Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bringing Your Energy to It

Daily responsibilities and obligations can gradually take a toll on energy flow, making it feel at times like there's no room to use your energy in the way you want to. This experience can be hard to go through, and the physical effects that often result such as fatigue and sleep issues can make things feel worse.

Even though chronic fatigue is commonly thought of as a cluster of physical symptoms, much of fatigue starts out on a mental-emotional level and then spreads to the whole body. Energy may actually be available in the body, but it can be difficult to use when it's been blocked from coming out. Energy can then become stagnant or stuck from lack of use. It's there, but it can feel very out of reach.

In today's busy busy world, this is a common challenge. We may have certain uncontrollable factors that define how and where we use most of our energy. Still, it's important to remember that being able to bring your energy to something you care about helps keep energy flowing in the body and through daily life. Wherever you can create a pocket for yourself, bring your energy to it.

If you enjoy playing music when you're done with the day's work, bring your energy to the notes. If you have ideas on a different type of work you'd like to do in the future, bring your energy to those ideas. If you're a writer, blogger, or talker, bring your energy to the words you use. Enjoy exercise and sports? Bring energy to your movements. If you're in very busy and demanding period of life, however, do what you can and when there's more time to rest you'll have more opportunities.

Your energy matters. Find ways to keep it burning for yourself.

When Can You Be Proud of Yourself?

It's not easy to be proud of yourself. That's not because you haven't done or are aren't doing things that you're proud of---it's actually the opposite.

We live in a world where enough is never enough and this mindset is contagious on an individual level as well. Often, we don't let ourselves feel like anything's good enough. We commonly overlook what we're proud of in favor of holding a magnifying glass to our perceived faults, shortcomings, mistakes, and unreached ideals. Is this fair?

Denying ourselves pride for who we are and what we do can become a vicious cycle. Instead of facing a challenge, job, project, or other task with a sense of satisfaction, we can become addicted to criticizing ourselves for what we're doing wrong. We may actually invent or search for things that we're doing "wrong" in order to perpetuate this cycle.

Being proud of what you do can even bring up feelings of guilt or fear. It's okay for someone else to be proud of you, or for you to be proud of someone else. What's wrong, then, with feeling proud of yourself?

The truth is, there's nothing wrong with it and you deserve it. You can bring the satisfaction to your own life that comes from enjoying who you are and what you do. You don't have to wait for that feeling to come from the outside first in the form of praise, recognition, or a promotion.

You can breathe even more life into what you do by acknowledging what you've already done. The credit you give to yourself is not false or illegal, even though it can feel that way sometimes. It's natural to feel proud of yourself because you have real and first-hand experience of knowing yourself and your work.

There will never be a perfect point in time when it's finally okay for you to be proud of yourself. You can do it anytime you want to. Next time you do something you're excited about and then start to feel that queasy "No--I didn't do it right" feeling: Stop. Ask yourself honestly whether you're really doing everything wrong. Could it be that you're proud of yourself and withholding that feeling?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Is Happiness Your Truth?

In today's world, happiness has moved beyond an emotion and is almost more like a discipline. There is now peer pressure to be happy all the time and this message gets reaffirmed by commercials we see and songs we hear on the radio. A recent song on the radio repeats words such as "Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth" for four minutes straight. The question is:  what's the crime in experiencing other emotions too during life? It's worth it to explore whether happiness is your ultimate truth or whether going through life honestly through a spectrum of different emotions feels more truthful.

It's a lot of pressure to feel happy all the time. When there are moments in life that don't feel so happy, you have to act counter to your true feelings in order to enforce happiness. Ultimately, the high that comes from uninterrupted happiness can lead to crashes of mood afterward. Extremes can form between alternating feelings of happiness and those of depression. These extreme and unnatural fluctuations in emotion can also disrupt the balance in other areas of health, both physical and mental-emotional.

More than a crystallized ideal to strive for, happiness is a natural part of life that comes alongside other diverse experiences and emotions. We don't need to force it in order to experience it, and forcing it actually works against being able to feel it naturally. Next time you feel like you should be happy, ask yourself whether it's a natural urge to feel this way or whether there's an external expectation for you to be happy. When there's a natural spark to happy moments, you'll know it.

There's nothing wrong with happiness, but it doesn't have to become a rule that overrides everything else in life. Life is more flavorful when you can go through the good times and the bad times, and not always with an unconditional smile pasted on. Is happiness your ultimate truth, or is there more to it than that?