Embracing Resilience

November 29, 2011 by  
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Even though Thanksgiving is behind us, I wanted to share the below post with you.

“A Lesson in Resilience” discusses developing a positive attitude to change and obstacles using the pilgrims as an example.

Life is made out of good moments and not so good moments.  Of course if it was up to us there would be no bad moments.  But it isn’t.  And so the next best thing we can do for ourselves is to create and live an attitude that will help us navigate the ups and downs.

I believe the first step to embracing life in all its colors, is by limiting our judgment on the situation at hand.  It is easy when something bad happens to feel victimized or as if we are the only ones that go through pain and suffering.  Once we are able to do that, next comes taking the stigma out of “bad” and looking for the growth and the wisdom the situation brings.  Third would be dealing with whatever is happening in a calm and objective way.  It really isn’t personal – it is life.  Next is never losing sight that life is always in flux.  Whatever is happening good or bad will give birth to a new way of being.

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Leaving Pride Out And Focusing On What Matters

November 27, 2011 by  
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I have just recently returned from a business trip in Brazil.  While there I reconnected with a friend I had not seen in ten years.

This friend and I had been really close and our fall out I believe had more to do with me than her.  Let me explain:  My friend is bright, funny but insecure.  I didn’t understand that and let my ego get the best of me.  All it took was for my friend to forget a couple of times I was coming to Brazil to visit to make me stop calling her.  I felt she didn’t care enough about me.  What I didn’t understand was that her behavior was for show only.

Anyway, this time I picked up the phone and called her.  We met at a coffee shop and although we had not been speaking when my husband passed away, she ignored that and immediately embarked in telling me what had been going on in her life.

Unlike times past, I didn’t get offended by her being more interested in telling about her life than mine, and sat back to get reacquainted with my friend.

She told me her husband of twenty five years had had an affair.  She then went on to describe the process that brought them back together.  Her first reaction was to reflect on the state of their relationship.  Was she happy? Was he happy?  Did she still love him? Did he still love her? After some soul searching she knew she still loved him but she also realized she had been taking him and the relationship for granted.  That’s something she could work on.  That’s something she could change she thought.  But in order to do that she had to get her ego out of the way.

My friend did not accuse her husband of betraying her.  She knew accusations and fights would only lead to more separation.  Instead she told him she knew about the affair but wanted to see if they could find a way to rediscover what had brought them together in the first place.

It was not an easy process.  She had to time and again leave her pride out of it and remind herself what her ultimate goal was; to save her marriage.

My friend succeeded and today they are sharing a second honeymoon.

I’m not condoning betrayal or affairs but I also think sometimes we fail to remember we all make mistakes.  In a relationship sometimes stepping back from the role of husband and of a wife and embracing the role of friend, is the best way to keep the connection alive and healthy.  It brings forgiveness and compassion.

I remember another friend years ago telling me she regretted having divorced her husband for the same reason; an affair.  She said if she could go back in time she would have tried to work it out instead of being indignant and demanding the end of their marriage.

Both my Brazilian friend and I have put our feelings aside for something that was more important to us.  In my case her friendship—although sometimes selfish she is interesting and does show up when needed.  In her case, her relationship with her husband.

It is important to always remember what is it that we want to accomplish in the end.  Doing that allows us to fight for what we really want and not be sidetracked by our pride which only brings regrets.

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The Difference Between Instincts And Stereotyping

November 23, 2011 by  
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Photo by Angie Rubin

I have just returned from Brazil where I was working for the last few weeks.

As it was a job, I flew business class and was privy to an interesting conversation when we finally landed. A group of people – dressed simply and in shorts – were dismayed how others during the flight had asked them what they were doing in business class.  The question came as a result of this particular group not looking the part of what we imagine a successful group must look like.

In our pre-conceived minds someone who sits in that aircraft class must look and be a certain way.  This group didn’t.

The conversation got me thinking how many times we judge others based on societal concepts.  When we stereotype we put others in a box and miss opportunities to learn and relate in different ways.  It is as if we are compelled to assign labels for easy processing.  Unfortunately the results are often erroneous.

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Thoughts On Self-Forgiveness

November 19, 2011 by  
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Self-forgiveness.   Now that’s a tough subject for me; the acceptance of being human which translates into the acceptance of not being perfect.

