Focus on Yourself!

One of the banes of society is that people seem to compare their lifestyle with those around them. How many times have we looked at the metaphorical “Joneses” and wished that we had what they have? How does it make you feel when you compare your life with those around you? We can either find that we are satisfied or unsatisfied with our lot in life.

In psychology there is a term – social comparison. This is where we compare ourselves with those around us and use that as a gauge for our life satisfaction. There are 2 types of this comparison: Upward Comparison and Downward Comparison and both of these evoke different emotions.

Upward comparison occurs when we compare our life with those who we perceive to have a better life than us. They may earn more than us, have a bigger house than us, seem to be more successful than us. The other day I was having a conversation with a person who was experiencing such a comparison. The person came across as being resentful toward the person they were comparing themselves to. That is the danger with upward comparison, it can make you feel like you have failed in your life. It fills you with feelings of dissatisfaction and maybe jealousy. It could lead you to feeling depressed as you begin to see what you think is lack in your life.

The other side of the coin is when we look at those who have less than us. People who are socially and economically inferior to us. This is what downward comparison is. When we come across people who have less than what we have, then we feel that things are not as bad as we thought. We feel that we have got a good life, we are not struggling as much as we thought we were. We have food on the table and a roof over our heads. How do you feel when you compare yourself to those who are lower down on the socio-economic ladder? You probably feel satisfied with your life, you see the abundance that you have, you feel happy and confident.

It is interesting to see the contrasts in the paradigms when we consider social comparisons: one can lead to feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, lack and sadness. The other leads to feelings of satisfaction, abundance and happiness. What has led to these differences in feelings? Simply this: Who are you focusing on and comparing yourself to?

True happiness does not come by focusing on the lives of those around us and seeing how we “stack up”. We need to focus on one thing only: ourselves and our life.  That may sound selfish but it isn’t! We need to begin to compare ourselves to ourselves. Are you growing as a person? Are you the same person you were a week ago? A month ago? A year ago? What changes have you made to improve yourself (not as a means of pleasing other people, but as a way of accepting yourself and loving yourself as a unique human being.) You will also find a flow-on effect on those around you as your life becomes more positive and richer.

If you find that you are always concerned about how you life is compared to those around you, please STOP! You will never experience true happiness. Look at who you are now and compare that to who you were. Who do you want to be in the future? When you realise that you have grown as human being, then that is true happiness and satisfaction.

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Ego Massage! Is there anything wrong with one?

The other day someone looked at me in a way that made me feel good. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. However, it got me to thinking about how people can become reliant on situations like that in order for them to feel good about themselves. 

Every now and then we do need praise and recognition. It’s just a part of human nature to have our efforts and abilities acknowledged by peers and those in positions of authority. How do you feel when someone tells you what a great job you did at putting together that sales report? How do you feel when you have just scored that elusive goal? How do you feel when someone compliments you on how you look? You feel good right? You even find that your confidence has been given a boost! 

The problem lies in an individual’s need to be seeking constant praise in order to feel good and secure about themselves. These people suffer from low self-esteem, lack of confidence and a poor self-image. The view that they have of themselves is always reliant on the praise and reassurance they receive from those around them. If they do not get this, then they may think that they are lacking something and then a flood of negative thoughts enter. These people are insecure within themselves. 

At the other end of the scale are those people who are narcissistic. The world revolves around them (so they think!). They believe that they are better than anyone else. They also need constant praise to feed their false self-view of how fantastic they are. Watch out if you tell these people that they are no better than anyone else! You will be on the receiving end of a tirade of abuse about how useless YOU are! (This just proves that, in order to be above everyone else, the narcissistic personality has to pull everyone else down to a level below them!). These people are also insecure because they have built up a false world-view where they are the centre of everything and everything is about them! They need everyone to validate their importance.

What has all this got to do with “ego massage”? Simply this: People at both ends of the self-esteem spectrum need to seek constant strokes of their ego in order to define themselves. They rely on externals to define them. This only leads to a false “self-identity” because these individual’s are defined by those around them. They have no internal idea as to who they truly are. 

If you are someone who is always seeking praise, then it is time to stop. Praise yourself for being a unique individual. Make a list of the good qualities you possess (as recognised solely by you and not by what other’s say). If someone criticises you, then ask yourself if the criticism is valid or not. If it isn’t then just chuck it aside and move on. If it is, then take the criticism on board and see it as a chance to grow. Also, do things that make you feel good. As you start to make small adjustments in your self belief, then you will be amazed at how much confidence you will gain and also your self-esteem will grow! 

There is nothing wrong with an “ego massage” every now and then. It makes you feel good. It is only when people need these all the time in order to feel good about themselves. Then there is a problem.

It is time to stop on relying others to define you. Define yourself by the process of honest self-examination. 

 

 

 

Inconsistently Consistent

How many times have you started something, but you did it half-heartedly. You had enthusiasm, but then you got busy with something else. The first project is still there and you pay attention to it every now and then, but the enthusiasm you had has waned. You wonder why things aren’t progressing as fast as you would like. It is because you are being inconsistently consistent.  

