Posts tagged positivity
Hit the Road Jack
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I spent too much of my life at a job in a place that never wanted me, didn't appreciate me, who resented me even. Why did I stay so long in an environment that brought me down?

Looking back I should have left so many years earlier. I allowed the unhealthy workplace to eat away at my self-esteem, to make me question my worth, to make me feel as if I wasn't enough.

I should have walked out the first week, the first time I was demeaned by a coworker who thought they should be my boss. The first time I was pushed to tears. I don't do well with meanness, I never have, and I should have known if it happened to me on the first week of the job, it wasn't going to be an isolated event.

It continued to happen in little ways, and in big ways for 12 years. And I am sad to say, I let it. I should have walked away, dared to do something different, but I kept trying to fit in, to make it work, to fix it. It was a great place "on paper", and the job was something I could do and do well, and I loved the flexibility in my schedule. But it wasn't worth what I lost there. Underneath the pretend, I knew I wasn't welcomed by all, and trying to please, trying to prove my worth and be seen as valuable to those who would never care, was a huge waste of my precious energy.

Underneath the company's "make sure we look good from the outside" facade, was an inside filled with a good old boys network that I would never fit into. Women were second class citizens who did a lot of the work and who management allowed to be bullied by a small group of unhappy, negative male employees.

A leader, by dismissing his employees complaints or avoiding the awkward conversations to handle the inequities, in essence condones the bad behavior and allows the unfair, inappropriate bullying to continue to happen. Over time this creates an apathetic, unhealthy, unmotivated group of employees, led by the meanest of the mean. Any responsible, conscientious, highly sensitive person cannot survive unscathed working in a company with all that negative energy.

It certainly took a toll on me.

I stayed so long for several reasons; because I was scared to go elsewhere, because the flexibility of the schedule worked so well for me, and maybe deep down I wanted to prove them wrong.  I thought if I tried hard enough, they'd see my value. Therein was my biggest problem. Looking for value and recognition outside of yourself is always a recipe for disaster. No matter how great I tried to be, I was never going to hear what I wanted to hear from the management in that company, and it wore me down trying. I became anegative, critical, angry, overly sensitive shell of myself.

I am much stronger now, after several years away from that toxicity and lots of personal growth work. I was able to gain back my positivity, and my self-worth. Deep down I am still the same person I always was, but I now have confidence from within in my abilities and in myself again. If I were to have started at this place in my present state of mind, I would never have hung on so long. I would more than likely have never signed up to work there in the first place.

If life has you feeling negative, stuck, angry, sad, or numb -- take a look at it from all angles. Creating your ideal life is up to you. What situation in your life is dragging you down or making you feel you have lost your personal power? There is always a way out. Take it. You don't have to justify it to your parents, your siblings, your co-workers, or anyone else -- and don't let the naysayers tell you you can't just do what you love. They are the most stuck and will say things like that to keep you stuck as well. You can do what you love to do, if you dare.

It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else when you make changes to improve your life. If you feel the need to take a demotion, change your job or your career, say goodbye to a relationship that just isn't meant to be, or sell your huge house and live simpler, then give yourself permission to do it right now. The world will not see the full version of you, until you do. 

You have the reigns, you control the speed of your life and you choose where you work, who you stay with, where you live, and how you live. Stop listening to the advice of others who see your life from the outside as a completely different life than the one it feels like you are living inside. Shift that energy, disrupt the status quo and create your ideal life. I learned in the process that I was making life much harder than it had to be, by trying to change a broken system, to fit in where I wasn't meant to.

You deserve to be lifted up, not beaten down by the people surrounding you.  A good person, with good intentions, who has natural talent and deep sensitivity can find work or love or whatever you seek, but only if you trust in your own inner wisdom to lead the way.

Take that leap. Life is so much sweeter on the positive side.

Rain on the Roof Reminds Me

As I listened to the rain falling on the cottage roof last night at 3 am, I recalled a recent conversation with a friend. Actually several different conversations came to mind all at once because that seems to be the way my mind works.

For a moment I felt a tensing in my belly -- the spot I carry my worry -- and then just as gently as the falling rain, I let it go. I realized it was not my worry to carry. No good would come from me taking that on.

