How to Listen Effectively

Understanding Others Through Healthy Communication


People tend to respond to what others say
with their own thoughts. This is a natural part of the ebb and flow of conversation. However, it often means they aren’t listening.

Even though we all “know” how to listen we often do a poor job of it. True listening takes effort and practice. How will you know you aren’t listening?

  1. The other person keeps repeating herself.
  2. You keep repeating yourself.
  3. You’re angry.
  4. You’re thinking what to say next.
  5. You’re arguing.
  6. You’re convinced the other person is a moron.
  7. You’re being defensive.
  8. The other person says you aren’t listening!

To be a good listener take the following steps:

  1. Be curious and ask questions.
  2. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
  3. Look for ways to acknowledge how he’s right.
  4. Don’t become defensive.
  5. When you disagree, state your point directly without criticism.
  6. Avoid “facts” which are irrelevant to the discussion.
  7. Remain calm, remember the other person is merely expressing ideas.
  8. Make it a priority for her to feel understood.

This Friday evening class begins at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 11:30 p.m. The life coaching class is led by David Cantu and Carrie Manongdo. In addition to the participants, assistants who have previously taken the course also attend. A typical class includes ten people. Participants should be at least 16 years old; singles, couples and families are welcome. The fee for the class is “pay as you choose.” Please call (512) 653-4316 or email [email protected] to register.

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Emotional Intelligence – Learn to Monitor Your Emotions

<FireworksEmotion is thought materialized in our physical being. Emotion is both the joy and the bane of our humanity. Life without it would be bleak and colorless, yet it defies and distorts our comprehension. This reminds me of the old saying, “Can’t live with them, and can’t live without them.” Knowing emotion is a fact of life doesn’t solve, for most of us, the problem of dealing with it effectively. Emotional intelligence may be the solution; following is a blend of practical ideas and strategies you can use to manage emotion. Many people live at the two extremes of emotional sensitivity and ignorance. At one end of the spectrum is a tendency to indulge emotions, drama; at the other end is an inclination to deny them, coldness. Both create problems; but feelings are inherently neither good nor bad, they’re a part of life. IcebergThe “feeling” of love can lead us astray as easily as anger and they both are crucial to our humanity. It’s essential that we acknowledge and embrace all emotion. Emotional intelligence is the awareness of one’s feelings and the ability to manage them and understand their significance. To develop emotional intelligence, you should learn to identify how you feel and why. Interestingly, knowing how you feel can take practice. Begin by focusing your self-awareness at a physical level. Learn to take inventory of physical sensations throughout your body, from head to toe. Slowly take stock of temperature, pulsing feelings, tingling, pain, tickling, itching; in short, notice all feelings on and in your head, face, neck, torso, arms, hands, legs and feet, gradually observe your entire body inch by inch. Woman MeditatingOne “sweep” of your body can take from one to thirty minutes. Be patient. This simple exercise can serve as a doorway to recognition of emotion. If you’re emotionally sensitive, this same practice can help you realize the fact that emotion is simply a manifestation of physical change. This change is created by the mind and we “feel it,” at a physical level; but that’s all it is – physical change. The pain or pleasure we experience is the interpretation of the mind. Its dislikes result in emotional pain and its likes produce pleasurable sensations. Don’t indulge or avoid feelings; instead learn to notice and accept them. Indulging or denying emotions gives them power over your life and makes it difficult for you to be your own master. The supreme benefit of emotion is that it’s a gauge of our world view; it’s a manifestation of our mind in our physical being. It sometimes deceives us of the truth in life, yet it indicates the essence of our beliefs. Knowing how you feel gives you knowledge of your true convictions. Change your thinking and in time you will change your emotions and your life. Learn to be the manager of your emotions rather than their slave, tossed here and there by their turmoil. Managing emotion doesn’t mean controlling it. What’s the difference? We can’t control our emotions any more than we can control our nervous system, our need for food and air, or our brain and heart functions. Woman Jumping On The BeachEmotion is nature – generally beyond our direct control. We can, however, learn to live with emotion and respond to it effectively. To learn this, you must know you are the creator of your emotional state. Usually, you don’t make feelings happen any more consciously than you digest your food. Your unconscious mind, as a result of your life experiences and your interpretation of those events, creates your emotions. You are, nevertheless, responsible for how you feel; no-one else is – not your family, not your boss, nor even your spouse! Once you claim your rightful ownership, you put yourself in the position to respond effectively to any experience, painful or otherwise, because you no longer blame others for your feelings. This is emotional management; this is true power and the gateway to a joyful life. David Cantu Life Coach Austin, Texas Emotional Intelligence – Learn to Monitor Your Emotions – Article © 2009

