How To Live A Life Without Regrets

How To Live A Life Without Regrets

While most of us aspire to live a life we won’t regret, many do express regrets at the end of life. If we could address the things we may regret now, we can focus on living the remainder of our lives with greater satisfaction.

I believe that regrets really stem from a lack of courage. We tend to regret the thing we did or did not do, because we lacked the courage to do it. We may have been too afraid of consequences, or the unknown, or what others may think. And so we settled for less, compromising our potential to live small lives of quiet desperation, as Henry Thoreau said, dying with our song still unsung within.

Regret-free living takes courage: it is as simple and as difficult as that.

Our lives are shaped by either courage or by fear. When we live a live true to ourselves, there will be others who judge us; voices that criticize us for stepping out of the box or label us as crazy. Fear of this dissonance often holds us back. To live fully and without regrets, we need the courage to follow our hearts, even when others may not understand our choices.

In fact, it is none of their business! Each one of us is fully responsible for our own lives and choices. When we choose to go beyond the comfort zone of the collective in order to grow and realize our full potential, that is a courageous decision that deserves support, not criticism!

It is this courageous process of stretching that develops elastic in our souls so we can extend further, believe more, and accomplish better outcomes. Courage to commit to our unfolding path is essential for a satisfying life. And nobody knows better than you what that means!

We need courage to break with norms, to expand beyond the confines of our tribe, and to let go of external expectations and pressures. Courage empowers us to fully live from our hearts, and to stay in touch with our true compass and purpose.

People at the end of life can teach us valuable lessons about living from their perspective at the end of the road. Bronnie Ware, an Australian caregiver who worked in hospice care, identified five core regrets among dying patients which can teach us a lot about living well.

  1. Not staying true to self

Look at a person disempowered and miserable about their life circumstances, and you will most likely find someone who never had the courage to break away from dysfunctional family dynamics. And if we lack the courage to make that primary break away from dysfunctional caregivers, we will end up staying put in jobs we dislike, putting up with abuse and lack of respect in relationships; we will ultimately abandon the opportunity to fulfill the purpose of our lives. To break free from any dysfunction, the discomfort of doing what is needed to be true to oneself must always outweigh the illusionary comfort of avoiding risk.

2. I wish I had not worked so much

People who work all the time develop no identity outside of work. Workaholics have no time to develop in other areas of their lives and when their work drops away, they have nothing else left. Developing healthy interests outside of work allows us to refresh ourselves; it also brings renewed energy to our work lives. Finding that space outside of work is an essential, enriching aspect of life often seen only seen in hindsight.

Deriving status and identity from our work can trap us into a role defined by society rather than by our individual truth. My mother was convinced that I should become an actuary – can you imagine how miserable I would have been in a profession that would have locked me into my left brain?? Another trap is buying into the scarcity thinking of the ego and never feeling as if we have enough money to follow our dreams or step away from a job we despise. Do you have the courage to let go of what does not bring you joy, so you can move toward what does?

3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings

Many dying people long to express their feelings to loved ones, yet never had the courage to do so. Fear held them back. They were crippled by fear of rejection, fear of being misunderstood, or fear of being vulnerable…. The list goes on. We need courage to speak our truth – and when we do, we free ourselves to live from our core truth, regardless of how others may react. Having the courage to be honest with oneself, is vastly more important that how others receive it because it gives expression to our vital life force. Suppressing our truth ultimately suppresses our life force.

Expressing our truth in a compassionate and kind way, creates space for healing and compassion. We don’t have to make another wrong just for us to be heard. We simply need to express our truth – not for justification or to attack others, but for our own healing. Everyone is at a different place on their journey; at times, it may be helpful to write out feelings to another because it allows us to distill our truth while giving others the opportunity to revisit our expression when they are ready.

Expressing ourselves also requires us to become good listeners, because communication is a two-way street. Our honesty and vulnerability can allow others to feel safe enough to express their feelings. Being present with others in a kind, non-judgmental way allows them to share without fear. Can we listen deeply to the people in our lives? Can we find the courage to say the things that need to be said?

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with friends more

At the end of life, memories of happy times and friendships enrich one’s life. And yet, most people’s lives start narrowing down after kids leave home. The comfort of confining themselves to the same routines, friends and circles can lead to stagnation. Stepping out of earlier roles such as parenting can be a stepping-stone toward broadening relationships and connections, rather than narrowing them. If we expand our friendship circles throughout life, we can offer enrichment to one another even as old friends and relatives drop away.

