“Recover your innocence, for she is an endless well of wisdom” .–I. Anana

I’ve always had an innate desire to make sense of everything but when I saw life from my ego, I directed my inquiry outward instead of understanding myself. But the answers that guide our personal journey reside with our authentic understanding/alignment with our highest self, therefore deciphering others is like writing the wrong test during an exam. We must know ourselves beyond our ego’s expectations in order to gain the true wisdom for our lives. After years of supposedly knowing it all, it was when I began seeing life through the lens of innocence that I discovered the wisdom and passion laying dormant in my consciousness. In what felt like an ordinary moment earlier this year, during my own sullen experience of misalignment, I briefly mourned the eventual loss of my angel’s innocence pondering the day that she too will shed her innate knowing that she is already enough. The sadness that followed that moment was the catalyst for my spiritual awakening and self rediscovery. I now understand that I was actually being inspired through divine intervention to mourn the loss of my own innocence and to rescue her from the fog of my ego mind.

You must mourn the loss of your innocence and commission a search party for her return. Put out her missing posters and knock on the doors of those who still remember her. Let them tell of how she was bold or gracious, knew what she wanted and went after it without fear. They will remind you that her imagination bore the greatest fantasies, she was full of curiosity, love and zeal. She sprinkled beauty and kindness everywhere she went and lifted the spirits of all those around her. Let them recall how she galloped with pride in her being and spoke her mind freely without doubt. Let your heart be moved by her legacy and weep that she has been buried alive. And as a loving parent who wouldn’t rest until the safe return of their missing child, you must find the courage to recover her. Fight for her in every waking moment of your day, knowing that when you choose to see life though the lens of love, you are one with your true and highest self.

“We are never lost, only disconnected”.–Ini Anana

“We do not need to be saved, only to awaken”–Ini Anana

My divine message a couple weeks ago was  “I AM INFINITE” and my reflections highlight that we lose ourselves by trying to define ourselves. Defining ourselves by external standards simplifies our identity to a binary of meeting our expectation (aka we succeed in being who we “think” we are) or not meeting our expectation and feeling at a loss of ourselves. This creates an internal hierarchy of worthiness within us of either feeling “less than” or being “good enough” Thus we become disconnected from ourselves by having a stronger attachment to chasing the expectations that will make us feel worthy before the judgement of others. We feel lost because of the wild goose chase of hunting for the next external thing that will bolster our worth. Ironically most people interpret this feeling as an indication that something is missing in them or in their life but this is our innate compass alarming us that we are running away from ourselves to our expectations. We figure that if just have a bigger house, loose more weight, have a better job, find a partner that we’ll feel better.

But without healing our attachment to the expectations of who we “think” we are, we cannot love ourselves and there remains infinite ways to feel unworthy even after we get the next best thing. Slight injunctions like impatience with my son or negative feedback were enough to dethrone me from my previous identification with perfection, inciting an internal sense of inadequacy. Detaching our joy from all expectations allows us to accept and forgive ourselves under all circumstances, which expands our self awareness. Subsequently, we feel empowered to make choices that support our growth instead of reacting to feel worthy before other people’s opinions. We cannot be “defined” by any measure, because we cannot own or always possess any “label” in this life. We are simply our ability to love because when we love, we are intentional and transcend all circumstances. Equating ourselves with any expectations places our power outside of ourselves, and there can be no joy in living such a life.

You are courageous and already have all the answers to fulfilling your highest life purpose for abundance if you look within and begin to ponder who you are within all the external distractions

“The Problem is the Solution to Your Evolution”–Ini Anana

Whenever we find ourselves unable to embrace our circumstances or struggles, we must ask ourselves “what am I resisting?” Consider the personal skill or trait you are avoiding or not embodying in your resistance to the situation. Are people taking advantage of you so you can learn to speak up for yourself? Are your interactions with your children or family strained in order to teach you the compassion that you are also lacking towards yourself? Were you humiliated to force you to stop caring about what others think? Your resistance to this particular quality is also essentially fighting/resisting yourself and limits your capacity to be good to yourself. Without developing this aspect of our character, we are choosing to impact/cater to the actions/opinion of others at our expense. If you live the rest of your life without nurturing this all important trait, you’ll never be good to yourself and subsequently will never be happier, more fulfilled or empowered than you are right now.

