Thursday, March 8, 2018

YOUR SELF-WORTH: IT'S A MINDSET

Are your days filled with blues, blahs and complaining because you just don't feel like you've got your act together? Does it feel like your self-worth and self-esteem has sunken to an all-time low? You don't believe you've accomplished enough in life? Well, don't dismay any longer. What you think is reality, may only be your mindset, and you can master that.

It's tricky. 
We convince ourselves of our own unworthiness for various reasons. Someone may have told us we were unworthy. We may have tried something and failed, and now we feel like a failure. Certain things may not have worked out well for us in life, work and relationships and we feel pretty lousy about ourselves as a result. Surely, these situations can have a tough impact on us, but it should be temporary, not a lifetime of beating up on ourselves, or a life sentence of self-punishment.

Know the truth.
The truth is, just about everybody experiences some of those feelings, but not everyone takes it lying down. You see, things are going to happen that challenge us to question our worth. However, we have to be smart enough and wise enough to challenge those questions right back, and make sure we give ourselves solid, right answers. We will become whatever we tell ourselves. We must tell ourselves we're worthy.

Know your worth.
You deserve success. You deserve love. You deserve to feel significant, honored and recognized. It begins with you believing that, in spite of anything else that seems to force you to believe otherwise. You must begin to master your responses to the negative replays that swirl around in your head, the ones that are telling you how unsuccessful you are, how unlovable you are, how less than deserving you are. You are worth celebrating, and you must look in your mirror often and tell yourself that very truth. You must tell yourself with conviction, until there is no room for those negative thoughts. It's a battle for your mindset, and it's a battle you can win.

Change your reality.
You can get your act together. You can shake off the blues. You can beat the blahs. You can accomplish and achieve the success you desire. When you change those thoughts about yourself, you will change your reality. Step by step, day by day, thought by thought, you will see a new and beautiful change in yourself, your life and your world. You are so worth it. ~ S.R.F.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Authentic YOU

Most of us have several roles in life. We work. We have careers. We have families, friends and associates. We have church. We have groups and organizations that we are affiliated with. With all of these, we have roles and those roles very often have demands. As overwhelmed and exhausted as we may become, we bravely put on our game faces and do whatever it is we think we need to do.

In the dynamics of it all, the spinning around, the lack of time management, the pull of "people are depending on me" syndrome, the question arises "Who am I really?" and why am I not taking care of myself and my own needs?

Sometimes we get so lost in the demands and responsibilities that we lose touch with ourselves, or even forget who we really are. It is at that pivotal point in our self-discovery that we must free ourselves to become our authentic selves. That authentic self is the person who is truly in touch with his or her needs, wants, desires and choice of obligations and demands.

Finding our authentic self will mean letting go of the things that are unnecessary in many cases. It means letting go of the guilt we feel when we can't be the one who is the "go-to" guy all the time. It means letting go of the worry that people may view you differently if you don't make those commitments that you really can't handle. It means letting go of the roles that are not critical to your well-being, the ones that give you very little return on your investment, the ones that drain the the life out of you.

Your authentic self surfaces as you make these strategic decisions about what is most important to you and in your life, because it narrows everything down to what makes you and those closest to you happy. It may take you a minute, or maybe days or even months to do the cutting away that frees you to be your best you, and that's okay. Take your time and observe the success. You'll see that the groups, the affiliations, the stuff that you thought could not survive without you, did just fine as the door opened for someone else equally as committed and qualified as you. And, also in that process, you will have successfully managed to discover the best role you'll ever have to live up to in life: the authentic YOU. Make that one your greatest commitment. ~ S.R.F.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Make It a "Can Do" Year!


We're at it again, right? We're making those resolutions for 2018, and some of them are the ones pushed over from those undone in 2017, aren't they?! That's okay, better later that not at all. We can get this done this year! We're coming out of the gates and into the year with our biggest "Can Do" attitude ever! We're focused! We're filled with faith! We CAN DO this!


Dare to!

