I Appreciate My Freedom of Choice

Flags at Washington MonumentToday is Independence Day in my country and I’m reminded that “freedom” means so many things to many people.  I do appreciate that I live in a country where the ideals of freedom are engrained in our constitution. The Bill of Rights contains 10 amendments, some of which protect our freedom of religion, speech, and the press.

But this post isn’t about our constitutional freedoms, but rather an appreciation of how I always have freedom in my choices of how I react to any given situation. Observing social media outlets, I see some strong opinions expressed and sometimes hateful remarks towards others who disagree with these opinions. I’m reminded that we all have freedom to express what we believe, but we don’t have to agree with everyone. We get to choose. That’s freedom right there.

I appreciate that when I read or see hateful messages on social media, I can choose to ignore them. Things I don’t want or that cause me to feel negative feelings are called “unwanted contrast” in law of attraction circles. I appreciate the feelings that sometimes result from reading hate-filled comments as opportunities for me to focus in on what I truly want. I appreciate that I have learned the value of unwanted contrast in creating a more happy life.

Anytime we’re faced with something or a situation that causes us to have strong emotions of dislike, anger or other negative feelings, it’s an opportunity for us to exercise our freedom of choice: you can either simmer in those emotions and let them get stronger or practice focusing in on the opposite end of refining what you want. I’ve found that when I find myself getting heated up with passion about unwanted contrast, it’s a good time to jot down the opposite of what I don’t want, which is what I’d rather see and feel.

Once I’ve clarified what I want, I can exercise my freedom of choice in taking softer steps in getting there.  It might mean that I stop looking at social media for awhile, or that I don’t talk or associate with a certain people for awhile (until I can clean up my energy about them), or that I turn off the TV, or that I just distract myself with something else. I might meditate, go take a nap, do something that’s fun, pet my cat, talk to friends and family, or any number of things. I use Abraham-Hicks’ tip of reaching for that feeling of relief to move myself up the emotional scale into a better feeling place. I appreciate these tools for the happiness that I enjoy from using them!

I always have the freedom of choice in my relief from unwanted situations, and you do, too. Some people may interpret my reactions to people, things and situations sometimes as uncaring when I don’t engage in augmenting the negativity of the situation. But I do care – I care how I feel, I care about others and intend for their happiness, too, and I know how my happiness is dependent on me, just as yours is dependent upon you. I care enough to not let outside events destroy my well-being.

We always have a freedom of choice in how we react to anything, even in the most horrific situations. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl expressed this beautifully in these statements:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

I appreciate my freedom of choice. I appreciate it so much as it’s contributed greatly to my personal growth and made me a much happier person.   I appreciate that you don’t have to agree with me, and that’s just fine. We travel our own journeys in life and I appreciate all the people who have contributed to mine in all ways: the good, the bad and the ugly. For all these situations have served me well in learning how to appreciate any person or situation. I’m happy and looking forward to more freedom of choices in my life for the growth that they foster in me.

 

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Negative Labels and Limiting Beliefs

Unique TwinsThis week I tuned into Joel Osteen’s television sermon about getting rid of negative labels. It spoke to me so much that I took notes, thinking that I’d get around to writing about it here.

So on what’s left of this Christmas Day/Evening, I am appreciating the way that Joel Osteen and others can deliver a message about a familiar topic in a way that it speaks to me in a new or renewed way. I always love Joel’s sermons as they are uplifting, positive and inspiring. I really love that he starts out with a joke, too. As a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, I am very aware of the value of laughter: it truly is one of the best ‘medicines’ out there.

But this post is about appreciating the message he had in this sermon: that of ridding ourselves of negative labels, often spoken (either directly or implied) to us by others in our lives. Then we embrace these labels to the point of making them our own “story” about ourselves. Below are some of the quotes from his sermon.

“You cannot stop the negative comments. You can’t prevent the negative labels, but you can choose to remove them.”

“Words are like seeds. If you dwell on them long enough, they will take root and become what is said.”

“The only power that that label has over you is the power that you give it.”

“The real battle is taking place in our mind.”

“Nothing that was spoken over you has to define you – even if it was from people who raised you.”

