World Kindness Day: November 13th

World kindness day is November 13th each year.

It has been delegated in order to help nations and individuals create a kinder world. It’s also a wonderful representation of how individuals making decisions are investing are investing in our global unity.

For kindness to exist among countries – it must first be an individual experience. It must be practised as a human condition – as an instinctive reaction among each one of us – and as what we teach and model for our children and future generations.

Kindness can be a deliberate and yet natural outpouring of who and ‘what’ we are.

Kindness is a life value. It is our inherent nature and yet it is also an intentional practice that we choose to uphold. Kindness can (with consciousness and deliberate will) become our ‘go to’ response based on choosing to think of others (and ourselves) with positiveness rather than mistrust, fear, and judgement. Kindness begets kindness. Being kind helps us to cultivate understanding; to see others as equals, and to remember the end goal of our discussions, deliberations, and even disagreements – which is always to remain – kind.

Kindness ultimately resolves potential conflict, allowing people to be as they are, realizing the fact that we all have our own unique preferences and beliefs– while challenging ourselves to look for how we are all alike.

If the other person remains unwilling to be kind, then your kindness will always serve you best in dealing with others in a fair and civil manner. When we are deliberately kind, it is far easier to hold compassion, care, and trust. (If someone has proved to be untrustworthy, we can still trust that our kindness will show them that we are capable of empathy and compassion – even if we choose to uphold our relationship boundaries with them).

Kindness is what builds and sustains positive, healthy relationships. When we think of being kind first even in the face of unkindness, we are able to dismantle much of the negativity and fear based behaviours of others. With kindness, we are able to realign ourselves with a common goal; and if we continue to hold differences, then we may do so respectfully, with the acceptance that others may have a different belief system or set of ideas. When people (and ultimately nations) come together in kindness, they are ultimately able to agree on the fundamental life values of peacefulness, respect of all living beings, and the ability to live in harmony rather than war.

Photo credit: gsdakotahorizons.org
Photo credit: gsdakotahorizons.org

An international movement to practice kindness (aka Kindness Day) reminds us of the need to choose how we will be in any given moment (and especially when it may seem easier to react in frustration, anger, displeasure, or even aggression).

Practising kindness outwardly teaches us much about responsibility. First, to ourselves as we make the conscious choice to be kind even in the face of what may seem like our ‘right’ to respond in defence of others not being kind. Practising kindness teaches us how to see beyond the action of another and to remember that any unkindness directed towards us is rarely about who we are, but rather the other person and their personal struggles to be heard, accepted, valued, important, and secure.

Whether as a personal challenge in light of world kindness day or as an opportunity to become kinder more consistently…consider what deliberate and thoughtful acts of kindness you can do today. Pay attention to how your conscious attention towards being kind, changes how you feel in that instant; softening how you think and feel about yourself, others, and the situation. You might also want to notice how act of kindness (much like a boomerang) come back to you quite effortlessly.

 

Some important questions to ponder to examine your own commitment to being kind:

Are you teaching your children about the importance of kindness first as a way of being in the world, and as a part of their personality and behaviour ? – For example in sport (where you can still be highly competitive – yet kind)?

Do you model kindness for your children, peers, and co-workers? Do you choose to think kindly of someone rather than assume they have ulterior motives or are dubious and untrustworthy? (You can still be kind to someone that you have chosen to uphold boundaries within if they are not trustworthy or kind).

Do you practice kindness (here’s a tougher one perhaps) in the face of unkindness? Can you personally be kind to someone who is showing you envy, rage, anger, discontent?

If you choose to embrace the power of living kindly as who you are, what do you need to change of your existing behaviours?

Namaste everyone!

ABOUT THE WORLD KINDNESS MOVEMENT

WKM is an international movement with no political or religious affiliations. The idea for the formation of the organization came out of a conference in Tokyo in 1997 when Japan brought together like-minded kindness organizations from around the world. It is now recognised as the peak global body for Kindness, . The mission of the WKM is to inspire individuals towards greater kindness and to connect nations to create a kinder world. Members of the movement include over 25 nations with representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Romania, Scotland, South Korea,Switzerland,Thailand, United Arab Emerites, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the USA.
For more please visit: http://www.theworldkindnessmovement.org/about-us/

Title Photo credit: www.pitchero.com

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The debilitating truth about blame…

Blame is a powerful deflection from self-examination and self-responsibility.

 

Blame is a wonderful excuse for not needing to change – and for continuing to convince yourself that you are “right” and others are “wrong”.

 

Blame keeps you from experiencing the truth, an opportunity for growth, and the realization that no one can “make you feel” a certain way (since we often blame others for ‘how’ we feel). How you feel is always determined by what you tell yourself (aka: your thoughts).

 

Blame keeps you a prisoner of your self-induced anger, fear, and anxiety. It keeps you far removed from the closeness and connection that you could have with loved ones and others.

 

Whenever you feel the urge to blame someone or something for what has happened “to you”, look instead at yourself – with honesty and truth. What have you ‘done’ or ‘not done’ that has contributed to where you are right now? What would have been some better choices? What will you do now to make a change for the better?

 

Sometimes clients rage in my presence. They are frustrated, fed up, angry, aggressive and at times they have explosive outbursts that are difficult to contain. At the core of their outbursts is often some form of blame. They blame others or some external event for their misfortune in life; convinced that they have little or no control in whatever has “happened to them”, what situation they currently find themselves in, or what will become of their future.

You will remain in a state of angst (inner turmoil, hopelessness, and sadness) for as long as you continue to look outside of yourself for the reasons that you feel the way you do. For as long as you continue to blame, you will perpetuate negative thoughts and feelings (e.g. helplessness, anxiety, anger, resentment etc.,) rather than see a situation as an opportunity for learning and growth, and becoming more (in whatever way more translates into something better). You will continue to feel immobilized by your current situation as long as you convince yourself that others are the cause of this, and that there is little or nothing that you can do but endure, rather than take control of your life by being in charge of what you need to do to make things better.

 

One path is destructive and limiting: causing suffering, grief and despair. The other path is one of learned resilience, confidence building, and self-actualization through reliance and faith in one’s ‘self’.

