You know, it's really been a while since I've written - I can't believe it, but it's been close to a year!!
I'd like to take a moment to reflect back on that year and tell a little story. One year ago today, I was with a boyfriend, in an apartment, teaching for my first semester ever, working at a job I despised, and hoping that I could find a way to leave and do something I love. Today, I'm married (to that same boyfriend), in a house, teaching for my third semester, in school for my doctorate, and getting paid to help with research (which I love). I am consistently astounded by how much my life has changed in just one year. And then, to top that off, I think to myself... "oh my word, just one year... in the grand scheme of things, on year is (hopefully) 1/90th of my whole life!!" It seems that we, at times, get so caught up in all that is wrong with our lives, and with how unhappy we are, and then we're rendered hopeless and we feel like there is no way we can change. This is SO not the case.
Side step to my story. About two years ago, I began to write letters to myself to be opened one year in the future. Seriously. I would write letters detailing where I wanted to be and what I wanted my life to look like. I remember the first letter, I didn't think twice about it (I still forget what I write until I open them a year later...), but when I opened it, I was absolutely thrilled to see that my life was just the way I wanted it the year before!! I'm not even joking! I still write letters to myself throughout the year (usually two per year), and this is why. It seems like, for me, when I vision what I'm doing and I have a goal in mind, even when that goal is not at the very front of my brain, I'm working to achieve it. Does that make sense? Even if I'm not always consciously thinking about my goal, it's like I've kept it on a 'subconscious' file in my head, and my actions end up aligning with that goal. Amazing. After the first year of letter writing, my life was further changed when I watched The Secret. Whether or not you agree with it or the message is beside the point. The points is that my life, my view on life, my perception, my thought processes - all of that - were irrevocably changed. Literally, I could not go back to thinking and seeing the world the way I had prior to watching.
I'm not here to tell you to watch it and do what it says - I'm here to tell you that one thing, just one little, seemingly inconspicuous thing, can forever change your life. For me, it started with these simple little letters to myself. Today, it has morphed into so much more. I create my own life. I make my happiness. If I'm unhappy with something, I resolve it or change my situation. This isn't about preaching to write yourself letters (although I would highly recommend it :)...), and it's not about telling you to watch The Secret - this is about taking the power back. YOU are in control of your life, of your actions, of your happiness. It's YOURS. Your feelings are yours, your perceptions are yours, even your anger is yours. This is what it boils down to. Do you let life happen to you? Do you feel like you're a victim in this life, and that you can't do anything about it?! You are not a victim, you play an imperative role. And I end this with just one question... are you happy with your life?
This blog was inspired by my brother's facebook post. :) It said something along the lines of "Paint a picture you want to see." I responded to his with, "What picture do YOU want to see?"
Sounds like a simple enough question, right? Okay then, what DO you want? See! It's harder than it seems! Where do you see yourself next year? In six months? With what type of mate? Working where? Doing what? All these questions seem so overwhelming!! If somebody asked you this right now, your first thoughts would probably be, "Uh, I don't know... maybe (insert possible future)." We don't spend a lot of time thinking about what we specificaly want. However, we do spend a lot of time thinking about what we don't have, what we don't want, and how unhappy we are in our current situations (some of us, anyway). But there's nothing good that comes out of those thoughts, unless you figure out what you DO want and then think of ways to get there.
Here's the idea behind specifying what you want: you focus on what you want and then, unconsciouly/subconsciously/consciously, you start to gravitate towards that desire. It's true. When you don't actively think about what you want or where you want to be, then you just exist. Existing is nice, but what does it get you? It keeps you alive, but it also keeps you where you are, and in some cases, where you are is stagnant. If you think about what you want and where you want to be, then you're progressing. Progression is key.
I'm keeping this one short and sweet. Sorry for my hiatus (I've been a busy lady!). :):) As always, feel free to leave comments. I love opposing thoughts and viewpoints, as well as support.