Sometimes, the desire to maintain a safe personal comfort zone prevents people from getting involved in the messy business of true connectivity. I have seen people withdraw from opportunities to help because seeing another in a difficult situation, made them feel too uncomfortable with their own tenuous sense of stability. Life is messy and true connectivity requires the willingness to get one’s hands dirty! True joy is found in real life connections; not on social media or from the comfort of our easy chairs. When we have the courage to connect with people face to face, we ultimately experience enrichment and joy.

5. I wish I had let myself be happier

This regret stems from not understanding that happiness is a choice. We often look for happiness outside ourselves with self-imposed conditions: if I lose 10 pounds I will be happier; if I could just find the right partner, or make enough money, I’ll be happy. The truth is that happiness is a choice. It is an empowering internal decision that we can make regardless of where we’re at in life!

When we choose to honor the truth of our Being, we will find happiness.

We are in this life for a limited time only. This life is going to end, and it is the only life we will ever get to live as these unique beings that we are. This life is precious and sacred: how can we then live to make it really count?

Our greatest joy, highest power and ultimate fulfillment lies in facing the fears that hold us back. We can muster our courage and live from the truth in our hearts. Imagine how much we lose out on while operating from fear and other people’s rules!

To live a courageous life, we’ve got to stretch in ways that may be uncomfortable. Perhaps you’ve heard this from a fitness trainer or yoga teacher, because it’s true in all areas of life: we need to stretch to grow, improve and get strong. And growing in courage means taking risks in the very areas where we feel afraid.

Everyone already has times in life when they’ve been courageous. You may have displayed great courage in a relationship or a job. Perhaps you didn’t recognize it as courage at the time; you were merely doing what had to be done. Yet in every situation where your acted courageously, you valued the discomfort of change more than staying in the comfort of the status quo. You might have been terrified, but you did it!

You can take courageous action again. One you know what motivates you, you can do it again. Let your core values motivate your courageous actions. Practice letting your courage ripple out into more and more areas of your life, and you will live a life without regrets.

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Five Lies To Banish From Your Life

We’ve all been there: resolving to do great things with our lives, our careers, our relationships or our health, only to find that we somehow keep making the same mistakes. We fall back into the same old habits because we still believe the same old lies.

But no more! When you become conscious of the five core lies holding humans back from reaching their highest potential, you can reclaim your truth and choose to live from your personal power instead.

Living an authentic life requires courage, compassion and connection. You need courage to face your imperfections and the compassion to embrace them, so you no longer need to create distractions or false ego constructs to survive. That allows you to connect to your full potential, allowing the light of truth to set you free. Here are the lies you want to recognize, along with better options for an authentic life:

Lie #1: Winner takes all

Human beings have evolved in some astonishing ways on this planet. And yet, we have held on to some of the limitations imposed by ancient survival needs. One of the most insidious is the limiting belief that everything can be reduced to win or lose. This form of scarcity thinking makes us believe that life is about everything or nothing, and winner takes all. It also causes us to think that for every win there must be a loss, and nobody wants to be at the short end. This lie causes excessive competition because if you gain something, it may mean a loss to me somehow.

Nothing could be further from the truth! We live in an abundant Universe. Look around and you will see how lavishly Nature shares her bounty with everyone. In fact, we do not have a food scarcity problem or a scarcity of resources on this planet; we have a problem of hoarding and greed brought on by the primal lie that winner takes all. The truth is that there is enough for everyone, and we can help restore equality from wherever we are – simply by acting on the truth of inherent abundance, instead of holding on to the lie of scarcity.

Lie # 2: You’re alone

Loneliness is the symptom of a life that looks for validation in the outer, material world. Solitude, on the other hand, is stepping away from the crowd in order to savor the richness of a multidimensional experience which flows from a vibrant inner connection to Source. Poet May Sarton put it this way: “Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.”

We are not alone on this planet, in this life or at any moment. We are surrounded by the companionship of Creation; embraced by unseen arms whenever we feel vulnerable or afraid. You can overcome the lie of being alone by deepening your connection to nature, to your inner Self and to your Source. The richness of this multidimensional connection is your innate birthright as a human being, and it will sustain you when the fickle promises of the physical world fail. You are always connected to Source.

