What's the key to success? Love. A blog post by Tharwat Lovett, emotional and wellness coach, from July 2020.

What is the key to success? LOVE.

If you wish to be a good parent, love your children.

If you wish to have a successful career, love your work.

If you wish to live your life to its fullest potential, love every moment of it.

If you wish to fulfill your life’s purpose, love who you are.

If you wish to be surrounded by people who respect and support you, love yourself.

There are so many scenarios in life, so many ways of being and so many potentials swimming in the sea of possibilities. There are so many rules and so many exceptions to those rules. There are so many examples, stories, truths, paths, practices, traditions and rituals but there is only one map with one word that will guarantee we arrive at our individual and unique destinations…and that is LOVE.

The heart is the map and love is the feeling we get when thinking about or doing those things we are aligned with. Love is the needle of the heart’s compass. When it is aligned with our individual truth, feelings of joy, pleasure, excitement, peace and ease begin to flood the cells of our human bodies. 

A Mother, Not A Martyr

“Responsible motherhood is to become a mother not a martyr.”

Glennon Doyle

I am a mother of four children, who was raised by a mother of five children and a grandmother who had seven children. It’s no wonder that I find being a martyr so much easier than being a mother. Most of my maternal models have taught me that being a mother is self-sacrifice and service to others—at one’s own expense. I’ve learned the hard way just how important self-care and self-development is, for me and for my family as well. Being a mother takes a tremendous amount of daily energy. The martyr model is an unsustainable and non-renewable use of energy. Self-care and self-development teach us how to tap into the well, the source of limitless energy, inside of each of us. 

Here are some things I’ve learned about becoming a mother instead of a martyr. As you read it, remember: I mess up all the time. We are all going to. Once I realize it, I take responsibility and discuss it with my kids. They need to see me make mistakes and then course correct. Remember, children do not listen to what we say, they watch what we do, taking their cues from our actions. 

The list is a little longer than usual, but this is a lifetime journey. I hope that something here will be useful to you exactly where you are today.

1. Love freely and openly.

We love differently as human beings. It is our responsibility to learn how our people wish to be loved then make it a point to meet them there.

2. Communicate clearly. 

Even though this seems simple, the number one cause for breakdown in relationships is a failure to effectively communicate. 

  • Focus on “I” statements rather than “you” statements. 
  • Use mirroring, or repeating what the other person has said, to enhance communication.
  • Speak up about what you are proud of or grateful for—especially the little things. Take every opportunity to share love (even if it’s “thank you for putting one dish in the dishwasher”). 

3. Validate feelings, not fixes.

Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Mothers are fixers. Our kids approach us with problems and we immediately want to help them solve those problems. We are not helping our children by fixing them. 

  • Problems are something we will all deal with our entire lives. 
  • Your child’s ability to explore and find solutions increases significantly when you offer emotional support and validation instead of a fix.
  • Invalidated emotions demoralize. Validated emotions vanquish. 

4. Challenge conclusions.

Life is rarely about what actually happens; it’s far more about the conclusions we draw about what happens. Our conclusions are influenced by our mind’s narrative – the story we tell from our perspective. Our perspective is limited to our point of view, and the narrative in our mind will make or break us. 

  • Stretch your perspective by considering alternative points of view. Teach your children to do the same.
  • We can’t change what is happening, but we can change how we see and understand it – the conclusion we draw. 
  • By doing this we change the story, alter our experience, and transform our lives. 

5. Manage expectations & resist judgment.

When life hands us what we expect, we judge it as good or right. When life hands us something contrary to what we expect, we judge it as bad or wrong. Judgment goes hand in hand with expectation. The gap between expectations and reality is where negative emotion grows. Peace in life comes from handling expectations and judgement:

  • Resist the urge to establish an expectation at all. 
  • If you must have (or insist on) an expectation, take care to not emotionally tie yourself to the outcome.
  • Cultivate the ability to lay (good/bad, right/wrong) dualism down. Instead, consider that in life there is only loving and learning. If I am not loving who I am with or what I am doing, I am learning from it.

6. Become aware by observing reactions.

We aren’t aware of the many ways our brain works to protect us. Every person has a unique pattern of subconscious survival defense mechanisms. We only become aware of our own patterns by observing our reactions—both healthy and toxic. Once we become aware, then we have a choice, and choice is where real human power exists. Aside from love, awareness is the greatest gift we can give to our children. 

