As many of us have likely experienced, especially if we were raised in any kind of dysfunctional family system (which many—if not all—of us were), our boundaries can be violated by another person and leave us confused and reeling without necessarily understanding why. Oftentimes this leads to blaming other people for our emotions, which are not their responsibility, just like their emotions are not our responsibility. This is actually detrimental to our growth and evolution as a human being because it stunts individuation and reinforces the victim mentality and blame shifting game that makes so many of us feel like we’re running our legs off without actually getting anywhere. So, how can you begin setting healthier boundaries for yourself? The first step is getting to know your true self.
What do I mean when I say your true self as opposed to your false self? What is the false self? Well, the false self is a crudely constructed version of us that is based on the ego, cultural, societal, and family conditioning, life experiences, and the brain’s uncanny ability to predict which reaction might be appropriate for whatever circumstance you find yourself in, typically triggering an over-reactive fight or flight response that can wreak havoc on our lives if left unchecked. The true self is you, at your core level, your soul, which is suppressed or hidden by the ego and all of its false constructs. The inner workings of the human body, mind, and spirit are incredibly fascinating to learn about, and one of the most incredible aspects of being human is the fact that no one else except for you can experience the journey, pain, and illumination of the inner work you do.
So, what does this mean in practical terms? How can you learn who you truly are at your core versus the skewed, flat character everyone around you told you that you were for your entire life? If you base your opinions of yourself on what people around you tell you is “true,” then you have a ways to go (but don’t feel bad... the vast majority of us have a ways to go!). Let’s take a look at some practical habits you can begin implementing to truly get to know who you are at the soul level.
5 Ways to Get to Know Your Soul Self
1. Do not allow others’ opinions to dictate your life.
Make your own decisions based on your inner knowing or intuition as well as utilizing your mind for logical evaluation without judging any of the emotions that may come up. Some of this work can be challenging or painful, so be prepared to have layers of understanding begin to peel back and sometimes shock you with new knowledge of yourself and the ways in which various types of subconscious conditioning and programming have altered your perception of reality. It is fine to seek out an expert if you need specific guidance or help, but it helps to be on the same or a similar wavelength with this expert so that the advice or input you need will resonate with you rather than throw you off track.
2. Stop allowing other people to tell you how you feel (or don’t).
People are not mind readers and do not know how you feel from their perspective outside of you, and it’s illogical to believe that they do. Be wary of unconscious statements such as, “You’re too sensitive.” “You’re overreacting.” “You’re too emotional.” “Stop letting your emotions control you.” These types of statements are often used by people who are as of yet unaware of the rich inner landscape that you are working on (typically because they have not begun developing their own yet). The fact of the matter is that they have no clue and the only reason they think they do is because you allow them to tell you how you feel rather than acknowledging your own emotions as they are, not as they are perceived by others outside of yourself.
3. Don’t project or dictate to someone else how they feel.
It is definitely possible to understand how someone else may feel within a certain circumstance and to put yourself in this person’s shoes. However, try not to make any assumptions about their words or actions and opt to fully listen rather than talk. If you find yourself feeling a certain way about something, bring up how you feel without blaming it on another person. You may choose to say something like, “Sometimes I feel like...” This leaves the other person feeling more at ease because you’re not blaming them for your own emotional state, but it also alerts them to things that they might be saying or doing to cross one of your boundaries. This is a subtle but excellent method for people who are self-aware and have a deeper understanding of the inner landscape.
4. Stop giving your energy and attention to people whose approval you are chasing.
If you have people in your life who keep you constantly chasing after their affection, approval, or love, you might be dealing with someone who doesn’t experience emotions the same way you do and may not have the self-awareness or capacity for doing the inner work you’re doing. There are many different types of unconscious people who are playing specific roles that their lives have conditioned them into, and if they haven’t begun doing any inner work for themselves, you cannot change them or force them to begin, nor can you expect a conscious, self-aware interaction with someone who does not possess those qualities or do the work to develop them. That’s okay; there’s nothing inherently “wrong” or “bad” about this, but if you fall into the trap of chasing the approval of an unconscious being, you are giving your power and energy away without any hope for future return on that investment. Just remember, you cannot control how someone outside of yourself chooses to respond to you. So why would you expend all that energy trying to make someone else see what you see when you could be utilizing your energy for your own growth or to nurture relationships that aren’t as unbalanced?
5. Begin to peel back the layers of epiphany about how you were programmed by society, culture, life, and experiences.
If you’re brave enough to take this step, you will probably already guess that this is a marathon, a journey, a process. Realizing your own subconscious conditioning (and that yes, YOU can actually change it) is something that is often painful and very revealing about yourself, your tendencies, and the traps you fall into throughout life. This often presents itself as behavioral patterns and circumstances that repeat themselves again and again until you’ve learned the deeper lesson you were supposed to learn. If you don’t learn the lesson, the circumstances will come back around again and often become more and more extreme until either you learn what you need to learn or you bury yourself further... or sometimes worse. Making a conscious effort to uncover these uncomfortable and sometimes painful truths about yourself and your life is the only way to completely rewrite your own programming and fully step into your power and be your true soul self.
I hope that this article helps you to begin to get to know your inner self, your soul, so that you may begin your own healing journey from within. It’s not enough to see the effects of your conditioning within the life around you; most people don’t make the connection between the inner and outer worlds unless they are at least a little self-aware. The more awareness and mindfulness we cultivate, the more inner work we can do, and the closer we get to becoming the greatest version of ourselves.
