Paying Attention.

www.katiepulsifercoaching.com

Pay attention to yourself.
Because when you don’t – you are actually choosing to be selfish.

Wait. What?

This is not what you were expecting me to tell you, right?

As women, we have been lead to believe that when deny something for ourselves or hold back on our self-care, it is a “self-less” gesture. We tell ourselves all of these things… The family needs us. Our friends need us. Work needs us. There isn’t enough time. There isn’t enough money. Everyone else comes first. This is just the way life works.

So we tell ourselves that we can go “without” and “make do” and we eventually stop paying attention to ourselves.

In our effort to please, serve, care-take, be responsible, accommodate others – whatever we want to call it – we inadvertently create a cycle of self-sabotage and selfishness.

I talk to women every day who find themselves in this cycle and here is what they tell me that they feel like in their lives. They are successful, accomplished, smart women and this is their daily experience.

  • I get quiet.
  • I stopped asking for what I want.
  • I am disconnected from what was important to me.
  • I complain all the time.
  • I spend money on things I do not need.
  • I stopped dreaming.
  • I have too much stuff and can’t stay organized.
  • I eat too much.
  • I am so angry.
  • I drink too much.
  • I feel detached.
  • I have no idea what makes me happy.
  • I gossip.
  • I just want to escape.
  • I am so resentful.
  • I have spent so much money trying to fix myself.
  • I think something is wrong with me.

This self-sabotage cycle leaves so many of my clients frustrated, disheartened, discouraged and feeling sorry for themselves. They are trying so hard to do the right thing by their families and friends, and yet have become consumed with their own pain and unhappiness. It’s all they think about it. It’s all they talk about it. They obsess about it and complain about it. They have created a pattern of selfish living – the exact thing they were trying to avoid when they decided to put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own.

So, how do you break this cycle? How do you show up in your life for yourself and everyone that you care about, while not trading off your happiness for everyone else?

Here is how I teach my clients to start paying attention to themselves.

Express yourself and be willing to let everyone disagree
Dream big for yourself
Carve out quality time for yourself every day
Talk about yourself with kindness and respect
Conserve your energy / time / money for what you really love
Clear the clutter
Be your own best friend
Notice your thoughts without judgment
Feed your hunger instead of your feelings
Use your imagination
Ask yourself interesting questions
Choose your words carefully
Honor your priorities
Find out what brings you joy
Refrain from gossip
Be present
Speak your truth
Be willing to say no
Believe that happiness is created by your thoughts, not stuff
Know your worth
Believe you are amazing and so is everyone else
Treat your needs as if they are as important as everyone else’s
And finally, pay attention to yourself from a place of love. It is impossible to be in a state of love and to be selfish at the same time. Self-love promotes quality self-care, allowing us to show up for others with greater compassion, presence and connection – the most selfless state of being.

Worry and Letting Go

Do you spend a lot of time wondering about what other people think?
Do you spend a lot of time trying to make the ‘right decision’?
Do you spend a lot of time reflecting on the past and wishing things had turned out differently?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are spending a lot of your time in worry. Worrying about the things from the past, future and things we can’t control, never provides a helpful solution or contributes productively to our goals and dreams. Worry is a distraction, holding us back and keeping us from taking conscious and meaningful action in our lives. Worry dampens our confidence and never brings us happiness.

To move from worry towards more confidence and happiness, try these three steps:

Enjoy every moment in life – even the difficult ones.
Being confident and letting go of worry means learning to savor every bit of life, even when things become challenging. It’s knowing that through challenge, there is growth. Allow yourself to move in the flow of things and let go of resistance that things are easier. This is key even when things are most challenging. It means looking for positive and creative solutions and staying connected to your good energy. It means letting go of critical or negative thoughts so you are able to find perfect opportunities in the challenging moments.

Find connection.
This is such an important step to letting go of worry. Connect with what matters to you most, whether it is yourself, others, nature, or experiences. Go to the places and people in your life that allow you to feel love, hope and opportunity. Spend time with the people whose opinion and perspective motivates and inspires you. Walk away from those that criticize, deplete and drain you, as that will always just will create more worry.

Decide to be present.
Worry about the past and fear of what could happen in the future, stop you from being authentic and truthful in your present. This fear and worry delays decision-making and often causes us to postpone having something we really want. We get so caught up in trying to make the right decision, that we make no decision at all. The past is over and we always have a choice in how we reflect on it. It doesn’t have to negatively influence our present, unless we choose to let it. The future hasn’t happened yet, so fearing what could happen also prevents us from seeing all the opportunity in our present. To be truly present is let go of worry – to trust that we have everything we need in the moment – to have the confidence to take action and make decisions. It is deliberate choice which allows us move closer to our happiness.

Distraction

We are all prone to a little distraction now and again. In truth, it is sometimes exactly what we need. We need to be able to do something a little mindless, blow off steam, relax and detach every once in a while. It’s good for us.

Especially when it is intentional and planned. Conscious distraction, is what I like to call it.

And then there is the other kind of distraction – otherwise known as unintentional distraction.

Unintentional distracted is subtle, less obvious and usually not planned.

So what really happens when we spend time in unintentional distraction?

It means that we show up in life half paying attention, half focused, half checked-in to what is going on. Our bodies go through the motions while our minds are elsewhere. We say one thing but do something else. We eat even when we are not hungry. We say yes when we mean no. We stay up late when we are tired. We use being too busy to exercise as an excuse when we really want to be in better shape. We are prone to forgetting what is important to us, caught up in the moment instead of being grounded in our truth.

Being unintentionally distracted means that we are constantly leaking our own precious time – wasting it on stuff that is usually not very important. It means we deplete our creative resources, energy, health, love and money for instant gratification. We stop investing in our goals and dreams. And then when we do not get the results that we want, we like to blame others for the outcome.

Instead, we can look closely and discover when and where we slip into unintended distraction. We can notice where we are leaking time and moving further away from the goals and dreams. We can consciously and compassionately bring ourselves back to more presence and connection with what really matters – rewarding ourselves for our hard work with intentionally “taking a break” instead of constantly living in distraction and half commitment to everything.