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Ending Self-Sabotage

Ending Self-Sabotage

Meaning of Life? Here Are Five Better Questions

posted by mbundrant

imagesIf you’ve struggled with existential issues, then you understand the sense of futility that can come with them.

Struggling to find meaning of life is a real struggle for those so inclined. Most people attempt to tackle one big question.

What is the meaning of life?

This is a very difficult question to answer. Philosophical counselors, mental health therapists and professional coaches of all kinds know well the existential impact of meaning vs. meaninglessness. One of the greatest sources of stability for all of us is to feel grounded in a life full of meaning.

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What makes it so hard to come up with a pragmatic, satisfying answer?

One simple yet concrete part of the problem is the wording of the question itself. For example, it assumes that there is one sole meaning to be had. Secondly, it assumes that life has a meaning apart from the meaning you give it.

Most people understand that meaning is malleable. It can change depending on point of view and circumstance.  People, things and events can be interpreted in a plethora of ways. Meaning is dependent upon perceptual filters. Perceptual filters are highly subjective and individualistic.

How are we, then, to find the “one single meaning” of life?

That said, many have answered this question of life’s meaning in spite of it’s vague nature. Yet, if you are still struggling with it, consider that there may be better questions to ask.

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Here are 5 questions that serve as alternatives:

1. What is it that makes my life worth living?

This is a very fresh rephrase, isn’t it? Asking what makes your life worth living puts you in the driver’s seat. If you ask this question sincerely, ideas should come immediately to mind. My family, my work, my time spent learning, etc…are all viable options.

If “nothing” comes to mind, you can still work with this one. You simply substitute a couple of words. For example, “What is it that would make my life worth living?” Or even, “If my life were really worthwhile, what would I be doing differently?”

These questions are pragmatic and empowering.

2. What do I believe is most important in life?

Along the same lines as the first, this question hints at life values. Values are simple indicators of importance. Life values are words that describe what’s important to you in life. For example: Faith, family, freedom, security, interdependence, accomplishment, productivity, and so on.

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Identifying your life values gives you a clarity and focus like few other activities. Knowing your values clarifies decisions, sorts out relationships and even defines career moves. That said, relatively few people take the time to clarify their values. Why not clarify yours?

3. How can I find more satisfaction in life?

Higher levels of life satisfaction make the big, scary existential question less intimidating. If you’re very fulfilled, it may bother you less that you haven’t pinpointed the “meaning of it all.” It’s not that the meaning of life is less important. However, not knowing your own answer will throw you off balance less if you are highly satisfied in life.

How can you become more satisfied? What do you need to do or stop doing to create greater fulfillment? What do you need from people around you? Pursuing inner satisfaction can be much more productive than chasing the meaning of life.

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4. What meaning am I giving life in this moment?

Hop back into the driver’s seat. Ask yourself, moment to moment, “What meaning am I giving life right now?” Putting it this way honors the fact that life means what you make it mean. There isn’t a specific meaning lying next to some pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Your life takes on meaning precisely according to the meaning you give it. If you become conscious of the meaning you project onto life, especially when you need to reverse negative situations, then you may develop greater choice over the meaning of your life.

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5. Which life experiences have meant the most to me so far?

With this question, we are getting specific. We’ve all had profound learning experiences. Other people have moved us. We’ve made mistakes and recovered. We’ve accomplished things we’re proud of.

If you could narrow down your list of meaningful experiences to just five, which five would be on the list? Try it. Then, discover what those five experiences have in common. Did you learn something profound? Accomplish something worthwhile?

You’ll learn a lot about yourself by taking the time to address these questions. In fact, your answers could clarify your purpose and point you in a new direction, if you’re open to that.

If you like this article, then like my Facebook Page to keep up with all my writing.

Further reading:

https://philosophynow.org/issues/59/What_Is_The_Meaning_Of_Life

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Experience Deep Soul Satisfaction

posted by mbundrant

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We all know that certain things like money, toys, and status do not provide deep soul satisfaction.

Yet, most of us spend our lives in hot pursuit of these things and rarely pause to reevaluate. Why?

And how do we get that deeper soul satisfaction reliably?

That’s what this post is all about. We’ll cover what it is, how not to get it, and finally, how to have deep soul satisfaction every single day, for free.

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What is Deep Soul Satisfaction?

It’s a term I came up with that – on the surface – sounds a bit goofy. Yet, when I really think about it, deep soul satisfaction is what I most want in life. I believe it’s what you want as well. What is it?

Deep Soul Satisfaction

The ongoing inner fulfillment that comes from accepting and connecting to the world around you. Deep soul satisfaction is nothing other than the pure pleasure of sensory experience.

Deep soul satisfaction cannot be chased own and captured. It’s not a goal. It’s a simple experience that is available to anyone, anytime. Best of all, it’s very, very fulfilling. Nothing quite compares. You might even call it bliss.