Effective Communication Tips – Speak Respectfully & Directly

Let your speech be always full of grace, seasoned with salt. ~ Colossians 4:6

Have you ever started an innocent conversation
with someone only to have it disintegrate into anger or frustration? We sometimes try to pinpoint where it all went wrong;Couple Frustrated but a more useful starting point may be, “What can I do to prevent it?” Other than those lopsided encounters with someone who talks as if there’s no tomorrow, most conversations include a give and take in which we alternate roles of speaker and listener. Following are “ground rules” that can be helpful in any interaction. The focus here is on the speaker role and, in particular, those talks in which you need to address an area of conflict, a sensitive topic, or something that bothers you. By “speaker role” I mean times when you have a complaint against someone as opposed to those situations when someone’s pointing out a problem he has with you.

Is this really an issue?

It’s amazingly easy to get caught up in drama. Before you go charging into a fray, ask yourself, “Is this important, or am I making a big deal out of nothing?” It’s so tempting to convince ourselves that we’re dealing with a real problem. Put it on hold for a day or two before addressing the issue. Allowing your emotions to take over is counter-productive; approach the situation as calmly as possible. By taking a long deep breath you enable yourself to be objective.

Be respectful.

Resolve to be respectful with the other person. In order for you to be effective it will help a great deal if you aren’t critical. Being negative or condescending will alienate others and make it difficult for them to listen to your perspective. Rather than point out how he’s wrong, focus instead on a goal. It’s easy for a person to feel defensive. If he does, let him know that you simply want a new outcome.

Be direct.

Being direct is probably the most difficult of all these guidelines. Too often we tiptoe around an issue and Couple Talkingdon’t say exactly what we mean. This doesn’t mean you should “just be honest.” We sometimes use honesty as an excuse to be mean. At the same time it’s important that you get to the point. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that being direct is offensive; it isn’t, if your intention is one of compassion and respect. A great way to be direct is to take responsibility for your choices and thoughts. Rather than saying, “I don’t think what you’re doing is right,” say, “I want you to stop what you’ve been doing.” In the first statement you place the responsibility on morality – right and wrong; in the second statement you take the responsibility yourself – “This is what I want.”

Stay focused.

You can get off track in thousands of ways. Regardless what the other person says, remember the reason you brought up the discussion; return to the topic anytime either of you veers off course. If the other person makes some kind of counter-argument, acknowledge it when true; but return to your original issue. Don’t get caught up with tangential problems.

Be willing to listen.

Finally, sometimes it’s important to change to the listener role.Couple Holding Hands Learn how to ask questions, see the other person’s point of view, and create a connection. Make connection your primary goal rather than resolution – communication first, solution later. Your efforts to become a better speaker and listener can create the foundation necessary for problem solving and result in deeper, richer relationships.
Please see my article on listening Effective Communication & Listening.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Effective Communication – Speak Respectfully & Directly – Article © 2009

Power of Acceptance and Gratitude – Feel Freedom in Relationships

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it. ~ Abraham Lincoln: Letter to H.L. Pierce, April 6, 1859

Couple UpsetRelationships are sometimes a quagmire of emotion, misunderstandings, and unmet expectations. Rather than feeling free and joyful, we often find ourselves feeling trapped and frustrated. I sometimes hear people lament, “I was really happy before we got together. I think I’m better off alone.” Despite the challenges of relationships, we all have boundless opportunities for intimacy and joy in a partnership. It’s just a matter of practicing what really works and giving up those things that get in our way.

