Image result for shame says because i am flawed

We feel guilt from something that we did or didn’t do that we, or others, think we should or shouldn’t have done!  It’s about the doing.

Shame goes deeper.  Shame is the message that we are not valued, that we lack worth.  Shame is about who I am.  It is given directly as in, “You’re no good!”  It can also be indirectly implied in others’ behavior and how they treat us (i.e. like an object).    Shame is usually used by those who have been shamed in the past and who have not found ways to heal from their own emotional pain.  It is a core issue in much of my work with clients.

Changing this belief about oneself  requires breaking a habit, surrounding oneself with healthy people,  healthy messages about self, and beginning to internalize a different self-perception, one of value and worthiness.

God loves you just as you are!  Like a good parent, He may not like some of your behaviors but His love and gift of grace is continuous and omnipresent.  If you are struggling with  shame, I urge you to try to love yourself the way you imagine God loves you.  Surround your self with healthy people who will accept your shortcomings and, at the same time, love you for the wonderful person you are.  Learn to cherish your self!

I still struggle to fully wrap my head around that business of deserving, of God loving me unconditionally, of  His Amazing Grace which I don’t deserve but is always abundantly available for me.  If you have any tips, I am open and will share them.

For my Christian friends, I hope you will listen and enjoy the voice of Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by following the link:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKo3T0j9qqo   If you need to, you can click to skip the ad!!!

Blessings & Peace,  John

Image result for you will never change your life until you change something you do daily

As much as I don’t like how this quote is worded, it has a profound point.  In the past several days I’ve encouraged a few clients to consider minimizing the negative, and moving away from the extremes, in their thinking and talking.  They can replace them with positivity and think of things as existing somewhere along a continuum.  For instance, instead of labeling yourself as happy or unhappy, you could see yourself as happier than you were yesterday.  The quote above would then become something like,  “To change your life, start changing something you do daily.”

Changing your life can seem large and overwhelming.  Instead, start looking at your daily routine.  What do you do regularly and in what order?  If you want to do something different or, get a different outcome, what can you change?  What could you do differently?  What would you start doing less of to start doing more of this thing differently?  That’s how many big changes begin.  Remember “Yard by yard, it’s hard, BUT, inch by inch, it’s a cinch!” 🙂

I wish you well in creating and maintaining those small daily changes, repeating them until they become habits and, thus, creating the positive change you deserve in your life. Persist!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Peace, John

Image result for the bad news is time flies quote

The “real” news is that time always goes on at the same steady pace. Frequently, we try to fit too much into our schedules and so, it seems to speed up. We wonder how we will get everything done in the time we had. That’s usually a sign that we haven’t prioritized our “to do” lists and so, we feel overwhelmed.

As the pilot, you fly your own plane. Are you or is someone else? If someone else, who and why have you let them? Can you invite them to leave the cockpit or, perhaps move over to the right seat where the copilot sits? What are your priorities? Are you spending the right amount of time on them? And remember, you are the pilot. You have the experience and the vested interest in being in that left seat, calling all the shots for your life. You and you alone are responsible for your self, the plane and this journey that you are on. You never know what decisions you may have to make. Remember you are the pilot and a lot rests on you.

As I write this blog post, my sister, Anne Marie Bennett and I are co-facilitating a SoulCollage® weekend workshop in Westfield, Massachusetts with 11 budding pilots who are learning the basics of flying their own lives. I dedicate this blog post to them and we now welcome Amy, Becky, Jan, Jennifer, Jill, Kathy, Kimee, Laura, Sharon, Susan C, and Susan N to our list of regular blog recipients. As a bonus for them and for you, our regular readers, I’ve added below an additional quote this week. I hope you enjoy it.

Peace, John

Image result for i am looking up because that is where i want to be

Image result for when you can't control what's happening challenge yourself quote

One formula for anger: when you think you should be in control of what’s happening and you’re not!  When most people are powerless, they try to gain control of the situation – arguing, acting out, etc.  It doesn’t work – they are powerless and, for the time being, are unwilling to accept that.  This quote offers a way out.

First, mindfulness, aware that you are not in charge.  Second, get focused back on yourself and figure out what your choices are of how to “respond.”  Notice, I said “respond,” not react.  You shift the focus back to yourself, the only person you can control.

It is a challenge, but do you want to keep struggling with the impossible?  Would you rather master the situation, and yourself, and increase the likelihood of success?  Would you rather focus on the obstacle or resolving the challenge?

Peace, John

Image result for Healthy boundaries are not walls.

