125 posts categorized "CHANGING ME, CHANGES WE"

May 29, 2013

A Cheat Sheet for Women Who Are Ready to “Step Up”

  IStock_00strong woman

  1. Learn to love yourself. It all starts here. If you don’t love yourself, you will not be able to stand up for yourself in any real way. Quit the negative self-talk, stop trying to be perfect, let go of micromanaging, and refuse to put yourself down. If you want to work on yourself, great…just do that without beating yourself up in the process.
  2. If you want to be treated as an equal, act as an equal. Know that you deserve to be treated as an equal rather than complaining that you’re not or wishing you were. When you really know it, you will step into situations differently and others will know it as well.
  3. Stop allowing the most dysfunctional person in the room to run the show. Ducking, pleading, begging, silencing or even yelling doesn’t stop bad behavior. Refuse to allow fear to keep you imprisoned by the crazy behaviors of others. Take action.
  4. Clean it up. Clean up your side of the fence. Find your Grounded Powerful Strength (GPS) and don’t ever excuse, justify or rationalize an aggressive strength. Be calm, grounded, strong and respectful…even in the face of disrespect.
  5. Don’t look to others for answers you have within yourself. No one is more of an expert on your life than you. Trust yourself, listen to your instincts and dare to make your own decisions or share your opinions when warranted. 
  6. Tune in and make things happen. Pay attention to what you want, what’s not working and what’s missing from your life and start to take the steps necessary to create the changes your soul knows you need to make. Don’t waste another three years hoping things will change or playing victim to your life.
  7. Refuse to put others and the world ahead of you. Find the balance of self-care and other care. If you’re a mother, don’t neglect your children or yourself. Spiritually, emotionally and physically feed both. Don’t work so hard that there’s nothing left for you, your family or life. Find moderation in all things and be humble enough to know when you’ve tipped the scales and be courageous enough to recalibrate.
  8. Don’t give up your dreams for the dreams of others—find room for both. If you have a dream, find a way to make it happen. Partner with others who will hold that dream with you...not squash it on their way to reach their own.
  9. Stop the desperation!!! Do not lose your soul for the sake of romance. Walk in your romantic relationships with the same GPS with which you have to walk in life. Don’t accept crumbs because you don’t want to be alone. Don’t have sex in order to get someone and don’t become a female “player” because you have somehow justified that sleeping around is your sexual right. Please. Cut the crap and have more self-respect than that. If you don’t respect you, don’t expect anyone else to.
  10. Stand up and step in. Don’t silently accept the unacceptable and then be hurt, wounded or resentful that the behavior continues. Learn to find your voice and have your back at work, at home and in life. If you don’t have your own back, don’t be upset when no one else does, either.

Women, you have the power to create change on a very grand scale if you dare to step up and step in. Know you are equal to every other human being on this planet and walk in the world as an equal. Don’t duck, placate, yell, scream, beg or plead. Simply use your voice, set your limits, surround yourself with a healthy, supportive “tribe” and confidently step in. We are making leaps and bounds entrepreneurially, it’s time to make leaps and bounds interpersonally. 

Challenge: Look over the list above and choose two points on which you know you have to work...and work them. Be deliberate, consistent and focused. When you have these down, move to the next two.


May 16, 2013

Want Great Relationships? Nurture Them From the Start

IStock_000014629447XSmallAs human beings, we all crave love and belonging. Deep down we want to feel loved, be treated well and we want someone to think we totally rock.  We want to feel as if we matter. Few things fulfill this need more than beginnings: new friendships, new romances and new births. In the beginning, we’re often excited, enthralled and filled with love and adoration for our newfound connections. In fact, these times feel so good, we often term them “the honeymoon period.” During the honeymoon period we can mostly see only the good in the other person. For this moment in time, the other person truly does “rock” in our eyes. 

