2014 is no doubt slowly returning to some sense of routine and normalcy following the madness of the holiday season, and for those of you who make New Year’s resolutions, at this point you may be implementing your new habits, or determining which ones are not realistic and sustainable and ditching them. If I may, I’d like to add another thought to your self-improvement agenda: give up the need to be a people pleaser.
Most of us do it naturally, and especially if we are women, raised to be good girls and not rock the boat. We tend to defer to the opinions of others and to be caregivers and put ourselves last. Many of us know that feeling we get in the pit of our stomachs when we make a decision to do something for ourselves and end up risking the ire of the people in our lives who have grown accustomed to us picking up their slack and carrying their train, so to speak. It’s a feeling a lot like panic, and I’m here to tell you, you have to learn to live with that feeling and become comfortable with it if you want to proceed on your journey of leading an authentic life, and being true to yourself. Becoming comfortable with discomfort is the key skill you must learn to master in order to not be at the beck and call of every person who thinks you owe them simply because you are alive, or a female or a mother.
The biggest trick about learning not to be a people pleaser is to learn how to be assertive without being offensive, and the reason this is so tricky is that a lot of people will want us to believe we are being offensive simply because we made their lives difficult by saying “no.” When you understand your own motivations for doing things, there is a clarity and presence of mind that belongs to you which is astounding, you are able to understand when you are doing things from a pure place of being true to yourself and your own needs and desires, and when you are acting out of those ever present and debilitating “shoulds.” When you can honestly know deep within that you are acting from an ethical place based on loving kindness, you begin to understand that saying no is not just a gift to yourself, but also to others who have become lazy in their habits because they rely upon others to do things for them that they should be doing for themselves.
One of the most important reasons to learn to say no and not be a people pleaser is the effect that stress has on our health. When we are putting everyone else’s needs before our own, we are undoubtedly stressed. Stress can make you sick in no time, and if you want to be present and available for your loved ones, it is imperative that you put your health first. Remember: if you don’t worry about taking care of yourself, no one else will, so speak up and let it be known that you need time for yourself to rejuvenate and recharge.
This post just begins to scratch the surface of the issue of people pleasing and how it ruins our lives, and I intend to elaborate more on it in the coming months, because in order to progress in the work that I teach people to do, this is an important point to grasp. It is enough for now to know that I absolve you from the responsibility of keeping everyone happy and everything perfect. Take a deep breath and really think about that for a moment. Let the weight lift off of your shoulders and set the intention to live in this blissful place going forward.
Thoughts? Email me at email@example.com
“You can’t have an excuse and results at the same time.”
One of the toughest things we will ever do in our lives is to really sit down with ourselves and face who we are, warts and all. We all do it, every single one of us, we want to see the world through our own individual lenses, making ourselves “right” all of the time, while putting the focus on other people and how they supposedly wronged us, making ourselves the victim, or pointing out all of the wrong or bad things we think other people have done, performing a character assassination on someone we may have called “friend” in the past. While many of my posts have been supportive and uplifting, I would be remiss if I did not let you in on a key element of my work—getting people to put the focus on themselves and take responsibility for it and drop the denial. This is not easy work, it takes a lot of self awareness and self evaluation, and there are times when people leave me wondering what the heck I am doing and why they are paying me to do it, but if you come through a few sessions with me, you will leave stronger and better, I promise.
Notice how I didn’t say drop the “drama,” this is a buzz word a lot of people throw around that has an ominous feeling to it, but if you are being truthful about your life, you are automatically going to sound dramatic, and that’s perfectly acceptable. When you are smoke-screening and lying and obscuring the truth and throwing out drama, that’s a red flag, but if you are being real and talking about the truth of your life, the byproduct is that you are going to come off to some as being dramatic, but if it’s rooted in a real place, have at it and don’t worry about what other people think. Being an actress and classically trained myself, I can tell you what any acting teacher will tell you, good acting comes from a place of truth, it comes from a place of really knowing your character and expressing their truths translated through your own instrument, your body, so even in the realm of creativity, the best art is based on truthfulness.
When someone is in denial, we all can sense it, it’s like a buffer of lies around this person, that people don’t want to touch lest they set off a time bomb, and if you are doing this to yourself, and thus others, you will begin to be more and more set off from true intimate contact with the people you love, because lies/denial poison every interaction we have.
