Posts Tagged ‘worthiness’

Spotting a UOF

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

(For my English usage blog, click here.)

No, this title isn’t a typo. I am not writing about UFOs. A UOF, unlike a UFO, has had millions of confirmed sightings and can be easily spotted. It is the Uh Oh Factor: the fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs that stop us dead in our tracks, generally right before or right after we take a risk.

You know how your mind works: You apply for a job and you pump yourself up for the interview, telling yourself that you are the right person—perhaps the most qualified candidate—and that they’d be fools to pass you up. You remind yourself of how well you have performed in your current position and how undervalued you have been, which is why you deserve that new position.

But then you no sooner submit your résumé and that little voice starts whispering in your ear, “What if I don’t get the job? What if it means I have to travel more? What if I don’t like my new boss? What if I don’t like my new colleagues? What if they don’t like me? What if I have to work longer hours?” And the worst what if of all is the one with the F word, “What if I fail?” (This mindset works similarly with dating.)

All of our what ifs create the Uh Oh Factor: the negative thinking that reminds us of each of our character flaws, every painfully embarrassing moment from our past, every fear that’s woken us up at 2:00 A.M. bathed in sweat. This Uh Oh Factor (UOF), untended to, can instantly overpower our tenuous hold on our still-delicate affirmations.

The volume of our UOF will only go up if we try to ignore it. In short order, we will hear the voices within shouting, “You’re so full of yourself. Who were you to think you could land this job? You’re a fraud, a phony. They’ll see right through you.” Try to push these negative thoughts away and it’s like playing Whack-A-Mole: you have to be on high alert looking for where and how they’re going to pop up again if you’re going to defeat them.

So what can you do when the UOF begins to override your confidence? As Ram Dass, a wonderfully funny Buddhist teacher says, you can practice thinking of your Uh Oh thoughts—those neurotic fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs—as little schmos. Then, instead of trying to bar them from entry, which is futile anyway, invite them in for tea.

Imagine this scene: Three little schmos, looking like Snow White’s dwarves, come knocking at your door. Instead of hiding in the coat closet, you welcome them in, escorting them to the dining room table. Without any need for small talk, you say to the one on your right, “I recognize you. You’re the schmo who tells me I’m not good enough.” Then you turn to your left. “And you’re the schmo who catalogues the imperfections of my body.” Now you look across the table at another one who is returning your grin and say, “And you, you’re the schmo who reminds me of all my mistakes.” Then, with an inclusive sweep of your arm, you announce, “Thank you all for having tea with me.” You look at your watch and then continue, “But tea time is over because, after all, I am a busy person.” You see your little schmos to the door, although they are reluctant to go because you’ve been such a good listener. When they ask if they can come back, you let them know that they needn’t worry; certainly you’ll hear them next time they come knocking. You wave to them as they retreat and then close the door with a sigh of relief.

What you do next is remember to feel grateful that you have learned how to say hello and goodbye to your little schmos. Then you restate your affirmations, call on your support system to remind you of your best qualities, demonstrate behaviors that make you feel good about the person you see in the mirror, and take a leap of faith that these practices will not only keep you sane but will provide you with the courage to take the next risk that your spirit urges you towards.

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.

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.

Are You Surviving or Thriving?

Friday, December 7th, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
Everyone talks about thriving. How do I know if I’m thriving? What’s the difference between surviving and thriving?

In both surviving and thriving, we may struggle at times, feel fear of failure or rejection, or worry that we are not worthy of what we long for. So the distinction between surviving and thriving can easily get blurred.

But surviving will lead us to a dead end whereas thriving, although it may take us down a long and meandering path, offers up surprises, serendipity, and synchronicity.

Surviving can be identified by our endurance symptoms—anxiety, boredom, self-criticism, addiction, low energy, avoidance, depression, lethargy—to name just a few that I discuss in Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life.

When we habitually wake up in the morning dreading that today will be a repeat of yesterday and the day before and the day before that, we are enduring, not thriving. The bad news is that endurance sneaks up on us. We don’t know we’re in endurance until we’re pretty miserable. The good news is that, once we recognize the sources of our endurance, we can say “Enough is enough!” and begin leading a more fulfilling life.

