Saturday, April 24, 2021

Make Life Less Difficult or Make Life Easier? Choosing Words Carefully

The Victorian writer George Eliot - whose real name was Mary Anne Evans - asks:

"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"

If we think about Eliot's question - which is really an admonition - we see making life less difficult for others is the foundation of every successful business, every religion, and every act of loving kindness. It is the glue that holds together families, communities, and even nations.

Note: Listen to the companion podcast for this blogpost below.

Framing Eliot's Question in a More Powerful Way

As powerful as Eliot's admonition is, I invite you to consider whether it can be framed in a more positive and even more powerful way. The words, "less difficult", presuppose that life is difficult, life is hard. The best we can do is make life, "less difficult"

Yes, there are aspects of life that are difficult. But there are also aspects of life that can be enjoyable, fun, and joyful. 

An Invitation to Make Life Easier

Eliot invites us to help others by making their lives less difficult. I invite you to help others by making their lives easier. 

When we focus on "less difficult" we're looking at the, "Life is Difficult" continuum. This continuum goes from difficult near the point of impossibility to difficult, but doable. Our mind is locked into the energy of "difficult".

Focusing our creativity and problem solving on making life "less difficult" may generate beneficial ways of helping others and ourselves. At the end of that effort, we've likely moved toward difficult but doable on the "Life is Difficult" continuum. That's good, but can we do better?

Here's a little experiment: say out loud or at least whisper these two statement and let your awareness settle into your body for four or five seconds after saying each statement.

"Make life less difficult."

"Make life easier."

Repeat these two statements again and really feel each one. Now, simply say,


and then say, 


How do the feelings differ? Which statement feels lighter and better?

I'll bet the, "Make life easier" statement feels better. I'll also bet if you enter into an idea generating process to identify ways of helping one other person, a group, a community, or even a nation, you'll create far more and better ideas when you're focused on, "Make life easier" rather than on, "Make life less difficult".

How to Use This Insight in Your Life

When looking toward changing circumstances or identifying opportunities for yourself or others, ensure you're framing the issue, challenge, or opportunity as simply and as positively as possible. For example, asking, "How can I get out of debt?" means you're focusing on debt. 

Asking, "How can I improve my financial situation?" or - even better -  "How can I create sustained financial abundance?", opens your idea generating mind to a far wider and better range of options.

When thinking about helping someone else who, for example, is suffering from a serious illness, ask, "In what ways can I help make life easier for her?" rather than, "How can I stop her suffering?"

On a neighborhood or community level, ask, "How can we create a safer community?" rather than, "How can we stop crime?".

The way we use words to craft the questions of life matters. Framing questions in a positive way opens the mind to richer, more powerful possibilities.

How Are You Using Questions to Create a Better Life?

How are you using questions to guide your life? I'd love to hear from you through my Twitter handle, @swcarter or by email.

Stephen Carter

Stress Solutions, LLC | | 

Copyright Stephen Carter. All rights reserved

Thursday, April 1, 2021

5 Powerful Ways to Let Go of Guilt

Photo credit: Pensive woman - Pixabay image
Guilt is a difficult emotion to experience. It can be triggered by something we did or said, but it can also arise from situations that are out of our control. Regardless of circumstances, it's vital for emotional wellbeing to let go of guilt.

Note: You can listen to the companion podcast episode at the bottom of the page. Click the arrow to play.

Letting go of guilt will allow you to live your life without worrying about what others think or how they might judge you. You deserve to live freely and without any regrets!

An Important Question to Start the Release Process

An important question to ask yourself whenever you’re feeling guilty is:
Did I really do something wrong or am I reacting to the fear of being judged by other people?
Allow yourself the necessary time to process this important question. If, after thinking about the question, you conclude what happened was either misunderstood or outside of your control, you’ve taken an important step toward letting go of a burden that isn’t truly yours to carry.

Determine What Actions - If Any - Are Needed

If you did do or say something you’re sorry for, ask yourself what actions do I need to take now? If an apology is warranted, waste no time in contacting whoever you need to contact, acknowledge your mistake, and say a heart-felt, “I’m sorry".

The person you offer your apology to may or may not be ready to accept your apology and forgive you for whatever mistake was made. Whether the person accepts your apology or not, recognize and tell yourself you did everything you could do to heal the relationship.

Another important question to ask is, “What did I learn from this situation and what will I do differently in the future?”.

This question directs your attention to where it belongs: this moment and the future.

What’s done is done. You’ve taken whatever action is necessary to rebuild the relationship and you’ve identified any lessons learned and charted a way of behaving ongoing.

The ultimate goal is self-forgiveness if you made a mistake or the acknowledgement that you did nothing wrong and proceeding accordingly.

How to Process and Release Guilt and Other Disempowering Thoughts and Feelings

Here are five ways to help you gain perspective and process thoughts and feelings that can arise when you’re feeling guilt:

Spend time in nature. Research tells us getting outside and spending time in nature is a powerful way to ground you physically and emotionally as you reconnect with Mother Earth. The Japanese name for this calming activity is called Forest Bathing. Forest Bathing can help you process challenging thoughts and feelings.

Journal your thoughts and feelings. The act of recording thoughts and feelings in a journal provides you the emotional space to explore beliefs and fears that may be behind or contributing to feelings of guilt. Give yourself permission to simply write whatever comes up for you during your journaling sessions.

Talk with a trusted confidant. Talk with a trusted confidant about the situation that gave rise to feelings of guilt. Remind the person you’re speaking with that his or her role is simply to listen without judgement. You’re not asking your confidant to validate your feelings or judgements. His or her role is to listen and ask questions if absolutely necessary to help clarify your thinking.

Apply Energy Psychology methods. Use one or more of the Energy Psychology techniques you’ll find on the website to release disempowering emotions that may be present in the wake of a situation giving rise to feelings of guilt.

Get professional help if needed. If disempowering thoughts and feelings persist you may want to schedule one or more sessions with a professional practitioner.

What is in and Out of Your Control

Remember the important question we discussed earlier:
Did I really do something wrong or am I reacting to the fear of being judged by other people?

Remind yourself if the situation was out of your control, the appropriate decision is acknowledge that fact and move forward free of guilt and other disempowering emotions.

Recap of Five Ways to Process and Release Guilt and Other Disempowering Emotions

  • Spend time in nature;

  • Journal thoughts and feelings;

  • Talk with a trusted confidant;

  • Apply Energy Psychology methods available at;

  • Get professional help if needed.

Remember, the ultimate goal is self-forgiveness if you made a mistake or the acknowledgement that you did nothing wrong and proceeding accordingly.

Stephen Carter, CEO of Stress Solutions, LLC.

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