When we blame others, we are not looking at our own actions; nor taking responsibility for how we feel. Blaming external events or others deflects any attempt to examine why we feel the way we do and in turn, to examine our biased perceptions of a situation. The two most important questions that you could ask yourself when you are caught in a position of helplessness because of whatever has happened is: “How do I want to feel?” Next you need to ask, “What do I need to do in order to feel this way?”

The quickest way to eradicate blame is to be proactive – to be in control of what you will do to fix, change, or improve the situation – and to begin a path towards this. Still, how do we get caught in a cycle of helplessness about our life – and who we are? What is it that causes us to give away all of our power by making ‘someone’ or ‘something’ the total cause of our experience? ….and hence our ability to thrive?

Ask yourself: “What earlier life experiences taught me that I have little or no control over my life path, how I feel, or who I become?”

Decide to change your earlier belief system. Know that for whatever you feel and what happens is either a direct cause of your thought process or your actions (your actions perpetuate a chain of events that brings you to where you are now, as does your repetitive thoughts). Yes, events occur all of the time that are unexpected and at times, incredibly traumatic. Yet, everything in life has meaning. How you react to what happens (to you) is within your control.

The fact is that every experience is (pre)determined by how we think – and how we perceive / witness / examine / and interpret what has happened.

 

Learn to question all of what you were taught to believe. Instead, examine each situation as unique and different.  Examine your part in whatever “happens to you” including your thoughts and actions towards creating the outcome that you are living right now.

With blame, nobody wins. You end up making someone else “wrong” or “not good enough” – and judging them unfairly which affects your treatment of them. When you blame yourself, you can easily become caught up in a cycle of self-loathing rather than constructively look within to see your part in what has caused this situation – feeling – or behavior – and at what you need to do instead. There is learning in self-awareness. Blame – even towards one’s self – keeps you from focusing on proactive change.

 

If your well ingrained habit is to blame external factors or people for how you feel and what happens to you, that’s your cue to turn the finger directed outward – onto yourself. (Not in self blame but in awareness and understanding). See what it is that you have done to create your existing reality. Even when something happens that you have absolutely no control over and you did not want – you still have the power to choose how you feel, think, and live …in spite of what ‘has happened’.

I use the phrase, “This too is for good” to help bring to light the idea that everything that happens has a greater purpose and if you can believe it is always for good…then perhaps it is only a matter of time before you see with your eyes that whatever has ‘happened’ has led to something inevitably – better. For nothing is truly bad unless we make it so.

So please consider what damage you create through blame. Start seeing everything that happens in your life as a ‘teaching’, a ‘life lesson’ meant to aid and help you along your path, or an opportunity for personal growth and greater awareness.

In therapy (as in life itself), clients can become emotionally charged in a matter of milliseconds – reacting to what has just been said or asked of them long before they realize ‘why’ they reacted as they did. Clients may look to the therapist as the point of blame; as the one who said something to offend them or hurt their feelings; or perhaps is “judging them” – especially if a client is being asked to look at a particular problematic situation or behavior which evokes feelings of uneasiness, vulnerability, or shame.

In therapy, I will ask you to examine yourself in ways that you have not done before. The socratic questions asked of you are meant for you to explore your current situation and yourself specifically in a different way. Sometimes you will be asked or challenged to look at what causes you to feel uneasy, vulnerable, or shameful. The point is not to “make you” feel badly, but to examine what needs attention and change in order for you to feel better, to correct a situation or ongoing pattern of behavior, to strengthen self-esteem, and/or to heal a reoccurring conflict that is affecting your relationships with others.

Take control back. If you are blaming others or external events for your current state of unhappiness, you are giving up your control to fix a situation or improve yourself.

If you feel hopeless or defeated, or if you believe that you are resigned to the current circumstances of your life, then you need to take a closer look at where you are directing your ‘locus of control’. Do you believe that your happiness is dependant on what happens to you, or are you aware of your ability to choose your reaction to what happens (thereby being in control of how you feel at all times)?

Similarly, if you continue to rage, venting your displeasure at what you are unhappy with yet unwilling to look at your part in why you continue to feel this way, you will continue to suffer.

This inhibits emotional growth. It actually keeps you stuck in ‘reactive’ mode; quick to get fired up when people ‘anger you’ or if life throws you a curve ball (a flat tire, a bill you weren’t expecting, or when someone says or does something that hurts you).  If you are quick to react, lash out, become enraged, or go quiet in the silence of suffering, the never ending cycle of unhappiness continues. “A prisoner of our own self-induced pain” is what I call it.

Many would say that a person needs to be ready in order to make changes to their life and to who they are. Indeed this is true. Yet readiness must also exist in the desire to move out of one’s own “suffering”; to see that change and happiness is really driven by our desire and through action. We cannot blame others for the way we feel nor how we act and react in different situations. We cannot blame others for what happens ‘to us’ but rather we can examine our thoughts and assumptions – and our prevailing attitude – and be willing to seek out different ways of looking at everything.

Which brings us full circle to the practical method of therapy and its socratic questioning as a way of helping clients examine their lives and who they are – in different and more honest ways then how they have previously.

Blame keeps you in a state of suffering. Willingness to look within for what you can do to change your personal situation or aspects of yourself will always be met with answers, growth, and the freedom that comes with discovering just how much control you do have over your life and in who you decide to become.

 

 

A final note: While I cannot and do not speak for other therapists and how they approach the delivery of therapy as a modality of healing, I can say that my approach and the careful purpose of my questions is intuitively driven. When you are wholly present to the person(s) in front of you in order to seek to understand, acknowledge, and empathize their experience as best as you can by remaining engaged, and intentional in your delivery of help, you allow for a highly instinctive and organic process to unfold. While I am trained in several models of psychotherapy, my job is to ask clients questions that will help them think differently about their particular problem or issue. The idea here is that you as a client are the best source of knowledge for how to fix your situation or problematic behavior. What I simply do is help you become clear and self-honest, so that your inner wisdom may easily be accessed; and what you hear yourself say (which at times will surprise you) will be exactly what you intuitively know you need to do.

Blame me or someone else for how you are feeling and where you are in life….or look deeper within yourself. See how you got here, why you feel the way you do – and take back your personal power. Reclaim your ‘self’ by taking the steps to make your life (and yourself) far better.