We endure because we’re fearful, self-judging, or believing a limiting thought. Often, these sources of endurance overlap such that we are experiencing two or even three of them. We may be fearful because of a limiting belief. For example, if I believe that I am not good enough in some way, I may be quite fearful of putting myself in situations that will likely trigger this belief.

The problem with latching onto our fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs is that they constrict us. How can I have new experiences that debunk my limiting belief about being unworthy if I avoid situations that have the potential of making me realize I was wrong? Instead, in endurance, I will get to be right…and miserable.

Thriving isn’t necessarily any less challenging than endurance, but it does lead someplace new and different. Instead of being right and miserable, we get to be surprised and excited about life.

So what is thriving? It is our willingness to commit to our spirit’s longings no matter what! No matter what fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs pop up to distract us or try to protect us from humiliation. It involves perseverance: committing no matter what others say the odds against our achieving our goals are. No matter what we have told ourselves about being too old, too young, too uneducated, too busy, or too poor. Thriving is choosing to pay attention to our spirit rather than to all the chatter that has stopped us from living our extraordinary life.

Thriving is like buying a car. When we purchase a new vehicle, we suddenly see the same car in greater numbers on the road. This isn’t because more people bought the same car on the same day we did, is it? It’s because our attention is now focused differently from where it was before. Wherever we focus our attention dictates what we see and experience. If we focus on our fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs, it’s like putting blinders on. These are all we will see and experience. On the other hand, if we focus on listening and attending to our spirit’s callings, we will see and experience extraordinary new people, events, feelings, and thoughts.

As soon as we shift from surviving to thriving, we allow surprise, serendipity, and synchronicity to help our spirit along. We are now saying “yes” to the Universe, which expands our peripheral vision and gives us a new view of potentials and possibilities. Thriving requires three things: a willingness to listen to ourselves; a willingness to be wrong about our prior fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs; and the courage to be explorers.

The first two requirements must come from within. The third one—courage—we can allow others to support us in. Find people who listen to their own spirits, who have beaten odds, live joyfully, and find compassion for themselves and those around them. These are your mentors and your heroes and heroines.

Many of us wait to listen to our spirit until tragedy or illness strikes. My wake-up call came in the form of a brain tumor. But we don’t need to wait to allow ourselves to be inspired. Let today—your child’s smile, your urge to paint, the sun warming your skin, a desire to help someone in need—be enough.

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, 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.

The Key to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Saturday, December 1st, 2007
 
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To read my English usage blogs, visit Grammarbook.com.

Dear Jane,
I want to make some New Year’s resolutions but I don’t want to set myself up for failure, which I’ve done in the past. How can I make sure that I succeed this time?

Most of us use New Year’s resolutions as a way to try to boost our self-esteem. We think that if we lose weight, exercise, or pay off our credit card debt, we’ll feel better about ourselves. This seems logical but it’s actually backwards thinking. Why?

Most of us don’t believe that we are worthy of treating ourselves better. That’s why we start and then drop so many of our resolutions. After all, if we believed we were truly worthy, we’d already be doing these things on our list, right? If this rings true for you, then your first step is to practice affirming your worthiness on a daily basis.

If you like freshly roasted coffee, treat yourself. If you have socks with holes in them, throw them out. Clean out your closet of clothes that no longer fit or that don’t make you feel attractive. Wash your car if that makes you feel better about yourself. Eat foods that are both healthy and delicious. If you don’t like the picture on your driver’s license, go to the DMV looking just the way you’d like and get a new picture taken. You don’t have to wait until your license is expiring. Don’t start the New Year depriving yourself. Let go of anything and everything that doesn’t bolster your worthiness. In my book, Enough Is Enough!, I write that changing, even tweaking, behaviors is a great way to change your mind and begin thriving.

When you feel better about yourself because you’ve been treating yourself with more respect and compassion, you’re ready (and more trustworthy) to make a list of New Year’s resolutions. My recommendation is to start with only one resolution at a time and focus on that. Here’s why: In Enough Is Enough!, I write about choosing to live in Classroom Earth vs. Courtroom Earth. In Courtroom Earth, we are our own judge, jury, and executioner. We are our own worst adversary, finding ourselves guilty for every infraction of our self-imposed laws. Courtroom Earth doesn’t affirm your worthiness. So get out of the courtroom and walk into Classroom Earth. Here is where you get to learn, practice, make mistakes, and try again, reinforcing, not undermining, your self-esteem and worthiness.