The main ingredients of healthy partnerships
are effective communication, compatibility, authenticity, commitment, and love. The “secret” element, however, is acceptance; it’s a hidden but integral part of every other ingredient. Acceptance truly helps all relationships because it is a gift of freedom.

Living in Austin, Texas, can be difficult in the summer heat.
Couple UmbrellaInterestingly, when I ask people about it, they generally have an easy-going attitude. The reason for this is that they see it as a “natural” occurrence, a fact of life. Yet those same people don’t see relationships in the same light. When we think about it, people agree that failures and emotions are a part of life. We intellectually understand no one is perfect and that even our best friends will sometimes let us down or get angry with us. Unfortunately, when it actually happens, when one’s spouse or girlfriend becomes highly emotional or behaves contrary to his desire, the response is frequently frustration, surprise, and resentment. Emotions and mistakes in relationships are natural but we often don’t see them that way.

Acceptance in relationships
says, “People in my life, including those I’m closest to, are going to make blunders, and more than occasionally will be angry, sad, depressed, or scared. I accept this as natural. I don’t condone the mistakes of others, but I don’t judge them either. Instead, I practice compassion and seek to understand them. I see emotion as part of the tapestry of life, something we all are learning to deal with. I don’t shy away from emotion; it’s life. I’m also not a doormat: I practice dealing with the ups and downs of others as effectively as I can. I speak up about wrong-doing. I listen to others’ frustrations with me with a willing ear, but I don’t tolerate abuse.”

Acceptance leads to freedom
Child and Balloon in relationships because one is no longer tied down by the bonds of expectation and demand. A person can still desire and hope for certain outcomes; but with acceptance, he frees himself from the result, whatever it may be. Acceptance is the gift of freedom to others and to oneself.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Freedom in Relationships with Acceptance – Article © 2009

Key Elements to Active Listening: Effective Communication

For when you come to think of it, the only way to love a person is not … to coddle them and bring them soup when they’re sick, but by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet in them. ~ Brenda Ueland

The first element of communication, speaking,
is impossible without the second, listening;Couple Woman Listening to be a good speaker you must be a good listener. We all want to speak; and even more, we want to be heard. When we become good listeners we create the possibility of a captive audience – people who want to hear what we have to say. In his essay, “The Statesman,” playwright Henry Taylor poetically expresses this idea: “No siren did ever so charm the ear of the listener as the listening ear has charmed the soul of the siren.”

Listening, however, is a big challenge;
even when we try hard our unconscious mind still thinks, “Soon it will be my turn.” We swim in an emotional hotbed of thought and experience, and it’s difficult to quiet its demands long enough to hear and understand what someone really means. Add to that the fact that the other person may not be clear about his own message!

Become a listening artist.
The art of communication is about creating and strengthening Couple Sunsetrelationships. An adept listener strives first to understand others and second to create a feeling within others of being understood. Your best goal is not to find a solution to whatever problem you may have with someone; the ideal goal is the tapestry of connection which is a result of putting aside for a moment your own frame of reference. A solution is much easier to find once you’re on the same page. To become competent at listening, learn to remain in the listener role until you have a “meeting of minds.” Respond and speak, but remain in the listener role. This means you don’t get to express your point of view! What you have to say may be important, but don’t do it until you’ve created a bond, a sense of oneness.

