Know what? That irritation and frustration is showing up to be loved.
Your anger is showing up to be loved.
Your sadness is showing up to be loved.
Your feelings don’t need to be ignored or numbed away.
Imagine a kid running up to you crying, “I feel so embarrassed.” Would you ignore him? Punish her? Tell that kid to go away? There’s another choice.
Instead, you could open your arms and say, “Come here, love.”
Hold the child.
Tell them to breathe.
Tell them it’s ok.
Tell them that you love them no matter what.
Ask them what happened and what you can learn.
You may need your own attention this week. That’s what feelings are for.
No matter what comes up for you, it is always coming up to be loved.
Gorgeous, brave, human, emotional reader: All of your emotions are 100% lovable. They are there to get your attention. To be understood. To guide you and teach you.
Feeling negative emotion? That’s 100% lovable.
Turn towards yourself. Soothe yourself. Listen to what you need. Our emotions are not problems to be solved. They are beautiful information arising for you to get curious about. They are showing up for you to learn, for you to understand, for you to love, for you to grow.
If so, you’re not alone, and one of the most popular requests I get from workshop participants and students is for me to teach them how to say no.
As a communication PhD, of course I have many tools for you to say no, and I’ll give you a bunch of messaging strategies later in this post. There are many ways to say no in a professional and polite manner.
It’s just that… I really want you to come clean.
You already know how to say no.
You’re an intelligent human being who knows what you want and knows how to get it.
It is not hard to say no.
You just say, “No.”
Or “Thank you, and no.”
So the really fun question is: WHY DO YOU KEEP SAYING YES?
If you really want to make positive changes in your life and feel a whole lot better about the way you fill your calendar, you will dig deep and answer this question.
Why are you saying YES? Get out your journal. Write the answers down.
OK: Do you have a few reasons laid out? Good. Now tell me: Do you like your reasons for saying yes? If so, then you do not have a problem. You have lots of fun things to do.
If you don’t like your reasons for saying yes, then it’s personal growth time. Bravery time. Courage time. Time to face up to the song and dance you’re performing.
Why are you saying yes when you want to say no? Do you think it will make people like you? People liking you is totally out of your control. Do you think other people’s needs are more important than your own? Your needs are just as important as others’ needs. Are you making sacrifices you don’t want to make? Why would you do that? Are you disrespecting yourself and your time? Why?
These are challenging questions that will lead you to listen to your heart. It’s time to honor yourself and the gift of your one precious life.
Your calendar is a reflection of how you value yourself and your time.
Most weeks, I look at my calendar and think, “Yay!” because I like everything on it. I put all the appointments there by choice.
Do you like what you’re choosing to do?
Yay! Good for you. And if not…
Good news! Every day, change is always possible. It’s one word away.
So, for those of you who still want those “NO” tools, here they are:
8 WAYS YOU CAN SAY “YES” TO YOU:
Articulate your focus and values (both are your choice):
“Right now, I’m focusing on women’s leadership issues, so this project is outside my expertise and I respectfully need to decline your offer.”
State a company (legit) or personal policy (make these up, as many as you want):
“Since this project doesn’t fall under my current job description, I need to adhere to company rules and decline.”
“Our family has designated Thursday night as family night, so I don’t schedule work events that evening.”
Clarify the purpose of the request and see if YOU are really needed:
“I understand you want someone to network with our vendors. Several other staff members can fulfill that purpose since I am not available.”
“My schedule is full, so if I say yes to you, what would you like me to put aside?”
Offer another resource/ what you can do:
“Although I can’t make it to your event, I can send a donation or I can send over my intern to help you set up.”
Be honest about your emotions without apologizing or saying “unfortunately”:
“I am afraid of letting you down, yet I can’t do it.”
“I appreciate and respect you, and no.”
Put the request on a 24-hour hold:
“I will need to check my calendar and touch base with my team/family, so I will get back to you in 24 hours.”
Simply say “No.” It is a complete sentence that deserves respect.
Gorgeous, intelligent, amazing reader: You are bright and beautiful and smart. You know how to say no. So, this week, figure out why you are saying yes.
Before you will ever be able to effectively use my tools, you have to acknowledge that the way you are living your life is your choice and your responsibility and your opportunity for joy. Make your calendar an awesome strategic plan leading you to your dreams. Enjoy it.
Real Housewives is my guilty pleasure. SO MUCH EXAGGERATED DRAMA and judgment. Since I am a PhD in Communication, and a certified life coach, I also hear life-sized judgement unfolding in my classrooms and when I listen to other people’s stories.
This is totally human. 100% natural. Eckhart Tolle went so far as to say “All thought is judgement.” Judgement is what our brains do on a never-ending loop. It will never stop as long as you live and breathe.
I am a constant judging machine, all day long, and I hear other people’s judgements all day long.
