Learn How to Set Your Boundaries + A Free Boundaries Cheat Sheet!

Ok…. wait. Don’t close the page. I know boundaries can be a scary word to a lot of people. We hear about the importance of putting boundaries in place… Then for some reason or another we don’t follow through with it. Why does even thinking of boundaries frighten so many of us?

It may be because some of us like to identify ourselves as “givers” or “nice people” who would do anything for anyone. This isn’t bad, but when we give to the point of being drained or we give to others till our cups are empty, then we get to a point where we start to feel bitter about it.  This can happen so slowly that we don’t even realize it is happening, until you realize… 

You avoid certain friends because you don’t have the energy.

You start isolating yourself from others because you’re drained.

You dread Monday morning and count down the hours till Friday afternoon.

Sound familiar?

Just say no

In our society, we are taught that we need to give selflessly to be liked. At the same time, we are taught that if we say “no”, or set boundaries, it’s selfish and rude. When you’re everything to everyone, it’s exhausting! That is why so many of us give until we burn out. We become apathetic and give out of obligation instead of desire. This is a very soul sucking place to be! The thought of saying no to friends and family, the mere mention of taking time for yourself rather than being selfish is overwhelming, especially if we have dedicated our lives to being everything to everyone. I call it a “giving addict.” We feel that we will be seen as selfish, friends will abandon us and that we are not good enough. The negative dialogue takes over. We muster the strength and continue to give more and more and betray ourselves more and more.

How I recovered as a giving addict

Hindsight is 20/20! I was like this with my family and friends, but especially with my career. Often I chose to allow my work to dictate my life. I would leave my work cell on and respond to clients’ calls in the evenings and on the weekends. There would be days where I would realize when I got home that I hadn’t eaten or taken a break all day. But I continued to do it again the next day. My ego would say “my clients need me…I have to be there for them. What kind of worker am I if I’m not available?” Most evenings I would be so exhausted, I would crash on the couch trying to recuperate, and weekends were a write-off, I was too worn out to do anything. I needed to recharge!

My wakeup call came too late! When my husband passed, I started to see all the things I had missed out on. He always wanted to do things on the weekend…. take little excursions, go camping, socialize with friends and family or go on dates. I was always too tired and burned out from my work that the thought of having fun… just seemed like more work!

I missed these opportunities and special times with my husband because I was not able to set boundaries around work. I learned and I now know how important boundaries are!

Not only did I lose out, I also robbed my clients of the chance to figure things out on their own. I stole from them the opportunity to grow and learn. So really it was a lose-lose! Now I have boundaries in place, I take care of myself, I honour my feelings and I do things because I want to, rather than feeling obligated to (most of the time) and I have people in my life that support those boundaries!

You can have this too!

All it takes is total honesty with yourself about what you will and will not accept. You need to feel good about putting boundaries in place. This is definitely a process. Our culture has deeply ingrained the need to please in us. It takes awareness, patience and a lot of self-love to get through to the other side of a boundary-friendly life. When you do start moving in this direction, you’ll be rewarded! You will regain energy, love yourself more, and people will offer more support than you envisioned! Sounds good, right?

The first step is awareness. Recognize where in your life you need boundaries. Where do you give too much of yourself? Listen to your internal voice and determine whether you feel motivated by “should do” or “have to do”. If you feel heavy and dreadful, then these are good clues that you need boundaries in place. There are some things in life that we choose to do because they need to be done, (i.e. laundry or dishes for me). These become the exceptions to your boundary rules.

Ready to take that first step?

Get with yourself and recognize where you are betraying yourself and giving out of obligation or guilt Start valuing yourself and get ready to set some boundaries.

Get TSW Life Coaching’s free printable boundaries cheat sheet below!

 

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

Holidays can be a really hard time for many, especially if you have been through one of the 5D’s. When you have gone through a loss from death, divorce, dumped, downsized or disease, holidays can be huge reminder of the loss and can be very stressful. If this is the case then this is the perfect time to lean on family and friends; it is not a time to suffer alone.

