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Say Yes to Yourself

Do you constantly seek the approval of others? Are you quick to agree to help others without thinking about how that might affect you? Is it time for you to start saying yes to yourself and no to others?

From a young age, we are encouraged to act in certain ways in order to feel loved and accepted. This is the beginning of our loss of own power, sense of self-worth, and authenticity. When we try too hard to please someone else, we lose our identity.

Pleasing others is not the same as helping or being generous and loving to others. Generosity to others can be very fulfilling and personally rewarding. The problem comes when your motivation is less about the other person and more about yourself and being liked or loved.

It is not possible for everyone to love and approve of us. By trying too hard to be liked, you are just as likely to lose respect rather than gain it. We may try to make others like us but how someone feels about us is, to a large extent, outside of our control.

In order to change and to put yourself first, you can choose to believe that you are valuable, that what is right for you matters, and that your happiness is a priority. In many ways, it is as simple – and as difficult – as making the conscious decision to do what is right for you. Make the choice to take responsibility for every action in your life. Instead of seeking the acceptance of others, rely on your own values to guide you.

Start by being more deliberate about your actions. Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Is it from a need to be liked or accepted? Is it from a fear of refusing to do what someone else wants me to do? Am I doing it to avoid feeling guilty?

At the beginning, it may take some courage to stand up for yourself. You may well get some resistance from those who are used to you granting their every whim. However, it is far better to cultivate our own values than worry about pleasing everyone else.  There’s a saying that if instead of trying to please others, you try to please yourself, at least one person will be happy.

What will you choose? Will you choose to stay in power by acting with the knowledge that you are responsible for every action in your life? Or will you continue to give your personal power away in order to feel valued and accepted in the eyes of other

Make it your priority to please yourself. Accept that a certain amount of disapproval from others is unavoidable. Be a friend to yourself and find true happiness by aligning with your own inner wisdom and values.

Are you a friend to yourself? Visit www.FriendYourselfProject.com to find practical tips on how to recognize your brilliance and to treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and loved ones.

Subscribe to a free Daily Moment of Inspiration and each day receive a quote from Women with Spirit: Daily Quotations by Inspiring Women (distributed by Amazon).

Georgiana Carollus, MA, personal, spiritual, and intuitive coach offers coaching and resources to help accelerate your process of friending yourself at www.FriendYourselfProject.com

Be Friendly to Yourself!

 

Are you aware of a self-critical voice that has taken up permanent residency in your mind? Do you believe every nagging, mean, outrageous, guilt-producing thing that your self-critical voice says to you? Is it time to change the way you speak to yourself?

The mind is like your house. If its doors and windows are wide open, with nothing to stop or filter out the incoming thoughts, every passing thought is allowed free access to your mind. Any thought can enter your mind, take up residency, stay as long as it likes, and disturb and affect your behavior and actions. For most people, this is the way their minds function. The fact is, though, that our thoughts and belief systems can become our realities. Self-critical thoughts can dampen and destroy dreams, bring down morale, and lead to procrastination and laziness.

The first step is to recognize what is going on. Until we notice, self-criticism can be like background noise that is subtly below our consciousness. This is when its impact is strongest because often it is being accepted without question. Becoming aware of exactly what you are saying to yourself about yourself can help you understand why you react the way you do to people and events in your life.

We all know probably know someone who constantly puts themselves down and criticizes themselves. You may have found yourself thinking, “At least I don’t do that!” You may not do that level of complaining when you talk to other people, but what does your internal dialogue sound like? In your own mind and to yourself, are you constantly complaining and berating yourself?

Creating change always begins with noticing what needs to be changed. Begin to notice what you say to yourself. You probably don’t even realize how often you say negative things to and about yourself or how much that affects your experiences. Make an effort to become more conscious of your internal dialogue and its content.

