Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Shifting in a Positive Direction

I was listening to a podcast tonight about positive emotions. Something really struck me… and I’ve heard it before but for some reason, it really resonated with me tonight. I’ve struggled in the past with positive affirmations. First of all, most affirmations that I see are usually really exaggerated compared to my current state and secondly, telling myself positive statements that I don’t believe doesn’t usually make me feel better (probably due to reason number one!).

The podcast was discussing a snippet of an Esther Hicks talk. The main point was that in order to get to a more positive state, you don’t have to get to the ultimate end point, you just have to shift in a positive direction. I’ll give you a personal example. Lets say one of my coworkers (only because I don’t want my family to get mad at me), is really irritating me. In the past, I may have used a positive affirmation such as, “I am all loving and totally accepting of all people, including all of my coworkers.” The problem is, I really don’t feel that way in the moment and just because I say it doesn’t necessarily make me feel it. So, the point of the discussion was that we just need to feel for a slight shift in thinking. I could definitely think to myself, “Even though this coworker is irritating me, she is not the most irritating person I’ve worked with.” That feels better than my initial thought and, the important part, I do not feel an immediate resistance to the statement like I did with the exaggerated positive affirmation above.

Our minds tend to continue moving our thoughts forward. So, lets look at how each of these statements might progress after the initial thought.

  • Sheila is really irritating me today. I can’t believe she actually said that in our team meeting. Who does she think she is? She certainly isn’t helping herself with comments like that. I hope she asks for feedback from me this year because I’m really going to let her have it.
  • This is not the most annoying coworker I’ve ever known. I’ve definitely worked with more difficult people in my day. Maybe I’m just learning how to handle myself better? Nah… I don’t think she’s really as bad as Larry was. Now, he was bad. Sheila’s actually ok on most days. Maybe she was just having a bad day today. We all have bad days once in a while. Maybe I should check in with her and see how she’s doing.
  • I am all loving and totally accepting of all people, including all of my coworkers. NOT! That’s a joke. Who is really all loving, anyway? What does that even mean to be all loving? I certainly don’t FEEL all loving toward Sheila. I am so judgmental. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just be nice and get along with people?

Now, obviously the actual thoughts could go any number of ways, but you get the point. A slight shift in thinking can impact all future thoughts and lead you down a completely different path. Also, consider how you would feel with these various streams of thought… definitely better with some than others. In the first one, I feel even more irritated. In the second, I’m actually feeling empathetic toward my coworker which is good for both of us. In the final statement, I’m totally beating myself up. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty clear on which path I want to wander down.

So the biggest obstacle that I can think of not to make the slight change in thought is not realizing that you’re on the path until you’re neck-deep. So, next time we’ll talk more about how to recognize the fork in the road when you’re at the start of it. Until then, I encourage you to pay attention to your thoughts and see if you can make the slightest shift toward happy.

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel

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Good Enuf is the New Perfect

When did being good enough become not enough? I can’t think of anyone I know who’d be excited to get a “good enough” review. Everybody wants to be the best. Or at least, great! Everyone walks around completely frustrated with what they didn’t get accomplished instead of being satisfied, let alone happy, with what they did. Is it just an evolutionary thing… that we had to focus on the negative in order to survive and now we’re just fostering a bad habit that is no longer serving us… or is there more to it?

Why is this tendency to walk around feeling that we are never good enough so prevalent? I think somewhere along the line, we took the notion that anything is possible a little too far. While it’s true that there are people who can do great things… I don’t necessarily believe that any person can do anything they want. Not every kid who wants to get into Yale makes it. Not every person who wants to be a famous actor or singer will make it big. If you think about it, that’s a heck of a lot of pressure on the person thinking that if they just try hard enough, they can be and do anything they want. All of a sudden, there are no boundaries, no guidelines… no reality checks.

Now, this might seem like an odd way to start back on the blogging circuit! I don’t mean to sound so pessimistic, stepping on the dreams of our youth. But the truth is, this whole ‘gotta be the best’ mentality has stopped me cold on numerous occasions as I’ve thought about getting back to writing. What if it’s not good? Or worse, really bad? What if no one cares? Are we creating a world where people are afraid to fail? And if failing isn’t part of the process, then you certainly aren’t pushing yourself to do anything great… because greatness comes with lots of learnings (aka failures). Come to think of it, maybe that’s exactly (or close to) the recipe to greatness… try, good enough, try, fail, try, good enough, try, fail, (fail, fail, fail), try, better, try, fail, try, great!!

Make no mistake… allowing yourself to be simply ‘good enough’ takes courage… it requires feeling the fear of not being good enough and doing it anyway. It’s recognizing that good enough gets you into the arena… while waiting to be perfect keeps you in the stands. I’m realizing that, at least for me, a whole life of good enough is better than a list of regrets for things that didn’t happen because I was trying to get it perfect or scared I wouldn’t be the best. So, I’m going to hold the fear of not good enough, not long enough, not relevant enough, not witty enough… and I’m going to click the ‘publish’ button anyway. Because in case you haven’t heard… good enuf is the new perfect!

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