First, truly dare to believe that what you want to do can be done. Erase your doubt. Get it into your head that there is no looking back, no quitting, no failure, no telling yourself that you tried but you just couldn't do it. Unless it's something like flying to the moon on your own wings, you can.


Roll, Baby!

Secondly, roll with the punches. Everyday will not feel like you are winning. Some days will feel like it's a great day to quit. Those thoughts will always cause a setback! Recognize that whatever is causing the frustration or feelings of failure, do not mean that you can't do it. It means that you need to apply a little bit more mental strength than you did yesterday to get it done.


The course may change, but not the destination!

Thirdly, you set a deadline, right? Well, that may change. The goal may get reshaped, due to certain other factors. People who were on course with you may change, too. In other words, there will be changes more than likely along the pathway to your goal, but the destination doesn't change because of it! Stay on task. Keep your destination in full view.


You can do it!

Lastly, when you develop the "Can Do" mindset, it may not be easy, but you'll surprise yourself at the things you'll actually get done! Your accomplishments will be many, and you'll be knocking out that list of goals in no time. You can do it and you will! ~ S.R.F.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

IT'S CHRISTMAS ALREADY?

You're probably going to spend a lot of money, so make it meaningful.
The year seemed to fly by again, didn't it? Here we are looking at one of the the biggest holidays of the year once again and taking a deep breath, because it seemed to come around so fast. There are all kinds of survival tips and tricks to help us get through the sometimes hectic days leading up to the day, so I thought I'd throw in a couple of mine, too:

You're probably going to spend a lot of money, so make it meaningful. Enjoy the shopping, the crowds, the wrapping, the eye-popping excitement that comes with opening gifts. The energy can be so invigorating at this time, so EMBRACE IT!

Find someone to give a gift to that totally doesn't expect it. Yep, I mean just walk up to them and give them a present. Yep, I do mean a stranger; a person you see on the street; someone with a look on their face that's crying for some love and attention, and a gift. BE THAT "DO-GOODER" and give them a piece of your joy.

Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. It's the day we recognize as His birthday, so you might want to CONSIDER WHISPERING A LITTLE PRAYER and saying thank you for your blessings. So many people get so caught up in the rush and bustling that very little thought is given to the fact that this is a day to celebrate our hope, and believe that someday there can be peace on earth.

Yes, the holiday is already here. ENJOY IT, with all of its craziness, and all of its joys. No "bah humbugs." No "Grinchy" attitudes. Just enjoy it, because the next one is just twelve months away. ~ S.R.F.



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Is There Purpose In Your Pain?

Life can have some incredible challenges. Some surprise us. Some Overwhelm us. Some knock us off our feet. Some are so deeply painful that they immobilize us. As we seek answers that come to our minds and hearts during these turbulent times, we tend to ask ourselves another important question: Is there purpose in our pain?

When we experience physical pain, we know it's an indicator that there is "trouble" in our body. Whether it's a scrape or a serious invasion of some kind to our health, we know that the pain is letting us know that something needs attention, help and healing. It's the same with our mental and emotional pain: something is wrong, and it needs attention, help and healing.

That being said, we can often get treatment and medication for our physical struggles. However, it's very different when the pain is mental and or emotional. Heartaches, heartbreaks, disappointments and grief carry their own kind of healing time and methods, and it is different for all of us.

You will get through it. ~ S.R.F.
People who hope to help us will say, "You'll get over it." Some things we may never "get over" because of the intensity and the longevity of the pain. The encouragement that I offer is, you will get through it. As time goes on, the pain lessens and the ability to move forward gets easier and easier. YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT, if you just hang in there. It could possibly take a long time, but take the time, as much as you need. Fight the thoughts and feelings of isolation that want to overtake you, but know when your private and alone time is crucial for healing, too. It is necessary. Go out into the world when you feel strong enough, even if it's only a little bit more strength that you feel each time. Don't compare your healing journey to anyone else's. Each situation is different, and so are you. Do what works for you to eventually get you back to an emotionally healed and healthy place. That's the priority.

