How To Avoid The 7 Deadly Sins Of Value-Breaching

By Dan Munro

Before we talk about the 7 deadly sins of value-breaching, let’s first discuss what it means to live by your values. This concept is core to all of my work, and I believe it to be the foundation of self-confidence. It is the cure to neuroticism, helplessness, and lack of purpose.

Living by values is about knowing the difference between the Real Self (who you are being right now), the Ought Self (who you’ve been conditioned into believing you ‘should’ be), and the Ideal Self (the person you wish you were, living by your values consistently). Quite often we are confused about the difference between our core values and the expectations of others. If you’re not sure, I suggest you read this

When you live by your values you won’t feel any need to explain your behaviour to yourself (e.g. “I didn’t say hi to that girl because she’s on the phone”), because you’ll feel deeply satisfied with your actions. You’ll know deep down you did the right thing for you. Explaining it to others will seem pointless, because you’ll feel that it has nothing to do with them.

Conversely, whenever you have to justify, rationalise or otherwise explain your own behaviour to yourself or others, there’s a good chance you’ve breached your values and are trying to rid yourself of the guilt associated with this.

With valued-living you are following a code, but it’s about motives, not rules. You are not bound to what you do, instead you focus on WHY you do it. It’s all about reason and purpose. Values may look different in actions from one day to the next, but the reasons for those actions are consistent, e.g. to be honest, or courageous.

This style of living is all about action – thinking and talking about your values is not the same as living by them. Stop telling people you are [insert value here, e.g. honest], and show them you are instead.

HOW DO WE KNOW IF WE ARE NOT LIVING BY OUR VALUES?

Learn to recognise the feeling I call The Authenticity Gap – a shameful sensation of conflict between your Real Self and your Ideal Self (after filtering out the distraction of the Ought Self). This guilt usually arrives some time after the action is taken, and often is most recognisable as regret for missed opportunities. Any time you think “I should have done X”, you are probably experiencing The Authenticity Gap.

This guilt about past actions, based on how they let you down, is related to your beliefs about what is ‘right’. In an emotional moment, such as feeling afraid, it’s easy to forget what we believe is right. Later on, upon reflection, we realise we did not live by our values. Valued-living, when done right, will never leave you feeling guilty.

The Authenticity Gap is caused by your normal human desire to stay in your comfort zone. It’s all about safety. We are most likely to sacrifice our values for the perception of safety, such as a secure relationship, career, or finances. To engage in valued-living, we must be willing to risk all of these things and more.

Values require you to accept that you have nothing to lose.

Generally the question becomes “Would I rather be safe or have integrity?” – you will rarely be able to guarantee both at the same time. Think about this: people can stop loving you at any time, redundancy is always a marketplace-shift away, and money is easily lost; so there’s no such thing as safety! You may as well aim for values; at least you have control over those.

THE 7 DEADLY SINS – HOW ARE YOU BREACHING YOUR VALUES?

So let’s have some fun with this and look at how people breach their values. For the sake of context I thought it would be interesting to use the 7 deadly sins as a basis for this. After each I’ve listed some values you could focus on to rid yourself of the sin. Here we go…

WRATH – Trying to get retribution because you feel something has been taken from you. This often follows irrational blaming of external sources for your internal pain, such as thinking that society is at fault for you having low self-worth. Wrath builds from feeling that life is somehow “unfair” and that you are entitled to ‘pay-back’. At its worst, wrath involves wanting others to suffer to appease your own suffering.

Examples: not allowing someone into your lane when you’re mad about traffic; talking crap about someone when you feel they have betrayed you; hitting someone when you’re upset.

Values breached: abundance, acceptance, giving, love.

GREED – Neediness through seeking of external validation, often demonstrated by attachment to possessions. You’ll find yourself allowing others to be harmed in order to externally benefit yourself, such as sleeping with someone on false pretences. Greed stems from being unable to find internal satisfaction without external rewards. Like all of these sins, it is based on core insecurity (ironically, this is exactly what valued-living cures).

Examples: selling something you know is low quality; hiding something from others that you would feel forced to share if they knew; keeping secrets; hoarding possessions and money.

Values breached: presence, compassion, empathy, abundance, acceptance.

SLOTH – Most often demonstrated as procrastination and avoidance of doing what is right for you. Laziness is a common way of describing it. The short-term focus on being comfortable right now, rather than creating a long term rewarding life, leads to constant instant-gratification decision-making, which is the cause of most peoples’ long-term suffering.

Examples: putting of what is important; sleeping too much; bingeing on television and other unproductive time-wasters.

