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Are You Holding Yourself Back?

Stop allowing your self-limiting beliefs to become your safety net. They’re not actually protecting you- they’re only holding you back.

I have this goal- I’ve had it for several years actually.

Well let me start off with a story.

In my story there’s this girl- let’s call her Jane. Jane loves to learn, but lately she’s been feeling a bit out of touch with the world. She hasn’t been challenging herself to think critically and deeply like she used to. She’s become rather apathetic and stagnant in her own progression and learning. She feels stuck.

To remedy this, Jane has made a goal that she’d like to resurrect a past love of hers. No, I’m not talking about the supernatural- but there is a deep passion of hers that has been pushed away, forgotten. She misses it.

Jane used to love to read. Years past, every spare moment she had was spent with a book in hand. But she hasn’t made time for it in a really long time. Life has gotten in the way. She always had more “pressing” matters to attend to. Technology took the place of her books, and the spare hours she used to relish inside the pages of a book were slowly replaced with distractions like Facebook and Netflix.

In working to “return to her roots”, Jane has set an ambitious goal to read 50 books within a year. One every week- with a little breathing room. She is anxious to feel the joy and excitement that was once commonplace from finishing a good book, and is excited to get started.

But as the days pass, she starts to fall behind. Life is busy. There are always things that need to get done. She’s not dedicating time from her busy schedule like she thought she would. Thoughts begin to fill her mind- ugly thoughts. Thoughts like “I can’t do this. Who am I to think I can actually read an entire book a week? I don’t have the dedication or willpower to do this. I’m not good enough for a goal like this. I’m just a lazy person, and there’s no way I can give my my dependence on my after-work Netflix binge time.”

What do you think happens next? Jane gives up. She throws in the towel, convinced that she’ll never even get close to achieving her goal, and returns to her struggling, apathetic self. She decides that change is too hard, and she’s just not “good enough” to be up to the task.

Can you identify with any part of this story? Maybe it seems a bit extreme, please think about the underlying concepts here.

Jane made an excellent goal. It was specific, measurable, and was deeply rooted in her life passions and priorities. It allowed herself room to grow within the dynamic person she is. It was ambitious, yet reachable.

So where did she go wrong?

When things got difficult, and I promise they always will, Jane gave up. Rather than pushing through the doubts within her mind and trying to find a way to make it work, she listened to that evil voice on her shoulder- the one that gets joy from seeing her fail. When she heard those nasty thoughts in her mind, rather than pushing them away and forging ahead, she gave up and gave in.

Have you ever been guilty of this?

Let me let you in on a secret. (One which you may have already guessed.) Jane is me. For the past three years, I’ve made this same goal, and each time I give into those thoughts that stop me dead in my tracks, giving up on the thing I so desperately want to achieve.

This example is not the only one in my life. I listen to those thoughts far more often than I should (which really should be never), and I’ve been paying the price for it every day since. Imagine the things I could have achieved in the past decade alone, had I listened to the person I want to be, rather than the limits I place on myself?

So what can we do? How can we move past those debilitating thoughts to something empowering and productive?

The first thing I think, would be to define them. Recognize the thoughts for what they really are.

They’re just thoughts!

Ever thought about something that turned out not to be true?

Have you ever heard the term Self-Limiting Belief? That’s what those thoughts are. They’re beliefs you hold about yourself that you think to be true, but they hold no purpose on your future other than to limit yourself and tear you down.

I bet you can relate to having thoughts like these from time to time. Perhaps, if you’re like me, they come regularly. You have big goals for your life, but this super-critical inner monologue tears down all the hope and confidence you’ve built.

You have the potential to accomplish so much good. As a human being, you were literally built for greatness. It is my personal (and spiritual) belief that we were each put on earth to accomplish a special mission. But so many of us fail to achieve it.

So what is keeping us from reaching our potential?

Listening to and focusing on these self-limiting thoughts and beliefs hold us back from becoming the person we were meant to be.

How to Recognize Self-Limiting Beliefs

You may not realize it, but you accept self-limiting beliefs far more often than you think.

