Overcoming Hurtful Words

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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

att

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

ralph

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.

 

Say Goodbye to Procrastination Forever!

“Someday is not a day of the week.”    Janet Dailey

“Someday is not a day of the week.” Janet Dailey

The truth is, we all procrastinate sometimes and it doesn’t matter much (playing Bubble Shooter is one of my distractors) but in some cases procrastination becomes a major problem with serious consequences.

But it is possible to say goodbye to procrastination forever and it’s not that difficult.

When procrastination damages lives

  • Thomas lost his business because he kept putting off sending invoices to clients.
  • Caroline could have got a first at university but only scraped a pass because she never handed her work in on time and didn’t revise for her finals.
  • Edward‘s friends and co-workers are fed-up because he’s always late, and he never keeps his commitments because he’s ‘always too busy.’

If you are going to beat procrastination, it’s helpful to understand something about it.

Two types of procrastination:

20% of adults are trait procrastinators who habitually postpone or stall, like Thomas and Caroline. In other words, they routinely procrastinate, putting off even essential tasks ‘until tomorrow’.

Edward falls into the Type B Procrastination classification – mentioning a long list of irrelevant tasks he ‘had to do’ rather than the tasks he was meant to be doing.

In fact, Edward is always scurrying from one place, one task to another. However, he fails to deliver, personally and professionally. “I’m so sorry,” he says, “I’ve been so busy lately…..” and he reels off a list of activities that ‘prevented’ him doing what had been expected of him. None of which impress or placate his friends or work mates.

The reasons for procrastination include:

fear of failure or fear of success

anxiety/low self-esteem – procrastination has a strong link to self-esteem. In fact, they feed off each other – if you have low self-esteem then you often procrastinate. This increases low self-esteem and it becomes a vicious circle.

perfectionism

inability to plan or start

inability to delay gratification e.g. it’s more fun to play computer games or chat to colleagues than start the report your boss asked for

The penalties of procrastination:

Disappointment – you don’t get a table at for an anniversary dinner because you didn’t book in time or you can’t wear your best suit for an important interview because you didn’t take it to the dry cleaners in time.

Self-sabotage – you don’t get the job because you didn’t apply in time. Researchers believe that trait procrastinators tend to have lower levels of wealth, health and happiness.

Increased stress – because things don’t get done which causes problems and also because putting things off causes people to feel guilty, irritable and defensive.

Lower self-esteem – which makes it more likely you will procrastinate in the future. It also encourages people to drink too much alcohol, overeat or smoke.

Increased stress in other people because we haven’t met our obligations to them professionally, personally or at church. This in turn causes us to feel stressed or guilty.

How to beat procrastination:

By changing your mind-set you can significantly change your habits and behaviours.

1) The vital first step is to make a conscious decision that you no longer want to procrastinate. You are going to be known as the ‘always does’ person and not the ‘never does’ person.

2) When the ‘I’ll do it later’ or ‘I can’t face it now’ thoughts start to take over, tell yourself “I ALWAYS perform tasks in a timely fashion. I am competent and capable. I can do it!” Say it over and over again until you genuinely start to believe it.

3) Find an ‘accountability buddy.’ Sharing your plans and goals with someone you trust who will keep you accountable is motivating and energising.

4) Writing things down is essential as it focuses attention. Write out a list of everything you have to do – either at work or at home. Then review it and assign each task a value:

Vital – for tasks that are urgent and important. If you have more than one Vital Task then the most pressing is 1, followed by 2 and so on. Write down why you need to get the task done and what will happen if you don’t

Important – for tasks that need to be done soon but are not urgent. Again, number them in order of importance.

Later – for tasks that can safely be left for a while.

Delegate – for tasks that you can hand over to someone else.

Start with the top 3 Vital Tasks – write them down and remind yourself of the benefits of getting them done. Work through all your Vital and Important tasks 3 or 4 at time.

5) Turn off all possible distractions e.g. close down facebook, emails etc. Remind yourself of the benefits of finishing the work in a timely manner.

6) Check you have everything you need before you start. Nothing is more discouraging than realising half way through a job that you haven’t got an item or a resource and that you are going to have to down tools and find it.

If you’re worried that you can’t do a task, ask for help or research how to do it before you start it.

7) Make sure that your work area – either at work or home – is well-organised and free from clutter. Clutter drains you emotionally. Keep tidying as you go.

8) Forget perfectionism! Instead focus on excellence – do the absolute best you can at that moment.

9) Learn as you go – so that next time you face the same task you know that you can do it successfully and to an excellent standard. This is highly motivating.

10) Reward yourself each time you accomplish a task! You deserve it and it will motivate you. Check your facebook, go for a walk, read the newspaper. It doesn’t have to be anything big – just something that will make you feel good. Plus you will be able to bask in the praise from others who have noticed the change in you 🙂

So, give these ideas a go and say goodbye to procrastination forever! Remember, that it takes 3 – 4 weeks to establish a new habit – so don’t give up if you slip back into old patterns – just start again. Let me know how you get on!

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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

imirror

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!