Self-Awareness is Key to Empowerment

Self awareness is the key to preventing the emotional drama that guides your reactions to situations and other people. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, thoughts and feelings is a big step towards knowing who you really are.

Without such knowledge, we end up vulnerable, frustrated, inauthentic, unmotivated and often unsuccessful in achieving our dreams.

Here are some quick self awareness tips to motivate and inspire you:

Slow down 

Have you ever noticed how fast you breathe when you are rushed or in a hurry to get somewhere?  Most of us rarely engage in mindful breathing and consequently we are in a state of anxiety most days. Learn to notice your breathing by setting aside a few minutes each day to breathe purposely and deeply. Sit quietly and inhale and exhale for five minutes each day.  I’m sure you will be less stressed, more relaxed, focused and energetic.

Let go of negative thoughts

From time to time, we all have thoughts that try to limit what we can achieve or become.  I’ve given these thoughts a name, “Negative Nelly” and a whiny voice. We all know how annoying “whiny” can be.  So, when Negative Nelly perches on my shoulder invading my thoughts trying to prevent me from reaching a goal or exploring something new, I imagine her sitting on my shoulder, whispering in that whiny voice.  I refuse to listen for a second and brush her off my shoulder like the pest she is.  Whether you’ve given your inner critic a name and voice or not, she’s there.  Don’t listen to her.  Instead replace your “Negative Nelly” with a “Patty Positive” whispering your virtues and strengths in your ear.

Create a vision for the life you want

It’s second nature for a lot of people to spend time thinking about what’s not working for them and what stops them from achieving what they want in life. Spend time creating either a visual (vision board) or mental image of the things you want to attract in your life  (a new career, a mate, more time, financial security, travel, etc.).  Whatever desires you have, a vision is essential. An architect first has a vision in her mind of the structure she wants to create. She then sets about to put into place the blueprint to support her vision.  The vision for your life is similar.  First, you must take the time to allow your vision to evolve.   Any thought, idea, concept or object that comes to your mind would not exist if you didn’t already have the ability, desire and talent to bring it to fruition.

And, to get more self-awareness tips, tools and resources that will renovate your relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends, I invite you to get my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

Morning Pages Can Become A Daily Routine

morning pages

Morning pages can easily become a part of your daily routine to clear your mind and order your thoughts for the day.

Morning pages appeared on my radar several years ago when I read The Artist’s Way, a book by Julia Cameron.

I had never heard of morning pages so I was more than curious. I discovered that morning ages are no more than three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do morning pages; it’s not high art. In fact, it’s not even “writing”  as we know it. It’s more about anything and everything that enters your mind first thing in the morning – your dreams, fears, goals, etc.

Morning pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize our thoughts. You don’t need to overthink your monrning pages –  just white until you fill one page, then another and before you know it, you have written three pages !

Morning pages are based on the idea that first thing every morning you write three pages of streaming thoughts, whatever crosses your mind. You are simply creating a space for all the things that cross your mind.  This will help you discover and sort out what you are actually thinking – positive or negative thoughts.

Writing morning pages is a way to clear a path to creativity and introspection. By allowing your thoughts and dreams to reside on paper, you can clear your mind to deal with the unending things that will take up space in your mind throughout the day.

You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to write three pages every morning”,  “I don’t know what to write”, “I’m not a writer” or “I’m too busy…”

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – Wilford Woodruff

You don’t have to be a prolific writer or have hours of extra time to write.

You only need to write.

In fact, after you’ve gotten in the habit of writing morning pages, it shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes out of your day.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Before starting your day – Write!  The reason for this is so that you’re not distracted by daily happenings that interrupt your thoughts. If necessary, get up a little earlier than others in your household so that you have uninterrupted time to write. Once you start writing, keep writing. Don’t stop writing. Don’t allow the pen to leave the paper. If you can’t think of anything to write, then write, “I can’t think of anything to write” until something comes to mind.
  • Don’t quit or beat yourself up if you only write one or two pages or less the first time you try this or even if you skip a day of writing. If you can’t think of anything to write –  write your thoughts about the number of pages you want to write, then write that. Remember, you want your thoughts to guide what you put on paper. Continue writing every day until you can reach three pages each day.
  • As you write, don’t censor, correct, cross out or even pause to think – just write whatever thoughts enter your mind. Your thoughts are for your eyes only. You don’t have to share them with anyone else.
  • Include as little or as much detail as you want. Remember, these are your thoughts. Write whatever you want. You’re not writing the great American novel. Just keep writing.

