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10 Things Your Authentic Self Wants to Tell You: Romance Your Soul! Part 10 of 10 Series

Romancing Yourself orchid

Chinese Orchid:  Teaches Us How to Love & Romance Ourselves!

“Rather than depending on insects or even the wind for pollination, scientists have discovered that the orchid Holcoglossum amesianum actually fertilizes itself. The orchid defies gravity to twist the male part of its flower into the necessary shape to fertilize the female one.  The orchid produces no scent or nectar. Instead, the pollen-bearing anther uncovers itself and rotates into a suitable position to insert into the stigma cavity, where fertilization takes place. This sexual relationship is so exclusive that flowers do not even transfer pollen to other flowers on the same plant.’ (wikipedia)

Why is it so important to love and romance ourselves?

We all know the cliché – it’s only a cliché because it’s true – that in order to love others, we must first love ourselves.  This is based on the premise that one cannot give what one does not have first.  How on earth can we share a loaf of bread with others if we first do not make sure we reach out and accept this loaf of bread for ourselves?

Buddha on loving yourself:

“You can explore the universe looking for somebody who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and you will not find that person anywhere.  You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

How do we Romance Our Soul?

We often find it easier to do for others the things we rarely would do for ourselves.   We buy cards on special days like Valentine’s Day for the people we love – but how often do we write or send a loving message to ourselves?

Here are some fun, practical methods to begin practicing loving yourself:

1.  Make a list of 5 – 10 things that you would do to romance someone else.  For example, you might buy them flowers, a card, make them a nice dinner, or buy them a gift certificate at their favourite store or spa.  Then make a committment to yourself to do one of these things for yourself each week for the next few weeks until you make a habit of romancing yourself.

2.  Write a love letter to yourself:  What would you say to yourself – either your inner child or you as an adult?  It may be wise to begin writing to your inner child because we often have more love and compassion for her or him than we do for our adult selves.

3.  Choose kind and compassionate words to speak to yourself during the day.  Become aware of the things that you say to yourself on a daily basis.  How many kind statements, such as “Hey _______, I’m really proud of how you handled yourself at work today,” or “Way to go on getting to the gym today!”  do you say to yourself versus how many negative things?  Attempt to catch every negative thought or statement as you think it or say it; then state: “cancel, cancel, cancel” and then replace it with a more compassionate statement to yourself.

4.  Surround yourself with beautiful things – nothing says you love and appreciate yourself like creating a living – or work – space with uplifting or colourful accents.

5. Post a positive quotation near your computer that you can look at every day.

6. Post a picture of yourself that you really like or of one where you are smiling and having fun with friends.

7. Add a plant or vase full of fresh-cut flowers in your home.

8. Buy a diffuser with lovely smelling scents – citrus or cinnamon lifts your spirit and causes the brain to release endorphins.

9. Make a call list of friends or family that you can call at a moments notice and keep it where you can see it daily – this will remind you of people you love and who love you!

10.  Dress well – nothing says you love yourself more than caring to dress yourself in clothes that you feel really good – or sexy – or attractive – each morning (depending on your work of course!)

May this Valentine’s Day, you remember to love and romance the most important person in the world – YOU!

Next Blog Series:  Forgiving Ourselves When We Make Mistakes

 

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10 Things Your Authentic Self Wants to Tell You: Accept Yourself – the Good, the Bad & the Ugly! Part 9 of 10 Series

Woman hugging herself

What does it mean to really accept yourself?

It means to be very truthful and clear about not only your best qualities; but also your worst and still love, respect and appreciate yourself!

The adage, “the more we resist, the more it persists” is absolutely true when it comes to the sides of ourselves that we really do not want to accept.  Hence, the more we try to suppress them, hide them, avoid facing them or avoid admitting them, the more we are destined to manifest them in ourselves and in our lives.

For example, many of us identify certain character traits within ourselves that we see in our parents and as soon as we become remotely aware that we may be like our parents (what we perceive to be the not-so-great-side), we so badly do not want to become them that we resist and deny these attributes.  Hence, that’s where many of us end up – acting just like one or both of our parents.

For example, if one of our parents was unfaithful in their marriage, drank too much or was abusive, we often swear to ourselves that we will NEVER be like this.  Ironically, this very issue will creep up on us and we will find ourselves in the same predicament in our own relationships – or we will attract a partner who acts out these behaviours.

