Self Protection

3 Things To Stop; 3 Things To Start To Be A Highly Effective Woman

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3 Things To Stop; 3 Things To Start To Be A Highly Effective Woman

Outline:     

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has gone; the new has come.

3 Things To Stop

 1.    Stop letting others dictate how YOU feel about YOU

2.   Stop looking for what’s wrong – even though we’re wired that way

3.   Stop being afraid – to face the past, to have a dream, to ask for what you want. 

 

3 Things to Start

1.    Start training others (yes, training – not teaching) how to treat you

2.   Start celebrating when you make a change – it affects the brain

3.   Start focusing on the 90% - The power of positive thinking

 

www.BarbraRussell.com

The tree trunk speaks!

J ust Say No! 

Just Say No! 

When it's even carved into tree trunks, you have to pay attention! Say no to the wrong things - the time grabbers, the people who leave you feeling sad and bad, or keep you dependent on them.

You'll then have the energy, passion and self confidence to say yes to risk, growth and things you love

Do you hang on to known misery rather than reach out for unknown happiness?

Do You Hang On To Known Misery Rather Than Reach Out For Unknown Happiness? 

                During July, I watched “The Sons of Liberty,” historical stories about a group of men fighting in the American Colonies for freedom.  It brought to life figures like John Adams, John Hancock, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, those US founding fathers we usually see depicted as older, bewigged and solemn as they’re signing the Declaration of Independence.  

  This series, however, shows young, courageous and seemingly fearless men determined to break away from a far-away king’s rule, British corruption and “taxation without representation.”  They were called “The Sons of Liberty.”  

In the TV depiction Samuel Adams, cousin to the more well-known John Adams, is a hero who found his calling as colonial activist, motivating and inspiring others to rebel against the British.  While admiring his dashing acts of bravery, I was struck by this thought:  today, we might not be physically fighting for our freedom, but we often wage war in our minds.  We need freedom; we metaphorically cry: “give me liberty or give me death!”  We can relate to Samuel Adams and The Sons Of Liberty.

  •          Like us, I imagine Samuel Adams often thought, “I can’t,” “why me?” or “this isn’t fair!” 
  •         Samuel was unsuccessful as a businessman in colonial Boston.  Who among us hasn’t faced defeat in a business opportunity or lost a job?  At those times, we might mumble as perhaps Samuel did, “I tried it and it didn’t work.” 
  •         Samuel experienced dissatisfaction with his life in general.  Perhaps, like us, he woke up one morning to discover he had turned into the wrong person. 
  •         Samuel was driven by desperation – he was broke – when he took on the unpopular task of tax collector for the British.  Although it’s been almost 250 years since the Sons of Liberty spearheaded the cause for liberty, I think at one time or another we all find ourselves feeling desperate.  I know I have.  I remember times filled with hopelessness, anxiety and despair when I was ill and jobless or when I was facing a life without one of my legs.

However, something interesting happened as Samuel Adams reluctantly collected taxes; he began to see a clear pattern of British corruption that did not sit well with him!  That immense dissatisfaction and sense of outrage ultimately led to his playing a significant role in “The Boston Tea Party,” and “The American Revolution.” 

Almost 150 years later, Oswald Chambers penned words that Samuel Adams would undoubtedly have embraced and that we identify with today: “We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our every-day life with its trivial tasks.”  Sometimes, like Samuel Adams, we just need a purpose.

In the war of our minds, we also experience times of overwhelming situations and wonder, “what on earth are you doing, God?”  We ask, “what possible good could come from such a horrible break-up, loss of a job, or devastating illness?”  If we’re honest, we get mad at God, upset with the world and are disappointed with ourselves for getting into such a mess. 

With the advantage of hindsight, we’ll later say things like, “Oh! That’s why I got so discouraged!”  Or, “Now I see what God had in mind; it was better for me to go through that situation.”   But usually, the first insight comes as we, like Samuel, start to dislike the way things are.  From that uncomfortable place, when we’ve had enough, we’re ready to do something different. 

That’s the beginning of the battle in our minds.  We long to step out of our comfort zone and react differently or try new things. But the part of our brain which seeks familiarity; which hangs on to known misery rather than seek unknown happiness, demands comfort, not challenge. 

      The first skirmish is the decisive one.  We struggle with how it’s always been, what we’ve always done and who we’ve always thought we were.  But when the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the fear of change, we are ready to brawl. There may be more battles to face, more obstacles to conquer, but we’re on the way. 

And just as Samuel Adams and “The Sons of Liberty” brought freedom to our land, we can bring freedom to our minds. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               

 

Transition and Stress

      Everyone will experience change, a transition, at one time or another.  

