Dealing with uncertainty to overcome the struggles that come with it

Dealing with uncertainty to overcome the struggles that come with it

I’ve recently started a podcast to accompany the Inspiring Human Potential blog and interestingly enough, some of the topics that resonated the most on the blog, also resonated as topics on the podcast.  Uncertainty was one of those topics.  Since uncertainty plays such an important part of our life I thought we’d talk a bit about it and overcoming the challenges that come with it.

The struggle that comes with uncertainty is just that, not being sure of something.  When we don’t have certainty on something that happens in our life or why someone behaves a certain way it doesn’t sit very well with us.  People tend to want answers to their questions and no answer makes it hard to calm one’s self and regain focus on the beauties that accompany life.

Another area that we deal with is the uncertainty of life, not knowing what will come next or where our job will take us or even if we’ll have a job next year.  All of these uncertainties create some stress within and it is in those moments that you must make a choice.  You must choose whether you want fear to be in charge or love and peace of mind with what life brings your way.

Choosing love over fear isn’t easy because uncertainty, if anything, brings about just that.  It is a natural reaction to fear uncertainty since it involves the unknown; but if you stop every time uncertainty presents itself, and make a conscious choice to look to the things you are certain of, then things start to feel and look differently.

I say choose love over fear because love is everything that fear is not.  Love is compassion and understanding; it’s embracing change and the uncertain events that come your way; love is choosing to believe in someone even though nobody else does.  When you look at things from a place of heart the world becomes much more easy going and even though challenges may come your way, you will face them with a level of lightness because the burden of concern won’t be right behind you.

Uncertainty is nothing more than an unknown; this means it can become anything you want it to be and when all you see is love, even the unknown becomes beautiful to have around.  So when you find yourself stressed or worried because of an uncertain situation look to love and your heart for your answers.  When you’re dealing with a person who isn’t giving you the closure you’d like, send them love and peace.  Hopefully, these individuals will find their way and maybe one day, come back to explain themselves to you or at the very least acknowledge that which they brought to you by not giving you closure at the time you wanted it.

Hopefully, these tips will help you along your journey in life and make things a lot easier to deal with now that you see uncertainty through the heart.  Always remember that no matter how tough things may seem, you will get to a next step and then another, and still another.  You will be paving the way to a life you want, one that includes inner harmony and completion.

I’d love to hear about your handling of uncertainty and what that meant to you when you finally got the love going instead of the fear.

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The importance of focus and understanding yours at a deeper level

The importance of focus and understanding yours at a deeper level

When it comes to focus there tends to be a challenge for some to maintain it.  While it’s good to be flexible and open to change, focus is what can assist in persevering towards a decided objective.  When you switch from one thought to another in a way that changes the end objective, you may want to stop and reflect on why that is.

 

The reason for questioning your decision to change direction is because you want to find out why you’re going down a different path.  If the reason is long term it’s one thing, but if the decision to change is potentially a lack of confidence that you can obtain your previously decided objective then that’s another story.

 

What you focus on helps you to know the things that are important to you and what you want to invest your time in as you live life.  Whether you’re making life decisions or business ones, redirecting your focus requires thorough thought if you want to understand why you’re refocusing your attention elsewhere and if this refocus is here to stay or not.

 

Some questions that you can ask yourself when you’re getting ready to change focus on something you had decided you wanted to achieve are:

  • What has brought me to decide that I need to change direction?
  • What am I feeling when it comes to what I’m leaving behind? And how do I feel about my new focus?
  • Where do I see my new focus going and how is it going to improve my life?
  • Why is this new focus better than my previous one?
  • Is this the first time I change my focus on this particular situation?
  • How do I know this focus is the one that I’ll go through with?
  • Does my changing focus on this matter indicate something more to me about the matter or myself?

 

Add any other questions that come to mind as you go through this list and as you answer each, tune in to your heart.  Notice what emotions you’re feeling because they hold an even deeper meaning to your answers and can assist you in digging to the bottom of the real reason behind your change in focus.

 

Decisions that you make for the betterment of your life are always important and it’s understanding what that importance is that is key; the same goes for the importance behind your changed focus.  Asking why the change and how you feel about it is very important for you to stick to your new focus.  Also because, if you keep changing focus you’re never going know if that decision could have been achieved had you not switched it.

 

What do you think about focus and switching focus?  How has it affected your life and what have you done to understand your changes in direction, in decisions?

