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We cannot do what we use to do

and expect different results!


Following Nature's Cycles

by Madisyn Taylor

We cannot have harmony and balance in our lives, if we forget to include the earth and natural rhythms in our lives.

Nature, in all its myriad forms, is the most powerful force on earth. Although mankind has tried, we have not found a way to match its awesome power, but we have found ways to work with it. Science often confirms the wisdom of the ancients who observed and then harnessed nature's rhythms and cycles to shape and enhance their lives. We can begin to do this in our own lives by first paying attention to our own natural rhythms, such as when we wake or when we feel the need to sleep. If possible, we may want to try to rise and sleep with the sun or live without electricity for a weekend and then monitor how we feel. We can make the choice to eat the foods of the seasons and to seek fresher, locally grown, or organic produce whose own cycles have not been tampered with by technology.

We can create harmony in our homes by making a smooth transition between our indoor and outdoor spaces. By bringing some of the outdoors inside and taking some of our indoor décor out, we can simultaneously enjoy nature and the comforts of home and the feeling that our living space is expanded. Then, whether inside or out, we can lounge on a comfortable piece of furniture and feel the wind, inhale the scent of deeply breathing plants, listen for the many songs of life, and observe the moon and the stars. As we do this more often, we may find ourselves noticing the pull of the full moon on bodies of water, as well as the water in bodies, or the music of the night acting as a lullaby.

When we seek balance in our lives, we want to balance not just our roles in life but also the natural elements in our spaces. Having representations of the elements in the colors, shapes, and textures of our homes will appeal to our mind, body, and spirit. We may find that when we sync ourselves with nature's rhythms, we ride the waves of energy to feel more in harmony with life and the world around us.




Your Positive Attitude


A positive attitude makes you happier and more resilient, it improves your relationships, and it even increases your chances of success in any endeavor.

In addition, having a positive attitude makes you more creative and it can help you to make better decisions. To top it all off, there are studies that show that people with a positive attitude live longer than their sourpuss counterparts.

Below you’ll discover 21 ways to create and maintain a positive attitude.


1. Have a Morning Routine.

How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Make sure that you have an attitude-boosting morning routine that puts you in a good mood so that you can start the day off right.


2. Carry An Attitude of Happiness With You.

Instead of waiting for external things to make you happy, be happy, and then watch how that influences the things that go on around you.

That is, instead of telling yourself that first something good has to happen, and then you’ll be happy, be happy first. Happiness is an attitude, not a situation.


3. Relish Small Pleasures.

Big pleasures—graduation, getting married, being promoted, having your book published—come too infrequently. Life is made up of tiny victories and simple pleasures.

With the right mental attitude, watching the sunset, eating an ice cream cone, and walking barefoot on the grass are all you need to be filled with joy.


4. Smile.

Smiling will give you an instantaneous attitude boost.

Try smiling for a minute while you think of a happy memory or the last thing that made you smile.

Smiling releases endorphins and serotonin, also known as the feel-good hormones.

It’s a lot easier to adopt a positive attitude when the chemicals being released by your body are conducive to well-being.


5. Upload Positivity to Your Brain.

Read books with a positive message, listen to music with uplifting lyrics, and watch movies in which the protagonist’s optimism helps him/her to overcome obstacles and win, despite the odds.

Change your attitude for the better by uploading as much positivity into your brain as you possibly can.


6. Take Responsibility.

At any moment your attitude can be that of a victim or of a creator.

The first step you need to take to shift from victim-mode to creator-mode is to take responsibility. Here’s the attitude of a creator:

  • I create my life.

  • I am responsible for me.

  • I’m in charge of my destiny.


7. Have a Zen Attitude.

Think of life not as something that’s happening to you, but as something that’s happening for you.

Look at any challenging situation, person, or event as a teacher that’s been brought into your life to teach you something.

The next time you find yourself thinking, “Why is this happening to me?” choose to have a Zen attitude, instead. Ask yourself, “What am I supposed to learn or gain from this”? or “How will this help me grow and become a better, more enlightened being?”


8. Be Proactive.

A reactive person allows others and external events to determine how they will feel.

A proactive person decides how they will feel regardless of what may be going on around them.

Be proactive by choosing your attitude and maintaining it throughout the day, regardless of what the day may bring.


9. Change Your Thoughts. Positive thoughts lead to a positive attitude, while negative thoughts lead to a negative attitude.

Changing your attitude is as easy as hitting the “pause” button on what you’re thinking and choosing to think different thoughts.


10. Have a Purpose.

Having a purpose in life gives you a fixed point in the horizon to focus on, so that you can remain steady amid life’s vicissitudes and challenges.

Bringing meaning and purpose into your life—knowing why you are here—will do wonders for your attitude.


11. Focus On the Good.

In order to have a positive attitude, focus on the good. Focus on the good in yourself, the good in your life, and the good in others.


12. Stop Expecting Life to Be Easy.

The truth is, life gets tough at times. For all of us. It can even be painful.

But you’re brave and resourceful, and you can take it.

Know that sometimes things won’t be easy, and adopt the attitude that you have what it takes to deal with anything that life throws at you.


