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Posts tagged ‘Fear’

You Aren’t Afraid for the Reasons You Think

You Aren’t Afraid For The Reasons You Think

Are you afraid? What are you afraid of? Why? What’s underneath it?

We have many experiences in life that have caused us to be fearful. Young children try to make sense of the world. When others in their lives act in ways they don’t understand, the child tries to make sense of it. Often the child will assume that it is somehow their fault. So they start limiting themselves of things that are dangerous to do or things that will get them into trouble: don’t steal things, don’t eat sweets before a meal, don’t play or have fun when someone is in a bad mood, don’t smile when someone is angry, fear of loud noises, … What are things you learned to be afraid of as a child?

Story: A Father’s Fear

This is a story I heard a long time ago about a fearful father. The story went something like this. The father had a daughter. One day, for the first time, she experimented with makeup. She wasn’t very good at it. She spent a lot of time until she got it to where she thought she looked pretty. She was proud of herself. As in many early attempts, it was way overdone, not very subtle.

Her father saw her. Seemingly out of nowhere he went into a rage and hurt her severely. Years later when he and his daughter made peace, they finally understood what had happened.

The father had been the son of a prostitute. At some point he became the person who was expected to find customers for his mother if he wanted to eat. His mother had worn overdone makeup. He decided that when he grew up, he would walk away from it all and he had. His daughter’s inexperienced overdone application of makeup had triggered those earlier memories with such a force, that he went out of control and into a rage before he even knew what had happened. His fear transferred to the next generation. Without realizing it the father had been afraid that his daughter might become a prostitute. The makeup triggered that fear. In the end he couldn’t walk away from his fears but had to acknowledge and work through them and heal them. Only then could he be free of the fear and rebuild a relationship with his daughter. In the meanwhile his daughter had learned to apply makeup in a way that was truly flattering to her.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

We can spend a lifetime working through all our fears. Or we can spend a lifetime working through the fears that stand between us and what we most aspire to. Our fears will keep getting in the way until they are resolved. Decide what you most want in life. Then work through those fears first that stand between you and what you’ve chosen. There are four ways to deal with fears: flight, fight, freeze or face.

1. Flight: Avoid fearful situations. In extreme circumstances they become phobias: fear of snakes or spiders, fear of heights, hear of crowds, fear of germs and sickness, fear of nothing to do and boredom, fear of being wrong and making mistakes, fear of anger.
2. Fight: Respond in anger. Many people are afraid of anger in someone else. Becoming angry therefore can become a defense against whatever you are afraid of. It keeps people at a distance.
3. Freeze: Some hunted animals, when escaping from their predators isn’t an option any more, will play dead. Some predators will only eat live pray. People who freeze, basically “hold their breath” hoping the frightening situation passes soon. They may be unable to move or take action.
4. Face your Fears: Fears hold you back from what you might otherwise enjoy. The more you want something and are afraid of failing, the more difficult it may be for you to act. Taking action steps towards what you want, being willing to fail, taking a risk, overcoming an obstacle – that is where your greatest satisfactions and accomplishments will come from. And some of your greatest disappointments. The challenge lies in deciding what you want, then going for it, and being ok with achieving or failing to achieve what you want.

Taking it Farther:

To truly heal a fear, you can keep taking action until you are no longer afraid. For example if you are afraid to try new things, you might have been afraid of learning to use a computer and using email. At some point you became comfortable with it and you are no longer afraid. Repetition over a period of time dissolved your fear.

Other fears, like in the story of the fearful father, can more easily be traced back to an event or experience in childhood. Understanding those situations more fully (a girl experimenting with makeup does not signify that she on the path of becoming a prostitute) helps you let go of triggers. There are many ways to let go of triggers: tapping, therapy, Neuro Emotional Technique, coaching, and others. The important thing is to identify and let go of triggers that prevent you from achieving those things most important to you in your life.

Contact me:

If you would like to know about your energy levels and how to bring more positive energy into your life, call me to schedule an Energy Assessment and coaching. Start living the life you choose. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Are You in Control of Your Own Life or a Victim of Circumstances? You Can Change All That.

