Two keys to reducing suffering

There are two habitual reactions that many of us have can greatly increase the suffering we experience in life.  One is taking things personally and the other, which is related, is interpreting others’ behavior.

Recently, a friend of mine was sharing with me that a co-worker was acting rather cool and standoffish with her.  In the past, my friend had seen that this indicated that the co-worker was upset or annoyed… and my friend didn’t know what she had done.  She wracked her brain trying to think of something she’d said, something she’d done…  Then it turned out that my friend’s co-worker was anxious about an upcoming meeting, and it had nothing to do with her!  When she asked me if I thought she was too sensitive, I responded that I think she fell into the trap we all do, from time to time, of thinking that it’s always about us.  Think how liberated you would feel if you could detach from thinking it’s about you – and to choose not take on other people’s stuff!

Related to this is the danger of interpreting others’ behavior.  How often have you started telling yourself stories about another person’s motivation, or imagined what is going on in their head … and then found out later that you were totally wrong?  One of the tools I use in coaching my clients is a “perception check”.  When you feel triggered you tell the person what you are imagining and how you feel as a result… and you check it out with them.  So often what you think is going on is completely different from the other person’s reality.  It’s always safer to ask than to assume!

I invite you to watch for these habits: 1) taking things personally and 2) interpreting others’ behavior.  With awareness you can break through these patterns and live with much less suffering!

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7 Weeks to Attract the Love of your Life?

Katherine Woodward Thomas starts a live online Calling in “the One” course this evening.  I’m a Certified Calling in “the One” coach and I know how valuable this program is.  I have to admit that I feel a little uncomfortable with the claim “7 weeks to attract the love of your life.”  In the marketing it is implied that if you take this course, you will find your true love right away.   When I work with people, I like to clarify this a bit.  I can’t guarantee that you will find the love of your life in 7 weeks if you mean a beloved partner.  What you will gain after 7 weeks of this work is a much deeper insight into yourself.  You will learn more about your limiting attitudes and beliefs, you’ll learn some great communication skills and you will be much better prepared for love.  Yes, you will attract the love of your life… and the love of your life is YOU!

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In her book “If I’m So Wonderful Why am I Still Single” Susan Page has involuntary single readers really examine any ambivalence they may have about being in a committed relationship. Most people who long for a relationship can come up with many benefits, but have you actually looked at what you anticipate you might lose if you were in one? There will be challenges – this is inevitable. Really being honest with ourselves and bringing up the pro’s and con’s will allow us to be more conscious about our choices, instead of being sabotaged by self-defeating behaviours.

Join me on Saturday January 26th for part 1 of a 3-part series in which we focus on this essential book for singles! Get more information on my Fireside Chats page.

Are you ambivalent about being in a committed relationship?  What would you gain?  What might you lose?  Which list is longer?  Please share your comments!


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Is dating narrowing or broadening your world?

A client of mine has just decided to stop online dating for a while. She was using that as her only strategy to date and she was finding that she wasn’t living her life. Just this morning, a friend told me that he wasn’t free to meet for coffee because he’d met somebody yesterday and they were going to try being in an exclusive relationship. I don’t know what you think about that, but I think meeting someone and deciding immediately to get into a committed relationship is premature… and to choose not to see friends isn’t going to contribute to the health of this relationship!

I believe that singles need to have full, rich lives so they come from a place of fullness and abundance, not from a place of loneliness and desperation. A viable, healthy relationship requires two healthy individuals.

If you’re dating, are you still spending time on self-care, nurturing friendships, learning and growing, and sharing your gifts with the world? Do you feel balanced? How do you ensure that dating doesn’t interfere with living fully? Please share your thoughts! We’d love to hear from you!

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"Someone to Love"

Paul Anka had a hit song years ago called “Lonely Boy”. Here are the words from the first verse: ” I’m just a lonely boy, lonely and blue. I’m all alone with nothin’ to do. I’ve got everything you could think of. But all I want is someone to love.” How appealing is this man going to be to a single woman? He’s lonely, blue, has nothing to do and thinks that having someone to love will fix everything. Seriously, how much love does a man like that have to offer? My thought is that he’s not so interested in giving love as he is in receiving it – so he can feel better about himself and his life.

Recently I heard a woman say that she wanted someone to love. Unfortunately in this culture, having someone to love implies that need to be in a romantic relationship. To me, that’s very sad because there are all kind of opportunities to love people… and the more you love yourself, others, the Divine and random strangers, your capacity to give and receive love expands.

