Allowing Love To Overcome Disappointment

love is the only alchemy for transformation  Osho

I had a realization the other day. Okay, I’ll admit it, my better half took my own words, threw them back in my face and forced me to look at a situation differently. However it happened, I learned a lesson that is sticking with me because it continues to come into my mind.

One of my children made a mistake that in my mind, was beyond a huge error in judgment. Big enough that I questioned how a child of mine could not recognize the repercussions of their actions. My disappointment  kept me awake and off balance for a couple days. I suppose that learning the facts of the situation from a third party added to my disappointment.

My realization was that my disappointment stemmed from inside me not my child’s action. It may have been obvious to you in the above statement, “a child of mine”. That is a clear indicator that my expectations weren’t being met. Disappointment is simply a byproduct of unmet expectations. The important part is they were my expectations, not my child’s.

This whole line of thinking led me to review each time I’d told someone that I was disappointed in them. I thought about my children, my siblings, my employees and even some friends. Thinking about it now, what right did I have to impose my disappointment on them?

Naturally this led me to think about what I could have said or done differently. I thought I’d share some of them with you just in case you want to rethink disappointment for yourself. I could have asked questions. How can I help you resolve this? What can I do differently so you know that you are always loved? Do you want to discuss it? How are you feeling about your choices? If you had a do over, would you behave differently? How can I help you improve?

I’m just going to stop and think about what the source is the next time I feel disappointment. If it is my own expectations, I have control over how I feel and I’m going to exercise that.

christiebakeman.com

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We all Lie!

People like Truth   Gina DeVee

Yes, we all lie. The question is where do you draw the line?

If you read that title and immediately got your feathers ruffled, that’s good because you will be open enough to consider what is written here. Let’s start with something simple. Have you ever told a child about the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny? See, sometimes we tell lies to create an illusion meant to excite or create happiness. What about telling a lie about where you are going or doing because you are trying to keep the secret of a surprise party? Those types of lies all seem reasonable and in no way do we think they affect our level of honesty. So where do you draw the line? Is a lie okay if we are trying to protect someone?

Many of us think that the truth is the truth and it doesn’t change however I would propose that the truth has to do with your beliefs about a subject more than what the reality is. From a broad standpoint, if you believe in your heart that people are basically good then you may see someone’s error in judgment as simply a mistake rather than a lie. In this circumstance, you will be likely to believe what this person says to you and accept it as the truth.

All of us have the ability to recognize when someone is telling us the truth. However, if your belief in a person or concept is strong, you may ignore the warning signs that you are being lied to. Think about a time in the past where someone you love told you something and you immediately got a funny feeling. Just as quickly you dismissed it and told yourself that you were being paranoid or unreasonable. Being aware of your feelings is important because they are your guidance system.

You are an energetic being. As all energy does, you vibrate at a frequency. Thoughts and words also have an energy, therefore a vibration that you are picking up energetically. When something is off, possibly not being the truth, we recognize it at the level of our feelings. Your awareness level of your own feelings will have an impact on your ability to identify the truth. In my past career I had training in identifying physical characteristics that occur when someone is lying, however I always found that my feelings were far more accurate. Some would refer to this as trusting your gut. Not one time did anyone begin our conversation with I’m dishonest so you can’t believe anything I say! Quite the contrary, people who are trying to convince you that they are telling the truth will say things like; honestly or you know I’d never lie to you or the truth is when they begin to tell you something. I’m just reminding you to trust your feelings and notice when something feels off to you.

Now lets flip the roles and think about a time that you lied to someone. Maybe you thought you’d be in trouble if the truth was known. Not providing the “full story” could have been your way of failing to take responsibility for your actions or words. It could be you did something intentionally that you felt was wrong and didn’t want to admit it. We’ve all done it so I’m not here to chastise you. What I do want to point out is the feeling you had about the mistruth. Did you notice you felt nervous? Did you have a pit in your stomach? Did you have the desire to avoid the person because you felt too upset near them to stay in control? Whenever you feel those types of emotions, you emit a frequency that someone else can pick up if they are aware or at least not oblivious. Just a little something for you to think about the next time you are thinking about “stretching” the truth.

