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Life Coach Andrea NZ

Unless you are capable of saying NO without feeling a fraction of guilt, your YES is not conceived in true freedom.

Life coaching 101: Parenting

What parenting has to do with life coaching?
A lot, indeed.
Let’s check out some areas where life coaching can make a difference in your life as a parent.

Personal development

Parenting opens up a whole new universe 😊 Skills we never thought we have we are using, and phrases we swore a thousand times we would never say slip our lips. Yepp. Parenting can be a continuous personal development journey if we are keen. It cannot work without self-awareness and self-reflection. And while we sometimes feel like failures, we can hold on to the journey we have already passed since we have started.

Leadership effectiveness

Parenting might be one of the most challenging leadership roles we ever fill while the most rewarding. Seeing our children navigate life with skills we helped develop can bring tears into our eyes and joy into our hearts. Also, this is the role in which we must learn to manage our emotions,  walking away from emotionally heated arguments, and keep our mouths shut.

Conflict resolution

As our children grow, they are more and more keep testing the boundaries. And each time, we find ourselves in a conflict. How are your conflict resolution skills? What has been your best win-win with them? Which one was that left you with the most horrible feelings? Which one is the one you wish you could travel back in time and change?

Relationships

How does your team of “co-workers in parenting” does?

It’s tough, isn’t it? Full of unexpected turns? The ability to adjust is a must-have in every family relationship.
Read more here: Family relationships

Time management

How to manage “work-family-life balance”? How to allocate enough time for self-care and how to do it without feeling guilty? The time-management issues are causes or symptoms of something else?

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toxicity is toxic – and is painful

Toxic workplace

Have you ever worked in a toxic workplace? I have.

Interestingly, the problem wasn’t with my colleagues or boss. It was another department with whom we shared the office. It was their culture that made me sick. The tone of the language around me 8 hours a day made me physically unwell: it was too contradictory to my values. Each day I was dragging myself to work with a knot in my stomach, feeling nauseous, hoping one day somehow it would turn better.

Then I realised I couldn’t change them. And I didn’t want to give up my values.

It has become my shortest job.

Toxic positivity

There is no healing without seeing and acknowledging the bad stuff.

Therefore, seeing only the positive means denying the truth. It is hurtful.

However, I would be careful to call out someone’s toxic positivity.

They might be using it to soothe their own pain. I have been there. I had times in my life when clinging to looking at the “bright side of life” was the key to my emotional survival. It wasn’t others telling me, but I was telling myself.

Read more here: emotional abuse impacts our physical health

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emotional abuse impacts our physical health

Emotional abuse impacts our physical health

“There’s a problem we must talk about.” and I was about to collapse. I couldn’t imagine what I could have done wrong.
 
Childhood patterns emerged from my subconscious.
 
Leaving a toxic person, unless we’re well-grounded inside, is far from easy. However, there are occasions when it is simply impossible. For example, when that abusive, toxic person is our parent.
 
The extra problem with it is that as children, we cannot recognise and connect the dots. Also, how we handle the emotional abuse when we grow into it is shaped by what we see from others. At least, this is my observation. I wasn’t lucky. My “role model” who showed me how to handle emotional abuse was a fully submissive one. Therefore, I had a pattern of giving in to the abuser to follow. While inside, I felt it wasn’t all right at all. I knew something was off but couldn’t understand it. And I was unable to handle the controversy – how the heck to I dare to question both my parents -, and the abuse itself.
 
My body was honest. Now I can see. Stomach aches and nausea every morning when I had to go to school. The feeling of inadequacy, that whatever I do, I cannot be good enough. I cannot be good enough, neither for them nor anyone else. Nausea still sometimes knocks on my door when I find myself in similar thinking and emotional patterns.
 
My body was honest. My mind was rationalising, “they are my parent and always (must be) right”. Then there were others, those who said “it’s just simply how they are” and “this is how they show their love”. And of course, there was barely anyone who believed how they indeed acted and behaved behind closed doors. It was unimaginable for those who only see their “nice face”, never the rage, the belittling and deliberately hurtful words.
 
My body was honest. Three times I was signed up for appendicitis surgery. I was presenting all the symptoms but having perfect blood results. Thanks to all the doctors how did not make the surgery. However, I was still rationalising: “I must be too sensitive, unable to handle stress”, blaming myself for not handling it all well.
 
It wasn’t my fault. Now I know. Abuse is never ok.
 
My body was honest. And still, it is. After a long healing journey, now I am mostly able to handle stress without switching into fight/flight/freeze mode. Mostly.
 
