Aug 212013
 

Toolbox

This past Monday was my birthday and for the last couple of weeks leading up to it I had been contemplating where I’ve come from, where I am now, and where I want to go. I suppose this often happens during milestone birthdays.

I turned 39 yesterday so while it wasn’t a milestone it is certainly close to one. It made me start thinking of all the things I want to do before I hit the big 4-0. Of course, it also left me contemplating what I’ve learned along the way.

So today I decided to share with you 39 (can’t even imagine where I came up with that number, huh?) life lessons that I’ve learned along the way. I’m sure there are many that we both will share but I’m hopeful there may be a few that will leave you wanting to investigate a little further.

As with anything life is all about the progress and not the perfecting of it. So while I’ve learned these lessons, it doesn’t mean I’m perfect about incorporating them into my every day life. Although, I do wake up giving it my best effort and will strive to do so well into my 80’s and 90’s if I’m so lucky.

1. Self Esteem is a decision not a feeling. [Tweet This]

2. It’s not what happens to us in life, it’s how it impacts us that matters.        [Tweet This]

3. When we accept ourselves as enough, lovable, and important it’s literally none of our business what others think of us.  [Tweet This]

4. Blaming others puts us in the victim role and the problem with that is nobody is coming to save us.  [Tweet This]

5. Our capacity to love and care for others is directly related to the amount of love and care we have for ourselves.  [Tweet This]

6. “Change the way you see things and the things you see will change.” – Wayne Dyer  [Tweet This]

7. You can’t judge another without first judging yourself.  [Tweet This]

8. The closer you come to accepting yourself the closer you come to your “Creator”.  [Tweet This]

9. Truly listening to another is one of the best gifts you can give someone else and yourself.  [Tweet This]

10. Crying is your body’s natural way of healing unresolved pain and should be welcomed.  [Tweet This]

11. If you want to get something, give it.  [Tweet This]

12. We all have an inner child that’s just waiting to be reconnected with our adult self.  [Tweet This]

13. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself that allows you to live a life in fullness.  [Tweet This]

14. What other people think of us says everything about them and nothing about us.  [Tweet This]

15. Intimacy has nothing to do with sex.  [Tweet This]

16. Shame is the most common and yet hard to detect form of abuse we face.  [Tweet This]

17. Be careful you don’t wind up becoming a Human Doing. You were born a Human Being.  [Tweet This]

18. There’s nothing you can do to become anymore Beautiful. You just are.         [Tweet This]

19. Everyone always does the very best they can do under the circumstances and given the resources available.  [Tweet This]

20. If you can’t say No your Yes won’t mean anything.  [Tweet This]

21. The past is history recalled in your memory, the future is a figment of your imagination and life is in the now.  [Tweet This]

22. Everything is always alright. Anything else is just a thought or a feeling.  [Tweet This]

23. The best weight loss diet is Self Love.  [Tweet This]

24. It’s never about us. It’s always about us.  [Tweet This]

25. The feeling of anger is simply an expression of not liking something. Most expressions of anger we see are abuse. [Tweet This]

26. Very few challenges we face today have anything to do with what is actually happening in the moment.  [Tweet This]

27. You can’t intellectualize your way out of recovering from your past wounds. The only way to heal is to feel.  [Tweet This]

28. Those we fear the most are the ones we have the most to learn from.          [Tweet This]

29. Dreams exist in the field of uncertainty and the only way in that field is through the window of vulnerability.  [Tweet This]

30. Each of us has the right to have all of our thoughts and feelings but not the right to spew them onto everyone else.  [Tweet This]

31. You can choose to forgive someone and still decide to never see them again.  [Tweet This]

32. I don’t ever want to become an expert or to claim “I have arrived” for that will be the death of me.  [Tweet This]

33. Claiming we matter in this world isn’t just a “nice to have”, it’s our right.  [Tweet This]

34. A No to you is a Yes to me.  [Tweet This]

35. We give and receive love through Attention, Acceptance, Allowance, Affection, and Appreciation.  [Tweet This]

36. We are not broken or damaged, and don’t need to be fixed. We only need reminders of what we already are.  [Tweet This]

37. I am. I feel. I am not what I feel.  [Tweet This]

38. We see others as a reflection of how we see ourselves.  [Tweet This]

39. We awake every morning as whole, precious, enough, and good people. This is our starting place not a goal to obtain.  [Tweet This]

I hope you have enjoyed these 39 life lessons I’m sharing with you today. I’m hopeful there are a few that have resonated with you. I would love to hear some life lessons that have worked for you over the years. So please do share them in the comments of this post!

