Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Are You Sitting on the Sidelines?

It seems like everyone these days is shouting about change, but the lines are drawn, and the battles are being waged on social media, in the news, on the ground.  It’s a shouting match that no one seems to be winning. 

We all want change. We desperately need change! But what does that change look like? What should it look like? 

What I would like to see is a change that brings about peace, common sense, and responsibility to one another and the world we live in.  But how do we get there with everyone trying to out shout everyone else, in a world full of agendas and fake news, at a time when everyone wants something, but few understand the cost of anything, be it freedom or financial? 

I believe the first steps we must take is working on transformation within ourselves and in our own lives. 

In the next few weeks I am going to focus on a serious of steps we should think about in making the transformation from where we are to where we want to be. 

The first step is to Focus on YOU!

You’ve heard the saying “be the change you want to see in the world”. Honestly, this is the very foundation on which to build a happier and more fulfilling life. The first step for transformation and creating a more fulfilling and happy existence is by changing our own thoughts, patterns, negative behaviors. 

Seriously, what do we have control over other than ourselves? Our thoughts, our emotions, our actions. 

First our thoughts. When we focus on the little things in life that make us happy, we find more things to be happy about. When we are grateful for small blessings, we realize that we have so many more things to be grateful for. When we have faith that everything happens for a reason and start to believe that things will work out the way they should, our paths and our purpose become clearer and we begin to let go of the fear that is holding us back. Stepping into faith is a powerful tool.. use it!

Another thing we must focus on is our emotions. Happiness is easy when things are going great. But what about when things aren’t going as planned? How do we deal with difficult situations and people in our day to day lives? What is your go to response when negativity hits you squarely in the face? 

One key idea that we must learn and accept is that we cannot control other people or situations. We only have control over how we respond. Notice I didn’t say react, I said respond. Reacting implies that we do not place any thought into how we interact in a negative situation. Responding with a clear understanding of our limitations in changing the situation or mindset of the other person indicates that you have done the work on yourself and have a firm understanding that what you do next will determine the outcome.  Sometimes a peaceful discussion, understanding and compromise will work. Sometimes agreeing to disagree or even simply walking away is the best response. It doesn’t matter how you choose in that moment to respond, what matters is keeping your emotions in check and moving forward in a positive direction. 

Understanding how we judge others and limiting that behavior will go a long way in improving your relationships. Do not approach anyone or anything from a place of judgement, because that really says more about you than it does the other person. Our judgements are born within ourselves. Understanding that we all come from different backgrounds, no matter how similar we appear to be, will go a long way in acceptance and understanding, and peaceful co-existence. 

Finally, it is in the actions we take that we will find our happiness. The above 2 principles are part of that action. We focus our thoughts, we keep our emotions in check, but we must also take action on a regular basis to make a difference in the world.  If you see someone struggling, give them a hand. If you come across someone who is feeling sad or depressed, be a shoulder, and an ear if they need it. Don’t try to fix it, just be in the moment with them and follow their lead.

Speak up about the positive changes you want to see in the world, rather than fighting against what you don’t want. Support the causes you feel passionate about in a positive way so that the light you shine on them will draw more positive attention and support to it. Walk your walk! 

Always remember to live authentically. Be honest in your interactions with other people, in your conversations, in your work, in your life.  Be mindful of sharing thoughts and ideas. Are they kind, helpful, honest, true? The more authentic you become, the more you walk away from negativity, the more the people in your life will change. Those who tend to be negative and bring you down will start slipping away and slowly be replaced with those who support, uplift, and encourage you. And that’s ok! Let the changes occur. As certain people start to drift away say a silent thank you for what you have learned from them and wish them the best. 

In learning and practicing these simple steps, you will begin to see the positive transformation you are seeking.  It’s a journey and there will be other lessons, but the work must first start with you. 

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