Thursday, February 28, 2013

What Is A True Friend?

“I really have a hard time being authentic with my friends,” one of my clients told me the other day. “It seems like all they are interested in is the happy and excited “me.” But I am not happy all the time. I get stressed, too, and sometimes I am sad and frustrated. I just don’t feel like I can show that part of myself.”

“There was a time when I was going through a difficult time, and I really needed support, but I noticed that my friends seemed to all pull back and after a while they did not talk to me anymore. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, so I finally asked one of them. She told me that I had become so negative, I wasn’t fun to be around anymore. I hadn’t even noticed that I had become that way. I just wish somebody had told me earlier, rather everybody just disappearing. Isn’t that what friends are for – telling you the truth?”

One of the things that I have learned on my journey of life so far is that we cannot go it alone. We need support along the way. And friends are a great source of support. However, how much support are you supposed to provide as a friend? Does being a friend mean that you patiently listen to endless complaints? Or does it mean that you suppress what you are really feeling, in order to be considerate to your friends?

We need to take responsibility on both sides. I am a strong believer in authenticity. We need to be true to ourselves in order to lead fulfilling lives. And part of that means being able to express how we feel and share what we are going through. However, it is not fair to our friends to burden them with all of our problems every time we talk to them. This is where self-responsibility comes in. 

If you know that you are dealing with some serious issues or have been unhappy for quite some time, you need to get help from a professional. You wouldn’t run to your friend every time you had an issue with your physical health, expecting them to fix it, would you? And if you are the friend on the receiving end, you can help by encouraging them to get the professional support they need, whether it’s through a therapist, a support group, a coach, or a counselor. They may not even realize that they have become so unhappy or negative, and an outside perspective can really help them. It is ok for you to take care of yourself by setting boundaries to how much emotional support you are able to provide.  A true friend will understand.

So yes, we can be ourselves and share who we are, including our “flaws” and our not-so-happy emotions. But let’s not abuse that privilege. Let’s take responsibility for getting help to be emotionally healthy, so we can come to our friendships full, ready to share our love and caring, rather than arriving empty, expecting the other person to fill us up.  

We need to take care of ourselves first, so we can be there for others.      

Manuela helps professional women reduce their stress and regain balance, so they can lead more enjoyable lives. You can visit Manuela's Website for Professional Life Coaching and Personal Growth Workshops.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Treat People As If They Were What They Ought To Be

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming." 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How Can I Find My Soulmate?

Last evening I had an interesting discussion with my workshop participants about Soulmates. I asked everyone what came to mind when they heard the word. I got various responses. For some, it’s a person who is your perfect fit.  For others, it’s someone who you truly enjoy spending time with and who shares your values. There are also people who believe it’s a person who helps you with your personal growth.

Many of us actually have an image of a fairy tale – I know I did! I thought that one day, Prince Charming would arrive and we would just know that we were destined for one another. And we would fall in love and live happily ever after.  Even though I knew that this was a fairy tale image, somehow that expectation was still there.  But Prince Charming never arrived on his white stallion, so I thought that maybe he didn’t exist…

The truth was that I was waiting for a prince who would love me, when I didn’t really love myself. It didn’t matter that I did well in school, had a successful career or was in a caring relationship. Deep inside, I felt like I didn’t belong, people didn’t really care about me, and that I wasn’t loved. And I was looking for something or someone that would make me feel like I did belong, that people really did care about me and that I was truly loved. And I waited and waited…

It wasn’t until I started to take radical self-responsibility that things began to shift. I had been trying to get from others what I wasn’t giving to myself. But that was a futile undertaking. We cannot simply get what is missing inside us from another person. It was time to give to myself what I had been waiting for someone else to give to me all my life.

I had been waiting for myself all along.

If you are still looking for your Soulmate, start by being your own Soulmate first.  Begin with the practices of loving yourself, by accepting yourself completely, being compassionate with yourself and empowering yourself. Remove all the obstacles that are in the way of love – past resentments, false beliefs that you are holding on to, and fear – and practice forgiveness, choosing empowering beliefs and being courageous.

