How to Overcome Old and Painful Blame.

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A few weeks ago, I was helping a client understand blame and the subtle difference between 2 types of blaming.

With blame, there is appropriate responsibility assigning and inappropriate responsibility assigning.

One focuses on the thing that someone did or the action they took. And the other focuses on the way that action makes you feel.

Assigning responsibility to someone else based on an action they took is totally appropriate.

Assigning responsibility to someone else based on how that action made you feel is not appropriate.

My client admitted having 10-year-old blame towards her mother-in-law.

And the most interesting thing about this was that she couldn’t even remember what her mother-in-law did 10 years ago.

She could only remember how it made her feel. She was still so angry at her mother-in-law for hurting her feelings.

She had been blaming her mother-in-law for her own negative emotions for the past 10 years and she couldn’t figure out how to feel better.

I told her that the secret to feeling better is always very simple.

Take back the responsibility for your feelings.

I explained that she had inadvertently assigned the responsibility of her emotions to her mother-in-law and she was now totally dependent on her mother-in-law apologizing, changing, or doing something different so that she could feel better.

She had already invested 10 years of waiting for her mother-in-law to make the first move.

And she could keep on waiting.

Or, she could say enough is enough and decide to feel better now.

She could release the 10-year-old blame and accept responsibility for deciding how she wants to feel now based on what she chooses to think now.

She tentatively agreed to let go of the old and inappropriately assigned blame.

She was curious to see if it would make her feel better.

And was unsure, feeling somewhat exposed and uncomfortable.

This was unchartered territory. That old blame had become a dear friend of sorts.

This would be a process, I explained.

Taking responsibility for our emotions is hard work. Blaming others for our emotions is way easier.

One leaves you feeling empowered, the other does not.

She committed to the letting go of the old and painful blame. She practiced it daily.

It took about a month and then it was gone.

Every once in a while, this old blame comes back and tries to get her attention.

She gently refuses the invitation.

She genuinely feels better.

Now, what about you?

  • Is there some old blame hanging out in your life?
  • Do you want to let it go for a chance to feel better?
  • Can you separate out the blame-able action from the feelings you are experiencing as a result of that action in this situation?
  • Can you assign responsibility appropriately in this situation?

If you prefer, we can do this work together – because I know that two minds are better than one. Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session to see how letting go of old and painful blame can help you to start feeling better. Let’s take 30 minutes to talk about it. Book your session today!

The Good News for Breaking a People-Pleasing Habit.

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I would define a people-pleasing as someone who is doing something for others in pursuit of a certain, desired outcome.

There is an expectation of a particular result ahead of time. And the result that the people-pleaser is going for, is always a positive feeling.

In other words, the people-pleaser pleases in order to feel good.

Let me explain this a little further. We have a well-intentioned belief that if we do something nice, kind, helpful for someone else, then we will make that person happy. If we make that person happy they will likely be nice, kind and helpful to us.

If we make them happy, then they will make us happy.

And if we become really skilled at making someone happy by being nice, kind and helpful, then we may experience receiving even more from them. Not only will they make us happy – we may also get the other person to like us, make us feel appreciated, loved, secure and taken care of. They might also even agree with us, stand up for us, support us, need us and approve of us.

Wow. That feels amazing. The people-pleaser figures out that making other people happy means that not only do they get to feel good, they get all these other positive emotions and experiences as well.

But what happens when the people-pleaser doesn’t get the outcome that they were expecting?

It can be very difficult to deal with. People-pleasers think that they can expect a certain outcome (happiness, kindness, helpfulness) from the person that they are trying to please and when they don’t get it, it can so hard to understand. Many people-pleasers will think that something is wrong with them. They might have thoughts like this.

I didn’t help them enough
It just wasn’t good enough
It wasn’t what they wanted
I have let them down
I am not good enough
They don’t like me
They don’t appreciate me

These kinds of thoughts can be very painful for people pleasers to think and often create feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, worry, anxiousness, and regret.

Negative emotions like this can be hard to handle and may push people-pleasers to try even harder to make others happy, even trying to anticipate and manage other people’s needs, at all costs.

This is the negative ugly cycle of people pleasing.

As people-pleasers attempt to create happiness in others, they can lose perspective and connection to their own happiness. Their own needs become secondary.

Resentment builds. Anger surfaces. It gets ugly.

The people-pleaser feels miserable.

And breaking the cycle seems impossible.

Except it isn’t.

So many of us find ourselves in situations like this because we believe that we are the ones responsible for creating the feelings in other people.

But, that is not the way it really works and here is why that is such good news for you.

Everyone creates their own feelings from the thoughts they think. We are each 100% responsible for what we feel. No one can make us feel anything. Feelings are created from thoughts, not from other people and events.

So how is that good news?

