October 29, 2013

Letting Go: And Owning Our Choices...

Okay readers, today is the final installment from the amazing Tina Nies. I hope you have enjoyed this series, and leave a note for Tina if you've been changed because of her!!

--

Sending a big thank you and hug to Rachel Grant for inviting me to share with you this month. I appreciate her support and each of yours as I shared some ideas and tools that have helped me live a happier, more loving life. I hope you have read something that supports you as you heal and grow.

As I wrap up this series on Letting Go, it’s interesting to share with you that even as I have been practicing happiness, self-love, letting go for a long time… I still practice. I still let go of stuff as it comes up. Sometimes I find things lingering around that I hadn’t noticed, but as I move to new levels of awareness, of living, those things are uncovered and I can let them go. Often they are things I hadn’t noticed, because I was too busy or was focused on other things in my life.

As we practice loving ourselves, forgiving ourselves, and letting go, it’s natural that some of those old habits or feelings might pop up. Why? Because we have created a safe space, a loving space, a gentle space to allow them to surface, so we can begin to let them go.

It’s important to let things come up, to let our feelings come to us and honor those feelings, honor those old habits, recognize them, sometimes thank them for serving us in the past, but then let those things go. Let that old habit know we don’t need it anymore, and we can begin a practice of letting it go.

Why is this important?

Because as we do this, as more stuff comes up and we keep letting it go, we begin to really OWN our choices, own our intentions, own our feelings and reactions.
Remember when we talked about things beyond our control?  Remember when we might have had a “whatever” attitude when it came to making choices?

Well, when we are consciously practicing loving ourselves and letting things go… what we are really doing is choosing.

We are practicing “choosing” to acknowledge ourselves, choosing to acknowledge others, even choosing to acknowledge things beyond our control.

When we practice making those simple choices, we get better at making the bigger choices.

So, what about those things beyond our control? How much do they really impact us?

How much impact do our own choices really have in our life and our happiness?

This is an excerpt from one of my e-books “7 Steps to Make Confident Choices Now” (which you can download free at http://www.40daylovefest.com/gift3.html)

“Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at UC-Riverside and author of "The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want," analyzed studies on identical twins and other psychological research. She found that happiness is 50% genetic, 40% intentional and 10% circumstantial.
Consciously making choices from your heart is powerful, it’s 40%!! The choices you make create much of the quality of your life. Mastering the art of choice can help you live your dreams, succeed in business, reach your goals, have better quality relationships with friends and family, and create anything you desire. 
To be fully conscious of that power, we need to take responsibility for that 40% and use that to overcome some of the obstacles that we can’t directly control. We can move to a better, happier place through our choices, regardless of where we are right now. Remember what Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.””
Circumstances are only 10%?

You might be thinking, “What the heck? Not sure I believe that one.” 

Genetics is 50%?

Whoa – okay, so according to that study, 60% of “stuff” is beyond our control to some extent at this point, but science is trying to change that. Haha

Anyway…

Intention is 40%!!!!

Yep, your choice, your intention is critical to living a happier life. I really hope that I’ve been able to help you use your choice, your intentions to let go of the stuff you might be holding onto, stuff that may be limiting your happiness.

If nothing else, I encourage to use the 2 minutes a day 40 Day LoveFest practice. It’s powerful and is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to start your journey of letting go.

Why is it so powerful?

It’s simple, you can do this practice anywhere, anytime and when you make this a practice, you begin to own your choices. In owning your choices, you affect that 40%.

Here is the practice again, in case you don’t remember. There are 3 steps to the LoveFest practice:

Step 1 – In the morning (or anytime) take 1 minute to identify three things you are grateful for. Day 1 might be easy, probably even on our worst days, we are grateful for something. So, as you do this every day, try not to repeat the exact same things. Instead, dig a little deeper in your gratitude. For example if today you are grateful for your child, tomorrow think of why you are grateful for that child, maybe they have a cute sneeze, or they make the best funny face, or that you are grateful for your reading time together. If you are grateful for the sun, why, what about it do you enjoy? When you practice this daily, you begin to look for more good in your life and your hold on the negative stuff lessens.

Step 2 – Throughout the day, most of us look into a mirror many times, when we wash our hands brush our hair, get dressed, etc. At least once during the day, when you are already looking into a mirror (so this takes no extra time), say something nice to yourself. If you can, tell yourself, “I like you” or “I love you” or “Nice sweater.”  It doesn’t have to be deep and soulful, it can be simple, but say something positive. If you really have a tough time with this, try telling yourself “You have possibilities” or just remind yourself of something nice you’ve done for someone like “That was nice of you to hold the door for the woman struggling with her bags at the mall.”  After practicing this once a day, you’ll begin to look for nice things to say multiple times a day!

Step 3 – In the evening (or anytime), take 1 minute to acknowledge yourself for three things you accomplished that day, big or small. I like to call them my Daily Triumphs, because even the little things we do lead us to our bigger goals. For example, a student celebrates graduation, we have a party, and it’s a big triumph, right? But each day, that student might study, write a paper, study for a test, get tutoring, do research, meet with a study group, etc. Each of those things is important to acknowledge.

