Feel good about what you have to offer to others.

I feel excited about the possibilities in my life. Some of these opportunities come as a result of what I can give to the world. My gifts are unique to me, and I want to share them. I feel good about what I have to offer to others.

I am well-received whenever I reach out to help other people because my skills are valuable. Maybe I am good with people, a hammer and saw, or computers. Whatever I do well, I make a point to offer to others. This helps them and increases my self-confidence.

When I am learning a new skill, I seek out situations where I can share it with others. Using a new ability helps me learn it more thoroughly. And I feel joy when I can help others with it, which helps reinforce my desire to use it.

If I ever start to feel as though I have little to offer the world, I remember all of the things for which I am thanked.

Maybe it’s letting someone in a hurry go ahead of me in line. Or perhaps I fix a broken item for someone or teach them a new skill. Whatever the gifts I can give, big or small, they bring delight to me and others.

Today, I remember that my specific skills and talents are beneficial to the world.I love using my abilities, whether they are natural or learned. Each day, I look for opportunities to share my gifts with others.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What do I believe about my own abilities?
  2. Is my inner dialogue marked by confidence or doubt?
  3. How can I shift this balance toward more frequent remembrance of the value of my individual gifts and talents?

Practicing Self-Respect: How Do You Treat Yourself?

Although you may not be aware of this in your everyday life, how you take care of yourself is critical to your quality of life. Self-respect is indicative of how you view yourself. And showing self-respect keeps your positive feelings about you flowing and growing.

Feeling good about yourself and demonstrating self-respect are a chicken and egg situation: it can be difficult to tell which comes first. Do positive emotions and thoughts about yourself lead to self-respect or is it the other way around? Your experience will tell you which of these feels most true to you.

Follow these tips to help you increase your self-respect:

  1. Consider your own feelings. Your emotions are at least as important as everyone else’s. So, if you’re uncomfortable, act on that information. Take your own feelings into account in your everyday life and the decisions you make.

  2. Avoid making self-deprecating comments. Such remarks are often used as humor, which can build rapport between people. However, if you’re uncertain about whether you treat yourself with the respect you deserve, avoid making them until you’re more sure of yourself. What you say about yourself over and over becomes what you believe.

  3. Take care of your emotional needs. Self-respect is apparent through the things you do to make yourself comfortable, content, and happy. If a relationship constantly makes you feel emotionally upset or out of balance, perhaps it’s time to do something about it. You are the only person you can be absolutely sure will be there to take care of yourself emotionally.

  4. Acknowledge to yourself that you deserve respectful treatment. This is as simple as it gets: because you’re a human being, you deserve to be treated with fundamental human courtesies, including respect. Recognize your own value.
     
  5. Avoid allowing anyone to treat you disrespectfully. Be clear that you expect to be treated with kindness and care, whether you’re interacting with a co-worker, partner, or your child.

  6. Sometimes, you might think you’re giving someone a break by not insisting on being treated well. However, when you allow others to treat you poorly, you’re slacking on your own self-care and enabling them to practice negative interpersonal habits as well.

  7. Behave in ways that show you care. How you conduct yourself sends a strong message to the world.
  • Taking care of your body, watching the language you use, and refraining from engaging in socially unacceptable behaviors (such as eating or drinking too much, losing your temper, and speaking inappropriately) show that you have a certain measure of respect for yourself.

  • Think of someone you admire and respect. What is it about the person that earns your respect? Strive to emulate this person. You’ll be amazed how your self-respect will grow.

  • Treat others with respect. In order to treat others with respect, you need to have a clear idea about how to act in respectful ways. Then, you can turn those same responses toward yourself. Make showing respect a way of life.

Try out some of these strategies for practicing self-respect today. As you make these practices habitual, you’ll automatically treat yourself and others in respectful ways. You’ll be amazed at how much your quality of life will increase!

How One Person Can Make a Difference in the World

One of the quickest and most effective ways to grow your confidence and experience self-fulfillment is to contribute to making someone else’s life better. Everyone’s talents and abilities are different. But thankfully, opportunities to serve and make a difference are all around you.

Making an impact in your world is as easy as deciding that serving others is important to you. You can bring a smile to someone’s face and impact people’s lives in a dramatic way with simple acts of kindness.

