allow our wholeness to be fully expressed we will be well aware that the goodness we’ve been looking to feel is actually the goodness that’s been in us all this time!

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

Jan 282014
 

ISA_19_Funk

I normally produce my podcast on Friday’s as it allows me the weekend to get everything published and ready for a Monday release. However, the last two weeks I’ve not made the appropriate time for myself on Friday’s. That then left me feeling stressed and under pressure which then resulted in me putting out a late podcast. While I work well under pressure, it’s the getting to the actual work part that takes time!

Unfortunately, when I miss doing something that’s important to me, like creating the podcast, I often times find myself in a funk. Like anything else, the key to change is awareness. Here are 5 ways I know when I’m in a funk:

1. Surfing Facebook
2. Working on a project that’s not on my “to do” list
3. Eating when I’m not hungry
4. Lose motivation for other things like working out, doing other important tasks
5. feeling overwhelm

Sometimes it’s obvious when you’re feeling in a funk but other times it’s really easy to get stuck there for awhile before you notice it. That’s exactly why I thought it would be helpful to list these out. Do you find yourself in a funk when in these situations?

What do I do to get out of it…

Usually, I’ll get out of my funk sooner than later but instead of just waiting for it to run its course (which could be a day to a few days) I’d rather pro actively move through it. Otherwise, getting stuck in that funk will cause me to miss out on being productive and on appreciating myself and others around me. So here are 5 things I’m going to commit to doing more when I identify I’m stuck in a funk.

1. Go workout/walk
2. Call someone and tell them I’m in a funk
3. Refocus on my “to do” list
4. Stretch/Shake
5. Focus on one thing in the moment to move you forward

I originally wrote these things down as possibilities to solving this funk I was in. To be honest I really didn’t want to do them. However, I knew it wouldn’t be acceptable to give you advice on how to get out of a funk if I wasn’t even willing to do it myself! I also wanted to see if this would actually work. It would be completely irresponsible of me to suggest something to you that I didn’t truly believe would work. So I got my butt up and going and did each of these things!

The good news, is that this definitely worked for me! Did I spend the rest of the day “on top of the world”? No, of course not. What I did though was snap out of that funk I was in and get back the rest of my day! Who knows how much longer that would have lasted for but I needn’t worry about it anymore.

These 5 methods worked really well for me and I invite you to try them yourself! Of course, these aren’t the only ways to get out of a funky feeling and perhaps you even have suggestions of your own. If you’ve been in a funk and found a great way to get out of it then please leave me a message in the comments of this post!

Listener Questions

Ian on Twitter (@IanFreakshow) reached out to me with this following question.

Question: How can I overcome jealousy? It’s something I struggle with a lot in life and I wish I could let it go.

Listen (or on iTunes) to this weeks show to find out the answer plus much more!

ISA Weekly ISA Challenge:

1. Notice comparing yourself to someone else
2. Remind yourself you are enough, you do matter, you are intelligent, and creative
3. Acknowledge that just the act of comparison means you’re allowing yourself to go back into that small person you once thought you had to be. You are not that small person.
4. Choose a new response this time by appreciating that person for who they are and what they do knowing they are no better than or less than you.

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

Jan 232014
 

junge frau mit zigarette und handy im auto

Well, this morning started off like many mornings of late. I get in the car to head to work and on my way I stop off at the local Starbucks for a coffee and a bite to eat. I actually quit drinking coffee a few months ago and am just taking a quick hiatus at the moment.

So, as I walked into the Starbucks I noticed an elderly man hunched over in his car and a sweet dog sitting in the passenger seat. At first they both looked like they were sleeping (which is strange in and of itself) but I went on with my business. The whole time I was in Starbucks I couldn’t help but wonder if he was dead. You know how we do that to ourselves? We think of the worst possible scenarios, don’t we? Anyway, I thought about all the things that might happen… Perhaps, I would find him dead and call the Police and how sad that would all be. Then I thought, I would just see if he needed help but then quickly felt overwhelmed at the thought it could take a lot of time.

So, I get back to my car and as I’m watching him (out of the corner of my eye of course) I noticed he blinked! Thank God he’s alive!!!

