Chances are, if you're living in the United States, you are operating on some level of depression. Maybe it's not a medical thing or brain chemical issue, but you aren't exactly happy every day. This is especially true if you are creative, sensitive, empathic or “woke”. You're dream job turned out to be a nightmare. You had some health issues and now the bills are piling up. You read about #pizzagate and worry if it's true. It's winter in g#&*%amn Minnesota and Prince is dead. Could be any of these things.
I was at the doctor today and was struck once again by how im-person-al the whole experience was. We treat the body and forget the soul inside. Unfortunately the medical system is a microcosm for how we operate in this society in general. We treat the body, we teach the brain, we feed ourselves with food-like substances and call it good.
You didn't choose any of this. You didn't come in to your earth experience saying, “Gee, I hope we're going to use the factory-style German school model from the 1800s!” or “I hope we trade time for money!” You didn't choose the 8-5, 6, whatever deadline-you're-on corporate expectation. That was already here. You didn't choose your white privilege or your experiences with racism or being disabled (well perhaps, if you believe in soul contracts, but that's another blog). And yet here you are, waking up every day, with strangers telling you to smile (if you're a woman) or to “be a man” (whatever that means). There is a code of what is an acceptable hobby (watching football at a bar, drinking alcohol, which you may love or hate, luck of the draw). There is a dominant paradigm. Chances are, it's bumming you out.
And then you have people telling you to “Live your bliss” and “Follow your passion”. Excuse me? I haven't even opened my mail in a week and you want me to follow my bliss? Don't you know it's tax season?? Many people aren't even able to HEAR what they want over the cacophony in their mind and the years of trying to simply deal with a culture that was created in another time, for another kind of person. We have evolved beyond our culture, and culture has not caught up. This makes us feel weird and alone. But we are not. We are perfectly human, lovable, sensitive, talented, curious people in a new era that we are here to help ascend.
You hear people say they feel like they were born at the wrong time, or like they just don't fit in, or maybe they say nothing and stay home for the 30th time in a row, because going out in these conditions is depressing. They'll never tell you that though, because we're all faking it for each other. We say we're not normal, we're weird, we even have to move to places like Portland and Austin to be okay with being weird. The “cool kids" at each high school number around 10-20, and they supposedly represent the norm, the ideal. But if only 20 kids are 'normal' at each school, what does that make the rest of us? The majority, that's what. We are the definition of the norm, because we DON'T conform to outdated standards of conduct, dress, or socialization.
You are just you. And you are perfect.
That can be hard to hear if you've been taught otherwise. Most of us have. But this is programming, nothing more. You have been programmed to believe that you are not enough. And let me remind you, you are exactly enough, or you wouldn't be here. You beat all the other sperm, you survived the hazing of middle school, random diseases, family issues, lost loves and probably a lot more. You are the product of all of this AND you are what was already there, under it all, before you landed head-first into this shitshow we call American life. Yes, you can feel depressed and still know how lucky you are to be here (that can also be depressing). You are allowed to feel and know and witness that everything is wrong. This does not mean that you are wrong.
This is the point where a lot of people give in to road rage (“Life sucks and so does the way you drive!”) and/or Netflix (“Life sucks so I'm going to ignore it!”) and let their dreams die. Fair enough, temporarily. Maybe you distract yourself with petty friend or lover drama or habits you think you can't change. Okay.
Drama is caused by the belief that life happens to you. The great distraction from the much, much larger issue of being in a culture that does not see you or recognize you for who you are. This has been painful on some level whether or not you realize it. It's not that society owes you something. But we have to recognize ourselves and help each other do the same. We are mirrors and creators of society, so it's important we recognize ourselves as the miracles we are. We all have something to offer. If you're still on earth, your job is not done.
I left my full-time job to pursue coaching because I knew I had more work to do, not less. I had my real work in this world to do. And it's hard. It's hard to not be part of the status quo and have medical insurance given to me and feel like I'm contributing to my retirement. I miss my work wife.
