There are so many serious problems in our community and the world. Watching the news about puts me over the edge. The world is falling apart and I feel constant stress about it. It feels like the whole world is going down the drain. Why do all these bad things have to happen? How can I process all this and not let it affect me?
There are problems in the world, but you need to turn off the news and look at the larger picture. Statistics show the world is getting better, less violent, more healthy and more humane all the time. There are still more good people than bad and those good people are making a significant difference.
Don’t believe me?
I also want you to understand what really causes stress and fear. It is not the facts, the situations or the state of the world. It is not your bank account balance, your bills or your marriage problems. Stress and fear are not caused by external factors at all.
Stress and fear are caused by how you are thinking about all those factors and situations. They are internally created.
This is good news, because if you created them, you also have the power to change them. Here are a couple ways to start changing your thinking.
1. Understand your negativity bias. This refers to the fact that things of a negative nature (unpleasant thoughts, emotions, harmful or traumatic events) have a greater effect on your psychological state than do positive things. You basically enlarge the negative in your mind and discount the positive. We all do it.
Michel de Montaigne said this 500 years ago, “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”
Most of what you fear isn’t real or isn’t as big as you think it is. Most of your suffering is unnecessary and self-inflicted.
A powerful way to counter this is gratitude. Count your blessings and what’s right in your life (every day). This will remind you that the good always outweighs what’s wrong. Statistics even prove it. Studies have shown 85 percent of what you worry about won’t happen, and the 15 percent that does happen, you will handle better than expected and will teach you amazing lessons.
You might need to remind yourself of these facts daily.
2. Use the haunted house analogy to get accurate. In a haunted house, things (or people) who look scary are always jumping out in front of you. These things may initially scare you, but then you remind yourself it isn’t real and you calm right down. Most of the things you fear and stress about in your life right now aren’t going to be a problem either. You are just living in a haunted house.
It helps to remember who built this house you’re traveling through. God, in whose hands you safely lay all the time, built it. He built this house as your classroom and as such, it must provide some scary experiences, but the more you learn to trust the builder, the less fear you experience.
One of my favorite quotes from "The Course in Miracles" says, “No nightmare can defeat a child of God in his purpose.” Remember life was meant to look scary, but it is mostly a nightmare. Nothing God created can do anything but bless you at best and educate you at worst. The universe is literally conspiring to serve you.
3. Remember the real point and purpose for being here is to learn. Life is a classroom and every terrible experience comes with a lesson or a positive aspect. God is teaching us about both the light and the darkness. Bad experiences and horrific tragedies give each of us a chance to decide who we are going to be. When terrible things happen, there is usually an interesting increase of love in the world.
This week I’ve discovered a new depth of love for people in Paris and Beirut (people I don’t even know), and that love is deeper than I realized. We ache for those people, and it is a beautiful thing to feel the depth of our love for our fellow human beings. The reality of terrorism gives the opportunity to embrace the principles of peace in our religions and make a commitment to be tolerant of others.
You asked me why horrible things have to happen in this classroom.
My answer is, there is a reason, but most of the time, we aren’t supposed to know what it is.
We are better off not knowing. Right now you are truly, deeply bothered by these horrible events in the world, as you should be. If you understood the reason why this had to happen, if the mystery was solved and you got the answer, you might make peace with the horror of the situation. You might not be so appalled by it — and that would be even worse than what you are experiencing now.
Watching evil and not being moved by the horror of it, not questioning and feeling pain, would take away what makes you human.
Aron Moss wrote a wonderful article on this topic in which he explains, “Worse than innocent people suffering is others watching their suffering unmoved. And that's exactly what would happen if we were to understand why innocents suffer. We would no longer be bothered by their cry, we would no longer feel their pain, because we would understand why it is happening. When you have an explanation, the pain doesn't seem so bad anymore. We can tolerate suffering when we know why it is happening."
We are not meant to tolerate suffering and evil.
So the question isn’t why do bad things happen; it’s what do we do when horrific bad things happen?
We choose trust and love.
Trust God and the universe. They know what they’re doing. Choose to believe that even the things you can’t understand serve us somehow. Trust there are still more good people than bad, who are using all their creative powers to change things. Trusting brings peace.
Then, let these events make you a better, kinder and more loving person. Be one of the good people and use your creative energy to do good in the world. Instead of trying to answer unanswerable questions, turn your grief into a force for good in your home and community.
Speak out against injustice and cruelty more often. Love people more passionately and take action to alleviate suffering wherever you can.
Moss said, ”We don't really want answers, we don't want explanations, and we don't want closure. … We want an end to suffering ... but we [shouldn't] leave it up to God to alleviate suffering. … He is waiting for us to do it. That's what we are here for.”
