Be True to Yourself

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

According to an article in The Guardian, this is the number one regret that people who were dying reported to Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care treating patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.

With the clarity that comes with approaching death, Ware’s patients realized that not living their dreams was due to choices they had made—or not made.

They recognized they were in charge of their happiness.

If I asked you if you were in charge of your happiness, would you find that exhilarating, or feel compelled to tell me all the reasons you’re not?

Reasons such as:

  • “My Mom, spouse, partner, friends, etc., wouldn’t approve, or thinks I should do something different.”
  • “I’m afraid I’ll disappoint or hurt my Dad, spouse, partner, friends, etc.”
  • “I’m trapped in my current job or situation.”
  • “I don’t have the time, money, experience, etc.”
  • “I have too much to do.”
  • “My life is good enough as it is.”
  • “I might fail.”
  • “People will think I’m crazy.”
  • “I’m too old.”
  • “I’m too young.”
  • “I don’t know if that would really make me happy.”
  • “I might make the wrong choice.”

Your reason may be totally and completely valid for you. Just recognize that either consciously or by default, you are making a choice.

Are you making the choice that feels best to you? Are you making the choice that aligns with your goals, core values, and beliefs? Are you making the choice that is helping you be authentically you? Are you making the choice that when it’s time to look back on your life, you’ll feel good about making?

If you are making your decision based on how others might feel, think, or be impacted, you may be taking away their choices, too. For instance, if you’re afraid to leave your job, you may be keeping your employer from hiring someone who absolutely loves the job and has a passion for it.

This doesn’t mean that making a decision that impacts others is easy—or is the right decision—but by truly picking the path that is best for you, you also create new opportunities and options for the people around you. Making the choices that are best for you will enable others to make the best choices for them.

What is one small choice you can make today to live life true to yourself? What difference does that make in your life?

Together we can do it!

 

Guest Blog–It’s An Inside Job….

I invited my coach and mentor, Jennifer Barley, to guest blog while I’m away at coach training.

So often we look to the outer things in life to fix our issues. If we have financial challenges, we look to change jobs to make more money. If we have weight issues, we join a gym. If we have relationship woes, we want to change the other person. All of these efforts are about searching outside of ourselves for the solution under the guise of being happy.

Happiness is an inside job. No amount of money, no number on the scale, and no other person will bring you true happiness. Sure, those things can make life more comfortable, they could help us reduce the negative self talk, and they can bring a sense of familiarity. However if one is truly happy then they experience things that come from the inside–peace, love, and clarity–regardless of how much money is in the bank, how our pants fit and who is in our life. If we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we’ve always gotten. This is not about doing — it is about our being.

In order to find happiness, we have to be willing to start exploring our thoughts, feelings and actions around our challenges. That begins with our core of “Who” we are. We all have beliefs, values, core thoughts, assumptions, and interpretations that play into our view of the world. Those beliefs can enhance our world, or detract from our world.

How do your beliefs serve you? Do they keep you safe and small? Do they protect you from disappointment? Do they protect you from vulnerability? Do they allow you to play big and share your gifts with the world? Do your core thoughts allow you to share love without limits.

Which of your beliefs keep you from moving forward?

Then the big zowie of a question comes in to play….

If you were to let go of your belief, what are you really afraid might happen?

What is the worst thing that could happen? What is the best thing that could happen? Are you willing to risk it?

How willing are you to redefine your “Who”?

The world is waiting for you–your redefined Who–to show up from the inside out.

Jennifer Barley is a Professional Certified Life Coach, public speaker, Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) instructor, author and former award-winning Weight Loss Leader.

It is Jennifer’s strong belief that every person can create whatever life they choose and she partners with her clients to make it happen. She has a strong talent for motivating, inspiring and adding humor to every situation.

Jennifer works with clients one-on-one, in workshop environments, and through online tele-classes. As the KickStart Coach™ Jennifer is committed to providing the support, encouragement, accountability, and motivation that her clients need to get inspired and get in the game.

