"What's wrong with me? Why can't I stop having negative thoughts?"
I used to ask myself those very questions. I couldn't understand why, regardless of all the books I read, all the things I tried, I was still having negative thoughts.
There must have been something wrong with my brain. Or maybe my negative thoughts were an indicator that I just wasn't as nice a person as I thought I was.
If what I just shared has you nodding in agreement, there are just a few things I want you to know. Let's start with the most important...
There's absolutely nothing wrong with you and you're still a nice person even if you have negative thoughts.
Our brains are wired to have them, believe it or not...and we have our prehistoric ancestors to thank.
That, however, doesn't mean that we can't learn how to manage them. I've spent A LOT of time learning how to manage mine and I liked to share what I've learned.
So, while we may never be void of our negative thoughts, we don't have to buy into them. Nope! We don't have to entertain them and allow them to ruin our mood or weigh us down.
With that said, I'd like to offer these three VERY simple "tricks" to try. (By the way, these are things I use interchangeably on a regular basis and I've found that they really work!)
Give these a whirl and let me know what you think! I'd love to hear from you.
And before I sign off, I'd like to share the following quote from Matt Haig...
“The key to happiness - or that even more desired thing, calmness - lies not in always thinking happy thoughts. No. That is impossible. No mind on earth with any kind of intelligence could spend a lifetime enjoying only happy thoughts. They key is in accepting your thoughts, all of them, even the bad ones. Accept thoughts, but don't become them. Understand, for instance, that having a sad thought, even having a continual succession of sad thoughts, is not the same as being a sad person.”
Until next time., I'm sending you lots of....
I recently heard a question that made my head spin around, "What if you had 15 seconds to shine, how brightly would you shine?" My first response was, "I'd shine so bright you'd be able to see my shine from outer space."
WHOA cool! I wasn't really expecting that response. (That's what happens when I allow my gut to respond instead of my head. )
But then I asked myself this question, "Why do I want to shine that brightly?"
Well, it's not because I want all eyes on me. I've never been "a look at me" kinda gal. My shining is all about showing up in positive ways. It's about what I share that helps others to shine. My shining is all about shining a light so bright that others see their own epic-ness. Their own magnificence.
Which, of course, reminds me of one my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson...
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Truth be told, I light up like a Christmas tree when I'm able to share something that supports another person to shine, whether it's a question, a mindset hack, or a story. I think that if every single one of us made it a point to shine in whatever way we felt like shining, our world would be a much brighter place. And while that may sound idealistic to some, what would it hurt if we tried?
HOW BRIGHT IS YOUR SHINE?
Now it's your turn!
At the end of the day, we're all truly responsible for how brightly we shine! Why not shine as bright as you possibly can?!
Until next time, I'm sending you lots of…
Have you ever felt disliked by someone? Or have you ever worried about whether you were liked/disliked?
Either way, it sucks to feel like you're not liked.
As human beings we have a need to belong, to feel accepted, to be loved/liked, and to be a part of a tribe. So, when someone in our world doesn't like us or we perceive that they don't, it can do some of the following things…
- Make us question ourselves.
- Create tension and discomfort.
- Cause us to try and be someone we aren't in order to be liked.
- Lead to comparison and judging (of ourselves and/or the other person).
But here's the deal, we can get to a place where we're OK with being disliked by someone else.
IT HAPPENS TO ALL OF US
First, it's important to know that you're not alone. We've all probably experienced another person's dislike or perceived dislike so here's something to keep in mind…
It’s not you. I promise. The fact that someone may dislike you really has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them and whatever is going on inside of them. (Be it insecurities, negative self-perception, pain, etc.)
Regardless, I know that the logic doesn't make it feel any better. I get it. Trust me.
I've got someone in my life who doesn't like me. Yes, I admit that that may be my perception, but I can say based on their behavior it's a pretty safe perception. Unlike a casual acquaintance or a work colleague, I can't just completely disconnect from this person because they're family.