Differences between men and women was the final discussion for my class the other day. We just finished a chapter on neuropsychology stuff (and the brain), and the final discussion was whether men and women REALLY differ. Is it due to their brain/genetics or are they 'created' by their environment? I was very much enjoying sitting back and listening to the insights of my students and then it hit me like a ton of bricks...
What IS the sole difference between men and women? What is it about relationships that they fail? I can guess what you're thinking - well, Tara, it's because people feel misunderstood, unappreciated, unloved, etc. I hear you on those points, and I agree. However, my question goes further. What is at the core of these feelings?! Feelings like the ones listed don't just happen overnight. They start slow and then build and build until, eventually, they explode! Think of it as boiling water. The water is analagous to the negative feelings. The burner, however, is where it all starts. If the burner were never on, then the water would never boil.
So, what IS at the core of relationship failures, differences between men and women, and all the like?!
One. Simple. Word.
That's it!!! Communication is the dominant force in relationship woes. Whether the communication is about feelings, cleaning, sex, parenting, or the like, the common factor is communication.
I realize that this seems too simple of an explanation, but it really isn't. Communication can be a hard thing to perfect, especially between two spouses, AND when there are different methods of communication. That's right. There are many types of communication. We have the passive-aggressive communicator, the nagger, and the exploder. These three are just the tip of the iceberg. What I want you to do is read the description of each of these types and figure out where you fit.
The passive aggressive communicator is the king/queen of subtle hints. They will never say exactly what they want, but you better believe they'll hint at it. Here's a good example: Cindy wants Bob to help with the dishes more often. She feels like she always does the dishes and she is getting downright fed up with it! Being the P.A.C., do you think she tells him that she would like more help? Nope.
Cindy says to Bob, "Oh man, honey, did you see all those dishes left by the sink?" Bob, "Yup."
C, "Yeah, there are a lot. I guess one of us will have to pick them up sometime."
C, "Yeeaahhh. I mean, there are just so many. Maybe we could do them together sometime?"
B, "That's fine."
Well, that doesn't seem so bad, right? Bob seemed willing to help. WRONG. Bob IS willing to help, but he was not given a date and time, which is what he needs. If you fall in the realm of a P.A.C., a good habit to get into is setting specifics for your plans/goals/chores, etc. When you set and communicate specifics, then there leaves no room for later, when Bob says, "Oh, well honey, I didn't know you wanted my help tonight! I'm watching the game! Tell you what, I'll help tomorrow. How about that?"
Do you think you're a P.A.C.? What else could you do to be more assertive in communication with your spouse?!
Alright. This little communication style is never very fun for the recipient. Have you ever known somebody who just can't seem to let anything go? This somebody could be a boss, a spouse, a friend, or a family member. You probably don't have to think long and hard to immediately pinpoint a certain someone who fits the bill. The nagger communication style is one that is like waves on a rock - erosion. The nagger will nag and nag and nag until whatever it is they're nagging at is done. What the nagger doesn't realize is that he/she is only making the recipient practice selective attention. The nagger doesn't stop at saying something once. The nagger says things over and over. Does this example sound like anybody you know?
Mom, "Tommy, clean your room. It's disgusting and a mess. I don't know how anybody could live there!"
Tommy, "Whatever, fine.
M, "Don't you whatever me. You better clean your room right now!"
T, "I AM!! Geez!"
M, "When I come in that room, it better be clean mister!" (walks in room) "Look at this! This is disgusting! And empty that trash can! Ugh, how my son lives in this, I don't know."
You get this gist. The nagger provides a constant tirade of verbal orders, directions, and/or criticisms. Does this sound like you?! Here's a good practice to get into. Say something once, and let it go. Yes, that's it. Let it go. That will be the hardest part of the whole practice, but it will make you AND the recipient feel so much better!! Well, to be honest, you may be high strung at first (because all of those words you want to spew are going to drive you crazy), but you will eventually be happy, and, as stated, the recipient will be happy! The positive is the future relationship. :)
Does the Nagger sound like you?!
