Archive for the ‘Coping’ Category

Accepting Versus Resisting – Power Tool (2)

This is a continuation of my previous post on “Accepting versus Resisting” what we can not change. It’s a great empowering tool to help you cope with your difficult life situations.

Topic 3. Accepting vs. Resisting the SELF

 It’s true that we can do a lot to steer our life course and where we land. Still, we are deprived of choice in specific matters. Did you have a choice in being born a male or female? Or even in having the physical features you possess? We often see some individuals bending backwards trying hard to implement major changes on their looks. Sometimes it is doable, but comes to fruition only with great tolls. Self-acceptance refers to accepting one self with all its flaws (ranging from temperament, to genetic make-up, to who we truly are). When that is done, these flaws will start to diminish. We stop paying attention to them; hence, negative emotions would cease to surface. Nobody is perfect that’s for sure.

 For instance, one might have a specific health concern. The label “sick” maybe too distressing to acknowledge, so one may start whining and complaining about that health concern as if “resisting” the idea will make it vanish. Only through “accepting” that condition and trying to surpass it will one cope better. Alternatively, one may ignore the whole “being sick” idea (another form of resistance). What happens is that one’s health condition gets exacerbated when left untreated. The more we embrace all parts of our being, the better we’ll feel about ourselves and the more we grow. When we resist having limitations (be it inborn or accrued over time), we find ourselves pushed too far into a deep abyss of exhaustion. We are far better off if we embrace the positive and let go of the negative. It has been said, “If life hands you lemon, make lemonade”. Work with what you’ve got. Capitalize on your strengths; you’ll find plenty to work with. Improve what you can, but don’t fall into frustration at deadlocks.

Reflection and Application

 1. Think about those aspects that you don’t appreciate about yourself?

 2. Which of these can you change?

 3. Which of these are impractical / impossible to change?

 4. List at least five empowering reasons for accepting (rather than resisting) those aspects you cannot change.   

Topic 4. Accepting vs. Resisting OTHERS

 Relationships with other people are vital in our progress along life’s path. Close others can be our support system as we thrive and in times of misery. In some instances, these close others become our source of distress. It is very easy to eliminate an “emotional vampire” (i.e. someone who drains your energy) if s/he were not really meaningful in your life, or imposed on you. But we occasionally fall into the trap of trying to change others to better fit our expectations. We forget that it is not easy to change someone else; and that it is much easier to change how we react to another’s behavior.

 For instance, you become upset at how your parent, your sibling, or your spouse constantly behaves. You start giving him/her all sorts of hints; and at times become just blatant and criticize at no avail. Truth is, your repeated attempts may create opposition and defensiveness; and the cycle of conflict escalates. The more you persist, the more they become stubborn and resist your attempts. Asses how you would feel if someone tried to change you? You probably would get hurt and create walls of protection. Surely, we cannot dispense with some people in our lives. We are better off at considering the whole package. “Accepting” these people for what they are and focusing on their assets generates far better interaction processes. You can pinpoint how you feel about it, but it is their choice to rectify or not.

Reflection and Application

 1. Think about those people who are indispensable in your life. Is there anyone of them in particular that you find difficulty tolerating / accommodating to?

 2. If you answered “No”, you’re blessed. Count more blessings.

 3. If you answered “Yes”,

   a) List that person’s good qualities. Find as many as you can.

   b) Can you accept that person with all his/her flows now?

   c) While keeping his/her good qualities in the spot light, can you take that    person’s behavior humorously for the coming week? See if all your interactions get lighter

Topic 5. Accepting vs. Resisting the HURT

 As wonderful as it is, life can subject us to a variety of hurtful experiences. We can be targets to injustice, deceit, disappointments, insults, or misfortunes. It might give us the least we expect or deserve. These deleterious ordeals could range from painful childhood experiences, to experiencing infidelity in a relationship, to getting a demotion on the job, or other negative life situations.  We unintentionally plunge into an emotional tail spin and experience feelings of anger, bitterness, or vengeance. The more we ruminate over the hurt, the more we prolong our distress and get swallowed up by our own distress. Sometimes, the more we try to save face or seek revenge, the more we get stuck at the mishap. We can surely get our chin high somewhere else. “Whatever you focus on expands” so it’s been said. Why feed the turmoil inside?