If this type of article makes you think, check out my website christiebakeman.com

Finding Yourself After Divorce

Working on self divorce

When I found myself living alone for the first time in thirty years, it was as though I’d entered a virtual world. It had components of my previous reality, yet I walked through the first few months in a bit of a fog. My old habits continually exerted their influence and I found myself stopping mid task and asking what the hell I was doing. For example, the first time I went to the grocery store to stock my kitchen, I found myself picking up a bottle of ranch dressing.  When I put it in the shopping cart, I stood there staring at it for a full minute before I took it out and put it back on the shelf.  I hate ranch dressing.  I bought it for years for my husband and children. These are the type actions that you don’t think about, until you do.

The most difficult and time consuming change was changing how I felt about myself. I was no longer getting daily feedback about how I looked or what another didn’t like about what I was doing. When you live in an environment that is continually critical, no matter how strong you are, eventually you begin to take that criticism on as part of your truth. As I started noticing thoughts that made me feel bad, I had to examine each one for the origin….was it my initial thought or one that I’d taken ownership of after hearing it from another?  Recognizing that a belief about yourself actually was something you adopted is the first step in liberating yourself from those beliefs.

Once you identify a belief that is no longer part of your truth, or isn’t beneficial to you, you need to create a replacement belief.  It’s one thing to say I’m not going to believe that anymore, but that isn’t how our minds work.  Think of a toddler with a box of crayons who colors on the wall.  Taking away the crayons could be a short term solution however replacing the surface for coloring teaches what is acceptable.  “Susie, we color on these papers then we can hang them on the wall.” Hopefully you see the difference. For me, the thoughts I had to replace ran the gamut from my feet are ugly to I’m too controlling.

Here is the actual exercise I did to help me begin to change those beliefs about myself. First I wrote down the beliefs that made me feel bad about myself.  I did this in pencil and I left a couple of blank lines between each belief.  I filled a couple of pages on my legal pad as negative thoughts flooded my mind and found their final resting place on the yellow paper with the blue lines. The next part of the process took much more time.  Using a pen, I wrote replacement thoughts in the blank lines between those non-beneficial thoughts. The reason this took longer is I had to find a thought I could believe without that constant battle that occurs when you try to convince yourself of something that is out of your acceptable level of what’s possible. For example I replaced I’m too controlling with I make thoughtful decisions and being organized helps me keep my life in order.

You probably guessed the reason for writing those negative beliefs in pencil, so you can erase them. If you do this exercise for yourself, I’d encourage you to only erase the old belief once you’ve truly switched how you think about that particular topic. That means, dealing with one at a time. It doesn’t matter if it takes months to adjust your beliefs, after all it probably took years for you to take on those negative beliefs. Be gentle on yourself as you work at changing them.

Learning to live on your own after being part of a couple can be difficult however if you’ve gotten to the point that being alone would bring you more personal happiness, I understand that feeling. Although my book is about multiple areas of life, life partners fills a chapter. For more information, you can check out my author book site. No matter what you do, I want you to know that if someone else is deciding how you think about yourself, it’s worth examining.

A Great Memory Can Be a Detriment.

Let It Go Iyanla Vanzantchristiebakeman.com

I had an epiphany on Mother’s Day about myself and how much room I had for spiritual growth.  I’ve always been proud of my memory.  The fact it was good wasn’t just my opinion, co-workers quickly discovered I didn’t forget much.  It didn’t matter if the subject was dates, events or policies.  My mind connected enough dots to allow recall on demand.  The same is true regarding personal relationships, as I would recall conversations, feelings and behaviors.  This is especially true for those connected to a date or holiday.  Hence my soul searching adventure on Mother’s Day.

We were having dinner at my in-laws and I suppose the expression on my face was a bit melancholy.  “Why do you look like that?  You heard from both your boys and we both told you happy Mother’s Day this morning” says hubby.  Well that was all it took for me to recall in great detail the past few Mother’s Days and the inaccuracy of his statement.  Down the rabbit hole I went emotionally.  A few minutes later I felt the need to correct him as I pulled him aside and pointed out that my step-daughter has never wished me greetings on this day.  Not to mention her lack of acknowledgment of my birthday, which of course I did mention.