These beliefs hold you back from achieving your best self. These beliefs come quietly and are often disguised as humility, but they aren’t aligned with who you are working to become. We’ve spent so much time listening to them that they’re ingrained into our personal beliefs of who we actually are. In order to free ourselves from those restrictions, we need to recognize that it takes time to learn how to recognize and overcome them.

Here are some warning signs that the thoughts in your head might really be self-sabotage:

Self-Limiting Beliefs Are Negative

Self-limiting beliefs are always negative. When you start listing all the reasons you won’t succeed instead of focusing on the potential within you, you’re setting limits on who you may become. You’re not exploring your potential- working toward the greatness within you. Instead, you allow yourself to believe in words like: “Who are you to apply for this? Nobody is interested in what you say. You’re not skilled enough for this. Everyone will think you’re just a big joke if you say that.”

Self-Limiting Beliefs Keep you from Growing

Believing the negative is your brain’s way of avoiding doing new things. Subconsciously you begin telling yourself that if you’re going to fail no matter what you try, there’s no use in even taking a step forward. And staying still, where it’s comfortable, is your mind’s way of sticking to the comfort zone where it’s safe. But you can’t grow if you don’t move forward, right?

Self-Limiting Beliefs Are Selfish

Often, self-limiting beliefs leave you stuck within yourself.

When we think things like “There are far more qualified people out there who can serve” and “I don’t have anything new to share”, we are keeping our light within us instead of allowing it to shine out in the world. We keep our thoughts and experiences to ourselves instead of allowing them to help others.

Maybe you don’t know it all. Maybe there are people out there that have similar experiences and talents. But they aren’t you. And you have a unique perspective that someone needs.

By not sharing, you’re being selfish. You may think it’s humility, but you’re robbing the world of the value you have to offer! When you fiercely guard what’s “yours”, not only does this keep you from growing, it keeps you from developing connections with those around you that you see as potentially “hostile” or “dangerous”.

Self-Limiting Beliefs Victimizes Yourself

Do you know those people that think the whole world is out to get them? That everything is wrong in their lives and everyone hates them and the universe is just seemingly plotting against them? I was one of those people for a long time, so I get it. I do.

The problem though, is that sticking to that mindset only bears fruit of the same. Negativity begets negativity. You’re not just going to wake up one day and be positive. That’s not how the brain works.

You have to choose to think positively. You have to push aside the negative thought and focus on the good. Pick one positive thought in your mind. List one thing you’re grateful for. Trust me, it helps!

When you give in to to the internal limits of your mind, you’re allowing yourself to settle into the “victim mindset.”

What does it look like? Pretty much whenever you’re blaming someone else for the choices you make.

Thoughts like: “My parents didn’t have enough money to send me to college, so I couldn’t get an education. I don’t have it as good as everyone else out there.” or “Everyone in my family is overweight- I never had a chance. I’ll be overweight forever and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Do you see the problem here? When you let everyone else take the blame for things you could actually control if you put your mind to it, you’re giving away all your power. You’re saying that you’re incapable of making changes. You’re convincing yourself that you “can’t” do something.

See those limits rearing their ugly little heads?

We all have agency. We all have our own individual choices in life. We can choose to take a step forward or a step back. But rarely are we allowed to stay in one place.

So what do you choose?

Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs to Grow

Recognizing self-limiting beliefs does take time. When you find yourself focused on a self-limiting belief, there are some things you can do to improve your mindset and self-confidence. If you regularly utilize proper tools to help you refocus the limiting thoughts, eventually you’ll notice a shift in your mindset that will lead to a more positive and empowering you.

Become Aware

Pause and listen to your thoughts throughout the day. Write them down. Analyze them.

Are they positive or negative?

Positive thoughts empower us to be and do more. They help us to grow, and they tell us we are on the right path towards our goals.

Negative thoughts hold us back. They tell us we can’t do things. That we’re not good enough, that what we want won’t happen.

Which thoughts do you think hold more truth? Which thoughts would you rather fill your mind?

Give Yourself Grace

When you discover a self-limiting beliefs, approach it with kindness and love. Don’t make the problem worse by berating yourself for low-self esteem or lack of confidence. Everyone has these beliefs in varying degrees and intensities.