Although, family and friends can, at times, be a source of frustration, they are also our greatest teachers and our greatest support. I am so grateful for my family and friends (whom I consider family). Without them I would not be the person I am today, so to honour all those I love this holiday I compiled a list of my 10 favorite quotes on family!

     Do you know what is the best part of life? When your family understands you as a friend and your friends support you as your family. – Unknown

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

     To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right. – Confucius

 

 

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

 

 

      Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learnt the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. – Muhammad Ali

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

 

 

  A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you. -Elbert Hubbard

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

 

 

A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow. – William Shakespeare

 

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

 

 

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

 

 

There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of humans, are created, strengthened and maintained. – Winston Churchill

 

 

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

 

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family. – Mother Teresa

 

 

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

 

 Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is. -Unknown

 

 

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

 

Families are like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one. -Unknown

 

An extra…. I couldn’t resist!

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

Families are like fudge mostly sweet, with lots of nuts. -Unknown

 

Happy Easter, I hope you all feel the love of family and friends this holiday! And of course, the Easter bunny!

10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

 

Top 3 things to Consider When Looking for Work!

Being downsized or let go can be a pretty upsetting thing. When this does happen most people just want to run into a new position.

They crave that security and there is a lot of fear surrounding the uncertainty and overwhelm of the situation. I understand the desire to just jump back in, but I encourage you to consider these three things before looking for your next job. These are especially helpful when you are looking not only for a job, but a job that you love, a job that excites you!

1. Consider your values!

Top 3 things to Consider When Looking for Work!

Get crystal clear on what your values are. We operate through our life according to our values, therefore if we want a job that fits us, it has to fit within our values. For example, if you value community, then getting a job where you are on your own working by yourself where there is no community probably won’t be satisfying to you. This doesn’t mean that you can’t take this job but it could be a struggle to keep you interested or engaged. If you really want the job you may need to find a way to incorporate community into the position like a weekly lunch gathering, so that your value of community is being met. That is a decision only you can make but if you understand your values then you understand your unique perspective on the world. This way you won’t get into a situation where you are working somewhere that is out of alignment with your values, and you are more likely to find something that suits you and that you love. So, consider what values you hold and how strongly you hold them.

2. Know your worth!

This is one many people struggle with, including myself. We tend to undervalue ourselves. We tend to minimize our special talents because they come easy to us and, therefore, undervalue our worth. I am guilty of this for sure! The more I learn the more I realize that common sense to one does not mean common sense to everyone.

You are a unique individual with your own special set of superpowers and that in itself is awesome! You should be valued for those gifts. Therefore, when looking for a new career make sure that, not only does it align with your values, but your superpowers too!

Top 3 things to Consider When Looking for Work!

Set standards on what you will accept and what you will not and then, most importantly, don’t settle for less! You deserve to be valued. Stop playing small! The world needs you to shine in all your glory!

3. Clear out negative energy!

This is so important, especially if you have been downsized or let go! If you are carrying around negative energy and negative beliefs about your abilities, about working or about people then this will hinder you in finding your dream job. Clear out all the negative stories you are telling yourself, so that you can open the space for the positive energy to move in. If you are replaying stories of fear, mistrust, abandonment, anger or judgement directed at either yourself or others or both, then it is time to let it go!

Think about this, would you hire someone who has a big dark storm cloud hanging over them? Of course not, it’s not good for business! You may think you are hiding it well, but usually those types of emotions are written all over our faces and they come out in our body language and tone. Not the best face to show at an interview!

Top 3 things to Consider When Looking for Work!

Getting rid of those emotions will open up the space for you to move into something new with a clean slate, ready for new experiences and ready to face new challenges. Now that sounds like a great employee!

 

If you get these three things in line then I am sure you will be in a better place to find a job that you like, that suits you, that you are excited to do. Who doesn’t want that?

We spend a lot of our lives at work.  We may as well enjoy that time, rather than counting down the days to the weekend!

Go on, take care of yourself…IT’S OK!

