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.

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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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.

Asking for Help.

Katie Pulsifer ask yourself this question life coaching confidence self care

Asking for help is one of the hardest things for most women to do.

And there are so many reasons why will won’t do it. Here are some examples:
We are too proud.
We don’t want to bother someone.
It’s embarrassing.
We are supposed to figure things out ourselves.
We just don’t talk about our problems.

Unfortunately, when we are not asking for help we are usually putting ourselves in a position of taking on too much. We end up exhausted, over-scheduled, over-committed and burning out. Not only do we end up with too little energy to do the things we said we would get done, but we find out we don’t have any energy left over for ourselves. This leaves us feeling pretty tapped out and potentially very unhappy. This is often what leads to self-sabotaging behaviors, like over-eating, over-working, over-drinking, over-spending….

I believe that, as women, we can and must, put our needs first, in order to realize all of our potential and to have amazing lives that we deserve. To do this, we must be willing to ask for help in achieving our dreams or for help in working through something that is holding us back from having everything that we want.

I know that for some of you, this can trigger a lot of negative emotions – to imagine asking a friend, partner or family member to help you. Whether you are looking for support to leave a job, lose weight, have a difficult conversation, stick to a wellness plan, get out of a challenging relationship, ask for a raise, or start a new business. It is hard enough to claim exactly what you want, let alone ask someone else to help support you in going after it.

If you are habitually uncomfortable asking for help and consistently find yourself in a cycle of self-sabotage because you always try to do everything on your own, then it is important to uncover what is going on for you. What are the sponsoring feelings that you are consistently experiencing that make it difficult for you to ask for help?

Most likely, you are experiencing one of two feelings:
1. Guilt
or
2. Fear

Guilt shows up if you consistently have thoughts like this:
I am supposed to be able to do it all.
I should take care of everything myself.
Everyone expects me to be able to figure it out myself.

Fear shows up if you consistently have thoughts like this:
I am afraid of what they will say if I can’t do it myself.
I am afraid of what they will think if I have to ask for help.
I am afraid of being seen as weak or incapable.

Why would we choose to let guilt and fear be the reasons that prevent us from asking for help, and therefore prevent us moving closer to our dreams? Why would we allow fear and guilt to zap our potential and desire for something better?

The truth is, that guilt and fear are just feelings – and not as powerful over our lives as we let it seem. All feelings, including guilt and fear, are just vibrations that run through our bodies, caused by the thoughts that we think. Our thoughts are just opinions and judgements of our circumstances. Our thoughts are not the facts and they are not the truth. And the good news is that we can change our thoughts anytime.

Whenever you are experiencing a negative emotion that is holding you back, you can always find the thoughts that are creating it. With a little focus and some practice, you can replace the limiting thoughts with new thoughts that can inspire new action.

Here are some of my favorite thoughts to think when it comes to asking for help. See if you can use these thoughts or any others this week, to help you ask for something that you need. You will be amazed by how good it feels to ask for help, to get support and to let go of the need to do it all.

A powerful person is comfortable asking for what they need.
A person who asks for help is very clear about their limits and boundaries.
The people who love me, always show up when I ask for help.
A person who asks for help knows their strengths.
People love to support someone who is going after their dreams.
A person who asks for help is not willing to settle.
Asking for help is all about receiving love.