During this time period…

Unfortunately though, as time goes on, the honeymoon period comes to an end and real life settles in. As time passes, stresses increase, relationships hit bumps, arguments begin to surface and, if we’re not careful, people begin to grow apart.  Cherishing can turn to complaint, love can turn to frustration and connection can turn into what feels like an eternal distance. That original sense of love and connection becomes lost in the abyss. The connection gets lost, not because we’re not meant to be together (although that may be the case for some), but because we forgot to nourish what we had.

Just as a car needs oil to run, relationships need cherishing to stay strong. 

Continue reading "Want Great Relationships? Nurture Them From the Start" »

February 12, 2013

Tips to Get Closer to The Ones You Love

IStock_0complimentSmallThe day-to-day stresses of living can often get in the way of staying close with the people who matter. Balancing the needs of paying the bills, managing the home, doing a good job at work, running errands and on and on, can each be a difficult feat in itself—add relationships to the equation and it can seem impossible. Staying close with friends, children, spouses, lovers and/or family members, though, is vital for our happiness.

Many studies have shown that strong connections and satisfying relationships help reduce stress, improve health and, in some circumstances, actually extend a person’s life.  Nurturing our relationships is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Unfortunately, nurturing is one of the last things we think of when there are deadlines to meet, mortgages due and responsibilities that need our attention. Fortunately, on the other hand,, change happens in the minutiae…meaning it only takes tiny steps to create large shifts.  Below are ten easy steps to take to bring the important people in your life closer. Each step takes only a moment to do, yet leaves a lasting impact.

Ten little steps to bring loved ones closer…here’s to the minutiae of change:
1.    Send a text to a friend or loved one saying you’re glad they’re in your life.
2.    Leave a note in a child’s day planner, lunch box or on their pillow saying they ROCK!
3.    Put a sticky note on your spouse’s bathroom mirror with a loving message (i.e. Still feeling lucky to have you after all these years ).

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November 28, 2012

If You Want Something, Make It Happen

IStock_0change2llWe are bombarded with messages about creating a great life, having what we want, making our dreams come true and on and on.  These messages often leave us wanting for more.  We want “rockin’ relationships,” amazing kids, meaningful jobs and satisfying lives.  When we don’t have these things, we have a tendency to blame external factors. 

Until each of us learns to stand behind the light within us, we run the risk of forever wanting more.  It’s time to stop wanting and instead start creating.

If we want something, then it is up to us to own it, stand behind it and believe in ourselves in order to make that want a reality.  Rockin’ relationships don’t happen if we’re not strong enough to stand behind that desire.  They don’t happen if we want so badly to be loved that we accept crumbs and pretend the crumbs are a birthday cake.  Great relationships don’t happen if we can’t ask for our needs and wants, choose to accept the unacceptable or become so over the top in our pursuit of respectful treatment that we become disrespectful ourselves.  Rockin’ relationships, great jobs and amazing kids happen when we have the courage to do what is necessary to create these things. 

We create our destiny.  It’s time we stopped wishing, wanting and hoping for more and instead start taking action.  If we want a better relationship, we start by changing ourselves rather than complaining about our partner.  If we’re tired of that mean-spirited colleague, we have to stop pretending they’re okay.  If we want a better job, we may have to risk losing the one we have.  Creating change always starts with the self -- the only person we have control of.  Change starts with a choice and a commitment to engage in countless actions strung together in such a way that they produce results. 

Stop wishing and start acting.  Change starts and ends with you.

Challenge: What is the one thing you are complaining about most in your life?  What would happen if you decided to stop complaining and instead chose to take steps to change things?  Choose one step and take it today. 

October 10, 2012

Are You Sabotaging Your Relationships?

IStock_0caretaking womanllI hear from women all the time about how badly they want to have a good romantic relationship.  They want to feel close to their partner, do fun things together and have interesting conversations and feel emotionally supported by their partner.  Most women tell me the reason they don’t have these things is because…well, it’s because of their partner.  They say their partner won’t talk, doesn’t like to share, hates it when she gets emotional and would rather be at work or left alone then to actually sit and hang out with her. 

Not surprisingly, this is only half the story. 

