25 posts categorized "SELF CARE"

January 29, 2013

Women: Listen to and Be Kind to…YOU

IStock_0NOThere are times when I can feel myself get incredibly frustrated with the choices so many women make about what they accept in their lives.  Although I realize that many women (myself included) are raised from an early age to be nice, look good, not make waves, listen to other people (parents, fathers, men, those in authority) and on and on, there comes a time when women have to learn to stop doing what we’re told. At some point women have to stop listening to others, placating others and being “nice” to others to the detriment of ourselves.

Women will benefit when we slow down and think for ourselves. We are stronger, wiser, happier and in better jobs and relationships when we ask ourselves if what’s going on feels okay to us. Too many women, instead, ask if what’s going on is a problem for the other person. Too many of us think that if our boss, boyfriend, spouse or friend is yelling at us, maybe it’s because we really did do something wrong and deserve it. Instead of trusting the voice in our head that says it’s not okay to be yelled at for any possible mistake, we start asking our friends and family if they think it was okay that the person yelled, made fun of or lied to us. We wonder if our expectations are too stringent and we begin to gradually and steadily train ourselves to doubt ourselves.

Continue reading "Women: Listen to and Be Kind to…YOU" »

November 20, 2012

Gratitude during Thanksgiving and all the Year Through

IStock_0grounded womanll(2)This Thanksgiving is reminding me more than ever about, the importance of gratitude. In view of, countries at war, families in economic strife, the increase in sex-addiction in most of the therapeutic offices of my colleagues and the upheaval and damage that Hurricane Sandy has caused the Northeast, countless people are suffering. These struggles are a reminder for me that I personally have a lot to be thankful for. 

Many of us can easily get lost in the everyday angst of minor problems, daily stresses and overwhelm. We can get stuck focusing on all the things that aren’t going well, could be going better or that are stressing us out. The problem though with focusing on all the negative things is that they can then begin to weigh us down. The more we complain, the more we seem to have to complain about. The more we focus on the negative, the less positive appears to be showing up in our lives. And the more we are certain that nothing goes right, the less things go right. It’s almost like karma.

Continue reading "Gratitude during Thanksgiving and all the Year Through" »

November 12, 2012

Mean Girls at the Office: Your Silence is Acceptance.

IStock_00contemptllI was recently reading a book about how to handle mean girls at work. Much of the advice in this book was about how to placate, ignore and avoid upsetting these women (who were co-workers, not bosses). When all of the above failed, the book recommended handling your upset by going for a walk or exercising. I couldn’t believe it. I have to say I have not felt so angry at a book in a long time. I found myself writing such comments in the margins as: “Are you kidding me?” “Yuck -- this is more silencing!!!” “Conflict-avoidant.”  After a few pages of my responses I had to laugh at myself and show my husband my little rants. However, I wasn’t laughing at the content and advice in this book. I’m aware that countless women will be reading this book and trying to incorporate the author’s advice into their lives and I know they won’t end up feeling better about themselves.

This post is an attempt to get a different voice out to these women, because, frankly, another book telling women to silently accept mean-spirited behavior may just lead me to pull my hair out.

First off, when you are faced with a “mean girl” at the office, your first move needs to be to get grounded. Before you respond in any way, take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is about her, not about you. Even if there is truth in what she’s saying to you (i.e. you did make a mistake), you have to know that being cruel, shaming or mean-spirited is not an okay way to handle things. So, while the mistake may have been your fault, her mean put-you-in-your-place response is 100% about her. Know this, live this and be comforted by this. Hold yourself in warm regard despite your mistake and do not for a moment allow this woman to get you to think less of yourself.

Continue reading "Mean Girls at the Office: Your Silence is Acceptance." »

August 13, 2012

Learn To Say “No”

IStock_0NOMany women have a hard time saying, “No.”  This is true regardless of whether we’re talking about saying no to their boss, co-worker, lover or friend.  The struggle happens for countless reasons.  Women worry about being seen as mean, getting into an argument, losing a relationship, upsetting someone or even losing a job.  In response to these fears women often end up saying yes when they want to say no, over-accommodating or placating the people in their lives.

It is a short walk from over-accommodating to the eventual loss of self. 

Saying no is vital to relationships.  If we can’t say no, then our yes is not a yes—instead it becomes a begrudging “have to.”  As you can imagine, the constant yeses eventually lead to a lot of resentment, possible depression and likely unhappiness. Almost always agreeing to things -- in relationships and in life -- comes at a high cost to the self.  Healthy relationships require a healthy, “No.”

Below are five tips to help you strengthen your self-care muscles and your ability to say, “No,” when you need to:
1.    Take space before you answer.  When someone asks you to do something, get into the habit of buying yourself some time.  Women often say yes out of habit, so you have to slow down that knee-jerk reaction of agreement.  Simply say, “Oh, let me look at my schedule and I’ll get back to you.”  Or, “Hmmm, I’m not sure I can do that.  Let me think about it and I’ll call you tomorrow.”  If possible, give yourself 24 hours before responding.

