Saturday, September 29, 2012

Showing Self Care was the solution to my issues

I had a very tough summer this year. The weather was very hot and humid, and I hate both humidity and hot weather :). I am currently establishing my coaching business; I tried to work from home but I couldn't as it was the summer vacation and with the kids at home I could never focus on anything. I had shared an office with other people and before actually starting with my clients they apologized and asked to cancel the contract because they had to leave the apartment to the owner.  I found another place but it had to be furnished and that meant more time and additional expenses. My best friend was on a trip all summer long and I felt so lonely. I didn't go out with my friends or do anything to enjoy myself during almost three long months. I was working with my coach on my relationships. I was stuck and turning in circles. I couldn't find any way out for my issues. I was desperate and unhappy.

I was really astonished about how stuck I was in my relationships and why I couldn't find a way out. There was nothing new; they were the same issues I experienced every now and then. Why was my response this time so rough? Why couldn't I cope with the situation as sometimes I was able to do? Why couldn't I be accepting? Acceptance was all I needed I think. For almost three months I was struggling with many issues but I never realized that my main issue was with myself. Yes, it was all about me. I didn't take care of myself. There was something very important missing in my life; that was SELF CARE. I felt lonely and missing my best friend, I avoided going out because of the hot weather and the bad traffic, I spent all my time just doing housework and all I need to do for my new business, I was committed to my younger son workouts, but I didn't notice that I was not taking care of myself. For long weeks I didn't do anything to enjoy myself except working out two or three times a week.

I realized from my work with my coach that lack of self care was the main cause of my unhappiness, but I always thought that it was anything else. I was extremely nervous, aggressive and angry most of the time. I believed that the weather, my sons' behavior, traffic, my husband, the maid’s absence and many other reasons were the cause of feeling upset and angry. The only enjoyable thing I did during these three months is spending time with my sons, every now and then, listening to their jokes and laughing with them. It is true that I love spending time with my sons but I love and need to spend time with my friends and with myself. I needed to show more self care. I was always repeating to my friends that to be able to take care of others we need to learn to take care of ourselves first. It seems that I forgot my own advice :).

Self care doesn't need to be time and money consuming as we may think; it can be just spending quality time with a dear friend, listening to music, relaxing in nature or in our favorite place, watching a good movie or reading an inspiring book. It can be playing and laughing with our children. Self care means honoring ourselves and showing love for ourselves by having our needs met. It is showing respect to our own needs as we show respect to others needs. What is really important is to make it regular and a lifestyle; not just doing it when we have nothing else to do. 

It is so important to add our self care appointment to our calendar as we do with our other important appointments. We need to give our self care appointments a high priority as we give to our business appointments. The self care appointments we commit to today will help us to get the energy for our business appointments we have to commit to tomorrow. Have your own self care program. Build your own enjoyable activity list and go for one activity daily and as much as the activity is new and adventurous it will bring you more excitement, satisfaction and energy. Your life will not be the same anymore.

I would like that you share with me the activities you do to show self care and how often you do them weekly.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

10 tips to help you replace negative thoughts with more positive ones

"The World is what we think it is. If we can change our thoughts, we can change the world." ~H.M. Tomlinson
So to change your world, to make your life happier and to make the world a better place to live in you need to change your own thoughts. You may think it is hard to control your thoughts, I don't say it is easy but it is not impossible. It is doable through practice, all you need is to keep practicing, to be persistent and patient and surely you will do it.

In my previous post (Our thoughts shape our life) I shared with you how my negative thoughts made me feel in a certain situation and how the positive ones totally changed my feelings in another situation while the difference in time between the two situations did not exceed 30 minutes. On this post I share with you some tips to help you replace your negative thoughts by more positive ones.
  1. Prayers and asking support and strength from Allah brings peace, and the feeling of being protected and supported. 
  2. Question the cost of your negative thoughts and attitude. Ask yourself what are the negative thoughts and attitude are costing you and how it is influencing your life? Physically, emotionally, and spiritually and compare it to the benefit you get when you have more positive thoughts and attitude.
  3. Repeat positive affirmations  daily  every morning  (affirmation is a written or oral statement that confirms something is true ). It is so helpful to bring more positive energy into your day. In tough situations when you feel un-confident or fearful start repeating affirmations about how confident  and   strong  you are. One of the affirmations I like to use is "Whatever happens I will handle it" it brings me a lot of confidence in my ability to handle any situation so I feel more peaceful and secure.
  4. Keep a journal of the situations where you kept a positive attitude, how did you feel? What thoughts did you have? How did it influence you and what outcomes did you get? to remind yourself of  that experience and what to learn from it to apply this learning in the future.
  5. Surround yourself with positive friends and people, they will help you keep a positive attitude.
  6. Stick inspiring quotes everywhere at home, at the office, in your car; or you may collect inspiring quotes in a small copy book and refer back to them daily and whenever you feel thinking negatively.
  7. Journal about your negative thoughts and feelings and write down several arguments to counter it. 
  8. Keep a gratitude journal and write  daily  5 things you are grateful for to remind yourself of all the blessings you have and to help you shift your focus from what is missing in your life to what you already have.
  9. Detach yourself from the surrounding environment and don't allow negativity of others impact you. Remind yourself  that if others are anxious or nervous or fearful this has nothing to do with you, it's their feelings and their thoughts not yours and you don't have to feel or think the same. You have the power over your feelings and your thoughts.
  10. Live in the moment, forget about the past and don't worry for the future. You have a moment to live and you have the choice to make it a happy or a painful one, which choice you will make?
What other tips did you use to shift from a negative attitude to a positive one? Please share them with us.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Our Thoughts Shape our Life

 I had a very strange feeling today when I was running on the treadmill; I felt so excited, enthusiastic and full of energy, while 30 min earlier I felt uncomfortable, frustrated and lacking energy. My feelings at the gym were totally different from my feelings at home, and I wondered why? The difference in time between these feelings didn't exceed 30 min which is the time of the drive from my home to the club. I wondered how just going from one place to another could change my feelings from one extreme to the other. 

