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.

Tending The Heart: How to Get From Fear to Empowerment

Tending The Heart: How to Get From Fear to Empowerment

Fear constricts and empowerment frees; and tending the heart allows us to find our way to that freedom.

Fear is a deeply rooted meme in society because every generation on earth has faced the need for survival. In earlier times, fear of abandonment was primary for most individuals, because abandonment by the tribe most often led to death.

Fear is also used extensively by egoic minds and unawakened beings to control, manipulate and force consensus, even when it is false.

Fear is an illusion

Fear is truly false, for it presents false evidence in order to coerce us into submission; it often parades the imminent danger of abandonment to make us cower from the possibility of what other humans might do to us.

Even this grandiose posturing of fear is false! In truth, the Creator cannot abandon creation, for the creation is the very expression of Divinity in physical form. To abandon creation, the Creator has to abandon Himself, and that is not possible. Both Creator and creation are one in consciousness; therefore all divisive concepts of fear and abandonment come from the unawakened ego self.

To make space for the realization of Divine support and protection in our lives, we need to evict the fear of what man can do to us.

We need to understand that fear is a man-made phenomenon that has no power over our eternal souls. Only then can we affirm that we are embraced by a loving Creator who does not and cannot abandon His creation.

Tending the heart

Once we have revealed fear for what it is: false evidence appearing real, there is a Zen Buddhist teaching that reminds us there are only two things in this world we need to do: sit and tend the garden.

Even though the world is full of suffering, it is also full of empowerment to overcome. When we stop and become quiet, we can see this.

And so, we need to tend our hearts so we can transition from fear to faith; from disempowerment to true empowerment.

Take the time to sit and calm your heart; feel beneath the fear to the woundedness there that begs for healing. It takes courage to step away from the crowd, to push away the busy schedule and to sit, tending your heart and your soul. Yet all masters knew how important that is: even Gandhi took one day a week to sit in silence, tending the garden of his heart so he could be the change he sought in the world.

Right action

When we’ve taken time to tend the heart, we can engage in meaningful action. How you do your work is as important as what you do. Never act out of guilt, because then you are propagating the very suffering of the world. If you truly wish to grow love and not anger, fear or guilt, then do what you do from love, and not from any other emotion.

When acting out of guilt, anger or fear, we act out of ego, no matter how noble the cause we engage in.

Expand your circle

We also need to stay connected to the whole of life, even as we figure out our individual parts of the journey. Don’t draw your circle of life too small. You are more than one person – you are one with life itself, expressing in this life through consciousness.

Reclaim your connection

It is in sitting and contemplation that we recognize the stillness of the Creator Presence and our connection to all. That awareness can foster in us spontaneous caring and compassion for the woundedness of the world, so we commit to the awakening and care of the world.

Many brave souls have gone before to show the way. I often find inspiration in the beautiful words of author Diane Ackerman’s School Prayer:

“In the name of daybreak

and the eyelids of morning

and the wayfaring moon

and the night when it departs,

 

I swear I will not dishonor

my soul with hatred,

but offer myself humbly

as a guardian of nature,

a healer of misery,

a messenger of wonder,

and an architect of peace.

 

In the name of the sun and its mirrors

and the day that embraces it

and the cloud veils drawn over it

and the uttermost night

and the male and the female

and the plants bursting with seed

and the crowning seasons

of the firefly and the apple,

 

I will honor all life

—wherever and in whatever form

it may dwell—on Earth my home,

and in the mansions of the stars.”

Centuries earlier, the Buddha taught: “To live in joy and love even among those who hate; to live in joy and health, even among the afflicted; to live in joy and peace, even among the troubled; quiet your mind and tend the heart, and free yourself from fears and confusion and attachment, and know the sweet joy of living in the Way.”

What is your gift to the world that only you can bring? Listen closely, push beyond fear to find it, and then commit to do it with love and joy!

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://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.

Restoring Alignment: The Core of Personal Growth

Restoring Alignment: The Core of Personal Growth

Too much change, too fast, becomes counterproductive. It can feel overwhelming because it pulls us out of alignment with our habits, beliefs and values without giving us enough time to adapt.

If you’ve slipped into overwhelm, it’s most likely not because you’re a loser but because you are stuck in situations that have pulled you out of alignment with your inner truth. Restoring alignment and flow in life is at the core of all personal growth.

To regain harmony, you need to restore a greater sense of alignment between your external environment and your inner self. This restoration work has two parts: changing your outer environment and changing your inner relationship to your outer environment.

To restore alignment with your outer environment, you may need to let go of friends who drag you back into old habits or step out of a destructive relationship at work or home.

The second part requires changing your internal relationship to your outer environment. This alignment is more important because you have complete power over your internal choices, whereas you have less influence over your outer environment.

