The 5D’s that Will Change Your Life

Life is ever-changing. There are many situations that have the potential to move our lives in another direction. I have found that there are five stressful situations that are completely life changing – the very nature of them turns your life upside down. I call these the 5Ds and when you go through one of these your life is forever changed. These events are Death, Divorce, Dumped Downsized and Diagnosis. The one common thread between all of these is they result in you suffering a loss that is significant, so significant that you are forced to reevaluate your life. This week I want to talk about how these five stressful situations change your life forever, the good news is, how they change your life is up to you!

The 5D's that Will Change Your Life


When we go through the loss of a loved one, our lives are inevitably turned upside down. In this case, there is the expected grieving process, (which I have talked about in other blogs), and then there is the inevitable need to redefine your life without that person being a part of it. This is a scary step, looking forward and realizing your loved one will not physically be there. In my personal situation, all my future plans were no longer a possibility, at least not in the way I had been planning, as they were all tied to my husband. This is the case, to some degree, I believe most deaths. When a loved one passes on, all the future plans that were envisioned with them are just gone! This can be extremely hard to adjust to and I feel that, in my case, that was one of the hardest things to reconcile. I had to rebuild a whole new life without my husband. If you have been through the death of a loved one I am sure you can relate to this confusion and apprehension about the unknown future.


Dumped or Divorced

The second D’s kind of go together – Divorce and Dumped. I class these two together because they are similar in the nature of the loss, loss of a significant relationship. When you have gone through these D’s, life is again all a mystery. Supporting clients through the rebuilding process after the end of their significant relationship, I have found that not only do they have to rebuild their lives without their partner, they also have feelings of betrayal, trust and judgement to cope with. Sometimes they are even forced, for family reasons, to face the other person on a regular basis. Therefore, not only are they going through the grieving process for the loss of their relationship they also are dealing with a lot of self-doubt in the form of ‘should haves’ and ‘could haves’. The rebuilding process for someone who has gone through this type of loss inevitably travels through a path of forgiveness (at some level) – forgiveness for themselves and the other person, which can be extremely difficult.

The 5D's that Will Change Your Life




This D involves the loss of a job. This may not seem like much for someone who has not gone through it but losing our job is incredibly stressful.  We spend a lot of our time and energy at our work. This means that for most of us, it is not only a job and a paycheck that we have lost, but also our social and self-identities which are intricately tied to our vocation. Think about it. For most of us even if our day ends at 5:00 we can still be caught thinking about that upcoming project, that client or that sales pitch late into the evening. Also, because we spend so much time at work we have associates there that we socialize with. When we lose our job we not only need to find another job we are also forced to redefine ourselves socially and reevaluate our self-identity, too. This can be very difficult especially if the downsizing came as a surprise or if we don’t have an explanation for why it happened. We inevitably start to question our abilities. This questioning then leads to a lot of self-doubt which is very stressful!


The last D is . A diagnosis means the loss of our state of health. To whatever degree doesn’t matter, we go from a good state of health to a worse state of health. This is not just physical diagnoses but mental diagnoses also. When we receive a diagnosis, there is an adjustment period, where you question “Why me?”. This is natural!

Whatever the diagnosis may be, we have important choices for our future that need to be made, and this is extremely stressful! The choices we make affect all areas of our life. When my husband went through this, he grieved for the loss of his well-being, he tried to make sense of the situation, he moved through the feelings of helplessness. After this adjustment, he moved into a place of empowerment where he took active steps to work within his diagnosis. The journey for someone who has gone through this D is a path paved through a redesigning of your life that will best work towards your health goals.

The 5D's that Will Change Your Life



Although all of these losses are different on the surface, they are very similar in the paths to rebuild. All of these D’s impact every area of our life. Whether the loss is family, career or health, every other area of your life is inevitably impacted too! That is why these five situations are so stressful! Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, no “one size fits all” solution that will return your life to balance. This is why everyone’s journey looks very different and involves completely different roads. The only similarity is that they involve the complete rebuilding of your life.

Now What?

