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Fear Criticism Less

I had a speech teacher many years ago whose words were very impactful and have stayed with me all this time. My classmates and I back then, had feared getting up in front of the class and giving a less than perfect speech.

Bluntly, she told us that nobody cared about how good our speech would be, because everyone was too busy worrying about delivering their own speeches and fearing the reactions they would receive as well.

For those that did care, she informed us that even if we provided a flawless presentation, there would always be someone who was not satisfied, and that no matter how ‘perfect’ our speech turned out to be, there would always be someone who didn’t like it or us.

Importantly, she taught us that we may as well relax, be authentic, have a good time and please ourselves, rather than worrying about pleasing everyone else!

Ironically, by relaxing and enjoying ourselves, we ultimately ended up giving better speeches anyway!

Ultimately, resisting criticizing ourselves is most important and replacing self critical thoughts with more approving sentiments is key! By doing so, we fear external criticism less and look to lead an authentic life more.

So, whenever we are tempted to submerge who we really are and not follow our goals, dreams or aspirations in an attempt to avoid external criticism, we need to remember that we can’t please everyone.

Instead, we can please ourselves by following our inspired pursuits, and experience all the joy that achieving our endeavors will bring us!

What approving thoughts keep criticism from stopping you?

The Right Relationship Starts with You

Stay a kid at Heart

Recently, I had another birthday which was a lot of fun to celebrate, and a time of reflection as well.  No doubt, many of us can relate to asking ourselves where the time has gone! It definitely fly’s by quickly!

That said, understanding that ‘life is short’ can motivate us to focus more energy on how best to enjoy ourselves each day, and not just on holidays, vacations or birthdays!

Often looking at our childhood pictures can generate a sense of emotional warmth for the little person we were, and who still wants to come out to play.

Part of my recent celebrating involved going out dancing with my husband which felt great! We hadn’t done that in a while, so it was a good reminder to play more in that way.

My love of dancing goes way back to when I was a kid and my mom took me to weekly lessons. Though I’m still involved with dancing on a regular basis at the gym doing choreographed routines, it is fun to mix it up and explore other venues doing freestyle movements as well.

Regardless of our chronological age, it’s never too late to reignite activities we enjoyed in the past, or develop new undertakings to revive our childlike enthusiasm.

What activities ignite your younger self, or bring you the greatest joy now?

The Right Relationship Starts with You

Draw a Line in the Sand

A line in the sand refers to a point beyond which one will not go; a limit to what one will do or accept.

Are you allowing other people to make you feel bad about you?

At some point we have to stop allowing other people’s words, behavior, opinions, innuendos or attitudes control how we feel about ourselves.

This is easier said than done, especially when we receive an unkind comment, or experience betrayal in a friendship. Certainly, these scenarios can be confusing, and upsetting, which takes some time to process.

However, what adds to the pain is feeling bad about ourselves or blaming ourselves for why others are acting in certain ways.

Similarly, we have to cease allowing or believing any negative thoughts we have about ourselves as well, and quit making self-destructive comparisons with others.

For instance, there comes a time when we decide to not make our worth be dependent on how many ‘likes’ we receive or ‘followers’ we have on social media or comparing ourselves to others created personas.

Additionally, we realize that staying with certain friends, jobs, or activities that become unhealthy is personally harmful, and we rise above being scared or uncomfortable to make the necessary changes.

To that end, it is a blessing when challenges or discomfort occurs because it motivates us into action by:

  • Letting us know it may be time to move on
  • Forcing us to stand up for ourselves
  • Learning how to handle emotions in a less personally damaging way

In short, we eventually draw a line in the sand when the pain gets too great and we’ve had enough!

Where do you draw the line?

The Right Relationship Starts with You

Acquire Contentment

There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment. – Swami Sivananda

Contentment is often defined as a state of happiness and satisfaction.

Usually, we think that happiness and satisfaction can only occur once we get the dream house, perfect mate, desired career or other circumstance we want.

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with wanting and receiving any of those desires, however, it only becomes troublesome if we wait until their arrival in order to feel good.

What usually happens when our desired dreams haven’t materialized yet, is that dissatisfaction sets in and disrupts our peace of mind.

Ironically, sometimes our mere attitude of discouragement and upset can keep away or prolong receiving our coveted desires.

For instance, the negative energy that radiates from our unhappy feelings isn’t likely to attract a potential mate or prospective career opportunity. Unfortunately, anger tends to create an unpleasant atmosphere around us, and keeps positive opportunities away, which can cause even more internal upset or confusion.

Therefore, on the way to achieving our goals, it is important to feel contended ahead of their arrival and be in a positive state of mind as if they were here today.

