Personal Development Archives - Page 2 of 5 - What She Say | Practical Help for Women Building Better Lives
Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jul 17, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Esteem, Self Improvement

7 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Why You Should

women friends - how to stop comparing yourself to others

 

They say, “A thing of beauty needs no comparison, only an eye to behold it…”

Really?

I'm a mid-life woman, and so far I haven’t met any ‘non-comparing’ females in or out of my circle.

And of course that includes me as well 😉

I mean whether we're willing to admit it or not, we're always comparing ourselves!

There’s always the girl who’s (younger and) thinner than you, or the woman whose butt looks better in jeans; someone who’s prettier than you, someone who's smarter  or seems to have more.

How about the chick with the gorgeous boyfriend?

And if none of that holds true, there’s definitely someone who has a better job.

No? How about someone who’s more fortunate or happier than you?

Not to mention the lady who has more friends, a nicer home or…. Perhaps a different skill set?

Then there's always the other end of that spectrum. Someone who has it worse…

… And it goes on 😉

 

And let's be honest...We christian women know better.

But right now, we're talking real talk.

 

So the question is this, how to stop comparing yourself to others?

And the answer is, simple – stop doing it.

Life is NOT a competition.

Nobody is perfect, and all of us have the potential to be better versions of ourselves.

 

Comparing Yourself to Others Psychology

 

The truth is, we are taught the idea of comparing ourselves to others from very young.

This drive to compare ourselves to others was named 'Social Comparison' by social psychologist Leon Festinger, in the 1950s.

According to Festinger’s research, “human beings have the drive to assess their opinions and to know more about their abilities and when they are incapable of evaluating their opinions and abilities, they tend to compare themselves with others.”

Festinger was the first to use the term “Social Comparison”.

Social psychologists Aspinwall and Taylor did research on esteem and comparison, in the 1990s.

Their research showed that depending on someone’s level of motivation and self-worth, comparison can either be Upward or Downward.

  • Upward comparison, compels us to compare ourselves with those who are better than us, and
  • Downward Comparison urges us to compare ourselves with the ones who are worse than us.

Comparing upwards with a good self-worth can motivate us, but the same can negatively affect our psychological well-being if we have a low self-esteem, and this is where most of us need work.

 

"Comparing Myself to Others" Anxiety

 

We can create unnecessary situations of anxiety for ourselves.

We put ourselves down and find fault in ourselves because we see others as possessing the very attributes we wish we had.

The truth is, people have their own struggles underneath whatever they display.

So much in our society is competitive, and we give in to that competitive nature without considering that we’re putting our self-worth at stake.

chalk board - Don't compare yourself with others

 

7 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

 

Instead, we should continually remind ourselves of the following:

 

1. All of us are notable in a particular sphere. We all have things in us that are worthy (and we should endeavor to magnify those) for which we’re being admired as well.

There’s always someone that is looking at you, admiring your traits. After all, we’re all on the same spectrum. 😉

2. Rather than Compare, Observe to learn and grow. Instead of seeing ourselves in negative comparison against others (having or being more or less than someone else), we can remind ourselves that we’re still learning.

We can choose to emulate that which is truly admirable to learn and grow.

3. We must realize that folks don’t know our insecurities, and we don't know theirs. Seriously.

People have their own insecurities and they’re way too busy with their own self-conscious stuff to analyze us.

Just as we’re thinking about ourselves, they’re busy thinking about themselves.

4. Remember that comparison can be competitive. The yearning to possess what someone else has or is isn't healthy.

And being competitive in a negative way can lead to saying or doing things that can demean us in the longer run.

5. Admitting our insecurities and vulnerabilities openly decreases our tendency to compare ourselves with others. It helps us to accept ourselves "warts and all".

When we accept ourselves as we are, we realize that others have their own unique attributes, but also their own set of insecurities.

That approach releases us from the vicious grip of competition.

We begin to  admire others and work on our own stuff.

6. Taking others out of the equation, or comparing ourselves to ourselves helps to increase our self-worth.

The only way to "win", is by being a "better you" than you were yesterday.

If there's to be comparison, then let that be the nature of the competition.

For instance, instead of telling myself, “Oh Sarah is so much thinner than I am”, I can say, “I lost twenty pounds during the last 4 months. Wow! I’m proud of myself. I’ll feel awesome when I lose 10 more.”

7. Flip the script by replacing comparison and judgment with love and kindness. When we’re in the process of comparing ourselves with someone, we’re in fact stirring up negative energy, which is being sent out to the other person.

Remember that what goes around comes around.

Instead, be happy that the other person is so blessed, and know that you're blessed as well.

 

Whenever we find ourselves in the comparison trap (and it is a trap) we can hold our fire and send love and kind thoughts to the person we’re comparing ourselves to (and to ourselves as well).

We can compliment them; we can appreciate what is positive about them.

Appreciating others is a super positive habit with a boomerang effect. It makes us more self-compassionate.

 

Wrapping Up:

Comparison is toxic.

It breeds competition and brings insecurity, anxiety, depression, isolation and jealousy.

In addition to that, you can be competing against that which isn't even real, so it's a "no win" situation.

You see, that lady with better hair could be using a dye/weave/wig.

The one whose butt looks better in jeans might be using butt pads...

Learn to put things in perspective.

If there’s someone who’s thinner than you, then of course there’s someone who’s ‘thicker’ than you too.

If she has a better cleavage, don’t forget that you can still rock what you have (they're called "push-up" bras). 😉

And yes, it looks like she has a better boyfriend, but he might not be a "good" man.

All questions like...

How to stop comparing yourself to others physically?

How to stop comparing your body to others?

How to stop comparing your looks to others?

How to stop comparing your progress to others?

… have one and the same answer, and that is to appreciate and acknowledge what you have been blessed with.

 

The truth is, everyone has a different path and there’s no such thing as a perfect life.

All of us need to carve out our own path to be happy and successful.

When we admire those with whom we compare ourselves, they become our stepping stones to success.

So ladies, let’s say goodbye to the habit of comparing ourselves to others.

Love & Peace!

 

If you've enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your family and friends. Thanks!