It’s the practice of the above three steps that makes them powerful. Doing them one time might feel good in the moment, but doesn’t really help us let go of anything. By practicing focusing on the good for just those 2 minutes a day, we’re practicing letting go of the focus on the stuff we can’t control.

What choices will you own today?

Thank you again for letting me share with you. If I can support you on your journey of letting go, let me know. Visit 40DayLoveFest.com or email me: info@behappiertoday.com.  

Love & hugs,

Tina 

--


Tina Nies is a Certified Life Coach and Vision Board Coach.  Her passion is building and strengthening an individual’s self-love as a foundation for success. Tina empowers individuals with a foundation to develop their vision and create action strategies for success as they grow and explore their happiness.

In her simple practice self-love, Tina also focuses on raising awareness of the power of our choices. In each moment, the choices we make impact our success and determine whether or not we reach our goals in business or personal life. “Encouraging people to say yes to choices that lead them to their deepest desires and true happiness and no to choices that do not serve their best interests is extremely powerful”


Join Tina in her 40 Day LoveFest: Letting Go, a daily BlogTalkRadio show now through Nov 1 www.BlogTalkRadio.com/behappiertoday.

October 22, 2013

Letting Go: Of Control...

Okay readers, I hope you have been enjoying this series on Letting Go by Tina Nies. This week, Tina helps us identify ways of letting go of control. And be sure to check out her special gift for you at the end!

--

For the last 3 weeks, I’ve shared mainly about tools you can use as a practice in your own life to learn to let go of things you may be holding onto including anger, hurt, shame and more especially regarding experiences in our past. Have you picked one or two to practice in your own life?

Now, how about letting go even beyond those specific things, letting go of guilt, responsibility, and worry about things that are totally beyond our control. How can we begin to make individual choices that keep us from holding onto other stuff that isn’t even ours?

Of course many of the tools I’ve shared can be used with all of the above, but when it comes to things that seem to be completely beyond our control, it can be really tough to even think about how to let it go or how to have it not dominate our thoughts and feelings.

Think about what little control we have over so many things in our life, things outside of ourselves, but things that also sometimes have a big impact on our lives.

Sometimes our lack of control comes from choices we’ve made and the consequences of those choices, good and bad. For example, our time, we don’t know how much time we’ll have on earth or with a loved one or on a job. Practicing using our time in ways that help us feel good is obviously a good idea.  But when we are feeling down or stressed, it’s easy to “waste” time, to have a “whatever” attitude about how we use our time, because we may feel like it just doesn’t matter. 

Sometimes it may seem that we don’t have much control over anything, but what we do have control over (if we can learn how) is how we react and how we feel in general. How do we do that? Practice the tools we’ve shared over the last few weeks (smile).

So, why am I motivated to write about this now?

I mentioned in part two of my letting go series that I volunteer at a local juvenile detention center and hang out with these kids each week. Most of the time, I learn very little about the specific reasons they are there. In fact, sometimes they don’t even share their name.

Since it’s an option for the youth to participate with me, it’s always different; some weeks everyone in the wing hangs with me, sometimes just two or three. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to spend more time with a couple of girls and learned a little more about them. While it didn’t surprise me since I know it’s how the “system” works, I was reminded how sometimes we truly have no control at all and just how important it is for us to build foundations within ourselves in order to feel better and make better choices where we can.

On a recent visit, I could feel it was a kind of a down day in general at the facility. Only those two girls chose to chat with me (they had pretty low energy and a bit of sadness), so I was able to talk with them about in more detail about their own situations

As they shared some details, I could really see that they have very little control over their lives, not just in the detention center, but even at their homes.  It also raised my awareness of what it means to be a teenager on probation.

These two girls I had known in earlier months, both had gone home, but were now back. Both were ordered back to the center for minor “violations” of their probation… violations that technically they did not even do, they were victims (I can’t think of a better word to use here) of situations that truly were beyond their control!

Because these girls are already labeled as “bad kids or troubled kids, they don’t even get the opportunity for resolution. Instead, they get “nope, we’re not even gonna talk about it, “you’re on the street after curfew, you violated probation.”  The “whatever” attitude can be on both sides, the police because they have to deal with another “juvie kid,” and the teen now distrusts the system even more and thinks “whatever, I’m already in trouble, what does it matter what I do next?”

Can you relate to the “whatever” attitude? Not a fun place to be, but until we begin practicing loving and letting go, we often spend a lot of time with that attitude.

So, back to the story… one young lady was on the street after the town’s teen curfew, but she was waiting for a ride from a family member who hadn’t shown up. She told the police she had been waiting a while, but it was after curfew, with no luck contacting the ride, the girl was on probation and a tether, so the police took her to the station. Still no one came to pick up this young lady, so the police called her probation officer and she was driven back to juvie on curfew violation and now waits several days for a court date to decide what to do next or hear her story.