Just a few short years ago I would have allowed those conversations and the pain my friends were in to take up residence within my belly, right along with my own list of things I worried about. After laying there in the dark visualizing all the worry filled possibilities to the things on my mind, I would have eventually fallen asleep with my stomach clenched and awoke again with it still clenched, never even realizing I had allowed it to become a part of me. 

Now, through yoga and mindfulness, I have tuned into my body well enough to know when something foreign is attempting to work its way in, or when something out of my control is looking for a place to land. Thankfully I am now able to let go of what is not mine to carry. And once I do, I am at peace within my body again, and my mind is able to concentrate positively on what is right there in front of me.

The sweet sound of the rain on the roof brings me back to this present moment and I send up a grateful prayer for being safe, warm and dry on this night and then waves of appreciation begin to roll in for all that I have, and all that I am. I am thankful for this cottage and its special ability to make the world go away when I arrive here, the snoringly beautiful man beside me who chooses to love me no matter how many curve balls I throw at him, the little angel sleeping in the pack and play in the next room who I am honored to be able to help raise and call granddaughter. The list begins right there and goes on to include health and well wishes for my children who are not currently under this roof but who I pray are just as safe, for my friends who are struggling with their unique issues, for members of my family, etc.

Once I would have "worried" myself totally awake and into a racing state of mind. This time however, I am not worrying, I am at peace. I have learned to turn around/fend off "worry" into positive thoughts.  I send love, light, happiness, strength, clarity, forgiveness, peace -- whatever is needed out in big beautiful waves from my heart. I used to carry so many struggles within me (as if I had the power to do something about them). It got me one big ugly ulcer and a negativity I never want to hold inside again and did nothing helpful for the people I took them from.

Now instead of focusing on the negative, I send a shot of positive to all who need it and let the clench go, knowing this is how I keep the best version of me centered in peace. This is how I show up in their lives as a light, as a calm, positive, loving light. Or on my best days, maybe even as an inspiration.

The rain works its way back into my consciousness and I smile. Happy and content that I am where I am. Safe, loved, thankful and ready for what curve balls life throws at me next.
 

Perfectionism: The Grand Illusion

Wherever perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun. Perfectionism is not about healthy striving, which you see all the time in successful leaders, it’s not about trying to set goals and being the best we can be, perfectionism is basically a cognitive behavioral process that says if I look perfect, work perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid shame, ridicule, and criticism. It’s a defense mechanism.

— Brene Brown

I'm not exactly sure when my safe world was rocked by the realization that my life wasn't going perfectly, but I do remember the day I hit rock bottom.

For several months my life had slowly been spinning out of control -- and I was helplessly watching it get worse and worse. I had worked for years to do everything right, to be perfect, but it was a grand illusion. A joke. All my worst fears were happening right before my eyes and there seemed nothing I could do to stop them.

I had lived under the false belief that if I did it all perfectly, everything would all work out perfectly. I hadn't yet learned that attempting to control my world would not lead to perfection, it would lead to disappointment, helplessness and eventually a deep sadness. It didn't help me escape the shame, ridicule or criticism I so despised either, no matter how much additional effort I applied to doing it right.

Worse yet I was attempting to do it all perfectly with an expectation-- an if... then kind of a thing. Always pinning my happiness on some future thing meant that I never actually got to be happy or satisfied in the moment, it was just a constant uphill battle that never arrived at perfect.

I thought that if I did everything right, beyond criticism, followed the rules, then... I would be accepted, appreciated, and loved for who I was. But that never really happened. The real me was hidden under so many layers of thinking I'm not good enough, even I didn't know who I was anymore. I was always looking ahead and striving to be more, to do it better, to be beyond reproach. That meant that any compliment I did receive was immediately negated by my mean voice, which never even allowed two seconds of time to take in the warm fuzzy feelings a compliment should bring. I was always three steps ahead and thinking about how I could have (should have) done it better. Or how I would get it 100% right next time.

My mean voice eventually graduated to pointing out flaws in things and people around me. Even that felt like rejection--I heard my mean voice giving up on me, as if I wasn't worth trying to "fix" anymore. I easily slipped into the persona of a glass half empty bitch.

Being able to see and sense my own flaws and imperfections made it natural to wait and watch for that same criticism from others. And if I was "right" about my wrongness, it gave my mean voice more fuel.

Deep down I think I knew I could never really be perfect, and yet that fervently remained my goal.