And so, it pays to be curious about judgements.
It dawned on me the other night. Such a simple and beautiful realization. Very Byron Katie:
Whenever people start speaking their judgements, for good or bad, you can look at them in love, breathe deeply and try this:
Change the pronouns.
“She is so mean. She is trying to ruin my life” becomes I am so mean. I am ruining my own life.
“She doesn’t care about me” becomes I don’t care about me.
“He needs to take responsibility for his actions” becomes I need to take responsibility for me.
“He is so fun to be with” becomes I am fun to be with.
“She has such a great smile!” becomes I have a great smile.
Human beings are all the same. We want to be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to be loved.
Here is the danger… We try to outsource these needs.
We try to get stuff from other people.
We create drama trying to control other people.
We don’t see that we can stop and breathe and simply do this:
Change the pronouns. Then apply self-compassion and love.Then make the changes in you.
Beautiful, judgmental, human reader: Where are you creating drama in your life? That situation is the most beautiful teacher you have ever met. Look at yourself with love, breathe deeply, and listen to your judgements.
Change the pronouns. Be relentlessly curious, compassionate, forgiving, and loving. Take your power back.
I’m loving you out there. I think you’re amazing. Do you see how I can also turn that judgement around? Feels great to us all. XO
Are you sprinkling fairy dust and confetti on everyone and giving them endless pep talks? Maybe, like me, you think that is helping.
… Is it helpful? Are you helping?
In today’s blog journey, I’m thinking critically about when to comfort and cheer people. Come with me as I look at the light and dark of “cheerful” things.
I often think that there is no bad time for a pep talk. And yet, pep is not always needed. Neither is talk. Acceptance and silence are always options. Why not choose those? Maybe you don’t realize how helpful they are. Because you’re trapped in pep. And here are three reasons you may want to cool it on cheering people up:
1: You may be draining your creative energy
Your energy is beautifully generated in you to be guided toward your life passions. You are choosing how to direct your energy. Is being cheerful draining your energy? No? Then continue. Yes? Then stop and redirect people to the beautiful energy of professionals and coaches. YOUR energy is needed to create and fuel your passions.
2: If you’re cheering people up, they don’t learn how to cheer themselves up
Emotionally strong adults know that cheer is an internal job. If someone can’t calm themselves down and cheer themselves up, they need help and tools. Are you a happy enabler? You can’t do internal work for someone else. They have to learn to do it themselves. You wouldn’t buy vodka for someone with an alcohol problem. Choose not to spread cheer to someone with a chronic negativity problem.
3: If you think someone needs you to make them happy, you’re condescending and forgot about their power
People are fiery, awesome, balls of power. Don’t let them fool you. Did someone in your life forget about how powerful they are? Remind them. You are not better than they are at solving their problems. You have your own problems. Your energy needs to go towards your spiritual curriculum. So stay in your lane. Be the boss of you. Learn. Grow. Direct energy. Let other people be the boss of them. Encourage them to get help or get to work on turning their situation around for themselves.
Hey, dudes, listen. I am NEVER going to stop spreading the gospel of greatness to all my students and family and friends.
What I am going to stop is the urge to be awkwardly cheerful.
I am helped by the following knowledge:
If someone you love is experiencing extreme discomfort, there are professionals of all kinds who are the right people to help. If they are experiencing human levels of discomfort, nothing has gone wrong. We are brave human beings and and, through discomfort, we are all growing every day.
If someone you love is angry, they are being given an opportunity to find the power they’ve given away to someone else.
If someone you love is sad, they are learning to connect to others and ask for help.
If someone you love is jealous, they are learning to build self confidence.
All emotions are powerful messengers. Jeff Foster wrote:
“Once, I ran from difficult feelings
Now, they are my advisors,
And they all have a home in me,
And they all belong and have dignity.
In the depths of my wounds,
In what I had named “darkness,”
I found a blazing light
That guides me now in battle.
I became a warrior
When I turned towards myself.”
Beautiful, human, caring, wanting to cheer reader: If people turn toward you, never stop encouraging and cheering them on. But remember, every time, the best thing you can ever do is encourage people to turn towards themselves. Be curious about themselves and compassionate about themselves and mindful of their thinking and their behavior.
Turn toward their fiery, awesome power.
Loving you out there. Turn towards you. Become a warrior. XO
Hooray! School is starting. Soon, there will be a few hundred new students sitting in my public speaking classes. I’m ready to hear this:
“I’m not a public speaker. I’m terrible at it. I can only speak to small groups. I’m an introvert and introverts are really bad at public speaking…”
And on and on with the endless excuses. So many excuses. AND SOOOOOOOOO many reasons why people are RIGHT about their limited abilities.
I can’t do that. NO, I KNOW. I KNOW I CAN’T. LET ME TELL YOU ALL THE REASONS AND ALL THE STORIES AND ALL THE WAYS OUT.
