Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pressing Past Pity Parties

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

In the continued pursuit, as a life coach, to provide tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives, this week I’m going to deal with the lie that says, "My unhappiness is somebody else’s fault." I want to call it Pressing Past Pity Parties.

"You hurt my feelings!"
 "If it weren’t for you I could have been something!"
 "You made me get angry!"
These are some serious pity party statements.

Dr. Chris Thurman, author of the book, The Lies We Believe, states that the theme of his book is that our way of thinking about the circumstances of our lives is what makes or breaks us.

The lie I want to discuss today says, the situations outside of ourselves, FORCE us to feel and act in certain ways. In this way of thinking, we dump the responsibility for our responses onto anyone or anything else other than ourselves. It points the finger at others and no responsibility for our actions is taken.

A great example would be to picture yourself in your car waiting at a red traffic light, behind several cars. The traffic light turns green, but the car in the front doesn’t move because they're texting and not paying attention. By the time they realize that it's time to move forward, they drive slowly through the intersection, but you miss the opportunity to go through because the signal goes back to red. Your face gets warm, your pulse quickens and you yell at the inconsiderate person! That would be me in this type of situation. I’m working on my road rage issues.

Okay, so what was it that made you angry? Was it the inconsiderate person who chose to text? Was it the person behind them who didn’t blow their car horn to alert them? It’s their fault that you’re angry, right? Wrong! Their action or inaction did not MAKE you angry nor force you to scream at them.

According to Dr. Thurman, external events don’t have the ability to MAKE us feel what we feel or do what we do. Coming into that realization is a key component in separating the psychologically healthy person from the psychologically disturbed person. People who are psychologically healthy take responsibility for their own feelings and actions, while the psychologically disturbed person will blame other people or things for their feelings and actions.

My husband tells the story about the night after one of his brothers passed away, how he was lying in bed sinking into a deep, dark, sadness that was overwhelming his mind and emotions.

I recall how he forced himself to get out of the bed and he stepped into the hallway and began to pray out loud. He walked back and forth in the hallway outside of our bedroom, crying loudly, while praying and singing songs of worship with all of his might, refusing to give in to those heart-breaking waves of grief. At that moment, he made a choice to reach out to God in the midst of his sorrow. About a week later he had what he calls "a good, healthy, cleansing cry" which helped him through the rest of the grieving process.

Dr. Thurman reveals that the reality is that what we feel and what we choose to do with our feelings, comes from within us and not just because of what someone did or said, or from the circumstances without. You and I respond to situations and people because we make a choice to respond the way that we do. No one else has the responsibility for our feelings or actions, but us.

If we want to live healthy, successful and fruitful lives, we must choose to accept responsibility for our actions. We must press past the temptation to have a pity party. Feelings aren’t necessarily right or wrong, but our actions can be right or wrong.

Dr. Thurman concludes: Our feelings, whether pleasant or unpleasant, can be directed by how we think. No one forces us to think the way we think. We are responsible for how we act on the feelings that external events create. Our unhappiness or happiness is our choice.

I’m not telling you to suppress your feelings, especially in the aftermath of loss and tragedy, or after a major conflict or disagreement with someone.  I’m insisting this:

Don't allow your feelings to lead you.
Don’t allow your feelings to make decisions for you.
Don’t allow your feelings to send you into a pit party.

You’re better than that. You’re stronger than that.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green

As the world's leading producers of CARE-Ready Life Coaches™, Chris and Carol Green teach and train community, government and education leaders, human service organizers, business visionaries, and neighborhood dreamers how to be much more effective by embracing the principles of CARE (Compassionate Accountability with Respect and Empathy) in their professional and personal lives. They LISTEN to people, LIFT people and LAUNCH people. Then they equip and empower them to do the same for others.

Many coaching, mentoring and community outreach programs employ what is known as a "deficit model" of working with people. That's where you focus on the problems (deficits) of a person, and then apply a set of pre-determined, cookie cutter steps and treatments to address their issues. The deficit-based model is what many well-meaning Helpers use, but it rarely works long-term, leaving Helpers wondering why their clients fail to break the cycles of addiction and recidivism.
However, CARE-Ready Life Coaching™ mirrors the principles found in the Best Practice principles of Strength-based, Solution-focused models. CARE-Ready life coaches are trained to connect with people in order to build a relationship/ partnership that empowers the client; thus allowing the client to discover the solutions that will work best for them.