To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
We teach people outside of ourselves how to treat us through setting and enforcing personal boundaries. On a subconscious level, this also teaches us that we have worth and are willing to fight for ourselves, which shows us that we love ourselves and feel worthy and valued. Whether we’re doing this on a conscious or subconscious level doesn’t matter; we are always doing it. However, once we learn about this practice and decide to go forward on purpose, we may find our lives improving a great deal because we’re drawing lines to let others know what’s okay and what isn’t. Not only is this empowering, it also allows you to lead a much healthier and happier life.
No one can read minds, so when we feel a certain way after someone says or does something and expect them to know how we feel automatically (which doesn’t typically happen), we’re essentially setting ourselves up for failure. Why? Well, because when you don’t speak up about how something made you feel, the other person doesn’t know what’s what and will simply go on thinking that his or her behaving that way is acceptable to you. The sooner you draw that line and start enforcing it, the sooner the other person will learn that whatever it was they were doing doesn’t fly with you.
In essence, boundaries are simply knowing your limits and making those limits known to people whom you get close to. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why setting and maintaining boundaries is so important.
1. Boundaries help you to clearly define where your experience ends and someone else’s experience begins. This helps you to keep things in perspective as well as remaining empathetic without taking everything on as your own.
2. Boundaries also help you to fully realize that the only person or life you have control over is your own. This can help you to avoid becoming codependent or enmeshed in unhealthy relationships with others.
3. Boundaries help you to take better care of yourself and your own needs, which in turn allows you to have a better quality of relationships with people who truly care about you rather than falling into the trap of codependency... or worse.
4. Boundaries help us to fully recognize our own experience, which helps us to be accountable to ourselves and own our thoughts, words, and actions completely.
5. Last but not least, boundaries help us to become and embody our true selves. This has a number of benefits, including but not limited to finally attracting and maintaining truly loving and balanced relationships, not only with other people but also with ourselves.
Personal boundaries are largely based on your emotional responses to interactions with other people. However, they also allow you to look at how you’re feeling without judging your own emotions. Utilizing your discernment, you can then determine whether something is worth bringing up or not, which is also known as picking your battles. This is slightly different from determining whether you should tell someone yes or no, but along the same lines.
When you begin to construct your personal boundaries with intention, you will likely find yourself taking better care of your mind, body, and spirit, your health, and the most important aspects, your time and energy. Your time and energy are your most valuable assets, and though your energy can be recharged, your time cannot be given back. This is why it’s so important to practice mindfulness and what is sometimes referred to as sacred selfishness (you can read a book of the same title by Bud Harris, PhD) – caring for yourself first so that you can better take care of others. This is the most effective way to thrive rather than only survive in this amazing life.
Please come back next week for another article about boundaries. Throughout December, we will be discussing healthy boundaries, how to set them, and what some of the repercussions might be as you do so. These repercussions tie into change resistance, which we’ve covered here before, but the focus here will be on self-care and boundaries so that you can have the healthiest, most loving relationships possible.
To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
Sometimes we’re faced with life circumstances that may just seem like a string of bad luck or a series of unfortunate events. In this case, there may not be anyone to blame and there may not even be anyone to take responsibility for what’s happening; not without taking on responsibility that isn’t even their own. If this is the case, it can seem like life is out to get you, you may feel like you’re cursed, or you may even feel like your higher power is against you. Although this isn’t unnatural, it definitely isn’t healthy to get stuck there, so let’s take a look at how you can let go of challenging circumstances and reframe your mindset to attract better circumstances rather than dwelling on hardship and therefore attracting more hardship.
A big part of the reason why this specific type of forgiveness is so vital is because, when there’s no one to blame or take responsibility, it tends to instill a sense of powerlessness and victim mentality because we feel like we are at the mercy of life and the universe. The truth is that, in some circumstances, there just simply isn’t anything we can do, which tends to drive people a little crazy with worry and fear. In these cases, we tend to adopt the attitude of, “well, when life stops screwing me over, then I’ll stop worrying.” This thinking is backwards when you look at it from the perspective of law of attraction – the external world changes after we adjust our own emotional state of being, not the other way around, which is why the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer, as the most obvious example.
It all starts within, which can be easier said than applied because – let’s be honest – it can be challenging to adjust your emotional state when everything around you seems to be falling apart. However, the more attention and emotional energy you give to the worry and anxiety about a situation, the more the situation will expand to give you more of the same energy, essentially reflecting your attitude back to you in the physical world.
Here are a few tips to help you adjust your emotional state so that you can begin pulling yourself out of whatever challenging life circumstances you may find yourself in and get back to being productive and happy from within.
1. Remember that you don’t have control over anything outside of yourself; you only have control over your own thoughts and state of being. This makes it easier to discern between what is worth worrying about and what isn’t. Even if something is “worth” worrying about, giving it more than a few seconds of thought actually does more harm than good, so rather than actively worrying about something, try letting it go and just make the decision to stay open and alert to opportunities that come your way that are solution-oriented for your particular situation.
2. If it’s no one’s fault, stop looking for someone or something to blame. Instead of focusing on whose fault something is, you can actively work through your stages of acceptance about the issue and let it go. Sometimes these problems will work themselves out in surprising ways. As an example, a few months ago I was working as a waitress at a local restaurant, and I’d received a letter stating that some of my personal information may have been compromised by an identity thief. I had nothing to my name, so I didn’t worry about it because there was nothing I could do. After my first two weeks of working, I was expecting my first direct deposit, but my bank closed my account the day before and I ended up just cashing a paper check, thinking how lucky it was that the timing was so perfect because it also alleviated my worries about the little money I did have ending up stolen. I simply opened a new account at a bank that was closer to where I lived anyway, and that was that. I never heard another word about it. Funny how things work out, right?
