11 Signs You May Have The World’s Rarest Personality Type, ‘INFJ’

 

According to the Myer-Briggs personality test, 16 personality types are based on four categories. Although 98% of the world share 15 of the personality types, only 2% have this type, the rarest personality type in the world. For this reason, members of this group are a mystery since many people have never met one.

What is the rarest personality type in the world?

INFJ, also known as Advocates.

The four categories that personality types are based on are extroversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. are feeling, and judging vs. perceiving. These category titles determine the name of the personality type, making INFJs introverted, intuitive, handling, and deciding as they lean further to each of those traits.

Here are some more details about this rare personality type:

1. INFJS BELIEVE IN QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

When they spend time with someone, they want to talk about the essential things and hate small talk because it feels meaningless to them. When something or someone doesn’t feel entirely genuine for them, they tend to lose interest quickly.

2. INFJS EARN TRUST QUICKLY

There’s something about people with this personality type that allows other people to trust them immediately. It’s not unusual for complete strangers to start talking to an INFJ and begin telling them things many of their close friends don’t even know about them.

3. INFJS ARE EMPATHIC

Whether it’s a specific insecurity or past trauma, INFJs can quickly do things about people they meet without necessarily knowing why. This also means that they can see beyond outward behavior and to the root of it.

4. INFJS HATE LIES AND ULTERIOR MOTIVES

They value truth and search for meaning in life, which is why they hate lies and when they sense that someone is manipulative. This is also what drives this type to be adventurous, as they want to expand their knowledge of the world.

5. INFJS ARE INTROVERTS THAT ARE OFTEN SEEN AS EXTROVERTS

This is because this personality type can adjust to social situations and are usually very open and talkative with people they’re close to. Although they may be seen as the life of the party all night, when they get home, they’ll be exhausted.

6. INFJS HAVE STRONG CONVICTIONS

This can lead to problems as once they have established what they believe about something; they won’t back down on that belief, leaving relationships and careers behind if they don’t line up with their convictions. INFJs may even ignore laws that they don’t agree with.

7. INFJS HAVE ONLY A FEW REAL FRIENDS

Although they might use the term “friend” to describe the many people they know, someone with this personality type only keeps a select few people close to them. And these lucky few will be treated with absolute, unwavering loyalty.

8. INFJS WORK BEST ALONE, OR IN SMALL GROUPS

Although they work well in larger groups because of how well they get along with others, they do their best work when they’re able to work alone or with only a couple other people that they trust and that think like them.

9. INFJS STRIVE FOR PERFECTION

Everything they do, they want to do it right, the first time. This is a double-edged sword since they can do quality work, but also feel hurt when their work is criticized and often struggle with fear of failure or being inadequate.

10. INFJS HAVE THE GIFT OF WRITTEN LANGUAGE AND CREATIVITY

This is why many people with this personality type have a hard time expressing themselves verbally. It’s also why so some successful writers share this rare personality type.

11. INFJS WANT TO FIX THE BROKEN

They can’t help but be drawn to injured people with the desire to set them. This is because they see the good in that person as well as the struggles that have left that person in their current situation, and they want to lift them out of it.

Like all personality types, the INFJ has both strengths and weaknesses, but understanding them can help others get along with them better and harbor deep and meaningful relationships with them.

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY

About The Author: Originally from Michigan, Melody now enjoys working as a freelance writer from her home in Nicaragua, which she shares with her amazing husband and their crazy cat that was raised on goat’s milk from the time her mother abandoned her at just ten days old. They’re excited to be expecting their first baby, who they thought was a girl, were told was a boy, and then was told was a girl. She also recently finished her first novel and is working on making a cat coloring book.

10 Tips for Boosting Your Concentration

We’ve all had that frantic moment when our focus and willpower seem to fail us. You need to concentrate – that big exam or project for work is due tomorrow and if you don’t finish it now, you’re doomed. Calm down. Breathe. Here are ten ways to increase your ability to focus.

10 concentration-boosting tricks

Start Fresh

Those late night Netflix binges aren’t doing your concentration any favors. You can’t expect to be able to focus if you’re falling asleep. It’s very important to have 7-9 hours of restful sleep before you need to wake up and be productive.

This is all pretty self-explanatory, but if you want to get really scientific about it, there are plenty of sleep tracking apps that can monitor the regular rhythms in your sleep and wake you up within a window of time of your choosing.

Decide Where to Focus

It is impossible to focus if you don’t know what you need to focus on. Take the time you need to make an action plan for yourself, whether that means an overarching to-do list, or a list of simple steps required to complete a larger project. Even if it feels like a waste of time at the onset, it will save you a lot of time down the road.

Shut-Down Your Distractions

I don’t care what’s distracting you – just stop it, right now. Turn off your phone. Make a vow not to check your email until you’re done. Block Facebook if you have to. You’ll thank me later.

Get the Right Background Noise

Anyone who has ever had to study in a spot shared with a crying baby (hello, every airplane ride I’ve been on) or merry party-going roommates knows just how distracting certain background noises can be. On the other hand, try to work in a completely silent room and you may quickly find yourself going insane. It can be hard to strike a balance between a distraction and a motivational level of noise.

Personally, I find that listening to classical and instrumental music is great while I’m writing – music with words is just too disruptive when I’m trying to construct my own thoughts. But maybe working with music just isn’t for you. In that case, white noise is always a great option, like RainyMood (soothing rain sounds) or Coffeetivity (the ever-relaxing sounds of your local coffee shop). Or you could just head over to your local coffee shop. That works, too.

Do It Now

That’s right, now. Not after lunch. Not tomorrow. Not next week. If you’ve got a task you’ve just been dreading, tackling it will be a great concentration boost. Just imagine it: after you’re done you won’t have to worry about doing it anymore.

Move

I see you reaching for your latte. What if, instead of getting yourself so drugged up on caffeine that your heart starts racing, you took a brisk walk around the block, or at the very least, around your building? When you rely on caffeine, you build up a tolerance and an expectation where your body needs the drug to feel focused. But cardio is free and wakes up other regions of your brain.

Eat for Concentration

Feeling sluggish? Believe it or not, that may be due to what you had for breakfast or lunch. According to the Society for Neuroscience, walnuts and blueberries help maintain and may even reverse the aging of your brain. Spinach and carrots are power foods as well. Be sure you’re eating organic to get the full benefits of increased nutrients.  And if you love sushi, you’re in luck: eating fish gives your brain a huge boost, thanks to the Omega-3.

Get Hydrated

Feeling a little difficulty concentrating? It may mean you’re dehydrated. And this doesn’t only apply to when you are thirsty – as little as a 1.5% drop in your usual water volume can negatively affect your concentration. Next time you need to focus, prevent dehydration by drinking a glass of water beforehand.

Breathe

The sensation of breathing deeply – where you really listen to your breath as it goes in and out of your body – is great for your concentration. If you put a focus on the way you are breathing, it will automatically slow down and allow for increased thinking ability.

See with New Eyes

Totally stumped? Maybe you’ve been looking at your problems for too long. Take a moment to really observe. Try to see the issue with new eyes, as though you are looking at it for the first time, or you’re an outsider. You may notice things you otherwise would have missed.

Concentration isn’t an achievable zen-like status that few of us ever reach. By combining the simple tricks outlined above, you will be setting yourself up for success.

 

The Newbie Guide: How to Deal with Stress at College

In 2013, the American Psychology Association published the concerning results of a survey. Seventy percent of directors believed that the number of students with psychological problems on campus had increased in the past year. Anxiety was a major concern among college students. Should we be surprised? College students are put under so much stress that it’s only natural for them to feel the consequences.

Stress is part of us. We even need it sometimes. If someone attacks you, stress is what makes you react. But, it’s not natural for us to feel stressed 24/7.  It’s extremely important for every student to understand how to deal with stress.

Now, let’s get one thing out of the way: there’s no way to eliminate stress from your life. The only thing we can do is reduce it to minimal levels, so we can continue living our lives without being under constant pressure. When the whirlpool of stress takes you in, it’s a force you can hardly fight. That’s the effect we want to avoid.

