Category: Positively Positive

Accountability vs. Responsibility


How would you like to learn a success strategy that will double your chances of achieving your goals?

I’m talking about the power of accountability, and today I’d like to give you some tips on how to put it to work in your life so that you do a better job of achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself this year.

We’ll also talk about accountability vs. responsibility and the differences between the two so you can better understand how each strategy will empower you to accomplish more, faster, in the months ahead.

Accountability vs. Responsibility: What’s the Difference?

Stephen R. Covey says that “accountability breeds response-ability.”

He’s the author of the bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, in case you don’t know him.

I like this saying because it suggests that accountability and responsibility are different from each other — and it highlights the fact that being held accountable increases your ability to respond, which means taking action.

When you are responsible for something, it is your duty to respond and take action.

When you are accountable, you are responsible for reporting the actions you have taken and providing an account of the results.

Responsibility is task-oriented. You are responsible for accomplishing the tasks required to achieve your goals.

Accountability, on the other hand, is results-oriented. When you are being held accountable for something, it is your duty to take stock of what you’ve done and report on the outcomes of your actions.

Both of these duties are key to your success.

Benefits of Having an Accountability Partner

Understanding the difference between accountability vs. responsibility is helpful when you have a partner.

I always encourage people to find an accountability partner who will hold them accountable for their goals and actions!

When you have an accountability partner, the two of you hold each other accountable for meeting deadlines, accomplishing goals, and making real progress toward the life you want to create.

This is so powerful — because when you make your goals public by sharing them with another person, it makes them more real and impactful and greatly increases your motivation to achieve them.

In fact, the American Society of Training and Development did a study on accountability, which showed that if you make a commitment to another person and make a specific appointment to check in with the other person and report on your progress, you will increase your chance of success by 95%.

It’s a simple thing to do, but the results are very powerful.

This is especially true for solo entrepreneurs, who typically don’t have a team working with them, as well as people who don’t have any supportive friends or family in their lives.

Having an accountability partner who will stand in witness of your goals and commitments and require you to make regular reports on your progress goes a long way to giving you the support you need to get things done, even in the face of other people’s skepticism or negativity.

How to Choose an Accountability Partner

So, how do you find an accountability partner and set up an effective accountability practice together?

My first recommendation would be to choose someone who isn’t a close personal friend or family member, as it can be harder to remain neutral with someone like that, due to whatever emotional baggage you share together.

My next tip would be to choose someone who is highly motivated to achieve big goals in their life.

You also want to find someone who is positive, enthusiastic and happy to encourage you as you work toward your goals. Avoid anyone who tends to be negative or pessimistic in general. Such a person is more likely to drag you down to his or her level and make it harder for you to stay motivated as you work to achieve your goals.

Finally, be sure to choose someone who you know to be responsible and reliable. Your accountability practice won’t help much if the other person is always flaking out on you.

Have Regular Accountability Partner Check-Ins

Once you have identified a suitable accountability partner, I encourage you to email them and ask if they would be interested in committing to an accountability practice with you.

In my events and programs, I encourage my students to set up a time to check in with their accountability partner every day. Ideally, this should be at the same time every day.

Early in the morning works best for most people, I find, as that’s usually when people are planning out their schedule for the day. But anytime will work if it fits in better with you and your accountability partner’s schedules.

I find that the best way to check in with your partner is over the phone or by using a video app like Skype or Zoom. There’s something to be said about having that personal connection with each other.

But connecting via text or email works on the days when connecting over the phone or face-to-face isn’t possible.

I encourage you to keep your accountability meetings short and to the point. This isn’t the time for chit-chat — it’s time for you to report on your progress and declare your intentions for the day ahead. Five minutes should be more than enough time for you and your partner to do that.

So the best way to do this, I find, is to remind your partner of the actions you committed to taking the day before, and then state whether you completed those actions or not. Then they do the same — and that’s it! That’s all it takes.

You recount yesterday’s commitments, update your partner on your progress and performance, and then commit to a new set of actions for the day ahead.

This is powerful because when you know that you’ll be reporting to someone, it provides the extra motivation you need to be productive and get the job done. It’s a lot harder to make excuses to someone else who is holding you accountable than it is to justify your lack of results to yourself.

During your accountability check-in, you can also ask your partner to share ideas, information, contacts and any resources you might need to achieve your stated goals.

You can pitch your partner on your latest idea and ask for feedback: “What’s your opinion? How would you proceed?”

Or you might ask your partner to make a call for you, give you the name of a contact who might help you, or email you some information he or she has already collected on that subject.

An accountability partner can also provide enthusiasm when yours is waning because of obstacles or distractions. I encourage you to choose a partner who is as excited about reaching his or her goal as you are about reaching yours — someone who is committed to your success and theirs.

It’s important to remember, though, that an accountability call is not a coaching call or social call. Accountability partnerships work best and last longest when you keep the calls short and focused.

You might want to set a timer and give each other a minute or two each to ask for feedback, suggestions and encouragement. That will help make sure your accountability calls don’t take up too much time every day.

Your Turn: Choose Your Accountability Partner This Week

Bestselling author Catherine Pulsifer once said, “At the end of the day we are accountable to ourselves — our success is a result of what we do.”

This is true, of course. But an accountability partner can share the burden of accountability and make it so much easier for you to remain committed to your goals.

So this week, if you don’t already have an accountability partner, I challenge you to find one. Don’t worry if the first person you ask says no. They might be too busy, or not interested in using accountability as a success strategy at this point in their life. Or they might already have an accountability partner.

Just keep going until you find someone who is excited to embark on the accountability journey with you. It’ll be worth it, I promise you!

