judgment

Normal Lies- Episode 6- White Lies of Racism, Part 2

 

This  conversation picks up where we left off in episode 5.  Kathy explains why we shouldn’t use the term, “tribe” unless we’re a native American, that meritocracy is a lie and what has the power to end racism.

 

Get ready to open your heart and your mind to what’s being said and be willing to doubt your current beliefs about racism. 

 

Kathy Castania is a diversity consultant who retired from Cornell University after 23 years as a Senior Extension Associate with the Cornell Migrant Program. Kathy has facilitated racism and diversity workshops at both the National and State levels and served as the Multicultural Education Coordinator for the NYS Migrant Education Program for 12 years. Kathy is one of the founding members of SURJ ROC (Showing Up for Racial Justice) and is co-chair of the Education Committee.

 

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Please rate and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I promise you that I read every single review and even select one review to read on the podcast every month.

 

You can find this episode here: Normal Lies, Episode 6

 

Normal Lies Episode 5- White Lies of Racism with Kathy Castania, Part 1

Kathy Castania, Diversity Consultant

 

Get ready to have your current beliefs about race and racism challenged.

 

In part one of this two part conversation, Linda’s guest is Kathy Castania.  In this episode, Kathy shares how some policies meant to help people of color,  like affirmative action,  actually caused more harm than good. She also explains why white people have a hard time understanding the extent of racism and why it is a white problem.

 

Linda also recounts the moment when her eyes were opened to the depth of racism in our country.

 

This is not a feel good conversation and I hope you have the courage to listen. I invite you to open your heart and your mind to what’s being said and be willing to doubt your current beliefs about racism.

 

Kathy Castania is a diversity consultant who retired from Cornell University after 23 years as a Senior Extension Associate with the Cornell Migrant Program. Kathy has facilitated racism and diversity workshops at both the National and State levels and served as the Multicultural Education Coordinator for the NYS Migrant Education Program for 12 years. Kathy is one of the founding members of SURJ ROC (Showing Up for Racial Justice) and is co-chair of the Education Committee.

 

Be sure to subscribe and share with your family and  friends. 

 

Please rate and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I promise you that I read every single review and even select one review to read on the podcast every month.

 

You can find this episode here: Normal Lies Episode 5, part 1

 

Normal Lies- Episode 3- “Momming,” Shaming & Vulnerability Hangovers

Linda’s special guest is  Amanda Harrington,  a wife, a mom to a two and a half year old son, who somehow finds time to lead a product strategy team as a senior product manager at an international tech company. 

 

Linda & Amanda discuss the joys and  struggles of motherhood,  mom-shaming and being a working mother in this day and age.  There are a few twists and turns in this episode as an unexpected guest shows up and Linda is confronted with the good and the not so good of her own motherhood experience. 

 

Shame and vulnerability researcher, Dr. Brené Brown coined the term, vulnerability hangover. It refers to the time after we take an emotional risk and we are uncertain of the outcome. That is exactly how Linda felt after this interview. 

 

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, so you never miss an episode and share with your family and  friends to get a discussion going. 

 

If you enjoyed this episode, please rate and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I promise you that I read every single review and even select one review to read on the podcast every month.

 

You can find this episode here: Normal Lies- Episode 3

 

Normal Lies- Episode 2- What’s Wrong With Me?

 

Have you ever felt like you just don’t fit in, like there’s something wrong with you? That’s exactly how Linda Heeler felt not only as a child but the majority of her life. Linda relates the story of her struggle with paralyzing anxiety, fear, guilt, perfectionism, people-pleasing, how it developed, and her journey to “fix” herself.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, so you never miss an episode and share with your family and  friends to get a discussion going. 

 

If you enjoyed this episode, please rate and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I promise you that I read every single review and even select one review to read on the podcast every month.

 

YOU CAN FIND THIS EPISODE HERE: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-2-whats-wrong-with-me/id1556459385?i=1000511434731

 

Normal Lies- Episode 1- What Are “Normal Lies?” & 10 Principles to Break Up Yours

 

In this episode,  you will come away understanding exactly what “normal lies” are and the harm they cause us. We also delve into 10 principles that have consistently come up in my work over the years.  From,  #1- It’s all about you to #10- Find your people, these principles provide a framework that help you uncover and begin to break up your “normal lies.”  They also offer action steps so you begin making positive changes in your life, immediately.