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

 

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

Aug 122013
 

Being_A_Man_03_25_13

There are the things that society teaches us to believe are true about people and then there are the actual truths. Unfortunately, it’s super hard to know which is the truth and which isn’t. It makes it extra hard when the actions of those we seek the answers from don’t match what is supposed to be true.

The problem of course occurs when we come to the table with preconceived notions about what a Man is before even getting to know that man. It makes it worse because most of the men you encounter likely believe all the lies they were told as a boy. They were told they can’t cry, they can’t like certain colors (hello pink!), they can’t ask for help, they shouldn’t act too happy, and the list goes on.

Because many men grow up believing these lies, their actions reflect to the world that this is their truth. As a woman you have two choices. You can either encourage and enable these men to continue living the lies or you can see them for who they really are. Yes, you can see them for who they are EVEN WHEN they can’t see themselves. Let’s start by looking at 7 things you should know about the man in your life, even when he doesn’t know it yet!

He is Vulnerable

I think we all get a screwy definition of what vulnerable means. We somehow associate vulnerability with weakness. Men are told they can’t look weak at any cost so out goes any opportunity for vulnerability. The problem with this is that vulnerability does not mean weakness. Vulnerability simply means that it’s possible (not even likely, just possible) that you can be injured emotionally or physically. Now obviously we can all come up with ways in which the man in your life could possibly be injured emotionally or physically, right?

What he’s likely showing you are all the masks that cover up his inherent vulnerability. His strong appearance, over the top anger, discounting of feelings, drinking, sexual addiction, laissez faire attitude are just a few of the masks he wears to protect himself from expressing his vulnerability. The problem is these are just band aids as he can never truly stop himself from being injured. In fact, almost everything he does to protect himself from being injured (vulnerable) is actually injuring him.

Even if he doesn’t act like it (he’s wearing a mask) your words and actions do have a huge impact on him.

He is Scared

No, I don’t mean in the freaking-out, there’s-a-bear-about-to-eat-me kind of way. Rather, it’s a deep rooted current of fear that’s underneath everything he thinks and does. When you can’t allow yourself the possibility of getting hurt then you’re spending your every waking minute protecting yourself. How can you have your Armor on 24/7, protecting yourself without having fear drive that? You can’t.

Men are scared. We’re scared of being exposed that we’re not a “Real Man”. After all, the only message we received as a boy growing up was, “I don’t care what you do,  just be a man”. We can’t order a “girly drink”, we have to like sports, we have to be violent, we can’t be sensitive, we can’t show emotions, we have to be loud and aggressive…

So many rules to follow all in the name of that fear that runs just underneath of our awareness. The tougher the man in your life acts the more scared he truly is.

He Needs Help

As little boys, men are taught to not ask for any help. After all, asking for help shows that you’re vulnerable and because we got the wrong definition of vulnerable we can’t let anyone see that we’re weak. We’re all born into Community but there’s one difference between how boys and girls are raised. For the most part (yes, there are exceptions) girls are raised to embrace community but boys don’t get that same message. They’re taught that community is only acceptable when it’s an opportunity for competition. Sports teams are a great example of the type of community acceptable for boys to be a part of. On the other hand, getting emotional support from a group of guys isn’t even brought up as something that’s an option.

Male role models always figure things out on their own and rarely need help. Terminator, Rambo, Clint Eastwood, and many others figure it out on their own and rarely if ever need help. The problem is we are all born into Community. We’re not born to do things on our own and the only thing that keeps us from living this life with others is shame. Shame says that you’re not a man if you ask for help. Regardless of how independent the man in your life wants you to think he is, he needs help even if he can’t ask for it.

He Doesn’t Feel Safe

The world is a scary place for boys. After all, what kind of safety exists in a world where you can’t ask for help, you can’t show your true feelings, and you have to perform to be validated? You learn from an early age that you can’t trust yourself so how can you truly trust others?

