Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘resident critic’

Saying Yes to Life!

In 2008 Jim Carrey made a movie entitled, ‘Yes Man’ from a book written by the British humorist Danny Wallace. The movie was a box office success because it gave us something to really think about with its potent message. Carrey as a bank loan office becomes increasing withdrawn and negative following his divorce. His friends tried suggesting a host of things to help get him out of his doldrums but to no avail. ‘NO’ was his constant reply to anything and everything that was out of his increasingly narrow comfort zone. His life changed dramatically when he attend a self help seminar in which the attendees were instructed to make a commitment for one year to say ‘YES’ to people, places and opportunities. He started on a pathway to personal happiness that just made you smile inside. When a movie can do that for people we know the message is significant!

Dr. Wayne Dyer highlights this mindset of saying YES to life in his book, ’10 Secrets for Happiness and Inner Peace.’ He instructs us to have an open mind to everything and to refuse to allow ourselves to have low expectations about our own capabilities. He implores us to resist ANY pessimistic tendency (also known as being the resident critic). If we find ourself saying ‘but’ someone’s idea just know that we are actually correcting and rejecting their thought rather than considering or allowing it as their authentic feeling.

When we choose (and it is a conscious choice) to say YES rather than dismiss a new idea or opportunity we are choosing to expand our comfort zone. A new idea may not be comfortable but it’s important to keep an open mind and consider it rather than automatically rejecting it. As Dr. Dyer suggests, rather than saying a new idea or perspective is wrong practice saying, ‘I’ve never considered that before.’

A mindset of ‘YES’ is healthy. It keeps us growing, learning, and becoming all that we have chosen to be in this lifetime. It says regardless of what I know today or what I have been conditioned to believe in the past today is a new day with new ideas and opportunities.

Our mindset not only affects us but everyone in our environment. We can uplift others or weight them down simply by our responses to life. Check yourself over the next few days – listen to your responses – really listen with your mind and heart – are your comments energy enhancing or energy depleting. It takes work to change a habit if it has been to control, reject, or dismiss anything that is new, different or may require a change in our thinking but it is so worth it!

We have chosen this life with the challenges and opportunities that present themselves for a reason. Being happy, open and positive just makes the ‘medicine go down a bit easier!’

Have a great few days!

Are You Your Own Worst Critic?

Many of us have watched the Academy Awards, or read movie or T.V. reviews recently. In each example a judgment was placed on such things as value, truth, beauty, effort or technique. These judgments were made by critics – people who express an unfavorable opinion of something. The word critic is actually derived from the Greek word for ‘judge.’ We seem to have an over abundance of critics in life who judge everything. It is any wonder why many of us have taken up this behavior and use it on ourselves and others.

When we look inward and are honest with ourselves we find that we are our own worst critic. It goes something like this…’I should have’ or … ‘I’m not this or that enough’ the list goes on ad infinitum. What we don’t realize is that the more critical and judgmental we are with ourselves the more we are doomed to repeat more of the same. By constantly criticizing ourselves we are replaying the record in our heads of disappointment and dissatisfaction with who were are as human beings. Since we know that the Universe delivers to us what is foremost in our thinking we will continue to repeat the behavior that we find most troublesome but with even greater and greater frequency. Eventually, we may even fall prey to the ultimate negative thought, ‘What’s the use I will always be …’

Is it possible that you may have become emotionally addicted to seeing yourself in a negative light? Check it out by listening to your own thinking. How often are you putting yourself down? Does it seem to come naturally to you? If so, when is enough enough? The answer is quite simple really. When self criticism begins to infect and reflect your overall thinking pattern it’s time for a change. Like everything in life it is the amount of time we allow ourselves to rehash something that determines if it’s a productive or unproductive behavior.

What if you decided today, right here and now, to use self reflection in a more productive way – one that can positively effect your behavior. Start by consciously listening to what you are telling yourself about a recent issue that didn’t turn out as well as you would have preferred. If you are beating yourself up over the outcome, is it helping? Probably not. Once you accept the fact that negative breeds negative you are ready to redirect your thinking. Now think about what you could have done to achieve a more productive outcome. Each time you start to put yourself down about either what actually happened or what you ‘should’ have done just think about what would have been a better approach and say to yourself, ‘THE NEXT TIME I INTEND TO …’ and LET IT GO. What you are actually doing is giving your subconscious mind a job or goal to work on. The next time a similar issue surfaces your mind will work to apply the new response. We know that setting goals generates positive energy and when we tell ourselves, ‘The next time I intend to…’ our minds work to deliver the change to us. This approach may take a bit of time to internalize but by consistently practicing this type of redirected thought you are inserting into your thinking a plan to improve something about your self WITHOUT JUDGMENT. It becomes a positive rather than a negative approach for change – and it works!