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
I always read your articles and think they are great, but I’ve been hoping you would address guilt, which works on me much like worry. It hangs over me all the time and makes me feel like I’ll never be worth anything. Do you have advice for someone who is haunted by guilt?
Guilt is actually much worse than worry. Worry is at least about the future, a place where you have some control. Guilt is angst about the past, a place where you have no control and cannot change anything (which is why it produces such awful feelings of despair). You blew it and you can't fix it.
You only have two choices at this point. You can spend your days in regret wishing you could change the unchangeable, which is a waste of your time and energy. Or you can learn to forgive yourself and get focused on creating a better future. Obviously you should choose the latter, if you know how to do it.
Here are some secrets to finally making it happen:
Change the way you determine the value of a person
Every person on the planet has one inaccurate, subconscious belief, which causes more trouble than any other. It is the belief that your value as a person is changeable. This would mean you can earn more value through your appearance, performance or what other people think of you, and you can also lose value if you fail in those areas.
This an idea which most of us have accepted as truth and it leads us to seeing some people as “better” than others and creates a terrible fear of failing. It makes life feel like a test to determine your value. But this idea is not truth, it is just a perspective, which means you could change it. You could choose to see human value a different way if you wanted to. (I recommend changing this immediately because this belief is hurting you.)
You could instead choose to see all human beings as having the same, infinite, absolute value that is based on their uniqueness, as an irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, divine souls. You could embrace this idea as truth and decide your appearance, performance and the opinions of others don’t affect your value at all. You could see them as interesting lessons, but trust your intrinsic value doesn’t change, because it is set by God and is therefore absolute.
You could choose to see life as a classroom, not a test, where your mistakes don’t affect your value, but are lessons to make you stronger, smarter and more compassionate. You signed up for these lessons (by making mistakes) because they were the exact lesson you apparently needed. This doesn’t mean you should keep making them. You should learn the lesson, make amends where you can, and move on, but separate the mistakes (lessons) from your value. This powerful change in perspective may take a little while to get your head around, but it will change your life when you get it.
The secret to forgiving yourself lies in forgiving others
This is a profound and life changing universal truth you must understand. The way you choose to see, judge and condemn others determines the way you will see, judge and condemn yourself.
If you are quick to see the faults, flaws and mistakes in others and let those mistakes determine their value, and even condemn them as bad guys or not good enough, you will be giving power to the idea that people can be “not enough” and fail. If you give power to this idea, it will also determine the way you see yourself. It will create a great fear of failing in you and you will be constantly focused on your faults, flaws and mistakes too. They will haunt you.
The more shame you experience around your mistakes, the more you will look for the bad in others to make you feel better. The more you put down, criticize or gossip about others, the worse your own self-esteem will be — and around and around you will go. There is no escaping this cause and effect, it is just how universal law works. You don't want to live this way.
If you want to feel better about yourself and let your past mistakes go, you must decide to see life as a classroom and let everyone (including yourself) be a struggling, scared, amazing, divine, infinitely valuable, innocent being who is doing the best they can with what they know at the time. You must choose a compassion mindset where life is a classroom and we are all innocent, silly, sometimes stupid learners, whose value is fortunately not on the line. This mindset will make you feel much better about yourself and you will also treat other people with compassion and understanding.
Start today and eliminate judging others from your life. Forgive them for their mistakes by focusing on what lessons you learned. When you eliminate anger and blame, you will also eliminate shame. (There are some great forgiveness formula worksheets on the resources page of my website that could help you with this.)
Understand how pointless shame and guilt are
I teach that "shame" is an acronym that stands for: Should Have Already Mastered Everything. If life is a classroom, shame is ridiculous. You are a student in the classroom of life. There is no way you could have known it all all along. Give yourself permission to have been an imperfect work in progress. You were learning and growing. You are on the path of self improvement, and that is enough. Understand that guilt, shame and beating yourself up for years does no good. It doesn’t fix the past nor create a better a future. It makes more sense to focus on who you want to be today.
What other people think doesn’t matter, but what you think does
Remember the opinions of others are just thoughts and ideas in their heads, which have no power, mean nothing and can’t hurt you, diminish your value or change you in any way. (They may influence events in your life, but if you trust the universe is a wise classroom, you won’t worry about that, because it only brings experiences if they are your perfect lesson.) But what you think of yourself matters a lot.
If you see life as a classroom and your value as absolute, you will show up with confidence and people will feel that and respect you, in spite of your mistakes. Even if you made BIG mistakes in the past, if other people can feel that you have learned the lessons, moved on and now know your real value, they will tend to follow suit and let your past go.
If you cannot do this however, and continue to beat yourself up, they will feel this too, and they will also have trouble forgiving you.
Gary Zukav, who wrote "Seat of the Soul," said, “By choosing your thoughts and by selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the quality of your light. You determine the effects that you will have upon others and the nature of the experiences of your life.”
