Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

NOTE:  This post was originally published on my previous blog, The Healing Project.  It’s hard to believe, but it has been 6 months since I started “The Healing Project.” My first post was made on February 3, 2010, and outlined my quest to heal my health and my life over the course of one year. …

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We all have a voice inside of our heads which tries to tell us what to do, how to act, and who to be. Sometimes this voice is productive, such as when it moves us out of inertia and into action. The voice can also help us to do the right thing, even when the right thing is not the easiest or fastest thing to do. That is the positive side of the voice…

The Dark Side of Our Inner Voice

However, the voice can also be counterproductive or even destructive. It can be so ubiquitous in its presence that we are unable to experience even a moment of peace. It can relentlessly order us to be productive in each and every moment, to always put the needs and wants of others above our own needs, and to prove our worthiness through action many times each day. The dark side of the voice is where “should” often resides. Have you ever heard the expression, to “should” on yourself? The mental imagery evoked is apropos in that this application of should is akin to showering ourselves with garbage (or worse…).

If someone were to ask you if you love yourself, how many of you would reply with an enthusiastic “Yes”? How about if you were asked if you love your body? I know that for most of my life, I would have found both questions absurd. I definitely and unequivocally did not love myself or my body.

For years, I was my own worst critic. I would unleash a torrent of criticism upon myself on a daily basis that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. In fact, I was my own worst enemy. Nothing I could do was ever good enough for me; my standards were impossibly high and there was no way I could reach them. While my targets for accomplishment and success were virtually unachievable, my standards for my body and physical appearance surpassed them by leaps and bounds.

I want to briefly interrupt my discussion of Louise Hay’s Key Principles in order to share a personal practice that has made a big difference in my life. I will return to the Key Principles in my next post…

I’ve often heard that the biggest key to happiness is gratitude, and I don’t doubt that. When we are present to all that is wonderful in our lives, it’s difficult to feel depressed and despondent. As I look back on my life, I can see that even in my most difficult times, I still had a lot to be grateful for in my life. I just had to look in the right place! It’s all about focus and attitude, I’ve learned.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

To help me to stay aware of the many blessings in my life, I started to keep a Gratitude Journal a few years ago. I confess that I haven’t always been consistent with this practice, but when I’ve maintained my Gratitude Journal, it’s helped me to be more positive and upbeat. Here’s how it works…