Figure Out What You Want, Then Take Action

January 11, 2012 by  
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The first step in getting what you want is being clear about what you want.  Statements like “I just want to be happy” are useless because they do not include a specific goal or a specific method.

Now, if I said I want to be happy by finding a partner then I would be able to start strategizing how to go about achieving what I want.  I could tell my friends if they know anyone to introduce me to or I could join a dating service.

If I said I want to be happy by improving my living conditions then I would know I would have to find a job that would give me higher earnings so I could improve my living conditions.

In essence the clearer we are about what we want the better we arm ourselves with ways to go about getting them.

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Finding Beauty In Our Own Lives

March 12, 2011 by  
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I have many friends who live with a physical disability.

I’ve always had great empathy for others, but since my late husband’ illness and passing, I have added knowledge to my empathy.  That may explain a great new number of people that have come into my life suffering some form of loss.

Every day I learn from one of my friends what it is to live with a disability.  The struggle doesn’t end with the acceptance of the loss.  There is self-esteem, reinventing a life, and there is the constant health struggle.

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Stop Being Manipulated

June 28, 2010 by  
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Many years ago I dated a very bright, good looking, neurologist.  In the very beginning he was the best boyfriend ever.  He called every day, carefully planned dates, and was very sweet but a month into the relationship things started to shift ever so slightly.  We would make plans to speak at 5pm but he would disappear until 8pm, leaving me to wonder if we were going to have dinner together or not.  He put me in a kayak in the ocean, for the first time in my life, and got upset when I couldn’t make it past the breaking waves.  Things continued to go south with the last drop being a trip we had planned to take together to NY which changed to include his daughter and turn me into the third wheel.  We were together between 4-5 months.

Looking back, it seems obvious to me that I had been manipulated.  I bought into “he is a neurologist and a nice guy he could never be perverse. There must be something wrong with me.”

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Sometimes Its Not About Being Shady But Shy

June 5, 2010 by  
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EYE-4

I have always been guilty of making assumptions about people’s behavior based on feelings I pick up around them.

Now, I’m unusually sensitive to other people’s body and emotional signals but can get myself in trouble when interpreting them.  The reason is when trying to understand someone else’s behavior – let’s say a discomfort in looking others in the eye – we may interpret that as shady but the reason might be shyness.  The manifestations for both behaviors (shady and shyness) are the same but if we are using our own  understand and practices to interpret someone else’s attitudes, things can go the wrong.

Another action we might take is interpreting other people’s behavior is to turn it to be about us.  He or she is not looking me in the eye because he or she is trying to avoid me.  I wonder what I have done.  Am I not smart enough?  Interesting enough?

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Guilt, How To Indentify And Get Rid Of It.

May 27, 2010 by  
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love-sick1There are different types of guilt.  There is “healthy guilt” where we have done something wrong, we recognize having done something wrong and so we move to apology and fixing, if possible.  We learn from the experience and we move on without making our wrong action define who we are.

There is the bashing guilt and there is no reason for it as it is a completely useless feeling.

So what is this “bashing guilt”?  That’s when we feel we are bad people and only do awful things.  That’s when we talk to ourselves or about ourselves in ways we would never imagine talking about others.  It’s self-hatred and we feel we must punish ourselves.  So we become our own executioners by beating ourselves up with negative thoughts like: “Everything I do is wrong.  I am a loser, a reject”.  Now how could that be of service to our growth and well being?

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Self-Esteem, A Serious Business

May 16, 2010 by  
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4295397307_51942ab407So much of our angst comes from low self-esteem.   Envy, depression, self-hatred are some of its by products.

The reasons for low self esteem are many and at a certain point they don’t matter anymore.  What matters is to recognize the issue, understand how it affects our lives and change.

In my case my low self esteem came from the “shoulds” I accepted as the measurements of my worth.  By the age of 20 I should have accomplished XYZ, by the age of 30 another XYZ, you get the idea.  Where the shoulds had come from didn’t matter to me.  What mattered is they were making me feel less then – because I had not accomplished the XYZs – and envious of others who I thought had achieved their “shoulds”.

What I had forgotten is that each life is unique.  I had also set up “shoulds” that did not take in consideration a life I had chosen to pursue which was about creativity and self- questioning.  I hadn’t realized I had taken a set of societal values – which were often not in harmony with my own – to be mine.

The self badgering and the constant inner talk of low self esteem make living a hard experience.  When I came to that point I knew I had to find ways to change.  I knew I had to make the voyage inwards to understand who I really was so I could honor my individuality.

In my quest I have learned some truths that I want to share:

There are no two people alike.  None of us have had the same experiences and therefore have the same way to see and process the world.  So how can we possibly compare ourselves to anybody else?

The commitment we have in life is to ourselves.  To give our emotional, intellectual and spiritual self the support needed to experience and grow.

It doesn’t matter what others think of us.  They don’t know and we don’t have the obligation or the time to explain to each person why we want to have specific experiences in life.

There is no right or wrong way of living. I’m not talking about criminal activities which obviously have a right and a wrong, but I’m talking about our own individualities and quirks.

Learning to appreciate our uniqueness is a process of self-discovery which results in freedom.  It is a journey well worth taken.  I know from experience.

