Monday, November 28, 2011

The Greatest Challenge of Enlightenment?

Enlightenment can be challenging; at least, that’s been my experience at times—mostly because of what we have to let go of in order to let it in. But, is there a particular challenge to be aware of? Let’s see.

There’s a passage in the Bible that says what the result of planting a seed of faith is has all to do with where the seed is planted and whether or not it takes root. Think of all the things we’ve been told that matter when it comes to manifestation and Law of Attraction, things that make it work and what might prevent it from working. I believe there’s something at the heart of this, or in this case, at the root: I believe it starts with the seed.

You may plant the seed of trust, faith, or belief in Truth—and this may show itself as a seedling above ground; but until it takes root in your very being, the first wind (challenge, trial, or tribulation) that comes up may up-root it. Also, many of us grew up in an environment that’s more like a seed planted among thorny bushes, in the soil of worry, fearfulness, and struggle. This is why worry, fearfulness, and negative thinking seem to run in our veins; and we may even feel we can’t get rid of them, despite our efforts to think and act the opposite. We’re confused about what to do to shift this. This leads me to . . .

The passage that states those who have will be given more; and those with less will have more taken away, which makes sense when you think of it in terms of trust in the Truth. If you start with even a small amount of genuine trust—not lip-service to it, you’ll be given even more reasons to trust. You’ll receive personal evidence that demonstrates that your trust in Truth works; and your trust (rooted in the good soil of receptivity) will grow even stronger. Those with little or no trust in the Truth receive personal evidence of what is in their hearts and minds: fear, lack, worry, and so forth. They’ll experience more reasons not to trust—until they renew their thoughts based in Truth, that is, plant a better seed in better soil.

This doesn’t mean the person who trusts never has “trials and tribulations,” it means they don’t have the same after-the-fact thoughts a person who doesn’t trust or trusts little has. It’s like the quote Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar that’s been revised to something like, “A coward dies a thousand deaths, a courageous man but one.” Those who are rooted in trust may have an initial shock when something happens, and react to it; but that person then turns to trust in Truth to remain strong, while they trust the purpose and outcome, as well, despite temporary appearances.

Those with little or no trust at their roots “die many deaths,” because of the numerous “why me” conversations and negative “possibilities” they envision, along with the great number of negative, fearful comments they make to themselves and others.

Please understand that there is a difference between an initial, understandable emotional reaction to something that happens that may even require healing time vs. choosing to wallow in emotions that make our reaction to a situation worse—through our thoughts about it—when we can choose to follow a path that helps us learn something about ourselves then rise above what happened and move forward.

One prominent example of shaky or thorny “seeding” is through The Great Detractor—the seed of money fears planted in us. We, indeed, cannot serve two masters: Spiritual expansion through trust in Truth and money fears; though, it’s the same for any fear we carry in our thoughts such as self-worth, among others. The twist to this is that if you chase money or allow it to be a demanding master and you its slave, especially with fear and worry attached to that pursuit, money AND spiritual expansion will elude you.

I use spiritual expansion here, but really it’s about the thought seed. Someone not especially spiritual or spiritual at all may have a healthy thought seed about money, so never experiences money as a real issue or doesn’t experience a temporary money issue the same way someone with a fearful money seed does. It’s the same for self-worth, self-confidence, and so on. Their personal truth is different, so their experiences and results are, as well.

This is a lot of chat about Truth. What is it? You know it when you feel it. It’s consistent. It lets you find serenity, even in a storm, because it’s shown you before that you can trust it, that you can always trust it. It lifts you out of ego and into greater awareness about a particular matter. Discovery of the Truth is the most personal journey you’ll ever take; and clues have been left for you over thousands of years. Even if you study with a master, no one can make this journey for you.

The greatest challenge of enlightenment may very well be the foundation of trust in the Truth—the strength of the root structure that takes hold in the “soil” of your self—that supports everything that comes after you plant the seed. I still experience trust lapses at times; but as soon as I remember what I know, what I’ve learned, and return to trust, how I experience a situation that arises shifts. It took a while for me to realize my inner shift was even more important than any outer one.