But, I know there is a task I came here to do this time around, and I'm just one of millions of people doing that task. I believe we all have our own life purpose, but it can look very similar to others'. The way in which you carry it out will be different, as will how it affects the world around you and at large. And of course when you allow yourself to step up to the plate. I'm here to let you know that your depression is your call for you to step up to the plate. Something is missing, and you know it. We can all point at the obvious, the ex we miss or a parent that passed away, Trump... But those things aren't our essence, as intensely as they may affect us. They aren't missing from our souls. The only thing missing is a purpose yet to be acknowledged and then acted upon.
There are parts of you that have never been seen, and therefore you feel they should be hidden. But those are most likely also the parts of you that would do the most good if allowed out to roam free. Case in point: everyone's paralyzing fear of public speaking. Why do most people fear it more than death? Why is that? What are we afraid people will think of us? Why do we give others the power to silence us, especially when none of those people asked for that power? Other people are not better than you. Their opinions of you do not change who you are. And yes, you have something to say.
There is one reason and one reason alone that we aren't all out living our purpose. Fear. The overwhelming programming and training we have received is to play it safe, to fit in, to do 'what's right'. To play roles we were given and forgot to take off. We have been controlled our entire lives, from what to wear when we were little to what classes we had to take to what industries make money and acceptable timelines for acceptable cultural goals, like marriage and buying a house. And the worst part is we were told we were free, the freest country in the world.
It's all a sham.
I'm not saying those things are all terrible. I had some great classes in school that were required. I did buy a house and I like being able to paint the walls whatever I want. But there is a cultural problem when I hear client after client tell me that they either 1) aren't good enough to do what they want or 2) Don't know what they want to do because they've never let themselves consider doing something they really want. We are controlled by the media, pop culture, TSA, religion, race and gender roles, what's available to eat in our neighborhood..... but the absolute worst is when we mind-control ourselves. It's not your fault; you've just been trained exceedingly well and it will take some time, courage, and guidance to snap out of it, peel back the layers, and still find your way in a society that relies upon money for survival. It's tough, I get it. That's why I guide people through it, cuz it ain't no walk in the park.
If you fit into the dominant paradigm, congratulations. I'm seriously happy for you. You will be so successful (until the great cultural Shift happens) and life will be relatively free from existential crisis. But if you don't fit in, just remember....
You are perfect. I love you. I see you. Stop hiding. We are creating the new dominant paradigm every day with our thoughts and actions and there is room for you here. Come over to the light. Let's make the new world together.
This is it guys. We get one shot at this thing called life. Even if you believe in reincarnation, you will not be living as the You that you are today. For some people, death feels incredibly distant and is simply not a good motivator. But some of us are acutely aware of how short life is.
When I was 18 I felt called to go solo travel in India. I was fresh out of high school, had gotten into college, but just couldn't go write more papers for other people's validation. I needed to know if I could survive halfway across the world in a culture I didn't understand, as a racial and religious minority. Basically I needed to try living for once. So I saved up for 6 months by injecting trees with fungicide and flew off shortly after my 19th birthday. My parents were scared, to put it mildly. They had good reason. India is not a very safe place for a young woman, no matter how resourceful she is. But I had to go-- I had to know who I was when I wasn't in my comfort zone.
Above: Me in New Delhi, November 1999
Amazing things happened on that trip, like meeting the Dalai Lama. Someday I hope to write about them. But today I'll focus on a not-so-amazing part, which was my attempted kidnapping.
I was a couple months in to the 6 month journey and things were going... okay. I had made it through an unfortunate volunteering experience where I cataloged books that were half-eaten by termites in the dark, surrounded by large rats. I had figured out how to use pit toilets, eat only with my right hand, speak some Hindi, and avoid accidentally marrying myself off, as I was offered dowries semi-regularly.
The random black outs were becoming familiar and so was people staring at me. But I never got used to the sexual harassment. It was above and beyond anything I had previously experienced, and I was surprised by it, erroneously assuming that Indians would be more respectful of women since they are more religious on average than Americans. I was young, okay?
I was riding a train across Rajasthan in the middle of the night. It was a long journey and I had foolishly not packed enough snacks. Partway through I bought a samosa from a vendor on the train. Shortly thereafter I got sick, and if you've ever uncontrollably vomited in a moving vehicle you know it's the last place you want to be. I held out for as long as I could, getting off the train several stops early in Jaipur, a major city, so I knew the station would be busy even in the middle of the night. I was so weak I parked myself near a garbage can and planned to wait for the sunrise to look for somewhere to stay.
