Tag Archive: Life coaching



Last Friday I blogged about Stress Management by introducing some common symptoms that occur when one is under a lot of stress. Today I want to touch on what is happening in our physical bodies that brings about the symptoms we discussed last week.

The fight, flight or freeze response is how the body prepares itself to deal with stress and anxiety and even fear. Your cerebral cortex (the thinking part of the brain) sends an alarm to the hypothalamus, which then stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to make changes in the body to prepare itself for action -primarily, fight, flight or freeze.

The changes that occur are things like heart rate increase, muscle tension, blood pressure increases, metabolism. Blood is directed away from the digestive system and the extremities and re-directed toward major muscle groups that can help to fight or run.

In each stressful situation we face, our instinctual reptilian brain (which is the oldest part of the brain, responsible for instincts such as fight, flight or freeze) is activated and we instinctually respond with a course of action to deal with the situation, seemingly without thinking about it, as it seems to occur automatically, in a matter of seconds the fight, flight or freeze response is in action, directed by the hypothalamus to trigger the sympathetic nervous system to ready us for attack, alarm, or a perceived attack, readying us to fight the stressor, flee and avoid the stressor, or freeze up, unable to fight or flee.

We may not always freeze up, we may not always automatically fight, just as we may not always take flight from the stressful situation. It depends on each circumstance we face.

If you are afraid of public speaking for instance, once you get up to the podium, you might freeze up, unable to speak. Or perhaps you dance around the subject with your boss, trying to get out of having to do the speech (flight), or you face it head on and fight the butterflies in your stomach and do the speech.

Or if you need to confront a co-worker who is a bully at your work, perhaps you want to avoid the stressor and avoid taking shifts where you work with that person, or you simply feel anxiety the whole time you work with this person unable to confront the situation out of fear. Perhaps you decide enough is enough, I am going to report this bully and take action.

I am not saying ‘fighting’ is always the best choice in dealing with a stressful situation. For instance, if you do not have healthy confrontational skills and you end up verbally or even physically assaulting your irritating co-worker, perhaps fighting the situation via direct confrontation is not the best solution for you, and perhaps you should involve the management team instead.

In a situation where a burglar has entered your home with a gun and already shot someone in your home and he has not seen you, perhaps freezing is the best course of action to preserve your life. If he doesn’t see you and leaves, you can then contact the police and ‘fight’ the situation by taking action. But if the burger enters the area where you have chosen to freeze, it might be useful to look for options to get out and flee the area to avoid getting shot. This is a perfect example where all three responses may be needed at varying times in one situation, and your instinct will tell you what you ought to do. Perhaps you have the upper hand, and are able to come behind the burgled unaware and are able to knock him out and tie him up and take his gun away from him and call the police…. Another example of a fight response.

The point is, our bodies ready us for response and give us the extra boost of adrenaline and energy to face the stressful situation.

Long term stress can be very harmful to our bodies, over time, indicating that it is time for us to figure out how to manage anxiety and stress.

The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for ‘rest and digest’ and is the part of the nervous system that needs to be activated to bring our bodies back to a state of calm after a stressful episode. I will blog more about how the parasympathetic nervous system comes into play next week as we begin to look at simple ways to manage our stress level.

And don’t forget, if you are relating to this, and feel like you need some additional help, Sign-Up Today for my montly webinar on stress management!!  If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will help bring control back into your life!

Cheers!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach

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Networking


Today I want to give a shout out to Khama Anku of spiritual physique in LA California, who has went above and beyond, promoting my life coaching practice, #freedom#life#love!

Khama has been in the coaching business for approx. 17 years and has it in her heart to help promote other coaching practices, such as mine!

So far, Khama has interviewed me for a teleclass on the 4 stages of boundary development, as I believe that boundaries are the essential building blocks for developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Most people skip over this particular subject, or have a vague understanding of the subject of boundaries, or are blissfully unaware altogether how important boundary development is in ALL relationships. You can listen to my interview with Khama at any time. It is available on my website as well.

Khama has also recently put out a detailed video endorsement of my Tele class with her, which I will post today as well on my blog for you to check out below! On top of all this, I am scheduled to do a video interview with her as well, coming soon, and to be interviewed on her radio station as well! I also was invited to go to California to a coaching conference where I will be featured as one of the coaching experts on personal development and relationships!

I am thrilled with the networking opportunity that has come out of this, and have gotten to know Knama a little and she has such a great exuberant heart to undergird and promote other coaches and offer supportive and creative opportunities to market private coaching practices! She has spent much time and effort doing all of this, and I am most grateful! I have entered into an affiliate program with Khama, and would love to promote her products as well, while I am still in the works of developing my own products.

I strongly encourage you to check out Khama’s series titled “Unleashing Your Breakthrough“.  This series is an excellent resource for learning how to Feel more confident and secure, Acquire radiant health and energy, Develop Satisfying Rlationships, Succeed at work you love, and so much more! 

The bottom line is, I am super grateful for the time and energy she has invested into promoting my business, that I would like to extend the same courtesy and invite you to check out what she has to offer.