It is vital that we create a contended life now, and enjoy the journey or process that is involved in achieving our objectives, rather than just enjoying the outcome.

I know when writing my book, I created a mock book cover and kept it on my desk, which was motivating and brought satisfaction ahead of its completion.

At the end of the day, life is too short to wait to be happy. We can usually find something or someone to be grateful for now, and joyfully walk toward other avenues of fulfillment as well.

What helps you feel contented?

The Right Relationship Starts with You

Roll with It

At some point in our life, we all experience times when something doesn’t go our way, even when we have taken all the right actions.

For instance, we might have returned to school to study a particular trade, but didn’t land our dream job right out of school. Or we might have been turned down for a promotion we worked hard for, or didn’t get the dream house we desired after saving for many years.

It is normal to have certain expectations about the outcomes we desire. However, if we don’t get the results we want, then we have to let go in the present moment, and trust that the outcome will be better for us down the road.

Letting go, and accepting a particular outcome doesn’t mean giving up or abandoning our dreams altogether, it just means we might have to find another way, or move in a different direction for the time being.

Experiencing any disappointment can be a challenge while we are going through it, and it is usually only in hindsight, that we can see the blessings behind the postponements.

Thankfully, we usually end up finding a better job, starting our own company, or finding a better house than the one we originally planned on.

However, in the meantime, a good way to move through the waiting process is to cultivate a feeling of gratitude for the things we already have, and feel the appreciation that ensues.

 

What 5 things are on your gratitude list today?

 

The Right Relationship Starts with You

 

Choose Your Word of the Year

Happy 2018!

Hope your new year has started off well.

Like many of us, at the beginning of each year I like the practice of choosing a single word or mantra, as a guiding force and direction for the 12 months ahead, instead of making resolutions.

Usually, selecting a word or phrase is an intuitive nudge from within.

For me, like last year, I am keeping my three word mantra, Keep Your Power.

So, for example, whenever I find myself worrying, I can internally utter the words, “Keep Your Power,” as a great reminder to not allow my peace to be disturbed by internal fear thoughts, and to upgrade my thoughts to something more positive.

Additionally, my mantra reinforcement can help to keep from reacting to external comments or circumstances, by remembering to not take the words or actions of others personally, thereby reducing feelings of hurt or anger.

It may sound like an easy task to keep our power, but almost all of us can attest to unintentionally giving away our peace of mind to someone else who pushes our buttons, and affects the way we think, feel, or behave.

That said, since we only have control over how we respond to external stimulus, or even to our own thoughts, and feelings, it’s important to have awareness practices in place to assist us in making healthier choices, and take more beneficial actions.

Some of those actions might be a dedicated meditation time, or special readings, that lift our awareness and feelings to a higher place.

Sometimes responding means to speak up for yourself, and resist the habit of staying silent for people pleasing purposes.

Even saying Don’t be mean in 2018 is a helpful reminder to put kindness first, when frustrations arise, and we’re tempted to react otherwise.

What positive words or mantras speak to you this year?

The Right Relationship Starts with You

See Yourself However You Choose

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we areor, as we are conditioned to see it.”

Dr. Stephen Covey

One of the great things about our having an incredible mind is that we can use it however we choose.

We can use it to think loving thoughts about ourselves and others, or use it for the condemnation of both.

Either way is our choice.

Many of us never ask ourselves how we came to feel about ourselves the way we do. Usually, we are conditioned to see the world and ourselves in a certain way based on the environmental influences of our parents and peers.

Unfortunately, many of us have drawn faulty conclusions or adopted disempowering beliefs that were based on our interpretations of others behaviors toward us.

For example, if a caregiver was harsh in their treatment or words toward us, we may have interpreted that behavior as having to do with our being unlovable, instead of understanding that they have an issue with appropriately expressing themselves.

However, as we grow into adulthood, we become increasingly accountable for developing our own belief systems and changing the lens we have been looking through.

After all, what we choose to believe about ourselves has immense consequences in how we behave in the external world and how we feel in our internal world.

Fortunately, since our beliefs are learned, they can be unlearned and reconditioned in our favor. This is often easier said than done because our beliefs have become so ingrained and are such a part of us due to repetition in our thoughts.

However, writing down our own personal history or story can help us find and uproot any limiting beliefs that may be hanging out in our subconscious mind.

This exercise can be a fun adventure like a scavenger hunt.

Gaining awareness of what is not serving us can be an incredible gift toward challenging distorted beliefs or upgrading any thoughts that might be making us feel bad.

Once we locate a belief that is not serving our highest good, we can repeat an empowering refrain such as ‘I am willing to release this negative belief, and replace it with something more beneficial to my highest self.’

Since repetition got us into the beliefs we currently have, repetition can get us out.

What phrase will you repeat?