And be sure to download my free 12 Month Success Planner with easy templates to help you plan out your daily strategies and achieve your goals.

Understanding accountability vs. responsibility means you harness the power of both. Cultivating an accountability practice is a simple but extremely powerful way to stay focused and on track toward your dreams as you take responsibility for working to achieve your goals in the months ahead.


As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!

Image courtesy of Alexander Suhorucov.

20 Ways to Deal With the Regrets That Will Kill You


I regret the most not spending more time with my children and thinking that killing myself would be a better option for them.

I was depressed. I was afraid I had let them down even before they were two years old.

I regret the girl I left because I thought I was going to go broke and she wouldn’t like me.

I regret thinking I was smart and starting or investing in businesses that I knew nothing about.

What do I do now? Smashing a coconut in the street because someone told me it would create good luck.

Yes. I regret that.

Sometimes I even regret writing or saying things that I didn’t realize would hurt some people close to me. I’m sorry.

But I said it and I believed it and you can’t put toothpaste back into the tube.

No war can be justified, college is a scam, home ownership is vile, voting is useless, jobs suck, my dad had horrific relationships as a kid that I was afraid I was doomed to repeat – are among a few of the issues that resulted in death threats or lost friends and lost family.

A lion doesn’t give it’s prey a chance to explain before it eats the prey.

But show me a regret and I will also show you something to be grateful for.

We only grow by solving difficult gratitude problems. Literally: our brains neurons connect in new ways that save our lives later.

We regret because we didn’t question enough.

If I ask questions I’m always afraid there might be a moment of embarrassment. If I don’t ask questions, I know I will have a lifetime of embarrassment.

But I know it’s never too late. I’ve reinvented my life 17 times. I’m on a new reinvention this year. I’m 47.

The present is unstoppable, devouring the future like the sunrise devours the darkness.

Success is moving from a present that fears to a future that acts.

Here’s 20 Ways I personally deal with my regrets. Maybe they will work for you. I don’t know.

Never believe someone who has the answers. I only know what works for me. This.


James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Liza Summer.

Don’t You Give Up


Sometimes it will feel as if nothing makes sense.

Nothing at all. 

You can’t fathom why bad things happen to you.

Even though you try.

You did everything you could to change the course of your life.

You ran when you were supposed to run.

You climbed when the hill appeared in front of you.

You crawled when the ceiling was falling on you.

You swam in the deepest oceans as if it was shallow waters.

You worked hard day in and day out.

You were a good person.

A really good person. 

You cared about the people around you.

You always left a room better than you found it.

You were that person who just made everyone feel better about themselves.

You gave food to the hungry, money to the poor.

You opened the doors to those who couldn’t.

You helped the ones who never asked for help.

And yet you were told NO for the things you wanted most in life.

I know you want to give up.

You want to stop believing in the goodness.

But I won’t let you.

I know it doesn’t make any sense to keep trying. To keep believing.

When will your turn be?

But the Universe rarely works logically.

Just because you give, you work, you try it doesn’t mean you automatically get.

Just because you love someone, it doesn’t mean your love protects them from an illness, from an accident, from the end of their life.

It just means they are loved while they are sick, or in danger and that my friend is everything.

And in the same way, loving life even when it is hard to love is all there is to it.

That is it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Just loving life even when it looks good on someone else instead of you.

I have discovered that the happiest moments take place while witnessing joy on someone else’s hard working day.

Sometimes, you can get lost in their joy more than you would in yours.

I know you are tired. I am too.

I know you feel like you have nothing else to give. I get it.

But I also know you have what it takes for one more crawl, one more climb.

Don’t worry about what happens after.

It has never been about the tomorrows. Or the yesterdays.

It is just about the here, the now, this crawl, this climb.

This fall or rise.

As always, I write this letter to you so I can read it to myself.

Let it bless us both. 

With thousands of hard working, kind loving days,

Christina

P.S. Have you read Second Firsts and Where Did You Go? If you haven’t I hope they find their way to you.


Christina Rasmussen is the creator and founder of The Life Reentry Institute, Second Firsts, and Star Letters, and the host of the Dear Life Podcast. Christina is on a crusade to help millions of people rebuild, reclaim, and relaunch their lives using the power of their own minds. Christina’s work has been featured on ABC News, NPR, The White House Blog, and MariaShriver.com. She is the bestselling author of Second Firsts: Live, Laugh, and Love Again, which has also been translated in Chinese and German and just released her second book Where Did You Go on expanding the mind in ways that allows co-creation with the forces of the universe. She is also writing her first work of fiction: a science fiction story about a woman on a quest to start over and begin a new life. You can find more information on her website and follow her on FB or Twitter.

Image courtesy of Liza Summer.

3 Keys to Have More Acceptance & Letting Go of the Need to Control Now


Hello, dear Spiritual Warrior! This week we are exploring acceptance.

I’ve talked about the concept of acceptance many times, typically, in the context of how our need for acceptance drives so many of our daily and life decisions. How we need to feel the ripple of someone or something bigger than us. How we crave this acceptance – in the grandest ways and in the smaller moments.

This week, we’re exploring acceptance in a different way.

Acceptance is a beautiful teaching with many different levels. It is the root and the foundation of many wisdom traditions including Buddhist compassion teachings, the ancient Hindu Law of Least Effort, and Christ Consciousness. But regardless of your orientation to these belief systems, you can find powerful, personal evolution by awakening the Sacred Power of Acceptance in your life.

Image courtesy of Alexandra Elle

There are three core levels of acceptance, and we instantly shift every aspect of our being by:

1. Accepting that this moment is perfect, pure, whole, and every moment that has led to this moment was exactly the way it was meant to be.