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Random Acts of Loving-Kindness: Reclaiming Valentine’s Day as a way to remind us to be spontaneously LOVING in our actions.

 

Consider Valentine’s Day …a day that is already ‘hyped’ with a focus on LOVE …to be a day in which you make no distinctions between who you are being loving with.

 

It’s about sharing the LOVE… the kindness…and the appreciation of others in your life (and possibly a random stranger or two that will likely always remember your gesture of kindness and love).

Can we all share a little love just because it feels good to do so?

 

My seventeen year old client had the most incredible experience with what she thought would be a surprise gifting of roses (pre-Valentine’s Day) to someone she loves.

But he wasn’t in class the day she showed up with roses and a hand written love poem …as well as permission from the class teacher to reveal a grand gesture of her love.

Instead of worrying about how she would get the flowers to him, Sarah (a pseudonym and not her real name) kept the flowers in her locker until the end of the day and then flagged down random strangers – some in cars near her school, and two on a city bus – giving out a single rose to each ‘random’ person with a smile and a wish “to have a happy day”. The impromptu social experiment became a gesture in giving back in a way she never expected.

At one car, she noticed a father with his kids in tow. Sarah asked the father if she could give a rose to his young daughter in the back seat – the only girl in a family of three boys. He graciously obliged. The look of instant glee on the little girl’s face as her eyes lit up magically was almost enough to send my client into bliss….

Actually, it did.

…And Sarah shared the other roses in the same way – magically, deliberately, and with loving-kindness.

 


In a way that marks a new routine in your life, perhaps you too will reclaim Valentine’s day (week, etc) and make it what would be truly an incredible practice – a day of random acts of loving-kindness.

Begin with smiling at a stranger instead of avoiding eye contact. Step it up with paying for the person’s coffee in line in front of you, hand out a gift card to the person that collects and disposes of your recycling and compost each week, shovel your neighbour’s steps, bake cookies to give to those people that you see each week at the grocery store or bank who always serve you with kindness because that is who they are… or anything else that inspires you and says, “You are special” to someone.

This is what love looks like … the giving of kindness from the heart – whether by actual gift or as a gesture of appreciation and acknowledgement.

 

For Sarah, her innocent and spontaneous gestures stirred in her a promise to always pass out roses on Valentine’s Day. It would be a way that she could make someone’s else day a little more special, a little more meaningful, a lot more magical.

Take back the commercialism and ‘big business’ of a day that is often filled with unmet (and also unspoken) expectations and consider what it means to….just be the love – period.

Without realizing it, you will have made your day a lot more special as well.

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What Parenting IS…

Parenting is the most important “role” you might ever have next to living as your Authentic s e l f.  It can also be the most rewarding experience of your life if you have the means to parent in a healthy way based on your conscious intention to raise a child in a way that nourishes them and allows them to know their inherent greatness so that they can soar in life.

 

So when a client is seeking strategies and guidance to help improve and nurture their parent-child relationship, I feel blessed: I am able to help BOTH the parent AND their child (who will inevitably benefit from what new ways of thinking and being that their parent is now putting into action).

 

PARENTING IS MODELLING HOW TO BE AN INCREDIBLE HUMAN BEING

When a child acts out inappropriately, one of the most curious things I sometimes hear parents say is: “I have no idea where they learned that from?” I would just like to remind parents everywhere that ….. A CHILD IS A MIRROR OF THEIR PARENTS.

 

To ensure that your child is well behaved and well-adjusted, look to how YOU think and behave in the world.

 

If you want to improve your child’s behaviour, begin with your own. Children do (say, and believe) exactly what they see you do and say. They believe (even if it is with reservation) what you show and teach them, until some later time when they are learning and discovering ‘other’ ways of thinking and being that they may change their beliefs according what to what greater knowledge they possess.  In the meantime, your children learn by example. It’s that simple. They watch you as the parent and model what words, mannerisms, behaviours and ethics (morals and values) they observe of you. Period.

The other thing that I remind parents of: “It’s never too late to change how you are if you want your child to behave differently.”

 

Parenting has virtually no ‘formal’ training, no mandatory education, no need for writing any ‘exams’ attaining licensing, accreditation, or ongoing training. We need permits, permission, and licenses to fish, drive a motorized vehicle, or to build an addition onto our existing home – yet there are no definitive requirements needed to become a parent.  Do we perhaps prepare ourselves in the right ways for all that parenting demands of us?

 

How you parent is primarily how you were parented. Often unconsciously, you use the same methods and teaching styles as your parents did without realizing the cycle is repeating itself. At times, you may observe yourself saying and doing what your parents did, and perhaps what you vowed you would never do. Parenting is inevitably reactionary at times, and so without conscious awareness and deliberate contemplation, you say and do what you know is not reflective of what you want your children to learn.

 

Without conscious awareness of how you want to be as the major source of influence on your child’s future, you as a parent will likely struggle to learn from your mistakes (provided you are aware of them) rather than from deciding in advance of having children how you will think and behave in various and different situations and more importantly, who YOU are as a person.

 

If you want to be a great parent, and/or to have a better existing relationship with your child (regardless of their age), begin by making changes to how you are.  To focus on changing your child’s behaviour while you continue to do all of the things that have contributed to or caused emotional and psychological hurts, a betrayal of trust, and feelings of low self-worth – will only alienate your child further.

 

I help parents heal the painful experiences of their own childhood (of which they themselves were mistreated, neglected, verbally, emotionally or physically abused, repeatedly showered with a barrage of hurtful words, and in some instances unprotected from sexual predators (who co-existed undetected until it was too late). “Healing” means whatever is needed to help a client (parent) repair their own psychological and emotional hurts and traumas that have continued to haunt them long after the initial injustice. “Healing” means a facilitated journey that allows for a better understanding of what happened without necessarily blaming their parents or caregivers but finding comfort and safety in validating their experiences, while finding resolution through fixing, eliminating, correcting, forgiving the past in lieu of making forward strives of self-empowerment, healthy self-esteem, and reclaiming one’s childhood.*

 

*(And despite how all of this may sound difficult or daunting it really isn’t once you the parent seeks to heal your past, knowing that it will continue to affect how you parent your children if you don’t).

 

images (5)

 

The most significant thing any parent could do (ideally before they become a parent) is to heal their own past. To do the work that YOU need in order to heal your past begins with a close look at who you currently are.

