Shine Bright

Have you ever met someone who has such a spirit about them that it is like they are shining from deep within? It is as if they have never done anything wrong and love everyone around them. They have such inner peace and love that they seem to feel weightless and you can’t stop admiring them.

The light and joy expressed in their eyes beams to all of those people around them like a child at Christmas time. You see their smile and feel it in your heart.  You feel like the most important person in the world when you are around them.  When you are feeling heavy they make you want to lift your burdens and grab on to their joy to feel inner peace.

Has your light gone out?  Have the burdens of the demanding life you have created taken over making it hard for you to feel happy?

Sometimes I can feel alone in the darkness and think it is just me.  However, I know by the massive amount of people drawn to Oprah Winfrey, Rachel Hollis, Brene Brown, Christianity, and grateful children at Christmas that many of us are also drawn to people who “shine brightly.”  All the addictions people are facing also show many resort to unhealthy ways to find their happy.

It seems we have common core culprits for our darkness. For me it is usually one of the following:

-When I have no goal.

-Have given up on my dreams.

-Have let my mistakes make me feel like I was not worthy of joy.

-Let the financial burdens weigh me down.

-Feel physical pain and feel sorry for myself.

-Felt I had to focus so much on the never-ending pursuit to find the happiness that I became blind to all the beauty around me.

-Stopped exercising.

-Forgot to be grateful.

Pause for a moment to recognize what it is that makes you feel heavy.

If you are feeling stuck, start a journal. Write what is on your mind daily.

Now think of a time in your life when you felt that love for life, hope, and optimism.   If you have a time in your life when you can grab ahold of a vision where you felt like you were shining from the inside out and beaming on to others, hold onto to that image and let’s focus on getting that back!

For me, the most joyful time in my life was captured in a Christmas picture of my sister and me by the Christmas tree when I was about four years old and my little sister was around age two.

Next, recognize that you weren’t born as a dark cloud with a load weighing you down. Every one of us was meant to be a gift to the world. Every one of us has a purpose.  Every one of us has a choice to let our sins bring us to darkness or to overcome the battles and still choose to bring light. Every one of us has a choice to stop the negative chain.  The mistakes you have made don’t need to define you. Change can happen if you are willing to change.

Start making positive statements to yourself and then do things based on who you want to become. Randy Creamer at Southbrook says, “Bring to the world what you are drawn to in others.”   It makes perfect sense!

Think about what it is that is destroying that peaceful feeling for you.  Is it hurt? Anger? Anxiety? Fear? What have you done so far to heal? The tough part is working on yourself.

Southbrook Counseling has taught me core interventions used spiritually and through professional psychology through Randy Creamer’s lessons that dig deep into working on you.  There are ways to work on each of the following areas of struggle.

  1. Unforgiveness: feelings of hurt and pain, resentment and bitterness: How to Turn Anger into Inner Peace
  2. Low Self Esteem: poor body image, self-rejection, no purpose or value click here: https://everythingforthesoulcom.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/c1d2d-trueprofiletemplate.pdf
  3. Communication Problems
  4. Critical: defensive, withdraw, difficult relationships
  5. Emotions and behavior out of control: confusion about why and how they behave
  6. High levels of stress: blames things on stress
  7. Can’t say no: overwhelmed, tired, anxious
  8. Conflicts (download app: Conflict Guide for Couples)
  9. High levels of anxiety, panic attacks
  10. Relationships are controlling and hurtful

Here is a link to the resources from The Growth Institute to start working on you.

https://www.thegrowth-institute.org/counselor-tools

If you are in the Dayton-Cincinnati area, email counseling@southbrook.org to schedule an appointment with someone who can help you through the interventions above at no charge.

If you don’t live in the area, find some spiritual guidance or call a professional counselor in your area.

“If we do not tend the soul consciously and artfully, then it’s issues remain largely unconscious, uncultivated, and therefore often problematic.” – Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul

Photograph Taken in Omena, Michigan

 

Coping with Technology Rage

What is it about operating new or slow software that can leave us so frazzled?!  As I started with a whole new set of processes and organization system and new computer hardware and software, new calendar syncing and internet access issues I ended my day yesterday with tightened muscles and a short fuse. I had a long list of things I wanted to complete and my computer was not cooperating.  I felt irritated, helpless, annoyed, technology handicapped and frustrated for not getting everything accomplished on the timetable I had in mind.

Wait! I have been there before! As I reflect back on my first days of every new job, I can recall tensing up over technology every time! Every memory, in the beginning, includes me losing patience with not learning the technology as fast as I would like. Blaming it for not allowing me to be as speedy and productive as I had in mind for the time I allotted. The more tension I built up each time, the worse I struggled to figure it out.

What is this all about? No matter how much faster the software is today compared to 30 years ago or how much faster the speed of the internet is compared to dial-up, I still get worked up that it isn’t fast enough. What an aha moment! It isn’t the technology that has the problem. It is me!  Can you identify with me?

I am typically someone who forgets to come up for air. I start down my to-do list like a blazing train that doesn’t have any brakes and then suddenly combust because the engine wants to shut down. I drive myself harder and harder to a point of wanting to beat it up for not doing what I want it to do. I need help.  Does this sound like you too?

