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5 Highly Effective Ways to Practice Trusting Yourself

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I have this really weird job where I get paid to listen and give advice reflecting back what I’m hearing…on how you can best live your life. I mean, in theory, I would really have to know what I’m talking about to be trusted with such an important task. Who am I to tell you how to live a life that feels right for you? I’m not living in it. In truth, I’m some chick that has a few pieces of paper in a closet somewhere that deems me an “expert.” Is that enough?

Nope. It’s not.

Why do I know I can be trusted? Because I trust myself.

Most of the people who show up in my office or in my inbox are at a point where they simply don’t trust themselves and the information they are getting from the outside world. They are confused and feel lost from strong emotions that have them down, anxious and angry. They struggle with understanding the events around them and their purpose and are not sure what steps to take next because the ones they are taking don’t seem to be getting them on a path they want to be.

And I, with all my own expertise in feeling lost and sad and anxious and angry, can thoroughly relate. I know what it’s like to question my every move and hope that my decisions are “good enough” or won’t steer me down a dark alleyway that will leave me feeling terrified I took a very bad turn.

Because of this, I also know the only way off of this merry go round of confusion is to TRUST. Trust that I know what I’m doing and I can’t screw it up, and trust the process of life that won’t let me even if I could. How do I know I can trust? Because I practice---every single day.

And I really mean practice. Some days it all seems obvious that I can not and will not mess it up, or it won’t get screwed up for me. Other days, I am nearly certain that I have no idea what I’m doing and I need all the support I can get to reassure me that I do. I’ll fill myself with fear and have to go through my mental checklist of why I know that is not true. It can be pretty tiresome, but on the days that I see the truth, that I really do know what I’m doing---it’s all completely worth it.

The tricks and practices I use to help me on my off days are pretty simple, and also super effective.

1. Write Out My Fears

List them all out. What are the fear voices telling me? What’s the worst case scenario?  Once I’ve identified the fears, I write down what I am in control of and what I am not in control of.  Are there things I can do to help alleviate my fears? Action steps I can take? If so, write them down and choose which ones I’ll do. And the ones I’m not in control of? Well, that leads me to practice #2.

2. Identify My Core Beliefs- What Do I Believe In?

I believe in a power that is greater than me. Sometimes I call it the Universe, sometimes I call it God, sometimes I call it Life.  One of my clients calls it the Tarantula Gods. That creeps me out and makes me laugh at the same time. It doesn’t really matter what you call it. What do you believe is its purpose and what is the impact you feel it has on your life? I believe both you and I are connected to this power intuitively.  You may even call it your Higher Self- your intuition that knows what it’s doing.

I believe that all of our experiences happen for a reason and that we are guided by this power to help us out along the way. I also believe that we are supported by this power and we are given what we need to keep us safe, comfortable and to live and thrive. So, when I am struggling to trust myself, or when I feel I am not in control of something, I go back to my core beliefs and remember that I am supported already and I will be more than okay…because I always am. Which leads me to practice #3.

3. I Use My Past as Proof

 I have spent lots of time worrying about things that never happened. I tried to mentally control them with my mind. It turns out, that never actually works. Sometimes I feared the worst until the bitter end and was proven that the worst was only in my mind. It rarely ever comes to fruition. And if it did, I learned some invaluable knowledge I wouldn’t have learned if the outcome had been different. Something positive always rises from the challenges. Whether it’s knowledge, or strength or an experience that is life altering in a powerful way- the good balances out the difficult parts. Every time. 

When I look at my past, I see that I am always supported and there is nothing I can not handle. I am always given what I need when I need it. And usually, the fears are just ideas that get replaced with the next one. They simply are thoughts ready to be acknowledged and moved on from.

4. I Listen- To Myself

I listen to my feelings. I let myself feel them and tell me where it is I want to be. This is my intuition speaking to me. I recognize the answers that feel right. I take out the fear to make them more clear. I let myself look at whatever it is and ask if I fully trusted, what would I do? This is what helps me manage the clutter in my mind. I let myself feel and I remind myself that my feelings do not steer me wrong. Because in truth, there is no wrong. Every direction takes me where I say I want to go. The road there may just look different.

5. I Ask For Perspective, Not Advice

There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you feel stuck. It’s helpful to hear other perspectives. Then you can determine what feels right for you and take away what you want and leave behind what you don’t.

But, this is a big one. When we don’t trust ourselves, it’s easy to ask other people for their opinion or view.

We feel maybe they know more than we do. We trust their life experiences over our own.The danger with this is that often people give advice through their own filter which means, they may speak through their fears or experiences that left them feeling distrustful.

What’s right for them, may not be what’s right for you. The best advice is your own.

If you have someone who can reflect back what you are saying and feeling to you in a way that makes it not about them- this is awesome. And valuable.
But the key is to look at your feelings, not theirs. Only yours are designed for you.

Trust is a practice. And that is okay. Fear is a normal part of life and it has its purpose.  It’s important for us to feel all of our emotions so we can pick and choose the ones we want to focus on.  Keep Reading...

 

 

 

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Living Serendipitously

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Serendipity occurs for us even when we are not paying attention…

In my early 20’s, while trying to figure out what I was meant to do, I felt stuck. I was studying psychology in college, and it didn’t feel right. My initial passion to learn what makes people tick began to dwindle the more classes I took. The college I attended was focused on research, and the theories presented seemed to make simple processes unnecessarily complicated. I was frustrated and discouraged and unsure if I was on the right path for me.

I had a strong drive to help others but not in the way I was learning. I felt alone in my struggle and confused by the direction. The summer before going into my senior year of college, I wondered if I should change my course as I neared the end of this phase. Since I was good at keeping my fears to myself, it came as a surprise when my brother suggested I read a book that inspired him. That was the first time he recommended anything to me. I took his advice and read the book… the book I had unknowingly been waiting for.

In the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, a renowned psychologist, wrote of his accounts as a prisoner in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. He shared the horrific stories of the violence he witnessed and how he survived. He also shared the theory he developed that there is a purpose to all of our experiences and we can find meaning in just about anything.

A focus on the good. The gifts in the midst of chaos. The opportunity to grow and prosper from whatever we are faced with.

This was how I saw life, and this man who had experienced so much trauma saw it too. It was this book, his experiences, and views, which reminded me I was headed in the right direction for me. It was the serendipity, the unexpected gift, the reminder I needed to keep going.