 

Parents don’t set out to make mistakes, repeat old patterns, or continually avoid looking at themselves FIRST as an important reason for why there are problems in their parent-child relationships. Placed in an automatic position of authority, power, and having all of the right answers, parents tend to believe that “the teachings” go only one way. The truth in fact is that parents learn so much from their children about how to be a better person and a better parent, than they likely ever give their children credit for.

 

Some questions for parents to ponder:

What mannerisms and behaviours are you showing your children that you would you never want the world to see?

What situations from your childhood caused you grief, that you would never want your children to experience?

 

 

We do so much more than create life when we birth or adopt a child (“Creating life” is equally important for parents who adopt child – who is now given ‘a new’ life by being ‘gifted’ to you, AND a child that is biological to you). We instill in our children all of the fears, insecurities, self-doubts, mental and emotional instability and in some cases – genetic disposition to illness, that we suffer with.

The good news is that we can also instill in our children all of the grace, love, high moral conduct, self-esteem, self-worth, kindness, consideration, honesty, and perseverance that we are – as long as we are this.

 

And finally, consider that all children are born “perfect”. All that we need to do as parents is allow them to thrive in the world with love and positive role modelling. We don’t need to make great strides towards changing them to be more alike us, or simply different than they are if they are different from how we want them to be.

Your child is a product of you. You need to take much responsibility in making yourself a product of love.

 

It’s okay to seek help to become better  – as a parent AND as a human being…. because to do so will only give your child a greater possibility to thrive in the world than what you have taught them so far.

 

The only way we retrain ourselves to be different from how we were raised and what we learned through observing our caregivers is to be consciously aware – to realize how we are and to see that this is not an ideal way in which to be. Through conscious awareness we become what we choose to be, and we will always choose the highest ideal that we believe is possible.

To believe in more you need to heal your past and the damaging beliefs and stories that you have been told, and that you continue to believe.

As a parent, be the best role model for your child – first.  The rest is built on how you lead by example as you exhibit unconditional love and support of their healthy development.  Encourage their need to be who they are while you focus on being the best version of yourself that you can imagine possible.  Parenting is a powerful reason to want to improve who you are.

 

– Dorothy

 

I’d love to hear from you!  

What has been the two most valuable teachings that you have ‘learned’ from being a parent?

 

What’s the one piece of advice that your parent taught you that has helped you immensely in parenting your children?

 

Leave your comments for me below or email me directly at: dorothy@dorothyratusny.com

Thankyou!!!

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Mindfulness is the path to Clarity, Truth, and living as your Authentic Self

In mindfulness you experience clarity and wisdom; by honouring what “is”, rather than deceptively telling yourself how you “want it to be”.

Being “mindful” is being consciously aware of yourself; your thoughts and feelings, how you engage and interact with others, and how others receive’ your words and actions. It becomes a far more revealing way to live life as compared to listening solely to the voice inside your mind.

Leah sat across from me with tears welling up in her eyes. As clients progress in therapy, quite often their accomplishments, and the changes they make to who they are can at times, evoke powerful emotions of joy and gratitude.

Leah began to describe how she used to make every effort to avoid being with herself, and how she would be unaware and inattentive to everything around her.
——————–

Therapy is a wonderful place to examine any of the “stuff” (emotional baggage, old patterns of behaving, self-critical and negative thoughts) that continues to dominate your life – causing you to feel stuck and powerless, holding you back from living life in the full expression of joy that is your authentic nature. If you have the gentle guidance of someone who can help you discover healthy strategies, you begin to make progressive and lasting changes. The result is a feeling of personal satisfaction and feeling whole. Healing the past wounds that are still the triggers for why you react the way you do is a necessary step to eliminating old behaviours that no longer represent who you want to be. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in therapy dredging up the past. But you do have to examine what happened in a way that can begin the process of healing. The purpose of therapy isn’t to talk about what bad things happened. Its about examining what bad things” happened from the perspective of understanding how these events shaped who you are, and what you need to do to heal from what happened.

In therapy, you gain a different perspective – shifting your thinking from being hurt, a victim, and lost, to feeling forgiveness (towards another or yourself), empowered, and having a clear directive for what you need to do next. Therapy is about looking at old problems in new ways that you hadn’t before. This different perspective allows you to see the whole truth rather than your particular (and often limited) version of the truth.

——————–

Like Leah, we’ve all “run from ourselves”. This is precisely what all of our busyness is about. Clients often tell me that they take great lengths to “not be alone”, even when it means being with people that aren’t adding to the quality of their life.

 

As Leah explained, her experience of mindfulness caused a dramatic change in her behaviors. Being self-aware allowed her to pay attention which meant she was able to react differently in situations – beginning with more self-control and the ability to feel her “anger falling away” (her words). I thought that this insight was especially interesting since we often don’t realize that it is our thoughts and perceptions that cause our emotions (and not what happens “to us”). Anger in particular is one emotion that can seem to come out of nowhere, “causing” us to react in ways that we are later not proud of.

 

Being self-aware or mindful is like turning the lights on in a pitch black room – instantly you are able to see everything. I call this seeing what “is” rather than what we have been telling ourselves is true. And, as the old adage goes, “the truth will set you free”.

 

Practicing mindfulness brings into your awareness all that you have been ‘running’ from. It’s in seeing what “is” that you know what you need to do (to change what you don’t like). Seeing things as they are rather than how you have been convincing yourself they are, means that you will have to face some of what you have been hiding (or running) from. In the end, being honest with yourself is the only way that change can actually happen.

 

Afterword:

The word ‘Mindfulness’ has become quite popular in today’s wellness literature. To be mindful, practice observing yourself whenever possible. Reflect on situations that have happened when you haven’t been self-aware and consider what you could have said or done differently to create a different (and more desirable) outcome. Stop blaming others for what happens and take responsibility for the direction your life has taken. Remember, everything that you think about with intensity manifests itself in your life. Who and what you are currently is a reflection of your inner world. Being mindful is stepping out of the world you have created in your mind and seeing everything as it really ‘is’.

Meditation practice is all about learning mindfulness. Not only will you reap the benefits of meditation, but your practice deepens your ability to live mindfully in all of your waking moments.

