Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 21

April 16, 2017

Self Mastery image

Photo Courtesy of http://www.pexels.com

Mastering the Self

By Paula O’Sullivan

‘Self-Mastery and the consistent care of one’s mind, body and soul, are essential to finding one’s higher self, and living the life of one’s dreams’ – Robin Sharma Quote

As within, so without, to thine own self be true. Self- Mastery means learning self-control. It means learning how to control our thoughts and our emotions. (See Emotional Intelligence Part 9) It means being the same in all situations and having a core of stability within. We are only as strong as our greatest weakness, don’t worry, life will test you on this!

Most of us are like chameleons, we are constantly changing in response to what is happening to us, without consistency. When we’re in the process of achieving self-mastery we begin to realize that ‘Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose his reaction’- (Victor Frankl)

Self-mastery gives us a choice, it helps us to be more in control of ourselves.  And no it doesn’t give us a licence to control others. Ask yourself this: If I’m not in control of my thoughts and emotions, then who is? You don’t have to be a victim, you can choose to be a survivor instead.

Most of us have been conditioned to focus on altering the externals in our lives. We wait for everyone else and everything to change first. This makes for a very frustrating life journey!

When we change, we will find that things change around us. We’ll either accept it, change something, or we’ll detach either physically or mentally from it. Check out Eckhart Tolle’s work on this. ‘Nothing happens until something moves’ (Einstein)

You’re probably asking the question ‘Well why do I have to be the first to make a move or change?’ I’ll answer you with this question. ‘Well how’s that going for you so far?’ If you’re happy with your results, carry on as you are.

Well for me anyway it didn’t bring me to anywhere worth going. It was with beginning the process of learning self-mastery that my life began to change in many happier ways. I’m not saying I’m there yet. Life has many lessons and challenges for me that always keep me on my toes. I’m a work in progress, I’m further on than I was, and I’m getting there, as they say.

Ok so how do you begin this process?

Awareness

Start observing yourself in various situations. Are you doing or saying what you want to do and say, or is there some kind of an agenda to be met? Are you looking for approval? Is it meeting an unmet need? Are you doing and saying things to just fit in with the general crowd, or are you being true to yourself? Watch your reactions. Watch any self-talk. Read my article on Self- Talk Part 5. Also see Part 1. Coping With Depression, where I highlight the two main ways of thinking and how they affect us. As we master ourselves, we begin to notice all these things, and with the observation comes the choice in how we really want to be. See my article on Mindfulness Part 6.

Identify your needs versus your wants

This is really important. Most of us are on auto pilot (not fully aware) we all have basic needs, including security, sex, love and belonging, financial, freedom, fun etc. True needs take into account the higher greater good and serve our soul. Our wants can override this and serve our ego or lower selves, they can lead us into selfishness and a desire to satisfy our own personal interests without concern for how it affects others. There’s an element of developing integrity with self-mastery.

Delay Gratification

Start practicing to strengthen your will by testing yourself in small ways. Delay gratification in some area of your life regularly. Watch your wants, watch the impulses, they can be so strong. For example: I want that biscuit, the drug, the high, the sexual release, the escape etc. but I’m consciously deciding that I’m not going to have that right now. I may wait until later, or I may defer it until tomorrow, or some other time, but now in this moment, when I’m aware, I can choose to delay, if I want to. Observe your thoughts and feelings when you do this. Or another example:  I want to say this to this person, but I’m going stay quiet instead. I’m choosing to be fully present with this person, without being compelled to make the snide remark, or say the things that could destroy the relationship, the trust etc. And yes sometimes we do have to speak up, but play with this to strengthen you will. You may decide to speak up in another moment instead. Practice also doing things you’d rather not do right now, like take out the bins, do the dishes, laundry, paperwork etc. I use a mental symbol of a foot kicking me in the ass, and saying Just Do It! I always have my sense of humour with me, it comes in handy! Notice how much energy we take up in resisting doing things. Your ego will protest, and cause a fuss, but observe it. Practice with little things, and you’ll see where you can be free of external control.

Keep your promises

Do what you say you will do. How many times have you said you’d do something and didn’t? How did you feel? Say what you mean and mean what you say. You will learn to trust yourself, and others will learn to trust you also. Practice keeping your promises to yourself and others. It starts with the little things.