Life is a journey of self discovery. Like any journey we can’t start at the end but must take each step along the way to arrive at our destination. When we discover a better path to our destination it behooves us to follow it. Redirecting our thoughts with a new habit of positive intent just makes the journey a lot more enjoyable along the way.

Have a great few days!

Choose Your Words Carefully

Thinking about the power and timing of the words we use can improve our lives. Words just like everything else in our world have energy. Taking the time to think through what we want to say BEFORE saying it and being sure the other person is asking for our input and able to fully listen (not stressed or feeling ill) is an important habit to develop. It does take greater mental effort and slows down the speed in which we talk – which – believe it or not – is usually a good thing. It helps us become the type of communicators people choose to listen to because they respect our thoughtful comments.

When we are upset, concerned or not feeling up to snuff ourselves we are usually giving off negative energy at the start. It is especially important at those times to think before we speak. The words we choose to use can cause the receiver to think about what we are saying and discuss things further or cause them to put up an invisible wall of resistance which, over time can become a fortress. If we continue with unsolicited advice or using words that are spoken first and thought about later, sooner or later others just tune us out whenever we begin to speak because they expect a correction or direction and are worn down by it all. They have put up a permanent wall of protection to prevent our words from negatively affecting them. Even worse, they slowly begin to move away from us because we drain them of their energy.

My grandmother used to say, ‘the less said, the sooner mended.’ When I visualize this phrase in my mind I think of a facet dripping – word by word – or conversely the same facet gushing and spraying water everywhere causing a mess which will need to be cleaned up later. Something to think about when we are bothered by something someone has said or done. Is it absolutely necessary to make a comment? Does it really matter? If so, what do we hope to achieve by making it. If we want to clarify or even correct what was said there is a way to do so gently and carefully without adding to the ‘perceived’ negativity of the situation. Remember, the particular words we choose to use in response can add fuel to a fire or calm the waters.

Frequently, the actual words we use or hear and the meaning we attach to them are not even close to the intended message. Slowly and calmly asking the person to explain further so we can better understand the message often results in the speaker even changing the words they used to help explain their viewpoint. This approach enhances communication AND respect.

Since we all appreciate people who give us a pat-on-the-back with positive ideas or comments it is important to evaluate our own word choices and communication skills to see if we are doing the same for others. What we give to others in all forms comes back to us double fold.

Try to make it a habit to listen to the words you use as well as the words used by others. Words are powerful. They can help or hurt a person or situation. Remember, it takes little thought and even less caring to be the resident critic. To me the resident critic is sort of like being in the cheap seats as a communicator. If you really want to help a person or resolve a situation it does take a little more effort to find just the right words at just the right moment to cause a positive change but is so worth it!

Compliments Magnify Your Energy

A true compliment causes the person receiving it to feel good. That seems like a no-brainer right? How many times have you recently received a compliment that made you stand a little taller or have a smile that was a little bigger on your face? When is the last time that you went to bed thinking about something someone said to you that caused you to feel pretty good about yourself? Heartfelt compliments are not difficult. We just need to put ourselves in someone else’s place, see their happiness with their situation, and make a comment on it. It doesn’t cost any money but reaps tremendous rewards for everyone concerned.

Conversely, we may hear someone say, ‘that’s okay for you but it is too …(fill in the blank) for me. Maybe they are talking about our house, where we live (city or rural) or our taste in clothes, decorating – the possibilities are endless. What may have started out as a feel good statement sort of takes the wind out of our sails right? It seems there are two issues here – one major and one minor. The first being that that kind of statement is not really a compliment but a judgment. That one is the major issue. We all know that judgements directed at us hurt! The second one may be a bit more minor and due to a lack of thought or simply lack of an understanding of the significance of word usage. Basically, regardless of what is said in the first part of the sentence before the word ‘but’ was inserted is really negated by using that word. Why? The word ‘but’ places a condition on everything said before it and erases the original intent. Often people get in a habit of using the word without realizing the effect.

