Challenge Old Beliefs – Feeding the Drive to Self-Actualize

The pandemic we find ourselves in has done more to upend our lives beyond health and economics. Staying occupied with thoughts of these two survival necessities has held us all captive to the internal strife within. Much like clinging to a 2-inch railing so we don’t plunge off a 60-story building. The obsession allows for little more. The result is a stalling of our true purpose – the drive to self-actualize.

It is important that we continue our progress despite our current state. I am not saying that you should disregard either your health or your money needs. These must be taken care of to maintain and support life. But when this is all we accomplish during the day, life grows stale. Without realizing it, we soon find ourselves fighting the inevitable listlessness that such striving produces.

The Road to your future starts now. You’ll find beauty around the corner. (“Newfound Gap Road – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN” by pvarney3 is marked under CC PDM 1.0.

Breaking free from the drone of lack, slack and indifference is no easy task. It takes courage, fortitude, and determination. It takes a strong-willed effort to move freely through the concrete bonds of apathy to return to full purpose and discovery. Sometimes we need a little push, a little emotional jumpstart.

It is my hope that this blog will give you that jumpstart. That here you will find help on your way back to the path you were born to take. To the goals you were meant to accomplish. To the life you were meant to live.

We will explore new ways of thinking, inspiration, encouragement, and guidance to life’s mysteries. Our topics will include self-discovery, mind-body connection, perception, critical thinking, emotional healing, and much more. Motivating insight and knowledge to personalize. Open-minded differences of opinion are welcome.

If you are ready to:

  • Take back your life from the clutches of disheartenment;
  • Start or restart your personal growth journey;
  • Boost your day with a shot of optimism;
  • Find solace in a community of like-minded folks;
  • Expand your insight and intelligence; or
  • Open your mind to a deeper understanding of the world in which we live . . .

. . . make yourself a promise to tune into this online journal for five minutes a week.

I hope to see you jump on board. I’m looking forward to our journey together.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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The Power of Reading – An Overview

One of my most favorite activities is curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. I am an introvert and a highly sensitive person. People like me enjoy solitude and most of us love reading. I enjoy everything from nonfiction and fiction alike.  I like the smell of a new book, although I also enjoy the convenience of my Kindle. I cannot extol enough of reading’s virtues.

My penchant for a good story is rooted in humankind’s need for survival and growth. Here is a brief history of storytelling.

One of the oldest forms of communication is storytelling. Cave drawings in Lascaux and Chavaux, France have been found and estimated to date as long as 30,000 years ago. The earliest forms of storytelling were oral – the spoken traditions passed down from generation to generation.

Storytelling progressed along with our society. Around 700 B.C., we have the first appearance of written stories. Two notable examples are the Iliad by Homer, a Greek poem, and the Epic of Gilgamesh, containing five Sumerian poems.

Image courtesy of BibBornem on Pixabay.

The tradition has continued with so many more stories from your favorite book store or online-purchased e-books. The growth in popularity proving that we as a society value books.

There is a reason for this: Our society considers storytelling a great teacher. It plays a huge part in our lives. From entertainment to life-affirming skills. Stories are the best way to learn. They teach us about ourselves. They inform us as to how other people feel or act. They improve our health and well-being. They transport us into the world of our own imagination. All of which is vitally important to our personal growth.

This is the overview to a new series where we will examine just how important to us personally storytelling is. Each new blog post will examine in detail a different benefit you derive from reading. So, readers, you get validation and proof that you are enhancing your life experience by reading. And non-readers, you will see the evidence and anecdotal support that leads you into exploring what you are missing.

Please join me as we go deeper into the art of storytelling.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Words

In the world of advertising, words and images are the tools that compel people to buy a certain product. Copywriters are the word composers who create the text that make up that half of the equation. They are skilled in making copy that has impact and creates a desire in the audience to purchase a particular product or service. The most successful copywriters haul in the big bucks. They use tried and true techniques to exact their desired response. They know how to use words to their advantage.

