BE INSPIRED! 31 Days of Living with Excellence in October

Fall is finally here (although in Texas temps are still in the 90s so I have a hard time writing Fall) and if your kids are back in school, you’re finally getting into a regular routine again.

I thought that October would be a great month to spend some time just being the best you can be each day before we swing into the holiday season. On facebook, I’m doing a daily post on living with excellence every day. I hope you’ll come LIKE the page and join us!

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CLICK HERE to go straight to the Facebook page.

 

Posted in Contentment and Happiness, Featured, Taking Control of Your Life Tagged with: , ,

Why I Left Paris

This morning one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, posted a quote from Pastor Rob Bell.

“If people love you, they want you to grow.
If people don’t want you to grow, then you can call the feelings that they have for you by many names.
But you can’t call it love.” — Rob Bell

And there, in a nutshell, is the biggest reason why I left Paris.  au revoir

It’s been almost a year since I left Paris where I was planning an indefinite stay. I blogged about some of the reasons back then and those explanations still stand true. But there was more to the story and I needed time to heal some things inside of me before I could share it with you.

Paris, for me, represented so much hope for big breakthroughs in my life. I went thinking that I was loved by a really special man. I dreamed about being loved unconditionally and whether it would help me to have creative breakthroughs and emotional freedom. I didn’t know how that kind of love felt, but I believed that taking the leap with the man I had met in Paris and being together in Paris would help me to take a bigger leap into my emotional and creative development.

But there is no such thing as unconditional love between humans. God is the only source of truly unconditional love. You can have varying levels of true acceptance and contentment within a love relationship, but humans are flawed and our love is flawed. That certainly does not mean that the effort is not worth it or that people are not worthy of love. And for me, my leap into love and Paris was worth it despite the abrupt ending.

I didn’t have the big creative breakthrough I was hoping for in Paris. I think I had developed a fantasy of being inspired by a city I love, churning out brilliant thoughts and trainings during the day, while resting in the arms of a man who loved me at night. I had placed a lot of stock in the change of environment to unleash things that always seemed to take a back seat to more pressing responsibilities.  And maybe, if I had experienced the love I thought I was going for, those breakthroughs would have come. Who knows?

The fact is, living in Paris is hard and no different than living in most big cities. There are still the daily tasks of laundry and hauling groceries up five flights of narrow stairs and then hauling trash down those five flights. Going anywhere involved walking at least a half mile to a metro or bus stop and dragging along anything that I might need while I was out including an umbrella, camera, journal, guide book, French-English dictionary and a bottle of water. I felt like a pack mule most days. It was as exhausting as keeping up my 100-year old house back in Texas.

So where was the magic I counted on? My boyfriend and I had very different ideas about our Paris adventure. I wanted a fuller, slower paced life. He promised to give that to me but it became clear almost immediately that he had no intention on delivering on that promise.

It turns out that Americans and Lebanese have very different ideas about what “hustle” looks like. Instead of having the apartment to myself to write while he was out being productive and beating on doors for work, I found myself with a man who wanted to spend every waking and sleeping moment with me. He couldn’t understand why I would come all the way to Paris for anything different.

If I wanted to work on my computer at the table, he sat on the couch watching me. If I read a book or talked to my coach he accused me of not trusting him and letting other people tell me how to live my life.  If I wanted to go to church, he would either come with me where he sat in silence because he didn’t understand anything, or would be waiting on the steps after attending his own church. If I wanted to meet a friend for a drink or cup of coffee, he would follow us and hang around on a street corner or a park bench until I was finished.

We argued about whether his stalking me was for my safety or his obsession. We argued about why women would need any friends when they had a man. I, and his sister, tried to explain to him that American women were different than the Lebanese women he had grown up with. And mostly, we argued about what love was.

What it came down to for me was exactly what Pastor Bell said above: the man who professed to love me with every fiber of his being was not able to let me grow and develop and evolve. His fear required him to keep me in a very small box. My need for growth was foreign to him and frightened him, making him feel insecure.

I had to decide which was more important: being with someone who said he loved me but only in terms he could define, or loving myself enough to be alone again and continue my own journey of growth and development. The decision was a no-brainer.

It wouldn’t have been a no-brainer in my twenties or thirties. The journey to this place and time where I was willing to leave Paris — to walk away from my dream of living there for at least a year — in order to love myself was a long and bumpy one that continues to this day. Even being able to write about this took almost a year.

Sam told me every day that he loved me. He cried over how much he loved me and despaired about our parting. Even as we said goodbye at Charles de Gaulle airport he swore that he would never love another. But I left knowing that what he felt for me was NOT love because he could not let me grow and that is the only kind of love I am seeking in a man.

