I spent a lot of years angry. Very angry. I was in a neglectful and abusive marriage as a stay-at-home mother of four children under seven-years-old. On the outside it looked like we were living the country club life while in reality my life was unpalatable. Every day I felt as if a noose around my neck was choking my ability to breathe. Finally, I filed for divorce as a leap of faith and was completely unprepared for the avalanche to come.
Within six months of filing for divorce my husband placed his businesses into bankruptcy on loans I had cosigned. He canceled his children’s and my health insurance but not his own. Our home which was nearly paid off and in the most affluent suburb of town went up for Sheriff’s Sale whereby 100% of the proceeds went to offset his business debt. The bank repossessed my minivan, not his car. And I had to chase him through the courts for a child support and alimony award at its highest of $269 a week – which he appealed. The...
Positivity is a powerful concept but not a strategy. Pretending that you have a positive attitude when it is inauthentic is exhausting. And it doesn’t work. When you can’t get think positive and sustain it even though everyone tells you to be positive you feel worse - another failure.
Honor the hurt. Go deeper with it. Own it. Name it. Blame all you want. Realize the shame. Write about it. Journal about it. Tell someone. Get it out. We can release what we own. When you own your feelings, you can purposely RELEASE the negativity. Otherwise it keeps hanging around.
Next, name what you feel you DESERVE - happiness, career, opportunity, love, friendships, etc.
Open yourself with vulnerability to ACCEPT all that is good and that you deserve. It means releasing the expectation that failure and negativity will continue. Be curious about the process. Yes, it’s scary not knowing how the story will end. But so is a life of negativity.
At first I didn't believe this graphic. Be careful how you interpret your responsibility for an unhappy person’s environment. I do believe as leaders we have to nurture our team culture and provide a safe place for mistakes to happen without shame. I believe we must encourage and be accepting. But when someone is stuck and their behavior is disrespectful and uncalled for boundaries are necessary. We don’t own or placate someone else’s bad behavior or it just enables more bad behavior. If we constantly need to rescue someone from themselves by making excuses for them or declaring that others do the same and cater to them we’ll be rescuing and enabling for a very long time. And the person being rescued’s behavior will only get worse as will their unhappiness.
It’s not our job to fix the flower. It’s our job to create boundaries around what we will and will not allow for ourselves. We can’t change them. Only our own behavior. That...
When there is drama in our lives it involves other people and our emotional reaction to them. If you are miserable at your job, the situation likely implies a boss, colleague or group of people is at its root. If you repeatedly avoid situations you most likely dodge a person who you feel strips your power. If you commonly find yourself angry with someone, it is probably because you feel a need to defend against how they make you feel.
Don’t Personalize Their Behavior
We think people cause our sorrow. Not so. Our interpretation of another person’s actions - our emotional response to having been judged - is what really makes us unhappy. We personalize their conduct. We make it about us. We judge back. We feel left out. We become needy for approval. Right now, there is someone personalizing your behavior that you’re not even aware of.
Recognize Your Own Ego
If you feel that another person’s conduct makes you feel less than you are, that’s your...
Anger is always a mask for a sad feeling we are turning away from because it makes us uncomfortable and feel unworthy. Invite the discomfort and sadness you avoid in closer - so close that you can feel it, smell it, taste it, touch it. Describe it in detail. This disarms it’s power and the anxiety of avoidance melts to acceptance.
Here you can stop running and finally relax. You become a third party observer to situations that used to threaten you without inserting your heart and emotions into the center. Your relationships and sense of fulfillment shift upward. Your executive presence soars when you aren’t afraid of what might happen. You accept and value yourself as is without needing to be perfect. That’s a good life.
If you are ready to get off the treadmill to nowhere and have peace, confidence, executive presence, career advancement and high performance in the face of challenges, personal agendas, cynicism and bureaucracy request a free consultation call...
You’ve seen it at work and at home. Someone is anxious about something and suddenly you are feeling anxious too. You know this isn’t healthy and that you shouldn’t feel this way which only makes it worse. Now you’re self-judging for not distancing yourself from the drama and begin to doubt your own effectiveness. You start losing sleep and wake up in the middle of the night, running the day’s conversations over in your mind.
Lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and sucked in by another person’s angst. Drama is created when a person can’t accept the way they feel so they try to externalize it or put that feeling off on others, usually in a highly demonstrative or desperate way. This behavior provides them a temporary yet unsustainable relief from their discomfort. Thus, they continue the drama dance to try to unload their despair.
I notice I have been feeling anxious and assuming the anxiety of this person. I’ve...
Last evening a client told me a story of how a customer was being condescending and threatened to report her to her boss in a truly snotty way over something that didn’t make sense. My client felt under siege and desperately asked her not to do that. The customer is doing it anyway. I suggested three things:
My client said that if she had asked...
This list is a guide for when you need to test your aspirations that require a major adjustment to your life and career. It’s a reality check for change. Grab a pen and get started.
Recently I listened to a client who is struggling in her marriage discuss how difficult it is to watch other happily married couples. I understand the feeling. I spent a lot of time in my first marriage wishing I had what others had and comparing myself to them as well as enabling bad behavior by making excuses for him. Then my third child was born with a developmental disability and I used to sit at playgrounds comparing her to other children while somewhat insensitively pushing her and her therapists like machines because I became so outcome focused.
What I realized is that when we compare our lives to others and grasp at what isn’t ours we lose sight of all the good things we do have and this strips our fulfillment. This “less than” focus keeps us from letting go of what boundary maven Dr. Henry Cloud calls ‘necessary endings’ to allow for things to bloom in our lives. A healthy rose bush needs to be pruned for new buds to grow. If not,...
I have a client who is struggling hard in her marriage right now and it reminds me about the stake we take in dreams. Pain and suffering are real and raw when they hit our emotions yet we justify that the situation might not be that bad because we care about someone and the thought of losing them threatens our ability to be strong and rips at our dreams - in this case the dream of happily ever after.
Make no mistake - there is no ‘strength’ in putting up with something that doesn’t feel right and isn't showing any sign of gettng better. That is denial. As much as you love someone if they have it in them to tear out your heart that is a choice and they are not a victim of circumstance. Communication is key. If there is none, you have a problem. If the other person doesn't choose to improve the communication and passive agressively makes you the issue that is a serious red flag.
Separate the person from the dream. The dream can still be...
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