 

Read More

Posted by on Jul 13, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Confidence, Self Improvement

How to Be More Outgoing – 12 Simple Ways To Make Friends and Enlarge Your Personal Sphere of Influence

friends at sunset - how to be more outgoing
If you're an introvert (like me!), it can be a challenge to be more outgoing.

Put me in a quiet space with a good book (or two or three) and tell me I'll not see people for days, and you'll get no complaint from me.

But it’s no secret that socially confident people are generally more successful both professionally and personally as compared to their counterparts, even when they have less skills, education or social standing.

Society rewards those individuals who are outgoing, comfortable socially and even gregarious.

Because of their exuberant personalities, outgoing individuals tend to meet new people, meet more people and have more opportunities presented to them.

It can be extremely daunting and overwhelming for introverts to consider becoming more outgoing.

However, just because you're an introvert doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your skills to be more outgoing.

You can be an introverted person and also practice skills that will help you become more comfortable, confident, open and communicative around others.

 

What’s the Difference Between an Extrovert and an Introvert?

 

Extroverts gain energy from being around others. These are the kinds of people who love big parties and social gatherings and find it hard (or simply undesirable) to be alone for long periods of time.

Introverts, on the other hand, gain energy from being alone (yessss).

These are the kinds of people who need alone time after a busy day, or who tend to feel overwhelmed or anxious in large social situations.

While it is true that most extroverts are also very outgoing, it is also very possible to be an outgoing introvert.

Maybe you gain energy from being alone and prefer quiet spaces, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be shy in social situations.

 

How to be More Outgoing as an Introvert

 

The most important thing to understand is that you don’t have to be an extrovert to be outgoing.

Being outgoing is about being friendly, open and socially confident. Here are some simple tips to start your journey towards being more outgoing:

 

5 Very Simple Tips To be More Outgoing

 

1. Use your body language

Making eye contact instead of avoiding it or staring at the ground is one easy way to instantly make yourself appear more outgoing.

If you stand up straight, employ good body posture and project a confident attitude, then you will be more likely to act confidently in conversations and people will see and respond to your confidence.

2. Go to places where there are people like you

If you’re not the kind of person who enjoys drinking and partying, going to a bar to meet people and expecting that to be a good experience is kind of a silly idea.

There are all kinds of personalities in this world, but not every experience is for everybody. And there will be some people around whom you'll not feel especially comfortable or get along with well.

I'm all for exploring new and different experiences, places and meeting new people, however, if you're working toward becoming a more outgoing person, it may be better at least in the beginning to find a place where you feel you will fit in.

That way, you're starting out from a place of comfort where you're more apt to feel confident and secure.

Whether it’s a bookstore, a coffee shop, or an event created around something you're interested in (such as a wine tasting, chef's dinner or an art event), it will be a lot easier to be outgoing around like-minded people than to be outgoing around people with completely different interests and personalities.

3. Make goals

Formulate progressive goals toward the eventual goal of becoming more outgoing.

Is there someone at work that you’ve enjoyed talking with and with whom you'd like to socialize in a personal setting outside your job?

Then work to make it happen.

First, challenge yourself to make a special effort to talk to them.

Striking up a simple conversation about their day, their interests, or asking about their family is a good way to initiate discussion.

Once you’ve done this over a few occasions, you can then move on to invite them to lunch or to hang out outside of work, attend an event and so on.

4. Seek help from outgoing friends

If you have friends who are outgoing, ask them to help you with meeting new people.

More likely than not, they will be thrilled to be of help.

Spending time with outgoing people can help jettison you into new social circles, as well as give you opportunity to observe their outgoing behaviors and model them.

5. Ask questions

People love talking about themselves.

If you are unsure what to say among strangers or how to ease yourself into conversation, simply ask a question.

Asking questions gives you the chance to learn more about others while also giving you the opportunity to take the lead and direct a conversation to a subject with which you're comfortable.

friends eating at a restaurant - how to be more outgoing

 

7 Additional Tips for Being More Outgoing

 

 

6. How to Get Over Shyness and Be Less Self-conscious

 

Being shy is usually a product of fearing judgement.

Oftentimes, introverts tend to exaggerate in their minds how much other people judge them.

As you move through your daily life, likely, no one is judging you nearly as much as you suspect or as harshly as you may judge yourself.

It can help you to relieve the pressure you may feel, and to feel less awkward just to have this basic understanding.

One other way to get over shyness is to simply acknowledge it in your conversations.

It comes across as charming and self-aware to mention your shyness if you can feel it hindering your conversation, and once it is out in the open, you will likely settle into the exchange and discussion.

 

7. How Can I Be More Fun to Be Around?

 

Chances are, you are already great fun to be around in the right setting where you feel secure and comfortable.

The most important thing to remember is to acknowledge that as an introverted person, you have limits to how much socialization you feel comfortable with in a set amount of time.

You will be more fun to be around if you truly want to be in a particular situation and feel up for it.

Avoid agreeing to too many social events (or events with which you are especially uncomfortable) in the name of being more outgoing. If you set yourself up for a few high-quality interactions, this will help you grow your confidence and keep you from feeling averse to social gatherings and interaction.

 

8. How Can I Become More Social?

 

If you're working toward being more social, the easiest place to begin is to practice talking to people you meet throughout your day.

It’s simple to speak with cashiers and baristas, coworkers and clients or teachers and other people within your community.

Simply be friendly and open whether it's talking about the day, or commenting on the weather. Something small like this can help spark conversation and give you practice striking up conversations on your own.

Greeting people and adding a simple “how are you?” or “how has your day been?” can help extend your conversation and provide an opportunity to get to know one another.

 

9. How Can I Become Well-spoken?

 

The best way to become more well-spoken is simply to practice.

Being well spoken mostly comes down to being confident.

And confidence is built upon practice.

One way to appear more confident and to feel readier to speak and express yourself is to make eye contact.

Remember that the majority of our communication is not in our words, but is made through non-verbal, body queues, and eye contact is a very important one of those.

When you make eye contact during conversation, it signals to others that you are paying attention, you're focused and listening to what they have to say.