Email me with any questions or if you want to set up an appointment. firstname.lastname@example.org. ♥
Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk is the best 15 minutes you can spend all week. This is well worth watching all of the way through to the end. She takes a while to set up and build her premise, but the payoff is big. In modern life, the majority of us are under a lot of daily stress, but McGonigal shares with us the science of stress and the largely unknown, hidden physiological reward from handling stressful events. Those who read my blog regularly will see why I wanted you to watch this all of the way to the end when McGonigal discusses oxytocin. Let me know your thoughts about the video at email@example.com.
If you are someone with ambition and aspirations that wants to achieve success in the modern world, odds are good that even with the best of intentions and efforts, you still probably only end up accomplishing about half of what you say or wish you could accomplish. If your average is 50%, then bravo, you’re a high achiever. If you are a high achiever, however, chances are you’ll never be satisfied with 50%, so in order to achieve more, you need to become adept at the fine art of goal setting.
In terms of success, you need to give yourself every advantage, and not take for granted that your mind can retain all of the information you need such as a to do list, a list of goals, as well as the infinite number of other ideas you come up with every minute of every day. You need to write things down. Thoughts can go through our heads a mile a minute, and when we try to remember things that were important to us later, we often draw a blank. Smart phones are great for helping us stay on task, but unless you know without a doubt that your phone won’t distract you, go analog and carry an old fashioned notebook There are many goal setting websites that offer phone apps, a few of which are listed here: goal setting app links.
The underlying idea of goal setting is that we tend to accomplish more when we are very specific about exactly what we want. Many of us have vague ideas about what we want to do in our lives, but unless you take a few minutes every day to plot and plan, most of these vague ideas end up never happening. Ideas are a dime a dozen, accomplishment stems from implementation.
Many of us enjoyed the movie The Secret, which explained the idea of “the law of attraction,” and while it is true that thoughts create reality and that imagining our lives the way we wish them to be is important fuel for our subconscious to then go out and create what we wish to see in concrete form, “faith without works is dead,” or to put it another way, “God helps those who help themselves.” You must be specific about what you want, and then break down your goal into a series of smaller goals that can be accomplished on a daily basis.
The final key to achieving our goals is patience. Many of the things we wish to build take time, but that doesn’t mean they are impossible or that we should give up and get discouraged. If you put some effort every single day into your goal, even if it’s 15 minutes of planning or journaling, you will see results. Follow the coincidences. Often times when we take a step in the direction of our goal, our goal takes a step toward us. Watch for signals from your environment that offer clues to finding the path to your goal, often times we will find answers in the most unusual places. Be open to your goal showing up in a form you might not expect.
What are some of your goals or ideas about how to make them a reality? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“If you build it, they will come,” was the phrase whispered to Kevin Costner’s character in the movie Field of Dreams, which inspired him to plow over his field of healthy crops and make space to fulfill his dreams of baseball and sharing time with his family. The phrase has made it’s way into the popular list of frequently overused cliches, but it underscores an important point about life: if you want something special to happen, you can’t sit around and wait for others to create it, you have to build it yourself and allow others to partake in your vision. This could not be more applicable than in the arena of romance. Here are five key points to keep in mind in any existing relationship that needs a little extra something to keep things alive and fresh:
Have thoughts you would like to share? Email me at email@example.com. ♥
Internet dating can conjure up all sorts of images for people. We’ve all heard the success stories— someone logs on and before long they’ve met their soul mate online, but talk to someone else, and you hear horror stories about dates gone wrong or worse. The truth is probably somewhere in between. With some caution and forethought, an online profile can open up a world of dating possibilities, and by being proactive and not waiting for things to happen, you increase the chances that you will meet someone and connect on a deeper level. Dating, like life, is a numbers game. The more you put yourself out there, the greater your chances.
Laurie Davis, founder of eFlirt Expert (eflirtexpert.com), is an online dating consultant who has operated the climate of internet dating since she was nineteen years old, and in her tenure, has faced almost every situation imaginable. Her book, Love at First Click, (Atria, 2013), offers a step by step handbook for setting up your online dating profile and tips for everyone from the “eFlirt Virgin,” to the more seasoned veterans of wireless romance. She writes, “ …everyone is plugged in and it’s no longer something to be ashamed of. In fact, one in five relationships begin on an online dating site.”
