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Dont Get Hysterical About The Historical
The tension was palpable in the room as I began the first marital counseling session ever for the couple who had passed their 50th anniversary several years before. After a few pleasantries designed to put them more at ease, I invited, "Tell me about what brought you here."
Immediately, she straightened up in her chair and asserted boldly, "I'll start!"
"Go ahead," I said.
She continued, "Let me tell you what this man did to me on our honeymoon!"
I glanced at her partner, and immediately I could see that this was definitely not the first time he had heard this story. I groaned to myself, "I should have scheduled more than one hour for this session!"
Clinging to the past?especially the negative past?can wreak havoc in workplace harmony, organizational progress, and personal peace.
LETTING GO OF HOLDING ON
Do you find it difficult to let go of holding on?
What experiences in your past do you hold on to, either deliberately or unintentionally? The woman in the counseling session had chosen to hold on to her husband's perceived transgressions, enumerating them for him at every opportunity. Sometimes, however, your past difficult experiences seem to interfere against your will with your life today.
A recent issue of Workforce Magazine listed "The Simmering Malaise" as one of the 25 strongest trends. They attributed this negative emotional undercurrent to the past few years of workplace trauma?downsizing, diminished financial benefits, loss of opportunity.
Things happen in our personal lives, too.
I heard about one guy who admitted, "I've had trouble with both of my wives."
"What kind of trouble?"
"First one ran off on me."
"And the second?"
Have you experienced traumatic events in your past or work life? If you have, and especially if you haven't been able to come to terms with them emotionally, you may find yourself overreacting any time something remotely reminds you of them. You may become anxious, leading you to misinterpret, suspect, and emotionally exaggerate.
HOW TO LET GO OF THE PAST AND REACH FOR THE FUTURE
Minimize the toll that unresolved history can have on your present life. Don't let past events rob you of life quality today.
1. Do the necessary emotional work, if you haven't already.
Unresolved grief, often masked by anger, can continue to distort your perceptions and keep you from free, positive actions in situations you confront today. When the damaging event(s) happened, how did you deal with them? Did you refuse to acknowledge the reality of your powerlessness to change what happened, mentally or behaviorally resolving to even the score? Did you stay busy, busy, busy so that you wouldn't think about it? Did you become angry and stay there?
If you answered "yes," to any of those questions, you may have some grief work to do. Spend time focusing on the emotional losses you experienced and let it hurt. I know, that's not fun. Remember, though, grief is temporary. And it persistently insists on your attention until you do it.
Courageously do the necessary grief work; it can free you from the grip your past.
2. Check your reactions for "overgeneralization."
When you have experienced a painful situation, it's easy to transfer your reaction to other situations that are in any way similar to it.
When my children were little, they were less than thrilled with their visits to the pediatrician, especially on the days they got shots. The doctor wore a white jacket. One day I was getting a prescription filled at the drugstore and my daughter began to cry loudly. I couldn't figure out why. Finally, she pointed to the druggist who was wearing a white coat and asked, "Am I going to have to get a shot?"
Have you ever had the experience of having an unusual negative reaction to someone you just met, without apparent bad behavior on their part? Do you sometimes jump to conclusions about others' motives, based on experiences you've had with people in your past? If so, you may have a tendency to overgeneralize, projecting your past onto your present.
Learn to separate "then" and "now."
3. Confront your fears. When you've been through work or personal trauma, it's normal to want to avoid such experiences in the future. However, avoidance can grow and can actually increase your overall level of fear.
As soon as possible, confront feared situations. Prepare yourself with courage, self-encouragement, and realistic skills.
"Get back on the bicycle after you take a tumble."
4. Rewrite history, with clearer emotional vision and self compassion.
Yes, there's a sense in which you can rewrite your history. You may be carrying memories that you stored at a time when you had limited understanding . It's easy to harshly judge your reactions from your current vantage point. "I should have known better." But did you know better then? Or were you doing the best you knew to do at the time?
As a more mature and experienced individual, you can look back on your life experiences with a broader, more balanced, more compassionate view. This will not change the facts of the events, but it may well change the meaning and interpretation you give them. That can make all the difference in the degree to which you continue to berate and condemn yourself. H.W. Beecher said, "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation."
5. Practice Forgiveness.
When you refuse to forgive others for the harm they caused you, you tie yourself to them forever. You ensure that the traumatic experiences will rule your life and rob you of the freedom to build genuine life quality and experience peace.
George Herbert said, "He who cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself."
I've had people protest to me, "But if I forgive them, they'll go scot free!"
The truth is, your lack of forgiveness is not harming them, it's harming you.
Forgive to release yourself.
6. Learn from everything, and use it to build a stronger life and future.
I believe that every single thing that happens to us has gifts in it, if we look for them. Closed doors may cause us to step out into areas we would never have tackled under more comfortable circumstances. The loss of a valued support person can stimulate the development of self reliance as well as new connections. Being forced to leave a company during downsizing can be the impetus to explore new job opportunities or to start your own business.
One of the very best gifts in life's challenges is the opportunity to learn?to discover how to begin again, more intelligently.
Madame Chiang Kai-shek observed, "We live in the present. We dream of the future. But we learn eternal truths from the past." Learn to extract wisdom from your experiences.
