Empower, Inspiration

Hazards on the Road to Self-Empowerment

Have you be been making positive changes in your life? Maybe you have completed your degree, received a promotion at work or eliminated some bad habit like eating fast food. You know you want a better life for yourself and you have developed some good habits to move you in that direction, but what you did not expect is how uncomfortable you would begin to feel in old, familiar relationships. You know, the ones that stay exactly the same no matter how many years go by? You weren’t told about the increased sense of isolation and loneliness you would feel when you attempted to go “back” to old places with familiar faces.

The problem is your mindset is changing but you are attempting to hang out with people who haven’t changed and have no interest in changing.  One of the hardest things about growing and evolving is letting go of the things and people who no longer serve your highest good. It can feel like a betrayal to move on without people who have been a part of your life for a long time.

When you begin to take responsibility for life, you take action to solve your problems rather than sitting around complaining about them; your desire to succeed supersedes your fear of failure and you are willing to try new things; you separate yourself from the crowd by deciding what you want to create in your life rather than letting life decide what you will have.  As you become more willing to live an empowered life, many people will have to exit your life, and it is usually the people who are not interested in paying the price to have a better life. It is uncomfortable and heartbreaking at times, especially when this calls for separation from some family members. It can feel like your world is being ripped apart—it is—because of the exposure to new ways of being in the world. Your beliefs have changed or expanded, so it will be impossible to find comfort with people from your past who maintain the same set of limited beliefs from back-in-the-day that you now know are not true. And it is not just you: the people from your past will often be uncomfortable around you because your presence serves as a reminder to them that what they believe to be true is inaccurate. The bottom line is no one wants to be proved wrong about what they believe is possible because then there are no more excuses; it creates a situation where they are forced to get real with themselves about what they are not doing in their own life to improve their circumstances. This is not exactly comforting and welcoming, so don’t expect a warm reception.

Do not—I repeat—do not attempt to return to old relationships with the hopes of finding comfort or being warmly embraced by those who have the same mentality they had 10 years ago. At times, growth does require pain, and you will experience loneliness as you let go of what once was true to embrace the new, improved person you will become. Even if you can’t see it now, the initial sense of isolation and loneliness on the journey to empowerment will pass. You will find new people who align with your expanded beliefs about the world and your place in it.

Empower

Growing Pains: The Path to Creating a Life You Love.

How many of you are daydreaming right now about your ideal life while sitting in a cubicle in some nondescript building? Does it seem like the world is passing you by? Do you tell yourself: I will create my ideal life, but first I have to…. (fill in the blank).Whether your reason for not creating a life you love is money, time or relationship drama, the truth of the matter is there is a simple way to start designing a life you love today. And that way is to learn how to take concrete things from your daydreams and bring them into your environment now. In other words, you start practicing now how to grow into the person you desire to be. What do I mean by that? Let’s answer some key questions first.

  1. List five things your ideal life has in it. Here are some examples to think about. What do you do for work?  How do you dress? What types of people are in your social circle? How do you spend you free time in your ideal life?  What kind of activities are you involved in?
  2. What is one thing you think is missing from your present life that you have in your future life? Again, think concrete when answering this question. Maybe your future self has a certain type of degree or a million dollars in an investment account. The options are endless.
  3. Imagine you daydream has become a reality. What would you do differently in your day-to-day life? The more details the better.

Ok, now you have the clarity, so it is time to embrace the growing pains.

The only way to make the daydream real is to live it now. You must stretch yourself to a new level one small detail at a time. Let’s say your future self is an advertising executive who wears expensive suits and and carries a leather satchel. Guess what you are going to do? You are going to go out and purchase these items and wear them now. If you don’t have unlimited funds at your disposal, it is time to make friends with the resale shops, vintage stores, or thrift stores. The point of answering the above questions is to get you to step into the life you daydream about now. This gives you a chance to embody this new identity in your present life and it will increase your confidence and competence as it becomes more familiar to you.

