Why YOU deserve extraordinary self-care

Courtesy of Pixabay
Courtesy of Pixabay

PART 1  –  MAKIN’ THE CASE

Extraordinary self-care is a mantra of mine. But talk is cheap, right?

And what do I mean, anyway?

I could say extraordinary self-care is a rigorous discipline requiring constant self-examination toward healthy energy investments and habits.

I could say it includes understanding our motivations. 

Otherwise they’re often unconscious and may drive us in unhealthy ways, rather than the other way around, in which we regularly make conscious, healthy choices for energy expenditure and beyond.

Can you relate?

Maybe. But have I inspired you?

Maybe not.

Let’s try this.

WITH HELP FROM AN ELDER

My 79 year-old fitness trainer dad, still at his weight-lifting workout three days a week and still coaching clients, has his own ways of getting their energized buy-in.

There’s the ever ready:

If I’d known I was gonna live this long, I’d have taken even better care of myself.

And one that gets me every time:

Teresa, make no mistake about it. THESE are your “Golden Years.”

More meaningful?

Because it’s like I’ve also said lately in a piece on self-love:

We’ll do well to take extraordinary care of ourselves as the foundation for our good works in the world. Self-love is the fertile ground in which everything we want to be and do can bloom.

MEANWHILE, IN THE REAL WORLD

Instead, many of us drive our bodies around like used cars that we push and rev and run into the ground, rather than lovingly caring for them.

Maybe not even maintaining them.

Not even taking decent fuel seriously.

And who is it who’s doing the driving? The wisest, most aware part of us?

Often not.

But the fact is, here in the 21st century, we know better.

And yet…

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER, UNTIL NOW

Many of us really feel that extraordinary self-care as a priority is selfish.

Selfish.

Right?

Pause here. Just be with this. Really.

Am I right?

OK. Take a breath. Time for extraordinary change.

Time to break on through to the other side!

And know that I’m working right here, too.

So, next up, PART 2  –  7 Essentials of Extraordinary Self-Care.

Meet you back here, ready to take powerful, self-ful—not selfish—action.

__________

Certified Professional Mindset and Meaning Coach Teresa Young works with clients to accomplish their passion-based goals in healthy, soulful new ways. She coaches by phone, in person, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 



 


Mothers, appreciate yourselves—and motherhood—today and every day

Me with baby AaronThis photo caught the moments in which I began mothering.

In my heart. In my gut. 

In every particle of my electrified being.

That rosy face wasn’t sunburned. It was on fire with emotion.

New physical and psychic sensations flooded my whole being. I distinctly remember feeling like freaking Mother Earth herself.

No joke. Like, I have got this

I was filled up to running over, and utterly in awe.

It was a whole new universe. Instant ecstasy!

Riches Flow On

The little bundle of joy I was holding is now a fascinating man and phenomenal father. And he has two grown, equally individualist Young brothers.

My mothering continues, of course, just as my dear mom is still mothering me, my brothers, her grandchildren, and now her first great-grandchild.

Beautiful.

Love in Community

Mothers care for each other, too, sharing large and small happinesses and heartbreaks, with permission to “preach to the choir” as needed.

We need each other, and we always will.

We’re mutual support, community, cheerleaders, and co-creators in countless ways.

Other Mothers

I’ve known women and men who have mothered without being “mother”, women and men equally, permanently changed by a sudden or gradual protective realization.

They give selfless gifts of time, nurturance, support, life force, and even more for life-giving purposes.

Whatever it takes. They live it.

You each know who you are, and I’m in awe of the mutual depth of your “yes” in the world.

Celebrating Mothering

So, today, on beautiful Mother’s Day, and every day, here’s to mothering! To everything that mothering requires, teaches, and gifts us all with so extravagantly. Truly beautiful.

__________

Certified Professional Mindset and Meaning Coach Teresa Young works with clients to accomplish their passion-based goals in healthy, soulful new ways. She coaches by phone, in person, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 




Want progress? Try self-love :)

While browsing Twitter last night, I happened on the hashtag #selflove. The definition that some industrious soul had given it on tagdef.com was interesting, and perhaps helpful, but also limited.

Could have several empowering meanings, but is often used as a politically correct term for solo masturbation.

