For the last three weeks, I've been participating in a Meditation Challenge hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. Those names tend to go without explanation.
The Chopra Center is a hub for wellness and growth and uses meditation as a tool to get there.
I've only just discovered meditation in the last year. I always avoided it because I thought it might brainwash me in some way. I come from a very conservative background, and meditation was a far out concept. I was frightened of what I didn't know. As a result, I steered clear of it.
Have you ever wished you'd made better decisions in a moment? You knew what you wanted to do, second guessed yourself, and did something else, only to regret
the decision later? Have you forced yourself to do or eat something out of peer pressure? I know I've done all of those things and more. I've spent plenty of my life living for others. I made most of my decisions based on what I thought would make others happy rather than what would make me happy.
After years of listening to a voice that focused on others, I ended up making many poor decisions, being unhappy, and lowering my sense of self-love and self-worth. Courage was not in my emotional vocabulary, and I became a professional push over.
I think the first step to stop making bad decisions is to realize you're making them in the first place. I, along with most of us, have spent months and even years, plugging along in a particular direction without any idea that I'm creating a pattern of bad decision making with regards to an area of my life. Then, I can't understand why problems continue to creep up in the same area. With the help of feedback from friends and loved ones, I might be lucky enough to open my eyes in self-awareness and see my fault. The painful step of admitting a personal flaw can often be the hardest.
The next steps are challenging as well. It's a process of stopping a bad habit while creating new good habits. Did you ever bite your fingernails as a child? I did. My mother tried to get me to see the error of my ways with Tabasco Sauce and soap, but that was no match for my determination. That same determination has served me in countless positive ways as it has given me stick-to-itiveness that has seen me through Dean's Lists and a health scare. It's a huge blessing until it's working against you in the form of stubborn blindness.
Once I've seen my mistake, the beast takes a positive form again, as it is determination to persevere and win a battle. I always have loved and thrived from a good challenge. After acceptance, comes a stage of processing all the past behavior in an effort to determine where things went wrong over and over again. I spend time thinking, doing yoga, and journaling to help bring me to greater awareness. During this time I'll go through emotional highs and lows, highs with joy over this new found vision and progress, and lows in grieving over past mistakes.
After a while, it's time to start practicing new behaviors, but be careful to keep your eye on the prize. Where your eyes go, your feet and behavior will follow. Keeping your sights focused takes another quality character trait, discipline, and discipline takes a lot of practice. Ask any dieter who has ever fallen off the wagon. It won't be perfect every time, but you can get back on track and continue.
Lastly, when you're trying to create a new path, you may get lost and need to ask for help. Use your support system of friends and family to help you navigate a sure course. With self-awareness, discipline and support, you can be on a path to better decision-making. You can!
Conflict takes so many forms. It can be a personal conflict with a loved one, a difference in opinions in the office, as arguments between parents and children fighting, or between businesses and customers. Differences are rampant, but it's what we do with them that will make the difference between success and failure. A long time ago I published a post inspired by my mentor, Rhonda Shasteen, called "Are You Comfortable With Conflict?" My mentor's advice to me was to choose to get comfortable with it now because it is everywhere, and you need to deal with it. Have a good attitude and approach your conflict.
Do you ever go through those frustrating times when you are dealing with internal conflict? I'm assuming we all do. Sometimes something is bugging you, but you just
can't figure out what? Other times you know what is bothering you, but you can't quite figure out how you feel about it or if you should do anything to resolve your internal conflict. It can be so frustrating and take so long to get to the bottom of the emotions, if ever. The only thing that is certain is that there is discomfort.
So, how do you get to the bottom of what you are thinking and feeling? Most of the time if you can just figure out what you're feeling and why, you can make logical decisions to solve your problems. If you can't understand yourself, it's tons harder to solve the problem at hand. After having many conversations and reading books, I've learned a few techniques that help me to get to the nitty gritty of my emotions.
I bet you think you're smart. I'll be honest. I think I'm smart. I think I'm bright and whitty and write meaningful blog posts. No matter how smart I am, I do stupid stuff.
I make mistakes, say the wrong things, and act out of frustration or impatience. I may score straight A's all though school and university, but am I fully developed in the emotional spectrum? I can demonstrate book smarts all day long, but every now and then, I show either eximplary or pitiful emotional maturity.
A friend of mine recently pointed out to me the obvious difference between intellectual maturity and emotional maturity. An intellectually mature person can write papers, churn out work, and score aces on tests. This same person may have no maturity at all to make decisions out of love and caring. An intellectually mature person may appreciate the technicality of a piece of classical music, but may not understand the emotion and passion behind it.
I received interesting feedback to my last piece about the difference between submitting and sacrificing. The question I received was, "What happens when you continue to submit and never receive anything in return?" I thought about it and decided that whenever resentment and negative emotion enter the picture, then it's time to talk because submission has transformed into sacrifice. Things get to that point because negativity has spiraled out of control, and blame is likely a huge contributor to that negativity.
It's easier to feel better about a situation in a moment when you place the blame and responsibility on another person. Have you ever stopped to consider what
portion of the responsibility might be yours? No one wants to do that because it can often be very hard to be honest with ourselves, especially when we feel like we are being attacked in some way. If you really arebeing attacked and abused, seek help and make a change if needed. It's not necessary to be a martyr to your relationship. What I'm asking you to do, is to honestly look at your situation and take any responsibility to the status of your life and relationship.
Then take the next thirty days and write down everything positive you can think of in your relationship. It may be hard at first, but choosing to think of the positive will stop the cycle of negativity and transform it into a flywheel of positivity. This can have miraculous affects on your life. Choose to be happy for other happy relationships. Be happy about a kind thing yoru partner did or does repeatedly.
When I consider the different relationships we have in our lives like those with our parents, children, significant others, friends, coworkers, and others, I think of the different compromises we make to strengthen and grow those relationships. If we choose to ignore investing in the emotional equity of our relationships, they can diminish. We often give willingly to our relationships because we want to. Other times we give because we make the choice to. Then there are other occasions, still, where we act out of negative emotions like guilt, sacrifice, and suffering.