Freedom Blog

Friday, April 26, 2013

How Not To Live With Regret

No Limits | The Freedom Blog

How Not To Live With Regret

Written by Steven Griggs |

Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back….. Regret is  only good for wallowing in.                                                                                                                     Katherine Mansfield 

“I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you who you are in the end.”                                                                                             Drew Barrymore

How many times a day do you reminisce or look back on something with regret? How often do you feel sad or remorseful for something that you did or didn't do? Or do you look back and wonder that if you had made different choices some things might have turned out differently?

We all live with regret.

But what is regret? Wikipedia describes it as:

“a negative conscious and emotional reaction to personal past acts and behaviors. Regret is often expressed by the term "sorry."  Regret is often a feeling of sadness, shame, embarrassment, annoyance or guilt.”

Although guilt or shame result in feelings of regret these feelings are more intense and usually directly related to an improper or hurtful personal act. 
Remorse is similar to guilt or shame but in a much more current context and it is usually coupled with the need to apologize or repair the hurt or damage you may have caused.   
But for most of us I believe the regret we feel is a sadness or a longing about something in the past, about missed opportunities or paths not taken.
Regret doesn't exist in the future it’s always about the past.
We take a sad look back in the rear view mirror and see missed opportunities, wrong choices, huge sidetracks and a trail of chaos.
But you have to remember the person looking back on those events is not the same person that was making those decisions.
Of course it is still you, just a different you.
This is your path.
It is who you are.
This YOU! With all your broken hearts, your battle scars, your huge memory bank of experiences.
Appreciate that you've had the opportunity to have these experiences, to feel.
You now know what mistakes not to make, how to recognize and grab opportunities. You understand the warning signs of possible wrong turns. Your antennae are more sensitive.
Forgive yourself of the wrongs you've done, the hurt you've caused. Promise yourself you will never do those things again. And don't. Keep your promise but let it go.
And, best of all, remember that you’re still here, still waking up each morning with a smile on your face, ready to see what today brings.
Still here, greeting each person you meet with a smile and a kind word.
Still here, standing in the forest looking up at a star filled sky.
Still here and thankful.
And the road you've traveled on still leads on.
There are tons of new experiences waiting for you.
There are still many people you can help and support with your experience, your history and your deeper understanding.
Nature wastes nothing. Everything gets reused. And we are the same.
You are valuable because your history, your mistakes, and your missed opportunities translate into valuable knowledge, understanding and compassion.
Pass it on.
Regret is a wasteland.
Don’t look back.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Trail of Fears

No Limits | The Freedom Blog

The Trail of Fears

Written by Steven Griggs |

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear;  Knowing what must be done does away with fear."                    Rosa Parks

"To him who is in fear everything rustles."                                                                          Sophocles  

Between the years 1831 and 1838 the forced removal of 132,000 people of the Five Civilized Tribes (mainly the Cherokee Nation) from their homeland in the deep south to their new reservation in Oklahoma resulted in the deaths of over 60,000 people.

From start to finish this government “relocation” plan caused massive suffering and a huge loss of life and came to be called “The Trail of Tears”.

Although there is no real comparison to that level of pain or suffering, I believe that many of us are on our own “Trail of Fears”.

I am speaking of fear in its most subtle form not the obvious meaning of fear.

The fear I am talking about wears many disguises: in its most aggressive form it shows up as anger, greed, jealousy, insecurity, shyness, anxiety. And it also shows its face in its offspring: eating disorders, excessive drinking, drugs, rage, and sexual addiction.

But there is a more insidious facet of fear, a deeper fear that shapes your actions, responses and choices.  This is where fear solidifies into beliefs and become your limiting beliefs

This belief system sets out the boundaries of your comfort band, the band or range of comfort that we each live within.

It acts like a thermostat setting. You never go lower than the low setting or higher than the high setting.  You hover just in between.

For example, you may be on the verge of being “very successful” but never quite making it. But you never drop too low to slip into the “less than successful range” or loser range.  

You know, you make good money but not a million dollars a year. Your home is great but not too great. Your car is good but not too good. Do you see what I mean?