I am also promoting the A-21 Campaign on my website as well, an organization that helps victims of human trafficking get out and get the help they need to re-orient them back into their lives and deal with the traumatic aftermath of the hell they have endured. If you wish to check out what the A-21 Campaign is doing, please click on the link on my website which will automatically refer you to their website as well! You can find ways to support what they are doing or donate funds to the organization empowering them to do more for these victims of the sex trade. I personally donate 10% of everything I make in my coaching business to the A-21 Campaign.

I am currently finishing up a book on personal development and how it affects our relationships as well. I am hoping to be finished writing it by the end of this month, at which point I will be looking at getting it published! Stay tuned for more updates on that as well!

Networking is such a great idea, and I am thankful for all those who have partnered with me in this life coaching journey! Including my classmates, teacher, and supportive friends who have encouraged me and cheered me on the path to reach this dream of mine!

You can reach yours too! I have faith in you! If you would like some coaching on how to reach your dreams, or in some area of personal development or help with a relationship, please click on the contact me page on my website, and sign up for one complimentary 30 minute life coaching session with me, to see if we both feel that you are ready for coaching at this time, and feel like we are a good fit. If not, I will happily refer you to one of my coaching colleagues if you feel they may be a better fit for you at this time!

If you know me, and believe in my coaching ability, I encourage you to spread the word and recommend me to those in your life you feel would benefit from entering a coaching relationship with me! I do international coaching, over Skype or phone so distance is not a barrier!

Cheers! God bless and have a great day!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach


Check out my life coaching website for more information!

Emotional Abuse


I am about to start a 6 week series on the subject of abuse. I will cover emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as workplace bullying and a final entry on breaking the cycle of abuse, the things you can do to change the way things are currently in a relationship you are in that you believe may be abusive. Today I will touch on emotional abuse.

But first, let us define emotional abuse. Emotional abuse can include anything that destroys your sense of self worth, causes anxiety, depression, fear of your partner (or parent, co-worker, etc that is the abuser), walking on eggshells, feeling stuck in the relationship, feeling like there is no way out, alone, isolated. It can include verbal abuse, such as name calling, and yelling, blaming and inflicting shame on the one being abused. It can include threats of violence if they don’t get their way, it can include belittling or attempts to control you. Emotional abuse tends to be looked at as the least important among the other forms of abuse, as there are no visible scars. But the emotional wounding it causes to one’s sense of self esteem and value runs deep. It can cause self-doubt, self hatred, feelings of being useless or worthless. None of which are true, because all of us are created with divine worth. Our sense of worth is NOT from any external source, such as the person you are in an abusive relationship with. If you used to feel better about yourself, and now you feel like you are weak and helpless and as if the abuser is the one belittling your worth, than this may be a sign that you are in an abusive relationship. However, many people caught in abusive relationships are actually repeating patterns from some sort of early childhood abuse, and may not even recognize you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, as your recollections of what “normal” is, looks like abuse. Here are some signs to look for to help you identify whether you are in an emotionally abusi e relationship.

Are you being emotionally abused?

1. Are you treated like a child? Do you feel you need to get permission before making even the smallest choices or decisions?

2. Are you being blamed for his/her problems? Do they make you feel responsible for their behavior, telling you it is your fault that they got mad and started screaming? Are you blamed for his or her drinking problems or inability to fulfill a dream in life? This is a prime example of a boundary issue -not taking responsibility for one’s own behavior and blaming or expecting others to be responsible for their bad behavior, projecting it onto you.

3. Are you treated as if you are “less than” your partner? Do they remind you and rub in all your mistakes? Do they look down on you if you make less money than they do or if you have a “lesser” degree in your education? Do they tell you how unattractive you are and that no one else would want you?

4. Do they make fun of you and put you down in front of others?

5. Do they regularly dismiss your feelings, preferences and choices, causing you to feel like you have no choice? Do they disregard your thoughts, opinions and suggestions?

6. Are they impossible to please? Do they complain about the way you run your life? Or something about your personality that causes low self-esteem in you?

7. Does your partner always have to be right?

8. Are you looked down on or belittled for your accomplishments, or your future plans? Do you feel like they are treating you like those things are unimportant? Even criticizing and discouraging you from doing anything different with your life? Do they tell you that you will fail at the goals you are trying to reach in an effort to control you and cause you to not believe that you can do it, to the extent that you shrink back and don’t even try?

9. Have you stopped seeing friends or family since being in this relationship? Do you feel emotionally isolated or cut off from outside supportive relationships? Are they jealous or get angry when you spend time with your friends? Did you stop seeing family or friends because you feel ashamed being in this relationship, even though you’ve complained many times about the way you are treated?

10. Are you accused of flirting with others or having an affair that you aren’t having by your abusive
partner?

11. Do they insist on getting their own way? Threatening to end the relationship if they don’t?

12. Do they punish you by withholding sex, or giving you the silent treatment or not giving you the affection you need if things don’t go their way?

13. Are you teased or made fun of, or do they use sarcasm to put you down?

14. Do they apologize when they are wrong? Or do they make excuses for their behavior?

15. Do they tell you that you are responsible for all the problems in the relationship?

If you answered yes to even half these questions, you may currently be involved in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

The first step on the road to recovery is to admit that you are being emotionally abused and acknowledge the damage it has caused to your sense of self worth and self esteem.

