Why You Are Frustrated

At the core of this work is accepting that our emotions are wholly created by our thoughts. That whenever we are experiencing any feeling, it is because of the thoughts we are having. So if we find ourselves experiencing an emotion that we don’t want, it is up to us to shift our thinking to generate a new emotion IF we want to be feeling differently about a situation.

Logically, this makes sense to us but in the heat of the moment, it is often incredibly challenging to remove ourselves from the experience and examine our role. I remember one instance many years ago when I was just starting this work. At the time my partner had just moved into my home with his dog and my 2 dogs to create The Brady Bunch of dog families. I had lovingly decorated my home with beautiful blinds and floor-to-ceiling curtains that accentuated the high ceilings and 100-year-old architecture of my home. One morning, I was enjoying a leisurely breakfast and looked over to my white linen curtains and realized that the bottom half of one of the curtains was yellow. I quickly began investigating and realized that my boyfriend’s male dog had been consistently marking this particular curtain in the dining room…and when I say “marking” that is my eloquent attempt to say that the dog had been pissing all over the nice things in my home. I was livid.

Later that day, I was talking to my coach about it and I explained to her how frustrated I was that this dog was ruining all the nice things in my home! She very simply asked me, “Do you want to feel frustrated about this?” Emphatically, my answer was NO.

Then she asked, “So why are you frustrated about it?” Naturally, I once again launched into my rant about the horrible dog destroying the house (because clearly, she wasn’t getting it) and she started to laugh.

She was laughing because it was pretty clear that I believed the dog was what was making me feel terrible rather than my thoughts about this dog peeing in my house. From there I went on to realize that while I can certainly choose frustration about this experience in my life, I didn’t want to be frustrated about it. Truly, I wanted to not be frustrated and show up more proactively in my life. I didn’t want to let this dog get the best of me and cause friction in my relationship. That was the crux of the issue.

If I wanted to not be frustrated about the situation I was going to have to accept the possibility that there was more than one way of thinking about it. It didn’t mean that there wasn’t validity to my thoughts that were making me frustrated but what it meant was that there were also alternative truths about my experience. It meant that I was going to have to gravitate toward another line of thinking that didn’t make me want to scream at the damn dog. I needed to find another “truth” about the situation that I could throw my emotional weight behind.

Having realized that the dog was not, in fact, implanting frustration and anger into me, I took ownership of my role in those feelings. From there I found an alternative truth: I shifted to believing that if this was the worst thing that would happen when cohabitating with my boyfriend, then life was pretty damn good. I also shifted to believing that this was just another obstacle that we are going to have to figure out as a couple. Neither one of those thoughts were pretty or flowery or made the situation OK. Rather, those thoughts allowed me to live in a space other than frustration. They allowed me to see the bigger picture, ditch the anger, and start strategizing. It allowed me to foreclose an angry blowup with my boyfriend and an unnecessary battle with his poor dog.

This situation sound familiar? Get support with your frustrating situation by signing up for a free consultation now.

That’s really the heart of the work that we do. I could certainly have chosen to live in those thoughts that I felt so strongly about. I could continue to believe that the dog was ruining everything and that he was a horrible monster destroying all of my nice things. But that would have to be my conscious choice. When asked how I wanted to feel about it the situation, I truly didn’t want to feel frustrated. I didn’t want to be happy about it but I didn’t want to live in a dark pit of annoyance and bitterness toward this dog that I actually loved and that was loved by the man that I loved. That meant that if I wanted to feel something other than frustrated, I was going to have to work at it.

When we find ourselves living in frustration over the circumstances of our lives we must take a step back and acknowledge that what is making us frustrated is not the events around us but rather our thinking about them. From there we can truthfully ask and consider do I want to be frustrated and if so I will continue with these thoughts. If not, I am going to have to do the work and find some alternative truths. We must shift from seeing our perspective as the only truth and invest in believing that every situation can have multiple truths available to us.

The next time you find yourself frustrated, consider whether that is your conscious choice or whether there is another way to show up in the situation.


Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Making Peace

Sometimes we set goals and we make the plan and we just can’t seem to get any traction. We are acting but nothing is coming together. We are doing all the things but it just doesn’t seem to stick. Hopelessness and frustration set in and it becomes more and more tempting to throw in the towel. When our steps forward are harder than they should be and we find ourselves just forcing every action, we have to ask ourselves what is going on behind the scenes? Is there an opportunity to make peace and release some dead weight?

