I want to first be clear that as a Life Coach I am not a counselor, psychiatrist, or have the degree and schooling to prescribe medications and help those who are struggling to live a baseline life. A few examples of issues that require a licensed professional’s help are having suicidal thoughts, persistent depression, intense trauma, or abuse. I am grateful to the mental health profession and all they do to help those who need them and make society a better place as a whole.
As a life coach, I personally help those with codependent behaviors who are living a baseline or above life. They are sad sometimes, get frustrated and overwhelmed, experience moments of anxiety and depression along with feeling out of control. The Lady I love to help is the one that knows there is more to her than how she is showing up in her relationships. This Lady wants help to create clarity and implement it into her life.
A fixed mindset will give you what you already have. An open mindset can show you what is possible. Unconscious or not your life reflects what you believe in the core of your soul to be your reality When looking back on your past experiences can you see moments in your life that you manifested from your own desires? We can only become the effect of a situation if we allow ourselves to see it as something that is happening to us. When it comes to our past, we can decide now, in the present, how we want to view that memory.
Being human, we have memories of pain and experiences that leave their marks. The truth is we all experience pain, no one will go through life without experiencing pain on some level. When you talk to enough people you begin to realize that there are many who have had pain; some pain you don’t relate to and others you do. Then why is it that some can move on and others get stuck? As a Life Coach, I believe it has a lot to do with conscious mind management.
The future is wide open for interpretation; how you navigate your future plans will create the reality that is to be. If we are that powerful when it comes to our thinking of the future, can we not use that same power on the past? Here are four questions that might help you in changing your past:
What did I learn from this situation?
How is this memory hurting me today?
What do I need to let go from this memory?
How can I see it another way?
Might it be possible that we are using our past to reason with our present as it allows us to excuse ourselves for why we stay where we are? Remembering that life is 50% good and 50% bad is a thought that might help you see your past in a different light. The bad stuff is formed in memory but there were good times, too. When life is rough, asking yourself, “What is the good that I can see in this situation?” or “How is this creating me into the beautiful lady that I am today?”
I am not suggesting suppressing emotions from the past, but rather come to a conclusion of how you want to use this information when you look back and decide how the events in the past were part of creating the perspective that you needed to live for today.
When I think of a leading lady, I think of a woman that shows up as cool, calm and collected. You want to be around her, she makes you smile, and you feel so at ease with her. Does she have a spell on you? Is there some witchery going on? Would you believe that the reasons you feel those things are not because of anything she is or is not doing? Maybe, it has everything to do with what you are choosing to think about her.
Let’s explore the possibility that relationships might be as easy or as challenging as we think they are. Is it possible that in order to change a relationship you just have to change your perspective?
There are many roles we can find ourselves playing in our lives when we are choosing not to be the leading lady. I want to explore three general relationships roles we may find ourselves portraying. Keep in mind anyone can fall into these roles.
The first role is what I call the “Everything is fine,” role; you know…the person who portrays nothing is ever wrong. There is nothing to worry about and there is nothing to get to excited about—they are just fine, or so they say. No real opinion.
Another role is the “I am doing what I want” role. This person feels they have been wronged in some fashion and no one is ever going to do them wrong again. They feel sometimes entitled and that they have every right to do what they want to and need never explain or apologize for themselves.
The last role I want to talk about is the “I don’t care, whatever you want” role. This person is always complying and denying oneself. They put on a smile and act like they are ready to help at a moment’s notice. Yet, they feel resentful at times and are usually carrying around emotions of exhaustion and of being overwhelmed.
Can you see yourself at times in your life in any of these roles? Have you said, “everything is fine,” when it wasn’t? Have you done what you want and never thought of how it might affect someone else? Have you thought, “I don’t care, whatever you want” and was feeling resentful while doing it? Taking a moment to truly see yourself in these roles can help you see how others can be portraying these roles too.
Think of a relationship that you find difficult.
What are you thinking when you see that person walk in the room?
Think of a relationship you enjoy.
What are you thinking when you see this person walk into the room?
Recognize the difference between the two, and then look at yourself and see how you can see parts of you in the thoughts you had about the difficult and enjoyable relationship.
Portraying all the roles discussed above is part of the human experience we live; nothing is wrong here. It is when we find moments of awareness in the relationships we have, and have had, that we can find little nuggets of knowledge about ourselves if we are open to it and grow.
Many relationships are just reflections for us and can help you in becoming a leading lady. Cultivating awareness of those reflections, embracing them all, and being willing to view all the thoughts that arises from all relationships will help you in achieving your Leading lady role.
When you catch yourself feeling hurt because someone didn’t do, say, or react in a way you would have liked them to, it might be time for you to take note that you are “holding a manual” for that person. In coach-talk we call having an expectation of how someone should behave “holding a manual” for that person. When they choose not to behave the way we want them to, we find ourselves giving them the silent treatment, yelling at them, or holding resentment towards them. That is holding a manual and also thought of as having expectations.
