Overcoming Criticism

How well do you handle criticism?  If you are like many people, someone could share all kinds of great things, and one little not so great thing, and all you hear is that one negative.  It can derail all the self-esteem you thought you had built up in yourself.

You may be struggling with how you can ever succeed when all you can focus on is how much better you are hearing you still need to be.  First, remember everyone has a different perspective. Not everyone is going to be your number one fan.  Focus on your fans and remember no matter how hard you try, you won’t please everyone and no one is perfect.

What’s next?

-Keep a “yay me” collection. Tuck away notes to yourself for when you are not feeling so confident.  Your future self may very well thank you for the note you once left yourself or that you saved from someone else who thought you were pretty special once.

-Keep a daily gratitude journal.  When you start feeling lost in your inner critic head, reframing your mind for what you have to be thankful for will get your mind off the negative voice that tried carrying you down a rabbit hole. Learn to be thankful for the ability to learn from your mistakes. Not everyone gets constructive feedback.

-Write down and “I am…” list of all of your positive characteristics.  Work to memorize it or repeat it to yourself in the mirror daily or as often as needed to reprogram your mind. Go to it when you are not feeling confident.

-If it was warranted, use the criticism to create a plan of action to do better next time.  Use it as motivation to keep growing.  Remember growing is tough! Success is the result of many failures!

Most importantly, if you were able to thank the person for the feedback, you are already a step ahead of the majority.  Many people only react with anger even when constructive criticism is warranted.  So stand tall.  Find your inner peace.  You are healthier at handling criticism than you think.

Have a story to share or tips on what has helped you?  Email me at everythingforthesoul@gmail.com.

The Growth Institute Courses

 

Find Your Direction

“Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

In our journey of life, it can be so hard to resist chasing more money, more things, more doing or more of anything to be “happy.”   Yet, when is the last time you examined where you were headed?  We are all moving toward something.

While goals can give our life purpose, goals without our purpose in mind can leave us lost when we reach them.   “Wanting” can lead to greed and emptiness.  “Doing” can be a way of numbing and finding self-worth.  If the chase doesn’t include enjoying the creation, discovery, and keeping the meaning of the mission alive, we can start feeling a sense of emptiness.

Have you noticed times in your life when you were chasing a goal, yet in the process people you valued were ignored?  Or did you even embrace the act, in and of itself?

In the times of my life where I have reached a point of burnout,  it was because I got caught up in the doing and no longer felt I was fulfilling my purpose.  I became someone just going through the motions not knowing where I was headed.  I became lost with feelings of emptiness.   At first, I thought my desire for a sense of accomplishment was to blame. However, when I decided to stop doing so much, I was still lost.  Then I realized I just needed to have the courage to operate by my true beliefs with meaningful doing in order to feel whole and alive again. It took doing some self-reflecting and gaining self-awareness and re-evaluating what I really wanted and what I didn’t want in life.

In my career, I have been fortunate to work in a company where the leader would say, “do what is right by the client.” The company’s values and mission were clear and the passion and energy were everywhere. Hence, turnover was extremely low and everyone was happy accomplishing the company’s goals for years.

Alternatively, many articles have been written about high turnover and burnout in companies that lack purpose. Simon Sinek in “Start with Why” tells many stories to prove most people want to feel good about their work at the end of the day. Without the “Why” companies fail. In Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frank shares how most of the people who survived the Holocaust had a strong sense of purpose.  Yet, I am hearing of more and more companies and coaches taking away the purpose out of the work and making it all about the money.  No matter where you are feeling lost,  don’t stay stuck.

Think of times in your life where you have been happy.  When have you felt whole?  Are you being true to yourself?   Is what you are saying and doing matching what you truly believe?

Create goals based on what gives your life meaning.  Then keep your purpose in mind all along your journey. When distractions come at you, go back to your why and let it guide you in your decisions and actions.  Be a leader.  Bring your purpose to your work and see if you can inspire change in yourself and inspire others. When you show courage to hold true to your “why” then you won’t get lost.

