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Embrace Who You Really Are and Simplify Life Decisions

Embrace Who You Really Are and Simplify Life Decisions

“Who am I?” is the universal question most often asked. It begins in adolescence and persists through life’s developmental stages. Thankfully, the responses differ. Can you imagine if every one had the same answer?  It would be like watching The Phantom of the Opera with every actor playing the phantom. When you embrace the uniqueness of who you are, you will uncover your life purpose to begin living your dream

Read on for the oh-so-rewarding results of self-acceptance.

1. You’ll be the expert on who you are.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had an owner’s manual that shows how YOU tick? Learning about yourself is usually a process of trial and error.  You can eliminate the errors by tuning in to how you behave and react in different situations. What triggers defensiveness in you? Can you diffuse irritation and avoid going ballistic?  Which activities fuel your enthusiasm? Knowing your behaviors, reactions, strengths, and weaknesses equips you to smoothly navigate work situations and social interactions.

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2. You’ll gain a BFF for life—YOU.

A healthy self-relationship develops when you fully embrace yourself, warts and all.  In a deep relationship, a woman can sense and will gently touch her partner to calm him down during a heated discussion with someone.  A man will protectively put himself between his partner and a menacing stranger. When you are a friend to yourself, you won’t put yourself in situations which cause you anger, fear, or sadness. You acknowledge your weaknesses, but you also work at lessening or converting those weaknesses. Acceptance and effort earns self-respect. You’ll start to appreciate yourself.

3. You’ll treat yourself kindly.

You wear many hats in life. You hold a job, are a friend, a spouse, a parent, caregiver to aging parents, driver, confidant, volunteer, etc. Many people depend on you, but you cannot always deliver. Because you are your own BFF, you will be forgiving of our shortcomings. You’ll take mistakes as lessons for improvement and successes as validation of skills. Both will present opportunities for self-nurturing. Treating yourself to some quiet time alone or celebrating with a fun group will become second nature and guilt-free.  You know it is well-deserved.

4. You’ll stop living in fear of not being good enough.

Inferiority usually surfaces in comparison with peers.  Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson states that the concept of inferiority begins at school age in the classroom environment.  Peer pressure is strongest during adolescence due to the amount of time spent with large numbers of similarly-aged groups and the high importance adolescents place on their peers’ opinions. How does this information help you?  You can congratulate yourself for transitioning from that challenging time (and be extra kind to adolescents.) You can remind yourself that feelings of not being good enough are just that—feelings, not facts.  If you accept your weaknesses, you are less vulnerable to another person’s judgment.

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5. A copycat, you’ll never be.

Toddlers imitate their parents and adolescents get influenced by their friends’ choice of colleges to attend. This is part of learning self-concept.  A female job intern will follow the dress style of the lady boss and a male apprentice will mimic the authoritative voice of his mentor. This is a natural part of adapting to the work culture. When you embrace who you really are, you have a stable self-concept. You are aware of your personality traits, how you look and sound, your values, beliefs, goals and skills. And you appreciate your individuality. Copy another person’s identity? That’s unlikely because you are comfortable being you.

6. You’ll get rid of “what ifs” and “maybes.”

What if I apply for a marketing job and get rejected?  What if I tell this girl I like her and she laughs at my face?  What if I start that small business and it goes bust? Maybe I should just settle for where I am now. Over-analyzing and worrying about negative results stems from self-doubt, which is the opposite of self-confidence.  A person with good self-esteem has a decent opinion of self and likes him/herself.  You know your skills, are guided by your values and beliefs; learn from mistakes, and proudly celebrate your successes. Self-knowledge and appreciation drive away self-doubt.

7. You’ll form deep and meaningful relationships

People get their cue from the way you behave and treat yourself.  If your behavior is consistent with your beliefs and values, they will recognize a person who is similar or different from them but who is clearly an individual, with his or her set of beliefs and values.  People will not misread your actions. You know what you deserve and are comfortable asking calmly for it.  You don’t let others impose their beliefs on you and you withhold judgment on their beliefs. When you embrace who you truly are, you will attract other authentic individuals who respect, value, and support you.

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8. You’ll know and can focus on what truly moves you.

Life has a way of throwing questions to which your answers are pivotal. Self-knowledge is a powerful tool in your responses. A series of significant questions and authentic answers will reveal your dream and life purpose. When you embrace who you really are, your answers will ring true and clear, and lead you each step of the way. You’ll instinctively know the job you’ll thrive in, the causes you’ll best contribute to, the people you’ll connect deeply with, and what makes you feel truly alive.  Your decision-making will be simple, guided by two questions:  “Does this support who I really am?” and “Does this help me live my life purpose?”

9. “Things fall into place” for you.

“You create your reality with your intentions.”

—Gary Zukav

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I’ve seen it happen. When you decide and affirm your intention, the opportunities show up inexplicably in the strangest of ways from the most unexpected sources to support that intention.

It works best when:

  • your dream/purpose reflects the divine in you, helps others, and protects nature;
  • you are clear about your dream and purpose;
  • you make each life decision in support of your dream and purpose;
  • you believe!

But first of all, you have to embrace who you really are.

Featured photo credit: Chicken LIttle, flickr.Wasin Waeosri via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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