You deserve a shot at the life of your dreams.

The day that I discovered what it truly meant to believe in myself, I was pleading with my doubts for a chance to at least be called up to bat in my field of dreams. I didn’t care about the taunting stories in my mind reminding me that I could never hit a first base let alone a home run because I was finally ready to just be in the game. The moment we begin to believe in ourselves comes out of sheer desperation to no longer feel left out of the life that we want to live. We start believing a different truth about ourselves when we desire the next level of happiness (in whatever form it takes) more than we cherish the comfort of our boredom . We will clamor onto the slightest bit of audacity like a child dragging on a parent’s ankle, insisting not to be left behind. We will be unprepared and feel unqualified to navigate the great unknown that lies ahead but the smallness of our reality will seem too heavy a burden to carry for another step. Believe is the next turn right after what felt like the end, where we finally accept that we deserve to try. The moment that we believe in ourselves is the moment we remember that we always could all along if we were just willing to keep trying and learning.

I do not know when this moment will come for some of you reading this but when it does, it will be too familiar to feel brand new. And remembering the other time(s) when you have summoned the same courage will excite you to keep standing your ground. You will remember the same energy of readiness you felt as child rejoining the fun after wailing in isolation to protest unfair punishment. It will be like dejavu, recalling that other time(s) you were so bold to trust in what you were capable of instead of handing over your pride to defeat. Believe is born when we are suddenly content to just show up and take the next step, no matter how small it is. It is when we become like we were as babes battling our weight to roll but we persisted in the struggle intuitively knowing that every inch gained would get us closer to someday walking.

So it’s okay if today, you didn’t send that email to ask for more of what you deserve. It’s okay if you did not think it was worth trying to carve out a little time to care for yourself. It’s okay if you’re not sharing that gift in your soul because you think it’s nothing special. But what is it going to take for you to believe that you at least deserve to try? Not simply to impress the crowd but just to get off the bench because you have a right play, to join the fun? It’s okay if you think that you don’t know enough to start now but when will you deserve to give yourself a chance to learn? When will you deserve to take even the smallest step, like getting out a pen and writing out a vision of how things could be. See, I know that when that moment comes you’ll be surprised and maybe relieved that you could feel so much power without yet changing a single thing. Because it’s then that you too will realize that one can indeed climb an entire staircase never seeing the top because they are happy to take one step at time. For today, just tell yourself the truth about why you don’t think you deserve to feel more joy in your heart. Then, thank your doubts for letting you know what it feels like to miss out on the life you were born to live. And muscle every ounce of your humanity to remember what you are truly capable of and just be willing to keep showing up to take a step towards the next level of joy in your life.

Look closer within in 2018.

I’m leaving 2017 behind with a renewed inspiration that we simply need to “look closer within” to find the answers or purpose that we seek. But one will not find new details with the same conditioned eyes and mind that can no longer reveal a novel truth about who we are. We must think outside the box of expectations of how we insist that we ought to be. My friends there’s nothing new to see, feel or be within the confines of the labels that keep us seeking worth in external measures. Rather, let’s look closer at the unexpressed part of ourselves because this is where our human creativity and purpose remains unfulfilled. It’s in this place where we seldom look that our gifts lay neglected in the forgotten aspects of our being.

Be seen.

What do you feel that others do not know about how you experience life? This is not simply an incident or a specific experience but which part of your essence remains unknown to many? Now, consider how does the feeling that swells in your heart from being this unseen version of yourself exit your body and connect to others so your soul can feel fully seen and understood? How do you express or satisfy the emotions that arise from being connected to this “unseen” part of yourself. This my friends is the gift that makes you feel alive and most like yourself. It’s the missing and distant essence that we can feel deep within but cannot seem to experience within the box of expectations that we’ve cocooned ourselves in. It’s often difficult to fathom that the self expression that emanates from this version of ourselves are “gifts” since we don’t spend enough time admiring this aspect of ourselves. These gifts seems too simple, so we may keep searching far and wide to become or do something greater to make us feel that we matter. We’ve forgotten that connecting to the hearts of others is how we leave our impact on the world. Perhaps we do not believe that world will be changed by the human story that comes from the creative application of our “unseen” self. But this is the very expression that also allows others who feel as we do to also feel seen. All of humanity is longing to be seen for who they are but many of us unintentionally lose ourselves as cater to how we long to be seen through the eyes of others (parents, teachers, peers, coaches). But this I know for sure, that we do not discover true joy and purpose until we embrace and fulfill the expression of our “unseen” self. We may climb mountains and accumulate every earthly accolade but one will not feel complete without purposefully expressing their authentic self.

