Doubt: One of Our Biggest Enemies

DOUBT

(noun)

A feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. — “some doubt has been cast upon the authenticity of this account”Synonyms: uncertainty, unsureness, indecisionhesitation, dubiousness, suspicionconfusion

(verb)

  1. feel uncertain about. – “I doubt my ability to do the job”
  2. archaic fear; be afraid of. – “I doubt not your contradictions”

I felt it was important to look at the proper definition of what doubt is to then understand what it does to a person. Doubt is a very powerful weapon that can be used to insight even the smallest bit of fear in us. I do not know about everyone’s situation; however, when doubt hits me, it makes me a little scared of what is to come next. It can come when you least expect it as well.

I usually feel doubt creep up on me the most right when I get excited about a new project or a new path I have decided to take to better myself. Doubtful thoughts come up such as: “How will I get to from point A to point B without making a fool of myself?”, or “What am I really doing? Can I even succeed in this?” It always happens, but I know they are fleeting thoughts.

Doubt is fleeting while Faith is permanent. I can say this with confidence because the only time doubt fades for me is when I increase my faith and believe that doubt is just a temporary inkling that I get. It does get hard to remind ourselves of this fact though. As with anything we decide to do in life, it is greeted with a little bit of uncertainty. The important part is to remember that yes it is okay to doubt sometimes, but not to constantly stay in that state and never progress forward.

Some of us do get stuck. I like to think of it as pushing a truck or car out of a parking spot in Chicago winter months. At first, you try and push your hardest to get out of the park and on the first, and maybe even second, try you just cannot get it out. You start to feel like it will be stuck in that park forever and doubt that you will drive it somewhere soon. Then someone comes along to assist and you believe and have faith that with their help, you will get out. Now, you are free from the park.

It happens all the time in life. Just remember that your faith is what removes doubt.

Doubt is fleeting. Faith is permanent.

Namaste!

Dealing with Loss

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy. The very first thing you want to do is start crying your eyes out and asking the age old question: WHY??

Why did they have to pass away? Why does it hurt so much? Why can’t I get more time with him/her? It can be so difficult, and for some downright impossible to feel like they can press forward. You tend to wonder how you will make it through this. Support from family and friends helps to lighten the load you feel weighing on your shoulders. We have all been there and had these same thoughts. Grief hits us like a ton of bricks on our chest. Everyone goes through grief differently, but it never fails that we go through all five stages.

The five stages of grief are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

They are the framework that makes up our learning to live without the one(s) we have lost. How we choose to deal with the grief can affect us for a long while after the news is first broken to us. During the denial stage, you cannot even believe the facts put in front of you. The person(s) you love is no longer here to hug you, tell you things will be okay, etc. Then usually after that, comes the anger. You are angry because they are no longer able to be present with you anymore. You may fight with someone, throw things, break things, or choose the creative expressions like dancing and/or art. Then there is the bargaining with God – or higher power, whichever you believe. We then begin bargain, saying we will do whatever as long as we get to have more moments with them. We are trying still to rationalize what has happened and even offering your life for theirs.

Depression is usually the toughest stage to get through. The preparations following a death can seem to be the hardest thing to do. Now you have to plan a ceremony, write about their impact and the memories they have left you with, burial or cremation, contact those who do not know what happened yet. There are just too many tiresome and daunting tasks to take care of when someone passes away. It can all be so overwhelming. These activities usually can either ease the depression or worsen it.

Acceptance is the final stage. This is also the most relieving stage. Even though you have gone through this incredibly terrible loss, you have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel. There is a glimmer of hope that comes over you, they are no longer in pain. The gloom is no longer hanging over you as much and each day gets better and easier to deal with. Though we may all have to experience the loss of a loved one, it is helpful to understand what it is we are going through.

I hope that this post finds you well.

Namaste.

Forgiveness

How easy is it truly to forgive others for things done to you? Depending on your spiritual background, you are supposed to forgive others and forgive yourself on a regular basis. I started my spiritual journey as a Christian, raised in the church, and this is what I was taught from a very young age. When I was little the first thing I would think is “Why should I forgive them for hurting me?” It was always a question that I had unanswered in my mind because I did not understand the real meaning of forgiveness.

Matthew 6:14-15 reads as follows:

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Once I found this passage, it became easier to understand the concept of WHY I should forgive others; however, I still did not understand exactly HOW to do that. It has still been a challenge, I am not perfect. To truly forgive someone though you have to be able to let go of the hurt and the pain associated with the trauma/situation. Take an abuse victim for example; they have constantly been hurt either physically, verbally, or mentally and still have to be able to forgive their abuser. That is if they want to begin healing, according to the Bible verse.

