General

Declare, Declare, Declare

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As you are honing your skills of validation, I hope that the voice you are hearing in your head, when you are speaking to yourself and about yourself, is becoming more and more kind, gentle, respectful and FIRM.

That’s where validating starts. Without knowing that your feelings matter and someone cares about you, it’s impossible to validate others.

You are worthy of your own love.  Declare that truth and teach your mind to hold it firmly in place, with relentless practice.

I wish you peace.

Love,

Jacque

“I am kind, gentle and respectful when I speak to or of myself.”

“I firmly direct my mind to accept the truth of myself; that I am loved.”

“I constantly feed my mind with positive, present tense statements.”

“I am the master of my fate.”

“I love my life.”

 

 

 

Slow It Down

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Have we discussed this idea before? Ha! I’m sure we have, but it bears repeating!

 

When you are feeling harried and thinking of too many things at once, shift your attention to your breathing. Consciously breathe in and out, slowly, and observe the change you feel in your body.

When you feel pressed with too many things to do, take a few minutes to make a list and get the “to-do’s” out of your head and into visual reality.

When you think you can’t go any further, know that you most likely can!  It may take a perspective shift, but the energy is available and can be given you when you need it most. Asking for help is one way to keep going!

When you need to rest, and don’t have a window of time for it, take 120 seconds and rest your mind.  Think of as little as possible and repeat your best declarations of truth and strength.

When you feel discouragement or despair or despondency creeping into your mind, demand that your mind shift to counting blessings, making a list of all that you have learned and accomplished and stay watchful of your thoughts until your mind has obeyed.

When your children seem demanding and whiny, stop what you are doing and listen to them with your full attention.  Chances are they are struggling to be heard and have upped the ante to capture your attention.

I pray that you will know that you are never alone.  That those of us who have walked the road of mothering before you have fought the same or similar battles, and have come away enriched and wiser for the experience.

You can do this!

Love,

Jacque

“I am in love, and out of love I will not go.”  C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

 

 

 

 

Shall We Ask For It?

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we know when we need to change.

Most often it seems to be in times of stress, when we’ve hit a wall, so to speak, and what we normally do in response to life just isn’t working anymore.  It may be a crisis in a relationship, the loss of a job, illness or even boredom.

A curious thing about change; we’re usually trying desperately to avoid it. All while we are trying to better ourselves! This is a crazy paradox, isn’t it?

I think the understanding, that in order to grow we have to resolve this paradox, is at the root of coaching!  If you want to grow, you have to change. In order to change, you’ll have to see yourself more clearly. If you want more clarity, you’ll be open for feedback (from someone you trust) and you’ll be on your way to greater self awareness and therefore activate greater growth potential.

As a poignant illustration, a short excerpt from Love, Medicine and Miracles, by Bernie Siegel, M.D.:

“Phyllis, a patient who had an extensive pancreatic cancer that was no longer responding to treatment, went home to die.  Several months later she returned to the office.  One of my partners examined her.  He opened the door of the examining room and called me: “Hey, Bernie, you’re interested in this stuff.”

I came in and he said, “Her cancer is gone.”

“Phyllis,” I said, “Tell them what happened.”

She said, “Oh, you know what happened.”

“I know that I know,” I said, “but I’d like the others to know.”

Phyllis replied, “I decided to live to be a hundred and leave my troubles to God.”

I could really end the book here, because this peace of mind can heal anything.  I believe faith is the essence, a simple solution, yet too hard for most people to practice.

To verify this I went to God…and asked why I couldn’t hang a sign in my waiting room saying, “Leave your troubles to God, you don’t need me.” God said, “I’ll show you why. I’ll meet you at the hospital at 12 A.M. Saturday.”…On Saturday he said, “Take me to your sickest patient.” I told him about a woman with cancer whose husband had run off with another woman.  He said, “Good case,” and we went up to her room.  I said, “Ma’am, God is going to come in and tell you how to get well.” I always introduce him so patients are not overwhelmed.  She responded, “Oh, wonderful.”  God entered the room and said, “All you have to do is love, accept, forgive and choose to be happy,” and she looked Him in the eye and said, “Have you met my husband yet?” Most of us want God to change the external aspects of our lives so we don’t have to change internally.  We want to be exempt from the responsibility for our own happiness.  We often find it easier to resent and suffer in the role of victim than to love, forgive, accept, and find inner peace. As W.H. Auden has written,

We would rather be ruined than changed;

We would rather die in our dread

Than climb the cross of the moment

And let our illusions die.

Yet, when we choose to love, healing energy is released in our bodies.  Energy itself is loving and intelligent and available to all of us.”