Keep it simple: make it real.

I believe that as we move into the new year, the most meaningful task for many of us is to foremost identify this unseen part of ourselves and the mode of self expression that best emotes this aspect of our essence. It will require surrendering to the old ideas about ourselves but be assured that our vision becomes clearer when we reconnect with our missing part(s). I believe that incorporating our unique self expression into our passions, pursuits and daily living enables us to discover greater creative potential for abundance and fulfillment. For myself, what is often unknown about me is the emotional intensify in which I experience life, in other words ‘I think in emotions’. Stuttering severely as a child, I imagine that I became very aware and connected to my feelings because I couldn’t verbally express them as I wanted to. I cradled my emotions with curiosity and would eventually learn that unless others were hiding their feelings, most people didn’t seem to feel in the same magnitude as I did. The longer I sat with my feelings, the easier it was to string them into words that expressed the crispness of my joy, sadness or anger. Often,I cannot get the words out fast enough when I’m steeped in my emotions and this form of emotional writing or poetry is actually my truest connection to myself. Yet, I’ve not been indulging in this type of writing because I too was searching too far and wide to fulfill my passion for personal transformation and growth. But I believe that human transformation grows from how well we can invite others to feel our desired emotional objective. This requires us to utilize the gift of that creative self expression, which effortlessly captures how we experience life.

In 2018, I will be incorporating this aspect of my authenticity in an exciting new personal development project. It seems scarier that anything that I’ve done, which is why I know that it’s the path I must embrace. Friends, follow the lightness in your heart, it’s your soul feeling free to be its unlimited self. Stop complicating the process, the answers would not be hidden in a place where we could not find them.  First, we must become deeply connected to the feeling that you wish to impart on others through our creative efforts. Unsurprisingly, it’s the unique gifts of our “unseen” self that will enable you to convey this emotion to others. Atlas, our impact is created through the emotional human connection with others that our unique self expression fosters. Being yourself is not difficult so keep it simple and embrace all that you are. The is the beginning point from which your endless possibilities grows.


Why Feeling Jealous Can Be a Good Thing.

Without judging yourself, I would like you to recall the last time that you felt jealous of someone or a situation and then I invite you to ponder what was the reason for your envy. You probably felt as though you were betraying your pride. Well, what if I told you that jealousy is not entirely negative because our envious sentiments provide clues to guide our self development. I believe that the context of our jealousy reveals an abandoned aspect of ourselves, therefore our envy merely reflects our subconscious desire to reconnect with those qualities within ourselves.

Love All That You Are.

The characteristics that we envy in others represent traits that we once embodied effortlessly when we loved ourselves unconditionally as young children. We gradually choose to conceal these aspects of ourselves to be accepted by others, preferring to adopt the behaviors that are validated by others. This means that experiencing frequent jealousy suggests that we are not embracing our authentic nature and must nurture more self love to celebrate all aspects of ourselves. In the past, I was primarily jealous of women who were not attention seekers, yet their genuinely kind, reserved and self-assured nature still garnered much admiration from others. During such moments of envy, I did not correlate that those attributes matched my natural demeanor as a youth.  I was an incredibly shy child who opted to be the observer, hence being more reserved was my internal setting for inner peace and my subconscious reference of authenticity. A growing desire to be noticed and admired during my adolescence led to adopting a louder and a more attention seeking disposition. Having a kinder outlook towards myself when I felt unnoticed would have enabled me to feel internally validated in embodying my reserved personality. Instead, I felt jealous seeing women who seemed comfortable in showcasing a reserved nature because it suggested that they had a more accepting and liberated relationship with themselves than I did. I was implicitly projecting a positive, yet hidden component of myself onto them and my envy was a subconscious acknowledgement that if I wanted to rekindle that aspect of myself, I would need to enhance my own sense of self acceptance. Consider another example of a naturally outspoken and vibrant friend of mine who purposely adopted a more mild-mannered temperament around a guy that she was interested in. She immediately felt jealous when she spotted him at a party enjoying the company of another boisterous and outgoing girl. Our jealousy indirectly signals a regret for not loving ourselves enough to embrace all of who we are.

