Let's Talk

Posts Categorized: Emotions

Putting the Pieces Together: Who Am I Today?

Putting the Pieces Together: Who Am I Today? | FocusWithMarlene.com

Last week you reflected on all you have learned on this journey through loss. Now, you will use that information and take that next step in putting together the pieces of your life that were disrupted into a new picture of who you can become.

Early in my writing career, I did an interview with a Christian radio station host. Before the interview, I was given a set of questions to preview that would be used in our discussion. They included my years growing up, my family, my teaching and counseling career, and my new career goals as a writer and speaker.

The interview preparation made me pause and think about who I was before and after the loss of my husband, what I valued, and how the things I learned helped me achieve. Taking some thoughtful time to reflect gave me a deeper appreciation of myself, the attributes I had, what I had learned about myself, and the life experiences that helped shape and mold me.

Each of us can uncover similar things when we take time for reflection. We are a composite of DNA, personality traits, childhood experiences and core beliefs established along the way. We are a combination of strengths and weaknesses. When we’ve suffered a major loss, our thoughts revolve around why we can’t or won’t succeed that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Gratitude: A Brain Changer

Gratitude: A Brain Changer

“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.”

—Amy Collette

You may be wondering why I am spending so much time on humor, laughter, blessings and gratitude in this series. I am because they are such powerful mindsets that can overcome depression, sorrow, and hopelessness.

They are some of life’s most powerful tools that can be used every day in many circumstances to lift our spirits and motivate us to look for ways to accomplish goals and be happy. This is especially beneficial when healing from a loss.

Did you know that just by searching for positive things to be grateful for, you are activating your brain to produce more feel-good hormones? Just by the process, you are changing how your brain is working. Wow – I think that’s pretty significant!

Accentuate the Positive

“Ac-cent– tchu–ate the positive, eliminate the negative…” was a popular song in the 1940s.

We can look at any situation and see both the positive and the negative. If we choose to look at things from a positive point of view, we will see a glass half-full of water instead of a glass half-empty. Our perceptions affect our moods and emotional states.

Do we choose happiness or is it a result of external events?

And if we have so much control over our happiness, then why are we so unhappy?

“What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.”

—Leo Buscaglia

Those Troubling and Lingering Emotions: Anger, Guilt, and Shame

Those Troubling and Lingering Emotions: Anger, Guilt, and Shame | focuswithmarlene.com

Anger, guilt or shame can become lingering emotions felt when losses were troubled by difficult circumstances.

We want a quick fix – one we don’t have to work with. Understanding our emotions can help us find a different response.

In my book, Learning to Live Again in a New World, there are two appendixes. In Appendix A, “Complex Grief Emotions,” I offer additional information on how to work through anger, guilt, shame and fear. Here is a quick overview of the first three.

The Gift of Christmas

The Gift of Christmas | Focuswithmarlene.com

No matter where we are in our grief journey, or how long ago our loved one died, when holidays come, we are reminded of how special they were in our lives.
How can we possibly celebrate the holidays without them?

To help understand what it means to celebrate our loved ones, let me share a personal story.

When my husband and I moved to Washington, it was because we wanted to spend our retirement years enjoying boating in the San Juan Islands. We moved into a community where others also loved cruising, joined their yacht club and spent many happy hours with people who became good friends.

When my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor, without a moment’s hesitation, a friend started a list of people who would be willing to take him to his radiation treatments 5 days a week.

Use It or Lose It: 10 Tools to Help You Communicate Effectively

Use It or Lose It: 10 Tools to Help You Communicate Effectively | FocusWithMarlene.com

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

-Nelson Mandela

We live in an age when information is available 24/7. Just install the right app and push the right button and you have anything and everything you want.

But do we?

We sign up for interesting and exciting courses online thinking when we have completed them, we will be able to bake a cake, take apart a car engine or know the best ways to travel. While all of this is wonderful and exciting, there is one step missing. Application.

Throughout this year, my blog posts have offered information, tools and strategies to meet the everyday challenges of life. But that information is just that – information – until it is used. Until we personally apply the information that can help us, it will simply remain good ideas.

Become the Director of Your Life Story

Become the Director of Your Life Story | FocusWithMarlene.com

Important people from our childhood have a huge influence on who we become. We are part of a family and culture and we don’t want to lose that.

Sometimes, however, we are faced with tough decisions that go outside those early expectations. Sometimes we feel we cannot follow our own dream or develop the talents we were given without hurting someone.

It is never easy to become the director of your life story.

Yet we need to be truthful and honest with who we are. To do that we need to know and accept ourselves, know what we want and why it is important so we can live honest and meaningful lives.

It isn’t just enough to know what we want and why, but what it will take to achieve that. Anything worthwhile takes time, careful consideration, planning, effort and persistence.

That’s Not What I Meant! 12 Ways to Become a Better Communicator

That’s Not What I Meant! | FocusWithMarlene.com

We communicate every day in some way: texting, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc.

But that is not the same as talking to a person face-to-face, where we can see facial expression, have a discussion about difficult issues, and ask for clarification.

What are you saying and what is being heard?

“But you said. . . .”

“No, I didn’t. . . .”

“Yes, I heard you say. . . . .”

“Well, that’s not what I meant!”

Sound familiar?

Conflict – “He Said – She Said”

Conflict – “He Said – She Said” | FocusWithMarlene.com

“That’s not what I said.”

“Yes, it is, I heard you.”

“You always try to pin the blame on me. If you were here instead of out golfing, this wouldn’t have happened.”

“Oh, and how about you – out shopping again….”

And round and round and round it goes, ending with two angry people who continue to find ways to attack, defend and destroy each other.

Many of the problems we face are interpersonal conflicts of some kind. They are usually laced with anger and blame and persistence that I am right, and you are wrong.

How do we get into these conflicts in the first place? And how do we get out of them?

When Everything Goes Wrong

When Everything Goes Wrong | FocusWithMarlene.com

Everything was going wrong that could go wrong that morning.

First, I dropped a contact lens and spent 10 minutes looking for it. Then I received a warning about an unpaid cell phone bill. After my attempt to pay online failed, I hurried into town to pay in person. But the office was closed. I returned home and tried again to pay online and finally after a lot of resets the bill was paid. The morning had been spent frantically trying to resolve problems that seemed to come out of nowhere.

As I fixed myself a late breakfast, I found myself in a funk, frustrated for not being more careful putting in my contacts, angry with technology that seemed to make the simplest things more difficult and at myself for forgetting to pay my bills on time. I had planned on completing some writing projects that morning and instead my time was spent taking care of unexpected emergencies.