14 posts categorized "AUTHENTICITY"

December 04, 2013

Bringing Your Best Self to the Table

IStock_000007605445XSmallWhen I first got married I hated conflict. The thought of an argument made me nervous and so I avoided upsetting conversations with my husband all the time. If I was angry about something, instead of voicing my upset, I would go underground and act it out rather than talk it out. As you can imagine, this would be very difficult to live with. 

Fortunately over the years I learned the error of my ways  and worked like crazy to learn to speak up and stop acting things out. However, during those first years I remember justifying my anger and seldom thinking that I was at all wrong with my behavior. Seeing the mis-behavior of others was so obvious that it didn't occur to me to look at my own. 

Sound familiar? Human beings justify our own screw-ups all the time, while condemning the screw-ups of others ad-nauseam. We are quick to let ourselves off the hook for poor behavior, yet can make others pay for their bad behaviors for decades. Understandably, this is a recipe for disaster when it comes to relationships, jobs and even life. 

Living a good life is about bringing our best selves to the table at all times. The truth is, I wasn’t passive-aggressive because of what my husband did or didn’t do. I was passive-aggressive because that was MY dysfunctional way of handling problems. As soon as we get caught up in thinking that “we do what we do because others do what they do,” we’re all in trouble. The same is true when we think, “We are who we are and others should just accept us.” I’ve heard more excuses, justifications and blame for people’s poor behavior to last me a lifetime. I’ve even done my own fair share of all of these. These moves, however, aren’t serving us. 

Continue reading "Bringing Your Best Self to the Table" »

June 29, 2013

Are You Invisible or Are You Hiding?

IStock_000008250965_ExtraSmallI’ve heard various women (and teens) say that they feel invisible and that no one ever notices or listens to them. The closer we look at the issue though what shows up is the countless ways they practically make themselves invisible and/or muddle their message so much that it’s difficult for anyone to “hear” them.

Below are several signs that you are doing things to keep yourself from being seen and/or heard. 

  1. You barely speak in meetings or social gatherings.
  2. You wait to be spoken to before you speak.
  3. You give mixed messages rather than saying what you truly mean.
  4. You shrug your shoulders or say, “I don’t know” when asked what you think or want.
  5. You “let things go” that bother you. 
  6. You sit at the back of the room/class/meeting.
  7. You keep your opinions to yourself—especially if they differ from others.
  8. You fail to set limits because you don’t want to be mean or cause conflict.
  9. People repeatedly comment on how quiet you are.
  10. You say, share and ask for what you think others want to hear, or are willing to give rather than saying what you want to say, sharing what you want to share and asking for what you want to get.
  11. You constantly “tone” yourself down in an effort to not draw too much attention to yourself.
  12. You’re constantly “sizing” yourself up to see if you’re enough (pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough etc.).
  13. You can sit with a group of people for hours and barely say two sentences.
  14. You try to please others,
  15. You try to do everything that is asked of you even if it is unrealistic.

When it comes to feeling invisible, the first thing you want to ask yourself is, “Am I making myself invisible?” If you’re frequently self conscious about what you say, what people will think, how people will interpret what you’re saying and how you come across when you say it, you will be nearly paralyzed around people.  If you don’t want to be invisible, then you have to show up. This doesn’t mean you have to be loud and outgoing, it simply means you have to be you and allow others to see who that is. Stop worrying about what everyone will think or feel and instead start paying attention to what you think and feel… and share that. The more able you are to get out of their heads and stop worrying about what they’re thinking, the better able you will be to relax into being you. 

Add your thoughts, your quirkiness and your true self to the world and see what happens. We need more originals in our world trust me. We have enough carbon copies and could use a lot more genuine, authentic, daring individuals. Dare to be you…I, for one, welcome your voice, ideas and your humanity. Get out of hiding, let go of what others think, how you look/sound and step into the world in a whole new way.