In my experience, my best advice for any of you who are going through one of these D’s is, this is an opportune time to get to know yourself intimately! It is an invitation for you to understand who you are, authentically! If you are up for this deep dive into yourself the rewards are endless. When you understand who you are and when it comes to the rebuilding of your life ‘post-D’, you will be able to rebuild a life that suits you, that excites you, a life that you are passionate about. I am not going to lie, this is not an easy path, but it is not as difficult as most of us imagine and it is well worth the effort!  If you are ready, a good first step on this path is to journal around the questions of who you really are and what you really want! Once you get this clarity, the next steps become much easier!

Move Through Anger in 3 Simple Steps

Anger is something we all deal with from time to time. Anger itself is not a problem it is very natural, what we do with our anger is where some of us get in to trouble. It’s not the anger itself that has the consequences it’s when we act on it or try to stuff it. No matter if you consider yourself a fly off the handle type person or not we can all use some steps to help us move through anger.

It may come as a surprise to some of you but our emotions like anger physically only last 90 seconds. A lot of you may be saying that is not true it last hours, days, weeks, even years. The truth is it can last that long but the original feeling of anger only last 90 seconds what keeps the anger around is your thinking. When we ruminate on the event that we are upset about, then we continue to stoke the fire of the anger and that is why it stays around. If we can be practice these 3 steps we can feel the anger and move through it.


Step 1 Breathe into the anger.

When an event happens and you can feel the anger starting to bubble up inside your pulse quickens, your body tenses and your eyes focus, take a deep breath, let it come and wait 90 seconds. It’s important we do no try push the anger aside, if we do not let our bodies naturally return to a balanced state we risk further strain on our bodies and this energy being trapped in our bodies. It may sound simple but let your biology do what it is supposed to do, breath into the anger and let it pass naturally!

For example you get cut off in traffic, the initial reaction is “Oh shit!”, your knuckles tighten on the steering wheel, you become hyper focused on your environment most likely your body is tensed up and you may feel a pit in your stomach. It is at this point that you need to take a couple deep breaths, let the 90 seconds pass. When your adrenal is pumping like this it is pointless to try and make sense of anything your body knows what it needs to do trust it!

Once this initial physical anger reaction has passed then you have a choice. Do you want to keep fueling the fire or do you want to let it go.

Step 2 Practice awareness.

Now that the anger has passed you need to watch your thoughts. It is at this point that we either choose to fuel the anger or we choose to steer our thinking towards creating calm.

To understand the is next step we need to be clear on what anger is. Anger is often compared to an iceberg the 10% shown above the water is actual anger, the 90% below the water is actually what is going on. Put simply our anger is the result of us feeling uncomfortable feelings, they make us feel vulnerable so we mask these vulnerable uncomfortable feelings with anger, because when we are angry we feel like we have power and control. Therefore, if we can identify and deal with the underlying emotions it makes it so much easier for you to let go and let the anger pass.

In the example of being cut off, now that our initial anger physical response has passed and we can direct our thoughts towards what is really going on. A great question to ask yourself is:

What are the feelings underneath the anger?

When we get cut off our underlying feelings could be fear for our safety and/or disrespected by the other person. If we can identify these underlying feeling then we can deal with them, rather than ruminating on them.

If you have identified that you are feeling fearful and disrespected, then you can simply say to yourself “wow that was scary, you are safe now” or “that person disrespected me but probably not on purpose”. When we direct our thoughts towards resolving the underlying emotions then we have no need to ruminate. If on the other hand we get cut off and for the rest of the drive our thoughts are that “person is such a jerk”, “didn’t they see me”, “how can they be so rude”, “I could have gotten seriously hurt”, “I could have hit another person” and so on. Reading those you can probably see these are fueling the anger. When we continue our thinking in this direction we are in effect reliving the initial event and we are keeping our bodies in a stressed state. Yuck!

Move Through Anger in 3 Simple Steps

Step 3 Forgiveness.