It may not happen at first; but eventually it will.  This is often called a “mid-life” crisis – it is essentially that time in our lives when we can no longer suppress the feelings or judgements that we had in our childhood about these behaviours of our parents and they resurface in order to be worked out.

My advice is to work on these emotions now – to learn to accept that as part of the human species, we are capable of being unfaithful, an alcoholic, or abusive and to focus on the feelings and judgements – justified or not – we have around these types of behaviours.  As long as we are judging our parents or hanging on to unforgiveness for what they did to our family life or to us, we will inevitably follow in their footsteps or attract similar situations to our lives.

The other adage, “we don’t like in others what we don’t like in ourselves” is true as well.  Every time we critique or have a judgement about another human being, it is always wise to ask these questions:

1.  How are we like this person?

2.  How are we ______(insert characteristic here)?

3.  When have we ever ____________?

We will soon discover that at some time in our lives, we too have demonstrated this same behaviour as the very person we are judging.  Why?  Because we are human and if we share one inexplicable quality it is this:  the ability to make mistakes and not be perfect!

I highly recommend reading Debbie Ford‘s book “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” which details how, in our pursuit to be perfect, better than others, not have any “negative” characteristics, we chase after the light – the positive side and all the while try to hide the fact that we have a dark side.  Consequently, this dark side continues to resurface within us and our lives and it is an un-ending treadmill we put ourselves on.  Her book also offers exercises on how to learn to accept all sides of ourselves – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Debbie Ford says this about getting to a point of really accepting and loving ourselves: 

“I think I would tell everybody that you have the right to love all of who you are.  The dark and the light. The good and the bad. The human and the divine. The weak and the strong. The meanness and the kindness.  The selfish and the selfless. That is why we are here. That’s real love. That’s learning to love. We’re here to learn to love all of  who we are. When we love all of who we are, we love all of who everyone else is. It’s easy to love yourself when you wake up  feeling good and you have enough money and enough health and all the things we look for. But is that even love? Our job is that stretch.  How do I love myself when I’m broke, or how do I love myself when I feel insignificant, or insecure, or angry? That is our birthright.  That’s when we return to wholeness. It is really the hardest thing a human can do – is to love all of one’s self.”

Here’s to celebrating ourselves – the good, the bad and the ugly!  Hopefully, after all is said and done and we have truly embraced the fact that we are NOT perfect, we can actually laugh at ourselves.  When we can forgive ourselves for our shortcomings and our mistakes and get back up and try again, we know that we have synthesized our dark side with our light and it will be much easier for us to shine from a truly authentic part of ourselves.

It will also allow us to be less critical and judgemental of others.  Let’s be honest, we never really feel good for very long when we judge others.  When we can accept others, warts and all – we know then that we have truly learned to accept ourselves too!

Link to Debbie Ford’s website and book: 

http://store.debbieford.com/product_info.php?products_id=9

Next Post:  10 Things Your Authentic Self Wants to Tell You:  Romance Yourself!  Part 10 of 10 Series…

10 Things Your Authentic Self Wants to Tell You: Speak Your Truth – Part 8 of 10 Series

The-Wisdom-of-Yoda

Yoda would definitely encourage us to speak our truth….gently!

How many of us are afraid to speak our truth? Do we even know what our truth is?

Speaking our truth essentially means to express freely what we feel to be the best, healthiest and truest decision for ourselves regarding any and every situation with which we are faced.

For example, if someone asks us to do something and we really don’t want to do it, how often do we oblige this person, do what it is they are asking and then either mentally ruminate about how much we resent it or we express our displeasure verbally or through our body language to others and perhaps to the person who has asked us for help?

How many times, when someone is late or cancels on us or disappoints us in some way, we don’t bother to say anything, but all the while, hold onto anger or resentment towards this person?

How many times, when someone does something habitually to annoy us, pressures us to do something we don’t want to do, guilts us into doing something (the list goes on and on) do we keep quiet, but secretly become angry at this person or talk about them to others?

This is what happens when we are not speaking our truth; when we are not being true to our own needs, desires and preferences and care more about what people think of us than caring for ourselves.

