How Do You Show Up For Your Life?
Do you tend to think that life is happening to you or responding to you? Do you feel you are in control of your life or do others control it for you?
Are you showing up for your life proactive, or reactive, that is the question.
You can either choose to be a “victim” and blame external factors or you can choose to be in charge of your life and make the best out of it. You can choose to create the life you want. You can build a vision, choose your goals and dreams, and work towards them. You can set yourself every morning an intention to let you guide you through the day. And days turn into months and years.
Locus of Control
The principle of “locus of control” (developed by Julian Rotter in 1950s) is considered to be an important aspect of human personality. It refers to people’s tendency to believe either that control resides internally within them or, is external, related to the situation or to others. It is about how people perceive the underlying causes of their life events.
Most people are not fully one or the other, they can feel more in control or less in control depending on the context. Becoming aware of these different ways of approaching your life helps you not only to understand better yourself, but also the others around you.
Although neither way of seeing the world is wrong or bad itself, approaching your life as something you have control over, holds way more possibility for following your dreams and living the life to the fullest.
The good news is that your “locus of control” is not inborn — through self-awareness and conscious practice and habits you can change your locos of control and empower yourself.
Validating Your Emotions and Feelings
While most part of your life is a grand result of your daily choices, there is no doubt that life occasionally throws at you some seriously difficult moments and circumstances. Happens to all of us. However, the difference lies in how you choose to deal with all of it. It comes down to how you show up for your life — what are your beliefs and what is the mindset you cultivate.
Of course sometimes it just feels much easier to stay in that “suffering mode” blaming the external circumstances and others around. And this is okay too. At least for a little bit. It is healthy to take time and create space for living through all the emotions and feelings that come up. What is not healthy is to keep feeding that cycle and staying stuck for too long.
Fear, disappointment, shame, sadness, confusion, anxiety, doubt — all these feelings are natural part of being a human. Whenever these feelings show up when facing adversities or challenges in life, it is good to stay still and to listen with curiosity. To listen to your inner voice and understand why you are feeling what you are feeling. What is that part of you trying to tell you? What is that part of you protecting you from?
Once you have created space to listen and understand yourself, and validated how you feel, it is time to take steps to move towards focusing on the bright side and finding solutions. The more times you do this cycle, the easier and faster it becomes. It will become part of your habits and mindset. It will become part of you.
I do know firsthand that showing up with a positive attitude in life is a conscious choice. I know the effort it takes to constantly remind yourself to choose differently. The last couple of years, with pandemic fully messing up our hospitality business, my mindset and atitude in life has been greatly tested. While I am not prefect I am definitely better.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.” (Kurt Vonnegut)
Once again, the quote I picked up nearly 25 years ago, when reading the Slaughterhouse-Five in my high school American literature class, showed up as valuable source of inspiration and force. The secret is all about becoming good at accepting and surrendering, and then taking responsibility and action to move forward.
How to Shift Your Focus From Problems to Solutions
There is no doubt that choosing to make lemonade of the lemons of your life is not always easy, but it is absolutely always worth it.
So how does one get started? How do you get unstuck and start shifting your focus from problems to solutions? While I do not have the definite answer to all this, I know what has worked for me through challenging moments. Maybe something from my “arsenal of tools” works for you too!
1.Change your perspective — changing your perspective about somebody (including yourself) or something can fill you with new ideas, new solutions and new dreams. It can provide you with a completely different understanding of what is happening
Increasing Your knowledge about the topic in hand is a great start.
You can imagine yourself in the shoes of the other person.
You can imagine the current situation as part of a longer time line — what do you want to see when looking back from the future?
You can imagine an older version of yourself or somebody you admire (mentor, family member, book character) to give you feedback.
2. Change or shake up (even if temporarily) your physical environment and usual routines to break unwanted thought patterns— doing things differently (e.g. visiting new places, meeting new people, reading different types of books etc) will enable you to step out of the usual context and fill you with fresh inspiration.
3. Ask yourself what is this situation/circumstance/person here to teach you? What is that lesson there for you?
4. Practice gratitude — there is nothing as powerful as reminding yourself everything you are already grateful for and happy about in your life. This changes your mood and vibration in the moment.
5. Setting a daily intention — this is a powerful one. You can choose to be happy. You can choose to be patient. You can choose to be present. You can choose to be curious.
6. Ask yourself what would you do or who would you be in that circumstance if you were not afraid and had nothing to loose. Listen to your inner voice — the source of real wisdom for your life.
Showing up for your life with positive attitude is a daily practice. It is a daily choice. You have to choose, over and over again, to take responsibility for creating your life experience. You can work on your expectations and interpretations of life circumstances and change what is possible when needed.
As long as you show up with curiosity and courage, you should be on the right track!
How are you showing up for your life, and for yourself, today?