On the Road to Self-Empowerment: 12 Steps to Leading an Inspired Life
Articles By Carol James

Everywhere people are trying their best to find happiness and to feel good about themselves. They search for that one relationship that will fulfil their every need. They hunt for that perfect job that will bring them satisfaction and financial rewards. Many strive to live in the right neighbourhood, own the right car, shop at the right stores, socialize with the right people, and attend the right schools and functions so that they will fit in, be accepted and feel gratified. 

They pour through self-help books and attend dozens of personal growth seminars and workshops looking for that one secret key that will magically give their lives more meaning. 

They constantly search for answers, yet never really find an answer that puts everything into perspective and gives them the knowledge they seek to finally stop searching and start living the life of their dreams. They struggle to make their lives perfect in the hopes that it will give them the joy, happiness, satisfaction and love that they so desperately seek, but for all their efforts they mostly get uncertainty, disappointment, hurt and frustration. 

Sure, they have moments of clarity and happiness, moments of feeling good about themselves and their lives, but those moments are not frequent enough and are often difficult to sustain and nearly impossible to deliberately create. So what is the answer? Stop looking outside of self for the answers and solutions. Dozens of teachers throughout the ages have given that as the answer, and it certainly is THE answer to finally living the life of one's dreams, but rarely can anyone figure out exactly what that means, and those who understand it have trouble consistently applying it. 

Why is that? Well, from my own personal experience, I can see that it's not a simple thing to do and it takes much more than just wishing it so. In addition to needing a strong desire to want to come to understand how one gets the circumstances of their life and how to consciously and deliberately create all that one desires, one must come to understand a good many things about who they are and how life works. Here are some of the things that one must embody before one can completely depend on and trust self for their well-being and happiness: 

1. Be Completely Honest with Yourself. 

Self-honesty is about taking full responsibility for ALL circumstances of your life. It means owning up to the fact that you are the creator of your life and that ultimately you are the only one who can change your life. When you are being totally self-honest, then you: Stop blaming others for your circumstances and start taking full responsibility for being the only one responsible for the circumstances of your life. Stop trying to defend why your life is the way it is and start thinking about how you would like your life to be. Stop making excuses and justifying your actions and start taking the time to find out why you are taking the actions that you are taking. Stop pretending to be who you are not and start being honest about who you are. Stop lying to yourself and start telling yourself the truth about who you are being and about why you are being that. Self-honesty is the first and most important part of being all that you can be, for if you can't be honest with yourself, then you can't get to the truth of why you are not living the life of your dreams. 

2. Mind Your Own Business. 

What others do is none of your concern or business. You have your life to live; they have their life to live. You are accountable only to yourself just as they are accountable only to themselves. It's not your responsibility or job to tell them what to do, to tell them how to do it or to judge them or criticize them for doing something for which you do not approve. When you are minding your own business, then you: Stop meddling in other people's business and start intervening in your own affairs. Stop telling others what they should or shouldn't do and start letting them make their own choices. Stop pushing against what others are doing and start paying attention to what you are doing and the outcome of those actions. Stop thinking it's your job to make other people's decisions for them and start paying attention to the results of the decisions that you are making. Stop gossiping about other people and start spending more time coming to know who they really are. Stop criticizing and judging what others are doing and start being more loving and accepting of others. Stop holding a grudge about something someone else has done and start being more forgiving and understanding. Stop laying a guilt trip on others because of their actions and start paying attention to the impact of your own actions. Stop interfering in other people's lives and start paying more attention to your own life. When you stop minding others business, then you will have more time to focus on your own life, which is necessary if you really want a better life. 

3. Ignore Others Who Are Minding Your Business. 

This is the other side of number two above. When other people are sticking their noses into your business, telling you what to do, pressuring you into taking their advice or into making the decision that they want you to make, ignore them. Lots of people will think that they know what is best for you, but only you can know what is best for you. Many well-meaning people will try to influence your actions, but remember that what they are telling you is the way they would do it, and since they are not privy to what's in your heart, they can never know whether that is what's best for you. When you are ignoring others, then you: Stop thinking that others know what's best for you and start remembering that you know what's best for yourself. Stop letting people tell you what to do and start deciding for yourself what you want to do. Stop allowing yourself to be manipulated by others and start making your own choices. Stop acting like a victim and start acting like a deliberate creator. Learn to pay attention to how you are feeling while listening to others and learn to be a selective listener, picking and choosing who's advice feels right for you and discarding the rest. Learn how to know which friends to confide in and how to pick friends who will allow you the freedom to be yourself and to have your own experiences. 