Since college education is testing your limits every single day, it’s important to develop immunity against stress. If you try hard enough, you’ll get to the point when you recognize the moment that stresses you out, but you’re strong enough to resist the whirlpool. This might be the most important lesson you learn in life.

We’ll give you 10 practical tips that help you to find your way on how to deal with stress at college.

Plan Everything!

Some people say planning stressed them out.  I have one thing to ask: have they ever tried planning? Robert Epstein, psychologist and self-help author, conducted a survey that showed planning was an effective technique for preventing stress. “Fighting stress before it even starts, planning things rather than letting them happen,” – that’s how Epstein sees the benefits of planning.

Start from mapping your steps on “How to deal with stress“ path.

When you take few minutes of your day to plan how you’ll spend it, you’ll feel ready for the challenges. Let’s see: what responsibilities do you have in a day?

  • Lectures till 2 p.m.
  • Lunch and 30 minutes of rest
  • Write homework till 6 p.m.
  • 30 minutes of rest
  • Study till 9 p.m.
  • Spend some time with friends
  • Go to bed before midnight.

If you have such a plan, you know it fits your capacity. If you don’t you’ll be stressed out from the very morning. “Oh my God! I have so many lectures. I’ll be too tired when I’m done with them. When will I write homework? There’s no way I’ll find time for studying. What about the GoT night we were planning?” You see how lack of planning makes your head a complete mess? When you have a plan, you understand how to deal with the stress and that there’s enough time for everything.

Plus, you’ll never forget about a deadline or a test date.

Make Priorities

Okay, sometimes you won’t be able to fit everything in that schedule. You want to explore campus, join two clubs, meet new friends, become part of Greek life, and publish something in the campus newspaper? We’ll have to admit that’s a bit too much.

When you notice you’re pushing yourself beyond your limits, it’s time to step back. What are your priorities? Studying, attending lectures, writing the mandatory projects, and a moderate social life. If you attempt to achieve anything beyond what your capacity allows, you’ll have to sacrifice some of your priorities.. That means you’ll be feeling guilty, and that can mean only one thing: stress.

Always Find Space for Social Time

When you realize you have to sacrifice some of the things you like for the sake of studying, your social life is the first aspect to suffer the consequences. Sometimes that’s necessary. You’ll skip a party because you have to work on that English paper. Working on term papers and studying for a whole month without seeing anyone, however, is a problem.

You need an outlet. Otherwise, you’ll accumulate more stress than you’re able to cope with. Go dancing, meet new people, have walks… just be around people you like. They help you heal.

Just make sure to avoid alcohol and illegal substances. That’s not the right way on how to deal with stress. Plus, it’s not effective at all.

Get Help When You Don’t know How to Deal With Stress

Most college students are going through similar levels of stress. There are those who break under the pressure, there are those who sacrifice their social life to succeed in education, there are those who focus on social life and stop caring about education, and then there are those who know how to outsource and manage to do everything.

If you’re struggling with an important research paper, maybe a friend can help and you’ll return the favor? Okay, it’s not easy to find a friend willing to write you a paper. Maybe you can ask the professor to clarify the assignment? Maybe you can hire a writer to help? Help is available; you should only know where to find it.

Jonathan Brown, a writer from BestEssays, explains: “We have dozens of students coming to us for academic writing help daily. It’s not about being lazy. It’s not always about lacking writing skills. It’s mostly about not having time. These students realized they can achieve much better results when they outsource part of their work, and they are doing that pretty successfully.”

Instead of being stressed about your schedule being too full, think: can you get help with some of the tasks?

Get a Massage

Yes, it’s a serious and practical tip. When you have a busy week, get a massage over the weekend. Being tense reflects on your muscles. Do you notice how your posture is bended forward and your muscles feel stiff when you’re constantly worrying about something? That’s how stress affects your body. When you address those effects, you might reduce the psychological tension, too.

Learn How to Breathe

Breathing is such a natural process for us that we don’t even pay attention to it. When you start paying attention, however, you’ll notice how your breathing changes when you’re feeling stressed. When you’re relaxed, when you know how to deal with stress, you tend to breathe slowly and deeply. When stressed, however, your breath becomes short and shallow. At some moments, you might even catch yourself not breathing.

Try some breathing exercises and you’ll instantly notice a difference. When you’re able to control your breath, you’re practically changing your body’s reaction to stress.

Focus on Yourself

At college, you’re either taking lectures, studying, or hanging out with friends. That’s okay, but you’re constantly surrounded by other people. When will you have some me time? It’s not about being selfish. It’s about respecting yourself.

Reserve at least 20 minutes of your day to focus on yourself. Get deep into your thoughts and feelings. Recognize the moments that caused stress and anxiety. When you figure out what the reasons, you’ll be more aware of your reactions.

Exercise!

Yes, there’s enough time for that. If you’re unable to do it over the week, you can find time during the weekend.

Why do you need physical activity in your life? It pumps up your endorphins. Those are the neurotransmitters that make you feel good.

Pick a type of exercise you feel good about and stay committed to it. You need to turn it into a habit.

Talk to Someone You Trust

Sometimes you just need someone to listen to you. It’s not okay to keep everything inside. Do you have a friend you trust? Share your worries and you’ll find support. Your family is there for you, too.

If you feel like your problems are too big and you don’t want to make the people around feel bad, talk to a counselor. They might recommend a psychotherapist, who will help you get through the times of difficulty and become strong enough to move forward.

Sleep!

Let’s list few consequences of insufficient sleep:

  • Reduced cognitive performance
  • Impaired attention and working memory
  • Increased risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure

You’re getting less healthy, less efficient in studying, and more and more stressed when you don’t sleep enough. Adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep for their brain and body to regenerate. Make sure to get that sleep even when you have too much on your schedule.

You can do this

There’s no point in making peace with stress through college. If you don’t fight it, it can bring you to a moment when you don’t even recognize yourself.  Stress is part of our lives, but it’s also something we can manage. Hopefully, you’ll get stronger when you start following the tips above. Here are the action steps:

  • Make plans and priorities, but find time for friends
  • Outsource when you need to
  • Get some me time, which includes exercise and massage
  • Learn how to control the breath
  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Get enough sleep

Seems like a lot of work, but it’s easier than you think.

 

10 Essential Principles To Be Unbelievably Confident

 

10 Essential Principles To Be Unbelievably Confident

 

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – E.E. Cummings

“Don’t talk to her, you are not good enough”

The ‘encouraging’ thought welled up in my mind.

I was looking at my crush during recess. I thought of approaching her. My internal advisor advised against, and I listened. ‘Lucky….’

My mind had played a defensive script. I had more of these internal dialogues: ‘Just hang low, don’t attract too much attention.’ ‘I am just the quiet guy’ ‘Why are they looking at me like I am a weirdo?’

These self-deprecating thoughts dictated my mind. Somehow I thought I was a loser.

So that’s how I acted.

I didn’t dare do anything beyond my (perceived) capacities or status. I couldn’t even stand up for myself. Every time my bullies threw me in the garbage, I poorly objected.

After an arduous high school journey, college finally arrived.

I vowed to make a fresh start. This time I would be popular! So I impulsively joined a fraternity to compensate for my anxiety. Then I would be cool! Right?

Nope, I just started acting like a dick.

For a long time I mistook my misplaced arrogance, and that of my pledge brothers, for real confidence. I thought we were cool guys. But it was all vain status play. I was still being pushed around. By peers and my inner critic. To feel good I indulged in the theatre of cockiness – putting other people down to feel good. Not my proudest moments…

Strange how you act so counter-productive when feeling insecure.

After I was left heartbroken by my girlfriend, I hit emotional rock bottom. Something snapped.

What the fuck had I been doing? I could not go through life from misery to misery. Faking who I was, to have some intermittent highlight of joy. My circumstances should allow me to feel confident? Why wasn’t I ever feeling that way?

It was due time to get my shit together.

Two years later.