Values breached: courage, determination, decisiveness, leadership.

PRIDE – An unhealthy and insecure attachment to an externally-validated identity. Proud people often take credit for good luck instead of being grateful for their privileges. Pride creates a belief that you are better or worse than other people, as an entire person, and facilitates a constant comparison with others. You’ll find you are not able to enjoy situations unless you ‘win’, and you’ve lost joy in the process of living in the moment. Life for proud people tends to only exist briefly, when achievements occur, and the rest of your time is spent just worrying about the next win.

Examples: feeling attached to identity (e.g. “I am the Nice Guy”); avoiding things you feel you won’t be good at; getting upset when someone challenges your beliefs.

Values breached: gratitude, honesty, presence, patience.

ENVY – The toxic and cowardly state caused primarily by being attached to external measures of self-worth. Envy is the process of attributing excuses to your failure to live by values, by claiming others have advantages over you, so that you can relieve the guilt of not taking courageous action yourself. Through feeling entitled to rewards without requiring effort or having to endure discomfort, you’ll blame others for taking away opportunities you believe are yours by right.

Examples: blaming others for your negative mood; coming up with reasons why you can’t succeed the others do (e.g. “They are naturally charismatic, I can’t do that”); disliking people because they are successful.

Values breached: honesty, responsibility, courage, passion.

LUST – Simply put, lust is about wanting to GET; having an unhealthy attachment to external rewards. If you feel entitled to receive external pleasures without having to earn them, and you are focused on instant gratification, this is probably an apt translation of lust. The entitlement leads to a lack of restraint and patience – you’ll start bulldozing your way to gratification rather than enjoying the process of getting there. Then you’ll feel resentment when rewards are withheld.

Examples: lying to get what you want; manipulating others into doing things for you; forcing someone to give something to you by guilt-tripping them.

Values breached: giving, respect, gratitude, presence.

GLUTTONY – Through an excess of external comfort sources, wasting resources, and an imbalanced use of fuel, you become a glutton. Your neediness drives a desire to consume as much as possible, most likely to relieve pangs of perceived scarcity. By deriving comfort from consumption you become locked into a cycle of bingeing and avoidance of pain.

Examples: pigging out on high-sugar foods; hoarding; watching the entire Game of Thrones series without break (actually, I’m OK with this one).

Values breached: respect, presence, discipline, abundance.

VALUES REDEMPTION

You can always go back to living by your values, there is no ‘failure’. When you commit one of the value sins, it means that you simply went off track. Your values are patiently waiting for you to re-join them. No matter how long you’ve been off track, all you have to do is live by your values in a single moment and everything is OK again!

I once worked with a gang member who had consistently harmed people for over 20 years. Then one day he started being honest, caring and productive. As soon as he started doing that he felt an immediate boost in self-worth. The past no longer mattered to his measurement of self. Valued-living is what you are doing RIGHT NOW, and to quote Metallica; nothing else matters.

The key to redeeming yourself after sinning is to take action. Rather than trying to ‘not do’ something, identify which value has been breached and create an action to live by it. Trying to not sin gives you no direction and nothing to work with. Aim to eliminate the sin through positive action instead, e.g. ask yourself “What could I do to be more honest today?” and follow through on the answer.

You’re human, which means that you will always have times where you breach your values. So forget about being perfect. It’s about getting back on the horse and reducing the amount of time you wallow in sin. You can’t undo your past errors but you can make up for them. Rather than wishing for a different past, create a rewarding or reparative present action.

Self-honesty and acceptance are the key elements to managing value-breaches. First admit you did it, then accept it happened – only then will you be able to do something to get back on track.

You Are Worth Loving

By Natalie Jenkins

You are good enough. You are worth loving.

It’s been about four years since I heard those words in the safety and seclusion of my therapist’s office. Simple statements, but enough to unleash the newest wave of tears. I cried because I wasn’t sure I believed it. I cried because if I could, my healing would begin.

I was in the midst of a messy divorce, my own personal hell. A hell that had me wallowing in self doubt, insecurity, and self-loathing.

I suffered in limbo for two years, unable to release myself and unwilling to trust myself enough to reinvest in creating a new life. I had never failed at anything, how could I fail at this? How could I possibly be good enough and deserve to be happy after this failure? How could my family and friends ever feel I was worth loving again?

Emotionally exhausted, I sought counsel. I was encouraged to learn, to grow, and to reflect. Where did my guilt, my rage, my pain come from? What did I want and what did I need?

