Your Ego Vs. Your Soul: Guest Post

I am thrilled to have my first guest post on the blog! Amanda’s post below is so relevant to some realizations I’ve been experiencing lately so it is such a gift to have her offer her words to all of you!

I am an avid reader of anything and everything I can get my hands on, but in the last year or so – pretty much since I decided to quit my “normal” job and become an entrepreneur – I’ve landed in the world of self-improvement books. As I surrounded myself with successful people that were living a lifestyle comparable to my goals, I was inundated with motivational and inspirational suggestions, including reading empowering, knowledge-inducing books.

I’ll be honest. I’m an intellectual, hands-on evidence-backed person. I had a hard time buying into the “woo woo” positive thinking, the Universe sends you what you put out, Law of Attraction stuff they were dishing out. But the more I immersed myself in those who were successful, the more I started to wonder if there was something to what they were saying, so I started trying to live that way myself.

Amazingly, I quickly realized that yes, there was something to this motivational mumbo jumbo. Whether it was seriously the Universe, attraction laws, or whatever, the fact was the more I tried to plan ahead, be optimistic, get up and show up, and look for the good in the world, the better I felt. There really is something to be said for working towards a goal in life rather than just existing day to day.

Along this journey, I ran into a book that truly helped me understand and put a lot of my daily life into perspective. A good friend of mine twisted my arm and made me read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Actually, she made me download the audio book and LISTEN to it. Listening, rather than reading, was very important, she said. And, as she had never been wrong in giving me advice so far, even when I didn’t want to hear it, I did as she instructed.

The book was really interesting to me, as a writer, and I totally understood why she said listen, and I suggest if you go buy the book you get the audio version, too. However, between all of her wonderful stories and advice, the part that stands out the most was when she talked about your ego versus your soul. I needed to hear it and I needed her to shout it, so I listened to it over and over, louder and louder each time.

You see, I’ve got a mighty big ego that I didn’t know I had. I thought I was humble and all that, but it turns out I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Apparently, it’s your ego that causes all of the stresses in your life. Who knew? Before you shake your head and disagree with me, hear me out.

  • You post on social media and no one, or just a few people, respond. You’re bummed, sad, depressed, thinking you are no good at what you’re doing. You start to wonder if you should just give up and go do something else. Because your ego was hurt. Check. That’s me.
  • Someone disagrees with you, on whatever topic and for whatever reason, and you want to lash out and tell them they are wrong and you are right. It’s imperative that they understand why they are so wrong – it could even change the world! But that’s just your ego talking – your ego saying that what you have to say might make a difference, and when they don’t listen, it’s your ego feeling the strain, and when they do listen, it’s your ego that feels the buzz and blows up like a balloon. Check. Totally me.
  • Your boss, spouse, relative, friend, or anyone gives you constructive criticism and you defend your reason for why you did what you did instead of listening to their critique, absorbing it, thanking them for their thoughts, and then reflecting yourself later. Your ego was hurt because someone criticized you. Check. How can they criticize me when I work so hard to be the best version of me in the first place?

Do any of these situations sound familiar? They did to me, too.

Now put them in another perspective. Did they hurt your soul?

Your soul doesn’t care about what other people think about you. Your soul isn’t going to be injured if someone criticizes you or disagrees with you. Your soul doesn’t care if you get likes and follows on social media. Your soul simply focuses on right and wrong – more specifically, what YOU are doing that is right or wrong.

And when you focus on what your SOUL wants, you can block out all of the ego-draining things in life. There’s a reason that the good things are “soul deep,” “soul-pleasing,” and “happy to the soul.” When your soul is content, things are right in your world. All of those ego-damaging words and actions from other people simply roll off of your shoulder.

Bruised egos result in so much friction in the world. Wars have been started because of damaged egos. I’m not talking about abusive situations. Those are soul-damaging and you have to work hard to get past them. I’m talking about a perfect stranger’s cutting words causing you sleepless nights. I’m talking about your neighbor’s fancy new car that you wanted stressing you out because you can’t pay your bills right now. I’m talking about that someone who wanted to help you improve but offered you constructive criticism and the way you reacted to them.

Yet, peaceful souls have been responsible for so much good. Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., all were troubled about the state of the world, but they used their peaceful souls to help make a difference, putting aside their egos for the good of others. The difference is huge: they responded to criticism, negativity, hurt and hate, instead of reacting.

Get the difference? Your ego reacts, your soul responds. You take time to internalize what was said and the best course of action that will be for the best with the least negative consequences, and you respond in kind.

In the end, only kindness matters.