13. Keep Up Your Enthusiasm.

Enthusiastic people have a great attitude toward life.

Have a list of ways to lift your enthusiasready for those times when you feel your zest for life draining away. Being enthusiastic will help you maintain the attitude that life is good and that you’re lucky to be alive.


14. Give Up On Having An Attitude of Entitlement.

Think of the parable “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson.

Two little mice and two miniature people are put in a maze. Here’s what happens:

  • When the mice discover that the cheese isn’t where it’s supposed to be, they immediately get to work on finding another piece of cheese.

  • The two miniature people, instead, get angry that the cheese has been moved. They waste time expressing outrage and blaming each other.


Stop demanding that things be handed to you. Your attitude at all times should be the following:


  • It’s up to me to get what I want.

  • Good things come to those who work hard.

  • I adapt to change easily and quickly.

  • I keep going even when things get tough.


15. Visualize.

When things aren’t going your way, keep a positive attitude by visualizing yourself succeeding and achieving your goals.

When Nelson Mandela was incarcerated—in a tiny cell that was just 6 feet wide–he kept his hopes up by visualizing himself being set free.

Mandela once said, “I thought of the day when I would walk free.

Over and over again, I fantasized about what I would like to do.” By visualizing his release he was able to maintain a positive attitude, even when he found himself under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.


16. Limit Your Complaints.

Whining about anything and everything is not conducive to a positive attitude.

When you complain you’re saying negative things about a person, place, or event, without offering a solution to fix the situation.

Instead of complaining, do the following:

  • Remove yourself from the situation.

  • Shift your perspective about the situation.

  • Offer a possible solution.

  • Accept that there’s nothing you can do to change the situation and that complaining about it just fosters negativity.

Constantly complaining leads to a bad attitude. So stop complaining.

Instead, start looking for solutions or accept what cannot be changed 


17. Watch Your Words.

Use positive words when you talk to yourself.

Studies have found that positive self-talk can boost your willpower and help you psych yourself up when you need to get through a difficult task.

In addition, it can calm you down when you’re worried or anxious. If you want to change your attitude from “I can’t do this” or “I’m going to fail”, to “I’ve got this” or “I’m going to do great”, change your self -talk. 


18. Use The Power of Humor.

People who know how to laugh at themselves and at life’s absurdities have a great attitude.

Your sense of humor is a powerful tool, and you can use it to lift your mood and enhance your emotional state at any time. 

When something goes wrong, ask yourself, “What’s funny about this?”

A humorous perspective will have a positive effect on your attitude. 


19. Use Gratitude to Improve Your Attitude.

When you find yourself focusing on what’s wrong in your life, what you don’t have, or what you’re missing out on, adjust your attitude by feeling gratitude. 

Studies show that having an attitude of gratitude is beneficial for every aspect of your life: being grateful improves your health, your mood, your relationships, your career satisfaction, and on, and on.

If you need an attitude lift simply think of all the things that you have to be grateful for.  


20. Develop an Attitude of Curiosity.

The best way to approach any situation is to be open to what you can learn from it.

That is, be curious.Curiosity gives you a present-moment orientation which is similar to mindfulness.

Being curious about a situation allows you to experience it more fully.

In addition, curiosity will help you to approach uncertainty in your daily life with a positive attitude.


 21. Seek Out Others With a Positive Attitude.

A positive attitude is contagious.

When you feel that you need an attitude boost, find someone with a great attitude and look for an excuse to hang out with them.

Their attitude can’t help but rub itself off on you and you’ll be able to face the world with renewed optimism.



John Mitchell once said the following: “Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude toward us.” The 21 tips above will help you to keep a positive attitude at all times. Live your best life by having a great attitude.



15 Important Reminders for Your Darkest Moments of Self-Doubt

Written by

15 Little Reminders for Your Darkest Moments of Self-Doubt

Our character is often most evident at our highs and lows. Be humble at the mountaintops, be strong in the valleys, and be faithful in between.


Why are we feeling this way—so beaten up and worn down?

Why do we, who start out so passionate, courageous, worthy, and believing, become utterly bankrupt by the youthful age of 30, 40, or 50?


Why is it that one of us drowns in material consumption and debt, another self-mutilates, a third seeks oblivion in hard liquor and gambling, a fourth, in order to stifle fear and judgment, cynically tramples and berates her own individuality, intelligence, and priceless youth?


Why is it that, once fallen, we don’t attempt to rise back up?

Or, having lost one thing, why don’t we attempt to seek another?


Why? Why? Why!!!


Because we give up on ourselves too soon.

We let that monster named negativity chew us up and spit us out into a murky puddle of self-doubt.