 

For guided meditations to help you develop mindfulness, please visit my Youtube channel  https://www.youtube.com/user/DorothyRatusny

or you can upload free guided meditations at anytime on soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/dorothyhelps

 

 

 

 

 

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Self-Acceptance

 Self-Acceptance: The transformational step between ‘Who you Are’ and ‘Who you are …Becoming’.

by Dorothy Ratusny, M.A., (C).OACCPP., PhD. (Candidate)

Self-acceptance is the acknowledgement of who you are. From here you use conscious intention and deliberate action to move you towards who you are willing to become.” – Dorothy Ratusny

 

After you read the blog, please check out the link at the bottom for a Guided Meditation that will allow you to experience what it means to truly accept yourself!

Self-acceptance is the ability to love and appreciate who we are even as you continue to seek change, personal growth and transformation. It is your ability to see yourself with a level of self-honesty that conveys heightened awareness and absolute truth. Self-acceptance is the antecedent to change and growth. It implies that you are aware of and able to acknowledge all of who you are even when there are aspects of yourself that you wish to change or let go of.

 

Who we are is fusing of multiple elements – all in a constant state of flux – that become (largely through our deliberate will) all of the greatness we believe is possible. Through self-acceptance we see the aspects of our self that we wish to uphold as well as those aspects we wish to become. Becoming all of who we are capable of is not possible until we are ready to admit honestly to our self, who and what we are.

Begin by acknowledging the qualities and characteristics that you admire and appreciate about yourself most. Your willingness to write these on paper brings a deeper level of awareness – a sense of ‘reality’ to what is otherwise – a grouping of ideas you hold in your mind. Self-acceptance builds esteem and self-worth whenever you are willing to acknowledge all of the good that you are.  Out of self-acceptance you acknowledge the less favourable parts of you: your intolerance for others’ differences, for judging others unfairly or for being unkind or purposely hurtful as a reaction to someone else hurting you. 

 

Self-acceptance is about willingness to see yourself as you are. Out of self-acceptance comes positive change – personal growth – knowledge – and feelings of empowerment and self-worth as you choose to embrace new thoughts, behaviours and core beliefs to replace what once was.

I teach the notion of self-acceptance with clients as a rite of passage (‘a stepping stone’) that takes them from unawareness or at times self-denial, to intentional transformation. One of the benefits of having someone you can trust mirror back to you what they are observe and witness of you, helps you to connect the dots as to ‘why’ you do what you do, and ‘how’ you can change. This allows for a greater ease to which transformation happens.  When we are able to acknowledge and understand with clarity, the significance of our thoughts, the core beliefs we hold, and how our behaviours affect us and others, we can confidently step forward into who we want to become. This of course, is helped greatly when we are given the right tools, guidance, and support for making positive change happen. 

In this way, self-acceptance is an important catalyst towards self-transformation and wholeness.

 

Use the following sentence stem exercise to help illicit the unconscious (and largely hidden) aspects of yourself that you do accept. Repeat each sentence stems at least 6-10 times, allowing yourself an opportunity to delve deeper into your psyche, and pay attention to what it feels like to acknowledge – and accept these aspects of who you are.

I accept that I am…

Next ask, “What do I not accept about myself?”

(If you don’t accept certain aspects of yourself, does this mean you are in denial of them?)

Choose to be self-accepting of the parts of you that are less likely to change and recognize that everything else is within your power to become better – if you choose.

Remember that self-acceptance is also the kindness you choose to acknowledge and speak inwardly and aloud.  When we actively practice self-acceptance as intentional kindness directed within, we further anchor our positive feelings about our self and this encourages us to continue to be this.

A final thought…

Through self-acceptance we elevate our awareness to live out of our free will choice. We can choose to act from a place of authenticity – to be loving kindness – or we can allow our ego to be in charge. Acting out of our ego-mind, our thoughts (and our reactions to our thoughts) are fear-based and do not represent who our ‘self’ truly is. ‘Self’ as defined by eastern philosophies is the core essence of who we truly are. Our core self (our soul consciousness) is pure, loving, and always truthful. Self-acceptance is one mechanism that guides us to choose how we will be.

Sat Nam everyone!

Please check out my Guided Meditation on Self-Acceptance that will transform how you feel about yourself.  It’s so very beautiful and powerful! Please give yourself some time in quiet to take it all in and feel free to do it often.

https://soundcloud.com/dorothyhelps/self-acceptance-a-guided

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The Secret for Getting “Unstuck” in your Life…. 3 STEPS for What You NEED TO DO

I nor anyone else cannot make you do what you need to do. If you find yourself flailing, feeling ‘lost’, unproductive, uninspired, anxiety-ridden, waist deep in self-sabotaging behaviours, the way back – the easiest route you could possibly take involves believing in yourself; and in making the ordinary – extraordinary. Ultimately, you must find a way to own up to what you are doing.

It’s called an Awakening.

And it can’t happen unless you are prepared to look at yourself with stark honesty and truthfulness. Stop telling yourself that you are justified for being this way and move beyond what you have always done.

I find that clients shift their reality when they are made to look at themselves truthfully. In those moments when I speak candidly and honestly with them, if often triggers several uncomfortable but equally relevant emotions: shock (that someone has found them out), sadness, self-pity, shame and at times …as their psyche seeks to quickly defend their ongoing behaviours (which they’ve built their current life around), they may also make bold excuses for why they can’t do what they know (even if they won’t admit it) is the ‘right’ thing. This by the way, is how you hold yourself hostage.

How long have you been adrift? Caught up in the stories that you tell yourself and why you can’t do something? For example: ”It’s too hard”, “I’m in too much pain”, “I don’t know how”, “I don’t have the time”, “I don’t have the motivation”, “I feel lost”, “I don’t know what to do”, “I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing” etc, etc. Whatever statements you cling to, whatever set of “untruths” that you have adopted as your beliefs, take a closer look at them now. Even when what you are telling yourself SEEMS true….it never truly is. Everything that you do or don’t do is based on what you tell yourself and what you have chosen to believe.

 

With every excuse you make (and there will always be more than a hundred reasons why you remain stuck and feeling unfulfilled), KNOW that the time comes when you can no longer function this way. It may take months, even years of constant repetition of your ‘untrue’ stories swirling around in your mind, or any number of self-sabotaging behaviours and unhealthy habits, all reinforcing whatever “stories” you tell yourself.