3. Any life circumstances that you are facing are meant to teach you something about yourself and your life (and how to live it in ways that best serve you and your divine purpose). They are also meant to lead you from one step to the next and to the next, in order to get you to wherever it is you’re going. Watching life unfold with a sense of curiosity and eagerness to learn feels much better than worrying, resisting, and inadvertently creating more trouble for yourself. The more attention and emotional energy you give to the negative stuff, the more it will grow and present itself within your life.
4. Forgive your life circumstances and let go of whatever resentment and feelings of being cursed you may have. The universe always says, “Your wish is my command,” so yes is the answer across the board. The thing is that you have to know what you want (for most of us it’s simply happiness, love, and freedom) and direct your emotional state of being to feel that way in advance so that you are able to receive more of the things that will support this emotional state. If you feel like life is against you, the higher power you believe in is against you, or the world is against you, then you will receive more of the circumstances to “prove” that as being the truth. Once you can understand this, it becomes more important to focus on how you’re feeling and make sure you do what you have to for yourself in order to cultivate happiness and peace within so it is reflected in your outer world.
5. Develop stronger faith in your journey. You don’t have to focus on religion or deities to utilize the power of faith – just believe in your life and yourself, and trust in your own ability to figure things out even if the solutions aren’t obvious at first. I like to think of it as an incubation period... everything I need will find me in the exact, perfect timing that will serve my life for the absolute greatest good. This mindset alone has opened me up to receiving various miracles in my life, some big and some small, and mindful self-awareness has allowed me to see the seemingly magical connections throughout my life and reverse engineer my “evidence” that this truly works if you commit to it and allow the laws of the universe to work for you rather than you stubbornly pushing against them (like most of us tend to do at first because we like to be right and gather evidence that we are).
Knowing these things can help you to reframe your mindset and begin focusing on more positive aspects of your circumstances so that you no longer give the negative aspects all the power. Working toward acceptance and letting go of your need for control will allow life’s amazing opportunities to flow to you much more easily. Forgiving your life circumstances is part of the process of getting there, and rather than being angry or depressed about things, try to stay focused on productivity, happiness, and keeping the faith in your journey and your amazing ability to figure things out. We all have an incredible ability to solve problems and be innovative when we need to be; training yourself to tap into this faith will organically grow your level of confidence and allow you to move through challenges much more quickly.
Thanks for joining us here on the Mindful Leader Blog! I hope that you’ve found this month’s articles about forgiveness useful, and that you will join us in December for more on mindful leadership practices.
To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
Forgiving yourself is an extremely valuable tool on your journey to being the best version of yourself. This goes hand in hand with personal accountability for your portion of responsibility in whatever situation you’re dealing with. True healing takes admitting at least your part in whatever is happening while also recognizing the other person’s part, and remembering that none of us are perfect. As a mindful leader, it is part of your duty to pay attention and be aware of each side of the story as much as you can. Sometimes it takes a little time and inner work to get there, but with practice, you can get there almost instantaneously if you focus. Let’s explore how forgiving yourself will ultimately make you a much stronger, wiser, and more patient and understanding individual.
One of the first things to realize is that many of us tend to beat up on ourselves about what we’ve done wrong for much longer than is necessary, which creates an inner environment that opens you up to people taking advantage of you because they know they can do whatever they want, but you’ll take the blame and responsibility for it... because that’s just the good-hearted type of person that you are. Having said that, this gives you all the more reason to develop a healthy and appropriate length of time to process your portion of responsibility rather than moving into martyr mode.
Your inner critic can be very noisy and – quite frankly – a nuisance until you practice mindfulness and self-awareness and recognize that this is all just part of being human. None of us are perfect, and keeping this in mind allows you to forgive yourself as well as others much more quickly. Love yourself despite your mistakes, and keep them in perspective by taking a bird’s eye view of the whole situation rather than just the piece of it that you feel is your fault. Remember that the best thing you can do for yourself is learn from the experience and move on. Dwelling in guilt, shame, and fear is actually unhealthy and detrimental to your effectiveness as a person, the message you have to share, as well as eating away at your sense of self-worth, so why make life more difficult for yourself through this kind of subconscious self-programming?
On that note, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to help you forgive yourself and move on to solutions and lessons learned, that way you have the tools to handle things in a more constructive way later, as well as being unlikely to make the same mistake again.
Elements of Self-Forgiveness to Keep in Mind
· In order to make the most of your self-forgiveness, it’s a good idea to begin from a place of calm and peace, preferably where you remember that you are (and deserve to be – we all do) loved unconditionally. Whether this unconditional love comes from yourself, your spirit or inner being, or an individual that is close to you, tap into that feeling of being loved unconditionally. This is the foundation.
· Next, remember your strength and positive attributes or traits. Are you patient? Understanding? Wise? Practical? This could be anything that you love about yourself and can remember demonstrating at some point or another in a life situation. These are things you know to be true and can be confident in, which in turn will make it easier to admit fault that is actually yours, forgive yourself, and move on.
· Remember to look at the situation in context and take full responsibility for whatever it is that you need to forgive yourself for. If it was a simple mistake involving your skills, then there’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Simply learn from the mistake, correct it if you can, and do better next time. If it was a moral conflict, make sure that you feel appropriate guilt and shame, but no more. Nursing these feelings can open you up to all kinds of problems later on, so don’t prolong the healing process unnecessarily.