A couple of questions for you to consider: Ask yourself why you chose an abusive partner? Can you ind the root cause? Can you trace it back to your childhood or see repeat abusive patterns in your life? Can you identify the voids in your life, the emptiness you feel and how this relationship fills them… Or doesn’t.

Why do you put up with the abuse? What are you afraid of?

Stay tuned for the full series, and see which of the categories you most identify with, as there may be more than one. Stay tuned for my last entry on tools to break the abusive cycle.

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about how to overcome abuse in your life, feel free to browse through the topics in my one-on-one Personal Development Program.

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach


You’ve seen the quote ”dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never Imagebeen hurt’… But have you spent much time thinking about it?

 I have it engraved on stone hanging on my wall and I noticed it yesterday… Especially the last line.

 Love like you’ve never been hurt.

 How is this done? For those of us who are the walking wounded, who have been hurt one too mImageany times to count, feeling like reaching out one more time simply might be the death of you -risking again… For what? Perhaps we need a little help to get there.

 Loving, risking, losing. Start over.

Loving, risking, losing… Again and again, stung by betrayal, abandonment, loss. Rejection.

 As the ice melts from my frozen heart, and spring has come to fill my soul afresh, I feel my wounds heal.I have been taught humility by my circumstance.Image

 The world does not revolve around me. I saw a friend, deeply wounded, and saw how she held onto love despite the pain she faced. I looked within myself and saw my inadequacy. I saw that I grappled with mercy and grace and judgments towards those who’ve offended me. How hard it was to let it go and set them free & embrace humility. My pride and resentment kept me trapped in a prison of my own making. Bitterness. I had been trying to forgive – wrestling with it, trying to let go of the pain, but the pain had become my only friend, and my protector. The ice around my heart began to form to protect my heart from further injury. I became numb. And broken. What used to function normally- the ability to love, felt frozen behind a wall of insecurity, fear of being hurt again, fear of loss and pain became my comfort. But in the hardening of my heart what came next was isolation.

 Man was not meant to be alone.

 I’d forgotten how to love at all.

Yet alone to love like I’ve never been hurt.

The secret is forgiveness. Not for them but me. Unforgiveness is like a poison you drink yourself.

 ‘Forgiveness is nothing more and nothing less than an act of self healing – an act of self-empowerment – no longer a prisoner to my tragic past, that I was finally free’.

 The above quote was taken from Eva Kor, a survivor of the Holocaust and the experiments of Joseph Mengele at Auschwitz 50 years ago, who was able to forgive her oppressors in the very place they took away her freedom, her innocence and her family.

 Forgiveness is a process as it takes time to heal, for sure.

But humility and recognizing our own weaknesses and sins can help us give grace to those who have injured us. Grace is a lesson I am learning. I have never been very proficient at it. Without being aware, I have battled with my own sense of self-righteousness and would cling to my right for justice, all the while knowing that mercy triumphs over justice. But still I held on to the ‘why me’, ‘it’s not fair’, victim mentality. It wasn’t my fault. So why did this happen to me?

 Now I see the error of my ways, my own pride and am humbled by my own vanity.

 How do you love like you’ve never been hurt? Without walls of fear or anger or pain or pride to protect you? I knew it in my head, but it needed to penetrate to my heart… Let go of the need to be in control. Let go of the pain and trust God with your heart’s protection.

Let go of fear and give it to God to hold onto. Perfect love drives out fear.

I saw myself in the garden of Eden, along with Adam and Eve, hiding themselves from God.

 ‘where are you?’ He called out to them?

 ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself’ Adam replied.

 So true. Our vulnerabilities make us feel naked. Our awareness of our sinful nature cause us to feel humiliated so that we hide. We feel alone. We believe we must defend ourselves and hide. Hide from more hurt. Hide from awareness of our own flaws. Hide from the effects of other’s sin against us.

 God was reaching out to them, but they couldn’t see that because of their own shame and independence from him. Unable to turn to the only one who could help them, they locked themselves in their independence and separateness from him, left to their own devices to protect themselves from harm, little knowing that their own efforts were causing them to open themselves to vulnerability in harmful ways. But deceived, they believed they were protecting their vulnerability instead.

 By holding onto control, we leave ourselves more exposed to harm and falsely believe our walls of independence -the belief that we can handle it on our own – will protect us from further vulnerability and further harm. But it is only an illusion.

 The only way to love like you’ve never been hurt, is to let go of our attempts to control the  outcome of events. Control is an illusion. I can’t control what others do or don’t do, I can only take responsibility for my own actions.

 Fear is not my friend. It is not a good protector. It blocks us from the ability to love.

 To love like I’ve never been hurt requires me to trust God with my pain, my fear, my inadequate ability to effectively protect myself, and believe that even when I don’t understand, that he will somehow work all things together for the ultimate good, if I choose to embrace the lesson to be learned from my experiences. 

 Instead of hiding in the garden afraid, respond to God’s question ‘where are you?’ with a new answer.