This step may be one of the hardest steps. Although if you have gone through the first 2 steps it will be a lot easier. When we have let our bodies return to a calm state, and we have identified and dealt with the underlying feelings then it is time to forgive and move on. In the example of being cut off this may be a simple step, I forgive the other driver as he was not trying to hurt me and probably didn’t see me, easy! Forgiveness gets more difficult when we are looking at more serious events. There is way too much information to cover on forgiveness for more serious events than I have time in this blog, that’s a topic for another day. What I can say here is that forgiveness is about your health and really has nothing to do with the other person! When we forgive it does not mean that we condone the others’ actions what it does mean is that you are no longer willing to hold the negative energy anymore and you are ready to let it go; for yourself. If this is something you struggle with it may help to remind yourself that we all make mistakes, no one is perfect.

These 3 simple steps can help you move through anger so that it doesn’t consume you. Next time you feel yourself getting angry try them, it may seem weird at first but just like with anything the more you practice the easier it gets.

We all deserve a happy, healthy life, holding on to our anger stories works directly against this.

5 Warning Signs-It’s Time to Make a Change!

Change can seem really scary! Most of us don’t realize we stay stuck in prisons of our own making, fearing change, we would rather stay stuck than take steps to make our lives better.  Here are 5 warning signs that it’s time to make some changes.

5 Warning Signs-It’s Time to Make a Change!

1. Language

Listen to your language is it full of “I have to” rather than “I want to”. Do you go through most of your day feeling like you have to do things rather than wanting to do things? Of course there are always a few things that need to be done, but if the majority of your tasks are feeling like an obligation then it’s time to consider making some changes, no one wants to live a life full of “have tos”. It’s draining.

2. Energy

Do you find that you have no energy? Does it feel like you are carrying around a 100-pound weight? Often when we are feel this way, it literally feels like life is weighing us down. We are holding on to a lot of “energetic” weight that is slowing us down and zapping our energy, this is because we are carrying a lot of baggage. We are weighing ourselves down with our doubts, and insecurities and every moment we stay in that situation, we are adding to the weight. We intuitively know what is best for us and when we work against that we are dragging the weight of this and that zaps our energy.

3. Bargaining  

Do you find yourself bargaining for happiness? Are you constantly setting boundaries for your happiness like “When I finish this project then I’ll be happy”, “When I get that raise then I will enjoy work”, “When its summer then I’ll be in a better mood”. If you are constantly bargaining for happiness and joy, then you are not living in the moment and you are placing your happiness on the back burner. Why wait?

4.Waking up!

When the alarm sounds and you roll out of bed, do you experience a feeling of “ugh” and hit the snooze button a few times? Is your feeling while you are getting ready for your day an internal monologue of you trying to muster the energy to face the day? I think in our culture it is expected to complain about work, but if you are feeling like this every morning – dreading getting up, wanting to pull the covers over your head and hide – that’s a warning sign.


5 Warning Signs-It’s Time to Make a Change!


5. Physical

Are you physically feeling agitated? Our bodies are great at giving us signs that we are living out of balance and if our body is starting to show signs of agitation and stress, then we should consider making some changes. We may develop new habits like biting nails, grinding teeth, or biting our lips. Or more seriously we may be noticing ailments and having symptoms that our bodies are in a state of stress and out of balance. Listening to your body is imperative and if your body is showing signs that it is time to make changes, then it’s wise to listen.

If you recognize some of these warning signs, you have a choice!

Take the warning and decide to make some changes, or are you choosing to stay stuck in the out of balance life you are living? Change does not have to be big, sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact. So, this means you do not necessarily have to quit your job, leave your relationships and move away, but there are little steps you can take that can bring you more balance.

Small simple changes you can make today!

Volunteer – Find a volunteer position that meets your needs and excites you. If you are not passionate about your work, find somewhere you can volunteer that you are passionate about.

Practice self- care – Honour yourself with an iron clad agreement to complete a self-care regiment to keep your sanity.

Find a hobby – Get a hobby that sparks your interest and brings you joy! Not something you should do but want to do. Make candles, build models, practice photography, the choices are endless!

Start an exercise program – Get a gym membership, join a class, start working off some of the stresses of your day.

Practice yoga – Yoga works on mind, body and spirit. Join a class or download an app and start practicing yoga regularly.

Find a new social group – Look for a new social group that has similar interests and that can support you.

Start mindfulness practices – Learning to practice mindfulness, and having a regular practice can assist you in destressing and understanding yourself better.