Ms. Davis offers practical advice such as to “put your money where your mouth is,” and commit to at least three months on a given site to give yourself time to set up your profile and to adjust to being “outside your comfort zone.” She also offers the “two site rule,” writing, “you should always have active profiles on at least two sites,” thus allowing you to widen the range of possible matches, and to get your profile attention in front of more than one community. Davis encourages her readers to not rely on “winks”, or other more passive attempts at initiating contact, and instead, go for the gusto and send an email. She walks the reader through the entire process of composing the perfectly worded missive to sound flirty enough without looking like you are trying too hard.
I encourage you to take a chance, pick up a helpful book like Laurie Davis’ Love at First Click, or go the distance and set up an appointment with me for a consultation about how to get started opening your dating possibilities to the ever growing world of online dating. At the very least, you will have an opportunity to hone your dating skills and practice meeting new people while letting your best self shine. Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org. ♥
“Goddess on the mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name”
Lyrics from Venus by Bananarama
Imagine, if you will, that you hold within you an inner version of the goddess of beauty, an infinite power of sensuality, life force, and passion, a power you can call on at will, with only a thought. If you bring this creative momentum forward, it will guide, nourish, and bestow upon you a life of pleasure and sensual abundance.
Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena,” (mamagenas.com) is an author, speaker and teacher of the “womanly arts” who lectures and leads workshops where she teaches women to make calling on our inner reserves of pleasure and sensuality a daily experience by enhancing our inner Venusian quality. She writes about one of the most important tools we can use to connect to our powerful Goddess energies, in her book “Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, Using the Power of Pleasure to Have Your Way with the World,” (Simon and Schuster, 2003) “A woman in the act of flirtation can beguile the entire world with her enthusiasm. She is in a state of her highest glory. She looks beautiful, she is having fun, she feels powerful.” Mama Gena asserts that “women are the greatest untapped resource in the world,” and her philosophy stems from the idea that if women can get in touch with their desires and inner wellsprings of life force and pleasure, they can accomplish anything
Unfortunately our culture would have you believe that you have to be flawless in every way to be a seductress, but that is a myth. Some of the most seductive women of history were not what we would consider conventional beauties today. Cleopatra, for instance, who lured not one, but two powerful Roman generals to do her bidding, was depicted on coins as having a prominent nose and jutting chin, but the great Julius Caesar was in her thrall and presented her in Rome as a Goddess, and Marcus Antonius fought to his death to preserve their union. Cleopatra was a true seductress.
So I say culture be damned. Let’s all take control of our inner Venus and show this world what women are truly made of. The first step in bringing out your inner Venus is to believe that you do indeed have this inner wellspring of passion. Trust that your relationship potential, your potential to be a siren of epic proportions, however dormant this energy may have seemed in the past, is just waiting for you to say the word and call it forth. Start by having a little audacity, letting go of your fears of being seen or getting too much attention, and put yourself out there. Wear a vibrant color, throw your head back and laugh, dance and become the life of the party, and summon your inner Venus. She’s been waiting to hear your call. Let me know how things work out at email@example.com ♥
Any of the clients I work with will inevitably hear me mention the name of the woman who has influenced me most in my work as a relationship maven: Dr. Patricia (Pat) Allen, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist famous for her Monday night seminars in Los Angeles, where I have been a regular attendee for many years. Dr. Allen’s work has helped me and countless others to understand the underlying dynamics of romantic relationships in a way that is practical, applicable, and makes sense. Dr. Allen has had success in helping scores of singles to find lasting love, as well as helping people in existing relationships to hold onto what they have and improve their communication and relational skills. I cannot recommend her book Getting to I Do enough, and it is required reading for anyone with whom I work as a client.
Dr. Pat has dedicated her life to teaching people how to be more authentic in their communication techniques, how to focus on relating in a loving manner, and how to deal with interpersonal issues in a way that is respectful to the other and makes them feel cherished. Here are some key points of Dr. Allen’s work I would like you to consider and which I will expand upon in future posts (note, we will highlight how Dr. Allen’s work can be applied to same sex relationships in future posts, for now, here is a basic overview of her work as it applies to heterosexual relationships):
2. It is who you are inside that attracts a man, not your worldly accomplishments. Let your mate see your innermost self.
