Tag Archives | self-knowledge

How to Win in the Game of Life: Holiday Edition


Photo courtesy of Wayne Silver
As we get closer and closer to the release date of Life: 2013, I’ve been thinking about all of the features that I thought were absolutely absurd when the current version came out. When I first played version ’12, there were definitely some elements that I wasn’t sure I could handle, and quite frankly, it seemed very possible that 2012 might turn out to be a total flop.

All in all though, I’m happy to report that ’12 pleasantly surprised me, and I got quite a lot of enjoyment out of what I orginally thought was an unreasonably challenging level of gameplay. I ended up making it through all of this year’s checkpoints with much greater ease than I anticipated, leaving me with more than three weeks to wait until I can tackle the new version.

Luckily, this year’s holiday edition promises is as jam-packed as ever, keeping all of us who are eagerly anticipating 2013 busy with some new and potentially complex characters, a seemingly endless number of mini-battles, and one-on-one challenges that will test everyone’s skills. As has been true with every Life: Holiday Edition, the graphics are once again amplified in a distorted sort of way, leaving the player feeling that the game’s colors and lights are just a little too bright. As they’ve said before, the developers don’t expect any major glitches, but it wouldn’t be the holiday edition if it didn’t crash at least a few systems.

If you’re playing the holiday version this year, there are some helpful hints put together by some players familiar with all of the holiday versions.

  • Trade your negative energy wand in for a more powerful and useful tool. You may feel like using the wand to battle or kill off annoying characters that appear in the holiday version, but remember not to expend too much energy on them.
  • Only use your invisibility cloak when you absolutely must. The rest of the time, it’s best to be out and about in all of the game’s levels so that nothing can take you by surprise.
  • Learn how to levitate. There are some helpful and free apps that will help you rise above. Being aware of your breathing while playing is the first step toward a totally zen gamer profile, which is even more critical in the holiday version.
  • Take responsibility for all of the moves that you make. A very important thing to remember is that no one is in charge of your lives but you. Sure, some people are influential players in the game, but there is only one person holding your controller.

While we all know that life isn’t really a game, sometimes it helps to think of it as one. Use all of your powers wisely and always be on the lookout for more, use (and ask for) a helping hand when you need one, stay as far away from the bad guys as possible, and keep your eyes on the prize.

Whether the bad guys you’re currently battling are skeletons in your closet, bullies from the unemployment office, ghosts of loved ones who passed away too soon, taunting monsters of chronic pain, or something even worse – as long as you see an ally when you look in the mirror, your enemies don’t even stand a chance.

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Self-Awareness 101: Introduction to Yourself

Photo courtesy of Alaskan Dude

The other day an acquaintance of mine exclaimed, “You know me! I don’t even know how to be mean!”

I shook my head, eyes wide with wonder at her profound misjudgement of her own personality. I believe that she probably doesn’t want to be mean, but I can also tell you that everyone is more than slightly afraid of her.

Afterward, I began to ponder the complexities of self-awareness, and how some people are really out of touch with their own inner-selves.

Most people will insist that they are self-aware without having any idea what it really means to be truly aware of one’s thoughts, emotions, behavior and personality. According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, “a lack of self-awareness will actually hold you back from developing self-management, social awareness, and relationship management skills,” which are quite necessary in building the life you really want.  So, how do you know if you really are self-aware or if you’re in the dark?

- Frequent interactions with honest friends and family members.  Most people find it very difficult to tell others the truth about their short-comings, but if you specifically ask for feedback, you might be surprised at what you can learn about how you’re perceived.

- Watch and keep track of your actions and their results.  Just like the person above who insisted she has a hard time being ‘mean’, it’s quite possible for anyone to be totally unaware of how their behaviors are affecting their lives and those around them. “Watch” yourself by keeping a journal of your important actions and your prediction for the effect they will have on a certain situation.  Check back regularly to see how things really play out, and make changes to your behaviors accordingly.

- Take a self-awareness inventory.  How well do you really know what your strengths and weaknesses are?  Can you identify your habits, likes and dislikes? What motivates you? Do you have a set of internal values that you life your life by? Self-awareness begins by knowing all of the details that make up who you are as a person.

- Raise your EQ.  Your Emotional Intelligence, or your EQ, is your ability to identify and effectively manage all of the emotions that you experience every day.  A high EQ means that you recognize and understand the cause and effect nature of your emotions, as well as the emotions of others. People who are struggling with self-awareness are often unable to accurately understand the social cues that are given to them through other people’s emotions.

