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“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.” – E. E Cummings A couple of years ago, I signed up for an improv acting class. For my final monologue, I choose a scene from the classic movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner because it struck a chord. It... Read More » The post 4 Important Things I’ve Learned from Making Unconventional Choices appeared first on The Dream...
“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.” – E. E Cummings
A couple of years ago, I signed up for an improv acting class. For my final monologue, I choose a scene from the classic movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner because it struck a chord. It was the scene between Sidney Poitier’s character, Dr. John Prentice, and his father, where Dr. Prentice tries to reason with him about his choice to be romantically involved with a white woman. His father is resolute in his stance on the issue, claiming that it isn’t something that a man of color should do and that his son is making a big mistake.
What I loved most about this passionate exchange is the courage and strength that Dr. Prentice demonstrates as he refuses to succumb to the pressures of his family and community. He was a trailblazer, determined to let go of the emotional baggage of his ancestors who were so used to being oppressed that they were incapable of choosing differently for a better future.
His decision to follow his heart was influenced by a fundamental shift to see beyond his racial identity and see himself simply as a man. He respectfully says to his father: “Dad, you’re my father. I’m your son. I love you. I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man.”
I chose this scene because I could relate to Poitier’s character. In my life, I’ve made unconventional choices that challenged cultural norms and the familial beliefs I grew up with. My choice to move abroad to get both a bachelors and masters degree, my choice to avoid certain foods, my choice in friends, to name a few have, at times, baffled my community. As a millennial, and from a lineage of immigrants and freedom fighters, I’m hardly ever afraid to color outside the lines and break conventions that I feel could limit my potential and development.
But what constitutes an unconventional choice? Here’s a definition from Vocabulary.com:
“To be unconventional is to act, dress, speak, or otherwise exist out of the bounds of cultural norms. If you eat cheeseburgers for breakfast, that’s somewhat unconventional. Anything that’s nonconformist or out of the ordinary can be described as unconventional. Every culture has its own conventions — or norms — and what may be unconventional in one region might be typical in another. The perception of what’s unconventional is determined by context.”
What’s important to note here is that the unconventional choices that I’m writing about are those that are ethical and done with the intention to better oneself, one’s community, and sometimes, even the world. It’s futile and silly to live your life like a rebel without a cause, breaking the rules and creating drama to satiate a need for cheap thrills and attention.
Unconventional choices that are rooted from a place of inner knowing, and a moral compass that points you towards what’s ethically right or wrong, are the kind that will lead to self-actualization and positive, lasting change. These are the choices that require bravery to deal with the fallout that will result from freeing yourself from dogmatic rules and beliefs that held you and your loved ones captive.
We have a plethora of historical, and contemporary, role models to choose from. In every era, there are revolutionary figures who chose differently and went against the conventions of their time, even while facing rebuke (or death) from their adversaries. Think of Galileo Galilei whose commitment to his scientific discoveries made him willing to face the threats of the Orthodox Church. Rosa Parks, who defiantly refused to give up her bus seat, sparking mass protest that eventually led to the end of segregation. Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot who chose to fly solo across the Atlantic.
Yet not everyone is capable of breaking away from conventional belief systems. As human beings, we’re instinctively driven by our need to belong and accepted by others – sometimes at the cost of our own personal advancement. This fear of becoming a social pariah coupled with a lack of self-awareness makes it a herculean task to choose a different path to those around us.
I’ve found that the only way to release this fear is to look within and strengthen our understanding of who we are and what’s important to us. We always have a choice to live differently, even if it initially requires sacrifice and a period of discomfort. We need to trust ourselves and realize that we are our own best counsel. No one knows us better than we know ourselves.
Here are four important things that I’ve learned from making unconventional life choices:
1. Most people won’t understand, so focus on the ones who do: When you make unconventional choices you have to be prepared to deal with people who will be uncomfortable with your decisions and won’t take you seriously. Most of the times it’s because they’re projecting their own fears and worries onto you, or they simply don’t want you to move on and change. You might even come across those who’ll be threatened by your growth and progress and will try their best to sabotage your efforts. This is when you need to demonstrate grit and remain steadfast in your decisions. Seek out a community or group of individuals who can support you, and offer you constructive advice that will help you advance your goals.
2. The risk that you take is always worth it, even if it doesn’t turn out as you hoped: Whether the outcome of your unconventional choices turns out to be favorable or not is irrelevant. Based on my experiences, I’ve found that even if I didn’t get the results I had hoped for, I felt empowered by the fact that I tried my best and was brave enough to put myself out there. In these situations, I ensure that I extract the lessons and the higher message, incorporating it into my knowledge on the road to self-realization. As Buddha said “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.”
