Forgiveness

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Martin Luther King understood forgiveness. So do the victims, pushed into the media spotlight by unfathomable, agonising crime, who publicly – and genuinely –  forgive the perpetrators.

And us? You and me? If we’re honest, we admit that we struggle with forgiveness. Where’s the justice? What about my feelings, my agony, my heartbreak, my broken life? Don’t they count? Why should I let that rotten so-and-so off the hook?

4 reasons why forgiveness is important

  • Forgiveness is a gift to yourself as well as the forgiven – it lets you move forward
  • Forgiveness liberates you – from being stuck, from negative emotions, from stress
  • Forgiveness is essential for healing
  • And, most important of all, Jesus told us to forgive.

“And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” [Matt 6:12 NLT]. 

The Aramaic word for forgiveness means to untie.

Whether you’re angry, distressed, plotting revenge, cursing or just flinching at the memory, you are tightly bound to the event, albeit by invisible cords. This ‘stuckness’ can prevent you moving forward with your life or influence the way you think. “I’ll never trust another man/girl/boss” is just one example of this.

And the instigator  of your misery probably isn’t  giving you a second thought and is enjoying life. To put it another way, you’ve given away your power to enjoy life and prosper.

Furthermore,  you’re being avidly stalked by the  Terrible Trio of resentment, bitterness and anger. These guys are destructive and can eventually crush your emotional and physical health as they release toxic chemicals into your body.

poison

There are common misconceptions about forgiveness which muddy the water and make it seem more difficult. Understanding these helped me enormously. Let’s take a look at what forgiveness isn’t as well as what it is.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation

You have choices:

  1. Has the relationship run its course and is now over?
  2. Do you want to keep the person in your life but add boundaries or make changes for the future?
  3. Are you happy for the relationship to continue as before?

Forgiveness doesn’t mean minimising

You can be real:

  1. You don’t have to pretend that the incident never happened
  2. You don’t have to justify how upset you are
  3. You don’t have to forget before you forgive
  4. You don’t have to condone what happened

Forgiveness is purposeful

It’s not called an ‘act of forgiveness’ for nothing. It’s an action not a feeling. It’s something you do, not something you feel. You choose to forgive, and then you work  on it. How long it takes depends depends on the circumstances and the original offence. There have been people in my life that took me a long time to forgive fully, others not so long.

“We think that forgiveness is weakness, but it’s absolutely not; it takes a very strong person to forgive.” T.D. Jakes

Help with forgiving

Believe that it is possible. God never asks us to do anything that’s impossible. Pray for help. Admit that you’re finding it hard and ask GodThis prayer offers some ideas what to say if you’re stuck [scroll down the page]

Pray for the person who wronged you. Pray that you both can understand each other’s position and viewpoints.

Write out your thoughts and  feelings in your journal as you go through the process.

Consider whether it is in both your interests to have a conversation with the other party and/or to let them know you have forgiven them.

“Deepen your understanding of God’s forgiveness through Bible study and meditation. God has been astoundingly, absurdly generous to us. Let that grace prompt humility and gratitude.” Charles Swindoll

Forgiveness is challenging but it is possible and it benefits you immeasurably.

If you have any ideas to add to this post, please let me know in the box below and please feel free to share this post.

You may also find these helpful as well.  Forgiveness:When you forgive but they won’t let you forget by Minister Desiray Lewis  and  Overcoming Hurtful Words. 

Let’s finish with a message from St Paul.

Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. [Colossians 3:13 GW]

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.

Defeat Resistance; Be A Winner!

depressed

“Many of us have two lives. The one we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”  [Steven Pressfield]

Ouch!!

When I read Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art,  those 2 sentences hit home.

Hard!

And  it’s not just me.

I’ve listened to people in an agony of despair and self-criticism as days drift by without any decisive action.

Maybe you’ve been there too……..

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

You can defeat resistance and be a winner!