Self-care is something you always hear about, how it’s so important, but most of us don’t do it. Or at least don’t do it properly!

Working in the field of human services for so many years you always hear about the importance of self-care. In fact, I don’t think I have been through an interview where I wasn’t asked “What do you do for self-care?” And to be honest I would throw out the same old answers, read a book, go to the gym, yoga, hang out with friends. I wasn’t necessarily lying, but when I said those things I actually just did the actions the minimum, I was too busy! What I didn’t understand was what it really means to practice self-care!

The difference, I know now, is that you can do the actions but if your energy and intention is not in line with the actions, then you are not actually doing self-care.  In many instances, I feel you might be doing self-harm instead! What I mean by this is that when you take a bath and spend the whole time running through a to-do list in your head, or thinking about a mistake you made at work or what else you should be doing, then how are you enjoying your bath? You’re not! You might as well be sitting at your desk! The harm here is, if you are telling yourself that this is self-care then you are sending the message that you are not good enough and don’t deserve the break!

On the other hand, if you are sitting in your bath being mindful of the warm water, the way the bubbles tickle your skin, smelling the oils in the bath, enjoying the space and time that you are in, then you are definitely doing self-care! Can you see the difference between the two?

Go on, take care of yourself…IT'S OK!

Another common go to method of self-care for some is having a glass of wine. If you are drinking it while thinking “I need this glass of wine to unwind to stop thinking about my crazy day”, but you are actually thinking about your crazy day then this is not self-care! If you are drinking that glass of wine mindfully, enjoying the view, feeling how the wine feels on your tongue, savoring the flavor and feeling the glass on your lips then you are doing self-care!

The energy behind the two is very different! Keeping this in mind, why don’t you plan some time for yourself to do some actual self-care this week?

While doing your chosen activity, notice your thoughts. How is your body feeling? Where are your emotions at? Being present in your self-care activity is what makes it an act of caring for yourself. Think of it this way: If you were caring for a friend would you focus on them or would you focus on your to-do list, planning your next activity or ruminating on your day or would you give them your full attention? You deserve that same attention!

The following is a short list of some activities you can do for self-care but remember the most important part is that you give yourself that time and attention while you perform them.

Go on, take care of yourself…IT'S OK!

  • Go for a walk.

While walking, take in the sights, sounds and smells of nature. Pay attention to how your body moves while you walk. What is your breathing like?

  • Read a book.

Really read the book. If it is a self-help or personal growth book, focus on the words and lessons from a place of curiosity instead of a place of judgement or trying to fix yourself.

  • Have a spa day.

Choose your favorite salts or oils to put in the bath, pick your favorite music to listen to or enjoy the silence. Make and use a facial mask or body scrub. Here are some links to cool homemade spa treatments  http://www.wholeliving.com/136432/home-spa-guide#end or http://www.thefitindian.com/diy-homemade-spa-treatments/ or search https://wellnessmama.com/.

  • Enjoy your favorite meal.

Either cook yourself something special or go out for your favorite meal. Actually, taste the food, enjoy it…. No guilt or judgement on what you should or should not be eating.

  • Get exercise.

Go to a gym, take part in a class that excites you. While performing it do it because it is fun and exciting, no self judgements!

Go on, take care of yourself…IT'S OK!

 

Make sure whatever it is that you do, do it with the intention that you deserve this time, you are worth it and you are doing it because you love yourself! If you set the proper intention before you start the activity, then you are going to actually be doing self-care rather than just checking off another thing on your to-do list!

Perseverance or Punishment?

One of the values that many of us hold is perseverance, which is defined as steadfastness in doing something despite delay or difficulty in achieving success. This is a value that can be very beneficial in life, but is there a point where it can move from being a positive to a punishment?

 

When we value perseverance, we don’t give up, we challenge ourselves to stick with something when it is not easy, we push through the difficulties to achieve success. This is positive, right? We all know someone, or maybe we are the one, who keeps trying and doesn’t give up. I know people who have stuck with a job, despite not feeling they are achieving things, they tell themselves things like “It will get better, keep going! You will achieve success.” And others who are in relationships that are less than they desire and, same thing, they tell themselves “Just keep going, keep trying it will work out.” This optimistic, loyal attitude can get you far in life for sure, so what could possibly be the down side of it?

