Empower

Anger is Your Friend

I know, I am not supposed to make a statement like that. I realize many of you are convinced that anger is a bad emotion that must be kept under wraps at all costs.  I am sure there are some of you who have been told that it is not acceptable as a woman to express anger and that it is better to just stuff it rather than speak it out loud.  I have been told that anger is not ladylike or that I can be “bitchy” when I stand up for myself—assertively of course. There have also been times in my life where others attempted to shame me for my willingness to say the things others would not dare say even if they were secretly thinking it.  We all seem to have strong opinions about expressing anger, but the one thing that seems to be overlooked about anger is the announcement that it is making when it shows up in your life: your boundaries have been violated.

Anger is not the enemy that should be suppressed when it arrives on the scene. Use it to help you figure out a few things about your self like your deal-breakers as well as your real thoughts and feelings about a person or situation. Anger is your friend because it will help you to understand who you are and what you are about at your core. It cuts right through the social mask we all put on to be liked and accepted by others to expose you to your real inner truth. Anger gives you the opportunity to assess whether you have placed unreasonable expectations on yourself or others.  Consider this, if we were not meant to feel anger then the creator would not have endowed us with the ability to get angry in the first place.

Of course anger that is not expressed in a constructive way (no hitting others or name-calling please!) and is instead repressed, will cause unnecessary stress in the body like high blood pressure (the saying, “that just makes my blood boil” is true).  Anger without out an outlet starts to simmer, then boil until one day it is triggered by the most trivial comment or behavior into a full out explosion. So what is a woman to do when she is angry?

  1. Admit to yourself you are angry and give yourself permission to feel your feelings.
  2. Dig deep; keep asking yourself why you are angry until you can’t go any deeper.
  3. Give yourself time to process and understand your anger by running or engaging in some other type of strenuous exercise (burn off steam).
  4. Have the difficult conversation needed to be clear about your boundaries with others.
  5. Apply what you have learned about yourself by making different choices going forward.

Despite what you have heard, anger is your friend because it helps you to see clearly what is most important to you. It shows up in your life because it is trying to tell you that something is wrong. It is a warning, so heed it.

 

Empower, Heal

Tales of Woe: How to Stop Giving Your Power Away

Have you ever observed yourself going on-and-on about the disappointments and sorrows bringing you down in life?  Do you often tell tales of being victimized by others or external circumstances? Let’s be real: we are all guilty of this at times in our lives, especially when the chips are down and we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. What is important is that we observe how we tell our stories, because it will have a huge impact on our lives. If you are the victim in most of your stories, have you considered what the pay off is for you being in this role?

In order to take back your power, you have to be mindful of what you speak into existence, and more importantly, the story you tell yourself about the circumstances you are in or have been in. In order to be powerful, you must learn how to be the hero in your story. How do you do that? By becoming aware of the victim and hero persona that lives inside of you and deciding to tell your story as the hero. Let’s take a look at these personas that live inside of all of us.

How to Spot the Victim

 When you are in victim mode, you are not interested in finding solutions to the problems in your life: you are interested in telling anyone who will listen about the your  disappointments in your life. You find yourself getting caught up in things from the past that cannot be changed no matter how many times the story is told. It is all about what others are doing to you and how you are the blameless bystander caught in the crossfire. Does this sound familiar?

At one point in my life, this was my star role: I loved nothing more than to tell anyone who would listen to me about my painful childhood or the cheating boyfriends of my past. The one thing that all of my stories had in common was that I was helpless—the victim—and the pay off was the support and sympathy I received from others. I was not interested in actual solutions to my problems, but I wanted nothing more than to tell you all about them—over and over again.

Of course at the time, you couldn’t have convinced me I was playing the victim role; after all, I had all of the evidence of wrongdoing I needed. What I failed to realize is that by telling these stories over and over again, I was actually disempowering myself. I felt hopeless, exhausted and just plain tired of the circumstances I was in or talked about from my past. I didn’t make the connection between what I was saying to myself—and everyone else—and my lack of self-supporting actions. I was waiting on someone else to rescue me and make it better. If your story consists of what you can’t do/have/be because of ________ (fill in the blank), you are stuck in victim mode. How will you ever rise to be the powerful person you were created to be if it depends on the behaviors of others? Think about it, if you believe someone else holds the power to your life working out the way you would like, how does that make you feel?

How to Spot the Hero

The hero is willing to sit in the driver’s seat and take on all the responsibilities that come with that, including telling the truth about all of their experiences to date like the rotten childhood or betrayal of friends and lovers. They do not deny or pretend that everything is fine when it is not; but, they do own their power to choose.  They understand they are in fact powerful and tell themselves empowering stories like the great life lessons they have learned and how it has set them up for future successes. Their focus is on what they are capable of doing rather than on what others are not doing or didn’t do. The hero understands that controlling others is not an option no matter how many times you beg, plead or get angry. The hero understands they have the power to change their lives one choice at a time, and although it may not be an easy choice to make,  it is always available.  The hero understands the power of narrative and takes control of their story by actively engaging in behaviors that affirm and support their sense of self-worth and value.

It All Comes Down to You

 In the end, you must decide for yourself how you will show up in the world. The truth is, being the victim is easy because it requires no personal responsibility; but, it also requires you to give your power away to something or someone “out there.”   In order to take back your power, you must give up the ghost of the victim mindset; it is uncomfortable, nerve-racking and induces a lot of fear because it means you are in control. It means you understand and acknowledge your power as a creator of your life and your destiny. It means you have a choice. Will you choose to live your life as a victim or as a hero?

Empower

Growing Pains: The Path to Creating a Life You Love.

How many of you are daydreaming right now about your ideal life while sitting in a cubicle in some nondescript building? Does it seem like the world is passing you by? Do you tell yourself: I will create my ideal life, but first I have to…. (fill in the blank).Whether your reason for not creating a life you love is money, time or relationship drama, the truth of the matter is there is a simple way to start designing a life you love today. And that way is to learn how to take concrete things from your daydreams and bring them into your environment now. In other words, you start practicing now how to grow into the person you desire to be. What do I mean by that? Let’s answer some key questions first.

  1. List five things your ideal life has in it. Here are some examples to think about. What do you do for work?  How do you dress? What types of people are in your social circle? How do you spend you free time in your ideal life?  What kind of activities are you involved in?
  2. What is one thing you think is missing from your present life that you have in your future life? Again, think concrete when answering this question. Maybe your future self has a certain type of degree or a million dollars in an investment account. The options are endless.
  3. Imagine you daydream has become a reality. What would you do differently in your day-to-day life? The more details the better.

Ok, now you have the clarity, so it is time to embrace the growing pains.

The only way to make the daydream real is to live it now. You must stretch yourself to a new level one small detail at a time. Let’s say your future self is an advertising executive who wears expensive suits and and carries a leather satchel. Guess what you are going to do? You are going to go out and purchase these items and wear them now. If you don’t have unlimited funds at your disposal, it is time to make friends with the resale shops, vintage stores, or thrift stores. The point of answering the above questions is to get you to step into the life you daydream about now. This gives you a chance to embody this new identity in your present life and it will increase your confidence and competence as it becomes more familiar to you.

Yes, it is going to be uncomfortable at first because it is unfamiliar territory. You can expect to stumble around in the dark as you attempt to orient yourself to this new way of being. Think about it: you are attempting to give birth to a new life. It is a process and there will be pains along the way. Growth occurs in spurts and you will not get it right the first time around. That is ok!  Keep moving towards what you want anyway because taking the time to get right with yourself and what you really want will right everything in your life.