Expectation Let Down.  

The aspect of ourselves that is mirrored in the occasions that cause jealousy is typically opposite to the expectation(s) that we adopted in place of those characteristic(s). For example, if you have become attached to ‘certainty’ then you may become jealous of others who display the spontaneity you once had when you felt a greater capacity of self trust. Similarly, seeing boldness in another person may produce jealousy in someone who is attached to perfection because their desire not to be perceived as flawless diminishes their sense of self compassion, which fosters a fear of critique. Jealousy reveals how the expectations, which we have adopted to experience greater social contentment are potentially not as fulfilling as anticipated. These incidents force us to recognize how others who aren’t attached to our expectations are experiencing the exact personal rewards that we hoped to garner from our expectations. A girlfriend of mine expressed feeling jealous of a neighbor’s financial freedom upon noting the neighbor’s lavish landscaping projects in their yard. I asked her to associate the neighbor’s “spending” with a specific trait to encourage her to view her jealousy as a positive projection of herself onto her neighbor. She interpreted the neighbor’s financial freedom as being ‘hardworking’ and before finishing the sentence she admitted that was a quality, which described her former self. This is my friend who is often described as a natural born hustler but sacrificed her innate drive for entrepreneurship in exchange for security after having children. The incidents that make us jealous are merely reminding us that we do not have to entirely abandon certain aspects of ourselves to be happier. The subtle discomfort of jealousy highlights the expectations that we must release to wholly accept ourselves and authentically embody the qualities that we covet in others. So, consider your next incident of jealousy as a cue that you too could experience whatever you envied in another person if you cared less about being a “certain” way and more about being yourself.

Be More You.

IMG_2595 (1)

It turns out that extended periods of socializing were previously exhausting for me because I didn’t periodically embrace my reserved side in the company of others. Practicing greater self awareness has led to detaching my worth from external validation and experiencing greater inner peace without “showcasing” myself in public settings. Rather, I recently encountered a lady who was the archetype of whom I would have previously envied and I ironically felt a strong liking towards her. Embracing those neglected aspects of ourselves leads to internalizing our expectations within ourselves, such that we no longer feel jealous seeing those characteristics in others. When we are denying certain aspects of ourselves to be accepted by others then we are unconsciously expecting others and circumstances to make us happy. But having to the courage to detach our happiness from our expectations fosters true self love and offers the genuine contentment we were erroneously seeking through our expectations. For example, if one could accept themselves when they are not in control, then they’ll nurture greater flexibility and patience and feel more “in control” and experience less frustration amidst disorder. Similarly, if a person can accept themselves within the prospect of not being perfect, they will experience greater self compassion, enabling them not to fear judgement during moments of imperfection and become more daring. Jealousy reveals an aspect of ourselves that needs more of our positive attention, so I want you to ponder that your current attachment to being a certain way is opposite of your true nature. That’s because your authentic self once internalized those expectations as natural to who you are and didn’t need to seek or prove it externally to be happy. Challenge yourself to allow the neglected parts of your true nature to shine a little more everyday and have the courage to let the image of who you want to be take a little breather. If you currently always feel the need to prove that you’re right, then this is likely not your true nature. Rather, once upon a time, your authentic self didn’t care what others thought and ‘understood’ your truth without seeking the consensus of others. Therefore, I encourage you to let your “understanding” side shine a little more every now and then. Our gifts, talents and passion reside with your true nature, so we cannot discover our true magic until we love ourselves enough to embrace the entirety of who we are.


The Most Effective Way to Initiate Positive Lifestyle Changes.