“You are not who people say you are…Hurting people end up hurting other people. Bitter people are quick to stick on those negative labels.”

So in other words, we have the power to choose to think and feel differently than any negative label has over us. It is in our hands. If we buy into the negative label or image of ourselves and keep repeating it, it does take root and becomes a belief that limits us. Limiting beliefs are often there because we feel we’re not deserving or worthy in some way. The negative labels are just examples of limiting beliefs like: others are better than us, that we don’t have what it takes to succeed, that we’re not good, pretty, handsome or smart enough, etc…The key to understanding how limiting beliefs restrict us from living life to the fullest is that they are not who we truly are! We are not defined by these negative labels. We are all worthy and deserving and we all have unique gifts and purposes in life. So look inside yourself for your own inner beauty and discover your gift to this life that you are.

Today I appreciate Joel’s sermon for reaffirming that message. I appreciate people like him and the venue he has to reach so many people through his ministry. It is truly a blessing and I imagine that there are others out there who were touched by his words of encouragement. If not, I don’t think he would have a ministry that is so large.

I am grateful today. I appreciate positive messages that change peoples’ lives, from different people who deliver the messages. The world is full of many “teachers” and I appreciate that as we don’t all learn in the same way. We are unique and need diversity to thrive. No one “label” fits all!

I am particularly appreciating my own knowing that I can choose to change any belief that may be holding me back from my highest potential, too. I appreciate that I have the tools I need for myself and to help others in getting rid of these limiting beliefs and creating new ones that are positive, loving, inspiring, uplifting and fun.

Now that’s a good thing to celebrate as I end this year and get ready for another!

Appreciating The Contrast – Day 14

Focus is possible through contrast

Today’s appreciation has to do with the law of attraction. The law of attraction works, whether or not we focus on what we want or we focus on what we don’t want: we get what we focus on. And we get what we focus on, whether we’re consciously creating it or just living life, reacting to events, people and circumstances. When I talk about focus, I’m not referring just to your thoughts, but also your feelings as we’re really talking about energy. So when you focus on being well, for example, but worry inside because you’re sneezing and fear you’re catching a cold or getting the flu, you’re really focusing on what you don’t want. Guess what happens? You likely will get that cold and end up in bed with the flu!

Contrast doesn’t have to be “bad,” but often we focus on what is unwanted because it doesn’t feel good. Unwanted contrast truly serves as a tool to clarify and focus on what one really wants. When you’re sick in bed with the flu, you really, really want to get better. Those desires are great, but if you keep reminding yourself of how sick you feel and tell others about how awful you’re feeling, you’re not aligning yourself to becoming better.

So as crazy as it sounds, you get what you want when you learn to focus and appreciate the contrast (the good and the bad). You learn to let go of “what is” and appreciate it because you know that something so much better is on its way.

So today, I’m appreciating the contrast. Contrast such as:

how sickness reminds us to take better care of our bodies, or can serve as a reminder to self to S-L-O-W down and relax

the confession from a child that s/he broke a favorite family heirloom as an appreciation of telling the truth (and our great relationship with the child who felt comfortable confessing)

rain on a picnic outing for the value it brings to making things grow (and appreciation for the shelter at the park where we can still have our picnic)

the loss of a job to help us focus on pursuing a better job or our own business

a family crisis for the appreciation it brings in bringing people together and strengthening ties

an earthquake for the appreciation of new buildings designed to withstand earthquakes, the emergency-preparedness of the community, the people who come together in times of tragedy, the emergency workers and the opportunities to re-build in new ways.

Tragedies serve to remind us to appreciate what’s important: people, our pets, the joy of life and being present.

In times of appreciating great unwanted contrast, others may feel that we are not truly caring. But appreciating unwanted contrast is truly caring: it’s caring about how we feel enough to not re-tell the unwanted contrast story that digs a hole of pity and sorrow so deep that we become depressed! It’s caring in a way that helps us find peace with where we are right now.  In doing so, we are offering ourselves and others a focused energy of appreciation, peace and love in being OK with “what is,” as we anticipate better times ahead.

It’s Saturday, So Why Am I Up So Early?