Challenge: Start paying attention to all the ways you hide and why. Begin to choose “safe” people in your life to start to show up with in a more real way. Expand out from there. Remember to stop worrying about what others think and start paying attention to what feels true to you…then dare to share, be or do that. 

Good-luck and I look forward to our world finally meeting you.

September 18, 2012

Speak Your Truth or You Will Lose Yourself.

IStock_0maskwithwomanllToo 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.

When you silence your voice or act in ways that are not true to yourself, you end up shutting down the core of who you are.  I see this done every day by all kinds of women—even top executives who run multi-million dollar companies.  Women like to be liked.  We want others to think highly of us.  We are willing to keep quiet if it means our friend or loved one isn’t hurt or upset with us.  We’re willing to give in and do something that goes against our beliefs or instincts if it means the relationship will stay intact or the other person will still want to be around us.  In a thousand little ways we’re willing to compromise—even if the “compromise” is really doing or saying what only the other person wants us to do or say.

Continue reading "Speak Your Truth or You Will Lose Yourself. " »

June 27, 2011

8 THINGS I TRY TO LIVE BY (Inspired by Andrea Lee)

IStock_0eyesallBelow is a post from my new blog https://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

I just read an article by Andrea Lee about 8 things she tries to live by.  It got me thinking about what my 8 things were.  Here’s what I came up with.  I challenge you to do the same…and please do share.
1.    Practice what I preach:  If I teach it, I better live it.  Although I’m human and will continue to have my slips and imperfect moments, by and large, I do my best to follow my own advice when it comes to relationships.
2.    Do no harm: It’s important to me that I do no harm to others and do not allow others to do harm to me.  If I’m angry, I do my best to speak that anger from a centered, grounded place and respect the humanity of the person I’m speaking to.  I hold others to that same expectation.
3.    Be authentic: It’s important to me that people trust that I will give them honest feedback if they ask.  I believe feedback is a gift when we are courageous enough to give it and receive it.  I hold those in my inner circle accountable for giving me authentic feedback as well.  Telling me what I want to hear is not helpful to me.  Telling me what I need to hear—that’s helpful (even if it’s tough to hear it).
4.    Laugh: I love a good sense of humor and try to incorporate that into my everyday life.  I have no problem laughing at myself and enjoy being around people who can do the same (please laugh with me, however, not at me). I’d rather laugh than cry and love to be around people who can lighten things up without hurting others in the process.
5.    I prefer to talk about myself rather than gossip about others:  I don’t find gossip to be helpful to me or the people I’m talking about so I try my best to avoid it.  When I slip, I feel yuck inside.  When others slip, I try to re-direct the conversation to them or me and away from others. 
6.    Say it straight: If I’m upset about something, I will tell you directly.  I don’t like having to guess why someone might be upset with me and don’t want others to have to do the same.  I want to know what’s really going on with others and expect them to tell me and vice versa.  I believe this level of honesty often deepens relationships rather than damaging them.
7.    Be supportive: If someone in my life is unhappy about something (career, money, living situation), I believe it’s my job to hear them and do what I can to make things better.  If I want to move for example, I would like my family to help explore that option with me rather than squash it.  I want to make sure I do the same for them.  Keeping my loved ones stuck in an unhappy situation is not helpful to them or me so I try to look for solutions, not roadblocks.
8.    Live in integrity: To the best of my ability, I try to do the right thing in even the most difficult of moments.  I believe that implicit in silence is acceptance and I do my best not to accept the unacceptable (in a respectful way).  I believe in standing up, not backing down to the poor treatment of others or myself.  The bystander phenomenon drives me crazy and I wish we could count on one another to help protect one another.
8 PLUS 1, because I can’t keep it to just 8…
9.    Self-growth: I realize that the more work I do on myself, the more work I have to do.  I’m committed to continually trying to become a better, wiser more self-actualized person/parent/partner/friend in my journey in life.

Challenge: Take some time to think about what your “8 things you try to live by” principles are and send them along.  I’d love to hear some…plus it’s an interesting exercise in clarity.  Good Luck!

