Are You Using Your Superpowers?

Yes, you have superpowers. You have strengths and passions that because of their unique combination, make them special. Sure, there are likely plenty of people that are great at the same thing, but they don’t have the same combination of skills that you do. That makes you pretty freakin’ special!

When life gets busy, it can be easy to take these strengths for granted. In fact, we can get so busy focusing on our weaknesses or just trying to survive each day, that we may forget about our strengths and how far they’ve brought us.

I’m reading What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty. The character Alice falls at the gym and hits her head. After speaking to others, she realizes that she has no memory of the past ten years. (You’ll get that book review in an upcoming monthly newsletter that only VIP subscribers get – so subscribe if you’d like in on that.) Anyway, that made me reflect on how much I’ve changed over the past ten years. It’s kind of startling when I think about it. This also caused me to realize something important – it was my strengths that brought every good change I’ve experienced.

Interestingly, it wasn’t always the strengths I recognized that brought about important change. I have often relied heavily on my sense of humor, my love of people, and my optimism to help me get where I was going. But when I look back on the last ten years, there were different strengths that propelled me forward. My willingness to be honest with myself about my shortcomings, my willingness to change, and my willingness to work hard were the ones that showed up the most for me. And I hadn’t really given those strengths any credit before realizing this.

I’m going to take a shot in the dark here and suggest that maybe you’ve done the same thing. Maybe you’ve forgotten that you possess many great qualities, strengths and passions. Maybe there are others you haven’t really paid much attention to. Try that exercise. Think about who you were ten years ago and compare that to who you are today. I’ll bet you’ve grown and learned lots of lessons. I’ll wager that you’ve overcome hardships and difficulties in large part because of your strengths. I bet many of those strengths will help you grow and evolve even more over the next ten years.

Knowing that, are there any strengths you can identify that will help you get where you want to be ten years from now? What aspects of your life would you like to be different and how could your strengths help you get there? These introspective questions can help you achieve your goals. Work on taking an inventory of your many strengths and passions. Bringing these superpowers to the front of your mind will make them that much more accessible to you when you need them. These are “tools” that are at your disposal whenever you face a challenging situation.

A great way to honor these superpowers is to share them, so tell me in the comments section a superpower you possess and how it has helped you in the past. Don’t be shy. Remember, your individual strength may be shared by others, but yours is in a unique combination of others you possess so shine some light on it by sharing in the comments!

Don’t you think it’s time to start using those strengths to their fullest potential? Are you ready to develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design? Get Un-Stuck and schedule an Empowerment Session! Take advantage of a complimentary strategy session!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

How Our Beliefs Can Limit Us

We all have belief systems. There are things we believe to be true. Mechanically, our brains help us to hold onto beliefs by “proving” them to be valid. For example, if you believe most people are good, you will find plenty of examples in life to prove this to be true. Likewise, if you believe most people are shady, you will find evidence of this as well.

The challenge with beliefs is that they are often limiting. This is true for both negative and positive beliefs. For example, if you believe that everyone is just out for themselves, you may be missing out on connecting with someone who truly wants to offer you support because your beliefs will convince you that they must have an ulterior motive for wanting to help you. Likewise, if you believe that you are so skilled and confident that you really don’t need anyone else’s help, you may face the same problem as the negative belief. You will not accept help. In both of these examples, your beliefs limited your results.

Beliefs, in and of themselves, are not “bad.” It’s up to you to determine which beliefs you’re willing to part with or consider alternatives to. Consider any that may be holding you back. These can often be identified as “reasons” you can’t escape a difficult situation. For example, you may believe if you leave your job, you’ll never find a better one or make the same rate of pay. There are plenty of examples of people leaving a job, struggling a bit, and then catapulting to a whole new level in their career. You may believe that being vulnerable in a relationship makes you appear weak, but if you look, you’ll find plenty of evidence suggesting the opposite is true.

So how can we alter our beliefs or at least be more open to others?