I have been there so many times and it is frustrating. A couple of years ago I decided that I want to become more fitter. I caught up with a friend who was on his own fitness mission and I made an effort, but after a couple of months things started to slide. I would be too tired (that’s just an excuse for saying “I can’t be bothered”). Then after a few months I would make another effort.  Was I getting enjoyment from getting hot, sweaty and exhausted from working out? No! (I know there are some people out there who love going to the gym!) Then I would start making other excuses…”My knee hurts”, “It’s raining”, “It’s too cold!”

After such a haphazard approach to my fitness, was I getting the results that I wanted? No! Why wasn’t I achieving the result? Simply because I was inconsistent. 

If there is something that you want out of life, then you have to first of all make the decision that you want it. Then you have to consistently go after it. If you stay focused and on track, then  you can achieve whatever goal or dream you want. It takes work, dedication and consistency. 

In my fitness example I found that I had to start again from the beginning because all the gains I achieved had been lost. I felt guilty about it because I had let myself down. Did I beat myself up over it? No. I just started from the beginning and kept at it. Now I do work outs at least 4 times a week. Sure there are times when I still don’t feel like it, but I force myself and then I feel good because I have done it!

You are not going to get anywhere if you just work on a goal every now and then. You will find that the initial enthusiasm that you had has gone and once it has gone it is hard to get back. You will also get frustrated by the lack of progress. 

If you have a dream, goal or desire that you want to pursue, then make a plan of how you are going to bring it to fruition. After you have the plan, then work at it consistently (which may mean working at it several times a week). When you put in that kind of effort and dedication you will find that you still have that interest and desire in the goal, you will maintain focus and then you will find that soon your goal will come to pass! Something that may never happen if you are inconsistently consistent.

 

 

Release your energy and create your world!

Hi everyone!

I hope you have all had a great New Years Eve and New Years Day. Welcome to 2014! A brand new year and a brand new beginning!

The other day I was thinking about energy and it’s different states. So I want to use a wee physics analogy to illustrate how you can create the world and life that you desire. Energy is always in one of two forms: potential and kinetic.

Potential energy is energy that is at rest. It’s kinda sitting around, not doing much until something excites that energy. Then suddenly BOOM!, the energy has transformed from a rest state into another state whereby there is action. This is kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is energy at work creating. It is energy in action!

So then, what’s that got to do with life? 

With life, you can either sit around and do nothing or you can actually create the life you want.

You have a “potential”. I’m sure you have all heard the phrase: “So-and-so has potential.” How often is one’s potential fully realised? Without action, there is no change. The potential to be who you are, or create the world/life that you desire, remains unrealised. 

What needs to happen is to have something excite the potential you have and then: BOOM!! The potential you have has become an action as you create the dream/vision that you have for your life. Now your “potential energy” has turned into “kinetic energy”! You are creating something as you transform your potential into reality! Potential can only be transformed through action.

What potential do you have? What will it take to ignite that potential? Do you need someone to give you a push, thus transferring their “kinetic energy” to you so that you can transform your potential and create a new life? 

Do not allow your life to become a store of unrealised potential, release it and you will be amazed at how things will change! Go and create the life you desire!

 

 

 

Who cares what THEY think!?!

Hey folks!

Yeah…I know…I know…it’s been a while since my last post. I just had to focus on some major exams that I had. How did I go with them? Feeling pretty confident. I’ll let you all know when I get my results back. 

But, anyway, back to the point of business. The other week i was having a discussion with a friend. She was saying that she was not really keen on trying new things. I asked why and she said that it was because she could not bear the thought of people laughing at her if she failed. I said “Who cares what they think?” (Apparently SHE did!)

People are always willing to pull down those who are trying to achieve. They discourage people from advancing either on a personal development level, a business level, or any other level you care to think of! But why do these people want to put you down and discourage you. Simply for one reason: they feel threatened

If you have decided to advance in some area, these people may feel the need to do the same! But how dare they leave their comfort zones! As far as they are concerned they are happy and don’t need some “upstart” making them feel inferior, just because this “upstart” has decided to make a change in his/her life. 

The other side to this is for you to keep the status quo. Don’t change and nobody will ridicule you. Nobody will feel threatened by you. Everyone is happy! But the question is: Are you truly happy, or do you kid yourself into believing that you are? 

What dreams and ambitions have you got? Why don’t you go and chase them? You might use the excuse that “People will laugh at me and ridicule me if I fail”. But, like I said to my friend, where are the people that put you down heading? NOWHERE!! What are they achieving with their lives? I dare say NOT MUCH! So why should we allow these people to influence our lives? If you think about it, you are being held prisoner by your own fears and a desire not to be made to look like an idiot for failing.

But, guess what? I would rather try, fall over, fail, then try again instead of not trying at all. At least I am moving in a direction rather than staying still with a bunch of other people who are also not moving! 

Who knows? You might be the motivating factor that someone has been waiting for! If you start to move in the direction to pursue your dreams and goals, you may just be an example to someone else. And that someone else might start to pursue their dreams and goals too! You may also find some people get alongside you and encourage you rather than put you down! 

