Posts Tagged ‘hurt’

Struggling to “Be Here Now”?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

Many of you know Ram Dass’s famous book, Be Here Now, the 1971 precursor to Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. From the titles of these books, you get the idea that there is something to be gained from focusing on the present rather than being run by our painful past or anxiously awaiting the unknowable future. Easier said than done, perhaps.

We have all seen (or have) the bumper stickers that say, “I’d rather be ____.” And who doesn’t say wistfully, “I wish,” ending the sentence with fantasies of Friday/the weekend/vacation/a new job/a new relationship/more wealth. There’s nothing wrong with wishing and hoping and fantasizing. It’s a testament to our optimism and unique ability as humans to imagine the future. However, this same ability sometimes works against us.

One of my clients told me that he and his wife are going through a tough time. He’s afraid they may not make it. After a brief pause, he added, “Jane, I want to be hopeful. So I’m just going to put my anger and hurt aside.”

If it’s possible for this man to truly let go of his anger and hurt with the snap of his fingers, then more power to him. But if his hope depends on ignoring his painful feelings, that hope is bound to be short lived. Anger and disappointment, ignored and pushed aside, tend to recirculate. As much as we try, denying “what is” doesn’t make “what isn’t” more attainable.

Like this husband in pain, I often wish I were “there,” or at least anywhere-but-here, now. But we can only change that which we acknowledge exists. If we can practice sitting with our feelings as they are—all of them, not just the comfortable or happy ones—if we can stay present with the present, we notice that our feelings evolve.

Anger dissolves into hurt, sometimes tinged with regret. Hurt and regret give way to sadness and mourning. If we don’t run from this grief, it eventually leads to a unique combination of acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, and compassion. From this fertile soil, wisdom sprouts, flowering into grace. Grace releases us from the grip of suffering. We begin to notice that we feel free where we formerly felt constrained and tight. This process may happen slowly or quickly, but with patience, compassion for our struggle, and perseverance, it will happen. Isn’t this worth being here now for?

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.

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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.
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Feeling Ignored?

Saturday, November 10th, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
I get lost in a crowd, like I’m invisible. I pretend not to care and I know I make things worse by dressing in drab clothes. But I feel like I don’t matter to anyone. What can I do short of screaming, “Here I am! Pay attention to me!”

Being ignored—not feeling special or valued—is one of the most hurtful experiences to endure. Unless we’re so Britney Spears-like famous that we lose all privacy, I think all of us have felt invisible and ignored.

Given that the way you dress reinforces your pain, it’s likely that you have an old belief that you are unimportant. As I point out in my book, Enough Is Enough, our most consistently painful thoughts come from childhood. So here are some ways to change this thought so your suffering abates now.

Step 1: Recall a specific incident where, as a child, you had the thought that you were unimportant. Maybe some kids excluded you at lunch or when picking sides for team sports. Maybe a teacher didn’t notice your skills. Perhaps you grew up in a crowded home with a lot of siblings demanding the limited attention of your parent(s). Maybe you had a sibling who was the smart one or the pretty one or the athletic one—the one who got noticed.

Step 2: Give your inner child reassurance that being ignored had nothing to do with him and that he matters even now to you.

Step 3: There’s a saying: It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. Start treating yourself the way you wish you had been treated. That means paying attention to your wants and needs, your likes and dislikes, and doing what makes you happy. Make your first question in the morning be, “What would make me happy today?” Maybe it’s buying new, brighter clothes that attract attention. Maybe it involves participating more in your community. Maybe it is asking for a promotion or joining a club. Whatever it is, commit to following through so that your inner child isn’t subjected to more of that invisibility. The gift of being truthful about your pain is that you can now do something for yourself to alleviate it. You deserve to feel special and to know that you matter.

This blog and my accompanying podcast, which you can download from my Web site, StopEnduring.com or from iTunes, were inspired by a poem dedicated to me by Hemdan in Egypt, who wrote The Greatest Pain in Life in Arabic and translated it into English.

The Greatest Pain in Life
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The greatest pain in life is not to die, but to be ignored

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To lose the person you love so much to another who doesn’t care at all

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The greatest pain in life, is not to die, but to be forgotten

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When you show someone your innermost thoughts and he laughs in your face

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For friends to always be too busy to console you when you need someone to lift your spirits
????? ???? ??????? ??????? ???? ?? ??????? ????? ????? ???? ?? ???? ?? ????????

