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How to Ditch Meekness and Walk Tall

How to Ditch Meekness and Walk Tall

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    Are you a meek person?

    If so, your life may be ruled by others, and it’s time to ditch meekness. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Because meekness is a habitual response to the challenges of life. And it takes time and effort to change ingrained habits.

    The root of meekness is low self-esteem. When our self-esteem is low, we respond to the challenges of life with doubts and fears. And this response is usually established early on. Our parents, caregivers, teachers, and peers leave a lasting legacy that isn’t always positive. For example, if you were bullied, shut up, abused, or controlled as a child, you may well suffer from meekness. I say ‘suffer’ because meekness doesn’t make you happy; it leads to an unfulfilled life.

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    The good new is: you can learn to walk tall!

    My first memory is about ditching meekness. I was two years old and my parents were shifting from England to Germany. In order to keep me safe on board the ferry, my mother put me into a harness attached by a lead .

    I was furious.

    Years later, I asked my mother about this memory, and she told me what happened next. Apparently, I threw such a tantrum  that people gathered around to watch the screaming toddler writhing on the floor. My poor mother was so embarrassed that she eventually took me out of the harness. I immediately slipped into the crowd. Gone!

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    As you can imagine, my parents were frantic. In the end, a large group of passengers started looking for me. Finally, they found me in the crew’s quarters, happily swinging on ladders.

    In terms of meekness, I haven’t improved much since then. And that’s a good thing. Why? Because ditching meekness gives you freedom.

    Meekness lets others rule your life.

    In bygone days, meekness was a seen as an admirable womanly attribute. It meant that women didn’t complain about not having rights,  being her husband’s chattel,  not having any financial independence, or not being able to vote. These days, the cultural majority prefer to see meekness not so much in women, but among cultural minorities. Otherwise – oh my gosh – they might even demand equal rights!

    St. Matthew said: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Well, maybe that’s true  – but they’ll have to wait a long time until everyone else has had first pick!

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    We don’t have to wait. After all, we all have the ability to change. All we need to do is to practice new responses to familiar patterns. Read on to find out how how to change.

    Seven tips on how to ditch meekness

    1. Find your voice
      Meek people usually speak in a quiet voice. Ask yourself who you really are under the veneer of meekness. Let that inner person speak out. Great ways to find your voice is to take up voice training,  join Toastmasters, or take singing lessons.
    2. Bring out the warrior within
      If your confidence is low, take up a martial art. Martial arts are designed to bring out the warrior within.
    3. Speak up
      Meekness makes us silent. Practice speaking up. Join a friendly group and say just one thing at every meeting.
    4. Use affirmations
      Affirmations are great tools to change the way we see ourselves. Put stickers on your mirror and in unexpected places, saying “I am getting stronger every day!”
    5. Stand strong
      Meekness is evident in the way we hold our body. It shows in rounded shoulders and collapsed posture. Train yourself to stand upright, and you will immediately feel the benefits.
    6. Change your self-talk
      Notice what you say to yourself. You’ll find that you put yourself down much more often than anyone else does! When you notice a negative thought, replace it with something positive.
    7. Be with positive people
      Confidence is infectious! If you hang out with people who are positive and can see your potential, it helps you to see yourself in a different light.

    If you suffer from  low self-esteem, it’s helpful to find the root cause. You may find that someone in your early life put you down again and again. Maybe your parents said to you, “You’re hopeless!” or your teachers said, “You’ll never get anywhere.” The strange thing is that we internalize these negative messages – even strengthen them – and then use them over and over for the rest of our life! Here’s a sure-fire strategy in order to release ourselves from past humiliations:

    Say ‘no’ to your gremlin

    Next time you hear your own judgmental thoughts telling you that you’re no good, imagine a little gremlin sitting on your left shoulder, whispering nasty things into your ear. What does it look like? What color is it? Maybe you can imagine it in some way that’s funny and makes you smile.

    Whenever you notice negative self-talk, imagine the gremlin sitting there and say to it firmly, “Not now!” Then carefully wipe it off your shoulder. (To others it’ll look as if you’re brushing lint off your clothes.)

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    It’s really important to treat your gremlin with kindness as well as with firmness. After all, your negative voices are the remnants of remarks that hurt you in the past. The gremlin is like a little part of yourself that is still smarting from put-downs that happened years ago.

    If you say ‘no’ to your gremlin over and over, you will begin to see that your negative self-talk has nothing at all to do with who you are. It has to do with how other people hurt you in the past. Then you will be able to walk taller each day.

    Ditch meekness today and begin to walk tall!

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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