Boundaries Are Essential For Happy Relationships

We’ve all had people in our life who treat us badly.

They’re rude to us, they talk down to us, they can be really aggressive or manipulative. They might even be verbally or physically abusive.

And it can be really difficult to know how to tell them to stop. Because, like I mentioned in the video, most of us didn’t grow up knowing how to set boundaries.

But it’s essential, for our relationships and for our happiness, to be able to teach people how to treat us better.

We need to learn how to say no, how to set effective boundaries, so that we don’t reinforce their undesirable, manipulative  or abusive behavior.

The 5 steps below are something I’ve used again and again to help me set boundaries, to remind myself that I deserve love and respect, and to walk away when I’m not getting it from someone so that I might give it to myself.

These steps were put together by the psychologist Kati Morton. They may be of value to you if you struggle with setting healthy boundaries.

Step 1: Notice when we reinforce the bad behavior of others. This is an important  first step if, like me, you’ve grown up in a home without boundaries. So pay attention to when you say yes to someone when you really want to say no.

Step 2: Recognize that we have the right to walk away from others. You do not have to stay in a conversation or situation that makes you feel like crap. You might tell the other person you’d be willing to speak with them if they stop being disrespectful or manipulative.

Step 3: Understand that we have the right to say NO if something is not in our best interest. Saying no doesn’t make us rude or selfish or a bad person. It’s actually a sign of healthy self-respect because we’re honoring what we need for our happiness.

Step 4: Act upon our recognition that the relationship is unhealthy. We always have the ability to distance ourselves from toxic people. Even if we live with those people we can still limit the time we spend around them, we can still choose to be emotionally unavailable for toxic people.

Step 5: Stick with it. If you feel guilty for setting boundaries ask your self “is it more important that other people like me or that I like me?”  This is where heathy self-respect, healthy self-love, comes from. Reinforcing this and acting consistently will help to ensure we’re treated the way we want to be.

The Magic Of Surrender

flow, peace, mindfulness

Goals are important.

Mindset is important.

Motivation is important.

But there’s something missing from all of these, something we don’t really talk about in the personal development space, something that’s as essential to our happiness and fulfillment as all the above.

The thing that’s missing is Surrender.

“What?” you might be thinking “I just have to give up on my goals and dreams and wait for something to happen?”

Absolutely not! 

Surrender isn’t resignation. It’s not defeat. It’s not laziness. 

Surrender is the simple wisdom of flowing with life instead of opposing it.

It’s an internal shift in our own perception from the stress of hustle, hustle, hustle, to the ease of alignment.

It doesn’t mean we don’t work. It means we work with reverence for the process and not over-attachment to a specific outcome.

Surrender is the living from the place within us which cannot be impacted by the world around us.

It’s allowing our lives to be guided by a power far greater than our own.

It’s our journey back to our true Self-

A journey without distance from our head to our heart.

The Most Important Advice I’d Give to My Younger Self (or Anyone)

A lot of people say we shouldn’t look back in life, that we’re wasting time if we do.

While we definitely don’t want to live in our past, there’s so much value in looking back. We get to see how far we’ve come, how much we’ve been through, how much we’ve learned. 

In the video below I share the most important advice I’d give to my younger self, my twenty year old self.

My life was overflowing with anxiety and uncertainty at twenty years old. Every time I thought about my future I would become paralyzed with fear. 

I knew I had potential. 

I knew I wanted a life different from the ones around me.

I knew I could do so much more with my life than just work and party.

But the fear I felt made me feel trapped.

So I did what so many of us do-

I ignored it.

I turned to tv, alcohol, men and partying to avoid the fear and uncertainty.

Which is why the most important advice I’d give to my younger self has to do with embracing that fear, leaning in to that uncertainty. 

Yes, it’s scary. 

But it’s not as scary as being stuck.

It’s not as scary as never honoring our potential.

It’s not as scary as never knowing what would happened if we just try.

Our experiences can be our greatest teachers. 

And we can find wisdom in even the worst circumstances if we pause to reflect on what we’ve been through.

So watch the video below. And then let me know about the advice you’d give to your younger self. You never know who might be inspired by your life’s wisdom.

Resilience: The ESSENTIAL ingredient to a happy life

Resilience, Strength, Personal Growth

Our capacity to be resilient, our capacity to endure struggle and failure and heartbreak, determines the quality of our lives.

