Take the High Road…It’s Less Crowded

takethehighroadImagine for a moment, taking a leisurely stroll down a tree lined avenue, far removed from the high volume of expressway traffic. Not only is it a less crowded and pothole free route, but it’s also far more scenic and the tolls you pay are fewer in the end. Considering the mental health costs alone, you have potentially saved enough time and money to finance your dream get-away or perhaps a vacation home.

I am not suggesting that you tolerate any and all infractions, bad behaviors and personal affronts. Avoidance is not the solution. Rather, take a stand for yourself with respect to engaging with the challenging person or uncomfortable situation.

• How do you tend to handle confrontation?
• What is most important to you regarding the outcome?
• Notice when your buttons are being pressed.
• How clear are your boundaries?

Some situations are simply easier to manage. Some associates, even intimates, are highly predictable in the ways they relate to each other so that we can prepare for the interaction. On the other hand, since people do not yet come equipped with “bar codes” that could enable us to identify their personal traits and characteristics beforehand, determining a plan of action can happen on the spot.

Taking the high road is not about turning the other cheek either. It is more in alignment with an overall philosophy of self-care and personal empowerment as well as self management. Scratch even deeper and it is an understanding and sometimes an acceptance of what and who you are reacting to. Is it really the person in front of you or is it your third grade teacher, college coach or scout leader; all voices from the past?

© MWeisner2017

Whose Suitcase Is It Really?

rcnKok6KiA woman is standing on a riverbank holding a large stone in her hands. She is observed stepping confidently into the water as a small crowd begins to gather. They watch as the water reaches her chest and she begins to swim towards the opposite shore. Soon enough her struggle becomes apparent. She takes several strokes and sinks below. As she surfaces, the crowd yells, “Drop the rock, drop the rock,” yet she continues, making little progress. Again the crowd implores her to drop the rock. She ignores their shouts and as she reaches the middle of the river, it is obvious she will drown if she does not release her stranglehold on the stone. “Drop the rock,” they yell and as she goes under for the last time, her final words echo in the air, “I can’t. It’s mine!”

A shocking scenario, perhaps, but what relevance does it have for you? What is it about the life and career challenges women face that make us carry everyone else’s “stuff” when our own is more than enough? How many times have you picked up the suitcase that does not belong to you and made it part of your own unmatched set? When have you become the caretaker of that cute little valise, even temporarily, when you know full well it is NOT yours?

Now let’s fully focus on you. Will your suitcase fit in the overhead compartment or is it so heavy and unwieldy that it must be shipped as excess cargo? Are the zippers bulging or can you wheel it along with one finger? How lightly do you prefer to travel?

Start unpacking immediately. The load is not getting any lighter sitting there. Your challenge is to remove something from that suitcase each day until you can make it through airport security stress free and with the knowledge that when you pack for yourself, you are also sending the message that everyone else can too.

Here are two simple strategies to support your new outlook:
1. Always check the luggage tags to be certain that suitcase belongs to YOU
2. Take swimming lessons!

©2016 Maureen Weisner

OUCH! Stop Punishing Yourself

Mistakes-Precious Life LessonsMistakes, mistakes, mistakes…if we are human, we have all made them. We may have compassion for other people, yet too frequently we refuse to stop punishing ourselves for past missteps, indiscretions, poor planning, lack of judgment, etc. The list could go on forever. Too often we examine our own actions under a relentlessly unforgiving spotlight, long after the event has occurred. Yes, we have all experienced hurtful behavior and may have been the responsible person, yet for the most part it is possible to make amends or corrections.

From this moment going forward, put a statute of limitations on your mistakes. Stop punishing yourself. Give yourself a deadline. According to Dr. Alan Zimmerman, you might even create a short script for yourself like, “After this date (specify), I will not put myself down or beat myself up for this mistake or that failure (specify). It’s done. It’s over. I refuse to spend any more energy ruminating about it.” Moreover, hold yourself accountable for doing it. The blame game is so de-energizing and once you release yourself from the fatiguing dance, your confidence will improve, oftentimes dramatically.

With respect to the question of forgiveness, a bolder step is posited by Stanford University consultant, Dr. Fred Luskin , author of the book, “Forgive for Good”. He says, “You can let go of a grudge you’ve held against someone even if you never see or speak to that person again. Forgiving takes place inside the person who has the change of heart, not the person who is forgiven.” He never suggests that the behavior was okay or that the offender gets a pass on their actions. Rather, it is about taking care of oneself and not being the person who takes poison and waits for the other person to die. In fact, in the act of forgiveness you are the person who has taken back their power.

The same truth applies to self-forgiveness. When you forgive yourself for past mistakes, you also free yourself from the attachment to them. It takes a conscious effort to change old patterns of behavior. However, when you can take even a small step towards shifting your thoughts from blame and hurt to self-healing and peace, you are achieving a new level of self-care. Greater self-knowledge begets greater self-confidence and an opportunity to give “self-punishment” a rest.

• Who do you need to forgive?
• Write the script?
• Speak it aloud as many times as you find necessary
• Give yourself a BIG hug!

©2014 Maureen Weisner