Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

When We Were Super Heroes

InnerRenovations.com

We’ve traveled through various stages of life and have somehow managed to successfully reach adulthood. But many are experiencing some sort of stagnation, a stalemate as if life is no longer full of excitement and the outlook has become all but dismal. If you’ve noticed that you’ve lost momentum, are becoming unsatisfied with your existence or find yourself looking up at the sky and asking, “now what?”… IT’S TIME TO SET NEW GOALS

Somewhere in our adult lives we find that we do not have that same fresh outlook that we did when we were younger. You remember the time when you believed you could do almost anything. From flying, to creating magic – there were no limits to what you thought you had the ability to accomplish. Of course this was pre-disappointment… pre-heartbreak… pre-failure… pre-setback. It’s a little more difficult these days to have the same hopes and dreams when you feel that you may possibly be let down. The fact is, you are impacted by what you have experienced. Welcome to the post-disappointment stage in life, which brings us to our first new goal.


GOAL #1 – REMEMBER YOURSELF BEFORE THE DISAPPOINTMENT

You must find the ability to reconnect with a part of your life where you did not mind giving it all you had; because it was prior to the time that you started believing you could fail. This is the state of mind from which you will accomplish your greatest goals. You may notice that there are several things you think about doing, but you stop yourself. Why? Because it may not work, you say. What is the use in putting forth the time, energy and effort in something that may not even give you the results you want? Valid question. But what is even more valid is that no one has ever accomplished anything without first recognizing the possibility of failure. They work hard to overcome those odds in order to attain what they desire. As an adult, its okay to acknowledge the possibilities but in order to overcome any paralyzing fear that keeps you from stepping outside of your comfort zone; you will find it helpful to embrace that youthful part of yourself and your mind that imagines you still have the power to accomplish what your heart desires.

GOAL #2 – STOP MAKING EXCUSES & RE-DECLARE YOUR PURPOSE

I’m too old. I’m too fat. I can’t, the kids need me too much. I don’t have enough money. I work long hours. I don’t know anyone that can help me. I didn’t get a degree in that. Pick your favorite. Then throw it out the window because the excuses as to why you’ve not continued to make your life a better place to be, are of no use to you. You are more than likely an individual who has accomplished quite a bit in your life. And now you are ready to move on to experiencing something that will bring a gust of fresh air into your existence. Its time to re-declare what you feel you are here to do and what you want. Its time to re-discover and re-declare what gifts you have to share with others. Its time to do your research to find new and innovative ways that you are able to utilize your natural talents and abilities.

GOAL #3 – FREE YOURSELF FROM THE SUBCONSCIOUS STOPWATCH

Do you feel like there is a little man chasing you with a stopwatch, constantly reminding you that you are running out of time? In the early part of lives, it seemed like we had forever to do what we needed to do. Now there is a different sense that many experience, of not being able to accomplish what is needed before they reach a certain age. What is interesting is that the fixation on time and the idea of running out of it, actually works against us and we end up doing significantly less. Try to remember a point in your life when you were not so restricted by timelines. You went to elementary school everyday – not so much doing the work because you were worried about graduating – but because you knew it was something you needed to do. And besides, there were many great experiences to be had and people you liked were there. Its important to take the same approach as you move through the various projects, professional obligations and personal goals at this point in life too.

GOAL #4 – GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK, ALREADY

Stop being so hard on yourself. The people will already be critical enough of you, they don’t need your help. Somebody has to be in your corner, believing in you, cheering you on… it may as well be YOU! We spend so much time thinking about the should have, could have, would have that we often forget that we still should, can and probably will – just as soon as we uninvite ourselves from our personal pity party. It takes just as much energy to tell yourself that you need to lose weight as it does to tell yourself that you are looking and feeling good at this age. Choose the latter, you’ll love yourself for it more… literally.