Lie # 3: The world is always getting worse

Ah, this lie screams at you the minute you turn on the daily news, right! It is always ready to point out what’s wrong in the world because that feeds the ego’s need for survival and keeps the false circuitry of survival – scarcity – competition going.

Don’t feed the lie; change your channel. Things are not always getting worse, they are merely changing. Change is a fact of life, whether we like it or not. As things change and show up differently, we may need to remind ourselves that different is not necessarily worse. Renowned psychiatrist Dr. David R. Hawkins used to say, “Just because you prefer chocolate, you don’t have to hate vanilla.”

Change ushers in new possibilities. Throughout history, every civilization that crumbled, made way for new and different societies to emerge. Ultimately, these changes brought about the incredible developments we enjoy today. A much more empowering response to change is to find the possibilities in each change and to align with that, rather than to fight the process.

Lie # 4: Others have the power to define you

People love to judge, don’t they? Pick up a magazine and you’ll see how much gossip flies around anybody who lives in public. But do the gossipers really know the people they judge? Have they seen into another’s heart? When you allow others to define or judge you, you are giving away your power to a lie. You compromise your truth to fit into their limited mold, and you deny your uniqueness as a soul.

You are in this life for much more than that! You are free to grow, become and evolve; you don’t need to buy into the limiting peer pressure and group think of others who can only see on the surface. Everything negative others say about you, is really about them, not about you.

Refuse to buy into the limiting viewpoints of others. You have bigger fish to fry! Tune out the naysayers and celebrate your own magnificence. Your purpose in this life is not to keep others happy, but to seek your own fulfillment by magnifying your potential.

Lie # 5: To survive, you have to stay in negative agreements.

So often, one person in a group starts talking down about someone or something and you feel the pressure building as others join in. It feels as if you need to agree with the negative viewpoints to fit in. You may even feel as if you have to share their hatred to belong with them. Well, that’s a big, fat lie!

Complaining and negativity hurt you because they set up negative outlooks in you. You do not need to join the hate fest to establish rapport, ever! You are not obligated to agree with others, especially when their limiting behavior is harmful to you.

Instead, choose to remove yourself from negative environment that are toxic to your well-being. Surround yourself with positivity. Seek out individuals who are forward thinkers, and cultivate friendships with people who expect miracles and are open to all possibilities.

Banish these five lies and you’ll change your life. It will shift you into a place of empowerment where you can thrive.

By challenging these five lies whenever they surface, you can make a different choice to align with truth instead.

Finally, remember that this is a journey and not a sprint. When you start peeling back the lies that have held you back and reclaim your truth, remember to practice the same kindness and forgiveness toward yourself that you offer to others. It is the power of love that transforms, not the brute force of judgment. Always remember the power of love, and that your best effort is enough.

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Six Ways To Move Past Hopelessness

Hopelessness, worthlessness and overwhelm… emotions that nobody loves, yet everyone experiences from time to time. How can you manage these emotions so they don’t paralyze your life?

When you feel hopeless it’s not because there is no hope at all in your life. It’s because you feel there’s none. Same with worthlessness. No one is worthless. Our lives are all worth something. Same with overwhelm: It is not a fact of life; it is your emotional response to life.

Have you had times when you just felt like giving up? Do you feel backed into the wall with nowhere to run and no reason to move? If you find yourself saying, “Why bother?” or “It’s useless” you may be experiencing hopelessness.

Negative self-talk feeds hopelessness, worthlessness and overwhelm. Some of the thoughts running through your mind may include:

  • Why bother? Nothing works.
  • I’ll never be happy.
  • I’ll never get what I want. What’s the use in trying?
  • There aren’t any good people left.
  • I’m too old (or fat, ugly, poor, boring…)

When feeling hopeless, you may stop seeing friends; you may isolate yourself, stop exercising and indulge in unhealthy behaviors such as overeating or overdrinking. You may avoid anything new. And that just adds a sense of worthlessness and overwhelm until you spiral down into a quagmire of hopelessness and depression.