Shortly after sitting down, a member of the Indian army meandered over, drunk, talking about how he loved me and how I should meet his mother. He didn't seem to care that I was throwing up. Do you know how hard it is to throw up while holding your 50 pound pack while being harassed? I decided to find the sleeping room-- many Indian train stations have them-- to rent a bed hostel-style. I figured I'd be safe in there.
I was wrong. The soldier followed me up the stairs to the room, telling me the whole time how I should come home with him and we could stay in the same bed together with his mother (?). I ignored him and paid for a bed. A few blissful moments passed and I thought I might be able to sleep off the food poisoning, when I heard the creepy drunk voice of the soldier again, telling the sleeping room manager to let him in... and then felt him get into bed with me. You've never seen a sick girl jump like that, man. I was outta there. Lugging my giant pack and vomiting all the way. This time I parked myself in front of the information desk, which wouldn't be open for another hour or so. I didn't know what else to do. You might wonder if I asked those around me for help-- the answer is yes-- I shouted for help and everyone just stared at me. The soldier followed me, picked me up, physically pulling me toward the exit. Luckily I knew about making yourself heavy by going completely limp. I was a lot heavier with that backpack on too. He was simply too drunk to get me into his car, which he said was waiting to take me to his house. Finally he passed out on the floor, after whispering gross things in my ear while taking hits off his flask.
The information desk finally opened and I found out where the nearest hotel was. I RAN all the way. After I checked in I didn't leave for 3 days. I was so ill that the hotel manager sent a doctor to my room. Turns out I had dysentery and could've died.
All this is to say, would it have been better for me to stay home in Minnesota, wondering what could've been had I ventured out on my own? Certainly I would've avoided that guy in the station and the illness. But I also would've missed the crazy, interesting, wonderful experiences I had that made me who I am today. I know what freedom feels like and I know what fear feels like. They are simply two sides of the same coin.
Fear is such an interesting concept, because the very thing that is meant to keep you safe can also keep you bored, depressed, stagnant and lonely. I'm not advocating huge risk taking all the time, but if you feel yourself get a little excited about an idea, but then get scared, feel the fear and do it anyway. Because life's too short. Consider this: if you don't do it, what does 5 years from now look like? Are you satisfied? Happy? What if you do take the risk? What might your future look like? If it doesn't go as planned, can you allow yourself to “fail” and try it again differently? Do we give up on love when our first relationship doesn't work out? Of course not, and we can't give up on risk taking either. By all means, take calculated risks. But always head in the direction of joy, love, excitement; and away from fear.
I'll leave you with this: When you aren't sure about a career or life decision, ask yourself: Is this the best use of my time on earth?
Jealousy isn't usually thought of as a positive emotion to experience. But I know better. Jealousy is here for a reason- to teach us what we really value.
I got an email recently from a colleague who is teaching workshops all over the world, swimming with dolphins, and writing a book while taking breaks to make love (yes, that was in the email). I know, right? UGH. I was this close to hitting Unsubscribe. And then I went-- wait. I'm just jealous! I'm jealous because I want her life! And if I know what I want, I can take steps to get there. If I know what I want, I have the power. There's no one to blame but myself if I don't go after what I want. Of course, that's when the doubts start creeping in...
I knew for years before I became an entrepreneur that I wanted to work all over the world doing transformative work with international personal growth junkies like myself. That's not news. But the how eluded me for some time. Then I started taking courses in online marketing, sales, web development, and other things that I had no knowledge of before. And I could finally see the how. But something kept me glued to my familiar life.
Why wasn't I swimming with dolphins in Hawaii? Why wasn't I writing a book on top of a mountain with the occasional sexy break? I'm not a lazy person, so what gives? Simple. A lack of belief that it's possible for me at this stage in adulthood. A simple, insidious lack of self-confidence will do more to screw you out of your best life than any other barrier. I'm not even talking about low self-esteem, but rather your basic garden-variety belief that you are not the special one who gets to do things like work abroad. It's too hard. No one has heard of me. I'm not 25 anymore. I don't have the money. Blah blah blah. I've heard every excuse from my clients and hilariously, I've heard them all in my own head too. WE ALL HAVE THEM. It's time for the excuses and doubts to die. Either that, or we die with regrets.
