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Published on August 5, 2019

How to Find Your Inner Strength and Let It Shine

How to Find Your Inner Strength and Let It Shine

Your inner strength is best defined as, “stable traits, an enduring source of well-being, wise and effective action, and contributions to others.” [1] In other words, your inner strength is your ability to do the right thing, the right way, without any concern about what others think.

In this article, we’ll look into how to find your inner strength so you can stay strong even when you face adversity.

How Do You Handle What Life Throws At You?

Think about the one person (may be more than one for some of you) at work who annoys everyone because they seem to lack emotional intelligence. They are always talking about controversial topics or stereotyping people in the worst kind of way.

You probably have two thoughts flowing through your mind. The first is telling them why no one likes them and why you wish to be left alone. The other is going to be a more compassionate approach to better understand them and see if you can address the root of the problem.

Think about the last time someone cut you off on the road while you were driving home. Again, you probably found yourself dealing with two possible choices. You were not sure if you were going to react in an aggressive manner and race around them, cut them off, and then slam on your brakes in front of them. Or you could always take a more thoughtful approach and decide to let it go. You assess the situation and realize you were not injured, and consider the possibility that they genuinely did not know you were there.

In one last example, how would you react if you felt like you were overlooked for a promotion? Even if you were the most qualified, does allowing yourself to get upset and quit abruptly help your cause? Instead, consider the many opportunities you were afforded throughout your career.

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There is a level of contentment, consideration, calmness, and patience found within someone who uses their inner strength. Just as the word “strength” traditionally implies, there is also a level of endurance necessary to use such restraint throughout your life.

This is important to understand because your inner strength is essential to you living your dream life. Your inner strength helps you to deal with the obstacles life is going to throw your way. When you think of words like resilience and perseverance, they are both tied to a deep sense of inner strength and purpose.

You know how I love to reference comic books, so think about the Marvel movie, Captain America: Civil War. Captain America (Steve Rogers) is willing to fight against the authorities and fellow Avengers in order to protect his friend Bucky Barnes. This escalates to the point that some of his friends are imprisoned; while others are fighting him at ever corner. In a moment, Rogers goes from beloved hero to wanted fugitive. His fall from grace is encapsulated when he even has to surrender his famed shield.

However, you can tell that Rogers is at peace with his decision to stand by his Bucky against all opposition. He likely wishes there could have been another way, but he knows there is nothing he would change.

You are going to find yourself dealing with situations where you are standing against the grain. Where conventional wisdom is going to push you in a direction you are not excited about going.

Your inner-strength or fortitude could take the form of compassion against someone everyone dislikes. Yet, it could also present itself in the form of strong action in the face of indifference.

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Think of your inner strength as your ability to handle whatever life throws at you in a compassionate and thoughtful way.

How To Tap Into Your Inner Strength

If you are like me, you have plenty of voices inside your head at any given moment. These voices can represent a variety of reactions, thoughts, and emotions you could utilize.

For example, how would you feel if you had to present information in-front of a group of colleagues or superiors? Some people will feel nervous and apprehensive, while others will feel confident and excited.

Now, consider the words each emotion may convey to you…

  • Someone who is apprehensive may wonder if they still have time to back out.
  • While a person who is nervous could be worried about getting a question they do not know how to answer.
  • If you feel confident, you are telling yourself that this is your opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd.
  • And someone who is excited may be visualizing themselves receiving a standing ovation at the end of their presentation.

Even though you have a variety of voices reacting to every situation, they really come down to two voices, your inner strength and your inner critic.

If you want to increase your ability to listen to your inner strength, you need to work on staying present in the moment. Mindfulness is a great way to allow yourself to respond, instead of react to the events in your life.[2]

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In the examples earlier, you could react to someone cutting you off on the interstate by cutting them back off. Or you could take a moment and realize that the issue has not impacted you in anyway. However, if you escalate the situation, there is now the possibility that you have compromised your well-being.