Are there times when we need to sacrifice ourselves – our time, money, energy for the good of others?  Absolutely.  However, the problem is when we do it all of the time – we become chronic people pleasers and swallow our feelings of resentment and this almost always manifests itself in illness or gaining weight, eventually.

What are the signs we are not being true to ourselves and have failed to speak our truth?

1.  We feel angry, resentful or dread when we are about to do something.

2.  We are in a state of mental monkey mind – this is when we are going over and over what we would LIKE to say to this person, but we never actually verbalize it.

3.  When we find ourselves talking either about the person who has disappointed us in the form of gossip or complaining – or we are continually talking about how we have to do such and such for so and so and how unfair or what a pain it is.

4.  We develop colds, sore throats, toothaches – any illness to do with the throat or mouth is usually a red flag that we do not feel free to express ourselves and we are holding “infectious words” within us, instead of verbalizing them to others.

5.  We become gossips or are forever talking ABOUT someone rather than TO them.

6.  Our relationships begin to lack honesty or depth.

7.  We disempower ourselves and therefore feel weak or angry with ourselves.

8.  Eating disorders can develop – this is especially true of bulimia.  We literally “swallow” all of the unhealthy words or thoughts from others or ourselves and then regurgitate them back out in anger.

9.  Others sense our anger or resentment and avoid having social interactions with us.

10.  We actually create more separation from our Authentic Self and soon become almost deaf to our own needs and desires.

What does it mean to speak our truth?

It is when what we think, speak and act is in alignment with each other.  If we say yes to something, we make peace about it mentally and we do it.  If we say no to something, we mentally let ourselves off the hook – we do not allow guilt to develop and we stick to our “no” in our actions.  An example of this is when we begin dating and we tell our partner that we are not comfortable becoming intimate with them until three months have passed.  Then we speak and act according to what we have told the person.  If we sleep with them the next week (which of course all of us have gone back on what we’ve told someone at some point in our lives) we disempower ourselves and we never feel completely trustworthy in our own word – and neither will that other person.  My belief is, if you don’t think you can do it, then don’t say it!

Related Links:

Speak Your Truth http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Speak-Your-Truth_2

10 Things Your Authentic Self Wants to Tell You: You Don’t Have to Like Your Family! Part 7 of 10

girl pulling her hair out

Does your family make you want to pull your hair out?

Well, you’re in good company.  I have rarely talked to anyone who hasn’t, at one time or another, been frustrated with their family members.

Wayne Dyer says this about family: 

Friends are God‘s way of making up for our families.”

How many of us have spent a lifetime trying to understand, get along with, make peace with, be understood by or simply communicate with our families to no avail?  How many us have been disappointed, hurt, frustrated, or completely exasperated with one family member or another?

Take it from me – I do understand. I am the youngest of seven siblings – and almost ten years younger than the ones next to me in age.  Essentially, I had the experience of growing up in a large family; and also as an only child.  With numerous personalities within one family, there will always be issues, disputes, and fights; sometimes knock-down, drag-out fights!

However, we need to look at our families differently; this has helped me a great deal.  It wasn’t until I realized that my family was less about people with whom I had to get along, have understand me or be extremely close to and much more about the spiritual and emotional work I have to do on this earth – in this physical journey.

In essence, we need to stop looking at our family members as people who should (there’s that word again – see my post on “Forget your Shoulds!”) be a certain way or understand us or be there for us.  Our family members are this:  Spiritual Bumper Cars.

Essentially, we are stuck in a perpetual game with them for this lifetime. 

Have you ever noticed the big poles to which bumper cars are attached?  There is a steering wheel within these small, colourful cars, but who are we kidding – we aren’t in control of those damn cars – not even our own!   We go along steering, trying in vain to either hit into the others or avoid them, and all the while, we really have no control at all – nor can we remove our car from the game.

Hence, this is how we need to think of our family members – especially if there is dissonance between us and them.  When we arrive on this earth, we have no control in which family we are born or what personalities the rest of them will have.  We spend almost our entire lives in this Bumper Car game with them – sometimes managing to move around them; sometimes bumping into them and having a good laugh and sometimes, we get hurt when we bump into them too hard or vice versa.

What’s the good news about looking at our family members this way?