· Pay close attention to the parts of your experience that are especially painful, as this is where deeper healing takes place. Look at what happened and feel the pain and guilt, but imagine yourself shining a loving light onto it and realizing that, without doing this, you are much more likely to get stuck in the negative cycle of beating yourself up over it.
· Take responsibility for your part in things and acknowledge the aspects of the situation that you aren’t responsible for. Then consider what you’ve done already to try to rectify the situation, and do anything else that you feel you must in order to mend fences. If you’ve already done everything in your power, then the rest is outside of your control and there’s no point in dwelling on it more. At that point, it’s senseless and does more harm than good. If there’s more that you can do, then do it – not only for the other person involved, but also for yourself. Knowing you’ve done everything you could will help you to learn from the experience and move on.
· That brings me to the idea of learning everything you can from the situation and then releasing it. Letting go of trying to control the outcome of the situation will allow you to move on and do better the next time you’re faced with a similar situation.
Be honest with yourself and do what you can, but don’t allow your inner critic or self-deprecating thoughts to lull you into a false sense of over-responsibility. No one human being is required to carry the weight of the world, but if you continuously don’t forgive yourself, then it may very well feel like you have the world on your shoulders. This feeling can become crippling over time; the more weight you add with every misstep or mistake, the heavier your burden will be. This infringes very much on your ability to help others, and as a mindful leader, this will likely have a ripple effect on every area of your life.
I hope that these ideas help you to reach a place of forgiving yourself much more quickly. One of the most important aspects is to feel the feelings you feel, acknowledge them, and then let them go so that you can move on to do much better in your life as a whole. This is part of the work that allows you to be better than you were the day, week, or even month before, and oftentimes, steps and layers are required in order to fully reach this peace. You can only work your way from one step to the next; there’s no jumping up the entire staircase to reach the top without learning the lessons you learn along the way. Abraham-Hicks refers to this as being ready to be ready to be ready... because you can’t get there from where you are without taking the steps necessary, and life tends to lead us to exactly the steps we need for growth and inner peace... usually with absolutely perfect timing (whether we can see it in the thick of it or not).
Thank you so much for joining us today on the Mindful Leader Blog! I hope you’re having a wonderful week, and please come back next week for another article about forgiveness.
Any time we are around other people, mistakes are bound to be made. Nobody’s perfect, after all. The real test of your character is how you choose to react to mistakes or carelessness at the hands of other people, or in some cases, how you react to abusive or bullying behavior at the hands of someone else. Let’s be perfectly honest here... in real life, there are lots of gray areas and there isn’t always a clear-cut solution or choice to make. Sometimes you have nothing but “bad” options, and it’s important to be flexible and able to mindfully consider which option is the best one, even if there isn’t an ideal win-win-win. Read on to learn how forgiving others can help you cultivate inner peace and stay sane during stressful circumstances.
As mentioned in last week’s blog post, studies have shown that holding a grudge or nursing resentment can actually be detrimental to the health of your body and mind. It’s like the Buddha said: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” This is also true of resentment and feelings of vengeance; the emotional state of being is more harmful to yourself and your own vessel than it is to the person whom you wish justice upon.
Now, this doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t valid or even justified. However, this type of feeling is only justified for so long before it turns from a healthy step in the process of acceptance (or release) to a detrimental habit of thought and feeling that essentially eats away at your mind, body, and spirit.
So, how do you get to a point of being able to forgive someone more quickly in order to move toward solutions rather than arguing in circles or having a dark cloud hanging over your workplace (or anywhere else)? Here are five things to keep in mind as you work on your ability to let go and forgive others their mistakes.
Five Reframes to Help You Forgive Others Mindfully
These are five things to remember as you work on your ability to forgive others. Perception is reality, so fine-tuning your own perception is an excellent way of getting to a place of peace through forgiveness much faster.
1. Remember that you have no way of knowing just what someone else is going through or dealing with at any given time. If you’re working from a place of speculation, assumptions, or worse (like gossip, rumors, or hearsay), then the chance of coming up with forgiveness or any kind of solution becomes minimal at best, and it definitely won’t be a solution that is in alignment with the greatest good for everyone.
2. Remember that most people have a rich, multifaceted life outside of the workplace or wherever you know them from. Unless they share their stories voluntarily, then you have no way of knowing what’s happening in their lives, the underlying stresses they may be facing, or the amount of work they’re doing. Chances are that, if you have a lot on your plate, most other people also have a lot on their plate. These days, that’s much more common than finding people who are minimalistic and have cleared the clutter from their lives. Even if they have, that thing called life still happens, so find your sense of compassion before holding on to resentment or anger.
3. Remember that not everyone practices mindfulness or meditation. Self-awareness doesn’t come naturally to all people, and without conscious practice, we can fall out of our mindful habits and start “slacking off” on directing our own thoughts and emotions. One blanket remedy for this is to have a morning session of meditation for all of the people you lead, maybe even a second one after lunch. Meditation has been proven to have many positive effects on an individual, so it can’t hurt.
4. Remember that each of us sees life through the layers of conditioning and experiences we’ve accumulated throughout our lives. I think of this like several different semi-opaque blinders in different colors covering our eyes and how we see and sense the world and other people. As we grow, evolve, and expand our consciousness, these blinders begin to fall away in a series of aha-moments and epiphanies, like layers being peeled back. Once this begins happening, we can see the world, people, and circumstances from various different perspectives simultaneously, making us more understanding and open to hearing more sides of a situation. It may never be possible to see all sides, simply because context matters and the circumstances and various different perceptions of the people involved will tell as many different stories as there are people involved, maybe even more. Keeping this in mind allows us to be more accepting and wise in how we handle different circumstances.
