Practicing Discernment for Guiding our Lives Well.

With all of the decisions we all face daily, learning the principle of discernment is a must. Well.. That is if we seek to live in a way that both challenges us and harmonizes with our own personal moralities.

Lets look a little deeper into the principle of discernment to see why it is so important. As well as to seek ways to better our lives with it.

A Life Without Discernment.

A life without discernment is a life without any sort of personal guidance system. It is a life of having whatever bodily impulse that comes to the surface to find it’s way into reality. The Buddha said that “the root of all suffering is ignorance of the causes of suffering.” This suffering that a lack of discernment can bring is no small thing.

I believe that the philosopher Plato would very much agree with Buddha’s quote above. Since he penned his teacher Socrates to say that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” A life that is not well thought out is guided by our own ignorance, and trailed by the regret of wasted time, energy and unnecessary suffering.

I do believe there is some attractiveness in not having to think deeply about the decisions we make. Maybe a sense of freedom arises from dreaming of a life where our decisions are magically made for us. But that sense of freedom is a fantasy. Granted, we should allow ourselves some freedom to quit thinking about the next decisions we have to make. We generally aren’t made for obsessively examining every detail of the next situation that life brings us. We need breaks, relaxation and possible vacations. But refusal or unawareness of the need to practice discernment for too long can push us into undesired situations.

Discernment Person

What is Discernment.

A Oxford dictionary definition for discernment is ” the ability to judge well.”

Now when I think of the word discernment, I think of decision making. More precisely, I think of being able to judge whether one decision is better than another. And on that note, which decision it is best for us as individuals to act on at the moment. There is a difference between discernment and decision making itself. Discernment is a principle that guides our bodily impulses down a life path that best fits us as individuals. The quality of a decision is based on the level of discernment we use. Our abilities to discern, are based on the level of our expertise.

The principle of discernment is a beautiful thing, though it is not necessarily an easy principle to develop. The principle is developed through learned experience. Through experience, important faculties develop for building our ability to discern well. First of all as we go through life taking risks, whether we fail or succeed, we learn. We learn the ins and outs of the specific areas in which we are taking the risk, developing expertise. Secondly, we learn more about what we are interested in in the first place. We come to learn more about ourselves, our tastes, our passions, and the areas that are most worth our time and energy. By taking risks, experimenting with our creative impulses intelligently and learning from these experiences we can become experts in living our own lives.

Becoming Discerning Individuals for Guiding Our Lives Well.

Above is stated that “our abilities to discern, are based on the level of our expertise.” This happens to apply to any area of life in which we choose to spend our lives developing. For example, your level of expertise in race car driving will guide the decisions you can make on the race track. Now if you don’t know much about race car driving you might not know how to discern what a good decision is on the race track. The same goes with any area of life.

A race car drivers expertise helps them discern better decisions on the track, no doubt. Under the same logic, the more bits of information we understand about ourselves, the better guides we can be for the direction of our own lives. Allowing us to take more intelligent risks, and more intelligently use all resources at our disposal.

Here are some tips for developing discernment, so we can effectively be positive guides for the direction of our own lives.

Doing Self Due-Diligence.

Due-Diligence is about doing our own research. We should be doing our own research on any activity that we care to succeed with. Without studying the information available and giving it sufficient thought, discerning the best decision ends up being a shot in the dark. Maybe get lucky, maybe just waste time. On the same note, if we don’t do our due-diligence in studying ourselves we won’t know ourselves well enough. We won’t know where to best focus our thoughts and actions, so our ability to discern the best decisions for ourselves will be blunted.  Studying and thinking deeply about our beliefs, interests, abilities and the areas of life these will be best applied is critical for living lives of which we can be proud. The idea of becoming experts in our own lives rings loudly here.

Nobody knows more about ourselves than we do, we know us at our cores, even if not consciously. There is a great deal of information I don’t consciously have about myself. I have to continue mining the depths of myself to connect with all of it.

