Showing Self Care was the solution to my issues


I had a very tough summer this year. The weather was very hot and humid, and I hate both humidity and hot weather 🙂. I am currently establishing my coaching business; I tried to work from home but I couldn’t as it was the summer vacation and with the kids at home I could never focus on anything. I had shared an office with other people and before actually starting with my clients they apologized and asked to cancel the contract because they had to leave the apartment to the owner.  I found another place but it had to be furnished and that meant more time and additional expenses. My best friend was on a trip all summer long and I felt so lonely. I didn’t go out with my friends or do anything to enjoy myself during almost three long months. I was working with my coach on my relationships. I was stuck and turning in circles. I couldn’t find any way out for my issues. I was desperate and unhappy.
I was really astonished about how stuck I was in my relationships and why I couldn’t find a way out. There was nothing new; they were the same issues I experienced every now and then. Why was my response this time so rough? Why couldn’t I cope with the situation as sometimes I was able to do? Why couldn’t I be accepting? Acceptance was all I needed I think. For almost three months I was struggling with many issues but I never realized that my main issue was with myself. Yes, it was all about me. I didn’t take care of myself. There was something very important missing in my life; that was SELF CARE. I felt lonely and missing my best friend, I avoided going out because of the hot weather and the bad traffic, I spent all my time just doing housework and all I need to do for my new business, I was committed to my younger son workouts, but I didn’t notice that I was not taking care of myself. For long weeks I didn’t do anything to enjoy myself except working out two or three times a week.
I realized from my work with my coach that lack of self care was the main cause of my unhappiness, but I always thought that it was anything else. I was extremely nervous, aggressive and angry most of the time. I believed that the weather, my sons’ behavior, traffic, my husband, the maid’s absence and many other reasons were the cause of feeling upset and angry. The only enjoyable thing I did during these three months is spending time with my sons, every now and then, listening to their jokes and laughing with them. It is true that I love spending time with my sons but I love and need to spend time with my friends and with myself. I needed to show more self care. I was always repeating to my friends that to be able to take care of others we need to learn to take care of ourselves first. It seems that I forgot my own advice 🙂.
Self care doesn’t need to be time and money consuming as we may think; it can be just spending quality time with a dear friend, listening to music, relaxing in nature or in our favorite place, watching a good movie or reading an inspiring book. It can be playing and laughing with our children. Self care means honoring ourselves and showing love for ourselves by having our needs met. It is showing respect to our own needs as we show respect to others needs. What is really important is to make it regular and a lifestyle; not just doing it when we have nothing else to do. 

It is so important to add our self care appointment to our calendar as we do with our other important appointments. We need to give our self care appointments a high priority as we give to our business appointments. The self care appointments we commit to today will help us to get the energy for our business appointments we have to commit to tomorrow. Have your own self care program. Build your own enjoyable activity list and go for one activity daily and as much as the activity is new and adventurous it will bring you more excitement, satisfaction and energy. Your life will not be the same anymore.
I would like that you share with me the activities you do to show self care and how often you do them weekly.

10 tips to help you replace negative thoughts with more positive ones

“The World is what we think it is. If we can change our thoughts, we can change the world.” ~H.M. Tomlinson

So to change your world, to make your life happier and to make the world a better place to live in you need to change your own thoughts. You may think it is hard to control your thoughts, I don’t say it is easy but it is not impossible. It is doable through practice, all you need is to keep practicing, to be persistent and patient and surely you will do it.

