I Wish I Knew: Finding Confidence in Personality

Have you ever been tempted to compare yourself to others? Maybe there is a specific person you have always wanted to be just like. Maybe it’s more of a group of people that you have watched and silently wished, “if I could only be like them…”

I was always pretty shy when I was growing up. I felt easily intimidated by the “popular kids” at school and noticed every flaw about myself that kept me from being one of them. If I wasn’t among my group of friends, I generally stayed quiet. I often felt like an outsider.

I wish I could get a message to my younger self today, after gaining some life experience. There are things I know now that I wish I’d known then.

I wish my younger self would have realized that the ones who were most popular were popular largely because they acted most confidently. It wasn’t because of how fit, well-dressed, or pretty they were, though those things helped to give them confidence, or at least the appearance of confidence. I wish I knew how even “popular kids” have struggles. I wish I’d understood just how interesting our differences make us. I wish I knew to focus on what makes me feel confident and not on what makes me feel inadequate. I wish I realized that it’s okay to not be liked by EVERYONE – because nobody is. I also wish someone had told me about CLEP exams and how I could have saved time and money in undergrad, but that’s a whole other story…

We all have stories and unique perspectives on the world. We have different personality types that draw us in different directions. We truly are a mosaic of human life, in both visible attributes and those below the surface. I love telling stories of my experiences. I enjoy sharing about international travel, people I’ve been blessed to meet, and new things I’ve tried. As relational beings, we have the innate desire to share life with one another – to connect with and learn from one another. We don’t really enjoy sharing about our flaws, but they are part of us too. Each personality comes with both strengths and weaknesses. We each make mistakes and experience wins. It’s all part of what makes us uniquely us.

It’s easy to compare ourselves to our ideal image, especially in this world with social media bombarding us with the highlights reels of everyone around us while we sit and sift through our bloopers reel, critiquing each mistake and flaw.

When I was going into undergrad, I sat for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality assessment that identifies personality types. I was fascinated how well the resulting “ENFP” type and additional information described me and my personality. Though life experiences have somewhat shifted my personality since then, it still amazes me. I want to encourage each of you to visit www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test and find out what your personality type is. Come to the Every Day Incredible Ladies group to share your personality type. Does it fit you?

Allow yourself to set aside your bloopers reel and pull out your own highlights. Take some time to reflect on your own story. What experiences, traits, skills, and strengths make you unique and incredible?

The Bible verse I’d like to leave you with today is Isaiah 64:8:


Yet you, Lord, are our Father.  
We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

 

If you would like some more personalized support as you work to balance your life and find your confidence, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. What areas of life do you find are most difficult to balance? I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

Where Affirmations Are Born: Finding Affirmations That Work for You (August Affirmations Series #3)

A few weeks ago, we talked about how to be happy by taking advice from a man considered to be the happiest man alive – to think positive thoughts, meditate on compassion, and focus on others instead of self. Week before last, my dear hubby shared his thoughts on using affirmations to release the juggernaut within. Last week, we talked about using affirmations to build on your grit and increase your success in life.

In fact, if you have been following this blog at all, you have already seen multiple references to the power of affirmations, or positive self-talk that is healthy and helpful. In this post I want to talk to you about finding affirmations that work for you. Affirmations will be different for every individual. It wouldn’t be very helpful if everyone had the same affirmation because not everyone has the same struggles.

When you are deciding what affirmations you would like to focus on each day, start by looking at the areas of the biggest struggle for you. We’ve talked about doing thought records and recording details about arguments or situations that cause distress for you, then looking more closely to explore what thoughts or beliefs may have influenced those situations. When you’re looking at what your underlying thoughts are, and working to challenge any unhelpful/unhealthy thoughts or beliefs by replacing them, that is where affirmations are born.

Affirmations need to be positively stated (try to avoid any “negative” words such as don’t, not, can’t, etc.), present tense, and true. Whether you find an affirmation that resonates with you from a list of affirmations, connect with a scripture passage that states a message you need to hear often and make into a habitual thought, or you come up with your affirmation by challenging an unhealthy belief, it’s important to make an effort to repeat the affirmation until it becomes more of a habit than the unhelpful self-talk was. Be creative in finding ways to keep your chosen affirmation fresh in your mind. I’ve given you lots of suggestions for this, but I’d love to hear YOUR ideas! Comment here or visit the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group to share your ideas (or ideas you find on pinterest of course).

