Changing Old, Cranky Habits

When we start focusing on feeling more joyful, we soon become aware of some of our habits that are getting in the way of our joy.  These habits can be actual behaviors or merely thought patterns.  But trying to change an unwanted habit can be a daunting task.  It used to make me very grumpy, to say the least, to try to stop doing that old habit!  And that’s even when we are intentionally attempting to break the habit.  But sometimes, we don’t even realize we are doing the old habit.  It’s almost as if our brains are on autopilot.  Lo and behold, that actually is the case!

In fact, scientific research has discovered neural pathways in our brains.  These are like highways in which messages travel.  A simple example of a pathway forming is if we feel stressed (or worried, threatened, anxious, etc.) and then drink alcohol or go shopping or rant to a friend or binge eat or do whatever that makes us feel better, then cells become wired together that tell the brain the next time we feel this stress, take this same road to feel better.  The more the messages travel on the highway, the better formed the highway becomes.  Hence, pathways -habits- become difficult to alter and responses become automated.

But, fortunately, with our conscious awareness, these roads can be changed.  Neuroplasticity is a fancy term meaning the brain can form new pathways throughout our lives.  Research has shown that new neural pathways are formed through new behaviors, and even by imagining behaviors.  What matters is the repetition of the behavior, actual or imagined.  We all have experienced that the more often we do something, the easier it gets. This is the highway becoming better formed.

Think of it as a trail through the woods.  The first time through, it needs careful, slow footing and an axe to get through the heavy bush.  But once the trail is blazed then it becomes a path to easily walk on.  But what happens to the old pathways that are no longer traveled?  Just like the trail in the forest would become overgrown if not walked upon, the pathway will naturally fade out if not used.  But, how to not use these well-treaded paths?!

False Brain Messages

In the book, You Are Not Your Brain by Schwartz and Gladding, they suggest that we train our brains to perceive habits – good or bad ones – as vital to our survival.  Deceptive brain messages, as they call them, convince us we must do this certain behavior to stay alive.  Essentially, the brain’s job is to ensure our physical survival.  When we feel a negative emotion, the brain sees it as an alarm it must take care of immediately.  So, whatever seems beneficial and makes us feel better in the very short term is the route the brain will take.  The brain, on its own, will not bypass immediate relief by considering long term goals and desires.  The brain isn’t concerned with our future well-being, it just cares about preventing our imminent death.  Our brains are not actually smart; it’s our minds that have all the wisdom.

Clearly seeing the brain’s function for what it is, it becomes easier to break free of old habits.  When we notice we are engaging in an old habit, ask ourselves, what benefit does my brain think I am getting from this habit?  Then use our mind to tell ourselves this is a deceptive brain message and that the brain thinks this habit will help us to survive.  This is where it is essential to remind ourselves that the false brain message is not true and then to go over why it isn’t true.  (Hint: it probably has to do with feeling unworthy.) Schwartz and Gladding say to then refocus by doing a different behavior or think a different thought.

An Example of Breaking a Habit

One of my negative habits is to check and re-check my work at my “day job”.  And after I check it twice, to then check it again…and maybe again!  The deceptive brain message from which this habit stems is about not being capable of doing my work correctly (which originated in childhood, but we don’t need to get into all that now).  This message – even though not true – triggers the uncomfortable sensations of anxiety and worry.  To immediately alleviate those sensations, I have trained myself (unconsciously) to check, ad nauseam, to make sure my work is correct.  This gives me immediate relief from worry and anxiety, which is all the brain is concerned with – get those bad feelings to go away ASAP!  Benefit achieved.  But the problem with that is that the false brain message just keeps coming back and, what’s more, it gets worse (the trail get more and more blazed as it is used).

This is where the conscious mind must come in and say something along the lines of, ‘Whoa!  This is not helping me in the long run.  Yea, checking my work makes me feel better in that moment and may even prevent a panic attack, but I now know that I will feel more anxiety about this later.  I now know this message of incapability is false.  I learned it in childhood and have perpetuated it into my adult life.  I know this message is not true now because I have successfully been doing these work tasks for years.’  And so on, until I have convinced myself the brain message is not true.

Next step is to refocus on a completely different activity or thought. I keep a few refocus activities stashed in my mental pocket, so they are available to me without having to struggle to come up with something when I am deep in false brain message mode. Some of mine are going for a walk, learning Italian words, looking at nature, appreciating a beautiful object, Googling a place I’d like to travel, crafting.  The refocusing activities should be positive things or, at least, not detrimental.  We don’t want to replace a bad habit with a new, but still not helpful one.