Men have few places they can turn to know they are safe. If they expose too much they may be shamed into thinking they are “less than”. If they show too little they get very little attention from others. It’s a constant struggle of give and take – push and pull and at the end of the day every man wants the same thing. They want to lay down at night knowing they are loved and accepted for who they are not for the role they’re forced to play.

Be ultra aware that the man in your life needs to know he’s safe with you.

Sex is His Medicine

There are few places a young man can turn to that are socially acceptable forms of relief. If a man has a bad day at the office his buddies tell him that he either needs a drink or that he needs to get laid. Sex for men are their go-to place for a quick pick-me-up when they’re feeling down. They receive attention, acceptance, affection, and appreciation all in one place.

Men struggle with having to prove their worth and value every day and we haven’t even talked about the normal issues at work, home, etc. They need to show they are strong and they can’t ask for help so where do they turn? It’s no wonder the average guy is talking about sex every 20 seconds. It’s also likely that the more it’s on his mind, the more he is struggling internally.

Sex is a key ingredient in any healthy romantic relationship and it’s a wonderful thing. Just be careful that you’re not enabling the man in your life to continue on with his internal struggle by caving in to the only form of relief he was given as a young boy.

Fixing You Affirms His Value

Men love to fix things, don’t we? More than fixing things around the house (which I’m not very good at) most men love to fix you! Of course, you’re not broken and don’t need fixing but this is about Men not about you. Another problem that comes up for men that are taught their worth and value is not found inside is that they need to always work for it.

“Fixing” you is a way for a man to show his value and worth in the relationship. If he can’t help you then what good is he? These are the thoughts that go on in the back of his mind. This is also the primary reason he’s not listening to you. He’s waiting for that perfect moment to jump in and fix you.

Want the man in your life to stop trying to fix you? The next time you have something with him to share ask him to just listen! Let him know how much it means to you to just have his attention. Let him know that makes such a huge difference for you and that there’s nothing more you would love than for him to just listen (without interruption). Give him time though, this will take a lot of practice on his part! Just remind yourself when he does try and fix you that this has everything to do with him and nothing to do with you.

He Has A Little Boy

No, I don’t mean he literally has a little boy although maybe he does! I’m talking about that inner child we all have. It’s that child that is still there in all of us waiting to get the love we never got earlier in life. Ever see the man in your life go from zero to pissed off in 2.3 seconds? Yup, that’s his little boy in there!

That little boy is just dying to receive attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance, and allowance from him and from you. That little boy is dying to just be seen and heard. That little boy is scared, he’s vulnerable, he needs help, and he doesn’t feel safe. That little boy in him is probably very much like the little girl inside of you.

In whatever way feels natural for you and comfortable for him, let him know that the inner child in you sees the inner child in him. We’re all so much more connected than we think we are. There’s this constant need in the media to divide men and woman, boys and girls. The reality is we’re both trying our best to answer the question, “Who am I?”. When we learn that the answers to that question is inside each of us the true journey begins.

I would love for you to share your thoughts and feelings about this post. So please leave a comment on the blog. If you’re not feeling called to leave a comment then please email this blog to 2 of your friends. It’s a great conversation we should all be having together!

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

 

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

Aug 082013
 

Self Acceptance, Love, Stress

Stress affects us all and many of us on a daily basis. Whether it’s the affects of work, kids, a spouse, money – you name it- there are reasons to feel stressed! Some of us have even gotten really good at hiding the stress.

We have reality TV, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Alcohol, Drugs, Sex, Food, and all kinds of vices to escape the uncomfortable feelings of stress. Then there are those that avoid all those vices but are still stuck feeling the stress day in and day out.

There are many long-term approaches to tackling stress whether it’s a massage, acupuncture, yoga, or exercise. These are all wonderful activities that should certainly be incorporated one way or another into our lives. While these things will help to mitigate or perhaps even alleviate our stress they are things we have to wait to do.

A family member of mine sent a status update out on Facebook asking for tips on de-stressing. It was the impetus for this post and a reminder that while those long-term activities are important, people need some tools that they can use right now. In that moment of stress you don’t have time to make that appointment or drive to the gym, you want help now!

So I decided I’d put together a list of 3 tools that will help all of us in those moments of feeling stressed. You won’t need to go anywhere, change your clothes, or get poked with a needle. All you’ll need is a little time and your own body!

