Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 1

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it Chuck Swindoll

We have spent the last couple of weeks looking at Depression and obtaining the tools for overcoming it.

We have looked at ourselves, gotten to know ourselves better. We have gotten to know God better as well. We need to stay on those tracks of discovery but now we are ready to add another dimension to our efforts to overcome depression.

This week we are going to look at Gratitude. Think you are already grateful enough? Think being grateful is all poof and no substance? Think again. Having an Attitude of Gratitude is such important stuff that, without it, you don’t have a chance in a million of overcoming depression without it.

Think life has dealt you more than it’s fair share of blows? Do you think that the world needs to pay for the pain you have suffered? Did you lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel so long ago that you have also lost sight of the tunnel? Well…get over it. Take that baggage that, to this point, you have insisted on carrying with you everywhere you go and hand it over to the Lord and get on with your life. I’m not saying you have to hand it over but the truth of the matter is that unless and until you hand it over or chuck it far away, you have little to no chance of overcoming depression.

Does that seem unfair? Let me tell you a big, well-known secret: LIFE IS NOT FAIR!!!

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s do something positive with our week! Let’s learn to be grateful! Having gratitude is one of those win/win kind of deals! You win and so does everyone in your life! I have a whole list of wonderful articles to share with you this week! Be sure to go find yourself a notebook that you can write in. Then, continue reading today’s inspiring article! I hope you start feeling the positive effects of having gratitude starting today!:

How to Develop a Gratitude Mindset

Gratitude, the cardinal moral emotion that promotes cooperation and makes our society civil and kind, is the feeling of reverence for things that are given, according to Bob Emmons Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Many of us spend most of the year thinking about what we want and what’s next. It’s not until Thanksgiving that we’re reminded to think about what we’re grateful for and how to express that gratitude.

Expressing thanks shouldn’t be a once-a-year tradition. It is possible to cultivate a gratitude mindset that will stick with you throughout the year. A gratitude mindset means lower levels of envy, anxiety, and depression as well as increased optimism and well-being. Research recently conducted at University of California-Davis found gratitude gives the person expressing it the power to heal, to be energized, and to change lives.

What Are the Benefits of Gratitude?

Gratitude can impact the physical, psychological, and social aspects of an individual’s well-being, studies show. Positive psychology sees gratitude as one of the keys in turning potential negatives into positives.

Here are some of the benefits that come from adopting a gratitude mindset.

Physical benefits:

  • a stronger immune system
  • less bothered by aches and pains
  • lower blood pressure
  • sleep longer and feel more rested upon awakening

Social benefits:

  • more compassionate, generous, and helpful
  • more forgiving
  • more outgoing
  • feel less lonely or isolated

Psychological benefits:

  • higher levels of positive emotion
  • more alert, alive, awake
  • more joy and pleasure
  • more optimism and happiness

The Challenges to Gratitude

Being thankful might seem like a simple task. There are roadblocks to gratitude, including narcissism, materialism, and even overscheduling. There are also the myths that gratitude expressed at work is “kissing butt,” that it can lead to complacency, isn’t possible in the midst of suffering, or makes you a pushover.

Gratitude is stronger when it is shared. To sustain your gratitude mindset, find a way to verbalize, write it down, or share through social media. Just like meditation is a practice, so too is gratitude.

3 Quick Gratitude Boosters

Keep a Gratitude Journal: At the end of each day, make a list of three things you are grateful for. Think of everything from running water and a cozy bed to no red lights during your commute and having a great friend at work. The list can be endless! As you practice, you strengthen the neural pathways that help you find even more things to be grateful for. Pretty soon, gratitude will be your attitude.

In one study funded by the John Templeton Foundation as part of the Greater Good Science Center’s Expanding Gratitude Project, middle school students listed five things they were grateful for—for two weeks.  They were then compared to a control group documenting their everyday events. At the end, the gratitude group reported more satisfaction with their school experience.

Write a Gratitude Letter: Choose someone who has made a positive impact on your life. Write he or she a letter explaining how and thanking them. Be specific and include lots of description. You can either mail the letter or just tuck it away. Expressing your gratitude heightens it.

Receive Gratefully: Many of us are better givers than receivers. Put your focus on your experience of receiving gratitude. When you’re given a compliment, do you belittle yourself by saying “it was nothing” or by playing down your role? Notice your experience as a recipient and try to receive complements or thanks with grace. The law of giving and receiving places equal emphasis on both sides.

