This was first published on KSl.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — For the last eight years, I have written a special New Year's article in which I have given you the one resolution that would have the biggest positive impact on your life.
This year is one of the most interesting New Year's days in history, in my opinion, as we are dealing with unprecedented challenges, loss and conflict. We are in worse shape mentally and emotionally than ever before. So, I have been thinking about what we need at this unprecedented time and place. What would help us to start healing the conflicts, lifting the isolation, and restoring the loss? Is there one thing that would make a difference?
What immediately came to my mind was listening. Listening to others more (and talking less) could be life-changing for all of us this year.
What every human being needs this year is to have their experiences, feelings and struggles validated. When I say validated, I don't mean always agreeing with them; rather, the people around us need to know their feelings, beliefs and values matter. This is always the first step to resolving conflict. You must give all parties room to express their feelings and allow them to be right about how they feel.
I have been busy during 2020 working with couples and families who have experienced more conflict at home than ever before. They have been fast to get offended and act too often from a defensive position instead of a loving one. The pandemic has, to some degree, made us all more afraid of other people. This has put us all on guard, watching for slights and being quick to protect ourselves from others.
Has this created or added conflict in your relationships? Are you functioning from a fear-of-loss state, where you feel protective of yourself and see others as a threat — maybe even your spouse and children?
This has been a hard year for everyone. We all need the chance to talk about how 2020 has been for us and share our experiences and feelings, and there are many levels to listening better and they would all serve us greatly. This year, make a goal to listen better in the following ways.
Listen to yourself
Listening to yourself means you start trusting yourself, feeling the feelings that are coming up for you and exploring what they are about, and trusting your gut. You have what I call "an inner GPS" that always knows the right path for you. You are entitled to know where your perfect classroom journey goes next.
The problem comes when you don't trust yourself. You might live in constant fear that you aren't good enough, and this makes you think your thoughts and feelings must be untrustworthy. You might constantly ask others for advice because you trust them more. But they are not entitled to know what's best for you. Practice making decisions and sitting in that choice a while to feel if it is right or wrong. If you are making the wrong choice, your inner GPS will not let it go.
Take time this year to sit with feelings that show up. Ask yourself questions about what they are here for, where they are coming from, and what you're supposed to learn. Process emotions instead of stuffing or avoiding them. Not all your thoughts are accurate, but they are there to help you grow.
Take some quiet time every day this year to check in with yourself: How and what are you feeling? What feels right and wrong to you? Start listening and paying attention to how your inner GPS speaks to you.
Listen to your partner
This important person in your life is the one who needs you to hear them more than anyone else. Yet, few people take the time to ask deep questions and really listen to understand their partner at the deepest level. Too often, we listen only as we prepare what we want to say next. That is not true listening.
Your partner likely has thoughts, feelings, fears and concerns that you know nothing about. These are things they won't share unless you create a space that is safe enough and you earn their trust. Make a goal this year to ask questions, to get to know your partner on a much deeper level, and to truly understand them. This will create richness in the relationship you have never experienced before.
Listen to your children
Do you want your children to feel important and valued and have good self-esteem? Do you want to really know and understand them? Do you want a close safe relationship where they will confide in you? These things are all earned by listening more than you talk. Honestly ask yourself which of those actions your children get from you most.
Be a safe place where your children (no matter their age) can share their truth and be respected, honored, heard and validated. Every person has the right to feel the way they feel and have their unique perspective. You don't have to agree with someone else's feelings, but you should honor and respect their right to have those feelings. Make a goal this year to stop talking and start asking questions (without judgment in them) and really get to know your kids.
Listen to your friends and neighbors
You may think you know your friends and neighbors well, but chances are they still feel unseen in some way. They are, as the saying goes, fighting battles you know nothing about. They are carrying pain they won't share because it's messy and ugly.
These people need someone who cares to ask the hard questions like, "Are you really OK?" and "What's the hardest thing you have gone through this year? What's the worst part?" Then give them the time to really share those things they thought no one would care to hear. These are the things they most need to talk about, and this need usually goes unmet.
There is someone around you that needs this kind of love and validation. Make a goal to look for and see these people.
Listen to people you don't agree with
This is the first step to healing our nation after the conflict and division we've felt recently. It is time to truly listen to the people on the other side of every issue. You don't have to agree with them, but you could honor and respect their right to their perspective and experience.
When others say they feel slighted, it is not our place to disagree. They are always right about how they feel; they see the world from a perspective you can't possibly imagine because you weren't there. Your perspective is always missing some pieces. Always stay open to the possibility of being wrong. This keeps you teachable, open to learning, and able to create solutions that serve your entire community and country, not just you.
People who are different from you
Most of us subconsciously lean toward the people who are the most like us and who have the same beliefs, values, race, religion and socioeconomic status. This can make our world small. It shelters us from conflict, but it also hinders growth, learning and incredible experiences.
If you feel uncomfortable around a certain group, this is the year to make a new friend and spend some time really listening to their story and how they got there. Amazing growth can happen when we truly hear other people and understand their unique experiences. Doing so changes and enriches who you are.
