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How to Stop Feeling Bad, Change Your Thoughts, and Change Your LIfe

How to Stop Feeling Bad, Change Your Thoughts, and Change Your LIfe

You look like you’ve got it all together. You’re always smiling in your selfies. Your Instagram and Facebook photos look like you’re having the time of your life, but inside your head there’s another movie going on.

You know you’re a decent person (your mother tells you all the time) but you keep hearing voices that bring you down. Voices of doubt making you wonder if you’re good enough, cool enough, hot enough, or you’re up for the challenge in front of you. Guess what? You are!

You just have to learn how to dig through the garbage bin of your mind and see how great you really are, so you can start living a happier life.

CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS

If you want to change your life, the first thing to change is the relationship you have with your thoughts. Regardless of how successful, confident, and self-assured someone looks; you can be sure that inside every person is a little voice full of doubt. What matters most is how you relate to those thoughts. Just because you hear thoughts of doubt, insecurity, or regret – doesn’t mean you have to listen to them.

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Give your negative voice a voice.

Listen to your thoughts. Be aware of what you say to yourself. Do you sound like your best friend (You’re doing a great job, hang in there, things will get better soon, believe in miracles, pray) or do you sound like the high school bully (You’re such a jerk, loser, stop being a baby, grow up already)?

Say your thoughts out loud. Whether it’s to yourself or a trusted friend, releasing those thoughts will free you from the prison of your mind. That’s when positive change will happen.

Face your flaws.

As odd as that seems, denial is a nasty self-esteem destroyer. Admitting your truths frees you. It’s the first step to happiness.

There is no such thing as perfect. Everybody is imperfect. It’s what makes us human. It’s a common bond we share. What matters is how you manage your imperfections. Do they haunt you and stick with you for days? Or do you try to forget about them and make them go away? Successful people admit their flaws, improve them, and move beyond them.

Flaws that are not admitted can hold you down and interfere with your happiness. If you want to be truly happy, you have to be brave enough to know what you need to improve. Maybe you need to stop procrastinating, less selfish, or control your temper; once you admit it, you can change it. If you remain in denial, your harmful habits will continue to harm you.

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Forgive yourself.

It’s going to happen; you’ll mess up, make a mistake, or say the wrong thing, it’s ok. You’re imperfect and human, just like the rest of us. It’s not the mistake that hurts, but whether you take it in and let it rot inside your head or learn from it and let it go. Mess-ups are part of everybody’s day. Look at Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, and John Travolta. How do you think he felt when he mispronounced Idina Menzel‘s name in front of 43 million people? Ouch! People forget and get over it. You can too.

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” 
Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs had to forgive himself when he made the first Apple III computer. It was so poorly designed that the computer was known as an unreliable machine that continuously crashed due to poor ventilation.

Think about who you want to be.

Whether your dream is to act on Broadway or become the next Stephen King, visualize the person you want to become. Jim Carrey did it, and it worked for him. In 1983 when Jim was broke and down and out, he wrote himself a post-dated check for $10 million. He carried it in his pocket for ten years. What do you see in your future? Make that your daily visualization. Write it down and keep it with you every day.

List your strengths.

Affirmations are corny, but they work. Remind yourself how you tackled that tough project, or made peace with a friend after they hurt you. Take a few minutes to realize how your accomplishments.

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When things happen that knock you down, get back up. Remember those life-size inflatable punching bags when you were a kid? That’s you. Keep bouncing back up.

Spirituality helps.

When times are tough (and even in the good times) a spiritual foundation can get you through. Knowing that there is something in the Universe that is steering your life path, guiding your journey, testing you, and helping you to become a better person can be a great source of inspiration, hope, and strength.

Start something new.

You might want to start a blog, journal, or books- whatever you choose- search for something that speaks to your soul. Explore new options, take a course, or make your childhood dreams come true.

Be ready to change.

Complaining about how bad things are doesn’t make things better. Talking about change and making a change are not the same. It’s so easy to say “I don’t like my life the way it is, everything’s a mess.” But if you want your life to be better, you have to be willing to make a change, and then take action to make it happen.

Achieving happiness is a paradox of life. First you have to see your flaws before you can see your goodness.

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It’s a choice you have to make. It’s not just saying you want it, and then you receive it. There are no special effect, no magic wands. It’s up to you.

The only way out is through. Go for it- you’re worth it.

Loving yourself is about feeling comfortable in your own skin, even if it’s itchy, bumpy, or burned. That’s true happiness.

You can be that person you want to be. Go ahead, write that $10 million check right now.

 

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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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