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April 09, 2012

The Ties That Bind Us

IStock_00fakesmilemallIn my work with women throughout the years, I’ve found many beliefs that keep women down.  Some of these beliefs have come from our up-bringing, some have come from our culture and some have come from our own internal processes.  Until women begin to look at these beliefs and truly challenge them, we will likely continue to struggle in far too many relationships in our lives.

Below are the five most common beliefs that I believe wreak havoc in the lives of women today:
1.    Women need to be nice.  From birth, women are constantly told to be “nice.”  We’re told to not hurt anyone’s feelings, put a smile on, make people comfortable, etc.  The problem with this message is that “nice” ends up meaning to sacrifice one’s self for the greater good of everyone else.  Sacrificing ourselves so others feel okay is a crazy notion that is hurting women and our culture at large.  Until women learn to stand up for ourselves, we are destined to pay a heavy price.
2.    Women need a man to feel worthy/okay/complete.  From a young age, the pressure on females to have a boyfriend and, later, a husband is enormous.  For some reason, our world leads us to believe that the attention of males in some way legitimizes the worthiness of females.  This is crazy and dangerous thinking that sets young girls and women up to be abused and taken advantage of in relationships.  Until females are taught to believe in themselves in their own right, we will continue to have far too many crimes against women.  A man does not complete a woman.  She was already complete long before the man came along.  A man (if he’s a good man) simply adds to her life and vice-a-versa.

Continue reading "The Ties That Bind Us" »

January 17, 2012

Resentment In Relationships: Are Others To Blame For Your Resentment?

IStock_0bullyingallResentments creep up in relationships all the time.  You’re resentful that your partner works all the time.  You’re resentful that your boss gave your co-worker a raise, but not you.  You feel resentment at your parents for the way they raised you and now expect you to take care of them.  You’re resentful that your children take advantage of you…and on and on.

The truth is that resentments can grow at an absurd rate if you’re not careful.  I say if YOU are not careful…because YOU are the only one responsible for your resentments.  Your resentments are not the fault of other people. 

Take that in for a minute…your resentments are not because of other people or their behavior. 

I realize that when you read the above statements it may be a bit difficult to take in, and even more difficult to actually believe.  You may believe that your feeling resentful at someone is, in fact, because of the other person’s behavior and therefore your resentments are the other person’s fault.  You may also feel very righteous about this. 

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January 05, 2012

When You Don’t Take Care Of You, Other’s Don’t Take Care Of You Either

IStock_0caretaking housewifelOver the years, I’ve worked with countless women who have centered their entire lives around taking care of others.  If their husbands wanted to take a job that involved excessive traveling, crazy work hours and almost no time with family—no problem.  The women would, in essence, become a single parent and pick up the slack for their husbands’ absences.  If the children wanted to be involved in countless activities, have their mother’s constant, undivided attention and limitless nurturance—by all means the women would become super moms and make that happen.  If their friends needed their help at the drop of the hat, again and again and again—no problem.  After all what are friends for, right?

The funny thing about working with all these women is they are often some of the kindest, most giving people you will ever meet.  They are also some of the most taken–advantage-of people I’ve met. 
•    The women with the traveling, workaholic husbands often come in heart-broken that their husbands have been having an on-going affair with a co-worker—while their wives keep the home life together so the husband can travel.
•    The “nurtured” children often boss “mom” around, talk disrespectfully and expect her to do what they want when they want.
•    Many of the women’s “friends” have a history of being very good at asking for help, yet not at all skilled at offering help.  The end result: the care-taking women end up giving and giving and giving, but receive very little in return (not only from friends, but from most people in their lives).

Continue reading "When You Don’t Take Care Of You, Other’s Don’t Take Care Of You Either" »

July 19, 2011

Part I: What is Co-dependency?

IStock_0caretaking womanll Below is a post from my new blog http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

Countless women I see are struggling with issues of codependency and it’s killing their relationships (men can also be codependent).  The tip off for me of codependence is desperation to make a relationship work despite countless signs that it’s not a healthy relationship.  The person may be in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship yet stay for years because they “love” the abuser for example.  This desperation often leads the codependent into twisting themselves into a pretzel to try to make the other person happy and the relationship to work.  Below are several red flags for codependency:

1.    An unhealthy reliance on others to make you happy.
2.    Putting the needs of others above your own needs and wants.
3.    Going out of your way to get someone’s love, acceptance or attention even at your own expense.
4.    A belief that the attention and love of another is what will make you happy.
5.    A strong desire to care-take another despite their constant attempts to push you away or get you to stop.
6.    Frequent attempts to control the other person’s actions, behaviors, choices etc.
7.     Excessive analyzing or preoccupation of another person’s actions, thoughts, deep-seated issues as you see them or feelings.
8.    The grandiose belief that you know what’s best for the other person, what they need and/or what they’re emotionally hiding.