GOAL #5 – AFFIRM THAT YOU ARE A ROCK STAR

Even if you really don’t want to put in the work to become a bonafide rock star, simply affirm to yourself that you ARE one anyway. Think about when you were a child. Do you remember what it used to feel like when you imagined that you had manifested all of your glory? Do you remember what you always thought you would grow up to be? Someone wonderful, loved and powerful. It’s not too late, but first you will have to change your perception of who you are now.

There is nothing wrong with adopting the mentality that you are great. There is nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself and having a self-assured disposition. When you stand in front of a group of people and have to give presentations or even in general conversations where all eyes are on you… don’t shrink and become insecure. On the contrary, make it your show! Love yourself and project that love and others will love you too. Exuding confidence is contagious and those you interact with will believe in your words and vision the same way you do.


Dig deep and find that “S” emblem that you used to wear on your chest. Supermen and Superwomen must rediscover themselves through the eyes of their childhood. Only from this place will there be a rejuvenation of the pure hope and uncut faith that is needed to reach the new goals that you will begin setting for yourself. Move forward with the idea that what you want is already a part of your destiny; and all you must do is travel the path to reach your already blessed future.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Speaking With a Spoon Full of Sugar

spoonful-of-sugar

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  We’ve heard this all our lives, yet we still attempt to get what we want by making demands, using guilt trips, and expressing ourselves in a manipulative manner as if that is going to consistently get us what we want in life.  Maybe it works sometimes – those times when people would rather give you what you want in order to shut you up.  But it’s not an effective means of communicating or getting your needs met.

Being able to communicate our needs clearly and concisely is a skill.  Doing it in a way that inspires others to actually feel good about fulfilling those needs is an advanced skill indeed.  But it is based on a very simple premise of “you catch more bees with honey.”  You shouldn’t be afraid to sweeten it up a little bit if you expect people to want to join with you to help you reach your goals.  Not in a conniving way, but in a way that your genuineness in your appeal for their help shines through.

A wise woman named Mary Poppins once said, “just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.”  This is relevant when trying to get others to help or understand you, but also when it comes to delivering the truth.  Even when needing to deliver hard-to-swallow truth to someone, it can be done from a place of love.  Some people are brash and tell others about themselves in insensitive ways, finishing with statements like “well I was just telling the truth!”  Most of the time the problem isn’t what they said, but the way it was said.

Life is full of moments when we will either have to administer or swallow some tough medicine ourselves.  We have more of a choice in how we experience this than we may know.  When dishing out the truth, we can do it with love which is a natural sweetener.  And when having to swallow the truth, we can focus on how that information helps us to improve ourselves, which makes things sweeter for us and those we care about in the end.

Interpersonal effectiveness is something that can be developed and improved over time, and there’s plenty of literature aimed at helping you accomplish it.  But after you sift through all the material, you’ll realize that it pretty much boils down to a fundamental principle that we learned early in life – it’s not about the WHAT, it’s about the WAY.

~ CCB

Dialectical Thinking, Inner Renovations, Videos and Media

How To Not: Make Emotional Decisions

 


Decision-making seems like such a basic skill. However, we sometimes do not think things all the way through. The results can be catastrophic or at least cause a setback if we make decisions while we are emotional.  Our brains actually function differently when it is overwhelmed with negative emotions such as fear, frustration, anger, anxiety, etc.  At that time it does not operate at full capacity.  So it is important not to make major decisions that can alter the course of our lives when we are experiencing those feelings.

But how do we avoid taking certain actions when we’re emotional?  We know that is usually the time that we want to strike back, express ourselves, tell it like it is, or make some over-the-top outward display of action until others feel the intensity of what we are dealing with inside.  Then, after we come back to our senses, it’s common to have some regrets about what we did or said while we were heated.

Try these steps to keep your balance while dealing with emotional situations, so that you can make important decisions with a clear head and decrease the number of apologies you have to dish out.