One way to put this into practice is to recall a time when you did trust, when you replaced fear with trust in Truth, let’s say in the Universe, God, or whatever word you use. Recall how letting go of all the negative mind chatter that served only to stir up negative emotions, left you feeling more at one with yourself instead of fragmented. Hold that feeling. Step into it. Memorize it and call it up when you need to. If you say this has never been your experience, you may choose to consider if you’d like it to be.

It’s easy, and understandable, to think a method is “the thing” when it comes to not only getting desired results, but also in how we feel about ourselves and life overall. And our pursuit of numerous methods is like planting many seeds and hoping for better results than the others we’ve planted. But, until we plant the seed that produces the fruit we desire, and plant it in receptive soil that we consistently nurture, we’ll continue to try to figure out how to get apples from a pear tree or why our apple tree won’t grow in the desert.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your blog/website as long as you use my complete bio with it.

Joyce Shafer is a Life Coach, Author, and provider of Love Who You Really Are, Go for What You Really Want—an 8-week life-changing online coaching course that lets the real you come out and play (you know you want to!), and publisher of State of Appreciation, a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical & spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization through articles, and free downloads, when you subscribe at

Friday, November 18, 2011

Do You Know Where Your Manifestation and Energy Leaks Are?

You put real effort into improving areas of your life; yet, desired improvements don’t happen as quickly as you’d like or not at all. Could it be that there are one or more leaks you aren’t aware of?

A family member moved her travel trailer from the desert, where it seldom rains, to a location that gets more rainfall. That’s how she discovered a few leaks in her trailer she didn’t know about. My comment to her was, “Nothing like rain to show you where your leaks are.” That’s how life works, as well. It’s not always about an isolated leak big enough to get our attention, it’s sometimes about the ones we don’t “see” for what they are or that we’re so used to that we ignore them, but do see or feel their effects.

Here’s the biggest leak I believe most of us have in common:

In our subconscious mind—and even partially in our conscious mind, we believe our reality is “supposed” to be a certain way. And, that’s exactly how it is. Really think about what this means. What do you actually believe… you know… those thoughts of yours that are prevalent no matter what else you tell yourself? Do you wake every morning and think most of the same thoughts throughout the day, as you did the days before? This is like painting the same landscape on a new canvas almost exactly the same way every day—then wondering why the scene stays the same or when it will ever change.

You—and you’re in good company—likely visualize (think about) what you don’t want or don’t like, with lots of emotion involved… and you get more of what you don’t want or don’t like every day, in some measure. It’s like a dog chasing its tail and griping about the view it believes it “has” or is “forced” to look at.

I’m not religious, but I appreciate the first line of Psalm 96: “Sing to the Lord a new song” (and to yourself and others)—not the same old song you’ve been “singing” every day. Become aware that you amplify any problems or challenges with your perspective about them, which affects your attitude, which affects your words and actions, which determine how you travel through your day and life. Going back to the painting analogy, keep in mind that how you’ll change the scene on the canvas happens first as what you envision in your mind then decide on then follow through on.

In a moment, I’ll give you an effective way to mend energy and manifestation leaks so you start changing the landscape of your life, but first...

Since the holidays are upon us, let’s look at a possible leak-mending “opportunity” that often results in stress: family gatherings. What I’m about to share may help you ease up on yourself and others during such times. I’ve seen several attributes for the following comment, though I first heard it attributed to Ram Das. This comment is brilliant and on target: “If you want to know how enlightened you are, spend a week with your family.” I offer this to encourage you to, hopefully, chuckle at a “common” condition. If you notice any stress during gatherings, just thinking of this statement may lighten your energy. Also, keep in mind that energy flows in both directions: if you find it stressful to be around certain people and their attitudes, you can bet they find it stressful to be around you and your attitude.