5. Remember that we’re all connected. No matter how different we all are from one another due to the illusion of separateness and different upbringing, conditioning, and subconscious programming, our individual perceptions can come together to paint a whole picture rather than leaving us with a canvas that looks randomly spattered with paint. The underlying connections are apparent in everyday life and circumstances when you practice mindfulness and pay attention, while also practicing discernment.
Forgiveness, like so many things, happens in waves or layers. Another “side-effect” of mindfulness practice is that you become more aware of the various cycles of human emotion, life circumstances, and the ebb and flow of the universe. It’s all connected, and chances are that your life circumstances and relationships are there to teach you something. When we take on the role of being a student of the universe, so to speak, rather than getting caught up in superficial conflicts and squabbling, we are more able to see people for who they are beneath the mess that life created within their being. This is also why healing yourself is so important – only then can we truly see, and only then can we truly understand.
Thank you so much for joining us here on the Mindful Leader Blog! Check in next week for another article about forgiveness, this time about forgiving yourself... which should help with the healing I just mentioned.
We’ve all been in situations where we feel wronged, hurt, or betrayed by someone. This can be very painful to experience, which means that we typically have to work our way through the stages of acceptance before we can forgive someone, and in certain cases, forgiveness alone may not serve you as well as also remembering what you’ve learned from the experience. The trick is to find your balance between forgiving those who have wronged you while maintaining the knowledge and lessons you’ve learned from the experience. Let’s take a closer look at what forgiveness is and how we can incorporate it into our mindful leadership practices.
Forgiveness, like so many things in life, has slightly different meanings for everyone depending on how you were raised and your life experiences as well as what you intuitively know to be true at the core of your being. The types of situations that may require you to forgive someone are as infinite as the types and depths of forgiveness that you are capable of as a human. Betrayal and forgiveness take on many forms, so your emotional guidance system comes into play quite a lot, especially when you’re navigating life with other people. Wherever there are people, there are bound to be mistakes, which means that forgiveness is a tool you should cultivate thoroughly if you’re working with people in any capacity.
Wikipedia has a very good definition of forgiveness:
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
Now, as far as the purpose of forgiveness is concerned, there always seems to be an initial misconception that forgiveness is for the other person’s wellbeing rather than our own. As we continue to grow and then refine our understanding of forgiveness, we come to realize that it is for our own sanity and health that we must choose to forgive others, not for the sake of their soul or wellbeing (although it can’t hurt, right?).
Forgiveness serves us in many different ways on an emotional, spiritual, and even physical level. It also goes hand in hand with love – the real, unconditional brand of love – as well as compassion and empathy. It also goes hand in hand with inner peace and mindfulness, and because everything ties together in this way, understanding each component on a deeper level can greatly improve your overall wellbeing and help you put all of these loving practices into action in your daily life as a mindful leader.
On Practicing Forgiveness
Being able to wish someone well despite a betrayal, abuse, or falling out can sometimes be a challenge, especially if the actions against you were abusive or traumatizing in any way. This means a great deal of inner work for healing yourself, which can easily turn into bitterness and resentment toward those who wronged you and “made you” have to do all that hard work. Healing and working through trauma can be painful, so it takes some strength to face it head on and – make no mistake – the only way out is through, and emotional energy doesn’t just disappear into nothing. It stays within the body, causing other forms of damage and dis-ease over time.
This is a natural way to feel at first, but it is not a state of being that is worth holding on to. Resentment, anger, and vengefulness have a profound effect on your body because these emotions increase the stress hormone cortisol and decrease the “love” hormone oxytocin. These negative emotions also activate the fight or flight response, which – if activated on a consistent basis – can also have damaging effects not only on the body but also on the mind and spirit.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, is a method of releasing those negative emotions and coming to a place of inner peace, understanding, and if not love, at least compassion for those who know not what they do and have hurt you. Because, oftentimes, people hurt each other through subconscious means, learned habits, misunderstandings, or chaotic circumstances where people are simply trying to do their best with what they have. However, sometimes it is conscious and it is abusive. That is for your discernment, although dwelling on it too much can drive you a little crazy, especially if you’re trying to figure out the motivations of an abuser who uses manipulative tactics, which may very well be part of their modus operandi.
One of the most important things that someone told me during a point in my life when I was leaving an abusive relationship was, “If you keep going back for anything – your stuff, to talk, or whatever reason he gives you and you use as an excuse – then you are, in effect, giving him control. You’ve got to take your power back.” The reason I bring this up is because it was difficult to hear... I was only 23 at the time, but it was like my heart got zapped with an electric current for a minute, just before the warmth and excitement of epiphany swept over me. What’s interesting is that this helped me to realize that it all happens in the mind and heart... as long as I didn’t take responsibility for my part in what was happening, all the blaming and arguing in the world wouldn’t change anything and would only serve to keep me indirectly under his control... which had seeped into my perception and thoughts, the most dangerous place to allow anybody else to live for an extended period of time.
Knowing this, I certainly hope that you have gained a deeper level of understanding about the definition and purpose of forgiveness. It isn’t always easy in practice, especially during highly emotional situations, but finding your inner place of peace will also allow you to handle those types of situations in a much more constructive way. In some situations, you may need to cut your losses and walk away, letting go of toxic relationships that aren’t salvageable. If that isn’t a possibility, you’ll have the tools necessary to stay strong and handle things more gracefully than before, in effect neutralizing the situation.