OR… You can decide one day that you will chose to think (and act) differently. Just remember, it only has to be one different thought that leads to a new behaviour…. for you to see what you are really capable of.

An awakening is a moment of truth. It is examining your inner dialogue and the actions that follow and then ‘waking up’ to see that you have not been living honestly. You have convinced yourself of whatever limitations you hold because for whatever reason, this (you have convinced yourself) is EASIER than doing the necessary WORK to fix or change your existing behaviours. It doesn’t need to be me in a session of therapy to help you by pointing out what you already know – but keep avoiding. For most people, it means getting to a place where it becomes intolerable to function at all before something ‘gives’. (And this by the way is very sad to watch). As creatures of habit, we thrive in the comfort of knowing our misery – even though we feel awful and hopeless.

The idea is to be motivated by the search for pleasure rather than staying in the pain of what we know so well. If you’re still feeling a strong need to defend your position of inaction right now, consider any of the iconic people (Mahatma Gandhi is one) who have been subjected to immense physical and emotional pain and who have chosen to thrive inside their mind – directing their thoughts to what they hope and look towards, rather than the suffering and misery that surrounded them.

Awakenings occur when you are simply honest with yourself. (Not rocket science – just truthfulness). When you are willing to state the facts rather than hide behind what environment you have constructed that allows you the facade of being safe – protected from the world or your previous failings at seeking change, . Ask anyone who has overcome a personal hardship and they will tell you that it was perseverance that made it possible for them to overcome; perseverance and belief – and never looking back. Awakening is a reality check – but only as you remain humbled to its truth – the truth of what “is” and not what you keep telling yourself.

 

Inspirational quote by Gautama Buddha (563 BC-483 BC) on earthy

 

3 STEPS to getting yourself unstuck and moving in the direction of what will heal and support you in life:

1. Admit honestly (write it down so it’s real and starring you back in the face) what you NEED TO DO DIFFERENTLY in order to be the change you say you want. (Step Two will test you to see just how badly you want “it” and how willing you are to stop living in the untruths you have surrounded yourself with.

 

2. With discipline, and yes, even though it may be emotionally or physically painful at times to move past what you’ve been convinced of for so long – FOLLOW THE ACTION STEPS you have listed in STEP ONE and SEEK HELP from either a professional who has proven they know the journey because they have lived it (so ask them if you’re not sure!).  You need to feel confident that they will give you additional tools and strategies while keeping you accountable to the goals you have set making it possible for you to see the change happen.

 

3. Never Stop.

As much as change feels overwhelming for many people, if you attempt to avoid it you will return to being fearful and deny the unavoidable path of constant growth. Regardless of your age, life continues to be filled with new experiences, teachings, and wonderful new opportunities if you remain open and look for these.

 

Now get started!

 

namaste everyone!

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Active Laziness

In his book, ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’, Author Sogyal Rinpoche uses the phrase “active laziness” to describe how we are constantly cramming our lives so full with compulsive activity that we don’t ever have time to examine the ‘real’ issues.

 

Our life seems to dictate to us what we do; possessing its own bizarre momentum – and carrying us away with it.  Sadly, we often feel that we have ‘no choice’ or ‘control’ over what we “have to” do.

 

If we pause to look a little more closely, we begin to see how many unimportant tasks (so called “responsibilities”) accumulate, taking up valuable time – and keeping us from experiencing what is really important.

 

We tell ourselves we have “no time”, that we will “make time later or tomorrow” for things that are important to us  …. and yet by the next morning, we wake up and do it all over again.

I’ve been gently reminding people that we eventually “run out of time”; that there is purpose in “living IN this moment”, and not waiting to do something you’ve been meaning (or desiring) to do.

lifeiswhatwemakeit

Because months (and let’s be honest), decades of our lives can “get away from us”…all we have is the present moment.  Practically speaking, it only takes minutes to write down what you would really like to experience, do, enjoy, and be …for today, along with some ways you will go about making these happen.

After all, life is a series of many moments….and the culmination of all of our experiences of these moments. Hopefully we can remember that we are in charge of our moments…by choosing so.

Namaste everyone!

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Manifesting an Ideal Relationship

I used to wonder how it would ever be possible to heal – improve – specific relationships.  After all wouldn’t doing so require the full commitment of both people?

With BELIEF and the commitment to realize (no matter how long it may take) what it is you want most…truly anything is possible!  Most of the time, when we fail to see the fruits of our efforts, its because we have given up (we have stopped before what we wanted has manifested completely!)

 

With belief you can manifest anything!  (In fact, what you desire most ends up being true because of such a strong resolve you have in making it a reality – even when at times its a reality only in your own mind!)

Consider that the one thing holding you back from having the relationship  (e.g. love, friendship, sibling, parent-child, etc) of your dreams is simply how you perceive it.  The other important factor is the amount of belief you hold in making your ideal relationship – a reality.  (This INCLUDES the effort and work that is required to propel you towards what you want most – making it happen!)

 

Most of us focus on the problem.  We become lost – caught up in the negative aspects of our relationship, and focused on the flaws of the other person, rather than the solution – and what we want the relationship “to be”.

 

We can manifest the most incredible ideals for anything in life….but the moment we begin to focus on the problems, we direct our focus and energy on these, perceiving (and even making them) to be bigger than they really are.  We also lose sight of what is “good” and “working well” and most important “how” we want to improve our relationship further.

FYI:  The other thing that we can do is minimize the ‘real’ problems (e.g. abuse, neglect, deceit, infidelity etc.) and convincingly ignore these in the “hopes” that they will somehow ‘improve’ on their own.

 

In the first example, we are more likely to ‘give up’ on our ideals for a healthy relationship, deciding that it simply isn’t possible to have what we want.  In the second example, we ignore and make excuses for the “real” problems rather than end the relationship and seek our ideals for a healthy relationship elsewhere.

 

Important to remember, manifesting your ideal relationship may no longer be possible with the person you are presently with.  In some cases, a relationship will not be able to improve because one of its members simply doesn’t have the same desire (or ability at present) for it to be different (better).  For a relationship to progress and develop: to strengthen, deepen, and transform in a way that takes both people to a new level of understanding, respect and love, both have to share a similar desire – and to focus on this desired outcome as they do the ‘work’ of making it so.