In the meantime, I encourage you to find the affirmations that work best for you. Here are some examples:

 

I like myself.
I am enough.
I exist free of fear.
I can do it.
I achieve the goals I set for myself.
I am loved.
I’m a loved child of the Most High God.
I live and follow God’s perfect plan for my life each day.
Success is within my reach.
I have the right to feel how I feel.
I am proud of my progress.
I am proud of my success.
I am proud of myself.
I am secure in my identity as a child of God.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
I am likable.
I am lovable.
I am interesting.
I trust God and His plans for my life.
I have access to the resources I need.
My life has meaning and purpose.
I have a right to say no.
I have hope.
I am calm and confident.
I am responsible.

What affirmations do you need to hear most?

If you would like some more personalized support as you work to balance your life through affirmations, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more thoughts on how affirmations can help you find balance! I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

The Grit that Leads to Success (August Affirmations Series #2)

Last week, we had a guest post from my dear hubby, Aaron, about Using Affirmations to Release the Juggernaut Within. Think for a moment of the most successful people you know. Think about their attitudes and their actions. What stands out about them compared to others? What characteristics do they have that set them apart from the rest? How are you like them or different than them?

I recently listened to a TED talk by Angela Duckworth about what makes people successful. She spoke about her research and how she discovered that the common factor in successful people is what she referred to as “grit.” Dr. Duckworth describes grit as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

The successful people I know definitely have grit. They are the ones who are able to stay focused. They are the ones that are resilient and keep getting up every time they get knocked down in life.

Dr. Duckworth went on to reference “Growth Mindset,” an idea presented by Carol Dweck of Stanford University. She describes growth mindset as the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed; that it can change with your effort. Dr. Dweck has shown that when kids read and learn about the brain and how it changes and grows in response to challenge, they’re much more likely to persevere when they fail because they don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition.”

What I take away from this TED talk is the power of positive affirmations. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy revolves largely around, as we’ve discussed before, “changing the stinking thinking.” As she noted, the ability to learn is not fixed; it can change with your effort. Thinking habits are not set in stone, they can be adapted to be more healthy and helpful. Practicing the mindset that you can be successful regardless of failure can dramatically shift the direction of your life.

It’s safe to say that if you indulge in thinking that you aren’t enough, that you are a failure, that you can’t be successful… you’ll be right. A growth mindset is what gives you the grit to hang on and keep pushing your way forward even through difficult times.

What about you? Are you gritty? Do you stick with your goals and plans because you believe you are capable, or do you let the fears and doubts knock you down and rob you of your grit like a city street mugging?

I agree with Dr. Duckworth that you can’t teach grit. But if someone is seeking to develop grit, it can be acquired. What unhelpful thoughts rob you of your grit? I wanted to give you some ideas of affirmations that may help you work toward a growth mindset. To gauge your own grit level, you can visit Dr. Duckworth’s site at https://angeladuckworth.com/grit-scale/. Be sure to visit the Every Day Incredible Ladies’ facebook group to share your grit score and offer encouragement to one another.

I’d like to leave you with our Bible verse for this week, and it is found in Philippians chapter 4, verse 13. “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” This verse is a great reminder and affirmation to help you practice your growth mindset and grow your grit. If you are focused on seeking God’s will for your life, you truly can do anything He puts in front of you. I want to encourage you to keep this verse in the front of your mind however you can. Add it to a post-it and put it on your mirror, above your coffee pot, on your computer screen – anywhere you will see it often. Set it as a reminder on your phone. Write it on a card and put it in your wallet so you see it every time you open it. Practice it. Exercise your thoughts like you would exercise your body to prepare for a marathon. It is, after all, a marathon, not a sprint.

If you would like some more personalized support as you develop your gritty worldview, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more affirmations to help you develop a gritty worldview. I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

The Happiest Man Alive: How to be Happy!

