Are You Having A Positive Impact On This World?

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It is getting harder and harder to come up with creative ideas each week for my blog. Would love to hear from you! What do you want to hear more about? What do you want to learn more about? What interests you? I am here to be a blessing to you after all! I appreciate any feedback on potential topics of interest.
This week I have been thinking about the small things; the small things we do that may have a big impact on others. It seems all too easy to minimize who we are; minimize the value we each have. Have you often wondered what you are contributing to this world? Maybe not; maybe you are actively engaged in some sort of ministry like Marianne Williamson or Wayne Dyer. Well, if neither Marianne nor Wayne is reading this (and the countless other who are in the public eye) then sometimes you may wonder if you matter; if you are contributing enough.
I don’t think this is a bad question to ask. It is good to evaluate where your energies are directed and if you are happy with that direction. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget the bigger picture. The ‘whole’ if you will. You are more than just your daily routine. However, in that daily routine you can contribute much in ways you may not imagine as significant. Often it is the small things that may matter most.
Maybe it’s giving the person in line the few extra cents they needed to pay their bill. Or maybe it is helping someone pick up their mess after they dropped their bag. Maybe it is letting the person who has fewer groceries than you go ahead of you in line. The smile you shared with the woman on the elevator may be just enough to brighten her day. Taking time to make and deliver a welcome pie to your new neighbors. These may all seem too simple however, you never know what kind of day or week that person has had. You may be just the friendly gesture she or he needs to make it another day. Never minimize these small caring acts.
I remember when I was in graduate school (a long time ago) and I was in need of money. Someone anonymously left me $20.00 in an envelope! I still remember it today! I imagine you can think of small things that meant a lot to you. I am not saying that the big gestures aren’t important too, however, today I want to remind you the importance random acts of kindness. I read a quote yesterday that sums it up. It is written by Desmond Tutu and reads “Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put all together that overwhelm the world.” How awesome is that! Post this quote someone where you can read it daily.

What’s Wrong With My Lover?

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Life is an interesting journey. It seems the older we get the more twists and turns come along. For many of us finding a partner, a mate, has been our main agenda. In our younger years we assumed we would grow up and meet a wonderful mate, get married and live happily ever after! What has happened?
As we all know from the divorce rate, marriages are not doing well. Couples, whether married or not, are having trouble staying together through the many challenges life brings into their relationships. The story we always imagined for ourselves is not reading the way we had hoped.
What is going on? I want to discuss one significant issue that I believe has a great impact on our relationship’s success or failure. I often say to clients that the two greatest things we do in life are being a partner and/or being parent, yet there is no training required for either. That is amazing! The only preparation we usually have is from our family of origin and our past love relationships. I strongly believe one of the best things we can do for our relationship is to become healthier ourselves prior to getting seriously involved with someone.
So what about those of us who are already in a committed relationship, divorced, or remarried? It is never too late. Often you need to start with yourself. It’s easy to become very discouraged and negative with our significant other. While many of your complaints may be valid, the only person you have control over is you. Check out your expectations. What are they? Where did they come from? Are they realistic? I remember growing up my favorite fairytale was Cinderella! (That really set me up for failure!) Think about the music you listen to and the message it is sending you about love and what it should be like!
Often we have many of our own unmet needs. Maybe you never felt loved as a child. Maybe you never felt you were good enough for one of your parents? Consciously or unconsciously we often expect our partner to fill our voids. Often they do initially, but fall short down the road. Address the parts that are about you. Become clear on what you need to heal within yourself, and what aspects of your relationship need improvement. I understand this is often a fine line but, it is one worth exploring before you make a decision about beginning or ending a relationship. The person you have the most influence over is you! Best to look there first.

How Do You Compare Yourself to Others?

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How many of you are willing to admit that you compare yourself to others in one way or another? I am pretty sure that most of us have done this at some time in our lives if not still. Sometimes I think it can happen so automatically that we may not even realize we are doing it. It is as if we are just so accustomed to it that it seems normal. Do any of you relate?

Essentially it seems to be a form of competition. I am sure this historically stems far back in our history and would be an interesting study, however for the sake of this blog I will just put this truth out there and you can research it on your own. Sadly, today we as a culture carry this generational issue with us in our families, society, education, occupation and relationships of all kinds.

I was pondering the beginnings of this comparing one against another in our own lives. Think back to your childhood. How were you doing this then? Did you have many siblings? That comparison can start right in your own home. Maybe one sibling received better grades than you. Maybe you thought one was prettier. I won’t venture into how parents may contribute, however, I know the comparisons often starts in our own family unit; intentional or not.