When you find yourself spiraling down this way, the single most important issue to address is your feeling of hopelessness. You see, when you are convinced that life is hopeless, you won’t do anything to help yourself. No matter how hopeless it seems, there are always things you can do to find a way out. Here are six things you can do to break free from the downward spiral of hopelessness:

Challenge Your Hopelessness

If you’re feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, you’re bound to have thoughts like: “It’s useless, so why even try.” Because of this thought process, you won’t do anything, and you’ll remain stuck in hopelessness. This circular thinking then turns your feeling of hopelessness into a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Why not try something different? First, make the decision to doubt your hopelessness. Simply entertain the notion that you could be wrong. You’ve been wrong before about life; maybe you’re wrong now.

And then, with that inkling of doubt, decide to act against your hopelessness and as a champion for yourself. Act as if things aren’t hopeless by taking initiative, experimenting with optimism (‘I might as well try to make the best of this’); do things the hopeless part of you doesn’t feel like doing but research shows can make things better—exercise, see friends, get out of your shell. Prove your hopelessness wrong by acting as if things are already better! This type of self-discipline is not easy, but it can make a world of difference to your emotional state.

A big part of depression or anxiety consists of thoughts in our heads that tell us things are bad, we are hopeless and things won’t get better. The simple exercise of challenging those thoughts can do wonders for our state of mind. If the thought in your mind says that things are never going to get better, then dig deep and remember a time when things were bad but did improve! That is the truth you need to hang onto until your emotions shift.

Consider The Path Not Taken – Yet

Hopelessness will tell you that you’ve already tried everything to make things better, but nothing has worked. Let’s be serious, in a multiverse with limitless options, no one has tried everything yet! Maybe you’ve tried five or ten things things—changing some behavior, therapy, medication, resting, prayer, etc. When none of these things turned out to be the magic bullet that dramatically changed your life, you concluded that it’s all hopeless. Now would be a good time to keep looking, because there is an answer or (even many) for every challenge you may face.

You can try different kinds of therapy, different techniques and combinations of different approaches. You can choose to reframe the way you are looking at the challenge and instead of concluding that your situation is hopeless, you can ask instead, ‘How could this be helpful?’ or ‘What can I learn from this?’

You could consider giving up on ways of thinking and acting that haven’t worked: worrying, complaining, avoiding, isolating and taking things personally. Every time you catch yourself doing one of these things, remind yourself that there’s a better way, and then choose instead to do other things that may work: accepting, tolerating discomfort, practicing patience, or doing what you don’t want to do but what could actually be good for you.

Instead of focusing on what you can’t change, look instead at the wide range of things you can change. Let’s say your relationship really is a lot cause: You’ve broken up and there is no going back. That relationship really is hopeless now. OK, but how about all the other things in your life you can change—things you can do? Stop banging your head against a wall that won’t move, and walk through the door that is wide open for you.

Realize Your Happiness Does Not Depend on Just One Thing

Nobody says, “Life is hopeless because there’s a cloud in the sky.” Of course not! If we don’t treat the cloud as an essential part of life, we are not going to sweat it. When you feel hopeless, it is because you are telling yourself that the thing that won’t change is essential: “I can’t live without it.” Why not? You lived before you had it. Even if the relationship or job really turned out to be hopeless, weren’t you living a life before it? Start living again…like you did before!

Appreciate this Present Moment

Stop and think about what is happening right now. Is this moment hopeless? Sit quietly, noticing your breath, letting it in and out, watching it come and go. Feel your feet against the floor. Hear the sounds around you. Peel an orange and smell the tangy skin. Listen to music and feel the notes run through you. The present is here, every moment, every day. When the future and the past are pushed aside so you are fully alive here and now, you put an end to hopelessness. Appreciating this present moment and making it a sweet one, will help you forget the hopelessness.

Take Good Care of Yourself

It sounds so simple, but little things like getting enough sleep and eating as healthy as possible can make a huge difference on how we feel emotionally. Lack of sleep alone can cause depression and anxiety. Exercise has been proven to significantly reduce symptoms of depression, and by this I don’t mean slogging it out in the gym for two hours a day. Be kind to yourself! If you’re feeling down, stuck or overwhelmed, take a walk in nature, do some gentle yoga, or go for a bike ride to help lift your spirits.

Practice Moderation

When we feel hopeless, it is easy to self-medicate in unhealthy ways: overeating, oversleeping, overdrinking or indulging in recreational drugs. We all know that doing these things actually make us feel worse in the long run! Moderation is important in all aspects of our lives. When feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, wisdom urges us to say “no” to certain activities because we know that our boundaries are weaker than normal. Overindulging as a form of self-medication comes with a price that is just not worth paying.

