Colorado Life Coach: Disconnected?

“The truth is that every relationship has one of two goals: connection or disconnection.”

I’ve been reading, I mean really reading Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication & Boundaries, by Danny Silk. This sentence made me think. Is it true? Are there only two choices?

I know when I am actively seeking a connection in my marriage, but when I’m not, am I actually seeking disconnection?

Danny Silk explains, “These goals are revealed by the skill sets people adopt to achieve them.” The goal is disconnection when you create a safe distance from one another. “Each moment of each day, you are measuring how much distance you need to feel safe around each other. Sometimes the necessary distance is small, and other times it’s great. But the current goal is a safe distance, not a safe connection.”

I coach people for a living. Many individuals and couples come to me because they don’t have the kind of relationship they long for. Most of my clients live from fear. This means that the majority of their decisions do not come from a place of love for the other person, but out of fear of getting hurt.

“Trying again and again to send the message of love without receiving a positive result will leave anyone feeling hurt, powerless, and hopeless. You want to be connected, but because you cannot seem to repair your ‘disconnect’, you have come to believe that he/she doesn’t want a connection with you. This feeling of rejection is painful enough to make you want to change your goal from connecting with each other, to protecting yourselves.”

Isn’t that how most of us live?

Life is hard. We’ve been hurt. We’ve hurt others. It doesn’t feel good. We avoid it whenever possible.

Who wouldn’t? I don’t know many people who want to get hurt. It hurts, after all!

The problem with this may seem obvious: If we live from fear of getting hurt, we hold ourselves back. When we hold ourselves back, the people closest to us can’t really know us. How can we truly love and be loved if we don’t show the other person who we really are?

But, what if they don’t like us anymore if they discovered who we really were, what we really thought or felt, what we really did, or want to do, what we really believe?

Or, what if they use my vulnerability to hurt me?

And there’s the rub.

We hide because we’re scared.

At least this way, if they leave us, we can keep on believing that it wasn’t the true me they rejected, because I never let them see that! I’m still OK.

And the fear lives on.

Until…

“You commit to the goal of connection. It’s only when you commit to moving toward someone that you will seek the knowledge and skills necessary to reach them.”

“The choice to pursue the goal of connection will bring you right up against the real conflict that lies at the core of every relationship. It is a spiritual battle–a heart battle–drawn between the two most powerful forces that drive us: fear and love. If you want to be a powerful person capable of building intimate relationships, then it is absolutely vital that you learn how these forces operate and align yourself with love.”

So what do we do? Well, the short answer is, get vulnerable. Get honest with yourself. Take responsibility for your feelings and actions. Learn some tools to connect, instead of disconnect.

Reading this book would be a great start!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole

Colorado Life Coach: Growing Up Is Hard!

New growth, in the midst of fallen trees. Kind of like life, huh?

I have lots of grace, compassion and empathy for my family, my friends, and my clients. I understand that they are a work in process. They try new things and fail sometimes.

But I’m a coach! I feel that I should know better! I should have already learned this!

Why am I harder on myself than on others?

Growing up, I received the message (whether it was intended, or not) that I needed to strive for perfection. Then, when I wasn’t perfect, I felt like I was in trouble.

Does anyone relate?

Now that I’m all grown up (at least on the outside), I struggle with situations I don’t handle well, or don’t know how to handle.

The new growth seems overshadowed by the mistakes.

Once in awhile I come across a book that really rocks my world. Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication & Boundaries, by Danny Silk is the latest!

As I read, I am convinced more fully than before that I have lived as a powerless person most of my life. Life just sort of happened to me. I made friends because someone sat near me in school, or lived across the street. I didn’t seek to be friends with people I admired or respected. I didn’t take responsibility for my life, so I blamed others and situations for my circumstance. Because of my victim mentality, I also couldn’t change my life.

If I’m a victim, than I’m not responsible for what happens to me.

The problem with this kind of thinking, is this: If I’m a victim, I don’t have the power to change my life.

Several years ago, my life was a total mess. I saw a psychiatrist for depression, anxiety and sleep issues. Chaos ruled! During a session, my doctor told me, “Your boundaries suck! Why don’t you teach a class on boundaries, so you learn them.” I did. 4 times! It’s hard to change things you’ve done your whole life.

It’s still hard. Boundaries are constantly changing. You meet new people, try new things, experience new situations, and each one requires boundaries. I struggle daily with this issue. I question myself: Is this a healthy way to handle this situation? Are these good boundaries?