3. Use the boundless power inherent in your feminine energy to attract and keep a mate.
4. Men and women need to have a balance of masculine and feminine energies within them that cooperates with the counterpart of their partner’s energy.
5. Put the emphasis on how you work together and don’t stoke the fires of competition, which blocks true closeness between two people.
In future posts I will go into greater depth about my take on Dr. Pat Allen’s work, including her insightful ideas about how you can commit to the relationship rather than the person so you don’t end up addicted to a particular person, how you can discover your desires in a relationship by getting to know a person better and discovering what you *don’t* want, and how by not rushing into sex before you have a commitment, you avoid becoming hooked on the oxytocin rush that biologically bonds women to men, without first making sure your partner returns your feelings. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the wonderful work of Dr. Pat Allen in the future. As always, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. ♥
Are manners outdated? Are the rules of etiquette that were ingrained in the generations before us still relevant in this super busy modern era? It would appear that the generally accepted answer to this question is a resounding no, as many of us can attest to just by observing everyday behavior in the world around us. But is this right? No, absolutely not. Manners are as important today as they were when Victoria reigned over a genteel society that rested on the very notion that civility was the crux of modern civilization in general and individual lives specifically.
“But, but,” I can hear readers say, “but no one else has manners, why should I? Why can’t I dash off that quick text or email without always regarding the feelings of others and making sure I place every word correctly so as not to offend? Who cares if I don’t pepper my phrases with please, thank you, and may I? So what if I don’t know the names of the people who serve me in a thousand different ways everyday? It’s not my job to have to focus on those things, I am too busy, I am going every minute, I don’t have time.” Actually, you don’t have time not to be kind.
There is something in this world I call “The Invisible Economy,” and it is the goodwill that you bank every time you treat someone with respect, learn their name and use it every time you see them, take a second out of your day to ask the guy who makes your coffee how his day is going, or every time you pause in traffic and let the other car merge into the lane ahead of you. All of the kindness and goodwill you pay forward comes back to you in an infinite number of immeasurable ways throughout the day and it is this positive karma that makes your life run more smoothly and efficiently in a million small ways. It’s almost as if there is a bank in the universe that lends us goodwill and help when we need it, but only if we have paid in before hand by being good to every single person we meet, whether they deserve it or not. You can’t afford not to be nice.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the successful people around you. Study them for a while. Oh sure, jerks who are successful are plentiful, they abound, there is a whole computer manufacturing company that is extremely popular with successful people who had a CEO who believed that you actually motivate people through fear, intimidation and rudeness. A successful biography was published last year that might exceed Sun Tzu’s The Art of War as the go to manual for captains of industry who wish to get ahead in business. In recent news, much has been written about how much this destructive paradigm will influence how the top brass treats people in the years to come, because on some level, it works. This company is one of the most successful in the world.
However. There is another multi-billionaire who has probably twice the money and success of the aforementioned leader, and the very core of the second CEO’s belief is that if you treat people well, it will come back to you. He is known for motivating his employees to stay at their desks and work through lunch by providing them catered meals. He believes that if you put out money to begin with, you reap the rewards many times over in this invisible economy that exists among human beings. This man’s financial portfolio puts the first one’s to shame.
People are the key. I don’t care if you are someone who never leaves your office to talk to another human being throughout the course of a day. Every single business is a “people business.” Businesses don’t run themselves, they are managed on every level by a human being.
If you treat people with kindness, you can go to the bank on the kindness you will receive in return. Try it. Feel free to use the scientific method and experiment to see if this theory works. One caveat: if you have not created a good will savings account with the people around you, don’t expect them to take to your new ways right from the beginning. It may take a few weeks or even a month of really trying to be kind to every single person you meet before you start to see the flow of how this changes your life. So give it some time. But if I were to offer a 100% money back guarantee, it would be on this one point, because I firmly believe that no matter how difficult at times it may be to remain compassionate and kind in the face of challenges, it will pay off major dividends in the end. The Beatles said it best; “And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make…”
Homework for the weekend, be kind to a stranger and see what happens.