And when you're the one speaking, your eye contact draws people into your conversation, and conveys assertiveness and confidence in your demeanor.

One easy way to practice speaking to new people is simply to introduce yourself when you come in contact with a new person.

Over time, you will develop a comfortable and casual introduction pattern that will make you ocmfortable when meeting virtually anyone.

As an example, one very simple and effective method of introducing yourself is to simply say, “Hello. I don’t think we’ve met. I’m _____.”

This gives the other person a chance to introduce themselves and gives you an opening into conversation.

Especially in this day in age, you’d be surprised at how many people forego this step. Just the simple act of introducing yourself can really make you appear sociable and outgoing.

 

10. How to Be More Outgoing and Talkative

 

If you find yourself having a hard time striking up conversations, it can really help to try out being more talkative around people with whom you know you have something in common.

Is there a coworker that likes the same music as do you?

Or another parent at your child’s school who is interested in art?

Try striking up a conversation about something in which you are genuinely interested.

In this way, you will naturally be more engaged, have more to say, and appear more confident.

 

11. How to Be More Outgoing in a Relationship

 

If you find you’re having trouble being outgoing (warm, open, communicative) in a new relationship, try talking with your partner about it.

And instead of following their queues, try taking the lead every once in a while.

This can help open the door for you to be more spontaneous and outgoing.

It’s important to express your own needs and desires, and simply taking this first step can make you feel more comfortable in the situation and with your partner, further opening the lines of communication with them.

Another way to become more outgoing in a relationship is to ask questions.

As we've discussed previously and as with any new person, asking questions is a great way to get to know someone.

In the case of a new relationship, try asking some deeper questions. These kinds of questions will help you take more ownership in the situation of getting to know each other.

 

12. How to Be Outgoing and Funny

 

Not everyone is a genius at telling jokes, nor should they be.

Let funny moments happen organically.

It’s a lot easier to show your humorous side once you get to know someone a bit better, and you feel more cmfortable around them.

Don't worry too much about coming across as funny right away.

If you aren't naturally gifted with humor, you'll find humor in your relationships as you get to know people.

As you gain confidence in speaking to new people, the confidence in humor will also come.

iguana friends - how to be nore outgoing

 

Final Thoughts - How to Be More Outgoing

 

It's important to understand that your worth is not based on what others think of you.

Your worth is based on who you are as a person, what you give to others and to yourself.

It is based on your attributes and your truest self.

Gaining self-confidence and getting to a point where you're comfortable with who you are is immensely helpful in growing your level of comfort in new and unfamiliar situations or around new people.

When you are comfortable with yourself and project a confident positive attitude, it's obvious to others, making both you and them more comfortable with one another in a given situation, and at the same time making the need for the approval of others not a priority (or source of angst and anxiety) for you.

All of this helps you to be more outgoing.

Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert by nature, learning to be more outgoing is a useful skill in social interactions, in business and even in job advancement.

You can be yourself and still learn to grow your social skills to be more open, more receptive to and more interactive with others. Try some of the tips we've outlined today to help you to be more outgoing.

If you enjoyed this post, please share with your family and friends!

Read More

Posted by on Jul 7, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Confidence, Self Esteem, Self Improvement

10 Little Known Ways to Be More Assertive, Confident, and Get More of What You Want

female boxer - assertive woman

 

Learning how to be an assertive woman is sometimes a bit more complicated than it may seem.

Assertiveness for women can be a delicate balance.

If you're “too assertive”, people tend to think you're aggressive, threatening or a b*tch. If you're not assertive enough, people perceive you as a pushover and a doormat.

And it's unfortunate, but people often take advantage of those they perceive as weaker or at a disadvantage.

If you're viewed as a pushover and people pleaser, whether in business or your personal life, it can be increadibly difficult to navigate your way through.

By cultivating assertive behavior, we learn to respect our needs while retaining compassion and respect for the needs of others.

Assertiveness affords us a measure of confidence and self-respect, as well as the respect of others which certainly makes it a desireable trait.

It's an essential skill for anyone who desires success, and for women in particular, it's a skill that takes a certain amount of finesse.

Follow these steps as we outline them here to learn valuable assertiveness techniques and tips for building confidence.

 

How To Be Assertive

assertive woman

 

What does it mean to be an assertive person?

 

When wondering how to be assertive, it's important to consider exactly what assertiveness is and what it is not.

Assertiveness is based on balance.

Honing an assertive personality requires you to be forthright about your wants and needs, while still respecting the rights, needs, and wants of others.

When you're assertive, you speak directly, confidently and express a presence through eye contact, body language and other non-verbal queues that is self-assured.

In doing so, you communicate with others in a manner that is perceived to be direct, firm, fair and powerful.

However, it is important to note that assertiveness is not the same as aggression.

Though aggression sometimes masquerades as confidence or assuredness, aggressive individuals tend to ignore or discount the needs of others entirely in favor of their own.

This can greatly upset individuals with whom they interact, and rightfully so.

Unlike aggression, assertiveness and assertive communication affirms your own needs and their importance, while you are still considerate of both sides of a situation when interacting with other individuals.

 

What are some examples of assertive behavior?

 

There are many types of assertiveness, from assertive speech to body language to a quiet internal self-confidence. Some assertive examples are:

Speaking calmly and firmly during a conversation
Using eye contact
Using assertive statements to authoritatively and clearly express your viewpoint
Being firm/repetitive if someone is pushing the issue

Now that we’ve taken a look at assertiveness meaning, try the following assertiveness and self-confidence tips to grow your assertiveness skills:

 

woman sitting - assertiveness

 

10 Ways to be More Assertive

 

1.Make Assertive Statements

What is an assertive statement?

An assertive statement is declarative. It is firm and asserts your position in an unapologetic way.

The simplest assertive statements are simply “Yes” and “No”.

Assertive statements often focus on the “I” voice and how you feel or think about a certain topic.

“I” statements also allow us to open up conversations, both at the workplace and at home.

“I” statements assert how you feel without placing blame on another person.

In doing so, you accurately detail your feelings without treading into aggressive territory.

Words or phrases that assertive statements don’t contain: maybe, I think, I should, I would like.