Thank you so much for joining us here on the Mindful Leader Blog! I hope you’re having a wonderful week, and I look forward to sharing more information about forgiveness with you throughout the month of November.
The brutal truth of the matter is that we won’t be fully honed or skilled in these practices, especially getting comfortable with uncertainty, until we’ve experienced a period of uncertainty that essentially gave us no choice but to get comfortable. Things being up in the air basically force us to let go of control and hang on to faith instead. If this isn’t something you’ve done before, then it might help you to read on about things you can do to help yourself feel less like you’re being dragged through the mud by life and more like you’re being “pulled” to your calling by life. On the outside, the circumstances and situations could be exactly the same... but one person might handle it with a nonchalant attitude while someone else might handle it with a reactionary mindset. Let’s take a closer look at a mindset of being comfortable in times of uncertainty.
There are some common sayings we can turn to in times like these, some of which may not always make sense until you’ve had an experience where it clicks. However, they are very valid sayings and can be used to give you comfort in uncertain times. By practicing the following mindset shifts, you make your emotional wellbeing the primary focus as you work through whatever circumstances or challenges you’re faced with.
1. “When one door closes, another one opens.”
This is advice to keep your eyes out for opportunities and remain open to seeing them despite your challenges. In order to be on the same wavelength or frequency as your solutions, though, you must have a mindset focused and directed toward more positive aspects than negative. If you are staying focused on the problem and thinking about it, giving it your mental and emotional energy, then the solutions may not find you because they are on an entirely different vibrational frequency. It isn’t that they aren’t there; it’s that you aren’t in the right mindset to see them. If you need help getting out of a funk, try meditation, yoga, or going for a walk.
2. “Let go and let God.”
Essentially, this saying means to let go of your need for control. When you try to control everything around you, chances are that you feel like you have no control within yourself, of your emotions specifically. This essentially means you try to control your environment and external people and circumstances in order to attempt to control your own emotions. This is akin to building a house on a faulty foundation – if you really want to get somewhere, you will let go of the control tactics and begin replacing them with mindfulness practices so that you can heal yourself and quit worrying about everything “out there.”
3. “Have the serenity to know the difference.”
This line from the Serenity Prayer is important to remember during challenging times, especially if whatever is happening is very emotional for you. Being serene – peaceful, calm, tranquil – can also be achieved through daily meditation practice. When you are able to maintain a somewhat objective point of view despite emotional volatility in a situation, you are better able to recognize what is yours and what isn’t. Is this really your responsibility? Is this really something that’s your problem? Or is it better to step back and let it go? Remember... you can always come back to it later when tempers and other emotions have cooled.
4. Don’t worry about a thing.
Worrying is like projecting your fears into the future... and if you’re any good at manifesting anything, which we all are (whether we know it or not), there’s a good chance that these worries and fears being projected into your future may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Have you ever met someone who believed that they were cursed in some way, shape, or form? And every time, without fail, that thing they thought was cursing them would show up. Now, what’s the deal... are they actually cursed? Or are they so worried about what’s coming that they make it happen one way or another? This is why it’s better to keep your mind clear rather than running on autopilot (aka auto-manifesting). If you’re not thinking about anything, then chances are that you aren’t projecting worries and fears into the future or being nostalgic or regretful about the past. If you catch yourself thinking worrisome thoughts, direct your attention somewhere else. The more you do this, the less you’ll worry.
5. Be discerning about what you give your attention and energy to.
If you have something that is a priority which you should be focused on, such as a project, work, or some other activity, then choose that as much as possible. If you have children, creative passion projects, a fun hobby, or anything similar to focus on that helps you stay in tune with your inspiration, then set aside time for that and make it a priority because it is imperative to replenish your energies and get into that inspired zone from time to time. If you don’t do this enough or haven’t found anything like this to focus on, then your chances of falling into addictive behavior increase, so find something organic that makes you feel naturally passionate and make that your new addiction, so to speak.
I hope that this month’s blog articles have helped you to become better at being uncomfortable and not knowing what’s next. Uncertainty is a part of life, and if you don’t know how to handle it in a healthy manner from your own perspective, which will be different from anyone else’s, then I highly recommend you start learning and getting to know yourself better. You are much stronger than you think, and you can handle more and come out a much better person than you think, so changing the way you think of yourself is a good first step. It basically boils down to confidence. Are you confident in your ability to figure things out? If not, then you might run into trouble. Let’s prevent that from happening, shall we?
Thanks so much for joining us and reading about resilience this month! I invite you to come back in November for a new topic on Mindful Leadership.
We all deal with frustrating and sometimes volatile situations and people, and oftentimes the situation can escalate if there isn’t someone there who stays calm and handles things without reacting or freaking out. At first, this may bring to mind situations like in action movies, but it also rings true on a less dramatic and life-threatening front. For example, when standing up for yourself against someone in the workplace who has taken it upon themselves to harass or bully you; this happens more often than we may initially think. In a circumstance like this, you are always faced with the options of either letting it go or doing something about it. And if you do something about it, what will it be? The higher your tolerance for frustration, the more rational your decisions are likely to be. Read on to learn more about raising your frustration tolerance levels.
Before I continue, it is important to note that if you’re experiencing any kind of abuse in the workplace, it is up to you to bring it to the attention of your superior, especially if the harassment is escalating. Speaking out about something like adult bullying or sexual harassment isn’t a crime, so please don’t feel guilty for standing up for your own wellbeing (someone has to, and if not you, then who?). And don’t let anyone else minimize it, either. You know what’s going on; with certain types of people, it’s only a matter of time before something really ridiculous happens.