 If our negative emotions include another person, then forgive. So much has been said about the positive effects of forgiveness even if unsolicited. Forgiveness refers to accepting what had happened and deciding to let go of attempts to seek revenge. When we keep our resentment contained within us, we are keeping inside negative energy which feeds the suffering. Our pain, then, was inevitable. It’s our suffering that’s optional. The past hurt when fed can cloud our vision of the present or the future; and can deprive us of inner peace.

 If our emotions involved a specific situation we were are still struggling with, sometimes it is best to just let go. Fight no more. Maya Angelou once said: At fifteen, life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.We may be caught up in fighting too hard to eliminate the hurt caused by our life situations (we resist). We yearn to effect change when we can simply seek satisfaction elsewhere. Consider always: what’s the opportunity for me in there? Where else can I derive joy? It maybe too hard to extract yourself from some hurtful situation, but at least we can plan something to move gradually away from it. When no plan works, you can do the best you can to work within the confinements of that situation. Surely if you think hard enough, you can focus your thoughts on different aspects to compensate for your dissatisfaction. Transform the distress into motivation to excel at something else; move in a different direction.

Reflection and Application

 1. Think of a specific life situation that has stirred your emotions negatively.

 2. Are you willing to accept that it took place in the past and let go, or would you want to remain resisting that it happened?

Here’s a technique that can help you heal the hurt: Find the time to undergo a process of emotional healing. You may need an hour, 2, or even 3 hours to finish this exercise. Write about the distressing situation while focusing on how it made you feel. Include all the things that were not said and remain in your throat. Pour in all your emotions, your hurt, and your disappointment about it. Don’t leave anything out. If the hurt was caused by another person, address your writing to him/her. You’ll experience agitation as you do that. Get in touch with it. Name the emotions you are experiencing and reflect on how these were affecting your previous actions. When you’re done, burn that letter. As you watch those flames glow tell yourself: ‘This is one episode that is out of my system now. I won’t let it bother me anymore. It’s gone; finished. I will be indifferent to it from now on. It’s in the past; folded well. Now, I feel great, refreshed, and will resume a happier life. 


  “Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices ~ Dr. Paul Tournier. We do need to be resilient in face of adversity. It serves us well to weigh the costs of fighting. It serves us well to know where we stand before moving forward. Much of what colors our perceptions is a creation of our own minds. Will you keep feeding your mind with handicapping thoughts, or will you empower yourself by opening up to healthier possibilities to grow? Your “call”…..


Accepting vs. Resisting (Power Tool) -(1)

I have earlier written a short post on “Moving Forward” through accepting or resisting our life situations. I found it an empowering tool to use in the coaching process. I, therefore, decided to elaborate on it and submit it as a “Power Tool” (part of my certification process in coaching). It is somewhat lengthy, so I will post it on two occasions for an easier read. Enjoy and empower yourselves in those areas where you can do little to effect positive change:

Topic 1.  How do we deal with difficult life circumstances? 

What We Resist, Persists, Accept, And It Just Dissolves” ~ Carl Jung

 Many of us have a “fighter spirit” and we succeed in assuming control over many of our life circumstances. We get that promotion after working hard enough. We adopt a new life-style and are glad to have that ideal self image we always aspired.  We are repeatedly encouraged to move forward and celebrate achieving our goals. Sadly, often times, we face specific life situations whereby “change” is extremely difficult, very costly, or sometimes practically impossible. For instance, how is it best to cope with the misfortune of being born with a physical handicap? Or in trying to survive the commitment to a partner who’s much loved, but has difficult personality characteristics beyond control? Consider someone else having to tolerate a newly assigned arrogant supervisor on the job because no better alternative can do at the time? In such thorny situations, one is faced with either of two options: accepting versus resisting those situations. 