Boundaries separate one thing from another.  They create a distinction.  What’s on this side is different from what’s on that side.  It’s that way in relationships too – if there are no boundaries then it becomes easy to forget where you end and the other person begins.  When you’ve lost yourself, i.e. or are overly focused on the other person, you can’t get anywhere.  You’ve lost your bearings – maybe you have even taken on the other person’s bearings.  Chances are, if it’s codependent, the other person is just as lost as you are.

That’s why we need fences with gates.  You become the gatekeeper.  You must let yourself in when conditions are appropriate, and you must keep yourself out when they’re not.  Some people may see fences and gates as controlling others from coming and going.  To a degree that’s true – you can’t stop them from coming or going out there but you can stop them from coming in and trampling on your territory and/or taking up permanent residence without paying the rent!

A client & I once spent nearly a whole session focused entirely on her need to set up boundaries in her life.  We understood where the lack of boundaries came from since we knew how dysfunctional her family of origin was.  She left with some good ideas about when and how to set up boundaries.  She was equipped to start figuring out and living her own life.  She came back the next week and told me that she learned something even more important about boundaries.  She said, “I’ve learned that, for me, setting up boundaries is challenging.  However, the hardest part is, once you’ve set them up, then you gotta do ‘sentry duty!’”

When you get those boundaries up you’ll be surprised how much you learn about yourself.  Perhaps you’ll be able to smell the roses in your own garden for a change.  Remember to pull those weeds!  Happy building, … and guardening!

Peace, John

Image result for living with anxiety is like being followed by a voice

The voice, you know, the voice inside your head.  It’s that negative voice – the voice that worries about everything you have made up (projected) about the future.  It’s also that voice of self-criticism and self-doubt.  Somewhere along the way you learned it, and you’ve been practicing it, probably for years.  It’s been on automatic.

It’s only way of growing is to get louder because you haven’t been paying attention to it.  When most people pay attention to it, it doesn’t help, but they keep trying to ignore it, so it gets louder until it drowns out everything else.

Want to fix it?  First, be aware of it and the damage it has done to you (i.e. mindfulness).  Become proactive.  Create another voice, a positive, “can-do attitude” kind of voice.  Create a voice that shouts back and challenges the first one.  Make that voice stick up for the new you and challenge those anxious  irrational beliefs.  Add to the new voice positive “I” messages that focus on the here and now, not on the future.  You then need to listen to the new voice, turn up the volume and pay attention to it.  Never let it take a vacation else the old one will try to creep back in.  Maybe find some kindred spirits with similar voices and create a chorus.  What do you think?

If you do these things repeatedly & persistently, you will find the original voice decreases in volume and intensity.  Your insecurities will diminish as you focus more on your strengths and it becomes easier to think your way through day-to-day situations. Take those anxious thoughts out of automatic and put the new ones in gear and steer and drive them to a new and improved, better you!

As I’ve written in an earlier blog, you can make molehills out of mountains!

Please let me know how these ideas work for you.

Peace, John

Image result for explain your anger, don't express it

When angry, start out calmly saying to yourself, “I feel angry.”  Then pause.  This identifies it as a feeling and, if you didn’t know, what you feel is not the whole story.  The whole story includes what you think about the situation as well as your behavior.  Most people miss those two other steps and, when feeling angry, jump right to expressing it.  That doesn’t do much except get others defensive and more likely to act angrily back at you, i.e. the “argument.”

Saying, “I feel angry,” can interrupt the process, and lead you to thinking a little more rationally about what is going on.  You can assess what might be an effective response.  Notice I didn’t say “reaction.”  There is a difference!

Anger is a sign that something may need to change.  You may need to change your expectation, something about the situation or just accept the fact that you may be powerless.  When I start getting perturbed, I’ve had to train myself to ask two questions. First, what was I expecting that was unrealistic?  When I lower, or give up the expectation, my anger dissipates.  Second, what is it that I am powerless over, that I want to control?  When I accept my powerlessness, the anger also dissipates.  Amazing! My training is a process and is still ongoing. Be patient with your self but keep asking (and answering) those questions!

Explaining the anger, to myself and sometimes to others, usually diffuses it, prevents upheavals and leads to re-solutions.

Which do you prefer, arguments or solutions?

Peace, John

Your comments on this post are welcome. Be sure you are on my blog on our WordPress site and click comment.  “Comment” is at the top, just before the quote or graphic, and after the categories and tags.  If you get our blogpost through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+, click on the link that will take you to our WordPress site first.  If you comment, please be patient as I have to review & approve comments before they show up on the blog itself.  Thank you.