At random times throughout the day, ask yourself, “What am I saying to myself right now?”  Notice what you are saying without censorship or judgment – just notice what you say and notice how it makes you feel. As you witness more and more of these thoughts, try replacing some of your criticism with kindness. If you were talking to a friend instead of yourself, what encouraging things would you say? Treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer to a friend and be a friend to yourself.

Replacing your self-criticism with friendly encouragement and support can help you control your moods, overcome your shortcomings, and create more successes in your life. For more peace of mind and happiness, try being more friendly to yourself!

Replace Your Self-Criticism with Self-Compassion!

Do you believe that you need to be hard on yourself in order to succeed? Do you think showing yourself compassion is a weakness and only a feel-good way to coddle yourself? Would you change your mind about this if you learned that self-compassion can increase your sense of well-being and ability to cope with life?

Studies have shown that self-compassion is strongly associated with well-being. Self-compassion goes beyond not being critical or mean to yourself. Self-compassion means treating yourself in a caring, understanding, and loving way by offering yourself warmth and non-judgmental understanding instead of berating yourself with self-criticism.  Unlike self-esteem, the good feelings of self-compassion do not depend on feeling better in relation to others. Instead, self-compassion is based on embracing the full range of your human strengths and weaknesses.

Self-criticism is a way of life for many. In our highly competitive society, it is not uncommon for us to look for the flaws and shortcomings in others as well as ourselves. Most of our self-critical thoughts are in the form of an inner dialogue, a running (and often brutal) commentary and evaluation of what we are experiencing. This self-criticism can create a mind-state that is defeated, dissatisfied, and anxious.

The best way to combat self-criticism is to understand it and to have compassion for it. Recognize your self-criticism as your attempt to keep yourself safe and to control your life. While you may feel that you need to use self-criticism to motivate yourself, research has shown that self-compassionate people are just as likely to set and meet high standards for themselves as those who lack self-compassion. Recognize that you can more effectively provide security for yourself by giving up self-judgment and by giving yourself compassion and acceptance for your very human experiences.

Self-compassion increases your ability to adapt and relate to yourself when faced with personal inadequacies or difficult life circumstances. If, when under stress, you are nasty to yourself, you ignite mental and physical stress reactions, and compromise your ability to adapt. By showing yourself compassion, you can reduce your anxiety, improve your confidence, and increase your resilience and happiness. Studies have shown that self-compassionate people are more likely to create specific plans for reaching their goals and to create balanced lives.

To have a fuller, happier, and more satisfying life, stop judging yourself! Be a friend to yourself and treat yourself with the same caring and compassion that you would extend to a friend or even a stranger. True compassion Is extended regardless of worthiness or merit. Extend true compassion to yourself!

Be a Friend to Yourself

Are you looking outside of yourself for validation and happiness? Do you let the opinions of others determine if you are happy or not? If so, you’re not alone! And, it’s probably not working too well for you. Take control of your own happiness by being a friend to yourself.

When we depend on others for our happiness, we set an impossible task for ourselves. You really have no control over the happiness of others and if you depend on others for your happiness, you have no control over your own happiness. On the other hand, if you try to make yourself happy instead of everyone else, you know that at least one person will be happy.

Make the commitment to owning your own happiness by being a friend to yourself. Ask yourself, as your own friend, how can you make yourself happy?

The first step in being a friend to yourself may be to learn to look after yourself and put your needs first, without feeling guilty. Are you someone that caters to the needs and wants of everyone else? Has it left you feeling exhausted and resentful? It may be time to set stronger boundaries for yourself and exercise your right to refuse the requests of others. Before jumping in and rescuing others, ask yourself what is the best course of action for you to take? Pay attention to the “shoulds” – they’re often a clear signal that you’re doing something out of a sense of obligation or guilt. Learn to say no, clearly and simply, without lengthy explanations or excuses.

Another step in being a friend to yourself is to learn to praise yourself and enjoy your efforts and successes. If you wait for someone else in your life to do it, you will probably end up feeling resentful when they don’t notice or care. Be your own cheerleader and congratulate yourself for both your large and small efforts. If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself rather than to someone else. Make a habit of patting yourself on the back!

