Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Top 10 Apologies

Most of my clients are women. The women I work with are very self-aware and know what they’d like to change or improve. Sometimes, their self-awareness can backfire, especially, when it leads to excessive apologizing.

What makes women apologize for so much? Here’s my top 10 list of what women apologize for:

1)    Their choices/decisions
2)    Hurting someone’s feelings
3)    Their success
4)    Working long hours
5)    Not being more available to their children/spouse/parents/friends
6)    Not having a perfect family
7)    Not having a perfect home/house
8)    Spending too much money
9)    Not being a perfect mother
10)    Not doing more

If you are a professional woman and find yourself apologizing for any of these, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching can help you become more confident in your choices so you don’t have to apologize for being you. Contact me for a 30 minute complimentary coaching conversation to determine if this is for you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Disconnecting From Our Families

Why is it that the most complicated and challenging relationships are with the ones closest to us? I often hear that my clients get along well with co-workers and friends.  In fact, their out-of-family network is healthy and thriving. The story is somewhat different when it comes to the spouse, parents, siblings, and children. Here are some factors that come into play when relating to people closest to us:

1)    Role Play

Chances are if you are having difficulties with your child, it is because you are acting like a parent. When you identify with your role as a mother or a father, you act like what you think a mother or a father should act like. This of course has a lot to do with your upbringing and your own role models. So, it is a bit complicated. I am not a psychologist, so I won’t go there. What I do suggest though is to drop the role.

Listen like you are listening to someone seated next to you on the bus, listen without agenda, listen without judgment, listen like a coach, just listen and you will learn a lot about your child. Then, you’ll know if any action on your part is required. We often take our roles so seriously, and our kids also play into that act. How would you talk to a husband or a sister or a son if they weren’t related to you? Step back and stay objective. See them for who they are outside of their familial connection to you.

2)    Responsibility

Once you’ve dropped the “I am the parent” or “I am the dutiful son” or whatever it is you are identifying with, drop the responsibilities that come with that. I know, this is the most difficult one. We all want to be good parents, spouses, and daughters and sons. This means we want to be responsible for our role as a son, daughter, wife, husband, mother, or father. Furthermore this means, we have to be sensitive, accommodating, caring, generous, available, etc. All of these things deplete us of our sense of self. In other words, we take on our roles seriously, we become responsible for making it better for our family members at the risk of being less responsible for our own well being.

How often have you neglected to keep your own appointments, because you had to take someone else to theirs? When was the last time you skipped your exercise routine or a lunch date with a friend to be there for your family? As I write this, I can sense my own alarm going off! No, please don’t ignore your family so you can hang out with your friends, unless you want to of course! What I am suggesting is that when you become depleted by taking care of others, and being responsible for their well being, you have little left to give. You become resentful, imbalanced, emotional, and unhealthy either physically or mentally.

So, what do you do the next time you are in a situation where someone close to you needs your help? Stay clear and understand what is being asked of you, what you can do, what you want to do, and how it all affects your own well being. Is there some way where you can do both? How can you take care of yourself and be compassionate and helpful to your family? When do you say enough is enough, now I have to take care of me?

At the end of the day, you are only responsible for you. “You” includes all the things that keep you healthy, balanced and happy.

3)    Expectation

When you are playing your role, you also expect your family member to play their respective role. Often times, they don’t. You may act like a good son, taking care of your elderly parent, but they are now acting like a child, what do you do? If you drop your role, you can see more clearly what is going on and make decisions based on the truth of what is happening and not the emotions of being a good son. Dropping the act and not identifying with your role brings clarity to a challenging situation. Once you stop seeing your parent as your parent, and more as an objective person listening to what is being said, you can act objectively. This objectivity reduces drama and stress in your relationships. You can then go into problem solving mode and make more rational choices.

The family members may still have expectations of you, and that is where it might get sticky. With practice, they will understand that you are not going to give in to their demands or drama. It takes clarity of mind to know what is happening and to stay clear of unhealthy attachments no matter how much you may love the person who is demanding your attention.

The same goes for you. In other words, drop your expectations of others. No one owes you a thing. If you want to be a martyr, it is your choice. Whatever it is you do, do it because you want to do it and take full responsibility for your own well being while you are doing it. There is no best parent, husband, or daughter awards. In fact, there might not even be any appreciation for what you are doing. If you are doing it for you, then you won’t care.

If you are having challenges in your close relationships and would like to try out some of the suggestions in this blog post, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about learning how to be objective in every situation, especially the most challenging ones. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if you’d like to work with a spiritual life coach.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Uncertainty Instigates Drama

I like to know how the story ends. I like to be prepared. I like to know what all my options are. I like all this because it gives me a sense of peace and calm. I don’t like dealing with emergencies or making impulsive decisions at the last minute. I like to have time to think and plan. I like to be in control. I like to be smart and make smart decisions.

When people who find themselves agreeing with the statements above are faced with uncertainty where they cannot be prepared, don’t know what all their options are, don’t have a sense of peace and calm, have to deal with last minute emergencies, cannot plan or think, are not in control of a situation, and do not feel like they can make smart decisions, they are smack in the middle of a tornado of internal drama.

Drama in this case is closely related to anxiety. Not knowing can make anyone anxious. In order to relieve the pressure of not knowing, some people make up scenarios, and come up with action plans based on all the possible scenarios they can think of. This of course, makes them even more anxious because they realize that there are many possible scenarios that they have not or cannot think about! This is how internal drama caused by uncertainty becomes a destructive tornado creating chaos in its path.

I admit I am susceptible to such tornadoes! What works for me is a counter intuitive reaction. Instead of fighting the forces of uncertainty (sometimes they feel forceful), I give in to them. I take a deep breath and welcome the opportunity they present. Change can be chaotic and forceful, so go with it. This requires letting go of judgment and expectation. It is like standing in the wind and not worrying if it is going to blow away your hat and where it might end up. It is about surrendering to the fact that you may or may not find your hat.

When you do your best, you can let go of expectation. In fact, you must let go of expectation. All anyone of us can control is ourselves , our own attitudes and reactions. If we can get to the point where we are pleased with what we have done, then it is time to let go. As hard as it may seem, when you willingly let go, it is a relief. It can even be less of a battle. Letting go together with a good dose of patience, can be liberating during the winds of uncertainty.

If you are going through some wild winds where nothing seems to be in your control. Take a deep breath, and consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about learning how to gracefully let go of what does not work anymore. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if spiritual coaching is for you.