Monday, 26 June 2017

Word of the Day: LEARN

- gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught

"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you".

Learning is a gift, a skill and a choice. Seeing it as all three has allowed learning to transform both my perspective and experience in life. We all have the capacity for it, we can all learn to use it - but like anything, we need to choose it.

Life doesn't come with a manual so if we fancy trying to figure it out, learning simply has to happen. We have to open ourselves to the things we don't know, all the knowledge we can't possibly have already, how to move forward - all of this can't be ours if we refuse to learn.

Choosing to embrace learning is definitely a game changer.

Choosing learning means we change our mistakes into teachings - not failings. Our challenges become stepping stones. Our experiences become rich resources. Our world becomes a classroom.

Learning gives us the capacity to grow, to progress and to see our story differently. It gives us the opportunity to take something from every experience and use it to our advantage. It equips us with the power to progress and find our way.

We might be averse to the idea of learning at first. Maybe we think we're beyond it, or we know enough already or we honestly just don't want to. It's not easy to admit we don't know it all or are still seeking more answers, but realistically we'll never know it all. Learning is a lifelong process. If we want to grow at all, we've got to learn.

Today, enjoy the opportunities for learning that present themselves. Use difficult situations as a lesson, get curious about how to do things and don't be afraid to ask questions. Become a student of your own experience. Take notes, revise old lessons, rise to tests. And don't always expect an A 😉

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Word of the Day: ENCOURAGE

- give support, confidence, or hope to (someone); persuade (someone) to do or continue to do something by giving support and advice; stimulate the development of (an activity, state, or belief)

The word encourage comes from an Old French word 'encoragier', meaning "make strong/hearten." These definitions are beautifully effective in giving a real sense of the active support and strength it exudes at its core.

One of my favourite quotes about encouragement is "Be an encourager the world has enough critics already."

I love how this directly promotes embodying encouragement. The decided contrast shows that in becoming one who encourages, we reject the role of the critic. Encouragement holds more impact, more necessity and more kindness. We need it more.

Choosing to encourage means we are looking to make something better. It means we're inciting confidence, stimulating progress or strengthening hope. This word is exactly what we need to build each and every one of us up. In any connotation it maintains its heart; its origins of positive potential continually advocate uplifting, inspiring support.

But do we use it? Do we encourage or do we criticise? Do we feel encouraged? Particularly within our self talk, which voice is louder - the encourager or the critic? Do we tell ourselves we can or can't? Do we support or sabotage?

'Encouraging', to me, is the crucial choice because it holds powerful possibility, especially when we embody it. When we become an encourager, not only are we encouraging others but we ultimately learn to encourage ourselves too. This means we are gentle and patient with ourselves, that we work through our mistakes rather than judge them, that we pick ourselves up rather than put ourselves down.

Learning to encourage ourselves transforms how we feel about ourselves and our abilities. Opting to encourage softens our tone, it fosters a kinder inner relationship and actually gets significantly more output.

When we make a conscious effort to encourage we'll boost our self esteem and as it becomes second nature, we'll increase our confidence, our solution seeking abilities and finally see ourselves moving in the direction we really want. We become good enough - we realise that our skills and ideas are worthwhile, that our possibilities are endless. We hearten who we are.

Today, be your own cheerleader. Encourage yourself consistently, refuse to allow the critic pipe up. Use this word to lay a foundation of solid self support. Encourage others too, spread it round and let those good feelings flow 😊

Friday, 16 June 2017

Word of the Day: WONDER

- [noun] a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
[verb] desire to know something; feel curious, to think or speculate curiously

Wonder to me is a beautiful word that more than deserves a spot in our ever-growing positive vocabulary. It's a feeling, it's a question - it's a word that chooses to see the magnificent in the mundane.

Imagine observing the world through eyes of amazed admiration. Imagine opening your mind to a sense of wonder; of charged curiosity and a renewed interest in life's happenings.

Wonder reminds me of that sense of childlike fascination. It's the awe of seeing something incredible, it's the burning questions that it ignites. It's a change of perspective and feeling that bursts open the doors to a positive, connected and curious view of the world we live in.

Wonder is also a brilliant gateway towards our dreams. We can water the seeds of dreams with a consistent commitment to wonder.

