Friday, November 28, 2008

life does not have to suck

If Life Stinks, You Can Turn It Around

Alan H. Cohen Omega Institute

t used to be that nice people did not use the word "suck." Today, you hear nice people saying it just about everywhere -- in particular, the phrase, "Life sucks."

Now, you may be thinking that's not how you would describe your life. But consider: Are there parts of your life that aren't working? Are you failing to reach the joy and satisfaction you'd hoped for? If your answer to either of these is yes, here are six questions to consider to add joy and balance to your life...

Do you give away your power? Anytime you make someone or something outside of you more important than what is inside you, you're giving away your personal power.

Example A: You let others make decisions for you, from what movie to see to where you live.

How to change: Start making this type of decision for yourself, being sure that it represents your true desires, not your need to please.

Example B: You assume your destiny depends on something beyond your control, such as the stars, politics or the workplace.

How to change: You can choose to fret and become miserable -- or choose not to worry and be cheerful. Sculpt your life through your own attitudes and outlook.

Are your expectations too low? All of us inherit a set of beliefs. The question is, do you live your life bound by them or do you expand your beliefs to encompass all that life has to offer? By hanging on to self-defeating beliefs and low expectations, you'll continue to operate at a low level instead of going full throttle ahead. Here are some ways to loosen the bonds of negative beliefs...

Forgive others. Don't waste your precious life stewing over someone else's bad behavior.

Forgive yourself. Instead of revisiting past actions and feeling guilty, ask yourself how the experiences moved you to a new place and be thankful you arrived there.

Expect that good can -- and does -- come to you frequently. Your life will shrink or expand according to your expectations, so think big and accept more.

Are your thoughts sinking you? Many people have been programmed to think of life as a sea of troubles. In fact, it is an ocean of possibilities, a wonderful adventure to be enjoyed. Many people perceive themselves as deprived -- of money, love, time, etc. The tricky thing about perceptions is that they become self-fulfilling. Focus on abundance.

Some ways to do this: Make a gratitude list. As you are going to bed, think about the things you appreciated during the day. Avoid watching the dark side of the news. Quit complaining about what isn't working, and concentrate on what you can do to make things work.

Choose to talk about what you enjoy -- a visit to an art gallery, a great book, an afternoon at the beach. See how it lightens your life. Don't dwell on the negative.

Do you waste your time doing things that "suck"? Write down your activities over the course of a week. Then rate each according to whether it enhances your life or diminishes it, with 10 being the best. This will tell you what erodes the quality of your life. Now write next to each item ways that you can maximize what lifts you and minimize the downers.

Do you think you have to fix everything -- including other people? Control freaks don't have a power issue, they have a trust issue as in, "Nothing gets done right unless I do it myself."

The truth is, our expectations of others play a major role in how they behave. Expect the best and that's what you are likely to get. Trust people for a change, and invite others in to help. You'll give yourself the gift of more time to pursue activities that renew you. Those around you will appreciate you more, not less, for your faith in them.

While you're at it, give up trying to fix others. No one can fix anyone else, and no one can make someone else happy or unhappy. Only the person himself/herself can do that -- even though he might try to persuade you otherwise.

Are you enjoying the journey? The happiest people evaluate life by the quality of their experiences, including those that have ended. Honor your past shining moments as you embrace the present. A day is no less glorious because it gives way to night... a glowing career is no less satisfying because you retired... a relationship that once brought you happiness is no less wonderful because it came apart in the end.

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