3. Discomfort is a sign that you are growing and learning: The discomfort that I’ve felt while moving forward with certain “scary” choices has ranged between mild discomfort (the equivalent of getting out of bed at 6am for a morning run) to heart-pounding fear (when you come face to face with a lion). What helped me in managing these turbulent emotions was finding my center, breathing deep into the pain, and placating myself with the knowledge that what I was doing was for my own good. Just as how lifting heavy weights during a training session hurts, you know that the results of a strong, healthy, and lean body will be totally worth it. Choices that get you out of your comfort zone will build your courage and help your spirit flourish.
4. You become a role model for others and pave the way for change: Many pioneers were considered crazy by their peers when they first decided to veer away from convention. But eventually, people came to see that what they did was beneficial to all. It was only after some time had passed that bewilderment turned to admiration because most people lack the strength, guts, and initiative to make such sweeping changes. Gandhi’s policy of non-violence and ahimsa which means “compassion” and “not to injure” in his efforts to free India from British rule was mocked by the British in the beginning. But, as Gandhi persisted, guided by his ideals, the colonizers began to take him seriously. His non-violent stance even influenced other leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and former US president, Barack Obama.
The greatest power that you have is the power of choice. Wield this power like a sword to cut through frivolity so that you can get to the heart of the matter. Use the power of your choices to sculpt the masterpiece of your life, even if that requires you to step away from convention and stand up for your own truth. The world needs you to be brave and step up!
All my best on your journey,
Question: What have you learned from making unconventional choices in your life? Would you do it again?
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“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you might find you get what you need.” – Rolling Stones It’s hard not to get overwhelmed in the modern marketplace when there are so many options available. Whether you’re walking down a supermarket aisle, or shopping in a mall, or haggling with... Read More » The post The Art of Balancing Your Wants and Needs appeared first on The Dream...
“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you might find you get what you need.” – Rolling Stones
It’s hard not to get overwhelmed in the modern marketplace when there are so many options available. Whether you’re walking down a supermarket aisle, or shopping in a mall, or haggling with merchants at a bazaar, you’ll be inundated with brands, products, and services, all vying for your business. Indeed, our consumer-centric society deludes us into believing that we can have (and need) it all!
Despite all the freedoms that capitalism bestows on us, we need to be careful of its illusory effect on our psyche. Just because almost everything under the sun is available to us, it doesn’t mean that we’ve found the Holy Grail of happiness. Advertisers use a combo of striking words and captivating imagery to attract our attention and to plant the seeds of desire.
When we were kids, we didn’t have to narrow down our choices and compromise on the things we wanted, because all we cared about was having fun and satisfying our egos. We may have pleaded with our parents to buy us that toy we so wanted – a doll, stuffed animal, video game console, or a bicycle – and if they didn’t acquiesce, we threw tantrums to get it.
As adults, we still have this inner child, but the impact that it has on our ability to compromise and limit our wants depends on what we learned about money and self-control control as children. If you were raised with sound financial education and a secure idea of what money could provide, you are more likely to have a mature perspective on your finances. If, however, you developed a dysfunctional relationship with money due to a lack of financial education and opposition in your household it can lead to a hazy and complicated attitude around money.
I was one of those people unable to draw a line between what separated my wants from my needs. It wasn’t until I worked with a money coach that I established financial literacy and began seeing money as a form of energetic currency. How I choose to allocate my money says a lot me as a person – my maturity, priorities, and my values. That’s why this transition should begin by empowering ourselves with a solid understanding of who we are at our core, and what’s most important to us. This will give us the clarity and foresight to decide what we should bring into our personal space, be it an object, person, or experience.
In addition to developing deeper self-awareness, we need to be able to distinguish between need and wants and strike a balance between the two. A need is something that a person must have to survive and thrive. Not fulfilling a need can cause a person to suffer mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Some examples of needs include basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, love, security, and rest. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs expands on our needs by categorizing them and ranking them based on their importance.
A want, on the other hand, is a desire that is personal and unique to each one of us. It’s something that you would like to have, but you would be able to live without. Some examples include consumer items such as iPhones, PlayStations or a visit to a hair salon or spa. We may want a romantic partner who is tall, dark, handsome, and rich when what we really need is someone who is stable, loyal, caring, and who respects us. There are usually a lot of emotions surrounding a want that inject passion into our pursuit of them.
If we’re not conscious about the addictive quality of wants and we allow ourselves to get too attached to them, we can get distressed. We’ve all heard of the people who go on shopping sprees, max out their credit cards, and accumulate debt in the process. What about the person who complains about not having enough, living in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction because they don’t feel like they’re getting what they deserve? Even wealthy people, who can afford to buy all the stuff that they desire, can experience the emptiness that comes with having never-ending wants. The excess in their lives only adds psychic weight to their energy field.
It’s only by gaining spiritual maturity that we can see the futility in a naive chase for acquiring happiness solely by fulfilling our wants, rather than our needs. In his thoughtful column in the New York Times called The Joy of Less, travel writer Pico Iyer, points out that “voluntary simplicity” and getting rid of excess stuff that only distracts an individual is a big part of the formula for happiness.