  1. Pause to Self-Check and Tune Into How You Are Feeling. As soon as you notice that your heart is beating faster, your frustration levels are going up, you’re becoming increasingly agitated and uncomfortable with the situation – start self-checking.  Notice these things happening within your mind and body and decide to take healthy actions that take care of yourself.
  2. Use Deep Breathing to Draw Your Attention Back In. To slow yourself down, slow down your breathing. It’s likely that your mind was going a million miles a minute in its emotional state and taking long deep breaths puts you back in control while sending a message to your rapidly beating heart and overworking mind that it is time to start coming back to a calmer pace.  It may take a moment or two but just keep breathing deeply imagining every breath brings your awareness back to what’s important – taking care of yourself.
  3. Encourage Yourself with Soothing Self-Talk. Start coaching yourself the way you would someone else that you care about.  Let yourself know that everything is going to be okay and that this too shall pass.  Be supportive of yourself in that moment and remember that at the end of the day what’s important is that you approve of yourself and behaviors.  It is okay to disagree with others just like it is okay if they don’t agree with you.  Let go of as much as you can and encourage yourself with positive inner dialogue.
  4. Refocus and Remember What You’re All About. Remind yourself of your goals.  Do an inventory of whether the situation causing you stress is getting you closer to or further away from those goals. If you determine that it is a barrier to what you’re all about or what you’re trying to accomplish, be prepared to make sound decisions about overcoming or removing those stressors from your life.
  5. Take Time to Make the Decisions that are Right For You. If possible, allow yourself time to process your emotions and let things settle down a bit before you come to final conclusions about what you’ve experienced.  Things look different after we’ve stepped away from it for a while and you may be in a better position to make decisions that are best for you from a clear head.

If we allow our emotions to rule our behaviors, we spend a lot of time cleaning up messes we wish we’d never made.  Grounding yourself after an emotional run-in is important and can help you to make decisions that you can be confident in.  Self-awareness is key, and a willingness to use techniques to regain your balance can help you improve your decision-making skills and ultimately improve the quality of your life.

~ CCB

 

Heart & Spiritual Wellness, Inner Renovations

Re-Establish Yourself in Love

reestablished in love


Over the years, you may have noticed that many changes have occurred in the way that you see things, do things, and the way that you feel. This could be attributed to maturity, or the natural changes that occur with time. However, if we look carefully enough, we may see that some of the changes that have come about are of a more protective nature – defenses that have been created in order to keep from being hurt again.

Have you noticed that you’ve become less trusting? Or maybe a bit more standoffish? And what about your sense of security, been feeling more insecure lately? It is interesting because there was a notion when we were children that we would organically become stronger in those areas as adults. But fact of the matter is, due to the pain and disappointments we’ve endured, it is possible that we have become even lower functioning in certain areas. So what do you do when you find that’s the case?

After becoming emotionally distant, distrusting, guarded, jaded (and all of the other defensive responses that occur as a result of our heartbreaks, setbacks, and letdowns) it is important to take a few rejuvenating steps to get back on track and work towards positive mental health.


Be willing to admit the areas you’re struggling in.

                If you’re anything like me, you’ve done a great job at convincing yourself that, sure you have a few things to work on but you’re not doing that bad, right? It is one of the grandest tricks that we play on ourselves – ignoring what we need to be working on by making claims that we could be worse. This is true, we could always be worse, but that does not give us permission to downplay the areas that need improvement. We have to be willing to admit where we are falling short, notice the areas that give us the most trouble, and acknowledge that we could stand more development to be happier, healthier, mature individuals.

Ask for feedback, accept it graciously.

                It is not always obvious to us where we are the most vulnerable. In fact, if our defense mechanisms are doing their jobs effectively, then we may actually believe that we are doing just fine and it’s everyone else with the problem. So don’t be afraid to ask those that care about you, where they perceive you are the most vulnerable. Say, “What are my hotspots, what subjects do you tiptoe around when talking to me, what have you noticed sets me off?” Trust me, they will jump at the opportunity to tell you what they’ve been thinking but needed your permission to say. It is up to you to be prepared to receive the information in a healthy way.

Ask for help, build supports.

