I hear clients ask, “What if they don’t DESERVE my love?!”
Choosing to feel love benefits YOU. Choosing negative emotions harms YOU.
It has nothing to do with what they deserve. What do you deserve? Which emotions do you want to feel? Because YOU are the only one feeling your emotions.
Hate, anger, disappointment, irritation, fear. These emotions create catabolic energy (and lead to the dark side!). Catabolic energy breaks down or destroys. Catabolic emotions weaken us physically, mentally and spiritually. These emotions drain our energy, leave us depleted, and have zero affect on the person we create the emotions about!
Unless we are creating these emotions about ourselves.
Then they have exponential destructive power in our lives. Creating catabolic emotions about ourselves and directing that catabolic energy at ourselves through a magnifying glass is the most energy draining, soul-destroying thing we can do!
So why not simply choose to LOVE, like and encourage yourself? Why not give yourself a break? Count yourself as learning and experimenting instead of failing. Simply allow yourself to be YOU in all your flawsomeness without beating yourself up for being human. Love creates anabolic energy. Anabolic energy creates and heals.
How can you know that catabolic destroys and anabolic creates?
Try this energy experiment:
Sit quietly a minute and empty your thoughts for an instant. Then, think that thought that you always think about yourself when you are beating yourself up – yep, the really mean one. Notice how that feels physically. Where and how do you feel it in your body?
Sit quietly a minute and empty your thoughts for an instant. Just breathe in and out deeply three times, returning to neutral. Then, think about the person you adore most in this world. Your child or grandchild, your dog or your lover. Whoever you MOST love with ease and great abundance. How does THAT energy feel in your body? Where does it vibrate?
That should demonstrate pretty clearly that catabolic energy drains and depletes us, and anabolic energy heals, uplifts, and connects us to others.
So why not choose love?
It feels yummy! It’s good for the body, mind and spirit. It’s GREAT for healing relationships. It adds joy wherever it bubbles out. So why not choose love?
Still back at “What if they don’t deserve my love?”
I hear this OFTEN from clients! That is a totally normal reaction. (Side note: If someone is hurting you, they do not deserve your love. But YOU deserve your love, so if someone is harming you, you’ll need enough self-love to walk away.)
How possible is it to impose your emotions on another?
Our emotions have zero affect on the person we are creating these emotions about! Our emotions can only effect us! Don’t believe me? Ever known anyone who was madly in love and pouring all of their energy, love, affection, and attention on someone who barely notices them? Right? That’s the theme of pretty much every romantic comedy ever made. You can’t make someone else feel what you feel. We each create and experience our own emotions.
So why choose to be angry at someone when YOU are the only one being harmed by the catabolic emotion you create? If YOU are the only one receiving benefit or detriment due to the emotions you create, why not choose anabolic, good-feeling emotions that build you up and create more opportunities in your life?
We all have jobs to get to every day, and some of us have second jobs. Some of us commute and that can be like a second job. I feel fortunate to live ten minutes from my office, so that’s not one of the things that sucks time out of my day, but believe me, there are myriad more because I run a thriving massage practice, I sell my landscape photography, and now am transitioning to empowerment coaching and finishing my grad work at iPEC.
People need time to buy groceries, plan meals, prepare foods, get car repairs, stop for gas, see the doctor, see their therapist, get to the gym, fit in some cardio or yoga, buy clothes, celebrate people they love, spend time with friends and family, keep our homes tidy, wash the cars, mow the lawn, prune bushes, rake leaves, develop professionally, develop personally, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, the list is infinite! I can’t possibly name all the stuff we need to do.
Then there are people with kids! Children come with a whole other set of time sinks to drain their parents’ already busy schedules.
So if you keep hearing that meditation is a key foundation to living a better life, you will not be alone if your first thought is, “Who the fuck has time to meditate? I certainly don’t!” It seems like just one more thing that needs doing, right?
Abraham (Esther Hicks) says that saying you don’t have time to meditate is like saying you don’t have time to look for your car keys, so you’ll just walk from Phoenix to San Diego. That’s how essential meditation is! Sure, you can get where you’re going without it, but it’s going to take a WHOLE lot longer to get where you are wanting to go!
When you do a quick search online, it’s easy to find articles about people adopting a meditation practice to improve their lives. Here is a list of links you may find interesting if you’d like more information:
Rich, famous, successful people all over the world swear by meditation as a habit that has escalated their prosperity and well being in a meaningful way.
That may be fine for the rich and famous, after all they have more time on their hands than those of us working two jobs and raising kids without nannies, right? If we had the nanny, and the maid, and a personal shopper & chef, we would have time to meditate and improve our vibration, too! (Calibrating our own vibration to the vibration of our Source is the whole point of meditation.)
