Posts Tagged ‘hopelessness’

Insights on Bullying

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

If only the saying, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me were true. In reality, being judged, teased, or made fun of, that is, being bullied, can break one’s spirit and cause deep scars.

Children who are abused or ridiculed by their peers, siblings, even teachers or parents can’t help but believe that there is truth behind the cutting words or angry slap. To a child, everything is personal. They are likely to blame themselves for causing others to hate them enough to hurt them. What happens from there?
When someone is bullied, they are apt to go into endurance mode. In Enough Is Enough, I offer this about the dangers of endurance: Endurance is when you wake up in the morning assuming today will be as emotionally painful as yesterday and the day before. Endurance means that you don’t experience 365 different days a year; you experience the same day 365 times a year. Endurance is believing that your wishes, dreams, and goals don’t matter. Endurance is hopelessness, dread, and anxiety.

Those who have been bullied suffer from endurance and are likely to develop a belief system that is severely limiting, self-judgmental, and fear-based. What are the symptoms of this suffering?

If a child doesn’t commit suicide, get strung out on drugs, or have a fatal “accident,” he or she often grows up exhibiting Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, becoming distrustful, secretive, self-abusing, and sometimes even abusive towards others as a result of all their pent-up hurt, rage, and humiliation. So how can we stop the bullying? How can we help those who are being bullied?

The good news is that bullying is finally receiving the attention it warrants. We are recognizing that bullying creates more bullying, is a trigger for depression, suicide, and drug abuse among teens, and often creates a lifetime of disorders that hinder people from thriving.

One story currently garnering major press began in my home town of Mill Valley, California, at my daughter’s school, Tamalpais High. Two sisters who attend the school, Emily and Sarah Buder, along with their mother Janet, read an article about a girl, Olivia, in another town, who had suffered from bullying at her middle school. Although the Buders had never met Olivia, they felt compassion and wanted to reach out. They began an e-mail campaign requesting other teenagers and anyone who had ever suffered from bullying to write to Olivia. Fast forward: After just a few months, thousands of letters had poured in from all over the world to support Olivia and her mother.

Olivia has come to believe that there are many good people in the world. In addition, truly eye-opening were the letters she received from bullies. What she and the Buder sisters learned from these bullies is that they are also victims of emotional or physical abuse themselves.

The story of these two girls making a difference in the life of a stranger and the lessons they all learned is now available as an inspiring book just published by HarperCollins called Letters to a Bullied Girl. If you have a child who has been bullied, if you know of someone suffering from bullying, or if you were EVER bullied, I encourage you to get this book, available at Amazon now.

Bullying is a cycle. To stop it, we must take it out of our collective closet, just as we have finally begun to do with sexual abuse and domestic violence. By opening our eyes to the symptoms of those who are being bullied—depression, self-destructive behaviors, frequent “accidents,” suicide threats, anxiety, poor performance at school, difficulty concentrating, drug abuse—we let those who are suffering know that they need not endure ridicule and abuse in silence. If you have the courage to ask, you may find that a child has the desire to share this secret with you. Few want to live with the secret of being bullied. Most think they have no other choice.

Most importantly, to stop the cycle of bullying, we must remember that anyone who bullies has likely been the target of bullying themselves. While we need to have zero tolerance for the behavior, we must reach out to the bullies, protect them from further abuse, and treat their emotional scars. As the writer Alexander Soltzenitzen wrote (slight paraphrase): “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take all the evil people and put them over there, then we wouldn’t have to deal with them. And all of us good people would stay right here. The problem is that the line separating good and evil cuts right through the human heart.”

Let’s get out of Courtroom Earth where we label bullies and simply punish them, and set up Classroom Earth where we open our hearts, remembering that harsh and hurtful behaviors are disguised cries for help.

The Buder sisters didn’t know what a difference they would make in one girl’s life and now, through the book, in possibly tens of thousands of lives. They were simply compelled to do something. Whatever compels you, trust it. You are bound to make a difference.

Announcements

Click here to read more about Jane’s popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, #15 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the spirituality category.

