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The Good News of Being Over-Sensitive


Being a sensitive person is what makes us most human and reflects a high degree of intelligence and awareness. Some people, however, are overly sensitive (or hypersensitive) because it’s just one of their personality traits (i.e. they are biologically pre-wired to be so), or because of repeated negative experiences (or a combination of both). This extreme can put the beholder at a disadvantage and it becomes double edged. With more susceptibility to external influences compared to the average person, the hypersensitive feel experiences with an exaggerated negative force. This leads to some bad news and some good news to it.

First, here’s the downside of being hypersensitive?

Hypersensitive people are usually affected by criticism easily. They either may not know how to be assertive, or are fiercely reactive. Many times, they can plunge repeatedly in emotional tailspins. In some instances, over-sensitivity can manifest as paranoia and misunderstanding of others’ intentions as being hurtful or taking advantage. If left uncontrolled, oversensitivity can lead the person to social isolation. On one hand, and to avoid any possible hurt, the person may willingly choose to minimize interactions and even restrict forming new relationships. On the other hand, other people find themselves driven away to avoid tolerating the excessive and repeated displayed emotionality. This isolation can constitute a risk factor for compounding any existing initial anxiety or depression further. It is well known that hypersensitivity usually intensifies during times of stress, depression, and physical illness. So, does this mean that those hypersensitive are doomed to emotional distress? Not necessarily. There’s an upside to being hypersensitive. And if you’re one of those, then here’s the good news in case the above description put you in a panic mode.

Oversensitive people are not as weak as often is assumed. On the contrary: many just allow themselves to feel naturally; hence, are more in touch with their negative emotions (e.g. pain, anger, hurt, etc….). When well directed, this leads them to becoming more psychologically healthy than those who block their emotions. Another advantage of hypersensitive people over others is their high degree of empathy. They are the first to notice other people’s feelings and emotions. This renders them highly likeable, as they are kind, understanding, and least problematic. Furthermore, they are very caring, intuitive, and creative. The constellation of such traits makes them very deep, perceptive, and with a strong urge to be of service to others.

So how can you channel this sensitivity to your advantage?

–       First of all deal with your history (if any) of negative experiences. Talk to a specialist, vent it out, and, above all, truly forgive anyone who has hurt you before. Only then you can start afresh. And if it was your biological make up, then just accept it and make the best use of it. Keep reading.

–       Change your negative self-talk. All the disempowering noise roaming in your mind can have no bases at all. Monitor the way you’re thinking all the time. Exchange your thoughts with more empowering statements about your positive capabilities and strengths. It’s a matter of what you’re focusing on.

–       Be cautious in becoming an emotional sponge in absorbing other peoples’ low moods. Don’t confuse their negative mood with yours. Use your empathetic insight and communication skills to change any perceived negative mood in others.  

–       Learn to be assertive by being emotionally honest (if you’re not usually) with anyone who crosses your boundaries. If you keep swallowing up your frustrations, your sensitivity builds up at other minor incidents. Remove that block between your tongue and your heart in the pleasant manner you’re used to. Overcome that fear of being potentially disliked (you can’t be loved by everyone anyway).

–       Minimize your negative feelings when you sense these are spiraling out of proportion. You have a tendency to over-feel and you’re not bluffing. You’ll handle things better only when you remain in control of your feelings and thoughts.

–       Build your self-confidence. It helps to jot down your good attributes and strengths and resort to this list whenever you receive any criticism or negative feedback. Remarks from others definitely don’t define you. You’re the best judge of that.

–       Resist the urge to dig for what’s not working right. Do instead look for the good things around. And whenever you feel happy, stay there as long as you can. Be over-sensitive in that happy spot and capitalize on these feelings.

Doesn’t this make you feel better now? Just be reminded that over-sensitive people are often accused of being “soft skinned”. They are even labeled as “handle with care” by those closest to them. But those labels do not carry weak connotations at all. At least, and in moderation, as an over-sensitive person you can be other’s best company. You make others feel heard; and you can probably be the only one truly feeling the hurt of others in their dark moments. The above guidelines can turn things around for you when well practiced. Why not consider joining the helping profession and channel this oversensitivity the right way? You’d surely be a wonderful asset and amazingly succeed there. Give it a thought…..

 

The Top 10 “Stress Busters”!


Stress….. Who hasn’t experienced it?  It’s the underlying fire-engine of much of our anxieties, depressed mood, and many physical ailments. We commonly use the term to imply negative psychological feelings or physical sensations. You’d say: “I am all stressed out!” to mean being off-balance or feeling unable to accommodate or cope well to your life circumstances. And you don’t have to get overwhelmed over one specific incident (e.g. loss of job, or a loved one) to feel the strain. The accumulation of daily stressors exerts its toll on our threshold of tolerance in general. This leads sometimes to “burn-out”. Stressors come in many forms like a hectic workload, difficulty in relationships, traffic jams, or endless multi-tasking of chores, to name a few. They compound to have negative effects on your health and performance with a drip, drip, drip effect that can push the best of us over the edge.

