Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When Being "Not Good Enough" Becomes a Crutch (Read Time: 3 min.)

What happens when the pursuit of perfectionism becomes a world class tour in not being good enough? How do you overcome the train of thought that says no matter what you do, you are not enough? When do you stop the non-sense of that story and make a different choice? Alot of us were raised with a rat race mentality. We strive to be better, stronger, faster, smarter and no matter how hard we work or how far we've come, nothing ever seems to be good enough. At some point, this story gets old. Some people give up on being "good enough." They throw their hands in the air and say "Hell, if I'm never going to be good enough, why even try?" Others nearly kill themselves for perfection, something they'll never attain, and then wonder why they feel like failures all of the time. Neither approach works. At some point, you've got to decide whether the not being good enough is a limiting belief you've inherited or a crutch you use to justify your own sense of low self esteem. It's possible to have a painful crutch. You can take a limiting belief and use it to your benefit. The benefit will be the pity parties you get to throw and the "Woe is me" stories you get to tell and it's not much of a benefit when compared to whole life success. But you can still choose it.
The question is:

Is that really what you want?

Don't allow being "not good enough" to become a label on your life that you then use as a crutch to explain why things never work out for you. That is a dangerous road to travel. We get what we believe and if your belief is firmly planted as the stop that says "I suck", then guess what? You will. Turn things around by disowning the "not good enough" mentality. Stop going for perfection. It doesn't exist. Stop making life about you having to work harder, be smarter, and do more than everyone else just so you can keep up. How tiring is that? No, life is not about competition; it's about creation. If your goal is to create a life you love to look at, don't waste time focusing on your deficiencies. Focus on your proficiencies. Every experience you have is a part of your lifelong spiritual curriculum and guess what? You don't get to graduate until you leave this earth... and then you get to go to the next spiritual classroom. Why waste time fighting to reach a point that you don't really want to get to anyway? You don't have to be perfect for someone to love you. You don't have to be flawless for someone to accept you. You are good enough exactly as you are and that comment doesn't have to scare you. Can you embrace yourself, love yourself, and adore who you are knowing that you are constantly growing and changing? Can you let go of what your parents taught you or your friends told you or what your spouse showed you and decide for yourself what you believe? "Not good enough" plagues way too many of us and it's high time we disowned the belief we never wanted and let go of the perfectionist way of living that does not align itself with wholeness, happiness, and the presence of peace.
Say it with me:

"I am good enough EXACTLY as I am..."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Don't Waste Time Talking to People Who Don't Change (Read Time: 2 min.)

When I first thought about writing today's post, I was originally going to talk about setting the tone for tough conversations. In my mind, I wanted to give some tips on how to have difficult or unpleasant conversations with people that you care about. But, then, the universe stepped in with a life experience and I was given a totally different topic to talk about.

Here's the thing: having a difficult conversation with someone that you love and you know loves you really isn't that difficult. You trust the mutual sense of good will, caring, and love that's in the relationship and, on some level, you know that this relationship will weather any storm that comes its way. That's not where the difficulty in communication lies.

The real issue occurs when you want to have a tough conversation with people who don't change. When you want to ask something of someone you know (deep down) isn't capable of giving that something to you, that's where the drama is... and hence where I'm taking this blog post.

I don't want to spend a lot of time talking about how to address touchy subjects with resistant, unwilling, backstabbing or lying family members, friends or co-workers. Why? As Maya Angelou so beautifully put it, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." Why are you trying to have a civil conversation with a family member you know has never have a civil conversation with you in the record of relationship you've had on the earth with this person? It's a waste of time. Why are you trying to convince your spouse to do something he or she has said no to for the past fifteen years? And why are you staying up nights thinking about having "the conversation"? Time and energy wasted...

Change is a personal choice. At any moment, at any time, any person can choose to change. However, another person's change is their choice, not yours. When you've met a person, when he or she has show you who he or she really is, do not waste time trying to talk that person into being somebody else. Chances are, that person isn't going to change simply because you ask him or her to. The only change that's your business is yours.

