Tag Archives: Life Coaching

Confidence Unveiled: Physical Identity

WDYT or FOFO???

Let’s remove some veils before we smother.

We are living in a culture of extremes that glorifies the smallest to the biggest of sizes.

We are either obsessing with appearance (WDYT) or settling with health (FOFO). And, because we’re at one extreme or the other, we usually “weigh in” with either pride or despair….

Can anyone relate?

In the event you don’t think I’m reality based, here are recent facts to substantiate:

  1.  1 in 2 deaths in the U.S. is due to lifestyle choices.
  2.  Plastic surgery apps on your phone now make it possible to cut yourself to a smaller size before posting onto social media.

 

 

We listen to the voices of culture that begin to play inside our minds creating thick, internal veils….

“I’ll never measure up.”

“What good does it do to take care of myself? I’ll die of something…”

Culture sways…Satan speaks….We hit “Play” and our Identity is Taken Away!

Whenever you compare yourself to others, you’re actually lowering your standard because you’re one of a kind…the unique combination of your physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual components that make up YOU in totality.

Let’s offer some HOPE, shall we?

What would it be like to approach each new day with the following mindset….

“What can I do today to care for my body?”

“How can I eat properly so my body and mind are nurtured well?”

“How can I work my body to keep it strong and active?”

“How can I appreciate (and even like!) the one body God gave me?” (Psalm 139)

“How can I use this body to fulfill God’s earthly mission since it’s the vessel He has given me to accomplish my daily tasks?”

A healthy balance is to take pride in your appearance without being prideful.

A healthy balance is to be proactive with your health, especially if you know your medical history.

The question ISN”T “Why Do I?”…. The question IS “Why Wouldn’t I?”

Two points to offer hope:

  1. Selectively focus on the traits you DO you like when you gaze in the mirror!
  2. Focus on what you’ve got; stop trying to look like someone you’re not!

Remove those veils of obsessing and settling and UNVEIL some confidence today.

 

 

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LENT: Look to the Positives

What if you rephrased the question of “What will I give up?” to “What will I gain?”

This short blog will utilize the counseling paradigm of the BIOPSYCHOSOCIOSPIRITUAL Model that focuses on the premise that each person is a unique and complex human who is composed of a physical being, an emotional being, a relational being, and a spiritual being.

What if you decided during this Lenten season to focus on one particular area of your life – based on the above concept – and focused on what is to be gained instead of lost?

BIO = Your body

What one thing can you do each day to better your physical health?

Take note that by doing something better, you’re actually giving up something that is of much lesser quality that may be harmful for your physical health.

How would this change your view of what you eat, drink, or improve self care since you are created in the image of God and your body is a “living sacrifice?” [Romans 12:1,2]

PSYCHO = Your mind

What can you do each day to take ownership of your thoughts and choose to think on things that are “true, noble, right, pure, admirable, and honorable?” [Philippians 4:8]

Do you need to “crucify” an attitude of entitlement and, instead, focus on gratitude for 40 days?

Take note that by choosing better things to think about, you’re actually giving up thoughts of much lesser quality that may be harmful for your emotional health.

(Are you starting to see a pattern? 🙂

SOCIO = Your relationships

What can you do each day to improve the relationships in your life? No, not what OTHERS should do, but what YOU decide to do to improve your marriage, friendships, relationships with your children, etc.

Do you need to start focusing on what the people in your life are doing well as opposed to what they aren’t? Does your attitude of harshness or selfishness need to be “crucified?”

Take note that by choosing to improve the relationships in your life, you’re actually giving up the right to only seeing things from your perspective.

SPIRITUAL = Your relationship with God

How can you choose to intentionally meet with Him each day?

Take note that by choosing to improve your relationship with your Creator, you’re giving up something of much lesser quality that demands your energy and time.

Side note:  You may say you don’t worship God.  Well, okay.  But look at WHAT or WHOM you DO worship, because we all worship something or someone.  And misdirected worship never satisfies. Never has, never will.

Focus on what you’re gaining this Lenten season as opposed to what you’re giving up.  It pales in comparison.

This is Hope Unveiled!

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SUBSTITUTES

IMG_1997.JPGLearning to live well is as simple as your ABCs. Let’s think holistically, shall we?

A is for ACKNOWLEDGE.

The very first step toward change is realizing that a change needs to be made. Insight. Awareness. Call it what you’d like, but it’s the very first step.

B is for BEING INTENTIONAL.

Nothing changes if it only goes as far as your thought process. [The counseling arena as a 5 point process to acknowledge the complexity of our thought lives in deciding to DO something with our lives.] And, lest we fool ourselves, it’s not up to anyone but us. Proactivity. Period.

C is for CHANGING OUT ONE THING FOR ANOTHER.

This is also known as replacement theory. You can try to delete, delete, delete, but there HAS to be something to take the place of that which you are deleting or else you feel depraved or default back into the comfort zone that you’ve known and become all to familiar with.