 According to Merriam- Webster Dictionary, the verb accept is defined as “to endure without protest or reaction; to regard as proper, normal, or inevitable; and to recognize as true”. Applied to our difficult life experiences, “accepting” refers to the realization that we can not change what is disliked or that which is perceived as a psychological threat. We stop our behavioral and mental attempts to change, deny, or oppose it; and go with the flow. The Webster dictionary, also, defines the verb resist as “to exert oneself so as to counteract or defeat”. It entails fighting, pushing back and putting in some energy to change what currently exists. Applied to difficult life situations, mentally “resisting” a situation involves imagining over and over again what should be the case, the better scenario, and efforts to resolve difficult situations one way or another. Through out our lives, we either resort to “accepting” or “resisting” as coping strategies to handle many of our arising concerns; be it on personal or professional levels. Let’s reflect for a moment:

Reflection and Application

 1. Identify the areas in your life that you have grown to accept on both your:

    a. Personal level

    b. Professional level

 2. Identify the areas in your life that you have resisted and succeeded; and others you have resisted and could not change on both your:

    a. Personal level

    b. Professional level

Topic 2. Compared to “resisting”, why is it that “accepting” the healthier coping mechanism in difficult life circumstances?

 “What can’t be cured must be endured” ~ Robert Burton proposed it wisely. The idea of “accepting” is prominent in Eastern philosophy and in different religions like Christianity and Islam. Life subjects us to its own terms. In extreme scenarios, it puts us under different losses, vagaries of fate, vicissitude of evil, illness, traumas, aging, and the inevitable idea of eventually facing death. “Accepting” things that already happened in the past or those that are foreseeable is comforting. We can’t undo the past; what’s done is done. We certainly can do a lot about whatever future remains even under the most difficult circumstances. When we accept things as they are, we become open to new possibilities; to areas beyond our distress. We stop feeding adversity with energy. Our mind is freed to finding solutions; and that energy is directed in a more empowering manner. The sooner we do that, the better. Sometimes, we need to learn to befriend our “tough calls” (come to terms with them). Only then are we able to overcome whatever set-backs we face. 

“Resisting” can be viewed in a positive light in many situations. It is a driving force to do the best we can; to go beyond our comfort zones; to change to the better. What we need, however, is to discern between this type of resisting and that which is futile. “Resisting” can take the form of denial, avoidance, or even rumination over negative feelings (e.g. sorrow, guilt, injustice, etc….). It is these negative experiences that sometimes exacerbate our life situations; and not always those situations per se. Harboring bitterness, for instance, renders us eventually in an unpleasant place or state. Similarly, if we keep on brushing our negative feelings under the carpet by denying or avoiding these, they’ll creep back up again to get us. It is no wonder, then that in psychotherapy, emotional healing involves “accepting” past ordeals; as they truly were (not as one wished them to be). Accepting rather than avoiding painful emotions, in fact, alleviates the suffering. And this is how the individual eventually moves to a healthier form of functioning. “Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery” ~ Joanne Kathleen Rowling.

Reflection and Application

 1. Have a look at the areas you identified earlier. Compare the feelings that arise as you contemplate accepting or resisting each. Which do you find more empowering?

 2. List the ramifications of resisting on your actions, your emotions, and your future vision.

 Stay tuned for the follow post on accepting the self, others, and our hurt in more details.

“The Future Belongs to Those Who Ask!” ~ 3DS

I was invited by a colleague of mine to attend a negotiation seminar a few days ago. It was very inspiring, indeed, and validated many of the concepts I know and apply. The presentation touched on asking for discounts as we attempt to close some business deals. “If you don’t ask, the answer is always: NO!” the presenter announced. I agreed with that, but disagreed with asking for service discount. To me, that meant risking accepting less of what usually is offered (not too many people are conscientious, or are aware of the ramifications it has on their profession). With respect to displayed merchandise, the risks of getting less when you ask for a discount may be minimal, so go ahead ask for it. Demand it if you can (of course while paying attention to your tone). Take it at full price without asking, and you’ll always wonder if you could have done better. Those arguments made me reflect on the power of “asking” as determining much of our future life path.