So, the next time you want to spend all of your emotional energy gearing up for a change conversation that you already have the results for, answer these three questions instead:

1) What am I asking for from this person that I can give to myself?

2) How can I create the results I'm looking for without that person's help?

3) What other resources (human and material) can I access that will get me what I want faster than going this route?

There are at least a thousand ways to get any one thing done.

Remember: You weren't built to be broken.

Let people be who they are. Operate without the need for their change and in the total power of your ability to shift and flow.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Are You Living the Downward Spiral (Read Time: 2 min.)

Where are you directing your life focus: upward or downward?

No matter what's going on in our lives, we have one important choice to make:

Live back there or create from here...

Back there is your past, the problems you've experienced, the horrors you've lived, and all the not-so-great things in between. Back there is the sum of all your past mistakes, all the wrongs you wish you could make right. It's the hindsight of seeing the end and wishing you'd known it from the very beginning. It's harping on old stories, lurking in negative emotion, and living from a place that longs for a future unlike the past... and has no idea how to get there.

Yes, you can live from back there but what will that give you? Guilt, shame, blame, and a strong sense of defeat. It's the downward spiral of negative thinking that ushers in more negative thinking. Before long, you start to buy into your own 'Woe is me' story and, before long after that, you find yourself repeating a past that you never wanted to see again.

What's the alternative?

Live from above, not below.

I once watched a Lifetime movie where the lead character said something profound, "You have every right to be angry about the past but you don't have to live there." How many of us are so pissed off about what happened yesterday that we are unconsciously choosing to live there? There is another way...

When you live from above, you keep your eyes steadfastly planted on what is working. You look for opportunities to create a life you love to look at. When your mind wants to wander to the painful comfort of what's "back there", you command it to stay in the present moment and you become a vigilant guard of your peaceful mind. You don't allow yourself to get caught up in the woulda/shoulda/couldas and you remind yourself that tomorrow is being created with the thoughts and actions that you are taking today.

Pity does not create forward movement. Anger does not initiate creative action. If what you want is to live your life from a place of peace, joy and love, you can't live in the downward spiral of negative emotions. Yes, I know those negative thoughts come back again and again. Yes, I've been in the spot where you're having a good day and it only takes one phone call or one bit of bad news to send you into a sky dive into negativity.

But the difference is this:

You get to choose.

As Louise L. Hay says, "You are the master of your own mind. You get to have whatever you choose to think."

What are you choosing to think as negativity attempts to make a comeback?

Here are five thoughts to help you stay focused on living from above and not below:

1) Out of this situation, only good will come.

2) All is well in my world.

3) I am MORE than good enough.

4) I trust the process of life and everything's happening in Divine Right Timing.

5) I choose peace.

Notice I didn't put in there "Everything happens for a reason." While I firmly believe that statement, it doesn't do much of anything when said in a negative moment. When you're facing a problem that you didn't expect to face and you shrug your shoulders and say "Everything happens for a reason", it seems to translate into "Shit happens." And, while that's true, it's not that uplifting. In the midst of a downward spiral, you need to think thoughts that build you up, not beat you up. You won't 100% believe those thoughts at first. But the more you repeat them, the stronger the seed is planted within your soul. After a while, when a problem hits, these thoughts will be the first beliefs you come to.

Remember: Life works.

Everything that happens is for your highest good. If you can keep that close to your heart, even when the worst happens, you'll know how to go from down to up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Say Anything (Read Time: 3 min.)

One of my all-time favorite movies is "Say Anything." Do you remember John Cusack standing in the driveway with that boombox? Girl's romantic dream, right? Kind of...

When I sit to think about what that movie means to me, it goes beyond some high school love story about boy from the wrong tracks and girl from the good (but not so good) family. It's about more than beautiful lines, goofy approaches, and uncomfortable silences.

