Cultivating Confidence

One of my dear friends and long time clients had suggested the concept of Confidence Boot Camp several weeks ago. I liked the idea, but didn't jump on it. I've been focusing on Let Your Body Lead, which has similar elements intertwined, so I simply had CBC in the back of my mind. Then again, this week my friend texts me: Confidence boot camp. I got the message :) Since that message, I began structuring the program, and have been contemplating the essential components. What is confidence? How does one cultivate enduring confidence?

I completely believe that we have moments (and sometimes days or weeks) when our confidence has been shattered. I'm interested in the recovery factor. Sure, life happens, but how quickly do you decide to bounce back? Do you bounce back better, stronger?

When I think about confidence, I think of two things:

  • perceived confidence - appearing physically confident
  • embodied confidence - identifying as a confident person, having a solid inner identity

Can you think of a time when you experienced confidence on both of these levels? Can you recognize them in yourself? What do they look like for you?

A key distinction I'd like to make here is to recognize the difference between perceived confidence and embodied confidence.

Perceived confidence is when someone appears to confident, but they don't truly FEEL confident. This can vary in range, but I immediately think of people at a night club. Someone can project the appearance of confidence, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they ARE. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish, but I've found that more often than not, we are very perceptive, and can pick up on this intuitively. Usually when we notice perceived confidence, we eventually are turned off by it because it feels disingenuous, or that someone is overcompensating, or trying too hard. When someone truly embodies confidence, we can tell that they don't have to try because they simply are.

I'm taking the time to make this distinction because this is what Confidence Boot Camp is all about: going beyond perceived confidence, and identifying with your core confidence.

We're going to spend 4-weeks lighting our fears on fire, and arising from the ashes as the badasses we truly are. Most of our insecurities stem from someone else telling us something about ourselves that at one point we chose (knowingly or not) to take on and believe. With love for others, we can decide whether we allow what they say to have meaning, and whether to allow their words to continue to cause us harm or good.

During our Confidence Boot Camp, we will look at:

  • Your personal elements of confidence
  • What keeps you from experiencing the confidence you desire
  • How to cultivate your core confidence
  • What you need to confidently step into who you are

One of my core values is to love, care, and connect with others, but to first love, care, and connect with oneself. Ultimately, we limit our relationships, and our potential to connect with others if we're not connected with ourselves and who we are. So, this program is an invitation to strengthen our relationship with ourselves, get to the root of our insecurities, and to take responsibility for who we are, and the way we want to be, so our lives mirror the way we truly want to live.

The process of honoring oneself is one of the most magical experiences there is. That's what Confidence Boot Camp is here to create: the on-going experience of honoring yourself, loving yourself more deeply, and reflecting that love to those around you.

If this is something you'd like to participate with, I'm offering 4-week and 8-week options, both of which begin the week of September 21st. I am happy to talk with you to make sure the program is a good fit, so schedule a complimentary meet + greet session, if you'd like, or simply click here to join in!

Here's to cultivating our deepest confidence -

Light + love,

Meg

Fighting Fair

In a relationship, there are few things that feel as low as waking up the morning after a blowout fight. What's the aftermath? What happened? Where are we at? How did we get here? Why did I say that? Did I mean what I said? Did he mean what he said? How do I feel about it now? Where do we go from here?

Do I want to work through this?

Furthermore, if drinking was involved...it was likely more emotional, dramatic, illogical, and blurred than had the subject been discussed otherwise.

However, regardless of the circumstances, it most likely hit an unconscious trigger point. Even more so if drinking was involved...seeing that it suppresses the conscious mind, which prompts the sub/unconscious to take over. We can discuss that in a future post. So for now, let's focus on what you know triggers you. Or, if you're not exactly sure, start with taking inventory...when was the last time you felt emotionally triggered? Is there a pattern you recognize over time?

Unfortunately, it wasn't until after my last relationship ended that I learned about the unconscious drama (or dance...depending on the day) that creates the underlying dynamics between a couple.

Getting into a relationship with someone brings up all our stuff. There's no better way to get in touch with our deeper thoughts and feelings than embarking on the process of getting to know someone new, becoming close, learning about them, sharing about ourselves, and here's the big one...seeing what comes up when we feel vulnerable with someone...especially in a romantic context.