Intrigued, I looked up self-love using my go-to online dictionary. Check out the definition that almost ruined my evening:

1.  the instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being, especially an excessive regard for one’s own advantage.
2.  conceit; vanity.
3.  narcissism.

Yikes. It depressed me. And then I realized, I just disagree. I’m thinking—and feeling—that this definition needs a 21st Century update. A reboot based on our ever-evolving consciousness.

So what’s a self-loving, self-respecting woman to do?

Answer:  I took matters into my own hands. :)

I went back to tagdef.com, entered #selflove, and added my own definition:

Self-love: a healthy, positive sense of self that creates resulting habits of self-nurturance and self-care, rather than waiting for someone or something outside us to deem us lovable and to care for us.

Example Usage:
“Self-love creates a healthy foundation for empowered choices.”

And yes, I could have honed my entry more before I acted. But so be it. It’s there in virtual reality, and I hope it’s helpful to someone, somewhere, someday.

Because make no mistake about it, my dears, I am declaring that self-love is good and important in our goal-oriented lives, in our lives of service.

I say we’ll do well to take extraordinary care of ourselves as the foundation for our good works in the world. Self-love is the fertile ground in which everything we want to be and do can bloom.

From that healthy foundation, let’s go get ’em. And keep coming back to a place of balance, which self-love also facilitates. We can’t go entirely off the deep end tilting at windmills while we’re also clear that a nutritious meal, a good night’s sleep, and other beautiful, satisfying experiences with self and others are next on our holistic to-do lists.

All things in their own time and place, right? Are you with me?

Good. Because I’ve gotta get some rest!

Next up, continuing with this theme:  Why Extraordinary Self-Care is Right for… YOU! It’s win-win, since we deserve it and can serve others through it.

__________

Certified Professional Mindset and Meaning Coach Teresa Young works with clients to accomplish their passion-based goals in healthy, soulful new ways. She coaches by phone, in person, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 


 


 


 

4 takeaways on kindness from Kauai

I’m meditating on an immense experience I had with an extraordinary friend recently as he moved on from this life. Incredibly hard, and incredibly moving.

He’d made the inspired decision a year ago, after being diagnosed with ALS, to settle in Hawaii, ultimately on the beautiful island of Kauai. I’m an enthusiastic traveler with more and more experiences under my belt, and I hadn’t been there. I wanted to go, but not like this.

And yet…

Today I’m reflecting on the wonderful people I met there: retreat center proprietor, rental car dealer, nurses, doctors, and volunteers who had heard through the small-town grapevine about my friend and his lovely fiance.

The word kindness doesn’t totally capture my sense of these people. The local folks I crossed paths with are wise. They have their priorities in order. Their hearts are open. They take care of each another.

And when a stranger comes into their midst, they make a new friend. I’d heard that my friend had been warmly received despite his increasingly extreme circumstances, that people had rallied around him and his lady with no other goal than to assist them in ways that were no walk in the park. When I got there, I experienced the same as a lone traveler on a heart mission.

So, my dears, my takeaways are here:

  1. Your small kindness may in fact be huge. Free yourself up to be your best with everyone. You may never know the difference you’ve made by some gesture that was effortless for you.
  2. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Go ahead and live passionately, lovingly, with gratitude for life’s journey, today.
  3. Make time for nature, for delicious food and drink, for unhurried conversation. You deserve it, and the difference you make may be right there, in those relaxed moments.
  4. Just be you. Share you with the world, by which I mean with all the fascinating, mysterious souls who cross your path on any given day. You’re an original. Let the world experience you. The real you.

And101HVert, from Ryan McGuire's Gratisography I’ll be tryin’ to live that way, too. Now I’ve gotta get out and walk on this exquisite SoCal morning while I reflect further on my dear friend and the profound experience of my last visit with him. For now, I’ll add this:

I love and miss you, Ricardo. I hope you’re making unearthly music, sailing uncharted seas of bliss, and designing kickass creative spaces in non-ordinary reality.

That thought—and my memories of the kind people of Kauai—makes me smile.

 

 

 


 


 

 

8 ways past chronic conflict

Many of us endure areas of real conflict in our lives. Maybe you know exactly what I mean: the searingly painful kind, in which every attempt to communicate ends in anger, sadness, and feelings of failure. Ugh!

