Archive for Empowerment

Jan
02

The Power of Your Intentions

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This is the time of year people make well-meaning goals for themselves about what they “should” do – lose the weight, sip green drinks with flax seeds, and get in shape.  The gyms fill up, irritating the regulars.  But by February the gym is emptied of new members and things are back to normal.

That’s the way it goes with New Year’s resolutions.  Resolutions often don’t work because people are concentrating on their negative traits, asking “What’s wrong with me?” and “How can I fix it?” Resolutions can be associated with denying oneself pleasure and suffering to get results.  It’s almost as if you were “bad” last year and you punish yourself — at least until you slack off – then you receive the added bonus of feeling even worse now that you’re a failure too.

There is an easier, gentler and more effective way to go – by using the power of intentions every day – not just at the start of the year.  Intentions can be used for each situation you encounter.  You can wake up in the morning and have an intention for your day: “I intend to accomplish my tasks with joy, ease and grace.”  Or set an intention before you walk into a meeting about the desired outcome, how you want to feel, or that all hearts will align for the highest good.

Intentions are propelled by the momentum of renewal and flow.  They change as you grow because they are predicated on taking your emotional temperature.  A good question to ask is “How do I want to feel in this situation?”

Exercise: Setting Intentions

As you go about your days this week, practice setting intentions: Think of how you will feel and what a difference it will make in your life.  You can set intentions for:

  • The entire day
  • Phone calls with clients
  • Meetings or client sessions at work
  • Your exercise routine
  • Dinnertime with the kids
  • Exchanges with your spouse
  • Homework time
  • Personal projects or special events

Just thinking about the desired outcome makes you feel uplifted, and it’s possible to make an overarching intention for your life, such as “I am healthy, loving, prosperous and joyful.”

Keep your intentions evolving and notice when they don’t motivate you anymore.  As you use this tool, you’ll find you may achieve the desired outcome, but you might not feel the way you want to — there’s a missing element.  You’ll always need to modify, deepen or change intentions entirely as you grow.  Say you achieved your money goal but you’re exhausted.  Your next intention may be that your work will seem like play.  And when you add concepts such as “happy surprises,” you leave room for something good to happen outside the realm of what you can conceive.

Exercise:  Expanding Your World with Intentions

The more you set intentions, the more you are consciously co-creating your life.  To further reinforce this, make lists of intentions and be sure to check them off.

Every day congratulate yourself for what you accomplished.  At times, a celebration may even be in order.

Read client testimonials or thank you cards over and over.  Really take in the words and be aware of the powerful and positive contribution you are making.

By the same token, give recognition to others when they do something notable, and speak from your heart.  Not many people notice and comment on others’ attributes, so it takes some courage.  Think back to things people have said about you and notice how it gave you confidence.  As you do that for others, you are creating a positive intention for them, and a ripple effect of kindness that can change the world as you know it.

© Deborah A. Lindholm

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEBSITE? ? You can, but you must include the following resource information in its entirety: Deborah Lindholm works with individuals ready to move beyond the fear, confusion or doubt that holds them back, by learning to work with their inner awareness and inner power and apply that deep inner wisdom in their life where it counts. If  you’re ready to awaken your inner power and surge forward in your life, get your FREE tips at www.serenitymatters.com

Dec
21

How to Handle Your Regrets

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We often label our past decisions, situations and experiences as either “good” or “bad” and those judgments are sometimes related to what we regret.

Imagine going through life and finding the balance between two opposing decisions rather than having regrets or judgments about them later on.  Whether they’re in the past or present, balance can be achieved by bringing your conscious awareness to the situations.

As you tap into your consciousness, you’re able to stand in the middle and see the totality of a situation.  Circumstances can then be seen with appreciation for everything — even events or actions at opposite ends of the spectrum.