The “rain” in our life can be anyone, not just immediate family members, or events… it’s anyone and anything that triggers us, including ourselves with our thoughts. When we’re triggered, we tend to get annoyed at whoever or whatever triggered us, the Universe, and ourselves for “still” being able to be triggered no matter how long we’ve been working on our personal enlightenment. One reason we get triggered about some of the same things repeatedly is because we rely on our thoughts and beliefs to inform and guide us instead of what we KNOW, “know” meaning the Deeper Spiritual Wisdom we’ve gained by paying attention differently. The less you realize you KNOW indicates that you could pay more attention in a deeper way.

As promised, here’s a way to begin to paint your landscape differently, as well as mend leaks you know about, or show up, or before they happen. It’s ancient, proven, and powerful. You can use it during meditation, while you shower, while you drive, or anytime during the day or night.

Think of one or more empowering statements, something that’s a sincere intention for your day or your life. Here are a few I suggest:
●I am always in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, and with the right action.
●I am attuned to my intuition and follow it effortlessly.
●I always have plenty of money to do everything I want and need to do.
●I have all the energy and enthusiasm I need to accomplish whatever I need and choose to today.
●Something about my experience with (fill in the blank) shifts in a positive way today.
●Something wonderful happens in my life today, and everyday.
●Today, I feel deeper appreciation for what I DO have and know that even more waits for me to receive it.
●Today, I allow myself to receive my Good, which comes in many forms and from any of the Universe’s infinite resources.

It’s best if you say your statements aloud and alone, but you can do this in your mind if you’re with others. The process is as follows: Make one of your statements. Then make the “Ah” sound—aloud and sustained (and strong, not wimpy), until you run out of breath. Think about your statement as you make the sound—feel the positive effects of your statement on you and your life. Do this twice for each statement, the first time aloud, the second time to yourself, one statement at a time. As you do this practice, you allow that what you state will or “could” happen or improve in the way or ways you desire, or even better.

Maybe you’ve learned effective methods like the one I provide here. And, maybe you used them for a while then stopped. Have you ever wondered why you do that?

We want different results, but expect them to come from our habituated behaviors—because those behaviors are routine to us—we don’t have to consciously think about whether they create desired results or not. It’s okay if you prefer to “do life” as it shows up for you. You only need to concern yourself with inner and outer shifts if you are discontent. But, if you do want a new (improved) you or experience of life, you have to be aware of, not dwell on, the “old” aspects that no longer serve you, you have to hold a vision of the new version—and most importantly, you have to RENEW the new ways every day—meaning put into practice each day, your improved thoughts, feelings, intentions, and ways you speak and act.

You will continue to find new leaks in your energy and manifestation process because that’s how the human process goes. You can mend new and long-standing leaks so that you don’t experience them again—or ever again experience them the same way as you have been. I’m not saying this is necessarily easy, just doable.

The question is: Will you put this or any other effective method into daily practice? “Life is easy when you do it the hard way and hard when you do it the easy way.” To me this quote means we can be consistent with our proven personal empowerment methods and let life feel and be more effortless, or we can take the “easy” way of not putting effective methods into consistent practice and deal with the results, which is usually life feeling and being difficult, frustrating, or a struggle. Which leaks will you notice and mend this week?

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your blog/website as long as you use my complete bio with it.

Joyce Shafer is a Life Coach, Author, and provider of Love Who You Really Are, Go for What You Really Want—an 8-week life-changing online coaching course that lets the real you come out and play (you know you want to!), and publisher of State of Appreciation, a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical & spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization through articles, and free downloads, when you subscribe at

Friday, November 11, 2011

Are You in Drive or Reverse?

Are you traveling through life or are you on a journey? Are you looking forward or at the past? Your answers reveal a lot about the direction you’re going in and what kind of experiences you’ll have.