  • Question your beliefs – When you catch yourself, you can ask, how did this belief come into existence? Was it childhood or a bad experience or a scary event? Are you even sure you actually believe it?
  • Avoid totality statements – Words like, ‘always,’ ‘never,’ and ‘every’ should serve as red flags to you. Challenge those totality beliefs.
  • Think of times a belief has been untrue – If your inner critic keeps telling you it takes a long time to learn new things, try to think of times when you picked up on something quickly. Our brains like to make connections, so change the direction to finding examples that disprove our beliefs.
  • Try starting a belief statement with “sometimes” – Instead of making a belief so permanent, like “I’m awkward when meeting new people,” change it to, “Sometimes I’m awkward when meeting new people, and sometimes I’m very comfortable.” This opens up dual beliefs that can open up new perspectives.

When we loosen our grip on our beliefs, we will naturally open up to other possibilities. We no longer need to be confined and limited by what we believe. This opens our minds to new ideas, solutions, and approaches to life. We can be more creative, innovative, and flexible when we can look at the world with alternate views. This can also be very beneficial to our inner world and the beliefs we hold about ourselves.

In the comments section, share a limiting belief you once held and how changing it opened up new possibilities for you.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Five Love Languages – Touch

Some people just need a hug, a high-five, or a pat on the back to truly feel understood and appreciated. This post is the last segment of the 5-part series featuring a new “language” each month. These are based on Gary Chapman’s book series, Five Love Languages. Each post highlighted a particular language and some suggestions on ways to meet that need for yourself and others.  In October, I shared Words of Affirmation. In November, I shared Quality Time. December was all about Acts of Service and January covered Gifts.  This month will wrap up to discuss the language of touch, those physical gestures that some people need. Let’s review what’s been covered so far:
These are the Five Languages:

• Words of Affirmation
• Quality Time
• Acts of Service
• Gifts
• Touch

October’s Words of Affirmation shared how these language speakers want you to tell them they rock and why. November’s Quality Time shared how these people prefer focused attention on, or with, them. December’s Acts of Service shared how action and doing something the recipient would greatly appreciate is what tugs these heart strings. And in January we went over Gifts, which are those tangible “things” that let a person know they are loved and appreciated. Now we will close out the series with Touch.

These language speakers are all about touch. Nothing communicates like person to person connection. Touch rewards, soothes and, of course, loves.

Personally, this language speaker likes the obvious like hugging and holding hands. But more subtle signs include when they are listening to a heartfelt story, they may touch the hand of the speaker to soothe or to soften a difficult, yet honest discussion. These lovers are often eye-gazers as well. Touching with their eyes, so to speak. They also tend to be very comfortable being up close and personal with others they know and like, possibly as in ‘intruding-on-their-personal-space’ comfortable. So identifying these language speakers is relatively easy. Some find this a difficult and uncomfortable method of communicating. To the recipient however, this is as necessary as oxygen. Find your most bearable level of comfort and lay it on ‘em. Like the other languages though, remember not just any touch will do. You have to determine their preferences. As they are often so sensitive to touch, doing it “wrong” can have a negative effect. When in doubt, ask.

Professionally, there is not a lot of room for these language speakers, as most touch acceptable in the personal arena, is not appropriate in the workplace. Likewise, even those who prefer the language of touch in their personal lives to feel loved, may not prefer it in the workplace where the required personal connection is missing. Although you’ll see snippets of them as they tend to be the high-fiving, fist-bumping, pat on the back, handshaking folk. Those are pretty much the only acceptable forms of touch in the workplace and even the pat on the back can be annoying to some, so use with caution, always considering how the other person may perceive it, regardless of how you intend it.

Generally, these touchy-feely types love affection and being affectionate. If you identify with this language, remember it can also be off-putting to others at times, so pay attention to the signs others are giving to you. If you’re approaching someone and they take a step back, you likely just barged into their personal space, so be respectful of other’s needs.