The answers to these questions became life changing for me. It doesn’t matter if the answers scared me, surprised me, or confused me. Whether seemingly good or bad, they were mine. I made a choice to learn from them. Until that moment, my life had been relatively conflict-free. I had never been forced to get to know myself, to ask the tough questions and to fearlessly face my personal truth.

I discovered that ignorance of yourself – and of your prevailing intention – is a true tragedy. I chose to stop hiding from myself, and I learned not to sit in judgement of myself or others. You may not be who you think you are, and that’s okay … We are always changing on our journey.

My Reset Retreat journey began when I recognized the compassion, empathy, and extraordinary capacity for learning in three amazing women. We began to share experiences and bond over love, life, and loss. We were shockingly similar and different all at once, but our commonality was wanting to institute a change – in ourselves, our friends, and the world- and knowing that we could. The chemistry and excitement was palpable as we began conceptualizing Reset Retreat- a place to learn, grow, and reflect.

By even reading a bit of our story, you know you are ready to let your real journey begin.

Accept yourself. Forgive yourself. Know that you are good enough. Know that you are worth loving… Reset. Rejuvenate. Reinvent.

This is who I am. This is why I am here today at Reset Retreat.

Simple Reminders To Love Yourself Each Day

By Cierra Savatgy-King

Do you actively love yourself each day? Remembering to love ourselves is something we frequently forget to do. We get distracted by the day-to-day and it’s easy to put ourselves on the back burner. The Reset Retreat team set out to ask women who we sincerely respect how they actively remember to love themselves each day.

Here’s what these inspirational ladies had to say:

“I dance and meditate each day. Even if it’s just one song and a 5 minute sit in silence, this taps me into my love of being alive and wonder and gratitude for my healthy, beautiful body.”

– KC Baker, Founder of KC Baker International Inc.

“This may seem strange but I take time out when having a shower just to cleanse the day from my body and mind, and as the water covers my body I think about all the great things I am blessed with; a healthy body, a strong business, kind and generous friends. Mainly I thank God that I was born me, flaws and all. My favorite saying is that what makes us different makes us beautiful. I celebrate my difference.”

– Mellissah Smith, Founder of Marketing Eye, Australia

“I try to actively practice self compassion – realize that I am human and that making mistakes is inevitable, and even desirable. This is where the learning occurs. When I do make a mistake, I remind myself to treat myself as I would a friend. Surely I would not shame and denigrate a friend who made a mistake; I would treat that friend with love, care, compassion and forgiveness.

– Danelle Gerber, Mother of 2

“When I put my hand on my heart I actually say out loud to my heart ” I love you” a couple of times to feel that love and it’s response – it always responds to me with warm feeling all throughout my body – I totally feel my vibration change. ”

– Olga Pechnenko, Founder of RevenueHire, Austin

“I find that what reminds me to love myself are the moments when I am most loving towards others. My favorite thing in the WHOLE world is giving someone a fun surprise – a gift that is perfect for them. A little handmade something created with love, even an unexpected note sharing my adoration for them and telling them why they matter to me. I love loving others! The interesting thing is that the moments I am most filled with love for others are the same moments I am most filled with love for myself. My giving is both a mirror of my love reflecting it back and a magnifying glass making it larger.”

– Melissa Lombard, Founder of 5 Year Project.

“I make sure to take 30 – 60 minutes to exercise everyday. This is my meditation and I use those minutes to focus solely on doing something good for my mind and body. I listen to my repetitious deep breathing and leave feeling refreshed, focused, and thankful I am a still moving.”  –

– Jennifer McCamish, Founder of Dancers Shape.

“My time alone makes me feel incredibly connected, loved and at peace with myself. I used to avoid being alone. I filled my schedule with noise and distraction because spending time with myself felt scary and lonely. A couple of years ago, I faced my fear of aloneness by choosing to spend a weekend by myself in a Texas Hill Country cabin. I found out that my own company isn’t quite so bad. In fact, I sort of fell in love with myself on that trip. I now relish these solo getaways and make them a priority. ”

– Amanda McPherson, Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern under the supervision of Kat Elrod, LPC-S. and author of Girl, Get Your Roots Done!

“I have made my home a sanctuary for myself, so that coming home at the end of a long day is to a place that nourishes me and makes even the most difficult of days comforting. I think it is so important to make your surroundings beautiful and create a place for yourself that you feel good in always. Before I go to sleep I find even a quick minute to reflect on the good and how far I have come in my crazy journey.”

– Rachelle Wintzen, owner of The Chi Junky Studio and yoga and nutrition guide at the Reset Retreat in February.

