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18 Jun

Mother-in-Law or Mother-in-Love?

You’ve found the man of your dreams — but is his mother turning your life into a nightmare? You choose your husband, but you don’t choose his family. His mom is a part of the package and somehow you’ve got to learn to get along. Even if you live far away and don’t have to deal with each other daily, issues come up at holidays and birthdays and any family event. Who goes where and when and who cooks and what?

Get the image of Jane Fonda’s “Monster-in-Law” character out of your head. All mother-in-laws are not like that! The media loves to exploit the relationship with over-the-top humor. Mother-in-laws are simply mothers, and if their behavior rages out of control it’s because they don’t want to lose that role, or that honored position, in their child’s life.

I actually have two mother-in-laws. How can that be? Well, when I divorced my first husband I didn’t divorce his mom. She’s a very important part of my children’s lives, and mine. I respect her, and make sure that she is updated on the boys’ activities and kept abreast of any family going-ons that she needs to know about. She appreciates that, and always remembers me on my birthday and at Christmas. And my ex-husband still keeps up with my mother and often calls her for “motherly” advice. Meanwhile, I married again and I have a new mother-in-law who lives in Australia. She is “mum” to me! We don’t get to see each other very often, but we talk on the phone quite a bit. When we go to visit we stay with her, and do what we can to help out while we’re there.

Becoming a mother-in-law is a milestone in terms of aging. It can affect someone on a profound level, as they feel they become somewhat secondary in their child’s life. Emotions are mixed, and communication can be cloudy, or harsh. The mother-in-law might take her frustrations out on the “other woman,” which is YOU!

Yes, there are horror stories, you see them on “Jerry Springer” all the time. But it doesn’t have to be like that. The mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship can be an alliance. You might be best-buds, you can definitely be friends, and at the very least you can have mutual respect and admiration. Here are some tips:

1. Remember that the first thing you two have in common is that you both love the same man: her son, your husband. This doesn’t have to be a competition for his time and attention. You each hold a special place in his heart.

2. Have an attitude of gratitude. If it weren’t for your mother-in-law, your husband wouldn’t be here! Thank her for that. She has a lot to do with the man your husband is today. For all those good qualities he has, whether genetic or learned, thank her.

3. Be respectful. This woman has been through a lot in her life. She should be valued. Ask her questions, tap into her wealth of knowledge. Let her share her experiences with you.

4. Spend time together. Get to know this new person in your life. Take her to lunch, or have a spa day, have fun and laugh like girlfriends. These times when you get along great and there is no conflict will go along way to helping smooth things over when an inevitable disagreement comes along.

5. Be kind. Give compliments, send cards, remember her birthday and other special occasions. Smile when you see her. Bring flowers or a gift when you go to visit. When you put out kindness, that’s what you get back. Kindness softens the heart.

6. Speak up, and also listen. If something is bothering you, or you feel like you’re being put in a situation where you are not comfortable, clear the air. Don’t let things fester. Be clear so that there are no misunderstandings. Let your mother-in-law talk to you when she needs to, and listen to what she has to say.

7. Understand that you can never change another person, you can only change your response to any given situation. Look at what you can do to make your relationship with your mother-in-law better. Don’t have any expectations about what she “should” do or say or how she “should” behave. Learn to love her for who she is, as she is, not for who or how you want her to be.

8. Be yourself. Relax. You don’t have to be perfect, and trying to be perfect will only put pressure on your mother-in-law to try to be perfect, too. It’s okay to let her see you without your make-up on. It’s okay that you aren’t “superwoman.” When you let your guard down, your mother-in-law will, too.

Keep in mind that one day you will be a mother-in-law, too, and you can employ many of these techniques in vice-versa to establish a positive and loving relationship with your new daughter-in-law.

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27 Jul

Empathic Listening – Here’s How You Can.

It is said that the number one skill required in being able to communicate effectively is the ability to listen.

As you might already realise, listening is different to hearing.

There is a lot of buzz about active listening – where your focus is entirely on the words that are coming out of the person you are listening to.

