Can you give me some advice on how to put the past behind me and move forward? I’m haunted by the mistakes I’ve made and how they have hurt my family. Is it possible to let them go and feel good again?
Imagine your life as a road trip. On this road trip there are high points and low points. Some of the experiences are fun, some are scary and others are miserable. Each of these experiences is a location on your journey through life.
These experiences do not define who you are. They are just places you've been. Just because you spent time traveling through Texas doesn’t make you a Texan. Texas was a location on your journey; it is not who you are.
The thing you must understand about your past is that each experience — each location you visited — has brought you to where you are today. Each experience taught you things.
Some experiences taught you about who you don't want to be now. Some showed you options in human behavior and the consequences of those options. Each experience served a divine purpose in your life.
You must embrace what each location taught you, and understand that you are not there anymore. You are a different person now. The person you are today wouldn’t make the choices you made then (though that is partly because of what you learned from making those choices the first time).
You cannot change the past, nor should you want to. Your journey taught you perfect lessons. But you can refuse to let your past define you now. You left Texas and you aren’t going back.
Now, in this place, you get to choose who you want to be today. Here are a couple suggestions for putting the past behind you:
This is the key to a successful and happy life. Examine the past, understand it and learn from it. Then, leave it in the past and move forward. Put the lessons to work by making better choices today.
Choose to see the past as a location on your road trip; do not let it define who you are. If you see experiences accurately, you will be grateful for the lessons and empowered to be a better you.
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 Clarity: seeing yourself, others and situations accurately.
I've been going through a lot and I’m afraid I’m headed for a breakdown. I've been trying so hard to keep it together, but I'm a mess. I'm so worn down, I cry almost every day. Any advice for me?
A breakdown may be just what you need.
A breakdown is defined as the loss of ability to function. A breakdown is life’s way of saying that what you’re doing isn’t working and you need to make some changes. It is a sign that some of the things you thought were true may not be. A breakdown is your chance to begin again, question your assummptions, learn some new things and live your life in a different way.
Sometimes a breakdown is necessary to get your attention. You may hold onto your bad habits and poor relationship skills forever, thinking that if you keep doing these things long enough, they will eventually work. It often takes a breakdown before you are forced to change your ways.
This is not a fun place to be, though, and it's okay to shed some tears. You may need what behavior therapists call a “pre-learning temper tantrum.” So, take a minute and kick and scream with frustration about being here if you need to. Afterward, put on your big kid pants and commit to the work of changing yourself.
Changing you will be the key to changing your life, and it’s not going to be an easy or painless process. There will be many more moments of sadness or discouragement along the way, but understand that some pain is not necessarily a bad thing.
Pain is just your subconscious mind trying to get your attention; you wouldn’t be as motivated to change yourself if it didn’t hurt a little.
It sounds to me like you're ready for a breakthrough. A breakthrough is defined as the act, result or place of surpassing an obstruction, and/or discovering something new.
Are you ready to learn something new and change yourself? Here are some ideas to get you started in that process:
1. Make sure you see yourself accurately.
Do you know who you are? Do you know that your value is infinite and absolute because you are a one-of-a-kind? Do you know that nothing you do or don’t do changes your value, because life is a classroom, not a testing center? Can you trust that you are right on track in your personal process of growing and learning? Do you realize you are bulletproof and nothing anyone else says or does can diminish you?
If not, get some expert help from a counselor or coach who can help you internalize these truths and improve your self-esteem. You might also read some self-help books or talk to other people who have turned breakdowns into breakthroughs and find out what they learned. Seeing yourself accurately is an important first step.
2. Make sure you see other people accurately.
If life is a classroom, then the people in your life are there for a specific reason: to help you become a better person. In order to teach you things, they are going to push your buttons, tick you off and let you see your faults and insecurities. This is what they are supposed to do — get used to it.
The question is, what are you supposed to learn from having this person in your life? What is dealing with them showing you about yourself?
Can you see that the people in your life are scared, struggling human beings, just like you? Can you see that their bad behavior is not about you, but about their own fears about themselves?