Are You in Control of Your Own Life or a Victim of Circumstances? You Can Change All That.

Many of us have “Good Days” and “Bad Days” and most of it is out of our control. Or is it?

Sometimes we get out of bed and something bad happens right away and we might say, “It’s gonna be a bad day.” The day has barely started and we have already written it off as hopeless.

On the other hand, after many days of rain, the sun is finally shining and we feel re-energized and ready to tackle anything.

How often do you feel like you are in charge of your own life and how often do you feel like a victim of circumstances? Did you know that you can change that? Did you know that your percentages can be measured with an Energy Assessment and the results also give you information on where your life view is preventing you from living the life you deserve?

Story: How is your energy?

Several years ago I found out about an assessment tool, which I now offer to my clients: the Energy Assessment. Here is my personal experience with it. The tool measures what percentage of our lives we live “below the line” in emotions of victimhood and anger, and how much time we spend “above the line” feeling in charge of our lives. Because I was so impressed with the results I decided to train to administer the assessment.

So, only a few months later, as part of the training, I took the assessment again. In the meanwhile, an event that was traumatic to me happened in my life. I was surprised that there was a noticeable change on the assessment. It certainly reflected the way I was feeling then. When I questioned the instructor, the creator of the assessment, he was only surprised that the event didn’t affect me even more profoundly. So I know first hand, that outside influences can change the way we view ourselves within the world and that the impact of a major event can be measured. Even more importantly, we can positively affect how we respond to life’s rollercoaster ride. We can change our energy and our worldview, so that the “downs” don’t get us down for as long and we can be “up” more of the time. Wouldn’t you like to be up more of the time? It is possible, despite whatever life dishes out for you.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

Knowing where you are now is always the first step to getting where you want to go. Knowing where you want to go from here is usually the second step. Reducing how often and for how long you feel like a victim, respond in anger, harbor resentments or similar emotions, will free you up to enjoy life more and take constructive actions on your behalf.

Make a list of where in your life you feel hurt, not in control, angry or resentful. Can you see patterns that repeat? Once you see a repeating pattern you have identified something in your life that doesn’t work for you. Think back of the last time a situation like that happened. What happened first? What happened before that? Oftentimes we can understand a situation better if we back up to what happened just before. That may be where we get the early warning sign that we are about to enter into a painful pattern.

Once you know the early warning sign, you can make some decisions. Next time that happens what will you do differently? It isn’t so important what you do, as long as you are willing to try something different until you find a new pattern that works better for you.

Example: You may be able to tell by the way your spouse enters the house after a day at work, whether they had a good day or a bad day, whether you can have a difficult conversation, whether they need your support or whether you need to stay clear of him or her.

Taking it Farther:

When you start on the path of changing the things that aren’t working for you in a relationship, it can get unstable for a time. We are creatures of habit and change is unsettling for most people. If your relationship (whether with spouse, kids, friends, or coworkers) is generally sound, you may be able to have a conversation about the patterns that don’t work for you and jointly come to a better way of interacting. Sometimes the other person truly doesn’t realize how painful a situation is for you. Then you have the opportunity to create a more loving relationship. On the other hand, if open communication is not possible, then all you can do is change your part of a situation. I guarantee that it’ll change things, but not necessarily for the better. Try different things. If the other person redoubles their efforts to maintain the status quo, you may eventually be faced with a choice: learn to accept them the way they are and heal as best as you can so you no longer hurt as much, or sever or minimize the relationship. Realize of course, that if it is you that needs to change, you will attract other people who will treat you badly until you change and heal. Once you heal, it is amazing how you attract more people who are nice and loving. From my experience, it is so worth the journey. Life definitely gets much easier and “in the flow” more often.

Contact me:

If you would like to know your current energy scores of how much negativity you have in your life and how to bring in more positives, call me to schedule an Energy Assessment. Start having the life you choose. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Adjusting Boundaries as a Cure for Stress

Adjusting Boundaries as a Cure for Stress

Some people say there is good stress and bad stress. Would you say that getting married is good stress and getting divorced is bad stress?