 No wonder we are advised repeatedly to blow off steam and engage in stress reduction activities. There are many ways to release all the stress pent up inside. Here are the top ten “stress busters” I often share with my clients. They’re more like armory techniques that you can use in combination, alternation, or adopt just few favorites. Stop and take stock as many as you can daily or over short time intervals:

  1. Deep breathing: One of the surest ways to decrease excessive physical and mental tension. Have a few minutes of focused attention on breathing slowly and deeply in and out (i.e. how you inhale and exhale). Breathe deeply at least 10 times while affirming to yourself that you are relaxing each time. One very deep breath can specifically help in situations that push you to a screaming-fit reactively. The old adage of counting to 10 as you deeply breathe relaxes you and can save you regrettable spontaneous reactions.
  2. Pray: If you’re the religious type, just pray. Praying is equivalent to drilling your psyche with hope. It shifts your attention to things getting better and away from feeling helpless. You can always decorate your thoughts with faith; it never goes out of fashion. Prayer is another form of positive affirmations that recruits the beyond immediate human power potentials.
  3. Listen to music, sing, & dance: Music is therapy, so it’s been said. Choose the type you like and indulge in listening for some time. In your mind dance your worries away. It really helps if you actually danced in front of the mirror especially if you chose to sing along as loud as you can. You’ll be laughing at how crazy you can get; and that’s far better than others judging you display any uncontrolled burst-outs.
  4. Exercise: Kick it off as a habit well ingrained in your system; and don’t give the often shared excuse that you need some company to do that. You can be the best company there is. You’ll get to resolve many mental issues during an hour of sustained physical activity. Moreover, your body releases the stress hormones necessary for your physical health topped by the “happy mood” neurotransmitters. That one hour could just be your “happiness” alternative medication.
  5. Connect with others: Resort to your social support system. Connect with friends, family, or anyone who is both a positive person and a good listener. It’s been said: “A problem shared is a problem halved”. Be careful not to drive close ones away by whining too much. Hire a life coach, or seek a psychotherapist if you have too much to say. At least they’re paid to support you until you clear things out in your mind.
  6. Manage your time: Much stress can be self-induced because of time mismanagement. Feelings of overwhelm can ensue when you’re in a race against time to have things done. Prioritize what you do. List your activities in terms of urgent and important (or valuable). Time wasted doing trivial things is time taken away from your life, so chose wisely. Work smarter, not harder. And if you write a “to do list”, use a pencil (not a pen) to remain flexible as you re-assess while you’re proceeding on it.
  7. Humor can heal: You know that smiling is good, but laughter is even better. Seek someone (a friend) who makes you laugh. He or she not available????  Get a funny movie and watch it. Want a quicker fix???? Stretch your lips in a wide smile and bite on a pencil for a while. This maneuver sends signals to your brain that you’re happy. Eventually you will be :).
  8. Back to nature: Going out in the sunshine or connecting with nature are enjoyable activities that provide you with energy, fresh air, and a global outlook at the world. It expands your focus to greater things in life. Just what you need to dissociate and look at the bigger picture. 
  9. Accept what you can’t change: you can get aggravated at your inability to change some things or people around you. Accept these, let go, and focus on what you have control over instead. Save your energy to what you can do for yourself and examine your alternatives. Fighting, resisting, and forcing things are energy zapping reactions.
  10. Day dream or plan a holiday: In your mind’s eye, day dream of what seems to be impossible. Guide yourself into a pleasant mental journey elsewhere. Think of the things you’d want to do, have, or be. This distraction can direct your attention on finding solutions instead of ruminating over suffering. It helps if you actually plan a vacation and be serious about its execution. The vacation can be a temporary escape to clear your body and mind, or to reward your self for milestones well accomplished.

The above are strategies to help you combat stressors, but listed on this page will do you no good if you don’t decide whole heartedly to adopt and commit to practicing your choice. There are more stress busters you can resort to, like: owning a pet, taking an aromatherapy bath, playing like a child (or with a child), learning to say “no”, etc…. The list of things that can work out well for you continues, so make sure to get some “ME” time every now and then. We need to keep those stress levels in check before they spiral out of proportion and necessitate more costly rectifications on all levels….

The Stigma of Psychotherapy…. And now Coaching!!