Well, guess what? After teaching thousands of people for 15 years, everyone in my class has given a speech. And everyone in the world is capable of giving a speech. There’s a guy out there with no arms and no legs who makes millions of dollars giving speeches.
There’s no excuse for public speaking. People are wrong about it. Over and over and over. They are wrong about themselves.
I, too, have been wrong about myself many many times.
You are wrong about you.
What was that, Georgi??? Immediately, your brain is going crazy and wants to be right. You will come up with every possible reason to refute me. Being right feels like life or death. Being right gives your brain a dopamine hit that is super satisfying. All day long, you prove yourself right. Your confirmation bias is constantly vigilant.
And yet, what if YOU ARE WRONG ABOUT YOU?
What if you CAN do that?
What if YOU ARE that kind of person?
What if YOU DO have that kind of body?
What if THAT IS POSSIBLE?
What if YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK???
What do you think???
Do you even know? Do you see how you’ve created limits? Do you like your reasons? Are you willing to be wrong?
Hey, yo. It’s Fall semester. Want to start a new class? Start practicing mindfulness. Start observing your thoughts. Start questioning what you are so right about. Start believing something else. Watch your life change.
Gorgeous, stubborn, needs to be right reader: What if you’re wrong about you? I can’t wait to show all my students how totally wrong they are about public speaking. I’m thrilled.
And in the meantime, I never thought I would want to start a business and yet… I’m bursting with new ideas and reveling in exciting partnerships.
I might be wrong about myself. I hope I am. That would be wonderful. And it wouldn’t be the first time.
Disclaimer: These suggestions are for high functioning people who drink too much. My advice is not intended for those with physical addictions or medical conditions. Thank you for considering this advice!
READ BOOKS (Here are a few faves):
The Sobriety Solution by Jack Canfield and Dave Andrews
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
The Little Book of Big Change by Amy Johnson
Loving What Is by Byron Katie
The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield
LISTEN TO PODCASTS:
The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo
Take a Break From Alcohol with Rachel Hart
Experts on Expert with Dax Shepard
The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes
TALK TO SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE: Reach out to supportive people. Sober friends. Encouraging coworkers and people at your yoga studio or gym or church or neighborhood. Find a sober role model to inspire you. Phone a positive, healthy friend. Talk to positive people. Listen to funny podcasts or inspiring talks. Spend time with healthy people, even if it’s a happy person on a podcast.
DO FUN AND EASY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Do something physical and fun. Dance. Swim. Aqua Zumba. Yoga. Look up your rec centers or go to a park for free. Get out and move. Join a group of people. Even if it’s restorative yoga where you go and lay on the ground with other people. Get out of your house and get moving with others. Get out of your house. Get out of your house. Sit on the front doorstep of your house if that’s all you can do but GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE.
START OR CONTINUE A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE: Write your thoughts in a journal or sit and observe your thoughts. Try meditation. Use Insight Timer app, Calm app, Headspace app, or just spa music on Spotify or the radio. Buy a meditation CD or soothing piano.
START OR CONTINUE A CREATIVITY PRACTICE: Find a creative activity that is low stress and imperfect and messy and yet still interests you. Paint terrible looking pictures and scratch out awful drawings and play bumbling music or color in coloring books or write sappy poems or sing off key. Bake an imperfect cake. Do a puzzle. Dance like no one is watching. Guess what? No one is watching. Have fun with art and music and creativity.
What’s up superstars? Here’s my belief for you this week: You can take 30 days off alcohol.
Disclaimer: This blog is directed towards high functioning people who may drink too much. Is that you? Great! Read on… However, this advice is not intended for alcoholics or those with medical diagnoses or conditions.
Let’s do 30 days off alcohol! Ready?
OMG WHY??? Here’s why: You will learn a lot. Do 30 days as a learning experience. Here are 3 challenges you can look forward to (LOL) and 3 rewards of 30 days without a drink. At the end, I include a list of resources that will help you succeed. As I write this, I have not had a drink in over 30 days and I’m personally shooting for 4 months.
OMG WHY??? Because challenging yourself is fun!!! AMIRIGHT???
Wrong? Uh-oh. Then you are probably gonna give up. Why?
Challenge #1: You will doubt your decision.
Drinking is helping you in some way. You think it helps you feel better. It is actually an anesthetic that is numbing you. To be honest, I liked that about alcohol. I also didn’t like it.
That’s right!!! It’s BOTH AND. I like it AND I don’t like it. It’s helpful AND not helpful. And so, it causes doubt. Should I or shouldn’t I? I want to and I don’t want to at all.
Welcome to Challenge #1. To pass this challenge, you will need to make a decision to stop drinking and commit. You will need a strong, compelling reason to stop. Do you have that? Good. Then get ready to face the next challenge! Yaaaaaay!
