We often hear about gaining greater focus through mindfulness practice. A new research review sheds light on some of the nuances regarding how improvements in attention are measured.
I forgot something I was supposed to remember. It happens — particularly when I’m under a great deal of stress or simply haven’t been getting enough sleep. I had a split second of that feeling you get when you’ve let someone down before I pulled myself back. Who had set this expectation? Was it something I was responsible for or something I was made to feel responsible for? There’s a big difference.
I’ve been fighting never being good enough my entire life. The bar was set high in my childhood, and I became the typical overachiever. I could pull in the grades and get glowing performance reviews from teachers and coaches and still fail to measure up in every other way that mattered in my family.
Relationships were often more of the same. A bar was set, and while I got glowing reviews in the beginning, the reality of me failed to reach those same lofty heights. I became an overachiever in this arena, too. The more I felt love bleeding out of my relationships, the harder I tried — as if just being good enough was all it would take to save them.
It took me too long to realize that there was something wrong with this definition of “good enough”. If I wasn’t setting the bar, why the hell was I trying so hard to reach it?
I’ve been working on strengthening my boundaries, and I’ve had to figure out the difference between what I’m responsible for managing and what falls outside of my responsibility and control. I cannot maintain everyone else’s emotional wellbeing. It’s not my job to make everyone else happy all the time. I’m allowed to be human, to make mistakes, and to have bad days. Being myself and doing my best — whatever my best is on any given day — is good enough, full stop.
But years of conditioning as an overachiever also mean that I have to monitor the standards I set for myself, taking care not to constantly move the objectives out farther just as I reach them. I have to make sure that I’m not setting up the perfect conditions for letting myself down. Our goals should be designed to help us succeed, not give us a permanent sense of inadequacy and failure. Small, manageable goals are preferable to having a single large one.
It’s exhausting to work so hard in the vain attempt of winning someone else’s approval. It’s even more exhausting to become conditioned to rarely giving our own approval for our efforts. I’m finally at that place where I realize that this is where “never good enough” goes to die.
In the beginning, the best thing we can do to get out of this habit is to start becoming aware of just how often we do it and how it makes us feel. Awareness is a first step to recognizing our patterns and can also be the key to helping change them. That “never good enough” feeling may show up more often than we realize if we’re paying attention.
That split second moment of feeling like I let someone I love down was followed by the uncomfortable awareness that I might have allowed someone else’s expectation to dictate my feelings. As relational human beings, we may find ourselves making commitments or honoring expectations within relationships. That’s normal. Constantly fueling a sense of inadequacy isn’t normal or healthy.
It’s taken too long to realize that other people’s feelings are not my responsibility. This applies to their expectations of me, too. Most of my feelings of inadequacy have come as a result of someone deciding that I should be something I’m not — or someone deciding that I am simply “too much” of one thing and “not enough” of another. This isn’t my responsibility.
Deciding responsibility also requires owning when we are accountable. Sometimes, we let ourselves or someone else down and need to apologize and make it right. It’s also important to make sure we’re setting the right metric for measuring our behavior. If we’re the ones setting the impossible goals that lead to a sense of failure, then we’re also the ones who can change this behavior. It can be empowering to realize where our responsibility lies.
I’ve been trying to show myself compassion throughout the process of addressing this feeling of never being good enough. I know where it comes from, I’m aware how often I feel it, and I know what it feels like to experience it. Now isn’t the time to set a bar for finally feeling good enough. It’s the time for practicing self-compassion for all that we’ve been through and all we’re going to go through to stop tying our emotional well-being to how other people receive us. It’s time to give ourselves a little grace because there will likely be times that we still feel this way, and we’ll need to gently move through this experience, too.
Now, as I move through life, I ask myself if my decisions are true to me and if they honor the life I want to live. Sometimes, I have to pause and ask myself:
Do I feel discomfort because I’m doing something new that may let someone else down, or do I feel discomfort because I’m not being true to myself and, in turn, letting myself down?
I have to ask this question a lot more than I thought I would at the outset. So much of human behavior is learned, and we get into those familiar patterns. Sometimes, we have to check if we’re engaged in a pattern or engaged in living our lives in the way of our choosing.
Embracing authenticity helps move us out of the mindset that we can ever fail at being human. It allows room for imperfection, for trial and error, and for sometimes learning the hard way despite our best efforts. Being true to who we are allows for us to work on our challenges without defining ourselves by them.