So I am a psychotherapist….. yeah, that line of practice surrounded by confidentiality, secrecy, pain, distress, and all sorts of tabooed venting….. I’d rather refer to myself as a counselor so as to avoid the “therapy” word in “psychotherapy”. Therapy connotes malady which already is disempowering to any prospective client. I, also, am a hypnotherapist. It still has the “therapy” word, but even if I change it to hypnotist, both are equally scary to those who have not tried it, or listened to my thorough explanation debunking all misconceptions. I, additionally, incorporate “Life Coaching” to my practice specifically to offset the harrowing effects surrounding the process of my dealing with too much psychological distress. Coaching, although confidential like therapy, is more upbeat and cheerful. People who seek coaching are those who function just well, but who want to become exceptional and more fulfilled. Those who seek psychotherapy are mainly dysfunctional, but are daring enough to face issues standing in their way of normal functioning like the average person does.

So what’s with that introduction about what I do? Picture this: The sign at my office door has my name and the several titles I hold below it: Life and Career Coach, Counselor, Hypnotherapist, and Trainer. I usually keep my door closed when I’m with a client. I keep my business card (that has my contact information) below the sign in case someone passing by is enthused to take an appointment. When the card is removed (which is often repeated), I replace it by a new one. I got a message the other day on my mobile by an anonymous asking whether I had another office elsewhere. Anonymous reflected concern and hesitation in coming to my clinic, so I simply explained that it’s not a clinic; it’s just an office. I stressed my theory on clients in counseling as individuals who are not coping well; and that they are not sick people. I added that the only office I met clients in was that little place. How I wished I could add I already pay a high rent for that location. A week later, I got another message from the same anonymous. This time giving her name and expressing the same concern. “I have a lot of issues to discuss with you, but I don’t know if I will have the courage to actually take an appointment. People know me on that floor and I don’t want to be seen there.” she explained. That’s it!! I called her. I didn’t want to keep discussing things through messages. When we talked, she seemed like a young lady who badly needed someone to talk to. After some give and take, I explained that I could see her at times when all other adjacent offices ended their operations. She said she’ll think about it.

Our conversation was like a kick in my chest. It dredged up all past misdemeanors which made me grapple with the idea of stigma surrounding psychotherapy in Lebanon. I was fully aware that my clients in counseling are not too comfortable letting others know about their seeking professional support. I never asked them for my website testimonial despite how much it would add. I base my practice highly on referrals, but people rarely mention undergoing therapy. Most of the time, it is knowledge of someone else who does. Gladly, I have hypnotherapy that branches out from my practice. Unfortunately, that, too, is unfathomed by many except those who have guts and are open to try it (and then ignorance around it transpires favorably). But hey…. I am, also, involved in coaching – the luxury service – that few choose to indulge in. I boost all up with NLP techniques. Helllloooo….I tackle self-development in a variety of ways. To my disappointment, lately, I feel the same reluctance to share with others the idea of being supported impinging and stretching repeatedly to include my clients in coaching as well. And I’m like: “what the heeeellll????” Whatever is discussed remains confidential, but the process of having your own personalized paid-for support system doesn’t have to be. Is it too ego-threatening to mention that they are visiting this hothouse of growth? WHAT’S WITH YOU PEOPLE????

OK, some self- therapy needed:

 Identify your emotion Dania: Frustration

Pin point the accompanying repercussions: boiling inside, disgruntled, feeling misunderstood, my office seems to trigger trepidation, this secrecy is counterproductive to what I do, people are ungrateful (I know they all benefit so much), powerless over this one, reaching an impasse, doubting my career choice, dim future vision, slowly sliding into oblivion, it’s going to be way tougher than I thought, more questioning: so is that why many say they will resort to being coached but never start?…….

Change perspective to feel better: Don’t get narrow focused on those who don’t talk about it. There are a few who do. Dania….., you know you’re good at what you do. You always say: “Stir it up or down; left or right; the cream always rises to the top”. Patience precious, patience….. The stigma will surround nothing soon. You’re just now fanning the flames of psychotherapy in the most positive attractive approach. You’re just introducing coaching to your community and even created an association to facilitate that. Your diligent approach on emphasizing self-development will come to fruition. You have friends who resort to you for psychological comfort all the time. Together with your clients who already engaged in the escapade and are experiencing the sing-song effect, these should suffice to eliminate any self-doubt. So what if a few remain secretive? It’s not like nobody is saying any good word about you, is it? Besides you are a psychology instructor and a trainer. There’s no stigma attached to these two areas. You get a lot of satisfaction there. Shrug it off!!

Identify new emotion: Mental toxins flushed out 🙂 Feeling better 🙂

Future vision: I believe I can support people change in so many good ways if they choose to. If they choose not to lift up the secrecy veil, then it’s their world and I cannot intrude or impose. I am building awareness with all these blocks being thrown at me. My efforts can’t but spell success; I am sure…..

Self-Therapy session concluded.

