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Emotional Independence, Self-Care

The Review of an Independent Woman

The independent woman is an interesting phenomenon. 

The complexity of her confidence and emotional stamina is highly attractive.  Some want to be her despite their fears. Some want to learn from her while others want to limit her.

The independent woman has failed to let her experiences define her.  She can speak to her past without the tears because she has faced her feelings.  She recognizes her flaws. 

She doesn’t subscribe to social constructs nor does she fit into any box. 

She is her own person with her own thoughts.  She is unique. She is confident and respects herself.  She is driven by the love she has for herself.  She is unapologetically herself.

  She knows her ‘why’. 

She seems to be a pro at being independent, but she was not always this way.  While she embraces her flaws and mistakes there are plenty out there who would be all too happy to share her bad decisions with anyone who will listen, and she won’t stop them.

She is the kind of woman that doesn’t seem to “need” anyone.  She seems to be able to not only manage her own problems but that of others.  She is heavily relied upon by those around her.

She motivates others with her perseverance. 

She inspires others with her words.  She attracts many on various levels, but she honors personal boundaries in order to preserve relationships. 

It is not the independent type doesn’t need others – we all need others in one fashion or another.  But the independent type knows how to make space for others, so they feel wanted.  They understand the value of relationships and the boundaries the bind them. 

The independent woman doesn’t lack need.

She has needs.  This is not to say that she is impersonating her independence.  But the independent woman know how to find the grove or momentum to pursue her goals.  She has found the light to shine on her path even when the direction is not clear.  And when the light is not so bright, she will feel her way through.  She has learned enough about herself to know when she needs to rely on herself and when she should rely on others.

The independent woman has a sense of self and has assigned it a specific value.

We all have this sense of self but to love and nurture it is a specific discipline.  Most will abuse, neglect, or ignore themselves in order to fit into a box created by others.  The independent woman doesn’t have a box and without the box there are no instructions. This can make troubleshooting with her more difficult when times get tough but she just becomes that much more intriguing. 

So, what do you do with the independent woman? 

How do you help her when you can see she is struggling even if she is not voicing her struggles? Ask her. Ask her the questions you think you know the answer to.  While you might know her independence you can still learn her needs.  There is a difference.

Self-Care

Health and healing

Nick and I take a deeper look at how Covid-19 has changed our world and what it has given to us all.

Nick

One thing the Covid19 pandemic has taught or reminded us is the profound relationship between physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and relational wellbeing. People across the world have barricaded themselves in (or, at times, been instructed to self-isolate – or else) to avoid the physical threat of a potentially deadly virus. The media hype that has accompanied the crisis has created an ever-more terrifying drama in which existential anxiety has turned to outright panic. ‘How can we find God in this?’, ‘Will our economies collapse?’, ‘What about my job?’, ‘Are we all going to die?’

The effects have been worst for the poorest people and communities in the world. The lockdown may have created a risk of real starvation that outweighs the risk of infection. For such people, life means hanging on by a thread. Reaching out to God is a daily, essential, way of solace, sense-making and survival. It puts our worries about empty supermarket shelves into humbling and challenging perspective. The recovery post-virus will take time, care and support. Many have faced their darkest fears and find themselves weakened, damaged and hurting. Healing at all levels will be needed soon.

Tara

Sadly, for some, the isolation posed by Covid-19 has further-darkened domestic prisons. Since the order to self-isolate, we hear of an increased number of cases of suicides, domestic violence and child abuse. Experts say the cause is a lack of access to social provision and support systems. Even access to the help of loved ones was reduced by efforts to ‘flatten the curve’. Others experienced little change to their daily activities, other than rolling out-of-bed to walk a few feet to their home office. Some didn’t have to roll out of bed at all, if they were on furlough. Amazing how an event can impact on billions in such a way that its identity can be recognized everywhere by a single name.

As the push to re-open the global economy begins, we must know that our personal experience with this pandemic is distinctive in its physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and relational impacts – yet it’s collective ashes we all must rise from. How we heal from the viral setback will depend on our own identity and locus of power. For some, healing cannot be done alone. We must be willing to help each other heal by extending a hand to those in need.  We must continue to connect in ways that may feel far-fetched, or old-fashioned.  If Covid-19 has given anything positive, it is a new appreciation of how we need one-another to withstand such forces and thrive, despite the pain.