At home I felt weighed down and insignificant and I asked myself why I had this feeling. I realized that the house means housework, cooking, laundry and all the stuff that I don't like, and I believe it's useless to waste my time doing it every day. Recently I realized that my house is not the place where I love to stay to find peace and quiet any more. On the contrary, it's the place where I have to run from one room to the other cleaning and arranging; then rush to the kitchen for the dishes and the cooking and finally doing the laundry. I used to have a maid daily when I had a full-time job but after quitting my job I reduced it to two or three times a week. Since then I had the feeling that I am replacing her at home and this thought, I think, is the reason behind the feeling that I am weighed down. In addition, I tried to work from home but no one could accept the idea. They interrupt me all the time and want me to take care of them and finish my work as well. Everyone thinks that the short time they are interrupting me to ask for something is not that long. I am not a fan of multitasking, I like to do only one thing at a time until I finish it then move to the next one and of course these interruptions were extremely distracting to me. I tried to set boundaries but it didn't work.While at home, I was unable to achieve anything. With these two negative thoughts in mind; that I am replacing the maid and I will not achieve any progress in my business while working from home, I felt weighed down whenever I was home. 

Let me return to the feelings I had on the treadmill, excited, enthusiastic and energetic, why did I have these feelings? It's the sense of achievement that I feel when I am at the gym as my fitness level improves day after day. So the thought that came to my mind is I am achieving success in the area of fitness and not many are able to do that. I like my role of achiever at the gym; it brings me more self-confidence and a feeling of success. Concerning my business, I decided to have a place to work from, so I rented a room in an office and turned it into my own office. There I could have some peace and quiet; so finally I could work without interruptions. Now I feel more relaxed with the thought that I am moving forward in different areas of my life and achieving progress and that is exactly what I needed. 

I started to examine my feelings and my thoughts more closely. With the negative thoughts "I am replacing the maid" and "I am not achieving any progress" I felt unhappy, insignificant and frustrated but with the thought that I am achieving progress and success I felt excited, enthusiastic and energetic. What I wanted to highlight is that having negative thoughts and beliefs in mind can totally ruin our lives. We can change the negative thoughts by more positive ones to have more positive feelings. I will share with you some tips about how to replace negative thoughts and feelings with more positive ones in my next post. 

Please share with me what you think about that. Do you think that we can change our feelings about a certain situation by changing our thoughts? Did you go through similar experience? If yes what did you learn?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I had a limiting belief

One of the topics that I found so interesting in coaching studies was limiting beliefs. I was astonished of the fact that we may fail to do something because of our belief not because of our capabilities. We all think we are not able to do something because we are not talented enough but actually it may be just a belief we hold about ourselves. By holding a limiting belief we close all the doors in front of ourselves. We deprive ourselves from the available opportunities that may bring us happiness and success. 

For long years, writing was a big challenge for me. At school I hated creative writing. I was studying Arabic, English and French and I wasn't good at writing in any of these three languages. I lived for long years with the belief that I am not good at writing. I believed that I am talented in mathematics and numbers so I joined Engineering faculty and although I loved languages and literature I avoided all faculties of arts because of my belief. I thought I won't be successful in such studies because it needs a certain level of writing capabilities. Even writing reports and emails at work was challenging to me. It took me some time to get used to writing reports. I wasn't able to write any letters to friends and family members who were living abroad, I found it uninteresting and I preferred to talk on the phone. I always thought that people who were talented in writing were blessed; they can express and communicate their feelings and their thoughts to the world. I admired novelists, poets, journalists and writers. I liked writing but I believed I can't do it. I never thought I would blog and publish my posts one day.  

One day I found that keeping a blog is a requirement for my coaching graduation. I had to start a blog and to journal regularly about my learning. My first blog post was really funny, just few lines to tell that I am starting my blog; actually it was an ice breaking post. I needed to write anything to start and to publish it. Then I decided to write about different experiences in my life, I found that writing about my thoughts and my feelings in different situations was helpful, it was easier for me to write about my experiences. It took me more than twenty years to discover that I am not that bad at writing. I have two blogs now one in Arabic and this one in English and in addition I joined an international blog where I will post with writers from different countries all over the world. What is really amazing is that some of my readers expressed that they liked my writing style and they think that I am talented. I know that I am not a novelist but at least I can write and communicate my thoughts to people as I always wished. Now I dream of writing a book :):). Yes, why not? If you don't have a limiting belief the sky will be the limit for your dreams.

"You can change your beliefs so they empower your dreams and desires. Create a strong belief in yourself and what you want."  -Marcia Wieder

So changing your beliefs is not impossible; with every success you realize your belief in yourself and your self confidence will rise. 
If you have a dream but your beliefs are holding you back, ask yourself these 2 questions:

- How will my life look like without this belief?
- What is the worst that could happen if I fail?  