Perseverance or Punishment?

The other side of perseverance could be struggle, settling, pushing and conflict. That is not so positive. It sounds more like a punishment than a value. So the question is, when does perseverance move from a positive to a punishment?

In my experience, it all comes down to the motivation and the reasons for the steadfastness.

 

Let’s look closer at the two examples above. First, the job. Sure, you are challenging yourself to stick with the job you are being loyal to the organization. You are possibly learning, growing new skills, you are being a good employee, you are contributing, you are employed doing something that you are passionate about (maybe not all the time), but most mornings you are happy to go to work.

The flip side of this if you are settling for something that doesn’t excite you and stresses you out and the rewards of achievement are not coming, but you continue to stick with it because you are employed.  Both of these descriptions are two sides of a coin. And the difference is the motivation behind your perseverance.

So, are you telling yourself “Just stick with it because you want to learn and grow”? Or “Just stick with this because you should be able to do this, you should be better than this”? Are you staying at the job because you want to be loyal or because you are scared people will judge you for leaving? Are you persevering because you are excited about the challenge or are you doing it because you are a failure if you don’t? The energy and self-talk behind the two are very different. If you are staying in the job because you are a failure if you leave, you should be doing better, people will judge you and you have to because it is a job, then guess what? Your perseverance has turned into a punishment. I am sure you can recognize this person in your work place. They are the ones who look completely unhappy and they seem to be carrying a thousand-pound weight and they most likely are pretty negative! Yuck! If this is what is keeping you in your job it’s time for some serious self-evaluation!

Perseverance or Punishment?

On the other hand, if you are truly persevering then you are excited about the challenge, committed to figuring things out, you are challenged and enjoy your work and the thought of future achievements excites and inspires you. If this is the case, you are in a good space you and your value of perseverance is serving you well!

Looking at the relationship example, I am sure you can all recall a couple you have known who you think should not be in a relationship, or maybe that’s you! Same thing as above, if you are staying in that relationship because it’s important to you and you truly love this person and want to grow together, then great! It’s your perseverance that will help you make it through the difficult times. If, on the other hand, you are staying in the relationship because there may not be anyone else out there, or being in an ok or crappy relationship is better than being single, or you should be able to work things out, then you are punishing yourself!

 

Unfortunately, most times when our perseverance is a punishment, it takes us leaving the situation to realize that we were not really as happy as we thought. I have heard countless times “as soon as I left and was away from the situation for a little while I realized the toll (the job or relationship) was taking on my life. I feel healthier, less stressed out and just around all happier.” I have said those exact words myself!

So, if you are wondering if your value of perseverance is actually a punishment ask yourself Why am I persevering?” The answer you get will tell you! If you are sticking with it because of fear, or self-judgement then it’s no longer perseverance, it’s punishment. If you do find you are punishing yourself, leaving the situation doesn’t have to be the only outcome, sometimes all you need is a change in perspective and you will switch your punishment to perseverance.

Perseverance or Punishment?

Why Everyone Deserves a Coach!

What I gained from coaching is beyond my wildest expectations. If you have read my story then you know that I looked into coaching after my life was turned upside down after my husband passed away. When I first signed up for the coaching course, I never expected or could have imagined how it would change my life. I went into it with the desire to support others, but I never realized how much it would have, and continues to, support me on my journey.

Why Everyone Deserves a Coach!

I can’t say it enough, I think everyone deserves a coach! I don’t say this because I think everyone is broken, rather I believe we all have areas of our lives where we are not shining our brightest! It may not be that drastic and you may not necessarily be suffering, but why have fried bologna when you can have filet mignon?! What I mean by this is I see a lot of people surviving in this life, settling for a good life when they could have a fabulous one. And this has been my experience with coaching. It took the complete upheaval of my life to help me find the courage and the strength to decide I wanted and deserved a fabulous life.