Dear Jane Podcasts
NEW! Listen to and Download Dear Jane Podcasts
I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!
________________________________________
Jane’s Coaching and Training
For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.
To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.
Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit JaneStraus.com for more information and testimonials.

Click here to read Jane’s article in USA Today on the lessons we can glean from celebrity breakups.
________________________________________
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition
Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. Click here to see the contents of the book online. Plus 161 Subscription Quizzes that can be done online with instant answers or downloaded and copied to your heart’s content! Only $29.95/year. Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies. Click to order

Making Your “Habitat” Humane

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

As you read this, I am probably ensconced in a chair at my neighborhood café listening to strangers tell me about their concerns. (See my Coffee Talk announcement in last week’s blog.) In some fashion, I am likely to be asking them, “What risks are you avoiding taking that might very well make you happier?” Together, we will examine whatever fears, self-judgments, or limiting beliefs are holding them back, keeping them in Courtroom Earth instead of letting them enjoy hanging out in Classroom Earth.

Courtroom Earth is where we tell ourselves I can’t; I shouldn’t; I’ll fail; I’ll get rejected; No one will love me if…; I’m too…; I’m not enough. In Courtroom Earth, we are always on trial, just waiting for a “guilty” verdict. It is a place where we redouble our efforts to avoid humiliation or failure. It is a place of suspicion, doubt, second guessing, watchfulness, and hesitation. The feelings we experience in Courtroom Earth are boredom, cynicism, helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, or depression—the symptoms of Endurance that I write about in Enough Is Enough. It is in Courtroom Earth that we procrastinate, blame, and ridicule (mostly ourselves). How can we exit the Courtroom and start hanging out in the Classroom?

First, we have to know that Classroom Earth is worth risking changing our thoughts for. I’d like to entice you to the Classroom, where you don’t have to pretend to be perfect or to know all the answers. You are expected to learn by trial and error. You are encouraged to ask questions. You may re-do projects to get more practice. You are not threatened with repercussions or governed by fear but are motivated by curiosity, hope, and challenge. You are supported in contemplating questions that you may never be able to answer. With an open mind and an open heart, you get to discover who you are today, and nobody expects you to be exactly the same person you were yesterday.

So who creates this wonderful environment? You guessed it: We do! We create it by moving through our fears of rejection and doing “it” anyway, whatever “it” is. We create it by letting go of our self-judgments and replacing them with affirmations. We create it by questioning our own authority when it comes to beliefs that keep us isolated, lonely, or tight. Choosing to hang out in Classroom Earth is worth taking these risks, don’t you think?

Announcements:

Update on Raising Funds for the School in New Orleans

Your outpouring of generosity continues to be phenomenal. So that we can tally up the total and get the supplies shipped to J. W. Johnson Elementary School, please call in your donation by the end of the day, Friday, April 18. (See last week’s blog for list of items.) To help Robin of SchoolOutfitters.com process your order efficiently, please provide your credit card #, expiration date, 3-digit code on the back, PLUS your billing name, address, and phone number. Or you may mail a check to SchoolOutfitters. Here’s all the information you need:
School Outfitters
P.O. Box 141231
Cincinnati, OH 45250
1-866-619-5320
1-866-619-4320 (fax)
robin.fox@schooloutfitters.com
http://www.schooloutfitters.com

In next week’s newsletter, I will let you know the list of supplies that, together, we purchased for the school.

Kim Nance, the assistant principal, wrote this to us this week: After experiencing a hardship, we need reminders that there are kind people like your readers in our country. It’s been so important for our students to feel that people do have compassionate hearts.

Create Your Abundant Life NOW!
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008

Enjoy the beautiful beach, delicious food, and luxurious setting while experiencing enriching programs by renowned self-help leaders, including a NEW program that I am offering:

Create Your Abundant Life NOW!

What if you discovered, while on vacation, that your limiting beliefs were not true?

How do you know if you have limiting beliefs around abundance?
Just ask yourself:
Do I believe that abundance is that which already exists?

If you can’t answer that question with a resounding YES!, then don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack.