Life is serendipitous. It is filled with unexpected pleasures, gifts, and opportunities. Our experiences are meant to be. And we are supported in these experiences, even the ones that feel like they are tearing us down.

Our lives are designed for us to learn, grow and experience joy. All of us. We are given opportunities through our relationships, our jobs, our children, our playtimes, our accidents, our illnesses, our losses, our chance meetings with strangers and a whole host of other ways, to learn about ourselves and how we give and receive love.

We are given choices and hints and whispers and sometimes shouts of which direction to go next and it is up to us decide how we want to live our lives. Each decision we make creates new opportunities to learn and grow. Sometimes these opportunities feel challenging and painful, and sometimes they are so filled with ease we wonder if they are real. They are all real, and they are all for us.

How do we know this? How can we trust it? By creating the proof. By practicing awareness that hope and grace surround us. All we have to do is open ourselves up to it and receive.  

Each day listen to your inner voice to create some of the joy you are looking for. Start to take note of the good things that are happening to you and around you. Notice when someone compliments you when you least expect it and how it feels. Notice when your children give you an extra hug and tell you they love you. Notice when you thought you couldn’t pay your bill and the money showed up at the last minute, or you were given an extension when you asked. Notice the opportunities that appear “out of the blue.”

Notice the ideas that are repetitive in your thoughts and how good it feels when you follow through and trust them. Notice that when you take care of yourself, your mood starts to shift quickly, as does your perspective.

Notice how when you felt grief over loss, your friends and family stopped what they were doing to lift you up. Notice how the disagreement that was long overdue with someone you love allowed you to start communicating more openly and honestly. Notice all the things that bring you joy and see how they multiply. Not in how often they occur, but in how often you let them into your heart with awareness.

The more you focus on the good and see the gifts in every day, no matter what is going on, you train yourself to see the temporariness of situations, especially the uncomfortable ones. You begin to recognize....Keep Reading 

 

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A Simple Way to Change the World...and actually enjoy it

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I was shaking as I sat down to put my feet over the edge of the rock cliff. I have a strong fear of heights and that vision of going over and falling to my bone shattering doom is always unsettling.  But I was determined. And scared. But apparently determination would win out that day.

I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. I wanted to push myself to the edge and just sit in the fear, let it wash over me, and not move.  It was hard. But I knew I had lived through harder things. And that fear was just a feeling. I wasn’t actually going to fly over the edge. At least I hoped not. 

Several weeks prior I had dangled my legs over that same ledge and felt the familiar sense of shaking fear. Next to me, sat my friend who seemed un-phased by the potential danger…even commenting that his fear of heights didn’t seem to bother him anymore which almost made him sad.  At that point, I felt I could feel it for the both of us. We sat there together, legs moving back and forth. Him looking at ease, me with my heart racing trying to find my calm. I never would have sat there by myself, but with him sitting next to me I felt safer. I felt protected.  He looked fearless as he encouraged me to do what made me fiercely uncomfortable.  I was inspired by his attitude and his strength. Even though I could see he was pretty unimpressed with himself.

When I returned to the ledge on my own, I knew I could do it. I had proof it was possible. I imagined sitting next to my friend and feeling safe…and even though it didn’t take the fear away, it inspired me enough to keep going. I took a picture of my shaking, dangling legs to remind myself I could be strong and brave if I let myself be. I was in the middle of facing many of my fears in life. I had to keep going.

I sent the picture to another friend who was also in the middle of facing and living through many of her own fears as well. She praised me over and over again. She told me the story of a fire tower she climbed once with a friend and was terrified of it. She felt stronger with a friend as well. She wondered if she could climb it alone.

Later in the week, she announced she was going to climb the fire tower solo. She wanted to prove to herself she could. She text me several times from the bottom of the tower saying she couldn’t do it. She wanted to but she couldn’t find the strength inside herself.  With each elevated step, the panic took over. She was disappointed, but she was glad she made the attempt.

Less than a half an hour later, she sent me a picture of herself at the top of the tower. She looked horrified! But she did it.  She took each uncomfortable step and made it to the top. She was so proud and in love with herself for her accomplishment she could barely find the words to express it. Pure bliss. Pure pride. Pure love. And pure understanding that we are the only obstacle getting in our own way.

She was overwhelmed with all that she had learned in that experience and it took her a few days to process it all. She wrote about the experience documenting the internal journey that got her there. She was excited to share it. We met that week and talked in person as she once again shared how amazing she felt and scheduled her post to go out the next day.  Still overjoyed she went home on top of the world.

The next morning her scheduled post popped up on Facebook…only hours after it had been discovered that she had died in her sleep. The timing was eerily and sadly perfect.

My friend transitioned from this life on top of the world. She loved herself with complete acceptance of who she was and what she stood for.  She lived as a gift and left with a gift that most work much of their lives hoping to attain.

I returned to the ledge the other day and realized I hadn’t been there in almost two years since she passed. I sat on a rock ledge overlooking the area…not the same one…I didn’t need to prove anything to myself that day. I remembered how inspired I was by my friend’s strength when he sat next to me on the ledge and I remembered the pride my other friend felt when she rediscovered her own. He inspired me, I inspired her, and she inspired herself to be who she already was.  Everything connects. Everyone connects. We are all in this together.

You have no idea how many people you’ve inspired or touched or encouraged just by being yourself.  You don’t know because we don’t share our stories enough. We don’t tell each other how often we appreciate each other and how meaningful we find our connections. We don’t even realize how much we need each other to enjoy this life.

We share our heartache and frustration way more than we do our joy.  And I know for sure we don’t say thank you nearly enough.  For our experiences. For the moments that tap into our strength. For the people that surround us who show us more…and who motivate us to be more.

Most of us live in cultures which support “misery loves company.” We don’t want to feel alone in our fears and our sorrows. But what if we spent more time sharing our successes and our conquered fears? What if we spoke more of our beautiful friendships and relationships, as well as and the moments we meet strangers who make us think twice about our place and our purpose? What would that be like?  Keep Reading...

 

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Facing the Fear of Change: Big Risks Can Bring Big Rewards

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“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” ~Barack Obama

If someone said to you, “Hey, you know how you are feeling the need for change and you’re not sure what to do? Well, I can’t tell you what to do, but I can guarantee that if you follow where your heart leads you, you’ll create the possibility of more joy than you’ve ever felt before. All you have to do is walk through the doors that will keep opening up for you and trust, completely, that you are on the right track. You may question it at times, but keep going. You’ll be fine no matter what.”