Politicians also understand the power of words. They employ speech writers and others to make sure that they project a message that resonates with the audience they want to reach. Persuasion, not for your dollars, but for your vote. In the last few years, certain politicians have accused the media of portraying them with false narrative. The lines become blurred as to who is telling the truth and who is creating a falsehood for their own purposes. Politicians, too, know how to use words to their advantage.

Within the last few months, we have learned of a great fallacy being disseminated to the people of Russia in order to justify one leader’s lust for power. Well-meaning citizens being coerced into believing stories that support and condone atrocities. The consequences have worldwide implications. This power-hungry leader knows how to manipulate words to his advantage.

Words have power. Sometimes that power can be corrupted.

Image courtesy of Geralt on Pixabay.

Communication done with authenticity and integrity is a marvelous tool for creating understanding, tolerance, and cooperation. But we are prone to believe that when someone is speaking, their words are genuine. Unfortunately, more and more, our words are being used to mislead rather than promote an accurate portrayal of the truth. And the more acceptable the practice becomes – the more we as a whole tolerate its practice – the more it grows. Like a cancer.

The practice of misleading others has reached a point where misleading words are being used to enhance the belief that misleading words are actually true. This misleading verbiage to justify a collection of previous misleading verbiage becomes a war of words.

We accomplish nothing positive with this practice. What we do is go backward in our progress. We go at each other’s throats with no resolution. The only winners are the scoundrels.

It’s time for the rest of us to put a stop to it. We must first use our intellect and our intuition to decipher who is telling the truth and who is misleading us. Then, we need to collectively stand up to those people. In our attempts to treat everyone equally, we become afraid to speak out against the offenders. The time has come to put an end to it.

Words have great power. If we are to thrive as a people, we must start using that power for good, and quash its misuse.

If you liked this article, you may also like How to Communicate with Integrity – 7 Points to Prevail and Words that Wound, and What To do About Them.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Your Vital 7-Step Process for Making Good Choices During Times of Crisis

The pandemic. The war in Ukraine. Political strife at home. Internal unrest and prejudice within our borders. Economic fallout from all of these challenges. We live in very difficult times. Complicating this scenario is the fact that every decision we make has consequences not only for our futures but for the many people we come in contact with. If we have this kind of say in our future, then why do we find ourselves in such formidable circumstances?

The answer is obvious – bad decisions. Anyone working toward a better self is consistently seeking to make better decisions. That becomes very difficult in such challenging times. Here are seven steps to help you make good choices when all that surrounds you is so disheartening.

Practice Good Self Care

You cannot make good decisions if you are not at your best. Your number one priority is taking care of you. Good self-care is your first step. Healthy eating, exercise, setting aside “me” time, laughter, spiritual pursuits, meditation – whatever practices you can do to keep your mind and body working at optimal levels.

Define Your Values

So many of us have never sat down and defined the principles that guide us. This is so important. Have you ever tried to find a location you’ve never been to without using a good map? You forage aimlessly, wasting time, getting frustrated, never reaching your goal. You run into the same plight when you have no idea on which criteria to base your decision-making process.

Image courtesy of Chenspec on Pixabay.

Consult a Good Book

We seek out knowledge through books to help us understand what we find hard to comprehend.

Knowledge is strength. Knowledge is power. Knowledge builds on itself. The more you know, the easier it is to use and grow your knowledge base. As you strengthen that base, the more facts you accumulate to draw on when making sound decisions.

Keep an Open Mind

It’s okay to change your mind. Someone should alert politicians to this fact. Growth happens when we discard old beliefs in favor of a better way. Keeping an open mind to other sides of an issue aids in opening up to those better ways of living.

Listen to Your Heart

If we are still and open to knowledge, it speaks to us through our hearts. We hear the still, small voice within us telling us what the right choice is. If you have trouble hearing that voice, try meditation, deep breathing exercises, or tapping into your subconscious.

