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The Most Powerful Question You Can Ask Yourself in Difficult Times

This Empowering Question Will Shift the Way You Look at Life When Times Get Tough

@ Villa Tomilla in Tuscany (Photo Credit: Camilla)

When things don’t go as planned, we have a tendency to play stories of blame in our minds. It’s much easier to point the finger at what’s going on out there than to ask ourselves how we can best respond from within.

Taking responsibility for our lives means that we work on responding with ability as much as we can. While we can’t always have full control over external situations, we can control whether we use our minds to move us forward or to keep us feeling stuck.

When you aren’t sure how to move forward in life, ask yourself this simple question:

“If this situation does not change, what quality must I embody for peace of mind?”

Full credit for this powerful question goes to author and teacher Michael Bernard Beckwith.

The reason this question is so important is that it shifts our focus away from what we can’t control and puts our focus on what we CAN control. It gets us thinking about the actions we can take now to either readjust our course or keep moving in the direction we were headed.

For example, if you are worried about financial security because your work hours have been cut, you may find that cultivating patience and faith in life may be the qualities that would bring you peace of mind.

The great news is that you have exhibited these qualities on many occasions in the past. Remember the last time you didn’t think you would be able to make it through a challenging situation? And here you are — you made it and came out even stronger! Remember when you realized that the time wasn’t quite right to be working on one thing but you could instead spend your time working on another thing? You breathed patience and expanded your skills as a result.

4 Steps to Integrating the Answer Into Your Daily Life:

1. REMEMBER WHEN YOU EMBODIED THAT QUALITY Whatever quality you identify, think back to a time when you were able to act in alignment with that quality. The situation may have been different — but YOU have always been there. You have always been the source of that quality, it was just a matter of using your willful focus to bring it to the surface.

2. WHAT ACTIONS DOES THIS QUALITY CALL FORTH FROM YOU Once you identify that quality, think about the actions you can now take to embody it. How would a patient and trusting person act in this situation? What is the first step they would take to get back in the driver’s seat of their life?

In the example of worrying about financial security, perhaps one could take a fresh look at their finances from the perspective of both spending and earning. On one hand, we could take a deeper look at where we’re allocating most of our financial resources. Does it align with our values? How does our spending fit in with our big-picture idea of what happiness means to us?

On the other hand, we could think about ways to contribute in a way that would bring more value to others which would result in us receiving value in return. Is there a new skill we’ve been wanting to learn that could eventually open the doors to higher or more stable income streams? Can we use our time to start planting the seeds for that idea we’ve been wanting to bring into the world? Investing in ourselves is a wonderful demonstration of patience and trust. If we keep planting the right seeds in the direction of our goal, they will bear fruit eventually.

3. CELEBRATE YOURSELF FOR ACTING FROM WITHIN THAT QUALITY Every time you take an action that demonstrates the quality you choose to embody, become aware of how you are growing as a person. Give yourself a pat on the back.

You are transforming your inner world and building resilience that can help get you through future challenges.

When you notice yourself being patient or trusting, observe how it feels in your body. Enjoy that feeling and the sense of motivation it gives you to keep going.

4. FIND THE ANTIDOTE TO THE COMMON THREAD OF NEGATIVITY As you ask yourself this question in relation to whatever difficulties you’re facing, you may notice that the external situation often points to a common theme of feelings. The next step is to identify which feelings arise most often and then to ask yourself what the antidote to those feelings might be. What is the quality that would bring enough light to diminish the negative feelings?

Feelings that may arise from negative situations: uncertainty about the next steps in your life, fear about your physical safety and survival, impatience with others or yourself, lack of conviction or confidence in yourself, lack of clear focus or vision

Qualities to embody to have peace of mind: patience, self-discipline, self-responsibility, confidence, gratitude, compassion (for self and others), faith, kindness, acceptance.

Remember that the qualities you seek to embody are already within you. There have been many times in your life when you have expressed them and demonstrated the full scale of your potential. Now you might feel called to bring those qualities back into the forefront. When you do, you will build the muscle of responding with ability rather than reacting with fear.

“Gratitude places you in the energy field of plentitude. Glow with gratitude and see how awe and joy will make their home in you.”- Michael Bernard Beckwith


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