Free Your Mind
If you’ve ever been in therapy and been exposed on even the most basic level to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you’ve seen The Triangle. The three points of The Triangle—thoughts, behaviors, and emotions—are connected with bidirectional arrows, because each of the three points is influenced by the other two. This book is not about CBT. However, it is concerned with becoming aware of, and changing, all three of those components.
Metaphysically speaking, becoming attuned to your emo- tions will elevate the soul to a higher frequency, which makes it easier to filter out the background noise that obstructs your path toward your ultimate goal. Realistically speaking, you need to understand how your life works if you want to change it, and that means assessing and altering different thought patterns and behaviors, which will in turn help you clarify your emotional state, or “free” your mind.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
I recommend that you create two separate lists. One should catalog your strengths, and the other your weaknesses. It should go without saying that your life should involve many tasks, interactions, and scenarios that play to your strengths and not your weaknesses. Many life coaches will avoid using the word weakness, usually saying that its implied judgment can negatively affect your self-esteem. That’s why I am using it. I like to identify those parts of my life that I am not good at so I can either improve my own skills or delegate to others who are more qualified. Being honest with myself in this way positively affects my self-esteem.
Admit mistakes and accept criticism
I’m human. You’re human. Humans make mistakes. Admit to those mistakes as soon as you discover them instead of deflecting or lying about them. Not only does dishonesty make you feel bad, it also keeps you from learning from your experiences. Never try to cover up your mistakes. Sir Walter Scott got it right when he so poetically noted: “What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Keeping track of your own lies is hard work and counterproductive. Don’t do it. And while I’m on the subject of mistakes, it’s important to learn to accept criticism from others. Take a deep breath and avoid becoming defensive while you examine what truths underlie those criticisms.
Change fuels every living thing. Life is continual change preceding death. Embracing change allows us to feel alive, excited, and enthusiastic for new experiences. Change keeps life fresh and new. It gives us a reason to wake up and get out of bed in the morning. Fear of change will only lead to feeling stuck.
One of the most important skills you can learn in life is patience. Success comes more easily and naturally when you exercise self-control. Jumping to conclusions, rushing ahead, acting on impulse, and even getting frustrated by the pace of others are all obstacles to happiness and success. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.
Stop comparing yourself with other people
We are all unique. We have different values and strengths. Life is not a competition; the only race you need to be part of is the human race.
Be kind to yourself
When you start down the path of negativity, look at your thoughts and ask yourself if they are based on facts or on those same old negative thought patterns that have kept you trapped in the box too long.
Surround yourself with light
Hang out with positive people. Positive thinking and good humor (as in mood, not comedy, although that can help too) are contagious. And while you’re at it, surround yourself with real light too; get outside and soak up some vitamin D, which is necessary for good health and can actually help stave off depression.
That speaks for itself. Without compassion, passion becomes nothing more than an endless stream of self-indulgence. Compassion means true sympathetic concern for others’ suffering. In fact, the word comes from the Latin for compati, for “suffer with.” When you care for others at the deepest, most primal level, you can ease some of their pain. In doing so, you will find that although empathy may make you feel a little sad on the outside (we all have seen how tears can seem contagious), deep inside your own pain will be lessened. Share what you can when you can: a roof, a shoulder, a cup of coffee, a dollar, a cab. Help someone else feel better just because you can. As an added benefit, you’ll find that kindness comes back to you, sometimes in ways and at times when you least expect it and need it most.
Exercise your body
Physical activity helps boost your immune system and thus helps prevent such illnesses, diseases, and conditions as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, obesity, and depression. There’s also a large body of evidence supporting the idea that physical exercise—especially anything aerobic—improves cognitive functioning, can prevent or lessen neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases, regulates brain chemicals, and promotes cell generation.
Exercise your brain
Living and learning go hand in hand. Keep exercising your brain for longevity. Learn new things you’re interested in, things that will help you live a meaningful and purposeful life every day. Your brain will reward you generously when you do.
Love your Self
Love yourself no matter what happens. Embrace your weaknesses and dislikes along with your strengths and likes. The confidence and self-esteem you build by fostering strengths and acknowledging weakness allows you to see yourself and the world around you in a whole new and revealing light. You’ll find beauty in the simple pleasures of life. You can’t change who you are, but you can change how you view and accept the world, including yourself. Love unconditionally and reap the rewards of a brighter outlook.
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