Iyer writes: “I’m no Buddhist monk, and I can’t say I’m in love with renunciation in itself, or traveling an hour or more to print out an article I’ve written, or missing out on the N.B.A. Finals. But at some point, I decided that, for me at least, happiness arose out of all I didn’t want or need, not all I did. And it seemed quite useful to take a clear, hard look at what really led to peace of mind or absorption (the closest I’ve come to understanding happiness).”
Adopting a mindset of simplicity doesn’t require us to renounce all our worldly desires and subject ourselves to the ascetic lifestyle of a monk. It does mean that we should adjust our emotional compass so that it points us down a path that’s characterized by intangible and lasting forms of joy such as love, compassion, peace, and balance, rather than by transient and shallow material forms of happiness.
This path will become more obvious as we master the art of balancing our wants and needs. Here are four ways to establish this balance in your life:
1. Adopt a mindset of simplicity: The culture of materialism and celebrity fans the flames of desire for the things you don’t really need. The truth of the matter is that you don’t really need that much to be happy. The things that are going to truly fulfill you are simple if you adopt a mindset of simplicity. Of course, you don’t have to deprive yourself of life’s goodies. You simply need to adjust your expectations and train yourself to find happiness in the small things.
2. Prioritize and list your needs and wants: The next step is to reflect on your priorities and what’s most important to you in your life in the present moment. Ask yourself: What really needs your urgent attention right now? Where do you think you should spend your energy and resources so that you receive the highest return on your investment? What actions are going to be conducive to your long-term happiness? What can wait for a few days/weeks/months? Create a list divided into two columns, each one labeled “needs” and “wants”. Write down your responses between these two columns and decide when you would like to meet each target. Remember to avoid judging your needs and wants – instead, use it as a tool that motivates you to create a plan of action and to follow through.
3. Maintain self-control and discipline: Sticking with the needs and wants that you’ve written down on your list requires commitment. It may not be easy, especially if you’re someone who has a tough time controlling your impulses and gets carried away. You can keep yourself on-track by thinking hard before you buy or take action on something. If you find yourself under the grip of an addictive pattern that blurs the line between your wants and needs, stop, take a deep breath, and ask yourself these questions: Do I really need this to survive? Why do I need or want this item? Do I already have something similar? How will I feel after acquiring this? What effect will it have on my finances and my self-confidence? By asking yourself these questions, you’ll make more conscious and wise decisions that are driven by your needs, and less by your wants.
4. Develop a practice of gratitude: An attitude of gratitude will create feelings of abundance and prosperity no matter how much we have in our lives. A farmer in a rural town can feel just as wealthy as a real estate magnate in a city if he takes the time to appreciate what he has in his life. We typically like to compare ourselves to those who have more than us and fret over the things that they have which we don’t. If you reorient your attention to reflect on all the ways that you’ve been blessed, you’ll notice an instant shift in how you relate to your needs and wants. Cultivate a daily practice of noticing both the big and little things that you’re thankful for such as the food on your table, the roof above your head, the clothes you wear, your health and safety, and anything else that you cherish. There are people out there who fantasize about the life you’re living and have many of their basic needs unmet because of their circumstances.
All of us are born into this world with nothing, and we’ll carry nothing out when we leave it. The only thing that our soul retains is the spiritual jewel of wisdom, love, and compassion. We need to work toward creating experiences that give us access to these jewels, and that provide us with the opportunities to leave a legacy – a legacy that contributes more towards meeting the needs of others than to meeting our own wants.
All my best on your journey,
Question: What are/have been the main challenges that you’ve faced when it comes to balancing your wants and needs?
“Truly great people do not feel important, they make others feel important.” – Mini Dama A visit to a museum like the Louvre in Paris is the closest thing you can get to a time machine. Wandering from one gallery to the next gives you instant access to the majesty of human history. Every painting,... Read More » The post How to Avoid Being Controlled by a Desire to Feel Important appeared first on The Dream...
“Truly great people do not feel important, they make others feel important.” – Mini Dama
A visit to a museum like the Louvre in Paris is the closest thing you can get to a time machine. Wandering from one gallery to the next gives you instant access to the majesty of human history. Every painting, sculpture, and artifact tells a story about the people who created it. You get a glimpse into their lives, what they ate, how they traveled, and what they considered beautiful and of value.
After many hours of exploring the never-ending labyrinth of the Louvre, filled with some of the most exquisite antiquities and works of art in the world, I identified a common theme. Artists and craftsmen used symbology to highlight the importance of those considered superior in the hierarchy of their particular era. Kings, queens, nobility, army generals, and religious leaders were depicted with special ornaments, clothes, and accessories. Their appearance was further exalted by their setting – a grand courtroom, a magnificent boulevard, a beautiful cathedral or a lush garden.
In that moment, I had an epiphany. The need to be seen as important is a timeless and fundamental need that humans have had since the dawn of civilization. The only thing that’s changed is the way we express and perceive that importance. Today, the visual symbols of importance and power include designer clothes and accessories, fancy cars, physical perfection, and how we groom and present ourselves. In the world of social media, our importance is calibrated on the number of followers and “likes” that we accumulate.
