Emotional empowerment seems the perfect place for us to commence our journey together. After all, everything new worth accomplishing starts out with a feeling…
Personally, I was once someone who found uncomfortable, outwardly showing too much about how I was really feeling. Given my self-set long term goal many years ago of helping others to live more empowered lives, I realised how frustratingly limiting this was going to be through my interactions with others during talks and seminars. An inner journey became essential before I even contemplated actually making the commitment to giving my first talk.
At this point I went through life usually wearing an impassive expression on my face, not giving too much away to others about how I actually felt. I obviously needed to change all of this as my goal was to spread some warmth and love during my events!
Digging down into this defence mechanism of mine saw me uncovering that this all originated from a childhood spent frequently moving schools due to my parent’s careers. I had gradually stopped outwardly showing too much emotion to keep me from appearing vulnerable when entering into these new situations; and like so many of us I still ran this obsolete programme right through into adulthood!
Using the mirror exercise described later in this chapter brought home to myself that I deserved the experience of living my emotions; by outwardly showing more of what I was feeling at any given moment, others would perceive me as the authentically feeling person I really am and they would react accordingly.
So, I consciously adopted a habit of smiling more as I went through my day.
I can confirm how this completely transformed my relationships with those I interacted with. I mean this simple decision entirely changed my life!
I now love making others feel better by offering them a warm, genuine smile – to which they practically always respond in kind.
What is false and what is real?
The advice I offer both in my books and those I share through my talks represent my own truth as it has evolved throughout the course of my several decades of experience. I certainly do not profess to possess exclusive rights to the truth. For me to expect every single word I say or write to apply to everyone I meet, regardless of their own story, would be overbearingly arrogant on my part.
Use those of my truths for yourself which resonate enough to feel like sound concepts to you; then see where working them can take you.
I would never lay claim to be the undisputed oracle of unquestioned truth…if I ever got to feeling this egotistical, I would immediately relocate to a remote small island with no means of communicating with the outside world then I would never be tempted to share my folly with anyone else!
Which makes perfect sense when considering this – we ALL listen to this constant stream of thoughts going on in our own heads. Our own inner conversation with ourselves. We identify with this voice in our own head as being the true “us” and usually naturally automatically believe everything we tell ourselves through this constant inner chatter.
Yet how can we be sure every single one of these thoughts or inner conversations of ours is genuinely true? We do tend to believe everything we think all the time; accepting it as concrete fact.
How about this one though?
When you were sixteen years old (assuming you are not sixteen now) did your set of belief patterns, what you were 100% sure life was really all about, match exactly with the way your belief patterns work right now?
I am going out on limb here to suggest you don’t still view life in the same way you did at sixteen years old…yet at the time, when you were sixteen, you were so sure your thoughts were correct and believed them to be the absolute truth about who you are and the world around you.
Our truth evolves
Learning to meditate can help a lot here. Later through our journey together meditation will be covered. Most fellow coaches I know or know of, use, and advocate the use of meditation. Personally, I consider this an essential life skill we can all benefit from for multi-layered reasons.
How many times have you gone against some inner feeling to nevertheless forge right ahead with a course of action you kind of knew at some instinctive level did not sit quite comfortably with you? I have also been there and done that. Haven’t you found, as I did, that it seldom has a great outcome?
We need to opt out of believing every single conscious level thought we have, our constant inner chatter to ourselves; and automatically assuming this must be correct.
After all this is the voice which so often persuades us to maintain the safe status quo to avoid expanding our horizons.
It is these inner conversations which lead to us staying put in comfort zones, because it is easier. Well actually it is not easier at all, leading as it does to feelings of frustration and lack of control of our destiny. Yet many of us do manage to convince ourselves to stay right there where we are, rather than make a leap of faith into something new, to see where saying YES takes us.
This inner chatter of ours keeps us stuck there in the same routine, trapped into running through the identical programme of thoughts and events in the same order practically every single day.
Our inner voice can even convince us that someone we care about is deceiving us, often based on putting two and two together to unfortunately make something like twenty seven! Do you know of anyone who has ever done that? When the actual facts eventually emerged, how did they match with what their chattering inner voice so convinced them must be the truth?
Do you still think this inner voice of yours always has your best interests at heart?
We will do ourselves the biggest favour by instead developing a trust in our intuition or gut instinct if you like. This bypasses that entire ego driven conscious-level inner conversations we all constantly have with ourselves and frees us to usually make the right choice.
Our imagination is one of the most powerful assets we possess. And has practically nothing whatsoever to do with logic or rational thought…it is instead listening to our intuition 100%.
Happiness is a choice
As we have already proven with the example of our sixteen-year-old self, our truths continually evolve and change. Often our inner conversations stop us in our tracks before we can even get properly started; and yet life can be dramatically different if we just simply choose to be happy.
Poor inner conversations about happiness could sound something like this:
- Well, you know, I need to deal with real everyday life don’t I, rather than all this theoretical stuff!
