Want to get fit and healthy? Start taking into consideration cleaning your environment. What you put into your brain and what you put in your mouth is what makes you.
The environment around us is important to our habits and ability either to lose weight or merely stay at a healthy body weight. We all are affected about our surroundings. People may or may not notice how their environment affects them, but its influences are still there, including peers. Healthy, positive peers can influence us to eat right and exercise. If we are surrender to peers to whom everything seems impossible, we may end up feeling the same defeated way. But if our peers are into interesting and self-validating behaviors, they will reinforce our positive and successful habits.
Another aspect of our immediate environment is television. Television is full of negative and chaotic information. Be judicial and don’t feed your mind trash. We tend to believe what we see, in this case, the negative, untrue, or just sensational but ultimately shallow information. Replacing mindless television for an improving habit such as reading will contribute to the success of our mental growth and physical fitness. Our brain and body will respond to what we feed it: Why feed it trash? Our negative habits and emotions will be replaced gradually by more positive ones as we learn new habits and take on new interests.
What we eat is important to our health. The wrong sorts of food contributes to many diseases and illnesses. Since troublesome foods and process foods do exist, it is in our hands to choose the right foods. It can be difficult to cut out all junk food, since the clever manufacturers add ingredients that in fact enhance taste, but we should try to keep healthy snacks and meals on hand, toward off cravings for junk. Unhealthy foods should not be at the reach of our hands at home.
Here are a couple solutions that can be applied to clean our environment:
To clean your negative thoughts and behaviors and replace them with positive ones, you’ll need wean yourself way from peers who think, act, or talk negatively. I choose to surround myself with peers that are like me, who strive for more, are ambitious, help others, and believe that they can do anything they want. I’ll admit, it was difficult to leave old friends who were not progressing, who wanted to stagnant in negative energy, but I might still be like them if as not for my decision to find sources of positive input. So if you want to get a healthy and fit body, stop hanging out with couch potato people. Don’t get me wrong–there is nothing wrong with them. They just don’t have to be an integral part of your new life. Someday let’s hope that they’ll start doing something positive for themselves.
Replace television for reading, as an example, is important as well. Besides nourishing your brain with books, you’ll save time and money. Unconsciously, the media affect in our food decisions. If we stay away from thousands of fast food and process food commercial, it will contribute positively in our health decisions. And if you choice a weight loss book by a serious author, you may even beneficiate from it!
To design out junk food in your life, all you need to do is NOT TO BUY it. Don’t even come out with the excuse that such food is for your family (kids, husband, sister) because in the end you may be the one to eat it. Don’t go to the grocery store when you hungry. In that state, one can be weak and tempted to buy junk food. If you don’t have it at home, you won’t eat it. Buy foods that are healthy, so when you go the refrigerator, you find something healthy to eat.
It takes an effort to revise our personal environments—whether we’re talking about learning to live without unhealthy, negative “friends,” mindless TV shows, or potato chips, but it is worthwhile in the long run. The new lease on life will be exciting, and you’ll start seeing positive results on your body and other areas in your life as well.
As humans we have an unconscious mechanism that makes us run from pain. This affects a lot of our decisions. For example, a child who touches fire gets burned and learns not to touch it again. But the fear of pain can also make people stop achieving their dreams or refuse to take a risk for a better life.
It is typical that as a child we learn that to avoid getting burned we should not touch fire. However, as we grow we can make more informed decisions. For example, if our loved ones are in danger and we can save them only by crossing a layer of fire, we will get burned to do it. We are willing to go through the pain of being burned to avoid the pain of losing our loved ones.
It is very important to understand pain and discomfort if we want to have a better life — we must accept some pain to avoid a bigger pain.
For instance, the other day a woman came to me because she needed help. She said that she had been trying to lose weight as long as she can remember. I always listen attentively to my clients to understand their stories. She told me about what she thought were injuries.