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Amazingly, we’re looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places. Science proves that so much of what we do to find satisfaction is nothing beyond useless. But that doesn’t seem to stop us from trying. Here are two places you may be looking for satisfaction in vain.

1. Your Stuff

Nope, sorry. Stuff can be fun to have. And it certainly can be useful. But stuff falls desperately short of providing lasting satisfaction.

The new dress, shoes, motorcycle, jet ski, phone or tablet. Fun stuff. Useful stuff. Not inherently satisfying. Materialists are less satisfied and more depressed, according to research done at Baylor University.

Materialistic couples score worse in every area of marriage evaluation than their non-materialistic counterparts.

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It’s not the stuff that is the problem, though. It’s the pursuit of stuff. The expectation that the stuff will do something for you that it cannot do. It cannot satisfy you as a person.

2. Your Status

Forget stuff – go for status. Recognition by peers. Social clout. Respect!

Forget it. Philosopher Allain de Botton dedicated an entire book to the anxiety that comes with status seeking and maintenance.

Status seeking is intimately tied to what other people think. It’s something you can spend a lifetime trying (in vain) to control. And most of us to just that.

But this is a far cry from deep soul satisfaction, is it not?

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What really works every single time to provide deep soul satisfaction?

Your senses.

They work every single time you use them well. Here are some examples:

Yesterday I was watching some paper come out of a printer. It was pure bliss. The printer gently grinding away….the color ink creating a design right before my eyes….and the satisfaction that I was involved in the process.

That morning I was taking a shower, listening to the hum of the water making its way though the pipes, eventually landing warmly on my skin. All the while, I was lost in a steamy haze.

I drank a cool glass of clear water. The water glided down my throat, and I felt it all the way down into my stomach!

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Stupid? Yeah…silly stupid bliss. It’s all I want. And I’m just an average dude who likes to drink a few beers now and again. It’s not the printer itself, or the shower, or the glass of water that made any of this so satisfying.

It’s that I took the time to really see, hear and feel it happening as it was happening.

That’s deep soul satisfaction.

Pursuing anything else may be a grand effort toward self-sabotage.

Other helpful resources:

Greater Good posted a very interesting article on happiness vs. meaning in life. It’s worth reading.

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Jeff Haden at Inc. wrote a very interesting piece on scientifically proven ways to be happy. And it’s very, very good advice!

If  you like this article, then like my Facebook Page to keep up with all my writing.

 References:

 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331180613.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013085237.htm

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Lucid Dreamers are More Insightful, According to this Research

posted by mbundrant

A lucid dream is not much different from a regular vivid dream, with one exception. In lucid dreams, the dreamer is fully aware they are sound asleep, having a dream and that none of it is real.

Now, there is evidence that lucid dreamers are particularly insightful people.

How does a person know they are caught up in dream world? The devil is in the details, or in this case, perhaps the dream is in the details.

Lucid dreamers become aware they are dreaming by spotting subtle clues within the dreams. For example, if a person is dreaming about being in their home, they may discover things that are unfamiliar or do not mesh with the usual landscape of their home. Perhaps the staircase is curved instead of straight. Maybe there are more windows in the kitchen than there should be.

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Even if the landscape of the dream is unfamiliar, lucid dreamers can still recognize the things that do not make sense, be it flying pigs or snow in July. Although often the inconsistencies are more subtle, the dreamer picks up on the things that do not seem rational or logical.

Lucid dreamers are aware they are sleeping because they have a heightened sense of insight, according to a new research study.

Conducted by Dr. Patrick Bourke, Senior Lecturer at the Lincoln School of Psychology, and assisted by Hannah Shaw, now a graduate, this is the first study of its kind to show evidence of a link between insight and lucid dreaming.

Published in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Dreaming, the report entitled “Spontaneous Lucid Dreaming and Waking Insight,” explains how the researcher arrived at these findings.

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To test the cognitive abilities required for a sleeping person to be aware that he or she is dreaming, waking tests of 68 participants between the ages of 18 to 25 were conducted. Some of the participants were frequent lucid dreamers, some occasional and some had never had a lucid dream.

A series of questions, 30 in all, were used as tests for measuring insight. Thinking about problems in a different manner is the key indicator of an insightful mind.

Comparing the responses of lucid and non-lucid dreamers, the results of the study found that lucid dreamers got 25% more of the problems correct than their non-lucid peers. Bourke feels that this ability to problem solve with insightful observations is also how lucid dreamers know they are still sleeping.

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41jP7lVWsxL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Mike Bundrant is author of the book Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage.

If you like this article, then like my Facebook Page to keep up with all my writing.

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10 Signs You Are Emotionally Attached To Negativity in Your Past

posted by mbundrant

Chained-handsYou cannot let go of what you don’t realize you are hanging onto.

