Maria Connolly, LPC

Category: Self-Leadership Skills

Self-Transformation – What’s the One Activity That Gets the Best Results?

Self-transformation is a life-long journey meant to be explored with curiosity and enjoyment. Use these five steps to find YOUR path and avoid getting lost.“Your own self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

When you’re working on self-transformation, what is the one activity that will get the best results, in the least amount of time? Is it meditation? Joining an exercise group? Hiring a life coach? Actually, the best activity you can choose to do is getting to know yourself REALLY WELL! I agree with what Steve Maraboli said:

“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.”

When you think about getting to know yourself better, consider that all functioning systems work in predictable ways. If you press on the accelerator, your car goes faster. (If it doesn’t, you know to look further for an underlying problem, such as lack of fuel or a clogged fuel line.) Most actions have reliable consequences, once you learn the system. Your mind/body/spirit connection works similarly. Once you know how all of your systems work optimally, you can accelerate your self-transformation as desired.

However, self-knowledge can be challenging, because we are often unaware of crucial Parts we bury in the dark corners of our consciousness, our Shadow Self, and we are not consciously aware of their ongoing and profound impact on us. Everything we do — the way we communicate, make decisions, engage in life and with others socially — is under the influence of these deeply buried Parts.

This can result in fooling ourselves. When a new opportunity opens up, we may dismiss it because we think, “That’s for someone else, not me” – meaning “I don’t have enough education, experience, time, etc.” Whereas, what’s really happening is that a subconscious Part of you is saying things like, “I’m scared! I’ll mess up and be humiliated. I don’t deserve success; I’m not good enough.” We can convince ourselves that lack of education is the rational explanation, without ever being aware of the internal disharmony going on.

How do you bring your Shadow Self out into the light so self-transformation becomes possible? It doesn’t happen over night. So please be patient and compassionate with yourself. If you’ve made some New Year’s Resolutions, you may want to put them on hold, because you’re only going to frustrate yourself trying to attain something you’re not ready for. Integrate your Parts first and then self-transformation will naturally follow.

Your personal journey to self-awareness is unique to you. Go at a rate that is sustainable for you. Sometimes you’ll push yourself; sometimes you’ll have to back off, especially if you’re dealing with a past trauma. My 4-Step C.A.L.M. Process can be very helpful at times like this. When the pain becomes unbearable, rest and circle back around to it at a future time. The important thing is to keep stepping forward toward deep and intimate self-knowledge, always without judgment and with loving acceptance.

Self-awareness is a life-long journey meant to be explored with curiosity and enjoyment. Through the process of increasing self-awareness and self-knowledge, the Parts of you in the shadows will emerge gradually. Here are five practical suggestions for moving forward:

1. Break your routine and quiet your mind. Getting out in nature is an effective way to disconnect from a hectic pace and reconnect with yourself. Meditation is another useful skill.

2. Daily practice mindfulness. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of practicing mindfulness DAILY! It’s one of your most vital self-awareness skills.

3. Recognize your patterns and rituals. These are the things you do on auto-pilot. Some will serve you and some won’t. Self-awareness is the key to doing more of what’s working.

4. Listen to your body. You are a somatic being. You can’t disconnect your body from your mind, thoughts or emotions. Treating yourself holistically is a way to obtain balance and harmony. Use my Assessment Tool to gain more clarity.

5. Keep learning. When you learn a new skill, you can more easily see the narrowness or expansiveness of your comfort zone and personal boundaries. Then you can use the PERMA Model to tweak them to be more in alignment with your purpose.

If you want help to peel back the layers to greater self-transformation, consider joining our 3rd annual Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat. Make plans now and enjoy the early bird discount!  And if you can’t wait to get started today, you can always contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

10 Energizing Positive Choices That Keep You Inspired to Become Your Best

Use the power of positive choices to to unlock within yourself more energy, resourcefulness, and commitment so you make the life changes you want this year.“Leaders who can stay optimistic and upbeat, even under intense pressure, radiate the positive feelings that create resonance. By staying in control of their feelings and impulses, they craft an environment of trust, comforts and fairness. And that self-management has a trickle-down effect from the leader.” ~ Daniel Goleman, Primal Leadership

How would you like to unlock within yourself more energy, resourcefulness, commitment and resilience, so that this year you truly make the life changes you desire? Rather than bogging yourself down with weighty and unrealistic resolutions, making positive choices on a daily basis will help you create an environment with less time for bad habits and more time and energy for the things that light up your life. This is the recipe for success!

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How to Let Go of Hurt, Hate, Anger, and Pain & Nurture Inner Peace

We feel hurt when we feel used or betrayed. Yet this suffering can stay far too long. To recover, we must learn how to let go of hurt, hate, anger and pain.“Whatever comes, let it come, what stays let stay, what goes let go.” ~ Papaji

We’ve all been hurt by another person at some time or another. We’ve all felt used, unseen or betrayed. And while this pain is normal, sometimes the suffering stays for far too long. We relive the experience over and over, and have a hard time letting go, because we’re trying to figure out what went wrong. This not only causes us to be unhappy, but can distract us from our lives, making us hesitant to open up to new things and people. We get trapped in a cycle of hurt and confusion, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.

It’s vital to learn to let go of the hurt, to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be present for what matters most. This is something I learned the hard way, not once but several times. Moving forward, I want to love deeply and let go more easily when the time comes.

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How to Stay Grounded in Reality – 10 Traits Grounded People Display

Life today is so stressful, many wonder how to stay grounded in reality. If you’d like more peace, learn and practice the 10 traits grounded people display.“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.” ~ Tony Schwartz

As Beth drove to work, a car cut in front of her and nearly caused an accident. So many things were going wrong with her day. She’d spilled coffee on her shirt and had to rush and change. The thick frost on the driveway caused her to slip and fall. Was the whole day going to be one long disaster? Not at all!

Beth in one of the most grounded people I know. Because she practices mindfulness, she is completely present in the moment. Even under trying circumstances, she knows how to regain control of her mental and emotional self. She doesn’t let external forces change who she is. Would you like to be more like Beth?

Life today is so stressful, many wonder how to stay grounded in reality, when the world is falling apart around you. If you could use greater peace of mind, I invite you to learn and practice the following 10 traits grounded people display.

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Be Thankful for Setbacks in Life? You’ve GOT to be Kidding! Maybe Not…

You can be grateful for the setbacks in life, when you use them as opportunities to learn, course correct and for developing resilience and personal growth.“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

This time of year, many people make time to enjoy family, friends and some good food, too. What I love about this time of year is that it gives me the opportunity to reflect on everything I’m grateful for, like you being part of my community. I’m also loving my new website design and excited about new upcoming projects next year. How about you? The holiday season and end of year gives everyone the opportunity to enhance your ability to be grateful for all that comes into your life — even the setbacks in life!

What!? Do you think I’m crazy to write “be grateful for ALL that comes into your life”? Is there a benefit to accepting both the “good” and “bad”? (I use the apostrophes, because it’s not helpful to label anything as good or bad, even though this is how people commonly phrase what’s presently working as opposed to what’s not working.) We can all benefit somehow from anything that happens. It just depends on how you look at it.

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