It appears that the body does not distinguish between good and bad stress. There are “50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress” listed on the American Institute of Stress (AIS) website: http://www.stress.org/topic-effects.htm which includes symptoms like headaches, back pain, nausea, chest pain, fidgeting, overwhelm, excessive hunger or loss of appetite, social withdrawal … You can have these symptoms regardless of the kind of stress you are dealing with. Ask any bride-zilla.

So let’s look a little deeper.

Story: Weddings are about redrawing boundaries

In my past as a wedding photographer, I had the opportunity to work with brides as well as the other businesses that cater to them and their special day. May my observations and thoughts help give you courage to start redrawing your boundaries.

It seems that whatever relationship dynamics exist between the various people planning the wedding are magnified under stress. For example: a bride who hasn’t been able to stand up to her mother about much of anything, will continue to have problems. Freeze, Fight, or Flight? 1. Freeze: the bride feels paralyzed and unable to speak up for what she wants. 2. Fight: the bride may fight her mother on any and every decision. 3. Flight: the bride will avoid including her mother in anything. So what’s the solution? None of those.

Let’s look at close relationships. When you get married you change your primary alliances from the family you came from to your new family unit. But often that is not a conscious decision, or it happens not at all or haphazardly. What you do take with you into your new relationship is how you deal with boundaries. If you had trouble standing up to your parents or siblings, you may have the same trouble in your marriage. If you were expected to maintain peace at all cost or secrecy, you will likely continue to do so.

←—————————————————————————-→
“Put Up With It”                                                                       “Blow Up”

Where are you on the “Put Up With It” to “Blow Up” continuum? Open communications between two people allows you to explore what each of you want and need. It allows you to draw and redraw boundaries and design your relationship consciously and in consideration with each other. And that allows you to build a relationship with very little unresolved stress. Open communication takes courage; lots of courage. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

If you toggle between being a pushover and blowing up, chances are that your relationships are stressful. Your needs are not being met and neither do others feel they can consistently count on you. The gap between how you’d like things to be and the reality is stress. Stress affects the body in negative ways and when it is unresolved, it can cause major health issues.

Taking a stress or anger management class helps you with better self-control when stressed or angry. But that is like putting a band-aid on a toothache. It doesn’t help with the problem.

What can you do? Start observing gaps in communication. Do not sabotage your efforts with talking about big things first, like where to go on vacation, whether to move to a new house, or asking your boss for a raise. Start with little things.

If your spouse or a friend asks, “where would you like to go for dinner?” don’t say something like, “whatever you want is fine with me”. Instead give yourself a little time to think, say something like, “thanks for asking, let me think about what I might like.” Then think about it and come back with a proposal like “I’d really like some fish, how about that xyz restaurant?” or “I really love the atmosphere at abc restaurant? What do you think?” Now you have the opportunity to discuss what you both want. There may be backlash to your new ways at first, especially if you have well-established patterns. It is best to stay as calm as you can.

Talking about little things may seem extremely tedious at first. It is. You are developing a new skill and practicing on small decisions where the stakes are not very high and you are more likely to be willing to compromise. It is like building your muscle to talk things out and find joint solutions. You can move to bigger decisions as your skills improve. Just think of the value of having a calm conversation with your spouse about money, sex, children, work, and household chores. With the right skills, a willing partner, and practice you can get there. You’d be amazed how many people will eventually respond favorably to your new way of being in relationship. And you’ll find out who won’t.

Taking it Farther:
There are a variety of excellent materials on boundaries. Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend have co-written many books on boundaries. They are excellent. They are written from a strong Christian viewpoint. If you are not Christian I hope you can still get the boundary lessons from their books or find other helpful materials.

Contact me:

Want more help? I’m here for you. Tired of the status quo? Get relief! Call to get coached and start designing the life you want to live. Have questions? Call to get answers. Edith at 847.913.3900

Forgiveness – Freeing and Comforting

Forgiveness – Freeing and Comforting

I’ve heard a lot about the importance of forgiveness. You probably have too. But what I heard this past week about a benefit of forgiveness, I had never heard before. And it might change – well – everything.