Feeling waaaaay better 🙂

Let’s Make Change Easy: 8 Simple Ways


To effect positive change is not as easy as we’d like to think it is. Most people (as not to say all) think of changing to the better one way or another. We think of changing our life style, overcome bad habits or kick in new ones, acquire new skills, or change the way we think, the way we look, react, or behave. We even consider changing our situations and dream of things to happen, but dreams remain mere fantasies. Many times we rightfully postpone the decision until we resolve some other battles first, but we never cross that bridge. At other times, the need becomes beefier and, finally, a shift to action from complaining takes over. We take the first step towards that bridge.

The impetus to change can be triggered by external or internal forces. External forces can be enticing; pushing us or pulling us to seek change. It could be someone else inspiring (or even threatening), or it could simply be an attractive other situation. The more powerful motivator stems from within. No doubt extreme dissatisfaction (and many times pain) can push us more forcefully towards change. And how many times do we wait to hit bottom before deciding that something should be done?

In all cases, change is not simple despite our highest motivation. It means we have to put in some effort; to give up an easier old pattern of living. Leaving the familiar and changing the status quo could be terrifying; so is stretching beyond our comfort of zone. What we need to keep in mind is that the catalyst of change is a moment of decision followed by commitment to effect that change. The “stretching” further can be facilitated through the following 8 simple steps:

  1. Identify what you want to change in a positive manner (your ultimate goal as opposed to what you don’t want). Make it a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Timed). Work backwards in creating the baby steps (mini goals) to simplify it and keep track.
  2. In writing, list the benefits and reasons for change. This wraps change in a sense of urgency. You need plenty of arguments to outnumber any resistance in expending the effort. Get clear on the advantages and how your life will be transformed. You need to appeal to your cognitive mind. And when that takes place, it starts to “feel right”. Eventually, it will similarly appeal to your emotions.
  3. Observe a role model who has already gone through the process of change. This enables perceiving that what you aim for is doable not impossible. Model what that person did and save yourself some “trial and error” attempts.
  4. Build on your own achievements. You surely have had a success (most likely many) of some sort in the past. Remember those times. Self-coach and self-motivate as hard as you can (see step 8 if you can’t do it on your own).
  5. Visualize yourself “as if” already having changed (how you behave, look like, the whole situation, etc…). The brain doesn’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s imagined. This is a process of instilling a new pattern and it takes time to replace the old one. Fake it till you make it.
  6. Pay conscious attention to your self-talk; to how you’re behaving or feeling. It’s easy to be guided by that same old autopilot and this is where most of the effort resides. You are now on a new mission.  Keep reminding yourself of your new purpose.
  7. Reward yourself on achievements periodically. We do have a tendency to forget to celebrate. “Little wins” and those baby steps have to be acknowledged. These are great motivators. Capitalize on such positive emotions.
  8. Hire someone who can give you an extra push to make it happen. Yes, pay for the service of a coach or therapist (I’m not advertising my services here J Naaah J ). The idea that you’re investing some money in the change process psychologically makes you feel obliged. You also have multiple other benefits beyond discussion here (a change in perspective, a listener, a cheerleader to name a few)

And once change is implemented in one area, other things appear simpler to control. The process kicks in and the momentum snowballs. Gradually, the sense that you are able to turn things round to your advantage makes you more empowered. Change begets change and life fulfillment is but an escapade. The process continues; it’s not another blue- print. You may also need to consider maintaining the change by surmounting the inevitable obstacles you face. These need to be considered mere challenges that are part of your dynamic journey towards change. To those who didn’t know these steps, of course change wouldn’t seem easy. But now you know. Let’s make it easy….

When You Can’t “Undo” It, “Re-do” it!


Wouldn’t it be great if we had the ability to press “undo” for some past events we don’t fully approve of just as we do on a “word document”? Unfortunately, in real life, the potential for unhappy life experiences is loaded; and we are not equipped with a similar opportunity when things go wrong. We often say things we regret. We find ourselves in embarrassing or painful situations. We even acquire many fears and phobias following just one ill-fated accident. And then, we beat ourselves up repeatedly with the memory until the negative feelings compound and restrict our ability to move forward. We get cornered in between self created confining walls and feel stuck because we carry a heavy baggage of all sorts of guilt, shame, or fear that keep one in place. So, then what do we do?

Well…. Maybe you cannot totally “undo” a previous incident, but there is a smart way to go about it if you have exhausted all other resources to rectify. You can learn your lesson, forgive yourself, minimize the importance of the whole event, and water down the intensity of any corresponding negative feelings. Time can surely heal, but things may drag. It’s more empowering to speed up the process, assume control and lift up your own spirits. Here is one sure way derived from NLP techniques to help you “re-do” what can’t be undone. It makes use of humor and visual minimization. We all know that humor can be a good coping mechanism to deal with difficulty. And we unknowingly and un-deliberately use both minimization and humor to deal with many tough realities. The following exercise combines both in a much more concentrated effort when the need arises.