Hopefully, you’ve identified your own primary “language” and those that play a significant part in your life, both personally and professionally. Understanding your own languages in those environments can help you communicate your needs better and be aware of how this differs from others. Understanding the language of others will help you show love and appreciation to them in a way that’s meaningful for them. As always, I hope this, and all preceding posts, gave you a new perspective to consider. Perhaps that person who frequently doles out compliments at work would like to receive some Words of Affirmation themselves. Maybe Mom’s complaints about how you never visit, is a sign that she needs Quality Time with you. Seeing your spouse’s face light up because you surprised them with a five-course homemade meal will indicate their need for Acts of Service. The employee who tears up after you present them with a small engraved plaque thanking them for being the Official Morale Booster of 2018 appreciates Gifts like nothing else. And of course, the ever-ready-with-a-hug, lover of Touch, who gets as much as she gives, in every embrace.

All of us need love and appreciation. We may need varying levels of it, but we all need it. Understanding how you need to receive it and how others need you to give it, and acting on that knowledge, will guarantee improved relationships. If you’re still unsure of your language or would like to invite someone else to learn theirs, here are the sites and info to take the online assessments: For the free personal assessment, go to www.5lovelanguages.com/profile . For the professional version, there is a $15 charge, but can be found at www.mbainventory.com .

You are now empowered to make a difference and communicate more effectively with someone. So go Love on that person you love and get Appreciating those people you work with. Watch how it will ripple through every aspect of your life.

You’re up…if touch is your preferred language, or that of someone you know, what’s a great way to use this appropriately? Also, now is a great time to share your thoughts on any of the “languages,” so head to the comments section to share yours.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

(The Five Languages are based on “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White))

Being Your Best Self Every Day

Obviously, we all try to be our best selves every day. But then someone annoying comes along, or a challenging situation presents itself, and VOILA, we are living on a lower frequency. Stuff happens, and striving for perfection is wholly unhealthy. But there are some techniques to help you deal with annoyances and difficulties while still maintaining that ideal version of yourself.

When people or situations come our way, we tend to put our focus on them. We may analyze why someone is behaving a certain way (like the obnoxious tailgater) or figure out how we are going to resolve a problem (like a demanding boss). While there are most certainly times when these tactics may be useful, if your focus is on being your best self, there’s another way.

Let’s say you have an issue that you need to resolve with the electric company. You call and the customer service person gives you serious attitude. In fact, he’s being downright rude. Maybe situations like this in the past have wound you up and resulted in a battle that raised your blood pressure, made the call last longer, and left you feeling exhausted even if you came out victorious in the end. While you may justify your behavior, you likely don’t feel like your best self.

When faced with tough people or times, focus on asking what kind of person would take this situation in stride. What qualities might this person possess?  In the above example, the moment you sensed attitude from the service person, you would recognize your rising blood pressure. This is the point to ask the questions: what kind of person would take this in stride? What qualities would they possess? Perhaps you think a patient person would let the attitude go. So you focus on increasing your patience. Perhaps you think an important quality in this situation would be empathy. You consider the possibility that this person may have just gotten off the phone with an angry, insulting customer and they haven’t pulled themselves together yet. So you start working on showing them empathy. Or maybe the other person is just being a jerk. It doesn’t matter – this is about being the best version of yourself for YOU. The benefits others get out of that is just a bonus. You will feel proud in how you maintained your cool and lived in a higher frequency.

In the book, The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer, he makes this genius reference about having a thorn in your arm. The way he tells it, you think of a sensitivity you have – let’s say you’re sensitive to other people using tone and having a bad attitude. Maybe this makes you feel disrespected. Whatever, it’s your sensitivity. Now imagine this sensitivity is actually a thorn in your arm. Every time someone or something comes in contact with it, it causes you pain and discomfort. You have two choices: You can live life doing everything you can to avoid having the thorn touched and reacting in a predictable way when it is; OR, you can remove the thorn.

It’s not all that easy to just remove a thorn. However, by identifying what your sensitivities are, then imagining what kind of person would be unaffected by them, and the qualities they would need to possess, you will be well on your way to removing the thorn.