Even though this is a superficial yardstick to assess someone’s worth, it is a clear indicator of our need to feel important. According to motivational expert and coach, Tony Robbins, the need to feel significant is one of the six primary human needs and is, therefore, natural to human nature. We’re all wired to crave a sense of belonging and to be accepted by our peers. Being seen and recognized by others makes us feel safe on an instinctive level. Our caveman ancestors knew that if they were included in the pack, they would have enough food, shelter, and emotional support to live, and they wouldn’t have to worry about threats as much.
The question that we have to ask ourselves is this; at what point does this basic “need” to belong and to be loved become an addictive and fear-based “want”? At what point do we become a “hungry ghost” (a character from Buddhist iconography that suffers from greed, and jealousy), unable to take in what we desperately need because of our constrictions? All the praise and adulation in the world won’t be enough to fulfill an unhealthy desire to feel important. Like a hungry ghost, an afflicted individual may wander aimlessly looking for something or someone to satisfy their insatiable hunger for significance. Without conscious awareness, this vicious cycle can lead to a crippling state of disempowerment and cause deep pain that’s characterized by highs and lows, instability, and a lack of inner peace.
Several causes produce this hole in the spirit of an individual. According to studies done by child psychologists, our need to feel important is determined by how our parents responded to our cries for attention when we were babies and children. As little kids, we may have tried to all kinds of tactics to get our parents to acknowledge us. “Mommy, mommy what do you think of my drawing?” “Daddy, watch me twirl and sing!” If, for the most part, we didn’t get a response from mommy and daddy during our pleas for their attention, a void is formed within us which continues to grow, depending on how conscious we become of it as adults and make a conscious effort to heal it.
This void widens if we surround ourselves with shallow individuals who are constantly in competition, trying to get a leg over. You’ll more likely be driven by the need to feel important and will do whatever it takes to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. If you allow yourself to get pulled into the illusory world of fame and celebrity, you’ll be trapped in a fantasy world where you believe that you’re a star without really earning it. I remember watching an episode of the Dr. Phil show that featured a young man, in his early 20’s, who believed that he was going to be the next Jay Z. He refused to get a job and instead borrowed money from his mother (nearly bankrupting her in the process), to cut records and buy fancy equipment, props, and clothes to look the part. It was obvious that he was chasing the glamour and status that comes with being a star without putting in the hard work.
If you find yourself consumed by the need to feel important, please don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens to the best of us. Just last week, I found myself seeking acknowledgement from a band that I loved when I was a teen in the 90’s while at their concert. But, I was able to out snap myself out of the spell of my ego once I realized that I didn’t need anyone to make me feel worthy. I was just there to enjoy their music. And that is the key to unlocking the door to self-liberation: becoming cognizant of the symptoms, and immediately taking steps to shift your behavior.
Here are some guidelines that will help you move away from an unhealthy desire to feel important:
1. ‘Humble up’ by gaining perspective: Newer generations are being raised to believe that they’re special, giving them a false sense of entitlement. They start believing that the world owes them something. Although it’s important to pay attention to our needs and aspirations, expecting the world to revolve around them leads to nothing but disappointment. I learned the term “humble up” from Caroline Myss, my spiritual mentor, who believes that grounding ourselves in humility is a key stepping-stone to flourishing spiritual life. If I ever feel my ego taking over, I use my favorite humbling technique, meditating on an image of planet Earth in the vast expanse of the universe. I’m instantly reminded of my infinitesimally small place in the vast cosmic ocean.
2. Dig deep and build inner strength: If you have an overwhelming need to feel important, the first step is to find out what could be the driving force behind that need. It might help to work with a qualified therapist to discover the root cause, especially early life experiences that had an impact on you. Having clarity about your feelings will make it easier to heal and shift to healthier patterns of thinking that will be beneficial to your emotional wellbeing. You can work on building your inner strength, and core foundation, by engaging in acts of self-care and acknowledging all your successes thus far. I suggest maintaining a journal where you write down the accomplishments and decisions you’re most proud of, discoveries and insights that you’ve had, and the things that you appreciate most about yourself. By giving yourself love and validation, you’ll be less likely to feel the impulse to get it from others.
3. Focus on progress and growth: Shift your focus from pleasing others to your inner world and the path ahead of you. Focus on doing your personal best, not to gain recognition from others but to live up to your potential and what you’re capable of doing. Listen to the wisdom of your inner voice when making decisions and only do what feels right for you – not because others expect you to do it. Be inspired by the vision that you have for your life and get fired up by goals that you set. When you’re animated by the power of your dreams, you don’t need the approval of others. You’re comfortable in your own skin because your only concern is meeting your goals and living a life based on your own values.
