It is easy to give advice. When it is time to take advice, however, it is difficult to remove yourself from the situation and have a clear view on how to move forward. It is for this reason that psychologists and psychiatrists have their own therapist and doctors do not diagnose themselves, or rather should not. When facing any difficulties, it is helpful to get an outside opinion in order to get perspective and attain clarity.
I recently experienced this myself. I was having an issue with a friend of mine and found myself at a loss in how to approach things. I carefully thought about what I usually advise others but was unsure of how to proceed because I was emotionally invested in the outcome. I had a very hard time separating what I knew to be true with what I wanted. The first thing I did was to call someone I trust, who was not involved. Sometimes you need to enlist several people. If you do not have a good support system, I recommend a therapist, a religious or spiritual guide, a teacher or even a complete stranger who is willing to lend an ear. The important thing to note is that no matter who you speak to, you are the one who will resolve the issue. Even with professional help, be aware that they will not solve your problem for you. They cannot perform miracles. They will not give you a magic potion, pills or even the strength to face or do anything. They will make suggestions, provide you with guidelines and offer support. That is it. What you do with that help is entirely up to you.
Knowledge is an amazing thing. The mind processes any information you read, all the advice you receive, every seminar and sermon you attend. The lessons are heard but not applied to your life unless you choose to include them. Everything gets filtered by your state of mind. That is why you can read the same book after many years and have it affect you in a completely different way. The more experience we have, the more knowledge we retain. As we become more confident in ourselves, we interpret the advice we are given more honestly.
Once you have determined how you want to live, it is essential to develop your own personal mantra. You may have only one mantra or many. I have several that I refer to when I am facing adversity. For example, one is “make the healthy choice.” In my twenties, I struggled with body issues but really wanted to create a healthy lifestyle for myself. This mantra translates easily into many aspects of life. When thinking about dinner or whether or not to stay up late, I will repeat my mantra and make a choice. I don’t always make the healthy choice, but that is why I also have the mantra “Forgive.”
When you incorporate a mantra into your routine, it becomes part of your conscience. When used correctly, it will help keep you on the path you have chosen. Each time you listen to that little voice inside, you will gain strength and courage to be true to yourself. When it came to the problem with my friend, my little voice reminded me of another rule I try to live by, “be honest.” That is one of my most important mantras because it goes hand in hand with who I have become as a person. The only way to live everyday to the fullest and feel good about who you are is to be honest. That is one of hardest things to do in life. Personally, it has ended several friendships but it gave me the confidence to be who I am today. The friends who have stood by me, know what they are getting with my friendship. When I analyzed my dilemma along with the help of a good friend, I realized that I was not actually hurt by my other friend’s actions, but was upset about the circumstances around the situation, over which neither one of us had any control. In the end, what I needed was simply to communicate my feelings to her. A true friend will listen, help you cope and give you the love and support you need.
Keep in mind, there may not be a solution to your problem. You need to look at the facts, accept what is out of your control and choose to come to terms with the situation. You will decide what to do based on advice, instinct and chosen path. Your mantra should help you take action and move forward. Using this method, one problem at a time you will slowly take control of your life and your happiness.
Making a better life is challenging. You may be doing everything right. You are living in the moment, appreciating the things you have and making small changes towards reaching your goals. However, you can still feel like you are walking against the tide. On those days, there will occasionally be setbacks. You may slip into old habits or have an emotional meltdown. It is OK. It happens. It is part of the process. Just like someone who is attempting to eat healthier may have an entire tub of ice cream after a particularly trying day, you may hit a similar stumbling block.
We are human. We are fallible. Self improvement is an ongoing journey for the rest of your life. Each day and each moment, you have a choice. Now and then you might indulge the three year old inside that has a temper tantrum when things do not go as planned. Alternatively, you may step back, take a deep breath and focus on how to solve the problem. Just because one day you make a poor decision does not mean you are bound to that course of action every time. Unless that is your choice. When you become disappointed with your behavior, forgive the transgression and allow yourself another chance.
As a parent it is easy to forgive your child for their mistakes. While learning to pour from a carton, you do not chastise them for spilling the milk. While learning to walk, you do not insult them when they fall. Apply this principle to yourself. We are all learning how to be better people. Be kind to yourself when you have a bad day. Forgive yourself for succumbing to your emotions or being angry at your circumstances. Forgive yourself for falling into old patterns which have been established over many years. Successful change occurs when you take responsibility for your choices and make better decisions next time. Reflect on how you feel when you overreact or over indulge. You will notice that these actions are counterproductive. In addition, you feel bad about yourself which increases the distress.
When you take this attitude with yourself, you will find it easier to apply it to others in your life as well. This is essential to improve relationships in your life. Learning to forgive yourself will help you understand how important it is to give those around you another chance to redeem themselves.
Truth be told, I have a horrible temper. I am Portuguese and as a culture we often scream, shout and flail our arms over just about anything. I know the Italians get all the glory when it comes to hot blooded reactions but believe me, you do not want to get caught in the wrath of a Portuguese woman either, it is not pretty. That being said, I had to put this temper in check. It is exhausting to fly off the handle and as I mentioned before, it does not accomplish anything. However, sometimes it is cathartic. Before indulging myself in an outburst I try to ask myself the question “why am I upset?” The answer is not as obvious as it may seem. When someone hurts you, it may be that you are disappointed that they did not meet your expectations. Perhaps something did not go as you had hoped and you are disillusioned because of your fear of failure. If you analyze the root of your anger you often will encounter that it is because of your presumption of the outcome and has very little to do with any circumstance or person involved.
It is natural to be annoyed when things do not go as planned. How you decide to express your aggravation is the key to improving your life. Call a friend. Call a psychologist. Talk to the person with whom you are having an issue and make it clear that you are not mad at them but you need to vent. It is ok to tell someone that you are upset by their actions without insulting them. Whether it is your spouse, your children or a friend, it is important that you communicate your fears and disappointment without making them responsible for your state of mind. This will improve your relationship because you can be honest and forthcoming without causing them to feel like they have to defend themselves.
Whether it is the extra piece of cake you had at a friend’s wedding, losing your temper with a loved one or letting an opportunity slip by because of fear, forgive yourself. Apply this philosophy to anyone in your life who may have a setback. Each time you forgive, you will be moving one step closer to peace within and happiness in your life.
Team Tumor Take Down will be participating in the Breakthrough for Brain Tumors 5K Run & Walk, an inspiring and fun event benefitting the American Brain Tumor Association. We are doing this in honor of our good friend Rich Einhorn who is currently living with a Neuroendocrine Brain Tumor.
It is staggering how many people are affected with brain tumors. How many friends and family members have been taken from us too soon or who are currently fighting with this diagnosis. This is what WE can do to help in the battle. Run, Walk or DONATE to help find a cure so that we can all live a long, healthy and more fulfilling life!
Go to our TEAM PAGE now to show your support!