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Archive for Self-esteem

Opportunity is Always Knocking

Opportunity is always knocking. The problem is that most people have the self-doubt station in their heads turned up way too loud to hear it.

—Brian Vaszily

Duff photoDuff here. I contemplated this thought the other day. You know. In my Inimitable Doggy Fashion. With My head on My paws, Watching the World go by. And it occurred to Me: Good Fortune is around every Corner. Today is the beginning of Labor Day weekend. A time of Fun and Frolic. Get-togethers with Friends and Family. Great music. And of course, let’s include the Dogs. Scrumptious foods, Games to play, Jokes to share and Reconnections of all Kinds. Unquestionably living unstuck.

But what happens if You huddle in your Abode over the next few days, Telling Yourself Some Negative Speculations. Such Things as: “I don’t have any friends.” Or “I’m too scared to go to that venue.” Or “What will people say if I go and I’m by Myself?” That Self-Doubt Station can abound and multiply, creating a Dark Cloud around You. You would be Living in that Stuck place.

I say: Change the Station. Tune into Laughter and Fun, Self-Confidence and A Love of Life. Include others, for Some of them might be listening to the Wrong Station, too. Think how you could Brighten Their Day! Another Cogitation: it never occurred to Me that Someone might not find Me Charming and Enchanting. I Go for Life with Gusto. And if They choose not to enjoy my Company? Well, too bad for Them. I encourage you: Enjoy Your weekend. And Intend Safety, as The Nice Lady who feeds me at the Knitting Group often says. Grab that opportunity, Change the Channel and live unstuck. #unstuckliving#releaseselfdoubt

Duck Bottoms: Diving Into the Depths

On my morning walk, I pass by a pond lined with plants of all types. The drought caused the water levels to get lower and lower over the summer, and I watched the waterfowl fly away to find more comfortable homes. Over time, they left in twos and threes until there were few left. Here on the Mountain we have been fortunate to have some monsoon moisture this year. After a microburst a few weeks ago, the pond was nearly full again. And the birds returned.

As I considered these flying creatures, it occurred to me: they are at home on land, in the air, and on the water. Remarkably adaptable, they can find nourishment on the ground or in the deeper depth of the pond. They scavenge for bugs and grubs in the tall grasses, protected from other predators that might lurk nearby. Duck bills are wide enough to gather up the bigger edibles.

These remarkable creatures can also dive deep beneath the surface, with their feathery bottoms in the air and webbed feet keeping them stable. I wonder: what do they see in the underwater habitat? These versatile feathered animals may bob back to the surface with bugs or a fish in their beaks. Or they may be unsuccessful and submerge themselves underwater once again to secure some nourishment. But they are as comfortable in the water as they are on land and in the air.

Are you as adaptable as these waterfowl? Able to duck your head into emotions to discover the authentic you? Or are you more comfortable on solid ground, connecting with the earth? A few tips to begin to know yourself are:

  • Find peace in the outdoors. Frenzied with the ongoing fuss of everyday life? Get out in nature and be still. You will be able to dive more in-depth when you feel calm and tranquil.
  • Spend 15-20 minutes each day in solitude. The inner mind is continuously chattering, searching for answers to untold questions. When still, your mind calms itself. Much easier to dive deep and discover your own inimitable treasures.
  • Discover flexibility inside of you. How adaptable are you? Can you both float on the surface of your being and plunge deep within when you choose? Both are skills worth developing.
  • Take stock of past patterns of behavior. To learn more about yourself, chart a timeline of past actions and attitudes. They will provide a map for both the present and future. This activity also makes goal setting, life focus, and purpose.
  • Get curious about yourself. Are you bored with life? Want to know more about yourself? Be adventurous and take the journey of discovery to who you are as a being. Bring your inner values to light and revel in who you are. You too can fly, be in the depths of feelings and ground yourself each day. You will travel farther and faster than you have ever dreamed.

I’m curious: how do you dive deep to discover what’s within you? How do you fly high? Or are you comfortable where you are? Let me know below in the comments.

Walking on Tiptoe

You can never leave footprints that last if you’re always walking on tiptoe.

—Leymah Gbowee

Duff photoGreetings! Duff here. I see so many people who go through their Lives on tiptoe. They stay Small and do not venture an opinion, for fear of saying the wrong thing. Or hurting another’s Feelings. When asked what they would like to do, they say “Whatever. It doesn’t matter to me.” Or if at a restaurant, they will defer and say, “I’ll have what you do” even if that’s not what they want. It’s as if they live in their little Fearful Box, too afraid to come out and be themselves. I can perceive their Insecurity and Tentative Natures in an instant, for I am a Powerfully Sensitive Dog when it comes to Feelings and Emotions. That’s being unstuck.