When you’ve committed to one new activity or behavior long enough, it will become a habit. You will be able to stick to an exercise regimen, lose weight, learn that foreign language, pay off your credit card debt, or keep any New Year’s resolution by treating yourself as the worthy being you are.

And speaking of worthiness, our neighbors in New Orleans, still suffering from the aftermath of Katrina and from governmental neglect, are grateful for everything we, as individuals, do for them. My visit there to help, which was just as much a gift to me, gave me some ideas and contacts:

*Kim Nance at James Weldon Johnson Elementary School could use the support of mental health professionals and health professionals: (504) 861-7718. The children, many of them living with strangers, neighbors, or distant relatives are suffering from post-traumatic stress and depression as are their caregivers. Also, the school could really use textbooks.

*Acupuncturists, chiropractors, dentists, massage therapists—just show up. The word will spread quickly that you’re there and are offering services.

*Ask one of your local schools to become a “sister school.”

*Buy your holiday gifts from local merchants. Many of them have Web sites. Janet’s jewelry store is Mon Coeur: www.moncoeurneworleans.com. Janet gives a tremendous amount to the community through her business, so your support helps many others get back on their feet. Besides, her jewelry is beautiful.

*Support Habitat for Humanity, which is helping to build a lovely enclave for displaced musicians.

*Bring your children there so they have an opportunity to pitch in.

*Regardless of your religious beliefs, support the church organizations still handing out food and providing shelter.

*Send this blog to everyone on your e-mail list. There is such power in numbers.

Our politics and opinions about the city’s future don’t matter. What matters is the care of each other’s hearts and spirits and that is easier to provide than what we have been taught to believe. This was my lesson from New Orleans. I’m going back. Care to join me?

ANNOUNCEMENT

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.

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.

Being Blamed for a Divorce

Monday, October 22nd, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
My ex-husband and I divorced after sixteen years of marriage. It wasn’t an awful marriage but I never really loved him. He knew this although we never really talked about it. When he started to drink a few years after our daughter was born, I really felt even more distant from him. We divorced six years ago without much discussion, like distant strangers.
Now I’ve met a wonderful man whom I love deeply. It seems that my ex suddenly can’t stand that I’m happy. (He heard about it from our daughter; I wouldn’t have rubbed his nose in it.) He started calling me telling me every few days, haranguing me that it’s my fault that he drank, that I ruined his self-esteem, and that he wasted the best years of his life on me. I want to know what I should feel guilty about. What should I apologize for?

While we bring all our hopes and dreams into marriage, we also bring all our limiting beliefs, self-judgments, and fears, most of which surface only after the routine of daily life sets in. When your ex-husband agreed to marry you knowing you didn’t really love him, he unconsciously used you to reinforce a prior belief that he wasn’t lovable. (Perhaps you had the same unconscious limiting belief or why would you have chosen him?) This baggage of feeling unworthy of love is what drove him to drink, not you. All you provided was a mirror of a belief he already held. That’s what people do: they mirror back what we already believe about ourselves.
Now, once again, he’s using your current happiness to mirror his belief that he’s unworthy. It’s not your intention to hurt him. He’s hurting himself and he’s the only one who can stop hurting himself by healing his thoughts about his worthiness instead of wasting any more time resenting you. The most harmful thing you could do is to reinforce his unworthiness belief by taking on inappropriate guilt. If you say, “You’re right to resent me. It’s all my fault that you’re miserable and alcoholic,” you are encouraging him to stay blind to what your relationship mirrored within him. If you don’t want to reinforce the belief that he is a “broken cookie” who is unlovable and unworthy, don’t apologize for his unconscious beliefs. Clearly, that won’t help him.
As I write about in Enough Is Enough!, underneath every resentment we hold is an underlying personal regret. Deep down, doesn’t your ex probably really regret not loving himself enough to have created a loving relationship with a partner or even with himself?
So what can you do? Tell him that you hope that he heals the thought that he’s unworthy so that he can have the love he deserves. Tell him that you hope he gets underneath his resentment to his real regret: that he let himself waste time feeling unloved and drowning his feelings in alcohol. Tell him that you are willing to forgive yourself for wasting time similarly.
What you can apologize for is participating in reinforcing his limiting beliefs in any way that you did while you were married. If you were unloving in word or deed, if you ignored him, if you were less than compassionate, apologize for all of that now. Forgive yourself for what your part was given whatever baggage you brought to the relationship. Then encourage him to forgive himself. After that, see him as a whole, deserving, empowered, and healed being. This is the most loving and compassionate thing you can do for both of you.