Identify what You Can and Cannot Control

While being proactive and following these steps assists you in making changes you have control over, it is necessary to acknowledge that there are some circumstances in which you do not. Analyze for practicality. Then work on the ones that you do have control of, but ignore the ones you don’t. It will save you a lot of heartache.

Work on the Side of Truth

Make the decision to act. Make the change you see needs to happen. The world needs to hear from truth-seekers and truth-tellers. Your good works will stand as a beacon of light in the darkness that surrounds us. And it does help change the world for the better.

Making sound decisions in times of crisis is good for you, and good for all. Hopefully, these steps will assist you in making the best decisions you are faced with during challenging times.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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All Empathy is Positive, Right? Three Types and Their Consequences

Years ago, I worked in the downtown district of a major metropolitan area. While the atmosphere was mostly professional people, there was a homeless presence. One day as I was walking to my car, I was approached by one of the homeless men I passed on the street. He asked for money – I refused and walked away.

He hurled insults at me. Heartless. Selfish. I kept walking, but the insults stayed with me. I went home feeling terrible. I felt his discouragement. I felt his pain. I even felt his hunger. So, how could I refuse to help someone in such dire straits?

Was I lacking in empathy for this man?

Empathy is part of the array of human emotions. Most of us have some degree of empathy, and we are encouraged to build our empathy to become a better person. That makes it an emotion that we need to understand better.

There are three types of human empathy.

Cognitive Empathy

People who possess cognitive empathy are able to see a situation from another person’s perspective. You can imagine what it is like to be “in that person’s shoes.” Often called perspective-taking, we can build our cognitive empathy by being open-minded. As we open to other’s experiences, we can accept where people are coming from and mentally comprehend their pain.

The downside of this type of empathy is that it can be used by narcissists and Machiavellian types to manipulate and harm. When you know how someone will react, it is possible to misuse that information to achieve self-centered desires.

Emotional (Affective) Empathy

This type of empathy goes a bit further. With this type, your body and mind resonate with the other person’s suffering. You feel their pain physically and/or experience their emotion within your mind and body. When you experience another person’s suffering, it becomes more personal as you actually experience the same feeling within you.

The consequence of this type of empathy can overwhelm. You are not only dealing with the effects of your own emotions and sensations within yourself, but with others’ as well. As mentioned above, people with ill intent can use their emotional empathy to access a deeper understanding of your mindset, leading to even more manipulation and harm.

Empathic Concern or Compassionate Empathy

This type of empathy has been described as a subset of emotional empathy. Or a combination of cognitive and emotional empathy. It is basically the compassionate expression of the empathy that you have. When the empathy that you feel spurs you on to immediate action. As an example, many people in the healthcare industry enter their field with a fiery desire to help ease suffering. Many believe that our world would solve all its problems if we all possessed empathic concern for our fellow humans.

We might then believe that this is the best empathy to have and that we should all strive to become models of empathic concern. While this is an idealistic goal, it does present problems. For example, there was a study involving hospice nurses that revealed that while those who had the highest empathic concern performed parts of their jobs better, it negatively affected their frame of mind. Feeling the patients’ suffering, along with family members’ anguish, plus their own, led those nurses to a high level of personal distress. That distress made them less able to do their job of providing comfort, as well as pushing them toward burnout.

The truth is that we all possess empathy. It can be one kind at this moment, another the next. Empathy for the most part is desirable. But we all exhibit different levels, at different times, and in different quantities. Compassionate empathy is a noble goal. But it must be balanced with our own physiology and our own lives.

Whatever empathy you have, cherish it and nourish it. Use it for benevolent ends. But also know your limits and take care to use that empathy when dealing with your own emotions. Accept that you cannot solve all the world’s problems. Keep a balance as you work toward the goal of compassion.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Common Smarts or How to Avoid Looking Ridiculous

We all make mistakes, and we need to be tolerant of each other’s foibles. But there are ways to mitigate errors that cause you to look ridiculous. This was the lesson I took from an experience I had several weeks ago at the grocery store.

