Self-Responsibility Starts With an I

Self-Responsibility Starts With An I

Asking Questions and Making Choices

“Take your life into your own hands and what happens?

A terrible thing: no one to blame.”

—Erica Jong

 

 

In the following three scenarios what do the people have in common?

 

Josie is a woman in her twenties. She still lives at home with her mother who makes all Josie’s important decisions: how to spend her money, who to go out with, even what clothes to wear. Josie is anxious and depressed.

 

Matt ordered a new printer for his office. When it arrived he discovered it wasn’t compatible with his computer. “Those idiots,” he ranted, “why didn’t they tell me this was the wrong printer.”

 

Sally and Jerry had a big fight. Now Sally’s tossing and turning in the bedroom while Jerry beds down on the sofa. Neither one is getting any sleep and both think the other should make the first move to apologize.

 

If your answer was “Hey, no one is taking any personal responsibility here,” you’ve got a good eye for human behavior.

 

Because what Josie and Matt and Sally and Jerry all have in common is a lack of self-responsibility that leaves them dependent, impotent and victimized. They’re caught up in blaming others for their problems and waiting for somebody else to come along and make their life right. Unfortunately, they’re going to have a long wait because, in the words of self-esteem expert Nathaniel Branden, “No one is coming.”

 

This is the good news. Your life is in your hands. You get to make the choices, elect the options and take the actions that come with self-responsibility. It’s through the door of self-responsibility that personal power and independence enter, often hand-in-hand, bearing gifts of confidence and self-esteem.

 

Be clear though, self-responsibility is not the same as feeling responsible or accepting the blame for bad things that have happened or situations that are painful. We don’t all enter the world with the same trappings, and people, events or circumstances have wreaked trauma and caused wounds from which many are recovering. Self-responsibility means that when you have worked through your grief or anger or other issues, you can ask yourself: Now what am I going to do? What options do I have?

 

At the other end, self-responsibility doesn’t mean becoming so self-reliant you don’t ask for help when you need it or seek others’ opinions or points of view. And it certainly doesn’t mean you have to know everything, make every decision alone or take on the world single-handedly.

 

Rather than a heavy burden, self-responsibility can be a source of joy. Knowing you can create the life you want by accepting responsibility for yourself is a great freedom. Even saying the words aloud can produce a feeling of power and strength. Try it.

What are You Hoping For?

Hoping is Not a Hopeless Endeavor

“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.” —Anonymous

Having a healthy dose of hope can be motivating and inspiring. It keeps people focused on what’s ahead instead of what’s in the past. It can also help keep the focus on possibilities, and reframe obstacles as opportunities.

For some, however, being hopeful goes hand-in-hand with feeling naïve or foolish when things don’t work out as planned. They would rather not have hope at all if it means later disappointment.

But for others, having hope doesn’t mean living in denial of life’s difficulties; it simply reminds them there are better times ahead.

The definition of Hope is the feeling of wanting something to happen and thinking that it could happen. Any person may hope for themselves or another in a multitude of situations concerning safety or compassion to success. The key is to how to have hope when one is not sure what type of future to think about. When one is motivated and inspired to have hope, one can focus on the future and not dwell in the past.

The cultivation of hope (a work in progress for some since it is a learned skill) brings the belief that change can happen for the better and one can better accept the present circumstances.

The Benefits of Hope
Research indicates that it’s more beneficial to have hope than not. Hopeful people tend to show more resilience when faced with difficulties. They have healthier lifestyle habits and, on the whole, are more successful, personally and professionally.
According to the Mayo Clinic, having a hopeful, positive attitude has health benefits as well. These include:
Increased life span
Reduced depression
Lowered levels of distress
Increased resistance to the common cold
Greater emotional and psychological well-being
Decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Improved coping skills during difficulties/stress
In addition, people with hope typically have:
Meaningful long- and short-term goals
A plan to achieve those goals
Flexibility to find alternate ways to achieve goals when faced with obstacles
Positive self-talk

In other words, hope is good for well-being.

We humans are sometimes too inventive for our own good—we can envision a future course of action along with every potential catastrophe that could occur along the way. Don’t try to control the unknown. Being aware of everything that can go wrong often makes doing nothing—in an attempt to avoid failure or pain—seem like a viable option.
Cultivating hope, on the other hand, helps activate creativity and inventiveness and prompts us to solve the predicaments we face by taking action in spite of our fears.
Hope brings with it the belief that things can change for the better. Regardless of how dire things may seem, there is potential for a positive outcome.