Also, while many coaching programs focus on how to target potential high-paying affluent clients, and high-paying speaking opportunities, the Greens train, equip and empower Care-Ready Providers and Coaches™, who are willing to take on the most often overlooked people of society; those who live in under-served communities, who can least afford, but benefit the most from professional guidance.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pressing Past Personal Preferences

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

In last week's Listen, Lift, Launch Letter, we dealt with the lie that says, "It’s easier to avoid problems than to face them."  In our continued pursuit, in our life coaching, to provide tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives, this week we are going to take on the lie that says, "I can’t be happy unless things go my way." I want to title this week's discussion, Pressing Past Personal Preferences.

What is your response when your expectations don’t materialize as you think they should or WHEN you think they should?  What is your response when people have an annoying habit of being late or not putting things back where they belong? How about when you plan to spend quality time with your spouse and they say something that irritates you?

There is a bumper sticker I’ve seen on cars that states “Life Happens”.  The reality of life is that things don't always happen the way we prefer them to happen.

This is real life: You’re hoping to catch a perfectly-timed sequence of green traffic lights on the way to work because you’re running late, but someone pulls in front of you, driving 10 miles per hour with an attitude to match their speed; causing you to get caught at a red light.

This is real life: Your company has to lay you off because business isn’t going well.

This is real life: You wear a white outfit and somehow you spill something on it that stains it.... forever!

How many of us actually accept these things about life without it allowing it to make us cynical or resentful?  How many of us really want to accept the fact that life can be and often is difficult, without it causing a conflict in our understanding about faith, God's sovereignty, and our personal reactions?

In his book, The Lies We Believe, Dr. Chris Thurman suggests that it’s not easy to keep a good attitude if you get into your car and it doesn’t start; if someone has a loud conversation at the movies; or if someone jumps ahead of you in a long line at your favorite restaurant.

The “I can’t be happy unless things go my way” lie, which is destructive in any healthy relationship, is at its worst in our marriages. The individuality of a person can be so strong that the “we” is never allowed to grow and develop.  These marriages have one or both spouses pulling the other into their way of thinking and doing things; instead of learning how to blend. The individuality in these marriages often creates two people pulling in separate directions and fighting all the time over petty issues. 

Dr. Thurman discloses that life has a real nasty habit of reminding us that it will not always go the way we want it to go.  How will you choose to respond in light of that fact?  We will become a person that no one is able to live with or we will make the best of it and handle each situation or person with the grace that God the Father gives us each day.

When people respond to us in ways that don’t meet our personal preferences and expectations, we can choose our responses, even though we don't necessarily like what they're doing. We must choose, in the moment, to face the issue within ourselves and receive the power and ability God has given to help us deal with the situation.

Remember, it isn’t simply what someone else says or does that makes you unhappy, it’s how you and I choose to respond.  It isn’t simply what happens to us that makes us unhappy, it’s how you and I view it. Even when things don’t go our way, we can still keep a Godly attitude. This sounds like fantasy, especially in situations of betrayal like infidelity. But even in this, we can choose our response. We don't HAVE TO react in violence and claim, "He made me throw out his clothes!" or "She made me punch her!"

Acts 20: 22-24 reads, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

James 1:2-3 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

The proper attitude in dealing with people, as well as all of life's hardships, is to count it all joy, which is not an emotional reaction, but (according to the commentary in the Spirit-Filled Life Bible) a deliberate, intelligent appraisal of the situation from God’s perspective, viewing trials (and might I add, people's responses) as a means to moral and spiritual growth.

This commentary goes on to say that we don’t rejoice in the trials themselves, but in their possible results. Testing carries the idea of proving genuineness. Trials serve as a discipline to strip away what is false. Patience is not a passive resignation to adverse circumstances, but a positive steadfastness that bravely endures.

In order to press past my personal preferences, I must count it all joy when people and circumstances go against my expectations.

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green