Archive | December 2013

Observe Unrealistic Expectations

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Hope everyone has had a joyous holiday thus far! If not, then usually the culprit is unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others, which often leaves us feeling overwhelmed, disappointed, obligated, and stressed.

As long as we find ourselves thinking about what we and other people should be doing, thinking, or feeling, we are going to feel upset through our expectations. Therefore, as we go into the New Year, we can observe the shoulds we often live by, and look to embrace more of our wants, and what is authentically true for us instead.

Thankfully, we have the power to review our expectations and create our life the way we want it, without waiting for others to change. Instead of trying to coerce a family member, friend or spouse into changing themselves because of the way we feel; we can focus on what we can be doing differently, and make the appropriate adjustments.

So, if we are feeling burdened by the current way we do the holidays, or any other events throughout the year, then we have the freedom to create new traditions that will make our experiences more pleasing.

Below is an example of the changes we can make, as shared by Dr. Christiane Northrup, from her own life as follows:

“Some time ago, I had a frank discussion with my children about gift giving. And we all agreed to halt the practice entirely. They were as relieved as I was. Instead, we make each other’s birthdays a big deal.

And at Christmas, we create a slideshow of the prior year and have a game of “Yankee Swap,” for which we each buy a gift for under $20. (We then draw numbers, and the person with #1 picks a gift. Then all the ensuing players can either keep the gift they pick OR take the gift that someone else has already opened.)

It’s absolutely hilarious! My house is always filled with guests who are close friends and who add to the fun. We then enjoy a meal together and all go see a holiday movie. It’s a most wonderful day, one in which there is rest, laughter, and good food. We feel grateful to be a family (both blood and chosen) and to have shared another year with one another.

Let’s all do what we can to move from survival to joy this season. Yes—the surprise of Christmas morning with little ones is delightful. And so is finding the perfect gift for a loved one. But when this becomes an obligation, not a joy, it’s time to question the program.”

What makes your holidays or other occasions more enjoyable?

Action Step:

Exercise your freedom of choice by reviewing your current traditions as you head into 2014, and see if there is a way to make them more joyous if they are not to your liking!

Share Your Gifts

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We attended a Christmas show over the weekend which was amazing on so many levels. It was comprised of singing, dancing, comedy, and wonderful music. The participants were incredibly talented which was so inspiring, and made us grateful they chose to share their abilities with us. While fear can often prevent many individuals from performing in public, we were pleased it did not prevent them from sharing their gifts in this wonderful format.

The delicious hot chocolate and cookies available at intermission added some extra seasonal warmth to the occasion as well. The uplifting feeling derived from sharing in this unified event with others made for a wonderful day.

We are all equipped with natural talents and abilities which aren’t necessarily related to public performance. This may tempt us to compare ourselves to others and minimize our own abilities. However, rather than trying to mimic someone else, we can seek to express our own unique skills and abilities, embracing diversity as a gift in itself.

As the show demonstrated so beautifully, it was the variety of talent which made it extremely entertaining, rather than the majority attempting similar achievements. Seen in this light, we can easily appreciate our own competencies, rather than diminish them through obstructive comparison.

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For example, we may not even realize the gift in being an imaginative storyteller, mathematical virtuoso, or creative designer, but all of these skills make a positive difference in our own lives, and the lives of others.

Fully expressing our unique abilities adds color and depth to life, while simultaneously fulfilling a range of needs for those around us as well. With that in mind, we can celebrate and give thanks for the innate gifts we have been given, along with the physical gifts we share at holiday time and throughout the year!

Enjoy sharing all of it this holiday season!

Action Step:

Shine a light on your talents, and bravely share them in the world around you.

Buff Up Your Boundaries

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 “The nature of conflict means you can’t set a boundary in your life and take care of someone else’s feelings at the same time.”

 Martha Beck

During the holidays, some of us have a tendency to take on too much, and over commit ourselves by attending every event that we are invited to. Sometimes, this is because we are excited about the season and enjoy the merriment; while other times it is because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, and want to avoid feeling guilty.