An older definition of Hope is that of a feeling of trust. Trust that a hopeful presence will help yourself and  others be hopeful and be the best they can be. Learn to be in the present moment.
“Only love and the power of presence heals.” Jack Schwartz

Is It Possible to Be Too Hopeful?

It could be said that optimists have a healthy dose of hope while “extreme optimists” suffer from blinding hope. They want nothing to do with bad news.

Researchers at Duke University found that extreme optimists (you could call them “high-hopers”) don’t save money, don’t pay off credit cards and don’t make long-term plans, but they are more likely to remarry if divorced.

Moderation, as usual, is the key. The researchers also found that “moderate optimists” tend to:

Work harder
Work longer hours
Make more money
Save more money
Pay off credit cards

Being a moderate high-hoper doesn’t mean keeping your head in the sand when it comes to life’s occasional unpleasant circumstances. It just means keeping a positive attitude—believing the best will happen, not the worst. It is all about the mindset!

In other words, whether you expect the best or the worst from life, chances are that’s what you’ll get (P.S. Law of Attraction). Studies seem to suggest that being hopeful is a skill that can be learned. So whether you’re an extreme optimist, an extreme pessimist or somewhere in between, there is hope for us all.

People will understand that with hope they will gain Healing, be able to Overcome obstacles, see Possibilities and be Empowered! Having Hope is a human strength.

How Do You Show Resiliency?

Bounce Back: Developing Emotional Resilience

Major disruptions are a “gotcha” we all experience at one time or another in our lives. We get fired, laid off or passed over; a loved one dies, leaves or gets in trouble; a project stalls or gets cancelled. The list, unfortunately, is endless.

For some, the impact of these hard times is overwhelming. Recovery, if it comes at all, can be painfully slow. Others show resilience and are admirably able to glide through these times fairly easily, bouncing back to a normal life again quickly. Resilience—the strength required to adapt to change—acts as our internal compass so we can resourcefully navigate an upset.

When unexpected events turn life upside down, it’s the degree to which our resiliency comes into play that makes these “make-or-break” situations an opportunity for growth. The good news is that each of us has the capacity to reorganize our life after a disruption and to achieve new levels of strength and meaningfulness. Though it’s easy to feel vulnerable in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, life disruptions are not necessarily a bad thing because they help us grow and meet future challenges in our lives. It’s a lot like a bone that was once fragile or broken, and is now strong from being used.

So how can you become more resilient? Here’s a look at seven key characteristics of people who demonstrate resilience during life’s curve balls.

A Sense of Hope and Trust in the World
Resilient people rely on their belief in the basic goodness of the world and trust that things will turn out all right in the end. This positive attitude allows them to weather times when everything seems bleak and to look for and accept the support that is out there. This approach toward the world gives them the ability to hope for a better future.

Interpreting Experiences in a New Light
The ability to look at a situation in a new way (a skill called “reframing”) can minimize the impact of a difficult situation. Resilient people take a creative approach toward solving a problem, and don’t always use an old definition for a new challenge.

A Meaningful System of Support
One of the best ways to endure a crisis is to have the support of another person who can listen and validate your feelings. Knowing that others care and will come to our support decreases the feeling of isolation, especially when tackling a problem alone. It’s important to choose people you trust. Don’t be surprised if it takes several friends, each of whom can provide different kinds of support. Resilient people aren’t stoic loners. They know the value of expressing their fears and frustrations, as well as receiving support, coaching or guidance from friends, family or a professional.

A Sense of Mastery and Control Over Your Destiny
You may not be able to predict the future, but you can tackle a problem instead of feeling at the mercy of forces outside of your control. Resilient people know that ultimately their survival and the integrity of their life values depend on their ability to take action rather than remain passive. Tough times call for you to tap into your own sense of personal responsibility.

Self-Reflection and Insight
Life’s experiences provide fertile ground for learning. Asking yourself questions that invite introspection can open a door to new understanding and appreciation of who you are and what you stand for. Giving voice to your thoughts and feelings leads to insight and helps transform the meaning of a problem into something useful. Resilient people learn from life situations and do not succumb to punishing themselves because of decisions made in the past.

