- You've come to a place where you recognize you need to make a change in your life.
- You've quit blaming others and have taken responsibility for your current state of mind.
- You've taken a step back and questioned the source of your self-perceptions.
- You've prioritized the changes that need to be made.
- You've given yourself permission to cry (and with that comes the permission to rejoice).
This is where the work begins, where the rubber meets the road (so to speak). This is where we make the decision to let go of the anger, the pain and the negativity and make a conscious effort to Go Out And Live.
The first step is to IDENTIFY two separate, but crucial, poles in your life -- the sources and negativity and the sources of positivity.
Some sources of negative feelings are easy to identify: The co-worker who constantly complains or doesn't respect anyone's boundaries; the stack of bills you may or may not have the cash to pay this month; a frustrating commute to and fro; long lines at the supermarket; anything and everything that creates a barrier or makes life harder than you think it really needs to be.
Other sources of negativity aren't so easily identified. Oftentimes we are our own worst enemies when it comes to spiritual and emotional wellness.
One of the best ways to assess how much of a self-saboteur you are is to pay close attention to the way you think.
Negative preconceptions often breed negative outcomes. It's okay to be guarded, but it's not okay to believe the boogeyman is waiting around every corner to get you.
We stumble into pitfalls by believing nothing will ever change, that only bad things will happen, that the other shoe is about to drop. But we set ourselves up for failure by entering each day with that mindset.
Another great way to gauge your inner saboteur is to listen to the way you talk.
I once did a session with a woman who does Quantum Neurological Reset Therapy, a somewhat new-age form of medicine that I seriously doubted at first.
During my session with her, she stopped me mid-sentence and asked if I realized how many times I used the phrases "I feel bad for..." and "I'm sorry, but..."
"Yeah, so? They're part of my everyday speech. It's how I talk," I said.
"Quit it!" she shot back.
It's okay to exhibit empathy for others, but there are ways to express empathy without projecting negative emotions on ourselves with phrases like, "I feel bad (awful, terrible) for (about)..."
It is never, ever, ever okay to be apologetic about our feelings. We don't need to say, "I'm sorry, but..." Those are our feelings, and we have just as much right to feel them as others have to feel theirs.
There exists the possibility that the expression of your feelings might anger someone. But do you really think adding "I'm sorry, but..." to your expression will soften the reaction of someone who might be offended?
They're your feelings. Own them. Feel them. Don't be afraid of them.
And don't fret because there are healthy ways to deal with all of negativity that surrounds us.
That's what we'll talk about on Thursday. (And I'll give some options on how to verbally express empathy without using phrases like "I feel bad or awful, or terrible, or horrible for..." that project negativity back onto us.) On Monday, we'll talk about identifying the positives in our lives and why they're important.