In the heart of the love month, I thought it would be appropriate to explore our fantasies. As children, we fantasize about what we want to be when we grow up. Some wanted to be doctors while others wanted to be farmers. I personally wanted to be a famous dancer and vocalist. I remember typing (on a typewriter) all the words to "You Give Love a Bad Name" and singing to all my friends on a corded phone thinking I was going to be the next Bon Jovi.
We learn from the adults who we see each day whether at home, at school, dressed up in uniforms, or on our television sets. Some children dream of the wedding they want to have while others dream of the cars they want to drive. We even fantasize about the partners we want to be with based on our crushes/relationships or how relationships should work based on what we see daily with the people that surround us. As adults, we learn from our mentors and leaders of those who we respect and who inspire us to be better people.
Have you ever heard the saying, "don't make faces, unless you want your face to stay that way?" or "you are what you eat"? What if I said, "You are what you think about". Does this resonate?
Our mind is a very powerful part of us. We control our thoughts whether we know it or not. I should have a family by now. Nobody likes me. I inspire many. I look fat. I look beautiful. I am weak. I am strong. I gain weight if I even look at food. Food is my energy. I'm a failure. I'm a success. I'm a monster. I'm a good person. I can't do that. Watch me!
Any of these sound familiar? These are just some examples of the thoughts I've had throughout my personal fitness journey. In this blog post, I am going to share ways to conquer our thoughts by exploring the following: fantasies vs visions; perceptions vs. realities; ways to build positive energy through our minds; commitment; setting boundaries; and adapting to change.
Fantasies vs. Visions
I look at fantasies as unobtainable dreams. As a child, I would fantasize about being the girlfriend of Ricky Schroder from Silver Spoons. He was pretty hot (cute was the term back then) as a young girl, just saying. I fantasized about being a famous Broadway Dancer and Singer even though I couldn't hold up a pirouette for very long. At the end of the day, these were fantasies of ideas that most likely would not come true.
Visions, on the other hand, are what we see and envision for ourselves whether building short-term and/or long-term goals. Visions are similar to fantasies; however, our dreams are more realistically obtainable. Have you heard the following questions "Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?", "What do you want to accomplish by next year?", "Where do you want to travel?", "When are you getting married/having children?" These visions, unlike fantasies, are what we see in ourselves and what we want to become a reality.
When we create a vision, it is an obtainable plan for ourselves in which we want to achieve. So, how do we bring visions of ourselves to reality?
Perceptions vs. Realities
Perceptions are judgments whether our thoughts of other people or of ourselves. Perceptions, at times can be confused with reality, if focused on too much. Perceptions are not always real. I say that because sometimes perceptions are true based on our personal intuition; but most perceptions are created through our minds of what others think of us and how we view other people vs. the truth. For example, I may think someone looks at me and thinks I talk too much. I might look at someone and think they are unapproachable because they're always in a bad mood. What is dangerous about perceptions, is if the perception is not true, we might change our behaviors to meet the perception of what we want people to see in us vs. being our authentic selves.
In the example where I perceived that someone thought I talked too much, I might have changed my behavior to not talk around that person. I might have quieted my thoughts and ideas; however, what if that person really enjoyed learning from me and was inspired by what I was able to bring to the table from my words and past experiences? How might the actions in what I perceived change the reality of the situation?
Realities are just that, they are what is real in the moment. By bringing our authentic selves to the table, we are shaping who we are in the moment. Our lives are developed from each minute we live our lives. We can be that loyal employee who wakes up and makes it to work on time each day. We can be a mother who is committed to making sure there is food on the table for her family. We can be a father who doesn't always need to be strong but can show some vulnerability when things aren't going his way. We can be a friend that is there to listen and help when someone is in need. We can be the successful leader we envisioned ourselves to be.