This moment is the magnificent culmination of all of your life choices; every experience that has woven itself in, around, and through you; and every one of the 31 million seconds that have ticked by in just this year alone! It couldn’t be any other way.

2. Accepting that you are a divine being who is sealed in this human body for the span of a lifetime and that you have made choices and decisions throughout your life from your highest level of consciousness at the time.

Even though there are choices you may regret or torture yourself about, they are carved in stone and we must accept them, forgive ourselves, and make better choices in the future.

3. Accepting others for who they are – not as we wish they would be. Allowing people’s differences, quirks, unique vibrations to just be and not necessarily fit into our box of how the world is supposed to be. Allowing others to be as they are.

When you awaken the Sacred Power of Acceptance, you finally recognize that wherever you are, every moment of the past is carved in stone and for you to evolve your life, improve your situation, or find deeper fulfillment you must own the present moment.

All we have is the present moment, but within the present moment when can transform our lives. If you want to go deeper into these teachings, check out my book Sacred Powers: The Five Secrets to Awakening Transformation. 

In the meantime, remember to LIKE & SUBSCRIBE to my channels to keep your ripple flowing in our community & support this content!!! Better yet, join the membership too.

Sending you expansive love, personal growth, and health. Be well.

Namaste. -davidji & Peaches the Buddha Princess

Originally published on davidji.com.


davidji is a globally recognized mindbody health & wellness expert, mindful performance trainer, meditation teacher & author of Amazon’s Best Seller destressifying: The Real-World Guide to Personal Empowerment, Lasting Fulfillment, and Peace of Mind, Sacred Powers: The Five Secrets to Transformation and Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace & Personal Transformation, & winner of the Nautilus Book Award. Connect with him on . davidji.com Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Engin Akyurt.

It’s Not Just about What You Say, It’s about How You Live


Anyone who has spent any time traveling is aware of how every culture does things differently.

For example, in Japan, slurping your soup is a compliment to the chef. It’s rude not to slurp! In Arab cultures, it is profoundly offensive to throw your shoe at someone.

In Thailand, you should bow upon meeting someone rather than shake their hand. In Vietnam, you should only shake hands with someone who is equal, whether that is by rank or by age. In other countries, the woman should instigate the handshake and it’s rude for a man to offer. In Mediterranean countries, double cheek kisses are the way.

Your body language tells a story, a story bigger than the one you share with your mouth.

In this case, I’m drawing parallels with body language and with how you live. When you visit a new culture, the onus is on you to understand the differences between yours and theirs and to adapt while you are in a new place. It’s only right to avoid behaving in what is deemed offensive behavior.

I can tell you about the differences between all of these cultures, but if I go to those countries and don’t heed those words then I am not covering myself in glory. I’m simply showing the world that I say one thing and then do another.

It’s more than talking the talk, you have to walk the walk as well.

Anyone who has been employed knows the frustration that comes from working for someone who says one thing while doing another. Or, children who challenge their parents and hear do as I say, not as I do in response.

It simply does not matter if someone has the authority. It doesn’t matter. The example of walking the walk is far more important. For example, in a religious setting, a minister loses the respect of a congregation when they talk the talk and fail when it comes to walking the walk.

For someone to stand in front of a large group of people and lay down the law as it stands in their holy book and then disregards that law in their own lives sets a terrible example. Typically, congregations will not abide it and that minister will be forced out. They will likely move onto another congregation, but there’s a good chance history will repeat itself.

Another timely example would be a climate change activist. Leonardo DiCaprio has long been an advocate for climate change. His foundation supports over 35 different conservation efforts across the world. It is involved in hundreds of projects all over the globe. He is a devout vegan. His homes are eco-friendly, he rides bikes when in NYC, drives electric vehicles elsewhere. He makes a big effort.

On the other hand, his words lose some of their weight when people point out his carbon footprint (40+ tons annually) versus the average Americans (19 tons annually). He tries to offset that footprint by planting trees, but it still falls short.

So, while his environmental work is important and impactful, his words lose their weight when his actions simply fail to live up to the power of his words. He’s falling short, no matter how hard he tries, and that gives detractors an easy target to focus on and undermine the work. He is just one person, but when his actions are in misalignment with his words it puts the entire cause at risk.

It just isn’t enough to say the words, it’s empty without your action to back it up.

If I were to ask you what your core values are, what would you say?

If you tell me that honesty is the most important core value you hold dear, but you lie easily and make excuses to cover up for yourself I am not going to listen to a word you have to say.

If you tell me that family is the most important core value you hold dear, but you spend 80 hours a week at work, miss all of your children’s events, and you haven’t had dinner with your family in months, I am not going to believe you.

It really isn’t about what you say, it’s about how you live.

Think about someone you have long admired but have also been disappointed by. What was it that let you down? Was it a misalignment between their words and deeds? Probably. A lot of people are passionate about certain industries and interests and it’s easy to get caught up in the hero worship of certain people who are prominent in those areas. It’s rough when you realize that their actions don’t reflect the words they use. There’s nothing more disappointing and a lot of people will excuse it for a time, but we all have our limits.

You have to hold yourself to a higher standard. It isn’t about perfection, it’s about recognizing the power of your words, but understanding that your actions weigh more and the two need to align.

Your actions should be evidence of you living those words.

  • If you say you value your family, then you had better back that up through your actions by making time for your family.
  • If you say you value honesty, then you had better back that up through your actions by being honest in all of your encounters.

Your actions can make the world a much better place to live in. The way you live matters. It matters to you, it matters for you, and it matters for everyone else too.

Remember, it starts with you and the way you live first affects you. It’s in your hands to choose what you will say and what you will do. If you choose to speak kindly, act respectfully, and do things with joy and love, then that is the energy you put into the world. You will be far happier if you live out your spoken message.

