Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 2

God gave you a gift of  86,400 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say Thank You?   William Arthur Ward

As I worked to overcome my severe depression, I found I needed to turn to the Lord daily in my efforts to get better. Through that entire process, He taught me many things. He taught me me to trust in the journey and He taught me the importance of my mindset.

One day, He inspired me with a story that I then wrote down. I call the story The Counters. As I wrote the story, I knew that it was really the Lord that was providing the story to me – not my vivid imagination. When the story was written, I was profoundly affected by the message of the story. I knew the lesson of the story was meant for me.

I am currently working to turn my story into a children’s book so I won’t go into the details of the story, but suffice it to say that being a counter is not a good thing. I realized I was a counter. I counted good events in my life and bad events in my life. I felt it was unfair for the bad to outweigh the good. I took my lesson to heart. I quit being a counter.

“Counters” are so busy counting all of the negatives that they fail to see their blessings. I knew better. I had and still have an incredible amount of blessings to be thankful for. I know that life is not fair. Now, I have learned to quit expecting life to be fair and to focus on the good, positive and amazing blessings of life that the Lord has provided to me.

As you read today’s article, I hope you will take time to reflect on your blessings. What do you have to be grateful for? Then take a second and express a sincere Thank You to someone!:

3 Ways To Develop Gratitude (The Great Healer)

Such an approach, though, eventually imprisons us in the very small world of our own needs, pushing away other people, and closing down the possibility of real growth. We may seek relief in a variety of ways – from the pleasures of physical entertainment, to the call to community service, and the possibilities of peace offered by spiritual practices and religion – but we often find that these tactics don’t provide the relief that we had hoped for, leaving us feeling more apathetic and cynical than before.

How can we escape this downward spiral?

All that ails us and the world, and the cause of all cynicism and apathy, I believe, comes from the lack of one essential factor in our lives: gratitude. The greatest human spirits have recognized that gratitude is the most rewarding and transformational practices that we can undertake. Cicero, the versatile Roman philosopher, stated:

Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all the others.

In a similar vein, the thirteenth-century Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, advised:

If the only prayer you said your whole life was “thank you,” that would suffice.

What exactly is gratitude, though? One definition that I discovered notes that gratitude is “an emotion that involves indebtedness toward another person,” and that this emotion arises when one receives something that meets the following criteria:

• It is valued by the recipient.
• It is costly to the benefactor.
• It is given with positive intention.
• It is given graciously, without any societal or professional obligation.

According to this definition, when these four criteria are met and we allow the emotion to arise, we experience gratitude. The problem with this definition, though, is that it makes gratitude conditional. When one of the criteria is not met – for example, when we don’t value the gift, or when we don’t believe that the gift is costly (monetarily, emotionally, or temporally) to the giver – according to this definition, we are excused from feeling gratitude.

Ethical, religious, and spiritual traditions encourage us to adopt a higher perspective on gratitude. From this point of view, gratitude is something far more profound than a momentary feeling of thanks for a specific valued gift. At its deepest potential, gratitude comes from an existential awareness that our bodies, our minds, our families and friends, the world in all its miraculous diversity, and all that we have are gifts. And that these gifts are given to us unconditionally, in love, at every moment of our lives.

This concept can be very difficult to incorporate because, as noted earlier, we tend to associate gratitude only with the receipt of a gift that we perceive to be valuable. When unwelcome events inevitably happen in our lives – disappointments, illness, conflicts – we naturally feel bitter and can easily believe that there is nothing to be thankful for. Conversely, when we get things that we think we want, we may be tempted to take all the credit, and believe that we have achieved these successes solely based on our own efforts and attributes. True gratitude, however, calls us to feel grateful not only for our successes, but also for our problems, our mistakes, and even for people who treat us unkindly. We can actually feel gratitude for our most difficult struggles, because these are seen as ultimately beneficial in our lives, even if the intention is not always immediately clear to us.

Gratitude can solve all that ails us because when we are truly grateful we immediately rise above our fear-based needs to dominate, control, or retreat in to cynicism. And when we approach people and situations with gratitude we will naturally be drawn to positive action, discovering new possibilities that we could never have imagined in the protective shell of self-isolation. These actions can take many forms, depending on the needs of the other person and the situation in the moment, but will always be beneficial for humanity.

