by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
With all the tragedies going on today in our troubled society, I think that one of the most important things we can do to make the world a better place is to become happy.
Alongside developing our potential and reaching our uniquely personal dreams, encouraging others along the way to do the same can only make things better.
I think that world peace begins not only at home but essentially from a much more focused space—within each of our hearts.
EXAMINING MY RESPONSE
For me, based on my Buddhist practice and using its humanistic philosophy as a guide, part of my journey to experience absolute happiness is doing the work to overcome my prejudices and judgments. My starting point is examining my response to the tragedies, corruption, and polar opposite ideologies in the world around me.
DOING THE WORK IS KEY
Now that I especially and clearly understand that there are many perspectives opposing mine, doing the work to respect others is both transformative and key to improve my happiness and become part of the path to a more peaceful society.
UNITY VERSES DIVISION
I want to be a force for unity, not division. I want to base my actions on respect for life—not on judgments about behaviors or actions. Rather than promoting disrespect and divisiveness, I want to learn to fully and deeply listen—with the spirit of respect and toward unity.
I'm not saying this is easy. For me, at least, this inner work is both grueling and requires my greatest efforts to resist responding to external challenges with my negativity.
START WITH BEING A PART OF THE SOLUTION
But I want to be part of the solution. That means I have to self-reflect and master my mind toward the goal of happiness for myself and others.
I’m learning that I can only be part of the solution, contribute to unity, and lead with mutual respect if I have done my work on myself. This translates into more self-care.
SELF-CARE FUELS POSITIVITY IN THE WORLD
Doing what it takes for me to be at my best allows me to view the challenges of today’s troubled community with greater compassion, energy, and wisdom. We can listen, act, and contribute in a more positive way when we first tackle our individual needs.
A MICRO-PERSONAL TO MACRO-COMMUNITY APPROACH
There is much work to be done through social services, economic recovery, and improvements through policies on a larger scale.
Those conversations and movements are necessary and must be viewed from long-range and incremental efforts. We each choose the causes that mean the most to us and where we feel we can make our impact.
WHERE DOES REAL IMPACT START?
But I hold firm the idea that the real impact comes from grassroots, life-to-life connections, and initially, within one heart at a time.
How can we be part of a positive solution or contribute to a more harmonious society without first addressing our individual wellness?
Consider what we bring to the table if we have fully cared for and maintained our inner condition. Imagine the impact across diverse viewpoints when we initiate honest, earnest work toward our personal character as a starting point.
We can be part of the greater goal for peaceful existence when we first start from within our hearts. This kind of self-care approach emboldens our spiritual and mental strength, positions us toward a greater openness to authentic listening, and being a positive influence on others.
What are your thoughts?
Recommended Content Toward Improved Self-Care:
Looking For A Silver Lining In Pandemic Life?
What Are Ways For Nurturing Creativity And Inspiration? Part 1
How To Feel Spring Emerging From Your Heart
Creativity Brings Comfort, Courage, and Hope
What Self-Care Has To Do With Creativity
Set Your Positive Intent & Inspire Yourself
MY NATURE-INSPIRED PHOTO ESSAY SERIES:
Keep Looking For Moments Like These To Celebrate & Appreciate
How To Use Difficulties To Inspire Appreciation & Creativity
What Kind Of Intent Is In Our Heart?
How To Use Nature To Reinvigorate Your Spirit
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Belief In Your Own Creative Vision
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by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
If I could go back in time to speak to myself in my youth, or, if there’s one thing I could say to those remaining after I’m gone, the message would be, “Don’t waste your time being afraid.”
Fear has been the one internal opponent that has slowed me down, held me back, or blocked my ideas and actions. Not external obstacles or misfortunes, but this inner voice of anxiety.
In the past 2 years, I’ve started living Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice to do something everyday that scares me. I’ve learned it’s liberating to challenge myself to experience new things, ideas or experiences, or go for higher, different goals as a way to grow my courage overall.
But I’ve also learned that getting to the root of fear is hugely important.
The inner energy of my intent or feeling while taking action makes a powerful impact on the outcome.
It is important to act. Yes, do that.
But go deeper. Look at that fear. Deal with that emotion. Get to the core of it. Spell it out. Analyze it. Ask yourself what you’re afraid of.
Once you get to the root of that fear and dissect it, you find clarity. When you see clearly what your fear is based on, you can use reason to counter each fear.
Let’s use an example:
I’m launching my new online business. This new venture requires that I learn things I’ve never done. That alone has caused me fear.
But when I look at that fear through the lens of reason, I find it’s absolutely reasonable to feel fear simply because this is a new experience for me. Things we haven’t challenged before often naturally make us anxious.