Maybe you can relate… It was a major life change for me to move from New York City to my hometown in the deep South, for reasons you might imagine and others you might not. I was on board with it, though: My father had died and my elderly, legally-blind mother who has health issues had friends here, but no family. The decision to move and the moving process was quick and intense, and kept me so focused that I had little time to consider all of my feelings. I was fully committed to the move, so didn’t look back… until I was in my new location. And then I found my focus was more on the rearview mirror of my life than the windshield.

That can happen with any minor, but especially major life shift. In the presence of the unknown and as yet undefined present that contributes to the future, the past offers the comfort of the familiar, even if it contains painful times, as all pasts do. This moment in time can cause us to feel we have a foot in both the past and present, and to forget that our lives are a journey. We may find we move, instead, as travelers who feel pressured by tasks and schedules, as well as real and self-imposed needs for speed. We may feel rushed to get settled, and momentum going in the new life, with more tension than enjoyment or enthusiasm.

We’re told the Universe loves speed; but I think a disclaimer should be added: When the Universe sends us an inspired idea or an opportunity that’s appropriate for us or is one we requested, we are to respond immediately. It doesn’t mean we are required to speed through every moment of life in order to get a nod of approval from the Universe, which will then provide what we need and desire, because we’ve proven ourselves as willing perpetual-motion machines. In fact, that approach can block our energy because we aren’t in flowing give-and-receive mode, we’re in ‘gotta do” mode.

Here’s something relevant Old Bill said to A.J.: “When people are just travelin, they start out with the notion they’re gonna end up someplace by a certain time. They get together what they think they’ll need and head out…. they’re on a schedule. If a detour comes up on the highway or there’s a traffic jam, they get upset. A person on a journey prepares the basics as well, but doesn’t have a schedule–not as such. That person is willin, if not enthusiastic, about enjoyin every second. Might create detours just to see what’s there. Maybe pulls over to watch a sunrise or sunset. Might get out in a rain shower to feel the cool drops on their skin–taste the rain. That kind of person will stop along the way just to talk to people, have a new experience. You can tell a lot about how a person moves through life by how they travel.”

Whenever you have a major life change—or are in need of one, you know that whether you’re prepared for the change or not, you’ve got a lot of feelings going on; and maybe you have time to process them or you don’t, though, eventually they’ll demand some of your time. Even if the change is positive, there’s a level of mourning involved—for the positive aspects that no longer exist and for the comfort the familiar once provided. If we allow ourselves to go overboard with this or to linger in this type of thinking too long, we find ourselves in Reverse instead of in Drive, no matter what we may do to move forward.

An automatic part of any change is setting-up and adjustment time—in a new job or career, relationship—with a new partner or child—or now alone, a new home, or geographic location; and sometimes some or all of these happen at once. This time is more often akin to traveling rather than being on a journey. There’s so much to think about and take care of that demands your attention, all while your feelings and emotions are adjusting, as well. You may find yourself “stopping to smell the roses,” but as memories of the ones you left behind by choice, or not, rather than the “roses” on your new path. If a change is sudden and unexpected, the last thing you may want to do for a while is contemplate what the changes mean in a positive way for you and your life. But, at some point, you must. It’s the only way to find and plant seeds of happiness and fulfillment.

We can understand this type of response is common for many, and we can decide to honor our feelings then invite the potential and possibilities ahead of us into our state of mind and being and lives. That is what life is about, after all. And this may happen for you gradually or in a flurry. Neither way is wrong or right. It’s always best to know yourself, and it’s a good idea to nudge yourself if you stay still or look in the rearview mirror too long.

I invite you to pause and consider, as I did, in which direction your attention is focused, and if your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions behave as supportive fuel to get you where you desire to BE next. Are you traveling with rigid rules so you stay on your or someone else’s schedule, or are you on a journey with adventures and slow times, two-lane detours and major highways, rock and rose gardens? Do you take time to notice and smell the roses, or perhaps to seek out rose gardens—or plant your own? Which practice feels more like the one you truly desire?