4. Make others feel important: Get over the desire to feel important by redirecting the spotlight from yourself, onto others. Get curious about anyone that you meet and instigate conversation by asking them plenty of thoughtful questions. Remember that you can learn something new from every single person that you meet if you’re open to it. Showing a sincere interest in others, and listening to what they have to say, is the most effective way to make a person feel important. Notice the people around you – your family, friends, co-workers, or the lady who sells you your morning coffee – make them feel seen by making eye contact, paying them a genuine compliment, and showing your appreciation for their presence in your life. You can even take it a step forward by giving gifts, writing a card or a letter, delivering a bouquet of flowers or a gift basket if you feel inclined to. If you’re taking good care of yourself and prioritizing your needs, you’ll find it easier to make others the star of the show once you step out into the world.
At the core of one’s need to feel important is the belief that love is a scarce resource and that one must fight to get it. The truth is that love permeates every corner of our universe. We can engage with this loving energy by becoming a channel for it. When we’re willing to give it to others in a selfless way, we’ll discover that the love that we give will mysteriously find its way back to us, either through people or through other unknown universal forces.
All my best on your journey,
Question: Do you find yourself being controlled by the desire to feel important? What steps are you willing to take to overcome this desire and feel more comfortable in your skin?
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“Don’t underestimate me because I’m quiet. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and observe more than you know.” – Michaela Chung “Why are you such a loner?” “You’re too sensitive/emotional. You need to have thicker skin!” “Why are you so complex? Keep things simple!” “You won’t amount to much if... Read More » The post 5 Ways Introverted and Sensitive People Can Change the World appeared first on The Dream...
“Don’t underestimate me because I’m quiet. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and observe more than you know.” – Michaela Chung
“Why are you such a loner?”
“You’re too sensitive/emotional. You need to have thicker skin!”
“Why are you so complex? Keep things simple!”
“You won’t amount to much if you can’t speak up.”
“Why can’t you be more adjusted to your surroundings?”
If you’ve heard any of these statements in your life, the chances are that you might be an introvert and/or a highly sensitive person (HSP). But, before we proceed, let me clarify what introverted and HSP personalities look like.
Introverts tend to be quiet and reserved because of their natural tendency to focus on their inner universe. Unlike extroverts who gain energy from being around people, they usually expend energy in social settings and large groups of people, often feeling the need to step away and recharge their batteries. Introverts make up an estimated 25-40% of the world population.
Highly sensitive people, or HSPs, are sensitive to the world around them because of a nervous system that absorbs and processes more emotions and information than average allowing them to reflect on it on a deeper level. They tend to be more disturbed by loud noises, caffeine, strong smells and confrontations than others. About 15-20% of the global population are HSPs.
Even though introversion and high sensitivity are frequently lumped together, not all introverts are HSPs. An estimated 70% of HSPs are introverts. However, there is a lot of overlap between the two personality traits. Both introversion and high sensitivity are present from infancy, and they can’t be outgrown. Both traits cause a person to have an inward focus and a strong connection to their inner needs and thoughts. Keep in mind that there are different degrees of introversion and sensitivity.
It’s unfortunate that the characteristics of introverts or HSPs are rejected by some cultures where they are seen as ‘abnormal’ and ‘defective’. According to Arnie Kozak, author of The Everything Guide to the Introvert Edge, which touches on the cultural bias against sensitivity, he says, “Sensitivity is not valued in this culture; it is seen as a liability. You may have been told you were ‘too’ sensitive; you should have a ‘thicker skin’ … People may not understand your intensity. You may not understand it either.”
When I was a child, I was shy, reclusive and had a quiet disposition. I was perceived as being socially awkward because of my passive nature. I was picky about the kinds of foods I ate and had a low threshold for variation in my environment, something that others perceived as fussy behavior. As a result, like so many other introverts and HSPs, I grew up hearing that there was something wrong with me. I often felt like the strange one who was perpetually disengaged from mainstream society, watching others from the sidelines.
As I became increasingly self-aware, I began seeing my introversion and sensitivity as a strength. Being an introvert doesn’t mean that you’re socially anxious or shy, it just means that you need more space than others to recharge and introspect. To feel intensely, like an HSP, is not a weakness, but a sign of being a truly alive and compassionate being. Our heightened sensitivity and depth of processing allows us to absorb more data from our surroundings and analyze life’s subtleties on a deeper level.
It’s not the introvert or the HSP that’s broken, but society’s understanding of them that has become skewed and dysfunctional. We need to recognize and encourage their diligence, conscientiousness, ability to tune in to other people’s feelings, and their incredible attention to detail. They make great companions because they are tactful conversationalists who prefer to have a full understanding of a concept before blurting out their thoughts. They prefer deeper and more meaningful conversations as opposed to superficial small talk.
Because they spend so much time immersed in their own thoughts and feelings, they usually have rich and complex imaginations that brim with creative ideas and intuitive insights. Many innovators and pioneers in the fields of arts and science were textbook examples of introverts and HSPs such as Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, Martin Luther King, Jane Goodall and the Dalai Lama.