When you see clearly that one choice, which perhaps seemed “bad,” but led to something you deemed “good,” you begin to appreciate how “good” and “bad” can become “it just is.”  And, this takes the sting out of it, helping relieve the regret over choosing one course of action over another.

As adults, we know that most things in life can have an upside and a downside.  When you buy a house, perhaps you want a place to start a family, a home you can remodel any way you like, or a refuge of privacy and quiet.  The downside includes major repairs, finding your tax bill in the mailbox, or watching your property values plummet.  When you take responsibility for these downsides before you buy the home, you accept them with equanimity when they appear.  Because your view of the situation is balanced, the result is that you have less regrets and
“it just is.”

What do you do though when you have past regrets or you’re not at peace with “it just is” or you haven’t adopted a balanced perspective for a current decision you’re facing?

Clear Out Old Regrets – It’s a good idea to first look back at the past with an expanded perspective and appreciation.

Take a piece of paper or your notebook. Write out at the top of the page, “What Do I Regret in My Life?” Now answer these questions as honestly as you can:

  • Who did I think I would “be” by now?
  • What did I think I could do?
  • What did I think my life would be like?
  • Where have I made mistakes?
  • How have I failed?

Then start a fresh sheet of paper and consider these questions:

  • What have I learned from this choice?
  • How has this experience served me?
  • Where has this decision enriched my life?
  • What gifts came out of this experience?
  • How do I love myself in this situation?

Choose Your Regrets with Awareness – If you’re wrestling with a current situation, then consciously choose your regrets. This is a by-product of the well-known process of weighing the pros and cons of a decision.

Imagine that you could propel yourself forward in time and look back at your choice. Which decision would you regret more?  How would you, for example, choose your regrets with the following circumstances?

  • Taking a job that gives you more time with your family but pays less
  • Deciding whether to have another child
  • Moving to be near grown children and grandchildren
  • Getting a divorce
  • Going back to school
  • Starting your own business

Now answer the following questions for any major decisions that you’re now facing:

  • What are the upsides to your choice?
  • How would your life change?
  • What would you be gaining?
  • What are the downsides?
  • What would you be giving up?
  • How would you make peace ahead of time with yourself?

As you choose your regrets with awareness, you’ll no longer torture yourself by believing you did something stupid or made an unredeemable error.  When it comes to the big decisions in your life, make a commitment to stand by all of your choices.

By looking at each of your decisions straight in the eye, accepting the joys and the challenges, you’ll find your own state of balance before you even embark on any new journey. Regrets will be few as you accept and appreciate what “is” along the way.

© Deborah A. Lindholm

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEBSITE? ? You can, but you must include the following resource information in its entirety: Deborah Lindholm works with individuals ready to move beyond the fear, confusion or doubt that holds them back, by learning to work with their inner awareness and inner power and apply that deep inner wisdom in their life where it counts. If  you’re ready to awaken your inner power and surge forward in your life, get your FREE tips at www.serenitymatters.com

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The word power almost always conjures up images of power in the outside world. Power seems to be outer-directed; power dominates — having power over another, a situation, a corporation or geographic areas or populations.

However, we often forget that personal power has nothing to do with domination.  Personal power is about being comfortable with yourself, being able to be as kind to yourself as you are to others, and speaking your mind rather than stuffing your thoughts or emotions.  Personal power feels good, it helps you get projects done with positive energy, it gives you courage, and it makes you strong and leads to leadership and finding your unique mission and purpose.

Often, there are signs in daily life that show us how we are blocking our personal power.  These signals can be small and subtle and they come from within, beckoning us to express our personal power.

The First Sign

The first sign that you are afraid of your own power is that you hold yourself back when you want to express something.  Perhaps you are afraid of being recognized or you sense that the wisdom is coming from a place deep inside – this is not any off-the cuff remark – it has real substance and it takes courage to put it out there.

You really get to know you were holding yourself back when someone else expresses the exact same statement you were going to say and they get all sorts of positive feedback for it.  People are actually in awe of it.

