Unclutter Your Life

Overcoming Discouragement

Happy Monday!  If no one has told you lately, let me tell you how amazing you are.

For some of us (yes, I’m included), no matter how much we achieve or how much progress we make, we still have those nasty inner gremlins (and maybe some outer ones) who want to knock us down.

It’s the gremlins in our head saying:

  • “You’re not good enough.”
  • “You’ll look like a fool.”
  • “Who do you think you are?”
  • “You are self-centered. It isn’t always about you”.

When these mantras start, it is sometimes hard to silence the noise.  Verbal abuse whether external or internal can eat away at us.  Did you know there are things you can do to actively combat those nasty inner gremlins?  If it is an outer voice saying these things, the inner voices feed on those comments long after the outer voice has stopped talking.

Here are four simple ways to overcome those nasty gremlins:

1. Start talking to yourself

“You need to stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself again.”

Those nasty inner gremlins are setting you up for failure.  We are what we feed our mind.  When we feed those nasty gremlins positive things, they will shrink in the corner and the good will overcome.  When we feed them something negative, you know what happens.

The bottom line is: the statements and questions you use in conversations with yourself make a huge difference in what you do, how you think, and how you feel.

Instead of questions like, “Why am I having such a hard time?” or, “Why does this always happen to me?” Try, “What just happened, and what can I take away from this?”  Ask yourself questions which are life giving not life killing. OUCH!  What we do, how we think, and how we feel are all dictated by the conversations we have with ourselves. Pay attention to those conversations and watch how your life changes.2. Celebrate Often

When was the last time you celebrated a small victory?  Or do you wait until you reach a huge milestone to celebrate?  Did you know by waiting to celebrate, you are giving those nasty inner gremlins a chance to sneak in the back door crushing your joy?

Why not celebrate everything and everyone—all the time?  It’s hard to stay discouraged when you’re constantly searching for something or someone to celebrate. The seeds of depressions have a tough time taking root in a grateful heart and the same is true with discouragement and celebration.

You have your goals set, right?  Now create smaller ones leading up to the BIG one and plan some kind of celebration when you reach a small milestone. It doesn’t have to be elaborate—just give yourself a reward for making progress.  Then watch for others who are hitting their small milestones, and recognize them when they do. When you acknowledge an achievement others are overlooking or discounting in their own lives, you can do wonders for their confidence.

Celebrating small wins along the way will keep you motivated and encouraged. Don’t neglect it!

3. Prune Your Negative Vines

This one can be tough but it is probably one of the most important pieces to the puzzle.  When you don’t prune unproductive branches off a fruit-bearing tree, you can’t expect much of a harvest.  The same goes for us.

We must distance ourselves from negativity. If we don’t, we stunt our own growth.  Your dreams, visions, and opportunities will always require you to become more than you currently are. In short, you must grow to achieve them.  So, how can you grow when you are surrounded by negativity?

Those outside voices feed the negativity to those nasty inner gremlins and the result is they squash your dreams saying things to discourage you.

The vision you have for your life (and your family’s life) holds more weight than other people’s opinions.  So distance yourself from negativity. Don’t listen to people whose intentions are just to slow you down.  For some, the most negative people in your life can be those who are closest to you. You can actually use these four strategies to distance yourself from them.

4. Establish Boundaries

Imagine how easy it would be for an army to capture an unprotected city. The same thing can happen to your mind if you don’t establish boundaries.  Boundaries are the castle walls surrounding your mind, preventing discouragement from walking right in and taking control.  The problem is most people are scared to set them.  I know I am sometimes.

We don’t want to offend others, so we tolerate the negative people and activities influencing our thinking and behavior. When we do this, we let their meaningless opinions take priority over our own goals and dreams.  Whom you spend time with, what you spend time doing, and what you allow in your mind will either help you overcome discouragement, or fall to its forces.

Boundaries are the only mechanism for keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. If you want to overcome discouragement, boundaries are vital.  We’re all either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or headed for a crisis—is it just part of living life.

But, we can choose how we react to whatever life throws at us, including discouragement.  When you equip yourself with the proper defenses, you can overcome it and live the life you were made to live.

Share a time you overcame discouragement and how did you fight back?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

How Do You Measure Your Worth?

