Many of my clients and some of my acquaintances find it hard to stay positive in these recent months after the Sandy Hook shootings and the Mall Massacre and economic hard times. In her lyrics, Laura Story asks, “What if your blessings come through raindrops? What if your healing comes through tears.”
Her song speaks to looking at the spiritual teachings and comfort in times like these. Joel Osteen’s “I Declare” is a perfect blend of spiritual wisdom and cognitive behavioral therapy. Both speak to how to mediate and alleviate your emotional distress in trying circumstances.
The bottom line is harnessing the power of your tongue and your thoughts. It is scriptural and scientifically validated. So how do you ignite and utilize that power? Living consciously.
What is living consciously?
Many people are sleep walking through life or going through the motions. A wise man once said that your habits determine your success. If your habits help you maintain stasis instead of elevating you to the next level, you need to change your habits. You cannot expect to become top seller if you never sell any products or develop a downline of sellers.
You cannot expect to drive off in the pink SUV if you do not develop a network of sales personnel under you. That is living consciously. That is making the most of the present moments to insure your immediate and long term future. You know there is no over night success. Confucius said, “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”
So, you are now living in the moment.
What happens when obstacles or challenges arise? Well, your plan should anticipate some obstacles and how you are going to respond to them. I said respond, not react. Those who react instead of respond risk losing their focus and their confidence if more than one obstacle arises on the road to success.
Responding to challenges means taking measured, thoughtful action. It also means that you may seek wise advise from those who have already overcome those obstacles. You do not need to remake the wheel here. Take a look at the tried and true. Examine the similarities and differences in your challenges and theirs.
What worked? What did not? Networking with people who are already successful is the best way to obtain access to this wise advice. It is also a way to learn that it is alright to fail on the way to success. Learn from it and move on.
Positive affirmations are just what they sound like. You may also already be familiar with the term since it is quite popular these days. What you rehearse, becomes hard wired in your brain whether it is learning a speech, learning the alphabet in elementary school, or building your own confidence. If you rehearse “I will never succeed”, you will NEVER succeed.
If you have had someone speaking this into your life from a child (e.g., parent, teacher, other trusted adults), then you may begin to believe the hype. The good news is that you are an adult and now you can choose to destroy those old tapes. However, you cannot destroy them without replacing them with new, positive one.
My favorites are based on scripture, but you may choose others from wise philosophers or teachers such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, or Mother Teresa. The only criteria is that it is a short memorable saying or phrase with meaning for you. It should also be applicable to your circumstances or encouragement in your specific area of growth. If it is confidence or strength you need, then you might use “I can do all things” or something similar.
Countering negative, self critical, or self defeating thoughts.
Brains are made to think. You have millions or billions of thoughts daily. However, not all of them are productive and some of them can be self-defeating or self-critical. The little critic who whispers in your ear, “You will never succeed” or “See, I told you that you would mess it up” or “You are worthless no wonder they won’t promote you”.
Your inner critic thrives on all the fears and insecurities you have. Because that critical voice is really you, it also knows the most tender spots to poke. The good news is that you can silence it. You can say to yourself, “What is the truth?” or “What evidence do I have that I always fail?” You can also counter with an affirmative or true statement about yourself.
Instead of “I suck at public speaking”, say to yourself “I am learning to speak eloquently and articulately.” You can also choose to highlight or review your success story thus far. For example, I am an accomplished speaker, writer, and many demanding my services. You could also say, “In the beginning I had ______ number of clients/accounts, and now I have ____ clients/accounts. By June of next year, I will have _____ many more or have achieved _______.” It is up to you.
Attitude of Gratitude
This is a simple technique, but many struggle with it. Most people are more accustomed to listing all the negatives and rehearsing all their past hurts ad infinitum. Therefore, they struggle with focusing on the blessings or good things in their life. Spiritual wisdom states that you have to be faithful over little, before your are trusted with more.
In other words, acknowledge all the small blessings, savor them, and in the optimal time, you will be given greater and greater blessings for yourself and for others around you. You can do this by making a list in the morning of the five things you are grateful for or do a review at night for the five things you are grateful for that day.
It could be as simple as safe travels on a day when you passed or just missed an accident or multiple accidents. It could be gratitude for good or improved health. Just make the list and take the time to be grateful.
Reframing your circumstances positively
Wayne Dyer is an awesome motivator, teacher, and therapist. He teaches that you should turn something negative into a positive and affirm that. If you want to be a business mogul, don’t go around saying “I’m not business savvy” instead say “I am a successful business mogul.”
Whatever has your energy and focus is what will manifest. If you focus is on lack, you will stay in lack and never attain your goal of financial prosperity. Then, visualize yourself attaining your goals. Visualize positive resolution to your challenges. Is this a one time and done exercise? NO! For many, this will be a daily or hourly or even every few minutes endeavor. It depends on how battered and bruised you are.
If you have had years and years of negative, degrading, abusive tapes in your head and no positive role models of overcoming them and actualizing yourself, then, you will likely fall in the higher frequency category. Regardless of where you start your journey or your past, everyone should surround themselves with a good support system. A good support system helps you problem solve if need be, provides encouragement, reminds you of your progress and success, and is rooting for you to succeed.
This is last, but not least especially during this Holiday Season. Never neglect the spiritual aspect of your being. It also requires nurturing. In the last couple months, we as a nation have witnessed unthinkable massacres of innocents, including children. However, there is a solace in that someone with infinitely more wisdom and understanding is taking care of it all. Blessings can come from tears and horrific circumstances.
After Katrina and hurricane Sandy, the Earthquake in Haiti, and the Sandy Hook shootings; we also witnessed tremendous acts of kindness and love. We saw more unity in caring for those affected, more compassion for our fellow man. Faith works on all levels: personal, professional, family, community, financial, etc. However, it does not work if you do not activate it. Whatever form it takes for you, it must be activated and developed.