We sometimes struggle
acknowledging someone’s point of view out of fear of losing our identity or fear that we may somehow become compromised. Recognition of someone’s ideas doesn’t require agreement; its intention is a dance of understanding. Acknowledging someone with sincerity puts him at ease, helps him feel less vulnerable, more open. We often become defensive, feeling that someone is attacking us. Approach communication with the notion that another’s beliefs are merely that; they are her personal ideas, and as such don’t have anything to do with you or anyone else. In “The Four Agreements,” author Don Miguel Ruiz says, “Others are going to have their own opinion according to their belief system, so nothing they think about me is really about me, but it is about them.” His “Second Agreement” is concise and powerful, “Don’t take it personally.”

Create listening music.
Be curious; ask questions toCouple Talking Lake better grasp the other person’s meaning. Don’t defend, justify, or criticize. Do not explain how your perspective is correct or why your actions were valid. Do not ask questions meant to invalidate another’s thinking or to validate your own ideas. Be authentic, not “sweet.” True listening is not a passive enterprise but an active extension of yourself into the heart of another, which in turn invites and draws him out into a song of rapport.
Listen; you would be wise!
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Effective Communication & Listening – How to Listen Actively (article) © 2009

Luke 8:17-18

17”For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
18Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Being Present in the Moment

… striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man. ~ Victor Frankl

 

We all constantly dealEye Info Overload with an abundance of information, both external and internal. We hear and feel the voices of purpose, anger, sorrow, motivation, greed, joy, fear, hunger, illness, health, intuition, sex – and these are intermingled with a second cacophony of friends’ suggestions, the force and taste of nature, the requests of loved ones, the demands of work, the internet, the pressures of society, an endless profusion of influences clamoring for our attention.

 

Each voice wants to be heard and acted upon, and it is most important that you find a means to effectively distill and wisely select those that are most helpful and in alignment with your spirit. To do this requires one fundamental decision: to identify and name that which you choose to live by. This may be a single word or a mantra. It may be love, joy, I am a child of God, I am true to myself, I am peacefulness, or I live in harmony with life.

Our minds are often an incessant stream of useless clutter that feeds on itself and creates even more clutter. I call it clutter because the “thinking” we do doesn’t serve any meaningful purpose; it doesn’t help us, but in fact sets us back. We think about things that once happened and over which we have no control. We also daydream about a life that has no basis in reality. I’m not suggesting that dealing with the past or setting goals is useless, I’m referring to the uselessness of going over things in our minds with no true goal. Stop doing this by learning to be present.

Learn to focus on the reality of the present moment:

  • Focus your attention on your breath. A problem with many of the things we “see,” is that we have preconceived ideas of them. Breathing is something we’re likely to be neutral about.
  • Hear the actual words that are being spoken. We generally interpret what others say because of expectations and their emotions. We can however learn to focus only on their words.
  • Respond to events with peacefulness. Even though you may feel a certain way about events, you can learn not to respond emotionally but with curiosity. Curiosity can help you see things as they really are.

Practicing these simple ideas will help quiet your mind. As you do so you will find yourself increasingly in harmony with people and experiences. This in turn brings you in alignment with your spirit and your true destiny.

 

Today, right now, seek and name your destiny. Use this simple and powerful action to serve as a guide to inform all your choices. It doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes; it isn’t a panacea but a beginning in taking charge of and finding meaning in your life. It is a clear identification of who you aim to be.

David Cantu

Life Coach Austin Texas

Seek the Truth: Aim for Destiny © 2009

 

Matthew 7:7

Seek and you will find…

Clarity Life Design: 6 Steps to Clarity

Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it. ~ Rumi

Be clear in speech.
Clear speech and sincere listening are as essential to one another as giving is to receiving; without one the circuit is broken and what remains is potential rather than realization. Together they lead to connection and understanding. Don’t assume that you are misunderstood because of other people’s shortcomings. Instead, make yourself a model of conscious listening. The result will be clarity of speech, which is truth.

