Archive for relief

What Sucks and Saves, Simultaneously?

Apologizing.

Ugh. I so totally hate to have to admit to another person (or persons) that I’ve acted in a way that was, let’s just say, less than becoming. But in my life, I’ve had to apologize to friends, family members, clients, and colleagues for many, various transgressions, some intentional and some innocent and accidental. But while I was I was creating a list of the errors of my ways in order to illustrate my point, it occurred to me that each and all of these offenses, as different as they might seem, fall into one category.

I have offended by not showing up.

Literally.

I’ve not shown up by not calling, writing, or appearing when or where I said I would, or when it was just the right thing to do.

Figuratively.

I’ve not shown up by being there in body, but not in mind. I don’t know about you, but I can be in the same room with someone, supposedly engaged in a conversation, and yet be miles away. I don’t do it all the time, of coure, but I can be thinking of just about anything other than the topic of conversation. Thinking things like:

  • “What’s for lunch?”
  • “Why am I here?”
  • “I wonder how the dogs are reacting to this thunderstorm.”
  • “Wow, look his outfit.”
  • “Ooh. That’s a good topic for a blog post.”
  • “Who’s that over there?”
  • “Oh! I need to talk to her.”
  • “I’ve got to add ink to my office supplies-to-buy list.”
  • “Speaking of lists, I’d better go. Today’s list is so long, and I’m never going to get this time back.”

All of which lead to the next set of thoughts:

  • “Stop that, Laura. You get back here.”
  • “Now, what what was I just thinking about?”
  • “Darn it. How do I get that thought back?”
  • “I should have written it down.”
  • “Was it about something I’m supposed to be doing right now?”
  • “Who was it about someone I was supposed to write or call today?”
  • “Oh, no. Who is it I’m going to let down this time?”
  • “Crap. What is wrong with me?”

Can you relate?

I hope so, because that would mean I’m not alone. I hope not, for your sake and for the sakes of the people in your life.

Today.

This morning I wrote an apology letter to someone I really care about, and yes, it sucked. You know, all that grovelling, explaining my actions (or my inaction, as it was in this case), asking for forgiveness, and hoping beyond hope I’ll get it.

But while writing that letter, I began to experience something else – something in addition to the angst. What was it?

Relief.

I don’t know how this person is going to respond. Certainly, I hope she can find her way to forgiving me. What I didn’t do is kind of a big deal, and so it would be a big gift to get a sincere pardon from her.

But in a way, I’ve already received a gift. A gift from myself.

Apologizing and asking for forgiveness has already saved me. Saved me from having to slip out the back door of our relationship and then avoid her for the rest of my life. Saved me from the debilatating self-hatred that comes from not showing up for the people I care about, including myself. Saved me from all of the self-destructive behaviors I would eventually engage in as a result of that self-hatred.

So yes, apologizing sucks and saves, simultaneously.

Can we do better?

I believe we can. I believe that when we acknowledge what we’ve done, feel the impact of that (on ourselves and others),  and ask for forgiveness (from ourselves and others), then regardless of the other person’s response, we get relief. We can change. We are saved from being who we’d otherwise have become.

We can do better. We don’t have to spend the rest of our lives all twisted up – running, hiding, performing, hustling, and pretending to be someone we’re not, because we hate who we are.

We get to do better.

We get to be with the people who are important to us, really be with them. We get to connect on a level much deeper than we could the other way. We get to see and be seen, hear and be heard. We get to truly be with ourselves, too. We get to have different conversations in our heads. We get to love ourselves.

We get to be realAnd what a gift that is.

How Now, Brown Cow?

Howdy!

Yesterday, I published a post entitled “Are You Playing the Tapes All the Way Through?” In it, I shared about an inner conflict I’d had and how I became clear about the way I could best to handle it. I also promised to give you seven additional strategies for getting clear about your best course of action when faced with multiple, conflicting choices. But I’m not going to do that…

I’m going to give you eight – nine in all! 🙂

Before I get to the list, though, I’m going to go ahead and give you your homework. Just as I suggested yesterday, please begin using these strategies right away. They’ll be useful for you all along your journey, but only if you remember them and how to put them into in play. Plus, using them will enable you to figure out which ones best fit your style. All of them won’t.