Gratitude is essential for happiness. By setting the intention to prioritize gratitude, you have already begun to adopt the mindset. So thank yourself!

This article was written by Tamara Lechner is and shared from the following website: http://www.chopra.com/articles/how-to-develop-a-gratitude-mindset

 

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The D’s of Depression – Delve Into the Depths of Your Soul Part 5

Knowing others is wisdom Knowing Yourself is ENLIGHTENMENT Lao Tzu

As we continue to delve into the depths of ourselves, there is a source of help. It is called the scriptures. I believe that through the scriptures, we can come to better understand ourselves, those around us and more importantly, our Creator.

I can bear testimony to the ability the scriptures have in helping us to understand our importance while also understanding that we are as a grain of sand.

I know that it can be a challenge to understand how God can know each of us individually. All I can say is that He does. I don’t know how it is done but I witnessed it during my near-death experience. Our Creator truly is perfect and without flaw. He is love in its all encompassing perfection.

I know that God desires for you to know yourself and for you to know Him personally and intimately. It is when we better understand him, that we are able to more successfully allow  Him to guide us and to help us manifest our true, divine potential.

A wonderful source of guidance in our endeavor to know ourselves is the scriptures. I hope you will enjoy today’s installment written by Mark Roberts and shared from the Patheos.com website! Have a wonderful weekend and I hope you spend some of your time over the weekend getting to know yourself better!

Divine Guidance Through Scripture

In my last two posts I explained that God can guide us through shaping the circumstances of our lives. But I admitted that this sort of guidance is often ambiguous. Circumstances may appear to point in more than one direction at the same time. Or different circumstances might seem to contradict each other. So we need to be able to weigh the events of our lives to determine with greater precision how God may be guiding us.

I would suggest that Scripture often provides the scales for this kind of discernment. Now before I go further, I should mention that I am a Christian who swims in the Reformed evangelical stream of the Protestant tradition. Knowing this about me, you’d expect me to uphold the authority of Scripture. I believe that the Bible is God’s Word given to us in human words that are, like Christ Himself, both divine and human in a mysterious way. I don’t have time here to explain in detail what I mean by this or even to defend it. But I should fess up so as to make sense of what I’m about to say about Scripture.

There are people, including some Christians, who look to the Bible for guidance even though they don’t believe it’s inspired by God in an unusual way. They view Christian Scripture as a source of wisdom similar to other sources, like the plays of Shakespeare or Gandhi’s The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Without denigrating the wisdom found in such writings, I believe that the Bible is uniquely inspired and, therefore, uniquely authoritative, and, therefore, uniquely able to guide us in life.

How Does the Bible Guide Us?

The Bible provides a reliable yardstick by which to measure our claims to be guided by the Holy Spirit through circumstances or feelings. If, for example, you think that the Spirit is leading you to do something the Bible prohibits, you can be sure that your spiritual lenses have become foggy. Throughout history, people have committed blatant sins under the claim God’s guidance. But since the Spirit inspired the writers of Scripture, that same Spirit can be guaranteed not to lead us to contradict the plain direction of Scripture.

Earlier in this series, I referred to a friend of mine, I’ll call him Bill, who claimed that God had brought him and a married woman together to deliver her from a terrible marriage. I think Bill actually believed this. Unfortunately, Bill’s claim to be led by the Spirit to commit adultery contradicted the clear teaching of Scripture in many places, including such “minor” passages as the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. No matter how much circumstances seemed to weigh in Bill’s favor, and no matter how much his feelings led him toward a intimate relationship with a married woman, he was misconstruing God’s guidance. According to Scripture, adultery is wrong, plain and simple.

There is a positive side to scriptural discernment of circumstantial guidance. If events in your life seem to point you in a certain direction, you can be more confident about that direction if it leads you to do that which Scripture affirms. This isn’t foolproof, of course. For example, if someone loses a plane ticket to Indonesia and you find it, you shouldn’t interpret that as proof that God wants you to evangelize in that country, even though sharing the gospel is consistent with God’s Word. It’s much more likely that God wants you to turn in the ticket so the rightful owner can use it. But if, on the other hand, events in your life give you an opportunity to share your faith with your neighbor, the fact that Scripture teaches you to do this very thing makes the probability of divine guidance in that direction more likely.

