Monday, August 28, 2006

Positive Mantras

In my last post, I talked about creating a positive story, or mantra, to counter any negative stories you catch yourself in. Kirsten Harrell, Psy.D. and Traci Harrell have created a website dedicated to positive mantras and attitude shifters that can be downloaded onto an ipod or purchased on CD. Enjoy!

Check them out at:

Clearing out the Critical Clutter

Why can't I seem to keep friends? Why can't I keep a boyfriend? Why am I unhappy in my job? Why is my house such a wreck? Why do I keep getting sick? Why do I seem to be a magnet for bad tidings?

If these questions often circulate through your head, it's time to clear out the clutter. I don't necessarily mean physical clutter either. I am also referring to the critical thinking clutter we allow to take over our thoughts. It makes concentrating on anything hard and it hurts our self esteem. In coaching terms, we call these our stories. We each have certain stories we tell ourselves. Unfortunately, most of the time we don't even know we are being critical of ourselves because those thoughts have become such a part of our subconscious selves.

I'll share a story that I once tortured myself with. One day a friend of mine asked me to go climbing. I was thrilled to be asked as I always seemed to sit back and wait for someone else to do the asking. (Sound familiar?) Shortly after accepting the invitation, I became aware of a thought that went through my head. Almost immediately I said to myself that she was only asking me because she needed a climbing partner. I then noticed a pattern as I ran through a slew of other moments that people "only asked me to join them because..." I did adventurous activities, I had extra gear, they needed someone to go with...etc, etc.

It was a comfortable thought, which scared me. I knew that it was so natural because I had become so accustomed to believing and repeating it. I don't know when the thought started or how long I had been telling myself this story. It was subconscious until I caught myself. What a horrible lie I had been telling myself. I was subtracting my own self worth through a thought I didn't even know I was capable of! Of course these friends wanted me around.

I began practicing a change in attitude to clear out the critical clutter. Instead of thinking people only asked me to do things because they needed to, I began reminding myself that they wouldn't ask if they didn't want me there. Not to mention they didn't have to invite me in the first place! I began asking them to do things, too. This not only made me a better friend (it is a two way road!), but it also reinforced the fact that they wanted me around because they said yes when they could have said no. I then began a personal mantra to flip that story in my head every time I caught myself thinking it.

Not only did I learn something about myself, but I saw how I was hurting my own relationships through it. The time had come to stop blaming others and to stop making excuses. I noticed a pattern and the problems that manifested from it in my personal life. I took control, worked with my coach and came up with a solution to take responsibility. What a wonderful outcome I created! My friends have grown exponentially since then.

I encourage you today to listen to those little thoughts that race through your head. The ones that say you can't do it, you aren't worth it or that no one will care. Take control of your stories, flip them around and make sure you squash them before they do any more damage. Clear out the critical clutter to move forward and live an undeniably happy life because it starts with your actions. You ARE worth it, you CAN do it and I promise, we DO care. You're only as successful, personable and wise as you allow yourself to be. Why hold yourself back?

Love and encouragement,
Coach Katie