In my family I was the oldest with a sibling that was four years younger than me. I was naturally athletically gifted; all genetics. I also had opportunity given to me to use those gifts. I tended to be good at whatever I tried athletically. I was also naturally outgoing. My sibling on the other hand was not naturally athletic and did not have a naturally outgoing personality. The reasons for his comparison to me are many, some natural being that I was the older sibling. Sadly, he didn’t have help identifying his strengths and finding his special gifts.

Then there are the wonderful school ages. Comparisons start early. From clothes you wear to how you look to who your friends are, etc. These travel throughout middle school, high school and into higher education. Assuming one survives those times you then continue this pattern into your adult life. How do you do this in your life today?

I believe changing this tendency of comparing oneself to others takes intentional mental focus. It won’t decrease just because you don’t like it. Most importantly is to become aware that you are doing it. Even if nothing else, that is a significant start in interrupting this automatic process.

I have many creative ideas on how to alter this habit once you are consciously recognizing it, however, for the sake of limiting the length of this entry I will recommend that once you recognize that you are comparing yourself then take a moment and write a reframe or an affirmation. It may be “My name is Nancy not Sue and three things that are special about me are…” This redirects you back to yourself and the positive truths about you. In summary, start recognizing when you are doing this and then shift the comparison to reminding yourself to focus on you and your positive qualities.

Jumping off The Drama Triangle!

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Knowing what you think, feel, need and want is an essential key to staying of the dysfunctional drama triangle. Today is the promised follow-up to last week’s blog which gave you a brief introduction to the Karpman Drama designed by Steven Karpman. Please review that blog prior to reading this.

My initial advice is that you become more familiar with the positions on the drama triangle so you will be more attuned to patterns in yourself, your relationships and others. Most importantly, be clear about your primary; or starting gate position. Know more about the specific ways that you can be hooked in to that position. This is especially challenging with on-going relationships where you may have been actively functioning in your primary position and are now making conscious attempts to discontinue that way of relating to the other.

For the rescuer one of the primary ways of being drawn into your role is guilt. Guilt is a good cue to you that you may be falling back into your helper-fixer role. Give yourself permission to feel guilt without having to act on it. The person or persons you have been rescuing are likely to make statements that will produce the guilt feelings. Learn to handle being uncomfortable. Remind yourself that it isn’t your responsibility to always be available when someone asks for something. You can say no.

Also important for all positions including the rescuer is to start identifying your needs, feelings and wants and begin to ask for you need to be met. Ask for help when you need it. Admit that you do sometimes need it. Allow yourself to form mutually vulnerable relationships. Learn that your needs, wants and desires are okay and not selfish.

Getting out of the persecutor role is often a great struggle for the person in this position. It involves a great amount of risk. You have learned to survive by using strong denial skills. You will need to stop blaming everyone and everything else. You will need to begin to face yourself and your vulnerable feelings. You will need to take responsibility for yourself and feel your uncomfortable feelings. Taking ownership of how you have hurt others is also difficult for many. Learning to build relationships that you can feel safe enough to take the risk of being human and being someone’s equal.

You are capable and worthy would be a new tune to hum for the victim. It is time to start taking responsibility for your life; your choices etc. You may need to seek professional advice, read come good self-esteem books or join an empowerment group of some kind. Building confidence in yourself and your decision making abilities is essential. This isn’t about being perfect. Life is a process of trying and then trying again.

Being conscious of the dynamics of the drama triangle is a wonderful tool to help create and maintain healthy relationships. As long as you continue with this dysfunctional way of relating you will never truly be happy. We each come alive to our self when we see and honor who we truly and what we rightfully need and deserve.

How Could I Be That Selfish?

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What do you think it is that makes it so hard for many of you to put your own self-care first? Is it selfish to think of your needs? If you struggle with this I encourage you think about what it is for you that makes this idea difficult or uncomfortable. It may be that you were taught this verbally or non-verbally by your caretakers. Or it may also originate from cultural or religious learnings. Whatever has influenced you to believe it is “bad”, or “selfish” to think of yourself and your needs usually is learned young and has significant power over you; sometimes even at a subconscious level.

I often use the analogy that we have an unconscious rule-book we are living by. If you don’t become aware of some of these rules that may be hurting you then you will continue to struggle. I invite you to think of some of the rules you may have learned about thinking about yourself and your needs. Write as many down as you can come up with. Here are some examples:

It is wrong to put myself first
It is more important to help others
Others feelings are more important than my own
My needs aren’t important
Good girls are never selfish

Hopefully you were able to personalize your list of rules that are influencing you. Each person’s may be very unique or if we compared them we may find similarities. Once you have listed 6-8 rules then I invite you to evaluate how you can correct these so the new message will be more helpful to you. For example, “It is wrong to put myself first,” might be corrected to “It is important that I put myself first sometimes.” Or, “Taking care of myself is just as important as helping others.” You can chance any messages that aren’t serving your best interest.