Yes, it is going to be uncomfortable at first because it is unfamiliar territory. You can expect to stumble around in the dark as you attempt to orient yourself to this new way of being. Think about it: you are attempting to give birth to a new life. It is a process and there will be pains along the way. Growth occurs in spurts and you will not get it right the first time around. That is ok!  Keep moving towards what you want anyway because taking the time to get right with yourself and what you really want will right everything in your life.

Act, Empower

F.E.A.R. of Flying

Lately, I have been experiencing these fleeting moments of clarity that provide me with a sense of peace about moving towards one of my dreams—on the one hand—only to be overwhelmed by feelings of trepidation. I run to the precipice filled with excitement about creating a new life and just as I am about to fling myself into the abyss, I stop dead in my tracks and start running back to that old familiar place. And quite frankly, I don’t want to hang out there anymore.

How many times in your own life have you stopped yourself from pursuing one of your dreams? Did you tell yourself it was because you didn’t have the money, connections or experience to have those things you’ve envisioned?  The more excuses we come up with, the longer the list becomes on why it’s not possible to fulfill our dreams, so we abandon them and opt to zone out watching Netflix instead.  The fear of flying has a tight grip around our neck, so we never attempt to find out what we are actually capable of.

The struggle to overcome fear, or rather learning how to act despite the presence of fear, is very real and sometimes difficult to recognize. For example, sometimes my fear shows up as common sense and under the guise of being “responsible” by making statements such as the following:  Think about how hard you have worked to get where you are now; are you sure you want to throw all of that away to take a chance on an unknown? What if you lose everything?  You are an adult now, so it’s best to stick with the path that has been working rather than taking a risk on something new. Is it just me who noticed how convincing the last statement appears by pleading with me to do the “mature” thing?  I realize now I have been caught up in keeping up appearances of being a responsible adult at the expense of venturing out to pursue another one of my dreams.

How many times have you stayed in situations you have outgrown because you tell yourself it’s better to stick with the tried and true and remain safe?  But isn’t that the real illusion? We lie to ourselves about being safe where we are instead of realizing we are trading expansion and happiness for misery, bitterness, and regret over the road not traveled as the years go by. We are here to expand in order to reach our full potential, but that cannot happen if we are not willing to take a chance on ourselves over and over again

 

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FACING THE UNKNOWN

The first step to move through the fear is the awareness to call it by its true name: False Evidence Appearing Real. It is not a “sign” that you should not move towards your dreams or other desires (as long as it’s good for you and doesn’t harm others in the process) because you have doubts. Everyone has doubts and anytime time you think about trying something new, fear will make an appearance.  The trick is to not allow yourself to get so overwhelmed with visions of disaster that you don’t act at all. Instead, focus on the next step you can take right now.  That is how you start to train yourself to move through the fear rather than become paralyzed by it.

Another thing I find very helpful is to learn how to give yourself permission to be a beginner. This can be tough, especially if you find yourself in a situation where you have years of experience and therefore a sense of mastery. Being a beginner requires a willingness to be exposed and out of your element. There is a learning curve, so treat yourself with respect by accepting you may do something very badly in the beginning. Another way to respect yourself is to take baby steps towards your desires and praise yourself for the small accomplishments. The encouragement works wonders and gives you the motivation to take another step tomorrow. Do not overwhelm yourself by focusing on perfection! Remember, you are a beginner so act like it!

Finally, become aware of how your fears cause you to act in self-destructive ways so you can control your environment.  What are your go-to avoidance patterns? Do you suddenly “need” to get on social media and waste three hours instead of applying for that new dream job that excites you?  How about blocking your social media accounts at set times and focusing on taking a  step towards your desires?  If you suddenly find yourself feeling compelled to do the “responsible” thing like clean your house or call your mother back, why not head over to the library to start writing your book for just one hour right now? You can clean up when you get back and don’t bring your phone with you!

I would love to hear some other suggestions from you on how to move through the fears of flying.

Empower

My Home. Myself.

What state of mind are you in? Take a look around; is it working for you? Do you possess such a thorough understanding of yourself that you are able to effortlessly improve the quality of your life by eliminating bad habits, relationships or any situation that is not contributing to your highest good?  I didn’t think so. We are all traveling along the road to self-mastery and looking to improve by understanding all that we truly are. It is a process to understand ourselves at a deep level, but I have found one way to get a grasp on this is by observing my state of mind in action. And what better way is there to do this than by taking a personal inventory of your home. After all, your home tells the story of your beliefs.

