“Life delights in life.” — William Blake
How do we connect with other people? Do we rely on conflict, suffering, manipulation, gossip or one-up-man ship? Do we create relationships that can be controlled safely and then call that “reality?”
Real connection requires two people, both wanting to be in the relationship, to approach each other as equals. A good relationship brings us happiness, growth and a satisfying feeling of closeness. We can be ourselves, without adjusting our beliefs or behavior to please the other person or to keep up the relationship. The moment we abandon our equality, we have a power struggle, not a relationship.
Previously, the only connections we made were between us and a hunger and an appetite that was never filled. Once we began our process of personal growth we began to enjoy the real connections with people; the true joy that comes with giving and receiving.
“Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind.” –John Spalding
There are some people who knew all too well the person I was – before I started to focus on becoming a more emotionally healthy person through personal growth. I know that a person can’t do the kind of work I have on myself and remain unchanged. However, for whatever reason, these people cling to the toxic images in their minds of my former self. I know that each day brings more depth to my spirituality, and with that comes change.
A friend of mine once shared with me that he begins each day by saying out loud, “O.K. God, surprise me!” Although each day brings new challenge, the one thing it won’t bring is perfection. I know that each day I can expect a mixed bag of experiences and all kinds of emotions to match.
If I begin to feel discouraged because of someone’s inability or refusal to see how different I have become, or even negative about life in general, I cultivate an attitude of gratitude by looking back at how far I have come. I remind myself, its progress I’m looking for in myself, not perfection. There’s always something to be grateful for, including the ability to be grateful!
- The Priceless Gift of Personal Growth (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- “A Letting Go” for the Holidays (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Damn Heels Hurt! When In Pain, Who Knows Best Where it Hurts? (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- S.T.A.R. A Tool to Choose Healthy Alternatives (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- For All This We Can Be Grateful and Joyful (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
How About Making Today the First Day, of the Best Year of Your Life?
I have committed to blogging about my attempt to bring more “positivity” to my life. I’m going to share my discoveries, realizations, new awareness, experimentation, success and failure as I attempt to bring a greater sense of positive thinking into my life. I’ve heard if from more than a handful of people now, that I tend to focus on the negative. My awareness has been raised and that’s not what I want in my life at all! So here’s my summary of what I learned today:
I found a quote by William Shakespeare, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. And I paired with this quote “The Happiness Habit”. The Happiness Habit is developed by simply practicing happy thinking. Make a mental list of happy thoughts and pass them through your mind several times every day.
If “un-happiness” thought should ever enter your mind, immediately stop, consciously eject it, and substitute a happiness thought. Every morning, before arising from bed, just stay in bed, lying in a relaxed state, and drop happy thoughts into your conscious mind. Let a series of pictures pass across your mind of each happy experience you expect to have during the day. Savor their joy. Such thoughts, I am told and I am now a believer will help cause events to turn out that way!
– Contributions from works by Norman Vincent Peale –
“We live each day with special gifts that are a part of our very being, and life is a process of discovering and developing these God-given gifts within each one of us.” – Jeanne Dixon
As I continue along my path of personal growth, I discover ways to share myself with other people. I feel the want to act on things I’ve learned and to apply them in my relationships. This way, I can pass on to others the awareness and knowledge I have been given.
This wonderful urge to take action should be followed, not resisted. A spiritual awakening is just that – an awakening of the spirit, which then seeks to be part of all life itself.
When we discover our talents, whatever they are, we will be true to them and look for opportunities to use them. The challenge of doing this lets such qualities as integrity, courage, self-discipline and compassion to rise to the surface, where they become part of our daily practice. The alignment of who we are on the outside with who we are on the inside is a priceless gift that is received as the result of hard work toward personal growth.
- The Gifts of Peace, Simplicity and Reality this Holiday Season (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- A Gift So Rich This Holiday (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Be Happy! (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
“Maybe you can’t see the storm that lies just ahead. But I can. Believe me, it’s there.”
Confronting issues openly and honestly can be difficult. Many, like me are afraid of the reaction they’ll get from the person they are confronting. With that fear firmly embedded in one’s psyche, looking the other way and acting like the problem isn’t there becomes the easy way out. Or so it seems. Looking the other way really doesn’t make matters easier at all. In fact, it makes them worse. Problems often just don’t go away without some action.