There isn’t a single person that can be a closer expert in our lives, than ourselves. But other people around us have incredibly useful information about us that we may not see. Having healthy people we trust to help us gain knowledge about ourselves and our capabilities is very beneficial. This could be from a mentor of some sort, family members, self help books, or even a person we don’t know that says the right thing to us at the right time. Only we can make our own decisions, but the discernment of others can often help ourselves discern more effectively.

Discernment Self

Living on Purpose.

Purpose acts as a boundary and guide for the type of lives we want to live. You have probably heard the phrase “if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.” Falling for anything is not a healthy proposition. Having purpose means deciding what we are living for, which implies what we are not going to fall for. So my purpose to live a life that will create benefits for my loved ones, but not at the peril of others, keeps me from acting maliciously toward others for our gain. My purpose of respecting myself keeps me from acting in ways that will disrespect myself. Disregarding thoughts, activities, and people that could lead to reducing respect for myself, and focusing on those that will enhance it.

Our purposes and what we believe guide our impulses into the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, what we deem important, what to learn, and how to learn them. Purpose guides us into the areas in which we will gain our knowledge, the areas in which we will be discerning. Finding purposes that align with our healthy desires allows are ability to discern to be guided in a healthy way.

Discernment

Well, that is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We wish you growth on your path of practicing the principle of discernment in your life. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list below, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  3. Share this article on your social media.
  4. Follow our Facebook page.

 

My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To Support My Life Experiment.
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Putting our Trust into Ourselves.

Putting our Trust into Ourselves.

Learning to be trust other people in this world is a critical skill to learn for building healthy relationships. As well as for managing mental health.

But even more important is to learn to be trusting of ourselves. Let’s talk more about self trust to find the difficulties and tips for a healthy path to doing so.

Trust and Vulnerability.

I found an interesting definition of trust which is to “give credit to a customer.” This definition is speaking of a transaction that of course would generally be for money, goods, or services. But this definition leads us to an interesting question. What are we giving away when we give our own trust in the non business relationship sense, or even in that sense? The best answer that comes to mind is that to give our trust is to be vulnerable, it is to give of ourselves.

To trust someone or something takes a decision to. So, essentially a decision to be vulnerable by offering up ourselves or property to the needs of the moment. This decision could be the very thing that allows someone to save us from great pain or death one day. Now being vulnerable is not a popular concept for most individuals, it is an even more unpopular feeling. But to have healthy relationships with the people around us, as well as ourselves it is something we must risk. Our lives and our livelihoods do actually depend on it.

Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is in a sense to surrender ourselves to the unknown. We have a need to be filled and so we rely on others to take care of what we cannot. For us to trust we are allowing something or someone we cannot control, to take care of their personal part of that unknown. The risk in this is of course being betrayed. Having an individual whom we have given our trust to, take advantage of our vulnerability.

There can be great risk in trusting, this is for sure. But in learning to trust ourselves we can find a better monitoring system for putting our trust in more trustworthy places.

More to Ourselves than We can Control.

We must learn to trust others, yes. The people around us may recognize certain problem areas that we may not see on our own. Though being able to give ourselves some of that very same trust is an absolute must. It is a must if we desire not just to live out a life, but to live our a life we can truly call our own.

It is an interesting thing to say we need to trust ourselves. Because the description seems to cut our selves, into multiple pieces. There is now the self the we should be trusting, and there is now the self that gives the trust. It makes sense though, there are a incredible amount of physical processes going on in each of our bodies at this very moment, that we don’t really have control over. We generally don’t have to think about our breathing, our hearts beating, or the blood rushing through our bodies.

Much like those processes “we” are also doing all sorts of other things behind our own backs. Such as the formulating and retrieving of knowledge and wisdom in our brains and the rest of our bodies. In fact, I have come to find many of my best ideas without even attempting to think about them. Many times ideas and moments of insight come completely out of the blue.

But in order to enlist the fullness of information of our own bodies, it needs our vulnerability. We need to ask the unknown in ourselves to help guide us.

To Trust the Unknown in Ourselves.

To trust ourselves, is to be vulnerable to the unknown within ourselves to take care of ourselves. It is to trust our own internal processes, our intelligences, our ability to surprise ourselves.