Let's also add that falling in love chemically mirrors a drug high that has potential to form an addiction. Oh, the beauty of neuroscience. Not only are we experiencing all these things, but the other person is going through a similar process with all their own thoughts, beliefs, and triggers too. (Yay!) This is where things can get convoluted. Is this me, or is it them?

In the past, had I known what was happening as it happened, high stakes conversations would have gone quite differently. Now that I know what to look for (clues such as heightened emotions, reactive behavior, etc.), my mission is to work with as many individuals and couples as possible who want to incorporate higher levels of awareness into their lives, and therefore consciously create more fulfilling, meaningful relationships. If you're like me, you'd prefer to understand what's going on, and learn how to do something differently next time to make it better. Let me share a few things I've learned, and how I've opted to approach these conversations moving forward.

What I Wish I Would Have Done Differently:

  • I would have asked, "What happened?" rather than "Why did you do that?" The first question seeks to understand, while the second assumes judgement or blame. If someone feels judged or blamed, they're much more likely to feel attacked, and shift into defensive mode...no bueno.
  • I would have held more space for my emotions. I didn't think anything good could come from voicing my doubts or concerns in the relationship, so I simply didn't share them. My bad. What we avoid gets harder to ignore until we decide to take it on, and deal with it. The sooner we take it on, the less intense it is, and the less time it takes to work through it. If I would have shared my concerns earlier, they wouldn't have been accompanied with resentment, and so emotionally charged, once I finally did share them.
  • I would have asked, "What I am to learn here?" every damn day. It shifts me out of being annoyed about things that are happening, and allows me to recognize that I can choose to believe that things are happening for me, not to me.

What I Do Now Instead:

  • I seek to understand rather than to jump to conclusions.
  • I understand the difference between honesty with an intention to connect and honesty with disregard. The first can foster trust and connection, while being honest without consideration of the other person can be hurtful and damaging. The second part of this equation is to be able to listen and acknowledge the other person's thoughts and what's true for them, without taking it personally.
  • I share how I feel. Not super effective: "You're an asshole." Rather: "I felt disrespected when I was waiting for you, and I hadn't heard from you." This goes back to phrasing something in a way that expresses your truth without throwing someone into defense mode.
  • I approach a conversation with the intent of finding a way to do it differently: "What can we do instead next time?"
  • I recognize the difference between who my partner is, and what it is he does. Taking one action and blowing it up to signify who he is, isn't playing fair.
  • I always ask myself, "How significant is this?" I've come to live by the belief that life is a gift and spending it negatively for any longer than necessary isn't worth it to me. If it's not that significant in the big picture, let's address it, and move on. If it's life-altering, give it the time and consideration it deserves.
  • When in doubt, I take a EDM dance break. Physical movement shifts our energy. Jumping up and down, getting into a rhythm, being silly, and having fun never fails. If you're somewhere that isn't conducive for 5-minute dance break, take a walk, and listen to a song (or two) that makes you feel good. I feel like being in a heavy or low energy state for too long can become a downward spiral. The only way out is to spiral upward instead, so get to know the things that are upward catalysts for you.

As we start becoming more curious about who we are and what we do, we pay more attention, make more observations, and consequently, expand our personal awareness. As our awareness expands, we begin to realize that things can be different, and if things can be different, we now have choices we didn't see before. Do you tend to feel more motivated when you feel like you don't have a choice, or when you do have one? I've found that the feeling of not having a choice can be quite a motivator to find another way. However, feeling like there are no other options can lead us to feel stuck and paralyzed. What's most important is to find what works best for you.

Take a few moments today to take inventory of what works well for you, and where you'd like to redirect your energy. If you're curious about what comes up for you when it comes to relationship dynamics and would like to work with me, check out my private programs, and schedule a consultation with me here.

Love + light,

Meg

What's Really Important

I recently watched an episode of "Suits" on USA. As one of the partners is convincing his client to accept the terms they negotiated for her divorce, she asked him for a reason why. He mentions how the divorce itself can cause people to lose sight of what's really important, like the well-being of the children involved. These three words: What's really important made me think of them in the context of a life philosophy. My parent's separated when I was 8. I wasn't upset with the divorce itself...I was upset with behavior that it triggered. Granted, I am grateful that my parents handled it the way they did. I recognize how much messier it could have been, and how much longer it could have dragged on, and more damaging it could have been. For the most part, they kept my brother and me in mind, and wanted to honor what we wanted. However, I remember the instances where behavior was triggered by pain that overrode the priority of protecting us from the fallout. I understand how it's almost always an impossible situation to navigate, both for the adults and children involved. The resiliency of the human spirit never fails to amaze me.