If nobody will die or will be severely hurt just believe in yourself, go on for your dream and give it a try. If you fail once, find another way and give it a try again, keep trying and don't give up. Remember that successful people face failure as anybody else; so accept failure because it is your only way to learn how to succeed. Don't let your limiting belief deprive you from fully enjoying your life and realizing your dreams.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What does self-love mean to you?

When we love someone we forget everything and anything; our main focus becomes the person we love. We become so caring and so tender. We think only of how to please them, how to make them happy, comfortable and satisfied. We may forget our own needs but we will never forget their needs. It's easy for us to love our parents, our spouses, our kids, our friends, our neighbors or whomever we may know but we think it's very difficult to love ourselves.

Self-love is one of the things that many of us may find extremely challenging. I remember when I heard the term self-love for the first time, it sounded weird to me. The word self-love is related to selfishness, it's someone who loves themselves and don't think about others. We are not taught how to love ourselves. So strange! When we don't love someone we neglect, under value, disrespect, and are not willing to forgive them. So if you don't love yourself you will neglect, under value, disrespect and not be willing to forgive yourself. This is typically what is happening to many of us. We are so harsh to ourselves, although we can forgive others for their mistakes, we don't forgive ourselves for our mistakes. Although we can be kind to others we can't be kind to ourselves. We can be patient with others but we can't be patient with ourselves. We do our best to make others happy while we don't even know what makes us happy. We extremely care about others needs while we don't care about our own needs. It's unfair. 

The above was a part of the post I was trying to write a few days ago about self-love but I couldn't go further. Although I found the topic so interesting, I didn't find anything else to say but yesterday I went through a negative experience that made me feel frustrated, down and started to blame myself. I felt so stressed out, but after giving it some thought, I asked myself why I was so harsh to myself, I have done nothing wrong, it is normal that sometimes things don't go the way I wanted. Would I blame myself this way if I had enough self-love, self-acceptance and self-trust?  I think not. When we have enough self-love and self-acceptance, we are kinder and tenderer to ourselves. We acknowledge, appreciate, and value whatever we do even when the results are not as we expected. We believe we did our best; we acknowledge our effort and even reward ourselves. Since I believed that I have done my best, I decided to acknowledge myself for the work I have done so far, reward myself and take a day off. I intend to relax and meet some friends and enjoy my day with them. I invite you to do the same if you have worked hard for the past few days; just reward and acknowledge yourself for what you have done so far. 

"Love yourself, for if you don't, how can you expect anybody else to love you?"

Absolutely true! I think it is logical. If we don't know how to love ourselves how can others love us or how will we be able to love others? If we don't know how to be happy, how will others be able to make us happy or how will we be able to make others happy? It's not that hard to love and value yourself but if you don't know how to do it; just become yourself your best friend and think how you would treat your best friend. You will immediately know how to treat yourself and how to love yourself.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Could we fear happiness?

This is one of my old posts of my blog My Happiness Journey. I hope you like it.


 I thought I learned everything about how to make myself happy, I learned it's my choice, I learned that repeating positive affirmations to gain self confidence, self love and self respect  can really help to lead to positivity and happiness. I learned  that happiness is my own responsibility.  I learned that likes attract likes, so if I am happy I will attract happy people into my life.  In spite of that I didn't take any action toward my happiness.

    Do I feel more comfortable this way? Am I more familiar with negative thoughts and unhappiness? Am I more familiar with complaining and I am not sure what else to do or say if I don't find something to complain about?  Am I afraid to look different from others?  I don't like to look different and hence to be noticed.
How will I communicate with them?  Am I afraid of their sarcasm and mockery? They may think I became mad. 
Why do we feel more comfortable or familiar with the negative approach we all tend to adopt in our life? We are all complaining, no matter what we have and what level of wealth are we living in, we just complain. Complaints are a common factor in all our conversations everywhere. 

    Am I afraid of looking better, more beautiful, shinning, energetic and enthusiastic?  Am I afraid of my response when I look better? Will I accept my current life as it is or will I rebel  against  it? Digging deep inside myself is really scaring me, I can't predict what will be the results and what will be the effect of this process  on my current life? Do I fear looking for my own happiness? 
I think that sometimes we may fear or wrongly believe that the happiness of  our beloved ones may be harmed while we are looking for our own happiness.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

100% Commitment is Heaven

A few weeks ago, a peer coach put a post on a Facebook group page and I liked it so much. The post said, “100% commitment is heaven. 99% commitment is sheer hell. When you are 100% committed, you don't think about whether you want to or whether you should; you just do. With 99% commitment, there is always a voice in your head questioning whether you should or shouldn't do something. Commit 100% and just do it!” The post made me recall many experiences and situations I went through in my life. It made me recall how I acted before learning the real meaning of commitment and how my life totally changed when I learned the difference between commitment and trying.