Sometimes I do pretty well. Other times, I totally blow it, and get down on myself.

These are times I only see the fallen branches laying all around. I forget to look at the beautiful new growth.

I want to have more compassion with myself as I continue to get healthier. Today, I’m going to treat myself like I’d treat a client. Listen in, if you’d like:

“You didn’t learn this stuff growing up. It’s hard to change these patterns. You’re trying something new and you’re not going to get it right every time. Keep going. You’re doing great. You know what you need to do. Slow down your thinking, so you can make a good decision, then make it. I’m proud of you. Lots of old people, like you, just quit trying to grow. You’re still working on it. Way to go!”

That’ll be $70, please.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

Colorado Life Coach: Firming Up The Boundaries…Again!

Setting boundaries.

It’s exhilarating!

It’s scary!

The healthier I get, the more boundaries I find myself having to implement. Things I never thought about keep popping up, and all of a sudden, I have to think through ANOTHER area where my boundaries still stink.

I’m a Life Coach. Do you think that means I have my life all together, so I’m here to help those poor souls who are all screwed up? You’d be wrong! I AM one of those poor souls trying to get her life together. Hopefully, I’m a little farther down the road than some of my clients, or at least I’ve learned a thing or two to help them.

It’s much easier to see someone else’s issue anyway. Isn’t that always the case?

I can see when someone doesn’t want to look at their issues and constantly blames their boss, or their spouse, or their children, or the weather. It’s a little harder when I either don’t want to, or can’t see my own issue.

People have always told me I have such great insight. I’ve sat with many people in groups, bible studies, coaching sessions, or just eating lunch where someone has said, “I’ve never told anyone this before, but…”

It’s why I went back to school at age 46. I wanted to help people, but I knew if I didn’t get the education and practice, I could end up making things worse for someone. So I studied. I researched and wrote papers. I learned about all the different counseling techniques. I learned about reflective listening, and various models to help people. I used my vast experience with personal and marriage counseling as well.

I discovered Life Coaching. With my degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, I have more knowledge to help than coaches without the degree. I do have a lot of knowledge.

And I’m still me. I’m not perfect…by any means. I think I’ve disappointed a few people along the way when they discovered I was, in fact, human. Sad for them. I’ve always known it.

Sometimes things get on a roll and life moves along really well. I feel calm and confident. I can do this thing! I’m good at it. I like my job. I actually help people.

And then, I hit another area I still need to grow. It kind of stinks, but I realize that I need it to help me move to another level of health.

So here I am, setting boundaries I probably needed to set a year ago. I didn’t see the need at the time. No one was busting through my unwritten boundaries. Then I started getting more clients, and sometimes I took on clients I shouldn’t have. All of a sudden, my boundaries needed to be firmed up.

It’s hard. I like these people. They like me. I want to help them. But I’m not doing anyone any good if I don’t take care of myself in between clients. If I can’t stop thinking about their problems, they become my problems. If my time with my family or even alone keeps getting interrupted with questions and problems, I don’t get a chance to recharge.

And I allowed it.

So here I am, setting new boundaries. I know it’s for the best, but it’s still hard.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

 

Colorado Life Coach: 4 Steps to Healthy Change

Change.

It happens all the time, whether we’re ready for it, or not.

Leaves turn and fall, winter hits (hard in Colorado), spring comes and flowers bloom, then summer heats up again.

Other things in life change all the time: Some with our approval, some not!

If you really wanted to change something about your life, how would you do it?

Sometimes we know we don’t like something.

We know what we don’t want.

But, figuring out what to do about it can be hard.

I mean, if you’ve always done it a certain way, and now you decide you don’t like the results you’re getting, it’s not so easy to change.

*The way you and your spouse handle disagreements or hurt feelings

*You cut people out of your life if they let you down once

*You parent using fear because it’s all you know

*You make poor choices about food on a daily basis

*You don’t take care of your health

*You can’t say “No,” so people take advantage of you

*You choose unhealthy people in relationships

We all have our things we’d like to change, but for some reason, they stay the same. Am I right?

So how do we change?

1. Acknowledge it. We’ve all heard the at the first step to changing, is recognizing that you need to change. Obviously, if we think something is just fine, we’re not going to mess with it! If change is hard, we certainly aren’t going out of our way to dig up things to work on. It’s painful! Just leave it alone! So many people get stuck here, and wonder why their lives don’t get better. Ever hear the saying, “Time heals all wounds?” It’s a lie. Time does NOT heal all wounds. In fact, left untreated over time, wounds fester and can kill a person. Let’s change that saying to, “Time, along with healing and growth, heals all wounds.”