The Bible gives us much more than the ability to evaluate the spiritual significance of circumstances. It is the primary source for divine guidance in our life. The Spirit who inspired the biblical writers also works in our hearts to help us understand what God wants to say to us through the Bible. One of the chief functions of Scripture is to reveal God’s will for our lives. (Of course I realize that some Christians today do not recognize the unique authority of Scripture. They believe that their experience can trump biblical teaching. But this opens a Pandora’s box of confusion. What if your experience and my experience lead to inconsistent conclusions about divine guidance? How can experience be the ultimate arbiter of God’s guidance?)

Often, when folks say “I am seeking God’s will for my life,” they are referring to God’s specific will, whether to marry a certain individual, or to take a job offer, or to go on a mission trip. But the Bible usually refers to God’s will in a more general sense, as that which we all should do with our lives. For example, Paul writes: “For this is God’s will, that you be fully set apart from this world to live for him, that you keep away from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, my translation). If you are tempted with sexual sin, you really don’t have to spend too much time wondering which partner God wants you to fornicate with. Scripture has made God’s will abundantly clear: don’t do it!

In another place Paul writes, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Through this verse, the Spirit of God is guiding all of us to be thankful in prayer. Given the fact that there are thousands of imperatives in the Bible–thousands of actions God wants us to do–we can’t read too far without encountering divine guidance for our lives.

If we take Scripture seriously, therefore, we can know that it’s God’s will for us to worship him, praise his name, give thanks for his gifts, pray for his help, love God and our neighbors and our enemies, feed the poor, seek justice for the oppressed, invite the homeless into our homes, be faithful to our spouses, tell others about Jesus, gather with other Christians on a regular basis for fellowship, and so on and so on.

I realize that what I’ve just said may not satisfy the person who is asking: “But is it God’s will for me to do this particular thing?” I do in fact believe that sometimes we receive more specific guidance through Scripture, and I’ll say more about this in my next post. But I also believe that if we do the things that are clearly commended in Scripture, our minds and hearts will be shaped by the Spirit so that we are more apt to correctly discern God’s specific will in specific situations.

From Scripture we know that we should love God, love our neighbors, love our enemies, etc. etc. etc.

But what about when we’re facing decisions in which general biblical teaching doesn’t seem to make an obvious difference? The clear call to love my neighbor, for example, doesn’t tall me exactly how to do this, or exactly which neighbors of the hundreds in my life deserve the bulk of my time and attention.

The Holy Spirit can also give quite specific direction as we encounter the text of the Scripture, taking that which is true for all Christians and applying it to our particular lives and situations. This sort of thing happens all the time in personal Bible study, in group studies, and when God’s Word is preached. This is one major reason, by the way, that I am a preacher. I’ve seen God change lives through the power of his proclaimed Word.

For example, several years ago in a sermon I mentioned an Old Testament passage in which the Lord says, “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16). I connected this passage to the teaching of Jesus on marriage, calling my congregation to a new commitment to marriage. As I greeted folks after service, I heard the usual collection of “Nice sermon, pastor” comments.

The next morning I received an altogether different kind of response. A man I’ll call Jeff called me at church. He had been in worship the day before and had a desperate need to speak with me. He didn’t want to elaborate on the phone, but said it had to do with my sermon. I rearranged my schedule so I could visit with him over his lunch hour.

“Your sermon really upset me,” Jeff began.

Oh no, not a great start to this conversation, I thought quietly as I steeled myself for his criticism.

“What you said about marriage and divorce has completely messed me up,” he continued. He then told me his story. A couple years ago, he had begun an affair with a coworker. When his wife discovered his unfaithfulness, Jeff left her and their two small children, and moved in with his girlfriend. Shortly thereafter, he began divorce proceedings. At the time of our lunch meeting, everything was final, except one last signature. With the sweep of a pen, Jeff’s marriage would be completely over.

Until the day before when I mentioned that God hates divorce, Jeff had never really questioned the morality of his actions. He was sorry to hurt his wife’s feelings and especially those of his children. But he was tired of his marriage and in love with his coworker. Then, owing to a number of “coincidences,” Jeff had visited our church the day before, only to hear my sermon on marriage and divorce. (This, by the way, illustrates quite wonderfully how the Spirit can use both circumstances and Scripture to guide us.)

“For the first time I’m wondering what God thinks about what I’ve done,” Jeff continued. “Maybe I shouldn’t get divorced. Maybe I should try to get back with my wife, though by now she hates my guts. I don’t know what to do. What do you think I should do?”