Expecting others or life to be perfect simply because we lack the courage to be good to ourselves will keep us stuck and living below our potential FOREVER. I’ve been given a new inspiration to develop a self-compassion workshop and would you believe that I’ve been experiencing the very situations that require me to be compassionate to myself instead of worrying about the perceptions of others. In the past however, I would have chosen to be distressed and pondered why life didn’t love me enough to make everything easier and perfect 🤷🏾‍♀️. Rather, I said “how’s this a good thing for my goals”? The reflection revealed that I may have taken the basics of self compassion for granted due to my committed spiritual growth, thus my current experiences is taking me through the “practical” and elementary knowledge to incorporate into my teachings. This approach opened my awareness beyond the immediate predicament, raised my vibration and propelled me into taking aligned actions. When you consider how your challenges are beneficial, it gives you a sense of control over them. Have the courage to ask the questions that will move you forward because your progress can’t occur against your willingness.

You are courageous and powerful, lean into your truth and potential.

Words of Wisdom to My Younger Self: This is What It Took To Become Authentic.

When you finally embrace your authentic self, you end up wishing that you would have begun the search much sooner. The desire to gain validation and my prior addiction to perfection distracted me from seeking my highest self and exploring more of my potential. Therefore, the distance to self rediscovery gets shorter once we begin putting ourselves first and realize that making others proud or happy is not more important than our own well being. While it’s true that everything happens in its own good time and we cannot force personal growth, life only gets shorter with time and we unfortunately spend too much energy trying to find ourselves in the wrong places. Sometimes, we miss growing into our gifts all together because of our subconscious self sabotaging habits. Having the clarity of my hindsight, I have some advice that I would give to my younger self about what it took to grow into the truest version of me. And for anyone else who has dared to ask themselves that million-dollar question of “who am I”, these are my words of wisdom on how to cultivate your most empowered self and authenticity.

Be truthful with yourself. 

I spent my twenties and half my thirties frequently making choices that did not honor the truth within my heart because I wanted approval at all costs. I entered and stayed in relationships that I shouldn’t have, said yes to opportunities that didn’t feel right and outright adopted a demeanor of fibbing to avoid unfavorable reactions or opinions. I assumed that the validation I would gain from the experiences or relationships in question would offset my internal discord. But I was wrong, every single time; living in a lie with myself to appease others has never made me happier in the long run. Rather choices that contradict our truth undermine our own opinion of ourselves, diminishes our self esteem and leads to not trusting our own judgement. The more difficult it is to make a decision that upholds our internal truth then the more esteem and trust that we will gain or lose in ourselves, depending on how we proceed. Living honestly with yourself builds up the confidence and belief in yourself to live your dreams.

Stop waiting.

You are already complete and good enough, so stop waiting for any experience or milestone to determine your happiness. I waited for education, jobs, relationships to feel worthy but until we stop defining ourselves by external expectations, we will waste our whole lives waiting for joy to happen to us. Pursuing our goals from a mindset of inadequacy often leads to playing safe or choosing other people’s version of success. We must already love and accept ourselves unconditionally in order to have the passion and tenacity to pursue our own unique gifts, which may not always be supported or understood by others. The very expectations that you are waiting for either circumstances or others to meet creates your false perception of not already being enough. Self acceptance frees us from the opinions of others, empowering us to follow our hearts and pursue our most authentic desires. Get up and do the things you’re putting off until you lose weight, have more money, have a spouse, a family because nothing completes our happiness if we are not happy now.

Ask for what you want.

The true mark of our independence is the ability to ask for what we want. My naivete associated vocalizing my true intentions as being needy or pushy but when I did not articulate my desires in relationships, friendships or other settings, I became resentful or emotionally dependent. Giving ourselves permission to ask for what we want enables us to take responsibility for our lives, instead of simply expecting others to anticipate our needs. When we do not speak up for what we need, our inherent entitlement diminishes our capacity to nurture a more open and genuine connection with others. You must speak up for what you desire, to receive what you deserve.

Explore your passion.

We begin adulthood determined to make our mark in life but I soon learned that after you leave academia and settle into professional role, life smaller and less fulfilling if you don’t allot energy into a passion or an endeavor for your own enjoyment. Expand your creative horizon if you don’t want to end up like those folks who are not as content in the same careers that they too once pursued with all of their young potential. Exploring our passion heightens our confidence and often expands our personal growth by providing the impetus for us to evolve outside of our comfort zones. When I did not actively engage in my passion for writing and sharing my ideas, I was caught in a limbo of restlessness and boredom. Pursuing our creative interest often requires us to be kind to ourselves, enhancing our self acceptance and sense of wholeness.

Be a champion of others.