Only we can tell the difference within ourselves if we are pleasing ourselves or people pleasing others. If we are engaged in the latter, then it is time to buff up our boundaries by developing a stronger “no” muscle. This can be a particularly tough challenge in families where everyone is seen as one unit, and not a group of separate individuals with their own desires, preferences and interests.

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However, no matter whom it is, if what we are being asked to do is not to our liking than we have the freedom to graciously decline the request. We need to remember that we are not responsible for other people’s feelings but are responsible for living our own lives as authentically as possible. So, when someone requests our time, financial help, or anything else, we can gently but decisively choose not to comply.

Certainly, we don’t want to put up walls or be confrontational, as that only demonstrates the very behavior we are trying to purge from our life. However, we also don’t want to deny our truth, and just go along with anything that is asked of us either. A passive approach to life can only breed resentment, and inevitably leads to unloving behavior which is inconsistent with the intention of harmonious living.

Setting loving boundaries with others is a crucial step in self-care, and so is setting nurturing boundaries with ourselves as well. Many of us push ourselves beyond the point of what is healthy such as neglecting to put parameters around the number of hours we work or by skimping on sleep.

Additionally, we may be making unhealthy food choices, eating on the run or neglecting to exercise regularly. Even critical thoughts about our appearance or having unrealistic expectations on ourselves for creating the perfect holiday and other endeavors, can sabotage our daily life.

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Gratefully, we have the wonderful opportunity each day to create a new beginning, and write a new story with the enhanced choices we make. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference to our overall enjoyment. The resultant good feelings that come from our kind attention will create a wonderful ripple effect both within and around us.

What wonderful choices are you making?

Action Step: 

Today, write down the requests that are being asked of you, and decide which ones you genuinely want to accept and which ones you don’t. Awareness will lead to better choices.

Be At Peace This Holiday Season

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The following newsletter article was written by Wayne Dyer, and I thought I would pass it along in hopes you find it useful this holiday season, and throughout the year.

No one is capable of making you upset without your consent, so if you begin practicing the intention to be authentic and peaceful with everyone, you connect to peace itself—and gain the power to change the energy of your relationships with family and friends.

Many years ago, when the holiday season arrived and certain relatives were due to make their annual appearance, I felt a sense of increasing dread. Far too many of us suffer from the pain of family get-togethers, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Somehow we allow the expectations and demands of our family members to be the source of so much unhappiness and stress, when what we really want is to be authentically ourselves and at peace with our relatives.

The conflict seems too often to be a choice between being authentic, which means no peace with certain relatives, or having peace at the price of being inauthentic. Being peaceful and authentic can define your relationship with your relatives. First, though, you may have to assess your relationship with the closest relative of all—you.

In order to change the nature of family relationships, you’ll have to change your mind about them and consider that you are the source of the anguish in your relationships, rather than the individual whom you’ve pegged as the most outrageous, the most despicable, or the most infuriating. Over the years, all of these individuals have been treating you exactly as you’ve allowed them to with your reactions and behaviors. This can miraculously change when you choose to be at peace with everyone in your life—most particularly, your relatives.

If the focus of your inner dialogue about your family members is on what they’re doing that’s wrong, then that’s precisely how your relationship with them will be experienced. If your inner speech centers on what’s annoying about them, that’s what you’ll notice. But if you’re thinking, I am authentic and peaceful with this relative, then that’s what you’ll experience—even if that relative continues to be exactly the way he or she has always been.

The key to having peace in all your family relationships is forgiveness. Your relatives are simply doing what they’ve been taught to do over a lifetime, and the lifetimes of many of their ancestors. Shower them with understanding and forgiveness from your heart. Rather than being in a state of non-peace concerning any family members, say a prayer of gratitude for their presence in your life and all that they have come to teach you.

The likelihood is great that you’ll see dramatic changes in your relatives as you teach them with your own persona how you intend to be treated. But if they don’t change, and if they continue their nonpeaceful ways, let go of your need to see them transformed. It all works in Divine order, and the saying Let go and let God guarantees your own peace, and you dramatically increase the odds of helping others to do the same.

Love today and always,

Wayne W. Dyer