Be clear in thought.
Lack of clear thought feeds unconscious fears and leads to darkness. Guard your thoughts well and practice quieting your mind. A quiet mind is a focused mind. You can achieve this by immersing yourself in those things which deeply engage your mind, your heart and your physical being. They include creativity, love, beauty, prayer, gratitude, contemplation and physical and spiritual activity. Your thoughts, conscious and unconscious, are your tools of manifestation. Clarity of thought leads to fearlessness and wisdom.

Be clear in your heart.
Your ego suggests you’re awesome or pathetic but it’s important that you seek the truth. Assess your life honestly and acknowledge both your strengths and shortcomings. Practice self acceptance and resolve to overcome your weaknesses. From love of self comes a desire to live in helpfulness, compassion, and understanding of others. The fruit of love is joy.

Be clear in action.
Dreams are beautiful and can inspire but are empty without action. To fulfill your destiny take conscious action now.

Be clear in prayer.
Ask not that the world may be healed; ask instead for courage that you may help heal the world through your own transformation.

Be clear in intent.
Decide to live in alignment with your highest self. Regardless what you do, your destiny is a joyful life. A conscious and ongoing focus on peace and truth helps make it a reality. Integrity: an alignment of speech, heart, mind, action and spirit makes you a beacon of light and hope in the world.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin Texas
Clarity in Your Life © 2003

2 Corinthians 4:18

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Personal Integrity, By Definition

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads? ~ Albert Camus

Integrity
is often defined in moral terms but we can also think of it as wholeness or oneness. In this sense, a person of integrity is one in his entire being: his thoughts, emotions, speech, actions and spirit are all in alignment.

Many of our struggles
in life are seemingly a result of external circumstances and relationships. Regardless of the source, a confused response to hardship, a lack of internal unity, will almost certainly make matters worse. Saying one thing but thinking differently or feeling one way but behaving opposite is difficult for us and integrity at these times can appear daunting and impossible. However, the uncertainty and pain are much worse. What keeps us stuck is the familiarity of the feeling. Despite the pain it’s often more comfortable to remain with that which we recognize than to face the unknown.

You’ve lived there
too long! We all have. The fear of change is only an illusion. Choose integrity today, be one within yourself. This way lies freedom and joy.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin Texas
Choose Integrity Now © 2008

Tao Te Ching
(from chapter 42)
Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the master makes use of it,
embracing his aloneness, realizing
he is one with the whole universe.

Time is Only an Illusion

The distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, however persistent. ~ Einstein

Time is a measure
of change. It is like many wonderful inventions that help us better communicate and interact with each other. Law, government, money, space, time and countless other ideas can be useful in making sense of the world, our relationships with each other and life. Time is a man-made idea. It has no intrinsic existence – in reality, time does not exist – only the present moment is real.

The past, like the future,
exists only in our minds. It certainly does one good to study history and to review one’s past but only as an aid to experience peace now. Instead, our egos endlessly recreate perceived wrongs by others and our own failures and shortcomings. We imagine moments long dead and thereby imprison ourselves in anguish. In the same way, it can be useful to plan for the future, set goals and focus one’s energy on manifesting a joyful life. Rather, we drown in fearful and egotistical illusions of futures unreal but in our minds. We abuse life by fashioning times that are not real.

Only in this moment
do you have the opportunity to seek the truth, experience reality, take heroic action, find love and know God. No other time exists.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin Texas
Time Is in Your Mind There’s Only Now © 2008

The Talmud

Who forces time is pushed back by time; who yields to time finds time on his side.

How to Create a Good Relationship

To create love: be true to yourself; know yourself and listen to what your partner is really saying; choose someone you’re attracted to, someone who fits you; know your role in the relationship; make a firm commitment and love actively.

Chemistry

It helps to be “into each other.” Ask yourself: is this person someone you really want to spend your time with; is he truly interested in you for who you are? If he takes you for granted now, he’ll use and discard you. In addition, sustaining a relationship because “he’s such a good person” can be a formula for heartache for both of you. Lack of chemistry may lead to ambivalence and this is poison for a relationship. On the other hand, chemistry is a poor foundation for a long-term relationship; it’s great to have but it’s only a start. The infatuation will end. Don’t commit yourself to a relationship without the following six ingredients.