In my previous post (Our thoughts shape our life) I shared with you how my negative thoughts made me feel in a certain situation and how the positive ones totally changed my feelings in another situation while the difference in time between the two situations did not exceed 30 minutes. On this post I share with you some tips to help you replace your negative thoughts by more positive ones.
  1. Prayers and asking support and strength from Allah brings peace, and the feeling of being protected and supported. 
  2. Question the cost of your negative thoughts and attitude. Ask yourself what are the negative thoughts and attitude are costing you and how it is influencing your life? Physically, emotionally, and spiritually and compare it to the benefit you get when you have more positive thoughts and attitude.
  3. Repeat positive affirmations  daily  every morning  (affirmation is a written or oral statement that confirms something is true ). It is so helpful to bring more positive energy into your day. In tough situations when you feel un-confident or fearful start repeating affirmations about how confident  and   strong  you are. One of the affirmations I like to use is “Whatever happens I will handle it” it brings me a lot of confidence in my ability to handle any situation so I feel more peaceful and secure.
  4. Keep a journal of the situations where you kept a positive attitude, how did you feel? What thoughts did you have? How did it influence you and what outcomes did you get? to remind yourself of  that experience and what to learn from it to apply this learning in the future.
  5. Surround yourself with positive friends and people, they will help you keep a positive attitude.
  6. Stick inspiring quotes everywhere at home, at the office, in your car; or you may collect inspiring quotes in a small copy book and refer back to them daily and whenever you feel thinking negatively.
  7. Journal about your negative thoughts and feelings and write down several arguments to counter it. 
  8. Keep a gratitude journal and write  daily  5 things you are grateful for to remind yourself of all the blessings you have and to help you shift your focus from what is missing in your life to what you already have.
  9. Detach yourself from the surrounding environment and don’t allow negativity of others impact you. Remind yourself  that if others are anxious or nervous or fearful this has nothing to do with you, it’s their feelings and their thoughts not yours and you don’t have to feel or think the same. You have the power over your feelings and your thoughts.
  10. Live in the moment, forget about the past and don’t worry for the future. You have a moment to live and you have the choice to make it a happy or a painful one, which choice you will make?
What other tips did you use to shift from a negative attitude to a positive one? Please share them with us.

Our Thoughts Shape our Life

 I had a very strange feeling today when I was running on the treadmill; I felt so excited, enthusiastic and full of energy, while 30 min earlier I felt uncomfortable, frustrated and lacking energy. My feelings at the gym were totally different from my feelings at home, and I wondered why? The difference in time between these feelings didn’t exceed 30 min which is the time of the drive from my home to the club. I wondered how just going from one place to another could change my feelings from one extreme to the other. 
At home I felt weighed down and insignificant and I asked myself why I had this feeling. I realized that the house means housework, cooking, laundry and all the stuff that I don’t like, and I believe it’s useless to waste my time doing it every day. Recently I realized that my house is not the place where I love to stay to find peace and quiet any more. On the contrary, it’s the place where I have to run from one room to the other cleaning and arranging; then rush to the kitchen for the dishes and the cooking and finally doing the laundry. I used to have a maid daily when I had a full-time job but after quitting my job I reduced it to two or three times a week. Since then I had the feeling that I am replacing her at home and this thought, I think, is the reason behind the feeling that I am weighed down. In addition, I tried to work from home but no one could accept the idea. They interrupt me all the time and want me to take care of them and finish my work as well. Everyone thinks that the short time they are interrupting me to ask for something is not that long. I am not a fan of multitasking, I like to do only one thing at a time until I finish it then move to the next one and of course these interruptions were extremely distracting to me. I tried to set boundaries but it didn’t work.While at home, I was unable to achieve anything. With these two negative thoughts in mind; that I am replacing the maid and I will not achieve any progress in my business while working from home, I felt weighed down whenever I was home. 
Let me return to the feelings I had on the treadmill, excited, enthusiastic and energetic, why did I have these feelings? It’s the sense of achievement that I feel when I am at the gym as my fitness level improves day after day. So the thought that came to my mind is I am achieving success in the area of fitness and not many are able to do that. I like my role of achiever at the gym; it brings me more self-confidence and a feeling of success. Concerning my business, I decided to have a place to work from, so I rented a room in an office and turned it into my own office. There I could have some peace and quiet; so finally I could work without interruptions. Now I feel more relaxed with the thought that I am moving forward in different areas of my life and achieving progress and that is exactly what I needed. 
I started to examine my feelings and my thoughts more closely. With the negative thoughts “I am replacing the maid” and “I am not achieving any progress” I felt unhappy, insignificant and frustrated but with the thought that I am achieving progress and success I felt excited, enthusiastic and energetic. What I wanted to highlight is that having negative thoughts and beliefs in mind can totally ruin our lives. We can change the negative thoughts by more positive ones to have more positive feelings. I will share with you some tips about how to replace negative thoughts and feelings with more positive ones in my next post. 
Please share with me what you think about that. Do you think that we can change our feelings about a certain situation by changing our thoughts? Did you go through similar experience? If yes what did you learn?