Join me this year to listen better than we ever have before by committing to stay open and assume you don't know it all. Stay teachable. Get to know other people on a whole new level and develop compassion and empathy for people you didn't understand before. Decide to be a giver to the people in your home and be more focused on hearing them and understanding their hearts than ever before. They may irritate you at times, but you probably haven't scratched the surface of knowing the depths of their souls and their goodness. All that is required is for you to ask more questions, talk a lot less and care enough to hear them.
You can do this in 2021.
This was first published on KSL.com
For the last eight years, I have given you a new year’s resolution that, in my opinion, would make the greatest positive impact on your life in the upcoming year. (You can read the past 8 years articles here.)
This year being 2020, and the beginning of a new decade, I think it’s a great time for starting fresh and making a change. The goal I recommend you consider this year is to get some professional help to take stock of your subconscious beliefs and learn how to change the beliefs that aren’t serving you.
This will require professional help because it is difficult to see your subconscious patterns and change them on your own. I highly recommend you find a counselor or coach who is trained to do this kind of work. The truth is, you cannot work on yourself alone at the same level you can with someone to help you. It is much easier to see the negative patterns in other people’s behavior than it is to see your own.
A caring, well-trained coach or counselor can give you new tools and skills that will make you more emotionally intelligent and balanced. He or she can help you understand how your programs of fear are driving your behavior and help you change them on a subconscious level.
Trust me: A coach or counselor who can guide you through this process will help you become stronger, wiser and more loving than you ever thought you could be. That is the greatest gift you can give yourself and those you love this year.
To get you started, here is a list of the most common and damaging beliefs that might be causing havoc in your life:
Remember, these are not facts; they are just beliefs. That means you can change them anytime you want to. Sit with each of them a minute and make a note of the beliefs you might have in play.
These beliefs become the lens through which we see ourselves and our world. They filter all our experiences and determine how we feel about ourselves and life. They also drive our behavior — especially negative, unbalanced behavior. These beliefs stop us from being the person we want to be.
Changing your beliefs
Most of these beliefs play out on a subconscious level, though, so you may not be aware of how much they drive your life. But you can become aware, and that is the first step to changing them.
Here is an exercise to help you change some beliefs:
Fears that you aren’t good enough or aren’t safe are the most common beliefs behind bad behavior. Agin, find a professional who can specifically help you change those two beliefs. If you can start feeling safer in the world and better about yourself, it will be a gamechanger that will shift all your relationships for the better.
When you feel safe, you have a full bucket and something to give the people in your life. When you feel unsafe, your entire focus will be on you and finding safety, and you won’t have anything to give.
If your relationships are struggling, your self-esteem is low, you are going through some big life changes, or you are feeling depressed or anxious, care about yourself enough to get some help. Don't spend another day stuck here. There are answers to your questions and changes you can make that will quickly change how you feel and behave. Don't wait and live in fear any longer.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
Every January for the past six years, I have recommended one New Year’s resolution you could make that would make the biggest difference in your life. You can read all my past New Year’s KSL articles here. This year, I recommend you resolve to get offended less.
The truth is, very few of the things you let bother you are worth the energy you spend on them. Most of your aggravation, disappointment, annoyance, and even anger about situations or other people, is self-inflicted suffering that could easily be put down.
As a matter of fact, every situation in your life is 10 percent the issue and 90 percent how you are looking at it. Your perception or the way you see it creates the story and how you feel. The problem is, your thoughts, feelings, stories and projected reactions are often not accurate. These perceptions are the result of your subconscious policies and procedures, most of which you created as a small child. I have written an entire book on recognizing your subconscious fear triggers and how to get free of them because it’s a little involved for an article. But here are six simple things you can do to get offended less often, lessen your misery and increase your joy this year:
1) Be 100% responsible for your thinking and how you feel about every situation. No one can make you upset, mad, offended or feel hurt without your permission. They are not that powerful. You have complete control over only one thing in your life: how you choose to think and behave. (Though most of us don’t claim this power and instead we give others permission to determine our happiness.) It is time to claim control and stop giving other people the power to determine your self-esteem, make you feel unsafe in the world, or take away your joy. Instead, let offensive statements or actions roll off. Ask yourself, “Is this worth giving away my joy for?" If it is that important, decide how much time is reasonable to feel bad for. When is enough misery, enough? It’s part of the human experience to feel negative emotions, but don’t live there. Give yourself five minutes for an angry rant or pity party, then choose to let it go and claim your peace and joy back.
2) Recognize when fear of loss has been triggered. This happens when you feel taken from, robbed or mistreated. In these situations, you can experience fear of loss. Remember, you are choosing to see the universe as against you and the world as unsafe. It is this belief that is causing your misery. You could choose, instead, to see the universe as always serving you, and this experience as your perfect lesson. If this experience is serving you, it isn’t a loss. Let the angst go and choose to feel taken care of, watched over, and safe in the world because the universe only creates experiences you need.
3) Let more small stuff go. Ask yourself “Will this matter to me in 10 years?" If it’s a yes, then again, decide if there is anything you can do about it. If there is, take action. If there isn’t, (because you can’t control other people), choose to trust the universe to take care of you. Living in trust that the universe is on your side and is always conspiring to serve you, is a perspective that creates more joy. Ask yourself again, “Is this worth giving away my joy and peace for?” Choose your battles and only suffer over really important things and limit the suffering shelf life on those.