Imagine yourself sitting all alone in a cinema holding in your hand a remote control that starts a movie on a big screen in front of you. You can control when the movie starts, stops, and play some scenes forward or backward. You can similarly control the sound, color, how fast the scenes go, and even the size of the image. This cinema is the “change workplace”. As you sit there, start playing the episode of that phobic or distressing situation. Watch it all happen slowly. You may experience some discomfort, but that’s Okay. Let it wash over you for the last time. If the anguish is too intense (in cases of phobias), stop the scene, rewind and play it again until you’re able to watch it all through. Tell yourself: “I need to face this for the last time”. When you succeed, stop and re-play the scene backward to the start. Watch it all in reverse (you or others talking or walking backward, etc…).

Next, run the movie from start really fast this time up to the critical moment (taking only a second or two); then run it backward as fast again. Do it a couple of times (i.e. fast forward and backward). The final stage is that of intervention and “re-doing”. Play the scene forward shrinking the image in size till it becomes the size of a postage stamp towards the end. Do this a second time playing forward adding some humor. You can insert the sound of some circus music in the scene and/or make the voices of you or others talking really funny. Add the voices of other spectators laughing as if watching a comedy sitcom while clowns jump around in funny maneuvers. Shrink the scene again as you play it forward. Repeat the same process playing it backward then forward as fast as you can until you feel that your worries greatly diminished and faded away.

When you think about the situation now, you won’t find it as disturbing or fearful as it was earlier. And if there are still any major residues, smooth it over by playing around that movie some more each time adding funny things and fading the colors and the size of the scene. The shift in your new experienced feelings will simply be magical. “Redoing” the episode this way will make you feel lighter and alters your state from that of bemoaning to owning a change in course. Why not save your time, attention, and energy to focus away from that experience and build new positive bridges. Whatever you nurture grows much bigger in size just as a shadow is of any respective object. And you need to accept that some “stains” are difficult to “undo”, and it is much easier to throw a garment than to dispose of our self-image. And unless you decide to let go, and actively shrink that memory, you will remain disempowered and stagnate. Active self-healing may be necessary to speed up the process of discounting the perils of a gloomy past episode, so better not rely only on time to do the work.

 

How Can NLP Improve Your Life?


      Many still don’t know what Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is, or for what purposes it is used. NLP is a very broad field and tends to be linked to many concepts and various settings. Despite the numerous long definitions, I like to think of it as a “pool of tools” to bring more life fulfillment. NLP stipulates that our habitual patterns (mental or behavioral) are highly linked to our neurology; hence, create our habits and programmed responses. Its techniques instill new neurological patterns to replace unhelpful thought or behavioral process; thus, reprogram “the willing to change person” to be more empowered and efficient. It, also, relies heavily on the use of language and this is when it becomes all too therapeutic. Language can trigger a shift in thinking; hence, behavioral change. The proper use of language, also, facilitates more effective communication with people we want to have a positive influence on.

      As an NLP practitioner, how can I possibly help you implement positive changes? And in which life areas can we apply NLP techniques? The use of NLP spreads to effectively dealing with dissatisfaction in many areas of day to day living. The procedures work only if one is really motivated to make the changes and expends the proper and required effort. Most techniques involve visualization giving this free reign at times, and controlling it at others. The following are only a few examples targeting specific areas of concern you may encounter:

–       Like to dislike: Change something you like or desire to something you don’t like (or vice versa). For instance, you have the continuous urge to eating chocolate, but you know it negatively affects your health (e.g. being over-weight or having high cholesterol levels). Broccoli is one vegetable that is very healthy, but many dislike it. Both patterns can be changed in few minutes through a simple exercise of visualization.

–       Change a limiting belief: If you have a limiting belief (e.g. I’m not good enough) that cripples your actions or decision making abilities, a similar exercise can be undertaken. A more empowering belief can be substituted in no time. The technique can help you deal with issues of low self-esteem, hesitation, lack of control, etc….

–       Eliminate contextualized habits through the swish pattern: create a substitute action for a habit you want to get rid of (e.g. nail biting, grabbing a chocolate bar after dinner,….). Only habits that are relevant to specific contexts can be eliminated through the swish pattern, not more general ones (e.g. smoking may require a different tool). It also makes use of visualization and an alternative action needs to be well thought of.

–       Putting yourself in a resourceful state: This could be used for particular situations when someone needs to feel more empowered, relaxed, happy, or confident – to name a few (e.g. presenting to a large audience). We work on creating an anchor (e.g. an action like pressing your own knuckle) that fires up the desired state when needed.