 


Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, so you never miss an episode and share with your family and  friends to get a discussion going. 

 

If you enjoyed this episode, please rate and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I promise you that I read every single review and even select one review to read on the podcast every month.

 

You can find the podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-1-what-are-normal-lies-10-principles-to-break/id1556459385?i=1000511434732

 

Taming The Voice In Your Head

Click the image above to see my Facebook Live
Click the image above to see my Facebook Live

There is nothing wrong with you. Do you believe me? I bet the voice in your head is saying, maybe there’s nothing wrong with you, but there is definitely something that needs fixing in me!

Let’s talk about that voice in your head, it’s been called “ego” “inner critic” “shadow voice” “survival mechanism” even “obnoxious roommate living in your head.”

Whatever you choose to call it, it is a collection of thoughts, fears, negative beliefs and stories that you made up as a child. Yup, it’s like having a little kid living inside your head.

I keep a photo of myself as a little girl just to remind me that the voice in my head is just a scared little girl. In my case, a little kid with a potty mouth because it says things to me and about me that I would never say to another human being.

6 year old me

The inner critics job is to keep us safe and protected inside our comfort zone.

I remember, years ago, how scared I was when I was supposed to go to a party or gathering, it didn’t matter whether I knew the people there or not. Thinking about walking into a room full of people made me sweat, my heart would beat out of my chest and panic would set in, just by thinking about it.

This was definitely outside my comfort zone and something that was effecting my relationships and my career. I needed to do something about it because there were many times I could not bring myself to walk into a room full of people, without a glass of wine or two.

My shadow voice would shut me down and I would hide.

Even though we develop our ego or survival mechanism to help us cope and survive childhood, as adults we don’t really need it anymore.

And, just by thinking about what we want and the action we need to take to get there can be enough to trigger our ego or inner critic.

I knew that there was nothing to fear from going to that networking but that voice was running the show and shutting me down. Kinda hard to make progress with that going on.

And, that’s where we normally stop. We get stuck in the thoughts, the fear of stepping into the unknown.

The hard truth is, to keep growing and reach our goals, we must feel the fear and keep going.

So what do we do about that obnoxious roommate (or scared child) that lives in our head?

  1. Realize that that voice is not who you are. It’s just something you made up as a kid.
  2. Understand that the inner critic will likely speak first and speak loudest.
  3. When you notice your ego is triggered, do not react, as this will likely lead to all sorts of bad choices. Stop, take a breath and allow the thoughts to move through without sticking. Let them flow on down like a sparkling stream.
  4. Once you have space, you’re able to connect with your intuition (instinct, higher self) and then choose from there.
  5. Don’t try and push it down or get rid of it, it will only come back stronger. What we resist persists, as the late Debbie Ford said.
  6. Take away its power by NOT giving it what it wants, your attention. I recently had an email in my inbox with the subject, ‘Your ego is the enemy.’ Personally I don’t think we should give our ego that much power. What do we do with an enemy? We normally try and fight it. Stop fighting and go back to step 3.
  7. If you notice that you are stuck in a hole of negative thinking, check first on your well being. Are you tired, hungry, been working way too much? When our well being is off, we are ripe for being triggered.

The bad news is that your ego is not going away, it is yours to keep. The good news is that with practice you can learn to tame that obnoxious roommate living in your head.

With practice, and, there will always be ample opportunity to practice, you will begin to create a more joyful, calm and peaceful life. Life won’t be so heavy. It’s worked for me and for my clients so give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Unpacking My Social Anxiety

Photo courtesy www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

  Until recently, I couldn’t think about going to a party or even to the grocery store without breaking into a cold sweat. My heart raced, my mouth would go dry and I got tunnel vision.   It didn’t matter whether I was meeting family/friends or a roomful of strangers.   I remember using the excuse that I wasn’t feeling well because the thought scared me to death.  

