Archive for the ‘Life Balance’ Category

Honoring what I Value – Even on Facebook! or Intrigue, Scandal and Deceit!

| Thursday, September 22nd, 2011 | 2 Comments »

OK….to me Facebook (FB) is a form of community. A society in fact.  Some people (friends/contacts) I see day to day only online and others occasionally and they may not stay active in my community for long term. The rest are family and friends from my physical world that I connect with online in addition to in person gatherings.

So…the values that guide me and teach me are important there too right?

YES! A big booming resounding YES! And that is hard for many people to grasp I have found.

Take for example the ‘unfriend’ function. I know so many people who simply hide those they no longer wish to stay in contact with…for various reasons, not to offend (as if no longer paying attention to them permanently in secret isn’t rude) seems to be a big reason.

I apply this lesson – If a person, place or thing is detracting from my life instead of adding to it, it’s gotta go!

Now I have used the hide function.   Example:  People being quite chatty on a certain topic for awhile or during political campaigns and in that case it is a monitoring tool for me. I go back now and then and check on the friends I have “hidden” and participate on their profiles and often unhide them.

The new List function is also perfect for staying in touch frequently with those closest to you.  I even have a list just for my online “gaming” friends so all those game posts no longer clog up my main feed.  And yet when I want to check in on them I can easily find them in one place. YAY!

Facebook is growing up and hopefully it will make it easier for those that find the social etiquette part challenging. But this blog post is about VALUES.  Mine specifically.  Hopefully though it will get you thinking about yours and how you apply them to all aspects of your life.

So those I no longer wish to ever interact with? Then the grown up thing to do…for me, for you, for them is to unfriend that person. The term seems harsh for many – the truth hurts sometimes. But Facebook isn’t Jr. High. It’s the real world online and to keep a sane brain I need to respect myself and what is important. And they deserve the same respect.  Change and moving on is all part of life.  Facebook isn’t a popularity contest.  Really it isn’t! Unless having more “friends” online is one of your top values in which I say OK…rock on.  (I know some businesses and public figures use a friend profile vs. a business page so the friend gathering thing works for them)

Your values and mine are often different.  I accept that.

Yesterday I was unfriended by someone.  Which was timely as I was getting ready to block the person.  This was on my personal profile vs. my JAFA business page.  I work hard to allow myself professional expression that is true to myself while keeping the totally personal stuff on my profile instead.  This example is so pertinent to this topic though I want to include it here.

Long story sorta short. My friend – a contact really who I played a game with bullied someone on FB.  Publicly and harshly stated things about this person for using the “F word” and potentially exposing their kids to seeing it on Facebook and so they were going to quit using FB themselves it had so ruined it for them.  (The word was used to describe a certain athlete with a history of horrific dog abuse whom my contact and her husband seemed to admire).

What was my role in this?  My online society?  I chose to stay quiet.  I didn’t know the “F word” offender nor my contacts husband.  Then the next day my contact stated they were about to watch a TV show that is notorious for the foul mouth of the lead, Chef Ramsey. I know and have watched his shows…to me he is The King of F words on TV.  Then the new Facebook launch and there my contact is posting the dreaded “F word” to describe it.

Again… I thought what is my role in this?  I realized at this point for my self respect I needed to respond.  I pointed out to her on the F word post that it seemed it was OK to expose her kids to the F word. I did it factually and suggested she apologize to the person she had so publicly slammed a few days prior for using said word on Facebook.  I did it publicly because I felt she bullied someone for the very thing that she herself was freely doing in her own home and online. The thing that she had said was going to make her quit using Facebook.  I felt it was important for me to stand up in my online society and say that is not ok.  I wouldn’t have put up with it in my physical world, I must honor what I value in all my circles.  Bullying and hypocrisy are not on my values list.