Malcom X once said: “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today”. In a similar vein, Eleanor Roosevelt proposed: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” In a congruent fashion, I believe that “the future belongs to those who ask!”  I asked to join the psychotherapy training program, and was lucky to get in despite being way past the deadline. I was surfing the net for ICF accredited “Coaching” schools and encountered the International Coach Academy. They called me and provided me with all the information I needed. I enrolled; and my career path changed in both instances. The positive consequence of “asking” for things applies to many other life areas I take initiative in. I just ask, and the universe responds in amazing ways. Sometimes I “ask”, but I’m denied only to find out later that something better was arranged for me.

 Hesitation to ask for something may have bases in the “fear of failure” (rejection can be a killer sometimes). “How can I courageously imply to that cute girl/guy that I like him/her? What if s/he said no?” That’s a dilemma many face. “How can I ask for that raise? Surely Management is working within a tight budget!” Truth is, don’t ask for it, and you stagnate. Would you want to wait (maybe forever) until your number is called out? Your chances are inevitably 50-50 to get it or not; despite your apparent strong belief (100%) you won’t get it. You don’t have all the “givens”. You have to be clairvoyant to forcefully say you know it all, don’t you? Alternatively, hesitation may have bases in the “fear of success”. You’d reason: “Me, with that cute guy/girl!” (Good God! a relationship would be too overwhelming), or “Me, with a better salary, or finally granted that promotion!” (I could be envied, or it could be too much to handle). This is when some self-sabotage to remain in their habitual comfort zone. Success seemingly carries with it an extra toll. Many would worry about change; it’s too much of an effort!

It probably is a known fact, by now, that any type of fear can be overcome only if faced. And if you still have doubt about what could happen IF so and so took place, ask yourself: so what? What could it mean? We tend to take things too seriously, so lighten up a bit. Talk about your concerns loud enough by taking the worst extreme scenario. Is it the end of the world? Can I try something different if this or that didn’t work out? Surely, choices are plenty if only we look hard enough. Again, and quoting my inspirational presenter “If you don’t ask, the answer is always: NO!” You ask, and it’s either a Yes, or a No. A “Yes” grants you what you want. A “No” needs to prompt you to ask again for something different. This is how you brighten up your future; this is how you leave your options wide open; this is why I believe: “The future belongs to those who ask!

Those “IF” statements: From Disempowering Ones to More Empowering Others

In the spirit of wrapping up the year 2009, I embarked on my usual – more focused – appraisal of how things went by the past year and the framework needed to welcome the coming year. This review is my usual practice through out the year; and I seldom wait for the New Year to make resolutions and assessments. I like to toy around with my thoughts now and then by giving them some free rein to wander unrestricted to realms outside reality. This stems from a need to balance my excessive practical and realistic nature with some fantasy-like escape resort. I need to nourish that dreamer aspect of mine; it is these dreams that keep me working at full speed every so often.

In some of my weak moments, my day dreaming is not all that glorious or empowering. During such a trance-like state just a while ago, I caught myself using “if only” statements as my mind rambled around. I didn’t like the outcome. Let me share with you how the process went by. Come on, let’s try this exercise together and fill in the following blanks. Check how these make you feel:

 Example: If only I were ________________________ (a male not a female)

If only I could undo _____________________________________________

If only my _____________________ were ___________________________

If only it was socially acceptable to __________________________________

If only I lived ___________________________________________________

If only I had ____________________________________________________

If only I had done_________________ not ____________________________

 I don’t know about you, but when I filled in these spaces with things I wished I had done, or had, or didn’t do, or wished others to have done things differently, I felt so down and wane. Those “If only” statements point to things that are either unreal in my life, or are very real but are past and done already. They are so disempowering. Can we ever undo the past? Do we have unlimited power to change about everything? Sadly, the answer is no and no. What do we do then?