2. Practice!

Just like any other skill, assertiveness grows over time as you practice.

You can start building confidence by committing to be more assertive with those in your personal life.

If this seems too daunting, you can start practicing by talking to yourself in the mirror or writing down some assertive statements, just to get used to the language of being assertive.

3. Agree to Disagree

Many of us have a deeply imbedded desire for non-confrontation.

Unfortunately, this desire often makes it difficult, if not impossible, to stand up for ourselves.

Getting comfortable with respectful disagreement is an important step in building your assertiveness toolkit.

The fact of the matter is that disagreement is a natural part of life.

You are worthy of having your own opinions and thoughts, and they do not need to constantly affirm the thoughts of others.

Disagreements do not have to become arguments as long as you are willing to leave some things unsettled and simply state your opinion in a respectful but firm manner.

4. Listen Actively

A huge part of assertiveness that people often miss is the importance of listening actively to the person on the other side of the conversation.

Assertiveness is about framing your needs and desires within the whole context of the situation.

If you completely ignore what the other person has to say, your assertive standpoint will not be as well received.

5. Aim for Open and Honest Communication

In all aspects of life, it is important to establish open, honest communication that is essential to the health of a relationship.

Whether it is a significant other, best friend, child, or even a boss, it is important to establish that honesty of emotion.

One way to do this is to assert your own feelings in a positive and consistent way.

You can also directly ask for honesty and openness from those in your life, and that they meet you with the same honesty.

6. Learn to Say No

Saying “No” can be extremely difficult — especially if you've been taught to always “be polite”, not hurt the feelings of others and to put their priorities above your own, or that being a “people pleaser” is the way to make friends or get ahead.

In order to start being able to say “No”, you have to respect (and value) your own wishes.

As an example, if someone in your life is continually asking you to take part in a fundraising effort that you have no time for or interest in, it can feel like a big deal to refuse your help.

However, by being genuine about your feelings, you are simply respecting yourself and the other person.

Instead of trudging through something you don’t want to do or flaking on plans at a later date, an upfront “No” shows self-respect, an understanding of your own limits, and ultimately respect for the other person.

7. Express Your Needs

Use “I” statements to express your needs whether:

At work (i.e. “I am uncomfortable working at my desk with the air conditioning on me all day.”)
At home (i.e “I feel frustrated that I had to do most of the housework this week. I need more help from you so that I can recharge from work at night.”)
Or with friends (i.e. “I cannot come to the cookout because I have an upcoming deadline.”)

Using “I” statements to express your needs allows those around you to understand what is going on in your head.

Expressing your needs doesn’t make you weak, it makes you good at communicating and standing up for yourself.

8. Value Yourself

At the core of assertiveness, there is the understanding that your needs are as valid and important as the needs of others.

Especially if you are a nurturing, empathetic person, it can be hard to remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others.

If you don’t value yourself and your own time, health, space, and energy, then it's impossible to be truly assertive and to commit to pursue what you want in life.

The first step toward true assertiveness is to value yourself like you would a dear friend.

Beginning to genuinely value yourself is one of the best ways to start building self-esteem.

9. Use Scripting

If you have an important situation coming up where you're hoping to be more assertive, such as a conversation about job advancement, or confronting a family member about past behaviors, you can try “scripting” the conversation ahead of time.

And yes, it sounds corny, but just trust me, it can actually help.

You of course won’t need to memorize a dialog word-for-word, but taking some time to think about and possibly write out what you might want to say, can help you build the confidence to go for it.

It will also offer you the security of feeling prepared.

Try using the following outline to build your conversation:

 

Event:  Tell the other person how you see the situation or problem.

Feelings: Tell the other person, clearly, how you feel about the situation.

Needs: Tell the other person what you need from them

Consequences: Describe the impact of your request.

 

10. Practice Composure

It can be difficult to stay calm in the most important of situations.

Whether you have a tendency towards aggressiveness or passivity, both of these ends of the spectrum come from letting emotions control you and the situation.

In the beginning when faced with a potentially adverse situation or emotionally charged encounter, try giving yourself adequate time to construct an assertive response.

If something particularly emotionally triggering occurs, you can tell the other person you need time to think it over.

This will prevent you slipping into overemotional and less effective communication, and give yourself a chance to advocate in an assertive and productive manner.

 

celebration - assertiveness

 

 

In the End, Assertiveness Allows Us to Demonstrate Self-Confidence and Assuredness.

 

Being assertive is truly an act of respect towards yourself.

Assertiveness is empowering, and so helps us to be less anxious and stressed, more assured and confident.

If you are looking for additional resources on how to become more assertive, check out the following titles:

The Assertiveness Workbook, by Randy J. Paterson
Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships, by Robert E. Alberti and Michael L. Emmons
Assertiveness: How to Stand Up for Yourself and Still Win the Respect of Others, by Judy Murphy

If you like this post, please share it with your family and friends! Thanks!

Read More

Posted by on Mar 12, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Improvement

How to Rekindle a Relationship – Discover 5 Basic Reasons Relationships Sour and How To Fix Them

How to rekindle a relationshipDo you need to rekindle a relationship?

Do you find yourself wanting to take your love life from lackluster to a steady simmer (or maybe a raging boil)?

Do you wish you had kept in better touch with your college BFFs?

Has it been too long since you’ve really had a good talk with your sister?

Learning how to rekindle a relationship may be just the help you need.

The number and quality of our relationships is often a vital aspect of how we assess our quality of life. (Close Relationships and Quality of Life.)

Knowing how to rekindle relationship helps to ensure you'll always have strong and healthy connections to those who mean the most to you.

It's sad when relationships are allowed to diminish or deteriorate.

However, there are some simple steps we can all take to counteract this distance, andlearn how to rekindle a relationship that means so much.

Whether romantic, friendship or familial in nature, relationships often go bad as a result of these five fundamental issues:

 

couple holding hands

 

1. The relationship is being neglected.

 
These days, everyone is busier than ever, and it can be increasingly difficult to keep up with relationships.

One of the most common reasons relationships fail is that the relationship becomes neglected in favor of other aspects of one’s life (priorities or lack thereof).