Now that we have that covered, let’s take a look at a few ways to raise your frustration tolerance levels.
It’s All About Mindset
The first thing you can do to make your life easier and raise your tolerance for frustration is to remember that you have two main mindset choices you can turn to when something is irritating or obnoxious. You can either be annoyed... or you can be amused. Choosing to be amused rather than annoyed works for many everyday situations, and this is especially helpful when you’re dealing with children, family members, or friends whose feelings you care about.
Become An Observer
Becoming an observer of your own life while also being present in it is possible through meditative practice. Once you’ve been meditating for a while, you can carry that meditative state with you throughout your day and use it to practice mindfulness. This allows you to have an “overstanding” rather than just an understanding, meaning that you can see things from many different angles or perspectives. A bird’s eye view, if you will.
Be Mindful Of The Space Between Moments
There is a pause you can take or access between when something happens and your having a reaction to it. If you can access this brief moment between moments, so to speak, then you can literally “think before you speak,” even during a discussion or conversation that is escalating or no longer calm. If you get good at this, you will also begin to get better at diffusing situations such as this by validating the other person genuinely and pinpointing exactly what’s wrong.
Learn To Pick Your Battles & Let Go
Your powers of discernment will be honed over time no matter what, so utilize them! You can also choose whether you are going to participate or not. Sometimes it might be useful to jump in, but other times it’s really none of your business, in which case it might be better to let things play out organically. Of course this depends on the situation, but you may choose to ask yourself what the benefits might be of either decision. Is the battle worth it if you choose to participate? Or is there no point and it’s just a merry-go-round of drama and chaos that is being fueled by more and more reactions to one side of the story or another?
All of these skills are honed when you are faced with challenging situations in your life. Being aware of how you’re handling things can make a world of difference in the way you are around people, not to mention how people are around you. If you’re a loose cannon, people will likely walk on eggshells around you. If you’re a doormat, people will likely treat you as such. It’s up to you to find your happy medium, your middle ground, where you know what you stand for and balance it with compassion and kindness so you aren’t perpetuating unnecessary drama and problems.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope that this article helps you to begin cultivating your resilience. Come back throughout October to read more about resilience and the subset of skills associated with it.
When we reach a certain dimension of consciousness, resilience becomes more attainable than it may have seemed during previously experienced times of chaos. The realization that life will never stop presenting us with challenges, whether the pause in between is a week, a month, or several years, will help you to nurture your desire for being resilient rather than just surviving. While survival was once the most important thing for humans, we have since evolved to a place where surviving shouldn’t have to be our main focus anymore, so why are so many of us stuck in this mindset? The reptile brain – which the ego uses to manipulate us into keeping ourselves trapped under the guise of being “safe” – is the only portion of our brain that is still concerned with survival rather than thriving, and in order to survive, playing it safe is required. However, in order to thrive, we have to be willing to take risks and challenge ourselves into growth and evolution. Cultivating our own sense of resilience is imperative to maintaining this attitude of abundance and thriving.
So, what are a few things that you can do on a daily basis that will help you to cultivate a sense of resilience and trust in the process? If you’re finding it challenging to stay in an optimistic state of mind for any reason, keep reading for five ways to cultivate resilience. Much of this is inner work, but you probably already figured that would be coming if you’ve been with us for any length of time.
5 Ways to Cultivate Resilience
1. Let go of any fears you may have that don’t involve a threat to your life or the life of a loved one. The majority of our problems these days as human beings in Western society are not life and death problems, so we should all learn to relax a little bit! Remember, the reptile brain is hard at work creating mountains out of molehills and trying to convince us that things are more disastrous than they really are. By letting go of these fears, you are releasing the need for control a little bit, and therefore releasing yourself from being controlled by your fears.
2. If you catch yourself thinking worrying thoughts, steer your thinking in a new direction. Your thoughts tend to drive your emotions, and your emotional guidance system is set up to let you know when you’re headed in the wrong direction – feelings like worry don’t serve you. In fact, they keep you from reaching your potential and keep you controlled by your fears. Learning to steer your thinking in a more positive direction can absolutely change your life, but it must become a daily practice in the moment. The most practical way to do this isn’t by policing every thought; rather, if you begin feeling a negative or uncomfortable emotion, try thinking about something else that steers you in a more pleasant direction.
3. When you meditate, you can begin to reprogram your subconscious mind by repeating a mantra to yourself and really focusing on it. For the purpose of cultivating resilience, you may choose the following or come up with one of your own that is appropriate. If you want to repeat something to yourself, please make sure it focuses on the positive and isn’t something about getting out of debt or wanting to see less violence... focus on the positive end of the spectrum because if you’re thinking debt, more debt will come. If you’re thinking violence, more violence will come. Be extremely careful with wording. On that note, here’s a great one for building resilience: “I can handle anything. I trust in my ability to figure things out.” If any part of this suggestion makes you feel anything less than joyful, create one that works better for you to inspire positive feelings and raise your vibrational frequency.
4. Build trust in yourself! There are multiple ways of doing this and inner work is very important here, but one of the easiest ways to begin building trust is by catching when you’re being critical of yourself and steer your thoughts into a more positive direction. Another way is by being brutally honest with yourself and catching yourself in dishonest thought patterns and stopping them (like when you’re making excuses or blaming someone else for something you know is your responsibility; don’t deny it, we all do this!. This will require you to be 100% personally accountable to yourself as no one else can know what it is you’re thinking. If you’re critical of yourself all the time and working on stopping that, you can also expect a period of time when your ego tries to turn that criticism outward toward everyone else. It will be okay; keep it to yourself as much as you can and steer your thoughts to a more positive topic. Think of this like a layer of your false self getting ready to fall away from your spirit to lighten your load. Healthy thought habits can greatly increase your quality of life, so shedding these various different false aspects of ourselves can mean the difference between a joyful existence and a miserable one.
