Hello Ladies and Gents! I’ve got some mood boosting tips to share with you courtesy our Life List Club guest today, Lara Schiffbauer! Get your happy on by reading her post and then, if you miss me, blog hop on over to my fellow founder’s place, Marcia Richards, where you’ll find me telling you why sleep is a good thing! Zzzzzzzz *Oops, nodded off there for a minute! Back to Lara!
Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
A husband and wife are getting ready for bed. The wife is standing in front of a full-length mirror taking a hard look at herself.
“You know, dear,” she says, “I look in the mirror, and I see an old woman. My face is all wrinkled, my hair is grey, my shoulders are hunched over, I’ve got fat legs, and my arms are all flabby.” She turns to her husband and says, “Tell me something positive to make me feel better about myself.”
He studies hard for a moment, thinking about it and then says in a soft, thoughtful voice, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.”
I don’t think she got what she was wanting, do you?
The problem? She is looking for affirmation outside of herself.
“Self-confidence gives you the freedom to make mistakes and cope with failure without feeling that your world has come to an end or that you are a worthless person.” -Anonymous
How many times do we set goals and then, when we attain them, we aren’t satisfied?
Or, the satisfaction is short lived, and we begin to doubt ourselves again once the heady rush of success passes.
Or, we receive a compliment that, in the moment, seems to be the justification we need to feel confident about the path we are treading, only to return to insecurity within moments, hours, days, etc… of being given the compliment.
It seems crazy, and maybe we feel a little crazy when we are blown about by our emotions like this. I sure do!
Self-confidence must be grown, most usually by experiencing success in the areas that you wish to have achievement.
Positivity, the quality of being encouraging or promising of a successful outcome, is a personality trait that can be developed.
We can change how we think, and thereby change how we feel. Instead of waiting for others to encourage us, we can encourage ourselves, if we follow the simple steps below.
- Recognize when we have unhelpful thoughts. The words ‘what if’, ‘why me’, ‘if only’, ‘I should have’, or any time we look for other people to give us value or worth are indications that we are not being positive.
- Stop! Interrupt the negative little voice in the middle of your mind. You may have heard about people snapping their wrists with a rubberband to break a habit. The idea is the same, but you don’t have to hurt yourself. When you hear the negativity start, all you have to do is firmly say to yourself “STOP.”
- Replace the thought with a positive one. Talk kindly to yourself.
Let’s use the opening joke as an example.
The woman was criticizing herself. When she first thought “Look at me, I’m an old woman,” she would recognize that perception of herself as unhelpful. She would have told herself “Stop. I am no longer a youngster, but I still can walk, I am good at hang-gliding, and I have a lot of fun when I play in the park with my grandkids.”
She wouldn’t lie to herself. That’s not helpful, and neither is dwelling on what she cannot control. But instead of dwelling on what she is not, she would focus on what she is.
And that’s the key to positivity.
We don’t ask others to support us, with platitudes or compliments.
By focusing on who we are and/or what we do well, we encourage ourselves through the process of goal achievement.
Once we’ve attained our goals, we increase our self-confidence, and the positivity loop continues on and on and on!
Lara Schiffbauer writes contemporary fantasy and general fiction, and has been lucky enough to see some of her short stories published. By day she works as a school social worker in an elementary school and at night juggles writing, playing with her two adorable little boys, and doing everything else that has to get done in a day. You can find her on Twitter at @LASbauer or blogging at Motivation for Creation.
It’s Life List Friday and I’m thrilled to have Pam Hawley of the Life List Club guest posting with me today. It might be the fact our lives seem like parallel living situations on opposite coasts (if by coast you mean the Mississippi River, right?), or it could be that she’s just a phenomenal writer whose honest words never fail to inspire me, but I think you’re going to love Pam’s advice about how to partner with your loved ones to best achieve your goals. Enjoy Pam’s wonderful post and be sure to stop by Sonia Medeiros’ blog where I’m guest posting for Fear Factor Friday on how horror films impact our life goals. Then you can check out more of the Life List Club blogs by visiting the writers in the LLC Blogroll in my sidebar. We’re all guest posting today and we love hearing from you about your own goals and life lessons; stop on by! Don’t forget, the party continues at #LifeListClub, open all hours and there’s none of that hand stamping that won’t wash off for days. 🙂
Avoid Unintentional Sabotage: Help Those You Love Support You in Your Goals
I once worked with a woman who had been overweight her whole life. She was the “office mom,” the one who brought in donuts on Mondays to make them less Mondayish. She was the one who noticed when you were headed for a stress meltdown and surprised you with a treat. When she retired, we all felt a hole where her nurturing presence had been.
Before she retired, she set a goal of losing weight. Our little band of coworkers was more than happy to help her. We brought in healthy lunches so she wouldn’t have to watch us eat pizza while she nibbled on a Lean Cuisine. We took walks on our breaks and shared advice on getting fit.
