The Importance of Authenticity

 At Ste. Anne's Spa In Grafton, ONT

At Ste. Anne's Spa In Grafton, ONT

 

Hello Friend, 

I’ve seen both of the Bad Moms movies starring Mila Kunis, and each time with a group of Moms. And, I’ll be honest, I find both of the movies hilarious and uplifting. Upon reflection, I’ve realized that these movies speak to the reality that as women we are really hard on ourselves and each other.  We judge ourselves against some ideal of who we are supposed to be and, the truth is, none of us are measuring up to this ideal. Yet, there is this pressure to act like we are and then judge ourselves and others against this artificial standard.  

It's the idea that each one of us is trying to hide a secret - not a deep dark secret - but a subtle one. Many of us feel the need to act as though our lives are without problems. Or, if we do have challenges, they are easily overcome and do not have any lasting impact on us. This causes us to mislead ourselves and others. When we greet each other, we speak in generalities – “things are fine”, “kids are great”, “life is moving along…” We tend to fill our social media posts with the highlights of our life - pictures of our great vacations, cute kids and outings with family and friends. And, while overall things may be “fine” or even “good” because we are not experiencing any major life crisis, there is an undercurrent of unease in most all of our lives. We are all struggling with feelings of inadequacy and insecurities. With desires that are unfulfilled and dreams unrealized. There is a longing in all of us that is expressed through our obsession with celebrities, excessive shopping, consumption of mood-altering substances and our criticism of one another. We believe we are fooling each other by withholding the fact that each one of us is human, which means that we are each imperfect no matter how much we try. 

This is why we respond to movies like Bad Moms because it unearths the reality that we are exhausted from keeping up with appearances and really want permission to openly share our ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, confidence and insecurities, as well as our desires and disappointments. So today, I encourage you to be brave enough to share your truth with at least one person. When someone asks you how you are doing take a moment and answer honestly. Or, post something a little more vulnerable about yourself on social media. By doing this, you give others permission to be honest with you and you might be surprised to learn that you are not alone in how you are feeling. Instead, we are all sharing in this human experience of trying to find our way in the peaks and valleys of life.  

As eloquently expressed by Teal Swan:

To become conscious and aware, we must become authentic. Authenticity is the highest form of being. 

I would love to hear from you about how you try to live authentically. Please write a comment in the section below. 

My passion is to help people discover their truth, so if you’re curious about how I can help you on that journey, please reach out and send me a message to book a free 30-minute consult

Looking forward to connecting!

Best, Sandra xo

 #BadMoms #TealSwan #authenticity #trueself

The Power of Acceptance

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Hello Friend,

The issue of acceptance comes up a lot for me in my own life and during my sessions with clients. The idea of accepting whatever is happening in our life at this present moment. If you're like me, when I first heard about the concept of acceptance I thought it meant to somehow condone whatever was happening to me or around me no matter how offensive it is.  

This meant, if someone was treating me in a way I found to be disrespectful, I had to tolerate it. Or, if I was watching a story on the news about atrocities against children, I had to take the position that what was happening was “okay”.  And, of course, with this interpretation of the meaning of acceptance I felt extreme resistance and an outright rejection of the concept. How on earth could I "accept" these types of injustices? 

However, what I have come to learn about acceptance is that it has nothing to do with condoning or pretending like something you dislike is “okay". Instead it has to do with truth. If you bring truth to a situation, ‘real raw honesty’ - you can respond to any situation from a far more empowering place. So, what does this mean? Well, in the example above where a person may treat you in a disrespectful manner, a common reaction may be to get defensive and become angry because we think to ourselves that “this should not be happening”, alternatively, we can deny that it is actually happening and begin to minimize the experience by talking ourselves out of what we are feeling. By responding in these ways, we are essentially resisting what is actually happening. 

If we respond with the truth we can actually bring acceptance to the situation. By being honest, we are able to access how we feel about any situation, what the situation is triggering in us and where these feelings originated from. With this information we can dig deeper into what the situation actually represents for us and then respond accordingly. 

Applying this process to the above example with the disrespectful person (who may be my boss), if I were to respond with acceptance, I can say to myself:

  1. What is happening for me - I am finding my boss is acting disrespectfully towards me; 
  2. Why? Because his/her actions remind me of the way my mom used to speak to me when I was in trouble, and I do not like it; 
  3. Bringing myself to the present moment - This is not my mom speaking to me and I am not a child, therefore, I am not ‘in trouble’, so…
  4. What is the most loving thing I can do for myself in this situation right now – Well, this is my boss and I do not want to jeopardize my job, so I don’t feel yelling back is an appropriate response. Okay, is there a way that I can still speak up for myself? Yes, I can respond by saying something like – “I sense that you are really upset by what happened. I want you to know that was not my intention. From my perspective, I did what was right. Nonetheless, I would like it if we could discuss how you would prefer I address the issue, so we can find a mutually satisfactory resolution.” 

