Calmness is your superpower. Your ability to carry yourself with dignity and remain calm in the eye of a storm will empower you in any situation.
And when you’re able to not overreact and take things personally, you keep your mind clear and your heart at peace.
Staying calm is a form of self-respect. It’s how you strengthen your confidence and grow your self-trust.
But can you really learn how to let go of all the purposeless drama, awful negativity, aimless time-wasters, and mental clutter that gives you anxiety and stress?
YES! Absolutely. It’s never too late to change your attitude and start over. It’s never too late to learn how to respond in a new way.
The first step is to know that it is a CHOICE
You can choose calmness over frustration, anger, and resentment. You choose to stay calm because it’s the most powerful response to anything.
And when you make that choice you don’t waste your valuable energy on something you can’t change or fix.
Here’s how you can be calm and stand in your power…
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Whatever happens, don’t take it personally. Even if a situation seems personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you.
Nothing other people do is because of you. It purely relates to them. What they say, what they do or don’t do, and the opinions they give are according to how they SEE the world from their perspective.
All people have their own view on the world; they might have a completely different mindset than you and perhaps also a very different set of values.
When we take something personally, we automatically give our power away. We allow the other person to control us and our emotions. NO one deserves that power – especially not predators, trolls and mean people. You need to keep your power where it belongs – at home inside of you.
When you respond with calmness. When you respond with silence, a calm and respectful attitude, you are the powerful one.
If someone leaves you a mean comment on your Facebook page or Instagram post just delete it. Don’t spend a single minute of your precious time feeling hurtful, angry or sad.
Why? Because what they wrote says absolutely NOTHING about you. But it says a whole lot about the person who wrote it.
That person is not a happy person, because no happy people put others down. Emotional mature people with a healthy self-esteem and a deep respect for other people knows how we are all connected and that when you give kindness you feel better. When you give love, encouragement and share your joy you are a happy person.
So remember, next time you are about to take something personal; just stay calm. Walk away. Leave it. Delete it. Smile at it. Laugh it off. Breathe deeply and know in your heart that it has nothing to do with you.
Learn to Pause, Not React
Instead of reacting you pause. You stay neutral and calm. It will be a challenge in the beginning because you will properly feel an entire range of emotions on the inside and that’s okay. It’s normal.
So allow your reaction to happen on the inside. But stay quiet on the outside. Just be still and remember to breathe. Remind yourself, that you owe no one a response. You can choose to observe, listen and relax your body.
Say to yourself; “this is a great moment to pause and stay neutral“. Then turn your attention to your feet and feel the ground underneath. Connect with your breath and focus on your belly moving in and out.
If you find yourself in a conflict with a loved one, it’s even more important to stay calm. Listen and ask questions in stead of getting angry and defensive. Your willingness to stay calm will help build trust.
Train Your Ability To Stay Calm
The best way to train your calmness muscle is to do it when you’re not in the eye of a storm.
Meditation, visualisations, mindfulness and yoga will help a lot. As well as getting enough sleep.
Personally, I find that Yin Yoga helps tremendously. It’s a slow form of yoga with simple poses anyone can do. It’s a restorative yoga and a very different experience than most other styles of yoga.
By definition, restorative Yin yoga is a restful practice that holds yoga poses for a longer duration. When the body enters a state of relaxation the mind can also consciously relax as tension is released from both body and mind. This will help you stay calm for the rest of the day.
Even a simple breathing exercise will help. Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it. Breathe in through your nose and pause while you count from 1-5 and then gently breathe out again through your mouth. Do this a few times during the day.
Forgive And Let Go
Do you hold grudges towards someone in your life? Are you angry with yourself for something you once did or didn’t do?
Do you keep wounds open and active, living in past experiences of pain which prevent new positive experiences from being able to happen?
Is it time to forgive and let go, so you can stand in your calmness superpower?
To let go of your grudges, you have to be willing to let go of your identity as the “wronged” one, and whatever strength, solidity, or possible sympathy and understanding you receive through that “wronged” identity.
It’s not always easy to forgive because we then feel there’s no justice. The problem with grudges, besides the fact that they are a drag to carry around is that they don’t serve the purpose that they are there to serve. They don’t make us feel better.