I spent too many years of my life feeling like I wasn’t good enough and would never be good enough. I don’t want to live that way anymore. I don’t want to let anyone down, but I’ve decided that the person I’ve let down the most over the years is me. Every time I did something that was in service to someone else’s vision of me, I let myself down. I’m showing compassion for the version of myself that allowed this, but I’m doing my best not to repeat those patterns anymore.
The bar I’m setting now involves living authentically and doing my best. It’s a flexible kind of bar since my best may change from day to day. I don’t want to spend any more time leaping over the hurdles of other people’s expectations. My own are often challenging enough, and even those will need to be adjusted to do more empowering and less making me feel like a failure.
This is where “not good enough” goes to die — when we finally love ourselves enough to decide that letting ourselves down is no longer an acceptable option.
Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned author. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elephant Journal, Elite Daily, and The Good Men Project. She’s also the author of Left on Main, the first book in the Heart of Madison series. When she’s not writing for Medium and working on her next book, you can find Crystal traveling, paddle boarding, running, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, doing yoga, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with her two wild and wonderful children.
Image courtesy of Gantas Vaičiulėnas.
Our ability to pay attention is unreliable when we’re under stress. In her new book Peak Mind, neuroscientist Amishi Jha explores cutting-edge research on elite soldiers revealing how mindfulness training protects our attentional resources, even in the most high-stress scenarios imaginable.
The post Find Your Focus: Own Your Attention in 12 Minutes a Day appeared first on Mindful.
Affirmations, statements, and opinions may (or may not) be effective. Together with Shoppok, we tried to figure out what is needed for the affirmation to be effective.
True: the words used in the statement conform to the world that is presented in front of your senses. It would seem obvious, but it never hurts to highlight it: a productive environment is one in which the affirmations are true, there is no place for lies or concealments.
Experiential: in the face of a contradiction between statements, one can resort to experience.
Imagine two members of a team discussing whether a certain practice can help optimize the use of time in a recurring activity. The contradiction can exist only before experimentation. Instead of staying in theoretical arguments, the most efficient thing is to put it into action, once proven, there are no longer contradictions.
Relevant: As human beings, we are all the time making affirmations, countless of them. To verify this, I invite you to look up, look slowly to your left, and then to your right. Now, look straight ahead, stop for a few seconds and look back. How many affirmations have you found to make in seconds?
Due to this natural condition of a constant observer, our mind selects from all these observations those that it considers relevant.
Relevant for me or for you, since relevant is an opinion, therefore, what for me means relevant, is not necessarily the same as relevant for you. Consequently, in the same situations, we will be able to select different stuff.
Only when we can incorporate the notion that relevance is an opinion of each one, can we communicate effectively.
It has shared meaning: the meaning of a statement exists within the cultural group that previously generated consensus on its meaning.
Doctors, mechanics, computer scientists, designers, all have statements with shared meaning: those that belong to the larger society; but beyond that, each subculture has its own affirmations with its own meanings.
A personal example that illustrates this is the word “now.” When I am facilitating workshops, I use the statement now a lot, for example, “now I invite you to stand up”, “now we are going to do an exercise”, “now we are going to take a break”, etc.
Something curious that has happened to me is that in Colombia, I said “now I invite you to stand up” and everyone stayed seated, looking at me, when I needed them to stand up, now, right now.
Then I would say “come on, come on!” and they corrected me: “if you want something to happen at this precise moment, you must say ‘right now, because ‘now’, in Colombia, means ‘in a little while”.
Many communication problems appear when we assume that the other gives the same meaning as I do to a statement.
It encourages learning: if I observe certain issues and you observe others (we make different observations), we have in front of our eyes a great opportunity for mutual learning about our way of seeing the world.
Deepening these differences and understanding them better and better, instead of ignoring them, will allow us to interact in much more productive ways.
On the other hand, an opinion is effective when it meets the following characteristics:
Valid: The validity of an opinion is directly related to the authority of the person issuing the opinion.
I show you with an example: the traffic officer has the delegated authority (he is authorized) to express his opinion on traffic offenses, a priest is authorized to express his opinion against the confession of a faithful, your client, be it external or internal, is authorized to evaluate the results of your team.
Any of them changed context, would only issue invalid opinions because they did not have the authority to do so.
For example, the traffic officer is not expected to confess to a faithful of a certain religion, nor from your client who can comment on infractions of transit, a priest is not expected to evaluate the results of your work team either.
All these opinions, although they can be expressed, are invalid.