So how do perceptions and realities play a role in building out our visions? How do we envision ourselves? Where do we want to go is based on how we live our lives in the real world. We need to remove the false negative perceptions of what people think and lessons we have learned throughout our lives, and build the realities that will help us to move forward in the present based on our individual values and beliefs we have created for ourselves. How do we want to represent ourselves? Who do we want to be? Who will be there to support us? What will bring value to our lives we are building for ourselves? How will we show up to be the best version of ourselves daily?
Building a Positive Mind:
How can we take a negative and make it into a positive? I saw a quote from Steve Harvey that stated, "If you are going through Hell, keep going and don't stop, because who wants to stop in Hell?" I saw this quote and I read it over and over again during a challenging time in my life. He's right who wants to live in Hell every day? If you raised your hand on that last question - this blog might not be for you.
Here are some tips I do to improve my mind when times are difficult:
I say a prayer each morning of all the things that I am grateful for along with praying for those that need help during challenging times.
Be Stuart Smalley (SNL). Develop daily affirmations for yourself that you can say aloud in front of a mirror to remind what an amazing person you are.
I journal my positive attributes I can bring to the table and when I am having a rough day, I know exactly what page to turn to.
I built a rock-hard support system that I can always count on to be there to help lift me up as there are times you do need to rely on those that care for you to help you through your hard times. You just need to trust in them. Sometimes it's not always about talking through your problems, but sometimes to escape your problems by doing something entertaining that brings you joy. No matter what direction you take with releasing your tough times, feeling safe that if you need to speak with them, they will always be there for you with open ears and heart with no judgments.
Exercising. As hard as it is to workout during your most challenging times; taking a small amount of time to bring out those positive energies can help in some of your most difficult situations.
Try focusing on the positive vs. the negative. It's so easy to focus on the negatives at times, but if we start seeing what we want to see in ourselves in a positive light, this will help improve our moods. Stay focused on the person you want be and be intentional on showing up.
To accomplish your vision, you need to commit.
Develop and commit to a plan.
Focus on steps to take to achieve such plan.
Commit to those who can assist you with accomplishing that plan.
If a plan does not go as you had envisioned, repeat Steps 1-3 until you succeed.
Set boundaries for yourself. You can't be everywhere and help everyone.
Commit to yourself and your needs.
Develop a plan and time spent on certain functions to live the best life you can in the real-world.
Spend time learning to enhance your growth whether that is a new class, a new friend, a new mentor; embrace those things/people that will help get you to where you want to go.
Don't waste time on people that are conditionally there for you. Make time for people that are there for you in your bad and good times. Time is limited, make it count.
Adapting to Change:
Change evolves daily. One moment you feel like you are unstoppable while other times, life piles on a ton of bricks. Adapting to change is crucial as we need to have the ability to bring balance to our lives so that we can bring our best self to the table. If things are taking up way too much energy to get you to where you want to go, then we need to understand those feelings, and be able to redirect to bring out the best in ourselves.
We have the power to create our visions of ourselves to make them realities.
We can control our thoughts of how we show up in a day. Are we always going to have a positive day? The answer is no, we are all human. We need to be able to do is take each day as its own day. If one day is not a good day, not allowing that to manifest for very long, but instead to allow ourselves to rest and start a new day.
We commit to ourselves by understanding the truth of who we are as people and to show up in the important times of our lives: me time, family, work, friends just to name a few.
We set boundaries for ourselves. We can't be everywhere and help everyone. We need to allow ourselves to feel the energy. If things take up too much energy and are not seen as a positive energy to enhance ourselves, we need to be able to let go; however, if a commitment such as family is taking up too much negative energy, understanding the negative energy to come up with a solution to change in order to create a positive energy.
Finally, allowing us to adopt and adapt to change. Change is inevitable and will always be there, we need to be ready, equipped, and able to work through any changes that impact our lives.
Life is about creating the best version of ourselves to live our best lives in the real world by creating a vision vs. a fantasy of ourselves. So, What's Your Vision?