7. Redefine perfection and seek alignment.

We’ve been taught (and unwittingly teach our children) that perfection is a destination and that achievements are the stones that pave the road. Re-conceptualize or redefine what you understand perfect to mean:

  • Perfection isn’t a destination, but the state of being in alignment.
  • Alignment is when our behavior, thoughts and feelings are allied. What we think, feel and do are all on the same page. 
  • Living in alignment feels like flow and ease. 
  • Cognitive dissonance (what happens in our mind when we are not in alignment) is the enemy of perfection. 
  • It is essential that we find our own alignment.
  • It is crucial that we give our children space and support to find their own alignment and understand that as the definition of perfection.

8. Listen and live authentically.

Each of us has our own energetic signature—our song vibrating on its very own frequency. We need to listen to that song and make sure our life and the people in it harmonize. That is authentic living. And, we cannot assume our children’s song is identical to our own. We must learn to hear and honor the songs of our loved ones too.

9. Know and speak your truth.

As we practice living authentically in alignment, we come to know our truth. Our truth is that which honors who we are.

  • Our truth allows us to live our life with doors wide open—nothing hidden, nothing held back. 
  • There is no judgment of that which is not a match to our truth. Acceptance is the byproduct of authenticity. 

10. Teach others how to treat you.

No one can read our mind or automatically understand us. As we understand our truth, we become better equipped to communicate that to others. We recognize what our needs are and then educate those around us; teaching others how to treat us is our responsibility. When we respect and love ourselves, we show others how to respect and love us too.

11. Practice presence.

It is easy to get lost in the past or the future, which feeds anxiety and depression. We will never have power or choice over what happens in the past or future. We only have power over what we are experiencing now, so we must settle our mind in the present moment and model that to our children. 

12. Take time to rest.

In a world that overstates achievement, it is easy to lose ourselves in everyday survival. We all know work is productive, but what about rest? We honor and live our truth by resting when our body, soul and mind ask us to. Our children need to see us rest just as they need to see us work. 

13. Give yourself grace. 

Glennon Doyle tells us we must learn to identify the language of indoctrination: should, need to, have to, good, bad, etc. These words trigger a mind that is polluted with conditions and expectations. The mind will hold our feet to the flame, demanding perfectionistic ideals. The imagination, however, is a storyteller. The mind fears while the heart imagines. We give ourselves grace by recognizing when the mind is trying to control something better left to imagination. Grace allows us to let go of expectations of others, and more importantly, ourselves. 

Image - tubes of paint and brushes; we can use the metaphor of an artist choosing colors to address our thoughts.

Paint A New Picture

The power of our thoughts during the COVID-19 crisis.

The world has changed so much since we we last talked. 
Emotions are running high during COVID-19, like the messiness of this abstract painting.
Raise your hand if emotions are high right now? COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the planet and in the lives of billions of people. At some point, we will have figured out how to beat the virus because that’s what we do as human beings. But long after the virus is contained, there is still a bigger, more dangerous disease that is likely to continue to infect millions of people on this planet—hopelessness. Despair is expected to end the lives of more people than the coronavirus.
The feelings that we are experiencing during the COVID-19 crisis can be as detrimental as the illness itself.
How do we inoculate ourselves from hopelessness? In the Bhagavad Gita, it is said, “For those who have conquered the mind, it is their friend. For those who have failed to do so, the mind works like an enemy.” Gaining control of the mind is key if we wish to ever make that transition from surviving our lives to thriving within our lives. As a matter of fact, gaining control of our mind not only protects us from hopelessness, it also manages fear, reduces anxiety, heals relationships, enhances creativity and can completely change our lives.
We can choose which thoughts we pay attention to, just as an artist chooses colors on their palette.
There are many techniques we can use to learn to regulate our mind. It’s most important, however, to know that it is the job of our conscious mind to filter thought. Imagine if we figuratively had a thought bubble engulfing us like a cloud of ideas at all times. It would be the job of our conscious mind to sift through those thoughts floating in and out of that cloud and decide which ones to accept and which ones to reject. The thoughts we accept are the ones we submit to the subconscious, whose job is to make everything we give to it reality. Our thoughts, the chosen or accepted thoughts, literally paint the picture of our reality. The power is in the choosing. We can paint a new image on the canvas of our lives simply by choosing a different set of thoughts. Thoughts color our reality.
Like these colors chosen on paint rollers, we can choose the thoughts that color our reality.
The global quarantine has provided us with the gift of time and space that we likely did not have prior to this experience. In this space and time, we can take a few steps back to look at our life’s work. There is no better time than now to take inventory of the images we have painted that bring us joy, reevaluate the brush strokes that detract from the beauty, value and purpose of our painting and then intentionally set brush to canvas as we begin to paint new images with carefully chosen colors that depict a vibrant, thriving and hopeful self-portrait.
Image of a blank notebook and watercolor palette.