What we miss in those instances is the opportunity to pull up all that baggage that is keeping us stuck.

During our lives we have so many experiences that teach us about ourselves. From those experiences we start to draw conclusions and formulate all the beliefs that mold our understanding of ourselves.

I’m an awkward runner. I don’t like to cook. I’m not good with small talk. I don’t like to step outside my comfort zone.

Those thoughts are all based upon empirical evidence from our past experiences — someone once told me I run really awkwardly, I botched a homecooked meal for a date once and it was horribly embarrassing, etc.

Now we add to those thoughts additional perceptions about our life experiences —

I shouldn’t have done that, I should have known better, how could I have let myself gain this much weight, how could I have been so reckless?

Our self judgments and criticisms relating to our past experiences are also in the mix. We look at past experiences, decide how the experience was “supposed” to go, and then we pile on the blame on ourselves for the bad thing that happened. We punish ourselves for events based upon some manufactured notion of how things were supposed to have played out.

When we use our pasts to criticize ourselves we are fighting our truth. We are pretending like there is some master plan that is comprised of nothing but unicorns, daisies, and margaritas. We imply that our plan is not supposed to include dark nights, mishaps and challenges. This sounds ridiculous as I write it down and I suspect it is striking you as ridiculous too — but this is what we do! Any time you believe It shouldn’t have happened that way you are suggesting that the bad thing was never “supposed” to have happened.

What if the bad thing happened exactly as it was supposed to?

What if that experience was meant to be part of your path?

What if it was supposed to teach you something critical?

It is so much more empowering to own that negative experience and use it as a learning tool than it is to try and erase it, bury it, and beat yourself up over it. You are never going to win your battle with reality — it happened. Period. Why waste any energy thinking that it shouldn’t have happened? What is that getting you?

If you find yourself plugging away toward a goal, going through the motions but not getting anywhere, it might be a good opportunity for some introspection. What is going on behind the scenes that is keeping you stuck? What energy and belief do you need to face and make peace? For my weight loss clients, peace often comes in form of learning to love their body in a new way. It means letting go of their guilt and disdain for themselves and approaching weight loss from a place of compassion. For those of us who have had experiences with abuse, it’s about learning to forgive yourself.

When we blame ourselves and beat ourselves up for our past choices (whether the cake or the marriage!), it is the most insidious kind of judgment.

We deny trust from ourselves. We deny compassion for ourselves. We deny ourselves the insights that could come from that experience — that were MEANT TO come from that experience.

Those quiet self-judgments might not be at the forefront of your mind in every moment of your day but they are there and they are keeping you stuck.

If you buy into the belief that you are a failure who has no follow through, you are never going to lose weight. If you blame your past relationships traumas on your poor judgment, you are never going to open up to new experiences. When you see yourself as the cause of all your problems, past and present, you are always on edge waiting for yourself to do it again. You will expect your past “failures” to repeat in every new opportunity, every new relationship.

When all you have is a hammer, everything will look like a nail.

When all you have is self-judgment, every new experience will look like a new opportunity for you to fail (again). There is no way you are ever going to succeed with any goal if you don’t believe at some level that you are good enough, that you can do it and that you are right where you need to be.

That’s the crux of it: you are right where you need to be. Everything in your life that has happened has brought you to this place. Stop begrudging where you are and start looking for the lessons. Be an anthropologist of your life — what were all those hard lessons supposed to teach you? See the kernel of good in all that has happened and make peace with your past.

You can’t berate yourself into success and you can’t just go through the motions ignoring your baggage. Success only comes from within so you might as well start there.

I am a certified life and weight coach and I help women all across the country create a better relationship with themselves. I am passionate about helping women find their power and start creating the life of their dreams. I would love to help you too. Check me out by signing up for a free coaching session, your life is waiting.


Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

Relationships

Our relationships with the people in our lives are at the root of every challenge in our lives.

Our relationships with others play a significant role in our happiness. How do we improve those relationships and overcome adversity in our relationships?

We simply decide.