We must genuinely celebrate and build others up to personally feel empowered to step out in pursuit of our own dreams. The constant need to be perfect and validated in my younger years led to not fully showing up for others but often meeting them with my judgmental ego. My critique of people’s mistakes or criticism of their imperfect choices contributed to my own reluctance to take risks and put myself out there. When we do not celebrate others, we internalize that it’s not socially safe to be bold and become afraid of also being judged and not supported. We discover our own strengths and bolster our character as we build others up and bring out the best in them. Our genuine encouragement of others diminishes the tendency for comparison, which reinforces our own awareness of also being enough. What we embrace in others becomes a mirror for what we cherish in ourselves and vice versa.

Be more vulnerable.

Without a doubt, vulnerability is the only means to self awareness, growth and experiencing true love. Yet, I avoided it for years because I did not know how to experience the pain of confronting my emotional vulnerability or shame. I would mentally jab at my weaknesses or failures with a ten-yard stick and judge myself through the perceptions of others. Experiencing my difficulties with my mind instead of my heart made me my own worse enemy and I would become less authentic as I tried harder to prove my worth. Now, I delve into my vulnerability heart first, showing myself the self compassion necessary to accept myself as worthy amidst my defeat and disappointment. Our willingness to be vulnerable with ourselves helps us to shed limiting beliefs, make decisions with clarity and become more accepting and connected to others.

Becoming the best version of ourselves is primarily a process of letting go of the conditioned expectations that diminish our authenticity. However, what I had to do more of, was to love. Mindfully choosing kindness and compassion in all my interactions reconnected me to my innate loving nature towards myself.

NI ANANA IS AN ASPIRING LIFE AND SELF DEVELOPMENT COACH IN EDMONTON, AB. LIKE STEEPING JOY ON FACEBOOK  FOR MORE SELF DEVELOPMENT INSIGHTS.

 

Stop Waiting For Mr. Or Mrs. Right

Dating in 2017 is an endless waiting game, with popular relationships advise on social media continuously cautioning us about the type of person that every girl or guy should wait for. But what exactly are you waiting for? Dig deeper than the list of wonderful qualities that you desire in an ideal mate and ponder why you value those traits as much as you do in the first place. In the past, I was basically waiting to stumble upon someone who would compensate for my own shortcomings or inadequacies and love me more than I loved myself. If this also sounds like your current dating approach then I encourage to stop wasting your precious time and stop waiting for your perfect mate because the only factor that determines who attract is you and how much you love yourself. A better use of your waiting period is healing the cause of your internal unworthiness so that you can develop better boundaries and make empowered decisions that will prevent choosing partners from a mindset of desperation and neediness.

Stay Single Until You Love Yourself.

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The last dating article you read may have just told you to stay single until you meet someone who doesn’t make you doubt yourself or something along those lines. But here’s the catch, if you doubt yourself then you will forever continue to chose partner that cannot offer you security. It’s irrelevant if a prospective lover possesses the right or wrong qualities because you are willingly choosing your partners. Therefore, you ought to focus more on what is guiding your choices and less on the factor that you cannot control, which is the other person. If we dare to be completely honest with ourselves, then admittedly what we desire in a partner often resembles how we are not treating ourselves. When we do not genuinely love and value ourselves then we will typically choose partners based on how “we think they will make us feel” more worthy or desirable and become completely blind to who they are as people. I refer to this as the starving for self love syndrome, its comparable to missing a meal during a diet and your subsequent food choices become driven purely by your deprivation and hunger instead of what is beneficial and nutritious. In contrast, when we authentically embody the expectations that we desire from a spouse towards ourselves then we longer need anything from a partner to feel worthy and take responsibility for our own happiness within our unions. This allows us to see a relationship as a platform for personal growth and learning, which makes it easier to walk away from toxic relationships that no longer promote our wellbeing.

Your Expectations Are For You.

I will take a stab at the fact that if you have a long list of expectations that you desire from a potential partner then you may still be harbouring significant emotional hurt and pain that you must heal to truly love yourself. That’s because our expectations are merely the external band aids for long standing wounds of how we feel unworthy. If you wrestle with insecurity then you may desire a mate who is very confident but lack the self-assurance to date such people, opting instead to settle for those whom you perceive will make you feel more secure. Seeking confidence through a partner distracts a person from enhancing their own level of self worth. So, don’t throw out your expectations all together but simply become aware that the qualities, which you desire in a spouse represents what you must nurture in a greater capacity within yourself to experience your desired benefits from those traits. All the incidents that cause a person to feel inadequate will not suddenly cease to elicit unworthiness simply because the “perfect match” showed up. Our insecurities are often our own best kept secret and our lovers aren’t in the loop that they’ve been tasked with making us feel worthy. Rather, when we chose people according to their perceived ability to meet our expectations, we put them in charge of our happiness and do not take responsibility for the true cause of our emotional discontent. This often leads to projecting our unhealed wounds onto our spouses and not recognizing the broader opportunity of personal growth that our persistent insecurity offers us.

