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boundaries-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

Want to be Happier and More Self-Fulfilled? Get Serious About Your Personal Boundaries.

Boundaries are not walls.

Walls keep people out. Boundaries let people in, but in a deliberate and intentional way. It’s important to understand the difference.

You build walls from a place of fear. This is true for literal walls, and figurative ones. You build walls around YOUR HOME to keep people out, because you fear what they’ll do to you if you let them in. You fear that they’ll steal or damage your things. You fear that they’ll harm you and your loved ones. You fear that they’ll see you ‘off-duty’ and at your most vulnerable. You build walls around your property to protect yourself and your loved ones.

And you also build walls around YOURSELF to keep people out, because you fear what they’ll do to you if you let them in. You fear that they’ll steal or damage parts of you. You fear that they’ll harm you. You fear that they’ll see you at your most vulnerable. You build walls around yourself to protect yourself.

A wall says: “I’m scared of you. Stay away! I don’t want to know anything about you, or for you to know anything about me.”

Boundaries are also about protection, but aren’t created from a place of fear. Boundaries exist to show where something begins and ends. Where a country begins and ends. Where you begin and end.

A boundary says: “This is me. Welcome! Know me as I am, and accept me as I am. And I look forward to doing the same with you.”

Personal boundaries

Very few people have clearly defined personal boundaries. Why? Because you have walls, instead. You don’t start out with walls, you build them as you go through life.

When you’re a young child, you’re trusting and open. You’re curious about the world. You’re excited by everything there is to explore. You see the world around you as a place of wonder. If something hurts you, you cry. Then you dust yourself off, and get back to your exploring. Fear has no role in your life. Yet.

Fear starts to appear in your life the day your loved ones start to mould you. They start to turn you into the person they believe you need to be. To fit in. To be successful in life. To do this, they use fear. “Don’t do this, or you’ll…”. “Do this, or you won’t…”. “Learn this, so you’ll…”. It all seems to make perfect sense. Except that it doesn’t.

It never makes sense to mould someone. Because if you’re moulding people, you’re stopping them from being themselves. You’re saying: “You’re no good as you are. You need to be like this.” This kind of message erodes your sense of self-worth.

And it never makes sense to use fear to get someone to do something. Using it like this teaches children to fear things that aren’t even there. It’s one thing to teach children that real things like fire, cars and bears can be dangerous. It’s another to use fear as a stick to get children to do what you want. All you’re doing there is teaching children to fear the imagined.

Walls are a by-product of fear. They’re inevitable because you don’t trust yourself to protect yourself. When you feel unprotected, you feel threatened. And when you feel threatened, you build walls.

Trouble is, the walls don’t change anything. Sure, they may keep out the unwanted. But they don’t help you deal with your fear. That’s because no wall can ever be high enough to keep out the unwanted 100% of the time. If someone wants to get in, it will happen. Deep inside, you know this, which is why your fear never goes away. In fact, I’ve found that the higher your walls, the more fearful you get. Pretty ironic, don’t you think?

Walls also prevent you from feeling lasting happiness and self-fulfilment. These states of being are only possible when fear has no hold on your life.

Your walls make you feel less secure, more threatened, less happy, and less fulfilled. So, what’s the alternative? Creating clear personal boundaries. And maintaining them.

How to create personal boundaries

With your personal boundaries, you want to let people in. But on your terms.

Letting in people on your terms is a good thing if your terms aren’t about controlling others. Controlling others is about fear. This is different. Here, your terms are those things that allow you to remain yourself. And being yourself is the key to happiness and self-fulfilment.

Your boundaries exist to enable you to be YOU. To enable you to live YOUR life based on YOUR principles and YOUR belief system. You shouldn’t want to live any other way. Because then you’re living from someone else’s principles and belief system, not yours.

Your starting place for creating personal boundaries is with you. With who you are and why you’re here. To figure out how to answer these questions, you might find this post of mine helpful.

Once you know yourself deeply, you can start to get clear on your personal boundaries.