- Watch your words. In today’s society, strong opinions are encouraged, but if you lack self-awareness it may appear to others that you feel your opinion is the only one that matters.  Even with strong opinions, being self-aware means being mindful of every word that you think or speak in order to foster good relationships that are built on respect.

- Step outside yourself. In a twist of irony, one of the best ways to get in touch with your inner self is to step outside of it. Viewing yourself as you would a character in a movie, without judgement or harsh criticism, will allow you to get some perspective on your personality.

By taking a close look at your inner-self, you will be able to make the necessary changes to stop having emotional reactions, improve your understanding of others (and their perceptions of you), develop effective communication strategies in your relationships, and live a happier and more successful life.

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Are You Being Selfish….Enough?


Photo courtesy of Randy Willis PhotosThroughout my life, whenever I was told I was being selfish, I immediately felt shameful and tried to amend my behavior accordingly. What I didn’t realize until very recently is that selfishness can be used for good, and trying to beat all sense of selfishness out of someone could be detrimental to their future happiness.

I have fought against a lot of my natural instincts throughout my life because of societal expectations. I tried to refrain from saying exactly what was on my mind when I was told that I was too bold. For many years, I tried to keep my dry, sardonic humor at bay,  feeling that I may be more accepted by others if I portrayed my role as “female”  in a more socially acceptable manner. And, even though I had an inner desire to stop making so many sacrifices for other people so that I could further my own goals, I continued to follow the herd.

Perhaps many people have a misunderstanding of what it is to be selfish.  Selfishness does not suggest  that we think only of ourselves with no regard to others.  To do so would be egomaniacal and self-absorbed. I have no desire to hurt other people, and I get a great deal of satisfaction out of helping others.  The difference between Present Me and Past Me is that now I tend to help myself first.

Naturally there are exceptions to this rule, as I am a wife, daughter, and mother to 2 children, and if they are in need, I push the hold button on my own needs indefinitely.

Finding out what makes you fulfilled and happy and then moving forward with your happiness as your priorty, is the kind of selfishness that makes the world go round. Forge ahead toward your goals, remaining steadfast until you realize them. Reach for success and don’t waver when people try to get in your way.  Many people who have achieved success did so because they were selfish enough to care about what would make them happy and then they persevered until they reached their goals!

The weirdest thing happens when you begin to embrace selfishness. Once you are able to stop sacrificing your own happiness, you will finally reach a genuine Place of Yes, where you can help others because you want to, not because you’re expected to.

Happiness isn’t going to fall on your lap, or magically appear one day because you’ve helped so many other people. If you want to experience true happiness, make yourself a priority and go out there and get it.

After all, “Nothing resembles selfishness more closely than self-respect.”

~George Sand

 

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How Full Catastrophe Living Can Change Your Life

Photo courtesy of Hape_Gera

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type III, a painful connective tissue disorder that makes many everyday activities impossible, including working outside of the home. I had to resign from my well-paying office job and I began to feel that my life as I knew it was over. I didn’t know what I was going to do, if I could pay my bills, or if I could still manage to be a good enough parent. I was also in quite a great deal of physical pain which just kept getting worse. I spiraled downward into a pit of self loathing and despair until I hit a hard rock bottom and realized there was nowhere left to go but up.

I clawed my way out of my depression long enough to crawl into the lap of my new therapist, who recommended that I read the book Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I began reading it as soon as it arrived at my front door in that familiar brown packaging I have come to love. In the book, Zinn describes the experiences of his patients during his ten years of teaching an eight-week course called the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Over 4,000 people ultimately took the course, which teaches mindfulness as an effective way to develop control over our own lives, despite all of the catastrophes we may be presented with on a regular basis.

During my reading of the book, I began to put some of his suggestions into practice in my own life and I started to see a change in the way I faced difficulties. Mindfulness involves using our inner capacities for relaxation, paying attention, awareness and insight, and becomes a form of ‘walking meditation’ as you move throughout your daily activities. Your focus moves from “doing” to “being” as you learn how to concentrate on the foundations of mindfulness: non-judging, patience, trust, non-striving, acceptance and letting go. This transformation is reached through a combination of breathing, various forms of meditation, body scans and yoga.