As I pulled away I couldn’t help but wonder if I should have still asked if I could support him in anyway. It was a strange situation and there was this blanket of hopelessness that seemed to hover above. Perhaps fear and vulnerability got the best of me this time. I hope he’s okay today.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with sabotaging my day. Well so far I hadn’t really but here’s where it all comes in…

By the time I get to work more than an hour had passed and I was sitting at a traffic light. The woman behind me was smoking a cigarette and thought it would be a great idea to throw it out the window when she was done. I immediately had some feelings about this especially given that California is extremely dry right now and that cigarette butts aren’t exactly bio-degradable (at least the last I checked). So, already I was judging her and thinking what a crude person she was. Of course, she then picks up her mobile and starts making a call (it’s a hands-free state) and my distaste for this woman grew stronger.

Had I left the traffic-light and the story ended there I would have been up for a really bad day. And this is where my self-sabotage usually happens. I would have been in a bad mood and the following things would all likely occur:

  1. My sensitivity to other people’s bad behaviors would be heightened and I would notice EVERYONE doing “wrong” things today.
  2. The annoyance would have carried on with me throughout the day. It might not have been obvious but it would be underlying everything else.
  3. I would likely continue to judge others throughout the day.
  4. With judgement comes blame and with blame comes self-victimization so everything would wind up being everyone else’s fault.

Of course, that’s how it used to go but thankfully I’m learning. It’s about progress not perfection, right? Before the light had turned green I made a conscious decision to not judge her. In fact, I decided that she might be feeling stressed. Perhaps, she was even feeling a bit hopeless herself. Granted, she may not have been feeling any of those things but typically speaking, people smoke under stress and certainly addictions are formed as a means to curtail stresses in our lives. Throwing a cigarette out the window often points to someone who either doesn’t care or who clearly isn’t considering the possible consequences. Hopelessness often encourages us to not care and not consider the consequences of our actions.

Now you might be thinking I’m still judging her. I’m not judging her character at this point anymore. I’m not thinking she’s a bad person in any way shape or form. I’m simply considering that she may feel stress and hopelessness in her life. More importantly, this helps me to respond based on how I want to respond which is with compassion. Thinking this woman may be stressed and feel hopelessness changes my perspective on her smoking, polluting, and unsafe mobile use. I now feel compassion for this woman, not in a “I feel sorry for her” kind of way but rather in a, I really hope she gets a break today, way. And so I thought that. I thought that I hope she finds some breaks today and that she can be reminded of the wonderful woman she truly is.

When I changed my perspective on the situation, stopped judging her character, and started showing compassion towards her I felt completely different. I walked into work with a lightness in my step, I started looking at the goodness in others, regardless of their actions, and most importantly I took responsibility for how I see things around me.

So the next time you see yourself judging someone else based on what they do perhaps you can take a similar approach? Even if it’s hard to see their inherent goodness or you have to make up a bit of a story about what could cause them to do such an act, it’s worth it. After all, we are fully responsible for how we see others just as we are fully responsible for how we see ourselves! These little things may not seem like a big deal but learn from me, they can set you up for a funky day. Neither one of us need any more funky days in our lives!

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

Jan 212014
 

Dam

I want to invite you to embrace that you are WHOLE. Yes, this does mean you’re going to have to give up the, “I’m broken” story you may be feeding yourself. I got this reminder myself just recently.

If you’ve been listening to my podcast or following me online you know that I lost my mother to cancer on December 17th of this last year. Obviously, I’m still grieving and I’m sure I will be for some time. I didn’t know what to expect but just allowed myself to be open to whatever it would look like. Of course, I could have responded in many different ways.

Had I convinced myself that I was now broken or some how less than, I could be in a really dark place. My mom and I had discussions about life, many in fact, and she did a great job of reminding herself that she was whole, even in those tough times.

Ever since my mom died I’ve cried every single day. In fact, sometimes multiple times throughout the day. Yet, for the most part my life is wonderful and I’ve had many more great days than I have had bad days. You might wonder how this could be if I’m crying every day. Well, I allow myself to cry as a means of grieving and of course healing from the pain of her loss. We need to FEEL to HEAL. Yet, the rest of the day I’m also allowing myself to feel all of my other feelings like happiness, joy, excitement, and peace.

