Overcoming Hurtful Words

Source@ Google images

Joyce Meyer says that “Words are containers of power.”

 And we’ve  experienced that power. The kind word that lifts your spirits at the end of a tough day,  the compliment that makes you feel good, the encouragement you are given during a difficult task.

Words also damage.  Words can HURT. A LOT!  I suffered a lot of verbal abuse as a child and young woman. By the time I was a teenager I had developed anxiety and other emotional problems – anorexia, agoraphobia. The negative beliefs  that had grown deep inside me encouraged me to pick relationships with men who would continue the abuse.

“Words have more power than atom bombs.” (Pearl Strachan Hurd)


Humans are social creatures – we need to love and feel loved and share pleasant, meaningful interaction.

So the pain from ‘word bombs’ lobbed at you for whatever reason –    anger, blame,  criticism,  or venting over a situation that has nothing to do with you –  is excruciating.

And it’s worse if they are uttered by someone important to you, such as a valued colleague, friend, partner.  All kinds of emotions are triggered – shame, embarrassment, anger. And it can leave a permanent scar unless you deal with it.

deal with words

You can’t control what others say  but you can evaluate what was said:

  • Was it sparked by envy about something you have or have achieved? A backhanded compliment.  Can you put it in a more positive context?
  • Was there some truth in it? Is it highlighting an area you need to work on?
  • Was the speaker having an off day? If so, take a deep breath and let it go. As Christians we shouldn’t take offence.  Proverbs 19:11 states, “A person with good sense is patient, and it is to his credit that he overlooks an offence.” [GW] We’ve all said things we regret when we’re dealing with ‘stuff’ and we hope that others will overlook.
  • Is the speaker generally negative?  Some people just are like that. The best way to handle this,  is to accept that’s who they are and pray for them.

joyce meyer words

Action steps for overcoming hurtful words:

It’s OK to cherry pick the steps that are most useful to you – personally I’ve found steps 1, 2, 5 & 7 helpful.

  1. The most important and effective action step you is to choose to let it go, bless the person and move on. Yes, it’s difficult, but it is possible. It’s like they say – all you can control is your reaction to situations. Think of it as a gift to yourself, setting you free from someone else’s negativity.
  2. Write down how you feel in your journal. Putting words on paper clarifies your thoughts and brings insights. Plus, you can plan what to say if you decide to speak to the person about what was said.  Read more here.
  3. Discuss the situation with someone you trust. Another person’s input often reframes events, giving you objectivity, reassurance and affirmation.
  4. Write a letter to the person who spoke the hurtful words – pour out how you felt when they said them and how you feel now. Let it all out. When you’ve finished, don’t read it, either tear it up and flush it down the lavatory or burn it. Don’t send it!! 🙂
  5. Forgive. I’ve had to do this. It needed a lot of prayer and determination and sometimes it seemed like it was a case of two steps forward and one step backwards.  But it made a MASSIVE difference – forgiving others is one of the best gifts you give yourself.
  6. Remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to go back to the same situation – you can set boundaries or make adjustments. Sometimes, you need to ask God to bless someone and then let them go out of your life.
  7. Ask God to help you overcome the pain, anger, feelings of rejection etc then believe that He will.
  8. If you have been a long term victim of verbal abuse, you may benefit from seeing a counsellor or other expert.

It is possible to overcome hurtful words – I know this from personal experience of years of negative input.  Make a decision to move beyond the pain of hurtful words, pray, trust and believe.

If you found this post helpful, you’ll enjoy: Forgiveness and  We’ve All Been That Dog That Walked 30 Miles: dealing with rejection

Please share your comments and questions below.  And, if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.

How A Great Attitude Can Change Your Life

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Do you want MORE?

Great! Then let’s explore the many ways a great attitude can change your life – and how to get it!

Attitude is more than a way of thinking – it’s a way of living your life.  Attitude influences your decisions, your words, your actions and the outcomes of your life.

A great attitude can get you get a job.

“Studies have shown that people want to be with those who have a good attitude, In fact, for some employers, a good attitude is sometimes a more important consideration than skills. You can train for skills, but it’s difficult to work a bad attitude. Recruitment agencies tell us that if candidates are fairly evenly matched, the one with the most positive attitude will get the job.” (Pam Wyess)

A great attitude can you get  you  friends.

This is a no brainer.

Aren’t you drawn to others who are fun to be with, who have a happy, positive attitude and who embrace life?