And we’ve all been there at some point too. So, if you can relate right now, here are some important reminders to keep handy…


  1. When your marriage, parenting, faith, etc. gets tough, it’s not a sign that you’re doing it wrong. These intimate, intricate aspects of life are toughest when you’re doing them right – when you’re dedicating time, having tough conversations, and making daily sacrifices.
  2. On particularly hard days when you feel that you can’t endure, remind yourself that your track record for getting through hard days is 100% so far.
  3. Have a little faith that the universe has a plan for you, and it’s all being revealed in the right time frame. Something you will eventually learn through all your ups and downs is that there are really no wrong decisions in life, just choices that will take your life down different paths. Sometimes you must get hurt in order to grow, or lose in order to gain. Sometimes the lesson you need most can only be learned through a little pain.
  4. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
  5. Life is not about maintaining the status quo. Life is not about playing it safe every second. Life is not about standing still and wallowing in self-doubt. It’s about connecting with your soul, respecting your integrity, and telling yourself that you’re able. It’s about taking a few steps, regardless of how hard and small they may be, so you can move forward and evolve. (Read Daring Greatly.)
  6. You must make a firm decision that you’re going to move forward. It won’t always happen naturally or automatically. Sometimes you will have to rise up and say, “I don’t care how hard this is. I don’t care how disappointed I am. I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”
  7. No matter what’s happening, you CAN efficiently fight the battles of today. It’s only when you add the battles of those two relentless eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that life gets overwhelmingly complicated. Realize that it’s not the experience of today by itself that devastates you, but the regret and resentment about something that happened yesterday or the fear and dread of what tomorrow might bring. It’s necessary, therefore, to let yourself live just one day at a time – just today – just right here, right now.
  8. When you stop worrying about what you can’t control, you have time to change the things you can control. And that changes everything.
  9. Don’t worry about mistakes and failures, worry about what you’re giving up when you don’t even try.
  10. Making mistakes means you’re actually DOING something in the real world and learning from it. Listening or reading is often just listening or reading. It’s not real learning. Real learning comes from making mistakes. And mistakes come from gradual implementation.
  11. If you never go after it again, you’ll never have it. If you never ask again, the answer will always be no. If you never step forward again, you’re stuck right where you are.
  12. In the space between “I’ll try again” and “I give up” there’s a lifetime. It’s the difference between the path you walk and the one you leave behind; it’s the gap between who you are capable of being and who you have become; its the legroom for the fairy tales you’ll tell yourself in the future about what could have been.
  13. Everyone has a little talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it into the dark places where it leads, and beyond. (Marc and I discuss this in detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  14. Courage doesn’t always roar; sometimes it’s simply a whisper at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”
  15. If you’re still sitting there thinking, “Things should be different right now,” take a deep breath. That’s not true and you know it. Because if it were true, things would be different right now. Stay present and focus on what you can create today. And tomorrow will reveal itself exactly as it should, just as yesterday already has.

Now, it’s your turn…

It’s your turn to reinforce your better judgment.

All the love and validation you need is yours to give yourself.

Let that sink in.

Then leverage the reminders above as needed to let it sink in even deeper.

Truth be told, someday everything will make better sense.

Unimaginably good things will transpire in your life, even if things don’t turn out exactly the way you anticipated.

And you’ll look back at these past times, smile, and ask yourself, “How did I get through all of that?”

So take a deep breath right now.

And another…



7 Psychological Reasons You Keep Self-Sabotaging

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


Do you often get in the way of your own dreams, ambitions, and best intentions?


For example:

  • Do you have a habit of starting creative projects but never finishing them?
  • Maybe you have a pattern of ending relationships as soon as they start to get serious or complicated?
  • Or perhaps you tend to give up on personal commitments like diets or exercise regimens at similar points in the journey?

If so, it could be that you are self-sabotaging, which simply means that you tend to undermine your own goals.

And if this is something you struggle with, the first step to breaking the cycle is to understand why you do it and what’s causing it.


1. Limiting beliefs

Limiting beliefs are irrational or unhelpful stories we tell ourselves that hold us back from success and happiness.

For example: If the story you tell yourself about money is that only greedy people work hard to get it, is it any surprise that you tend to self-sabotage your financial goals?


The stories we tell ourselves shape how our own story unfolds.

If you want to undo these limiting beliefs and the self-sabotaging behaviors they produce, the first step is to confront them.

Now, this often takes great courage because confronting your limiting beliefs means facing up to how much you’ve lost and held yourself back from as a result.


So start small: Begin by cultivating a healthy skepticism and curiosity of any thought or belief you encounter.

Play with it, examine it, poke it a little.

Once you get used to questioning your smaller thoughts and beliefs, you’ll have more confidence to confront the bigger ones that are holding you back.


“Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that — thoughts.”

— Allan Lokos


2. Judgmental self-talk

I’m always amazed at how people can describe in painful detail the nature of their self-sabotaging behavior, but have almost zero insight into what’s going on mentally when they’re self-sabotaging.


Specifically, there’s often a flood of self-judgment and self-criticism leading up to the moment of self-sabotage that most people are barely conscious of. This is unfortunate because in many cases that’s exactly what puts people over the edge from challenging obstacle to self-sabotage.


Feeling bad is hard enough without feeling bad about feeling bad.

See, most people underestimate their capacity for dealing with challenging situations because they don’t know what it’s like to deal with a challenging situation without the whole extra layer of emotional pain and baggage that comes from a habit of self-judgment and criticism.


But it turns out, when you respond to challenges with self-compassion and kindness — the same way you would with a friend who was struggling — your capacity to deal with your challenges is far greater than you realize.