Want to discuss something you read on this blog? Email me at email@example.com. ♥
“It is not enough to conquer, one must also know how to seduce.”
We all know that if there were an award for the country considered the most skilled in love and passion, hands down it would go to France. Sure, they eat snails without a second thought, but they are also experts in the art of seduction and eroticism. Looney Tunes embodied the stereotype of the French lover obsessed with ‘l’amour “ in the form of an adorable skunk who will not take no for an answer, Pepé Le Pew, and while I don’t recommend being malodorous and over insistent, I do recommend that you study the French and learn how to live a life which is what the artist and author Sark would call “juicy.” Juicy is a term that embodies the sensuality the French seek, not only enjoying life, but also savoring it, and indeed, the word “juicy” translates roughly into French as “savoureux”.
In her book, La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life, former Paris bureau chief for the New York Times Elaine Sciolino unpacks French ways of passion and discovers that the French infuse every area of their lives with sensuality in all of its forms. Sciolino writes that the French emphasize the chase aspect of romance, the courtship rather than the actual consummation of the sexual act. “So how to play the game? Several weapons need to be mastered…The first is le regard, the look, the electric charge between two people when their eyes lock and there is an immediate understanding that a bond has been created…The word is the second weapon. Verbal sparring is crucial to French seduction, and conversation is often less a means of giving or receiving information than a languorous mutual caress. If talking is the way the word is expressed, then it’s useful to cultivate the voice…” Sciolino provides many examples of how the French cultivate the use of the voice to seduce. “The kiss, the next weapon in seduction, is subject to its own rules of engagement.” The French use the kiss in different ways, there is “the bise,” or social kiss on each cheek. Then there is the famous “French Kiss” where lovers explore each others lips and mouth with lips pressed against one another, and who doesn’t love a kiss from someone who really knows the art of kissing?
Sciolino continues “France is a global case study in ‘soft power,’ the ability to influence others through ‘attraction’ rather than coercion.’” Learning to harness the ‘soft power’ of your inner French woman can be a valuable skill to have in your dating repertoire, because as we all know, when you feel good about yourself, you are much more attractive to others and your seductive powers are at their peak. Dating and relationships can be a subtle dance of push/pull, and knowing when to just be yourself and allow others to come to you can be as useful a skill as knowing when to go for what you want.
In her guide to using the power of seduction the French way, French Women Don’t Sleep Alone: The Pleasurable Secrets to Finding Love, Jamie Cat Callan writes, “You don’t have to be born in France or have a French maman to teach you these things. As an American woman, it is in your power to be just as seductive, just as charming as a French woman. It’s simply a matter of rethinking what is sexy. Rather than “turning it on or off”—dressing in sweats for running errands and then changing into a miniscule cocktail dress with eight inch heels to go out at night—try dressing well all the time. Perhaps reveal a little flesh or wear one sexy accessory. Begin to seduce, (French style) everyone. Practice the fine art of allurement .Be a French woman and treat everyday, every moment of your life as an opportunity to feel the power of your desirability.” Dab on your favorite perfume as you walk the dog, put on a little eyeliner or a scarf as you run those errands and don’t just do it for the gaze of that potential lover, do it for yourself. Enjoy life, not just in isolated “perfect” moments, but everyday.
Callan emphasizes the need for a “coterie” or circle of friends that acts as a sort of social buffer and allows us to engage with a group of like-minded others so our defenses are down and we are at our best in social situations. In her first chapter, Callan insists that French women don’t date, but are more apt to be found in groups at dinner parties, films or museums. According to Callan, this allows us to interact in a much more relaxed, less formal setting. It also gives the person we are interested in a chance to see us in our best light, having fun with friends, instead of in a forced one on one situation like a date. The date is in fact a very American concept and is not practiced as much in other countries where parties and group outings are more common. Opting out of the standard practice of dating can be very freeing for those of us who are accustomed to the almost job interview setting of a formal date. At the very least it offers us a way to broaden our social circle in a way that includes romance as an ever present, tantalizing possibility.
Here’s my advice to for this weekend: Call on your inner mademoiselle and throw yourself a fête, invite your coterie of friends and that special someone you’ve had your eye on, open some fine wine or better yet a bottle of champagne and make enjoying yourself your “raison d’être.”
Please feel free to contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.