October 2010 Archives
Start a company. Support your family. Save the world. Stay looking like you are 25. And by the way, don't break a sweat while doing it... after all, other women seem to be keeping it together, what's wrong with you? That's the mind chatter of the 21st century super women who looks like she has it all together, smiling the stress away through her teeth.
Behind this façade, however, is the reality that we super women feel completely overwhelmed, yet we don't know how to do our busy lives any differently. Dig deeper behind the mask, and you will find that as insane as this may sound, most women wear their busyness like it's a badge of honor, proving we are worthy because we can get so much done.
We have become a generation of achievement junkies and doing addicts. Forget Generation X or Y, how about calling us Generation E, for Exhausted!
But it's not totally our fault, you know, we were bred to be this way. Girls and women today have more opportunities, self-confidence and independence than any generation of women before, a reality that many women and men fought hard for, and one that we don't want to give back.
However, like all forward movements for humankind, the feminist movement has also had unintended impacts. Women today, while freer in many ways, face more pressure than their grandmothers and mothers combined, which leads to more responsibilities, choices and ultimately stress, but not to more happiness (a fact backed by last year's Time Magazine study which compared the level of happiness of women in the 1970s to today, the same.)
Quite simply put, women have been liberated, yes, but we've basically moved ourselves into a new jail cell with the nameplate: "I feel empowered to do anything, but pressured to do everything."
As it turns out, the lifestyle expectations for the modern world woman are completely unsustainable. Most women are running on fumes, on the verge of burnout, and now even our grade school girls - driven to be super achievers from a young age - experience chronic symptoms of stress once only known to adults (my biggest stress at 11 was getting caught sticking my finger in the chocolate chip cookie batter!)
The solutions thus far have been focused on giving girls and women around the world self-esteem, teaching the message, "You can do anything."
And there lies the problem. The focus is on 'doing.' While self-esteem has been a critical step for raising the confidence of women and girls around this country, the unintended impact is a generation who defines themselves and their value by what they 'do.'
We have conditioned our selves and our girls to believe that if we are not doing everything, then we are failing, ultimately leading to the damaging and crushing belief that "You are not enough."
The unintended impact of the self-esteem movement has left us with this problem: No matter how much a woman or girl does, she will never feel like she is enough, and therefore she will never attain the happiness she works so hard for.
So what is the new solution? Self-Love.How is self-love different than self-esteem?
Self-love has nothing to do with what you 'do' but everything to do with how you respect and love yourself. Self-love, when you have it, doesn't measure your worth by what you've accomplished, but by the measure of,
"Have you treated yourself and others with unconditional love and respect?"
The definition of self-love posted on dictionary.com is "conceit, vanity and narcissism," a testament to how our society currently views self-love. Is it surprising that most women feel guilty when they take time away from the doing to take care of themselves? Or that they don't value the ability to relax, find inner peace or just 'be' like they value the ability to get it all done?
Our patterns, habits and beliefs as 21st century women have been formed based on valuing ourselves by what we can do instead of by who we are, regardless of what we accomplish. If we ever hope to have lives that sustain us versus drain us, we must rewire our thought patterns and change what we value.
The ticket out of the overwhelm and overwork is not another downward dog pose, a new time management system or the holy grail of balance. The ticket out is your belief that you are enough simply because you are, and that is the act of self-love.3 Acts of Self-Love You Can Start Today:Stop wearing your busyness and overwhelm like a badge of honor.
Give up saying things like "I am SO busy. I have SO much to do." Stop looking for sympathy and acknowledgment for your busyness. If you feel overwhelmed or too busy, don't be a martyr, instead take your life back. Go through your calendar and say "No" to previous "Yes'." Renegotiate promises and deadlines. You'll be amazed how the world just gives you the space you ask for when you stop valuing yourself for being so darn busy. Stop acknowledging other women for their super human feats of multi-tasking.
When a woman flashes her busy badge of honor - whether your are face-to-face or facebooking - instead of congratulating or commiserating with her, either ignore the invitation to collude, or invite her to put less pressure on herself by sharing your personal experience of transforming your own overwhelm into self-love. Start your morning by asking, "What do I need to take care of me today?"
