“You have the power to control your reactions to situations...AND the power to control the next action you take! When you take responsibility for the part you play in your situations, you empower yourself to take charge of your life.”
You probably already know that I believe strongly that there isn't much in this world we have the power to control outside of ourselves - and when you understand that fact, you'll give yourself a sense of freedom and relief from a lot of the stress that can occur when you try to extend your control beyond yourself.
What you DO have control over is your reactions to situations you will experience - you have the power to reign in your emotions, to not explode when something frustrates you, and to find more productive ways of dealing with your experiences.
You have the power to control the next action you take, the next words out of your mouth, and even the next thoughts that occupy your brain. Part of creating and maintaining the Dynamic, Intriguing, Vivacious and Authentic life you want to live involves taking a step back, looking objectively at a situation, and using the information you gain to inform and affect your next steps.
It takes humility to look at a situation and see what you could do differently as well as what you did correctly. Taking that look at yourself gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, and if you can do that, you're a step closer to understanding with compassion, and you'll be able to make wiser, more well-informed decisions in the future.
Try this: Get Curious
Taking charge of your life, being able to create and manifest that DivaStyle life you deserve, will be easier when you take responsibility for your part in your own situations. By getting curious, you can analyze the challenges and learn from them. Doing this analysis can help you to realize your power to overcome, rather than resorting to blaming "circumstances" for the challenges that will inevitably come.
For instance - if you were fired from a job, instead of wallowing in the negative and blaming your boss or your co-workers, take a different look - ask yourself "Was there anything I could have done differently?" or "What can I learn from this to help me in my next, better position?"
It's important to keep your attitude non-judgmental during this process. You're not doing this to criticize yourself, but instead to take responsibility and dig further into the challenge. You're also not looking for a way to blame yourself for what happened, but instead you're going to strengthen your ability to Thrive Through Challenges by taking an honest look at the part you played in your circumstance.
Another possibility - if you've been passed over for a promotion or a different position, and you meet the experience and educational qualifications, look at what else might have been a factor in the decision. Are you expressing the full range of your capabilities? Have you been "hiding your light under a bushel" and not extending yourself out of the comfort zone you've built? Rising above your co-workers and reaching for a higher, more responsible position means you have to present the complete package - from nose to toes and everyplace in between.
While analyzing the challenge, take a look at, and be ready to take ownership of, your actions. Are there people you need to acknowledge or apologize to? It's important to have and express humility, and your ability to verbalize your wrongdoings will display your maturity and your ability to emotionally regulate. These factors can make the difference in the way you present yourself and the way others see you.
If you find you need to apologize to someone, use this process:
Making An Effective Apology
Before approaching the person you need to apologize to, make sure you know what you're apologizing for
Write down a few key behaviors that could have been different, and that you'd like to adjust
Let the person know you'd like to talk with them and schedule a time to do so
If you bring up the incident or situation unannounced, they might not be ready to talk with you about it yet. Give them an opportunity to enter the conversation mindfully, and take the time for you to prepare to do the same.
Say "I'm Sorry"...
Begin the conversation by saying "I'm Sorry" and then, don't stop there
Be specific and clear about what you're sorry for - keep your tone neutral, serious, and believable. Keep the communication clear, and you'll both be on
the same page for the rest of the conversation.
Ask - "Did I leave anything out?"
This can be difficult, but it's important - ask the person you're talking to if there is anything you left out. You must do this because it will teach you new things about the situation, and give you new ideas for how to move forward productively.
Ask - "What else can I do?"
Asking the person you had the conflict with if there's something else you can do to help ease the situation and move forward gives you the opportunity to come up with a collaborative solution that works for both of you. At the very least, you'll both have a chance to be heard.
Resentment can hinder your ability to apologize - if you feel resentment toward anyone during this process, you have to take responsibility for that, and be responsible for your own forgiveness process.
Sometimes, we experience being wronged in a big way that impacts our lives. We can also feel resentment toward another person for something seemingly small, but we just can't seem to shake it. Regardless of the situation, there are things you can do to forgive and to move on from the situation - Thrive Through the Challenge.
Other people - wonderfully imperfect human beings - will not always live up to our expectations. They disappoint us and sometimes intentionally interfere with our lives. Once that initial trust is broken, it's easy to raise the expectations for what the "offender" must do in order to prove themselves worthy of our forgiveness.
This is another element of our lives - that Dynamic, Intriguing, Vivacious and Authentic life you're building - that you have control over. You can decide to forgive someone right now, right where you are, if you want to, without them doing anything in return for you. You're not doing it for them, you're doing it for you.
The process of forgiveness can be long - especially if you've been holding on to a specific resentment for a long time. The Forgiveness exercise below, if repeated consistently, can help ease and eventually remove the weight that resentment puts on your shoulders.
5 Steps to Forgiveness
Identify your emotions
Take a moment to get quiet, take a few deep, cleansing breaths to settle yourself, and identify three emotions that come to you when you think about the resentment you felt (or feel).
What do you need to forgive?
Think about and recognize exactly what you need to forgive this person for - how did they wrong you? How was your trust broken? Is this a single occurrence, or does it happen often?
Say out loud that you forgive them
Stay with me here - imagine that person standing calmly in front of you with a neutral expression. Visualize yourself speaking to them and say "I forgive you" to them over and over again. Start by saying it three times, and feel the tension of that burden of resentment releasing and easing. If three times isn't enough, say it a few more times until you feel that burden lifting.
Notice how the release of resentment feels to you
Imagine being totally free of the resentment and visualize what your life would look like if you didn't carry that unnecessary burden any more. How much freer would you be? Remember - it's not for them that you release the resentment - it's for YOU!
Feel the positivity rush in to fill the void
You'll start to feel better, and the "hole" that's left by you letting go of resentment is ready to be filled with something better - keep releasing the hurt feelings and invite good feelings to come in - congratulate yourself for writing your ticket out of that dark, uncomfortable place.
Now this practice isn't "magical" - you might need to repeat this practice multiple times while forgiving someone who has inflicted a serious emotional wound, but over time, you'll notice less of an emotional pull (or upset) when you think of them or when you have to be around them.
Making Changes That Stick
If it's a new concept to you, it can be difficult to completely understand how to take responsibility for your own happiness - when things feel out of control and chaotic, it can seem even more difficult. I've got a few more tips for you to put in place positive changes that will stick:
Develop a consistent daily routine
Repeat an intentional series of positive actions each morning to help ready you for the day, including 5 minutes for a mindfulness exercise. Schedule your time so that you set boundaries and keep track of your personal growth, and set reminders to go off during the day that will bring you back to the present moment.
The reminders can help you to pause in whatever's going on in the present and move forward from there. If you're in the middle of a challenging situation and a reminder goes off, it's a way to refocus and remember that you get to make your own decision.
Check in with yourself several times a day - identify your emotions
Identifying your emotions takes practice - after all, we're just used to feeling them, not necessarily identifying them. When you can take a step back and identify them, it gives you the ability to take responsibility for them and make changes that meet YOUR needs. With enough practice, you'll be better able to handle them in times of confusion, doubt, and upset - moving you from striving to Thriving.
See every moment as a Learning and Growing Opportunity
Continually ask yourself "What am I learning from this?" or "Will this help me create and manifest the life of my dreams?" Thinking about this will help you feel empowered to make changes in your life that follow on the path YOU have set, and the journey YOU want to travel, while letting go of unproductive emotions and activities. Continuing to keep your goal in front of you helps sharpen your focus, increases your curiosity, and boosts your self-confidence.