One of my (truly) best friend sits next to me. We are both a bit drunk and bantering away. He suddenly proclaims “You know most of your douchy frat brothers look up to you.” “Why?” I ask astounded. “Because you are always relaxed and confident. You are not swayed by what other people say or think about you.” “What? Are you kidding me? But I am just some nerdy guy?”

Only then it dawned on me.

I wasn’t a little pushover anymore. Somehow had I become confident. Besides I wasn’t acting like a dick anymore. Instead I was helping people because of my confidence. How did that happen?

Was I richer? Nope! Better looking? Definitely not. More intelligent? Me no thinksie!

Somewhere along the way I had discarded my misguided programming. Replacing it with constructive thinking patterns.

When I reached my low point years back. I vowed to improve myself. Immersing myself in motivational speeches and devouring self-help books. I knew that the positive words would rub off on my conscious and subconscious.

I started applying advices and mindsets. Using a growth mindset and most of all – I started taking action!

I am convinced anyone can grow to become confident. You too can gain mature and sustainable self-confidence. But it does mean a mental shift from the conventional.

Are you up to the challenge? Sure you are!

Time to take control.

Time to discard a life of limiting thoughts. Thoughts induced by fraudulent advertising, faulty upbringing and fake peers. Embrace the right way of thinking to be confident.

Let me introduce you to the basic confident mental models that helped me. With them I grew to someone I am proud of. Rethink yourself and your place in the world.

I give this advice because the world would be much better if we all were more confident. We would stop mitigating our anxieties and insecurities through destructive behavior. Instead you could use that confidence to support yourself, friends and strangers.

Let’s get started:

10 Essential Principles To Be Unbelievably Confident

#1 – Be honest about your life and accept who you are

Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. – Tyler Durden

Let’s start from scratch.

Be brutally honest about where you are in life. Know it, feel it! Be honest about it to yourself and others. Stop denying and hiding from truths. What you deny, you can’t change.

Hard to grasp? Sit down and write it out.

I am a 28 year old guy in a shit job, wanting to travel the world. But can’t find the guts to cut some ties.

Your turn! The harder it is, the more you need to confront yourself.

Secondly – accept who you are.

You have strengths and weaknesses. And hey, you can improve them.

But not until you embrace who you are. Accept yourself as you are right now, with all your flaws and shortcomings. Find contentment in it. Because there is simply no other reality.

Through this utter acceptance you can you grow.

 

#2 Define your own values and framework

To grow confident you need to stop chasing illusions. Stop comparing yourself to what others demand of you. Or worse, what you think they expect from you.

Start by defining your own values. What is important to you? Why is it important? Start acting by these values.

Make a thorough analysis when defining your values. Make it profound.

Ask yourself: What implies my culture? And why? Do I agree? What did my parents teach me? Do I agree? And why? And so on. Get to the bottom of your thoughts and feelings.

Through reading, discussing and reflecting you can develop your set of standards and values. Use your own instinct, feelings and reasoning!

Recognize influence from group dynamics. So you won’t blindly follow the herd. Thinking for yourself means creating or choosing your own path in life.

Explore many sources to hone your thought and values. Read books and blogs. Have discussions and conversations. But always be critical and keep your wit.

Confident men and women define others by their standards. Not themselves by other people’s standards.

Create and follow your own moral compass.

 

#3 Go from outer reference to inner reference

There is definite proof that social media makes people feel bad. Why has he so many likes? Why is she going to cool parties etc.?

You might display similar behavior in the analog world. Why is he richer? Happier? Or more successful?

Strange how we make these unfair comparisons. We take a look at appearances and then compare it to how we feel inside.

We compare our inner-self, to the highly curated image of other people’s outer self.

A good recipe for misery.

Stop this unfair equation. Instead focus on yourself. To develop, think about how you make progress compared to your old self. Did I do better than the me of a month ago? Or a year ago? Did you make progress? That is success!

Progress of self is important for confidence.

And who is responsible for this confidence?

Who is responsible for success? And who for your failures? Where do you think control lies?

Confident people think it lies within themselves. They have cultivated an inner locus of control.

This means taking responsibility for your actions and results. You think you are responsible for how you feel and what you think.

Compare this to blaming everything on external actors. Like your boss, parents, the weather, or divine will. If you don’t think YOU are responsible, you won’t be inclined to improve.

Making yourself responsible will.

Granted, some things definitely are out of your control. But you are responsible for your reactions to these events.

 

#4 Adapt a growth mindset

As mentioned, developing and confidence go hand in hand. To stand still is to go backwards.

A fatal flaw people are susceptible to, is thinking their skills and character are set in stone. This deterministic mindset is incompatible with progress. It’s a limiting self-fulfilling prophecy.

If this is you, start adopting a growth mindset instead.

Know you can improve any skill! Know you can develop your character!

As long as you are alive, your body and mind can adapt to new challenges. Never think you can’t grow any further.

Furthermore, a healthy growth mindset acknowledges failure.

There is a lot of sketching before you draw a Mona Lisa. Redefine failure not as something stupid or dumb only for losers. But define it as a part of the learning process.

Failures will occur. Anticipate the impact and plan for getting back up!

Every failure is another lesson learned.

#5 Stop seeking validation and acceptance from others

As a person led by inner values you won’t need attention, validation and acceptance of others.

You might get it. You might even enjoy it.

But you don’t need it!

Stop actively seeking and craving it. Stop pleasing people to get it.

You can be nice to people! Of course! But it should come from a position of strength and compassion. Not from seeking acceptance and attention. Your own acceptance and moral integrity are the most important. Others can follow if they want.

If you condone behavior opposite to your values, or give away status to be accepted. You act without integrity. Losing confidence in the process.

Instead, stand by your values!

 

#6 Cultivate a Bias for the Positive

People have this amazing power to decide how they feel about events. A small pause between stimuli and reaction. As mentioned by  Victor Frankl.

Cultivate this little pause.  And use it to choose a more positive reaction.

Guide your responses away from annoyance, anger or fear. Go instead for interest, gratefulness or excitement.

You can actively rephrase your thought patterns. Train different ways of thinking and speaking.

Examples of redefining your view on the world are:

–    Think in solutions instead of problems
–    Reflect on past achievements instead of past transgressions.
–    Enjoy the process instead of only seeing the goal.
–    Never let a good crisis go to waste
–    Focus on what you want instead of what you avoid

Of course there will always be old negative thinking patterns. Try using them as little as possible and actively immerse your mind with positivity.

Read uplifting books. Use mantra’s to rewire your brain. Let go of toxic people and environments and embrace uplifting ones.

All little steps to be more optimistic and confident.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – Frank Outlaw

 

#7 Lose self-limiting beliefs

When we grow up, we create models of the world.

We construct beliefs that explain what happens around us. X happens because of Y. End of story.

These beliefs can be deeply ingrained in our thinking.

But, a lot of beliefs are flawed. They limit your progress and possibilities. They prevent you from action and enjoying life.

Grow beyond these scripts.

First recognize them. When you think “I can’t do X because of Y.” Or anything similar, be alert!

Analyze whether that statement is true. And why. Reason even furthers. ‘Why do I think that?’ ‘Are not other people doing the same thing?’ Find prove that it is possible, contradicting your initial limiting belief.

Then redefine your scripts. Because these imposed scripts will limit you. Instead of thinking I can’t do this. Think I can do X despite Y.

This is a hard and elusive problem – but it can be countered!

#8 Forgive yourself and others

We all fuck up in life.

It’s a good idea to remind yourself everyday of your mistakes. And make yourself feel very miserable.

No of course not!!

You should learn from your mistakes. Absolutely. But wallowing in negative feelings won’t help. There is little you can change about past events. It has happened.

Instead: Own up to it, fix the problem if you can, forgive yourself, learn and move on. Don’t waste time and energy feeling bummed out about it.

Take the time to forgive yourself for mistakes.

Also – stop holding grudges. It is no good to keep being mad or grieved at others for their mistakes. Let go of it, you’ll release yourself from emotional poison.

Forgiveness allows you to focus on the now and the future instead of dwelling in the past.