It’s Saturday morning and I’m up at 5:30 a.m.! Why is that? While I’m not sure of the answer, as I had intended to sleep in, sometimes waking up early or even in the middle of the night provides opportunities for inspiration, writing and other creative tasks.

I’m not sure I’m feeling particularly creative right now, but I am very grateful it’s Saturday! 🙂 So I decided to do a tiny blog post in appreciation of waking up early and writing another blog post.

Actually, this is just another example of how we can turn what may not seem all that exciting (e.g. waking up early on a Saturday “sleep in” day) into a more positive feeling of appreciation for why it also feels good (I have a topic for my blog post today as part of my blogging everyday for a month at NaBloPoMo). Practicing gratitude everyday (and particularly in the morning for me), establishes a “tone” for my day that usually keeps gaining momentum throughout the day.  What we appreciate, radiates and expands.

So this morning I’m grateful for reminding myself of the power of gratitude and the technique of being able to find appreciation in a situation where things didn’t exactly turn out as I expected. There’s always an opportunity to see my early morning Saturday as an opportunity to explore creative pursuits, leaving me free later on to watch my college football (or to take a nap later!), rather than moan and groan about how I really wanted to sleep in this morning and now I’m wide awake. Feel the difference?

Enjoy your Saturday!

“It’s A Done Deal”

Today I had the pleasure of experiencing the power of visualization, affirmations and positive energy in manifesting a desire.  A friend had an issue that looked impossible to solve in the timely way that she needed it to be done (today).  All week her emotions went up and down about how the outcome of this issue would look by today’s end.  As of last night, she figured that there was no way that her issue would be resolved and she had literally lost hope. Yesterday, I assured her that she still had tomorrow and there was still time for a positive outcome to her situation.

So last night I held her intention in a positive light, visualized the actual positive outcome I saw taking place today and asked some fellow friends at GoodVibeUniversity to hold the same intentions for her as well.

At the end of today’s workday, my friend received good news about her issue, so it was a “done deal.”  So while it  “appeared” as a miracle to her, it really was the power of a group of people who already envisioned the outcome as a “done deal” and then let it go. The same happens when people pray together for someone and trust that God will deliver.

I’m so grateful for techniques like these and for friends at GoodVibeUniversity who help people with their “miracles” everyday. So next time you get in the vicinity of “hope,” try reaching for “believing,” and soon you’ll be saying “It’s a done deal” because you “know.”

List of Positive Aspects

One of the best techniques I’ve learned for improving any relationship is the List of Positive Aspects by Abraham-Hicks.  It goes something like this:  When you are having difficulty with  someone, get out a notebook and label it My List of Positive Aspects. At the top of the page, write the name of the person at the top. Now, thinking back over a time or times when you felt something positive about this person,  list every positive aspect you can think of about that person. Only write the positive and then sit with it for some moments. Feel that positive energy about this person. When you think again about this person, remember your list. When you do this, people “miraculously” change when they are in your presence, only demonstrating those positive aspects you’ve focused on.

I have used this technique over and over again, with great success. Sometimes it can be a challenge to even start the list, but when you do and practice it, you will end up adding to the list of positive qualities about that person.  Eventually, your list about that person will be so long that you no longer need to refer to it as everytime you think about that person, you will hold him or her in that good feeling place.

Even though you’re not feeling it right now, there is always something positive about that person.  If you can’t get the feeling right away, focus on something positive about their physical appearance to start. For example, do they have nice hair? Do they have nice eyes? Or perhaps they have a particular skill that you admire, such as excellent editing, beautiful singing voice, or a great dancer.  Just write something positive and focus on that.

Today as I’m reminded of interactions that could be challenging, I am grateful that I have a technique like this to shift that from a challenge to no challenge at all. When I am doing so, I know that I am holding them in a place of love and love really does make my world go round!

Infinite Patience in Times Like These

In times when some people are losing their jobs or afraid of losing their jobs, I really appreciate people like Wayne Dyer, who reminds us of the importance of infinite patience and trust. Often the upheaval of losing a job can be an opportunity for wonderful change in our lives that we had previously been too scared to pursue. He refers to it as a time when God tells us that it’s time to change.