Until you have experienced it, and I recommend you do, it is hard to explain how coaching changes your life, but it does! When I first was coached, I went into it thinking “I am self-aware”, “After years of working in the human services, I have a lot of skills”, and “Short of magically returning my life to my level of happiness before my husband passed, there is not a lot that can change”. Boy, was I wrong! First of all, I couldn’t even fathom that my level of happiness could be higher, much higher! Second, the journey that coaching has taken me on is one that is challenging, eye opening and so rewarding. I couldn’t even imagine I would be where I am now and my journey is not over! Every time I get coached I learn more, grow more and gain a better understanding of myself and how I show up in my life!

Why Everyone Deserves a Coach

I know this may sound all ‘sunshine and roses’, but trust me there are storm clouds. What I have gained from coaching is a way to handle those difficult times with strength, trust and the ability to listen to my inner wisdom, that guides me always! I have learned that I am fully capable of handling what life has to throw at me. This does not mean that I live it all the time, but how I used to cope compared to how I cope now is totally different.

In the past, if a storm cloud rolled in I would go into my head and catastrophize the whole thing, I would over think to the point of obsessing at times. Sound familiar? Even after the storm had passed I was still thinking and recycling through fear, shame and thoughts of how I should have or could have done better and then I would ruminate on this for a while, sometimes weeks! Then, when another storm cloud showed up on the horizon I would go into hyper drive trying to control the situation and reliving the last storm cloud, in mind and body. Holy anxiety producing!

This is a stark difference to how I handle storm clouds now. I am now able to enjoy the day until the cloud comes, rather than living in fear it may appear and being vigilant about checking the horizon for it! So when they appear – and they do still appear –  that is life. I take a deep breath, brave the storm and trust that it will pass. I use the skills I have gained to weather the storm, and at times find myself enjoying the show. Once it has passed, and it always does, I can be grateful to the storm for all it provided; clearing out the old, shining the light on potential areas of growth, and providing much needed sustenance to blossoming seeds.

Why Everyone Deserves a Coach

Now, I want to be perfectly transparent. There are still times when fear and old patterns show up. They have been there for years and they were in place for a very real (perceived) reason. The difference is, now with the skills I have gained, if I do fall into old patterns I can recognize and adjust so they are not nearly as paralyzing as before and don’t last nearly as long. When I feel really stuck then I reach out to my coach for further support.

Based on my experience, this is why I believe everyone deserves a coach! Everyone deserves to realize their potential and everyone deserves to fully shine! You don’t have to be in dire straits to reach out for support from a coach, instead you simply have to have the curiosity to get to know yourself intimately and have a desire to take your life from good to fabulous! I wish I would have realized the power of coaching much earlier in my life, as who knows where I would be now. I am just grateful that I have the support and skills to live my life to the fullest!

3 Ways to Increase your Confidence, Right Now!

Confidence is something I think we all struggle with at times.

I know I do! This can be especially true if your confidence has been shaken from one of the 5Ds. We all have our areas of our lives where our confidence is low. I know there are areas of my life where I show up and am extremely confident and there are other areas where my confidence leaves much to be desired, and it takes effort on my part to increase it. Here are three strategies that you can use right now, to increase your confidence!

1. Body Language

Our bodies send our messages to others and to ourselves. In fact, 55% of communication is communicated through body language. That means no matter the words we are using, if our bodies are communicating something different that is the message that is being received. Some simple tricks to show that you are confident are making eye contact, standing tall and smiling. When we stand tall, look people in the eyes and smile it sends the message to the other person you are confident. This is also true of the message you are sending to yourself. Think back to the last time you were feeling less than confident. I am willing to bet you were doing one or more of these – your shoulders were slumped, your gaze was looking down, and your face was probably neutral or sad looking. When we carry this energy, we send the message to ourselves and others we are not confident.