Resistance affects many areas

  • Creative projects
  • Business building
  • New exercise and healthy eating plans
  • Our walk with God
  • Relationships
  • Studying/writing essays
  • Making a stand for what we know is right
  • Getting involved in community/charitable projects
  • Projects around the house
  • Anything that you might be able to add to this list

Know the enemy

Truth is,  Resistance is far from futile – it’s a strong, overwhelming force that can knock us off our path, overcome our hopes and dreams and leave us reeling in despair and  futility with our self-esteem in tatters.  Over time, it can become a vicious cycle – we procrastinate or give into our fears or self-doubts and we feel a failure which makes taking the right action at the right time harder so we feel more of a failure…… and on it goes.

Slowly over time, not taking the right actions at the right time becomes a habit.

You know how Resistance operates – every time you go to start, something stops you, You don’t feel like it, the weather’s wrong, you should hoover and do another load of washing first, the car needs something doing to it, blah blah blah.

It might look a little different each time, but basically it’s all Resistance.  The result is the same – stuff doesn’t get done – whether it’s running, eating well, writing another chapter, making business contacts.

Resistance is the enemy!  It is the enemy of your life, your success, your purpose and your destiny!

You know when it’s got you in thrall.

Your plans aren’t happening, your work isn’t happening, your progress isn’t happening.

I am reminded of St Paul’s heartfelt lament in Romans 7:15

“For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” [HCSB]

Don’t be fooled – You can defeat Resistance

beat r

Resistance might shout loudly and fill our heads with ‘you can’t’, ‘not now, do it later,’  ‘this isn’t gonna work, it’s not worth doing’ and other variations on the same theme, but the truth is, Resistance is all talk.  It has little substance.  A toothless lion, if you will.

It’s important for you to grasp this, because it is incredibly important, so important that Resistance doesn’t want you to know it and will fight to stop you implementing it.

It can be defeated!

How?

[drum roll]

Action!

“Action Always Defeats Resistance!”  [N.M.Franklyn]

What to do to defeat Resistance

  • Decide that this is a battle you are going to win.
  • Accept that it will take a while – there’s no magic bullet.
  • Commit to creating new habits.
  • Start small – decide that you will work on a task for a short period of time (even if it’s only 5 minutes)  and do it. Then give yourself a small reward 🙂  Then go back and do another 5 minutes or 15 minutes – whatever you’ve decided.  Then have another reward/break. Keep this pattern going.
  • Alternatively – decide that you are going to devote 90 minutes first thing every morning to work and do it. Set a timer so that you can see the time counting down 🙂 Then when you’ve finished, give yourself a little treat.
  • Work on your tasks/projects every day – build new habits
  • Know the benefits of what you are working to achieve – this will inspire and motivate you
  • Forget perfectionism – do the very best you can right now.
  • Find an accountability partner. Choose someone you can trust, who will support and encourage you to stay on track.
  • Seek out someone who is attempting to do the same as you – either in real life or through the internet – and join forces to share the journey together.

Get into the Word

“Be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.” Romans 12: 2b The Voice

“Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He led you out of your dark, dark cell,
    broke open the jail and led you out.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves;
He shattered the heavy jailhouse doors,
    he snapped the prison bars like matchsticks!”

Psalm 107:12 TM

I will leave you with a great talk by Nancy Missler

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.

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

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

 

Stop Delaying – 10 steps to beat procrastination

“The more complex a decision is, the more you’re tempted to procrastinate. Boil it down to the essence first.” Pastor Rick Warren

Hi, thanks for coming to my blog! I really appreciate it.

Procrastination causes people  problems. Fact.

I know from experience the pain and misery it causes.  That horrible, queasy feeling of  unfinished or neglected tasks  hanging over me. The worry. Yuk! Even worse –  the prospect of having to explain to God why I wasted so much time.

But you can beat procrastination – and you can start today, not tomorrow *wink* click to tweet

First of all, we’ll have a look at some background to the dreaded P word and then go through tried and tested ways to beat it once and for all! (If you can’t wait, just scroll down 🙂 )

Procrastination has very harmful effects:

  • 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 are fed-up because he always turns up late, if at all, and he never keeps his promises because he’s ‘always too busy.’