The fact is, this mutual “communication paralysis” is oh, so human. What to do? Let’s go there. 

1.  Begin with you.

The bottom line is that this is the only place where you have control. There isn’t a thing you can do about another party’s actions and reactions. But there is some good news: you can work powerfully with the part you play in any toxic chemical brew. 

What’s your goal for communicating beyond conflict? What are the potential land mines in the situation? How can you make your way around them to connect effectively? What’s that going to take from you?

2.  Create a constructive perspective. 

Suspend your judgments about the other party. Really. And yes, all your reasons not to will rear up here like ghosts from a grave. It’s understandable, a reaction born of pain. 

Yet this is something we can do to get beyond conflict. We can, as conscious humans with goals that matter, interpret chronic areas of discord in new ways. Try focusing on the commitments and values behind them. 

Let’s say two ex-spouses can’t communicate and their children are caught in the crossfire. Ouch. Right? And oh, so human.

But each can step back, reflect, and find a perspective that eases inflammation. Maybe their struggle is partly about being alike in many ways. Passionate. Uncompromising. Each can assume the other is feeling many similar feelings and frustrations, including a need to somehow stop the madness. They can begin there, primed for progress. 

3.  Stay in the present.

Don’t waste precious energy rehashing the past. In the privacy of your own heart, try releasing all the meanings you’ve attached to past failed communication attempts. Then connect in present time, calmly. Think solutions.

Like the mom and dad above, you can rise to the challenge of engaging in a sustained effort of self-discipline, and model that for the next generation. 

4.  Keep coming back to you. 

Let’s imagine another fraught scenario:

An employee can’t relate to her supervisor, feels unfairly treated, and knows this could hurt her career. It’s a catch 22, because her supervisor is currently the gatekeeper to future opportunities. 

If she counts out dramatic steps like going around the supervisor, which might backfire, she can let go of judgments (yes, it’s work). She can create constructive interpretations for conflicts. She can move forward, rather than trying to right past perceived wrongs.  

Maybe she finds a compassionate stance by imagining the supervisor’s difficult personal life. Or inspires herself with an image of the happy day when this relationship is in her rear-view mirror, because she negotiated it beautifully.

5.  Create an intention for the conversation.

Creating an intention aids us in bringing our best to the table. One intention might be for a simple, effective exchange, a small, calm victory. Another might be to stay centered throughout an important conversation, no matter what curve balls we encounter.

Express an intention in language that empowers and energizes you, that serves as your compass in potentially choppy waters as you manage yourself. Remember: work with what you can control. And mean it. Bring your “A game.” Then success or failure isn’t in anyone’s hands but your own. If you conduct yourself as you intended, you’ve succeeded. And grown.

6.  Prepare with a little role-play.

Why do so many of us hate role-playing when we lived it 24 and 7, effortlessly, as kids? It’s in fact a secret weapon toward the goal of self-mastery in difficult situations.

You can share with a helper a bit about the kind of rough weather that may come your way. Then let this good soul help you practice getting beyond those moments in ways that match your intention. Make it fun! It will make a difference, perhaps the difference, in your readiness to communicate beyond conflict.

7.  Agree to stop and re-schedule if needed.

Consider sharing your intention at the start of the conversation. It can help you begin with a new tone and new context. A couple of ground rules also help. One is to stick to I statements (I feel this, I request that), rather than you statements (you always this or you never that).

Another is to agree up front that if either party’s mindset shifts from calm to distressed, it’s time to close up shop and try again later. Like role-playing, this works, if you calmly follow through before slippage leads to wreckage. Then even ending a conversation demonstrates mutual commitment to get beyond conflict, and implies that a next connection is coming.

8.  Imagine the outcome you want, not the one you fear.

Finally, like Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day, keep upping your game toward satisfying outcomes. Spend time reflecting on and envisioning what you want. Not pie in the sky, from which you’ll fall hard to earth. How about progress, like mutual gentleness, and mutual commitment to positive results?

Allow what you’ve imagined to guide you—your greeting and tone, the words you use, your facial expressions and body language. Be you. Your best you. What better time than in this pivotal moment?

