Love. Not fear.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Refuse to let a non-stop cycle of negativity and bad news divert your attention from all the good in the world.

Remember your friends. Your family. And the kindness of strangers.

Make note of those doing good, acting selflessly, or going out of their way to make a positive difference in other people’s lives.

The world is not just war, hate, and conflict. It’s not just people only looking out for their own best interest at the expense of anyone who crosses their paths.

Refuse to be manipulated into thinking the world is mostly made up of people seeking conflict. Because it’s not.

The answer to the world’s problems is not less love. It’s more.

Look for and be the good in the world.

Spread light, not darkness.

Love. Not fear.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” — Lao Tzu

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Refuse to quit

Excerpt from: Life isn’t fair.

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No matter what life throws your way, no matter how unfair it may seem, refuse to play the victim. Refuse to be ruled by fear, pessimism, and negativity. Refuse to quit.

Be a warrior and work through whatever challenges you face in life with courage, love, and positivity. And continually push forward.

Because you are a survivor of the unfairness of life. You are stronger than you think. And you are capable of achieving far more than you believe.

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Integrity and independent thinking

Gathering data to make an informed opinion is one thing. Simply waiting to agree with the crowd is something else entirely.

Being yourself and maintaining your integrity means standing up for what you believe to be right and true whether it’s in the company of a crowd or not.

Fear of self-expression is a form of self-imposed slavery.

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The freedom to be

Are we free if we live our lives in a way that consistently requires the approval of others to be truly happy?

Are we free if we consistently force ourselves to live within the confines of other people’s expectations?

Are we free if we consistently dilute our true selves to make others happy?

Are we free if our emotions and mental state are easily controlled by what others say or do?

Are we free if we cannot consider an opposing point of view without getting emotional or immediately dismissing it because it contradicts our own beliefs?

No.

These are limitations we place on ourselves. They are, quite simply, bad habits.

The good news is that, as habits, we can replace them with better, far more empowering options if we so choose.

It may take work to rewrite years of mental and emotional constraints, but who is in charge of your life?

You are.

When you truly know who you are — and who you are in the process of becoming — you will no longer live in fear of what people say or think about you.”

Whether it’s strong, confident, carefree, independent or all of the above, give yourself the freedom to be as you truly wish to appear to others.

Don’t give power to those who don’t have your best interest in mind. Reclaim the freedom to be your true self by defining your own identity and wrestle back control of your thoughts, feelings, and sense of self-worth from those you have inadvertently given power over you.

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Not caring what people think is not the answer

[This post is similar to another post I’ve written called: Not giving a damn is not the answer.]

No, you shouldn’t change who you are to be liked by people. And you shouldn’t cave into to peer pressure at the expense of your identity.

But not caring what people think is not the answer.

While you may not agree with what people think or say about you (and some would say it’s none of your business), if you believe in bettering yourself as a person, it’s important to allow yourself to internally acknowledge and be aware of the feedback you get in life.

  • Do you ruffle feathers everywhere you go?
  • Do you get into arguments or make enemies easily?
  • Do you find yourself getting into the same kinds of dysfunctional relationships?
  • Do you act creepy or make people uncomfortable without realizing it?
  • Is your body language saying one thing while you are saying another?

These are important things to be aware of.

Acknowledging what others think (positive or negative) provides us with valuable feedback that allows us to make sure we are acting and communicating in the manner we think we are. And if we are not, it provides the opportunity to make changes to how we do things (if we so choose).

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” — Winston Churchill

There are a lot of people who suck and act badly simply because they refuse to even acknowledge the feedback they get on a consistent basis.

“You think I’m a jackass? Well, I don’t care.”

The fact is, if people are calling you a jackass, it’s a good idea to be open to the idea of exploring *why* they said that and if it has any validity.

And it may not. Just because someone calls you a jackass doesn’t mean you’re a jackass, but something about the circumstances you found yourself in led to negative feedback. And after analyzing the situation, you may discover that you could have done something more effectively in the situation — even if was simply to avoid it altogether.

While I don’t believe in not caring what people think, I do believe in is not fearing it.

And that’s a huge difference.

One approach says, “I’m fearful of accepting or acknowledging negative feedback” and the other says, “I have a strong enough sense of self to not let criticism (or praise) adversely affect my sense of self-worth.”

When you truly know who you are — and who you are in the process of becoming — you will no longer live in fear of what people say or think about you.”

Because you can’t please everyone, sometimes you will act in a fashion that upsets people or makes them uncomfortable. And sometimes it is completely justified — it comes at the cost of expressing yourself in an authentic fashion.

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act that way. But it also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about the response you get — you simply shouldn’t be afraid of it or let it bother you.

Not letting what other people think bother you is one thing, not caring is another.

I believe the goal should be develop a strong enough sense of self to not let what others say or think about you diminish (or inflate) your sense of self-worth, not to simply “not care”.

Allowing yourself to be open is a sign of confidence, and it’s a strength that will get you much further in life, and provide you with the ability to weather more storms, than simply pretending that storms don’t exist.”