It takes the pressure off of us to have some deep, meaningful relationship (if you do, that’s wonderful – but many do not) and we can see them more objectively as the people with whom we are meant to do our spiritual and emotional work during our journey here on earth.

In fact, I believe that we are meant to bump up, crash into and even get hurt by these people we call parents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and yes, even our own children.  They are our reflections and our work.  So, now you have permission to stop longing for them to change or understand them at every moment or even having a relationship with them at all.  Of course, it is never good to hold on to grudges or resentment – this poison only hurts us – not them.  If we need to forgive them, then we must do this for us – not them.

However, the next time you visit or spend time with your family members and you can view them as if in a game with a bunch of bumper cars around you, it may take a little pressure off and even be a little more fun during the experience.

If only when they bump into us and shake us to our core, could we laugh like we do in a game of good old bumpers cars!

Next Post:  10 Things Your Authentic Self Wants to Tell You – Speak Your Truth! Part 8 of 10

10 Things Your Authentic Self Wants to Tell You: Forget Your Shoulds! Part 6 of 10 Series

progressisimpossiblewithoutchange

angry girl pointing her fingerangry guy pointing his finger“You SHOULD!”

How many times have we shaken our fingers at ourselves about something we should have done, should be doing, or should do soon?  We are often “shoulding” ourselves about something; and this is not surprising as most of us could not count how many times we have been told in our past about something we should do.  We have heard it from our parents, adults, teachers, authority figures, siblings, peers in the past and perhaps even now; and more often, from ourselves.  We are carrying on a tradition that others began inside of our minds and we should stop!  Okay, this is the one should you can listen to!

For example, how many us are able to accomplish our New year’s resolutions?  Most of us are not successful because we often try to change things that are so well-established not only as a habit and part of our life-style,  but in the neuro-pathways of our mind.

One exercise that I completed in my four years of training to be a psycho-therapist was extremely helpful in  helping me begin to make changes – albeit small changes at first – in my life and getting rid of my shoulds and turning them into accomplishments.

Many of us have a long list of shoulds:

I should go to the gym

I should go on a diet

I should be more patient

I should travel more

I should save my money for travel

I should save more!  Work more!  Work less!

…and the list goes on.

For some reason, the word “should” continues to resonate in our minds as a non-committal, sit-on-the-fence mentality that rarely ever brings about action, let alone change.   Hence, we continue to tell ourselves that we should do this or we should do that; and we almost never get around to it.

The exercise to change this kind of mentality is very simple – and yet it works.  It entails making a list of our shoulds.  Then, after reading it through, we need to decide whether we WILL or we WON’T take the action.  After we decide, we need to literally cross out the word “should” and write above it (or below it) the words “I will” or “I won’t”.  For example, if you have on your list, “I should eat less” cross out the should and write what you’ve decided to do:  I will eat less or I won’t eat less.

After you’ve finished “correcting” your list, then tuck it away somewhere and leave it for a month or two months – however long you can wait.  I did this for one month and when I returned to my list – I could barely remember what I had written on it – I had accomplished all but one of the things that I had previously, so many times said I should do.

For some reason, our brain is able to make connections to our commitment to take action and either consciously or subconsciously, we begin to make small – and sometimes big – changes in our lives.  What can an exercise like this one hurt?  Perhaps, if you return to your list and you still have things to change, you can redo the list and re-commit.  I know for me, this was the beginning of changing my entire language around accomplishing anything.

For example, another non-committal word is trying.  “Trying is lying” to ourselves.  As long as we are in the should stage or the trying stage, we do not accomplish the things we want.  Instead of saying, “I should work out three times per week,” say, “I will or I am working out three times per week.”  Instead of saying, “I’m trying to change” simply say, “I am changing ________ about my life” or “I will change _________ in my life.”  Period.  We wouldn’t want a non-committal reply from people we are relying on, so why do we accept it from ourselves?

Next Post:  10 Things Your Authentic Self Has to Tell You:  You Don’t Have to Like Your Family!  Part 7 of 10

10 Things Your Authentic Self Has to Tell You – The Naked Truth About Yourself! Part 5 of 10 Series

bth_homeless

The 5th Thing Your Authentic Self Wants to Tell You:

You are NOT your house, job, car, money or possessions!