If someone loves you, truly loves you, then they will want to see you grow. If they can’t support you in that, then what they call love is something else and you have to decide what you will call it. I left Paris for a variety of reasons, but the biggest one was that I loved myself.

Posted in Blazing Your Trail, Featured, Self-Worth, Self-Value, Self-Love, Single Life

BE STRONG ABOUT BOUNDARIES — Myths Busted

 

Part 3 of Learning to Set Boundaries  bus_mtg

Now that we’ve got a list of personal boundaries and a strategy to communicate them, let’s give you some fire power to energize your force field.

There is a phrase that people love to wave around, something along the lines of “People are entitled to say or do anything they want as long as they’re not breaking any laws.” Yes, they are – but you have the power and right to choose whether you want to stick around and take what they are dishing out.

You can feel confident moving forward with communicating your boundaries to people knowing three things:

  • Boundaries are not controlling.
  • Boundaries do not shut people out.
  • You will not come across as demanding, rude, cold or dismissive.

The idea that your boundaries are an attempt to control other people is a myth. There is no way you have control over other people’s behavior. But things that matter to you must be conveyed, and it is the other person’s responsibility to let you know what’s important to them. Maybe it doesn’t bother you at all if people are late to meetings but it could be a very big deal to someone else. We can’t read each other’s minds so we have to tell people what’s important to us and we can’t wait until after the fact to address the issue.

Let’s take the lateness boundary. If that’s one of your boundaries, and someone is late, here’s an idea of how to convey that:

“Do you realize you are ten minutes late?”
“So sorry; I was stuck in traffic.”
“Of course, I know you respect my time.”

Notice two things here: Your response is not to say “That’s okay.” Doing so does not reinforce the respect for your time that you are trying to convey. The second is that your response has no blame, condemnation or anger in it. Give the other person a graceful way to move forward, especially if this is your first meeting with them. If that is the case you could finish with, “This is our first appointment, so you had no way of knowing how important timeliness is to me.” Not addressing something on the spot is allowing someone to continue to violate a boundary that is important to you. Take responsibility for how you train and educate people to treat you.

The idea that boundaries will keep people out is myth number two. Think of yourself as a castle with a moat around you. The drawbridge is down and allows in the behaviors and people you want to share yourself with. But when the bridge goes up, the moat keeps the bad behaviors and bad guys away. Boundaries allow us to really open up and become more intimate because they have helped us to create a safe space. The safer you feel, the more relaxed you are, the more your confidence grows and the easier it becomes to deeply connect with people and with your own goals. Enforcing your boundaries is always rewarded with deeper relationships or new, better relationships.

Finally, the idea that you will come across as demanding (or rude or cold or bitchy) if you communicate your boundaries is a myth that far too many women buy into. Go back to the 4-step communication model in Part 2 and see that “demand” is the third step in the process. Before you even get there, you’ve gone through inform and request in a neutral and firm tone which 95% of the population will respect. Using a calm demeanor and voice will gain you respect, not derision.

This is a two-way street. Not only will you be letting people know how you want to be treated, you will also be raising you’re the level to which you hold yourself. Setting boundaries raises our own level of conduct. If you convey to people that it is not okay to be late to meetings with you, then you will be on time to every meeting you attend. People will see that you walk your talk and will respect you, and they will start to raise their own standards of conduct as a result.

If you’re ready to get to work on creating your own boundaries and need some help, I’m here for you. Click HERE.

Posted in Featured, Finding Your Path, Self-Worth, Self-Value, Self-Love

Teaching People How to Treat You

Part 2 of Learning to Set Boundaries

Business people at work  Can you teach an old dog a new trick? I think you can.

If you’re trying to create a new boundary in a long-term relationship, or at a job you’ve been at for a long time, fear not. It can be done. Every day is a new opportunity to teach people how to treat you in a new way.

All you need to learn are the communication techniques.

So, you should now have your list of boundaries that you want to enforce, expand, or create. Have it ready. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click HERE and read Part 1 of this series.)

Before we start, understand that whenever someone crosses your boundary, it is because you have allowed them to do so. What you tolerate in your life is the same as giving someone permission to invade your life. You need to understand that this communication technique is first and foremost a way to inform people that you expect a behavior change. They can’t read your mind.

The 4 Steps to Teaching People How to Treat You:

Step 1: INFORM

You need to let someone know about their behavior that you would like them to change. Some examples are: “Do you realize that you are yelling?” Or, “Do you realize that your comment hurt me?” Or, “I didn’t ask for your feedback.” If the person continues with their behavior, then move on to Step 2, but only after first trying Step 1.

Step 2: REQUEST

Ask the person to stop. For example, “I ask that you stop yelling at me now.” Or, “I ask that you only give me constructive feedback.” If the person still doesn’t get it and the behavior continues, try step three.