4) Don't take things personally. The truth is, most of the time when someone attacks, offends or insults you, it’s really not about you. It’s about their fears for and about themselves. These people came into these situations with fears of failure or loss in play and then they projected those fears onto you. For example, a person who never felt important or cared about as a child may have a subconscious tendency to experience not being cared about everywhere they look. This means they might project that experience onto you, and they may honestly believe you don’t care about them. This might make them angry and attack you, but it doesn’t make sense to be offended. Instead, have firm but compassionate boundaries and don’t allow abuse. Look at their feedback and see if you can learn anything. Then, don’t take offense and let them hurt you. Recognize bad behavior means this person is having a fear problem that is probably more about them. You can offer them some reassurance or validation, but it’s not your job, (nor is it possible for you,) to fix the underlying problem. That is work they get to do.
5) Be quicker to forgive and forget. Holding onto past offenses hurts you more than it hurts the other person. When you get offended make a decision right then and there how long it makes sense to suffer over this. In "The Art of Living," as taught by S.N. Goenka, we learn Buddha taught the very instant you are offended, you must choose what kind of cut this offense will be. It’s either a cut through water that is gone immediately, a cut through sand that is gone tomorrow, or a cut through rock that will be there for decades. How long do you want to suffer?
6) Have good, peaceful, but firm boundaries. Boundaries should be rules you make to protect you from letting other people take advantage of you. Decide what behaviors you will allow, what you will let roll off, and what behavior is not tolerable. If someone treats you in an intolerable way, choose to walk away from that behavior with love and compassion. There may even be some people you have to love from afar. You must learn how to be both strong and loving at the same time, so you can balance protecting yourself with showing up for others. Both are needed to be healthy. Seek some professional help to learn how to enforce boundaries properly if needed.
Getting offended less, letting more small stuff go and not taking things personally will create a happier, more balanced 2019.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a poplar speaker, author and life coach. She owns www.claritypointcoaching,com and has a worksheet designed to help people process offenses easily at https://www.claritypointcoaching.com/worksheetsdownloads
This was first published on KSL.com
SALT LAKE CITY — Each January for the last seven years, I have written an article recommending one New Year’s resolution that would have a great impact on the quality of your life. This year we recommend forgiveness: total unconditionally forgiveness for yourself and others.
Here are some principles that will make forgiving yourself and others easier:
1. The secret to forgiving yourself lies in forgiving others.
We believe this is a profound and life-changing truth: the way you choose to see, judge, condemn or attack others also determines the way you see, judge, condemn and attack yourself.
If you are quick to see faults, flaws and mistakes in other people and you let those mistakes determine their value, or you see them as bad guys, you are giving power to the damaging idea that people can be "not good enough" and that human value is changeable and can go up and down.
If you give power to this idea, it will also affect the way you see yourself and your own value. You will also see your own value as changeable and in question, and you will constantly be afraid you aren’t good enough.
But it is human nature to subconsciously look for the bad in others, gossip and judge to make ourselves feel better. If they are the bad ones, we think we are the good one. But the more we put down, criticize or gossip about others, the worse our own self-esteem becomes. There is no escaping this cause-and-effect cycle once you start judging. But you don’t have to live this way.
You could decide to let all your and their past mistakes go, and see life as a classroom, not a test. This means letting everyone be a struggling, scared, amazing, divine, infinitely valuable, and innocent being who is doing the best they can with what they know at each moment. It means giving them and yourself the freedom to be a work in progress and not expect perfection from anyone.
You have the power to choose a compassion mindset where we are all innocent, silly, sometimes stupid, learners, whose value is (fortunately) not in question or changeable. You could decide to see all humans and their value as infinite and absolute and see every human being as having the same value. This mindset will make you feel better about yourself, and you will also treat other people with compassion. But you must give up judgment and criticism to claim this.
Start today and eliminate judging others from your life. Forgive them (whoever they are) for all their mistakes. Focus on the lessons each experience taught you, and let a higher power (or the universe) be in charge of your and their classroom journey from here. Forgive them and move forward without any anger, hurt or pain around what happened. Bless them on their way.
Of course, sometimes you have to still associate with the person. Just remember, just because you forgave them, doesn’t mean you have to trust them again or want them in your life. But you can choose to see their value as the same as yours, because you don’t want your mistakes to affect your value, either.
Forgive yourself for all your past mistakes. They were just lessons and they don’t define who you will be moving forward. Use them to become a better version of yourself in the future and let go of shame and guilt.
2. You alone are responsible for how long you stay in pain.
When a painful event happens in your life, it is normal to feel pain and suffer for a while, but eventually, you must decide how long you will live that way. No situation or person can cause you pain forever, because it is your thoughts (about the situation) that are continuing to cause the pain, and you do have control over your thoughts.
Sometimes when an offense is fresh, you will need to feel the pain and can't expect to choose your way out of it yet. But eventually, you will have the power to decide how miserable and for long you want to feel that way.