[Content in quotation marks excerpted from I Don’t Want to Be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say.]

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your blog/website as long as you use my complete bio with it.

Joyce Shafer is a Life Coach, Author, and provider of Love Who You Really Are, Go for What You Really Want—an 8-week life-changing online coaching course that lets the real you come out and play (you know you want to!), and publisher of State of Appreciation, a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical & spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization through articles, and free downloads, when you subscribe at

Friday, November 4, 2011

Do You Struggle with Feeling Authentic?

Do you carry the feeling of not being your authentic self or living authentically, and a fear of doing so? If your answer is yes, here are two significant causes for this you need to be aware of.

What I consider the first cause—a genuinely significant one—is that we, for the most part have been socially “disconnected” from our whole-mind self that requires our intuitive skills be included in any thoughtful, creative mental processing. Developing and using this aspect of who we really are will assist us out of the negative effects of the other cause, which I mention in a moment, and into living as our authentic selves.

Years back, Dr. Roger Sperry conducted a surgical experiment that disconnected the logical part of the mind from the intuitive part. The result was telling: Without the intuitive abilities, the logical mind is unable to discern true from not true. This is a primary reason to keep in mind that genuine intuition never lies to us or steers us wrong.

The brain is a computer, and like a computer is programmable. Our initial and most prominent programs originated outside of us: they came from others who conveyed to us what is to be judged good or bad about ourselves, others, events, and life. We continue this pattern when we don’t turn to our intuition for more information.

The fact that a bigger picture beyond isolated incidents always exists is seldom included in our early childhood programming; nor is the fact that we have a whole mind, not just a logical mind, nurtured and developed. Society demonstrates a higher value is placed on logic than on intuition, as though we only have one and not the other, or should. Even if we believe or know differently, and even after evidence of what a whole-mind approach can create, we still generally fear expanding this, much less owning it as a fact of our human nature and design.

This means we struggle more often than not, even with matters that could be simpler to resolve, because we rely on logic that says matters are “black and white” or “good or bad”—defined as such for us first by others; and this results in our accepting untruths from others about ourselves and life. We accept these untruths with no further exploration such as using a “What else might it be” approach, often because non-acceptance of certain untruths—or questioning what we were told—resulted in some form of penalty. We adopt and adapt in hopes of being awarded acceptance.

Because high value is place primarily on logical thinking and behaving, we remain mostly disconnected from our authentic whole-mind selves. We know something is missing, but we look in the wrong direction to find and improve this.

This misdirection causes us to put more focus onto perceived weaknesses rather than genuine strengths—our own, as well as others’. And this leads to the other cause of feeling inauthentic: Living defensively. Defensive behaviors are a result of low self-esteem caused by feeling unable or uninformed about how to self-determine our worth or value separate from what others expect of us or “should” on us. We’ve been programmed, and have bought into the belief that we must meet others’ expectations in order to be assigned personal worth or value—by them, which is untrue. So, instead of exploring and discovering who we are and using our whole mind to do this, we spend our lives trying to please others, or at least, to not draw negative attention to us.

No one wants to feel embarrassed, humiliated, or considered a failure; and in our attempt to avoid this, we live defensively—sometimes in the extreme. But we have to realize that defensive living is motivation, energy, and life purpose in reverse. There’s a high cost paid when we practice defensive living. Here are several costs, though you maybe could list more.

Cost 1: Fear of embarrassment or humiliation impedes our ability to hear constructive feedback; and some either go ballistic or wither if any kind of criticism is given, including constructive. This fear hampers our ability to productively resolve issues and conflicts that come our way.

Cost 2: It’s exhausting to try to keep our weaknesses hidden from others. We put so much energy into this that we sacrifice a great deal of our creative, productive energy that leads to desired experiences and results.