I had a limiting belief


One of the topics that I found so interesting in coaching studies was limiting beliefs. I was astonished of the fact that we may fail to do something because of our belief not because of our capabilities. We all think we are not able to do something because we are not talented enough but actually it may be just a belief we hold about ourselves. By holding a limiting belief we close all the doors in front of ourselves. We deprive ourselves from the available opportunities that may bring us happiness and success. 
For long years, writing was a big challenge for me. At school I hated creative writing. I was studying Arabic, English and French and I wasn’t good at writing in any of these three languages. I lived for long years with the belief that I am not good at writing. I believed that I am talented in mathematics and numbers so I joined Engineering faculty and although I loved languages and literature I avoided all faculties of arts because of my belief. I thought I won’t be successful in such studies because it needs a certain level of writing capabilities. Even writing reports and emails at work was challenging to me. It took me some time to get used to writing reports. I wasn’t able to write any letters to friends and family members who were living abroad, I found it uninteresting and I preferred to talk on the phone. I always thought that people who were talented in writing were blessed; they can express and communicate their feelings and their thoughts to the world. I admired novelists, poets, journalists and writers. I liked writing but I believed I can’t do it. I never thought I would blog and publish my posts one day.  
One day I found that keeping a blog is a requirement for my coaching graduation. I had to start a blog and to journal regularly about my learning. My first blog post was really funny, just few lines to tell that I am starting my blog; actually it was an ice breaking post. I needed to write anything to start and to publish it. Then I decided to write about different experiences in my life, I found that writing about my thoughts and my feelings in different situations was helpful, it was easier for me to write about my experiences. It took me more than twenty years to discover that I am not that bad at writing. I have two blogs now one in Arabic and this one in English and in addition I joined an international blog where I will post with writers from different countries all over the world. What is really amazing is that some of my readers expressed that they liked my writing style and they think that I am talented. I know that I am not a novelist but at least I can write and communicate my thoughts to people as I always wished. Now I dream of writing a book :):). Yes, why not? If you don’t have a limiting belief the sky will be the limit for your dreams.
“You can change your beliefs so they empower your dreams and desires. Create a strong belief in yourself and what you want.”  Marcia Wieder
So changing your beliefs is not impossible; with every success you realize your belief in yourself and your self confidence will rise. 
If you have a dream but your beliefs are holding you back, ask yourself these 2 questions:
– How will my life look like without this belief?
– What is the worst that could happen if I fail?  
If nobody will die or will be severely hurt just believe in yourself, go on for your dream and give it a try. If you fail once, find another way and give it a try again, keep trying and don’t give up. Remember that successful people face failure as anybody else; so accept failure because it is your only way to learn how to succeed. Don’t let your limiting belief deprive you from fully enjoying your life and realizing your dreams.

Could we fear happiness?

This is one of my old posts of my blog My Happiness Journey. I hope you like it.

      

 I thought I learned everything about how to make myself happy, I learned it’s my choice, I learned that repeating positive affirmations to gain self confidence, self love and self respect  can really help to lead to positivity and happiness. I learned  that happiness is my own responsibility.  I learned that likes attract likes, so if I am happy I will attract happy people into my life.  In spite of that I didn’t take any action toward my happiness.

    Do I feel more comfortable this way? Am I more familiar with negative thoughts and unhappiness? Am I more familiar with complaining and I am not sure what else to do or say if I don’t find something to complain about?  Am I afraid to look different from others?  I don’t like to look different and hence to be noticed.
How will I communicate with them?  Am I afraid of their sarcasm and mockery? They may think I became mad. 
Why do we feel more comfortable or familiar with the negative approach we all tend to adopt in our life? We are all complaining, no matter what we have and what level of wealth are we living in, we just complain. Complaints are a common factor in all our conversations everywhere. 

    Am I afraid of looking better, more beautiful, shinning, energetic and enthusiastic?  Am I afraid of my response when I look better? Will I accept my current life as it is or will I rebel  against  it? Digging deep inside myself is really scaring me, I can’t predict what will be the results and what will be the effect of this process  on my current life? Do I fear looking for my own happiness? 
I think that sometimes we may fear or wrongly believe that the happiness of  our beloved ones may be harmed while we are looking for our own happiness.