When I was younger, I thought that commitment was related to respecting and following the rules and laws only. I thought we had to commit only to things that we couldn’t make any choices about, what was imposed on us. But when I was allowed to choose, the option of trying governed my life. I was 100% committed in my studies at school and college because I had no other choice. I had to do it and in the best way, no excuses were acceptable, no trials or failures were allowed. When I had the choice, I adopted the trying option as it seemed safer. I preferred to keep the door half closed so I could give up whenever I wanted. I don’t know why I lived this way for many years. Most probably because I grew up in an environment with a lot of restrictions and prohibitions that made the word commitment look ugly for me or may be because I didn’t know how living by the trying option in mind all the time is an energy drainer and time waster. Maybe I thought it made life easier especially when we face challenges.

The first time I realized how the option of trying has influenced my life was in the module commitment versus trying, one of the modules I studied in coaching. It’s a very powerful tool to use to help the coach explain to their client that how trying means they are allowing doubt to creep in and hence they are allowing themselves to make excuses and normally failure will be the end result. But with total commitment it is sure that they will reach their goals and realize success. Yes, now I can see clearly how by using “I will try” I was allowing myself to not move forward and make excuses. I realized that the goals that I could achieve are the ones that I am committed to 100%, the ones that I didn’t ever use “I will try” with. I didn’t even remember this word all along the path toward my goal.

“If you make the unconditional commitment to reach your most important goals, if the strength of your decision is sufficient, you will find the way and the power to achieve your goals” ~ Robert Conklin~

Absolutely, this is exactly what happened with me. I remember one of my coaches saying to me: “Just choose which way you want to go and close the door behind you and never look back. Just look and move forward toward your goal” and that’s exactly what I did and I totally forgot about all what I left behind me and I am sure that’s why I could reach my goal of being a certified coach. Once I took the decision to quit my job and switch to the coaching career everything looked different. I even forgot how scary it was to think about the consequences of this decision. What will my life be like if I couldn’t get certified? What will I do if I fail to do it? What if...? What if...? But what really helped me is to totally commit to my success and that’s exactly what happened. Although I have big challenges to face in my new career, in my country, I feel more grateful every day that I made the decision and took this path. It’s my passion and I will commit to it for the rest of my life.

My first advice to you is to totally erase the word “I will try” from your vocabulary, and my second advice if you have a goal and you really want to reach it is to commit to it 100%, which means see the path as a one way road, no looking back, just go forward. You may move at different paces at different times, it’s acceptable and normal. You may ask for support or help that’s acceptable as well, but never ever give up. As long as you are committed and take actions you will surely reach your destination.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gratitude, the way to happiness

Another post from my blog My happiness journey

     Gratitude is to be content and thankful in every moment of your day.  It is to accept genuinely, thankfully, peacefully and with contentment whatever happens. A state of mind that could bring satisfaction and peace. When I try to visualize how my life will look like if I could live in gratitude, I see a life full of serenity, peace and bliss. It' s heaven.

      I remember the first time my coach asked me to start a gratitude journal to help me shift my focus from what, I think, is missing in my life to what I already have and how helpful it was. I noticed again many graces I used to take for granted. The gratitude journal was one of the tools that helped me to improve my relationship with my mother. In my gratitude journal I mentioned that I am grateful for having my both parents alive and how supportive they  are to me. Then when I thought what I am thankful for them for, I realized that I am thankful for them for many things and my mother's criticism and interference in my life were just a way to show her interest and care. Since then my relationship with my mother has totally changed and improved due to my gratitude perspective and journal. 

      Living with a gratitude feeling in all aspects of your life is not easy and needs practice to make it deep and  ingrained. Gratitude for things that you take for granted is helpful to notice the gifts  you keep receiving in every moment of your life. To realize the value of the things you take for granted just imagine your life without it. You never noticed that the pure fresh water is a grace because you find it whenever you need it, but imagine how your life would look like if you had to make great effort to have a glass of water. Imagine that all the things that you take for granted like water, air, sunlight, your senses, your home, your family, your health ...etc are gone. How your life will  look like? Then think how will you feel when they come back one by one again. Sure you will eventually realize how valuable they are.

       To start living with a gratitude perspective you need to give up complaining. Complaining is a sign of lack of gratitude. So to strengthen your sense of gratitude you need to observe yourself and consciously make the right choice, either gratitude and gain the satisfaction and positive energy it brings or complaining and accept its negative energy in addition to the harm it brings to your health and your life.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Daring to play it big

When I discovered that the topic title of our blog hop of this month is “Daring to play it big”, I was a little bit uncomfortable, as I did not know what to write about such a topic since I was not a risk-taker; I am used to playing it safe. I asked for clarification from my best friend who proofreads my posts every week and she explained that it means daring to follow your dreams and having a vision about what you want to do and despite of the challenges that you know you may face, you still go after your dreams. The sky is your limit! What a challenging topic for someone who has never been a dreamer or a risk-taker. But, still I love it; it inspires me to dream big dreams and work to go higher and higher.

