How to Overcome Old and Painful Blame.

katie pulsifer coaching, blame

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!

50% of 2018 is not going to feel great and that’s OK

prepared

I’m prepared for 2018. All 12 months, 52 weeks and 365 days of it.

Here we go.

And here’s what I can count on.

50% of 2018 is not going to feel great.

I’m already planning on it. I’m totally prepared.

There are going to be moments, perhaps whole days or an entire week at a time, that I will feel some sort of yucky, terrible feeling.

It’s guaranteed.

I’m planning on feeling frustration, sadness, self-doubt, worry, resentment, fear, insecurity and loneliness.

I’m expecting to feel unsettled, nervous, scared, and embarrassed too.

This knowledge brings me such relief.

Why?

Because I’m planning on fully living my human life.

I’m also predicting that 50% of the time, I’m going to feel totally off-the-charts amazing.

I will feel happy, fulfilled, joyful, excited, motivated, inspired, curious, compassionate, loving, peaceful, open, calm, clear and focused.

I will feel strong, forgiving, kind, generous, and confident.

And this knowledge also brings me such relief.

I already know what to expect.

The 50% of 2018 that doesn’t feel great will not be a surprise to me.

It already doesn’t seem like such a big deal, because I’m prepared for it to happen.

I’m not resisting it. Or fighting it.

I’m not planning to feel awful because I don’t feel amazing all the time.

I have decided that I will not chase happiness at all costs because that would mean that I would be giving up the experience of living my whole human life.

It would mean that I would choose the comfortable, easy, feel-good option every time.

And that would guarantee that I would end 2018 in exactly the same place where I began it.

And there’s too much that I want to do in 2018.

Accomplishing my goals…fully living my life…being more of who I want to be…requires that I allow those “50% of the time negative feelings” to be with me.

I accept them as part of my experience. I feel them fully.

They are the indicators that I am on the right path.

They remind me that I am human.

Present. Conscious. Alive. Participating. Growing. Thriving. EVOLVING.

Let’s get prepared for 2018 and all the emotions that will be part of it!

What are you planning to accomplish in 2018?
What will you have to do to make this happen?
What emotions are going to come up for you in the process? List all the positive and negative ones.
Can you imagine allowing the negative emotions to be part of your experience so that you can achieve your goals?
How can you plan to handle that discomfort now?

Are you looking for some extra support getting prepared for 2018 and learning to live with ALL of your emotions?

Why not book a complimentary {no obligation} Breakthrough Session to see how understanding and allowing all your emotions can significantly improve your chances of achieving your goals in 2018!

 

Got Perfect Pairings?

katie puslifer coaching

When I talk to my clients about perfect pairings, we usually aren’t talking about what their local wine shop owner suggests to serve with that new grilled fish dish that she’s cooking on Saturday night.

And we are not talking about what heels to pair with her cute new dress, either

Nope, we are talking about a whole other kind of perfect pairing.

We are talking about the unusual combination of two things – that have absolutely nothing in common, but go together perfectly!

When I first start working with my clients, they aren’t even aware that they create perfect pairings in their life. They don’t even know what they are and they can’t see them right away.

But working together for awhile, they get really good at noticing what is going on. They start to pay attention to what they do and what they feel. It’s completely fascinating to them. It’s like the lights come on in their life. Their awareness is ignited and suddenly, they see perfect pairings that they had never noticed before.

Here are five stories about five women and their perfect pairings…

She is following her instincts and pairing back her weekend yoga workshop offerings, so she can create more time to be with her family. She is worried about how this business decision will affect her students. She is worried that they will be mad at her. She really wants to make this change in her schedule and she is totally afraid to do it. She doesn’t want to disappoint anyone. She is filled with doubt as she creates her new fall on-line calendar and then publishes it. She goes to the freezer for ice cream to make her feel better. It’s interesting to point out that she doesn’t even like ice cream, but it makes her feel better. Perfect Pairing = Self-Doubt + Ice Cream