4. Release Your Need to Be in Control. 

It takes a great deal of effort to try to maintain control of your thoughts, your feelings, your life, your circumstances, other people, your environment, etc., and guess what? You'll never succeed in controlling it all. Oh sure, you may succeed in controlling a few things temporarily, but the harder you try to maintain that control the more difficult it becomes and the more stress you experience. Life and people were never meant to be controlled but rather to be lived, experienced and enjoyed within their natural rhythm and flow. When you have released the need to control, then you: Stop thinking that there is only one right answer for each question and start realizing that each question could have thousands of right answers. Stop trying to impose your values, morals, rules and beliefs on others and start letting them make their own decisions about what works best for them. Stop needing to always be right and start realizing that there is no right or wrong, only different. Stop needing to control other people's behavior and start allowing them to be whoever they want to be. Stop thinking it's your job to save or fix others and start treating others as though they were already perfect. Stop trying to control all the details of your life and start allowing the details to unfold naturally. Stop needing specific conditions to be met before you can feel good or be happy and start being grateful for all that you already have. Stop trying to control all that is outside of you and start accepting life for what it is. Stop resisting change and start realizing that change is a natural and inevitable aspect of evolution. When you stop trying to control the uncontrollable, then you release your energy to flow within the natural rhythm of life. 

5. Recognize Your Divinity. 

You are a divine being gifted with free will and incredible talents, abilities, knowing and power, and it's time that you recognized and acknowledged the fullness of that. When you accept all that you are, then you: Stop comparing yourself to others and start noticing your own accomplishments. Stop noticing your flaws and start becoming aware of your gifts. Stop doubting your abilities and knowing and start having faith in your abilities and trusting your knowing. Stop thinking others are better than you and start acknowledging your greatness. Stop needing to prove to others that you have value and start thinking about ways to express your usefulness. Stop needing others to validate your worth as a human being and start noticing evidence of your worthiness. Stop thinking like a victim and start thinking like a winner. Stop being afraid of your power and start learning how your power can serve you. It's impossible to uplift another when you are down on yourself or not seeing your own divinity. You are valuable, you are somebody, you are unique and special and you have incredible talents just waiting to be expressed. You were made in God's image and that means that all that God is, you are, too. A divine creator. Nothing is more important than that you feel good about yourself and your life, and when you can bask in the deliciousness of who you are, then you radiate a shining light of joy and love to all who experience your presence. 

6. Set Your Own Rules for Beingness. 

People are quick to tell you what is right for you or what you should do, but there is no one who knows better what's right or best for you than you. Be the skipper of your life and think for yourself. Formulate your own conclusions based on what you think and feel are right for you. You are the one who has to live with who you are being, so you should be the one who determines the values, morals, ethics, rules and standards by which you will live your life. Get to know what your beliefs are and how those beliefs are influencing the circumstances of your life. Become familiar with your own standards for being the person you want to be, then see if you are living up to your own standards. When you set your own rules for beingness, then you: Stop being afraid of others disapproval and start embracing yourself. Stop worrying about being different from others and start relishing who you are. Stop being afraid of going against the grain and start carving your own path. Stop worrying that others will reject you and start spending time with those who accept you. Stop fearing others criticism and start ignoring those who would judge you. 