As a result of this, you will affect others. Not only will they see that your actions and words align, but they will also feel the positive impact of you living honestly. Your family will see it, your colleagues will see it, your friends will see it, even strangers on the street will see it.

The moment you say something it is in the universe. You can’t take it back, especially in the current world we live in.

Your actions are no different. The moment you act, you cannot take it back.

Most of the time it’s not a problem, but it can be especially if you act unconsciously. You might not think anyone is paying attention, but someone is always watching. Not to say that the idea of someone watching you should keep you on the straight and narrow.

Your values should keep you on the straight and narrow, but character is what you are when nobody else is around. Reputation is what other people perceive you to be. Character is the reality of you when no one is watching.

So, do you live what you say? If not, what do you plan to do about it?


George J. Ziogas is an HR Consultant with 15+ years of experience across a number of industries with a specialization in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). He is a qualified vocational instructor/teacher and personal trainer. George is also a blogger and top writer in numerous categories/tags on Medium. He speaks several languages (English, Greek, Macedonian), and enjoys working out/keeping fit, music, reading, and traveling. He is married and lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

Image courtesy of Lukas Rodriguez.

There’s More Than One Kind of Burnout, Which Are Draining You?


Did you know that your physical body is the last place dis-ease and the effects of overwhelm and burnout show up?

By the time you feel exhausted or foggy or show other physical symptoms, you’ve already depleted yourself. The dis-ease has rooted itself into your physical body or your mental mind, and it takes much longer to recover and return to a state of harmony.

Consider the word disease — not just as physical symptom or a diagnosis but as a state of un-ease within you. Dis- means “apart.” Disease is to be apart from ease, apart from harmony. When you are more aware of the dis-ease you experience mentally in the form of anxiety, worry, or negative self-talk, or experience energetically in your nervous system as frustration or feeling flooded, you become empowered to make changes sooner, before becoming completely depleted or physically sick.

Recall a time you hit your wall, got sick, or crumbled under the pressure. Weren’t there signs that may have been subtle, but upon reflection, you can see how your whole system or parts of your system were overtaxed? We tend to associate burnout with our physical body or mental state because those are the areas we’ve been taught to focus on.

There are at least eight kinds of burnout, only one of which is physical burnout. These other kinds of burnout often show up before the signs of exhaustion and disease appear in your body.

When you can articulate what kind of burnout you are experiencing, versus just saying you are burned-out, exhausted, or overwhelmed, you are more empowered to see the root, and get what you need before you get sick.

Read about the different kinds of burnout below, and consider which you may be experiencing now, noting that you have likely experienced many.

The 8 Kinds of Burnout

  1. Mental burnout: My mind cannot process any more; it’s fried.
  2. Emotional burnout: These heavy or anxious emotions are exhausting me.
  3. Compassion burnout: I cannot hold any more loving space for anyone else; I’m tapped.
  4. Relational burnout: I’ve been over-giving to others, my organization, or my community/family, and I am over it.
  5. Survival burnout: I’m exhausted from trying to make ends meet and stay afloat.
  6. Superwoman burnout: The weight of taking on so much is too much; I can’t hold it all anymore.
  7. Passion burnout: I love what I do, but I’ve given too much and pushed too hard.
  8. Physical burnout: My body is revolting; I have depleted my life force.

Take a pause here so we can increase your self-awareness of how these types of burnout show up for you. This will help you be more empowered to see and feel the signs or symptoms before you get to the point of physical burnout. Then try the harmonizing practice to identify which kind of burnout you may currently be experiencing and what you need to reverse the slide into burnout.

Self-Awareness: What Are Your Burnout Signals?

  1. Which kinds of burnout have I experienced?
  2. What are the signs or symptoms that I am experiencing these kinds of burnout? When these occur, use the harmonizing practice below to keep you from sliding into burnout.

Harmonizing Practice: Reverse Your Current Burnout Slide

Ask yourself: What do I need to receive to reverse the slide into physical burnout? Then give yourself this space or support to yourself, no matter what.

Take a deeper dive with my podcast episode “Overwhelmed & Over It! Why It’s Not Your Fault – 5 Truths that Can Liberate You Out of Burnout & Self Sacrifice” here.

To learn more, grab a copy of my new book, Overwhelmed and Over It here. And if you are curious how you may be over-giving and under-receiving, we invite you to take the Overwhelmed and Over it Burnout Quiz here.


Christine Arylo, MBA, is the author of Overwhelmed and Over It. As a transformational leadership advisor, three-time bestselling author, and host of the popular Feminine Power Time podcast, she is recognized worldwide for her work helping women to make shift happen — in the lives they lead, the work they do, and the world they wish to create. Arylo offers trainings, retreats and workshops globally. Visit her online at http://www.christinearylo.com or tune into her podcast www.FemininePowerTime.com. Connect more with Christine and her community at www.femininewisdomcafe.com.

Image courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio.

The Gift of Asking for Help


It’s not an overstatement to say that this last year (or more) has felt deeply overwhelming at times. And if you’ve felt this, you’re far from alone. One of the major effects of the pandemic—and one that I think contributes to our sense of overwhelm enormously—is being physically isolated from our loved ones and the people who used to form our safety net.

In that long-term isolation due to physical distance from so many loved ones, one of the things that has created a lot of overwhelm is the fact that we have been trying to do it all, all by ourselves.

If you are a people-pleaser by nature or prone to taking the weight of the world on your shoulders, this may be doubly true for you.

You may know, intellectually, that you’re trying to do more than ever before, and you may understand theoretically that you can’t rescue everyone. But if your pattern is to try anyway, it can feel totally overwhelming—and it may be time to ask for help.