Boundaries state how you want to be in the world. What you’re prepared to engage in, and not. What actions are yours to do, and not. What behaviours are for you, and not. Your boundaries determine your side of things. And the environment and people you surround yourself with.

You might find it easier to think about personal boundaries like this. Which aspects of your life MUST be maintained to enable you to be you? I call these your non-negotiables.

For example, do you have non-negotiables for:

  • Your own behaviour (e.g. love guiding all your actions)?
  • How you live (e.g. minimizing your environmental footprint)?
  • Your health and well-being (e.g. never eating food you know is bad for you)?
  • Your intimate relationships (e.g. having the same worldview)?
  • The behaviour of those you spend time with (e.g. not being around toxic people)?
  • What you spend your money on (e.g. not buying from companies whose ethics aren’t aligned with yours)?

There should be no judgement attached to your non-negotiables. There aren’t ‘correct’ non-negotiables. There are only YOUR non-negotiables. They’re not for other people to see or comment on, they’re for you. You may choose to share them with those close to you. Or you may choose to keep them to yourself. It doesn’t matter.

All that matters is that you have clearly defined personal boundaries.

How personal boundaries work in practice

Personal boundaries are liberating. They free up your mind because they take the hard work out of decision-making.

Personal boundaries act as a lens through which you view the world. A filter through which you pass things before engaging.

How?

Imagine that one of your non-negotiables is never eating food you know is bad for you. When you’re offered such food, what happens? You decline, politely. That’s it. You don’t need to justify your decision with an explanation. It’s your right to decline, just as it’s the other’s right to offer.

Imagine that another is having the same worldview as your intimate partner. A couple of coffee dates would reveal this. If you’re not a risk-taker and your date likes to risk everything on a hunch, you have a different worldview. If you’re a people person and your date has no friends, you have a different worldview. If you’re fit and active and your date is a couch potato, you have a different worldview.

Do you see how much more simple your boundaries make your life?

Being yourself is the route to happiness and self-fulfilment. So anything that helps you with this is well worth doing. Creating personal boundaries is a big help. Don’t be deterred by the amount of time and a lot of effort it takes to create your boundaries. The first time you do it will be the most labour-intensive. All subsequent reviews of your boundaries will get easier. And you should review them annually to make sure they’re still right for you.

One day, when humankind is more enlightened — ruled by love, not fear — we won’t need boundaries. But for now, we do. We need boundaries, not walls.

Are you ready to get serious about yours?

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).
happiness-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

How to create more happiness in your life

And why it’s an inside job

“He makes me so happy!”

“I can’t be happy without her!”

“When I get my next promotion, I’ll be happy!”

When I hear comments like this, it makes me sad. You see, it’s a sign that someone has given away his power. And that he doesn’t understand what life is about.

Giving away your power is something you do all too readily these days. It’s not your fault. You’re encouraged to. No, it’s worse than that. You’re rewarded for giving away your power.

Rewards come from meeting criteria

Whenever you’re rewarded for doing something, it’s because you’ve met certain criteria. Other people’s criteria, not yours. The rewards can come in many forms. A pay increase, or a promotion. A kiss, or a date. An invitation, or a gift.

You’re human, so you like rewards. They feel good.

But that good feeling they generate is fleeting. And is all too quickly replaced by a request to meet more criteria.

Hamster wheel, anyone?

The power game

No one means to give her power away. It just happens. That’s because there’s a power game in play. All the time. It’s the nature of modern society – and not-so-modern ones, too.

Those in power demand obedience. How? Via those rewards you like so much. Rewards come from meeting their criteria; agreeing to meet them is a sign of obedience.

See what I mean?

The meaning of life

Living like this is not living.

It’s more like existing. Existing to please others.

When you believe things like:

“He makes me so happy!”

“I can’t be happy without her!”

“When I get my next promotion, I’ll be happy!”

it’s a sure sign that you’re spending more time pleasing others than living fully. It’s a sure sign that you’re settling in some way. Dancing to the beat of someone else’s drum. And that’s not where happiness lives.