2. Take responsibility. Does this mean everything that’s happened in your life is your fault? No. But we live in a society that loves everyone to be a victim. We have trouble taking responsibility when we feel wronged. The problem is, if we had absolutely no choice about whatever happened, we have no choice to heal. When we recognize that even when horrible things happen, we still have a choice: how we respond, how we heal, if we ask for help, if we keep it a secret, if we forgive, how we use the experience in the future. We will not grow or change when we live as victims. How do you know if you’re living like a victim? You explain, defend, give examples, prove your case. When you stop living like that, you can finally change and heal.

3. Seek help and take it. Through the years, I’ve met many people who say they want help, but when it comes to actually changing, they won’t do it. I’ve talked to many therapists and life coaches with the same experience. Clients pay them for a year, then they come to sessions and lie. They don’t take the advice of the counselor but they complain that life isn’t working for them. It’s one thing to ask for help. It’s another to take action with what you’ve learned.

4. Make change and growth part of your life. We fight change. We resist growth because it’s painful. We spend so much of our lives trying to avoid pain, but pain is part of being human. When we can accept that life is painful sometimes, and see this as normal, we can embrace that season of life when it comes. We don’t need to run away, medicate ourselves (alcohol, substances, sex, food, avoidance, etc), but we can embrace the pain, grieve and heal. A new season will begin when we do this. It’s part of life.

We get to choose. Choose to stay the same, or choose to heal and grow.

It’s painful to change, but as long as we’re still breathing, it’s inevitable.

I want to continue growing, healing, changing for the better! Who’s with me?

If you’d like help, click here!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

 

Colorado Life Coach: God Really Likes Me!

Had some more intensive therapy last weekend! Welcome to my life.

In a weird way, I kinda like digging around, figuring it out, and trying new things.

I also kind of hate it. It’s hard work changing things I’ve done, or ways I’ve looked at things my whole life.

Well anyway, one of the things I need to change is how I fill myself up emotionally. I’ve known this is my responsibility in my head for a long time. I teach it, for goodness sake! For some reason, it hasn’t gotten all the way in–you know, like the layer of an onion, or something like that.

I’ve felt sad since the weekend. I think I’ve been grieving for that little girl inside me who really wanted people to take care of her little heart. I’m all grown up now, physically, but she’s still in there begging to be loved in just the right way.

Is it only me?

So, I’ve been talking to God about this. Sometimes I just think about it, and know he’s listening. Sometimes I write about it (some people call it journaling). It goes something like this: God, why is it so hard to change? Why do I still feel so needy? Why does it have to be so hard to change? Why can’t you just change_____(fill in the blank), and then I’d feel better?

I know God hears me. Sometimes I even hear him talking back to me. I have to watch who I say that too, because in the world of counseling and psychology, some people might think I’m Schizophrenic! Through the years, I’ve learned how to tell if it’s God talking to me. Click here, if you’d like to read more about that!

In the last few days, I’ve mainly been telling him how sad I am. I’m sad that some people don’t want as deep of a relationship with me as I want with them (or at least in the same way). I realize I need some more girlfriends–can I still use that term at age 49? I need people who will give me a big “yahoo!” when I have exciting news! I need several people to whoop and holler with me! That fills me up, and I can’t always get it from my husband (especially when he’s at work…with people in his office).

So, on goes the grieving, the praying, the recognizing I need some more friends.

And then…

I went to vote.

I went to the place I voted last year, but it’s not there anymore. I went to the post office, and a lady told me where to go (I get told where to go quite often). I thought I knew the place. I drove over and parked, but the place looked empty. Then this one lady walked out. I started to ask her if this was the right place and realized it was an old friend.

And here’s where God showed me how much he really likes me!!!

She said, “Oh my gosh, I was just going to call you today!”

You see, a small group of my friends have been meeting for a book club for a long time and I couldn’t do it while I was in school. They lost a few members and were just talking about inviting ME last night. She said they all wanted me to join!

Do you know how badly my heart needed to be invited?

Has your heart ever longed to be invited?

Do you know how much I needed this right at this very time?

I told her what I’ve been dealing with and how thrilled I was to be wanted!