Stop Rushing and Start Discovering.

When we expect a relationship to make us feel worthy or valuable then we get in a hurry to see if we can have our cake and eat it too. We will rush things to the next level because we want to confirm if a partner does indeed fit the bill of expectations that we have created for them. However, dating is an opportunity to discover who people are and through self awareness support each other in becoming the best version of ourselves. If we are not being honest or feel not confident about our choices within a relationship, it leads to believing that we have something to lose in taking our time with progressing through the relationship. For example, when I lacked the courage to act on the subtle inklings and red flags that I felt about my exes, I would inherently want rush things to the next stage to prove myself wrong or right. Similarly, if you doubt your partner’s commitment level, the answer is not rushing to move in together to see if they are willing to commit and inadvertently test out your expectations. When we assume responsibility for nurturing our own happiness through a positive mindset, selfcare and personal hobbies/passions then a partner cannot hinder our joy and we never have anything to lose in any relationship.  In contrast, making choices solely on our expectations undermines our boundaries because we will act to feel validated instead having the clarity to make choices that honor our integrity and well being.

Stop waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right if their role is to make you feel better about who you are because our pain or unhappiness is our own and nobody else can take that away from us no matter how good they are on paper. When we are happy with ourselves and living honestly in our truth, then our relationship choices will reflect this.

INI ANANA IS AN ASPIRING LIFE AND SELF DEVELOPMENT COACH IN EDMONTON, AB. LIKE STEEPING JOY ON FACEBOOK  FOR MORE SELF DEVELOPMENT INSIGHTS.

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.

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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.

INI ANANA IS AN ASPIRING LIFE AND SELF DEVELOPMENT COACH IN EDMONTON, AB. LIKE STEEPING JOY ON FACEBOOK  FOR MORE SELF DEVELOPMENT INSIGHTS.

Implications of Disciplining with Compassion.

The back to school season always reminds me how the scholastic hopes that we have for our children impacts our parenting choices because education remains a gateway to success. In the past,  moulding my son for success admittedly led to expecting him to be perfect lest he succumb to poor choices or judgement. Subsequently, I interpreted my son’s misbehavior as threatening  his prospects of living the good life and erroneously adopted excessive discipline measures with the hopes of training  him to “make better choices”. My ongoing practice of self awareness and unconditional love over the last eight months has taught me that our children’s capacity for success in the ‘long run’ actually depends on the relationship that they are having with themselves. Their ability to be compassionate, self forgiving and graceful with themselves during challenges will impact their ability to remain motivated, passionate and resilient over their lifetime. With so much content to cover on this topic, I will likely write another installment to address a subsidiary topic of giving our maturing children the freedom to follow their unique path to self re-discovery. I will not be able to thoroughly discuss the intricate relationship between self acceptance and the law of attraction as well as manifestation. So I will simply highlight that if we were attracting the external displays of how we want to be perceived then more of us would be manifesting a greater magnitude of abundance, purpose and fulfillment in our lives. After years of using a punitive approach to discipline, I now advocate for more compassionate measures to guidance and correction not only because of the positive results it has produced in our children but because I finally understand that even in our wisdom, without self compassion we remain entitled, unaware and dis-empowered.  

Act with Compassion.

Parents send many implicit messages to children about how they are worthy of love and I believe that how we treat our children models how they come to treat themselves. Therefore, how we respond to their wrongdoings sets an important precedence for their own internal response/dialogue with themselves during their personal mistakes, failures and set backs. Disciplining choices that lack compassion disconnect children from their internal sense of self compassion during the moments that they have disappointed themselves or others. Compassionate discipline choices will vary according to each incident but in my practice I’ve found its beneficial not extend our dialogue/frustration into the past incidents or projecting the current issue as a reflection of their potential to behave differently in the future. This models to children the importance to focusing on the factors that we can control, which is the always the present moment. We all know that consuming our energy with what we cannot control does not enhance our self efficacy. When we begin extrapolating beyond the pertinent occasion then we can begin to implicitly create shame in children. Personally, being a product of the old school mindset of shaming bad behaviors to prevent their recurrence, I wholeheartedly attest that we have little success in learning from and transforming any personal conditions that we are ashamed of. Rather, shame undermines self agency because it leads to projecting blame to other factors and making choices to regain social approval instead of correcting our mistakes. It’s also important to avoid self negating statements that equate the child with a behavior. For example instead of “you are not a good listener” try “I need you to listen more carefully” and provide the rationale as it pertains to the situation.  I believe that disciplining without compassion is ‘one’of the ways we come to perceive that people will “love” us only when we are perfect and thus become afraid of failure and pursuing our authentic goals as adults. Sustaining contentment and success in the very long run requires accepting ourselves as worthy in spite of our imperfect outcomes and each moment where a child misbehaves is an opportunity to teach them how to overcome failure without fear, guilt or shame. Essentially when children can feel worthy despite their transgressions then we are freeing them from caring what others think of them when they would otherwise fear not being good enough, which is the true secret to sustained growth and success.  