But what if making time to meditate every day gave us the power we needed to excel throughout the rest of our day? What if regular meditation allowed you to feel less stress? What if you could enjoy your life more by syncing up with Source energy on a daily basis? What would THAT be worth? More peace of mind. More financial security. Less stress and time-scarcity.
Would we make time to meditate if we received all these benefits?
That seems priceless! All it costs is minutes of our time each day, and a commitment to stick with it until we can see and feel the results for ourselves.
Now, I could go on and on, but I would rather have you take the next 3-10 minutes to sit and follow your breath.
It has come to my attention that marketing professional coaching is much, MUCH harder than marketing amazing massage therapy.
If I ask you for referrals to my massage practice, you can probably think of at least a dozen people who want one or who can benefit from it. If I ask you for referrals to my coaching practice, you probably know at least a half dozen, but how would you KNOW they need a coach?
In thirteen years of practicing massage, I never had to pay for advertising and I certainly never had to educate people about what it is that I do. People know what a massage is and many of us (me FIRST!) are addicted to the stress release, pleasure, comfort, relaxation and overall feeling of well-being that comes with massage. Many people are realizing that massage is an essential part of their health care budget, and include it as a regular part of their self-care.
If you have an amazing massage therapist and you hear someone say that their back hurts, or that they started running and have tight hamstrings, or that they suffer from tension headaches, you know from personal experience that massage is helpful, and you feel confident saying so and recommending your therapist. Massage therapy is pretty mainstream, so if you find yourself in need of massage, you feel comfortable asking friends for recommendations. But, who the fuck needs a life coach?
Maybe a better question to start with is,
What the fuck does a life coach do?
When my therapist first suggested that I would make a great life coach, my response to her was, “Is that a thing?” So I am never surprised when people haven’t a clue about what I do or who needs/wants professional coaching.
Coaches are NOT therapists, psychologists or counselors. If you are clinically depressed, please seek help from one of these professions. Coaches do not give advice or delve into the roots of your issues.
Coaches help you clearly see where you are, then help you map a path to where you want to go.
Humans sometimes struggle with getting to where we want to be. We might know what we want and just can’t quite figure out how to get there. Or maybe we KNOW the steps required to get us there, but we can’t quite motivate ourselves to take those steps. Sometimes we can’t even figure out WHAT the hell we want because we have so many thoughts cluttering our minds.
People may struggle with time scarcity and feel overwhelmed. We sometimes deal with financial scarcity that can create cycles of fear and worry. During transitions in our lives, we can sometimes feel unanchored, and unsure what course to chart next. If we have many paths before us, sometimes we can’t choose. And if we have any difficult emotions attached to the situations we are going through, that’s when things can get challenging.
It is immensely helpful in times like these to talk to someone who is not emotionally attached to your outcome, someone who can help clarify your thinking and help you find your way forward to where you want to be.
That’s what life coaches do. We help clients overcome obstacles to get from where they are to where they’d like to be.
How do we do that? By having conversations about values, goals, and habitual thoughts and behavior patterns. By looking at what influences their energy socially, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and environmentally. By discovering ways to increase energy in all those areas. By replacing fear with faith, which has a very different vibration and attracts very different energy into one’s life.
So, who the fuck needs a life coach?
People going through one of the struggles mentioned above. People who never have the energy to do what they love doing. People who want to reach their goals. People who want to manifest their dreams. People going through any kind of transition like changing careers or relationships, moving to a new city, or empty nesting. People struggling to reach their health goals. People who have lost their confidence or have low self-esteem. People who know they want MORE from their lives, but aren’t quite sure more of what.
Me. I need a life coach.
One of the BEST parts about my coaching school was that we constantly had peers coaching us for practice. I was practicing my coaching skills which was extremely valuable, but receiving coaching weekly had the added benefit of tremendous self-growth along with an increased understanding of what it feels like to receive the benefits of regular coaching. My mother looked at me like I was crazy when I told her I was still being coached regularly. “But you are a trained coach, why do you need one?”
GREAT question! There are a lot of ways in which I can and do coach myself all the time to change habitual thoughts from my past that do not serve my goals. But I also pay two professional coaches for regular sessions. I have an In the Flow coach who helps keep my energy and enthusiasm high, and I have a life coach to help me plan my goals, improve my relationships, and be the best version of me that I can be! I also follow a business coach on Facebook to pick up lots of hints and tips on how to grow my coaching practice.
So, who needs a life coach? Everyone NEEDS a life coach!
But, who can coaching help?
Coaching can ONLY help those who are willing to show up for themselves, and take the actions required to get out of their own way and get to where they want to go.
Here is the most important question:
Who the fuck is READY for a life coach?
If you know a truly amazing life coach, who do you refer to her for coaching?
Coaching is becoming more common, but when someone finds themselves needing a coach, they may not feel comfortable asking for recommendations. They may not think any of their friends know a life coach. It’s just not that main stream. I mean, really, is life coaching a thing?
