The Powers of a Positive Mental Attitude

If you were to write down you thoughts for the next hour would most of them  be positive or negative? How do you know if your thoughts are positive or  negative? Do you have motivational thoughts, thoughts full of gratitude for what  you have and what is coming your way, or are your thoughts full of what you lack  or would like to have but don’t?

positive-mental-attitudeNow let’s say you are taking a walk  down the street with these thoughts you wrote down. Do you think anyone you meet  would be able to tell you what’s on your mind?

While the answer to the  questions in paragraph one are entirely up to you, the answer to the question in  paragraph two is yes. People can tell what’s on your mind. Although they won’t  be able to tell exactly what you are thinking about, they will have a good idea  of how you are feeling. They can tell if your mind is wandering in a positive or  a negative direction.

Let me ask you this, when you enter a party filled  with friends and people you know, do they all fall silent as if something  terrible had happened? Or does everybody there perk up as if waiting for  something exciting to happen?

You know what? Unless you forgot to bathe  for a week the answer to these two questions depends almost entirely on your  frame of mind.

Earl Nightingale, the late Dean of Personal development was fond of saying “Thoughts are  things.” I believe him. Thoughts are very powerful. They affect your attitude,  your beliefs and the way you carry yourself. Your attitude reflects in your  appearance, your face, your smile your eyes. Yes, people can read your mind, or  at least what your body is telling them about what’s in your mind.

The  problem is that it doesn’t end there. Your attitude will also affect the people  around you. It will affect how people react to you, whether they want to help  you or not.

The great thing is that you are in control! The type of  attitude you carry depends on you. You can decide to have a positive or negative  attitude.

When you have a positive mental attitude your thoughts will  lift you up. They will fill your mind with possibilities. Motivational thoughts  are invigorating and can spur you into action. An added  bonus is that the people around you will be energized by your attitude. That’s  the power of a positive mental attitude.

Negative thoughts on the other  hand have a power sapping effect on other people. They are like an energy vacuum  that sucks the vitality from everyone around them. In addition to making you  look dumpy and gloomy, negative thoughts can turn a festive gathering into a  funeral wake.

Think of your attitude like a magnet. If you have a  positive mental attitude you attract people, while if you have a negative  attitude you repel them. Unless they are in the mental health profession or just  like pain, people tend to shy away from those who carry a negative attitude  around with them.     

Your attitude  defines your focus. For example, if you choose to focus on the negative things  in the world, watch the news and listen to the latest gossip, you are developing  a negative attitude. However, if you choose to focus on the positive things, on  things that are going well in your life and the world at large, then you are  developing positive mental attitude.

You have much to gain from  developing a positive mental attitude. For one, studies have shown that a  positive mental attitude promotes better health. These same studies go on to  point out that this is probably because these people generally have less stress.  That’s because they are focusing on solutions and what they want and not being  frustrated so often!

Studies show that those people with a positive  mental attitude also have more friends. Well duh. Who do you want to be around?  Someone who always has something good to say or someone who is always telling  you the sky is falling and the world’s going to hell in a hand basket?

A  positive mental attitude begins with a healthy self-image. If you love the way  you are and are satisfied, confident, and self-assured, you also make others  around you feel the same way.

On the other hand, a negative attitude has  an opposite effect, and a negative attitude carries a double whammy with it.  First you feel bad about yourself. Second you make people around you feel the  same way.

If you want to develop a positive mental attitude, you have to  focus on motivational thoughts, thoughts that will empower you. If you watch the  news constantly this can be very difficult. That’s because the media feeds us  nothing but negative thoughts. You want to know how to change this? Don’t watch  the news! The world will still survive and you won’t be filling your mind will  all that negative junk!

One study showed that for every 14 things a  parent says to his or her child, only one is positive. This is truly a saddening  thought. But you can change this. Start to examine what you say to your child  and make it a point to be what Zig Ziglar calls a “good finder.” Find the good  your child does and tell them about it.