In general, codependence is almost an obsession about gaining the attention, love and affection of another person and being willing to do anything to make that happen.  Often this need clouds a person’s judgment to such a degree that they fail to see the countless signs right in front of them telling them this relationship is unhealthy.  If they do know the relationship is unhealthy, they often are at a loss as to how to change it or unhook from it because they can’t bear to be at odds with the person or relationship. 

If codependents aren’t trying to twist themselves into a pretzel to try to satisfy the other person, then they’re often trying to twist the other person into a pretzel to try to change for the codependent. The person who struggles with codependency will often try to get the other person to see the error of their ways and to change.  Codependents often think, “If s/he would just do… (Fill in the blank), everything would be fine.”  They then spend much of their time trying to get the other person to just do…--so things will be okay.  Of course, neither twisting himself or herself into a pretzel nor twisting the other person into a pretzel works.

If you believe you struggle with codependency your first step towards change is to get your eyes on you and off of the other person.  Remember that contrary to Tom Cruise’s line in Jerry Maguire, only YOU complete you.  Stop looking for someone else to do that for you.

Challenge: If you think you struggle with codependency, look at some of the signs above, read about it, get curious and be open to looking at yourself.  Stop tying to figure out what’s wrong with the other person and start looking at where you’re off. 
Stay tuned for Part II of Codependency: How to Stop Being Codependent

June 14, 2011

Lessons to Learn From the Fall of Three Powerful Men

IStock_0threesomeall Too many women are wooed by money, fame and power.  Add a man to any of these and they serve as an almost irresistable aphrodisiac to countless women.  What is going on with so many women when it comes to men?  It seems that men, money, fame and power leave far too many women blinded.  In some cases, women are blinded by men period.  What is up?

There are several lessons to learn from the recent falls of these powerful men and I pray that women reading this truly take these lessons to heart.
1.    Respect yourself.  If you don’t have enough self-respect to see yourself as an equal to any man—and yes these men as well—then no man will treat you as an equal.  Don’t try to dress provocatively to get a man’s attention—it cheapens you.  Don’t tell him what you think he wants to hear—you will lose yourself. And, don’t sleep with him in order to keep him—he’s a louse if he would leave because you wouldn’t sleep with him. If having a man in your life is your goal, trust me you are aiming far too low.
2.    If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck and walks like a duck…it’s a duck.  These men and many more like them, had glaring red flags regarding their treatment of women.  Several women came forward over the years stating that Arnold sexually assaulted, groped or sexually harassed them.  Dominic Strauss-Kahn was known for his “womanizing” which is the least of his offenses.  Weiner reports, "My wife has known about some of these online relationships since before we were married".  Dare to see what’s right in front of you and don’t try to dress it up to be something different—it’s not.
3.    You will not change him.  Women start relationships with men who are known “players”, flirts, partiers etc., thinking they will be the one to change him.  This is crazy thinking.  For one thing why in the world would you want to be with a guy who has a history of playing women, getting drunk all the time or flirting with your friends? Women—listen up:  The men are showing and telling you who they are as men from the moment you first meet them.  Often they do this with a figurative gigantic neon sign—open your eyes and read it, don’t try to find the white out and change it.
4.    Respect other women. Don’t be so desperate for the attention of men that you go after another woman’s partner.  Please, if he’s willing to cheat on his girlfriend or wife you better know that he’d be willing to cheat on you as well. If he likes you that much then he wouldn’t be sneaking around with you…even if you were his housekeeper. Never allow yourself to be with another woman’s husband/paramour—you deserve better than that and so does she.

Women are pivotal to the process of change in our world. One vital change we need is for the treatment of women to be more respectful, less sexualized and less violent.  This shift can only happen when we, as women first and foremost respect ourselves.  

Challenge: Have the courage to learn from the fall of these three men: respect yourself, don’t wear blinders, respect other women and don’t think you can change a man.

NOTE: For another perspective on this read http://tinyurl.com/5t9z8qv from my Straight Talk 4 Women blog

April 11, 2011

Are You Your Own Worst Enemy? Moving From Enemy To Best Friend

IStock_0self talkll One of the most damaging things we do to ourselves is to beat ourselves up with our words.  Men, women and children, alike, are constantly putting themselves down in both their thoughts and words.

The constant barrage of toxic messages we feed ourselves sounds like this:
•    I’m so stupid.
•    I’m lazy.
•    I’m a procrastinator.
•    I’m fat.
•    What a klutz!
•    I’ll never amount to anything.
•    I don’t have what it takes.
•    I’ll never find anyone. No one will ever want me. I should just take what I can get.
•    I’m so disorganized.
•    I suck. I’m such a loser.
•    I’m an idiot.
All of the statements above -- and the thousand other similar statements we make to ourselves -- are what a client once called stinkin’ thinkin’.  This type of thinking is toxic.  It not only starts to slowly chip away at our souls, it also begins to seep into our lives and our relationships. 

Continue reading "Are You Your Own Worst Enemy? Moving From Enemy To Best Friend" »

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