Throughout my experience with practicing full catastrophe living, I have learned how to watch my thoughts rather than getting caught up in them. By allowing my body and mind to rest in the moment I have become more adept at tuning into life’s basic experiences. I am now able to be in the moment with everything exactly as it is, without wanting to change a thing. Daily, I have been practicing mindfulness by concentrating on what is happening now rather than things in the past or future, and I have gained a deep appreciation for the present. I have realized that I have a limited time on this earth and in this body, so I’m taking it all in. Every. Single. Moment.

If you’re anything like me, and have been dealing with an increased amount of stressors in your life, give the concept of mindfulness a try.  You’ll be surprised at how much of life you’ve been missing.

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Why Asking for Help Will Leave You Feeling Empowered


Photo courtesy of neoliminal
All my life I’ve had trouble asking for help. My mother says I have been like this since my childhood years and that I always wanted to do things for myself with little or no assistance from anyone. It’s easy to devise why I developed into a strong woman – my mother was and is an extremely capable, self-reliant and intelligent woman herself. With her as a role model, I flourished into quite an aggressive person, which gave me an overwhelming amount of determination and will to overcome obstacles. This has been very helpful in my life and has helped me through many difficult situations, including postpartum depression, divorce, single parenting, undiagnosed chronic pain, and creating a blended family with my children and my new husband.

However, I have discovered a fatal flaw in my seemingly endless ability to be self-reliant and independent. Until very recently, I simply did not know how to ask for help. I found the concept uncomfortable and 98% of the time I was adamantly opposed to it. I suppose some people would call me stubborn, and I guess they would be right. I am, after all, a Taurus. However, the inability to ask for help can lead to a great deal of problems when hmmmmmm…I don’t know – YOU ACTUALLY REALLY NEED HELP! Last year, I was presented with my biggest challenge yet, and I found myself fighting an inner battle, needing help at work, at home, and at life, but mentally incapable of asking for it.

Not only did I have a problem asking for help, but I also never even suggested to many of my close friends and family that I was anything less than perfect. This complicated matters even more when my need for help arose, because it was unexpected and surprising to those around me. They were under the impression that I had everything under control. My personal situation involved a diagnosis of a chronic medical condition that forced me to change my ways and begin telling people about my limits and asking for some slack. I learned how to let my friends in on the secret that I wasn’t Superwoman after all, with a PS that if they wouldn’t mind, could they please come to my rescue?

As you can imagine, my loved ones were quite surprised at first, but what may surprise you is what happened next. The more comfortable I became with admitting my limitations and declaring what I could and could not do, the more empowered I felt. The impenetrable walls I had spent a lifetime building up around me quickly crumbled and I felt free for the first time ever. Free from the pressure to perform, free from unreasonably high self imposed expectations, free to be the real me. I learned that it’s okay to be a person with problems. I don’t have to be perfect to be loved, and most of all, I have developed a deep appreciation for my amazing friends and family who have stepped up with the help I needed without even batting an eye.

Sometimes, asking for what we need in life can be a very difficult challenge for many people. The most ironic thing is, by admitting your weaknesses and vocalizing the things that you need help with, you’ll find yourself feeling stronger than ever.

Adrienne McGuire is a writer, educator, and wellness enthusiast. Her desire to balance family with career led her to abandon the corporate ladder to create the life she really wanted. Her journey down the road less traveled eventually led her to the doors of DailyPath, where she has become an integral part of the writing team.

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How to Turn Your Failures Into Little Victories

victory
Photo courtesy of Jes

Whenever we set out to better ourselves – whether it’s in starting a new business or beginning a new personal fitness regime – there are various ways to increase the likelihood of success. I’ve already discussed some of these techniques in past articles so I won’t go into them now, but one thing that hasn’t really been touched on is how to deal with failure. Unless you’re superhuman, failure is going to occur at some point in your life, and unless you know how to learn from it, you run the risk of making the same mistakes over and over again.

As a person who likes to start a lot of projects, I’m no stranger to failure. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve failed almost as many things as I’ve succeeded at in my life. But in each of these cases, I came out of my experience far better off than when I began, simply because I had learned something about myself in the process and why I had failed. In turn, this helped me to prevent the same problems from occurring the next time I tried something new, and so I’m thankful for these mistakes.

The best way to deal with any kind of failure is to accept it as a learning experience so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes again in your future endeavors. Treating each new venture as an experiment, where the outcome could be what you originally intended but could also be something else entirely, is a good way to prepare yourself for failure without expecting it.

The next time you encounter failure, try to understand the reasons behind why things didn’t go exactly to plan. If you can recognize the decisions that were made that caused you to fail, you’ll be far more prepared to deal with problems in the future and increase your ability to succeed.

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