I tried in a gracious way to explain to Jeff what God intended for marriage and God’s consequent hatred of divorce (even though it is something God has allowed in some circumstances and which God forgives even when it is completely wrong). I agreed that Jeff’s wife might very well have no interest in reconciliation, but encouraged him to talk with her. She was a Christian, I discovered, as was Jeff, though he had not been living in fellowship with God for many years. As Jeff and I prayed together, I pleaded with God for help. Neither of us felt a lightening bolt from heaven that promised healing for his marriage, but we sensed God’s support for an effort to reconcile.

Ten months later, I found myself praying with Jeff once again. But the context was very different. The intervening months had been an emotional roller coaster for him and his wife. At first she laughed off his offer to reconcile. But, after a while, she sensed a genuine change in Jeff’s heart, especially when he terminated his extra-marital relationship. Lots of counseling, prayer, and support from other Christians slowly brought healing to their broken marriage. Ten months after my first meeting with Jeff I was praying with him . . . and with his wife, as they stood at the altar to renew their marital vows. God had brought them both through an astounding process of reconciliation. Before family and friends they testified to the power of the Scripture to change our lives for the better, by helping us to confront what is wrong and by teaching us to do what is right.

Jeff’s case marvelously illustrates the guidance of the Spirit through Scripture. But, I’ll freely admit, things don’t always happen this way or end this happily. In my next post I’ll include some warnings about the potential for misconstruing God’s will through the misuse of Scripture.

Unfortunately, people can indulge in silly and self-serving interpretations of biblical texts, such as one I heard from a man teaching on Matthew 6:33: “Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt 6:33, NIV). “Do you want an expensive car? A large home? A financially prosperous life?” he asked, “Jesus promises to give you ‘all these things’!” Of course he took “all these things” completely out of context, turning Jesus’ promise of basic necessities into a guarantee of opulent living.

It seems so obvious that this man’s values were far too worldly, yet we all read the Bible from our own worldly perspectives to one extent or another. No Christian is immune from this disease, including me and you. This means that we will tend to mold both the meaning of Scripture and the guidance of the Spirit to fit our preconceived expectations. You can see this in all sorts of situations. Republicans tend to find their political views upheld in Scripture, while Democrats find their convictions in the Bible. The same is true for Libertarians, Greens, and those who don’t vote for religious reasons. People who oppose the ordination of women see Scripture as lined up on their side, while those who support it believe that their view is biblical. And so it goes.

One basic rule of thumb to remember is this: If your reading of the Bible completely confirms your pre-existing beliefs, you may well have projected those beliefs into Scripture. On the contrary, if you find that Scripture is challenging your assumptions and commitments, then you may well be in touch with its genuine meaning.

If we seek to discern God’s guidance correctly, our very way of seeing and thinking needs to be changed, and Scripture plays a leading role in this process. This is exactly what Paul urges upon us in Romans 12:

Don’t be conformed to this world, but keep on being transformed through the renewing of your minds, so that you might discern what the will of God is, that which is good and pleasing and complete (Rom 12:2; my translation).

As our minds are made new through the work of the Spirit, we will be better equipped to determine God’s will for our lives. Notice that this transformation is an ongoing process, something Paul accentuates with his choice of Greek verb form: “keep on being transformed.” Such transformation begins in conversion and continues throughout our lives. The Bible is one of the chief tools employed by the Spirit in this work of mental remodeling. The more we internalize God’s Word, the more we will be able to determine God’s will because our powers of discernment will be formed and energized by the Holy Spirit.

By the combination of Word and Spirit God guides us. But too often Protestant evangelicals like me envision this guidance individualistically. By so doing, we misunderstand God’s intentions for us and often misconstrue his guidance for our lives.

Divine Guidance Through Reason

So far I’ve shown that God guides us through circumstances, Scripture, and community.

Because the Spirit’s guidance can be so marvelously miraculous at times, we can overlook or even disparage so-called “normal” processes of reasoning. Sometimes, we even sit around like spiritual couch potatoes, waiting for some special gift of guidance while failing to use the gift of our minds, one of God’s most amazing endowments to human beings.

God has given us powers of reason to be used for his purposes. Whether we utilize these powers to make medical discoveries, teach Sunday school, or discern God’s will, God is honored when we use his good gifts for his glory. Moreover, the Spirit of God works in and through what can seem to us so natural and normal.