You are your own Soulmate. Embrace yourself first, so you can open yourself to fully loving others and allow yourself to really let in love from others. You are the one you have been waiting for.   

Manuela helps creative and intelligent women get to the next level of success in their career and personal life and create the loving, connected and passionate relationships they have been looking for. Learn about Manuela's upcoming "Fall in Love with Your Soulmate" program, starting Feb. 27th.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We Waste Time Looking for the Perfect Lover

"We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love."
~Tom Robbins

Friday, February 8, 2013

Are You Feeling The Love?

It’s February! The month of love! It’s my birthday month as well. And month 2 of my intention to make this a breakthrough year for me and everyone who wants to join me! There are so many things to celebrate.  =)

While I am really looking forward to this month, the truth is that I haven’t  always been happy about my birthday in the past. For some reason, my birthday would bring up a sense of dread. I wouldn’t feel happy about it. And I couldn’t really explain why.  When I think about it now, I believe it was because deep inside I was carrying a belief that people didn’t really care or that I wasn’t really loved. So when people did show their love or caring, I would appreciate it, but I didn’t really believe they meant it. And because of that belief, I thought that my birthday was somehow just a phony display. Of course I wouldn’t tell anyone how I felt, except a couple of closest friends.

I finally realized that if I wanted to make a change, I really needed to find a way to love myself. And so I began to research and practice. And I realized that I was not the only one who was dealing with this challenge. I began to see how difficult our relationship with ourselves can be and how hard we can be on ourselves. As I found ways to have a more loving and caring relationship with myself, I wanted to help others with what I had learned and discovered. And so my “Fall in Love with Yourself – Fall in Love with Your Life” workshop was born.

It’s been 5 years since my first workshop and I can honestly say that I am looking forward to my birthday this year. I can’t wait to celebrate and spend time with friends. And I want to share my happiness and excitement with others!

Loving myself is still a daily practice, but it has now become a habit and it feels natural. Knowing that there are many of you out there who are practicing as well continues to give me the motivation and inspiration to go on. Thank you to everyone who has been with me on this journey of loving ourselves! I know for sure that we are not meant to go this alone!

Happy February! Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Love Yourself Month!
Oh yes, and Happy Chinese New Year as well! =)

You can visit Manuela's Website for Professional Life Coaching and Personal Growth Workshops.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Courageous Step

At the end of last year, I chose “Courageous” as my quality that I want more of for 2013 (See: The World Hasn’t Ended, NowWhat?) So I was drawn to the following writing by David Whyte. 

 “The Courageous Step
Why is it so difficult to take the first, necessary, close-in, courageous step to claiming our happiness in life? Perhaps, because taking that step immediately leads to a kind of radical internal simplification, where, suddenly, large parts of us, parts of us that had been kept gainfully employed for years; parts of us we thought absolutely necessary to the story, are suddenly out of a job. There occurs in effect a massive form of internal corporate downsizing, where the naysayers in us that do not wish to participate are let go, with all of the accompanying death-like trauma, and where the last fight occurs, a rear guard disbelief that this new, less complicated self, is equal to the new possibilities ahead. –It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer in than we could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is, and that that step is simpler, more radical than we had thought: which is why we so often prefer the story to be more complicated, our identities equally clouded by fear and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility.” ~David Whyte


I love his question “Why is it so difficult to take the first, necessary, close-in, courageous step to claiming our happiness in life?” Because it is so true. Sometimes we know exactly that we need to take a step to make the change we want. But that step seems oh so hard.

The conclusion is right on, too: “We so often prefer the story to be more complicated, our identities equally clouded by fear and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility.”

When I really dig down deep and ask myself why I am making things more complicated than they need to be, I find that the answer is ultimately: fear.

It feels safer to believe that what we want isn’t really possible or it is too difficult. That way we don’t have to risk failure or disappointment.

Yet what do we give up by not taking that courageous step? If the answer is “happiness”, is that a price you are willing to pay?

You can visit Manuela's Website for Professional Life Coaching and Personal Growth Workshops.