If you’re ready for a little growth, all you have to do is ask.  Ask God.  Ask yourself.  Or ask someone close to you that has your best interest at heart.

Chances are, if you asked, “What is one small thing that you see that I could do right now that would help me get to where I want to go,” they just may tell you something helpful!

See what happens!

Be well!

Love,

Jacque

Those Validating Questions

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Someone is talking.  They are trying to think something through.

They are trying to figure out what they will do next.

You know that your role is to listen; to understand by giving your full attention; to pay attention to how they feel and to imagine their point of view.

One of the important things you can do to perform the listening role well, is to learn to ask validating questions.  (You’ve heard them before from people who listen to you- well!)

Wow! How did that go?

What did you think?

How did you respond?

What do you think you’ll do next?

How do you feel?

Do you think you’ll try that?

The Lundberg’s point out that the “questions that are the easiest to answer usually start with the following words: how, what, when, where, do, and is.”

(Notice there is no “why,” i.e. why did you do that?)

The intent for asking questions is to better understand the person you are listening to so that you can give the gift of actively saying, with your listening behavior, “You are important to me.  I care about you and your feelings matter.”

Then, what the speaking person decides to do is their choice.  You don’t have to come up with a solution or fix anything. And most importantly, they feel heard.

Is this exciting? Do you feel the weight of the burdens, you  thought you needed to carry, lifting off of your shoulders? Aaaaaaah.  What a relief!

But boy does it take practice! Luckily, there isn’t a day or some days an hour that goes by that we don’t have the opportunity to practice. And sometimes crash and burn, dust off, and try again!  And you know how it is when you understand something, and then mess up, if is a little harder to reconcile. But, give yourself time to learn and a lot of acceptance for error. It’ll come, it’ll come. In time, we can be validating champions!

And validation is so vitally important there’s no time to lose!

“Observe your listening patterns. Do you listen completely or are you thinking of solutions while the other person is talking?  Are you impatiently waiting to give your point of view? Do you automatically jump in when the other person takes a breath or pauses to think through a thought?  In the next conversation you have with someone today, listen by giving your full attention.  If you start to formulate any answer while they are talking, refocus your mind to listen completely.  One of the greatest compliments you can give to another person is your complete attention.”                                               

I Don’t Have To Make Everything All Better, Gary and Joy Lundberg

Happy practicing!

Love,

Jacque

P.S. Sometimes we get messed up when we think that by our listening we are saying that we agree with the other person’s point of view or their decisions.  By listening, we aren’t saying that at all.  We can maintain our own boundaries and values and still be active, hands-off-their-problems listeners. If you’re worried that you must jump into teach and lecture and fill in the quiet places, trust me, you don’t.  Listening time is not teaching time. Listening time is not about you, it’s about the other person, so zip up and let them talk! With a little validation, they’ll figure it all out. And at some point, they may ask for your insights and then, it may be appropriate for you to share them.

 

 

Framed

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How are your validating skills and efforts panning out thus far?

I hope you are willing to take baby steps and to celebrate each little success you experience- which means you will have to wear your mental “looking for success lens” in order to see them!

And, have you found that there are opportunities for practice everywhere you turn? There is never a shortage if you spend any time with people of any age!

Just a note about the listening part of validation:

What if you are desiring to validate someone and yet there seems to be no end to the drama and desperation they tell you? If it seems that the “figuring it out” never comes and the same discouraged and difficult situation goes on indefinitely?

I would suggest that you can draw a boundary around your listening; you can ask the validating questions and use the validating phrases, while also limiting the time you spend hearing the sometimes unending variations of the same trouble.

At some point, you become an enabling accomplice when you listen and listen and listen to a situation where progress and discovery is not the goal. Besides that, when we are in a place of exasperation and exhaustion, we aren’t helpful! At such times, we can frame the time we give with appropriate boundaries. We can encourage.  We can continue to be kind, gentle, respectful and firm, to the other person, and to ourselves.

There are times when a listening ear is not all that is needed. Heaven help us to be able to know when it is time to gently move forward. Maybe professional help is needed. Maybe it would be more productive to make that suggestion.

Then again, sometimes inviting someone to do something else, other than talking, can be such a gift!

How about a bike ride or a walk on a beautiful day? Or catching a good movie or going to hear an orchestra or see a play?

I thank heaven for all of the wonderful friends I have had through my life who have given me their time, their listening ears, their understanding and encouragement.  We are all indebted to true friends who offer us the validation we need while we figure out our own struggles, and the times we share having fun and helping us each discover our best selves.

Have a great evening!

Love,

Jacque