                Now that you’ve had some heart-to-hearts with yourself and others, you at least know a few things about yourself that have been holding you back. Maybe you’ve heard that you’ve started being difficult to talk to or make a connection with. Maybe you’re now aware that you’ve become paranoid about others’ intentions towards you. Perhaps you took an honest look at your need to be perceived as perfect and have decided that is a lie way too hard to live up to. Whatever it is that you’ve discovered, the next step is to ask for help with the matter. Go to God in prayer and ask for these character defects to be removed, and ask to be shown how you should go about making changes in those areas. Yes, we’re intellectuals with amazing resources and cool technology but let us not underestimate the power of prayer when we’re trying to make real change. Also, look for professional and self-help resources in the areas that you are working on so that you have an arsenal of material to feed your mind while you are on the journey overcoming those ways about yourself that you’ve decided just aren’t working anymore. Build good supports with friends and family. Just let them know what you’re targeting and give them permission to draw your attention to old patterns so that you have an accountability team with you along the way.

Step outside your comfort zone to get unstuck.

                If there was a way that we could change with very little effort, I’d be taking that way. There isn’t one. In fact, it is grueling work rewiring our brains that are used to following the same circuits for years and years. So the only way that we are going to create new patterns, more constructive roads towards success, is to take the uncomfortable way. You can’t work on your problem of being closed off until you’re willing to risk opening up to someone. You won’t be able to resolve that social awkwardness without putting yourself into more social situations. You aren’t going to be able to overcome the tendency to distrust others until you give someone else a chance. Steps like these are outside of our comfort zone, but until we are willing to get back in there and create new experiences, we are stuck in our pseudo-safe little boxes that have stunted our growth. To get unstuck requires courage and risk.

Re-establish yourself in love.

                What is your default setting? In various circumstances do you default to fear? Anger? Frustration? Complaining? Take some time for self-examination and determine what your default mode is. Then think about how it would feel if your most common inner experiences involved: love, peace, contentment, acceptance, appreciation, and other life-giving states like these. You can create that atmosphere in your life. By putting everything back into its proper perspective, where God is the center of it all; and having an accurate perspective of who God is (Love), you can re-establish yourself in something that transcends your shortcomings and the problems of this world.

Re-establish yourself in love, and operate from that space. No longer allowing ourselves to crystallize in our defenses, we remain open to the experiences that are brought into our lives and accept that all will work together for the good of those that love the Lord. We do not wallow in our past or allow the behaviors of others to influence our state of mind, but instead consistently affirm that we are borne of love, protected by, and here to share love.

We trade our fears for the greatest thing of all, Love. We keep our feet firmly rooted like trees planted by the water, continuously re-establishing ourselves in love until we are like those described in the Psalms – bearing fruit in our season, prospering in all we do.

~ CCB

Heart & Spiritual Wellness, Inner Renovations, Videos and Media

Personal Peace is a Super Power


There are a lot of things that we are taught during the early years of our lives under the guise that they are important to know for our success as human beings. However, I can’t remember the last time an algebraic formula saved my life. I would have appreciated a class on “How to Maintain Peace in the Face of Challenge,” or a cognitive-behavioral based course titled “You are Not Your Thoughts” offered around the 4th grade. A ‘How-To Survive Life with Your Sanity’ style curriculum starting in kindergarten would probably have reduced the individual instances of mental health conditions and contributed to a more stable society as a whole. Yes, I know… reading, writing and arithmetic – but that could’ve been covered in the span of a year with the remainder of our youth education being focused on life skills, interpersonal effectiveness, dealing with emotion, loving ourselves, and having a healthy relationship with God. But, dreams.

In reality, it takes for us to get to a certain point in life where we notice our own dysfunctional patterns and decide to do something about it. One of the main commodities that we reach for is peace. Which really isn’t a “commodity” at all but when we don’t experience it, we do view it as a thing to attain. The truth is, it’s really a state that exists within us that’s been there the entire time. And on an even deeper level, we realize that peace is our essential nature – supporting the inferences that everything we need is already inside of us and the “Kingdom of God is within” per Jesus.