There is nothing so consistent as change

                During a time of transition, people normally experience stress because our brains and entire beings seek homeostasis, a survival mechanism.  We want things to stay the same.  here are some helpful tips to deal with transitions and the accompanying stress. 

                 We can help others – and us – by doing three things:

1.  Normalize This Time – People are not crazy; it’s normal to feel a whole range of emotions during this time.  From depression, anger, sadness, & disappointment to confusion and triggers which remind us of previous trauma and loss; it’s all normal

2.  Grieving The Loss – We all go through the stages of grief because in transition, we always lose something.  As in the death of a loved one, the stages apply here as well:  Shock and denial, anger and depression come and go as we grieve.  Just when we think we’ve successfully navigated one stage, we find ourselves back in the same feelings.  Again, that’s normal.  Grieving is crazy-making!  We eventuallymove to acceptance with sadness for the loss.

3.  Process The Feelings – It’s important that people don’t stuff all that grief and emotions but rather have opportunity to process, or talk about, the change in a healthy manner.  We can help by using the following skills:

  •  Create Safety – Provide confidentiality; knowing what they share with you won’t go any further.
  •  Listen without judgment – paraphrase the content and feeling; they will feel understood.  “i.e.,  “I hear you saying you feel pretty angry about this.” 
  • What NOT To say: 
     
    • Just trust God
    • Look on the bright side
    • I conquered it this way
    • Just read and pray more
    • Or any other “advice-giving” statements.  Unsolicited advice is like chopped liver – not appreciated. 

We Have Met The Enemy and He is Us!

pogo quoteWe Have Met The Enemy, and He Is Us! “If you’re going to be successful, you have to have thick skin! You know, that ability to withstand criticism and hurtful comments about who you are and what you do.”

That statement is from a blog I recently wrote called “Grow thick, armor-plated skin.” And I discussed ways to deal with the barbs, criticisms and judgments directed toward us from others.

However, I realized there’s another, perhaps even more important, truth related to growing thick, armor-plated skin. We need to protect us from us! Or, as the cartoon strip “Pogo” declared in 1970: “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us.”

We can be our own worst critics, thinking and often saying things like:

  • “I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, fit enough, talented enough, etc. Basically, “I’m not good enough.”
  • “It’s not going to happen for me, no use in trying.”

Examples of this type of thinking go all the way back to Biblical times. Moses was chosen by God for a special task—to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. And one of his first tasks was to confront Pharaoh. But Moses said, “since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?....O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”  Basically, he was saying: “God I can’t do that. I don’t have what it takes.”

But Moses had a job to do and God wasn’t going to let him talk himself out of his assignment – he needed to speak up and lead the Israelites to the Promised Land!

We, like Moses, have something to do here on earth, a purpose for our lives. And we must not let those inner voices, fears or doubts stop us!

Lisa, a young lady in one of our counseling training classes, declared she was very shy and privately let me know that she could not speak up in class. She kept saying she had stage fright, she wasn’t good with people, etc. (She probably identified with Moses!) While I respected her wishes and did not call on her, it was interesting to see what began to happen. She came to every class, sat quietly and absorbed every word.

Gradually you could see her becoming more comfortable and then one day it happened! She raised her hand and made a comment!

From that day forward, she began to come out of her shell like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. She responded to the class challenge to “step out of your comfort zone” and today, she is teaching in a foreign country, a confident, well-spoken ambassador for God and the US. She has developed thick, armor-plated skin for herself!

Let me share some of the principles Lisa learned in class:

  • Stop Comparing Yourself With Others

Albert Einstein stated: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Steve Furtick, Christian author, puts it this way: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

When you compare yourself with others, you are indeed acting as your own worst enemy.

Instead, celebrate you and your unique assets, abilities, strengths and gifts. Write down five of them right now to get started! You can also study what God says about you in the Bible. I have a list of 38 scriptures declaring who you are. If you’d like a copy, send me a note.

  • Think and speak differently

Here are three declarations I make each morning:

“This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!”

“I feel happy; I feel healthy; I feel terrific!”

“Every day in every way I’m getting better and better!”

  • Declare your progress, not your limitations

“When I read or hear something new that will help me, I write it down and practice it as soon as I can.”

“I’m developing networks in my field.”

“Maybe it didn’t work this time, but I’m going to keep trying.”

“God, I’m going to do the best job I can do, then leave the rest to you.”

When you (1) stop comparing yourself with others, (2) think and speak differently and (3) declare your progress, not your limitations, you will certainly develop thick, armor-plated skin for yourself.  As you do, it will change how you deal with adversity, set-backs and discouragement.  Instead of being “your own worst enemy” and feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless, you start becoming “your own best cheerleader!”

