Sometimes in life we can find ourselves in places of great turmoil and wonder how we got there. Despite trying to do everything right it seems that trouble and strife just keep coming to the forefront. Ironically, trying too hard to “be good and do good” can sometimes get us off course instead of closer to the life we desire. Here are some helpful tips to help you sort through the “whys” and get back to living a happy life.
Keep perfection in its place
Although it’s great to shoot for the stars and hold ourselves to a higher standard when pursuing our passions, sometimes passion can overwhelm us and force us to become too focused on ourselves and our goals – and make us lose sight of the way that we affect other people. We must guard against a personal commitment to excellence becoming self-absorption. Kindness, compassion and the willingness to compromise are crucial to a happy and successful life so strive to keep perfection in its proper place. Not everyone is going to share your vision and that can be frustrating. Know that perfection doesn’t exist – choose your battles wisely – and realize that some compromise on your part is almost always necessary to achieve your goals.
Realize that words have power
We all want things to go our way and proceed easily and naturally. In order to successfully accomplish this we must realize that our words have power. It’s crucially important to remember –“It’s not what you say – but how you say it” – that determines if your interactions with other with go smoothly or meet with resistance. Learn to speak with tact and patience. Try to let people know that you appreciate them and fully expect the best from them – because people will always work to meet your expectations. Keep in mind that works in reverse too. If you let someone know that you don’t think much of them or their work – they will meet that expectation also – and in the process close themselves off from any further open, constructive interactions with you. Each person simply strives to maintain their own sense of dignity, so personal attacks on other people will never help you accomplish your goals. You must instead help to lift people up and out of their comfort zones through encouragement and patient communication.
Choose your words carefully
The key to avoiding disturbing and unnecessary drama in your life is to simply fine-tune your personal presentation in a way that works effectively for you and leaves you feeling happy. Carefully chosen words and a thoughtful delivery are essential to smoothing the path that you walk upon. Psychologists tell us to always start our conversations with others with the statement “This makes me feel…” instead of “you do this…” That way it doesn’t seem like you’re attacking or judging the other person – just simply expressing the dynamics of the relationship based on tangible things that can be changed. People will accept this verbiage much more readily and work to find a suitable solution – rather than take your words personally and put up defense mechanisms to protect themselves emotionally.
Controlling your breath keeps you in control
When emotions run high we can easily get swept away and start saying things that don’t help our case. Anger, resentment and disappointment can become out-of-control monsters when we can’t keep our cool. Protect your own sense of peace above everything else by ensuring that your intense feelings don’t run away with you. Refuse to have important discussions when emotions are running high. When in stressful situations, always place your thoughts back on your breath in order to maintain control – and speak from a place of empowerment. Remove yourself from the situation long enough to take some deep breaths – from your belly – and calmly compose yourself. Breathing is the anchor to your own clarity and true authenticity.
When you’re wrong, admit it
Living with dignity and integrity requires having the courage and fortitude to admit that you’re wrong when you’ve made a mistake. And everybody makes a mistake occasionally. When you do – admit it and apologize as sincerely as you can muster. Contrary to popular belief this is not a sign of weakness but instead an indication of great character. Only the strongest people can own the entirely of themselves – both the good and flawed aspects. As long as you learn from your mistakes and try to make amends for them – then you can change the experience into something positive and worthy of having gone through.
Chart your own path
In the end, never let anything turn you into someone that you don’t want to be. Maintaining dignity and integrity in a world that appears to have forgotten such things presents a constant challenge – but remember that nothing is more important than your being able to express yourself with open-hearted authenticity. Do not let the world harden you or make you compromise your values, kindness and compassion for others. You must reiterate, through your actions, that there is only so much you’ll sacrifice to achieve your goals. Luckily there are many paths to the same place, so know that with time, perseverance and patience you will reach your desired destination – and on your own terms in your own way. It may take a little longer but you’ll be much happier when you get there – and the trip will be a whole lot more pleasant!
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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.