For many of us, one of the biggest myths we are told is that true strength comes from self-reliance. That we as people are most successful when we can show that we achieved success with the help of no one but ourselves. This is something that’s ingrained into our values and beliefs from an early age – we tell children to be self-reliant; we encourage people to value their own success over others.
The problem with this belief is two-fold: First, no one achieves success on their own – we all rely on the systems that surround us and the people who support us on our journeys, even if we still make our own, significant contributions. Secondly, the myth perpetuates the idea that asking for help is a weakness – that by reaching out to others, it is akin to admitting defeat. This creates a huge problem for those experiencing crisis or trouble coping – instead of believing in the power of reaching out, we feel shame in doing so, which perpetuates the other negative feelings we may be experiencing and can result in a much more difficult and painful time than if we felt comfort in seeking guidance and support.
In the following video, we see this comparison made beautifully. Take a look at how our perception of trees as individual systems is just as flawed as believing that we are alone in our own lives:
So if individuality is a myth, if we recognize that we need other people in our lives in order to be our best selves, what can we do to move past our old beliefs and embrace the role of others in supporting us throughout our lives?
Realizing our interconnection and using it to boost ourselves and others is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. By doing so, we can finally shed off the layers that keep us from truly connecting with others and finding the grace that resides in being part of something greater than ourselves.
Louise L. Hay, a self-help author and motivational speaker who helped bring the power of affirmations to a broad audience as early as the 1980’s, has been inspiring people across the world for decades to live a more joyous life through a deeper understanding of their own inner world. In this article, we wanted to share a video collection of footage from a recent film she produced that presents some of the greatest collective work of this individual. Go ahead and take a look at the video below – when you return, we’ll highlight some of the key takeaways from this and consider how we can apply them practically in our own journeys of self-growth.
While this video covers several broad subject areas, the key theme here is pretty simple: if we want to to be happy, we need to know that happiness comes from within us. That doesn’t mean that we can be happy by simply willing ourselves to do so – it requires patience, courage, and a dedication to improving our abilities in this over time. But for all of us, it is possible. Let’s consider some of the main points made by Louise L. Hay and how we can incorporate these into our daily experiences:
By embracing the unknowns in life and understanding that we have the power to shape our future, we not only empower ourselves, but we also push ourselves closer to the path of enlightenment that Louise speaks about. This may seem a bit daunting – do we really need to challenge every thought and belief we hold? Not really. But if we can get into the practice of doing so, even on a small scale at first, we can help shift our thinking to a way that better supports our own happiness, thus bringing greater joy and satisfaction into our lives.
This entry was posted in Self-Growth and Self Improvement by Jennifer Novak.
When we think about the ways in which we communicate with others on a daily basis, the act of actually speaking and sharing conversation with people may not be as high on the list as it once was. Instead, we find that most of our communication is digital – text, email, liking or commenting on status updates. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with staying connected though technology, it does leave gaps in our human connection – without speaking with someone face to face, how close can we really be to them?
In the below video, Celeste Headlee tackles this issue head on by bringing to light the problems we have directly talking to one another and maintaining non-offensive and worthwhile conversation. Watch below and come back for an exploration of the ten tips she describes for being a better conversationalist – we’ll be exploring these though the lens of how they apply to our most personal relationships.
Now that we’ve heard about these tips, let’s consider how they work in our closest relationships – those with our partners, children, and dearest loved ones.
When couples come to therapy, one of the greatest complaints is the feeling of lost connection, often as a result of not taking the time to have conversation. With the above, you can start rebuilding this in your own relationship or prevent lost connection in the future.
We all go through points in our lives where we feel a bit stagnant. This might come just a few times for some people; for others, it may feel like a permanent state – always looking ahead, wondering what’s over the horizon, and hoping that the next change in our lives will bring about a feeling that often escapes us: happiness.
In this Ted Talk, Shawn Achor explains with humor and well-researched data the problem that happens when we fall into the habit of romanticizing the “happiness horizon.” Take a look – when you come back, we’ll talk about the key points from this speech and how we can use this information to improve our own moods and productivity.
In this talk, Shawn emphasizes the importance of embracing happiness in the moment – not allowing a promise of happiness to motivate us, but using this feeling in the present. He backs up this assertion not just with the reassurance that being happy feels better, but with facts supporting the notion that our brain is more effective when we are happy. Instead of treating happiness like something we must strive for, a feeling that is contingent on our success, we can achieve success more readily by feeling happy now and using that feeling to empower our own triumphs in life.
As with most things, it isn’t enough for us to say, “Okay, so if happiness is better for me, that’s what I will choose to feel today.” (Actually, while this shouldn’t be the only thing we do, this kind of verbalization CAN be effective in helping us to feel more happy). But what else should we keep in mind if we want to start living with the happiness advantage versus seeking out the happiness horizon?
We are all capable of taking small actions to rewire our brains into thinking within a positive framework. By understanding the benefits and importance of this, we can commit ourselves to taking action that helps us feel better in the moment and more productive in the long-term.