Follow it up with gentle questions. Approach it as if you were talking to a good friend or loved one. Be kind to yourself. Address the fear, but try to help yourself understand that moving forward is the ultimate goal.

This will sound different for every person, but I like to phrase it something like: “I know this is hard. I know it’s uncomfortable. But remember: this is getting us to where we really want to go! Won’t it be worth it when we get there?”

Use Journaling

I can’t tell you enough how much I love journaling. I’ve always had a journal, but it wasn’t until my most recent life struggle that I really came to terms with how therapeutic and enlightening it can be. I can’t sing enough praises for how essential keeping a journal can be for your mental wellness.

In terms of working through your self-limiting beliefs, journaling can be helpful in getting to the root of your thoughts.

Use self-discovery questions like: “Is this belief an echo of what someone has told me or made me feel at some point?” and “Do I have perspective here? What is the worst that can happen?” These help you get to the root of what’s in your mind, rather than just taking each statement at face-value.

Reframe the Belief

Don’t allow self-limiting beliefs to keep you stuck. Challenge them with positive truths and affirmations that help you move forward.

Let’s say you have this thought that you’re restricted to a certain salary or wage in your career. Turn it around in your mind: “I am only limited by my choices. I do good work and I deserve to be well compensated for it.”

Remember that you are in control of your own choices and actions. At what rate do you want to grow?

Take Responsibility

Own your weaknesses. They’re part of who you are. Being unskilled at something or unaware of certain information doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you uniformed- nothing else. If it’s something important to you, make it a priority to improve. If it’s not aligned to your current goals, let it go and focus on what does matter. It’s that simple! Stop making excuses for yourself of why you “can’t” do this or “can’t” do that.

When I was teaching high school, the word “can’t” was a dirty word in my classroom. I didn’t accept it of my students, because I knew it limited their thoughts of what they could do.

Instead, I asked them what they “could” do. Where could they start?

Maybe it’ll be difficult. Maybe it’ll be uncomfortable. But growth stems from discomfort. Stepping out of our comfort zone is what helps us improve. We can’t improve if we don’t push through the unknown.

So stop allowing your self-limiting beliefs to become your safety net. They’re not actually protecting you- they’re only holding you back.

Let’s move forward, shall we?

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Healing through Divorce

Divorce was something I never thought I'd recover from. This is my journey of healing from the heartbreak I thought would defeat me, and what I've learned along the way.

Six and a half years ago I married a man who ruled my world. Though I wasn’t so naive to think everything would be perfect, the goodness in him was evident, and I knew he was the right choice for me. We had joint dreams, beliefs and interests, and with him I felt more joy than I had ever before.

I remember through our engagement when we would think and discuss our future we would say “we’re going to be awesome!” And we were! For a time.

But life got difficult and communication changed. We stopped being partners and became roommates. We still had great experiences and good times, but they were coming less often.

When I signed the divorce papers not too long ago, the man who had once been my best friend and held all my dreams for the future, was now little more than a stranger. A stranger with many years of history and baggage between us. I no longer recognized him.

But my purposes for writing about my divorce is not to dwell in the negative of what happened. Quite the opposite, I want to share some of the incredible thoughts and experiences I’ve had since.  

Though I didn’t ask for this trial and wouldn’t wish it on anyone, I can’t say that every aspect of it has been horrible. Ironically enough, in some ways I’m also happier than I’ve been for a long time. I know without a doubt that I’ve been blessed throughout all of this.

This process of healing & letting go has given me new realizations about myself and unexpected life benefits I’d never have anticipated.

Realizations:

I am stronger than I thought.

I’ve never seen myself as a strong person. Maybe it’s my lack of confidence or my tendency to be too hard on myself. Either way, though the divorce came quickly and unexpectedly, I’d pondered occasionally what I’d do if we did separate.

Let me tell you- my thoughts weren’t filled with rainbows and unicorns.

I didn’t think I’d survive it.

And if I’m being honest, I stayed in a difficult relationship partly because I didn’t want to try to survive it. (There were many other reasons I stayed, but I’ll address those at a later time.)