I noticed that she had some beliefs about chronic injuries and regular activity (mild) injuries. A chronic injury is a serious problem like a joint dislocation while a regular activity injury is minor problem like a muscle spasm. A dislocation might require surgery and could affect a person for life. A muscle spasm is only a problem until the muscle releases, though that could be as long as two months.
She told me about her ankle injury, her back injury, her shoulder injury and her knee pain. She was telling me that each time she starts an activity such as dancing or biking she gets injured, and she backs off from physical activities within two weeks.
After she told me about all her injuries, she started to tell me about the discomforts from not exercising, such as knee pain when she climbs steps, difficulty getting up from a chair and other daily tasks.
She told me the story of her dad. Her dad is over 90, and he is completely independent. He exercises and stretches every day. He is in a nursing home. While he can perform physical tasks independently, his peers are using canes, chairs or walkers, even though some of them are younger than him.
She can see the suffering of these older adults, and she does not want to go through the same life, yet she feels that she is reaching that point in her 60s.
As I listened to her story I concluded that she was afraid of pain, and any pain she had she perceived to be an injury. I told her what I thought, and she started to make conclusions about what her dad and her sister (a fitness instructor) told her, which was the same message.
While it is smart to pay attention to pains that can lead to chronic injuries, it is also true that many pains are normal or may lead to only a mild injury.
For example, I had a client who had a lot of knee pain, and he went to see his doctor, who determined that he had some cartilage loose from an old car accident. On the other hand, I had another client who had a lot of knee pain, and she went to see therapists, doctors, chiropractors and orthopedists and never found anything wrong. Then we discovered that the only reason she had pain was because she had tight knees. As soon as she started stretching, the pain was gone.
I have been exercising for 17 years now. I have had many ailments — back injuries where I could barely walk or stand up out of a chair, knee pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain — and I always recuperate with no chronic issues. The only chronic problem I had was when I dislocated my knee by playing with my friends in Mexico, and after that I never had a chronic injury in the gym.
In other words, there are pains that we need to pay attention to that tell us there is something wrong with our body. However, there many other pains (not soreness) that we need to go through to continue improving our quality of life, which is something active people understand.
Running away from all pain may not be the smartest option we have. There are pains that are telling us that there is something wrong, and there are pains that are stopping us from becoming better.
Overeating is a behavior that many people can’t control. Many people overeat for many reasons. Some eat emotionally. When they are depressed, as an example, they overeating as an easy way out of it. Others overeat because they wait until they are extremely hungry to eat. For instance, they skip many meals during the day and when they sit down to eat, they find themselves unable to control their appetite. Many others are trigger for environmental events. For some people, to illustrate, some smells or some areas at home or some restaurants make them overeat.
Many people think that overeaters lack willpower. It is true that overeating is a choice, but this choice come with some desires that sometimes people are not aware of. Therefore, before start changing this compulsive behavior, people need to acknowledge to themselves that they are overeaters. Once this trait has been admitted, people may then be able to think about taking some small steps to control their overeating. Remember that eating five times a day will help many people to eat less at each meal. Also, the body takes around 20 minutes to send a message to the brain to turn off one’s appetite. Therefore, eating slowly is a helpful habit as well.
Here is what you can do to avoid overeating:
- After food your food is placed in front of you, wait five minutes before you eat it.
- Place small bites of food on your fork.
- Complete swallow food before another bite goes to your mouth.
- Put your utensils down between bites.
- Pay attention to the flavors and enjoy them. Think that is your last bite.
- Make your meals last longer.
- Serve yourself small portions and if you still hungry, serve yourself more.
- Leave the table after you finished eating.
- Eat only on the table.
Use these recommendations to eat healthy portions. Overeating is under your control. However, mere willpower does not work. You need consciousness, support and a set of step to follow to defeat overeating. And don’t forget Custom Body Fitness is here to help you achieve your fitness and weight loss goals.
I am blessed to feel that my life is wonderful, even though it’s busy and stressful. You know why? Because hard work it pays off. When I want something, I dedicate time and effort to obtain it. It’s common in sense: you work for it, you get it.