Maybe these early experiences led to me to often ask myself, "When this is over, what will I remember?" I've come to learn that undue damage is something I try to avoid at all costs. In the context of ending a relationship, I try to focus on the fact that breaking up doesn't negate all the love and good things that were shared. We may be over, but I want to honor us and the role we played in each other's lives. This outlook has transformed the way I process a break up. It took a few breakups for me to know that on some level a break up is better than staying in the wrong relationship, and if one of the parties wants out, it's probably not right. Learning this has been a huge lesson in letting go of the past in order to feel present. Pain from the past plagued my present for much too long, and I decided I didn't want to live that way for the rest of my life.

What if things didn't happen to us, but happened for us?

Do I want to go deeper into this mess, or grieve, clean up the broken pieces, and choose to be stronger for it?

How can I make the best of this?

Who am I as the person I want to be?

I did an informal poll amongst people I know and asked them what they'd say were the greatest moments of their life. Despite being all different ages, and from all different places, almost everyone included the following moments: when they met/fell in love with/married their partner, the birth of their child, overcoming health scares (personally and their loved ones), family trips and quality time, professional/educational accomplishments, and world travel.

Will this matter in the big picture? 

When it comes to my personal method of decision-making, I often ask myself, "How can I make as many memorable, significant experiences as often as possible?" Then I consult my intuition...does this feel right? Is this a yes? Is this a no? As I've learned to trust my gut more, and follow it more often, I have much less hesitation in doing so. I used to need a reason, and now, I don't need to know why. Knowing what I feel, and trusting that...trusting myself is enough for me. It's harder for me to let go of the things I did that I didn't feel completely right about, or recognized in retrospect that I felt hesitancy as I moved forward. Now I know it's ok to follow a gut feeling that something's not right. In my opinion, few things are better than following your gut, and feeling right as things work out.

The point of all this is to recognize that we're all here to experience different paths. All we can do is our best to discover who we are when we are living most authentically, and to respect, love, and share with each other as we embark on these experiences of life. We're human. Mistakes will be made. And just as easily, we can make beautiful, significant moments.

When I feel stuck, or need a way to reset my perspective, I've always found these questions to help: "How will I make today extraordinary? What's really important?" Then, I get to making it a reality. There's always something to do. Pick the best, most exhilarating way to go...if it's not the time of your life, it's practice. Practice as much good stuff as you can. In the end, all we want is as many moments of love, joy, exhilaration, and feeling so completely alive that it takes our breath away. Seek those things, and expect them...they're waiting to be called on and experienced.

Tell Me About Transformational Coaching

What's unique about the Transformational Coaching Method is that it is structured to identify the underlying beliefs that construct our perception and experience of the world. As most of you know, I've always been interested about the inner workings of relationships, and as I've gone through my Holistic MBA program, and honed in on what I'm deeply passionate about, I've begun working with individuals who are struggling in their love lives and feel like they keep experiencing similar patterns and experiences despite being in different relationships or dating different people. The reason this is is that beginning in early childhood, we begin learning and accepting our ideas and assessments of ourselves, others, and the world. Twenty to thirty years later, if we don't assess and update our beliefs, we can be 32 operating with the emotional maturity of a 6 year old. TCM allows us to seek out where and how we're operating from an unconscious emotional space, so we can integrate our experiences, resources, and maturity into our underlying belief system and grow in confidence, self-awareness, emotional maturity, and personal authenticity. In my personal experience, by placing this mental, emotional, and spiritual work in the forefront, I have been able to let go of past pain, and underlying beliefs that held me back from being and experiencing the level of love, joy, and awe that I've always envisioned and dreamed of. Six months later, I'm experiencing a deeper level of happiness, personal strength, and soulful connection in my relationships than I ever have before. To be able to guide others through their personal transformation process is an incredibly rewarding work, and the elation I have from seeing others become their confident, loving, extraordinary selves is what makes my heart happy.

Picking Up the Pieces

"Shattered glass is only a hazard if it's not cleaned up."

I was on a run with my dogs the other day, when I came across a shattered bottle of Smirnoff Ice. As I ran through, I kicked the larger pieces aside, in attempt to clear the way. Three strides later, I realized that if I didn't pick it up, who would? I thought about a kid playing outside. I thought about the person whose car was parked along the curb. I thought about the potential harm that could be avoided by doing something now.