I started to think what dreams I one day had and the risks I took to reach them, and what challenging dreams I have now but still believe I can do it. It took me hours to find answers for these two questions. To answer the first question, I found that I did take risks, three years ago, when I invested a big sum of money to join the International Coach Academy to study coaching. Although I wasn’t sure whether or not I was able to commit to this study till the end, whether or not I will be able to complete the requirements successfully,  whether  or not I will find it interesting, or whether or not  it will allow me to make the change I desired to my life; I took the risk, nevertheless. I joined ICA with a dream of making a change to my life, to find happiness and satisfaction and learn to live differently. At that moment, no one could assure me that by joining ICA I would reach this goal. From my readings about coaching on the net, I got a strong belief that this is exactly what I was seeking for a very long time. I was always interested in listening to my friends, supporting them and I always did my best to make friends take a more positive perspective when they were down. How happy I felt when I was able to make them smile, and how frustrated I felt when I couldn’t. The strong desire I had to learn more about coaching and the stronger belief that this is what I wanted to do didn’t give me the chance to think about asking for advice about it. I am glad I didn’t because I am sure nobody would have encouraged me to do it. After all, coaching wasn’t popular in my community at that time. Again, I had to take a bigger risk, a year and a half later, to be able to realize my dream. I had to leave my full-time job to be able to fulfill my ICA requirements on time. It was a very hard decision to make, but once it was done, coaching became my biggest dream and I had to invest all my energy and time in it to reach my goal. I took the major decision and I quit my job. One year later, I graduated and became a certified professional coach as I have been dreaming for three years. I never regretted the money I had invested; I never regretted the job and the career I had left. On the contrary, I am now encouraged to dream even bigger dreams.

Now with the excitement I feel about coaching, I want to help others to experience it and make extraordinary changes to their lives as I did. The first dream I have is to help women find happiness and satisfaction in life. From my conversations with several women in my community I realized that they are unsatisfied and unhappy, they feel frustrated, unappreciated, unvalued and manipulated. They feel guilty if they think about their happiness. They feel guilty when they don’t give up all their needs and think only about fulfilling others needs. Eventually, bitterness and resentment become the feelings that dominate their lives. I decided to make the happiness of these women my niche. I started to think about a program with specific steps to follow with my clients to be able to reach happiness. But my dream is not only to help them reach happiness and satisfaction. I dream of getting them to radiate happiness and beauty from within after following their own tailored self-care program. I dream of helping them live a life aligned with their values. I wish I could help every woman in the world reach happiness and be her best. I wish I could help them understand that the world sees them the way they see themselves. I want to teach them that if they acknowledge, appreciate, value, love and be kind to themselves, others will follow suit. My dream is to support every woman to realize how amazing she is and how beautiful she can be. First she needs to believe in herself before asking others to believe in her.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”  ~Les Brown~

Absolutely, dream a big dream! Even if you fail to reach it, you will reach something high. Now I believe that in reality there are no limits, we are imposing the limits on ourselves and our dreams. The only difference between someone who dreams big dreams and realizes them and another who doesn’t, is that the first believes s/he can and the latter doesn’t; the first works hard with persistence and the latter gives up easily;  the first never looks back but only looks and moves forward while the latter is uncertain where to go. Try once to dream a big dream for something you strongly desire and work on it very hard, don’t give up your dream and never look back and you will see how rewarding it is and how happy, confident, proud and strong you will be. After such an experience only the sky will be your limit.  

This post is part of a blog hop series sponsored by students and graduate Coaches of ICA. Please hop on over to their posts and see what else you can learn about ''Daring to Play BIG'' 

 Jenn Alex Brockman ‎
Kenetha Stanton - Chrysalis Wellness, LLC

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Life Balance

The post below is an old post of my blog My happiness journey. This post is addressed to women who are giving up their happiness for the happiness of others, so as I have chosen my coaching niche "Women looking for happiness" I decided to share it with you on this blog and I hope you find it helpful.

When I think about the word balance, I think of fairness, equilibrium and stability; everything is in the right amount. When I think about balance in life and how we may apply it on different aspects of our life, I find that first we need to be clear about our values then make the balance according to them .

While thinking about my life in the past I realize there weren't any balance in my life and I didn't give enough attention to my values. My life was a long list of  SHOULD DO that was dictated by a so demanding and stressful job, two young kids and a familial life that according to the culture doesn't allow a lot of freedom to the woman. The ideal and perfect woman, in my culture, is the woman who remembers and cares about all the members of her family and extended family except herself. Some women could live this way for some time but later on when they get older and realize that they didn't enjoy their life some of them get depressed and they feel that they lost their life. A woman who looks for her happiness and her satisfaction is a selfish woman and she is not accepted or appreciated.  No one knows that the happiness of the woman is a must for all others in the family to be happy.  No one realize that a miserable, angry, resentful and frustrated woman is never a nice person to live with.

I address my post to all the women in my community and especially mid aged women. Those who lived a big part of their life thinking only about what others need and what others want; those who were stealing, secretly, some parts of their time for themselves as if it wasn't their right. I tell them:" Put yourself as a first priority and think about your needs as you think about others needs. Know what really matters to you and live according to it. Make a BALANCE between your needs and others needs and let everybody help you to keep this balance." Don't think or say nobody will do without even asking; just ASK and you will be astonished how they will all support you because they all love you and need you. The main problem is you never asked; you assume that others know what you want and what you need but actually they don't because they are not you. Only you knows until you let them know; teach them lovingly how to treat you, respect your needs and support you. Be clear about what you expect of them. 

So start now and think about how to bring satisfaction, happiness and fulfillment to your life by making the BALANCE. Let your family and friends support you. Don't say it's too late; no it's never too late just be clear about what is important to you and make it as one of your first priorities and do it on a daily or weekly basis as you want, it will bring you a lot of energy, satisfaction and fulfillment. 
Think how to make yourself happy and your life won't be the same any more.