“People who can articulate their purpose live an average of 8 years longer.” Jay Shetty Podcast Ikky Guy

To gain a better self-understanding, take the Enneagram course through the Growth Institute Courses. If you are still struggling after this exercise, write to me at everythingforthesoul@gmail.com.  I may not have all your answers. However, it is the writing alone and sharing your story with someone interested that may be the very therapy you need.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis text: 741741

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, schedule free counseling by email: counseling@southbrook.org

To share inspiring stories or be referred to a Professional Counselor email: everythingforthesoul@gmail.com

For more resources:

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Action by Simon Sinek

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frank

Women, You Do Not Have a Shelf Life!

“Women have a shelf life.” Said the instructor.

While in my mid-thirties in a sales career, I took a class I had purchased to learn about stocks and how to invest on my own. When it came time for the instructor to sell his next class, he used fear in his sales approach saying, “my sister is a newscaster and I tell her she has a shelf life. To the career women in the room, if you are in the public eye,  you have a shelflife.  You need a fallback!”

Instantly I felt anger towards him and fear of aging at the same time as I knew how society views models and famous women who were defined by beauty and then age.  While being a salesperson myself, his approach instantly turned me off as I am sure it did for many other women in the room.  I still wonder if those words of fear still linger in the minds of the other women in the room that day.

In sales, you hear, “shine your shoes”, “wear your best suit”, “if you really want to get in the door look your very best every day” and “put the time in your appearance given so much is judged by the first impression.”   While respect for how you look matters and so does a proper dress code to gain credibility, being judged for appearance many times went beyond that.  It was not uncommon as a sales rep to hear the gatekeeper get asked over the phone,  “Is she good looking?” as a basis as to whether or not the person would take the meeting or not.  This may have happened with men too.

Now in my mid-forties, aging is more of a reality than a fear.  Long gone are the turning of heads.   This morning I listened to Oprah’s podcast where she interviews models and female actresses who admit how they realize their beauty got them in the door in their younger years.  Yet, as they aged they realized they had been defined by their beauty and had to find new ways to find self-worth.

During her podcast, Oprah talks about how in her 25 years of doing interviews very few people have spoken of what it felt like to be valued by their looks.  Her guests talk about how they handled the transition from being the one to turn heads to then no longer being able to use their looks to get in the door. They go on to tell their story of how they were able to grab ahold of another way of finding their value.  They tell their true age and don’t rely on plastic surgeons or beauty treatments to maintain their youthful appearance. They share how going through the transition is a freeing experience.

For some of you reading this, you may be thinking, looks are not required to succeed in most careers.  You are obviously correct.  However, there are certain fields where some people have defined themselves by how good they look,  just like some people define themselves by how good they are at their career or being a mom.

I have recently gone through this journey and am working on that very transformation myself and finding joy in new aspects of who I am by utilizing the practices of writing, being grateful, ways to motivate myself to exercise and being more aware of how I am defining myself.   Oprah’s Podcast reminded me I am not alone.

So no matter how you have defined yourself, either by beauty, as a mom, how great you are at your career, all of those things come to an end or at a crossroads.  There comes a time where you will need to find a new way to value yourself. When you recognize how you have been valued and how you have defined yourself is no longer working for you, life is not over.

In reality, living life fully could just be beginning.  You may just need to redefine how you value yourself.  Discover something new, create something, practice gratitude, exercise, and most importantly, admit your struggles because you will realize others feel the same way as you and a whole new life will begin to develop.  A life where you can embrace all that you really are and where you find people who will love you for it!

Source:

Listen to Aging Well With Cybill Shepherd, Bo Derek and Beverly Johnson from Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations in Podcasts. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/oprahs-supersoul-conversations/id1264843400?i=1000449337412

The Growth Institute Courses

Photo taken at Strouds Run State Park near Athens, Ohio

“Can You Say It Again?”

Have you ever met someone who you thought was incredibly confident and had it all together and wondered, what is their secret? How can they be so sure of themselves?

I recently met a person who was just that. So when I heard her reply to a compliment with great appreciation saying, “did you just compliment me? Oh, thank you! Can you say it again?” I was surprised to hear she rarely received compliments. At the same time, her reply made me admire her even more.