Try these ideas to make the most of your gifts and talents to serve the world around you and make a difference:

  1. Volunteer. One of the best ways to make a difference is to volunteer your time. From working at a local soup kitchen to volunteering your time for charity fundraisers, there is an abundance of ways to help out and pitch in.
  • Spend time picking up trash or taking care of animals at the local pound. Visit the residents of a nursing home. Get active in your church. Seek the needs of your community and search within yourself to find what you have to offer to help meet those needs.
  • Think of causes you believe in and contact organizations that support those causes. There may be local fundraisers in your area that you can participate in or help organize. These organizations may have other ways for you to help that you may not have even thought of.
  • Donate money. There are hundreds of worthy charities that make a difference in the lives of people all over the world. Even small donations can go a long way to helping others. When pooled together with the generosity of others, your contribution can have a significant impact.
  • If you’re not sure what charity to donate to, you can give money to a local church or school fund raising project.
  • Organizations like the Red Cross are always grateful for the contributions of generous people who want to make a difference. When the world faces a disastrous earthquake, hurricane, or other natural disaster, the Red Cross and other organizations are there to help. You can help with your donation.
  • Donate blood. Blood is essential for medical aid, and you can even save someone’s life by donating blood if you meet the health requirements. Blood banks often do blood drives at strategic locations throughout the community because these blood banks often lack the supply needed to meet the demand. You can help to meet that demand.
  • Donate your organs. One of the simplest ways to make a big difference with a small investment of time is through organ donation. Often, you can register to be an organ donor by simply mentioning that you want to do so when you get your driver’s license or state ID.
  • Upon your death, your organs may be used to further research that could lead to the cure for a disease that affects millions. Or, you may provide an organ that can be transplanted into someone’s body to save their life. It costs nothing to register as an organ donor.

Whatever you decide to do, take time today to think about how your gifts and abilities may be used to serve the people around you. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll make someone’s day at the same time.

15 Healthy Ways to Comfort Yourself

Just like a baby sucks their thumb, as an adult you’ll want to comfort yourself when things go wrong. Unfortunately, some habits like drinking, smoking, overeating, or shopping come with a high price tag. When you use them to escape from difficult issues, you postpone finding real solutions, and you may wind up with additional complications like poor health and less money.

On the other hand, making constructive choices can help you face challenges and build your self-confidence. Follow these steps for dealing with tensions and irritations.

How to Soothe Yourself by Changing Your Thinking

  1. Accept your feelings. Embracing uncomfortable emotions is the first step in being able to process them. Instead of denying anger or jealousy, you can acknowledge the situation and decide how to address it.

  2. Cultivate gratitude. Being grateful instantly brightens your outlook. Count your blessings and express your appreciation.

  3. Slow down. Bring racing thoughts under control. Even a few minutes of meditation can clear away mental clutter.

  4. Be mindful. Stay in the present moment. Give your full attention to one task at a time. You’ll accomplish more.

  5. Accentuate the positive. When you evaluate opportunities, pay attention to the potential gains as well as the risks.Adjust your self-talk to reinforce your confidence and motivate you to move ahead.

  6. Use mental imagery. Picture yourself lying on a sandy beach or sipping tea in a cozy cafe. Engage your other senses by imagining the related sounds and smells.

  7. Follow your faith. Find strength in your spiritual beliefs and practices. Adversity can help you develop insights and remember your purpose.

How to Soothe Yourself by Changing Your Routines

  1. Develop a hobby. Activities that create a sense of flow are more relaxing and productive than watching TV. Find pleasure in playing the piano or building a log cabin.

  2. Exercise regularly. Moving around reduces physical and mental symptoms of stress. Go for a long walk or play tennis with a friend.

  3. Check your posture. Scan your body for tight spots. Stretch out your neck and limbs. Squeeze your muscles together, and then open up to release any anxiety that has been building up. Stand tall, lower your shoulders, and open your chest.

  4. Eat more probiotics. Eating a balanced diet makes you more resilient, especially if you put yogurt and miso on the menu. Studies show that foods that promote healthy gut bacteria have a positive effect on your mood.