If you want a healthier outlook  on life, you’ll want to begin to program your mind for success. You’ll want to  hear positive things as well. So, what can you do? Well, an easy one would be to  watch a funny movie.  Some other things might be playing with children or  spending time telling jokes with friends. Read the biography of someone you  admire or a rags to riches story. All these activities will fill you with  positive stimuli, which will in turn promote a positive mental  attitude.

Although it is impossible to shield yourself from all the  negative influences around you, you can still maintain a positive mental  attitude by focusing on the good things, the positive things in your life. One  of the ways that works well for me is through positive visualization, using self hypnosis to help me recognize and  focus on the positive things that are happening to me.

The development  of your positive mental attitude will benefit others also. You want to be of  help to somebody feeling down? When someone comes to you with a problem, instead  of giving them advice, like we all like to do, just sit and listen to them. Your  positive mental attitude may be able to cheer them up without even having to say  a word.

Here’s a great question, if a positive mental attitude is really  so great, why do people choose to adopt a negative attitude instead? I believe  that it is a learned trait. We have been taught since we were small children  that negatives will get the attention of our parents and teachers. So as adults  our negative attitude may be actually a signal for attention. Now this is not to  say that emotions like feeling sad, angry, or gloomy are wrong. These emotions  are the expression of our experiences. But dwelling on these emotions for far  too long is not healthy. The thing is to recognize them for what they are and  move on. Life is much too short to stay stuck in such a bad state.

While  my dear friend K. Lee Kappmeier was suffering from stage IV colon cancer she taught me an invaluable lesson. She taught  me that no matter what the trouble, no matter how dark the hour we need to focus  on the good things in life. We need to focus on what we want our lives to be, on  what we want to do and accomplish. Until the very end she had hope that she  would overcome her illness and, as a result, she accomplished as much in her two  years of illness as many people accomplish in their lifetimes.

Focusing  on the good will give you hope, just like it did for K. Lee. It may not lengthen  your life, but it will definitely make what life you have sweeter and more  enjoyable.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by adopting a  healthy, positive mental attitude. Studies show that such an attitude actually  retards aging, makes you healthier, helps you develop better stress coping  skills, and has a very positive effect on all the people you meet every day.

So, why not develop a positive mental attitude? It will help your  problems become puzzles, things to be solved and overcome. Your life will be  brighter and more full of energy. It will make every day a joy that you can be  grateful for.

Wil  Dieck –    About the Author:

Wil Dieck is the founder of Total Mind Therapy and author of an e-Course “Boost Your Positive Mental Attitude“ that you can have at absolutely no charge.  Drop by http://www.totalmindtherapy.net/  for your copy today.

 

How to Get Rid Of Limiting Beliefs

Are you being held back by limiting beliefs? Having limiting beliefs can seriously hinder your progress in life.

How to Get Rid Of Limiting Beliefs

Are you being held back by limiting beliefs? Having limiting beliefs can seriously hinder your progress in life. Beliefs are strong convictions that certain things in the world, and in life are factual or real. They are also an overview about the condition of the world. Your beliefs are very personal and are linked to your values. For instance if you value loyalty, you will most likely have beliefs like:

Most people are loyal.
There is no need for me to check up on my wife/husband.
I know that my employees are the best because they are loyal to the company.
My friend will stand up for me.

On the other hand if you value disloyalty more. You are more likely to believe the exact opposite.

People are disloyal.
I must follow my wife/husband.
My employees are crap! And disloyal.
My friend, he will never stand up for me.

Limiting beliefs are beliefs that stop you from doing something because you think that you can’t. Basically they are simple statements that you either say to yourself, or think about.

“I am not good enough.”
“I am always unlucky.”
“Everyone is better than me at doing this.”

Most of the time these beliefs are imperceptible. But they have a sufficient amount of power over some of your thoughts and behaviours. Enough to restrict your results in some area of your life.

Like for instance if you have the misleading belief that failing at doing something is awful, then you’ll avoid trying new things. Thus hindering your personal growth, as well as passing many varied opportunities that could improve your life. The thing is you need to accept failure now and again if you want to develop new skills and opportunities in life.

So where do these limiting beliefs originate? A lot of these beliefs are programmed into you during childhood by other people. For instance, teachers, friends at school and even members of your family. Think back to when you were a child. Think of all the things that you were scared to do, or dropped out of because of some negative comment by some idiot that made you belief that you couldn’t do them.