PLEASE keep your ears open for key phrases like these:
I always feel so overwhelmed! I’m tired all the time. I have no energy. I want to change (something), but have no idea how! I have tried to change (something), but I always fail. My life doesn’t matter. I’ll never reach my goals. Is this all there is to life? I want more from my life, I just don’t know what. Why can’t I stick to my own healthy intentions? I have to do everything myself. I’m in a rut and I can’t get out. I want to complete (some large goal) but I have no idea where to start!
Anyone saying these things will benefit from coaching. If you regularly say these things, contact me for a chat!
When you hear phrases like these from friends, you will be helping us both by giving them my name and contact info.
I will be delighted to schedule a 30 minute session to see if coaching is a good fit for the challenges they’re facing. No obligation. No sales pitch. If it seems like coaching can help, I’ll tell them what I offer my clients. If I am not the right coach for them, I have an extensive network of other coaches with varying specialities that I am delighted to refer them to, and a LONG list of free resources that might be all they need to set them on the path to their dreams!
This is partially about building my practice, but it’s mostly about making sure people have the support they need to succeed in life!
That’s what I am passionate about! I want everyone to live the best possible version of themselves!
What will happen if you share this blog post? Who will you help? Who do you know who is currently facing life challenges? Who do you know who’s been struggling awhile to reach a goal? Who do you know who is in transition and could use some support? How many of the key phrases above have you used recently? What is your biggest goal? What steps are you currently taking to get there? What steps are you avoiding? Why? What’s holding you back?
How we FEEL is always the direct result of what we think.
Managing your mind and deciding what you want to think is the secret to creating a happy life. Don’t believe me? Let’s say for example that you have been let go from a job you love, through no fault of your own. Some people think being fired causes the emotions that follow, but the situation is ALWAYS neutral.
The situation is not good or bad, it simply is. The story we attach to the situation causes us to see it as positive or negative.
Our thoughts cause our emotions.
The thoughts we choose cause the emotions that follow.
*Neutral Situation = employment status
Thought choice # 1 – Negative thoughts: Oh my God! I got fired! What will I do for money? I have no savings and it might be months before I find a job! How dare they let me go after all I have given this company! Why is this happening to me? I’ll probably never find a job that pays this well again. WHAT will I do without benefits? What will people think? I’ve been fired from a job I love! This is the end of the world. I can’t believe they would do this to me! I’ll be out of money before I find work! This is a disaster! What will I tell my family?! This is the WORST time to be unemployed! I need to take the FIRST thing I can find so I can pay my bills, no matter how awful it is or how miserable it makes me. This is terrible, terrible news! Emotions created by thoughts – fear, anxiety, frustration
*Neutral Situation = employment status
Thought choice # 2 – Positive thoughts: What a wonderful opportunity to find work that I am passionate about! This seems like just the right time to move on to bigger things. I have no idea what comes next for my career, but it’s going to be wonderful! I am embarking on the next segment of my ever-improving professional life! What do I want to do next? What really excites me? This is so unexpected and delightful! I feel like a door has opened to a room FULL of opportunity! There is a purpose to everything. I think something wonderful is about to unfold! What PERFECT timing for something new and exciting! Emotions created by thoughts – excitement, hope, enthusiasm
How can there be such different emotional outcomes from the SAME situation? The situation is neutral – it cannot cause emotions. The thoughts we CHOOSE to think cause the emotions we feel. Period.
It requires some effort to improve our thoughts, but it’s totally worth it because, here’s the kicker;
Our emotions drive our actions.
We sometimes think that our actions are based on our logical thoughts. If that were true, we would all be fit and active because logically we KNOW that eating right and staying active keeps us healthy, happy, and living longer. We frequently set intentions to eat healthier options, or to increase our activity levels.
But what usually happens when we “don’t feel like it”? Does that feeling drive the action, or is it the logical decision we have made to eat right and work out?
Right? Nine times out of ten “not feeling like it” trumps our healthy intentions and we end up on the couch watching Netflix with a bag of potato chips instead of going for a walk or making a salad. To create new actions that align with our intentions, we want to think thoughts that cause the emotions required to drive our actions.
In other words, instead of just thinking whatever thoughts you normally think that result in the actions you normally take, decide what actions you WANT to take, and then figure out what kind of thoughts will drive you to those actions.
For example, let’s say that our intention is to be active for 20 minutes after work, and eat a salad once a day toward our goal of being more healthy and fit.
Possible Thoughts and Probable Outcomes
I need to lose weight, so I have to take action. I HAVE to find a way to be more active and eat right. The last thing I want to do after a long day is work out! I get so TIRED of making salad every day! I’ve tried and failed to lose weight my whole life! This never gets easier. Why bother? Who cares?
