Post ID 688

Posted by on June 21, 2019

How’d you get on last week with identifying your self-care needs and putting them into practice?

If you did it, awesome! Keep it up. If you didn’t, no worries. Today’s email is for you.

As much as we may want – or love – to nurture our self-care needs, we often feel RESISTANCE which keeps us from moving ahead. Today, let’s sort out what’s really going on.

First, it helps to know what’s up with resistance. When you feel stuck, and can’t seem to move forward with something, it can mean one of two things: either what you’re engaged in (or want to be engaged in) isn’t truly meeting your needs or you’re involved in something that does meet your needs, but clashes with your internal beliefs or self-concepts.

Think of something you’re resisting regarding self-care, and ask yourself:  Would this truly meet my needs? If no, move on to something that would. If yes, keep reading . . .

The next consideration is to discover what is causing your resistance. Again, there are two possibilities: your blocks may come from outside of you or from within you.

Outside resistance includes the practical, legitimate, concrete reasons that you cannot move forward. If you’re facing this type of resistance, chances are that you already know the work-around and are simply waiting for certain pieces to ‘fall into place’ before you can get on with it. Or maybe you don’t know the specific ‘how tos’ to accomplish what you want, but you do know that you can reach out to someone who can help you strategize your way forward. As per Pareto’s 80/20 Principle, this may be the cause of your resistance about 20% of the time.

The other 80% of the time, you’re likely facing resistance from within yourself. This is the trickier of the two to navigate, because you’re often not even aware that you are the source of the obstacle – that your mindset is the true block. Which of these inner resistance thoughts can you relate to, as inspired by Hannah Braime’s book “From Coping to Thriving”?

Top 7 Reasons for Inner Self-Care Resistance

1) “I don’t have the time.” Yes, we all have a million things to do. Which of those things matter most to you? And how would you be better able to tend to the other things if you were energized, motivated and full up from self-care? Prioritizing what you value most can be tricky to master, but once you have there’s no going back. Also, on your journey to clearing more space for yourself in your day, remember that some of the most effective practices take only moments, like breathing, looking at a beautiful view and envisioning a happy memory.

2) “I can’t afford it.” If money barriers are lurking, this is surely a mindset issue, as we all rationally know that self-care doesn’t have to cost a dime. Since many people equate their financial worth with their personal worth, it follows that such people may only invest in their self-care, financially or otherwise, when they feel worthy. If this sounds like you, I want to tell you that you are worthy and you do deserve self-care.

3) “Self-care wasn’t a thing for me growing up.” As with many of our unconscious beliefs, we may have received overt or underlying messages about self-care from our parents and authority figures in our formative years. However well-intentioned your guardians were or were not, and whether they deemed self-care acceptable or unacceptable, you may still carry their outdated self-care beliefs which need refreshing as they are no longer serving you.

4) “Society frowns upon it.” Additionally, we’re taught so much by our community, culture, religion, media and society, and not all of what we learn through this societal conditioning serves our highest good. For example, many women have internalized that we must be caregivers and put others needs before our own, or that we must not express our ‘negative’ emotions. We fear rejection if we don’t follow through with these ‘norms’. The truth is, as a human you are meant to love others without being a martyr and honour ALL of your emotional needs.

5) “It’s just another thing I ‘should’ be doing.” Thanks to social obligation as mentioned above, not meeting our ‘shoulds’, ‘need tos’ and ‘musts’ leads to resistance. The more obliged we feel about doing something – and the more accompanying self-judgement it brings – the more we will resist. If we are ashamed of some aspect of self-care, we will avoid it at all costs to also avoid experiencing the dreaded feelings of shame. The best way to suck all of the fun and value out of your self-care is to do it because you ‘should’, instead of because you ‘choose to’, ‘want to’ and ‘love’ to engage.