How you start your day is how you will live your day, so before you even get out of bed, close your eyes and ask yourself what you really need that day to take care of yourself. Listen to what your intuition tells you. No matter what, keep that promise to yourself, even if that means doing nothing!About Christine Arylo
Christine Arylo, an m.b.a. turned writer, speaker and teacher, is an inspirational catalyst who teaches women how to give up their doing addiction and to stop being so hard on themselves. A recovering achievement junkie and doing addict herself, Arylo is the co-founder of Inner Mean Girl Reform School and the author of Choosing ME before WE, Every Woman's Guide to Life and Love www.mebeforewe.com.
Known as the "Queen of Self-Love," Arylo created Madly in Love with ME, the international day of self-love (Feb 13), dedicated to making self-love a tangible reality for women and girls around the world. www.madlyinlovewithme.com
On Sunday October 17th, I had the GREAT honor of spending the afternoon with 19 amazing, fabulous, powerful women who have all given themselves in service to bringing forward transformational work that changes the lives of women and girls.
I called the gathering, the Gathering of the Queens, because we are ALL queens in service to every person we touch, every day, when we live from a place of true service and love. Being a queen is NOT about lording over or being above, it is an energy that when held inside your heart, emanates a true, deep, powerful feminine energy, which my friend and amazing transformational artist, Shiloh Sophia McCloud puts to words and picture so well.
I share it with you here...Every Woman Is the Queen of Her Own Heart
Shiloh Sophia McCloud
She must decide how to govern her own domain.
She seeks friends and allies that honor who she is now
and who she is becoming.
She has the power to create miracles.
Her prayers and intentions manifest in right order.
She does not know how or when her needs will be met,
but she trusts the will of the Divine.
Being the Queen of one's domain is not about being
the ruler over anyone else's life or ideas.
And it isn't even about calling herself a Queen.
It is about self honor. It is about choice.
It is about knowing her limits and setting her boundaries.
And about encouraging others to live their possibilities.
It is about learning how to live with what comes her way,
with as much grace, majesty and justice as she can.
And sometimes, yes, she has to have her own way!
She claims her unique destiny and recognizes she has a calling.
A calling to greatness within her own life. And within her own heart.
The Queen of Her Own Heart invites others to join her there -
in the middle of the awakened sacred heart.
She invites others to love powerfully - unconditionally -
while at the same time practicing discernment and wisdom.
She is forgiving. And she believes healing is at hand.
She leads her own life as grand experiment in happiness,
in creativity and in abundance.
She offers her gifts to others, but not to her own detriment.
She rests as she needs to, ruling one's own life takes energy.
She chooses to embody wholeness
even when she feels fragmented by all there is to do.
She holds the prayers of the world within her
because she cares what happens - with everyone -
even though she cannot reach them all. She reaches who she can.
She often feels like she is not pulling it all off,
and sometimes she isn't. But she keeps reaching anyway.
She keeps opening her heart and being in her own power.
Knowing and sharing her heart is ecstasy.
Sharing the heart of her beloved is absolute and perfect joy.
She lives in gratitude.
"I can fix him."
"He will change for me."
"Just give him some time, he'll come around."
"When we get married, move in together, have kids he will change."
If these statements, or words like them, have ever traveled across your lips, welcome to the "Queen of Illusion" Club. This club is reserved for women who have ever tried to change their mate, which essentially means all women. Because somewhere between bassinette and cap and gown, we've all gotten the message: "If I just love him more, employ the right dating/relationship rule or sacrifice myself more, he will be different, and we will be happy."
Think about all the times and ways in which you have dated or married a man's potential, instead of seeing him for the truth of who he chooses to be. Remember the energy, time and emotion you spent on trying to get this man to morph into your picture of who he could be. How well did that/is that working for you?
Probably not too well, and here is why. Trying to fix your man requires you to lie to the most important person in your life, yourself. This lack of self-honesty, not your lack of effort, is what stops you from having the partner you truly want. Want to fix your man? Get that partner that your heart's been craving? Then turn your focus from HE to ME, splash some cold water on your face, and swallow these love truths: 1. Get over yourself.