If you have found yourself in similar situations go through some self-coaching questions (Based on InsideOut Coaching and counseling lessons):

-What issue do you want to work through?

-What is your SMART Goal:

(Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic, Time Phase)

– What are the consequences if you don’t take action?

Reality

– What’s been happening?

-What have you tried before?

-What were the results?

-What are your roadblocks?

-Is your goal attainable?

Options

-If a friend were experiencing this, what would you advise?

Next Steps

– How can you put a plan in place to ensure you don’t end up here again?

As an example of how to answer these main questions, my goal is to not allow myself to get all worked up and tense and destroy my own peace and productivity due to things out of my control. I want to keep my joy. If I don’t do something about this I could damage my relationships and work productivity.

In my reality, I have kept doing the same thing and tried harder and harder without taking a step back. I stop breathing and allowed tension to grow. By the time I call support, I have already lost my patience and start my deep breathing after someone else is involved.

To answer the question on whether or not my goal is attainable, I do see it is realistic given technology support people can maintain calmness and they deal with technology frustrations all day long.

If I were coaching a friend or family member through this problem I would say:

– Ask yourself, do you have time to take a break from this? Hit the pause button and do any of the following:

-Some deep relaxing breaths.

-Go to lunch away from your desk

-Take a quick walk

-Switch to a different task

All the above can give you time to refresh your mind and relax your muscles.

Like you would a friend, tell yourself:

-Stop pushing yourself so hard.

-Schedule in time for breaks throughout the day so you don’t burn out.

-Lighten your daily to-do list.

-It is okay to call for help before losing your patience.

-Stop your negative thinking by pausing to look at the big picture and read some positive messages to give yourself a better attitude to relieve some tension.

-Learn to laugh at yourself and the situation.

For so many of us, technology is hard to understand and therefore it puts us over the edge because we can’t control how it malfunctions. We also can’t try to influence our devices. All we can do is look at how we handle ourselves and manage our reactions as well as the habits that lead up to our tensions and explosions.

Go through the series of questions above when you find yourself facing a roadblock. This exercise can help you see solutions you weren’t originally able to see.

For me, this series of questions made me approach my next day differently.  By scheduling in breaks for breathers and stretching and making my daily to-do lists more realistic, I ended up accomplishing much more. It also helped to take time for lunch away from my desk. Everything went smoother!

When you hit a problem that starts to frustrate you, divert your attention to something easier that reduces tension for a short time. Then revert back to calling for help with the problem after you have tried again with a more relaxed mental state and where your muscles aren’t all tight.

We can choose to allow technology to help us become more efficient or let it take control of our lives. It is up to us to choose how we respond.

If you have other helpful tips to not letting technology take away your peace, please share.

 

Leadership for the Soul

 

Mindtools.com says “Leadership can be hard to define and it means different things to different people. In the transformational leadership model, leaders set direction and help themselves and others to do the right thing to move forward. To do this they create an inspiring vision, and then motivate and inspire others to reach that vision.”

How is that done?

You may have heard the quote, “no one cares about how much you know unless they know how much you care.”  Can you be defined as a leader if you don’t ever get followers?  It seems the best leaders show how much they care about their mission.  Then the ones who show they care about their people get the most people on board.

Think of the best leaders in ancient wars.  Those who you see in the movies that are charging ahead of their troops to fight a battle.  The ones who get out in front.  They are in the trenches with their people.  When you see that in a movie, doesn’t it ignite your passion internally to want to see their side win?

Besides leading the way, how else do those leaders get people on board?  We see characteristics as being comfortable in their own skin, confident in who they are, strong in their decision making, have integrity and base decisions on the betterment of all their people.  They make their team feel valued that someone else is willing to fight on their behalf.  It makes them all want to win together.

What kind of leader are you?  How do you show you care about your people? When your people are trying to voice what they are experiencing in the trenches, do you shut them down?  If so, instead:

  • Work to listen and understand if it is a legitimate concern.
  • Rephrase what you are hearing them feel.
  • Ask what have you tried?
  • What were the results?
  • Ask what are your recommended options?
  • Ask how do you want to be part of the solution?
  • Do you know any others that are feeling the same way and would you want to help come up with ideas to fix it?

This approach will help your people feel heard and opinions valued.  Also, it weeds out the negative thinkers.  Those who want to complain but not help fix the problem.

When you make them feel heard rather than force top-down thinking and respond in ways where they feel they can’t trust being honest, you risk not getting valuable information for an effective strategy.  Also if you don’t understand them and what they are going through, how are you going to provide the adequate tools for them to handle the battle.  Shutting them down before understanding them says to them, “your opinions don’t matter”.  “Your views are not valued enough.”

If you feel they don’t understand the big picture from their feedback, it also tells you they don’t understand the vision.  In that case, you may need to clarify it and get them on board with why what you are asking is important.

Most people want to feel they are doing the right thing and will work more passionately for those who care for them.   Care for your people by empathizing with them and coach them how to become their best and you will have an army helping you accomplish your vision.

Photo taken at Lake Tahoe