Here’s another test of your abundance quotient:

Do you feel that you don’t have enough:

* Time
* Money
* Energy
* Love
* Intimacy
* Fun
* Self-esteem
* Inspiration, or
* Direction

There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of negative thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:

* Fear
* Self-judgments
* Limiting beliefs

Any one of them can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.

You will experience cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.

Price: Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600)/$1000 for children under 18, which includes lodging, meals, airport transportation, and all programs. Check out this beautiful, newly renovated Club Med for yourself.
Luminaries Joining Jane as Presenters:

Cameron Johnson: You Call the Shots

Maybe you’ve watched Cameron on the Big Give with Oprah – now meet him in person. Cameron is recognized as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the world. Over the last eight years, Cameron has given hundreds of speeches worldwide. Cameron is also the author of the international bestselling book, “You Call the Shots.” Cameron will inspire you with his story and motivate you to the next level of success.

Teresa Rodriguez Williamson: Build Your Personal Mission Statement

Teresa is the creator and founder of TangoDiva.com—a worldwide online social network and travel magazine for women. She is also the author of “FLY SOLO: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone.” She has appeared on hundreds of TV shows, magazines, and newspaper articles around the world. Teresa will teach you how to create and build a mission statement that can guide you to success.

Chet Holmes: How to Double Your Sales

Super Strategist of the Fortune 500, Chet Holmes had more than 60 of the Fortune 500 as clients, taking his place as America’s top marketing executive, trainer, strategic consultant, and motivation expert. He is the author of the NO.1 bestselling book, “The Ultimate Sales Machine.” Chet will teach you how to double your sales – no matter what your business is.

Stephen Pierce: The Art of More

For many, Stephen Pierce’s name is synonymous with success. Recognized as one of the world’s leading Internet marketers and Business Optimization Strategists, Pierce wears several hats when it comes to his businesses. He will teach you how to expand your business in a competitive world.

Spike Humer: Consciously Creating Your Future

Dedicated to the passionate pursuit of creating joy, excellence, and positive abundance in life, health, relationships, and business throughout the world. He will help you create a clear and compelling vision for your life.

Joe Polish: From “Real World” to “Real Money”

Joe Polish is the founder and President of Piranha Marketing, Inc. Considered to be one of the most effective direct-response marketing experts in the world, Joe made his name teaching other entrepreneurs the marketing techniques and business strategies that came directly from his own “real world” work experiences. Joe Polish is a business strategy consultant and marketing expert who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs become successful. And during your week at Club Med, he will teach you his secrets to success.

Greta Remington: Innovative Thinking for Growth

What is the next “big idea” for your company? How do you know which ideas to pursue? Based on the greatest creative minds in history and the most innovative companies of today, Greta’s proven methodology for identifying market opportunities has generated millions in incremental revenue for her clients from the Fortune 500 to start-ups. Greta will teach you her step by step methodology for improving your innovative thinking and creating actionable ideas to grow your business.

Contact Teresa Williamson at media@podium-pr.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane Or call Teresa @ 650-759-1005 or Raha @ 925-915-1515

Dear Jane Podcasts

I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!

Jane’s Coaching and Training

For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.

To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.

Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit StopEnduring.com for more information and testimonials.

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition Now Available

Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. If you buy the book through Amazon, please write a customer review. Reviews are immensely helpful at letting other consumers know that The Blue Book is a valuable resource.

The True Measure of Abundance: An Extraordinary Life

Monday, March 17th, 2008

To read my English usage blogs, click here.

One of my clients used the expression, “earning a living,” and it struck me that this phrasing is so painfully close to saying “earning a life.” If we equate earning money with earning the right to live, we are likely to find ourselves in what I call Endurance (yes, with a capital E).

Endurance comes from a belief that we are worthy because of what we do, not for who we essentially are. Endurance looks like waking up in the morning depressed, anxious, and/or convinced that today will be as boring or stressful as the day before and that tomorrow will be no different. When we are Enduring, life is a vicious circle, where we chase after money in order to be happy, finding that there is never enough of either and that neither money nor happiness seem to last long enough.

