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7 posts from December 2006

December 30, 2006

AFFIRMATIONS UPDATE: Did you take on my challenge?

A few posts back, I wrote about affirmations and encouraged people to try them for 30 days—I was to do the same. Here is my update:

First off, I did indeed do my affirmation which was:

“I am feeling the fear and doing it anyway because I’m absolutely worth it and I totally rock”.

I was able to repeat my affirmations twenty-five times a day for eleven days. I forgot to do them on Christmas Eve which means I’m back at day one. I have decided to give myself the next week off while on vacation. I will start again Jan. 2nd.

Let me share however, what I noticed in those first eleven days. First off, I found that it was easier for me to say them while driving in my car to or from work. This allowed me a private space to say them aloud and my office is the perfect distance to complete them and not feel rushed. I also noticed that the first seven-nine days seemed a bit rote and inconsequential. I was repeating the affirmation yet wasn’t really “feeling it” (for lack of a better word).

The start of the second week surprisingly, had a very different feel to it. I remembered to say them more readily and I actually looked forward to saying them. More importantly, I began to actually believe them and felt more energized after saying them. I no longer felt silly, stupid or self conscious saying them and I no longer questioned if they would work. When I decided to take the week off, I found myself actually missing them. When I miss them I will say them, however I won’t start the count until January 2, 2007 (I don’t want to set myself up while on vacation).

So that’s where I’m at with my affirmations. Where are you with yours?

Challenge: Come up with an affirmation for yourself that feels right and share it with the people who read this blog. We’d love to hear some examples to inspire us.

December 27, 2006

HOLIDAY STRESS: Making it through the holidays without resentment

(Note: As you can see, I’m a bit behind this holiday season. I do apologize for not posting sooner and I thank those of you who are forgiving and continue to tune in.)

I decided to post about a phenomenon I frequently see during the holidays: women taking on significantly more of the holiday responsibilities than their partners.

During the holiday season, this may show up as women doing a majority of the gift shopping and then placing their partner’s name on all the gifts. Some women may even buy gifts for their in-laws and partner’s business associates. They may do all the party planning, make the preparations, decorate the interior of the house, and cook wonderful appetizers, entrees, and desserts for these parties. They then clean up for everyone.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting resentful just writing all this. Of course, this is not true for all couples, and some families where this is true, may not mind at all. However, for those women who can relate to this and who are tired, worn out, and feeling a tad bit resentful--stop working so hard. It’s time for you to take a break.

I realize this is much easier said than done and… it’s a lot easier than you think.

Continue reading "HOLIDAY STRESS: Making it through the holidays without resentment" »

December 21, 2006

THE MILITARY'S CONCEPT OF BEING A “MAN” MAY BE HURTING OUR SOLDIERS AND OUR CULTURE

I am appalled at how our military culture often treats soldiers who emotionally struggle upon their return home from war. The military’s predominant “suck it up and be a man” attitude is wreaking havoc not only on marriages, families, and friendships, but on our culture at large.

We send our 18 year old “men” to Iraq and ask them to: kill, watch their friends die right in front of them, be prepared at any moment for a surprise enemy attack, and to watch as suicide bombers are blowing up bodies all around them…and then, we say, “Oh yeah, and don’t be affected by that.”

According to NPR: (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6575431)

“Army studies show that at least 20 percent to 25 percent of the soldiers who have served in Iraq display symptoms of serious mental-health problems, including depression, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

Continue reading "THE MILITARY'S CONCEPT OF BEING A “MAN” MAY BE HURTING OUR SOLDIERS AND OUR CULTURE " »

December 15, 2006

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS AND LIVES START WITH HEALTHY THOUGHTS

The more I continue to work on myself and witness others doing the same, the more convinced I am that often the biggest obstacle to success in our relationships, work, families, and our lives is –ourselves.

I realize, to many, this may not be a huge revelation. In fact, many of us know this, yet we can’t seem to get out of our own way. For me, one of the biggest obstacles is fear, and, if I’m truly honest, not feeling worthy. When I slow down and pay attention to the negative messages I tell myself, here’s what my TNT voice says (like a stick of dynamite that rips us to shreds):

• I’m lazy, irresponsible, and disorganized.
• It’s much easier to sit back and get by than to step out and risk. Why don’t you just be happy with what you have?
• Your goals are unrealistic and a pipe dream—just let go and save yourself a lot of heartache.
• If I clean up my bad habits, then I will be successful—and I’m not worthy of being successful.
• If I get successful, I will become one-up and entitled just like everyone else. I will lose my humility, my friends, and my loved ones.

The list could go on and on, but hopefully you get the picture. We all have a TNT voice inside us, and whether we know it or not, it can, and often does, wreak total havoc in our lives.

I’ve noticed that it’s ten times easier to tear ourselves down than it is to build ourselves up. I’m also well aware of all the literature that stresses the importance of being kind to ourselves, looking at the positives, and using positive affirmations to counter our TNT voice.

The problem is, the teenager in me equates positive affirmations with Stewart Smalley from “Saturday Night Live” who would often say, “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with Stewart Smalley, you missed out on a very funny character. In essence, I made up that the entire skit was about making fun of positive affirmations. So naturally it took me a while to get over my pride enough to actually use them without feeling stupid.