Appointing yourself as a fixer is arrogant. No matter how special you are, you have no more power than any other woman to change this man. No matter how much love, effort, sex or money you throw at this guy, there is only one person he will truly ever change for and that is himself. Not even your love is powerful enough to change a man who doesn't want to do the hard work, and make no mistake, becoming a better person is hard work. Give up the idea that you have super powers to help your guy, and realize that only he has the power to empower himself.
2. Look in the mirro
r. Focusing on fixing someone else is a sure sign that you are avoiding something in your own life. Fixers love to focus on other people because it keeps the attention off their own problems. Turn the mirror from your guy to yourself and ask yourself these questions, "What truth about myself am I avoiding? What about myself can I not be with? What needs fixing inside of me?"
Can't find the answer? Ask a trusted friend to give you their loving opinion, and listen openly.
3. Give up suffering
. Dedicating your life and energy to the cause of 'fixing your mate' will lead you straight to the land of suffering, do not pass Go. With all the suffering that goes on in this world, do you really want to add unnecessarily to the pile? The truth is that suffering is not a mandatory part of relationships, although based on how much we of it we create and put up with you would think it was. Erase any notion equating pain to honor or love. Adopt the belief that relationships need care, not suffering and sacrifice
. 4. Save your saving for helpless animals and children.
Sure, your guy has had some rough times in his life - a death of a parent, a tough upbringing, hard circumstances - and yes, have sympathy for him, but it's not your job to save that little boy from the hurt. Saving and fixing are close cousins, both are co-dependent, and both will keep you in a relationship for all the wrong reasons. Throw your guy a life preserver, but let him be the one who swims. You can inspire your mate, you cannot fix him.5. Date his reality, not his potential.
Just because you can see your guy's potential, promise or possibility does not mean he can or wants to, or that he has the ambition to ever be the great person you see in him. Your guy will tell you who he is by his actions and his words, believe him when he does.
In my book, Choosing ME before WE
I ask you to take the vow of self-honesty with yourself. Here is it, I invite you to take it and keep it:
"I vow to always be honest with ME, to never hide from the truth, no matter what. I commit to unwavering, uncompromising truth about myself and every person in my life."
When you are honest with your most important partner, yourself, every other partnership automatically falls in line, and your guy will fix himself, saving you (and him) from having to take on another project.
We live in a time when we are constantly bombarded with images, ideas and sound bytes that tell us who we should be, could be and ought to be. Unless you live in a cave, you can't escape their massive barrage, and let's face it, even from a cave you could probably still get text messages.
Think of all you see in a day... images and words of what you should look like, should have and ought to measure up to, all pointing to one main message, 'You are not enough.' It's enough to make your head spin, and throw even the most self-assured person off center. Add in a few difficult life events - a breakup, a job loss, a pay cut -- and you could end up with a Hiroshima to your self-confidence.
Unless that is, you have built up your self-confidence muscles. Just like training for a marathon and building physical muscles, to be a successful, happy and confident person you must work out your mental and emotional muscles regularly.
You wouldn't go to the gym to start training your physical muscles the day before a marathon, would you? No way! You'd peril on the pavement. So why would the marathon of your life be any different? It's not.
Put these 7 tips into practice daily and you will develop the confidence and conviction that you can do anything... no matter what the outside world is telling you:
1. Stop Worrying About What Others Think. Trust Yourself
You can't be responsible for how everyone else thinks about how you live your life, so stop worrying about how your family, partner and friends will react to your choices and start getting real about how you feel about your life. Act from what you think is right for you. We always know what the best action is to take for ourselves, when we slow down enough to listen to our inner wisdom. It's just not always easy to slow down or to trust our intuition. Be committed to trusting yourself, even when it's scary, and even when others disagree.