What’s the right solution for your struggles

We all go through struggles in life and this means we also search for solutions to those struggles.  The hard part about finding these solutions is tuning in to your heart and finding your answers from within.  This is difficult because of all the external inputs we get that guide us along the way at the beginning of our contemplative journey as individuals.  So how can you turn a struggle around for you?  How can you find that right solution for you through your heart and using the external inputs to actually help you identify your heart?

It all starts with you wanting to overcome your struggle and looking for solutions.  In the absence of you searching for the right solution there would be no solutions to consider.  So, it is thanks to those struggles that come your way that you are pushed to look at different ways to overcome an uncomfortable situation.

In time, you can tune in to your heart by listening to those solutions that you were told were the right solutions, but that don’t seem to be solving your struggles.  As you follow those solutions there will continue to be unsettling feelings from within and it is these feelings you want to pay attention to so that you can find your solution.

Once you identify the uncomfortable feeling inside of you that takes place every time you take action according to someone else, it is then that you can start contemplating different solutions that you want to test out.  You think of ways to find harmony within and this search is what will reveal your right solution.

The other part of the puzzle is remembering that you can learn from your struggles.  By turning your struggles into opportunities, you transform struggles into things that happen in life, but that you can resolve in time through the love you have for yourself and the heightened awareness you have of those solutions that aren’t working for you.

As you go through these steps you will find that you change your perspective and adopt only solutions that resonate with you from within.  These solutions, the ones that match your heart’s desire, are the right solutions for you.  It is only when you identify these opportunities that you can stop seeing them as a struggle and work with yourself at a deeper level.

How do you feel about struggle?  And what have you done to find your ‘perfect solution’?

Overcoming insecurities and removing external definitions

Typically, we all get defined by our loved ones as we grow up.  You know, those comments that end up defining you as the talker of the family or the neat freak or the nagger, and so on.  While these traits can be a part of who you are, they don’t have to define you in such a way as to make you insecure or self-conscious.  Yet, they do affect each one of us in a way that makes us justify or excuse our behavior in numerous circumstances.  If it only stopped there that would be fine, but these definitions of us also end up affecting what we do or don’t do.

When you’ve been told for most of your life that you’re a certain way (whatever the traits and behaviors you’ve been ascribed) you also think that maybe you can’t do something because of it, and this is where these external definitions stop you from doing something.  But the little component that stops you for good is you, which is why you need to remove these external noises.  The only way you’re going to do this is if you stop thinking these traits are something you need to remove or something that need to be justified.  So, how do you do this?

For starters, recognizing that many of the definitions (vices and virtues) of you come from others.  By others I mean loved ones and guides.  This includes parents (first and foremost), siblings, teachers, friends, and colleagues to name a few.  With this knowledge, you can now move on to recognizing when you’re getting on your own case because of something someone else has told you is a “bad” thing or is something that could be avoided.

We all have had these situations where we stop ourselves or think about something we’re doing in a way where we make an excuse and justify why we’re doing what we’re doing.  It’s in these instances that you should remember that the only reason you’re justifying yourself is because someone has told you that you do this too much or that you should stop doing this because it’s not a good thing.  You become self-conscious and this makes any insecurities you may have regarding yourself that much more present.

This heightened insecurity then brings about a feeling of lack or not good enough or maybe just a tiny doubt about yourself; no matter how big or small, it stops you from being yourself 100%.  You hold back because you have your loved ones’ repetitive voice in your head telling you to get rid of that habit, to stop doing that thing, or just that you’re too much of this or that.

Once you sit down with yourself and ask if you’re ok with being that “too much” or “too little” then it’s up to you to come to your defense the next time your insecurity arises and you hear those voices, those comments, that allow doubt to creep in.  Stop in that moment and remind yourself that you’re ok with that trait, that you accept it and it is others who are different and that this is ok.  It’s ok to be different and at the end of the day, the comments that these loved ones have made are based on their personalities, their perspective, their behaviors.

Another thing you could do in addition to helping yourself overcome these external definitions and stop having them hang over you and keep you from being you is to in turn stop doing this very thing to someone else.  If you define your loved ones or anyone and tell them why they shouldn’t have that trait or that they have too much of that trait, remember how you feel about this exact same situation and keep the comment to yourself.  Instead, be encouraging to them and help them to be themselves 100%, all the way, with no shame and nothing that needs to change.