The other day I had a conversation with someone who was interested in training at Custom Body Fitness. Let’s call her Penelope. She has many things to do, with two sons, husband, and work. In fact she would admit to you that she has a very stressful life. However, I have other clients who are in the same boat, yet they make the extra effort that it requires to get the healthy body they want and be happy.
Penelope told me that her sons are first in her life that she doesn’t really want to take time from them to exercise. She said this even though she admits that she is not happy being overweight. Of course, I didn’t council her to forsake her love ones. But it seems to me that often people waste more time surfing on the web, watching television, or doing other questionable activities instead investing time in something that will benefit both their bodies and their minds.
Talking with Penelope reminded me of a conversation I had with a young man recently. He was confused about life and had some problems. He confided to me that he felt alone and not accepted by his dad. He even started to cry as we were talking and told me something that I will never forget: “I don’t understand, the Bible says that I need to give before I can get, and people say that I need to take care of myself before I can give.” At the time, I told him, “I understand your confusion. The truth is that both are right. You just need to understand it. Before you can give, you have to have it. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t give love others. If you don’t have money, you can’t give it to who needs it. If you don’t feel safe, you can’t make someone else feel safe. Not that we need to be selfish. Care about you, learn, get it, understand it, but once you are blessed, then give it and care about others.”
So I told Penelope that to be able to give the best to her family, she needed to care about herself a bit more. It wouldn’t do her any good if she only worked like a machine, giving all with no thought to her own self. You have to take care of your health to be able to give the best to your family. And there’s the other concept that a parent needs to set an example for his or her family. Sometimes in my own family, I hear an adult tell a youngster to go to college, and the adult makes excuses that he or she is too old to go back to school. But this is nothing but excuses. Especially in the U.S., age is nothing but a number. If you want people to do something good for themselves or to make the right decisions, be a role model and do something for yourself, so in the future you are not a burden to them.
To conclude, if you really want it, you can get it. All it takes is an extra effort that, sadly, many won’t do. Invest your time in something that is beneficial for you and get rid of bad habits. There are other people in the same situation or even more difficult situations who are have done it. Help yourself so that you’ll be able to help others.
Lately I have been asked what the best exercise program is to lose weight. People who ask tell me they have in mind aerobic exercises, such as running, hiking and biking, as wells as weight lifting. I may ask what are their goals and what they have being doing to lose weight. Starting to exercise doing any exercise I think is a good beginning.
To lose weight any exercise will help. It all depends in the rate you want to lose it and how costume your body is to the exercise you are exposing your body to and the level of activity you already doing.
For example, if you never have exercise and you start with some yoga or walking, these exercises may be very effective the first month. However, as the body become used to it, it may be more difficult along the way.
Now, if you are looking for an optimum weight loss, the answer is that cardio and weight lifting need to be incorporated together into one personal plan.
Aerobic exercises increase the body’s metabolic rate by conditioning the cardiovascular system (heart, lungs and blood vessels) and help burn extra calories both while exercising and during the 24 hours afterwards.
Weight lifting increases the body’s metabolic rate as well by conditioning the body’s muscles—its life tissues that require energy. The stronger the muscle is, the more energy it needs. Plus, weight lifting needs a great amount of energy to perform it, increasing calorie burn. Also, if toning your body is your goal instead of merely weight loss, weight lifting is an important piece in your program.
The calories that you burn are important. However, they are minimum compared to the calories that you burn during the day. You may burn up to 800 calories on your workout. Nevertheless, you can burn more than 2000 calories with your basal metabolic rate- the amount of energy expended while at rest.
To be able to burn high calories with your basal metabolic rate, you need to train your body to be efficient using calories. Therefore, training the cardiovascular and muscle system helps improve the efficiency of calories use.
Here’s a sample week in this sort of regimen: do weight training three times a week, two to three sessions of running, hiking or biking. This may takes up to 6 hours out of the 168 hours that a week has and is worth your time in order to get a healthy body weight, in addition to other benefits.