You’ll know if you have limiting beliefs by the words that you use when you talk to yourself. If you say any of these phrases to yourself then you do have limiting beliefs about yourself.

“I can’t do this….”
“I am not good enough.”
“I am always unlucky.”
“Everyone is better than me at doing this.”

These are the steps you need to take to change unhelpful beliefs.

Step one:

Ask yourself, have I always believed this belief about myself?

How did this belief originate?

Is this belief still true?

How do I know if this belief is true? What evidence do I have to support this belief?

Do I know anyone with an opposite belief?

Do I have any evidence to support that this belief might be untrue?

Is this belief stupid, or absurd? In what way is it Stupid, or absurd?

Step two:

Now think of a more empowering belief. Any belief that is opposite to the one you already have. Try on different beliefs. Beliefs that make you really feel better about yourself. Do this until you find one that fits. Make sure that you state your new belief in the positive. Like, “I can learn new things, I am intelligent.”

Step three:

Now you need to integrate this new belief into your personality. Think of how everything will be different now that you have this new belief. Imagine yourself holding a conversation with this new belief. How will this new belief affect your family and friends. Over time this new way of thinking about yourself will start to become a habit. Eventually you will automatically generate empowering beliefs about yourself. Good luck!

The Powers of a Positive Mental Attitude

positive-attitude-quotesIf you were to write down you thoughts for the next hour would most of them be positive or negative? How do you know if your thoughts are positive or negative? Do you have motivational thoughts, thoughts full of gratitude for what you have and what is coming your way, or are your thoughts full of what you lack or would like to have but don’t?

Now let’s say you are taking a walk down the street with these thoughts you wrote down. Do you think anyone you meet would be able to tell you what’s on your mind?

While the answer to the questions in paragraph one are entirely up to you, the answer to the question in paragraph two is yes. People can tell what’s on your mind. Although they won’t be able to tell exactly what you are thinking about, they will have a good idea of how you are feeling. They can tell if your mind is wandering in a positive or a negative direction.

Let me ask you this, when you enter a party filled with friends and people you know, do they all fall silent as if something terrible had happened? Or does everybody there perk up as if waiting for something exciting to happen?

You know what? Unless you forgot to bathe for a week the answer to these two questions depends almost entirely on your frame of mind.

Earl Nightingale, the late Dean of Personal development was fond of saying “Thoughts are things.” I believe him. Thoughts are very powerful. They affect your attitude, your beliefs and the way you carry yourself. Your attitude reflects in your appearance, your face, your smile your eyes. Yes, people can read your mind, or at least what your body is telling them about what’s in your mind.

The problem is that it doesn’t end there. Your attitude will also affect the people around you. It will affect how people react to you, whether they want to help you or not.

The great thing is that you are in control! The type of attitude you carry depends on you. You can decide to have a positive or negative attitude.

When you have a positive mental attitude your thoughts will lift you up. They will fill your mind with possibilities. Motivational thoughts are invigorating and can spur you into action. An added bonus is that the people around you will be energized by your attitude. That’s the power of a positive mental attitude.

Negative thoughts on the other hand have a power sapping effect on other people. They are like an energy vacuum that sucks the vitality from everyone around them. In addition to making you look dumpy and gloomy, negative thoughts can turn a festive gathering into a funeral wake.

Think of your attitude like a magnet. If you have a positive mental attitude you attract people, while if you have a negative attitude you repel them. Unless they are in the mental health profession or just like pain, people tend to shy away from those who carry a negative attitude around with them.

Your attitude defines your focus. For example, if you choose to focus on the negative things in the world, watch the news and listen to the latest gossip, you are developing a negative attitude. However, if you choose to focus on the positive things, on things that are going well in your life and the world at large, then you are developing positive mental attitude.

You have much to gain from developing a positive mental attitude. For one, studies have shown that a positive mental attitude promotes better health. These same studies go on to point out that this is probably because these people generally have less stress. That’s because they are focusing on solutions and what they want and not being frustrated so often!