–       Dealing with major negative emotional events: Past traumas and acquired phobias can be overcome through Time Line Therapy. It’s based on the idea that people have a Time Line in which life events (past and future) are organized. You are taken on an amazing mental trip during which memories just pop out there while you’re in a conscious state. Distressing memories are dealt with through letting go of the relevant emotional baggage, reflecting on the lessons learned, and detaching from the distressing event(s). Time Line Therapy can also be used to remove distressing memories all together, change memories, or even create future memories.

–       Conflicting parts integration: It’s used whenever you have a conflict towards a specific issue. It could be inconsistencies in emotions towards something/someone, or a conflict in making a decision. The process is based on the idea that we have different parts within us and they all serve our best interest in becoming whole. This technique reduces the conflict among two opposing parts, integrates them into one, and a new state of “ease” is created.

      NLP is used in psychotherapy and life coaching. These two areas capitalize on the proper use of language (with self and others) and use many techniques to help people overcome obstacles and limitations. Mastery in effective communication extends, also, to better outcomes in interrelationships and even the business setting. Hypnotherapy is another area that extensively utilizes NLP. Hypnosis deals with problematic behavior (i.e. phobias, anxieties, smoking cessation, insomnia, etc…) or to change negative mental patterns (i.e. low self-esteem, concentration, procrastination, etc….). It branches out as a leading “change” tool and relies heavily on the use of language that is most comprehensive to the unconscious mind.

       Any certified NLP Practitioner can guide you through the processes of positive change. The practitioner acts as a facilitator of reprogramming the mind and behavior; the motivation to change and the effort rely on you. If you follow the steps proposed by the practitioner wholeheartedly, you will enjoy the transformation. The techniques are said to work like magic because they take very little time and the results are amazing. And best of all, it doesn’t have to be called therapy (if that makes you a bit reluctant). You won’t be labeled a patient. I’d like to think of it as “empowerment” to move forward. So go on, have a taste of NLP. You do want to improve your life in more than one area, don’t you?

Waiting Out The Storm


“To fight the storm may not be the wisest decision and by no means is it surrender when you wait it out” so I told myself just recently. That’s how I self-pacified as I found myself battling external forces beyond my control. You see, I am a “big picture” person who’s also a fan of goal setting. I get to achieve a lot by designing baby steps to reach my final objectives. I had earlier formulated some plans to grow professionally during the summer. Lo and behold, those plans were consistently obstructed; thus, got detoured. I was thrown off balance as I found myself drowning in arranging outings for the kids, meeting up with friends who came to visit from abroad, and getting involved in numerous other social obligations that usually intensify during the season. There I was involved in the plans of others; not my own. I was fighting and resisting just keeping up with meeting my own deadlines. It felt as if I was struggling in a storm of opposing forces pushing and pulling me astray. The fight drained all my energy; thus, leading me to feel entirely frustrated.

 I had to step back and revisit my agenda. It makes no sense to keep grappling for something at the expense of other equally important endeavors. It’s futile to expend all that effort and choke under my own pressure when it’s not the right time. It’s brilliant that I aim for the stars, but so what if I miss. I can still hit the moon and then aim at the stars again. Why would I need to be too dogmatic and strictly abide by any schedule when there’s a need to pause for a reality check? Why not reorganize and reassess my agenda? When the circumstances are all too powerful, flexibility is a sign of strength, not surrender, isn’t it? All storms in due course subside; and the sun shines again. I can then easily swift into my routines and stay on track of plans. I’ll have to be content with whatever I can achieve when the surrounding conditions are beyond my control.

 When you think about it, this resolution can be generalized to many other life situations we face. If we consider implementing most decision, good timing is a highly contributing factor to their success. For instance, would it be a good idea to approach a fumingly angry person for a favor? Consider your desire to quit your job amidst unemployment. Would it be the best idea if that job supported your living expenses at the time? You certainly would not leave on your arranged vacation if your best friend just got devastated at losing a loved one, would you? As long as we maintain a clear picture of what needs to be done and don’t defer it repeatedly on our agenda, rescheduling is more sensible when the going gets tough. It does not imply ditching our aspirations, nor does it mean we lost the battle. We just wait for better moments in time to carry out certain choices. Again, “to fight the storm may not be the wisest decision and by no means is it surrender when you wait it out. Action is best during the right climates.” ~ 3Ds

 

Talk To The Chair!!!!


Doesn’t it just irritate you when you try to make a point to someone and all your arguments fall on deaf ears? You feel so un-listened to and some, in a humorous way, would even tell you: “Talk to the hand” as you advise, give your point of view, or otherwise. Many relationship problems quickly soar when one or both parties would not listen well enough. It happens all the time between friends, parents and their children, husband and wife, and even colleagues at the workplace. Each would be engaged in mental rehearsals of certain arguments to shoot on when the other person pauses. The end result is grave misunderstandings, anger, resentment, or anguish especially if the issue being discussed is rather serious.