Is there purpose in your pain? From a very practical standpoint, the things we go through and grow through teach us that we can get through just about anything. And, for those who are on the journey with us, and those who are just watching, it's showing them that when the tough times come, they can get through them, too. A purpose may not be apparent, but your conviction to survive is. ~ S.R.F.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

DECISIONS, DECISIONS: HAVE NO FEAR

We are making decisions all the time. When to get up, what to wear, what road to take, where to stop for coffee, what to buy, who to date, who to marry, how many kids to have, where to live, what house to buy, when to change jobs, etc., etc., etc. It's daily throughout our lives that we are always making a choice about something.

We're always making decisions. We worry if it's going to be the right one.
Decision-making comes easier for some than others. Some people are very decisive, they know exactly what they want, when they want it, and they know what they have to do to get it. Others are very challenged when it comes to making decisions. They often lack confidence and trust in their own ability to decide, and therefore find themselves "twixt and between" decisiveness and indecision when faced with matters of challenge or change, and usually getting nowhere.

Someone once schooled me with the thought that making a decision, even if it's the wrong one, is better than making no decision at all. It was great advice. The state of indecision can be, and is very exhausting mentally and emotionally. You want this house, but you like that house, too. You want to move out of state, but when and where? You want a new job, but should you really look for another one? Should I? Maybe? How? What? When? Where? It can be a terrible tap dance to our mentality if we don't make some kind of move from that place in our thinking.

How do you go about training yourself to be decisive? How do you teach yourself to say something to yourself to affirm what you should do? Here's one way: you dare to go ahead and make the decision, and stick to it. What happens as a result is rewarding: you immediately shut down the back-and-forth bantering going on inside your head. You immediately put yourself in position to pursue what you want, or don't want. And, here's the biggie: you put yourself at peace. That warring in your emotions is over. You've decided, at least for now. And, if it happens to turn out that you made the wrong decision, you can always decide on something else. That's the beauty that comes with decisiveness. You have the power of choice, so have no fear. ~ S.R.F.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

IT'S A PROCESS

It's a process, and when you work the process, the process will work for you.
So many times when we are planning and pursuing things in life, we wish we didn't have to work so hard along the way until something visibly manifests for us. That's the story, that's the deal. That is simply the way it is so much of the time. Things take time to occur, to develop and succeed, and there is always a process involved.

In many cases, timing may play a huge factor. The "time" doesn't come until we have done all of the necessary steps to get to what it is we want. Have you realized that there are no shortcuts to success? It's really true. We wish there were ways that were shorter, quicker and easier, but usually there are not. You have to put in the work, and when you do, eventually the time comes when it all comes together. You realize at that point, that you took the steps, made the sacrifices and made it happen. That's how it works. It's a process, and when you work it, it will work for you. ~ S.R.F.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MAKING THINGS HAPPEN

Making things happen isn't always easy. It sounds very catchy and motivating when someone who's trying to encourage us says it: "Hey, make it happen!" Yeah, okay. Sure. Great. That's awesome, right? You hear what they said, but your big challenge is wrapping your head around a strategy. However sincere their intention was, sometimes we're left wondering "But, how?"

I believe in making things happen, whenever possible. I have to admit that theory has both worked for me and against me at times. I'm a person who can see the planned end from the beginning easily, so strategizing usually comes simple for me. The problem comes in when your timing may be off, or maybe "I wasn't supposed to do this 'thing' in the first place." Yep, that could happen.

I've learned the hard way to be very analytical about what is actually supposed to manifest in my life. I had to. I have ideas rolling around in my head all the time, so now I'm seriously careful about what I'm to choose for launching. I love creating projects, and I have very often. Some went well and others played out rather quickly, and sometimes sadly. It's the price you pay when you make your choices without the appropriate consideration and planning. Everything that looks good and sounds good, won't necessarily turn out well, and it can be tricky trying to make the best decision.

In choosing what to make happen, several things can be considered:


Why? 

Why should you make "it" happen? Why should you do it? Why does it matter? If you come up with great answers to these questions, then you've found all the reasons you need to keep processing your idea in your head.

Do you have the knowledge? 