While there really isn’t a lot of debate on this issue – most people know and understand that high levels of chronic stress are bad for them – this knowledge doesn’t seem to have much impact on our day to day behavior. Despite knowing that stress isn’t a healthy thing to live with, and that there are concrete actions we can take to reduce our stress levels and improve our mental well-being, many of us continue to avoid doing so.
In this article, we feature a video from Bill Cunningham that we hope will help push those who continue to live with chronic stress into a deeper understanding of the long-term health impacts this can have. Go ahead and take a look below – when you return, we’ll be talking about what we can do with this knowledge.
To reiterate the key point of this video, we need to remember that the negative impacts of stress aren’t just limited to feeling uncomfortable and less productive in the short-term. In fact, brain research has shown us that stress has chronic and lasting impacts on our mental functioning, including an increased inability to manage stress, increased fear, decreased mental functioning, and higher risk of mental impairments. While it may be easy to put off dealing with stress (after all, we’re so busy, right?), the truth is that we must start taking steps NOW to make a change. Let’s take a look below at some basic keys to stress management that you can easily work into your schedule and start reducing your stress levels today:
Our final tip: Make stress management a priority. It’s a lot easier to say you’ll start doing things differently tomorrow, or next week. But this issue is so detrimental, so embedded in our day-today lives, that unless we commit to change and start immediately, we won’t break our stress habit. Take the time to understand and deal with your stress – your health, and your ability to cope, will thank you
We’re ready to make a change. We’ve set a goal, or at least have thought deeply about what our goal might look like. So what’s holding us back? Why does the barrier of taking the steps needed to achieve our goals seem so impenetrable at times?
The answer is self-discipline, the key to taking what we know about goal attainment and making change in our lives and activating it for ourselves. It’s the idea that we are capable of doing what we should do, even when we don’t feel like doing it. For example, if you have a goal of exercising every morning, but wake up and can’t seem to get the energy to go for your daily walk, you aren’t working to achieve your goal. But if you make yourself do what you don’t want to do, you are showing enormous self-discipline – you’ve looked past your current feelings on the matter and are making a choice to forego what you want to do with respect for what you must do.
Now, self-discipline isn’t something we develop overnight. It’s a skill that’s cultivated over years with lots of trial and error. To learn more about developing this skill, take a moment to look at this video from Daily Discipline to learn how some of the most preeminent motivational speakers from around the country developed their own capacities for self-discipline.
This video has some wonderful points about things we can actually do each day to build up our self-discipline. Let’s review and reflect on some of the main takeaways from this below:
Are you giving yourself at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted time each morning (or night) to meditate and reflect? If so, what do you spend this time thinking about? Tony Robbins describes a 3-step process towards more effective meditation: Thinking about gratitude, “3 to Thrive” (the three goals most important to you over the next 6 – 12 months), and loving more effectively. Try this during your own morning meditation – does this leave you feeling more energized and empowered to focus your actions of the day on the things that are most important to you?
Brian Tracy describes some of the best habits to have in order to achieve self-discipline. How well do you think you focus your daily thoughts on the following? Goals, results, people, health, honesty, and evaluation of your own self-discipline. When you feel yourself wandering away from these priorities throughout your day, how do you realign back? If these themes aren’t something you currently focus on, what could you do to hold yourself accountable to thinking about them?
How do you give back each day? What sort of returns do you hope for from this intelligent self-interest? How do you orient yourself to the “give first” mentality?
When we achieve self-discipline, we find ourselves at a tipping point in which we see how the goals we have set actually become achievable. This doesn’t just have an impact on our own self-actualization – through meeting the goals we have set, if we do so through the lens of positivity and giving, we are capable of making not just our own life better, but leaving a wonderful impact on the world and those we care about.
There’s no doubt about it – change is hard. And it isn’t hard because we don’t know what to do to achieve our goals. If we want to be healthier, we know this means being more active, making better choices in our diet, and giving up sedentary and unhealthy habits. If we want to spend more meaningful time with family, we know this means having “no-screen” time and planning out things we can do with our loved ones to build stronger connections and memories. But even with this knowledge of what to do, actually making change – or at least, making a change that lasts – is something that many of us struggle with. But why is this the case?
In this video, speaker Mel Robbins shares with us the neuroscience of change, why making change is a challenge for most, and simple tips for making change successfully. Watch the video, then read below for some of the key takeaways from this talk.
As I watched this speech, there were some definite “ah-ha!” moments that I’d like to share with you here. As you review, consider the questions asked and how you can use this information to build up your capacity for success in making change happen.