Sadly in the past, I'd fallen prey to twisting myself into a pretzel to try and get this person to like me. No amount of twisting and contorting changed their behavior towards me. I questioned myself a lot, wondering what I did and why I wasn't likable. Until one day it hit me like a ton of bricks…
This person and I have NOTHING in common. NOTHING. And in all honesty, if they weren't a part of my family I wouldn't even be friends with them. And that's when I made the commitment to myself to do the following…
HOW #1: I think Scott Stratten said it best, “Don't try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.” This little quote has also helped me weather the "dislike" storm a time or two. Not to mention, it makes me chuckle…and chuckling creates positive energy; the energy that combats the negative feelings dislike creates.
HOW #2: Know that there is no such thing as rejection. Nope. If someone dislikes you that's the Universe's (God, Buddha, Your Higher Power, etc.) way of protecting you from someone that isn't a good fit for you. That way you have the space and the energy for someone who is.
HOW #3: Ask yourself this question….
"What are the benefits of this person not liking me?"
And then begin listing all the benefits. For example…more space and time for people who do like you, less negativity to deal with, no more criticism, don't have to deal with spiteful behavior, etc.
Be sure to remember the benefits. Use them as a reminder of just how OK it is that this person doesn't like you!
HOW #4: Take deep breathes and the higher road. When you have to be around a person who dislikes you, be sure to take some deep breathes. Deep breathing changes the chemicals in your brain and helps to create calm. When you're calm, you're more equipped to take the higher road.
HOW #5: I AM ________________
Some of the most powerful words come after "I am". Instead of feeling disliked how do you want to feel? Make a list.
Then when you're feeling the dislike you can use your powerful "I AM" statement to help you disconnect from those negative feelings. For example, "I am an amazing friend." "I am loved." "I am totally likable." "I am fun to be around.", etc…whatever resonates most with you.
What other "HOWS" do you want to add to this list? The more options you have to choose from, the better!
YOU'VE GOT THIS
So, the next time you feel the dislike or you're worried that someone dislikes you, just remember….you've got this! Another person's dislike has nothing on you! And be sure to use some of the "HOWS" to support you in being OK with being disliked.
Until next time, I'm sending you much…
"An aha moment is a remembering of what you already knew articulated in a way to resonant with your own truth." - Oprah Winfrey
I love those lightbulb (aha) moments when something just "clicks".
I've had a few lately…some based on what I've heard or read and others just from my own process of reflection (journaling). But what good is an aha moment if it's kept in the "dark" (a.k.a. not put to good use)?
And to be totally transparent, I really hope the following creates a chain reaction of lightbulb moments for you. If not, I hope they at least provide some tools that you can put to good use.
THE 5 LIGHTBULB MOMENTS
Lightbulb Moment #1: Self-Worth fluctuates & you can't see someone else's if you can't see your own
A little backstory: I found this really cool app for meditating called Insight Timer. What I love about this app is not just the great meditations available (15,000+), but the community element.
The other day after I was done meditating I received a message from a fellow meditator and it said...
Not only did I love the quote, but it inspired an entire journal entry around self-worth which set off a huge lightbulb. Here are just a few of the highlights from that entry…
What does it stand for?
Lightbulb Moment #2: Fear or love; I get to choose.
“There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It's true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it's more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They're opposites. If we're in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we're in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Whether we agree or disagree with this quote one thing is for sure, we are always in a place of choice. So, the next time I'm feeling crappy, negative, low, etc. I have the following questions to pull out of my bag of choice tricks.
What do I want to feel instead of this __________ feeling?
What do I choose to do right now that'll help me feel the way I want to feel?
Lightbulb Moment #3: Nothing is guaranteed.
I realized something about myself and guarantees; guarantees = safety and security.
If I'm busy looking for those guarantees I'm missing out on what's possible….because…wait for it…
I'm trying to control the outcome. Which sucks all the fun and cool potentials out of a project, a relationship, or a day.
If safety and security are what I’m craving, all I need to do is take a good look around and remind myself of the things that help me to feel safe and secure. Then I just need to step back and engage my faith. Knowing and believing that what is meant to be in my day, my relationships, projects, etc. will be… and in a way that is for my highest good.