By not letting go, you keep diving into the pain. You keep hurting yourself and you are the only one who can change it.
Forgive and let go because life is so incredible short. Living with emotional pain is exhausting. Accept that you cannot go back and change things but you can choose to move forward. You can choose to focus on soothing kindness and compassion because you want to live the best life possible.
So that’s my little take on cultivating calmness as your superpower. If you would like to connect with me or ask me a question, simply reach out. I’m mostly active on my Instagram and of course you can also send me an email.
Every Summer, I do a half-year LIFE check-up. I investigate every corner of my life to make sure I´m on the right track, moving in a direction that brings me happiness.
I love doing my half-year check-up! I feel like it´s a second chance to make things right. I re-evaluate my decisions, my goals and all my dreams that I planned back in the beginning of the year. I re-consider my business plan. I re-connect with my passion, my WHY and my life purpose.
Taking time to checkin with ourselves is crucial because we sometimes lose sight of what´s most important to us doing the daily grind. We get so caught up in daily chores and to-do´s that it so darn easy to lose sight of what matters most.
I ask myself; are you where you want to be now? And are you on track to be where you want to be at the end of this year?
Rarely, will our dream life magically appear. If you genuinely want to live your dream life, you got to get out of your comfort zone and ask yourself some hard questions. You got to get comfortable with the uncomfortable questions, and you got to challenge yourself to answer truthfully.
Not always easy…but very effective!
Without being MINDFUL about your direction in life, chances are someone else will take over your agenda. And without the clarity and purpose from choosing your steps mindfully, you´ll never truly experience and express your highest potential.
You owe it to yourself to live a life that is extraordinary to you. A life that makes you happy and fulfilled.
Doing a half-year review is an act of self-love. It´s NOT an excuse to beat yourself up for not reaching your New Years´ resolutions.
I want you to do this exercise with kindness. Being hard on yourself NEVER works – it only results in lack of motivation, depression and low self-esteem.
At the end of the day, your personal goals should be serving you. They are YOUR goals, and you get to set them so that where you end up is exactly where you want to be.
So as you enter the second half of the year, I want you to set time aside – maybe a few hours, perhaps a full day or a weekend and do a half-year check-up.
Use this time to reflect back on the first six months of the year and make adjustments to your goals for the rest of the year.
I created the following questions to help you be fully mindful of the way you live and to look at your life with open eyes. These questions are asked with love, and the intention is to guide you to stay on track with your life purpose.
Are you ready?
Okay, here we go…
Half-Year Check-Up: 10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself To Make Sure You Are On Track
1. WHAT do you need to let go of?
There´s a big difference between giving up and letting go. Letting go means freeing yourself from something that is no longer serving you. It involves removing toxic people and negative belief systems from your life so you can make space for wellbeing and happiness. Giving up reduces your life. Letting go expands it. Giving up is self-defeat. Letting go is self-care. What do you need to let go of, so you can make space for the things that really matter?
2. WHO do you need to let go of?
Is there someone in your life that is blocking your happiness and growth? Perhaps a person that is close to you? Or maybe someone you interact with online? A person that is always negative, putting you down, pointing out your weakness and accusing you of not being good enough? Is it time to let go of that person?
Remind yourself that you don´t need anyone´s permission or approval to live your life the way that feels right. No one has the authority to tell you who to be or how to live.
3. What do you need more of in your life?
Focus on the exciting feelings, relationships, events and habits that will improve your life. What makes you feel full of joy? What makes you feel completely at peace? What makes you feel confident and happy with yourself? How can you get more of that in your life?
4. What´s your biggest struggle and how can you deal with it?
Everyone has a difficult time coping. So if you feel like life is a struggle you are not alone. Life is a rollercoaster, and sometimes we all fall apart. During these times, we aren´t always easy to be around. No one is easy to be around 100% of the time. It´s called being human. So when that happens, remind yourself that it´s okay, to not be okay. You are not Superman or Superwomen.
Acknowledge that you struggle and turn your attention and focus to the things in your life you are grateful for. What in your life do you truly appreciate? What and who are you sincerely thankful for?