I don’t need to be a slave to sad, angry, or depressed. Those are simply feelings just like all of the other ones. Just as happiness comes and goes so does sadness. If I choose to hold on to it I’m going to miss out on being available for everything else in life. So I just allow myself to feel whatever it is I’m feeling in any given moment.

I get to acknowledge that I am whole and that I get to feel sad and all of my other feelings and still have a good day. I don’t need to live in an either/or world. I can live in an “AND” world. I get to feel sad AND have a great day! Yes, of course if I’m feeling sad all day long it will likely be hard to have a good day and that of course will happen throughout my life. The key here is that I don’t have to get stuck feeling sad all day long. I can choose to honor my feelings and not become them. If you feel sad you can still have a good day. On the other hand if you BECOME sad you’re likely going to have a really bad day!

So my invitation to you is to remind yourself that you are whole and that means allowing yourself to feel all your feelings in any given day AND still know you are enough, important, and lovable. You no longer have to live in an either/or world. It’s your choice.

In this episode, I share some personal stories about situations in which I come up against resistance. I’m not just talking about resistance to quitting my job and starting on my own. I’m talking about resistance to the everyday things in life. Living a self aware or self actualized life isn’t just about manifesting the dream job or dream spouse.

This is why we need to learn how to get out of our own way in the every day. We need when we find ourselves in resistance, getting in our own way, and how to get out and into the flow. Getting into the flow is about allowing ourselves to be fully who we are. Getting into the flow is about finding peace, tapping in to our pure potentiality, and exploring just how creative and flexible we are.

Listen to today’s podcast to see exactly what I’m talking about and then implement the 3 simple steps in our weekly challenge!

ISA Weekly ISA Challenge:

1. Pause and say hello to frustration
2. Relax your eyes, shoulders, and drop
3. Go for the ride

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

Jan 132014
 

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Sure, reading inspiring quotes can be really uplifting. There are many times I seek out inspirational quotes and then other times when I just happen to be on Facebook and someone posts one. While the people who post these quotes have great intentions they aren’t always for everyone every time.

Sometimes we’re just not in the mood to read something inspirational or to be told to “just be happy”. In fact, most of the time we’re “not in the mood” others just can’t accept that. They’re quick to want to fix us and make sure that we’re looking on the brighter side.

When you’re feeling down the last thing you want to read is something telling you how happy you should be. The second to last thing you want to hear is someone else trying to tell you why you shouldn’t feel that way.

The truth is you are a “whole” human being with all kinds of thoughts and feelings. It also means that you get to experience all of your feelings and not be “less than” when you do. It’s true, you get to be enough, just as you are, even when you’re feeling sad, angry, frustrated, or even hopeless. We all have feelings but too often we confuse them with who we are.

People tell us if we’re not happy then something must be wrong with us. We’re led to believe that searching for happiness is the key to a successful life. Yet, aren’t we whole human beings who get to have all kinds of feelings? Isn’t our self worth – our sense of who we are not attached to how we feel in any given moment? Of course! Feelings come and go so how could who we are – which is static and unchanging shift from moment to moment? It can’t and that’s the point…

This weeks podcast shares with you the truth behind who you are and why it’s okay to have a bad day. Listen to this weeks podcast and let me show you exactly what I’m talking about. Plus, you’re going to hear much more!

Links I referenced in the show:

Forbes Top Inspirational Quotes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/05/28/inspirational-quotes/

The “F” it List: https://medium.com/life-tips/494224e0f983 

iPhone App (Web too) for stimulating mental cognition: http://www.lumosity.com/

ISA Weekly ISA Challenge:

1. Accept yourself this week AS you are. If you cry, feel angry, or sad it doesn’t mean you had a bad week. Stop judging yourself and allow yourself to know you are a good, strong, lovable, and ENOUGH person as you are, feelings and all!