  5. Sleep well. Rest is also essential for your composure. Go to bed and wake up on a consistent schedule. Darken your bedroom and block out background noises with a fan or ear plugs.

  6. Connect with others. Build a strong support network. Spend time with family and friends. Make time for sharing laughter and heart-to-heart talks. Ask for help when you’re struggling, and take your mind off your own worries by looking for ways to serve others.

  7. Listen to music. Music has a powerful effect on how you feel. Cheer yourself up by listening to classical music, show tunes, gospel songs, or your favorite selections.

  8. Breathe deeply. Using your breath to lower stress is fast and free, and you can do it anywhere. Create a slow, gentle rhythm as you pay attention to the air entering and exiting your nostrils. Gradually extend the time you spend exhaling to carry any disturbing thoughts out of your brain.

Stress is a part of life, but you can protect your health and wellbeing by the way you respond when things are falling apart. Soothe yourself with calming thoughts and activities that restore your balance and deepen your peace of mind.

Self-Awareness: Why it Matters

What is self-awareness? The dictionary defines self-awareness as “knowledge and awareness of your own personality or character.” When you’re self-aware, you have an accurate and clear understanding of your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and beliefs. You know what makes you tick. Self-awareness also includes an understanding of how others perceive you.

Lacking self-awareness can lead to a very confusing and frustrating life!

Your level of self-awareness can influence your relationships, career, and happiness:

  1. Self-awareness is necessary for taking control of your life. The direction of your life is determined by your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and reactions. Self-awareness is the principle way of understanding and manipulating these things.
  • Self-awareness highlights faulty beliefs and emotional reactions that stand in your way and gives you the power to make adjustments.

  • Self-awareness illuminates the real reasons for past failures and challenges. We often dismiss our failures as bad luck or a lack of proper timing. It’s much more likely that you failed to perceive the situation, others, and yourself accurately. It’s much easier to see the reason behind relationship, work, and other struggles when you can look at yourself clearly.
  • Do you consistently struggle at work or in your relationships? It’s only logical to conclude that you’re doing something ineffectively.

  • Those who lack self-awareness are puzzled by their negative outcomes or blame others exclusively.

  • Self-awareness is a critical quality for leaders. One study concluded that a high degree of self-awareness was the best predictor of success for executives.
  • Executives that have an understanding of their weaknesses are able to build a team composed of members that fill those weaknesses.

  • A lack of self-awareness puts a limit on your leadership abilities.

Self-awareness is the foundation for personal progress. Without it, any personal development efforts will be severely hampered. Building greater self-awareness won’t happen overnight, but it can be developed.

How to Develop Self-Awareness

Build your self-awareness one step at time:

  1. Write your own manifesto. Think about and then document your views on life, your goals, and your intentions. You might be surprised by what you write. This is a great first step for understanding yourself and your beliefs.

  2. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. How do you know? Are you certain? Avoid jumping to conclusions. You may have always believed that you’re a hard worker, but are you? To whom are you comparing yourself? Provide yourself with proof before you make any decisions.

  3. What would others say about you? Consider how your partner, children, friends, family, co-workers, and boss would describe you. What would they suggest you improve about yourself? Then ask them and see how accurate you are. Do you know how others perceive you? Find out how perceptive you are.

  4. Meditate. Meditation is all about developing a better awareness of the present moment and yourself. Meditation is an ideal activity for enhancing self-awareness.
  • Meditate at least once each day. Spend the rest of the day paying attention to yourself, others, and your surroundings. You can develop a higher degree of self-awareness by just paying attention.

  • Question yourself throughout the day. “What am I attempting to achieve?” “What emotions am I currently feeling and why?” “What are the people around me feeling?”

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of success and self-improvement. Without self-awareness, the knowledge you possess can’t be applied effectively. It’s necessary to understand your beliefs, habits, strengths, and weaknesses to make a personal change. Avoid assuming that you’re self-aware. Give it some time and thought.

Life is easier when you’re self-aware. You can start building your self-awareness, and reaping the benefits, today!

Five Positive Ways to Express Your Gratitude

Expressing gratitude can be difficult for some people.  Often times, gratitude is mixed in with other feelings like jealousy, envy, embarrassment, or insecurity. Why? Because it can be humbling to admit that we need help from others.