Story: The effect of forgiving your bullies

A friend shared with me his experience of breaking through and being able to forgive some bullies who had given him a very hard time in middle school. He said he found the experience of forgiving them freeing and comforting. I said I could understand the freeing part, but could he tell me more about how it was comforting to him.

To me his insight was nothing short of remarkable. He said that after being able to truly forgive the cruelties he had endured, he felt that life has opened up to him in a whole new way. If he could forgive that, something he thought he might never be able to forgive, then what else could he do that he thought he couldn’t do. — This one experience may make a huge difference on how he lives the rest of his life and what he believes is possible for him.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

Think of every grudge and negativity you hold onto, every injury you haven’t been able to get over, every injustice you have endured, and situations that make you angry or exhausted – as pebbles in your backpack. And that backpack is on your back all the time. —- How fast can you run? How fast can you move forward? How agile are you? How well do you sleep at night? How quickly can you adjust to changes in your life’s direction – all while carrying that heavy backpack?

Isn’t it time to lighten your load – at least a little?

1. Free yourself from some of the pebbles in your backpack. There are probably some easy ones you can do on your own – starting now. Here is one suggestion on how to get started.

  • Choose a time and place where you can be uninterrupted and at peace: a beautiful setting in nature or a quiet nook in your home, or ….
  • If you like, add some pleasing and calming music.
  • Sit down with a pad of paper or just your thoughts. Imagine putting down the backpack next to you and opening it up.
  • Pick out a small pebble and examine it. Feel it and experience what old hurt it might represent. Writing may help this process.
  • Decide whether to hang onto it or to let it go.
  • If you decide that you are done with that old hurt, drop the pebble or throw it far away.
  • If you decide you are not done with it, that you might still need it to keep distance between you and the other person whom it involves, then put it back in your backpack. You can always take it out again later.
  • Look for other pebbles that you might be done with.
  • Rest and be grateful for your accomplishments. Every pebble you remove is one less you have to carry – for the rest of your life.
  • Each time you let go of a pebble, you strengthen your forgiveness muscle. It’ll allow you to do bigger pebbles and rocks over time. My friend had been working on his forgiveness muscle for a long time before he was able to let go and forgive those bullies, and he didn’t do it alone. Be patient and gentle with yourself.

2. Know that there is also another backpack of pebbles that you carry. It contains all the pebbles of the times when you have been hurtful to others. The process of acknowledging your wrongdoing and forgiving yourself is similar. In addition you may need to make amends, ask for forgiveness, and find a better way to interact with that person if they are still in your life. You may need to set boundaries. Whether or not the other person forgives you does not matter. All you can do is your part. They have to deal with their own backpacks.

3. Find comfort in your growth and your ability to do things – things, which you couldn’t do before. Know that each time you do something you couldn’t do before, it may carry over into other aspects of your life. Now other things may become easier as well. Think of it as training to lead the full life of your dreams.

Taking it Farther:

In my experience you will get to a point where the pebbles and rocks are just too big to handle without the expertise and tools of a trained person: a coach, a therapist, a counselor, an energy healer. I regularly work with people who help me empty my backpack. Whatever modalities you choose, find those that work for the problem you are trying to heal. Sometimes a combination works best. A hammer works best with a nail, a saw solves a different problem, but you cannot build a house with only one tool. – Now, forward this to your friends.

If you feel ready, share this tip with the people in your life with whom you are ready to throw away the pebbles between you.

Contact me:

Want help? I’m here for you. Tired of struggling? Get relief! Get coached to help you get unstuck and take your life to the next level – starting now! Ready to get started? Call Edith at 847.913.3900

Fear – Gratitude for your Fears?

Fear – Gratitude for your Fears?

How do you deal with fear?

Today’s Theme: Fear

You are afraid. Feel it.
What are you afraid of? How does that protect you? How does it get in your way? Does it stop you from acting? Do you have any phobias? Are there thoughts that keep you paralyzed, tasks or people you avoid at all cost? Things you get angry about?