Charles Kettering estimated that 99 percent of success is built on former failure.
Boy, do I find that comforting!
Dr. Bev Smallwood is a psychologist who has worked with organizations across the globe for over 20 years. Her high-energy, high-content, high-involvement Magnetic Workplaces (r) programs provide dozens of practical strategies and skills that can be put to work immediately to:
Review a complete list of her programs available for your convention or corporate meeting at the website, www.MagneticWorkplaces.com
Motivation - The 4 Most Potent Ways To Awaken Your Enthusiasm
Elements of Change
The key to achieving more than you currently are, no matter which area of your life or work you are focusing in on now, is change. The old saying rings true: If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you've already got.
How To Get Through A Bad Day
No matter how hard you try to make them otherwise, some days are just awful. They start off bad, they never get any better, and they end on a low and sometimes even gloomier note.
A Formula For Improved Achievement
Your ability to perform in life is determined by a number of factors:(1)The package you received when you were born (i.e.
Change - The Skill Of Adapting To The Inevitable
Change your thoughts and you change your world.-Norman Vincent PealeNot surprising, one of the core reasons that hinder us from the realization our innermost goals and desires is our inability to be flexible.
Playing With Mindfulness: Sneaking In The Back Door
I often meet people who say things like, "I've been working on mindfulness for over twenty years."My response is always this: "Oh, you poor thing! Have you tried *playing* with mindfulness? It's very effective, and much more fun!"They tend to look at me like I'm some kind of kook, and then ask the million-dollar question: "How can you play with mindfulness?" Glad you asked.
Finding Yourself: Finding Passion Series - 1 of 3
We have been told that the things we don't like in our children are the same things we don't like in ourselves. We are told that we project our own flaws and issues onto our perceived enemies in an attempt to work them out within ourselves.
Are You in Touch With Your Inner M?
"M" is for Motivation.What motivates you to do a good job?Is it a sense of achievement?Recognition for a job well done?Helping people?Desire for responsibility?Solving problems?Making more money?You should give some thought to what motivates you to do your job better and allows you to feel a real sense of job satisfaction.
Challenge Yourself - Stretch Your Boundaries Daily!
Many times we fall into a sedentary lifestyle because we fear forward movement. We eventually feel as though we've fallen into a rut and can't seem to escape.
12 Reflections on Personal Responsibility
Responsibility means being accountable for what we think, say, and do. Personal responsibility involves working on our own character and skill development rather than blaming others for situations and circumstances.
Quick Steps To Help You Take Action Now
Need to move ahead and yet find yourself holding back?Edward W. Smith, motivational speaker, author and TV show host, who specializes in quick tips on how to move your life ahead even faster, offers the following advice.
Who Do You Need To Become To Make It Happen For You?
'We cannot become what we need to be remaining what we are.' -Max DupreeYear after year, month after month, day after day, you have hoped for change.
Motivation To Change, Why Is It So Hard?
We encounter constant changes throughout our life; it could be educational, health, relationships or financial, and of course with oneself. Maintaining or increasing one's sense of self-worth and happiness are strong incentives for these changes.
What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?
The next time you find yourself relaxing on the couch, having popped some corn and about to watch the "Sopranos", instead, pose this $1,000,000 lottery question to yourself and see what flows. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Would you work, not work? If you knew anything you touched or did held the possibility for success - whatever that is, what would you do? If there were no time constraints, no obstacles, no self-doubt, what would you do?Some of you are already saying, "What's the point of this!?" "This will never be real!" "Who's got a million dollars??Not me!" Well, the whole point is to have you dream.
Live On Fire
Words seem inadequate to describe the beauty and abundance that surrounds us during the month of October in New England. It's as if Mother Nature has taken her paintbrush and with broad strokes has set the landscape ablaze in color.
A Book Review: Great Resource for Group Facilitation
Anyone who is a leader or member of a group and wants to get things accomplished knows that there are many issues and challenges that groups commonly face as they seek to find creative solutions, launch new initiatives, and create high performing teams.The Book Leading Groups to Solutions addresses how team leaders and team members can collaborate, problem solve, plan, organize, and make decisions by exploring models and tools that enable facilitators to help groups achieve their goals.
Our Life - Our Choice
OK, maybe that's a bit of an overgeneralization but it applies most of the time. Basically, what I am saying is that we are what we are because that's what we've decided to be.
Motivation: The Power of Asking
Very shortly, in this paragraph, I'm going to share with you how to get just about anything you want. I usually try to keep things very simple and useable.
The Thrivers Secrets to Success?: It Starts With Your Attitude - Get a Grip and Go®!
What impact would it have on your professional and personal life if you could learn the secret of successful living known by about 25% of the people? Think about that for a minute and even pause right now and write some thoughts down. How would your life be different if you operated like a "thriver" - a person who thrives and flourishes no matter what life throws at him or her?In Webster's II New Riverside Dictionary, the definition of thrive is: "(v) (1) to be healthy or do well: flourish.
Are You Addicted to Selling?
The definition of Motivation in Webster's Dictionary: Motive - the sense of need, desire and fear. Based upon this definition, some sources of motivation can be dysfunctional and that is why it can be so addictive.
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