The truth about happiness

Happiness lives within each of us. Yes, even you.

You don’t get happiness from other people or things. You find happiness in yourself. And if you can’t find it, you need to create it.

There’s a wealth of research available proving that you can create happiness yourself. “Create” is an important word, because your brain isn’t designed to make you happy. It’s designed to make you survive. So you have to do the job yourself. You have to take control of your thoughts – and your life – and create your own happiness.

That’s why happiness is an inside job.

How to create more happiness in your life

Here are eight practices to re-wire your brain to be happier. They’re even scientifically-proven*. Stick with them until they become habits – that makes them much easier to maintain.

  1. Exercise three times at week – 20 minutes of cardio training.
  2. Express your gratitude daily. Write down three things EVERY evening that you’re grateful for from that day. You can do this on your own, or with loved ones – each person sharing their three things.
  3. Perform a daily random act of kindness/generosity. There are so many ways to do this. Writing emails to colleagues praising something they did. Paying something forward. Helping pick up things someone’s dropped. Giving a bigger-than-expected tip after a meal.
  4. Re-live a happy or meaningful experience from your past every day. You know how to do this – you do it with bad experiences all the time! Use a positive experience for this from now on.
  5. Practice forgiveness – of yourself and others – for past wrong-doings. Holding onto grudges is bad for your happiness and health. Your nervous system gets triggered into stress mode every time it recognizes something in the present that hurt you in the past.
  6. Strengthen your social connections. In all research, meaningful relationships are the single most important contributor to happiness. Warning: you may need to have your other happiness habits in place before you can get to this one. Being stressed out doesn’t make you a lot of fun to be around.
  7. Practice mindfulness daily. I recommend meditation – even two minutes morning and night makes a difference. A daily meditation practice helps balance your brain, priming it for happiness. It also gives you more control over your response to everything, including stressful situations.
  8. Find the meaning in your life and live it. Have a life vision that reflects who you are and what you’re here to do, and take action every day to live your vision. Remember, dreams without action remain dreams.

Start working on your happiness today. Trust me, it’s the best job ever.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

* Sources: The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor; Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert; Dave Asprey’s “Science of Happiness” video.

alive-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

Feel more alive with these 8 top tips!

“Fatigue is one of the fastest-growing issues in the U.S. Not too surprising. In a culture that fetishises working as hard as possible, it’s easy to trade good sleep and home-cooked meals for 10-hour days fuelled by on-the-go, prepackaged junk.1 Almost 15 million Americans work full-time on evening shift, night shift, rotating shifts, or other irregular schedules, and about 19% of working adults clock in 48-hour or longer weeks; 7% work 60 hours or more.”*

Let’s face it, it’s impossible to feel alive when living like this – and this way of life is not unique to the US. As the article says, modern society has made a fetish of working as hard as possible and sleeping as little as possible. You may think that you’re super productive and that this level of stress benefits you in some way, but you’re wrong. You’re not and it doesn’t. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. Your ability to think clearly and effectively is severely compromised by continuous stress, and far from energising you, a stressed lifestyle depletes you.

If you’re honest with yourself, you actually know this. That’s why you feel so much better after a couple of weeks of holiday – after you’ve recovered from the cold or ‘flu you got at the beginning, that is. And don’t your sleep issues miraculously disappear when you’re away from work for a few days?

So how do you go from existing on stress to living fully? Here’s how.