Founded: every opinion must be supported by observable data that supports it.
When Silvia says that the application delivered by Mara’s team is a disaster, she should have concrete, observable observations, based on which she makes her value judgment. For example, that the application does not give the option to recover the password, that the menu was moved, you need to do more than 5 clicks to get to a report.
While Mara may not share the reasoning by which Silvia comes to her disastrous opinion, she will not be able to deny the concrete observable facts.
Based on some standards: whenever you give an opinion about something, what you are doing is applying a logical process of comparison between your observations and certain standards of your own that you have.
When you say it is cold, you are comparing the observable temperature against that temperature from which it produces the sensation of cold to you. As long as the first is below the second, for you, it will be cold.
It should be noted that not all people have the same standard of comparison, therefore while you feel cold, other people may not feel it.
When Silvia says that this application is a disaster, she, in turn, is comparing it against her own standards that represent a good application.
Making these standards transparent can help a lot to understand why a certain opinion is being expressed. It can even be revealed for the person making the value judgment.
Many times, there are automatic opinions, which we emit without thinking about the standards against which we compare the facts. When discussing these standards, we may find that they are inconsistent with the opinion expressed.
Tending to action: opinions are expressed for something: they are supported by observations of the past, to project possibilities of action into the future.
For example, I think that a certain person is not very collaborative based on their involvement and behavior during a joint work in the past, to decide whether or not I want them to be part of the team in which I am working, and in any case, know what to expect.
To express an opinion without there being a suggested course of action is to express an inefficient opinion.
No one can deny the lure of travelling to an exotic faraway land, but if you’re raring for a short break or weekend holiday, it doesn’t make much sense to take an overnight flight to get that break you deserve.
Fortunately for us, there are many places within our shores that are a sure delight to many a traveller and visitor, and the mere plethora of these destinations can be overwhelming.
But we’ve rounded them up for you, and if you’re planning your next weekend getaway, here’s your guide to the best destinations within the UK.
Of course, we all know that Oxford is famous for its educational institutions, and there is no doubt that Oxford has its share of beloved sights and attractions.
So, if you are staying in the area for the weekend, why not go down for a sample of delectable cooking and eat at the Magdalen Arms, with a menu which changes daily? Whilst you’re there, don’t forget to try the Berkswell and fennel tart as well as the ale and venison pie.
There are all sorts of things to do in Oxford, and one classic Oxford activity is to go punting down the river. It may also be worth exploring one of the stateliest homes in the UK, Blenheim Palace – so you can catch a glimpse of how the nobles in the area lived.
Cornwall is absolutely up there when it comes to one of the loveliest places in Britain, and you can make your weekend break in Cornwall even more special with a stay at a luxurious manor or villa.
Cornwall has plenty of big houses to rent on offer for a short or long holiday, and you can enjoy true luxury in a holiday rental that’s all your own, complete with pools, games rooms, tennis courts, and of course, fantastic views and majestic grounds.
For supper, you can visit Fitzroy, renowned for being a source of inspiration for none other than Daphne du Maurier. If you visit the restaurant in the summer, its menu will change every day, but what makes it unique is that its menu is designed for sharing dishes.
If you’re there in the winter, you may want to take advantage of the supper clubs. Of course, if you want something more casual, you can always go to Fitzroy’s sister restaurant, the North Street Kitchen.
A day exploring Constantine Bay is a must for activities, along with the other pretty coves and pathways that dot the area.
The Lake District
The Lake District boasts numerous accommodations, including manors and delightful modern cottages. But make it a point to visit L’Enclume, located in Cartmel, which has the distinction of having no less than two Michelin stars. The restaurant’s menu is designed around the ingredients found from the chef’s very own garden and local producers.
You may already know that most holiday-goers to the Lake District will tramp around the beautiful countryside – in fact, it’s expected! So, make sure you are comfortably dressed for a day in the great outdoors.
If you want to do something different whilst you’re there, one thing you shouldn’t miss is a visit to the home of Wadsworth, Dove Cottage, where the poet spent much of his time as an adult.
For personal growth, there’s one question to ask yourself. And this is “Who am I really?”
It’s time for you to get inside yourself and know the real you. What drives you, inspires you, makes you come alive?
What do you feel your purpose is? And what gives you overwhelming happiness and joy?
If mentioning who you really are has brought up thoughts about your perceived flaws or inadequacies, just sit with yourself a moment. Where did this way of thinking come from?