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 – both of which can be crippling

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 on and on it goes……

perfectionism

inability to plan or start

inability to delay gratification e.g. it’s more fun to play computer games 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 conquer procrastination:

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”

Romans 12 v 2 offers insight into how to get the better of procrastination; by changing your mind-set you can significantly change your life.

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. Pray over this. Read through Proverbs.

2)  Keep telling yourself that “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)  Writing things down is essential as it makes you focus on something real. This is motivating and energising. Write out a list of everything you have to do – either at work or at home. Then review it and assign each task an Urgency Quotient:

uq Vital – for tasks that are urgent and important. If you have more than one Vital task then the most pressing is UQ1, followed by UQ2 and so on.

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

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

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

Now you can prioritise – start with uq Vital 1 (uqV1) and work through the list. You are going to feel great the moment you start on the list! Trust me on this 🙂

4)  Now plan! I always tell my students that a few minutes planning their answers in an exam will make all the difference to their result. During the planning stage break the task into smaller, do-able steps. Each time you achieve a step cross it out. This  adds to  your feeling of purpose and achievement.  So, you feel massively motivated.

5)  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.

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

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

8)  Don’t  be distracted.  (Bubble Shooter used to be my downfall – although I did try to claim it was ‘thinking time’ 🙂 ) Remove all possible distractions and temptations. Focus. Remind yourself of the benefits of finishing the work in a timely manner.

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. 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 see what happens. Remember, that it takes a while 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!

Also, you can personalise these powerful words from The Bible:

(I) Trust the LORD and his mighty power. (Psalm 105:4)

God’s Spirit doesn’t make (a coward) out of (me). The Spirit gives (me) power, love, and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13)

I  am new to blogging and welcome all comments – good and not so good 🙂 If you have any queries about this post please email: mountain_movers@ymail.com or contact me on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Successful-Living-With-Mountain-Movers/129287903793665

Dealing with negative self-talk

Saying negative things about ourselves or giving in to toxic thinking is so destructive – and so easy! 😦

From my own experience I know how easy it is – for example being fairly new to social media I am often perplexed. I have to stop myself saying that I am never going to sort it out so that people enjoy what I do.

Research suggests that you believe the statements you say about yourself more than  the statements from others. So, it is obviously important to say positive and realistic things about you!

We cannot always control  the negative things others say to us or how they treat us – although I would suggest that you make every effort to surround yourself with people who support you, encourage you and give you positive, constructive feedback.

You can also train yourself to evaluate what people say to you:

  • Was there some truth in it? Is so, what can you learn from it to help you in the future?
  • Was it just someone having an off day? Then try just to let it go – we all have bad days so you can at the very least empathise with that.
  • Did it come from someone who is generally negative? There is nothing you can do about people like that except learn to let what they say go and pray for them.
  • Was the comment sparked by envy about something you have or have achieved? In a way it’s a backhanded compliment 🙂 Again, all you can do is try to let it go and pray for them.

Then there is the problem of negative self-talk.

For some of us this stems from our childhood or from others who have been excessively critical, judgemental or unkind. Often, even if we don’t see the people anymore, the power of their words remains with us for years, until we decide to deal with it.  The tape keeps playing in our head, at either the conscious or unconscious level.

Negative self-talk can be overcome with determination and discipline. You have to practise listening to what you are saying or are about to say, and then cut it off.  It will take some practice but eventually, you will be able to stop the thoughts before they are fully-formed and they will stop coming at all.

At the same time, start saying positive things about yourself. Start keeping a journal – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Sit down with a cup of tea and write out a list of all the things you can do and all your skills and talents.. Write  out each statement in the first person :

  • I am……..
  • I can……..
  • I have……

Then, read the list out loud, preferably while looking in a mirror. Do this ‘mirror talking’ at least once a day for a couple of weeks and you will notice a difference! After the two weeks, keep repeating the statements several times a week – and add to them if something new occurs to you.

