How to Receive Love

white tulips

It’s often very difficult for us to receive love. Perhaps our past has taught us that it’s never genuine – or love is not reliable, and won’t last in the end. If this is your experience, it’s understandable that trusting love is scary, and a step that’s hard to take. Below are some steps that can help you with this.

1. Believe people when they say they love you. Whether it be a partner, a good friend, or a family member, it is crucial that we accept those words as being true and genuine. For If you’re continually doubting and pushing them away, then you’ll hamper them proving that they truly do love you.

2. Stop being terrified of loss. It’s normal and common to hold back from trusting love if your heart has been broken, or your love has been betrayed. Why would you want to experience that again! However, if you don’t take a chance on a person who seems true, you’ll spend your whole life running, and be captive to your fears. And there are people who are safe, and who will genuinely care. So trust your intuition, and push past all that fear.

3. Love yourself. For some this is the hardest step to take. However, if you don’t love yourself then you cannot receive love – as deep down inside you don’t believe you deserve love. If this is true for you, take the time to figure out the reason why you feel you’re not worthy of being loved. Then, work on challenging and replacing this belief. (Perhaps with the help of a counsellor.)

4. Begin to take down the walls and to risk being vulnerable. Being authentic is scary as you feel so vulnerable. But you can take a few small steps, and can practice being real. Decide it’s not OK to be cynical and tough, and choose to be more open, and let others get close.

5. Learn from young children, and the way they receive love. They expect to be loved, to be treated with respect, and to have their needs met when they reach out for support. They don’t fear rejection, or think that they’ll be hurt. For them, love is natural, it’s healthy and innate. So try to believe that the same is true for you – and love is enriching, rewarding, safe, and good.

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How to Stop being a People Pleaser

never let the

1. Recognize that you have choices. Usually people-pleasers feel as if they don’t have a choice, and they have to say yes when someone asks for their help. But you DO have a choice – and it’s Ok to say no.

2. Decide on your priorities. If you already have commitments or you have set priorities then it’s easy to say no as you’ve a genuine “excuse”. Do what matters most to you, and please remember – it’s your life!

3. Stall for time – don’t give an answer right away. Say you need a bit of time before you make up your mind. That allows you time and space to think about the consequences. For other things will likely suffer if you take on far too much.

4. Don’t be afraid to add conditions to your yeses. For example, say that you’ll only say yes if someone else says yes as well – or only take on a new task for a set period of time.

5. Are you being manipulated? There are plenty who will use you to ensure their plans succeed, so watch out for those compliments and empty flattery.

6. Be firm when you say no. The first time you say no it feels uncomfortable and hard. But once you’ve done that a few times it starts to feel much easier. Also, if you sound confident then others take you seriously.

7. Don’t defend you decision. You have a right to say no – and to NOT defend yourself. It’s your life after all – you don’t have to explain “why” … or come up with excuses … or be pushed and pressurised. And don’t apologise to others – saying no is not a crime!

15 Important Life Lessons

may you always do

1. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at your mistakes.