When I think about that movie, I think about the one simple fact that I've learned about love:

When you're with the right person, you can say anything...
and not be afraid that he or she is going to disapprove, ridicule, or walk away.
Like the movie, there are so many times in life when people say "You can tell me anything" (translation: tell me what I want to hear that will continue to make me like you). But, few and far between can stand in the silence with you. Even fewer can live through the pain with you, see you at your lowest moment and still look at you as if you were the strongest person they knew. That's what it means to say anything...
At the end of the day, I got my guy holding the boombox in my driveway. He literally went to the ends of the earth for me and never once lost the glimmer of the eye that says "You're amazing." How did I get from "Don't tell me what I don't want to know" to "Say anything"?

Five things:

1) Acceptance of ALL of me.

2) Love for ALL of that.

3) A willingness to trust and a trusting to know who to trust.

4) My continual resignation as Manager of the Universe.

5) My firm belief that "Write me" is only something to say to people I choose to write off :)

It's not always easy but it's definitely worth it.

Do you have someone you can say anything to?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You Didn't Purchase My Pain; Don't Sell Me Your Guilt (Read Time: 2 min.)

How often do you find yourself feeling guilty for something you didn't even do?

Why do some people feel bad for being happy when others (people they don't even know) are somewhere in the world suffering and in pain (perhaps)?

How much misery do you have to feel to erase someone else's pain?

The above questions seem strange, don't they? But it happens everyday.

You're happy, life is good and then your friend calls you on the phone and says, "I just got the worst news ever..." He or she proceeds to spill their guts and, before you know it, you're feeling guilty for having a great life and you've now decided to join the depression camp with this person.
Here's the deal:
You can't raise another person's consciousness by sinking into their unconsciousness.

In other words, we lift as we climb and if you're sinking down to someone's level instead of rising them to yours, you're not helping the situation.

At the end of the day, there are those people who choose to be miserable because it gives them a payoff. You and I may not know what the payoff is but, rest assured, if the "Woe is me" line is a constant in a person's life, deep down, he or she knows there's a payoff... and really enjoys that.
How do you empathize without diving head first into a pit of misery, sadness, and guilt?

Relate but don't integrate. Understand that your pain doesn't require anyone else's participation. In fact, if you're a good friend, spouse, partner or family member, when you're in pain, you don't want everyone else to sign on and take your pain with them. That would be cruel. In the same way, when someone shares with you something that he or she is going through, there's a way to connect and relate without feeling guilty that your life, at this moment, is going more smoothly than their's.

Dr. Wayne Dyer says it best when he indicated, "You can't get sick enough to make someone healthy and you can't get poor enough to make someone rich." At the end of the day, while you can witness a person's life, you can't walk their journey for them. When you sign up to feel guilty about their situation, you not only add pain to your life but you add punishment to your blessings. All of a sudden, your good fortune becomes a thing of shame, something for you to feel guilty about.
Know one thing about guilt:
Guilt requires punishment and punishment requires pain.

Do you want that backache to go away? Are you ready to have your wrist stop hurting? Is it time for your knees to stop aching? Try getting rid of guilt. Remember: you wouldn't want anybody to purchase your pain so don't allow anyone else to sell you their guilt.

Empathize but don't pathologize. The greatest gift you can give to anyone going through something really horrible is the gift of hope. Your life is a light. Don't put out the flame because you desire to connect to someone's darkness. Shine the light and more light will follow it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

From Thinness to Wholeness: The Lies We Live Because of Our Weight (Read Time: 3 min.)

Is your weight keeping you down?

When I ask that question, most people think that it's a question for women who are overweight. The truth is: it's a question for ALL people. There is one common factor that I see in men and women, girls and boys, people of ALL ages: limiting life because of limiting beliefs about the physical body.