I was in the produce section of the store, located toward the front, when a woman made a boisterous entrance. Immediately as she came through the doors she could be heard saying, “I need to get some bell peppers.” Everyone around me turned to look in her direction. She made a beeline to the rack of orange, red, and yellow bell peppers, followed by a man and another woman. She picked up an orange then a red bell pepper, seemed to examine them, but flung them back onto the pile. She began to look frustrated. Her companions stood behind her quietly watching.

“No,” she bellowed, “Where are the bell peppers?” A produce worker standing nearby looked at her puzzled. The frustrated woman made a quick glance backward toward her companions, then turned back to the stack of colorful peppers. “I want a bell pepper. What’s wrong with this store? I need a BELL PEPPER.”

Image courtesy of Hisogirls on Pixabay.

The produce worker approached her cautiously. The woman turned toward her and screeched, “Where are your bell peppers?” The produce worker gingerly raised an arm toward a separate display of all green bell peppers, about six feet from where they were standing, and said, “Is this what you are looking for?”

“There they are,” the loud woman said in a huff. She proceeded to the display, took what she wanted and stormed off followed by her two still silent companions.

I always try to find the lesson in every situation. I wanted to empathize with the woman, but she seemed completely oblivious to her gaffe, suggesting she felt no embarrassment. She certainly didn’t feel ridiculous, although she appeared very much to be. Not a learning experience for her, but maybe a gem for the rest of us.

Here is what I took from the experience:

Know Your Facts Before Opening Your Mouth. So many times, we think we know what we are talking about but clearly don’t. Making an assumption made her look dense. A simple fact-check might have avoided the error. The woman was lucky that the produce worker intuited her need.

Communicate Clearly. There was a possibility that the woman knew what she had in mind and did not communicate it well. Perhaps she knew the difference, that all the peppers were, in fact, bell peppers, but in her mind wanted the green one. And she simply did not communicate specifically enough. Making sure her words matched what she was requesting would have kept her from looking foolish.

Be Approachable. Her manner was such that everyone around her was apprehensive to challenge her. I doubt her companions were ignorant of her mistake. Yet neither of them appeared to want to help her clear it up. Her manner suggested she might bite someone’s head off if they pointed out her complete lack of knowledge in this situation.

Don’t Draw Attention to Yourself Unless the Situation Demands It. By all means, if you have an emergency and need help, make all the noise you need to get it. Otherwise, keep your exposure to a minimum. It’s not necessary. The entire customer-filled produce department witnessed this incident in its entirety.

We can’t avoid every mistake. And shouldn’t, because that is how we learn and grow. But if you want to avoid looking foolish in your mistake, there are ways to keep it to a minimum. Hopefully, these tips will help you achieve common smarts in that regard.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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A New Way of Looking at Your Gratitude Practice

Gratitude is an amazing emotion. According to Harvard Medical School, gratitude can supply positive emotions resulting in greater happiness. It can improve your health. Gratitude can also provide a means of dealing more effectively with adversity and assist in building strong relationships.

We are only just beginning to understand why gratitude works in the way it does. Early forms of gratitude practice have focused on exercises that emphasized our appreciation of what we are thankful for in our lives. This is a practice that I have routinely followed for many years. But I’ve recently become aware of new scientific findings that suggest there might be a better practice if I want to reap the benefits listed above.

This new process is based on feeling (a strong emotional reaction) the result of someone else’s gratitude coming from something you’ve done for them. Or, alternatively, extracting this emotional lift from a story about someone else’s experience that has great personal meaning to you.

I have tried out this new method and find it much more effective. Thanks to the scientists at the Huberman Lab podcast, which I will embed here, for my new practice. I have tried to summarize the important points, but listen to the podcast if you want to gain a better understanding.