All of which reminds me of a Woody Allen quote that my own coach shared with me once, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."
Lightbulb Moment #4: Each moment is a gift.
This little gem has released a shit-ton of pressure. Moments are bite-sized and manageable. The present moment is made up of moments. I like moments and I like the fact that I get to choose what to do in every given moment. Like right now, I'm choosing to share with you. And in the next moment, I may choose something else.
Each moment truly is an amazing gift given to do whatever I please with.
Extra benefit: for those moments when things go awry, I like the fact that I can remind myself that this awry situation is a momentary thing that can change with the next moment.
Lightbulb Moment #5: The three things we need each day.
This little lightbulb is courtesy of Marie Forleo and her guest Dr. Rick Hanson, author of Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
There are three things we need each day which goes with the three structures in our brain…
Relatedness/Connection to ourselves and others.
(Side note: when this last need is met, it actually meets the other two as well.)
Dr. Hanson suggested that in order to fulfill these needs, it helps to experience something good each day. And in doing so we can then turn that positive state we're experiencing into a trait (or new neural pathway) by:
ARE YOUR LIGHTBULBS FLASHING?
Dear Soul, I want to thank you for reading to this point. You have no idea how much I appreciate you taking the time to do so. Now it's your turn…
Which one of these moments are you wanting to experiment with? AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…
What are some of the lightbulb moments you've had in your life that got you totally jazzed?
Until next time, I'm sending you much…
I remember being asked once, "If you had the chance to have dinner with anyone, who would you choose?" My response, Maya Angelou.
Maya Angelou's grace, humility, work in the world, and her words have been a source of inspiration. And since I can't sit across from her and pick her lovely brain, I often read her quotes.
She has hundreds, but here are my top nine. The nine that remind me, support me, and show me how to be epic in what I do and the life that I live.
"Not everything you do is going to be a masterpiece, but you get out there and you try and sometimes it really happens. The other times you’re just stretching your soul."
Many years ago my mentor coach sent me a card with this quote on the outside. That card hangs on the wall of my office where I can see it every day. It reminds me that it's OK if some of my work in the world falls flat. That each time I create something, each time I put my heart into something, I'm not only doing what I love, but I'm continuing to grow as a person, as a leader, and as a coach. And nothing supports my epic-ness more than growing and stretching my soul.
What stretches your soul?
"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
So true! Even when a person is "showing" me a side of themselves that they think I want to see, my gut instincts are always on point. Anytime I've ignored or missed what my instincts have tried to tell me I've been sorry. Valuable lesson learned. Now not only do I pay attention to what someone is showing me about themselves, but I pay close attention to what my instincts are telling me.
How do you tell when someone is being their most authentic selves?
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
Stories connect us. They make us feel understood and seen. And in telling them, we not only create connection, but we make it OK for others to tell their stories. While I still have some work to do when it comes to telling mine, I'm committed to sharing them. It is my hope in doing so that they help another in not only finding support, but in sharing their own.
What's your story and how willing are you to share it?
"If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be."
Welcome to my life growing up. A life of trying hard to be "normal" so that I would fit in. In doing so, not only did I deny the qualities and characteristics that made me, me, but I made myself feel even more "abnormal".
(Thankfully a certain astrology reading changed all of that.)
I am a firm believer that we were all born to be epic (by our own definition). Not some cookie cutter version based on someone else's definition of normal.
What is normal any way?
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
This quote brings to mind a question; how do you want people to feel in your presence?
I want people to feel supported, cared about, accepted, understood, seen and heard. To accomplish that, it's important for me to listen with an open-mind and to always be curious. Curiosity (to me) opens the door to learning about another person, which equates to seeing them.
"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you."
When I first started coaching 14 years ago, money became my goal. It didn't start out that way, but as a single mom, trying hard to make ends meet, it certainly became that way fast.
I learned rather quickly that having money as a goal only created a desperate vibe. And that desperate vibe not only repelled people, but made me forget why I became a coach in the first place.
