Word-Of-the-Week #841: Boundaries

September 17, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Boundaries the limits you define in relationship to someone or to something.

How easy is it for you to set boundaries? Did you make any commitments to help family members, friends, or neighbors at the beginning of the pandemic?

This week features excerpts from the NY Times by Julie Fingersh, “How to Set Pandemic Boundaries for Relatives. You’d do anything for them in a crisis, but the crisis isn’t going away. Here’s how to get your life back.” Setting boundaries is important for a healthy personal and work life! 

“When pandemic-related shutdowns started, many people rushed to the rescue of their loved ones. They rallied to meet an extraordinary situation and extended themselves in deep and loving ways. They welcomed home adult children with open arms. They jumped to babysit for their grandkids. They volunteered to shop for neighbors and elderly relatives. 

“At first, I thought, this is going to be great,” said Nancy Graham of Plainfield, Ill., about sheltering in place with her husband and their three adult children. “I bought puzzles. I bought stuff to make candles. I was like, let’s watch a documentary a week! Let’s learn something!”

 Five months in? 

“It’s awful,” said Ms. Graham, a real estate agent. “It’s been years since we’ve all been under the same roof for more than a week. I want to kill them, they want to kill each other, and my husband hides in his office.” 

Indeed, with no end in sight, many people are wearing down. How long can they keep this up? Can they dial back their level of commitment, be it a pledge of time, money or emotional support? And why is it all so hard? 

“As a social species, we have this powerful, powerful need for emotional closeness,” said Dr. Michael Kerr, a psychiatrist and the author of “Bowen Theory’s Secrets: Revealing the Hidden Life of Families,” based on the research of Dr. Murray Bowen, who viewed the family as an emotional unit. “And at the same time, we are allergic to too much of it. Therein lies the dilemma.” 

  • Creating healthy boundaries is the antidote. 

“People are afraid to set boundaries, because they think it risks the relationship,” said Karen C.L. Anderson, author of “Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters: A Guide For Separation, Liberation & Inspiration” and a life coach specializing in family boundaries. 

“When you want to say ‘no,’ to a loved one, you’re afraid that they’re going to make that ‘no’ mean that you’re a bad mother or grandparent or friend. You figure, I’m just going to say ‘yes,’ so I don’t have to feel guilty later,” she said. 

“Boundaries create a context for the preservation of love and peace,” said John Townsend, a psychologist who is the co-author of the Christian-themed book “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” and host of the “Dr. Townsend Live” show on Crowdcast. 

“If you don’t have boundaries, you’ve got chaos,” he said. “Boundaries create an organized structure that people can go, ‘I can live with this. I can tolerate this. I can feel peaceful and still love people.’”

 For many people, that’s a lot more easily said than done. 

  • Renegotiate commitments. 

Many people made promises to loved ones back in March, not realizing how long the pandemic might last. How can you create a new normal where your own needs are part of the equation?

The first step, according to Ms. Anderson, is to realize that it’s OK that your needs have changed. “We can always renegotiate our boundaries,” she said. “Just because we’ve agreed to something in one moment doesn’t mean we’ve agreed to it for life. Remind yourself that you get to change your mind.” 

  • Tell the truth, then let go. 

“All you can do is be truthful about what you need going forward,” Ms. Anderson said. “And ask yourself, ‘Do I want my kids and grandkids to love me because I do something I don’t want to do for them? Or do I want them to love me because I’m honest and I’m being myself?’” 

Re-establishing boundaries might not be easy, but the rewards can be rich. “Boundaries done right help people be more clear and more intimate, because there’s not the unspoken expectation, like, ‘of course you’re going to keep doing this because you’re my mother and I need you to do it,’” Ms. Anderson said. 

“When you can have the conversation without that baggage, you have the space to see each other as fuller human beings, not just the roles you play. It also helps you get to an outcome based on what’s really best for both of you.” 

So how do you let go if things don’t go well, despite your best efforts? 

“It’s OK to be upset,” Ms. Anderson said. “Tolerating uncomfortable feelings builds emotional resilience. And standing in our truth is hard, but it’s the key to honest relationships. It’s also the key to creating healthy boundaries.”

 This week’s focus is on boundaries. Do you feel a need to dial back some commitments you have made? Does that make you feel guilty? How comfortable would it be to tell the truth and renegotiate commitments?

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Word-Of-the-Week #840: Intuition

September 10, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Intuition a gut feeling of knowing without ever having any idea why you know it.

Have you ever had a feeling that you knew something but didn’t know how or why? Do you have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition?

This is the follow up to “How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Tips From The World’s Most Successful People.”  Kara Heissman has seen over the years how the quality of people’s lives are reduced by their inability to find solutions for certain difficulties in their lives.

There are a lot of tips and strategies out there on how to be successful in life, but I am still a firm believer that there is no better way to succeed than to follow that footsteps of those who have already done so. Here are her other 7 success tips from some of the world’s most successful and renowned people:

7. Avoid conflicts.

From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

8. Don’t be afraid of introducing new ideas.

From Mark Twain, Famed Author: “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

9. Believe in your capacity to succeed.

From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

10. Always maintain a positive mental attitude.

From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America: “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

11. Don’t let discouragement stop you from pressing on.

From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America: “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

12. Be willing to work hard.

From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.: “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

13. Be brave enough to follow your intuition.

From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

This week’s focus is on intuition. How often have you had a gut feeling but not sure how or why? How often has it served you well? How would it feel to not question and just follow your gut feelings?