How does that help anything? How does that help her feel better about herself so she can make better choices? 

There are so many things beyond our control and this just reminded me even more just how important it is to share ideas about self-love and letting go, because sometimes we are in situations not only beyond our control, but seemly out of control in general!

The other young lady comes from a home full of trouble, two brothers were caught stealing, her youngest brother was recently kicked in the head by their drunk step-dad and she hasn’t been doing well in school, which is a condition of probation (to have all work turned in and passing classes)… so violate that because it’s nearly impossible to study or get help at home, and she is back in juvie.

It’s beyond my control to fix all these issues, I know that and I’ve let it go. I can be motivated to do more and share more love, but I don’t hold on to it. I can’t. If I did, I’d be sad and mad about it, I might get a “whatever” attitude that why do anything since I don’t have control to fix it all.

Instead, I can feel the emotion and then let it go and choose what will make me feel better about me 
and about making a difference… so I share this story and my passion about simple practices.

When we build and have a foundation of self-love, we are less vulnerable to those types of situations that just seem crazy. We become less vulnerable to the “whatever” attitude, less vulnerable to further victimization, less vulnerable to making self-destructive choices.

These stories also remind me how important it is that these simple ideas and tools about practicing self-love, letting go, and forgiveness be available to everyone, everywhere!  Yeah, that would be a big job for just me.

So I focus most of my work on training people in fields such as counselors, mentors, teachers, etc. to incorporate these practices into their work to help their students and clients build a strong foundation. But I also want every environment, business, organization, prison, church, detention center, school, etc. to be filled with love!

Yes, I know this is beyond my control, but it’s a great dream and if each day, I share with just one person or organization, then I’ve got one more triumph to record in my daily LoveFest practice.

What a great vision:  for even police stations and court rooms to be filled with love. Sure, there are rules and when people break the rules, there are consequences. BUT what if we added in love, what if we say “Okay, the rules were broken, we love you anyway. Here is your consequence and here’s how we’ll help you not make this same choice next time." 

Or in the case of the young lady picked up after curfew, what if everyone was filled with love and the probation officer asked the police to drive the girl home instead of back to juvie? What if then on their next home visit, they acknowledge the young lady for doing her best, which was sitting and waiting for a ride in a safe place instead of walking a long distance in the dark. Then asking the family how to help them make sure that doesn’t happen again?

If they are never given or taught the love they need to build something different, how do we expect things to be different?

Maybe you’ve never been in trouble with the law, but can you think of a similar situation in your own life where you just did the best you could in circumstances totally beyond your control, yet, it just didn’t seem to matter?

Have you ever spent time in that “whatever” mentality?

I have. It wasn’t fun.

So what do we do about it?

Practice.

Practice.

Keep practicing… letting go, forgiving, loving… ourselves and others… and then sharing the practice.
Maybe you’re reading this article because you want to let something go and feel more love for yourself or let go of idea of having control or maybe you’re reading because you are doing similar work – either way I invite you to join and let me know how I can help you in your goals around loving and letting go.

I also have a gift for you, available through October 31.  It’s a hug you can wear, an “I love me” bracelet. It’s FREE (free s&h too)! Just visit www.40DayLoveFest.com and complete a simple form!


--


Tina Nies is a Certified Life Coach and Vision Board Coach.  Her passion is building and strengthening an individual’s self-love as a foundation for success. Tina empowers individuals with a foundation to develop their vision and create action strategies for success as they grow and explore their happiness.

In her simple practice self-love, Tina also focuses on raising awareness of the power of our choices. In each moment, the choices we make impact our success and determine whether or not we reach our goals in business or personal life. “Encouraging people to say yes to choices that lead them to their deepest desires and true happiness and no to choices that do not serve their best interests is extremely powerful”


Join Tina in her 40 Day LoveFest: Letting Go, a daily BlogTalkRadio show now through Nov 1 www.BlogTalkRadio.com/behappiertoday.

October 15, 2013

Letting Go: From Cluttered to Clear

Okay readers, I hope you have been enjoying this series on Letting go by Tina Nies. Definitely check in or leave a comment below if what Tina has shared has been helpful to you!

--


“There is no condition so severe that you cannot reverse it by choosing different thoAughts. However, choosing different thoughts requires focus and practice. If you continue to focus as you have been, to think as you have been, and to believe as you have been, then nothing in your experience will change.”      ~Abraham-Hicks

I hope you’ve enjoyed and maybe even tried out some of the tools I’ve shared over the last couple of weeks. And before I delve into this week’s topic of how to keep letting go, I want to add a little to last week’s forgiveness tool. I introduced a simple form for a letter that can be used to practice forgiving you as well others. You never even have to share it with anyone as this practice is for you, but you could choose to share it, if appropriate and safe for you to do so. The form of the letter forgiving others is the same, just change who it’s addressed to if you’re forgiving another person!