What old, negative habit do you want to let go of?  What false brain message is associated with it?  Why is the message not true?

Research shows that it takes a few weeks of persistence, practice, and focused repetition to make a new neural pathway.  Remember you are not just breaking a bad habit, but squashing false brain messages.  So give it a try and hang in there!

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Visualization and Imagery

Back in football season, I saw a playoff game where a field goal would have won the game for that team.  An ordinary field goal that the kicker had made many times.  It wasn’t like it was longer than what he was used to or had never done before.  Basically it was a run of the mill play for him.  However, he did not make it this time.  And it wasn’t because of a block from another player.  In other words, it was not missed due to any physical reason.  It was only missed because of his own thoughts.  Our thoughts can help us or hurt us.  It’s our choice.

One way we can utilize our thoughts to our benefit is through visualization.  This is the technique where we mentally visualize something that we want.  To continue with the sports theme, athletes have been using visualization for years.  In the 1980s, Russians studied Olympic athletes who mentally rehearsed (aka, visualized) their sport.  They found that the performance of those that included visualization exceeded those that did not include visualization as part of their practice.

Various other studies have compared three groups of people: those that lift weights, those that visualize lifting weights and those that do neither.  Of course, the weight lifters increased strength and the couch potatoes didn’t.  But the astonishing finding is that the visualizers also increased their muscle strength.  Actual muscle strength can be increased by only visualizing lifting weights.  By only visualizing it!

Further studies have shown that the autonomic nervous system is triggered by mental visualizations of the athletes’ sporting activities which then led to increased physical performance.  In other words, to the body, it doesn’t matter if it is real or imagined.  You’ve probably experienced this yourself:  Ever wake up from a nightmare with an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, or sweating?  It certainly wasn’t from your body physically moving.  It was only from your mind!

Professional athletes today are using imagery as opposed to visualization because it also has been found that using all the senses – not just visual – boost performance.  They say the more they can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell the event, the more it improves their performance.  And the research shows that it only takes a few minutes a day to have an effect.

You are probably saying at this point, ‘Fascinating, but I’m not an athlete so what’s this got to do with me?’  The point is that this research with athletes has proven the power of visualization and imagery to help us achieve things in the physical.  This is incredibly amazing and powerful data that can be extended from physical conditioning of our bodies to any physical object, event, or circumstance that we want.

How to Visualize

First of all, visualizing is not difficult.  Egos usually tell us, we aren’t able to do it.  But, it’s just not practiced.  It’s not something most of us do regularly so we think it is a tough task.  The more we practice it though, the easier – and more fun! – it becomes.

Imagine something, anything you can dream up.  Not as you think it should be or as others would want it to be. (Nobody will judge you because this is all you.  You don’t have to tell a soul what you are imagining.)  It can be what you believe is a far-fetched dream or something more plausible to you.  The subject could be anything from physical conditioning, health, relationship, a material object, feeling more meaning and purpose, to helping others.  When your ego comes in and offers negativity (‘that could never happen’ or ’that’s dumb’, etc.), gently dismiss it.  If it persists, then you know it is time to end the session.

For only 5-10 minutes every day or so, see, feel, taste, smell, and hear the details of your dream.  Be in it, rather than watching it like a movie.  Here’s some random examples:

A new car:  See the car.  See the color of it inside and out.  Smell that new car smell.  Hear the sound of the engine.  The feel of the seat as you sit down.  Hear the friend talking to you who is in the car with you, etc.

Running a mile or 10 miles or a marathon: See yourself in your workout clothes.  Imagine your route and every detail you know about it.  See where you cross a street, pass a particular building.  Feel your breathing becoming more labored and imagine taking a deep, helpful breath.  Smell your sweat (ha!).  See yourself finishing the route and feel the feeling of being so proud of yourself.

Getting the idea of this?  Note that we’re not trying to fix something in our visualizations.  For example, we’re not taking a relationship with problems and working to find solutions.  We’re not trying to solve a problem of the world.  Visualization time should be pure enjoyment and fun!

