I have a real problem with fear. I find myself paralyzed at times because I’m so afraid of all the things that could go wrong. Sometimes I can’t make a decision because I’m so worried about making a mistake. This fear is affecting my business and holding me back in life. Do you have any suggestions to help me overcome this?
Every moment of your life, you are facing the unknown around the next corner. There is a 50/50 chance that what awaits you is terrible, but there is also a 50/50 chance things will be better than they are today. So why do you assume the worst?
Remember that the unknown is called the unknown for a reason — you don’t know what it is. Borrowing pain from the unknown future and suffering over it today is a pointless waste of energy.
Standing in this place, facing the unknown, you only have two choices. You can spend today afraid that tomorrow will be bad, which will make you anxious, distracted and selfish (because you can’t focus on others when you are in fear). Or you can spend today in trust that tomorrow will be great, which will make you calm, optimistic and loving today.
Your choice will not affect what will happen tomorrow.
The unknown will be, what it is meant to be, either way.
But your choice will greatly affect the quality of today.
Choosing to be optimistic would be a lot more fun, and optimistic people tend to live longer.
A study done at the University of Pittsburgh showed that optimistic people were 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease than pessimists, and 14 percent less likely to die from any other disease.
Bottom line, being optimistic is good for you.
If you struggle with getting your pessimistic attitude out of the way, this is how I recommend you do it:
1. Decide what you believe about life. Is life a classroom or a testing center? Are you here to prove your worth or are you here to learn and grow? It can’t be both. This journey is either a test designed to trick you, tempt you and possibly crush you or it is a safe process where the universe is on your side and helping you grow.
I believe the journey is about growing and learning. I believe it is a divine process designed just for me to facilitate my growth. I believe every experience that shows up in my life is there to help me become better. I believe the universe is on my side, and even when bad things happen, they are still there for my benefit. I believe that even if I fail on occasion, those failures will serve me. I believe life is a classroom, and my value isn’t on the line here.
Because I choose to see life this way, I’m not scared of mistakes or failures. I know I will recover and things will be okay. I trust the process of life, and this takes away my fear of the unknown.
2. Choose to believe there is a net. Life is like a walk across a tight wire. It appears to be risky and dangerous. Sometimes we are scared we are going to fall or fail and that everything will be lost. We often struggle to find our balance and stay upright. The question is, is there a net?
Every time I’ve been to the circus and watched someone walk the wire, there has been a big net underneath them the whole time. It may have looked scary, but they were never in any danger.
I believe you have a net.
Your life might look and feel scary, but you are not in any danger. Life is a classroom designed to facilitate your learning — so you can’t fail at it. There is a net, or plan, or purpose that makes this journey a safe one and means your value is not on the line. (Take a minute and think about your personal spiritual beliefs. Are they consistent with this idea? Mine are.)
I recommend that you make this your official policy on life. Officially decide to see the process of life as a safe one. Officially decide to see life as a classroom, not a test. Officially decide to feel safe because there are no mistakes, only lessons.
Or you can spend every day in fear and anxiety, if you want to.
Some people are going to read this article (as they always do) and in the comments section they are probably going to tell me I’ve got my head in the clouds because life is a cruel mean place and bad things happen and you have every right to be afraid.
I will give them this — I cannot prove there’s a net and this journey is a safe one, but they can’t prove it isn’t.
Think about it.
I think you get to choose what you believe. You get to decide how you want to experience your life. You can experience every day in fear or you can choose trust.
I choose to trust there’s a net.
(Some days you will have to make this choice every 5 minutes, but you can do it.)
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
The spark has gone from our marriage and there is growing resentment between us. I love my wife and I want to make our relationship better. Do you have any suggestions?
You can reignite the love in your relationship, but it is going to require some work, commitment and effort on both sides. Here are some suggestions that can get you started:
1) Get some professional help. Repairing this relationship would be easier if you involve a professional who knows exactly how to do it. If your car breaks down, you go to a mechanic. You need someone who can help make this repair faster.
2) Give more than you get. Most couples who come for coaching both say the same thing, “My spouse doesn’t make me feel loved.” The man usually feels unwanted and the woman usually feels unappreciated. The solution is making it your number one goal, every day, to make sure your spouse feels adored, admired, appreciated, loved and wanted. You must be committed to this behavior because it is the kind of person you have decided to be. It must be your policy and procedure all the time.
3) You must forgive each other for being less than perfect. Remember that you are not perfect either. You may not have made the same mistakes your spouse has made, but have made plenty of other ones. You are both works in progress (students in the classroom of life). You must give your spouse permission to be an imperfect, struggling, scared, divine, amazing human being in process, just like you.
4) Show your spouse more respect. Make amends for past wrongs, include your spouse in decisions, and never compare them with anyone else.
5) Listen more. Ask more questions and do more listening than talking. Ask permission before saying what you think, or giving advice. Validate, honor and respect your spouse’s right to think and feel the way they do, even if you don’t agree.
6) Show more appreciation. Let your actions speak louder than words. Do unexpected acts of service. Tell your spousethank you every time they do anything right, or even when they made an effort. Drown them in gratitude.
7) Work on yourself. Put some effort into exercise and looking your best, but even more important, work on your self-esteem. Confidence is super attractive, insecurity isn’t. Don’t make it your spouse’s job to make you feel good, it’s your job to feel good about you! People who are constantly improving themselves usually have good marriages.