So is everyone else 🙂

A great attitude leads to excellence

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I had an ‘aha’ moment when I first came across Ralph Marston’s statement and others react in the same way in my coaching workshops 🙂

An attitude of excellence – doing the very best you can with what you have available at the time – can be cultivated, it’s not innate.  So, if you want doors to open for you, then this is the way to go.

A great attitude gets you friends and admirers.

Positive, motivated people handle problems and setbacks constructively – looking for solutions rather someone to blame. This makes them more productive and waaaaay more popular with their friends and co-workers, because they feel secure in someone so trustworthy.

And this opens the door to opportunity 🙂

A great attitude helps keep you healthy

“A cheerful heart makes you healthy. But a broken spirit dries you up.” [Proverbs 17:22 NIRV]

Research suggests negative thinking is bad for your health but it’s the image of the broken spirit that got my attention.

It suggests no hope, no belief, no confidence, no future.

Because negative thinking is a self-fulfilling prophecy which perpetuates itself.

negativity cycle2But the circle can be broken!

Great Attitude is a Choice

“Attitude to me, is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.

The remarkable thing is that we have choices everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. 

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.”(Charles Swindoll)

I grew up in a home where there was a lot of pessimism and disapproval and  my default position was gloom and doom and this impacted on many choices I made as a younger woman. 😦

Becoming a Christian began the change in me as I began to understand who I am and Whose I am. Romans 12:2 “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” was another stepping stone.

I was electrified when God said to me, as I was musing over my journal, “Face up and face forward.” I took it to mean looking to Him, keeping my head up (confidence) and literally to face forward to the future, rather than dwelling in the past and its various miseries.

It’s also about taking responsibility for your life, which is incredibly liberating! I had been a victim – sometimes of other people’s bad decisions but also of my own attitudes and bad choices. When I ‘faced-up’ to that, my life began to move in a new and better direction.

Discipline & Prayer

It takes both to get a habit of negative thinking sorted, once and for all. And there may be relapses on the way – so don’t feel that it’s game over if you have a bad day.

But  we have help; God gave us a ‘sound mind’ – we can use it to think powerfully, to trust that all will be well and to step out boldly.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” [2 Tim 1:7 NIV]

 

buttI guess the caterpillar isn’t too keen on that middle stage before it becomes a butterfly – but what a transformation!

And how encouraging!

We – you and I –  can be transformed by the renewing of our minds

Our approach to situations can be transformed.

How we experience life can be transformed.

If I can do it, so can you 🙂

Please share your comments and questions below.  And, if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.

 

Goal! – 7 really quick tips to stay motivated!

Keeping motivated can be a struggle but these tried and tested tips will help!

1) Know exactly what your goals are.

You need to be precise: “I want to lose some weight” or “I’m going to go to the gym more” aren’t goals. “I want to lose 7lbs in a month” and “I’m going to go the gym three times a week straight after work” are goals.

If appropriate, your goal should have an end date.

2) Know the benefits of achieving your goal.

Why do you want to reach your goal? How will it make your life better? How will your life improve?

The benefits may be:

better health

better earning power

a sense of accomplishment

a step towards a larger goal

Think about the benefits and write them down so that you can read through them regularly.

3) Only tell one or two people who will fully support you

Pick carefully. Make sure that the people you confide in will back you all the way and that they will hold you (gently) accountable. Having someone monitoring your progress is very motivating. (This is why having a life coach makes all the difference 🙂 )

4) Know what you’re letting yourself in for 🙂

In other words do as much research as possible so that you minimise the chances of unpleasant surprises long the way. Knowldege is power. Speak to people who have done what you want to do or read about them. Knowing that others have succeeded is very motivating.

5) It’s an exciting challenge NOT a chore!

It’s all about attitude – if you think it’s going to be fun, then it will be! If you think it’s going to be dull or difficult, then chances are it will be just that.

Find something fun/interesting/exciting about what you are doing. Maybe see if you can do it with someone else and you can encorage each other!

And remember why it is that you want to achieve the goal(s)

6) Celebrate along the way!

Give yourself regular ‘mini-rewards’ eg if you have done 30 minutes excercise and give yourself bigger rewards when you achieve your goal or make substantial progress towards it. If you have genuinely achieved a step, treating yourself in some way is very motivating! And you deserve it!