We also visualize what we want so that these things do not feel so foreign or unlikely.  It helps us get used to the idea of them.  The more we visualize and feel them in our minds, the more they will seem likely to us to happen in physical reality.  Remember, our minds do not know if we are just imagining something or doing it in the physical.  So the more we imagine something, the more it will seem like the next logical step in “real” life.  It will not be an out-of-the-blue, crazy idea, because you have been feeling like you were already doing it.

Be careful not to then feel bad in your “real” life when you look at what is or isn’t, compared to what you visualized.  Be patient with the manifestation of your desires; all in divine time.  Turning your focus to appreciation of the things you currently do have in your life is an excellent way to stop the frustration of seeing what is lacking. When you do start to see the desires manifesting, then acknowledge and be appreciative of them, as well.

Try it out and see what manifests for you!

Manifest Our Desires (aka, Get Things We Want)

Of course we can be joyful without any material object or relationship.  The ultimate goal is to be happy regardless of any external thing.  But…we want things!  And that is perfectly normal and natural.  We are in this world of physicality.  Let’s embrace and enjoy material things, always mindful that we don’t need them to be happy.  But that it is more than okay to have fun with and enjoy things.

So how do we get things we want?  A lot of hard work and physical effort?  Wrong!  But it seems that is what most people believe.  From the Puritan Work Ethic, conservative religion, governments, etc. trying to control the masses, whatever the origin, this is what has been ingrained in most people’s minds in our society.  But it simply is not true.

The work hard motto has definitely been ingrained in my mind.  But by playing around with, testing out and doing some experiments for fun, I’ve seen, first-hand, what can be manifested by not putting in that 110% physical effort.  At least not in the typical way.  It all has to do with focusing our thoughts.  Manifesting physical things all begins with what we think and how we feel emotionally.

The way we feel is the indicator of what we are thinking and what vibration we are.  Feeling good means we are thinking good thoughts (joy, happiness, appreciation, fun, enthusiasm, love) and indicates we are at a high vibration.  Feeling bad means we’ve mostly had negative thoughts going on (worry, sad, angry, jealous, bored, guilt, confused, fear) and means we are at a low vibration.

Whoa.  What the heck is vibration?  This is where the science comes in.  Yep, that’s right…science.

I’m definitely not a scientist nor completely understand science.  (And please pardon me if I have some slight errors in explaining the science.)  But I think it is worth it to take some time to ponder the quantum world.  Not just for the sake of expanding our minds, but to fully realize that we shape our reality whether we are aware of it or not.

Science proves the existence of vibration.  Quantum physics has shown that everything is made up of energy.  And all energy is moving, or, in other words, vibrating.  Everything is made up of millions of subatomic particles that are vibrating.  Everything vibrates at different rates or frequencies.  Including us.  (Also including our thoughts. But, we’ll get to that in a minute.) Envision everything as masses of vibrating energy, rather than as what we can see and touch.  This is not just theory but proven scientific discoveries by esteemed scientists like, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, and Max Planck (names to google, if you desire).

Einstein’s famous equation, which most of us have at least heard of, from the 1920s, E=MC2, states that matter (physical objects) and energy can be converted into each other and thus are essentially the same!  Energy – something we cannot see – and matter – that which we can see – are the same things in different forms.  He theorized, through mathematical equations, that everything is made of atoms and that all atoms consist of sub-atomic particles which consist of pure energy at their most basic level.  Even things that appear to be very different.  At their basic level, everything is made up of this same energy.

It was just Einstein’s theory; for there was no way to prove it at the time.  But it has now been proven over and over again by highly regarded scientists.  In other words, it is not just some out of the blue, airy-fairy idea.  (Although this is where I do not fully understand the science behind it and cannot seem to wrap my head around these experiments!  This is where I trust the scientists and move beyond to where this fact can actually benefit my life.)

Then came the Copenhagen Interpretation by Niels Bohr, also from the 1920s.  This says that a particle doesn’t exist in one state or another (energy or physical) but in all possible states simultaneously.  It’s not until we observe it that it chooses its state.  Quantum physics has proven that the same atom can be a solid physical particle or a non-physical wave of energy depending on what the observer is expecting.

So what this means in practical terms is that our thoughts create physical things!  Everything that was created was a thought first.  Again, this is not a self-help or new age-y idea.  This is scientifically proven and accepted as fact in the professional scientific community for almost one hundred years.