Also, I am in search of guest bloggers.  If you have a favorite quote, why not send me an email (jpacheco@personalgrowthconcepts.com) with the quote and your thought/comments (less than 250 words, please) on how that quote helps you, or can help others?  I’ll review and may share it in the future with the over 400 people who regularly receive our blog.  I usually use first name and last initial to give credit but, if you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know that too. Have a blessed week!  – jp

Image result for it's the repetition of affirmations

Take a cup and pour into it a quarter of a cup of orange juice. Call that “negative.” Look at it. Now fill the rest of the cup with clear water (positive). Look at it again. What’s different?

Now take that cup and pour it into a gallon container and fill the rest of the container with more water. Is it lighter orange? Less juicy? Get the point?

Can you ever get that quarter of a cup of orange juice back? Keep adding water. I rest my case.

For those of you who were hoping an affirmation would fall out of this blog post, here are two that Louise Hay recently posted on Twitter. Choose between them or, use them both.

“I liberate my energy by doing things that don’t like me,” or “I allow love to find me in the perfect time and space.”

You now know how to make “things happen!”

                                                                                                           Peace, John

Image result for ADHD I march to the beat of a different drummer

People with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are unique.  Even though they may have shortcomings in staying focused or in concentrating, they tend to be creative, innovative and often good multitaskers.

There are two forms of ADHD, inattentive and/or hyperactive.  Those with the inattentive form frequently seem to be somewhere else – the thoughts in their minds rapidly change from one topic to another.  Even though they may appear to be listening, what’s going on inside might be miles away.  They miss chunks of what they’re told, don’t remember things and frequently get frustrated, sometimes acting out, when these shortcomings are pointed out to them.  Those with the hyperactive form tend  to constantly move, some even when they are asleep! 

Medication and/or therapy can be helpful.  Professionals used to think that children outgrow ADHD.  That’s not true! As children grow up, sometimes they find ways to accommodate the disorder.  Sometimes they don’t!  Certain jobs are easier for those with ADHD and other jobs are more difficult or nearly impossible.   Fifty percent of children diagnosed with ADHD have at least one parent who is ADHD;  frequently the parent is undiagnosed.  Most adults don’t get diagnosed with ADHD until one of their children is.

I believe we need to appreciate those who keep switching drummers as much as we appreciate the drummers!

Peace, John

Image result for I am lighthouse rather than lifeboat

Who doesn’t love a lighthouse?   A lighthouse is rock solid, made to withstand high winds and a lot of harsh weather.  The lifeboat is smaller, not anchored and can go all over the place in search of victims.

If you’ve been the lifeboat for a lot of people in your life, why not consider putting your roots down, building a lighthouse for your self and guiding others rather than having to rescue them all the time?  If you keep rescuing the same people repeatedly, you’re both going to get exhausted and they are not likely to learn how to keep themselves out of the drama.  More importantly, you also won’t learn how to keep yourself out of their drama!

And remember, even lighthouses need keepers!

Peace, John

Image result for You can't wake a person who is pretending to sleep

It took me a while to wrap my head around the above quote.  My head, in fact, went in a couple of directions while I was mulling it over.

Initially I was looking for a quote about addiction. Denial, one of the hallmark signs of addiction, is about the pretending.  To deny something, one must already know that it exists!  You might want to think on that one for a while too.  Knowing that it exists, then you have to pretend that it doesn’t.

But the quote is much more than just about addiction.  Think of any challenge in your life.  To meet those challenges, one needs to change.  Most people resist change even though, as I like to say, “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine!”  [That’s for those of you who can remember what vending machines are!]  Initial responses often mimic the pretend game, as in, “pretend it’s not a challenge” or “pretend it’ll go away on its own.”

Finally, back to the quote, it finally dawned on me – I was trying to read too much into it, trying to make it fit my mindset. Simply taken at face value, someone who’s pretending to be asleep, must be awake.  You can’t waken someone who’s already awake!  Nor can you enlighten someone who’s in denial.  Also, you can’t make others embrace change.  In most people’s lives, there are times of sleep and times of wakefulness.

Instead, try this, “You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep, unless that person is yourself!”

                                                                                                         Peace, John

P.S. A friendly reminder – Next weekend Daylight Savings Time begins again!  Remember to change your clocks.

Image result for never again will i underestimate

Think about it – “the greatness inside…”

Have you underestimated it?  Has your focus been on others and have you given them the power to define you?  Are you tired of falling short?  Ugh!  If you don’t give them the power, then you will be reclaiming it for yourself and then you get to estimate your greatness.  Be careful not to estimate based on what you do or have done.  Base it on who you are.

