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Archive for Joy

How Do I Create a Healthy Relationship?

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When we are growing up we learn how to be in relationship from the family and community we are raised in.

As an adult we repeat these relationship patterns in the community and family we cultivate.

How do we know if we are creating healthy relationships? If we know we are not, how can we change it?

The experience of connection with another human being is the most primary of motivations. We are hard wired for this connection and it is how we experience our sense of self in the world.

What are my relationships reflecting back to me?

Ask yourself these Questions:

1) Do I feel able to express myself fully?

2) Is there space for my feelings and experience?

3) Are my choices supported?

4) Do I trust and feel trusted?

5) Can I say no without argument?

6) Am I keeping secrets ?

7) Am I safe to be vulnerable?

8) Am I safe to express anger?

9) Can we disagree?

10)  Do I feel respected?

Communication is the most important skill in relationship. How you are able to express yourself and how others communicate with you can tell you a great deal about the health of your relationships.

In the list above, if you answered yes to most of them you are doing well. There is always more room to grow but you are on the right track. If you answered no, then there are things you can start doing now to cultivate health in your existing relationships and attract new ones.

First and most important step: Start with yourself—Take time for yourself and make knowing yourself a priority. When your emotional tank is empty you are unable to be fully available and present because you are not in touch with what YOU need, feel and want. Knowing yourself is the most important and healthiest way you can express authentically in relationship.

Audit your boundaries: Are you safe? Are the places where you need more space and control of your life clear and intact? If not look at how to change the amount of time, space or investment you have in areas of your life where you feel insecure or off balance.

Express early and often: Often we hold back on telling our friends and family when we are unhappy or don’t like something. We may second guess ourselves or minimize the issue as way to avoid conflict. This actually creates more conflict.

One great skill to develop is to pay attention to your body and when you feel that twinge that you are not sure you want to go along say “I’m not sure” or “I need to think about it” This is not a NO but it sends the signal that you need more time to decide. Then you are more able to give an authentic YES or communicate clearly what needs to be adjusted for you to be OK.

Forgive your mistakes: You will always have room to grow, make mistakes and get it wrong. This is part of life. The key to health and happiness is to remember that it is a journey and an ongoing process, there is no final destination but the goal is to have as safe and enjoyable a journey as possible.

How Facebook helped me find my voice

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Like many people who were well into middle age when social media exploded onto the scene, I joined Facebook kicking and screaming in 2010. I resisted for a long time, joining the complainers that opined about how much time it took away from other things and kept them up late at night.

Truthfully, that is exactly what happened to me but you’ll never hear me complain. The reason is that Facebook helped me find my voice.

  • Before Facebook I didn’t know I needed a soapbox.
  • Before Facebook I didn’t know I cared about politics.
  • Before Facebook I didn’t know many of my friend’s birthday or that I would care that people acknowledge mine.
  • Before Facebook I had never heard of a flash-mob or why it is important to see cute animals at least once daily
  • Before Facebook I thought I only had a handful of friends, now I have many many more and I am glad to know them.
  • Before Facebook I had never experienced bullying online or felt the satisfaction of seeing someone’s mind change and soften after a heartfelt exchange.
  • Before Facebook I had never shown my sadness to anyone that wasn’t my closest confident and then had my feelings confirmed and supported in a few words by a group of people who really want me to know they care.
  • Before Facebook I didn’t really understand the huge racial divide that is breaking my heart and that I am now dedicating my life to heal.

I learn new things every day from blogs, pages and people whose thoughts and concerns I admire. Some of whom are people who I have never met who know me through a friend of a friend connected to an organization I care about. Oh yeah and and some really old friends who I haven’t clapped eyes on in 30 + years.

Before Facebook I would never have imagined that I could comment on something wonderful and enlightening posted by a total stranger from across the world. But now I can and I do. I feel connected to the world in a way I could never have been before and I love more, I feel more open-hearted, more curious and I care about what happens to people I have never met because I see a little more into their lives.

I feel more empowered to act on things because my friends care too.  When I see something wrong and it changes how I see the world, I can do something.  It is not nothing to have changed the conversation, to have planted seeds, to have opened up and let people know what I think and why they should consider thinking about it that way too.

Facebook helped me find my voice. I would not call myself an armchair activist because I am also involved in real organizations that exist outside of social media.   But even if I only spent time on Facebook, who says I don’t really have skin in the game?

Slacktivist is another term that gets tossed around. But I challenge that label and here’s why: Facebook gives me access I would never have on my own. I am more informed about what’s happening around the world and I can speak, write, email and share what I hear with my expanding group of friends.

So thank you Facebook and all the people world-wide who are shaping me and influencing me and who I hope are benefiting from my own unique lens, experiences, challenges, reactivity, appreciation and loves because you heard and felt my voice.