How to Murder Your Self-Doubt
Extra Credit for the Truly Serious Success Hunters:
Learn and practice Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT works on a subconscious level to reprogram your beliefs so that you can consistently achieve what you want. There are a million YouTube tutorials out there and of course, the founder's free site: www.optimal-eft.emofree.com.
And if you're really serious about turning your beliefs around fast, hire a coach. There's nothing like being accountable to a person who's been in your shoes and knows how to deprogram limiting beliefs.
You can reprogram how you think about your potential. The question is if you believe that enough to do the work it takes to remodel your mindset. Redesign your mind → get un-stuck and un-jealous → swim with dolphins. It's up to you.
When you wake up, do you feel like you are living on purpose? What would make you feel like you are living for a reason? Many of us don't have an answer to that question. It's not because we don't know what we like to do. It's because we've been conditioned to believe most of our passions are hobbies, while the things we hate doing are reserved for work. While there will generally always be some aspects of your life's work that you don't enjoy (taxes, anyone?), you don't have to keep settling in every area of your career. Here are 3 steps to finding a career path you can truly enjoy.
List 25-50 things you love doing. These could be things you have been paid to do or just 'hobbies', or even basic necessities like cooking. Don't forget 'soft skills' like helping a friend through a tough time, making gifts for family, or how good you are at putting together an ensemble.
Going down the list, ask yourself:
If you have 1 or more options left:
The quick decision test: When you think of doing each option, does it give you energy? In other words, does it excite you? Or do you find yourself dreading it? Do you get tired when you think about it? If you get excited and then tired or fearful, it's because you love the idea but are afraid of what you'd have to do to get there. Many people stop at this point because they don't want to quit the job with good benefits, have to go back to school, or take another seemingly large risk like people judging them for changing their life course or leaving the big name company. But the initial excitement is instructive-- you know what you want. Congratulations! The secondary fear or overwhelm was secondary for a reason. It's ultimately less important than what you want. Making a plan with concrete baby steps will help you push through your fear.
If you have no options left:
There are generally two reasons why you might not have any viable options left. One is that you forgot to list some of your most impressive skills and passions in your initial list because they come so naturally to you that you don't even think about them anymore. Ask a close friend to remind you what you are good at and what you love doing for a fresh perspective.
The other reason you have no options left is because you may not see some of your passions as viable job options. Let's say making gifts for friends is something you adore doing, but don't consider that a way to make money. This is another opportunity to ask the internet or those around you for inspiration. They might remind you that you can have your own Etsy store, sell your creations at a friend's shop, or try a farmer's market or festivals.
Ask yourself if there is something you are good at, that can make money, that allows you to do some of the things on your list. If there isn't, ask yourself if there is something you've always wanted to be good at, that you'd be willing to learn. The journey is half the fun!
If all else fails, ask how you can be of service in the world. No one ever feels like they wasted their life if they spent it helping others. You'll bring your own flavor to those you serve and feel that sense of purpose that comes from knowing you are making a difference.
What would light you up a little more?
We’ve all met women who won’t share their age because of the stigma of feminine aging, but I always felt it only contributed to the outdated stigma to hide their age. Through coaching I’ve become more aware of men who also struggle at a certain age- the age being different for everyone- because they feel they haven’t accomplished enough in life yet. Until this year, I hadn’t felt that feeling. “What should I be doing”, yes. “Have I done enough,” no. They are two different things. I’ve always tried to live by the motto ‘Live at a level that defies gravity’. To me that meant exploring who I was on many levels, exploring the world in creative and affordable ways, helping others discover themselves and fulfill needs, and just doing more than most people want to do in a given day. Examples: dancing while cooking, working 8 hours and then having a part time job, taking a leave of absence to live and study in Thailand… But today, I hit the number that turned out to trigger me- 35. For some reason all of this gravity defying living appears to dwarf under the shadow of that number. I know this is cultural, illogical, bullshit. But I feel it. What could I be doing that would assuage this feeling of not-enough? Yesterday, I was enough. Today, not enough. Hilarious.
If I were doing some bucket-list item, feeding baby rescue tigers, let’s say… would that be good enough? If I were married with babies would that be good enough? Worse? Who’s to say?