 I’m hurt Lord. I want to protect myself from further pain. I know that is independence from you & I choose to open up to you, to not hide, but rather run to you and let you embrace me, and bandage my wounds, and make me whole again. I choose to trust you with my heart. I choose to take down my walls. I choose to love and I choose grace and I choose forgiveness and I choose to acknowledge I am fallible too. I hurt people too. We are all on equal footing. I choose to repent of my own arrogance and self righteousness. And self pity. I choose to embrace love.  I choose to learn and offer grace. I choose humility.

 My friend and I are on a journey together. We are letting life teach us it’s lessons to learn. We are letting God teach us how to love like we’ve never been hurt. How to let down our habits and trained defenses and walls, and learn the healthy boundaries of taking responsibility for the only thing we Imagecan. Our own actions, our own behavior and responses and attitudes.

 To all of those who have hurt me in some way great or small, to all those i have hurt as well. Not only do I forgive those who have hurt me, But I repent as well. For the lack of grace, lack of integrity, lack of love, the walls, the judgments, the arrogance, my fear. I am fallible too. I know that now.

If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one Trauma Recovery Program which will help you move forward from betrayal, hurt, or loss!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach


Good morning bloggers!

On Wednesday’s I blog about things that are going on in my life, the struggles, opportunities, memories, joys, etc. Today, I want to share with you about an exciting coaching opportunity that has recently come up for me!

A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in an upcoming tele summit as a world class expert on boundary development, to be interviewed by Khama Anku, a life and success coach from California, founder of Spiritual Physique, along with about 25 others to be interviewed on subjects that they excel in. What an exciting opportunity!

The interviews will be airing live for 2 weeks starting April 9th, where you will be able to tune into my interview with Khama, along with all the others represented for this web event! The website is already up announcing the upcoming tele summit if you want to take a look and check it out! Once again, it does not air until the week of the 9th, so this site I am directing you too, is ONLY the advertisement of the event! Here is the website link to check it out and find more info: www.NoLimitsTelesummit.com
I will keep you posted on more upcoming news regarding this event!

This is an incredible opportunity for me to grow my business! The telesummit will be running for 2 weeks, and after that, there will be links posted on Khama’s website with the contact info for all the coaches represented in the telesummit for a year or more after the official launching of this event so people will continue to have access to the coaches participating in this event!

I will be specifically discussing the 4 stages of boundary development that I have recently blogged about, based mostly on the information I have gleaned from the authors Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud. I will also be offering a free gift to those who tune into my interview with Khama. 4 tools of boundary development as well as 1 complementary 30 min. Coaching strategy session with me.

In the next couple weeks you can also be watching for a couple videos of me announcing this event on YouTube and also on my website.  Feel free to check it out, as it is my new main life coaching page. Although you can still connect with me on the following links as well:
On Twitter, follow me as ktmeilleur
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ktmeilleur for my Facebook page, which by the way, I recommend you visit, and ‘like’ my Facebook page before March 31st, to be entered into a draw to win a free book, entitled “boundaries-where you end and I begin”. Hurry!!! Contest closes March 31st! See my facebook page for more details!
You can also connect with me here on WordPress, and search for Katie Meilleur on LinkedIn.

Other exciting stuff coming up for me is a soon to be announced event available to those in the greater Toronto area. I will be hosting a “Developing healthy boundaries” workshop, where people can gather together and learn in more depth how to develop and maintain healthy limits with others, learn what it is they are responsible for and what they are not able to control, while developing a firm sense of self worth and identity as well as seeing when and where the boundary deficiency first emerged in their life in a safe small group setting.

Also I will soon be wrapping up my boundaries series on Fridays here at WordPress, and moving into a new series on abusive relationships. My goal is to take this boundaries series and publish an e-book from it.

These are the current things that I have been diligently working towards! Thanks for checking out my blog! It’s exciting to share with you the goals and dreams and opportunities coming up in my life.
What are some of your goals? I would love for you to interact with me here on WordPress and share your goals and dreams with me as well! And if you don’t know how to make your dream a reality, and would like a little coaching accountability from me, let me know. Visit my website  and send me an email request. I do international coaching!


As some of you know by reading previous blogs, I recently trained to become a certified relationship life coach, aligning my work with what my passion in life is. However, as life coaching is relatively a young profession, many people are still largely unaware of what life coaching IS exactly. What do I do? How do I coach people? And what is my specialty? What IS a life coach?
 
So the purpose of today’s blog is to give you a picture of what coaching looks like and what I specialize in.
 
If I were to define my mission statement, I would say that it is ‘to help people discover their life purpose and align their work with their true calling, in order to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life, overcoming the obstacles and setbacks keeping them back from reaching their goals and dreams.
 
I would say that my coaching specialty is that I work with people who have trouble establishing and developing firm boundaries due to boundary development injuries. I coach people to develop a clearer sense of self and overcome traumatic past injuries by developing healthy limits and self worth.
 