What do you think? What’s a quality your ideal self possesses that helps you the most? Share in the comments section.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living as your BEST self, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Questions to Ask Yourself During Challenging Times

When we are faced with challenging times, we may find ourselves pondering questions. Questions like, “why me?” “why does this always happen to me?” “how am I going to move on from this?” While it’s natural to do this, spending too much time on these questions likely won’t lead you to the path of recovery.

Questions like those are too big for you to answer. Take for example what could happen if you were to get in a car accident. It wasn’t your fault and your car was totaled. The value placed on your car is much less than the value you placed on it, so now you have a significant financial strain. The “why me?” and “how will I recover?” questions are not only universally big and far reaching, their answers may not be specific enough to help you in this moment.

So then, you may be wondering what questions WILL lead you to a healthier path and a happier resolution. Try these on for size:

  • What’s one small step I can take today that would ease my discomfort? – Sometimes no one thing is going to clear up your situation, but one small step can help a little. For example, if you’re struggling emotionally, a walk or workout can help alleviate some of your discomfort.
  • What’s one small action I can take that will lead me one step closer to a better future? – Maybe there isn’t much you can do today to change your circumstances, but what could make a small difference for your future. For example, if you’re in severe debt, could you find a small way to save or make money that will contribute a drop in the bucket of your future?
  • Who could help me in this situation? – People like helping other people. Think of others who can help or who have experienced a similar challenge.

Once you’ve answered these “Triage Questions,” you can start exploring how you got here and how you can prevent it in the future by considering these questions:

  • Is there a pattern that I’m unconsciously creating? If so, why might that be happening? – For example, some of us feel significant and important when we behave as victims. We don’t think of it this way consciously, but sometimes personal reflection will reveal this. This could relate back to childhood, or uncover a need to be cared for and paid attention to.
  • What behaviors of mine contributed to this situation? – For example, are you in yet another relationship that has you feeling resentful? Could you be holding in your feelings and not sharing your needs clearly?
  • How could I look at this situation differently? – Sometimes the situation isn’t the problem as much as our attitude around it is. How might this situation look to someone on the opposite side of it? Are there any truths to that perspective? Try to get a full 360-degree perspective on the problem.

It’s tough to truly explore questions like this when we are experiencing physical, emotional, or financial pain. This is why starting with the Triage Questions is recommended. You have to try to ease your pain in order to think more clearly. It may take days, weeks, or even months before you’re ready to explore the greater perspective questions. There’s no wrong way here. Nothing you do or discover is “wrong,” so don’t turn these exercises into an opportunity to beat yourself up. Reflect and change course as needed. Do not fault yourself for the path that led you here, just work on becoming aware and preventing a similar situation in the future.

I’m sure there are other questions that could be beneficial to ask yourself during challenging times. Share in the comments section a question you think is important.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Life’s Biggest Time Waster

There are plenty of activities that we could argue are a big, fat waste of our time…traffic jams, waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, watching TV, surfing the internet, and more. However, in my experience, these are all minor in comparison to the true Grand Daddy of all time wasters. The biggest time waster is one that every single one of us has been guilty of indulging in: Trying to change other people.

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with someone I kept crossing paths with in the personal development sphere; I’ll call her “Jill.” We were talking about a powerful speaker we both had the pleasure of seeing. This speaker is very action oriented and empowers you to get off your butt and create the life you want. Jill and I were discussing how motivating this speaker’s message was and then Jill told me how she was trying so hard to get her sister to “see the light” and start creating a happy life for herself. I asked if her sister was unhappy with the life she was living, and Jill said, no, but all she did was watch TV and had no desire to work towards a personal or professional goal. If only Jill could motivate her to do something worthwhile with her life. It took me several moments before I challenged Jill on what she was doing – trying to change another person.