Monday, March 12, 2012

9 tips to deal with the guilt feeling (Mommy guilt 2)

In my post last week I talked about the feeling of guilt I had experienced during long years of my life and how it left me unhappy and drained most of the time. In this post, I will share some ideas I believe can help to reduce the feeling of guilt most of women experience at one stage or the other in her life.

9 Tips to Deal with the Feeling of Guilt

1-   Be clear about your values and your standards: Focus on living a life according to your values and don't compare yourself and your children to others, just compare them to your own standards. When your life is aligned with your values and your standards, you will feel more peaceful and more satisfied.

2-   Believe in yourself: When you believe in yourself, you believe in your capabilities and you feel more confident so it will not be easy for others to make you feel guilty. If you lack self-confidence and self-esteem, you can ask for the support of a professional to help you find out the reason of your low self-esteem and help you overcome it.

3-   Avoid people who reproach and criticize you or reduce your time with them: I believe that people who reproach or criticize others suffer low self-esteem and they project this feeling on others by finding their faults. This act makes them feel better about themselves. These people are energy drainers. Avoid them as much as possible or at least minimize your time with them and don't take what they say personally. Just let go of it and consider it as if they are talking about someone else.

4-   You have the right to say NO, when you avoid people or activities that are not making you any good you are honoring your happiness and your well-being; so don't feel guilty when you say No to someone who is draining your energy or something that is not adding any value to your life. Your happiness is your responsibility; so protect it and say a big NO to anything that is not supporting it.

5-   Deal with open issues to reduce the feeling of guilt: unresolved issues and unfinished projects are usually a source of guilty feelings, so for your happiness make-up your mind and finish pending issues or projects or totally forget about them.

6-   Be kind to yourself and acknowledge yourself: Notice how you speak to yourself. Do you speak kindly to yourself and acknowledge what you are doing? If you are not able to be kind to yourself, how do you expect others to be kind to you? You teach others how to treat you. Be your best friend, how do you treat your best friend?

7-   Accept the fact that we all make mistakes: Making mistakes is not a sin, we all did and will do mistakes; it's our way to learn. So if you made a mistake just accept it and find out what you can do to improve the situation. If you can, do it or let it go for good, feeling guilty won't change anything. It's over. 

8-   Forgive yourself and others: Forgive yourself when you have made mistakes, accept it and forgive others for their mistakes, it is the only way to get rid of the feeling of guilt. Forgiveness is recommended for your sake as the release of anger you are holding in your heart actually harms you not the person you are angry with.

9-   What you focus on increases: For the sake of your children, stop reproaching and criticizing them for their mistakes and start acknowledging them for their achievements. Do not nurture their feeling of guilt. When you appreciate your children’s efforts and their positive behavior, they will be encouraged to do more of the positive behavior to get more of your acknowledgement. Sometimes children behave inappropriately to grab your attention when the appropriate behavior doesn’t.  They need your attention and your acknowledgement, so focus on the encouragement and acknowledgement to enthuse them to do more of the good behavior. 

We are living in a new era, new environment, new mentality and new circumstances. Why waste our time in negative thoughts and feeling while we can shift to more positive feelings that bring happiness and satisfaction? All we need is to let go of all thoughts, feelings or behaviors that are not serving us anymore and replace them with new ones that are supporting us on our life journey and honor our happiness and well-being.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mommy guilt (1)

Guilt is "a feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong, such as causing harm to another person"Cambridge dictionaries online

According to the meaning it's a feeling you have because you have done something wrong, but I think that sometimes it can be just a doubt that what you did has harmed someone and you live with this feeling torturing you.

The feeling of guilt has developed inside of me ever since I was young because of the continuous blame of my parents with every mistake I made. My parents were very generous on reproach and criticism; I think that they believed that this was the best way to make us learn to be careful not to make mistakes.  The focus they were giving to the mistakes was extremely huge while the encouragement and acknowledgement had no place in our lives. Until may be a few years ago, I defended myself all the time. Even in my inner self-talk, I always focused on how I will defend myself when my mother starts reproaching me. It was bitter feeling guilty and having to defend myself all the time even when I didn't harm anyone. I just gave myself the right to do something different than what she wanted me to do. 

Becoming a mom developed a bigger feeling of guilt inside of me; a feeling that is depriving most women and moms from enjoying their lives. I had a full time job when I gave birth to my first son. During the first 2 years of his life, I used to spend 4 hours daily to commute from home to work and back. We used to leave the house together at 6 AM and be back at 6 PM. I sent him to a nursery at the age of 3 months and I left him from 8 AM to 4 PM since the first day. From the age of three months to the age of 5 years old he used to go to the nursery from 8 AM to 4 PM 5 days-a-week, and the feeling of guilt was poisoning my life. When he was 4 years old, I had to travel frequently and leave him with my husband or my mother. I had to be away for 4 to 5 days-a-week, 2 to 3 times-a-month for 10 months or almost a year and of course the feeling of guilt was killing me. I think he felt how the guilt was torturing me, so in turn he manipulated me and punished me in every ways. When I think back about those days of my life I can see how the negative feeling had left me drained, suffering and unhappy just because I thought that I am harming my son by leaving him at a very young age at the nursery. I can't forget how hard I cried the first day I sent him to the nursery; I felt like I was abandoning him. For me, my feeling of guilt was mainly because I was leaving my son to others to take care of for long hours, I didn’t have enough time to take care of him or spend quality time with him. 