Continue reading "HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS AND LIVES START WITH HEALTHY THOUGHTS" »

December 11, 2006

PARENTING IS HARD--Here are some Do's and Don'ts for parents

Parenting, I believe, is one of THE most difficult jobs in the world. No two children are the same, seldom does the same approach work well every time, and if you’re not healthy, then you can’t raise healthy children.

I’m finding parenting to be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life. Let me tell you why and perhaps you can relate…

1. I have a very unhealthy need to be perfect (Yes, I’m working on this…ad nauseum, I might add), and parenting is anything but perfect. I have to watch my tone, my words, what I feed them, what I allow them to watch, remember to have them brush their teeth before bed and before school, remember to use logical consequences not punitive ones, and on and on. It’s hard enough for me to feed myself healthily let alone do this on top of taking care of two impressionable, vulnerable, highly influential children.

2. Any issues I have not healed within myself get played out through them. If I struggle with issues of self-esteem, I see them struggle with the same thing—ugh! If I struggle with rage, so will they, and if I struggle with setting limits, chances are they will too. If I eat unhealthily, I, of course, teach them to do the same.

3. There are no “right” answers. For every tip, answer, or sure-fire solution to a specific problem, there is an opposite tip, answer, or sure-fire solution that goes against the first. One group says don’t spank, another says “spare the rod, spoil the child” (which is not my belief, by the way). One specialist says have dessert be a part of the meal, not a treat, and another one says no dessert unless you eat your food.

The power of the peer group and our culture is so humongous that at times, it feels beyond me. I teach my children that children can have feelings; use their words; play with dolls or trucks regardless of their gender; stand up for themselves in strong, respectful ways; and be honest about what’s going on for them.

Our culture, in contrast, teaches them that boys don’t cry, girls need to be nice, children should not question authority—even if that authority is being disrespectful, and there are defiantly gender-specific toys. In fact, McDonald’s asks my children if they would like a “boy” toy or a “girl” toy every time we order a happy meal. When I ask what the actual toys are, they respond by asking me whether my child is a boy or a girl. My response is, “I could tell you the genders of my children; however, that will not help you or me to choose the toy they would like.”

The list is endless and the struggles many, so let me tell you what I’ve come up with.
My basic Do’s and Don’ts include:

Continue reading "PARENTING IS HARD--Here are some Do's and Don'ts for parents" »

December 08, 2006

GOOD RELATIONSHIPS OR BAD RELATIONSHIPS…THE CHOICE IS UP TO YOU

This week I ran across a great saying hanging on the wall in a therapist’s office. It said:

“I choose my behaviors,
The world chooses my consequences”.

What I love about this saying is it makes it very clear that I, and only I, am responsible for my life. The same is true for you. As tempting as it may be to blame our plight on other people, “circumstances beyond our control”, our insecurities etc., the truth is, ultimately we do what we do because we choose to.

We decide how far we will go in life. We decide how honest we will be in our relationships. We decide how much we will allow our past to influence and/or determine our present. We decide how emotionally intimate we will be with our significant others, children, family, and friends.

Life is a choice. Wearing blinders doesn’t excuse us from not seeing. Rationalizing our mistakes doesn’t help us to not repeat them. Acting helpless doesn’t mean we are helpless.

Ultimately, any action we take is a choice, and any action we don’t take—is a choice.

It is not possible for someone to hold us back without us allowing him/her to hold us back. It’s not possible for a friend to repeatedly use us unless we allow our friend to use us. And it’s not possible for us to be “stuck” in an unhealthy relationship without us choosing to stay stuck.

When we realize that we are in control of our own destiny, we open the door to bigger and better things. Although it may be scary to realize that we are ultimately responsible for the choices we make, I believe that it is also empowering.

Challenge: Look at the places in your life where you’re stuck or acting like a victim. What pay offs are you getting by staying stuck? What move do you know you need to make? Write down a list of possible moves, then choose one, and commit to making it happen.


December 06, 2006

SELF LOVE IS A PREREQUISTIE FOR ROMANTIC LOVE: The Gal In The Glass

I'm in Arizona again at The Meadows. This time I'm doing Survivors II which is a workshop which focuses on issues that are showing up in your adult life. As I'm in this workshop I'm reminded of the importance of self. It seems that so much stems from how we feel about ourself...not what we say we feel, but how we truly feel.
Ironically, I ran across this poem as I was having this insight. This poem was printed on a small laminated card. At the bottom of the card is www.hazeldon.org. This is thier material.
I hope you find it as helpful and insightful as I did... (Note: there is also one for men which is virtually the same with a few changes made for gender).

The Gal In The Glass
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you queen for a day
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that gal has to say.

For it isn't your husband or family or friend
Who judgement upon you must pass;
The gal whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people may think you a straight-shootin' chum
And call you a person of place.
But the gal in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look her straight in the face.

Continue reading "SELF LOVE IS A PREREQUISTIE FOR ROMANTIC LOVE: The Gal In The Glass" »

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