When we think about our relationships with others, the “relationship” itself is never really truly defined. What comprises our relationships with others?

I believe that our relationships with others is self-created. Our relationship with other people is something that lives only in our minds. We make decisions about other people. We choose what we want to think about them. From that place we characterize the relationship–good, bad, challenging, irreparable, complete. We make those decisions and “create” the relationship within ourselves. Completely independently of the other person.

Think about it. Have you ever had someone in your life whose understanding of your relationship was completely out of line with your understanding? Think about your former boyfriends or girlfriends. When that relationship ended it is unlikely that you were both in complete agreement about its demise. What is more likely is that one of you thought things were going fine and that nothing needed to change and the other thought the relationship had run its course.

How can it be that two people have such divergent understanding about the same relationship?

Because there is no singular relationships that is shared and agreed upon by both parties.

There are two different relationships as understood by each person. Each person made unique decisions about the relationship’s virtues and drawbacks and interpret the relationship from that perspective.

If that is the case, then it follows that we can simply choose whether or not to have a good relationship with each person in our lives.

We can simply decide whether to believe a relationship has run its course or whether we are in it for the long haul. We simply have to decide.

To be clear, that doesn’t mean that you SHOULD maintain all the relationships in your life or that you should always choose to love the people in your life. You can choose to break up with spouses, friends, and family members if that is your choice. But what I am saying is that there is no inherent “good” or “bad” relationship — we make choices to characterize a relationship one way or the other. We simply have to determine our justification for those choices.

If you want to believe that your boss is a terrible human being who is overly critical, insecure, and passive aggressive, that is your choice. From there you can decide that you don’t want to work at that job anymore or ask for a transfer. But the point is recognizing that you are choosing to think of your boss and your relationship with your boss in that way. It is not inherently true. There is room for dispute and disagreement in your characterization of him.

There is no such thing as just having a “bad boss” as if that were the justification for your poor relationship with your boss.

You are simply choosing to focus your energy on criticisms and judgments of your boss and interpret the relationship through that lens. You could similarly choose to focus on the positive aspects of the relationships or see him through a lens of compassion.

The choice is yours. You can choose to have a good relationship with your boss and operate from that space. That choice will likely require you to see him with more compassion and less judgment than you have in the past. That will require you to stop believing that he is inherently bad and you are a victim.

Take ownership of the relationships in your life and choose how you want to think about them.

Choose what you want to believe about your past relationships and challenging relationships.

Your opinions about others and your relationship with them are not factual. They are your opinions and nothing more. Those opinions will color how you show up in the relationship and the aspects of the relationship you focus on.

If you want to believe that you have a horrible boss and therefore have to leave your job, so be it. But imagine how much you could grow and the skills you could develop if you could learn how to see the relationships differently. If you could choose to believe that you have a good relationship with your boss and act from that place instead?

If you want to have a horrible boss, believing that you do is an assured way to get you that experience. If you want to have a boss that challenges you and helps you become a better employee, the first step is believing that you do and acting from that place instead; interpreting your experience through that lens instead.  Give it a try.

What will it get you if I’m right? What will it cost if I’m not?

Most of the time it is our experiences with other humans that brings most of life’s challenges as well as its high points. Don’t let a “bad” relationship go without first experiencing what it has to teach you about yourself.

If you need some (free) support with a challenging relationship, I would love to visit with you. The work we do with other humans is truly life changing.


Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

We are always able to come up with reasons – several reasons – why we aren’t taking a certain course of action. We are masterful at crafting excuses that we sincerely believe are legitimate. We are so good at letting ourselves off the hook!

I can’t go to the gym today because my ankle is feeling a little sore. I can’t start that side business because my boss will fire me. I am not going to that party because I know my ex will there. I can’t go to the gym this morning, I will be too tired later.

I recently had a client who wanted to talk to me about marriage. She was in a serious relationship that she was happy with, but she just couldn’t stop thinking about marriage. It didn’t help, that people kept asking her about marriage. When are you guys going to get married? As she talked about the concept of holy matrimony, she became visibly agitated.

I just don’t understand why everyone expects me to get married. I don’t want to have children so what’s the big deal? Why do I need to get married?! It’s just a stupid social construct!

So, what’s the problem? I asked her.