I didn’t believe in my ability to work through the difficulties and find my sunshine again.

But you know what I’ve learned? I am a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for!

I’m learning that I CAN do this! I WILL get through this!

Everyday that passes is another testament that I am surviving what I’d thought would completely destroy me.

I’m not saying it’s easy, but I’m getting through it. Better than I ever thought I would. And next time I’m faced with something difficult? Maybe I’ll trust my inner strength just a little more.

My faith in God is more sure.

I’ve never been the ultra-spiritual one in my family, but I’ve always held a knowledge of  God and my Savior. It was more of a quiet faith- I knew the truth in my heart and followed the principles I knew to be true, but I never felt the burning desire to dive head-first into His teachings.

When the “writing on the wall” became more and more apparent, and though I hoped and prayed it wouldn’t happen, I wondered what I’d do if it did. Would I abandon the God who seemingly abandoned me? Would I grow more lazy in my worship and tell myself He is to blame?

I didn’t know. I’ve never really been very good at imagining the hypotheticals. But when I was being honest with myself, I feared that would be my reaction.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the opposite. When I found my marriage, the thing that I treasured and held so dear, crumbling at my feet, I was devastated. I was frustrated and confused and hurt. God was supposed to protect me from this pain, wasn’t He?  This is the time I would’ve thought I’d be lashing out in anger and frustration.

But you know what happened? I felt my Father in Heaven wrap his loving arms around me, and I felt not only safe, but empowered.

I could do this! I would survive this! I would get through this! And not only would I eventually return to who I used to be, but I’d come out on top! I’d be better than I started!

That feeling was life changing for me. I didn’t need to lash out, because He was right there with me. So though things didn’t work out for me the way I wanted, I know He has a plan for me that right now I don’t understand. And for now, that’s enough.

The “Silver Lining”:

Let me preface this section by saying that I didn’t want this divorce. This is not something I sought out or wished for.

But since I’m choosing to try and see the good instead of focusing on the bad (a feat for me, trust me!) when I sit down and think about it, there are some definite blessings I have received as a result of this change in my life.

I won’t list them all, because there have been many. I can definitely see God’s guiding hand in my life. But here are a few I feel some of you can relate to.

Relationship with God

Before the divorce, I’d been lazy in my worship and in my study. I didn’t always make the choices I knew were right, and I let myself be ruled by complacency rather than spirituality.

This has given me a new drive to move forward with what I know to be true and right. I no longer believe that I can skate by with minimal effort. That’s no longer enough for me. I’m grateful for this “kick in the pants” so to speak, though yes, I do wish I’d have been open & willing to listen another way.

Closer to Family

I’ve always been a family-oriented girl. I love my family. I am beyond blessed to have been born into one that is supportive and loving. I see evidence all around me of those who have not been so lucky, and it saddens me.

It was extremely difficult when I moved away from these people I loved so deeply. I felt that at the time it was right for my family, and I still believe it was. But it was hard. It was difficult to miss the everyday events, my niece and nephew’s play, the day my nephews won their little league championship. I missed a lot, but I knew I was building a future for my family, and that was enough.

After the divorce I moved back home. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back! To be so close to the people that I know love and care for me. To be showered with affection and appreciation and positivity. It has been a boon to my soul, and I am immensely grateful.

I don’t know how I ever left them, and I don’t know if I’d do it again. But for now, I’m so blessed and treasure the time with them.

Focus on Me

This one is a little good along with a little not-so good. It’s necessary for me, but a constant reminder of the person missing from my life.

Being on my own again after being a girlfriend/fiance/wife for 7 years has given me a chance to focus on nobody but myself. Not in a selfish way, but in a “strengthen myself” kind of way.

I’ve needed this for so long, but the day-to-day living always seemed to come first. Focusing on my job, taking care of the house, meeting his needs.

I’m not saying I never had the opportunity to take the time to re-evaluate my own needs, but I certainly never took it. Other things always seemed more important, more pressing.

Now? I’m taking it. I’m allowing myself to take the time I need to really discover who I am now. Because I’ve changed a lot in the last 7 years, and I need to address that.