The idea of Quantum Entanglement began in the 1930s in a paper by scientists Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen, which was later proven in multiple experiments.  In these experiments (which continue through the modern day), subatomic particles of energy were split in half.  It was found that each half affected the other half regardless of how physically far apart they were and the effect was received instantly.  It did not matter if the halves were close to each other or across the globe.  Regardless of physical distance, interacting with one half always had a simultaneous effect on the other half.  Because the effect was instantaneous – did not take time to travel through space – this means each half is still connected with the other.  If the Big Bang theory is correct (note that Einstein’s theories, and many other esteemed scientists of the time, could not be proven at the time until technology advanced to provide ways to test the theories), then everything in the world was “entangled” at the start, so that means everything has an effect on everything else.

Our Thoughts are Energy

How do we know our thoughts are made of this same energy?  It seems like thoughts could be an exception (says the ego).  But consider this: Our brains generate an electrical field which these days can be measured by ordinary medical equipment, such as, electroencephalogram (EEG).  An EEG works by measuring the fluctuations in voltage within the brain.  Voltage is defined on dictionary.com as electromotive force.  In other words, energy!  So that is confirmed – our thoughts are energy.  The same energy that Einstein stated made up everything.

So that then means the same principles that are proven for quantum physics (above) also apply to our thoughts:  Matter and energy can be converted into each other; All possibilities exist simultaneously and our observation or expectation determines state; Everything has an effect on everything else regardless of distance.

These “strange” phenomena happen not only in lab experiments with particles, but in our everyday lives!

The difference between our thoughts and particles is that we have free will over our thoughts.  We can think whatever we choose.  (See previous post.) We can direct and focus our thoughts and thus affect our environment and everything in it.  In other words, we can get things we want by thinking about them.

If the case is still not made that our thoughts create reality (my ego is very stubborn!), perhaps some more science will settle it.  Experiments starting in the 1970s at Princeton University showed that thoughts affected a random event generator (REG).  A random event generator is a device that produces completely random and unpredictable series of numbers.  When a person intentionally tried to direct the numbers, the sequences shifted and were significantly proven to not be by chance.  They also did experiments in various field settings (outside the lab) with activities comprised of large groups of people.  They found that the output generated by the REGs shifted based on events such as touchdowns in football games and peak moments in performances.  Thus, unintentional, as well as intentional, thoughts both affected the REGs.  This is a really neat experiment that shows the effect of our thoughts.

In Hidden Messages in Water, scientist Masaru Emoto wrote about the effects of words and thoughts on water.  When water is frozen, crystals form.  He found again and again that positive thoughts and words made the ice form beautiful crystals; negative ones made deformed crystals or no crystals at all.  (Check out the Water Crystal Photo Gallery for some fascinating pictures: masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html).  Not only does this support our case about our thoughts affecting our reality, but it also shows that thoughts affect our bodies because our bodies are 70% water!

Try some experiments for yourself to really seal the deal to your doubting ego.  I love the book, E-squared, by Pam Grout.  She’s got nine DIY energy/thought experiments that are not only convincing but fun!

How fascinating are quantum physics and these experiments!  In a nutshell, science says that our thoughts create material things and everything is possible.  The quantum physicist Niels Bohr said, “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.”  Even the genius Einstein deemed quantum entanglement theory as “spooky”.

Please share your ideas and comments about quantum science and creating your reality.  Or even better, examples of what you intentionally created with your thoughts!  Next post, we’ll talk specifically about our thoughts in terms of visualization and imagery.

Fighting Against What We Know is Good for Us

So we’ve gone over lots of ways to feel more joyful.  We love them, are excited by them, tried them out and know they work!  So why do we not keep doing them?  They’re not difficult.  That’s not the reason. They don’t require something we don’t already have.  That’s not why.  They don’t cost a thing.  That’s not it.

Whether the thing we are not doing is as big as not following our heart’s desires, or simply not praying, meditating, doing exercises to increase our self-worth, eating well, physically exercising, etc., it all falls under the category of fighting against that which is beneficial for us.  (Steven Pressfield calls this Resistance, with a capital R and has an entire book about it, The War of Art.  Be sure to check out his life-changing ideas.) Note, we are not talking about things we “have to” do but aren’t, such as a work project, filling out our taxes, or studying for a required class, etc.   These are things others are telling us to do but we are not interested in.  We’re talking about things we know will help us, things we know are good for us, things we know we will enjoy once we get started.  Why on Earth would we fight against doing them!  And, more importantly, how can we ‘just do it’? (thanks, Nike)

Put simply, we fight against them because that’s human nature.  It’s part of the process of being human.  As said, Steven Pressfield’s book elaborates wonderfully on ‘the why’ of this.  So no need to get into all that here.  I’d rather focus here on ‘the how’ of overcoming it.