As your own best friend, meet your own expectations. Hold yourself accountable to the promises and commitments that you make to yourself. As your own best friend, enjoy the liberty of choosing the way you want to spend your time. Make yourself someone that you can be proud of.

Take control of your own happiness by learning to treat yourself as a friend. Take the time to change, grow, explore, and comfort yourself in ways that no one else can. You and those in your life will all enjoy the benefits of this!

Lighten Up!

Do you take yourself a bit too seriously? Does your mind feed you a constant stream of self-critical messages? Has your mind told you that you can’t do anything right? Really – you can’t do anything right? Can you gently laugh with yourself and see some humor in that?

We have the choice to change our train of thought. We don’t need to listen to our inner critic and self-talk! People often resist the idea of monitoring and changing their thoughts because they see it as form of escapism. You may worry that if you change your thoughts, you may start to actively avoid facing problems and issues in your life. This won’t happen if you pay attention to what you are thinking. Are you considering action to help you move forward or are you only berating yourself? Distinguish if your thinking is helpful or hurtful and make your choice from there.

The key is to consider your thoughts as they happen. One way to tell if you should allow a thought to continue is to apply a ‘lightness test”. Does the thought make you feel light or heavy? If a thought is helpful to you, it will feel light and may include action to move you forward; A hurtful thought will feel heavy and may make you feel defeated or depressed. Choose those thoughts that make you feel light and consciously override those that make you feel heavy.

Our thoughts generate our feelings. When we choose to allow thoughts that make us feel heavy, the stress response is engaged. Your heart may begin pounding, your breathing becomes shallower, and your muscles tense. Once this is set in motion, it may take more effort to change your thoughts and mood.

If the stress response is engaged, laughter and humor can be used to counteract the physical effects of stress and panic. You can start that laughter by exaggerating your fears to their extreme and most absurd conclusion. Create a parody of your fears by accentuating the negative until you just have to laugh at yourself.

Another technique for moving into happiness when you’re stressed is to ask yourself what thought you could have that would make you feel better. Your thought could be anything – the thought of a loved one, the memory of a sunset, music you love – whatever creates a good feeling for you. If the newly activated thought only makes you feel better for a few moments and you return to feeling stressed, repeat the process as often as needed.

Be a friend to yourself and apply humor and thought-changing to break the grip of your mind and self-talk over your emotions!

How to Be a Friend to Yourself

Do you constantly criticize and belittle yourself? Are you your own worst enemy? How would you treat yourself differently if you treated yourself like a friend?

The advice to love yourself is a common self-help theme. This is of little help to most people, especially those who expect they should be exceptional and extraordinary in order to be worthy of self-love. While there are spiritual paths that can lead to self-love and self-acceptance, if someone has low self-esteem and doesn’t feel special, it’s hard for many people to love themselves.

An uncomplicated and easy self-care path to feeling better about yourself is to simply treat yourself as a friend. Those qualities that make being a good friend to others work as well for being a friend to yourself.

What are the qualities you value in friendship? Here are some qualities commonly recognized as key elements in friendship:

Acceptance. A true friend accepts you for who you are and doesn’t try to force you  to be something you are not. A friend accepts both our good qualities and our shortcomings. Can you extend this acceptance to yourself?

Loving.  A true friend is loving, kind, and generous. A friend makes us feel not only liked but loved, cherished, and cared for by their words, their tone of voice, and how they treat us. Can you be more loving, kind, and generous to yourself?

Champion. A true friend will cheer you on. A friend uses encouragement rather than insults to motivate you. A friend is optimistic rather than pessimistic about what you can achieve. Can you motivate yourself with positive rather than critical words? Can you be optimistic about your efforts.