Be Mindful of What Is Going on Inside of You

It is best to think of mindfulness meditation as the practice of creating space for your thoughts.

When you take a moment and ponder how you want to react to a situation, you are tapping into your inner strength. Moreover, by practicing mindfulness meditation on a regular basis, you will improve your ability to hear your inner strength.

The good news is you don’t need anything special to practice mindfulness mediation. In fact, all you need to do is follow these six simple steps:[3]

  1. Take a seat. Find a place to sit or kneel that feels calm and quiet.
  2. Set a time limit. It can be as short as a few minutes or as long as a few hours. Recommend 5 to 10 minutes when starting out.
  3. Notice your body. How does your body feel in the position you chose? Do you feel any pressure on your joints from sitting or kneeling?
  4. Feel your breath. Follow the path of your breath as it moves through your body.
  5. Notice when your mind has wandered. You cannot keep your mind from wandering. Instead, whenever you notice it has wondered, simply return your focus to your breath.
  6. Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t worry about where your mind wanders. Allow yourself the ability to experience the moment and once the moment passes, return to the present.

When you stay focused on the present moment, you disable the critical part of your mind. In the present, there is nothing to worry about (like the future) and there is nothing to feel guilty about (as in the past). In the present, the only thing on your mind will be, “what is the next best decision I can make”.

For example, if you lost your job, the only thing you should be thinking about is, “what now”? If you are worried about the future, you are thinking, “how can I going to pay these bills“? If you are in the past, you may be telling yourself, “you messed up again and you can never get things right“.

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Empower Your Inner Strength To Overcome Adversity

Once you have trained yourself on how to hear your inner strength, the only thing you have left is to let it shine. By this, I mean you have to listen to what your inner strength is telling you.

You may find yourself in a situation where your critical voice is cautioning you about the cost of following your inner strength. Think back to Captain America’s story I mentioned earlier. It literally cost him everything to follow his inner strength, yet he did it anyways.

It would be a disservice for me to tell you it is going to be easy to listen to your inner strength. I am not saying that by any means. However, you will find that by ignoring your inner strength, the cost is much higher than you expected.

When you ignore your inner voice and do not employ your inner strength, you will face regret. That quick reaction may have caused you to say something that you cannot take back. Or your concern about how others will react to your authentic feelings may have saved a relationship you were better without.

Think back for a moment if Captain America did exactly what everyone else wanted and turns Barnes over to the authorities. Two things would have likely happened. One, the authorities quickly find out Barnes was framed, he is released, and Barnes is understandably upset with Rogers for giving up on him so quickly. Two, the authorities do not find out in time and Barnes is executed for crimes he did not commit. In either case, Rogers is left with the regret of knowing he did not use his inner strength and do what he knew deep down was necessary. Instead, he succumbs to the pressures of society and now someone he cares about has to suffer for no reason.

Final Thoughts

Following your inner voice and being yourself is the key to finding and building your inner strength. The path is not always going to be the easiest, but it will always be the most fulfilling. Find your inner strength and be courageous enough to let it shine.

More About Inner Strength

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Bishop via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Grow Your Inner Strength
[2] Reflection Pond: What is Inner-strength and how do we cultivate it?
[3] Mindful.org: How to Practice Mindfulness

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

The statistics are dismal. A recent study has found that 69% of people feel trapped in the same old routine, and only 3 out of 10 people are happy with their lives.[1] People are feeling stuck.

Some are feeling stuck in their careers, feeling like they’re too far along one path to make a change. Some are feeling stuck in their personal lives. The toll of the daily grind sucks most of their time and energy. So their relationships, self-care, and personal goals get lost in the shuffle of the treadmill existence.

When people come across these challenges of feeling stuck, the feeling sometimes doesn’t go away. It often intensifies as time goes on. As the stuck feeling intensifies, some people choose to settle. Subconsciously, without even realizing it, they end up pushing their dreams and goals further and further down.