These games we play in our minds, games that make us have real emotions, pull us out of our good mood- they deserve an “I see you” and then a “See you later.” This is also true for people who try to make us feel bad, less than, not good enough. These feelings and beliefs aren’t YOU. It’s kind of like a jacket you tried on, didn’t fit, and now you’re stuck in the arms. Just because you are stuck in the jacket, even if you’ve been stuck there most of your life, does not mean you are the jacket. You can take it off, with a little effort. Who are you without the negative self talk? The shoulds? The truth is that if you are honest with yourself about what makes you feel happy, authentic, and alive, you are moving towards that path. The time it takes to get there, and the detours on the way, don’t need your judgements or mine.
If you don’t know what makes you feel happy, authentic, and alive, the only important thing is that you are making an effort to find out.
So I see you, ageist, sexist, illogical Feelings. I see you, which means you are not me. I observe and let you go. Observe, release. Observe. Release. Happy authentic-alive-birthday. Happy-imperfect-adventure. Happy-judgement-day. It’s my choice. It’s your choice. Take off the jacket. We are free.
Perfectionists need a break too-- frequently only given to themselves once something has actually broken.
I find it hilarious how often I have to learn the same lesson. In coaching school my favorite phrase became ‘Care less.’ At first I thought it was repugnant that we’d be advised to care less about the people we were exclusively there to help. But this theory can be explained with a quote from another coaching training: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” I cannot help those who don’t want it more than me. If I want the change more than you do, you’re unlikely to achieve it, and I’ll be disappointed. As a coach, it’s not about me. I can care all I want, and you still have free will. It makes more sense to care a little less (aka stop forcing things) in favor of the client caring for themselves. This way we all win—the client because you got what you wanted, and coach because I was able to guide you there without forcing you. That kind of change will last.
If only I could apply this to my own life 100% of the time! I-Can-Have-It-All-Perfectionists of the world, I have some advice for you. It’s tough, but important: Care Less. Really. There is simply no way you are going to elegantly perform at your day job while working your get-out-of-debt side job, maintain your social life, plan your vacation, take care of your ailing grandmother, keep your plants alive, and keep winking at people on Match. Admit it- your bathroom needs cleaning. Sometimes we have to let a ball drop to keep the bathroom clean. A silly analogy, but it’s true. Some people can have it all-- those people who have reasonable expectations of what can fit into 24 hours. Those people are the satisfied ones. They aren’t in two bands, working three jobs, and volunteer-teaching Zumba on the weekends to seniors. Nope. They go to their one job, go home to their manageably-sized home, walk their dog, and have the occasional happy hour. They know how to say no to others when appropriate, and when to say yes to something they really want. They set goals that will make a difference in their life on a timeline that is doable. And they don’t lament how they aren’t doing enough. They are doing enough. And so are you. Living in the United States at a time when just keeping up with all your different insurances and online passwords is hard enough as it is. Throw in monitoring your diet and identity and bank accounts and you’re lucky to feel like you’re keeping up with yourself, nevermind the Kardashians.
None of us is perfect. You’re going to mess up in this lifetime, so mess up on your own terms rather than ending up in the hospital from exhaustion. Go ahead and care less. I dare you to not worry about picking out the perfect gift for your friend’s wedding. Spend that time cleaning the tub- but only to the point that you are satisfied-- not to your mother’s standards. I promise you’ll feel better.
Are we ever not in transition? Recently I was talking with a friend about how we felt that at some point in our lives we would have ‘arrived’, like we had ‘made it’ and some of the messy business of not knowing what we want or what we could be would be behind us. Instead it seems that the older we get the more we realize we don’t know where it’s all going or who will even be there with us on the journey, and maybe it’s easier to learn to be comfortable in the gray muck of not-knowing.
Many of the transitions we go through in our lives are self-propelled: we decide to go to college and move away; we decide it’s time to change our career or have a baby. But it’s much different when the transition is happening out of our control, such as being laid off or working through the emotions of end-of-life transitions with loved ones. How we view and think about these transitions is almost as affecting as the change itself. With Spring here a little early this year a lot of people are talking about change, and it seemed appropriate to share a little about navigating the kinds of changes we feel unprepared for or even afraid of. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you find yourself in the midst of an unwelcome transition and need a little self-coaching:
1. You are not the first person to go through this. In fact, you are probably not the only person in your family or friend group to go through it either. Watch for destructive and unproductive thoughts like, “Why does this always happen to me?” Ask yourself, “Was that thought about what is happening really true?” And then, “Does the answer help me in this situation?”