Prayer, meditation, and visualization are means of moving into a state of consciousness that puts us more in tune with our source of peace. Prayer allows us to speak to God. Meditation allows us to hear from God. And visualization is how we co-create our experience which is a blend of our free will and God’s will for us (as a sidenote, we ultimately want to get to a place where we use our free will to stay in the will of God).

Our journey will have many challenges. We may create unnecessary complexities. Life will continue to throw intense situations our way. There may be unexpected circumstances beyond our control. What we can control is our approach. By taking an approach of peace – peace of mind and spirit which comes from trusting that all things have a purpose and somehow come together in mysterious ways for the glory of God – we are able to survive with our sanity, and actually enjoy this gift of life we’ve been given.

~ CCB

 

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Heart Be Healed. From Pain to Empowered.

Growth from Broken Heart
photo credit:  aseb.org

You are stronger now and you can choose not to hurt anymore. Whatever it is that you’ve been through doesn’t have power over you as of now. Decide that this is the moment that you will embrace the freshness of the day, and allow your heart, spirit and mind to be healed by a Power Greater Than yourself. There are no guarantees that you will never feel pain again. But there is the promise that if you keep your trust and faith in God, that you will be brought through that pain and make it safely to the other side. Alongside you will be newfound strength, deeper understanding, and compassion for others who you notice going through similar trials. The victory is the Lord’s and you are a living testimony that nothing can stop His work in progress because you are still here. You are still trying and you believe in something. If this were not so, you would have stopped by now. But your heart is strong, and your spirit wills you to continue putting one foot in front of the other as you allow your steps to be ordered by the Lord. In whatever way you perceive your Higher Power, and however you draw strength from Its love is more important than what others tell you to believe. At the end of the day, as it was in the beginning, it’s about YOUR relationship with your Creator. And at the end of this life, as it was in the beginning, it is still about the same relationship. You don’t have to hurt anymore. Because the sensations that you are feeling have advanced into power that propels you forward while keeping you grounded all at the same time. These are blessings. You have lived to love another day. You are blessed.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Videos and Media

Be Yourself. No Permission Needed.


Think of the years that have been wasted attempting to modify who you are in hopes that you will be more acceptable to others. We don’t like to admit that we do this. In fact, if anyone asks us we’re prone to deny it and respond with some cliché statement like, “I don’t really care what anyone else thinks.” Yeah, we do. And it hurts us when we’re receiving messages from others, especially those we care about, that our ways are undesirable.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and there are those people that we don’t give a hot flip what they think – but overall, as humans we read the feedback in our environment and we’d prefer it be positive. That is normal. But we can also take it too far. We can take caring about what others say about who we are so far that we end up losing ourselves trying to be who they want us to be. We have to be careful of this, because sometimes we don’t even know it’s happening. You can get so involved in your career that you develop the personality that enables you to do your job well but could be out of alignment with who you truly are. Or you could be in a relationship with someone that you love dearly, and in trying to make them happy you inadvertently begin to compromise how you would usually express yourself. These situations can go on for a long time, but one day you decide that you are ready to reconnect and rediscover who you naturally are so that you can begin to live in your truth again.

Being your authentic self is easier said than done. First, as we accumulate experiences and get older, our views and perspectives change. We change so much over the years that it may be necessary to re-evaluate our goals and set new ones, and we may even have to discover who we are and what we want at the current stage in life. So being yourself, may require fresh self-examination to determine who you are now. You know who you were, what you’ve been through, and where you’ve come from – but who are you now? That’s not an easy answer for everyone, and we all deserve the opportunity to explore ourselves in whatever way necessary to discover our truth. This requires time and space.