As a writer, I thoroughly understand the power behind story. Story has existed since our ancestral cave dwelling days, as a means of communicating vital information. It grabs our interest and its message stays with us. When a dynamic story is repeated, it actually changes our way of thinking by developing new neuronal connections in our brains through a process called neuroplasticity. You don’t need a thorough understanding of how this works, just know that it does work for everyone.

This new gratitude practice can work for you too. It’s very simple.

Step One: Find a Gratitude Story that Resonates with You

Recall a time when someone authentically expressed thankfulness to you for something you did. I recalled an incident from years ago when I helped out someone I’d just met. The act was small and I thought it a very minor thing to do. But from that action, she benefited in a positive way. I ran into her a month or so later and she told me just how important my act of kindness was to her and how it had changed her life. Her gratitude and its authentic expression lifted my mood so much that I enjoyed the energy from it for the rest of the day.

This kind of expression of gratitude is rare so don’t be concerned if you have not experienced it. There are interesting and effective stories all over the Internet that you can use to capture the same effect. Make sure it is about someone receiving help from another person that is extremely gratifying. The story should affect you emotionally in a compelling way.

Step Two: Write a Short Analysis of That Story

Feel the emotional energy that the story produces in you. As you do, write down a few bullet points. I used a 3X5 card to record my answers to these questions.

  • What was the struggle?
  • What help was performed?
  • How did the incident impact you emotionally?

Step Three: Practice

You are now ready to recall this story and the way it made you feel. Read through your notes as you vividly recall the story in your mind. Allow your emotions to respond in that moment. This is not a time-consuming process. It will take approximately one to three minutes. Repeat throughout the week as often as you like, but do it a minimum of three times.

Repetition is the key to building your neuronal connections.

As an aside note, you can do a considerable service to someone else by sincerely expressing your gratitude when that person performs a kindness for you. Now that you know how powerful this is, make someone’s day. You’ll be doing more than saying a simple “thank you.” You’ll positively affect their health.

As science continues to study emotions, we will find new ways of making our lives better. Our emotions are our friends. And they are all amazing.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Knowing When to Stop “Efforting” – Three Circumstances

Let’s start by defining the difference between trying and efforting. I see a difference. Trying is making a concerted attempt to accomplish an ideal goal. Something noble in its purpose, and within our means to attain. It is a desirable trait. We learn when we attempt new things. Efforting, on the other hand, is when you exert vast amounts of energy and resources on a project, task, or goal in the hope of accomplishing something not within your ability or responsibility to do.

Efforting tasks may not always be easy to spot. But there are some telltale signs. It feels like you are attempting to swim up a waterfall. You may make small, imperceptible inroads, but in the end, it is an impossible task. It simply is not meant to be. Here are a few examples that explain why they are not in your best interests to follow.

When Your Efforts Involve Changing Another Person’s Behavior

You have no right to spend your energy and resources on changing another adult’s behavior. Your responsibility is your own behavior; their behavior is their own responsibility. Laws exist to encourage socially acceptable behavior and these are proper. But in the end, someone else’s choices must remain their own. If you are attempting to change the behavior of someone close to you because it is so disagreeable that it causes you pain, your only choice is to leave that situation.

Image courtesy of The Pixelman on Pixabay.

Children are the exception here. As a parent, it is your responsibility to raise your children to the best of your ability so that they will want to emulate your values and become respected members of society. Once they reach adulthood, their choices are their own.

When Your Efforts Don’t Align with Your Higher Good

This one is a little trickier to identify. If you have developed a strong spiritual connection, it will be more apparent; but may still be difficult to see. One key feature of an effort not aligned with your higher good is when the task is more draining than exhilarating. You don’t have to give up on it immediately, but it’s important to take a deeper look at it. Listen to your inner voice. One way I like to resolve an issue I’m not sure about is to enter a hypnogogic (between wakefulness and sleep) or hypnopompic (between sleep and wakefulness) state and ask myself to reveal the answer.