 It’s Okay to dream of what we can’t change. Sometimes it’s a healthy way to satisfy the impossible. The better way still is to dream the feasible (no matter how difficult it may seem). Dig yourself back from the rut and change those “if only” statements to “what if”….. Come on, fill those blanks with me once again. Something like:

 Example: What if I could __________________(have that male career status)

What if I can in fact have a _________________________________________

What if I can live _________________________________________________

What if I can get __________________________________________________

What if I work on becoming __________________________________________

What if I can forgive _______________ wrong doing and __________________

What if I can forget _____________________ and _______________________

 Now that feels better. How about you? It put me at a mobilized state for action. These statements are so motivating. They gave me back some control over how to steer the wheel. I feel hopeful, energized, and have a purpose. I am in a better mind-set. I am looking forward to a challenge; I am more empowered. It’s okay to assess, then, and wish things to have been different, but that is behind now. It’s in the past. I have better chances for the future. There is a way out if I can think it. When things can’t change, I’m better of considering what I can control. I can look within me for answers. It is these assumptions of “what if I…” that empower me and deserve my focus; not those “if only” statements that pull me back and leave me disempowered….

Beware of Emotional Vampires!!

A vital ingredient that spices up our lives is being around other people. We’re blessed with having family members, friends, colleagues, and even casual acquaintances who best serve our social nature. All too often, however, we end up being among the wrong crowd. And instead of being energized by people in our lives, we find ourselves disempowered, depleted, or upset. Make a connection and reflect for a moment. With whom do you feel totally zapped out of energy? Who have you started dreading being with? If you’re able to recognize a few, then you’ve probably identified those known as “Emotional Vampires”.

  Unlike the blood sucking folkloric vampires we’ve heard of, “Emotional Vampires” suck your positive emotions (or your life blood). They make you angry, depressed, overwhelmed, trivial, defensive, or drained. They come in different disguises and flavors: the needy and helpless (the victim), the depressed (always whining), the controlling (the forever bossing you around), the drama queen (that takes everything to the extreme and then the show begins), the narcissist (it’s all about me; you shut up), the perfectionist (the never satisfied and the detail oriented), the criticizer (can’t ever win with that one; you’re a forever loser), and the talkative 9just give me a keyword and I’ll let you know everything related to it).

 If you don’t properly control the presence of these “Emotional Vampire” in your life, you could end up suffering depression, anxiety, isolation, substance abuse, or any other maladaptive behavior. Dealing with emotional vampires is very easy if they meant nothing to you, or if you did not need them. You simply terminate the relationship. But what if they were important people in your life – ones you love most and cherish (i.e. your father, mother, sibling, spouse or your best friend). These could be your superiors at work or maybe other coworker. Now, that becomes a tough call!

 Two things you need to keep in mind:

1) You can’t change them (you can only change yourself or the way you deal with them).

2) And that it’s all about them; it’s not about you. Something lacks in their lives and they want to fill it up. They could be in a chronic strife to seek attention, recognition, validation, or acceptance. Alternatively, they can look tough and assertive on the outside, but underneath feel empty.

  So, how do you deal with such emotional vampires?

 –          Consider again, is it possible to take your distance? Can you eliminate all contact with the type? Or maybe reduce encounters drastically?

–          When contact is inevitable, visualize a protective mental safety shield that protects you from their negativity. Don’t allow their words to seep into you. Above all, resist the urge to be their therapist.

–          Listen to your body. Is your tension level rising? Do you feel sleepy? Are you suddenly craving for something sweet? Have you suddenly lost all motivation to eat, go out, or do anything? Your body cannot mask the distress; it sends you multiple signals. Don’t allow yourself to react (they want you to). Breathe deeply and take your time before responding. If you can, listen then forget. Work on up-lifting your mood right after the encounter.

–          Set your boundaries. Speak up with confidence about what you would, or would not allow in your relationship. Be assertive; yet gentle and empathetic. You can always disagree without being disagreeable; and the only power they have over you is that you give them. Exhibit that “tough love” you hear about.

–          Deal with your guilt feeling as you resist being submissive to their influence. Many do actually take you on a guilt trip and that is how you conform to their whims. You’re trying your best to be supportive, but there’s a limit to how much you allow.

–          Reframe their behavior as that deserving pity. They are immature children who were bitten a long time ago. They will have to outgrow their tantrums on their own. They don’t know why they do the things they do and if you confront them, you’ll find them in denial. Just exercise your patience (you have a golden opportunity there).

