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Friends Make Life Better

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together…there is something you must always remember. You re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you. Winnie the Pooh

Having grown up with no mother and no siblings, friends have always been especially important to me. I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have friends who were “sisters and brothers.” This week my college roommate, her husband from Boston and a college friend from Denver visited us. 

When we reunite, it’s like no time has passed. These dear friends stimulate me intellectually while embracing me in their love and caring. We spoke of the importance of diversity, what it means to lose the love of your life, our concern for the planet and our toxic political climate, grandchildren, and good books. Three ladies who have grown old together while being apart. Just as Winnie the Pooh says, I’ll always be with them and they with me. 

Affirmation: Friends matter.

Coaching questions: What do friendships mean to you? How have friendships helped you heal and grow in your life? What do you bring to your friends? 

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Is My Red Your Blue?

Perhaps your blue is my red. Each of us comes to the world with an individual perspective and experiences life in a unique way. Impractical Juggler, from Medium Daily Digest

My dad, husband, and grandson are/were color-blind. Their purple is my blue and their orange is my red or pink. This is a concrete example of how our internal worlds can be different. Now, consider all the other perceptions others make that are unlike our own. Our internal worlds are not absolute. 

When we learn to base our interactions on the fact that we are all unique and come with different perspectives, we have a chance for greater empathy and understanding. In my experience, I’ve learned that whatever I thought I knew can be questioned by another with a different understanding, set of experiences, or vision. Only when we learn to understand and embrace our differences will we have a chance for peace. 

Affirmation: I embrace internal differences.

Coaching questions: How have you been misunderstood? What can you do to have greater understanding of those who perceive things differently?

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What’s Keeping You From Getting Help?

The strong individual is the one who asks for help when she/he needs it. 

In my upcoming book, Mom’s Gone, Now What? I write about the importance of asking for help when it is needed. People suffering from depression and anxiety might not take this step because they think, it doesn’t matter or getting help won’t make a difference. It is important to your recovery to dispel this mindset. 

Whether you seek professional help for emotional healing and self-understanding or ask a friend to talk to you on a lonely Sunday afternoon, seeking help when it is needed is part of your journey forward. 

Affirmation: I can ask for help when I need it.

Coaching questions: What keeps you from asking for help? What difference would professional help make in your emotional healing? To whom can you turn for help? 

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Are You Angry?

It’s not about anger being good or bad. It’s what you do with it that matters. John Schinnerer, PhD

Motherless daughters are frequently angry. They may have anger toward a mother who abandoned them, anger toward a mother who died, anger toward a family who is not supporting their caregiving efforts, anger at themselves for being stuck in a grief cycle. As Dr. Schinnerer says, there’s nothing wrong with anger but how it is expressed can determine whether it is destructive or productive. 

Anger can move people and feelings forward. Asserting our anger helps us speak up for what we need and let’s others know they are stepping over our boundaries. As we acknowledge our angry feelings, we can begin to understand what lies beneath them and move forward with our recovery. Honor your anger, express it constructively, then release it.

Affirmation: I acknowledge my anger.

Coaching questions: What’s makes you angry? What step can you take to productively communicate your anger? How will you affirm that your angry feelings are a necessary part of your journey towards recovery?

 

What Lights You Up?

Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings. Victor Hugo, French poet

We have friends visiting from Boston, MA who are birders. It is their great joy to observe birds in nature and discover unusual species. Yesterday, we took them bird watching in the Everglades where we discovered hundreds of birds nesting for the evening along with a couple of alligators.

It’s wonderful to see seventy-somethings light up like children as they discover new treasures. Nature holds abundant wonders. We just need to make the effort to get out there and see what lights us up. 

Affirmation: I enjoy the abundance nature provides.

Coaching questions: What in nature lights you up? What keeps you from exploring the outside world (besides the current cold and snow)?

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What’s Keeping You From Confrontation?

Confrontation is a healthy avenue for you to stand up for yourself and your beliefs–to be heard and not silenced by inaction or fear. From The Chopra Center newsletter, article by Melissa Eisler

I admit it. Confrontation is my Achille’s heel. I believe that my childhood fear of abandonment, which still hovers in my psyche, is the root of my difficulty with confrontation. The little girl inside of me thinks, If I confront this person about what is making me angry, they will retaliate by emotionally abandoning me or, worse, leaving me altogether.

The irony is, if one doesn’t confront, resentment builds and physical or emotional leaving takes place because there is no confrontation. As difficult and scary as it may feel, constructive confrontation is worth it. Being mindful of your beliefs, clearly communicating where you stand, and speaking with objectivity rather than letting your emotions drive your response is a start.

Affirmation: I’m comfortable with confrontation.

Coaching questions: What keeps you from confronting? What is it costing you? What steps will you take to be more comfortable with confrontation? 

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Use Creativity To Heal Yourself

Creativity is something that already exists inside each of us. It needs only to be uncovered. Gwen Coleman Detwiler, opera singer

One of the steps to recovering from loss is to apply your creativity. This may mean writing about your experience, tapping into the visual arts, engaging in dance or music to express your grief. You can also apply your creativity to establish a new or different life for yourself without a spouse, mother, or other loved one. 

To be human is to be creative. As we guard against pain or failure we block our vulnerability and creativity. Instead, be curious about your altered life and how you might use your creativity to express your feelings and explore new avenues for joy.

Affirmation: I am creative.

Coaching questions: How have you experienced your creativity in the past (think back to childhood if necessary)? What did it mean to you? What creative outlet will you use to heal yourself? 

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