Ready?

Yawn

So I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. Just today I wiggled my jaw and realized how stiff it was. I’m not one to grind my teeth or clinch my jaws but I do know that all of the energy we carry throughout the day is up high in our bodies. Headaches, stiff neck, and sore shoulders are often symptoms of carrying all that energy so high up in our bodies.

It’s no surprise given that most of us spend so much time in our heads and so little in our body that we feel these pains here most. When you yawn two things occur. First, you breathe deeply and second, you stretch your jaw wide open. Breathing deeply is so critical to returning back to our bodies and allowing ourselves to stay present. Stretching our jaws allows us to alleviate some of that stored energy we carry high up in our bodies.

It may be hard to force yourself to yawn (here go watch this) but some nice deep breathing and stretching will do wonders for that stress. Specifically it will allow you to shift your attention away from that thing you’re stressing about in the future and refocus on your life as it is in the now.

Stomp Your Foot

Think I’m crazy yet? Okay good…Now go stomp your foot! I actually learned this technique from a Jedi Master. Actually, he’s a Qigong Instructor that I met at a recent Retreat. The idea behind this is that we want to shift our focus away from the stress and back to the present moment. This is similar to the concept behind the yawning so yes, there is a theme here.

Stand up straight and gently shift your weight up on your left side as you slightly lift up your right foot. You only have to lift your right foot up off the ground by about an inch. Now shift your weight back on to your right side as you lower you foot to the ground. Then shift and do the other side. Do this for about 5 minutes. Essentially you’re going to look like a zombie so make sure nobody else is around unless you want them thinking you’re going to eat them!

As you’re stomping your foot focus ONLY ON YOUR FOOT! This isn’t a time to go back into your head. So, you’re not going to be thinking about work, dinner, the kids, or whatever it is you’re stressing about. You’re going to feel your foot! So go stomp away for 5 minutes as you allow that stress to go right out of your head – down your body and out your foot!

Shake That Body

Unlike looking like a zombie or yawning yourself silly here is yet another alternative to ease that stress right now! Again, like the foot stomping you’re probably not going to want to do this at a bus stop. Find a quiet and safe place for about 5 minutes.

Stand up tall with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Pretend as if the ground is shaking underneath of you. Start to notice your feet vibrating, then your knees, your legs, your hips, and all the way up to your head and out your arms. You’re going to be shaking your body starting from the feet all the way up and out!

I realize this sounds crazy but trust me, you will get out of your head and away from that stress real quick! We’re going to be doing more than just shaking though. You’re going to focus your attention on all that stress energy grabbing on to you. You feel suffocated don’t you? Well then we need to jiggle the grasp that the stress holds on you right off! Place the vision in your mind of that energy shaking right off your body.

So here are 3 (hopefully) new and unique approaches to instantly getting rid of (if not drastically reducing) the hold that stress can have on you. You only need about 5 minutes for each of these and they can be done mostly anywhere. We’re doing two important things here.

First, we’re getting out of our head (where stress is born) and back into our body. Second, we’re returning back to present living. All stress lives in the future. It’s from anticipation and anxiety about what’s to come. But life is right now in this moment, not in the future. These techniques will help us get back to our body and return to present living.

So go try them out and let me know what you think! I would love to hear some feedback so please leave me your comments on the blog or send me an email!

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

 

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

Aug 052013
 

01_03_13_Friendship

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in a relationship (romantic or otherwise).

Now raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced talking to someone who’s not listening to you.

Okay, last time – Raise your hand if someone was talking to you and you weren’t listening.

Okay, enough with the hand raising…I promise nothing else in this post will make your arm feel uncomfortable.

Assuming you have all of your appendages it’s likely that you raised your hand to at least 2 of these statements and likely all 3. I know I had my hand up for all 3 of those!

Anyone will tell you that communication is key in any relationship. Yet most of the time we talk about communication we’re focusing on what to say and what not to say. Learning how to talk effectively is crucial to any long lasting and healthy relationship. However, there’s another side to this coin that I want to address.

There’s a lot of value placed on things that are said and done in this world but the more subtle and quiet things are often overlooked. Listening is one of those quiet (literally) and subtle things. When it comes to listening there are two things I know for sure.