BUT, maybe you’ve been thinking, “I can’t forgive myself for some things” or “I’m not ready” or “I can’t ever forgive them.”  And it’s okay to feel that way, it really is. We don’t have to feel bad about not forgiving. You can still begin the practice of forgiveness (as a gift to yourself in the letting go process), with a format like this…

Dear Tina,

I forgive you for not being able to forgive yourself (or ____) for _____. I’ll be okay anyway or I like you anyway. I’ll practice forgiving until I can (or something that fits for you).

Hugs,
Tina

Easy?

Maybe - maybe not, but it is simple, and it can be used as a practice in just a minute or two a day. That is the goal of all my work – simplicity and practice. It’s the goal of my life, simplicity. Okay, so I also want love and happiness, but for me I know that simplicity is the foundation for my happiness. I don’t want to worry, obsess, be sad or mad, let depression or anxiety take over my life… so I choose simple practices that keep me in the practice of forgiveness, of letting go, of loving myself and happiness comes easily now.

Do I ever get mad or sad?

Absolutely! But, when it comes, I feel it, even embrace it, look for the good in it or what I can learn, then I let it go.

How do I do it?

Practice.

I practice the tools I’ve already shared and I’m sharing more today. I practice looking for good in myself and those around me. I practice love. I practice looking for more options and opportunities. I practice letting one hand off the ropes that I might grab onto for a moment, I practice until I let it go completely.

While practicing, I also like to keep more positive things in my life than negative (it’s part of that whole letting go thing). So, I read articles, blogs, books with stories and ideas about things I love or things I want more of (love, happiness, etc.). I listen to positive messages and choose positive shows or movies to occasionally watch. I spend more time with positive and optimistic people than negative and pessimistic people. I don’t allow drama to be part of my life, especially other people’s drama. This can be tough when we want to help family and friends, but for my own well-being, I must limit drama. I might lend a hand as needed, but I never let both hands get on their rope. Remember, I keep practicing letting go of my own ropes, why would I want to add theirs?

I invite you to try any of the tools I’m sharing or that you learn from others. REPEAT the ones that help you! Don’t give up if the first tool you practice doesn’t feel right to you, try again or try another that feels better for you and whatever it is that you are attempting to let go of.

Another practice that works for me is taking some quiet time for myself, even if just a moment or two. Meditation is a great tool for quieting my mind and tuning in to my own inner guidance. We often know the answers to the questions we ask if we take time to listen.

I enjoy both guided meditations (which are easy to find free online) and just doing my own with some meditative music playing. I even host a Monday Meditation at 7am PT/10am ET on PLV-Radio.com Sometimes I lead the meditations, sometimes they are led by some of my awesome friends (who are more experienced meditators). I like to use mantras such as “I am love”, “I am allowing well-being”, “I am forgiving myself”, “I am letting go” etc. You can create a mantra that fits your needs and use it for even just one minute. Close your eyes in a quiet space, breathe deeply from your abdomen, and repeat the mantra silently. When distracting thoughts come, instead of pushing them out, gently repeat the mantra… hmm, sounds like a practice ;-) Yep, even a one minute meditation practice each day creates space for letting go.

Another way I continue to let go is by clearing my physical space often. I practice letting go of physical stuff I no longer need. Look around your immediate space (within a few feet) around exactly where you are right now, whether at home, coffee shop, or work. Of course, if you’re in a coffee shop, you may not have many personal things around you, but look at your backpack, purse, or briefcase.

What do you see?

Take a quick inventory.  Look at your desk, bed, table, couch, wherever you happen to be. Is your bag a mess and you don’t even know what might be in the bottom? Is there a pile of clothes on the floor near you? Are papers stacked 2 feet high on your desk? Are there odds and ends and broken electronics in your drawer? Is your closet full of clothes you never wear?

Sometimes the physical stuff we hold onto represents something more personal, something that you are unable to let go of. For example, if papers are piled high, why? Is it that you say you will get to them soon, but soon never comes? Do you miss bill payment dates because of it? Is it a way you might subconsciously be sabotaging yourself, punishing yourself? If your closet is full of clothes you never wear, is it because they don’t fit? Do you have a memory connected to all the stuff that you know you’ll never wear again, but just can’t throw it out? Are you longing to re-live that time in your life where you felt happier than you do today? If you hold onto everything, even when it’s broken is it because you don’t want to waste it, maybe it’s fixable? Is it just laziness?

If you find you have a lot of clutter, make a quick list. Then circle the top 2-3 things on that list that you feel are significant to you in a way that you sometimes think you “should” do something about it.
Next, pick one of the top three and write that at the top of a sheet of paper. Set a timer for five minutes or less (let’s keep it simple). Think about what that thing represents and why you may hold onto it. Jot down any thoughts, feelings, or memories that come into your head about that item. Write everything – good and bad!

When the timer goes off, stop. Now consider what would be the worst case if it weren’t there anymore (especially if it’s something you feel is important). Imagine if suddenly all that stuff was gone, maybe a goat came in and ate every paper… what would be the worst case about it being gone?

