Although it can be a hard pill to swallow, sometimes we need not look any further than our own selves to discover why life isn’t working for us. Want to make things better? The first step is to stop looking at people or circumstances to change, and change yourself. Here’s why.

Sometimes we need some candor to get us through the rough spots in our lives. While compliments and the softer advice of friends to keep our chins up when things get troublesome can serve a purpose – these spoons full of sugar should have some real medicine in them.

All the stuff that’s going well in your life – you get to take credit for it. That’s right – if you’ve experienced any success, any joy, and even the slightest amount of happiness, it’s all on your shoulders. (Aside from the touch of Grace that helped you get out of your own way to achieve those things.) The flip side of that is while we get to take credit for our successes, we also need to get real and take responsibility for our failures, too.

Truth be told – if you’re going to grow, your going to f&%(# up. And bad.

Tolstoy

It’s Not About Blame

It isn’t about taking the “blame.” Blame is for the ego. But it is about taking our power back when we assume responsibility for all the circumstances and relationships in our lives.

When we look honestly at what we are doing that is working, and what isn’t, solutions to our problems start to appear. This results from stepping out of denial. Success begins when we forget about what other people are doing, and simply decide how we want to live our lives.

Lighten Up About Your Dark Side

As Lauren Handler Zander, a trainer that teaches her earth-shaking life-tips at places like MIT (and 35 other universities) will tell you, we can all stand to lighten up about our dark sides. This gives us permission to stop lying about ourselves, and to ourselves.

Zander states, “If you’re running late, don’t blame fake traffic!!!” While this specific lie is funny, it becomes a bad joke when we think of all the ways we do lie – which prohibit forward movement.

Hate your job? Stop pretending you love it, and you might come up with a novel solution to transition into the job of your dreams.

Is your relationship a total wreck? Stop pretending that it isn’t, and you can come up with a way to love yourself more, and attract a more appropriate mate.

Put Down the Cookies

By getting real about our weaknesses, we can start to tackle our smaller personal fouls, and “shittier habits” without feeling guilt or shame about them, while finding a sense of humor. Zander calls this “putting down the cookies.” These cookies are just a metaphor for our vices – those things we tell yourself we won’t do, but then do again and again.

Check Your Mind habits

“The amount we edit and manage our bodies — getting dressed, waxing our legs, dying our hair — is massive compared to how much we manage what’s going on in our own heads,” Zander says. “You have no idea how mean people are to themselves.” She says, like many wise folks among us, that self-talk can make or break you.

Have you broken a promise to yourself to love everything about YOU before 8AM? Own that. And then do what you must to change it. When you get out of bed, listen to positive affirmations. Write down positive things in your journal, or keep a list of things to be grateful for – these are all courageous acts of getting real and changing what is going on in your mind more consistently, so that it reflects out into the world as a different experience.

Dysfunctional self-talk keeps us from realizing our dreams. For some of us it’s like a 24-hour Olympic sports commentary on all our faults. While its good to take ownership of our real faults, most limiting self-talk is ego-based, which means it’s a big fat lie. It’s destructive and totally non-useful.

A Rogelberg study on self-talk found that the more you talk down to yourself or see the world as one big calamity, the less likely your mind is to roam free and come up with amazing solutions to your current problems. Negative self-talk is like being pinned down in a MMA ring. You can’t move and explore to come up with new ways of thinking and being.

If life is sucking right now – maybe it’s you – but don’t take that as an insult. This also means that you have the power to make things better. So good in fact, that you get to take credit for the miraculous things that appear when you take 100% responsibility for change.

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