Do you have the experience? Do you have a good understanding of what you're about to undertake? If not, get to work on that. Read. Talk to people. Find out what the "hidden" parts are, things that aren't obvious or on the surface regarding your idea. Otherwise, you may be looking frustration and failure square in the face. The good news is that you'll learn something from that, too.

Remember that things have a natural order. 

You can't put the cart before the horse and think you'll move forward successfully. I can assure you that even when you plan adequately, you will still face missteps, disadvantages and surprises. It's all a part of learning the "order" you need to construct and follow. Plans change, and they should, but it doesn't mean start without one. You need one, and you will need to stay open-minded enough to know how to make adjustments however and whenever you need to. The moment you say "this is not how this should be going" is a key indication that something went wrong, or that you're being directed to "order" things differently. Think it through, and determine what you should do next, and better.

Define your success for yourself.

If you're shooting to be among the "five-percenters" who are the richest in the world, that's great and it's not impossible either. Be well aware, that's not the only indication of success. If you want to go back to school and get a diploma or degree and you do it, that's success! If you are looking to start a business and you do, that's success! Whatever the goal is, satisfy your own craving. Satisfy the goal that's in your heart. The process of achievement, advancement and attaining things in life is not necessarily measured by just having money. There are many, many very happy people who are not mega-millionaires. Of course, you'll want enough prosperity to meet your needs, and hopefully the needs of others, too; however, don't get trapped into thinking you're not successful if you didn't land a spot in Forbes. Measure your own happiness and satisfaction, as well as what's in your bank account to come up with your own formula that equals success.

Make It Happen!

To do or not to do? Some things will come to us. Some things fall right into our laps. For most of us, though, we will need to create a step-by-step agenda to make things happen. We will have to be logical and strategic. We will have to learn, try and test things. Regardless of how you approach it, the "making it happen" process is always rewarding. Yes, frustrating at times. Yes, challenging at other times. Yes, you will throw your hands up in the air sometimes. It's all a part of the process, and here's the best part: Once it's all said and done, to be able to say "I did it!" feels like the best day of your life. ~ S.R.F.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Declare Your Independence!

Are you "handcuffed" to negativity?

Negativity is all around us. We can easily get sucked into things that, in the big picture, do not concern us: other people's business; becoming mentally and emotionally involved in the issues impacting work; allowing ourselves to be tossed to and from by society's concept of anything and everything. Those are just some of the things that bring on loads of negativity, and we can find ourselves imprisoned by all of it.


Free yourself!

As much as it may feel like it's somebody else's fault and responsibility, we are the only one who can cut the cuffs off. It may require disassociation from everything and every person who brings you chaos, drama, negativity and pain. It's pretty incredible how effective that one move is toward freeing yourself! If you block the causes, you will find yourself heading toward new territory: peace, balance and harmony.

Take the limitations off!

If you are locked-in by other people's plans and opinions of you, you can give yourself permission to walk away from that bondage. Set your own goals. Dream your own dreams. Chart your own path. You don't need someone else's approval or okay to do what you want to do. I don't mean that you don't share and discuss what is in your heart with the people who are important and significant in your life. Of course, you should. It's wise to do so. But the bottom line is, that it's your life to live, to enjoy, to rise and fall, to make mistakes and fail, and to make things happen and gain success. You don't need a committee to tell you what you feel you are designed to do, or what you know in your heart is your destiny. 

There may be times when even those close to you don't get it, and won't provide the encouragement you hope for. Don't let that stop you or limit you. Your only limitations are the ones you place on yourself, and you can take those limitations off. It can be a unanimous decision: a committee of one, you, making the most important vote to be free, TO BE FREE. Do it, and declare your independence! ~ S.R.F.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Is HAPPINESS Really A Choice?

It's Doable

The times in my life when I felt unhappy certainly didn't feel like it was a choice I made to be that way. Stuff happened that disappointed me. Things occurred that caused discouragement and fear. Challenges faced me that were great, and I felt far distanced from anything called happiness back then. So, if unhappiness wasn't a choice I made, how could I possibly be happy just by making the choice to be? It sounds perplexing to our understanding when we first hear it. Well, because, truly it is. It's perplexing, but it is doable.

