Tag Archives: affirmation

Telling Myself Stories

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‘Once upon a time….”

We all love to tell and hear stories.  In fact, we want to make everything into a story, something advertisers capitalize on. But often we get trapped by our own stories, when we weave a fact, a happening, an event, into a narrative.   You get a poor mark on a math test and you create the story that you are not good at math, for example.  Or your husband is snappy over dinner and you tell yourself that’s because the food must have been awful and you’re a bad cook and…  And there goes our story, running away with us.   We can write negative stories, and often do… but we can also write positive stories, and they’ll turn out much more ‘happily ever after’. 

Here’s a simple story I told myself today, in the car coming home.  I was hearing “He’s not talking to me.  I must be a boring conversationalist.  I said something wrong, didn’t I? ….” and the negative film was all ready to keep playing.  I deliberately pressed the Stop button in my head and sat back and looked at the frozen screen behind my eyes.

  In fact, I’d said nothing offensive.  The conversation had come to a natural stop.  He was tired after a long day of work, he was concentrating on driving in rush hour traffic, and we’d just had a pleasant time together out at a bookstore with our daughter.  I started up another story instead, and this is what it told me. 

“You had a good time.  You are smart and witty, and the two of you were laughing only a few minutes ago.  You are kind and patient, and you handled that bit with your girl responsibly and pleasantly.  He is tired but he’s doing his best to get us home safely.  Let’s think about what we can make for dinner when we do get home.  You’re a good cook; I’m sure you’ll think of something….”     A smile seemed to form on my face without me willing it, and my heartbeat slowed and I settled back in the care seat with a much better sense of restfulness and calm for the rest of the ride home. 

It was a very short little story.  But it really made a difference in my mood, and I was able to make a difference with my family when we all got home.  I chose to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness, as the proverb goes.  Why not try your hand at script rewriting?  What could you tell yourself the next time you hear negative self-talk and what could you write in, instead?

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… divorced people were asked what they’d learned about relationships from that experience.

No surprise, they emphasize the importance of “affective affirmation,” which is psych speak for making loving gestures such as kissing, hand-holding, giving compliments, and saying “I love you.” Fact is, people do feel closer to each other when they regularly demonstrate loving feelings.

Orbuch reports that divorced people identified four important ways to show affection:

1. How often a spouse showed love
2. How often a spouse made a person feel good about the kind of person he or she was
3. How often a spouse made a person feel good about having individual ideas and ways of doing things
4. How often a spouse made life interesting or exciting….”

(This is a quote within a quote.  I have to track down the original place I found this yet…but the list itself is so telling and so simple.)

… divorced pe…

Clarity and Challenge

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I’ve been on the Questor’s Journey for a couple of years now; getting deeper into my own mind and heart, learning to walk closer with the Spirit, trying to live in peace with all men insofar as that depends on me, adding worth to the universe, and all that good stuff. 

And of course, on every journey there are the hills and the valleys, the sunny days and the rainy wash-outs, the bright snapshots with manic grins and the times you want to throw the camera against the wall, the amazing little discoveries and the dreary waiting in line for a ticket…

There were, for me, mornings I would sit on the edge of the bed with my arms halfway through my sleeves, blankly staring at the floor without the energy to finish putting the shirt on.  Evenings where I would be reading quietly on the couch and suddenly ravaging tears would overwhelm my eyes and start pathfinding down my cheeks.  Afternoons when I stood trembling outside my classroom door, unable to make myself walk through it.

And there were ‘good’ days, where my feet didn’t ache just standing at the stove to cook breakfast, where I tucked my daughter in and she would snuggle and confide and kiss and tell me how wonderful a mother she found me, where lights went on in my brain and connections of truth and power were made.  I crafted mini-workshops that encouraged and empowered my friends.  I discovered new facets and beauties of God and Creation.  

But there aren’t enough of those pain-free days; I wake each morning generally not refreshed from a drugged night’s sleep but weary, eyes puffy and spirit wrung-out.  Not willing to live, or rather, to merely exist in this tired frustration, I keep on with my journey of exploration and change. 

I read voraciously.  I surround myself with positive people, quotes, affirmations, newsletters and blogs from spiritual directors and happiness coaches and life guides.  I have spent three months of my ‘days off’ (and a thousand dollars) on traditional face-to-face psychotherapy and counselling.  I meet with other women of faith; I pray with them and for them, for healing and change and courage in our lives.  I have found and interacted with some amazing resources:  courses of self-discovery, of spiritual encouragement, of entrepreneurship…. women whose wisdom has helped to lift me up and move me on.

You’ve heard me mention them and quote them here before.  Ronna and Sarah and Kate and Danielle, Jennifer and Stacy and Christine… this summer vacation I’ll make up my link list, I promise, so you can go and get some of that amazing, loving, generous goodness that they offer.  Some is for free.  A lot is available just for the price of your name and email.  And there’s a treasure trove of valuable – even priceless – self-care available, for just about any budget.  You are worth it, so don’t hesitate.

But this week I have someone else to introduce to you.  He’s a guy named Peter Shallard. We’ve never met face to face, and we’ve given each other only about twenty minutes of our virtual time – not even at the same time – yet I’m so impressed and impacted by what he had to offer me and how he offered it. 

Peter describes himself as ‘The Shrink for Entrepreneurs’, focusing on business psychology and providing “psychological tools, tactical insight, and introspective understanding so you can unlock resources in your mind”.   Sounds a bit too prosperity-gospel? All that health and wealth stuff?  Hang on and hear me out with a positive ear, ‘k?

     A) Peter has made a free ebook available here:  http://www.petershallard.com/downloads/SeekAndDestroy.pdf   I strongly recommend it; even if you don’t think you’re the entrepreneurial type, there’s a great deal of healthy value, and powerful ideas for change.  It’s free.  You have literally nothing to lose – if it doesn’t resonate with you you’ll stop reading anyhow, so you won’t even ‘waste’ your time.     B) I took his Clarity Couch offer – also for free.  With some trepidation but with complete honesty, I answered the four or five questions on the introductory form and pressed Submit.  I had a friendly and reassuring response from his assistant almost immediately, and a personal audio recording from Peter himself within the next 48 hours.  I could not believe his perception, frankness, and willingness to look at the tough issues – with a gentle challenge on how to move forward.  

While I can’t go into the details, I can tell you that I got more out of that nine minutes listening to Peter speaking to me – to me and my issues personally and caringly – than I did in the three-month-thousand-buck-therapy.   I got more insight, more challenge, and more to work with.  Peter didn’t just listen; he listened and responded, analyzed and advised. 

If you are an entrepreneur – a woman with a dream of making your creative voice available to others, a man with a vision who’s not sure where to start, a person changing their job for their vocation… go on over to http://www.petershallard.com/ and invest in yourself.

P.S. Full disclosure (nah, no secrets, just because I like that phrase): I wasn’t paid in any way for this blog post. But this ‘bard’ is very grateful to this ‘shrink’, and words of affirmation are my love language, so here’s a big page of thankfulness to Peter!