As a counselor, one of the things I deal with daily is working with people who are experiencing negative life events, crisis, grief, or any other thing that is causing them emotional discomfort and pain. These events can be extremely traumatic – dealing with loss, death, divorce, long-buried trauma. As a counselor, my role is to help people understand, reframe, and cope with these feelings. When I found this video, I felt like it wasn’t just an inspirational story – it really described the frame of mind that is most helpful for those who show enormous resilience in the face of adversity and strength when times aren’t going as well as they might like. Take a look below:
The lesson of this video, which I think is beautifully put, is this: It doesn’t benefit us to place judgement on any situation we experience by naming something as “good” or “bad.” Does that mean we shouldn’t have feelings about the things we experience? Absolutely not! When something painful occurs in your life, it’s normal to feel grief, sadness, and anger. When something positive happens, we should feel joy, pride, and relief.
But when we start naming these events as “good” or “bad,” when we place a fundamental value of the event within the trajectory of our life, we start internalizing. Instead of things that happen to us, these events become part of the story of who we are. And when we feel like many “bad” things are happening, it can be easy to start turning the blame for that onto ourselves or the people around us, instead of recognizing these as simply things we are living through.
That’s the power of “maybe” – having the wisdom to know that the tides of life are ever-changing, that the things that happen to us are just that – passing moments. Without the ability to predict how an event might actually shape the course of our life, how can we assign value to it? Everything we experience, both positive and painful, sends us down a journey that we cannot know. Peace is understanding that we will not understand our path until we complete it, and being open to the twists and turns as they appear before us.
As you reflect on this video and article, I encourage you to think about and journal on the following:
As a final exercise, journal for a few days on your initial reactions to events in your life. Note how often you are placing a value judgement on these events. Once you’re done, reflect on this list and consider what impact placing value had on your mood and attitude the remaining part of the day. Then, for a few more days, do the same journaling, but force yourself to stay in the “maybe” mind frame. How does this change your mood and attitude? See what works for you in maintaining this approach versus assigning judgement in the long-term.
By Orly Katz, LCPC at Everyday Counseling and Coaching ServicesOne of the most essentials keys to happiness and having the ability to have introspection into ourselves is having a solid foundation of self-worth. This is the idea that no matter what we are experiencing or what trials we face in life, that there is within us a clear understanding of who we are. Further, not only do we know who we are, but we also value who we are – we believe ourselves worthy, good, and deserving. When someone has a healthy level of self-worth, it means they are capable of staying resilient when times are tough; that they don’t allow the opinions or ideas of others to negatively influence their behaviors or beliefs about who they are; and, they can feel safe in thinking critically about who they are and what motivates their own choices, forgiving themselves for mistakes, and believing they are capable of change if this is needed. Take a look at this video from Meir Kay for a great visual of this in action:
Consider the following – what is your own understanding and acceptance of your self-worth? Is this something you feel is a strength, or something that you are struggling with? If you are struggling with this, what might be the reasons why you lack self-worth?
To accept that we are fully deserving of love, we must first love ourselves. That is why having self-worth is so important – it isn’t just about getting through the hard times. It’s about welcoming the good and being able to allow a connection between ourselves and our partners. Without this essential trait, we are left vulnerable and isolated. If a lack of self-worth is something that you’re struggling with, this should certainly be explored in a therapeutic setting so that you can safely examine the causes of this issue and learn techniques for learning to love who you are again.
By Orly Katz, LCPC at Everyday Counseling and Coaching Services
I recently stumbled upon this video describing some of the concepts from the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I was immediately drawn in by the story of what happened to Elrod, the choice he made to live a happy life, and how he was successful in this. Elrod writes this book from a place of healing and believes passionately that the key to success and fulfillment is in the choices we make. As you watch the below, pay attention to Elrod’s story and the major keys to what helped him through this time. When you’re done, we’ll review some of these ideas and consider how they can be applied in our own lives.
There’s so much wonderful advice and guidance in this video in such a short period of time, so let’s break down some of they key points:
We have the power to transform our day by starting our morning with a joyous and hopeful awakening; or, when we leave our bed looking forward to what the day will bring. Consider – when is the last time you left bed quickly and happily? What motivated you then to do so? Is this motivation something you have the power to create each day?
There are acts we can engage in (SAVERS) before we try the miracle morning, things we can do the day before:
In order for the SAVERS to work, they must become habits, things that we do on auto-pilot. Elrod recommends keeping the following in mind as you start on a path of embedding new habits:
By Orly Katz, LCPC at Everyday Counseling and Coaching Services
We’re nearly midway though 2017, so let’s do a quick check in on something that a few of us may have long forgotten about – our New Year’s Resolutions. A little awkward, right? For some of us, these goals may no longer be goals because we’ve achieved them – we’ve started and maintained a regular gym schedule, we’ve quit an unhealthy habit, or we’ve dived into a new hobby we enjoy. But for many of us, well, these resolutions may have fallen away from our daily lives months ago. Why is that? Why is goal setting and habit formation such a hard thing for so many people? Here are some ideas around this:
So how can we invite habit formation back into our lives? I love this video (although, a warning – the humor is a bit quirky and there is some adult language used). Once you’ve finished, we can take a look at some other lessons from this.
Now that we’ve been informed of some great, evidence-based tips for how to make habits stick, let’s spend a few moments exploring some additional things to consider before you proceed with introducing a habit.
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