  1. We all could be better listeners (definitely guys but yes, you ladies too!)
  2. Learning to actively listen will immediately improve any relationship.

Why is listening so important?

Let’s make pretend for a moment that your partner is awful at listening. What? We don’t have to pretend? Oh…Okay, seriously let’s take a look at this. The problem here is likely that you feel really frustrated and upset, right? That alone is an important reason for someone to start listening to you.

However, I’m going to go a little deeper here. Active listening is actually a form of love. No, I’m not crazy – hear me out. When we actively listen we’re giving attention, acceptance, and allowance to others. We can’t actively listen without giving someone our full attention. Giving someone the time to share with us in a non-judgmental way doesn’t get much more accepting than that. Finally, when we actively listen to others we are allowing them to express themselves authentically and in a supported environment.

How quickly would your relationship change (for the better) if your partner or friend gave you some extra attention, acceptance, and allowance? Pretty fast, right!? Well that’s the gift of active listening and while it takes a lot of practice, it won’t cost you a dime to do and will vastly improve your relationship not only with others but with yourself as well.

What is Active Listening?

I’m calling this Active Listening because it’s a very intentional practice. Yes, we “listen” all the time and mostly we’re not even aware we’re doing it. In fact, many times we’re Passively Listening. How many times have you been in a meeting where others were on their phone? How about talking to a friend over dinner (I saw this just yesterday) where one of them is surfing their phone? We’re so busy multi-tasking that listening is passive at best.

Active Listening is something you consciously do. You’re not multi-tasking which means no phones in your hand, no keyboard at your fingertips, and no TV on in the background. Active Listening means you’re prepared to tell the person speaking to you that they have your full attention. It also means that if you’re not ready or able to Actively Listen to someone that you let them know. Of course, this could feel uncomfortable but isn’t that the respectful thing to do?

Active Listening means you’re not judging another and only thinking well of them. It means you’re not thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner. It means you’re focusing on your breath and not the piece of parsley stuck in their tooth (ok, that’s kind of funny!) . When done properly it means you are loving that person. It also means you’re being loved when others are listening to you.

5 Steps to Active Listening

1. Breathe natural and even breaths through your nose (if possible). Be sure these are full breaths and literally feel your belly expand as you inhale and deflate as you exhale. Outside of hearing this persons words if there’s only one thing you are consciously aware of make it your breath.

2. Relax your gaze as you look at the person speaking. Pretend as if you’re sitting in the far back of yourself. This allows some of that intensity to soften and keeps you in a relaxed and grounded place to give all that loving attention.

3. Wrap the person speaking in a mental blanket of love. Resist (this will take TONS of practice) the temptation to judge this person. If you hear something that takes you down that road remind yourself – they are doing the very best they can do under the circumstances and given the resources available.

4. Unless the person asks for specific advice – Be Quiet! It’s not our jobs to “fix” others but aren’t we good at it? 😉 The person doing the speaking is sharing a personal piece about them and we’re simply there to give them some loving attention. We don’t need to prove how worthy we are by showing them we can solve their problems.

5. Thank the person for sharing and don’t share anything they said with anyone else. We forget about confidentiality in our personal lives and unless we ask or someone tells us, it’s safe to assume that what they shared is private. Often times the only reason we share what others told us is to gossip and gossip is a self-serving path down judgment road. We don’t need it.

As I said before, Active Listening takes a lot of practice but the good news is you’ll have plenty of it. You and I both want to love and be loved in every relationship we have. Loving others by definition means we give them attention, acceptance, and allowance. These 3 things are at the core of listening effectively.

One last piece of advice for you. If you’re someone that thinks they listen pretty well, great! Please email this post to your partner or friend that might need a little support. If you don’t want to do that but still want to help then I have this for you. Instead of telling your partner or friend that they don’t listen or instead of trying to teach them how, just model this behavior. Follow those 5 steps I outlined and after awhile they will pick up on all that love you are giving them. They will want to reciprocate and probably without even being aware of it will start to listen as well.

I’d love to hear any tips or advice that you want to share about listening. In addition, if you try this out today or this week and want to share your experience I would love to hear from you! You can either email me or leave your comments below this post!

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

 

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

Loading...
Get your FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge eBook!