Active listening makes the person talking feel like they are being heard. Now, that is a good thing by any account.

If you wish to take it up a notch, then please practise empathic listening.
What is empathic listening?

According to an article in Educational Psychology Interactive, empathic listening is defined as “Paying attention to another person with empathy (emotional identification, compassion, feeling, insight)”.

In other words, putting yourself in the shoes of the other person, in an attempt to understand why they are saying, what they are saying. You are getting in touch with that person’s goal for speaking to you. It is taking your connection with that person to the next level.

If you have read my previous articles, you will realise that I am a big advocate of having more empathy. Empathy is a very powerful tool when dealing with others because it allows us to be more human.

Here are 4 tips on how to engage in empathic listening:

  1. Be present – this sounds so basic and simple. Yet, it can be overlooked very easily. I remember attending a job interview when I was working in the Financial Planning sector. The director of a boutique financial planning firm was asking me interview questions in his office. He at his computer screen and drafting a response to an email while I was responding to his questions. Whenever he started typing, I would stop talking. While typing, he kept saying “Keep going, I am listening”. Was he really listening? That is why you have to be fully present, without any distractions. Take three deep and slow breaths, sit straight, and look at the person who is talking. Turn your phone off, avoid looking at anything else in the room/building/place, and refrain from paying attention to any sounds or noise.
  2. Comprehend, not compose – your goal is to comprehend what the person is saying, instead of composing a response for them. It is very easy to start thinking about what to say while the other person is talking. If you do that, you will not be present. Your goal is to understand what that person is saying. Ask them questions or paraphrase what they have said in order to gain clarity on what they are saying. Once you are able to comprehend what is being said, you will be in a better position to respond and/or provide support. Being understanding is the key here. The person who is talking must be able to feel that you are understanding them.
  3. Avoid interrupting – as an empathic listener, your goal is to listen with undivided attention. If you start interrupting the person who is talking, you will do two things – 1.) Make that person feel that you are not listening to them. 2.) Prove that what you have to say is more important than what they have to say. Let them finish what they are saying. While they are talking, keep validating what they are saying with a nod or with a “Yes” or “Okay”. If you feel like you have to really say something, gain their permission first. In my coaching and mentoring career, empathic listening was the most important trait in every single session regardless of whether it was a CEO or a teenager sitting across the table from me. If there was a need to stop that person from speaking, (as a coach/mentor, that had to be done at times), I would gently ask “Can I please ask a question right now?” That made the person feel valued.
  4. Observe non-verbal communication – pay close attention to non-verbal communication. If the person you are listening to starts breathing heavily, and assures you that they are doing just fine, chances are that they are not. Observe their physiology. Is it congruent with their vocal messages? If their physiology is not congruent to their verbal communication, you can check in on them by asking open ended questions like “What would you like me to do now?” or “What is making you breathe heavily?” That will make them open up to you. Asking open ended questions will allow you to elevate and elongate the conversation if their verbal communication and their physiology is sending mixed messages.

Whether you are in management or are a stay at home parent, empathic listening will allow you to be more impactful when communicating with others.

There are many other keys to emphatic listening. Please research and study empathic listening, and practise it in detail.

Empathy can be learnt. It is well worth having more empathy.

Quote: “Empathic listening takes time, but it doesn’t take anywhere near as much time as it takes to back up and correct misunderstandings when you’re already miles down the road; to redo; to live with unexpressed and unsolved problems; to deal with the results of not giving people psychological air.” Stephen Covey

I sincerely hope that you have gained a simple insight into how you can use empathic listening to enhance your communication skills.

Influencing you to your excellence,

Ron Prasad (Author, Speaker, Corporate Trainer, Anti-Bullying Campaigner)
PS: Here is my Anti-Bullying Charities latest short video (What Is The Best Revenge?) – https://youtu.be/xB8gvV5nAb8

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10 Nov

Post Election Prayer

This is a prayer that is featured in my book “Bhakti: 108 Prayers of Devotion” – I think it is appropriate for what a lot of us are feeling right now. It applies to many situations. I keep reminding myself: “God’s got this.” It’s very comforting.