“Words matter. And the words that matter most are the ones you say to yourself.”

― David Taylor-Klaus


3. You don’t know what you want

One of the most underrated reasons why people self-sabotage is a lack of clarity about personal values.


Let’s say you struggle with self-sabotage with sticking to a diet.

How much work have you done to really understand and clarify the why (or value) behind your goal of dieting?

On a superficial level, it might be to lose weight, look better in a swimsuit, have more energy, etc.


But why do those matter?

Why is it personally meaningful to you to have more energy?

What will that help you achieve or feel or experience?


It’s a lot easier to resist the things you don’t want when you have a clear vision for what you do want.


Self-sabotage happens when we get pulled into unhelpful behaviors by our emotions at the expense of our values.

In order to resist the pull of those unhelpful emotions, you need to strengthen the pull of your values. And the best way to do that?

Clarify them, make them specific, juicy, palpable!

Because the clearer and more specific your values, the more likely you are to stick with them.


“Man cannot stand a meaningless life.”

— Carl Jung


4. Perfectionism

One way to think about perfectionism is that it’s an addiction to unreasonable standards.


For example: You constantly tell yourself that if you can work harder on your business you should.


While that sounds superficially motivating — and briefly alleviates your need for control — it’s actually a recipe for self-sabotage and failure.


Perfectionistic striving feels motivating in the short term, but it’s a setup for self-sabotage in the end.

If your expectations are constantly unreasonable, you’re inevitably going to fail to reach them, which is a setup for chronic disappointment, frustration, and even hopelessness.

And boy, you can only take so much frustration, disappointment, and discouragement before you throw your hands up and quit or start unconsciously giving yourself a way out of all those painful feelings by sabotaging the whole project.


“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.”

― Michael J. Fox


5. You’re afraid to be assertive

Assertiveness means asking for what you want in a way that’s respectful of other people and your own wants and needs.


Unfortunately, a lot of people are indoctrinated by society to think that standing up for yourself or asking for what you want directly is rude, manipulative, bitchy, etc.

As a result, many people end up chronically ignoring their own wants and needs for fear of upsetting or disappointing others.


Obviously, this poses a problem for achieving our goals…


How can you hope to meet your goals if you’re unwilling to ask for what you want?

If you want to stop self-sabotaging, do the work to understand the basics of assertive communication, get over your FODO (fear of disappointing others), and start going after what you want with confidence.


“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

— Greg McKeown


6. Chronic worry

If you’re stuck in the habit of chronic worry — catastrophizing and imagining the worst, for example — you’re going to feel chronically stressed and anxious.

And if you’re constantly stressed and anxious, you’re not going to be able to perform at your best with whatever ambition or goal you’re working toward.


For example: How are you going to be able to focus deeply and work at full capacity on your creative project if your concentration is constantly being broken by worries about what people will think of it or whether it will be successful?


Chronic worry is the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ultimately, worry is a way of avoiding the discomfort of some kind of anxiety — usually a lack of control or uncertainty.

But in the long-run, it solves nothing and makes you incredibly stressed and anxious, which can’t help but sabotage your goals.

If you want to stop letting anxiety and stress sabotage your goals, you must learn to control your worry habit.


“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.”

― Kahlil Gibran


7. You don’t enforce your boundaries

A lot of self-sabotage stems from a lack of confidence and self-respect.


For example, I worked with a client once who had a long pattern of starting businesses successfully only to virtually abandon them just as they were getting traction.

Turns out, while he had a lot of confidence starting business, he was terrified that he couldn’t handle the responsibility of running them once he had employees, investors, etc.

So he would end up self-sabotaging.


But what’s key to realize is that a lot of our lack of confidence and self-respect comes from unhealthy boundaries.


It’s hard to respect yourself when you don’t respect your own boundaries.

Think about it…

What are you teaching your brain if you’re in the habit of setting boundaries with people then constantly giving in or not enforcing those boundaries?

You’re teaching it that what you want isn’t really important — or at least, it’s not as important as what other people want.

So is it any surprise that you don’t feel confident in your abilities?

I mean, how can you respect yourself and act confidently — and avoid self-sabotage — when you’re unwilling to stand up for yourself and enforce your boundaries?


“If people keep stepping on you, wear a pointy hat.”

― Joyce Rachelle



3 Great Ways to Force Yourself to Be More Grateful (and a Little Happier)

Written by

3 Great Ways to Feel More Grateful (and a Lot Happier)


At the end of the day, before you close your eyes, breathe deeply, appreciate where you are, and be grateful for what you have. Life is good.


Most of us have amazing family members, friends, and other loved ones who love us back. Learn to appreciate what a gift that is. Most of us have good health, which is another gift. Most of us have eyes, with which to enjoy the amazing gifts of sunsets and nature and beauty all around us. Most of us have ears, with which to enjoy music–one of the greatest gifts of them all.


We may not have all these things, because we can’t have everything, but we certainly have plenty to be grateful for. To an extent, we know this already, and yet we forget. It happens to the best of us.


