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Is Emotional Dependence Holding You Back? Learn to Be Your Own Person & Thrive

We all can transition from emotional dependence to resourceful, self-regulating people by achieving awareness of these basic steps to emotional independence“She needed a hero, so that’s what she became.” ~ unknown

Are you drawn to people who are kind and self-assured? I am! I love being around people who are comfortable in their own skins and who easily interact with other people. You can tell they love people, but you sense that their happiness isn’t dependent on others but comes from within. They’re the embodiment of someone who has successfully grown from youthful emotional dependent to mature emotional independence.

As we grow and mature, we’re supposed to become resourceful and emotionally self-regulating. The friction between teens and their parents is a classic stage in this growth. We rely on our parents to show us the way. If parents don’t know how to let go or help their children find their wings, the transition from emotional dependence to emotional independence could be delayed or stunted. This may result in fears and anxieties, such as:

  • Fear of failure, judgment, rejection or abandonment.
  • Anxious for approval and validation, aka people pleasing.

Paradoxically, people with emotional dependence are filled with self-doubt, while at the same time being very self-absorbed. They are needy, feel inadequate and are filled with social insecurities. They crave attention in whatever manner they can get it, even if it’s hurtful. They may find themselves in abusive relationships. Without any real evidence, their minds imprison them in an unproductive and unhappy life, because it’s too scary to break away.

There are three main ways that emotional dependence manifests itself. Here are some extreme examples of each:

  1. Emotional dependence in the family. Each member feels that anything outside of the family is a threat. The only safety can be found within the family. Self-confidence is discouraged and destroyed.
  2. Emotional dependence as a couple. The relationship is all-consuming; there is no life or meaning outside of it. Each is helpless without the other. Because they’re so afraid of losing their partner, they develop harmful behavior, like excessive jealousy, which ultimately destroys the relationship.
  3. Emotional dependence in society. Because of an excessive need for recognition and approval, this person does anything to fit in and avoid confrontation. They sacrifice who they really are to keep the status quo.

In each case, the person experiencing emotional dependence accepts self-limiting beliefs as truth. Their fears and anxieties often lead to numbness, resentment, depression, addictions, projections, and a victim mentality. Panic attacks, chronic tiredness, overwhelm, anger issues, antisocial behaviors, broken relationships and unfulfilled dreams are common.

Breaking free from emotional dependence can take years of hard work. Often, people find it beneficial it to enlist the assistance of a professional who sees things objectively. Since this topic is so broad and deep, let’s quickly go through the general steps for achieving emotional independence. You’ll find links to other articles, so you can broaden your search at the level you desire. Be mindful that each step takes a great deal of time and effort. Please be patient and compassionate with yourself.

When you systematically clear away anxieties and fears that create neediness, you can then mindfully make choices that help you take control of your life. Step-by-step you can transform emotional dependence into emotional freedom. What can that look like?

You’re with someone because you want to be with them, not because you need to be. You eat a healthful snack because you choose to nourish your body, rather than mindlessly take whatever comes your way, or worse, punish yourself with junk food. You exercise because it feels good to stretch your muscles and your limits. You resist alcohol or narcotics because you want to feel more alert and engaged in your life’s higher purpose. You manage your emotions and your creativity has room to grow. You like who you are. You live each day fully and joyfully. You have an abundance of energy to reach out and help others. This, in turn, allows you to develop interdependence, a relationship where two people recognize and value the emotional bond they share while maintaining a solid sense of self within their relationship dynamic.

Does that sound like the kind of life you want? Would you like to completely engage your capacity for self-reliance and train your mind to clear away residual layers of emotional dependence? Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). You’ll come to understand yourself better than you ever have before!

Not Good Enough? Only You Can Change How You Feel. Here’s How…

When you let “I’m not good enough” drive you, you give your power away and aren’t in charge of your life, so here are tips to help you change that feeling.“We see things not as they are, but as we are.” ~ H.M. Tomlinson

I’m just not good enough” is a phrase I hear from many of my clients. Maybe they don’t use those exact words, but the feeling behind many of their roadblocks can be traced back to whether or not they feel like they measure up in their own minds or in the mind of someone else.

For example, one client said to me, “I’m not happy.” Why? “Because I worked really hard on a session for my client and she didn’t respond well at all.” Is that really your fault? “If I was a better coach, they’d love everything I do.” Is that realistic? “Maybe. Maybe, not. I just feel like I’m not good enough to be a coach.” Bingo!