6) “I wish someone else would take care of me.” The more we yearn for someone to come and ‘save us’ by meeting our unmet needs, the longer we stay stuck. This also manifests as wanting to meet our needs without having to express, assert and negotiate how to meet them with others. If you can relate, I lovingly share that living your best life begins with taking responsibility for yourself, including meeting your own unmet needs.

7) “I don’t deserve it.” Self-care is a matter of health-care, not a question of whether or not we have earned it. You have the unconditional right and responsibility to take great care of yourself. The real question is how would you love to tend to your emotional, mental, spiritual and physical need? Understanding self-care as an essential priority in your life will help you ditch the guilt and see it as a necessary part of being alive.

Okay, now breathe.

That was a lot. You don’t have to get all entangled by the details of these barriers if they’re all too much. Simply pick one to explore, or if you prefer just take away the simple message that you deserve to take great care of you. And return to those fundamental questions:

What do I really need? What could I do today to get one step closer to meeting that need?

Yours in self-care,

Nicole

P.S. Want to receive more messages like this, straight to your inbox? Simply subscribe to my freebie here and you’ll also receive weekly empowering notes from me!

Posted in: Dreams, Empowerment, Mind

Post ID 677

Posted by on May 8, 2019

A boundary is not that at which something stops, but that from which something begins.” Martin Heidegger

 

Last week I shared a new way to look at “balance” in your life, and today as a powerful follow-up I hope to shift your view on “boundaries”.

Boundaries are limits we put into place to help each other meet our needs.

When I first learned about boundaries, I didn’t really understand what they were, and that was a good hint that I needed them in my life. I also felt boundary work had to be hard and heavy, but have since learned otherwise. Here’s a visual I love to help you rethink boundary setting as a healthy, compassionate practice.

 

Your Sacred Space

Imagine you have a beautiful yard, like a magical garden where you feel wonderful and the surroundings are beautiful. It’s a healthy, vibrant and secure space where you feel at peace and at home. This outdoor oasis represents you, your healthy inner experience and your lush self-care practices.

Beyond this space is the outside world, in whatever form that may look like for you according to your unique situation. Perhaps its a similarly beautiful garden setting, a dirty and dangerous junkyard or someplace in between. It represents whatever or whoever is in your life that feels threatening to your well-being.

Between these spaces is your sacred fence. Perhaps it’s a flourishing living fence of well-kept hedges and floral vines, or maybe it’s a solid and strong cedar fence, that smells as beautiful as it looks. This fence represents your boundaries. Its simple purpose is to delineate between the two environments. It exists whether being viewed from the inside out, or the outside in.

The goal here is to tend to your sacred space rather than the surrounding environment – to focus on what you value and what you want to protect vs. who or what you want to keep out. View your fence as a means to better enjoy what you’ve cultivated within your own yard, rather than for avoiding difficulties. In doing so, you operate from a place of self-love, avoid reacting to or punishing others and convey your boundaries with compassion so they are more warmly understood, received and respected.

And don’t forget that fences have gates, for the opportunity to let others into your yard as circumstances allow.

 

Build Your Fence

Could you relate to your situation in this metaphor? Or are you still unsure if you need to set some boundaries? Chances are you do if you feel constricted, upset, anxious, angry, irritated or are complaining about something. So for example, you may need to set limits if you . . .

  • have had it with your never ending “to do” list;
  • procrastinate because you can’t handle the pressure;
  • can’t take another minute of your loved one’s passive-aggressive communication;
  • won’t put up with being treated poorly any longer;
  • are stressed and overwhelmed by all the little things to do at home and work; or
  • want to take better care of your needs and feel like your enough.

So in these situations, and others like them, how will you take care of your “oasis”? What are your fences AND what will you do if someone crosses them?

What situations will you say “yes” or “no” to, to meet your own specific needs, wants and joys?

AND

What will you “do” or “not do” if these boundaries are crossed, by yourself or others?

Naturally, you will also want to respect other people’s boundaries too. If you are on the receiving end of someone drawing a line, you’ll now understand that everyone’s boundary needs are different, boundaries aren’t necessarily personal or your fault, and the best response is “Thank you for telling me about your boundary and I’ll do my best to respect it.”