I believe forgiving works best if you shift your perspective and look at your life in trust that it has always been your perfect classroom. Trust this mistake experience happened because it could teach you something. See if you can name 10 positives that making the mistake has created in your life. This will help you see it as your perfect classroom journey. Then focus on being the most forgiving person you can be. The more you forgive others and allow them to be innocent, struggling students with much more to learn, the better you will feel about yourself.
That is the secret.
You can do this.
This article was first published on KSL.com
I'm a social worker and am struggling to find the emotional energy to deal with the serious problems and people I deal with at work — and have anything left for my family at night. I feel run down, less confident and my patience with my family is running thin. I think I’m burned out. Do you have any advice since you are also dealing with people problems on a daily basis? How can I keep giving to others and not get so drained?
You are not alone on this one. To help me answer your question I called on Marette Monson, LCSW, an expert with “compassion fatigue.” This kind of serious burnout is a common problem with helping professionals of all types, including police officers, firefighters and therapists. Compassion fatigue also happens to individual citizens who are caregivers, parents or who have demanding church callings.
A 2009 survey by the American Psychological Association (Nursing and Health Sciences (2014), 16, 3–10.) reported that psychologists had depression at rates three times greater than the population they serve. Another study (Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, Vol. 23, No. 3, May 2010, 319_33) showed 100 percent of humanitarian aid workers reported symptoms of compassion fatigue. Health care workers, veterinarians and police officers had similar statistics. It is also difficult for helping professionals and caregivers to get help so they can continue to do the work they love. Most helping professionals face a stigma when or if they ask for help, and there are very few places in the community where they can go.
Monson has opened the Center for Counseling Excellence here in Utah, and it is one of the only places in the United States where helping professionals can go for compassion fatigue treatment. She learned the accelerated recovery technique (ARP) from the nation’s leading expert, Dr. Eric Gentry, who created it to help professionals and others struggling with burnout. The ARP is much more than just tips on self-care to prevent the problems. It is a method for treating those who are experiencing compassion fatigue and it helps them recover and get their energy and motivation back.
Susan Gleason, LCSW, who also suffered from compassion fatigue, said, “I want to make sure people know about compassion fatigue before they are right in the middle of it. When I was deep in compassion fatigue, I was losing weight, became horribly paranoid, and was acting in childish ways I would have never done in the past. I knew something wasn’t right but I didn’t know what to do about it. By then, it was so pervasive that I couldn’t have figured out how to get out of it on my own. It’s not just knowing about it, but also being able to prevent it from going too far. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms right now, you need to be able to see it happening in yourself or other people, because they won’t be able to heal themselves.”
Here is a link to a compassion fatigue checklist from Gleason, which may help you understand the symptoms to watch for. Go through it and see if the symptoms sound familiar.
Then, here are some tips from Monson, Gleason and me for preventing and overcoming compassion fatigue:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
I worry too much and it is draining joy from my life, but I honestly cannot stop. I am really good at thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong with every situation. Even when things are going good, I can think of things to be worried about. My spouse says that I can rain on any parade. How does one turn that off? Do you have some advice?
First, understand that worries are nothing more than perspective. Everything you feel and experience is just perspective and in every situation there are other perspectives you could choose, which could make you feel different. I want you to take your thoughts (worries) less seriously. They are not facts. They are just ideas.
Unfortunately, it sounds like worry has become your autopilot or subconscious default perspective. You can look at anything and immediately see something to fear. This happens so fast, you don’t see the other perspective options available to you. You must slow down and become more mindful. This means stepping back and observing what you are thinking, then consciously deciding if it serves you.
Here are 10 ways to get control over worry and choose a different perspective:
1) Remind yourself worry never robs tomorrow of problems, it only robs today of joy. Studies have shown most of the things you worry about will never happen and the bad things which do happen, are usually out of your control and no amount of worrying could have prevented them. This means that worry is a waste of your time and energy. It does not change the outcome of the future and it does not protect you. It only robs you of your ability to thrive today.
2) If there is something you can do right now, do it. If there is nothing you can do right now, let it go. Choose to be present and focus on where you are. Look for people to serve or love, or action that would make a positive difference in your life. Stay present. George Macdonald said, “No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear.” Take everything one moment at a time.
3) There is a difference between worrying and planning. When you have a big project you may need to spend some time thinking about the problems and figuring out how to handle obstacles, but you can do this planning in a state of optimism and trust believing everything will work out for the best or you can do this in a state of fear. Planning and should feel peaceful and wise, while worrying in fear feels anxious and out of control. Choose to plan not worry by choosing optimism.