And remember, you are better today because you have learnt from your setbacks. You are stronger today because of the pain you overcame. You can love today because you understand that nobody is perfect and everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have. You can overcome your struggles because you are not what happens to you, you choose to be who you are.
5. What areas of your life do you need to simplify?
I can never say this enough; simplify the heck out of your life, and you´ll be a much happier person! Think about it; where in your life do you need less drama and less pressure? The best way to quiet your mind is to simplify your life. When your mind is quiet, you can work on the big things. Focus on things that really matter, like your goals, health, giving back, your passions, hobbies, and quality relationships with your loved ones. To simplify, ask yourself what in your life you can delete, delegate, remove, say no to or take immediate action on. Remember, it´ s always better to keep things simple and flexible rather than chase perfection.
6. How can you bring more self-compassion into your life?
We, humans, tend to strive for perfection. We want to be perfect. Look perfect. Act perfect. We hide our insecurities behind flawless social media images. And we protect ourselves when we don´t feel complete. The truth is we are just HUMANS…and no human is perfect. We fail. We disappoint ourselves. We disappoint people. We judge others – and judge ourselves even harder. So instead of striving for perfection – strive to do things with love.
No one cares about you being perfect….the only thing people care about is how you make them FEEL. Nothing is more attractive than a person who is comfortable in her own skin and who has compassion for others as well as for herself.
Self-compassion makes life very simple. It’s us that complicates things with our expectations. The biggest mistake is thinking that you have to change something before you can love yourself. The truth is that love is the ONLY thing that needs to be changed. You don’t have to get better before you can love yourself. And if you don’t know how to love yourself start with kindness and compassion. Treat yourself as a loving mother would care for a child. Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend.
7. Are your “shoulds” getting in the way of your “wants”?
I delete about half of my emails every day! Why? Because my time is my most valuable asset and I want to be in full control of how I spend it. Now, don´t get me wrong here…I do love all the emails from you, my dear readers, subscribers and students – those emails are always my favourite emails. I´m talking about all the emails offering web service, SEO, unpaid work, collaborations with no rewards, ad requests, guest blogging requests, unpaid speaking gigs and I could keep going…. I don´t want anyone else´s agenda taking over my time! I know so many business owners who answer all emails as fast as they can, just because they feel they “should”. And it´s keeping them from spending time on their most important projects – or even worse it´s keeping them from valuable time with their family.
“Should” is how other people want us to live our lives. It’s all of the expectations and obligations that others lay upon us. But here´s the truth; you don´t have to answer all emails, you don´t have to reply to all Instagram comments, and you don´ have to say yes, to things, jobs or events you don´t wanna do.
If “shoulds” have overpowered you in the past, how can you make a shift and focus on “wants”? These are the things that are super important to you. “Wants” is who you are, what you believe, and what you do when you are alone with your truest, most authentic self. It’s your instincts, your desires, the things, places and ideas you are passionate about.
Every day you are being presented with two choices: evolve or repeat. Will you step away from “shoulds” and evolve or will you keep repeating things you really don´t want to do? How can you reduce “shoulds” and make space for “wants”?
8. What important goal or decision are you procrastinating?
The costs of procrastinating can be enormous. When we procrastinate our goals, we are basically putting off our lives. Think about it; what in your life are you currently procrastinating? Do you delay making an important decision you know you need to make? Do you need to take care of something, but keep postponing it? Look into areas such as happiness, stress, health, finances, relationships and work.
A recent study shows that 47% of people’s time online is spent procrastinating. Social media can be fun and bring loads of good things like new friends and creative inspiration – but potentially social media is also one of our greatest time wasters. How can you help yourself to take action and break free of procrastination? Think about how great you´ll feel on the other side of procrastination.
9. What BIG DREAM do you need to go after?
What big dream are you putting off, because you are waiting for: ⠀⠀ 1. the perfect time? 2. the perfect conditions? 3. more confidence? ⠀⠀ . . Let me just say this; there are people less qualified than you doing the things you want to do, simply because they decided to go for it. So stop waiting. Go after it.