PROBABLY not going to motivate anyone off the couch and away from the frozen pizza that’s fast, easy, and calling their name.
Those thoughts are easy to come by. They pop into mind with no trouble at all, bringing with them all variety of doubts, second guessing and even more unhelpful, demotivating thoughts.
What will change if we try thoughts like these?
I want to feel energized, so I am taking action! I ENJOY the way I feel when I move my body every day! I enjoy finding new ingredients to make salads interesting. The last thing I want is to feel worn down. Staying active keeps my energy high! Chopping salad honors my health and brings me closer to my goal! It takes less time to make salad than it does to earn money for pizza! One small step each day leads to my success! Today is the only day I need to focus on. I make the effort because I want vibrant health and well being! I have learned a LOT from past attempts, and can avoid pitfalls. This time I am determined and will stop for nothing! I have listed all obstacles that have prevented me from reaching my goal in the past, and created a strategy to deal with each one. THIS is the way I reach my goals!
These thoughts take slightly more effort to conjure and require PRACTICE. They pop out of mind much more easily than they pop in, but they are worth the effort because they bring with them 1) confidence that you can reach your goal, 2) courage to keep trying even if things don’t go exactly as planned, and 3) more thoughts that keep you feeling encouraged and moving forward.
It’s easy to see that these thoughts have a better chance of motivating a person away from the pizza and onto the elliptical, right?
So what TEA am I brewing?
TEA = Thoughts. Emotions. Actions.
Thoughts cause emotions. Emotions drive actions.
To drive the actions we WANT, we need to choose thoughts that generate the emotions that drive us in the direction we want to go.
“I hate salad!” drives us one way.
“I make salad daily to bring me into alignment with my intentions, and help reach my goals!” drives us another way entirely.
To reach the destination we desire, we need to find the driver (create the emotion) heading to that destination!
What TEA are you brewing? What thoughts are keeping you from your goals? What thoughts can you choose to practice instead?
From Rachel Hollis in Girl, Wash Your Face: “When you boil it down, that’s the heart of the problem with my father. He couldn’t understand what to do with a small child, let alone a girl. Since he didn’t understand me, he often unintentionally muted the parts of me that made him uncomfortable.”
A million times I have revisited a moment from when I was 5 years old. I had been dancing all day, exploring my new found love for music and movement. I waited excitedly for my father to come home so I could show him how well I danced, because I knew without question that dancing was something I did really well! I LOVED the way I felt when I moved my body, and I loved the way the music made me feel, and I was one with the Universe and all things when I danced! I couldn’t wait to share that feeling with him.
My father’s reaction after my one-song recital was, “I guess that will be OK when you’re old enough.”
All I heard was, “You’re not enough.” I might be enough one day in an OK sort of way, but NOW, in this present moment, I am not enough.
After reading Rachel Hollis, I realize that my dancing made my father uncomfortable. At five years old, my radiant light shown brightly, and my father marginalized me and made me doubt, because he could – in NO way – relate to my exuberant joy.
This was a man who angered easily when I didn’t meet the conditions he thought appropriate for a child. But WHAT was “appropriate” wasn’t defined, and therefore I was always guessing how to behave, trying on new masks I hoped might please him enough to get him to love me, or show affection, or at least set down his beer. The one mask I dared not wear was Authentic Cindy (I didn’t spell it Cyndi back then) because he had already shown me how displeased he was with, and how unloveable and unworthy of love was Authentic Cindy.
I learned this because every time I was truly, authentically, exuberantly me, the message I received was vehemently “don’t be that.” (*Please see side note below.)
The problem with suppressing the authentic self is that once we realize we can only be truly happy living as our authentic self, it may be hard to recall our authentic self. It is hidden, buried deep beneath a pile of discarded masks that didn’t fit and didn’t attract the unconditional love we were hoping for.
Unconditional love is what we all seek. So we bend ourselves like pretzels to meet conditions that might make us lovable in the eyes of others.
The problem with suppressing the authentic self is that once we realize we can only be truly happy living as our authentic self, it may be fucking SCARY as hell to step back into the authentic self – the role we were born to play. Because so much energy has been spent trying NOT to be that. So many thoughts have accumulated telling us that ‘who we truly are’ is unacceptable, unloveable or unworthy.
Reframing these thoughts will take time, but there may not be anything more important we can do to reach our goals.
Without the element of self-love, goals for self-care are fruitless. We give up making healthy improvements because we believe we’re unworthy or unimportant, or whatever other limiting belief we have learned and integrated.
Reframing these thoughts will take practice but it’s crucial. I schedule time each day to think my new improved thoughts. I spent YEARS practicing old thinking patterns, so changing those patterns now takes practice to form new neural pathways.
