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What are the skills tied to self-compassion? One is the skill of tuning in to yourself, checking how you're feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And then allowing that information to matter--because you matter. You worked on this in a fun way when we talked about challenging your shaming voice and doing something in the moment, just for you. If you're tired or sick, if your mind is in a fog, if you're emotionally drained, if you're spiritually out of sync, then taking action to attend to yourself is crucial to being self-compassionate. Of course, there are other parts of self-compassion: self-forgiveness and self-love, to name two. But again, we're focusing on action here. What can you do today that will build your skill at taking care of yourself in a much healthier way? What's your way? What does your locus of control point you toward when I ask you questions like the following: Who or what is in charge of your life? Who is responsible for the results in your life? To whom or what do you look for answers or help when facing a challenge? Who is in control when things go wrong? When things go right, who gets the credit? An illustration from the business world may help. If you've ever been in a situation where you had to convince someone to do something, you know how important it is to talk to the decision maker. You want the ear of the person who's got the authority to say yes or no. Pretend for a moment that you are a business operation called You, Inc. If I were going to consult with the business of You, Inc. if I had an appointment to create positive change throughout You, Inc.

I would need to know who or what you believe is in control of the operation. Who's the decision maker, the person who'll be most directly involved in creating that change? Who's going to take the responsibility for making it happen? Where is this person located? Another important aspect of technology, connectivity and wellness has to do with the very precious times just after we wake in the morning and right before we fall asleep at night. Do not miss these sacred moments in your day, moments in which your spirit is suspended in the magical space between dreaming and waking. Try switching off from technology an hour or so before you go to sleep, and refrain from activating your devices as soon as you wake up in the morning. Instead, use these magical moments to reflect, journal, listen to beautiful music, meditate or potter, mindful activities that invite your full presence and awaken your spirit. There is true magic and sparkling joy to be found in the effort we make and the work that we do. Often we begrudge effort as a kind of nuisance or a means to an end, yet it is in our conscious, loving effort that true fulfilment and reward can be found. Either you move forward in faith, or you remain hindered by fear. This is the ultimate choice we make. My hope and prayer for you is that you will learn to expect with faith and fear nothing. Pursue your dreams with passion and confidence. Dare to reach new heights and expect to be blessed in all you do. You are meant to experience joy and happiness; they are the gifts you receive when you exercise your God-given faculties. Endeavor to be creative and open-minded. Strive to be your best. This is what I call living life to the fullest. Positive expectations drive creativity and help it thrive.

Why? It's quite simple: life is creation. You are created, and everything around you is created impeccably. In turn, you are endowed with the ability to mimic your maker and create works of aesthetics, value, and utility. More important for your daily endeavors is that being creative keeps you motivated in what you love doing, it keeps you fresh and on your toes (Morton). Creativity feeds motivation, which is an ingredient for success. Positive expectations are inherently encouraging and inspiring; they draw you forward, simultaneously catalyzing you and spurring you on to reach your aims. If you are temporarily blocked from your desired goals, then creativity and ingenuity invariably come to the fore. Your expectations exert a powerful, attractive force that pulls you forward. Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who had a profound impact on western philosophy, famously said: "There are no facts, only interpretations." Nietzsche was a man of true self-knowledge. Sigmund Freud even said that "he had a more penetrating knowledge of himself than any other man who ever lived or was ever likely to live." He was a very analytical thinker, especially when it came to his own thoughts. When Nietzsche said that there are no facts, he meant that we, as human beings, ultimately rely on our interpretations of reality. There's no way to confirm reality objectively. That doesn't mean nothing is real and that we're all living in a big dream. We just have to realize that facts are not the same thing as the truth. That simple thought saves you a lot of energy because it means no one can be right or wrong. Don't bother with convincing people with different opinions of the "truth." It's just not a practical thing to do. Save your energy for other, more useful things. You've struggled to admit that you have other mental or physical health issues going on. You know you're worn down, but you tell yourself that's normal.

You want to believe that you're simply having fun when you compulsively order things online. You eat "healthy," but you get your sense of worth from being the skinniest one in your friend group. You count on your pills to calm you down. But everyone does that, right? Now's the time to realistically assess your own health. This will take objectivity on your part, and your unease may come roaring in at this point. It's vulnerable to go to a health care provider and be totally honest. You don't want the things that have kept you in control to be taken away or questioned. Now's when you need to listen to the voice that's fighting for your true well-being. Listen and see what it's telling you. You've got to know what you believe about your role in the hierarchy of you. Identifying the standard way you answer life's most basic questions is a crucial step toward your authentic self. With that in mind, let this chapter help you identify and understand your particular locus of control. You may recall that, in general, people's locus of control is either internal or external. For the sake of efficiency, let's use the term "internalizers" for those whose locus of control is internal, and "externalizers" for those whose locus is external. Internalizers operate from a self-concept that says, "Anything bad that happens is my fault. Anything good that happens, I make it happen." In other words, whatever is going to be, good or bad, "it's up to me." To explain the outcomes in their lives, internalizers look to their own actions, inactions, traits, and characteristics. They almost always point to something they did or did not do as the primary factor in the outcome of any event. In some way or another, the event was "caused" by them. For example, when an internalizer does poorly on a college test, she says, "I'm just not smart enough to do well; I haven't got the brainpower." Or she might say, "I bombed that test because I didn't study hard enough." Either way, her explanation would center on elements specific to her, and, therefore, elements that she controlled.

Now suppose she scored well on the test. How would the internalizer explain her success? Right: "I'm smart," or "I worked hard and prepared well." Again, aspects of herself and her control. When we choose not to make effort in our lives we naturally feel tired, low and listless. Our lack of care and disengagement with life and others clouds our joy. Effort, work and participation are energising for our spirits and nourishing for our sparkles. When we choose to be present and do things with love, all things, including so-called `chores', can become opportunities to feel happiness. Little moments we once passed by, too busy, grumpy or impatient, can become moments of bliss. Imagine yourself in a tiny remote cabin in the wilderness. You have only the most basic essentials with which to live, none of the usual creature comforts. You've settled in for a week, just to be. At night you light a candle after dark, sleeping with the moon and rising with the sun. To light a warm fire you gather sticks from nature, pottering outside in the elements rather than flicking on the air-conditioning. To gather produce you rely on what grows around your cabin or what can be gifted or bought in the local community. There is no home delivery available, no shops to visit close by. To pass time in your cabin you explore, read, cook, sleep, stretch, daydream, reflect, perhaps even meditate. There's no scrolling, no TV and no distraction. Say you want to earn a raise at work. You know you have the talent and the work ethic. You believe you can do it, so you expect that outcome for yourself.