A year ago if someone asked me to identify my self limiting fear, I would  have been pressed to provide a definite answer. Clearly a tell-tale sign that I was wedged in my comfort zone and didn’t have much to be afraid of. But all kidding aside, can anyone else relate to this? I believe the greatest challenge to discovering greater potential in ourselves is not sensing a need for change or knowing where to begin. I would not have been able to pinpoint my fears/limitation because I wasn’t actively pursuing anything with a risk failure, yet I was experiencing heightened discontent and emotional tension in various aspects of my life. My personal development journey began with a desire to experience greater inner peace in these interactions, which led to a deeper insight that the only opportunity to change our lives in any capacity begins with changing our self awareness in each moment.

Get a grip of your feelings. 

It’s easy to be blind sighted with the ‘overhaul’ and maximum impact approach to change and in the past I too was guilty of always attempting to start big when it came to initiating positive lifestyle change. This is an outlook that idealizes the outcome or results of our endeavors and often minimizes the significance of the process it takes to accomplish them. For example, how many of us want to lose weight but resent enduring the commitment and discipline of getting fit or wish to attain greater financial stability but may not want to assume greater responsibility for professional development. Ultimately what makes the process of attaining any goal so undesirable is how we “feel” when we encounter set backs, therefore  I believe the first step to initiating any personal change is getting clear with your emotions. Our emotional energy is our motivational fuel, if we cannot manage our discontent then we will crash and burn every time but if we learn how to override our default discontented reactions then life can be smoother sailing. Our temptation to grab the cookie instead of an apple during our diet becomes stronger during emotional instability. We are more likely to give up on a ‘presumed’ difficult task due to feeling discouraged and our ability to communicate effectively in our relationships depends on how well we manage our own feelings. You may not feel a pressing drive to initiate any tangible change in your life right now, but if you experience frequent discontent with others or yourself then I encourage you to begin with understanding and altering your reactions to those moments because those sentiments are synonymous with your subconscious fears and limitations. When we stop reacting from our discontent, we begin allowing ourselves to “feel” the gravity of our emotions instead of escaping their discomfort and vulnerability. Feeling the depth our anger, sadness, resentment, jealousy, etc, offers us self awareness and reveals the self limiting expectations that diminish our fulfillment.

Everything is connected: start with the small stuff. 

Naturally the circumstances, which carry greater stakes for rewards and losses usually consume our emotional attention but neglecting the minor episodes of discontent arguably prevents us from identifying and overcoming our limitations before its too late. The unmet expectations within all our “unhappy” emotions are the same, therefore “discontent is discontent”, granted our motivation to manage our frustrations diminishes when the actions of others attributes to provoking our frustrations. However mindfulness has taught me the prospect of successfully overcoming our larger scale life challenges is determined by the willingness to “intentionally” resolve smaller incidents conscientiously.  
FullSizeRender (60)

That is, your co-worker’s rude comment and performing poorly at a highly coveted job interview are upsetting for the same reason of not being validating, therefore your reaction to the “trivial” disappointment subconsciously reinforces the expectation that predicts your response to more “important” issue. If we can’t manage our disappointment during smaller incidents, we are less likely to resolve the larger disappointment with grace and embrace the opportunity for learning and growth. Rather if we routinely condition ourselves to react to everyday discontent with actions that reinforce our need for validation, perfection, control or certainty then we will adopt the same approach in broader areas of our lives and make choices within our emotional comfort zone that do not support expanding our potential. So in reality the best occasions to begin managing our emotions are during the small and seemingly insignificant incidents where our ego is the only thing that’s at stake. Doing so enhances our ability to gracefully overcome the “important “obstacles. The difficulty with managing the emotional distress that follows unpredictable life outcomes is the greatest source of unhappiness for many of us.  So  I assure you that your child’s annoyance, a friend’s obnoxiousness, the vexing content on social media are all prime opportunities to practice mindfully riding the little waves in the peaceful manner that will enable you to ride the bigger waves with grace. Because our resistance to the larger waves of life keeps us living below our potential and desired abundance.

Letting go reveals our potential. 