Our introversion and sensitivity can be a major asset if we’re willing to perceive them in that light. Here are five ways that introverts and sensitive people, like you, can change the world:
1. Coming up with creative and innovative solutions: Introverts and HSPs tend to focus inward because they are more affected by external stimuli. They channel this energy into creative pursuits by tapping into their vivid imaginations filled with color, texture and knowledge. They’re more reflective, innovative and tend to process information and experiences in a deeper and fuller way. They use their dominant right-brain to connect the dots and come up with novel and groundbreaking ideas and solutions.
2. Facilitating peaceful negotiations: Introverts and HSPs tap into their natural empathy and heightened sensitivity to pick up on nuanced details that can facilitate peaceful negotiations. Although they prefer to avoid confrontation whenever possible, when they face it, they can understand the other person’s point of view and use it to dispel any tension. They can sense the emotions of those involved in a conflict and offer them comfort. Their infallible sense of justice makes them excellent mediators, capable of reducing stress for everyone involved. It’s precisely these gifts that give them the ability to put out the flames of anger, animosity, and blame in tense situations.
3. Beautifying the world: With their heightened senses and sensitivity, introverts and HSPs can pick up on the minute details that most people would miss. Their keen senses can trace all kinds of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch, absorbing them like a sponge. They can easily notice changes and errors because they process information more thoughtfully than others. Their creative flair, and ability to notice subtleties, make them great candidates for careers or hobbies that involve creativity, like fashion design, art, music, gardening, beauty therapy and plastic surgery. Some examples of HSPs and introverts in this field include Van Gogh, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michael Jackson, Mozart, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
4. Expressing kindness and compassion: Introverts and HSPs can easily tune into the emotions of those around them. For this reason, they display more empathy, compassion, and concern for others. They can pick up on vibes, nonverbal signs, and subtle gestures, which they use to read others and get a sense of their character and intentions. HSPs such as Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and Eleanor Roosevelt are examples of famous historical figures that used their sensitivity to support their causes. They can even experience another person’s emotions as if they were their own, which is why they need to be extra careful about who, and where, they spend time, as the wrong people and places can drain their energy.
5. Being a source of wisdom and knowledge: As deeply profound and incisive thinkers, introverts and HSPs can pick up on truths and wisdom that others can’t. They process this data with their intricate senses and merge it with their creative musings, enabling them to connect the dots. The product of this cognitive digestion is insightful, original, and breakthrough ideas and concepts that often turn out to be pivotal sources of guidance for others.
So if you’re an HSP and/or an introvert, I encourage you to acknowledge and embrace your natural gifts. Be grateful for the kaleidoscopic lens through which you see the world and the wonderfully complex container of your inner world that captures all those details. With your keen sensitivity and awareness, you can enhance the world by sharing your wisdom, light, and beauty.
All my best on your journey,
Question: Do you consider yourself introverted and sensitive? If yes, which strengths do you identify with the most? How can you use those strengths to create a positive shift in your world?
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“You’ll see it when you believe it.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer Above my work desk stands a framed poster, the iconic Vision image of Walt Disney and Cinderella’s Castle superimposed over the empty site where The Magic Kingdom would one day stand. Below the image is written, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,”... Read More » The post The Power of Visualization and Why You Should be Doing it appeared first on The Dream...
“You’ll see it when you believe it.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
Above my work desk stands a framed poster, the iconic Vision image of Walt Disney and Cinderella’s Castle superimposed over the empty site where The Magic Kingdom would one day stand. Below the image is written, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” an inspirational Walt Disney quote that fills my room with childlike hope.
Whenever I have a creative block or go through a spell of negativity, I look up at the poster, and I’m instantly reminded of the power of vision, drawing my inspiration from Walt. He is the epitome of translating extraordinary visualization skills into creative realities, like his cartoons, motion pictures and later his theme parks. He always had a vivid mental picture of what he wanted to create in his entertainment empire.
Artists, architects and movie casts and crew who worked for Disney have said that his imagination was so vivid that he was able to transfer his vision to them in detail, helping them to bring his plans to completion exactly as he visualized. Walt lived up to his reputation as a visionary when he said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Many high achievers in the fields of sports, the arts, business and healthcare, have followed in Walt Disney’s footsteps, holding strong images in their mind’s eye to accomplish their goals, increase focus and boost their performance. The good news is that all of us have this dynamic power to visualize, but some people, like Walt Disney, use it instinctively. Others have to learn how to use it effectively and build a deliberate practice.
No matter what your situation is, you can use creative visualization to shift the circumstances in your life and achieve pretty much anything you put your mind to; advancement in your career and finances, health improvement, and finding true love and fulfilling friendships. The key is to become conscious and bring awareness to your thoughts. Maintain a daily ritual of visualizing favorable outcomes and weeding out any worries and fears playing out in your mind.