Were you constantly berated as a kid? Did you never seem to measure up to the people you valued and Loved in your life?
Is looking at what you don’t like and focusing on that something that’s a long-term pattern in your life or your family?
Most importantly, how does it feel to focus on what you don’t like about yourself? There’s no way that feels good.
Why do we put ourselves through this constant negativity?
There’s a part of yourself that you’ve likely rejected. Most of us reject ourselves before someone else does. We’re conditioned from a young age to try and fit in because it seems scary to stand alone. Some people are naturally gifted with the strength and solidarity to be their own person. Others are not.
I wasn’t someone who was brought up to stand alone in my strength. Part of this is because I was a scrawny, skinny little dude my whole life growing up. And physically speaking, I still have those characteristics to this day. But my heart and mindset are in a completely different place now.
I used to think that to be respected, liked, and revered you had to be tall, muscular, and exude a strong physical prowess. Being a dude, machismo is something I have faced and endured from the pervasive masculine culture.
“Be a man” came with all sorts of underlying meanings and interpretations, many of them fostering disrespectful attitudes towards both men and women. It comes with this ideal of physical power being the dominating attribute of a real male figure.
But that’s bullshit. Let’s just be honest and direct. The body isn’t the master. The soul and spirit are. That’s where the Divine connection happens. Everything else-heart, mind, and body-fall in line.
You can’t know the real you if you only look at yourself through the jaded lens of other people’s perspectives and beliefs. And then try to take their ideologies on as your own.
You are more than your physical body. Or as John Mayer sings, “I’m bigger than my body gives me credit for.”
You have superpowers, but do you know what they are?
You may be physically powerful and strong. Maybe athleticism is one of your gifts. But what makes you a great athlete is more than just the feats your body is capable of. What inner strengths and qualities do you have that make you unique?
I have the ability to see and identify other people’s inner superpowers (or inner strengths). I can see how the light and gold inside of them operates and empower them to see themselves more fully.
My #1 Love language is words of affirmation/encouragement. Yet it’s using this Love language in a way that shows other people who they truly are (and who they can be) that is one special aspect of me that makes me unique.
In using this superpower, I inspire people who feel hopeless, stuck, small, and broken to see who they truly are and embrace the Love within them.
At one point in time, I felt very weak and insignificant. I struggled with my self-worth and self-concept. I placed all of my confidence in what other people thought of me. And yet I didn’t believe that they really Loved or wanted me.
I was constantly waiting to be rejected. It was an unconscious/subconscious belief that permeated my thoughts and attitude.
What you focus on grows
And what you hold to be true in your mind, whether it’s a conscious or subconscious belief, you attract into your life and becomes your experience.
I got married right out of college to my best friend. I thought that marrying my bestie would save me from ever being rejected or abandoned. Actually, I thought getting married would protect me from rejection.
But that’s not how life works. I got what I believed would happen. I didn’t believe in my worthiness. I didn’t Love myself.
I rejected me. So after about 12 years, my wife did too. My journey forward from this into learning how to truly Love and accept myself is told in my book Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole.
Your inner beliefs are reflected back to you through your experiences and relationships
Neville Goddard teaches that “everyone is you pushed out.” Meaning, your experiences and relationships reflect what you believe inside your mind and carry in your heart.
The ways people show up in your world reflect what you believe (at a fundamental and subconscious level) about yourself and about others.
This means that when you’re treated poorly by others, instead of blaming them for their behavior towards you, go within yourself and look at your core beliefs.
Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I Am?” This question wasn’t about the disciples perspective or opinions on Jesus. It was about the nature of God within them, the I Am that lives inside all of us.
When you don’t know, Love, or respect yourself, you believe all kinds of things about yourself using the name of God, the I Am modifier. You may say or think “I am not good enough,” or “I am weak,” or “I am ugly.”
When you do this, you’re attaching unloving attributes on the God-force inside of you, on the true self that you are. This is taking God’s name in vain. You can say Goddamn all day and not be speaking as much ill of the creator as you are when you attach something that isn’t Loving, abundant, or good after “I Am.”
Who do you say “I Am”?
When you think of yourself, can you see the Love that is infinite and divine and truly good at work in you? Can you see and feel the presence of the Creator alive within you? I hope so.
If not, let that be your task and your focus for today.
Let the real you come out. The you that has been hidden away because the real you doesn’t fit into the boxes that society or culture or popular media promotes or accepts as “cool.”