Ultimately, boundaries are about self-worth. By compassionately setting and upholding them for yourself, you are growing and nourishing your own self-worth. Yes please!

. . . . .

If you would love to talk to me about your boundary-related issues, you’ll want to claim my new introductory offer.

“Balance & Boundaries” is my new introductory 1:1 Coaching Intensive. If you’re ready to: Get clarity on your balance issues; develop solutions for your most pressing needs; cultivate boundaries to uphold your desires and leave with the confidence to move forward, this is for you!

Check out all the details here: Balance & Boundaries Intensive

To your sacred space!

Nicole

Post ID 664

Posted by on April 30, 2019

Find the balance between setting your roots and letting your branches grow wild.” Rachel Brathen

 

Last week was an exciting one for me as I prepared for and delivered a Masterclass for the participants of “The Emotional Edge” course, by my long-time personal growth mentor Crystal Andrus Morissette. I was thrilled to share my views on what it means to be a “Natural Woman” – the most empowered version of yourself guided by your cyclical feminine nature.

So today I want to share a piece of this work knowing that you’ll be interested too. It’s my “evergreen” take on creating and maintaining balance in your life.

I imagine that you, like most women, have struggled at times with your attempts to achieve “balance”. For instance, have you ever sought balance . . .

  • Between the demands of work and sharing your attention with your family;
  • Within specific areas of your life, such as doing all the chores at home that need to get done or tending to all the details that must be done to succeed in your work or business;
  • In the way you manage your physical and emotional energy, to stop the cycle of taking on too much then crashing;
  • In handling your challenging relationships with others and decoding the emotional patterns; or
  • In fulfilling your own needs and filling yourself up because you’re important too!

 

If you have ever felt that there must be another way, I’m here to suggest that there is. Let’s stop the madness and consider this fresh take on how to balance – your energy, your emotions, everyone and everything. What balance do you crave?

First let’s explore what it means to have a sense of balance. I’ll admit I’m not into the traditional aim to have all the “things” attended to equally. For one, there are always too many “things” to balance, and I don’t really want that many things on the go because that would be exhausting. For two, I don’t even want to balance all the “things” equally – to keep all the plates spinning or all the balls in the air – because I don’t value all “things” equally. Thus, my approach is more about prioritizing first, and then balancing; on giving my full attention to only a few things that matter most to me at any time, and saving the rest for later (or dropping them altogether).

Furthermore, it’s not really the “things” that I’m most interested in balancing. Instead, I’d rather balance myself and my approach to all the “things” that I’m choosing to prioritize at any given time. And this is where the evergreen tree metaphor comes in, or the “roots and branches” approach. For real and sustainable results, rather than balancing all the things that are “out there”, I turn the concept on its head and attend to balancing “all the things” within me. Here’s how . . .

Roots and Branches

Consider YOU for a moment, and forget about all the rest. Imagine that you’re a mighty pine tree – with a miraculous root system that supports, nourishes and grounds you and magnificent branches that grow upward, outward, and give to others.

This tree represents all the little parts of you – the good, the bad and the lovely – which together make you who you uniquely are. Both aspects, the below ground roots and above ground branches, are essential to living a healthy, whole and full life.  The aim is to balance or to honour both of these polarities of self, not necessarily at the same time – like the ebb and flow of water, the sunrise and sunset, or the summer and winter solstices.

So what are these two polarities? Similar to the traditionally known “feminine” and “masculine” characteristics, or “yin” and “yang”, the two aspects can be found within all of us regardless of gendre. We’ll call them roots and branches here. Which of the two parts do you tend to inhabit most?

