Regardless of how burned out you may feel, there are three basic steps you can take to spiritually and emotionally renew yourself. While the “conventional” wisdom of the “material” world says, “Stop giving and start taking — you’ve done enough for others; you now deserve to be on the receiving end,” when you feel run-down and apathetic, that approach will ultimately backfire. Giving, while demanding for the moment, empowers and builds your confidence. Taking, while perhaps pleasant for the moment, ultimately weakens your self-confidence — creating a demoralizing feeling of uselessness and powerlessness. Though the following suggestions require work, they are very doable and well worth the effort. The fruit of your labor will be the return of a sparkle in your eye and the spirit of innovation in your heart and mind.
Study Your Soul
The first step is to learn about your soul — get to know your inner self through studying its dynamics and makeup. Just as your body is made up of many parts and systems, and the better you know how they function and their needs, the more you will know how to take care and nourish them; the same is true with your soul. Studying spirituality — the inner workings of your psyche — will both empower you and provide you with foundational roots. These deep roots will anchor you as you face the raging “flood waters” of life — all the demands and expectations that inundate us. When you study your soul, you discover who you really are. In turn, that will help you to live your life inside-out rather than outside-in: Instead of outside forces driving your life, and what you do defines who you are, who you are within should define what you do. Find classes and spiritual resources that teach you about yourself — why you are here and what kind of tools and resources you have inside yourself. (You can find an array of resources on our site. Start with the articles we have published on how to find your mission and purpose in life.) It will reawaken and strengthen your inner core, and give you access to your unique skills and talents.
Find a Friend and a Mentor
When you are feeling down and your will to persist is weak, you need someone who can look at your situation objectively and show you your strengths — these are people who believe in you and can help you to have faith in yourself. You might fight and resist the advice of these people, but you must know that “someone in fetters cannot free him/herself.” We are blinded by our own subjective feelings. At times, we all need an objective and caring outsider who throws us a line and lifts us up. A new perspective can open your eyes to your true potential, which will lift you out of complacency. The two people you need to find are a friend and a mentor. The difference between them: A friend is a peer who listens to you and gives you good advice and suggestions out of warmth and kindness. A mentor is an authority whom you respect, someone who can give you definitive answers.
Learn to Be a Giver
As long as you are taking, you develop a psychology of weakness. Taking sends you the message that you have nothing of your own to give, and therefore you need to take. It may feel easier and more comfortable to take. However, self value is always related to giving. When you give you become empowered and build confidence. You are able to see what your are capable of. Everyone has something to give and something to teach: Find your skills. When you meet someone ask yourself: what can I contribute to help this person grow?
Exercise: Monitor your own behavior. On a daily basis make sure to do at least one thing that gives something to another — time, advice, support, a kind word or gesture, a thank you. Start studying about your soul. Find a friend and mentor to consult. Journal about it in your MyMLC journal.
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