Sometimes Marc and I get so caught up pursuing the next big thing that we forget to pause and appreciate the things we have, and the things we’ve experienced, learned and achieved along the way. And the most tragic part of this is that our happiness takes a major hit.


The Science of Gratitude and Happiness


As human beings, when we aren’t grateful for what we have, we aren’t capable of being happy.

This is not just some self-improvement cliché either. It’s been scientifically proven. For example, researchers in numerous positive psychology studies (like this one) have split study participants into two groups and instructed one group of study participants to reflect on the little things they are grateful for at the end of each day, while the other group just goes about their normal routines. Then, after several weeks, both groups are interviewed, and it becomes clear that the first group enjoyed considerably greater life satisfaction than the other group during that time period.

Why does this happen?

The simplest explanation is that forcing ourselves to focus on thoughts and actions related to gratitude, regardless of circumstances, helps our brains develop positive emotions. In one notable study, researchers asked participants to smile forcibly while thinking of something specific they’re grateful for. They found that this consistently stimulated mental activity associated with positive feelings and emotions.

The bottom line for most of us (severe depression and other related mental illnesses notwithstanding) is pretty clear: when we force ourselves to be grateful by making gratitude a part of our daily routines, we actually feel a lot happier.


How to Force Yourself to Be More Grateful


In the end, the secret to being grateful is no secret. You choose to be grateful. Then you do it again and again. If you forget, begin again.

There are, however, three specific gratitude strategies that Marc and I often cover with our students and coaching clients. We’ve literally seen these strategies work wonders for people over the past decade (and we practice them ourselves too). I encourage you to implement them, gradually, one at a time, into your life. And if you need further assistance, we’re here.


1. Practice a private, evening gratitude ritual.


Here’s a super simple, five-minute, evening gratitude ritual:

Every evening before you go to bed, write down three things that went well during the day and their causes. Simply provide a short, causal explanation for each good thing.

That’s it. We spend tens of thousands of dollars on expensive electronics, big homes, fancy cars, and lavish vacations hoping for a boost of happiness. This is a simple, free alternative, and it works.

If you begin this ritual this evening, you just might be looking back on today many years from now, as the day when your whole life changed.


2. Practice giving thanks publicly.


Although gratitude comes from within, the public expression of gratitude is important too. In his best selling book, “Authentic Happiness,” the renowned positive psychologist Martin Seligman gives some practical suggestions on how to do this. He recommends that we ritualize the practice of expressing gratitude in letters to friends, family, coworkers, and other people who we interact with in our community.


Marc and I have put this gratitude strategy into practice in our own lives by ritualizing it into our morning routine. We write a short email, text message, or letter each morning to one specific person, mindfully thanking and praising them for what they do that makes our lives a little brighter. (Marc and I build mindful gratitude rituals with our students in the “Happiness and Positive Living” module of Getting Back to Happy.)


3. Practice reflecting on the little things you are grateful for.


It’s fairly easy to remember to be grateful for the big and obvious things that happen—a new addition to the family, a great promotion at work, a significant business breakthrough, etc. But the happiest people find ways to give thanks for the little things too. Ponder these perspective-shifting points from an article Marc wrote a while back:

  • You are alive.
  • You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.
  • You didn’t go to sleep outside.
  • You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning.
  • You haven’t spent a minute in fear for your life.
  • You know someone who loves you.
  • You have access to clean drinking water.
  • You have access to medical care.
  • You have access to the Internet.
  • You can read.

Be honest: when was the last time you were grateful for simply being alive, or going to sleep with a full belly? More specifically, think of all the little things you experience—the smell of a home-cooked meal, hearing your favorite song when it randomly comes on the radio, seeing a marvelous sunset, etc.


Pay attention, and be grateful.


Glad To Be Alive The Path To Adulthood – Healing The Pain Becoming The Adult Overcoming Loneliness – Part Two How To Overcome Loneliness How We End Up In Misery How To Deal With Loneliness Emotional Abuse Test Emotional Health – What Millions Still Don’t Know Emotional Insecurity Help You Have Emotion You Have Beliefs You Have Choice You Are Enough You Are Loved You Have A Heart


The degree to which you open up to and embrace the life energy that you use as raw material for your thoughts and feelings.


Removing the gunk that clogs up and inhibits the flow of life energy moving through you.


A fusion of thought and feeling that expands your consciousness.





5 Signs You’re Angrier Than You Think

Just because you keep your cool doesn’t mean you’re not angry

The 'Indecent Left': Bluster does not imply integrity | Greater Surbiton
If you’re the kind of person who likes to think of themselves as calm, cool, and collected, there’s a good chance you’re angrier than you realize (or want to admit).

Because anger isn’t a very socially acceptable emotion, many people end up masking it.

And sometimes they’ve been masking their anger for so long — and are so good at it — they don’t even realize they’re angry anymore.


But here’s the problem:

No matter how good you are at hiding your anger, it will come out one way or the other.


As a psychologist, I regularly work with people who insist that they’re not angry, only to realize that many of their most unhelpful tendencies and habits are the result of unexplored anger.


Being angry isn’t a bad thing.