Cost 3: Belief that we have to fix what’s “wrong” with us or with others or with our life locks the “this is broken” pattern into place, and we experience feeling we and life are perpetually broken, and possibly beyond transformation, instead of focusing on what and how and the truth that improvements can happen.

Cost 4: Defensiveness creates a negative, limiting magnetic field around us and “more of the same” comes our way, even if “new” issues are variations on a very old theme. We imagine defensive living will shield us from what we fear, but it just leads to what’s often called self-fulfilling prophecy (“That’s exactly what I was afraid or knew would happen!”).

Cost 5: It’s exhausting to try to identify and rid ourselves of what we believe are our every weakness; plus, we often find our “list” of top weaknesses may have the same items as 5, 10, or more years ago—we feel unable to break the pattern. This is because our time and energy are almost solely focused on perceived weaknesses, rather than on using strengths and building upon strengths.

Cost 6: It impedes our ability to accept responsibility for ourselves and our lives—we’re terrified to make a mistake. Or if we make a mistake, we behave as though the worst has happened—because that’s how we feel, and sometimes were made to feel. We disregard the fact that everyone makes mistakes, that mistakes can truly be used as opportunities to learn and improve, not as reasons to be punished or self-punished.

Living defensively isn’t living. Defensive living based on what’s been described here is depleting. If you focus on your strengths—using them and building upon them—you’ll find you engage your creative, inspired, intuitive aspects. This is energizing. Recall a time you were in your creative groove. No energy depletion there! This is why problem-solving based in intuitive, creative whole-mind processing gives you energy for more and for better. Intuition is able to give you inspired information that your logical mind can then take action on. This is our natural design and how we can perform at our best.

What might happen if you put into practice the application of your strengths, intuition, and creativity towards whatever may need a solution or resolution? You’d listen to and follow your inner compass instead of taking detours and misdirection prescribed by others. What’s more authentic than that?!

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your blog/website as long as you use my complete bio with it.

Joyce Shafer, Life Coach, Author, and provider of Love Who You Really Are, Go for What You Really Want—an 8-week life-changing online coaching course that lets the real you come out and play (you know you want to!), and publisher of State of Appreciation, a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical & spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization through articles, and free downloads, when you subscribe at

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

One Reason Your Nagging Issue Seems Hardest to Resolve

This particular reason keeps the same problem or problems around far longer than you ever imagined they would be. It’s also what contributes to your feeling stressed, exhausted, frustrated, and why little to no lasting progress is made, no matter what you do.

Think of one issue you’ve been personally struggling with for a while, say, five years or longer. It might be money, weight, health, business or career, or something else (more about what the real issues may be in a moment).

Here are three approaches you might have chosen regarding your issue, maybe even all three over time, depending on your frustration levels. I ask you to suspend any judgment you might impose on yourself or others as you read them.

1. You sincerely want to improve this issue and have tried one or more (or many) systems, invested a lot of yourself into more information and numerous attempts, but the issue just isn’t shifting in your favor; or, any shifts you do make don’t last, much less expand into more of what you desire.
2. You make halfhearted efforts at improvements.
3. You make no effort beyond complaining to yourself and others.

Whichever approach listed here has been the one you’ve taken—or all three, the reason, which I’m about to share with you, contributes significantly to why the first approach doesn’t lead to desired results, as well as why you might choose the second or third approach. The reason has two parts.

Part 1

Let’s say you sincerely desire to improve your issue or situation, so you begin to focus on this, maybe make some headway, then find yourself pushed or slammed backwards… the old one-step-forward, two-steps-back pattern. What’s happening?

When some desired shift of an issue doesn’t happen despite our efforts, there are many considerations we could make that include alignment with right purpose, right location, right this, right that… all significant aspects that deserve genuine consideration. For our purposes here, I ask you to focus on any issue you know CAN be different, but none of your efforts lead to what you ultimately desire, or you find your ability to act on your behalf is hampered at the inner level, which of course hampers your outer-level actions and results.