 

#9 Be Self Reliant

Part of being confident is you know everything will be all right. Especially when shit hits the fan.

Got dumped? Got laid off? Dust yourself off, and tell yourself it will be all right.

No spiraling down in destructive self-pity. No bouts of whining and comfort seeking from friends and family.

Of course you can mourn. You can be sad or melancholic. It is not about being happy and joyful all the time. We all experience a wide range of emotion. Important emotions that are part of the human experience.

But inside, you know you the bad times will pass.

So you will tell yourself.

You will feel good and grow stronger in the future.

 

#10 Don’t take yourself too seriously

We are all insignificant bags of meat and bones. Trying to make meaning of a collection of random events called life.

People seeking power, fame and money are just looking for that bliss they had as a child. When life wasn’t that hard, when we weren’t putting so much pressure on ourselves.

Were you taking things seriously back then? I guess not right. Is there any reason to be serious about everything now? In a world filled with randomness? No reason at all.

Go with the flow and laugh about your own mistakes, successes and theatrics!

The world’s a stage and we are best in fooling ourselves with our performances! Choose the role you want and enjoy it. Knowing fully well, it is all a game if you just choose to play and have fun.

Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.  –Elbert Hubbard

—————–

Becoming confident comes at a price.

Change. 

A change of heart and mind. Believe me, it is well worth it. If you succeed, you will still have ups and down in life. But also a steady level contentment. An anchor of stability that keeps you going without all too much problems.

So how can you possible make this shift? Small consistent steps. Here are some action to get started:

  • Define your own values
    • Sit down and reflect, evaluate and define what is important to you
    • Reflect and refine your values over your life
    • Live true to them
  • Start a meditation practice to gain insight and control over your mind
  • Stop watching social media compulsively
    • Read positive, growth focused books, blogs and movies
    • Start slow, you will get there step by step. Start taking control and responsibility for your mind.

I love to hear your thoughts on all this. Let me know what opened your mind? Where are you struggling to become confident?

 

Lacking Self-Esteem? Here’s How to Get More Confidence

 

https://motivationgrid.com/how-to-get-more-confidence/

Self-esteem can have a massive impact on every area of your life.

Sometimes our upbringings and life experiences can lead us to ask “how can I be confident in myself when I feel like a failure?”

Every one of us has things in our lives that make our confidence waiver. Whether you are shy and have difficulty meeting new people, have body image issues, or have experienced a recent breakup, there are many things that can negatively impact our self-esteem.

The good news is, this state of mind isn’t permanent and there are a variety of confidence-building activities that can teach you how to gain self-esteem.

This article will explore the significance of self-esteem, provides a self-confidence test and examine different self-confidence tips and strategies.

How Does Self-Esteem Impact Our Lives?

Let’s start by taking some time to go over the importance of self-confidence.

Someone that is confident about their value, skills and abilities will convey this to the people around them. They are more likely to succeed with social, professional and personal ventures.

Now picture someone with low self-esteem. They are likely to have a difficult time in all of the areas addressed above. They may not go after what they want because they believe they will fail or they are not good enough to achieve what they desire. Even if their skills and abilities are identical to the person with higher levels of confidence, they have a harder time convincing themselves of their worth and ultimately succeeding in critical life areas.

Do you suffer from low confidence?

Take the self-confidence test below to determine if you might have a problem.

How Much Self-Confidence Do You Have?

Self-esteem is an essential component of personal satisfaction, fulfilling relationships and life achievements. Answer the following questions with a “yes” or “no” to begin your confidence test.

  1. Do you believe that if you work hard and dedicate yourself to your goals that you’ll achieve them?
  2. If you don’t experience success the first time you try something, do you try again or simply give up?
  3. If you work hard to solve a problem, do you believe that you’ll eventually find the answer?
  4. Are you likely to keep trying after others have given up?
  5. Is rejection and criticism something that you can overcome relatively easily?
  6. Do you feel that you are worthy of love and affection?
  7. If you were to suddenly disappear, do you think most people would notice?
  8. If you disagree with someone, are you likely to express your opposing thoughts and feelings?
  9. Do you initiate new relationships and feel that others enjoy your company?
  10. Do you feel like you bring value to your relationships, employer and community?
  11. When you compare yourself to others do you still feel good about yourself and your achievements?
  12. Do you feel like you can be yourself around others and still make a good impression?
  13. If someone points out your mistakes or shortcomings do you take it as an opportunity for self-improvement?
  14. After you complete a project, do you feel good about it even if no one recognizes your work?
  15. Do you like yourself for who you are?

Once you’ve finished answering the questions above, count the number of times you responded with a “No.” If seven or more questions were answered with a “No” then you might have a problem with self-confidence.

So, now the focus should shift to “how to get more confidence and self-esteem.” If you’re ready to do this, then continue reading for some helpful self-confidence tips and strategies.

How To Get More Confidence ~ Everyday Tactics

Which comes first, confidence or success?

While success can certainly give your confidence a healthy boost, it is not necessarily what creates confidence.

If you start out with the confidence to try to achieve specific goals, and accept the possibility that you might fail, then you will be much more likely to achieve them.

For example, let’s say you are a new student of the English language. You may be wondering “how to build confidence in speaking English?”

The important thing to keep in mind is that this type of confidence will develop over time. As you practice and embrace the fact that you will make mistakes, your small successes will slowly build up to large ones and your confidence will also begin to increase.

When we look at making overall improvements to self-confidence, there are a variety of methods to help make this happen.

The following list examines a few powerful ways to get started:

  • Exercise: This may seem unrelated to building confidence in relationships or your professional life but it can have a very large impact on your general self-esteem. On a basic level, increasing physical fitness can improve your self-image and elevate your perception of yourself. The act of completing the challenge of exercise itself offers regular proof of success and your body and mind will become accustomed to believing that you can achieve your goals.
  • Shift Your Focus: Take a few minutes every day to focus on your positive characteristics and achievements. This can be difficult if you’re used to dwelling on your shortcomings, but with some practice it will become easier and easier to change your perspective and build up your confidence.
  • Fake It: It can be hard to act confident when you’re not really feeling it but the results can be pretty profound. Tailoring your appearance and actions to convey confidence can actually create real feelings to emerge. One powerful way to employ this tactic is through “power poses.”
  • Prepare Yourself: Oftentimes, showing up to a situation unprepared can wreak havoc on our confidence levels. Our anxiety shoots up and we come across as unsure and awkward. Whether you are going out on a date with your long-time crush or giving a performance management presentation to the executives at your company, taking the time to prepare for the event can really help your confidence levels and set you up for success.
  • Embrace Self-Improvement: It may not be fun, but when we actually look at the things we are not fond of about ourselves, it gives us a chance to fix them. Sometimes we lack confidence because we haven’t taken the time to work on building our skills, knowledge, etc. This strategy is a long-term one but it can go a long way toward improving your self-confidence.

Action Steps to Take

We’ve established the impact that confidence can have on your relationships, work, ambition, and your everyday life experiences. Most of us could use some extra self-confidence and there are many ways to get to a place where we can effectively give our confidence a boost. Once you determine your level of self-confidence, it’s time to pick some tactics to improve it.

While some may find exercise and prep work to be a good route, others might have better results with a shift in focus, power poses and a plan for self-improvement.

The most critical step in the process is deciding to move forward and get started. Low self-confidence is definitely a problem but it doesn’t have to be a permanent state of mind. Do you have any other tips for improving confidence? We’d love to hear about them.

 

Source 

7 Secret Ways to Stay Happy Even When Life Knocks You Down

When I was a kid I never contemplated the profound subject called happiness, yet I was fully content. My pockets were empty, but Super Mario was collecting coins and that was enough for me to be happy. As the years passed, the game of Mario was replaced by the games of life. I realized in college that my knowledge about the world was improving, but everything I knew about myself was gradually fading away. While enduring the asperities of life, I realized how the folly of my own actions was the source of this blunder of my life.  I found myself entangled in the series of worthless tasks and had almost forgotten that life is ephemeral. In the pursuit of solitude and happiness, I came across some of its secrets and I realized this planet is full of people who are alive, but have forgotten to live.