I love what I do and it's my goal to keep loving it. Which means making my work in the world about being of service.. helping others to own their epic-ness so that the life they live and the work they do is also epic.
What do you love doing?
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
YES! YES! YES! This, to me, is epic living.
"When you know you are of worth, you don’t have to raise your voice, you don’t have to become rude, you don’t have to become vulgar; you just are. And you are like the sky is, as the air is, the same way water is wet. It doesn’t have to protest."
I think this is why one of my core values is authenticity.
Do you know your worth? If you don't, please do not stop trying to figure it out. The world needs you to show up in all your worthy splendor.
"Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option."
We teach people how to treat us based on what we will and won't allow…and most importantly, by how we show up.
I used to show up as an option, putting other people's well-being ahead of my own.
Now (as a recovering co-dependent) I understand that the only person's well-being I can be responsible for is my own. Which means that I'm not showing up as an option any more, because I'm not treating myself like one.
How do you treat you; as an option or a priority?
There they are...my top 9. I hope they inspire you to stand in your own epic-ness, as much as they inspire me. At the end of the day, we were all meant to live and work from that epic sweet spot.
Until next time, I wish you much ...
"But enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?"
- CC Bloom, Beaches
That is one of the all time classic lines from the movie "Beaches" starring Bette Midler. It's a line I can relate to and I'm super glad about that. (Keep reading to find out why.)
But first let me ask you…
Have you ever had someone in your life who redirects the conversation to themselves, no matter what the topic?
Or someone that is so super self-focused that they don’t consider others’ feelings or thoughts?
Or someone who is always "one-upping" you?
If you answered, "yes" then you've experienced the "Look At Me" syndrome. (OK, so that's not a real syndrome, as I'm sure you already knew, but it should be.)
And when it comes to this syndrome, it's important to recognize not just the syndrome itself, but the symptoms. Symptoms like…
Growing up with a CC Bloom and having a few in my life now, I've come to realize one thing…
It's not the CC Blooms of the world that are the problem. It's how I allow them to make me feel and how I deal with them that is.
RECENT INFECTION WITH THE "LOOK AT ME" SYNDROME
Just recently I was at a function when I bumped into a CC Bloom. Normally this particular CC Bloom doesn't bother me, but I was tired and low in energy so this time my buttons got pushed in a major way. As a result I became curt with the person and even judge-y
I'm not going to make excuses or even give myself a pass. My reaction sucked. To be curt and judge-y…a) that's not who I am at my core and b) that's not who I want to be. I was WAAAAYYYYY out of integrity with myself. And that's a BIG HUGE "No bueno!"
This is why I'm super glad I can relate to the line from Beaches…because of my own experiences (especially the one I just shared) I've come up with some strategies for inoculating myself. Strategies that I'd love to share with you.
But please remember, if anything I'm about to offer doesn't sound doable to you, don't force it to work. Feel free to tweak or disregard instead.
WAYS TO INOCULATE
Don't take anything personally. If you have ever read the book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz you'll be familiar with this strategy. I'm not going to lie, this strategy can be difficult, but it's one of the best strategies ever.
The CC Blooms in our lives aren't doing or saying things because of us. They're doing or saying things because of how they feel about themselves. Maybe they're feeling insecure or not good enough and in need of validation. (Hence the "look at me"!)
If we make their inadequate feelings all about us, then we're just taking on those feelings. Or as Don Miguel says, we're eating their emotional garbage and making it our emotional garbage.
So when we're in a situation where we start to feel the pang of any of the symptoms above it helps to remember…it's not personal.
Keep expectations low…low…low…low. Expecting a CC Bloom to stop the "look at me" behavior, particularly if they're not aware of it, is tantamount to expecting a zebra to change its stripes to spots. (No, I'm not saying the person can't change, because they can.)
But here's the thing about expecting others to act in certain ways…we only set ourselves up for disappointment. The bottom line; we don't have control over what other people do. We do, however, have control over what we allow or don't allow, how we respond or react, how we feel, how we act, and our own expectations of ourselves.
