Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I’m delight to have Tina Tessina, Ph.D. back as my guest blogger. Her articles always bring a great response as she has such a great take on life’s ups and downs. Tina is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in California. She is the author of MANY books, including the best selling, The 10 Smartest Decisions A Woman Can Make Before 40 Money, and her newest two, The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You’re Far Apart (Adams Media, 2008) and Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage (Adams Media, 2008) Tina also writes the “Dr. Romance” column on Yahoo! Personals and MUCH more! Today she provides a lot of food for thought to help you get rid of toxins in your life.

Detox Your Life

[Adapted from It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction]

by Tina B. Tessina

Many of my clients come in with complaints about personal habits that feel toxic in their lives. Just as you can detox your body when you‚re feeling sluggish, it‚s also possible to detox your emotional life. Here are some of the most common ways your life can back up on you, and how to handle it.

1. Frequently late: The cure to lateness is twofold: learn to estimate time better, and get more organized, so you are not delayed by looking for last minute items. Perhaps the most important reason to cure yourself of lateness is that it is rude to others, and costs you their good opinion. If your partner is late, stop waiting! Set a reasonable grace period (eg:15 minutes) and then leave without the other person, leaving a note about how to meet you wherever you’re going. That way, you are not forced to operate on the other person’s time schedule. You’ll be surprised at how quickly he or she will learn to be on time.

2. Often angry or irritated: Being easily angered or irritated is a great way to punish yourself. It raises your blood pressure, and tends to create unnecessary problems with others. Anger interferes with clear thinking, and being irritable makes it unpleasant and difficult for others to work or socialize with you. To reform this habit, you must develop more emotional maturity. Understand that your anger is not seen as power by others, but as childishness and petulance. It will lose you far more than you will gain. Learn to slow down, and reduce your overly high expectations. Allow others to be themselves, and don’t expect them to march to your drum. Counting to 10 works wonders, as does taking three deep breaths when you are upset.

Taking up yoga, meditation, tai chi, or another calming pursuit will teach you patience. Strenuous physical activity is a great way to burn off excess anger. If none of these work, see a therapist or join an anger management group.

3. Unsure of ability to do something: Insecurity and feelings of incompetence are definitely stressful, but they may also be useful. Find out if you really are unprepared for the task ahead. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or ask for help. It’s OK to be a beginner, even if you’re an expert in other things. If you don’t try to pretend you’re better than you are, you will get more help from others. Take it slowly, and allow yourself to learn as you go. Above all, be supportive to yourself, and don’t subject yourself to harsh internal criticism.

4. Overextended: Frequently becoming overextended can be a sign of grandiosity -overblown expectations of your abilities or of trying to control everything. Reduce your expectations of your own accomplishments, and allow others to help you in their own way. In the long run, being a team player is usually more efficient than trying to do it all alone and becoming overwhelmed.

5. Not enough time for stress relief: This is an extension of being overextended, and may be a sign that you always come last in your own life. Learn to schedule time for yourself to relax and to play. If you write personal time on your schedule the same way you do appointments with others, you’ll be more likely to actually do it. Join a class or group that meets regularly for a relaxing activity such as dancing, stretching or meditation, or schedule a regular massage, manicure or facial, so you’ll have a guaranteed place to relax.

6. Feeling unbearably tense: If your anxiety is this high, you may need therapy. Anxiety and panic attacks are among the easiest things to fix in counseling sessions. You are probably running non – stop negative self – talk, which keeps you anxious about everything. Try affirmations and/or prayer to counteract the running commentary in your mind. Learn to breathe deeply from your diaphragm when you feel anxious—it slows your heartbeat and calms you down.

7. Frequently pessimistic: A negative attitude is a result of negative self – talk, and of a negative attitude probably learned in childhood. There are many self – help books which will guide you in learning to change the nature of your approach to life. Techniques such as prayer and affirmations, counting your blessings, and setting small goals every day will help you turn this around.