4) Choose optimism. A state of optimism means trusting the universe that it is a classroom that is always conspiring for your good. Believe things always work out to serve you in the end. You don’t know they will work out, but you don’t know they won’t work out either. Given that it could go either way you might as well choose a positive, optimistic attitude because doubt, fear and worry are less fun and less motivating. Remember, worry saps your energy and leaves you less able to deal with what does happen.
5) Put worries in the worry closet. Don’t let yourself think about problems all day long. Instead set aside some time (maybe an hour late in the day) when you can sit down and process your concerns. When worry shows up during the day, put those worries in a worry closet and lock the door. The worries are still there, but you are not dealing with them right now. Don’t try to stop worrying. This actually keeps you thinking about not thinking about it, which is actually still thinking about it. Just put them in the worry closet until later. When the time comes, open the worry closet and walk inside. Give yourself a specific amount of time to dwell in worry, plan and process all the concerns. Use some of the strategies below to do that.
6) Figure out what is in your control and what’s not. Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. on the right side write down everything that is in your control and on the left everything that is out of your control. You will find the right side list is usually shorter. Decide to take action on those things. The rest is out of your control and does you no good to worry about.
7) Focus on solutions. During your worry closet time, instead of dwelling on your fears, focus on solutions to the problem. Brain storm solutions and don’t stop until you come up with 50. This will push you to stretch your imagination and come up with new ideas. You might want to recruit family or coworkers to brainstorm with you. Two heads are better than one.
8) Uncertainty is part of life and it doesn’t have to scare you. Accept that uncertainty is beautiful part of the adventure of life. Not knowing what tomorrow holds isn’t a bad thing it is just unknown - and the truth is it is just as likely to be good as it is bad. If you put your trust in God and this amazing classroom universe he created, you can walk into each unknown adventure without fear. Trusting God and the universe is the key to peace.
9) Spend time dwelling on positive feelings. Gay Henricks, Phd and author of the book The Big Leap says most of us are subconsciously programmed to sabotage ourselves if too much success and positive change starts to happen. We may think we don’t deserve the good or don’t believe it can happen to us. We may start worrying because it is a feeling we are more used to. Worry is more "in our comfort zone" than accepting the positive is. You should always step back from negative thinking or worry, and check yourself for subconscious self-sabotage. Ask yourself these questions:
What is this worry showing up for?
How could this worry be trying to keep me safe or protect me from something?
What positive thing might be manifesting in my life?
What do I fear about getting this positive thing that could make me push it away or deny it?
What would happen if I embraced the positive?
Instead of dwelling in the worry sit with the positive thoughts about what could go right for a minute. How would it feel to let this positive thing happen and not worry about it or doubt it? Feel the positive feelings and get used to how they feel. Embrace them and believe you deserve good things to happen. Practice accepting positive from the universe.
10) Fear is a choice. You may not believe you have a choice about fear and worry, especially if it has been your autopilot setting most of your life, but you do.
Fear is a choice, and so is peace.
Choose to trust the universe and the process of your life. See life as a wise teacher that is constantly conspiring to serve you, educate you and make you stronger, smarter and more loving every minute of every day. It is on your side and if you trust your higher power and the amazing classroom universe more deeply, you will find there is nothing to fear because there isn't.
There is nothing to fear.
You can do this.
I have a tendency to see the worst in every situation and assume things are my fault. Apparently it is driving my spouse crazy. She says that I always look at the negative side of everything and I am too quick to blame myself. I guess I’m a pessimist. Is there any way to change that? Can I somehow get a more positive outlook on life and situations? I think better self-esteem would help, but I don’t know how to get there. I’d love some help on this.
Better self-esteem would help you, and I’ve written quite a few articles on changing the way you see yourself (that you should read) but I think you also need to learn about your attributional (or explanatory) style. Your attributional style is the way you subconsciously explain events, what caused them and what they mean. Every moment of the day you are attributing events to certain factors that explain why they happened. The secret to optimism is to attribute events in a more positive way. Learning to do this also helps you battle depression and anxiety too.
Many of us have faulty attributional styles (that we picked up in childhood) and we tend to automatically see events in a more personal, negative and depressing way than an optimist might interpret the exact same event. Your personal attributional style is determined by three factors. The factors are:
Pessimists tend to see events as being internal or personal, and they see this in a negative way. They assume the problem is always about their inadequacies. They could also tend to see every problem as someone else’s fault and therefore they take no responsibility for their behavior and feel powerless to change their lives. Pessimists also tend to see events as stable (like they are always going to be bad) or they see them as unstable with a feeling of powerlessness again. Pessimists also tend toward making global assumptions. When one bad thing happens they assume everything will be bad.