But do not allow other people’s lack of ambition and feelings of inferiority cause you not to move forward. We only get one shot at life. Make the most of it! Go out and have fun! Chase your dreams. Go for it!!

 

Maximise the minimum

Hey everyone!

Look around you. What do you mainly see? Usually people in a hurry. People slogging at work day after day, trying to keep up with the demands of society. Trying to “get ahead”. But get ahead of what? Usually it is ahead of everyone else. But everyone else is in the same boat! Talk about a ridiculous situation!

Why do we have to worry about “keeping up with the Joneses?” Who are these Jones’ people anyway? I have never personally met them, but I have met people that are trying to keep up with them! These people are always needing to have the latest of everything. Just so that they can boast about how they have this and that. But guess what? The infamous Jones clan just bought a brand new “watcha-me-callit”. Now you are sad, because you need to have one of those too! The one that you bought 6 months ago, just doesn’t cut it anymore. The one the Joneses just bought has a shiny new “doo-dad” on it! It cost them a fortune! Now you are going to go into debt, because you want to keep up with these guys! You can’t afford too, but you have too! There is one thing i have to say, and that is stop being stupid!!

Why do we always feel like we have to have the newest, latest gadget? It is becuase the advertising gurus make us feel like our life is unfulfilled if we don’t have it! Look at the people in that ad about the new smartphone that has just landed in the stores. Don’t they look happy! You could be happy too, if you only had that phone! We live in a consumerist society, where our happiness is dictated by what we have or don’t have! That is wrong!!

There is a concept in psychology that is called “social comparison”. We look at others to determine whether we should be satisfied with what we have or don’t have. The Joneses have everything, and we use that as the yardstick for our lives. We realise that we don’t have all the things that those Jones folk have and we feel sad and unfulfilled in life. But then we look at someone who is unemployed, struggling to make ends meet and we discover that we aren’t as bad off as we thought. What happened to change your mindset? You just looked at two social extremes that influenced how satisfied you are with your lot in life.

Do not try and keep up with the Joneses. After all, do you think they are truly happy? Why do they always have to have the best of everything? Maybe there is some implicit insecurity issues that Mr. and Mrs Jones are suffering from! Look at what you have. Be satisfied with it. Do not try and compare yourself with others. Just be happy with your lot in life, if you feel like it’s not sufficient, then look within yourself as to why you feel that way. You may not have the best phone, the best house, the best clothes. But you might have the best life when you compare it to those you are busy trying to seek fulfillment in a materialistic, consumerist society.

Be happy with the little that you have. Enjoy it. Be thankful for the things that you have. Be thankful for the intangibles in your life: your health, your well-being, your happiness, your peace.

Be satisfied with the things that you have and cease looking at the things you don’t have.

Welcome to the new me! (Still under construction…)

Today I thought I would just encourage you all. It actually takes guts to realise that there is something in you that needs to change, and then going forth and changing it. Well done!!

You can boldly say “Welcome to the new me!” Why? Because you are a completely different person than you were yesterday. You’ll be a completely different person tomorrow than the person than you are now! You will of changed in a more positive way and become a “new” person! You should rejoice in that. How often do we look at the sunrise in the morning and think “It’s a new day that has just begun!”, but we don’t look at ourselves and think “I am a new person, different than I was yesterday!.” Rejoice in that truth!!

Sure, you are going to get those people who knock you down, who may ridicule you, make you question what you are doing and why. But ignore those people. You may not be where you want to be (as far as reaching your goal is concerned). But you are closer today, than you were yesterday. Tomorrow you will be even closer than you are today!! Also, those people that knock you are actually going nowhere, so just ignore them!

Here is an analogy for you all:

Just think of yourself as a house that you have decided needs renovating. You have a picture in mind of what this new house should look like (the “new” you!).

How do you start the renovations? Usually by drawing up a plan, or picture, of what you want the new house to look like. So, you have to create goals for the person that you want to become, write them down. Do you want to be happier?; lose weight?; smile more?; build your self-esteem?

Next you start in one area of the house and start the renovations. When you want to improve yourself, start with one area and work on it. Then once you have achieved the result (finished “renovating the room”), move on to the next area.

It is going to take time and effort. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day (not that I’m advocating that you need to rebuild Rome!). Just realise that all good things take time.

There are going to be “vandals” that want to destroy your work. Stay vigilant and alert against these people. Those who want to make you doubt your efforts, those who ridicule you, those who question you motives. Tell these people that you are not going to tolerate their negativity. Maybe they do not understand what you are trying to “build”. perhaps they liked the old “house”, it was comfortable and familiar. But when they see the “new” house they will love it even more than the old one!

Build yourself “one room at a time”. Each change you make to yourself creates a a new you. More beautiful than before. Just as a “new” house is completed, there are always minor changes that the inhabitants make, such as changing the carpet, buying a new lamp, rearranging a room. (That is what I consider to be “still under construction”).

Go forth and build your “house”. “Renovate” you life! Each paint stroke is a stroke closer to the goal. It has just made the room “new”, because it contained something that was not there earlier: a new paint stroke! So you can say to your friends. family, co-workers, cat, or dog:

Welcome to the new me! (Still under construction…)!