Perhaps this is why so many of us appear to be attached to negativity in the past. It’s a difficult thing to acknowledge.

Most of us want to deny any effects that the past have had on us. We say things like:

Oh, that’s in the past. I’ve let that go.
I’m just focused on the future.
I can’t let the past bog me down.

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Or, if we refer to how the past affects us, others tend to make comments, such as:

Hey, that’s the past. Don’t get hung up on all that stuff.
You’ve got to put yourself together and move on.
Stop complaining about things you can’t change.

Now, it’s true. We do need to let go. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to get hung up complaining about the past. Yet, at the same time, we need to reconcile ourselves to the past. Otherwise, we could spend a lifetime as a slave to it.

Do you need to let go of the past? First, acknowledge how it is affecting you now. Here are 10 signs to look for.

1. Repeat mistakes over and over, and over.

Making the same mistakes or bad decisions repeatedly is a red flag that something negative in your history could be influencing you. When the past is not reconciled within you, it tends to manifest in decisions that keep you stuck in those negative feelings.

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2. You refuse talk about the past.

If you are at peace with the good and the bad in your personal history, then talking about it (when and where appropriate) should be fine.

Your romantic partner, therapist, spiritual adviser, good friends and relatives who care about you…these are all people with whom you could be sharing your past and the lessons learned.

3. You experience those old, familiar feelings often.

Vague feelings of pain and grief, resentment and fear still haunt people who are attached to the past. These unresolved feelings can appear anytime, in response to an outside situation or to your own thoughts.

You’re probably very familiar with these feelings, as they have been with you for a long, long time. They won’t go away until you emotionally square yourself with the past.

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4. You can’t be yourself around your family of origin.

Do you feel like you can be yourself around your family of origin? It is very, very common that people can’t let their guard down. This could be a sign that you are still attached to fear of disapproval, childhood expectations, criticism and so forth.

This is a particularly difficult yet common scenario. And it’s why so many of us have a distaste for family gatherings.

5. You treat your children poorly, like your parents treated you.

All too common, we treat our children in the negative ways we were treated. Amazingly, we can even recognize it when it happens, know it is wrong, and still do it. This is how influential the past can be.

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6. You fear disapproval in general.

Sometimes the family of origin criticism generalizes to life in general. When it does, you project your fear of disapproval onto other people; friends, romantic partners and even strangers.

This general fear of disapproval has roots in the original family dynamic.

7. You married someone who reminds you of your parent of the opposite sex.

People often get involved romantically with someone who acts like the parent of the opposite sex. If dad was emotionally unavailable, a young woman marries an emotionally unavailable man.

If mom was cool and distant, the young man marries a cool and distant young woman.

These are signs that you are still trying to resolve the old family situation through your present life. So often, we justify this choice by telling ourselves, “I can change him/her.”

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8. Suppressing emotions.

Human beings are emotional creatures by nature. When those emotions are uncomfortable, we tend to block them from expression, thinking that we can avoid the pain.

This strategy backfires. When you repress emotions, you hang on to them. When you express them fully, it is easier to let them go. 

Denying, ignoring, and repressing negative emotions actually creates a psychological attachment to those emotions and keeps them alive.

9. You can’t control your impulses.

Impulses come from emotions. When you have repressed emotions lurking under the surface, you still react to them. It’s like carrying around a reservoir of fuel that is just waiting for a spark to set it off.

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Out of control tempers, anxiety and other impulsive reactions stem from unresolved emotions. This leads to poor decisions, addictive behaviors and regret.

10. You feel limited in some way, but can’t explain why.

When the family of origin is emotionally overwhelming, sometimes we set hard rules for ourselves that create limitations.

I am never getting a divorce, no matter what.
I’ll never speak in front of a group.
I’ll never trust anyone.
I’ll always keep a low profile.
I must play it safe in life.

We intend these rules to protect us, but they can end up cutting off the healthiest choices as adults. Interestingly, these rules can determine our choices whether we are consciously aware of them or not.

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Do you need to relive the past in order to heal?

No. Yet, acknowledging and accepting the influence of the past is a key to letting it go.

Don’t allow denial to keep you from recognizing the negative influence of the past, or you may never move beyond it.

Mike Bundrant is author of the new book, Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage.

 

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Meaning of Life? Here Are Five Better Questions
If you’ve struggled with existential issues, then you understand the sense of futility that can come with them. Struggling to find meaning of life is a real struggle for those so inclined. Most people attempt to tackle one big question. What is the meaning of life? This is a very difficul

posted 11:34:37pm Mar. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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We all know that certain things like money, toys, and status do not provide deep soul satisfaction. Yet, most of us spend our lives in hot pursuit of these things and rarely pause to reevaluate. Why? And how do we get that deeper soul satisfaction reliably? That's what this post is all about.

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