“All eyes are going to be on what I’m wearing.”

“They’ll think I’m fat.”

“What if I say the wrong thing and they think I’m stupid.”

“I might offend someone and then they’ll yell at me or be mad at me.”

  These are just a few of the incessant thoughts that caused me to become shy, withdrawn and miserable.   Even if I did end up going to a party, I would lie in bed playing back the evening in my head so that I could make sure that I didn’t say or do anything stupid. If I thought that I did, I would replay the scenario, beat myself up and then figure out how not to make that stupid mistake again.   It took boatload of energy to get myself psyched up not only to walk in the door but also to make small talk. A glass or two of wine helped but it felt wrong using it as a crutch.   I’ve lived with this anxiety since I was a teenager. Fortunately,therapy got me on the road to recovery in my 30’s and coaching picked up where that left off.   Once I got a handle on it, I began to unpack my anxiety and discovered its lies:

1. “Everyone is judging me!”

Not true. My anxiety was ALL about MY judgments. I made up stories in my head that “everyone” was judging me, and, while some may have been, it started with me not accepting myself.

2. “If I don’t conform to what everyone wants then no one will like me.”

My anxiety was a by-product of people-pleasing. I became adept at morphing myself into who I THOUGHT the person standing in front of me wanted me to be. The thought of walking into a room full of people was overwhelming simply because I knew I couldn’t be everything to everyone in the room.

3. “I can’t make a mistake because then everyone will see that I’m not perfect and a fraud.”

Hello Perfectionism! It made me nauseous to even think about being wrong. The embarrassment of being wrong or making a mistake was enough to make me want to run and hide, and that’s what I did for the majority of my life. If I wasn’t around people then there isn’t the possibility of screwing up. What I realize now is that my survival mechanism or ego had me convinced that I needed to be perfect to survive and be worthy of love.

4. “Sally’s got it all together, I’m such a loser next to her but at least I’m not a hot mess like Matilda.”

Welcome to my comparison thoughts. These are just another form of judgment. It seems like they would be ok, at least the ones that make us feel good. I’m better than Matilda so I have that to feel good about. In the end, all of this comparison creates competition and somebody has to lose. It is a constant up and down of emotions as we judge others as better/worse than us. It is a game we cannot win because the rules keep on changing.   What an exhausting way to live! I don’t like to think of myself as selfish but look at the thoughts: they’re all about me! My anxiety had nothing to do with anyone but ME. Primarily, the thoughts and judgments in my head. Rather than focusing and connecting with the people in the room, my focus was on me and how I look. I realized that I’m not alone. Most people are so focused on how they’re being perceived that they don’t even think about me. I finally learned that I am not going to die if I’m not perfect. I don’t have to be anyone except who I am and I really like who I am. I know myself to be someone who will own my mistakes and do my best to make it right when I mess up. I now practice honoring myself as well as the people around me.  

My confidence began to rise as I stopped comparing and beating myself up. I practiced trusting me.

 

Does this resonate with you? What can you do?

~ Notice your thoughts. What are you saying to yourself? Meditation is great for helping to put space between you and your thoughts.
~ Question your thoughts. Is it true that Sophie gave you a dirty look across the room so she must be mad at you? Maybe her eyes were bothering her, maybe she had a stomach ache, you don’t know. Stop making things up and stick with the facts.
~ Give yourself permission to start focusing on you. What do you like? What do you want? Separate yourself from the need to make everyone else happy.
~ Have fun! Release the pressure and be who you are. Let life be joyful and begin to flow.
A great resource is Byron Katie’s The Work. On her website you can view videos of Katie working with people to question the thoughts in their head. She also has worksheets that you can download for free to help you through the process.   If you find that you need something more, consider working with a therapist or a trained coach. If you’re not sure which is right for you, contact me and I’d be happy to help you figure out what’s best for you.   I wish I had a magic wand so I could quiet all of those negative thoughts, judgments and fears but I don’t. You’ll have to do the work yourself.   I promise you, it’s worth it!  

What’s the Deal with Easily Offended People?