People seem to try to cope with these feeling of being “not good enough” in one of two ways: They either reinforce their unworthiness through self-destruction, or they constantly push themselves to achieve an insatiable amount of MORE.

When you let “I’m not good enough” drive you, you give your power away and you’re no longer in charge of your life. You’re letting your life be defined by what you think society, culture, family, and peers want from you. When in reality, those who matter love you as you are and aren’t measuring you by some impossible standard. And those who don’t matter aren’t thinking about you at all. It really boils down to your own perception of yourself. You’re telling yourself “when I am X or do X, I will be enough.”

It’s time to break free from this catch-22. Here are eight things to remember when you’re feeling that you’re not good enough…

1. Mindfully embrace the moment. Don’t worry about what happened in the past or what might in the future. All you can influence is NOW. Greet it with acceptance and curiosity, looking for what it can teach you.

2. Make friends with your inner critic. Your inner critic is trying to keep you safe: safe from judgment, safe from failure, safe from disappointment. It resides in your vulnerability, where it really hurts. But when you examine that vulnerability with mindfulness, you can thank your inner critic for a job well done. Always look for the positive and quit dwelling on the negative. I love how Lori Deschene put it, “We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.”

3. Forgive yourself. When you feel angry, disappointed or hurt, turn inwardly, connect with yourself and lovingly forgive yourself of the things that trigger these responses.

4. Stop negative self-talk. Don’t believe everything you think. Not all thoughts are true. Challenge them and tell the unhealthy ones to go away. As Jon Kabat-Zinn wisely said, “Until you stop breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong with you.”

5. Focus on the reasons why you are enough. Practice greater self-awareness and take note of how your life impacts others. Did you make someone smile, relieve a worry, dry a tear? You matter.

6. Be authentic. Comparing yourself to others and hiding who you really are is unproductive. Look at yourself and other people through a lens of compassion and understanding rather than judgment and jealousy. See that we’re all people on a journey with something unique and valuable to offer to the world.

7. Remember how far you’ve come. It’s so easy to forget all the baby steps it took to get you to where you are. But each one was a victory that you won! Remember them. Don’t let them slip away without celebration.

8. Let others love you. Take down the walls. Let their love reach you, even if you’re feeling angry, shamed or anxious. They want to give you love, because they know you deserve it. Listen to them. Their love is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

From this moment forward, observe every unworthy or unlovable thought with mindfulness. Be curious about its positive intention. Acknowledge to yourself that the old way of talking to yourself is no longer acceptable.

And, every time you say out loud a self-loathing or self-deprecating comment, stop yourself and reframe your comment to a positive comment. The more you speak positivity into your life, the more peace you will achieve, until one day, I promise, you will believe that you are good enough.

If you haven’t done so yet, please sign up for my free newsletter. It’s always filled with motivational insights and inspirational tips to help you become a person who is truly comfortable in your own skin.

Building Resilience by Mindfully Challenging the Status Quo

When your commitment and resolve are tested, building resilience is the one thing that will keep you on track and working toward fulfilling your dreams.“Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.” ~ William Makepeace Thackeray

Sometimes commitment is not enough. Yes, the power of commitment is all-important for realizing your dreams. But there will be times when your resolve is challenged. It could even be shattered if you’re not prepared, especially when you’re blindsided by something that knocks you off balance and seems impossible to overcome. What is the one thing that will get your commitment and resolve back online? Building Resilience!

Building resilience takes real effort to mindfully stop and challenge your thoughts and beliefs. Ask some pointed questions about what you think you know compared with what’s really going on. The following conversation illustrates how you can do this. (We’ll say that my client, Jessica, is a women’s health coach.) Try to put yourself in the dialogue, with your specific struggles, and review what you would say to each question.

Maria: “I know you’re struggling with getting new clients, Jessica. What do you think is holding you back?” 

Jessica: “It seems like in business you have to spend money to make money and I don’t have enough financing. I started with a small bank loan, but it wasn’t enough. Now my credit is maxed out and I don’t have enough clients to cover my costs.”

Maria: “Let’s back up a minute. When you point to a problem as coming from outside yourself, such as blaming other people or your finances, then you’re giving your power away. You’re perpetuating the false story that you’re not in charge of your life. Let’s reframe your thinking and start building your resilience. Remember, how we’ve talked about accepting responsibility?”

Jessica: “That’s right! I can identify the problem and how others factor into it, but ultimately I’m responsible for where I am today. I have the power to make my life better. I just have to identify the baby steps for doing so.”

Maria: “Excellent! The obvious place to start is asking, What are you focusing on?”

