People build walls around their hearts to protect themsleves from pain. These same walls keep us from love and without breaking them down, we never expose ourselves fully to the possibilities of love, connection, abundance, and creativity.
We can call these walls many things- our ego, the false self, or a persona. It's the layers of toughness that we create because we think it is what our parents want, our peers respect, or our religion dictates. The foundation of these walls are the "musts" and "shoulds" we hear from external sources and choose to take on. Then we add the bricks of guilt, fear, and judgement. Pretty soon the walls are so stable that we feel as though they are part of us. Much like the hard exoskeleton of a beetle we wear these layers every day. They are heavy and they weigh us down. But the fear of exposing our true self can be overwhelming. So how do we begin removing these layers?
Spend time in meditation. Silence allows us to hear our inner voice and begin reconnecting with our unique individual spirit.
Make eye contact when you speak. Establishing eye contact shows respect and creates connection. Feeling connected will lay a new and more stable foundation for relationships.
Compete with no one but yourself. Whether you are an athlete, a sales rep, or a student, we all like to compare our acheivements with our peers. Don't! Get in the habit of doing your best and comparing results to your past.
Don't be a know-it-all. If you find yourself correcting people in conversation all the time, ask yourself if it is helpful. If it doesn't really matter then perhaps you are building yourself up while tearing them down. So stop.
View criticism as a personal growth opportunity. Accept criticism with gratitude for the oportunity to grow. It's not what is wrong with you, it is what will soon be better about you.
Accept praise humbly. Notice what you are good at and the traits that others value in you. If thses are skills you are proud of, do all you can to expand them.
Self- medicating is a sign of discomfort. Whether you are drinking wine everyday, running compulsively, or following each new-fad diet, you are clearly avoiding something or searching for something. Get rid of these habits stop avoiding your feelings.
Spend time alone. Until you recognize your own value, how do you think others will? Know yourself.
Remember, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Test the boudaries frequently!
Remember the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability. - Ho Chi Minh
The dictionary defines stability as "The quality or state of something that is not easily changed or moved". This definition doesn't really reflect the flexibilty required to have stable emotional health, physical health & financial health. Instead, the definition I like for stability is the ability to remain grounded and centered internally despite external conditions.
A stable person is optimstic as opposed to pessimistic, calm as opposed to anxious, tolerant as opposed to aggressive, autonomous as opposed to dependent, and empathetic as opposed to apathetic.
But how do we foster these traits? Think about something that has rocked your world either emotionally, financially or personally in the past. Say a divorce, the death of a loved one, a bankruptcy, traffic jams, loss of a job, fights with your partner...the list can be as large or a small as you let it. And therin lies the key to becoming truly stable. You cannot control the situations that come into your life but you can always control your reaction. Here's a few quick tips to help you weather the storms by rolling with the waves rather than being thrown overboard.
1. Will it matter in 5 years. If the thing that has you worried or angry won't matter in your future (say a flat tire or a bad haircut) let it go!
2. WWOD. (What would Oprah do) Ask yourself what advice you would give a friend with the same issue. When we remove ourselves from the emotion of a situation we get out of the fight/flight part of our brain and are able to access the intellectual side which is probably where the answer will be found
3. Is it a certainty or a "what if"? Don't waste a second of your precious time worrying about something unless it's a done deal. What ifs zap joy from our present as we try to micro-manage our future.
4. Collect stable friends. Wayne Dyer points out "When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change" so surround yourself with friends who see the glass as half-full and live a joy-filled life. It's contagious.
5. It's OK to re-group and start over. Imagine your sitaution like a house of cards. It is really hard to build on a weak base. So if your foundation is weak, you may need to go back and start over. The cool thing is, you start with knowledge you didn't have the last time you tried. One step closer to a successful finish.
6. Test your boundaries. Its's a fine line between stable and rigid. Go out of your comfort zone regularly just to remind yourself that you can.
7. Gratitude is the attitude. Focus on all the great things about your life. What you focus on gets bigger so spend more time thinking of the positive.
8. Breathe, meditate, be mindful. These all help to re-set the internal compass and get you back on track.
Let us never confuse stability with stagnation- Mary Jean leTendre
In the era of the tweet, is there ever time or need for a paragraph?
"The words you speak become the house you live in." - Hafix
Do you speak authentically? Compassionately? Do you listen? I mean really listen, as opposed to waiting for your turn to speak. Are you comfortable with silence?
Communication is how we connect with the world around us- to our friends, our family, our employees and our clients. Here are a few quick tips to increase your skill & confidence around communicating.
THINK before speaking
T - is it true
H- is it helpful
I- is it inspiring
N- is it necessary
K- is it kind
Another quick tip is to use "I" messages when discussing feelings to avoid blame and anger. For example:
When you leave dirty dishes on table I feel frustrated because now I have to clean up.
When you show up late for a meeting I feel as though you think your time is more important than mine.
And in the words of Thich Nhat Than
"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy & happiness."