Strengthening Your Sense of Self & Identity

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Our sense of self is molded by the things we see, hear and feel throughout our lives. In early life our identity and sense of self comes primarily from the relationship or attachment we form to those closest to us. Our parents, family and community created a “climate” for our inner development to adapt to and take shape.

Later in life, as our experiences extend beyond the confines of our immediate relationships, we start to add and subtract beliefs and habits to form our own identity. These may be healthy or unhealthy choices depending on our ability to understand and express the feelings and emotions we experience. Where there is no language or space to be you and express your wants and needs, and most importantly, have them be validated, we rebel. If you won’t accept me I will find acceptance somewhere else.

Trauma, at any age, distorts our experience of ourselves and the world and in order to make sense of these distortions we create meaning that explains why they occurred. The younger we are the more likely that story places us at the center and we fully accept the shame that comes with it. I’m bad, I’m wrong, it was my fault, I asked for it, if I were different, if I had known and on and on – we accept the labels, blame and shame as our own. From there we perpetuate those beliefs through unconscious choice making and relational patterns that reinforces that story over and over.

The process of reclaiming and rebuilding a strong, healthy sense of self requires first and foremost looking critically at your life. What is your life reflecting back to you and where are you focusing your attention?

What is the common story you tell yourself when things go right?
When things go wrong?

Your life is like a mirror reflecting back to you the life you either created or agreed to. It is mostly unconscious. The way to understand and change it is to stop, look and listen.

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Reclaiming your power.
“…no one gives you power, you just take it” Rosanne Barr

If we grew up in an environment where power was abused through force we learned that power is something some people have and others don’t. We learn that power is what you need to win and someone always loses. But power is much more complicated than that. Personal power is everything and nothing. It is not authority, which is power entrusted. It is not force, which is power stolen. Power is equally strength and restraint. True authentic power is knowledge, wisdom and understanding about ourselves and the conviction that we know who we are.

Unveiling and Rewriting Your Story: What are your core beliefs?

Core Beliefs – “Unconditional beliefs that serve as a basis for screening, categorizing, and interpreting experiences. For example, “I’m no good.” “Others can’t be trusted.” “Effort does not pay off.” These often operate outside of the individual’s awareness and often are not clearly verbalized.”  Source

cbt4

  • What do I believe to be true about myself?  Where did it come from?
  • What messages have I claimed for myself
  • What messages have I accepted to belong or survive
  • What assumptions am I operating from as a result of these beliefs?
  • How do these beliefs effect my thoughts feelings and behaviors?

How do I know what is really me? And what is not me?

As you move through each day, stop, look at what is happening in this moment, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I like it?
  • Do I want it?
  • Why is it good for me?
  • What do I need right now?
  • How do I feel?

As you take the time and allow yourself to REFLECT, ASK and ANSWER these questions you strengthen self knowledge.  You won’t get it right every time especially at first. That’s okay – keep going.  As you learn to trust yourself it will become more automatic and you will gravitate toward the answers you know you like. It is not selfish to take the time and space to discover what you need and feel- that is part of your responsibility as an adult.

It is our responsibility to create the environment
in which we can thrive

My world is a reflection of the choices made by me or for me. Do you feel empowered? Are you thriving? To reclaim your power and control in your own life you have to know how to make choices that you can not only live with, but be happy with.  Choices that lead you to effortless happiness. That is thriving. Start simply and pay attention to each choice.

Every day try to reflect on these three questions:
What choices did I make today that feel good?
What choices did I make today that are leading me where I want to go?
What am I most grateful for today?

As you strengthen your knowledge about who you are and what you want you will drop the need to justify and explain or apologize when your needs and wants do not appease others.  All healthy relationships allow space for negotiating wants and needs and when that isn’t allowed, your new empowered self will make the best choice for you.

As you turn your attention to what is working you will find it easier and easier to make that choice.

That is where you find happiness and where you will THRIVE!

 

It always starts with the first thing…

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Welcome to my new blog. I had been thinking about getting this going and, as my title suggests, it just takes one simple thing to get you moving in a new direction. In this case, a new friend wanting to connect on LinkedIn, which caused me to review my profile, which led to reviewing the “new” features on LinkedIn which include linking your blog, and here I am with a new blog to share my professional insights with the world. That’s how change happens.

Why today? I don’t really know. I have the time, I suppose. But I am aware that my judgmental thoughts are creeping in saying things like..”you’re late, you should have done this two months ago”…”you should be taking a walk right now”…etc.etc…These thoughts are so unhelpful and if I let them, they could rob me of the satisfaction and joy I would like to feel now that I have done this thing that I had set a goal to do. And here I am and it is done. Yay me.

So when you are thinking of all the things you want to do remember it just takes a simple act of following the impulse in the moment. It can come from anywhere, even a list you are making right now. It doesn’t matter. It just matters that you allow the impulse to take you.

I’ll be back!