The only way out of this vicious circle and onto our path is to question the authority of the fundamental belief that we are anything less than fully worthy of an extraordinary life. Not just a good life—an extraordinary one defined on our own terms. If you don’t feel that your life is already extraordinary, you’re not alone, which means you can find ample evidence that an extraordinary life is reserved for other people, perhaps the wealthy or the lucky or the talented.

I would like to invite you to question the authority of that belief right NOW. Be willing to take off your blinders and you will notice people in all walks of life and from all socioeconomic levels leading abundant, creative, fascinating, fulfilling lives. They may work hard but they are Persevering, not Enduring. How can you tell? They have a goal in mind that inspires their spirit, keeping them on course during the rough patches and the times when nothing seems to be going as planned.

When we Persevere, we are listening to and respecting our Spirit, the part of us that knows what our highest good is, what we are here to do or at least to do next. The result is the feeling that life itself is extraordinary and that all we have to do is tap into its abundance. The key is the willingness to discard the untruth that we are worthy of anything less. So no matter what you were told as a child about having to please others to be loved or approved of, let that go this instant. Choose to see the truth: you are a human being, not a human doing, and therefore worthy because you are here.

Some people are afraid that recognizing their inherent worthiness will stop them from striving to reach their goals; on the contrary, it will allow you to pay attention to what your deeper values are and to focus on ways to achieve the goals associated with those values. You will stop attending to the superficial and pay attention to what really matters. You will find your courage along the way, regardless of temporary setbacks. Most importantly, you will admire the one you see in the mirror. Wouldn’t that be extraordinary? Isn’t living an extraordinary life the truest measure of abundance?


Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life With Jane
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the beautiful beach, delicious food, and luxurious setting while experiencing enriching programs by renowned self-help leaders, including a NEW program that I am offering:
Create Your Abundant Life NOW!
How do you know if you have limiting beliefs around abundance?
Just ask yourself:

Do I believe that abundance is that which already exists?
Do I believe that money is love?
If you can’t answer both questions with a resounding YES!, then don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack.

Here’s another test of your abundance quotient:
Do you feel that you don’t have enough:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration, or
• Direction
There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of negative thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:
• Fear
• Self-judgments
• Limiting beliefs

Any one of them can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.
You will experience cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.
Price: Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600)/$1000 for children under 18, which includes lodging, meals, airport transportation, and all programs. Check out this beautiful, newly renovated Club Med for yourself.
Contact Teresa Williamson at teresa@tangodiva.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane

About Jane Straus
Jane is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Love in the Age of the Internet

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

To view my English Usage blogs, click here.

Dear Jane,
How can I stop wasting my time on Internet romances that fizzle out? What really makes a romance blossom into a long-term commitment?

With Internet dating, you have more opportunities than ever to meet potential partners, which also means you have to be more discerning so that you don’t get overwhelmed, frustrated, and hopeless. But it’s important to say up front that no one has figured out a magic formula for success in finding a soul mate. Even with dating technology like winking, e-mailing, and personality profiles, finding Mr./Ms. Right is still a combination of luck, grace, and often a lot of perseverance.

However, here are 8 ways you can avoid sabotaging yourself when using an online dating service.
1. Pick at least two good pictures of yourself. Yes, they should be current, not ten years old, and shouldn’t be Photoshopped. But I’ve had some really attractive friends and clients upload some of the worst pictures. It’s almost as if they’re daring someone to get past the photos to be appreciated for the “real” them.
2. Ask your friends to help you write your profile. We rarely see ourselves the way others perceive us. This may also bolster your ego as your friends are likely to point out the traits they appreciate in you that you take for granted in yourself.
3. Set your sights on what would be a good match for you. If you’re a 54-year-old man with no money and health problems, seeking a 35-year-old woman who wants children will just leave you lonely and feeling desperate. Either change aspects of your own life or change your expectations. Or recognize that you’re not really serious about having a relationship right now, which is fine too.
4. Listen to your intuition. If someone looks good on paper but something doesn’t sound right on the phone—maybe you feel pushed into meeting too soon or that the person wants to control you without having even met you—take your time.
5. Take frequent breaks from online dating to remember who you really are rather than trying to continually figure out if you fit others’ criteria or if everyone interested in you fits your criteria. You don’t want dating to become like a never-ending job search.
6. Think outside the box. Many people end up being surprised by whom they fall in love with. You can have your list of criteria but be willing to add, subtract, or at least shuffle your priorities. Be open to discovering something about yourself in the process of dating.
7. Who says you’re limited to just one soul mate? You may have many partners whom you would be compatible with, many people you could love and be loved by.
8. If you do meet a soul mate online, don’t hide the truth from others. Why be embarrassed? Given our busy lives, online dating is a legitimate, efficient method of connecting. And if you don’t tell others, they’ll think that no one ever finds true love online. This simply isn’t true! In the last few years in my relationship coaching practice, I’ve witnessed many online romances blossom into long-term relationships, including marriage.