Hypocrisy is dishonesty wrapped in judgment – JAFA

Values and learning to recognize them and honor them in all aspects of ones life is an important part of what I live by and impart in my coaching business.  Sometimes i get sucked into behavior that I don’t like in myself and apologize for it.  Sometimes I caution myself to not get “soapboxey” on communities such as Facebook and sometimes I don’t always succeed and again it is my responsibility to make amends for my actions.  And sometimes, I remember my place in all forms of my society and I stand up and honor my values and respect those I believe society also respects.  It may cost me friends or contacts and I am OK with that.  Being true to myself is one of the few things I am able to “take with me” someday.  I don’t want to be left with a bucket full of I should have’s….

I hope my sharing these examples helps you continue to recognize what is important to you and honor it in all aspects of your life.  If someone/thing is upsetting you, then most likely they are stomping on something you value.

Don’t let that be OK.  Your life is worth more.


NB: What started out as a Chronic Bitch blog post quickly became a lesson and tool to me and I am going to cross post this on my JAFA business blog as well.  Thanks for your understanding if you happen to read both blogs.

Saying Goodbye when only the Mind is Going

| Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 | No Comments »

I believe one of the toughest issues to deal with is watching a family member age into the latter years of their lives slowly losing parts of their personality and health along the way.

Especially challenging is the “loss” and anger we feel when our loved one begins forgetting much of what they say and becoming a different person because of this change.  Perhaps they have become afraid or quite needy because they don’t remember conversations they have moment by moment or day to day.  This can be so upsetting if you are used to someone who was always assertive and clear headed.

On the flip side a once loving family member may now be snappy and demanding, making constant requests and little else.  You ask yourself, “Who is this person”? “Do I even want to spend time with them anymore”?

Remember the old “seesaw” from the playground?  Now our emotions are riding this childhood toy.  One minute we are up and the next we are down just like our family member.  It can be difficult to navigate such a relationship.  We go from family member to caregiver with a misunderstood or twice repeated sentence over the phone.

Losing one's memory is an up and down ride for everyone

Losing one's memory is an up and down ride for everyone

And with no caregiver training or experience this can have an unhappy outcome for all concerned.  It is hard to be patient and understanding when you don’t understand what is happening or begin doubting yourself as to what you have said or heard.  This is a seesaw ride that is no fun.

What we thought was clear a minute ago may now not even be remembered as spoken.  Panic may set in as we try and determine if our loved one will remember important information.  Especially since so many of us live a county, province or state away and maintain long distance relations with our family.

The feelings that arise under these circumstances are varied.  “Why are they behaving this way?”  “Are they trying to make me feel guilty?” “Is no one at the care facility helping them?” “Why am I the only family member who is doing anything?”.

Perhaps there are no negative answers to these questions.  Perhaps what they told one member they forgot to tell another or they simply don’t remember being given their medications or eating earlier. Perhaps they are safe and well but were unable to communicate that and now you are left feeling worried and stressed.

This awareness does not solve the pain and sadness we feel when we realize we are losing someone we love while they are still here.

And while I believe there are a lot of options and solutions to helping both sides of the family out in this situation in regards to the forgetting* there is little solution for the sadness for the loss of the family member who is slipping away.

Sometimes all we can ask for is a hug. If you are struggling with this in your life, please do ask for a hug.  Take a break from the pain and acknowledge your sad.  It’s ok to say this doesn’t feel good.  It’s ok to be angry that your mother or aunt or life long friend is becoming someone you don’t really know anymore.  Hard to admit but maybe  someone who has become more chore than joy.  A hug is indeed in order!

And give a hug. Most of us are or will go through this or know someone who is.  Sometimes words say nothing and yet a hug can say so much.  “I understand”, “you are strong, hang in there”,  “you are not alone”.

Saying goodbye when only the mind is going is a painful farewell.

Maybe the best solution possible is to draw on a happy memory during these times.

No need to say goodbye to those too.

forgetting* – call me to schedule a brainstorming session around tools and tips specific to your situation.  Something as simple as putting a corkboard and notepad by the phone or hiring a local church member to coordinate day to day issues can provide stress relief and solution.

Seesaw image credit:

The Family Ties that Bind

| Monday, July 20th, 2009 | No Comments »

Julia with her Dutch in laws and family

Julia and Maarten with his family in Lochem, The Netherlands

You know so many of my clients struggle with their in-laws or other family members.