2. Life is too short it to waste it on resentments, bitterness or grudges you’re holding against others.

3. You don’t have to win every argument and fight. Sometimes it’s OK to just agree to disagree.

4. Make peace with your past – then let it go, and move on.

5. Choose to go after what brings you happiness.

6. Don’t compare yourself to others.

7. It doesn’t really matter what others think about you – just live your own life and be true to who you are.

8. Life isn’t always fair – but sometimes good things happen, too!

9. Ignore your feelings – and keep taking the next step.

10. Ask for what you want.

11. Don’t suffer in silence – reach out for support.

12. Everything changes.

13. Be willing to experiment and try something new.

14. The most important thing is to love and be loved.

15. Believe that the best is yet to come.

10 Commandments for a Good Life

  1. I accept that I’m not perfect, and there’s no perfect time – Too many people are hanging around and waiting for the perfect opportunity – or the time when they are perfect and have all the skills they need. But life rewards effort; so get out there and work hard … and eventually you’ll find that you succeed and reach your goals.
  2. I can’t please everyone no matter how hard I try – No matter what you do or how hard you try there will always be someone who’s disgruntled or upset. So, don’t look for affirmation; just do what you think’s right.
  3. I will participate in something I believe in – It doesn’t really matter what activity you choose, as long as it is something that ignites your passion … as this will bring fulfillment and true meaning to your life.
  4. I will learn to prioritise and do what matters first – We all get distracted by what seems to be most urgent … or something that is fun and makes life less of a burden. But if you’re going to succeed you need to set priorities. Don’t allow what’s less important to distract you from your course.
  5. I will be select when it comes to choosing friends – We’re influenced and shaped by the people we spend time with. Their impact is profound – even though this is subconscious. So be wise in who you choose to be your confidantes and friends. Surround yourself with people who inspire and motivate you.
  6. I will be there for others, and will help them if I can – In life, we reap what we sow – and that’s a crucial principle. That means the more that you help others, the more they will help you.
  7. I will choose to focus on the positives – Our thoughts affect our feelings and the ways that we behave. If you don’t expect success then it’s likely you will fail – in your work, relationships and life in general. So listen to your self talk … and straighten out your thinking … and start to focus on the positives!
  8. I will true to myself – You can’t be happy living someone else’s life. You need to discover and develop your own authentic self. That’s when you’re truly beautiful, and life feels meaningful.
  9. I will live in the present and enjoy the “now” – The past is gone and the future isn’t promised. Life is happening in this moment, so cease the day and enjoy “now”.
  10. I will look for the good and be thankful for each day – Life is full of gifts, if we will only stop and notice. If we choose to be thankful, and treasure all life’s gifts, then we’ll find our lives are filled with joy and happiness – and the hurts and disappointments won’t weigh us down as much.

Questions to Ask When Making a Decision

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1. What is holding me back from going ahead and making the decision?

2. What is my biggest fear?

3. What will my life be like if things turn out badly?

4. What will my life be like if things go exactly as I hope?

5. Who else is affected by my decision, and what are their thoughts and feelings?

6. How important are their thoughts and feelings?

7. Is there any other information I need, or facts that are important, for making the decision?

8. What would make the decision easier?

9. Can I test the water first, or take a few small steps?

10. How will I feel 10 years from now – if I say “yes” or if I say “no”?

Coping Statements for Anxiety

you can totally do this

It is often possible to manage anxiety by actively replacing irrational thoughts with more balanced and reasonable thoughts like the following:

1. I’m going to be OK. Sometimes my feelings are irrational and false. I’m just going to relax and take things easy. Everything is going to be fine.

2. Anxiety may feel bad but it isn’t dangerous. There’s nothing wrong with me. Everything is going to be OK.

3. Feelings come and feelings go. Right now I feel bad but I know this is only temporary. I’ve done it before so I can do it again.

4. This image in my head isn’t reasonable or rational. I need to change my thinking and focus my attention on something that’s healthier, and generally helps me to feel good about myself. For example _____________.

5. I’ve managed to interrupt and change these thoughts before – so I know I can do it again. The more I practise this, the easier it will become. Anxiety is a habit – and it’s a habit that I can break!

6. So what if I anxious. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not going to kill me. I just need to take a few deep breaths and keep going.

7. Just take the next step. Just do the next thing.

8. Even if I have to put up with a period of anxiety, I’ll be glad that I did, and persevered, and succeeded.

9. I can feel anxious and still do a good job. The more I focus on the task at hand, the more my anxiety will ease, then disappear.

10. Anxiety doesn’t have a hold on me. It’s something I’m working on, and changing over time.

How to Leave the Past Behind

be brave enough to travel

When you’re feeling overwhelmed with your sadness and loss, it’s hard to believe that your life will ever change, or you’ll ever be able to smile or laugh again. But the truth is you will – it won’t always be this bad – and there are things you can do help move on with your life:

1. Decide to face your pain. An unresolved past never really goes away. You may think you have buried your anger and pain but the hurt is still there and it will surface later on. If you don’t face what happened, and the feelings it unleashed, you will end up being ruled by your subconscious mind. So try and find the courage to revisit all the pain.

2. Accept there’s nothing you can do to change the past. What’s happened has happened, and what’s done is done. There’s nothing you can do to turn back the hands of time, or to rewrite the story so the ending’s happier. But you can change how you think, and you can start over again, and build a different future that’s not poisoned by the past.

3. Be grateful for the good times. There’s usually something good that you can be thankful for. You don’t have to pretend that everything was bad – or write off any good times and happy memories.

4. Consciously let go and set your focus on the future – Don’t let the baggage, or the failures of the past, affect your identity or self esteem. You are NOT what you did, or how you acted previously. You’re not just a product of what happened to you. You are valuable, unique and you have so much to give. You’re the author of your future; you control your destiny.

5. Remove your past from your future. We all have a tendency to think that the past will morph into our future – and become our lot in life. But that doesn’t have to happen. The future’s a blank page. You can change your expectations – and work towards those goals. Instead, look hard for the exceptions – the times when things went right – and notice what you did that resulted in success. You still have those same strengths, skills and great qualities.