I haven’t faced some very big issues and challenges that have been in my life for too long now. But I see clearly that I can’t let these problems linger. In my situation the problems have grown and the result is more and more hurt to me. I feel fear of the reaction I expect to receive. My fears I know after giving it long thought are grounded in reality and not based on my imagination. To get myself beyond this fear, I will have to have the necessary support around me to protect me. With my support in place I will face my problems. I must remember that storms don’t last forever. Eventually the sun does shine again, and life was nourished by the rains. I will come out of this a better person.
“There is no humiliation for humility.” — Joseph Roux
When I was young I can remember going to someone for help, only to be met by coldness. This happened often as I recall. The adults that participated in this horrible form of neglect were my parents, grandparents and even aunts and uncles. Compound this generalized lack of concern with friends mocking me when I tried to open to them. As if I even need one more of these emotional whammies, I can’t leave this one out: I was taken advantage of because I was sensitive and vulnerable. In short, I felt humiliated when I wanted to open up. So, what did I do? Well I resolved not to let myself be open and dependent. I closed myself off from others and became grandiose in my belief that I could go it alone.
Now, at this point in my life and personal growth, I am slowly learning to be humble. I have come to realize that nobody is an island, cut off from the world. I don’t know all the answers. I need the help of those who really do want to reach out to me.
It’s hard to be humble when I was so often humiliated, but I have to risk again reaching out to others; the rewards I have come to find out, are amazing! And it is wonderful to not be alone. I know that as an adult, I don’t have to keep on feeling humiliated. Being humble is a sign of strength, not of weakness. Now, I experience new power in my relationships with others.
Many of us along our paths of personal growth are perfectionists who have been brought up to believe in nothing other than the ideal. When we fall away from perfection, we plunge from the heights of idealism to the depths of misery and self-abuse.
We can do better by being less “perfectionistic”. When we can show and accept our real strengths and defects we get a whole new perspective on ourselves and a true sense of balance. We learn to be flexible and to appreciate the diversity of life (even the humble cabbage).
Even if I don’t especially like cabbage soup, I can recognize that all things may be good to those who love life and keep their eyes wide open.
“Just remember – when you think all is lost, the future remains.”
– Robert H. Goddard
Ever wonder what it would be like to be lost at sea? I suppose one would begin to think after a while, that there is no such thing as “land”, so immense and frightening the ocean surrounding would become. Imagine nothing but huge stretches of gray, heaving water and the fear that you’re not going to make it. I know I’d cringe and withdraw from rational thought and action. I’d become sick at heart.
That’s sort of how I feel some days; lost. At times it seems that my old tools in my tool belt of coping mechanisms is all that I have and all that I am. As long as I can remember and as far as I can see into the future, that’s all there seems to be.
That’s when I realize that I must shake myself free of that kind of obsessive thinking. If I continue with the analogy of being lost at sea, I know there is land ahead and help at hand. I have seen other people experience finding themselves over again, and getting back on their own path toward personal growth. There have been whole days, weeks, months, when I haven’t felt lost at sea in my life. Those that have gone before me are at my side or just behind me getting started are my lifelines. I trust that together, we will all make a safe passage home if we just believe in ourselves.
- The Challenges of Accepting and Loving Life (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Discovering Our Uniqueness (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Needs That Have Gone Unmet (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Positive Emotions; Building Blocks for Personal Growth (psychologytoday.com)
“Celebration is a forgetting in order to remember. A forgetting of ego, of problems, of difficulties. A letting go.” — Matthew Fox
Holidays can be a real test to one’s personal growth. That’s the case particularly for me. I struggle anyway on a day-to-day basis to stay emotionally and physically healthy. I can’t imagine those that must go it alone.
But I find this to be a good time to focus on taking good care of myself. I can reach out and invite my healthy friends, acquaintances and members of my “family of choice” to my home, keep up with phone calls, and try to be honest, rather than jolly. I can refuse to lose myself in my former unhealthy behaviors. I can find other healthy people to be with.
Perhaps holidays offer all of us the chance to reflect on the impact our former unhealthy ways have affected our relationships and how much sharing these special times with others means. We are also able to appreciate what we already have, to better recognize our blessings because we have known the pain and deprivation of our former, negative ways.
The path toward personal growth is my holiday season, offering to me peace, simplicity and most of all, reality. I can choose an attitude of hope and gratitude. In letting go of expectations, I find much more to celebrate than I could have anticipated. My affirmation for today is, “I have enough, I do enough, I am enough.”