7) Allow yourself some flexibility

It may be that you need to revise your goal(s) – this is fine! Just make sure that you know the “what and the whys”

If you slip up or have a bad day, forget it and start again! Trust me, you are not the first person to have a hiccup along the way 🙂 Just get back in the saddle and carry on.

If you have any more tips/comments, let me know in the comment box below:)

Thank you for reading this blog.

Straighten out your self image.

“You cannot perform in a manner inconsistent with the way you see yourself.” ~ Zig Ziglar

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I bet you know someone just like my friend Laura – beautiful, kind, capable, intelligent and yet totally plagued with self-doubt. Laura has little self-confidence and low esteem and nothing that we say to her seems to change her opinion of herself. Laura’s self doubts cost her dearly – for example she was too reluctant to try for a job she would do brilliantly.

And Laura is not alone in her feelings of self doubt and insecurity, despite huge evidence to the contrary – most of us rate ourselves less favourably than our friends and family do. According to Professor Leary of Wake Forest University “You filter the cues that you get from others through your self-concept.”

To put this another way, you filter or assess what others say about you and match it to what you already believe about yourself. So if someone praises you, it’s possible that you might just think they’re being kind rather than 100% truthful.
However, if you have done the best you can (an Attitude of Excellence) you are making a big mistake to totally dismiss their comments.

The Vicious Cycle

Equally, some of us tend to blame ourselves when anything goes wrong, whether we are responsible or not. This reaction can reinforce our toxic thinking about ourselves, setting up a belief system in which we expect to fail or get something wrong, making it more likely that we will fail. It become a vicious cycle.

The better way is to analyse what happened and learn from it. Truth is that we are always going to make mistakes sometimes, that’s life.

How do you see yourself?

How do you think this year is going to go for you? Are you going to be successful, fulfilled, happy?

The answers to these questions matter. How you see yourself and what you expect to happen influence both your decisions and your behaviour.

If you see yourself as inadequate or a failure, it will show in your body language and people will ‘read it.’ It will show in how you approach tasks. It will show in how you talk to yourself. There is a lot of research that suggests that we believe what we say about ouselves more than what others say. I am going to post on this soon.

And of course the opposite is true. If you believe you are going to succeed, you will convey that to others and to yourself. This positive feeling of expectation will motivate you to keep going and it will help you to notice opportunities.

Who are you listening to?

It took me a long time to accept that my self worth is dependant on how God sees me and not how I see myself or how others see me. I know that I am far from perfect (! as anyone who knows me will tell you) and yet I also know that God loves me. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has good plans for our lives and Jesus told us that He came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10) However, He also tells us that the thief will come to steal, kill and destroy.

Don’t listen to the thief, dont let him steal your self worth or your future.

Some tips and suggestions

“Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies.(the bully might be you) There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life —body and soul— in his hands. What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.” Matthew 10:28ff italics mine.

Ask God to show you areas where He would like you to change. Confess and repent and then let go. “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Make a list of all the negative thoughts/expectations you have then, for each one, write a faith-filled statement or affirmation from the Bible and say them out loud every day. Keep telling yourself that you can do it.

Hang out with people who support you, encourage you and will give you great advice. Read/listen to people who have succeeded in areas that you want to make progress in.

See yourself as someone who is loved, and capable. Always do the best you can at that moment and take a Godly pride in your successes.

As always I welcome your comments and ideas- thank you for reading this post.

Mistakes People Make With Goals

Just read this article in The Guardian.

There are reasons why people don’t achieve their goals. Do you know what they are? Here are some of the main ones.

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, who led the analysis, said he and his team had asked 700 people about their strategies for achieving new year resolutions. Their goals ranged from losing weight or giving up smoking to gaining a qualification or starting a better rela
tionship.

Of the 78% who failed, many had focused on the downside of not achieving the goals; they had suppressed their cravings, fantasised about being successful, and adopted a role model or relied on willpower alone.

“Many of these ideas are frequently recommended by self-help experts but our results suggest that they simply don’t work,” Wiseman said. “If you are trying to lose weight, it’s not enough to stick a picture of a model on your fridge or fantasise about being slimmer.”

The way to reach your goals is to know what you’re trying to achieve and why and then break it down into small, manageable steps. And then take action.

Dr Wiseman also says that last minute goals don’t work because you dont feel invested in them.

Start planning your goals now.

I am interested in your comments and ideas on this post. And of course you are welcome to join the group – just scroll down and click the like button.

Are you climbing the right ladder?

laderMany people get to mid life or later and have reached the top of the ladder. Only problem is that the ladder is up against the wrong wall.