The problem was that while she was adamant that she didn’t need to get married for those reasons, she couldn’t help thinking that she really did want to get married. It seemed that, despite her best efforts to talk herself out of wanting to get married, she did, in fact, want to marry her partner.

I do want to marry him because I believe that is the utmost demonstration of my love for him. I want to get married because it makes it easier from a legal and tax perspective. We talk about getting married all the time and it makes me really excited to make that commitment but the second I leave the room, I find myself arguing with myself about it ask “Why do I need to do this? What’s the point? I can love him unconditionally without all that!”

Rather than allowing this back and forth to ramble on for the duration of our entire session, I simply asked her What’s the worst that could happen if you did get married?

Then she transformed into a puddle of tears. I had never seen her so emotional and, admittedly, it took me by surprise. The reality of the situation was that she really did love her partner and really did want to marry him. She fantasized about having a truly meaningful and intimate wedding with only their closed family and friends. She looked forward to the day that he did propose, and she was excited to become his wife. That was what she wanted and no matter how hard she tried to fight it, she couldn’t help it. She wanted to get married and it was important to her.

Unfortunately, she was carrying around some heavy baggage. Her ‘what’s the worst that could happen’ was something she had already endured and it terrified her to have to go through it again. She had been married previously and it didn’t work out. She left when her husband’s alcoholism and abuse escalated to extremes. She didn’t see it coming and she was immobilized with fear that it would happen to her again and she would miss it. Again.

She was so terrified of going through that again that she spent all this time and energy trying to convince herself that she wanted something else.

For better or worse, I believe that she is destined to get married again. To me, it was evident that in order to work through her past traumas, she needed to find the strength to face and own that fear and persist anyway. The alternative is that she could spend her life avoiding that work; avoiding working through those emotions and avoiding marriage at the same time. If she never got married again, she would never have to work through that fear. She could avoid the risks altogether.

The tricky thing is that she survived and thrived from that first marriage. She emerged a true warrior and an inspiration and I know in my bones that if her “worst thing” did happen to her (again), she would survive and thrive again and would emerge another, even greater version of herself.

So often we believe that we couldn’t survive our worst-case scenarios. That is total BS. It is nothing but our reptilian, caveman brains trying to keep us safe and warm. Our brain is lying to us because it believes that fear will keep us safe.

Don’t sell yourself short. Certainly, if you come face-to-face with your worst-case scenario, it won’t be fun or easy but it will forge you into a better version of yourself, I promise you. All great success stories emerge from the ashes of past lives. Don’t stifle your chance at growth by playing it safe. Besides, what if the worst, DOESN’T HAPPEN? What would you lose?

When we allow fear to direct our course, we miss out on the opportunity to grow and learn and sometimes yes, go through the hard things that make us even better.

Once I find my clients explaining to me why they aren’t taking a certain course of action or why they have made a particular decision, I ask them What’s the worst that could happen if you made the opposite choice? If you find yourself going to great lengths to convince yourselves of something or making excuses, BEWARE. We are masterful at letting ourselves off the hook and justifying our actions (or inactions).

If you were really committed to your decision and liked your reasons for your choices, you would not be stuck in these thought loops. It is a sign you are choosing to play it safe. It is a sign you are choosing from a place of fear.

If given the opportunity, we will most certainly come up with reasons why we aren’t doing all sorts of things and we will BELIEVE all of those reasons. Becoming aware of this cycle will allow you stop and ask yourself—What am I really afraid of? What is really going on here? Do you really like your reasons for your action or inaction? Are you just choosing the easier path?

That discussion will help you uncover whether your action/inaction and justifications are founded in truth or founded in fear. More often than not, those justifications are coming from a place of fear.

Growth, evolution, and success do not come from choosing the easier path. Don’t let yourself off the hook that easily. Get. Uncomfortable!

When you find your course in life being directed out of fear or avoidance of something scary or potentially difficult, stop and course correct. You are not on this planet to be a wallflower. You are here to challenge yourself and learn certain lessons. Avoiding those challenges now will not delay them indefinitely, you just might instead have a harder lesson waiting ahead for you, a lesson you might not be able to avoid.

Do the work now. Don’t let fear be the driver. Be afraid but do it anyway. What’s the worst that could happen?

“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.”