The First Remedy

What can you do to make yourself feel better and purge your disappointment when you know you’ve held yourself back?

Stream-of-consciousness writing helps clear the emotions and is very effective, but go a step further.  Practice writing with your non-dominant hand, letting whatever wants to come out flow onto the page.  This bypasses resistance so you can get to the root of what’s stopping you and then ease yourself out of this pattern of holding back.

Sign Number Two

You get an impulse or a fleeting idea, an impression of something to do or to take action on, or a precognition.  It’s nothing fearful; it’s more of a neutral “hit” or intuition. But you ignore it, and you don’t act on it.  Maybe it’s as simple as seeing a tablecloth on sale that you really want and you talk yourself out of it.  Later, at an impromptu party, it’s the perfect thing you could have used.

You find yourself saying, “Darn, I knew that,”  “I didn’t listen to myself” or “I should have done that.’

Remedy Number Two

It’s a little thing, so it’s a great opportunity to practice forgiveness.  You learned something from it, after all!  Say something such as, “I’ll be sure to listen next time.”  It’s important not to make a big deal out of it and condemn yourself.

Practicing forgiveness for ourselves is beneficial because if we can do it in the little things, we can do it in the bigger things.  Then there’s less baggage to take with us into future situations.  We can be clearer, and when we are operating in clarity, we achieve results – there are no dueling intentions, cross purposes and mixed messages.

The Third Sign

The third sign is that you’re not giving yourself enough credit for how connected you are to your inner awareness.  You’re lacking self-appreciation and recognition of the role your inner guidance plays all the time and you’re just not noticing it.

The Third Remedy

You are learning to follow your guidance and the prompting’s of your own heart.  This is not an exact science.  So give yourself credit and express gratitude to yourself.

A fun remedy is to make yourself a personal commercial about how wonderful you are.  A good time to do this is in the morning when you are brushing your teeth or hair.

Look in the mirror and say, “I appreciate everything about you.  I appreciate all that you are and your wise counsel.” We don’t really stop and appreciate ourselves enough.  So look yourself in the eyes and give yourself loving and meaningful messages for at least one minute.

When you become conscious of the signs that you are afraid of your inner power and then you apply the remedies, you’ll be allowing your inner power to shine through — and it has no choice but to magnificently reflect itself in the outer world.

© Deborah A. Lindholm

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Oct
13

When Your Heart’s Not in It

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It’s usually hard to do something when your heart is not in it. Of course, it depends on what the task or situation is and how important it is to you and the duration of time involved. Every day, people manage to be with someone or do things or participate in something that they don’t particularly care for, whether it’s inconsequential or something important. We do the best we can to meet our obligations.

When it comes to responsibilities to self or to each other or to a job or business or anything connected to our safety and security, and our heart is just not in it, well the stakes get higher. It can be more complicated. Other people will likely be involved and our well-being may be affected. We’re talking about circumstances like:

  • Putting up with an unhappy relationship because you feel responsible
  • Working at an unsatisfying job because it pays the bills
  • Cooking dinner every night because you’re the mother
  • Exercising at the gym because it’s paid for, but you dread it
  • Completing any obligation that feels like a huge burden

It may feel like a noble thing to do or a sacrifice you’re willing to make when you consistently fulfill obligations that you cannot stand. In the end, if you do feel good about it and proud and happy, then keep it up because your heart is engaged in some way even if it’s not obvious to you.

Whatever approach you take, be honest about it. Life gives us clues and looking at what’s going on with an intention to know the truth will bring you closer to what your heart wants. We all usually know when a relationship is one-sided or brings out the worse in us rather than the best. If it’s a job, maybe you’re good at it, but there’s no challenge left or your creativity feels stifled. Or, it could be that whatever it is, you find it too hard to do or painful. Honesty really is the best policy here because we can’t really make any effective changes if we’re denying the reality and the truth.