Some Christians think in terms of a false dichotomy between natural and supernatural activities, believing that God’s hand can be seen only in the supernatural or the extraordinary. But this distinction underestimates God’s presence throughout the natural world. The Son of God, through whom God created the world, “sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command” (Heb 1:3). The Lord is present and active in the “normal” affairs of the universe, in that which seems ordinary to us, even as he is present and active in that which is spectacularly unusual. So, when we use our ordinary human reasoning for the purpose of seeking God’s will, the Spirit can and does guide us.

The problem with this facet of spiritual guidance lies in the sin-induced corruption of our natural reason. Before we knew Christ, we were “alienated from God and enemies of God in our thinking” (Col 1:21, my translation). When we were reconciled with God through Christ, our sin was forgiven and our minds began to be renewed. But that renewal is an ongoing process that continues throughout our lives as we learn to think in new ways. No longer are we stuck in futile, human ways of thinking (Eph 4:17, Col 2:18). We can begin to think in godly ways because we have been given the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). When we allow the Spirit of God to be active in every facet of our lives, then our thinking will also be guided by the Spirit (Rom 8:5-6). But, none of this guarantees the rightness of our intellect. Reason, though a gift of God in creation and touched by the new creation, is not infallible.

As we devote ourselves to the key relationships of the Christian life, spending time in fellowship with God and God’s people, we will start to think more like God and less like a captive of our corrupt culture. As God’s written Word permeates our minds and hearts, we will treasure the things of God and think the thoughts of God. As we prayerfully ask the Lord to inspire our thinking, the Holy Spirit will lead us. Then we can have even greater confidence that our human reasoning, transformed by the Spirit to be more like what God intended it to be, will guide us in God’s paths.

When our reasoning receives input from Scripture, and when it is something done in the context of Christian community, then the possibility of correctly discerning God’s will is greatly increased. Reason often allows us to make connections among key factors, taking in the various kinds of input that God is supplying. I would never suggest that reason alone is adequate for spiritual discernment, but it does supply a crucial link in the chain of divine guidance.

Divine Guidance Through Dreams and Visions

So far in this series I’ve shown that God guides us through circumstances, Scripture, community, and reason. Those who especially liked my last post on divine guidance through reason might find themselves a bit uncomfortable with today’s post.

I must admit that the subject of guidance through dreams and visions does not reflect my personal experience to any great extent. In fact, I feel most comfortable among Christians who are guided by thinking, not by visions and dreams. But as a biblically-committed Christian, I must not truncate my understanding of God’s activity by my own limited experience, no matter how tempting that may be. Rather, I must let the Bible speak. For this reason, I recognize the possibility of spiritual guidance through dreams and visions. Whether we are sleeping or awake, the Holy Spirit can reveal God’s will to us through inspired visual images.

Throughout the Bible, God communicates with his people through visionary experiences. In Genesis 15, the Lord speaks to Abraham in a vision (Gen 15:1). A few chapters later, God speaks to the gentile king Abimelech in a dream (Gen 20:3). So it goes throughout the Old Testament stories. The New Testament begins on a similar note, with an angel appearing in a dream to Joseph, telling him that his fiancée is pregnant by the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20). Not long afterwards, Joseph receives direction to go to Egypt as, once again, an angel speaks to him in a dream (Matt 2:13).

If we were to think that things like this happened only for biblical characters, the promise of Joel corrects that misconception. Several centuries before Christ, the Lord spoke through this Jewish prophet:

Then after I have poured out my rains again, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. In those days, I will pour out my Spirit even on servants, men and women alike (Joel 2:28-29).

Seven weeks after Jesus’ resurrection, God poured out his Spirit as promised by Joel. Peter, preaching the first Christian sermon on the Jewish festival of Pentecost, quotes from Joel’s prophecy to explain what has happened to the followers of Jesus who have just received the filling of the Spirit (Acts 2:16-21). The fulfillment of this prophecy at this time implies that Christians, both old and young, will experience divine guidance through dreams and visions.