Perfection Doesn’t Exist.

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A majority of the parenting advice that I read in the past primarily focused on adapting the parent-child relationship or on how to change our children. However, I’ve discovered that we must first enhance the relationship that we are having with ourselves in order to improve the dynamic with our children. That’s because the relationship we are having with ourselves is the only one that exists and we simply project the expectations that we have of ourselves onto everyone else, including our children. If you are like I was in the past, I was often in a relationship with perfection instead of myself. Our attachment to perfection leads to feeling inadequate or unworthy if we believe that others will judge the imperfections in some aspect of our lives. Therefore, we are expecting our children to be perfect human beings because we see them as an extension of ourselves. I often resorted to non-compassionate disciplining choices because those were my only measures for responding to myself for making mistakes. The way I scolded my son for his mistakes reflected the manner that I criticized  and treated myself for messing up amidst the perceptions of others. Our desire to prove to others that we are good enough heightens our frustrations to any act of imperfection but excessively punishing ourselves and our children to preserve an image for others is truly deserting ourselves  in the worst way. Improving my own self acceptance and releasing the need for perfection had made it possible to respond our children’s behaviors in the same compassionate context that I relate to myself. A majority of our children’s ‘misconduct‘ and behaviors are normal developmental curiosities as they are experiencing every stage of their development for the first time and will naturally explore the full scope of their being and self boundaries. For example, my one year daughter currently puts everything in her mouth during this stage of her development. She doesn’t care if the object is food or paper, yet it would not be reasonable to react as to one of her paper eating episodes as  though she ought to be a perfect one year old and know better. It’s possible to approach every stage of our children’s growth in this compassionate manner if we abandon the expectation of perfection and nurture a more loving relationship with ourselves. Interestingly, every parent is striving to teach their child(ren) not to be influenced by the opinions of others, but without self compassion for their imperfection, children may develop a stronger propensity to seek admiration and validation in their social relationships. Admittedly, many of us were raised in the exact same manner that we are parenting our children to mould us into better people than our folks, yet by in large we turned out pretty much the same, so it’s worth breaking the cycle. 

Changing The Success Story .

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 The consciousness of success is slowly evolving beyond the old model of commencing adulthood motivated to prove ourselves, only to become stuck or complacent in unfulfilling arenas twenty years later. The externally driven approach to success is not sustainable over one’s life time, therefore we must equip children with the self compassion necessary to continue challenging themselves to explore their full potential. Without self compassion, we may complete our post secondary education, get a decent paying 9 to 5 job, own a house etc. But we need to embrace unconditional self acceptance and grace to experience inner peace, make empowered decisions in our personals lives and nurture a positive mental dialogue, which encourages us to explore our inspirations. Our generation minimized that value of the relationship that we are having with ourselves while putting on a good front to the world. It’s now obvious that our degree of self-love impacts every life decision and subsequently shapes the progression of our personal lives. Without self acceptance, we resign to making choices that help us to feel loved and accepted by others. Hence our initial success platform as young adults may simply reflect the conditioned need to be approved and validated by our friends, family, public etc. With time, it becomes less desirable to continue expending excessive efforts in endeavors that don’t authentically fulfill us. Yet, without self compassion, we may remain both afraid of failure and lack the passion necessary to support exploring continual personal growth. Parenting with compassion allows children to internalize their worth as being greater than even the most damaging outcome. Such self grace is what will allow them to detach their happiness from the outcome of their efforts and remain curious about expanding their creativity and potential. More so,  nurturing children to be compassionate to themselves unconditionally enables them to make empowered choices especially when their expectations aren’t met. Essentially self compassion, is the key to sustained happiness because it allows us to feel worthy and accept ourselves amidst our changing circumstances. Positive psychology studies have shown that happier people make an average $600-700K more money over their life time, live longer and are more fulfilled in their relationships (1). When we are happy with ourselves, we tend to make choices from a framework of self expansion, while choices that stem from a feeling of unworthiness are geared at seeking approval and simply appeasing our discontent. The new face of success in the coming generations will continue to be that of creative entrepreneurship, which is primarily motivated by passion and self evolution. The greatest gift we can give our children is modeling the self compassion and awareness that compliments evolving their creativity, growth and potential.