But if you’re not self-aware enough to acknowledge it, the side effects can cause a lot of suffering for you and the people in your life.


Here are 5 signs you might actually be angrier than you think and a few suggestions for dealing with that anger in a healthy way.


1. Chronic Anxiety

Many people end up chronically anxious because they’re so afraid of their anger that they’ll take on any amount of stress in order to avoid it.


On the face of it, people who are chronically anxious look the exact opposite of angry.

If anything they come across as meek, unassuming, or even pushovers.


But here’s the thing…

Just because you don’t look and act angry doesn’t mean you’re not feeling angry.


Anger is a natural human emotion we all feel as a result of injustice or boundary violations.

For example:

  • If a bully steals your lunch at school, it’s natural to feel angry about it.
  • If you watch a news report of some innocent person being abused or taken advantage of, you’re going to feel angry about it.
  • If your spouse sarcastically criticizes your outfit, you’re probably going to feel angry about it.

And more than just a sign that some injustice has been committed, anger is also fuel for rectifying it…

  • Where would the civil rights movement be if no one got angry about slavery and racism?
  • Where would democracy be if no one got angry at tyranny and fascism?

But a lot of people fear getting angry — or making others angry — so much that they take on huge amounts of stress and anxiety as a result of avoiding the anger.


For example, take the little boy who grew up with an alcoholic and abusive parent…

He learned quickly as a kid that expressing his own anger and frustration only got him hurt and abused.


So now, even though he isn’t physically in danger anymore, he’s in the habit of ignoring his anger.

As a result, he never stands up for himself…

  • He takes on way too much work in his job which keeps him stressed and anxious. All because he’s afraid to express his anger about giving too much work.
  • He remains in a verbally abusive relationship because he’s afraid of his spouse’s anger and the conflict that would ensue if he stood up for himself. So he’s always worried about upsetting his spouse.
  • He even has a hard time disciplining his children when he needs to because he’s afraid of his anger and theirs. So he’s constantly stressed and anxious about the way his kids are growing up.

Anxiety is the price of unacknowledged anger.

I encourage people to remember that “no” is a complete sentence.”

― Gavin de Becker


2. Rumination

Just because you’re not angry with other people doesn’t mean you’re not angry.

Self-directed anger is a real thing too — with plenty of destructive consequences if left unchecked.


A lot of people assume they’re not angry because they never get angry with other people.

They’re nice, friendly, tolerant, empathetic, and even quite patient when it comes to other people.


And because they rarely get angry at others, they almost never look visibly angry:

  • They don’t shout or scream
  • They don’t act out or get aggressive
  • They don’t lose their cool when things go wrong

But looks can be deceiving…


Some of the angriest people I’ve ever met look like absolute sweethearts to everyone else — even to the people who know them well like spouses or parents.


How is this possible?


For many people, their anger is self-directed and manifests as an extreme type of negative self-talk called rumination.


Rumination is the mental habit of intensely negative and unproductive self-talk about mistakes or errors in the past.

For example:

  • An offhand comment by a friend at dinner triggers a memory of a mistake you made in the past and you spend the rest of your evening dwelling on that mistake and all the negative consequences in your life that came from it.
  • Your manager at work gives you some specific negative feedback about a recent piece of work and you spend hours distracted by thoughts and of how you could have done better and why you’re always such a screw-up.

The key insight here is subtle but important:

While rumination often leads to sadness and shame, it’s usually fueled by self-anger.


Because most people identify with the consequences of their rumination habit, they don’t realize how important a role anger is playing in their life.


  • Just because anger isn’t externalized or directed at another person doesn’t mean it’s not there.
  • And just because your anger isn’t leading to destructive behaviors with others, doesn’t mean it isn’t leading to destructive behaviors with yourself.

If you struggle with rumination, self-criticism, or perfectionism, there’s a good chance that becoming more self-aware about your anger will help you escape the cycle.


If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…

― Cheri Huber


3. Passive-Aggressive Communication

People become passive-aggressive when they experience intense anger but are afraid to acknowledge it.


When people are passive-aggressive it means that they act in an aggressive way in order to get what they want but try to hide it in order to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of their aggression.


Here are a few examples to illustrate:

  • Chronically being late for appointments or meetings but always having some excuse or another ready to explain it.
  • “Having” a stomach ache right before you were supposed to meet up with that friend you don’t really like but feel like to have to hang out with occasionally.
  • Doing work poorly around the office so that someone else ends up doing it.

The problem with this habit of passive-aggressive behavior is that it doesn’t really work — not in the long run…

  • Eventually, you begin to be perceived as flaky, unreliable, and irresponsible by key people in your life. And as a result, your relationships suffer and you feel more and more isolated and alone.
  • What’s more, on a deep level you perceive yourself this way too. The result is chronic low self-esteem, shame, and self-loathing.

The only way out of this cycle of passive-aggression is to practice being more assertive.

This means learning to acknowledge your anger and frustration and act on it when appropriate.

But to do it in a way that’s both honest to your own wants and needs but also respectful of those of others.


Becoming more assertive doesn’t mean denying your anger.