8. Upset by conflicts with others: All conflict is upsetting. The key is to reduce the amount of conflict in your life. Many of the above techniques, such as anger reduction and positive self – talk, will contribute to improving your relationships with others. In addition, you can learn better social techniques such as active listening, positive regard, win – win negotiation and clear communication which will eliminate the source of conflict. Learn to listen to others (even when you don’t agree) and, before speaking, consider how your words might feel to the other person. Treat other people more as you would like them to treat you, and, most important, stop and think before reacting to someone else.

9. Worn – out or burned – out: Burnout is the result of feeling overextended or ineffective for a long period of time. Most of us can deal with small amounts of frustration or feeling overwhelmed, but if it goes on too long, we lose all our motivation, and become burned out. Motivation comes from celebration and appreciation, so learn to celebrate each little accomplishment, and seek appreciation when you need it. If you have trouble doing that, perhaps it’s time to make a career change or to change some other aspect of your life.

10. Feeling lonely: Loneliness may not result from actually being alone, but more from feeling misunderstood or not valued. People often isolate themselves because they feel inadequate in social situations. Value the friends you do have, and make new friends by attending classes or other group events where you can focus on a task or assignment. This will take the pressure off your contact with other people, and give you something in common with them. Be wary of spending too much time on your computer, in chat rooms, etc. These activities absorb time, but do little to dispel loneliness. Make sure you schedule some time with a friend at least once a week, and if you don’t have friends, then use that weekly time to take a class or join a group (for example, a book club or sports group ) which will give you a chance to make new friends.

You can subscribe to Tina’s free newsletter: “Happiness Tips from Tina” on Tina Tessina‘s site.

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!

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This is post 60 in my series on the Law of Attraction in Action. You CAN use your power to attract all that you need. I do it every day! Read the posts in this series to see how.

Some people see the glass half empty and others, like me, see it as half full. Yet it’s the same glass! People who see it as half empty wonder why I attract more. They think I must be lucky. But I know it has nothing to do with luck. It’s all about the perspective you put on a circumstances. Your view of situations puts a positive or negative spin on it, hence half empty or half full. It’s YOUR choice. A positive spin is a much better one!

Your perspective on a situation sends a strong message to the Law of Attraction.

You can have a perspective about something that’s happening or a roadblock you see coming or disappointments or anything else can has 2 sides. You may not see 2 sides if you’re negative about it. Many people look at the gloomier one. That sets your expectations to gloomy. For example, if the sun isn’t shining brightly, some people call it a nasty day. I call it nice. It would be nicer to have more sunshine but it’s still nice.

A positive perspective puts you into a better mood.

Yet it seems easier to many people to assume the worst or take a negative perspective in any situation that isn’t perfect. Many things can be right but they focus on what’s wrong. That’s why so many women with decent bodies lament to confused friends and romantic partners that they’re fat. Each time they reinforce the negatives of being fat as their loved ones scratch their heads, trying to figure out what she sees, since she’s not fat; she just not perfectly thin. When I was a DoorMat, all I saw was my cellulite when I looked in the mirror. Even with my clothes on, I had x-ray vision and saw it through my clothes. It blinded me to all my good features. I was fat and that was it. It also said I was no good, and attracted negative situaitons.

Fat blindness is a common perspective that blinds some of us to our good qualities.

When the temperature dropped sharply in NY, it was still sunny. Someone called and asked if I was going out in the miserable weather. Miserable? I looked outside again since this person lived near me. I thought maybe a freak dark cloud had messed up the day. But there it was—the sun shining brightly. I asked how she could call this day with bright, clear blue skies miserable? Her response was, “It’s too cold.” Yes it was cold, near freezing, but it was such a pretty day otherwise.

People let one piece of a situation set their perspective on everything.

My friend doesn’t like cold weather. Calling the day miserable made her miserable. She felt down. I asked if she liked the sun. Yes, she did. I suggested she edit her perspective. It was a gorgeous day but the temperature was lower than she liked. Appreciate the sunshine and wish for higher temps. It lightened her mood! She’d been so focused on the cold that she ignored the beautiful day. Her negative attitude had attracted more negatives. All of a sudden, acknowledging the sunshine put her in a better mood!