None of us can create lives we love, none of us can truly live, without experiencing challenges in life.

Every single one of us will endure periods of difficulty and despair- be it in love, work, school, family, health, relationships, spiritual growth. As much as we would love all of these to flow easily and effortlessly, the reality is they will not.

So I think creating a life we love depends, in a large part, on our ability to navigate the setbacks and struggles of our lives.

The good news is we seem to be hardwired for resilience. 

Watch the video below to learn more.

Still don’t believe me? 

Then look at your own life.

You’ve already gone through something like this. 

You’ve already endured heartbreak, setbacks and challenges in your life. If you don’t think you’re resilient enough, or strong enough, or good enough, remind yourself of what you’ve already been through and how you found your way out of it. 

So no matter what you’re going through, never forget that you will get through this because you’ve already done it.

You’ve already demonstrated resilience. And you can cultivate that inherent seed of resilience to blossom and thrive in life. 

There are many ways to cultivate  resilience, and I’ll definitely be talking about those, but for right now I just want to remind you that you’re strong enough to make it through. And whatever it is you’re going through will make you stronger and will help you be even better prepared to handle what’s coming in your life. 

Because our setbacks and struggles come with gifts that we just don’t get anywhere else- an  unshakable strength, a deeper level of clarity, and a fierce conviction in our values. 

Even if it feels overwhelming right now, be compassionate with yourself, and remember that you can make it through this. Because resilience  is your birthright.

Stop Waiting For Your Big Break! Use the Progress Principle Instead

productivity, the progress principle

“Is this it? Is this all that there is to life? There has to be more.”

These are the thoughts that would drift into my mind as my head hit the pillow after an exhausting day of wake-up, work, tv, sleep. It was usually followed by a lingering thought of “One day. Maybe one day it’ll all change.” Maybe one day I wouldn’t have to numb my potential with chocolate cake and re-runs of NCIS.

But I had no idea how to get to that “one day.” 

So I waited. 

I waited for someone to give me my dream job. I waited for a teacher to tell me I was special. I waited to be discovered by someone I admired. I waited for a blog post to go viral.

And as I waited I got more and more tired.

My life felt like a treadmill.  Sweaty. Exhausted. Achey. And waiting for someone else to press the stop button.

So many of us feel like that- like we’re on the treadmill of life. 

Burnt out from constantly moving but not actually going anywhere. 

But how can we get somewhere? How can we get off the treadmill and actually do meaningful work? Work that nourishes and fuels us?

It turns out that science has the answer-

According to research out of Harvard, the key to fulfilling work is to take small steps towards our most important dreams and goals. 

It’s called the Progress Principle and it’s written by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer. 

They looked at over 12,000 pieces of data and they found that “of all the positive events that influences work life, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work. Even when progress happens in small steps, a person’s sense of steady forward movement towards an important goal can make all the difference between a great day and a terrible one.” 

Small wins are shown to have a surprisingly strong effect in long-term productivity.

Which means that lasting success isn’t about a one time breakthrough. Lasting success is based on small but consistent steps towards a goal that matter to us. 

I know from my own experience how much impact these small steps have. My life today looks completely than it did just two years ago. And I owe it all to setting aside 30 minutes to an hour every day and giving that time to one goal that truly matters to me. 

What matters most to you? Writing a book? Exercising? Starting a side hustle? Having better relationships?

Is it worth 30 minutes of your day? 

I created a free “Monthly Maintenance” journal template for you.

It’s something I do at the beginning of every month to keep me focused on my goals, grounded in my purpose and grateful for my progress.

Download it now if you’d like a free tool to  commit to your goals.

If you’d like a more expansive process to stick to your goals, get my most popular free download, the Beyond Motivation Guide, here. 

How to Tune Out Negativity

#triggerwarning

“I hope you get raped again.” 

That was one of the messages I received after speaking publicly about being raped.

A year before that message would’ve broken me. 

I would’ve either been crying hysterically in tears or arguing angrily with someone who was determined to  hate me. 

But that day I just rolled my eyes and reported it to the platform. 

It was so easy for me to do this largely because of a simple technique I learned from Brene Brown’s amazing book Daring Greatly.

This technique is called a Squad Square. 

