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Posts tagged ‘self-awareness’

Who Are You? Forget Labels and Redefine Yourself.

The Awakened Heart Project.With An Open HeartThis post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 32: Who Are You? Forget Labels and Redefine Yourself. 

“Sincerity is the fulfillment
of our own nature,
and to arrive at it we need
only follow our own true Self.
Sincerity is the beginning
and end of existence;
without it, nothing can endure.
Therefore the mature person
values sincerity above all things.” 
― Tzu-ssu

Life Lesson: Who Are You? 

Who are you? Have you ever really thought about this question? Who are you as a person? I’m not talking about how others define you. I mean, how do you define you? What makes you who you are internally? Sadly, the definition of ourselves’ tends to be defined by external circumstances. For example, you fail a test in school, the definition of yourself becomes, “I’m a failure”. You get married, the definition of yourself becomes, “I’m a wife” or “I’m a husband”. In contrast, if/when you get divorced, you come, “The divorcee”.  But it’s not like in the time you were a wife, to the time you were divorced, you suddenly transformed into a new self, right? Or what if you were employed in the morning as a bank teller, but by the end of the day you were laid off. You’re no longer a bank teller, but are you a different person? No, you’re not. These external labels do not define you. Inside your soul, you are so much more than these labels.

How many times have you been introduced to someone and they ask, “So, what do you do?” immediately implying that they want to know what you do for a job. How often do you respond with something other than your job? I’m guessing hardly ever, yet I’m sure most of us do much more than what’s in our job description.

define yourself

What if, instead of asking, “What do you do?” when you met someone knew, you asked, “So, who are you?” What do you think their response would be? Would they take a minute baffled by your question to reflect on it? Would they simply ignore it and describe their job as if on autopilot, unsure of how to answer such a question? Think about it for a minute; if someone Read more

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Your Values Become You

The Awakened Heart Project.With An Open HeartThis post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 29, 30, and 31: Your Values Becomes You 

“To be nobody but yourself
in a world which is doing its best,
night and day,
to make you like everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight,
and never stop fighting.”

~ E.E. Cummings

Life Lesson 29: The Value of Values 

v=valu9

Defining your values in life is an important part of growth and development for many reasons. I think Kevin Daum puts it well when he explains, “Our personal core values are there to guide behavior and choice. Get them right and you’ll be swift and focused in your decision-making, with clear direction. Get them wrong or leave them ambiguous, and you’ll constantly wonder how you got into this mess. ”

Life constantly pushes and pulls us in different directions. In order for us to maneuver through life, we need some sort of compass. That’s where values come in. Our values help guide us through life. They help us develop into the people we want to be. They help ensure our path to personal growth and fulfillment is headed in a direction that is conducive to our happiness and well being.

For instance, let’s say you value family, but your job keeps you away from them 70 hours a week AND you travel. Your children are young so by the time you get home, they’re asleep. You find you’re only seeing them on the weekends, while also trying to get everything else in your life done. You tell yourself that you must provide for your family to justify being gone all the time.  But in time, you begin to resent your job, you become depressed, and you feel disconnected. Then, you begin to wonder is the pay worth the sacrifice? For many people it is, but for others, it isn’t. They’ve simply been living on autopilot and never realized they turned down a road that took them away from their values and livelihood.

Personal-Values-Quote

You see, our values give meaning and purpose to our lives. But when we don’t live by our values, we end up living by someone else’s. Further, dissonance between our beliefs and our actions is significantly distressing, both mentally and emotionally. Believe it or not, long term, it can lead to problems like depression.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

 Your thoughts become your words, 

Your words become your actions, 

Your actions become your habits, 

Your habits become your values, 

Your values become your destiny.” 

 

-Mahatma Gandhi

Are you destined to live a life of someone else’s values? I hope not. Your life can be exactly what you want it to be, but it requires you to take some time to evaluate what you want out of life, what you don’t, and what paths you’re willing to take to get there.

“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do”. 


-Elvis Presley

  

Life Lesson 30: Defining Your Core Values 

Understanding why establishing personal core values are important is just the first step. The next step is to spend some time actually thinking about what these values are, and writing them down. It may be difficult to hone in on your top values, but I challenge you to do so.