Does God really like me, or what?

As a wise young man once told me, there are no positive coincidences!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

Colorado Life Coach: When Life is Too Much

Does the water feel like it’s rushing too fast?

Do you ever feel like you can’t get your breath?

Are the rocks too big?

I’ve lived in that place many times. It’s scary. You feel like you barely catch a break and something else hits. I’m not talking about little things either. It’s one big thing after another. It seems like other people have somehow figured out how life works, but your world just keeps tumbling.

Do you know what I mean?

What’s really going on?

In my counseling classes, I learned why circumstances can impact one person more intensely than another.

Some of us were taught how to manage life as we grew up. We learned boundaries, our emotions were welcomed, our little hearts mattered, and we were heard. Our families worked through issues. Transitions in life were welcomed, and we experienced growth. Because of this, when we hit a rough spot, we have the skills to deal with our circumstances. It doesn’t overwhelm us.

Some of us didn’t learn these skills. Our families didn’t deal with conflict (or much of anything), addictions raged and we pretended life was good, abuse or neglect was normal, our emotions were ignored or trivialized, our hearts weren’t seen or valued. As a result, when we hit a rough patch, we don’t respond in a healthy way. Our life is already stressed to the max, just from daily living. We don’t have the reserves to deal with anything else.

When we haven’t dealt with our dysfunctional family patterns and secrets, our energy is spent negotiating everyday life. We don’t have anything left if something goes wrong.

*The dishwasher breaks

*A child has a learning problem at school

*Your spouse loses his/her job

*Your best friend moves

*Someone has a car accident

These issues add stress. If our daily lives are already stressed to the breaking point, how do we respond when something unpredictable happens?

How can we change this?

Get some help! Figure out what healthy relationships, emotions, and families look like. If you grew up in dysfunction, health wasn’t modeled. You need to learn how to communicate directly. You need to figure out what is your responsibility, and what isn’t (boundaries).

As you learn new skills and put them into practice, your life will gradually start changing. Things will calm down. The bumps will become smaller. You’ll find you’re able to navigate the everyday much better, so the unknown doesn’t take you out.

Most people don’t ask for help until they face a crisis. This is a huge problem! In crisis mode, the skills they DO have are stressed. They can’t think clearly enough to learn new ways of living.

The time to deal with your negative patterns is when things are going well. You will have the energy to learn and practice new skills. Then when the next thing hits, you’ll be much more prepared and able to manage your life.

If you’d like help, click here.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

 

 

 

Colorado Life Coach: Using God as a Weapon

“God told me…”

“God’s reason for this is…”

“You’re not in God’s will.”

Christians I know use these phrases a lot.

I used to…

An old friend of mine told me I should never say that God told me something unless I was really sure. Later, she used what she believed God “told” her to beat me up, spiritually.

I’ve had a tendency to be pretty black and white in my thinking. It’s either right or it’s wrong. There’s good and there’s bad. There is an answer to things.

And this is true, to a certain extent. There is a right and and a wrong, but sometimes there’s a whole lot of sensitivity in between.

Spiritual abuse occurs when people use God to control others. This happens when a husband quotes Ephesians 5:22 to get his wife to do what he wants (“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”). The previous verse, “submitting to one another in the fear of God” isn’t mentioned.

Or

When a mom tells her children they “should” want to go to church.

Or

When we judge others by what we view as their lack of spiritual growth. We may believe they don’t put God first in their lives. We may think they don’t pray enough. We may suggest their hearts aren’t pure.

The big question is, how do we know what’s in their heart? How do we know what God is doing in their lives? Who made us judge?

Last night, I was the guest speaker at an event. My topic was distorted thinking. Through some discussion, a question was raised about our responsibility to evangelize our friends and family. The woman asking was clearly distressed. Her church taught that this was her responsibility and when she didn’t consistently talk to others about their need for God, she felt guilty.

I’ve done it! I preached at people. I tried to get them to see how detrimental their actions were to themselves and those around them. I wanted them to see their need for God.

Instead I pushed them away.

Isn’t this the real issue? We want people to see things the way we do, and we can’t make them.

So we use God.

If they won’t listen to me, surely they’ll listen to God!

~A friend’s daughter is making some really bad decisions. She’s mad at God and thinks He’s against her. Instead of truly listening to her daughter’s heart and connecting with her, she quotes scripture and blames the devil.