So think about this when you go out into your interactions today, tomorrow, forever. Is your stress, hurt feelings, anger, or other negative emotion due to damage to your soul or your ego? The only one that matters is the damage to your soul, and only you can really do that or let that happen.

Let your ego go, and watch your stress go out the window with it. Respond instead of reacting. Give it a try, like I did with the self-help woo woo stuff I didn’t believe in for so long. You just don’t know if there may actually be something to it until you do it.

Drop me a line at www.beautifullymadelife.net and let me know when you differentiated between your ego and your soul and if it made a difference in the outcome. You may just inspire me, too!

About Amanda:
Amanda lives with her family, two dogs, and three cats in the middle of Florida in a town where you have to drive two hours to do anything fun. Instead of daily excitement, she writes creatively for enjoyment and non-fiction to pay the bills. To make up for living in the middle of nowhere, she travels a lot. You can find out about her travels through her inspirational, motivational, and empowering blog, Beautifully Made Life, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Twitter: BeautifullyMadeLife @CannadyAmanda

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beautifullymadelife.net

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beautifullymadelife/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/beautifullymadelife/

Advertisements

I Love Myself, Therefore….

“I love myself, therefore…” how would you complete this sentence?

How does that sentence make you feel? Do you instantly start to feel anxious or uncomfortable? Great! Lean into that. Why does the thought of loving yourself bring up these feelings? Often we live our lives from the perspective of limiting beliefs that, over time, we have accepted as truth. The real truth is these beliefs are lies- messages we have been told growing up, maybe from scorned lovers, or messages fed to us from the media.

Some of these lies may include “You’re not good enough”, “You’ll never have enough money”, “Thin is beautiful”, “Conflict is bad”, etc.

It is so easy to continue these limiting belief loops, well, because that has been our norm. They’re so ingrained in us we don’t consciously think of them, unaware of how powerfully they affect how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. And by choosing to change these beliefs, we are choosing to fight our brain patterns (I’ll do another post on how the brain is affected by our thoughts), which takes time and consistency.

By choosing to change these beliefs, we are choosing to make a difficult decision. But if our normal pattern includes berating ourselves day in and day out, should we simply allow this to continue? Think about it this way: If you said the messages that you replay in your head out loud to a loved one, hopefully they wouldn’t continue exposing themselves to that type of abuse. So why do we consider it acceptable for us to continue to constantly belittle ourselves internally?!  Making the difficult decision to change this thinking is so worth it. This is your life we’re talking about.

So let’s take a look at how we can start to change these belief patterns….

Mantras are a great way to start to challenge limiting beliefs. Mantras can be created for a year, a month, a moment- there’s a mantra for any season or situation! At the beginning of this year I wrote out the mantras from which I wanted to live out each day. I focused on one in particular and made it a point to repeat the following mantra hundreds of times per day: “I love and accept myself exactly as I am.” 

The prospect of saying a mantra hundreds of times per day seemed excessive at first, but I quickly realized it paled in comparison to the number of times per day I was telling myself numerous limiting beliefs.  And those limiting beliefs became even more apparent to me when I started to challenge them.  For a while, and perhaps even now, my limiting beliefs- those lies that I have been told and have told myself- have been screaming at me. Attempting to derail my relationships and keep me from fulfilling my true potential.

Some days I don’t feel like this mantra is truthful in any way. But I continue to speak  it anyway.  Some days I am exhausted from fighting to simply love myself, and other days I realize that my worldview has been starting to shift to a perspective of love.  I realize I am looking at people around me from a place of peace and humanity as opposed to a place of judgement. I realize I am listening to truly listen, not simply waiting to drown another in my opinions. And I know this all stems from me choosing to love myself first.

I am still primarily focusing on this one main mantra, and have also included the following mantras throughout the day, even if only first thing in the morning and before I go to bed.

“I am willing to change”

“The thoughts I am thinking and the words I am declaring at this moment are creating my future”

“I release all resistance”

“Everything I need to know is revealed to me”

“Everything I need comes to me”

“I am young, youthful, and full of vitality”

“Money flows to me in abundance”

“Everything I touch is a success”

When we change our perspective from one of untruths and limiting beliefs to one of love and acceptance, we start to see our entire world change. Because our perception of the world is changing. A world we did not allow ourselves to see starts to reveal itself to us. Beauty and good and love are here, but it’s not until we love ourselves that we are able to truly see it surrounding us.