I think one of the main reasons is fear.

They (your partners family) are afraid you are going to steal them away by requesting you and your love move back to your home country.  A “foreigner” daughter or son in law poses a bigger threat of unknown values and expectations.

Another reason is they are annoyed that they have to stop being what they perceive as “normal”.  Weddings, special occasions etc. require that they often make accommodations to ensure you feel included or at least acknowledged.  So now they have transitional issues too.

The worst problem is the family members who actually don’t care if you feel like an outsider and make little to no effort to understand your transitional struggle let alone do anything to make it easier for all concerned.

In Holland I heard over and over again from female clients and friends that their inlaws said something along the lines of “you live here now and must do what we do”.

They don’t seem to grasp that who you are is what makes you YOU!  No longer celebrating Christmas or Thanksgiving (whether in October or November depending on where you live in North America) isn’t something someone just gives up.

Nor should it be.

They also seem to overlook that the values, traditions and upbringing in your home country created the person their son or daughter fell in love with.

This all may sound dire.

I am here to tell you from both personal experience and from working with clients that those who stood true to themselves and their traditions built a stronger relationship with their partner. They found ways to continue their rituals and other events by either educating and including their family or with other expats and new friends.

The key here is that they acknowledged whether home or abroad, family ties often run deep and to ignore them can be detrimental to their love relationship.

They got over the hurdle of blame and anger and defensiveness based on their own cultural biases and looked for common ground.

And eventually over time they realized that the ties that bind their partners family together now included them too.

What can you do differently to include your new family in rituals or holidays important to you?

Perhaps it’s better to find ways to celebrate with people that understand and benefit from celebrating with you.

If so, how will you organize that next time? What is your first step?

Remove the fear of losing yourself and stop trying to be someone you aren’t. There are ways to be both multiculturally open minded and true to your culture. Make the effort. The growth along the way may be surprisingly joyful.

Are you Accepting Less Than You Hoped For?

| Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Some people call it “settling for less”, others say “giving up, giving in”.

Either way it can cause long term stress that eats away at your self esteem and happiness.

Living abroad can put us in situations where our choices don’t feel like options we want to pick. The result is we are left feeling trapped and upset.

Sadly, we usually have other options we are not seeing because our own inner voice and cultural conditioning often put up walls blinding us to our big picture options and the truth.

The worst scenario is the one whereby we really do have only a few options and none of them are what we would pick for ourselves “back home”.

This is where it is so important to give yourself the chance to explore your values, determine your limitations and see what type of compromise you are willing to make.

If you can turn your situation around and view it as making a compromise, putting yourself back in the power seat, it can do a lot for relieving the mental stress you are feeling.

The key here is that I am not suggesting you just change the wording. I am suggesting that you actually pick the option that is best for you even though you don’t like it and find a way to actually turn it into a compromise.

Perhaps it means giving yourself permission to return home sooner than you planned because you are miserable and your health comes first. So, “I hate this location and I have 16 months to go in this contract”… becomes “If I work for another 6 months here, the money I make will be enough to purchase that house back home, I will choose to work here for that time and then make arrangements to move back early and find a job better suited to my goals and interests”.

Ok, is a gremlin yelling at you right now….quit the job…. is Julia nuts? Maybe. You tell me.

Which is nuttier, to stay in a situation that is causing you sadness, anger, frustration, eating away at your health at the cellular level causing long term damage, negatively affecting your relationships, possibly your partner or kids, OR seizing the opportunity, taking control of your destiny and reshaping how you choose to go forward.

Never forget. NEVER forget this is YOUR life.

Who are you putting in charge of it? Yourself using your values and beliefs to guide you OR Society, your boss, your spouse, a bad situation.

If you answer yes to the title question of this post, ask yourself the next question: How many more days are you going to tolerate choosing to remain in this situation?

How many more days will you throw away?

Ready to change?

First step. What are you tolerating?
Second step. What would the situation look like without the toleration?
Third step. What do you need to do right now to change this?

If the fourth step for you is getting help with this – I am here for you. Let’s get it done!