Write what you know. Write what you want to know more about. Write what you’re afraid to write about. ~ Cec Murphy

Come back and share your morning pages writing experiences with us.

And, to get more tips and life enrichment, tools and resources that will renovate your relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends, I invite you to get my book, Master the Genie Within to renovate your relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

 

5 Signs of Weak Boundaries

5 Signs of Weak Boundaries

When you come in contact with people who disregard your boundaries, it’s like inviting unwelcome guests into your home. These are the people who don’t stop their children from using your sofa as their personal trampoline. They ignore your house rules, disrespect you and leave a trail of negativity behind. Of course, you don’t entertain people like that! Or do you?

Allowing other people to disregard your boundaries is no different than allowing unwanted guests to disrespect your home. Just as you would use any other tool to keep you on track, think of boundary making as your invisible self-monitoring tool.

5 Signs Your Boundaries are Weak

Pay attention to some these obvious signals:

1) Someone who does not listen to you or value your opinions

2) People who don’t respect your time limits

3) Anyone who you frequently refuses to accept “no” as your final answer

4) People who direct their erratic behavior directly at you

5) You hold on to relationships and behaviors you find intolerable or offensive

Any of the above signs indicate you need to set stronger boundaries around what you are willing to accept.

For years I’ve used lists and various personal digital assistants (PDA) to keep track of my activities, schedules, contacts and notes. My PDA was my boundary-making tool. With her help, I managed my time effectively; I knew exactly what I need to get done each day and easily kept track of the things that were important to me. Of course, everything changed when one day my trusted PDA went belly-up and was no longer being manufactured. I no longer could depend on her to help me manage my schedule and set limits on my time. I often wonder how any of us ever manage our lives without a system to keep things running smoothly and strong boundaries in place to keep us on track. Hmmm…

Making the decision to give up my PDA and finally getting a smartphone reminds me of the struggle a lot of us have when it’s time to let go, move on and set some strong boundaries. I held on to my PDA way past its usefulness even when I found her behavior intolerable and undependable. She no longer valued my time and was often uncooperative. Her behavior was erratic at best.

My PDA had fallen out of love with me. She didn’t respect or appreciate my time, and was unwilling to support me in the ways that mattered to me. As the great poet, Maya Angelou says, “when people (or things) show you who they are – believe them”.

Every person or thing and every experience that comes into your life if for a purpose. It’s up to us to decide when that purpose no longer serves us.  We must know when it’s time to let go.

There are life lessons to be learned from my PDA experience and every other experience if we are open and honest with ourselves. This is what I leaned from the experience of letting go of my PDA:

1. Know when to let go. Be willing to let go of things in your life that don’t honor your boundaries, are no longer useful or no longer serve a meaningful purpose. Holding on to things that no longer serve a useful purpose takes up precious space that could better be used for something that works for you. You never know what doors will open with just the right opportunity when you have made space for it.

2. Exercise your right to choose. Make a choice about how, when and what you spend your time and energy on. This creates strong time and space boundaries to do the things that are really important to you. Be clear in what you are willing to do, be or accept in your life. If your boundaries are unclear, you leave the door open for others to walk in and set boundaries for you.

3. Accept change. Giving up my PDA meant accepting the fact that it was time to move on to a smartphone. Accept that new technologies emerge every day, relationships change, and people relocate or leave us in other ways. Change is inevitable…nothing stays the same. Accept change as a vehicle for growth and an opportunity to experience something new and exciting. Don’t allow fear of change to prevent you from taking a risk.