How have you worked through external definitions of you and in doing so helped to eliminate your insecurities too?

Focusing on being right takes away focus from more important things

In our lives there will be many situations where we will feel wronged or want justice and although this is understandable, focusing on this won’t allow you to see other things that are much more important.  So how can you let go of being right and refocus your attention on what really matters?

The first thing that needs to be brought to your attention in situations like these is the fact that each side thinks they are right.  It’s all about perspective and seeing as people do things as a consequence of what they believe in they will think that they’re right in doing so.  This doesn’t mean someone can’t tell if they’ve done something wrong or not, but the likelihood in those situations where a clash arises is based on the fact that two or more people think one side is in the right and the other isn’t.

This idea of one side versus the other being right is exactly why focus on being right ends up being a waste of time and energy.  If the other side thought they were wrong, you wouldn’t feel wronged because the person or people would have already apologized instead of standing their ground in thinking they’re right.  This cycle is endless and even though some people may say talking helps, this isn’t always the case.

Add to the situation the component of anger and frustration, and you have a mix of emotions that keeps growing every day more.  The more you think about what has happened and not getting an apology or admission of guilt, the more you get upset at the entire situation.  This is where your focus on being right totally messes with you.

It’s not about you being right or wrong that is the issue, it’s about you not being able to go beyond this situation without an apology or justice being served.  It’s about thinking of all the ways you are right and how the other person should see it so clearly that you wonder how is it even possible that they don’t see it.  Again, all throughout this process the only certain thing is your feelings of injustice at the entire scenario.  This focus takes away from what you could be learning about what just happened and how you could learn something about yourself if only you stopped thinking so much about the other side (and how wrong they are).

If you find yourself in this situation the best thing to do is to remember that if an apology isn’t given it means the person or people don’t think they’ve done anything wrong.  At this point the questions you should be asking are why are you so upset and what can you do to change how you feel about this without needing the other people involved to do something about it.

Since perspective is what the clash is all about, try to take a step back and look at what is really bothering you about this.  Can you tell if there’s any judgement on your end or expectation that influences what you’re thinking and how you’re reacting?  If so, isn’t your judgement and expectation just as influential to this whole thing as the other person’s or people’s judgement and expectation?

Try to see what it is you can takeaway from this experience instead of doing everything you can to try and convince someone else that they have to admit they’re wrong when they don’t think they are.  Then look to what you can do to avoid these types of situations.  Also, if these people have specific characteristics about them or a way of doing things that don’t resonate with you, remove them from your circle of friends and avoid having people like this in your life.

Do remember that overall in life each person is just trying to make it and maybe what they did wasn’t meant to affect anyone.  They can’t help being who they are and doing things in the way they see things.  We’re each limited in our view, seeing as we can only see so far; and this seeing is based on our life experiences and our thought processes, values and beliefs.

How do you refocus from being right or wanting justice to the bigger picture, to the meaning and lessons of a situation that arises where you feel wronged?

Everyone can make a mistake, it’s owning up to it that makes a difference

No matter how big or small a mistake can be, when you are able to own up to it, it makes a world of difference to you and/or to the other who suffered from the mistake.  It’s not about focusing on the blame or the now, ‘past’ event (and what was done); but rather accepting that it happened and exploring what exactly happened and why.

Obviously, the situation in exploring a mistake and owning up to it differs when it’s you who made the mistake or someone else who made it.  Let’s take a look at the two separately to see exactly how owning up to a mistake makes a difference in each circumstance.

Let’s start with you owning up to a mistake because it is simpler and easier for you to manage that situation in a way that you can learn from and avoid sitting on it or hiding inside and in doing so leaving hurt and disappointment within instead of releasing it and moving past the situation.

Because we’re human, it is only normal to err, and we know when we’ve done so because inside of us there’s this uneasy feeling.  The feeling could be anger or a lingering sadness, or maybe that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach that you did something wrong.  There’s the tendency to initially blame everyone and everything else or to make excuses for ourselves on why we had to do what we did.  Usually the knowledge and awareness that you made the mistake wants to hide beneath the surface and so everything else is to blame as to why that mistake happened.

Putting aside your ego is never easy, and since life is full of external events that are out of our control it’s easy to find something or someone else to be the cause of a choice.  However, the choice is made by you and you alone, and pointing the finger at someone or something else won’t make you feel better.  Unconsciously you’ll know.  So, instead of doing this to yourself, accepting and acknowledging that you made a mistake can help.

