I once thought it would be impossible to become who I wanted to be. I wanted to be honest and have a true heart. I wanted to have a great character and great compassion. I wanted to do the right things, even if it meant sacrifice on my part. But I didn't believe that was possible. I thought I was a terrible person and I owned that narrative. Living that kind of life was for other people better than me.
What if Neo took the blue pill? What if he never decided to follow the White Rabbit in the first place? The Matrix would have been a movie about a guy who is discontent and knows there’s something more. But all you’d see is 73 more minutes of a guy sitting in his cubicle, glued to a computer. What if Luke had ignored the partial clip of Princess Leia, chalking it up to a robotic malfunction? What if he declined Obiwan's invitation to join him on his mission to deliver the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance, taking over his aunt and uncle's farm instead? We would watch a young brat farm for 84 minutes.
Have you ever tried to get centered? Maybe it was through prayer, meditation or yoga. Or maybe you were on a run. Or sitting in a coffee shop and you wanted to quiet things within so that you could align with your true desires or with your God. But you just couldn’t get rid of ‘that’ voice in your head that continues to criticize everything and anything. That’s the critical voice. It’s the voice within ourselves that tells us that we’re not good enough. It tells us that
My clients usually come to me when they know that they are ready to change their lives, but don’t know where to start. When people find out I'm a life coach, they often tell me their own life situation and ask for suggestions. I usually ask a few questions to try to understand their situation better before offering insights and suggestions. It almost always comes down to one simple solution: helping them uncover what they truly want. I'm amazed how often people aren’t aware of what they truly want. Life has a way of happening to us instead of us happening to life. See if this is a familiar story.
Everyone has a recurring thought… or two… or thousands. Similar thoughts bind together after being laid one on top of the other over the years to form a strong belief system. The incredible thing about belief systems is that they serve as a map to interpret the world around us, including our place in the world, and have the incredible power to shape our decisions in life. The power of a strongly held belief has exponential implications for the life of an individual and a community. Take Vera for example. She is in her late twenties and has come to believe that… “I’m just not that smart.” Why does she believe this? Why does she choose to see herself this way? If you asked her she would tell you that it’s mere fact. She never excelled in academics and was always in the middle to lower end of her class in terms of performance. She would tell you that there are certain books she just shouldn’t waste her time reading because there are some concepts that are ‘beyond’ her scope. With this belief entrenched in Vera’s mind, emotions and body, she limits her potential career opportunities, relationship dynamics, and possibility for growth in almost every area of her life. Exponential implications.
But if you press the question ‘why do you believe this’, there are all sorts of alternative possibilities to the opinion that she holds to so firmly.
Is it possible that Vera had an incredibly negative experience with an educator at an early age and always associated emotionally negative feelings with school, in turn tainting her desire to study or learn in that environment? Is it possible that one or both of her parents sent her the message that ‘no one in our family is all that smart and that’s just fine with us because no one likes a know-it-all.’ Could it be that different people learn and grow intellectually in various ways and the particular methods in which Vera is challenged intellectually were never afforded her along her educational path? Is it possible that the structure of western education is so focused on conformity to specific methods of education that often those who don’t conform as well to these methods are improperly labeled or mistakenly diagnosed with a disability? How many times would a young, impressionable mind have to be told this by an authority figure before they owned it as truth?
There are so many variations of these restricting views of ourselves that we tend to accept as fact, when in all likelihood, they are just opinions formed over time. Thoughts that we bought into enough times that they grew into a belief system, which we now whole-heartedly subscribe to.
I’m no good at math.
I can’t write to save my life.
I just can’t stop myself from eating.
I am not very coordinated.
My brother is the creative one.
I’m incapable of getting organized.
I can’t follow through on things.
I don’t have what it takes.
I’m not a good communicator.
I’m terrible at relationships and always will be.
Today I just want to call to your attention that there may be some beliefs you hold as truth about yourself and they are limiting you. Further, these beliefs aren’t based on reality, but are based on the collection of some data you’ve incorrectly extrapolated from some recurring experiences in your past. I would like you to list 3 beliefs you’ve held onto for almost as long as you can remember that you know limit you. And ask this question about each of of the beliefs you’ve listed… “Is it possible that it isn’t true?”
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____________________________________________________________________________ "Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives."