            Decide today that even if long ago someone made you feel “not good enough,” you are determined to meet the enemy and defeat him.  If Moses and Lisa can do it, so can you!!

Grow Thick, Armor-Plated Skin - A Success Principle

                                    Success Principle:

knight2

“Grow Thick, Armor-Plated Skin”

           If you’re going to be successful, you have to have thick skin!   You know, that ability to withstand criticism and hurtful comments about who you are and what you do.

          That was really brought home to me by an email I recently received:

“Dear Barbra, I have just received a revelation of why I get depressed and it is thrilling! While my intellect is at the graduate college level, my ability to withstand offense is very childish.”

The writer goes on to say, “Offenses collect on me like lint and I have buried their effects in the roots of bitterness. All the while smiling and ‘praise the Lord,’ never letting anyone know.”

John Bevere found this phenomenon of “taking offense” so troubling, he wrote a book entitled The Bait of Satan in which he discusses how Satan destroys lives and ministries because people are so easily offended.

Obviously, my writer is not the only one who struggles with the ability to withstand offense! However, if you wish to be successful, it is imperative to grow Thick, Armor-Plated Skin.

“The higher your heights, the greater number of detractors you will have and the sharper their attacks will be.” Paul Brunson noted in his article, “20 Successful Habits I learned Working For Two Billionaires.” (Oprah Winfrey and Enver Yucel)

“How do you actually develop that thick skin?” you may ask, because this is one of those principles which sounds amazingly true but exceedingly difficult to develop. As seems to be the case in any principle I share, I’ve had to learn the hard way how to apply that theory!

As the e-mail writer experienced, I too put on a mask of confidence for years but would cry myself to sleep many nights because I worried that someone didn’t approve of me or didn’t like what I had said or done.

I remember the day I walked down the hall and noticed two nurses with their heads huddled together in a whispered conversation. As I grew near, they looked at me and immediately stopped talking. I, of course, just knew they were talking about me! And, of course, it obviously wasn’t good, because they stopped their discussion!

For the rest of the day and into the evening and even the next day, I worried about that incident. (I obviously had not yet developed armor-plated skin!) However, that was a turning point in my self-development. I instituted two rules for myself which may help you as well:

  1. Assume the best until you know the worst. Until I actually hear someone say they don’t like me or hated what I had to say, I’m going to assume they like me and anything I’m doing.
  2. If I can’t let some bothersome thought go within 24 hours, I have to take action.
  • Assume the best until you know the worst:

I found out later the two nurses were talking about a confidential family matter –

which of course had nothing to do with me And I have discovered along the way, that’s usually the case. People are not nearly as interested in us as we assume they are. . I’ve known people to obsess over a comment like a dog worrying a bone, and they’ve carried offenses for months or even for years!

When you grow thick, armor-plated skin, you learn to let those incidents bounce off you without ruining your day. Without that protective skin, your physical, emotional and spiritual health all suffer. Medical research reveals 80-90% of illness is related to stress!

  • If you can’t let something go within 24 hours, take action.

For me, that usually means talking to the person involved – “Hey, I’d like to talk to you about the other day. I was just wondering if I have done anything to offend you.”

The worst that can happen is you discover they really intended to be offensive. Usually, however, they’re just what we used to call being a busy-body, trying to run your life instead of taking care of their own business! “Oh, hon, you should never wear your hair that way!” “Why don’t you have more kids?” “You can’t even do your job right!” On and on it can go.

As you begin to grow that thick, armor-plated skin, something interesting happens. Instead of feeling attacked, you begin to step back and think a bit more logically. Why might that person be saying something so offensive? Generally speaking, it comes from a place of insecurity or hurt. The well-known saying, “Hurt people hurt people” is really true!

You might ask yourself, “Is there any truth to what that person said?” “Hmm, should I really get another hairstyle?” If the answer is, yes, you take action in that direction. If the answer is “no, I like myself the way I am,” you just realize that person is coming from a place of unhealed hurts which is their problem, not yours.

Action then takes the form of asking God to help you love them anyway, and/or forgive them.

Guess what? It can happen! That same writer observed in the e-mail: “I’ve seen people say hurtful things to you, and you don’t seem to be bothered.”  And if I did it, you can do it – you too can grow thick, armor-plated skin!

The bottom line to growing thick, armor-plated skin? Two rules:

Rule 1: Assume the best until you know the worst.

Rule 2: If you can’t let some bothersome thought go within 24 hours, take action.

Learn to know who you are, like who you are and never let others distract you from your purpose and goals. You’ve got a job to do while you’re here on earth, and you need to Grow Thick, Armor-Plated Skin so you can do it!