Just Do It: Part 2

Many people find themselves in the dilemma of indecision. They do not know what it is they really want. Do I want to change jobs or do I want to stay put? Do I want to get a divorce or am I better off where I am? Should I move or should I fix up the place I am in? Should I help out a friend one more time or should I tell him/her I am finished helping them? Should I talk to my husband (wife, children, parent, boss) or should I wait and see if they notice how upset I am maybe he/she will bring it up? Should I go on a diet? Should I go on a trip alone when I can find no one to go with me? Should I go to college? Should I get married? Should I go into business for myself or work for someone?

Indecision is based on fear. Fear is a debilitating condition that ruins more lives than natural disaster. Fear produces anxiety. Anxiety creates debilitating worry and concern. People in the throes of anxiety feel powerless and go to great length to avoid whatever produces the anxiety including wearing a facade of boldness that often hides even from themselves the level of their fear and anxiousness. Sensitivity and fear of rejection get in the way of greatness.

People who find themselves powerless to make a decision and follow through are people who have at one point in their lives, most likely childhood, been punished for thinking for themselves. A strong need for approval causes procrastination and fear of disapproval can paralyze children. Controlling parents wanting perfect children often rob a child of his/her ability to make decisions. Perhaps using ridicule, shame tactics, or raised eyebrows and the silent treatment when the child makes choices that do not agree with the adults around him/her. Children who have been abused or neglected live with a fear that follows them to adulthood. Sometimes the fear is because a parent has invested so much in the child, praised them so highly and demanded such loyalty that the child feels helpless without the constant input. The fear often remains hidden even from those who have it and is expressed in various ways, indecision being one of them. Fear makes victims of people.

Victims live with dread, apprehension and constant misgivings. Victims see everyone as an adversary who is only waiting to take advantage of them. This when taken to its greatest extent results in paranoia which can result in feelings of persecution and a constant need to defend oneself. If your childhood held a lot of exploitation, threats, neglect, or abuse then it is time to deal with all of those old feelings that are holding you back and keeping your life from being all that you want it to be. It is time to take the time to deal with the pain of the past so you can let it go and move on.

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Just Do It: Part 1

How many times have you said to yourself or someone that you care about “for Pete’s sake stop talking about it and just do it?” Or how many times have you beat yourself up because you have been planning to do something for days, weeks, or even months or years and you just never quite get to it. There is always a perfectly good excuse to put off the things you tell yourself that you will get to someday. You know that book you want to write. Those dance lessons you want to take. The college degree you intend to finish. The weight you want to lose. The trip you want to take. The person you’d would like to ask out on a date. The things you would like to say to your spouse. The umbilical cord you would like to cut with your children. The new job you’d like to look for. The present job you would like to quit. The honest talk you would like to have with someone you care about. The things you would like to say to someone who has hurt you. The move you would like make to another neighborhood, city, or state. The will you keep telling yourself you will do soon. What is stopping you? What is it that keeps us from saying the things we want to say and doing the things we want to do? Thinking about a thing is not the same as doing it although some times we can trick our minds into thinking that we are doing something by telling ourselves tomorrow, next year, next time --- and relaxing into the certainty that you will be doing something soon. What stops you from taking some action? You can take control of your life and be all that you want to be. Much depends on your attitude, your habits and your desire. Do you look at life as a problem or as an adventure? Do you have habits that sabotage your best efforts? Do you see yourself as a victim or do you see yourself as a survivor? Do you automatically harbor negative thoughts and pessimistically see your troubles as burdens. Or do you optimistically see your problems as challenges to be conquered? Are you faithful? Are your accomplishments all that you are capable of? Do you dwell on past failures? Do you have dreams for your future? Are you numbing your self with alcohol or drugs including anti-depressants, sleeping medications or some other compulsion? Take a really good look at yourself. Do you really want to know what is holding you back from doing the things you want to do with your life? Do a bold and courageous inventory of your life, your assets and your shortcomings. Ask your friends and family members to answer them about you. Give them a piece of paper with the questions written on it and ask them to be totally honest without fear of reprisal. Oh yes this takes a great deal of courage and a determination to be open minded and not feel a need to defend yourself.

1. Who are you when you are alone? (Who do they think you are when you’re alone?)

2. What do you stand for? (What do your friends think you stand for?)

3. What are your strengths? (What do your friends say your strengths are?)

4. What are your limitations? (What do your friends say your limitations are?)

5. What 3 things do you value most in the world? (What 3 things do your friends say you value most in the world?)

If you can’t answer these questions easily it is time for reflection and perhaps counseling.

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Ways to Manage Your Anxiety

People suffer from various kinds of anxiety and it often gets unbearable around holidays or special occasions. When you are feeling anxious it is hard to think and hard to know what to do about it.

Know that what you are feeling is either  fear of the unknown or fear of being exposed.  Examine this fear and ask your how practical is it?   Don’t try to talk yourself out of what you are feeling but learn some of the ways you can manage your anxiety:

Physically:
    Look at your eating habits, do you drink a lot of caffeine products, such as coffee or soda
if so cut back on them.
    Do you smoke cigarettes?  Nicotine only calms for moments and then creates a restlessness
that requires more nicotine.
    Are you getting enough exercise?  Research shows that daily exercise doing something you love reduces anxiety.  Walking, running, dancing and weight lifting are all ways to reduce anxiety.
    How hard do you work?  Are you a workaholic?  Do you not work at all because of fear?
    Are you able to sleep or do you let yourself worry and think all night?  There are ways to take care of an over active mind.  One way is to pray and learn to let go.  Another is to count backwards from 100,  and another way is to concentrate on your breathing.  A tip: your mind can only handle one thought at a time, you can teach yourself to sleep all night through doing one or more of these things.