The rest of the book of Acts illustrates this implication as the Holy Spirit guides the early Christians through extraordinary visual experiences. In Acts 16, for example, the Spirit at first spoke to Paul and Silas, telling them not to evangelize in the Roman provinces of Asia and Bithynia. Then Paul had a vision in the night, in which a man from northern Greece asked him, “Come over here and help us.” The evangelists quickly left for that region, believing that God had called them to preach there (Acts 19:6-10). Later on, when Paul’s ministry in Corinth brought on Jewish wrath, God inspired and affirmed Paul through another vision:

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will harm you because many people here in this city belong to me.” So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God (Acts 18:9-11)

Of course, as we have noted with respect to other forms of guidance, that which we derive from dreams and visions must also be tested by Scripture in the context of prayerful, reasonable Christian community. Throughout history, heretical theologies have often originated in the visions of their founders, visions inspired by something other than the Holy Spirit. The New Testament letter from Jude refers to false teachers as “dreamers” (Jude 1:8). But, for those of us inclined to exalt rationality far above visions, I daresay that most modern heresy stems from thinking, not dreaming.

I know a woman named Sandy who, years ago, had a dream in which she and her husband were missionaries in a city she had never heard of, in a country on the other side of the globe from where they were presently living. As she shared this dream with her husband and with her church, they all began to believe that Sandy had indeed heard from the Holy Spirit, even though she and her husband were not missionaries and the city revealed was in a country that prohibited the entrance of all missionaries. Years of patient discernment followed, as this couple sought to follow God’s leading. He confirmed what Sandy had dreamed in hundreds of ways. Many, many years later, through a most amazing series of divine interventions, the dream was fulfilled, as they began to minister in the very city whose name had once revealed in a dream. A skeptic would scoffingly say that this was a self-fulfilling prophecy. But, knowing the journey of Sandy and her husband, I stand amazed at the grace of God who still speaks to us, as promised, through dreams and visions.

(For the safety of Sandy and her husband, I have not used her real name and I cannot divulge the country in which she serves.)

The excerpt from today’s inspiring article was 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 Part 2

Knowing Yourself is the Beginning of all Wisdom Aristotle

As I mentioned yesterday, this week we are going to address the incredibly important first step in overcoming depression: Knowing Yourself.  You may think you know yourself. After all, you spend every second of every day with yourself!

However, I believe that most people in general and virtually all individuals who are going through depression don’t know themselves well at all.

If I could, I would take each precious soul that is suffering with depression and spend some quality time with them and help them understand how amazing and wonderful this world is, how perfect and incredible the love that God has for them is, and the gift that they are to this world that we share.

In this first step to overcoming depression, it is vital that we do some serious self-evaluation and self-knowledge work. I found a wonderful to share with you today!

Whether you are going through depression or not, I hope you will take some time and get to know yourself better! Knowing who we are…knowing who we truly are is the foundation step to both endeavors: creating a depression-free life and creating a meaningful life.

I hope you will give yourself the gift of you by getting to know yourself better! You are worth the time and effort!

Get To Know Yourself: 29 Questions to Discover the Real You

At the core of our desires is living a life of purpose and meaning.

At the core of a life of purpose and meaning is being of service to others.

At the core of being of service to others is finding peace and happiness.

At the core of finding peace and happiness, we discover who we are.

And to do that, we must get over a little irony, that most of us hardly know – much less, know well – the single person we have spent every second of our existence with, our own selves.

Think you’re the exception? Let me ask you then: how well do you know yourself?

We are not talking about taking a personality test or learning about your family history. Neither are we talking about your favorite colors, your best childhood friend or your high school prom experience (thank goodness about the last one ;)).

We are talking about something much greater and of higher consequence. We are talking about who you are at your core, what most matters to you, what makes you come alive, what feeds your soul and what drains your spirit, and how to know the difference so you choose well as you move forward in life.

If you don’t know yourself all that well, you may still live a life in alignment with who you are but only by accident or some sheer stroke of luck.

And that, my darling, is too big a risk to take, so shall we eliminate the risk altogether?

Make it a certainty that you live in alignment with who you are not by accident or luck, but rather on purpose, by intention, by design.

How? By getting to know yourself really really well. One way to do that is to learn your values, passions and goals. Another is to ask the right questions.

How to Get to Know Yourself: 29 Questions to Self-Discovery

Here are just 29 questions that open the door to having a real conversation with yourself. I want to ask you to answer these questions honestly for yourself.

When you are ready to do this, copy these questions into a text document, quiet all outside distractions, take a few deep relaxing breaths, make a great cuppa tea, clear your mind of noise and clutter and dive in.

Know that there are no right or wrong answers. There is only you uncovering the process of building a closer relationship with the person within.