6. Be realistic and take small steps at first. You can’t snap your fingers – and find that life has changed. Accept it will take time, and you will still have some bad days – but if you keep on going then the past will lose its grip.

Exploring Emotionally Abusive Relationships

not all wounds are visible

Characteristics of an emotionally abusive relationship include:

  • Using money as a means of control
  • Threatening to walk out or abandon you
  • Creating fear through looks, words, threats and actions
  • Destroying things (and often things you value) – either in a cold and heatless way, or in an angry outburst or fit of rage
  • Using blaming, shaming, minimizing and denial to control you
  • Verbally attacking and demeaning you (includes name calling, shouting at you, criticising and putting you down – especially in public)
  • Attacking and putting you down in private, and acting loving and charming in public
  • Minimising the abuse; acting as if you’re over-reacting and it’s “no big deal”
  • Deliberately withholding approval, affirmation, affection and as a means of punishment or control

The effects of living with emotional abuse include:

  • A fear of being natural and spontaneous
  • A loss of enthusiasm or their old joie de vive
  • Insecurity related to how they coming across to others
  • An inner belief that they are deeply flawed
  • A loss of self-confidence and self esteem
  • Growing self-doubt (so they’re afraid to make even the smallest decision, or to take on even the simplest of tasks)
  • Never trusting their own judgments (as they believe that they misunderstand or misread everything)
  • Having a constant critic in their head
  • Feeling they should be happier and more upbeat than they are (in order to meet the approval of others)
  • Feeling they’re too sensitive, and ought to “toughen up”
  • Fearing they’re going crazy, or losing their mind
  • A tendency to live in the future (“Everything will be OK when/after ….”)
  • A desire to break free, escape or run away
  • A distrust and fear of entering into any close relationships again.

Five Easy Steps to Keeping your Cool

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It is surprisingly easy to lose your cool, and to react to minor stresses and to irritating people. However, most of us would rather feel relaxed and in control, and the following guidelines can help us reach this goal.

  1. Keep things in perspective: Often we catastrophise or over-react when the issue or offense is insignificant. Here, it is best to force yourself to take a balanced approach and remind yourself, “it’s minor, and not worth the energy!”
  2. Visualise yourself coping: Take a few deep breaths and let your feelings settle down. Draw a mental picture of a calm, unflustered “you”, who takes their time to respond and is able to cope. Then, in a calm, low voice – with a few well chosen words – respond as you would like, so you maintain your self-respect.
  3. Be aware of your triggers: When someone pushes our buttons we generally react. However, if we know what those are then we can regain control, and can practice how to cope when our feelings are stirred. Also, if we’re tired or hungry, feeling cold, or over-stretched then we’re much more likely to over-react.
  4. Create a calm environment: Stay one step ahead by preparing yourself for inevitable setbacks and infuriating people. For example, play some music in the car, or take a walk during lunch, or keep some photos in your office of the people that you love.
  5. Distract yourself: When you feel the pressure building, or you start to ruminate, think of something that’s amusing, or a fun event you’ve planned.

 

These are just a few suggestions to help you stay detached so that stresses and people don’t make you lose your cool.

Help with Learning to Love Yourself

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1. Treat other people with kindness and respect. Choosing to bring joy to other people’s lives will increase your happiness and self respect. Also, often when we treat other people well, they start to treat us in the same way, too.

2. Learn to let go of what happened in the past. You deserve a new start and a fresh beginning. We’ve all messed up and experienced bad things. So don’t allow these memories to rob you of your future. You’re not just a product and a victim of your past. Acknowledge and work through any negative emotions – then put them behind you and start to live again.

3. Work on forgiving yourself. Related to point 2, don’t punish yourself for past failings and regrets. Instead, see them as a lesson, and a chance to learn and grow. Don’t ridicule, demean or devalue yourself. That was then – this is now … You are different – so move on.

4. Keep a journal where you write your thoughts and feelings. When you’re feeling positive, try to savour those emotions and a build a memory trace of all that’s good and positive. When you’re feeling negative, try to show some self-compassion, and seek to be gentle and kind to yourself. You need to work on validating and affirming yourself – not treating yourself like your worst enemy.

5. Be persistent as you work on accepting yourself. A key part of love is unconditional acceptance. So work on loving who you are right now. Only then will you be able to work on changing – because you’re able to accept who you are at the core.

6. Trust yourself. You’re not here to please others. Learn to trust your intuition. You can trust you own judgments as you know what’s best for you.

7. Practice saying “no”. It’s okay to say “no” without feeling guilty. You have the right to decide what you’ll do with your life.

8. Practice receiving and accepting love from others. Know you’re worthy of love – and other people really mean it when they say that you matter, and they love and care for you.