The Power of Heartfelt Compliments
One of the tools in the PowerWood tool box is the PowerBook. The aim of the PowerBook is to everyday write down heartfelt compliments that focus on the process and our invested effort rather than a specific achievement. When we’ve used the awareness mantra “I am proud and grateful to be aware…” or if we’ve applied other personal positive strategies that help us increase our baseline and build our energy level and emotional resilience, we can note these down in our PowerBook to increase our awareness of even the smallest changes we’re making. We can also increase our awareness when we catch ourselves in unhelpful thoughts and actions.
Increase emotional resilience
Complimenting ourselves for being aware will increase our emotional resilience and when we change our habits to thoughts or actions that support us more, it will build new neurological pathways in the brain that increase our energy to deal with situations and make changes in our lives that will bring us closer to our chosen goals in life.
Repetition of new habits
By writing down in detail a strategy that worked for us in a given situation, we also give ourselves a tool to go back to, on a day where we have low energy and can’t think clearly. For instance, going to sit outside in the fresh air even for five minutes is a great way for me to calm my mind and change my mood. I have a chair set up by my door on the porch, so I can sit there whether it’s raining or not, and I don’t have to go and find a chair when I need it. We can follow in our own footsteps and repeat a previous helpful action as we need a detailed and practical idea to turn a challenging situation around on a day our creative thinking is limited.
The idea of the PowerBook sounds fairly straightforward and like a pretty good idea (it’s brilliant!), and it has been a bit of a mystery to me why it has taken me several years to really befriend this practical and great tool for self empowerment.
Looking a bit deeper I have discovered that the resistance I have felt both when writing things down and revisiting previous entries. On one hand I think this is linked with the unfamiliarity for me to compliment myself and focus on my own needs and on the other hand linked to me being stuck in the fixed mind-set, where focus is on achievement. Explore the diagram of the fixed mind-set and the growth mind-set developed by Carol Dweck.
I have felt in competition with myself and constantly measuring failure. I couldn’t hear properly what the task of the PowerBook actually is: Focus on the process, which is the core of the growth mindset.
Competition – not compassion
In the fixed mind-set we give up easily, see effort as fruitless, try to ignore useful critical feedback and see the success of others as a threat, because we compare ourselves to others.
My fixed mind-set approach has therefore been in the way of getting the most out of the PowerBook. Rather than feeling like an act of self love, the writing has felt like homework, an act dictated from the outside rather than coming from my own intrinsic motivation to learn and grow.
Certain life situations over the last five years have also meant that I haven’t had much energy, and by feeling that I should have done more, I have in fact overstepped my own boundaries and created even more resistance, by extending myself unkind thoughts. There is no “should” about the PowerBook, it’s a tool we can use when we have enough energy to do so.
Over the last year I have taken steps to train as a PowerWood coach and through this process I have also experienced how challenging it is for me to receive feedback for my work, which really is a natural process, when you’re learning something new. Not hearing it as a criticism towards my person has been very hard for me, but without daring to take risks and possibly not being perfect, processing feedback, allowing me to improve my ways, there is no learning, and without learning there is no personal growth. By extending myself compassion I have managed to enter the process and given myself the gift of learning and integrating new skills.
As time goes by, it is clear to me that the fixed mind-set approach in my life in general is softening and moving towards a growth mind-set, that is led by a desire to learn, where it’s possible to embrace challenges and persist in the face of setbacks.
Growth over perfection
In terms of my PowerBook I now feel more freedom when writing in it. I actually enjoy that I can go back and remember ideas I have forgotten or get clarity about my thinking loops. Thinking loops are thinking patterns that are deeply ingrained in our brains, a habitual way of thinking that we revert back to when emotionally triggered, to avoid emotional pain. The PowerBook is no longer about it being perfect for me (which doesn’t exist) but about using it as the growth tool it is, with my focus on growing awareness, towards experiencing more inner sovereignty by i.e. strengthening my emotional independence, being less triggered by the emotions of others, one tiny step at a time.
Integrating new ways
Nowadays I feel able to embrace the PowerBook as a private space where I focus on what is working for me or getting clarity of unhelpful thoughts. Unlearning old ways and integrating new ways as a way of creating strength and energy to deal with life as it’s unfolding. Writing in the book is no longer homework but an act of self love.
Exploring my relationship to my PowerBook has given me a great insight into my approach to life in general. My PowerBook is now helping me stay open to learning, which again gives many more opportunities for engaging in life in a fulfilling way.
© 2022 Tine Landy
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