OFTEN, the worst case is no big deal at all. Sometimes we think, “Well, that would solve that problem and I wouldn’t have to face it” or sometimes the worst case is we would feel devastated. Jot those thoughts down.

NOW, let’s figure how to let it go or clear it or use it in another way, something so we can diffuse the negative energy of holding onto that clutter.

Maybe it’s as simple as scheduling a day to sort through and handle the paperwork that is stacked. Maybe you decide to hold onto your memories, but donate those old bridesmaid dresses taking up space to a charity that provides homecoming and prom dresses to help create new memories for someone else. Maybe all the cool knick-knacks your nieces and nephews love, but are collecting dust on your bookshelf could be great birthday gifts to those you love and love you. The knick-knacks will be cherished and you’ll free up space for new pictures of your next adventure or books on something you’ve wanted to learn.

It might be easy for you to decide what to do, but maybe it’s not clear yet. There are some great books about clearing clutter and organizing to maximize your productivity, etc. If this is an area you think can help you let go, do a quick internet search for more information and suggestions about how to effectively clear your clutter. I especially like the books, “Clearing the Clutter For Good Feng Shui” and “Clearing the Clutter with Feng Shui.”  I like incorporating Feng Shui principles into my space clearing and honestly, I have noticed dramatic improvements when I do! Whether it’s just me believing it or if I really am clearing that space and energy to allow new things, it doesn’t matter, because it works for me.

The more you can create the physical space of letting go and continue to practice the letting go and forgiving and loving yourself, you will move forward in amazing ways! Add in these simple practices to the other work you may be doing to recover from whatever experiences you may have had.

Keep doing things that make you feel good and keep trying new things. I have a new Verilux Happy Light on my desk! It’s fall here in Michigan and I love, love, love the sunshine, it energizes me. We’ll be having less sunny days moving through fall into winter, so I’m trying this out. It’s a small thing, but maybe it’ll help me with potential energy lulls when the clouds get me down a little. We’ll see if it helps, but it couldn’t hurt, right?

When you begin to fill yourself with more positive activities, thoughts, people, etc., you naturally let the other stuff go. The stuff that has seemed to be a rope around your neck (or a monkey on your back) that you’ve been trying to escape for so long, that rope begins to loosen and in return you loosen your grip on it too. It’s a natural progression, it may be slow, it may be fast, but it’s a progression, it’s a journey to let go, to forgive, to love.

There is no right or wrong way to let go, to move forward, to go up the steps of life. Some of us put one foot up, then the other foot joins on the same step before we move up to the next. Some of us just put one foot on each step as we walk up at a steady pace. And some of us take two steps at a time! Each option is fine and may vary on our journey. Just keep your head up and your eye on the top of the steps, that landing place you might be longing for, that place where you have let go of the baggage and are ready to take the next set of steps at a faster pace.

That’s the thing about letting go, we just keep practicing, sometimes trying new tools, to find the ones that work best for us.


I’m happy to answer questions or make more personal suggestions as you practice loving and letting go. Ask in the comments below or feel free to email me tina@behappiertoday.com. I’d also love to hear how you are practicing letting go in your own life!

--


Tina Nies is a Certified Life Coach and Vision Board Coach.  Her passion is building and strengthening an individual’s self-love as a foundation for success. Tina empowers individuals with a foundation to develop their vision and create action strategies for success as they grow and explore their happiness.

In her simple practice self-love, Tina also focuses on raising awareness of the power of our choices. In each moment, the choices we make impact our success and determine whether or not we reach our goals in business or personal life. “Encouraging people to say yes to choices that lead them to their deepest desires and true happiness and no to choices that do not serve their best interests is extremely powerful”


Join Tina in her 40 Day LoveFest: Letting Go, a daily BlogTalkRadio show now through Nov 1 www.BlogTalkRadio.com/behappiertoday.

October 8, 2013

Letting Go: Some Tools to Help

Okay readers, we are in for a real treat this month. Tina Nies, Life and Vision Board Coach, will be sharing with us insights and tips about letting go and letting love, particularly self-love, in.

--


I’m grateful for the feedback on last week’s post: LettingGo: What Does It Mean to You? Maybe you tried out the idea that when you are in the moment of a stressful situation, you look for the good, just for a moment. Maybe in that moment, an idea came to you about how you could lessen the stress or resolve the situation.

This week, I’d like to share three tools or practices that I’ve used to lessen my grip on my ropes and release some of them altogether. These three tools have helped me become someone that people constantly ask how I stay happy all the time. Well, I’m not happy all the time. I get sad. I get mad. I mess up. But I do always look for the good in even those sad and mad times; I do keep my positive outlook even when I mess up.

I practice the following tools because they make me feel good overall and feeling good helps me let go of not only old stuff, but helps me not collect new stuff!