I am not sure if every woman feels the same way as me. However, I know many women who I thought had it all together and then I feel found out that the inner critic gets to the best of them too.

In Joyce Landorf Heatherley’s book Balcony People, she describes people who lift others up as Balcony People and those who take others down as basement people.  She talks about how we even start taking the people closest to us for granted and forget to share all the things we appreciate about them.  We tend to look more at what we don’t have than do.  She also shares how those who give compliments or encourage others are typically healthier happier people themselves.  The best way to help ourselves is to help someone else.

Joyce’s book was a reminder to me of how much I have appreciated all the balcony people in my life.  People who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.  Or the times that compliment balanced out a critic I received that I was struggling to overcome. She reminded me that I was not alone.  That we all need balcony people.

The next time you meet a person, particularly a woman who you think has it all together, remember we are all human. Rather than trying to tear them apart to make your own self feel better, compliment them. Admit how they shine and inspire you!  When you choose to lift others up, their response of appreciation may lift you up too!

 

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, schedule free counseling by email: counseling@southbrook.org

To share inspiring stories or be referred to a Professional Counselor email: everythingforthesoul@gmail.com

The Growth Institute Courses

Women Overcome Anger of Childhood Sexual Abuse

A young woman who I will call Jessie came into pastoral counseling to talk about her anger. She felt so much of it, it was hurting many areas of her life.

Being trained to dig for the hurt when anger issues are apparent, together we unveiled where she would need healing.

She had been molested as a young girl by a family member and had not been able to trust those closest to her to help protect her. She shared how when she shared what was happening to her with a family member she was beaten and told not to speak of it. She was deeply hurt and therefore carried deep hatred for her perpetrators.

She had not spoken of it again since telling me. By keeping this torment inside without understanding how to address it, it became dangerously explosive.

She needed to share her pain with someone compassionate who could help her work through her feelings and try to forgive. The forgiveness would not help her perpetrators. Its sole purpose was to set herself free from letting that horrible childhood experience ruin the joy life could bring her in adulthood.

She was asked to write out a letter to all those to blame for her anger. Then tear the letters up and search for possibilities of those people having their own issues that caused them to act in such unimaginable ways. We talked about how if she could look at their acts as their unresolved issues from their own childhood or merely feel bad for them for living in such a dark place that maybe it would help her move on.  While trying to forgive them seemed impossible, just talking with someone who showed compassion, gave her some relief.  With continued visits, hope through her awareness of her cause for her anger began to surface.

She was then guided to a professional therapist to help with her ongoing counseling so she would have the ability to live a more joy-filled life.

While I do not know Jesse’s end story, I know many other women like her who suffered from childhood sexual abuse and/rape. After professional counseling, they are in many cases helping other people who’ve had similar experiences.  By doing so, they’ve been able to find their own joy.

If you are someone who suffers due to similar issues, please seek help. There is hope.

For other inspiring stories of how everyday people overcome their struggles, please click: Inspiring Stories of Everyday People

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis text: 741741

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, schedule free counseling by email: counseling@southbrook.org

To share inspiring stories or be referred to a Professional Counselor email: everythingforthesoul@gmail.com

Photo taken at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Franciso, CA

A Way Out of the Cave

Sadness is like a dark cloud fogging over your brain with despair making you want to curl up in a ball and lie in your bed forever. If no change to the mind happened, people would stay in their dark cave forever.

Depression keeps away hope. In its darkness, light is hard to grasp. Negative thoughts stand in the way from the truth preventing the steps to a better frame of mind to be seen.

Anxiety begins with depression’s lies. Then thinking spirals into a panic not allowing for reasoning.

Who is to stop such madness but the trained mind of the person who practices climbing out of the cave knowing all too well the habitual ways of the one who prevents himself from taking the first action. Yet for that person in the cave, they sometimes have a hard time seeing the first step.

Once I sat in a dark cave.  The tour guide then lit one match.  It was amazing to everyone how much one little match lit up the whole cave.