You will be surprised at the things you can accomplish with a little belief and action. There will never be a perfect time anyway, so you might as well just start. And confidence….it will grow as you take action. Confidence comes from taking action – not from waiting.
Forgive yourself for accepting less than you deserve. Re-adjust. Re-start. Re-focus. And then set a step by step plan to reach your goal. You don´t need to have it all figured out before you start something. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the most significant step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take the step.
10. How well do you celebrate your life?
On a scale from 1-10, how good are you at celebrating? Unless it´s a big fat 10, you need to start throwing more confetti NOW! Listen, YOU are the only cheerleader you got, so you better show up cheering on yourself and throw a happy dance whenever you get the chance. Life is serious enough, as it is, so spice it up with some fun. Growing up my dad always said to me, life is as fun as YOU make it; meaning YOU are responsible for bringing joy into your life.
Don´t wait for someone to come and entertain you. Don´t wait for people to cheer on you. Don´t do things just to please others. Be pro-active and create small everyday celebrations. You don´t have to buy yourself a fancy new car or eat at the finest restaurant in town to celebrate. It can be little moments of joy that you create to make you happy. Like serving champagne for breakfast on a Monday morning. Enjoying a long warm bath while listening to your favourite podcast or a phone call to a long lost friend. The key is to fill your life with celebration – and not just fill it with chores.
That´s it…now it´s time to….
Perhaps you are on vacation while reading this, enjoying a refreshing GT or a big scoop of chocolate ice cream, laying on the beach or by the pool? If so, there really is NO excuse to not find a moment to yourself, to ponder on the above questions.
Get a notebook, a hotel napkin or use the Notes app on your phone and make sure to answer each question as truthfully as you can. Enjoy the process and remember to do it with kindness. Harsh self-critique will get you nowhere.
Like this article? Share it with your friends or post it to Pinterest – perhaps you´ll help someone get unstuck!
Got an aha-moment? Come on over to my Instagram account and share it with me. Your feedback always inspire me so much.
Do you sometimes compare your creative work to other photographer’s work and get discouraged?
If so you´re not alone…
So let me just say this once:
Measuring your success through comparison is a recipe for letting yourself down.
The only photographer you should compare yourself to is the one you were yesterday.
Creating art is not a competition, someone does not have to lose for someone else to win. We can all win if we create images that bring personal satisfaction.
Comparing, in photography or in life, is not productive. You cannot look to external standards, whether it be others work or their opinions, to find personal satisfaction. You must be comfortable with yourself and your art to find true joy.
The very act of comparing yourself to others takes up your precious time and headspace and you have absolutely NO CONTROL over this other person and their creative work.
When you compare yourself to your competition or tailor your business to match other businesses in the field, you´re forgetting the ONE thing your business has that no other business has; YOU.
Your secret sauce is YOU!
Build your business around your own unique talents, ideas, and vision, and you´ll ensure that not only will you stand apart from therest; you´ll also do the work you love and were meant to do.
Instead of wasting valuable time comparing, focus on being more creative and innovative than ever before. Focus on doing things that are directly related to building your creative skills and your brand style.
The fastest way to free up your creativity is to spend less time on social media comparing and more time creating.
WHEN YOU CREATE:
You generate more creativity.
You produce more ideas.
You improve your skills.
You get more business.
Celebrate your creativity
The best thing about Instagram is that it can be your creative outlet. Instead of focus on the outcome; the photo. Remember, you have a particular set of gifts, personality traits and talents that are unique to you. Comparing your life, your personality and talent is a waste of your gifts.
Focus on the process of creating your photo. Put more effort into the details, care about the composition, play with the colors, experiment with editing styles and so on. Imagine there´s no rules, and just like a child you allow yourself to play with new fun ideas.
Who cares what it looks like if you had fun creating it! It´s the quality of life that matters – not how it looks on the outside.
Real beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. And Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be confident. Be proud. Focus on your journey, not the destination.
Post for your eyes only
Take your power back and decide to post for you – and only you! After all your Instagram account is yours right! Post photos that make you feel; happy and creative.
Have fun with it and do it for you – don’t post photos to try to please others and get more followers. It will only make you feel detached from yourself and stressed.