Now, here we go:

  1. Ask yourself which choice is more aligned with your long-term goals, and which is choice is more about getting what you want right now, or in the short-term,
  2. Check in with your Higher Power, whether you call that your Higher Self, the Divine within you, God, Goddess, the Universe, the Great Spirit, or some other entity or term more preferable to you. Listen closely, and then be willing to act on what you hear,
  3. Honestly contemplate how you’d expect to feel after having acted on each of the different choices, then be willing to give yourself the gift of acting on the one that genuinely feels the best (In case you missed it, this is the condensed version of yesterday’s “playing the tapes all the way through,”
  4. Imagine you are watching a movie in which you are the beloved heroine or hero, facing the same situation as you’re facing in real life. Ask yourself what decision you’d want your character to take, which course of action you think would do her or him the most good,
  5. Listen to the suggestions of your friends, certainly. Remember, though, that they are only suggestions, based on their own experiences and perspectives of how the world works. You get the final say,
  6. Ponder which choice will further you along the path of becoming who you want to be and creating the life you desire, and which choice(s) would take you in another direction entirely,
  7. Present the conflict to your inner board of advisors or your your inner wise counsel. This entity is made up of people you admire, dead or alive, real or fictional, such as Eleanor Roosevelt or your late grandfather, or like your mentor coach or Atticus Finch. They don’t even have to be people. Sometimes I think about what my dog Little Bit would do, or I check in with the deer or a favorite tree. Think about what you know or at least what you imagine to be true about these beings. Then, make up what you think they’d do in this situation, and thus would advise you to do, too,
  8. Reflect on why you want to do each of the choices, letting the different voices in your head have their say. (No, this doesn’t make you crazy – we all have voices in our heads!) Then, having heard from each member of your *Inside Team, take charge and make an executive decision, laying down the law about the the next step you’ve decided to take,
    Then last, and perhaps my favorite,
  9. Take the time to ponder which choice is the more loving one, and which is more of an indulgence. (Ouch. This one gets me every time.)

Gosh, who knew there were so many different ways to consider the most suitable choice when faced with a difficult (or even seemingly simple) decision? But that’s good. We want to be equipped with a variety of ways to handle inner conflict, because they do and will continue to happen.

Even though I was able to list nine strategies here, I’m certain there are more.

How do you choose what’s next for you when faced with two or more ways you could go? What do you use as the scale with which to weigh your options? I do hope you’ll comment below with your favorite techniques. I’d love to keep adding to my list, both for myself, my clients, and any others who might stop by True Voices’ Be You Out Loud blog for a little love and inspirationg.

One last thing: It may be scary to slow down, in order to make the right decision for you in the moment, but you’re worth it. Don’t think so? Trust me. I know.

OK, my lovely. Get ready, get set, get clear!

*Important note: The Inside Team is a fun and powerful coaching methodology, and the brain child of Master Certified Coach, Cynthia Loy Darst of the Coaches Training Institute, the Center for Right Relationship (CRR Global), and her own company she shares with her husband, Inspiration Point.

If you are an advanced coach, and you’re reading this post on the 17th of September, please know that there is an Inside Team Coach Training Course that starts today! It’s not too late to sign up. Just go to the Inside Team Coach Training Course page on Center for Right Relationship’s website by clicking here and check it out. I’d be willing to bet that if you see this within the week after the start date, and want to join the tele-training then, they would let you in then, too! And, even though I don’t get any money for signing you up for the course, I am one of the Inside Team Mentor Coaches. I would love to have you join me there!

And last but certainly not least…

Cynthia Loy Darst is wise beyond her years, and someone I’m grateful to be able to call my teacher, mentor, and friend. Check out her delightfully insightful and deeply moving TEDx talk here.