Announcements

Recovery from the Inside Out

Jane has been invited to New Orleans to give a workshop on November 18, 2007 for folks whose lives have been forever changed 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. My gratitude to my dear friend, Patte McDowell, for donating her air miles.
Also, I will be donating 120 copies of my book, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Eighth Edition, to New Orleans schools. If you know of a school needing these invaluable books, contact me at Jane@janestraus.com.

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

NEW! Dear Jane Podcasts
Listen to and download Dear Jane Podcasts. Also available for free downloading from iTunes.

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.

To Stay or To Go

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
I can’t stand the relationship I’ve been in anymore. My partner and I have been together for 12 years. I always thought we would make it. We have so much in common and we’ve been supportive of each other. But I realize that I’ve been unhappy, without admitting it to myself, for quite a while. I feel drained by how much he needs me and demands of me. Lately, I can’t stand the thought of him even touching me. I fantasize him dying or him saying he wants to end the relationship. I know this is because I don’t want to be the one to make the decision. What should I do? I feel like I’m dying inside.

What I hear coming through loudly and clearly is your built-up resentment. Resentment kills: It kills relationships and it kills our own spirit.

There must be reasons you were not aware of your resentment until you couldn’t ignore it anymore. Usually, this is a symptom of co-dependence, meaning that you have an unconscious strategy of abandoning yourself to please/keep others until you’re so hurt from feeling wronged or fed up that you suddenly “blow.”

If you simply leave the relationship, which is very tempting at this point, I’m sure, you will find yourself repeating this pattern of self-abandonment – hurt – resentment – desire to leave. Even if you stay single for a while, you may create this pattern within friendships. So although I can’t tell you whether to stay or to go, I can support you in letting go of the illusion that leaving is the entire solution. Use what is in your life right now to heal your issue.

So what is the issue? Generally, we are co-dependent when we believe we will be abandoned or unloved if we ask for what we want or need. What messages did you get as a child about being lovable? How much security did you have? How has this impacted your current relationship? What have you been holding back? How have you sacrificed yourself in the relationship? Once you realize that the fear of abandonment and the sacrificing of your own needs is how your current difficulty arose, you can begin experiencing healing.

It takes practice to perceive yourself as worthy of love regardless of whether someone else can or is willing to provide it. Often, we have to address childhood traumas and beliefs to heal this dependency on others for our self-worth. The first step is trusting that you deserve to heal any mistaken beliefs that you are anything less than worthy of respect, compassion, and love. Once you question your painful, limiting beliefs and your old authorities and begin to affirm your own worthiness, you will notice three amazing results: 1. You will stop abandoning yourself. 2. You will no longer feel so threatened by others abandoning you. 3. Others will begin to mirror back to you your worthiness. All of these results will help heal your resentment.

In Enough Is Enough!, I write about how resentment is disguised regret. The resentment you feel towards your partner is really a regret that you haven’t treated yourself with the respect, compassion, and love that you wish he would provide.

So whether you stay in this relationship or leave, acknowledge that you have been a co-conspirator in the setup that has caused you to end up so resentful. Let yourself drop down into the underlying regret. Once you can take 100% responsibility for your part (responsibility = ability to respond) and take 100% responsibility for affirming your self-worth, the dynamics of your relationship will shift. As you love yourself, you will find both peace and clarity.

Jane’s Coaching and Training

Jane Straus is the author of the popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! See her TV interviews, read her articles, and order the book by visiting StopEnduring.com.

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. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and thrive.

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

Thoughts on Faith

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
 
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Jane, other people seem to be able to find faith much more easily than I do. I’m of Jewish background but I never believed I was one of the “chosen people” in that I don’t think anyone else is less chosen. I’ve never embraced the idea of a God that watches over me or my loved ones or cares if I win or lose a tennis tournament. And I’ve never taken Bible stories literally. I do believe in what I call the Great Mystery, and I know I can’t possibly fathom realities that exist beyond my five senses. So I’m not cynical. But I wonder if I’m missing something.