2. Become Best Buds with Your Intuition
Inside of you is the best life and decision making compass ever - your intuition. It always communicates what is best for you, but you have to be listening, and you have to trust its advice. Just like a best friend, if you're not calling, it will stop trying to contact you. If you keep asking for advice but don't take it, it will stop trying to help. Start listening for the communication cues of your intuition - through words you hear, images you see, feelings you have, and things you just know. Act based on what your intuition tells you and you will start to trust yourself more, and build more self-confidence in the process.
3. Know What Makes You Unique
Every person, including you, was born with a set of unique gifts, talents and inclinations that they are naturally good at, more so than the average person. When you find these gifts and use them, your confidence, success and happiness increases. Think Tiger Woods. Born to golf. No matter how much you practiced, you'd never be as great as him; he has a gift. You have gifts too. Ask the people that know you the best, "What are my gifts?" Take notice of the compliments you receive, especially ones you find hard to accept. Make a list of your gifts and start putting time, energy and money there.
4. Know What Makes You Happy
Stop trying to fit into the expectations and ideals that outside forces - society, family, work, friends -- have said you 'should' be in order to be successful, happy and accepted, and start asking yourself, "What really makes ME happy?" Think about the times that you've been happiest. Who were you being? What did you have? What were you doing? Do the same for your most unhappy times. Compare the two to your life today and notice the gaps. Happiness breeds confidence.
5. Have an Opinion and Express It
Know what you believe and don't be afraid to express it. Confident people have convictions that come from inside their souls, minds and hearts. They know their truth and are willing to stand in it, even when what they have to say makes others uncomfortable. Know your truth in all situations and share it with pride and conviction, knowing that your unique voice deserves to be heard just because you're you.
6. Never Apologize For Being You
Unfortunately the world is full of people, including our inner mean girls and inner bullies, that want to keep us small, playing along and being 'good' girls and boys. When you listen to them by apologizing for who you are, or by discounting your contributions, thoughts and feelings, you squash your self-confidence. Be brilliant. Be you. And never apologize for it.
7. Spend Less Time in the Basement, More Time in the Penthouse
We all have emotional triggers, things that evoke an overly strong feeling and reaction--anxiety, anger, worry, shame, despair, fear--especially during times of stress. Your job is to notice when you have one of these 'basement' emotions that erode your confidence, and then to get yourself back up into the 'penthouse' where emotions like trust, peace, love, joy and happiness live. Have your hard emotions, just have them and move back on up to the penthouse, where the view of your life is much better!
It wasn't until the age of 30 that I - smart, successful rising marketing executive and m.b.a. student - realized that men were supposed
to be nice to me. Three weeks into dating the man, Noah, I am married to today, he said to me, "Christine you can't like a guy because he's nice to you, he's supposed to be nice to you." With that one sentence Noah changed my life and made me painfully aware that I had come to expect men to be controlling, short-tempered, hypercritical and unpredictable and with that my boundaries of what I considered acceptable behavior by my partner were extremely 'messed up.'
I learned to turn the cheek when he swore at me, when he got really angry at me for using the grill the wrong way, or when he grabbed my wrist harder than felt good. I learned to get by doing activities I loved by myself, to look to my friends for emotional support, and to put my bigger dreams on hold. And I came to find it totally normal to become a crazy banshee during our fights, to fall asleep to Roseanne Barr instead of snuggling with him, and to let the business contract of our relationship - which worked well - be enough.
Fast forward 9 years, lots of personal work, good boundaries re-established, and married to Noah, a good, loving and sexy man, I found myself in a conversation with Noah that brought another deep, and frankly shocking belief about men to the surface of my conscious awareness.
Noah has been part of men's group for over 3 years. They meet weekly for a few hours on Thursday nights and talk. Not about sports, business or the latest playboy pin up, but about their lives, their dreams, and their problems. Each of the men supports the other men to break through whatever is holding them back. While I knew Noah couldn't tell me what these men talk about specifically, I found myself curious about what kinds of things they talked about the most, so I asked him.
I expected him to say something like "Their careers, work or money." When he said, "What these men talk about more than anything is their relationships," my mouth dropped to the floor in disbelief. And inside my head this sarcastic voice said, "Really men, care about relationships, c'mon. Men don't care about having intimate, close, fulfilling relationships."