My eight pillars of a life worth living

  1. A clearly defined life vision. Without knowing where you’re going and why, it’s hard to start living the kind of life that makes you feel alive. To create your life vision, you need to go back to the basics of who you really are and why you’re here, removing all of your family and societal conditioning (it’s there, even if you can’t see it yet). Find out what your true beliefs, values, rules, personality and worldview are, and craft these, along with your dreams, into your life vision.
  2. A positive mindset. With this mindset, you are happy and in control of your life. You prioritize meaningful relationships, cope well with the challenges life throws at you, enjoy what you’re doing (because you know why you’re doing it), and spend your time in ways that are consistent with your life vision and goals.
  3. Regular exercise. There’s no denying the fact that regular exercise is good for you. It increases happiness and improves productivity. Try this as an aliveness booster: 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, ideally in nature, and 20 minutes of more vigorous exercise three times a week.
  4. Quality nutrition. You are what you eat – you really are. You can’t expect high quality performance from poor quality fuel. Quality nutrition is the best investment you can make in yourself and your family. For starters: eat chemical-free, unprocessed food; cut out all sugar and artificial sweeteners; watch your consumption of grains – many grains contain mould and other toxins that deplete your energy and promote brain fog; cut out ALL soft drinks, including diet ones; stay away from GMO products / products made with GMO ingredients – “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food (American Association of Emergency Medicine 2009),” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods.[1]; drink lots of water. I’m a big fan of the Bulletproof Diet – the science behind it makes a lot of sense to me.
  5. Resilience. It’s important to be able to weather life’s storms when they arrive – and arrive they will. Greater resilience is a by-product of a positive mindset and a daily meditation practice is a key way to develop both. Find a type of meditation that works for you and start small – even two minutes a day makes a difference, so start there and gradually build up!
  6. Continuous learning. A bored mind leads to an unhappy person. Develop a lifelong passion for learning about things that interest you! Learn something new every day – it’s empowering and invigorating, because you’re doing something for yourself that truly engages you.
  7. Good sleep hygiene. You can’t expect to wake up feeling refreshed and raring to go if your sleep hygiene is poor. A good night’s sleep is essential, so you need to prime yourself for it. Start preparing for sleep a few hours ahead of time: turn off all LED lights – they reduce melatonin production and the regenerative and restoring capacities of your eyes; turn off all computers and smartphones (more blue lighting); relax; meditate; make sure your bedroom is cool and completely dark.
  8. A toxic-free lifestyle. Just as you are what you eat, you are also what you absorb via your other senses. Mainstream personal care products, make-up and household cleaning products contain many toxins, so do yourself a favour and buy the least toxic variants (i.e. those without ingredients you can’t pronounce). Better still, make your own, as I do. You also need to stay away from toxic people – those who are negative and bring everyone around them down – as their energy affects yours negatively.

There is nothing like waking up every day looking forward to the day ahead, and going to sleep at night grateful for the day you had. You can be this person – it just takes a 100% commitment to yourself to do whatever it takes. And now you know how to start.

* https://blog.bulletproof.com/fight-fatigue-with-these/

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

success-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

You have everything in life

So why does it feel like you don’t?

You’re successful. You have the job you worked hard for, the family you always wanted, the life you always wanted. You’re well liked, well respected and have a large circle of friends.

You’re living the dream.

So why doesn’t it feel like that?

You have everything you ever wanted, so you should feel great. And you did, for a while after you succeeded at each goal. But right now you don’t, and the inner critics inside your head are having a field day.

“So many people in the world never had the advantages you have. The least you can do is be grateful!”

“What makes you think you’re so special that you deserve more?”

“Why can’t you just be happy?”

“What’s wrong with you? You have everything you ever wanted and now it’s not enough??!!”

“Everyone else seems happy with what they have, there must be something wrong with you.”

You try to push your feelings away and focus on what you have. You have so much! You know this, you KNOW you have so much. But still, there’s a little voice somewhere inside, a voice that feels less clarity about what you’re doing with your life, a voice that wonders “Is this it?”. It all makes you feel so uncomfortable, ashamed even.