I have heard psychologists and life-coaches talk about everything in your external environment being a reflection of what is going inside of you. So, when it comes to your home, have you paused long enough to observe your thoughts in action?  Is the story that is on display in your home in alignment with where you want to go and the life you aspire to live? Or, are you surrounded by an outdated version of your life that does not reflect your current desires or beliefs? I had some interesting revelations when I started to pay attention to the things in my home. I will share a couple of my experiences with you now.

I recently walked through my house and discovered I had photos on display of people I no longer have good relationships with. A particular photo was from a vacation that I took with a person who had done some pretty hurtful things on that trip. The funny thing is, I was actually having a difficult time setting boundaries with this person. I was trying to figure out a way to have this person in my life but at a safe enough distance that they could no longer wreck havoc in my life. I guess my compromise was to hang photos of this person in my house to remind me of the many bad times we shared together, so I could continue to feel bad about staying in the relationship. I immediately took the photos down. I am interested in good vibes only, especially in my home.

I also realized a piece of artwork that had been hanging in my dining room for a few years made me feel sad and depressed when looking at it. It was a painting that showed couples walking down a street on a rainy day carrying umbrellas, but there was one woman walking alone and following behind everyone else. I clearly identified with this woman walking alone three years ago, but it seemed inappropriate now. I asked myself: how has this scenario played out in my life? And I finally admitted to myself that there were many things that I was just going along with in my life that I was not truly happy about it. Then I dug deeper: did I pick out this painting because it represented the sadness and sense of drudgery I was feeling in my life at that time? Did I believe that someone else would lead me to where I wanted to go? I know that’s deep, but on some level I was drawn to the painting because it did reflect what was going on inside of me at the time I purchased it.

In its place, I hung a painting of a woman gazing out a large window overlooking a city skyline at night. I was instinctively drawn to it a few months ago and now I understand why. It accurately reflects where I find myself at this time in my life. I am at a crossroads and I’ve been contemplating what my next move will be. I have been exploring new options and there are still many unknowns at this time. It seems that the concept rings true: the objects in my home do or did reflect what was going on inside of me.

Now it is your turn to do a little detective work around your house. Take a walk around and consider the following questions:

  1. Is your home cluttered and disorganized? What kind of thoughts or behaviors are you engaging in that clutter your mind?
  2. Do you appreciate and value yourself? Look around at the things in your home. Are they well cared for? Are you wearing things that make you feel and look your best?
  3. Have you intentionally selected the things in your home with care or do you have a bunch of things that you don’t really care for taking up space in your home? In what other ways do you allow things, people or situations to take up space in your life that you don’t really care for?
  4. Have you incorporated objects into your current environment that reflect the life you aspire to live?
  5. What are the pieces of artwork and/or photos hanging on your walls telling you about yourself? About your relationships with others?
  6. Are there old, broken, and outdated objects in your home? In what ways is your thinking old, broken and outdated?

Now that you have reviewed the above questions, start affirming the vision you have for your life by creating a space that is in alignment with your new beliefs and dreams. Changing your current environment to reflect who you want to be can be as simple as throwing out all your ratty and tattered clothing, or getting rid of clothes that do not make you feel your best. It can be disposing of all those photos you have hanging up that remind you of bad experiences or broken relationships. Maybe you will decide to display uplifting quotes and only photos that make you feel joyful and excited. You could affirm your new life by literally bringing in new life in the form of a houseplant or fresh-cut flowers. You may decide to paint a room a bright color such as orange or yellow to create an uplifting mood.

The point is this: If you are considering making some positive changes in your life like starting a new career or ending a toxic relationship, help facilitate the process by creating a physical change in your home environment. Prepare yourself to receive your desires by creating an environment that is in alignment with your aspirations and get rid of all of the things that do not reflect the person you want to be. If you change the things in your home, you change the story and you will change your life.