~A client’s girlfriend doesn’t engage emotionally. Instead of talking to her directly, telling her he needs more connection and asking to get some help together, he says that God told him she’s not right for him.

~A pastor counseled a hurting wife and they both determined that God told them to end their current marriages and marry each other. I wonder if their former spouses and children were so sure this was God’s will.

~Many of my clients have been hurt by someone who broke up with them because “God told me you aren’t the one for me.” How must they feel about God after hearing that?

Why don’t we just accept responsibility for our decisions? Why do we have to put the blame on God?

I absolutely believe God speaks to his people. I believe he warns us, guides us, and shows us the direction he wants us to go.

Jesus is our example. How did he treat people?

He was most kind to those who didn’t know him.

He was harsh with those who said they knew him, but used religion to control others.

What if we live our lives by example, and share with those who want to know how we made it through some tough situation, or how we continue to have peace, or how we wake up everyday in the midst of hardship?

Then we could let God be God. He’s better at it anyway.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

 

Colorado Life Coach: Trying to sleep-what an oxymoron!

Do you struggle trying to sleep? Isn’t that a funny saying? For something that should come so naturally and without effort, many of us TRY to sleep!

It’s been an issue for me for 13 years. I can pinpoint the day my troubles began. We had just returned from Vietnam with our adopted son, and I couldn’t fall asleep. I was exhausted, but lay awake night after night. I couldn’t wait for bedtime, and snuggled in, ready for sleep. Soon, I realized it was 1:00 and I was still awake. Now it was 2:30. Now, 4:00, and my anxiety kicked into high gear.

How was I going to make it through another day, when I hadn’t slept for 7 nights straight?

My mom invited me to sleep at her house. I took a hot bath, drank some Sleepy Time Tea, and enjoyed the peace and quiet away from my kids. Still, no sleep.

Through the years I’ve tried Melatonin, and several natural sleep aids, as well as over-the-counter drugs. I’ve set a schedule, darkened my room, and tried everything the “experts” recommend. A few well meaning friends gave me this advice, “If you’d listen to God during the day, he wouldn’t have to wake you up at night.”

The worst time was a 5-month period without any sleep. I couldn’t drive. My eyes hurt. People brought us meals and cleaned our house. I couldn’t take care of my children. I was truly in crisis.

It’s a scary, lonely thing to lay awake when everyone you know is sleeping soundly.

I decided to see a psychiatrist. He mixed me up a combination of pills that did the trick. Other than eating and using the bathroom, I slept for a solid week. After arising from my semi-coma, the Dr. told me to take the drugs every other night. So, I slept every other night.

Over time, I lowered my dosage, and dropped most of the meds.

I’ve worked on my physical health, nutrition, exercise, and emotional health as well. I’m at a good weight and healthier than I’ve ever been.

And I still struggle with sleep.

I’ve prayed. Believe me, when you’re up for hours by yourself, God is very close.

I hear from friends of all ages that lack of sleep is truly an issue for so many people. It impacts everything.

Focus

Energy

Production

Relationships

Attitude

Mood

Physical health

Work

Our bodies were made to recharge for about 8 hours every night.

I don’t schedule meetings in the morning, because I never know how I’ll feel. Some days, I don’t get much done. Other days, no one would ever know I have sleep issues, because I can totally keep up.

My lesson?

During the long sleepless 5 months, I decided I would be OK if I never slept again. After all, I was still alive. I quit fighting it. I gave up and gave in. This decision didn’t come easily. A good friend told me how she had gotten through a really rough time. She quit fighting and accepted it.

I’m a doer, so doing nothing and accepting is actually harder for me than seeking counseling, trying a program, or adding structure to my life.

That was 8 years ago, and I’m STILL alive.

I still seek answers, but I accept that sleep is an issue and work around it.

Chances are, no one really cares how I’ve dealt with my sleep issues, but I bet lots of people can identify with the struggle! How about you? What have you tried? What’s worked, and what hasn’t?

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

Colorado Life Coach: Is Perception Reality?

Is this forest healthy, or suffering from years of Pine Beetle?

Perceptions

We all have them. Have you heard the term Perception is reality? It’s not really reality, you know. I mean, you might perceive that 2+2=5, but that doesn’t make it so. Some things are just true and we all know it.

Other things aren’t black and white.

Like perceptions.

Maybe you’ve heard stories of witnesses to a crime. They were in the same place at the same time, but remember events differently.

Or…

4 kids living in the same home, at the same time, have very different memories of their childhood.