If you’re on Twitter I’d be so grateful if you shared the podcast with your friends. Simply go to www.isimply.am/love and a tweet will be pre-populated for you. All you have to do is click on the submit button!

 

Jan 062014
 

You are now

Happy New Year Everyone!!

I’m hoping you all rang in the New Year with some festive cheer! Of course, there may be some of you out there who brought it in a little less cheery. Yup, I spent New Years alone on the couch as my wife was asleep in our room and both kids – even the dog were out! With no one to kiss I practiced a little self love and kissed my hand (okay, it was a peck) and wished myself “Happy New Year!”. We’re a bunch of party animals, huh?

With the new year brings new resolutions. I wrote about resolutions and how you might not want to have any back in 2013. However, in this podcast we’re taking a bit of a different approach. The great news about this particular episode is that whether you have resolutions or not you’re going to benefit greatly from what I’m about to share!

In this episode I give a shout out to some new Facebook Friends so if you’ve recently joined us on Facebook you might want to see if your name was mentioned by listening! I also give some appreciation to Bernadette Logue of PinchMeLiving.com.

Finally, I wanted to mention that I’m going to be on the Your Kick Ass Life Podcast this coming week. Andrea Owen and I discuss marriage and relationships. Specifically we talk about what seems to work and what doesn’t! If you’re in a relationship or even just wanting to get into one I encourage and invite you to join us! The link won’t be live until January 9, 2014 but just in case you’re reading this on or after that date, check it out!

Andrea and I talked about Marriage – what works and what doesn’t work…

Listen to the podcast for much more but I’ve got some cliff notes below just in case you can’t listen right now!

Perhaps you can argue that the first thing on your mind when you wake up is NOTHING! Okay, so if you fall into that camp then consider that what I’m about to share with you should be the next two things…What I’m talking about is Gratitude and Practice.

Let me explain…

Our friend Brene Brown talks about gratitude and how it needs to be cultivated. True, gratitude isn’t something you are born with. Rather it’s a feeling, feeling grateful…

There are many techniques for incorporating gratitude into your life. Some suggest making a list of 5 things before you go to bed. Others suggest using a smartphone app and jotting down something you’re grateful for throughout the day.

Gratitude is a very powerful source of energy and what better time than in the morning to harness that power, right?

We all want more out of life but how often are we grateful or appreciate just having a life? Waking up every morning is the perfect time to thank God, the Universe, or whomever you want to thank for just having the opportunity to breathe another day.

Every day is a good day because you get to live it!

Simply being grateful for having another day in your life is motivation to do so much in your life. Have New Years Resolutions? Great! Starting your day off grateful to be in it will give you powerful energy to enable you to make those resolutions stick this time! It also give us a different perspective on the world around us.

How many times have you woken up dreading going to work, school, or bussing the kids around? Compare this to waking up in full gratitude of just being alive. You can begin to appreciate how much more energy you’ll have to bring to your day.

In addition to gratitude I’m going to invite you to live your life with practice in mind. What do you get to practice? Living!!

When you look at life as an opportunity to practice it changes everything! No more having to make the perfect dinner, build the perfect fence, write the perfect letter or make anything perfect for that matter.

Did you mess up that New Years Resolution on the first day of 2014? Great!! Celebrate that because life is a practice. No, this doesn’t mean you just run around blowing everything off because you’re just practicing. Rather, you can appreciate when you do make a mistake and know that you’ll get another chance to practice again.

Living in practice allows one to stay humble, it allows one to forgive, it allows one to be flexible, it allows one to be creative, it allows one to learn. Aren’t these all wonderful qualities to walk through life with?

I invite you to consider starting your day off with the belief that you’re going to practice living the best you. On the days that you aren’t able to do that, it’s okay because you’ll get more practice on the next day and so on.

ISA Weekly ISA Challenge:

Every day this week wake up silently repeating these 2 things to yourself:

1. I am grateful for the gift of life I have today.
2. Today I will practice living the best version of me.

Practice waking up with these 2 thoughts in your mind – and really feel them! – then let me know how your week shaped up! You’re going to be hard pressed not living your best life when you start your day with gratitude followed by having practice in mind.

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

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