Could you choose to see their bad behavior as a request for love? That is truly what it is. Could you choose to take the high road and be more loving, not because they deserve it, but because it’s the type of person you want to be?
3. Make sure you see your situation accurately.
If life is a classroom, then every situation is a lesson. If this situation is a lesson, then you are meant to find the solution. If you keep at it, you will find the answer.
You may need some help, though. Talk to friends, family members, or a counselor or coach about what’s happening, and ask them to help you see what you might be missing. Stay open and don’t be afraid of accepting your mistakes or learning new things.
There are so many life, relationship and communication skills out there which you haven’t discovered yet. There is an infinite supply of knowledge about happy, successful living. This information could better your life and take away some of your pain.
I recommend you listen to the universe and seek out some new life skills.
You can do this.
This feeling of discouragement and hopelessness won’t last. Just don’t give up.
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 improving self esteem.
I have a big problem with fear in social situations. I don’t feel comfortable and I worry way too much about what other people think of me. I have been trying to figure out why I’m so scared, and I’ve been trying not to feel this way, but it’s not working. Any advice for overcoming these fears?
Yes, and this is an easy fix.
Let me answer this with an analogy:
The No. 1 rule of race car driving, according to the "Canada’s Worst Drivers" reality TV show, is to "look where you want to go." You will always head toward where you look.
So, if you are looking at a hazard like a light pole or a parked car, you are very likely to hit it. Instead, focus your gaze on the empty space where you want to go. When you do this, your car will automatically head in that direction.
(There is a great little clip on YouTube with a professional driver who explains this concept and how it works.)
The reason this applies to you is that your subconscious mind will always follow your focus. You will automatically head for whatever you focus on. If you continue to focus on your fear, trying to understand it and overcome it, you are just going to experience more fear.
Instead, you should focus on the opposites of fear, which are love and trust.
Let me explain why: Fear is a selfish place where your focus is only on you. Love is an unselfish place where you have the ability to focus on other people. Trust (or faith) is a sense of safety, where fear is the feeling of not being safe. You can actually choose to feel safe any time you want. You can choose to believe your value isn’t on the line. You can choose to feel bulletproof and know that nothing anyone says or thinks about you can actually diminish you.
Imagine Superman, standing in the street while bank robbers shoot bullets at him. Superman would just stand there are smile. They can shoot at him all they want, and it won’t hurt him a bit. He’s bulletproof.
You are bulletproof, too. No matter what anyone thinks or says about you, you are the same you. They really can't hurt you.
Feeling bulletproof is not something you gain through experience or education; it’s an attitude you choose, and you can choose it anytime you want. If you have been used to living in fear all the time, though, it may seem next to impossible to just choose to feel safe. But it is possible. You can do it.
You just need some practice.
The best remedy for social anxiety is to practice choosing love and trust right before you walk in, wherever you go. Choose to trust that your value is infinite and absolute. There is no person or situation that can hurt or diminish you. No matter what happens here, you are the same you. You are bulletproof.
Choose to trust the Universe that whatever happens in this situation, it is what’s meant to happen. Whatever happens will be the perfect next lesson you need to learn in the classroom of your life.
You are safe in this, process because everything that happens is there to teach you something and help you grow. This situation is no exception. It will be whatever it’s meant to be and you are safe, no matter how it turns out.
Choose to focus on love for the other people who will be there. Choose to spend your time and energy focused on making them feel valued and appreciated. Ask lots of questions and show them you care by listening to them. Be so busy making other people feel comfortable that your own insecurities disappear.
This works because fear cannot exist where there is love and trust.
Think of fear as the darkness, and love and trust as the light. You can shine light into a dark room, but you cannot shine darkness into a light room. Where there is light (love and trust), darkness (fear) cannot exist.
If you could make the conscious choice to feel bulletproof and to focus your attention on love for other people, your fears will disappear.
So don’t focus on the fear, focus where you want to go. Focus on being the love and living in trust.
You can do this.
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 self esteem and restoring hope.
I have been trying to change some of my bad habits, because I know I can do better than I am currently doing, but I’m not having much success changing myself. I seem very stuck in my old ways. Can you give me some advice on changing myself?