First, we get to think whatever we want. As human beings, we can think about our thoughts. Which means that we can notice them, see the effect of them and CHANGE THEM. Thoughts are fluid. Thoughts are only opinions and impressions of the world around us in that moment. And we always have the option to think whatever we want.

Yes, we can change our thinking anytime we want. And changing our thinking changes our feelings. Our feelings are our own responsibility.

Feeling miserable comes from thinking thoughts that make us miserable.

Feeling happy comes from thinking thoughts that make us feel happy.

The second reason this is such good news is that it means that other people do not need to change in order for us to feel better. Other people do not need to be happy for us to be happy. We have the capability of choosing the emotions we want to feel, regardless of what is happening around us.

This is incredibly liberating, especially if you are a people-pleaser who is struggling to manage your own emotions because you believe that you have to create happiness in others to feel good.

You do not – that is not your job. That responsibility belongs to them.

You can create your own happiness and any other emotion that you want to feel, anytime you want. I recommend that you focus on self-pleasing first. Figure out your emotional needs and give that to yourself. Then go out into the world and do amazing, caring, helpful and kind things for others – without any attachment to the outcome. Knowing that you have taken care of yourself ahead of time.

If you want to learn more strategies for who to kick a people-pleasing habit for good, join my upcoming FREE CLASS “6 Reasons Why People-Pleasing Hurts More Than It Helps. How to break the habit that keeps you from having everything you really want!” 

 

For class details and to reserve your seat – CLICK this LINK

How To Process Pain In A Positive Way

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We all experience pain at regular intervals in our life. And yet, most of us will go to great lengths to never experience painful feelings or understand the options we have in how we process pain.

Often, we turn to food, alcohol, shopping, work or something else to ignore the pain we feel. These temporary distractions only prevent the process that needs to happen to let the pain go, permanently.

Here is what happens:

something happens to trigger pain
a rush of thoughts flood our minds
these thoughts create emotions (vibrations in the body) that can feel unbearable
we make a choice to avoid emotions, resist and react to the emotions or process the emotions

Avoiding the pain

When we avoid the pain, it is like we pretend it isn’t there. Which, is essentially lying to ourselves. This feels better in the moment but never works long term. Because the more we avoid pain, the more we have to keep avoiding it. So, if we make a choice to drink wine instead of feeling the pain, then we teach ourselves to respond to negative emotions with wine – which can lead to drinking when we really don’t want to – which can lead to overdrinking, lethargy, fogginess, weight gain and guilt – which can produce more pain in the long run.

Resisting and reacting to the pain

If we resist the pain, it looks like acting out or fighting against it. This is usually uncontrolled and responses towards something or someone that we may perceive to be “responsible” for our pain. We might yell, over-react and blow something out of proportion. We might slam a door, talk about someone behind their back or give them the silent treatment. These behaviors can provide a temporary relief from the pain, but ultimately the pain takes on more intensity as we fuel it with these negative responses. And when we react from a negative emotion, we always get a negative result – and this can produce more pain down the road.

Processing the pain

When we choose to process pain, it means that we are deciding to feel it. Many of us have a very difficult time doing this. We are reluctant to feel pain on purpose. We have told ourselves that it is a bad thing to do or that it will be too hard. And yet, processing and feeling our pain is always more manageable than we think and it means that we can avoid long-term consequences that come from avoiding, resisting and reacting to it.

I am a firm believer in processing my pain. I have learned how to get very comfortable experiencing painful feelings – allowing them to be with me and knowing that the immediate discomfort that they create is only temporary. I can control when the suffering ends. I have learned how to do the work and it has changed my life.

Here’s what I do and what I teach my clients to do:

  • Allow the painful feelings to be in my body, even when I can’t make sense of them in my mind
    I watch and wait
  • Notice that I may want to distract myself from my feelings with _________ (food, wine, sleep, social media, shopping, etc…)
  • Notice that I may want to act out________ (place blame, speak harshly, be judgmental, be manipulative)
  • Decide that I am processing the pain instead of any of those other things
  • Commit to this decision
  • Go on with my life, bringing the painful feelings with me
  • Keep noticing what wants to distract me from the pain. Tell myself that it is not worth the temporary relief. Tell myself that I am choosing the harder path, but it will be well worth it.
  • Recommit to experiencing the painful feelings as often as necessary
  • Keep going on with life
  • Take notice of the new thoughts that start to emerge – this may take minutes, hours, days or weeks. Let it take as long as it takes
  • Keep the thoughts that help the healing process and ditch the rest
  • Feel more positive when the pain subsides

After you go through the journey of processing pain, there is something that you must do.

Own it. Own your pain. It’s yours.