Look at yourself. Do you see your settings?

We all have them.

Be honest with yourself and really look at your settings.

Do you see your lower setting? Do you see your high setting?

I think it is easier to identify your lower setting because it will likely be more consistent. It will act like a plateau and you always stay just above it.

I think it can be trickier seeing your higher setting because you may have been working very hard towards being successful and there may be peaks and dips but over a longer period of time you will see the pattern.

I speak from experience. That is me I am describing above.

You also have to remember that this is a relative thing. My idea of success may be much different than yours and vice versa.

Another thing to remember is that things change. 

Although understanding your comfort band is important it may prove to be a moving target because as you learn more about yourself you may find the hunger you once had for some forms of success has lessened.

You may see that things have changed and that is the exciting part.

Monday, April 8, 2013

We Believe What We Hear

No Limits | The Freedom Blog

We Believe What We Hear

Written by Steven Griggs |

“It is easy to believe you are not good enough if you listen to everybody else.”  Mackenzie Astin

“Listen to your intuition. It will tell you everything you need to know.” Anthony J. D'Angelo

The human species has lived in groups for over five million years. Then 100,000 years ago we hominids diverged from our ape lineage and evolved into Homo Sapiens. 

But we kept living in groups.

Living in groups created a deep interdependence because the group’s survival depended upon the cooperation of each member working to protect and serve the group.

We never lost that mentality. Even today we all strive to belong. It is hard wired into us.

In order for the group to operate and function there was a need to communicate clearly. Once we developed language it required that the spoken word be taken literally. There was a life and death dependence upon believing what was said.

If a member said there was a bison herd over the hill the other members didn't look at him and say “No way, you’re kidding…” They acted immediately. There was no time for any uncertainty or misunderstanding.

Words spoken had a direct literal meaning.

A good example of the automatic nature of our believing is seen in the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” in Aesop’s Fables, which originated almost 2,600 years ago.

In the story a young shepherd boy tricks the villagers into thinking wolves are attacking his flock. He runs to them to tell them several times and each time the villagers run out to protect the flock only to find out it was a ruse.

As we know from the story, later his flock actually is attacked by wolves but this time when he runs for help the villagers don’t believe him.

My point here is that the villagers absolutely believed him when he said he was being attacked. Three times!  They didn't hesitate, they believed him and they automatically reacted.

This reflects the literal nature of our group communication and our need to believe each other.

I believe that same trait is hardwired into us today. We believe what we hear.

Yes, over time we developed more complicated and subtle ways of communicating but the basic trait of believing never left us.

So when someone speaks harshly to us and criticizes us or says hurtful things, we tend to believe it, maybe not consciously because our conscious mind will argue it away or dismiss it.

But underneath, our subconscious mind has heard it and takes it seriously.

Our subconscious mind takes those words in and then looks for other beliefs that may match or reinforce the words it heard. It then files them away into the records of a matching negative belief.

In this way it gathers more evidence that the underlying belief might be true. 

What can we do?

First, if you are standing strong within yourself you will hear these words and they will not resonate.

Instead they will trigger an interesting observation about the person who said them to you and that will be looked at and remarked upon in your mind. But the words themselves will have no effect.

But if you are in a weakened state or you are severely out of balance you may take these negative words in and almost believe them.

I say “almost” because I don’t think the words immediately reinforce a  negative belief. It's not always automatic.

I think the words swirl around for a bit on the surface of your mind as you ponder and review and check in to see if it really is true.

That gives you the chance to remind yourself of who you really are. You acknowledge that although you could believe these words you choose not to because you know that they are just words. They have no meaning unless you attribute meaning to them. 

Unless you allow them to have meaning.

You might still feel the tiniest bit of doubt for just a second but try to acknowledge the doubt. Remind yourself that staying grounded and solid is a daily practice, done by the hour, by the minute and by the second.

A practice that requires constant practice.

By seeing the effect the words have and the feelings they bring up, and by watching yourself have the doubts, the incident can be turned into an opportunity. A chance to get just a little bit clearer about yourself and maybe gain just a little more insight.

It gives you the opportunity to hear the words, understand what is really happening and then not believe.