Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Listen When Someone Shows You Who They Are

Actions speak louder than words. Show, don't tell. These phrases speak to the concept of authenticity and integrity. Maya Angelou brilliantly captures the essence of integrity: “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Someone’s words just don't jive with what their actions are showing. Perhaps they don’t call you back, they arrive late, they make nasty digs. These people are showing you who they are by their actions.

Notice your own reaction: perhaps second-guessing yourself around what your intuition is saying and feeling crazy around the individual, frustrated even because of powerlessness in the face of this contradiction. At first you might even disbelieve them and when they prove themselves true, you act shocked that their actions have impacted you.

This is where authenticity comes into play. If you shrink from the truth of the situation, denying what you are experiencing, then you may be enabling the other person's behavior. You are not being authentic to yourself. It is easy to continue making allowances for someone else’s bad behavior. We tell ourselves any number of untruths: It’s not that bad. I’m just being oversensitive (It must be me). Maybe I can help them change. They really have so many other good qualities…and so on.

Step back and think, then think some more:
  1. Listen when someone tells you who they are
  2. Believe them
  3. Trust yourself: avoid second-guessing your intuition
  4. Lovingly detach from the person and their actions
  5. Be direct in telling the other how their actions are affecting you, then let them deal with the consequences of their behavior
  6. Take care of yourself: carry on with your own life and self-focus
We don’t own other peoples’ actions or reactions. We can only focus on own integrity and be our authentic selves. Do you need to take a step back and really listen to what someone in your life is telling you that contradicts their actions?

Empowerment coaching can help you get clear and gain clarity on relationships. For a free discovery session, call: 514.996.2414

Monday, April 22, 2013

Break a Plate, Break a Pattern

Write what you want to release then let it go!
At Robin des Bois Restaurant in Montreal, there's this little room off the entrance where you can break a plate for a donation. How cathartic an experience it was to write on a plate, something I had wanted to let go of and in full protective headgear, throw my plate against a hard object and see it smash into a million little pieces--a release of what I've been holding onto!

This action was all about releasing my lack of clear boundaries in certain situations, with certain people. And breaking this plate symbolized breaking a pattern that no longer serves me.

Is there a pattern you'd like to break that no longer serves you well? How can you symbolically break that pattern as you move into action to actually break it?

Empowerment coaching can help you become aware of patterns. For a complimentary discovery session, call: 514.996.2414

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Are you a snake charmer?

I've always had a fear of snakes. I remember participating in a university research study where I was hooked up to electrodes, facing a snake in an aquarium; it was moved closer to me on a track as I sat contemplating whether I should touch or simply observe the snake. I chose not to touch the snake and later learned that had I done so, this action would have ended my participation because the researchers were measuring fear response. Never had I thought that my fear and healthy respect for snakes would come to be a metaphor for some of my adult relationships.

Snakes are insidious. They strike out with their venomous bites when you least expect it. Snakes are false prophets. While they may seem confident, rather, they are self-protective. They bite when provoked or not. If you poke a snake and it bites, it is your fault because you touched it. Even if you were trodding through the grass unaware and happened to step on the snake, it is still your doing. You needed to know the snake was there and instead, charm it, finding a way to co-exist with the snake.

I call this walking on eggshells around someone who always has the potential to strike out. And this is a very tentative unbalanced way to live in a relationship. There is a sense that the control lies with the snake, that you are never in control. In fact, you are powerless...over the snake, over its bite and over your relationship with the snake. You cannot be your authentic self with the snake, so you cannot BE with the snake.

As long as you expect a snake to be like a warm furry mammal and try to hug it, its forked tongue will always seek out your cheek to plant a venomous kiss. Leave the snake charming to the experts. It may be safer to hug a lion!

Are you trying to hug a snake? What would it look like if you instead, kept a safe distance?

Empowerment coaching can help you deal with false prophets who may feed self-limiting beliefs. For a free discovery session, call: 514.996.2414

Monday, April 8, 2013

Getting Roped In

Nasty, mean, insensitive, manipulative, rude--do any of these characteristics describe people you consistently deal with and to whom you keep giving second (third and fourth and millionth) chances? What's that about? Is it about compassion? You're just too nice; you think that maybe they will change or better yet, that you can somehow change them? There is this sense of continually getting roped in by their manipulation and in the process, ceding your serenity.

I've faced this reality in my life: finding myself in a difficult relationship feeling compassion towards someone who consistently mistreats me, thinking they will do better, that they will have an awakening and treat me differently. What is this dynamic grounded in? Guilt? A sense of misplaced loyalty? How does my compassion for the hurtful person overshadow my own need for safety and security in the relationship? Perhaps this is what is meant at the extreme by Stockholm Syndrome, where the abused identifies with and feels compassion for the abuser.

I suspect some early programming at play here: a behavior that may have served you well as a child needing to trust in the parent whose actions hurt and offended. This was normal. The maltreatment didn't feel right, but you found ways to navigate the rough waters: keeping silent, staying out of the way, denying your feelings and even placating the offender, thinking "If only I do more of this, then they won't act mean toward me."

This behavior no longer serves you as an adult. The phrase "being a doormat" comes to mind. In the grown-up world, you can simply walk away--choose to love from afar and be compassionate from a distance. This is loving detachment. And loving detachment is about self-preservation because it lets you love yourself more than you love the person hurting you. A dear fellow coach and creator of the the blog Nutrition-INCheck tells me that she deals with this reality by constantly checking in with herself around food and her relationships. So work to love yourself MORE and lovingly detach to maintain your serenity.

Empowerment coaching can help you self-focus. For a free discovery session, call: 514.996.2414! You're worth it!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Just sit with it

Have you ever wanted to make a decision while you were feeling emotional? Have you wanted to reply right in the moment when anger, sadness or even happiness were the lens through which you would do so? This post is about sitting with it...sitting with the situation that arises and taking the space and time away from that situation to give yourself the gift of clarity. Answers will come; they always do.

Recently I found myself spinning around a situation that clearly did not belong to me. The old fixer in me was rising up and out, ready to resolve as I found myself back in that dynamic of wanting to make everything better and okay for the other person. I was emotional and spinning around a situation I did not cause, cannot control and certainly cannot cure. The raw emotion and pull I was feeling had me wanting to "do something" and on top of it, I was in the middle of a full schedule in my own life that my emotions were preventing me from being truly present to.

There are so many things you CAN do when you want to reply, promise or decide:
  1. Go inward and focus on what's coming up for you.
  2. Detach with love and see yourself as separate from the person, place, thing or situation to which you want to respond.
  3. Focus on yourself--what can you take care of in your own life where putting that attention in the now will make the greatest difference?
  4. Do something physical such as exercise or dance it off to some favorite music. Movement shifts energy.
  5. Just sit with IT (In fact, give IT a chair of its own)...and get on with your own life!

This simple prayer offers so much around stepping back as you sit with something...
Dear God/Higher Power/Universe:
Bless the other person, change me.

What are some ways you step back from replying, promising or deciding right in the moment that work for you?

Finding it challenging to take that step back from a situation while you're in it? Empowerment coaching can help you to look at what's coming up. For a complimentary discovery call, contact me: 1.514.996.2414.