Mommy guilt (1)

Guilt is “a feelingof worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong,such as causing harm to another person”—Cambridge dictionariesonline
According to the meaningit’s a feeling you have because you have done something wrong, but Ithink that sometimes it can be just a doubt that what you did has harmedsomeone and you live with this feeling torturing you.
The feeling of guilt hasdeveloped inside of me ever since I was young because of the continuous blameof my parents with every mistake I made. My parents were very generous on reproachand criticism; I think that they believed that this was the best way to make uslearn to be careful not to make mistakes.  The focus they were giving tothe mistakes was extremely huge while the encouragement and acknowledgement hadno place in our lives. Until may be a few years ago, I defended myself all thetime. Even in my inner self-talk, I always focused on how I will defend myselfwhen my mother starts reproaching me. It was bitter feeling guilty and havingto defend myself all the time even when I didn’t harm anyone. I just gavemyself the right to do something different than what shewanted me to do. 
Becoming a mom developeda bigger feeling of guilt inside of me; a feeling that is depriving mostwomen and moms from enjoying their lives. I had a full time job when I gavebirth to my first son. During the first 2 years of his life, I used to spend 4hours daily to commute from home to work and back. We used to leave the housetogether at 6 AM and be back at 6 PM. I sent him to a nursery at the age of 3months and I left him from 8 AM to 4 PM since the first day. From the age ofthree months to the age of 5 years old he used to go to the nursery from 8 AMto 4 PM 5 days-a-week, and the feeling of guilt was poisoning my life. When he was4 years old, I had to travel frequently and leave him with my husband ormy mother. I had to be away for 4 to 5 days-a-week, 2 to 3 times-a-monthfor 10 months or almost a year and of course the feeling of guilt was killingme. I think he felt how the guilt was torturing me, so in turn he manipulatedme and punished me in every ways. When I think back about those days of mylife I can see how the negative feeling had left me drained, suffering andunhappy just because I thought that I am harming my son by leaving him at avery young age at the nursery. I can’t forget how hard I cried the first day Isent him to the nursery; I felt like I was abandoning him. For me, my feelingof guilt was mainly because I was leaving my son to others to take care of forlong hours, I didn’t have enough time to take care of him or spend quality timewith him. 
It took me many longyears to get rid of that feeling and to understand that feeling guilty is oneof the reasons why I felt drained and unhappy all the time. One time I talkedabout it to a counselor, and she told me that it was not a question of how muchtime you spend with your kids, but how you spend that time with them.Since then I started doing my best to make the time I spend with my kidsenjoyable for me and for them. I learned about quality time. I learned that theconcept of the mother being available for her kids 24/7 is not correct. Irealized that the meaning of a good mother and a good wife thatI inherited from my mother and my culture is not useful for me anymoreand is not doing me any good. I had to rethink and redefine it according to myvalues, my priorities, my ambitions and my own definition of happiness.
Does my story soundfamiliar? Does it sound like yours or someone you know? I am sure that thereare hundreds, thousands or may be millions of women who had similar experiencesor stories in their lives, especially when their kids were young. On my post ofnext week I will share with you more information about the feeling of guilt andhow to deal with it. If you have any questions, stories or tips to deal withthe feeling of guilt, please share them with me.

Want to be great?


“You don’t have to begreat to start, but you have to start to be great” ~Zig Ziglar~


So true! How many timesdid you procrastinate doing something because you thought you weren’t ready yet,that you needed to think more about it, or that you need to prepare some more? Youkeep thinking and thinking and over-thinking, then planning and searching, thenmaking excuses that you want to be well prepared and ready for taking the rightactions. And do you finally take any actions? Most probably not.

Actually, it’s your fearthat is holding you back. It may be fear of failure, fear of makingmistakes, fear of the unknown, fear of getting out of your comfort zone, andsometimes it’s fear of success. Anyway, whatever the reason of your fear, youwon’t be able to overcome it unless you start and take action. To achieve agoal you don’t need to be professional; all you need is to have a clear visionof what you want to do and how to do it then START. You will make mistakes, sowhat? It is an opportunity to learn the right way to do something. You may fail;the greatest champions and the best scientists have failed but they never gaveup. How many times did you have a dream and you gave it up just because youdidn’t believe you could do it then you found someone else do it? The onlydifference between you and them is that they believed they could, while you didnot. They felt fear and they overcame it, but you did not. They started and theykept going toward their dreams, but you did not even start. 