Start eating a healthier diet – Our food is our energy and changing our diet to be healthier can impact not only our bodies but our minds and emotions as well.


5 Warning Signs-It’s Time to Make a Change!

Small Changes, Big Shifts

These are all little things that can result in huge shifts in your life. They do not require completely uprooting your life and making massive changes. Who knows what will happen? If you make one of these simple changes, you may shift your energy and find the happiness that you are looking for, or maybe it may shift the energy so that you are more prepared to make some bigger changes. Whatever the result, if you are noticing the warning signs that change is needed then heed the warning. Take one step today towards a happier life!

Bring on the Positive! Affirmations at Work

Affirmations are a great way to help us make changes in our lives. We can use them to help us shift our energy and motivate us to live the life we want to live. In this blog, I am going to share some of my current favorite affirmations and give you some guidelines on creating your own.

Bring on the positive! Affirmations at Work

These five affirmations are the current ones I am working with. The affirmations I use change as I grow.

“I am enough”

I use this one quite often, especially at times when I am feeling like I don’t measure up, I have envisioned that I have not performed or am beating myself up about a perceived shortcoming.

“I am perfectly imperfect and that is ok.”

As mentioned in last weeks’ post, this is a new one for me that I use when my perfectionist is rearing its ugly head.

“I am grateful for my experiences”

This one I use to help remind me that, good or bad, there is always something to be grateful for. Even in the most difficult situations there is something you can be grateful for. I have discussed in previous posts the importance of practicing gratitude and this affirmation reminds me of that, and helps me change my perspective.

“Love and peace and joy are what I know”

This helps guide my mind to focus on the positive. I have a choice with how I view a situation and this affirmation guides me to view it through a lens of love and peace and joy.

“I trust the process of life to bring me highest good”

This one reminds me to trust in the process of life and it brings me out of a place of fear of the unknown future, and moves me away from a victim mentality to one of trusting the process. When I am in a space of feeling like life is picking on me, it grounds me.

These are my favorite go to affirmations! I use them regularly in the situations mentioned above. They are a powerful way of changing my thinking, stopping old patterns, grounding me and bringing me back to a balanced place.


When I introduce a new affirmation, I start practicing them when I am in a balanced place to get myself accustomed to them and to anchor them to a calm, positive, balanced energy space. This is important because I am training my brain so that when I repeat them, it brings me back to that balanced energy. When starting out don’t begin reciting when you are in the throws of the negative experience you are trying to change. For example, if you are creating an affirmation about abundance then don’t start practicing the affirmation when you are about to sit down to pay your credit card bill and you are stressed; rather start saying them in the mornings before you start your day, and maybe throughout your day, then when they are starting to feel stronger you can start to use them in stressful times like when you are paying your credit card bill. This is similar to training your physical body. You wouldn’t try to lift a 200-pound weight without first practicing with lighter weights!


Bring on the positive! Affirmations at Work


Create your Own

If any of the above situations are suitable for you, feel free to use the above affirmations. If not you can always create your own! Here are some guidelines to writing your own affirmations.

  1. Reflect on the positive – You want to use positive terms when creating affirmations. Rather than focusing on what you don’t want, focus on what you do want! Instead of saying “I don’t want to be stressed”, say “I am feeling calm and centered.”
  2. Use “I” – Make it personal. You are not responsible, nor can you change someone else’s behavior, so make your affirmation about you. Try “I am open to other’s opinions” rather than “So and So agrees with me”.
  3. Use present tense – Rather than focusing on the past which we cannot change or focusing on the future which is undetermined, focus on the present. By using something like “I am” rather than “I will”, you are stating your intention for now, not at some undetermined time in the future.
  4. Keep it short – Keep the affirmations short and sweet. Focus on one thing, not numerous things. It is best if you can repeat your affirmations from memory. For example, an affirmation like “I am feeling successful, happy, abundant, at peace, balanced and smart.” Is too long and contains too many different areas. Instead “I am at peace in my life.” Or “I experience abundance all around me.” These are clearer and more focused.
  5. Lastly, make them personally relevant to you. – The more personal they are, the more impact they have! If you are working on a specific belief or circumstance in your life, create an affirmation around how you would prefer to feel in that situation. For example, if you are trying to create a better work place, “I view my work place as joyous.”