When we opt to respond from love instead of  reacting from discontent, we unknowingly overcome the expectations, which were our subconscious limitations and begin taking ownership of our happiness. When I began intentionally choosing  not to react from any discontented emotions and consciously release negative thinking as it arose, I had no clue that it would lead to becoming more fearless, confident and connected to my life’s purpose. Yet every time I responded differently to my child’s sluggishness, I released the need for control or did not retort a friend’s needless bragging I detached from the need for validation. Gradually, I  became more willing to embrace opportunities that did not offer as much control or those where I potentially would not perform perfectly. But more importantly I treated myself more compassionately and patiently under these circumstances than I previously would have,  and subsequently became less intimated by these incidents. Detaching from our expectations opens us up to possibilities that we are unaware of when those expectations define our happiness. I’ve always enjoyed writing and deciphering philosophy but I would have been unlikely to create a blog when I was more motivated by perfection, validation and control. Because I currently write in most inconvenient and imperfect conditions, which would have been a source of repeated complaint in the past but doesn’t pose a concern at all now. Many of the tasks that you detest or are intimidated by are inherently limiting your ability to fulfill your broader life goals in the magnitude that you are capable of simply because of how you feel in those situations. Changing how you feel under these currently unfavorable conditions could dramatically alter your life but I believe that we simply cannot tackle these tasks in isolation without addressing the expectation embedded in our discontent. More so, the willingness and ability to take favorable ‘positive’ action when circumstances are disappointing is an important aspect of passion. Thus positively shifting our emotional energy during routine interactions is the consistent practice that some of us require to cultivate a greater sense of passion, whereby creating positive lifestyle change and growth  becomes more intuitive and inspired when have nurtured the passion necessary to motivate our efforts. We become overwhelmed trying to decipher our purpose and the bigger picture for our future but I believe that our task is to become the best versions of ourselves emotionally so that can continuously and fearlessly take the smaller “next steps” that supports our growth.

We don’t always have to wait for rock bottom moments in order to initiate positive change because if there are consistent and recurring episodes of discontent in our lives then there is tremendous room for greater fulfillment if examine these sentiments as they arise. We are the only common denominator in our lives and the only factor that we can control, therefore creating any lifestyle change begins with changing how we respond to every episode of disappointment. Whatever makes us unhappy becomes our limitation if we react to appease our discontent instead of stepping out of our emotional comfort zone. If you can consistently change how you respond to the smallest experience of discontent, you are re-conditioning yourself to become unlimited by your emotions and subsequently will become open to possibilities that you once deemed unmanageable.


“What’s The Spiritual Lesson In Your Set-Backs?”

What important personal lesson is life trying to teach you?

Have you been experiencing the same undesirable circumstances? Does it make you wonder what these events are attempting to impart or teach you? Because chances are, you may be getting emotional drained from reliving the same struggles. Established spiritual wisdom reassures us that everything happens for a reason and I also believe every occurrence in our life path is specially designed just for us. Our experiences are intended to nurture the qualities that we must develop to grow into the people who can utilize the lessons within those challenges to fulfill greater purpose and abundance. Yet, if you are like me for a long time, I was simply reliving the “test” and not comprehending the lesson, thus I continued to experience the same disappointments over and over. My spiritual journey has taught me that the only lesson embedded in every challenge is developing greater self-love but the specific qualities that we must cultivate depends on which virtue(s) enables us to mature into our gifts.

FullSizeRender (57).jpg


So, you’ve had the same argument with your spouse, a relative has let you down once again or you lacked the willpower to follow through with your goals and are feeling the same type of emotional discontent.