May 12, 2011

Women - It’s Time to Step Up and Stop Accepting Toxic Relationships

Below is a post from my new blog https://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

IStock_00couple alcohol I hear story after tragic story of women in relationships with men who ignore them, cheat  on them, yell at them, belittle them and even hit them.  Again and again these women excuse the men’s behaviors because he’s stressed or sick or had a tough upbringing or got laid off or was hurt by something she said, or he hates women because of his mother or…  Ugh.  STOP THE EXCUSES---PLEASE!!!!  There is NO excuse for poor treatment.  Period.

The woman responds to poor treatment by trying to get the man to see how hurtful he’s being.  She begs, pleads and demands that he treat her better.  She hopes, dreams and wishes that he’d treat her better.  She silences, accommodates, placates and enables, in the hopes that he’ll see the error of his ways and change.  She continues to use one, two or all of these approaches again and again and again, hoping that some day, they will magically work.  They never magically work.  She continues endlessly to try to change him. 

Women stay in these relationships, allowing their spirits to get chipped away on a daily basis.  These are not relationships with minor bumps in the road.  These are not average relationships with occasional struggles.  These women stay in relationships that are emotionally toxic.  Relationships where their thoughts and feelings are constantly minimized, dismissed and treated as silly, insignificant, stupid.  These relationships are toxic to women, families and our world.

Women will forever be in these types of relationships if they don’t stop trying to change this kind of treatment.  As long as women continue to plead, demand, cry, etc. in the hope of changing him, they will be stuck in the same miserable relationships their entire lives.

Stop it and step up. 

The only way to change these relationships is to take your eyes off him and get them on you.  Pay attention to the thousands of ways you teach him that the ways he treats you are okay.  Get conscious of all the mixed messages, watered down messages and empty threats you send.  Pay attention to YOU.  The way you change your relationships is by changing how YOU are in them. 

The way you change verbal abuse is by not taking verbal abuse.  The way you stop physical violence is by not taking physical violence.  The way you stop his belittling, affairs, selfishness…is by not taking it.  You must be willing to put your relationship on the line.  Often the only way to save a relationship is to be willing to lose it.  Are you willing to walk away from toxic treatment if it does not stop?  Until you are…it will not stop.

Too many women are desperate to keep their man or their family together, yet not desperate enough to make sure it’s a healthy relationship.  Keeping a toxic family together is toxic.  It is not helpful for children, men or women.  If women want to have an intact family, than they need to fight to make that family a healthy one.  Children live what they know and they know what they live.  Make sure what they’re living is what you want them to repeat.  Trust me, they will repeat it.

Challenge: If you’re in a toxic relationship, stop looking at your partner and pay attention to all the ways you are allowing the toxicity to continue.  Do your own work to get stronger and more grounded.  If there’s addiction—get into Alanon or AA.  If there’s abuse—contact Women’s Protective Services.   If there’s disrespect, contempt, and coldness—get into couples therapy as well as individual therapy.  You and your family are worth the effort. 

March 10, 2011

It’s None of My Business…Or Is It?

IStock_0ducking For as long as I can remember, there has seemed to be a pull for people to stay out of other people’s business.  I hear, “That’s none of my/your business” all the time.  For example:
•    One client comes into my office and says she saw her friend’s husband kissing another woman.  When I ask if she told her friend, she quickly says, “No. I don’t want to get mixed up in that.  Besides, it’s none of my business.”
•    Another client comes in and tells a story about her family on vacation in Florida.  Apparently her brother’s family was constantly yelling, fighting and snapping at one another in public and in the home they were all sharing.  When I asked if she tried to talk with her brother about the intensity in his family, she said, “No.  It’s not really my business.”
•    A friend was talking with me about her father-in-law’s emotionally abusive treatment of his wife (her mother-in-law).  It’s so bad that she has a hard time staying very long when she visits.  I asked if she ever says anything and of course she responds by saying, ”No.  It’s their marriage and none of my business.”