Do we really want to celebrate the joy in what a person is showing us? If so, it requires that we truly listen to our own words and choose them carefully. Each of us can be the ‘resident critic’ that is so easy. It doesn’t take intelligence to constantly compare yourself to others. And it doesn’t take much to look for something in another person’s life that doesn’t fit your comfort zone. However, what is so wonderful about this world is that we are all on our own path, learning our own lessons and learning to celebrate the joy in life. When we accept that we are unique individuals with individual taste the heavy energy of judgment simply falls away.

I find it amazing that we can be such critics on other people’s lives. Why in the world do we feel we have the right to judge another? Maybe when a person sees another person joyful in their life it stirs an uneasy feeling inside of them and they give a half hearted compliment because they really want the joy they see in another person. Being a critic, regardless of exactly how it is said, says a whole lot more about that person’s ‘unhappiness index’ than anything else. But it still hurts doesn’t it? When we truly listen to others (and not just wait for our turn to talk) we can begin to hear value judgments about others flying around at the speed of light. The people making these value laden statements are experiencing their comfort zones getting smaller and smaller as they live out their lives. Sad to think about them in a few years.

Genuine compliments are just that …genuine… from our hearts. We are happy for the other person because we can see that they are happy. Placing conditions on our statements not only hurts others but hurts us as well. We are putting negative energy out into the Universe no matter how clever we think we are at masking it. The Universal Energy gives us more of the same because what we think about most often is like a magnet that draws more of the same back to us.

What if we made a concerted effort to become the wind UNDER the sails of others rather than taking the wind OUT of their sails? By making a concerted effort to compliment others we are changing the Universe one statement, one person at a time. Sometimes developing a more positive mindset takes work but is so worth it. The energy we bring to a circumstance by being positive just magnifies itself in our own life. It’s important to remember that ‘what goes around comes around.’

If you know of someone who might be helped by reading this blog please pass it on. Sometimes we can be a positive catalyst in the life of others when we do it from a place of love.

Have a great few days!

Optimism Takes Practice

Just like an athlete or musician or any talent, we get really good at what we practice everyday. What are you practicing? Is it happiness, love and understanding or something else?

Positive, caring behavior delivers more of the same. Likewise, if we allow ourselves to be weighed down by anger, fear or sadness we will simply get more of the same tomorrow. The Universe just has a way of delivering to us what is foremost in our thoughts.

Think of the process like a magnet with a negative and positive end. Our thinking is energy. We attract more of the type of energy (positive or negative) that we surround ourselves with. Personally, I feel life is tough enough so I choose to do everything possible to lighten my load by seeing the positives in a situation. Some may see this as Pollyanna thinking. So be it. I have found huge benefits to an optimistic attitude or as Eleanor Porter said in her original Pollyanna books, applying ‘The Glad Game’ to life. There really is a silver lining behind every cloud that crosses our path. Sometimes it takes a little while to realize the purpose, or the lesson, to the difficult event we are experiencing. Eventually, the ‘Aha’ happens and we relax in knowing that everything will work out just as it is supposed to. We simply need to control our thinking and not let perseverating on fear and the ‘if only’ ‘ or ‘poor me’ highjack our ability to handle the issue at hand.

Practicing optimistic thinking takes effort. It does not take work to be a ‘resident critic’ or to find the fault in a situation. That kind of thing is easy to do. Since optimism does not come naturally we need to redirect our thinking each time we realize the ‘negatives’ have taken over our thought process and look for a positive in the situation.

Look at your own life at this moment. You may have difficult challenges to over come, that is part of the human condition. We all experience moments of worry or momentary despair? But it is the length of time we allow ourselves to be concerned or worried about the issue that is the critical difference. A little time to be concerned about a situation is natural – a long time is unhealthy and unproductive. As we worry the issue becomes larger in our thinking and what may have been a mole hole can quickly become a mountain to overcome.

When we force ourselves to find something good or positive in every situation a strange phenomena happens. We feel more empowered, more energetic to face our life challenges and keep things in perspective. Life just seems a little easier. Trust me, it is worth practicing. Next time you have a life challenge try looking for something good in the situation. Will overcoming the challenge cause you to feel stronger, more confident the next time an unexpected event happens? Remember, the more you practice something the better you get at it!

Make it a great few days!