And, to get more boundary making tips, tools and resources to renovate your relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends, I invite you to get my book, Master the Genie Within to renovate your relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

 

Couple Appreciation Month: Celebrate and Reinforce Your Relationship

Couple Appreciation Month: Celebrate and Reinforce Your RelationshipEvery year,  April is designated National Couple Appreciation Month to encourage couples to do something special to re-enforce and celebrate their relationship – to let their partners know that they are respected, desired and appreciated.

Given the grim statistics we hear on the state of relationships, I’m glad there is a whole month set aside to appreciate couples.

Statistics say most couples are unhappy in their relationships and more than 40% of marriages end in divorce.

As bleak as these statistics are, on the other hand, there are still approximately 50% of couples in relationships that are long lasting, thriving and happy.

What keeps these couples connected and happy?

Here are few tips from happy connected couples thar you can use to improve and strengthen your relationship:

  • Communicate. Communication is one of the most important qualities in a relationship. Expressing your feelings is the key to effective communication no matter how uncomfortable or awkward it may feel. In strong resilient relationships, couples say “I love you” often and don’t sweep unpleasant issues under the rug.
  • Date Night. Remember how you looked forward to going on a date with your partner before the bills, school functions, meetings, and other life forces took over and pushed your relationship to the back burner? You can regain that same excitement and joy in your relationship. Start going on dates again. Just as you schedule other functions, schedule a time devoted to each other. Make your relationship a priority. Take out your calendar or smartphone, select a mutually agreeable date and time and write in your partner’s name. Commit to this date and don’t use excuses to stand up your partner. I’m sure you’re super busy but you must have at least one night out of seven to devote to your partner.
  • Never go to bed angry. In any relationship, especially a couple, unresolved anger breed resentment. Long-term resentment leads to apathy and disconnection. Don’t give anger space to grow. Let the other person know how you feel without directing blame or criticism.
  • Play together. Most couples spend less than 20 minutes a day engaged with each other and even less having fun together. Make time in your schedule to do a fun activity you both enjoy. Couples who share a common interest such as golf or bowling tend to have less conflict in their relationship. Not only do these couples spend time having fun, they also are strengthening their connection.
  • Trust. Can you count on your partner tomorrow to do what he or she says? Successful relationships are built on trust. If you tell your partner you’ll be home by 6:30, don’t be persuaded to stop for a beer or get into a 20-minute conversation with co-workers when it’s time to leave work.
  • Fight fair. All couples have disagreements. If you’re not careful, disagreement can end in shouting matches, anger and hurt. A disagreement does not mean you don’t love each other or care. Before you start slinging insults, name calling or a disagreement ends badly, a 5-10 minute “time out” may help you sort out your thoughts so you can return and reach an amicable solution.
  • Show appreciation. Couples ought to show appreciation every day not just in April when we celebrate National Couple Appreciation Month. It’s the little things that mean a lot. It’s not that you don’t appreciate your partner; you just forget to verbalize your appreciation. Tell your partner how much you appreciate him or her. Put an “”I love you” note on a pillow, in a pocket, on the bathroom mirror, in his or her gym bag or briefcase/purse to make them smile.

Even though Couple Appreciation Month ended months ago,  any day is a good time to let your partner know how much more enjoyable he or she makes your life, and then tell him/her.

To get professional help to improve or strengthen your relationship, please contact me to schedule a consultation.

Make Kaizen A Daily Routine

KaizenKaizen is a Japanese word that is formed from two characters – “kai” and “zen.” It translates literally to mean “good change” or, we might say, “improvement,” or “a change for the better”.

When you make Kaizen a part of your daily routine, you are taking steps toward steady improvement in all areas of your life.

Successful companies in Japan, like Toyota, a popular automobile manufacturer, use the principle of kaizen to emphasize steady and innovative improvement.

The principles of kaizen are simple. The challenge is to take the long term view of a daily, continuous and steady path to improvement with an overriding willingness to change. The same can be said about our personal lives.

A willingness to change and constantly on the lookout for ways to improve moves us closer toward making lasting change.  Whether we embrace the principles of kaizen or something else, the quest for self-improvement and the opportunity to change how we view our environment and ourselves is always worth pursuing.