Jessica: “To tell you the truth, I’m thinking about how I just want it to be easy building my own practice.”

Maria: “Life isn’t easy. The challenges are what make us grow. It’s easy to become consumed by thinking about things you can’t control, but this creates a victim mentality that eats away at your self-worth and resilience. Instead, think about how you can channel your effort and energy to operate within your sphere of influence.”

Jessica: “Hmmm. What can I do and what can’t I do? I can’t influence anyone to support me with more money, but I can use other strategies to bring in more paying clients.”

Maria: “Yes! And that involves answering the question, how are you showing up to attract more business?”

Jessica: “I’ve been worried and desperate and I think people can sense that. It puts them off. Maybe if I generate more gratitude, my clients will feel more excited and engaged and they’ll refer other people to me! Is that what you mean?”

Maria: “Exactly. The way you show up has a profound effect on how others perceive you, AND how you perceive yourself. Your emotions show in how you hold yourself and how you speak. Connect with your inner wisdom and make sure you’re fully in alignment with your highest purpose.”

Jessica: “I have been feeling off, because I’m forcing myself to offer a service I don’t really want to, and I don’t think I’m being paid enough for what I do.”

Maria: “So, What is your truth? Start sifting through your thoughts and challenge your beliefs.”

Jessica: “I’ve looked at other coaches and I’ve assumed I have to offer services like they do, but that doesn’t feel right to me. I have some ideas I want to try…”

Maria: “Then that’s where you start. Pick one new idea, write out the pros and cons, and then the steps it will take to do it.” 

Jessica: “Ooh, I feel like a weight just lifted off my shoulders and I’m getting so excited! I’d like your help reviewing my ideas from a different perspective and see any issues I can’t.”

Maria: “I’d love to. So this brings us to a fifth question, how can you engage the power of commitment more fully? Narrow it down to one thing you’re completely committed to.”

Jessica: “I am totally committed to being the best coach I can be in a way that energizes me, not in comparison to how other people do it.”

Maria: “Removing that element of people pleasing from your situation will keep you from over-committing to things that don’t serve you.  I love how you’re so energized! I can tell you’ve found your equilibrium again. What will you say to yourself from here on out to maintain this new-found resilience?”

Jessica: “I have a special way to connect with my clients and I deserve to have a practice full of happy clients. My clients are going to see outstanding results and they’ll be happy to pay me for them.”

Maria: “I love how you’re having a positive conversation with yourself! Let’s talk about one of your new ideas now.”

Throughout this conversation, you’ll notice how we’re building resilience by asking some pointed questions (highlighted in bold) and answering them with positive actions (bolded italics). This formula works really well! If you’d like 1:1 assistance from me, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s discover what energizes you.

Kick the Power of Commitment into High Gear & Make Your Dream Come True

The unstoppable power of commitment helps you achieve your goals and achieve your dreams by reminding you of how badly you want your desired outcome. “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” ~ Vince Lombardi

We often hear about the need for willpower and getting tough with yourself to create the best version of yourself. I’ve written blog posts on how you can use both of these to your advantage. However, willpower and self-discipline, by their very nature, are internal forces you use when you don’t necessarily want to do something, but you know it’s for your own good to do so. And therein lies the flaw to solely relying on willpower and self-discipline — if you don’t really want to do it, you’re NOT GOING TO DO IT! To achieve your goals and attain your dream it’s imperative to first answer the question, “How badly do I want it?” because that kicks in the awesome and unstoppable power of commitment!

Of course, willpower and self-discipline have their place. They’re handy for keeping you on track and getting you past the times when you’re feeling low or are momentarily distracted or tempted to take your eyes off of your desired outcome. They remind you of your passion and get you back in alignment with the power of your commitment. And once that happens, the distraction or temptation loses its power over you. I love how Kenneth Blanchard puts it:

There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”

Consider this: people who excel, for example Olympic gold medalists, aren’t driven by their willpower or their self-discipline. They don’t wake up each morning and think, “I’m so looking forward to making myself do something today.” No, they’re driven by their vision of standing on the highest podium, bending their head to receive the shiny medal, as the crowd goes wild, cheering their name! They want that prize more than anything, so they’re willing to do whatever it takes to beat everyone else. That’s the power of commitment!

While it’s good to strengthen your willpower and self-discipline, it would serve you best to focus on strengthening your commitment to the few things that are truly important to you. The more committed you are to an outcome the more real it is to you, and the easier it is to choose the things that support that commitment. As Jim Rohn said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Commitment is what keeps you going.”