Thus, I’m sharing these 7 secrets to stay happy even when life tries to bring you down.

1. Your First Crush Should Be You

Time never sets itself on rest. One more year has arrived. You and I are still alive. And if we are alive, what are we living for? Some of us have planned resolutions and others find themselves confused as to what to include in the list. After all, knowing oneself is the most difficult task and we aren’t born with manuals. Discerning the complex gadgets is easier than figuring out the control of the brain. One thing is certain, we all are looking for happiness, but the problem is we are searching for it outside, not at the place where it resides. We see happiness in the presence of others. When they are present, we feel happy. In their absence, we get distracted from our paths.

If we can’t enjoy our own company, chances are others will also hate being with us. So, bestow yourself with what you desperately seek from others: love. Yes, your first crush should be you. Fall in love with yourself and see how your life will be transformed. Happiness inhabits in the acts of giving and if you’re determined to give then start it by giving to yourself first. After all, only a heart full of love can spread love and happiness.

2. Your First Date Should Be with Your Own Self

Take time to connect with your inner self and realize what you truly desire. Happiness will spring out of you, once you realize that you can live satisfactorily without the need to prove yourself to others. The more you know yourself, the less of a chance you get hurt by others. Give time to all the thoughts that are transmitting through your mind and conceive all those that you think are pragmatic. Note everything down in your journal and read it before falling asleep at night.

3. Days are Incomplete Without Nights

Life cannot be separated from sadness.  Trying to eliminate sadness is like inhaling without ever exhaling – impossible. Your agitation will further engulf you into the bog of sadness. Therefore, the only escape is to embrace it. We live in a world of emotions where we deal with many lousy circumstances. Often bad things happen at unexpected times. But the truth is no one actually expects misery. Do you?

If anticipate sadness, stop! You never know when  the ‘Law of Attraction’ will activate itself. Sadness is not a specific thing that you need to root out. It’s an emotion that some feel when things don’t yield the expected outcome. Observe your emotions and accept them, you will find it’s you who is emitting this emotion of sadness. Then it will be easier for you to control your own feelings. If you have messed up something, focus on its improvement rather than loathing for its first outcome. This will help you stay happy when momentary sadness hits.

4. Life is Full of Choices

When life knocks you down you have two options: either give up or gather courage and stand up again. You certainly won’t give up and live as a loser. So always keep your attention on your improvement. Results of your effort will be in your favor when you solely focus on progress and getting better. Everything is possible when you pick the path of self-improvement. Some take this path early and others delay it. If you have to walk on this road, then what are you waiting for?

5. Ditch the Negativity

Happy people understand negativity won’t let them move forward in life. It will stall their growth. Therefore, ditching all the negative thoughts should be on your daily hit list. Assess your surroundings and mindset of all the people you spend time with. If you find anything or anyone filling your life with negativity, send him on a long trip to the island of avoidance. Never compromise when it comes to negativity. It is the root cause of all your sufferings.

 6. Follow the Diamond Rule of Being Self Sufficient

If you ask people how they want to be treated, none of them would say: “I want to be treated badly”.  The rule, ‘treat others as you want to be treated’ seems meaningless. And the cousin of this rule suggests: ‘treat others as they want to be treated’. The problem with this rule is it is people-oriented. It emotionally involves you with the actions of other people and engages you in futile activities of outer world that do no good for you. Happiness walks into your life when you focus on your life and spend time making it better.

Keep your focus on yourself only. To find yourself, you need to have good control over yourself. As I always say: “People will shoot you with the bullets of criticism, fighting the battle and standing firmly under the shelter of self belief is the only recipe of being a Champion.”

For ounce  you’ve taken time to understand yourself fully, it’ll become quite easy for you to understand others. Listen to their stories genuinely and this will bring joy to you. This habit can be developed only when you let the voice of your heart be heard by your ears and brain.

7. Listen to Your Inner Voice

Someone’s opinion, whether it is in favor of yours or against, can never influence your life unless you let it. Thus, removing the extrinsic voices that make you feel apathetic and block your happiness is a crucial step to take. It is imperative to stay in a state of solitude and to listen to our deep inner thoughts; especially when we’re chasing happiness. Are you appreciating your mortal life? Admiring the beauty within and of our surroundings should be a resolution of yours. When was the last time you saw a caterpillar turning into a butterfly… and the beauty of its wings as it flies?

When was the last time you looked up in the sky, gazed the twinkling stars and smiled? When was the last time you held the hands of loved ones and thanked them for being in your life?  Acknowledge the beauty that resides within you and honor yourself by bringing smile on the faces of others. Let us all bring the happiness into our acts.

Turning Procrastination Into Motivation

 

Turning Procrastination Into Motivation

 

Procrastination is something many people suffer from daily. Fortunately, it’s also something that is purely mind over matter to overcome.

Typical procrastination excuses we tell ourselves

  • I’ll do this tomorrow, there’s not enough time to do this today.
  • I work better under pressure, I’ll wait until it’s almost due and then the work will be even better.
  • This is such a huge project, I don’t even want to think about it yet, I’ll put it off for one more day.
  • I don’t really need to do this yet; it can wait until sometime in the future.

Unfortunately all of these lead to the inevitable day when you must actually complete the task. And while most people actually do get it done under that time pressure, working that way does not always produce the best results, and allows less time to proof and make it perfect.

The causes of procrastination:

Perhaps procrastination is a part of the human condition, having an extended period of time to accomplish something makes us put it off into the future, even if we can begin it now.Perhaps it is modern society, which often times seems to focus on immediate and instant results, rather than something carefully crafted and refined over a longer period of time.

Part of the modern business world for most of us also involves a constant connectivity. Cell phones, office phones, email, Blackberries, etc. are constantly ringing, buzzing and updatinginterrupting us with communications. Our friends, parents, co-workers, bosses, managers, etc. all are vying for our attention for sometimes trivial and sometimes important messages.

While these are all part of modern life, and we have learned to function efficiently with them, they can be a hindrance when in the midst of a project which requires complete focus. There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in touch and being friendly/social with your peers, co-workers and friends, and giving proper attention to your loved ones – in fact I encourage all of those things. But there is a time and a place, and unfortunately being distracted can sometimes make you lose focus and motivation with the task at hand.

6 ways to minimalize procrastination and maximize motivation:

  • To be the most proficient, successful and happy at whatever it is you do in life, especially if you are producing intellectual products; you need to have a distraction-free environment. This will guarantee your mind is completely focused on the task at hand and you’ll always get the best results.
  • Start projects immediately if you have idle time. Once you actually start something and get into the flow of it, you’d be surprised how easy it is. Don’t think about starting something, act. You can always tweak the project and make changes as you go along.Getting that first start is vital.
  • Remove all distractions from your environment. Anything that will make you lose focus is something that will potentially set you up for procrastination and destroy your motivation.
  • Eat well, sleep well and get exercise. From personal experience, a healthy mind and body is less likely to procrastinate. You’ll feel better, you’ll be more upbeat and active, and more optimistic about accomplishing your goals sooner rather than later. If you’re tired or hungover, you’ll be less productive and more likely to procrastinate a task until the next day.
  • Mix up your projects and assignments so you’re not simply doing the same exact thing every day. If you keep things fresh they will be more interesting and compelling for you to work on, and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate them.
  • Keep your thoughts positive, and recognize when you’re entering a cycle of procrastination. Here is where you will need to address mind over matter. Start by just getting into it and doing step one of whatever your task is and go from there. Sit down and break the project up into consumable parts that are less daunting.

10 Ways To Stop Being Possessive Every Couple Needs To Know

Being possessive over your partner can only damage a relationship. There are many reasons why people might feel possessive, including having trust issues, being jealous, or having low self-esteem. Here are some tips to keep things in perspective if you feel yourself or your partner spiraling into a possessive state.

