Day Eleven: Accept that others owe us nothing. Mentally strong people work and succeed on their own merits. They appreciate and accept support and encouragement when offered. Preparation, schooling, and family names just don’t matter as much as they once did. Retirement, ongoing benefits, and even perks while on the job, seem to be opportunities of the past. There are no obligations to loyalty on either the employer or employee side of a work relationship.
That’s the financial part of our lives. What about the social and emotional needs we have? Do others owe us nothing? I can only guess that the mentally strong would answer “yes”. If we can accept that others owe us nothing, and we owe nothing in return, how do we apply this thinking to the social and emotional needs we have?
“Support and encouragement are appreciated and accepted when offered”, might be the key. I want to remember that, while I’m not obligated to others and their well being, it is still important to extend my best self to others during this holiday season.
- I can use kind words, share empathy, and honor and celebrate others’ beliefs.
- I can give gifts because I want to, not because I have to.
- I can offer support and encouragement to others,
- And, I can accept and appreciate when others share the same with me.
- I can smile
- I can say, “thank you”
What will you do or how will you be during this Holiday Season knowing that you owe nothing to others, and knowing they owe nothing to you?
Day Ten: Cherish Your Alone Time… especially, at this time of year. If you are a woman, know that most women are focused on relationships; they might see time alone as rude or self-serving. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, to be productive, or to “just be”. They’ve mastered the art of doing nothing, and the art of being productive with or without others around them. And, they are happy either way.
If you are an introvert, or you just need time to recharge your social energy, you are not alone! If you are an extrovert, even the most gregarious do better when they can slip away from the holiday hustle and bustle or the family gatherings. Whether you are hosting or you are a visitor in another’s home, feel confident that taking care of yourself is a number one priority. Families and friends often travel to spend far more than the suggested “three days” for successful, conflict-free time together.
How can you spend time alone? Please add to the list:
- Take a nap when you want, and go to bed at a time reasonable for you.
- Sleep in until you really want to get up—after all, you are on vacation, hopefully.
- Slip away for walks, read a book, watch your own shows and movies.
- Be honest with the activities you really want to participate in, and enthusiastically join in when it feels comfortable for you.
- If this is new behavior for you, explain what and why you are doing it. It may be an invitation for others to do the same!
I would love to know how you protect your alone time, and whether or not you feel comfortable doing so.
Persist. The mentally strong know that failure is an opportunity to improve. When any one of us pursues something wanted-a relationship, the “perfect gift”, a raise, a new job, it is easy to feel defeated after a few foiled attempts. Mentally strong people aren’t exempt from falling short of their goals. The difference is that they are willing to repeatedly fail at something as long as there is learning each time an attempt is made. Getting closer to their goals is success.
I wonder if the mentally strong create new language around the word failure? Self-talk is powerful. When I’m in a mentally strong place in my head, I’m careful to note what I attempted failed; I am not a failure. And, I surround myself with people who believe in me. Those are the people who know easy successes are for those who fear risk. Tough challenges are for those willing to persist. I choose to spend time with people who dare to be great, who tell the truth about their attempts, and who encourage me to keep going.
If you don’t have people around you who model and support your greatness, your willingness to move forward, and your successes, I challenge you to champion yourself. And, begin to invite others into your world who will encourage you to persist!
Day Eight: Be Happy for Others’ Successes. Joy doubles when we can celebrate others meeting their goals. The mentally strong know that jealousy and resentment steal energy-the energy we could use to propel our own wins. Excitement and joy warm up the brain and allow more creativity and motivation to fuel the momentum needed to push us through any resistance to try something new… or something hard. Persistence takes energy.
The coaching community emphasizes celebration, wins and victories. When a coaching session begins with a client sharing those thoughts, it is a powerful session. It also encourages the client to be on the lookout for daily successes because they know they will share them during the next session. If success breeds success, and I believe it does, then the more time spent on wins and victories, the better.
At this time of year, we see others get the presents we might want. We see them get bonuses that we’ve never received. We see others in relationships we wish we had for ourselves. We have the choice to be happy for them or be resentful and jealous. The mentally strong choose happiness and joy.
Here’s a challenge I will accept, and I invite you to do the same:
- When another’s successes are shared, I will celebrate with them.
- When I see the love and joy in relationships, I will recognize my own and feel gratitude.
- When another is “winning” I can be curious how that came about and take an honest look inside to see if I’m doing what I can to claim my own wins.
I would love to hear from you. We can build on successes in this blog community. What a great place to practice!
Day Seven: Stay in the Present.
At this time of the year, many of us reminisce about our fantasies of the “best Christmas’s ever” or shudder at the nightmarish ones. Mentally strong people recognize value in acknowledging the past-they just don’t stay there. They use their energy to create the best present and future time they have left to live out their purpose and contribute to themselves and those around them.
As I practice to become mentally stronger, I have to find tangible ways to express where I am in the present time. They are simple and yet, for me, powerful. Maybe they will be for you, too.
- Since moving to Arizona, I’ve decorated my tree with a different theme each year. In the past, I used the same ornaments given to me from my teaching days, from friends and students, and ornaments my grown children made when they were young. I realized that I hadn’t purchased ornaments for myself; except, for the rare times I purchased some the day after Christmas from stores I thought I didn’t deserve or couldn’t afford to shop at otherwise.
- I keep some of the traditional dishes I like or those the family treasure as Christmas comfort food. Some changes include not being responsible for the choices or cooking and baking all the food. Others share their ideas or help with the preparation. My family has diverse eating plans, so it’s been fun to try vegetarian, no dairy, and gluten-free dishes.
- After years of constructing and decorating gingerbread houses with elementary students and with my own family, I’ve accepted that the person, who loved that tradition most, was me! So, I’m finding community members who want to indulge in the messiness of the projects, or I just have a great time all by myself.
As a life coach, I rarely share myself with clients. So, this is fun to share with anyone interested, my practices for becoming a bit stronger mentally and enjoying this Christmas season. As a wife, mother, grandmother, and daughter or sister, I haven’t shared my thoughts either, hmmm, looks like I need to read some prior posts and live what I write!
How do you stay in the present and focus on your most incredible future?
I would love to know how you do that, and I would bet others could learn a lot from you and your wisdom on staying mentally strong at this time of year. Please share your thoughts and leave a reply.
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Take Risks. The mentally strong are known to weigh risks and benefits before making a big decision. They look at the downsides; they take a realistic evaluation of the worst that could happen. Once they have done that, they put any fear behind them and use it to fuel their thoughts for best outcomes.
Fear can keep us stuck in a comfort zone that rarely includes opportunity to expand our own lives or the lives of those around us. Susan Jeffer’s book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, and Jana Stanfield’s song, “If I Were Brave” are two resources I turn to when I want to take a calculated risk. Their wisdom cheers me on as I walk through feelings of doubt.
With the New Year approaching, what risks might you take?
What are the potential downsides and the very best outcomes that could result?
What resources do you use when you know fear is unfounded; yet, it is holding you back from your own greatness?
I would love to have you share what you will risk this year. Your bravery just might encourage others to take risks never before imagined. What a gift!