  1. What activity in your life lights you up with joy?
  2. What is something you always love doing, even when you are tired or rushed? Why?
  3. If a relationship or job makes you unhappy, do you choose to stay or leave?
  4. What do you fear about leaving a bad job or a bad relationship?
  5. What do you believe is possible for you?
  6. What have you done in your life that you are most proud of?
  7. What is the thing that you are second most proud of?
  8. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
  9. How does your being here in the universe change humanity for the better?
  10. If you could have one single wish granted, what would it be?
  11. How comfortable are you with your own mortality?
  12. What is your highest core value?
  13. To your best knowledge, how do other people perceive you?
  14. How would you like others to perceive you?
  15. How confident are you in your abilities to make decisions for yourself?
  16. What is your biggest self-limiting belief?
  17. Who is the most important person in your life?
  18. Who is your greatest role model?
  19. Who is a person that you don’t like yet you spend time with?
  20. What is something that is true for you no matter what?
  21. What is your moral compass in making difficult decisions?
  22. What is one failure that you have turned into your greatest lesson?
  23. What role does gratitude play in your life?
  24. How do you feel about your parents?
  25. How is your relationship with money?
  26. How do you feel about growing old someday?
  27. What role has formal education played in your life and how do you feel about it?
  28. Do you believe your destiny is pre-determined or in your hands to shape however you wish?
  29. What do you believe is the meaning of your life?

What If You Don’t Like the Questions Above?

I know. These questions are not meant to be easy or comfortable, but they are important to ask and to know. As you ask yourself questions, the process of self-inquiry begins, and at first, it is uncomfortable and unfamiliar – especially if you have never done it – yet in time, it becomes easier. Even fun.

Because here’s what you may not know. Or be afraid to believe.

You are a unique child of this world. You are brilliant, smart and wise. You are deep and fascinating. You are gifted and talented. You are beyond capable to do what you dream. You are loved, loving and lovable.

You are not too old or too fat or too poor. You are not too slow or too boring. You are simply none of the terrible things you tell yourself. You’re quite the opposite.

You are more than enough.

So while it’s up to you to decide if this self-discovery process is worthwhile, I would say trust me on this. Getting to know yourself IS worthwhile. Just do it!

Written by Farnoosh Brock and shared from the following website: http://www.prolificliving.com/get-to-know-yourself/

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The Power of Example

There is form of communication  that transcends the  power of words   Joseph B. Wirthlin

The Power of Example

Some of the world’s top squash players used to practise at the squash club where I play. I remember well the first time I saw at close hand a high-level squash game. It was the son of one of our regular group of players, who at the time was ranked number 11 in the world. He came to practice at our club with the world number 2.

We all watched in amazement. We had never seen anything like it. In fact, if that was ‘squash’, what we played should be called something else!

Watching them always raised our game. Suddenly we realized that it was possible to return practically any shot your opponent could serve you, however good they were. We saw how important it was to get back to the middle of the court after each shot. We watched how deep they hit the ball. We noticed the shots that they avoided playing.

When we went on court after that, we astonished ourselves by how well we played. Of course, we did not play anywhere near as well as them. But, inspired by their example, we played a whole lot better than usual.

During my Christian life I have found the same pattern. For example, I had the privilege of working for Sandy Millar for nineteen years. Through watching his life and hearing him preach I was always inspired by his example. Even though reaching the level of those who are examples to us might not be possible, hopefully it inspires us to raise our game.

A Christian is someone who believes in Jesus, puts their faith in him, knows him and lives ‘in Christ’. It is also someone who follows his example.

There is no greater example in human history than the example of Christ. Paul writes, ‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

1. Example of your life

Proverbs 20:5-14How you live affects others. You look to others for an example. Others look to you as an example. This happens whether you like it or not.

Nowhere is this more the case than with parents and children. I have noticed how many of my father’s eccentricities I seem to have picked up. Of course, parents provide examples in more serious ways too: ‘The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them’ (v.7).

Parents who live lives of integrity bring great blessings to their children. Billy Graham said, ‘Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together. We must constantly strive to keep our integrity intact. When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.’

No one has ever lived a perfect life apart from Jesus: ‘Who among us can be trusted to be always diligent and honest?’ (v.9, MSG). Nevertheless, we can all seek to live a life that is a good example.

Parents need to demonstrate faithfulness to each other, treating one another with patience and respect, resolving disagreements with grace, supporting one another in hardship and not being drawn into inappropriate relationships with other people. ‘Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?’ (v.6).

Today’s inspirational articles shared from the following website: www.bibleinoneyear.org

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