In all relationships, when both people share similar ideals – i.e. and if they both believe – without doubt – in the possibility of the relationship to reach new depths of love and intimacy, and levels of honesty, openness, and closeness – it will happen!  (It can also happen even if only one member of a relationship desires and believes in this – but as long as there is effort made towards this  – AND OF COURSE…that the other person remains open to the positive efforts they see are being made.  One partner’s positive efforts is often a catalyst for a relationship improving – if both members truly desire this).

 

So, what have you been manifesting?  Are you looking at the ways in which you may have an even more incredible relationship with those you love?  Or are you focused on what’s wrong, missing, or the ‘water under the bridge’ (old hurts and resentments of the past)?  Either direction will subconsciously bring you that result.

 

Make it possible to have what you want by defining it first – either in your mind or in written form – detailing exactly what you want your relationship to be.  Next, consider what you are willing to do toward accomplishing this.  Let your thoughts and ideals be the road map and your actions be the ‘tangible’ ways that you make your ideal relationship possible.

You may be surprised at first as you begin to see your relationships transforming.  Notice even the simplest ways in which you have been able to contribute to making your relationship “better”.

Sometimes (like in my case) your efforts won’t fully be materialized for YEARS!!  During this time, it may seem easier to throw in the towel, to stop believing, to give up the idea that you could ever have the kind of relationship with someone that you’ve always wanted.

Just remember… You have any relationship (providing that the other person is as deeply invested in deepening and strengthening the relationship – by first BEING / LIVING / the ideal for HOW you want the relationship to be.
For example: if you wanted a more open and honest dialogue with a family member, you need to begin by first modelling this behaviour, directly ‘asking’ for the same in return (forthright communication is such a pivotal component of healing and nurturing relationships) and providing examples of what this ‘looks like’ for them.  You also need patience and fortitude to overcome the preconceived ideas you have about what the other person is capable of – as well as persistence and BELIEF that EVERYTHING YOU DESIRE MOST is possible.

 

In the end, no matter how long it may take, perhaps you will be (like I was) both amazed and grateful at how it was possible all along – just as long as you remained focused on the positive behaviours (that you are responsible for), PATIENT (you may see results instantly, but it can also take years!), and constant in your BELIEF of the outcome you want most!

Namaste everyone!

 

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Witnessing Your Incredible Nature Through the Eyes of Others….

As much as we may experience the challenge at times of seeing ourselves with loving eyes (often we are our own worst critic, repeating many of the same words that we’ve grown up hearing others say to us), I am always in awe of  how incredibly healing it is to hear how others “see” us.

 

Whether from a friend, loved one, or perhaps someone we don’t really know – hearing genuine kindness spoken quite deliberately affects us deeply.  Hearing words of truth that are spoken through another’s eyes gives us a new ‘landing point’ – a way to see and evaluate ourselves differently.

At times the parts of our selves that we are struggling with most need reassurance, loving words, and acceptance. Having others acknowledge our greatness can help us to believe in our self; and to see with approval all that we already are.

Having nothing at stake, we can more easily consider the words of others spoken sincerely, and allow these words to sink ‘in’ …feeling their positive effects in ways we had perhaps not imagined.

 

Consider witnessing yourself through the positive words, adoration, and kindness of others.  Write these words so you can see and read them later  – and at moments when you may begin to doubt yourself.  Remain open to the ways in which messages of ‘truth’ and appreciation about who you are finds you… and trust that these are exactly the words that you need to hear at that moment.

 

Namaste everyone!

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How Do You Know?

With anything you choose, how do you know what will be a ‘right’ choice and what will be so wrong?

Remember who you are choosing for. When you make decisions that affect your life, are you choosing based on what someone else thinks or recommends, or do you focus on the best outcome based on your needs and what is right for you?

 

Growing up, we are taught to “listen” to our parents, to “do” what we are told, to ‘follow’ without needing to think for our self. If you have not had much practice in making decisions autonomously, how can you trust that what you decide will work out in your favour?

Decision making, like any daily life choice follows a particular pattern. If you focus on the problem or the challenge you are faced with, decision making will be more confusing.  You will continue to be caught between what you hope won’t happen and all of the possible scenarios that might. This never helps you to make a ‘right’ choice.

 

Focusing instead on what you want most gives you a clear directive.

How do you know if your decision will be the right one?

Answer:  Because you are focusing (and acting) in the direction of what you want most; and of what is best and right for you.

Namaste everyone!

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Living IN this moment.

Words of WISDOM when prompted from someone in their early seventies …recently conveyed the importance of one life lesson they had learned thus far.

It’s the idea of slowing down, of not being prisoner to the thought that we are too busy to enjoy “taking time” for the simple things.

When you can mindfully exhale …releasing all of the thoughts that go with where you have to be next, what tasks are waiting for you that you are not looking forward to, and the worries of how you will possibly accomplish all that you “need to” today, what happens is that you create an OPENING – a space – in which to ENJOY whatever you are experiencing right now.

The beauty of calling your attention back into the present moment is to experience being engaged IN life.  To experience the richness and beauty of each singular moment you need to be fully present IN THIS MOMENT. present moment

Anything experienced with the pleasure of present moment awareness is heightened.  Just begin to think of all of the activities you already enjoy; the simple pleasures of a first cup of coffee in the morning, the heat of a steam room warming your entire body, or a kiss from the one you love.

This means that all of the experiences we love most are made even better by focusing our attention on them.

Consider that you will need to use some parts of your day for planning future events.  Yet, make the conscious decision to live more of your life as an active participant “in” your (present moment) experience.

*Especially when you are doing tasks that are not enjoyable – use your breath to bring you back into the present moment and be attentive.  Find the joy in whatever you are doing right now even if the task isn’t your most favourite.

The richness of  life’s simplest moments (often unplanned and purely spontaneous) far outweighs the ENJOYMENT of future or past thoughts about something else.

 

This is what is meant by the words: ‘Living IN the now’.  We can only experience THIS moment fully.  Every other moment is now either memory or what we have already forgotten.   When we come to realize this, we can actively create future moments (with certainty and enjoyment) but then be present to LIVE in the experience of right NOW. Namaste everyone!

and P.S. A simple afterthought….. Even the moments used for ‘planning the future’, ‘setting goals’, and envisioning the future are powerful tools to actualizing what you want.  Even these ‘tasks’ can be experienced and lived fully by enjoying them fully!