In the end, no one can take away your peace or give you peace. No one can make you feel terrible or make you feel better. You alone have that power. If you struggle to understand this principle, read my KSL article about choosing to be upset.
You have the power to choose peace, joy, confidence and forgiveness in any moment. Owning this truth gives you the power to not continue to hurt over an offense or feel like a failure because of a mistake.
3. Remember your family (spouse, children and relatives) are your greatest forgiveness teachers.
Your family is your primary forgiveness classroom. This is especially true because the people closest to you are the ones you allow to hurt you the most.
When you see your family life this way (as your classroom) you will finally be seeing them accurately. Every fight, offense or disappointment that shows up is a chance for you to practice seeing human value as infinite and practice forgiveness toward yourself or others.
Your family, and especially your spouse, provide you daily opportunities to stretch the limits of your love and work on forgiveness.
4. Understand how pointless shame and guilt are.
We teach our clients that "SHAME" is an acronym that stands for: Should Have Already Mastered Everything. If life is a classroom though, shame is ridiculous. You are a student in the classroom of life, there is no way you could have known it all, all along.
Give yourself permission to be a work in progress. You are learning and growing, and have much more to learn. You are on the path of self-improvement, and wherever you are at this point is good enough for right now.
You will do better in the future, but guilt, shame and beating yourself up for months or years does you no good. It doesn’t fix the past nor create a better a future. It makes more sense to focus your energy on working to be a better person today.
5. What other people think doesn’t matter, but what you think does.
Remember, the opinions of others are just thoughts and ideas in their heads, which have no power, mean nothing, and can’t hurt you, diminish your value, or change you in any way. They may influence events in your life, but if you trust the universe is a wise teacher you won’t worry about that because you know it only brings the experiences that are right for you. Don't worry about losing out or not getting the life you wanted, and see the opinions of others as irrelevant.
But what you think of yourself and your past matters a lot.
If you see life as a classroom and your value as absolute (and forgive yourself) you will show up with confidence and love, and everywhere you go people will feel that in you and respect you in spite of your past mistakes. Even if you made BIG mistakes in the past, if other people can feel that you have learned the lessons, moved on, and you now know your value isn’t affected by them, they will tend to follow your lead and let your past go too.
If you cannot do this, however, and continue to beat yourself up, carry shame and guilt around, and feel you are less than other people, other people will feel this too, and they will also have trouble forgiving you or letting your past go. Whichever stance you claim, they will follow.
6. Write down the positives each negative experience has or is creating.
We believe forgiving works best if you shift your perspective and look at your life in trust that it has always been your perfect classroom. Trust that every offense or mistake happened, because it could teach you something. See if you can name 10 positives that making the mistake (or being hurt in that way) has created in your life. This will help you see your life as your perfect classroom journey. When you no longer resist what happened, but embrace or accept it as something that served you, you will find forgiving gets much easier.
Focus on being the most forgiving person you can be this year, toward yourself and others. This powerful choice will take pain and suffering off you, and bring the light back in. If you still struggle to let mistakes go, check out another KSL article I wrote about the benefits of not forgiving. It might help you to see why you are still holding on.
If you make this a year of forgiveness, it will also be a year of more joy, more progress and more peace.
You can do this.
Kim Giles and Nicole Cunningham are master executive coaches and the founders of Claritypointcoaching.com and 12shapes.com You can download free forgiveness worksheets on www.12shapes.com in the Resources Section.
Each January for the past four years, I have written an article for you with my best advice for a New Year’s resolution, which would make the biggest difference in your life. Here are the links if you’d like to read them:
When the kids mess up the house, if you see it as today's lesson to make you stronger, wiser and more loving, you will handle it much differently than you would if you saw it as just an aggravating event.
When you struggle at work, but you see the challenge as your perfect classroom, you spend less time complaining and more time working to solve the problem.
This idea came from the great Viktor Frankl, who was a prisoner in the concentration camps during World War II. In that horrible situation he found himself pondering on a powerful question, “Is it just random bad luck I am here in this place or is there meaning, purpose and reason in my being here?”
He eventually realized there was no way to know for sure which was truth. That left him with an interesting revelation … we get to and have the power to decide which perspective we want to have.
He also realized that believing things had no reason and were just random bad luck made his suffering worse. But choosing to believe there was meaning and purpose in our experiences and suffering lessened the suffering and made him want to rise to the occasion and turn whatever was happening into a human achievement.
He said, “Suffering ceases to be suffering, the moment it finds meaning.”
You can bring this powerful principle into your life too, so you can suffer less and have more joy. Each day you will be faced with situations, many which will disappoint, frustrate, anger or hurt you. When these show up, you can experience loss and feel cheated, wronged and mistreated by life, you can complain and feel sorry for yourself, or you can choose to trust the universe that though this situation is rough, it is here for your benefit.
You can choose to see the universe as a wise loving teacher, who is constantly conspiring to educate and bless you. You can see life as on your side. Choosing to believe this is truth will completely change how you feel about your life and yourself for the better.
The only other option you have is to resist an experience, be bent out of shape by it, complain about it and refuse to learn from it. This attitude does nothing but magnify the suffering and discourage you. It may also make you less motivated to change and improve. Why work at things if they don't mean anything anyway?
