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What happens when you sleep? If you ask someone in the scientific community they’ll probably give you some long winded explanation about the different types of brain waves that occur during each stage of sleep. And they’ll definitely tell you about REM sleep and how it’s the longest stage of the sleep cycle and that during REM sleep you are more likely to experience dreaming. They’ll tell you this, but for those of us who don’t want to be bogged down with all of that sleep trivia, we’ll probably just listen and wonder when we’ll be able to go home and experience sleep for ourselves. And that’s because, for most of us, sleep (at its simplest form) is a chance for us to unwind. We don’t have to think about our daily stresses while we sleep; we just get to rest and get refreshed for the next day. And for those of us who do dream, we may actually get excited about the prospect of sleep because sleep means that we get to enter into another world where the rules and regulations of our waking world no longer apply. In dreams, we can jump off of a skyscraper, open up our arms, and soar through the sky like a bird. We get to marry our celebrity crush at a wedding that is so far-fetched and elaborate that it could only occur in a dream. Or we can eat and eat and eat some more and not have to worry about all of those pesky health issues. Each night we enjoy the world that our dreams transport us to because we get to indulge in our deepest desires with zero repercussions. There’s freedom and power in dreaming and that’s why so many people like to do it.

But alas, when the buzzer on our alarm jolts awake in the morning or when the sun peaking through our blinds forces us to awake from our slumber we must get out of our beds, leave our dreams behind, and start on with our days. We can’t sleep forever. We cannot dream forever. We have to get up and live our lives. This is what we have to do, and as much fun as sleeping dreams are, we have to wake up so that we can engage in the dreams that we seek out to pursue while we are awake.

And sometimes are waking dreams are just as exciting and invigorating as the dreams that we have while we are sleeping. We dream of being doctors, lawyers, fashion designers, artists, mothers, fathers, writers, actors, teachers, scientists, mathematicians, CEO’s, motivational speakers, presidents, and senators. When we dream we dream big, but sometimes when we dream in real life we forget to enjoy the new world that our dreams transport us to.

When you decide that you want to be a lawyer instead of an actor, your world is going to be a lot different than somebody who decided that they wanted to be an actor. You’ll meet different people, you’ll work different hours, and you’ll have completely different journeys just because your dreams are different. And sometimes your journey is more difficult than you expected, and when this happens you might even think about giving up on your dream altogether. You want so desperately to have your end goal, but the journey that you’re on may not be what you expected so you make the decision to bail out.

But you shouldn’t bail out positive thinker because your dream is worth fighting for. When you try and achieve a dream you should give it all you got, but while you’re giving it all you got remember that enjoying the process of reaching your dream is just as important as obtaining the dream itself. Do you really want to achieve your dream one day and start to wonder about how you even got there in the first place? When you dream while you’re sleeping you just end up on the top of that skyscraper, but you can never remember how you got up there in the first place. When you marry Brad Pitt in your dream, you don’t remember dating him and you don’t remember how you first met. And the reason that you don’t remember these things is because when you’re dreaming while you’re sleeping you don’t get the privilege of experiencing the journey to your end goal. You don’t get the satisfaction that you feel from working hard by climbing up to the top of the skyscraper. You don’t get to experience the joys and pain that comes from dealing with a relationship everyday. You don’t get to experience that because you’re sleeping and because those dreams that you have while you slumber (no matter how amazing they may be) aren’t real. And it’s true that you may not get to experience a journey during your sleeping dreams, but in real life you do get the opportunity to experience one. It may be a hard and long journey at times, but that’s how you know that you’re living. And putting hard work and dedication into achieving your dream makes that dream even better when you actually do achieve it. Because on that fateful day, when your dream comes true, you’ll know that it wasn’t handed to you and that you gave everything you had to reach it.

Positive thinker, achieving your dream is great, but don’t forget to live in the moment while you’re experiencing the journey to your dream.

And never forget, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” –Dumbledore, The Sorcerer’s Stone

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When I was in high school, I was on the track and field team. Some of my fondest memories from high school happened during track practices and track meets. I absolutely loved feeling the tartan surface of the track underneath my feet as I sprinted down the lanes. I adored how my heart raced as I flew through the air and into a giant pile of sand at the end of the jumping pit. And I still remember counting my steps so that I could glide smoothly over a bar hanging five feet in the air before landing on a giant pillow-like surface. I loved all of these moments of competition, but more than that, I loved getting to see the joy on my friends’ faces as they competed in their events. For me, cheering my friends on in their events was just as important as it was for me to compete in my own events.