She gets the kids off to school after packing backpacks, lunches, reviewing the day’s schedule and preparing breakfast. She looks around the kitchen and sees the messes that need to be cleaned up. There are exploding laundry baskets in every bedroom. The pile of bills and papers on the dining room table is so high, it’s blocking her view out the front window. She is exhausted. There is clutter everywhere. She loves being a mom and has such a challenging time staying on top of all of all the household stuff. And she feels so guilty that she can’t figure this out. So, she heads back upstairs and climbs under the covers, right after setting the alarm for 2:30pm. She wants to wake up before the kids get home from school and more rest will definitely make her feel better. Perfect Pairing = Guilt + Napping

This woman is writing a project proposal to a non-profit that she hopes will hire her. With every words she types, she is filling up with discomfort as she writes about her qualifications and experience. She starts to think that she is a fraud and that they will see right through her and never hire her. She keeps getting up from her desk and going to kitchen for a small spoonful of cookie dough. When it is all said and done, she has made 10 trips to the kitchen while writing the proposal and it takes all morning. Despite the fact that she is currently on a 3 week cleanse, she eats the cookie dough anyway. It doesn’t really taste that good, but make her feel better. Perfect Pairing = Fear + Cookie Dough

She is moving to a new town and is facing 17 years worth of stuff in her house. Every item is screaming for her attention. And she sees 1000 decisions ahead of her, just to decide what to pack and what to purge. She looks around her house and feels completely overwhelmed and knows she should just get to work, but she can’t quite motivate. She is beginning to regret her decision to move and starts to question everything. Then, she curls up on the couch and watches two movies and eats a cheese plate. It’s 10 in the morning and it does make her feel better. Perfect Pairing = Overwhelm + Cheese plate with Bridget Jones double feature

This woman is gives and gives all day long. She takes care of other people for a living and for fun. She expends a lot of energy for those she loves. Sometimes in the evening, when she is making dinner, she can feel invisible and unappreciated in her house. It feels like everybody needs something and doesn’t seem to notice that she could use some help. It doesn’t help that she’s not great at asking for help and in fact, it makes her really uncomfortable. So, she does all the work of preparing and cleaning up from dinner herself, while her resentment towards her family builds beneath the surface. She opens a bottle of wine almost every night while she cooks. The wine always makes her feel better. Perfect Pairing = Unappreciated + Cabernet Sauvignon

These pairings all have 3 things in common.

Each begins with experiencing of an uncomfortable emotion first. Followed by doing something, eating something, drinking something to soothe that discomfort and to feel better. And finally, after that momentary soothing subsides, here comes another uncomfortable emotion, like regret, guilt, shame, or embarrassment.

Here’s how it works….

You feel something unpleasant or uncomfortable. And you want seek relief from that discomfort with something that feels better. So, you give what you want in that moment, there is relief. YES! The discomfort dissolves.

And then the discomfort is replaced with another negative emotion and you return to the familiar lecture that you have given yourself a million times and it goes something like this…

Why did you eat that? You know better. 

Why did you do that? You wasted hours that you don’t have.

Why did you drink that? You overslept this morning, again.

What’s wrong with you? You know better. Seriously, why did you do that?

Here’s why…

We don’t like to be uncomfortable or to experience negative emotions.

We like to feel good, as much as we possibly can. In fact, we want and almost expect to be happy all the time. We get so many messages in the world about trying to be positive, optimistic and grateful. It creates this unrealistic expectation for sustained and continuous happiness (at all costs) and we start to believe that something is wrong with us, if we can’t achieve it.

As the perfect pairing stories suggest, we seek comfort and happiness when things get hard and find ourselves eating things we don’t want or avoiding things we need to do. We seek pleasure or escape as a way to avoid the pain of discomfort.

And most of the time, we are only mildly aware of what is happening. We talk ourselves into the fact that we are just giving ourselves a little treat or a small reward – for the hard work, the big decision, the struggle or the effort.

We tell ourselves that we deserve it. And say anything to justify it. It’s just a little self-care. No biggie!

It’s just one little bowl, one glass, one hour…

And if it is just that…every once in a while…it would be no big deal.