Challenge #2: You will feel all your feelings. Even the “negative” ones.
I used alcohol to cope with emotional pain. Guess what? When I stopped, I still had the negative emotions and had to feel them. Noooooo, I don’t want to feel nervous. Nooooo, I don’t want to still be angry about the past. UUUUGGGGhhh not this crap again!!!
Yeah. Unpleasant dirt will come out of the pipes. You will want to create another bad habit to buffer your emotion. I ate more sugar when I first took breaks from alcohol. A sugar high is just another way to avoid feeling sad, lonely, angry, you name it.
Quitting drinking initially made me feel like a lobster without a shell. Tender, emotional, vulnerable, angry and frustrated. And then… I learn that I can feel all those feelings and be ok. Feelings are temporary. They carry important information. We can turn toward our emotions and listen and learn from them. Ready for that? Good! Now your final challenge!
Challenge #3: You will feel urges to go back to your old self.
If you have done something habitually for a long time, you’re good at it. You like your old patterns. Your well worn trail. However, during your 30 days, you want to do something NEW. Your brain will FREAK OUT and want to go back to the OLD. What this feels like is a very important urge to drink.
You will want that glass of wine. Like a toddler wants a candy bar at Target. Like your dog wants to play ball until it collapses. Like a smoker wants to light up after eating. You will have to feel that strong urge and allow it to pass. The urges will come and go. And go. And go. And eventually dissipate in intensity and frequency if you allow them to pass.
URGE TIME: Set the timer for 20 minutes. Sit down and write about why you want to drink. Sit quietly and breathe. Feel the feeling that comes up. Listen to what it’s telling you. Question its validity. Is it true? Soothe yourself and remind yourself of the compelling reason you’re doing this.
OK, now that you have the three major challenges you will face, are you still considering taking a break? Good! There are SO MANY rewards. There are superficial rewards like spending less money and feeling better in the morning and clear skin and better health. I am going to offer you some DEEP rewards for this month off.
Reward #1: You will make a promise to yourself and you will keep it and you will be proud.
When you faced Challenge #1, you had to reconcile why you weren’t drinking. For me, I want to feel proud of myself and my behavior. I want to be a role model since I am a teacher. I want to develop mental strength and the ability to handle difficult situations without alcohol. I want to be mentally strong. Those possibilities excite me.
In the past 30 days, I made that promise to myself. I kept it. I feel proud. That is incredibly satisfying and worth it.
Reward #2: You build emotional and mental strength.
Giving up a bad habit for 30 days is BAD ASS. You went to the gym with your feelings. You got on the mat with your insecurities. You turned towards your inner demons and faced them and had conversations. Those conversations were challenging and yet so rewarding because guess what?
YOU GOT STRONGER. You learn that you can feel sad and it will be ok. You learn that your sadness is asking for you to make a change and you can make it. You learn that your insecurities do not hold up to challenge. You learn that you are human and don’t need to be perfect or feel good all the time. You learn that emotions come and go like waves throughout your life and you can surf them.
You become a great surfer. You welcome all the waves. You are mentally strong. You stick up for yourself. You get on your own side. You have compassion for yourself and everyone else. You like this new you.
Reward #3: The low lows and high highs of your life become a wonderful mid-range.
Drinkers are fun because they laugh big and act wild. They seek high highs and peak experiences. And then they hide in their houses and cry. Or is that just me? LOL. Basically, drinkers like big pleasure and no pain. But when you stop drinking to manufacture false pleasure and stop drinking to anesthetize self inflicted pain, you realize that you were experiencing unsatisfying pleasure and optional emotional pain.
High highs. Low lows. Drinkers spend a lot of time around 1-2 and 9-10.
Without alcohol, you find a genuine, solid, satisfying and wonderful range of pleasure and pain. It is 4-7 most days, with some dips to 1 and some soaring moments of 10. The painful moments come, but less often and they don’t stay as long. The satisfying moments come more often and HOORAY! They aren’t laced with regret and shame and disappointment.
Life without alcohol is VERY satisfying. Interesting. Connected. Healthy. Really nice.
So there you have it, folks. Don’t believe me. Try it. Take 30 days off alcohol. Don’t white knuckle it. Learn from it and do some work.
Are you experiencing any of my 3 challenges? You can handle them.
Are you finding even more unexpected rewards? I’d love to hear.
Do you know how much I love you even if you continue to drink and never stop? It’s a lot. I love you a lot. I love you no matter what your bad habit. I have many other bad habits to face and learn from because I’m a human being with a human brain. And such is life. Interesting. Messy. Challenging. And so freaking satisfying.
Loving you out there. You can do this. You can do anything you want. Go try. Get in the arena. Face a challenge. Make yourself proud. XO