I had dog bags with me, so I turned around and picked up the pieces. As I did this, I had this realization and moment of gratitude.

I had watched the film, "Remember Me," earlier in the day. It opens up with a graphic scene in the NY subway. As I watched it, I recalled a particular night in New York City when there were several opportunities for the evening to go terribly wrong, yet miraculously, nothing actually did. As I cleaned up this broken bottle, I thought to myself, "I am grateful for my safety...especially during the pivotal moments when I've needed it the most. This act is in honor of my gratitude."

After I picked up all the pieces, and I walked away to dispose of the glass, I thought to myself, "Things break, but shattered glass is only a hazard if it is not cleaned up." When we address what's broken, we can contain the aftermath.

The more we walk over the broken pieces, the smaller and more numerous they become. Over time, we may stop noticing that they're there, until we step on a piece, and endure more unnecessary pain. What was once a quick clean up becomes time consuming. It takes energy to avoid. The grand irony is that the sooner we take the time to clean it up, the more time and energy we save.

We always have a choice to do something about the shattered glass we encounter. What do you choose to do?

The Dating Yips - Part II

Last week, I wrote about what a yip is and how it plays out in our love lives. Today, I'm going to elaborate on how one can begin to work through their dating yips. To recap, a yip is: an involuntary muscle movement or spasm that affects the ability to carry out a smooth hand/wrist movement. When applied to dating, the yip represents a psychological, often sub- or unconscious barrier that comes up involuntarily. One of the terms I use for this is projectile dysfunction, which is when someone starts spewing potentially destructive words that usually come up as the result of one of their sub- or unconscious buttons being pushed. A tale-tell sign of this is when someone's reaction is disproportionately more intense or dramatic than the event that actually occurred. For example, you forget orange juice at the store, and your partner gets upset that you never pay attention to what they need. On its own, forgetting juice is insignificant. When it triggers an underlying fear response, it triggers emotions far deeper than the situation at hand.

Since these are sub- or unconscious responses, they're something we have to infer from our feelings and actions. When we make a conscious decision, we can decide what we'd like our action or response to be. The conscious mind is like working from the inside out, while observing our behavior gives us insight into our sub- and unconscious. Our emotions (ie. our limbic system) are like a medium that attempts to negotiate between and reconcile our conscious and unconscious. Through creating alignment between the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious, we can tackle the dating yips, and learn how to work through the resistance that comes up as we embark on any personal or life changes.

Let's take a look at how we can create alignment between our beliefs and behavior, especially when it comes to dating.

One area of frustration several of my female clients have expressed is this: "I want to be pursued, but I initiate because he's taking too long." This is a prime example of a dating yip. The conscious thought "I want to be pursued" is being counteracted by the belief: "This is taking too long," which prompts an action (to initiate) that cancels out the conscious desire to be pursued. This creates a conflict between the unconscious (loves to stay the same) and the conscious (excited by something new), which is one of the reasons committing to change can be so hard. This conflict can make "staying the pursuer" seem like the better option simply because it's what you already to do. In order to resolve the conflict, shift out of old habit, and into new action, an intentional shift is needed. This is where transformational coaching comes into play.

Let's break this down. How can we re-frame this assessment ("I want to be pursued, but I initiate because he's taking too long.") to create the desired end result (to be pursued)?

1. Identify the misalignment. Is desire/thought/emotion is out of alignment with behavior and action? Yes. Therefore, does it qualify as a dating yip? Check.

2. Decide what you truly want. What do I want more: What I want (desired state) or what I'm doing (present state)? Would I rather pursue, or be pursued?

3. Figure out what needs to change. If you want something different than what you're currently (or have been) experiencing, doing the same thing will most likely continue to yield the same results. Want to experience something different? Be willing to try something different. It doesn't have to be a major change, simply another option than what you've tried before. For shifting from the pursuer to the pursued, where is there room for change? Experiment with changing your approach: "I allow what I want to come to me. I have plenty of time. Men pursue me." Treat it as an experiment and observe what differences you notice.

4. Address the justification. For this example, "It's taking too long" is the justification. Yes, I know you'd rather already be in the relationship of your dreams, but if you're not already, let's talk about what we can do to get you there. If you were ready, you'd have it. So, let's get you ready. What can/am I doing to be the person and live the life I envision? What specific actions can I do right now to step into alignment with what I want?