Are you happy? I mean really happy? What thoughts or situations stand in the way of you being happy more often? About a year or so ago, I came across an article about a Tibetan Buddhist monk named Matthieu Ricard. After taking part in a 12 year brain study that focused on meditation and compassion, Mr. Ricard has been referred to as the world’s happiest man. You can read more here.

Mr. Ricard’s primary advice is to stop thinking only about yourself. He says the key to happiness is altruism. The reason he gives is that “thinking about yourself and how to make things better for yourself all the time is exhausting and stressful, and it ultimately leads to unhappiness.” It makes sense to me!

Basically, your goal is to not be selfish. As human individuals, it is in our nature to be selfish. We see the world around us from our own unique, limited perspective and unless we make a conscious effort to try to see things from another person’s point of view and try to put the needs of others first, we will continue to be selfish.

Scripture talks a great deal about being more like Christ, and about how to have a healthy relationship with God. Scripture says that God is love (1 John 4:8), and it also says that love, among many other qualities, is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). If we are striving to be more Christlike, we need to be focusing on not being so self-involved. It was when I realized that sin is basically being selfish (putting selfish wants before God’s desire) that I had a more clear picture of a healthy relationship with God and what sin actually means. In fact, the first book I wrote was on this very topic… How love isn’t selfish, and what we can learn about God’s love through human relationships.

Going back to the advice from Mr. Ricard, He suggests to train your mind as if you were training for running a marathon. As a therapist, I completely agree. I frequently reference Philippians 4:8 because it backs up the premise of so much of what I discuss in therapy sessions. Where we choose to focus our thinking determines our emotions and behavior as well. We’ve talked in previous posts about changing the channel from stinking thinking and choosing to focus on truth and what is more helpful and healthy. That takes much practice, as would training for a marathon. Mr. Ricard does this through meditation. One specific thing he says to do is to spend 15 continuous minutes each day thinking happy thoughts.

Philippians 4:8 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Make positive thinking – specifically, thinking about helping others and being compassionate – a habit.

To create thinking habits, take the same approach you would take to change other habits too. Increase awareness of the habit, make efforts to stop and replace the habit as soon as you catch it (even if it is after the fact), and keep practicing. For more ideas on changing your thinking habits, revisit the post, 6 Barriers to Wellness (and how to overcome them).

Be sure to visit our Every Day Incredible Ladies Facebook group to share your ideas on making altruistic thinking a habit!

 

Finding Your Mission

 

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
– Maya Angelou

I once had a job that I began as a temp. I was shown to a desk, given a key, and provided very little information beyond that. It’s interesting how overwhelming it can be to not have structure in a job…. to not have clear expectations or direction. What sounds like freedom becomes a hindrance.

Thankfully, as I began to see various needs that presented themselves, I was given and created projects to work on that were enjoyable to me. I found mini missions along the way, to keep me moving forward.

If you’ve ever been in a job where you felt like you had no purpose – where there was no attainable goal in mind, or it seemed like your input was of no real value, you understand what I mean when I say it can be detrimental. Feeling stagnant in a job makes showing up a real challenge.

Going a step further, have you ever felt stagnant in life? Like you are just wandering aimlessly, without any real purpose or mission?

It’s not healthy. You have so much potential, and it’s a shame to let it go unchallenged and unapplied.

In the last post, we asked, where are we going, and how are we going to get there?

Let’s get more specific. How ARE you going to get there?

The first step of making a change is to know what you’re changing and what your goals are. If you have been feeling lost and aimless, it’s important to find your mission.

For those in business, a mission statement is a standard part of a business’ focus. It helps guide and direct decisions to make sure the business as a whole stays on track to reach goals. It’s brilliant, really. You have to have a clear idea of what you want or you’re not going to know where to go to find it.

In the free membership area, you’ll find a mission statement generator.  It is a form that will get you started. When you complete it, it will be sent to your email, where you can then tweak and further customize as much as you’d like until you have a mission statement that works for you, personally.

Don’t forget to share your personal mission statement in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group!

 

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