How do you love yourself each day? Let us know on Facebook or send us an e-mail so we can add onto our growing list!

We hope that you find some inspiration in reminding yourself that you are amazing.

Like Mae West said, “I don’t like myself, I’m crazy about myself.”

Go be crazy about yourself.

6 Self-Analyzing Questions

By Dick Sutphen

He teaches best what he most needs to learn, so when I tell you this, I’m really telling myself. What you think, feel and say about the circumstances in your life can keep you from acting to remedy situations that need to be resolved. We often lie to ourselves, not consciously, but by accepting circumstantial evidence as truth. And it can keep us from experiencing our power.

1. What career negativity have you accepted?

Take a look at your career and explore any kind of programming you have accepted that isn’t serving you. Assumed limitations and faulty assumptions can easily result from a downturn in revenue or a shift in market conditions. This kind of negative thinking can also be related to your self-image, the size of your vision, or your current feelings of power. Until you become aware of such self-imposed beliefs, it is unlikely you’ll do anything to rise above them.

As an example: I’ve been guilty of echoing the New York publishing world in saying, “New Age publishing is a dead genre.” But in reality, although the number of books being published is greatly reduced, new titles continue to come out and plenty of people want to read them. So I’m going to work on a new book.

2. What relationship negativity have you accepted?

If you’ve been dwelling upon your partner’s flaws, or a difference of opinion in regard to values or a life direction, have you allowed the differences to become a block to an otherwise good relationship? If so, your expectations are in conflict with what is. Your mate thinks one way, you think another, and that’s what is. You probably won’t be able to change their mind, so can you change your viewpoint?

In most life situations we don’t actually solve problems, except through our viewpoint-our perspective. By changing your viewpoint you can often eliminate the effects of a problem (so you’re no longer effected). And if you’re no longer effected by a problem you don’t have a problem … although nothing about the problem situation may have changed.

3. If you don’t have a primary relationship but desire one, what negativity have you accepted in regard to establishing a loving relationship?

Fate isn’t going to send a lover to your door while you sit home. You have to act. Go out and meet people. Research studies of single people who are lonely showed they often had rigid and demanding expectations about relationships. Perfectionism is not a positive trait in this area.

If you desire a relationship, ask yourself, what will change when I get what I want? Obviously a lot of things will change. Now, look at the changes you won’t like, because among these changes you’ll find the negative blocks that are keeping you from having what you want.

4. What goal-achievement negativity have you accepted? If you know what you want, what are you doing to get it?

It is easy to be discouraged, or to procrastinate when it comes to manifesting your desires. But most change takes time. The secret to success is to keep at it, step- by-step. Be tenacious and use mind-programming to remain focused and accelerate the process.

5. What Universal Laws are you failing to consider?

Where your attention goes, your energy flows. The Law of Attractions says that you attract what you are and that which you concentrate upon. If you’re negative, you draw in and experience negativity. If you’re loving, you draw in and experience love. You can attract to you only those qualities you possess. So if you want peace and harmony in your life, you must become peaceful and harmonious. So, where is your attention? What kind of energy are you generating? What are you attracting?

The Law of Attitude says, nothing in the Universe can harm you but your attitude. It is your attitude that moves you toward events and experiences and it is your attitude that will worsen or lighten any event, catastrophe, or tragedy. You and you alone choose the attitude with which you will respond.

6. Have you allowed others to fool you when it comes to self-interest?

There are three types of people to consider: 1. Self-actualized people who know they act only in their own self-interest; 2. People who know they act in their own self-interest, but attempt to make you believe otherwise; 3. People who don’t allow themselves to know their own truth and sincerely believe that other people’s interests are put before their own.

Become involved with the first type of person, one who acknowledges how the game of life is played. The second type is attempting to fool you. The third type fools himself and also attempts to fool you.

Anything you want that will add pleasure to your life-success, love, friendship, freedom, material items-will cost you in terms of time, energy, money, sacrifice, or any combination of these things. If you don’t accept the cost in advance, you may regret it when the bill comes due.

Spiritual Ascension In A Toxic World

Spiritually, everyone wants to ascend to the highest level. In order to get there, we have to recognize the blockages that hold us back and know how to stay healthy in our increasingly toxic environment. Neither are easy to accomplish, but with the proper tools and guidance you can carve a path to spiritual ascension.