1. Forget about the past.

Maybe you’ve been cheated on or lied to before, but this is a new relationship. Don’t let the past ruin what you have going for you now. Your partner is a different person than your ex, and deserves a fresh start. Not to mention, you’ll feel better if you let the past go! You can’t change anything that’s already happened, so release the past hurt and focus on the relationship you’re in now.

2. Don’t be overbearing.

The more you worry your partner doesn’t love you or isn’t being honest with you, the more you will push him or her away. No one wants to be with a needy person, so don’t pile all your fears and worries about love on your partner. Trust that they love you because they’re choosing to be in a relationship with you. Let them go out without you, and don’t give them the third degree when they come home. If you make your partner feel like they’ve done something bad even when they haven’t, they might wonder what it’s worth to be good.

3. Live your own life.

This goes hand in hand with not being overbearing. If you have your own job, your own hobbies, and your own social life, then you’ll be a more interesting person to your partner. It’s important to spend time together, of course, but it’s also fun to spend time apart and have different things to share and talk about when you’re together.

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4. Don’t let the green-eyed monster eat you alive.

Jealousy is not only a fast relationship killer, but it will make you feel bitter and hateful in your daily life. That green-eyed monster is quick to cut you down and make you feel worthless. Turn that attitude into something positive by realizing that your partner is with you because you’re a great, quality person all on your own. You don’t need to be jealous about anyone else they may be spending time with. Make sure you know your self-worth and realize that your partner is lucky to be with you.

5. Know each other’s friends.

A great way to keep from being jealous is to be familiar with each other’s social circles. If you know who your partner is spending time with, you’ll know there’s no reason to worry. An added bonus is that you might like their friends and want to spend time with them as well.

6. Don’t try to change your partner.

You knew who your partner was when you got involved in the relationship—why do you want to change him or her now? Telling yourself that the other person needs to change could just be your easy answer to any problem you might be having in the relationship.

7. Try to find the root of the problem.

Why do you feel possessive in your relationship? Whether it’s a fear from a past relationship, or even something that happened in childhood, you need to figure out what is causing you to feel and act this way. It will help you come to terms with your issue and conquer it, which in turn will make you feel better and will help future relationships.

8. Trust your partner (and yourself).

Often people feel insecure about others because they’re projecting something they see in themselves. You might worry that your partner flirts when he or she goes out with friends because you flirt when you go out with friends. If you trust yourself to only flirt and not go beyond that, you should be able to trust your partner to do the same—it’s only fair!

9. Don’t spy.

It’s OK to admit—everyone’s done it! Checking emails of an account that’s been left open, scrolling through sent text messages, perusing the browser history…It might seem normal and harmless, but it’s creating cracks in the relationship. You clearly think there’s something to find, and that hurts the trust you have (or should have) for your partner. Not to mention, it’s really awkward if they catch you! Keep yourself busy. Do something in another room while they’re on the phone so you’re not tempted to eavesdrop. Make sure you each sign out of your email accounts before leaving the computer. Over time, if you don’t have chances to spy, it will slip from your mind and you’ll stop feeling the urge to keep tabs on your partner.

10. Be open about your issues.

Tell your partner how you feel, without making it sound like you’re blaming them. Tell them about the issue from your past that makes it hard for you to trust. Tell them how you feel when they do certain things. Make sure you’re presenting things as an open dialog, not as a fight. If you’re open and honest about things that bother you, your partner is more likely to hear you out. If you’re both on the same page, it will help you to stop being possessive. Once everything is out in the open, you can start working through it—together!

6 Fastest Ways to Stop Being a Possessive

 

Learn how to stop treating your boyfriend like your personal property and go back to being the girlfriend of the year by reading our quick guide! By Minot Pettinato-Little

Jealousy is a headache, both to experience from a partner and to deal with on a personal level. It can turn you into the green-eyed-girlfriend you used to hate back when you were sane. Often, those who suffer from the “curse” can sometimes feel more like a lobotomy victim than a romantic partner while in a relationship.

It could be the way you were brought up, or because of insecurity and jealousy – regardless of your reasons, many people suffer from being overly-possessive in relationships. And in turn, the entire relationship suffers.

How to quit being so possessive

So what can you do when you feel like you’ve wandered down the road of the over-possessive girlfriend?

#1 Have a talk. You need to have an honest and open talk about your possessive attitude. If you truly love your partner and understand that you are being too possessive, tell him that. Your partner is going to be more understanding, if you are honest and if they can see that you acknowledge your possessive quality as a problem.

Often, the issue of being possessive has to do with lingering trust issues. If you don’t trust your partner, but you love them, you’re going to feel antsy about having them go out with other people and understandably will want them all to yourself. You will need to be completely open with your partner about these issues, if you ever wish to resolve them.

#2 If he cheats, there’s nothing you can do to stop him. This one is a hard pill to swallow, but if your jealousy has moved on to the point of being possessive then you need to acknowledge one hard fact: you can’t prevent him from cheating.

If a man is set out to cheat, he’ll find a way come hell or high water, and no amount of snooping, telling him “no”, tantalizing sex, thrilling conversations, or emotionally shared moments can prevent this from happening. He’s either going to be a good boy to you, or he isn’t. Acknowledging this, while terrifying, can actually allow you to let go of some of the anxiety you feel with regards to him being around other people.

All relationships are a risk. Take a risk and let your relationship grow instead of cutting it back before it has the chance to blossom. That’s not to say it’s okay if he does cheat. No, no, no! If he cheats, you kick him to the curb and never look back.

#3 Snoop it out of your system. If your possessive attitude means that you get full access to his phone, e-mails, Skype account and overall social media passwords, then you need to grab hold of this addiction and have one final hurrah.

Yes, snooping his social media accounts will let you feel in control and yes, you may get a sense of relief from being able to openly look at his private goings-on. But know this, if you only trust your man because you’re able to check his life behind closed doors, you will never really trust him.

Preventing someone from having a private life is wrong. It’s an invasion of privacy, and it shows a severe lack of respect for the partner that you claim to love. That being said, weaning yourself off of someone’s private socials can be hard. It’s addicting to watch the goings-on from the shadows, like your own personal soap opera. Not to mention it brings you comfort when you see that he hasn’t done anything wrong.

But you do want a relationship based on true trust, don’t you? If your fellah knows you snoop his socials, then tell him that you want to work on building back trust, and that in one week you want him to change all his passwords. Explain to him that you are really trying to change your possessive ways, and kindly request this as a security blanket until you’re adjusted to a non-snooper’s life. Taper down the frequency of your snooping sprees until you finally let go of that nasty habit.

#4 Do a role reversal. It may do you some good to swap the situations. Do you have male friends? If so, would you appreciate your boyfriend telling you that you weren’t allowed to see him any longer just because it didn’t sit well with your guy? As women tend to react emotionally to things, you may want to take a step back and look at the situation, if the roles were reversed. Remember, relationships are about trust and respect. Don’t dish it if you can’t take it.

#5 You had a past, they have a past. For those whose possessive attitude stems from jealousy, you’d do good to remember that he has a past, and so do you. You’ve both been with other people, both made mistakes, both had great sex, both had bad sex – so what? Remind yourself that this is a small part of your relationship now.

Take a night to yourself and go through your old photo-albums. Look at pictures of your ex from when you were 15-years-old, or from just a couple of years ago. This is your life, and you are entitled to your memories, just as he is entitled to his. So the next time you stumble across a sentimental trinket that he’s decided to keep around, take a breath, count to 10, and remember that it was this incredible past he lived that’s made him the incredible man you love today.

#6 Seek therapy. If you feel you’ve tried everything and you still can’t kick your bad habit, you may try seeking some form of therapy, such as couples counselling. And don’t just do it for your relationship, do it for yourself, too. Seeking therapy for deep rooted emotional issues can only help you down the road. Perhaps counselling won’t save this relationship from the damage that’s been done, but it may just prevent you from making the same problems in your next one.

Just because you’ve trotted down the road of the possessive girlfriend doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Take a good, hard look at the reasons behind your actions, and take the appropriate steps to fix it. Jealousy is a bad look, especially on you, so drop the attitude and just go back to being fabulous!