Notice how even the thought of asking for help feels. Scary? Sad? Impossible? Like you’re letting others down?

Observe what it’s like to admit that maybe you can’t keep doing it all yourself and that it’s time to talk to the people around you and maybe even call in reinforcements. Maybe that looks like delegating tasks, asking others to step up, or outsourcing some of what you do. It might also look like simply asking for a safe space to vent or let it all out.

At this stage of trying to hold the world up by yourself, you might be feeling not just overwhelmed, but resentful of others. When you take that first step to tell just one person how you’re feeling (to start), some of that resentment might start to fade.

Just by getting your feelings of overwhelm off your chest, you can begin to dissolve them.

This could be a co-worker, a family member or friend. Ask permission first. Just asking, “Do you have energy to hear me out for a few minutes?” works well. And then once you’re done venting, you can switch.

You might be pleasantly surprised. Maybe they have an insight or idea you hadn’t thought of. Maybe they’ll help you pick up some of your extra work. Or maybe just venting and being heard helps you sort out your own feelings and feel like there’s someone who’s on your team. Often just being able to say what you’re feeling out loud can help to ease the burden you’ve been carrying.

And if you’re willing to play that same role for someone else, it can grant others permission to reach out for help or let their feelings out. One of the things that’s been so difficult with our distanced year is not knowing whether we’re alone in our feelings—the sense that we’re the only one, and that everyone else is doing fine.

But the truth is that you’re never alone. All of us could probably use some help at this point, and that first step toward connection can be a beautiful one—even if it’s a little scary at first to admit. Our society is not set up for that interconnection, but we can choose to forge it anyway. 


Christy Tending is an activist, educator, and writer. She teaches online courses about sustainable self-care to students all over the world, and hosts the podcast Tending Your Life. She lives on occupied Ohlone territory (Oakland, CA) with her family. You can learn more about her work at www.christytending.com.

Image courtesy of Gustavo Fring.

We Write to Heal, but How Do We Heal from Writing?


My past trauma has been on my mind lately, and it seems I can’t stop writing about it.

While away on a trip, I rediscovered some new triggers for my sexual abuse through a text message from an old friend. I had my phone in my hand when it happened, and I was able to write as many of my feelings as I could in my notes app.

My unedited, unfiltered, tearful ramblings would have to hold me over until I could get home, sit in front of my computer, and really write.

That’s how we work as writers. We live and love and lose, and then we write. How the rest of the world heals from life, I’ll never understand.

But for us writers, writing is everything. Even writing about the painful things — especially writing about the painful things. It’s how we heal.

When we write of our trauma, we relive those dark days

Those low moments. Those feelings of vulnerability. We place ourselves, as briefly as our hearts can withstand, into our former selves so we can remember and write.

Almost as if we’re floating above, narrating our hurt, and remembering the pain, but this time, with wings to keep us safe and off the ground.

Of course, no one wants to remember the abuse they suffered under someone else’s power. No one wants to relive it. No one wants to face the criticism there is when we speak up and share our trauma.

So why come forward at all? Why rewind and go back to those dark days? Why bring up old wounds and write about our pain?

Because we are finally ready to heal.

We have lived and learned, and we want to give courage to those who have already gone through something similar and also to those who have not, and hopefully never will.

Because I’ve been writing more than usual about my trauma, I’ve been finding myself exhausted after every piece I write.

After I publish an article, I feel absolutely drained, with no desire to write articles for clients or poetry for myself.

I feel sad, even though I’m writing to heal. My eyes feel tired from the crying, and my heart feels especially heavy.

I haven’t written so many consecutive emotionally exhausting articles in a long time. It’s almost as if I forgot how grueling the process is when we heal through our writing.

Yes, it is therapy, it helps to ease the pain, and it brings me as close to closure as I can get, but writing emotional content is not easy.

I never knew I needed to heal after writing about healing, but apparently, I do.

So, I made a list of some helpful things I can do to fill my heart after writing about heavy material, and I wanted to share those here, just in case someone isn’t practicing self-care after writing about their trauma.

1. Reach out to a friend

After writing an emotionally exhausting article, reach out to a friend in the writing community who also writes to heal.

They will understand your exhaustion more than anyone else. It helps to have someone around who knows exactly what you’re feeling.

For me, it’s my Fearless She Wrote co-editors, Gillian and Maggie. I head over to our group chat, and these girls bring me back to the real world with laughter, empathy, and kindness.

2. Call someone that will make you smile

If you don’t have anyone in the writing community to reach out to (hello, I’m always here), you can phone a friend.

Call someone that will make you laugh, someone that will listen, and someone who won’t make you feel bad for feeling bad.

3. After you click publish on that heavy piece, go outside

Take the dog for a walk or go for a run. Get some Vitamin-D on that skin, and some fresh air in those lungs.

Try to leave your phone behind and take in Mama Nature. Close your eyes, meditate and breathe her in. She has amazing healing powers.

4. Avoid social media

After you publish, do your best to stay off social media.

In my experience, mindless scrolling through Twitter never gives me the emotional pick-me-up that I need after writing about my pain.

5. Don’t reread

Finally, after you publish a sensitive article, don’t sit and reread it.

Don’t refresh your stats. Take care of yourself and walk away from your words, even for a little bit.

You’ve just opened up old wounds, and the writing will help, but give it time to work its magic.

After I submitted a heavy and emotional piece to a magazine yesterday, I put on my walking shoes and took my pup Neville Longbottom for a walk.

Without a thought about any deadlines or unfinished articles, I left my phone behind and soaked in some badly needed sun. We walked a mile total, and my little old dachshund was as ready to go home as I was. I was tired, but a good kind of tired.