First recognize ego, recognize the part you played and did have control over, and recognize that at the end of the day you made the final choice.  Unless, your life was on the line, you made a conscious and thought out decision.  With all of this in the forefront then remind yourself that you’re human and explore the situation to see what you can learn about yourself from your mistake and from what happened so that you can try to avoid it the next time around.

For our second scenario, when someone else makes a mistake and doesn’t own up to it, the situation is much more challenging.  It’s challenging because there’s another person with their own personality and thought process in front of you, and with their own ego and perspective.  You can argue with them all day and try to make your points on why they should admit their mistake.  None of this will get them to do so if they don’t acknowledge it themselves.  The best you can do in these cases is to accept and move on.  If this person makes mistakes repeatedly and they affect you and your life in a big way, then remove them (if you can) from your circle of people.

Mistakes are made and mistakes are things we can learn from always if only we look beyond the surface; if only you don’t stop at the mistake and point the finger.  We’re all just trying to make it a good and happy life, along that road…mistakes can happen, but you can move past them and have them add to your person and world if you focus on the good that comes out of the situation.

How do you handle mistakes and owning up to them or dealing with people who don’t own up to theirs?

Avoiding to take out frustrations or a bad day on somebody else

A couple days ago I had an interesting conversation that sparked my thoughts for today’s Wednesday Wisdom post.

The story first ~

I was at a café in Pozzuoli (near Naples, Italy) getting an espresso and asking about how payment for the parking lot worked. The signs that explained the regulations were confusing as to what the costs were depending on the day and time. 

From this conversation, the bartenders told me about an encounter they had had during the week with a lady who had the same question, but who got upset about the parking payment system as they told her how it worked. 

As they were sharing what happened, a gentleman at the counter (who I later found out is the café’s owner) intervened saying how he would have told the lady that if she didn’t like it she could leave and that they served coffee, they had no control over how the parking payment system worked.  As he expressed this, I could tell he was quite upset. 

In response, I said that maybe the lady was having a bad day, at which he replied we could all be having a bad day that doesn’t mean anything.  His tone was still quite upset, so then I tried to find out if the lady had somehow offended the bartenders (his employees) and that’s why he was taking it so personally or maybe she had offended the café.

This wasn’t the case or I should say, what transpired was that he had a stressful living situation going on at home.  He blurted it out as he was somewhat venting about this lady and her tone.  His employees gave this look of shock, like oh no, what is he saying; why is he sharing all this information with customers. 

The moral of the story is that had he been there he would’ve gotten as “aggressive” in his tone as the lady’s tone with his staff.  Obviously, it was clear that like the lady, he too was frustrated for something that day.  Had the two met they would have fueled each other’s “fire” so to speak.  Luckily, he wasn’t there and his staff handled it by simply allowing the lady to vent and then go about her way.

Without focusing on this situation from a business and customer service angle, but from a communication standpoint, if you meet fire (an angry tone) without fire (so calmly), you not only allow the situation to avoid escalating; but you also avoid two angry people getting on each other’s case for no reason except for the fact that they both were having a really bad day.

Kindness and love or at least understanding without taking something personally (especially when it isn’t a direct attack on your person) will always benefit a situation for you, as well as the “aggressor” who is dealing with some kind of stressful situation.

People aren’t always upfront about what is going on in their life; after all, it’s personal.  But if you stay calm and lend an ear, that can be enough to help a person get rid of pent up emotions.  In this case, could have the lady avoided yelling at the staff about something they had no control over?  Yes, of course she could’ve; but she didn’t because she wasn’t aware of how she was taking out her frustrations on others.  Thanks to the staff being able to stay calm they didn’t make the situation worse.

Always try to see what kind of day you’re having and if you’re taking out your frustrations on somebody else.  Also keep in mind that if someone gets “aggressive” with you, it could be due to something that is going on in their life that puts them on edge and upsets them so much that they’ll find any way to let it out.

Try to be understanding of others and realize that they usually express frustration if they are upset for some reason (something that they’re dealing with).  If it gets too bad, just remove yourself from the situation altogether.  In the end, you getting frustrated with the other person doesn’t help them stop; and if anything, it gets you to take the same tone with them.

How do you handle people who speak to you out of frustration?