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Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously

May 15, 2010 by  
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heart on the beach

heart on the beach

Sometimes we just take ourselves too seriously.  We have pre-conceived ideas and are often judgmental about ourselves and others.  But how much do we miss out on life by saying “no” to things just because we think they are not proper or don’t fall within the limits of the rule book?  And how much do we use judgment and rules to hide our fear behind?

Fear keeps us from being spontaneous and in the moment.  And what’s this fear about? Maybe it’s of being judged or maybe it is of consequences for being unique and doing things our own way.

Living life to the beat of our own drum requires a good amount of courage and self-esteem.  It also requires not taking ourselves so seriously and sometimes doing things just because we want to.  No thoughts about the outcome only the present experience.

Why am I talking about all of this today?  Because today I let myself go and did something I would have usually not done because of my own preconceived ideas of what a woman of wisdom and maturity should be like, and it was a good experience.  No judging.  Just being present without wondering what it all means.

We have many parts to ourselves that on the outside might seem conflicting: serious, reckless, mature, silly, but they are not.  We just need to recognize that seeming opposition can live in harmony within us.

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How Can We Love Ourselves More?

April 25, 2010 by  
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Be in tune with yourself –

There are a number of emotions that tend to hide what’s really going on with us.  Anger for example, is a feeling that often hides sadness and low self esteem.  If we are not in tune with ourselves we will react based on the anger we are feeling, compounding the problems, without really addressing what is really creating this destructive feeling within us.  Once we are in tune with ourselves we take care of us and life flows better.

Be your lover and best friend –

Once you are in tune with yourself you know how to take care of you when you are feeling blue.  We all have “things” that soothes us.  For example: a bath, music, meditation, wine, food, a walk.  Whatever makes you feel better, when you are in tune with yourself, you will do – just like a friend or a lover would – and soothe yourself.  Every time you take care of yourself you learn to love YOU more.

Be kind to yourself –

We often have more compassion for others than to ourselves.  All of us on this planet struggle in one way or another.  Rejoice your accomplishments – even if you think them small – and forgive your “mistakes”.  Life is about the journey, it’s about learning and changing.  We can only make changes when we make “mistakes”.

Live to the beat of your own drum –

We are all unique individuals.  We all see and process the world in a different way.  Be honest with yourself and live your life as your unique self.

And if you love yourself, you can truly love someone else.

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Love Thy Self

September 9, 2009 by  
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Today I read an Oprah.com article on CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/personal/09/07/o.self.esteem.repair.kit/index.html) about self-esteem. 

I don’t know if issues of self-esteem are more prevalent among women but I could certainly identify with the writer. 

I’ve been working on my own issue of self-esteem for a very long time.  People that know me would find this statement strange as I am a very self-assured and loud woman. But I never think I’m enough.  That is how my lack of love for myself or self-esteem issue manifests itself.

I’ve had many accomplishments in life but I don’t get to appreciate and enjoy them because when they are happening I’m already moving on, thinking it was nothing. 

Another way my self-esteem shows its ugly head is, I’ve always thought why would a man want to be in a relationship with me?  I’m not young enough or successful enough. Even when I was twenty I already saw myself as old and having to catch up with “so and so” – people I didn’t even know – because they were my age and in my mind were already ahead of me.I of course can trace some of this to my family life.  At home, I was the one who was dishing out advices to all the members in the family.  They appreciated that but favored my sibling as she needed more attention.  So as a child I felt, here I am being giving, mature and understanding but being pushed aside for my sister’s needs. 

I can also remember at age sixteen telling my dad that I had decided to start ballet to only have him say I was already too old to make a career out of it.

So for many years I walked around considering myself as a factory reject and getting into all kinds of situations with men who couldn’t possibly love me (not because of me but because of themselves) and if I could make one of them love me then maybe I was worthy after all. 

I’m not blaming my family for any of this.  We loved each other and continue to do so and we all try our best.  I’m also mature enough to know my life is my responsibility.  

I believe a life is really about getting to know oneself, changing that which makes us unhappy and becoming our own best friend in the most loving of ways; understanding and accepting.

I believe we can only affect a positive change in our life if we first change something within us that causes unhappiness and/or turmoil.   Easy to know that what I’m saying is true.  Just pick any rich, beautiful, intelligent, young person out there who is completely miserable to know that the problem is within that person.  On the other hand, there are plenty of simple people that are happy or satisfied.  I’m by no means saying that rich people are unhappy and poor people are happy.  I’m just pointing out that the ingredients that all of us consider being the ones to bring satisfaction in life, if not supported by an internal understanding, love and acceptance of our selves, become almost ineffective.

Orson Welles said “We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”

I agree with his statement but I think it’s incomplete.  I really believe that in befriending ourselves we can find the companionship that we so much crave.

So what do I do about my self-esteem issue?  I slow down and try to appreciate something that I really enjoy.  In my case it can be as simple as a beautiful glass of wine or playing with my dog.  Somehow the joy of those simple activities brings me a sense of well being.

I also look around and think where I have been and what I have done and I take a deep breath and try to appreciate my accomplishments. 

And mostly I remind myself that my journey is my own and at the end only my best friend (myself) and I will know the entirety of my life and know I have tried to do everything that I set myself out to do and that I was human and I loved and it was a job well done.

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