It is important to realize that expressing gratitude does not mean you are weaker or inferior in any way. Gratitude simply expresses your appreciation and shows the respect you have for others.

By focusing on an attitude of gratitude, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to express how you feel. Plus, people will be far more willing to help someone who respects and appreciates them.

Here are Five Ways to Express Gratitude:

  1. Keep it simple.  Instead of thinking about how best to express your thanks, just say it.  Tell the person “Thank you” or “I appreciate it” and let that be the end of it.  Gratitude is something that can be easily expressed just as long as it’s genuine.  Expressing gratitude is as important as anything else in your relationships because it builds trust and respect.

  2. Write a letter.  Sometimes the best thing we can do is use the power of the written word to express our thanks.  Get a thank you card or a piece of stationary and write a letter. It’s one of the most personal ways of expressing gratitude nowadays, especially since few people take the time to write by hand.  Again, you can keep it simple by letting the person know that you appreciate them.  You can hand deliver the letter or drop it in the mail so it can be a nice surprise in between the stack of junk mail and bills.
  1. Give a gift.  When someone does something nice for you, a nice way to express your appreciation is to give a small “thank you” present.  This doesn’t have to be anything costly or extravagant, just something that shows that you appreciate what they have done for you.  For instance, you might give a coffee lover a gift certificate to their favorite coffee shop, or buy a chocolate lover a gourmet piece of chocolate. It’s a simple gesture that can go a long way.
  1. Return the favor.  If someone has done something nice for you, a simple way to show your appreciation is to return the favor by giving your time.  For instance, if someone has helped you during a time of need, tell them that you want to take them to lunch, dinner, or dessert for being such an instrumental person in your life.  This lets them know you appreciate them and it also gives you a chance to chat and grow closer.
  1. Tell others.  In the presence of the person or people you wish to thank, share your gratitude with others.  Public forms of gratitude are important because it shows just how much you appreciate and care for others. This will also help you let go of any insecurities, jealousy, or anger because you are putting others first.

Gratitude is an important part of all relationships, so today, let go of your fears and simply say “Thanks!” to all those around you!

Faith fuels my endeavors.

I dare to dream because I believe my vision is becoming my reality. When I launch myself into a new adventure, I expect a positive outcome. My faith provides me with the certainty that good things are to come.

I rest easy in the comforting arms of my faith. When my circumstances seem hopeless, my convictions give me to courage to imagine the bigger picture. I know that wonderful things await me beyond what my eyes can see.

My seemingly small beginnings are simply the first steps on the path of greatness. I am diligent in the most mundane tasks of my life. As I dedicate myself to each moment, I prove myself worthy of more responsibility.

Through my belief, I can persevere during the storm. Faith locks my mind on the goal and on positive thoughts, banishing discouragement. As I allow my convictions to increase, the limits to my possibilities disappear.

My ears are open only to the dreams placed deeply in my heart. They are closed to any negativity around me. I foresee a grand future. Even if doubts about my success try to creep into my mind, I immediately eradicate them.

I have the power to believe that I am who I want to be. I control my own destiny by choosing what I believe about myself. Because I know I have this power, I can achieve anything.

Today, I choose to believe that my dreams are attainable. I dare to see myself as someone with great potential who deserves to succeed in every way imaginable.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What do I believe about myself?
  2. Is my inner dialogue marked by faith or doubt?
  3. Why is it necessary to believe the best about myself?

Stopping Negative Behaviors Before They Stop You

Do you have negative behaviors that you want to get a handle on? Whether it’s something you do to sabotage yourself or an action that annoys others, it’s important to examine the impact of what you’re doing.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could arrest your difficult behaviors before they spread negative karma all around you?

Try these techniques to stop engaging in troublesome behaviors before they become detrimental to your life:

  1. Claim the power you have to stop the actions that bother you. Look in the mirror and say it out loud: “Only I can stop (fill in the blank).” Then, vow to yourself to make a concerted effort to cease the actions.
  • Pay closer attention to what you’re doing. So much of what we do each day is done without aforethought. If you consciously focus your thoughts on any actions you’re about to take, you’ll have an increased chance of deleting the troublesome behaviors from your repertoire.