One moment that will stay with me forever is one of the 4×400 relays that my friend competed in during our sophomore year. This particular race was special because it was against a school that we usually had no chance of beating. Everyone on this other track team, no matter if they were running or participating in the field events, was really good, but for the first time in a long time, our school actually had a 4×4 team that was pretty good too. The 4×4 was always the last event of the track meet, so everyone who wasn’t participating in the 4×4 was able to actually watch the last event of the day…

The sun had just started to set and a cool breeze danced around the track as my friends and I stood around the edge of the field waiting for the start of the race…

“On your mark,” the official said as the crowd grew quiet. “Set,” he continued as the athletes stilled into their starting positions.

“BANG,” the sound of the gun yelled as the girls took off running.

As we watched the first legs of the two teams go against each other, we realized that they were pretty much neck and neck the entire time. The race continued on, and by the time the first leg of our team handed off the baton to the second leg, we had inched out in front of the other team. With our eyes locked on the race, we watched as our girl increased the gap between her and the girl from the other team. By the time our third leg had gotten the baton, there was so much space between us and the other team that my teammates around me excitedly started to cheer and scream with such ferocity and vigor that you would have thought that our girls were competing for the Olympic gold. My good friend was the final leg for our 4X4 team since she was the fastest, so when our third girl handed the baton off to her we just knew that she would bring home the win for us. As we yelled and cheered for her during the first half of her lap, it seemed like we were on track to win. The girl from the other team was at least 200 meters behind her, and victory was so close we could reach out and touch it, but as my friend pulled around to the last stretch of the race we could tell something was off. She started to slow down, and by the time she hit the last 50 meters of the race she started leaning forward, and the next thing we knew she was falling towards the ground.

In unison, the girls around me gasped as she hit the ground. We stood their holding our breaths as we saw her struggling to get back up. With our encouragement she was able to stand up again, but this time she only moved a few feet before falling back down to the ground once again. Motionless, she laid their in the middle of the track as our coaches rushed forward to check on her. Those of us standing on the sidelines ran as close as we could get to her before our coaches told us to stay back. As we waited there hoping and praying that she was alright, the girl from the other team ran by my friend and straight through to the finish line, taking first place. The race was over, and we had lost, but what my friend did next after the race was over was something that she did not have to do. After she gained her composure back, she stood up and slowly started to limp to the finish line. We could tell she was still in pain with each and every laboring step that she took, but despite this she kept going. She may not have gotten to the end of the race with the same speed that she started it with, but she finished it, and that’s what counted.

My friend could have given up. No one would have blamed her if she had chosen to walk off the track and not finish the race, but she didn’t. She kept going. Sometimes giving up seems like the best option. When it seems like you’ve given your all and you don’t have anymore to give, giving up really does seem very appealing, but you don’t have to give up positive thinker. It doesn’t matter if you stumble. You can still get up and keep going. Limp to the finish line if you have to. Just get up and keep going. In the end, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to finish the race. What does matter is that you can say that you gave it your all when you finally reach that finish line.

Remember…

“If you can’t fly, then run,

If you can’t run, then walk,

If you can’t walk, then crawl,

But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

acronym

Acronyms get used all of the time. I’m sure you know quite a few of them yourself. For instance, you probably used them in school to try and remember things that didn’t come as easy to you as you would have liked them to. For those of us who weren’t the best in math, we used Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally or PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponent, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction) in order to figure out what we were supposed to do first whenever we tried to remember our order of operations. And for those of us who weren’t musically inclined we used Every Good Boy Does Fine so that we could fill out our music sheets the right way.

Acronyms almost seemed like a necessity as we went through school. We might not need them anymore to help us get through math class or music class, but we can still use them to get through difficult times in our adult lives.

