My Book: Trail to My True Self

It has been quite a while since I published a new blog post. It’s not because I have just been “sitting around”. Ha! For many months, I wasn’t quite sure how to follow the two previous posts about the traumatic period for my husband and me. So, I didn’t post anything.

But, I did write.

For several years, I had been working on a self-help type of book. Loving the process; then hating it. Picking up where I left off; and then abandoning it. A back and forth pattern that drove me crazy. But recently, things lined up to bring me the help, motivation, and inspiration I needed to get the book completed!

Since Don’s heart surgery, I’ve gotten a new perspective on life. It made me see past experiences in a new light and understand them on a different level.

So, I changed the genre of my book from self-help to memoir. That means my nitty-gritty personal stuff is in there! I recount the whole story of how a cute guy helped me to discover my self-worth issue while hiking in the Grand Canyon. The realization that my dad’s early death contributed to the denial of my true self. And how not valuing and loving myself played out in everyday life—fearing my first kiss as a teenager; being an imposter with my husband; and suffering at work, to name a few.

My hope is that this book leads you to strengthen the value and love you always deserved from your true self.

Check back soon for the upcoming release of Trail to My True Self: My Journey to Self-Love and Happiness!

 

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Turning Debbie Downer on her Head

I recently have been aware that I say and think many “Debbie Downer” lines. Debbie Downer was a character on Saturday Night Live that always brought up a bad or negative point in a conversation among a group of people.  As I had been noticing my behavior in doing this, I began to look at it in depth.  The first thing I told myself was what I was saying were facts. These negative points are true.  For example, I told someone I had a craving for frozen yogurt.  He said go get some at lunch.  My reply was that it’s too far away.  And that was a fact!  It was too far for the time I had available.

Yes, it is true that Debbie Downer lines are facts. But they are looking at the negative.  My ego had me so tricked by this – had me believing that just because it was a fact, that being negative was inevitable and, sort of, necessary and that being positive was implausible.

It’s true – there are plenty of negative facts.  But there are plenty of positive things to focus on, as well.  It really is a matter of what our point of focus is on.

Debbie Downer lines can be about simple and insignificant subjects or meaningful topics.  They come in response to a comment from somebody or even in response to your own self.  Here’s some examples of what I’m talking about: My husband suggests to send flowers to a family member.  I immediately shoot it down saying that is a dumb idea because flowers just die!  Definitely a fact that flowers die.  Another example is wanting to go to Europe for a vacation.  It’s expensive.  Another fact, indeed.  A third example is that I want to write and publish a book.  Debbie says to that, there are already so many self-help books available.  True, thousands already exist.

The upside is that now that I clearly see this behavior in myself, I can change it.  When I catch myself saying or thinking a Debbie Downer line, I tell myself (my ego), yes that is a fact.  But, what is the positive statement about the topic?  In the fro-yo example, it would be that I can go after work or tomorrow.  So you sort of pivot from the negative fact to put a positive spin on the subject at hand.  This, of course, leaves us feeling good rather than down, which is the ultimate goal. In the sending flowers example, we could say flowers are so beautiful while they are alive; even though it is a short time, it is well worth it. The Europe downer could be if it is something we highly desire we can save up money for it; the experience will merit the money spent.  And about the book publishing, there can never be too many self-help books, all add value, people always want a new book to read.  And so on.  We can always find the positive side to a negative fact.

We first want to go from saying the Downer lines aloud to just having them in our thoughts.  Of course we don’t want them there either.  This is a process.  First we catch ourselves before we say them aloud.  We pivot in our minds and say only the positive.  We want to get to where we no longer put the negative facts out there for others to receive.  Eventually with some practice (and it will be quicker than you think!), we get to where we no longer even think the negative fact.  (But we don’t criticize ourselves when we do have them.  We are always kind to ourselves.) Simply pivoting with the positive spin will become a habit.

Another way to pivot would be to affirm the topic and then remind ourselves that anything is possible.  For instance, let’s use the Debbie Downer line of going to Europe is too expensive. Then we would pivot and say, But it certainly is possible that I could find a cheap airfare, or I could receive unexpected additional income, etc.  Then really feel the feeling of that being plausible.  Ending with the line, Anything is possible with God/Divine/Source (don’t get caught up on the label!), will certainly put Debbie in her place.

This is simply another way to deliberately be joyful.  As the Dalai Lama says in The Art of Happiness, “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”.  In other words, we aren’t just automatically happy.  Our happiness is in our own hands.  Therefore, we must intentionally focus our minds and behaviors on joy.

Let’s be open to seeing where or when we might be a Debbie Downer.  Then turn Debbie upside down and put a positive spin on the negative fact.  We realize Debbie is just our ego, not our true selves.  And remember to laugh at the ridiculousness of Debbie!

Get Out of the Comfort Zone

In my Deliberate Joyful Activities post, I wrote about the necessity of deliberately putting joyful activities on our to-do lists.  These are things we know ahead of time are enjoyable and fun for us.  But if we just keep doing what we always do, eventually we will feel like our lives have leveled off or gotten in a rut.  So it is important to also do things outside of our comfort zones.

Getting out of our comfort zones can increase joy.  Maybe not during the activity because we are in unfamiliar territory and have fear of the unknown.  But, afterwards we find that getting out of our routines and limited experiences can be stimulating.  It expands our horizons which creates personal growth.  And when we grow, we are joyful.  It is known that cells in our bodies continually change.  If they do not change, the body would die.  The same is true for us mentally and emotionally.  If we stagnate too long, we die mentally and emotionally, as well.  We must change and grow to thrive.

Also, facing and conquering what is unfamiliar to us or what we are fearful of, makes us feel empowered.  We learn, first-handedly, that we no longer have to shrivel when confronted with a fear or unfamiliar circumstance.  In not becoming immobile from the fear, we then feel limitless. Fear cannot hold us back from anything.

Challenges, out of comfort zone experiences, and facing fears – after we do these types of things then the next one seems easier.  It’s like exercising – when we work out and do, say, arm curls with 10 pound weights, then the 5 pound weights seem easier.  Or when we run fast one day, the next time we do a slow jog or walk it seems so easy.  The same would be true for yoga – the more we practice yoga, the easier it is and better we are at the same pose the next time.  Conditioning ourselves works for mental/emotional aspects just as it does for our physical bodies.

Recently when I was doing a bunch of out-of-my-comfort-zone things consecutively, I was overcome with anxiety.  But then I remembered, when I am out of my comfort zone, I am going to feel, at the very least, uncomfortable…it’s the very meaning of the phrase!  Just because I feel uncomfortable or anxious, does not mean I should stop reaching for my true self and growing.  Michael A. Singer writes in, The Untethered Soul, “Going beyond always means letting go of the effort to keep things within your defined limits…..You used to pull back when it got uncomfortable.  Now you relax and go past that point.”  I agree with this and I also keep in mind that before I can relax and go past my comfort zone, I must have my foundation of self-worth.  (Click here for a refresher on increasing self-worth.)

We also can use this idea for situations that we don’t necessarily choose that get us out of our comfort zones.  Like when something new and we don’t like comes at us, like our job description unexpectedly changes, or we have an unplanned move due to a spouse’s job, or an unforeseen relationship breakup.  The term “growing pains” isn’t just about physical growth.  It applies to mental, emotional, spiritual growth too.  It sometimes hurts to grow and there’s no way around it.  But, knowing we will grow and will get something out of it, while the change is happening, may not make it feel any less uncomfortable or scary, but it surely will help us deal with it better.  It will give us hope and make us aware there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  This may be all we need to make it through the unfamiliar patch.

What are you going to deliberately do out of your comfort zone today?