Now personally, I don’t have that Problem. I am Myself all day long. I live and eat and play as a Duff should: joyous, free and content. I have a Heart, a Mind, and a Voice. I speak my truths as openly as I can and use them for good. Many know me for who I am. They even recognize Me before they realize Mom is with me. (Which is a giggle). Like The Velveteen Rabbit of old, I am authentic and real. I live unstuck.

I ask: What will it take for you to realize you are Amazing? That you have Talents and Skills no one else has? That you know you could do Anything you wanted if you set your mind to it? I recommend standing in front of the mirror every morning as you tell yourself, “I love you. I like you. I trust you.” It will feel so good; you may even repeat those thoughts many times over. I have found it works wonders. And I suspect you will too. Live unstuck. #unstuckliving#selfworth

Secure in Himself

The Philadelphia Eagles are going to the Super Bowl. In the race to see what happens next for this team, an important pause is suggested. Carson Wentz, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, led the team in a magical season for 13 games before being sidelined by an injury. But that didn’t stop him from being a leader and a coach for the other quarterbacks. Although he’s banged up, he still goes to team meetings and attends practices. Carson was in the locker room, celebrating the team’s victory. On Media Day, he showed confidence in his place on the team. Sure, he’s not “the guy.” He could have been in the shadows. But he was there. Living unstuck.

When the season started, it was like the Wentz Wagon was on a roll. All kinds of people in the car. Music blasting and people singing. The parade was on, with streamers and confetti. Then the wheel comes off. Now, Wentz is in the passenger seat. How to handle such a dramatic change?

He continued to be true to himself. He has been there to support the second string Nick Foles. Both Wentz and Foles are strong Christians and lean on their faith at times like these. As usual, he’s upbeat, bright and chipper. He’s enjoying the team victory, the dance of a group of athletic men moving together as one. Each with their specific role; their own task. Even though it would be easy to get stuck in the doldrums of rehabilitation, he’s all in.

I wonder how well I would do in a situation like this one. To work so hard and have a dream. Only to have that bubble popped as I was going down the home stretch. I would hope to be of the same caliber as Carson, to enjoy the moment and savor all that is going on. It may only happen once, for it’s a long slog to play the full 60 minutes each game all season long. But as Carson Wentz says, “I’ll be back better than ever.” You can’t have a worthier motto than that. Live unstuck. #UnstuckLiving

It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.

—Vince Lombardi

Lookin’ Good

Many football players are known for their styles and special looks. Deion Sanders has a nickname: Neon Deion. He made his fame as a football player after having a career in baseball and has moved on to be a sports commentator. He’s the only player to ever compete in the Super Bowl and the World Series. But more important, he’s also known for his custom-made suits and flashy jewelry. The other day he said, “If you look good, feel good, move good you play good.” Talk about living unstuck!

Now I have to admit: there are times when I’m not looking my best. Maybe it’s a non-work day, and I’m busy with household chores. Scrubbing floors doesn’t require a nice outfit, for jeans and a tee shirt will do. Perhaps it’s when I’m out walking in the morning with MacDuff. Or if I’m unloading the car after a Walmart run. But I do know if I’m working from home, I need to get dressed for work to be on point. I feel better about myself . . . and my projects. I envy those folks who can labor away in their pajamas, feet thrust in fluffy slippers with a cup of coffee at hand. Not me. I need to be dressed and ready to take on the day. My mind is clear, my thoughts are sharp, and I’m open to possibilities. I’m living unstuck.

How about you? Are you able to work comfortably from home in your sweats? Or do you need to get duded up? Live unstuck! #UnstuckLiving

To improve your looks, to feel powerful and inspire others, just smile.

—Val Uchendu

Nothing Is Impossible

Long snappers are among the most unheralded of football players — unless something goes terribly wrong. This skill is precise and deliberate, often executed under tremendous pressure if a team needs the points to win. This year, though, everyone was talking about long snappers for a different reason.

Jake Olson had a form of retinal cancer. He lost sight in one eye at 3, and by 12 had to have both eyes removed. But he didn’t get stuck. Jake didn’t stop from pursuing his athletic dreams. Shortly before the second operation, USC Coach Pete Carroll heard about this boy’s story. And knew Jake was a loyal USC Trojan fan.