“Humans are nervous, touchy creatures and can be easily offended. Many are deeply insecure. They become focused and energized by taking offense; it makes them feel meaningful and alive.”

                                                                                                                        ~Michael Leunig

 

I believe we should be offended by things like mistreatment of people, animals and the environment to name a few. But lately, I have noticed an increasing number of people who are easily offended.

 

I saw a recent Facebook post where a friend used the term “folks” at an event and their waiter acted offended and asked her not to use that term again. Really?!

 

I bet you have examples of Easily Offended People (EOP) in your life.

 

Why are people easily offended?  Here are my thoughts.

 

First, I think they like drama.

 

I blame TV for some of this, especially reality shows. The “Real” housewives are EOP and definitely NOT real. However, there would be no show if someone wasn’t offended and acting out, after all, drama boosts ratings.

 

EOP have someone or something to take issue with and that means they are upset or angry a lot. My guess is they are the same people who say “I hate drama!” but drama keeps showing up.

 

EOP also like to go on rants to prove how much they’ve been wronged. How many times have you seen those social media posts? DRAMA!

 

I don’t have drama because I choose not to even entertain it.

 

“To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”           ~David A. Bednar

 

Second, I believe being an EOP makes them feel powerful. THEY would never use the word “folks” so they get to feel superior. Although, I think it’s a facade for a feeling of inferiority.

 

Third, when someone is easily offended it immediately stops the conversation. It’s a wall that shuts out any intimate, authentic connection because we’re walking eggshells trying not to offend.

 

I find it’s virtually impossible to cultivate a friendship or intimate relationship with EOP because I’m constantly having to apologize for something I said or did.

 

However, EOP are unwilling to forgive and seem to love holding grudges. At times, we may not even be aware that we’ve offended them. We may be stunned that something trivial, such as using the word “folks,” or an equally benign comment, was offensive to them.

 

If you’re an EOP, you’re probably offended by this post and have stopped reading by now. Or, you are crafting a rant to post on social media or in the comments below.

 

If, by chance, you are interested in changing, I recommend you seek out a professional, either a therapist or a coach. They will help you learn why you keep this pattern of behavior in place and help you shift it.

 

I imagine the weight of carrying around all your offenses must be draining. Think about the time and energy it takes to look for things to be offended by. (You’re probably offended because I ended the sentence with a preposition:).

 

Let go of the Dark Side and join us DOP (Difficult to Offend People)! I promise you that life is glorious!

 

If you’re dealing with EOP, I don’t have much advice. Should you have the courage and bandwidth to call them out on their shiz, then do it.  Just know that there will likely be DRAMA. They will be offended and not talk to you and may even talk shiz behind your back or post something on social media.

 

FYI- If your EOP is a waiter then I recommend you be polite, you don’t want something unfortunate to happen to your food.

 

You need to decide if it’s worth it to keep EOP in your life.  If you’re honest, they probably weren’t a great friend to begin with so no big loss.

“Everyone is so offended all the time. The new police force that we weren’t told about: the moral police. No qualifications, no training, no understanding of actual morality, but they have a degree in the art of being offended.”                                                                                ~Karan Johar

 

Personally, I try to avoid EOP. I find them draining and too much work so I practice what I call, “bless and release.” In other words, I send them a hit of compassion and release them to the Universe. When I encounter them or another EOP, I am polite, keep the conversation light and quick, and quietly wish them well when we depart.

 

If you decide to continue to walk on eggshells around your EOP, you might consider limiting interaction. It’s also not a good idea to be around them when you’re tired or stressed as they will likely trigger you and could end up in drama (do you see a pattern here?).

 

I want to live a happy life so I choose not to be easily offended and these two practices make it possible:

  • Forgive everyone, everywhere, everything
  • Assume best intentions

 

That’s really all I’ve got. If you liked this post, please share and post any other advice or tips you may have on dealing with Easily Offended People, I promise not to be offended.

Begging Your Pardon: 5 Steps to Forgiving

As much as I hate to admit it, I stink at forgiveness.

 

When I was hurt, all I heard was, “You need to forgive and move on.” I was stumped, what exactly is forgiveness?