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Empath Survival: Five Steps For Balanced Giving and Receiving

People are often shocked to discover they are empathic. They simply never questioned their ability to sense what is going on inside others, or their innate ability to take care of those around them.

The empath’s natural compassion, generosity, and caring are wonderful traits—the world would be a better place if more people dared to care for others in this way. As Maya Angelou put it: “I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.”

At the same time, empathic tendencies can backfire when not properly balanced. Spending all one’s energy taking care of others leaves empathic people feeling depleted and unsupported. This can lead to a negative spiral of give, give, give… until you give up!

While navigating human relationships is a lifelong task for everyone, empathic people can make things easier on themselves by understanding a few core principles:

  1. Differentiate between empathy and compassion

Empathy without boundaries leads to overwhelm and burnout. Empathic people often feel the pain and emotions of others, yet feel helpless about what they can do about it. They simply take on more and more of these emotions until they are overwhelmed. This self-destructive behavior leads to incapacitation and disempowerment for both the troubled person and the empath that picks up on their emotion.

Compassion, on the other hand, feels the deep emotion of others without taking it on personally. Compassion allows a person to recognize the emotion or pain of another, and then to consider possible actions that could be taken to render a helpful service to the other.

Compassion may lead the empathic person to say a simple prayer for the other, or to give them words of encouragement without personally taking on their emotion. At times, compassion may even guide the empathic person to recognize that there is nothing to be done about a situation, and thus to gently disconnect from it.

  1. Distinguish between service and sacrifice.

There is a fundamental difference between service and sacrifice that is critical for success. Empathic people often think that service entails self-sacrifice, and because they are so caring, they end up giving more than is healthy.

Service and sacrifice are not the same thing—service focuses on the value others get from us, whereas sacrifice describes what we give up for others.

If you come from a limited viewpoint, you may think that others can only receive when you give something up. But sacrifice is not a requirement for service! When you smile at somebody, the other person can receive joy from that smile without it taking anything away from you—in fact, it will typically lift your spirits too!

In fact, sacrifice happens when service is pushed beyond the limits of healthy boundaries. If we are to be effective in our service to others, we absolutely need to be mindful of honoring our own boundaries so we can be of service without sacrificing our own needs.

Empathic people especially need to learn how to take care of themselves first, so that they can have the energy and stamina to take care of others. This will help them focus on true service rather than sacrifice.

You can tell you’ve sacrificed yourself for another when it leaves you with less—less energy, less motivation, less happiness. This often leads to resentment later.

In contrast, when you’ve acted in the spirit of true service, you’ll have a sense of more afterwards- more satisfaction, more connection, more love, and more alignment to your purpose.

  1. Learn how to balance polar opposites.

Polarity refers to the relationship between two opposites that are interdependent. Caring for self and caring for others are two sides of such a polarity.

Balance is key here. It’s impossible to focus on only one pole and expect it to go well. If we only give to others and ignore the need for self-care, we will ultimately burn out and become a lot less fun to be with. Likewise, avoiding the polarity of self-care, will cause the polarity of care for others to suffer as well.

When we learn to balance the polarities in our lives by giving both poles adequate and equal attention, we avoid burnout.

  1. Stay open to receive from others.

Most empathic people become so overwhelmed by the energy drains they experience when they are surrounded by people whom they see as takers that they will look for ways to avoid interaction with others. As a result, they may not allow themselves to receive much from other people even though receiving is very different than taking.

Empaths are essentially givers, and while this is a beautiful intention, giving without receiving is imbalanced and eventually becomes unsustainable. When we limit the amount of support we receive, we also limit what we can give to others. In contrast, receiving support from others can help us become much more effective at giving.

Empathic people need to work at finding balance between receiving and giving. This may require asking for help, receiving support and letting go of the idea that you have to do everything by yourself.

  1. Learn to say “no.”

We all have a limited amount of time in our days. Learning how to make space for the truly important things in each day is critical—and one way to do that is through the power of saying “no.”

Empathic and service-oriented people typically dislike saying no. And yet, learning to say “no” to the distractions in life, will free up precious time and energy for the things that truly matter.

My rule of thumb is simple: Say “yes” when you can do so with a happy heart, and learn to say “no” without guilt. This will ensure that you stay aligned with your core values, your purpose and your inner balance.