 

Your Roots                                                         Your Branches

* Know who you truly are within self                   * Know who you truly are within world

* Grounded energy (being)                                  * Active energy (doing)

* Inward focus (inner growth)                              * Outward focus (external growth)

* Contracted focus (few things)                           * Expanded focus (many things)

* Intimate connection (known few)                      * Social connection (many others)

* Inner light (illuminating within)                         * Outer light (shining outward)

* Base physical and emotional energy                 * Peak physical and emotional energy

* Receiving energy (self-love)                              * Giving energy (other-love)

 

Now what?

1) Opportunities in the Opposite – The simplest way to put this metaphor to use is to consider your own personal struggle with balance in life (possibly like one of the 5 listed at the beginning) and notice which of the two polarities (roots or branches) you have been struggling to make work. What would shift if you tried focusing your attention on the opposite side?  For example, maybe you are really struggling to figure out or fix a problem that you are having with someone (branches). What would happen if you turned your focus inward for awhile, and instead tried to figure out and nurture what’s going on within you that is contributing to the problem (roots).

2) Comfort vs. Courage – Another approach to this metaphor is to notice which of the two polarities you tend to identify with or exhibit the most. This is your “comfort zone”. The other part of you, that you’re less likely to apply, is your “courage zone”. Your comfort zone is the place you feel safe, where things feel natural and where your habits automatically take you. Your courage zone is where you feel resistance, where you’re awkward and unnatural, and is the realm of moving beyond routines and toward growth.

Again, when you consider your personal struggle with the balancing act, which of the two polarities describes your habitual approach (comfort zone), and which is not (courage zone)? What would shift if you attended more to your courage zone? So consider the scenario that you’re exhausted from keeping all the plates spinning for everyone else (branches). How would things change if you invested some time and energy into your self-care and align with who you really are (roots)?

3) Breakthroughs for Both -There’s a chance that you’ve discovered that you aren’t feeling especially empowered on either side and that both sides of yourself could use some TLC. That’s okay. In my experience, enhancing your roots first will build a solid foundation from which you can then grow solid branches. But as is always the case, trust your own personal guidance which always comes before others’ advice. So attend to whatever side appeals to you most, either because it’s the easiest place to start thus will create momentum to get you going, or because it’s the riskier place to start and therefore will create the greatest positive impact for you. What would change for you if you took this approach?

You may also find that you feel equally comfortable with and empowered on both sides. This means it’s time for some next-level refining to find your own ideal balance of your two parts. Look at each defining characteristic listed for roots and branches, and note what would make for an even better balance for you between the two. For example, if you’re already doing great at both grounding/being and acting/doing, what would be the ideal expression of each for you in this season of life? How could you adjust the balance to be even more aligned with your greatest self and life?

Restore Balance

So when we revisit the initial balancing barriers that my clients and community have shared with me (listed above) through this new tree metaphor, we can see the way forward to real results . . .

  • So before you address your work/home balance (branches/branches), consider how you might first balance your self/life needs (roots/branches).
  • Similarly, before you stress over any more of your endless to-dos (branches), get clear on what truly matters to you (roots) and learn to postpone or drop the rest.
  • To avoid the energetic crash and burn, notice which polarity of yourself is craving more attention (roots or branches), nurture that part of you first, and then nurture and integrate the other part.
  • In handling emotional relationships, try loosening your focus on the “other” (branches) and first nurture your side of the relationship (roots).
  • And because you ARE important too, fulfill your own needs and fill your own cup first on whatever side of yourself – roots or branches – that you need!

. . . . .

As you can tell, I’m passionate about this fresh take on balance and am just as passionate about helping women to implement this perspective too, which is why I’ve created a new Introductory Offer to get you started on your balancing journey!

“Balance & Boundaries” is my new introductory 1:1 Coaching Intensive for a special intro rate of $49 CAD! If you would love to: Get clarity on your balance issues; develop solutions for your most pressing needs; cultivate boundaries to uphold your desires and leave with the confidence to move forward, this is for you!

Check out all the details here: Balance & Boundaries Intensive

To your growth!

Nicole

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Introductory Offer here if you’d love some support with reclaiming a healthy sense of balance. Reach out if you have any questions.

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