Still, she struggled. One day, she confessed that she had a tough time sticking to her regimen at home.
“I’ve got the willpower not to buy junk food,” she admitted. “But I cave and chow down if it’s in my face.” When her hubby went to the store, he brought home Doritos, Coke, cupcakes, and their other favorite munchies. If he wasn’t raiding the junk food aisle, he was stopping by their favorite carry-outs and “surprising her” with subs or pizza.
As women are known to do when a man is being thickheaded, we called him all sorts of names. She defended him, saying ‘that’s just the way he is.’ In hindsight, I realize she was right.
Sometimes, our loved ones are impediments to achieving our goals. If we’ve chosen our friends and family wisely, this isn’t because they’re evil minions sent to keep the extra pounds on our bodies or our novels unwritten. But people are resistant to change and stuck in (or maybe just happy with) their own routines. When we start making changes in our own lives, we don’t always realize how we’re impacting those in our circle.
When loved ones seem to be sabotaging our goals, their actions are rarely malicious. In fact, they may just be doing the same things they’ve always done. Even in those rare cases where a friend or partner is truly acting in ways that are counterproductive towards our goals, their actions are usually subconscious.
A wife who makes snide comments about her husband “sitting at the computer all day” may be resentful of how his newfound focus on his writing has put extra household burdens on her. A friend who tempts you with invites to happy hours at all your favorite restaurants when you are dieting may secretly be feeling bad about herself. Or maybe she just misses spending time with you now that you’re always in the gym instead of hanging out with her.
My own boyfriend would often try to talk to me while I was writing. I was ready to pull my hair out, until I sat back and thought about it. He doesn’t write. He doesn’t understand the focus and silent reflection time I require when I’m working on my novel or a short story. So instead of just getting annoyed and sulking all night (obviously I’m not perfect either), I talked to him about it, comparing my “writing happy place” to the way he feels when he’s in the zone playing his guitar.
“You don’t want to talk to me about the bills or what we’re doing this weekend when you’re working on a song, right?” I asked. Suddenly, he could relate.
In addition to such simple communication, there are other things you can do to help your loved ones support you in your goals rather than hinder your progress.
- Ask for what you need. We’d all like to think our nearest and dearest just “know” what we need, but that’s not always the case. Ask your mom or husband to take the kids out for a few hours so you can write. Tell your girlfriend you need her to stop tempting you with offers of gorge-fests at your favorite buffet, but that you’d love to go see a movie or hang out by the pool instead.
- Make sure you’re being fair. When we’re focused on an end result, it is easy to get tunnel vision. You’re working all day, and writing before and after work. Meanwhile, your spouse has taken on all the household chores that you used to do, even though she works full-time too. You’re writing more, but she’s seething inside because she has no downtime, and eventually the situation will implode. Compromise is essential to keep the life balance you need to stick with your goals for the long haul.
- Don’t be a bore. Your mom probably wants to know that you wrote 5,000 words this week. However, unless she’s a writer too, she probably doesn’t care about character development and plot struggles and your frustration with your over-use of commas. That stuff is fascinating to us writers, but not to anyone else. Network with others who share your goals. Have your lengthy and detailed discussions of writing or weightlifting or whatever your obsession is with them. You’ll save your loved ones from having to do the “polite stare and nod.”
- Take time to live in the moment. The only guarantee any of us have is the moment we’re in right now. Time spent connecting and having fun with your partner, family and friends is never time wasted. Don’t give up date night to write or study, or your weekly dinner at mom’s house to lose weight. Skimping on these special moments leads to resentment and loved ones who feel neglected. Cut corners somewhere else – a few more dust-bunnies under the couch or cereal for dinner instead of prepping and cooking a full course meal one night never killed anyone.
- Give what you’d like to receive. If you want your loved ones to support you in your goals, make sure you’re doing the same. Don’t get so wrapped up in your own struggles and successes that you can’t see those going on around you. While you’re hitting the gym, your wife is working towards her degree. While you’re pecking away at the novel, your best friend is working up the nerve to do stand-up comedy. Know these things about your loved ones, celebrate their milestones, and pick them up when they fall down. Even when you are pursuing totally different goals a healthy dose of mutual respect, support and admiration can keep you connected to those you love.
Like our goals, our relationships need attention and flexibility to stay strong. It is easy to overlook that simple fact when we’re racing towards a finish line. Instead of running, do the marathon at a pace that allows those you love to walk beside you.
Pam Hawley is a writer living in Baltimore, MD. When she’s not working at her day job, writing or in the gym, she can usually be found at her family’s pub, Hawley’s in Baltimore. So far, her new approach to achieving goals seems to be working – her first published short story, “A Wingding and a Prayer” appears in the July issue of eFiction Magazine. Pam blogs regularly at Hawleyville http://hawleyville.wordpress.com and is spending much of her free time these days happy dancing about the fact that the NFL lockout is over and she’ll have Steelers football back soon!