Being empathic can be a great gift—and great gifts tend to come with equally great responsibility. When you learn how to temper, channel and protect this gift, you will be able to enjoy the enrichment it offers.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Six Steps To Tame Your Inner Critic

We all have one – that inner critic that spews forth endless criticism, judgment or disapproval about our efforts. It might lead with critical questions like “what were you thinking?” or self-blame like “what’s wrong with you?” or “you’re such a loser!” And since our thoughts hugely influence how we feel and behave, the inner critic’s negative self-talk can become downright destructive.

This critical inner voice was formed out of painful early life experiences where we saw or experienced hurtful attitudes toward us or others close to us. Over time, we unconsciously adopted and internalized this pattern of destructive self-criticism, allowing it to continue the internal monologue even when there is no need for it.

When we fail to separate from the inner critic, it can run rampant in our lives, creating conflict and sabotaging our success.

Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron has said, “If we want to make peace with ourselves and with the world at large, we have to look closely at the source of all of our wars.”

Both war and peace start within us. If we want peace in our lives and in the world, we need to learn how to stop this internal violence and abuse. We must learn how to proactively address our negative thoughts and develop a more productive dialog within.

Here are six steps to tame the inner critic:

  1. Develop awareness of your thoughts. Awareness precedes change, and taming the inner critic is no exception. Become aware of the voice of your inner critic; recognize that it is merely an aspect of your psyche and not all that you are. We get so used to hearing our own narrations we can become oblivious as to their source. Pay attention to your inner narrative; recognize that just because the inner critic says something, doesn’t mean it’s true.
  2. Allow yourself to observe the inner critic. Become aware of when your inner critic shows up, and what its negative messages are. Notice how its messages are often exaggerated, biased, and disproportionate. Its power to control you lies in its ability to operate unchallenged. Typically, the inner critic’s judgments and accusations may not be fully truth-based. Allow yourself to see this inner bully for what it is, so you can take appropriate action.
  3. Examine the evidence. If you are thinking in terms of absolutes (“You’re never going to make it” or “nobody loves you”) ask yourself if that statement is true. Looking at evidence on both sides of the argument can help you look at the situation more rationally and less emotionally. The evidence of insight empowers, while the condemnation of the inner critic always tries to diminish.
  4. Identify the truth. Ask yourself what advice you’d give to a friend struggling with self-criticism, failure or doubt. Now, give that same advice to yourself with kindness. If you’ve made a mistake, having a decent regret and resolving to learn from it, is usually enough – you don’t need to condemn yourself for life.
  5. Replace overly critical thoughts with more accurate statements. When you find yourself thinking, “I never do anything right,” replace it with a balanced statement like, “Sometimes I do things really well and sometimes I don’t.” You are allowed to make mistakes! Each time you find yourself thinking an exaggerated negative thought, respond with a more accurate statement and move on; don’t ruminate on your mistakes.
  6. Balance acceptance with self-improvement. There’s a difference between always telling yourself that you’re not good enough and reminding yourself that you can work at improving. When we resist our flaws, they persist. Instead, accept your flaws for what they are today, and commit to work on improving in these areas. Acknowledging your weaknesses for what they are today doesn’t mean you are doomed to stay that way. It simply reflects your baseline today, and you can use that information to strive toward becoming better. That way, you use the input from your inner critic to motivate you instead of to bully you.

Your inner dialogue with yourself is a critical part of your psyche. It will either fuel your success or prevent you from reaching your full potential. Taming your inner critic and silencing the excess negativity will empower you to live more effectively and to develop your full potential.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Seven Lies We Tell Ourselves

The power of our minds can be harnessed to empower us. It can also sabotage our best intentions. Here are seven lies we commonly tell ourselves to indulge or to hide the truth from ourselves. To live our best lives, it is essential to recognize these self-sabotage patterns and evict them to make more empowering choices.

I wish I could do _______, but I can’t.
‘I can’t’ almost always means ‘I don’t want to.’ We hide behind ‘I can’t’ to pretend the choice isn’t really ours. In the short run, it may feel beneficial because we can avoid owning our preferences and pretend that we have no choice in the matter. But it comes at a significant cost!  By habitually hiding behind ‘I can’t’ we disempower ourselves across all areas of our lives. What we really need to say is ‘I don’t want to’ instead of ‘I can’t.’ It is more honest and restores our sense of personal power and choice.