 Beware of being bitten by those vampires. You don’t want to eventually turn into one, do you? Be mindful of their trespassing your territory and deal with it. Either shut them away, or use the above strategies.  Stay in positive motion and spirit. Use a lot of humor. You’ll bewilder them with your action (they are very passive). Empower yourself in their presence constantly (this is how you vaccinate yourself against their poison); else, they’ll bite you; and you’ll be off to find your own prey….

The Multifold Power of Giving

How many times do you bend backwards attempting to do someone else a favor only it does not get reciprocated when you are the one in need? Does it happen often enough to discourage you from being a giving person? You wonder: This is not in line with the “norm of reciprocity” (i.e. the social expectation that people respond to each other in kind)? Consider this: the expectation that you receive back from the same person may be the norm, but never the rule. You will receive back in return; albeit, from multiple other sources. Don’t be reluctant to keep giving as you are bestowed at least ten fold. How is that possible, you ask? 

1. Giving feels good. You have been a positive impact. You took part in someone else’s life. In return, you reap a positive psychological reward (i.e. I am useful). Caution: buffer your disappointment by not expecting a repayment in kind. Do it for the sake of getting that “helper’s high”. 

2. Giving enhances your physical health. When you feel good psychologically, it feeds into your physiology. It is a known fact that psychological and physical states are interrelated.

 3. Giving others can offset being totally self-absorbed. That is very applicable in times of distress or even success. It is a distracter from over-indulgence in one’s own misery on one hand; and a source of redirecting the overflow of positive emotions to others in need on the other hand. Why hoard the pleasure of accomplishment to ones’ self? Share it.

 4. Giving fosters a sense of abundance. You are wealthy if you are able to provide and give. Have the conviction that your reservoir will not dry. Hey! “There’s more where that came from”. 

5. Giving shapes your life with meaning. Yes, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose. Giving is life enriching.

 6. Giving satisfies the need for social connections. We all have this need to connect with others; and sometimes those interactions are not so satisfactory. How about turning things round when that’s the case? Make your relationships and interactions beneficial one way or another?

 7. Giving makes you nicely remembered. We are not going to live forever (and that’s another fact). Ask yourself: How would I like to be remembered? Wouldn’t it be nice to leave positive prints behind?

 8. Giving can trigger a multitude of positive thoughts about yourself. Again, as long as you’re not expecting anything in return, your thoughts will rotate around those positive attributes you possess. You are charming in so many other ways.

 9. Giving entails superiority. You have the upper hand. It is your wish and will to do the things you do. Think of it as your choice; no one coerced you into doing anything.

 10. Giving characterizes those who are self-actualized (i.e. those who have reached their utmost psychological development like Mother Theresa, Ghandi, and Albert Einstein). Self-actualized people are only motivated by personal responsibilities and ethics; and not by what they receive in return.

 So, you see, giving spirals up into a great deal of life and self-satisfaction. I can think of many other alluring reasons for giving, but the above suffice to endorse it as a life philosophy. I am in awe when I hear of those who stretch their giving to that of self-transcendence. They give others because it makes them more fulfilled; they transcend the egocentric focus. They are so lucky to be there. Others give so much, but that has its bases in their “inability to say NO”. Giving becomes distressing, so one has to really consider if negative emotions surface. For me, I keep few things in mind as I adopt a giving attitude: it’s about being a positive influence. It is about the value it adds to my own personal growth and progress. I am able, then, to give back at least double what I receive…..

Dealing with the “Culture of Time Neglect”

wait-wallpaperThe other day, my daughter accused me of being the most impatient person she had ever known. I laughed, but later on contemplated her remark. There’s a kernel of truth in what she said. On several occasions, we’d be out together to get things done. We’d take appointments for different services, and when we end up having to wait, what seemed endlessly, I get up and excuse ourselves to leave. She would be so surprised and embarrassed, but to me, the idea of an appointment needs to serve both parties well. And yes, maybe I am impatient to wait too long past my allotted schedule, but patience is relative to my agenda. At times, I could be very tolerant (e.g. my personal goals), but I don’t appreciate others stealing my time. I would rather offer it willingly rather than be coerced into the “culture of time neglect”.