If your goal is to lose weight and tone your body in an optimum way, by increasing your basal metabolic rate, the best option you have is to do cardiovascular training and weight lifting.
I’m going to reveal to you a secret that has made a big difference in my life. Since I have applied it, I have been happy, and my life has been running smoothly.
Back in the past I lived like many people. I thought I was happy. I lied to myself, just like many people do. I became accustomed to an average life. I never asked more of myself, and I never stood up for my real beliefs. I never researched the truth. I let others think for me. I was comfortable because everyone around me lived the same way. No one helped me to understand I was a mediocre person, and I later concluded that their beliefs were limited to themselves; therefore, they could not believe in me as well.
Then I decided to change my life and not look back. I noticed that many people are not happy, but just as it was for me, they think they’re happy. They live under stress, and they never seem to catch up. They are saving money, paying bills, paying their mortgage, hoping that one day they can retire, not enjoying their life fully.
I don’t blame them. I was there one day. However, I’m happy I had a realization when I was 28 instead of 40. Since then I have applied the next secret I’m going to reveal to you. Before I tell you, I don’t want you to think that I’m the only person who practices it. People who are icons in our society have done it and are great examples of its effectiveness. Tony Robbins is one.
I divide my life in categories, and I prioritize them accordingly. Your categories and priorities do not need to be like mine. Your find your priorities, and you can segregate your life as you want. However, be realistic and understand that the human being has needs to be met, and if you don’t meet those needs, you will always be stressed.
Make sure you always check on your categories by making sure you are seeing results in each one.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Before my change I did not have a spiritual practice. Sometimes I went to church because I felt forced to. I felt guilty, and I knew I was wrong the way I was living. Therefore, I wanted to compensate by going to church. Instead of focusing on what the priest was saying, I had negative thoughts in my head. When it was time to give my charity, I would carefully get 2 dollars out of my pocket to show others that I was cooperating with 2 bills that actually were very hard to give. I would get out of church as fast as possible and drive away fast, cutting people off and cursing inside my head.
Now I make sure I have a list I follow every day. God is not practiced in church only but in my life everywhere and at any time. I pray every day, and I’m grateful about all I have. I meditate every day, I listen to people’s needs, I help when people need my help, and contribute at least 10% of my income to charities that are helping the environment, humans and animals.
My family was very dysfunctional. Having a heavily alcoholic mother that was lost in alcohol and a dad who left my mom when she was pregnant, I had no role model to follow. I was lost for many years until I understood that our family does contribute to our happiness and success.
I’m not married yet, but I make sure I’m there when my brother needs me, and I make sure I make time to spend with my significant other every day. We have a ritual that we follow every Friday, no matter how busy or tired I am. We go out to eat, and Saturday we do something fun. I treat my animals like I’m never going to see them again. I play with them, and I walk them every day.
When you are not improving, you are declining. This is true for mental and physical health. Even when we think that we are maintaining, by walking and eating somewhat healthily, we are declining. This is what aging does. Therefore, health needs a constant awareness. You can’t be negligent about this area. If you don’t take care of your health, you can’t focus, think clearly, stay awake or give your best.
I make sure I exercise every day by lifting weights and running. I used to hike often, but now that my dogs are injured I opt for running at 5 a.m. I choose my foods carefully by eating at home and don’t eat out often. I invest money in my foods by buying the cleanest foods I can find. I read books that are going to help me progress. I control my thoughts every day, and I choose what I think. I control my thoughts instead of my thoughts controlling me.
Nothing is more bizarre than focusing on money just for the money itself, sacrificing my peace, my family and my health. I used to do that, and it did not help me.
Now I improve my value not by the money I make, but by the person who I become to make myself valuable enough to make more. A challenge to improve and learn more every day is on my daily list. I read every day, I watch seminars, I sign up for workshops, and I experiment with new ideas. It’s the same as with health: When we are not improving we are declining. Therefore, it is important to push yourself to continue progressing in your profession.
Money used to be my focus, and it was the reason I worked. It paid for my car and made it faster, got me cool clothes, and allowed me to party all night, drink, eat out and have fun.
