Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Price of Serenity

What price would you pay for serenity? Serenity is a place of peace in one's life, and it starts in the mind. A close friend recently left her husband because she loved herself more. She told me that she needed to create a space in her life for herself. Serenity is part of that space. And it has a price. That price is change. Change is the butterfly that morphs into an awesome creature and spreads it's wings to take flight. At some point you look around you and realize that like the butterfly, you've grown through that change. The result, as my friend says, "Is that I am at peace in myself. And there is no price for that."

How do you create serenity in your life?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Poison of Resentment

I remember catching part of an Oprah Winfey show where she talked about her resentment and anger toward someone. She told how one day from a distance she saw this person coming out of a department store in New York City, bags in hand, and laughing with a friend. Oprah then said something about here she was being angry while this person was actually living her life, having fun and had no clue!

Resentment is a poisonous pill that releases slowly. I read somewhere that resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.We harbor resentment, actively nourishing it with that negative self-talk tape we play over and over again in our heads. It festers like a boil and just poisons us while eroding the relationship. Is it no wonder we find ourselves physically ill when we carry around long-standing resentments toward someone else?

When someone does something or says something to me that I am not comfortable with, I can practice detachment. Rather than swallow the poison of resentment, I tell myself that I don't own it and that it doesn't belong to me. Rather than die inside, I give it up. In this way, I can let the other person take responsibility for something that was never mine. I am now free to go shopping and laugh with a friend or do another activity that gives me pleasure and boosts my self-esteem.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Turning Over a New Leaf

Happy New Year! It's that time again: time for change and renewal. It's when we make resolutions for this new year. And it can be a lot of pressure and guilt as resolutions often begin with the best intentions, but sometimes slip away from us before January is even over, resulting in guilt and perhaps fear. So let's think of it differently this year and turn over a new leaf in a new way. Think instead of goal-setting. What is one goal you'd like to accomplish this year? As we reflect on our goal, let's look at what makes good goal-setting.

Goals can be both long term and short term. We set small short term goals in order to reach our longer term goal. Taking a trip is an example of a long term goal and putting money away from each paycheck to pay for that trip can be the short term goal. Our lives are made up of many little goals that move us towards larger goals. This is what motivates us to create and achieve.

There's a great acronym that helps us think about good goal-setting: SMART. For us to achieve our goal it must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. The more specific our goal, the easier it is to measure progress and attain it. Ask yourself if your goal is realistic and doable within the time frame you have set.

What I also like about goal-setting is that we are never alone in achieving our goals. It may start by the commitment of ourselves to our goal by telling someone else. At New Year's brunch around my dinner table, everyone took a moment to share their goal for 2011. Telling others about our goal makes it real and helps us to commit to it. Then there is mobilizing resources to achieve our goal. And that is where we need the help of other people in terms of time, energy, resources and support in order to reach our goal.

What SMART goals have you set as you turn over a new leaf for 2011?