On the other hand, sometimes the most empowered response we can have towards a situation is to walk away from it, let go and turn it over to the power of the universe to support us in working it out. Either way, we give ourselves the chance to be guided by love instead of fear. By bringing acceptance to any situation you are able to defuse your emotions so you can access your inner wisdom to know how to transform a situation and bring an empowered response to it. This goes back to the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer (particularly the first part):

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference.  

I would love to hear from you about how you are able to practice acceptance therapy. Please comment in the section below. 

My passion is to help people discover their truth, so if you’re curious about how I can help you on that journey, please reach out and send me a message to book a free 30-minute consult. 

Looking forward to connecting!

Best, Sandra xo

5 Ways You Can Transform Negative Emotions

Hello Friend,

If you are anything like me, for a long time I believed that negative emotions were to be avoided at all costs. And, the fact that I was having them meant there was something wrong with me. As a result, all my efforts were focused on suppressing these emotions and when I couldn’t seem to suppress them, I spent a lot of energy beating myself up about it.

It took me many hours of therapy, training, reading and reflecting to realize that negative emotions are a necessary part of life, and (if you let them), can be your path to living a happier life. So, I hope this post adds some value and assists you in transforming your negative emotions into something empowering:

Step 1:             Stop and Breathe

When you notice yourself moving into a negative feeling – i.e. a place of feeling uncomfortable, uneasy, misaligned, distressed – stop and take 3 deep, deliberate breaths. 

Step 2:             Name what you are feeling

Too often, we don’t even know what we are feeling or we limit the range of our emotions to happy, sad or angry. Take a moment to go a bit deeper and perhaps tap into a wider range of emotions. Below is a list of some negative emotions you can use as a guideline:

-       Indifferent                                     Boredom

-       Confusion                                     Frustration

-       Irritation                                        Impatience

-       Disappointment                            Discouragement

-       Pessimism                                     Doubt/Lack of Faith

-       Distrust                                         Grief

-       Fear                                              Anxiety/Worry

-       Lost                                               Insecurity

-       Loneliness                                    Emptiness/Disconnection

-       Resentment                                  Blame

-       Revenge                                       Hatred

-       Rage                                             Jealousy

-       Powerlessness                             Hopelessness

-       Guilt                                              Unworthiness

-       Shame                                          Depression

Step 3:             Notice where the feeling resides in your body

For many of us we live primarily in our heads and don’t pay much attention to our bodies. However, our emotions always express themselves somewhere in our body. It is important to notice how negative emotions show up in your body: 1) to help you get clearer on what you are feeling; and 2) to gain a better understanding of how this emotion is affecting you. For example, anxiety and fear can show up as a stomach ache or a tightening in your chest – so when you have that feeling it can serve as a cue to assist you in recognizing and acknowledging that you are feeling anxious or fearful.

Step 4:             Accept the feeling and listen to what it is trying to tell you

Negative emotions have gotten a bad rep in our culture. Many of us believe we are supposed to be happy all the time or that having emotions (other than happiness) is a sign of weakness or abnormality. As a result, we put more effort into not feeling the emotion and pushing it aside, than simply paying attention to it and finding out what it is trying to tell us. You will move much faster through a negative emotion if you accept that you are feeling it and then listen to what it has to say.

For example, when I am feeling insecure in a given situation, if I can accept this feeling I don’t have to waste anytime denying that I feel insecure or beating myself up because I feel insecure. Instead, I can ask the feeling of insecurity what it wants me to know. In most cases, it is a sign that I am living from my ego, which usually confines me to the limiting belief that my value is only measured by what I do, what I have and my roles in life. It indicates to me that I have forgotten that I am bigger than my circumstances, I am connected to a universal energy far greater than myself and (most importantly), I am worthy simply because I exist. When I stop and reconnect to that wisdom, my feelings of insecurity shift.

Step 5:             Ask yourself “What is the Most Loving Thing I can do for Myself in This Moment”

After you have figured out what your negative emotion wants you to know, you then practice self-love by asking yourself the above question. This act makes you feel better, in part, because it stops the self-judgment/inner criticism from taking hold of you.

In the example I gave above with me feeling insecure, a self-loving act I could take includes repeating an affirmation such as “I am enough” (check out Louise Hay’s work on affirmations). I could also ask the universe to support me in letting go of my ego’s need to be ‘all knowing’ or superior, and instead, allow my curiosity and wonder to guide me on how I can show up authentically in the experience and release feelings of inferiority.

Whatever the act of self-love is, this exercise helps you learn and practice how to lovingly meet your own emotional needs in any given situation.

What are your thoughts?

I would love to hear from you about what you have found helpful in transforming your negative emotions or if you have tried the above 5 steps.

My passion is to help people discover their truth, so if you’re curious about how I can help you on that journey, please reach out and send me a message to book a free 30-minute consult.

Looking forward to connecting!

Warmly,

Sandra xo