Using affirmations can be a great way to get you moving in the direction you want, in creating your dream life. Using them often helps set your intention and change outdated patterns. When you are working with a specific affirmation, use it often. Words have power!

Time for sharing! Do you have an affirmation that you love? Please share your favorites below, I would love to see them and they may help others too.

Perfectionism- Part 2- and What to do!

Now that you have had a chance to digest the information from a couple weeks ago, about being a perfectionist (I know I needed time!) and you have probably moved from resistance into acceptance, you may have recognized that your perfectionism might be a problem, even if only sometimes! I think it is important to understand why I think we develop a perfectionist voice in the first place and how I keep mine in balance.

A quick recap from last week’s blog. My belief was that being a perfectionist is a motivator, a lot of people believe this. In my life, I thought it was what kept me moving forward, and what I realize now is that it wasn’t a motivator, instead it hindered my momentum and growth. So why do so many of us have a such a strong attraction to being a perfectionist?

Perfectionism a problem?

Perfectionism as an Armor

Brene Brown states that we use perfectionism as armor to protect us from vulnerability. I completely agree! But what is so vulnerable about being not perfect? I think this relates to our core need to belong, and we think that if we are perfect then we can’t be judged or rejected.

For me it starts with our primal need to belong. This need has developed over generations for very real reasons. In primitive times, if our ancestors did not belong to their tribe, the consequence could and most likely would be death. This also true for us an infants. Therefore, the need to belong boils down to survival. Today, our survival may not be on the line, but we still feel this strong need to belong. If you doubt this, talk to a youth in high school – they would do almost anything to fit in!

Fear of Rejection

So, we start with this need to belong, from this need comes a fear of rejection. When we fear something, we avoid anything that could make the situation a reality. Therefore, if we fear rejection we do what we can to not be singled out and we do everything we can to fit in. A type of rejection is being judged, therefore in our minds we take in information that will help us avoid being judged and ultimately rejected. To help us we create an idealized vision of the “perfect”….. mother, employee, entrepreneur, wife, social worker, and so on. We internalize these ideals and strive to attain them… to fit in.

These ideals are the playground for our perfectionist. Once we have an ideal, our perfectionist compare us to it and tries to keep us in line for fear of judgment and rejection.

This may sound complex an example may help clarify. In my life, I have talked about my career in the human services field, my version of the perfect social worker was selfless, non-judgmental, always positive, all knowing…the list goes on and on. I strived to be all those things for fear that others would see that I was not a “perfect” social worker. I would push myself and chastise myself when I fell short of the ideal. That was my perfectionist!

Perfectionism a problem?


The Snowball Effect

Now consider that I was not only a social worker. I was a friend, wife, puppy parent, daughter, coworker, family and community member as well. All these roles also held an idealized version and, to be all of those “perfectly” all the time, is impossible, and exhausting! When I would judge myself, I would assume others were judging me as well, so I would push harder to reach that ideal. The thing is, as mentioned last time, perfectionism itself is unattainable. So, I was like a hamster on a wheel, running faster and faster in efforts to keep up with the ideal and to avoid judgement and rejection. What I realize now is that this striving for perfection in one area inevitably stole time and energy from other areas (i.e. the more I tried to be a perfect social worker, the less energy and time I made for my relationships), which then brought on whole new self-judgements. And that is when things begin to snowball!

perfectionism a problem?

It’s kind of crazy when you think about it: We push ourselves to be perfect and then beat ourselves when we don’t measure up, which makes us feel like we are not good enough so we start to pull away from others for fear they will notice our imperfections. The result is that we end up losing the connections that we feared losing in the first place!  Crazy making stuff!!

What I do…

Since I have had that big “a-ha” I have adopted a simple mantra that works to bring me back to balance. When I notice, my perfectionism is ranting, I simply say to myself “You are perfectly imperfect and that is good enough.”  Sounds simple, for me it has really worked. Saying this reminds me perfection is unattainable and brings me back to a balanced place where I understand that I am not perfect and that is ok!