2. Learn to respond to yourself as kindly as you would your best friend. You are probably scared, unsure, confused, and uncomfortable. The last thing you need to hear is a nagging internal voice that you “Could have prevented this if only…” or “I should be doing_____ right this second to fix this!” These thoughts, as common as they are, will only serve to stress you out further. Remember this transition happened against your will, and there is nothing you can do now to change that.
3. You’re okay. No matter what craziness is happening around you, YOU are okay. You may have just lost your job, or a loved one, or your house. But YOU are okay. You were born with innate wellbeing, and you still have that in this situation. In fact, you probably also have several friends, family members, or other loved ones who are not affected by this situation who you can lean on.
4. You deserve help. Find a mentor, coach, or therapist. You don’t have to figure out what to do alone. Many others are nearby who are waiting to help you with this, professional or otherwise.
5. This too shall pass. Even the worst of changes will come to an end eventually. You’ll find a new job; you’ll move forward from the grief of the lost loved one. You will be changed for going through this, and maybe that is the biggest transition of all- we change as changes come. You are not fixed, etched in stone as the You of 2015. You will change, you will grow, and that is a blessing.
How to Set Healthy Boundaries
The ability to set healthy boundaries, both with ourself and others, is for many a lifelong process. While this is an important topic for both men and women, the article below was written especially for women. Enjoy!
Healthy Boundaries Create Healthy Relationships by Crystal Andrus
After writing last week’s article on “rejection”, I received a few private messages from women asking if I would write more about “boundaries”.
In that blog, I explained that boundary setting is hands-down the most important lesson we women need to learn:
“Healthy boundaries are like having a front door with a lock on it.
You have the right to keep out unpleasant visitors.”
Boundary setting was certainly my most important lesson to learn in order to become empowered, because without healthy boundaries I created unhealthy, dysfunctional relationships . . . and I didn’t even realize I was doing it!
As someone who has tended to over-give, over-do, over-protect, even over-try, I have to remind myself when I begin taking on more than I feel comfortable with — whether it be helping a friend, counseling a family member through a rough time, or offering to “pick up the slack” for someone who has “bitten off more than they can chew” – to back up, slow down, and really ask myself:
As a coach (and this goes for most therapists, healers, nurses, counselors, etc.), we have a natural tendency to want to “fix things”, but without learning healthy boundary setting, we can too easily take on the weight of the world and inevitably, hurt the very person we wanted to help because we are giving more than we can afford to lose and eventually, we burnout, become angry, or breakdown. We’re no good to anyone.
Not to mention, I can almost see my weight rising when I’m forgetting to set a boundary. Doesn’t matter how many jogs I take, broccoli I eat, or protein shakes I drink, the weight predictably comes on.
I literally carry the weight of my unhealthy boundaries on my body.
Many of us didn’t witness healthy boundaries growing up, whether it was our mother who allowed others to disrespect, use, or abuse her, including us — her child (this can be called “non-existent or porous” boundaries); or our father who was so strict he was like a brick wall (“rigid boundaries”). Either way, we didn’t learn what “healthy” looks like.
On the other hand, we could have had wonderful parents and yet someone else in our life—a teacher, grandparent, uncle, family friend, cousin, brother, whoever—stepped across our personal boundary field and physically, verbally, emotionally, or sexually abused us.
When abuse happens, we lose the ability to realize we have the power to say “no”. This feeling of being unable to protect ourselves can follow us throughout our lives and before we know it, we find ourselves in situations, both big and small, that confront us with our lack of confidence, personal power, and low self-worth.
In fact, I was just speaking to a beautiful, smart, talented woman who told me she was experiencing so much anxiety because her boss had been getting too close physically and would say inappropriate sexual things to her. She wasn’t doing anything flirtatious to provoke him, and couldn’t understand why he was acting this way.
I asked her why she didn’t tell him to back off and her response was that she “didn’t want to hurt his feelings or make things worse by putting her foot down”.