While Jill was good intentioned and wanted only the best for her sister, she was wasting some serious time trying to change her sister instead of working on things she could control – like her own personal development. We have all been guilty of focusing our energies on others’ shortcomings. Think of that person who drives you nuts. She walks around like she’s all that, she’s rude, only cares about herself and people who can do something for her. She’s selfish, self-absorbed, materialistic, and just an all around bitch. True as that may be, ruminating on all her poor qualities is a sheer waste of your time. You have exactly ZERO control over her. Compare that to the TOTAL control you have over yourself.

When we take inventory on others, this often gives us a short-term buzz, because at least we don’t have any of their nasty characteristics. It can help us feel good about ourselves for a little while. But this false sense of superiority doesn’t actually make us better. If you look around, you’ll always be able to find someone who possesses traits or qualities that you deem unacceptable. You start to think that if only he would change a particular aspect of himself he’d be a better person. And you analyze and consider why he wouldn’t make that change. You wonder what kind of a person wouldn’t see how this was holding them back, or making them unlikable, or whatever. But at the end of the day, you’ve changed nothing about the person with your judgement, and worse, you’ve changed nothing about yourself to improve your life, your circumstances, your traits and characteristics.

You can reason, plead, implore, judge, ridicule, or instruct another person to change an undesirable trait or behavior, but you will never be able to change another person. Influence, maybe, but, not change. That’s up to them. The only person you can change is yourself. An added benefit of focusing your time on your personal development, is you may find as you grow and change, the shortcomings of others don’t irritate you like they used to. You may find during your own personal journey that others were judging you and wondering why you weren’t changing a particular aspect of yourself that seemed so obvious to them.

It all comes down to the fact that we are all on our own journey. We all have opportunities for improvement. We don’t have a lot of time to waste on how others could improve. That’s not our responsibility. If each person, instead of judging and taking inventory on others, worked on making themselves better, the world would become a better place.

Your turn! Share in the comments section your own life lesson of focusing on yourself instead of others.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Five Love Languages – Gifts

A thoughtful gift can make a significant difference to someone. This 5-part series has a new “language” discussed once a month. These are based on Gary Chapman’s book series, Five Love Languages. Each post will highlight a particular language and some suggestions on ways to meet that need for yourself and others.  In October, I shared Words of Affirmation. In November, I shared Quality Time. December was all about Acts of Service.  This month will discuss the language of gifts, those hand-picked goodies that brighten a person’s day. Let’s review what’s been covered so far:

These are the Five Languages:

• Words of Affirmation
• Quality Time
• Acts of Service
• Gifts
• Touch

If you would like a more detailed overview of each language, revisit October’s post. As a reminder, your primary and secondary languages may differ between your personal and business life, so view all the languages from those two perspectives. Now, if the idea of a little something special topped with a bow sounds like something someone you know would appreciate, read on.

Gift lovers are all about the tangible. Price isn’t (always) important. Often, it’s just getting a thoughtful “thing”.
On a personal level, this could be the newest BMW or a six month cruise around the world. But often, this is simply a bunch of handpicked wildflowers, a box of chocolates or the latest suspense novel. Those child drawings and driveway stones that have a little sparkle? Yeah, those too! These language speakers love to look at and touch these expressions of love. Like all the other languages, pay attention to clues that would help you determine just the right gift.

On a professional level, while the BMW or cruise would be great, these aren’t likely. Gift lovers get excited over the certificates, awards, pins and prizes. A bottle of their favorite wine for a special assignment that had the added bonus of making you look good too, is sure to score! A mall gift certificate, Cabela’s gift card or even an instant scratch ticket…any of these are likely to elicit pure joy. Remember though, thoughtful counts here too. Don’t assume Dave would automatically like tickets to the Patriot’s game any more than Carol would like tickets to the ballet. You should know enough about these people that if you’re going to give a personalized gift, you have a good idea what interests them.