Many people struggle with changing themselves, and it’s easy to understand why. We, as human beings, are often change resistant. Many of our bad habits are deeply planted, subconscious programs that were learned in childhhod and were reinforced in our upbringing. Some were even passed down to us through genetics. These programs can take time to rewrite.
The fact that you are aware of the bad habits and have a desire to change them is the first important step. You have moved from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence. You may still behave badly, but now, you are keely aware of it. This first step, though crucial to the process of change, can be discouraging.
The next step in the process of changing yourself will be forcing yourself to behave differently (moving to conscious competence). If you commit to a new behavior and keep practicing it, eventually it will become your new subconscious habit (unconscious competence).
Here are a few unique ideas that may help you in that process:
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 self esteem and changing your life.
I have been with a man for three years. I really love him, but there is a lot of fighting in our relationship. I’ve tried to get him to change and to some degree he has, but there are times he still treats me badly. The thing is, there are other times when he is really wonderful. How long do I hang on, forgive him and try to make this work? When is behavior bad enough that I should walk away?
It depends on what kind of behavior we are talking about. If the behavior is inappropriate or abusive and he refuses professional help, you should probably leave the relationship now.
I am going to give you three categories of relationship “fighting” behavior, along with some suggestions for dealing with each. You definitely need to know what behavior is unacceptable behavior and grounds for leaving, and what would be considered normal.
Everyone has disagreements, but you must be able to have mature, rational conversations about these disagreements. You should feel safe and respected and, ideally, it should be you and your partner against the problem, not against each other.
Here are the three "fighting" behavior categories:
1. Garden-variety bad behavior caused by fear and stress, which you could choose to ignore.
Most of these offenses you should let go, without even bringing them up to your partner. No one is perfect and everyone will have a bad day on occasion, snap, lose their temper or say something stupid. When your partner offends you with this kind of behavior, don’t make a big deal about it. Forgive them and let it go. You will forgive them because you want your small “mess-ups” to be forgiven too. If you bring up every little thing your partner does wrong, you will kill the relationship.
2. Bad behavior that happens too often and is hurtful, harsh or unkind should be brought up and worked through.
This behavior should not be ignored. This category includes unintentionally hurting your feelings, yelling on occasion, being inconsiderate or unkind, making jokes at your expense, or being unfair or selfish. If these behaviors show up, you should have a mutually validating conversation about them and ask your spouse to treat you differently in the future. (If your partner isn't willing to change these behaviors and refuses professional help, you may find yourself in category three.)
3. Bad behavior that should not be tolerated. Your partner is not changing his inappropriate behavior from Category Two, or his behavior has escalated to the behavior described below.
The following types of behavior are unacceptable:
The following relationship rules may also help:
Relationship Rule: If your partner’s bad behavior is something you can truly let go and forgive (never to think about or bring up again), then you should. If you are going to hold onto this offense and let it fester, building up resentment toward your partner, adding it to the growing laundry list of his faults, then you should bring it up and work through it.
Relationship Rule: You must bring up offenses in a mature and loving way. This should not be about proving your spouse is the bad guy or proving you are right. These conversations must be about improving your relationship because you love each other. (Read about having validating conversations in my article about getting your spouse to treat you better.) You should never attack your partner nor focus on just their past mistakes. Instead, focus on the different behavior you want to see in the future.
Relationship Rule: You must have validating conversations where each partner gets a chance to have his say, speak his truth and express his feelings without interruption. Both should feel that the other honors and respects their right to have their opinion, even if they disagree with it. Then together, the couple should create a win/win, compromise solution.
If you cannot find a win/win solution on your own, you could ask a third party to meet with you and help find a compromise. A religious leader, coach or counselor could help with that.
Relationship Rule: Needing some time and space to process and think things through is appropriate “fighting” behavior. Couples must have the right to call a “time out” and have that request honored. This is not about giving your partner the silent treatment or ignoring him; that is immature behavior. This is about calling a “time out” so you can calm down and get accurate in your thinking. Agree on a “time out” rule which both parties will honor.
In your case, it sounds like it might be time to move on, but only you are intitled to that answer. Listen to your inner truth and it will tell you what's right for you.
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 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.