In other words, she was a “people pleaser”.
She hated how she felt around him but didn’t know how to establish a healthy boundary.
As we looked back at her life, she saw a strong pattern of many men being inappropriate with her and her feeling powerless (even as a teenage girl with boys). It was almost as though she believed, “It’s a man’s world and that’s just the way it is. I have no choice.”
Rather than staying focused on the problem, I asked her what she wanted to feel instead.
“What are your intentions?” I asked her.
“What do you want? What would courage have you do?”
How To Set Healthy BoundariesThe first step in setting healthy boundaries is for us to be able to identify our own needs, wants, opinions, and rights: “Does this feel good to me or does this feel like I’m being manipulated for someone’s gain?”
Once we know how we feel about a situation, we must respect ourselves, and our needs. We teach people how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves—by what we’re willing to accept.
We must all learn to clearly identify what it is we want in our relationships (how we want to feel about ourselves), and then become skilled at assertively expressing ourselves: “When you _______ (fill in the unhealthy behavior), it makes me feel _________. If you can’t be more respectful to me, I will have to _________ (list the consequences and stick to them).”
This process allows our “Woman Energy” to emerge.
Here are some more tips for setting healthy boundaries, modified from the book, Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin, by Anne Katherine:
I’d love to know how you feel about today’s blog. Please leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you!
In general I don’t trust people who have never been lost. I mean, Who Am I, What Am I Doing Here lost. If you never had to find yourself, never wrestled with who you really are or questioned your lot in life you missed some great opportunities. By all means, stride forth with the certainty that yes, you are a doctor, and do your medical schooling and get out there and do your passion. But I feel a little sad for you that you never were forced to get to know yourself on the level that is only possible when you are truly questioning what you are doing here on this planet.
As a Life Purpose and Career Coach I get to work with people who are feeling stuck, lost, or as though they are just going through the motions. Some of them feel bad about where they’re at, like they are subjecting me to this horrible fate they are stuck with and they shouldn’t have hired me in the first place because their misery will just bring me down. I find this hilarious. For one, the client isn’t giving themselves much credit for how much work they’ve already done just by committing to hiring a coach. For two, the farther down the rabbit hole you are (as one client likes to say), the more satisfying it will be for me to help guide you out of there.
Working with someone who feels lost is also a great privilege, because it means I often get to be there when the clouds start to part and the sun starts shining. While it may not be fun for the client at first, as the coach I can see what lies ahead. It’s incredibly exciting. One of the best gifts you can give me as a coach is a look of hope dawning across your face. It’s like you just found where you are on the map and it all makes sense again. Some people want to just hunker down right there and call it a day. “I know where I am! I can just stay here and I’ll be safe!” Personally I wouldn’t want to live at the border of the US and Mexico just because I know where it is. I need a reason to stay there. And it better be good!
But it’s tempting to live in that space of potential, that Maybe I Could Do _______! When you live there you never get saddled with the fear of failure that comes with trying. This may sound weird coming from a coach, but I don’t want you to live your potential. I want you to live your real life dreams. As messy as they may be.
You’ll have to ask yourself hard questions, which you were probably hoping were left behind once you realized what you really wanted to do. Questions like “Am I really any good at ________ (law, petting zoo ownership, whatever). And maybe even “What was I thinking?!” But of course, the success is in the trying. The success is in the “failing” at whatever you thought you’d like to do, but you realize something big about yourself in the process. The success is the pride that comes with figuring it out. And the success is learning to have fun and relax, even when you know you’re going to have to try something else. That’s the Life Purpose Process, if you ask me.
So get lost. Go ahead. Screw up a little. And when you are really ready to discover your purpose, your joy and vocation, give me a call. Bring your misery, your confusion, your lost dreams. Bring your fear of failure and fear of success. We can unpack that too. I look forward to climbing up the rabbit hole with you.
"A life purpose is not a point in time and space; it is not a goal or something to do. Feeling whole and complete would not come from any action, IT IS THE PATH ITSELF AND ANY STEP TAKEN IN IT. The deepest part of it lays in the magic of being present, resting and fully BEING in ALL there is. Free to be your true nature."- Homaya Amar from www.homayaamar.com
Career Clarity Now