The primary factor that prevents us from attaining spiritual growth is ourselves. We can be greatly hindered by our ego-based, habit way of being along with the density from negative thoughts, emotions, and patterns. Unresolved emotional density in the cells of our body and in our subconscious prevents lighter energies (love, light, peace, and joy) from being an ongoing part of our existence. Yet, to achieve full spiritual growth and to attain ascension, we have to become one with the higher vibrating energies of love, peace, joy, and light.

To achieve a higher vibratory state, intimate inner-work must happen to locate and transmute the hindering habits, patterns, and density. Assistance from a professional healing facilitator is highly recommended. There is absolutely no way to ascend to your full spiritual potential without this important work.

One of my spiritual healing partners, St Germain, says that ‘spiritual ascension requires an ongoing commitment to transmute our own buried, unresolved density from this and other lifetimes’. Not only is this the path to spiritual ascension, but it is the path of spectacular health and anti-aging benefits. In my own life, I used this process to heal my diagnosis of breast cancer without medical intervention, and have helped many others overcome their health issues.

Committing to an ongoing practice of transmuting your density, including mastering your thoughts and emotions, is needed for spiritual ascension. It is a conscious choice that requires commitment. However, even when we are fully committed to embracing higher vibrating energies there can be limiting forces inhibiting our path. The biggest limitation is our toxic environment; the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the liquids we drink. These toxins can affect our ability to keep ourselves within the higher vibrational energies.

How can we combat a toxic environment and prevent it from interfering with our ascension?

As we experience higher vibrations, foods that have long been a part of our diet may begin to affect us differently. A newfound intolerance for gluten or wheat and an increased inability to process sugar are common for those on this path. It is hard for higher vibrating energies to co-exist with the heaviness and agitation of these foods, so it is best to eliminate them from our diets.

The same is true of lower vibrating acidic foods, like meat and dairy. To assist with holding onto higher vibrations and to maintain our health – focus on eating vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruits, and healthy grains (quinoa, millet, and brown rice). Add trace minerals and foods that are high in electrolytes like coconut water to further boost our vibratory state. All of these foods encourage both spiritual and physical health.

We can further support our ascension by eating seaweed and miso. Varieties of seaweed, including kelp and spirulina, as well as miso help counteract and release toxins like radiation.

Consciously hold onto or become the energies of love, peace, and joy to powerfully combat environmental toxins. Serious environmental toxins, like radiation, nuclear fall-out, and food contamination, can be more easily addressed when we are holding onto a higher frequency. The vibration of love is the highest energy frequency and has the ability to offset the vibration of nearly anything else. It takes commitment, practice, and mastery to hold onto and become the energy of love each day – but it brings amazing health benefits including a sense of peace and balance.

Spiritual ascension is achieved when we eliminate and transform the toxins inside of us (our thoughts and emotions) and the toxins from our environment (food, water, and air). Consciously replacing them with higher vibrating thoughts, emotions, food, and water maintains the desired vibratory level each and every day – propelling you towards maximum spiritual growth.

Throw Away The Cookie Cutter

By Mary Miller

Have you ever had a dream you thought was real? So real that you were just about to throw down in a fist fight to stand up for what you believed in? Yep, that happened to me.

Picture this. I was at a High School graduation telling the students to forget about what society tells them and to define their own American Dream – their own version of success. And to add to the drama, then I threw cookie cutters at the oppressors symbolizing I did not agree with their ways. And as I prepared to get accosted … I woke up …

Isn’t it funny how dreams are sometimes not that far off from reality? As a society we give lip service to individuality, but when someone tries to be their true self, they are shut down, scolded, or worse. It’s not a secret that not everyone was made to achieve a Ph.D., start a business, climb the corporate ladder, or to stay home and raise a family. You get the point! We were all born with unique gifts and talents which enriches this world IF we use them.

Yet when I ask people how THEY … not their parents, teachers, family, spouse … but how THEY define success, they often say “No one has ever asked me that before.” Well my friend, I’m asking you today. How do you define your version of success? How do you throw away the cookie cutter?

Here are 5 tips to help you answer that question:

1. Repeat After Me: “I Am Not Selfish.”

Realize that defining your version of success is not selfish. Maybe you have a good job, a great husband, a nice family, but you are living your mom or dad’s version of success – and you’re miserable! Let me share a secret with you – you are not the only one! But think about this – to not let your individual light shine is actually selfish. Why? Because we all miss out on who you could become.

2. Pay Attention to Your Day Dreams.

What do you day dream about? Going on a mission trip, teaching horseback riding, inventing something, writing a book, helping people, solving math problems, editing stories, crime scene investigation, owning a farm, flying a plane … fill in the blank. Your day dreams will give you clues for defining your own version of success.