When Your Motivation Involves Greed or Power

We are all vulnerable to egoistic motivations. No matter how pure you feel your motivation is, it can be corrupted. Self-centered greed and lust for power don’t align with the higher good. If you feel that something is “off” in your efforts, this may be a reason. Stop, and reexamine your incentives. Take a good look at your reasons. Do they align with what is good for everyone involved?

When you reach a point when you feel weighed down by your attempts to achieve a goal, take a moment to look at why you are failing. It may be that you need to change directions. These times can be the most powerful self-teaching moments.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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To Be Happy, Set the Right Priorities – 4 Principles

I believe in the aim of practicing love as a lifework. We are called to love one another. Love is our guiding light. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, that pursuit can be more difficult than it sounds. More than ever, we find ourselves faced with energy vampires at every turn. These are the takers in our lives that come at us with their self-centered demands. Their priorities are all consuming, self-focused, and lacking in respect and love for anyone other than themselves. They sap our energy, leaving little left for authentic love.

This type of environment muddies the pursuit of love for the entire community. Manipulation and exploitation rule. These energy vampires take advantage, extracting the lifeblood out of well-meaning people who are givers at heart.

If you are in that category of people who are more give than take, to stay safe you may need a reframing of your priorities. The first responsibility in love is to love yourself. That means protecting yourself from those who would abuse your good intention.  Here are four principles to help you focus on the pursuit of authentic love.

Image courtesy of Geralt on Pixabay.

Believe that You are Deserving

The first rule of love is to love yourself first. In this way, we all have one person who is always looking out for our interests. This principle may seem counter-intuitive. But you can’t love others until you have established a solid love for yourself. When we have empathy for others, and that empathy is exploited, we often begin to feel that we are undeserving. But you are just as deserving of empathy as are the people you care for.

Believe in your worth.

Advocate for Yourself

As you feel more deserving, you will find that you will need to stand up to the manipulators and others who would take advantage of you. Be clear to yourself where your goals are, what you are willing to give on, what you are not willing to give on. If someone is trying to push you outside your core values, stand up to them. If another person is trying to get you to do something that is beyond your capabilities or not within your priorities for yourself, you must put your foot down.

That leads us to the next principle.

Learn to Say “No” When Appropriate

Too often in personal relationships, or work environments, you will be asked to give more than you feel is appropriate. If you believe in your worth, and you are comfortable advocating for yourself, you will have an intuitive sense of whether or not you should say “yes” to the request. When that still, small voice tells you that you should say “no,” listen. It is important to be true to yourself. You may have to fight the guilt you feel for not saying “yes” to something you may think is an obligation. Responsible people like to be reliable. But as a responsible person, you may have a past history of giving more than is appropriate in order to fill that responsibility. Overly responsible is just as destructive as being irresponsible.

You must keep a consistent balance between doing for others and doing for yourself.

Gain a Healthy Sense of Purpose

When you define and maintain a purpose for living, setting the right priorities becomes easier to do. Happiness follows. Keeping yourself on the right track by reminding yourself of your worth, advocating for your needs and rights, and providing your life with a good balance by saying “no” when it is necessary, keeps you on track with your purpose.

A purposeful life and the right priorities are keys to happiness. These principles help you set and maintain priorities that contribute to a life in balance with your purpose.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Believing in the Impossible – A Necessity for Personal Growth

Here’s a quick quiz for you. Which area has more? A) Stars in the Milky Way, the galaxy in which the earth resides; or B) trees on earth? You’ve at least once in your life gazed upon the expanse that is our galaxy. On some clear, lighted night you’ve stared at the stars and been overwhelmed by the seemingly endless number of stars that fill our galaxy. And I would venture to guess that you’ve also become aware of how humans are cutting down trees at an alarming rate.

Now that you’ve had a chance to answer that question, let me tell you what the truth is. By the best method of counting that we have at this time, there are 100 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way, and 3.04 trillion trees on earth. If you guessed A) above, you would be wrong.