Perception is reality.

Several years ago, Bob and I attended a group for several weeks. We listened to some teaching, followed by an experiential exercise. That particular night, we talked about Moses and the burning bush.

3Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

There was a time in my life when God just plain scared me. I had heard so many stories from friends who said God “had to use a frying pan to get my attention,” or “God will knock you upside the head with a 2 x 4 if you don’t do what he wants.” This God terrified me. I’ve always been anxious and wanted to do well. The thought that I would try to do the right thing and still get nailed if it wasn’t exactly what God wanted made me afraid to get close to him.

My perception was that God was just waiting for me to make a mistake so he could level me.

Back to that night. They asked us to take off our shoes and walk through the sandbox, like God asked Moses to do.

What?

I didn’t see God asking Moses to take off his shoes, feel the sand between his toes, and experience a closeness with God. Here’s what I read,

“What the *^#! are you doing, stupid Moses? Don’t you know I’m holy and you’re not? Get your stinking feet out of my sand. This ground is holy!”

Perception is reality.

For me, I had been so afraid to come close to God because I thought he would wipe me out. Even though my desire was to be close to him and do what he wanted, I thought it would never be enough. Most people in my life lived that way as well. It didn’t matter what your intentions were, you’d never be good enough, but you’d better keep trying.

I took off my shoes and slid my feet into the sand. God met me there. I felt him whisper, “Can you feel me? Just like this sand, I want to be in every part of your life. Let me cover you. Let me surround you. You’re safe here. I’m not going to hurt you, I love you! Wiggle your toes and be free!”

My perception changed that night!

I believe it’s more in line with actual reality. God loves me. He died for me. It’s all about him and the grace he offers to me every day. I’ll never measure up to his standards, but I don’t need too. He doesn’t expect me too. He just wants to love me and have me love him.

That’s all.

What do you think? Is perception reality? How have your perceptions changed through the years?

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

 

Colorado Life Coach: Coasting Toward Home

I like to go uphill first.

I’ve been biking a lot this summer, and find I like to go on the path uphill for the first part of the ride, so I can coast downhill at the end when I’m tired.

All summer I’ve been thinking about this picture and how it relates to life.

Bob and I talked today about being 50 (he is a little past, but I’ve got a whole year left in my 40’s). Many people don’t live to be 100, but I’m working on my health, so I hope to get close, all while being totally functional!

If my life is about half over, I hope I took the uphill path during the first part of my ride.

I know so many people who took the downhill path first. Some of them did it on purpose, because they didn’t want to deal with hard things. Instead, they ignored issues, or took the easy way. Others didn’t know there was another option.

I didn’t know there was another option for many years. In fact, life was pretty easy for a long time. I worked hard and it paid off. Kind of like the easy bike trails. They start off simply, with a few hills here and there, but they don’t really take much out of you.

It wasn’t until I started hitting the bigger hills in life that I realized how out of shape I was emotionally, relationally, spiritually, mentally, and even physically. I couldn’t handle the hills. They were too steep and they came one right after the other. There were no straightaways or hills going down for a long time. It was all uphill for about a decade.

I hated it. I protested. I cried. I blamed others. It wasn’t fair! Why was my life all uphill, when other people seemed to be coasting?

We lived out in the country during some of these hard times. It took me 1/2 hour each way to pick up my kids from school. I listened to New Life Live (a Christian Call-in Counseling program) on the radio for several years. The more I listened, the more I realized that many people struggled with similar issues, and there were answers to these problems. It dawned on me that I had some responsibility for my life circumstances, and even if I hadn’t caused them, I was the one responsible for making things better.

I started the long trek uphill toward health. It began with the knowledge that I needed help. I didn’t know how to handle life very well. I didn’t have the right tools. It was like trying to ride uphill with only one speed.

I sought counseling and gained more tools:

*Boundaries

*Understanding what healthy relationships looked like

*Healing hurts from my past

*Growing closer to God

*Creating healthy friendships

*Taking responsibility for my decisions and actions

*Putting on my “big girl panties” (padded ones, of course)

After doing all this internal growth work, I found life to be a little easier. I still hit some hills, but my training has paid off and I can handle it. I have the tools I need now.

My hope is that I took the uphill path and trained hard, so in the later part of my life, I’ll be able to coast a little more as I approach Home.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

 


Contact Carrie O’Toole to schedule a confidential telephone call or appointment for coaching.