Maintaining your commitment is often easier when you buddy up with someone who has similar commitments.

Louise Santiago and Maria Connolly team up at Newave Leaders to inspire and assist women to bring forth the leader withinFor example, several years ago, I enrolled in a coach development program through Coaches Rising and met Louise Santiago. I’m a somatic coach, and Louise is an executive leadership coach. We quickly realized we had a deep commitment to helping women identify and bring forth their innate leadership skills to expand their world, their community, and themselves. We began a business partnership at Newave Leaders where we empower women and we lead a life-enriching annual women’s retreat. These retreats are opportunities for highly-motivated women to travel the world and explore how we can use the power of commitment to achieve the next level of growth. (If you’re interested in learning more about Newave Leaders, check out our blog, or sign up for our newsletter.) 

Working with Louise has helped me become crystal clear that intentional self-leadership is the core principle for my own coaching practice. To make intentional commitments requires that you make sense of your story, understand where you come from and what you believe, and importantly, how your emotions are showing up in your body. All these things are shaping your ability to step into the next phase of your life.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Commitment is what transforms a promise into a reality.” What promise have you made to yourself that hasn’t become a reality yet, because you’re not quite sure how to make it happen? Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I love working with women who want to unleash the power of commitment in their lives.

Transformative Leaders Aren’t Derailed by Uncertainties

If you want to live an extraordinary life, master 6 life skills transformative leaders use daily and don’t let anything stop you from obtaining your dreams.“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford

Think about all of the most successful makeovers you’ve seen in business or in personal lives. The biggest losers exercise their hearts out. Huge corporations go through major shakeups that skyrocket their bottom line. Ordinary people do extraordinary things. In each situation it takes someone stepping up as a transformative leader with a vision for how things can be better. 

Transformation happens when intentional and mindful action is taken. It takes committed people rolling up their sleeves and wholeheartedly working toward a clearly defined goal, even if the odds are stacked against them. Waiting for the perfect circumstances has never been a key to success!

Uncertainties will never stop a transformative leader. Of course, they have doubts, fears, and limitations, but they move forward anyway. Transformative leaders may wish their circumstances were more favorable, but what makes them outstanding is that they start from where they are and keep moving forward, no matter what!

We all have the potential for being transformative leaders. As the old adage says, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” The transformative leader keeps looking for that way and doesn’t give up or give in to doubt. She doesn’t make excuses. She gets it done!

Do you wish you were that kind of person, but doubt you ever could be? I know you have it in you!

You can take the first steps toward showing up more fully as a transformative leader by developing or strengthening the following skills…

Keep your vision clear and strong. Never lose sight of your desired results. What you focus on becomes reality, so if you’re focusing on problems, they’re going to grow. Conversely, focusing on your vision keeps you in touch with your “Why”…why this is important to you, your family, your business, the world.

Choose full responsibility. Ultimately, what others do or don’t do should never be used as an excuse for your action or inaction. Of course, we don’t want to go it alone; it’s good to enlist the help of others. But when it comes right down to the nitty gritty, it’s your commitment that will keep the ball moving forward against all odds.

Keep your support system engaged. Everyone has a special gift, so encourage your team to build on your ideas and brainstorm strategies that get you from A to Z. Keep your ego in check. Resist any tendency to feel threatened when someone else shines. After all, it’s your team, it’s your project, it’s your guidance that lets them come up with innovative solutions. By their work, your brilliance is magnified.

Be mindful of your progress. You’ll keep yourself and others motivated by regularly acknowledging how far you’ve come. Transformative leaders recognize that all progress, small and great, is a cause for celebration! And this builds self-confidence. As David Storey said, “Self-confidence is the memory of success.”

Maintain momentum via baby steps. Stopping and starting, over and over again, makes everything harder. It doesn’t take big steps to keep moving forward. Be happy with baby steps.

Have a plan for the bad days. We all experience doubt and disappointment. Transformative leaders always have a backup plan for handling it. Perhaps it’s taking sufficient time off for some self-care to restore your energy. Or maybe it’s working with a coach to get you past a hurdle. Know yourself well enough to know what will get you out of the slump and back in the game.

As you read through this list, do you experience some resistance to any of the suggestions? Maybe you don’t feel like you can share your vision with others, or you don’t think you can afford to hire a coach. You can use that resistance as an indicator that this area deserves more of your attention right now.

When it comes right down to it, being a transformative leader just means you’re fully using your special gifts and owning your self-leadership. I’d love to help turn your dream into a reality. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’m confident that you can accomplish extraordinary things!

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