Now money is not my focus. It helps me progress; help people, the environment and animals; and even hire people to continue giving the best service in town. I make sure I save at least 10% of my income, and I invest the rest in food, learning, my family and my freedom. I do this every time I get paid.
What would happen if I put all my focus on my spiritual health: Would my finances suffer? Or my health? Or my family?
What if I focused only on working? Would my health suffer? Would I lose peace in my spiritual area? What about my health? What is more valuable: making a couple more dollars or keeping my family united or myself healthy?
When you take the time to divide your life into categories, you can take care of them every day, week or month by checking how are you doing in each area instead of thinking that you need to exercise, work, pay attention to your wife, play with your kids, cook tonight, save money for your next house, go to church, help the charity cause this week, take a course, find a workout buddy and the rest.
You can focus on only one of your categories: spiritual, family, health, profession and finances. Just make sure that you go back and check every day, week or month that you are on track in all areas. Otherwise, your life may be stressful.
Changing your eating habits is not following a diet. It is listening to your body and eat the right foods. It should be eating the way you supposed to eat before you got into a busy life without thinking about the consequence that the busy life will bring to your life.
Here I’m going to share with you a good and easy way to change your eating habits to healthier ones; habits that will help you lose weight and feel better.
Make sure you make time to eat real food and seek out the best foods for your body. Remember that a machine will only perform as well as the fuel it takes in. So if you want your body to burn fat efficiently, you must feed it the good food, which as you probably know mean whole foods, as fresh and organic as you can find.
Here’s a useful schedule to follow in your new, improved diet:
Eat breakfast within a half an hour of waking up. By doing this, hunger will not take you off guard; you will have made a healthy choice if you eat before you leave the house. I recommend grains such as old-fashioned oatmeal made with water, raisins, banana, and perhaps some honey, but don’t add refined sugar. You could also make yourself a smoothie with fruits and veggies or have a bowl of fruit with kefir. Find other good breakfast ideas and put them into practice.
Eat a fruit thee hours after breakfast to keep your hunger distracted until your lunch.
To make lunch preparation easier, eating the dinner leftovers from the night before.
Four hours after lunch, eat a piece of fruit or a fist full of nuts.
Eat your dinner when you are ready. Since eating meals high in veggies promotes weight loss, I recommend you create lunches and dinners with 60%-70% vegetables, 20%-30% grains, and 10%-20% animal products. If you don’t eat animal products, even better, don’t you worry about adding it.
I recommend you drink only water during the day, except for morning tea. Remember to avoid sugar, and of course avoid those artificial, “food product” non-dairy creamers. They are all sugar and fatty emulsifiers.
Give yourself the opportunity to eat healthy for a couple of weeks, and you’ll find yourself losing fat and enjoying many other positive benefits. After you see such positive results, it will be difficult to go back to the old bad habits.
Neurons are the nervous system’s cells. They are in the brain and all over the nervous system, of course. They send signals to and from the brain. I learned that these neurons have connections that are either strengthening or weakening.
Let me further explain. Any time we experience a significant amount of pain or pleasure our brain searches for the source and stores it in order to continue making decisions accordingly. This is the reason we make many of the same choices every day such as drinking, exercising, partying, watching TV, reading, and eating some particular foods. In other cases we avoid particular behaviors.
Every time we make a choice and repeat it, we subconsciously make a neuro association based on our emotions on a consistent basis. When we make these decisions continuously we strengthen a particular neuro connection. For example, the need to drink coffee every morning can be associated with the feeling of waking up, which can give us some level of pleasure. This behavior strengthens the neuro connection each morning we opt to drink coffee.
The reason it is so difficult to drop old habits and we relapse often into them is because the neuro connections are so strong. Here two events need to happen before we can drop an old habit and develop a new one. We need to make the neuro connection of the old habit weak, and we need to strengthen the neuro connection of the new habit.
