Deciding to go on a journey of healing and transformation for your life requires you to first identify that your life is out of balance, and second, to realize that there are steps you can take to heal your life in every area. It is never too late to change things about your life. You will have this life until the day you die, so why not make the most out of it?
Wanting to grow as an individual takes the courage to admit that there is something that needs to be changed in your life and in your behavior. Each situation is different, and not every person will need to grow in the same areas. Regardless of your situation, these three tips are what kick started my maturity and growth into happiness and wellness, and they can most certainly help you too.
Quick to listen, slow to speak
Coming from a family that seems to talk over one another consistently has influenced my ability to truly listen and hear what another person is saying. My communication style has been transformed just by this simple step. When anyone speaks to you, approach them with an active listening ear before responding. This helps you understand where that person is coming from and can help you read between the lines when someone is indirect with how they communicate. Active listening has been a difficult change for me, but when I succeed at it, I reap many benefits concerning my relationships and maturity. Every person desires to be heard and understood, and active listening helps initiate this action with others. It has helped in my communication with my family, my friends, and even God. When I am not so quick to speak in my quiet time with God, I tend to be more strongly led to what He is trying to tell me. The same is true in how I approach situations with others around me.
Daily Gratitude Journal
Creating a daily gratitude journal is what helped re-shape my mindset and get me out of my depression and negative mentality. I first heard of this idea from a sermon at North Coast Church with Pastor Larry. He suggested for everyone to begin a month gratitude journal where each day you list what you are grateful for. I took his suggestion a step farther and wrote in a gratitude journal for one year. Daily, I would list 10 things I was grateful for. Because I was doing this during my first year of Lyme treatment and during my deep depression, some days had entries as simple as “grateful for the sunshine outside” or “grateful for the bird chirping outside my window.” When someone is in a deep depression, it is incredibly hard for them to see anything beyond the pain they are experiencing, especially if they are stuck in the negative victim mindset. I will press deeper on this subject matter in a different post, but mainly you need to know that having a daily gratitude list journal will totally transform your way of thinking. It will take you to new horizons of thought. It will help you see what is in front of you that you have taken for granted, and it will establish a consistent positive outlook in your life, no matter what is happening. I did the journal for one year and for the past two years since, I immediately think of the positive rather than the negative. Yes, there are moments where I have to battle fear creeping into my thoughts, but I am able to recognize when fear tries to creep in, and I knock it out of the way with what I am grateful for in my life. It has taught me to focus on what I do have, rather than what I don’t have.
Extra Grace Required
My sweet step-mother told me one evening that one of the keys to having peace with people who are difficult to be around is to apply the rule of, “extra grace required.” When someone hurts you, annoys you, irritates you, or upsets you, it is wiser to respond with grace rather than to respond with reaction. This truth has helped change my life. Every time I am about to react to a situation or a rude comment, I stop and remember this truth. It helps me avoid a not so desirable situation. This simple action of patience laced with grace shows unconditional love and strengthens you as an individual. My old neighbor, Pat, told me when I was 8 years old that it is better to be kind than right. These two phrases have the power to transform your communication and maturity. Sometimes I can be a defensive person, trying to prove to certain people that my way is the right way, and sometimes my way isn’t the right way. It’s hard to admit that, but this step of genuine humility helps me be able to apply these two truths to my daily life and behavior. I am able to set aside my desire to want to prove myself right, and bring forth my desire to impact people’s lives with my love. Extra grace is sometimes required, and when it is, remember that even if you are right, it is far greater to treat the other person with respect, than it is to get in an argument and lose the respect of that person.
Nourish your mind, body, and spirit