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.