Changing your internal relationship with your environment takes a lot of effort – there are no short cuts to glory here. The payoff – increased peace, harmony, joy, energy, clarity, self-respect, empowerment, satisfaction and meaning in life – is its own reward!

Here are some critical components that can help you restore alignment with your environment.

  1. Refocus

Refocus on your core values. As you do this, an inner sense of integrity will return to your life. When there are no discrepancies in your value system, decisionmaking becomes easier, so you can align with environments that support your being instead of suppressing you.

  1. Define Your Purpose

You are the only person who can define what your life needs to look like to have meaning and success. For a moment, imagine you are at the end of your life, reviewing the life you’ve just lived. What’s the single most important accomplishment in your life? What is it you wish to be remembered for? What is the legacy you leave behind? When you connect with that core purpose, it will bring focus to everything else you do.

  1. Look for Clarity

Next, what things in life bring you joy? Even if you can think of just one thing, reflect on it until you see why it brings you joy. Is it playing with your dog because it makes you feel unconditionally loved; or spending time nurturing family members where you feel that you are making a valuable contribution? Identify what brings you joy and why; then start looking for ways to bring more of that into your life. With clarity around what brings joy and meaning to your life, you’ll enjoy the effort of working toward it, instead of feeling burdened.

  1. Cultivate Awareness

Observe animals in the wild and you’ll notice how fully present they are in each moment. For them, it’s a matter of life or death. For you and me, the process ultimately leads to the same outcomes although we’re not always aware of it. Each waking moment, we make choices that either move us toward a fuller expression of life or deaden the Life Force in us. Cultivate full awareness and you’ll make more optimal choices.

  1. Stay present

Stay present in the moment; discipline your mind and bring it back from a hypothetical future fraught with fear (“What if I lose my job?” or “What if I get cancer?”) Fact is, the future is not created yet and by letting fear-filled thoughts run rampant in your mind, you’re setting in motion probabilities that won’t serve you well! Likewise, ruminating about yesterday serves no purpose other than distracting your focus and draining your energy. At the end of each day, review the events of the day; forgive those who’ve hurt or let you down; ask forgiveness for those areas where you didn’t live up to your highest potential; resolve how you’re going to make different choices; and then let them go! Stay present – this is the only place from where you can bring about meaningful change.

  1. Be resourceful

When faced with challenges, don’t limit your options. Choose different responses; find more than one way of looking at things. Broaden your viewpoint to include possibilities you may not have entertained before. Consider all options you can think of before narrowing down your choices. You’d be amazed at how this simple exercise opens up possibilities!

  1. Banish self-judgment and negative self-talk

When you indulge in self-judgment and negative self-talk, you’re replaying the old tapes of others’ criticism and judgment that you’ve internalized. These behaviors are self-destructive. Stop it! You wouldn’t dream of attacking the Divine Presence in you, so why would you attack the human aspects that need healing? Healthy introspection acknowledges limitation and failure without judgment and allows you to change behaviors that no longer serve you.

  1. Maintain respect

If your actions were made public, would you retain self-respect? Societal norms commonly condone acts of greed and dishonesty as long as the perpetrator doesn’t get caught. Tolerating such lack of integrity undermines respect for ourselves and others. Do only that which you’d respect in another, and that which you wouldn’t mind being made public. When you maintain respect, you are strengthening the foundations of your life and your society.

  1. Stay in the Game

The game of life is not over until the final breath. Don’t give up at half-time because you’ve fumbled the ball. Never let one bad move knock you out of commission – get back in and give it your best! Change the things that don’t work and focus on what does. Give thanks for the breaks along the way and keep at it until the final moment! Miracles and breakthroughs often come at the most unexpected times, but you must be in the game to benefit from it.

Working with even just a few of these aspects will help you restore a sense of alignment between your inner life and your external environment so you can be the difference our world needs now!

About the Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

A Vibrant Inner Life: The Secret to Resilience in a Changing World

A Vibrant Inner Life: The Secret to Resilience in a Changing World

Are you feeling rushed as you read these words right now? Welcome to the modern world of constant connectivity! And the faster our pace of life, the more essential it becomes to nurture our inner life for resilience.

We’re living in an amazing age, every bit as futuristic as the Jetsons or Star Trek sagas some of us grew up with. I love being able to connect face to face with clients on the other side of the world, or download a song in a second. Yet this continuous connectivity also poses a challenge: many of us have trouble disconnecting from all the intensity for some peace and quiet. Our inner life can silently wither even as we chase the outer holy grail of success.

The thinner we spread ourselves, the more we skitter across the surface of our outer lives, never going deep. And technology can track us down just about anywhere, anytime, it seems there is literally no escape!

Trying to keep up the pace can take a huge toll. That stress shows up in suppressed immune systems, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and digestive ailments.