Giving my best effort should have been good enough. Perfection is the great illusion. To think otherwise, to live otherwise, indicates we are operating from an unhealthy place. My need for control, to be right and insulated from criticism caused my perfectionism to spill outward to everyone around me. It crossed boundaries into other people's space. It got ugly.

The worst part is that I could not get off the train. I could not let go, even though I knew that life would be so much easier if I just stopped trying to be perfect. On I plowed, so darn unhappy, so mean to myself, so scared that I would lose control and end up a failure --which in retrospect I kind of did anyway. Because there is nothing quite like an epic fail to grasp the lesson that nothing is ever perfect, even if it sometimes looks like it from the outside.

I know that I am "judged" a little every time I lead a yoga class, by someone like the 'me' I used to be. They will find flaws, mistakes, and truthfully so will I, only now I don't let them stop me from moving forward. When I forget the second side of a series of poses, or call out left when I mean right, or fall over--- I don't dwell on the mistake, I laugh it off. I make a joke.

I am finally able to recognize that I am human and I give myself a little grace. My best effort is all I really have, and that will have to be good enough. Even for me.

Related links: http://www.fastcompany.com/3026324/leadership-now/do-you-have-the-good-kind-of-perfectionism

My Glass is Truly Half Full

The square of ice over my heart melted last night, and made its way down my cheeks and out through my tears, in its place grew gratitude.

Letting go of expectations is freeing.

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about the View From Here and while I was writing the post I grieved for what I thought I had lost; another chance at being the kind of mother (in this case grandmother) I wished I had been the first time around. Never ever imagining that a grandchild of mine would be born and not be a part of our daily lives, I made the mistake of looking at the situation selfishly and concluding that it sucked. I concentrated on all the negatives, what things I would be missing out on-- the "do over chance", the cuddles, the opportunities to spoil him--all ridiculously self-centered things. I worried that this child might someday think his biological grandparents didn't care about him. Those thoughts left me feeling sad, guilty and like the whole situation was a direct reflection of the type of parent I had been (or had not been) to my own son. It is very much a reversion to an old pattern of thinking that has ruled most of my life -- and it doesn't make me happy to admit I slipped backwards.

Proof that we are all human and even though we "know" better, it does not stop us from repeating our mistakes.

It took my grandson's incredibly gracious adoptive parents to show me that once again I was taking the glass half empty view. Instead of recognizing that my husband and I did well to raise a child who was able to make a hard decision in the best interest of his own child, I chose to focus on the things that didn't add up to what I'd once expected. What I failed to acknowledge was the awesome opportunity my grandson has to live the beautiful life he deserves. I realize now how fantastic it is that my grandson will be raised by a loving, beautiful, supportive young couple, who have been in essence just waiting for him.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend time with the couple that adopted my grand baby. As they shared a meal and traded stories (and laughter) with my own family, I was able to hold my grand baby against my heart and smell his beautiful baby smell while kissing his soft head. That snuggle I had once wished for.. became a reality, a moment I will never forget. I can already it see it being a happy place I will go when negativity tries to weasel its way back in.

The universe works in mysterious ways.

l see now that life has been preparing me for this life event for a while. Having an "almost daughter", whom I love with all my heart, I know what it feels like to love someone else's child as your own. DNA is clearly not the only requirement for being a parent.

A few years ago I would never of had the ability to understand that someone else could love my grandchild as much (or more even) than I could. And yet I have no doubt that they really do. He is theirs and he has not only their glorious love to grow up with, but the love of their extended family as well. How great is that! I know that they will make sure he knows we care and will send pictures and share the important milestones so that we feel a part of what is going on, without stepping on the toes of his real grandparents.

How silly of me not to have looked at the glass half full side of this experience to see that this adoption would end up bringing great joy and healing to another family. Where there was once a heaviness in my heart, there is now a bright light of love and thankfulness for the experience. 

And anyway I slice it, that is progress for me.

Life's Little Challenges

Going With The Flow.

How many times have you had a day (or an event) all planned out, every last detail under control and then something happens to bring on chaos? A burned dessert, a sick kid, a traffic tie up, an unexpected expense, or a last minute injury. Whatever the circumstance, it creates a disruption.

Most of us can relate to times in our lives when our carefully laid plans took a back seat to something out of our control, times when we had to let go of our expectations and attempt to adjust or accept an altered plan. The way we deal with these unexpected changes says a lot about us. So do you fight them or accept them?