And it’s been life changing for me.

Literally. Life. Changing.

I think it’ll be helpful to you too.

Because we all come into contact with people who are toxic, negative, and in my case, downright hostile.

And if we were to let all those voices in we’d probably be paralyzed by fear and overwhelm. But if we blocked out all the voices in our world, we’d cut ourselves off from genuine connection and helpful feedback. 

What we need is a filter. 

One we can use to decide whose opinion is allowed into our hearts and whose isn’t. And that’s exactly what creating a Squad Square does.

Check out the video below to how to create your own Squad Square: 

The Two Exceptions I Mentioned in the Video Are:

  1. People who are thriving in an area of life you’d like to thrive in also- so these are people like mentors, inspirational role models, experts in their industry… basically someone who’ve proven themselves by going through a process that’s in alignment with your values to get an outcome you desire.
  2. Sometimes a person on your list might have feedback on a certain subject that you know is not in alignment with your values. For example, my mom’s on my list. But she has really traditional opinions on relationships and gender roles that I would honestly never even consider.

So give yourself permission to be flexible. 

The point of this is to get clarity on the people whose opinions matter, and more importantly, whose doesn’t so that you can focus on what truly matters in life.

Be sure to let me know if you try it!

The Most Important Thing To Remember About Playing Small In Your Life

Picture this:

You wake up excited to get out of bed… 

Excited to get to your work, your family, your friends… excited to get on your yoga mat, excited to go for a short walk, to drink your favorite  tea or coffee.

You know that these are all parts of what makes a good life, a life fueled by purpose.

But most of us aren’t there yet.

Most of us are still playing small.

Most of us are still making excuses, still blaming others, still shrinking in the face of opportunities.

Most of us are still afraid.

Afraid that if we own our purpose, we might be too big for our lives.

Afraid that we might turn into someone we don’t like. 

Someone conceited… showy… arrogant.

But one of my favorite books, A Course in Miracles, reminds us that it’s actually arrogant to diminish our power. 

I talk more about why the Course said this, and a simple reminder to own our power, in the video below.

I know there’s a lot more to talk about on this topic, including our mindset and the limiting beliefs we’ve adopted.

And I’ll definitely  be addressing those in upcoming posts.

But if you liked this, and if you need some help getting clarity on your purpose, you should download the free guide below. It’s a framework I used to get major clarity on what I should be doing with my life.

Four Steps To Your True Purpose

Download this FREE GUIDE to find your purpose and start creating a life you’ll love.

Self-Care Tip: Spend Time in Nature

outdoors, nature, forest bathing

Stressed, irritable  and burnt out. 

That’s how I felt those last few days. Not even my usual yoga and meditation practice could do much to improve my mood.

I also felt isolated from my boyfriend. Our weekly date had become collateral damage to the other, more-pressing, things in both our lives. 

The sky was so blue that Wednesday morning, mocking me with its happy fluffy clouds and overall vibrance.

I wanted to go back to bed. But my boyfriend suggested we play hooky from life and try to spend some time together

Reluctantly, I agreed. I’m glad I did because as we drove through the miles and miles of coconut trees to get to the beach my mood improved.

 

We barely spent 2 hours at the beach itself, less than half that time in the water (the waves were really rough that day). But even so, we both got back home feeling happier, renewed and more connected.

Apparently we’re not alone in feeling like this.

It turns out spending time in nature has amazing benefits for our mind, bodies and spirit.

According to several studies, spending time in nature can significantly decrease stress. The participants in these studies had lower levels of cortisol (the hormone that’s used as a marker for stress) and a lowered heart rate (less anxiety). 

Outdoor time can also reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is linked to autoimmune disorder, IBS, hypertension, depression and even cancer!

The burnt out, irritable feelings I had are so common that it’s actually being researched.

It’s referred to as fatigue and, as I inadvertently found out, spending time in nature can help with it. 

Walking among some trees, having a picnic, or strolling along the shore is shown to increase focus, creativity and self-esteem. 

Nature therapy may just be the perfect antidote to the fatigue and burn out so many of us report feeling- it’s free, readily available, and has zero side effects.

Studies in Japan even show that their practice of forest bathing is associated with a lower risk of early death. 

We all want longer, healthier lives, don’t we?