“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from things we do”.

-Freya Stark

Exercise in Action: 

Below, I have provided a table of core values for you (128 total!). This is just a list of suggestions or common values. Please feel free to add to it as you wish. This exercise is for you, not me, so do what’s best for you.

Step 1 – Go through the list and cross off any values that don’t resonate with you.

Step 2 – Write down your top 30 values.

Step 3 – Go through your list of 30, and write down your top 10

Step 4 – Go through your list of 10 and write down your top 5

Hey, no one said it was going to be easy! But if you’re like me, you’ll end up lumping many into categories.

Lists of Personal Core Values photoshop

There are a number of websites out there that can help you do it if you don’t want to take the time to write them down. While in school, I had to complete the Card Sort Activity which is very similar. It is more related to work values and how you want to structure your work/life balance, but it’s still incredibly useful. If you would like to complete that, click HERE

This is a great image of another way to organize your core values: Values-Mind-Map

I know it can be hard to determine your top 5 values, so don’t get too caught up in getting exactly five if it’s a struggle. Like I mentioned before, I categorized quite a few things to fit them in. For example, Friendships and Family I lumped into the same category. This question can be helpful when narrowing down your top values, especially number one. 

The most important thing in life to me is….

 

Life Lesson 31: Living Your Values 

 How will you know if you’re living your values each and every day? For each of us, this will be different, but it’s important to write down some sort of ideas to help you visualize successfully doing so. In the research and science field, we often state that, “Outcomes must be measurable”.  Taking the example of the overworked parent again, maybe valuing family means leaving their job for a less demanding job with similar income. Or maybe it mean, leaving letters for their children in the weeks their gone, or committing to two hours of no distraction on the weekends. Remember, it will be different for every person. What’s important is deciding how you will fulfill your values. Knowing how you will do this will also help you recognize if/when your lifestyle is headed in a place that will not be fulfilling. Here is another question that may help guide you: 

I will know when this value is being met in my life when…

to-be-nobody-but-yourself

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The Awakened Heart Project 

Registration for The Awakened Heart Project is closed for the year. However, follow the blog for the opportunity to participate in 2014. With An Open Heart will be going through some major changes in the coming months! Stay tuned!!!

Please fill out the form below to be notified when The Awakened Heart Project will begin again. Thank you.

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It Doesn’t Matter How Fast You Get There, If You’re Headed In The Wrong Direction.

The Awakened Heart Project.With An Open HeartThis post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 24 and 25: It Doesn’t Matter How Fast You Get There…If You’re Headed In The Wrong Direction.

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going to fast-you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”


-Eddie Cantor

Life Lesson 24: It Doesn’t Matter How Fast You Get There…If You’re Headed In The Wrong Direction.

We’ve all done it. We’ve put ourselves on autopilot and headed in the direction of our dreams. Day in and day out, we work. We create lists, we’re ambitious, and we focus all of our attention on completing the tasks that will get us to our dreams. However, when we finally arrive at “our dreams”, we realize it isn’t a dream at all. We look back and ask, “What was I thinking?” Then we realize, we weren’t thinking at all. We were simply going.

One common example of this is the career-focused person who thinks they’ll be happy at the top of the company. They work like crazy for years. They sacrifice friends, family, and leisure time. They tell themselves things will be different and easier at the top and then they’ll have time for x, y, and z. But when they get to the top they realize the hours are still long, they’re disconnected from friends and family and they missed out far too many experiences to count. Reality sets in and they realize everything they lost along the way wasn’t worth the gain.

Granted, not everyone feels this way when they get to the top. And many people feel this way without ever getting to “The Top”; whatever place that may be for you. What’s important is that you’re headed in the right direction for you. YOU are the only one who can decide what direction is the right direction.

rat race

Don’t get caught up in the speed at which you accomplish your goals. Don’t get caught up in societies expectations of where you “should be” in life. Albeit, this is incredibly difficult in today’s world. Here’s an interested story on the topic: Read more

The Yin and Yang of Life

The Awakened Heart Project.With An Open HeartThis post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 22 and 23: The Yin and Yang of Life  

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
-Gilda Radner 

Life Lesson 22: There is Still Fortune in Misfortune…If You Open Your Eyes! 