That may sound funny, but how many of us go through life holding on to the old hurts, habits, fears, etc. AND collect some new ones along the way. For example, if we’ve never let go of a hurt that was done to us, then we might keep feeling hurt by new people over and over and over… even when hurting us was never the intention of the accused “new doer of the hurting.”  We simply received it in a hurting way because we’re still holding onto an old experience, belief, and maybe habit. OR maybe we continue to attract those same situations into our life, because even if we are not happy, we know what to expect in that situation. Maybe it’s all we really know, so we are uncomfortably, unhappily, “comfortable” with it.
It might sound weird, right? Why would anyone do that?

BUT, it’s not really weird. I believe we each do the best we can with what we’ve got, with what we believe, with what we’ve learned from our experiences and what we may learn from well-meaning friends, family, therapists, spiritual counselors and more. Sometimes though, it just doesn’t seem to work or it doesn’t seem to make sense. Sometimes it feels really hard to let go of any of it.

One practice that I use every day is something that takes just two minutes a day!

Yes, just two minutes – it’s a combination of tools put into a simple daily practice. It can be done anywhere, anytime. It’s my 40 Day LoveFest practice of self-love and reflection. I’ve written a couple of books on this practice and it’s the foundation of all the work I do through coaching, workshops, even training of others to share this practice of self-love.

There are 3 steps to the LoveFest practice:

Step 1

In the morning (or anytime) take one minute to identify three things you are grateful for. Day 1 might be easy, probably even on our worst days, we are grateful for something. So, as you do this every day, try not to repeat the exact same things. Instead, dig a little deeper in your gratitude. For example if today you are grateful for your child, tomorrow think of why you are grateful for that child, maybe they have a cute sneeze, or they make the best funny face, or you are grateful for your reading time together. If you are grateful for the sun, why, what about it do you enjoy? When you practice this daily, you begin to look for more good in your life and your hold on the negative stuff lessens.

Step 2 

Throughout the day, most of us look into a mirror many times, when we wash our hands, brush our hair, get dressed, etc. At least once during the day, when you are already looking into a mirror (so this takes no extra time), say something nice to yourself. If you can, tell yourself, “I like you” or “I love you” or “Nice sweater.”  It doesn’t have to be deep and soulful, it can be simple, but say something positive. If you really have a tough time with this, try telling yourself “you have possibilities” or just remind yourself of something nice you’ve done for someone like “that was nice of you to hold the door for the woman struggling with her bags at the mall.”  After practicing this once a day, you’ll begin to look for nice things to say multiple times a day!

Step 3

In the evening (or anytime), take one minute to acknowledge yourself for three things you accomplished that day, big or small. I like to call them my Daily Triumphs, because even the little things we do lead us to our bigger goals. For example, a student celebrates graduation, we have a party, and it’s a big triumph, right? But each day, that student might study, write a paper, study for a test, get tutoring, do research, meet with a study group, etc. Each of those things is important to acknowledge.

It’s the practice of the above three steps that makes them powerful. Doing them one time might feel good in the moment, but doesn’t really help us let go of anything. By focusing on the good for just those two minutes a day, we’re practicing letting go of the focus on the not so good.

For example, let’s say you hate your job and you drudge through it every day, feeling bad that you can’t quit because you rely on the income. What if every day on the way to work, you thought about one thing you’re grateful for about the job, even if only the paycheck. Maybe tomorrow, you remember that you’re grateful for friends you’ve made, then the next day, you remember that you have a favorite client at that job and pretty soon you’re not dreading going to work and maybe you even begin to like the job a little… in part because you’re letting go of that rope that you held onto so tightly – the belief that you hated your job.

Now, what if you also on the way home thought about one thing you accomplished at work that day, maybe making a customer smile, or finishing a report on time or making a sale. You can end your work day on a positive note and go home to enjoy your evening… you could even think about one thing your grateful for is that the workday is ended!

You might still want to look for a new job, or learn a new skill to get promoted, but while you’re doing that, at least you’ll feel better. When you feel better, you’ll see more possibilities for solutions.

The next tool I want to share is a practice of forgiveness.

For many of us, forgiveness is very important in letting go or beginning to love ourselves. This practice is something you can use as a step to forgive yourself or others, but let’s just start with forgiving yourself today.  I invite you to think about just one thing you want to forgive yourself for – what in the first thing that pops into your mind?

It could be something from 10 min ago or 10 years ago. For this you’ll need a notecard or small piece of paper, like a Post-It™ and a pen. It’s important to have something small because we want to keep this very simple and short.

In this practice of forgiveness, we don’t want to get bogged down with how it happened or why or will it happen again. In this exercise, we simply want to forgive. Of course it’s good to be conscious of how it happened and not wanting it to happen again and there are all kinds of exercises, therapy, coaching, etc. that you can do around that. But in just the act of forgiveness, in just this one special piece, the details aren’t important. This is true when we’re forgiving ourselves AND when we forgive others. It’s this simplicity that allows us to forgive and begin to let go.

Using the following format and choosing or creating the wording that best fits for you, write your note of forgiveness to you!