9 Hard Things You Have to Do to Move Forward with Your Life

 

Maybe it’s the life lessons I was forced to learn the hard way, or the toll of loss and failure I had recently endured, but a decade ago, in the midst of a panic attack on my 27th birthday, I had to admit to myself right then and there that the youthful world of possibility I once felt now seemed dead inside me.  I wanted to feel light and free and ambitious and passionate again, but I didn’t know how.  Luckily, I had a wise mother nearby who gave me some good advice.  She told me that she could still see a positive, passionate young man inside of me, but that I needed to do some soul searching to reconnect myself to him.

As I attempted to follow my mother’s advice, I remembered that I used to have two quotes written on post-it notes hanging on my bedroom wall when I was a kid:

  • “Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in your journey.”
  • “Don’t be scared to walk alone down the path less traveled, and don’t be scared to love every minute of it.”

So I wrote those two quotes down again, just as I remembered them, and posted them up on the wall over my nightstand.  I woke up to these quotes every morning for several years thereafter, and they helped keep me centered.

 

1.  Practice thinking better about yourself.

You have to admit, you’ve spent a lot of your life subconsciously belittling yourself.  Thinking you’re not enough.  Trying to be someone else.  Someone who fits in.  Someone who’s less sensitive.  Less needy.  Less flawed.  Less YOU.  Because you felt broken, and you didn’t want to scare people away.  You wanted them to like you.  You wanted to make a good impression.  You wanted to be seen as worthy and loveable.  So you could feel healed and whole.

And so for the longest time, behind a facade of fake smiles, you have inadvertently betrayed yourself for the purpose of pleasing everyone else.

And for longest time, your heart has ached.

But you’re at a point now where you’re seeing things differently.  The heartache just isn’t worth it anymore.  Belittling yourself for one more day just doesn’t make any sense.  And more than that, you now realize no matter what you do or how you change, some people will never be pleased anyway.

You now realize you have to start doing things for the right reasons.

Not because it’s what you think everyone else needs, but because you finally know yourself to be worthy of your own love and care.

Not because other people approve of you, but because you are breathing your own air, thinking your own thoughts, and occupying a space no one else ever could.

Yes, you are indeed worthy!  Your ideas are worthy.  Your feelings are worthy.  Your needs are worthy.  And without everyone else’s constant validation, you must be who you are and live your truth.  Even if it makes people turn their heads.  Even if it means walking alone down the path less traveled for awhile.

Even if your own confidence in yourself has been shaken!

The real battle is always in your mind.  And your mind is under your control, not the other way around.

You may have been broken down by adversity or rejection or stress, but YOU are not broken.  So don’t let others convince you otherwise.  And don’t let your mind get the best of you either.

Heal yourself by refusing to belittle yourself.

Choose to take up a lot of positive space in your own life today.  Choose to give yourself permission to meet your own needs.  Choose to honor your feelings and emotions.  Choose to make self-love and self-care a part of your daily rituals…

Choose to think better about yourself, so you can live better in spite of yourself.

2.  Consciously embrace the fact that you are more than the one broken piece of you.

When times are tough, and some piece of you is chipped and broken, it’s easy to feel like everything – ALL of you – is broken along with it.  But that’s not true.

We all have this picture in our minds of ourselves – this idea of what kind of person we are.  When this idea gets even slightly harmed or threatened, we tend to react defensively and irrationally.  People may question whether we did a good job, and this threatens our idea of being a competent person, so we become angry or hurt by the criticism.  Someone falsely accuses us of something and this damages our idea that we’re a good person, and so we get angry and attack the other person, or we cower and cry.  And the list goes on.

But the craziest thing is, oftentimes we are actually the ones harming and threatening ourselves with negativity and false-accusations…

Just this morning I was struggling to motivate myself to work on a new creative project I’ve been procrastinating on, so my identity of myself as someone who’s always productive and motivated and has great ideas suddenly came under attack.  When I realized I wasn’t getting things done, it made me feel terribly self-conscious and upset because I began subconsciously worrying that I wasn’t who I thought I was.  I felt like a slacker.

My solution was to realize that I’m not just one thing.  I’m not always productive – sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m unproductive too.  I’m not always motivated – sometimes I am, but other times I’m a bit lazy.  And obviously I don’t always have great ideas either – because that’s impossible.

The truth is, I can be many things, and remembering this helps me stretch my identity so it’s not so fragile – so it doesn’t completely shatter when a small piece of it gets chipped.  Then it doesn’t matter if someone occasionally thinks I didn’t do a good job, or if I sometimes catch myself not doing a good job – because I don’t always do a good job.

I make mistakes.

I am less than perfect.

Just like YOU.

And that’s perfectly OK.

3.  Change, evolve, and start over when you must.

“Starting over is not an option!”

Unfortunately, that’s a lie many of us hold on to until the bitter end.

The idea of starting over being a bad thing is baked right into the fabric of our society’s education system.  We send our children to a university when they’re 17 or 18, and basically tell them to choose a career path they’ll be happy with for the next 40 years.  “But, what if I choose wrong?”  I remember thinking to myself.  And that’s exactly what I did, in more ways than one.

Over the years, however, through bouts of failure and hardship, I’ve learned the truth through experience: you can change paths anytime you want to, and oftentimes it’s absolutely necessary that you do.

Yes, starting over and making substantial changes in your life is almost always feasible.  Of course, it won’t be easy, but neither is being stuck with a lifelong career you naively chose when you were a teenager.  And neither is holding on to something that’s not meant to be, or something that’s already gone.

The truth is, no one wins a game of chess by only moving forward; sometimes you have to move backward to put yourself in a position to win.  And this is a perfect metaphor for life.  Sometimes when it feels like you’re running into one dead end after another, it’s actually a sign that you’re not on the right path.  Maybe you were meant to hang a left back when you took a right, and that’s perfectly fine.  Life gradually teaches us that U-turns are allowed.  So turn around when you must!  There’s a big difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction.  And there are three little words that can release you from your past mistakes and regrets, and get you back on track.  These words are: “From now on…”

So… from now on, what should you do?

Anything.  Something small.  As long as you don’t just sit in your seat, strapped down to a destiny that isn’t yours.  If you mess it up, start over.  Try something else.

Let go and grow!

No doubt, one of the absolute hardest lessons in life is letting go – whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss.  Change is never easy – you fight to hold on and you fight to let go.  But letting go is generally the healthiest path forward.  It clears out toxic thoughts and choices from the past and paves the way to make the most positive use of the present.  You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from some of the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you.  Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus yourself, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster!

And oftentimes letting go is strictly about changing the labels you place on a situation – it’s looking at the same situation with fresh eyes and an open mind, and then making the best of it.

It’s thinking better about the past and present, and then building small, life-changing daily rituals so you can start over again, and live better going forward.

4.  Let go of the things you don’t need.

Eventually, most of us end up settling in some part of our life.  We let go of certain ideals and dreams, we compromise, and we make trade-offs.  We gradually learn that we can’t have everything we want, because not every outcome in life can be perfectly controlled.  But if we pay close attention, we also learn that we can make the best of every outcome, and still get a lot of what we want in life, if we manage our time, energy and attitude appropriately.

And these realizations collectively lead to an interesting question:

When should you settle, or compromise, and when should you continue fighting hard for what you ideally want to achieve?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but when you encounter a situation that forces you to choose between compromise and fighting forward against the opposition, it might help to also ask yourself:

“Do I really need this, or do I just kinda want it?”

Being able to distinguish needs from wants is essential in every walk of life.  Never let go of an outcome you truly need in your life, but be reasonably flexible on the outcomes you want but could live fine without.

In other words, choose your battles wisely, and don’t let “perfect” become the enemy of “great.”  Remind yourself that what you pay attention to grows.  So focus on what really matters and let go of what does not.

Don’t give up 50% of your life working 50-hour weeks at a day job that makes you absolutely miserable.  Don’t abandon your sanity for the wrong reasons.  Don’t neglect lifelong goals and dreams that have withstood the tests of time, and still bring incredible meaning into your life.