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Giving “Thanks” for CHALLENGES: Thanksgiving 2013

 

Recently I led a Group Meditation on the topic of ‘giving thanks‘.   I can think of no greater way to move with ease through the challenges that any of us face than to accept them with gratitude.

 

When you welcome any “challenge” (hardship, problem, etc) with acceptance and gratitude, you no longer feel powerless against it.  By choosing to embrace this ‘challenge’, and to view it as an important part of your current life journey, you begin to embrace what teachings the challenge holds for you.

 

Once you master what teachings the challenge offers, it then becomes a life lesson that you own, allowing you to draw from the expertise and knowledge you would have gained from it.  

 

Consider what other privileges and opportunities you have been seeing as problems or challenges.

See your challenge with readiness and be grateful to embrace how you will be moved to grow and change because of it.  Trust that whatever self-awareness, new behaviours, and transformation occurs is exactly what you need as you go forward in life.  

grateful

Give yourself the ‘challenge’ of seeing, visualizing, and imagining the solution to your “problem” situation.  Hold the vision of your future ideal, how you wish to be, what you want to accomplish, and how the challenge might be best ‘fixed’ or resolved.  This is how you stay focused on the positive outcome while you set in motion what actions are required to get you there.  

 

BEING THANKFUL simply allows whatever challenges you are still working on, to become manageable and possible rather than overwhelming and impossible.

 

Remember that you are only continuing to experience the same or similar challenges until you have mastered them.  This is inevitably how we evolve as human beings.

 

Namaste everyone!

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A Note about Sadness

In a world were so much focus is placed on our outer appearance, the state of what physical objects we own, how we look and appear to others, what others see; and what we wish to see of our self, there is less of a need to acknowledge and honour what is within. Working to find our unique path in life; one that allows us to feel a sense of promise, hope, and fulfillment happens only as we are aware of our heartfelt desires; those gentle and yet sometimes fierce inner urgings that tell us to take a certain path; to try this new thing, or to go in search of a particular new experience.

 

 

Feeling attuned with your inner self means being aware of this place deep within you. Your sadness, and any other inner anxst or turmoil are often visible reminders that there are things beneath the surface; inside your being that need attention.

 

Sadness can often be the result of some past life situation – perhaps unresolved.  A general low level of sadness that seems to be there whenever you find yourself in moments all by yourself, can have very different meaning for you.   The main point is to no longer attempt to cover or deflect the sadness (or any other emotion you may be feeling) and instead step in ever so further. The point of looking at any emotion to explore and uncover its root origin allows us to have information- to have knowledge about why we feel the way we do and to address the underlying root cause.

 

Sometimes you will find yourself feeling sad for no real reason. The sadness comes from your train of thoughts and whatever you were thinking in those recent past moments.  Uncover your thoughts to see how your thoughts influence your overall mood state.

 

Sadness like any other feeling has an underlying purpose. It is there to reveal what may be missing, unhealthy, unsatisfactory, or disturbingly wrong with a present life situation. Sadness also comes out of our choice to focus on a particular life situation without truly empowering ourselves to discover what we need to do with it. We remain lodged in the feelings of sadness and replay the conversation or event rather than contemplate “What can I learn from this?” or “What would I need to feel at peace (happy, content, healed, etc) from this situation instead?”

Let your heart (your intuitive source) point out some real possibilities and begin to imagine yourself following the path toward them. Contrary to any previous thought, you do not have to remain sad; sadness is a feeling that is the result of “something” and not a resting place for our state of being.

 

The next time you glimpse even a fleeting sense of the feeling of sadness, consider what you are guided to do instead. Feel the sadness but decide whether you will choose to remain here; whether you will make sadness a regular experience or whether you will acknowledge it as simply an emotion that calls on you to attend to its for purpose – it is always a feeling that requires further exploration and examination.  Likely your decision to explore sadness will allow for some positive action that moves you toward feeling an entirely different set of emotions after all.

Namaste everyone!

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Friends for LIFE

Sometimes weeks or even months pass with limited contact between myself and my closest female friends.  When we finally get together, I can then sit with them over a meal and easily catch up; any time ‘in-between’ doesn’t feel as though it is measured in clock time; we pick up right where we left off, with such ease and comfort.

 

The few female friends I hold dearly in life, share a similar yet pivotal commonality: I never feel judged by them, and they don’t hold expectations of me or of our friendship.  I would hope that they feel the same from me.

 

This means that we can truly be ourselves; blurt out our ‘truths’, say whatever is on our mind at any moment… and not be afraid to reveal anything – since we hold no judgment toward one another.

 

Lately I am reminded of the importance of BEING a friend.  Too often I see others looking, relying, depending on their friends for much.  I wonder if we look at our ‘friendship’ relationships as ways in which we might give unconditionally – trusting that when we do so, we always manage to receive exactly whatever we need in that moment even if we have no preconceived idea of what that need might be.

 

The value of a true friendship suggests that we are loved by another.  Being loved by someone outside of our family suggests that others have CHOSEN US to hold dear in their life.  The state of a true friendship is measured not by how much face time two people share, but by the quality of the moments spent with one another, and the depth of honesty that they are willing to share.

 

…And I suspect that whomever said, “You only need a few good friends in life ” truly knew what this meant.  We can’t possibly engage in the depth of quality needed to nurture such an honest and authentic relationship if we are juggling fifteen people whom we call “our closest friends”.  Like any significant relationship, a ‘true’ friendship requires nurturing and growth over time.

 

Your friendships add to the quality of your life; the friends you hold dear to your heart grow with you even if the person is going through very different life experiences than you.

 

Consider what YOU VALUE MOST IN your friendship relationship.  

 

Perhaps its the simplicity of being accepted as you are …being loved unconditionally….. or being free to talk about anything without fear of judgment.

 

I am in awe of how much love I feel from my friends; and pray that they feel my love for them.  I enjoy and cherish knowing of our ‘history’ together…of sharing in so many happy moments that we both will remember forever… and for them being my soul sisters….

xoxo

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