“The better you feel about yourself, the less you feel the need to show off.” ~Robert Hand

Do you remember the first time you were gripped by fear?  Maybe it was wanting the perfect score on a test?  Maybe it was vying for a promotion and thinking you were not good enough?  Regardless of what the scene was, maybe you felt like if you didn’t do XYZ perfectly, then you were worthless.

For years, I strove to be the best. From wanting to be in the popular crowd in school to wanting to achieve the top spot in my chosen field.  Each time I added something to my list of achievements, I felt a surge of worthiness.  I felt good about myself…. the cycle of tying my worth to my achievements had started.

As I look back on my high school years, from my teen pregnancy on, I felt unworthy. Unworthy of love.  Unworthy of the promotion.  Never measuring up despite the positive accomplishments in my life.  Then the years in my addiction caused more feelings of unworthiness.

When I got clean, I was forced to redefine my idea of self-worth. I realized chasing my worth based on one accomplishment after another was making me miserable. The truth was I was caught in the comparison game. I had to learn I am worthy simply because I exist, and nothing more.

Do you want to overcome the need to base your worth on accomplishments? Here are so tips to help you:

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1. Make a list of all the things you love about yourself be sure they have nothing to do with an achievement.

Silly?  Hard?  Absolutely! The first time I did this, nothing came to mind except my accomplishments.

Slowly, I embraced the fact I love how giving I am. I’m compassionate and sensitive, which I love about myself.  I’m a good listener. The list keeps flowing as I sit and reflect.

Having a hard time? Ask your loved ones or a few close friends to tell you what they love about you. It is a wonderful way to remind you; you are more than what you do.

2. Redefine your idea of success.

How did you feel the last time you perused social media and saw your friends accomplishing seemingly great things in their life. They looked successful, and I felt unsuccessful as a retired social worker with my own business.

So what does a successful life look like to me?  For me, a successful life is spending the day doing things I love. Having loving relationships. It would be making a positive impact, however small, in the life of others.  It isn’t all about the money.

Guess what I realized? My life is already a success. I spend my days working for myself and making a difference in the lives of others.  I have wonderful loving relationships.

When you are gripped with unworthiness, ask yourself what success would look like to you, and you alone. Are there ways you’re already living a successful life, based on your  own definition? The answer might surprise you.

3. Practice unconditional self-love.

Do you know what dogs (or cats) and babies have in common? They don’t have to do a single thing to deserve our love or be worthy of our love. They don’t try to prove themselves to us. We love them unconditionally simply because they exist.  So what if we applied the same principal to ourselves? What if we didn’t have to do anything or prove anything to be worthy of self- love? What if we deserved unconditional love, just like our pets or our children?

Practice extending unconditional love to yourself by forgiving yourself when you’re not perfect, and recognizing you deserve love no matter what you achieve.

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Letting go of perfectionism isn’t easy.  We are a work in progress.  Stifling the need to base our worth on external validation is a continual process. But, with time, we can begin to shed our layers of conditioning that taught us we are not worthy, and see ourselves for the beautifully deserving beings we are.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Feel Good Friday!

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Today is a day filled with mixed emotions….Today would have been my Aunt Elsie’s 68th birthday.  She was my mom’s baby sister.  She was Belinda’s “buddy“.  She became a Weston angel in 1999.  My past blogs on this day have focused on family and been all about Elsie’s cancer journey. Today I decided to change it up and talk about a path to happiness.  Yes, I miss Elsie – everyday.  I realized that she would not want me dwelling on the past – she would want me to be happy, enjoying the moment while remembering the good times and not the struggle.

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With the help of some tips from Valerie Burton, we are going to talk about journaling to reflect and shift your attitude in a positive direction.

In her book, Successful Women Think Differently, Valerie talks about the research of Dr. Laura King, a professor at University of Missouri, who discovered that writing about “your best possible future self” actually has health benefits such as boosting your immune system.  Apparently, writing about your life has a very positive impact on your emotions. Then when you combine that with some powerful questions, you will be prompted towards happiness triggers and you’ll feel a shift in your emotions in a matter of minutes.