A Wide Range of Interests
People who show resilience in the face of adversity are those who have a diversity of interests. They’re open to new experiences and ideas. Because their lives are rich and varied, it’s easier for them to find relief from the single mindedness and worry that often accompany a crisis.

Sense of Humor
Have you ever had a wry laugh during a difficult situation? The ability to see the absurdity, irony, or genuine humor in a situation stimulates our sense of hope and possibility. Humor has both psychological and physical benefits in relieving stress because it encourages a swift change in your perception of your circumstances—and when your thoughts change, your mood follows.

When you look to improve these seven areas now—rather than when adversity pays a visit—you’ll be able to bounce back more quickly.

Also, people who hire a coach are looking for change and if you are looking for big change, sometimes things will be quite different in your life. If you are resilient you are able to navigate the new waters with much more ease.

And as a teacher it is often observed that teens and children are not necessarily taught the skills of resiliency at home any longer. Too often parents are quick to solve any problems for their kids and give them anything they ask for. Technology has made it an instant gratification world. Kids today need more coaching in the skills of resiliency.

When life throws you a curve ball rely on your inner core strength to get you through things. Whether that curve ball is a small hiccup in your day or a bigger life event, you need to be flexible and adjust your sails so that you keep on sailing. More than likely, as you reconsider your plans and goals you will be presented with a lot more possibilities. You may need to let go of your original expectations, not resist and accept the new changes. But in the long run you may find that the new changes surpass your original expectations.

How Much Joy Can You Stand?

How Much Joy Can You Stand?

Everyone has a dream. It may whisper to us in a still, small voice or it may have the volume and intensity of Martin Luthur King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The problem is that not many of us are actually living our dream. But as Suzanne Falter-Barns says in her book, How Much Joy Can You Stand?, if we begin to nurture and pursue that dream, if we can manage to leap off the cliff and trust ourselves to fly, we will experience a fine, effortless joy like nothing else. “It may take a while to wade through all your resistance, fears, misperceptions and basic disbelief in yourself,” she says. “It may take far longer than you think it should. But if you can just keep going through the process, and trust yourself in a basic way not attempted before, the joy will be yours.” Test your joy quotient with this Thriving quiz.

(True/False)

1. Creativity doesn’t just belong to artistic types living in loft studios. It belongs to me and to every human. I AM creative!
2. I think of myself as someone who doesn’t just want what I want, but as someone who is going to get it.
3. I keep blank notebooks in several places for jotting down my ideas and inspirations, and a tape recorder for recording observations.
4. No matter how “uncreative,” sensible, logical and otherwise unimpulsive I might consider myself, if I have a pressing idea—a core desire—I’m going to express it.
5. My family, my community, my world all benefit from my pursuit of my dream.
6. Feeling vulnerable and insecure is part of the process of creating any dream. To see me through those times, I call on those who I know support my project, not those who might discourage my efforts.
7. I quiet my mind regularly, and when I do, creative ideas and inspirations often show up unannounced.
8. I look around my world—city streets or nature’s paths—for creative inspiration and sources of joy.
9. I anticipate unexpected twists of fate, chance encounters and unorthodox solutions.
10. It isn’t up to me what the world thinks of me. My job is to work on my dream and send it out there.
11. I make a regular habit of connecting with my wishes, and I’m not afraid to wish for too much. But rather than wish for personal success alone, I link my wishes to how they serve people.
12. I use affirmations—positive statements phrased in the present tense and repeated often—to calm any fears I identify as holding me back.
13. I know that false desires are accompanied by feelings that are anxious, grasping and withholding, whereas true heart’s desires are accompanied by feelings that are joyful, releasing and generous.
14. I make it a habit to do one scary thing and to do one thing differently every day.

If you answered “false” more often than “true,” you may be plugging up your joy channel.

Please don’t hesitate to call if you would like help clearing and reconnecting to your joy. Coaching can help you align with your joy and dreams. Or get an energy session to help release those blocks that are holding you back or can increase your creativity. There are so many possibilities. Make a choice.

The Beauty of Vulnerability

What is Vulnerability? According to Vocabulary.com Vulnerability comes from the Latin word for “wound”, vulnus. Usually it is defined as being exposed or at risk to injury or attack. This may show up as fears as shown in the following examples.