Nick Wright is a psychological coach, trainer and organisation development (OD) consultant, based in the UK (www.nick-wright.com). Tara Parker is a change agent, organization development (OD) consultant and soft skills coach, based in the USA (www.elegantdiscourse.net).

Uncategorized

Healing: The Overlooked Process

As I sit here, a recently experiencing major surgery, I realize how interesting the healing the process is and how it is overlooked.  The process I am going through reminds me how much we underestimate the time needed to completely heal before moving on to a new normal.  Think of the last time you skinned your knee and the event that caused it.  Did you pay mind to the amount of time it would take for the wound to heal?  Or did a simple bandage make everything better allowing you to continue along your merry way?  Surely the trauma from falling was minute posing no mental concern resulting in a minor injury that would heal quickly, quietly, and on its own.

That is the best experience when it comes to healing: “quickly, quietly, and on its own.” Turns out that may not be the best thing for all injuries.  Not all wounds are the result of child’s play. As emotional humans we take on different levels of injury. Some of these injuries we seek out such as a scheduled major surgery.  Some injuries are out of our control but pose no less danger to our health or life.  Other injuries we just don’t seem to know how to avoid because mentally, we’re not healthy enough to know what to look out for.  What’s worse?  We don’t know our mental health is slightly compromised because we generally look “okay” – though, deep down, we may suspect otherwise.

As I sit here at my desk, you would not know that I am injured. You would not know the injuries I have are from a scheduled surgery.  You would not know I am healing and working rather hard to do so (ouch, by the way!).  I am presenting myself as I do any other day.  One could say I have applied the bandage that makes everything “better”.  However, inside, I am sore.  I am incredibly tired.  I am incapacitated to a degree that prevents me from household chores due to my medical restrictions.  To look at me though, I look as healthy as a horse until you see my eyes.  To look at my eyes it would be easy to see something is not right.  I need help.

Upon this observation one might be tempted to ask if I am okay.  This is where I would tell you that despite the level of the procedure I had, “I am fine.”

You should take that statement with a grain of salt no matter who says it.

Some injuries are not visible to the naked eye.  Some are not visible on the body, at all.  Some traumas are such that they cause injury to the mind where healing can be the most difficult. The issue is that mental sores are not the easiest to talk about much less ask details for.  Which is why sometimes when we are uncomfortable with the trauma others have experienced, we avert our eyes to “not get involved”.   I find this interesting as most would rather look on or get involved with a physical trauma than a mental one.  I suppose it is difficult to receive the designation of “hero” if others cannot see you assess the trauma.

This is why it is important to realize the healing process, at the mental level, takes no less time than a physical one.  While the injury cannot be immediately seen nor is there obvious signs of trauma such as bandages, the injury is there all the same.  It should receive the same level of care and time as any other injury. This is not to say mental injuries, such as divorces, abuse, or failures should be milked until all parties are exhausted but there could be a level of exhaustion experienced from maneuvering yourself through the emotions you feel even if you have a guide, like a counselor, to help you.  This is what makes the healing process a learning process, as well.

Give yourself time to heal no matter the trauma or the injury.   The healing process is designed to allow yourself the space to explore the feelings (mental or physical) associated with the stress so that you can get past them.  If not, expect them to rear their ugly head repeatedly until you do.  If you don’t allow yourself to heal completely you hold yourself back postponing any opportunity to get better and be better.

What injuries were the hardest to heal from?  Are you completely healed?

Emotional Independence, Self-Care, Uncategorized

8 Ways To Make Yourself Irresistible To Men

Being irresistible to a man is a matter of knowing yourself and loving every inch of you – inside and out.

 

There are few things that feel as incredible as that sensation of being sexy, desired…irresistible! Walking down the street receiving inappropriate cat-calls or shopping in the mall and watching heads turn…yeah, maybe we call them out as pigs but quite honestly, you know it is a pretty good feeling to be rubbernecked.

There is a lot to be said about being irresistible. Course, many women might have more to say about not being irresistible and this is where is I may be able to help. After being divorced a time…or two…I have figured out what it is about women that others find irresistible.

Let’s start from the top!