 What we need to pay attention to is that despite differing in opinion, there’s a kernel of truth in both party’s point of view. One that seeps unnoticed or remains invalidated during discussions. The ineffective communication may reach a deadlock and naturally frustration can ensue. Many scenarios may follow: the infamous silent treatment, escalated conflict, or other drastic negative measures undertaken by either party. So how are we to effectively deal with all the negative feelings before things compound to that extent?

 Instead of “talking to the hand”, in therapy, there is a procedure called talk to “the empty chair”. It is used to soften the client’s anger or resentment towards the stressor (i.e. source of stress). Anyone can use it when there is disagreement to gain clarity, alleviate the grudges, and modify off-putting behavior. Try it yourself if you may. Simply, all you need to do is sit in a room and face an empty chair. Imagine that the person you have a disagreement with is sitting on that chair. The baggage you have has to be unloaded; the rage needs to be released. Tell that person your point of view all over again. Let it all out. Don’t leave anything unsaid (even it was harsh). You don’t need to act out your anger. Say things in a calm manner as if trying to persuade that person once more. Experience the feelings you have. Make your conversation as detailed as possible. This process will help you understand yourself and your attitude better.

 When you’re done, switch chairs: sit in that empty chair and face the seat you were sitting in. Now imagine that you are that person and start replying in that person’s logic to your previous conversation. See the situation in that person’s eyes; use the reasoning that person has. Exhaust all the arguments that s/he would want to say in response. Similarly, engage that person’s feelings, and fully express his/her point of view taking all the time necessary to gain clarity. Find if there is any good or bad will, reasons, ignorance, or shortcomings. Acknowledge out loud all these on behalf of the person.

 You, lastly, need to change seats again. This time, choose a new seat; different than the first two. Take on the role of an observer and start recalling the previous two conversations. What would an observer say about those interactions; and how can the two points of view be reconciled? Give advice on how better to handle the disagreement/situation. Do the best you can to be objective. It can be difficult, but doable.

 Finally, go back to your original seat and face that empty chair again. Start arguing about your point of view. You’ll find that it comes with less intense negative emotions. There still is disagreement, but trust that next time you converse with that person for real, the flow of the conversation will be much different, less intense, and more understanding. You were in his/her shoes and will be better prepared, more convincing, and more in control to handle the opposing arguments.

   One more tip on how to crown your point of view with success: persuasion works best when you start off with the other’s point of view (and after that exercise, you know it really well). Say first what they would normally say, and then refute it. This is how you get the other party’s attention. They get to really listen when they hear their own logic to; then slide in your point of view. Eventually you’ll find that instead of being given the “talk to the hand”, your chances to score rise drastically. So next time you disagree with someone, and you really want to win, why not go “talk to the chair” first?

The Omnipotence of Self-talk


As you read these lines, don’t you hear your own voice in a whisper like tone echoing behind your eyeballs? Most probably you do; and it is not deliberate. You’re always engaged in self-talk and despite this being a characteristic of your mental chatter, you seldom monitor it or pay attention to. This is the way you think. That voice creates your inner idiosyncratic world; so private no one knows what’s going on in there.

 HOW ABOUT WHEN YOU READ THESE LINES NOW?? WITH ALL THE LETTERS WRITTEN IN CAPITALS?? DID THE TONE OF THAT VOICE INCREASE IN VOLUME SOMEHOW? I bet it did. The tone of your self-talk changes volume all the time. Similarly, the type of language you use varies. Like it or not, your mind is constantly buzzing with thoughts and ideas. Your internal dialogue is quite a phenomenon of the mind; however, it is a double edged sword. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It steers your emotions and is the commander in chief of your behavior. Let me elaborate.

Think for a moment about a time when you did a grave mistake. Did you drone in endless self-reprimand? Did your self-talk resemble barking orders at yourself like an angry mother whose child had just dreadfully misbehaved? What sort of language did you use? How did that make you feel? Guilty as hell, right? Words like “Shame on you” and other inflammatory accusations could ignite a sense of being a failure. Invective language can swallow your self-esteem. How can you later be confident in anything you do? This activates a cycle of hesitation and inadequacy in dealing with the new.

 Now, can you recall a time when you applauded yourself on a job well done? You probably used affirmative language recounted in the sweetest cheerful, even, sexiest tone ever. Your positive self-talk compounded your feelings of triumph till you were full to the brim. This process may have sent waves of euphoria to the rest of your body till you were ecstatically numb. And what a feeling! What a state to experience! It gives you an impetus towards further action. Now you’re full of yourself; more confident in doing the right things.