Leslie is terrified of getting older, of her children leaving home, of being alone. These feelings scare her so much, she invents ways not to face her fears. Mostly, she lashes out at others for “making” her feel bad. She wonders why she has so few friends and can’t find a mate.

Tom doesn’t walk, he swaggers. He doesn’t talk, he commands. When his children and friends head for the exit, he figures they just don’t have the guts to handle such a big man. But he has an ulcer and he can’t sleep. Lately, he’s been having nightmares about being trapped. Deep, deep down, he’s afraid he’s really a little man after all.

It hurts to admit we are vulnerable. For so many of us, it means we are weak, helpless and open to attack by others or by whatever life throws at us. Our culture demands that we be strong, so we try our best to hide our fears and cover up our weak spots. We don’t want to be seen as failures.

However, I like to think of vulnerability as the quality of being exposed to possibility. There can be beauty in vulnerability and value in exploring so-called weaknesses. By exploring our “dark” side, we can turn our fears and vulnerabilities into strengths. To paraphrase author Matthew Fox, “Our demons aren’t in the way; they are the way!”

Often, we believe that keeping a stiff upper lip will keep us strong. We hold a tight lid on our fears and pain, but in doing so, we also cover up and lose touch with our feelings. This, in turn, shields our hearts and separates us from our connection to humanity. We do not want to lose our heart connection through shielding.

Instead, imagine the worst thing that can happen and explore your fears. It is often helpful to work with a therapist or a coach to face what it is you believe you are defending yourself against, and then to help you understand, accept and let go. This is a journey that can be long, but it’s only by facing our vulnerable places—not covering them up or running from them—that we come out the other side.

Being vulnerable is empowerment. We all have a wound, and when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we accept that wound and then we can move forward. Our wound is our blessing.

Being vulnerable hasn’t been very popular in our society, but this is changing. Words such as “humility” and “gratitude” and “forgiveness” are being used more frequently. They are terms that show a cultural shift towards accepting all human traits, negative and positive, strong and weak.

Author and therapist Beth Miller takes this one step further. In her book, Resilience: 12 Qualities to Cultivate, she calls vulnerability “falling apart” and urges that “it is time to bring falling apart into fashion.”

Brene Brown defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. She says that to be human is to be in vulnerability. “Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.” Brown states that, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

Being a student of life means being vulnerable—open to life, to learning, to experiences, to yourself and to emotions. Most of all, it means being willing to accept things as they are. And then open to changing things when you want to do so.

Being vulnerable comes easier to some than others. Here are some ways to explore being vulnerable:

  • Be honest with yourself.
  • Look for deeper reasons or motives for your own behaviour. Take responsibility for your behaviour.
  • Take a risk. Start by letting someone you trust know your weak places.
  • Be willing to listen to honest feedback.
  • Accept the fact that you have anger, and find words to talk about it.
  • Let go of guilt and resentment. The past is past. Make amends if needed.
  • Accept that you make mistakes. That’s part of being human.

 

 

 

 

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Coaching Downloadable Products

The Coaching Cycle: At what stage do you need help?

Whether it’s the beginning of visioning a goal or motivation or procrastination, a coach can assist you along the way. Want to try it on your own? Check out these coaching programs!

The Visioning Self-Coaching Program https://wandadavis.ca/product/visioning-self-coaching-program/.

Goal Setting Program (coming soon)

The A to Z’s to Success Program https://wandadavis.ca/product/zs-success-coaching-program/

Overcoming Procrastination Program https://wandadavis.ca/product/overcoming-procrastination/

Motivation Coaching Program https://wandadavis.ca/product/lighting-fire-sparking-inner-motivation/

Mindset Program (coming soon)

 

How Balanced do You Feel?

Maintaining Balance Is an Inside and Outside Job

If trying to maintain balance in your life makes you sometimes feel like Terrifico, the Terrified Tightrope Walker in the Circus of Life, working without a net while the crowd below holds their breath in anticipation of a slip, you’re not alone. These days almost all of us have so many demands placed on our time and energy, life can feel like a three-ring circus. And if you’re not up there on the tightrope, you’re down on the ground in the midst of tigers and lions, in charge of keeping a couple of dozen plates spinning in air.