There lies the epiphany.  The quality of life isn’t about what others do or don’t do, it is about how we think about the situation.  Do we label it as a positive or a negative?  Any event is just that, an event.  It isn’t until we assign it a label within our mind that it produces any type of emotion.  I know this.  I write about it.  However there are times that I forget what I know and I react without objectivity and follow the river of my emotions.

Later, on the drive home, I found myself defending my step-daughter within my own mind.  I know she loves me from what she says and does during the course of daily life for the three years we’ve lived together.  Maybe she feels it would be disloyal to her own mother to demonstrate appreciation on a special day.  The fact that she would prefer to live with her mother and it isn’t possible weighs on her soul.  Where mothers day is special to me, it may be a torment within her.  These are things I must consider for both of our benefit.  Along with the fact that I know she wouldn’t intentionally hurt me.  Within a blended family there are wounds that are unseen, yet must be tended to.  As a parent, we must set the example and recognize what is important to our children to allow them to flourish.  That may mean seeing life from their point of view instead of our own.

Sometimes having a great memory prevents us from living in the present moment.  When we are thinking about what has happened in the past we aren’t focused on the here and now.  We miss the joy of the moment.  The fact is that all of us have painful memories, big or small doesn’t matter.  When we put our attention on those we prevent something different from manifesting in our lives.  Like attracts like.  Sometimes you just have to let things go.  Being grateful for what is currently in your life is a good start.  For me I need to be less proud of my memory and develop a pride for living in the moment.

Please feel free to comment on this or any other blog.  I’m interested in your opinions.

Your Biggest Mistake

greatest challenge is discovering who you are

You know that negative self talk that occurs when you make a mistake?  How far do you take that?  Are you letting it define who and what you are?  Okay, I’ll admit I’ve made some doozies and I beat myself up over them, sometimes for days and there are some that haunt me still, years later.  It’s not like I got up in the morning and thought about what I could screw up that day.  Mistakes happen, and frankly they are useful in helping us decide what we need to pay more attention to or what it is we really want.  Mistakes also help define who we are and what we’re made of when we use them to grow.

Some mistakes are merely a lapse in judgement, such as saying something prior to your brain engaging.  I learned this lesson when I was a district manager in the early 1980’s.  A VP had divulged during a conversation that he was a former cocaine addict.  I’m sure he did this to create some sort of a bond with me.  The why doesn’t matter though.  My mistake was repeating this information a couple weeks later to another person in the company.  You guessed it.  The fact that I shared the information got back to the VP and I received a phone call from him that I’ll never forget.  You could argue that he shouldn’t have talked about his addiction however that lesson in keeping information to myself benefited me after that point in time.  My co-workers learned that I would keep information to myself, consequently I ended up knowing far more about their personal lives than I ever wanted to know.

Other mistakes allow us to decide what type of person we are and who we will allow in our circle.  Those of us with children know we have to permit our children to make their own decisions at some dreaded point.  They choose their friends and with those friends come that person’s habits and choices.  It was a happy day at our house when our daughter decided for herself that she didn’t want to spend time with a particular group of friends.  They were a going nowhere fast crowd who thought it was cool to lie to parents and spend their time just hanging out away from adult eyes.  You may wonder why we didn’t forbid her to spend time with these kids.  I learned that lesson with my oldest son.  When I stated he could no longer spend time with a particular friend, he wanted to spend more time with that person.  Oh, that assertion of free will we are born with!  I figured out it was better to focus my energy on rewarding good behavior and his desires, coaching him on the actions it would take to get where he wanted to go.  In the end, after multiple mistakes on my part trying to control him, he made the best choices for himself.

None of us is perfect and for the most part we do the best we can.  However the biggest mistake that any of us can make is to not forgive ourselves when we do mess up.  If you catch yourself saying things like, “I know better” or “I’m such an idiot”, take a step back.  Would you say those things to someone you love when they already feel bad about their mistake?  You deserve the same compassion that you would provide to another.  Take time to analyze the situation objectively so you can avoid repeating it and then let it go.  I know that isn’t easy with things we perceive as huge mistakes but it can be done.  It is likely that you were missing a key piece of information or simply enough life experience to make the best decision.

