Do You Assert Yourself Enough?

I noticed that throughout my adult life the people who got to know me and wanted the best for me have always given me this kind of criticism: “you are a kind person with good values and integrity, but you always appear rather absent and dreamy. You withdraw yourself when you are among people. You barely share anecdotes or stories. And, you could show more interest in others.” Or, also “I would like to see you stand up for yourself more.” As an adult, I struggled with depression, anxiety, and low self-worth. I have had a hard time truly connecting with family members and maintaining friendships. Most of the times I tried to keep myself calm and quiet to prevent myself from being “found out”, judged and trapped in a maze of complexity. I avoided confrontations, even though I always desired better connections and more solid communication. What can be done to feeling stuck like this? One step I can take to develop a growth mindset is to improve my assertiveness. 

Both a professional counselor I visited and many studies on assertiveness have taught me that improving my assertiveness will help me to develop a growth mindset. The counselor I met spoke of the importance of assertiveness in the light of the second great commandment “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I learned that my taciturnity, being reserved and having the tendency to be overly agreeable (by not communicating my needs, my boundaries, my standards, my opinions, my feelings, and emotions) derived from a deterministic world view I held on to. Because of this limiting view and the connected beliefs, I withheld love for myself and for others. “By learning assertiveness,” my counselor taught, “you are going to be challenged. You are going to grow as an individual, and as a result love is going to flow more abundantly into your life, and into the lives of others.” Reading researched material about assertiveness on the internet has also convinced me about the direction this step is leading. On the website Centre for Clinical Interventions, I read “being assertive is an important communication skill which can reduce your levels of depression and anxiety and improve your self-esteem.” Such great benefits! My lingering depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem were often the underlying reasons for me to avoid confrontations with people, to wallow in passivity, and to suffer in a silence learned since childhood. I also learned that assertiveness is the state between passive and aggressive communication. Based on this information I see how being assertive connects to the Bible verse “perfect love casts out fear” and how action relates to developing a growth mindset.

The advice my counselor gave me to assert myself more, coupled with the additional facts I researched about assertiveness have instilled me with the knowledge that anyone who wants to develop as an individual and reach his or her full potential must develop assertiveness, an essential life skill. Do you assert yourself enough?

Challenge: Daily Scripture Study

On this date, Tuesday February 19 2019, I take the challenge, which is on my bucket list, to study the Scriptures daily, without interuption, for one year, and then continue.

I see the possibility to do deep work in the early morning, before the day demands my attention, and in the evening, a few hours before I retire to bed. I may choose one of these moments, or any other free time during the day to meet my purpose.

For this task all I need is a quiet environment such as a room or the outdoors, a simple table and a chair, the Scriptures, a manual, a pen and paper, and a journal.

The reason why I take this challenge is to deliberately put more focus on my daily Scripture Study, so that I may feel the Spirit more close to me, and feel more confident in my understanding of gospel doctrine and principles.

Toward a Plant Based Diet

I am interested in how we eat, what we eat, why we eat what we eat,…

For years I have been exploring different diets.

From now on I will reflect and write more (often) about my eating and drinking habits and change them for the better. This is to be clear about it for myself and to share my experience and my insights with you.

My eating and drinking habits at this stage are quite healthy, I would say. Not as I would want it, but certainly not too bad.

My do’s and don’ts:

    I do not have a sweet tooth. I rarely eat candy, biscuit, ice cream, cakes,…
    I do not drink soda’s or alcohol
    I eat mainly plant based food
    I eat meat sparingly
    I rarely eat fast food

Last weekend I spoke with a fellow Saint, who said that she eats primarily plant based food and that she is a vegan. It is mentioned in D&C 89, she taught me, “it is pleasing unto me that they (the flesh of animals) should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.”

The Doctrine & Covenants is a sacred book of revelations received by Joseph Smith. Section 89 is what we call the Word of Wisdom, and it includes some guidelines for the health and wellbeing of man.

D&C 89

 10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man–

11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.

12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;

15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground–

From these verses I learn that my friend who told me about her diet was right about God finding it pleasing that the flesh of animals and of the fowls of the air should not be used, except in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

For me it is clear. My focus should be plant based food, or more specifically, wholesome herbs and fruits that are in season.

Here, in the Southern Island of New Zealand I have visited several people in their homes. Part of the tour was the garden, where they showed me their fruit trees and the raised garden beds with all kinds of vegetables, fruits and herbs.

It is something I am learning to do myself in the garden we have at Natural Health, the place where I work.

L.L.S.

12 Ideas for Simple Living

We live in a world that is filled with complexity. Everyday we face old and new problems that require our attention.

Luckily, we are problem solvers and are able to bring the necessary changes into our lives so that we can live a life of purpose and intention.

So … this is a blogpost for people like myself, who are eager to effectuate major changes in their lives, but have struggled for a long time.

Now, let us not fall into the trap of thinking that all bad situations are caused externally. The truth is that through our own ignorance, neglectance and inefficiency we cause or contribute to some or many of the problems that we face.

So, let us take this question, “how do we stop the creation of clutter that gets added to the pile of complexity and reverse that process, removing unnecessary problems from our lives?”

And “how can we in the midst of complexity become more aware and efficient so that we can discern what really matters en make real progress?”