I recently came across a few acronyms (I wish I could take credit for coming up with them on my own), and I thought that it would be nice to share them with you positive thinkers. These three acronyms spell out words that are typically thought to have a negative connotation wrapped around them. And when we hear words that are dripping with negativity, it becomes difficult for us to move from a place of feeling down and out to a place of feeling good about ourselves (and that’s what we really need whenever we’re confronted with negativity). Merriam Webster may have a negative definition listed for these words, but when they are transformed into the following acronyms, the message speaks to one of positivity and resilience in the face of trying times instead of negativity and hopelessness…

F.A.I.L, or First Attempt In Learning, is what you should think of whenever you don’t succeed at something. This is a particularly good weapon to have in hand whenever you experience failure. Many times when we fail, we feel like giving up. We see our failure as a sign for us to move on, but it doesn’t have to be that. When you fail at something that just means that you haven’t learned everything that you need to know in order for you to succeed at whatever you’re attempting to do. Now when you fail, you can think of this acronym and use it to go back to the drawing board and come up with a way to succeed for the next time.

The next acronym is E.N.D. Now, E.N.D no longer means the end. I want you to remember that it means Effort Never Dies. Just because somebody has told you that you can’t go any further doesn’t mean that you have to stop going. There will always be bigger, better, and higher goals for you to reach, which means that you can keep on pushing forward and achieving. And even if you hit a road block or something that may appear to be an end, it doesn’t mean that all of your effort dies with this barricade. All it means is that the effort that you have put in thus far can lead you to a new path that works even better.

The last word is N.O. And whenever you hear the word N.O, I want you to realize that this is just your Next Opportunity. Just because this person doesn’t want you, doesn’t mean that somebody else won’t. If you didn’t get that job that you wanted, that just means that you can have another opportunity to find a job that might end up being even better than the one that turned you down. If that guy or that girl that you like doesn’t like you back then now you can have a new opportunity to meet somebody that does like you. I know that it totally sounds cliché, but it’s true what they say, “When one door closes, another door opens.” And all that means is that when somebody says no to you it sets you up to have a different opportunity to have another person that will say yes. So the next time a door closes in your face, look for another door that will let you in.

If you ever come across any of these words in your life, I encourage you to not turn to Webster’s definition to define your experience. Instead, try and recall these acronyms. If you do that positive thinker, you will find yourself dealing with your situation in a much more positive and brighter light.

Remember…

“If you fail never give up because F.A.I.L means, ‘first attempt in learning.’

End is not the end. In fact E.N.D means ‘effort never dies.’

If you get no as answer, remember N.O means ‘next opportunity.’”

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How many times do you go on Facebook in a day? 5? 10? 15 times? And how often do you find yourself looking at your friend’s photos on Instagram everyday? Sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter seem to take up a significant portion of many of our lives. With each and every passing day all the different forms of social media become more and more popular, and as a result of this, more and more people flock to these forms of online connectedness to share what’s going on in their lives and to look at what’s going on in the lives of others.

When you get in a new relationship, you run to Facebook so that you can make it “Facebook official.”

When you buy a new car, you take a picture in front of it and post it on Instagram for all of your friends to see.

When you get a new promotion at work you turn to Twitter and compose a 140 character perfectly crafted tweet that lets everyone know how excited you are about your new promotion.

#WorkFlow

#GetPaid

#AllAboutTheBenjamins

We want to be viewed as having our lives together, so when we achieve something that’s “worthy” of sharing we share it.

Unfortunately, for those of us who don’t have our lives where we want them to be at, this constant influx of people succeeding with what they want from life can become discouraging. Seeing people getting what they want can be upsetting especially when you seem to be working just as hard, but can’t seem to get ahead. We look at their lives and see how well they’re doing and we start to feel like there’s something wrong with us for not having what they have. And when you start to compare yourself to someone who seems to be doing better than you you often times tend to feel worse about yourself.

When you see someone is better off than you you may want to compare yourself to them, but don’t fall into that trap positive thinker. You’re not the same person as the person that you’re comparing yourself to, so you shouldn’t compare yourself to that person. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you can’t compare apples and oranges,” and if you haven’t, this expression is basically saying that you can’t compare two things to each other that are completely different. Yes apples and oranges are both fruit, but that’s where their similarities start and end. And yes you and the person that you are comparing yourself to are both human, but that is where your sameness starts and ends. You are a completely unique individual who is on a completely unique journey, so it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself to somebody else because that person that you’re comparing yourself to is a completely unique person who is on an entirely different journey than you are on. And just because they seem to be ahead right now, doesn’t mean that you can’t or won’t be ahead at some other part of your journey. You can’t be that person that you’re comparing yourself to because you aren’t that person that you’re comparing yourself to, so don’t spend all of your time fretting over the fact that someone else is doing better than you because when you spend too much time doing that you won’t have enough time to embrace your own journey. And enmbracing your journey is what’s really important.