Optimists usually have better self-esteem and don’t blame themselves and their personal faults for creating problems. If something is their fault though they tend to take responsibility for it with the understanding that it doesn’t change their value as a person. Optimists usually tend to either see things as stable and mostly good or they believe in their own power to change the things they don’t like. They also tend to let a bad situation stay in that situation, and they don’t assume the negative is going to affect everything else.
Take some time with that worksheet and figure out your subconscious attributional style. Then understand you don’t have to let your subconscious programming drive. You have the power to change your perspective and see things a different way. This is one of the most important truths we all need to embrace more fully.
We are too quick to let our subconscious mind determine how we are going to feel about situations. Many of us are even attached to the idea that we can’t help how we feel. We think our feelings are out of our control. The truth is, your first subconscious reaction may be out of your control, but you can always step back from a feeling and see other options (as far as how you are going to see it, feel about it and respond to it). There are always positive perspective options.
It will take some time and practice to change your style and the way you see your life, but you can do it. I watch people change their perspectives on life and their self-worth every day in coaching.
To fix your self-esteem you will need to change your perspective about your value. Right now you subconsciously believe your value is changeable and unstable (that you can lose value and be worth less than other people, or you gain value and be better than others). You believe your value is in question and you must prove you have any. You could change your mindset on this right now and choose to see your value as stable, unchangeable and the same as everyone elses. You could see your value as a person is infinite, absolute and always good enough. This is a life-changing mindset shift that would do you (and everyone reading this) a lot of good.
You can also change the way you see your life’s journey. Instead of seeing life as out to get you and the universe as a dangerous place, you can choose to see life as a safe place and the universe as a wise teacher, who that is constantly conspiring to educate and serve you. You can choose to believe there is nothing to fear. Changing your thinking about this will literally change your life.
If you struggle to make these changes on your own, I highly recommend finding a coach or counselor to help you. A little professional guidance makes the process much easier
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
I am driving myself crazy with insecurity and negative thoughts about my appearance. I hate my round face and always feel like the biggest person in the room. My daughter is learning this fear from me and I can see her insecurities are taking a toll. She is not even a teenager yet and I am afraid this may even get worse. I have complained too much about my body shape, so I’ve probably taught her this. Is there anyway to fix what I’ve broken and help her and me to love ourselves as we are?
We all need to stop attaching our self-worth to our physical appearance. We literally think “who we are” is what we look like, but this is not truth. It's just an idea we were taught.
You are much more than your appearance. You are your values, your humor, your compassion, your talents, your determination and your other virtues. You are your heart and your love for God, yourself and other people. This is the core of your real identity … but the world tells you a different story. The world tells you that your appearance, weight, stature and beauty literally determine your worth.
You must consciously and consistently reject the world's ideas about the worth of a soul and choose a more healthy identity and you must learn to do this first, because you can’t give your child something you don’t have. If you accept a different truth about your value and talk about it often, your children will learn to see themselves the same way.
I have used the following parable to help me have a different attitude around my appearance and to help me see life as a classroom, which had been divinely designed to help me learn to love myself and other people.
There once was a wise king who loved all people deeply and was truly happy, good and kind. He wanted the people in his kingdom to learn what he knew and live with more peace. So he developed a lesson to help them. Throughout the kingdom he created many different kinds of houses. Some were grand, large and beautiful. Some were small and humble, and some were in between. Some houses were in disrepair and others were greatly adorned. Some were castles and others were shacks. There were no two alike, every home was unique.
The king then randomly assigned every person in the kingdom to a house. The people did not get to choose their houses. The houses were not assigned based on income or performance. The houses were assigned based on which experience the king felt would serve each person to best learn about love.
Then the king told the people what he expected them to do with these houses. He wanted them to care for the house they received, fix it up and make the best of their situation. He also wanted them to learn to love themselves and other people for "who they were on the inside" and never judge each other based on the houses they lived in.
The houses were simply a lesson. The people in the town understood that living in a beautiful house didn’t mean anything about their real value. Living in a less than perfect house didn’t reflect on their worth at all. The issue in question was “what were they learning and becoming from their experience of living in the house they received?”
If they lived in a beautiful house, were they learning to be humble about their blessings? Did they remember their real worth came from their character and their intrinsic worth (which was the same as everyone else’s)?
If they lived in a flawed house did they let that affect their value or make them feel inferior? Did they love themselves in spite of their home? Would they take care of the house they were assigned? Would they fix it up and care for it, even though it wasn’t the one they wished they had? Could they be happy for others instead of jealous? Could they understand that a house doesn’t affect the value of a person?
The king explained to his people that their value came from their character, their heart and their love. He asked them to focus on loving themselves and others and basically ignore the size and shape of their houses. The king told his people that happiness doesn’t come from getting what you want on the outside, it comes from the love you have for yourself, others, God and life on the inside.
Because the king clearly explained the goal and the reason for being assigned a house (to help you to learn to love yourself and others) the people found they could do it. They understood truth and didn’t waste time judging each other for the size and shape of their houses.