What would you do? Would you follow the guarantee or would you keep doing what you’re doing?

What if the caveat was added, “Oh, you should probably know that if you do this, you run the risk of losing much of what you’ve known and who you think you are now will look completely different the next time you look in the mirror.”

Ummmm… hold up. Let me think about that.

That’s basically what happens when you know it’s time to change up your life and you’re innately scared to do so.

So, what do you do?

I spend a lot of time in deep reflection and introspection. And it’s not because I want to; it’s because I am constantly trying to understand myself, to figure out where I’m headed and what’s potentially holding me back from getting there.

Most of the time, I feel completely in the dark. And while my grandmother always told me that there is nothing in the dark that can hurt you, I’m human; I question this theory. And yet I continue to trust that she’s right. She lived over eighty years and was the most inspirational woman I’ve known; she must’ve learned something pretty valuable to be expressing these bold opinions.

So I had the nudge to change myself and I went with it. No, that’s not accurate—I had the internal and external shove and I went for it.

In the matter of a few short years, I got divorced, bought a house, lived alone with my kids, completely supported myself financially and then left my job, started a business, and changed the majority of my friends. I chose to start completely over in many ways.

On paper, I looked a bit off balanced. Keep Reading...

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Tired of People Pleasing? Tips to Change It Up

“What do you want to do?” you question regularly.

“I’ll wait till everyone else has gone first.” you’ve said.

“Let me know what everyone decides and I’ll follow.” is your consistent response in the group text.

Do you have an opinion? Yes. Do you have a preference? Sometimes. But perhaps you’re so used to letting everyone else decide for you so you know they will be happy and you will suck it up like you always do.

After all, you are a master sucker upper. You could even list it as a skill on your resume.

Ahhh the life of a “people pleaser.” I know it well. As a recovering “people pleaser” I’m well versed in the signs and symptoms when I see them.

The truth is, you do have an opinion and you don’t always want to say yes when people ask you to help them out. You also don’t want go to the places that “everyone” says are a must, but you feel compelled to follow the pack in that oh so small FOMO….Fear of Missing Out…or worse…FOR…Fear of Rejection (yes, I just made it up).

But it’s true. You know it. All the people pleasers know it.

And since you say yes oh so often, you also feel that familiar pang of ongoing resentment. The one that you feel when you say yes, just to make someone else happy. You know that “yes” that you regret only moments later and resent them for even asking. Because really, don’t they know you don’t want to despite the fact that you always say yes??

Ummm…no. No they do not.

They do not because you haven’t told them. They do not because they are trusting that you will be open and honest with them regarding how you really feel. They do not because you’ve been hiding your true feelings in hopes that they will like you and accept you and think you are wonderful. And you are! You are wonderful! Even if you said no…

So how do you stop the madness? And the accompanying resentment…which is mostly towards yourself for not speaking up.

By practicing saying how you really feel. By checking in with yourself before you answer and asking if you are saying yes that you really want to. By trusting that you are worthy and good enough that people like you for who you are and not what you can offer them. By accepting that even if someone is disappointed in your decision and ability to take care of yourself, that it is not going to ruin you and leave you loveless. 

On the contrary, the more you speak how you feel, the more people will trust and respect you.

The more you share your true feelings in a respectful way, the more people will be drawn to your honesty and value what you bring to the table. They will know what to expect from you and that creates a safety people like. And the more you allow others to see the real you, the more likeable you will be. You don’t have to win anyone over to be good enough. You already are.  Keep Reading...

 

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Resentment: The Kiss of Death in Relationships...and How to Let It Go

One of my oldest friends called me a few weeks ago to get together. She mentioned it had been 2 years since we had seen each other. That seemed like an awfully long time to not connect with someone who had been such an important part of my life.

I had felt the distance between us for some time and I told myself that this was just another loss I was going to have to accept.  There seemed to be so many. As I changed, the faces of the people I spent time with did too. I know friends drift apart, but I also knew this one felt different. I knew…but I didn’t ask. I didn’t ask because I was scared. If I asked, then I’d have to deal with the discomfort. And that rarely is motivating.

We opted to go for a hike after our 2 year hiatus. The conversation was easy. We caught up a bit and shared some of our recent highlights.  And then the pause…”I’ve been wanting to talk to you about something for the past two years.”  She continued to tell me how hurt she had been when I was not as supportive towards her as I could have been at a time when she needed it. And she was right. I wasn’t. I was juggling so much at the time and what she needed from me was something I was not in a place to give. And instead of telling her that, I kept it to myself. I retreated. I said “I’m here if you need me,” and waited for the request.  But the request didn’t come.

What I didn’t know was that she didn’t want to have to ask for help. She didn’t want to ask for my support. She didn’t want to have tell me that she needed more than I gave. She wanted to “be strong” and deal with it. And that- that feeling- I know oh so well.

So instead, she held it in. She held in the hurt and the resentment and the frustration of unmet expectations. She let it sit in the compartment that keeps us from trusting the ones we love. I hurt her. Was it intentional? Of course not. But I did.

When I told her my angle, I was honest. She had believed I was a good communicator and I am. But not always with the people I’m closest to. It took some deep digging into myself to see it. The more I attach, the more I fear being left and the more I will avoid conflict.  And if I sense conflict or the risk of being rejected, I will detach.  It’s a lifelong pattern I recognize and work through.  The human thing is tough!

But I was also in a place I was not able to be what she needed me to be. Take out my faulty communication, I was still going through some really tough stuff myself. So much so that I didn’t even notice that I was a less than impressive friend. I was wrapped up in my own internal drama. And I also didn’t see it.

We say hindsight is clear and it is. I am grateful for it. Because listening to her hurt reminded me of how painful it is to hold on to resentment towards those we love, or once loved wanting them to be something they are not or can’t be. Or wanting what they are unable to give us at a time because of their own limitations.

I know this feeling. I have held on to strong expectations of others they could not meet. I have felt abandoned many, many times. I have been let down even more. I have detached from those I once loved instead of communicating how I felt. I have retreated and shut down when I could have made another choice….to speak up, to ask for what I need, to be vulnerable and to be loving while doing so. It doesn’t HAVE to be so hard and so painful. There is another way.

And my beautiful friend reminded me of this. By being brave and honest and bold.

How many times have you shut someone out instead of talking to them? How many opportunities have you ignored because they seemed too uncomfortable and you told yourself- I just don’t care. Bullshit. You do care. We all care.