This is something that I have to practice, almost daily and it all started with the realization that perfectionism is not a motivator but rather a roadblock!

Let Your Inner Child Play!

This week I have had the opportunity to let my inner child play! It was liberating. To be honest, I guess it was more my inner youth, nonetheless liberating.

I recently returned from a road trip with one of my dearest friends where we had been exploring the US. On this road trip, we went to a New Kids On The Block concert. As an adult, I am not that big into music, I realize now it’s something I just let slip by the wayside. When my friend found the tickets, I thought “Sure why not?”

Boy am I glad I did!

As soon as the concert started, I heard songs that instantly brought me back to my youth! It was so neat to experience the totally excited 14-year-old in me, she was excited beyond words and that is something I have not felt in a long time. I was instantly brought back to my 14-year-old self who danced around the basement, had posters of the band on the wall and fantasized about the cute boys. She was so enthusiastic, so full of life, so optimistic and so passionate. What an amazing experience to feel her, to be her again. I could feel her absolute excitement about being at the concert. I could feel at times that my adult “in control” serious side wanted to squash her as I didn’t want to look silly, I overrode the impulse and let her play! It was exhilarating!

Let your inner child play!


What a blessing for this experience!

After the concert, I started thinking about that it was at around that age that I started really struggling to find my identity, which is the plight of adolescence. It is during this time that the need to fit starts to outweigh almost everything; the primal fear of rejection pushes us to start to sacrifice parts of our personality that we deem undesirable. Parts that might get us singled out or that someone might reject. I am sure I am not alone in this! Allowing the 14-year-old in me to come out and play gave me the opportunity to reassure her that she is perfect the way she is and that she is good enough! This was so liberating and healing! So, needless to say, she played that night at the concert and I reconciled some deep wounds of suppression.

I will let her play!

As I continue this journey into myself, I am finding that there are more of these traits. They are like treasures that I am dusting off and putting back on display. What a cool experience! Of course, there is some shame for having hid them in the first place. I have always advocated for owning who you are and I believe that completely, but as with most things, we are harder on ourselves. Continuing on this journey, I find myself curious and excited to see what other treasures I will find. And I made a promise to myself that when my inner child/youth arises I will let her play! Oh and of course dance!!




Perfectionism a Problem? Really?

Perfectionism a Problem? Really?

I have been running this blog through my head for weeks, and finally I am ready to write it! The funny thing is, I haven’t wanted to write it because I wanted it to be perfect, guess I still have some work to do!

I was convinced that perfectionism could not be a problem!

Listening to Brene Brown’s books Daring Greatly and The Power of Vulnerability, she talks about how perfection is an armor that we use to protect ourselves from vulnerability. I must admit when I first heard this I thought “NOPE!!!!!” It made me uncomfortable (perhaps even angry) and physically nauseated, I wanted to throw up! I had flashbacks of my life when I had proudly stated “I am a perfectionist!” The more I let this sink in, the more I wanted to disprove it and find examples of events in my life that could prove that it was untrue. I was convinced that perfectionism could not be a problem! After all, it pushes you to achieve, it keeps you at your best and it keeps you on your toes…and on and on I went, trying to justify why being a perfectionist was a good thing! The more, I listened to Brene talk about it, (honestly, over and over), I finally let go of my resistance and with some awareness, willingness and a whole lot of self- compassion, I began to accept that maybe my perfectionism was not the motivator I thought it was.

Carrot GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The problem with perfectionism is: Is there ever perfect enough?

After receiving a good performance review at work, the first thing my mind would focus on would be the one slightly less than great comment. My mind would say ‘not perfect’. When I would receive a compliment on my cooking, typically I would reply with something like “I wish I would have…”, implying that the dish did not turn out ‘perfect enough’. When my husband would tell me I looked beautiful, I would respond “I still need to lose a few more pounds”. You guessed it, ‘not perfect’ was playing in my head. That is the thing with perfection, the very meaning of it means it is unreachable. Could you ever really be perfect in a perfectionist mind frame? No, because there is no such thing as perfect and when you do reach a milestone or make some headway the perfectionist in you says, “Oh no you didn’t”, and moves the mark. You are like a rabbit chasing a carrot at the end of the stick, you keep running and running but will never get the carrot. And, if by chance you do achieve a goal and for a minute recognize your accomplishment, the perfectionist will poke holes in it and point out how it really wasn’t ‘perfect enough’. It is never ending and crazy making!