Individuals involved in romantic relationships can often grow apart when one or both members of the relationship begin to prioritize work, other activities or other relationships over their romantic partner.

So, how to rekindle the relationship?

In this instance, scheduling date nights and setting aside quality time with one another is an easy way to rekindle your relationship so that neither partner feels neglected.

Plans can be as simple as settling down on the couch at the end of a long day with a bottle of wine and a good movie or as extravagant as planning a weekend away together.

How you choose to rekindle the relatonship is up to you.

What really matters is making sure that part of your normal routine is dedicated to enjoying each other’s company and cultivating opportunities for feeling close to one another.

With friends and family, an “out-of-the-blue” phone call can often help you keep up with goings-on in each other’s lives and to avoid emotional distance and feelings of neglect.

Even if you don’t have the time to make frequent calls, a simple note, email or text can help the other person know you’re thinking of them.

Scheduling even an hour out of your week to keep in touch with friends and family can do a world of good for strengthening your relationships.

Similarly, scheduling quality time that fits with your schedule can help to keep friendships and family bonds alive and healthy.

This can be as simple as meeting up for coffee if you're in close proximity to one another, or as planned out as going on a cross-country trip together.

couple holding each other

 

2. Your relationship is taken for granted

 

Expressing gratitude  for your loved ones is one of the most important foundations of a healthy relationship.

How often do you say I love you to your partner?

How about your parents or siblings or best friends?

“I love you” is a powerful statement, and though it can be hard to remember to express this sentiment as regularly as we should, it is extremely important.

Other simple acts of gratitude such as saying “I appreciate you” and “thank you” can help to strengthen a relationship and make sure that the other person doesn’t feel they are being taken for granted.

Aside from verbal gratitude, you can also show appreciation by extending help.

Does your partner hate doing the dishes?

Even if it’s his turn, you could always do it for him and leave a little love note letting him know that you wanted to help him out.

Little gestures like this can extend non-verbal love in a way that makes your partner feel appreciated.

This goes for friends and family as well.

Though it may be harder to find small acts of love to complete when you don’t live together, sending small care packages or letters through the mail can be a great gesture, particularly if you know that a friend or family member is struggling.

If you feel your relationship is suffering because the other person is taking your relationship for granted, it can be important to voice this concern.

They may not realize they are doing this to you in the way that you yourself may not have evaluated how often you tell your partner you love them.

cat staring at couple facing off

 

3. Lack of communication

 

How often have you heard that “communication is key” in a relationship?

The truth is, good communication and healthy relationships are inseparable.

Without open and effective communication, there can emerge a distance between two people that in some cases can become unbridgeable.

Sometimes, even if this is acknowledged, it can be difficult to actually take the leap of improving communication.

How do you rekindle the relationship?

One of the most important ways to open the lines of communication is to ask questions.

If you ask your partner or friends questions, it gives them opportunity to express themselves, their thoughts and emotions in ways they may not have felt comfortable in doing on their own.

Something as simple as asking “how are you feeling?” can help to open an important discussion about daily feelings.

If for example, you find you and your romantic partner struggling with your sex life, you could ask questions of your partner in an effort to open up a line of communication where you can both discuss your feelings.

These questions could be as simple as asking what they especially like or want in the bedroom, or how they envision their ideal sex life.

Try to tap back into the exciting moments early in your relationship when you wanted to devour all you could possibly want to know about one another.

Staying in this mindset leads to excellent communication.

With a friend or family member, it is equally important to keep an open line of communication even though these relationships tend to fall into communication doldrums.

It is important for friends and family members to understand what is going on in your life and for you to understand what is going on in their lives as well.

In this way, you can avoid miscommunication and achieve closeness.

 

African American couple at an event

 
4. Unrealistic Expectations

We’ve all heard the tired mantra that love is a game where you don’t know the rules.

This is an extremely misguided thought.

True love and intimacy are founded on open communication.

You and your partner should constantly be communicating in order to establish the “rules” of your relationship.

Are you angry at your partner because he doesn’t show you physical affection when you’ve had a rough day, or doesn't understand when you don't want physical contact for the same reason?

The answer is to talk to him about it.

How can he modify his behavior if he doesn’t understand yours and know why you are angry?

Having huge expectations for your partner, or anyone for that matter, including thinking they should be able to read your every thought or satisfy your every whim without you telling them, is a recipe for disaster.

We are only human.

Some people are better than others at intuiting what the other partner needs.

However, you can learn to manage unrealistic expectations by keeping in mind that everyone is not inherently skilled at intuitive emotional understanding.

So how can you rekindle the relationship?

Instead of expecting the response you want from your partner when you are sad, try explaining to your partner what it is you are looking for to bring you comfort.

Similarly, expecting friends to reach out to you when you won’t reach out to them is hypocritical and leads to disappointment.

Instead, simply letting your friends or family know when you are struggling can trigger the very outpouring of friendship and love you might need.

Managing reasonable expectations and discussing them openly is key.

Even the best of friends and partners are not mind-readers.

group of friends men woman

 

5. Lack of Vulnerability

 

Leaning on people in your times of need is difficult, but essential, in order to create lasting intimacy.

Vulnerability cultivates trust.

Every successful relationship involves a delicate balance of trust and vulnerability.

Each person in a relationship must be able to trust the other completely, and at the same time be willing to be open and thus vulnerable to the other person.

If either one of these things is lacking, missing or out of balance the relationship will suffer.

In a romantic relationship, vulnerability can be cultivated through honesty.

If you are worried about a big job promotion coming up, talk to your partner.

Too often, we worry about being burdens to those we love.

Being stoic and solid is definitely an attractive quality, but in all reality, all humans are flawed, vulnerable, have worries and face difficulties or hard times.

Being open about your own struggles will allow others to be open to you about theirs.

In this way, you will be able to cultivate deep and lasting intimacy in all of your relationships.

An easy way to get become accustomed to showing vulnerability is to simply express your feelings openly.

If your friend asks you how you are, instead of just offering the reflexive response of “fine”, really think about it and answer honestly.

You could tell them you had a good day because you got to spend time doing the things you love.