If you really need something, fight hard for it!

But for everything else, let go a little.  Loosen your grip, compromise… settle.

Settle on less of the unessential, to get more of what you really need and want in life.

5.  Accept and embrace daily discomfort, for the right reasons.

Discomfort is a form of pain, but it isn’t a deep pain – it’s a shallow one.  It’s the feeling you get when you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone.  The idea of exercising in many people’s minds, for example, brings discomfort – so they don’t do it.   Eating a spinach and kale salad brings discomfort too.  So does meditating, or focusing on a difficult task, or saying “no” to others.  Of course, these are just examples, because different people find discomfort in different things, but you get the general idea.

The key thing to understand is that most forms of discomfort actually help us grow into our strongest and smartest selves.  However, many of us were raised by loving parents who did so much to make our childhoods comfortable, that we inadvertently grew up to subconsciously believe that we don’t need discomfort in our lives.  And now we run from it constantly.  The problem with this is that, by running from discomfort, we are constrained to partake in only the activities and opportunities within our comfort zones.  And since our comfort zones are relativity small, we miss out on most of life’s greatest and healthiest experiences, and we get stuck in a debilitating cycle.

Let’s use diet and exercise as an example…

  • First, we become unhealthy because eating healthy food and exercising feels uncomfortable, so we opt for comfort food and mindless TV watching instead.
  • But then, being unhealthy is also uncomfortable, so we seek to distract ourselves from the reality of our unhealthy bodies by eating more unhealthy food and watching more unhealthy entertainment and going to the mall to shop for things we don’t really want or need.  And our discomfort just gets worse.

Amazingly, the simple act of accepting a little discomfort every day, and taking it one small step at a time, can solve most of our common problems, and make our minds happier, healthier and stronger in the long run.

But, again, it’s hard – really, really hard sometimes!  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  That’s not how we’re made.  We’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall sometimes.  Because that’s part of living – to face discomfort, learn from it, and adapt over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.

So when you find yourself cocooned in isolation and cannot find your way out of the darkness, remember that this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings.  Just because today is uncomfortable and stressful, doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be wonderful.  You just got to get there.

6.  Change your mantra from, “I have to be better,” to, “I will do my absolute best today.”

Goals are important.  All journeys of change must begin with a goal.  And you also must have determination in order to achieve your goals.  However, what do you think happens when you are too determined, or too obsessed with a goal?  You begin to nurture another belief: who you are right now is not good enough.

Years ago, I had become overly obsessive in my efforts to meditate.  As my interest in meditation grew, I began to increasingly say to myself, “I am not good enough,” and, “I have to be better at this.”  I began to notice various imperfections within myself that needed to be “fixed.”

My over-the-top efforts to meditate for extensive periods of time had opened the doors to lots of self-criticism and stress.  Thankfully, however, I realized that my obsession toward meditation had made me forget one of the basic objectives of meditation – self-acceptance.

So the bottom line is this: you have to accept yourself as you are, and then commit to personal growth.  If you think you are absolutely “perfect” already, you will not make any positive efforts to grow.  But constantly criticizing yourself is just as counterproductive as doing nothing, because you will never be able to build new positive changes into your life when you’re obsessively focused on your flaws.

The key is to remind yourself that you already are good enough; you just need more practice.  Change your mantra from, “I have to be better,” to, “I will do my absolute best today.”  The second mantra is far more effective because it actually prompts you to take positive action every day while simultaneously accepting the reality that every effort may not be perfect.

7.  Be mindful.

Mindfulness as a daily ritual is the ultimate challenge and practice.  It’s a way of living, of being, of seeing, of tapping into the full power of your humanity.

Ready to get started?

It’s simple, but far from easy.  Practice…

  • Being aware of what’s happening in the present moment without wishing it were different
  • Enjoying each pleasant experience without holding on when it changes (which it will)
  • Being with each unpleasant experience without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t)

Ritualize this kind of mindfulness into your daily routines, and you will undoubtedly change the way you spend the rest of your life.

8.  Find something to be grateful for in the present moment, despite the situation.

Happiness doesn’t always make us grateful, but gratitude always helps us smile.  Some may say that’s a cliché, but it’s not.  Gratitude is the foundation.  And happiness is simply the sacred experience of living with a genuinely grateful heart.
Expressing gratitude is so simple though, right?  How could it possibly make that big of a difference?

Yes, being grateful seems simple enough, but a grateful state of mind is unbelievably hard to maintain when life disappoints us.  And that’s the kicker – when we’re feeling down and disappointed, that’s exactly when a dose of gratitude is most powerful.

So what’s the best approach?

Being grateful starts with being present.  You can’t appreciate your life when you’re not paying attention to it.  And the truth is, we make our present situations much worse when we replay difficult past situations in our heads (“How could she possibly have done that to me?”), or when we ruminate over all the situations that might be problematic in the future (“What if he cheats on me?”).  In the present moment, our real situation is rarely as convoluted as we make it out to be.  And we can meet this moment with grace and gratitude, if we can truly stay in the present.

When our mind drifts into the past or speculates about the future, we must do our best to catch ourselves, and then refocus mindfully back on the present.  Once we’re back, the key is to accept the moment as it is.  Our reality can ruin us if we deny it and fight it … or we can accept it for what it is, be grateful for it, and gradually make the best of it.  This takes practice, of course, because gratitude tends to escape us when we feel let down.  But this is the real world, not an ideal world.  And your reality always contains a silver lining of beauty, if you choose to see it.

For Angel and me, working through life’s difficulties has grown significantly easier for us in recent times.  Instead of focusing on how arduous everything is, we have ritualized the practice of gratitude into our lives, and we use our gratitude rituals to find glimmers of hope and joy in the small steps of progress we make every day.

9.  Do something small for someone else – make them the center of your universe for a little while.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sometimes we all have the tendency to put ourselves at the center of the universe, and see everything from the viewpoint of how it affects us.  And this can have all kinds of adverse effects, from feeling sorry for ourselves when things aren’t going exactly as planned, to doubting ourselves when we aren’t perfect, to feeling lost and alone with our issues when we’re having a bad day or going through hard times.

So whenever I catch myself lingering at the center in an adverse state of mind, I do my best to briefly shift my focus, away from my own issues, and onto other people around me that I might be able to help.  Finding little ways to help others gets me out of my self-centered thinking, and then I’m not wallowing alone in self-pity anymore – I’m starting to think about what others need.  I’m not doubting myself, because the question of whether I’m good enough or not is no longer the central question.  The central question now is about what others need.

Thus, thinking about others instead of oneself helps solve feelings self-consciousness and inadequacy, which in turn makes you feel a lot less broken and alone when you’re struggling to move your life forward.

It’s one of life’s great paradoxes: when we serve others we end up benefiting as much if not more than those we serve.  So whenever you feel a bit lost or stuck with your own issues, try to shift your focus from your circumstances to the circumstances of those around you.  Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with me?” ask, “How can I help you?”  Find someone who could use an extra hand and make a small, reasonable offer they can’t refuse.  The perspective you gain from doing so will guide you forward.

Angel and I initially developed this strategy in our lives over a decade ago as we were struggling with the near simultaneous loss of two loved ones.  It was really hard to find motivation when we didn’t think we had the strength to push forward – when we felt downright horrible and sorry for ourselves.  But we took one small step every day – oftentimes just writing a short blog post to share some lessons learned with others who might find our stories and insights helpful – and it felt good, and we gradually got stronger.

This morning, as I caught myself struggling with some inner conflicts, I followed suit again – I took a small step forward… just turning on my laptop, opening up a new document, and writing a single sentence.  Such an action is so small as to seem insignificant, and yet so easy as to be possible when I was feeling down.  And it showed me the next step was possible, and the next.  And the end result is this blog post you’ve just finished reading.  I sincerely hope you’ve benefited from it in some small way.

Your turn…

What else would you add to the list?  What’s one hard thing you do that has helped you move your life forward?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

 

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