Who is Responsible? — LeadToday

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I’ve been trying to help people be more successful for a long time. In all that time I’ve seen people fall into two major categories; those who accept responsibility for their own personal development and those who affix the responsibility for their development to someone else. That someone else may be a teacher, their […]

via Who is Responsible? — LeadToday

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Is Controversy YOUR new Normal?

Every. Single. Day. There it is, right there in the headlines; a major controversial theme for the day, which can sometimes take over the news and media for weeks. Saints vs. Rams, Native American vs. Catholic teens, Wall funding vs. Congress, Kavenough vs. Ford, the list could go on for days on end. It has become such a normal part of our daily living, daily news, and daily conversations that I am very concerned for our marriages, our newlyweds, our premarital couples, our young adults, and our future leaders!

The constant controversy we are faced with on a regular basis from companies, groups, National sports leagues, and well-renowned organizations has become the new normal, and nothing can be more damaging toward creating peace and unity! If this has become the ‘norm’ in media, in TV reality shows, in the press, and all over social media- how in the world could families refrain from making this the norm in their own homes and in their most precious and valued relationships with loved ones, spouses, and especially with their children?

This new acceptable form of daily conflict seems innocent, and unavoidable at times; but what is happening is, ‘MEDIA’ is taking ‘clips’ of happenings, or small segments of words or phrases spoken, and developing a negative story out of it; creating perspectives that would sometimes, and often, be non-existent if the ENTIRE message, or ENTIRE video, or ALL the facts were presented, to begin with.

Our controversial culture is wreaking havoc in the subconscious minds of everyone! We literally have become immune to acts of controversial behaviors assuming everyone will adapt and it will be fully acceptable!

This couldn’t be farther from the truth!

DON’T LET THIS NORMALIZATION OF CONFLICT BE YOURS TOO!!

Even one of the fruits of the spirit in the Bible states having forbearance, which means, don’t have resistance, don’t challenge and push for things, have self-control. The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit, according to chapter 5 of the Epistle to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. …

If every day we brought a ‘new’ problem to the table within our family or in our workplace, or in our community, everyone would be in discord, major dysfunction, and a breakdown of love and trust would diminish!

When an environment is a never-ending pool of different perspectives, different opinions, and arguments, there is conflict continually. Successful families and companies have positive flowing relationships when they can create an atmosphere that promotes positivity, results, praise, respect, and admiration. The following guidelines are helpful to create unity within groups, teams, partnerships, and families:

  • There is kindness; even expressed when providing constructive criticism. We don’t ‘bash’ the child or spouse or employee, we express our discord with ‘choices’ or ‘behaviors’.
  • There are boundaries and rules, and they are conveyed as to what and how they should be followed; if homes have no children; spouses express preferences to each other and each partner works hard to conform to their partner’s desires in an effort to please each other.
  • There are consequences for not complying to boundaries that everyone agreed to in a family; or set forth by the leader, parent, President, or top authority figure. Without adequate consequences, there would be chaos, and no one would have any reason to adhere to the boundaries, much less comply.
  • There is respect. Not everyone will agree, or like all the boundaries, rules, or laws put into place; but under the leadership or parental units, or companies where people have hatred, or a deep dislike, or a strong disagreement; it is the mature responsibility of those individuals to understand this very important principle: If you don’t like the management, you have a few choices: leave the company/family/relationship/group, move out or away from your current authority submitting yourself to new leadership or management, or you rise up to be the leader yourself! But if you remain in the situation, and your way of dealing with it is to badger, criticize, complain, cause dissension, disrupt others peace, you have caused strong negative energies to take over within you, and it wreaks havoc to all those around you. Why engage in actions to yourself and others that cause thoughts and emotions to suffer?

If you are in a family, group or company that argues and has a lot of dysfunction and problems, you have a few choices.

You can stay in the situation (hoping it changes; trying to change it- which often creates constant resistance and lowers everyone’s energy vibrations and emotions! Unless all parties can communicate effectively or seek counseling) Problem rarely gets resolved

Leave the situation (get a new job, move out, or ignore and distance yourself from the problem or person) -problem remains

Argue, or try to ‘WIN’ (a useless, virtually never successful effort) lowers emotional state & problem remains.

In all the above remedies: problem remains. Division, discouragement, bitterness, resentment, blame, negative emotions, hard-spiritedness, dissension, and discord are all results of staying insistent on getting your way.

Compromise is where two parties both ‘step off’ of certain desires, and ‘allow’ for some unwanted things. The keyword here: BOTH parties must give & take.