Here are three questions to do just that:

1. What are you looking forward to tomorrow? (Or tonight/this week/this season?)

No matter what you are looking forward to – dinner with friends, a favorite show or vacation – thinking about it makes you smile.  Anticipation is a happiness trigger. So, the inner gremlins are squashed.  The positive emotions create positive energy.

2. What was your favorite moment of the day and why was it meaningful to you?

It is all about gratitude. It may not be easy but you need to sift through the moments of your day and find the shiny, golden nugget.  No matter how small it may be, find that golden nugget.  Then to deepen the positive emotion created, then reflect upon why you are grateful for it.

3. What achievement are you most proud of (in your relationship/career/finances/health) and why?

Alright, I know the eyes are rolling! Many of you have the tendency to gloss over your efforts or beat yourself up when things aren’t perfect, right? When was the last time you reflected on something you are proud of?  Overachievers and people with high standards tend to take themselves for granted and with the feeling that you’ve never done enough, despite your best efforts, your progress isn’t worthy of celebration yet. BOOO!!!  You push through obstacles and challenges every day and continue moving forward. That is an achievement. Pick something from your life and journal about what you are most proud of and why you’re so proud. What did it take for you to get there, what did you have to push through, and what does it tell you about your ability to handle the opportunities and challenges that lie before you now?

My challenge is to journal yourself to a happier place. I will be journal into a happy place knowing that Elsie is with me.  I have so many memories but her strength stands out the most.  Her fight, her commitment to our family and her ability to dream big are what help me to keep going when my faith starts to waiver. I DREAM BIG and hold fast for I know that in God’s time, my Weston angels will help me to reach my dreams and my goals. I step out of my comfort zone and I know that she is right behind me cheering me on.

Happy Birthday, Elsie. I miss you and I know that even though you don’t like parties – there is one going on in heaven today just for you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Your Best Intentions

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We all have good intentions, right?  You say you want to do something but you don’t.  I don’t necessarily mean those really BIG things that you dream about; I am talking about those obtainable dreams.  Maybe things don’t happen the way you want for a multitude of reasons.  We have all been there, done that and probably have an unwanted t-shirt.

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You start out with a clear vision or plan.  Maybe it is a new kitchen (that’s one of mine), the next promotion or a full calendar (this one too).  Maybe it is keeping your house clean – yes, I have grown attached to my dust bunnies.

You have or know the list of action steps necessary to make it happen.  A plan written out and maybe it is even scheduled on your planner. Then STUFF  happens – you procrastinate, fear creeps in, you get side tracked with life and the next thing you know that clear vision is a muddy mess.

Yes, I know that it may seem a little silly to compare DREAMS with cleaning the house but everyone’s vision is different.  So no matter what your vision is I want you to consider doing these steps:

Step #1: Write down what you really want and why you want it. Are you looking to please someone else or is it something you really want?  Set aside the doubts, the fears and the daily concerns.  YOU and only you have the power to light the fire and get yourself moving.

Step #2: Set aside time to quietly and honestly answer the following questions.  I know that this is probably really tough for you because as busy women, we never seem to have any time, right?  But you can do it – I believe in you.

  1. What do I want?
  2. What is important to me about having it?
  3. How will my life change if I have it?
  4. How will I feel when I have it?
  5. Who else will be impacted by this achievement?
  6. How will those I love see me when I achieve this?
  7. Will I feel different about me? How?
  8. How will this change the outcome of my life or the lives of those I love?

Write the answers in a special spot – for some it may be a journal while for others it could be a spot on your phone or if live by your planner, maybe it is on there.  You want it to be someplace that you can go to when you find that you are distracted or procrastinating.

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Life is full of changes which sometimes means that your ‘what and why’ will change, too.  Your special spot will be a great source of inspiration when life gets challenging.

Step #3: Follow through is the key even when things are hard.  Motivation comes from within and when you know what you really want and why you want it – you are unstoppable.  This inner power helps you to set boundaries to the things that distract you.  It allows you to be ready for the things that challenge you on the journey to realizing your dreams!

So, whether your dream is a dream kitchen or a clean house or a new job or promotion or even to grow your current business remember to tap into that inner power.  You said you will do XYZ but will you do it?  You said you will see your vision become a reality but will you?  What is holding you back?

Share your thoughts with us….Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!