I know that voice intimately, because it lived in me for years. I first felt it at 25, when everything was going well for me. I’d been working for a few years and was a rising star. I had a lot of friends. But I didn’t feel very alive and was less than happy. I hated feeling like this so much that it propelled me into action – I just had to figure out what was so wrong with my life that I couldn’t be happy with what I had. I was totally on my own – it was pre internet and a time when no one talked about such things. So the action I took ended up involving A LOT of change – my moving home, job and country repeatedly – as that was the only way I knew to shake things up and get to the bottom of my discomfort. That voice came and went over the years, usually returning after a success glow had worn off. Every time it came back, I dove back inside, and changed more about my life. This went on for 30 years, until I knew why I hadn’t felt fully alive or happy or self-fulfilled.

To save you 30 years of deep soul-searching, here’s why!

Despite having all the success and accomplishments you could ever want, you will never feel fully alive until you do one thing. Find what lights you up. Without knowing this, you won’t know your life’s purpose. And without living your life’s purpose, you won’t have lasting self-fulfilment or happiness.

Success is getting what you want. It gives you fleeting happiness, because after you’ve achieved it, you start aiming for the next success, the next goal.

Self-fulfilment is getting what you need. It gives you lasting happiness, which leads to lasting success.

You have everything you want. It’s time to find what you need.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

happiness-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

How to use change to increase happiness in your life

You feel so ungrateful, so confused. After all, how could someone who has everything feel anything less than elated? Yet, that’s how you feel. Less than happy. Less than self-fulfilled. Less than clear about what you’re doing and why.

You ask yourself “Is this IT?”

All your life you’ve been working towards what you have today, but now you’re here, you don’t feel like you expected to. You expected to feel happy when you achieved your success goals – and you did, for a while. But then the happiness dissipated and you were left wondering what was next. What’s the next success goal you’re supposed to have to make you happy?

While you figure this out, you’re just going through the motions, day in, day out. You’ve been in that mode for a while. It’s not that bad – your life isn’t that bad. But it’s not that great, either. Maybe people like you aren’t supposed to have great lives – most people don’t, do they? As long as you have a roof over your head, food to eat, an income and loving people in your life, that’s enough, isn’t it?

No, it’s not. If it were enough, you wouldn’t be wondering if this is it.

You’re right, there’s nothing wrong with your life. But it could be so much more! You are a human being and humans who have their basic requirements met need more. They need to feel self-fulfilled and to have a strong sense of purpose in their lives – Maslow’s 1943 Theory of Human Motivation was all about this.

You need to feel self-fulfilled and to have a strong sense of purpose in your life. Without this, you will always wonder: “Is this IT?”

When you’ve spent your life pursuing certain success goals, chances are that you’ve lost some of what makes you uniquely you along the way. Those goals depended on your meeting certain standards – being a certain person, behaving in a certain way – and that inevitably meant that you stopped being fully yourself.

How can you be yourself if you’re expected to be a person who meets a certain external standard?

It’s the loss of those parts of the real you that you’re feeling. Not being fully yourself is making you feel less than happy, less than self-fulfilled. 

If you want to do more than merely exist, if you want to thrive and be happy and self-fulfilled, then you need to stop looking for external answers. You need to stop waiting for something to change and start changing yourself. Yet, you resist change, because change feels scary, like a threat to your security. Besides, it would be too unsettling to change anything now – change is so disruptive.

Exactly. Change is disruptive. Change is innovative and ground-breaking. Change is THIS version of disruptive.

Trouble is, you only see change as the other version of disruptive – change as a threat. So you’re afraid of making changes in your life. And that’s not surprising, given that your human brain is wired to hate change, to view it as a potential threat to your security.

But change isn’t the real threat.

Doing nothing is the real threat. Because doing nothing threatens your happiness and self-fulfilment.

So do something!  Choose happiness and self-fulfilment and use change to help you get there.

Take the first step towards a life that is meaningful and makes you feel fully alive.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

happiness-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

8 secrets of happy people

You weren’t born happy – that’s just how you are. Some people are born happy, but not you. Sure, you have your happy moments, typically when you get something you want, but they’re fleeting and pretty rare. It’s not like you’re really unhappy, either. You’re kind of between the two – you cycle between happy and unhappy – but spend more time in the unhappy zone.