 

My first stop was the dictionary for the definition of forgiveness; “to grant pardon for or remission of an offense, debt, etc.”

 

The word that intrigued me was “pardon.”

 

I suddenly pictured a judge sitting behind a court bench pounding her gavel or, the president signing a presidential pardon saying, “You have received special dispensation and thus you are hereby pardoned of your offenses!”

 

This hit home the fact that I have the power and a choice to make.

 

I imagined someone with whom I had been holding onto some hurt. I pictured myself signing a decree that, from heretofore this person is officially pardoned.

 

“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” ~Anonymous

 

I wasn’t condoning what they had done, I simply was saying I will no longer hang on to the negative energy that resulted from their actions. I felt the hurt begin to melt away.

 

I also pictured signing that executive pardon for all the embarrassing, hurtful and stupid things for which I judged myself.

 

If you’re struggling with forgiveness, give these steps a try:

  1.  Make a list of the people with whom you’re currently holding a grudge. Don’t forget to include yourself.
  2.  Go through the list and write down (or state out loud) what they did to hurt you. Dig deep, and don’t forget yourself.
  3.  Before moving to the pardon, ask yourself, “What did I learn from this experience?” Don’t skip this as it can help you see patterns of behavior and/or help to avoid repeats of the situations and people that you are now trying to forgive. Again, don’t forget yourself.
  4.  One at a time, imagine them standing before you. Declare that they are officially pardoned and bang your pretend (or real) gavel. Move on to the next person and, you guessed it, don’t forget yourself.
  5.  This takes practice. You may have to run certain people or situations through the courthouse more than once. However, if there are people and things you just aren’t able to forgive and move past, consider seeking support from a licensed therapist or counselor.

 

By taking a few minutes to forgive, we can free up energy to begin again with a clean slate. What a great way to say good bye to 2018 and welcome 2019!

 

Did this work for you or do you have another way that helps you practice forgiveness? Please let us know in the comments below.

Finding Strength In Our Struggles

chrysalys

 

It can be difficult to watch people struggle, especially someone we love and care about. Our first response is likely to want to fix or save them.

 

However, consider the following:

 

    • In our struggles are lessons. If we rescue others (or wait for rescue), they (we) can miss the lesson that is waiting for them (us). That lesson may keep them (us) from making the same mistake over again.

 

    • When we practice taking responsibility for our lives, we learn that we are strong and resilient as we come out on the other side. We not only rob someone of that feeling of accomplishment when we rush to rescue, we keep them from building their self-confidence.

 

    • We are not the Happiness Police. It is not our job to make sure everyone around us is happy.
      Sometimes we need to be unhappy or angry or frustrated or …insert feeling here…  Sometimes we need to let others be in and work through their stuff.

 

    • Rescuing creates dependence.  Are we afraid if this person becomes independent they won’t need us anymore? Do we get our self-worth from taking care of them? We need to address our motives when creating this dynamic in a relationship.

 

    • Rescuing and trying to fix sends the message that they are not capable of taking care of themselves.

 

What CAN we do?

 

Let them know that they are not alone and the door is open if, and when, they need support. It’s up to them to walk through that door, it’s not our job to carry them through.

 

Allow them to practice asking for what they need rather than trying to figure it out for them. Be empathetic, listen and try not to “fix” their problem.

Coutesy of Fabquote.co

Courtesy of Fabquote.co

 

What if YOU are struggling?

 

 

Ask yourself, “What do I need to process these thoughts and emotions?”  Then practice reaching out to someone who is “holding the door open” and make a request for support.

 

It’s amazing what happens when we are given the space to feel how we feel with no judgement.

 

I’m reminded of the story about a butterfly. (Take a moment to read Paulo Coehlo’s version of the story below)

 

If we want to fly, we must first be willing to struggle out of our cocoon.

 

What’s harder, sometimes, is we must allow others to do the same.

 

The Lesson of the Butterfly
December 10, 2007
By Paulo Coelho

A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.

The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.

The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight.

What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.

Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.

(Adapted from a story sent in by Sonaira D’Avila)