Question of the Week #40 / How do you handle life's unexpected changes? 

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a day and a half with two really cool people. In the course of our conversation a story (or two) came out, about how we have reacted in the past to being thrown off by the unexpected. Being a reformed control freak, I admitted that I have not always (or maybe ever) reacted calmly when this happens to me.

My friend shared with us her coping technique and it has helped open my eyes to a better way to handle things. When something unexpected and maybe not so positive occurs in her life, rather than reacting with anger, frustration or stress, she takes a deep breath and shouts "plot twist".  It stops her negative reaction and ends up giving her the perspective to see the situation for the temporary disruption it is, then allows her to respond accordingly. Shouting "plot twist" is like telling the universe "ok, I can handle this."

I've been using the "plot twist" idea to remind myself when unexpected changes occur, that all is still ok. My new lighter way of being believes that everything happens for a reason-- even if it isn't exactly what I was planning. That little bit of a reality check reminds me to stop resisting and go with the flow. So far, it seems to be working rather nicely.

The struggle is part of the story. 

Danger Joy Ahead

Another aha moment. The only thing that has ever held me back from being all I was meant to be, is me. 

In Susan Jeffers’ book Embracing Uncertainty I ran across a ”What If” exercise she suggested her readers do. It was about facing your fears of uncertainty about the future. If I remember right, you were supposed to list your “what if” worries to help you figure out if you could handle the possible outcomes — and by getting those fears out, you could analyze whether or not you could indeed handle them, change them, or do anything about them  (thus eliminating their power). And then you were encouraged to simply let them go.

Before last November when I had my own version of a “breakdown” aka “spiritual awakening”, I used to practice what Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, calls foreboding joy. Essentially I would imagine the worst case scenario of whatever was in front of me, so that I would not be vulnerable “unprepared to handle it” if my current state of happiness or safety changed on me. I would consider all possible outcomes to make sure I could indeed handle things ”if”, and more often than not I was preparing myself to handle negative outcomes. Talk about setting myself up for failure, not to mention the potential for the direction of my thoughts to attract more negativity into my life.

It seems so clear to me now why I felt like my life was spinning out of control— and why the joyful moments I felt were so fleeting. I was trying to control outcomes to situations that would likely never even occur. I was pushing away my current joy and fearing what might (or might not be) coming next.

So when I ran across the exercise in Embracing Uncertainty I adapted it for my new way of positive thinking about future outcomes. My What If list now represents what I need to be prepared to handle when I am a HUGE SUCCESS. I need to be ready for the JOY I know is coming my way.

How freeing it was to dream of my future in a way that concludes with success and happiness. I am truly in awe of how completely heart expanding positivity can be.

Question of the Week #36 / What is on Your ‘What If ‘ List?

Create the life you want. Imagine it. Attract it. Don’t be scared to dream really big, I wasn’t.

Terri’s List of Positive What If’s:

  • What if I have more than enough money and never need to worry about where it comes from again?
  • What if I have a million blog readers?
  • What if I am able to live life with ease and joy, every single day?
  • What if I am paid more money than I know what to do with and have lots to give away?
  • What if I earn huge amounts of income just by being the me I was always meant to be?
  • What if I use my natural talents to help others find their way to happiness and fulfillment?
  • What if I have all the time I need to learn more about the things that matter to me?
  • What if I remain gloriously happy every single day?
  • What if I’ve discovered the secret to living a joy-filled life and can help others find it?
  • What if I write a book that makes the best seller list?
  • What if all my dreams come true?

For more about learning to live life in the positive I suggest  the following books (some have been nothing less than life changers for me):

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers

End The Struggle and Dance With Life, Susan Jeffers

Embracing Uncertainty, Susan Jeffers

Daring Greatly, Brene Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown

The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz

Happy for No Reason, Marci Shimoff

 

Is it Time to Change Your Channel?

Did you know that all energy vibrates at a frequency? And your thoughts and feelings are what determine your personal frequency?

Within each of us we hold the power to attract good things into our lives. And all it takes to attract good things is to think positive thoughts. Conversely, if we let our negative thoughts rule our heads, we will begin to attract negative things. Becoming aware of the patterns and paths of our innermost thinking is a key ingredient to begin steering our life in the direction of our dreams.