Dag Hammerskjold said, “Never measure the height of a mountain, until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.

I’ve actually climbed mountains that seemed impossible for me but let go of that perspective by focusing on taking one step at a time. It’s okay to acknowledge that something looks hard. But to pointedly assess it with a hardcore negative attracts more negativity and makes you unlikely to have an open-minded perspective. My friend began to appreciate the sunshine though she still hated the cold. The day wasn’t miserable anymore—just too cold.

Often situations look much worse before they happen. Making a point of looking for something positive about it.

We hold ourselves back by jumping to a negative perspective and attracting the results of our thoughts. I talked to someone who told me that some negative things happened to her in a row. Her perspective? “I’m jinxed!” I told her not to keep saying that but her perspective was fixed on that. No matter how hard I tried to convince her to let go of that thought, she was more convinced it was true.

When I saw her a few weeks later, she gloated that she’d been proven right—her company was moving far away and she was out of a job. Now she had to move because her landlord raised her rent higher than she expected and yada, yada. “So I am jinxed” she “triumphantly” told me. Is being jinxed something to be happy about? Yet her joy was in proving her perspective correct. I told her her determination to remain jinxed attracted more things going wrong. the Law of Attraction sends you what your thoughts expect.

Being right about a negative is wrong! Why gloat over attracting bad circumstances!?

Instead, try climbing the mountain. See it as hard but not impossible. Catch yourself when you have negative thoughts or negative statements about something and try to edit your perspective a bit. I had a string of negatives happen but instead of succumbing to them, I affirmed that today is the first day of my life and I choose to have things go well from hereon in. And they did!

The more negative your perspective, the more negative your circumstances will be.

Do you have a stuffed nose and keep saying that you’re sick? I stop people from doing that often. When I have a stuffy nose, even if it makes me feel miserable, I say I just have a stuffed nosed. People have told me I must be sick. I deny it! Saying you’re sick attracts more illness. I recover fast when my perspective is healthy with a stuffed nose or some other thing that isn’t feeling right. Have you stopped at someone’s house and think it looks nice as she utters, “My place is a mess!” Something is out of place yet it’s a mess now. It’s unfair to you when you say these kinds of things and it makes you unhappy and it attracts more negatives to that situation.

Be more vigilant of your perspective and you can prevent yourself from manifesting what you don’t want more of.

It also keeps you in a better mood. Look for the silver lining when you don’t like what’s going on or what you anticipate. When we recently had a string of nasty weather, I didn’t like it. I began to feel lousy with the weather. Then I decided it gave me an excuse to do things I was putting off indoors to be outdoors. When I lamented about not being able to go running, I decided that my knees could use a break and this forced me to have one. They felt better when the weather cleared and I ran again, so it was a good thing to give them a break. As my perspective brightened, so did my circumstance. You can do this too by being conscious. It’s nicer to be happy EVERY day, not just when everything is perfect!

See all the Law of Attraction in Action Se

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On Sunday I watched the NYC Marathon on TV. The route goes near where I live and I enjoy watching the runners going up First Avenue where I often walk. I found some valuable lessons in the behavior of the runners.

Lesson #1: Pace yourself so you finish smarter. When running in a marathon, you need to stay focused on your pace to not burn out before the finish line. Some runners immediately get out ahead of the main pack of runners. You can see the glee on their faces to know that everyone sees them in the lead. Some make fewer detours to the water stations to keep that lead. But, in most cases, the person who runs ahead in the beginning doesn’t win the race and the one who skips water loses steam early. Smart runners let one person set the pace and stick close in the group, saving energy for the sprints closer to the end.

It’s the same in life. It’s important to think before acting.

