Practicing guitar and singing.
Something that I’m getting used to and practicing every day is the idea that it’s not the opinions of others that matter, but rather it’s my opinion of their opinions that matter. I can attest to the better feelings and lightheartedness that this way of living engenders. You see, everything we experience must go through our personal filter of opinions anyway, so being able to choose our own opinions about things (which everyone is able to do, with practice) allows us to control our perception of life.
For example, if my opinion of myself is such that no matter what happens, I choose to be my own friend, then that’s how I’ll be, and subsequently feel better for it. Let’s say that I notice – or worry about – someone’s opinion of me. I’ve got to get to the point where my opinion of myself has more authority than someone else’s, otherwise there’s no way for me to be free (and happy).
Much of this blog has been about my journey to get to the point where I can feel and know my personal power. The circumstances of my life have been good and bad – over and over – and my happiness and unhappiness went up and down with it – over and over – but I’m free of that now. All I’ve ever really wanted was to know who I am, and be who I am. I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re not able to be yourself, you can’t be happy, so you have to want to be happy first of all, and you have to know yourself, which is the purpose of the journey.
Have you ever argued for your limitations; blaming, complaining, giving excuses and justifying why you’re doing something, or why something is (or isn’t) happening the way it is? I know that I have, and continue to do so, and it can be exasperating. It seems like 80% of the thoughts that cross my mind are limiting beliefs, and they want me to argue for them. The thing about beliefs is that they seem real, otherwise they wouldn’t be beliefs.
Once you reach a certain point, it’s probably better to drop most of your beliefs – or preconceived notions – and look at the world through your own eyes, rather than through filters. Long held beliefs can turn into prejudices, biases, fears, limitations, and excuses, all of which weigh you down and distort your perception of reality. That’s one good thing about a shake-up in life; it makes all of the false premises come tumbling down.
I’m aware of and accept (and allow) that the process of letting go of limiting beliefs, or no longer arguing for my limitations, is a gradual, day to day practice. I realize that my mind can have a tendency to focus on the reasons why something won’t work, or can’t be that way, and I know that this is resistance to my personal power. I remind myself that anything is possible.
Would you rather live an inspired life, or a motivated one? There’s a distinction between acting from inspiration versus acting from motivation. My practice is to be aware of the distinction, and act from inspiration more and more of the time.
The distinction between inspiration and motivation can be subtle. We may think we’re acting from one, but we’re actually acting from the other, and vice versa. The key is to be aware of how we feel about what we’re doing. Inspired action feels like it’s coming from within; we want to do it. Motivated action comes from outside of us; we feel like we have to do it.
Inspiration calls to us, and we feel pulled or drawn toward it. Motivation pushes on us, and the pushing can come from our environment or other people. Inspiration naturally energizes and rejuvenates us, while motivation is like taking a hit of something and needing to come back for more. I think it’s helpful to remember the adage to do what you love, and to love what you do.
I have the opportunity to put all of the things I’ve discovered and learned into practice; art, philosophy, metaphysics, psychology, personality, writing, love, etc. It all makes sense in a way that couldn’t have happened without my particular life experience. Every day is an exciting and refreshing adventure!
Exploring the Life Areas is my “way.” The Life Areas are:
Over the coming days, I’ll explore and detail my understanding of each Life Area. Some Life Areas I’m more familiar with than others, but they’re all fascinating.
I can say (with more confidence than before) that whatever we think is a problem always has a corresponding solution, and that a solution isn’t so much the opposite of a problem, but rather the synthesis of two halves of a whole, but it’s one thing to think of it that way; it’s another thing to put it into practice.
Self-discipline is vital in living a purposeful life, and there are many people who offer advice about being self-disciplined, but just as having no self-discipline at all is detrimental to your success, applying a lot of self-discipline in the wrong direction, or to the wrong things, is also unproductive, and you may end up feeling confused and demoralized.
It’s like the example of making sure your ladder is on the right wall before climbing it, or you’ll end up realizing you’ve been climbing up the wrong wall. There are all kinds of debates about which wall to climb, and even the proper way to do the climbing, but here at GBM, I’ll always talk about climbing the wall to who you really are, which I call aligning with your True Self. That puts the responsibility squarely upon your shoulders as to which wall to climb.
Take heart, though, because it’s not a one and done kind of deal. You get to make new choices and decisions, so you’re not stuck if you find yourself on the wrong ladder or wall. The trick is not to worry about the wall, and instead focus on your ladder, which is your alignment with your True Self. This ladder has rungs made of better and more positive emotions as you climb it, and as long as you focus on your own ladder, you’ll be following your bliss. Then it won’t matter which wall you’re climbing. You can take your ladder with you wherever you go.
The basic choice in life is deciding to what, and to whom, you’re going to align yourself with. Do you believe that you were born with inner guidance and wisdom? Do you believe each person has their own inner guidance, and that we each know what’s best for ourselves? If you don’t believe in your own inner guidance, then who do you think knows you better than yourself?
At GBM, I talk about listening to your inner guidance and following your bliss. That may require some practice, but to me that’s the true meaning of self-discipline; to be disciplined in aligning with your True Self.
Empathy is defined as:
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
So self-empathy would be the ability to understand and share the feelings of yourself.
Having self-empathy is my ongoing practice, because I want to understand and be able to share my feelings.
Not understanding what we’re feeling, shoving our feelings away and keeping them suppressed or numb, isn’t a good long-term strategy.
Lack of self-empathy makes an enemy of yourself, and that’s no fun since you take yourself with you wherever you go.
In a perfect world, we would all have empathy for each other, and we would receive empathy from our caretakers while growing up, but often that doesn’t happen.
It’s up to us to be the one to change the dysfunctional pattern by practicing self-empathy, then using our abilities to have empathy for others. We can’t give to others what we ourselves lack.
At the heart of it, self-empathy is about being our own friend, and for some of us that’s the most important lesson of all.
image credit: Pixabay