Your body is a temple. It's the temporary home of your soul. While it shelters it, it does not confine it. And, yet, so many of us decide what we can and can't do in our lives based on what we feel our physical bodies represent. Whether it's the ultra-thin woman who never wears a mini-skirt or a low cut blouse because she's too thin or the ultra heavy guy who never wears a v-neck sweater because of the way his stomach looks in it or the mom or dad who never rides a rollercoaster with his or her child because of the fear that he or she might exceed the weight limits for the ride. Whatever it is, you've given too much power to your weight because you now live lies that keep you from being who you really are.

How do you overcome that?

You recognize the lie for what it is. When a person says, "I can't rock climb because I'm too heavy" or "I can't build muscle because I'm too thin", understand that you are letting a lie lead your life. You are keeping yourself from enjoying every moment, from participating in life's adventures because of one side of you that's really just a temporal holding place.
We give our weight far too much power in our lives and it's time that we do three things:

1) Love and approve of your body EXACTLY AS IT IS. You want to be fit? Would you like to have the body of your dreams? You already do. The moment you embrace that and can really be at home with that idea is the same moment that you will no longer cling to extra weight for protection or hide your body from the world in shame. Criticizing and self-negating may provide some forced jumpstart into getting into better shape but it can never keep you in ideal form. Your body's ideal form requires a reverence and an appreciation that comes only through self-love. Do the self-love first; the renewed body will come AND stay thereafter.

2) Get over the outside and operate from the inside. Your weight isn't what's holding you back. You are. Understand that you can enjoy your life at ANY weight and you can be miserable in your life at ANY weight. If fitness were the key to happiness, than every fit person in America would love their lives... and that isn't the case. Trust the fact that your best shape is already deeply embedded within you. Live life as if you were already at that weight, shape, and look. Enjoy activities that you now think only a "fit" person can do. Challenge your mind and then challenge your body. Your body will always deliver to you what the mind expects. As I once heard a fitness pro say, "Where I am today is where my mind brought me. Where I'll be tomorrow is where my mind brought me." Mind first, body second.

3) Treat your body with care and love through what you feed it, how you exercise it, and the pace at which you live your life. The body doesn't like to be rushed, stressed, and always in a state of panic. As good as junk food and high fat things may taste, the body is naturally inclined to clog arteries and shorten lifespan. As ideal as watching Direct TV all day may seem, the body needs sunshine, air, and movement. You don't have to go overboard on these things but you can put your body in harmony by treating it like the temple it is. Moderation, small changes and a commitment to consistent action is all it takes to treat your body with care and reap the rewards of a treasured temple.

Isn't it time you took care of you?

Get to it!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Criticism Will Come: How Are You Preparing? (Read Time: 3 min.)

"To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing." - Aristotle

At the heart of people-pleasing is a desire to be liked. There are offensive and defensive components to it. On the offense, people want to be approved of. On the defense, people don't want to be criticized. Somewhere in the middle is the truth: everybody's not going to like you.

How do you handle criticism when it comes?
Do you take it personally?
Do you build resentment?
Do you let someone else's opinion become your belief?

Part of being MORE of who you are is getting used to the idea that there will be those who won't get WHO that person is. On all levels, criticism without begins with criticism within. When we criticize others, it's a deflection from the inner critic we're tired of having criticize us. Even in a Pollyanna world, you need to expect that criticism's bound to happen. The real question is: what will you do with criticism when it comes?
Here are 7 things you do with criticism:

1) Hear it and clear it. Most of the time, you won't expect criticism before it comes out of the mouth of idiots (notice the criticism there, right?) and, by the time you receive it, you can hardly believe it. Your goal is not to avoid criticism or pretend that it didn't happen. Hear it (because you will) and then clear it by letting it go as easily as it came in. In other words, remind yourself that what that person thinks of you is none of your business.

2) Reconnect with who you REALLY are. The moment after the criticism comes, you need to find a way to reconnect with who you are. Mantras or affirmations are great ways to do this. Steal away for two minutes, get in front of a mirror, and say to yourself, "I am MORE than good enough" or "I am wonderful just as I am!" Whatever it takes to remind yourself that you are who you say you are is exactly what you need to spend 2-3 minutes doing.