The only time a person should stand their ground is if a choice is made without their consent- against their will or against their desire- that person afflicted should not be held accountable in any way (financially or otherwise) because someone else made a wrong choice. Example: Son breaks family TV when he threw a ball in the house. Mom thinks the parents should replace it, describing the incident as an accident. Dad, on the other hand, feels the Son should relinquish his allowance, seek new neighbors yards to cut for money, and do whatever else it takes to buy a new TV.

Would the parents replacing the TV be teaching the child how life works? If the parents were not in the child’s life in 5 years, the same scenario happened in college, would the child feel like ‘all’ the roommates should chip in to recover the cost of a TV… since, after all, it WAS an accident? Or, would the child have grown up realizing that we are all responsible for our mistakes- purposeful and accidental mistakes?

Love wins. Patience endures. Kindness calms. Thoughtfulness encourages. Non-resistance compromises.

Sometimes we must come to the realization that we can’t keep trying to have our expectations met, it is so emotionally draining.

Sometimes, things are better left unsaid. Letting go of trying so hard to make a point can be energizing. If someone has a different value system, your point is mute anyway.

Sometimes, it is best to do the following when a difficult person says or does something against our better wishes:

  • Pause.
  • Shake our head. (release that negative feeling!)
  • Realize that sometimes the other person resisting our decision is based solely on their own fears or levels of insecurities.

Each day does not have to include drama. Be a drama-diffuser. Here are the best ways to reduce drama, cease potential arguments- and keep positive flowing energy at work and at home.

A person has a critical argument or comment:

Your Response: That’s interesting.

A person has a negative statement or complaint:

Your Response: What are your ideas to fix that?

A person is going on and on with Blame…blame…blame:

Your Response: What are your plans moving forward since you can’t change the past?

A person has a project or something unreasonable for you to do:

Response: My answer is no, but I’m willing to compromise with the idea to ____________________.

Try hard not to let our present day culture that has developed a ‘normalcy’ to drama and conflict, be your method of everyday operation as well! The Nations leaders may not be in constant unity, but our relationships, families, and workplaces can be!!

Be happy within yourself, and kindness will flow. Be content and grateful, and appreciation will come naturally. Be a person with no expectations, and you’ll rarely be disappointed.

Don’t take things personally. Don’t assume. Always honor your word. And always, do your very best. ~The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

Less conflict = more peace!🤗✌

Life & Relationship Coach,

Annalisa O’Toole

askannalisa.com

10 Steps for Struggling couples

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couples siloughette

Relationships, unfortunately, don’t have a 3 month, 3000 miles rule for going in and getting a tune-up or oil, filter, lube! But just as important as keeping our auto maintenance periodically, our relationships need checkups too, especially if couples have pushed unresolved issues under the rug over and over for years, and they tend to surface over and over, and they seem to be facing the same problems over and over.

Something to remember is that when a person goes years layering the problems and keeping a record of wrongs in their mind, these records tend to fester and grow bigger the more they think about them, and the more they share them with others, who most likely share their victim stories, and then that only adds fuel to the flame as well.

Conflict resolution means two things. It means a willingness for both parties to participate in being teachable toward listening to possible solutions and guidelines and choose their best path. And second, both people admitting their own personal weaknesses and mistakes, taking responsibilities for those, admitting faults, and moving forward in a positive direction toward compromise and forgiveness.

Coaching and counseling fails if one person has their mind set on the deadset belief that the coaching or counseling session is going to be focused on ‘setting their partner straight’ about some things. In other words, they feel that the counselor is going to hear their view, and going to ‘change their partner’. It will always be the coach or counselors position to hear both parties, and present ideas and suggestions that both people in the relationship may choose as a compromise, so that both parties feel they are working together as a team, and that they are both benefiting from a solution, and working together. Sometimes, however, suggestions will be outside the comfort zone of someone. That is because to accommodate our partners in relationships, change is often a part of successful flowing relationships. This does not mean, however, that we are supposed to change in ways that are uncomfortable, or feel unnatural to us. If there is a change our partner wants us to make that is outside of our comfort zone, we have a very HUGE decision to make, and we all know what that is. We must ask ourselves,

Can I continue to live with and love this person, creating this change in my life, and in theirs, easily and comfortably, without feeling resistance to this change, for the sake of maintaining a positive relationship?

If the answer is yes, you can stay in this relationship without hardship. If the answer is no, you will have a big decision to make.

The reason I love this question is that this question helps us evaluate ‘ourselves’; rather than continue to blame, or point the finger toward our partner. People tend to say things like this…

“Well, if my spouse would just stop…….and then they finish this sentence with whatever behavior is unbecoming…this idea sets up the belief that the problem lies solely outside of their self.