Or you could mention you are feeling sad because a family member is sick.

Expressing your feelings authentically is a surefire road to intimacy.

 

How To Rekindle A Relationship

 

Strengthening relationships is one of the most important goals you can set for yourself in the coming year.

Having strong relationships helps us to feel a sense of purpose.

Strengthening your own relationships might seem like a difficult task.

It’s best to start with analyzing which of the above areas need work in your relationships.

Try some of the tips to improve your relationships and watch as they strengthen and become better.

Once you discover how to rekindle a relationship, enjoying healthy relationships will become a long-lasting benefit to your life.

Did you enjoy this post or find it helpful? If so, please share it with your family and friends. Thanks!

Read More

Posted by on Jan 30, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Improvement

10 Brilliant Relationship Goals to Help Make This Your Best Year Ever

Relationship goals.

Relationships, whether romantic, friendly or with family are crucial to our survival as human beings, especially as women.

We need the connections, the love and the support of good relaitonaships to be healthy, happy and to thrive.

Healthy relationships help us to reduce stress, recover better from illness and provide us the emotional support we need.

It's a brand new year. The season for goal-setting. We've firmly closed the door on the year past, as we move forward into the year before us.

And as we consider what we want the future to look like, what we wish to see in this current year, some of our thoughts turn toward our relationships.

So it makes this a perfect time to consider relationship goals.

What do we desire from our relationships?

What do we hope to gain?

How can we make our lives richer, better, happier and more enjoyable through our interactions with the important people in our lives?

We can talk all day about things we want in life and what we desire from our relationship connections, but unless and until we create a plan to make those desires happen, and then act on that plan, nothing will change. Nothing will improve.

We'll simply have a wish list that's not much good for anything.

So why set and pursue relationship goals?

To provide yourself with a "road map" for achieving what you desire to have in your relationships as part of a better life.

To give focus, direction, motivation and accountability for your day-to-day efforts to achieve the things you say you want.

To help you maximize your efforts to get the most benefit from your relationships and life.

So below, we've outlined ten relationship goals to help you as you work to make this year your best one yet.

10 Relationship Goals for 2018

 

1. Be kind.

Lately the world has become a place where it seems we have almost completely lost all sense of the need for civility and kindness towards one another.

If you want to have better relationships at home, at work and in your community, start by showing a little more kindness toward those with whom you come in contact.

It costs little to nothing for any of us to be kind to others, and the benefits to others, but even more so to ourselves are infinite.

Be kind and I promise you you'll find you have more, you'll have better, and you'll enjoy deeper relationships in all aspects of your life.

 

2. Be sensitive to the needs of others.

We're all somewhat used to being the stars in our own show.

Life is something that happens around us. We're in a story where the center of the narrative is each one of us.

But the truth is, everyone has their own story individually.

They're not simply “extras” in yours.

And just as you may see your needs and wants as the priority in your journey, other people have the same feelings and perceptions relative to their lives and their journey.

Be aware of and sensitive to the needs of others.

By demonstrating a caring demeanor, you strengthen the bonds of your relationships through your sensitivity.

 

3. Listen with open ears and an open heart.

Sometimes when our friends or loved ones speak, we're too busy to hear what they are saying.

Instead of listening, we're busy planning what we'll say in a response or worse, we zone out entirely, disregarding the essence of their conversation in favor of focusing on our own thoughts (like going over to do lists in our head).

When you're engaged in conversation with people who matter to you, pay attention. Be present.

Ask them questions about what they're talking about. Actively engage in what they are saying by first listening and then appropriately responding to them.

This will lead not only to better communication, but will also lead to a stronger bond and connection.

 

4. Put away the devices and allow yourself to genuinely connect with others.

Between smartphones, iPads, and wifi everywhere it's easy to get lost in technology, be continually distracted and ignor the one sitting right next to us.

Introduce mandatory periods of time where devices aren't allowed such as a “no device night” or a device free mealtime and spend that time talking with your family and friends about each other's day or what's happening in each other's life.

 

5. Develop an appreciation for yourself and the important people in your life based on where you (and those close to you) are at this moment in life.

Life isn't perfect, humans are not perfect, and relationships are certainly not perfect.

But learning to appreciate the people, friendships and the love you have in your life right now helps you to develop a level of contentment with your life that will encourage positive growth and development of your relationships.

Things in your life, including your relationships, may not look like or be exactly what you thought they would, but appreciate what you have now, and work to make them even better for the future.

 

6. Tell your family and close friends your favorite things about them.

Everyone loves to hear good things about themselves.

Tell those important to you what you love most about them.

This will make them feel great and will make you feel good too.

 

7. Ask for what you need.

As women, this one can be a little tough for us.

We tend to put other's needs ahead of our own or put up a facade of strength and independence lest we be percieved as “weak”.

However, it has at least been my experience that those we love are not mind readers and it's unfair of us to expect them to somehow know information (in this case what we want or need) that we're not sufficiently communicating to them.

When we don't get what we need from others, it leaves us with resentment towards the other person.

Speak up and let others know what you need.

Do it kindly and as lovingly as possible, being mindful of their feelings, but making sure to communicate clearly, and you will be amazed at the outcome.

 

8. Get over being right and learn to say I'm sorry.

In a relationship of any kind, being right may make us feel good, but it's never the most important thing.

Pointing out that you're “right” in a given situation when the other party is wrong or mistaken, is generally not a good thing.

Nobody likes to hear “I told you so”; no one wants to be nagged.

Even if you feel you're right, your need to be right is not worth damaging or losing your relationship with the other person.

And just as importantly, when you are the one who is mistaken or wrong in a situation, you need to learn the subtle art of saying “I apologize. I was wrong.”

We're all human, and we all mess up from time to time. Handling it with love and grace in your relationships with others will strengthen and deepen your connections.

 

9. Trust.

Trust is a critical component of any relationship, and it works two ways.

You obviously want to trust your partner or family members.

But it's important to remember that they want that same from you.

If you have been wronged in some way by someone, be gracious enough to allow that person to make amends.

By allowing them to espress their regret, to say “Sorry” and to make amends, you are showing them that they can trust you not to shut them out or to reject them when things go wrong.