You can learn more about her at www.jenniferbarley.com and read her blog at http://blog.jenniferbarley.com

Harry Potter and the Quest to Be You

In previous blog posts I’ve professed my love of Harry Potter. More often than not, when I put a book down with a satisfied sigh and desire for the story to continue, it was labeled for children or young adults.

But as an English major, embracing my love of children’s literature felt taboo. I “should” read novels that improve my mind, challenge my humanity, and inspire deep book-club conversations.

While I certainly can analyze prose and burrow around for deeper meaning, I really don’t enjoy it. That’s not what inspired my love of reading as a child. What I loved then—and now—was the flight of imagination, the struggle between good and evil, with good always prevailing, and a foundation in a Universal truth, such as there is nothing more powerful than love.

It took me a long time to embrace this preference as a part of Who I am and to let go of those books that lay neglected on my coffee table either unopened or partially read because they were what I “should” be reading. It took me even longer to stop pretending that I was reading those books and instead share my enthusiasm for the children’s book I was currently in love with.

While embracing my preference for something as inconsequential as reading material may not seem like a big deal, determining what you enjoy and accepting that instead of struggling with what you think you “should” like based on other’s expectations is an important step in being the best possible version of you.

My not acknowledging this part of me led to long bouts where I didn’t read anything at all because I felt so guilty about not liking what I “should” be reading. It inspired a failed try to join a book club that resulted in spoiled friendships. It generated a lot of self-doubt and –criticism, and the fear of other’s judgments kept me from connecting with people who actually do share my passion.

In short, it contributed to my overall feeling of unhappiness and created a lot of negative, catabolic energy that released stress chemicals and other harmful physical processes. It inhibited my ability to achieve optimal wellness and a vibrant life.

Part of being the best possible version of you is letting go of Who you think you should be and embracing Who you really are.

There is a fine line, however, between determining and doing the things that you love, and drawing a boundary around yourself and automatically rejecting new things and experiences. This shuts off personal growth and can also keep you from pursing the ever-changing mark of the best possible version of you.

The perfect balance in the Quest to be You is letting go of what you don’t like, embracing what you do, and looking for new things, people, and experiences that align with you.

Where are you holding on to something that you really don’t enjoy? What is something that for whatever reason you haven’t allowed yourself to enjoy before? How do you feel when you embrace that, and do more of that? What else would be fun to explore?

Together we can do it!

Photo by jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s the Point of Pursuing Happiness?

Someone asked me recently, “What’s the point of pursuing happiness?”

The answer seemed so obvious to me that in the moment I had no response. My thought was something along the lines of, “Why would anyone not want to feel good as much as possible and be happier?”

Our two perspectives really gets to the key point. Being happy is a choice. Each person has the freedom to decide where they are going to fall along the wide spectrum of emotions and reactions to every single situation and subject. That’s our free will.

But it took me a long time to realize that I had a choice about being happy or not; that I had the ability—and responsibility—to direct the quality of my life. For too long I felt I was at the whim of an unfeeling and uncaring Universe that liked to batter me against the rocks. The world was against me and I couldn’t get a break.

That perspective was so painful that I suffered from chronic depression for many, many years. As a result, I’ve had enough pain and suffering, thank you. I no longer find it romantic, or a sign that I’m a caring or good person. If I am at the helm of my life—and I fully believe that I am—than I’m going to do everything I can to redirect this vessel towards freedom, love, joy, clarity, contentment, and fun.

To paraphrase Bruce Schneider, pain may be inevitable, but suffering is optional.

I can let go of feeling like I need to “fix” others or even see them as broken because if we are all the masters of our lives, then each person gets to decide which reaction and experience they will have. If they chose to be miserable, who am I to tell them they shouldn’t be? After all, my years of suffering were absolutely necessary for me to truly want to change, to be so focused and determined to find a different way that the path began to open up before me. Every one of my experiences was perfect for me on the road to where I am now, and will continue to unfold perfectly—for me.