I’m not quite sure where it all started up for me but I have always hurt when I have fallen short of being perfect.  Of course in black in white even I can see the impossibility of success.  But we are not talking black and white.  We are talking psyche.

Maybe the need to be perfect comes from a compulsive sense of responsibility; if I don’t say or do the right thing then all things can fall apart and I don’t want that.  And if that happens, it will all be my fault.

It’s interesting to try to figure out the source of such feelings but it isn’t mandatory in order to change the way we feel and behave.

In my case it started with a continuous dialogue with my own self.  “I am not responsible for everything that happens.”  “In any situation or relationship, the outcome is the result of the inter-action of all involved.”  “There are things that even though I wish them to be different, I am powerless to do so.”

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Uncaring Behavior Often Has Nothing To Do With Us

November 16, 2011 by  
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Interesting post below; it divides coming to the understanding that other people’s behavior often has nothing to do with us in a two step-process.

The first step of course is to realize we are not the center of the universe — although many of us would like that to be the case.  The second is seeing people’s reactions in a deeper way; compassionate, understanding and a reflection of how they see their world.

The first step is easy the second can be a little harder and most likely a lifetime endeavor.

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Learn About Self-Respect

November 13, 2011 by  
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Photo by Angie Rubin

I’ve spent many years of my life defending my ego.  I often thought I needed to show everyone who I was and what I knew otherwise they wouldn’t care or respect me.  How wrong was I?  In all those years what I mostly accomplished was frustration and disappointment.  The reason is simple: the people that need to be wowed to respect us won’t unless we are the King or Queen of some fantastic land.  And even when they do it is superficial and temporary.

Respect is something we feel about ourselves.  It is an internal feeling that does not need validation from anybody else.  It doesn’t matter how others see or treat us if we feel our own worth.  And here is the kicker; when we have self-respect it doesn’t matter what task we are performing others will tend to see us the same way we see ourselves.

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Build A Strong Ego

November 9, 2011 by  
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Photo by Angie Rubin

Why is it so important to have a strong ego?  Or better yet what is a strong ego?

If we depend on others to validate who we are or our importance we simply give our power away.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where others don’t care about us or see us in our best light. It is hard to navigate these waters if we don’t have a good sense of self.

Being secured in who we are allows us to survive and often thrive in adverse situations because we don’t depend on others to have a sense of worth.

These dynamics happen often in business situations where people with weak ego fight to assert their power.  These type of individuals feel more secure by oppressing or minimizing others.  Although not a lasting tactic, it does provide temporary release and so it is often a chosen method of dealing with others.

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Finding Your Life’s Purpose

November 6, 2011 by  
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There is a lot of talk about finding our lives’ purposes so we can live with meaning.  I think it is a noble undertaking except that I believe it makes a lot of people  go searching for the holy grail of purposes.  As if we all had one major purpose in life and until we found it we are unable to have a fulfilling life.  I believe that is wrong.

More than a singular purpose in life, I believe we must find a way of being in the world.  How we want to relate to others and how we want to conduct ourselves.  Solidifying how we want others and ourselves to see who we are, will lead to meaning and thus contentment.

It is important, as we find our way in life, that we listen to our inner-voices.  Unfortunately, our societies are set up to have us fit in and produce not find meaning.  So it is up to each one of us to have the courage to be whom we truly are even if who we are and what we want doesn’t go accordingly to what our friends and families expect of us.

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Keeping An Eye On Our Ultimate Goal

November 3, 2011 by  
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Keeping an eye on what you really want is the best way to avoid frustration, confrontation and distraction.  Learning to prioritize then creates the pathway to success.

Let’s say for example that your ultimate goal is to write a book.   That’s a lengthy process that can take up to a year.  But you feel not only this book is psychologically important to you but that it will also open career and financial opportunities.  During the year – while working on the book – you have to take a number of jobs to maintain yourself financially.  You also have to deal with many personal problems that come up for everyone.  Now, any job or problem can be a world onto itself and distract and pull you away from your ultimate goal if you don’t remind yourself they do not carry the same importance as your book does in your life.

Remembering this will help you navigate whatever waters you need to continue on your journey to your ultimate goal.  The problems with the jobs or the personal issues will not have the same punch.

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