  • Slow down your thinking. When your mind starts racing, it’s your first clue that you might be about to take an action you may later regret. Take a deep breath and re-focus on a positive action, instead.

  • Identify situations, people, and events that trigger your negative behavior. For example, perhaps in social situations, you talk too much. You interrupt others, finish their sentences, and other people have little opportunity to talk. Take an honest look within yourself and your annoying behavior. When is it most likely to happen?

  • Decide what you’ll do instead.Make a plan for what you’ll do in place of the negative behaviors. For example, if you want to stop talking too much in a social situation, what could you do instead of speaking?

  • Keeping with this example, you could make the decision to “experiment” with listening to others, just to see what you can learn from them. You would talk less and practice listening each time you’re in a social situation. Later, ask yourself, “How did I do? How did it feel to listen instead of talk?”

  • Who knows what great things could happen from making a decision to cease your troublesome behavior!

  • Ask close friends and family members for their assistance in stopping the behavior. For example, tell your sister that you’re trying to stop interrupting people so much. Ask her to touch your elbow at the family reunion tomorrow each time she notices you interrupting. This way, you’ll have a cue to stop the behavior.

  • Say you’re sorry when you engage in the behavior, if it affects others. Staying with the example of talking too much, as soon as you realize you interrupted someone, say, “I’m sorry I interrupted you. Please do go on. I’m interested in what you were saying.”

  • Showing humility will help you learn to stop the old behavior and change it to a more effective action.

  • Seek expert guidance if you need it. If you’ve been working on your troublesome actions for a while and have had less success than you want in stopping them, asking a professional to assist you can be a big help.

It’s up to you to avoid behaviors that cause you difficulties or discourage people from wanting to spend time with you. Banish your unwanted behaviors for good by putting the above steps into action. Remember, only you have the capacity to stop your negative behaviors before they stop you!

Nature sustains me.

In a time when technology runs the world, I appreciate opportunities to step away from it. Immersing in natural environments keeps me conscious and self-aware.

I connect to my true self when I retreat to nature. Spending time in the beauty of unspoiled environments is renewing. It gives me a chance to recall where I am from and appreciate my humble beginnings.

When I go to the beach, I unplug from technology. I lay on the sand, close my eyes, and listen to the sounds around me. Connecting in this way is therapeutic.

Being able to listen to the waves crash and the birds chirp reminds me that I share the world with other beings. Being present in those moments encourages me to maintain environmental consciousness.

I do my part by cleaning up rubbish and debris that people leave in our natural spaces. It is the least that I am able to do to protect the Earth.

As I hike through the mountains, I am careful to avoid stomping on plants. Their contribution to the continuance of life is acknowledged. I avoid taking for granted that there are millions of plants around me. Each one serves a unique purpose in the world.

Today, my time with nature is a blessing because it keeps me conscious. I recognize the value of other lifeforms on this planet. My duty is to sustain them for generations to come. I am happy to be an environmental advocate.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. How much of my financial and time resources are committed to environmental causes?
  2. How do I practice environmental sustainability?
  3. In what ways does spending time with nature contribute to my overall well-being?

I am worthy of my dreams.

I have big dreams and I expect to achieve these dreams. I have earned the right to expect great things to happen in my life. If I do my part, I know I can achieve my goals and expectations.

I deserve for good things to happen in my life. I am considerate of others and treat everyone with the respect they deserve. I am a loving friend and family member. I have the best interests of others at heart.

I do the work each day necessary to deserve success. I work hard and with focus. I am clear on what I desire and do the work required to make my dreams a reality.

I have big goals and expectations that are congruent with my abilities.

I review my goals regularly and allow myself to get excited at the prospect of achieving them. I have detailed goals and plans to make them happen.

I am deserving. My strengths and skills are sufficient to achieve my dreams. I am motivated and capable. I am worthy of my dreams.

Today, I remind myself of why my dreams are appropriate for the person I am becoming each day. I have the confidence needed to be successful in the pursuit of my goals.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What are my biggest goals and my plans to achieve them?
  2. Am I willing to do the work required to be successful in achieving my goals?
  3. What steps do I take each day to make my dreams a reality?