You’ll need to give yourself permission to take whatever time is needed in your journey to self-discovery and self-realization. These things don’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s a lifetime journey so you may as well get comfortable. You’re going to need space, which also isn’t so easy to come by if you’ve got little people running around you all the time or a mountain of other responsibilities that cause you to be involved with others more than you’d like to be. Bottom line is that making time and creating space for yourself to engage in the self-discovery that it’s going to take to realize your authentic self is going to take major effort. You’ll have to schedule it and let nothing stand in your way when you decide to take that hour out of your day for your prayer, meditation, devotion, and visualization time. You’ll have to be just as adamant about contributing to your own development as you’ve been about helping people with theirs. If someone asked you to be there for them for an hour, you’d probably do it. So how about be there for yourself so you can take your work (of realizing and expressing your authentic self) to the next level.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Do Yourself a Favor. Worry Less.

 

Full Serenity Prayer


We tend to think about the things we want to do. This makes sense, especially when you’re a goal-oriented visualization enthusiast who understands the importance of seeing it before you get there. However, we also have to consider the things we need to do less of. What is it for you?

  • Eat less?
  • Sleep less?
  • Argue less?
  • Work less?
  • Worry less!

We’d all be better off if we worried less. As a counselor working with many people struggling with addictions, the Serenity Prayer is weaved into the fabric of my daily life. And because every person has their own vice (some are just more intense than others), the prayer in its entirety is applicable to us all.

Many are familiar with the foundation of the prayer:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

In our quest to worry less, there is much that can be learned from these simple yet meaningful lines. Look at the situations in your life now. How many of them are beyond your control to change? If you could accept those things as areas that are outside of your jurisdiction to resolve, and surrender it to that which is greater than you, there would be a lot less to worry about. This assumes that you are connected to your spirit in a way that you at least acknowledge that you were created by something/Someone that loves and wants the best for you.

On the flipside of accepting the things we can’t change is finding the courage to change the things we can. Sometimes we don’t even notice when we are carrying stress from the things we feel we are leaving undone. We may have noticed area of ourselves and our lives that deserve more attention, situations that need to be made right, causes that deserve our energy – yet we are taking little to no actions in these areas. It doesn’t sit with us well. We allow our anxieties and insecurities keep us from taking actions that could change our own and others’ lives for the better. If we were able to find the courage to finally change those things that are within our power to do, there would be a lot less to worry about. We would feel like we are being true to ourselves, being useful, and making a difference in the world. This is fulfilling and brings us to a place of satisfaction and self-love, ultimately decreasing the time that we spend in stress and worry.

Finally, there may be confusion about the difference between those circumstances that we need to accept and the ones we need to be working on. This is no easy feat. When something has become more challenging than we feel we’re capable of handling, do we let it go or give it our all? Do we let nature take its course or do we acknowledge ourselves as a force of nature and continue to give our best efforts? The only way to solve such mystery is through discernment and wisdom. From where does this wisdom come? God. Once again we come to the importance of having a connection with something greater than ourselves so that we can afford ourselves the opportunity to lay down some of the stress that we’ve been carrying on our shoulders and our backs, causing us to feel worn, exhausted, and aged. We have options. It is not necessary for us to continue traveling through life carrying the burden of our own and others’ worlds, when we can worry less by practicing acceptance, discernment, and staying connected to our source to grow in wisdom.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Heart, Mind, Life… change!

Metanoia

There are some days that you know that everything has changed. It may not be because of anything drastic, but maybe a slight shift in perspective that allows you to move, and engage, and be in life in a completely different way. An openness to new things, and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone may overtake you – and for a moment, you are unafraid.

When these days come, allow yourself to move and flow through it without interrupting the process and without letting anyone else interrupt the process. Negativity can wait and doubts can be reserved for a later time – if you decide to ever pick them up again. Or maybe you decide that you don’t need the negativity or doubt at all, and that you are better off staying in this space of freedom, hope, willingness, and belief. If this is the case, then today will be the first day of a brand new life for you.

There may be no parade, but there is certainly something to celebrate. And maybe no one else is in attendance, but there is certainly a party – a praise party, with the honored guests being you and the One that made it happen for you: your Creator. Today, you celebrate an awakening to your true love with a fresh perspective. And show gratitude for these moments of breakthrough and change that continue to happen in your life.

~ CCB