Want Inner Fitness?

In all your years of schooling from kindergarten to whatever year you completed, did you ever take one course that taught you how to navigate the hurts, dramas, traumas, upsets and disappointments that come with life?
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Seven years ago I was in a Spiritual Psychology master's program. As a way of trying to describe to friends this unusual program, and my passion for this work, I began asking people this question:

In all your years of schooling from kindergarten to whatever year you completed, did you ever take one course that taught you how to navigate the hurts, dramas, traumas, upsets and disappointments that come with life? Ninety-eight percent of the time I ask this question, the answer is "No." I then follow up with "this kind of work is that course."

I find that "No" answer insane and unacceptable. A challenging past hurt, drama, trauma, upset or disappointment is the one thing everyone has in common.

When it comes to physical fitness we all know the importance of diet and exercise. With the obesity epidemic, even grade school kids are learning the importance of diet and exercise. What about the importance of inner fitness -- acknowledging and resolving our hurt feelings, dramas, traumas, upsets and disappointments? Inner health and emotional well-being have as big an impact on our lives and society as does physical fitness. Have you experienced having a little childhood hurt harass you to point of distress?

In working with clients for the past 15 years as a spiritual practitioner, life coach, and inner fitness advocate I approach my work through the lens of inner fitness. I look to see how clients see themselves, and whether they can increase their self-love, acceptance and appreciation, and make peace with hurt feelings. I help them think in terms of what's possible for their lives from this point forward.

Navigating the challenges that come with life is tough stuff. There are several go-to concepts that consistently help me be affective in my work with clients. Having guidelines and tools helps. Here are 14 practices that as a coach I consistently turn to in both helping others, and in taking care of my own inner fitness. They can help you take charge of your inner fitness the way physical fitness helps you take charge of your physical fitness.

On any given day, with any given challenge, one or all of these can help you navigate the choppy waters of life. Say these statements out loud to yourself and learn to feel the truth in them.

  1. I turn my life over to a Force greater than me that loves me and responds to my heart. Feeling like we matter in this big world is a first step in building the sense of self and confidence needed to overcome the past.

  • I ask for Its assistance in all that I do. You can't do it alone. Once you have an effective belief system, interact with it like a best friend and reliable guide.
  • I embrace the idea that I'm more than any challenge I face. When you see yourself as innately creative, resilient, empowered to choose, whole (not broken) and worthy you can view yourself as bigger than your challenges and circumstances and therefore expect to move beyond them.
  • I look for and transform the beliefs, patterns and judgments I practice that limit my life. Your greatest challenge is your unconscious self-doubt, judgment and disrespect. Self-attack hurts the most. You can change this by becoming aware of this.
  • I can choose a self-empowering response in any situation. Your one inalienable right is to choose your perspective. You have the power to choose how you see circumstances. Choose to see them in a way that supports and empowers you.
  • I make a list of ways I abuse and reject myself and begin to appreciate myself and show myself compassion. The way I want to be treated in the world starts with the way I treat myself.
  • I release all people and things from the responsibility of making me happy. Happiness is a matter between you, yourself and your past. People and things can't make you happy. They are icing on the cake.
  • I ask to profoundly appreciate myself and to believe in my value. Appreciation is a priceless gift you can give to your Self.
  • I practice the art of forgiveness with myself, and others. Being unforgiving extends the duration the pain you feel, and places your happiness in the hands of others.
  • I become a great parent and friend to myself. It's never too late to be a best friend to yourself. Whether you had great parents or not, behaving like a great parent to yourself when you need to is as good as having received great parenting from your parents. Show yourself care. Tell yourself you matter.
  • I tell myself the truth: "what happened" "what is," "what I feel" and "what's possible." Telling yourself these four truths helps you stay aligned and harmonious with yourself.
  • I realize I'm more than my thoughts and feelings and not every thought or feeling needs to be indulged. Some thoughts are not worthy of you. Identify those and refuse to be their breeding ground.
  • I recognize that growth and healing are processes and I compassionately allow myself and others the time we need. Neither Rome nor something so big as your inner fitness is built in a day. Instead, repeatedly practice these principles of healing and inner health. Recognize that others are also finding their way. Be thankful for the tools you are discovering.
  • I cultivate social connections where I feel safe, seen and heard. There is nothing your life needs more than a place where you can feel safe, be acknowledged and listened to as you endeavor to grow and discover who you really are.
  • Creating the success and happiness that most want yet few achieve takes work. You and happiness take inner fitness. Physical fitness creates a great body. Inner fitness creates a great life.

    For inner fitness tips and practices from Tina Lifford, visit You can also buy her book "The Little Book of BIG LIES" on Amazon.