3. Listen to Others’ Comments.

What do others say you do well? Do you put information together like no one else they know? Can you bridge a tough communication gap? Are you known for reading way too many self-help books? Listen to what others are saying about your uniqueness.

4. Observe Yourself As You Play “The Game.”

Yes, life is a game that is all about connection and fitting in. How do you play that game? What part of your identify do you give up when you play? This will tell you more about your true skills, talents, and abilities.

5. Self-Discovery.

Take a personality/strengths test (i.e. Myer Briggs, DISC, Strength Finder etc.), take a personal development class, enroll in a mentor program, go to a conference, hire a coach, spend time with yourself to re-discover your strengths.

Which of these 5 tips will you put into action TODAY?

9 Ways To Raise Your Self-Esteem

By Dr. Carol Morgan

So, here’s a question: do you have high self-esteem? I’m assuming that you may not have said yes – and you’re not alone. We all  know that our world that is pretty destructive to how we feel about ourselves. We do things like compare ourselves to super models or think we need to make more money. Regardless of how you look at it, most of us think we need to be better. But the good news is that you can raise your self-esteem and work on being a better ‘me.’

Here are 9 things you can do, starting today:

1. Stop comparing yourself to other people.

If you constantly compare how you look to Jennifer Anniston or your bank account to your millionaire cousin, you will definitely feel bad about yourself. So here’s an idea‒don’t do it!! Instead, focus on how lucky you are. If you have a roof over your head and food on the table, you are among the luckiest people in the world. Be grateful for what you have. Don’t complain about what you lack.

2. Monitor your self-talk.

Do you have any idea how many negative thoughts go through your mind every day about yourself? Probably not. Even if it’s just something simple like, “My hair looks terrible today,” you need to monitor and control your thoughts. So get a notebook and write down every negative thought that you say to yourself, about yourself. After about a week, take a look. Then write down why each negative thought is NOT true.

3. Realize that fact and feelings are not the same.

You might think you are overweight, but you might not be. For example, perhaps you are average weight, but you grew up with two older sisters who are naturally skinny. If you constantly compared yourself to them growing up, you might have labeled yourself as “fat.” However, those are only your feelings. The facts might be very different. You might only weigh 130 pounds. That’s not overweight. Facts and feelings are different.

4. Stop thinking about the past.

Maybe you did something in the past that you are ashamed of, like cheating on your significant other. Well, you can’t undo it. All you can do is forgive yourself, decide to do better, and move on. Replaying it and beating yourself up doesn’t work. Or maybe your past was “The Good Ol’ Days.” Don’t dwell there either. We all age, and we all have the opportunity to make today and tomorrow the best we can. Move onward and upwards. Not backwards.

5. Grab a friend and support each other.

Anyone who has tried to change their habits knows it’s difficult. And your self-esteem is also a “habit”–it’s a habitual way of thinking about yourself. So it helps to have someone point out when we are being negative and help us steer in the right direction. Sometimes we don’t even recognize when we are being down on ourselves because we do it so much. Your buddy will help you, and you can help them.

6. Treat yourself as if you weren’t yourself.

We are all harder on ourselves than our friends are. While we tear ourselves down, our good friends try to lift us up. Well, try to act like those friends! Be your own friend. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself compliments and positive affirmations. You don’t need to rely on others to do that. You can do it for yourself, too.

7. Focus on your past successes and your good qualities.

Sometimes we get too focused on our negatives, and we forget to notice our good qualities! So take some time to sit down and write out why you are an awesome person. Are you a great mom? Are you smart? Do you have a career you enjoy? A great marriage? Whatever it is, write it down. What have you been successful doing in the past? Review these daily to remind yourself how you’re making a difference in the world.

8. Try visualization and affirmations.

Visualization and affirmations are powerful tools to reprogram your thinking. The more you repeat words or visualize something in your mind, the more your subconscious believes it. So repeat positive statements to yourself such as, “I am a good person. I am healthy. I am strong. I am lovable.” And then visualize yourself being and feeling that way.

9. Do something about it!

While I appreciate you all reading this article, it will do you no good if you don’t actually take my advice! Don’t just share this on your Facebook page and forget about it. Do something! Take action! Nothing will change unless you do. It all starts with a decision. So just do it!

You are Spirit

By Alice McCall

Powerful, sleek, light of being, grounded, and yet free – those are the spirits that I see moving across the sky. Their force is undeniable. Their beauty, their sensuality, is intact and in place. How awesome, how incredible, and how right it is!