Failure: How Do You See It?

This month we’re looking at a word that no one really likes. Failure.

“Failure brings a climax in which one has the privilege of clearing his mind of fear and making a new start in another direction.”

Napoleon Hill

It is high time we reassign the word failure with a new definition.

When you think of failure today, what do you feel?

When it is your failure does it feel differently than if it is another’s failure?

Most of us would agree that the opposite of failure is success. So when we experience failure, we get this sense of having moved in the opposite direction of success. Napoleon Hill (Author of Think and Grow Rich and Outwitting the Devil) would disagree. He spent a great many years of his life, in the early 1900s, studying the philosophies of successful people. He has concluded that if one were to “study the lives of all people who achieve outstanding success in any calling and observe, with profit, that [they would find] their success is usually in exact ratio to their experiences of defeat before succeeding.”

Stretch your imagination to consider failure as a tool rather than a defeat. Failure is the sharpening stone by which we become sharp, focused and poised in the direction of our aspirations. Failure communicates to us when it is time to adjust our plans. Failure reveals to us the necessity of abandoning thoughts or habits that are no longer serving our quest for success. Failure provides us with the opportunity to face and overcome fear, to strengthen our resolve and to fine tune our minds.

Next time you find yourself staring failure in the face, say “thank you.” “Thank you, failure, for helping me find my way toward my dreams.” “Thank you for redirecting me away from the path that does not serve my purpose and toward the path that does.” “Thank you for revealing to me the seed of an advantage that I may use to strengthen my cause.” “Thank you for providing me with the clarity of what will and will not work.”

So, how do you feel about failure now?

Every month, I send out an uplifting thought, like this one, along with other resources and opportunities for growth. If you’d like to receive this email newsletter, sign up here.

10 Steps to Living More Peacefully in 2020

Want a more peaceful life in 2020?

peace: /pēs/
mental calm; serenity.

Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

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Here are 10 steps toward living more peacefully this year.

  1. The quickest way to a life filled with peace is to eliminate expectations on self and others.
  2. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to make you ‘feel’ anything. That is our job alone.
  3. The more I practice self-love (aka self-acceptance) the greater degree of peace in my life.
  4. Mastering the art of observation will bring more peace.
  5. Knowledge is the salve that can heal old wounds. Learn about mental mechanics–how the conscious and subconscious mind works.
  6. Become more responsive and less reactive. Create space between stimulus and response.
  7. Live transparently. Be honest.
  8. Stop forcing things into place. Learn difference between inspired action and forced action.
  9. Seek alignment in all things. Feel for what resonates authentically with you.
  10. Begin looking for your happiness within yourself. It is a state of mind. Also, happiness emerges from the deep connections we make with ourselves and one another.

Take Charge Of The New Year

Change yourself, Change the world

You can change your world simply by changing the way you feel inside. It’s an inside job! Here are some steps on exactly how to begin consciously creating the life  you prefer:

  1. Imagine and envision a clear picture of what it is that you desire.
  2. Match the vibration of that desire by experiencing the emotions you would be feeling if you were to already exist in that reality.
  3. Act. Behave as if you know what you’ve imagined to already be true. Project the confidence, wear the clothes and walk the walk.
  4. Persevere. There will be a period of time where what you imagine on the inside may not match what you see on the outside. However, if you persevere in spite of the contradiction, you will find in due time, the external world beginning to match your internal vision.

Creating the Perfect 2017

Want to take charge of the new year? You can change your world simply by changing the way you feel inside. It’s an inside job! Here are some steps on exactly how to begin consciously creating the 2017 you prefer:

  1. Imagine and envision a clear picture of what it is that you desire.
  2. Match the vibration of that desire by experiencing the emotions you would be feeling if you were to already exist in that reality.
  3. Act. Behave as if you know what you’ve imagined to already be true. Project the confidence, wear the clothes and walk the walk.
  4. Persevere. There will be a period of time where what you imagine on the inside may not match what you see on the outside. However, if you persevere in spite of the contradiction, you will find in due time, the external world beginning to match your internal vision.