This helps me see my fear as normal for my situation. This viewpoint relaxes me and diminishes my fear. I feel calmer and a bit proud that I’m pushing myself into new things and beyond my comfort zone.
One way to decrease fear is to acknowledge your courage in taking on new endeavors, in pushing yourself to feel the fear and take action anyway. It’s important to take a moment to celebrate that kind of victory. Celebrations of personal accomplishment are also a strong deterrent to feeling fearful!
As a new entrepreneur, and a highly sensitive person with OCD tendencies, I have many things that make me feel anxious. I start a cascade of inner questions to myself:
As a new business owner, the stress can seem relentless and unending. But by getting all my worries in focus in front of me, I can begin to break things down into a clear plan with my critical priorities mapped out.
I'm learning that having all my fears written down allows me a chance to face each one and brainstorm a solution for it. Next, I brainstorm ideas for a contingency plan in case my first solution doesn't work or something else happens to derail it. Sometimes this process enlightens me to a need to re-prioritize or shift my plans to accommodate additional issues and/or time.
Keeping my daily plan and inner intent in line with these priorities allows my mind to find ease, knowing I’m actively addressing everything necessary for reaching my goals. One of the most powerful anecdotes to any fear is taking concrete action. Taking action based on a plan through which I've faced my fears puts me back in the driver's seat of my life and my business success.
How To Get Back Up After A Failure
But, yes, sometimes I flat-out fail to reach goals. Or, I get out of rhythm with my priorities. Sometimes, I start spiraling into a downward stress mode where insomnia rears its head. I get run-down, and out of whack.
Yes, other personal, family or health issues distract my focus or throw me for a loop. I’m human.
When any of this happens--and things will happen--I get back to self-care basics. I refresh my determination. I refresh my determination again. And again. I go back to review my fears and center myself on my values.
As an entrepreneur, and hell, as a human being, I’m learning that it’s not a straight line to happiness and success. Rather, it’s a dramatic, magnificent drama with these crazy, off-the-beaten-path excursions, unexpected adventures, and hurdles that appear from out of nowhere. It’s heavy storms and strong gales of unforeseen problems that completely drench and knock me down into the sloppy mud.
That’s the story.
That’s the part of life that creates the dynamic arch of climactic engagement. It’s also the fuel for catalytic flow to unleash new, fresh, robust, colorful creative juice that leads to a view of an amazing, vast vista.
That new vista is a vision of your joyful fulfillment and the start of a new chapter for previously unimaginable victories.
But, this up-and-down, twisty, turning story cannot emerge without dealing head-on with fear, or without hitting plateaus of illusive limitations that cause you to rear back or stop dead in your tracks.
These obstacles force you to take three steps back, like the lion prepares an attack on his prey, to regroup. Assess. Take care of your inner world. Do whatever you need to refresh yourself and rebuild your inner fortitude.
Then, you may lunge forward, with all your might. That momentum gained from ripping out each fear by their roots will propel you forward in a way that you’ve not experienced until this moment.
Fear makes you face your problems to break through your self-imposed limitations so you may unleash your massive, unlimited, creative, beautiful human potential.
Fear makes you better yourself, both for your own happiness and for others in your life.
I’m learning that for every negative emotion, problem or experience, there is a positive. A way to convert whatever it is into value, inner strength and a source for deeper personal growth and wider progress.
It all goes back to nurturing creativity and inspiration, based on self-care. When we truly do the things that are beneficial for ourselves, we spur positive health, creative energy and the inner qualities we need to improve ourselves and for others.
How Dealing With Your Fear Buoys Your Success
That’s why I’m becoming grateful for my bouts with fear.
After wholeheartedly, directly wrestling with my fear, I find that interaction miraculously morphs into a kind of bearhug, leading me to a moment of gratitude.
This shift is an amazing metamorphosis that allows me a more informed view of my true self and my situation. I feel a burst of powerful confidence, with the strength to go after my goals with clear action.
This mood change propels the reach of my actions. The energy behind my actions grows more confident, joyful, compassionate, deliberate and resilient.
This personal development process reveals how dealing with fear buoys powerful action toward success and growth.
When you see fear as a part of your necessary growth process, it has the potential to be your friend. Fear becomes your guiding voice of wisdom to do the things you must do for a richer, happier life.
So let’s embrace our fears. Addressing our fear is the way to successful, enlightened living.
COMING SOON: Watch this space for new ebooks, products and courses for nurturing creativity and inspiration!
In my INSPIRATION blogs, you’ll find ways to overcome obstacles, reach goals, and experience more joy in the moment with spiritual awareness and inner transformation.