Although gratitude is a feeling, it must be cultivated through action. The following offers several suggestions for developing gratitude:

1. Make a gratitude list: Srikumar Rao, who teaches a hugely popular class at Columbia Business School, and is author of “Are You Ready to Succeed”? recommends that we write a daily list of the things that have occurred for which we are grateful. These do not need to be major events, but can be the little occurrences that we usually ignore – the train arriving on time, good weather, a satisfying meal, a stranger’s warm smile – and the wonderful people and things in our lives that we all to often take for granted – our families, spouses, friends, jobs, homes, health, bodies.

2. Say “Thank you” to others: Stay alert for opportunities to express gratitude to others as often as you can. You will find that even when you are not feeling grateful, simply saying “thank you” will connect you to others, and will have an impact beyond the moment.

3. Develop a daily gratitude prayer: All religious and spiritual traditions stress the essential nature of gratitude, and place it as the bedrock of faith. Within many of these traditions the first prayer that a practitioner says every morning is “I am thankful for having awakened to another day.” This is a prayer of gratitude to our Creator for the very miracle of our lives.

These practices remind us that gratitude is available to us at any moment and under any circumstance, even – or especially – when we are not feeling particularly thankful. Seen from the highest perspective, gratitude is the door that opens to individual and world transformation, revealing our true nature, binding us to each other, and to the Divine.

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-alan-lurie/gratitude-the-great-heale_b_266952.html

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The D’s of Depression – Depend on God, Part 4

God cannot give us a  happiness and peace  apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing    C.S. LewisIf you have followed my blog for any length of time, you have seen my references to the fact that we each have a divine purpose and that our learning to exercise faith is meant to be a part of our personal growth.

Faith is an interesting commodity. We can believe but we won’t develop faith – at least the kind of faith I am talking about – unless we make a leap. That leap will require action and stepping beyond our comfort zone. Life will require us to make many leaps of faith; one is never sufficient with God.

In the path to overcoming depression, faith in God becomes a central theme. Just like Alcoholics anonymous, there really isn’t a true chance of overcoming our “demons” until we acknowledge we are powerless to do so without God’s assistance.

Learning to listen to God and recognize his voice and instruction will yield incredible help and assistance. As I continue to share the multi-part article written by Rev. Mark D. Roberts, I hope you will find lots of wonderful “lesson material” that will help you recognize and utilize God’s voice in your life. I know that He is personally aware of you and lovingly awaits your request for His assistance!:

Confirming the Spirit’s Guidance, Part 1

Sometimes we won’t know for sure if we have correctly discerned the Spirit’s voice until we step out in faith. This is surely the scariest part of spiritual guidance because it requires both trust in God and a willingness to be embarrassed. But if you ask people who have risked their pride in order to confirm what they believed to be God’s direction, they’ll tell you that the rewards greatly outweigh the risks.

Most of the time, what I’m describing here isn’t all that spectacular. For example, when I was pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, each year we sponsored a number of “mission trips” to other parts of the world. These trips might have been to Mexico, or South Africa, or China. They often involved lots of hard work on the part of those who attended, and in some cases people were expected to raise quite a bit of money to pay for their trip. Some had the means to pay their own way, while others asked friends and family for financial support. All of this, especially the financial part, could feel daunting to someone who might have been interested in a certain trip.

Nevertheless, each year I’d have people say to me something like, “I think God is calling me to go on the South Africa trip.” Then they’d explain some deep sense of calling, rather along the lines of the whispering Spirit. Often folks tried to convince God that they shouldn’t go on the trip, but had felt his strong direction. “What should I do next?” they’d ask. My answer was that we needed to confirm what they were sensing in their hearts. Had they checked with their small group? Had they talked with a mature Christian who knew them well? These were important elements of the confirmation process. But then came the scariest part. Would they step out in faith? Would they (in many cases) talk to folks about their financial need? Would God supply the needed funds?

Time and again in my ministry, I watched people step out in faith, sometimes with very small steps. When they did, God graciously confirmed the guidance they had sensed previously. Confidants were encouraging. Supporters were generous. Sometimes funding came from completely unexpected sources. When they finally went on the trip, they knew without a doubt that this is what God wanted for them, not only because of what they were able to contribute, but also because of how they grew in faith and discipleship.