After you read this story, read it again but replace the word "house" with "body."
Talk to your daughter about how these bodies have been randomly assigned to us. You did not earn yours and you did not get to choose it. Some of us got thin bodies, others more round ones. Some of us are tall and others short. Some are dark and some are light-colored, but these different bodies we are living in have nothing to do with our value. They are simply where our soul is currently living. Your body was assigned to you as part of your classroom journey to help you learn to love yourself and other people.
Your job is to accept this body with gratitude and wisdom and take care of it, stay healthy, fix it up the best you can, but understand that it doesn’t have anything to do with your value. You body really isn't "who you are."
Your specific body is just a classroom experience. It may be teaching you humility, kindness and compassion. It may be teaching you to stop judging books by the cover. I can’t say which lesson your body is meant to teach you, because that is only for you to find out. It’s your lesson. But I encourage you to answer this question on paper and write down as many answers as you can.
What lessons could my specific body be teaching me?
The story and the exercise will help you to understand that all people have the same value (as I mentioned in my last article). We are all unique, irreplaceable, divine spirits with the exact same infinite value as everyone else. You can help your daughter to see the absolute and equal value in every person around her by talking about this often. This is the first step to giving your child a healthy self-esteem, because when you accurately see the infinite value in others, you will also accept it for yourself.
You should also refrain from judging or criticizing others and teach your children compassion and accuracy toward all men, no matter their appearance or performance. If you do this, they will also see themselves as good enough and have compassion for their own mistakes, faults and flaws.
Then make sure you praise your child for her character, good works, love and kindness instead of always focusing on performance and appearance. Also teach her to eat healthy and take care of her body, but stress that this isn’t about appearance, it’s about good health.
You and your daughter get dressed every day, try to fix your hair the best you can, then look at yourself in the mirror and say, "This isn’t really who I am — my love is who I am — I will go get them with my love!”
Focus on your character and your kindness. That is what wins true friends.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach and speaker.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
My biggest complaint about my family and my job is a lack of appreciation. My spouse and children completely take for granted everything I do for them. They just assume I will always do everything for them, and my needs don’t seem to matter. I feel the same way at work too. I do more than anyone else, yet people act like I’m not important. Is it me? What can I do to feel more appreciated for all I do and give? All I want is my sacrifices to be noticed and appreciated.
The real question here is "Do they really not appreciate you, or do you just not feel appreciated?"
If you have insecurities and low self-esteem, no matter what they do or say, it won’t be enough to fill your empty bucket. You will never feel appreciated. The truth is, other people cannot convince you that you have value. When I hear you say “All I want is my sacrifices to be noticed and appreciated,” I think what you are really saying is that you need your value validated. You need someone to fill your bucket, and that means it is probably empty. This tells me you are coming from a place of low self-esteem.
The problem is, the only person who can fill your bucket and keep it full is you. If you continue to make other people responsible for your self-esteem and filling your bucket, which basically has a hole in it because of your negative beliefs about yourself, they will resent it and this will feel a lot like un-appreciation.
If I am wrong and you already have good self-esteem and the people in your life still don’t appreciate you, then one of two things is happening. Either you are surrounded (on all sides) by people who are selfish and focused their needs, which is highly unlikely. Or you are still giving and serving with a (possibly subconscious) sense of neediness, entitlement or obligation behind it, and this is making people ungrateful.
For example, if you feel entitled to gratitude and expect something back from your gifts, this makes your gifts about getting what you need, not giving to them and no one appreciates these kinds of gifts.
Since I’m not sure what is happening in your situation, I’m going to tell you how to solve all these problems. If you will work on these six things, I promise the people in your life will respond with more gratitude.
I promise, the fastest way to change other people is to change yourself. When you change YOU, and choose to live from love instead of fear and lack, they cannot respond to you the way the same way. Give more love to yourself and others, focus less on your fear, and this situation will change.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular speaker on people skills www.speakerkimgiles.com
First published on KSL.COM
You mentioned in one of your recent articles that you suffer some chronic pain. I wondered if you would give us some advice on dealing with chronic illness and staying positive. It is terribly discouraging and depressing to feel sick all the time. How can I find joy when life is one health problem after another?
CC Scott said, “The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” I believe this is true, so the first thing I want you to know is that you can have joy in spite of this, and you can beat discouragement most of the time.
I say “most of the time" because every once in a while it is perfectly normal to have a big old pity party about your pain or illness. I do. I have been diagnosed with Sjogrens syndrome and it's not fun. Chronic illness is tough and it gets discouraging. An occasional fall apart day (or hour) or week is totally acceptable - but you can’t live there.