Culture can give us certain expectations to uphold—for example, we are taught a mom should be loving no matter what, a dad should always want to protect his family, and children should obey their parents. We, as women, may also have expectations toward our husbands. I have thought much about this, as I have held many expectations for many people in my life, my husband, too. I’ve thought, “my husband should support me, he should believe in my dreams and compliment me often.” The manual I want to explore about dropping is that of our husband. Once we can drop the manual our relationship with ourselves and them will improve.
Let’s explore a favorite movie of mine, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Toula wants to do things her way, discovering what makes sense to her for her life. It isn’t easy as the Greek culture is embedded in her family and stepping out of it will be a challenge. She doesn’t want to completely let it all go, she just wants to make her own path and do things her way.
During a conversation with her mother, Maria, she is told, “Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.” Although this is funny, and I still laugh when I hear it, its humor does not detract from it’s the relatability of this statement to many women. I want to suggest that allowing your husband to be who he is and you to come to the table with your suggestions could be a way to promote unity as a couple and drop the idea of wanting to control one another.
A book I recommend reading to assist with this is The 5 Love Languages. Read this not so you can tell your partner what you need, but so you can meet yourown needs. When we are demanding or expectant of others to meet our needs, we will never truly see them for who they really are. Why? Because we are so busy trying to change them to what we think they need to be for us.
Ask yourself the questions, “Do I really know what I want? Do I meet my own needs on the regular?
Once you know your love languages you will know how to talk to yourself and the way you need to treat yourself. When we have met our own needs, we are able to show up for our spouse with our cup full and we give because we truly want to and not from a place of expectations.
Over time, in his own time, your spouse will begin to give to you in ways that might not be your language, but you will see the effort and appreciate him all the more. It’s that much more beautiful when a husband decides to do the dishes, even when it’s not how we do it, not because we told him to, but because he decided he wants to.
I still make requests; in fact, I make a lot of requests. But, I don’t hold on to them with expectations. Dropping my husband’s manual is a process and a process I believe to be worth working on daily. When you drop the manual, you are allowing your husband to be who he wants to be and loving him for who he is.
A classic show of my childhood was Winnie the Pooh. It wasn’t a program I remember watching regularly, but every episode I saw filled my heart with joy. I loved the characters: Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, and Tigger, too. Of course, there was also Ro and Kanga from time to time. As an onlooker of the stories, I somehow found myself being drawn to Eeyore. I drew pictures of Eeyore, had a stuff animal Eeyore, and just in general adored that character.
I thought it curious that I was attracted to the character that had a gloomy disposition. It seems the exact opposite of who I am. People I have worked with, as well as friends and family, have told me I have a happy soul. I’m often told, “You are always so happy.” Seeing the good in people is a skill that I have, and I work on it daily. Yet I know that life is truly 50/50; 50 good and 50 bad, and just because I see the good does not mean that I don’t notice the bad, too. I often wondered was my beloved Eeyore gloomy, or was he just truly being honest about what he saw and felt?
Eeyore was known for saying things like, “It’s not much of a tail, but I am sort of attached to it” or “I’ll most likely lose it again, anyways.” Is it gloominess he is expressing or just straight truth? He is attached to his tail, and yes, we can lose things more than just once. So, his statement is, in fact, truth.
Each character expressed different views on subject matter but still remained great friends despite their differences. They didn’t try to change each other due to those differences. We all have people around us who hold different beliefs and views on various topics. We could all learn a few things from Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. They didn’t focus on their differences, further driving them apart. Instead, they used their individual skills and perspectives to appreciate each other more by listening to one another and loving each other unconditionally.
When I had my two boys, I bought them each a stuffed character from Winnie the Pooh. Triston, my eldest, received Pooh; he was a thinker and had a calm and peaceful demeanor. Then came Keith, he was an all-out Tigger; full of bounce, and came out kicking two months early. He was just a ball of action. I didn’t think much of it, I just gave them a stuffed animal I felt reminded me of them.
I saw in my boys what I chose to see and gave them characters that represented those qualities. Now that they are older, as I am too, I recognize they have qualities of each of the characters in my favorite Pooh time stories. Sometimes, my boys are Eeyore and other times they are Piglet, then again, they have Owl and Rabbit moments, too. Then there are those days they are Tigger, and days that they are Pooh.
Could it be that when we label someone that we may be labeling ourselves? Is what I choose to see in another something I see in myself? This is why I believe that having unconditional love is a gift I am choosing to give myself. When I choose to love someone I disagree with, choosing to love them could mean that I am choosing to love myself. Like The Hundred Acres Wood crew, I also choose to focus on appreciating the differences of those around me, listen to them, and hold unconditional love for them.