When it seems like the only person who cares about you, is you

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Life is full of pain, but does it ever get better?

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Will people ever care about each other, and make time for those who are in need?

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Each of us has a part to play in this great play we call life

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Each of us has a duty to mankind to tell our friends we love them

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If you do not care about your friends you will not be punished
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You will simply be ignored… forgotten… as you have done to others
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ANNOUNCEMENTS

Enough Is Enough! Seminar in New Orleans
I have been invited to New Orleans to give a workshop on November 18, 2007 for some folks whose lives were impacted by Katrina. During my stay, I will keep a video diary, which I will upload to my Web site, StopEnduring.com. If you live in New Orleans, you are invited to attend this free workshop. Contact me at Jane@janestraus.com.

Donation of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation to New Orleans Schools
I am donating 120 copies of the Eighth Edition of her bestselling reference guide and workbook, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. If you know of a school in the New Orleans area that could use the book, contact Jane at Jane@janestraus.com.

Jane on TV January 10, 2008
I will be interviewed on NBC 11’s The Bay Area Today on January 10. I will be talking about New Year’s resolutions. Expect a fresh take on the subject. More details to follow.

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.

Getting Over Your Anger and Rage

Monday, September 18th, 2006
 
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Dear Jane,
How do I know if my anger is over the top or if it’s justified? Sometimes I feel like I’m going to explode! I know that other people are afraid of me—especially my kids. Sometimes, I’m afraid of myself so I can’t blame them.

First of all, we have probably all experienced rage, whether it’s in the form of being so mad we can’t see straight, having a murderous fantasy, or being afraid we will just “go crazy” if we let out the anger. The distinction between rage-aholism and feeling enraged is not so much the internal experience as the external behaviors. In other words, there is a difference between feeling rage and raging.

Here’s how you can know if your anger is over the top or if it is simply one of the many emotions in your repertoire:

1. Has your anger gotten you in trouble at work, in your close relationships, or with the law?
2. Do you often need to apologize for your out-of-control behaviors in order to get back in the good graces of others?
3. Do you make promises to control your temper and then find yourself unable to keep these promises?
4. Do you feel a momentary rush of power when others are afraid of you?
5. Are you afraid that you’re a ticking time bomb?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may already realize that you have anger issues that need to be dealt with. You are not alone!

The best way to start managing your anger successfully is to stop blaming anyone else for blowing up at them. If you can do this, you are on the road to recovery. As long as you blame, you will feel powerless. And feeling powerless can actually fuel rage. You do have the power to manage your feelings. In fact, you’re the only one who has that power. Don’t abdicate it.

Secondly, anger is a secondary emotion. Underneath anger you will find that you really feel fear, hurt, and/or guilt. So practice checking in with yourself when you’re spitting mad. What were you feeling before you got to that point? It is much easier to handle these feelings than to try to manage your rage once you’ve reached your tipping point.

Thirdly, anger and rage can be coping strategies learned in childhood. If you were humiliated or abused, you may harbor vast amounts of rage. As I write about in Enough Is Enough!, compassion is key. Give yourself plenty of compassion for how you were treated as a child. Don’t minimize the abuse or the effects on your life today. The less denial you hold, the less rage you will also hold. You might consider professional help to release your pent-up feelings safely and supportively. Then recognize that coping strategies may help you survive but they don’t help you thrive. Coping strategies are remnants from when you had no other choices. But they are also immature and therefore not very handy now.

Fourthly, remember that all attempts to thrive require the courage to drop our survival strategies. Even if you don’t yet handle every situation with equanimity, give yourself credit where credit is due. And apologize when you err. We often have to stumble before we become graceful with new behaviors.

Finally, set your sights high. Think of someone whose temperament you admire. Let yourself aspire to be more like them. How do they behave? You will probably notice that they are less defensive and reactive. They may take criticism without acting as though they have any less self-esteem. They may be assertive rather than aggressive. They may have a sense of humor that defuses tension. Whatever it is that you admire about how they handle themselves, practice that behavior. Walk the walk and talk the talk until it becomes more comfortable. Sooner than you might dare imagine, you will identify yourself with this new way of behaving. The goal is to become a person you admire. Or as one bumper sticker says, “Become the person your dog thinks you are.”

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.