How can we put ourselves out there if we are waiting for everything to be perfect?

The other side of perfectionism, according to Brene Brown , is that it kills creativity and innovation. How can we put ourselves out there if we are waiting for everything to be perfect? We can’t! The biggest thing that stands out in my life is my procrastination on sharing my photography. The self-talk tape I would play when someone would give me a compliment on my photos was never-ending. When I would look at my photos I would pick them apart like a vulture. I was ruthless in my judgement and the underlying message was “These are not perfect you can’t put them out there!” And so, I didn’t! There would be times I would sit in front of Photoshop working on a picture and after a couple of hours I had only cropped one single picture – no word of a lie! Back and forth I would go, the little cropping lines taunting “you are not going to get this perfect”. I was paralyzed and then frustration would set in and eventually, I would give up. To be honest this still happens sometimes, but now I just walk away for a little while until I can get my perfectionism in balance. Then I return and finish the picture.

Perfectionism a Problem? Really?

Having this understanding I now think, “Thank goodness there are people out there who have learned to keep their inner perfectionist in check.” Otherwise there would be no creativity and innovation and I imagine we would still be living in caveman times if that was the case.

Although I resisted it at first (OK let’s be honest, I full out rejected it), I can now see that the more I am aware of my perfectionist and the more I can keep her in balance, the more I accomplish! The coolest thing is, I am enjoying it too! As a recovering perfectionist, I can tell you that you don’t accomplish less you actually accomplish more!

So I leave you with this question, “What has your perfectionism stopped you from doing?”

Release It!

When I attended my yoga class, our instructor advised the class that it was a full moon this week. Our practice was based all around releasing. Therefore, I thought this would be the perfect topic for the week.

Releasing can be either in the physical sense or it can be on a spiritual, emotional or psychological level.  There are two sides to releasing. First, a natural grieving for the letting go process and, on the other side, an excitement for opening of space for something new.

Too often we focus on the difficulty of the letting go!

We equate letting go with leaving the comfortable and the known. Many of us subscribe to the old saying “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”. But if we ascribe to this, we end up staying in relationships that don’t serve our highest good, we hold on to grudges and negative feelings that are stealing our joy, we stay in situations that are either stunting our growth or are harming us; all for the safety of the known. I understand the compulsion to stay in the comfort, even when it is uncomfortable. In my experience, when I am resisting moving forward the Universe finds a way to help me make that move!


Release it!

We are the captains of our lives and we intuitively know what is best for us!

Often, we either consciously or unconsciously talk ourselves out of making those changes for a variety of reasons. We think we are better staying where we are because it is known. Usually, when we do this we feel agitated and stressed we may not realize why we are feeling that way but we just don’t feel right. We find ourselves feeling exhausted and like we are banging our head against the wall, or running around in circles. We feel this way because this is exactly what we are doing we are using our energy to go against what we know in our gut is right for us.

In my experience, I have found that the more I continue to resist the truth the worse I feel and slowly but surely, I am disengaging from my life; only showing up halfheartedly to everything. Even the things I truly love, being stuck is energy sucking. It is usually then that the Universe finds a way to intervene and assists me in making the move that I didn’t feel I could do on my own!


Release it!

The issue with this is that if we are not aware of the gift of being moved forward then we often end up feeling resentful for how the situation ended.

In my life, I have been gifted by the Universe many times over when I was not able to move forward; I am trying to hold on to the old and comfortable. I see this same pattern with the people around me. One friend, found herself staying in a relationship that was holding her back, she stayed because she felt that it was her responsibility to work on the relationship. She believed in the vows she had taken and tried to make the relationship grow with her. The problem was that she was the only one trying. Her spouse, for his own reasons, was not willing to grow. She begged, pleaded, argued and cried trying to get her partner to grow with her; to no avail. She continued to stay in the relationship because she was holding out hope. It wasn’t until she started to see the effect this was having on the rest of her life and the lives of her children. She had been sacrificing herself to stay and that was causing friction in all areas of her life. She was withdrawing from a career she loved, she was constantly feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. That was the point when she finally listened to her intuition and made the decision; it was time to leave the relationship. And she did! She released the belief that she needed to make the relationship work and opened up to the unknown of being a single parent. Since this releasing she has found a happiness that she had not felt for a long time. She has rekindled friendships and most important she has honoured her inner wisdom and is feeling more confident and present in her life.