 Yes, we are living in a culture where only a few are time efficient, wise, or are respectful of others’ time. I find myself organizing my life in a structured and systemic way to meet my daily targets. Being time lax has been woven into the fabric of my society. The trend observed is that of “Les homes chic sont toujours en retarde” (excuse my French). Arriving in late to social gathering became deliberate to reflect an image of being in high demand. I am not denying that sometimes we can truly be held back by emerging circumstances, but to adopt it as a life-style irritates me. Sadly, lateness is stretching to various professions and services to reflect some prestige. From repairmen, to bank clerks, to doctors, I feel constantly bombarded with messages that providing the service can wait; they are very busy people; I will have to wait. The truth is: I am as busy (if not more) and time is a precious scarce resource. My conception of time resonates so much with the words of Harvey Mc Kay Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back”.

 I can’t help but feel incongruent with those who take my time so lightly. But what can I do? Such mentality is all over the place. I take a firm standing when I can; yet, it’s beyond my capacity to change the whole world. Whenever the situation permits, at least I make a point and reproach that my time is not being respected. Until things change (and they will), I find myself trying to fit in or accommodate to the culture of time neglect. I can’t always retaliate, so I tolerate by being mentally and physically prepared for the “expected wait”. I became always equipped with a contingency plan for labile scheduling. My purse always includes a planner with ample free pages to scribble on; and a small sized interesting book to read in when there’s no way out but to comply and hang in there. I can say mantra, or engage in my deep breathing exercise. I reassume control by choosing to soothe myself that even that time waiting is still mine. I can spend it by being frustrated, or decide to use it as wisely and productively as I can 🙂

 All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that” (Baltasar Gracian).

Make Me Feel Important!

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ”Make me feel important.” Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life” (Mary Kay Ash).  What a life philosophy to adopt! Indeed, as a customer, you would like to feel important, so would you as a family member, a student, a hard working employee, and even as someone providing an ordinary service. It feels so good to be noticed and valued. Wouldn’t it hurt YOU if you felt ignored or neglected? Wouldn’t YOU feel blessed to be noticed and appreciated? You can be the most confident human on earth; you can be the most self-sufficient and independent person in the world; but, still, there’s always room for external appreciation that needs to be occasionally filled.

 It would be a mistake to assume that others are OK without your acknowledgement. In many instances, people resort to psychotherapy or coaching just to create the space to feel important. Let’s not wait for this to happen. Go out there and make others feel important no matter what their social status is. You’ll make their day a better day; and consequently yours. You will feel important because you made a difference. It comes back ten fold. It really is so rewarding. Go ahead, try for yourself and notice how it will make you feel.


Choosing to Moving Forward (3) – Accepting Versus Resisting

Is in it so uplifting when you set your mind to moving forward on specific personal areas and actually succeed? You pick up the habit of exercising; you find your soul mate; or move into that more spacious apartment you’ve always dreamed of. What a joy it is to effect some positive change! Sometimes, however, change or the move forward may apparently seem impossible or impractical. You try different ways to make things change, but nothing seems to work. You find yourself in a difficult life situation and become even more frustrated by locked doors as you seek your way out. It must be real hard on you to persist despite unsuccessful attempts. Do you keep trying, or do you surrender disappointed into a depressed state?

Neither of these two options is a healthy coping mechanism. Both entail resistance though both vary in the “how”. Even depression is anger turned inward. You might still be resisting the idea and shaming yourself for your inability to deal with a pressing need. When things seem so bleak, accepting the difficult to change becomes the wiser mental attitude. It has been said: “What can’t be cured must be endured.” Resistance entails spending a lot of energy at what you’d like changed (even if you just whined, or became depressed about it). That energy is better off being channeled in other directions leading you forward. So, in the end, we still have a choice in responding.

 For instance, you have major disagreements around specific ideologies with your parents, siblings or spouse. You might be tempted to change their attitudes. You argue, you shout, you give them the silent treatment, or you try to force your own stance. All these attempts may deplete your energy reservoir until you feel drained. Accept their attitudes as just being different; then let go. You can still share fundamental other beliefs that bind you together.