I do not mean to insinuate that this process is easy, far from it, in fact. From experience I have learned that it isn't easy to change old habits and thinking patterns when you are aware of them. Imagine then, how impossible it would be for those who fail to pay attention to what they are really thinking. Getting out of a negative spiral is darn near impossible if we are sabotaging ourselves with second guessing, perfectionism, doubt, fear or criticism. Staying out is even harder.

In the past when things haven't been going my way --- say a new job is stressful, an old boss just doesn't get me, or I feel out-of-place amongst a group--- things always seem to get way worse, before they get better. Little did I know that I was in control of the speed at which good things began reappearing in my life, all I needed to do was control my own thoughts.

If you attract back to you the very things you think about, then even saying negative things out loud can call more negative to you. For example:

  • I hate my job. More reasons to hate it come at you.
  • No one here likes me. More dislike is directed at you.
  • This is ridiculous. More ridiculousness comes your way.
  • I can't do this. More things you can't do come across your path.
  • I don't want to be here. More reasons pile up for you to want to leave, even things you once liked about your job.

Wherever your innermost thoughts are going they send out a vibration (a frequency) that attracts more of the same. Take a look around, are things going exactly like you wish them to in your life? If not, maybe it is time to re-examine what you are actually thinking about.

Question of the Week #34/ What is your Frequency?

Are you attracting what you want into your life? Try making positive changes in the way you think and see if positive changes begin happening. If you simply pay lip service to your new thoughts and don't really believe in them, or deep down think this crap won't work --then it won't. Your negative inner voice will steal the show. So make sure you can believe what you think.

This week I had the awesome experience of leading a vision board workshop at Gilda's Club.I have never been more inspired by a group of women. While I sometimes have a hard time answering the dreaded question "Who inspires you?" I found my answer there---real, authentic, regular everyday women telling their stories, baring their souls, expressing their fears and finding hope for their future. What a moving thing for a facilitator to experience.  There is no greater feeling for me.

Once upon a time it was only in my wildest dreams that I thought I could make a living using my natural talents to help people find whole body, mind + spirit wellness. Now, with positive thinking, it has become my life. Positive thinking = positive results.

Do you wish to begin operating at a higher frequency? If so, it is never too late.

 

Sometimes It Is All About Me

IMG_6499When life throws you a curve ball what is your natural reaction?

Do you:

  • freeze?
  • get into a frenzy of "doing"?
  • start and internal "woe is me" dialogue?
  • panic?
  • share with everyone?
  • feel anxious, get a stomach ache?

While there is no right or wrong answer, as we all deal with things differently...there is something you should do.

stop. breathe. feel. acknowledge.

Think about what is in your control. Then do something about it. Even if it is only changing your attitude. Let the rest go and trust it is happening as it is supposed to.

I'm learning that trust for me isn't always my first reaction. But slowly it is becoming apparent it is the path to living life with ease.

When I feel off -- I focus inward --rather than outward as I once did --- to see if there is anything I can control.

  • my thoughts
  • my attitude
  • my positivity
  • my focus
  • my acceptance
  • my response

Notice they all start with "my". In this case how I respond to a curve ball is really all about me. I have all the choice in how I handle my response. The power has been in me all along. Now I'm learning to use it.

Question of the Week #31: How Centered Are You?

Here's an example from my own life that might resonate with many of you. I'm on vacation this week. It has rained 5 of 6 days at the time of my writing this. In the past, this would have ruined it for me. Even a few days of clouds have dampened my previous vacations. this time I'm chuckling --- apparently I needed these days of clouds for a different purpose. So far I've worked on copy for my website to get it off go. I've written several notepads full of beginnings for my own book. I've read. I've listened to the contagious sound of my boys laughing at a t.v. show and laughed along with them.

I played cards -- something I've missed. I took walks and noticed how beautiful the world around my cottage is. Both times two deer  --the same ones I am sure--- watched me from the edge of the woods. A dragonfly landed on my toe. One flew by me as I stood on the dock. My husband told me one landed on his golf ball and stayed there until he putted it into the hole. I've had time to discuss really interesting things with my oldest son, he even let me do the passion test on him.

Had the hot, glorious sun so often craved by me been out all week, I would have likely have missed out on all this. So, I'm okay with clouds, rain, cold --someone much wiser than I had other plans for me. Maybe this was the lesson I needed.

See what is right in front of you and appreciate it. Bet this vacation will be remembered far longer than a hot, sunny, water sport filled one would have been.