Screw that! You weren’t made to fit into anyone else’s box or criteria. If you’ve sought acceptance and validation from others to have a feeling of worthiness, let that go. You are worthy.
Simply affirming yourself by saying “I Am Worthy” feels good. And it’s a way of seeing the Creator, the God, the Almighty Love that lives in you. Making this declaration amplifies the frequency of goodness within. And you see yourself for who you truly are.
Get to know the real you
It’s time you got to know the king or queen that you really are. Change how you think, feel, see, speak of/talk about yourself. High value appreciates, is lifted up, and rises.
What you put your focus on grows. Focus is like fertilizer. You can fertilize negative or positive things, healthy or dysfunctional patterns, successful or unsuccessful beliefs. Which do you want?
Focus on the good, on the God, within.
Are there things inside you that you do you not want? Throw it out! And look at it no more.
Do you know who you want to be? Whether you believe in yourself or not, walk in your full self or are self-crippled, choose today to stand in your power.
Who Do You Want To Be???
Write this down. Write down how you see yourself now and who you want to transform into.
Who do you want to be next year, in the next 5 years or 10 years? Cast a vision for the person you want to become.
Look at your whole life including your relationships, family, romantic partner (or dream of a romantic partner if you’re single), career and business, friendships, hobbies, money, etc. Dream big. You are expansive and abundant.
Don’t think small and what you think is possible for you now.
Your imagination is the key. Plant seeds of Love in your mind that are like mustard seeds. Mustard seeds are small when you hold them in your hand but they become massive plants that take several people to harvest.
Mustard seeds are metaphors for faith. Trust that the seeds you plant in your mind can grow into realities. It takes your faith and trust.
Write down your vision. Write it over and over again. Commit to this vision. Don’t worry about how you’re going to level up or make it happen. That’s not your job. It’s God’s job.
The what, the vision and the imagined desire, that’s for you. See it. Feel it. Imagine it.
Imagine having it. Get into the feeling of having it. That’s what Neville calls “getting into the feeling of the wish fulfilled.” It’s the key to creating what you desire.
You’ve been doing that your whole life. If you felt fear of rejection from others so you rejected yourself, you were rejected by others. We teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves.
If you want to have healthy relationships with others, have that kind of unconditional Love and confidence in yourself. Just as you are.
Love your whole self
Love the You that’s inside of you. The real you. You may need to take some time and go within through prayer, meditation, and journaling. Ask yourself some questions to get to know the real you. Do what you need to. You’re worth it. And so is this process.
**If you want personalized training in how to go within through meditation, journaling, and mindfulness to connect more with God within you, here’s exactly what you’re looking for.
As you get to know the real you, decide who you want to be. Imagine the greatness you want to experience.
You’ve written it down. Commit to it. Focus. Surrender. Do this with gratitude. Gratitude because you trust in the God inside of you and have faith in your divine connection and creative power.
Trust is confidence in all things being good and working in your favor. Faith is unwavering loyalty to the unseen reality.
As you Love yourself, the real You becomes known. You have a voice that’s strong and powerful. You don’t fit into anyone else’s box. And you don’t need anyone’s approval, acceptance, or validation.
You are Love. Love is the seed and the harvest in your life. Love is what you attract into your life.
Let your soul be known, come out, and speak
Dream big. Believe in you and in the Love that lives in you, the God force that creates worlds and universes.
And all this good shall be added unto you.
In summary, here are the biggest takeaways to make the most of this post:
- One of the most important questions to ask yourself is “Who am I really?”
- The ways people show up in your world reflect what you believe (at a fundamental and subconscious level) about yourself and about others.
- Let the real you come out, the you that has been hidden away because the real you doesn’t fit into the boxes that society or culture or popular media promotes as what is acceptable or “cool.”
- You may need to take some time and go within through prayer, meditation, journaling and asking yourself some questions to get to know the real you.
- Today, let your soul (where the real you is) come out, speak to you, and be known.
*Originally published at dgrantsmith.com.
D Grant Smith is known as the Growth Farmer, which means he has an old-fashioned approach to living a whole & healthy life. Get his free ebook called Love Is The Seed To Success, that gives help in healing relationships and growing healthy ones. His new book Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole is about the journey into self-love and self-care after heartbreak and personal loss. He’s an empowerment superhero who would love to give you encouragement so feel free to reach out!
Sustainable self-care requires us to build community. Just as we offer support to others, we can be open to accepting it for ourselves.