The first step you take isyour first step towards greatness. If you still can’t start, reflect on thesequestions. They can help you gain clarity about what is holding you back:
1- What would I do if Ihad no fear?
2- What would I do if Iwas sure I would never fail?
3- What would I do if Ibelieved there isn’t a word called “mistakes”? There are only optionswith different outcomes; some will lead to my goal while others willnot and I will learn what the right ones are.

Start today, look for agoal that you gave up and see which action you can take immediately to bringyou closer to your goal and take it. Actions create the momentum that you needto keep going, so keep taking actions, even small ones, to keep the momentum.Your pace may differ from time to time. It is OK but never stop, for it will behard to restart again.

2 strategies to boost self confidence and self esteem


Self-confidence is having or showing confidence inyourself and your abilities (Merriam Webster learner’s dictionary).

Self-esteem is a term used in psychology toreflect a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his/her ownworth. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (Wikipedia).
Empowering something that is empowering makes youmore confident and makes you feel that you are in control of your life (Cambridgedictionaries online).
Disempowering is to cause a person to be less likelythan others to succeed; to prevent them from having power, authority, orinfluence (Merriam Webster learner’s dictionary).
 So self-confidence is the belief about our self-worth (self-esteem)and our ability of achievement, and depending on the beliefs we hold about ourself-value and our abilities our lives will be. If the beliefs we hold areempowering we will feel more confident and in control of our lives andhence capable of succeed, but if our beliefs are dis-empowering or limiting we feelpowerless,  fearful, unworthy and less able to succeed.

 Usually our limiting self beliefs are due to unsuccessful experiences early in our life like childhood and youth. Letting the outcomes of such early experience control our life is not the right thing to do and it doesn’t serve us so we need to examine them and find out how to deal with them. On a previous post I discussed how our limiting beliefs can cause low self confidence and low self esteem and I mentioned some tips that worked for me to change my negative self talk that the limiting beliefs caused. On this post I like to talk about two very important strategies to fight lack of self confidence. 

The first one is courage which is defined as the ability to control your fear in a dangerous or difficultsituation. So if we lack self confidence because of a fear we feel when we face a certain situation, the best way to improve our self confidence is to face the situation we fear most. As much as we face the situation we will  be able to let go of the fear and improve our self confidence. It can be made gradually, for example someone who has stage fright and can’t speak in public, by rehearsing to speak in front of a small group of friends or family members can be a good start. Then by increasing the number and inviting more people their self confidence will develop and grow.


“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect.There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. Sowhat? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger andstronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and moresuccessful.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen ~


The second one is taking actions, even small ones. Procrastinating till later, till you are ready, or till everything is perfect is not a good way to create motivation. Taking regular actions toward our goal encourages and empowers us to take more steps and more actions,  it brings momentum and with every step taken we build our self confidence.


What useful strategies or tips worked for you to improve your self confidence and overcome your fears?

Leaving my fears behind

For me 2011 were one of the best years of my life, it was the year of achievement, change, clarity and great awareness. During this year, I knew myself more than any time else. I could realize how I see and treat myself. I learned what I need more of and what I need to let go. I learned for the first time in my whole life that I am responsible for my choices and that these choices create my life; so I am responsible for most of what is happening in my life. It was a great awareness that brought to me huge clarity and now I think I can live a happier and more fulfilling life.

One of the things that I learned in 2011 is to say “No”. “No” to time wasters, “No” to energy drainers, “No” to anything that doesn’t matter to me and won’t bring me any value or benefit; All this learning I intend to take it with me in 2012, only one “No” I will leave, it’s “No” to new opportunities, trying new things that I don’t know. I used to avoid anything I am not familiar with, I wasn’t fan of trying new things, even when I decide to try something new it must be tried by someone else and they found it OK. I wasn’t ready to take any risk. I was limiting myself in a very small area and depriving myself from the pleasure of living a new experience with the pleasure and fun it may bring. 

