Like any industry, the personal development industry contains a lot of advice, ideas and various school of thoughts.
And although a lot of the concepts are common sense, it’s not always so easy to implement. Some actually add more struggle and increases your frustration. To be fair, this may mean that by practicing the concept a little bit more you’ll master it soon enough.
However, I’m a believer that everything should be done in moderation. And that it’s also okay to question and explore the concepts yourself to determine in what situation would it make sense for you to put the idea into practice.
As Bruce Lee famously sums up, “Absorb what is useful, Discard What is Not, and Add What is Uniquely Your Own.”
Here are 3 popular self-development beliefs that can cause you more stress if you take them too literal.
1. Being in the now.
Thanks to Eckhart Tolle and his introduction to The Power of Now, this concept is widely referenced in the personal development field.
And although it is true, when you are in the now, relaxing into the moment, you experience peace. But life as we know it is constantly changing and moving. We need to be able to dance with the flow of the changes.
Message from Guided Mind: Enjoy change! Our guided meditation session that will help you embrace changes.
Kind of a catch 22 right?
So instead you need to know that you can’t always be in the now because our brain is not wired that way. It’s constantly processing information we receive from our environment.
It’s natural for you to get caught up in a moment and to be caught up with your thoughts. **The distinction is in the way you look at what ‘being in the now’ means. Being in the now means being aware of your thoughts. Being an observer of your thoughts
. Rather than let your thoughts control you.**
When you notice the quality of your thoughts going down the rabbit hole, and you’ve decided to time travel to the past or the future - PAUSE.
Observe your thoughts.
- What is true?
- What do you know now?
- What can you give action to now based on the current circumstance?
Not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future but focusing your attention on pivoting your thought and on the action that is available for you to take in the present moment is of utmost importance.
This is what being in the now means. To be aware of your thoughts. And deliberately choosing to take responsibility for your life.
As you become aware you can:
- Remove yourself from the situation.
- Change it.
- Accept it completely.
2. You must think positively.
This is a lovely thought but it’s not always easy. You can’t always be ‘on’ and think positively all the time. Sometimes you need to ease into it.
And it doesn’t even have to be because you experienced something negative. Sometimes you are just having an off day, and you have permission to give yourself a day off and just not be okay.
It’s okay to be not okay. We are only human. So don’t force yourself to think positively if you are not ready to shift your mindset.
Going back to the first point - be aware of your thought, without judgment. We all need to experience the negative in order to appreciate the good and positive.
And so your negative experience or negativity serves to bring clarity to what is it you want and would like to change in your life.
Don’t dismiss it. Just be present with it. And when you are done stewing in it, start focusing on the positive aspects.
Message from Guided Mind: When you are ready to accept positivity in your life, download our Positive Thinking Guided Meditation Collection that will help you become positive fast.
3. There are no negative emotions.
We do have negative emotions. And even though they may make us feel bad and we don’t desire it, all emotions serve a purpose.
Therefore, in a sense they are not necessarily ‘negative’. Why?
Because all emotions serve a purpose.
From a physiological perspective, emotions play a healthy role - they alarm your body to guide it back to balance.
In my BodyTalk studies I’ve learned:
- Fear keeps us alive.
- Anger allows us to move.
- Joy harmonizes all things.
- Sadness gives us compassion.
- Worry allows us to stop and think.
- Grief allows us to let go.
Emotions also play a part of what forms the human experience. It is what gives us the feedback to our thoughts and triggers us to react to an experience. It serves as our inner emotional guidance system. It helps us decipher when we feel good or bad. When we don’t feel good, it means we are feeling ‘negative’.
And it’s serves as our call to action to change our thoughts and to take inspired action from a mental perspective.
So it’s not like we don’t have any negative emotions. It’s just how the word ‘negative’ is being expressed. Don’t get caught up and stress yourself with trying to master these self-development concepts, thinking you need to be present, think positive and feel happy all the time.
There’s a place and time for everything. Just go at your own pace.
Do what you feel is right. The key is awareness and listening to your inner guidance system to help you live mindfully and be free.
Having been brought up in a traditional immigrant family, Theresa knows first-hand how it feels like to be living her family and cultural expectations while wanting to live her own life. She is the founder of Rejuvenate Your Essence and helps people who are ready to say yes to living out their own life, where she helps people with the ABC’s of life. Be Authentic, Bold and Confident.
Visit her website to get your free 10 Part manifesto series to live life on your own terms. For more inspiration, you can also follow her on Facebook.