When you choose to see a bad situation as a perfect lesson, you will always come through with more strength, wisdom and love, and you get to choose how you want to live. It is totally up to you.
If you are ready to embrace this idea and have more joy and less suffering this year, join us in a fun, life-changing exercise to record what you learned every day in 2017. Get yourself a fresh journal where you will record the lessons your unique journey provides every day. Each night before bed take a minute and write what your classroom taught you today.
Master coach Nicole Cunningham and I have both committed to this practice this year, and we also plan to leave room on the margins of each page to write the topic of each post so we can flip back through the book and find topics we want to read about again and again.
You could also do this on your Facebook wall, blog or in an electronic file (though don’t make this about showing off to others). Keep this as an exercise about you and your growth, and not about getting validation.
Take some time today and take stock of the ways you were stuck in fear or bad behavior last year, and make 2017 the year you learn your way out of it. I say “learn your way out” because "you can’t do better until you know better."
Make this the year you recruit some outside help and start creating the life you really want. Every coaching client I’ve ever had has said, “I wish I had learned this stuff sooner.” And they could have, but most wait until things get really bad, before they ask for help. Don’t wait.
There are resources and experts all around you that can make changing your life, relationships or results easier and faster. Sometimes we are afraid to seek help because the known (even if it’s bad) seems safer than the unknown. This is why we stay in abusive relationships or continue to put up with an unhealthy marriage or a bad job.
Please hear me on this: The problems in your life are easier and less painful to fix than you think, especially if you have help. You may already have a hunch about what help you need and how to find it, but you aren’t acting on it. Take action.
The universe will always guide you to the answers you need. It gently nudges you and drops hints so you can’t miss the path you are meant to follow. Life just waits for you to be brave enough to choose yourself and grow. It will not force you through your classroom, though it may hit you with a two-by-four, if the gentle nudges aren’t working.
Be honest with yourself today about the ways you may be hiding from growth or avoiding a class you need to take. Are there problems anywhere in your life you are ignoring, distracting yourself from or pretending aren’t there?
Are you keeping yourself busy or self-medicating with work, hobbies, TV, pornography, romance novels, alcohol or other interests, instead of working on fixing your life?
It may be time to admit you don’t know how to fix what is broken. That is the first step to change, and remember it’s not weakness to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength. Ask for help.
There are some great worksheets and tools on our website to help you work through your problems and find solutions. My favorite is the Clarity Questions Worksheet, and you can access it here.
Choose to make 2017 your best year yet in personal growth. Choose to stretch out of your comfort zone, gain some new skills and tools and create a richer life. Making this happen isn’t as scary or as hard as you think.
You may have noticed I end every article I write with the phrase “You can do this.” I end this way because most of us have subconscious belief that says, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard and I’m not good enough” but that’s not truth. You are meant to do this, grow, rise, solve problems and succeed. You can use the power of conscious choice (in every moment) to choose to believe you are safe, on track, ready and perfectly able to succeed in your classroom … whatever it brings.
Make sure you join our mailing list by texting "Claritypoint" to 71441 (and get a free e-book by Kim Giles too) or follow us on social media this year, as we provide you with tips, skills, tools and advice and help you to suffer less and have more joy.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com and a corporate trainer. Nicole Cunningham is a master coach for families, parents and teens.
This was first published on KSL.com
Every year I make a recommendation of a resolution you could make that would make the biggest difference in your life. (Look at past suggestions here — forgiveness, better communication skills, seeing all people as the same, etc.)
You have many great options, but this year I would encourage you to make one important daily goal — to trust God, the universe and the process of life more and fear and worry less.
If you trust the universe and life that they are always on your side, even conspiring to serve you and educate you every second of your life, you will see everything as a blessing and you will have more joy.
Right now, you may suffer daily fron a fear of loss, which is the fear of everything that could go wrong in your life. Right now, you may see life and the universe as random and chaotic (at least at the subconscious level). You may believe that because of free agency, we are all running around making choices that affect other people’s journeys and because of that you can lose things or opportunities you should have had. You may believe you can ruin your life or that others could ruin it. All of this leads to stress, worry, anger, distrust and misery, but there is a way out.
You could choose to see life as a perfect, divine, classroom where nothing can go wrong and you can’t lose anything you should have had, because you and the universe are always creating your perfect classroom journey, every second of every day. (When I say “perfect” I don’t mean that you are always going to like it though. I define perfect as: exactly fitting a certain situation or for a certain purpose.)
I believe the universe is a wise teacher and life is a perfect classroom. This means every experience is always the perfectly fitting lesson for each of us at that time. It means we can't lose anything unless it is our perfect classroom to lose it and if we trusted this we would suffer somewhat less.
But each of us must accept this idea as a principle of truth, for it to have power in our life, so let me explain why I believe it is truth.
Everywhere I look in the universe I see perfect order. I believe God is a God of order. I also believe his ultimate objective is the education and growth of us, his children. I believe God created this universe to be our classroom and this universe does nothing except conspire to serve and educate us, because that is its job.
I don’t believe in predestination though. I believe we have complete free agency and are co-creating our journey with the universe every day. I believe it responds to everything you think, choose, believe and do, and brings you the perfect lessons you need next.