I want you to imagine for a moment that you are just you.  Imagine that you are sitting on the bench above and you have no job, no career, no family, no clothes, no car, no possessions and you have to rely simply on who you as a person.  Now ask yourself these questions:

1.  Who am I? What qualities or attributes do I possess within me that make me who I am?

2.  How do I use my possessions to tell myself, my family and the world who I am? Can I live with myself without all of these “things” representing me?

I am going to preface this post with saying that there is nothing wrong with being blessed and having a home, job, career, car – even two or three cars, a family, lovely clothes and lots of possessions.  We are entitled to our divine inheritance as is everyone on this planet.

However, there is something wrong with tying our whole identity as a human being – the organic, molecular structure and the spirit within us – to a series or collection of physical inorganic, man-made items that we call “ours”.  Why?  Only because we get so tied up and stressed out with the purpose of obtaining – and then maintaining and sustaining – these things that we forget our own self-worth – who we truly are without these things.

I am convinced this is why many people who become wealthy or famous or politically successful fall into the temptation of corruption – it’s because they forget who they are at the core – they’ve lost sight of their inner self that has integrity and honesty – in the pursuit of fame, fortune and prestige.  The rest of us who live moderately successful lives also do this – perhaps not on the same scale, but we forget or resent spending time with our families because work is more important; we don’t take care of our own health because we are too busy running around to actually run.

What good are any of these things, if we are lying in bed with a disease caused from the stress of obtaining and keeping these things or we have lost our families because of our negligence?

It all comes down to this:

Net Worth vs. Personal Currency:

Have we put our “Net Worth” before our own Personal Currency – what we are worth as a human being?   I am here to tell you that your net worth is not – and never will be – worth more than your own personal currency which consists of your character, your spirit, your ideas and the love you have to offer to your fellow human beings.

We can easily lose our jobs, houses, cars, family and all of our possessions; but the real tragedy is when we lose ourselves – our humanity, our integrity, our kindness, our patience towards others and our own families.  So today, go sit on a park bench during your lunch and take inventory. If this bench was your home, could you live with yourself?

Next Post:  The 6th Thing Your Authentic Self Has to Tell You!

10 Things Your Authentic Self Has to Tell You: Go Have Fun! – Part 4 of 10

Happy kids Happy kids

What do these children have to teach you?             Everything! 

One of my favourite exercises that allows us to not only get in touch with our inner child and understand who they are; but also allows us to reconnect with ourselves as adults and understand who we REALLy are, is taking the time to do two things:

1.  Find a picture of yourself (that you really like) when you were a child; enlarge it, frame it and put it somewhere you can see it every day!

2.  Communicate with this child on an on-going basis – everyday, if possible.

Finding the photo should be the easy part.

How do we go about communicating with our inner child and why should we even bother? 

The child that we once were, in its innocence and youth was the true core of who we were meant to be as adults.  Along the way, with school, peers, parents, teachers, authority figures telling us who we were and who we ought to be – we began to lose our connection with our inner child.  However, that child hasn’t gone anywhere!

He/She is within us, waiting for us to come out and play, if you will.    Similar to the Holiday Song, Frosty the Snowman, when he says, “Now don’t you cry, I’ll be back again some day!” we have said to our inner child.  However, how many of us have ever bothered to return to our inner child and went out and played with full abandonment?

We are like Frosty – no one believes that as adults we should dance and sing and play and be silly like children, but I’m here to tell you that we love this story because it is just that –  unbelievable and silly!

Have a look at the photos above of these young children.  What do you imagine would be their message to us as adults?  I encourage you to sit down as soon as possible and write a letter (or just a question or two) to your inner child and ask it what it would tell you about yourself:

1.  What qualities did you possess as a child?

2.  What did you love to do?

3.  What did you dream of becoming?

4.  What advice does he/she have for you about some situation in your life that you are at a loss about?

5.  What recommendation does he/she have for you in order to have more fun, joy and laughter in your life?

I have done this exercise and it works.  Just like John Lennon says, “There will be an Answer” if you take the time to talk and listen to your inner – Authentic Self, today! To get you into a more playful, open state, watch the video below!  It’s fun!

Frosty the Snowman (video and lyrics)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGDi8TqqeX8

Next Post:  The 5th Thing Your Authentic Self Has to Tell You!