You and I are very similar in our beliefs. Having disclosed this, I will now tell you that I am a person of faith. You are too. We all are. We all believe in something, usually many things, even if some of them are our worst self-judgments or the most limiting of beliefs.

Sometimes I put my faith in the brain tumor I had removed in 2003. I can believe in its power to return unexpectedly and with a vengeance. Do I want to believe this? I’m sure you can imagine that my “No” here is more like “No way!” Here’s what I choose to do with that thought. First, I recognize that it is just that—a thought. I may be right about it someday; I hope I’m wrong. But I have a choice about putting my faith in it. Why would I want to? Maybe because I use the brain tumor to remind me how precious life is and that every day counts. If that’s the lesson I want to get from it, then I think I’ll put my energy into making each day meaningful. I can change my faith to a belief in the power of living every day to the fullest. That way, maybe I won’t need a brain tumor (again) as a wake-up call.

I also sometimes believe that I have to struggle where others don’t. How could that one possibly serve me? It does give me a good work ethic, a chance to prove to myself how much perseverance I am capable of, and a feeling of having put in “a good day’s work.” I rarely feel lazy. But is this belief in struggle where I really want to place my faith? I want everyone I know (and even those I don’t) to be released from unnecessary struggle, to have ease, to have basic needs met without fear. If I want that for everyone else, can I allow it for me? It seems that if I can give up some of the guilt I’ve obviously carried, I could begin to have faith that life can be abundant without the kind of struggle I’ve endured in the past. And if I begin to have faith in my own worthiness, maybe I’ll be a better role model to others who also want to walk a gentler path.

A product of parents forced to flee Nazi Germany and Austria, I often have faith that evil is more powerful than good. That one can lead me to deep despair. My faith in evil triumphing over good has been tough for me to change because I think that if I expect the worst, I won’t be disappointed. But then again, my attempts to defend against disappointment have been pretty futile. When I listen to the news of someone doing something horrific to another being, it still gets to me. So if I can’t steel myself against disappointment in human nature, why hang onto a belief that magnifies the worst? I can choose to remember that Hitler’s reign did end, that the Berlin Wall fell, that millions of us are working to raise the awareness of genocide in Darfur and elsewhere, and that there are decent people everywhere doing good deeds that will never be broadcast on the nightly news.

I used to have faith that my weight would always be an issue although this faith has been (gratefully) slipping in the last couple of years. I think it started with a willingness to see it as just a belief. Once I did that, I could question my own authority.

We are never lacking for faith. We all believe; we are just not always conscious that we are perceiving the world, our relationships, our health, and ourselves through our belief systems. As soon as we recognize that we are putting our faith somewhere, we can begin to choose consciously where we want to place that faith.

What we choose to believe in matters because we perceive according to our beliefs. In other words, “Believing is seeing.” And what we believe and see and experience we project out into the world. I want to offer the world faith in good over evil. I also want to demonstrate faith in the healing powers of love, joy, and compassion. Where do you want to place your faith?

To learn more about Jane Straus’s life coaching work, read excerpts from her book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life (Jossey-Bass, 2005), view Jane’s TV interviews, and listen to her radio interviews, visit stopenduring.com.

Healing the Twin Tortures of Jealousy and Resentment

Friday, July 6th, 2007
 
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How can I let go of resentment towards my mother for being thin and lose weight myself?

I wanted to answer this question because, even if weight is not everyone’s issue, resentment and jealousy torture most of us at one time or another.

Jealousy is an indicator that we believe someone else has something that we cannot attain. We may experience jealousy about someone’s looks, their financial status, their popularity/success, or their personal life. But it all comes down to the belief that we can’t have what they have.

Why would we believe this unless we didn’t think we were equally deserving? So jealousy helps us recognize that we are feeling unworthy in some way.

The question changes from, “How do I get what so-and-so has?” to “How do I get that I am worthy?” What I talk about in my book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, is that we won’t necessarily wake up one morning with a belief in our own worthiness. Like any other belief, it takes repetition and practice to “get it.”