Let’s say for example that you have the habit of stopping at a convenience store to get your breakfast every day. You’re buying ultraprocessed foods, and you’ve been doing this for years. The neuro connections become so strong that even if you decided not to do it again and to start making breakfast at home and exercise, you will relapse because of the strength of the neuro connections.
However, you have started a pattern, and if you continue making breakfast, someday the temptation to buy ultraprocessed foods will no longer be strong because you are weakening the connection of the old habit and strengthening the connection of the new habit.
Once again, the neuro connections of the old habit are becoming weak, and the connections of the new habit are becoming strong.
When you feel that you want to give up and drop your exercise program and continue eating the wrong foods, think again. Everyone who wants to change their habits has relapses. Keep in mind the neuro connection theory and understand that your old habit neuro connections will become weak and your new habit neuro connections will be strong enough someday. Your new choice will become easy. Keep persisting.
Suffering changed my life for the better. I would not change for anything the pain I went through that put me in depression. Thanks to this pain I understand the world and other people. This does not mean that I am enlightened or that I know it all. It means that I understand that pain exists and all of us experience it in one way or another.
The moment when I fell into depression was not a coincidence or fate. The truth was that it was the result of the wrong decisions I made throughout my life. Since then I have been very careful about the decisions I make because I know they could affect my future.
Seven years have gone by since then. Thanks to many of the good decisions I have made, I am in a better place than before by improving all areas of my life. I am financially free, I am healthy, I have good relationships, I have control over my emotions, I love my profession — I usually have good results in all areas.
However, I also made many mistakes in my younger years. While many of the results of those mistakes may not be felt right away, they show up a couple of years later. I am going through an emotional problem because of one of those mistakes, and it’s one of the first real problems I’ve had since I changed my life.
Also, around 2 years ago, both of my dogs had accidents where both needed immediate surgery. I suffered emotionally and financially. I had to pay around $8,000 for both surgeries, which is acceptable when it’s concerning my family. However, that doesn’t mean it didn’t affect my wallet.
These are two small examples of negative events that have affected in my life; one was caused by me, and the other was not.
The farmer can neglect his crops and won’t get anything, or he can plant thistle seeds instead of pumpkin seeds. A farmer who plants his crops and takes care of them is mostly getting a return. But a hailstorm can destroy his crops.
Studying history, my life and the lives of many of my members led me conclude that there are two types of results: those that we consciously or unconsciously cause and those unexpected ones that life brings us. The decisions we make daily will cause results in the future. For example, eating healthily every day and exercising will help prevent diseases created by bad habits and will keep us in shape with a healthy body weight. Another example is if we invest our money instead of buying useless or unneeded stuff we will have more money and we will save resources, making this earth a better place with less waste and pollution.
On the other hand, if we start eating junk food and being sedentary, we can develop a metabolic or cardiac disease, gain weight, get osteoporosis or cancer, become weak and age faster. If we spend our money unconsciously, we can go broke and have more useless things to take care of and pollute the earth with. So nothing happens overnight, and there is no quick fix for the bad decisions we have made. We often repeat decisions continuously and for such long periods of time that we see negative results only when we wonder when our life is going to change. These negative results have been repeating for years yet we ignore them until we finally get tired. Then, when we are ready to fix them, we are looking for a quick fix. For example, being overweight usually is from all the bad habits accumulated from our parents’ lives and how we have lived our lives. All the years of bad decisions accumulate in being fat and out of shape. When people want their problem fixed — in this case, being overweight — they want to take pills, do a quick diet or undergo surgery. None of that will resolve the real problem, because the person will usually continue making the wrong decisions he was making in the first place.
The only solution to fix many years of mistakes or making the wrong choices is by starting over right now — start to make the right decisions immediately. Of course we want to see results next week. However, it will take more than a week to see the results that we are looking for. Why would we expect to fix a problem caused by more than ten years of wrong decisions in one week? It takes effort and discipline to get fast results, and even then we will have to invest a couple of years to see real results.