I believe this is truth because I see so much divine order in the universe that it staggers my imagination. There are millions of coincidences operating with infinite precision all around us and they could be signs to us that a higher power is in charge. Let me give you some examples:
Myles Standish, a mathematical astronomer and a former professor at Yale University, said, "if the Earth rotated just a fraction of a percent faster or slower, or if it was just a fraction closer or further away from the sun, or if it rotated at a slightly different speed, or if the Moon were positioned differently or rotated and went around the Earth at a slightly different speed, life on Earth would not be possible."
But there is more.
Amir Aczel, author of the book "Why Science Does Not Disprove God," said, “The odds against a universe [like ours existing] with life and intelligence on it [as we are] are at most 1 to a number that has a 1 followed by 10 raised to the power of 117 zeros.”
I believe that a God, who is powerful enough to create a universe with this much perfect order, would never leave the thing he cares about most — your education — to random chance.
Do you really think he sent you down here to muddle through whatever chaos came your way, just hoping you would learn something of value from the battle?
Or do you think he is capable of creating a universe with the forces necessary to educate each soul in the exact way that soul needs to be educated?
God is the author of this whole thing, the universe, you, and your life. There are no accidents or coincidences, and we are safe in God’s hands the entire time. (At least this is a perspective you can choose to have, which will have an amazing and postiive effect on your life.)
You simply have two choices. You can see God as the author of all things and trust him, letting go of your fears, worries, expectations, attachments and misery. You can trust the universe and the process of life, go with the flow, expect amazing, interesting, educational things to come your way, and see whatever happens as perfect. Or you can keep trying to control things you can’t possibly control, resist what is and suffer a great deal.
It’s up to you.
Make a goal this year to see miracles everywhere, look for the perfect lessons in everything and trust God, the universe and the process of life that everything will work out in the end. This will make you less grouchy and less stressed, and much more happy.
You can do this.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
Web Tease: Coach Kim's yearly New Year's resolution article. This year she challenges us to see all people as having the same value and make a stand for human rights, tolerance and love.
For the last two years in January I have recommended one resolution that would have the biggest impact on your life. In 2013 I wrote about improving communication skills and thereby improving your relationships at home and work. In 2014 I recommended forgiving yourself and others as this would greatly improve your self-esteem and quality of life. This year, I would like to recommend a resolution that could not only change your life — but may also change the world.
There is a great deal of hate sweeping our planet right now. There is terrible racial conflict in our country and fighting over differences in religion, race and sexual orientation, happening around the world. As we have watched the fighting, beheadings, riots and terrorism on TV, we, at our house, find ourselves asking the same question over and over, “What can we do to change this?”
This question can leave us feeling powerless at times, but the truth is, one person can make a difference. People like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., who successfully made a big difference in the world, started out as regular people like you and me. They were regular people who decided to speak out for truth, but because their ideas were truth, it resonated with people and movements were born.
I am going to tell how you can help, speak out, stand up and make your voice heard in defense of truth to encourage equality, respect, unity and love in the world, but before I do that I want you to understand the real root of the problem.
The real problem behind these conflicts is a problematic tendency of human nature that makes all of us subconsciously see those who are different from us (in any way) as less than or worse than us. We basically assume that if we are different from another person, one of us must be better and the other worse. Since we don’t want to be the bad one, we subconsciously look for the bad in the other person so we can cast them as the bad guy, making us feel like the good guy. This can happen in a split second without us even consciously realizing we are doing it.
If you put any two people in a room, they will immediately (subconsciously) either feel intimidated and less than the other person, or slightly better and above the other. The factors influencing this viewpoint may be racial, social, economic or educational, but the more different they are from each other, the more fear and discomfort will be generated. We are also subconsciously afraid of things we don’t understand. So, people who are vastly different from us make us even more uncomfortable. This is why we struggle to accept those of different cultures or sexual orientation. Since we have a hard time understanding them, the difference generates more fear.
Have you noticed how we flock to those who are most like us? We are always more comfortable around our own kind, though we can change this by pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and over time we can become comfortable around anyone. The problem is that most of us don’t push ourselves to do this. We just stay with our group.
This simple subconscious tendency to fear those who are different is responsible for most of the conflict, fighting, war, prejudice, racism, discrimination and hate on the planet. This tendency to see ourselves as better than others and think that our way is the right way and everyone else is wrong — is dividing countries, communities and even families. It is separating us and drawing all kinds of lines of division. We divide ourselves by political party, religion, neighborhood, which mayonnaise we use, which soda we drink and which school or sports team we cheer for, and then we declare ourselves as better than ‘those people’ and cast them as the enemy.
This has to stop.
But the only way to stop it is to change the way we think about and see each other, and this change has to happen inside the head of every person individually.
The problem is, the only person you have any control over is you.
So, that is where you must start. You must work on changing you.
You can start this year by committing to see all people as the same as you. This is the resolution I recommend in 2015. Practice not letting differences scare you, make you uncomfortable, suspicious or angry. You can practice letting all men be free to be who they are and not see yourself as better than anyone else. You can commit to treat all people as one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, amazing, divine human beings with the same value as you. You can work on treating people with respect, kindness and acceptance everywhere you go.