Give it a try right now, sitting where you are slouch your shoulders, stare at the ground and frown. Notice how you feel! Now lift your shoulders, lift your head and smile. Notice the shift in energy and thoughts now! See the difference, so even when we are feeling less than confident try changing your body, something this simple can lift your confidence!

3 ways to increase your confidence

2. Own your feelings!

In my opinion, one of the most victimizing things is when we don’t own our feelings. I can relate when I catch myself saying things like “this person makes me angry” or “that situation makes me sad”.  Look at the language! I am blaming my feelings on the situation or the person! Now I understand that the other person’s actions were upsetting but when we say someone makes us feel a certain way, this puts us in a no-win situation.

First, if someone literally made you feel something that means that you are powerless to change it, you had no choice is that the case? No. We have a choice, no one can make you feel anything. Think about it, we are choosing to react to something the other person has done or said; they didn’t make us feel that way, that’s impossible. It is as if I were to tell you to be angry right now, are you going to be angry? If someone could make us feel a certain way, then that is saying they control us and we are simply a puppet of their will. Is that the case?!

Second, when we blame our emotions on another or on a situation, that leaves us helpless to change them. If I say it is someone’s fault, then that means I can’t change it! If they made me angry, that implies they are the ones who must fix it. This totally leaves you out of situation. On the other hand, if we own our feelings “I feel angry because (so and so) did (something)”, I am owning the feelings and now have the power to choose whether to stay in the emotion or not. I am taking responsibility for myself, and that is empowering. This may just seem like semantics, but it is a change in thinking. It is a shift from being a victim to owning our emotions and recognizing we have a choice, and when we can do that we are more confident!

3 ways to build your confidence

 

3. Listen to your self-talk!

What messages are you sending to yourself? Are you critical or are you compassionate? When you make a mistake (and we all do), do you tell yourself “Good try, I’ll get it next time” or do you beat yourself up with critical judgmental statements like “I should have known better” “I always screw things up”? When you look in the mirror do you say “Hi beautiful” or do you scrutinize yourself “Oh I have bags under my eyes” or “Oh look at those wrinkles”? If you are like most of us we are extremely hard on ourselves and we like to beat ourselves up. Most times the messages we send ourselves are self-defeating and honestly quite nasty. How can we be confident when we are beating ourselves up? I know for me, I am my own worst critic!

When you notice you are being critical towards yourself, give yourself some love, show yourself compassion and change those messages. It can be that simple! When you catch yourself saying something negative, change it! Send yourself a positive self-affirming, self-promoting statement.

3 ways to increase your confidence

When practicing this, be patient with yourself. Our brains are hardwired to notice the negative and we have been participating in this type of self-talk for many years. Give it time, it will come!

If you start practicing these three simple steps right now to build your confidence, you should start to notice a difference. I know the more I practice, the more my confidence increases and that is an amazing feeling. Of course, at first it may feel like you are just going through the motions, but practice makes perfect. You are most likely trying to change patterns that have been in place for years!

Choosing Gratititude

It is well documented that having an attitude of gratitude is an essential component to living a positive life. I completely agree with this and I have experienced the power of choosing gratitude, however difficult it feels at time.

 

Creating a gratitude practice can be hard especially when you are completely entrenched in the grieving process. Before my husband passed I was aware of the importance of creating a practice of gratitude, although to be honest struggled to keep up with a daily practice. It was kind of like flossing, I knew it was important but I wasn’t suffering because I didn’t do it, so it kind of fell by the wayside. When my husband passed, I found myself in the depths of grief and having (no surprise) some really bad days where I was just existing. This was difficult for me as I have always been a ‘look on the brighter side, PollyAnna Sunshine’ (as my husband used to call me) because I could always find the positive.

Choosing gratitude

This was my biggest challenge now… I was struggling to find the positive. There were bad days, days when I didn’t want to get up and felt like a walking zombie. And these are the days that I realized I NEEDED to work towards finding something positive, the first step was gratitude. So I started a daily (well mostly) practice of gratitude. Each night, I would challenge myself to come up with at least 5 things that I was grateful for that day. Some days it was a big struggle I would think and think and think about things to be grateful for and ended up with simple things like “I am grateful for sunshine”. I also found that some nights I would be repeating some of the same things as I did the night before. But I persevered and tried not to judge myself, the important thing was that I was doing it!

