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7 steps to embrace who you are and gain clarity

I am on a train reading a magazine. It talks amongst other things about finding your passion or following your passion, I skip the article as this subject has always grated me. I realized I was struck by passion envy.

I look around and I start to ponder whether these people sitting around me had the slightest idea when they were little what they wanted to be when they grow up, did they reach their destination? Did they find their passion? Did they think they knew for certain where they were headed? Did they decide to get off sooner?

A little girl keeps running up and down the aisle as if she was preparing for an important race. She is making a lot of noise stomping through the aisle and it seems to be annoying few passengers, disturbing their peace. A man puts his headphones on to block her out. What is she going to be when she grows up? An athletic runner? A troublemaker?

When I was growing up the advice was to find a good career with a good wage and stay there until retirement, then maybe you might consider following your passion …travelling…writing… However, you had to hope you didn’t get a heart attack cutting your retirement cake.

Now the advice is to follow your passion which in a way is as scary as finding a good career for some of us who still don’t know what their passion is.

The little girl gets scolded by her mom, they need to get off and she is still running up and down…

Passion is a loaded word, like happiness. Words are labels that limit the expansion of our true self. Each word is merely a projection of the meaning we put into it. A word is like an empty glass we fill it with transparent, colourful, murky liquid it all depends on our state of mind.

When we have “passion envy” we misunderstand what it means to be passionate about something, because we put the word “passion” on a pedestal, to be passionate seems elusive like happiness, a kingdom, that only a few lucky ones can reach.

E.E. Cummings wrote: “Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

What if being passionate meant to believe in ourselves, to embrace who we are and to express our creativity in whichever form it might be.

When we put pressure on ourselves to fit into the perfect definition of the word “passion” “happiness” “beautiful” “perfect” we set ourselves up for failure. It is like turning a piece of the puzzle, we’re doing, in all directions to try to make it fit into the picture until we realize we have the wrong piece in your hand.

When we express our creativity, we feel a sense of contentment. Creativity can take many forms in our lives, creativity is a way of thinking about what we do, it is the journey, not the destination. Creativity is making a nice dinner for friends, finding the right solution to a problem or helping someone else achieve something. Creativity is the blood running through our veins. When we are creative we feel a sense of clarity, and we are more likely to make right choices.

We realize that we are the art and the artist as Gary Zukav and Linda Francis said in their book The Mind of the Soul - Responsible Choice

If we string together each moment of contentment that our creativity gives us we embrace our self and we allow our authentic light to shine through.

7 steps to embrace who you are and gain clarity:

  • Clear your mind of the static noises: we must make some time every day to clear our mind whether it is through meditation or going for a walk, it opens ourselves to new possibilities, the only way a plane can take off is if the runway is clear.

  • Let go of perfection: seeking perfection is the antithesis of inspiration, we are the most in awe with nature when we see rugged places, trees with different shapes, we need to embrace the harmony imperfection creates.

  • Accept your flaws: we have no trouble accepting that a tree is barren in the winter because we know it is not the full picture, in the spring it will be covered with beautiful leaves or vibrant flowers, so we accept the barren tree as part of the bigger picture. Obsessing over our flaws is not seeing the bigger picture, the truth is we have strengths and weaknesses that is the bigger picture.

  • Reach out when you need help: reaching out is accepting our vulnerabilities, it is being brave. It is accepting we don’t need to suffer alone.

  • Invest time in developing your strengths: by strengthening our strengths our weaknesses won’t seem as important, we need to feed our soul just as we need to feed our body.

  • Trust your intuition: trusting your intuition is shutting off the little voice inside your head, it is making a conscious choice to ignore the static noises, the imperfection, and the flaws.

  • You have the answers! Believe that you have a choice, Anais Nin said: “we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are”. The more we believe in ourselves the clearer the image of the world reflected to us becomes.

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.”

Thomas Merton

#ginamcintosh #passionenvy

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How to change the negative flux in our head into a story we are no longer afraid to tell

Our limiting beliefs or beliefs about ourselves that have a limiting view of who we really are, can also be described as the little voice or internal dialogue inside us that is fueled by fear, judgement, and self-deprecating attributes.

There are 2 very distinct ways they operate:

  1. The most damaging way is when we are not even aware they are operating in the background. It is like having a spyware in our operating system skewing our reality and sending false information about who we are. We truly believe these messages: I am not good enough, people don’t like me, I'm not strong, I must be perfect to succeed, life is not fair… These generalizations become entrenched in our subconscious consequently we get a skewed generalization about life which in turn creates a vicious circle of negativity breeds negativity.

  2. The second way, we have become self-aware of their existence and how they sabotage any inkling of ambition we have, we can hear the voice. We recognize it. It even has a name: fear and we have accepted that it has slowly inserted itself into our brain like some sort of alien implant. The problem is, we don’t know how to get rid of it. It is a little bit like stepping into crap, you know the crap doesn’t serve any purpose to your shoe, but it is very difficult to get rid of.

Our beliefs are constantly influencing our thoughts, feelings and ultimately our behavior. The choices we make are governed by those beliefs.

How can we use the power of these beliefs to our advantage? First and foremost we have to become self-aware.

3 Steps to becoming more self-Aware

1. Identifying the limiting beliefs and the behavior that followed

When we can look at these limiting beliefs in the eye and recognize them for what they are, we can then slowly but surely eliminate the gremlins from our rearview mirror and go forward confidently. Let’s take the example of “I’m not good enough.” When you feel this way about something, pause and consciously challenge this belief, re-evaluate the evidence, give yourself examples of times where you did something very well and people really valued you. Don’t try to find fancy examples, you helped someone and they really appreciated what you did, the point of the exercise is to realize that it is very unlikely that “we are not good enough” for EVERYTHING we do.

The more you reflect on when these beliefs have shown to be incorrect the more you will recognize them as they show up.

The interesting part is that the more self-aware we become the more confident we become. It is like strengthening your endurance when you train for a marathon, the more you train the longer you can run. Your self-deprecating attributes get replaced by a sense of self-worth, consequently you feel more in charge of your own life.

2. Develop new behaviors

For example, practicing mindfulness meditation helps us be more focused, even if it is only 15 minutes a day.

The calming effect of focusing on your breath, closing your eyes and letting go of control, helps achieve a clear mental state that has a great impact on your stress level, and anxiety.

Meditation gives you a sense of wellbeing, the increasing amount of quantifiable research that mindfulness has on the brain and body is one of the major reasons why mindfulness programs have become more prominent in the corporate world.

Seek out tools to help you make small changes to help you change your script, one word at a time. Other tools could be engaging in something you feel you are good at (such as a hobby).

The more you become self-aware of what you are good at, the more confident you will become. The sense of feeling good about yourself overpowers the limiting beliefs of not being good enough.

3. Challenge your ways of thinking in a non-judgmental way

Take mental notes on how you judge yourself and others. What kind of limiting beliefs do you have about others around you? The more you know yourself the more you will be able to see how other people see you and it will help you have better personal and professional relationships.

Knowing yourself means understanding what makes you tick: your own needs, desires, failings, acknowledge your vulnerabilities as they arise. Brene Brown wrote “Vulnerability may seem weak, but it’s boldness, courage, and strength all wrapped in an unexpected package.”

To conclude I will leave you with something Michael A. Singer wrote in The Untethered Soul

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it”

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