I’ll admit that the first time that I was exposed to the creative visualization process, I was skeptical about its efficacy. The Law of Attraction, which is a metaphysical term used to describe the universal phenomenon of attracting what you desire just by thinking about it, seemed oversimplified to me. I was also put off by the sensationalism of the principle after the release of the mainstream bestseller, The Secret, which only fueled materialism in our society.
But, when the craze died down, I reconsidered my opinion. After stripping away the ‘hocus-pocus’, it actually made a lot of sense. The mind is like a movie screen, and visualizing is akin to watching a prelude. We can use our thoughts as creative forces to express themselves, in a quantum ocean of vibrating energy that responds to how we think, by consciously filtering out the beliefs that will support the manifestation of our dreams.
From a practical standpoint, visualization accomplishes several things. Besides sparking your inner motivation to take action on your goals, it activates the subconscious mind to generate creative ideas to achieve your desires. It stimulates your reticular activating system (RAS), an automatic mechanism inside your brain that brings relevant information to your attention, to scan for and recognize resources, circumstances and people that can be instrumental in your quest.
Scientists have used brain imagery to understand how visualization plays out in our brain. During visualization, the neurons in our brains, the electrically excitable cells that transmit data, regard the imagery as reality. When we visualize, a new neural pathway is generated that primes our body for action. The brain generates an impulse to command our neurons to play out that vision, even without actually performing the physical activity involved.
If done correctly, visualization can be a potent tool which we can utilize to construct the reality that we dream of. When we take steps to align with our desires and become a channel for inspiration fueled by a genuine passion, the process of visualization can indeed work like magic.
However, visualization isn’t as simple as occasional wishful thinking, nor is it brief moments of “seeing” successful outcomes while closing your eyes. The process is a lot more rigorous – it requires our full emotional involvement and regular, structured practice. Keep these four specific tips to keep in mind while engaging in visualization:
1. Get clear on what you want to create in your life: It’s tough to visualize your future when you aren’t clear about what you want and why. A vague dream is going to give you vague results. The more specific and detailed you are about it, the better. Try to get a deeper understanding of the things that bring you joy, which is often a reflection of your values. I suggest writing them down as goals that follow the SMART format and create affirmations based on what you have listed. You can tap into the magnetic power of clear pictures by crafting vision boards that you can look at that get you excited.
2. Make time to meditate and reflect on the specifics: Meditation and visualization are potent tools to enhance self-awareness and to focus the mind on positive outcomes. You can stimulate a powerful attraction by simply holding an image and viewing it in detail for as little as half a minute! However, it’s important that while doing this, you shut down the mental chatter and the fearful voice of your inner critic which could fill you with doubt and indecision. Take time out during your day to meditate on your vision while gradually building the detail. Use this time to center yourself and relax, let go of expectations, listen to your inner wisdom, and surrender. Make a conscious effort not to get attached to your vision and to take on the role of an objective observer. You can learn about effective meditation techniques at this link. During this time, it will serve you greatly to take note of any relevant dreams, streams of consciousness, messages, signs, and omens that you might experience.
3. Allow positive emotions to fuel your vision: Your vision will become much more solid when you’re fired up and enthusiastic about your future. It’s this kind of energy that will fuel and kick-start your efforts. Feel emotions and live as if what you see in your mind is part of your reality, right now. Imagine the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of achieving what you want and let an undercurrent of excitement stimulate it. Use affirmations and positive self-talk as you immerse yourself in it. Your emotions are the driving force behind your visualization. Being blasé about it won’t fetch you the results that you’re seeking. Remember not to overthink things – have fun with it and adopt the attitude of a little kid who believes in their fantasies with all their heart. You could even talk, dress, and behave as if you’ve become the person you’d like to become.
4. Become proactive: Ride the wave of enthusiasm that you generate from your visualization practice by proactively taking steps to bring it to fruition in the real world. Let the process guide you towards developing a plan of action that provides a step by step strategy towards realizing your vision. Avoid getting frustrated with the pace of your progress, as success is a gradual process. Stay in the present and acknowledge every milestone and success along the way. Not only will this propel you to continue making progress in your journey but it will give you the courage and creative insights to deal with any challenges that you might encounter. Trust that your subconscious will direct you to the right places, people, and situations that will help you make headway in your plans.
Having a vision and believing in it requires you to be bold and daring. It demands an unshakable sense of courage, faith, and trust – not only in the universe, but also in you. You need to trust that you have everything that you need within the sacred realm of your mind, heart, body and spirit to make the invisible, visible. Because you do!
All my best on your journey,
Question: Do you believe in the power of visualization? Has this practice ever helped you to successfully manifest a dream?
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“Your relationship to yourself will always be reflected in your relationship with others.” – Vironika Tugalvea Have you ever considered how many real and authentic relationships you have in your life? I’m not referring to the random people who follow you on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Nor am I alluding to the acquaintances that you... Read More » The post The Secret to Cultivating Authentic and Healthy Relationships appeared first on The Dream...
“Your relationship to yourself will always be reflected in your relationship with others.” – Vironika Tugalvea
Have you ever considered how many real and authentic relationships you have in your life?