 

10. Take time to care for yourself.

Okay, I have a confession.

I hate hearing the term “self care”.

It seems that it's everywhere now.

And for me it just sounds so very self-centered.

Everyone needs “self care” these days. Ugh!

However, that being said, if we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of anyone else.

Loving others means first loving yourself.

If there are things you dislike about yourself or your life, work on them and allow yourself the grace to know that it's perfectly okay that you are not perfect. You were never meant to be.

When we're not functioning at our best, or we're uncomfortable with who we are or how we're presenting ourselves to the rest of the world, we may lash out at others.

Such behavior is certain to be detrimental to our relationships with those we love the most.

Be sure you are taking the time you need to care for and love yourself, so that you can truly love others.

Is this YOUR year?

If you're (finally) ready to get the tips and tools you need to power through your goals and accomplish what you want for life, then Slay Your Goals Planner is a great place to start.Slay Your Goals Planner

Get better results, track your progress and success! Receive consistent support and encouragement!

SYGP comes with everything you need including a 60+ page printable.

You get a day/monthly/yearly planner, motivational quotes, a variety of layouts and styles, guidelines and useful prompts and all of this in an intuitive format that can be printed again and again!

It's a great solution for anyone needing a system that's easy, efficient and results oriented to crush your goals this year!

You can check it out here.

Was this post helpful to you? If so, please leave me a comment then think about who you know that needs to read this and would be encouraged and benefit from this information in their personal journey. Please share this message with them. Thanks!

Read More

Posted by on Jan 16, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Improvement

Minimalism: Be More With Less

Minimalism: Be More With Less minimalist tips

Minimalism: Be More With Less

 

Can You Create More For Your Life By Including Less In It?

Minimalism is a concept that's become quite popular in recent years, especially as a topic of discussion related to the phenomenon of the "tiny house movement" in the housing market in this country.

When hearing the word minimalism, your mind likely flows to thoughts of stark simplicity, depriving oneself of material things, existing in a cold, uncomfortable environment devoid of personality, warmth and character.

You may think of minimalists as people living on the fringe; extremists interested in determining how much comfort, technology and consumer goods they can learn to live without.

And while all of those things may be elements of minimalist living, that's not really the point of it or what it's really about.

The essence of minimalism is not stripping away everything to the point of you being miserable or feeling deprived.

In fact it's really quite the opposite.

Minimalism about living your life in a way that brings you personal freedom.

"Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom."

TheMinimalists.com

Joshua Becker, author, founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist describes Minimalism as "the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it."

Think about that for a minute... how amazing would it be to be concerned with, and surrounded by, only those things that mean most to you?

The thing is, by becoming minimalist or including elements of minimalist lifestyle into your life if you so choose, you can shape it to be more of what you want.

Using the ideology of minimalism to help you shift the way you think about your life and the relationship that exists between you and the things in it, may take some effort on your part.

But you can use it as a tool to help you to create a life that is more authentic and genuinely reflective of who you are, which in turn brings you more joy.

Embracing minimalist living (or at least elements of it) compels you to consciously work to determine what genuinely is important to you and including that into your life, while simultaneously and continually working to remove that which no longer serves you and the vision you have for your life.

As a simple "for instance", several years ago I went through my own version of a personal minimalist experience as I created a new living space for myself.

As I moved through the process of choosing, planning and arranging my new space, something that in a lifetime of living I had never had the opportunity to do on my own, I used my own vision of minimalist living to thoughtfully and specifically select each piece of furniture that would be in it.

I brought a very few items that I had previously owned into the space.

Other items I painstakingly and specifically selected, one at a time, for their individual characteristics, functionality and their special appeal to me on a personal level.

I am by no means a “true” minimalist, but I applied my own vision and version of minimalist style that works for me to my living space.

The result is that I now live in an uncluttered space that is not only comfortable to me, but brings me a sense of peace and contentment every single day.

And the ability to live in this way has made a profound difference in my mental and emotional state, which has a powerful impact on my everyday existence and my overall quality of life.

And that's what minimalism can do for you too.

So now it's your turn to see how minimalism could benefit you.

But first things first.

If you're interested in some form of minimalist lifestyle, you need to determine why you want to become minimalist or include more elements of minimalism in your life?

Ask yourself why you want to live more simply?

Do you desire less stress?

Do you want to regain more of your time that's currently being spent to acquire or maintain your “things”?

Want more time with your family?

Do you wish to feel more in control of your life and environment?

Need to have less tasks you are required to perform or be responsible for on a daily basis?

Write it down.

Once you have your list of "whys", keep them close. These will be the motivators for helping you to create your ideal life.

Here are six beginning tips to put you on the path to living simply and with more freedom.

 

Becoming (your version of) Minimalist.

 

Minimalist Advantage - Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around.

 

1. Stop obtaining, collecting and purchasing things in the absence of thoughtful consideration.

Stop trying to "keep up with the Joneses".

Notorious BIG said it best when he said "mo money, mo' problems."

When we are continually trying to get more, more money, more clothes, more toys, we are just creating more stress.

Start working to bring more balance to your life by being more thoughtful when acquiring new things and spending money for purchases.

When you consider adding something to your life or buying something for yourself or your home, ask yourself "Do I really need this?" "Is this something I really want?"

Think of the things that make you happy.

Do you love to travel (but often feel it's not something you can afford to do as often as you'd like)?

If so, you may wish to save for a trip rather than buying another ____________ (fill in the blank).

And speaking of purchases, learn to stop for a moment and consider the true cost of an item you're considering buying.

Ask yourself "How long/how hard do I have to work to earn enough money for this purchase?"

"Would I rather save that amount of money or put the money toward something I think is more valuable/worthwhile instead of spending it on this?"

Another (closely related) issue relative to the consumerism we participate in is what we have to do to afford what we purchase or possess.

Staying in a job we hate just because the pay keeps us in a lifestyle we think we want, does not bring joy.

If you're in a job that makes you miserable or is a source of a majority of your life stress only so you can buy or afford things or to maintain a certain lifestyle level, you may want to reconsider your situation as well as your employment.