It’s been beautiful to re-discover some forgotten strengths, to gracefully take note of the things I need to work on. Rather than beating myself up, I am loving myself for who I am right now, as well making plans to become the person I want to be.

How I’m Healing

Divorce quite often comes with a lot of pain, no matter what circumstances preclude it. Mine sure did. And I’ve learned that without coming to terms with and working through that pain, I’ll never be ready for what comes next.

So I’m working on healing! How do I go about it?

Family

As you can probably imagine from reading above, spending a lot of quality time has been more beneficial than I ever could have hoped for. Being fully surrounded by love on a constant basis has given my soul much needed nourishment.

It helps to have people in my life who have been where I am and can help me process what I’m going through. I can talk through my emotions and they are validated and acknowledged.

I’m staying with my sister right now, and being in her home has been inspiring. The way she (and her husband) love and teach their children is inspiring. The sweet good morning and night hugs from my nieces and nephews fill my heart.

God

I’ve mentioned a few things above about how increasing my spirituality has helped me heal, but I’ll tell you another.

I’ve allowed myself to forgive and have hope. Not completely mind you. I’m human! But I’m working on it. I’m not filled with contempt and hate the way I’d worried I would be. I’m not destroyed with depression and worry.

I know these feelings of peace and love are coming from above, because I’m not strong enough to have them myself!

Self care & lots of grace

I am normally so hard on myself. I beat myself up over the things I don’t do, the qualities I don’t have and the mistakes I make. Normally.

But right now? I’m trying very hard not to. And surprisingly, I’m mostly succeeding. It’s strange though- at a time when I thought I’d be the most difficult of all, I’ve felt a peace and direction I’ve never had.

I am where I need to be. It’s hard to accept right now, when my life is in such disarray. But this is where I need to be to receive the blessings and life that is coming.

So right now? I’m giving myself lots of grace. Forgiving myself when it’s needed and allowing me to take things slow. For my normally quick/get things done personalty, this is really something! Slow isn’t how I work. But right now?

Let me give you an example. I’m finding it hard to focus on a single task right now. My thoughts start drifting and memories take over, sadness/grief/loss sets in and the task goes forgotten. Normally I’d get so frustrated with myself for “wasting time.” But really? Who can blame me? So I give myself grace (my version of a personal hug to myself) and pick the task back up how and when I can.

I’ll get there eventually. I’ll return to my ultra-productive get-things-done self. Mostly. But honestly? I wouldn’t mind if this new “forgive myself” attitude remained.

Keeping Busy & building ministry

I’ve spoken a ton about myself and my own experiences– but this section is about you!

I’ve been wanting to build and grow this blog for a long time, and even took some major steps to get it going before the news hit. But ever since it has, I’ve felt a major shift in what I want to share with you.

I want to be less focused on getting “more” done, and more focused on helping you determine what’s most important in your life. It does no good to get 30 things checked off your list if none of them are helping you be the person you want to be. I want you to be intentional about what you’re choosing to spend your time on, rather than just solving whatever emergency happens to come up.

Why does this matter? Because this divorce has taught me that “someday” may never come. There’s a lot we said we would “someday” do or change or fix. And our “someday”, as a couple, will never come. And I’m grieving that, but I don’t want your someday to never come. I want you to accomplish the things you want for yourself. I want you to focus your very limited time on the things that matter.

So what does this have to do with how I’m healing? Everything, actually. A year ago I didn’t know my purpose. I had no direction. My life was stagnant. I wasn’t progressing.

Now? I know this is where I need to be. So I’m building my ministry. I’m going to share with you the things I’ve experienced, what I’ve learned and what has helped me grow. I’m hoping that by doing this I can help you avoid some possible pitfalls and give you some tools that have helped me along the way.  And that’s healing to me? Extremely so.

I hope you don’t mind me being so open and honest with you. That’s my goal: to be as transparent as possible so that you can see how what I’ve experienced has influenced and changed me into who I am. Because that’s how I can help you. I’ve lived through things that have taught me how to value my time, how to organize my life in an intentional way, and how to respect and care for myself- because really, I’m the only me I’ve got!