Watch out for the trap of focusing on who other people are and what they are telling you about yourself.  Their “hate” and “limited thinking” is their agenda.  In the end, you are responsible for you.

I believe greatness exists within each one of us.  Spirit/God is everywhere.  This includes within us and part of us. I have been privileged to help some people realize and begin to remove obstacles that block their perception of their true value.  In so doing many have discovered, with humility, their true value.  It’s a better place than the put downs and inferiority complexes they learned.

Is it time for you to more clearly define your agenda?  Make sure that today it starts with the unique, wonderful and talented person that you are!  Yes, YOU ARE! 

Peace, John

Image result for stop hating yourself for everything you aren't

What a way to start improving your self-esteem!  The self-deprecation, self-loathing works against you feeling better about who you are and what you do!  How many times a day do you catch yourself being self-critical?  Full of self-put-downs?  Have you become your own worst enemy?

What would it take to befriend your self?  What do you need to hear from others to help you feel better about your self?  Can you begin to say those things to your self?  What has been stopping you?

What you “aren’t” is not of value.  Start building on the foundation of who you are.  If nothing else, tell yourself, “I have survived low self-esteem!  Now, it’s my job to improve my situation.  I am capable of it and, I am beginning now!”

Challenge the negative self-talk and replace it with positive self-talk.  It won’t take as long as you might think to start improving.  You are worth it!  Persist to maintain it … and, keep yourself growing!

I wish you peace in who you are, and in all that you do!      

                                                                                                         Peace, John

“A healthy relationship should add value to your life, not force you to give up who you are” ~ John Pacheco

There, I’ve said it, and now I’ve put it in writing!  I’ve said it often in sessions.  A relationship is two people and a connection and it can’t be any healthier than the sickest person in it!  Each person in the relationship, to make it healthy, must ask themselves, “What am I putting into this relationship and what am I getting out of it?”  For a healthy relationship, each of them need to think they’re getting a good deal.

This quote eliminates control issues from any kind of  healthy relationship.  If one person, or both (as in codependency) must give up parts of themselves, then they are losing themselves and value cannot be added if one is losing self.

Why not look at some of the relationships in your life today and see if you are paying a price for them.  If so, can you do anything to realign them?  If not, I _______ (fill-in the blank).

You deserve to have added value from the relationships in your life!

Peace, John

 

 

Today a guest blogger has shared with us a quote and some thoughts that are meaningful to her.  I thank her for sharing.

Image result for If we are always guided by other people’s thoughts what is the point of having our own.

This reflects somewhat of my personality. I seem to always be driven by others’ thoughts that I lose myself.  I find that, with the guidance that I have, one day I will be closer to achieving having my own thoughts and not giving a rat’s buns what others think. Then I will be finding myself and living a life without limitations.  – Kat E

You too can become a guest blogger.  Simply find a quote that is special to you.  Remember to add some of your own thoughts/interpretations to it that may be helpful to others.  Send it to me via email, jpacheco@personalgrowthconcepts.com along with your name.  Please put “Guest blogger” in the subject line of the email, and then….. be patient.  I will check it and put it on the blog when “guest blogger time” arrives again.  Thank you. Peace, John

 

Image result for The difference between involvement and commitment

A little different approach today – I’d like to invite you first to spend a few minutes thinking about different activities and organizations that you’re connected to.  Think of work, home, family, leisure activities, hobbies, volunteer groups, classes, etc.  Think about your relationships with those organizations and the depth of your involvement or commitment to each of them.

Some you may be more involved with or committed to than others There is no right way to be connected to them. What determines the difference in your level of commitment? The simple answer is you do! Frequently it’s helpful review and to know your priorities. Knowing can help you decide how much of your time, energies and resources you want to involve.

Now to the quote:

Image result for The difference between involvement and commitment

Peace, John

Image result for Letting toxic people go is not an active cruelty

“Toxic” – What makes someone toxic?  Simply put, they’re not good for you!  They may be actively toxic, e.g. manipulative. They may be passively toxic, e.g. just being around them, their negativity rubs off on you.  There’s also the combination toxic, the passive-aggressive.  I invite you give me some feedback on that last type, and, if you can, an example.

