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!

The Good News for Breaking a People-Pleasing Habit.

katie pulsifer coaching, life coaching, people pleasing

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

Overwhelmed with an Over Problem?

Overwhelmed, Self-Care, Confidence, Self-Sabotage

Are you overwhelmed with a pattern of Over-ing?

Over-committing.
Over-spending.
Over-eating.
Over-preparing.
Over-promising.
Over-dramatizing.
Over-drinking.
Over-purchasing.
Over-worrying.
Over-complaining.
Over-perfecting.
Over-compensating.

Over-ing is going WAY above and beyond what is necessary or what serves a purpose – done with the best intentions and usually for all the wrong reasons.

The wrong reason is all about feelings. Creating and preventing feelings. In other words, we “Over Do It” when we want to make other people feel something specific or we want to make ourselves stop feeling something specific.

Here are real stories that my clients have shared:

“I eat everything on my plate even when I’m no longer hungry because I don’t want to hurt my husband’s or my mother-in-law’s feelings.”

“I constantly apologize for everything not being perfect in my house when my friends come over. I’m worried that they only see my flaws.”

“I buy way beyond my budget and sometimes even hide it from my husband. I know this creates a lot of stress in my life – I just want to have my son what he wants. I just want him to be happy.”

“Everyone always asks me to help out or for a favor. I can’t say no. I always say yes. They depend on me and I need to be there for them.”

I’m sure you are reading some of these client’s stories and wondering “what’s wrong with that?” or “isn’t that what we are supposed to do?” 

I know – I totally understand. I used to think the exact same thing.

Each of the examples shared comes from amazing women who are working really hard to take incredible care of the people in their lives. They want to do the right thing, make other people happy, not hurt anyone’s feelings. They were raised to be kind and loving. They’re doing the best they can, every single day. They just want to feel good, except, they don’t.

Each of these women has fallen into a pattern which on the surface seems like no big deal, but underneath is causing them to feel absolutely terrible.

Client 1 is gaining weight because she is eating more than her body requires to fuel itself. She is unintentionally over-eating because she would rather eat when she is not hungry than hurt someone’s feelings at the dinner table.

Meet client 2, who is constantly searching for external approval to feel good about herself. She is worried that nothing is ever good enough and spends a lot of time trying to make everything perfect. She’s stuck in cycle of over-compensating.

Here’s client 3, who thinks that her son’s happiness comes from having all the things he says he wants. She over-spends to ensure that his needs are met and then has little to no money left to do the things that she would like to do for herself, like take a class or join the gym.

Client 4 is exhausted and overwhelmed. She constantly over-commits herself and says yes to every request from friends and family. She never wants to let anyone down, but in the end, she is letting herself down because she is so tired and run-down all the time.

These are the negative consequences that happen when we fall into a pattern of trying to manipulate other people’s feelings.

We want people to like us, we want them to be happy, we don’t want to disappoint them, we don’t want to hurt their feelings….and yet, we do not have any control on how other people feel, ever.

We work so hard to try and control this and it is ultimately beyond our control. The way people feel or what they think is always their own responsibility. Just like our own thoughts and feelings are our own responsibility.

So, how do you overcome being overwhelmed with an over problem?

How do you stop a cycle of manipulating other people’s emotions so that you will feel better?

I help my clients move past being overwhelmed by teaching them how to manage their own emotions first.

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Know that you create your feelings from your own thoughts 100% of the time
  2. Understand that feeling are just vibrations that pass through your body, caused by your thoughts
  3. Be willing to fully experience your own emotions – even the negative or uncomfortable ones
  4. Accept that others get to think and feel anything they want, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable or you don’t like it
  5. Believe that you wouldn’t want anyone to try an manipulate your feelings, so it is unfair to try and manipulate theirs
  6. Notice where you are ultimately hurting yourself because you are trying to avoid a feeling or trying to hard to manage other people’s feelings. Notice what you do and ask yourself why you do it.
  7. Now ask yourself, if it’s worth it? Is the negative consequence worth the potential temporary discomfort of a negative emotion? Chances are, that it is not.

This is a process and it is hard work. And the upside is spectacular!

Clients who learn how to manage their own emotions (all of them) – also learn how to lose the weight, gain their own approval, save their money for what they really want and feel less exhausted and overwhelmed.

Emotional management allows you to focus on what you can control and to direct all the actions in your life to the results that are most meaningful. It allows you to quite spinning your wheels trying to manage other people and circumstances that are really beyond your control.

If you are overwhelmed with an over problem, I would love to show you exactly how you can move past it, so you can get back on track in taking exceptional care of yourself and everyone else, in a way that is positive and energizing. I believe that you deserve that and I would love to show you how it’s possible.

Let’s schedule a complimentary Breakthrough Session to talk about it.