It’s been an (almost) unbearably difficult few months, but each day that passes feels like a victory. One more day. I survived one more day. And I’ll keep surviving, each day after that. Because I’m not alone, I have more strength than I ever thought, and I have a ministry to fulfill!

How about you? How do you look for the good, even when it’s difficult? Share in the comments below.

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Life’s Golden Ticket – Review

Book Review for "Life's Golden Ticket" by Brendon Burchard. Fabulous story about forgiveness, self-empowerment and reinvention. Post includes a free printable and an offer for a downloadable workbook to guide your reading.

I’ve been following Brendon for a good while now, but this is the book that started it for me. I saw a Facebook ad for his book, immediately ordered it, and let it sit on my shelf for a couple of years. I don’t know why exactly- life got in the way? Other priorities taking precedent? In any case, with my new resolve to read more great books, I knew I wanted this book at the top of my list.

I’m so glad I ordered and dove into this book! Brendon has such a passion for helping people. I see it in every course of his I take, every workshop and training. He truly gets fired up every time he speaks about building a positive life. If you haven’t signed up for his updates, you won’t be disappointed.

“Life’s Golden Ticket” is an allegory about a man trying to come to terms with his past, forgive and be forgiven, and make a fresh start. I don’t want to give away any of the story, but here are some of the lessons I pulled from the book. (There are many!)

1. Society’s Lie

Do not fall prey to, or let go of what Brendon calls “Society’s Lie.” As the main character is told on pages 34-36:

“You have been lured into a lie that has controlled your mind and contaminated your life, a lie that has prevented you from being your best, from taking risks, from having the confidence and strength needed to seize the life that you’ve always wanted. It has mesmerized you into believing that you are not good enough and that there is something wrong with you. It has made you secretly feel inadequate, ugly, weak, slow, small, useless, and helpless for far too long. It has been neutralizing your innate desire to stand up for yourself and become the person you were destined to be.”

I absolutely love this passage. Does this sound at all familiar to you? Are you guilty of allowing this horrible lie seep into your thoughts and cause you do doubt your potential? I know I am. Self-doubt is a mean monster, and it doesn’t fight fair. I love how vividly Brendon expresses the damage it does to our spirit, as well as providing us with something way more powerful than this vile lie. (I’m not going to tell you what it is- you have to read the book!) It’s something we’re all able to obtain, and it’s super effective in overpowering “society’s lie.”

In this section of the book, Brendon also gives three steps to defeating the self-doubt. Simple things that although aren’t always easy, are incredibly helpful in putting you on the path to the great things you’re capable of.

Purchase the Book

2. Elephant’s Leash

In the story, an analogy is drawn between us and one of the most massive creatures on earth: an elephant. It is explained how from a very young age, elephants are tied by rope to a pole. They struggle, at first, to get free. But soon they come to terms with the fact that they’re just too weak to break the rope. They stop struggling. They give in. As they grow stronger, they never question that rope again. Even as adults, they never stop to realize they have the potential to snap that rope in two with almost no effort. They have resigned themselves to their fate: no question. No trial. No reward.

How many of us are like that? Resigned to our “fate” of accomplishing little, because someone told us we couldn’t? Or because we tried once and failed. Why do we give up? Why do we stop trying?

It is truly a beautiful story, and Brendon’s rendition is so powerfully worded you really should read it first-hand. (If you own or buy the book, it’s on p. 82-84)

3. Positive VS. Negative

This seems to be a major theme running throughout the book. It’s discussed several ways in different places, in different ways. This is something I’ve personally struggled with: keeping a positive outlook. As one character in the book says to another:

“We’re drowning here. In despair, in our own pools of pessimism.” (p.6)

And aren’t we? Isn’t there so much negative around us? On the news? In our communities? In the media?

But wait- that kind of thinking is exactly the kind of negative focus Brendon warns us again in Golden Ticket. Because really, though yes, there is a lot of bad, there is also a lot of good! It’s all around us! But do we focus on that? I, personally, struggle with that quite often. It’s easy to see the bad and blame it for all our troubles. But how often do we express gratitude for the good that also surrounds us?

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4. Miracle Makers

I loved this section so much. I can’t express to you how strongly this section of the book touched me.

