I so enjoyed working through the Wishcraft book and doing its exercises that I’ve decided to dedicate Wednesdays to my beloved Personal Growth exercises.  Each week I’ll highlight a different exercise.

From the book, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. These are six very powerful exercises for feeling more power over your fears.

1.  List all the payoffs you get from staying stuck or not doing what you know you should. 
What don’t you have to face?
What don’t you have to do?
What comfort do you get?
What image do you get to hold on to?

Susan wants us to be as honest as possible.  This exercise took me about five minutes.  If you’re not used to asking questions like these, it might take you a little longer.  But once you lock into that state of mind, they will come flowing out.  I was so surprised, when I went back to review my answers that I really didn’t want any of those things. For instance, one of the things I didn’t have to do was take rejection.  But then I don’t get to do what I really want to do – get my words out there.  The image of myself, hiding out, not making more of myself or my life was not an image I care to have.  Very powerful!

2.  Be aware of all the options you have during the course of a given day for how you act or how you feel. It really is amazing what choices you do have.  Practice seeing yourself the opposite of what you do feel. What if you were happy about it?  What if you could laugh at it?  You can lose your temper or you can walk away feeling okay about it.  Play with the variety of responses. This will show you that you don’t have to always automatically react.

3. Notice what you say in conversations with friends. See if you’re doing a lot of complaining. This is a marvelous opportunity to turn it around and see if you can learn something about yourself.  I find that complaining about others is a drain of energy.  And it’s usually fruitless because you’re not telling the person who can really make changes from it.  I’ve often learned a lot about myself and what my needs are by seeing where I get upset with people. What is missing for me in this situation that makes me complain?  How would I like it to be?

4.  Write down all the choices you have to flip an upsetting experience into a positive one. Susan says, “The key is not to blame others for your being upset.  This is not to condone the behavior of others, but simply not to allow it to be the source of your upset.” She suggests making a game of it.  I always love that! The Change Your Point of View game.  See if you can come up with at least thirty ways.  This is an excellent way to see solutions.  If you keep getting hurt every time you interact with a certain person, when you change your perspective you can start to see ways to change it. From those solutions can come relief from your hurt and a deepening (or changing) of your relationship.

5.  Begin to look at the gifts you have received from what you have always looked at as a “bad” situation.  You can do this with all kinds of things from losing a job, getting a divorce, to ruining a meal, or losing your keys.  Life is always much easier when you can see the gifts in every situation.

6.  Susan warns us that this one is hard: Go a whole week without criticizing or complaining. Watch how tough it is. You may find you do a lot of it.  When you stop there may be little to talk about. ”Griping is a habit,” Susan says. Won’t life feel a whole lot better if you’re not spending all your time complaining about others?  Aren’t there far better ways to spend your energy?

For more information: www.SusanJeffers.com

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