A lot of things are easier said than done, so HOW do you do it? For me, it is a process that I have changed over the years. I have tried to tell a person I forgive them for hurting me and have learned that telling them only confuses them. They ask more questions about why you are forgiving them and it re-opens the wounds you already closed. I have tried forgiving others and learned only later that I really did not when I see them again.

I have come to discover recently that forgiveness is all for you to do just for yourself. It is a covenant between you and God (or The Creator depending on your preference). It is only for you as an individual. We should all practice forgiveness, but I have found that it is best to not publicize your forgiveness of others. Most times they do not even feel they need to be forgiven and that is never a debate you want to get into if you are working on healing.

How do you forgive?

Breathe – Big Smile

It can be so easy to have a great day. All you have to do is start by taking a deep breath and smile. Smile big, smile bright, smile often.

Have you tried smiling your bad day away recently? I know I have had to. Just this morning as I was leaving out for work – on time and everything – the unthinkable happened. My bus that was scheduled to depart at 7:19 AM was there right when I walked out my house at 7:11 AM. Then I get to the train station and no train is in sight and over 150 people are standing and waiting. I wanted to scream, but instead I smiled and said to myself “it is going to be okay.” It is easy to just start yelling and saying “this is not fair” or “why did this have to happen to me?” or “could this get any worse?” or, in my case, blame the bus driver for speeding down the street and arriving early. I had no words for the train.

So even though things pretty much went south and had me late to work, I still reminded myself that maybe it was not meant for me to be on that bus. I will still get to work, I just will not arrive early as planned. There is nothing wrong with that. Letting all those negative thoughts leave out of my mind put me in a much better mood for the rest of my day ahead.

The best part of all this is every time I smiled, someone smiled right back at me. It made me feel good and I could tell the other person was in a good mood as well. It is amazing what something so small as a smile can do for you. So if you have not already done this today, put a smile on your face and enjoy the warmth of others smiling back at you!

smile-03

The Power of Positivity

Positivity

It’s a common concept that gets tossed around in numerous situations. With so many reasons to be negative, we have to find it in ourselves to be positive everyday and not let things get to us. It’s sometimes harder to keep positive on a regular basis, especially with all the crazy things that are going on in the world today. Why is it so important to keep positive? Well the energy you put out is the same energy you’ll receive back. If you emit positive energy, positive things will happen for you. Don’t believe me? Try it!

We constantly have a million and one thoughts going through our minds, not all of them are positive. So how do you change a negative thought into a positive one?

When that negative thought comes in your head, you have to immediately change it. Seems simple right? Not completely, not for everyone. Even I find myself having moments where I should have turned a negative thought into a positive one and instead I have just let it slide on by. However, with practice, comes the ability to really be able to succeed at this. Getting rid of the defeatist thoughts can be a challenge, but it’s very rewarding.

No more saying to yourself “I can’t do this,” or “the task is just too hard,” or “I’ll never get it right.” You have to say instead “I can do this, nothing is too hard for me, and I can get this task completed correctly.” One thing I always find that helps me to get rid of the defeatist thoughts is a scripture: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

That scripture is so powerful and it reminds us that we can do anything we set out to do with the strength of God through Christ. I also like to hum a tune in my head that sounds upbeat and sunny. Sometimes it’s a children’s song like BINGO or Pop Goes the Weasel, and other times it’s funny song I heard on YouTube. Either way it helps bring you out of your thoughts all together.

So give it a try and see the difference it’ll make in your life.

 

Mindful Breathing

I find that learning to breathe mindfully, is the first step to living a mindful life. It can be difficult when you’re just starting out, but it gets easier. The more you practice, the better you get. Mindful breathing helps you calm your mind. A calm mind is just the beginning to gaining a deeper understanding of yourself.

To make it easy I start with simply find a comfortable place to sit. You can also lay down if you want. In any case, make sure you keep your back straight. Get a timer, and set it to five minutes. While taking a deep breath in and letting it out, slowly close your eyes. To help you only focus on your breath; say the words “inhale” as you inhale your breath, and “exhale” as you exhale your breath. If at all your thoughts began to wonder, just bring your focus back to the words “inhale” and “exhale”.

Aim to practice mindfully breathing everyday for five minutes for a week. Pick a time of day, maybe after you brush your teeth in the morning and/or before you go to bed at night. It’s a good time frame to get you started. On the second week, you can extend your time frame to ten minutes everyday. The next week, fifteen minutes and twenty minutes by the forth week.