This is one near and dear to my heart. While I am sure that I have used al three communication styles, this is the one that I always fell back on - and also the one that I hated the most because of how I felt during the whole process!!
Do you know that person who gets really mad, but they never say anything? This person will just stew under their breath about how unhappy they are, but when faced with their adversary, they'll smile and act as if everything is okay?! Or how about the person who fumes and fumes and fumes until they explode over something that seems mundane (men and women out there, I know you've dated somebody like this!!). Well, you guessed it, this type of person is an Exploder! This person is most like the boiling water. They won't say much to your face, because they expect that you know why they're mad when, in reality, that's not the case...
Are you this person?!
The reason I write about these is because of this: it is vital that we know and understand ourselves and our own communication styles before we start to "solve" our problems. Not knowing how you come across to somebody when you're communicating with them (especially a spouse during a tiff) is like fighting with the gloves off. It is SO important that we look inward and try to figure ourselves out. Really, we can't do anything but change ourselves, so why not start their with our communication styles?!
Keep on bettering yourself! It only gets better from this point on!! :)
I've been thinking about this blog a lot lately, and I've been contemplating what to write about. I've run the gamut from perceived meanings of quotes to focusing on actions and behaviors. I keep coming back to thoughts and power (I realize that doesn't make any sense, so keep reading...). :)
We've all struggled with our thoughts controlling us at some point. Probably every single one of us has. Whether you struggle with it on a daily basis (train thoughts*), or you just have random thoughts that you don't want, but can't get rid of. Or maybe you're one of those people who have no idea what I'm talking about. If so, read no further. This blog is for those who HAVE struggled, who continue to struggle, and who are looking for ways to end the struggle!! That's right! It ends today!!!
(*train thoughts are the thoughts that start small and keep gaining and gaining speed, and then the brakes go out and they can't stop unless they ram into something, and even then it's a huge disaster because a freight train just ran into a town square)
Well, technically I can't end your struggle, and it probably won't end in just one day... BUT, you CAN begin your journey to end!! And the good news is that the more you work towards this, the easier it becomes, and the happier you are!! It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? :)
The absolute first thing we have to do is accept ourselves (past and present). I harp on that a lot, don't I? Acceptance of oneself is a crucial component to growing. A typical response to a bad memory, fear, or unsettling feeling is to fight it. We don't want those types of thoughts and feelings in our head! We only want the good stuff!! How much we love our spouse or the happy memories of our childhood; nothing bad!! ::sigh:: I wish it was that easy. :)
In fighting bad memories, thoughts, and the like, we are giving those things power! We don't want to give them power! We want to give OURSELVES power. One's thoughts and one's self are two separate entities. We have to envision ourself as capable of anything and on the verge of flying into our blissful future. Conversely, the thoughts that we fight (and inadvertantly give power to) are the rocks that keep weighing us down. Sometimes they're the size of boulders!! We don't want to turn into Atlas! We want to free ourselves of the weight that holds us down! And here's what we do...
Next time your thoughts turn bad or those memories pop up, don't fight them. Just acknowledge them and accept that they exist. That's right, it's that easy! Just accept them! One's fear of the thoughts is what gives them so much power. When you accept them, they mean nothing. Accept that they have popped into your head, accept that you have some bad childhood memories, and accept that you know they exist, but you refuse to let them weigh you down. :)
I promisepromisepromise that you will eventually love your thoughts!! Maybe not right now, and maybe not today, but eventually. And loving your thoughts means that you don't have the weights holding you down, which leads to more self-acceptance, which opens more doors than ever before!!! It's an endless cycle of wonerfulness!!
Keep me posted on how you do!! :)
Our lives are centered around consistsency. We like knowing what to expect, when to expect it, and what the outcome will be. Even our bodies, at their most basic level, thrive on consistency. It's called homeostasis. Our bodies do whatever they have to do to get us at a consistent temperature (for example) so that we last as long as possible. It's innate. It's unstoppable. We like stability and consistency.