The relationship that we develop with ourselves is the most important relationship we have. Nobody knows us better than ourselves. Or at least the information is here within ourselves, we just need to be open and willing to find it. Here are some ideas for allowing this process of coaxing out and trust the wisdom that is within us.

1. Trust in Healthy Relationships.

I feel that with the topic of learning to trust ourselves, we must not overlook the importance of having sufficient healthy relationships. Without these relationships, trusting ourselves too much may not be the best idea. The love from our relationships is a life energy that should not be lived without. It is these connections with others that helps to ignite our own creative natures.

Now although having healthy relationships helps to fuel our own creativity, these relationships are no way more important than the one we have with ourselves. It is important to trust the information of our healthy relationships. But if the guidance of these relationships goes against our own healthy desires, we may have to blaze our own trails.

group trust

2. Surrendering to Ourselves.

In order to allow the pieces of ourselves we cannot control to work in our favor, we need to give them a entrance into our conscious awareness. Constantly stuffing our senses with information will make it difficult for the wisdom of our bodies to get through to us. A healthy relationship doesn’t happen with ourselves when obsessing about this thing and the next. The space needs to be created for new impulses from our bodies to speak to us.

We need to slow down, take breaks, and practice relaxation in some manner. Surrendering can be a difficult thing to do since some impulses may fight to maintain our attention. But trusting that the process of our bodies will work better by practicing surrender makes it easier. We may get the fear of missing out on something which makes it difficult to let go. But what is coming next in our lives will be much more enjoyable and fruitful with the healthy relationship we develop with ourselves.

3. Regularly Communicate with Self.

Communication is at the core of any healthy relationship. The relationship we have with our own bodies is no different.

To communicate with ourselves means both talking and listening. If there are impulses that we don’t understand asking for our awareness, we can ask what they are seeking. That isn’t to say these impulses will give us an immediate and definitive answer. But over time our openness and willingness to listen will foster a healthy relationship with them. They begin to learn that we are a safe place to become known.

We can communicate with that which we cannot control in ourselves to gain understanding and guidance for living life as well. Asking ourselves questions can help coax our subconscious minds to seek the answers to our questions. Even after we have forgotten that we have asked them. Often times making these requests for help comes in times of distress. A willingness to trust and be vulnerable might be easier in desperate times. But we need not wait until times of great stress to have the support of this relationship. Regular respectful and sincere communication with ourselves, ensures that a trusting relationship will develop over time.

In this relationship we develop with ourselves, we can find ourselves, as well as the most important guidance we may ever know.

Trust Self

Well, that is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We wish you growth on your path of learning to trust yourselves more deeply. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list below, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  3. Share this article on your social media.
  4. Follow our Facebook page.

 

 

My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To Support My Life Experiment.
Building Confidence in Ourselves.

Building Confidence in Ourselves.

Confidence is defined a couple of different ways but the one that I want to focus on here is self confidence. This includes having a feeling of self assurance arising from appreciation of one’s own qualities or abilities. Having confidence impacts our lives in major ways. Whether it be having confidence at work, in relationships, as a parent, and so forth, it effects how you act in these areas. Being able to appreciate ourselves brings about positivity. But knowing this does not make it an easy thing to obtain. Many people struggle to be confident in themselves and finding the ability to be so can be hard.

Being confident has a significant impact on situations in our lives. I myself am the type of person who dances back and forth between being confident, to lacking this quality. It feels great to be confident but the struggles that come about when it just isn’t there anymore can feel devastating.

There is More than the just the Idea of Confidence.

My husband and I like to bounce ideas off of one another. As we were talking about confidence he stated that maybe the idea of confidence may be overrated. We could be in love with the idea of confidence but not willing to put in the work to actually be it. Who doesn’t love the idea of being a confident person. For those of us who struggle with confidence, we must ask ourselves, are we putting in the work to be so or are we just dreaming of being so?

It’s easy to know what we want or how we want to feel. But getting there is another story and one that we can have a hard time writing.

What happens without confidence

Low self confidence can be destructive and often accompanied by fear and insecurities. Its hard to take risks or go after the things that we want when we are paralyzed by fear. Staying in the safe zone becomes much more comfortable and this is where we miss out on opportunities. A lack of confidence affects all areas of our lives. It can get in the way of our jobs, how we act in relationships, and how we overall see ourselves.