Remaining compassionate when we are triggered by our children’s actions is undoubtedly difficult but we must imagine that if we react excessively from frustration, those responses will likely become the choices that they will also choose for themselves. Rather when our choices always align with love then we avoid the inconsistency of swinging between anger to guilt, which limits our effectiveness. If we teach our children to always feel worthy in themselves then we can rest assured that they will be able to take make empowered choices that support their success and fulfillment. Life will never be perfect, therefore expecting perfection of our children may not afford them with the skills and confidence to gracefully overcome challenges without fear. Rather, when we model self compassion, we teach children not to be ashamed of their mistakes but to forgive their errors and take responsibility for their actions. A child that feels worthy at all times is better able to make positive choices and are less likely to be limited by their imperfect circumstances or the judgement of others. 

(1) Information adapted from Rob Mack, happiness coach, speaker and author.  Interviewed on Earn Your Happy podcast. Aired August 25, 2017

INI ANANA IS AN ASPIRING LIFE AND SELF DEVELOPMENT COACH IN EDMONTON, AB. LIKE STEEPING JOY ON FACEBOOK  FOR MORE SELF DEVELOPMENT INSIGHTS.

 

An Ode to Love: Love is For The Receiver.

Love is our only true freedom because,
To love takes the courage  to live outside of all fear!
Love does not fear loss, it is not afraid of failure, and
Love is not seduced by the clout of the ego.
Love indeed is for the Receiver, so whom so ever receives Love may be graced with acceptance and virtue!
Love is for the Receiver, for
This is the nature of the Divine Love bestowed upon us, which is unwavering and
Does not bind nor possess and is not rationed upon circumstance!
But it sets us free so that we may always feel welcomed, because
Love is for the receiver and as we receive Love, so shall we discover how to Love  because,
Love is for the Receiver!
When we share Love for the sake of the Receiver, then
Love is unselfish, and only
When we are not selfish that
We are set free.

 

“Steeping joy, brewed with all that life has to offer”

An Ode to All Parents: Enjoy All The Moments

Being a parent is a constant reminder that time slips away quietly like the moon disappearing behind the sky and it’s only the sudden bleakness from moments that have come to pass, which brings to mind the way things once were. I sometimes regret that I can’t quite recall the details of my son’s baby milestones from fourteen years ago, and it’s the kind of truth that always makes you wonder if you are savouring every moment to the last drop. This past week when we moved Fraya into her own room, I had a deep longing to relive the months when I could gaze at her while she slept and greeted each morning with her wiggling body grinning with excitement to see me standing above her bassinet. I shed my first tears of sadness since Fraya was born because I’m suddenly reminded that we are once again on the trajectory of slowly meeting milestones with a heavy heart.  And I somehow felt connected to all of us parents travelling on this same journey, watching our children gradually run farther from us and their independence grows an ironic yearning in the distance they’ve left behind. We often come to realize that those days that are now behind us were indeed the best of times, so here’s an ode to all the parents:

The new parents embracing the warmth of their baby’s  flesh on their body for the first time, wondering how they created such magic, savour the joy this perfect moment for someday you’ll strain your memory to recall that bliss.

To the exhausted parents stealing sleep in odd places  because their baby’s body is always attached to their chest, enjoy that bond, a time will come when they will wrestle from such closeness.

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To those tirelessly chasing busy, restless bodies, enjoy the thrill, for these may be the purest fun you’ll ever have.

To those putting one foot in front of the other surviving meltdowns, tantrums and whining, you’re doing the best you know and someday you’ll miss when could solve their problems by kissing it better.

To the exasperated mommies and daddies telling another bedtime story, scratching imaginary itches, answering unrelated questions when sleep is long overdue, please enjoy this irony because a time will come when they will be sleeping more than you can handle.

To those parents marching along on the first days of school, filled with pride wondering how their little baby grew so big, enjoy their excitement because it may not last forever.

To those reaching the limits of their patience from still debating the same point, enjoy this chatter for a time will come when you’ll ask for more words to fill their silence.

To all the parents resting their weary heads at night, blissfully exhausted as they recall the small miracles you’ve performed today to get everyone where they needed to be, enjoy this contentment for a time will come when they won’t need you as much.

To the parents meeting each struggle with doubt, feeling defeated that you are not getting it right, enjoy your resolve to begin anew ‘starting now’, a time will come to make peace with the past.

To those parents climbing over the molehills and mountains with teenagers who rarely do all they claim to know, a time will surely come when you will all reminiscence over these stories.