 

 

 

Raise Your Energetic Vibration

As a tribute to Louise Hay, the prominent author and speaker, I am reposting a former blog article of mine, which demonstrates the significant impact of her affirmations, and exhibits the powerful influence they can have in our lives.

One affirmation I particularly like is “Life Loves Me.” She suggested saying it throughout the day as a powerful mantra to increase our energy, attract positive experiences, and just feel great.

This, and similar positive declarations can instantly shift our mood, and feelings to a higher place, as opposed to the depressive state that often follows a negative statement such as “Life is one problem after another.”

Additionally, I have found that when combining our affirmations with the familiar technique listed below, we can turbocharge our energy levels as well.

  • Find a quiet and peaceful place where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Close your eyes and take several deep breaths.
  • Breathe in good thoughts, soothing images, and peaceful outcomes.
  • Breathe out tension, stress, anxiety and fear.
  • Select a positive statement or series of statements such as, “I am healed,” “I am well,” “Life loves me” or “Only good lies before me.”
  • Introduce those affirmations while you visualize a ball of light entering the top of your head and traveling down to the tips of your toes, spreading a healing energy throughout your body.
  • Repeat this as many times as you need to clear away any unhelpful thoughts, or projections that cause an internal disturbance.

As stated in my book, and offered through personal coaching, by deliberately focusing our mind and body in this positive direction, we will allow more room in our life for serenity and peace. This is especially true during challenging times or preventing some stress related conditions in the first place.

What positive words or practices work best for you?

 

Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness

Several years ago on this blog, I shared about a profound forgiveness experience I had with my Dad who had been very abusive when I was growing up. My Mom had died on this December date when I was 10 years old, and he became my sole guardian.

However, the purpose of this post is not to focus on all the negative accounts of my upbringing but to focus on the healing power of forgiveness, which is the best gift we can give ourselves.

That said, back in 2000 when I first got the call that my father was dying, I had a lot of concerns about the whole situation. We hadn’t seen each other for quite some time, and I wasn’t sure seeing him again was in anyone’s best interest.

However, my wise mentor and coach at the time encouraged me to see him, and said that I’d be going to heal myself and not as a favor for him.

So, I hesitantly went to where he was hospitalized, and upon arrival, I saw a man I didn’t recognize. He was no longer the big and tall man I remembered but actually looked quite frail, and was uncharacteristically, not in control of his surroundings.

Over the course of several months, my siblings and I took turns visiting with him, so that he was never alone. Then, on one particular day, when my sister and I were on our way out of the hospital, I got this extremely strong internal push to return to his hospital room.

So, I quickly turned around and headed back toward his room with my sister following behind. Once inside, I approached his bedside, which she said was like a scene from a movie, with the director calling out, “action.”

I walked right up to my dad and said, “Hi dad just wanted to come back and tell you that I love you.”

He said, “I love you too,” which are words I never heard from him before.

My sister, who was in the back of the room silently observing the whole scene, said that the nurses in the room had stopped in their tracks while these unplanned and unexpected words were coming out of my mouth.

Soon after that he died.

My mentor had been right about my going to see him, and how healing it would be for me, and I suspect it was for him as well. I would have missed out on this great opportunity, if I hadn’t taken the action and gone to see him, in spite of my misgivings.

I would have missed out on the internal freedom and good feelings that resulted from the experience, as it helped me to heal through much of the emotional charge and pain surrounding my past.

Forgiving another is not about condoning, reconciling, minimizing or letting the offending party off the hook, but letting ourselves off the hook from carrying around the pain that resides in our minds and hearts.

Forgiveness is a process and not an overnight matter but continues to be the best cure for resentment, anger and all other forms of internal suffering.

Therefore, it is extremely important to courageously take the necessary steps to release ourselves from the negativity and grief that may be keeping us stuck.

A few methods that can assist us in this process are:

  1. Writing a letter to the offending party and expressing all the hurt that we have inside but not mailing it.
  2. Praying for the resented person in order to get the spiritual help, and courage to release the potent anger within.
  3. Being willing and open to follow the guidance, opportunities and situations that present themselves toward our healing.
  4. Learning and understanding that hurt people tend to hurt other people, and their behavior isn’t because there is something wrong or unlovable about us.
  5. Talking to a professional or an understanding friend to discuss and process the negative feelings we have about a particular person, memory or situation.

We learn that it is up to us to ask for help and come to terms with our experiences. No matter what our relationship is with our fathers or anyone else, let today and this holiday represent the healing power of forgiveness.

What processes help you to forgive?

Action Step:

If you are struggling with unpleasant feelings and thoughts about someone in your life; ask in meditation that you be shown the way to forgiveness, and be given the courage to follow the actions you are guided to take.