Being thoughtful and sincere in your gift giving is sure to be a success to the gift-loving recipient. It’s especially enjoyable if they know why you’re giving it, even if it’s “just because”. Gifts make them feel special, so tell them why they are. Now is the time to get creative and get giving for these language speakers. They’re sure to repay you in your language…if they read this string of posts anyway. If not, give them the gift of this site! Otherwise, give all the wonderful readers here some ideas by commenting on creative ways to ‘gift’ those we love and work with, so they feel loved and appreciated. Watch for the final post in this series in February!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

(The Five Languages are based on “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White))

Our Two Choices When Facing Challenges

Life throws lots of challenges our way. It is through these that we often learn important life lessons. How we face our challenges is what ultimately leads us to these lessons. Generally speaking, we have two choices when we are confronted with difficulties – Change it or Accept it.

While neither one is necessarily easy, those are our two paths. They both require movement. To change or accept means you are moving towards a desired end result. The alternative to these choices is to do nothing and complain about our circumstances. We know this is unproductive, but we may need to spend some time in this place while we process which action step we will ultimately take – just be sure not to get stuck here. While you could argue that this is a choice as well, it’s not an empowering one and its based on inaction instead of action.

Sometimes, though, we’re not quite sure whether to Change a situation or Accept it. Here are some considerations to make that may help in your decision:

CONSIDER CHANGING IT WHEN:

  • You have the ability to change it – most circumstances allow us some control, so take that control and do something different
  • The fear of remaining in the same situation is greater than the fear of changing – Change can be scary, but staying the same can sometimes be terrifying. How do you feel about being in the same situation one, five, or ten years from now?
  • Doing so can help you reach your full potential or a better version of yourself
  • It causes, or has the potential to cause, harm to yourself or others
  • You get excited about the long-term possibilities a change can bring

CONSIDER ACCEPTING IT WHEN:

  • You have little or no control over the situation – an example may be a friend who won’t stop smoking. It upsets you and you worry about them, but you don’t have control over their behavior.
  • You have tried everything in your power – for example, you want to be promoted where you work, but despite all your best efforts, you just can’t seem to get the support. It may be time to accept that advancement isn’t likely to happen there.
  • You are in the heat of emotion – When we are very angry or upset, that may not be the best time to make a long-term decision. Accepting, even if only temporarily, may be the best choice in those heated moments. You can always look back on it when your emotions have settled and reassess.
  • You look into the future and believe you could be happy with staying in that situation. You recognize that you may be going through a phase of contemplation right now.
  • You recognize that short-term sacrifices are likely to result in longer-term happiness. For example, giving up on building the dream house now and settling for (and accepting) a smaller home may allow you to save more money and build that new home later in the future when it’s more within your financial means.

There is the possibility that you can choose both change and acceptance in some situations. This may be accepting a situation while changing your attitude about it. Maybe you have a strained relationship with your brother who is terrible with finances and doesn’t want your unsolicited advice. You can accept that and take the attitude that it’s his life to do as he wishes and when he’s ready to change, he’ll change. Until then, you will continue to have a relationship with him (acceptance), but leave all talk of finances out of it (change).

The most important thing is to ensure you don’t stay stuck in complaining. You may be a victim of your circumstances, but you don’t have to STAY a victim of your circumstances. Change or Acceptance is the way out.

Now I’d like to hear from you! Share in the comments section an important decision you made to either change or accept a challenging situation, and why that was the right choice for you.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

The Main Cause of Relationship Problems

Relationships are important. We are social creatures after all, and the people we choose to spend our time with are important parts of our lives. This makes it very challenging if we are on the outs with someone we care about. More often than not, there is one core cause of all relational strife: expectations. Or rather, failure to have our expectations met.

We all have expectations. Big ones and little ones. We even have these of strangers. We may have the expectation that everyone drives the posted speed limit. Or, that when a cashier invites the “next person in line,” it doesn’t mean the first person who can get there. We expect things of our spouses, friends, family, and neighbors. We all have (what we believe to be) reasonable beliefs of proper behavior. To complicate things further, we attach meaning to these expectations.