What types of things do I coach on? Relationships, taking initiative, healthy boundary development, overcoming depression and anxiety and addictions, trauma, abuse and other boundary related violations.
My biography of what my coaching looks like reads somthing like this:
 
Biography

Do you have a relationship in trouble? Do you feel like your life doesn’t make sense and can’t figure out why? Do you feel like there is something holding you back in your life but don’t know what it is? Do you have a passion in life that is not being fulfilled? A goal or a dream you have not yet reached?
Working with me, you will turn that passion you have into a vision, that goal or dream into actionable steps to help you achieve it!
I will help you see that you already have what it takes to achieve your vision!!
What I can provide is a promise that you will develop a clearer sense of yourself and develop the confidence to meet and overcome the obstacles preventing you from achieving your goals. I will offer relationship tools and skill building concepts to assist you on your way.
Coaching helps you break through your limiting beliefs and self doubt. It unlocks the potential you already have and creates a structure of support and accountability.
As your personal coach, I will be your sounding board, a non-judgmental, objective partner whose goal is to help you realize your dreams. I will bring constructive feedback, motivation and intuition, all focused on helping you to accomplish more with your life and relationships, and be the best you can be.

As your coach I will:
-Encourage you to set goals that you truly want
-Ask you to do more than you may have done on your own
-Help you focus better in order to produce results more quickly
-Provide you with accountability, along with the tools, support, and structure to accomplish more.

I have the ability to encourage, motivate and get excited for others reaching their dreams and personal potential. I am good at drawing out answers from people and to cause them to think in new and challenging ways, outside of the box, by asking questions. I am good at seeing what is beneath the surface, and able to see past the obstacles in people’s way, helping them reach for the stars! I believe I can help people who do not yet know what their purpose, goals or dreams are, and unlock and develop those areas, and help them discover who they were meant to be and what they were meant to pursue in liife.I am a caring person, loyal, committed and trustworthy, a good listener, and empathetic. I have excellent skills at understanding people, boundary issues, self-compassion, and mindfulness skills to offer as well as knowledge pertaining to such issues as abuse, codependency, understanding depression, addictions, and marriage/relationship building skills.
 
If you are still interested and are curious how I actually go about coaching my clients, below you will find my coaching methodology. That is to say, what you and I would actually accomplish together in our sessions if I were to coach you.
 
My Coaching Methodology
 
I use the successful conversion coaching process with my clients.
First, I help you identify your goals and dreams and what it might look like to live a balanced, healthy life, overcoming obstacles standing in your way to achieving the life you want to live. I offer powerful exercises that will help you gain clarity and a very specific picture of your ideal life. We accomplish this together by me helping you to unlock that picture as I help you become clear about what it is that you want.

Next, we identify three goals and action steps you can take right now to begin working towards your goals. Building on that, I help you create your ideal plan. The ideal plan includes specific discussion about the obstacles standing in your way. By evaluating and identifying your setbacks, we work together toward eliminating the things holding you back by looking at past and present contributing factors in your life that are causing fear, anxiety and other problematic symptoms in your life, while discussing and creating new habits, patterns and ways of being that will empower you to move forward.

Then I introduce key concepts, assessment tools, and exercises that will help progress you in a forward motion toward obtaining your goals of a healthier life, in ways of relating to others, and in your relationships, enabling you to move towards your life goals.

After that, we evaluate your sense of satisfaction with your progress and reassess your goals and action steps. I will offer accountability throughout our sessions together as you implement your goals and life plan.

Finally, through our work together, I will help you overcome challenges and setbacks as they arise, enabling you to move steadily forward towards a balanced and fulfilling life.

That about sums it up. This is who I am. This is who I have always been. I have always been passionate about seeing people become who they were meant to be, not restrained by the circumstances in life that have defined them, or the negative voices inside that they have chosen to believe, allowing themselves to live beneath their full potential. I have always wanted to unveil the secret reality… The cage you feel around you holding you back… it’s not really there. You were meant to be free.
 
My life calling is this:
 
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy
instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-4
 
To register now for your Complimentary Strategy Session, please visit my website.
 

The performance trap gets us every time when we are so desperately looking to find acceptance, approval, to be noticed, and above all to be loved. No one wants to experience rejection, but what sucks many of us into the performance trap in the first place?

What was lacking, deficient, what need unmet, that somehow we believe that if we just do the right thing, say the right thing, look the right way, we will finally receive that love starved void, and feel happy, successful and complete?

The sheer amount of effort to be ‘on’ all the time, to be the witty performer, the over achiever at work, have the muscular physique, or the super model body just to hope for some sense of worth in what we do, how we perform… Is it really worth it? Do we actually achieve what it is we are really looking for? How many of you even know what’s beneath the surface? How many of you have not even been introduced to the ‘real you’ the one behind the mask?

Most people caught in the people pleasing, performance trap have lost themselves long ago, and merely play the role they think they need to play. But who are they playing for?

The sad reality is that the facade on the outside really robs people from knowing the real person beneath the mask. Worse than that, the performer is so used to putting on and taking off hats and playing different roles, living a compartmentalized life, that there is no room for them to even begin to build their own identity.

What’s worse, is that those who can see through the facade, feel at best, pity for the performer’s lack of ability to be a ‘real’ person. And in an age of hunger for authenticity, people pleasing is not so popular. Those who have been deceived by the external performance, feel robbed and cheated of a ‘real’ relationship with the person hiding behind the mask. They also feel like a fool for being deceived and lied to, and feel like they were treated unfairly by the people pleaser, as if they are not trustworthy enough to know the ‘real’ person behind the scenes. Bottom line is, everyone gets the rotten end of the stick in this game.