Compatibility

Compatibility is a simple requirement that we often ignore because we think love will solve our problems. It won’t. Are you on the same page? You must know the requirements you aren’t willing to compromise in a relationship; and then you’ve got to make sure your partner agrees with you. Hoping that he’ll change his mind later on is unrealistic; it’s not likely to happen. Issues you need to resolve early in a relationship include finances, children, marriage and spirituality.

Communication

Do you really know how to listen? Listening is not a passive endeavor, it requires an active desire to know what others want to say and mean. Is your partner more emotional or more thoughtful? Knowing how to honor a person’s feelings and to respect someone’s thoughts is an important aspect of communication. Do you know how to get your point across without blaming or humiliating your partner? Speaking respectfully and honestly is as crucial as listening. Equally important, does your partner communicate well?

Authenticity

Do you know who you are, how you feel and what you want? Unless you’re willing to stand up for yourself, you can’t create a good relationship. If you’re a people pleaser, if you deny your feelings until you explode or if you repeatedly sabotage relationships, you aren’t being authentic. Authenticity is speaking the truth about yourself. It requires that you love yourself enough to say yes or no and mean it. If you’re authentic, you recognize and acknowledge your shortcomings. Only by seeing yourself honestly can you see your partner honestly. Lack of authenticity makes relationships roller-coasters of deception and emotion.

Identity in the Relationship

Along with authenticity, identity in the relationship is a crucial marriage and courtship ingredient that’s often overlooked. Who is masculine and who is feminine in the relationship? Who thinks or feels more? It doesn’t work to assume answers to these questions. Most couples still want the man to lead and the woman to follow. However, we live in an age which acknowledges women’s leadership and men’s emotions. Knowing which role is true for both you and your partner will help you avoid power struggles. Sharing the role of leadership seldom works; a primary leader is needed in love. But, leadership does not mean dominance. Power is shared and each partner must understand the source of his or her power. Masculine power is different from feminine power.

Commitment

Without commitment no relationship exists. The single biggest cause of failed relationships is not money, chemistry, compatibility or even communication; it’s ambivalence – a lack of commitment. Commitment is a testament of love.

Love

Love is the essential ingredient of a good relationship. A partial definition of love is the feeling that one has for another. A more complete definition includes one’s treatment of another; love respects, honors, cherishes, forgives and is compassionate. Unless you actively love, the feelings you have are irrelevant. It’s important that your partner love you also, but look first at your own actions.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin Texas
How to Create a Good Relationship © 2007

Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

What is Marriage All About? Dangerous Ambivalence or Joyful Commitment?

Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up. ~ Joseph Barth

Marriage brings great rewards
of loving intimacy and heart-wrenching emotional turbulence. We frequently cope with this apparent conflict with ambivalence, which makes true joy in marriage impossible. Concerning love, you cannot be of two minds and yet hope to experience her riches. Time and again we discard commitment in marriage before we’ve unearthed its great treasures of self awareness and humility. We opt for divorce as a means of dealing with the pain. Yes, there is a time to let go and a time to remain. But know that emotional pain is not the problem; it’s the symptom. It’s a call for healing, growth and understanding. Make a commitment to oneness and you create the possibility of experiencing true love. You can move beyond the doubt and hesitation by looking honestly into your heart. As you deal with your own fears and failures you will see your partner with greater clarity and compassion. This is the path of surrender and vulnerability that leads to joy in marriage or letting go in peace. Your commitment to love lights the way past suffering to wisdom. We are all connected in love and marriage is our best chance to manifest that truth.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin Texas
Marriage – Dangerous Ambivalence or Joyful Commitment? © 2007

1 Timothy 1:5

…love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Embrace the Power of Surrender

The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender. ~ William Booth

Concerning relationships
, surrender does not mean giving up or defeat but a commitment to love. To yield is not always a sign of weakness – it can be an indication of great strength and wisdom. This is because a fearless refusal to fight rests in the awareness that hostility is a formula for pain and suffering. Regardless who wins in a war everybody loses.