The coach brought 12-year-old Jake to the field and team members embraced him, supporting him in his time of change. They made him feel part of the team. He came to all the games he could, listening to play-by-play narratives and cheering on his teammates.

The years went by. Jake knew he only had a remote chance to play football for USC. He practiced and practiced as a long snapper, never giving up.

Fast forward to 2017. It was the 4th quarter and USC was playing Western Michigan. Then something magical happened. An agreement between the teams, negotiated by the head coaches, led to Olson’s opportunity to play on the field.

“Coach Hilton (USC) told me what the kid meant to the team. I told him we’d be happy to be a part of it,” Western Michigan Coach Tim Lester said. He basically told his team to stand down. “What we’re about to do is bigger than the game. This is about what kind of people we want to be, what we represent; this is bigger than us.” The players took their positions, but never moved or tried to rush Jake.

With his hand on a teammate’s shoulder, 6’3”, 225 pound long snapper, Jake Olson jogged out onto the playing field. Jake successfully long snapped and the ball was placed for the punter. The kick was good. He was never stuck. And according to him, nothing is impossible. And that’s the truth.

Ever been in a situation where you got stuck in the impossible? If you’re still there, think of the smallest thing you could do to begin getting unstuck. It could be something as tiny as a positive affirmation on your bathroom mirror. Catching yourself when you have a negative thought and reframing to the positive. Or something as large as the decision to go back to school. Or plan a different chapter for the next years of your life. You can put feet on your dreams and get unstuck. Jake says so. Nothing is impossible.

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, “I’m possible.”

—Audrey Hepburn

Stuck in the Rabbit Hole of Self-Esteem?


Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Have you ever noticed how mischievous our minds can be? In some ways, we can spend the whole day trying to keep what we consider inappropriate thoughts from surfacing into the social atmosphere. “If I truly said what I think, what would people think of me?”, you may ask yourself. So we keep the sentry at the door, ever vigilant to avoid a social pothole. Our faces and actions may show that all is well in our world, but the mind will say things like, “I feel so stupid for saying that.” Or the mind will enter into always/never land… “It seems like I will never be good enough.” When the judge appears (the inner critic), down the rabbit hole the mind wanders and in a second can become forever lost in our cranky, critical thoughts. Thoughts that are not anything like the way we would speak to a beloved child or cherished friend. Why is that?

Why are we not as likely to say grand things about our own behavior? Like, “I handled that like a pro” or “I’m the best.” Somehow being nice to ourselves in our inner thoughts can feel more painful than the disparaging ones. We’ll do anything not to appear to be full of ourselves. What DO we say to ourselves then? Many experts agree that the answer is simply to let the mischievous mind wander where ever it wants or needs to go in a process called “cognitive awareness.” What that means is simply to be aware of your mean or grandiose thoughts but stop short of putting a label on them. So an inner voice that says “you screwed that up again” could be met with a response like “hello little gremlin” or even simply “stop delete.” Our body’s responses will tell us when we have gone down the rabbit hole into judgment land with headaches, stomach problems, overeating, undereating, anxiety, depression and illnesses of all varieties.

If this cycle sounds like your daily routine, there are ways to get unstuck and make friends with your gremlin. It requires just 3 things:

  1. Be aware when an emotional guidance signal sends you pain. Stop and look at it. Let it run its usual script.
  2. Get playful and have some fun with that nasty, critical thought. Give it a name or visualize it in all sorts of ways so that you can picture IT rather than judge yourself. (Mine is a sparkling purple with striped red and white socks.) When I chase IT down the rabbit hole, I focus on this image instead of the critical thought. Like Alice in Wonderland, I can get “curiouser and curiouser” which keeps me from reacting to the judge.
  3. Learn to love your gremlin instead of trying to hold him/her down. Know this gremlin is there to help you. When you talk to it with love and acceptance, it will be a calmer companion.

If you find that your gremlin is too big to tame, I have a few more ways that will help you get unstuck and play your way into healthier self-talk, often in as few as 1 to 3 sessions. If you’re ready to trash those nasty habits with an investment in you of $90 per session, call me at (928) 367-8208 or email me using the Contact Form on the website. Bringing over 30 years of experience to my practice, I am a highly qualified NLP Practitioner and a certified clinical hypnotherapist. Many have found my friendly ways and precise techniques to be the easiest road toward a better life.