These are but few examples to demonstrate the influence of your inner voice on your feelings. Your emotions are so tied up to your self-talk; and consequently so are your actions. You not only engage in external battles with opponents or situations; you top it up by internal mental battles between thoughts that may sway you in disperse directions. There’s a dialogue running in your head constantly and it ranges from minor assessments of what you or others do, to making all sorts of decisions. You internally speak the ideas roaming in your head. You tell yourself what to do or how to do it. Your internal dialogue can focus your attention narrowly or makes you open to a world of new possibilities. It can cripple you dead, or serve you well.

 Your self-talk makes you an almighty human being. Change your inner dialogue when you’re feeling down and your mood changes. To err is human, but you don’t need to keep whipping yourself for something past and done. “Note taken, I’ll learn from it” and then move on….. If you aspired to keep empowering yourself, you need to be a master of your thoughts. Change your language and be gentle with yourselves before your self-criticism escalates into self-destruction. And when negative self-talk seeps in, refuse to empower it by denying it further energy. Stop, and change that detrimental chitchat.

 If you hadn’t before, start paying attention to that inner voice of yours. Befriend it and use it as a tool to appease you, guide you, and pull you towards progress. After all, self-hypnosis lies squarely on such self-talk. It’s what you want to become that you tell yourself. It’s the new “to be created you” that you converse about. And you don’t have to be hypnotizing yourself to change your inner language to affirmative statements. Just practice positive self-talk until it becomes an iron-clad ritual that works for yo; not against you.

Enjoy the Price Tag of Success: Keep Raising The Bar


“Success”…. Big word …. It can connote minor achievements like eliminating a bad habit, finding the right career, or even working out a good relationship to victory or recognition in a broader sense. It is true success can be a twist of fate sometimes, but mostly it characterizes the hardy ones. Those who plan, persist, take action, are focused, and constantly revise and ameliorate their strategies. It is a culmination of passion to what is being done. It typifies those who are determined to run the extra mile; those who endure the hardship and surpass the challenges. They resist being sidelined and refuse to live on the margins. They’re out there on a mission; determined to make a difference. And when they do claw their way to the top, it feels so good, but could it come at no repercussions? Probably not…..

You see, there’s a high price for success (a downside) despite its entire lure. To make it, the hard work entails incurring a physical tax and some psychological drainage. This is one reason why many would want to “play it safe” and not engage in the battle. Let’s consider those who become really noticed (i.e. prominent figures in their field, celebrities, etc…). They eventually become a smoking hot topic in circulation. They are either admired (by the mature), or resented (by the jealous). The latter category represents an additional toll. Successful people raise the bar; hence, become easy targets of envy, attacks, and undermining. If others are unable/don’t want to catch up with similar standards, they downplay the successful achievement by ignoring, searching for pitfalls and flaws, or vilifying. Those are considered the typical “kill-joy”.

Does that mean you give up attempts to thrive (even at minor matters)? Avoid all these costs? “To fly we have to have resistance” Maya Lin once said. Expect the “price tag” and along the way, take care not fall off the cliff edge. Keep in mind 3 detrimental expenses that can befall the unwary heading the path of great accomplishments: your relationships, your health, and your sanity:

 – Your relationships: Embrace those who admire you and don’t drift by deceit or arrogance. They look up to you as a leading example. Deal with those who envy you. Either ignore them as the nuisances coming with the new package, or team them up on your side. You can transform the battle from being combative to more cooperative strata.

–  Your health: Monitor your physical health routinely (take time to refuel). Too much hard work and focus can make you lose sight of bodily symptoms warnings. You need to intermittently fan the flames of your passion; and this only works if you’re physically fit to endure the battle. When signs of “strain” are not attended to, it can result in “burn-out”.

Your sanity: Above all keep your sanity in check. Emotional exhaustion from leading the battle can bleed you dry. You feel you want to chisel your success in stone, but fear of losing the achievement can enslave you; and the constant attacks can get to you. Resist attempts at isolation to escape it all. Expect, analyze, and arm yourself with insight at how things go and how best to cope. Make time for enjoyable activities and ask for a laugh here or there.

Lastly, with the above in mind, you don’t need to stay standing at the edge of life just because there’s a price tag to succeeding. Re-interpret the price of success from “paying” or “enduring” to “enjoying” the ride. The attraction is still out there. It still brings you a lot of satisfaction and admiration by the mature type. You’re a role model, an inspiration and a leader with many followers. Hard work cannot seep unnoticed. Yes…. Be there…. Illicit a “WOW! I want to be like that!” Keep raising the bar. And remember: “A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.” ~ David Brinkley. So, where do you want to make your mark?

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