Dear Tina,
I forgive you for ________________________. (keep this simple – just the act, no long details). You’re okay anyway OR I like you anyway OR I love you anyway OR I’m going to practice forgiving you until I like you OR something that feels right for you.
Hugs, sincerely, love, warmly, OR whatever feels right to you,
Tina

If we don’t take the extra step of saying something like, “you’re okay anyway” (regardless of what we did), then sometimes we still want to beat ourselves up. Even if we say the words I forgive you or someone else forgives us, we still punish ourselves. The idea that we can like ourselves anyway, that we’re okay anyway takes us in the direction of letting go of the need to hold onto that guilt, shame, and negativity around it.

It’s a simple letter and if you don’t want anyone to ever see, tear it up or burn it! If this is something that you’ve been holding onto tightly or for a while, this one time of writing the note is just the beginning. You may want to repeat this, every day if you need to, until you begin to really feel that you’re forgiving yourself and meaning it.

If you do keep the note, don’t just read it every day, but write it again. The physical act of writing it over and over will help it go deeper, so that you believe it and it’s not just words, not just another exercise you do. It also only takes 30 seconds after you’ve done it the first day, so it’s simple, takes very little time and no soul-searching work because you are just repeating the same words you wrote the day before.

Lastly, this third tool is something that we can do to help us feel better about ourselves in the process of forgiveness, loving and letting go.

Sometimes when we forgive ourselves, we still feel like it’s not enough. So, IF it makes you feel better, find something you can do to help someone else through a similar situation, share your story, volunteer somewhere, or give to a charity that makes you feel good.

And even though you might be giving to others, it’s a forgiveness gift to you.  I use this practice! Sunday mornings, I spend an hour at my local juvenile detention center. I simply hang out with them sharing love. We do activities, I give them 40 Day LoveFest journals, I share with them everything I share with clients, but I do so as a volunteer. I’d like to see every detention center have someone like me come in and share love, and that may be a new goal in my future. But for now, I simply go and share my story and teach them tools about loving and letting go.  

What could you do to make yourself feel better in this process?

This isn’t about paying back, retribution, penance, etc.; it’s about taking action to feel better. It’s not a requirement to forgive, but because we often feel guilt and shame, this can help you feel better so you can practice loving and letting go.


These are just a few simple, but extremely powerful tools you can use in your journey of letting go. I’d love to hear back if you have tried some of these things in the past or if you are going to try them now! What I suggest if you do give one a try, go into it with the intention of making it a practice, not something you do once because you read this article. The first time might not seem like much, but with practice, you’ll feel your grip on your rope loosen and maybe even fall away. 


--


Tina Nies is a Certified Life Coach and Vision Board Coach.  Her passion is building and strengthening an individual’s self-love as a foundation for success. Tina empowers individuals with a foundation to develop their vision and create action strategies for success as they grow and explore their happiness.

In her simple practice self-love, Tina also focuses on raising awareness of the power of our choices. In each moment, the choices we make impact our success and determine whether or not we reach our goals in business or personal life. “Encouraging people to say yes to choices that lead them to their deepest desires and true happiness and no to choices that do not serve their best interests is extremely powerful”


Join Tina in her 40 Day LoveFest: Letting Go, a daily BlogTalkRadio show now through Nov 1 www.BlogTalkRadio.com/behappiertoday.

October 1, 2013

Letting Go: What Does It Mean to You?

Okay readers, we are in for a real treat this month. Tina Nies, Life and Vision Board Coach, will be sharing with us insights and tips about letting go and letting love, particularly self-love, in.

--


Sometimes it’s hard to describe in detail what I do, other than I help people build a foundation of self-love so they can let go of whatever might be holding them back from whatever they might want to do or be. The reason it’s tough to describe is that Loving & Letting Go might mean something different to you than it does to me AND I might be in a different place in my life journey than where you are. 

I’ve been in the happiness business for 8 years and specifically in the self-love business for almost 3 years and as I practice loving myself, I am amazed at the things that I continue to find and let go of. Loving & letting go is not something you do once and then all is perfect in the world; Loving & letting go is a practice. It’s a practice that can be simple, yet powerful.

Think about a professional athlete or musician, it seems they can simply pick up the ball or instrument and use it perfectly. How do they get to that point? They practice. Now, of course, it’s their job, so their practice might be pretty intense, but they practice.

While we each have different life experiences and different life goals, most of us simply want to feel good. We want to love and be loved. We want to feel happy, often times happier than we feel now. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to feel good, trying to love, and trying to be happier. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t work, sometimes we hold on to the idea that we might never be truly happy and we might even feel worse.

What would our life look like if we let go of the idea that it’s hard work to be happy?

What if you could just practice letting go, practice love, practice happiness?

You might be thinking, “Yeah, right!  You haven’t been where I’ve been, you haven’t experienced what I’ve experienced. You don’t know how hard I’ve tried.”

But I do know, I have been there, I have tried hard.