If it's a mess, it's a mess.

I'm not one who tries to make a situation something that it isn't. If things are a "mess," they just are a mess. There is no other way to change the color or smell of some issues, no matter what you tell yourself. There is good news, though. You don't have to let the mess or messiness gauge everything you think about everything. Like everyone else, I have cares and concerns about life and the people in my life who are most important to me. I have issues to overcome that I know will add to my degree of happiness and satisfaction when they are no longer issues I have to deal with. I have had enough hurt and heartache that could cause permanent scars and states of depression if I wasn't built God-tough. However, in the great majority of problems I have faced, I made a conscious decision not to be brought down by them. I don't mean that I rose up saying "I am woman! Hear me roar!" I feel like a true lioness most of the time, but that's not how I always respond to things when heaviness looms.

It works.

There were times when I could only listen to my next breath to know that I was even still alive. In that breath, I could also tell myself that I could keep it moving, slowly but surely, and I did. If I couldn't find the smile within, I looked for the things that would make me smile. It always worked. It was a choice. It still is a choice.

Make the decision.

As much as we can pretend to be superhuman, we are not. There is no magic or magic formulas for conquering the crazy things that come our way. We can only teach and train ourselves to make decisions in our own best interest and futures; so then, yes definitely, happiness really is a choice. We decide. I hope you make the decision to choose it, too. You deserve it. ~ S.R.F.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Our "S.O.S." The Need For Help In Times Of Distress

S.O.S.: Something's Outta Sync! Help!

We've all been there. We've all experienced those times when we wanted to scream to the top of our lungs, "somebody, please help me!" The experiences themselves may vary, the the cry for assistance sounds very much the same. Here's what I've learned:

1. "S": Screaming and shouting only works if someone can hear you. SAY what you need! Talk to someone or go to a place that can provide help. If no one hears your pain or cries, no one can show up. But, know this: everyone isn't going to help, or feel compelled to help. Some people could care less. Some people will judge you. Some people will enjoy your pain. Some people will laugh and ridicule you. That's some tough information to absorb, I know, but it's the truth, and it's the very reason that so many people who need help from others will suffer in silence. However, the ones who don't help you don't matter. Someone will. There are a lot of very compassionate people out there who find joy and satisfaction from being a help and comfort to people. Look for them, because they can help bridge the gap from where you are to where you need to be, back on solid ground.

2. "O": Things are going to be OKAY. I know it's hard to believe that when things are out of sync in your life. It may be family matters. It may be your job. It may be money. It may be a diagnosis. It may be heartbreak. It may be just about anything. Here's the deal, though: I'm sure you've heard the saying, "if it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger." I'm not one who likes to attach flippant cliches to anything, but this one holds a valuable truth. If we can stop saying "this is killing me" or "I'd rather be dead than go through this" or "this is going to be the death of me," and start saying "SOMEHOW, SOME WAY I am going to be OKAY. I don't have all the answers to it all, but I know I can make it through this, and I AM GOING TO BE OKAY." I can promise you that you will not have all the information or the answers you need when you say this, but the point is you are convincing yourself that regardless of how, when, what, or who comes to your aid, YOU WILL BE OKAY until you really are okay. And, at some point you will be, and you'll be a lot stronger, too.

3. "S": SEEK and you will find. Your mind may try to convince you that there is no way out of your current woes. Unfortunately, that mindset will force you into a negative place that will stymie your ability to do forward thinking or movement. When we are in the midst of our difficulties and challenges the last thing we need to be doing is allowing ourselves to be swallowed up in it. I know how earth shaking some problems are, how devastating situations can become. I know how these things can blind you to reality. Truth is, if we can start SEEKING different information, we can find different solutions to whatever it is we are facing. We have to get up, even when our heart is hurting. We have to move forward, even when the pressure is seeming to crush us up against the wall. We have to seek out positive answers to all of the negativity that seems to unload itself upon us. SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND. If you don't look for what brings help, you won't find it. It takes only a small degree of faith to get you started in the direction you need to go in. You may even get knocked back or down again while you're trying. A setback doesn't mean you should not keep trying. It means you should keep SEEKING until you are where you need to be mentally and emotionally.