What is needed is more resilience: the ability to rebound from setbacks and challenges, similar to the elasticity of a rubber band returning to its original shape after stretching.

Resilience can be developed with practice, just as you can develop muscle strength by exercising.

The process of developing resilience starts with a reminder that our true nature is eternal and not time-bound. We literally need to disconnect and remember that our souls exist in timelessness.  Poet E. E. Cummings put it this way:

“How fortunate are you and I
whose home is timelessness:
We who have wandered down
from fragrant mountains of eternal now
to frolic in such mysteries
as birth and death
a day, or maybe even less…”

By connecting to the soul’s eternal nature, we regain our inner sense of poise. We can learn to not push into the future, nor run from the past, but to walk our path in this present moment with unhurried grace.  Lama Surya Das calls this place of the eternal present “Buddha Standard Time.” In his book with the same title, he quotes Liu Wenmin, an early sixteenth century poet, making peace with time:

“To be able to be unhurried when hurried;
To be able not to slack off when relaxed;
To be able not to be frightened
And at a loss for what to do,
When frightened and at a loss;
This is the learning that returns us
To our natural state and transforms our lives.”

The busier we are, the more we need time out of the rat race to regain perspective and renew ourselves from within. It is our inner life that ultimately sustains us, and not the outer bells and whistles.

Honoring your inner path of truth is essential for a meaningful life. Research by palliative caretaker Bronnie Ware showed the number one regret of dying people is wishing they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves, and not the life others expected from them.

How do we honor our inner compass amid the frenetic demands of life so we can live without regrets? Three concepts come to mind: Stay true. Stay present. Follow the energy.

  1. Stay True:

A commitment to truth, at all levels, is automatically a commitment to freedom.  It is always truth that sets us free. And where Higher truth prevails, why would anyone need to lie?

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius advises his son Laertes:

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Any “security” gained through loss of inner freedom actually submits to fear at the cost of integrity and truth.  A nation that puts national security above personal freedom has lost its true power base.  In saying this, I am not suggesting that a country should suddenly lower its guard against all enemies (both real and imagined). I am saying that addressing the outer issue before addressing the inner conditions in consciousness that created it, will simply not solve the problem.

This is why politics is not the answer to what plagues the human condition. Politics is like a trainer who seeks to harness and train the collective energy so it will function for the good of all. It will ultimately succeed only at the lowest common denominator.

True freedom is an inside job that starts with elevating consciousness at the individual level by aligning to Higher truth. That alignment fosters confidence, resilience and trust.

  1. Stay Present.

Stay in the Now.  Past and future are always adjuncts to that.  Don’t let the busy-ness of the world rob you of this priceless gift of NOW.

That means you need to make peace with your past so you can live without regrets. It also means you need to release the need to control the future because that is an illusion causing unnecessary anxiety.

You and I do not know what the future will look like because it is not yet manifest. There is no other human who can accurately predict how life will play out, because the future is created through a myriad possibilities and individual choices that ultimately manifest when conditions are favorable.

There are no veterans or pros for where humanity is going now – it is new to all of us. The choices you and I make in each present moment, will collectively decide the future that unfolds for us. So let’s nurture our inner resilience and stay true to our path right here, right now!

  1. Follow The Energy.

Let your body be your barometer. It will show you what you really need.  You always create the perfect scenarios to get what you really need.

There are no good or bad energies.  All people and things are just energy… which is, essentially, neutral.  Energy is as neutral as the electric current that lights up both a cathedral and a drug lab.

Some frequencies of energy may seem particularly useful and attractive to you for where you’re at in your individual consciousness right now. Other frequencies can repulse for the same reason. That does not make them good or bad; they are simply useful to your journey at this particular time or not.

Pay attention to the things that attract or repel you; they are clues to what you need to do, choose or say in order to move forward on your path.

Together, these three principles can help you cultivate a richer and more resilient inner life, no matter how much turmoil you face in your environment.

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.

How To Navigate Life’s Crossroads Without Fear

In today’s world, change confronts us with major, life-defining crossroads more frequently than ever. For one person it may mean leaving a job that no longer works. For others, that life-defining moment is on a personal level: finding the courage to break free from addiction, leave a relationship or reclaim their health.

Facing life-defining crossroads as the captain of your own life can feel scary or intimating, but it need to be so. Crossroads represent more than disruption of the status quo: they are opportunities for our choices to determine long-term outcomes. The way we navigate them are critical: we can choose a path from a place of fear and survival, or we can choose from a place of faith and trust.

Whenever you encounter crossroads in your life, something deeper in you is being called forth and, once you answer that call, you know that life will never be the same. You can step to become a co-creator with the Divine, choosing a path that ultimately enriches your life.

When you first encounter a life-defining crossroads, you may be unsure about how to proceed. Inspired guidance has not yet come forth and you may feel as if you are lost between the past and the future. This stage offers you the opportunity to embrace the unknown rather than feeling afraid or stuck. How can you do this without going into fear?