Whether it is your physical body, your thought life, your friend group, your spiritual life, it’s prudent to be intentional about making the wisest choices possible that are within your locus of control.

On a singular level, let’s take food. I love it. Period. But I have to A) Acknowledge where my vulnerabilities are [sugar], B) Be intentional about drawing boundaries that work for me, and C) Change out one thing for another.

Here’s an easy one. Substitute romaine lettuce leaves for bread. Yes, you can. Create a new mindset about what you usually do for your meals and replace it with a new, wiser choice.

Can you delete a number of things from your daily intake? One thing at a time? What has worked for you? What hasn’t worked? Whatever you decide, it has to be realistic and achievable.

Try this healthy swap. Eat clean in 2017. And if you need a little help getting started, visit Amazon for my Recipes Unveiled cookbook to get you started!

This is Hope Unveiled!

**The above meal has substituted romaine lettuce for bread, apple chips for potato chips, and a turkey burger for red meat.

Relationship Tips as You Gather

“The Heritage of the Past is the Seed That Brings Forth the Harvest of the Future.”

This quote from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. is dense with meaning and application.

Gathering Together…

The first gathering for thanks most likely occurred in 1621 even though it wasn’t officially recorded until two years later. As you learned early in your academic studies, the settlers had had many obstacles in the heritage of their past that posed challenges unlike any other.  Let’s face it.  The majority of us will never know what kind of hardship and trials they faced.

These families focused on what they DID have, not what they had lost.  Unlike the photos and popular belief, they wore clothes of bright colors and enjoyed song, dance, and outdoor activities. In fact, this tradition began after they had experienced a two month drought. Gratitude.

As You Gather Together….

These are the “seeds” that you plant in the present:

  • Refuse to react.  If someone “pushes your buttons,” you make the choice that it will not bother you. Take a deep breath, leave the room, or let it roll off your shoulders. Learning the skill to de-escalate will take you a long way.
  • Find common denominators. There tends to be a focus on what divides in relationships.  I encourage you to intentionally find what unites. This could be as simple as watching a movie, playing board games, cooking, sports, etc.
  • Focus on the people. Focus on the people who are present.  What do they enjoy? What are their interests?  What are their hobbies or career interests? What current challenges do they face? How can you encourage them?
  • Don’t “go there” with hot topic issues. Decide ahead of time that if you know people at the same gathering have different philosophical ideas, a boundary should be erected before the conversation begins to snowball.  If someone tries to push buttons among the group, kindly respond that it’s not the time or place. Use appropriate body language, words, and tone. Shift the focus on an idea or topic for all to contribute.
  • Ask open-ended questions.  Nothing will diffuse a potential argument than incorporating this technique.  If someone offers an opinion,  ask the following: “Tell me why that’s important to you,” and then leave it at that.  Don’t offer your own side of looking at things. You won’t change someone’s belief system while gobbling down turkey.
  • Ask each other what you are thankful for.  This is an especially useful “tool” if you’ve experienced hardship or grief this last year.  Why?  Science has proven that if you intentionally focus on what is going well, it balances out your cognitive thinking so the negatives don’t spiral you emotionally. The perfect ratio is >3 to 1 (listing at least 3 things you are thankful for even in the midst of the one negative event).
  • Be flexible. If families have changed, are blended, or experienced loss, be flexible and forgiving with the traditions of the past (what to fix, when to meet, etc.).  Remember:  it’s not the tradition that you’ve held, it’s about creating memories with people you care about.
  • Forgive. This isn’t about the other person, it’s about you.  Forgiveness is a process (much like grief), and must be “walked through” with a pastor, counselor, or life coach.  Forgiveness is about letting yourself off the hook, not the offender.  Life’s too short to hold to grudges and bitterness.  Do something about it now. It’s about YOU moving ahead in life.
  • Grief. If you have experienced loss, somewhere along the line you’ve adopted a belief that says, “I must stay strong for the family.”  You have permission to cry and acknowledge your loss among your gathering. Of course things are different. You are embarking on a “new normal” and right now you have no idea what that looks like.  So, cry together, laugh together, and remember the person who is no longer there.  It promotes the healing promotes and is the first step in the grief process. In holidays to come, you may want to remember their memory in a special way at family gatherings.  Be creative and allow your idea to fully embrace the person who is no longer with you.
  • Dress colorfully. As simple or silly as this may sound, there’s psychological benefit to wearing something that positively affects your emotions and makes you feel good.
  • Hobbies. Between gatherings, be sure to build your resiliency “tool box” with things you enjoy – reading, resting, painting, etc.  These hobbies and healthy coping skills make you resilient during times of stress.

Let this season of gathering be joyful – regardless of hardship and trial – and decide now to take ownership of what YOU bring to the table.