The message that I want to shout to the world is, “It’s a choice! You get to choose! You have the power! And making a different choice feels so much better!” For those that it might help, I want to share how I did it and tools that I’ve learned so if they want to feel better, they have support guiding them towards their path. Their way will look different than mine, and isn’t that diversity what makes life grand?

For many, many reasons people will resonate with my message, experience, and process—or not. If being happy isn’t important to you or something you want, how beautiful is it that you get to make a different choice? And if it is, there are lots of ways to get there. Find the way that works best for you.

If we were all having the exact same experience and there was only one “right” way, the Universe would be pretty limited and from my perspective, the whole point of life is to expand and grow. Even scientists tell us the Universe is expanding. To me that is the very point of every experience that each of us is having—both that which we judge good and bad. Evolution is not one species making a quick jump to become another. It’s the moment-to-moment creation of our unique perspectives and responses to the ever-changing swirl of life.

So what’s the point of pursuing happiness? What’s the point—to you? Why is it important—or not—to you? That’s where the true answer lies.

For me, it’s waking up this morning literally laughing at a joke I created in my dreams. It’s feeling light-hearted and so filled with love in this moment that I want to share it with any person who wants to receive it. It’s appreciating my husband who I can hear right now in the kitchen washing the dishes.

It’s wanting to laugh instead of weep, being engaged and excited in my work, instead of dreading it so much I can hardly get out of bed. It’s knowing that today, I feel better than I did yesterday, and in tomorrow there is the opportunity to feel even better than today. It’s learning to go with the flow of life and seeing it as an adventure instead of purgatory. It’s because life for me finally feels good, and I want more of that, please!

There is no right or wrong answer. This is just where you are in your journey. Come along with mine—or not. And as you share your journey, it will either resonate with me—or not.

What is truly sublime is finding the people you do click with and who you not only get value from, but who you give value back to by sharing your journey, responses, and insights. We are creating an ever-expanding circle of growth, clarity, connection, and inspiration.

And that makes me happy!

Together we can do it!

Photo by Rosen Georgiev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Direction are You Headed?

Whatever you’re thinking about is literally like planning a future event. When you’re worrying, you are planning. When you’re appreciating you are planning. What are you planning?

Abraham

 

I used to be a worrier. It’s not clear how I came to the conclusion that to ward off catastrophe, I needed to hold the problem close in my mind, but that’s what I truly believed. My thoughts were an endless stream of judgment and fear. I practiced worry so much that I was really good at it.

It’s exhausting just to recall it.

Moving beyond that was a process of desire and persistence. I knew that life was supposed to feel better than it was—had to feel better than that awful place—and I wanted to find the way. That desire led me on a quest to find out how. Each book that I read and teacher that I found led me closer and closer to understanding the answer.

When I “got” that my worry was literally like planning a future event and bringing me more things to worry about, I felt panic. I was so good at worry that those thoughts came easily. I didn’t want more of that! The idea that I held the responsibility for my own life and happiness was so overwhelming that I literally had to disregard it.

But you can’t unknow something completely.

Slowly and surely I began shifting my thoughts towards what I wanted, and letting go of control. It took time, persistence, and energy, just like exercising your body takes time, persistence, and energy. It is a process.

Now I am in a much better place where I love and appreciate life and I feel good much of the time. But I know that I’m far from—and will never get to—having it all figured out, and can clap my hands together and proclaim myself, “Done.”

I know this because I have been seeking long enough to watch my mentors and their teachings grow and evolve. I know this because our spirits are eternal, which means an endless opportunity to expand and grow.

No matter where you are, your understanding, love, and joy always has the potential to grow.

Which means just relax. Don’t stress about it—anything really. Slow and steady is all you need to move yourself forward. Just practice focusing more on what you want, forgive yourself when you don’t, and strive to appreciate life moment-to-moment.

 

Do that, and you will be creating the life of your dreams.

Together we can do it!

 

Photo by dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net