Others, if the feeling of being stuck intensifies to an unbearable point, choose to make changes. They may choose to pivot in their careers, even after years at a successful job. They may end up making big changes in their relationships, or start putting their fitness at a higher priority. They may make drastic changes to finally feel free. These changes can be incredibly difficult to make, especially if a person has lived many years in a certain lifestyle.

Feeling stuck is NOT fun. I’ve been there. I get it.

Why Am I Feeling Stuck?

People feel stuck once in a while. There are many causes of feeling stuck. Many people work toward goals that don’t actually align with who they are at the core or what they truly desire. I call these “False Objectives”.

Living a life of False Objectives can cause people to feel very stuck and frustrated. People can build lives that are very “successful” according to society; but if you’ve built your life based on False Objectives, you’re not going to feel fulfilled. You’ll end up feeling stuck.

Another cause of feeling stuck is not knowing who you are. If you don’t understand how you’re innately wired – your strengths, your gifts, your talents, your passions – it’s tough to make decisions that enable you to maximize those. It’s tough to reach your full potential if you don’t know who you are.

You can feel stuck if you’re doing work that doesn’t allow you to maximize your innate strengths. If you’re doing work that doesn’t bring out the best in who you are at the core, you’ll likely feel some dissatisfaction and you won’t reach your full potential.

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Other people feel stuck because they haven’t surrounded themselves with mentors or peers who have achieved what they want to achieve. They stay in certain routines while craving to do life differently. As Jim Rohn says,

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

If your goal is to run a marathon and you’re spending most evenings and weekends drinking beer with your coworkers, you’re probably not going to run that marathon. If your goal is to live a location-independent lifestyle and work anytime from anywhere, but everyone in your social circle is at traditional jobs; it’ll be tough to break free from the 9-5 mentality.

How Feeling Stuck Screws You up Secretly

Feeling stuck screws up people’s lives. The consequences of feeling stuck can range from mild to severe. People may feel a mild discontentment with life and end up succumbing to the idea that life is “okay,” and settle. (Nancy’s story will resonate with you.) They may never reach their full potential, their highest levels of happiness and satisfaction. And they may not make the impact on the world that they could make, and have a looming sense that there could be “more” to life.

Often, though, the feeling of being stuck comes with much larger consequences. Feeling stuck can hinder career growth and contribute to disrupted marriages. It can lead to huge midlife crises.

The feeling can (and frequently does) increase as the years go on, leading to significant regrets about unfulfilled dreams. In fact, the number one regret of the dying, according to Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” She writes:[2]

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Many people had not honored even a half of their dreams, and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

    Approaching Life Differently

    Thankfully, some highly effective strategies can prevent you from feeling stuck. Using these strategies can help you avoid significant problems in your life. It’s different than conventional living, and it works.

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    Commonly, people live with many set routines. While certain routines are helpful, becoming stuck in the daily grind routine can get frustrating. Many people eat roughly the same foods each week, go to the same place each day, talk to the same people, keep the same commitments, and end up living life on autopilot.

    It’s tough to feel like you’re progressing forward when each day is spent doing the same uninspiring routine. In order to avoid feeling stuck, it’s important to live intentionally. It’s crucial to live in the driver’s seat of your life and get out of autopilot mode.

    First, ditch the False Objectives. Just because everyone in your family are doctors doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. Just because all your friends are married with a big house, a white picket fence, and 2 kids doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. Just because everyone you know works 9-5 doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. It’s not easy to design your life intentionally, but it’s critical in order to avoid feeling stuck.

    Remember, the majority of people feel stuck. So, if you’re doing things like the majority of people, you’ll likely feel stuck, too. You’ll need to think differently and create your life differently.

    2 Questions to Ask Yourself Every Day

    In order to intentionally design your life, avoid falling prey to False Objectives, and prevent feeling stuck, there are questions to ask yourself every day. These questions can help you stay focused on what matters most to you, help you avoid feeling stuck and frustrated, and create the best life possible.