You don’t have to change. I don’t have to change. But what if we did? What if we started to talk to each other regularly with compassion and honesty? What if we shared what we felt instead of shoving it down in hopes it will just go away? What if we spoke out of love instead of out of fear? What if we forgave each other for not meeting our expectations—the ones we can barely meet ourselves?

What would THAT be like?

Being open and vulnerable requires trust. Trust in yourself. Trust in the people around you. It doesn’t always come natural to expose ourselves. But the more we practice and open up, the more we may learn just how good it feels to be authentic…to be true to ourselves…and to feel confident enough to live and love as we are.

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The Story Behind the Story...The Secret to Beating the Dragon

Book Summary:

Andrew and his grandmother are best friends and spend their time together telling stories of conquering imaginary dragons (fear) by being brave (looking fear in the eye). As Gram ages and her life ends, Andrew is left to battle the dragons alone until he discovers that Gram has been with him all along.

Embrace the moments…that’s my focus lately.

My children’s book, The Secret to Beating the Dragon, was delivered to me the other day. My initial reaction was excitement…and then an immediate sense of sadness because my kids weren’t home to view it with me for the first time.  I wished they were…

But I am a firm believer in Divine timing. I do believe life is perfectly timed out for us, even when it makes no sense to us at all. So I questioned, “why must I be alone to see the book for the first time? They love it too!”

And it hit me….the night I wrote the story I was home alone for one of the first overnights my kids were with their dad after our separation.  I missed them and it gave me the opportunity to sit with myself and feel. Let’s be honest, that is not something we typically enjoy. But I wanted to embrace it and felt inspired to write.

I sat in my kitchen, notebook in hand and let the words fill the page.  Crying as I wrote, I felt the emotions of love and loss and strength and courage. And then I text the story to my cousin, Andrew, whose relationship with my grandmother inspired the story to begin with.  Along with him, I cried some more.

The story is heartwarming and I knew I wanted to share it.

The moment has come full circle.

But the day I held the book…that moment was for me. And Andrew. I text him the picture of it immediately. He is the primary reason I wanted this story to come to life. His love for his grandmother...and hers for him. Beautiful and inspiring and the kind of love that makes you remember why you love---because it feels amazing. Also, the kind that reminds you why it’s hard to let go---because it feels amazing.

The night I wrote the story, I felt their love so strongly.  I felt how he missed her and how he did everything to make their time together the best it could be. And I felt how much she appreciated it…how much she appreciated him.

She was living with Alzheimer’s disease in her home in the middle of the woods of Maine when Andrew moved in. My grandfather had died a few years prior and she had been living her life to the fullest since, but with the onset of Alzheimer’s, no one wanted her to be alone. My brother lived there for a period as well. Both he and Andrew cared for her as long as they could as they were going through their own life transitions.

Her vibrant spirit and strong independence was shifting. She was going downhill and life was hard for her. I would call her on my way home from work and tell her the same jokes each day because I knew she didn’t remember them from the day before. And she would laugh- every time. Same jokes, same response.

I just wanted to make her smile.

She would complain that she knew her memory was going and it was so frustrating. I hurt for her. It hurt me that she hurt. So I told her that she was living the dream…she was living in the moment, because that’s all she had.

But for me, it was painful.  I just wanted to take her pain away. I loved her so very much. The idea of her suffering was awful.

I was grateful Andrew was there. His humor, his personality, his dedication to our grandmother was unmatched. He would come home from his job on the ambulance and tell Gram of his adventures in the field. Having volunteered on an ambulance herself after retirement, she was eager to hear his stories.

She craved adventure as much as he did and they would share a glass of whiskey as he told his tales of the day.  And Andrew, the charismatic and funny man that he is, is an excellent story teller. No doubt she took it all in, happy to live through the bloodline she created. Appreciative to experience life through the eyes of love and admiration.

I tear up nearly every time I read the story. I’m sure at some point I won’t. But for now, I still feel the intensity of the love and the loss and the exquisite beauty that comes with it.

While the book was coming to life this past fall and early winter, my beloved aunt, Andrew’s mom, was dying. I’ve accepted that I cannot find words that best describe my aunt. Her pure spirit and genuine kindness frame the most giving soul I’ve ever met. She is simply- love- in its truest form.

The kind of love that makes you remember why we love---because it feels amazing. Also, the kind that reminds you why it’s hard to let go---because it feels amazing.

I can’t capture the magnitude of her loss- it runs too deep- but I can say that the timeliness of having our family together to help me critique the character images in the book was impeccable. Sharing our views as we bonded over our pain while I saw my beautiful aunt for the last time----Serendipitous.

Again, Divine timing at its finest.

The journey of bringing a vision to life is quite an adventure. And I love me some adventure. Even the sucky parts.

I’m thrilled to share the legacy of my family. One of immense respect, loyalty, love of living and an unwavering commitment to make our dreams come true.

Thanks for sharing Gram and Andrew. Love you from the deepest parts of my heart.

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Using Writing to Work Through Your Fears

There is a real push to encourage each other to think positively.

Flipping our situations and circumstances to make them work to our advantage…and that is very good advice. Personally, I do this often to reduce my own stress level and it’s what I emphasize in my work with others. Reframing challenges into opportunities for amazing growth feels awesome. However, retraining ourselves to think positively after habitually focusing on the obstacles and excuses in our way rarely comes easily.

There is a conscious practice that comes with it to strengthen our abilities to create a new habit of thinking that has us living our lives filled with freedom and awesomeness.

Most of what we struggle with comes from our fears. Fear of the unknown stemming from fears of rejection, abandonment, pain, failure, dependence, loss…and the list goes on. In order to face these fears it’s to our advantage to look at them, feel them, understand them and work with them to move through them.

Because we have so many thoughts going throughout the day, it can be hard to keep track of what it is we are really afraid of when the sinking feeling hits that stops us dead in our tracks.

An extremely helpful technique to work with our fears is to write them down.

It doesn’t matter if you write them in a journal, on the computer, in your phone, on a napkin, or the back of piece of junk mail and then burn them…the key is to get the thoughts out of your head.

You can list them situationally or in general. Write your fears and where they come from. You can rank them in priority status or by which ones are strongest. It doesn’t actually matter as long as you get them out.

After you write them out, question them further.

Is there a solution? Can you problem solve? If not, what would it be like to let it go and release the need for control? What would it feel like to trust that it will resolve itself?

Write out the worst case scenarios.