It may seem strange or ridiculous at first, or like bragging.  Just persevere. If you find yourself laughing, that’s only a good thing.

Also, at the  end of each day, note down what you have accomplished that day in your journal – no matter how large or small. Get into the habit of celebrating your successes and achievements – they don’t have to be huge, just little things that you are pleased about. You could treat yourself to a long soak in the bath with lots of bubbles, or buy a bottle of wine or a pair of shoes or go the cinema. Whatever most appeals to you.

Find passages in the Bible that resonate with you, personalise them and speak them out loud. Think about them during the day.

Additionally, start a Gratitude section in your journal and on a daily basis note down all the things you are grateful for. Having an Attitude of Gratitude is beneficial in many ways, which I will cover in a later blog.

You can also control what you say about yourself and others.  How many times a day do you mutter “I’m so stupid” or “That’s just typical of me” or something similar? Stop it right now! 🙂

Saying negative things about others has a negative impact on you as well. Avoid gossip or bitching about others.

If you have any queries about this, please email me at mountain_movers@ymail.com. You are also welcome to join the new facebook page Successful Living with Mountain Movers 🙂

Is your body language saying the right things?

One of the best things that I’ve come across for ages is Kris Valloton’s Prince and Pauper Test – here

It’s a really fascinating test – lots of great questions and he goes through some of the reasons behind possible answers at the end.

The test isn’t just about money – it’s also about how we see ourselves and obviously that has an impact on how we think, the decisions we make and what happens to us a result of our behaviours and actions.

In a popular section of one of my coaching workshops people discuss how others perceive us or, to put it another way, how we come across to others. Albert Mehrabian stated that communication is:

  •  38% is tone of voice
  •  55% is non-verbal cues (eye contact, posture etc).   So, how quick are you at maths? 🙂 Yes, these figures mean that only
  •  7% of how you come across depends on the words you say!

These figures are fascinating – and scary. The fact that only 7%  of how others perceive the genuineness of your communicated message depends on your words is thought-provoking indeed.  

So if there is a disconnect or difference between what you are saying and your non-verbal cues (body language) and/or tone of voice,  listeners are more likely to believe the body language and tone of voice,  rather than the words.

This disconnect can cause the listener to feel uneasy and possibly view you negatively. On the other hand, when your words and body match this will generate trust and confidence.

It is true that your body language will alter depending on who you are with – you probably stand and sit differently with family than you do with your boss or the bank manager.

So what can be done to ensure that you always comes across as congruent and trustworthy?

Your body language reflects both your emotions and how you see yourself.  If you have a negative self-image it will show.

First of all, check that your thoughts and feeling about yourself are in line with what the Bible says about you.

Remember that God loves you. One of the verses that helps me with this is John 10 v10  A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness.” (New Century Version) Don’t let the thief  ( negativity, toxic thinking etc)  steal and destroy what is yours, but step out knowing that you can have a full and fulfilling life. 

Repeat Bible verses out loud to yourself until the words sink in and become a part of you and your thought patterns. You will find some of your own that have meaning for you but here are a few suggestions.

“I am determined and confident. I am not afraid or discouraged, for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go”

(Joshua 1 v 9)

“I am secure and feel confident because there is hope; yes I look around me and take my rest in safety. I lie down and none make me afraid.”

Job 11 v 18/19

“I am strong and of good courage, I do not fear nor am I afraid, for the Lord my God, He is the one Who goes with me. He will not leave me nor forsake me.”

Deuteronomy 31 v 6

Secondly, take notice of your body language when you are with people – if you feel that the way your body language isn’t conveying the message you want it to, then change it and notice if people respond to you differently.

If you would like to discover how to improve your body language there is a great article by Tomesia Ingram on the facebook page (scroll down for the link on the right)

Your feedback is always welcome and do join the new facebook page, Successful Living With Mountain Movers – just scroll down and click the ad on the right of this blog 🙂 All the twitter info is there too 🙂