Now, of course, God doesn’t always confirm what we take to be his guidance. Sometimes the opposite happens. This disconfirmation can come as people share their sense of leading with their Christian community and run into lots of loving concern. Often, however, the disconfirmation comes after folks step out in faith. I expect that God would be perfectly happy to bail us out in advance, at least much of the time, but we’re often unwilling to follow his lead. As I’ve said before, it’s terribly easy for us to project onto God what we think ought to be there.

For example, a pastor friend of mine once received a “call” (Presbyterian language for “job offer”) to become pastor of a church a couple thousand miles away. He truly believed this is what God wanted for him, even though some of his closest advisors were uncertain. So my friend went to the new church, began his ministry there, and only then realized that he had made a terrible mistake. What this church wanted differed largely from who my friend was as a pastor. So, after six months, he resigned from this pastorate and sought a new call.

When we step out in faith, sometimes we’ll get out of line. And in some of these instances God will redeem our efforts and work things out. In other cases we’ll end up taking an altogether different course. Even some of the most spiritually mature people can, at times, misconstrue God’s will. I wish this weren’t true, or at least I think I wish it weren’t true. But the fact is that sometimes we aren’t sure of God’s guidance until we test it by our actions. And in these instances there will be times when we learn the hard way that we missed something along the way.

But here’s the great news: God can and will work in and through all of these situations. If you get off course, God isn’t up in heaven wringing his hands, wondering what to do next. Rather, he’s already at work redeeming and, if necessary, redirecting. I know Christians who get stuck in indecision because they’re afraid of messing up. The bad news is that we will mess up. The good news is that God cleans up.

As a seasoned “messer-upper,” one of my favorite verses of Scripture is Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” The “all things” that God works out for God include our mistakes and miscues. That’s not to say that we don’t pay a price for our errors. Often we do. But God is still at work in and through us, transforming us to be more like Him and using us for His kingdom purposes.

Confirming the Spirit’s Guidance, Part 2

A couple of days ago, I suggested that we can confirm (or disconfirm) the Spirit’s guidance in a variety of ways, but principally through stepping out in faith. I also acknowledged that this can be scary, since it may require us to do something that is potentially awkward, difficult, or embarrassing. The following story illustrates this possibility.

A woman I’ll call Eva was a grandmother, a gentle woman, and one of the most mature Christians I had ever known. For many years she had served within her church by calling recent visitors on the telephone. Usually she’d say how much their visit was appreciated and offer to answer any questions they might have. Most phone calls were short, pleasant, and appropriately superficial.But every now and then Eva would “hear from the Lord,” as she described it. One time, she called a visitor and began her usual friendly spiel. In the middle of her script, however, she sensed the Holy Spirit “whispering” in her heart. For no apparent reason, she felt that this woman was in a great deal of pain over a difficult marriage. She heard no audible voice and had no reason to know whether this was true or not. Yet she sensed that God had revealed something to her so she could care for the woman on the phone.

Now Eva faced a challenge: to go with what she thought God was saying to her and risk offending the woman on the phone, or to avoid embarrassment by not bringing up the issue of her marriage but thereby missing the opportunity to help her. Eva chose to risk the embarrassment of following what she believed to be the Spirit’s guidance.

“Can I share something a little odd with you?” she asked the woman on the phone.

“I guess so,” was the answer.

“Well, as we have been speaking, I keep having this feeling that you’re going through a tough time in your marriage. You probably think I’m crazy, but I felt like I had to say something.”

The woman on the other end of the line was silent for several seconds. Finally she choked out, “How, how did you know? That’s really why I went to your church.”

“I think the Lord told me,” Eva answered, “so I can pray for you and help you.”

Thus, a friendly phone call turned into the beginning of a healing encounter. Eva’s sensitivity to the Spirit, her boldness combined with gentle love, opened up an opportunity for ministry that might not have otherwise presented itself.

I have just related one of the more spectacular of Eva’s stories. Things didn’t always flow so smoothly and with obvious supernatural blessing. But even when she appeared to strike out, Eva kept on trying to listen for the Spirit and to obey what she heard. When nothing unusual impressed her heart, she didn’t make it up. She simply did her job graciously, welcoming visitors and sharing a bit of Christ’s love with them. When she believed that the Spirit had given her special guidance to care for a visitor, she stepped out in faith, knowing that God would confirm that which is truly his guidance.