Because you’re made like this, you’re powerless to act in any other way than the one you’re programmed with. You have little control over what goes on in your life – when things are going well, you’re lucky, when they’re not, you’re unlucky. You’re like flotsam and jetsam in the ocean – at the mercy of the forces around you. That’s what you believe, anyway.

And you couldn’t be more wrong.

It’s not that you’re choosing to be unhappy – who would? Especially when unhappy people:

  • are routinely stressed, which limits their ability to be efficient and effective and compromises their relationships
  • have a scarcity mindset – they never have enough, always want more
  • are less healthy and, if they’re also skeptics, are three times more likely to develop senile cognitive dementia than optimists
  • are emotionally flat, because they believe they need a reason to feel something

It’s that you’re NOT choosing to be happy.

You control how happy you are. You can decide to accept that this is true and do something about your level of happiness. Or you can decide to deny it and remain stuck in your unhappiness. Yes, happiness is a choice.

Happy people know this. They deliberately act in ways that enhance their happiness – and this is a very wise thing to do. Happy people:

  • are 31% more productive
  • are 300% more creative
  • earn more money for themselves and others they manage
  • manage stress better – i.e. they’re more resilient in the face of challenges
  • are healthier – happiness is as good for longevity and health as giving up smoking
  • have stronger immune systems
  • have better relationships – and these, in turn, enhance your physical and mental health
  • spread happiness to others – emotionally & physically ( via energy transference)

Surprisingly few people describe themselves as “very happy” – only 31% of people in the US do, according to a 2016 Harris Poll, down from 35% last year. It’s surprising, because you can create your own happiness.

Happiness is a habit, not an outcome. By practicing certain activities daily, you can create happiness-inducing habits.

Here are eight practices that are scientifically proven to re-wire your brain to be happier.

  1. Exercise three times at week – 20 minutes of cardio training.
  2. Express your gratitude daily. Write down three things EVERY evening that you’re grateful for from that day. You can do this on your own, or with loved ones – each person sharing his / her three things.
  3. Perform a daily random act of kindness / generosity. This can be writing emails to colleagues praising something they did, or paying something forward, or helping pick up things someone’s dropped, or giving a bigger tip after a meal.
  4. Relive a happy or meaningful experience from your past every day. You know how to do this – you do it with bad experiences all the time! Use a positive experience for this from now on.
  5. Practice forgiveness – of yourself and others – for past wrong-doings. When you hold onto grudges, your nervous system gets unconsciously triggered into stress mode EVERY TIME it recognises something familiar from a past grudge. That’s right, your stress response is triggered in the present by something that happened in your past.
  6. Strengthen your social connections. In all research, this is shown to be the single most important contributor to happiness. You may need to have your other happiness habits in place before you can get to this one as being stressed out isn’t conducive to building strong relationships.
  7. Meditate daily. This practice helps balance your brain, priming it for happiness. Research proves that regular meditation increases your alpha waves and physically changes your brain to give you more control over your response to stressful situations.
  8. Live a meaningful life. Have a life vision that reflects who you truly are and what you’re here to do and take action every day to live your vision. Remember, dreams without action remain dreams.

Choose happiness! It’ll be a decision you NEVER regret.

 

Sources: The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor; Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert; Dave Asprey Science of Happiness video.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

easy-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

What would it look like if it were easy?

You listen to – and believe – all of the lies about yourself, especially the ones you hear on repeat in your head. The lies that tell you you’re not [______________] enough or not as [______________] as her/him; that you have to be perfect; that people will only like you if you do what they ask you to do and behave like they want you to behave; that you have to over-achieve in order to be accepted.

You’re afraid to try or start something, because you’re sure you’ll fail at it. You lack the self-confidence to go for it, so you play it safe. You get overwhelmed and stuck, unable to move forward even if it’s something you want to complete.

