3 posts from February 2012

February 28, 2012

Giving In Relationships

IStock_0complimentSmallI often talk about women not settling in their relationships and wanted to remind women (and men) that it’s equally important to be giving in their relationships.  All relationships are a balance of give and take.  We all have to be able to set limits when we need to while also being compassionate and relational will all those in our inner circle.  So below is a quick cheat sheet for how to give.  Always remember that whenever you choose to give something—even if it’s a small compliment—you do so with an open heart.  Don’ give with resentment or because you think you have to—give because you want to and it’s the loving thing to do.

10 ways to give:
1.    Smile.  Greet those around you with a genuine smile.  Show them you’re happy to see them—it costs you nothing and it feels great to the other person.
2.    Kiss hello and good-bye.  Never forget the importance of the two G’s: greetings and good-byes.  A quick kiss or hug can go a long way in someone’s day.  Too often we slowly stop doing these until one day kisses and hugs feel so awkward that we no longer do them. 
3.    Ask about their life.  This person is in your life for a reason—get curious.  Ask about what’s going on in their life—if it matters to them, it should matter to you too.
4.    Give compliments.  Don’t be stingy.  Compliments are an example of what I call “tender sprinkles”.  Tender sprinkles are like making a deposit in our relationship bank accounts.  They help carry us through the hard times and remind us about what feels good.
5.    Say, “I love you”.  Say the words and follow them up with loving actions. This is especially true for men. If you're not comfortable with saying these three words--tough.  get over it and speak them.  your partner and your children should never have to surmise that you love them. Just say the three words!

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February 23, 2012

When Life Throws You A Curve Ball

IStock_0accidentSmallThese past two weeks have been a bit crazy.  While I was in LA giving a workshop, my sister, who also happened to be in LA at the time, was in a car accident.  She was hit by a drunk driver and sustained several injuries, including a broken nose and fractured cheekbones.  Due to her injuries, flying was not an option, so we ended up going on a road trip from Los Angeles, California to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Needless to say it was a bit of a curve ball in both our plans.

Here are some of the things I learned—and am still learning -- from this experience.  I hope you find them helpful. 
When life throws you a curveball:
1.    Do the right thing—not the easiest thing.  I know that if the tables were turned, I would be hoping to God that the people in my life would do whatever was necessary for me to be okay.  The reality is that curve balls don’t come at the most opportune time.  It’s our job to notice they’re there, get our priorities straight and do the right thing.  The world will have to wait.
2.    Know that some things will have to be dropped.  Sometimes you have to forego some things or push them aside and you have to let go of the guilt that comes with that.  Allow yourself the space to be where you truly need to be—you can catch up to the world later; they don’t need you now.
3.    Give with a good spirit.  If you are going to help someone, then truly help.  Do not be resentful and act as though they owe you anything.  They don’t.  Remember that if the tables were turned, you would want the same.

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February 09, 2012

Women, Compliments And Confidence

IStock_0confidencellEarlier this week my teenage son and I were watching a co-ed basketball game and were struck by two observations.  First, the boys were not passing the ball to the girls nearly as much as they were to the boys.  Second, the girls were practically hiding on the court.  My son turned to me with frustration and said, “I hate how girls have no confidence.  Why is that?  And why can’t girls ever just take a compliment?”  I said, “It’s interesting to watch the girls hide and think they’re terrible while the boys think they’re the most amazing players on earth.”  We both laughed for a moment and then talked about this all too common dynamic. 

I was very aware that many of the girls on the court that day would grow up to be women who hide as well.  I know this because I see it every day with women.  I watch women struggle to find their voice, twist themselves into a pretzel to keep a relationship no-one should be keeping and to trust that they are worthy.  And, yes, women struggle with compliments!

Below are a few lessons I’ve learned along the path of life.  I hope women will learn from them as well:
1.    Confidence is attractive.  Knowing in your heart that you are important in this world and standing in that knowledge without conceit or arrogance is very empowering and highly attractive.
2.    Downplaying yourself is unattractive.  Hiding out so others don’t see you is uncomfortable for those around you and toxic to your sense of self and self-esteem. 
3.    The greatest response to a compliment is “Thank You.”  Do not deflect someone’s compliment of you either to fish for more or to manage your anxiety.  Take it in and be appreciative.
4.    Speak your truth or you will lose yourself.  Too many women wake up and say, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”  Losing yourself is a slow process that occurs one unspoken word or false action at a time.  Eventually they add up until one day you realize you’ve lost yourself.
5.    Feedback is a gift—even difficult feedback.  The critique and upset of others is the greatest mirror of ourselves.  If we want to learn and grow, we have to look at our reflections.
6.    Perfection is unattainable and a set-up for failure.  We will make mistakes.  Others will make mistakes.  The need for perfection is a wound from childhood that will drive you and everyone around you crazy if you don’t let go of it.
7.    Accountability is courageous and necessary.  Owning our mistakes, apologizing for them and not repeating them is like gold in relationships.  Stop being defensive and have the courage to just say, “My bad.  I’m so sorry.”
8.    Control is toxic to relationships—loosen the reigns.  Learn to let go.  Your way is not “the” way…it is “one” way.  Manage your anxieties instead of micro-managing the world.  You are the only person over whom you truly have control –control yourself.
9.    Do not give poor treatment.  The poor behavior of others does not justify your own.  Stay respectful even in anger.
10.    Do not accept poor treatment.  Do not allow others to treat you poorly for any reason.  Set limits when necessary and do so respectfully and calmly.

Over the years, I’ve seen many of these lessons play out in my own life as well as the lives of many other women.  Too many women are trying to prove themselves, win the attention/love/respect of others and be seen as worthy.  Until women learn to accept ourselves, love ourselves and know that we are worthy, we will all struggle in our lives and relationships.  You are worthy.  I am worthy.  We are worthy.  Know it, own it and LIVE it.

Challenge:  Look over the list above with an honest eye.  Give yourself credit for the lessons you live well.  Acknowledge the lessons on which you need more practice.  Choose one lesson at a time and work it until you have achieved significant change.  Then move on to the next.  Pat yourself on the back for each lesson learned.


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