The first task is to honestly reflect upon what you were expecting in these circumstances? Our disappointment is always due to an unmet expectation that we have of ourselves and other people. Perhaps you wanted to feel important, appreciated or for events to unfold only in a controlled manner, etc. Our expectations represent the self-image that we believe we must uphold to be loved and therefore symbolize what we subconsciously believe is lacking in ourselves and must be substantiated through our circumstances or by others. Subsequently, all our expectations are the limitations and conditions that we place on accepting and loving ourselves. The expectation that previously motivated much of my efforts was the desire to be perfect, thus I kept encountering conflicts, relationships, and situations that made me feel imperfect. Naturally I would emerge from these failures and setbacks with a great sense of self resentment and an even stronger attachment to experiencing “perfection” in the next relationship, job, goal etc., only to experience the familiar disappointment towards others or myself for not being good enough. Not only did I unconsciously begin jeopardizing my growth by opting for opportunities with a lower threshold of encountering imperfection but I was missing the broader life lesson all together. I believe that the life lesson in each of setbacks is to develop the emotional quality that enables us to experience peace when our expectations aren’t met so that we can become detached from that expectation externally, internalize it within ourselves, which subsequently enables us to make life choices that uphold our self worth.


Life will continually attempt to motivate us to nurture our own currency of the same type of love that we are seeking through our expectations! Why is this the lesson? Because we when we are desiring to control circumstances we are seeking “patience” from others when we feel it lacking in ourselves, similarly the desire to be perfect is seeking compassion from others when we don’t feel perfect and seeking external validation desires kindness from others when we feel inadequate. However, no matter how much others display those qualities towards us, it is what we believe about ourselves that shapes our responses to life, therefore those attributes constitutes the type of love that we need to show ourselves to gradually expand our skill sets and nurture our unique gifts. The challenges in my past were repeatedly guiding me to detach from perfection and subsequently develop the compassion I needed towards myself when I was overwhelmed by not doing good, such that I could hone my current ability to interpret and make sense of my philosophical awareness. Without tremendous self-compassion, I would not have developed the passion that fuels my new aspirations as a life coach nor gracefully endured the multiple technologically mishaps it took to publish this article after a four months hiatus from WordPress. If your expectation is to feel important (validated) by others then you may be repeatedly encounter life outcomes and situations that make you feel unappreciated. The broader life lesson in your challenges is to nurture unconditional kindness so that you can feel validated from within and detach from the external need for validation. Because embodying a greater magnitude of kindness towards yourself is necessary to gracefully blossom into the talents, which your current need for external validation has compromised. Hence, life will continue nudging you to experience the emotional fallout of not being validated as a reminder that placing our worth in any external facet causes persistent unworthiness and dependecy.

FullSizeRender (58).jpg

If your life continues feel chaotic, then it’s time to stop trying to control everything externally and consciously choose patience during every interaction in order to internally “feel in control” amidst chaos. Whatever we are expecting externally is supposed to be nurtured within through an intentional and mindful decision to choose love. We can only feel the love that we show, thus the kindness, compassion, patience, etc., that we are withholding in our interactions is exactly what we need to embody to heal the attachments to our expectations. We are unknowingly operating from a mindset of self-lack when we are attached to perfection, control, validation and certainty and we will continue to attract/manifest that lack instead of what we desire. I want you to consider that every routine episode of discontent is a micro representation of the larger challenges that you will encounter. Therefore, your task is practice responding differently in those moments to foster the self-love that will empower you to gracefully rise above those same unmet expectations on a broader scale and finally experience the self expansion and gift awaiting you on the other side of your difficulties.

Ini Anana is an aspiring Life and Self Development coach in Edmonton, AB. Like Steeping Joy on Facebook  for more self development insights.

“To Fly, We Have to Have Resistance”–Maya Lin

A few days ago, a fellow blogger that I follow on here posted a quote that I believe provides a perfect analogy for the magnitude of continual growth that we must be “willing” to consistently embrace in order to succeed. Undoubtedly, our emotional state is the greatest motivation or limitation to our success, because our emotions create our drive and foster the mental dialogue that inspires our decisions and choices. I believe the greatest road block for many of us is recognizing that we must adopt new habits and behaviours to “sustain” a positive emotional outlook. Hence success is essentially the consistent practice of emotional mindfulness, where passion is basically unconditional contentment during various circumstances. To become unlimited in our pursuits, we must first experience contentment unlimitedly in order to conceive the greatest amount of possibilities as desirable prospects. Because I love a good analogy, here is my personal interpretation of this inspirational quote: Continue reading