How will they change your life? Will you still have your family? Your friends? Your dignity? What could you possibly lose that you can’t gain back?

Keep Reading...

 

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15+ Standout Ways To Start Living An Authentic Life

Living authentically means trusting yourself.

Trusting your judgments, your visions, your ideas and knowing that no matter what you are going to be okay. We are taught how to fear early on in life by many of the influences around us and then end up spending a lot of time deciphering what feels right for us versus what doesn’t, with a dash of hesitation in between.

Anticipatory anxiety comes from fear of the future and the unknowns accompanying it. Fear of all the things that could wrong and how that it may impact us. Even if we trust our decisions, we may fear that other people’s decisions will “screw everything up,” so we want to plan for that too by worrying about it.

We may believe that by worrying enough about something, a solution will reveal itself or better yet, we can avoid the discomfort altogether by not doing or saying anything and continuing to live in limbo…hoping it all just works itself out on its own. But if that’s not working, then let’s just go back to worrying so we can see all the potential obstacles in the way.

Where does worry get us? Living in the pain we are trying to avoid.

How do you know you can trust yourself?

Turn around. Look at your past. Look at the many, many times you were scared to speak up, or take a step forward, or make a wrong turn. Did you ultimately end up okay? Eventually at the place you wanted to be, with the kind of people you wanted to be with, feeling safe and loved and more comfortable in your skin?

Perhaps not every step of the way, but did you finally arrive? Most of the time, yes.

But if you didn’t, what did you learn along the way? Where did you find your strength? How did you get through it?

You may have found great support by others you didn’t know was available to you or you may have even dug down and found your own ability to support yourself. You may have even began to see that what you thought you needed, you didn’t. You may have learned that you could rely on yourself…in turn, trusting yourself.

Most of us are talented at not trusting ourselves.

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Who Will You Be Today? The Importance of Being Yourself

I stood in the dark parking lot for several minutes before going inside the restaurant that waited for my arrival. The expectation of the night remained unknown.  I was unprepared and uncomfortable and really, I didn’t genuinely want to be there. Yet the discomfort of the invite drew me in as a means of addressing one more fear I’d long held.

It wasn’t meant to be a big deal, this networking dinner I’d been asked to attend.  My friend said “come mingle and meet people in your field”. I knew it was a good idea, meeting new mental health professionals who had long worked independently. I loved to share my views on mental health. I wasn’t new to the work, but I was just beginning my private practice so I didn’t at feel like I knew what I was doing. I was insecure in my ability to share my opinions independently, not representing anyone else other than myself.  

I heard the question in the darkness break my internal stillness….”Who am I going to be tonight?”

It was a valid question. I’d spent most of my career in a profession that required me to filter my words and opinions. I had to craft my views wisely to ensure the face I showed was acceptable to the employer I represented.  I could not have been successful if I didn’t curb my true inner thoughts and feelings…which was also the reason I was no longer there.  I longed to break free of the constraints and in that parking lot, I recognized that I was free. This was my choice, my gig, my terms, and yet I wasn’t exactly sure what that looked like.  I wanted to assist whichever part of me was going to show up to be prepared.

After a brief assessment of who was best suited for the presentation, I heard the next question…”why don’t you just be yourself?”

The exhale came fast. I was terrified. The internal fears flooded quickly. “What will they think of me if I share my non traditional views? How will they reject me once they realize I am not one of them? Will the start of my new career be the end of it?”

And then…”wait, what am I really afraid of? I have absolutely nothing to lose. Go be yourself and try her on. What’s not to like?”

Deep breath.  Keep Reading...

How New Age Thinking Can Ruin Your Life

"Whatever you do, don’t think negative thoughts or you will bring them to life.”
Whenever I read this or hear someone say this I want to scream. First, I stop and question if that is true because, well, I’m human and if it is true, I’m screwed. Then, I let my intuitive and logical mind unite and remind me that, if that was the case, I would have been poisoned, stabbed, suffocated, burned to ashes, drowned, publically flogged or have been locked up in a padded room by now.

And since that hasn’t happened yet, I’m pretty sure that this “fact” can be re-categorized as an urban myth. As a rational minded mental health professional who is equally committed to her spiritually based mindset, this popular belief drives me even more nuts.

When someone tells you not to think negatively, it’s like saying, don’t think of the color red. Whatever you do, don’t do it. Don’t think of the color red. Block it out of your mind. Don’t do it! Are you doing it? Are you thinking of the color red? Why are you thinking of the color red?? I told you not to. Now your whole world is going to look red. And in your effort of making yourself feel better, you instead feel like a failure, beating yourself up because for the life you, you simply can not block red from your thoughts.  Which makes the red feel even brighter and stronger in your mind.


When we experience challenging moments in life, we are going to have negative thoughts. We are going to have sad thoughts and angry thoughts and fear filled thoughts. To tell ourselves we shouldn’t feel that way is a huge disservice and setback to our healing process.


Giving ourselves permission to feel and think how we are feeling in the moment is sooo important in the process of acceptance. To deny ourselves how we really feel is the act of stuffing our emotions down and that’s the kind of stuff that actually gets us in trouble. Those feelings want to come out. In those moments, they are asking to be heard, they want to be accepted and understood. And when we tell them they are wrong because we are uncomfortable with them, they grow even stronger to keep our attention.

Keep reading....

Forgiveness on the Road to Freedom

I woke up early this morning watching the warm shades of red and orange fill the sky over the horizon from my bed. The view never gets old for me. Each sunrise boasts of possibility, of hope and promise of another opportunity to embrace the adventure of this life, never quite knowing what is coming next.

I have always been a lover of the early morning. I feel like no matter what happened yesterday, I have the chance to start over today. It’s my choice of what I want to do with it.

Today was feeling especially auspicious and once I noticed the date, I knew why. It’s my mother’s birthday. This day has come and gone 27 times since the day she took her life.  It slips in right in the middle of the holiday season and nudges me to reflect.  For 27 years, I’ve felt waves of sadness and remorse, anger and regret, riding on top of a guilty sense of relief underneath.

Occasionally, I’d lightly share this remembrance with someone, but for the most part, I kept the memory just out of reach of my heart and my mind….never quite knowing what to do with it. 
In 19 days, it will be the anniversary of her death, and then five days later, my own birthday. A day I’ve struggled with since her exit from this world. 

This past birthday was especially challenging for me.  I woke up angry.  I mean I was really angry.  I had taken the day off and was setting out for an adventure and instead of feeling gratitude, I just felt enraged…at my mother. 