5. Loving yourself for who you are and in turn realizing that you deserve the best that life has to offer you is imperative if you want to thrive for a lifetime. You can draw strength and resilience merely from the fact that you know you love yourself, that your inner being has your back, and that life is shifting around to line everything up for you perfectly. To begin loving yourself, a wonderful exercise is to look yourself in the eye in the mirror and say, “I love you,” as well as anything else you feel guided to say that is loving and encouraging. When I do this, I imagine I’m speaking directly to my soul, my inner being. I say, “I love you! Thank you for having my back and helping me to keep my faith strong, especially during hard times. I appreciate you and everything you do, as well as the wonderful creative endeavors we collaborate on. I love you.”
Thank you so much for reading! I hope that this article helps you to begin cultivating your resilience. Come back throughout October to read more about resilience and the subset of skills associated with it.
In the bigger picture – think of your entire lifetime here – if we want to achieve anything beyond the mundane and mediocre, which most mindful leaders certainly do, then it’s important to cultivate our faith in ourselves, our own inspiration, and our ability to figure things out no matter what. Of course, this is much easier said than done if you’re not sure where to begin, but once you know how to start, life might just begin to flow effortlessly for you as you build a solid foundation for your next level of success (no matter where you’re starting from). Read on to learn how you can start building your faith.
When most people speak about faith, they are probably talking about God or their particular religion or belief system. To really understand faith, it’s much more helpful to build faith in yourself and your own abilities within this life and physical reality (including your ability to recognize everyday opportunities and miracles), so let’s scrap all that religious stuff for now and focus on ourselves and our skills. After all, God helps those who help themselves, right?
A Parable and 4 Ways to Build Your Faith & Rise Above the Chaos
Ok... I know I said no religious stuff, but this story proceeded to pop into my head, and I feel like it’s a perfect example of what not to do.
Have you ever read the story of the man trapped on the roof of his house during a flood? He prayed and prayed for God to come down and save him, and so God sent a person in a boat and at least two other rescuers including a helicopter. Each time, the man refused, saying that God was on His way to save him. When the man drowned and went to heaven, it was a facepalm moment because the man was surprised he was dead. “Why didn’t you save me?” he asked God. God replied, “I sent help several times and you didn’t accept it!”
Of course, this is just from the top of my head, but you can understand how frustrating it might be to watch another person miss, bypass, or completely ignore the opportunities presented to them due to their own finite thinking and misunderstandings.
Knowing this, it becomes easier to begin seeing subtle opportunities (as well as obvious ones) as the miraculous manifestations that they are rather than ignoring them in favor or a massive and obvious, from-left-field type of miracle that we haven’t developed the enlightened abilities to manifest (yet).
The first step is building faith in yourself and training your intuition. Here are four ways you can begin to help yourself.
1. Cultivate your faith in YOU.
This begins first with self-worth and realizing that yes, you DO deserve to achieve your goals and dreams. If not you, then who? If not now, then when? No one else dreams the exact same dreams as you, and no one else can offer the same talents, insights, or creations, although some may complement each other, especially if you collaborate with other like-minded people. However, it is never the exact same, and your voice is needed to make a difference... if you choose to believe it is.
2. Cultivate your faith in your ability to figure things out.
This includes training your skill set, getting plenty of practice with said skill set, and allowing yourself to solve problems on your own. Of course, you won’t be perfect at everything right away... so this can and probably will create conditions for you to have to work through doubts, fears, preconceived notions, and conditioned belief systems about yourself, failure, and other deep-seated topics. This can happen organically over time, although the more you are able to accomplish (even small things, one at a time), the faster you will realize and release any emotional blockages you may have about success or following your dreams, which will allow you to pick up momentum.
3. Cultivate your faith in your own inspiration.
Inspiration can be tapped into and accessed if we practice doing so, which may seem daunting to anyone who has ever experienced something like writer’s block. You cannot force it, as this cuts off your creative flow. However, you can coax it gently out of hiding and allow it to come out and play as a form of practice as well. Let’s put it this way... the more often you follow your inspiration – your bliss – the more it will want to come out and play in the future. The more you create and follow your bliss, the healthier, happier, and more balanced you will be as a human being.
4. Cultivate your faith in your daily habits and disciplines.
Many people shy away from the word discipline because it often has negative connotations. However, I’m here to remind you that these negative connotations exist only in our minds, so it’s up to you to rewrite your definition of the word if you so choose. Your daily habits – the small, bite-sized chunks of activity that result in much bigger achievements – are what will result in the future you dream of becoming a reality. It often doesn’t matter whether you are good at these activities at first or not... what does matter is your commitment to the activity on a daily basis. This is true whether you’re losing 100 pounds, building a bridge, or writing a novel; a small chunk of daily activity is the best way to go about it, even though at times it’s easy to be overly ambitious and then subsequently get overwhelmed and resentful about it. This is something many of us still struggle with, which is why it’s so important to go back to #1 and work on your self-worth. Self-worth is directly related to healthy boundaries, so if you’ve been a people-pleaser your whole life, it’s important to have a focused definition of integrity and make sure your priorities are straight.
I certainly hope that you find this information useful! Remember to share if it resonates, and keep coming back for new material for the rest of the month.