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
Do me a favor. I want you to go up to that person in your life who you pity or who you are worried about and look them in the eyes and tell them the truth of your thoughts:
“I often feel so worried about you. I feel sorry for you because you’re so out of shape.”
Then, stand back and watch the result.
Don’t be surprised if you get some rage, anger, or hurt responses.
Don’t be surprised if someone punches you in the face.
I’d secretly be a little happy if someone punched you (without lasting harm, of course) because their punch would tell you something very important that you may have forgotten:
People are powerful. And they don’t want your pity.
Don’t know what to do when someone you love is struggling?
Start doing this: Start believing in their incredible power to change.
I’m so sorry you are overweight and out of shape? OR:
I believe that if you want to get healthy, you will. I believe that you are capable of making decisions for yourself. I believe you can not only get healthy but become incredibly strong. I believe your journey will teach you courage, empathy, and perseverance. I believe that when you get healthier, you are going to inspire everyone around you. You are strong. You are capable. You can be a powerful role model and force for change. You will make yourself proud.
I’m so sorry you are sad and depressed? OR:
I believe that all emotions are valid. I believe what you are experiencing carries deep and sacred knowledge for you. I know you will learn from this. I know you will take your time and that’s ok. I know you will come through this with a strong heart and incredible empathy for others. I know you will become a powerful voice in your family, work, and community. You will inspire everyone around you. You will be a bright, unstoppable voice for change. You will make yourself proud.
I’m so sorry you experienced this tragedy? OR:
I know you are experiencing something that is beyond your control. I have no idea what that is like for you. I want you to know that I love you so much. I believe you will take as much time as you need to take to give yourself care. I know you will find a foothold and eventually feel better. I trust your decisions. I am here to help if you need me. I believe in your ability to come back from this. To use your experience to learn and grow. To use your experience to deepen your love and connect you to all of humanity that grieves and mourns. I believe you will come through this as a powerful voice for change. You will make yourself proud.
Hey, boo: People don’t need your pity. They need your encouragement. They need your support. They need your love. They need you to believe in the best version of them – even when they don’t believe in themselves.
You know what’s coming. You know what I’m going to ask you next:
Are you feeling sorry for yourself?
Should I punch you in the face?
LOL, oh my goodness I could not. And I am totally kidding. I actually think it’s great that you feel sorry for yourself.
Yay! Self-pity! Time to get curious.
Why are you pitying yourself? Let’s get really interested in that. It is ok. Turn towards yourself, look yourself in the eyes with love and listen. Listen to what you need. Listen to what you want. Listen to what is important to you. What would make you proud? What would the highest version of yourself say?
Future you is saying this: You are a powerful person.
Wait a second… Are you a powerful person? Oh, you don’t think so? Well, I’m not worried. I don’t feel sorry for you.
Beautiful, gorgeous, courageous, sometimes worried reader: I believe in your incredible power to change. Now, go make yourself proud. Loving you out there. XO
With giant tears in her beautiful blue eyes, a woman at the table said, “It’s just that I still love him. I still love my ex.”
We had just met at a dinner party, and she may not have been warned about me, but I burst out emphatically in response: “OF COURSE YOU DO!!! OF COURSE YOU DO!!! Who stops loving people???”
She jolted out of her weepy depressed state. Stared at me with her mouth open. I repeated myself: “Of course you do. You don’t have to stop loving him. Never. You get to love him forever.”
Her body relaxed as the thought slowly sunk in. Face, shoulders, anxious hands now incredibly relieved.
“Yeah,” she said. “I will love him forever.”
There you go. Better choice. Much, much better.
Love feels great. I love loving people. I don’t care if they love me back. I don’t know if they love me back. I may not always say “I LOVE YOU” but I think loving thoughts about people constantly. It’s none of my business if they love me back. I keep loving them.
I choose to love people because I can. Because it’s MY CHOICE. In MY MIND.
My exes are outstanding men. Smart. Handsome. Creative. Strong. Funny. Caring. Kind. Fascinating, interesting, important people. All 100% worthy and deserving of my love.
Well, you say, my ex treated me like crap. Yeah, well, I’m sorry to hear that. You can choose to hate him for the rest of your life. Or, you can think back to a moment he wasn’t crappy, and you can love him.
Well, you say, my ex did XYZ and on and on. Yeah. That sucks. You can choose to be angry and bitter for the rest of your life. Or you can think back to a delicious moment in time when you saw the best in him and you can remember that. And you can love him for it.
You get the point. You are intelligent and strong and smart. You know what I’m saying to you.
Love is a choice. It’s a choice that is always available. It’s a choice that always feels good.
Gods can unconditionally love you. Jesus Christ. Buddha. Mother Earth. And on and on. But we are human and we sometimes have a hard time getting past our humanity.
During breakups, I have been completely distraught. So full of frustration, anger, sadness. Why?
My love had nowhere to go. But it was still there.
We break up with people and still love them. We think of them for the rest of our lives. We share history.
Choose to love your ex.
Exes are incredible, amazing, important human beings in your life. They helped you grow. They helped you learn. They connected you to other people and experiences. They held you in their arms.
Life is long and most relationships don’t last forever.
But you know what? Love does. Love lasts forever.
I choose to love all my exes. Tell me: Can you think of a better choice? Me neither. I love you out there.