To the parents whose children are spreading their wings way past your bed time, as you lay awake imagining the worst, enjoy the relief of a child returning home safe, a time is coming when they’ll soar to new grounds.

To the parents wondering if they’ve done enough to prepare your growing child for their new horizons, enjoy the freedom of learning to let go. A time is coming when all you can do is support their choices.

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To the parents who are on the other side of childhood crying tears of joy at graduations, farewells and celebrations enjoy the blessing of finally seeing how your love brought every moment together.

To the parents becoming grandparents, embracing the warmth of your grandchild and experiencing the magic of unconditional love, this is joy of doing it all over again.

To the grandparents who never stopped being our parents especially when our journey met broken roads, hearts, dreams and homes, we cherish the love of always being your children.

To all the parents at every stage of life looking for meaning in the imperfect occasions enjoying the mystery of not yet knowing that these moments will become the glory days when life was as good as it gets.

Which stage of parenting do you now see in a brighter light now that it’s passed?

XO

Ini A

“Steeping joy, brewed with all that life has to offer”

All professional images by Janet Cruz Photography, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Love in Action: Lessons From Our First Craft Sale.

When I began to write about our family’s first craft sale experience this past weekend, it didn’t take long for the principles of love to emerge and this revelation gave me the idea to start a new series of blog entries that explore my views about love during our everyday moments. I hope to use these stories to highlight the fact that love impacts every component of life and discuss the endless opportunities where we can utilize our ability to love to improve ourselves and circumstances. To summarize my definition of love, I believe that we could all probably agree that love can be described as an exchange because we ‘seem’ to  feel and show it. If love is intangible and can also be exchanged, then I also agree that love is energy. Extrapolating from the scientific premise of energy, I assert that love is our ability to overpower the force of negativity/ego in every interaction.  Similarly, if we accept that our main goal in life is to be happy then we can also assume that our true self enables us to satisfy this purpose, while the ego opposes it. We experience unhappiness due to our unmet expectation of perfection. Therefore, it is our ego that demands perfection of ourselves, others and our circumstances and becomes unhappy when this does not manifest. Subsequently, ‘choices that stem from the defeated ego’ becomes the force that opposes our ability to love.  As I recount the events and lessons from our recent craft sale, I hope it leaves you more convinced that love doesn’t occur only between lovers or those you care about but there’s an opportunity to embrace the energy of love  in every aspect of how we live.

Breaking new ground in the craft world.

A couple months ago, my husband began making larger sized scrabble tiles, adding a new element to his hand crafted reclaimed pallet wood artwork. He quickly generated multiple sales from Kijiji and it was through his advertising that he was solicited to participate in a school’s fundraiser craft sale. We immediately decided that this was a great opportunity to showcase his artwork since he planned on participating in markets and trade shows soon. We had high hopes that this novel décor item would be a hit with craft sale goers. He went to work preparing his inventory and it unfolded into a family affair, with his parents cutting/sanding the wooden tiles in their shop at their country home, my husband drawing/stenciling the pieces, I waxed his finished product and one of our daughters refined the flaws with a fine point pen. We worked so hard that both my husband and I came down with a terrible head cold the day before the sale, but the show had to go on. We got up early that Saturday morning and with our sweet Fraya in tow, we were off to the big event. We quickly discovered that one must arrive earlier than early to get the first pick at the premium tables near the entrance, we selected the best from what tables remained and it didn’t take long before we were set up and ready to sell. And with baited breath we waited and waited and waited some more. Our first sale came a couple hours later, which felt quite anticlimactic amidst our growing disappointment. Though we were both thinking it, my husband was first to express his discontent about the minimal sales considering the tremendous amount effort he invested in preparing the inventory. There we were, with our long faces and innocent Fraya oblivious of our deflated spirit, we were still holding on to hopes that maybe we would lure in buyers with her sweet smiles, squeals and giggles. We tried adjusting our pitch and became more vocal with every passer by, greeting them more passionately, but all that was to no avail. And when the sense of discouragement settled in deep enough for me to feel unhappy, I recognized that this was an opportunity to consciously apply the principles of love.