The other half of the story is what the women are doing that is getting in the way of them getting what they want.  Below are several ways women sabotage the connection in their romantic relationships. 
Too many women often:
1.    Start relationships under false pretenses.  Women often think that the way to “get” a man is to be everything they think the men want them to be.  This is crazy thinking since at some point the women will either have to stop the façade and be themselves or eventually lose themselves.  When you start off a relationship pretending to be something you’re not, you’ve already sabotaged your relationship. You can’t have emotional intimacy when you’re faking who you are.
2.    Use a wall of words.  Most women have a strong desire to want to be heard and struggle when those round them don’t listen.  In an effort to be heard, therefore, some women excessively talk.  As the women talk more, the men tune them out and when the men tune them out, the women increase their talking.  The women think that if they just said it the right way the men would listen.  The excessive talking has the opposite effect of what the women want and in effect puts a wall of words between them and their partners.
3.    See too many things through a critical lens.  I see countless women in my practice constantly tweaking those around them.  Women do this in an effort to get things to be better, however, the constant criticism does anything but get things better.  In the quest for perfection, women end up sabotaging the good things they do have.  How a dishwasher is loaded does not really matter in the grand scheme of things.  If women continue to tell the men in their lives how to cook, how to clean, how to dress, how to talk and how to be, they will lose the men.  No one wants to constantly be told how to do things better.  A critical lens is about you not the other person.  Get over your need for perfection and instead deal with your internal anxiety.

Continue reading "Are You Sabotaging Your Relationships?" »

October 02, 2012

Dare to See What’s Right in Front of You

IStock_00alcohol coupleXSmallWhen someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
  Maya Angelou

I love this Maya Angelou quote because it speaks to such a common problem for women.  Far too many women have a hard time seeing what’s right in front of them.  They seem to want to assume the best in people, even when the people themselves tell them not to.  I work with women all the time who come into my office and tell me about a guy they’re dating and how great he is.  When I ask more questions, it’s often clear that he’s really not this great guy.  In fact, it’s also pretty clear that even the guy himself wouldn’t say he was.  Of course there are always exceptions, however, guys will often tell or show women their “issues” almost immediately. 

Below are several examples of men showing or sharing their issues and the subsequent surprise by the women when these issues turn into problems later on:
•    Sam told Sarah that he had little time to date due to a heavy workload and his kids.  Six months later, Sarah is upset that Sam is always working. 

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September 25, 2012

Five Reasons To STOP Your Reactivity

IStock_00angry womenlReactivity is far too common today.  Someone feels slighted and they fall apart or attack the person whom they think slighted them.  Another person feels wounded and they respond by blurting out the one thing they’re sure will hit the offender like a ton of bricks.  Yet another person discovers their partner had an affair and they make it their mission to make their partner, their partner’s lover and the lover’s family pay for the betrayal. 

It’s time to stop the reactivity.  If we cannot contain ourselves when life throws us a curve ball, then we are in for a very bumpy ride.  Life throws us curve balls.  People make mistakes that cause other people pain.  Men and women alike will be hurt, disappointed, upset and frustrated by one another from now until the end of time.  It benefits all of us when we can handle these life incidents without flipping out, hurting back, collapsing or getting hysterical.  Remaining grounded and calm in even the most difficult of times will help the difficult times be less difficult.  Staying calm while also setting limits and having our own back during these times will also speed up any healing that needs to happen.

When it comes to reactivity, it’s best to leave it out of your life.  Below are five reasons to stop the reactivity.  Take note:
1.    Reactivity is a thoughtless act.  Anytime we just give in to our knee-jerk reaction, we are not thinking.  That is a child-like response to an adult problem.  Children can’t solve adult problems.
2.    Reactivity results in you looking like the crazy person.  Regardless of what the other person did or didn’t do, when we start responding in the extreme, we look like the crazy one.  When we look crazy, the other person looks like the good guy—even when they’re not.