You can also check your behavior at all times by asking yourself if the behavior is lawful, kind, respectful, honest or helpful. If it isn’t going to further the cause of liberty, love and brotherhood with all people — don’t say it or don’t do it.
You can also join the march for tolerance, racial unity and peace online, right now. In the old days, people had to gather in a public place to march (to be seen and heard) and draw attention to a cause. You can now reach the world at home through social media.
Visit www.itakethechallenge.com to read more about how to join the march for tolerance and peace on social media. Make a sign, then film a video or take a picture and post them on social media with your commitment to be the solution. Use #iamthesolution with your post. I took the challenge and my video is on Facebook.
Then, directly challenge (call out) three of your friends or neighbors to do the same. Together we could literally flood social media with videos and pictures of people advocating for love, tolerance and unity. Then (and most importantly) back it up with your behavior this year. Make a commitment to actually live what you profess.
Don’t wait to act on this. Do it today. Don’t worry about how you look or the quality of the film. Just do it.
If Martin Luther King Jr. was still here and was organizing a march in your town today, would you join in? Would you be willing to speak out and let the world know that you commit to see all people as equal in value and deserving of respect, justice, tolerance and love?
This is your chance.
The world needs to see and hear from the silent majority who don’t make the news and who aren’t racist, angry or intolerant. It needs to hear from people who understand looting and anger aren’t going to change things. It needs to hear from you.
We need to flood the Internet in 2015 with commitments of peace, equality and love. Remember if you aren’t part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Please do something.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a coach and speaker.
I want to make some changes and improve myself this year. If you could recommend one thing (I could work on) that would have the greatest impact in my life, what would it be?
I answered this same question in January 2013 and my answer was to improve your communication skills, thereby improving your relationships at home and work. You can read that article here.
Improving your relationships will make a huge difference, but I would like to re-address the best way to do that. I now believe, after a year of personal growth myself, the best resolution you could possibly make (that would have the greatest impact on the quality of your life) is to forgive yourself and others.
Forgiveness is the key to happiness.
Think about what you really want most. Do you want peace, confidence or happiness? Do you want a better marriage, a greater sense of self-worth, a sense of safety and security, or just some hope?
Forgiveness will give you everything you want.
Forgiveness is not easy, though, and I am not going to make light of the horrible things people have done to you. I know firsthand how difficult it is to let go of these grievances, but you must do it if you want peace, self-esteem and joy.
To make forgiving easier I am going to teach you some principles that will help you look at these situations from a fresh perspective.
Principle 1: You alone are responsible for the pain you are experiencing. No situation can cause you pain, because your thoughts about the situation are in your control. No one can take away your peace or give you peace. You alone have that power. If you struggle to understand this principle, read my article about choosing to be upset.
You have the power to choose peace, joy and confidence. You cannot be hurt or diminished unless you choose to be.
Principle 2: You cannot be diminished because your value is infinite and absolute. Whatever mistakes you have made, they don’t change your value. Your value cannot change because life is a classroom, not a test — and your value isn't on the line. You are always perfect as you are, where you are, right now in your journey of learning and growing — and so is everyone else.
At least you have the option of seeing people this way if you want to.
If you hold onto anger and the right to condemn others because you think you must do this to defend yourself, you are actually giving power to the idea that you can be hurt or diminished. You are choosing to see yourself as vulnerable and thereby giving people power to hurt you.
When you see yourself as bulletproof, you let attacks roll off because they have no power.
Principle 3: Life is a classroom and every offense or mistake experience is here to teach you something. Every situation that shows up in your life is there to teach you to forgive and love at a deeper level. We know this because learning to love is why you are here. When you make a mistake you should learn from it, then forgive yourself and let it go. When someone else does, you point it out in a loving way so they can learn, then forgive and let it go.
(Just FYI, your spouse and children will be your greatest teachers. Your family is your primary forgiveness classroom. When you see your family life this way, you will finally be seeing it accurately. Every fight or disappointment is a chance to practice and all marriage problems are forgiveness issues.)
Principle 4: Real forgiveness means seeing yourself and other people accurately — as innocent, completely forgiven, struggling, scared, messed up, but perfect students in the classroom of life, with lots still to learn.
Forgiving does not mean seeing these people as guilty and condemning them for their mistakes, and then trying to pardon them because you know you should. If you try to forgive this way it will never happen. You will still be hung up on the fact that they don’t deserve it.
Forgiveness cannot be a gift undeserved, because that mindset is still wrapped up in judgment. Real forgiveness only happens when you let go of judgment.
Real forgiveness happens when you understand that perfect love has already forgiven all the wrongs, pain, and hurt on both sides anyway. It is about understanding that the entire past has already been wiped clean of all fear-based behavior and every moment is a chance to start over and do better.
We are all scared, struggling students in the classroom of life, doing the best we can with what we know — and more learning, love, wisdom and understanding will come to all of us eventually. We will figure out what we did wrong and why. In the meantime, we must give each other permission to be a student who is still learning. We must not crucify each other for every mistake or fault.
Real forgiveness is about giving the gift of innocence to others because you want it for yourself. It is about understanding that you get what you give.
