Warmheartedness: Better By Monday

“The only thing that will bring happiness is affection and warmheartedness. This really brings inner strength and self-confidence, reduces fear, develops trust, and trust brings friendship. We are social animals, and cooperation is necessary for our survival, but cooperation is entirely based on trust, people are brought together-whole nations are brought together.” –Dalai Lama

Trust is wonderful. It is the reason I can get in my car and drive to work on shared roadways. I navigate between other drivers, through rain or snow, in my approximately 2,000-pound vehicle which I forget to think of as a potential weapon.  I know that if I break the rules, the car or body of another trusting driver may get damaged.

I get in my car, and I trust myself and others to get to the desired destination safely by following shared rules. Shared rules in a community make living together more civil. The regulations which community members uphold are supposed to make us better neighbors to each other.

Driving is a less personal experience because each individual rolling by me is enveloped within a metal barrier. The connection potential is blocked by a lack of contact. I can see when the rules are followed or not, but I can’t reward every good driver with my congratulations or gratitude.

When we are face to face, the rules are called etiquette.  A lack of trust between strangers, who are facing each other, is more prevalent because there are different “rules” from family to family about politeness which we aren’t sure of.

The absence of trust can make face to face interactions feel cold. We can treat each other like automatons, thinking to ourselves- just do your job (but feeling that you don’t want to have more vulnerability than necessary with a stranger). There is a way to engender trust without being too trusting, too soon.

Warmheartedness is a step towards building trust with others. It is an invitation to be seen and experienced as a fellow human being – not a driver, worker, or stranger. When we move with warmth, it conveys acceptance which is humanizing. Being seen, heard, and experienced, in small positive ways, is a place for trust to begin.

Note: The Dalai Lama spelled warmheartedness as one word in his quote and I liked it so much I followed his lead.

One Thing to Do: Think of how differently you act when you feel warmth for someone. Use that memory, water it down if needed, and make your warmth more available to others on a daily basis. 

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.

Soften: Better By Monday

“We already possess these, but they can be ripened: precision, gentleness, and the ability to let go.”   – Pema Chodron

It may not be that we are bad people because there is something bad inside of us. We aren’t always good. Therefore, we aren’t always bad either. It may be that we are human beings having experiences that we don’t always know what to do with, what the Buddha referred to as – a kind of innocent misunderstanding that we as humans share which makes us seem foolish, ignorant, and wrong (sometimes).

Pema Chodron promises us in her book, The Wisdom of No Escape, that we have a way to see how we limit ourselves and make corrections. That understanding comes through “clarity, precision, gentleness, goodheartedness, and kindness.”

The wholeness we seek is found in being more open to ourselves “less shut off and shut down” and able to look at who we are with truth and trust. Truth means telling yourself what is real for you and then trust that you can handle what you hear yourself say. To seek solutions for why you do something “bad” is only knowing part of yourself. Pema suggested, “Our neurosis and our wisdom are made out of the same material. If you throw out your neurosis, you throw out your wisdom.”

Take a look at any recent choice you have made and examine it from more than one angle. If you don’t know why you did or said something (good or bad) – assess what purpose you may have had or what purpose it may have served.

There is an old technique using a four-sided pillow, an Objectivity Pillow. The first side is labeled me, one turn to the right and label that side other(s), another turn to the right and label that side community, then on the last side write world.

When you want to process through any confusion, get the pillow and start with the “Me” side. Then ask this question, How does this affect me? Once you write down or think about the answer, move the pillow to the right one turn to see the word “Other” and ask, How has this affected the other person(s)?  Keep doing this with each side.

Get to know yourself better by thinking through why you act the way you do in one particular incident. It may be a reoccurring problem with family, friends or a partner. Use softness as you think through what your motivation for your behavior is. What does the action get you? How does the new awareness help you love yourself more?

One Thing To Do: Make an Objectivity Pillow and take a question through all four sides. Then repeat the process with any other questions you want to process.

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, ED.S, LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.

Rejection: Better By Monday

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” C.S. Lewis

In one of my college classes the professor asked a question about vulnerability which caused several class members to respond with a negative perspective. The people who voiced an opinion seemed to believe that to be vulnerable meant to be weak. It does mean to be susceptible to injury but I believe that vulnerability also means to be open and willing to be seen.

I have had some life experience with vulnerability. I have been open and accepted many times. But I have also been vulnerable and rejected. I don’t believe that the rejection was a result of the vulnerability, it was a result of what someone else wanted but thought I didn’t have.

I have seen this same realization about being open and risking rejection in many of my clients. It is hard to risk rejection and want acceptance. It takes personal strength to be vulnerable – to be open to acceptance or rejection.

It is beneficial to let your truth be seen. Loving yourself enough to be seen may be the best and most sure way to be honored by another self-loving person. The view you offer of yourself (and the beauty of that view being appreciated) is courageous and confidence building.

Taking time to learn about the person you want to open yourself up to is better self-protection than hiding. If you hide because you are afraid of rejection or betrayal then move more slowly or move on but be seen! Knowing the trustworthiness of your partner takes time. Trusting yourself comes with the experience of being seen.

Showing your own truth is your choice and responsibility. Open yourself up because you want to share who you are with someone you believe will respect your truth.

One Thing To Do: Make a list of the things about yourself you feel safe sharing with a new friend and draw a line. Then continue to list what you would share with a very close friend. That is your depth line – don’t go past it with new people, too soon.

Dawna Daigneault

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.

Better By Monday: Off Balance

Better By MondayPlan to be unbalanced. That’s right, spot a time in your day or weekend where you KNOW you’ll be a bit of a wreck, overly emotional, or even angry. I know this is a bit of an anti-positive attitude here, but hang with me. After you select your anticipated event or time when you expect to be challenged, think right then of how quickly you can recover or get back to a positive/neutral feeling about it.

Plan in your mind whether it will take a day, a few hours, 30 minutes…..maybe a minute? Point is – there is NO such thing as achieving some ongoing steady state of personal or emotional balance in life. People keep themselves anxious and self-critical every time they fall out of a comfortable life position. Instead you can now see this as a normal nuisance and expected thing, and the ONLY plan and forethought worth having is about how you expect to get back into balance, for a time – until the next thing happens.

That’s it! Balance can be found but never kept. It’s found, lost , found again and lost again. Over and over it goes. Over time you don’t need to anticipate any specific bad situation, just know they will always show up, along with the good ones, and in each case you will have an opportunity to see how much better you are at responding, recovering, and moving on with peace inside (think of peace as a hybrid positive and neutral).

So at a minimum you can stop fearing this loss of balance and welcome it, and plan your recovery. THAT’s the way to get though life with overall balance, over time… as nothing – and no one – will be able to incite fear in you again as you have the ability to respond to anything… and trust yourself.

Dawna Daigneault

Dawna Daigneault, EdS, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., L.P.C.

Better By Monday is a blog about one thing you can do, try or practice over the weekend to feel a little bit better by Monday

Zest of Life, LLC.