Reframing these thoughts may require therapy. I certainly needed one-on-one help to see that changing my thoughts about myself was essential to reclaiming the authentic me that I was born to be. A good therapist or counselor can be immensely helpful at restoring self-love and self-care to healthy levels.
I am wild and audacious and loud. My authentic self is fearless and fails forward without regret. She is filled with joy that spills out naturally and noisily.
I am done living small because it might make others uncomfortable. I am done wearing masks to get the approval of others. Because If I cannot live the full, expansive version of me that I came here to be, then that makes ME uncomfortable. I will pursue my passions and I will shine my light, and I will help others remember the light inside themselves.
If we want unconditional love (and we do!) then we must love ourselves unconditionally in all our flawsomeness. We must love the darkness and the light. We must love our flaws, missteps, and failures and feel entirely worthy despite those perceptions!
Unconditional love starts on the inside.
If we change to gain the approval of others, we will never love ourselves unconditionally. When we love ourselves every day in all conditions, we don’t need the fucking approval of others. And when we truly feel love for ourselves no matter what, that is what the world reflects back to us!
We can stick to our healthy intentions and reach our goals because we know our own value and deeply accept our self-worth. More people see our authentic, confident selves, and are drawn to our energy and inspired to love themselves unconditionally!
And isn’t THAT what we want from life? To live deeper self-love, greater confidence, and absolute worthiness while inspiring our fellows to deeper self-love, greater confidence, and absolute worthiness?
I believe it’s what we all want at our core.
What parts of yourself do you mute so that others are not uncomfortable? What are you telling yourself about that muted part? What will change for you when you live the life you were born to live? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much self love do you currently have? (1 is low and 10 is LOTS) What will it take to get that to a 10?
*side note – My father was not an bad person. He was just doing the best he could with what he had to work with. I hold no resentments for his behavior and understand that those experiences helped shaped me into the AWESOME human being I am today.
There is only one reason that we fail, ever. We fail when we give up. As long as we haven’t given up, as long as we keep trying a new approach, a different tact, a fresh perspective, our dream is still a possibility!
So, why do we give up on our dreams?
We persist or give up based on our own personal habits, or patterns of action. If you grew up in a home where persistence was rewarded, it’s likely that you don’t give up easily on your dreams. You have probably developed habits that keep you moving forward even after what others might see as major setbacks. If this sounds like you, this post probably won’t hold many insights for you.
If, on the other hand, you grew up in a home where your parents said they would do something and then didn’t follow through, you may have never learned how to map your way to the goals you are wanting, or plan strategies for the challenges that will arise. You may have developed the habit of letting yourself off the hook, or making excuses for why you didn’t succeed.
These are roadblocks to living your dreams.
Reaching our dreams requires changing our actions. But continuing our habitual actions is always going to be easier than change, because it’s the familiar pathway we have practiced over time, the habits we have built, the thought patterns we’ve entrenched.
Let’s use weight reduction as our example because this is one that millions of people including most of my clients struggle with.
Most of the time we have a pretty good idea of the types of actions required to reach a goal. If weight reduction is our goal the list of actions required to support that goal MIGHT include: move our body X minutes per day and X days per week, define a food protocol & check it with your doctor, plan your meals in advance, schedule time to shop for and prep meals, eat less XYZ, increase hydration, eat more produce, eliminate processed sugar, eat more fish, eat less meat. The list goes on.
How many times have you decided to adopt one or more of these healthy behaviors? How many times did you succeed? If there were times that you did not succeed, why did you give up?
A change in action is not sustainable unless we also change our thoughts.
Most of us give up when we try to adopt a new behavior because a change in action is not sustainable unless we also change our thoughts. And the thoughts we have practiced up to this point do not support sticking to the goal, or we would have achieved our goal already. Right?
The thoughts we have practiced up to this point support giving up when it gets hard, giving in when we have a craving or something doesn’t go according to plan. We let ourselves off the hook because we practice thoughts like, “I can start tomorrow.” “One cheat won’t hurt.” “It’s not my fault.” By now a lot of us are realizing that thoughts like this are self-defeating and have created a pattern of failing to meet our healthy intentions for years or decades.
I can’t start tomorrow because the present is the only moment in which I have any power. One cheat sets up a cycle of postponement that won’t get me to the finish line. And a bump in the road may not be my fault, but reaching my goals is most definitely my responsibility. If I don’t work for it when the going gets tough, who will? And when the going gets tough, humans reach for what’s familiar and practiced – unless we make the effort to change the thoughts we are thinking.
Mindset is everything!
Changing our thoughts takes effort, but it can make the difference between staying stuck and reaching our goals. You don’t need a coach to change your mindset, but coaching absolutely helps! I know from my own experience and from my clients’ experiences that coaching transforms lives.
But there are books you can read and online courses to take if you’re not ready to invest in one-on-one coaching. Here is a short list of my current favorites:
Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
It’s Not Your Money: How to Live Fully from Divine Abundance by Tosha Silver.