After you give yourself the chance to mourn, which you will do, because "loss of health" is a loss, you must choose a positive, determined, healthy mindset so you can thrive in spite of the challenge. Vivian Green said, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass...it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” For many of us, the storm isn’t going anywhere, so we need to start dancing.
I asked some other people I know who are battling chronic illness to help me with this article partly because I wanted some more advice on this, too. Hopefully, their ideas will help you as much as they've helped me. Here are our suggestions for making it through chronic illness with as much joy as possible:
Often in life we have no control over our situation, but we always have control over how we will experience the situation. To help me control how I experience illness I read something three times a day to keep me centered in the mindset I’ve chosen. You can download my reading here. Feel free to tweak it to make it work for you. Then read it three times a day until you internalize it.
You can handle this and thrive!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach and speaker.
First published on KSL.COM
I am so unhappy with my current job. I have a boss who blames things on me when problems are his fault. I am hesitant to leave though, because I know there are always problems wherever you work. No job is perfect. Why leave this position if there is going to be another kind of problem at a new job. I think I have issues with not being content anywhere and I always want things to be perfect, which they never are. How can I be more content where I am?
Most of us think what we want in life is peace and security, the elimination of all problems, pains or worries. If we could just get rid of the problems, pains and worries then we would be happy. Because of this belief we are constantly trying to solve the problems, eliminate the pains and head off the worries. In the process of doing those three things, we learn, stretch and grow. Our greatest accomplishments and most important growth happens because of the problems we are trying to eliminate.
Kay Redfield Jamison, a clinical psychologist and writer, said, “I believe that restlessness and discontent are vital things; and that intense experiences and suffering instruct us in ways that less intense emotions can never do.” In the book Moral Knowledge it reads, “Some degree of discontent is necessary to encourage us to engage in the activities of self-realization through which we flourish”
I want you to understand this because life is not about being content and secure. You cannot grow there. You would not discover who you are.
Life is about growth and growth only happens through discontent and problems. You will find challenges wherever you work because that is the nature of life, but you can feel more content in your times of discontent if you see them accurately. If you feel bothered, unhappy or stressed by a situation, these feelings are telling you that it’s time to grow. It is time for some stretching, learning or changing. Pain is a signal that something needs to change.
If you find the same type of problems wherever you go or you keep suffering with discontent over the same types of issues again and again, there are a couple of reasons this may be happening:
You can try to avoid all pains and challenges, but you will find two problems with this. First, it is impossible and second, you will get bored pretty fast. The truth is that we are hard-wired to want challenges in life and to some extent we even seek them out. This is why we willingly participate in sports, push ourselves to run marathons, seek out games of chance and challenge, play with puzzles, mind twisters and video games (the more challenging the better). At a core level we like discontent, challenge and difficulty.
My grandfather is in his 90’s, and he still reads books to keep learning, pushes himself to run and spends time on difficult suduko or other puzzles. Human beings are bored without challenges.
Thomas Edison said, “Restlessness is discontent, and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.”
Really successful people are never content for long. As soon as they find themselves content they look for another challenge. Some of you may attract challenging situations into your lives because you really subconsciously desire progress. Maybe you have challenges wherever you work because you are subconsciously desiring growth. Could this be you? Maybe you don’t want peace as much as you want improvement?
Buddha said life is suffering and we suffer because we are discontent with "what is." He encouraged men to stop craving and resisting "what is" and become equanimous with life (this means with equal emotion towards the bad and the good). He encouraged us to understand the real nature of life and embrace periods of discontent with the same emotion that we do periods of peace because they are both here to serve us and they will both pass because no state is permanent. To some this may sound like being content no matter what you get, but it’s more than that. It’s understanding discontent and content are both there to serve you. You must greet all experiences with gratitude and curiosity for the positive they will bring.
What I am suggesting is that you adopt a more positive attitude towards your pains, problems and worries. I realize this is not easy to do, but it is a worthy goal. When you see the classroom of life accurately, you will see that the universe is conspiring to serve you, educate you and bless you, and every experience is facilitating something positive in your life at some level.
I am battling chronic pain right now that isn't particularly fun, but it really is easier to handle when I focus on what this experience is teaching me and work to learn something from it I can use to serve others. I have an amazing friend who is battling Parkinson's disease with an amazingly happy attitude because he sees it as a grand opponent to battle and win.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness is not a goal...it's a by-product of a life well lived.” Real happiness does not come through peace, security or easy living. It comes as a by-product of service, love, achievement, growth and other virtuous activities. We are happy when we are doing things, accomplishing things, growing, learning, creating, building and living. Yet all these activities are wrought with challenges to overcome and obstacles to navigate. So, I think we could accurately say - happiness comes from problems, pains and worries. Do you follow my logic?