The more I practiced, the easier it got. I started noticing I was incorporating gratitude into my everyday thoughts. I would start to notice and vocally recognize things that were happening that I was grateful for while they were happening. The more I noticed it the more they seemed to appear! It was like when I opened up to gratitude all of a sudden I could see the many things I have to be grateful for. This alone was huge, suddenly my world seemed less dark.

I then started turning the practice towards difficult situations and seeing what I could be grateful for in that situation. Wow, what a difference that makes! What an amazingly powerful change when I could switch my perceptions. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a situation I was now looking for what I could be grateful for. This change in thinking allowed (and continues to allow) me to weather life’s trials and tribulations a little easier.

Choosing Gratitude

 

I am now at a place where I can see both sides of the coin, I now can say I am so grateful for my experiences, good and bad. For me this such an empowering place to be. I don’t feel like a victim of life’s offerings, my perceptions have changed, I can see there is a bigger picture and I feel that life supports me. I think it’s important to add: Being grateful does not mean that I am happy with every circumstance that happens in my life, there are still crappy things that happen, that I am upset about and I don’t just push these aside, but now I can take a more balanced view of them and instead of seeing just the negative I see how I can be grateful for some aspect of that event.

It’s truly remarkable the transformation that I recognize in my thinking; all from a small practice of listing 5 things to be grateful for each evening! I guess it is like any other skill it just takes practice and repetition to train your brain. And in my opinion this is so worth the effort.

Choosing Gratitude

The power of gratitude has been a blessing to me. I encourage you to try this one simple thing and see the world of difference it can make in your life, I would love to hear about it!

Note to self: You’ve got this!

It has been a year since I had a life changing experience. Well, let’s face it, the last 2 1/2 years have been life changing but this change was of my own choosing and so empowering!

What I am talking about here is the day I cliff dived in Hawaii!

Now, for some of you this would seem simple-not scary at all, and for others this would seem quite crazy. I think I sat somewhere in the middle. I would sway from one side to the other, depending on what was going through my head. No matter what side you lay on, fear is associated with doing it.

So why I chose to do it was exactly that. I had felt after my husband’s sudden passing; my life was now a life surrounded with fear and feelings of overwhelm and helplessness. Fortunately, I have a lot of tools in my toolkit to help so the feelings didn’t often take me over and would pass like waves, some bigger than others. Nevertheless, I had a strong desire inside me to mark the beginning of my new life with something big, something almost ceremonial. Enter cliff diving! Not sure where the thought came from but once it was planted, there was no stopping me. I was determined I had to do it!

You've got this

We arrived at the beach in Hawaii and I looked at the cliff. It looked BIG! It looked intimidating! I stood there for a moment questioning my decision – Do I really need to do this? Is there some other ceremony I can do to signify my new life? I battled with myself for a few moments but the answer was quite clear to me – I did not want to live in the shadow of fear! This ceremony was my way of taking some power back, power that I had given away to fear. I NEEDED to do this no matter how scary. So, I headed across the beach determined I was going to jump! I came up to the black lava rocks that I needed to climb to get to the top. This was step one of my journey.

As I stood at the bottom of the rocks, the self doubt flooded in. “You are not a mountain goat you can’t climb this”, said my inner critic. “You are not strong enough to make up to the top!” And so continued the various other fear driven comments. I thanked it for trying to protect me and started to climb. First step – difficult, second step – difficult, third, fourth and fifth – getting easier… Suddenly, I was half way up! I took a break and looked down. There I was, half way up I had accomplished so much already. I had faced my inner demons and I felt as though I was climbing to my freedom. My mom who was watching me later told me “You scaled those rocks like a mountain goat!”