It can be hard to know where to begin when we have been struggling with a lack of confidence. I believe that dealing with the backlash of not having confidence makes it tremendously easy to not take any action. And when we get in the habit of not taking action it is hard to get back in the right direction. So, essentially we are stuck and no doubt uncomfortable.

The thought of changing can be scary and like I mentioned, hard to even know where to begin. But, not having confidence is not a fixed thing. There are things that can be done to help gain more confidence and to feel good about where we are. It’s not something that we gain overnight rather a practice we do over and over again.

Celebrate small victories.

Setting small goals for ourselves is a great place to start building confidence. Achieving goals brings about a sense of accomplishment which feels good. I recently stumbled across and acronym for setting smart goals. SMART goals; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound. Setting goals within these parameters can greatly help keep them within our reach. Naturally this is going to bring about positive feelings which can help us to believe in ourselves and our abilities. Remember one step at a time. Trying to take on everything at once will most likely not end the way we intended.

Avoiding a Shame Spiral.

Its a fact that we will not excel at somethings right away or that others are better at different things than we are. We are going to screw up that is inevitable. This has a large impact on our self confidence. And when this happens there is a tendency to be sucked into a shame spiral. The words that we start saying to ourselves can tear us down a great deal. We may be telling ourselves that we are not good enough and that we shouldn’t even bother, or that we screwed up and are noting but a failure.

A key aspect to staying out of the shame spiral is to stop ourselves in our tracks the moment we first feel that we are spinning. Dr. Brene Brown author of “Daring Greatly,” explains that self talk is essential in breaking free from the shame spiral. Self talk is the antidote for shame. We need to change the way that we are talking to ourselves. It will more than likely be hard at the beginning but the more that we practice positive self talk the less time we will spend trapped in a shame spiral.

There is a lot of anger involved in a shame spiral that we are using to beat ourselves up. Learning to use the energy in our anger to build ourselves up is an amazing thing.

Let go of unrealistic expectations.

Give yourself a break. Setting too high of expectations or unrealistic ones can land us flat on our faces. Remember we need to keep goals within our reach and within our abilities. It is easy to become too rigid on ourselves when our expectations are bigger than we bargain for. Besides being rigid on ourselves unhealthy expectations can lead us into that shame spiral.

Highlight  assets.

Being a self confident person starts from the inside and then extends itself outwards. Acknowledging our assets and feeling good about them will help self confidence to build. We are all good at different things and each of us have different qualities that make us, us. It’s a fact that others will excel in areas that we will not, but this does not mean there isn’t something to love about our own abilities. So go ahead and try it! Find those things you love about yourself and focus on that. Highlighting our assets and not leaving room for self doubt is where we begin to excel.

Don’t be scared to become something or do something that you want. Gaining confidence is taking a step in the right direction to help achieve those things. Remember one step at a time.

That is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We wish you growth on your path of becoming more confident individuals. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list below, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  3. Share this article on your social media.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To Support My Life Experiment.
Importance of Proactive Decision Making.

Importance of Proactive Decision Making.

Making a decision is not always the easiest thing to do. Though living in a world such as ours we don’t seem to have much of a choice, in having to make a decision.

Lets look a little deeper into the topic of decision making to find ways for taking healthy control of our lives, instead of feeling tossed around by the demands of life.

Decision and Indecision.

In this life we are constantly being pushed down a path that forces us into making one decision after another. It seems that not choosing is not an option.

What I mean by this is described well by a phrase I’ve heard along my path of addiction recovery. “Our indecisions make our decisions.” Meaning that when the opportunities to make a decision arrive and we avoid it, that is in fact a decision in itself. And by that indecision, we will be left with the consequences.

Now I don’t mean to be too dark or hope draining here but I have to say this. To exist is, in a sense, to be in a sort of trap. We are pushed forward by our own bodily impulses, peer pressures, social norms, and of course nature.