Striving to continually improve is not the same as striving for unrealistic perfection.  You may never fit into that size six killer outfit you covet or earn a spot on the Hollywood red carpet. But, what you can do instead of lamenting your lot, is begin to make a change for the better by focusing on becoming healthier and more fit a little at a time.

Here are some ways to incorporate the kaizen principles into your daily life:

Home Kaizen – Is there something in your home that needs changing or an uplift? Maybe now is not the time to spring for a complete kitchen remodel. Instead,  you can start practicing kaizen by implementing a change for the better (e.g., painting, color accessorizing or keeping countertops free from clutter). By putting the principle of kaizen to work in your kitchen, you will have a more appealing space until such time as you can make a lasting change. You can also apply the kaizen principles to any other room in your home that you feel needs improvement.

Relationship Kaizen

  • Making communication a priority is key to a successful relationship. Make sure you listen and express your feelings even if it feels uncomfortable.
  • Schedule regular quality, non-interrupted time with your partner
  • Tell your partner often how much you appreciate having him or her in your life.
  • Work daily to improve and reinforce your relationship.
  • Do a 10-15 minute “check in” at the end of each day to reconnect.

Personal Kaizen:

  • Show random act of kindness to those close to you often.
  • Express appreciation – write down at least 5 things you are grateful for every day.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. If you’re stuck in unfulfilling routines and comfort zones, stretch yourself to try new things. Take a yoga class, travel, rearrange your surroundings, get rid of clutter, volunteer or mentor a child.
  • At the end of your day, take 15 minutes to unwind and relax so you can enjoy quality time with those you care about.
  • Do at least one thing every day that you enjoy.
  • Do at least one kind deed each day.

Work Kaizen

Is your office constantly in disarray? Using the principle of kaizen, begin to look around to see how you can begin to improve your surroundings to create a more appealing and creative space.

  • Rearrange the furniture to create a better workflow
  • Keep a small vase of fresh flowers on your desk to inspire you to complete that project you’ve been reluctant to start.
  • Clear your workspace of unnecessary clutter.
  • Surround yourself with your favorite colors, quotes or inspirational words for a sense of calm and a reminder to stay positive.

If you build the concept of kaizen into all areas your daily life, before you know it, you will be less prone to procrastination, self-sabotage, overwhelm and you will have made a lasting change for the better.

I would love it if you would leave a comment about how you apply the principle of kaizen into your daily life.

For more tips and insights like these, I invite you to check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace, and Celebrate the Real You.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

Valentine’s Day – A Day of Generosity And Love

In the spirit of generosity, I’m sharing this previously published post. If you read it before, please share it with your friends to remind them to practice generosity every day.

Valentine's Day On Valentine’s Day, instead of the usual flowers, cards and other sentiments we usually give to loved ones, what if we all practiced a different kind of generosity. What if we were extra kind to everyone we meet today?

Valentine’s Day is most often thought of as a time to show love and affection to the people closest to us by bestowing them with flowers, chocolates, romantic dinners, notes and cards.

This excerpt, from a blog post by Sasha Dichter, offers us another option to celebrate Valentine’s Day;

Barely three days before Valentine’s Day, Sasha Dichter,
Chief Innovation Officer for
Acumen Fund, decided to convert his month-long
Generosity Experiment” into a global Generosity
Day. The idea was simple: to reclaim Valentine’s
Day from the clutches of commercialization and
turn it into a day of “sharing love with everyone.

This is a great idea not just for Valentine’s Day but for other holidays as well.  It would certainly eliminate the commercialization of holidays and instead promote generosity and love on every day.

Dichter suggests that people are hungry for more connection and meaning in their lives. So, instead of filling up on flowers, candy, cards and extravagant gifts, he proposes that we show more generosity by dispensing love to everyone on Valentine’s Day – not just those closest to us.

Here are some ideas you can use to celebrate Valentine’s Day:

• Tip extra generously when you are out enjoying your Valentine’s Dinner. Your server will appreciate it.