Once you are in a relationship, here are 5 keys to nurturing Great Love:
1. Tell the truth. Truth and love are synonymous. But be careful because telling the truth is not the same as being honest. Honesty may contain judgments, such as, “I think you’re narrow minded for saying you wouldn’t marry a Republican.” Truth is more vulnerable and does not contain judgment. Restated, the truth might be, “When you say you would never marry a Republican, I feel hurt and scared. I’m afraid that if I disagree with you politically, you will leave, regardless of the other great things about our relationship.”
If you don’t feel safe telling the truth about your past, your personality, or your quirks to your new relationship, tell your partner that you need to keep some things private still. But don’t massage the truth, don’t go into an act, and don’t lie. Remember, it’s hard to regain trust that’s been broken.
If you’ve lied to someone you’re involved with, don’t spend one more day torturing yourself with the shame, guilt, and fear that’s inside of you. No matter how afraid you are that you will be rejected or abandoned, clear the air without excuses. (The only exception to this advice is if you have reason to believe that telling the truth will endanger you physically. If this is the case, get professional help.)
Truth is sexy. Truth is passionate. Truth is intimate. Truth is love.
2. Be the love you want to receive. We all want love, loyalty, intimacy, respect, compassion, and friendship. But to deserve it, we need to offer those same things to our partner. And we need to offer them generously. An open heart is much more inviting and accessible than a protected one.
3. Become your partner’s safe haven. Becoming a safe harbor for someone is one of the greatest gifts we can offer and is very much appreciated. Allow your partner to express feelings, even negative ones, without rushing to judgment or trying to fix him/her. Feelings don’t need fixing anyway.
4. Fight fair. This is the hardest prescription on the list for many people as we’ve learned bad and sometimes destructive habits. If you can admit right now that you don’t know how to fight in such a way that you end up closer rather than more estranged, then get help. Hire a life coach or therapist or read books on conscious, loving communications (including my book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life). The sooner you become adept at this skill, the less resentment your relationship will build. Fighting well is cleansing and makes make-up sex even better!
5. Make a list of the 10 Things That Make You Feel Most Loved. Ask your partner to do the same. You may be surprised to hear each other’s lists. They often don’t match. Keep your partner’s list and look at it every day. If your partner loves to receive roses, then don’t send irises, even if they’re on your list of favorites.
In Enough Is Enough!, I talk about how I feel loved when my husband remembers that I like yellow mustard, not Dijon. We’re all quirky in what makes us feel loved. Honor your partner’s list and you will build a strong foundation that will get you through the hard times.

Announcements/strong>
Join Jane at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the beautiful beach, delicious food, and luxurious setting while experiencing enriching programs. Check out this newly renovated Club Med for yourself.
I will be teaching Creating Your Abundant Life. Other wonderful teachers will be offering you daily opportunities to nurture your mind, body, and spirit.
Price: Get your Friend of Jane discount $1549 (regular price $1599), which includes lodging, meals, airport transportation, and all programs. Discounts for couples and families.
Contact Teresa Williamson at teresa@tangodiva.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane

A Sneak Peek at Creating Your Abundant Life:

If you feel that you don’t have enough of any of the following:

• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration
• Direction

This workshop is for you!