No time here for details, but I was a bully and nearly juvenile delinquent, sexually abused as a child, dated someone at 17 who turned out to be living a double life, raped in college by someone I trusted, while in law school was a key witness in a murder investigation where I was the next target, lived in my car, stole, and much more ALL while living what appeared to many as a lucky and great life!

After “hitting bottom” in my mid-20s, I had a great experience in a group therapy for sexual abuse victims, and my life changed. I wanted to be happy, I learned so much, but it always seemed like hard work.

All that stuff we go through and heal through can leave little things behind… habits, patterns of behavior, thoughts, etc. All things that probably served us in some way as we went through our stuff… but maybe now, it’s time to practice letting those things go.

It’s interesting to observe as we practice letting go, that we uncover something else that lingers under the surface, holding us back or keeping us off track or taking our attention away from the present and putting it in the past or future. The present moment is where letting go has the most power.

Right now, how do you want to feel and what would you need to let go of to achieve that desired feeling?

What comes to your mind as we talk about letting go?

Is there something, big or small, that you can let go of?

What does even the idea of letting go mean to you?

I mentioned a lot of pretty serious experiences, but those experiences aren’t the focus of what we may need to let go of to feel better. It’s in our everyday life where we can begin to practice letting go, letting go with some of the small stuff (even though the small stuff could be leftovers from the big stuff).

So, what is one thing you could let go of right now, or even consider letting go of that is holding you back in some way? It might be an argument with friend that has been hanging around and you haven't talked to that friend in a while. Maybe it’s letting go of ideas about how you think things should or shouldn’t look in your life OR in the life of others.

Sometimes we hold on so tightly to whatever we’re holding on to that it’s like we have both hands on a rope tightly. We don’t let go, our hands feel strained, maybe callouses develop, but we keep holding on, working hard to keep that rope tight! We’re so focused on holding on that we might miss some amazing things that get thrown our way and we can’t catch it.

What if you took one hand of the rope for five minutes? What if you kept practicing letting go until one hand was always free? What if you practiced letting go every day and one day the rope was on the ground?

What are you missing, what are you not catching because both hands are tight on that rope?

Sometimes we don’t even see possibilities because the only focus is that rope tight in our hands.

How do we begin a practice of letting go?

Today, when something comes up for you, and you’re feeling that stress in the moment, think about your hands, are they holding on to something?

What does the rope represent in this moment?

Can you identify anything about that rope or the situation that you are grateful for? Is there something good in it or can you learn from it?

Next, can you take one hand off the rope? When you take your hand off, what new options do you see about handling the stress of the moment?

For example, maybe we’re stressed about the kids not picking up their toys and the house is a disaster every day. Maybe it really stresses us out and we’re so fixated on the mess that we can’t see options for fixing the situation outside of more yelling and punishments for not picking up the toys. Of course, it’s fine to want a clean house, but maybe we can’t find a solution because we don’t have a free hand.  

So, what is good in the situation? Maybe it’s simply love for the kids or gratitude for having a home you 
want to keep beautiful.

Now with that one free hand, maybe we can see a compromise; maybe there is some way to make it fun. Maybe we create a game, so the end of every day, we set a timer for 10 minutes and they pick up as much as they can. Whatever doesn’t get picked up goes in a box in the closet and they won’t see those toys again for a week. So it’s a choice, they get to decide what they’ll pick up in 10 minutes; the other stuff is put away. Of course, the first couple times we try this, there could be some tears and fights, but with practice, it just becomes what is and maybe the timer won’t be needed after a while. Maybe both hands become free.

There are always choices in even the worst situations, even if only a choice in the way we think or see something. But if we’re so fixated on holding on to that rope, we can’t see anything but the rope and those other creative ideas don’t have room to come in.  We don’t have to keep holding onto that rope with both hands.

Letting go is loving to ourselves and to others. Letting go can be simply practicing taking one hand off that rope. Letting go can begin with looking for those ropes when we feel stress, sadness, unhappiness.

Once you raise your awareness of what you’re holding onto, it gets easier to notice when you can let go. 


Next week, I’ll share more exercises and tools you can use to practice loving and letting go. 


--


Tina Nies is a Certified Life Coach and Vision Board Coach.  Her passion is building and strengthening an individual’s self-love as a foundation for success. Tina empowers individuals with a foundation to develop their vision and create action strategies for success as they grow and explore their happiness.

In her simple practice self-love, Tina also focuses on raising awareness of the power of our choices. In each moment, the choices we make impact our success and determine whether or not we reach our goals in business or personal life. “Encouraging people to say yes to choices that lead them to their deepest desires and true happiness and no to choices that do not serve their best interests is extremely powerful”


Join Tina in her 40 Day LoveFest: Letting Go, a daily BlogTalkRadio show now through Nov 1 www.BlogTalkRadio.com/behappiertoday

Sign up for my free guide so you can stop spinning your wheels and instead navigate your way through each stage of recovery with ease and clarity. Get the support you need today

GET YOUR COPY