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July 24, 2012

What Politics And Women Have In Common: Avoid The Extremes

IStock_0couplearguingllMuch of my work with women is about getting out of the extremes: extreme thinking, extreme actions, extreme emotions etc.  In order for women to be heard they have to get out of the extremes and instead get grounded, calm and strong.  Too often women make outrageous statements in their effort to be heard and it often ends up guaranteeing they won’t be heard.  It’s a difficult lesson for some women to learn, however, it is powerful once they get that screaming louder and louder actually weakens their message rather than strengthens it. 

 This same dynamic happens in politics as well. In fact, I experienced this dynamic today when I was getting lunch.  I stepped out of my car and walked past a table with a poster of President Obama with the word “Impeach” at the bottom of the poster.  My first thought was, “Wow that’s a little extreme.” The woman behind the table waved and asked me to come over. I politely declined and went in to get lunch.  As I was driving away, I realized the poster had a picture of President Obama with a mustache like Adolf Hitler in addition to the word “Impeach”.  When I realized this, I felt a lot of anger and had lost all respect for the woman who was standing at the table trying to convince the world that President Obama was like Hitler. Really? Isn’t that a bit dishonoring of all the Jews who lost their lives as a result of Hitler’s atrocities? To equate how our President is running our country to the way Hitler killed countless Jews is so extreme and over the top that it is offensive.  This extreme message immediately lost any ounce of truth for me.  Once I saw the obsurdity, I was not even remotely open to hearing what the woman had to say.  Regardless of my views regarding President Obama, her extreme position drowned out any potentially helpful message for me.

Continue reading "What Politics And Women Have In Common: Avoid The Extremes" »

July 16, 2012

Changing Me, Changes We: Keep Your Eyes On You

IStock_0eyesallWomen who struggle in romantic relationships often get involved with the same men again and again.  Although these men may have different names, to their core, they are often the same.  Some women repeatedly go after men who are emotionally and physically unavailable while others go after men who are controlling, abusive or harsh. Regardless of what the particular characteristics are, the women end up repeatedly getting involved with the same type of guy again and again.  Not surprisingly, each relationship often comes to the same dysfunctional conclusion as the one before.

Until women do the internal work necessary to look at why they’re attracted to these men and to avoid choosing these men in the future, they will be forever unhappy in their relationships.

The last thing women want to do, however, is look at their own issues.  Too many women instead, get stuck focusing on the men’s issues and trying to change the men. They chase emotionally shut down men and beg them to talk, plead with abusive men to not be so abusive, complain to workaholics to stop working and on and on.  Unfortunately this focus on others is what keeps the women stuck in the same bad patterns for years.  Until the women turn their focus on getting themselves healthier, they will continue to attract the same men and get stuck in the same dysfunctional relationship patterns forever.

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July 10, 2012

We Are Not Perfect: Replacing Judgments With Compassion

IStock_00contemptllWhile on vacation, I found myself tuning in to the various people all around me.  Some people were strangers and some weren’t.  It was interesting to listen to the moment-to-moment interactions of our world.  I was struck by how much people comment about one another and how often these comments are unkind.

We humans seem to almost unconsciously rate one another, and in effect, rate ourselves as well.  There’s nothing like feeling better about our own weight when we see someone else a little heavier, wider or flabbier than ourselves.  What better way to feel relief about my bad hair day than seeing someone else’s hair looking worse than mine.  If Joe Stranger is snapping at his partner, then I get to feel better about my own partner.  Rating others can almost feel like an esteem boost for our own selves. 

Only it’s not.

Being critical and judgmental of the mistakes, clothing choices, life choices, etc., of others, leads me to be more anxious, judgmental and contemptuous of my own.  I wonder what it would be like if we humans truly tried to treat others as we would want them to treat us?  Besides it being a huge challenge in mindfulness, the truth is...it feels good. How do I know that?  Because when I’m able to see someone’s mistake as simply being part of his or her humanity, I find myself feeling a little better about my own humanity.  It’s as though giving someone else a reprieve for his or her foibles in turn gives me a reprieve.

Continue reading "We Are Not Perfect: Replacing Judgments With Compassion" »

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