There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:

Fear
Self-judgments
Limiting beliefs

Any one of the above can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.

We will use cutting-edge strategies and fun processes to uncover and release your fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs so that you will begin immediately to manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.

About Jane Straus
Jane is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Down with Stress/Up with Thriving

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

This is a modified version of a talk I gave at the KCBS Health Fair in San Francisco on February 2, 2008. My panel’s room was set up for 30 people and 150 showed up. The technicians scrambled to set up speakers in the hallway so the overflowing crowd could hear.

Down with Stress/Up with Thriving

I have a need for full confession here—call it my Jewish guilt—before I go on to give you advice about how to lower your stress and thrive more. At 23 years of age I had a stroke. At 48 I had a brain tumor. So although I’m not the poster child for handling stress or always being tuned in to the subtle and not-so-subtle messages of my mind/body/spirit, I have spent a good portion of my 27 years as a life coach seeking correlations between health and happiness for my clients as well as for myself.

First of all, stress is a catchall phrase and not so useful when we’re looking to thrive and create a more extraordinary life. Instead, I recommend asking yourself whether you are Enduring or Persevering. Both may feel stressful. But Enduring leads to the blahs and worse while Persevering leads to thriving. Here are just some of the symptoms of Endurance: anxiety, addiction, boredom, cynicism, depression, hopelessness, helplessness, illness, “Is that all there is?” lack of energy, procrastination, resentment, ruts, and “Why me, Lord?” If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, then I encourage you to consider that you are in some Endurance.

So how do we end up in Endurance and how do we get out of it? Most of us have an underlying belief, conscious or unconscious, in what I call The Big Lie. The Big Lie is that we think that we are not fully worthy. If we don’t believe we are fully worthy of thriving or having an extraordinary, abundant life, we will sabotage ourselves using three universal techniques:
• Stoking our fears
• Whipping ourselves with our self-judgments
• Gathering evidence for our limiting beliefs.

Example: Have you ever had a bad hair day? If so, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You wake up in the morning feeling ugly. That’s your self-judgment. So what do you do? Instead of picking out your nicest or sexiest outfit, you dress to be invisible. Why? Because you fear being noticed for how ugly you think you look. Then you leave home, go to work, and what happens? No one notices you. No one compliments you. And what does this do? It confirms your limiting belief that you are not attractive. This is just one example of the wisdom of the Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts.

Here is my personal example of a bad hair day: I was 48 years old and had not yet written my book, Enough Is Enough! Why? I had stoked my fear that I would be rejected by publishers and the public. I had self-judgments that I wasn’t a good enough writer, even though I had written and sold over 100,000 copies of my Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and had edited for friends and colleagues for 30 years. And I had plenty of evidence that there were enough self-help books out there glutting the market already and that mine would get lost in the pile. What stoking my fear, whipping up my self-judgments, and gathering evidence for my limiting beliefs did was to keep me in endurance by perpetuating The Big Lie that I wasn’t worthy. My personal favorite symptoms of Endurance were boredom and resentment.

Then I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. That, as we say, was my wake-up call. I asked myself, “If I don’t make it through the surgery, will I have any regrets?” The answer was a resounding yes. I had seven weeks between diagnosis and surgery, during which time I bargained with the Universe. Here was the deal I asked for: Let me live and come out of surgery coherent and I’ll write the book. I’ll even be willing to believe that I’m worthy of doing so. Gratefully, the Universe must have acquiesced so I started writing. Now writing a book is no stroll in the park, especially if you really care about your topic and audience. But the difference was that, once I decided to say boo back to my fears, stopped reminding myself of all my self-judgments, and began to question the authority of my limiting beliefs, I found that I was no longer Enduring; I was Persevering.

Writing the book was still stressful. I had to write late at night because I still had my commitment to my clients as well as to my young daughter and loving husband. I had an editor who sent back my work full of red ink on a daily basis. But it was different. Perseverance is energizing. It is a commitment to the process, regardless of any particular outcome. I found that I was willing to write the book not knowing if it would ever be published or read by another human being.