Once I realized I was mad at her, I became mad at myself.  Why was I feeling all this anger so many years later? I felt like I had hashed out and released all my pent up emotional junk. How could there be any left? And why now? I didn’t understand and that just made me judge myself even more harshly.

But man, I was ticked. I sat in my bathroom and cried, yelling at her, asking what kind of mother takes her life and leaves her child only days before their birthday. How could she have been so selfish, so insensitive?  How could I not have been important enough? Old feelings of not being good enough flooded me. I sat in a puddle of my own misery. The hurt little girl who just wanted to be loved was fully exposed.

A few hours later I bounced back.  I always bounce. My rational brain took over and put all of my feelings in perspective, but I was still emotionally sore from being stretched so far. I knew why this year was different.  This was the year I would outlive my mother. She died when she was 41 years and 19 days old, and I had just turned 41.  In my rage, I was going to be damned if I was not going to continue to make it my ongoing goal to live my life as fully as possible.  Happiness was mine to have. I earned it and I was determined to keep accessing it in myself.

As it winds down, I can see that 41 has proven to be one of the most transformative of my life. I’ve spent more time digging into the deep parts of myself to uncover my long held patterns of resistance, self-sabotage and feelings of lack.  I’ve re-evaluated all of my relationships and assessed how I interact, how I invest emotionally…or not, and how I run in fear when my heart feels remotely threatened. 

About two months ago, an opportunity developed for me to look at myself when the threat of loss once again stared me down questioning what I was going to do about it. I dove down again, identifying deep seated patterns in myself, dating back to early life with my mother.  I saw my fears, my resistance, and how my unconditional love for my mother turned conditional when I sensed her time here was short.

I saw how I pulled away and shut down and left her feeling unclear how I felt about her when she died. I felt my old guilt slam into me, devastated by the loss. I saw all the reasons why I held on to the anger, to protect me from getting hurt again. I let it come up and pour out of me, overflowing waves of sorrow and regret. And then…I saw it all for what it was and forgave my mother for not being what I wanted her to be and for myself wanting to protect myself.  She was, and I was, in fact, human.

And that feeling, letting go of the anger and guilt, was the freedom I’d been craving for a very long time. For the first time, since my mother’s death, I felt my mother’s energy in a very different way. It was light and flowing and a soft pink. I felt her embrace me as I let her in. She wanted to support me and I let her.

I could go on and on and explain how our early relationships with our parents and caregivers impacts every other relationship in our lives. Any dysfunction that exists begin the patterns that last until something proves important enough to stop us and realize we don’t want to repeat them. And it’s not until we change ourselves while also accepting ourselves that our lives and our experiences will change accordingly.

These revelations are a culmination of the work I’ve spent rebuilding my relationship with myself. Getting to know the real me. The scarred parts that continue to heal and the eternal optimist who has made peace with her internal masochist. The one who is always striving to be the best and most authentic version of herself. 

She is real and she is spectacular.

(Seinfeld anyone? I simply cannot help it)

So today, I am celebrating the new relationship I have with my mother, as well as myself.  The birthday of new beginnings, the dawn of opportunity, the celebration of all things learned that brought me into this fascinating existence that is my life.

Happy Birthday Mom! Thanks for getting me here. I Love You.

There's Purpose In Pain and A Gift In Every Loss

“There’s a bit of magic in everything and loss to even things out.”- Lou Reed
 
“Although I have spent years training myself to reverse my own anxiety, I have only left survival mode in the last couple months and am learning what that feels like and to be comfortable fully trusting that I am and my children are taken care of. I am at my goal of better than fine- but I’ve never been here before.  And while I know my work is in the interim of where I’ll end up, I am learning to appreciate where I am in the journey. It’s a wonderful and foreign place and I know this appreciation is also a practice, but it feels incredibly important.  I don’t want to just say I am grateful, I want to fully feel it. I am whole without more, just as I am. I create as I choose.  Peace is happening now if I allow it. Big revelation.”

I sent this text to one of my closest friends one morning after a particularly empowering meditation.  Our daily conversations were always this deep, introspective and growth oriented.  It felt good to write out my inner thoughts and fears and I was excited for every one of her heartfelt and insightful replies.

Her response…”That is incredible! I understand the angst of living in the now. Took me years of working hard at trying to change my patterns and reactions that I picked up as a result of living so many years with fear, angst and chaos. So Lynn, live it, breathe it, be it! You earned it! I’ve only known you a short time, but this has been the best year of my entire life. A year of learning, understanding and clarity, it’s been incredible sharing my thoughts, dreams and sorrows. Thank you.  Thank you for what was, what is and what will be.  I am so grateful for you! For your friendship, for your support, for your love, I’m the luckiest girl in the world.”

Five days later, after many more texts, and one evening of sharing our joy through our growing pains in person, my treasured friend died in her sleep.  Unexpectedly for those who loved her, her soul exited peacefully and left an enormous hole in the hearts of her son, family and friends who relied on her unwavering strength and glowing light to keep us comforted and inspiring our own power.

I, for one, was devastated.

The peace I had felt a week prior was shattered. I felt nothing but shock, anger, confusion and a deep, deep sadness. But worst of all, I felt alone.  Keep Reading...

How To Climb Up When You've Hit Financial Rock Bottom

I was on hold for over an hour…no one was picking up.  I had the phone on speaker so I could work on other things, but I was a little taken back by how much effort it took to get someone to help me.  I was applying for the Snaps program, ‘Food Stamps’, state aid to feed my children.  It was awkward enough as it was and I just wanted to get it over with, but instead I had to wait. Was it this difficult for everyone?

I had just resigned from my job and had next to no income while I took a couple more classes to be eligible for a license in professional counseling.  My father suggested I apply a few weeks prior and I nearly scoffed at the idea. I didn’t see how I could apply for aid, I made a choice to leave my job. I chose to reduce my income temporarily.  I chose to take a risk in hopes it would give me a greater gain.  I didn’t think I earned the right to ask for help.

His view was that that was what the program was for...temporary help to get by. And more importantly, it wasn’t just about me. I had two children I had also made a choice for.  They had to live with my risk and decision.  For that reason alone, I decided to apply.  I made a decision to live without, but they had not.

Lots of paperwork, several more hour long phone calls, an interview and escorting my pride out the door awarded my children a monthly allowance of financial food aid.  I was not personally awarded aid initially since I had made a choice to leave my job, but my children were not penalized for my choice.  Somehow, that made me feel better.