Remember, this is how it happens.

something happens to trigger pain
a rush of thoughts flood our minds
these thoughts create emotions (vibrations in the body) that can feel unbearable (the painful feelings)
we make a choice to avoid the emotions, resist and react to the emotions or process the emotions

Whenever I am confronted with pain, I tell myself this:

I am responsible for this pain. I have created it with my thoughts. I can use this opportunity to learn so much about myself – if I am willing to process this pain, instead of avoiding, resisting or reacting to it. This is happening for my benefit. If I can create pain with my mind, then I can create the relief with my mind.

If you prefer, we can do this work together – because I know that two minds are better than one. Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session to see how to shift your approach to processing pain so you can feel more positive and empowered moving through it. Let’s take 30 minutes to talk about it. Book your session today!

4 Powerful Lessons to Create an Empowered Life

Here are four of the most significant lessons that I have learned and used to create an empowered life.

These lessons have changed my life in radical ways – helping me to let go of what I can’t control and focus on what I can. These lessons have taught me how to know myself better and how to positively influence every direction of my life, creating what I want on purpose and not by default.

 

1. Stay out of everyone else’s emotions.

I’ll admit, this one took me a long time to learn.

I used to believe that it was my responsibility to create other people’s emotions.
I believed that it was my job to make people feel happy, appreciated, included, calm, engaged, interested and special.
Therefore, I believed that it was also my responsibility to ensure that the people in my life never felt disappointment, anger, sadness, frustration, worry, fear or loneliness.
I thought that was my job and just the way things worked.
It meant that I spent a lot of time trying to ensure that people would feel the way that I wanted them to. Of course, I wanted the people I knew and loved to feel good (positive emotions) and to never suffer (negative emotions) so I worked really hard to manipulate situations, so there would always be happy endings and positive outcomes. I tried to anticipate potential negative outcomes and remove that possibility if I could.
It was a lot of work. It took so much effort. It was exhausting.
Sometimes I felt like I was successful and a lot of the time, I felt like I was not.
I continued to do this, until I learned the important lesson that other people’s emotions are none of my business.
People get to feel and experience any emotion that they want.
I have no business going into their lives and trying to manipulate circumstances in order to create a specific outcome.
Their emotional experience is 100% their own responsibility. It is for their benefit. What they do in their lives is entirely dependent on what they feel. I have no place trying to influence their experience of processing their own emotions – whatever that means for them.
My only job is to create, observe and understand my own emotions and manage them effectively. Lesson one of living an empowered life.

2. Stir up some fear and self-doubt on purpose.

I used to be very risk adverse.
I was afraid of experiencing fear.
I hated feeling self-doubt.
So, I lived in a very cozy comfort zone. Everything was safe and predictable. I loved trying to control everything and make it perfect.
Perfect to me – meant stable and consistent, reliable and steady.
And it also meant my life was stagnant and stuck.
The safety and security that I had created around me was like a protective shield and it was literally sucking the life out of me.
I craved growth and evolution in my own life. I loved learning new things. But as soon as a little fear of the unknown or self-doubt about my abilities to create something new creeped in, I retreated back to the security of my comfort zone.
I started new things and stopped when I got scared, felt uncertain or uncomfortable.
I didn’t know that evolving and growth automatically meant that fear, self-doubt, uncertainty and discomfort would show up.
I didn’t know experiencing the feelings of self-doubt and fear are exactly what I had to experience in order to grow.
I learned that those emotions came from my thoughts.
Those emotions are actually harmless.
The worse thing that could ever happen is that I would feel some self-doubt, some fear, some uncertainty and some discomfort.
Those emotions would wash through my body and I would feel them.
And by being willing to experience them, I would grow towards the new thing that I wanted to learn. I would evolve and stretch myself towards the new experience and ultimately create a new experience in my life.
I learned the lesson that fear and self-doubt are a necessary and manageable part of growing out of a comfort zone. Lesson two of living an empowered life.

 3. Protect my yes.

I used to believe that I had to do it all.
I had to always say yes.
To create the best for family. To make everything perfect. To please everyone. To never disappoint or let anyone down. To always be prepared for anything.
And that I could never ask for help doing it all.
And guess what?
I completely wore myself out.
For a while, it was fulfilling work. I told myself that it was noble.
It’s what women do – they just take care of everything.
And then, my exhaustion caught up with me.
I stopped taking care of myself.
I was angry.
I felt unappreciated.
I was disappointed.
I was deeply resentful.
I didn’t understand why I had these feelings and then I felt badly that I had them. I was ashamed that all my attempts to take care of everything and make it perfect didn’t bring me more satisfaction. It was distressing to realize that I was actually making myself miserable trying to be a woman who took care of everything all the time, at my own expense.
Then, I learned the important lesson of constraint. I learned that I could protect my yes. And most importantly, I did not need to say yes to others at my own expense.
I learned that I was trying to take care of everyone and make everything perfect, so others would be happy.
I was always saying yes to manage other people’s emotions (lesson 1).
This was a big wake-up call for me. If other people are ultimately responsible for creating their own emotions, then it doesn’t matter how much effort I expend and how many times I say yes to everything to try and control their emotions.
It doesn’t work that way.
I was suffering by over-extending myself to do the impossible – manage other people’s emotions.
I learned the lesson of protecting my yes, so that I could take better care of myself and focus on what I could control, not what I couldn’t. Lesson three of creating an empowered life.