Or do we just keep up with the Joneses and keep facing the problems that we have helped to arise while we could have prevented those problems?

May I suggest simplifying our lifestyle as a way to regain our power and control.

Here are twelve ideas, which I hope can help you.

#1 Learning

Learning is an endgoal. When we are constantly in a state of learning our minds are active and trained. A mind that is fit can deal much better with complexity than an untrained mind. We need strong, resilient minds in today’s demanding world.

As we keep learning in search for truth, for knowledge, for the acquisition and the increase of our skills and talents, we will develop a greater capacity to live in harmony with the world around us.

Learning will enable us to be better at life.

#2 Enchantment

Enchantment or wonder and delight is part of every day life.

For life is filled with beauty, bliss and miracles.

There is much evil and misery in the world, but let us not be troubled nor blinded by it. Let us not miss the magic.

William Butler Yeats says it wel:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

Also, our imagination, a limitless force, we should use in our attainment to live a life of simplicity.

#3 Organics

Another tip I can give is to choose organic, a very clear and simple target.

When it comes to food go for as much fresh, pure and wholesome foods as you can.

Yes, organic products may be more expensive than the non organic or processed alternatives. But, if we look at it from a greater angle we gain a whole new perspective.

By choosing organic food we take in nutritious food which our body needs for the maintenance and the growth of our cells. To eat organic products is like making a huge investment for our health and longevity.

And by playing it smart in the long run we can reduce the amount of money that we spend on food.

What about growing our own vegetable garden, and planting and growing our own fruit trees?

#4 Now

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Now is the time in our life to live. Let us not procrastinate. Let us not wait until we get motivated. Let us do the work.

Our time is valuable. So let us manage our time well.

We could for example use the 80/20 rule.

80% of regular work and 20% of strategic work.

For this, you can use the Einstein Window. Ask yourself: when are you at your best?

Then devote that time to your 20%.

Don’t let time pressure stress you out.

Manage yourself and let all areas of your life be in harmony with each other.

#5 The Abundance Mentality

If you have unconsciously adopted a scarcity mentality, believing that there is not enough, or that you don’t deserve to have the means for your growth, then I suggest that you shift your mentality, so that you can enjoy more of what life has to offer. Just like any other creature on this planet, you are a rightful owner to life’s abundance.

“The earth is full, and there is enough and to spare” (D&C 104:17).

Logically, developing a mindset of abundance leads to more abundance. See Matt. 25:29

For unto every one that hath shall be ​​​given​, and he shall have ​​​abundance​: but from him that hath not shall be ​​​taken​ away even that which he hath.

#6 Reflecting

As we learn, we must reflect and immerse ourselves in deep thought. If we do not reflect our thinking remains cerebral and doesn’t sink into our hearts.

We need to ASK ourselves and ponder

“what is simple living?” “how can I live a life of intention?”

We need to use our minds and figure out for ourselves what a life of simplicity means.

#7 Design

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Design is the next step.

It implies creating a vision and putting it into definite plans.

To make place for things that we deem essential we have to let go of (a lot of) things.

#8 Letting Go

Letting go is something that comes natural to a minimalist.

Unnecessary possessions have to go.

We have to beware of covetousness.

To read more on this you can check out a post I wrote earlier about letting go of possessions in to do more with less.

Simplifying the life we live means choosing to live only with the essentials and getting rid of the unessentials.

#9 Spirituality

Choosing to live in simplicity is a spiritual choice. It is not only about the physical world and material things, but also about spiritual matters, such as making time for prayer, meditation and/or reflection, creating space for stillness and serenity. Is there something more spiritual as spending time with family, experiencing peace in our lives, and sharing this beautiful spirit with others?

Therefor, “ask for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal” Alma 7:23.

#10 Accountability

When we are accountable and follow through with things we are usually accompanied by a warm, fuzzy feeling of being on the right track. Call it the state of flow that is accompanied by synchronicity.

We will increase the range of our circle of influence when we are found to be accountable and reliable.

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:21; see verses 14–30).

#11 Nature

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Living in simplicity is also about enjoying nature, and even more, about us coöperating with nature.

Consider questions like these: how do energy sources such as solar power and wind power to generate electricity fit into our lives? How do we make good use of the earth? And how do our choices affect our natural environment?

#12 Discipline

Discipline is the last point I am making. The commitment to change many of our bad habits into good ones demands self-mastery, self-control and the ability to delay self gratification. But, be gentle with yourself in the process. Be careful of rigidity. Let’s go for softness.

Each one of us should be able to say, “I am responsible for it all”, without taking blame or feeling guilty. We create our own reality!

Spring Resolutions

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Sunshine graces my little house.

It is still winter in New Zealand. Where I am residing, Hanmer Springs, the frost covers the grass in the morning and last night I felt the cold creeping in my sleepy house like a thief. So, I crawled deep under the covers.

But during the last few days, though winter still left its mark, my friend the sunshine warmed the Earth and reminded me that the youngst season of all is back on its way.

Synchronicity

While most people make New Years resolutions I like making Spring resolutions.

On the verge of a new seasonal cycle, I get pumped up when the molecules start to move and vibrate at higher rates. I feel the longing and the motivation of the sower, who hears the birds waking him up with their songs in the wee hours of the morning.

What are you going to do?

The time is nigh.