Maybe they have achieved a great deal professionally and have a lovely home and lots of expensive toys.

However, they also have a reputation for being a bully or their relationships are all disfunctional because work was always a priority.

Or they have lots of trappings but are so in debt that they daren’t answer the phone or open a letter.

Or it may not be as extreme as these examples, it may just be a general feeling of dissatisfaction and the nagging question – is this really it?

What is it that makes someone go so far off course and end up in a place they didn’t want to be?.

This common problem has one cause. The answer is found in a universal principle, that runs through all of life.

The thing with principles is that they are always true – we may not think about them, in fact we may not even know that they exist but they are still true and they just keep on doing what they do. And they are absolutely impartial – they dont have favourites and they don’t have a hit list.

So what is this principle?

It has several names. I like the Biblical explanation – seed time and harvest – what you sow you reap. We know how it works – if you plant potato seeds you aren’t going to harvest strawberries. You are going to get potatoes. It’s not rocket science – if you plant seeds of bad financial management, you will eventually harvest debt. If you plant seeds of grumpiness you will not harvest a lot of love in life.

To put it another way – the truth is that none of us end up somewhere out of the blue – life is a series of small steps and decisions that build on each other and inexorably lead us down a path. I know I’m mixing metaphors but think of these steps as being seeds that we are sowing. These steps create patterns and habits and it is these that create our life. The harvest.

Often you don’t even notice or realise what is happening – its just life – you get up and deal with whatever life throws at you.

Every decision and action that you take is taking you towards a harvest or destination – you can only go where you are headed. If you make the right decisions and take the right actions you will be content with the outcomes of your life, and you will be able to look back on the past without regret and look to the future with confidence. Yes there will be problems along the way – there always will be because life is like that – but you will know that you are in a good, strong position to deal with them.


It is never too late to start over

No matter how old you are, you can map out a new course and move towards a new destination. You can make a conscious decision to change where you are now and where you are headed. There are steps that you can take at any stage in life that will lead you towards more positive outcomes, towards success and happiness. The harvest that you truly want to have.

It starts when you change the way you think about yourself and your future. Believe that there is hope of a wonderful future – because there is, no matter how murky things seem right now.


Know who you are and Whose you are.

Read through your Bible and discover which verses ‘speak to you’ about how God sees you and what He wishes your life to look like.

Take hold of the fact that you are a new creation in Christ, that the old things have passed away and new things are starting.

God has a wonderful plan for your life.

God cares for you and asks you to cast your cares on Him, so that He can help you.

God will give you an infinite supply of wisdom, if you ask for it.

You can do everything because Jesus gives you strength.

Zig Ziglar – one of my heroes

Like millions of people around the world, I was deeply saddened to learn today that Zig Ziglar had passed away.

He was world renowned as one of the foremost motivational teacher/trainers of our time, speaking to millions. In addition, he published 28 books. I especially admired the way his religious beliefs were reflected in much of his teaching.

I can’t remember now when I first heard about him, or came across one of his wonderful quotes that offered so much help and inspiration in a few short words, but it feels to me like he has been there for ever – one of the people I turned to first when I needed a compelling, concise quote for a piece of writing I was working on. Or for myself.

Zig Ziglar was born on November 6th 1926, the 10th of 12th children. His childhood wasn’t easy, both his father and sister died within months of each other in 1932. His mother was left to raise 11 children by herself.

I never met Zig Ziglar, although I would love to have done, but I have to wonder whether it was partly his childhood that made him the huge success he was to become as an adult.

I have chosen a selection of some his most memorable thoughts. You can find many, many others on the internet.

“It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.

“You cannot tailor-make the situations in life, but you can tailor-make the attitudes to fit those situations”

“Every choice you make has an end result.”

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

“If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.”

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want”

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person”

“If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.”

“If you don’t have daily objectives, you qualify as a dreamer.”

“The major difference between the big shot and the little shot is the big shot is just a little shot who kept on shooting.”

“When you set goals, something inside of you starts saying, “Let’s go, let’s go,” and ceilings start to move up.”

RIP Zig Ziglar – and thank you!

Journal Your Way to Success!

I am a massive fan of journalling. When I mentioned this recently, one of my students smiled wryly, saying “Come on, Nina, isn’t that a bit teenage angst?”

Everyone laughed.  But I knew what she  meant.