You’ve heard this metaphor before: You can’t control the storm, but you can learn to surf! That’s exactly what life is all about. It’s about enjoying the ride, -even the bumps. Take every obstacle in stride, and learn from every experience, -good or bad. You must remember, YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT HAS TO FACE PAIN, OBSTACLES, FRUSTRATIONS, SADDNESS AND ANGER. Not a single one of us is immune to the ups-and-downs of life.

Yin yang

You might think that certain people have had made. That certain people have everything handed to them, or that they just lucky and don’t know the meaning of hard work or hardship. This may be true for a very small percentage of people walking this planet, but I know it is not for the majority. For most people, work was a very real part of their success. For most people, adversity, let downs, screw ups, and set backs, existed often on their life journey. There are more than a few people that even found themselves at a total loss and moving forward required completely starting over. It sucks, but life must go on, and so, it’s the only real option.

Karen Salmansohn, author of How to be Happy Dammit uses “The Fortune  500 Club” and “The Misfortune 500 Club” to help explain the Read more

The Joy of a Warm Summer Day

The Awakened Heart Project.With An Open HeartThis post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 21: The Joy of a Warm Summer Day  

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
― Thich Nhat Hanh

 

All I Want To Do Is Sit In The Sun 

I don’t know about you, but here in Minnesota, we’re really getting the start of spring and summer these days. Sure it’s been raining quite a bit this week, but when it’s not, and the sun is shining, there is nothing I want to do more than to be outside. I don’t always find the time to write these posts prior to Monday’s, so sometimes I find myself feeling very conflicted without my time. Today, I spent some time this morning putting together the patio table and chairs for the deck just so I could type outside. Right now it’s sunny and beautiful but come this afternoon, storms will be back in the sky.

What’s the point of me telling you this you ask? Every chance you get to do something that brings you peace, happiness, and joy, you should take it. A moment outside might seem insignificant, especially if you live somewhere where the seasons don’t change, but for me it’s incredibly important. I NEED the sun. My body, mind, and spirit instantly feel reconnected and exuberated when I’m outside and the sun is shinning. The warmth on my skin brings me soo much comfort. It’s almost hard for me to explain the affinity I have for hot summer days; there is just something about it that overwhelms me with happiness. I’m especially grateful today as I know rain will soon be upon me.

Life's beautiful notice it

Every one of us will have Read more

In Order to See the Path to What You Want, You Must First See What is Hold You Back.

This post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 9: In Order to See the Path to What You Want, You Must First See What is Hold You Back.

 

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.”  -C. JoyBell C.

You Gotta Move Forward, But First…

See what’s’ holding me back? What do you mean? I know EXACTLY what I want, and what path to take, but everyone else is getting in the way. I’m not the problem, everything and everyone else is!

Really? I’m sorry to break it to you, but I highly doubt that everyone else is the problem, and you have nothing to do with YOUR OWN PROBLEM. Yes, sometimes there’s some red tape in your way. And yes, sometimes, people in positions higher than you can deter your progress up the latter of growth (for instance in work situations). However, if you REALLY want to grow, and REALLY want to move forward, why are you still letting these people or things get in your way? Take a minute and really think about it. You can’t control how other people or things pan out, only how you do. If you want things to be different you have to change. Sometimes, that means quitting your job to pursue your passions. Sometimes that means taking the road less traveled. But you always have the choice to say, “No, I will not take this anymore, I want better for myself, and I know I deserve better, so SEE YOU LATER friend!”

When you get into the pattern of saying (and believing) that you are not the problem and your external circumstances are, you get into the pattern of allowing everything and everyone else to control you. When you believe that you have options, and you control your own destiny, that is when you break free from the perceived barriers that are holding you back.

