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Time For Your “Mind Gym” – What’s Your Story?


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So what’s your story?
No, I’m not asking you to narrate how you lived since birth till now.
No, I’m not referring to those recent challenges you faced, or how.
Noooo, I’m not requesting you open the floodgates of thoughts you normally disallow….
Oh my! You’re talkative today; you know? 🙂

The story intriguing me, today, is about an area in your life that you always wanted to change, or improve, but never really started.

I’d like you to gather your thoughts around why you didn’t initiate the change till now. Notice the justifications you provide just to keep it all too guarded.

You think these are valid reasons that lead to the delay. Think again: are these truly reasons, or mere excuses? Both are what your mind introduces to hinder that start.

And the story commences each time you recount to yourself, & sometimes to others, what you want to do then directly justify why you cannot. As if your mind commits an act of treason to your heart with every reason offered to keep the “action taking” phase behind locked bars.

“The story you tell yourself for why you never start life changes, with time, magnifies. Break it into smaller steps & incremental changes will eventually actualize.” ~ 3Ds

You do need to transform that narration, though, before you embark. Let your heart speak what the change will bring you & how happiness will ultimately spa. On that instant beginning, allow it to have its call mark.

Let it say: “Enough delay!! i deserve a better life & I’ll find a way. No more reasons, excuses, hesitation, or dismay. I’ll do something differently day by day!!”

Absolutely stunning “change” starts with just a “move”; and that is just a thought away. Think it…. Again, with your heart….

Who’d have thought that the turtle would beat the rabbit in the long run, ha?

I have a brilliant idea: Let’s start messing with the circumstances & twitch things slowly today, ok?

Apres vous…

Your Personal Coach
Dania

“Digging Deep Within”: Too Scared to Look Inside?


Well, another academic semester has unfolded; and I can’t but reflect on my students who enrolled for the introduction to psychology course. For the past four months, we have examined the thinking processes and the motivating roots for human behavior. I am wondering how many students are now more invested in self-discovery and regulation? I planted seeds beyond course material and nourished these from time to time. Many resisted and their reactions ranged from having flat expressions on their faces to openly being sarcastic about my daring “calls”. Things seemed just too airy-fairy for their understanding. Others were more welcoming and those really motivated me to keep trying. I can’t know how many were responsive for sure, but I’m happy with just a few. Generally speaking, people differ in their willingness to “dig deep” and become more self-aware. And that is even more customary among the younger generation.

 I must admit that it IS scary to look deep inside especially if the image is wishy-washy. But those who have the guts may alarm others as too freaky. That’s why sometimes the stereotypical image of a psychologist is that of a creepy mind-reader. They’re in their “mind-gym” all the time. The more we carve out understanding about ourselves, the more we find to deal with. UUUUUFFFFF, why open a can of worms? But HEY! The good news is that we need to rock the boat sometimes before moving forward. How do you think we’ll know where to go if we weren’t clear about where we stand? Undeniably, the most important date you may ever have in your life is that with your own self. Get to know it better. You’ll find that your life is transformed when you can clearly discern your values, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Self-awareness equips you with confidence, with means to dissolve your fears and transcend your distress, and empowers you to create your own destiny; not be the subject to external maneuverings into haphazard directions. You don’t have to do it all alone. It’s more helpful and fun to affiliate with like-minded others. They are great company and can be a major source of validation. When you touch base and are crystal clear, keep on polishing. Maintenance is usually easier than the kick off process. So, keep on digging; don’t be scared to look deep inside. Eventually, the worms will all be out.

 

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).

Guard Your Reputation With All Arms


oaktreeGlass, China, and Reputation, are easily cracked, and never well mended.
 ~ Benjamin Franklin

 

A quote well thought of indeed. Businesses, groups, and foundations all try to establish a cutting edge reputation to advance forward. Wouldn’t you, as an individual, work on developing your own reputation on both levels: personal (or perceived character) and professional (in terms of achievements)? Your reputation represents your social evaluation; and hence, constitutes a portion of your basic identity. Because you are not invisible and are bound by civil interactions, your reputation matters. Like it or not, it follows you like a shadow everywhere you go; consequently, is one of those assets you need to maintain well-polished.

 I started pondering about this concept as I observed an interaction that took place between one of my colleagues and her superior. The latter was aggressive, sarcastic, and haughty as she denounced my colleague with reprimand over a really trivial matter. I stood there speechless about the notorious image that superior was portraying. I wondered why she degraded her own personal worth as such despite being professionally at a competitive advantage. It made me realize that some of us don’t really care about having a well-rounded reputation. In some aspects, they act on whim and let themselves be driven by uncontrolled inner forces. A little thing like that told a lot about that supervisor. Despite the many finer professional qualities of her in hindsight, I couldn’t but become myopic and map the shortcomings of her in that brief encounter. If I am asked to assess her now, I would say: she is professionally outstanding, BUT…so and so…. That BUT, being said, negates anything that preceded :(.

