The Grateful Heart

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This is a Repost from last year:

It’s that time of year again when Thanksgiving is here.  A day of being with family and friends, eating into oblivion and watching football or at least having multiple football games stream across the TV from sun up to sundown.  I also think of the Seinfeld episode of Jerry and George eating more than enough Thanksgiving Turkey, drinking red wine and passing out is a great depiction of Thanksgiving. But, it is also a time when we give Thanks.  Somehow, as I write that statement, I think about Valentine’s Day, considered the day of Love.  I have a difficult time thinking that certain days out of the whole year are designated for certain emotions.  Halloween is for fear and horror, Thanksgiving, being thankful, Christmas / Hanukah  :  Universal Love, Compassion and Rededication, New Years: Joy and renewal, Veteran’s Day for pain and remembrance etc. What about the rest of the year? Is it too much to practice gratitude for a year? What would the world look like if we all practiced gratitude on a consistent basis?  What would the news look like? Most important, what would your life look like?

Studies have shown that adopting a daily gratitude practice changes the brain and changes physical health in a positive manner.  Positivity (Gratitude) enlivens our cells while negativity shrinks them. (I’ll write more about this in another post.)

Often when times are going our way, we may forget to acknowledge what we have gratitude about or for.  Also, when things are not going our way, it’s hard to see all the good, because we’re so focused on what’s wrong instead of what’s going right.  But that’s just it, A grateful heart is everyday, not one day a year or when things go our way.  Practicing gratitude is being grateful when you’re struggling in your life with work, relationships, or health and when things aren’t going the way you want.  I’m not one to say that if you’re not grateful everyday, then you suck or you’re doing something wrong, because quite honestly, I place myself in this pot too.  I have to remind myself that when all is well in my life, then it’s Practice, and when it feels like I’m swimming upstream, it’s Game Time.  Practice is easy.  Game Time, not so much. Being grateful in the midst of fear, worry, not finding the job you want, your car breaking down, demise of a relationship, or a health crisis is difficult. That’s Game Time. Being grateful for those little things in life in the midst of chaos is a skill.  A skill that rewires the brain and cultivates the heart.

I have begun with diligence to practice gratitude, and not just a list to recount every morning and every night.  I notice that the more I practice gratitude, my heart swells. I feel gratitude and love in my heart and the more I feel love, the more my heart opens.  The more my heart opens, the more capacity I have to give and receive Love.

Gratitude is Love.

In your lightest and happiest moments, what are you grateful for?

In your darkest or moody times, what are you grateful for?

What are you grateful for now in your life?

In Gratitude and Happy ThanksGiving!

Inside the Need to Please

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Do you automatically answer “Yes!” when you’re asked to help in some way? Do you feel guilty when you say ‘No’ to someone else’s request? Do you often say yes, when you really want to say No? If you think about saying No, are you worried about what others will think of you? If you answered yes to these questions, then You, my friend, are a people pleaser.

People pleaser’s are lovely people. Everyone ‘loves’ you because you’ll do anything others ask you to.  They will bend over backwards trying to please others, to not offend others and to seek approval.

If you’re one to say Yes when you really want to say No, then most likely you’ll begin to feel resentful and taken advantage of. This often leads to being self-righteous by feeling unappreciated for ‘all the sacrifices’ you’ve made (place the back of your hand on your forehead and tilt your head back for further dramatic effect). When I hear that what I really want to do is throw my head back and let out an ‘ugh!’  I’m not pointing fingers. After all, I’ve chosen two professions in which I take care of others. I know this well.

Here’s the deal. People pleaser’s don’t realize that they’re playing the victim. However, they play the victim by blaming other’s for not acknowledging them for ‘all the things they do’ or their sacrifices.
And…here’s the kicker.  People pleaser’s actually do it to be liked, loved and accepted with the ‘don’t rock the boat’ mentality. Below this need to please, is a deep need to be loved and accepted by keeping everyone else happy.

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                  Please! Don’t Leave Me!

Most likely if you’re a people pleaser you’re probably scoffing at this idea. Saying, “I do these things out of the goodness of my heart.”  What people pleaser’s don’t realize is that people pleasing is really a form of manipulation. I know, I’m cruel but I’ll say it again. People pleasing is a form of manipulation and control.

Let me explain. You say yes because:

  1. You want to be seen as a ‘nice’ person or to be seen a certain way by others. This is manipulation. You are behaving in a way that is inauthentic to who you are and what you want thereby manipulating how others see you. It’s like you being your own Public Relations team.
  2. You want everyone to get along, no upsetting the apple cart, which translates into no confrontation of problems/issues thereby controlling the environment by controlling other people’s behavior to control the outcome.  You’re subconscious is basically screaming, “Love me, Don’t leave me!”

When you do things for others, out of the goodness of your heart, are you expecting ANYTHING in return, such as acknowledgment, help, a hug, a thank you, or approval? When you say Yes, when you really want to say No, you perform for the love, acceptance and perception of another.

Here’s the issue with the aforementioned, if you consistently people please to be ‘nice’ so you’ll be liked, you’re not being You, which leads to being resentful. But, as much as you might be resentful, angry, self-righteous and blaming other’s, you can only blame yourself.  That’s the reality.  Because you don’t have to say yes.  There’s power in that.

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What do you do to nurture yourself?

What do you do to nurture others?

 

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