7. Learn to Trust Yourself. 

Who knows better than you what's in your heart? Who knows better than you what your desires and dreams are? Who knows better than you what's best for you? If you will start listening to your inner knowing, which communicates through your intuition and is constantly offering you guidance, the best direction to go, the best path to take, the best choice to make; then you will start manifesting more of what you want in your life. Your inner self communicates through your body, using a very distinct and clear guidance system that speaks very loudly about whether something is a yes or no. Have you taken the time to notice how your inner self is communicating with you through your body? Perhaps the challenge lies in that you don't recognize how your intuition speaks to you. Recognizing intuition results in knowing the difference between a yes indicator and a no indicator and being able to discern the difference between thinking and knowing. When you trust your intuition, then you: Stop thinking that others know what's best for you and start trusting yourself. Stop asking others to tell you what to do and start listening to your inner voice. Stop doubting yourself and start trusting yourself. Stop ignoring how you are feeling and starting paying attention to how you are feeling. Stop going unconscious when your guidance system is talking to you and start listening closely to its messages. 

8. Understand How Life Works. 

This physical world was created through the mass consciousness of civilizations of beings working in collaboration and harmony to sustain all that makes up this physical environment. Your physical form (your body) exists as an avenue to experience, explore, enjoy and expand self and life in unique and interesting ways in an environment that is formed by thoughts. The only purpose in life is the purpose you give it. The only destiny in life is the destiny you create for yourself. The only agenda in life is the agenda you make for yourself. You are a deliberate and powerful creator here to create. There is nothing that you should do, shouldn't do or have to do, other than that which is self-imposed. You have no limits, boundaries or schedules, other than those you believe. Life can be predictable yet at the same time seem chaotically random, however when you understand the rhythms and patterns of life and how those influence the circumstances of your life, then you can easily flow within it creating all that you desire. When you understand how life works, then you: Stop thinking that death is the end and start realizing that beingness is eternal. Stop fearing an imagined judgment day and start living in freedom and joy. Stop thinking you are powerless and start acknowledging your full power. Stop feeling inferior and start remembering that we are all created equal. Stop thinking in limited terms and start breaking through your limitations. Stop worrying about the future and start paying attention to each moment. Stop fretting that you're not evolving fast enough and start understanding that you are evolving at your own speed. Stop trying to get everything right and start releasing the pressure of trying to be perfect. Stop beating yourself up for your perceived mistakes and start realizing that there are no mistakes. 

9. Understand the Power of Your Thoughts. 

It's easy to think that things just happen in life and that there is nothing you can do about it, but you can always control the thoughts you have and the way you perceive the circumstances of your life. Of course, the problem is that too often most people unconsciously react to the experiences of their life. They are not aware of how their point of focus (thoughts) and the meaning they are making about the circumstances of their life (perspective) is affecting their physical and emotional state, and how that, in turn, is affecting their level of personal effectiveness and is setting the tone for attracting more of the same. If you can be mindful of the thoughts you are having, the meanings you are making and the feelings that those meanings are causing while you are thinking, perceiving and feeling, then you have tools to transform the undesirable circumstances in your life. When you understand the power of your thoughts, then you: Stop feeling like a victim of circumstances and start being a deliberate creator of circumstance. Stop blaming others for your unhappiness and start realizing that your own thoughts are making you unhappy. Stop focusing on things that don't feel good and start focusing on things that do feel good. Stop seeing events from a limited one-sided perspective and start to see other's points of view. Stop thinking that happiness is dependent on anything other than your thoughts and start taking responsibility for the thoughts you are having. 

10. Live in the Moment. 

Living in the moment is about being mindful of who you are being while being that. It requires an awareness of your thoughts, feelings, words and actions while you are thinking, feeling, speaking and doing them and observing if who you are being is the person you say you want to be. Only in the moment can you truly control who you are being, for the past is done and over with and the future hasn't come yet, so in the moment is your only opportunity to choose the thoughts, words and actions that demonstrate the person you want to be. In the moment you can break undesirable habits of thoughts or actions by making a conscious choice to not repeat the undesirable habit, choosing instead to do or think something else. In the moment you can observe the options that are available to you and choose the ones that feel best. By following your inspirations and choosing all that feels good and right in each moment you can experience being in the flow state. In the moment you can't worry about or fear the future, because you are not focused on what "may" happen in the future but rather being focused on what "is" happening right now. When you live in the moment, then you: Stop worrying about the future and start living in the present. Stop feeling guilty about the past and start releasing it with love. Stop being attached to the outcome and start enjoying the journey. Stop struggling to control how you feel and start allowing all your feelings to come forth. Stop focusing on what you don't want and start focusing on what you do want. Stop trying to control the process and start flowing with the process. Stop trying to make things happen and start allowing the universe to take care of the details. 