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Courage doesn’t come from your comfort zone

Excerpt from: my book series

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You don’t get over the fear of doing something by not doing it.

Courage doesn’t come from your comfort zone because courage doesn’t exist without fear.

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Fear of self-expression is a form of self-imposed slavery

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If you do the best you can to be a decent human being, show tolerance and kindness to others — and still live in fear of what people think of you, your possessions, your opinions, or your beliefs, and then alter your behavior to be “approved” by as many people as possible, that isn’t freedom, it’s a form of self-imposed slavery.

You become a slave to the idea that what other people might think is more important that exercising your ability to express your true self.

Have you ever avoided something as simple as clicking a “like” button or commenting on a post on social media because you were afraid of what people would think if they saw it? If so, then you’re doing it.

If your relationships are so fragile that something like a single like, share, or comment could end them (or cause an unfollow or other equivalent), then perhaps those are not the kind of relationships that are really adding any kind of value to your life.

And perhaps it’s time to ask yourself what the point of “collecting people” in your life is, if the sorts of people you’ve collected will judge you “unworthy” of their friendship and leave you the moment you truly express yourself.

This is an issue that goes far beyond how people act on social media, it’s a real-life problem as well.

Changing who you are to be liked by people may result in more people “liking” you, but it also means that those who “like” you are liking someone who is pretending to be someone or something they’re not.

And, ultimately, you’re sacrificing yourself (and your life) to do it. You’re sacrificing your freedom to express your true self in order to gain “friends” who don’t even like you for you.

In the end, this really makes no sense. Life is not a popularity contest. It’s not about collecting as many “friends” as possible. And no matter what you do, not everyone is going to like or agree with you anyway. That’s life.

Do you respect people who water themselves down, live in fear of being disliked, or pretend to be someone they’re not in order to gain favor? If not, then how can you expect to respect yourself if you do the same things?

When you are brave enough to be yourself, you give others permission to do the same.”

Be your genuine self and you will find that those who stick around in your life are those who appreciate and respect you for who you truly are. They may not agree with everything you say, do, or believe, but they are far more likely to forgive you for your mistakes or lapses in judgement and stick by you not only during the high times in your life, but also the lows.

And you can live knowing that you’re not being judged by those who matter to you — and if you are, you still don’t live in fear of it, because it’s not your problem. When people judge you, it says more about them than it says about you.

And, in the off chance you suck as a human being and few people like you, then that’s perhaps a sign you have some things to work on to be a better person in an authentic way — and not someone who simply pretends to be one.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

As far I’m concerned, if you’re tolerant and open-minded, I like having you in my life, regardless of your beliefs or some opinions you have that I don’t agree with (and vice-versa). Because ultimately, we help each other grow.

I’ve said it before, you don’t have to agree on everything to get along. And some of the best relationships are formed by people who don’t.

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The courage to be imperfect

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“I’m not perfect, but parts of me are awesome.”

Let’s face it, we all have flaws. And, despite how some people see it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The fact is, every single one of us is a work-in-progress.

We may be at different stages in life. We may have different strengths and weaknesses, but there isn’t a single person on the planet who hasn’t felt vulnerable or made mistakes. Nor is there a single person who couldn’t be better at something in some area of their life.

While hiding your flaws or pretending to be something or someone you’re not can fool many people — and many try to live their lives this way — true power comes from being your authentic self — flaws and all — and not being ashamed or afraid of being imperfect.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” — Mark Twain

When you truly accept who you are — weaknesses included — to the point that you are not afraid to admit your flaws or be vulnerable, people are much less able (or likely to try) to use your flaws as weapons against you.

When you don’t hide who you are behind a mask of misrepresentation, you no longer have to live in fear of being discovered as “false” or less than capable at something.

When you truly know who you are — and who you are in the process of becoming — you will no longer live in fear of what people say or think about you.”

Additionally, knowing what your weaknesses are — and what triggers you to think and behave as you do — provides you with the ability to potentially overcome, or at least reduce their affects.

And while we often believe that we will be liked less for not being perfect, people are actually much more likely to respect and admire those who express themselves authentically rather than those who pretend to be perfect or act as if they are superior to others.

Have the courage to be authentic. Have the courage to take responsibility for who you are and how you act.

And have the courage to be imperfect.

“With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.” — Keshavan Nair

If you haven’t watched The Power of Vulnerability TED talk by Brene Brown, it is one of the most viewed TED talks in history. She is a great speaker. Very funny and insightful. It is definitely 20 minutes well spent.

The way of the heart is the way of courage. It is to live in insecurity; it is to live in love, and trust; it is to move in the unknown. It is leaving the past and allowing the future to be. Courage is to move on dangerous paths. Life is dangerous, and only cowards can avoid the danger – but then, they are already dead. A person who is alive, really alive, vitally alive, will always move into the unknown. There is danger there, but he will take the risk. The heart is always ready to take the risk, the heart is a gambler. The head is a businessman. The head always calculates – it is cunning. The heart is non-calculating.” — Osho, from The Joy of Living Dangerously

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