"What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are." - Anthony Robbins
"Truth lives, in fact, for the most part on a credit system. Our thoughts and beliefs pass, so long as nothing challenges them, just as bank-notes pass so long as nobody refuses them." - William James
“Never limit your view of life by any past experience” - Ernest Holmes
Something funny happens when we begin to live the kind of life we’ve dreamed of. When we act on decisions, even small ones, that are good for us, people notice. The smallest changes stick out: the kind of language we use and the way we spend our time. Most of our family, friends, and significant others will be an incredible support. Unfortunately, there are many other people in our lives who will not support the changes that we make. They will complain that we have "changed." They'll say things like, "we’ll see how long this lasts," or "it feels like you don’t care about me anymore." If you’re anything like me, you will react to comments like these by changing your actions to keep the peace. There is nothing worse for those of us who are chronic "people pleasers" than upsetting someone we care about.
The reality is that their unhappiness has nothing to do with you–it’s about them. Deep down they want to make changes too, and your action reminds them of their inaction. Instead of using that as inspiration or support to make their own changes, they react the only way they know how: by attacking or sabotaging you. They don’t want anything to change, and are comfortable where they are. Some people would rather stay in their current state than risk the unknown in an attempt to move forward.
How can you handle the criticism? How can you deal with the tension of having someone you care about upset with you? First, you’ll have to come to the agreement that living a greater life is a better story than pleasing other people. Part of this new story is that the better person you are the better friend you can be.
Next, you can respond to the complaints with a simple and direct statement, “I care about you, but I can’t go back to some of the thoughts and behaviors that didn’t get me where I wanted to go in life.” Offer them a question, “Are you trying to make me feel bad about these positive changes in my life?” No one would admit to actually doing that and they will certainly back off a little bit. However, they will eventually tell you that they feel like you don’t care about them anymore, or at least expresses something to that effect in a veiled manner. Let it go. It’s not your job to convince them that nothing will change… because it will. You want things to change, that’s why you’ve made the decisions and taken the action up this point that you have. “I’m sorry you feel this way” is a perfectly fine statement and is all you need to say.
Don’t rob these people from the opportunity to deal with their own"stuff" and possibly make some life altering decisions for themselves. Maybe they will and maybe they won’t. Maybe you’ll be the inspiration they need. Or, maybe they’ll get venomous and acrimonious. That’s their choice, and it’s on them, not you. You haven’t chosen to leave anyone behind or let anyone down. Your job is to be the best you that you can be and let the chips fall where they may. I can guarantee you that you will see a pattern emerge: those that have a difficult time with the changes you make in your life will all have something in common: You pour more time and energy into them than they do into you.
You'll know if the people around you are pouring back into you. There is nothing like having people in your life that genuinely want to see you succeed. My friend and cohort, Mike McHargue says, “If you can find someone who believes in your work, and you believe in their work, a virtuous cycle of improvement emerges.” This is so true. It’s an incredible feeling to have friends walk along the same extraordinary path you're on because they've chosen to answer their life's calling.
That’s where we're going in part 2. _______________________________________________________________________________________ "Courage is the power to let go of the familiar." – Raymond Lindquist
“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” – Deborah Reber
"Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky." - Brene Brown
Yes, I do believe that one of the single most effective and powerful things we can do to participate in the Divine’s transformation of our own lives is to learn to love ourselves more. Time and time again, as I work with people, when we get to the core of the problem, be it limiting belief, addiction, etc., it is a lack of self-love. The thing that’s behind the thing that’s behind the thing is that they have placed a very low value on their life and don’t believe they deserve to be happy. It is the most messed up thing of all and most people are barely aware of it. I genuinely think people want to be happy. Yet deep down in places they haven’t explored often, they don’t believe they deserve to be happy or are worth it. It’s the most devious trick in humanity. Somewhere in our life we were told that we aren’t worth it. We either were treated that way by those who were supposed to love and protect us when we were young and vulnerable, or because of decisions we made in the past, mistakes, we buy into the lie that we don’t have value and we aren’t worth being loved. And yet we can spend our whole lives trying to prove that we are worth being loved and go to incredible lengths to try to show everyone that we are of value.
But you don’t have to prove anything. Let me say it again. You have nothing to prove. The fact that God created you is enough. That oxygen flows in and out of your lungs, bringing life to your blood cells, is enough. What if instead of constantly trying to prove ourselves to ourselves and everyone around us, we just acknowledged that because we are alive and loved by the Divine, that we are enough.