Last Thursday I was told, “There’s a problem we must talk about.” I thought I would collapse then and there in severe humiliation and immediately started questioning myself and him what I had done wrong? The instincts from my childhood kicked in. Which shows I am not as ok as I would like to be. Especially that he was joking, just like he had done many previous times. I still got scared that day.
 
My body was honest last Thursday.
 
Listen to your body!
 
Emotional abuse impacts our physical health.

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Family relationships

Relationships within a family is a tricky thing.

Especially if it’s loaded with parenting.

For a first look, it seems to be pretty easy: an equal partnership between the spouses (“co-workers”) and parents guiding their children (kind of “leader – subordinate”).

However, as time passes by, children are growing, both types of relationships need to adjust to changes occurring.

First of all, we all change over time, at least a bit. So, our partner likely needs to adjust to us, just as we need to change to fit them. Also, the challenges as a team of co-workers in parenting we face, well, let’s say, might get more unpredictable as our children grow into their teenage years. It means that our usual problem-solving methods might not work anymore, i.e. we need to change.

Secondly, as our children grow, we try to give them more choices to make and through this, they can learn to make decisions and bear consequences.

We must never forget,

the day will come when they leave to have their own life, even their own family.

We cannot stay forever beside them and make all the decisions for them like when they were toddlers. We should not even think of that. The best we can do is to nurture them up to be responsible adults. And then let them go. Although they are forever in our hearts, only temporary guests in our home. Even if temporary, in this case, means two decades 😊.

Thirdly, our relationship with our parents is changing. First, we left their home. Whether they let us go or still cling to us, we need to find our place. Having a spouse likely challenges the connection with our parents. Now there is another person in our lives we listen to. Some parents can get pretty upset about losing control over their children’s lives. Then, when our children are born, our parents become grandparents. And it can open up another Pandora’s box over parenting (ours vs theirs and who knows it better), boundaries (they’re first and foremost are OUR children, and, by the way, our parents’ grandchildren), and a lot of other unexpected issues. Not every grandparent is an angel. Unfortunately, some would love to control our family.

Drawing that firm line in the sand can be a real emotional struggle for us. Those couples who stick together in it, I believe, are more likely to succeed. And it is another challenge to their relationship as a couple.

How does your “co-worker team in parenting” cope with it?

 

Let’s start!

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Fear

What is fear?

Fear might be described as a feeling that switches on our fight/flight/freeze mode to facilitate survival. It is an essential, healthy response to a threat. At least it is supposed to be.

But there are times when our response, because of the continuously ongoing threat, becomes constant. Then it is unhealthy. Our body is not supposed to be on continuous alert.

Unfortunately, still, certain situations seem to be a never-ceasing threat to us. And many times, these situations are created by people.

Our brain can be conditioned. The memories of stresses, traumas, and the response we gave, are all stored in our minds. When a new threat arises, our response stems from our unconscious mind. We react in a way that worked in the past. The problem is, these reactions can be very unhealthy for us. However, if we want to change them, we must first recognise, then rewrite them.

Why do people create situations where we are made fearful?

They want control.

They want to control (us). By creating fear, eventually, they gain control.

Fear intimidates. Fear pushes us to survival mode. This switch takes away our capability to assess the situation and find an alternative response because it turns off our (critical) thinking, so our reaction is uncontrolled.

How can people create fear around us?

Maybe a boss yelling at you while you feel like shrinking, becoming smaller and smaller? The feeling of hopelessness and having no control at all? Or a parent, a relative, or even a friend? Who makes you feel you are nothing, useless, treating you like a piece of garbage?

Do you know why they do it?

Yes, it is about power. And control is power.

But you do not need to be stuck there.

Get unstuck!

It is possible to rewrite those reactions.

I did.

 

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Loss of a child

Losing a child is like hell on earth.

Many are caught up in the confusion of what (not) to say or do when meeting someone who is going or has been through the loss of a child.

Show you CARE. Please do not cross the road to avoid meeting us.
It is ok if you have no idea what to say. “I’m so sorry (I don’t know what to say)” is more than good enough.

Stop talking and just LISTEN. It can be the same story for the hundredths time. Or crazy rationalisation. Or buckets of tears interrupted by crazy laughs.
It is a journey. Personal and unique for each one of us.
“There’ll be another one” is ok if WE say it. We try to cope.
YOU please DON’T. “Another” is not “the one”.

It is a seemingly endless 3D roller-coaster ride on the snakes and ladders board when it feels like we would never ever reach the end: to learn to live with it.
It doesn’t matter when, how, and what happened, it is like our heart has been ripped out of our body.
Excruciating pain.