Mentally:
    What kind of messages are you giving yourself?  The way you talk to yourself can increase anxiety ten (10) fold.  Negative self-talk is very destructive and can keep you constantly anxious.
    To combat the negative messages you give yourself, you must change the negative into a positive and say it to yourself five times each time the negative message comes up. An example of this is: if you look in the mirror and say “I look terrible” you can overcome that by saying five times in a row, “I look great, I am beautiful (handsome), I am better looking today than I was yesterday”. For best results do this every day.
    Whatever you tell yourself is true.  If you say you can't do something, then you can't.  If you say you’re not good enough, then you will prove to yourself that you are not good enough.  If you say you don't like something then for sure you won't like it even if you have never even tried it.
    Have you or do you often feel inside that you are crazy?  If you are reading this you are not crazy and in fact probably everything you feel is normal and felt by hundreds of others. 
    Do you journal?  Writing everything down is the most positive way to put things into perspective.  Put it all down, everyday, hold nothing back, do not worry about spelling or making sense no one is to read this except you, do not read what you have written for several weeks.  When you do read it you will see a predominate theme that will guide you in decision making.  Many people avoid writing because it is “too much work”.  If this is you then you are enjoying your discomfort too much to try something to overcome it.

Spiritually:
    Do you have a spiritual component in your life?  If so what do you do to honor it?  Everyone must have someone or something in their life is that he/she can look up to.  If you don't know God perhaps now is the time to explore who He is and what He stands for.
    Have you tried meditation or yoga for calming and relaxation.  Formerly the school of thought was that meditation and yoga was of the occult, now we know that is not true.  Both are widely accepted as a superior way to combat anxiety.
    Do you suffer from shame or guilt that does not belong to you, but has been passed on to you by parents or others?  If so how long do you want to carry it?
    Have you sought counseling or spiritual direction guidance from someone you trust?  Is misery a companion that you are willing to give up.  Are you willing to do whatever it takes to find peace of mind?  Some people have used anxiety as a crutch for many years, giving it up involves facing your reasons for keeping it.  Just like leaving an abusive relationship opens one up to a whole new world so can leaving your anxiety.  Are you willing?  Are tired of being controlled?  Have you suffered long enough?  Only you can answer these questions.

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Barriers to Understanding Codependency and Getting Support

Impoverished social abilities leading to inadequate social connections and poor communication skills.

Inability to see the whole picture because of a limited amount of information.

Unable to comprehend the scope of one's own responsibility for one's self.

Not trusting anyone enough to ask for help or asking the wrong persons and then giving up when help is not forth-coming.

Avoiding conflict because of  fears of a loss of love and abandonment.

Feelings of guilt and betrayal that come when one sticks up for him/herself.

Fear of retaliation if one breaks the family rules of “don't talk” “don't think” and “don't feel”.

Shame at having to admit that one needs help and fear of being a burden.

Anger, bitterness and resentment constricting the ability to hear a different point of view.

Having an unreasonable desire to always be “right”.

A refusal to reach-out for new knowledge preferring to avoid unfamiliar activities and shunning new information and experiences.

Lack of self, wearing many faces, and not realizing the incongruity in this.

Defeatist thinking "No one will ever understand me." "If I want something I have to get it for myself..." "No one will help me." "The world is a bad place." "Everyone but me is brainless and stupid..."

Thinking "There must be something wrong with me..." or continually asking "What is the matter with me?".

Feeling overwhelmed by emotions and unable to process them because of a lack of data and fears of being different from everyone else.

Not having a vocabulary to express thoughts and emotions.

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Problem Solving

Where ever there are human beings there will be differences in opinion and often open conflict. Most often open conflict is a power struggle. Power struggles are recognized by the following signs: Refusing to make eye-contact. Giving the silent treatment. Manipulation in an attempt to dominate or control. Using blame, intimidating gestures, and loud voices. Expressing bitterness, resentment and suspicion. Using us and them language setting yourself apart. (you people ) Being secretive, hiding information or activities. Showing disapproval or contempt for another’s point of view. To problem solve, approach the issue as both a challenge and an opportunity.

1. Know your own core beliefs: Are they positive such as ethics, fairness, and spiritual? Or are they jaded by personal experience? Carefully examine your motives before entering into a conflict.

2. Before you attempt to speak research the issue thoroughly. If it is a difference of opinion make sure you have facts concerning the issue and not just personal opinions. If you feel some confusion concerning the facts consult an expert.

3. Build trust by being transparent in all your dealing with everyone of your acquaintance,: Make your words and actions match. Be accountable. Be truthful and have integrity in everything you say and do. Be reliable and predictable. (fair and balanced) Always seek to be fair.

4. Be willing to hear another point of view and brainstorm for solutions. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes (empathy - the ability to feel with -)

5. Never make a complaint or air a grievance without stating what action or behavior you are asking for.

6. Ask what the other person wants? Is it in direct conflict with what you want? If so what is a reasonable way to solve the dilemma? Present your idea and do not take it personally if it is rejected. Tell them what’s in it for them if they come half-way and meet you in the middle. Tell them what you have to do to live up to your own integrity if they won’t budge. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree and move on without retaliating.

7. Look for opportunities to support and build up everyone you associate with. You can always find something positive to appreciate about even the most difficult person. 8. Build a broad network for yourself. Seek to enlarge you network of associates, with the goal of expanding your interests and opportunities.

COMMUNICATE. NEGOTIATE. APPRECIATE.

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