You think that you are seeking contentment, peace, freedom from danger, risk, anxiety and doubt. You think that you want a state of tranquillity all the time, but seeking this may actually push happiness away.
Happiness comes from embracing the whole journey, especially the challenges, because you understand they are all part of the achievement. You will be happy when you focus on growing, becoming, giving and loving God, life, yourself and other people. You will be happy when you see the universe as a wise teacher and trust that every experience is here to serve you. You will experience the whole thing in a more positive way and suffer less.
You will be happier at work if you step back from the problems and focus on what you can learn from them and turn them into achievements. How could this experience make you better, stronger or more loving? If you can get more content with your discontent, you will find joy wherever you are.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
My brothers have deeply hurt me and my family, and I've been upset towards them for years. I hear people say all the time "it just takes time to heal." My question is whose time, how much time and how does healing happen? Because time is passing but I'm not feeling any better. Do some offenses take more time? Is there a chance I may never be able to forgive them? I am honestly trying to let it all go, but every time I think about what they did I get upset all over again. Do you have some advice for me?
The truth is time doesn't change anything. You have to do the work to change how you feel yourself … and you can do this at any time. There are situations where some distance from the offense does lessen the pain a little and may make forgiving easier, but you are still going to have to change how you see this situation if you want to feel better.
Some people never do change their mindset and continue to suffer from past offenses forever. One reader told me his father hasn’t spoken to him since Thanksgiving and hadn’t spoken to his brother since 2002. Most of these people are stuck because they either don't know how to change their perspective (this is the most common reason) or they aren't willing to change it because they are getting some benefit from staying hurt.
A couple weeks ago I wrote an article about the quirky benefits of negative thinking, and if you suspect you may be staying mad for a subconscious reason, you may want to read that one.
You must understand changing, healing and forgiving are a choice. Some people make that choice quickly right after an offense and suffer for only a short time. Others hang onto misery and choose to suffer for a long time (again usually because they don't know how to choose something else.)
It is interesting that most people heal faster if the offense involves a stranger than they do if it involves a close relative. It appears the closer the relationship the deeper the wound. Your inner state also determines how much pain an offense causes. If you have really low self-esteem and someone criticizes you, it will cause a deeper wound than if you had good self-esteem. But in the end, you have the power to consciously choose whether an offense is a deep muscle tear or a scratch.
Buddha taught that when an offense happens you should decide right then, if this is going to be a cut through water, which heals immediately, a cut through sand, which will be gone by tomorrow, or a cut through stone, which could be there for decades. You are in charge of how much and for how long you suffer.
When you get offended you immediately create a story around the offense (either consciously or subconsciously) and that story determines the amount and length of your misery. You may want to take some time and write down the story you have created about this offense. Then ask yourself the following questions:
We believe the fastest way to change how you feel about an offense is to look at it from a different perspective. When you can see the positive it has created in your life, and you can see it as a perfect lesson in your classroom journey, you may find you don’t even need to forgive your brothers anymore. Clarity can do that.
Besides, holding onto hatred is like reaching into a fire to grab a hot coal to throw at your enemy, but then realizing you are the one being burned. It would make a lot more sense to pour water on the whole thing and let it wash away.
You should hold onto the lessons this experience taught you (the positive gift) but then chalk the whole thing up to learning on every side. We are all struggling students in the classroom of life, with much more to learn. Also remember that when you are carrying a big pile of stinky old garbage from your past around with you, your arms are too full to receive the fresh, wonderful new things life is bringing you today.
It is time to set down that garbage and focus on the good in your world and choose love. Choose to see people accurately as struggling students and let them all be a work in progress, just like you. Choose to see their value as unaffected by their mistakes. When you do this, you will subconsciously see your own mistakes as not affecting your value and your self-esteem will grow.
We call this the Law of Forgiveness. You get what you give. When you criticize and judge others, you are giving power to the idea that people can be “not good enough” and this will, in the end, affect your self-esteem. You will never feel you're good enough either.
Coach Tim Eversole says there are two types of people.
People who aggrandize the good, who see more good in the world, tend to feel more joy. These people minimize the bad and therefore they feel less bad. By minimizing the bad they also create just a scratch when they are offended, and their scratches heal quickly.
Then, there are people who aggrandize the bad, who see more bad in the world and feel more sorrow and pain. They minimize the good and therefore see less good. By making the bad bigger they get big deep wounds and scars when offended that take a long time to heal.
Who do you want to be?
How do you want to live?
If you are holding onto anger thinking it is protecting you from future offenses, it isn’t. Being confident and bulletproof because you know your value cannot be diminished and doesn’t change — that is your best protection.
You may also want to read my article Forgiving a grudge without getting hurt again from 2013. Keep working on this and you can do it.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com and the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness." Tim Eversole is a certified claritypoint coach and speaker.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
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.