The other type of negative results are those that are beyond our control. Not long ago in Mexico City there was an earthquake that destroyed part of the city. This natural disaster affected people with good habits, people with bad habits, hard workers, lazy people … It affected everyone. What did the hard-working people do to deserve this? Nothing. This is the type of world we live in. For example, when I changed my life and became a better person, I did not do anything that I think was wrong to make my animals suffer. However, it did happen. These are examples of disaster that can happen to anyone.
In other words, we have control over many of the negative results we are experiencing today in our life, community, country and planet by the daily choices we are making. The only way to fix these problems is by starting to make better choices and being patient waiting for the results that will take years to realize. On the other hand, there are events that we don’t have control over like accidents, other people’s decisions and the weather that may bring negative results to our lives.
Taking control over the decisions we are making today to have good results is the best solution I can think of for the first type of negative results. I used to have negative results in almost every area of my life because of the decisions I made. After understanding life, I starting making better decisions, and now I have a lot more positive results than I ever had before. This is also what I have seen with our members at Custom Body Fitness.
For the second type of negative results all I do is deal with the consequences, forget about my loss and just work with what I have and continue moving forward.
When I watch movies, I usually like to watch movies that offer a life lesson and move my heart, movies that make me cry, think or get excited. It’s been a while since I watched Traffic. There are three stories in the movie. One of them is about a politician trying to change the world by fighting drug dealers and Mexican drug trafficking. But what he did not do was pay attention to his family. Therefore, his daughter got into drugs. He did not understand what was going on, and his daughter’s problem got worse. One day he was giving a speech, and he noticed he was being dishonest with himself. That moment is when he understood that to fight drugs and to change the world he needed to start with his family.
My job is to improve other people’s lives. This is the only way they can lose weight permanently. I look for patterns they can change and how they can change them, and I think I have this ability thanks to being honest with myself. Now I always think about the message I learned from Traffic: The only way I can improve people’s lives is by improving myself. Start the change with me and then with those closest to me.
I find my mistakes and work on them. There is no way I can be better without finding my mistakes. Improving myself has not been easy. Recognizing all the mistakes I have made is hard because it’s painful, but there is no better way to learn and help others. That does not mean that I have to make mistakes to get better, but we all are going to make mistakes. Once again, the hardest part of this is recognizing it, then being true to yourself and others.
When we decide to be better, we can help others to be better because they know that we are genuine. In addition, the action of helping others gives us the courage to work to become a better person. It is a cycle that helps improve everything around us. We help ourselves, we help others and in turn we help the world.
One of the ways I find out that I have made a mistake is because I have anxiety. For example, if I have an argument with a close relative and I don’t feel comfortable afterwards, I feel anxious. That means that there is something wrong. These types of issues accumulate over time. This is why many people feel anxious as well, an accumulation of events that they aren’t proud of. While many people opt to drink, overeat, shop, party, watch TV or do drugs, I opt to go back and recall the argument to find out if I made a mistake, which most likely I did, which is why I felt uncomfortable.
After I find my mistake, I get desperate to fix it. Therefore, I take immediate action by asking forgiveness or by doing what I should have done in the first place. Once my mistake is fixed or I have done everything I can to pay back my trespass, all my anxiety goes away. This process causes me discomfort, which teaches me a lesson, so next time I make better choices.
It is hard to be around someone that you don’t like. This is one of the reasons people choose bad behaviors and are high, drunk, drugged or disconnected from the world — because they don’t like themselves.
I believe to improve oneself we must like ourselves, and the only way to like ourselves is by being completely honest with our feelings and true to ourselves no matter the consequences or losses that we are going to experience when we take the right action for everyone. No one likes a liar or someone whom can’t we trust. Why then would I like myself if I am a liar and can’t trust myself to do the right thing?
There is no way we can give money away if we don’t have it, and the same is true for love, knowledge and understanding. We also can’t save someone from drowning if we don’t know how to swim. If we want to give peace we must be in peace. To help others improve their lives we must improve our own. One step to accomplish that is being true to yourself and accepting your mistakes to better yourself.