So how do you let go of resentment towards your mother for being thin and lose weight yourself? How do you get that you are worthy of having the body you desire?
Before eating or before opportunities to exercise, you ask what I believe is the most healing question you can pose:

“If I knew my worthiness in this moment, what would I do?”

Whether we want to lose weight or experience more love, success, or happiness, I recommend asking yourself this question at least ten times a day every day. You will find that as your sense of self-worth grows, you will suffer less from jealousy and resentment.

Visit stopenduring.com for more on how to live an extraordinary life, view Jane Straus’s TV interviews, preview a seminar, order Enough Is Enough!, have her speak at your next event, or contact her about personal coaching. You may also order Enough Is Enough! at Amazon.com.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Sunday, May 27th, 2007
 
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I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). One doctor says it’s a chemical or genetic problem. Another doctor says it’s psychological. What do you think? Is there anything other than drugs that I can do to stop?
–The Leaf Duster

Dear Leaf Duster,
I’m not sure how your OCD manifests, how crazy your behaviors drive you, or what drugs you’ve been offered, so I won’t try to take the place of your doctor here. On the emotional/spiritual level, however, your OCD might be a type of cover up. If you want to dust leaves because you are procrastinating about doing something that should be a higher priority, ask yourself, “Why don’t I want to do what should be important?” Are you afraid or perhaps bored? These are the two most common reasons for procrastinating.

When we procrastinate, we generally can’t just do nothing. That would make us feel guilty on top of feeling afraid or bored. Instead, we fill up our time and mental energy with something—hence, leaf dusting or its equivalent. So if you notice that your OCD is more intense these days, ask yourself if you’re thriving as much as you could be. Are you treating yourself as a worthy person, deserving of an extraordinary, enriched life? If you are not able to answer these questions with a resounding, enthusiastic “yes,” then your OCD may be your spirit’s way of letting you know that you’re in Endurance.

So even if you get the OCD treated with medication and therapy, which is certainly a legitimate option, I encourage you to listen for the message that your spirit may be trying to communicate to you. Maybe it’s time to take a risk to get more out of life. Maybe your spirit wants you to play more, or challenge yourself with a new career, or go back to school, or volunteer in your community, or dust off that easel in your attic. Pay attention for a moment to that still, small voice within and let it guide you towards your next adventure.

Although you may always have some level of OCD behavior, I’ve seen, over and over, how OCD can recede from the foreground into the background when people let go of their fears, treat themselves with self-respect, and commit to fulfilling their dreams and aspirations.

Go to StopEnduring.com to read excerpts from Jane Straus’s book, Enough Is Enough!, view her seminars and TV interviews, listen to her radio interviews, make an appointment for a personal coaching session, purchase the book, or sign up for her free newsletter.

Deeper Thoughts on Abundance

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

I’ve shared in the past a definition of abundance that resonates strongly with me: “Abundance is that which already exists.” I realize from personal experience as well as from listening to my clients that it is sometimes a stretch to believe this. How can abundance already exist if your bank account is low, your credit card debt is high, and you can’t afford to take even a weekend off?

Here’s what I have come to realize: If we think that money or lack of it reflects our abundance, we are making a huge error. Abundance isn’t about money unless we see it that way. Money only has as much meaning as we attach to it.

When you feel lack, it is because you think you are lacking within. You are believing the Big Lie: that you are in some way unworthy. Money or lack of it simply reflects this belief because you allow it to.

If you allow yourself to believe The Big Lie—that you are unworthy—you may create debt to reinforce your belief. And debt will give you an excuse to hang out surviving rather than thriving. If you don’t believe you deserve to thrive, you will not let yourself do what you really want in life. What better way to hold yourself back than by mounting up debt, feeling lack, worrying, spending too much, or making poor financial choices?

Abundance is that which already exists because we are abundant within ourselves—our creativity, our capacity to love and feel compassion, our humor and joy. We don’t get abundance from the outside in. We express our abundance from the inside out.

When you are willing to believe you are worthy, you will call upon your inner abundant resources. You will stop being afraid of failing. You will live your best life. You will share yourself even more. You will feel enRICHed regardless of your financial circumstances. You will understand that abundance is that which already exists.

Jane Straus is a life coach, keynote speaker, media guest, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. Visit www.janestraus.com to read her articles, view her TV interviews and seminars, buy the book, or hire her as your personal coach.