How did we get here?  Here, in our bodies? Why can’t we be the free, powerful, awesome energy that floats in harmony with the Universe?

It is because we signed up for this mission, even though we may not remember doing it. We signed up for the mission of being constrained by our bodies, but living a life free in spirit. This is not easy. Why would we do that?

When our spirit was free, it was easy to say, ‘yes, I can do that!’ Now, in human form, we face a huge challenge – but also an opportunity. How do we strike the balance between body and spirit – between earthly things and spiritual knowing?  How do we co-exist between the two worlds?

For each of us it is different – a different path or a different journey. The best place to start is by being true to you, to yourself, to your heart, and to your soul. This will help you uncover your true purpose for being in this physical form. This is an important discovery, as no two purposes are exactly the same. Listen to your inner self and be open to the answers it delivers.

I have so many clients who are interested in finding their path, their mission, or their purpose. We are all seeking answers. Even though it seems overwhelming, the answer simply lies within you. Facilitating my clients to discover from deep within themselves what their life’s purpose is – is something I really enjoy doing. However, the reality is that each of you can also find your truth. With an ongoing practice of meditation, your ability to connect with your inner wisdom will blossom. How you spend your time is your choice.  If you choose to take the time to be with your innermost self and listen to it on an ongoing basis, you will be rewarded.

How do you achieve the ability to live life freely in spirit while being constrained by your human body? By mastering your mind and emotions! You cannot live freely in spirit when your mind and emotions run the show. You have to choose things, people, activities, thoughts, and emotions that bring your body and spirit into balance.  Living in spiritual balance does take practice, but it is something definitely worth striving for.

As you look at the evening sky tonight, visualize your spirits floating through the clouds and sky.  Which ones do you identify with? Which ones inspire you to be all that you can be? Let that one, higher calling of your true spiritual self to enter your being. Allow yourself to become one with who you really are – Spirit!

“I am a Divine, Empowered, Spiritual Being. It is so!”

Outside the Box: 3 Reasons to Stop Going Back In

By Mary R. Miller

There is a little trinket that sits on my desk. You press a button and it says, “Excuse me! Excuse me! Can you let me out of here?” If you could hear it, you would get a good chuckle by it, just like I do.

After the laugher dies down, your mind may wander with random thoughts like: “Man it would stink to live in a box!” or “Now that’s a lack of vitamin D!” or even “Boy, my Chiropractor would be mad at me for ruining my posture!”

Now let me ask you: do you want to pay it forward today by helping this little man? Great. Then let’s get this sad little guy out of his box! Ok here goes…

The box door is open. He looks at the door and steps out stumbling. His legs are wobbly from lack of use. He shivers as if to say it’s cold outside of the box. He takes a few more steps and looks around. He doesn’t see anyone or anything familiar – he feels alone. After 5 minutes he looks back at the box – with a bit of longing for the familiar. Maybe he stays out of his box for 5 minutes, 8 hours, a week, or 26 days. But he reaches a pivotal point where he just can’t do it anymore and he submits to what he remembers as a cozy warm box and climbs back in.

Are you shaking your head right now? Poor sad little guy. Before you judge him too harshly, isn’t this really what we do when we try to change? And what we do when we get really honest with ourselves? We struggle to find our way. We struggle to understand our true identity, and then try recognize the lies we were told by society about who we ‘should’ be. It’s easier to stay where we are, not risk too much, and not venture out too far.

Even if the box is stifling and restrictive, we are familiar with it. And we have let the lies that box us in become our friend. We have believed that the risk carries a higher cost than comfort. So there we are stuck in our comfort zone … it’s like a drug.

Why do we do this? Maybe it’s because once we’re outside we don’t know how to walk in our own uniqueness. No one can really tell us how to be ourselves or do the work for us. No one has gone before us on our own journey except for us.

We try going it alone, to be strong, to be brave. And like the sad little man, we are stricken with self-doubt each step into the unknown. Every time things don’t go as planned, we crawl back into the box. If our feelings get hurt, if we fail fail, or if we’re exhausted, our instinct is to go back in. Over time, we become demoralized, give up, and simply start rationalizing that things aren’t so bad.

How do we stop this madness? The answer is that we learn to live and enjoy life outside the box. Here are 3 Ways to Stop Going Back into Your Box. I use them myself to stay positive, to keep learning, to keep getting back up and innovating after life didn’t work out as planned.