5. Create alignment. Thoughts become things. With each thought you have, ask yourself, "Do I want this to be true?" If yes, that's cool. If no, what do you want to be true instead? "He doesn't like me" doesn't matter when you're a badass regardless of whether a guy likes you or not. "If he doesn't like me, that's ok." It's ok to be bummed. Now, go focus on your relationships with the people that like you. Be the version of yourself that awesome people want to be around. Confident people are attracted to confidence. We all have our insecurities, but we can choose whether or not we define ourselves by them. Don't let old fears keep you from what you want. Choose your thoughts wisely. Figure out how to mean it when you say: I love myself enough to be nice to myself. If it's too hard to love yourself right now, start with being nice.

Yips are created when there is conflict between the unconscious (automatic processes we're not aware of), subconscious (limbic/mid-brain, emotions), and conscious (frontal lobe, decision-making) mind. Through creating continuity between these levels of the mind, you're able to create lasting emotional and behavioral change. It's an imperative process for those who are truly seeking to change.

We're motivated to change because we want to expand and grow. Sometimes, unwanted pain is our motivator, sometimes, it's a reward we envision...in my opinion, whatever motivates you doesn't matter as long as it moves you forward. Stay tuned, Part III will all be about using our dating yips to move us forward.

Onward and upward -

Love + light,

Megan

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Interested in revolutionizing your dating life? - Schedule a new client consultation here -

The next "Time of Your Life" Reset begins June 16th! To join, email: megan@studiosoulever.com

The Dating Yips

My brother is a golfer, and has introduced me to a term I'll never forget: the yips. It's common knowledge in the golfing world, but until now, it was a completely foreign concept to me. Earlier today, as we were discussing coaching practices together (he's a certified Newfield Network Coach, and I'm completing my Transformational Coaching Method certification), he coined the term, "the dating yips." I told him I had to write about this.

You may be wondering...what is a yip? It's is an involuntary muscle movement or spasm that affects the ability to carry out a smooth hand/wrist movement. In golf, it's typically seen in putting. Instead of a smooth movement through a swing, a player decels as a yip interferes with executing a smooth putting motion. It has nothing to do with skill level, and has affected masterful golfers during their professional careers.

What I find the most fascinating is that the yips are accompanied with a loss of previously demonstrated level of skill. More to come on this in Part II...

The yip represents a psychological, often sub- or unconscious barrier that comes up involuntarily. It's like a hidden trigger that's pushed without your conscious awareness. This is where a dating yip comes in. I would argue that the dating process is where we're inherently vulnerable to coming up against mental and emotional barriers that show up (usually at inopportune times), and totally throw us off our game.

I would say dating yips are the things that come up and get in the way of us being who we want to be, especially when it comes to our love lives.

What are a few examples of a dating yip?

-When you decide you like someone, and all the sudden you act completely different around them

-When what you know you want is out of accordance with what you're accepting (ie. texting an ex when you know you no longer want to be with them)

-You really like someone, and you get scared and run away

-You really like someone, and you come on way too strong

-Almost any time feelings and emotions aren't aligning with our behavior

So, how do you get rid of the yips? The Dating Yips - Part II will focus precisely on how.

For right now, I'll leave you with this to think about:

Scientists at the Technical University of Munich argue that the yips can be counteracted by first making a fist with the left hand "as the left-hand side of the body is wired to the right hemisphere of the brain – the side that controls automated rather than conscious behaviour."

We can work with what we're aware of, but we have to explore ourselves in a deeper way to discover the undercurrents that are at work on a subconscious and unconscious level. The benefits in doing so include: less yips (yay!), less self-sabotage (ie. you have consistent motion towards experiencing what you really want), and tapping into a sense of personal empowerment because you can trust yourself and how you participate in your life.

Yips may be part of the process, but we can decide how long it takes to learn from them, and move forward. After all, yips only happen when we're in a stagnant state, so as we stay in motion and maintain momentum, we're less likely to be affected by unexpected bumps in the road.

Here's to consistent and intended movement - and learning from our yips.

Love + light,

Megan

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Are you in the Napa area? - Join the upcoming Art of Love retreat on May 23rd -

Interested in a love life reset? - Schedule a new client consultation here -