Wonder nurtures our goals and allows our imagination to grow vivid visuals. Beginning to wonder what we could achieve, see or seek is a soft, playful approach to big goals. We can break them down and really let our curiosity run away with the possibilities. We don't have to put pressure on or think all the details through, but simply wonder and allow an exploration into the potential.

Today, seek the wonder in the normal everyday things. Find the beauty, discover the unfamiliar and enjoy the wonder that they bring. Use the word to dream, to wonder what life could be like, how things could be more positive, what opportunities could lie ahead.

Take a tumble into wonderland for the day and see the difference it makes 😊

Monday, 12 June 2017

Word of the Day: EMPOWER

- give (someone) the authority or power to do something; make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

These definitions beautifully depict the strong presence of power; of confident pride and authority, that empowerment creates. This word is fierce and fighting and is one we could all do with bringing into our lives. It allows us embody power, harness strength and put this renewed energy into our lives. 

I love how its meaning is captured here by Nora Ephron:

'Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim​'.

Empowerment to me is this amazing heroic and necessary asset in our lives. We need to be there for ourselves, believing in who and what we are. We need to be our own encouragers and cheerleaders. We need to claim our right to get the most out of life.

We can't do that if we're constantly putting ourselves down. If we're neglecting self care and using negative self talk. We lose our power when we don't realise our own strength, when we don't let ourselves speak up, when we don't prioritise our needs.

Every time we keep ourselves small and don't chase after our passions and dreams, we're just stripping our own strength, demolishing our own source of power.

If we empower ourselves, we'd go after what we want, we'd become confident in who we are. We'd exude this to others and encourage the practice of building ourselves up rather than tearing ourselves down. We wouldn't lose our energy to negativity, victim mode or destructive self talk. Instead, we would become the people we want to be in lives we're excited above living. Empowerment drives us, it guides and directs us.

Today empower yourself. Build yourself up and learn to believe in the person you are right now. Make empowering choices, choose empowering self talk. Give yourself authority over your day 😊

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Word of the Day: IMMERSE

- involve oneself deeply in a particular activity.

I think immerse is definitely a noteworthy word as it's so wholly inclusive; it's an all-consuming word, one that evokes the sense of an entirely engaged experience. To be genuinely immersed in our lives to me, would be a success in itself.

I don't think it's a word we think of often though, as we zoom through the day-to-day, do we give ourselves a chance to be immersed in what's going on? Do we get truly submerged in the sensory experience of the world around us? Do we involve ourselves deeply or do we just go through the motions? Are we really taking part or just watching it all pass by?

Choosing to immerse ourselves in our lives gives a sense of real feeling, of wholehearted experience, of awareness and presence. It gets us to open up to feelings and emotions, unlocking the gates to vulnerability. It calls for us to really 'be', in our entirety - to be mindful, aware and an active participant in our daily life.

When we're lacking enthusiasm about our lot, we turn instead towards numbing it all out. We look for escape or avoidance - we get apathetic and disengaged. Changing our intent towards immersion means we move into the driver's seat, we choose the activities that feel good, we immerse ourselves in exactly what we want to be involved with. We create and are part of our own experience, fully.

Today, immerse yourself in your own life. Breathe in the fresh air, actively listen, connect to your surroundings. Take it all in. Be grateful, be present, be involved. Laugh out loud or cry crocodile tears - let it all in. Be a part of it. Get immersed 😊

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Word of the Day: TENACITY

- the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip; the quality or fact of being very determined; determination; the quality or fact of continuing to exist; persistence.

Tenacity is the ability to hold on when the temptation to let go teases us. It's the sheer dogged determination to persist, to persevere against the odds and to overcome challenges head on. To me, tenacity is the raw, relentless refusal to give up.

I love the sound of this word and how it reminds me of truly tenacious people. It makes me think of the qualities needed for us to get where we want to be. It's a word and trait that is of significant value, particularly in times of struggle and doubt. From experience I believe that tapping into our tenacity powerfully propels us towards both our solutions and our dreams.

Regardless what our goal is, approaching it with a tenacious attitude is how we'll achieve it. It's a fighting word, a word of strength and belief and staunch commitment to coming out the other side.

