The Power of “The Pause”

Somewhere in my recovery I learned about a powerful tool that I like to call The Pause. I figured out, with some help, that I didn’t always need to reply with a quick snarky answer, or any answer at all in some cases. The Pause has kept me out of a lot of trouble since I started using it…

The trouble with it is actually remembering to use it. In the heat of the moment it’s easy for me to just blurt something out that may or may not be helpful or kind. I keep practicing though, pausing before I speak or act out, and it is now becoming almost second nature.

I try to ask myself and answer the 3 questions guaranteed to keep me in line:

1. Does it need to be said?

2. Does it need to be said now?

3. Does it need to be said by me?

When I’m irritated at a person or situation, the answer to all three of these questions is usually “no.” I can save myself a lot of grief later by utilizing The Pause and keeping my mouth shut now. The same principle can be applied to actions, not just words.

Another helpful set of questions I can ask myself before speaking that has been shared with me is T.H.I.N.K.

1. Is it True?

2. Is it Helpful?

3. Is it Inspiring?

4. Is it Necessary?

5. Is it Kind?

Practicing The Pause has helped make me a better person, and happier as well. It has enabled me to open my mind to other ideas because I’m not using my brain to quickly come up with a quick retort or snappy comeback.

The Pause has been an essential tool in my spiritual toolkit. It has saved me from having to make thousands of apologies and amends for my words and actions, and I’m sure it can do the same for you.

Just practice.

~Thanks for reading
LC

Humility, Why is it Important For a Healthful Life?

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines humility as the feeling or attitude that you have no special importance that makes you better than others; lack of pride.

When we can recognize other people’s value as well as our own while keeping our heads up, and we can achieve a practical recognition of our weaknesses as well as our strengths, we have achieved sincere humility.

AA has taught me a lot about humility in that I, in fact, had absolutely none when I thought I did. I have learned that humility is the opposite of self-righteousness, ego, pride, and self-esteem. While I feel it’s important to have a little bit of these qualities, humility helps keep them from getting out of control and helps to keep me “right-sized”.

Having some humility has helped me a lot in being able to go with the flow of life, rather than constantly trying to battle to get things to go my way. It makes no difference in the grande scheme of things whether or not my way is right or not. This was a very tough pill for me to swallow, but I was finally able to do it.

Humility keeps me human.

Humility has given me more freedom to enjoy life on life’s terms. Not mine. This in turn opens me up to be able to be more helpful to others, which in turn helps make my life better.

Humility has given me the ability to forgive myself for not being perfect and to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m also more forgiving of others which has helped heal and strengthen my relationships with other people. We are all here on this earth together. I’ve found that it’s much easier to get along with people in spite of our differences than it is to try to change other people to suit me.

Holding on to grudges and hate was slowly killing me. I see that now. Gratitude, forgiveness, appreciation, compassion, and acceptance serve me much better than excuses, blame, being mean spirited, holding a grudge, or being right just to be right ever did.

And I owe it all to humility.

 

~Thanks for reading – LC

Bad Luck is a by-product of Bad Habits

Bad habits are hard to break and good habits are hard to form. At least this has been my experience…

Sometimes I get so busy and so overwhelmed I forget to do certain things that help get me set up for success in any given day.

My number one problem is starting out the day with a bad attitude, but if I do certain things when I wake up to set my attitude right for the day, my day goes so much better, even when things don’t go my way, or as planned.

*A great attitude becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life.

Not sure where that quote came from but I read it daily as part of my morning routine to help set my mind right for the upcoming unknown.

Back when I was drinking heavily and hating everything and everyone around me, I had a lot of bad luck.

Because I didn’t write things down in my calendar, I would miss appointments for things that would help me.

Because I constantly fought the flow of life instead of going with it, I would become increasingly, and visually, frustrated and people didn’t want to be around me.

Because I wasn’t interested in anyone but myself I didn’t have anyone to go to when things got really bad. The only place I had to go was into my own head (which I discovered later is a very dangerous place for me to be).

Things would never go my way and life got really hard.  I lost jobs. I lost friends. I lost my will to live. I was never helpful to anyone else because I was obsessed with myself. I would run out of gas and have to walk because I wouldn’t get gas when I could. It was hard to get a job because I had a bad reputation. I would eat unhealthy food that made me feel like crap.

And none of this was ever MY fault…

I knew I had to make a change or I would be miserable until I died and I didn’t want that.

I started researching ways to improve my life and how to change bad habits. Just about everything I read said to quit drinking so I did. I also read a lot about having an attitude of gratitude and began writing 6-10 things every day that I’m grateful for. This practice has helped me immeasurably. I can be grateful for my job now even when I have a bad day there. And bad days get fewer and farther between.

Here’s what I do daily to get my head screwed on right:

  1. Practice gratitude:  I make a quick list of things I’m grateful for. I try to always include a few things that I sometimes take for granted that I don’t always think about every day. For example a reliable vehicle and power, water, and gas. I also include people, like my husband who puts up with my crap, real friends, and great co-workers who push me to be better.
  2. Plan my Day:   I sit down with my calendar and go over places I need to be at what time, and tasks that need to be done. Then I figure out what order to do everything in. This includes making time to do something that puts me closer to my long-term goals, to improve myself just a little bit every day.
  3. I ask my higher power for help:  I ask for help to keep my thoughts away from self-pity and self seeking motives. I ask for insight about any problems that may arise. I ask to remember to pause if I get upset instead of reacting immediately. I ask for guidance on how I can be helpful to to others and how I can pack as much as possible into the stream of life. I ask to be helped to be kind and loving to everyone I come in contact with.
  4. End of Day:  I review my day to see what went well and what didn’t. I take a moment to enjoy the good parts, and I think about solutions to the bad parts. If I owe an apology I do it as soon as possible. I ask for my fear to be removed and for help being better the next day.