What's wrong with that statement? Factually (and opinion-wise), it's correct. Homeostasis is a part of our lives everyday, and humans thrive on consistency. Okay... so what's wrong with that statement? Nothing, you say? I'll tell you what's wrong with it - CHANGE HAPPENS!!!
It happens when you least expect it - in good or bad form. It happens when you don't want it to. It happens right when you feel like you're finally getting settled with whatever it is you're doing. It's like a Mack truck sometimes, it just plows into your life, throwing everything out of whack. Change is inevitable. That's what is wrong with that statement.
What's that you ask - what can I do about it?! Well, it's impossible to 1) control unexpected change, and 2) know when to expect it. Keeping those two points in mind, let's focus on what we CAN do: accept that change occurs. That's it! Just accept that there are times when you can control nothing, except choosing to accept or fight the change that occured.
Let's look at another aspect of change. Sometimes, it leads to better 'things,' such as opportunities, friendships, relationships, career growth. It is amazing what happens when you accept changes when they occur. Give it a whirl and keep me posted on the results!! :)
Are you the type of person who always puts yourself last? You know if you do. You think that other people need things more than you do, and that your role is to be 'that' person who is always willing to help others first and then put yourself last? You probably think that people really love this quality about you, and that you're so nice and thoughtful for always putting yourself last, right?
You heard me. Wrong!
In constantly putting yourself last, you are telling yourself (and others!!) that you are not worth it. You are covertly saying that other people are always more important, and that your needs are not worthy of being taken care of first. I cannot tell you WHY, especially without ever meeting you, but I can help you to stop ALWAYS putting others before yourself.
You know, I also want to point out that sometimes it's nice to put other people first. Key word: sometimes. However, always putting others first is not healthy. Do not say, "I can't help it, that's what people expect of me." (Are you the type that always does what others expect of you?) Instead, you should say, "I CAN put myself first. I am worthy of taking care of myself. I am my own most important person."
If you think you're one of those people, but don't want to be - contact me and we can help you set goals to learn how to put yourself first. We can start small and gather steam as we roll. :)
Do you ever feel that you are at a fork in the road? Maybe you feel like you're body is saying to do one thing, but your mind is saying to do another...? Why are these the hardest times to make decisions?!
How do you cope with this? What do you do in situations when you're not sure if you want to listen to your gut or your mind?
I have a situation like that on my hands right now. Do I talk myself into doing something that I feel unsure about? Even as I write, I realize how dumb my reasoning sounds. Of course I don't! Why would I talk myself into something that I didn't feel was right for me.
I don't mean to come across as new-agey, or anything of the like, but I do firmly believe that intuition is prevelant and powerful, and that we don't listen to it as much as we should. I keep feeling like I'm not sure of the path I think I want. On the flip side, I don't want what I'm saying to be miscronstrued as only listening to impulsive feelings and never thinking things through. That's not at all what I mean. What I'M talking about is this: having consistent unsettling feelings about something, but also thinking that the same something is a smart decision.
I've been weighing this decision heavily in my mind. When something fits with me, it FITS. It works with all of me - do you know what I mean? When I am happy with a decision, I am relieved, joyful, happy, excited, and pumped! When I'm not sure about something, I have those feelings of unsettlement, even if I keep trying to tell myself that I'm making the right decision. I know, deep down, that I'm not.
I guess that's the answer then. I can't preach about listening to your body and it's feelings when I don't do the same. I will not take the 'if-y' fork, I will wait until I am thrilled with my decision. I advise anybody in a similar situation to do the same thing. :):)
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
This is one of my absolute favorite quotes. Take one more minute and read it again. Seriously, just read it one more time...
This is such a powerful statement. Her way with words is amazing.