Think carefully about scaling back the things you can really live without.

Get rid of expensive toys, objects and activities that are unnecessary, don't really "fit" with who you are authentically or don't contribute to your ultimate happiness.

The result will be you lessening your financial burden and responsibilities.

Then find a job that may not pay you stacks of cash, but makes you feel fulfilled while still allowing you to meet your monetary obligations.

True fulfillment in your work will make you a much happier person than will keeping up with a job you hate just to pad your bank account or to purchase things you don't really need or want in the first place.

 

Minimalist Advantage - Freedom from overwhelm.

 

2. Turn off the notifications. Clutter in our lives is not just about having too much "stuff."

 

We are bombarded all day long by emails, status updates, text messages, work orders.

Whatever it is, we can be notified instantly.

This atmosphere of "urgency" can be stress-inducing, so we often feel the need to immediately answer texts or emails or messages from our BFF only to find they're anything but urgent.

No more. Turn off notifications on your phone, and schedule a time or specific times during your day to check your notifications and messages.

For example, allow yourself 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon to check your emails or social media.

Then go back to living your life.

Keep your social media "friends" and followers to a minimum; you do not have to follow them just because they're following you.

If your job revolves around social media, make certain to have a professional id and page separate from any personal one.

 

Minimalist Advantage - Freedom from worry.

 

3. Rid yourself of O.P.P. (Other People's Problems).

 

This one is perhaps one of the hardest.

We have those people in our lives that seem to be a big ball of drama (friends, family members, coworker's and acquaintances).

Their lives are chaos's of their creation, and they always seem to need something.

Whether it is validation they seek or someone to clean up their mess, if you are the "go to" person, you know the one who ends up always having to "fix" things, then you need to stop.

No more 3 AM phone calls or rushing to their side whenever they call you.

Set boundaries. If you choose, offer a specific and limited period within which you're willing to allow them to call and vent in a true crisis or emergency. But then, stop it there.

If they cannot respect that, then it may be time to put some distance between you and that individual in your relationship.

 

Minimalist Advantage - Freedom from unnecessary possessions.

 

4. Say goodbye to the just in case pile.

 

We have them, the clothes in the closet (or any number of other possessions) we keep "just in case."

This could be the clothes we hold on to in case we finally lose that extra 10 lbs, or the clothes we keep in case we ever go skiing again.

Whatever the situation, if you are holding onto clothes (or anything else) that you're not using (or haven't used in months or years), donate those things to charity and bring joy to someone else.

 

Minimalist Advantage - Freedom from stress.

 

5. Too much clutter causes stress.

 

When you have stuff laying around, shoes overflowing the closest, stacks of magazines on the tables, five sets of the dishware and you are single; it overloads your senses.

It can cause you to feel stressed, impair clear thinking and your creativity.

Get organized.

It may be challenging to say goodbye to some of these items.

Don't worry you are not alone. Many people, for any infinite number of reasons, attach value and sentiment to the items we possess.

However, it doesn't mean we should hang on to them.

Get rid of duplicates (linen sets, dishes etc.), put only the few magazines that you really want or feel the need to keep in storage bins in the closet or on a shelf (recycling or donating the rest), and find a nice shoe rack.

 

Minimalist Advantage - Freedom from ambiguity and uncertainty.

 

6. Clear the mind.

 

Clutter is not merely physical; our minds can quickly clutter with all the things that make up our lives.

Start by giving yourself five minutes a day to meditate, to clear the mind and sit in silence.

You will find that once you have the time to quiet the noise in your mind, the path to intentional living becomes clearer and more precise.

The key to living your most authentic life is to start small; incorporate small changes daily.

If you are feeling stuck, pull out your "whys" for becoming minimalist and/or living a minimalist lifestyle.

 

Minimalist Advantage - Freedom from meaninglessness and unintention.

 

7. Put your possessions, purchase considerations, potential experiences to the time test.

 

When deciding if something is worth acquiring and worth the investment of your money, time or effort to obtain or keep it ask yourself "Is this something that will be desirable, important to or necessary for me in 30 days, six months or a year?

Is this something that matters to me or makes a difference to my life in 5 or 10 years?"

It's a simple and easy way of putting things in perspective and quickly answers the question "Do I need this in my life?"

Remember minimalism, becoming minimalist or including elements of a minimalist lifestyle to your life is not about just throwing everything away.

It's about assigning value to all of the things in your life, keeping more of the things you love as a part of it and freeing yourself from those things that don't contribute to your best life.

Have you attempted to incorporate minimalism into your life? What was your experience and how did it go? Let me know in the comments.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, please share! Thanks!

Do You Need To Declutter?

Start being more with less now.

If you're feeling stuck in life, or you're in the midst of a significant life change, transformation or shift in circumstances, then chances are decluttering needs to be a part of your process. It was certainly a big part of mine.

From discovering (or rediscovering) who you are authentically, to getting organized, to finding clarity, prioritizing what's important to you, organizing your finances, redefining your living space or seeking more freedom, decluttering is an important step in your journey.

If you're moving to a new town, positioning yourself for a career change, going through divorce, designing a new living space or working through an emotional healing process, decluttering will help you to get free, rid yourself of emotional baggage, reclaim your time and heal your finances and more.

And if you must tackle a clutter problem, DeClutter Fast is a solution created especially for you. It helps you to solve your clutter problem almost immediately and for good.

Learn how to declutter without the stress.
Find the solution for procrastination of decluttering.
Discover how to declutter your entire living or work immediately. (The average home can be decluttered in usually just a couple days.)
Learn to organize important paperwork and your clothing and much more!
Get rid of your clutter, make things simpler and become highly organized to stay on top of your life!

Follow this link to Learn More and Get Declutter Fast Click Here!

When you finish decluttering...

Need help with storage and organization? Find the tools you need for storage and organization from my friends at The Shelving Store.

Featuring high-quality products to help you organize and create storage for every room of your home or office from closet and bathroom organizers to garage storage and kitchen organization, The Shelving Store has you covered.

Visit The Shelving Store through this link to get a 5% discount on any storage and organization supplies you need.

 

Read More
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!