I am in no way diminishing the life of a tree. Even one tree is well worth saving. But before looking into it further, I would’ve been strongly on the side of A). According to Snopes, the fact-checking site, this is true. There are more trees on earth than there are stars in the Milky Way.

Image courtesy of Pexels on Pixabay.

So, why is this important?

The world is full of assumptions. Well meaning theories that seem right, but are far from it. We start our lives predisposed to the beliefs and opinions of our parents, teachers, and other influential people in our lives. As we grow, we come in contact with other people and their beliefs and opinions, many of whom are so flamboyantly persuasive that we instantly follow.

But we are unique. We are not meant to be solely reflections of others. This diminishes our equality with others. If we are truly equal, and I believe that we are, we need to examine the predisposed thoughts we have. We need to question whether the beliefs we hold are truly our own. And we need to be open to the impossible being possible.

I recently watched a debate among sportscasters on the use of robots as umpires in the professional ranks of baseball. One sportscaster was adamant. His stance was that umpires and the drama that went with them were all part of the game. And that replacing that person with a robot (which made far more accurate calls than the human) would detrimentally change the game. Because that’s the way it has always been, was his argument.

I believe that it would change the game, but that’s what happens. Things change.

If things never changed, we’d still live in caves, grunt at one another rather than communicate with words, and we’d believe that the world was flat. We’d have a quality of life that was far less than we have now. Our society would not have progressed as it has. There would be no progression at all.

We can only progress both culturally and personally if we are open to the idea that just maybe something that seems impossible really is possible. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy every absurd belief that you are presented with. But it does mean that you are willing to examine the ones that speak to you, and be willing to change your beliefs if that examination leads you to a different conclusion.

What impossibility are you going to be brave enough to honestly examine today?

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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The Only Resolution You Need for This Year and Beyond

Happy New Year!

It’s once again the start of a new year and we are all making resolutions that we believe we need to make in order to be a better person in the upcoming new year. We tend to make plenty of resolutions as the new year approaches. But those resolutions, starting out strong and determined, rarely seem to make it past the first week of practice. Why is it that an intention, with strong motivation, fizzles so quickly? If this happens to you, maybe it’s time to try a new approach.

Before I lay out this new approach, let’s look at the difference between the words “resolution” and “goal.” As defined on merriam-webster.com, resolution is “the act or process of resolving.” “Resolving” is defined as “to find an answer or solution to something.” Resolution then is the process you must go through to find a solution. Goal is defined as “something that you are trying to do or achieve.” There is a difference.

Given these definitions, goals are what you use to achieve your resolution. The problem with our inability to stick to our resolutions lies in how we are looking at them. Too many times we set our “resolution” as a goal. For instance, regarding health (change our diet, exercise more, become more mindful), relationship (improve existing relationships, start new healthy relationships), and personal (start a new hobby, join a club, become well-read), etc.

Image courtesy of Lumpi on Pixabay.

I am looking at resolutions differently this year. I will make one resolution with the goals under it that I wish to achieve. That resolution is to love myself. If I love myself, then I will find the motivation to do whatever it takes to fall in line with that maxim. As I work every day toward improving my mindset to always keep my best interests foremost, I will start treating myself with kindness and forgiveness, accepting my faults, and realizing that I am fallible. As I do, I will look at my goals in a whole different light.

In this process, goals do not become the ultimate resolution. They come about because I am more loving of myself. I can reset a goal when I need to. Adjust it. Restart it. Exchange it for something completely different if I choose. I will change whatever goals I need to change in order to support my most important aim — that of loving myself.

Goals take a position subordinate to my ultimate resolution. Important, yes, but not a do-or-die principle that I am bound to give up on when they don’t work out. And in the end, what’s most important is giving ourselves the love that we so readily supply to others, but rarely mete out to ourselves.

If this resonates with you, try this approach. You don’t have to wait until the last minute of another year. Start now. Whenever and however you are this moment. You owe it to yourself.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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