Now, on to the deeper stuff. What do you think it means?! Take another minute and think about what it means. (I'll wait...). ... She is speaking to YOU when she writes this. In essence, she is saying that we are afraid of our successes (!!!), and not of our failure. She is saying that we feel "bad" when we're gorgeous, successful, funny, brilliant, and fabulous. She is saying that we act humble and play down our amazing qualities so that others won't feel insecure or lesser than us. That's what she is saying. Well... do you? Do you accomplish something great, and then feel like you shouldn't say anything so others won't feel bad? Do you receive a compliment and immediately brush it off and turn the conversation to something else? Do you work your a$$ off for a promotion, receive it, and then attest that it was due to something outside of your control?! WHY?!?!
The way I see it, Marianne has it right. From my understanding, Marianne is saying that we should celebrate ourselves!!! Celebrate our successes, our beauty, our love for ourselves, and our talents!!! What do we accomplish by holding ourselves back?! Nothing!!! We accomplish nothing except resentment, anger, and jealousy of those who DON'T hold back!
Celebrate YOU! Be proud of what you've done! In doing so, you inadvertently push others to do the same! Before you know it, everybody around you will love themselves, and that, my friend, will keep being contagious. You remember Pay It Forward. It's the same thing, but with happiness and attitudes. :):)
And when you have the days where you feel lousy (because they do happen), just go back and read Marianne Williamson. Then think about what it means for you. She knows how to straighten me out when I have an off day, and I hope that she can do the same for you fabulous people!! :)
Many times people will say that they don't have control over what happens to them. Their boss is the pits. Their car broke down. They can't do anything right.
This is not true.
That's right! Not true!!
I'm not disagreeing with anybody who says that they have had a bad day, or that they occasionally get unlucky. What I am disagreeing with is when people say they do not have control. Yes you do! You control you! You, literally, have control over every action you make. Every. Single. One.
C'mon, really, that's a big deal. You probably need to let that sink in for a minute or two...
Now, let's take this one step further. ::Ahem:: What do you NOT have control of in your life? I know that's what you're thinking about. "Well, she's writing this, but she doesn't know my story, and I can't control my boss, and I can't control traffic, etc, etc." Right you are. You cannot control your boss if he's not being nice, and you can't control the traffic when all lanes of the highway have shut down. BUT, you can control YOU. You control YOU. When you are angry with traffic, or when you're mad at your spouse/boss/friend, what can you control? YOU! Channel that anger into productive thinking and figure out where the argument/disagreement/miscommunication (insert problem) went wrong. Then make a conscious decision to look out for that in the future. THEN, move on. You have just controlled yourself. When traffic sucks, accept it. Sometimes traffic isn't on our side. Call where you're headed, let them know you'll be late, and then rreellllaaaxxxx. Turn on some mellow music and hang out. You'll be there for a while, right? So why stay angry? Control yourself.
I find it immensely refreshing knowing that I control myself, and that people don't make decisions for me. When you start down this path, it's empowering!! Start with something small. If you get the wrong drink at a restaurant, tell the server/bartender! Instead of staying mad, you're taking control! Even doing something this small will make you feel good, and that will snowball! It's amazing!!
Call or email me with comments, questions, and/or inquiries about Life Coaching!! :)
I'm going to keep this short and sweet.
There is an easy way to make yourself feel "better." It's simple. It requires less than five minutes per day. It can be done anytime of the day. It is easy. It is costless. It is speaking positively!
Here's what you can do (I promise, it is wonderful): take a few minutes every morning (or evening, or afternoon...) to say something positive about yourself. Look in the mirror when you say it. Be sincere with yourself. You are your own favorite person, and if you're not now, then you will be by the time you do this for a few weeks!
Seriously though, look at yourself in the mirror every day and say one good thing about yourself. Even if you don't believe it, you will come to believe it. Tell yourself that you are beautiful or handsome, that you love yourself, that you are funny, smart, confident, eccentric, silly, happy, or anything else that you want! It is easy-peasy, it is effective, and it yields such POSITIVE results. :):)
One more thing before I go... if you start to feel anxious, sad, dreary, or (insert negative emotion), then repeat your affirmation from earlier that day. Keep repeating over and over until you are happy happy happy! :)
This works, I promise. I look forward to hearing about results!