It is helpful to remember that the experience of nothingness – the void of the unknown – is really the experience of pure potential. The place of non-material nothingness embodies pure, undifferentiated potential for a new reality to emerge in response to your intention, focus and faith. Instead of emptiness, this space contains the fullness of all possibilities. It offers you the opportunity create a new level of being for your soul to experience.

Facing the unfamiliar and unknown is actually a gift: it offers you a profound opportunity for conscious creation! Recognize that you are not at the whim of outside circumstances and random events here. This is an opportunity for you to attract optimal outcomes by using the timeless tools of co-creation: intention, alignment, trust and gratitude.

You can consciously guide and create events through your focused intention, which forms the core of any creative process. When you set your intention clearly and specifically, you signal to the energies out there to create a reality that resonates with what you hold in mind.

Next, you need to take responsibility for your feelings so that you are in emotional alignment with your intention, banishing any sense of fear, worry or doubt. Wherever your focus goes, energy flows. It is therefore essential to recognize any thoughts, feelings and emotions of fear, and to release these with compassion so your mind can be at peace – the true resting place of faith.

Finally, you have to let go of trying to control outcomes. Instead, present your desire or need to the Divine and then detach from it. Simply let go of all attachments and aversions related to the situation: both your attachment to the desired outcome and your fears of the alternative. Trust the Life Force to respond to your situation at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.

Then, allow gratitude to fill your being: give thanks for Divine guidance, provision and support to flow into you with each breath you take. Let the Divine Presence which sustains your very being, surround and fill you with a deep sense of gratitude. This attitude of gratitude expands your perspective to recognize guidance, synchronicities and confirmation on your journey.

When you operate from this place of gratitude and trust, you will take inspired action rather than pushing to make things happen from a place of fear or control. You are indeed part of a dynamic feedback loop with Divinity; a co-creative relationship where you are holding space for answers to emerge through your intention, alignment, trust and gratitude.

Once you grasp the enormous potential inherent in this process, you will approach life’s crossroads as an opportunity to create optimal outcomes from the raw materials of faith. Co-creating with Divine inspiration, your mind can begin to grasp what it means to have all of time and space at your disposal.

Here are a few principles to keep in mind as you learn to become fearless in the field of all possibilities:

  1. Remain detached from both expectations and fears. Recognize that attachment breeds expectation and fear. Instead, focus on the Eternal Source of your supply and keep your focus on that Divine Source rather than on circumstances.
  2. Keep your perspective on the present moment. When we focus on the future, we feed fear and anxiety; when we focus on the past, we feed guilt, blame and regret. In the present moment, there is always enough grace to meet your need, no matter how overwhelming the circumstances. By staying focused on the present, you stay open to all the possibilities.
  3. Adapt quickly to mistakes. Rather than turning a setback into some judgment about yourself, the situation or somebody else, simply acknowledge your feelings of disappointment and take note of what you have learned from it. Then renew the process of detachment, surrender and trust so you can return to your ultimate resting place of peace.
  4. Be alert to tiny signals – major turning points of life often arrive as small signals at first. Learn to see and interpret the metaphors through which life speaks to you.
  5. Cultivate a healthy, balanced connection between your soul and body. You will be most effective at decision-making when you remain aware of your spiritual core guiding you through the physical challenges of life, rather than trying to disassociate from either aspect.
  6. Stay flexible in your understanding and embrace ambiguity. Transformation is sometimes a messy process. Flexibility makes it easier to release unrealistic expectations when they prove untenable.
  7. Be patient. You are a spiritual being that exists in eternity; don’t let human expectations and timelines rob you of peace. Surrender every fear, doubt, anxiety or worry as it surfaces, so you can hold a space of clear intention and trust the perfect unfolding of Divine order.
  8. Take excellent care of yourself. Nurture yourself with healthy food, exercise and rest so you can have the physical resilience and stamina to realize optimal outcomes.
  9. Allow your core values to guide your decisions. When your choices, actions and behaviors are aligned with your values, you won’t need to second-guess yourself.
  10. Honor healthy boundaries. Learn that “no” can be a complete sentence. It’s a healthy and necessary way to address external demands at a time when you need time and space to figure out major life decisions.
  11. Be discerning about the company you keep. During times of change, it is important to receive validation from people whose view of reality matches your own. Such encouragement supports your process of learning to trust your own inner guidance, whereas negative people deplete your energy.
  12. Take time for meditation or contemplation. This practice will help you stay centered and at peace. It is also a powerful way to re-connect to Divine inspiration and fuel for your soul.

Together, these principles can help you fearlessly face the unknown and embrace new possibilities. The cross-roads of your life can become a life-changing opportunity!

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.

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