Springs of Joy: A mental makeover PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 28 October 2011 14:28

BY Jane dela Cruz Bascar

I love makeovers. Who doesn’t? Makeovers excite me as they show us the possibilities that are available to those brave enough to try something new. But while we usually drool over physical makeovers – like an astonishing weight loss or a wardrobe transformation, Dr. Phil McGraw suggests a different kind of makeover which he says “transforms your life from the inside out.” He calls it the mental makeover, this revolution from within, whose objective is to turn you into a “better, happier, more peaceful version of yourself.” Here’s his plan on how you can go about it which I’m quoting verbatim:

“Own up. When things aren’t going your way, resist the temptation to point the finger to other people, and remember: You are the creator of your life experience…How you relate to others is completely in your hands. If you confront people with hostility, hostility is what you’ll get back. If you instead rely on compassion and understanding, you’ll likely see the principle of reciprocity kick in and your compassion flowing back to you…We teach people how to treat us.

Be a trend-spotter. Look for patterns in how you view yourself, your career, your bonds with friends and family – every aspect of your life. If fear and apprehension color how you raise your kids or negotiate the workplace, then you’re bound to see failure and missed opportunities all around, even when things are going swimmingly…Ask yourself what kind of lenses you’re wearing and whether they’re distorting your view of the world. When you adjust your perception, you transform your reality.

Shed toxic emotions. If you are hampered by anger, anxiety, or the pain of betrayal, it’s time to close that book and store it on your shelf; you’ll know it’s there, yes, but you won’t have to read it every day…No matter what emotions burden you, closure is possible. Start by identifying what I call the minimal effective response: the simplest action you can take to satisfy your need for resolution without creating new problems…Do you need to pour out your heart in a letter to a parent or an ex (even if you never send it)? Should you clear the air with someone? Apologize? Forgive yourself? Go to confession? Meditate? Cut a certain person out of your life completely? Figure out the least you can do to clear your mind of debilitating thoughts. Unless you want your past to become your future, you need to let go. You can’t reach your destination if you’re always looking behind you.

Adjust your approach. At this point, you’ve jettisoned negative thoughts, behaviors – and maybe even people – from your life. Now reflect on ways you can improve how you engage with the world and the people you love most…For example, when you feel trouble brewing, take a long, deep breath – in midsentence if necessary – and stop yourself before you blurt out something you’ll regret. Disputes will still bubble up, but they’ll move toward a different outcome: one of mutual understanding, rather than a pointless battle to prove each other wrong…Whatever the challenge before you, keep in mind that a feverish pace doesn’t necessarily guarantee the quickest route from A to Z. Keep your tempo slow and steady, and check in with yourself to make sure that our hour-to-hour decisions and behavior jibe with your ambitious, long-term goals.

Write a new life script. If you’re stuck in the doldrums of your daily routine, it’s time to draft a plan to change your behavior. Start small: ... If your circle of friends hasn’t varied in years, make it a goal to talk to three new people every day. If you always sit in the back and stay quiet in staff meetings next time grab a spot up front and speak up. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone means you’ll find new opportunities to live differently – and better.

Accept yourself. This may strike you as an odd directive for a makeover column. But a successful reinvention doesn’t happen when you hate the person you are. It happens when you love yourself enough to believe that you can do better and deserve better. The more you understand who you are and who you want to become (someone who’s not as critical, or guilt-ridden, or anxious, or bitter, or…) the less validation you’ll need from others…

Remember that life is managed, not mastered, and sometimes we need to be more hands-on in directing our behavior and outlook. Seize this moment to put yourself in the shop for an inside-out tune up. When you’ve pulled off a makeover worthy of your best self, the people around you won’t just marvel at your stunning results, - they’ll feel blessed themselves, and maybe ready for a makeover of their own.”

Well, I hope this piece provides you with enough motivation to try out what Dr. Phil suggests. Who knows? When you’re done (although I personally think this will be a lifelong process) you’ll get your best makeover and the best version of yourself yet.

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