You feel useless, empty and scared – and then numb your feelings so you can make it through every day. You judge your every action – and those of others – harshly, constantly using “I/you should…”, “I/you must…”, “I/you always…” and “if only..”. You take things personally and hold onto grudges. You are competitive off the sports field, needing to be the best or always right.

You say one thing, and do another, and worry about the past AND the future. You feel the need to be the centre of attention, thriving on drama to such an extent that you unintentionally create it. You spend time around toxic people and in toxic places.

You live hard and fast, sacrificing your own health and well-being to get ahead. You make assumptions about everything around you, preferring this to looking stupid by asking questions for clarification.

You believe that you aren’t enough. You aren’t compassionate with yourself, so you can’t be with others, and don’t live in a way that nourishes you. You prioritize success over happiness, thinking that success leads to happiness, which it obviously doesn’t, because you start chasing a new success the minute you’ve achieved the last one.

You fight situations and people if they’re not how you want them to be, and cling onto everything, even if it no longer serves you. You NEVER forgive – your indignation at how you were treated feels much more satisfying. You say what others want you to say, believe what they want you to believe, follow their rules and have no idea how you spend your time.

You’re terrified of failure so keep on doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result – which never comes. You don’t bother having life dreams any more, because you know they’ll never come true. You never ask for help as you think it makes you look weak. You try to control everything, because you secretly believe that you can’t control anything.

You beat yourself up so badly that it makes you want to beat up others, too – to deflect the attention of your inner critics away from you for a few minutes. You bottle up everything you feel until it erupts uncontrollably when you least want it to.  You  feel hard done by, as if life has dealt you a bad hand.

You don’t want to stand out from the crowd, you want to fit in and do things the way others do them. Fitting in is so important, you’ve become a people-pleaser, doing whatever is asked of you. This makes you feel used – but you feel even worse when they don’t ask you for help. You spend more time trying to fit in than you do with the people who truly value and love you.

 

What would it look like if it were easy?

It would look nothing like this. 

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

persistence-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

Why Persistence Matters

Because life is one step forward, two steps back.

Here’s the thing.

When you start to make changes in your life, you feel good. Not just because you’ve been courageous enough to take action and make some changes. You feel good because you notice some real improvements. Maybe you lose some weight. Maybe your face looks less pinched. Maybe your heart feels lighter. These things – tangible evidence that what you’re doing is good for you – encourage you to keep moving forward. Your resolve is strong and you know what you want. What’s more, some of your previously held truths about yourself start to fall away – as if you’re re-wiring yourself into the person you want to become.

Until one day, that is.

That’s when the self-doubt begins to creep in. Out of nowhere, you start questioning what you’re doing and how you could be so naive as to think that YOU could actually change. After all, aren’t you that same, fearful person you were a few months ago? Haven’t you always been like this?

These doubts may be so disruptive that you stop doing the things that were behind the improvements you saw in yourself. You stop exercising, or meditating. And start eating and drinking crap, and stressing yourself out. Your mind is working overtime.

Your mind. It can be a very useful thing, your mind. But it can also be a very destructive thing.

You see, your mind is where fear lives, along with all of fear’s sidekicks, like self-doubt, pity and despair. Your mind likes to be in control of you – in fairness, it’s used to being in control of you – and it uses fear to maintain this control. So when you go and do something fearless like making life changes, your mind fights back.

Because your mind likes you in your place.

It’s a bit like in Star Wars when the Empire struck back. The Siths didn’t like those pesky Jedis trying to be a force of good, so they fought back to put them in their place.

Now, this is a good moment to remember who won that battle, in the end. The Jedis did. Their persistence paid off. So, if the Siths represent your mind, what do the Jedis represent in you?

They represent your heart.

Without getting all woo woo on you, this is an important point. Your mind is where fear and its sidekicks self-doubt, pity and despair live. And your heart is where love and its sidekicks joy, happiness and self-belief live.

It’s your heart that drives all life changes.