As my bills rolled in and my income did not, I was incredibly grateful for the help we were given.  And yet, I found myself uncomfortable every time I was at the grocery store checking out.  Because of that, I swear, my card didn’t work and the cashier would have to override and punch in the numbers several times often asking if I was sure there were enough funds available. I was sure. I kept careful track. And I was embarrassed, every single time. 

I reminded myself that it was me judging myself. It was me who didn’t feel deserving. I wasn’t doing anything wrong and asking for help is more than okay.  But I still squirmed. I still questioned what they thought of me.  Keep reading...

Stop Worrying with this Secret to Predict the Future

“I just want to know what is going to happen.”- Almost Everyone You Know
Perhaps not those exact words, but certainly similar words with the meaning behind them. We all inherently want to know where we are going and what we are doing at some point.  Predicting the unknown to make it a known is what makes us feel safe, right? If I make a decision, I want to know it’s going to lead me to the land of joy, no matter what.  

As a professional counselor, I have the luxury of listening to people’s stories all day long.  I ride the emotional roller coaster with them while watching the events that transform their every thought and move at that time in their lives.  We navigate the endless fears that come from the nonstop unknowns they face.  For me, it’s like watching an ongoing movie wondering how it’s going to play out, on the edge of me seat, holding out for the happy ending. My job is to help them see the life preservers that are slightly out of their view and the flowers that are waiting to be made into bouquets that grow right of the mud. If you pay close enough attention, they are absolutely everywhere.

Because of my years of experience of watching and listening to others, as well as living my own roller coaster of a life, I have become quite adapt at predicting the future.  Sometimes the movies become so obvious to me, I want to fast forward and tell them how it’s going to end, but I know that’s not actually my role.  So we watch together, take the dark and windy turns, hold our breaths and exhale and laugh when we rewind and see all the parts where we questioned what would happen next.  And I am always honored to be an invited guest in the portion of their life I’ve been included in.

I will share with you what I’ve learned over the years as fact.  And I encourage you to consider this practice as you hone in on your natural predictive capabilities.

As a human, you have likely questioned your decisions at times and include all the possibilities of what can go wrong and how to avoid them.  Your predictions may include “what if I lose all my money or security or get hurt or sick or am rejected or worst of all…am embarrassed in front of others! And suddenly our minds run us into dark alleys with creatures from foreign lands that had nothing to do with our original concern. The thought train of fear. We’ve all bought the ticket at some point.

We know fear is immobilizing. We know it stops us in our tracks.  And yet often, we think of our fear as keeping us feeling secure, even if it makes us feel insecure.  We’re funny like that.  We want a guarantee of the outcome so we can plan accordingly. How can we make a solid, safe decision without knowing?  Continue Reading...

Commit

Commit to something you love
Commit to what makes your heart sing
Commit to what you know you want and deserve
Commit to Speaking Your Truth
Commit to Faith
Commit to Love
Commit to Living
Commit to feeling whole
Commit to supporting yourself
Commit to an idea
Commit to a feeling
Commit to letting go of the past
Commit to not giving up
Commit to not walking away
Commit to sitting with the discomfort
Commit to knowing the uncomfortable feelings are temporary
Commit to forgiveness
Commit to one step, every single day
Commit to the vision
Commit to the breakthrough
Commit to the Joy
Commit to Knowing…Its Happening

When Grief Finds Its Purpose

“Hey, I found this outside the door with your name on the card,” she said holding a beautifully wrapped gift box, her hands extending it to me.

“Really?” I questioned. Who would be leaving me a gift outside my office door?  As I began to read the card, I felt silly by the obviousness of it all.  It was from my mischievous friend, standing right in front of me. I laughed and felt ridiculous at the same time.  My friend, Jayne, who I had met through work, had become one of my strongest cheerleaders and supporters in my life in a very short amount of time and I was grateful she was simply in the room. I’d spent so much time with clients lately, I'd forgotten the feeling of human friendship in the flesh.

Good Things are on Their Way to You, it read, along with a heartfelt note of thanks for our friendship and acknowledgement of just how much it meant to her.  The gifts inside the box were a blend of silly and serious tokens.  A spiritual book her mentor had written, novelty napkin and matches with funny pictures and sayings, and a few other items that represented just the kinds of things that would make us smile and pause. It was the perfect gift.

We waited a few minutes to acknowledge that we were, in fact, alone in the office.  We were running an empowerment group we just began advertising for and were thrilled that no one showed up.  It was just us, happy friends who got to spend the next hour telling stories of our week and the immense growth we were feeling and a genuine appreciation that our previous struggles were finally beginning to pay off…and more importantly, we were understanding why. 

We laughed hard at ourselves and the texts we sent earlier in the day.  She had become that friend for me, that offered me daily support and we would text each other all day long with updates and words of encouragement and insight…like an interactive friend journal. We knew just how the other was feeling and exchanged the play by plays of learning our daily lessons in living. Deep, spiritual and always an additional bonus of humor. She totally got me.

When she walked out the door that night, she showed me how big her pants were and I scolded her for wearing them.  Money was tight for her and she didn’t want to add more to her credit card and I went on a tangent about deserving and blah, blah, blah…buy some pants that feel good.  While I was getting in my car, she yelled out, “I Love You!” and I responded that I loved her back, thinking, “Huh, I should say that more often.”  I looked over at my friend waving goodbye and she looked stunning…and happy.

That would be the last vision I had of her.

My beautiful friend went home that night and died quietly in her sleep.

To fill in the gap of what I’ve experienced since that last sentence would be a book in itself. It’s been…incredibly painful. And I am no stranger to grief.

I’ve thought a lot about loss since then and why it’s such a challenge to manage emotionally.  I see how the more we attach ourselves to people, ideas and beliefs, the more we risk being hurt when we discover those people, ideas and beliefs can change overnight.  The stronger we attach, the higher the risk of disappointment if something goes “wrong.” They are the kind of thoughts where anxiety festers, and a fear of attachment begins.

It’s so easy to focus on loss when it happens…everything that’s missing.  All that we’ve lost, including the loss of the dream of the future and the way we thought it would be.  We focus on the change.  It’s a typical response and it hurts like crazy.

But when we slow down and look at what we’ve gained from a person or an idea that didn’t play out the way we once believed it would, we can begin to pull out the positives, the gifts, the experiences we wouldn’t have had otherwise.  And that’s when we can start to see the gain in almost anything.