It means acknowledging it and validating it so that you can deal with it in a healthy way instead of it “coming out” in unhealthy ways.


Assertiveness isn’t about building a good disguise. It’s about developing the courage to take the disguise off.

— Randy Paterson


4. Venting

Venting, complaining, bitching, whining… call it whatever you want.

But at the end of the way, if you’re doing it a lot, you’re probably more angry than you realize.


Do you vent a lot with friends, family, or coworkers?

If so, that might be a good indicator that you’ve got a lot more unacknowledged anger and frustration in your life than you realize.


See, for a long-time, the way psychologists thought and talked about anger was that it was a kind of toxic substance that had to be released or else it would be harmful.

As a result, the idea of “venting” your anger became popularized and encouraged by a lot of therapists, counselors, and advisors.


Unfortunately, turns out the whole cathartic theory of anger is a complete myth.

And worse than that, simply venting your anger only intensifies it in the long run.


The healthiest way to deal with anger is to acknowledge it, validate it, act on it assertively if you need to or just let it be if you don’t.


This means that if you’re the kind of person who vents a lot, or if you would label yourself a chronic complainer, the better strategy is to A) get better at acknowledging your anger or frustrations, and B) Either do something about them or let them go.


We like to vent because it gives us the illusion of working on things.

But it doesn’t actually address the issues making you frustrated in the first place.

And even though it might feel good in the moment to vent, it only keeps those flames burning longer in the end.

Remember it’s perfectly healthy to feel frustrated and angry.

But how you deal with those feelings can be very unhealthy.


To complain is always nonacceptance of what is… When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”

― Eckhart Tolle


5. Hypercriticism

Many people mask their anger by expressing it in the form of coolly intellectual criticism of others.


If you tend to be overly critical or judgmental of other people, that might be a sign that you’ve got some unacknowledged anger to explore.


Here’s how it works…

  • Often people feel bad about themselves in some big way — maybe they’re afraid to make a big life-change, for example, even though they know it’s the right thing for them to do.
  • This pain or inadequacy hurts, of course. But over time, what’s even worse, is the guilt and shame they feel for not doing anything about it even though they know they should.
  • Eventually, this guilt and shame become self-directed anger and resentment. But still, they feel stuck…
  • So in order to temporarily alleviate all of this negativity, they resort to criticizing or judging others as a kind of coping mechanism for their own low self-esteem.
  • Because when you criticize someone else, you implicitly communicate that you know better, which temporarily makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Of course, in the long-run, this judgmentalness becomes one more thing to feel bad about yourself for.

The thing is… many people who are in this habit of being judgmental of others, look the opposite of angry — they seem cool and detached in an intellectual or hyper-analytical way.


But here’s the thing…


This cool intellectual criticism of others is often just a mask for our own insecurities and self-directed anger.


You can only deal with your insecurities and self-anger if you are aware of it and are willing to explore it.

And your habit of being critical of others may not subside until you address this core motivator for it.


The self-righteous scream judgments against others to hide the noise of skeletons dancing in their own closets.

― John Mark Green


All You Need to Know

There’s nothing wrong with being angry.

It’s a normal human emotion and has a great many important functions.

But if you’re in denial about your anger that’s when you can get into trouble.


These 5 signs are useful indicators to help you explore the role that anger may or may not play in your life:

  • Chronic Anxiety
  • Rumination
  • Passive-Aggressive Communication
  • Venting
  • Hypercriticism

The Truth About Forgiveness (It’s not what you think!)

Actual thoughts, action and recomendations by  Kari Joys MS


A dear friend was asking me about forgiveness the other day. She asked ‘What’s wrong with me that I can’t forgive people? Even though I’ve tried to forgive them many times, why do I just keep thinking about what happened again and again?”


The Truth about Forgiveness


As we talked, I realized that this was a conversation that you might like to hear, too. Nowadays, everyone is writing and talking about the need for forgiveness, but why is it so hard to do?


What is Forgiveness?


The Encarta Dictionary defines forgiveness as “the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing.” Forgiveness is not condoning a wrong that has been done to you. It’s simply letting go of the emotional pain of what happened so that you are free to move forward in your life without your past still holding you back and dragging you down.


In 1709, Alexander Pope, who was a well-known English poet, wrote An Essay on Criticism. In it he wrote the famous words “To err is human; to forgive, DIVINE!” Alexander Pope had obviously experienced what he was writing about. True forgiveness lifts you to a higher level of consciousness, where love, peace, joy, harmony and beauty become the norm in your life.


How to Forgive


Many of us in our spiritual training learned the words of the ‘Lords Prayer,’ which in the traditional version said, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” As a young person, I always knew that I SHOULD forgive, but I struggled for many years with HOW to forgive.


The person who was hardest for me to forgive in my younger years was my father, who was physically and verbally abusive to me and to other members of my family. His professed spiritual beliefs felt very hypocritical to me when I compared what he taught to how he actually treated us.


When I asked respected teachers how I could forgive him, they told me forgiving others was simply a decision. They said I could simply decide to forgive him and let go of the past. I did my best to follow their instructions, but I found that I had to forgive him again and again in the process of my growth. There were so many ways that he had influenced my life and impacted me with low self-esteem and self-worth.