Now you may be thinking, “yep I knew it, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.” But that isn’t at all the case. It just so happens that if we are on our A-games decision making wise, life pushing us along can feel less trap like. When we show up and take responsibility for our decision making, we can feel much more in control of our lives.

Proactive or Reactive in Decision Making.

We are making all sorts of decisions, all the time. Some of these decisions are no-brainers and don’t require much or any thought. Such as when in public and we get the urge to urinate, I’m sure most of us don’t think too hard about wetting ourselves where we stand. We immediately begin looking for a good place to take care of business. But some of our decisions can be complicated and take time to work out. Such as picking or changing careers,  having children or not, or deciding how our family will spend it’s hard earned cash.

Of course there are decisions that we cannot avoid and those that we set up ourselves. The trick is to take as proactive approach as possible, instead of a reactive one.

An individual taking a proactive approach steps up to take responsibility for decision making. Deciding to use these opportunities to create paths in life they can appreciate. Whereas a reactive approach to decision making is one where we just take what life hands us. Using our creative energies to cope with the onslaught of decisions for which we don’t feel much responsibility. I see the proactive approach as the one which leads to a more fulfilled and enjoyable life. 

Tips for Staying Proactive in Our Decision Making Process.

Having a proactive approach to making decisions, may not immediately seem like the easiest route to take. It may seem easier to lay back and live the path of “least resistance.” But often enough what seems like the easier path, lends itself to many more difficulties down the road.

The extra effort given to stepping up to take care of decision making proactively, saves an incredible amount of time and energy. So here are some tips we have compiled to help guide proactive decision making.

1. Work on Getting to Know Ourselves.

Staying awake to our decision making requires us to make conscious effort to pay attention to our lives. It requires us to study ourselves, our desires, our assets, our liabilities, our mental and emotional tendencies. Without committing proper attention to self-knowledge, we will likely wake up to our lives not really feeling like our own. Life is much more enjoyable when we are able to make decisions based on our own beliefs and personalities.

Sure what has been passed on to us is somewhat important, as are societies expectations, and even the decisions of our pasts. We can still allow these aspects to guide us somewhat, but too much guidance from them doesn’t respect the direction of living our own lives.

2. Touching Base with Our Own Conscience.

We all have our own consciences. Now what you believe a conscience to be, that is up to you. For me I believe it is my internal guidance system. It is based on my own thoughts and feelings. If something doesn’t feel right to me, or I get that feeling that this opportunity is good to go, I say that is my conscience speaking.

To get it active before I make a decision there are some things I tend to do. Before making an decent size decision for my life I find it helpful to ask myself some questions. Such as what am I looking for here? Is this opportunity for me or is it meant for someone else? What these questions do is frame my mind to look for answers to them. I may not get the answers right away, or I might. Generally the process takes extra internal and external research.

If time is going by and I am still not feeling right with an answer, I do some therapeutic writing. Writing mainly to get in touch with any emotion that may be in the way of my answer. If I am still not getting my answer I turn to gathering a group conscience.

3. Gather up a Group Conscience.

A method I have learned for investigating an opportunity until I know the right decision to make, is group conscience. That means enlisting the knowledge of people I trust that might have a viewpoint on what I can’t quite put my finger on. By gathering information from these people and their respective consciences, I am able to get a better grasp on what decision I should currently be making. It’s difficult to explain when group conscience has been met. But for me when it has, I feel it, and then I just know.

Though remember, when gathering group conscience we are seeking our own answers, not somebody else’s. We are seeking to put the puzzle pieces in our own mind together. Plenty of people in this world will tell us what we should be doing on every subject available. But that is the lazy approach. Developing our own reasons for the decisions we make teaches so much more.

Decision Conscience

4. Make Decisions Promptly but Still do the Research.

Making decisions promptly is important for not missing out on great opportunities. But making decisions too quickly without feeling the consequences are understood is just as important. Acting too hastily might work out just fine, and sometimes we may need to do just that. But if there is time for researching and gathering a group conscience, do so, and do so ASAP. It is best to be walking into new opportunities understanding what is at risk. Though sometimes our conscience is ready to make the right decision at a moments notice. Other times we need to just walk away.