If someone lets us down, we aren’t only disappointed, but we give a reason to it. For example, you expect your close friends to remember your birthday. Then, when your birthday has come and gone, and you haven’t heard from one of your nearest and dearest, you are disappointed AND hurt. You believe that if you truly care about someone, you remember their birthday. Meanwhile, your forgetful friend cares very deeply about you, but, personally, doesn’t much care about birthdays one way or the other. It never occurs to her that she may have hurt you by not making certain she remembered your birthday.

The next question, then, is how do we prevent our expectations from breaking down our relationships?  Here are a few tips:

  • Make your expectations known – Do not expect that people will just intuitively know what you need. Spell it out.
  • Share the meaning you’ve attached to your expectations – If you need quality time with your spouse at the end of each day and you believe this means you are valued and loved, be clear that this is how important this time is to you.
  • Understand your expectations may be completely different from others – For example, I have a friend who despises getting gift cards as a gift. She feels they are impersonal and it hurts her to think we couldn’t take a little extra time and thought to get her something special and unique. I, on the other hand, like getting gift cards. We both have totally different expectations, but we took the time to discover these differences.
  • Most expectations are coming from a place of love or fear – Rarely do people have expectations with the intent to be difficult or hurtful. A parent who withholds love, may have done so because they expected the world was hard and wanted to prepare you to be tough. Or a loved one avoids appearing vulnerable because they expect to get hurt if they are.
  • Consider your expectations – Have you ever considered what your expectations are? It may be a very eye-opening exercise. When you actually think about what your expectations are and the meaning you’ve attached to them, you may start to question if you really want to hold on to them. (VIP Subscribers get a PDF download of this exercise – Subscribe today to get yours – It’s Free)

Next time you get in a disagreement, before jumping immediately to the emotion of it, take a step back and try to consider how both your expectations, and those of the other person, could be contributing. It’s much more difficult to feel hurt or angry when you actually understand where another person is coming from. It doesn’t mean you agree, only that you understand. It is this mindset that will prevent problems in the future.

In the comments section, share how understanding your own or someone else’s expectations have helped improve a relationship in your life.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Written by, You

It’s easy to feel that sometimes we are at the mercy of life’s circumstances. And let’s be honest, some moments we are. But moments are fleeting, and it’s important to keep in mind that you are the author of your life. While life may throw circumstances your way, you get to determine how each chapter ends. You get the last word. If your business goes under, if you get fired, go broke, or get dumped, that’s not where the chapter has to end. You write the last line. You also write the opening paragraph of the next chapter.

When you write your story, it’s not all going to be pretty rainbows and butterflies, because that’s not real life. There will be ugly parts, parts of you and your story that you are not proud of, but that’s okay. The lines in our story, even the chapters of our story, do not make us who we are. They are a part of us, but they are not all of us. If you don’t like how your story is unfolding, write a new one. Change the plot, the setting, the characters, and even yourself if you wish. You get to choose how you react to life’s curve balls.

Life is complicated; we are complicated. That’s the beauty of it. But underneath all of those complications is a really pure version of who we are. This version is always doing the best it can. This version grows and changes, and we, the authors, get to determine how to navigate through the lessons learned, the plot twists, and the overarching desire to matter.

Don’t write your story through the eyes of others. Share their perspective, consider others’ ideas, but it’s YOUR story. You define the meanings; you determine when you’ve succeeded and when you’ve failed. You decide who you are and where you’re going to take your story. When someone criticizes you or tells you that you’re not enough, that’s their story. Don’t make their story your story.

When you embrace your title as author of your story, you empower yourself. You take back control of the parts you have control over. You determine if your story is a tragedy, comedy, drama, mystery or some exciting mixture of all of these. Your non-fiction tale is yours for the telling. It’s your gift in life. There is no editing, there are no re-writes. There is one story. Write it well. Live it well.

Share in the comments section the title of your next chapter.

*This post was originally posted in January of 2017, but I thought it was worth another read.

If you would like some help with your story – if you are experiencing a “writer’s block” in life, then an Empowerment Session is a great place to start! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com