So, this holiday season, please do yourself a favour and instead of lamenting that you don’t have a significant other to love, please practise being a loving person, period. When the time comes that you are in a relationship with a significant other, it will deepen your ability to be more loving without expecting so much in return, and love is never wasted!

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Coming Apart

Hi have just read Daphne Rose Kingma’s book called Coming Apart: Why Relationships End and How to Live Through the Ending of Yours… twice! Every now and then I come across a book that causes a paradigm shift in me and this is one of those amazing books. Kingmas says the reason that we get into romantic relationships is so we can accomplish developmental tasks – both internal and external. Relationships used to be geared toward survival, but in this day and age they are for evolution – so we can get to know who we truly are. She says that relationships end when the developmental tasks of one, or both partners, are accomplished. I found this a fascinating way to look at romantic love and one that made it a lot easier to appreciate ended relationships, and to see the gifts in them.

I’m looking at hosting a group discussion of this book in the near future. I will keep you posted!

Have you read this book? How did it change how you look at the ending of relationships?

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Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans!

Well, I’m back. I’ve had an intense time with a death in my immediate family last month and a big move to Victoria BC. It’s been a great opportunity for me to look at my priorities and to find ways of taking care of myself. I’ve actually used many of my coaching strategies on myself! One thing I did recently was to make a list of the major stressors in my life and then I figured out two or three things I could easily do to deal with them. It got me out of being immobilized into productive actions. I love coaching!

When you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed how do you cope? I’d be interested to hear some of the ways you deal with overwhelm.

If you don’t have any strategies for dealing with overwhelm we need to talk! Seriously, coaching is great for helping you move from where you are now to where you want to be. I’m happy to set up a time for us to talk. Just email or call.

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"How best can I take care of myself?"

For those of us with an elderly parent/s dealing with the challenges of their deteriorating health and shifting needs can be overwhelming – as we cope with our own issues. I have just moved my mother to a care facility in a city nearby and I am preparing for a move, myself. At times I feel like I’m juggling 6 or 7 plates in the air and trying to prevent them from crashing to the ground! I was talking about this recently with a friend who is experiencing a lot of intensity in his life, too, and I told him one of my strategies for staying sane (!) When I’m feeling overwhelmed and ready for a meltdown I stop and ask myself, “How best can I take care of myself in this moment?” Sometimes it means addressing a task on my “to do” list. Sometimes it means making a cup of tea and taking half an hour to read a book. Other times I need to reach out to a friend for a walk or a hug. I am careful to avoid distractions such as turning to shopping, alcohol or over-eating which take my mind off my overwhelm but do not truly serve me in a healthy way.

How do you deal with overwhelm? What are your favourite ways of taking care of yourself? Please share your stories!

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Fun with Online Profiles

I enjoy reading through online profiles. The approaches are so different: from deadly serious to wild and crazy! I wanted to share a couple of funny moments from recent profiles written by men. I don’t think they were meant to be funny but they cracked me up! One said, “no drug addicts or vegetarians” I laughed out loud that they’d be in the same sentence! And I saw one this morning in the “first date” section where he’d written, “phone call to select a compromising place for dinner.” Now I think he meant that he and his date would discuss the venue and be flexible… but what came out wasn’t quite what he intended, I’m sure!

Have you seen anything funny in a profile lately that you’d like to share? This could be a lot of fun!

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Releasing Expectations

I am very tolerant of my friends. If I don’t hear from them for a while, I just assume that they are busy. If a friend promises to drop by if possible and doesn’t come, I just figure that something else has come up. I have noticed with myself that suddenly the rules change when I’m in a romantic relationship. All of a sudden, I have lots of expectations (ones that aren’t acknowledged, let alone shared!) and it becomes easy for me to take things personally. In a relationship if I haven’t heard from my partner, I might fear the worst and make up stories about how he doesn’t really care. If someone I’m dating says he’ll try to drop by and he doesn’t make it, I can make meaning of it where I wouldn’t with a friend. It’s true when dating that we need to be aware and notice if there are red flags, but I’ve found that when I don’t take another person’s behaviour personally, it frees me!

Have you noticed that you suddenly have expectations and demands when in relationship where you are more tolerant with your friends? Please share your observations!

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