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Love entails self awareness

Unhappiness is always the trigger that we are confronting the force of our ego and as I made the connection between our expectations and the current state of our progress, I asked my husband why he felt disappointed. He explained that it seemed like he may have wasted his efforts preparing for the sale and there was also the implicit doubt of whether his work was desirable to buyers. I remarked “so we basically expected the sale to go perfectly by making lots of money”. Since he also made the connection with our unmet expectations of perfection, my husband jokingly replied “is that too much for my ego to ask for?” Being aware that our disappointment stemmed from our defeated ego, we re-evaluated how we wanted to proceed. We now had a strong incentive to change our outlook because behaving in a sullen manner would give momentum to the force of our ego, which we understood would indirectly block the flow of love in our circumstance. Discussing our bleak outlook forced us to examine the source of our negative emotions and subsequently revealed how the principles of love could apply to this situation.  In turn, we became more conscious of the outlook we wanted to adopt and more deliberate in our choices. Utilizing the principles of love was the pause button, which allowed us to rewind, examine the details we missed before coming to the right conclusion. Therefore, the principles of love fosters self awareness because we gain clarity while scrutinizing the source of our unsettled emotions . This has proven to be the only way to identify if we are confronting the force of our ego and subsequently recognize it as an opportunity to change the presiding outlook and our course of action to permit the flow of love.

Defeat is just a perception

My husband and I addressed our looming sense of failure by realistically considering our tangible losses. And naturally, there were none to minimal losses and at that point we were only $20 away from recovering the cost of our table rental. I quipped to my husband that we weren’t less intelligent than before the start of the sale since its always natural to feel a bit foolish during defeat. Nothing was physically absent from our lives because we did not sell a lot of inventory so why would we concede to the feeling of failure. In many instances one can only discover that the sentiments of their defeated ego is just a perception by deliberately rejecting it and not acting in the spirit of these emotions. Over and over, I’ve recognized that ‘nothing actually changes’ in the capacity that we feared. Yet we often choose to behave according to the sentiments of our defeated ego (limiting the flow of love) because it provides the comfort akin to leaking our wounds without the healing.

There are alternative outcomes

The conscious exercise of choosing the energy of love affords us the realization that there are multiple outcomes to every interaction, and we can choose the version that reconnects us with happiness. When our ego’s expectation of perfection is not met, the negative emotions we feel lead us to believe that there’s only one possible resolve. Proceeding in the spirit of our defeated ego signals our acceptance of it’s perceived outcome while selecting a different course of actions acknowledges that we are willing to create a different resolution. For example, we typically choose resentment when people disappoint us because we accept that their intentions ‘must’ be bad, we may choose anger when we do not get our way because we accept that control is the ‘only’ means to happiness and we choose detachment when we feel vulnerable because we ‘assume’ that we are unappreciated, etc. My husband and I endeavoured to uncover the advantages of our experience at the craft sale as we applied the principles of love to our situation. We decided that it was beneficial to attend a smaller sale to debut his art as an introduction to the learning curve of such events, where there were less costs at stake. We also recognized the generated potential for future sales as a couple dozen people took his business card and a few more requested to have custom work completed. The best part of this story is that soon after we chose to embrace the energy of love, our luck immediately turned around. Coincidental or not, we had the remaining four out of five sales after our choice to reject defeat but the greatest victory was realizing that our initial disappointment was not the end of the story. Similarly, in other situations, the perception of our defeated ego conceals the alternate outcomes that can afford us freedom from the ego as well as happiness.

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Focus on the gains

The most problematic aspect of the ego’s need for perfection is the fallout when these demands go unmet and we inherently become preoccupied with the conditions that are lacking for our happiness.  However, as we actively negate the emotions of our defeated ego, we begin to look for criteria that validate the choice to be happy despite the ego’s outlook. As we highlighted the benefits of the sale, we acknowledged the fact that we made great contacts with other vendors who shared their expertise willingly and recommended upcoming handmade sales that are more suitable for my husband’s inventory. My husband also felt grateful that he created sufficient inventory to participate in future sales with less preparation going forward and we gained tremendous insight about the workings of such events. And a less related gain was the pleasure our neighboring vendor derived from holding and playing with Fraya. We learned that she works as a nanny in addition to her Arbonne business and it left us feeling content that our presence at the sale somehow allowed her to enjoy her passion for children during the sale.

Driving home after the sale, my husband and I both felt an uncanny sense of success from an event where we did not sell as much as expected. Thus, examining how the principles the ego and love apply to every circumstance is an opportunity to choose freedom and happiness. Once we begin to appreciate that love is not a cliché ideal reserved for stereotypical relationships but it’s an energy that we can enable in every interaction (with ourselves, others and the universe) then we are able to use it’s flow reap abundance in every facet of life. My husband and I chose to show ourselves love when our defeated ego wanted us to concede to failure and in turn we experienced greater love for ourselves, each other and everyone we interacted with that weekend.

Update:

As of today February 16th, we have generated residual sales that matches our total income at the craft show  and we anticipate much more. This is tangible evidence that the science of love is the Law of Attraction because it enables you to recognize the opportunities to generate what you seek.

XO

Ini A.

“Steeping joy, brewed with all that life has to offer”