8) Be a happy, fun person. It should be fun to be married to you. Find some common interests and do fun activities together often. Make sure there is laughter in your home and it’s a fun place to be.
9) Talk about your relationship regularly and ask your spouse how you can do better. Your relationship is a living thing and must be tended to and developed. You should read marriage books together, attend classes or get some coaching. Make this relationship a priority.
10) Get intentional about intimacy. Intimacy must be an expression of love for your spouse, not a way to get what you want or need. This must start with flirting and affection outside the bedroom. Then you should make time to be alone together.
Cameo Haag, says, “Do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of, whenever it happens … it happens. Become intentional about intimacy. Wash the sheets, get some dim lighting, put on some soft music so you can get in the mood. As women we can fall into the trap of feeling unattractive and non-sexual. Intentional thoughts and actions will awaken this part of us, and then we will prime ourselves to be present and engaged in intimacy.” You can read more from Cameo atwww.sexlessmarriagenomore.com
Your marriage can be the most painful or the most wonderful part of your life. If you have pain and resentment between you, please don't wait any longer to get some help. Things can improve if both of you are willing to work at it, and it's often easier than you think.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing self-esteem and writing personal policies and procedures for a happier life.
SALT LAKE CITY — Life is a complicated and messy endeavor. In LIFEadvice, Life Coach Kim Giles is here to help you with simple, principle-based solutions to the challenges you face. Coach Kim will empower you to get along with others and become the best you.
I just realized that my teenage daughter has been looking at porn online. I am very upset by this — but I really want to handle it the right way. I have no idea what the right reaction to this is. Do you have a suggestion that would help?
First of all, don’t react. When you react, you will always do so from a place of fear instead of love. It is very important (when dealing with another person about anything) that you make a clearly thought out, conscious choice about how you want to handle the situation, and that response must be based in love.
The following process — for thinking out your options — is one you can use to find an appropriate response to any situation that shows up in your life.
You should get out a piece of paper and write down exactly what happened that upset you. Then write down some of your options when it comes to responding. Then, you should identify which of those options are based in fear and which are based in love.
Remember, fear-based responses don't work because they are focused on you, cast the other person as a bad person which makes them defensive, and make the other person feel unloved and undervalued. You must choose a love-based response which keeps the focus on them, is without judgment, and makes them feel loved and valued in the end.
Here are some of your options in this case:
1) You can let her know you are really disappointed in her and get quiet and cold towards her for a while, to get the point across. This is an immature, manipulative, fear-based response. Your cold shoulder is making it very clear that you see her as worse than you, and this kind of behavior will destroy any relationships of trust and respect you had. It is also a selfish approach which sends a message loud and clear that your love is conditional.
2) You can get angry — blow up, yell, take away privileges, lecture and respond emotionally. This kind of response is, again, all about your fears. I get it that you are scared. You are afraid that your child will get into trouble, stray from the right path in life or become a bad person — and all of this would reflect badly on you or trigger your fear of loss. But if you make this about your fear, your child will resent you for it. This kind of response will also take her focus off the issue (that she is curious about sex and looking for answers) and make it all about mom and dad being mean.
You will also remain in the dark about what is really going on with your child, because this response creates a place where your child will never open up about her thoughts and feelings and why this happened in the first place. A fear-based reaction will put a giant wedge in the relationship.
The other problem with taking away privileges and punishing her is it won’t stop the behavior. If she wants to look at pornography, she will have many opportunities to do so when you aren’t around. So trying to force good behavior on her won’t really work. You must handle this in a way that will help her decide this behavior isn’t right for her so she won’t do it, even when you aren’t around.
3) You could have a mutually validating conversation with her. Before you have this conversation, you could check your fear at the door. You could make a conscious decision to see her as the same as you — a struggling, scared but divine, amazing human being in process, learning and growing every day. You can give her permission to be human, make mistakes and be less than perfect, and still deserve your love and respect. You must not come from a place of judgment and see her as less than you.
Then, you could set your thoughts and feelings aside upfront, and ask questions and listen to her. You can learn important things about your children when you listen more than talk. You must ask questions about what she thinks and feels about porn and her experience with it, and just listen without responding.
You must make sure the number one goal of this conversation is making sure she knows you love her, value her and think she is an amazing and good person. Anything other than this objective is about you. (Plus, the best way to encourage good behavior is to let someone see that you see the best in them.)
You might ask her questions about her curiosity and let her know everyone at her age feels this way. You can ask her how she felt when she looked at the pictures. What she thinks about porn and why it might be dangerous? The more questions you ask — which give her the opportunity to express exactly what you were going to tell her anyway — the better.
After you have really listened to her and she feels understood and loved, you could ask if she would be open to hearing your concerns about porn. You can explain why you don’t view it — why you think it creates unrealistic expectations of sex and can even become addictive. This is your chance to share your values and why you have decided to live that way.
You must help her to see why she should choose not to view it anymore for herself. The only way the behavior will stop is if she decides it isn’t right for her. This way she won’t do it, even when you aren’t around.
Once you have clearly defined your options, cross out the ones based in fear and choose a love-based approach.
There is a great article in Psychology Today that has some suggestions for setting limits and rules around media exposure, since kids today are exposed to more sex in media than ever before. It is important to use parental controls and set limits with your kids.
I realize that the love-based approach I just described requires a great deal of maturity, wisdom, love and compassion — but you can do it!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.