Over time, as I worked through the feelings of how he had affected me, I grew to a point where I could feel that I was truly a good person and that I had value and worth as a human being. I remember how freeing it felt when I first learned the famous quote from the ancient ‘Desiderata,’ which says, “You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here!”


As I regained my sense of SELF that my father had stolen from me, it became much easier to let go of the emotional pain and forgive him for what he had done. Although he never understood how he had affected my life, I eventually came to a place of compassion and understanding for him.


Forgiveness or Denial?


Later, as a psychotherapist, I came to understand that there’s a real problem with many traditional teachings about forgiveness. I learned that because how we are treated as children does affect our self-esteem and self-worth, deciding to forgive too soon can actually become a form of denial.


Many clients who have walked through my counseling doorway have told me that their parents were neglectful or abusive, but went on to say “It’s not a problem anymore, because I forgave them.” They saw no reason for talking about their childhood, because “It’s in the past.”


What I’ve found is that when you decide to forgive from your mind, and you don’t give yourself the chance to process the feelings of how you were treated in childhood; you’ll continue to UNCONSCIOUSLY blame yourself or believe that what happened was your fault.

If you were treated abusively or disrespectfully back then, you will probably continue to allow disrespect and abuse in your current life. The great psychologist Carl Jung said, “”Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”


The emotional patterns you learned from the way you were treated generally continue in your adult life until you become aware of what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you want to stop those patterns from constantly replaying today, you need to let yourself feel the emotional pain of what happened in childhood and release it.


True forgiveness happens naturally when your authentic feelings are processed and released.


When It’s Hard to Forgive


When it’s hard to forgive someone in your present life, it’s generally because that present day person is triggering your unresolved feelings from childhood. If you let yourself think about or write about what you would like to say to the person in the present, often it’s the same thing you needed to say to someone in childhood who hurt you deeply.


For example, my friend was talking about a co-worker who is always disrespectful to her. When we explored her feelings further, she realized that that was exactly the same feeling she had with her mother as a child.


My friend had always wanted to be respected, valued and appreciated by her mother. I suggested that she write letters (that she doesn’t send) first to the co-worker and then to her mother, expressing her feelings, so that she can finally release them and let them go.

I know that forgiving the co-worker will become natural and easy when she has truly worked through her feelings from childhood. Of course, she’ll also need to set boundaries with her co-worker about what is acceptable or not acceptable professionally, but the boundaries will become much easier when she has taken the time to release the emotional pain that is triggered by this situation.


Forgiving Yourself


The real place to start with forgiveness is to forgive yourself. It’s extremely important to forgive yourself for not knowing what you wish you would have known, so that you could have made better choices and decisions throughout your life.

When you understand that you were really doing the best you could, given the lack of unconditional love, support, guidance and encouragement in your life, then you can stop blaming yourself for the unfortunate things that happened as a result.


It’s important to give yourself a chance to mourn the pain of not having received the unconditional love that you needed. When you had no guidance or role modeling for how to be healthy and happy, it’s pretty hard for a young person to figure all of that out on your own.


When you realize that, it become easier to let go of your past mistakes and understand why you made the choices you made. It also becomes clear that with what you know today, you can choose to change anything or everything in your life!


Forgiving Others


What follows naturally from truly forgiving yourself is realizing that the people who hurt you probably didn’t receive unconditional love and guidance in their lives either.

After I had forgiven and healed myself, it become clear to me that my father also had unresolved pain from his childhood. His mother had died when he was young and his father remarried a woman who was not kind or respectful to him.


Although I knew that my father’s past didn’t excuse the way he treated us, I also understood that he was acting out his own pain. Thich Nhat Hanh said, “When a person makes you suffer, it’s because he suffers deeply within himself and his suffering is spilling over.”


Forgiveness is NOT Resolution


When you forgive someone, it does NOT mean that you have to be best friends with them. You absolutely have the right to decide who you want to be close to in your life, based on that person’s level of personal responsibility or how you feel being around him or her.

True forgiveness does mean that you come to a place where you can wish that person well and genuinely hope that he or she has a good life. When you let go of getting even or trying to punish them for what they’ve done, you can turn the situation over to the Higher Power and let God be in charge of their consequences or the lessons they may need to learn.


Leave a comment


I’d love to hear your comments and questions.

Has forgiveness been challenging in your life?

What has worked for you with forgiving and letting go?

What would you like to hear more about?


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More Information:

For more information, you may also want to read some of Kari’s other blog posts:


How to Set Healthy Boundaries

The Legend of the Lousy Bastard

Choose Love Over Fear

Can I Really Overcome Childhood Abuse?

What Happened to my “Happily Ever After?’“

100 Best Psychology/Self-Help Books






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Today, I hope you will have another inspired day, that you will dream boldly and dangerously, that you will make some progress that didn’t exist before you took action, that you will love and be loved in return, and that you will find the strength to accept and grow from the troubles you can’t change. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and wisdom in this crazy world), that you will, when you must, be wise with your decisions, and that you will always be extra kind to yourself and others.