The key to forgiveness lies in one very simple choice that you must make over and over, every moment of your life, and it is a simple choice because there are only two options:
1. You can live in judgment of yourself and others, condemning and crucifying yourself and others for every mistake. But if you choose this, it will also mean experiencing guilt, pain, self-pity, anger and low self-esteem. This happens because when you choose a judgment mindset toward others, you will also feel subconsciously judged and suffer from a fear of not being good enough.
If you want to escape that fear, you must choose option two.
2. You can choose to forgive yourself and other people, and let go of every misconceived, stupid, selfish, fear-based mistake either of you has ever made. You can choose to see these mistakes for what they really were — bad behavior born of fear, confusion, self-doubt, and lack of knowledge. You can choose to see everyone as innocent and forgiven by perfect love, and in doing so let them and yourself start over with a clean slate every day.
If you choose this mindset you will feel safe, loved, whole and good enough all the time, no matter what you do.
How do you want to live?
(You should not put up with mistreatment or abuse though. You should ask other people to honor your value the same way you will honor theirs. If someone refuses to do this, you may choose to love them from afar and not maintain a relationship with them, but you must still see them accurately and forgive them, if you want peace.)
If you struggle with forgiveness, I encourage you to work with a counselor or coach this year who can help you battle the issues that make forgiveness difficult. I also have some forgiveness worksheets on my website that may help.
You may also want to follow me on Facebook or Twitter this year. Starting Jan. 1, 2014 I will be posting daily lessons from the “Course in Miracles.” Practicing these simple lessons will change the way you see yourself and your life forever and help you to escape fear.
You can do this!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought-after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in eliminating drama in the workplace. She offers free coaching calls every Tuesday night.
Every January I get excited about the fresh start of a new year. I’m excited to set goals, make changes and become a better me — but by February I’ve fallen back to my old habits again. What can I do this year to make my New Year’s resolutions stick?
When you consistently fail to reach a goal, there is probably a counter-intention in the way. A counter-intention is a strong desire to do something that is the opposite of — or counter to — your goal.
In the past, your counter-intention has been stronger than your resolution to make a change. The good news is, this year you can do it.
To overcome your hurdle, identify what your counter-intention is, then choose a more passionate positive intention to eliminate it.
Here are four examples:
1) You may have fear about the responsibilities and commitments accomplishing this goal brings with it. You want the goal but you may not want the other things more. Your desire to avoid these commitments and responsibilities is your counter-intention. For example: You may be afraid that if you lose weight, people will expect you to keep it off. They may expect you to diet and exercise forever. Avoiding long-term commitment can stop you from achieving what you want.
To beat this counter intention: Don’t look so far ahead. Take it one day at a time. Decide who you want to be today. Decide what actions you will take today. Trust that when you reach the future, your abilities will have expanded and you will be able to handle what comes. Don’t let a fear of the future stop you from being the person you want to be, right now.
2) You may have a strong aversion toward the tasks required to accomplish your goal. You may love the idea of being thinner but hate the idea of dieting and exercising. If you hate exercise and the foods available to you on a diet, your counter-intention is your strong desire to avoid those things. You may force yourself for a while, but when you’re motivated by “I have to” or “I need to,” there’s just no joy in the tasks and the motivation doesn’t last.
To beat this counter intention: Change the tasks and make them enjoyable. Find a form of exercise you “love to do” or “get to do,” something that is fun and brings you joy. There are many fun ways to exercise that don't feel like exercise. Try Zumba, playing basketball or ice skating. Then find some healthy foods that actually taste good (yes, there actually are some). It is easy to stay motivated when you're doing something you want to do.
3) You may be getting a benefit from staying where you are, so there is a counter-intention that doesn’t want to change. For example, you may feel there are benefits to being overweight; you may use your weight as an excuse to get you out of things you don’t want to do. If you lose the weight you may lose the convenient excuse. Or you may love chocolate cake more than you love the idea of being thin (that’s the problem for me).
To beat this counter-intention: Decide who you really want to be and consciously choose to let go of the benefit.Decide that accomplishing this goal has greater benefits than excuses (and cake). Consciously make the decision to let the old benefits go. You may want to write them down and burn the paper as a symbol of your commitment. Focus on the benefits of success.
4) You may have an all-or-nothing attitude. This means that if you mess up once, you will throw in the towel and wait for next year. Your counter-intention is a perfectionist mindset. It says, “If I can’t do it perfectly I might as well give up.”
To beat this counter-intention: Change your standard of success. A mistake doesn’t mean you won’t make it. Talk to anyone who has quit smoking and they will tell you they tried to quit numerous times before they finally did it. If you fall off the wagon for a week, don’t let the mistake stop you. You don’t have to do it perfectly to benefit from the effort. Taking two steps forward and one step back will still win the race in the end.
My goal this year with LIFEadvice is to give you principle-based, time-tested solutions, which can change your life for the better. If you will read this column each week, I will teach you principles and give you the tools to solve many of life’s problems. Please send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Life is a classroom and it's time to learn.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker. Watch LIFEadvice with Coach Kim on KSL TV every Monday between 6-6:30am
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.