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14 Ways to Live Life Free of Fear and Full of Hope

14 Ways to Live Life Free of Fear and Full of Hope

Can you see yourself sitting down watching a sunset, the waves lapping the white sand beach as the evening’s last rays of sunshine warm you? A book lies forgotten in your lap and all you are thinking about is how wonderful it is to be you, right here, right now.

Compare this to you watching the sunset and feeling guilty that you should be making dinner, finishing a work assignment, doing laundry, calling your mother or anything other than just enjoying yourself.

Somewhere along the line, feeling guilty, fearful, and unhappy has become the norm. It is almost expected. What happened to us to take away our feeling of excitement for what tomorrow holds and replaced it with worry?

It is time to revisit the things that caused this change, and to nullify their effects on us. Keep reading for 14 ways to live a life free of fear and full of hope.

1. Let go of pre-existing ideas that don’t make sense.

My friend and radio co-host, Sally Nutter, told me about a time she thought she couldn’t eat a pizza because she couldn’t find a knife to cut it. She finally realized that she could tear it up and enjoy it just as much.

There are so many ideas that are set in our minds early on and never looked at again. We do the darndest things for no other reason than we have always done them that way, or someone told us it was the right way to do it.

Start looking at the things you do. Re-evaluate the things that bug you. If they don’t make sense, do it your own way!

2. Know your own power.

Everyone doubts their ability to make things go right. Many times these doubts have nothing to do with whether we can or can’t, but they make us very unhappy.

Take a look at the doubts you have and put them into words. What, or who, made you feel doubtful? As we grow, doubts can be sown in our minds. They can be stated outright or simply implied. Remember that this is someone else’s opinion and can be discarded no matter how much they assert it as truth.

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Look at these doubts in the present and decide whether they are true for you. Discard the ones that don’t make sense.

3. Look carefully at the things you are afraid of.

I had a friend who I wanted to take traveling with me, but she was afraid of flying. Back in the ’80s planes were falling out of the sky and many of us developed fears based on media reports.

In order to help her out, I sent her to a site that outlined all of the advancements that have been made, and how safe airplanes are today. There were details of exactly how these new things worked and the statistics on safety. She felt a lot better after that.

Things in the past can impact how we view things in the present. Look at current information on things that make you fearful and see if you are worrying over something with relatively low risk.

4. Trust yourself.

Somehow you have made it through everything life has thrown at you and you are still in the game. Although life is uncertain, take a minute to look at all of the seemingly impossible times you have had to deal with. Think about all the times you asked yourself if you would make it through. Somehow you did it. You may not have done it gracefully, but you did it!

Have faith that whatever happens in the future, you will find a way to deal with it.

5. Quit looking for stuff to fix

There are many home improvement shows, and I love them, but there are times when we should be happy with what we see in front of us.

Our houses are not model houses. We live in them. They will, at times, be untidy and look lived in. Relax. If something needs to be fixed, trust that you will get to it. But for now, just enjoy.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff

When we go through tough times, we adopt survival patterns that work for the rough times, but are not necessarily right for every day living. We may have decided to worry about the small things so they don’t get away from us. It takes the joy out of life.

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If something goes wrong, you will notice and handle it. Most of the small stuff irons itself out.

7. Remind yourself that you are worthy.

There are many messages tossed at us in life. Most of the time they are attempts to get us to buy something. We are told we are not thin enough, smart enough, educated enough, or cool enough.

Here is a new take on these things: you are enough. You are enough no matter what you weigh. You are enough no matter what your IQ. You are enough if you decide that you are.

These things are up to you, not anyone else. Know that you, as you are, are worthy of love, happiness, and all the good things in life.

8. No matter what is bugging you, you can always do something about it.

Looking at your situation right now, it may look pretty bleak. But no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something that you can do about it.

If there is something bugging you, sit down and figure out  some things you can do about it and then go and do them.

9. Hang out with positive people.

There is nothing more discouraging than someone who is apathetic and makes it known to everyone around him or her, or the person who is always angry or sad no matter what you do to help them.

These people can bring us down. Limit your exposure to these people. The majority of your time should be spent with dynamic people who are happy and get things done. People who find ways of handling things in life are the people who feed you positive energy.

10. Don’t let anyone insult, manipulate, or use you.

This can be hard to spot but whenever you feel uncomfortable around someone or feel as if you are walking on eggshells, chances are they are doing or saying things that bring you down and make you liable to manipulation.

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Social rules can make it difficult to stand up for yourself when someone is negative or insulting, but that is what that person is counting on.

People who covertly insult you are counting on the fact that you feel you are being rude if you point out that they have acted thoughtlessly. But they are the ones who lack manners. If someone insults you, you have every right to cordially insist that they treat you with respect.

It is not good manners to sit there and be abused. If someone insulted your spouse or child, you would rise to their defense. Why not rise to your own defense?

11. Don’t set personal goals based on external influences.

Last week I was talking about goals with my brilliant friend, Julia. She reminded me that it can be damaging to set personal goals based on external factors over which we have limited or no control.

For example, having a personal goal of winning a dance competition is an external goal because you never know when the judges will be biased, or some other competitor has a better day than you. Having a personal goal of learning a highly technical program, on the other hand, is a good internal goal because it is something over which you have complete control.

Look over your goals and revise them so that you are in control of the outcome.

12. Throw away the newspapers.

Most of what is written in the newspapers is BAD NEWS! There is nothing like something very scary to make people buy and read newspapers. Have you noticed that there is rarely, if ever, good news on the front page?

Good news exists everywhere. You don’t have to look hard to find it. If you are having trouble believing this, write down all of the good things you see in a day. People open doors for others, people put on benefit concerts to raise money for injured or ill people. The list can go on.

I fully believe that way more great things happen each day than bad things, and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

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13. Work with children.

My job is teaching music to children. It is the best job I can think of. They are so bright, adorable and fun. They are excited about the future, even if the future is a sleepover or a movie. Kids are more balanced than the average adult because they have not learned to be worried or fearful.

Working with children in whatever capacity you can puts you in the same mindset. I get swept away daily by these kids and their ideas. It is the highlight of my life.

14. Listen to music or take a look at some high quality art.

Art and music are the antidote to the stress and negativity of life. It is like the Yin and Yang. It is your choice whether to focus on the good or the bad. Contrary to what many people believe, art and music are not just whimsical pursuits. They are the breath of life.

Many articles tell you to focus on the good but they don’t tell you that you have to make an effort to go out and find the good. It doesn’t just come to you.

Go to Youtube and find music you love, look at websites and books to find art that makes you happy. Bookmark them and go to them often. Make it a large part of your life to seek out and enjoy these things. Tip the balance in favor of things that make you really happy. This has a profound effect on your happiness level.

Go have a look in the dusty corners of your mind and pull out some of your old decisions and thoughts about things. Take a look at them in the bright light of day and see if they still make sense. If not, toss them in the trash and move on!

Good Luck!

Featured photo credit: sunflares free sun enjoyment of deep breathing girl via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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