First, we must recognize that it is merely part of the human experience; everybody struggles to do what they know will be good for themselves.  We all struggle with self-doubt and fear of change.  This struggle is ego in action.

Then, focus more on what it is we are resisting rather than the resistance itself.  Don’t give too  much meaning to the challenging thoughts.  Don’t analyze fears and opposition.  Once we get involved in weighing our fears, they will most surely win.  Ego will always make us believe the fears and excuses are justified.  If ego asks ‘what ifs’ about it going wrong, answer ego with ‘what ifs’ about it going right.  And be specific.

Ask for help and support from family or close friends. Sometimes we need an objective boost.  Be sure to ask ones you know are on that wavelength.  Don’t ask a skeptic or Negative Nelly!

If you don’t have anyone like that in your life (and even if you do), turn to God/The Universe/Creator/Source (let’s not waste time and energy by getting caught up in the name).  I used to think it was a weakness to ask for help, be it other people or even God.  I realized that is ego once again resisting doing what is good for me.  A succinct request, such as, ‘God, show me and help me to do the next step of divine work/highest good/best for me and all concerned’ will do.

After we ask for divine help, then wait for answers and inspiration in hopeful, fun, light, anticipation.  Rather than milling around in despair.  Solutions, motivation and courage won’t come or be clear when we are feeling down and out.  Do something fun or light-hearted and forget about whatever has got us hung up while happily holding in the back of our minds the eager anticipation of the solution or progress.

What are you resisting that you know would be good for you?  How would you feel if you did it?  How would you change for the better?  Focus on these answers rather than beating yourself up for not doing it.

Positive Lists About “Bad” Situations

As discussed in the last post, it can be greatly beneficial to deliberately adjust our bad feeling about someone or something. This time we will focus on the something. First off, let’s point out a not so obvious reason why this can be beneficial.

There is indeed a silver lining to the dark cloud of being stuck in a situation we don’t like. When we know what we don’t want, we know what we do want because we know we want the opposite of what we don’t want! Did you get that? (Ha!) As always, we are mindful of making the best of whatever circumstances we may have gotten ourselves into. But, some things and events we just simply do not want. And that is perfectly okay; we all have preferences – that’s part of being human. So rather than fear, whine about, feel depressed or sulk around when things aren’t going as we may like, we can look at what the opposite of the unwanted situation is and realize and declare to the Universe, I now know very clearly what it is that I do want! This is a huge benefit of a “bad” situation or circumstance. Remember, to get what we want, we have to know what it is. That seems obvious, but a lot of the time we just focus on what we don’t like and don’t want and so that is what keeps getting replayed in our reality.

A personal example of mine was a particularly bad workday. I did not want to be doing that type of work anymore. I felt depressed and didn’t know where to turn next. After I felt bad for a few hours, I wised up and remembered it is okay to feel bad about this (briefly, let’s not get stuck in the bad feeling) because this is helping me to identify what it is that I really do want in a job. So I thought about what in particular I was struggling with at my job – too detail-oriented and not a meaningful objective. So, that meant I want to be working in something that is more big picture-oriented and meaningful to me.

With this shift in attention, our attitudes change from doom and gloom to hope and aspiration. From here, we can move on to making a Positive List about the bad situation. Just as we listed the positive things about another person in the last post, we do the same with the situation. But the positive aspects here ought to also include big-picture types of things, such as: an opportunity for personal growth, what we became aware of from the “bad” situation, what we learned from mistakes or flaws (ours or other people’s), (I love these quotes from Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”)

Consciously finding the positive in a “bad” situation or circumstance helps us to transcend the anguish, dread, anxiety, victimhood, fear and anger associated with it and frees us from the mental burdens that stuck with us.

What “bad” situation are you mentally turning around today?

Making Positive Lists

Let’s remind ourselves why deliberate positive thoughts are necessary. If our minds are left untended to, the ego creeps in and takes over with worry, fear and negativity. This is just human nature. So it is vital to our joy to consciously place good, positive thoughts in our awareness lest our egos will take charge.