Life Coaching Tip:

Regardless of the “heritage” behind you, you decide what “seed” to plant TODAY that will reap a future “harvest” in your life.

This is HOPE UNVEILED!

 

 

 

Why Hacksaw Ridge Brought Me Full Circle

It was only fitting that I would choose this movie as the week closes on Veterans’ and Election Day.

I watched the movie as close to home as I have gotten in the last 15 years – Smith Mountain Lake – since my parents have passed. Ironically, this location is only an hour from the setting of the movie and where my parents took retirement after active service (Lynchburg, VA).

One of my earliest memories is meeting my father in Honolulu while he was on R & R from Viet Nam. He had already served in World War II and Korea. I wasn’t more than five years old when we swayed and danced to The Girl from Ipanema. He led while I positioned my feet on top of his. But something happened in those post retirement years, not long after our dance. How one handles horrific experiences of combat is unique.

In the years that followed, I went to college, married, and became a mother. My young adult self would utter, “I just don’t understand,” when my father, this Army colonel, never volunteered to discuss his more than 30 years of active service.

A few years before his death, I imploringly wrote a short note inside a Father’s Day card, asking him to share his experiences with his young grandsons. The card was coupled with a shadow box of medals I had stumbled upon that had been tucked away in old bandaid boxes. How could something so valuable be hidden or kept in this manner?

I “consciously objected” to what I perceived as his lack of understanding on my part to know his history. I was trying desperately to understand the father I didn’t. And to know the father who had survived 3 wars and 8 combat campaigns, but slowly died in life engagement during post retirement years. But you don’t know what you don’t know. And, because I didn’t know, I lacked understanding.

———

The graphically visual scenes of this movie left clear understanding of what these veterans lived through and died for on behalf of each of us. We don’t know what we don’t know. And we don’t know what we don’t see, live through, or experience.

Except for those who are or have been serving in the last decade or so, many in my generation have no idea what sacrifice means. And neither do our children. I don’t know what I don’t know. They don’t know what they don’t know. And for this I am convicted and feel ashamed. I have no idea what sacrifice means. Really.

The awareness that this movie provides is impetus for shattering some beliefs while strengthening others. Here’s what is true about life:

  • Battles in life can make us better or bitter.
  • Faith carries when foes throw us down.
  • Stamina is strengthened when strained.

My encouragement is for you to see this movie. Perhaps it will lend insight into a family member, yourself, or another.

And now I know what I know. And because I know, I understand. And because I understand, I can accept that to which I previously consciously objected. And maybe you will too.

Dad, I miss you. I have come full circle.

This blog is dedicated to all the men and women who serve this country. You truly know and understand. I salute you

Anxious Living: “I” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y.

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The “I” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y. stands for individuality, just like this Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s one of a kind.  And so are you.

Things that stress you may or may not stress others.  In other words, stressors, to some degree, are individualist.  How you cope with these stressors is also unique.  Here are some questions to think about

  • When you think back to a challenging time, what personal traits strengths pulled   you through?
  • What kind of coping skills did you implement?
  • Have you ever thought about what your strengths are?

To get started, consider the following:

Take a strengths test.  Strengths Finder 2.0 is a quick online assessment (you will have to purchase the book to get a code inside the back cover).  Another excellent website with a variety of assessments is http://www.authentichappiness.com.  An array of assessments – in varying lengths – can confirm your strengths.

Why is knowing your strengths so important?  Because these assessments clearly identify your strengths so you can celebrate and utilize them as much as possible to buffer stress.  If you get in the habit of incorporating these strengths into your everyday life, it will be a natural tendency to employ them while a challenging stressor, acute or chronic, occurs.

Choose positive behaviors. Ever heard the phrase, “Don’t trouble your trouble?”  If you’re in the midst of an ongoing life “storm,” the LAST THING YOU NEED is to compound it with bad choices.  Some examples include:  overeating, shopping to extreme, alcohol, sex without boundaries, addictions of ANY KIND,  and the list continues.  If you are choosing any of these behaviors by default mode, STOP.  Get to the root of what’s really going on.  These behaviors are only a symptom of something deeper….

Start by choosing healthy behaviors to replace the bad ones.  Think of hobbies too! This is a lead in to my next suggestion:

Create a Top 10 List. In my book, Change Unveiled, I title this chapter “FUN,” but it’s really addressing healthy behaviors that are good for you that become your “go to” lifestyle choices to relieve stress.  Think creatively.  Here are some of mine:  reading, music, writing, sitting in the sun…..

If you’d like additional reading for self-discovery, I high recommend John Ortberg’s book entitled, The Me I Want To Be.

“LEAN IN” to who you are and go for it. Your strengths will keep you standing firm instead of crashing down during a time of stress.

This is Hope Unveiled!

*My book for women, entitled “Change Unveiled: Hope for Positive Choices,” is available on Amazon and Kindle.