When it comes to the CC Blooms in the world, if we lower our expectations by not expecting them to behave any differently…
THE NEXT TIME
At the end of the day, there are always going to be CC Blooms. The next time I encounter one, I'm going to take a deep breath and remember, it's not personal. And then I'm going to think about my own integrity and come from that place instead.
How are you going to deal with CC Blooms in your world? I'd love to hear from you!
I love the holidays. It's a time of celebration. A time for connection. A time for good food that we don't eat all year round. A time to let go of the old and bring in the new.
But I've noticed something; I've noticed that as we near the holiday season people seem to be a little less considerate. Or maybe a little less present which can lead to not noticing that you're waiting for that parking space, or that they just cut you off in line or traffic.
I know this happens during other times of the year, but it seems to be more prevalent during the holidays. And it makes sense for people to go on auto-pilot as they're thinking about what gifts they can afford, or the end of the year quotas and goals, managing the holiday gatherings, and out of town family members. It can all be a bit overwhelming.
I get it. And while I do get it, it doesn't mean that it doesn't drive me a bit nuts when someone pushes in front of me in line, cuts me off in traffic, or is just plain rude.
This year, however, I'm arming myself with something to keep me sane (and rational)…
Yep, you read that right…when it comes to others I'm going to lower my expectations.
(I promise I've not dipped into the egg nog or gotten hit on the head by the family menorah...so please read on.)
It might help if I explain what I mean...
Many years ago I was having issues with a family member who, I felt, was being inconsiderate of my feelings. Regardless of how many times I tried to share how I felt about their treatment, they didn't get it.
To say that I got my knickers in a twist would be the understatement of all understatements. I was fixated on the inconsideration. I wanted to right the wrong-doing. I wanted that person to see it from my perspective. It was all consuming and emotionally draining.
During a coaching session with my coach I went on and on about how ticked off I was. When I finally stopped ranting she said, "Pam, try lowering your expectations of that person, that way you will never be disappointed."
WHAT!? Are you kidding?!
Actually, my response was…"I say this with love, but f*#k off."
That was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted her to commiserate with me. I wanted her to justify my anger. But instead I got "lower your expectations."
It wasn't until a year or so later that I actually got what she meant.
Not to expect anyone to handle things in ways that I would.
Not to expect anyone to be different.
Not to expect anyone to behave in a certain way.
At the end of the day, the only person I can expect these things from is me, because I have control over what I do. Which means, I can set expectations for myself to be kind, considerate, and present. And when others aren't, I can expect that I will choose my response carefully and considerately.
Rather than expecting, I'm teaching people how to treat me based on what I will or won't allow for myself.
Here's the really cool thing about lowering my expectations of others…when I do, not only am I less disappointed, but I'm open to being surprised. Which, I'm not going to lie, is kinda fun.
So that's how I'm going to keep sane this holiday season. How about you? I'd love to hear your strategies for not losing your cool and enjoying your holiday season.
Oh, but if you need some additional strategies, I've got your back. Be sure to check out these blog posts:
"Bye Felicia"; Three Ways To Get Someone Out Of Your Personal Space
Your Not So Ordinary Holiday Stress-Reducing Tip
Tips for a stress-free, peaceful holiday season
Here's to a sane and wonderful holiday season!! Sending you all much love and sparkly, tinsel-adorned light.
Additional Resource To Avoid the Holiday Humbuggery
December's Rut Warrior Membership topic is dedicated to avoiding the humbuggery that many of us feel.
There is a special podcast with tips for making this holiday season a relaxed and bright one. An Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping script for managing the stress. Not to mention, exercises , journal prompts, and an intuitive reading for extra guidance muscle. And I'm super excited, because included is some fun bonus material for humbug busting.
So if you, or anyone you know wants to be humbug free this holiday season, join us!
(You'll also have access to previous months' content, so be sure to check it out!)
About this blog
This blog is all about walking the walk, and not just talking my talk. This is the place where I share my personal journey, insights, ideas, and a-ha moments...all things mindset related.