As I finish telling Eva’s story, I can imagine the responses of some of my friends who are skittish about supernatural guidance of the sort I just described. “This opens the door to all sorts of nonsense,” they’d complain, “even heresy. How are we going to know if somebody’s claim to divine inspiration is true?”

This is a fine question. Actually, it’s one that Jesus himself anticipated and answered. In the Gospel of Matthew He said:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-20)

Those who are truly inspired by God, who truly hear the whispering of the Spirit, who are truly in touch with genuine divine guidance, will bear good fruit. That fruit will be evident in their personal lives. And it will also be evident in the lives of those who have been touched by them. What sort of fruit am I talking about? We could start with the fruit of the Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). To this list we could add such things as: people drawn to the Lord, works of justice and mercy, the building up of the body of Christ, and so on. One who claims to be guided by God will, if the claim is true, live a life that reflects the character and ministry of Christ.

Today’s article that I have shared was written by Rev. Mark D. Roberts and is shared from the following website: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/how-does-god-guide-us/

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The D’s of Depression – Depend on God

 When God works through us, No one and Nothing can stand against us Dieter F. Uchtdorf

There is a sometimes overlooked gift called the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I consider this gift from God to be one of my choicest blessings. I know of no other gift from God, other than the atonement of Jesus Christ, that has the potential to bless us so much. The amazing gift of the Holy Ghost has guided me in small matters and large matters both.

For those of you who are familiar with my book, you will be familiar with my life experience with migraine headaches and with being told to find my son Andrew. It was through the Holy Ghost that I was guided to find the source and cure for my headaches. It was the Holy Ghost that enabled my successful search for Andrew. (A task that a Christian Adoption agency told me would be like finding a needle in a haystack)

I am continuing to focus on Depression this week. Last week we talked about delving into the depths of your soul. If you followed last week’s posts, I hope you have gotten to know yourself better and that you experienced a wonderful week of self-exploration.

This week, we are going to focus on depending on God. Thursday and Friday I shared a post from the Patheos website. Today, I continue to share a portion of that post. However, today, we will focus on the whispering of the spirit or the Holy Ghost. God speaks to us most often through the Holy Ghost. Listening to the Holy Ghost takes practice. All prophets of God have depended heavily on the Holy Ghost. We can depend on the Holy Ghost too.

When we listen with our hearts and develop a pattern of sincere communication with our Creator through prayer, we unlock a priceless treasure trove. There is no one who knows us better than God. There is no one better that can assist us with healing and any other need(s) we have.

I have seen amazing things in my life because of this gift from God. If you haven’t already, you can too. I hope you will read today’s story and then contemplate where you are with your relationship with your Creator. Think about it for the rest of the day and then let’s reconvene and talk about it some more tomorrow!:

Divine Guidance Through “Whispering”

The Old Testament book of 1 Kings contains one of the most dramatic stories in all of Scripture (1 Kgs 18-19). Israel was languishing under the corrupt leadership of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. The royal couple had led the nation into the worship of the pagan gods, Baal and Asherah. The king and queen had killed the prophets of God, replacing them with hundreds of pagan psychics. Only Elijah remained faithful and alive as a spokesman of the true God.

Empowered by the Lord, Elijah confronted King Ahab and his multitude of prophets, challenging them to a “my God is bigger than your god” kind of duel. Both sides would build altars on Mt. Carmel and prepare sacrifices on the altars. But they would not set fire to the sacrifices in the usual manner. Instead, they would wait for fire from heaven. Whichever deity consumed the sacrifice would be the winner. That god would be recognized as the true God.

The prophets of Baal went first, preparing a bull, placing it on their altar and calling out to their god. When Baal failed to answer, they began dancing wildly around the altar, crying out for a miracle. As Elijah taunted them, they even engaged in ritual self-mutilation in an attempt to motivate Baal’s response. But the fire didn’t fall. Baal was still and silent.