The book “The Gift of Fear” was very enlightening to me. I started to see fear from a new perspective. In one example they had interviewed rape and abduction survivors. Pretty universally, the women had a “creepy feeling” about that “nice stranger” who helped them with carrying their groceries and insisted on bringing them into the apartment or car, …. But they ignored that feeling. And they got hurt – life-alteringly.

So – first of all – fear is your friend.

Story – Sink or Swim

My sincere thanks to Fran for suggesting that I share her story.

My very dear friend Fran is a swimmer! Now! She just said it the other day. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard her say that. She was elated when she said it. And I am elated for her.

See – for the first 1/2 century of her life Fran had wanted to learn to swim. She took lessons. She made sure her kids had lessons and learned to swim. She, on the other hand, became more and more frustrated and afraid of the water. When they taught her to float, she would sink. She also has curvature of the spine and it affects how she feels her legs and how they respond differently from what she thinks she feels. She was right to fear the water. It was not a safe environment for her. There was a lot to overcome.

For probably the first ten years of our friendship I didn’t even know that Fran wanted to learn to swim. Then one day we talked about my daughter and I being featured on the NBC Weekend Today Show for the 35th anniversary of Title IX: mother and daughter – swimmer and diver, both on university teams. I shared with Fran how I taught my kids to swim very early. My youngest could already swim under water when he was still using a pacifier. When I’ve taught swimming, I’ve always gravitated to the most difficult and fearful students. —- So we, Fran and I, hatched a plan.

And the rest is history. Today, and for the rest of her life, Fran is a swimmer! She loves to swim!

Call to Action and Why This Matters

Do you have a deep desire? Is fear stopping you from attaining something you truly want? May be, like Fran, you have tried and tried, and failed and failed, and almost given up? Don’t give up. Keep looking for the right kind of help. You can do it!

For Fran swimming is now her favorite exercise. It doesn’t feel like a workout. It feels like play and she loves it. Here is how she got there:

1. Get help you trust: She needed an expert whom she trusted. Someone who cared and had only her best interest at heart. She was frustrated with her lack of progress once we started her lessons. But I knew she was on the right path and let her know that.
2. Feel Safe: She progressed very slowly at first to make her feel safe in the water: using float belts, going only in as deep as she felt she could risk it, clinging to the wall. I was standing right beside her all the time. There was no judgment, only encouragement.
3. Get Curious: Start playing, get curious, moving and feeling the resistance of the water, how it affected her movements. Differences of moving on land and in water: learning and feeling, playful curiosity.
4. Courage: As she got more comfortable over a period of months, she was able to get in the water without me. It took great courage the first time she went to the pool without me. She told the lifeguard to watch out for her in case she got into trouble. She was afraid and yet she knew she was now safe enough to take that next step.
5. Persistence: As time went on, Fran found other teachers. Many were able to help her progress in different ways. Some didn’t work out.
6. Confidence: She developed the confidence to keep going and the knowing that she could learn to swim – despite setbacks.
7. Repeat: Along the way there were other fear hurdles to overcome. Other things to do to feel safe, get curious, and courageous steps to take.

What would you like to be able to do? Who can help you get started – safely?

Taking it Farther

• We respond in different ways to fear:

  • Try to ignore it – may be at our own peril
  • Fight: get angry (hiding fear behind anger is very common)
  • Flight: run away from it, avoid it
  • Freeze: paralyzed with fear; fading into the woodwork; being a wall flower; being invisible; lack of action; procrastination; indecisiveness

What’s your preferred way of dealing with fear?

• Realize that fear has kept you safe from real or perceived harm. Fear is your friend.
Learn about fear. One of the books I recommend: “The Gift of Fear”.

• Get very clear on something you really want. Going beyond fear, shifting from fear to curiosity, are “muscles” that take time to develop. Start with something small or something you have a deep desire to achieve. Having a deep desire will help you through the times when you want to give up.

• Whatever you want to achieve, do it with someone, get support from someone who cares deeply about you and wants you to succeed.

There are also the seemingly “irrational fears”. — There is so much more I could share with you.

Contact me

Want more help? I’m here for you. Tired of holding yourself back? Get support. Call to get yourself into a coaching program. Have questions? Call to get answers. Edith at 847.913.3900

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