• Take “thinking of you” cards to a nursing home and have the staff write the name of a person on the envelope. Most people in nursing homes rarely receive mail.

• When you are getting your morning coffee, pay the check for the person behind you.

• Place a place a tin of cookies at your neighbor’s door to thank him/her for just being a good neighbor.

• Donate your gently used clothes, appliances, furniture, etc. to a non-profit organization.

• To ward off the flu bug and germs, pass out small bottles of hand sanitizer to people you meet at the doctors, dentists, hair salon, supermarket, etc.

This Valentine’s Day, celebrate the day by making it a day that you show generosity and love everywhere you go.

How will you spread generosity today? Please share your thoughts with us.

For more tips, tools and insights, I invite you to get my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

Jellybean Facts

jellybeans

What’s our fascination with jellybeans?

Is it because they are colorful, super sweet and readily available for a quick sugar pick me up?

Or is there something more to our attraction to jellybeans?

Here are some interesting facts about jellybeans for you to ponder:

• Jelly Beans were first introduced to the Easter scene in the 1930’s patterned after the popular Mid-eastern confection known as Turkish Delight. This was a popular egg shaped candy in America and sold primarily in glass jars that sat atop counters in stores all over the country.

• Jellybeans became linked to the popular Easter Bunny after the Civil war as a forerunner to Easter. Eggs were considered a symbol of new life during the spring season and the two seemed perfectly matched. Consequently, Jellybeans stuck as one of the classic Easter candies. Currently, 16 billion jellybeans are made for the Easter holiday with “red” being the most popular color.

More Interesting Jellybean Facts

• Most of us use, or are at least familiar with, Google’s Android operating system called Jelly Bean. Google’s Jelly Bean is a module that is widely available to lots of applications—as though it might be grabbed out of a jar in handfuls when needed. In fact, the Android logo, shaped like a large jellybean jar, is also part of the Android lawn statues on the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

• Ronald Reagan, the 40th US president, had such a fondness for jellybeans that he had three and a half tons of red, white, and blue Jelly Belly jellybeans shipped to Washington, DC for the 1981 Inaugural festivities.

• One of the space shuttles even took up a bunch of jellybeans for the shuttle crew to snack on.

• The term jelly beaning is American corporate slang for small talk with a client, getting to know them on initial meeting, before trying to make a sale, close a deal etc.

• Every year, there are more bizarre jellybean flavors introduced than the year before. For example, the Jelly Belly Company has such flavors as ”toothpaste” which supposedly is similar to gum.

• The notion that jellybeans, in the shape of an egg, are symbolic of new life or rebirth does not go unnoticed. Spring is said to be a time of new beginnings, a shedding of the dull colors of winter and a bursting forth of vibrant and lively hues.

• Considering the example of jelly beans as given by Google – grab a handful out of the jar when needed – I think we could use the jelly bean metaphor for those times when we need a little lift. For example: Reach your hand into a jar of jellybeans and take what you need to feel alive and energized. You can just play with them. Count how many colors are in the jar; count how many jellybeans are in the jar. You may just find yourself more relaxed and less stressed.

• To get over hurt and anger, try what I call the jelly-toss. Reach deep and grab a big handful of jellybeans. From the handful, pick a color that represents your strongest feeling. Toss that color in the trash until you have exhausted that particular color. Pick another color and do the same until all the jellybeans are gone. Now, didn’t that make you feel better? And it didn’t add one calorie to your diet.

• In a dilemma – can’t decide between two similar choices? With this method, you simply select the first jellybean color that catches your eye. Select the next color that attracts your attention. Assign a choice to each color jellybean selected. Count each of the colors and the one with the higher tally is the one you go with. Of course, this is not the best way to make a major life decision. But for decisions such as “should I wear the blue shirt or the red shirt”, this is easy peasy…

• Keep a jar for jellybeans with a small scooper on your desk for visitors as a conversation starter. Ask their favorite color and let them tell you why.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not you may have indulged in this popular treat at some time or another and wondered how jellybeans came to be so popular. Now you know…

If you have other tips or interesting facts about jellybeans, please share them with us in the comment section. I would love to hear from you.

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