The people pleaser loses his or her sense of identity, misses out on knowing who they themselves really are, they don’t know what they like, what they value, what they believe, etc. It’s like that movie from ages ago, the runaway bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, He goes in as a reporter to investigate the woman who bails from marriage after marriage, and in typical romance fashion, falls for her himself. Only, he discovers through his reporting what other’s have missed, that she becomes exactly like the man she is with in each new relationship she is in. Not knowing her own identity, at one point in the movie Richard Gere challenges Julia Robert’s character and tells her she doesn’t even know what kind of eggs she likes. In a subsequent scene as the dawning of realization crosses her that she is a people pleaser, you see her with a counter full of different types of eggs and she individually tries them all to decide what she likes for herself.

Sad, but true for the people pleaser. Keep the peace at all costs, don’t rock the boat, try to make everyone else happy, hoping someone will finally make them happy. Trouble is, it doesn’t work. Those content living with a people pleaser will continue to take more and more, not offering in return the one thing the people pleaser hungers for most: love.

Where does this terrible root lie? Go back several blogs and you will read my article on the ideal vs the real. Once again, a developmental injury, rooted in being praised for performance, what one can do, rather than for who one IS. Or the reverse occurs, everything you do is never enough, and you work harder and harder to earn, finally the praise and approval for your efforts. If it never really comes, you carry these traits with you into adulthood in the attempt to finish the natural development process that was supposed to take place during the child rearing years. What happens is that our growth process gets stunted. And forever after, we look to complete that process in relationship after relationship doing the exact things we were taught and/or believed were necessary to ‘earn’ love and approval.

Tell me if you relate to any of these false beliefs:

  • I must meet certain expectations to feel good about myself
  • I must feel approved of or accepted by others to feel good about myself
  • I am a perfectionist -I feel afraid of failure
  • I become depressed or suffer low self esteem if I fail
  • I am extremely self critical
  • I am critical of others.

Does this math equation sound like you?

  • “Self worth = Performance + other people’s opinions?” -Taken from the book Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee

I am deeply moved and troubled for those who fall into this trap. It can be debilitating, and the things you do to try and make it better only amplify the void. Performance isn’t the answer. The truth is, there is someone out there who will love you just for you. In fact, they are likely to love you the more for it. It is impossible to develop a truly intimate relationship with another person if you cannot bring your whole self into relationship.

But first you need to find yourself, and stop trying to medicate the pain by the excess work you put into putting on the ‘ideal self’ show. You don’t need to be superman or super mom for that matter. Everyone has flaws. If you are not loved despite your flaws, then the relationship is not authentic. True intimacy cannot be fostered if this is the case. You will develop something called enmeshment instead. The merging of two individual identities into one. You will look like, be like, act like and accommodate the person you are merging with while developing a co-dependent/dependent relationship.

It’s time to find out who the real you is. If you struggle with performance and not really knowing your identity, your individuation and sense of separateness as a child was not likely modeled in the proper fashion. Good news is, there is hope. But the hope comes from being honest with yourself, and being honest with those you are closest to and trust the most. And write a list. Determine who you are, what do you like? What do you hate? What do you believe? What do you value? What are your favorite kind of eggs, if you don’t know! Get to know yourself. And stop believing the lies that you are not loveable, that who you are is not good enough, does not measure up, is not smart enough or good looking enough, or whatever the lie whispers in your ear. You are worth being loved. You are worth being valued. Not for what you do, but for who you are. You are loveable. I am empathetic and sorry for the years you have wasted trying to earn mom or dad’s approval and love and acceptance in every relationship you’ve been in. Stop trying to prove yourself worthy.

Tell yourself the truth. You are loveable. God loves you. He made you in his unique image and said that ‘it is good’. Begin to tell yourself new messages that you are loveable for who you are. It IS possible to retrain your habits. Habits are formed over time, as are the habits of people pleasing. Habits can be unlearned and relearned. It is a skill you can build.

If you’d like to look at a great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will help bring control back into your life!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach


Sometimes we live a life where we feel like we have two selves, or a split self. The good ‘me’ we present to the world, and the ‘bad’ me, that we hide from others. It’s a lot more common than you think. Living a life that is ‘ideal’, setting the standard of perfection so far above anything humanly achievable, while denying the ‘real’ self that fails sometimes. I know many people who cannot accept or conceive of failure in others around them or accept failure in themselves. Where does this originate from?

If this is your first time tuning into my blogs, I am currently in the middle of a series on boundary development that I blog about every Friday, and encourage you to check out the past 3 blog entries I posted on previous Fridays. This week I am writing on what real love is about. That real love involves knowing that you are loved for both your “good” parts, and perceived or real “bad” parts of yourself.

Often times though, we learn that we are loved or accepted by what we do, or how well we perform at certain tasks, rather than being celebrated even when we fail. The expectation to get the best grades, or perform the best in your dance class or on your hockey team, meeting disapproval if you don’t get it quite right. Or being compared to others in your family by how well you perform vs someone else, making it into a competition to ‘get love’. This often is where the performance trap begins.