How would you complete this sentence “I love myself, therefore….”? Simply put pen to paper and write without thinking- without letting those limiting beliefs creep in. Write all of the ways in which you choose to treat yourself and others, from the perspective of love. Then write a mantra and don’t give up on it or yourself. Speak it to yourself 300-400 times per day (yes, seriously). It’s not too late to save yourself from your beliefs. Your truth is fighting to be discovered again.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

Seven Years

I have so many drafts of this post written that I feel it will take a year for me to edit it into a format in which I am both satisfied and comfortable.

I started this site as a safe space to share the messy parts of life. And I wouldn’t be authentic in this mission if I disregarded this universal pull to share this very messy chapter of my life.

This year, October 15 marked seven years since the day of my wedding. This year I took back the power of this date and as such officially changed it’s significance in my life. As a result, this has also been the Universe’s unwavering signal that it is time. It’s time to move into the next chapter that this life has in store for me. And Universe, I see you. I hear you. I feel you. And I openly accept this invitation. In fact I can’t wait. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this invitation for years now, but I also recognize that it has not been until now that I have been ready. Friends, my body is buzzing just thinking about this next step. And I can’t wait to share this next chapter with you.

I know the Universe will guide me toward the next piece of myself in which I should reveal.  All I need to do is wait, listen, and follow it’s direction. For now, this is all that I am able to convey effectively.

Seven years ago I walked down the aisle of my church and had a vision for what my life would look like. Today I am unrecognizable from that woman, and on October 15th of this year I graduated from yoga teacher training.

I’ve been envisioning myself, in my lace wedding gown, in a room alone, before my father saw me, before taking those steps toward my future husband. I’ve been asking myself if I would change anything about those quiet moments, and what I would tell that young woman anxiously waiting to start her new life.

As cliche as it sounds, I could never tell that bride to do anything but take those steps, knowing that yes, you will be betrayed by the person at the end of that aisle. You will feel pain, loss, emptiness. You will find yourself alone, with no money, surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar city and state.


And slowly (very slowly) that city will become your new home. And one day, alone in your empty apartment, your new friend will come over with her boyfriend and they will give you an old television and microwave because these are luxuries and you can’t afford to purchase either of these items on your own. And then one weekend your parents will visit and you’ll be embarrassed because you don’t own any kitchen chairs or a couch but they will take you to Home Depot and your dad will buy you tools and he will fix your kitchen table. And your mom will cry the entire way back to Michigan but you won’t be privy to that information until months later.


And then, beautiful girl, then one day you’ll walk into your first yoga class. And all of the pain will come back- years and years of pain. But this time it’s different. This time instead of running from it, you lean into it. All of it. And an entirely new world will unfold before you. And you will never be the same.

If I could speak to that bride today I would tell her that she’s in for one hell of a chapter. That the world will fight to make her heart hard and that she will go into battle, but she’ll be fighting for softness and vulnerability. Fighting for hope and grace. And what she’ll find is that hope and grace have been seeking her the whole time, and for all of her days, they will never leave her.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

 

Manifesting Part 2: Setting Intentions

In Part 1 of the manifesting series, we examined the power of thought. Now we’ll be looking at how to channel the power of thought to manifest the life we desire.

As we discussed in the previous post, the Universe directly reflects the energy that is put into it. In Part 2 we’ll examine how channeling the power of our thoughts can manifest our intentions.

Our thoughts and our entire existence are made up of vibrations of energy. Everything we see, hear, touch, taste- they’re all made of vibrations. Our thoughts are also included in this vibrational energy, and as such we are constantly putting out vibrations into the Universe.   When negative vibrations/energy are sent into the Universe, these energies are directly reflected back to us and are perceived as our reality. Likewise, when we vibrate positive energies, that will become our reality as well.

Perhaps you’ve used a phrase referencing a person’s “good vibes”, or you’ve walked into a room and instantly gotten a negative “gut feeling” towards someone… those are based on the literal vibrations of yourself and the other party. When we sense these things we are sensing another person’s energies. Cool, right?!

It’s important to understand the power of our thoughts, intentions, and vibrations because this will greatly impact our ability to manifest an intention. It is common to be sending out negative vibrations without realizing it, and then become frustrated when intentions do not manifest. In fact, our brain naturally focuses on negative experiences and thoughts as a protective mechanism. Because of this, changing our thought patterns requires practicing and changing the way in which our brain naturally focuses. A great way to implement a change in vibration is to incorporate a gratitude practice into a daily routine. This is an excellent way to set the tone for the day,  by beginning each day reminding yourself or one thing in which you are grateful, then continuing to build on this practice. Soon you will be able to recognize when you have found yourself in a negative thought pattern and will be able to change that internal dialogue.