And I’m here to help! Remember, you—and yours—deserve an amazing life. Don’t let chronic conflict sabotage it.

__________

Certified Professional Mindset and Meaning Coach Teresa Young works with clients to accomplish their passion-based goals in healthy, soulful new ways. She coaches by phone, in person, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 


 


 

Rock these 6 fun steps to WIN your game

keep-out-disempowering-thoughts2So here’s the game-changing news.

YOU—in fact, all the parts and pieces of you, which add up to quite a cast of characters—can be your own cheerleader-in-chief and guard dog at the gateway to your own Fort Empowerment, allowing only helpful thoughts. With a clear call to take a hike to all else that tends to want to have a say.

And it can be fun!

Ready to play?

1.  Sniff like a bloodhound for negative voices.

You may not have a natural ability to notice voices inside or outside of you that don’t believe in you or in abundant life, that want to keep you small. But like any skill that you work at, you can learn this.

Make notes. Keep an Annoying Voices journal. When do those “you can’t, you aren’t, you mustn’t” voices strike?

What do they say, exactly?

Get curious. Think and write however you hear them. A particular accent? Emotion? With every negative belief that you capture this way, imagine yourself growing a little taller, the weight of the world dropping from your shoulders.

Your voice more resonant.

Your language more your own.

2.  Call out unhelpful perspectives and send them packing.

You can even do this with compassion. I say gentleness in all things, especially in heart-to-hearts with ourselves. Develop a come-back that’s fun and meaningful to you.

Thanks for sharing, little green gremlin; I know it means you care.

Or another:

Get along, little wants-to-dog-me. Got your number. Maybe next. Time. Not!

Or perhaps a bit of poetry:

Roses are red, violets are blue,
I hear you talkin’ but I see through you
.

Or one of those game-show buzzer sounds:

AAAARRRGGGHHH. Busted!

3.  Name the tune that likes to play over and over.

As you get clear on what likes to or is just accustomed to being in charge, to holding you back, to holding you hostage, perhaps even in a sweet-scented, gilded cage of comfortable habits (uh huh), try naming this or that naggy old voice, limiting belief, outdated rule, or childhood boogie man, none of which you probably ever actually chose to let run your life.

Once identified and tagged—Aunt Bertha, Professor Whozit from Whatzit, that monster under your bed the summer before 2nd grade—well, you know what to do.

Or you will now:

4.  Dream up your special eradication style and cleeeeean house.

Crank the music, calling on all your upbeat faves, and get the trash bags ready. Or, best case for the good of the planet, pile up all that junk and then disappear it through the power of your vivid imagination.

By the way, that voice isn’t actually your Aunt Bertha, right? It’s her old ways that you’ve internalized.

If she’s still at it in your outer life, distinguish between that entrenched inner voice and her misguided love-in-action. Eradicate the first, and express your love and freedom with the second:

Auntie dearest, I love you, and everything’s OK with me. What do you need when I come see you?

Once you’ve gathered up all that old garbage, use whatever imaginative method works for you.

Enfold it all in molten lava at the core of the earth, or have friendly aliens transport it to the next deep-space meteor crash point.

Or set its dark energy to work heating homes on the frozen tundra. (Um, are there homes on the frozen tundra?)

Imagine your way to a cleaner mindset that serves your beautiful life. Have fun with it!

5.  Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice.

When this or that back talk, subtle whine, sermonette of doom, or mean-ass sidebar comment comes around again itchin’ for a soapbox moment (and note: that’s when, not if), just disappear it again, kindly but firmly, no violence, but no back-sliding either.

It’s like teaching little children.

Consistency is key in shushing unhelpful voices.

6.  Do that with one hand while you jam on with the other.

In the midst of this bucket of housekeeping work, which you‘ll get better and better at handling with one hand on your determined heart, well, ACT, my dears, act on your dreams and goals. One foot in front of the other, in bite-sized action steps designed by capable you for actual results.

Knowing your step by step, consistent accomplishments will impact the way you feel, the way you think about it all.

Success breeds success. Right? Right.

Remember, you deserve an amazing life. Believe in yourself, and go, go, go for it.

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person, and via Skype outside the U.S.