1. Confidence! Men, the secure ones who are not easily threatened, are attracted to women who have confidence. Being proud of you – flaws and flawlessness! If you don’t have a problem with you that will grab his attention and make you interesting! Men, real men, love a secure woman.

2. Positive Attitude! Guys are not into the Negative-Nancy types out there. Guys find happiness an irresistible trait. Life sucks sometimes but when you can take the rollercoaster like a champ, rather than be that “woe is me” type, you will attract the kind of partner that will want to ride that roller coaster beside you!

3. Accept Your Body! We don’t all look like Victoria’s Secret models and most men realize that there are better chances of playing for their favorite NFL team than scoring a Vic’s Secret wiry beauty. (Many guys are happy just to see a girl naked and I cannot tell you how many guys have shared this with me.) Most of the guys you know don’t have a perfectly ripped bod either – so you have nothing to worry about. Work with what ya got and you’ll wrap him up in it!

4. Be Yourself! Guys have a “bullsh*t meter” that works like a charm and he will listen to it.  If you are putting on a show he will see right through you and be disappointed.  We all enjoy a good first impression but be genuine about who you are.  You don’t have to introduce your struggles within minutes of meeting but you don’t have to hide them as though you are ashamed. There is a good place and time to share your past and you’ll know it when it shows up.

5. Check Your Emotions! Men do like to see the vulnerable side of you and they want the opportunity to provide you with that feeling of security and safety. This means it is okay to show them when you are hurting or having a hard time; just don’t milk it because you are getting his attention! There are few things sexier than an occasional damsel in distress but when you are the one putting yourself in that emotional tower repeatedly he will stop asking for you to throw down your hair,

6. Respect him! Be snarky, quick-witted, clever and witty – that is hot! BUT, don’t turn your jokes and snippy whip-its in his direction all the time!!! After a while, he will read them as you talking him down and you lose points in irresistibility. Take your shots but take them wisely and when he has earned them. It is one thing if you are keeping up with him, and the boys, but when he is the constant “big butt” of your “small” jokes you open yourself up as a similar target losing that irresistible edge.

7. Don’t Become the Ball and Chain! Give him some space to be with his buddies and expect the same in return. He is into you because you are an individual with your own interests. Don’t be the girl he complains to his buddies about rather be the girl he has to brag to his boys about. Don’t be the girl he has to babysit or be involved with every moment of every day. Space is sexy because as the saying goes, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.” Which leads to the final thing that will make you irresistible…

8. Play Hard To Get!!! Men are hunters. They like the chase. They like to work for their goals. They like to feel accomplished when they win you over, repeatedly. This is where the work comes into play because you have to know what works for him and what works for you. Don’t ignore him but respect yourself enough to continue to be you and leave him wanting more.

Being irresistible to him is a matter of knowing yourself and loving every inch of your body – inside and out. Healthy relationships are made of two individuals that enjoy one another – not become the other. If you feel you have to become him to gain his attention he is not into you…he is into him. Respect yourself and he will too – if he is the right one.

You can be irresistible – the moment you choose to be! Trust me, I know.

(Originally posted on divorcedmoms.com a few years ago.)
Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence

5 Ways To Disarm a Narcissist And Save Your Sanity

The best way to disarm a narcissist is to be in complete control of your emotions – far easier said than done but it can be done. 

There is no doubt that each of us has a narcissist in our life; that person that just can’t seem to see past the end of their nose. While many of us are able to experience the world around us and find a way to deal with the ups and downs handed out, narcissists tend to keep their surroundings very well controlled. Whatever they can’t control they blame others for.

This is what makes narcissists so difficult to work with. Even if you have a good argument and viable solution the narcissist will use his repertoire of ammo to put you down and make you the person at fault. It might be easy to think that we can just drop kick that person and move on with life but sometimes it is far easier said than done.

Narcissists aren’t people we choose to be in our lives they are just there. Quite frankly, sometimes we are stuck with a narcissist and, therefore, we must learn how to deal with him.

In order to do that, you need to know how to disarm the narcissist to make them a bit more tolerable.