Today, choose tenacity. Be ferocious in your fight and choose to follow through. Affirm your own capacity for tenacity and use it to pursue exactly what you want to get out of the day 😊

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Word of the Day: JOY

- the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

CS Lewis cranked it up a notch and wrote "real joy … jumps under ones ribs and tickles down one’s back and makes one forget meals and keeps one (delightedly) sleepless o’ nights”.

For me, it's a word that just oozes goodness. Joy is short and simple but you can see in the above definitions just how significant it is. The positive connotations simply radiate from this word. It's playful yet powerful.

When I think of joy, I think of the warm and fuzzies you get in moments, you know those pure and peaceful moments that instantly ignite a big ol smile on your face. Joy is that smile, it's that beautiful sense of well-being and connection to bliss.

Having joy in mind is a great focus for the day. It helps us seek it out and find it even in the seemingly ordinary moments. Connecting to joy is only going to make us feel good, so if we're not paying it attention already, it's definitely worth starting now.

Today, notice joy. Take note of what it is for you, where it is in your life and how to incorporate more of it. Look on the day with a joyful perspective and see how it grows 😊

Monday, 5 June 2017

Word of the Day: COURAGE

- mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

Courage is a beautiful word. I love that strength and perseverance are at the crux of how it has been defined here (from the Merriam Webster dictionary). Yet this definition doesn't quite get to the meaning I connect to this word. Courage for me has more depth, it has more gusto and in my eyes no one defines it better than Brené Brown as she breaks it down:

"Courage is a heart word.. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.”

I love the connection of our heart to our courage; of telling the story of who we are in a wholehearted way. This view of it is what I always think of with this word; I see it as the strength that empowers our ability to dare, a strength entirely empowered by listening to our own inner feelings. Courage is what gets us standing up in life, firm on our own two feet.

Engaging our courage is about showing up and as Brené says 'being seen'. It gets us involved in the scary, messy and challenging parts of life that are really going to help us grow.

This word is what we need to help us become truly active within our own lives. We can call upon it to help us embrace vulnerability, to overcome our fears and to pursue what we really want.

Fuelled by pure heart, courage drives us forward. Fears fall away and we begin to embrace the life we were hiding away from. We learn to take direction and use our voices. We transform our 'can'ts' into 'can's. We take ownership and control of where we're going and how we're going to get there. Without courage, we don't conquer, we don't overcome, we don't dare.

Today, think of this word often and greet the day with the courage of your whole heart. Venture, persevere and harness the strength that this lovely word has at the ready for you 😊

Word of the Day: HOPE

- a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen; grounds for believing that something good may happen; a feeling of trust.

The dictionary's definitions almost get there but probably my favourite encapsulation of this word is in Emily Dickinson's image of it:

Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all.

For me this hits the nail on the head of what Hope truly is. I see it as a defiant voice, a free and unwavering persistence. Hope is the anchor, the core and the soul of Dare to Live, so it felt fitting to kick off with it as the first word of the day.

When I think of Hope, I think of a strong held belief, a vision of better, a driving force to keep going no matter what. Hope is the voice that fights any negative narratives we find ourselves in. It has the power to push us to persist; the power to chase our dreams and the steely strength to never give up.

I know personally it was what kept me going. It told me that this too would pass, that better times were coming, that I could find positivity regardless the situation. Hope tackled thoughts of despair, it quashed concerns and again and again it fuelled the journey to freedom.

Hope is what I want to impart, today and any day to anyone who needs it. Its always there for the taking. It belongs to all of us, so we might as well start using it.

Use this word today to believe in better, to know that there is always a silver lining and to ignite your own fight 😊

Words of the Day

We do love our words here at Dare to Live, so we're going to start sharing a Word of the Day (when internet permits!). These are particular favourites of mine, ones that I've found helpful or motivating or just sit quite right with the mindset I've worked on cultivating.

Our words and our language carry significant power and influence over our mood, actions and everyday experiences. As we know from our April Affirmations, shaping our intentions with positive language can be highly effective in transforming the negative to positive.

Utilising and engaging with words that bear positive connotations gives us focus, it gives us a new tone and a more engaged and positive perspective. With each word of the day, we'll bring the word and its meaning to the fore, seeing how we can implement it to improve our day.

Along the way feel free to contribute your own and we'll begin to build a new vocabulary of positivity 😊