5. Take Responsibility for Decisions Made.

Too feel in control of our lives, we have to take responsibility for where our lives are at. To feel responsible for where we are at, we must take responsibility for the decisions we made that got us here. Taking responsibility helps us feel less like victims of circumstance. It allows us to feel more in charge of the direction of our lives. Therefore more readily available to continue handling the opportunities that come into our paths with confidence.

6. Take Risks and Make Plans.

We have say in the lives we get to live. Our creative natures reach out to expand into the world based on our own based on our own desires. When ideas start pointing in directions we haven’t though of before, and our emotions are longing for something new, it’s time to create. If we don’t allow them and are constantly catering to others needs, anger, resentment, depression, begin to brew.

So we need to make plans, take risks, work through disappointment and rejection. Our happiness, contentment and feelings of living our own lives depends on it.

Closing Thoughts.

Life can feel rather forceful at times, for sure. But if we spend the time to develop a proactive decision making process, we can be prepared for it. And as prepared decision makers, we will be able to get much more out of this beautiful life than if we weren’t.

That is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We wish you growth on your path of becoming proactive decision makers . If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list below, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  3. Share this article on your social media.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

 

 

My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To Support My Life Experiment.
Negotiation with Our Bodies Impulses.

Negotiation with Our Bodies Impulses.

Living a healthy and respectable life is all about negotiation. It is about getting our needs met. And not meeting the needs of our bodily impulses that will harm us.

Lets look more in depth in the topic of learning healthy negotiation skills with our emotional impulses. Learning how to see when these impulses point at our bodily needs that need fulfillment, or past energies that may need some closure.

Negotiation With our Impulses?

To negotiate is to communicate with the purpose of reaching agreements. I generally hear the word in the realm of business and hostage retrieval. But we all negotiate terms many times a day with ourselves. Of course with other people but here we are talking about our relationship with the constant flow of impulses that are coming from within our bodies. In fact, the first negotiation I usually make in my day is whether or not I will hit my snooze button or simply wake up when the alarm goes off the first time. I generally do wake up right away because I enjoy money and making it to work on time. My desire for more sleep expresses itself, but at least most of the time I cannot accept its terms.

Then throughout the day I am nudged by many impulses to act. Many of the requests are clearly acceptable so I agree to them. Like putting my jacket on because it’s cold outside, or grabbing a bite to eat because of hunger. Others can be pretty absurd and so I cannot. As in, sorry anger impulse it wouldn’t be appropriate to curse your client out at this moment. Some requests are in the middle and require a little extra thought for me to make a decision. We are pretty much constantly negotiating with ourselves.

This concept of continuous negotiation with ourselves may not be something that we think about often, or maybe ever. But it is happening all the time and getting the most out of it requires that we wake up to the process.

Waking up to the Negotiation.

To be awake to this process takes effort. It takes reminding ourselves that a healthy life is a process of allowing these impulses to find fulfillment in acceptable ways or even closure. Staying awake to responsibly negotiate requires us to get to know ourselves on much more than a surface level. It requires us to be pay attention to our bodies requests, and be the compassionate but stern gatekeepers for how those requests are met.  Sometimes these impulses should not be given the time of day, and sometimes we better meet their needs, or else.

As addicts in recovery we at My Life Experiment have had to learn a great deal about negotiating successfully with our bodily impulses. Here are some ideas that we have developed over the years.

1. Regularly step away from the negotiation.

Our bodies are constantly sending us impulses to take of all sorts of things. Some sane, others not so much. It is easy to become overwhelmed with all of their requests, and with their stronger demands. At times it is easy to keep up with all these impulses. Other times there is a sort of paralyzed feeling, unaware of how to proceed with this backlog of energy.

Stepping away from the negotiating is extremely important to do regularly. It is intensely beneficial to our minds and bodies to just sit, take deep breathes, and feel these impulses. In this time we should not think about how we should take care of our next impulse, just feel it. Forget about dinner prep, work tomorrow, how the kids are doing, how the bills will get paid, etc… After sitting with these energies non-judgmentally you can go right back to all those thoughts, possibly with more clarity on how to handle them.

Negotiation Meditation
2. Goals are important.