Maintaining balance isn’t easy. It requires holding steady with the many responsibilities that are a normal and everyday part of life: home, family, friends and work, while at the same time recognizing and fulfilling personal needs and wants. Finding and maintaining balance when life can be so complicated and demanding is both an inside and outside job.

 

Inside—Only you can take care of yourself.

Consider how well you take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. Do you eat healthfully and exercise regularly? Do you get check-ups and take preventative precautions? Do you set aside personal, quiet time for yourself? Do you make time to enjoy nature and art, filling yourself up again and again?

Self care also includes time for meditation or energy healing sessions. Get a treatment or learn a technique to treat yourself.

Outside—Reaching outside yourself gives meaning.

Think about how you reach outside yourself for sharing and giving meaning to your life. Do you spend quality time with family and friends? Do you give back to life through your time, energy and experience? Contributing to the larger world provides connection and purpose.

Confused where to start? Personal Coaching helps clarify your direction and helps you determine what areas require more growth.

Balance—The key to a rich and fulfilling life.

To discover how well balanced your life is, keep a log of how you spend your time. In a little notebook you can carry with you, write down the hours you spend under the broad headings: “for me” and “for others.” Also make notes of requests for your time (from family members, from coworkers or professional obligations). Include “requests” from your physical and emotional self: “I wish I could take time to take a walk today.” Or “Gee, I’d love to take a nap.”

 

Also jot down your feelings about the time you’re putting in. Do you resent the responsibilities at home? Do you feel like you never get to do what you want to do? Do you rearrange your time, taking away from what you’d planned to do for yourself in order to do something for others? How does that feel? Honestly?

 

After a week or two, you can expect to have some pretty clear messages on where there is balance in your life and where there is not. You might also come to see what’s important to you and how you can make changes in your life that will create a life of health, well-being and joy—a balanced life.

 

 

 

 

Author’s content used  under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

 

How is Your Spiritual Health? May not be about what you are thinking.

What is Spiritual Health?

Spirituality means a lot of things to different people. A spiritual person cares about other people, animals and the planet, but most of all s/he cares about her/himself. And part of this loving thyself is understanding that everything is connected (Oneness) and a person may desire to figure out how s/he fits into the world and have that sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves. This may involve a search for the meaning of life from the person’s perspective.

So our spiritual self may include spiritual practices of faith and belief to feel connected to this something bigger. As part of loving ourselves, our spiritual self also includes the things we love and desire in life, our passions, joys and longings. We all desire to Belong. It is this inner desire to learn more about ourselves and our connection to the world that spurs us on with glee and delight.

However, in certain times of our life we may feel defeated. We may not know where we fit in, don’t feel connected or feel shunned. Perhaps you can’t figure out your contribution to the bigger picture and are unsure of your purpose in life. Maybe you realize that you are not focusing on the area of spirituality enough and are not feeling balanced, especially if things like work stress or physical ailments are taking up a lot of your time and energy. I loved the term spiritual starvation coined by a colleague, Renate Donnovan (Www.emergetosuccess.com). “When the Spiritual Aspect shatters, it creates a rejection of Life. The system begins to shut down. There is no purpose, we lose the will to continue, and we can even experience despair. Spiritual starvation is at the root of many of our problems. It is crucial that we feed our souls — daily if possible.”

The Coaching Wheel of Life includes the following areas of life: Career, Relationships with Partner and Family, Finances, Personal Growth, Physical Health, Emotional/Mental Health and Spiritual Health. In what ways are you working on your Spiritual Health? If you were to rate this category from 1 to 10, with 10 being very satisfied, where would you fall? Are any areas, in particular, feeling chaotic or missing entirely? In this world of fast moving technology, what are you most connected to? Perhaps you have lost that feeling of being connected to yourself, to who you really are.

You can regain that feeling of being balanced and connected through coaching and energy healing. Coaching helps you gain clarity on what is needed (perhaps understanding your purpose), determine the steps to get there and then celebrate the successes along the way to reaching the goals. Energy work balances your energy field, not just in a physical sense, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Energy work may provide you with that connection to yourself as part of the larger universe and that feeling of Oneness. It also helps release from the subconscious mind or the body anything that may be holding you back from accomplishing your goals, all those thoughts, beliefs and emotions about money, time, health, relationships, etc.

So feed your spiritual self. Your inner self will be grateful.