Honesty. A true friend will tell you the truth, even when the truth is hard to hear. A friend will give you well-deserved compliments but will also call you to task when you are avoiding something or trying to disguise the truth. Can you be honest with yourself?

Support. A true friend will support you when you are going through challenges and will stand by you when you have setbacks. A friend can help put your challenges in perspective. A friend can help you see lessons that you are overlooking in the challenges that you are struggling with. And, a friend will know that sometimes all you need in time of trouble is a friend to listen to and support you. How can you offer yourself more support?

Forgiveness. A true friend is willing to forgive you your errors and mistakes. Can you forgive yourself?

One of the most important relationships you can have in your life is with yourself. Is it time to break old habits and invest in a healthy friendship with your internal self? Make the commitment to be a friend to yourself and increase your happiness by decreasing your self-criticism.

 

Acknowledge and Celebrate Your Accomplishments!

Do you find it’s easier to notice other people’s successes than it is to acknowledge your own? Do you even acknowledge your accomplishments before you raise the bar even higher for yourself and set another goal to achieve? By neglecting to acknowledge your accomplishments, you may be missing an opportunity not only to increase your happiness and self-satisfaction but also to fuel your motivation for future achievements.

Why is it that we have such difficulty in identifying and acknowledging our successes and our strengths?  There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Some of this may trace its roots to an upbringing where bragging was discouraged. Carried to an extreme,  many are uncomfortable identifying their successes even to themselves.  Those who do this miss the happiness and joy of taking ownership for something well done.
  • Another reason some may be reluctant  to acknowledge their successes rests with their belief that their achievements pale in comparison to those of others. Many people have a perfectionism complex and feel that anything less than perfection does not merit mention. The problem with this is that perfection is ultimately unattainable for anyone.
  • Some people may be unaware of their own greatness and they don’t appreciate their own courage, bravery, or kindness. They take it for granted that everyone does the same, when in truth, many people don’t.
  • A key factor in people not taking ownership for their successes is that our society does not encourage us to stop and take stock of what we have achieved. In the work world, the resume can fulfill this function but there are many other, and usually more important, personal successes that will never be featured on a resume.

Why is it even important that we acknowledge our successes? Our past successes can give us a clear sense of our ability to overcome obstacles. Knowing that we have succeeded before can give us the motivation we need to persevere when we are faced with new challenges.

I would encourage you to perform an annual inventory of your large and small successes. Identify those things that you feel good about either starting or finishing. Don’t measure your successes against those of anyone else. This is only for you. This is your chance to see what you have done and to acknowledge your efforts and personal successes.

Are you finding it difficult? If so, look at yourself with the same loving perspective of a friend. What have others complimented you on or praised you for? When did you notice yourself brushing aside compliments or claiming that what you did was nothing special? Allow yourself to own each and every one of those achievements.

Acknowledge and celebrate your successes! Be a friend to yourself and give yourself a pat on the back!

Are you a friend to yourself? Visit www.FriendYourselfProject.com to find practical tips on how to recognize your brilliance and to treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to a free Daily Moment of Inspiration and each day receive a quote from Women with Spirit: Daily Quotations by Inspiring Women (distributed by Amazon). Georgiana Carollus, MA, personal, spiritual, and intuitive coach offers coaching and resources to help accelerate your process of friending yourself at the Friend Yourself Project website.

Gift Yourself with Rest and Relaxation

Do you consider relaxing a waste of precious time? Do you feel guilty if you aren’t constantly productive? You may be overlooking the very real benefits of time to rest and relax. Instead of a luxury, relaxation can lead to extreme happiness by playing an essential role in mental and physical health.

Stress is a major health problem and it has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, and other serious illnesses. In fact, according to the American Institute of Stress, up to 90% of all visits to doctors are for stress-related disorders.

Rest and relaxation top the list of effective self-care and stress management techniques. Relaxation boosts happiness by counteracting the stress response – muscles relax, breathing and heartbeat slow down, and the digestive system functions more efficiently. Regular relaxation strengthens the immune system and helps the body heal itself, reducing the effects of chronic stress. Incorporate relaxation into your life and notice that you begin to feel better!