Eventually I decided to break this limiting fear of trying new things, I had an opportunity to talk on a program in our local radio and as usual I had this negative inner self talk “What if I couldn’t talk confidently? What if I made any mistakes? My voice is not OK….. ” and due to this self talk I thought about apologizing but I got a question that totally shifted my attention and my mind ” Why don’t I look at it from a curiosity perspective? How a radio program is recorded? How this place look like? How the announcers work?” and I found myself  excited about the idea and so curious to go and live this moment. I could convince myself that it’s just a talk with a friend about what is coaching and what I do as a coach, I’ve done it before with my friends and all noticed how excited I am about it so why not think of it the same way. I did it and it worked very well. We talked for more than an hour and they recorded 3 parts that will be submitted on their weekly program for three successive weeks. 

It was exciting and a great achievement to beat this limiting fear and since then I decided to leave the “No for doing something new” behind me forever and live with a new mindset, to look for every opportunity to try new things. This is the best way to rediscover  my undiscovered talents and abilities.

This post is part of a blog hop series sponsored by studentsand graduate Coaches of ICA. Please hop on over to their posts and see whatelse you can learn about ”What did you learn from 2011 that you’ll change in2012?”.
Joyful Growth Coach
Coachinu
Intuitive Coaching
Learner Focused Coaching
Bodacious Possibilities
Turning Stones Coaching and Consultancy
 What I am is What I Choose

http://whatiamiswhatichoose.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/what-did-you-learn-from-2011-that-youll-change-in-2012/


Role of beliefs in shaping our lives


Webuild our belief system all along our lives. With every experience we gothrough and according to the outcome of the experience we gain a new beliefabout ourselves and our abilities and depending on this belief we have somefeelings that we behave according to.

Thebeliefs we gained when we were young have huge impact on our lives even afterwe grew up. Think of a situation when you were young and where you wereacknowledged, appraised and encouraged, how do you feel every time you rememberit or when you go through a similar experience? Think of another one where youwere blamed and criticized, how do you feel about it? Do you accept to gothrough it again? Forme, in the first situation, I feel proud of my achievement, self confident,valuable and believe in my capabilities. In the second I may feel guilty,ashamed, un-confident and I may avoid going through the same experience again.In both cases the outcome of the experience is the cause of my belief and forsure if I had another outcome in both experiences, I would have a differentbelief about it although I am the same person.

Weall had gained a set of empowering beliefs about ourselves and our capabilitiesduring our childhood and youth and these beliefs were due to the outcomes of the different experiences we went through, these beliefs are serving us, supportingus and they are the reason behind our success and happiness. And another set ofdisempowering and limiting beliefs which are the reason behind our lack of selfconfidence, self esteem and unhappiness. I like to call it limiting more thandisempowering because it expresses how these beliefs are preventing us fromreaching the unlimited opportunities we can find in life. These beliefs causenegative feelings and negative self talk that always tell us that we are notgood, we don’t deserve, why make effort while we know that we will fail, it’suseless to try, and many other patterns of negative self talk. The limitingbeliefs and the negative self talks are a fact in our life, who of us didn’texperience these kinds of negative thoughts? But the difference betweendifferent people is how they deal with their inner negative self talk. Theessential is to be aware when the negative self talk starts and how to silenceit.

Itisn’t impossible to replace our disempowering and limiting beliefs by morepositive ones that serve and support us to achieve more success but we need togo through some steps to reach the goal of getting rid of a limiting belief.
Iwill share with you some tips that worked for me to let go my limiting beliefs andreplace this negative self talk about myself by a more positive one.
  • ·        Repeatingaffirmations (positive and empowering statements) daily. It brings a greatpositive energy.
  • ·        Keepinga list of my previous successes and achievements and reviewing it regularly orwhen I feel down.
  • ·        Writingabout different situations I went through and their outcomes and examine howthis limiting belief has badly influenced my life and think about how toreplace it.
  • ·        Surroundmyself with positive people to support me when I am down and to remind me ofthe positive and the achievements in my life.

Theseare some structures that worked for me, so feel free to share (in the commentsbox) what worked for you in the past or what you think may work for you to letgo your limiting beliefs; and feel free to send your questions, I will be gladto support you.