Release It!


Now I am not saying that you need to get a divorce, or quit the job, or leave the partner. That doesn’t have to be the only solution. In her case this was, but maybe in your case there is a belief that needs to be released that will completely shift the situation. Maybe you feel that you have to be perfect and that is causing strain, maybe you believe that to a good wife or mother you need to be self-sacrificing, or maybe you believe that at your age you should be married so you are settling for less than you deserve in your relationship. When you are able to release the belief, the person, the emotion, or the situation then things can and will shift. You will be releasing the old that is not working for you and opening up space for something new that suits who you are.

I guess it really all boils down to a choice.

Do you want to stay stuck and keep banging your head against the wall or do you want to release what is not working to welcome something new? I know when I become aware of something that I need to release I choose to release because I know the alternative is hard and, to be honest, it sucks!

All that said ask yourself, with this full moon in effect, “What is it that you are ready to release?”, so that you can open the space for something new!

Just Say Yes!

Last week I talked about setting boundaries and how absolutely important that is! The other side of boundaries is that you need to be able to say yes too! Often, we lax on our boundaries for others but are rigid with the ones we have on ourselves.


Have you ever found yourself really wanting to do something like starting a yoga class, or taking a trip with a friend, or even something as simple as going for a massage? We (at least I do) set boundaries around saying yes, “I will take that class when I lose 5 pounds”, “I will go on that trip when things slow down at work”, “I will go for a massage after I finish my spring cleaning”. Whatever it is, we set ourselves a boundary that stops us from doing something we really want to do.

Why is that?

In The Power of Vulnerability, author Brene Brown says we do this because a “shame gremlin” pops into our heads and we don’t feel good enough to say yes. We don’t join the class because we are not slim enough to be in a yoga class, we are not productive enough to take the trip, not clean enough to have the massage. Does this sound familiar?

It sure did for me! I was always saying, to myself, “When I am fitter I’ll take that class”, “When I am better at photoshop I’ll sell my pictures”, “When I have this work completed then I can take that trip”. There are a couple problems with this. The first being, is there ever going to be a time when we do feel enough? We tend to keep moving the milestone and never get to the “yes”! So you may lose those 5 pounds, but then the thought becomes “I’ll join the yoga class when I am more flexible”, or “I’ll take the trip when this next client gets on track”, or “I’ll go for the massage when I clean out the garage, too!” And on and on the cycle goes. Never saying “yes” because we never measure up to the qualifiers. The second problem: When we say “no” to something we really want, we are left regretting not having that experience.

Just Say Yes!

What I have realized!

I place these boundaries on myself and I miss out on opportunities that would bring me joy!  Once you take all the beliefs, fear and judgments out of it, you realize this is crazy!!! When I realized this, I decided to start asking myself, “What would I say to a friend?” Doing this keeps me in check, because of course, I would say to a friend, “That’s crazy! Take the class, go on the trip, go for the massage!”

What I have decided!

In my life, I would rather have the discomfort of facing the self judgments, and saying “yes”.  Now, I practice going for what I want to do, when I want to do it. I have decided that I would rather have the slight discomfort now, rather than the regret.

If you have read my story, then you know that when my husband’s illness worsened, he regretted not taking chances and doing the things he really wanted to do. This regret was burned in my mind! I don’t want to be 80 and looking back on my life wishing I had said yes more often. Therefore, for me in my pursuit of a joyful life, I have strengthened my boundaries with others and loosened the self-imposed boundaries. I am now practicing saying yes to life, yes to experience, and yes to joy!

Just Say Yes!

How about you? Is there something you have imposed a boundary on that you want to do? If so I challenge you to say yes. In my experience the more I practice yes, the easier it comes.

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!