Sharon Prentice, PhD

Transformational Psychologist and Author

6 Things to Remember

1)“Be not afraid of life” (William James). 

As I wrote in Becoming Starlight, I lived in fear of life for so many years. Thinking that life…and death… were out to get me, I decided to get them first!  I spiraled downward out of nothing but pure unadulterated fear of “getting out there” again. I needed to learn that life is just life and that it becomes exactly what you make it with your thoughts and behaviors.  What you expect- you get! Death came calling in such an unexpected way-I had no wherewithal to deal with it…so I retreated into the darkness. I had to learn that grief is just as important as joy and that death is simply the other side of life. It’s all part of the deal, isn’t it? Nothing was out to get me…not life or death or God or anything else- it was always just me that was out to “get me!”  Learn that and you’re already ahead of the game…

2) Don’t look for “happy”. Find contentment instead. (me!)

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “I’m not happy” I’d be a zillionaire!  Here’s the thing… happiness is a day to day thing. Great job- happy! Great spouse-happy! Kids behaving-happy! New car-happy! Great hair day-happy!  You get the picture.  It’s all based on things outside of yourself! But then- what happens to your “happy” when the job gets rough or your spouse gets fired or that car breaks down or kids become actual kids or, God forbid- that great hair day becomes a nightmare?  There goes the happy…right down the drain. But, if you look for inner contentment- and make that shift from an outward expectation of being happy all the time, guess what happens?  That very same “happy” becomes peace and fulfillment instead…regardless of what happens in any situation…and stays that way. It is not subject to the day to day swings and up and downs of “happy”. It’s a virtue that needs to be examined in light of all the psychological issues that plague us as a society where we are all encouraged to see happiness as something we can buy or achieve outside of ourselves. Contentment is an inside job and comes with peace and understanding of the true nature of our very being and our lives.

3) Free yourself from the good opinion of others (so many have said this!)

Want peace of mind? Finally, understand that the opinion of others about you has absolutely nothing to do with you! It’s all about them and their issues.  Letting go of their opinion of you, freeing yourself of their expectations and their demands of who and what you are or need to be is the first step to awakening to your real potential and to your living the life you want to live. Letting go of their agenda for your life, ripping off the labels that have been plastered on your forehead- what a gift to give to yourself! Finding your very own piece of earth…and standing there…ever done that?  Take up that space…and refuse to let anyone take your birthright from you! As long as you are living according to someone else’s version of who you are- you will forever remain in shadow.

4) Remember…no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

You alone decide who you are. You alone decide how to feel.  You alone set the stage for your play. You alone either allow or disallow the feelings or emotions of others into your psyche. No one can make you feel anything that you don’t want to feel. If you allow it- that’s your issue and you alone must fix it.  Learning the difference between responding and reacting to someone else’s agenda sheds light on how and when to allow anything into your Spirit. Your choice…

5) Fear is not a real emotion.   

Fear lives in the underbelly of your Soul. It holds hands with worry and stops you dead in your tracks. It will do anything necessary to make you think it’s real!  It smirks at you from the shadows and plays hide and seek with your Spirit until it completely paralyzes you. Fear loves the suffering it causes and desires nothing more than to have you hide from it and play the game it set up so successfully. Fear sets the agenda, you play along- because you buy into the reality it has so amazingly succeeded at setting up in your heart.  It always seems to be one step ahead and knows your every move- even before you do! But remember this…it’s not real. It is completely different from danger-which is real.   Fear is nothing more than worry, insecurity, apprehension of the unknown and anxiety- all gift wrapped and tied up with a great big bow!   The physical changes that take place in your body tell you-scream at you- “This is real!”  But, know this- the anxiety and emotional and physical responses you experience are, indeed, very real- but they are in response to something that is merely anticipation of an event that, most likely- will never even happen!  Its overthinking that gets you every time! Once recognized as pure myth, as pure emotion- you can kick it to the curb and thrive! Feels great, doesn’t it, just knowing it’s nothing more than worry on steroids? 

6) Overthinking…will get ya every time!

You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you?  We get these thoughts in our heads and we’re off to the races! Every big or small “bad” that could possibly present itself looms like the monster who had taken up residence under our childhood bed… Ever present, ever watching…just waiting to nab us if we happened to poke our foot out from under the blanket that protected us from his grasp! Thing is…most of that “stuff” we imagine…is simply never going to happen! Learn to control your thoughts. Make that emotional outpouring count for something positive-like achievement and excellence and the means of garnering your dreams!  Remind yourself that overthinking is just a form of anxiety and anticipation and that you do have control over it…you just need to take that control and stop ruminating, stop trying to “read the minds of others” and let go of the need to predict the future. Leave the “what if’s and the should be’s” alone and concentrate on the present instead of the unknown future. Do a “brain dump” and relax into the wonderfulness of the “now!”