While it may not seem logical, you may get more done by taking breaks and doing less. When you take a break, relax, and let your thoughts slow down, the mind begins to access the resources of the right brain – the creative, intuitive, and non-linear part of the mind. After relaxing, you may find that you approach your work with a new perspective and that you are able to generate new solutions to problems.

Relaxation further contributes to happiness by providing a detachment from everyday busyness that enables us to realize what is really important to us. When we operate from our values, we are usually happier and more satisfied with our lives.

Quick relaxation techniques are useful in dealing with immediate stress. Stopping, even for the shortest time, will recharge your batteries and will give you more energy.  Create little breaks in your busy schedule. Consider your home your sanctuary and place of relaxation. Set boundaries to keep it as work-free as possible and avoid the temptation to bring work home by complaining about it.

Regular, concentrated rest and relaxation has a deeper and more permanent effect on reversing stress. Explore leisurely activities apart from your work. Choose something that you consider relaxing and that you will commit to doing on a regular basis. This might be sports, gardening, reading, exercise, or even time to daydream – whatever you choose should be something that you enjoy. There is no point in creating more stress for yourself by forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy!

Be a friend to yourself and give yourself the gift of rest. Learn to value rest and relaxation as much as you  value activity. And, enjoy increased happiness as you reduce the stress in your life!

3 Ways to Become a More Optimistic Person

Are you a pessimist? Do you have a tendency to expect the worst to happen? Although a pessimistic attitude may seem to be an unchangeable character trait, one, in fact, can make a choice between pessimism and optimism. There are practical self-improvement techniques to make it easier to develop a positive attitude and undo lifelong habits of pessimism. This article will present three ways to help you become more optimistic.

Optimists have an outlook on life that is generally more positive and they know and value hope. Studies show that pessimists give up more easily and get depressed more often. Optimists, on the other hand, have superior stress management skills and do better in school and at work. Evidence suggests that optimists may even live longer. These are compelling reasons to become more optimistic!

One way to help convert from pessimism to optimism is to practice looking for the silver lining in problems. Optimists tend to look for the positives in situations that don’t work out while pessimists use those same situations to reinforce their expectations of failure. Do you have a tendency to magnify the negative aspects of a situation and overlook any positive ones? Rather than automatically focusing on the worst, take a second look to see if there are any positive aspects in a difficult situation.

Don’t wait for a problem to happen but start now to get into the habit of seeing positives in every situation. Additionally, make an effort to create some experiences of happiness. Brief, happy moments can help strengthen your sense that life can be good and you can draw on these feelings in more difficult times.

A second way to create more optimism is to review your past accomplishments. Identify your top five personal and work-related accomplishments and the strengths you used to achieve them. Use this review to affirm for yourself that you are capable and competent. Apply the confidence gained from reviewing your strengths and accomplishments to increase your optimism in your capabilities to impact the future.

A third way to increase optimism is to watch your language! The words we use help to create and shape our reality. Avoid negative self-talk – stop using phrases such as “I can’t” and “This will never work.” Challenge your negative self-talk and turn these statements into questions such as “How can I handle this?” and “What can I do?’. Not only are these questions more hopeful, they invite new options and possibilities.

Pay special attention to how you talk to yourself and make a concentrated effort to treat yourself as well as you would treat a friend or loved one. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. When a negative thought enters your mind, turn it around to something to something more positive.

In conclusion, there are specific techniques you can use to convert from a pessimistic attitude to a more optimistic one. These techniques include highlighting the positive; using your past accomplishments and strengths to fuel your optimism in the future; and deliberately replacing negative self-talk with more positive messages.

As with changing any habit, it may take practice to defeat pessimism but your self-development efforts will prove worthwhile as you gain the positive health and social benefits of optimism.

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