I deserve this dessert….
Or this dress… or this outcome… or… whatever. This is one I hear often!  Lying to ourselves by pretending that we deserve what we lust for, lets us indulge in momentary comforts. The problem is, once the momentary gratification wears off, we’re back to facing the original, unpleasant feelings. I have seen people overeat by saying they deserve to indulge after a long day at a job they hate or working with people they loathe. They use food as a reward even though it wrecks their health; and this is the epitome of self-sabotage cloaked in righteous garb. Nobody deserves to wake up feeling awful about their choices. By addressing core issues, every person has the power to restore a sense of well-being to life.

Another related, insidious phrase that people use is ‘I need,’ as in, ‘I need that new dress’ or ‘I need you to listen to me.’ If you’re alive and surviving without it right now, then you clearly don’t need it.  This habit may sound insignificant, but it is dishonest. Changing ‘I need’ to ‘I want’ is incredibly freeing. Whereas ‘I need’ sets you up to believe you’ll be hurt if you don’t get something, ‘I want’ gives you freedom.”

I’m definitely right.
This is one of the most damaging lies we can tell ourselves, according to social psychologist Carol Tavris, Ph.D., coauthor of Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. It’s called the basic bias—the idea that everyone else is biased, but we’re not. The belief that you know best and that you’ve got all the facts prevents you from even listening to evidence that you’re wrong—that your memory may be wrong, your perception inaccurate or your explanation faulty. It’s inherently self-damaging because it keeps you stuck in the limitations of what you think you know. It also makes you a miserable person to be with, so watch for this lie!

I have no willpower.
You do have some willpower. We all do, even though laboratory tests have shown that willpower is finite – after people used self-control for some tasks, they had less of it for subsequent tasks (that’s why it’s not a good idea to quit smoking, start a stressful job, and go on a diet on the same day!) Researchers have found that willpower, like a muscle, can be built up over time through regular training. Moreover, it has spillover benefits: If you decided to straighten your posture every time you thought about it for two weeks, you will not only improve your posture, but you’ll also experience all-around improvement in self-empowerment in completely unrelated areas!

I’ll never get over it.
In The Emotional Life Of Your Brain, author and neuroscientist Richard J. Davidson states that we’re not necessarily conscious of just how rapidly we recover from adversity. You’ve probably heard of psychologist Dan Gilbert’s research showing how people who’ve been paralyzed are about as happy a year after the accident as they were before; likewise, lottery winners were found to be no happier a year after their big win.

By allowing yourself to simply feel the negative emotions of major setbacks and trusting nature’s ability to heal, you’ll discover that negative emotions actually have a finite lifespan and tend to abate over time. While there is substantial variability in how long each person may need to grieve their losses, it is a good rule of thumb to start looking for some sense of forward motion after about six months. If not, you may benefit from professional help.

Researchers have found that people who are slower to recover from stressful events in fact have brains that are wired differently. Fortunately, we can change our brains activity patterns with mindfulness meditation, which boosts activity in the pre-frontal cortex. Studies have shown how this practice over time weakens the negative chain of associations that keep us obsessing about setbacks.

I don’t judge others.
Sure, you do! Research into how humans categorize and perceive others, shows that we all make spontaneous trait inferences about others within less than a second after meeting them! These findings are remarkably consistent across the globe, as people instantly judge each other on two main qualities: warmth and competence. People who are judged as competent but cold (such as a wealthy tycoon) elicit envy or hostility. People who are perceived as warm but incompetent (such as elderly people) bring out feelings of pity. Here’s the kicker: all judgment is ultimately self-judgment. When we size people up, we’re judging them with our conscious mind – and we are ultimately judging ourselves because we’re trying to figure out how we fit in.

If only I had a million dollars, I’d fulfill my dream of _____.
This little self-deluding bomb? It’s disproved every time we see an attorney who aspires to own a restaurant and goes to cooking school at night, or a mom who build an Etsy business while her kids take their afternoon nap. Somehow, we are so certain — so absolutely certain — that we can’t take the leap without a certain financial guarantee or windfall. We totally delude and block ourselves with this lie! Instead, why not take a step closer to your dreams from where you are at right now, and make the commitment to gradually transition to what you really want to do with the rest of your life. It is only too late if you don’t start now!

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