I felt refreshed and alive, and more importantly, I felt satisfied and happy that I had written about something so hard to write about.

Final words

There is incredible beauty in vulnerability.

Writing about your pain brings out a special part of you. It allows you to be the stronger you in the present and take care of your former self.

Writing to heal is, in a way, writing as we breathe until our breath becomes our words. It’s a beautiful process, but please don’t neglect your heart after you write about your trauma.

There are enough of us on this platform, also writing about our pain, to hold each other accountable.

After you publish, if you’re not feeling great, give yourself a moment to breathe and catch up.

The rest of the writing community will be here waiting for you when you’re ready to come back.


Jessica Mendez is a full-time writer living in Las Vegas, NV. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from NAU and her master’s degree in family and human development from ASU. In 2018, she left her career in mental health to pursue a career in writing. She is currently working on her debut novel and a collection of bilingual poetry. Follow her on Twitter and Medium to read more of her work.

Image courtesy of Vlada Karpovich.

4 Psychological Reasons You Feel Inadequate All the Time


Do you often feel inadequate, like you’re not good enough or unworthy?

Maybe you never seem to measure up with all your creative and ambitious coworkers?

Or maybe you tend to feel bad about yourself because your spouse is so patient with the kids and you lose your temper so easily.

It could just be a general sense of not feeling worthwhile enough that seems to pervade most areas of your life.

Whatever inadequacy looks like for you, it’s a painful thing to live with. But it’s also a tricky thing to understand, much less change.

Of course, there are a few well-known causes of inadequacy:

Unhelpful comparisons with other people aren’t doing you any favors when it comes to feeling inadequate. As Teddy Roosevelt said: Comparison is the thief of joy.

And a habit of self-criticism often fuels the sense of inadequacy.

And of course, early life experiences and trauma can obviously lead to a feeling of inadequacy later in life.

But in this article, I want to dig a little deeper into some underlying psychological causes of why you feel inadequate. Specifically, I’m going to walk you through a handful of subtle habits that may be maintaining your feelings of inadequacy.

1. Your emotional expectations are unrealistic

I think a lot of us know that unrealistic expectations are dangerous, especially for other people:

Expecting that your boss is going to be super supportive and nurturing all the time is a good way to end up frustrated and irritable at work.

Expecting that your spouse will always be compassionate and give you their 100% undivided attention is a good way to end up disappointed and unhappy at home.

Of course, lowering those expectations to a more realistic level (and keeping them there) is still a challenge. But the point is, in most areas of life, we at least understand that we should look out for unreasonable expectations with other people.

But a major source of feeling inadequate and unhappy comes from our expectations of ourselves. More specifically, our emotional expectations are way too high.

An emotional expectation is an assumption you have about how you should feel emotionally.

Here are a couple quick examples:

You assume that after criticism from your manager at work, you should be able to “just shake it off” and not be bothered by it anymore. But hours later when you’re still stewing about it and feeling anxious, your expectation gets violated which leads to you feel angry or guilty with yourself for still feeling bad.

You lose someone important in your life. Maybe it’s the death of a loved one or maybe you get broken up with by a romantic partner. Your assumption is that you should feel sad for a couple weeks but then move on after that and feel happy again—which to you means, not feeling sad anymore about your loss. Well, months go by and you still think about and remember the person you lost, and when you do, you feel sad. But because of your expectation that you shouldn’t feel sad after a couple weeks, you feel anxious that “something’s wrong with me” because you can’t seem to “let go.”

In both cases, here’s the problem:

When your emotional expectations are unrealistic, you end up feeling bad about feeling bad, which is what really makes us feel inadequate.

Your emotions are not something you can control directly. So it makes no sense to hold yourself accountable for how they should operate.

Drop your emotional expectations for yourself and you will start to feel more and more okay with yourself.

2. You rely on reassurance to feel good

A big part of inadequacy is low self-confidence.

Think about it: It’d be pretty tough to feel inadequate about yourself if you were very confident in yourself, right?

So one way of looking at the causes of feeling inadequate is to ask yourself, What habits in my life lead to losses of confidence?

And while there could be many sources of low self-confidence in your life, a subtle one that people often miss is reassurance-seeking.

Reassurance-seeking is the habit of relying on other people to feel good.

A few examples:

Whenever you feel anxious or worried, you immediately call up a best friend, sibling, or parent hoping for some reassuring words to alleviate your fears.

Anytime you feel indecisive or uncertain, you “check” with a variety of people to make sure it’s not a bad decision before you actually do anything.

When you feel sad and down, you immediately make plans to be around other people and use them as a way to cheer yourself up rather than sitting with your sadness and trying to understand it first.

There are two big problems with reassurance-seeking:

  • It leads to poor quality relationships and resentment among the people who are closest to you. Despite what they tell you to your face, nobody wants to be relied upon as your primary means of emotional support.
  • It kills your emotional confidence. Emotional confidence is the ability to sit with and manage your painful emotions rather than immediately trying to avoid them or “fix” them. But when you’re in the habit of always alleviating your painful feeling by having someone else reassure you, you’re effectively teaching your brain that you can’t handle difficult feelings on your own.

Sometimes you feel inadequate because you really are inadequate: You don’t know how to handle feeling bad.

And one of the most common sources of genuine inadequacy is that you don’t allow yourself to practice managing difficult feelings on your own. Which means you never get to build emotional confidence.

And if you’re not confident that you can handle your own feelings, I mean, why wouldn’t you feel inadequate?

3. You dwell on past mistakes

Thought experiment:

Imagine you have to go through life constantly accompanied by a grumpy little leprechaun who’s constantly reminding you of mistakes you made in the past and what a terrible person you are because of those mistakes.