If you find yourself or know someone in a dark cave of depression,  focus on the first action of lighting a match. The magic is in learning how to see the light. For the quicker you can ignite a flame, the more you can see all you need to see which is the first step out of the despair.

Once you see the first step, your brain begins to see a path for hope. The momentum of taking the first step motivates you to keep climbing.  If you know someone suffering from depression, or do so yourself, learn to question the current thinking.  What is it that is causing the depression?  What lies are being told?  Are those lies really true?  What can they be thankful for?

If they can name even one thing that they can be grateful for, the mind reframes.  It becomes the match giving them a different perspective of their life and their abilities. It makes them see all the times where they demonstrated strength and where those lies were not true.

Help those who cannot see the light.  Guide them to the first step.  A glimpse of hope and optimism goes a long way.  It gives a way out of a cave.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis text: 741741

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, schedule free counseling by email: counseling@southbrook.org

To share inspiring stories or be referred to a Professional Counselor email: everythingforthesoul@gmail.com

The photograph was taken in Ireland.

Find Your Wings and Fly Little Bird

Find your wings and fly little bird. See what for most is impossible.

Be intentional about your life.

Feel the wind in your wings.

Hear the lullabies of the crickets at night.

See what most don’t see in the details of nature right in front of you like the mysterious needles on an evergreen that keep their color all year long.

SING! Touch hundreds of other lives with your song.

Explore the heavenly earth.

Admire who you become through your adventures and recognize your strengths.  Yet work to understand other creations knowing their instincts may be different than yours.

Be wary of the lurking hawks. When your wings need rest or your vision doesn’t allow you to see the light, return to your nest. Yet don’t let fear keep you from soaring to new heights. There are new days ahead.  You are important to others in your flock.

Look at how far you’ve come from being just a little egg. See the miracles of your life so far. Keep following your instincts and the best of what your devoted parents taught you when they sacrificed their life for your care.

When you are mended, stretch your wings once more and keep flying little bird.  Find your wings and keep flying.

For podcast:

https://anchor.fm/findjoy/episodes/Find-Your-Wings-and-Fly-Little-Bird-e54ef6

What is Your Story?

Are you primarily a listener or a talker? How often do you tell your story?

As number nine of ten kids, I have done lots of listening. My favorite part of the day when I was little was sitting around the dinner table and hearing all my families stories. My parents say I would be quiet most of the time. They would think I wasn’t really aware of what was being said and then I would say something profound showing I was paying attention to everything.

Many times in my life I have found myself doing much more listening than talking. It was something my family grew to expect of me. As I got older at times it would be harder to chime in and actually get my voice heard. There would be times in such a big family some of us would feel invisible. Sometimes it can get frustrating to get a chance to talk in a big group of people who like to talk.

However, I have come to realize I enjoy hearing other people’s stories even more than my own. I also have realized what I miss about every job I’ve had is hearing colleagues stories. Getting to laugh together, vent together, and cry together.

Since most people move on to new careers we can’t go back in time. What we can do is appreciate the stories of today and the stories of all the future people we are yet to meet.

In a section of this website, I ask people who have inspiring stories to share theirs with me. For those people who have been able to move from a victim mentality to a position of hope and strength, I have asked them if I could share their story in order to inspire others.

What is your story?  If you were recently thrown a curveball in life and are fighting battles now you did not expect, may the idea of knowing other people want to be there for you and inspire hope within you help you find your inner strength. Keep taking baby steps while walking through your pain. Don’t stay stuck. Find counseling.

If for some reason counseling is not an option to you. Write to me at everythingforthesoul@gmail.com.  In your story, write all of the goals of how you want to feel. What do you want out of life? What don’t you want? Share which of the below daily activities you have done (each underlined pink link below is clickable):

I may not have all your answers. However, it is the writing alone and sharing your story with someone interested that may be the very therapy you need.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis text: 741741

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, schedule free counseling by email: counseling@southbrook.org

To share inspiring stories or be referred to a Professional Counselor email: everythingforthesoul@gmail.com