Studies show that those people with a positive mental attitude also have more friends. Well duh. Who do you want to be around? Someone who always has something good to say or someone who is always telling you the sky is falling and the world’s going to hell in a hand basket?

A positive mental attitude begins with a healthy self-image. If you love the way you are and are satisfied, confident, and self-assured, you also make others around you feel the same way.

On the other hand, a negative attitude has an opposite effect, and a negative attitude carries a double whammy with it. First you feel bad about yourself. Second you make people around you feel the same way.

If you want to develop a positive mental attitude, you have to focus on motivational thoughts, thoughts that will empower you. If you watch the news constantly this can be very difficult. That’s because the media feeds us nothing but negative thoughts. You want to know how to change this? Don’t watch the news! The world will still survive and you won’t be filling your mind will all that negative junk!

One study showed that for every 14 things a parent says to his or her child, only one is positive. This is truly a saddening thought. But you can change this. Start to examine what you say to your child and make it a point to be what Zig Ziglar calls a “good finder.” Find the good your child does and tell them about it.

If you want a healthier outlook on life, you’ll want to begin to program your mind for success. You’ll want to hear positive things as well. So, what can you do? Well, an easy one would be to watch a funny movie.  Some other things might be playing with children or spending time telling jokes with friends. Read the biography of someone you admire or a rags to riches story. All these activities will fill you with positive stimuli, which will in turn promote a positive mental attitude.

Although it is impossible to shield yourself from all the negative influences around you, you can still maintain a positive mental attitude by focusing on the good things, the positive things in your life. One of the ways that works well for me is through positive visualization, using self hypnosis to help me recognize and focus on the positive things that are happening to me.

The development of your positive mental attitude will benefit others also. You want to be of help to somebody feeling down? When someone comes to you with a problem, instead of giving them advice, like we all like to do, just sit and listen to them. Your positive mental attitude may be able to cheer them up without even having to say a word.

Here’s a great question, if a positive mental attitude is really so great, why do people choose to adopt a negative attitude instead? I believe that it is a learned trait. We have been taught since we were small children that negatives will get the attention of our parents and teachers. So as adults our negative attitude may be actually a signal for attention. Now this is not to say that emotions like feeling sad, angry, or gloomy are wrong. These emotions are the expression of our experiences. But dwelling on these emotions for far too long is not healthy. The thing is to recognize them for what they are and move on. Life is much too short to stay stuck in such a bad state.

While my dear friend K. Lee Kappmeier was suffering from stage IV colon cancer she taught me an invaluable lesson. She taught me that no matter what the trouble, no matter how dark the hour we need to focus on the good things in life. We need to focus on what we want our lives to be, on what we want to do and accomplish. Until the very end she had hope that she would overcome her illness and, as a result, she accomplished as much in her two years of illness as many people accomplish in their lifetimes.

Focusing on the good will give you hope, just like it did for K. Lee. It may not lengthen your life, but it will definitely make what life you have sweeter and more enjoyable.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by adopting a healthy, positive mental attitude. Studies show that such an attitude actually retards aging, makes you healthier, helps you develop better stress coping skills, and has a very positive effect on all the people you meet every day.

So, why not develop a positive mental attitude? It will help your problems become puzzles, things to be solved and overcome. Your life will be brighter and more full of energy. It will make every day a joy that you can be grateful for.

The Inner Coach – The Voice of Self Belief

The Inner Coach - The Voice of Self Belief. Do you remember when the last time was when you asked yourself, "who am I, and what do I stand for?" I bet it was rather a long time ago

The Inner Coach – The Voice of Self Belief

Do you remember when the last time was when you asked yourself, “who am I, and what do I stand for?” I bet it was rather a long time ago. The reason is like most people, you take yourself for granted. Hardly anyone thinks in sufficient depth about their beliefs, even though they are crucial to what makes a person an individual.

The question is what is a belief? Well a belief is a feeling of certainty about something particularly connected to yourself. Most beliefs are formed during childhood: the opinions of elder family members have a great influence on how a person turns out in life.