It is important to have goals for our futures. We can use these goals to help guide us to the ways we should get our needs met. Take the need for food for example. If I have the goal of losing 10 pounds this month, I should probably get that need taken care of with food that will help that goal happen.

Without goals for the future it can be extremely difficult to negotiate healthy outcomes for our impulses. And much easier to take the “easy way out.” Seeking quick fixes, and not thinking enough about what we deeply desire for the direction of our lives. If you want to learn more about setting these goals here is a nice WikiHow page on the subject of goal setting.

3. Learn to Differentiate an impulse that Needs Fulfillment or Needs Closure.

It is very true that not all of the impulses that come from our bodies are needs. We have plenty of wants that seek our attention as well. Some of these wants reasonable, others not so much.

Meeting or needs and reasonable wants in healthy ways is very important. I would say that our lives depend on this. But those other impulses that are all wrapped up in energy from unmet needs long in the past need something different. What these impulses need is closure. They need to be felt. Not acted upon since they are no longer connected to the realities that we are currently coping with.

Learning to differentiate a need and reasonable want from these no longer viable impulses requires us to get to know ourselves. When we get that feeling of confusion about where an impulse is coming from, there are some things that can be done. Such as doing some therapeutic writing, chatting with a trusted friend, or seeking some professional help. Through these processes we can get to know whether we should go ahead and act on the impulse, or let it fade away into the background.

4. Do not Negotiate with but Love Impulse Terrorists.

There have been times in my recovery where I have had to navigate intense emotions that desired to act on in ways that would have had negative consequences for me. When not acting on them, there is a feeling of an “internal temper tantrum.’ I get the feeling of a little child laying on the floor pounding and kicking away, when the impulse does not get its way. In a way, the impulse is trying to terrorize us into getting what it wants.

When dealing with energies like this I find it important to not give in to them. To not negotiate with them, but that doesn’t mean neglect them either. This impulse needs closure, it is hurting, it needs some love, and possibly to be grieved. If I am not feeling that I can give it the loving attention it needs. Then I need to go to outside sources, such as trusted friends, or possibly for professional support.

Negotiation Needs

5. Track Progress of Pesky Impulses.

When struggling with acting on impulses in ways that benefit the healthy self we desire to be, tracking our progress can be beneficial. When noticing an impulse that we habitually meet in unhealthy ways, mark it down in a notebook. Name the habit, talk about what that impulse feels like, thoughts that go with it, etc.. Then check back in with the notebook to report progress weekly or monthly, depending on how pesky the impulse is and how quickly change is desired.

That is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We wish you growth on your path of learning healthy negotiation with your bodily impulses. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
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My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To Support My Life Experiment.
The Struggle is Real?

The Struggle is Real?

They say that “The Struggle is Real.”

Urban Dictionary defines the statement as “The hardness and difficulties of every day life being unbearable and apparent.”

It is usually used to describe fairly simple problems that the average “first world” human being goes through. Like having a tire get a flat, only getting a half nights sleep, or the countless times where expectations are not met. Which are fairly simple problems compared to the amount of people that are suffering greatly all over the world.

Hearing the statement lately I came to think of the statement at another angle. How much time do we spend struggling with problems that don’t really exist.

Homeless struggleOf Course the Struggle is Real.

Yes there is struggle in the world, there is pain and there is suffering. I would imagine that is something we can all agree on.

Honestly I cannot imagine the horror that many “first world” citizens go through, as well as a much higher percentage that are found in the “third world.”

I live in Fargo, North Dakota. Compared to probably over 90% of the world’s population I exist in the spoiled zone. No I don’t have loads of money, or a flashy car. But I have a growing family in a nice house, running water, and a decent job. Considering that roughly 60% of the world doesn’t even have running water, I would say that I am in pretty damn good shape.

Though of course I do struggle, have pain, and yes the occasional suffering. It may not be as much as others struggle. Though even though I may not struggle as much as others, does not make mine less important. The obstacles that enter my path, whether big or small, must be negotiated none the less. I say the same goes for everyone of you if there is struggle, it needs to be dealt with in some manner or another.