The Most Powerful Question

powerful question

Sometimes I just can’t make sense of myself.
I forget what I am doing.
I get really distracted.
I say one thing and actually mean something else.
I decide, then change my mind, then re-decide, then change my mind again.
And so on.
It’s messy.
And awkward.
I say “no” a lot.
I’m uncertain.
And I’m pretty sure that I seem very confusing to everyone around me.

Then other times, I am really efficient.
I’m organized for my day.
I’m on time.
Productive.
I have clear intentions and I follow through.
I create everything on purpose.
I am unstoppable.
I accomplish small things and I accomplish big things.
Time is on my side.
Anything is possible.

So, what is really going on here?
How can I be one person and have such diverse ways of behaving in my life?

The answer is simple and complicated.

It’s feelings. The answer is always – feelings.

Everything we do or don’t do is based on how we feel.
I will say that again just to really make a point here.
The way we behave and the action we take (or don’t take) is based on how we feel.
Feelings drive all of our actions.

If this is how it works, then it becomes imperative that we are able to identify what we are feeling to understand our behavior.

Which leads me to the question that we can always ask ourselves.

Why am I doing / not doing ________ right now?

And the answer always has to be a feeling.

It is not always easy to locate that feeling. But that feeling is the source of all our action or inaction. And that feeling is always the only answer.

If you can figure out what you feel and understand it is the reason you do or don’t do something, then you are getting to close to understanding yourself and taking responsibility for yourself.

If you want to ask yourself the question: Why am I doing / not doing ________ right now?

The answer will never sound like these:

I have to.
They are expecting me to do this.
I made a promise.
He will be mad at me if I don’t do this.
What will they say if I do it?
She wants me to.
This is a waste of my time.
I don’t know how to do this.
What will they think if I don’t do it?
I can’t wait to get started.

These answers are all thoughts. They are not feelings.

The correct answer to your question will be one-word answers like this.
Because I feel…

Bored
Excited
Irritated
Motivated
Happy
Confused
Afraid
Inspired
Conflicted
Calm

Feelings tell you EVERYTHING. They tell you exactly what is going on in your mind and the thoughts that you are creating. They explain your behavior and give you the control to makes changes in what you do/don’t do. Your feelings are your responsibility. No one else creates them. And you get to feel whatever you want. It is just so important to understand that everything you do and don’t do, is based on a feeling. That is powerful.

So, as you head into this week, can you get curious about your behavior?

Can you notice what you are doing or not doing?

How are you acting? Or reacting?

Then ask yourself the question. Why am I doing / not doing ________ right now?

Find the answer inside your feelings. What does that feeling tell you about you? What thoughts are creating that feeling? Do you like the feeling? Do you want to keep the feeling? Do you want a new feeling? Are others thoughts available to you that will inspire a new feeling?

You always have way more power and control over things that you think you do, so get comfortable with connecting to what you are feeling. It will tell you everything you need to know about yourself. And from there, you can decide to stay the course or make changes if you want to be behaving and acting in a new way. The choice is always yours.

And I know that 2 minds are always better than 1 – so if you would like help in learning how to more easily access your feelings to determine your actions – book a complimentary Breakthrough Session today. This is no-obligation conversation where I can help you uncover what feelings might be blocking your productivity and organization. Let’s work together to help you implement this powerful question into your life!

The Importance of Reflection.

reflection

It is a perfect week to look back – to scan over the months and days of 2016 – a time for reflection.

To think about all the things that took place during the year.

To give our time and attention to the details of our life.

We worked hard to create every moment. To schedule every appointment. To accomplish every task.

Why not take some time to assess what it all meant and to reflect on the cumulative effect of all our hard work?

Take 30 minutes and sit down with your 2016 calendar and look back on the year.

Review each month carefully – noticing the doctor’s appointments, scheduled meetings, morning drop-offs, vacations, performances, family reunions, errands, date nights, work trips and house projects.

Think about the flow of money in and out of your life.
Think about your health throughout the year, the sick days and the well days.
Think about the love you gave and the love you received.
Think about the emotions you experienced throughout the year.

How did you feel most of the time?
Happy? Motivated? Excited? Confident? Focused? Content?
Or
Afraid? Worried? Detached? Sad? Guilty? Confused?

Make notes and observations about 2016 and then answer these questions:

  • What moments are you most proud of and why?
  • Where did you struggle and why?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • How did you grow and evolve?
  • Where did you hold yourself back?

Take responsibility and ownership of all of it. Every single moment was created by you.

It’s not just the events that fill the blocks of time on our calendars that matter – it is the effect of all of those events, combined with our physical and emotional well-being that determine the success of our lives.

It doesn’t matter how much we accomplished (on the calendar) in 2016, if we spent a lot of the year feeling exhausted, lonely, stressed out and broke.