Self Belief

Beliefs can be separated into two straightforward categories – positive and negative. Having positive beliefs leads to a positive way of thinking and helps lead you towards your life goals. On the other hand negative beliefs produce negative behaviour. The main contributor to negative beliefs and thinking is the inner critic.

Do you know that little voice you hear in your head that tells you that you that you can’t do this, or you can’t do that? Well, that is what life coaches call the inner critic. The inner critic is great, and in fact essential, but only if it is kept under control. However, when the balance becomes upset, your inner critic can become a harmful energy in your life. An unchecked inner critic can wipe out your self-confidence in an instant.

The great news is though you also have the inner coach. This is the voice of self-belief, support and success. Your inner coach is the part of you that finds the solutions to problems, and gives you inspiration, and guides you towards your life goals.

Think which is the loudest in your head the inner critic, or the inner coach? Are you your own coach or your own worst enemy? If you think about it, it is a lot easier to criticise and be harsh on yourself than to go out there and do something constructive. The reason why most people don’t achieve what they want in life is because they listen to much to the inner critic. The People that do make something of themselves listen more to their inner coach.

The Inner Coach – The Voice of Self Belief

The best thing then is to develop your inner coach. When you do this you will then be making your mind work for you and not against you. Just think for a moment about how amazing the human brain is. Even the most intelligent people only use about 10% to 12% of their brain power. The brain is more powerful than all the worlds computers put together. The brain has within it almost unlimited power. What a shame it is then not to use it for personal development. Everyone has the chance to be extraordinary, yet so many people just sit in the darkness all because they are unable to change their limiting beliefs about themselves.

Author – Dion Daly

Dion Daly is a certified trainer in hypnosis, a master practitioner in NLP and TLT. He also has a degree in metaphysics.

8 Ways To Sharpen Your Intuition And Make Your Life Better

8 Ways To Sharpen Your Intuition And Make Your Life Better

8 Ways To Sharpen Your Intuition And Make Your Life Better

I am blessed in many ways.

One thing that I am particularly grateful for is the fact that over the years I have been able to connect with a steady clientele of people who are willing to listen to their inner voice and create successful lives. My clients are people who have had enough with being depressed, stressed, emotionally unhappy, perpetually dieting, or living with low self-worth. They choose to work with me because they want more.

With my front row seat to how these personal growth oriented people think and behave, I have come to the conclusion that they share at least one thing in common: They allow themselves to reach forward into the desire of living their full potential, to have morehappiness, more emotional well-being, and more fulfillment. They may have only the tiniest speck of hope that life can be better, but they are willing to use that speck to take their next step forward. That’s their biggest secret.

These people are aware that although their current situation may feel stuck or overwhelming, life doesn’t change on its own. They are willing to take responsibility for themselves to have more fullness of life. From the depths of their despair, emotional distress, or personal suffering, they are willing to reach for a greater life experience.

In short, these people put their faith in that tiny voice inside that tells them more is possible. Despite major life challenges, they listen to their intuition and allow themselves to become curious to explore their own limits of what is possible. In thinking about how some people allow themselves to want more for themselves, I realized how important it is to look beyond the voice of despair, no matter how loud it may be, and learn to listen for the voice of intuition.

What Is Intuition?
Intuition is the ability to get a sense, understanding, or feeling about something. Yourintuition is an aspect of you, it is an extension of you. It is how you speak to yourself about getting yourself together and making new choices that move you forward into advantageous possibilities. Your intuition can help you see when you are staying in your balance, or if you are getting pulled out of your balance by other people or events.

It has been said that intuition is your own voice of higher consciousness, or your own divine spirit talking to you. Intuition is not from the logical mind, but from a higher perspective. Albert Einstein once said, “The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, the solution come to you and you don’t know how or why. The truly valuable thing is intuition.”

Even if you have not been accustomed to listening to your intuition, or trusting your intuition, you have this amazing power! Read below for the eight best strategies to help you hone your intuitive abilities to assist you in making better decisions for your life.

1. Self-Love

Intuition is not something outside of yourself. It is not someone else telling you what to do. Intuition is your own higher perspective. It is your own desire to express yourself creatively in all that you do. Your intuition is your infinite capacity to search for, and find, creative solutions for your challenges and your life. Most everyone already knows that when you ignore intuition, the situation does not generally turn out so well. Allowing yourself to invite more of your intuition into your life is a powerful act of self-love. By embracing your intuition, you show compassion for yourself and make the choice to bring more positive outcomes into your life.