Real Struggles with Fantasized Problems?

There are real problems and of course many issues to find ourselves struggling with. But how much of the struggle is stemming from problems that aren’t really problems at all?

Let me ask you a few questions. Have you ever worked yourself up, worrying over a problem you were sure was going to harm you or others? Planning and plotting to respond, so sure that a messy situation that required swift action was going to take place? One more question. Have you ever had the time come when this problem was going to erupt and you realize nothing is happening? The problem that was expected, didn’t show up after all.

How much of our struggles do we bring onto ourselves by fantasizing problems that never show up? Or over-dramatizing something that could be a little struggle into a big one? Of course I cannot answer this question for you. It is hard enough to answer this question for myself.

Process to Lessen the Amount that We Struggle.

Life of course brings about great amounts of pain. For example, we can’t control that loved ones pass away. We also can’t control all sorts of other curveballs the world throws at us. Many problems are ones that cannot be ignored, and if we do they will haunt our consciousness until we deal with them. I repeat. The real problems that we don’t deal with will haunt us until we deal with them. And inevitably will only bring more struggle than would have taken place had we dealt with them in the first place.

With all of the real problems life inevitably brings do you really want to waste all sorts of time and energy on those that aren’t even real? I know I don’t.

The trick to limiting the amount of fantasized problems, and taking care of the real is not a simple one.  It takes hard work and vigilance to keep ourselves in reality in this way. Though the years I have spent in recovery with this brain that is prone to worry and fantasy have learned a great deal. Here are some essential tips that I have come to live by.

1. Staying Emotionally Balanced.

Staying on our emotional A-game is so important to keeping our problems and our struggles in reality. Past emotions have a way of creeping into the present. Leading us to believe that history is going to repeat itself. Thus projecting a fantasy of our own creation onto our future selves.

To keep problems and struggles in reality our emotions need to be in reality. Checking in to settle down our emotions in times of struggle can save a lot of suffering. For me I generally do this through meditation, therapeutic writing, or chatting with healthy people I trust.

Struggle Friend2. Being Connected to Healthy People.

Being connected to these people that will not allow me to complain but will respect my emotions has been so important. Without the support of all the people around me from friends, family and colleagues I would spend an absurd amount of time with unnecessary struggles. The Philosopher Aristotle said that we “are by nature social animals.” I couldn’t agree more, we are not meant to do this life thing on our own.

When running our troubles by our trusted people we may be surprised or even pissed off when told we are wasting our time and energy. They can point out real problem that we are not seeing, or emotion that is clouding our judgment. They could point out that we are obsessing about a situation that doesn’t exist. Hell sometimes they even let us know that we aren’t crazy and they actually agree! Their insights are invaluable.

3. Deal with Real Problems as Soon as Possible.

As much as we might like them to go away, there is no amount of denying the real problems in our lives that will make them fantasies. If we feel we need to take care of a problem and the stakes don’t feel risky, then I am generally safe to go ahead and do it. But if the stakes seem a little risky and we are confused in anyway about what we should be taking care of. Then I take some time out to go back to Steps 1 and 2.

As soon as I find out to the best of my and my trusted peoples abilities that my problem needs dealing with, I do it. Taking prompt actions with our real problems keep our struggles from growing unnecessarily. I also find that I find myself creating problems out of thin air, while I am procrastinating something else that actually needs my care

4. Let Fantasized Problems Fade Away

The more strongly convinced we are that our fantasized problems are real, the more difficult it is to let them go. But to quit wasting our time with them and get busy living in the real, we need to let them go. Or else we will just spend our time struggling with these problems in a fruitless attempt to make them reality.

There is a grieving process that goes along with letting our fantasized problems fade away. Letting our belief in a fake problem go can actually be painful. We may think that we are putting ourselves in a dangerous situation. Dealing with the emotions that come out of this process has to happen to let them go. That emotion that may stem from who knows when can now get some much needed attention. And we can move forward with a little less struggle in our lives and more energy on creative ways to bring success into our lives.

I wish you well on your path of struggling less on problems that don’t exist. And thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.

  1. Please like and leave a comment below.
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To Support My Life Experiment.
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