This reflection exercise is so important because it encourages us to look at the whole picture of 2016 and to be honest with ourselves about our results. And here is what is really important to understand – our results are always created by our own thinking. Seriously! All of our 2016 results began with our thoughts. So all of our positive results started with positive thoughts and all of our negative results started with negative thoughts.

It is so important to really grasp this concept before moving into any goal setting for 2017 because you have the opportunity to generate different results for yourself by changing your thoughts. But before you do any 2017 planning, I really encourage you to look back in detail at 2016 and reflect on the overall outcome. Be honest with yourself about your year. Be truthful. Own it. All of it. From this place, you will be able to be much more authentic in looking ahead to what you want to accomplish next year.

Next week, I will give you some specific exercises on how to create your 2017 goals, using your most valuable and sophisticated planning tool – your mind! Here’s the link to the exercises: https://katiepulsifercoaching.com/2017/01/06/success/

Until then – Happy New Year!

Emotional Boundaries.

boundaries, ask yourself this question life coaching confidence self care

Some of my clients do not want to set proper emotional boundaries in their lives because they don’t want to risk losing relationships. They’re afraid that if they take care of themselves and tell the truth, they might make the other person angry. So in order to avoid the other person “getting upset”, they stay in relationships that are based on lies, pretenses and resentment. This prevents true intimacy in the relationship.

Having a conversation about an emotional boundary can be uncomfortable and challenging – it is really hard work. It is also the work of true intimacy. Honoring yourself and what is authentic and true, along with the willingness to let other people interpret it how they will, is difficult, but well worth it in the end. People who cannot find the courage to have conversations like this, stay in relationships where they are pretending. Then they often wonder why their relationships aren’t deep or intimate. Or even worse, the relationship erupts in the end due to built up resentment and hostility, which we blame on the other person for our own lack of emotional boundaries.

What is an emotional boundary?

I like to define it like this:
An emotional boundary is something that I create for myself. Like a property boundary, it delineates where I end and you start. It is a request that I make of someone else to change a certain behavior and a consequence of what I will do to self-protect if they violate the boundary.

Emotional boundaries promote self-responsibility and empowerment, ultimately leading to closer relationships with others.

It is about telling the truth to ourselves and to the people in our lives.

An emotional boundary is not an ultimatum. Nor is it a way of controlling another person, so that we can feel better.

How do you know when you need to create an emotional boundary?

I like to tell my clients this:
There is a situation that consistently upsets you and you are worried about being viewed as bad, rude or uncaring when you think about having an emotional boundary conversation with the person in this situation. And yet, this is exactly the way that you are acting on a regular basis with this person. You try to smile and act like everything fine, but you are seething underneath. You act one way with this person and then complain about them behind their back. If asked, you always say that everything is fine but the resentment is building.

How do you set an emotional boundary?

Here is what I teach my clients:

Emotional boundaries always come from a place of love.

If you are angry, frustrated and mad – you need to work through these emotions first.
Write down all your feelings and work through them until you can get to a place of calm, peace and love. It’s important to remember that the reason you are upset is not because someone has violated your boundary, it is because you haven’t been truthful with yourself and the other person and set a boundary in the first place. When you can really own that and take responsibility for your emotions, you can explain your boundary from a place of love and then set clear consequences for what will happen if the boundary is not honored.

Setting emotional boundaries requires courage. It is all about truth-telling and honoring yourself, no matter what. When you can have this conversation with someone from a place of love, you will significantly increase peace and intimacy in your life.

Acceptance

What if you were to say that everything is exactly how it should be?

Could you accept it?

It takes a tremendous amount of emotional maturity to make a statement like that, especially when you are far away from realizing the dream life that you desire. However, when we take time to reflect and accept that we have all arrived at these current places in our lives because of all of our thoughts, feelings, actions and results, then we can accept total responsibility for creating the life that we have today.

Taking total responsibility is the first step. And it is counter-intuitive to what we habitually do, which is to give credit to others for our success, downplay our achievements by saying that we are just lucky or blaming our past and others for everything that hasn’t worked out.

The truth is always that life is playing out perfectly for us in every moment.

Life is always as it should be even when it is not great and perhaps even very difficult.

The challenging times always provide growth opportunities and infinite lessons, when we allow ourselves to accept them without judgment and blaming others – accepting that our negative thoughts create our negative results 100% of the time.

The amazing times remind us to celebrate our accomplishments with total confidence and ownership – accepting that our positive thoughts create our positive results 100% of the time.

To accept that everything is exactly as it should be, we take the first step by assuming responsibility for all of our thoughts and results,  proving that we are the creators of our current situation. We take the second step when we accept that we are the creators of our future, that anything is possible – that a new future begins in our mind with new thoughts and eventually becomes our new life.

Acceptance.