1. Opportunity

Opportunity lives outside of your comfort zone. You can only see what’s possible when you open doors. And since you can’t see from a closed box, the first door you need to open is your own. Try new things, enter into new conversations, go to new places, have deeper conversations, ask more questions, eat different foods, park in a different spot. Do it all.

2. Freedom

Once you’re outside your box, you’ll have freedom from your “shoulds.” You can carve your own road and create a space where you can be creative. Use your passion for good, to dream, and to live. These actions are exhilarating and life-altering. Remind yourself that you’d rather live out loud than be comfortable.

3. Community

This is two-fold – you need others, and others need you. We were not created to be isolated. And it doesn’t help anyone if you are not who you were created to be. Your growth and change, from the inside out, benefits yourself and society. And you can’t have community if we are all behind closed doors shut in boxes.

What can you do today to start enjoying life outside of your box?

5 Habits To Change To Be ‘A Better Me’

Let’s face it. Becoming a better version of yourself takes effort! That’s probably why a lot of people don’t bother. I know I can relate to how hard it is. For example, I grew up in a family who hates to exercise. And I mean HATES it. On top of that, we didn’t exactly pay attention to eating high quality, raw, nutritious food. Not that we ate junk – that’s not what I mean. But we ate ‘normal food,’ which now (decades later) is known to be not the healthiest thing you should eat (think processed food).

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I KNOW how difficult it is to change your habits. I try to eat healthy. I try to exercise (I’m sure my family just read that and had a heart attack!). Well, I go through my phases where I exercise moderately … very moderately. But it’s a struggle. I can always find some reason (*ahem* … okay … EXCUSE) to slack off on working out.

We all have our ‘bad habits.’ Yours might be smoking, drinking, procrastinating, or eating too much pizza. We all have our vices. But change starts with awareness. You can’t change what you don’t recognize. So take a look at this list. Do you see yourself in any of these habits?

Here we go …

1. Complaining

We live in a word of complainers. Really – we do! It’s almost like the school system had classes in it. Okay, okay, obviously that’s not true. But what is true is that we live in an incredibly negative world. I teach classes about the media, and a well-known motto in the news industry is “If it bleeds, it leads!” In other words, the more sensational (and negative) the better! Think about the “Jerry Springer Show.” Why would that show have survived decades on the air unless people liked watching all that negativity?

2. Living “Unconsiously”

There are a lot of people who don’t live consciously. What I mean by that, is they kind of go through life with blinders on. They don’t ever look in the metaphorical mirror at themselves and see their behavior for what it really is. For example, I saw this show once called “I Consume 30,000 Calories a Day” (or something to that effect). The people on the show literally did not know they were eating that much. It’s hard for the average person to fathom that they weren’t conscious of it, but they weren’t. They were sleepwalking through their eating habits until someone had to wake them up and point it out. It may not be your eating habits, but there may be some other behavior(s) that you are not noticing or acknowledging.

3. Not being “Present”

Texting. Phone calls. TV. Internet. Distractions. I could go on and on about what takes our attention away from being mentally and emotionally “present” with other people. I have heard parents say that their teenagers and their friends sit around in a room together but they’re all texting other people on their phones. Really? Why bother even being in each other’s physical presence. They might as well just go home and text each other from there. The best thing you can do for another person is to show them you care by being “present.” And that doesn’t include texting other people when you’re with someone else.

4. Being Selfish

I know that human beings were programmed to be selfish – it’s a survival mechanism. If cavemen weren’t the first to snatch up the last of the food, then they might starve to death. But this behavior has manifested into bad social behaviosr. No one likes a selfish person! I teach my students that it’s best to have a balance between “Self” and “Other.” You shouldn’t completely ignore your own needs and wants, but you shouldn’t ignore other people’s either. Having a nice balance seems to work out well if you can find a way to achieve it. However – one note. BOTH people have to have a balance. One person giving and the other one taking (all the time), does not make for happy relationships!

5. Being Late

I know a lot of people who are chronically late. And while some people may think they’re doing it to have a power trip, I tend to think that a lot of people who are late just either (1) have a really bad sense of time, (2) aren’t aware of how their lateness negatively impacts other people. I can’t tell you how many times I have waited over an hour in restaurants for friends to show up thinking, “Well, this is a waste of my time. I could have been doing something productive for the last hour instead of waiting for this person!”

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list by far. It’s just a start.

Remember that no one is perfect. But the difference between someone who is trying to be better – and someone who is not – is making an effort to change. And as I said earlier, change starts with awareness! So I promise you that I will keep working on my eating and exercise habits … if you promise me that you will work on whatever habits you need to change. Deal? 🙂