Freedom School by Ana Verzone includes courses in drinking less, building confidence, mindset, stop overeating and so much more!
If you think one-on-one coaching may be right for you, but you’re not sure it’s an investment that you’re ready to make, contact me to schedule a little chat! You can ask any questions you have, I’ll tell you a bit more about how coaching works, and we’ll uncover your next best actions to move you toward the life that you’re longing to live! Zero pressure.
I want everyone to have a clear idea of how to get from where they are to where they want to be!
That’s why I like to include the Grow on!section. These questions help you coach yourself as you begin the process of growing more aware of what you want your life to be. That’s why I list resources for self-growth, like the ones above. These resources have helped me and my clients, so I know they can help you too!
What was your last self-improvement goal? On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘highly’), how successful were you at reaching your goal? If you did not complete the goal, what was your reason? What self-improvement goal is currently calling your heart? Make a list of the obstacles that might stop you reaching your goal. Journal around what you will do when each of these obstacles appears!
This insidious question can perpetuate a cycle of darkness that will feed itself to infinity if we do not disrupt the pattern.
“Who cares?” is a thought. Thoughts are what cause our emotions. Emotions drive our actions and the actions we take make up our life.
What sort of emotions stir inside you when you think, “Who cares?” in relation to your own goals? Not good-feeling ones, I’ll guess!
Because if YOU don’t care about your needs, desires, and goals – who does? And thinking nobody cares what you want or need just feels shitty. Am I right?
No one likes to feel hurt, and normally what humans do when we have shitty feelings is turn to whatever it is we have practiced soothing our hard emotions with. At this time of year many people realize that they might be using their self-soothing tool too frequently for health, and try to reduce their use of food, alcohol, or whatever their substance of choice.
If food is your choice for self-soothing hard emotions, and you decide you want to reduce your weight for lots of great health benefits, what will be the normal response the first time you feel some hard emotions? The average person is going to revert to eating something to numb those emotions! It sounds ludicrous, but trust me, we all do this! We revert to default patterns (habits) that we’ve had for years because that’s what’s familiar. The average woman also then beats the crap out of herself for NOT sticking to her intention to do something different, even though all she really did was revert to the familiar pattern she’s been practicing for years, or even decades.
Disrupt the Pattern
When the difficult emotions arise, we can enter a hypnotic state that allows us to default to previous patterns. Our first tool is awareness, always. We cannot change a behavior until we are aware that it’s happening. Once we become aware, we must disrupt our normal pattern if we are to change it and form a new, healthier way of dealing with painful emotions.
I often thought that if I could have a panic button to press as soon as I am aware of uncomfortable emotions that set off alarm bells, it might shock me into realizing that this moment is the ONE where I get to choose a different behavior. When I get a thought that tells me sugar or pizza will soothe whatever I am feeling, I picture myself running around like a mad woman with an air horn, screaming at myself to wake up and pay attention because something important is happening, and that I need to be present. Sometimes I even heed her advice.
It’s always going to feel easier to get a pizza than to cook a healthy meal at home. I mean really, who cares? Who really cares if I feed my body crap that makes me feel sick and drains my energy? This line of thinking will get me an extra large Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza delivered to my door every time! If no one cares – do what’s easy.
There can also be an element of resentment toward our partner if they agree to order pizza even though they know it makes us sick every time we eat wheat and dairy, right? Cause that kinda PROVES the point that no one cares, or maybe they would have the self-restraint to stop me. More than one client has expressed a desire to rely on her mate for this type of support.
It helps to remember that building new behaviors and habits was NOT your first thought, so why would it be the first thing on your partners’ mind? Our partner is as new at trying to change the behavior as we are. It’s highly likely that your partner also wants to self-soothe. Or maybe they know the pizza makes you happy and they want you to be happy! Ultimately it’s not their decision how you soothe. It’s yours.
Why does this matter?
If we can be aware in the moment of choice – the moment when we hear ourselves think “who cares?” – what will change if we substitute the question, “Why does this matter?” Why does it matter that I cook at home when it’s EASIER to eat pizza? Why does it matter that I cook at home (stick to whatever intention you are trying to stick to) when nobody cares?
It matters because if I don’t care about my needs, desires, and goals, nobody will! It matters, because when I was thinking with clarity and talking to my coach, I made choices based on my own well-being and I set intentions for what I want for my life! It matters because I deserve to have my needs met. It matters because I want to be healthier than I currently am. It matters because “I” matter!
This has everything to do with understanding that we matter. You matter. I matter. Each and every one of us matters!
If someone else kept telling the person you love most that nobody cares about their needs and desires, you would rise up like a mama bear to defend their needs and desires! Allow your inner mama bear to defend your needs, desires and goals. When you become aware of the thought, “who cares?” be fierce in defense of your own needs, and the goals to which you aspire! Remind yourself sternly that YOU care because your health matters, because YOU matter!