I was about eight when I was given my first journal. I remember my parents giving all of us kids journals at a family evening activity. I am guessing keeping a journal was the topic, but for me all I remember was receiving that journal. Then a few years later for Christmas my Great grandma, Sophie, gave all her grandkids journals as a Christmas gift. That is also the only memory I have of that Christmas; her picture was inside of it and it is something I treasure. In both memories, the act of being given a journal meant something to me, even at a young age I wanted to record my thoughts.
Inconsistently over the years I have kept a journal. Whether it was notes of the day, a calendar of events, or writing in a journal, keeping and documenting my thoughts seemed to matter to me. But, I couldn’t be consistent with it.
It is consistency that I think most of us lack and are, at times, a little perplexed as to why we can’t be consistent with writing down our daily thoughts. Is it that we run short on topics and content? Do we find that we are living the same repeated pattern, just on a different day?
Then why bother journaling, and what difference would it make if I do?
Reflecting on where I was then to where I am now truly helped me gain a perspective that might only have happened through keeping a journal. When you decide to keep a journal, you are deciding to grow as a person through self-reflection.
Every day I am trying to live a life on purpose. A life with openness and curiosity. In my old journal writing days I was a master at finding blame, excuses, and reasons why “others” had made it “impossible” for me to do what I wanted to do. I had truly mastered being a victim and playing that part. There are still times I might find my thoughts going down that road of victimhood, but now from creating more awareness, I can catch myself before it gets to a point that my thoughts and actions are not serving me or the people around me that I love.
For this reason, my old victimhood journals are priceless to me, not because I want to relive the pain, but because I had captured my thinking process in real time. These are emotions and thoughts during a time when I felt I couldn’t breathe. I can’t second guess my decision when I made them in the past from what I knew then. If I am truly evolving as a person, I will have gained more insight as my view could have changed over time. Looking back, I can feel the pain, but I know that pain was multiplied due to my own thoughts. Seeing that growth makes my journals that much more valuable to me.
Here are a few questions and tips that might help you in your journal writing endeavors:
Why are you deciding to take note of your life?
It is important to not judge yourself when asking this question instead ask with curiosity.
How do you want to take note?
Will you be doing hard copy or digital?
When will you journal?
Find a time a place a routine that you are willing to fit into your life.
Lastly, not a question but a suggestion: don’t beat yourself up if you fall of the wagon. We all fall off the wagon at some point. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have had to get up after falling of the wagon. Remember give yourself and others grace. As we could use more of that in our world.
We don’t watch our favorite sitcom show or read a novel because of the facts that are pouring out of it. We watch and read based on the drama that surrounds it. In fact, we will listen intently to someone when they are using descriptive words to describe an event they are having or have gone through. It isn’t the circumstance that makes a great plot it is all the thinking about it.
I like to use the example of a car accident at a busy intersection to show how separating the circumstance from our thinking can help us in creating more awareness in our lives. There will be plenty of different versions of the accident. Driver 1 sees it a certain way, driver 2 sees it this way, and witnesses to the accident will see things from their own perspectives, or “lens” as well.
The only fact or circumstance about the accident is that there was one. Then the circumstance is plain and simple. “Car accident” or it can be a little more detailed than that, the circumstance, “The red car hit the blue car.” The thoughts we have and how we saw it from our lens’ may feel and even look to us as though it is the truth. With having an audience to the accident, I promise you, someone else saw it differently and believes that is the accurate account of the car accident.
As a Life coach that is what I do for my clients. I help them break apart their story and point out the “facts” to their story. I am the on looker, the one outside of the car, a bystander. I show up with Love to all involved. Yet I am there to help my client see their thinking, not your friends’, not your kids’, not your husband’s, but your thinking. What meaning are you personally attaching to their actions?
Understanding your current circumstance is key when we are wanting to grasp and expand our personal awareness. We all have a story; a way of looking at our life that is made up of snapshots of where we have been and where we are now. Giving power to that story may serve you or hinder you. It is completely on the way you choose to think about it. Rehashing the same thought about a circumstance might not serve you. But looking at a circumstance through a different perspective of where you are now might, in fact, serve you and help you see more clearly.
Stories are so much more entertaining than the facts. The only time facts are entertaining is when we put what we think they mean on it. We have thoughts and emotions for a reason and as humans we can love and show compassion in ways that are amazing. Becoming a robot and not having thoughts or emotions is probably not a healthy solution to living life. I want to offer that maybe stepping back and choosing to act vs react to a circumstance might serve you well. It may even help you grow on your life’s journey.
When you find yourself telling a friend, co-worker, or family member a story of something happening in your life, take a step back and truly look at the facts that make up the circumstance. Analyzing your thoughts and looking at them from an objective lens can make a big difference in how you decide to show up.