Then Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down by the pagans. He prepared his sacrifice and then, just to make things a lot more difficult for God, Elijah drenched everything with buckets of water until the ditch around the altar was filled to the brim. When all the preparations were completed, Elijah prayed a simple prayer, asking the Lord to demonstrate his sovereignty. God’s response was stunning:

Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the ditch! And when the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried out, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!” (1 Kgs 18:38-39).

In the wake of victory, Elijah zealously killed the vanquished prophets of Baal. But when Queen Jezebel heard what had happened, she sought Elijah’s life, forcing him to flee to wilderness.

Several weeks later, he found himself cowering in a cave in the desert, crying out to God for help. Then God instructed Elijah to stand outside of the cave and watch.

And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a “gentle whisper” (1 Kgs 19:11-12).

The God who had done such wonders on Mt. Carmel, the same God who controls the awesome power of wind, earthquake and fire, chose to speak to Elijah through the “sound of a gentle whisper,” what the King James Version of the Bible calls “a still, small voice.” The contrast between God’s mighty power and his quiet voice couldn’t be more stark. Though we might expect or even prefer dramatic demonstrations of divine guidance that knock us off our feet, the Holy Spirit sometimes speaks in a gentle whisper that brushes our hearts like a soft spring breeze.

Unfortunately, a multitude of contemporary Christians have trivialized this ministry of the Spirit. “God spoke to me” has become a virtual replacement for “I thought,” except that by saying “God spoke to me” a person avoids having to take responsibility for his or her actions. After all, if God told me to buy a new computer that I really don’t need, who are you and who am I to question God’s command? Claiming God’s authority for my own thoughts not only appears to protect me from being corrected, but it also gives an added punch to my own preferences.

While recognizing that the Spirit will speak to us, we must also acknowledge our tendency to misinterpret what we hear, or to mistake our own inner voice for the voice of God. My friend Dave was a pastor to young adults in a large church. Energetic, handsome, godly, and obviously single, Dave found that many of the women in his group were interested in more than just his Bible teaching. Every now and then, one of them would approach him with exciting news, “God has told me that we’re going to get married,” she’d announced happily. At first Dave didn’t know quite what to say to this unwelcome and unlikely bit of divine direction. But over time he developed an appropriate response: “Well, that could be great news. Thanks for sharing it with me. Now, just as soon as God tells me that we’re going to get married, then we’ll do something about it.” Oddly enough, God never told Dave what his young fans had purported to hear from the Spirit. He ended up marrying a wonderful woman who, ironically enough, hadn’t heard God whisper Dave’s name in her ear.

Stories like this make it easy for those of us who are more intellectually oriented to discount hearing from God altogether. I’ve known a few Christians even deny that the Spirit still speaks to our hearts in any direct way. But this extreme view opposes both the biblical record and the testimony of thousands of wise, balanced Christians who are not inclined to conjure up divine voices.

I have another pastor friend whose experience of the Spirit’s guidance for his marriage was quite unlike Dave’s. Greg, a scholarly Presbyterian minister, was teaching an adult Sunday school class one day. In the midst of his lecture, a woman entered and sat in the back of the class. Greg, who had never seen her before, barely took notice of her entrance until he heard an inner voice say distinctly: “You are going to marry that woman.” Not one to have such experiences, Greg just about fell over on the spot. Somehow he managed to finish his lesson. Many months later he did in fact marry that woman, but not because he clobbered her with a claim to spiritual guidance. First, he introduced himself to her. As a friendship developed, they both began to sense what Greg suspected from the beginning. Along with their Christian community, they discerned God’s guidance with all the tools available to them. Indeed, they did marry. Once again, a skeptic could chock up Greg’s experience to overactive libido or simply good luck. But as one who knows his spiritual integrity, I believe that the Holy Spirit spoke to Greg’s heart in order to accomplish God’s will in his life.

Today’s story is shared from the following website: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/how-does-god-guide-us/

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The D’s of Depression – Delve Into the Depths of Your Soul Part 3

Know Yourself and You Will Win All Battles Sun Tzu

If you have been following my posts this week, you know that I am addressing how to overcome depression. Overcoming depression is not an easy task but, I believe, it is a possible task.

The first step is knowing yourself. That is the focus for this week. You need to know you and you need to know who you really are. You need to know all of the self-talk that goes on within your head and you need to root out and eliminate all of the lies you believe about yourself.