I’m not referring to the random people who follow you on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Nor am I alluding to the acquaintances that you meet at fancy soirées, social gatherings and networking events.
Rather, I’m talking about those you know will be there for you, no matter what. If you’re ever in a state of distress, you feel comfortable calling them, even late into the night. You can be vulnerable with them because they see and accept you for who you are, warts and all. These authentic relationships could include partners, friends, family, or co-workers. The type of relationship doesn’t matter as much as the quality of the dynamic you share with them.
If you’re anything like me, you can probably count the number of authentic relationships that you have on your fingers. Given the structure of our society, the steady erosion of moral and ethical values, and the hectic pace of life, this is hardly surprising.
It’s challenging to forge deep and lasting bonds when we’re caught up in our busy lifestyles. Instant messaging and social media are now used as substitutes for in-person interactions. These virtual ties delude us into believing that we’re well connected and popular. As a result, most relationships are brief, shallow and impermanent. We’ve become accustomed to maintaining relationships to get ahead in our lives, whether it’s in our careers or personal ambitions. We often think, “what’s in it for me?” when befriending others and base our relationships on what can be gained from them.
We fail to realize that genuine connections are vital to the nourishment of our souls. Relationships marked by tenderness, understanding and unconditional love are not a nicety, but a necessity when it comes to our emotional health. Research has shown that the high rate of stress, anxiety and depression prevalent in society can be attributed to isolated lifestyles.
The quest for deep and meaningful connection is often seen as idealistic or even naïve to some. They may scoff at the idea as a romantic notion propagated by movies and novels and that fueling these fantasies sets up false expectations, leading to disappointment and sadness.
I firmly believe that developing soulful, sincere, and heartfelt connections can become a reality for us all, provided that we’re willing to examine our behavioral patterns and commit to making the effort needed to find, develop, and sustain those quality connections that we seek.
Films with moving narratives, like the Oscar-winning masterpiece The Shape of Water, vividly demonstrate this possibility. Elisa, the leading lady, had to see through the cryptic façade of the sea creature to witness his beauty. It was her compassion and openness that gave her the courage to communicate and develop a loving relationship with him. Their surface differences didn’t hold them back from picking up on the one commonality that they shared.
The relationship between Elisa and the sea creature illustrates the richness and texture that authentic relationships can add to the tapestry of our life. Our journey becomes much more exciting when we’re willing to engage with others more deeply – when we’re willing to laugh, smile and break bread with those we feel a strong connection with.
It’s our birthright to have friendships that go beyond the surface-level pleasantries, where we can have heart-to-heart dialogue in which both parties are empathetic and honest with each other. We all need to feel understood and respected for who we are, and be ourselves without feeling judged.
Here are four guidelines for cultivating authentic and healthy relationships in your life:
1. Deal with your own stuff first: True intimacy is almost impossible to develop between two people if one or both the parties have lingering psychological issues that haven’t been addressed. Low self-esteem, guilt, anger and other negative emotions will contaminate a relationship. Before seeking authentic connections, you’ve got to be honest with yourself and acknowledge any wounds that need to be healed. A solid inner foundation will give you the strength to open up to someone in a healthy way.
2. Be willing to invest: Growing healthy relationships takes work and requires a willingness to invest. Like a delicate seedling, it needs to be regularly tended to, watered and given enough sunlight and nutrients so it can grow and flourish. We need to carve out enough time and space in our lives in order to be fully present with another person, and truly invest in a relationship. Intimacy develops when we’re available to engage in warm and genuine communication, all while respecting the other’s values and views, and spending quality time with them.
3. Begin with the intention to give and not get: Most people enter relationships hoping to get something out of it – emotional satisfaction, financial benefits, career advancement or knowledge are some of the most common relationship currencies. Although, there’s nothing wrong with wanting these things, it’s important to remain wary of having purely self-centered and selfish intentions. The dynamic of a relationship can dramatically shift by changing our attitudes to one of giving, instead of taking. We should be willing to ask ourselves, “how can I enhance this other person’s life? How can I help them?”
4. Only choose those who are capable of giving the same: Not everyone is capable of having deep and meaningful relationships. You have to be selective and invest only in those who display qualities conducive to building healthy connections. Selfish and immature individuals lack the compassion needed to take on the role of friend or partner. They don’t have the emotional bandwidth to be a whole and fully functioning adult in a partnership of any sort. Relationships are a two-way street, and both sides need to pitch in to keep it going. Knowing this can save you from the pain that comes from trying to get close to a person who is emotionally unavailable, unbalanced, or reckless.
Relationships are like muscles, the more that we engage them, the stronger and more valuable they become. In the end, you’ll realize that all the hard work that you put into it will be worth it because it exposes you to a dimension of love and caring that only a real friend or partner can share with you.
All my best on your journey,
Question: What do you believe is the secret to cultivating authentic and healthy relationships? How have you seen this play out in your own life?
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