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Word-Of-the-Week #839: Succeed

September 3, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Succeed to accomplish something desired or intended.

How many times have you accomplished something you desired or intended? How comfortable are you setting BIG lofty goals? How well do you handle failure – freeze up or keep going?

Kara Heissman has seen over the years how the quality of people’s lives are reduced by their inability to find solutions for certain difficulties in their lives. The next 2 WOW’s feature “How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Tips From The World’s Most Successful People.”

“No matter how old you are, where you’re from or what you do for a living, we all share something in common—a desire to be successful. Each person’s definition of success is different, however, as some may define success as being a loving and faithful spouse or a caring and responsible parent, while most people would equate success with wealth, fame, and power.

We all want to achieve success so we could live a comfortable life—have financial freedom, drive a nice car, and live in a beautiful house. However, although success can be achieved, it does not come easy.

There are a lot of tips and strategies out there on how to be successful in life, but I am still a firm believer that there is no better way to succeed than to follow that footsteps of those who have already done so. Here are her first 6 success tips from some of the world’s most successful and renowned people:

1. Think big.

From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist: The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

2. Find what you love to do and do it.

From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul: “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

3. Learn how to balance life.

From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.: “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

4. Do not be afraid of failure.

From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

5. Have an unwavering resolution to succeed.

From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC: “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

6. Be a man of action.

From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius: “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

This week’s focus is helping you to succeed. Do you love the life you have created? Are you able to keep your work and home life balanced? Are you waiting for things to happen or are you making things happen? Will you do whatever it takes to succeed?

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Word-Of-the-Week #838: Resilent

August 27, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Resilient recovering readily from adversity, depression, or the like. 

How would you rate your capacity to deal with change and continue to develop? How well are you accepting your present situation?

This week’s WOW, Help yourself stay positive by adopting 5 steps of resiliencefeatures excerpts by Veronica Mitchell who writes Caregiver Advice for the SD Union Tribune. And her thoughts today apply to all of us.

  • What is resilient thinking? 

Resilience is having the capacity to deal with change and continue to develop. My parents are very resilient people, and they taught their children to build that quality in our lives from an early age.

When my sister and I owned our senior services business, we also were able to witness successful agers using their resilience to practice acceptance of their current situation. These resilient thinkers find ways to adjust their world around their new reality. They move forward with an “adjust as you go” mentality, which gives them the will and fortitude to expand their horizons after trauma and life transitions. At least for me, I want to have that will for living and being content, with a drive to keep making things better.

Here are five steps you can incorporate into your mindset to build resilience in your life at any age. Start building resilience now in your life, and it will be an asset for surviving this global health crisis: 

  1. Practice acceptance of your present moment right now.
  1. Set your “adjust as you go” mentality for new changes.
  1. Stay connected socially with video calls, window visits and letter writing during COVID-19.
  1. Make use of coping skills. Talk with doctors and friends, stay physically well and help others.
  1. “Grow from transitions,” which means you must find ways to stay involved in your life even after loss and trauma. Continue with projects where you can, and learn a new hobby or skill.

Resilient thinkers are always contemplating their lives and make sure they are moving forward as best they can. This makes them positive, successful agers because they don’t sweat the small stuff and they accept things as they are in their reality. These resilient thinkers change what they can to in order to live their life the best way they can — with grace and humor, and by letting go of things that no longer serve them. 

  • Perception, self-talk and reality 

Sometimes, our perception is quite different from reality, and our negative self-talk can absolutely affect our thinking and performance or behaviors. In the days before COVID-19 when I had paid speaking engagements, many organizations hired me to speak at their conferences, conventions and employee training on the power of positive self-talk and building resilience to manage change.

Living through this pandemic and changing our lives on a dime forces all of us to make the best of situations and try to find the humor and humanity. I know that I must engage my resilience and continue to move forward through this life transition. People who are stressed and tired can sometimes have a distorted perception of the reality of their lives and will focus solely on the problem areas instead of the whole picture. 

Positive self-talk is now considered a component of mental health care. There is research supporting the assertion that positive self-talk assists everyone, from elite athletes and CEOs managing their performance, to family caregivers reducing stress. Identifying our internal dialogues and making efforts to change the negative talk into positive talk make for easier living, especially for caregivers. 

Learning to practice positive self-talk requires recognizing when you speak negatively about yourself, canceling that thought, then replacing it with a more relevant, positive thought. For example, instead of focusing on failure and stating in my mind that I am a loser, embarrassed that I lost a challenge, I will acknowledge the loss and state that I tried something new and did my best.  

This week’s focus on being resilient. Do you have that will for living and being content, with a drive to keep making things better? Are you staying connected socially? Do you practice positive self-talk?

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Word-Of-the-Week #837: Ponder

August 20, 2020 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #837: Ponder 

Ponder to reflect or consider with thoroughness and care. 

This week’s WOW, “An observation by George Carlin.” comes from my long-time dear friend (and sister from a prior life) Susan.

George Carlin’s wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate.

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.  

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.  

We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.  

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete. 

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, to say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent. 

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind. And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.”                         – George Carlin

And just as an FYI August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. So, featuring George’s words to ponder, seemed like perfect timing. No pun intended! 😊

This week focus on taking time to ponder what is important to you. Are you living a life that supports your values? Are you cherishing the moments you have with your loved ones?

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