Have you ever made a mistake and told yourself, “You Dummy!” Yup, me too. That kind of self talk may seem pretty innocent but my experience has shown me that, all too often, there is more lurking behind those trite moments of self-talk that are not innocent at all.

Let’s look at this another way. How comfortable are you with giving yourself a pat on the back? Do you commend yourself for a good decision? Is telling yourself “Way to Go!” a frequent occurrence? I’m not talking the I’m better than anybody else, conceited type of self-talk. I’m referring to humble acknowledgement of your strengths, abilities, and capacity.

Do you participate in a lot of comparing yourself to others? Do you understand that comparing yourself to others is a lose/lose proposition? There is no other you in the entire universe and there never will be. Comparing yourself to others is like a rose comparing itself to an orchid. Both are wonderful and beautiful but a rose is never going to be an orchid and an orchid is never is going to be a rose and the world is a much better place because we have both.

Sometimes it is not fun delving into the depths of your own soul. It can be a painful place to find yourself. Other times, it can be fascinating to find things about yourself that you never had known or acknowledged before. It can be hard work but I promise that you will be the joyous benefactor of all your efforts. If you are willing, knowing yourself will be a huge blessing and is a key step in overcoming depression.

Today, I am sharing another article by Farnoosh Brook. I hope you will take the time to read it and that you will continue to do the work to know yourself better. Hugs to you!

How to Get to Know Yourself in 5 Fool-Proof Steps

Living a lie comes out sooner or later.

The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painfulthan the risk it took to blossom. ~Anais Nin

When I read this quote first, I felt something tighten in my heart.

I was still at my corporate job, living in total conflict with my core values, and still denying the reality of the situation. It took a simple phrase to snap me out of my coma and help me see how I had created my own agony: By denying who I am.

And for what? So I could go on being someone else to impress people I don’t care about for reasons that don’t matter? It isn’t worth living a lie and being untrue to who you are, no matter how crazy, how eccentric, how uncommon, how different you may be.

You are who you are. The earlier in life you accept this and get on with it, the easier and sweeter you shall live out your days.

Let’s start embracing it instead of hiding it under the covers.

As for me, when the lie became so blatantly obvious, I accepted who I am, quit my cushy job, started my online business, created my dream lifestyle and have never looked back.

A secret I didn’t even know: You won’t miss the lie you are living, because living true to yourself is the real paradise.

This kickstarted the beginning of a self-discovery journey that I share with you here: How to get to know yourself and how to have the courage to live life as exactly who you were meant to be, being true to your core values, and coming to peace with it all.

How well do you know yourself? Ready to find out?

You can be different from the rest of the world and still be fabulous — in fact, you’re fabulous because of it, not despite it.

Different means good. So if you are different, you, my dear, are good.

The idea is to understand what makes you different, and as you do that, you get to know yourself better.

It’s perfectly fine to explore what your heart wants. It’s completely alright to tune out the rest of the world so you can build a connection with your soul. It’s remarkably uncommon, but it’s fine and it’s alright, so do it. You won’t regret getting to know the person who lives inside yuo.

The most beautiful thing you will ever witness in your life is when you begin to unfold into the person you were meant to be from your very beginning.

It’s not about your favorite color or school subject. We’re talking big stuff.

Knowing yourself is beyond figuring out your favorite color or your favorite subject in school or your favorite music album. We are no longer in high school — thank heavens – where being “yourself” meant mimicking everyone else, acting stupid in the collective and defying rules, and feeling insecure all day long while doing it!

Knowing yourself is the process of understanding you – the human being – on deeper levels than the surface. It is an unpredictable road that you must bewillingto explore. It brings you face-to-face with your deep self-doubts and insecurities. It makes you take a serious look at the way you are living your life and put it to question.

The whole thing can suck for a little while but then it gets better, and like anything else, a little hard work at the start pays dividends in abundance for the rest of your life.

Knowing yourself means respecting your values in life, your beliefs, your personality, your priorities, your moods, your habits, your magnificent body, and your relationships.

Knowing yourself means understanding your strengths and weaknesses, your passions and fears, your desires and dreams. It means being aware of your eccentricities and idiosyncrasies, your likes and dislikes, and your tolerances and limitations.

Knowing yourself means knowing your purpose in life. Or coming really darn close to finding it out!

