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Category: Self-Leadership Skills

Unlearn the Lessons of a Toxic Childhood — You Deserve to be Loved!

A toxic childhood teaches you many unhealthful and unhelpful lessons; and it fails to teach you the most valuable lesson — that you’re worthy of love. “An unpredictable parent is a fearsome god in the eyes of a child.” ~ Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

Do you think that love always comes with strings attached? That if someone is a winner then you’re a loser? That you need to placate everyone? That being neglected or abused verbally or physically is normal and you make excuses for it? That emotions make you vulnerable and weak? That it’s better to feel nothing? That you’re on your own?

Then it’s highly likely you’ve learned “lessons” from a toxic childhood that are neither healthful nor accurate. You didn’t deserve it. You didn’t deserve the neglect and abuse you suffered in your toxic childhood. You didn’t deserve to be ignored for days on end. You didn’t deserve the belittling and constant criticism. You were not to blame.

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When You Teach People How to Treat You, Start with These 8 Pillars of Conduct

When you teach people how to treat you, you’ll get the best results when you begin with an examination of how you treat yourself and behaviors you allow. “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” ~ Brené Brown

You deserve to be treated with value and respect. You may not feel that you do because of how others have treated you throughout your life. You don’t deserve to be mistreated. Yet there are some questions to consider: Do we, in any way, bear some responsibility? Is it possible to improve difficult relationships? Can you really teach people how to treat you better?

Teaching people to treat you better doesn’t mean you’re demanding they cater to your every whim and never disagree with you. All healthy relationships need a balance of give and take.

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We Learn Through Repetition: Be Careful What You Practice

We learn through repetition. Learning a new skill, exercise or embodied practice needn’t be boring or hard, when you shift to this new view of repetition. “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

Would you expect to master your craft if you did the required tasks only once? Say you want to be a world-class speaker — but you haven’t opened your mouth since you said “Mama” as a baby? That would be ludicrous. We learn through repetition…everything! Walk, talk, comb your hair, brush your teeth…I challenge you to come up with one thing you’ve learned to do well that didn’t involve repetition.

We learn through repetition — therefore how can we practice it more mindfully and effectively?

“Repetition is boring, Maria! I want it to be easy. I want to master it TODAY.” Boredom, desire for ease and instant results…these are roadblocks we put up in front of ourselves. But consider this…

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Feel Your Feelings: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

Is it hard to feel your feelings, after a lifetime of suppressing your emotions? Use my 4-step process to safely feel your feeling fully and productively. “We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.”– Albert Einstein

Everyone is entitled to their feelings. This statement is powerful. But accepting its validity is only part of the process when you’re learning to feel your feelings. I’ve seen people cling to this piece of wisdom and not grow beyond it.

Scenario 1: They use their emotions to punish themselves. For example, their thinking goes something like this, “She hurt me. I’m entitled to feeling hurt, because everybody lets me down. Nobody loves me.” They get stuck feeling their feelings and they become overwhelmed by them, because they don’t know how to fully process them in a healthful way. And because those feelings feel so bad, they sink into depression and despair.

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Build your Self-Esteem by Nipping the Tall Poppy Syndrome in the Bud

You deserve to be proud of yourself, so here’s how you can build your self-esteem, and regain a healthful pride, when someone tries to cut you down to size.“Be proud of every scar on your heart, each one holds a lifetime’s worth of lessons.” ~ Wallace Stegner

Australians have a term — the Tall Poppy Syndrome. Have you heard of it? It’s the idea that poppies should all grow at the same height and speed. If one becomes taller than the others, it should be cut down to size, to maintain the uniformity of the crop. Do you recall a time when you were feeling on top of the world because you accomplished something wonderful; then someone threw a wet blanket on your joy, cutting you down to size? You’ve experienced the Tall Poppy Syndrome.

You deserve to be proud of yourself, so let’s examine how you can more fully build your self-esteem to withstand this pervasive attitude!

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