I have fond memories of my [ locked :)]  teenaged journals.  I never scribbled down anything earth shattering but it was a safe place to write out my thoughts and feelings. Then it  fizzled out. And in the throes of  de-cluttering I binned them,  an act I now bitterly regret. I’d love to read them today.

Fast forward a couple of decades [give or take :)]  I became a life coach and realised that writing in a journal regularly is invaluable. It facilitates so many aspects of our life, including our walk with God.

The Link Between Success & Keeping a Journal

The latest research suggests that success is a product of happiness – that the more upbeat and positive you are, then the more effective, efficient and successful you’ll be. The brilliant Shawn Achor calls this The Happiness Advantage.’

shawn achor

Basically, the old school theory that success makes you happy has been turned on its head.

Leading a meaningful life [getting involved, helping others, praying, meditating on the Word] is an essential component of happiness – rather acquiring possessions, money, status. [I love it when the world catches on to what we’ve read in the Bible]

According to Shawn Achor, using your journal to record daily at least 3 things that you are grateful for positively affects the way you see the world and enables you to relive the experience, which boosts your morale and motivation.

Additionally, reading through these upbeat entries now and again will encourage and inspire you.

Benefits to Emotional Health

Journalling gives you a chance to express your feelings fully and to reflect on how situations are affecting you. The act of writing, whether it’s fully coherent or ‘stream of consciousness’,  generates ideas. When you review what you’ve written you start to see issues/events more clearly.

1) Writing  clarifies your thoughts –  your ideas and thoughts are consequently more real and tangible than when they are ‘floating around’ your head.

This enables you to properly assess and analyse what you are thinking. Written down your thoughts and feelings become more comprehensible, so you can review ‘complete’ thoughts rather than vague, fuzzy unfinished ideas. Consequently, you can spot dumb or unrealistic thinking. As a result. you’ll make better choices and decisions.

2) Regularly writing down what is happening in your life lets you  identify recurring habits and behaviours.

Consequently, you have the chance to re-think/re-evaluate how you approach certain situations and, if need be, find a way to handle them differently. This results in improved outcomes for you and for others.

3) You can  track  what is happening in your life, what is working well and what needs re-planning or re-strategizing. You can make necessary adjustments and identify successes that need celebrating.

[Keep a section of your journal specifically to record successes – it will motivate you and cheer you up on ‘bad’ days.]

4) When things go wrong – use your journal to vent –  just let it all out. You can tear the pages out later if you don’t want to keep them.

This prevents you saying stuff that you later regret. Or stops you saying things that you later realise were based on your mistaken perceptions. After the vent, you can work out whether you need to take action and how to do so.

5) Use your diary to daydream. Just let your imagination wander freely and take notes. Words or pictures are fine but a combination of both satisfies the left and right sides of the brain.

You can analyse this later and see if any of it is genuine vision and needs to be added to your goals.

6) Use a section of your journal to record your goals. Make sure that you write in an affirmative style with an end date.

Read through them on a daily basis – ideally, read them out loud as it changes the way your brain processes them.

This keeps your goals fresh in your mind – remember that we move towards what we pay attention to. You can record your progress as well – which is highly motivating 🙂

7) At least once a week (every day is best) write down what you are grateful for – no matter how large or small it may be.

Having an attitude of gratitude has numerous benefits e.g. you are more productive, you enjoy closer relationships with people you love, you feel more satisfied with your life and thus happier, you discover new reasons to praise God

Benefits to Physical Health

Many of us tend to carry stress and negative emotions in our bodies. You know those feelings of tension in the shoulders or stomach when you’re upset or you’ve had a tough day at work. Or you get a bad throat when you’ve failed to communicate what you wanted to say to someone.

Writing down how you are feeling shifts the situation and your feelings surrounding it out of you and onto the page. This ‘space’ between you and the issue allows you to reflect, analyse and understand what is going on and work out a course of action.

How To Start Journalling

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All you need is a hard-backed note book and a pen. Have your Bible to hand as well as you may want to read it at some stage.

Make yourself a cup of tea, choose a warm, comfortable place  where be undisturbed, and just start writing.

It might feel a bit weird to start with, but it gets easier – promise:) – and remember, this journal is for you – no-one is going to check your spelling or grammar 🙂

You might sometimes find it easier to draw your ideas/plans or stick in pictures and why not use mind maps as well?

Thank you for reading this blog 🙂 I’d really like to know how you get on with journalling.

Please share your comments and questions below.  And, if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.