I would encourage you to pay attention to your self talk, especially when you feel you’ve made a mistake.  Our beliefs have developed over time and typically have been part of how we think for so long that we don’t question thoughts that are in alignment with them.  Increasing your awareness about those beliefs will assist you in identifying what is no longer benefiting you.  The growth this provides is worth a few mistakes, especially if you learn to forgive and love yourself.  Like the Loreal ad….You’re Worth It!

christiebakeman.com

Rather Lose My Job Than My Integrity

Integrity is doing the right thing C. S. Lewis

Have you ever had a job that you enjoyed so much, all others were compared to it?  Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I had the best job for me about twenty five years ago.  I was running a small company in Atlanta, wearing multiple hats on a daily basis.  The hours were crazy, the work full of variety and my team was full of creative individuals who were both a pain in the ass and inspiring.  I loved what I was doing!  I was having fun!  I was growing as an individual and a supervisor!  My team enjoyed their work and they kept improving and growing themselves.  Then it ended by my own hand.

I had to make the toughest career choice of my life.  It was heart wrenching because I really loved what I was doing.  Yet I knew, deep within my soul, that it was my only choice if I was going to be able to look at myself in the mirror.  Although I was the face of that company, the financial owners of that business were in another state.  When they asked me, actually directed me, to do something unlawful I was forced to make a choice.  I had to decide how important my integrity was.  Should I do what they wanted to keep my job?  I had two young children so the fear of losing my job put an incredible amount of stress on me.  How would we survive?  Then again, how would I survive if I went against all that I knew was right?

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life however maintaining my level of integrity in that situation wasn’t one of them.  I resigned and walked away from a company I’d built up and enjoyed immensely.  I experienced months of depression caused by feeling like I had no sense of purpose.  With the help of friends I ended my self pity party and got on with life.

It may sound like a unique situation however people find themselves at the crossroads of integrity and going with the flow often.  Your boss asks you to do something that is at the very least, against your better judgment.  Your brother in law asks you to hang on to an illegal substance so your sister doesn’t find it.  Rather than answer a question honestly you believe it will cause less of a ruckus if you lie.  All may seem like relatively small, insignificant choices but I warn you they build on each other.

All of us want to be right.  When we commit an act or make a statement that we believe is wrong then we justify what we’ve done.  We decide it was the best choice and convince ourselves of that.  The next time a similar situation arises, it becomes easier to justify.  Pretty soon the personal line between right and wrong has become blurred to the point that we don’t remember where it is.  Thus we’ve given away little pieces of our integrity, not recognizing the effort it will take to recover that part of ourselves.

If you find that you feel guilt or self loathing over past decisions, please let it go.  Learn to forgive yourself for your poor judgement.  What’s past is past and there isn’t much you can do to change it unless there is some way to make amends with another person.  If that is the case, do what you need to.  However, you can make the choice to be true to yourself from this day forward.  Follow the path of what you know is right for you.  Think about your integrity and maintaining it at a level that you can live with….guilt free.  christiebakeman.com

Healing From Trauma – I Want My Mommy!

Last night I thought about my mother and how I wished she was part of what is going on in my life now.  It brought me to tears.  It’s been over ten years since she passed away and there are still times that I want my mommy.  I’m puzzled when this happens because we weren’t particularly close however she was the first person I bonded with.  Strong emotions for and about our mothers seem to be universal among the human race.

My thoughts drifted to the different circumstances that we experience that require some sort of healing.  Of course, some people don’t seem to heal but rather become enveloped by the trauma they experienced.  The traumatic event defines them.  They allow their feelings to keep them stuck in a place of remembering or continual reliving of a situation that they don’t desire to repeat.

I believe our inability to move on from a trauma involves forgiveness.  I’ve heard people say that they could never forgive the person who hurt them.  I think the truth is closer to not being able to forgive themselves.  We may need to forgive ourselves for allowing something to happen or at least not making an effort to stop it.  We use our self talk to criticize ourselves for our decisions and actions.  We blame ourselves when something undesirable happens to those we love.

Forgiving ourselves and healing is really about loving ourselves.  Most of us do the best we can at the time.  Maybe we should take that into consideration, allowing ourselves to move on from the pain and closer to full love and acceptance of who we are.

Healing means damage no longer controls

christiebakeman.com