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Sun CloudsOne of the most powerful personal development tools we have is self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and comprehend our emotions, motivations, and changing moods. It’s being aware of how we act in certain situations and what we think and do as a result. The more aware we are of our emotions and feelings, the better we can make positive choices with our words, attitudes, and actions. After all, it’s our thoughts and feelings that reflect our outlook in life and most importantly our attitude toward ourselves and others. With self-awareness we’re more mindful in our decision making and identifying opportunities for our professional and personal growth.

Self-awareness can be practiced by paying close attention to the way we think about ourselves and our interactions with others. This includes our responses to verbal and non-verbal communication with other people and their reactions towards us. By recognizing how we express ourselves and interact with others, we can then shift our perspective from any negative aspect into something more positive and self-assured. Bringing awareness into the experience of our lives opens up the reality for positive change which we create for ourselves and the world around us

Believing in Ourselves

To believe in ourselves means to have trust in our feelings, thoughts, and intuition. Building trust in ourselves is an important skill which helps to develop our confidence, improves decision-making, and creates inner peace. Knowing and understanding ourselves is far more significant than how others perceive us. We tend to place too much importance on what other people think, and not enough value on what we know in our hearts to be true. We need to have the courage to accept ourselves as we truly are, and not what someone else thinks we should be.

Believing in ourselves is about developing awareness and self-compassion which is a way of relating to the mystery of who we are. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge our strengths and talents, as well as the areas in which we need to grow. How we choose to think, feel, and act determines the outcomes we’re able to create. We can then honor the positive efforts we make each day toward realizing our goals. The more we learn to trust ourselves and our inner wisdom, the easier it becomes for us to see the strengths in ourselves and the potential we have in our lives and careers.

Connecting with Others

We connect and interact with people through our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, which is our presence or who we are. Every communication we have is an exchange of energy and we can sense this “flow” of energy when we connect with others. Often times it’s difficult to connect with people if our minds are overburden with worry, stress, or even the latest gossip. Yet, the more our heads are filled with mental noise, the less effective our interactions and communication becomes. It’s the quality of our connection that creates the basis of our interactions and relationships with people.

Greeting and welcoming others with positive energy greatly improves the quality of our connection. Since it’s through our emotions and attitude that we connect with others, why not eliminate judgment and greet people by seeing the best in them. Seeing the best in others generates an incredible connection where our interactions become easier and more natural. We can learn to use this positive energy to communicate more efficiently for greater clarity and success. The more authentic we are when connecting with others, the better we feel about ourselves and the easier it is for us to establish trust, sincerity, and appreciation in all of our relationships.

Fears and Doubts

Snow CardinalFear and doubt are basic emotions that everyone experiences which include many things, such as fear of the future, worrying about the past, doubts about relationships, or uncertainty about careers. It’s our fears and doubts that block our personal growth and limit us toward reaching our full potential. Often times we become so attached to our fearful thoughts and anxieties that we think they’re all that exist. Yet, it’s important to remind ourselves about the countless times we were successful in life, despite our fears and doubts.

To overcome fear and doubt, we must first become aware of how much it is affecting our lives. What kind of thoughts race through our mind whenever fear arises? Are our fears keeping us from moving forward with what we want to accomplish, or do we doubt our own abilities. It’s our perception and attitude that determines our thoughts and how we feel about ourselves. By reflecting upon our fears, we can learn to identify any fearful thinking and try to understand the root cause of our fears. As our fears diminish, our minds open to new insights and experiences that can benefit and enrich our lives.

How Well Do We Communicate?

Communication is an essential skill in today’s world. It’s how we exchange information, ideas, and emotions with people. Yet, how well do we communicate? Every contact we make involves communication, whether it’s speaking, listening, messaging, body language, or even the tone of our voice all play a role in how well we communicate. Whatever we’re thinking or feeling becomes a part of our message that is communicated with others. No matter what our background, experience, or culture, good communication skills express our ideas and feelings while helping us understand the thoughts and feelings of others.

To communicate well is a combination of nonverbal communication, active listening, and the ability to perceive the many ways people communicate. Clarity in communication makes understanding easier and enhances the meaning of our message. That’s why it’s important to use words that are clear and concise to avoid misinterpretation, which means fewer misunderstandings. Though miscommunication does happen, we can recognize how we converse through our mistakes and often learn a lot about the person we’re communicating with as well. Being aware of our speaking and listening skills on all levels gives us greater understanding which leads to the highest level of communication.

Mindful Leadership

Everyone can benefit from being a mindful leader as it applies to our personal and professional life. Mindfulness is being aware of our thoughts, emotions, and actions. It means paying attention to the present moment and experiencing it nonjudgmentally. Leadership depends upon our ability to understand others and communicate in a way that motivates people to overcome challenges while achieving their goals. With mindful leadership, we can perceive people and their actions with a fresh perspective, rather than stay mindlessly stuck in negative assumptions and judgments. The greater the diversity of people and personalities we can successfully connect and communicate with, the more effective we become as a leader.

The practice of mindfulness helps us to be fully present and respond to situations with attentiveness, rather than over reacting to circumstances. One way we can practice being a mindful leader is to imagine that our thoughts are totally transparent to those around us. If they were, we’d certainly be more aware of every thought we have. Yet, the more aware we are of our thoughts and feelings, the better we can make positive choices with our words, attitudes, and actions. Mindful leadership helps us create incredible success in serving others and creating a better community for us all.

Being Evenminded

ValentinesEvenmindedness is the state of being calm, balanced, and composed even under stressful situations. Usually we have a tendency to react with aversion when something unpleasant happens. Our senses, moods, and even the misunderstanding of others can all contribute to an anxious or restless mind. Yet, being evenminded helps to give us clear perception, which is the ability to see things as they really are and undistorted by our emotional bias. A calm, balanced mind perceives at a much higher level where it’s easier to experience a sense of clarity which helps improve concentration, decision making, and intuition.

One way to check if we are evenminded is to observe throughout the day whether or not we can keep the continuity of our calmness. Whether we work fast or slow, we should work from a center of calmness. Try not to work or act from a restless state of mind. Everything we do in life depends upon our outlook and emotions. By being evenminded, we can restore our inner harmony and return to a more peaceful pattern and positive way of being.

Experiencing Happiness

When asked what people want most in life, almost everyone puts happiness at the top of the list. Happiness is the experience of our inner joy. It is created from within ourselves, rather than with life's many circumstances or material things. That’s why we can attain happiness even while living through all the activities and moods of everyday life. Happiness is not about the things we have, but how we feel within ourselves.

We can experience happiness by looking inward and becoming more aware of the patterns and roles we play in life. Much of our behavior happens automatically, outside of our conscious awareness. As we pay close attention to our thoughts and feelings, we can become more mindful of what’s being created “right now.” Happiness comes by living each moment with an attitude of inner joy and peace, even among all the struggles and problems of life. True happiness is not given to us, it’s the joy we create within ourselves, which is then shared with others as our gift to the world.

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