"Wow! Where did that come from," another voice shockingly replied in my head. What I didn't realize is that my lips were also conveying these thoughts out loud to Noah, who looked at me back, a little shocked, as I was that I would have these kinds of feelings about men - especially given that I had such a close, intimate relationship with Noah. Why would I believe that there weren't other men like Noah who were both caring and loving as well as masculine and sexy? Why wouldn't I believe that men, just like women, wanted to be deeply loved, seen and supported by their partners.
The why goes back to the fact that other than Noah, my gay male friends, my two best, straight male friends (both good guys who married not good girls), and my spiritual teachers (all over the age of 50), I hadn't experienced the 'imprint' of these good, heterosexual men. And therefore I didn't really believe they existed. It was like 'good men' were an endangered species or something. I had plenty of sightings of the narcissistic, self-absorbed males (my girlfriends and I have all dated or married them), and living in California I had also come across many 'Soft, nice men who've lost their mojo' (many women I know married and dated these guys to stay safe, only to find themselves unsatisfyingly both the man and woman in the relationship.)
But then on Noah's 40th birthday, I got the imprint of 'good men' washed all over me - yes it was as good as it sounds! We threw a party for Noah and many of the men from his men's group came, some married, some single, all ages, and all good men. Open, present, able to have a meaningful and stimulating conversation, caring, loving... and hot, handsome, funny and manly. All men who I could tell would very much care about having a strong, supportive, dynamic partnership just as much as any woman would. And this made me very happy.
And it also made me a little sad.
You see, I know, after seeing Noah transform through his connection with this men's group, that men just like women need support from other men. They need a place where they can come to talk, be real, and explore the truth of who they are, without all the macho puffery b.s. and beyond the surface connection points of football and business. And while these groups do exist, they are nowhere near as plentiful, accessible or socially acceptable as all of the tele-classes, workshops, retreats, and book clubs out there for us women.
So what can we women do to support men to get what they need, without emasculating them or turning them into soft ponytail boy? Here are a few suggestions and inspirations I have had, including one that my guy Noah was inspired to create:Don't
- Emasculate your man
- Take up all the masculine space in the relationship and then get mad at him for not being a man
- Put all the responsibility on yourself and then get mad at him for not doing his share
- Shame him for not being perfect or living up to your standards
- Compare him to another man
- Make fun of him for being too sensitive
- Measure his worth by his paycheck, his papers, or any external measure.
- Put up with him not giving you unconditional love and respect - but that means that you have to give it too
- Settle for a man who isn't willing to be honest with himself and do his own personal growth work, or get mad a man who won't change for you.
- Value him for his ability to act and do as well as be and love; see his strengths and support him
- Be honest about your personal expectations, and take your personal hang ups out of the equation
- Expect a man to be honest with himself and do his personal work, and be compassionate with him along the way
- Believe that there are good men out there.
- Drop your unrealistic expectations and see your man as human, without giving up or settling for what your heart and soul truly desires.
- Encourage him -- not mandate, plan or sign him up - to explore activities geared towards men coming together in powerful groups (the 5-week virtual class Tackle the Inner Bully is a good example of some of the cool experiences starting to pop up www.tackletheinnerbully.com )
If you have a good man or an emerging good man in your life, my guy Noah Martin and his friend Chris Kyle recently held a 90 minute call with men around the world called, Tackle Your Inner Bully - all about helping men break through what's holding them back. It was a super powerful call - and anyone can download it for free at http://www.TackletheInnerBully.com
Also really powerful - encourage all you women to listen to - is a shorter 5 minute segment with men giving voice to the self-sabotaging voices inside their heads. If you ever wondered if men were hard on themselves too, listen to this ...http://tackletheinnerbully.com
(scroll down just a little to get to the recording)
If you asked most people to tell you why they have or want a relationship, you'd hear answers like, "Companionship, to have someone to grow with, to have a warm body to snuggle up next to." In a million years you wouldn't hear the words, "To make me unhappy." And, if you did, you'd immediately cart that person off to a qualified therapist for the emotionally insane.