- I am always having to pay those bills, they never seem to grow smaller, am I supposed to be happy about this?
- Do not even mention those stressful trips to the crowded grocery store I endure every week or any of the other thousand and one hurdles that come along in life…
- Life is hard, and no amount of pretending it is not will make it any better!
Can you and I remain happy, yet still deal with all the slings and arrows life may throw at us? Yes!
Let us go through those four points once more, instead we can choose to observe…
- Everyday life is where I get to test-out my ability to remain positive.
- I love having the money to cover my bills and so I have to feel happy about being able to pay them.
- By being mindfully in the moment I buy-out of the mass group mind wherever I go and whatever I do.
- Challenges are an opportunity for me to prove to myself just what I’m capable of.
Living happy is a choice, and this decision is one any one of us can make. There is a clear path to getting there which we are all free to walk.
Being happy does not mean we should ignore any of life’s challenges to pretend nothing is happening. Burying our head in the sand to deceive ourselves is the ultimate inauthentic way to live.
By choosing to be happily optimistic, no matter what happens along in life, we will be massively more empowered to deal with it, remaining in personal control of the event. Eventually we will get to the point where problems are instead viewed as challenges to be overcome, rather than horrendously unfair random karmic happenings to lose sleep and worry over.
Happiness is our natural state, which is long overdue for all of us to collectively reclaim as our own.
Stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself. Pull a face that is comically glum. Next smile at your reflection. Observe how it is like an instant face lift which doesn’t cost a penny!
Here we are at the start of an excitingly different approach to life and one which is going to unfold to be seriously fun (frankly, how else?).
Every single morning while you are looking in the mirror getting ready to go out and experience your new day look yourself in the eyes and smile. Make it a habit to keep on smiling for at least a minute and why not also wish yourself a happy day at the same time?
Why should you do this? Well, why not?
This exercise is useful on so many levels, on the one hand here we allow ourselves to experience a better day. On a deeper level though, looking ourselves in the eyes as reflected back through a mirror, does for sure mirror back to us why we habitually go through life running certain programmes.
These kinds of enlightenments may take a little while to emerge, but if we feel uncomfortable with showing our happy face to the world there will always be an underlying reason behind that. And as is with my own experience, Mirroring Smiling will bring this issue out into the open to be laid to rest.
If being serious and grumpy can unfortunately become habit-forming for many of our fellow humans, equally so can smiling and being happy become a habit for us.
How about making smiling your new hobby? Waking in the morning, when you first open your eyes, even before you do anything else…smile.
During the day, if you sense stress mounting up to make itself known, you are feeling tense, step away. Take a few moments out and go to the washroom. In privacy, smile and keep it up for at least a minute, tell yourself out loud or if you prefer, in your mind, that you are happy and will easily cope.
Although at first it may well feel like you are acting like you are happy, eventually and surely, it will soon arrive at the point where both your subconscious mind and physiology start to believe the messages of happiness they are being consistently subjected to, leading on to becoming your own wonderfully self-fulfilling prophecy.
Every time you and I practice active smiling not only are we re-programming ourselves to have a different outlook, we are also creating serotonin and happy endorphins in our brains which act upon our nervous system…making us feel even more happy.
Triggers anchoring us to stay happy are useful. Here are some of those triggers; use them every day, buy-into them and watch how your attitude to life changes:
- Smile more, it creates serotonin.
- Find things to laugh about. Read or watch something that hits your laughter buttons; just twenty minutes of laughing each day is incredibly de-stressing.
- Are there songs or a genre of music that inspires and lifts your moods? Play them often.
- Do you find certain colours uplifting? Wear them and surround yourself with them.
- Walking officially lifts our moods, if you feel a little down or lethargic, go and take at least a half-hour walk.
- Conversation and interaction with fellow positively minded humans can be incredibly uplifting.
- As is being in love and feeling loved.
- Spending time with our pets.
- Enjoy reading? Read inspiring books or stories, expanding our knowledge about something we are interested in makes us feel better.
- Go smell a rose! Seriously, if you have a local park or a garden of your own, take the time to inhale the heady fragrance of a rose in full bloom, the scent is sure to lift anyone’s mood.
- Volunteering to help others.
- Crosswords or mind puzzles such as Sudoku are not only calming, they have the added benefit of brain-training as well!
It is easy to be enthusiastic when things all seem to be going well for us, how about in the more challenging times though? Those moments when there seems to be a chain reaction of all that bad stuff happening. Then is the time to really come alive and stay enthusiastic…
Dean Fraser passionately believes we all have a personal mission in life, the one thing that is our reason for being right here, right now on this bluey-green planet of ours. Over two decades ago he made it his mission to help as many people as possible to discover their own. Each year Dean reaches over fifteen million people through interviews and articles for magazines across the globe; and he travels out there into the big wide world to talk at seminars and holistic events.