I could go on and on with countless stories of people staying out of other people’s business, but I think you get the gist.  When it comes to what is and is not your business, I have a very different take from most people.  I also feel very strongly about my take -- so be forewarned.

When poor behavior happens in front of me, I believe it becomes my business.  If I’m out with my family at a restaurant, or the like, and another family begins to make a scene, yell and scream at each other, etc. their business has crossed into my business.  They are now impacting my space, at which point I have the right to step in, should I so choose.  I do not believe that silencing myself and hoping they will settle down quickly is serving me -- or anyone else --  in that restaurant.  I also believe that my silence would send a clear message that the yelling is okay, warranted and acceptable.  But the yelling is not acceptable.

If I catch my best friend’s husband cheating on her, his behavior has now become my business.  It has become my business because it affects me.  I now have to either hold a secret, which will greatly impact my relationship with my friend, or address the issue directly in some way (speak to my friend’s husband or to my friend).  The idea that what he’s doing is none of my business is a crazy idea.  If it were none of my business, then it wouldn’t be affecting my life...but it is affecting my life.  When someone’s behavior impacts your life or your space, that behavior is open for authentic communication.

A behavior is also open for authentic communication even if it is not happening in your space, per se, but is impacting the life of a loved one.  For example, if your sibling seems highly depressed, is struggling to take care of the children and is starting to use alcohol to self-medicate—your love for your sibling makes their struggle your business.  If they died, you would be left to pick up the pieces.  Why in the world would you not try to discuss this with him/her? 
I realize my thinking is very different from that of many people, however I encourage you to start thinking about how the behavior of others impacts you.  Taking care of yourself is always your business...and sometimes taking care of yourself requires that you step into other people’s business or that you take care of the business they have brought into your life.

When you do step in, however, do so with respect and compassion.  Always remember that poor behavior is not a green light for poor behavior of your own.  Step in with a clean energy and stay centered.

Challenge: Begin to pay attention to the concept of “It’s not my business” and how it plays out in your life.  How do you feel when you abide by it – might you be taking the easy way out?  How might you feel if you stepped in with authenticity and compassion (for yourself and others)?

November 12, 2010

All The Ways We Duck…And What It Costs Us

IStock_0ducking

Time and time again, I’m hearing stories about people ducking in order to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, a possible conflict, an angry spouse, an annoying co-worker, etc.  Both men and women fall prey to the ducking phenomenon.  Not surprisingly, ducking works no better for men than it does for women.  Ducking is a bad move for anyone, regardless of whether they do it at home or work, or with friends, parents, siblings or children.

More often than not, the very thing that ducking is designed to do—get people off our backs—is the very thing it creates—people on our backs.  So many of us duck, though, because, in the short run, it does get us what we want.  It avoids a conflict, settles our partners down and gives us a respite from conflict...for the moment.  The problem happens later, when the issue resurfaces, when we didn’t do what we said we were going to do or when we refuse to discuss things in any meaningful way.

Here are several examples of the way we duck:
1.    Make promises we have no intention of keeping just to get someone to stop yelling, nagging or complaining.
2.    Avoid sharing information that we know will upset someone.  In other words, we partake in lies of omission and think it’s okay as long as it wasn’t an overt lie.
3.    Complain, rant and rave to our friends or co-workers about someone, yet never say anything to the person we’re upset with.
4.    Deny being upset with someone when they ask us directly, then go behind their back to tell others how angry we are.

Continue reading "All The Ways We Duck…And What It Costs Us " »

November 09, 2009

SELF-CONFIDENCE IN RELATIONSHIPS: ARE YOU THROWING YOURSELF UNDER THE BUS TO HELP OTHERS FEEL BETTER?

Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
Mariann Williamson

Time and time again I hear people minimizing their accomplishments, down playing their successes or magnifying their faults in an effort to avoid the possibility that those around them will feel bad.  I see this process especially  with women.  We tell ourselves that we shouldn’t brag, rub our successes in or make the other person feel bad by talking about the things going well for us.  What we don’t realize is we can’t make other people feel anything.  If someone feels jealous because of something I have, something I accomplished or one of my successes, that’s about them—it’s not about me.  And—it’s not being a good friend.

The other day I had a most refreshing conversations with a friend.  It was also an odd conversation, since the dynamic that happened happens so seldom with women.  At the beginning of the conversation I was sharing about various stresses going on in my life and doing my fair share of whining.  I then asked about how things were going with her and she proceeded to tell me all the wonderful things that were happening for her.  She was talking about what a good place she was in, how her children were settling in well and how fortunate she was feeling in all aspects of her life.  It was inspiring on many levels.

Continue reading "SELF-CONFIDENCE IN RELATIONSHIPS: ARE YOU THROWING YOURSELF UNDER THE BUS TO HELP OTHERS FEEL BETTER?" »

May 10, 2007

THE SPIRITUAL PRACTICE OF CREATING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

Pia Mellody and Terry Real often state that creating healthy relationships is a spiritual practice. Pia says that love is about living more in truth than in lies. Terry will say that being relational is about living a non-violent life in your actions and in between your ears. Put them both together and it’s truly a difficult walk.

It’s also life altering when you begin to not only embrace this, but live it.

If I’m living more in truth than in lies, I’m sharing what is true for me—even when I know it may not be what my partner wants to hear. If I’m also practicing the spiritual aspect of being relational, then I’m sharing my truth in a loving, relational way. My truth is not a weapon, it’s a gift. I share it because it’s my truth; I don’t censor myself out of fear of conflict, not feeling worthy enough, or because I want to be nice. When I share it from a centered place, it is an opportunity for growth for both me and my partner.

Living a non-violent life in my actions and between my ears is a moment to moment practice that requires extreme relational muscles. It’s also an amazing relational gift to my partner, friends, children, and the world at large. This requires that I stop judging, retaliating, and being contemptuous towards others—at all times. Wow, what a feat that is. Talk about a spiritual practice! Even when someone is acting in a way that I believe deserves contempt, judgment and/or retaliation, I simply choose to turn the other cheek, so to speak.

Continue reading "THE SPIRITUAL PRACTICE OF CREATING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS" »

April 10, 2007

ARE YOU HONEST IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS? IS DISHONESTY REALLY THAT HARMFUL?

People lie to one another all the time in relationships. One partner has an affair and swears up and down that nothing is going on. Another person promises that s/he quit smoking weeks ago, then their partner finds they have been sneaking cigarettes daily. Johnny tells Susan he doesn’t smoke pot anymore; when Susan leaves the house he gets high with a friend. Steve swears to Jodi that he hasn’t looked at porn in months; the next day she catches him on a porn site.

There are many different ways to lie: blatant lies, subtle lies of omission, (don’t ask, don’t tell, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”), “tricky truths,” half truths, mis-representations, and on and on. Our culture feeds on lies. Our highest officials blatantly lie to us all the time: (“Read my lips—I will not raise taxes,” “I did not have sex with that woman,” “There are weapons of mass destruction…”). The lies are endless and happen all the time to all kinds of people.

Each example, I have no doubt, would have a different explanation for the lie. One lie is to protect a spouse from pain, another is to protect a country from terrorism, another is to protect a person from losing his job and his family from losing his income, and another is to protect someone perhaps from a hate crime. All are lies, no matter how we explain them.

So why do we tell them?

The lies are unending in part because as long as nobody ever finds out about it, there’s no problem. You see, the seductive thing about lies is they can keep people out of trouble. Lies can hold off a fight, reduce the level of anger and disappointment between partners, protect someone’s feelings, stave off intense pain, stop a conflict, save a job, and can even, on occasion, save marriages--if they’re never found out.

Continue reading "ARE YOU HONEST IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS? IS DISHONESTY REALLY THAT HARMFUL?" »

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