Something's outta sync in your life. I get it. I've been there more times than I can count. One thing I can tell you is this: I'm certainly not down for the count. Stay in the ring. Fight it out. Let people that can help you know what it is you need. Tell yourself that you will be okay. Seek out every positive answer and avenue available to you. Hang in there. Help is available when you do these things. You'll see that this is true, and you just may find that there are many wonderful and overwhelming responses to your "S.O.S." ~ S.R.F.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

In The Face of Discouragment

Go "Face Forward"

Many things in life can cause us to feel discouraged. It may be a small disappointment or a great defeat. Our feelings of discouragement can surface on either end of the spectrum and on many points and places in between. When those challenges meet us face-to-face, we shouldn't chose to run or hide. Our most courageous choice is to move face forward toward handling our emotions and rising to a better place in our thinking, living and doing.

Your discouragement may be an opportunity for discovery. 
If we dare take a close look at our "why" we can discover our "what." I remember someone saying that if we don't ask ourselves the right questions, we won't give ourselves the right answers. Ask "Why am I feeling this way?" When you know your answer, ask "What is my remedy?" Is it a loss you've faced? Is it a break-up? Is it grief? Is it financial? Are you unhappy about your relationship? Are you lonely or alone? The "what to do" begins with the self-discovery that there is a pathway through it, and not just sometimes, always. Answer your "why" with self-introspection and self-investigation. Be honest, vulnerable and transparent with yourself. Get to the root of it. When you find out your truth, you can begin to address your what effectively.

Be persistent with yourself, but loving and patient at the same time. However, remember that you won't move face-forward with your head down. You won't move face-forward with your head buried in a pillow. You won't move face-forward with your eyes closed hoping it will all go away. You must move face-forward a breath at a time, a moment at a time, a day at a time, looking with eyes wide open toward the place in time when it's all behind you. You're going to get to your place of self-discovery if you keep looking.

The Thing that's breaking you may be a bridge to your breakthrough.
Bridges are built to create a "way" to get to a place that has no easy access, from one point to another that's usually separated by a kind of chasm, or gap. It may be a body of water, mountains or hills that create the "gap" that needs to be bridged. Your discouragement is somewhat like that gap; between how you presently feel to the place on the other side of it where you feel stronger, more courageous and over it. It's a gap, a valley, a chasm, that requires that a bridge is built to get from where you are "breaking" to your breakthrough. You build it by allowing yourself to become the constructor of your thoughts and actions. Your thoughts must become a kind of piece by piece part of the structure; you see that on the other side of the gap is the rest of the way forward. Each thought is a "part" of your structure, and they are specifically named faith, hope, strength, wisdom and courage. Those "parts" can build a sturdy, unwavering bridge to the other side of things for you, to your breakthrough.

Just because there is no view doesn't mean there is no window.
For all of us, it's easier to go somewhere if we can see where we're going, right? But not so much when absolutely nothing is in view. However, you learn that just because there currently isn't a view, that doesn't mean that there is no window. When we are discouraged, things can feel and look foggy or dark. It becomes difficult to see past our emotions. Those emotions are good at clouding our perspectives, and for sure they can cloud our direction. But, that is exactly all that they are: clouds that are blocking our view of better days ahead.

Always keep in mind that clouds clear up. The sky eventually opens up with brilliant hues of blue and bright sunshine. In the same way, our emotional clouds will clear up and the "windows" in our minds appear, and we begin to see clearly once again. We can see where we are. We can see what's ahead. We can see the possibilities. We can see where we're going. Oftentimes, we can even see into the future, our futures. It's only a matter of time and effort. When you tell yourself it's time to move forward and when you make the effort to go face-forward, I can assure you that you're going to have a beautiful view of the extraordinary things that life has in store for you going forward. ~ S.R.F.