2. Listen To Your Body

Intuition is accurate information from your spirit. Your intuitive messages can come in a number of forms. You may hear actual words, see a clear image, or have a deep inner knowingness. Your intuition may communicate with you in the form of hunches, insights, Aha! moments, a feeling, a sixth sense, or various types of body sensations. You may also experience intuition by noticing synchronicities. Set your intention to notice the many individual ways your intuition communicates with you.

3. Embrace Quietness

Intuition is initially often a quiet, gentle nudge. It generally does not shout loud enough to be heard over your stress, upset, frustration, anger, or judgement. Spending some quiet contemplative time each day is good way to strengthen your intuitive voice. Simply sit in a quiet place every day for about 1 to 20 minutes. Take a deep breath, and ask, “What is it I need to know?” or, “What will move me one step closer to a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Then be open. Release your need to think, analyze, and know everything. The best information comes from the quiet guidance of your own intuition.

4. Sit With Your Problem

Try this experiment. When something is deeply troubling you, just sit with it. Don’t do anything to logically fix or solve the problem. Instead, just sit, place your intention on allowing the best possible outcome, and breathe. See if you can step away from the negative thoughts circling with frenzy within your head. Your intuition sees many creative ways to bring about a goal or bring about a positive outcome to your situation. Your job is to stop fretting and stressing with the problem, and instead place your focus on being open to amazing new potentials. Make the decision to allow your intuition to get involved in your life.

5. Play Games With Your Intuition

Play fun little games with yourself that allow intuition to expand. For example, when standing in front of a bank of elevators, ask your intuition to “tell” you which elevator will reach your floor first. If you guess correctly, make a big deal of it. Let your intuition know it did a great job and how happy you are to hear from it. Notice how good you feel and breathe into that feeling. Let yourself know that you want more of this type of intuition that feels good. It doesn’t matter if your correct guess was just a fluke or actually intuition. Your purpose is not to second guess, but to build up more of what you want. If you guessed incorrectly, just shrug it off. Let your intuition know that you may have ignored it in the past, but you are now ready to begin listening and taking action on its wisdom. Have some patience with yourself. Once you decide that you want more intuitive information in your life, it will begin showing up. Allow yourself to turn those initial little successes into avenues of greater intuition.

6. Ask Intuition Based Questions

Questioning is one of the best ways to develop stronger intuition and gain clarity and insight. When getting in touch with your intuitive self, ask questions that would lead you forward into positive solutions. Ask clearly formed questions that allow clear answers. For example, you might ask, “What is the next step I could take that would bring new energy and new passion?” Intuition can bring you down paths you hadn’t considered. Intuition can show you new paths to try and new possibilities. Your intuition is infinitely inventive. When listening for your intuitive answers, remember that you may get your answers from a variety of sources including hunches, coincidences, feelings, words, or even physical sensations.

7. Follow Your Intuitive Hunches

Once you get an intuitive idea, decide to take action. It doesn’t have to be a huge life changing action, but you can take one small, comfortable step in the direction of your intuitive guidance. On a day-to-day basis, allow your intuition to play a bigger role in your life. If you have a sense to take a left turn instead of a right turn, follow through and go left. If you are grocery shopping and the broccoli somehow calls to you instead of the carrots you had intended to purchase, buy the broccoli. You don’t need to logically question “why” you turned left or bought broccoli. Your goal is to create a bond of trust between your logical self and your intuitive self. When you fail to follow your hunches and gut feelings, talk to your intuition. Tell it that it did a fine job of providing useful information. Let it know that yes, it would have been wise to follow through with the intuitive course of action, but this time you choose not to. However, let your intuition know that you still want the input even though you might not always listen.

