THE MAN (OR WOMAN) IN THE MIRROR

This week is all about areas that affect our lives in a major way. Today we are going to talk about the person looking back at us in the mirror. It is time to give them a fresh look. When you see yourself in the mirror, what do you see? More importantly, how did you come to that opinion? If you were asked to describe yourself, what would you say? What if you could change that description? Even change parts of you that you may think could never be changed?

It is amazing when I hear people tell me “I am a procrastinator.” or “I am just not a happy person.” My first question is “Really? When did you decide that?” They will either give me one of those looks people give you when you ask thought provoking questions they do not expect, or I receive answers that include the following, “I didn’t decide, that is just who I am.” “I don’t know I have always been that way.” Sometimes an especially introspective individual will share with me some event from their childhood, or maybe their last relationship that prompted this belief. I listen carefully and calmly tell them, “Actually you did choose to be that way and you did so this morning.” Again, more crazy looks.

Here is the uncomfortable truth a lot of us do not like to consider. We choose daily who we are. If you are a person who is always running late, when could you decide to change that? If you are a person who was hurt by an uncaring person in your last relationship, when can you begin to deal with and heal from those experiences? The answer is right now. Let me assure you, I am not trying to make light of anything you have been through. I know a lot of you have been through very painful experiences. Allowing them to continue to hurt you, or to force you to live your life stunted, not experiencing the fullness of joy and love that is available to you is a choice we must make, consciously or unconsciously, every morning when we wake up. It may take seeking professional help or just reaching a point where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, but you are the one who must choose who looks back at you in the morning.

Some of us have even allowed others to tell us who we are. Les Brown, one of my favorite authors and motivational speakers was told throughout his childhood he was educable mental retarded. It took an embarrassing moment of having to tell the teacher he was too ‘dumb’ to solve a problem on the chalkboard to change his life. What the teacher told him not only changed his life, but can change ours as well. The teacher walked around the desk, looked right into his eyes and said, “Never let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.” Read that statement a few times. You may even want to print it out and hang it somewhere.

A lot of us were told by well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) teachers, parents and others growing up that we were not so good at this, or never will amount to that. I personally recall my senior year in high school my English teacher telling me, “I hope to God you never have a career in writing.” I have a website with about 800 posts and am about to publish my second book. More importantly, I have touched the lives of countless of people and will reach even more in the future. What if I listened to that teacher, and several classmates I might add, what would have happened? I never would have attempted to set up a website. I never would have believed I could write a book let alone more than one. All the lives I have helped? I never would have been able to reach them. Just thinking of that gives me a sadness in my heart.

Here is what I suggest. Take some quality time by yourself and think about who you would wish to be. Write down the ideas you come up with. It is vital you do NOT consider your current situation when coming up with this list. If I had done so back in my senior year, becoming a best-selling author and speaker would have never made the list. When you come up with your list take a good hard look at it. Then, take a look at that person in the mirror. Read this list to yourself every morning when you wake up and every evening before you go to bed.

Next time you reach for that twinkie, think of your list. If ‘I am a healthy vibrant individual’ is on there, you might want to give that a second thought. If you choose to eat that twinkie, remember you have made that decision. If you need help, seek help. Remember you and only you should define the kind of person you wish to be. It is time to take control of the person we see in the mirror. Tomorrow we look at another way in which we can gain leverage on ourselves and help move us in the direction we are wishing to go.

WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!

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Who the hell are you? Chances are you had to stop a second and think of the answer to that. What did you come up with? Was your identity attached to your occupation? Was it defined by your family life? Perhaps you chose your faith to define who you are. It is amazing how little focus we spend on who we are. Even less on who we desire to become. Here is a great secret, you have power over that. What do I mean by this? Let me share with you a simple exercise I learned that can help us become the type of person we desire to be. First ask yourself who you wish to be. Keep it simple. One word answers. Come up with three. Once you get started it can be easy to keep going, but pick the 3 most powerful ones for you. By most powerful I mean the ones you really wish to be defined by. Perhaps you wish to be a driven person, but all you seem to drive is other people crazy. write it down. Maybe you want to be energetic, but the only energy you use is the batteries in the remote? write it down. Maybe you would just like to be a happy joyous person, but life always seems to knock you down. write it down.

So now you have a list. In our example it would be driven, energetic and happy Here is all you do, much like the questions from yesterdays post, in fact you can have them on the same sheet of paper, read these three words three times a day. upon waking, before retiring and at least once a day. In addition, read them whenever you seem to be off track. Feeling to lazy to change a channel and find yourself feeling like spending the day on the sofa? Read your list. The boss have you so mad you are seeing red? read the list. It is like reminding yourself of who you are. Not who you want to be, but who you are. It may seem like you are lying to yourself, but deciding who you want to be is a new practice for most of us and our brain may need a gentle reminder.

Again I encourage you to try this for 30 days. If you pair it with the questions from yesterdays post your life is on the fast track to positive change. In a month you will not even recognize the person staring back at you in the mirror! Please stop back and share your results