This can be done with any of our rules about any topic, but for today I am focusing on the topic of self-care because I find so many of the client’s I work with have great trouble with this. They come to me depressed, drained and often with physical health issue all because they have not learned how to take care of their emotional selves. You are all grown up now and no one else is going to do this for you! I vote that you learn more about how to give yourself permission to take care of your needs.

Does Your Life Reflect What You Value Most?

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As you go through your day today I encourage you to ask yourself, “Does this day reflect what I value most?” Values are important because living in harmony with them brings fulfillment and contentment. If you are not aware of what you value most, then how will you have a harmonious life? When you are out of harmony with your values, you will be unhappy and unfulfilled. I am sure many of us would like to just not work or not have to worry about money and then we will be happy. I am not talking about living unrealistically. I am talking about becoming your own director in your life instead of feelings as if you have no power. Knowing how you really feel and what matters to you most is the first step in empowering yourself.

Living in a way that reflects one’s values is not just about what you do, it is also about how you do things. For instance, my life is very hectic. Between working full-time, managing my own business, and raising two very active boys-along with fitting in working out, my husband, chores, etc.-life can be challenging. However, how I do all these activities needs to reflect my core values.

Identifying your values is one of the first steps to writing your own script in life. You will have fewer regrets in life if you start focusing and taking responsibility for where you are and where you want to be. You will be your best self when you take time to understand what you really need, feel, and want. You are the only one who can do that.

So as you go through your day and your week, take time to pause and ask yourself, “Am I behaving and living in a way that honors what I value?” The more often your answer is yes, the more content you will be.

Are You A Real Winner?

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Is the person who has risen to CEO of a company really the winner? My wonderment is how did that person climb the ladder to that position? Did they rise to that position with grace? Is he or she now in that position because of their true competencies? Was he or she able to display those competencies without having to degrade others?

To me the real difference between a winner and a loser is how one wins or loses. It is the character one displays in the process. Do you have to dominate, intimidate, shame or double-cross the other? Is that part of your strategy in winning? Is this what we as a people want to honor as a ‘winner’?

I always tend to prefer the win-win position. To me the win-win position is when both my needs and the others are respected. That doesn’t mean I don’t secure a position or that I have to let the other have the position I am seeking. It means that I earn my position in a way that is honorable and respectful. I don’t have to cheat or be scandalous to get to the top (whatever getting to the top means). So, while we see these types of negative characteristics in the work place and sporting events, it is also true in the game of life.

So what is a true winner? Maybe it is the one who may have lost the competition or didn’t receive the promotion. If that person knows he or she tried their hardest and did so in an honest fashion. If she or he was able to give it their best effort and be accepting of this truth; if the person is able to accept that the other person on that given day or in that given situation was the “winner” so to speak; isn’t that person displaying winning qualities?

I encourage you to examine yourself and how you succeed and how you handle your defeats. Can you look yourself in the mirror and feel good about how you achieve both. Does how you win or lose reflect your positive traits? Becoming the highest version of you is the greatest “win” of all!

What Are Your Personal Gifts?

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For many of us this time of the year is a time of gift giving and all that entails. And this thought about gifts brings to my mind the concept of taking time to identify and claim our own personal gifts. Possible this is something you have already done and are aware of and you can name these gifts and are already utilizing your gifts.

However, I am cognizant that for some of you it is difficult for you to acknowledge your own good and your many talents and gifts. So I implore you this holiday to allow this to be the gift you give yourself: taking time to time to identify some of your unique personal gifts.

Personal gifts fall on a broad spectrum. Possibly one of your gifts is that you are very creative or crafty. I have many personal friends who are so creative with just about anything. They can turn a box top or old can into a fantastic gift. Your personal gift may be that you are very welcoming and attentive to others. Maybe you are an exceptional hostess. Or perhaps you are very intelligence. Or maybe you are good at fixing just about anything.

The range of personal gifts is so broad that I cannot name them all here. I will tell you that personal gifts are not always tangible like the creative or mechanically gifted. Many personal gifts are ones we cannot see or touch; like one who is very intuitive.

So for instance, I believe that one of my personal gifts is that I am extremely social; I am a strong people person. And when I don’t use that gift it adversely affects me. My mood and energy is better when I am actively engaging in my personal gift. This gift is something I was born with and needs to be honored.