Making moves to get attention doesn’t necessarily get you what you want in the long run. Bragging may momentarily make people listen but it can turn them off too. Not setting goals for yourself can leave you unprepared for what steps you should take and when. That said, you need to be prepared to alter your moves if something unexpected happens. When Meb Keflezighi took the lead ahead of Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, he passed the water station but chose not to drink at that point. Instead, he carried it until Cheruiyot, who he’d just passed, slowed down a touch. Then he got hydrated. That helped him to keep the lead and win the race.

Lesson #2: Don’t lose your sense of caring for others in your attempt to win. In your quest to succeed, don’t forget to be considerate of others when possible. Paula Radcliffe was the favorite by far to win the women’s race. She’s won 4 NYC races and is idolized by many of the racers. There was an air of respect for her among them.But you could see she was struggling. She stayed in front for many miles since the other women knew what she’s capable of and didn’t want to pass her early on. But then she began to drop back.

As they rounded the turn onto First Avenue, Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia must have noticed Radcliffe struggling. I’m sure Tulu wanted to win. Seconds can count in marathons. Yet she pulled alongside of Radcliffe and seemed to ask if she was okay and gave her an encouraging look as the other women just pushed to take the lead. I was very touched by that show of concern. I’m sure many would think it was a waste of time she should have used to focus on her run. I sat there rooting for her.

With it all, Tulu came in first. And in the midst of her victory, she went to give Radcliffe a hug when she limped across the finish line. That’s the kind of winner we should strive to be!

Helping co-workers sends out positive energy. Looking at them as competition you need to beat doesn’t. You’ve heard that winning isn’t everything and it’s true! In my book, Tulu won when she displayed humanity during the race. Years ago, I was at a conference and met someone who’d written a book on the same topic as one I’d written that had just come out. I introduced myself with an outstretched hand to a fellow writer. He glared at me and practically barked, “You’re my competition.”

We’re all human beings and a nasty attitude toward colleagues will not serve you well.

I just told this guy that there was room for both of our books and I’d be happy to support him if I could. He continued snarling at me. My books continue to sell well while he hasn’t had a new one in years. A bad attitude toward others can shoot you in your own foot. It attracts more bad energy. Tulu on the other hand, won the race despite taking time to show compassion.

Lesson #3: Don’t listen to what other people expect, or don’t expect of you. For many miles, the 2 runners from Kenya were in front of the men’s pack. US runner Meb Keflezighi was fourth. The commentators discussed how it could be first and second place for Kenya. Keflezighi had almost quit running not that long ago after an injury. Some said he was too old. He’d never won a NYC marathon. They hoped he could at least get third place. There were many American men in the top 10 and Keflezighi wasn’t their first choice to have a chance to win.

If you believe the hype, you can sabotage your chance to win from the starting line.

Keflezighi didn’t. He got into the zone and kept running smart, like a winner. This guy and his family exemplify the American dream. His father worked hard to bring his family here from the African nation of Eritrea. All 11 children have done well. Keflezighi is a proud American and wore his shirt that said USA with pride. You could see the determination in his face. As they discussed how Cheruiyot, had the ability to pass Keflezighi, he increased his lead.

Despite all the other picks for the winner, Keflezighi won, with a big lead!

Have you been told that you can’t do something and let that affect your willingness to try anyway? There are many naysayers waiting to sink your boat if you let them. Opinions don’t hold you back. YOU hold you back if you believe the opinions and stop expecting to win because of them. Some of us are still held back by limits given as kids. People tell me they can’t do something because they’re too old, not thin enough, not smart enough, etc.

When someone tells me I can’t, it motivates me to prove them wrong.

It’s hard enough to win without being burdened by what others think. If Meb Keflezighi had listened to the doubt about his winning, he may not have had his full focus on winning. But he knew it was possible and went for it. It was felt that Derartu Tulu was too old to win at 37. But she did! People buck the system and ignore what others say all the time. I do! And I win when I do. So the next time you’re trying to succeed at something, block out doubts with “I can do anything I choose to do!”

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!