You’re not born knowing yourself. Get over it.

You do not get to know yourself simply by growing up and growing old. Knowing yourself is a conscious effort; you do it with intention and purpose.

Not knowing yourself becomes obvious sooner or later. A quiet frustration lives in your heart when you do not know yourself. You may choose to live with it and ignore it – or you may choose to start getting to know yourself.

How to Get to Know Yourself in 5 Fool-Proof Steps:

1. Get to Know Your Personality

Understanding your own personality is the first key. You have the collective opinion of others which is one aspect.

You also have your own database of information about what your personality is really like, and who you are in your private moments as well as in your public ones.

The idea is to get to know your personality inside out, to know what you are and what you are not like. Understand what makes you react a certain way in life’s myriad of situations. Ask yourself “Why did I do that?” and answer it.

Who are you behind your name? What are your characteristic traits? Who are you among friends? What about strangers? What persona do you portray to the outside world?

What are you really like on a good day as well as a bad day, in face of a challenge or a great reward? How do you react to the world around you?

2. Get to Know Your Core Values

Your core values are the morale codes and the principles you hold near and dear to your heart. When I work with my clients, one of the first things I ask prior to our coaching sessions is a list of their top eight core values.

You probably have more than eight values, but the top eight play the big roles in decision-making, influencing, persuading, conflict-resolution, communication, and living your day-to-day life.

In your work, in your home, in all aspects of your life, which values can you never compromise? Those are your core values.

Is it honesty, integrity, security or flexibility? Is it dedication to others, wisdom and learning, financial comfort or fun? Do you value loyalty above excellence, responsibility above ambition, or innovation above improvement?

3. Get to Know Your Body

Youth is such foolishness. In my 20s, I used to think I know my body. I was but a child. The more I learn about my body, the more mysterious it becomes and the more I push my body, the more it surprises and delights and amazes me. Yours can too.

How well do you know your body, your breathing, your abilities, your limits of balance and flexibility?

Have you ever said “my body can’t do this” and that “my body type won’t do that” without even trying a physical challenge? Before you close the door to wonderful possibilities, take another look. Take the time to become truly intimate with the loveliest temple on earth, your own body.

4. Get to Know your Dreams

Your dreams and hopes create the pathway into your future. They help you build the life you can be proud of living.

Your dreams matter. Your dreams are important. Your dreams are worth going after. Don’t believe anything less.

And start getting to know your dreams well. Get to know the details and the specifics.

If you want to become a musician, ask yourself: What instrument do you want to play? What level of proficiency do you want to learn? How big a part of your life would it be? And on and on until you know everything about your dream.

Make your dreams part of your daily pursuits. Take them seriously. Work at them. Glorify them instead of hiding them and being ashamed of them.

5. Get to Know your Likes and Dislikes

What do you like and just as important, what do you dislike? Simple, innocent question but knowing this about yourself gives you a lot of confidence into who you are. A lot of people go through life liking what’s popular and disliking what’s not “cool”. Don’t do that.

Take the time to define your likes and dislikes, and don’t put it up for a vote among family and friends. You decide.

Defining your own likes and especially dislikes takes guts. It maybe impolite to dislike attending yet another baby shower or spending 3 hours with extended relatives, but look at the alternative. If you keep doing frustrates you and neglect what brings you joy, you give up part of who you are. It’s the least likely path to any happiness whatsoever.

Stay true to your likes and dislikes. Nobody has to like them but you!

Getting to know yourself allows you to tap into the well of happiness beyond your imagination. Bliss even on cloudy days.

Today’s inspiring article was written by Farnoosh Brook and is shared from the following website: http://www.prolificliving.com/the-greatest-discovery-of-all-getting-to-know-yourself/

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The D’s of Depression – Delve Into the Depths of Your Soul

The most important relationship we can all have is the one you have with yourself, the most important journey you can  take is one of self-discovery. To know yourself, you must  spend time with yourself, you must not be afraid to be alone.  Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.    Aristotle

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share how you can overcome Depression. This week, I am going to concentrate on what I consider the first step: Delve into the Depths of Your Soul.

If you are looking for quick fixes, you will be sorely disappointed. Depression does not come on suddenly and it rarely leaves without some intensive personal work.