If I was given the offer to create a friendship with a person who would change my life and perspective in such a way it would alter my view of my world, myself, how I give, how I love and how I want to grow-- but it would be taken away from me when I least expected it, would I take the offer?

Would I have had the courage to accept the experience for what it was?

I’m a risk taker, but risking dropping the peace in my heart is not my strong suit.

And yet, I took a risk to befriend someone who altered my life forever so profoundly that I will never be the same. I will take all that she taught me to expand my view of faith and create new opportunities that wouldn’t haven’t been inspired without her.  I will hear her voice when I’m scared and she will counsel me through as I try to avoid all that I want to pursue, but am fearful of.

Without taking the risk to attach, to love, to let go and trust that we are supported by life, how can we ever live in our dreams? Every idea and experience and person comes into our lives to teach us something and when they are present, we are unaware of how they will play out.  Does that mean we are best to avoid them? How many incredible experiences would we miss out on if we chose not to risk potential temporary discomfort?

When we look back on all the pains we’ve lived through, how many would we give up if it meant we couldn’t be where we are?

I wouldn’t give mine up either. I wouldn’t be who I am without the risks and challenges and I am liking this woman I see transforming. I am eternally grateful for what I’ve learned. Worth every tear I’ve shed and feeling of emptiness, especially now that I am beginning to refill my own cup.

When assessing risk, the ultimate question becomes, which will bring me closer to my joy and which will take me further away?  I choose joy in whatever form it comes in. You?

Five Minutes A Day to Change Your Life

I am just like you. My mind doesn’t turn off.  My internal amusement park has more attractions than Disney World, yet it’s not always quite as fun.  With so many ways to distract ourselves, at times it seems impossible to shut it down.  And sometimes, it is.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t reign it in.  We have way more control than we let ourselves believe.

When I first began to practice meditation, I was in the beginning of my divorce process and I knew I had to do whatever I could to stay emotionally balanced.  With the non-stop worrisome thoughts of what to do next, I was determined to slow down my high speed thought train of fear and discomfort.  I tried every tactic I came across. Between meditation challenges with guided imagery, mantras, chanting, and total silence, I was determined to find my niche. Yet no matter what I tried, I could not find one that found the off button for my thoughts. They just kept going…

After several weeks of getting up early to attempt to meditate, I began to notice a change in my practice. The initial dread of failure began to temper.  Despite the constant questioning of whether the practice was helping, I found myself eagerly anticipating the experience each day. I began to look forward to sitting alone with myself, with my thoughts, still.

The more I practiced, the less I began to judge my process. My thoughts still flowed, but I stopped demanding that they go away.  I gave them permission to come in and out while I continued my practice of sitting still.  I began to notice at the end of each experience that I felt calm, clear and at peace.  Was it possible this was meditation after all?  Keep Reading...

How To Handle Fear of Change When Life is Changing Unexpectedly

 

I sat at my desk and stared out the window at the flagpole almost daily, longing to be outside and breathing anything but the staleness of each day.  I had no idea where I wanted to be or what I would be doing, but I knew I was reaching the end of my rope.  I was unhappy and tired of listening to my own complaints to my friends of just how miserable I was. My mantra in life and as a high school counselor had consistently been, “if you don’t like what you’re doing, than do something about it.”  I desperately wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what.

So I sat and waited, feeling the internal nudge to make a change, yet feeling my feet drag even more forcefully. I only had questions, not answers. I had a mortgage and two children to care for in my newly single life.  My plan had to be concrete and fool proof in order to proceed. 

The odd part was, I liked the work I did at my job. I loved counseling kids. I loved teaching them about their strengths and helping them see what was clear from the outside looking in. I liked who I was when I was with them doing what I do best. It was the rest of the work that felt contrived and half-hearted and quite simply, confining. I felt myself creeping out of my shell with a censor that blocked my words and the authenticity of what I knew to be true. I craved the freedom to express myself untethered.

I made a pact that I would start actively generating ideas for ways to get out. I had become comfortable in the discomfort and it was not how I wanted to live my life.  I had been making huge changes in my personal life and clearly I was ready for one more. I would make this one on my terms though. I would make sure everything went smoothly to ensure its success.

Within weeks of making this pact to myself, I was sent an email letting me know of a mandatory meeting scheduled for me with a person of power at the school I worked for. I knew it was a warning sign the minute I read it. Life was about to change. It was scheduled for a few days away, which gave me the opportunity to lay awake obsessing over what it could be about and worrying how I would respond. I went into the meeting prepared for the worst and the worst was actually worse than I thought....Keep Reading...

Just Say "Thank You"

There you are, standing in line at the store, head down playing with your phone searching for something to distract your attention while you wait and you hear a voice behind you say, “I love your shoes. You look really great!”

You look up, wondering if the words are meant for you, and by the piercing look on the stranger’s face, it is clear that they are.

Immediately, you search for a response to deflect the outward sign of approval.  “Oh I got these on sale down the road at Lucky’s. They are comfortable though.” Your head goes back down, slightly awkward, not knowing what to do with the attention, you return to business as usual, pleased with the compliment, but not knowing what to do with it.

As you stare at your phone, you receive a text from a friend who knows you’ve been having a rough couple of weeks.  “I’m going to pick up dinner and drop it off for you tonight so you can just relax. What are you in the mood for?” it reads.  You are thrilled at the prospect of not having to cook and the idea of a responsibility free evening is wonderful. You know you need a break.

“Thank you for offering, but I’m all set. I have food that needs to be cooked before it goes bad,” you immediately respond. As much as you would love to be taken care of, you don’t want to put anyone out and feel like a burden.

Sound familiar? 

You know that feeling you get when you give someone a gift that they adore and you can feel their genuine gratitude?  Feels good, right? Or when you know someone you love is struggling and you are able to do little tasks for them to take the edge off their discomfort? Or when you listen to a friend pour their heart out and feel the relief of knowing someone cares? You feel useful and gratified that your support made their life a little easier, a little brighter, even if only for a brief moment.  It’s a wonderful feeling, allowing us to feel like we’ve made a difference. The ability to help others is a reward in itself!

When you do not allow someone to do the same for you, you are taking away their ability to feel this bliss. You are letting your feelings of unworthiness reinforce their feeling of lack.  In truth, it’s very poor manners. They have offered you a gift and you’ve essentially taken it out of their hands, crumpled up the bow and thrown it on the floor.  Their opportunity to feel good helping someone else has been robbed. Ouch....Keep Reading