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The Thief In All Of Us

The Thief In All Of Us

Have you ever held back on taking a step towards your career just because you thought of all the bad things that could go wrong?

“What if I failed? What if people never get to appreciate me? What if I die before I ever become known in my career?”

Have you ever changed plans on doing that one thing you felt would finally give you the liberation you seek just because the thought of being rejected invaded your mind? Have you ever denied yourself of totally being in love with someone because you felt you were not good enough for them and that fear kept you from bonding with them? If this sounds like you, then you might have a thief living deep inside your mind, and his or her name is Fear.

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    Fear is an enemy. One that comes to steal our lives from us in broad daylight, while we are wide awake and right in the middle of making a decision that is pivotal to our lives. Fear is most times unjustified, unrealistic, nameless, and unreasoning. I have had my own share of fear moments. Times when all I could see was a monster in the dark, and really I am very optimistic person, but when this thief called fear visits, your personality just doesn’t matter.

    However, I don’t think fear is all that bad. Sometimes, fear keeps us from making a wrong decision. Or, for some people, fear is the very reason they go ahead to achieve that goal they were scared of. The fear of failure pushes them to do extra and achieve more. This is putting the emotion called fear to good use; taking that which poses a threat and using it as a propeller for great achievement. For good.

    But for many, fear keeps us on hold. Fear keeps us captive. Fear stops us from breathing right when we need oxygen most. Fear makes us see the negatives to the situation and blinds us to the very obvious positives. Fear saps the very life out of us.

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      As much as fear appears to be real and big, it is only a product of our subconscious mind. You read that right. There’s nothing in the dark. Fear does not exist anywhere else but in the mind. Those things you are really afraid of are not real, it’s only happening in your mind. They are false evidences appearing real. And like everything else, what you pay attention to soon becomes your reality. Can you see why you need not pay attention to it?

      One thing fear does is steal the fuel for our drive and stops us from living the life we really want. Once you let fear rule over your decisions and choices, you may never get to that point of freedom where you define your life on your own terms. Every time you consider what could go wrong in your life, business, career, or relationship before taking a step, you are limiting your happiness and fulfillment as a person. Living perpetually in fear is as good as being dead. The worst thing that can happen to anyone is to be dead while alive.

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        Fear stops you from living even before you stop breathing. Fear keeps you on the edge and makes you average even when you are born with greatness. It crawls up slowly into your mind and deposits thoughts of doubt in there, creating a darkness that never once existed. Fear tells you cannot be great, though you have greatness in you. Fear tells you that you will fail at that project, but you have all it takes to be excellent at it. Fear tells you not to fall in love again because your partner will leave you just the way others have left, but you know what? You are just a decision away from finally meeting your dream partner. Fear is an enemy because it sells you the wrong perspective with the intent to stop you from living life to its fullest!

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          If you don’t want your life filled with regrets, you need to give up on fear. I haven’t seen one person who lived all their life in total fear and proclaimed they lived a fulfilling and satisfied life. At some point, you have to make a decision to live above your fears. Your fears should not become stumbling blocks to your greatness but a ladder with which you climb to the top of self realization and fulfillment.

          To that end, here are some tips that can help anyone looking to free themselves of this enemy. These tips have worked for me personally and I believe they will be of help to you too.

          1. Identify Your Fears

          What you do not know, you cannot confront. Pay close attention to your inner space, your mind. What are you really afraid of? What pictures do you see in your head? Take a mental view of what goes on in your mind. Stay conscious to your subconscious.

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          2. Talk To Someone

          When negative thoughts build up in your mind, one way to dispel them is to talk to someone. It could be a therapist, a trusted friend, your spouse, your kids, your parents — anybody you feel comfortable talking with. You don’t have to hold all that negative energy in. Talking about it stops the negative thoughts from gaining a foothold in your mind, and this is good if you really want to get rid of fear.

          3. Be Positive

          Negativity is the seed that bears the fruit called fear. Nip it in the bud by remaining positive. Instead of thinking of how bad things can get, think of how good things are and could be. Don’t focus too much on the negative.

          4. Face Your Fears

          Never run away from your fears. Don’t make excuses for them. Face them and sort them out with logic and reason. This will forever dissipate their existence in your mind. Take action. When you face your fears, they become weaker because you begin to see that things are not nearly as bad as what you think they are.

          Don’t let fear stop your awesomeness!

          Featured photo credit: IB Wira Dyatmika via unsplash.com

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          Last Updated on July 10, 2020

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

          We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

          So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

          Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

          What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

          Boundaries are limits

          —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

          Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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          Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

          Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

          Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

          How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

          Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

          1. Self-Awareness Comes First

          Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

          You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

          To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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          You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

          • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
          • When do you feel disrespected?
          • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
          • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
          • When do you want to be alone?
          • How much space do you need?

          You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

          2. Clear Communication Is Essential

          Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

          Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

          3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

          Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

          That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

          Sample language:

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          • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
          • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
          • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
          • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
          • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
          • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
          • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

          Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

          4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

          Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

          Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

          Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

          We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

          It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

          It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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          Final Thoughts

          Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

          Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

          Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

          The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

          Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

          Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

          They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

          Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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