Practice being consistent

I mentioned earlier that we are like chameleons, we are not the same people all the time. If someone is mean to us, we are mean to them, or if we’re afraid, we’ll be mean behind their backs instead. If life throws us a curve ball, we disintegrate, however momentarily. We’re like boats without oars, constantly being driven this way and that by relentless waves. Our self-esteem plays a huge part in this too, and the more you develop a balanced self-esteem, the more you can be consistent with anything that happens. It gives you a strong core of stability that helps you to trust yourself, and be trusted. You will be the same you in all situations. Check out my article on Self-esteem Part 7.

Part 22 – Meeting Your Unmet Needs

Paula is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist / Photographer, in Blessington Co. Wicklow.  paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com

 


Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 11

March 2, 2015

The Happiness Ratio

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‘At any moment, you have a choice that leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it. Letting go, gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness, if in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions, we cannot be free’ – Thich Nhat Hanh

There have been many researchers claiming to have found a mathematical formula for finding happiness. Some said the ratio was three positives to every one negative, and others claimed that the ratio was five positives to a negative in order to be happy and flourish. But how can anyone really measure such a thing? We are all responding to things in our own unique way, based on our individual experiences.

Personally I found in times of crises, when I was feeling low and overwhelmed, it was very difficult to find any positives. When we’re feeling low, we have a distorted perception of things, everything seems to be going wrong, and knowing about the ratio doesn’t necessarily help to make it any better.

However as I practiced becoming aware of my thoughts (part 1) and by developing my emotional intelligence (part 9) I discovered that I could change my perception. That as I changed my thoughts about things, the things I thought about changed, in a way. I saw that a situation was just a situation, I could think about it in many ways, which could affect how I felt about it. I could be either miserable or happy.

I found that by cultivating an attitude of gratitude in everything, that I was able to tip the balance. I was able to become happy regardless of what happened. Suddenly my awareness was focused on all that was going right in my life, even though it could easily have seemed like a shambles. I would shift my focus again and again each time. I would just keep asking myself, ‘Tell me one thing that’s going right… great now another… now another’ Then my mind would focus on all that was missing, that it thought I needed to be happy. So I would shift my focus to all that I did have, even though at times it wasn’t much. I’ve been lucky enough to always have clothes to wear, to have a roof over my head, some money, no matter how meagre and some food to eat. So by viewing it from that perspective, I was luckier than some. I could be grateful about that.

And like the quote at the start of the article says, we have a choice in any moment to move closer to our spirit or away from it. Your spirit sees life as an adventure with different opportunities to learn and grow from your experiences.

It is our attachment through our thoughts about things that keeps us from finding happiness. You can find happiness right now, this moment if you wish, by just enveloping yourself in gratitude for all that you do have right now, it turns everything into more than enough. And yes the personality will always want something more, will always want things to be different right now, but you get to choose what you want to put your focus on, and if those things make you feel good, you will have found your happiness ratio.

Part 12  Being Proactive

Paula is an Author/ Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com


Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 9

January 5, 2015

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence

‘Nobody can hurt you without your permission’

– Mahatma Gandhi quote

 

I’m going to add to this quote and say, that nobody nor any situation can hurt you without your permission. It is only your thoughts about things that can do that. Change the way you think about it and you’ll change the way you feel. This is something I learned as I developed emotional intelligence.

So what is Emotional Intelligence and how can it help us? It is the ability to recognize, understand and manage our emotions in a positive way, which can affect our behaviour and our interactions with ourselves and others. We can learn how to bring our emotions into a state of balance, so that we’re not being tossed back and forth in a sea of uncertainty.

Developing our emotional intelligence can help us to communicate more effectively, become more emphatic, find positive ways to cope, overcome challenges, relieve stress, create healthier relationships, and minimize conflicts, which can lead to a more fulfilling life.

Becoming aware of our emotions, in each moment, can help us to remain calm and focused in unsettling situations and can help us to see how they influence our thoughts and actions.

Most of us are on auto pilot, reacting to present situations, based on experiences we had in the past (see Mindfulness Part 6) if we centre ourselves with our breath, (see Managing Stress & Anxiety Part 8) we can come into the present moment and ask ourselves if this is the appropriate reaction right now, or are we just replaying a script we have been using all our lives.