4. Love myself, no matter what.

This is my most favorite lesson.
This one is powerful because it means that I have learned to generate my own self-love – under any circumstance, no matter what.
I am not reliant on others to love me, so that I feel love.
I am not dependent on taking care of everyone, making everything perfect, managing all the details, manipulating happy ending and outcomes, so that I will experience love.
My job is to love myself.
When I do this, then I can show up and allow other people to experience their own emotions without trying to change them.
When I love myself, I don’t feel compelled to influence other people’s emotions. I allow them to feel whatever they want and I am ok.
When I love myself, I know that I can embrace fear and self-doubt as a necessary part of growing and evolving into the best version of myself.
I use self-love to help me overcome the moments when fear and self-doubt tempt me to quit, give up or sabotage my dreams.
I use self-love to keep from retreating back to the comfort zone of my old life.
When I love myself, I protect my yes, with ease. I know exactly how to ensure that I do not over-extend myself to my own detriment.
When I love myself, I know that perfect doesn’t matter.
When I love myself, I know that taking care of myself is my top priority. And that I can take care of myself without feeling selfish and guilty – because feeling selfish and guilty never inspire me to take care of myself. Those feelings are unnecessary, not useful and do not feel good.
Love always feels good.
And I am the beneficiary of my love.
I get to enjoying the double experience of creating love for myself and receiving the love that I create for myself.
And now I go out of my way to create and experience more of it, every day. Lesson four of creating an empowered life.

Self-Doubt.

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Most people let self-doubt stand between them and the thing that they desire most in their life.

Self-doubt is powerful.
And it has a grip on many of us.
It is a quiet and subtle dream killer.

Here is how I approach self-doubt, especially as it relates to setting a new goal or attempting to create something new in my life.

If you set a new goal for yourself and the goal is going to stretch you, as a good goal should, then is likely you will experience some self-doubt and fear. This is a very good sign because it means that you have the opportunity to grow. To overcome the self-doubt, is to grow.

On the other hand, if you pretend that self-doubt doesn’t exist and just ignore it, you do not overcome it. Instead you let it determine your action with very little awareness. Most people, at this point, run away from the feeling by changing the goal or deciding that they don’t like goal setting because of the negative emotion (self-doubt) that it causes.

Instead, be willing to feel it…to feel the self-doubt.

Let’s think about it. What does doubt feel like? I am guessing that it must feel pretty terrible to work so hard at avoiding it, right?

If you had to describe your self-doubt, what would you say about it?
Can you distinguish the way that it is different from other feelings you experience?
Does it have a color?
Do it move through your body at a slow or rapid pace?
Where is located in your body?

If you can get there and describe your self-doubt,or any emotion with this level of detail, then you are the one in control of it. When we avoid our emotions or try to push them away, we experience resistance.
It is always the negative emotion + resistance that feel unbearable.
And that is where the emotion is controlling us instead of the other way around.

I would describe my own self-doubt as being located in the pit of my stomach. It is slow moving with a subtle vibration to it. It is usually dark green and feels heavy.

I know this may sound a little weird, but stay with me on this.

Because I have paid attention to my self-doubt. I recognize it as soon as it shows up. In fact I have even been know to talk to my self-doubt and the conversation goes something like this…

“Hey self-doubt. What’s up? I have been expecting you. I just set a new goal (or I want to do this new thing) and whenever I put myself in a situation like this, you show up! I know you are here because of the thoughts that I am creating in my mind and you will leave when I have found new thoughts to think. So, self-doubt, let’s do this!”

OK, you might be laughing at me at this point or have stopped reading this altogether, but seriously, imagine this…

What if I actually let a dark green, heavy, slow moving with a slight vibration in the pit of my stomach emotion, prevent me from working on a stretch goal in my life?
Seriously, that would be the saddest thing ever.
And as I wrote at the beginning – most people let self-doubt stand between them and the thing that they desire most in their life.

If you allow yourself to experience self doubt and describe it in detail, lean into it and embrace it, you begin to realize you can do it. You can do self-doubt. You can do humiliation. You can do fear.

This works with any emotion!

What would happen if you were willing to feel any emotion on purpose? Not just tolerate them but really feel and allow all of them. Think about the all the things that you would be able to do and the relationships that you would hold the space for. Think about the goals you would set and dreams that could be fulfilled.

It’s powerful.

It is called taking emotional responsibility for yourself. Instead of your emotions taking responsibility for you.

Give it a try this week and let me know how it goes. I look forward to hearing from you.