We all have things within ourselves that are holding us back, -some of them small, some of them large. But the real problem is not that these things exist, it’s that most people aren’t self-aware enough to even know they exist. Read more

Happiness Has Little to Do With What Happens to You. It Has Everything to Do With How You Choose to Respond


This post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 3: Happiness Has Little to do With What Happens to You. It Has Everything to do With How You Choose to Respond

 “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”

-Wayne Dyer

Emotional Responses and Life Decisions

It’s inevitable: Life will throw you some curve balls. But YOU and YOU ALONE choose the emotional response you will have to these situations.  No one makes you feel a certain way, or makes you react a certain way. That is all up to you.

For instance, Read more

When Disappointment Turns to Resentment and How You Can Change It.

It’s the time of year when gift giving is all around us. Most of us are participating in these festivities one way or another. Some of us like the element of surprise when we receive a gift, while others find it easier to provide friends and family with a list of items they wish to receive. Either way, there’s an open window for disappointment during this season….that is, if you let there be.

The following post discusses how our expectations have the power to leave us feeling disappointed and resentful if we do not feel the gifts we receive are  “special enough”. This post does not specifically discuss gift during this holiday season, but it seems just as important. Remember, gifts aren’t always material either. So, spend a minute reflecting on different types of gifts others Read more

Cultivating Your Garden of Happiness

Have you ever thought about how complex and detailed your brain is? Or how many processes your brain go through on a given day, or hour, or millisecond? It’s infinite. The brain is much like a computer that never sleeps. It seems simple on the outside, but inside it makes up our bodies largest organ consisting of some 100 billion nerve cells that control every aspect of our conscious and unconscious body processes. But, if you think all of this happens without any conscious help on your side, you’re mistaken.

with an open heart blog

Think of your brain like a garden. It needs to be tended to. It takes work, commitment and maintenance. If you want it to flourish, you need to water it, to feed it some sunshine, some fresh wonderful air, and even some healthy nutrients too. Not to mention, you need to get rid of those weeds! And not just on the surface; rip those weeds up from the root! Or what? They’ll grow back and they’ll spread (damn you weeds). Yes, your mind is a bit more complicated than just a garden, but it still needs the same kind of tender love and care. Read more

Yoga Is Not Just a Workout, -It’s About Working on Yourself

“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”

Yoga for me is very much a love-hate relationship. I love how I feel afterwards, and I love how my body changes and the strength I feel when I practice regularly. However, I hate when I take a few months off and I suddenly cannot do the poses the way I want to. Or, when I feel exhausted just halfway through a class. And I hate how much I struggle to remain “present” and calm, and compassionate with myself throughout each class.  Doing a physical activity that is calm, and requires mindfulness can be difficult. I’m a runner; I want to put my headphones, listen to upbeat music, and run a few miles. Yoga is just the opposite of that.  So for me, yoga is a challenge. Read more

Find a Place of Peace Within Your Mind and Heart

Do you meditate? In this busy life, finding a place of inner peace can be difficult to say the least. We are constantly overwhelmed with stimulation, thoughts, judgements, responsibilities, etc., etc., etc. We all need moments of quiet. Those moments of escape. Meditation can give you that. It’s a practice that is truly just that; a practice. But the more you practice, the easier, more rhythmic it’ll become.

Read more

Just to Be Alive is a Grand Thing

Remember that there are ups and downs in life; that there are moments of great despair, because it is these moments that remind us of what’s most important. Without the bad, how would be know how good life can really be?  Read more

Keep this is mind. Reflect on this often.

This is a wonderful post. Stop a moment and think about it…

To Be Aware

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Anger of the Mind is Poison to the Soul

Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it

~Seneca

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About two weeks ago, I was out with a friend for dinner. We had a nice meal, discussed our days, and then I headed home to pack for my trip to Trinidad. On my way home driving through downtown Minneapolis, I spotted a bicyclist a little ways ahead me. He was swerving between lanes, biking in the car lane rather than the designated bike lane clearly marked to the right of me, and seemed to be oblivious to other cars on the road. As the distance between us grew smaller, and I was coming up behind him, I began wondering what direction he was planning on going when we reached the red light up ahead. Was he going to make a right hand turn at the light like I was planning to do? Read more