Most of the fights
we experience are with friends and family. Confident surrender – especially in these situations – says I love you and I refuse to fight or hurt you. It also says I refuse to believe that you mean me harm. The interpretation of attack is one of the biggest mistakes our egos make in relationships. Surrender acknowledges one’s own shortcomings and other’s, and it either atones or forgives. Its power is in its ability to heal and create peace. We all have the power to surrender; we need only the courage and discernment to practice it and to realize its effectiveness.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin Texas
The Power of Surrender © 2007

Bhagavad-Gita
(from chapter 18)
Give me your whole heart,
Love and adore me,
Worship me always,
Bow to me only,
And you shall find me:
This is my promise
Who love you dearly.

Transform Your Life Create New Beliefs After Being Violated

I know what it’s like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in but you can’t. How you hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside. ~ Susanna Kaysen, Girl Interrupted

You were violated
and then blamed yourself and others. You’ve lived with shame, confusion, fear and guilt. You felt powerless and may not have understood the experience. The uncertainty and self loathing has clung to you and you have become your own worst critic. You feel depressed, angry, defeated and inadequate.

Given your experience
it makes sense that your life is as it is and that you feel as you do. Self forgiveness, the first step in your transformation, is the realization that you aren’t to blame for your experience and that you’re right to feel angry. It is a realization of both the appropriateness of your emotions and of the necessity to move on. The next step is forgiveness of those who wronged you; not for their sake but for your own peace. It’s time to release the torment and anguish of your heart. Your past is over; it’s time to embrace a new reality. People are often ignorant of how to live in harmony with others, and their actions cause others great pain. Most often those who hurt you were, in turn, hurt by others in an endless chain and always in ignorance. Decide to break the chain rather than perpetuate thoughts of fear and victimization. Forgiveness is the antidote to hatred and self loathing. Today, replace your shame and anger with wisdom and open your heart to the peace that is you birthright.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin Texas
The Transformation of Violation © 2007

Luke 6:37

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

The Freedom of Choice

Freedom lies in being bold. ~ Robert Frost

As children
we weren’t able to understand life. Whether it was good or bad, disciplined or chaotic, many of us came to feel trapped and to see life as a conspiracy against us. Now, it doesn’t matter whether we fight, run away or give in; we can’t seem to change things. Others appear to have the luxury of freedom, but it eludes us. Controlling partners, unfulfilling work and inadequate income are among the burdens that overwhelm our sense of freedom.

You’ve imagined your confinement;
you’re free. The pain that you feel is your resistance to a life of your own making. Fighting or pleading doesn’t work because you’ve misidentified your jailer. Your prison is your own mind. Discard the lenses through which you see your life and realize that you’ve created your experience. Freedom is the fact that you can decide what to do with your life. You’re free. Create the joyful life that is your destiny. Be bold today, you deserve it!
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin Texas
The Freedom to Choose © 2007

John 8:32

You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

The Illusion of Danger, See the Truth

The most dangerous thing is illusion. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rarely in life
are we truly in danger. Nevertheless, feelings of anxiety, stress, self doubt, loss and fear frequently intrude in life. Thoughts of danger lurking around corners are a learned response that has calcified into habit. When you were small the world looked big and scary. It may even have been truly unsafe and dangerous for you. But that’s over; the threat of attack that you are now dealing with is in your mind. The evil you dread is your ego’s fear – of being small, oppressed, discounted and over burdened. Your fear is based on the illusion that you’re weak. The truth is that you’re powerful; you need only to realize that truth. Embrace courage and passion. Put your thoughts and energy into these things and the danger will surely vanish – it was never real.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin
The Illusion of Danger © 2007

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”