If you can’t bring yourself into alignment with the belief that you do matter just as much as the next person, please find yourself a counselor or an amazing therapist. (MY therapist, Jill Lebeau, is freaking AWESOME and I am delighted to recommend her!)
If you understand (or at least can begin to see) how much you matter, and want to change some habitual patterns of thinking or behaving, maybe coaching is right for you!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me as clearly as you can, why you are considering hiring a coach, and what specifically you would like to discuss. We’ll get you scheduled for your free 30-minute session and grow from there!
What do you turn to for soothing? In what ways is that habit harming your health? How ready are you to let it go? Why do your goals and intentions matter to you? How much do YOU matter to yourself? Who is responsible for making sure your needs get met? Make a list of ways you can self-soothe without harming your health! BONUS POINTS – Share ideas for healthy self-soothing in comments!
All three are crucial when it comes to guiding our lives, so when I suggest that we ditch the new year’s resolutions, it’s not because goals aren’t important, it’s because BIG goals often feel overwhelming or unobtainable.
Daily intentions on the other hand are amazing tools, and weekly and monthly resolutions can also be super helpful because human beings have amazingly short attention spans.
Daily Intentions vs. New Year’s Resolutions
Let’s use one of the most popular new year’s resolutions as an example. A very large number of people will resolve to lose weight in 2020. I like to reframe that goal as health improvement through weight reduction, so let’s look at weight reduction as our goal.
Example Woman wants to reduce her body weight by 40 pounds. If she simply uses “I am going to lose 40 pounds” as the New Year’s resolution, statistics suggest that she has an 8% chance of success. Anyone who has tried to reduce their body weight knows how much effort it can take to drop just 5 pounds. The full goal can be too big and too non-specific to provide the motivation required over the long term. If losing 40 pounds is the goal, then seeing that first two or three pounds fall away seems insignificant, when really it’s a HUGE big deal that can be celebrated as the first milestone, and used as a foundation upon which the rest of the goal can be built!
If, on the other hand, Example Woman sets a goal to lose two pounds this week, and supports that goal with daily intentions that align to that goal, her chances of success grow exponentially. For example, her daily intention might be to avoid desserts and move her body for 20 minutes every day. Or maybe she chooses to focus her intention on walking 12,000 steps each day, and eating a healthy green salad with dinner instead of buttery potatoes or french fries. Maybe she’ll choose to simply stop snacking after dinner for 6 nights this week and give up sugary drinks. Each of these small goals aligns with the bigger, overall goal, and each of them is easier to focus on, and easier to achieve.
Example Woman has three possible outcomes: 1) She reached her goal and has a foundation of success and confidence to motivate her forward. 2) She achieved partial success and can make small adjustments to do more of what worked and resonated for her, while doing less of what she didn’t enjoy or didn’t seem as effective. 3) She made no movement toward her goal in which case it is obvious that what she did this week didn’t create the results she wants, so she can adjust the plan to try something different next week.
This process allows more space to review what is being achieved, which pieces of the process are creating the results we crave, which pieces of the process we enjoy (and therefore will be more likely to continue), and which pieces we do not enjoy (and therefore may want to find a different perspective from which to view it, or a different way to approach it entirely.)
Every time we reach that small daily or weekly goal, we’re building confidence in ourselves and our ability to create what we want to create. Every time we stick to our intentions, even when we don’t feel like it, we build confidence that we can depend on ourselves. We create the evidence that we always follow through, that we will do something when we say we will. Our self-esteem grows as we walk our talk and reach our goal.
You know that picture you have in your mind of you standing at whatever finish line you aspire to? The picture you imagine of you living the results you want to live – whether it’s a novel you are writing and want to publish, or the optimally-functioning, healthy body you are creating & maintaining, or that new language in which you wish to be fluent. You CRUSHING it. You thriving and prospering and happy. Yes, THAT picture. Take a minute and really SEE it in your mind. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that will flood you in that moment of triumph.
The difference between living that picture and having it remain an unfulfilled dream is in how we map our route to get there. For most of us, taking a million baby steps will get us to the BIG goal faster than trying to arrive in one or two giant leaps.
When Example Woman reaches her goal of eating a salad daily and increasing her activity level, she can count herself successful even if the number on the scale hasn’t changed yet! There are myriad factors that contribute to health improvements and weight reduction and they are NOT the same for everyone, so if the goal is to change that number on the scale, and that’s the only marker being used, it can be REALLY frustrating for Example Woman “A” if Example Woman “B” is doing the same things but getting different results just because of her genetics, or the part of her cycle she’s in, or the amount of water she is drinking.