Making the move to stop comparing yourself to other people is a difficult thing to do positive thinker, but it is possible. So, when you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else take a step back from whoever’s life you’re looking at that’s causing you strife and start to focus on the things in your life that you are achieving instead of on the things that you aren’t achieving. And guess what positive thinker? When you find yourself being appreciative of the victories that you do have, you will end up drawing more victories your way. Being happy about your successes in life will put you in a better mood and when you’re in a good mood you feel like you can conquer the world, and when you feel like you can conquer the world positive thinker then that means that the world is yours for the taking.

Nevertheless, if you do find it more difficult to stop comparing yourself to people then perhaps it’s time to remove yourself from the situation(s) that lead you to compare yourself to others. For instance, if you need to, maybe take a step away from social media for awhile. Like I said earlier, our social media accounts are a constant reminder of people doing well in life. Nobody wants to share the bad stuff, so all we see is the good stuff in other people’s lives, and when we only see good things happening to other people then we may find ourselves wanting to compare our good things to those people’s good things and when they don’t measure up to each other we can end up feeling terrible about ourselves. So if social media is the source of your problem, take a break from it until you can find a way to stop comparing yourself so much to other people.

Positive thinker you may not believe it but you’re exactly where you need to be. When you stop comparing yourself to others and start relishing in your own successes, you’ll be able to see that for yourself. That person you’re comparing yourself to is awesome, but positive thinker, so are you! So, don’t allow the success of others to make you think that your own successes aren’t good enough. Be proud of your successes and your own unique journey!

Never forget, “Live your own life without comparing it with that of another.”

 

Positive thinker, have you ever experienced a time when you wanted to give up? I’m sure you have because it’s a perfectly natural response to want to give up on something when it becomes too difficult to complete. There seems to be something inside of us that causes us to want to give up on something after we start to think that that task is too hard to finish. For you, this feeling probably started during childhood. You might have had a subject that you struggled with in school or you might have taken up an activity that was too hard for you to participate in, and then because you didn’t excel at these things, you started to become frustrated, and then after the feeling of frustration started, you started feeling like you wanted to give up. But just because we felt like giving up doesn’t mean that giving up was an option that we always had. For some of us, there was some adult in our life (whether it was a parent, guardian, teacher or relative) that told us not to give up. We may have wanted to give up on trying to figure out that difficult math problem or on figuring out how to play the piano, but that person in our life saw the potential that we had and encouraged us to keep going even though things were tough. They were our cheerleaders and they were there telling us to keep going. We may have been down by a lot and it may have seemed like we would never win the game, but our cheerleaders were still there for us on the side lines yelling for us to keep going and to not give up.

Now that we’re adults, we don’t always have people in our corner telling us not to give up. We don’t have people there who are constantly reminding us of our potential. Yes, we still have friends and family who love us, but because we’re adults we have to learn to take responsibility for ourselves. You aren’t constantly there to remind your friends and family members of their potential 24/7, so they’re not expected to be your personal cheerleaders all the time anymore either. They were there when we were younger because we had not yet learned to cheerlead ourselves, but as we got older we were shown how to do just that and we were taught how important cheerleading for ourselves would be in our lives. So, now that we know how to do it, our friends and families don’t have to be the ones to cheer us on anymore. If we think something is difficult then we need to figure out a way to solve the problem; we can’t rely on someone else to tell us that we can’t give up whenever we hit a stumbling block. We have to find the strength to believe for ourselves that we are capable of completing the tasks that we set out to achieve.