Since it’s in our nature to focus on the negative as opposed to the positive, when we’re setting intentions it’s easy for us to focus on what we want to discontinue or remove from our lives, instead of focusing on what we want to bring into our lives. These differences, however, are massive and can make all of the difference in having a manifestation come to fruition.

When choosing an intention to manifest, begin by acknowledging what the manifestation goal is- for example “complete self-acceptance”. If this is the manifestation we’re striving for, instead of vibrating an intention of “I don’t want to judge myself anymore”, or “I want to stop self-loathing behaviors”, an intention to manifest would sound something like “I love myself completely. I am worthy of love and I attract unconditional love. I know that I am enough.”

Can you see the difference between these two intentions? One is vibrating negatively, and that intention will manifest as continuing to receive the same self-defeating vibrations, whereas sending out positive vibrations provides space for this intention to manifest!

Intentions can be set daily, hourly, yearly, etc. There are no limitations to our ability to manifest once we learn how to set them in accordance with the Universe!

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manifesting Part 1: The Power of Thought

There’s so much to say when it comes to manifestation that I’m making this a 3 part series about the power of manifestation. To begin discussing manifestation, we must begin with the power of thought. Our thoughts directly impact the world around us and what we experience each day.

I like to think of manifestation in this way: the Universe is neutral in nature and as such, it responds directly to the energy that is put into it. If the energy being put into the Universe is one of defeat, anger and jealousy,  those thoughts (energy) will shape what the Universe returns to us. However if the energy being put into the Universe is gratitude, love and generosity, those thoughts (energy) will be returned to us.

All day, every day we are sending energy into the Universe. For most of us, these are limiting beliefs we have playing on a continuous loop in our head, and these limiting beliefs have probably been playing for most of our lives. We call these “truths” but my friend, they are rotten lies.

The work of the late Dr. Marasu Emoto illustrates the immense power we hold within ourselves. Dr. Emoto’s experiments showed the power of thought energy by studying the way in which water crystals would form based upon words spoken to water, music that was played to water, and even how the crystals formed based upon images that the water was placed over. For example, when the phrase “You make me sick, I will kill you” was spoken to the water, the crystals formed were incomplete, with no structure to them whatsoever. Conversely, when the phrase “Thank you” was spoken to the water, the beauty of the crystals that were created upon the water becoming frozen brings tears to my eyes. You can view photos of some of these crystals on Dr. Emoto’s website here.

I also conducted my own at-home experiment to further illustrate the power of thought. Over the course of one week I conducted an experiment with an apple, my words, and my energy. Each day for one minute at a time I held half of an apple. To the half on the left side of the plate, I spoke into it positive affirmations and sent into it positive energy, speaking into it phrases such as “I am so thankful that we share this moment together”, “you are so beautiful”, and “thank you for existing to nourish my body”.  To the right half of the apple, for one minute a day, I berated the apple and spoke into it words of hate such as, “You disgust me”, “I can’t even look at you, you’re so rotten”, and “I want you to die”.

Below are photos of the apple. The results are pretty astounding.

 

Both halves of the same apple, sharing the same plate, receiving the same amount of sunlight. The only difference between the halves is the energy that was spoken into each one.

You see, with each negative word we tell ourselves, with each comment about how we need to lose weight, with each comparison to another person, we slowly rot ourselves from the inside out, just like the apple half on the right. Whereas when we spread love, light, and gratitude to our incredible bodies for simply existing, and share our light with those around us, we literally have the power to change the world.

 

What are some “truths” that you play on repeat in your mind? Some of these “truths” may have been placed upon you as a child, such as “She’s a feisty one”, or “He’s a troublemaker”. It’s not a coincidence that once we take ownership of these false beliefs that were pushed upon us as children, they manifest as our reality.

Some limiting beliefs that play in my head throughout any given day may include “I wish I had what she has”, “Why can’t I just look like her?”, “My life is such a mess”, “I failed again”, “I can’t do that”…. the list is endless.

Take a moment to examine some of the limiting beliefs that play in your mind. This is a very uncomfortable exercise, I acknowledge. However, we cannot begin to change these beliefs until we acknowledge that they exist and also acknowledge that they are cruel, vicious lies. That is where we find our power. That is where our strength resides.

For this opening post about manifestation, I challenge you to reflect upon the limiting beliefs you tell yourself daily. Sit with this and notice how it makes you feel. Find comfort in the uncomfortable parts of yourself. This journey is not always pretty but it is so worth it. You are so worth it.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.