Okay, so another way to use our thoughts to increase our joy is in finding positive aspects. We can find the positive in ourselves (which we’ve touched on in increasing our self-worth), in others, in circumstances, and even in challenging situations.

Positive Lists are similar to the appreciation exercise, but Positive Lists are aimed at a specific topic or person. For instance, we could make a list of positive traits of our spouse/partner, parent, friend, co-worker or ourselves. It could also be about our job, a vacation, or our home. It can even be about a (seemingly) “bad” situation or someone we don’t like.

The idea behind these lists is to shift our perception from negative to positive, to get us on the wavelength of a high vibration. Simply put, to make us feel good! Sometimes it is fun just to list a bunch of good things about someone or thing. Other times, it is greatly beneficial to deliberately adjust our bad feeling about someone or thing.

For instance, once when I was particularly feeling irritated by my husband’s actions (by the way, this is a normal part of close relationships!), I wrote a positive list about him. Not only did it make me feel better to focus on his good things, but I no longer felt irritated. Not only did I not feel irritated, but he no longer was doing those things in my presence! One time he began complaining about something that happened at work. Rather than try to ignore him (which I had tried in the past and found out does not work) I focused on my positive list about him. At the end of his rant, he ended by saying he was going to talk to another co-worker about it and not think about it anymore in that particular moment. Mind you, I had not even said a word to him. Within a month he proclaimed he wanted to be less cynical and more positive about things.

It is important to note that circumstances changed after I felt good. And that I did not set out to change anyone or thing, except for how I was feeling. I truly was focusing on and deeply feeling his positive attributes. It was not for pretend. The whole list was and is real. But, it did not matter if he saw his own good or not. It was all about how I was feeling about him. This is a good exercise in overcoming the ego rather than going down the usual ego path of pointing out how wrong or bad they are so we can feel better about ourselves. We are not trying to feel better by making another person wrong or inferior or by comparing ourselves to others. We truly are just acknowledging the positive in the other person, in a completely egoless way. We are deliberately making ourselves feel better and if circumstances happen to also change for the better, then that’s terrific as well.

Who or what are you going to make a Positive List about today? Try it! It will make you feel good!
Next time, we’ll focus on a Positive List about a “bad” situation.

Increasing Self-Worth, Part 2

A few years ago I realized that what was keeping me stuck in a feeling of unworthiness was that I had gotten into a habit of thinking unworthy, unkind thoughts about myself.  Because it was a habit, I didn’t even realize what I was thinking.  It just felt normal to think that way.  This habit not only lowered my self-worth but it often expressed itself as melancholy, depression, and a general discontent.  And because I was unaware of my unworthy thoughts, I did not understand why I often felt down which made me feel even worse.  All those 80 million unkind thoughts about myself (see last post) caused a lot of harm!

So, it is important that we become aware and get into the new habit of thinking worthy, kind thoughts about ourselves.  To get this new habit started, try these tips:  Intentionally think worthy thoughts at set times during each day; recite them over and over; write some down; think 3 to 5 kind thoughts about ourselves at a time.  Keep doing a regimen like this until thinking kindly about ourselves feels second nature.

To increase self-worth, not only should we think differently about ourselves, but we also must act differently.  Consider these actions:

Let’s accept praise and compliments. It is amazing how often we deny or refuse a compliment.  Someone says, You are so talented or creative or handy, etc. Or I love that sweater you picked out.  Most often, people will respond, Oh it was nothing or It could have been better or It’s not that great.  Or worse, point out their own flaws!  Are we taught it is good manners to not accept and acknowledge praise and compliments?  It may break a rule of proper etiquette to accept compliments, but it is time to dismiss those rules.

Acknowledge and take credit for our strengths and affirm our talents.  Know what we are good at and then have an air of confidence about such things. There is no need to be humble about what we are good at.  (Remember, we are God’s creations and everybody is special, unique, and worthy. No need for comparisons to others.)

Speak up for ourselves.  This is not in an angry or, necessarily, bold way.  But, from a place of  knowing that it is ok to say what we feel.  We speak freely, always with joy and kindness.  Our desires, interests and opinions matter and deserve to be heard.

Take special notice the next few days of compliments from others and say, thanks!  This week, let’s remind ourselves of our talents, abilities and the things we have a knack for and commend ourselves.  Let’s also speak what we feel, joyfully and kindly.

Increasing Self-Worth, Part 3 coming up next week!