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Journaling Insights

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Calm. Relaxed. Peaceful. Authentic.

As I journaled about where I saw myself right now, these words came to mind: calm, relaxed, peaceful, authentic, secure, joyful, and genuine.

I thought you might appreciate some of my reflections on how I've cultivated a deep sense of peace in the midst of numerous professional and personal responsibilities. Here are some principles that have guided me to where I am today, and some anecdotes from a vacation this past summer to help illustrate how they can play out in daily life:

  • Forgiving Myself: Sometime between the last time I used an autoresponder and last August, my email synced with Facebook in such a way that when a Facebook group update hit my inbox, my autoresponder would bounce back and be posted as a comment. Since I didn't check e-mail at all for 10 days, I had no idea this was happening until I arrived home on Sunday. In the past, I would have freaked out and felt horrible about the situation and kicked myself for not being more "responsible" and checking email even though I was on vacation. But I've let go of my perfectionist mental habit patterns enough that I was able to approach this snafu from a place of calm, delete the comments where I could, apologize to the group administrators, and get added back into the groups. Everyone told me "No worries" and thankfully I was in the place where I could also tell myself "No worries." This release from demanding perfect performance of myself at all times has contributed greatly to my overall sense of calm.
  • Being Authentic: After having just completed my book manuscript, everything in me longed for refreshment. So before I arrived at my vacation destination, I made a short list of what I wanted to do for me: sleep, exercise, read, and pray. Even thought there were so many other activities that I could have done during my free time, I didn't push myself to do them. I decided that I would rather "miss out" on cool opportunities and do what I found genuinely refreshing for me. The plan worked, and I came back from vacation recharged and ready to plunge back into life.
  • Thinking Small: When I did decide to go and visit a place, I set my expectations incredibly low. I knew traveling in a new location often takes extra time and that getting lost is part of the journey. So on "travel days," I just had one location per day. Within that city, I would decide on a couple of sights that were really important to me and just focus on going to them. If I saw anything else, great. If not, I didn't worry about it. I also didn't make any commitments to be back for an evening event at a certain time so I wouldn't be stressed on the ride home.
  • Asking for What I Want: I used to think that if people didn't automatically know what I wanted or if they didn't directly ask me what I preferred, that meant that they didn't want to know. I've fortunately since learned that I just need to speak up more when something really matters to me. The people who are close to me are happy to help me have what I want to need. This willingness to be more open has lead to a lot more happiness and fulfillment in my life.

Now over to you...

  • Forgiving Yourself: Where do you tend to be very self critical? How could you respond to yourself with a greater sense of compassion?
  • Being Authentic: What are you doing that you're not enjoying? How could you stop doing it or make it more genuinely pleasurable?
  • Thinking Small: Where could you lower your expectations or make less commitments so you're less stressed?
  • Asking for What You Want: When do you tend to hide your true preferences and then feel upset later? How could you be more upfront about what you truly want and need?

I hope you find these insights encouraging on your path toward achieving more success with less stress....

To your brilliance!

Elizabeth Grace