We all can imagine what the perfect “me” should look like. But who defines that? Who are you performing for? Now some of you may say, “I’m only performing for myself”, but where did the idea of performing at all originate? I challenge you to take a look at the root in yourself where you began trying to achieve a high standard for yourself that you can never meet, and the being harsh with yourself when you don’t meet your ideal expectation. Or maybe you can’t stand when others fail and set unreasonably high demands on others to perform to your ideal standard.

The reality is, we all have a “real self”. The self that we are when no one is looking. The self that we truly are, warts and failures and all. The real self is not who we wish to be, but us, just as we are.

When we begin separating the real from the ideal, it is often because we have believed a message that only the good parts of us are lovable and accepted, while the ‘bad parts’ or perceived bad parts are unacceptable. What happens to all that underachieving, bad habit, negative stuff that is unacceptable? It goes into hiding. If unattended for too long, psychologists label it a ‘split self’, where you only present on the exterior what is pleasing and acceptable and considered ‘good’ by those with whom we are in relationship because we grew up believing the struggles and failures and imperfections we had were unloveable. So we begin to build an outer world and a secret dark inner world that we are afraid to reveal to anyone, as we are sure to meet with rejection of the self as a whole – the real person, who is imperfect, yet loveable no matter what. But if the messages you received were that you are not lovable, you begin to believe it and begin to be your own worst judge.

What we all need is to know we are loved just as we are, the good and the bad, and that love is not lost or taken away if we neglect to perform a certain way.

When we fail to accept good and bad in ourselves, or in others, these are the symptoms that result:

1. Striving for perfectionism
2. Idealism – denying that bad exists
3. Inability to tolerate badness in ourselves or others
4. Inability to tolerate weakness in ourselves or others
5. Inability to tolerate negative feelings which then go into hiding, which have all sorts of negative side effects as a result as well.
6. Depression or moodiness
7. Self-image issues
8. Anxiety and panic
9.Eating and substance problems
10. Narcissism
11. Guilt
12. Sexual addiction
13. Broken relationships
14. Excessive rage
15. A perception that you are “all bad”
16 The “all good me” approach of being defensive about taking responsibility for any fault.

These issues can lead to all sorts of distorted thinking, such as believing you are not worth being loved, or that your badness is worse than someone else’s, or that you should be better than you are, all the while competing with a completely opposite belief that you are ‘ideal’. You may also believe your badness is unforgiveable.

How do you get past this? With great difficulty. Anyone who relates to this will easily tell you that once you believe that your unlovely parts are unloveable, it is a tremendous risk to bring those unacceptable parts of yourself -the parts you and others have judged- into relationship.

But it is the only way to heal the gap between the real and the ideal. A good test to tell if you struggle with this at all, is to try writing a list. Define, by using words to describe the external you, who you are to others. Then make a list of the ‘internal you’. The parts younkeep to yourself. Are they telling the tale of two completely different people? Or are they pretty much the same? If there is a huge difference between what you present on the outside and what is going on inside, you may be dealing with a split self. I am not saying that a split self means you have a personality disorder or anything, I am merely suggesting you may have not felt loved for who you are, the good the bad, the ugly. You may have been taught conditional love: that only parts of you are acceptable.

Real intimacy can only exist when the ‘whole’ self is loved, just as you are.

Quick tips to overcome the performance/people pleasing trap: confess who you really are with safe and trustworthy people in your life. Keep following, in a few weeks I’ll blog on the subject of how to determine who the ‘safe’ people are. So to recap: confess the ‘real you – the inside you – with someone. Forgive those who taught you parts of you were unloveable. And forgive yourself for being too hard on yourself and for your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s part of being human. It’s ok.

Next, integrate your negative emotions and attributes with the ‘good’ parts of you so that you can begin the journey towards becoming a complete person. Allow yourself to feel sadness and anger and fear. The very things you tried to bury because they were perceived or treated as bad. Or were merely discouraged. Stop medicating to avoid pain, whether it be drugs, alcohol or sexual addiction, whatever it is you go to to avoid your pain, is only making matters worse and increasing self hatred. Get help if you are using coping mechanisms to avoid negative emotions.

Begin to challenge your thinking distortions. Instead of assuming on what people are thinking or what you think they want you to be, ask questions. If you are performing in an attempt to please or in order to earn love you don’t believe you are worth receiving, ask. Ask someone the very thing you are afraid of. Ie “I think you are bored listening to me talk. Is that true?” instead of assuming that’s the case and responding as if it were fact, just ask. It may surprise you when they respond, “not at all! I love it when you share your feelings with me! If my expression shows otherwise, it’s because I’ve had this nasty headache all day!”. And then try to believe they are telling you the truth, so that you are not self-sabotaging the ability to receive love from others.

I would also advise that you begin to process and value your negative feelings instead of chucking them into the abyss of your soul, where they only lurk and wreak havoc on the inside, destroying self esteem and encouraging self hatred instead.

Those are a few tools to get you started. My final piece of advice: be authentic. Be your real self. It’s much more wanted than you believe it to be. You cannot achieve true intimacy or really know if you are loved for who you are, unless you take risks and give someone a shot at loving you. You just might be surprised, and find the love and acceptance you crave, rather than the rejection you expect. I know it’s risky. I know it’s hard. But it is achievable!