But, most of the time it is more than one. It’s a few.

And it happens whenever there is a feeling that is uncomfortable or unpleasant.

It becomes a habit. Coping. Soothing. Dealing. Managing. Escaping.

It’s a little pick-me-up or a treat disguised as self-care coming to our rescue, when things get tough.

And yet, that seemingly innocent treat has a negative consequence attached to it if it goes unchanged – gaining extra weight, breaking a commitment, not showing up, missing a deadline, feeling hungover.

Which brings more negative emotions…more guilt, more shame, more discomfort and disappointment. It’s basically choosing to sabotage ourselves with these results, instead of just being uncomfortable.

Here’s what you can learn to do about this.

Look at the whole sequence of events. Slow down and turn the lights on. Notice what is happening. See how the perfect pairing is formed. They go through every step.

Feel the un-appreciation. Notice the desire for Cabernet to soothe the discomfort. Feel the relief that Cabernet brings. Followed by regret and disappointment, when you remember that you want to stop drinking on weeknights. Notice how you keep hitting the snooze button the next morning. See how hard it is to wake up. Feel the sluggishness and fogginess. Feel the new wave of regret and disappointment.

Ask yourself if it’s worth it? Is this perfect pairing working for you? Do you like the end result?

If not, decide to make a new one. Begin with the un-appreciation again and try a new way to pair it.

Breathing. Music. Asking for help. New thoughts. Decide to feel appreciated. Seltzer water in a wine glass. Just be with the uncomfortable emotion until it goes away.

Do this until you find the pairing that is perfect for you. Find one that allows you to not sabotage your way through discomfort. And that has no negative consequences. One that feels better in a lasting way, not a fleeting and temporary way.

Interested in exploring and overcoming a Perfect Pairing in your life?

Download the Perfect Pairing cheat sheet here. This free worksheet will help uncover what you are doing and how you can make some positive changes going forward.

Free Download

Think you might have a perfect pairing problem?

This free (and highly actionable) worksheet will help you discover how your perfect pairing is impacting your life and exactly how to create a positive pairing going forward.

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Sitting with Negative Emotions

We love to go to whatever lengths possible to avoid feeling negative emotions. We love to suppress, dull, avoid, and resist feeling emotions that don’t feel good.

We often believe that the events and the people in our life create how we feel. We don’t always know that negative emotions are created by our thoughts and that negative emotions are just vibrations that run through our bodies. In truth, how we feel is 100% influenced by the thoughts we think. That knowledge changes everything because we don’t have to wait for circumstances or people to change in order to feel better. The responsibility to feel what we feel is totally ours.

I am now a big advocate of learning how to sit with negative emotions and just feel them. I have learned that my negative emotions come from my negative thinking, so I can decide how deeply and how long I want to feel what I feel. I control all of it.

It took me a long time to learn this. Negative emotions are often just so uncomfortable that alI we want to do is flee as far away from them as possible. To stuff them down deep, with too much food or too much alcohol. To turn our back on them by checking out with too much TV, social media or gossip.

I know because I did this for a long time in my life. I was a big avoider of anything uncomfortable. Constantly overcompensating for any discomfort with over-the-top optimism, denial and trying to fix everything that I could get my hands on, even when I had no business trying to do so.

So what is the real downside of avoiding negative emotions besides perhaps, putting on a little extra weight, becoming a Netflix binger or living in denial? The real downside is that we can miss out of the opportunity to get to know ourselves. We risk missing out on the chance to learn what negative emotions are willing to teach us about what we think and why we are thinking it.

To know our thoughts is to know ourselves on the deepest level. It is this exact deepest level place where we can begin to decide if we have thoughts that we want to keep or change. That choice is our ultimate freedom – freedom to decide if we keep believing negative thoughts or if we want to create new thoughts which ultimately lead to better feelings. We feel better when we think better. No amount of food, TV, alcohol, gossip or drama can make us feel better in a sustaining, life-changing kind of way. Feeling better is an inside job. Sitting with our negative emotions invites us inside and this is the opportunity that is not to be missed.