I have been there in the muck and mire of depression. I know that once we find ourselves there, there is nothing we want more than to get rid of it. If you are going through depression, you might be like me: I knew I had a great life. I had a wonderful husband and great kids and I had everything to feel wonderful about – but I didn’t.

The first step that doctors usually want to explore is medication. Explore that path if you must, but I have found that the most important place to start is with yourself.

There is often a good reason why depressed people don’t want to be alone with themselves. More times than not, a cacophony of emotions is raging within the soul of the depressed person. For me, the roar of emotions was deafening and yet I refused to hear it.

I had experienced some significant trauma and I had shoved it deep into the corners of my being – so deep I thought (subconsciously) that it would never be found or bother me again. Instead, like an eternal fountain, it all came bubbling up – demanding to be dealt with.

During the years (yes years) that I battled depression, the most important step I took was to take time to heal. Listening was a critical part of that healing. Listening to my family and my therapist was probably important but the very most important listening I did was to myself. I learned to listen to my thoughts – you know, the whisper thoughts we all have but don’t necessarily acknowledge to ourselves. As I did, I heard myself saying things like: “You can’t do that, nobody will ever love you again if you do”, “You don’t deserve to be alive”, “Do you realize what an enormous burden you are to your family?”.

As I began to really listen and acknowledge what I had said myself for a very long time, I knew that those subliminal thoughts were not grounded in truth. I also knew that although they were lies, I very much believed them.

At that point, I formed an alliance with the Lord that I continue to depend on to this day. With His help, I sought to find and then terminate each of the lies that I subconsciously said to myself day in and day out.

With the Lord’s help, I was able to identify and then remove the lies I consistently told myself. I was able to start believing in my worth and I was able to restore my confidence in myself.

You see, although I was not to blame for the trauma I had experienced, I believed that I was. Therefore, I beat myself up mercilessly. It’s amazing how much I was able to heal once I quit pummeling myself!

Coming to know myself deeply and personally was an all important step in overcoming my depression. Prior to my efforts to know myself, was I knew of myself was like tagging along for the ride. After I came to know myself, I found myself in the driver’s seat.

To overcome depression, we each have to sit in the driver’s seat of our life.

I hope, that if you are going through depression, that you will make the effort to know yourself. Today’s article shares some good information on getting started with the process:

How to Be a Success: The Importance of Knowing Yourself

by Delva Rebin

“Know Thyself” is a popular adage, but what does it really mean? The fact is that this phrase holds one of the keys to unlocking the secrets of how to be a success, but not many people are aware of its full implications.

To explain it properly, let’s use the analogy of a car. When you buy a car, you want to know everything about it. The gas mileage, the safety rating, the interior comfort, the color and model. How many people can it carry? How does it fare in difficult weather conditions? How does it feel to drive? How well does it take corners? What is the sound system like?

Knowing yourself is a bit like knowing your car. Just like with your car, you want to know how you hold up under difficult conditions. You want to know what you sound like to others. You want to know your limits, but also your potential. That is basically what the phrase “Know Thyself” entreats us to do: know everything about ourselves so we know how we will weather the trials and tribulations life throws at us.

To know yourself, it’s important to be aware of the fact that we all have four dimensions: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. The first three are fairly straightforward: the physical dimension is how we see other people and how they see us, the emotional dimension is how we relate to others, and the mental dimension is how we think. The spiritual dimension is perhaps the most often neglected out of the four. It doesn’t necessarily have to be religious, but you should always recognize that you have this dimension within you. Often, people describe their spiritual side as the one that connects with nature, and other beings, and a Higher Power that interconnects all of us.  By exploring those four dimensions, you can become more aware of yourself and ultimately shape yourself into a more complete human being.

This journey of self-discovery is important because by knowing ourselves, we can maximize our chances of becoming a success, both in our personal and professional lives. By being aware of your limits, you can better assess every opportunity that comes your way and turn down those that don’t play to your strengths. But even more importantly, by knowing your potential you will become empowered to reach beyond anything you previously thought you were capable of doing. That is one of the ways to become a success: recognize which opportunities might not be for you, but have the courage and enthusiasm to jump on the ones that are.

Today’s inspiring article is shared from the following website: http://www.dreammanifesto.com/success-importance-knowing.html

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