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Find a Better Version of Yourself or You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Find a Better Version of Yourself or You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Do you ever get the feeling that the spiritual version of yourself is fighting with the material version of yourself?

The bigger the gap between who you are and what you want, the more anxiety, angst, and stress you will feel. How can you close the gap between the two in order to live the highest version of yourself?

The reason this gap occurs is because your values are something you can’t physically touch—you can’t hold them in your hand. You can only experience them through experience, participation, and pursuit. The material goals we chase are much easier not only for us to see and feel, but for others to see and feel as well. This makes them more real to us and much more desirable.

Have you ever really taken time out to not only ask yourself questions like this, but to actually answer them? Questions such as:

  • What do I want to be?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • What is important to me?
  • What really matters to me in my life?

Think about this for a second. What happened the last time you didn’t achieved a goal set for yourself? You might have been upset for a little bit. Now think about the last time you went against a personal value you set for yourself: maybe you were dishonest and lied to someone close to you, stole something, or lashed out at someone. I bet that felt much worse than the former.

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So how can you close the gap between your values and your goals and make them work together to create a better version of yourself?

Consistency first, intensity second

It’s easy to attack the things you want most in life like a bat outta hell. Maybe you want to lose 20 pounds this month so you decide to hit the gym 7 days a week, run 5 miles a day, and eat nothing but chicken and broccoli. The next thing you know, you’re a week in, you’re exhausted, grumpy, and your entire body aches because you haven’t been active in years.

Slow down a bit. I’m a big believer in attacking life with some serious gusto but most things are not going to happen overnight. Set yourself up for success by creating a plan that you can maintain over the long haul.

Make sure that your plan of attack is something you can actively participate in each day. Create tiny wins for yourself everyday to build confidence and momentum. If you desire to write a book commit to writing a 1,000 words per day as opposed to the whole dang thing.

What are some ways you can start and end your day that can help you keep up the momentum? You may find that your daily practices might not even be related to what you are trying to achieve. Personally, if I start my day with exercise, meditation, and some reading I feel accomplished already. I find that I have much more energy and enthusiasm to tackle the rest of the day.

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Accept the ups and downs

There’s a great saying in The Book of Understanding: Creating your own path to freedom.

“…He is ready to destroy the roses just to avoid the thorns.”

Every path to ecstasy has an alternative path to agony. Don’t avoid being the person you truly are because the other side of the path might be difficult; accept that the road will be difficult, but have confidence that you can with stand it. Look back to past experience where you have overcome difficult situations, and use those as markers of what you are truly capable of.

Practice difficult situations. Get use to being comfortable with the uncomfortable. Participate in regular personal challenges that get you outside of your comfort zone and force you to see and experience new things, such as:

  • Cold showers
  • Eating lunch with a stranger
  • Dancing in the middle of a crowded place

It’s not always one thing versus another

It’s not always good versus bad, you against the world, dark chocolate versus milk chocolate. Those are simply definitions we give to circumstances in order to create less anxiety for ourselves. When we don’t understand something or are confused, we experience anxiety and stress. The easiest thing to do when faced with anxiety, and the best response to it is do define it so you can try to give it meaning as quickly has possible.

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There are a million and one ways to interpret a situation, circumstance, or event. Focus on your response to the situation whether it is good, bad, or somewhere in between. What is your next step? What can you do this moment that is in line with the the person you want to be, and builds momentum in the direction you want to go?

You can’t always control the outcome of a situation, but you can always control your response.

When things aren’t going right, it’s a wake-up call

Sometimes it can feel like nothing is going right. Take this as a wake-up call that your not living and making decisions based on your values and what is most important to you. This is gut check time: ask yourself what you’re doing and what decisions you’re making consistently that have been leading to these outcomes.

Avoid placing blame on others or circumstances—where you are and who you are right now is a collection of the decisions, choices, and habits that you display on a daily basis.

Be responsible, but not in the traditional sense

When I hear the word “responsible”, I think of things I have to be doing, but the truth is no-one has to do anything. You always have a choice. Sometimes that choice is more difficult to make than others, but you always have it. In Latin, to be “responsible” means to promise something in return for something else. Promise yourself to live a life guided by the things that are most important to you—your values, whatever they may be.

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Take time out to define what your values are and promise to live everyday by them in return for your happiness. In the same way that we need air and water to survive, we need personal growth to avoid frustration. It is inherent in us as humans to want to be more, achieve more, do more, and learn more. Don’t fight the desire—embrace it—and do so in a manner that is aligned with your highest self.

 

 

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Justin Miller

Healthy Lifestyle Architect, a Fitness and Nutrition Coach

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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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