Let’s use a specific example. Say you’ve recently (or for longer) been feeling and telling yourself that you’re a failure, in some measure. Question: Do your behaviors (thoughts, feelings, words, and actions) match the idea in your mind of what someone who is a failure thinks, feels, says, and does? Now, substitute “failure” with any word that best fits what your primary struggle currently is or continues to be and consider the question again, and keep it in mind as you continue to read.

If you’ve long perceived yourself as a failure (or whatever), your behaviors will support how a person who’s a failure “should” behave. Notice I didn’t use “would” behave, I deliberately used “should.” There is no rulebook for this, just best guesses and what you’ve been conditioned to believe. Your analytical left brain is programmable and has programs running about what failure should mean to you, how you should behave according to your program, and what should happen if you try to abandon the program that’s running.

If you decide to shift from “failure me” to “successful me,” and you begin to behave in ways that don’t match how you believe a person who’s a failure should behave (thoughts, feelings, words, actions), the part of your mind responsible for monitoring program settings, still set on “failure,” will attempt, and succeed, to get you to return to behaviors that support what you believe a person who’s a failure behaves like.

Part 2

You can see how that program creates a vicious vortex. This vortex spins even faster when you attempt to follow a path supported with a thought like “I’m not a failure.” This is because the word “not” is ignored (it’s the same for the word don’t). Go to your Internet browser and type in “Recipes Not Italian” or “Don’t give me Italian Recipes.” Which recipes will come up first and for quite a while? Italian, of course, because the computer ignores the word “not,” just as your brain ignores it, and just as the very literal quantum fulfillment field ignores it, too; and all three “computers” strive to fulfill the other words included in your request.

This means that when you attempt to shift from perceiving yourself as a failure by trying to perceive yourself as (not) a failure, this runs a double-negative through your brain. This is why nothing or little changes and why you feel stressed and exhausted. It’s like trying to run up a down escalator that adjusts its opposing speed when you do.

How many of these double-negatives are running in your life right now? If you want to identify them, just look at any area you’re struggling with, especially if you’ve been struggling with it, or them, for a while. However, I ask you to look at what really may be going on. If your answer is money, the underlying stressor cause may be an issue of self-worth, self-value, or self-identity. If it’s weight, the underlying stressor cause may be self-image or self-acceptance. If it’s taking action, the underlying stressor cause may be a deep fear of criticism which keeps your self-critic active. Find your word and ask what the underlying stressor cause may actually be.

Fortunately, your intuitive big-picture right side of the brain is trainable, rather than programmable, and can be retrained. Here’s a way to do this that also leads to a realistic resolution for your lingering issue. Using “failure you” as an example again, swap it with “successful you.” What do you believe, perceive, or imagine that you, as a successful individual—according to your ideal image of this, not that of anyone else—would think, feel, say (to yourself and to others), and do action-taking-wise? (Notice I didn’t ask what “successful you” would have, but who you would be.) Make a list for each category, such as: How Successful Me Knows to Think, etc. Instead of judging which items on your list you haven’t done or don’t do consistently, pick one or two a week and integrate them as a way of being successful you. These are actually strengths you already possess that just need to be built up and upon.

“The law of floatation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things,” Thomas Troward said. Any person who achieves or accomplishes desired improvements, goals, or dreams says, thinks, feels, plans and takes action differently than someone who consistently doesn’t achieve desired results. Perhaps it’s time to consider what you’ve been putting into practice and start putting something positive into practice instead.

You may want to rush toward desired outcomes to ease painful emotions, especially if you’ve been struggling, but start by putting your attention on the inner practice described here, which will extend itself naturally into your life and create a strong foundation for desired results to be more effortless to accomplish.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

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Joyce Shafer, Life Coach, Author, and provider of Love Who You Really Are, Go for What You Really Want—an 8-week life-changing online coaching course that lets the real you come out and play (you know you want to!), and publisher of State of Appreciation, a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical & spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization through articles, and free downloads, when you subscribe at