And this is particularly important when it comes to sticking with a dream that you have. It’s one thing to give up on something that you don’t care about, but you should never give up on something as big as a dream. The more you care about something the more you should fight for it to happen. One setback is just that—a set back. Just because you didn’t achieve you dream the first time around doesn’t mean that you can’t ever achieve it. You just have to hit the drawing board again and figure out a new way to make your dream a reality. And getting back up after a failure can be difficult, but it’s something that you need to do if you ever want to make your dream happen. When you’re struggling with making a dream come true, it may seem like you’re losing the game, but there’s plenty of time left for you to go out there and win. Just because you fumbled the ball or missed the shot doesn’t mean the game is over. You just have to compose yourself, gather up the ball again and cheer yourself on to victory.

You may not have your friends or your parents constantly there next to you cheering you on, but you do have something better. Positive thinker, you have yourself! And no matter how hard you try, you can’t get rid of yourself, so you might as well be there to give yourself support. You remember how your parents never gave up on you? Well, now it’s time to be that person who never gives up on you. Go out there and be your own cheerleader positive thinker!

And remember, “Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date. Take a deep breath, and try again.”

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Struggles. We all have to face them at one point or another. Having struggles that we have to face may be a part of life that we have to deal with, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be a constant part of our lives.

The next time you face a major struggle in your life, try taking a step back away from the situation. Sometimes when you find yourself facing something tough you become so overwhelmed with the problem that you have to face that you never really get a chance to fully look at the challenge that you’re facing for what it is. When you’re first faced with your problem, it may seem scarier and more difficult than it actually is, but when you step away from your problem for awhile you may gain some much needed clarity about how to tackle it.

When you were in school, did you ever have problems finding the answer to a problem on your homework or on a test? You knew that you knew the material and you knew that you studied and paid attention in class, but for some reason you just couldn’t figure out the answer. The harder you tried to figure out the answer the more frustrated you would become because the answer wasn’t coming to you. You may have even worked yourself up to the point that you had decided to give up on finding the answer. I know that scenario happened to me on more than one occasion, but I also never got to the point of giving up. Just before I reached that point, I would put my work to the side and take a break from the problem. I wouldn’t focus on anything, and I would just let my mind take a rest, or I might have even tried to focus on another problem that I knew I could tackle at that moment, and nine times out of ten, I was able to come back to that original problem later on and figure out the answer. When you stop putting so much pressure and strain on yourself to figure out a solution to your problem right a way you may actually end up relaxing enough to come up with a concrete way of dealing with your problem. The answer to your problem is there positive thinker; you just have to be patient and creative enough to find it.

On the other hand when you experience a new struggle, you may find the urge to ignore it completely. Stepping away from your problem momentarily to gain some insight is beneficial, but choosing to ignore it forever is far from helpful. Just because you’ve made the decision to not face your problems doesn’t mean that your problems are going to go away.

If you’re sick and you choose to ignore the fact that you’re sick you’re not going to get any better. You may put off going to the doctor, thinking that you’ll be fine and that you’ll just will yourself to get better, but that’s not necessarily going to make you well again. If you’re sick and you continue on with your day to day routine, you’re not going to get any better. In fact, the opposite is more likely to happen. By choosing to ignore the fact that you’re sick and by continuing to push yourself just as hard as you did when you were well, you will end up making yourself sicker as a result. However, if you choose to acknowledge the fact that you’re sick, and once you choose to seek the proper help, you will end up getting better as a result. The same thing rings true for dealing with your struggles. You can put off your problems day after day, but that will only make matters worse for you.  But once you choose to accept the fact that you have a problem then you can finally seek the help that you need to overcome that problem. The solution may not always be as simple as taking some cough syrup and Nyquil. Sometimes you may think that you need to seek outside help to get rid of your problem, and if that’s what you need to do to fix your problem then do it. It’s your struggle positive thinker, and you need to do what you have to do to figure out how to overcome it, even if it means seeking outside help.

Positive thinker when you fear your struggles, you are giving your problems more power than they deserve. Why should you let some outside force have power over you? It is your life and you have the power to make the things that you want to happen happen. Don’t let your problems have power over you because your problems will never be bigger than you are. In fact, when you finally make the decision to face your problem head on, the problem that you are facing will slowly start to shrink down in size, and once you figure out a way to tackle the problem that problem that once seemed so big will start to become so little that you start to wonder why you ever feared that problem in the first place. You are stronger than you think you are positive thinker, and you can overcome the challenges life throws your way.

So remember, “When you fear your struggles, your struggles consume you. When you face your struggles, you overcome them.”

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