I want you to think about personal gifts as more than just what you can do; but more of who you are. I hope you will take time to name some of your personal gifts. And as you do this notice how you feel as you name them. And as you name them I invite you to claim these as authentically yours. I encourage you to examine yourself and ask yourself “How often am I using my personal gifts?” The more you engage on daily basis with your personal gifts the happier you will be.

Is It Ok To Love All Of Me?

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Self-love; most of us have heard this concept, but what is it really? You must love yourself before you can truly love someone else. How many times have you heard that one? But, what is this whole self-love thing? Does it mean that you should always praise, adore and shower yourself with gifts? Does it mean you think everything you do and say is wonderful? What connotations come to your mind when you think of self-love?

Here are some things I do know. We are not perfect. We are all human which means we all have human frailties. We all make mistakes. Mistakes are part of the way we learn. So, self-love is not about being perfect or performing perfectly. Self-love is more about accepting our imperfections and being compassionate about the fact of that we can and do make mistakes. Acknowledging that even though we make mistakes we are still ‘good’ is essential. The more you can accept that you are imperfect and yet still good, the more you will feel love and compassion towards yourself.

Self-love is about grasping that your essence is good. It is accepting that you are light, even though sometimes you feel dark. Accepting the ‘whole’ of you is a part of spiritual maturity. Learning to be gracious towards yourself in your non-perfect form is essential. Self-love is a consistent commitment to remembering who your authentic self is: good. Not perfect, but good. Your acknowledgement of your light and attention to your good is what helps to manage the dark.

For many this concept of being ‘good’ in essence is difficult to accept. It is during our very young formative years that our self-concept is formed. Our primary caretakers and other important people in our young lives lay the foundation of our beliefs about our self. At these young vulnerable years we are innocent to this indoctrination. If your caretakers mirrored negative, harmful, critical messages, then those are what you took on as true; whether consciously or unconsciously.

If you have trouble absorbing the concept of you being essentially ‘good’ then maybe your younger learning’s were more negative and are subconsciously still controlling your beliefs about yourself. The good news is that you weren’t born with these negative opinions. You can learn to bring these negative messages to your conscious mind and begin to correct them. It is an involved process that requires being very intentional. However, you can change your beliefs about yourself and slowly, consistently learn to belief the truth: that at your core you are good!

Is It Time To Remodel Something In Your Life?

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We are currently in the beginning phases of doing our first major remodeling in our home. It happens to be our kitchen. It has been interesting to watch as they completely tore apart what was there and now there is an empty shell waiting to be rebuilt. And I was thinking of the parallel of this in each of our lives. Of the concept of remodeling; of tarring down what isn’t working and rebuilding; assessing what parts of our lives need to be completely tore apart and built anew; what parts possible need some resurfacing or some upgrades.

So I invite you to think of this concept of remodeling, rebuilding, making anew; and how this applies to you in your life. Are there areas in your life that you think need a complete overhaul? Or perhaps there are areas that you would just like to freshen up and make anew. This could have to do with your career and work life. It could be as extreme as wanting to start a whole new career. That may involve additional education or certifications. It could mean starting at a lower end position. This could be an area you want a complete overhaul.

Or possibly the area that needs attention is your relationships. It could be your love relationship that you think you may want to change some old patterns of relating that are not working and explore new ways of relating to your partner that would be more productive. It could be your parenting. Maybe it’s time to consider “Perhaps my ways of attempting to parent are out dated.” Possibly I ought to research some of the better ways to deal with my child or teenager. Maybe it is time to be open to new suggestion and avenues in dealing with your children or child.

A common area that people need some upgrades is with their physical health. This includes diet, exercise etc. Often one needs to do a very mindful assessment of your eating and exercise habits. Perhaps it’s time to start watching your cholesterol and change your food choices to help control this. Maybe you need to cut back on your sweets. Becoming more contentious overall about what you are putting in your mouth. Possibly it’s time to create a new ritual with exercise.

So as I watch our kitchen be torn apart and now looks like nothing attractive at all, with the anticipation of what will come, it brings to light the encouragement we each can use about what we need to remodel in our own lives. And I believe it would be wise if every six months you do an assessment of how you think you are doing in the core areas of your life. And that is the primary purpose of the book I have written, “Be Happy Now! Become The Active Director of Your Life.” It helps you to evaluate your emotional, mental, physical, financial and relational health. Every six months use this book as a tool to help you determine if you are being the active director of your life or if you need to make some proactive choices to claim that position.

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