Tomorrow is the one day self-love challenge. Now if you just read that sentence and rolled your eyes a little, I understand. I used to respond in the same manner. And then I realized that being a control freak and a perfectionist, and being harder on myself than anyone else hadn’t really gotten me the things in life I want… peace, happiness, self-control, etc. Has the way you’ve been living your life taken you to the heights of your dreams? So why not take one day and commit to loving yourself? Why not take one day to be completely and utterly gracious with yourself? Why not take one day and instead of criticizing yourself for making a mistake, simply affirm that you love yourself anyways, just the way you are? Here are a few places to start...
1. Make the commitment to love yourself for 1 day: Make the commitment and choose love for yourself. Do it now. If love is the greatest gift we have to give, what could be possibly wrong with loving yourself for one day in all your thoughts and actions? Go ahead and literally write it out right now or type it in an email to yourself or send it as a text to yourself. "Tomorrow I will commit my entire day to practicing self love."
2. Affirm yourself verbally throughout the day: Think of the most loving thing you could say to yourself, and repeat regularly throughout the day. Get up and repeat it OUT LOUD to yourself first thing. Write it on a post it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror before you go to bed tonight. If you are having trouble coming up with something loving to say to yourself, try starting here.
3. Forgive yourself immediately after any intentional or unintentional mistake: So you just screwed up and maybe no one else knows it, but you do. Immediately forgive yourself. If it helps, you can allow yourself to feel your remorse and then say... "I totally and completely forgive myself for ____________________ and I release myself of all my anger and all my disappointment." Try it. Forgiveness is incredibly powerful and it is the one of the most freeing things to experience. In fact, maybe you want to start your day by forgiving yourself for everything you've done that you have yet to forgive yourself for.
4. Give yourself a gift: Choose one thing to do for yourself that you know brings you life and you know cares for your soul and heart. Maybe you love going for a run but haven't had time lately. Maybe there is a good book you just haven't allowed yourself to read lately because you haven't had time. Read it. Maybe there is a friend that always brings you life that you haven't spent time with or talk to lately. Ask them to hang out or simply call them and just talk.
Taking the one day self-love challenge is a gift that you can give to yourself with no strings attached. It's only one day. How bad could it possibly be? A better question and motivation is, how incredible might it be? What if you discover some things about yourself? Wouldn't it be worth it?
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me via the website and I will be glad to get back to you before you wake up tomorrow. What do you say? ARE YOU WORTH IT?
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” - C.G. Jung
"Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion. "- Margo Anand
"Well-ordered self-love is right and natural." - Thomas Aquinas
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I speak in public all the time. It’s the nature of almost every job I’ve had as an adult. I’ve spoken all around the world to all sizes and types of groups. It really does come naturally to me and its one of the few things that I know I do well. I’ve spoken at sales conventions, camps, churches, masques, music festivals, art festivals, retreats, conventions, etc. I absolutely love it. I am not an accomplished artist, lyricist, musician, athlete, or sales person. But put me in front of a crowd with a purpose and a vision to share, and I will go to town. One of the things that I’ve realized about myself because of this is that my views and thoughts are constantly being formed. If I spoke on a topic tomorrow, that I know I spoke about 2 years ago, those two speeches might be completely different. In fact, I may even contradict tomorrow, something I said 2 years ago. That’s because I grow and change. We all grow and change. It isn’t just me. That’s the nature of being human. If we are constantly learning, reading and experiencing, then what we believed and lived yesterday won’t necessarily be the same as tomorrow’s beliefs and experiences.
Some core matters and beliefs may stay the same. And some core matters and beliefs very well may be transformed. You can see this growth and transformation in almost every author, songwriter, actor, businessperson, artist, etc. Even in the scriptures you can look at the apostle Paul’s early writings and see how his thoughts and beliefs have changed and expanded compared to his later writings.
This kind of change can really freak people out. They begin to wonder if the life they lived yesterday is somehow less valuable because they lived by a different standard or a different set of values and beliefs than they do now. They may have enormous inner turmoil because they no longer have the same paradigms that they learned growing up. This can also lead to a crisis in which they believe that there is something wrong with them because they have changed over the years. This kind of subtle inner struggle can wreak havoc on someone’s life in subversive ways.
But if you simply acknowledge that we all change and we all grow, and that change and growth is a good thing, then there is peace to be had. You can begin to affirm and ‘own’ your growth and transformation. It may feel like your in new waters and that can be extremely frightening. That’s because as we grow, we are always taking risks. When you learn something new, occasionally you can feel like it changes everything. And when you’re comfortable with the way things were, it is scary to face the world with new eyes. But with new eyes comes fresh perspective.
So let yourself be you. Welcome the change and welcome the growth. Stop the inner turmoil that comes with thinking that you always have to stay the same and always believe the same things. It’s just not how growth and health works.