Now imagine how that would feel—day-in and day-out to be criticized and reminded of your past mistakes.

Even on your best days when things are going really well and you’re feeling good and happy and content, all of a sudden the little guy would pipe up and remind you of that tone time you cheated on a test in college. Or that time you cheated on your first wife and your marriage blew up.

Even if you “knew” intellectually that those things were in the past, being constantly reminded of them would make you feel pretty terrible, right?

For a lot of people who feel chronically inadequate, it’s not a thought experiment… that’s their life!

Of course, it’s not a grumpy little leprechaun that’s doing it—they’re doing it to themselves by getting stuck in the habit of rumination or dwelling on past mistakes.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with thinking about your past, including past mistakes. In fact, it’s one of the primary ways we avoid making more of the same mistakes is by analyzing what went wrong and making a plan to avoid it in the future.

This is called healthy reflection. And it’s different than unhealthy rumination because of one key variable… It actually helps!

After you’ve made a mistake, taking some time to reflect on it will probably be helpful. But the law of diminishing returns sets in pretty quickly with reflecting on our mistakes:

Spend a few hours thoughtfully reflecting on a mistake… It’s going to be painful, but you’re probably going to learn a lot, which in turn will increase your odds of not making the same mistake again.

Spend a few hours multiple times per month thinking about a mistake… Well, you might still learn a thing or two, which could be helpful to some degree. But it’s unlike your return on investment for that thinking time is even close to as high as it was for the first few hours. But it’s still going to be just as painful.

Spend a few hours multiple times per week for years thinking about your mistake… At this point, it’s basically all side-effects (guilt, shame, regret) and no benefit.

The lesson here is pretty straightforward:

Thinking about past mistakes is a good idea if it’s actually productive and leading to new insights and better behaviors.

Unfortunately, many people get stuck in the habit of ruminating on their past mistakes well past the point where it’s productive, which means they get to feel bad about themselves and inadequate without any compensating upside.

The next time you find yourself dwelling on a past mistake, ask yourself this question: Is continuing to think about this actually helping anyone?

4. Your values are unclear

Famous New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra famously said…

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.

I always think about that line when I talk to people about the importance of values for emotional health.

To be clear, I don’t mean religious or moral values necessarily. What I mean is personal values—the things that matter most to you in your life. It might be something like honesty or justice, but it could also be something like spending quiet time in nature or being a good listener.

Values matter because without them—without a clear idea of what’s important to us and which direction we want to be heading—it’s really easy to get lost. Specifically, it’s easy to end up making all our decisions in life based on how we want or don’t want to feel, rather than basing our choices on what we really want out of life.

And this brings us to inadequacy…

Feeling inadequate is often the result of living someone else’s life instead of your own:

  • You work in a career that you don’t really enjoy or find meaningful because it’s prestigious and looks good to your family, friends, and society.
  • You defer important decisions to your spouse or coworkers because you feel unsure of yourself.
  • You marry someone because they “check all the boxes” but you don’t actually enjoy being around them that much.

Feeling inadequate comes from knowing deep down that you’re not living the life you really want.

Just like inadequacy can come from a comparison between yourself and other people, it can also come from a comparison between your actual life and the one you really want to be living. And if there’s a big discrepancy there, there’s a good chance you’re going to feel a lot of inadequacy because you’re not living up to your own standard.

So, what do you do if that’s the case?

Well, a big reason why we don’t live up to our own standards and values is because we actually aren’t very clear about them what our personal values are! On the other hand, when your personal values are clear, they exert a much stronger motivating pull on you. And once you’re more motivated to live life on your own terms, feeling inadequate tends to fade.

If you want to feel less inadequate, start living the life you really want. If that seems daunting or confusing, start by getting to know your values.

All You Need to Know

If you feel chronically inadequate, there’s a good chance one or more of these underlying causes is to blame:

  • Your emotional expectations are unrealistic
  • You rely on reassurance to feel good
  • You dwell on past mistakes
  • Your values are unclear

Nick Wignall is a clinical psychologist and writer interested in practical psychology for meaningful personal growth. You can find more of his writing at NickWignall.com.

Image courtesy of Liza Summer.

We Need More Human Dignity


I often think about what is needing to address many of the issues we face as a society. What we are facing is multi-dimensional change.

There are many social movements in place. They are all very good and needed initiatives.

However, a lot of the ways many are addressing various societal problems are single-dimensional and are not dealing with the root cause of the problems.

Gender gaps, inclusion, diversity, equal pay, affirmative action, black lives matter, metoo, etc. are all very important issues that need awareness, and action — however they are the outcomes of something rooted deeply in something bigger.

The root cause of all our problems is lack of human dignity.

I am passionate about bringing the Radical Purpose movement to the world. To me Radicals is about the need to get to the root of not just our work problems in society, but how we relate to ourselves and each other as human beings.

While in Russia a couple of years ago, speaking at one of the top five universities, a young man, made a comment during the Q&A session following my Radical Cultures presentation.

He said: “What you want to do is change the world — you are getting to the culture, how people live, and how societies and countries are operating. It’s a huge endeavor”.

I replied: “Yes, it is a mission to change the world for the better, but we are focused on one person at a time. Just one of you here in Siberia, Russia can take these principles to heart, start a company, or become a leader in one, begin to apply these principles, and the change begins. Someone leaves your company, and brings the principles along to another company, and before you know it society has changed.”

I continued by saying: “The change starts with you embodying human dignity in how you hold yourself as worthy and extend the same to others.”

