In my last article I discussed the absolute necessity of taking personal responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and above all your actions. Your actions bring your results. All the knowledge in the world cannot help you if you do not act upon it. In this article I will discuss two simple easy things to do, which if done, will improve your life guarantee. They are not time consuming or difficult. They cost nothing and can be instantly implemented into your life.
Taking personal responsibility is one thing. Remembering to take it for yourself in the heat of everyday interactions is quite something else. Here is what you can do. Take a piece of (A4) paper and in thick black magic marker write "I AM RESPONSIBLE" on it and hang it up on your bedroom wall next to the door. Every morning when you get up and even before you go to the bathroom you will see "I AM RESPONSIBLE." The second half of the exercise is simply to think "for my actions". Now, looking at "I AM RESPONSIBLE" is passive. You simply look at the words and let them register in your mind. Thinking "for my actions" is active. Every time you go into your bedroom look at your piece of paper on the wall. See the words and think "for my actions." Think "for my actions." Think "for my actions."
After about two weeks you will see real results. Even when you are in an uncomfortable situation, dealing with an uncomfortable person, you become aware of "for my actions." The first time I experienced this awareness was quite invigorating. I was aware of being in the situation but I was also detached from it. It was a blessed feeling of freedom. Knowing that I am responsible for my actions freed me from having to react to the situation and made me able to respond to it. Needless to say, what could have become a problem resolved itself before it became a problem.
Before I leave this theme, however, there is one point I wish to make perfectly clear. There came a point in our discussion where this gentleman made a rather derogatory remark. Actually, it was a roundabout insult. My first feeling was to defend myself or attack his position. This was my first feeling, but, then came this moment of "blessed freedom" as I saw that reacting to his comment would bring an end to our discussion. I saw that acting out my anger to his comment was not necessary and that acting peacefully actually gave me the possibility to feel at peace. I write this to let you know that this is not some kind of magic, but, rather a way to freedom. As this idea of "being responsible for my actions" has taken root in me I find it easier to control myself and therefore the situations in which I find myself. Try it. Practice it.
THE SMILE EXERCISE:
After getting up and reminding yourself that you are responsible for your actions for that day there is a one-minute exercise, that, if indulged in, will truly change the character of your life.
First: be alone. If you live in a family situation, or with other people, find a place where you can be alone, even if you must lock yourself in the bathroom for one minute. Now that you are alone: smile. That's it. Smile. You don't have to think anything, say anything, or do anything.
Just Smile. Personally, I explored the feelings of my face muscles and the effect of smiling on my eye muscles. Just smile, for one minute without stopping. At first, one minute is a long time, but, in a very short time it is nothing. This exercise is such fun you will want to do it more times throughout the day. It is important that you are alone. You must smile by and for yourself. My favorite place is when I am alone in the car stopped at a red light. It brings a very relaxed feeling and stress seems to evaporate as the mist does when the morning sun warms the earth.I know that this sounds too simple to have any impact, but I can attest to the fact that it has had a profound effect on my life. Try it. It only costs you one minute a day.
Life is an inner experience. The world is not as it is. The world is as you think it is. These two simple and easy exercises are like a doorway to opening your inner world. May peace be with you.
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