“Many of us live our lives desperately seeking to draw attention to ourselves. We live our lives to be noticed, accepted, and adored. We live our lives as if we were in the center ring [of a circus], as if the world should sit around applauding our every move. But there are a small number of people in this world who live their lives to make others smile, to remind others of the magic and hope in the world, to help them discover the possibilities that live within them. Whenever people like this end up in the spotlight, they use their moment to help others through the dark.” (p. 178)

Doesn’t that just give you goosebumps? It did for me! Brendon goes on to call these people “Miracle Makers”, because they make miracles happen for those around them. He explains that these select few have dedicated their lives to making life better for the people they associate with. How beautiful is that?

While reading this section, you can’t help but ask yourself: What am I adding to the world around me? Am I only “taking” from the world? Or what is my contribution? Can I give more? How can I add to the lives of the people in my life?

Powerful stuff right there…

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5. Don’t Settle: Progress

Or as I like to say: “Be who you want to be.”

Another overarching theme of the book, rather than a single section. This is a topic that is mentioned frequently. I counted over fifteen times in the book (all separate, but related, examples, thoughts, or ideas) that this topic was addressed. It seems this was something Brendon really wanted to hit home for us.

One of my favorites:

“Don’t you dare settle for anything other than the life you want to live. Look at your life. Look at every area. See what you need to stop doing and what you need to start, and do it while you still can, no matter how hard it is. Just keep learning and living.” (p.29)

When you look in the mirror, are you satisfied with who you are? What would you like to improve? In what areas would you like to see yourself progress?

There’s a huge difference between self-confidence and no desire for progression. I believe that the purpose of life is to learn, grow and progress. So isn’t there always something we can strive to be better in?

Don’t settle for a mediocre life because you’re afraid to put the work in to improve your life.

“You can be whoever you want to be, and you can do whatever you want to do. It’s time to believe [that] again.” (p.29)

If you could become whoever you wanted, who would that be? What does the “perfect” version of yourself look like? What steps can you take to get there?

Verdict & Next Steps

This book is five-stars for me, hands down. It was a fabulous read. It is pretty short, and only took me a couple days to get through. You can read it story-style (read it like a novel) or pen-in hand ready to make notes and mark your favorite passages. I started with the former, but decided there were far too many fabulous tidbits to miss, so I ended up grabbing my highlighter anyway.

So what now? I’d highly recommend purchasing the book and reading through it if you haven’t already. While you’re waiting for your copy to arrive, be sure to download the free printable: “Top 10 Favorite Quotes” from the book. There are so many more great things in the book I didn’t even address here!

Bonus Time!

If you purchase the book through my affiliate link (or if you already own it, you can purchase any other book through my link and receive the same bonus), send me a copy of your receipt and I’ll send you a printable workbook to accompany your reading. It walks you through many thought-provoking questions as you read the book, helping you digest and apply what you’re reading. (Reminder: My email is: connect@vibranceandbliss.com)

Purchase the Book

(Don’t forget to email me your receipt for your bonus workbook!)

Have you read the book? Enjoy one of the passages I shared? Let’s start a discussion! What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments below!

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Gratitude = Happiness

Regularly keeping a gratitude journal helps combat negative feelings and helps you focus on the positives in your life, even when life throws you challenges.

I have struggled for most of my mature life with Depression – feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and shame that I’m not living up to my own expectations. There have been days where I’ve felt hopeless that things would get better for me and I’d never make it out of the darkness. But through it all, I’ve had some incredible blessings always there in the background, holding me up.

When you’re in the abyss though, it’s hard to see those blessings. All you see is darkness. The light gets snuffed out by the negativity that is continually pressing down on you. So what can you do to help those glimmers of light shine through?

For me, one of the only things that helped keep me afloat were the times I sat and pondered, and then recorded those blessings.

Keeping a Gratitude Journal can help you feel happiness even in the darkest of times.

Spending just a few minutes a day writing down your blessings can reap amazing rewards in your life! Scientific studies have proven that showing gratitude on a consistent basis makes people happier and healthier. One of the best ways to get into the habit of cultivating gratitude is by keeping a daily journal. Here’s a short list of how a gratitude journal can change your life for the better:

Being grateful makes you happier.