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This is post 59 in my series on the Law of Attraction in Action. You CAN use your power to attract all that you need. I do it every day! Read the posts in this series to see how.

I’ve been going through some rough spots lately. There’s been pressure tied to a big project. I’ve also been having problems getting enough sleep. When I’m tired, it’s hard to function properly. Sometimes when I’m tired I forget the power I can tap into. I finally decided it was time to feel better. As I pondered what thoughts I could have to feel better, I realized that my higher power is there for me.

So I surrendered what was going on with my health to God. Then I looked for signs and boy did I find them!

I remembered that last fall I went through something similar. The change of seasons can affect our health. And on exactly the same October weekend a year ago as the one that just past, I also surrendered things bothering me to God and had an incredible transition. So I decided it would happen again on that weekend. I’d have my breakthrough and thanked God for it. Surrendering yourself to God, or the Universe, sends out a message of faith, which attracts the support you need.

Then I watched for God to speak to me with guidance.

Several people recommended that I check out the Sacred Center on 86th Street and West End Avenue in Manhattan. I realized that God was telling me to go check it out. When I got someone’s newsletter and the link was in it, I looked up and clicked. I figured Sunday was the best day to go since it was the weekend one year after my breakthrough last year. I knew it was no accident that I found it. So I decided to go to their service. It was at 2PM, which is better for me.

The church had a class after the service called Breakthrough, which I was expecting to have! Again, I knew this was God sending me there and I signed up.

Releasing my health into God’s hands led me to resources that helped me to help myself! Sunday I woke up feeling more refreshed than I have in weeks. While changing the TV channels to find a weather forecast, I passed Joel Osteen’s half hour show. I occasionally stop to listen to him for a few minutes but usually get distracted. This time I turned it on just as he began. And he spoke to me. I believe that I attracted Osteen’s message with my thoughts. He advised reaching your hand up and saying something like:

“As an act of faith, I’m reaching out my hand to receive healing.”

I did it with enthusiasm and felt psyched! I saw it as God reinforcing that He was with me on healing the health I surrendered to him. Other people might insist it was just a coincidence, like finding the Sacred Center. I choose to believe it was God encouraging me. Believing that makes me feel good and keeps my intentions on God’s loving support. It helps me to feel like I’m taking back control of my life, as I discusses in my earlier post on Control.

Feeling in control sends a strong message of intention to the Universe. Surrendering your outcome to your higher power begins the process.

The service and class at the Sacred Center was truly inspiring. The energy in the church was so pure and hopeful and I joyously sang along with their choir. The speakers blew me away. The reverend, August Gold, is very motivational and she also led the Breakthrough class. Besides all of that, I got some other signs. One that brought me to tears was the song the choir ended with—U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” After reinventing myself, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I keep my options open. I’ve considered that my theme song ever since.

Keeping your options open is surrendering your path to God.

I watch for opportunities and follow the lead I’m given. That song reminds me that I’ll always keep my options open. After I find something I’ve wanted, there are always new dreams and goals, and unknown opportunities. So I’ll never find what I’m looking for because I actually don’t look for anything. I surrender what’s coming and find it when the signs are there.

When you live with the faith that you’re taken care of, you’re taken care of. There’s great elation in accepting that’s how the Law of Attraction works!

I left the church feeling a lot better. My project got done and my sleep improved. I feel more hopeful about some things than I have in a while. And I continue to reach my hand up to God and say, “As an act of faith, I’m reaching out my hand to receive healing.” Next time you’re struggling with something, whether it’s your health or making a decision or you need help with your career, or romance or anything at all, try to find enough faith to put the situation into the hands of your higher being. Then try your best to relax in the knowing that it will all work out for your highest good.

I know it’s hard when you’re scared. But, as you try it and get what you need, it gets easier. Whenever I surrender what I need to God, He comes through. If you’re doubtful, acknowledge it and then ask for Him to take care of it anyway. You’ll feel the most power on your side than you can even imagine as this trust returns to you with good results.

See all the Law of Attraction in Action Series.

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!

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