I think that the secret to thriving that also lowers your stress level is to counter The Big Lie by listening to your Spirit’s longings. Your spirit knows what really matters and it knows when you’re enduring rather than persevering.

So here are five things you can do right now to thrive more:
1. Make amends for past misdeeds and forgive yourself daily so that you can feel worthy of thriving.
2. Say boo back to at least one fear. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the commitment to persevere through it.
3. Allow yourself to be wrong about your self-judgments and limiting beliefs. Being right just keeps you enduring in survival mode.
4. Listen more closely to your spirit’s longings.
5. Model your behaviors after those you admire. Or, as one bumper sticker says, “Become the person your dog thinks you are.”

Announcements

On the Couch—A Unique Opportunity With Jane
Can You Really Find Insight/Resolution/Relief/Renewal in 15 minutes or less? Yes!
Sit with Jane for just a few minutes and she will help you:
get out of a rut
• release old pain
• make a life-changing decision
• discover your passion
• find clarity
• forgive yourself and others
• experience compassion
• thrive

Location: Nomadic Outfitters, 2426 California St. (at Fillmore), S.F., (415) 345-8338
Date/Time: Tuesday, February 12, 2008, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Price: Free! No appointment necessary. Drop in and talk with Jane, listen to others share, and/or shop. All donations go to hospice.

Handle Stress to Boost Immunity presented by Jane at the KCBS Health Fair in San Francisco with Keynote Speaker Dr. Mehmet Oz
I was honored to be invited as a panelist, along with Melina Jampolis, M.D., host of Fit TV’s Diet Doctor and author of The No Time to Lose Diet; and Dr. Jacob Leone, Naturopathic & Integrative Medicine Practitioner, to discuss Boosting Immunity: Nutrition, Supplements, and Stress. I promise to have the contents of my presentation available for you on my Web site shortly.

About Jane Straus
Jane is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

It’s a B*tch Being Conscious

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 177

Do you ever feel that it takes more work, more out of you emotionally, to live a conscious life than it did to live less-than-consciously? Many years ago I had a T-shirt made with the saying, It’s A Bitch Being Conscious. I wore it on the first day of my Journey Into Ecstasy workshop intensive because I could count on it to evoke instant, knowing laughter from all the participants.

So why do we do it? Why do we keep working on ourselves when it takes so much effort, when we’d sometimes rather be zoned out, pour a cold one, light up a joint or cigarette, or grab the remote? Why do we put ourselves through seeming torture for no guaranteed rewards, sometimes paying a hefty price for the privilege of doing so? Are we just masochists disguised as seekers and healers? Is ignorance perhaps, if not the best policy, at least a better one than relentless self-examination? Who is it that said that the unexamined life is not worth living? A lot of people might disagree.

I know that I’m supposed to answer these rhetorical, “teaser” questions for you in this paragraph. I’m supposed to justify and validate all your hard work, the money you spend on coaching, therapy, workshops, and books, the courage you’ve mustered to face your demons. But you know, I don’t know why anyone does it.

When my coaching clients express how hard this work sometimes is all I can do is smile, agree, and cheerlead. I say things like, “Doesn’t clarity feel better than confusion?” “Doesn’t feeling your emotions feel better than walking around numb?” Sometimes they give in and admit that they like living in an aware and awakened state. Sometimes they give me the look that lets me know I’m skating on thin ice, that their answer just might be a resounding “No!” if I weren’t so chipper.

I can relate. I like the temporary high that blaming and playing the victim provide so well. Blaming feeds my ego and playing the victim allows me to relinquish responsibility for my life. Who wouldn’t say, “Bring it on!”

But once the high leaves, I’m stuck with all my hangover symptoms: depression, lower self-esteem, helplessness, and hopelessness. I wake up and see in the mirror someone who traded the excitement of possibility for the drudgery of inevitability, someone who is stuck in a rut, reading from a very boring script, complaining often and loudly. I see someone who, while familiar, is less than admirable.