Let the weekly goals be specific and achievable. We get bonus points if we can make them specific, achievable and FUN! Thinking that physical activity needs to be unenjoyable is a very limiting belief! Open your mind to the infinite possibilities available to us! Make a resolution to try one new activity this week that engages your body.
So ditch the year-long resolutions in favor of short-distance goals paired with daily intentions that support those. You’ve GOT this. I believe in you. If I can improve my life one step at a time, anyone can do it. I believe in us!
What is ONE healthy new habit that you could start doing each day? (twenty minute walk, more leafy greens, drink water every hour, floss twice, positive affirmations, meditation, the list is endless) What will change for you when this new activity is a habit? What is one habit you could quit today that would have the biggest impact on your health and well-being? (using tobacco, drinking soda, eating sugar, being sedentary, drinking alcohol, and nail biting are a few that yield quick benefits when released) What will change for you without this habit? How much money will you save?
Let’s use “horse” as an analogy for whatever new behavior you are trying to integrate into your life.
Every time we try a new “horse” our gremlins get their knickers in a twist. They HATE letting us outside our comfort zones. So when we try something new and we fall off the horse, our gremlins grasp the opportunity to kick us while we’re down. And sometime’s that’s just enough to keep us from climbing back on the horse. So I am here to reassure you.
Get back on the damn horse!
It builds confidence and it let’s the gremlins know you’re serious about eating healthy, or drinking less, or whatever your particular horse is right now. It’s OK to fall off the horse! If you’re a human being, then it’s positively NORMAL to fall off the horse this time of year. Most of us revert to practiced behaviors over new ones in times of stress, and there seems to be plenty of perceived stress around the holidays.
It’s OK. But don’t let one slip (or a series of them) keep you off the horse! Our gremlins tell us that we failed because this path was not meant for us, or that we are doomed to fail no matter what, so “why bother?”
But if it’s something you want, and maybe have been wanting for awhile, then get back on the horse!
Ask yourself why you fell. What triggered you to fall off the horse? What tools might help when that trigger arises in the future? It’s going to come up again, so what can you choose to do differently next time?
And maybe we stay on the horse a while, and then we get thrown again. What can we do then?
Get back on the damn horse.
Research horseback riding. Get a riding coach. Read books about how others succeeded in riding this particular horse. But don’t give up, and don’t listen to the gremlins when they tell you to stay down, never mind, and just forget about it. Because you deserve to have it and you are capable of creating it!
Christmas visits with family, and holiday celebrations are going to kick a lot of peoples’ well-laid plans in the dirt. It’s OK. You’ve GOT this!
There are exponentially MORE items on the to-do list this time of year.
Right? There are trees to be trimmed, packages to buy & presents to wrap, gatherings to attend, cookies and candies to make, holiday meals to plan and prepare, lights to string on the roof, yard decorations to inflate, carols to practice, choirs to sing in, and so much more! The list is infinite it seems. Some of these things are traditions that go back generations and some are the latest fad making the rounds.
Unfortunately, along with the holiday cheer arrives the holiday stress. If the cheer outweighs the stress, the holiday season can be fun! If your stress is beginning to outweigh the cheer, STOP shoulding on yourself! (I should do this. I should do that. I should be able to do it all and do it well!)
Take a deep breath.
Look at your list and start making some cuts. I know that a lot of you will say, “ALL of it has gotta get done come Hell or high water!” But WHY? Because others expect it of you? Because someone might be disappointed if you don’t make their own particular favorite pie? Can’t they eat a piece of one of the other 3 pies you made? If you are a people-pleaser this time of year, you might feel guilty taking even one thing off that list.
What would happen if you prioritized the list by fun? Put all of the things that really bring you joy at the top, and anything you really don’t enjoy, put toward the bottom. That way if the list doesn’t get done, (GASP!) you will have gotten to the fun parts! You deserve to enjoy your holiday.
And yes, doing things for others in the spirit of the season is fun and uplifting! So if it’s something you want to do for someone that genuinely lifts your spirits, by all means prioritize THAT! But if everything you are doing is for someone else, and feels like “have-to” instead of “want-to,” and none of the list is connecting you to your own spirit or the true meaning of the holy days you are celebrating, then give yourself permission to reduce your stress by reducing the list!
Let good enough be good enough.
Perfection is an illusion, and chasing it might just make it feel like a crappy holiday full of resentments instead of happy holiday full of presence. Do your loved ones need one more present to unwrap, or another 1,000 calories cooked on their behalf? Or will they prefer to have you sane and healthy and present with them for the holiday?
We can celebrate with faith & joy this winter or we can let the season go down to shopping chaos, overconsumption and overwhelm.
Thankfully we each get to choose.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? What part of the celebration brings you the most joy? What would change if you dropped just one thing from your list? What would happen if you did ONLY the things that lift your heart?