 In a similar vein, you might have conflicting characters with close others you deal with; do you try to change theirs at no avail? Do you keep trying? Maybe it’s just wiser if you worked on changing yourself, or the way you look at things. I am not saying that you mimic others to fit in; just spend that energy educating yourself with what you need to know to handle these differences better. Again, accepting others for who they are, as opposed to resisting the differences, can save you a great toll. The more you refuse to give in, the more you get frustrated, so choose your battles by examining the costs they entail. Move in a different direction.

 I can relate the idea to instances of fighting too hard when you experience injustice in some life situations. You get bluffed (ridiculous, but could happen at any point in ones’ life 🙂 ); do you attempt revenge? Do you take others to court? STOP! Would you consider forgiving? Yeah! Go for it! Save yourself the inner turmoil and the external hassle. So much has been said about forgiveness. Learn your lesson and re-direct your energy to areas that can make you feel good. Don’t stay stuck in trying to save face at that mishap. Get your chin high somewhere else. ‘Whatever you focus on expands” so it’s been said. Why not focus on moving forward in other directions. It just might be the better way out!

Choosing to Moving Forward (2) – Few tips

2co5riqI received some insightful feedback on my earlier post on ‘’Choosing to move forward” and this enthused me to elaborate more and offer some helpful tips around the topic. I previously discussed the disparity between two groups of people. The first choose to move forward on the job and the second surrender to their frustrations into an emotional tail-spin. Clear self-knowledge providing the stage for a future vision can be the critical factor differentiating those who are more active in seeking the change.

 There’s a saying that “Goals are dreams with a deadline”. So, if you find yourself having to tolerate dissatisfaction; and lack the ability to induce change, pose there and ask yourself: What is the ideal job for me? And where am I now? If the gap between your ideal job and your current status is huge, then it’s a call for action. Here are few tips to make you invoke a process of an “AHA!!” moment and work on a dream to come true. These rely on my personal experience, prior research, and extensive observations:

 1. Ask yourself “what am I so passionate about? What are you talented at?” Decipher what makes you tick. Think of your role model. Observe how h/she acts? If you have an answer, skip to tip number 5.

2. If you have no clue what your passions are, then explore your options. A quick reflection on the most fulfilling activities you engage in can provide you with a clue.

3. Still stuck? Nothing seems to be appealing? Put yourself out there and try new things. Be really open to cease any opportunity that comes your way. You can’t know if it’s a potential passion if you don’t try.

4. Still can’t find it? (Boy!! There might be an underlying depression lurking in the background J. No seriously, investigate if you do by seeking psychotherapy). If not, your character needs to fit somewhere; try to explore further what could be the best fit. Keep trying.

5. When you identify your passion, dream on. What would your ideal “you” be doing on the job driven by such passion? Include all the details possible. Engage all your senses. Vivify that dream (i.e. make it alive).

6. Consider the actions needed to make that dream happen. Make a list of the different possible options. Have a plan.

7. Commit to taking actions a step at a time. If you’re the type who procrastinates, share your vision with someone who would hold you accountable (e.g. a friend you can trust, or a coach if you can afford it J).

8. Take the actions necessary to move forward. When one thing doesn’t work, try another. No disappointment can be coined as a failure; it’s only feedback that some other strategy can work better.

9. Assess and revise your plan as you proceed. Plans may evolve and branch out the more you give them good thought.

10. Be persistent. It’s very easy to become discouraged when all attempts do not come to fruition, so keep that dream alive. Enjoy the process of learning while keeping an eye on the destination. it’s just another adventure.

  Alas, no one is affected enough about your frustration more than you are. No one will care enough more than you do. Spare others, on the receiving end, the toll of your whining and complaints. You wouldn’t want your nagging to drive others away from you. From what I know, we are more drawn to others who are cheerful. If the situation permits, you can always share with close ones your attempts to move forward despite the dispiriting results. In such conversations, you might, as well, be offered new insights about different alternatives that could work. You can be the maestro of your of your life if you choose to. The sound of music heard relies heavily on you, so create your own life. Make your own symphony. Have a dream….

 Note: Stay tuned to my next post on moving forward on the personal level (even if all prospects appeared dim).


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