It took me many long years to get rid of that feeling and to understand that feeling guilty is one of the reasons why I felt drained and unhappy all the time. One time I talked about it to a counselor, and she told me that it was not a question of how much time you spend with your kids, but how you spend that time with them. Since then I started doing my best to make the time I spend with my kids enjoyable for me and for them. I learned about quality time. I learned that the concept of the mother being available for her kids 24/7 is not correct. I realized that the meaning of a good mother and a good wife that I inherited from my mother and my culture is not useful for me anymore and is not doing me any good. I had to rethink and redefine it according to my values, my priorities, my ambitions and my own definition of happiness.

Does my story sound familiar? Does it sound like yours or someone you know? I am sure that there are hundreds, thousands or may be millions of women who had similar experiences or stories in their lives, especially when their kids were young. On my post of next week I will share with you more information about the feeling of guilt and how to deal with it. If you have any questions, stories or tips to deal with the feeling of guilt, please share them with me.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A letter to an amazing woman

Dear sister,

    I am writing this letter to share my thoughts and my feelings with you; you are the only one who can understand what I think and how I feel. I know you go through a lot of struggles and fights every day like me. I want to share with you a great experience that I went through one day.

I live a life like yours; working, taking care of my family, giving birth to my lovely children, raising them, feeding them, looking after them, doing my best to make them feel comfortable and happy, taking a lot of responsibilities at work and at home. I am trying my best to prove to everybody that I am a successful working person, a good wife, a good mother and a good daughter. I have done all that I can to please everybody. At work, I worked extra hours to get my work done on time. I always found the energy and the time to take my kids to their workouts, or take them out for some fun, even when I was very exhausted. I had to go see my parents and tolerate their blame while I needed someone to give me a tap on the back. I gave up opportunities to travel— something that I really love and enjoy—to meet never-ending project deadlines. I felt unsatisfied, unfulfilled and unhappy. My days and my life were a long list of tasks for everybody else with nothing for me, for my happiness, and my self-care. Although I have done my best to please everybody, they were rarely pleased with what I did; on the contrary, they criticized me more and more.

One day I realized that I couldn't go further. I needed to find a solution. I felt totally unhappy and unsatisfied. I needed to make a huge change but I didn't know where to start or how to start. At that time I thought it was a time management issue so I looked for books about time management. I came by a book that made me realize after reading it that my problem was not about time; it was mainly a mindset issue. It's my way of thinking, my way of living, my way of allowing unimportant things to consume my time, leaving me unsatisfied and unhappy at the end of the day. I wasn't putting myself and my happiness as a priority. The book that I mentioned before made a huge change in my life. I had gotten the book in 2000. The author of the book is one of the most famous personal coaches in the world, and ever since I read it, I started searching for and learning about coaching. Now that I became a coach myself I decided to offer my coaching to WOMEN all over the world and especially on the HAPPINESS aspect of life. 

Dear sister, 

    The amazing woman I want to address my message to is YOU, every woman all over the world. Yes, you are amazing. No one can tolerate what you are tolerating for your family, your children, your parents, and your friends. The support you are offering everyone passing your way is fantastic. No one can bring happiness to your family as you can. No one cares about your children and fights to protect them as you do. No one is giving up and denying their happiness for the happiness of others as you are.  I admit you are amazing, caring, tender, loving, courageous, sacrificing and strong. I admit you are great, but there is something I want to whisper in your ear "You can't make others really happy unless you are". Your happiness doesn't mean you give up happiness of others. Your self-care doesn't mean you give up caring for others. Your self-love doesn't mean you give up loving others. Showing self-care and self-love and looking for your happiness means you appreciate, value, and respect who you are. Be sure that as much as you appreciate yourself, your family will appreciate you and what you do. As much as you value yourself, your family will value you. As much as you respect yourself, your family and the entire world will respect you. So just be proud of who you are and show enough self-care and self-love. You will feel happier, more confident and you will shine. 

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”  ~ Brigham Young ~

Can you imagine that by taking care of your happiness, you are teaching others how to be happy and this is exactly what you aim for, don't you do your best to make others happy? In this world, there are millions of stories of amazing women with achievements that varied from fighting for their families and their children to make their lives better to leading their countries and their people to greatness. In history, you can find plenty of such stories. Don't you like to be one of these role models? I am offering you a small secret, just learn to make yourself happy and you will be a role model for everyone else. You will shine and illuminate others lives, you will energize and inspire others. You will teach many others how to be happy; something that all the humanity has been looking for for centuries.

Starting this week, I invite you to dedicate only one hour daily for yourself to do something you like. Don't say I don't have one hour per day, you have 24 hours a day and one hour is not too much for your happiness and your wellness. Listen to music, walk in the open air, meet a friend, have your hair cut, read a book, go to the movie, or attend a seminar. Do anything that you like; just relax and enjoy every minute of these sixty minutes and write down how you felt after this hour. You can have the seven hours of the week organized in different ways, half a day once per week, three and half hours twice a week, two hours and half every second day or one hour daily. Manage them the way that suits you. The important thing is to commit to it as an important appointment in your week. Plan ahead for it, and don't give it up for any reason. You will feel the impact this hour will have on your life.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Want to be great?

"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great" ~Zig Ziglar~

So true! How many times did you procrastinate doing something because you thought you weren’t ready yet, that you needed to think more about it, or that you need to prepare some more? You keep thinking and thinking and over-thinking, then planning and searching, then making excuses that you want to be well prepared and ready for taking the right actions. And do you finally take any actions? Most probably not.

