Your Not So Ordinary Self-Improvement Tips
We know we should eat better, work-out, and commit to self-care, but how do we become the best version of ourselves on the inside?
It’s important to physically show up for people whether they are family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers. We’ve become a rather selfish society where the idea of support has metamorphosed into hitting the like, heart, or sad emoji on Facebook. We may even add a quick comment. Real support requires effort and time. It means knocking on a friend’s door at 10:00 at night when they are in the depths of despair. Support is waking up at 8:00 am on a Saturday morning to help with a move or your elderly neighbor’s yard work. True support is inconvenient, requires changing your schedule, or sacrificing your own free time.
But, here’s the great thing about offering support: You will create stronger and deeper connections with people; you will feel a sense of purpose; and you will find the rate of return on investing in people is priceless.
Suggested Read: What You Can Do To Support A Friend During Loss?
Life is not a smooth road for anyone. Along the journey, we accumulate extra baggage and sometimes this baggage is filled with souvenirs we didn’t need. For example, we picked up our father’s anger issues or our mother’s critical eye. When trusted family or friends offer you perspective on your habits or behavior, listen without becoming defensive. Maybe they are wrong, or maybe they are right – only you can decide. Regardless, we leave no room for self-improvement if we protect our egos by closing the door to feedback.
Practice Communication Skills
Whether it be our tone, the words we choose, or the intention behind those words, communication plays a significant role in the quality of our relationships. It’s also important to look at what we are communicating. I’ve always appreciated Rumi’s three gates:
1. Is it kind?
2. Is it the truth?
3. Is it necessary?
If the answer is no to one of those questions, we should stay silent. There are times, however, when difficult or uncomfortable conversations are necessary. We need to listen without judgment, refrain from shaming others, and not be afraid to express how we feel. Words carry powerful energy and can cause as much hurt as a physical injury. It is our responsibility to learn and practice ways to communicate effectively.
It’s important to let go of grudges. When others anger us and we cling to that anger as a life support, we are actually killing ourselves. According to the Mayo Clinic forgiveness leads to the following:
- Healthier relationships
- Improved mental health
- Less anxiety, stress, and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- A stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
- Improved self-esteem
Anger is an all-consuming distraction that slyly shifts our focus away from joy. It robs us of the present moment and disempowers us. Sometimes anger is justified, and that’s okay. But, at a certain point, we need to release it. Although we may never forget the transgression, we can forgive it.
Forgiveness is the kindest act we can do for ourselves.
Suggested Read: How To Let Go And Live Mindfully
Know Your Triggers
We can overreact to what, in hindsight, may seem like minor slights or situations. The sound of someone’s voice or the expression on their face suddenly reminds us of the mean kid that picked on us in school. Painful traumas, hurts, or experiences we’ve had, especially as kids, will continue to haunt us as adults if we fail to heal them. The following are common triggers that may lead to unhealthy behaviors:
- Feeling rejected
- Feeling ignored
- Feeling inadequate
- Feeling shamed
- Feeling something is unfair
- Feeling judged
- Feeling controlled
- Feeling abandoned
- Feeling smothered
- Feeling you’re not good enough
When we’re triggered, we may transfer our pain to others by blaming or lashing out. We can become needy or overly pleasing, or we may isolate ourselves or turn to food, sex, alcohol, gambling, or other debilitating behaviors.
“What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.”
~ Anais Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934
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