Kicking and screaming, or at least whining, I stop the chatter and remind that face in the mirror what the goal of consciousness is: happiness. I tell myself that I am more than the sum of my fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs. I quiet the chatter long enough to hear my spirit’s whispers. And when I persevere, I do occasionally stumble onto great and unexpected joy. More often, I find myself feeling at least a small measure of peace. I’m grateful for that. Is it all worth it? I guess each of us needs to answer that question for ourselves.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

The Key to Finding Hope

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 172

This was a busy day. I’m sure you understand. So when I received two emails each from Amnesty International and the International Rescue Committee imploring me to contact my senators and urge them to support sending UN peacekeeping forces to Darfur, rather than call I felt annoyed, put out, guilted.

And then I thought for a moment. Here are millions of people suffering unspeakable horrors and this is a cause I’ve supported and spoken publicly about and I’m annoyed? What’s really going on here?

I realized that my annoyance was a cover up. What I really felt was helpless and hopeless. For all the spotlighting of this genocide, for all the petitions signed by hundreds of thousands, for all the rallies, the situation in Darfur has gotten worse, not better. What I was really thinking was, “What difference will two more phone calls make, especially to senators who probably already support increasing aid to the Darfur region?”

Then I realized what a luxury it was for me to feel helpless and hopeless while hundreds of thousands of people are being tortured, raped, starved, and murdered. How dare I do nothing because I choose to believe that I can’t do enough?

I’ve spent today forgiving myself for wallowing in hopelessness. The day’s not over and I’m not done yet. I still have more to forgive and two senators to contact. How are you spending your busy day?

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Compassion In Action

Friday, June 16th, 2006

When I grew up in San Francisco and then went to school at U.C. Davis during the sixties and early seventies, social activism (anti-war, anti-nuke, feminism, ecology, universal healthcare) was part of the fabric of my life. But I remember my discomfort sitting around the table strategizing with my comrades, using the vocabulary and tactics of war. We pumped ourselves up for political “fights” and strategized about how to “trounce the enemy,” often late at night with alcohol infused adrenaline. In other words, we were brainwashing ourselves the way soldiers are brainwashed–to think of ourselves as good, noble, and just and to think of anyone who thought differently as evil and unenlightened. We would bring enlightenment to them, of course, through our rhetoric, our righteous indignation, and the purity of our beliefs.
As much as I believed in the causes I worked so hard for–and still do believe in them–something was wrong with this picture, as they say. Something was missing for me. Never much of a drinker and lacking the natural bravado or self-assuredness of my fellow progressives, I felt different and slowly, almost invisibly, extricated myself from their midst. I felt ashamed of myself for abandoning them and the causes but, because I couldn’t name what my discomfort was, I assumed it was something in me that was lacking. No longer on the front lines, I continued to support causes by quietly writing checks.
I’ve had 25 years to consider my actions and inactions and where I fit into social and political action today. I’ve uncovered what was missing for me: the awareness that we are interconnected, that my worst enemy is not another person but my own self-judging thoughts, and that black and white/good and bad are artificial divisions that are useless when trying to solve problems.
I see it every day in my coaching practice: A couple or a father and daughter come in, each in so much pain that they feel hopeless. In their hopelessness, instead of becoming more vulnerable, they become immobilized, each solidifying their arguments and positions, pushing away the one person they most want to be loved by.
Perhaps this is what we do more globally. Fueled by religious rhetoric that warns us of an impending apocalypse and by scientists reiterating that we are on the precipice of an irreversible global disaster in the form of global warming, we despair. This despair immobilizes and polarizes us.
So what can I do to get out of fear and hopelessness–out of endurance–and possibly make a difference in a way that is consistent with compassionate action? Today, I read a prayer by the Dalai Lama: “As long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide, to dispel the misery of the world.” Today, I will repeat this prayer over and over as a reminder to keep my focus on dispelling misery, not creating more through my self-judgment, hopelessness, or defensiveness. Today, when I get angry at my government officials or terrorists or child molesters, I will try to move through righteous indignation to compassion for the misery of both the vanquishers and the vanquished. Today, I will seek more avenues for expressing this compassion, along with hope, joy, and love. The world has given me so much; I owe it this in return.