Step 3: DEMAND or INSIST

“I insist that you stop yelling at me now.” If the person still persists, take it to step four.

Step 4: LEAVE (without any comment, remarks or insults)

“I can’t continue this conversation while you are yelling at me. I am going to leave the room.”

The secret sauce for this method is that you say everything in a neutral tone of voice. In the examples above, for instance, if your goal is to get someone to stop yelling, then you need to model the behavior you desire in the other person. Remember first and foremost that you are informing the other person.

So think about how this would sound in a work situation. A lot of customer service representatives put up with abuse from angry customers all day long. That can leave a person drained by the end of the day. So, how would this work in a customer service job?

You: “Sir, do you realize you are yelling?”
Customer: “Of course I’m yelling. Your company screwed up.”
You: “I understand, and you are still yelling. I ask that you stop yelling now so that we can help you.”
Customer: “Who do you think you are? You have to fix this.”
You: “Sir, I insist that you stop yelling so that I can work on this problem and find a solution with you.”

Most people will get the message before the final cut off and if they don’t, you will be empowered to walk away from the conversation.

Go back to your list now and think about how this four step communication process might play out for each of the boundaries you have listed. If you can picture how you want to communicate, the tone of voice you’ll use, and even how you’ll react to continued bad behavior, you will feel more empowered to speak up.

In the next blog, we’ll go through some more examples and some common misconceptions about how to enforce your boundaries in a healthy manner. In the meantime, if you’re ready to get to work on creating your own boundaries and need some help, I’m here for you. Click HERE.

 

Posted in Contentment and Happiness, Featured, Relationships, Self-Worth, Self-Value, Self-Love

R-E-S-P-E-C-T! How to Get it Everywhere You Go

 

Part 1 of Learning to Set Boundaries  Peace at the office is possible.

Think of that person you really admire? What is it about her/him that draws your attention?  My bet is it’s their presence, their aura. People who command and get our respect are people who have a certain… attitude about them. When they walk into the room, you just have a sense about them and you straighten up a bit and put yourself on your best behavior around them.

That attitude they have is developed by creating strong, healthy boundaries around themselves. We are naturally attracted to people with firm and clear boundaries and we can’t help but treat them with respect. When they are around, you don’t run over and share gossip with them, you don’t swear in front of them, you aren’t late to meetings with them and even if you are a little in awe of them, you also feel like you have more confidence just for being near them.

If this is not the kind of treatment you are receiving from others, you can change that. All it takes is to set some boundaries of your own.

Boundaries are simply those things that people cannot do to you or around you. A healthy boundary is simply an extension of your own self-confidence, belief in your self-worth and your mindset. If you’re struggling with any of those issues, here’s the good news: establishing strong boundaries will help you to build your confidence.

The best piece of advice I can share about setting boundaries is to make them BIGGER than you think you need. Human nature being what it is, people will push your boundaries to see how much they can get you to budge. So if you’ve got some big ones to begin with, their pushing won’t hurt you and you have some room to maneuver if the situation calls for it.

Get a pen and paper and start by making a list of things that you won’t allow people to do to you or around you. Your list can include anything and everything that bothers you, makes you feel uncomfortable, wastes your time/resources or disturbs your security.

There are some big ones that most of us naturally have such as…

  • People can’t hit me.
  • People can’t violate my personal space.
  • People can’t yell at me.

But then we get into the ones that are a little more subtle, and harder to enforce because we worry about making the other person mad, or coming off as rude. But these subtle ones are more important to list out and to enforce.

  • People can’t give me unsolicited criticism.
  • People can’t be crabby or grumpy around me.
  • People can’t be late to meetings with me.
  • People can’t waste my time.
  • People can’t dump work on me that is theirs to do.
  • People can’t lie to me.
  • People can’t use my things without permission.
  • People can’t argue with me or in front of me.
  • People can’t ignore me.
  • People can’t smoke in my house, yard or around me.
  • People can’t interrupt my quiet time.
  • People can’t say things to me that  make me feel stupid.
    Etc…

Start by making your list, and include at least 10 boundaries that you have in place and need to expand, or want to put into place. List out all the things that are important to you and do not think about how you will do it. Just get your list together for now.

In the next blog we’ll learn about the technique for communicating these boundaries to the people in your life. And if you want to personal coaching in this area, I’d love to talk with you. Click HERE to start the conversation.

Posted in Contentment and Happiness, Featured, Self-Worth, Self-Value, Self-Love

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About Kim

Kim Schuld will kick your life journey into high gear by helping you to clarify your priorities, find your purpose, and set your new course.
Kim Schuld, The Life Journey Coach