Here are a few ideas to help you do just that…

1. Don’t fall for the temptation to sink to their level. Narcissists love a good fight and not because they are any good at arguing but they know how to push your buttons. By pushing your buttons you are tempted to verbally protect yourself. The narcissist needs for you to fight back because then you are the one who lost control. You are the bad guy. When he throws the first verbal judo chop it is on you, right? How do you get around that? Be cool. Don’t react to the emotions in the room. If you are not familiar with emotional intelligence get familiar with it. That will be your first defense in disarming your narcissist. It is important that you remain in control of your emotions, as the narcissist will not!

2. Don’t feed the ego. Surely, you have been to the zoo and see the signs to not feel the “wild” animals? Well, narcissists are much like those encaged wild animals. They seem fine behind a fence and that fence gives you a false sense of security. Don’t be fooled. You don’t feed the zoo animals because they can be quite unpredictable just as much as the narcissist except his “wild” side in his ego. Remember, narcissists have an impressive sense of self and when you throw numerous verbal praises at that ego you empower that unstable weak mind. As you feed his ego, he doesn’t hear praise; he hears how much better he is over you. If you don’t feed the bear, he won’t have the energy to attack your confidence later.

3. Don’t take responsibility for his emotions. If he is pissed let him be pissed. He will try to make you the martyr for his negative emotions. After a while, it might be a hell of a lot easier to accept that blame because it encourages him to stop but it tears at you from the inside out. Before you know it, you are offering to take the blame for him his emotions by doing everything he wants. Let him get happy in the same pants he got mad in – he will always get over it.

4. Don’t use ultimatums. No relationship should ever include an ultimatum – it is a form of control, which is why he will use them over and over again. If you don’t like something he is doing or you feel the need to use this to gain control you might have become just as toxic as he is.   Remember, your actions and words provide him immediate permission to do the same to you – even if that coin doesn’t flip both ways.

5. Don’t give him negative attention. Like emotional teenagers, narcissists enjoy attention. Positive attention is great for the narcissist but negative attention is crucial to their ability to hold you accountable. It is the unhealthy part of their thinking. Once you give them that negative attention they will hold it over your head. They need you to give them that negative attention as a means of lashing out and targeting you. If you are the closest person to the narcissist you are the consistent, most reliable target for receiving negative attention. It is this reason the narcissist will work for to make sure you stick around. After all, who else would put up with such…nonsense?

Narcissists rarely take responsibility for their emotions and yet they expect you to be accountable for yours. Your narcissist has worked hard to know what makes you tick, how to push your buttons and then how to convince you to stay. The best way to deal with a narcissist is to be in complete control of your emotions – far easier said than done but it can be done.   Give your emotional intelligence a quick look over and figure out how to use that to control yourself. The most important trick to disarming the narcissist is to control your emotions. Once you do that, you remove much of his armor and he is left to his own devices – which he knows the least about.

Self-Care

6 Thoughts On Keeping Those 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year where we head down that same ole path of “New Year New Me”.

Come February, we both know it will be back to “I really need to work out” but maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have seen articles about how to write resolutions and how to follow them. I have seen articles on how to let go of the need to make resolutions and instead do what feels right for you. These are all great and you should get excited about making some life changes in the New Year provided you are ready and not just trying to follow the crowd.

Maybe the New Year is a good time to work towards a new you but if you are not ready to commit to the process of making changes then the timing may not be good. Timing is a big factor in change but the biggest factor to making any change is making sure you are on board. If you have not sincerely bought into making any changes (be it New Years’ or any other time of year), the changes you are contemplating won’t ever be anything but a nice thought. Harsh, I know, but hang with me here.

So, how do you know if you are ready to make changes for the New Year?

Ask yourself the 6 following questions…

1. Are you being honest with yourself?

Have you chosen resolutions that you can realistically accomplish? Are you asking a lot or a little? Are you giving yourself the amount of time you need to be focused or lazy? Or are you jumping on the “New Year” bandwagon because that is what everyone else seems to be doing?

2. Have you done any research?

Just as technology changes and improves so does information – from weight loss to nutrition to psychology to fashion! Know what you are getting yourself into and do your research to learn about the changes you are taking on. Don’t “learn” from others as they may understand information differently than you.