The more you follow you heart and make your life changes, the stronger your heart will get. The stronger your heart gets, the less your mind will be able to knock you off course by making you fearful. Your mind will keep trying, of course, introducing whatever doubts and questions it can to keep you enslaved to its way of life, but its effect on you will diminish.

With your heart in charge, it controls your mind. You can then use it to help you make your life changes. Minds are great at planning, analysing, and creating systems and processes, all of which you need when you’re taking action.

One step forward. And two steps back. Persistence is the only way forward.

Just remember. You are a Jedi knight. And the force is strong in you.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

action-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

Take action to make fear your friend

We humans spend an awful lot of our time stuck in fear mode. So much so that we don’t really recognize it as fear any more.

To us, it’s security.

That’s right, fear is disguised as security. When we feel comforted by security, it’s actually that we fear the alternative. Think about job security for a moment. That’s just fear of not having a job.

We’ve channelled our fear into security.

“What’s wrong with that?” I hear you cry. “It stops us from being afraid.”

That’s true, it does stop us from being afraid. But it also makes us stuck. As in not moving forward. As in not growing and developing. Stuck.

Being stuck is a slow death. It’s actually worse than feeling fear, because when you feel fear, at least you know you’re alive. When you’re stuck, you feel dead. You know something’s not quite right, but you don’t know what. On the surface, all is well – after all, you have your security. Inside, you know all isn’t well. At all.

Why do we get so stuck? Because turning fear into security has made us afraid of change. And without change, we’re stuck where we are.

But we don’t have to live in a perpetual state of fear, nor do we have to channel our fear into security. We can choose to channel our fear into something else – into something productive, something that gets us unstuck.

We can channel our fear into action.

This is what happens automatically in the wild. Fear triggers action – either fight or flight. Without it, you’re dead. In the wild, fear is our best friend. It’s what gives us the chance to continue living.

Fear can do the same for us in our everyday, domesticated lives. Channelled into action, fear can help us move forward, help us make the changes we need to make in our lives in order to grow. It can give us the chance to start living more fully, and with a greater sense of personal fulfilment. And when we live more fully and feel self-fulfilled, we’re happier.

So make fear your friend by channelling it into action. Use it to take steps forward in your life.

By turning your fear into action, you start making life changes and stop being stuck. And once you’ve done this a few times, you stop fearing change so much and start living with greater ease.

Make fear your friend. You’ll end up feeling more alive than ever.

 

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

courage-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

Courage and action

Sit down, close your eyes, and think about making life changes. Emotions rise immediately in your body – some, the stuff of nightmares; others, more pleasant.

Fear.

Overwhelm.

Excitement.

Panic.

Despair.

Pleasure.

Anxiety.

Whichever emotions arise, one truth guides them. That life change requires courage and action, in equal measure.

The minute you decide to take that step towards making a life change, YOU change. That’s the courage. The belief in yourself that you CAN do it. Courage rises in you. No one else can give it to you or help you get it. It’s yours and yours alone. It comes from within.

But all the courage in the world isn’t going to make your life change happen. Only action will do that. You have to take steps forward, away from your old life, and towards your new life.

This is where most people fall down. They think that they’ve done the hard part, that the summoning up of courage in itself will see them through this life change. But they’re wrong. Only action will do that. One-foot-in-front-of-the-other action.

Unlike courage, action needn’t to come from within. You can get help with it. You have to take the action, but others can help you along the way. They can help you in all sorts of ways: clarify your goals; define the steps needed; provide you with systems and tools; hold you accountable; cheer you on; hold your hand; celebrate your accomplishments.

Courage and action. They are in our nature. But, other than in exceptional circumstances when we’re spurred into fight or flight mode, we’ve been distanced from them. We’ve forgotten that courage and action are two of our innate values. Values which we need to bring back into the fold, because we really need them.

We need courage and action because life change is the only way to move forward.

And moving forward is what makes us grow.

Moving forward makes us better versions of ourselves. Less fearful. More self-confident. Happier. More self-fulfilled.

And isn’t this what truly living is all about?

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).