When we receive a setback, when our expectations as to how things should be, don’t match the reality of how things are, we can all do with a boost of positivity to help pick ourselves up and put a spring back in our step.
We all like to feel inspired, but we rarely contemplate our sources of inspiration. If you know what inspires you, what makes you feel good; it makes sense to consciously spend time involved in those activities.
It might be something as simple as walking in nature, curling up with a great book, listening to your favourite music, or catching up with an old friend.
With the stresses and strains of modern life, purposefully connecting with our sources of inspiration not only boosts our energy and motivation, but it also quietens the mind, sparks our creativity and arms us to respond more effectively to the situations life throws at us.
Who are your heroes?
We identify with ‘our heroes’ because of our perception of their values and their approach to life resonates with us. So, who do you admire?
It might be a family member, friend, sports personality, celebrity, someone who has achieved what you would like to achieve, or someone who has overcome a challenge. And here’s the interesting part – the characteristics you admire in others are values that are important to you.
By listing the qualities you admire in your ‘heroes’ you get an insight into some of the ingredients in your recipe for happiness and fulfilment.
For example, if one of the people you admire is Nelson Mandela, and a quality you admired in him was his compassion, ask yourself – how can I demonstrate more compassion (or self-compassion) in my own life? The qualities we admire in others are always clues for identifying qualities we want to experience more of in our own lives.
Courage the gateway to Confidence
Most of us, if we are honest would like to feel more confident in at least some situations. Whilst ‘faking it until we make it’ can be a valid strategy for boosting self-confidence, for it to seem genuine we have to feel that we have earned the right to feel confident.
This usually means setting ourselves a goal or target; we decide to do something that we would have otherwise avoided. It might be joining a new social group, starting a course, or simply saying no to an unwanted request. What will enable us to take this new action or to approach an old situation in a new way? You’ve guessed it – courage.
In the movies, courage is usually depicted in the midst of explosions and epic deeds. In real life, we discover our courage when we are alone with our thoughts and struggling with uncertainty. It is in those moments, when without fanfare or applause, we make a courageous decision, we draw a line in the sand and say ‘no more,’ or we quietly, yet determinedly decide to ‘give something a go.’
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Gratitude is the antidote for many unwanted feelings. It is difficult to be angry and grateful at the same time, or fearful and grateful. Whilst we all have aspects of our lives we would like to change, we all have many things to be grateful for.
A great exercise to lift the spirits and shift our mindset is to write out a gratitude list. Perhaps note two or three things every night when your head hits the pillow, or start a gratitude master list noting one hundred things you are grateful for in your life. (If you have a pillow to put your head on and have the ability to read this article, you already have two items for your list!)
Stephen Covey the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People stated ‘the quality of our life is 10% dependent on the things that happen to us, but 90% dependent on how we choose to respond to them.’
We all know people who have overcome adversity and challenges and have not merely survived but thrived. These people often inspire us, but by acknowledging everything that is great in your own life, pushing your comfort zone, seizing opportunities, perhaps you can be a source of inspiration for others.
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If you are interested in the topic of this post you may like to read my article titled ‘How to deal with negative emotion’.