11. Live Your Potential. 

The life that you live is your doing and you can make it anything you desire, but, of course, you must first be in touch with the you that resides in your heart and soul. You are a complex, unique and individual being, who at any given moment in time is a composite of your dreams, your personality, your natural and acquired talents and abilities, your personal and professional experiences and your innermost passions and desires. Who you are is that which makes you unique. At the core of living your potential resides an intimate awareness of self's assets, which represent that which you inherently and naturally know the special gifts with which you were born. Without knowing those, it will be difficult to come to know who you are capable of being. Being aware of who you are will allow you to creatively direct your life, instead of having your life direct you. You must be open to achieving your full potential before you can ever reach it. Spend time getting to know who you really are and dreaming about who you are capable of being and what you are capable of achieving. Take inventory of your special talents, abilities, skills, intelligences, knowings, preferences, aspirations, motivations and ambitions to discover what you have to work with. When you are living your potential, then you: Stop hiding the real you and start letting your fullness shine forth. Stop being afraid to let your true nature shine through and start being all that you can be. Stop demeaning or diminishing who you are and start acknowledging all that you are. Stop pretending to be less than who you are and start allowing your full self to emerge. Stop allowing others to diminish you and start ignoring what they have to say. Stop living in fear of what others may think about you and start paying attention to what you think about yourself. 

12. Create Your Dream Life. 

Nothing is more important than that you feel good and love your life. As you flourish as a deliberate and conscious creator, you create all that you've ever dreamed of having, doing and being, and that shines through as an example to others to be all that they can be and to relish the joy and happiness of living a fulfilling and rewarding life. There is no better way to be an up lifter than to have your life stand as an example of divine beingness. But, you can hardly live the life of your dreams unless you've taken the time to dream about what type of life you'd love living. Give yourself permission to be happy. Give yourself permission to daydream. Give yourself permission to have it all. Take out a piece of paper right now and start describing your ideal life, your ideal work situation, your ideal family, your ideal relationships, your ideal health, your ideal financial situation, etc. And then believe that you CAN have it all, for that is the only requirement for creating the life of your dreams: Believing you can. That and allowing yourself to have it. When you are creating the life of your dreams, then you: Stop feeling inadequate and start feeling capable and good enough. Stop feeling unsatisfied and start feeling grateful for what you already have and knowing that more is on the way. Stop feeling unfulfilled and start finding reasons to feel fulfilled. Stop complaining about what you don't have and start appreciating what you do have. Stop blaming others for holding you back and start looking at how you are holding yourself back. Stop feeling like a failure and start feeling like a success. Permanent and consistent happiness can't be found anywhere except inside your thoughts, for happiness is a state of mind and a way of being. It may take time to let go of all the fears, limitations, distortions and beliefs that you may have gathered from birth, so be gentle with yourself. There's no rush, no one's keeping score, you won't get graded or judged for your journey and there is no time limit for getting there. You are where you are right now simply because that's where you are, and you will get to where you are going when you are ready to get there and the timing is right. All is well, all is right on target and all is in perfect order. Just take whatever steps feel good and right for you, always following what's in your heart, and before you know it you will find yourself being unconditionally in love with yourself and your life. 

About Carol: Carol James is a visionary, writer, teacher, consultant and founder of Inspired Living and co-author of the Inspired Lifestyles Newsletter, a FREE bi-weekly email newsletter that explores various aspect of life in detail dealing with stress, breaking undesirable habits, frictionless communication, flowing with change, building a career from the heart, balancing work, family and life, etc. To subscribe to this FREE newsletter, send an email to [email protected] 

©1999, Carol James. Printed in the February 1999 Issue of the Conscious Creation Journal. (Feel free to duplicate this article for personal use - please include this copyright notice.) http://www.consciouscreation.com

Keywords: Road to Self-Empowerment, 12 Steps, Inspired Life, Self-honesty, relationship, Carol James, Intuition, Intuitive, Article, Articles, UK, South Africa, Cape Town

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On the Road to Self-Empowerment: 12 Steps to Leading an Inspired Life

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