    1. Why Am I Going to Do What I’m Going to Do Today?

    If you’re showing up to work each day and giving your years to your job, it’s important that your “why” is deeper than “to pay the bills.” Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing can help you make choices that inspire and motivate you.

    By asking yourself why you’re going to do what you’re going to do today, you will be living intentionally. In today’s incredibly busy, easily distracted world, living intentionally and focusing every day on what matters most is unique.

    When you choose to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing every day, it will help you stay focused on what’s truly important to you. This can prevent you from getting stuck.

    2. What Would Future Want Me to Do Today?

    Imagine yourself, in the future, as the best version of you. What would that version of you want you to do today? Making decisions from the viewpoint of the future you can help you move forward and prevent the stuck and frustrated feeling.

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    When you make decisions from the viewpoint of future you, you will develop perseverance and reap the benefits of delayed gratification. Today’s society is very focused on instant gratification, but a lot of great things in life take time and effort. Learning to take small steps forward by making decisions from the future you’s standpoint can help you progress toward your biggest goals and dreams.

    How to Get Unstuck

    After asking yourself the two questions, work on the plan to get unstuck. I’ve personally tried these strategies and they work for me.

    1. Choose Goals You Truly Desire to Accomplish

    This might sound obvious but we all get sucked into False Objectives at times. When you’re setting goals in your career and your personal life, make sure they are goals that matter to you.

    Working hard toward big achievements that don’t align with your values, priorities, and who you are at the core is a fast-track toward feeling stuck.

    Learn about your strengths, your gifts, and your passions. Choose goals that align with who you are at the core, and work toward goals that align with your inner strengths and gifts. This will help you maximize your potential and minimize the stuck and frustrated feelings.

    2. Watch Your Mindset

    Often, we think we’re stuck, but the problem is our mindset. Being mindful of our mindset and self-talk is important to living a life of freedom and fulfillment. Work on rephrasing your self-talk in order to improve your mindset.

    For example, if you tell yourself, “I could never start a business,” rephrase it to, “I don’t know how to start a business YET, but I can learn.” If you find yourself saying, “I don’t have enough money to travel,” tell yourself, “I don’t have the money right now, but I can make a plan to save money to travel. Rephrasing your self-talk can help you see opportunities and possibilities instead of feeling stuck.

    Occasionally, even the most driven people have days where they feel unmotivated. Check out this article for tips to get motivated when you feel like doing nothing: What Motivates You And How to Always Stay Motivated

    Those tips can help you break free from the rut.

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    3. Get out of Your Comfort Zone and Add Some Excitement to Your Day

    Shaking up your daily routine and adding some excitement to your days can help you get unstuck.

    While breaking out of your daily routine can be uncomfortable, it can be a great way to invigorate your life. You can start by getting out of your comfort zone in small ways. Here are 10 ways to step out of your comfort zone and overcome your fear. As Brian Tracy says,

    “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

    Getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing growth can help you to continue to move forward and prevent you from getting stuck.

    4. Surround Yourself with People Who Have Done What You Aspire to Do

    It’s easy to get stuck if you’re trying to accomplish something and you’re struggling to believe it’s possible to accomplish it.

    Instead of letting yourself be isolated and stuck, commit to learning from people who have done what you aspire to do. This can help you believe it’s possible to achieve the same goals. It can also help you to be inspired to progress forward instead of staying in stuck-land.

    You can seek out a mentor, or even read inspiring books or listen to motivating podcasts by the people who have achieved your biggest goals and dreams.

    Final Thoughts

    It’s frustrating to feel stuck. But you don’t need to stay stuck if you know the right ways to break free from the rut.

    Practice living intentionally by asking yourself the 2 critical questions:

    • Why am I going to do what I’m going to do today?
    • What would future want me to do today?

    When you constantly reflect about what you truly want and whether you’re doing the things that lead you to what you desire, you’ll feel less stuck gradually.

    More to Help You Get Unstuck

    Featured photo credit: Krists Luhaers via unsplash.com

    Reference

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