Yet many of us choose to stay in relationships that make us unhappy vs. pulling the plug and putting our own happiness above that of the relationship. Which, if you think about it, is kind of insane. Why would you choose to keep a source of suffering, drama, and excruciating effort in your life, isn't life complicated enough? Why would you cling to a relationship for dear life, despite the fact that it's robbing you of one your basic human desires, happiness? Or more importantly, how are you unknowingly using your relationship to make yourself unhappy?
1. You Forget That He/She's Supposed to Nice to You
Three weeks into dating my current husband, Noah, he looked at me and said, 'Christine, I don't know what is going to happen between the two of us, but you have to raise your standards for men. You can't like a guy because he's nice to you. He's supposed to be nice to you." "Whaaaaaat???" My head cocked to the side and I looked at Noah like he had just told me my parents were really aliens from Mars. How did I - accomplished marketing executive and MBA student -- not know this? Of course, my logical brain was aware that people should be nice to you, but deep down, I had no clue.
Based on my experience of men, I had come to expect men to be hypercritical, verbally abusive, angry for no good reason, self-centered, and controlling. And honestly, deep down, I didn't believe that men cared about 'relationships,' intimacy and being loved. And so, I, and most of my girlfriends, dated what we expected, and ended up unhappy. Or if by chance a "good guy" did come along, we tried to get rid of him for 'being too nice." We say we want one thing, but then we attract and hang onto something quite different.HAPPY RULE: If your guy or gal isn't nice to you, then they don't deserve you.
You deserve unconditional love and respect, and you must demand it in your relationships, or the relationship has to end (friendships included!) The trick is that you can't get what you don't give yourself, which means you have to give unconditional love and respect to yourself and others if you want it in return.2. You Make Love the End Goal, and the Reason to Stay
Most of us look for relationships because we want to 'fall and be in love." So we find a person, fall in love and then we do everything we can to keep that love, even if the relationship and the person keeps us from our personal dreams, expression and purpose on this planet... making ourselves unhappy because we are not being true to our most important partner, M-E! Because we are so scared to lose the love of this person, we settle, putting our dreams on hold, minimizing our desires and sacrificing pieces of ourselves for the sake 'of the relationship.' Ultimately we create our own unhappiness because we have made receiving the love of this person more important than loving ourselves.HAPPY RULE: Don't settle for less than your heart and soul desire for your life, even if it means ending a relationship.
And pick a partner who helps you reach your dreams and be the best you possible. When looking for a relationship or deciding if the one you have is right for you, ask yourself first, "What are my dreams for my life?" Then ask, "What kind of partnership do I want to support me in that life?" and then you can ask, "So who would that person be?" ME. WE. HE. In that order. Choose ME before WE.3. You Lie To Yourself
Not being honest with yourself will make you unhappy in a relationship... and all of us have done it! I am the former Queen of Illusion myself. If there was lie to be told in a relationship I told it, until I realized that just because you avoid the truth doesn't mean it's not true. We lie not because we are afraid of the truth, but because we are afraid of the consequence of the truth, the action we will have to take if we do in fact admit that some of the thoughts - like the ones listed below - that are running our lives are in fact big fat lies: Common Love Lies
- I can fix him.
- If he doesn't love me no one will.
- I'll never be happy until I find someone.
- There's something wrong with me because I am single.
- He loves me more than her.
- That's just how he is.
- He didn't hit me so it's not an abusive relationship.
- It was just that one time.
- If I leave, no one will ever love me again.
- He'll change when we get married.
- She won't change when we get married.
: Take a vow to Be Honest With Yourself - NO MATTER WHAT
! And engage the help of friends when you can't get to honesty on your own. Say to them, "I need your help on getting honest with myself. You can be totally honest and I won't get mad. How do you see me lying to myself about XX relationship?" Just listen. You can ask questions, but you cannot comment back or engage in a debate. You can also not get mad at them. After they are done, say "Thank You." Ask yourself, "What is the consequence of admitting the truth?" Let that sink in and then make a commitment to take at least one action that addresses this truth.
For more Self-Love Vows check out Choosing ME before WE, Every Woman's Guide to Life and Love