Sometimes it’s necessary to accept what the situation is, because of other factors. The problem is that when your heart is not in it, anger and resentment and feeling unappreciated can build up. When this happens, it can be helpful to get a fresh perspective.

  • Focus on how you’re serving others and yourself
  • Notice your purpose and the greater purpose
  • Appreciate yourself for the difference you make
  • Continue to envision a better scenario
  • Make a plan to move beyond the status quo

If this doesn’t do it for you, then greater attention is warranted. After all, when your heart’s not in it, then you’re suffering in some way and that can’t be a good thing unless you really like being a martyr. Keeping yourself locked in a relationship or in a career or situation that is causing you to suffer shows a lack of self-love. And, we are talking about the heart here so if there’s a lack of self-love, self-care or self-appreciation, then loving change of some nature is called for. Take some time to ponder and evaluate and acknowledge the reality of the situation or relationship. Love yourself enough to reach out and get some help, embracing the change that makes your heart sing.

© Deborah A. Lindholm

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Perfection is likely the goal when it comes to balancing your checkbook, following a cake recipe, getting your hair colored or traveling by air. We want our checkbook to balance, the cake to come out great, our hair color to be perfect and our flights to be safe and on time.

A lot of things in life however do not necessarily require perfect action. A job may need to be done to a certain standard, but there are times when mistakes are made, your energy is low or there are other contributing factors outside of your control. The whole business doesn’t shut down because you had an “off” day. Maybe no one, except you, even noticed the mistake or your decreased productivity or that you were imperfect at your job. Unless, of course, you are a perfectionist and then you notice it all and disparage yourself for your short-comings.

Having high standards and expectations and applying a perfectionist attitude, which leads to success and achievement, can be desirable qualities. Many of us though have trouble pursuing perfection and then letting go of the results when they fall short, rather than using the experience for feedback. The answers to a few questions can help you get clearer about whether or not perfectionist tendencies are holding you back. Ask yourself:

  • How do my actions show that I am doing the best I can?
  • How much time do I consistently apply my efforts?
  • What additional skills and training are needed for me to do this?
  • Do I believe I am good enough to do this and if yes or no, why or why not?
  • Do I have an all or nothing attitude, giving up when obstacles arise?

There can be a tendency with perfectionist traits to blame ourselves or others or to assert control over others. We may feel the need to do it all ourselves, which can lead to overwhelm or the hesitation to go forward until all preparations are perfect. Sometimes, we are indecisive and end up doing little or nothing.

Many of our endeavors, of course, require us to be prepared or to follow a set of steps to get the desired results or an expected outcome. Sometimes those steps have to be perfect and sometimes they do not. Perfection can be a matter of perspective.

Often it’s better to take some action, even if imperfect, rather than none. To stand on the sidelines out of the fear of making a mistake or eliciting disapproval may keep you stuck and immobilized. To take no action in the direction of a goal until all your ducks are lined up in a row may be a form of self-sabotage. Taking imperfect action is beneficial and it can naturally:

  • Build self-confidence
  • Empower you to do more
  • Eliminate an all or nothing attitude
  • Keep you flexible and better able to respond
  • Help you be more forgiving of yourself and others
  • Provide information for course corrections and adjustments
  • Support you to develop inner resources

The reality is that very little in life will ever be measurably perfect, but many things can be subjectively perfect. With the adoption of an attitude that some action is better than no action, it’s possible to take a step and then re-evaluate and take another step. People who take action are generally happier than those who are inert. Start looking at the results of your imperfect action as feedback rather than failure. You’ll soon learn that your actions get more perfect as you go along and you may even transform an unbalanced attachment to perfectionism.

© Deborah A. Lindholm

Categories : Empowerment
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Disclaimer

As always, please consult with qualified health professionals before putting session or workshop ideas into practice. The ideas and techniques are not meant to diagnose or replace the need for medical attention or professional mental health care.

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