Since they’re not good for you, you need to let go or risk bringing yourself down.  This may be a challenge depending on how close you are to them, what your history with them has been and whether they are a relative or not.  How does one let go? There are many ways but they all involve changing yourself and thereby changing the relationship.  Perhaps you see them less often, interact with them less often and develop other relationships to diffuse the intensity of this one and reduce the loss you might feel.  Frequently fear of being alone stops us from letting go. There is a book entitled, Feel the Fear but Do It Anyway! Why?

Are you worth it?

Repeat after me, out loud, “I AM WORTH IT!”                    

                                                                                                                       Peace, John

Image result for unexpressed emotions will never die. they are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways

While I am generally not a fan of Sigmund Freud, the above quote certainly has value. What we feel needs to be identified and accepted. Perhaps the easiest way of doing this is to discuss them with someone close to us, i.e. someone “safe.” It’s important when sharing feelings that you choose healthy people, ones who will listen, not judge and not ask why you’re feeling what you’re feeling. Others’ acceptance of your feelings helps create the environment where you can accept them too.

Painful feelings could be “repressed,” i.e. pushed out of conscious awareness by our psyche which is attempting to protect us from something that is usually traumatic. More often, painful feelings get “suppressed.” This means we are aware of them but we try to make believe they don’t exist or they don’t bother us. Notice the mask in the picture above. This leaves us working against ourselves and is not productive. It may also contribute to depression.

If what you’ve been doing with your feelings hasn’t been working, why not stop burying them alive where they will come back to haunt you? Instead simply try to name and accept them. No need to fix what isn’t broken, just like there’s no need to bury what’s still alive!   Remember, you don’t need to approve or like something to accept it!

Your feedback on this post, and willingness to share it would be appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                  Peace, John

Image result for just because you think you're worthless doesn't make it true

This is the season of the year for depression, isn’t it?  While some depression has bio-chemical causes and treatments, not all fit into this mode.  Some are more psychological.  For instance, the above quote is talking about shame.  Shame is a key part in depression.  At a workshop, some years ago, I heard [pardon the paraphrasing] “Shame is the result of lies we were told about ourselves that we believed because we didn’t know any better.”  It took me several weeks to fully wrap my head around that statement.  External messages about ourselves form the basis of shame – if we hear enough of them, we internalize them, i.e. they become ours.  Frequently they come from shame-based members of our dysfunctional families.  They can also come from outsiders, peers, schools, and/or work.  A lot of them come from primary relationships [think boy/girlfriend, lover, spouse]. If we continue to choose similar relationships, then that way of thinking becomes hardened and habituated. When it’s internalized, then we are no longer “being shamed” but are “shaming ourselves.”  “Shame on us.”  But that’s not quite true – just like the lies they told us about ourselves were not true.  We had become victims.

Today is a new day – we no longer need to be held hostage by the way we were trained to think of ourselves.  We can learn new ways of thinking.  To reverse the pattern, we need to mindfully change our thoughts, starting small and then take some small actions based on the new beliefs.  If this is too much for you, try some new, low risk behaviors and then change the thoughts.

You might ask, what is he talking about?  These kinds of topics were discussed in my Thursday evening group this past week. Here’s some thoughts from that experience.  Perhaps something might resonate with you:  slowly learning to make positive I statements;  doing something small like buying healthy food for your self rather than based upon what others will think or say; assertively standing up for your self;  saying “no” and sticking to it;  finding people and/or a job situation where you feel included;  finding a way to start taking those piano lessons you had wanted so long ago;  and taking/making some pictures.

The objective is clear: keep trying to find your self and work on discovering your own potential. When you catch yourself thinking about what others may think, simply let it go and come back to your own truth of who you are, what you have experienced and what you know to be true about yourself.  Discover, explore and enjoy what it is you value about yourself.

Time to change that belief at the top of this page? Persist and make sure to get the support you need.

                                                                                          Peace, John

 

“MAKING BAD DECISIONS IS A PART OF LIFE.

BLAMING OTHERS FOR YOUR BAD DECISIONS IS IMMATURE.”

Take a moment and think of the last bad decision you made?

You know there’s only one bad decision you can make and that’s one that doesn’t work out the way you had hoped and you fail to learn from!

That’s the point of bad decisions – you must rethink them, change your thinking and figure out what you would do differently the next time a similar decision needs making. A lot of people don’t do this and continue chaining one bad decision to the next. When they blame others for their current situation, the word “should” is usually used. Guilt is usually involved and that inhibits learning. Guilting accomplishes nothing healthy! It may be used to control others but that certainly is not healthy.

Why not go back to those “I statements,” own responsibility for your self in every situation and “grow up?”  You could also not take on others’ guilt and avoid those who are immature!

Peace, John

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