 Have you ever considered that your reputation maybe the only immortal aspect you have? Not only do you form judgments of yourself, others similarly form an impression of you. These accumulate to form your reputation. It forms in the past, is maintained in the present, and continues to compound in the future. You will forever remain a target for evaluation, as people take short-cuts in describing the person you are. From mere chatting, to gossip, to scandals most people might entertain, warn, or take your case as an example as they converse. Keeping that in mind, you might as well plant the seed for a sound reputation and nourish it with your attitudes and behaviors. It’s not something ephemeral; rather, becomes like an oak tree taking years to grow, but once well-rooted, stands tall and endures.   

  Some people are not concerned with social evaluation. So what if I deviate from social norms this one time, or do the things that I consider right despite opposing social consent – some would be tempted to say. Ones reputation is very fragile and it would take painstaking efforts to restore a crack there. I, personally, would rather remain alert and guard my reputation with both hands. My reputation determines how others will relate to me in any role I partake. I do care about being consistently held in high esteem. My reputation is among the few things I’ll pass on to my off-springs. I do care about nourishing that oak tree – strong, enduring, and ever green. I live with others and for others.  I, therefore, formulate a set of standards to abide by in my behaviors and deeds; would you want to do the same too? After all, don’t you think Benjamin Franklin was right when he said:

 

It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.
 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

I Am My OWN Priority



I was wondering about our tendency, sometimes, to lose sight of what we truly want out of living, of the future we want to construct, and of what really matters to us. I am not living in vacuum, I must admit, and therefore, find myself subject to external pressures of all sorts. These could be other people I interact with, situations I am put in, or general life circumstances. I live only once, why not squeeze the juice out of life? I reckon the best way to do that is to set myself as my own priority. This needs to be my hallmark. I was shaped enough in my upbringing and I am an adult now. From now on, it’s my life, so let ME do the “defining”; why should I let someone else do the job for me when I’m wise enough to do it on my own?

These thoughts crossed my mind’s eye when I observed several clients who although dealing with different types of concerns, share almost analogous bases (e.g. dealing with relationship issues). They seem stuck into considering how “others” are relating to them. Almost every question I ask is answered in terms of what “others” have said, or done; or “what if” others will say or do. Where is the “you” in all this, I consistently ask? What do “you” really want? What are “you” going to do about it? Why be reactive? Where is your initiative? Clients like these, and other people I know, seem to subject their desires to the periphery. They assume the stance of a victim, a martyr, or get trapped into complying with the needs of others. They forget the “me” – as responsible and liable – in the whole interaction process.

Such cases make me go back in thought to my repeated attempts in telling my students: “The most important ‘date’ you could ever take is that with your own self. Just take sometime to know more who you are; and what you really want out of life. Get to know both your strengths and limitations; yet, capitalize on your strengths. Get clear on your values. These are guidelines for your behavior; and constitute what’s important for you. They eventually shape your decisions; hence, are bases for a solid vision of your life satisfaction. Get a sense of the direction you’re heading in. Follow your passions, set your priorities, and build your resources.” Whenever you have a clear idea about who you are and what you want to be, or achieve, life would not look like the very difficult puzzle it seems to be (at times). Possible confusion or distress would have little room then in your lives. Set your self as a priority. Everything else would seem to flow more easily afterwards.

I am not suggesting that we are to focus on our needs at the expense of disregarding the whole ecological system we’re engulfed in. It’s just that, at times, considering the “me” in the context may require more focus. Even if the “me” was defined in terms of others, we gain clarity as to where we fit. For instance, one client would finally admit that: “I am a martyr for the sake of my family”. When she clearly defined the framework of her true self, it was a leap forward in de-mystifying her role. I appreciated her sacrifice to keep the family intact. We then worked within the confinements of that role. Imprisoned for the sake of the family; yet, doing the best “She” could to still vivify other aspects of her life. She, then, prioritized herself within that system and she ardently embraced a new attitude of mind. She, then, started to be more giving.

How can you give when you don’t fill up your reservoir? All sorts of machinery need some sort of recharging. Although by far we are more unique, our survival entails more than just physiological nourishment to operate. We need to feed our spirit, our mind, and our passions. The options are varied to summon up our spiritual energy. Seize the opportunity to fill up your psyche and stretch your horizon. Dream on; and make life worth living. Develop a purpose to work on, or mark a blueprint to leave behind. With enough determination and focus, we remain true to ourselves and foster our well-being. Oh yes! Without such a vision, life would seem bleak and not worth the effort. And oh yes! We’d find our selves faltering and vacillating at the mercy of the dictations by others.

Let me be my OWN priority. This will inevitably feed into everything else in my life. It is only then that I can be the giving person I yearn to be….

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