Coming with the loss of future.

Their future. Their what-ifs. Their hugs, smiles, love of life.
Sometimes the death comes as a relief after suffering.
It still hurts!
And there is not even a word for a parent who lost their child.

So just please BE THERE for us.

A loving hug can mean the whole world to us.

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Self-sabotage – i.e. why do you doubt yourself?

Have you ever found yourself doubting yourself and acting against your own interest?

When is it 100% clear what you should, need, MUST do, yet you just simply cannot make the decision?

Is there a recurring pattern to these situations?

I would like to introduce “self-sabotage”.

A usual excuse we use, even to ourselves, – and yes, we believe it – is the “I’ll wait to see how it unfolds”.

Yes, there are times when waiting is the right thing to do. But it must be a DECISION to wait.

Including a deadline when we will RECONSIDER our primary decision to wait.

Without a deadline it is PROCRASTINATION.

Sounds like a very valid excuse, isn’t it? And we can get annoyed if people around us – those who really love us and put OUR INTEREST first – dare to share their concerns about our indecisiveness. They point to the fact that our “let’s see how it unfolds” is not a decision, it is self-sabotage. We lie to ourselves. Their feedback is like a smack in our face.

Well, it is time to face it: most of us do it. I do it.

You know what?

Give a deadline to yourself!

Make a decision WHEN you will act and WHAT you will do if the issue does not solve itself.

Yes, the “WHAT” must be decided now.

THEN the pressure of making the decision will be enough.

 

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What is love then?

Here we pondered about what love is not.

It is time to look into the deep and dig out a few possible answers for the question:

What is love?

Love is a DECISION. To love someone even if they don’t deserve it. Despite their actions. While keeping  healthy BOUNDARIES.

Love is ACTION. To go that extra mile for them. It must be a FREE choice. Free from ANY influence – outer or even inner!

Love is an APPROACH. How we turn to someone. How we see them. Whose interest do we take into consideration: ours or theirs? Can we act selflessly, even to the point of suffering disadvantage?

Love is LISTENING. The ability to shut up and let the other talk.

Love is CARING. Even if we disagree with their choices.

Love is HONESTY. Sharing our thoughts, our doubts, our questions. Yes, we can share our concerns about the consequences of their choices.

LOVE is PRESENCE. So when they fall, we stand beside them so they can lean on us while pulling themselves up. Because they know: even if we sometimes get frustrated with their decisions, indecisiveness, procrastination, seeing them slowly ruining themselves through these decisions, we are still on their side.

What is love?

If their world falls apart, we will still be there for them.

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What is (not) Love?

“What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me Don’t hurt me no more” (some of you might remember the song from the 1990s).

So, what IS love?

Well, let’s make a firm line in the sand – what it is not.

Love IS NOT a feeling. Yes, when we are “in love” we do have some physical symptoms. Physical. Physiological. Symptoms.

Love IS NOT the lack of healthy boundaries. We can love someone and still be able to say no.

Love IS NOT saying YES all the time. But what prevents us from when saying NO would be the best choice at that time?

Whose interest do we put first? And do we do it voluntarily or do we feel coerced into saying yes – even when we indeed want to say no. We just simply can’t.

Love IS NOT allowing the person who has been exploiting us continue to do so because we feel unable to put up some boundaries in the situation. This is the very opposite to love. It is not loving them, it is self-loathing – ourselves.

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Sal and the Great Frustration – the worth of presence

There is a lovely, heart-warming short animation I would like to share. Short but powerful.

There was a time, about 10 years ago, when I first saw it. I must admit I saw it as anything but lovely.

I thought the lady’s last actions were unnecessary, I couldn’t understand why on Earth she was doing what she’s doing.

Years passed by and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Something was bothering me about it. I should have seen an uplifting action but I couldn’t.

Then, one time when I remembered it again, I suddenly recognised the beauty in it. The care, the love. And it made me think:

Why hadn’t I seen this before?

How I had perceived the story was filtered through my inner being. And that time I was hurt, dragging along with a lot of pain in my heart.

I found it difficult to cope with that level of kindness, the outpouring unconditional love, because I had never experienced it myself.

The uncertainty in who I was, the lack of experiencing and knowing that I am worthy of love simply because I am, severely impacted my views.

It was a long journey, painful but fruitful, to come to the place that I understand the value of meeting people where they are at.


Making them feel worthy. Accepted. Loved.


The power of being present.

The worth of presence in someone’s life.


Do you have anyone to walk beside you on your journey?

 

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