Suzy's Blog

The Disease to Please & Five Ways to Stop

The Disease to Please & Five Ways to Stop

  Last week we looked at practical ways to break the cycle of guilt so that it doesn't take over our lives. The more I think about this though, the more I’m troubled by a pattern I see. Why is it that women are more prone to feel unwarranted guilt than men? I’ve been thinking about this tendency and then I found this gem of wisdom that I believe gets to the core of the issue “The answer probably lies in socialization. Women and girls have been socialized for thousands of years to get along with others, not hurt anybody's feelings, and take care of loved ones”. This is Melanie Greenburg, PhD take on this tendency and I think she is spot on. We feel guilty when we perceive we are falling short. It’s impossible to please everyone, but oh how that early childhood belief system, haunts us well into adulthood. For decades, guilt was the driving force behind all my over-extending, over-offering, over-doing…which led to being over-busy, over-whelmed and yes, being driven to over-pleasing at the expense of my own health and peace of mind. When I think back on this, I can see that my need to please began in childhood. I learned early on that pleasing my parents resulted in compliments and positive reinforcement and that made me feel darn proud and loved. So, if the reason for guilt lies in socializing then Elizabeth Svoboda’s, take on this in Psychology Today is correct. She says, for children, “The only way to feel valuable is to comply with others' demands, give others what they need, and "go with the flow." The pattern only solidifies as...

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Do you ever feel guilty?

Do you ever feel guilty?

Guilt manifests itself in our lives in ways we can’t see ourselves. I didn't even know I had a problem until a friend asked me “were you raised Catholic?” and I didn't know what she was talking about until she said, “you are driven by guilt!” That stopped me in my tracks – I was completely gobsmacked!  As hard as it was, I had to admit she was right. I felt guilty about everything. I felt guilty because I was never good enough, was never able to offer enough, and could never ‘do’ enough. There’s a quote that rings so true for me that I want to share with you, “guilt is an emotion that people experience because they’re convinced they’ve caused harm”. It is by Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D and she goes on to talk about the five causes of guilt: Guilt Cause #1: Guilt for something you did. Guilt Cause #2: Guilt for something you didn’t do, but want to. Guilt Cause #3: Guilt for something you think you did. Guilt Cause #4: Guilt that you didn’t do enough to help someone. Guilt Cause #5: Guilt that you’re doing better than someone else. Driving home from my friend’s house that day I felt it in every cell of my body “I am so done with guilt!” From that day on, whenever that feeling of guilt crept back in (which was often), I stopped and looked at the emotion from all sides. It’s almost like holding a ball in your hand that has ‘guilty’ written all over it. But instead of letting the guilt poison you (and suffer the side-effects, which I’ll get to in a moment) looking at the emotion allows you to disconnect from the guilt and see it for what it is. I...

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We’ve Been Duped [The Truth about Energy and Your Optimum Level]

We’ve Been Duped [The Truth about Energy and Your Optimum Level]

We’ve been duped! Years ago, I taught a course, along with a Doctor friend of mine, on cancer prevention, which of course included education about eating to live healthy. I didn’t want anyone with cancer to feel bad due to their food choices because the truth is, we have been duped. In the 1940’s the era of industrialized food began. Canned food, frozen dinners, boxed food became the accepted way of living. As a society, we have experienced a metaphorphosis of cultures. Around the turn of the twentieth century, as Susan Cain writes in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, “Americans shifted from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality…in the Culture of Character, the ideal self was serious, disciplined, and honored…The word personality didn’t exist in English until the eighteenth century…but when they embraced the Culture of Personality, Americans started to focus on how other people perceived them” and the age of ‘personality is power’ was born. As far as I’m concerned when the industrialization of America began, everything went to hell in a handbasket – you, me, all of us were duped! We were led to believe that industrialized food was good for us and to be a ‘good’ person, you best be outgoing, powerful and dare I say – busy! Who you were as an individual didn’t matter. What mattered was to emulate those with ‘personality’ – the movers, the shakers, the doers! I would like to believe that a new day is dawning. That we have entered a culture of ‘waking up’. That we no longer need to be a...

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Feeling tired? 8 Reasons Why and What You Can Do

Feeling tired? 8 Reasons Why and What You Can Do

Several years ago, I had major sinus surgery to correct a rare condition I was born with. A few weeks post-surgery, I was frustrated as I was still tired and the pain lingered on. On the surface, I looked just fine, but what was out of sight had yet to heal completely. I remember thinking if I had a broken bone and had a cast, I would have been much more accepting of how I felt and kinder to myself as I healed as well. What can’t be seen, is no less important than what is visible. Feeling tired, fatigued, sluggish can mean that inside, out of sight, your body has a broken part that needs to heal. Here are 8 possible, out of sight, reasons for feeling tired… #1: Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue is very common. If you have been under stress, your adrenal glands could very well be tired. If you are craving salt; find it difficult to wake up, are waking up in the middle of the night, have dry skin, are pushed to the emotional edge easy, experiencing mild depression or anxiety, I encourage you to have an adrenal test run with a holistic oriented physician or practitioner. *See the link at the bottom and take the adrenal fatigue quiz. #2: Low Iron. An iron deficiency can make you feel weak, tired, light headed, short of breath, irritable, sluggish and make it hard to focus. Iron deficiency makes you tired because less oxygen travels to your muscles and cells. Google iron rich foods and please get tested as well. If you are vegan or vegetarian, low iron could be your low energy culprit. #3: B12 Deficiency. The body needs B12 to make red blood cells....

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A Four Step Practice for Reducing Mental Chatter (aka clutter)

A Four Step Practice for Reducing Mental Chatter (aka clutter)

I am forever amazed at how I seem to end up, in exactly the place I need be to hear, learn, read, witness…something that cracks my mind open to a new way of thinking. This past Sunday, my husband and I headed off to meet friends for a day at the lake. I made the plans forgetting that we had committed to attend an informational meeting for a local non-profit on mindfulness started by a passionate mother, who lost her son to suicide. We spent a few hours splashing in the water and all too soon, had to make the 1 ½ hour drive home. The meeting turned out to not be what we expected at all – an informational meeting about the non-profit and instead we heard a presentation by two lovely women who created a certification program for adults to teach mindfulness and self-compassion to teens. Fabulous topic, but the little voice in my head was saying “I wish we would have stayed at the lake longer”. As the women began talking, my thoughts traveled back to age 19 and my own attempt at suicide. I have often thought that if I understood I wasn’t the only one struggling and that I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I was feeling, I never would have swallowed that huge hand full of sleeping pills. 35 years later my motivation for sharing ‘what’s real’ came from my belief that if I had heard other people talking about what was challenging them, the choice I made would have been very different. I began practicing mindfulness eight years ago. Mindfulness is a powerful transformational tool and with my increased self-awareness; my self-respect, self-love,...

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