The even deeper root cause of all of our problems that are under the umbrella of “lack of human dignity”, is lack of self-worth. Lack of self-worth is a worldwide epidemic, a virus infecting all of humanity. It needs to be healed and that starts with the self.

The trunk to everything that can be good in the world is human dignity, and the branches of the tree extends to work, school, family, community, society, and ultimately the world.

The roots of the trunk need to be deep in a high self-worth foundation.

Being a Radical is about having a multi-dimensional positive impact on all our lives, by highlighting and having the courage to talk about ourselves, in an authentic, raw, and unapologetic way.

We humans carry so much shame from choices we may have made in our lives, related to relationships, work and career, education, choices in entertainment, because of a narrative that has not served humanity. The narrative of self-sacrifice, and selflessness, and doctrine.

We are not meant to be perfect; we are meant to be on an ongoing journey of self-discovery and learning. We need to start giving each other a break by not demonizing being human who screw up — often.

You can’t offer up to solve the problems of the world, without solving the source of the problems.

Society is a reflection, a mirror of who we are collectively on the inside.

The violence in the world is nothing more than a resonance of the violence within us.

The violence begins when we are at odds with our desires, and our actions. The violence begins within us when we have difficulty being kind to ourselves and demand perfection.

All conflicts within ourselves, amplify into chaos worldwide.

This isn’t some new age spiritual awakening; this is proven quantum science. You want to change the world? Start with the human in the mirror.

Acceptance

You can only extend to others what you value within yourself. If you embrace yourself even when you are out of sorts, you’ll extend the same courtesy to others when they are in the same mode of being.

Conversely, when you accept yourself as a gift in the world, you will recognize the same gift in others.

Whatever is external of you is a mirror of who you are within.

It’s important to not avoid or mask our darkness. We need to learn to be ok with going deeper into the darkness to discover the source of it.

We need to stop beating or judging ourselves up for having darkness.

You may have been chosen to play out the darkness so you could overcome it and create the frequency for others to tap into, in order to break free. Everything has a purpose, if we stay open to learning, instead of judging.

The way out of hell in life, is on the other side of it. The door is just past the point of no return, only those trusting that the door is within reach, can walk through fire and gain control over everything.

There are two ways to overcome challenges in life.

1) You work really hard to transform yourself, and to overcome the “not so good” traits; most of us end up simply suppressing who we are, but few do actually transform “some” aspects of themselves.

2) You accept yourself as you are, and you focus on becoming a being who bestows goodness in the world.

The first route will have you chasing your tail for years, and has been the cause of depression, anger, resentment and all the chaos in the world for thousands of years.

All the chaos in the world stems from lack of self-respect, self-love, self-dignity, self-honor, and lack of self-acceptance.

It’s impossible to accept others as they are when we still have things, we don’t accept about ourselves.

Think about that for a moment. Why do certain traits about others bother you? Because they remind you of traits about you that you don’t want to accept. How can you accept other people’s traits if you don’t accept yourself completely?

When you accept yourself for all of who you are, you can do the same for others, and you begin to experience life’s beauty in the imperfection.

Something amazing happens as you remove judgment from yourself, which causes internal violence, you remove it from the world. As judgment diminishes, so does chaos.

Chaos is energized by judgment. Judgment powers up chaos, remove the judgment and chaos will cease to have any source of energy.

As an alternative to judgment, you can try acceptance, acceptance shifts you into state of being where bliss is the normal mode of existence.

Acceptance is being present without judgment.

Love Yourself

A good way to practice human dignity is with yourself. Give yourself a hug and say: “I am great just as I am, and I love me just as I am. I extend the same to everyone around me, and allow them to accept me as I am. I can now focus my energy on emanating the love I have for myself to the entire world and allow the world to do the same in return”.

Most of the chaos that exists is due to hatred for no reason, but it all starts within. Why does judgment exist? Because of lack of self-love, and self-worth.

If we loved ourselves enough, just as we are, we would extend the same to the outside world and in turn activate the energy of mercy and love which knows no chaos.

For millenniums we’ve been chasing our tails, going in circle feeling bad about our “character flaws”, which in some ways has kept us from achieving our greatest potential as humanity.

Our lack of dignity towards one another is only a reflection of our own lack of self-acceptance and self-worth.

It’s important to get in touch with our own inner ugliness. This is very important, but for no other reason than to recognize it, accept it, and find love for ourselves anyway.

The less life we give judgments, the more they will dissipate within, and all over the world.

We often think free-will is about our ability to choose right from wrong.

The natural order of things is bliss, order, harmony… that is the normal state of existence.

So why do we not experience it all the time?

How we choose to perceive ourselves, is how we experience the entire Universe.

The only free-will we have, is to choose to either accept everything with love or with judgment. Love allows us to come to peace with ourselves and extend the same to others.

Human dignity is rooted in self-love, and high self-worth. What the world needs is more human dignity, and that starts with each and every one of us doing our part in loving and fully accepting the human in the mirror.

*Originally published at tulliosiragusa.com.


Tullio Siragusa is an expert level Certified Life Coach, a pioneer of disruptive technologies, an emotional intelligence (EQ) thought leader, futurist, speaker, and author. For the past 30 years, Tullio has built world class leadership teams in technology companies and startups. Tullio currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer at Nearsoft, he co-produces and hosts DojoLIVE! a platform that gives voice to emerging technology luminaries. He also hosts Rant & Grow, an entertaining and heart-centered reality podcast where each episode explores people’s personal blockages and how to powerfully move forward with careers, relationships, and self-realization by developing healthy habits. As a founding member of Radical, a social justice movement, Tullio is a strong supporter of human-dignity in all aspects of life, including freedom in the workplace.

Image courtesy of Andi Alexander.