8. Journal

Writing is a gateway to the soul which means it is also a gateway to your intuition. Exploring with pen and paper allows a process to unfold of reconnecting with hidden aspects of your self. It helps you speak out, allowing ideas to become tangible words. It allows vague concepts to take shape in the safety of a journal. Writing is a power tool that allows what is often locked away inside to have access into the world. It allows you to feel into your physical body and connect with intuition, creativity, and imagination. Writing allows the time to find precisely the right words or the most powerful images to express your self. It takes fuzzy or confusing images and brings them into sharp focus. Writing is an easy way to gain insight from your intuition.

Intuition is your higher perspective and guidance. Since it is an aspect of you, it holds your best interests for creating a fulfilling and meaningful life. Intuition is your urge to creatively manifest your most fulfilling and meaningful life, your goals, your dreams, and all that is good and beautiful. Utilize these eight suggestions to sharpen your intuition and you will be surprised at how often it will give you a short cut to the life and outcomes you want.

 

Written by Annette Colby, Ph.D. R.D

Among her works are the popular self-help books Your Highest Potential: The New Psychology of Understanding and Working with Self and Body Redesign: Goal Setting Secrets for A Thinner, Happier You.

Finding Compassion Through Selfishness

There’s a part of me that doesn’t care about you. It’s not here to solve your problems, lend you an ear, or serve you in any other way. It looks out for me and me alone.

Isn’t that a terrible thing? Actually, I don’t think so. In fact, I think acknowledging I have a “selfish” part – and, sometimes, doing what that part wants – is key to experiencing, and expressing, real compassion for people.

I Used To Be Such A Sweet, Sweet Thing

I used to act really nurturing and giving, all the time. Whenever someone had a request or a problem, I was the first to volunteer my time and energy. I can practically hear Alice Cooper now: “I opened doors for little old ladies,” and so on.

But I eventually had a couple of disturbing realizations. The first was that I expected praise for service I did, and felt upset when I didn’t get it. Why would I care about receiving praise, I wondered, if I genuinely liked helping others?

Second, if someone – heaven forbid – criticized me in a way that suggested I was selfish, I got even angrier. I couldn’t help but ask: f I’m really such a 24-7 generous guy, why does it bother me when someone says I’m not?

Acting Caring Vs. Being Caring

Finally, it dawned on me that, at least sometimes, I wasn’t helping people because I enjoyed service. Instead, I was doing it because I wanted to show people I wasn’t self-centered. In other words, I did it because I didn’t want to experience the shame I felt when someone called me selfish.

I started wondering: what if, on some level, I actually am selfish? What would happen if I learned that there is, in fact, a part of me that thinks only of my wants? Would I explode, implode, or be annihilated in some other messy way? Probably not.

I noticed my body relaxed, and I sighed with relief, when I asked questions like these. It was as if, to put on a benevolent mask for the world, I had to tighten some part of my body, and use up energy keeping that part tense. Dropping the mask freed up that energy, and was a big relief.

I also saw that, the more relaxed I felt, the more I experienced real gratitude. Life, I found, is more fun when I’m not trying to appease someone or protect myself from criticism. From that genuinely grateful place, compassion for others comes more naturally.

In other words, interestingly enough, admitting there’s a part of me that doesn’t care actually releases and nourishes the part that does.

Everybody Is Everything

Why? I think about it this way: each person is like a prism – an object that breaks up a beam of light into the colors of the rainbow. The colors represent every human character trait: compassion, selfishness, love, anger, sadness, and so on.

Often, we decide we don’t like one of the colors – perhaps we’d rather not be blue (sad), red (angry), or something else. So, we cover up the prism to keep others from seeing that color. The trouble is that, when we block the prism, none of the colors can be seen – no part of us can be fully expressed in the world.

When I try to hide my “self-centered” part, it’s like I’m covering up my prism – “hiding my light under a bushel,” as the saying goes. The result is that I can’t really bring my generous part into the world either. If I want my compassion to fully show up, I need to let my selfishness make an appearance too.

Christopher Edgar - EzineArticles Expert Author

Chris Edgar is the author of Inner Productivity: A Mindful Path to Efficiency and Enjoyment in Your Work, and a consultant and workshop leader. At his blog Development In Context ( www.devincontext.com ), Chris discusses common criticisms of personal growth and makes the case for a life lived consciously.