 

The mind is a powerful thing. It can make or break a person. People consumed with negativity always have a bad day, no matter how well it’s going.

I don’t hang out with negative people anymore. They brought me down. I keep them at arm’s length now. My serenity depends on it. I’ve seen a positive person have a worse day than a negative person and end their day in a much better place. Those are the people I want to be around these days.

I don’t play the victim. I look for a solution.

I don’t look for sympathy. I help someone else out instead.

I try to be the listener, not the talker.

I try to be the giver, not the taker.

I know the rewards will come soon enough. If I can achieve peace within myself, I will never have a bad day.

I try not to put things off. Why put off til tomorrow what I can do today? I try to stay ahead of the game. I enjoy my down time so much more when I’m not worried about what I have to do later.

I’m not the person who complains and tries to make everyone as miserable as I am. I’m the one who lifts morale.

I don’t believe in luck anymore. I believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t  have to know what the reason is either. I just know that when I do these certain things, my days go better and my life improves a little bit more every day.

I do this, and good things happen to me.

 

“You can’t fully commit to your personal growth if you’re still committed to your bullshit.”  ~ Neghar Fonooni

~Thanks for reading – LC

Fear: What it Means to Me

“If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude. If you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm.” – Stephen Covey

 

When I was a little girl, I had no fear. I didn’t know anything about the consequences of my actions. When I failed, I tried again. I didn’t worry what other people thought. I was like a sponge, learning every day, making discoveries, making mistakes, and learning from them.

Think about it, when you’re a child learning to walk, you’re going to fall. That failure isn’t going to scare you into giving up You just do it again. And again, and again. You don’t worry about what other people think, you just keep doing it until you learn. It’s built in. You haven’t been taught fear yet.

As we grow older, fear begins to creep in. Outside influences slowly begin to mold our personalities and behaviors, and take a major role in how we formulate our opinions. We aren’t even aware this is happening.

We learn about worry.

We learn about responsibility.

We learn about consequences.

We develop habits. Some good, some bad.

We form relationships. Some good, some bad.

If you’re reading this, you probably got to a point in your life where you realized what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been living your life doesn’t feel right anymore.

You need something to change.

That’s what happened to me.

I drank so much my brain felt like mush.

I was overweight.

I could be really mean sometimes, even to the people I  love the most.

I had no drive, no ambition. I was stuck in a daily cycle that didn’t include anything related to self-development or self-improvement, only self-loathing and self-destruction.

I surrounded myself with like-minded people, and together we dwelt in our “happy” toxic world where we all  judged other people, hated those who were successful or physically fit, and anyone else who wasn’t as miserable as us. I acted as if I didn’t care what other people thought, but deep down I really did, and I hated myself for what I had become.

I had all these dreams and grand ideas but I never took any action, never had any follow through.

Never once did I ask a successful person how they did it. I just sat back and would growl to myself, “Must be nice..” Never once did I think about what it took for that person to be where they are today or how much work they must’ve put in to get there.

Fear had completely engulfed me and I either didn’t know it, or I just didn’t accept it and ignored it.

Fear had me in its mighty grip, grasping tighter every day.

Fear of financial problems.

Fear of my health.

Fear of disappointment.

Fear of acceptance.

Fear of life.

No fear of death, though. I had truly gotten to a place where I didn’t care if I lived or died.

 

Today I don’t let fear rule any aspect of my life.

I’m working on going back to that no fear mentality I had as a small child.

I’m comfortable with my body. It’s not picture-perfect, but I’m not overweight anymore.

I love learning new concepts and sharing what I’ve learned in the hopes of helping others achieve a better quality of life.

I’m not afraid of being wrong or failing anymore. I look at failure as an asset. Something to build on.

I don’t fear my financial situation anymore. It’s still not ideal but I’ve taken steps to educate myself on budgeting and saving for retirement. I’ve shifted my focus on what I can gain later rather than instant gratification.

I quit drinking and wasting time in a bar with the people I thought were my friends. They were really just acquaintances who had the same fears as me, and we just fed off of each other. We were in the same downward spiral pulling each other further and further down.

Turns out, they don’t even miss me. No one from that part of my life ever calls me to ask where I am. They don’t care.

I’ve started forming more healthy relationships with people who have what I want out of life. People who pick each other up instead of judging and putting people down.

I’ve traded negativity for positivity.

I read every day instead of watching TV.

I exercise every day.

I research every day.

I write and brainstorm every day.

I learn every day.

I improve just a little bit every day, and since I’ve made that change, my life has improved immeasurably!

I’m not afraid to try new things, I’m not afraid of change. Change is inevitable. Now that I’ve gotten more comfortable with the concept of change, I no longer fear it.

Change for the better is a good thing, and change for the worse is a learning experience. Which is a good thing.

In order to change your life you have to change your paradigms. In order to change your paradigms, you have to change your attitude.

I’ve found that it’s much easier and more efficient to change myself than it is to change everyone and everything around me, to suit me.

To have a better life, it takes work. But it’s totally worth it!

Don’t give in to fear.

Take action! Change your inner circle of friends if you need to. Nothing is more important than your personal well being. Because without that, you can’t be helpful to anyone else.

 

Thanks for reading ~ LC