Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘trust’

Determining Your Authentic Self

Have you ever felt that you are not being appreciated or that you are doing all the giving or supporting in a work or personal relationship? If you answered yes to this question let’s look a bit deeper into it. Could it be that you are so interested in getting others to accept or appreciate you that you have not allowed your authentic self to show? Is the fear of people really knowing you blocking you from showing the world what you truly stand for? If so, let me assure you that being authentic draws people to you – not ever away. People can feel truth.

Being authentic starts by first determining what is most important to you in life. As unique individuals we each have specific values that we hold most dear – those things that are truly nonnegotiable to us. Think about them as your personal mission statement. Values such as love, accomplishment, fairness, compassion, confidence, courage, health, freedom, family, harmony, integrity, kindness, optimism, patience, service, trust, orderliness, peace, spirituality, and gratitude are just a few from a long list of values to consider. Each one speaks volumes. Once you determine your own priority of values navigating through life becomes so much easier. In essence, you become more confident and decision making becomes easier because you are more at peace in your own skin.

A helpful way to determine your authentic self is to choose five values that you find most important. You know, the ones that seem to radiate energy back to you as you consider them. The list of words above can be a starting point to consider. The list is long for a purpose. The process is important. Evaluating each word forces you to take the time to consider what it truly means to you. Determining your top five forces you to prioritize as you remind yourself of who you are in your heart. Once you have taken the time to determine your own nonnegotiable values life becomes easier. When you encounter decisions, challenges or obstacles (the should I or shouldn’t I) in life you have a measuring stick to help steer you on a course of action reflects the real you.

Growing more confident as an individual means that you allow your unique identity to be known by others. But…’what if they won’t like me or accept me for who I am’ you may wonder. It’s true not everyone may like you. Just as you do not necessarily like everyone you encounter. It’s simply a cold, hard immutable fact of life. There are bits and pieces in everyone’s personality that leaves something to be desired. It’s called being human. These little quirks in others can be overlook but the values behind them cannot. A person’s values determine not only who they are but what they will do in a pinch. That’s important to know. Likewise, if we try to morph ourselves into something we do not truly value in order to fit in or be accepted it just doesn’t work. We project insincerity or insecurity that is easily felt by others.

Determining the values you hold dear helps you project with confidence who you really are at your core. Just as truth has no versions – your authentic self has no versions either. Any future role in life will never define you because deep down you know what you stand for – no pretenses necessary. Taking the time to determine your authentic self is critical to self esteem. The process alone will help you begin to truly love yourself for all the strengths you possess and there are many! Give it a try and take the time to decide on your top five values … you’ll be glad you did!

Have a great few days!

Fear or Serenity?

This is part two of looking at the Serenity Prayer to discover the lesson in it for each one of us. If you missed the Wednesday blog which was part one please go to the archives on the right hand side of my website so you can get the frame of the discussion. The Serenity Prayer, ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference’ can change your life.

I had asked you to consider which approach is HARDER for you -accepting the things you cannot change or actually changing the things you can change in your life. Assuming you have decided which approach you have a tendency to avoid I would ask you now to ask yourself ‘Why’ five times. Seriously, with each answer ask yourself why this is true for you. Usually the fifth and final time you drill down in you thinking as to the ‘why’ the real ‘Aha’ happens.

If change is the hardest approach for you consider the following. Changing the things we can change involves both confidence and trust in ourselves. The thousands of messages we received and events we experienced as we were growing up made indelible marks on our lives. What are a few of the messages that you received that have ended up controlling your life? For instance, if you were raised in an atmosphere of fear with messages such as ‘Don’t do this or something bad could happen,’ the initial warning might have been for your physical safety. But when you constantly hear this message of fear over and over you begin to generalize it to your entire life. You may feel out of control when something new pops up that you didn’t expect. You might then find yourself getting angry, lashing out when something – anything upsets your apple cart. You might prefer to keep life as it is so you can ‘depend on it.’ Well – news flash – that’s not going to happen. The truth is that the more you try to control your life the more insecure you become since The Universe just has a way of throwing us curve balls.