3) Get the anger out without allowing the bitterness to seep in. This is a tough one. It's so easy to get hung up on one person's comment or bad behavior. But, when you take on resentment and bitterness, the only one left holding the bag is you. If what you want is a peaceful life, at some point, you're going to have let the anger go by getting it out instead of holding it within. Anger held inward becomes resentment and bitterness and the only person that those two chew out is you. Find a way to punch a bag, go for a run, or scream in your car but get all that out... and then choose to let it go.

4) Know that all criticism is some form of flattery. Yup, read that one again. If someone's going to waste life energy criticizing you, then it means that your life is interesting enough for that person to be spending time on. I don't waste time thinking about things that don't matter. Do you? Take the 'matter' part of that equation and show gratitude that who you are shines through and has an impact. At the same time, give those emotional vampires your best smile and keep it moving!

5) Redefine your circle of influence. You don't need to spend time with people who criticize you. For even the strongest person in the world, that kind of negative feedback is bound to bring you down. When you find that you're involved with people who have nothing but negative things to say about you or what you do, take care of it immediately: cut them off. If this is family, you might not be able to do that so kindly and with much compassion and grace, spend less time with those people. Either way, remember what your mother always said, "You are the company you keep." As old as that saying is, it remains true.
The bottom line on criticism is this: everybody gets it but not everybody swallows it. You don't have to take criticism personally. You don't have to be afraid to receive it. When you know how to handle anyone's critical comment, you know how to handle all of them. At the end of the day, a person can call you any name he/she wants. It's not what they call you that matters; it's the name you answer to that counts.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Everybody Needs Somebody (Read Time: 2 min.)

Why do you insist upon doing everything yourself?
What control do you have when you aren't free to share the load of life with another?
How long can you play the "going it alone" game without winding up alone?

Everybody needs somebody. Far too many of us have learned not to trust ourselves and, in not trusting ourselves, we lack the ability to trust others. We look on the world as a frightful, devastating place filled with liers, cheaters, and thieves. We question people's motives. We turn down kind gestures. We turn a cold shoulder to the needs of others. And why?

Because we're too afraid to be real, to show vulnerability, to open ourselves up to the miraculous experience of being seen and seeing the truth of the soul. How long can you live like that?

Life isn't the Pollyanna version you see in fairytales. In fact, even fairytales, when you get to their origins, aren't that happy. Life is an adventure filled with twists and turns, with good and bad, and the guidance that we take with us (namely, our intuition) is more than good enough to guide us along the way.

Will there be people who say one thing and do another? Yes.
Will there be heartbreaks, letdowns, and truths told that you never wanted to hear? Yes.
Will there be miracles, dreams come true, loves unmatched, and opportunities too big for the eyes and arms to behold? Yes.

Life has all of these things but if you're going to fully live it, if you really want to access it, if your life is going to be a bold walk on a tightrope rather than a short, treacherous hike up a mountain, you've got to do one thing: ask...

Ask for help. Ask for love. Ask for support. Ask for space. Ask for honesty. Ask for the truth. Ask for separation. Ask for more intimacy. Ask to have your needs met AND expect to have the answers come to you with ease and joy.

I love the words of Don Miguel Ruiz in "The Four Agreements":

"Everyone has the right to tell you yes or no but you always have the right to ask."

Everybody needs somebody. Don't miss out on opportunities to love, live and share simply because you're afraid to look weak. Weakness is grasping for control that doesn't exist, shying away from great love because you fear being able to keep it, wanting what you can't have and keeping what you don't want. Those are signs of weakness. Strength is being able to ask for what you want, expect to get it and, even if you don't, trust the process of life to bring you exactly what you asked for in Divine Right Timing. Yes, this is a way of living that takes time to cultivate but the one thing God made enough of is time... Trust the process of life :)

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