OR this one…

“Well, if only he/she would start ________more, then I would be more________.

They tend to fill in this sentence with whatever they desire from their partner to justify their reason to step up.

Here’s the major part of how this all has to work though. There has to be quality communication about what changes are necessary if any. What does need changing? What needs are being unmet? Has each partner even discussed their personal needs with each other? Why do we struggle? What are the fights about? What are the issues? Here are the 10 steps to get back on track to being friends, having fun, communicating, laughing together, finding that passion, and rediscovering the marriage you once thrived on!

  1. Make your needs list. Exchange it, and work on filling each other’s needs. DAILY.
  2. Buy the LOVE LANGUAGES book. Read it together. Know yours. Know Theirs.
  3. Buy the movie: FIREPROOF. WATCH IT together, ASAP. No Interruptions.
  4. Hire a Life Coach or Counselor, but be open, be teachable. It takes 2!
  5. Talk, Don’t Argue. If emotions get elevated; take a break.
  6. Work on your Communication skills. The NO’s of communicating: no interrupting, no yelling, no blaming, no bringing up the past, no name calling, no going to bed mad, no threats, no ultimatums, no defensiveness, no changing subjects; stay on topic.
  7. Anger will never fix anything but only brew more anger. Talk in a calm manner.
  8. Forgive. Unforgiveness is like paying rent for a home you don’t live in or visit.
  9. Don’t keep a record of wrongs, in your head, or verbally expose them to others about your partner, this just keeps the negative energy alive and continuing.
  10. Start new today with a new attitude of moving forward with positive new ideas for a positive future! You must believe it to achieve it!

For more life coaching information- visit http://www.askannalisa.com or find Life Coach Annalisa on Facebook or other sites as Coach Annalisa or Ask Annalisa!

Ask Annalisa!

Do you have a child, or do you RAISE one?

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childpicParenting has two parts. The two parts are two different things. There’s the first part of parenting; the act of ‘becoming’ a parent, where you actually created a child, the child was born, and now you are either a Mother or Father in name only. The second part of parenting, the more committed part, is where parenting isn’t about the simpleness of claiming the title of such a privilege, but the act of loving and caring for the child day in and day out. Even a parent who doesn’t live with their child should know and understand that an emotionally connected parent is the one engaged in their child’s life enough to promote the child earning respect for them. An absent parent = absent respect. A child learns more about their parent’s values by being around the parent.  A parent who is actively engaged in their child’s life, learns about their child’s intentions, and is in a position to guide, support, and mentor the child with the end goal being raising and developing a responsible, kind, confident, and stable adult that strives to succeed in life to their fullest potential. The responsibility for this development shouldn’t be left to only one parent; but all too often, it unfortunately is. Some divorced parents use the excuse that their child never calls them, or reaches out to them. It is not the responsibility of a child (a young, sensitive, undeveloped mind, with an undeveloped level of people skills and maturity) to reach out to a parent; quite the contrary. It is the responsibility of each parent, regardless of a living situation, to reach out to their child, on a regular basis to create and build a strong relationship. It is not the child’s responsibility to be the only initiator for staying in contact or to plan to spend time together.

According to Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009, a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau every two years (and most recently in December 2011), there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 22 million children.

Single parenting doesn’t always mean that only one parent is raising a child. Many cases of divorced or unmarried parents are co-parenting together, meaning that they both share in the responsibility of teaching, mentoring, disciplining, supporting, encouraging, and paying for the child’s needs. Some of the co-parenting arrangements still involve one parent paying support to the primary custodial parent, while some parents choose to have no child support, but split the child’s costs. There are some children who actually live in two homes; they split their time between both parent’s houses. There are judges in the US that are beginning to award the child support be directly deposited into a child’s bank account, versus being paid directly to the primary custodial parents account when a child is a certain age, and the parent’s income is substantial for this scenario to be beneficial for the child (usually a teenager). But, while money is necessary for raising a child, emotional connections from BOTH parents are more important. If a child grows up feeling loved and supported by both parents, it creates strong trust in their own relationships. A child may not remember the tennis shoes a parent bought them on their 9th birthday, but they will definitely remember if one parent didn’t come to their party to celebrate. A child may not be affected by who pays for their car insurance while they are in high school or college; but you can be rest assured, they will remember if their parent supported them by spending time with them teaching them how to drive. A child may not recall how parents split the cost or didn’t share in paying for braces, but they will surely remember who dives them to their monthly appointments and takes them to the drug store for the supplies, and talks with them about dental care, and idea’s to implement for relieving pain. In all of these common scenarios, it is ‘time’, ‘attention’, and ‘helpfulness’ to a child that instills a strong relationship between a parent and a child.