What are some things that have changed for you? What beliefs did you once hold so dearly that now you realize you need to release and let go so that you can live into what you truly believe?
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ― Anais Nin
"Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one's potential." ― Bruce Lee
“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” ― Heath L Buckmaster
If you wait until you’re ready, you will never make it to where you want to go. Or at the very least you will look back and realize that you could have made it there a whole lot quicker. If you wait until you’re qualified, you will be starting too late. But what is highly more likely is that you are already qualified for those things that you’re putting off participating in.
If you wait until you’re experienced enough, you will never have that experience that you believe you need.
If you think you need one more art class before you start trying to sell your paintings, then there will always be one more art class.
If you think you need more self-confidence before you start speaking out more in your environment, then you will forever be silent.
If you believe that you need a couple more weeks of training before you enter yourself in that extreme obstacle race, then you will be sipping beer on the sidelines while your friends get muddy, bloody, winded… and still have the time of their lives.
If you think you need one more relationship seminar before you commit to the person in your life, then you will become friends with loneliness.
If you’re waiting for someone else to run through that wall before you move in that direction, then you will always be staring at walls. Or you will not have the satisfaction of knowing that you broke a barrier that others weren’t willing to break.
I’m not saying that you should wake up and run a marathon tomorrow without having done any training, although I know a young man who did that and is still alive today. But he was a freak of nature. What I am saying is that now is a really good time to move forward, beyond what you think you can do, to reach those goals that you have set for yourself.
If you know where you’re headed, and you have an idea of what your purpose is, then don’t sell yourself short. Don’t listen to the lies that creep into your ears and paralyze your heart. Because you are good enough. You are smart enough. You are creative enough. You do have enough confidence. You will fail. You will get right back at it though.
The only thing that is going to stop you is waiting until you’re ready. We are never really ready for the great things in life. But its funny how they are always there when we start moving in their direction and taking larger steps than we thought we were ready for.
I have found that if you wait until you are ready to make ‘that’ move, it is usually too late and the opportunity has passed you by. So go meet the opportunity.
Why all the talk about loving yourself? Because I firmly believe that until you learn to love yourself, you will always be limited in your ability to receive love from others and give love as well. Now I’m not talking about selfishness. And I’m not talking about narcissism either. Acting in selfish and narcissistic ways are not truly loving to one’s self. Spoiling the inner ‘brat’ that cries and whines and always wants it selfish little ways is not the path to growth, peace, love, joy, etc. So please don’t get confused as we talk about loving self.
I’m speaking of actual love. Pure love for yourself. The kind of love that is gracious and kind. The kind of love that reaches in and accepts you just the way you are. The kind of love that motivates us to become better people, not out of ‘shame’ or ‘should’ or ‘ought’… but out of kindness and compassion. The kind of love that extends second, third, and fourth changes (and in some cases 107th chances).
Many religious people (and I’m talking about several world religions) mistakenly believe that their faith calls them to dislike or even hate themselves. At the very least, they mistakenly believe that they must never think of themselves under any circumstances. However, I just don’t find that to be a sustainable faith. In fact, I believe that the more we love ourselves the more we are able to accept the love of the Divine. The more we love ourselves, the more we see our own value and worth. And the more we see our own value and worth, accepting love for ourselves, the more we are able to truly see the value and worth in others. And of course, the more we see the value and worth in others, the more we are able to give to them from a wealth that is Divine.
The other side of that is if you don’t love and accept yourself, it will be extremely difficult to receive love from others and even from the Divine. Why? Because if you aren’t actively loving yourself, you won’t feel like you are worth the love of the Divine. The coolest thing about God is that sometimes God breaks into our lives and allows us to actually feel Divine love. Often times, this is the only thing that can help us to shift our perspective on loving ourselves.
So how can you begin to actively love yourself more today? What are active ways that you show yourself that you love yourself? Is there a self-destructive habit that you are addicted to that you can give up? Is there a way you can affirm your health and thereby actively show yourself love? Are there thought patterns that need to be addressed? Is there an area of your life where you could apply some grace and stop beating yourself up? Could you forgive yourself for something you've done or taken the blame for? Could you just simply accept your body, just as it is?
It only takes the tiniest actions of self-love to start a bit of an avalanche. And that’s one chain reaction worth setting in motion.
Today I choose to love myself. I will extend myself grace and acceptance when otherwise I would normally choose criticism and shame. Today I will choose to make at least one decision that actively shows myself love.