Actually, it's your fear that is holding you back. It may be fear of failure, fear of making mistakes, fear of the unknown, fear of getting out of your comfort zone, and sometimes it's fear of success. Anyway, whatever the reason of your fear, you won't be able to overcome it unless you start and take action. To achieve a goal you don't need to be professional; all you need is to have a clear vision of what you want to do and how to do it then START. You will make mistakes, so what? It is an opportunity to learn the right way to do something. You may fail; the greatest champions and the best scientists have failed but they never gave up. How many times did you have a dream and you gave it up just because you didn't believe you could do it then you found someone else do it? The only difference between you and them is that they believed they could, while you did not. They felt fear and they overcame it, but you did not. They started and they kept going toward their dreams, but you did not even start. 

The first step you take is your first step towards greatness. If you still can't start, reflect on these questions. They can help you gain clarity about what is holding you back:
1- What would I do if I had no fear?
2- What would I do if I was sure I would never fail?
3- What would I do if I believed there isn't a word called "mistakes"? There are only options with different outcomes; some will lead to my goal while others will not and I will learn what the right ones are.

Start today, look for a goal that you gave up and see which action you can take immediately to bring you closer to your goal and take it. Actions create the momentum that you need to keep going, so keep taking actions, even small ones, to keep the momentum. Your pace may differ from time to time. It is OK but never stop, for it will be hard to restart again.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

22 tips to keep yourself motivated (continued)

On my post of last week I shared eleven tips to get and keep you motivated while you are going through life and in this post I share the rest.

12-  Ask what's the worst that could happen if you give up your goal?
       Visualize how you will be; how will your life look if you give up your goal, and what are the results of giving up your goal. Visualizing the outcomes can keep you motivated to work on your goal especially if the image you visualized is not the one you desire of yourself or your life.

13- What's holding you back? 
       Discovering why you are stuck or unable to take action is the first step to solve the issue? To find a solution you need a clear vision of the problem before being able to handle it. Is it a fear? Is it a lack of self-confidence? Is it a belief? What can you do to deal with it? Sometimes you may need the support of a professional coach to deal with it and get rid of the reason for good.

14- If not now, when? 
      If you don't start working on your goal now, when will you?  Most probably you will keep procrastinating for good. If you aren't able to take action on your goal now, this means that you are stuck and need to find out the reason. Find out the simplest action you can take to start, do it, and you will feel the difference. 

15- Fear is normal.
       Do you feel fearful of doing something new although you badly want to do it or fearful of taking any actions toward a goal?  Who of us didn't feel fearful when we started doing something new? Every one of us feels fear; the difference is there are people who take action despite their fears and others who allow fear to hold them back. Always remind yourself that fear is normal and that every one of us experiences it at one point or another in our lives. Your support group or a professional coach can help you to deal with your fears.

16- Put structures in place to remind yourself.
      We tend to forget the change we want to make or the goal we want to achieve.  Putting structures in place to remind us of our goal can be so helpful. A structure can be an affirmation written on a piece of paper and kept in different places in your home and office. Inspiring pictures, reminders on your cell phone or any other ideas can be used.  What is essential is to find the ones that work best for you.

17- Keep quiet. 
       Learn when to talk about your goals and with whom. Some people can be a great source of support and motivation while others may resent your improvement, so it's better to keep quiet. Keep your goals and your success to yourself in presence of the latter.

18- Failure is normal. 
      Fear of failure is one of the most common reasons people are stuck and unable to move forward. However, failure is essential for our learning. To reach any destination there are several options, and to know which one is the right path we may have to go through several until we reach the right one. All of us have failed at a certain point in our lives, and our reaction toward this failure determined where we are now. Just accepting failure as a part of the journey can make a great difference in your life.

19- What inspires you?
       Keep inspiring resources nearby. Find what works for you, movies, songs, books, affirmations, quotations or anything that inspires you, and refer back to them when you need a motivation boost. You may set a daily time for reflecting on one of these resources to bring you motivation, or do it when needed.

20- Create strategy and reuse what worked for you. 
      Knowing what you want to do is the first step, and knowing how you will reach it is the second one. To get somewhere you need to know very clearly what your destination is and how you will get there. Make your plan. What obstacles might you face? How will you overcome these obstacles? Who can help you or support you along your way? What resources do you have? What strategies worked for you before that you can reuse? A clear vision of how you will reach your goal is crucial to your success in reaching your goal.

21- Timeline.
       Be very specific when you expect to achieve your goal and every sub-goal.  A plan with very specific dates brings more clarity and momentum, it helps keep you accountable and avoid procrastinating. Specific start dates and end dates are very important.

22- Enjoy the journey and celebrate.
      Focusing on the end result and being attached to it can be frustrating because achieving a goal may take a long time.  Forgetting a while about the end result and focusing on the actions you are taking, the momentum created and the sense of achievement you feel with every step you take can be so empowering. Enjoy the journey, the learning, the achievement and celebrate your successes.

Bonus Tip: Acknowledgement. Acknowledge yourself for your achievements. Acknowledge others for their achievements. Sometimes acknowledgement is all we need to keep going. It brings you and your surroundings great energy, motivation and love.

Hope you find these tips helpful and I welcome your thoughts, your questions and your comments.