There is a saying that has been posted about parenting that hits a home run in my opinion, on conveying the difficult task of preparing a child for their future. This quote sums up almost all of what a parents job really is, beyond making a child feel loved, of course.

theroad~Our job as parents is to prepare our children for the road…

not prepare the road for our children.~

It is a difficult task to be in the constant care of a child which involves maintaining organization, scheduling, food preparation, medical attention, discipline, schooling issues, social intervention, teaching, mentoring, hygiene, extracurricular activities, and spiritual guidance. If only one parent is handling these tasks, it means that a child is only getting influenced by that one parent’s perspectives. Even if two people are no longer living together as parents, the child still deserves to know and be encouraged about all of their life’s many twists and turns from both parents.

In many cases, a parent who is ‘not’ the primary custodial parent (the parent the child lives with full-time) feels that sending a child support check, and calling occasionally, is being a parent. News Flash!! Money isn’t what a child needs emotionally. Money is not where a child learns kindness, or patience, or how to talk to an adult with respect. Money doesn’t instill confidence, nor does it reinforce certain values and principles that often get pushed aside because parents are too busy. Values, like loving your neighbor as you love yourself; or the golden rule, treating others the way you would want to be treated are reinforced when a child has both parents guiding them on a regular basis. And if only one parent is trying desperately to persuade a child towards loving and honoring God, but another parent doesn’t engage in the child’s life enough to demonstrate their spiritual walk, how will a child learn the importance of the most important relationship in all of life, connecting to their heavenly Father? And here’s an amazing point: How will a child learn- that maybe, the primary parents perspective may be a little ‘off’ if they don’t have a differing perspective from their own blood-line to compare it to?

Too many non-custodial parents are viewing their young child’s life as they would a friend; they believe the relationship is a 50/50 exchange. If the 50/50 exchange was what marriage counted on; everyone would be divorced. If the 50/50 belief (you give this relationship 50%, and I’ll give this relationship 50%) were what all friendships counted on, there would be far fewer friendships in this world! The truth is, young children didn’t ask to be part of split families. They did not ‘choose’ to have both parents living in two different places. They are not thinking of their family relationships as something they have to invest in. Children and teens are naturally focused on themselves. All children are consumed with playing, school, friendships, and extracurricular (sports, gaming, clubs, social media, etc) It isn’t psychologically in a child’s mind to think like an adult with a thought that might be like this: “Oh yeah, haven’t made plans with Grandma & Grandpa in a while, I should call them and get on their calendar.”…..

The most important thing a parent can ever do for their child, (regardless of ANY living arrangement, regardless of geographical locations, regardless of income, regardless of the support payments or non-payments, regardless of any issue between the non-married parental figures) is to show love, show up, show support, show encouragement, show that you are engaged in their life, show that you’re interested in their life by being there with them. Show them you will be there IN PERSON to guide them along their journey as they develop their own values, their own passions.

~Our children are learning how to be the future parents by our actions; which will be developing our grandchildren.~

In the case of Parental Alienation…

Wikipedia: Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a term coined by child psychiatrist Richard Gardner, and introduced in his 1985 paper,[1] to describe a suite of distinctive behaviors he argued were shown by children who have been psychologically manipulated into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members – typically, by the other parent and during child custody disputes.[1][2]

…it is VITAL divorcing parents research the after-effects of this tragedy) the targeted, alienated parent must continue to pray, reach out with love, and be patient, allowing God to embrace the children with truth and the courage around the child to reunite with the lost parent. In no way, should a parent lose hope, or be angry; children can not be held responsible for estranging themselves, when they were led (either passively or deliberately) to shun a parent in their life; especially when no abuse, neglect, nor abandonment was present.

Parents shouldn’t just be a distant figure the child hears from every now and then; a real parent shows up LIVE, and IN PERSON, next to their child on a regular basis, talking to them, looking them in the eye, spending quality TIME with them, demonstrating their perspectives about life.  An engaged parent is the one a child can depend on in happy times of celebration and in sad times of defeat. Our children need both parents. Children don’t deserve to be deprived of the two people in their life that are the sole responsible parties for their development, the support, the encouragement, the love, and the installation of life’s important lessons. The most important life lesson being…..learning how YOU connect to God and how you live out YOUR life in Faith and not fear. Children learn what they see, not what they hear. 

For more relationship or parenting advice, follow this blog! Visit annalisaotoole.com for more info on Life Coaching. For ordering audio downloads, or to learn about an upcoming debuting PODCAST, The Ask Annalisa Show, available beginning June 1st: visit: www.askannalisa.com.