So carve out some time this week to visit your favorite park, hiking trail or beach.

You’ll literally be happier and healthier if you do.

If you’d like to learn more about the health benefits of spending time in nature, check out this Business Insider article. 

How to Stop an Anxiety Attack- A One Minute Technique

It was a regular evening.

I was sitting in a taxi on my way to an appointment. 

The phone in my hand lit up with a new message.

Everything slowed down as I read it.

My heart started pounding against my chest… as though trying to escape the car before the rest of my body. 

My throat went dry.

My chest tightened. 

The car suddenly felt too small. 

I had to get out. 

Struggling to keep my voice calm, I told the driver to let me out and I started walking. I didn’t know where I was going but I was in hurry to get there.

I stopped. Closed my eyes. And took a deep breath. 

I’d felt like this before. 

I was in the middle of an anxiety attack. 

And I knew the message caused it. The contents of the message wasn’t devastating. But it was triggering. And my brain and body didn’t seem to know how to handle it. 

I took another deep breath and reminded myself that I wasn’t in any immediate  danger. 

It didn’t help. 

I took yet another deep breath  and tried to remember what my therapist  told me to do in this situation. 

It was a 54321 technique, but I couldn’t recall exactly what the 54321 things were. 

They came back in fragments:

Five things you can see…

Some things you can hear…

One thing you can taste.

I knew I wasn’t  remembering everything perfectly  but it didn’t matter. 

By focusing on my breathing, the taste of gum in my mouth and the sights and sounds around me,  my errant heart starting slowing to it’s usual rhythm.

That technique didn’t actually save my life that day but it felt like it did. 

So I’d like to share it with you.

It’s actually a proven way of treating  anxiety attacks. And it only takes less than a minute. 

The version below is from the Calm meditation app. It’s something I’ve revisited a number of times whenever I felt stressed or overwhelmed . 

If you suffer from anxiety I sincerely think it’ll help.

If you don’t suffer from anxiety but know someone who does, please share this post and video with them. They’ll thank you for it.

The Number One Question I Get Asked as a Meditation Teacher

“Why is it SO hard to meditate?”

We all know we should meditate. 

Everyone from Oprah to Jay Shetty to Google execs to Wall Street Investors talk about their meditation practice and the benefits of it

Even Harvard has a ton of research on it. Harvard. 

So meditation is definitely a big deal right now.

But even with all these celebrity endorsements, studies and research, most of us have a pretty hard time getting a meditation practice started. 

Part of that is because starting anything is challenging. (Another topic for another post).

But a big part of why it’s so hard is because of what happens when we try to meditate. 

We sit our cute tushies on the mat or chair, close our eyes, inhale deeply…

And then the noise comes.

A furious storm of random thoughts, memories and judgments starts rushing into our minds.

We get frustrated because this is clearly not IT, this is clearly not the peace we were seeking when we sat down to meditate.

So we open our eyes and go back to our days. 

It’s hard, I know. 

I’ve definitely been there. Some days I’m still there.

But it turns out that the noise, the monkey mind, is IT.

Well a part of it. One of the most important parts of it actually. 

After venting this exact frustration to my meditation teacher, he told me little story about an old room that I’ll now share with you.

Picture a room or a space in your house where forgotten things end up. Old books, CDs (remember those), piles of clothes we always meant to donate. Maybe some cobweb. A cockroach or two. And dust. Layers and layers of dust. 

Now what happens when you decide to try to clean this space?

The dust raises. It clouds your vision. It consumes you. 

It feels intolerable. 

And we run out of the space overwhelmed  and frustrated because we didn’t make any progress.

Sounds familiar?

It should.

Because that’s what starting to meditate feels like. (At least that’s what it felt like to me)

But it’s important to remember to start slowly, and to be gentle with ourselves.

We’re intentionally looking into a space we haven’t really acknowledged  in years, maybe even ever.

It might be overwhelming  at first. 

It’s okay… 

Completely normal…

A natural part of the process.

Most importantly, you’re not going crazy.

It WILL get easier, more comfortable.

Take it slow. 

One breath at a time.

The peace you seek is already yours. It just has some dust on it. 

I’d love to know if you can relate to this! And if you can, how did you deal with it?

Remember to share this post with anyone you know who’s had a hard time meditating. They’ll thank you for it.