I continued the rest of the way up the cliff. Then I hit a roadblock…literally! I had climbed the wrong side, all the other cliff divers swam out and climbed from the opposite side, whoops! I was standing at the top of the cliff just meters from where I could jump, I was so close I couldn’t give up now! To go back down the way, I came seemed defeating, so I needed to find a new path. This became very symbolic for the journey I had been on since my husband passed the road through his illness and the growth we both experienced while he was ill. It was both difficult and rewarding. Like that path, I could NOT go back, that was not an option! So, I pushed forward, down the other side of the cliff back to the ocean and found another way to scale the rocks. Mission accomplished!  Well half of it, the entire time I felt the scariest part would be getting up to the top of the cliff. I am not afraid of water and I had been off diving boards before, plus I am not really afraid of heights so when I got to the top I felt like YES, I did it! Now the easy part!  Boy was I wrong!!!

There I was, standing at the top of the cliff literally shaking! I tried all the tools I had to calm the fear: deep breathing, positive self talk… all of them, but nothing was working. My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking, I was in full on fear. Primal fear.  As I looked down over the edge of the cliff, the only though in my head was HOLY SHIT!

As I stood there frozen in fear, watching all the other cliff divers, I said to myself “You have been through hell these last couple of years, this is just a cliff! You’ve got this!” All of sudden I became my own cheerleader! Plus, some of the other cliff divers started cheering me on, they were championing me! Looking back on it now, it was amazing that these complete strangers supported me for no other reason than the fact that I was a person struggling!

You've got this

 

So with the encouragement of my cheering squad, the determination to move forward and the realization that going backwards was not an option for me, I took my place on the edge of the rock. Shaking like a leaf, butterflies in my stomach I found the strength inside me that I needed to take the step off the rock… to take the plunge. Now I would like to say that I went with grace but what came out of my mouth was “HOOOLLLLY SHIT!” I hit the water and it was the most liberating experience I have had. I looked up to see my cheering squad screaming congratulating messages. But what was more important was the internal feeling of complete empowerment, complete freedom and strength, I had done it. I was now embarking on my new life; my ceremony was complete.

 

Looking back, this adventure was more than an adrenaline rush, it was more than a physical act of courage, it was a freeing of my soul. I realize now that many times in my life I have found myself at the top of a cliff, wondering if I should step off or go back to comfort. And as scary as it is up there, it is mild in comparison to the feeling of complete freedom, to have taken that step despite the fear, despite the self-doubt, despite the uncertainty. Now, I am not recommending that you all go out and cliff dive; however, if you want to – go for it! What I am saying is, that fear should not be the reason to hold ourselves back from achieving something we really want! Take your metaphorical plunge, the end results are so worth it!

Short Positive Quotes

7 Short Quotes that Get You Through Tough Times

I have compiled a list of seven quotes that I re-read when I am going through tough times. Being that there are so many inspirational people out there who have great things to say, it is difficult to choose only seven quotes, but here they are:

short inspirational quotes

This quote really speaks to me! When we are at our ‘rock bottom’ we have a choice: rebuild or stay there!

Short inspirational quotes

This is true both literally and figuratively. It seems that when I am on a bumpy journey in life, I know that something beautiful is coming. So if you are on a difficult road, hang in there! The destination will be beautiful.

Short inspirational quotes

This reminds me that I can handle life whatever obstacles may come my way. We all have the wisdom and strength to get through!

short inspirational quotes

When I read this, I am reminded that we all have the skills and wisdom to cope with everything that life has in store for us.

short inspirational quotes

I am reminded that there is always tomorrow.  Sometimes all we need is a new day to get a new perspective.

short inspirational quotes

So simple but so true! Challenge motivates us to make changes and sometimes we need to be shaken up to get things moving. Take a look back on your life. The biggest changes you made may have been some of the biggest challenges to get through.

short inspirational quotes

This is my quote and it so keeps me grounded. When things seem unmanageable or overwhelming, it is a great reminder to listen to my wisdom and I will make it through.

These are just seven of my faves! I hope you find them as inspirational as I do and you find one or more that speaks to you!

I am always looking for great inspirational quotes, I would love to hear some of your favorites!