Say for example you send a text message, and the person doesn’t reply. You might think they are ignoring you. By the end of the day if they don’t get in touch, you might not be in the best of moods. This could end up in a conflict. You’ve allowed an unanswered text to affect your mood and possibly hurt you.

From an emotional intelligence perspective, you notice that the text hasn’t been answered and you consider what might be the reason, a) maybe they are too busy right now, and don’t have enough time to text properly, b) maybe they don’t have credit, c) maybe they are upset with you, but just need some space to think etc…You breathe slowly and ask yourself why you feel ignored, you consider all the options and wait until you hear from them before jumping to conclusions. You distract yourself with something else.

  • Calm down, take time out regularly to breathe slowly and practice observing how you feel in each situation, so that you can respond in a conscious manner based on this moment rather than your experience from the past.
  • Learn to trust your emotions and how you feel, be true to yourself, and you’ll suffer less.
  • Notice your behaviour at different times, and take full responsibility for how you choose to feel and respond, no one can make you angry, that’s a choice you make.
  • Be proactive instead of reactive. Try and see a few different possible perspectives to any situation.
  • Ask questions: What is important now? What am I learning from this? Do I need to set healthier boundaries? Are my needs being met? What are the consequences if I say or do this?

Part 10 Entrainment

Paula is an Author/ Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com


Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 6

November 1, 2014

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Previously we’ve discussed how thoughts, visualization, foods, disassociation and self-talk can help lead us out of depression. Now let’s explore mindfulness.

The word ‘Mindful’, means taking heed, or care, being conscious. And the word ‘Conscious’, means being aware and awake.

Most of us are not really aware or awake, we think we are, but we are really running on auto pilot, continuously being in a state of ‘Reaction’ or ‘Resistance’. Mindfulness means paying attention on purpose. Being here and now with our present experiences in a non-judgemental way. Nothing is perceived to be either good or bad. Situations can be thought about in many ways.

‘Reaction’

We are like a boat without oars, being pushed this and that way, as life throws stuff at us. Our reactions are based on thoughts about past experiences, or fearful thoughts of the future. We are rarely present in the now moment, yet that is the only time we have some control.

 ‘Resistance’

Something happens that we don’t like or want, and we set up resistance in our mind to it. When we resist something, our body and mind perceives this as a threat to the natural balance of things. We trigger the stress response and we stop our minds from finding solutions.

 

Tips for being mindful

 

  • When your thoughts go to the past or future, gently bring them into the present moment. Take a few slow deep breaths in and out. Notice your surroundings. Be kind and patient with yourself. Say ‘I’m ok now in this moment’
  • Develop a sense of gratitude. Say ‘I have more than enough’.
  • If you’re feeling angry, sad etc. do not judge the feeling, say ‘Oh here’s comes anger, what brought that on?’ In that mindful moment you have a chance to reflect or react in a different way than you did previously. You will no longer be reacting on auto pilot.
  • Do one thing at a time and be fully present with it. If you’re drinking or eating, taste, smell, notice texture etc. When washing the dishes, feel the suds, see the rainbow colours. In the rain, look at the droplets on a branch, there’s a tiny world reflected there. If walking, notice your feet connecting with the ground, feel the sun, or wind, warmth of your clothes, look at the sky. If with someone, listen carefully to what they say, really look at them, hear them. Be present.
  • If ill, in pain, depressed etc. Listen to your body, what’s it trying to tell you? If you’ve got a headache, ask yourself what was happening in your life prior to that? If you have pain, what is paining you in your life? What emotional conflicts have you not dealt with? What thoughts or emotions do you hold onto that might create pain for you. If you are getting frequent colds etc. your immune system has been weakened by stress, not nurturing yourself etc. Ignore it and other things may happen to draw your attention to where your body feels out of balance. If you’re depressed or feeling low, what are you resisting? What can you not accept? What can you not forgive?

With mindfulness, we can become aware and rest before our body makes us. We can create new meaning in our lives and improve the relationship with ourselves and others.

Part 7 Self- Esteem

Paula is an Author/ Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com


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