If you’d like to look at a great resource, check out my one-on-one Personal Development Program which will help you overcome depression, unhealthy thought patterns and so much more!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach


If you haven’t been following my Friday blogs, you may want to circle back and read “Grace & Truth -building blocks“, posted on February 3rd, as well as My blog posted on February 10th, entitled “Learning to attach and bond“, as they are the two preceding blogs to the series I am currently writing about on the subject of boundary development – the necessary steps to developing a ‘self’, a personality, with a healthy knowledge of how to interact with others, while keeping your own boundaries and self intact.

What are boundaries? Well, let’s begin with the characteristics of a complete person first, to give you a sense of what boundary development helps to accomplish. If all goes according to plan, a ‘complete’ person should exhibit the following characteristics:

1. The ability to connect emotionally.
2. To be vulnerable and express emotions.
3. Have an appropriate sense of power.
4. The ability to say no to something unwanted.
5. Have initiative and drive
6. Have at least a minimal amount of organization.
7. Be real, but not perfect.
8. Accept imperfections in yourself and others, and have grace and forgiveness.
9. The ability to grieve
10. Learn and grow
11. The ability to take risks.
12. Grasp and use one’s talents.
13. Be responsible and follow through.
14. Be free and not controlled by external or internal factors.
15. Be sexual.
16. Be spiritual.
17. Have a moral sense.
18. Have an intellectual life.

Wow, that’s quite a list! If you have trouble in any one of those areas, you most certainly could use a more thorough understanding on the subject of boundaries.

If I were to simplify boundaries, I would suggest that boundaries are that which we are responsible for, as well as a knowledge of what we are not responsible for, or what we cannot control.

I’m sure you are all aware somewhat of the term, ‘the terrible two’s, the stage in a child’s growth and development when the only word your child seems to know how to use is the word, “NO!”
Although not a ‘piece of cake’ navigating this stage of development for any parent, it is actually a very necessary part of the child’s development. This is the stage where he learns “Mommy and me are not the same, as opposed to the previous stage of development, where he learns to attach and bond, believing “mommy and me are the same”. Both elements are vital to a child’s development, and the need for attachment and bonding must precede the stage of developing his own personality apart from his parents. This stage of developing a self, own’s own separate identity continues on through life. But there can be very many messages that interrupt this growth process, making transitions into adulthood quite difficult. I will not spend much time on this in this blog, but to give a couple quick examples of such interruptions, a couple things come to mind. If one is taught that their accomplishments are what makes their parent proud, one might learn that performance causes feelings of being loved. Or perhaps if a child’s assertions to separate from mommy are met with a lot of resistance, the child will develop believing that she cannot have a ‘self’ and must ‘merge’ with those she is in relationship with, allowing that process of development to remain stunted. I do not have time to mention such things as manipulation and abuse in this blog, but will circle back to some of these concepts at another time.

For now, let us simply look at the responsibilities for our own soul that we are to learn, and develop in order to grow into a ‘complete’ person. Let me just mention that this is ALL we have responsibility for. We cannot control what another person does or how they will respond to us. We only have control and responsibility for our own selves.

What are we responsible for?
1. Our physical appearance, and physical boundaries.
2. Our attitudes
3. Our feelings
4. Our behavior
5. Our thoughts
6. Our abilities & talents
7. Our desires
8. Our choices
9. Our limits
10. Our values
11. Our negative assertions
12. Love

“A mature and complete adult not only takes responsibility for himself, but also requires the same from the people he loves. To be codependent and not require responsibility from others is to not be responsible for oneself.” – Melody Beattie, author of “The New Codependency“.

These are some pretty tall orders when it comes to personal responsibility.
A great exercise to try if you wrestle with your identity or are not quite sure who you are and who you are not is the following:

Exercise: Imagine a circle and everything in it is you. Think about what fills up your circle. What do you care about? What do you hate? What do you love? Who are you? What is attractive to you? What do you value? What do you believe? What repels you? What do you think about? Feel about? What are you really like?

There is a great deal more to be said about boundary development. This is merely a small introduction to get you thinking.

I will leave you today with common symptoms that occur in us when we fail to develop and set boundaries.

1. Depression
2. Panic
3. Resentment
4. Passive-aggressive behavior
5. Codependency
6. Identity confusion
7. Difficulty being alone
8. Masochism
9. Victim mentality
10. Blaming
11. Over responsibility and guilt
12. Under responsibility
13. Feelings of obligation
14. Feelings of being let down.
15. Isolation
16. Extreme dependency
17. Disorganization & lack of direction.
18. Substance abuse, addiction, and/or eating disorders
19. Procrastination
20. Impulsivity
21. Generalized anxiety
22. Obsessive compulsive disorder

Now, while many of these symptoms can have multiple origins, or be as the result of a difficult temporary situational trauma, if you find you identify with many of these symptoms, you may have some unfinished business in the boundary development process.

I also realize I have not mentioned anything about what to do with the boundary crossers in your life, nor touched on the subject of abuse, or further explained what codependency and some of thes other terms mean. That is because they all require in and of themselves a blog or several, to unpack further.

If you would like more information on Boundaries, check out the Boundary Development Program available on my website.  Hope to see you there!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.   

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach

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