Being grateful for what you have, rather than pining for what you don’t, keeps you filled with feelings of positivity and hope. It crushes the negativity that is determined to keep you down. Studies have shown that gratitude can actually reduce negative thoughts and increase feelings of contentment, love, joy, and empathy towards others. As Tony Robbins said: “You can’t feel angry at the same time as you feel grateful.” When you fill yourself with feelings of gratitude, you are focused on the good things that already exist in your daily life, instead of wishing for the things that don’t.  And once you commit to writing them down each evening (or morning, if that’s better for you), you may even start looking for things to write down- even those little things throughout the day that you might otherwise miss. How much would your life improve if you only focused on the positive instead of negative!?

 

Good Physical Health

Negative energy (from thoughts and memories) causes resentment and stress, which manifests physically in your body. So when your mind only considers the bad, you are literally sending poison into your veins. Gratitude helps keep those negative thoughts at bay, by replacing them with positive ones. When you allow yourself to concentrate on the good in your life over the bad, you’re sending much-needed endorphins to your brain, which it needs in order to thrive.

Increase Empathy for Others

Thinking back through your day and remembering the good things others have done for you increases your positive thoughts toward them. It helps you understand more about their life and situation, as well as your response to how they interact with you. Let’s say that someone cuts in front of you on the freeway, but as they pass you they wave at you in apology. You could choose to be upset over their lack of tact and control, or grateful for your safety and try to think of why they might be in such a hurry? Maybe they’re rushing to the hospital to visit an injured family member? Or they could be late for a meeting that could mean a loss of their employment. There’s often a hundred possible reasons for a person’s actions- if you focus only on the bad possibilities you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to see the best in people.

Improve Relationships

How much better would you feel about your sister if you listed three things every day that she’s done for you? When I’ve struggled in relationships with those around me, I’ve seen that relationships always seem to improve just from me changing my perception of how they act. People aren’t perfect, but as you focus your thoughts on their positive qualities and make a point to be grateful for the good things they do, you encourage more of the same in the future. It’s easy to find fault, but once you start showing appreciation for the people in your life, your relationships have room to grow.

Better Rest

How many times have you gone to bed thinking negative thoughts about your day, circumstances or interactions with others? How well did you sleep? For me, when I try to sleep with so much negativity I know I don’t sleep well, and I’m usually still upset in the morning, which can influence (or entirely ruin) my whole day.

How much better would it be to go to bed with only positive thoughts? Writing in your gratitude journal can help with that! When you write in the evening (right before bed), you tend to get more rest because you have reflected on the positives of your day, inviting peace and calm to your mind before you sleep.

Experience Less Stress

Your body doesn’t know the difference between current and past “stress.” So when you think back to a stressful time in your life, you’re essentially reawakening all those negative feelings, including their emotional and physical toll on your body.

By focusing on the positive, writing down the good things in your life, you avoid repeating that stress reaction in your body.

Final Thoughts

You can think of gratitude as being a mental and emotional muscle that you can build with daily exercise. If stuff goes wrong in life and your gratitude muscle is weak, you’ll struggle to find a silver lining in those storm clouds. But if you already have an excellent daily gratitude habit, then your gratitude muscle will be resilient and well-trained, meaning life’s challenges don’t completely knock you off course.

All in all, keeping an ongoing gratitude journal benefits all levels of your health and well-being, and is a very worthwhile activity, having the capacity to change your mindset, and therefore also your whole life, from one that seems full of poverty and loss to that of abundance.

Gratitude, when practiced daily, can train the mind to stay focused on positive thoughts, increasing feelings of happiness and contentment, while also strengthening you in preparation for the stressors of everyday life.

Ready to gain the benefits of daily gratitude journaling? Download your printable and start putting it to use!

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You'll be added to the FREE newsletter and be the first to receive updates, discounts and releases! Completely FREE!

Regularly keeping a gratitude journal helps combat negative feelings and helps you focus on the positives in your life, even when life throws you challenges.

SPAM-Free & opt-out any time!