3. Who will be impacted by your changes?

This is important. Your changes don’t just make a difference in your life but in the lives of those around you particularly those in your immediate inner circle – you know, those people that are allowed within 18 inches of your personal space. Your changes, be they physical or at a deeper level, have the ability to affect more than just you. If your changes are going to impose a great deal of change upon others you’ll need their buy-in as well. Your loved ones may not be looking to make changes for themselves though they should be willing to support you. Additionally, the sacrifices they may need to make for your changes should be reasonable.

4. What kind of support system do you have in place?

Your support system should be hand-picked friends or family who are aware of your goals AND your timeline. They should also know what is okay and not okay to say to you in order to help you be successful. Verbalize the words you need to hear from them and how they can approach you. Develop code words or some sort of system for when you need that extra kick in the rear to maintain your focus. 

5. What are you willing to sacrifice?

Depending on what you are looking to change you might have to be willing to sacrifice certain things or people in your life. This is a HUGE thing because this can turn emotionally unpleasant very quickly and make it hard to follow through on your resolutions. Making changes, taking on serious resolutions or accomplishing goals does not come without its losses along the way. This goes back to being honest with yourself and this may be when you learn more about you than at any other point in your journey. If you are not willing to give up this, that or, the other thing then you are not going to succeed. 

6. Can your income support the changes you want to make?

This seems silly to ask BUT depending on what your resolution is you may need to think about budgetary restraints and plan accordingly. Maybe your budget won’t be affected but you need to know this right off the bat. Don’t expect to dress like a Kardashian on a Ramen Noodles income or to acquire the body of a full-time athlete with only 30 minutes a day to workout.

Asking yourself these questions will help you determine how successful you will be at keeping your New Year’s resolutions. They may even help you define your goals further which can only increase your potential for success. As you venture down your New-Year-New-Me journey or any journey, remember to have compassion for yourself. Not only are you your biggest supporter but you can wind up as your own worst enemy. In order to avoid that, you will need to know how to forgive yourself for your failures and be willing to focus on your goal.

You can do it!

Emotional Independence, Self-Care

Trust

Yeah, well, Rose, I mean, you shouldn’t trust anyone completely.” – Dorothy Zbornak, Golden Girls

Trust seems like a simple concept: you either trust or you don’t. Right?

Recently, my son asked me if I trusted him.  We were in my car and he was at the wheel.  Perplexed, I asked him why he would me such a thing.  He said he just wanted to know.  So, I stopped and thought for a minute.  I looked at my son as he was driving my car.  After a few moments, I gave him an answer.  I told him that I trusted him in different ways.  I told him that I didn’t trust him to drive my car by himself, as he only had a learner’s permit and was still new to driving.  I told him that I trusted him to watch his younger sister overnight, if the need came up.  I told him I trusted him to manage his own homework and I trusted him with my finances.  I told him I didn’t trust him to perform surgery as he has a weak stomach.

He took a moment before telling me how much sense that made. 

Trust, like a diamond, has many sides that are not equal nor identical; this is what makes trust unique for each person. We may trust a colleague to review our work but not to have drinks with.  We may trust our significant other to be a financial partner but not load the dishes into the dishwasher.  We may trust ourselves to pick out a great pair of shoes but not with the box of sweets in the pantry.

The idea that trust can be so complex and multi-faceted is what makes it so difficult.  This can be why so many try to minimize trust to “do” or “don’t” categories.  Attempting to track all the layers of trust can make one crazy with anxiety.

Is it important to understand those layers?  After all, isn’t it just easier to put people into the “trust” or “don’t trust” box?  When we are talking about trust, aren’t we all talking about the important things?

It is easier to put people into the two types of trust boxes.  And some of us may only be referring to the important things when it comes to trust. The problem is that not all of us embrace the important things the same way. We often misunderstand communication or motives based on how those two polarizing boxes of trust are defined.

Bottom line, trust can be a scary and uncomfortable thing. The first person we need to be able to trust is ourselves. If we don’t trust ourselves, we will look to others to help with making decisions.  A lack of trust in ourselves can also lead to repetitive unhealthy behavior (we can talk about that more later).

So begs the question? Should you not trust anyone completely as the quote stays above?  Well, that is really up to you.  Do you honesty trust anyone completely?  Can you look at the layers of a relationship in your life and say with 100 percent confidence that you trust at least one person completely. 

You’ll need to define what trust means to you and how it interfaces with your emotions to answer that.

But, you can do it.