Learning how to control our fears is more than a survival mechanism it is a cornerstone to developing serenity. Just think about all that you have worried about over the last two weeks and the time you devoted to imagining the worst thing that MIGHT happen. There is a saying that 99% of what we worry about never happens. I believe that to be true. If you let fear control your life the Universe will just continue to present you with lesson after lesson (each one getting more difficult along the way) until you begin to TRUST in yourself. Think about the things in your life that have been really, really tough – did you survive? Yes! Was is hard – absolutely! Did you learn from it? I’m willing to bet you did.

Fear is the most insidious of emotions. It robs you of the moments of joy in life and puts you in a constant state of nervous tension regarding what could go wrong next. It also causes you to refuse to change the things you could change in your life because it paralyzes you into inaction.

We all learned a certain degree of fear from our parents. My mother was consumed by fear. You name it and she was afraid. Growing up I had the choice to accept those unwarranted fears or think to myself, ‘What is the worst thing that could happen’ given a particular situation and followed this thought up with ‘Could I survive if it did happen?’ Practicing this mindset I slowly developed a confidence that allowed me to face – head on – the challenges in life knowing I would survive, I would make it and ultimately be stronger in the process. She was not wrong in pointing out things to be mindful of, but it was the degree to which she applied fear to her life that had the potential to negatively effect my ability to change the things I could change.

The good news is that we know more about the effects of fear now. We can change our mindset about change and decide to grab the next opportunity as it presents itself knowing we will survive. As we expand our comfort zone, our lives become richer, fuller and more enjoyable. We learn to seize the moment, control our fears of the new or unexpected and move forward in life. Inch by inch it’s a cinch!

The next blog will be looking at the issue of acceptance – accepting with grace and humility those things we truly cannot change in life and moving forward with peace.

Until then, have a great few days!

Are You Too Independent?

Did you know there is something called dysfunctional independence? It almost sounds like a conflict in terms doesn’t it? Yet anything taken to an extreme can become a dysfunction. Many of us go through life with our shoulders bent with the burdens of others. We perseverate on all the details of making everything work out for them. After all, no one will do it as well as we and furthermore we don’t want to appear weak – as if we can’t do it right? So we go through life doing more, working harder and harder and even losing sleep wondering how we are going to keep all the balls in the air. We may even find ourselves missing the joy in life because, after all – we think to ourselves – there is no one else to rely on so we must continue to worry about all the tomorrows in our life as well as the lives of others. If we have lived life with frequent disappoint or people not carrying their weight of the load it is easy to fall into the trap of dysfunctional independence. If we find ourself in this mindset from time to time we need to stop and realize that pure ego is at work here. We may have become so used to doing everything ourselves that to ask for help may be the most difficult thing in the world to do – beyond humbling – maybe even a tad embarrassing. After all, we think, ‘I should be able to fix this situation myself.’ Therein lies the lesson doesn’t it?

This is where the Universe steps in and says, ‘well you have not learned the lesson of grace or humility so it is time for an even tougher circumstance to be presented to you so you can finally learn it.’ Presto … the next circumstance seems to literally take our breath away and if we are lucky we might finally call ‘uncle’ and ask for help. This is what is meant by the saying that first God whispers, then speaks and may even have to shout to finally get our attention. The challenges and problems come in so fast and in so many different forms – but at the root have the same thing in common .. the lesson WE need to learn. Once we humble ourself enough to ask for help in dealing with the situation it seems to all get sorter out. We learn a higher level of trust and partnership by becoming interdependent. Who knows, we may be able to return the favor at some time in the future.

We come to the major ‘Aha’ in our lives. It is NOT up to us to do it all. There are others who are willing to lend a hand if treated with appreciation and respect. Only one thing changed in this new scenario – our attitude and belief that we are not ‘Captain of the World’ and we admitted needing help like everyone else. A huge weight seems to be lifted off our shoulders and we take a deeper breath finally exhaling a little of the stress that we have been carrying. We begin to think about the hundreds of other times when we needed help but were, sad to say, to proud to ask for it. Pride like many things can be positive or negative it depends on the the way and extent it is used.

If dysfunctional independence is limiting us, holding us back from all that we could be the question we need to wrestle with is – are we strong enough to admit that we need help? Do we really believe we can be too independent? I think it is not only possible but maybe even probable. The good news is that once we understand that it is a DYSfunction we can choose to do something about it.

Have a great few days!