 

Dear God,

I’m glad You’re in charge.

Sometimes things don’t go the way I’d like them to go,

Or the way I think they should go.

And I feel frustrated, or hurt, or disappointed.

But then I remember You’re in charge. I remember that You have a plan.

I remember that however things “seem” to be – is probably not how they really are.

It is comforting knowing that I don’t have to exhaust myself

Trying to make things different.

Because I trust that You have it covered.

I might forget, and get stressed out.

So when I forget, please remind me.

There are so many ways you are present in my life.

Open my eyes to beauty. Open my heart to joy.

Grant me patience, and peace, understanding and acceptance.

I can’t control everything. And I really don’t want to.

So I’ll just leave it to You.

I’ll just let go, and let You do your thing.

Thanks.

Amen.

 

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01 Jul

Estate Planning After Divorce

Young black ethnic African-American couple at odds and bad mood not talking with each other and looking away after heated argument

One area that is often overlooked in the divorce process is the need to update estate planning. Most people would agree that their ex-spouse is the last person they want to inherit their assets when they die—or to have that person make life and death decisions for them. But that is exactly what can happen – and often does – when these documents are not updated.

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20 Apr

Breakdown to Breakthrough: The Eight Questions You Need to Ask When Facing a Relationship Challenge

By Linda and Charlie Bloom, authors of Happily Ever After…and 39 Other Myths about Love

 

When did the honeymoon end in your relationship? Was it the first time you realized that your mate wasn’t all you had hoped for? Or maybe it was when you discovered that sometimes their cheerful optimism could turn to resentment or depression for no apparent reason. Do you remember your first fight? How about the first time that you wondered whether you had made a mistake in your selection of a partner?

Many of us have had the experience of anger, frustration, hostility, or resentment more times than we care to admit. If you’re like a lot of people, you may have taken these feelings as an indication that something is seriously out of line in your relationship, so much so, perhaps that you may even be considering calling it quits. And if you’re human, you’ve probably attempted to influence your partner’s feelings, attitudes, or behaviors, only to discover that you’d now created a new problem.

Most of us spend between twelve and twenty years of our lives in school yet nowhere are we really taught the specific requirements of sustaining and enhancing the quality of our relationships. We hope and pray that despite our ignorance, we can make it work anyway. And when the inevitable conflicts arrive, we may find ourselves entrenched or embattled with each other.

Though conflict may not be avoidable in marriage, it is not necessarily a foreshadowing of doom. Differences in opinions, feelings, temperaments, and even values, are an inherent aspect of relationships. In fact, we generally select partners who will help us to expand our inner and outer lives by offering a broader range of perspectives to our own. Opening up to these opportunities for growth, however can be excruciatingly uncomfortable. Often it is easier to tell ourselves that “it’s just not meant to be.” And yet how many of us are acquainted with couples who called it quits in frustration, only to turn around and play out the same pattern with another person?

What if one of the objects of relationships is not to eliminate conflict, but to work with it in an effective, responsible and conscious way? What if each breakdown that occurred between you and your partner contained the seeds of the possibility of becoming a more loving and wise person? What if your experience of your relationship had more to do with you than it did with your partner? What if there were no mistakes or wrong choices in the selection of a mate, and you really do have the perfect partner for the lessons that you’re in this relationship to learn?

The purpose of these questions is to generate an inquiry and to begin the process of going beyond the models, expectations, and beliefs we each have about relationships in order to discover and create new possibilities. One of the biggest barriers in the development of a great partnership is our own set of preconceived beliefs about conflict and anger.

Observing the suffering of other couples who are struggling in their relationships, it’s easy to presume that things inevitably break down sooner or later and that for many of them, the breakdown is permanent. It’s easy to wonder, “Who’s next? Is it us?” The tendency to feel resignation and hopelessness in the face of fear is a choice, often made out of a desire to avoid looking more directly at some of the more difficult questions, such as:

  • How might I have contributed to the current situation?
  • What beliefs about myself or others might I be validating by holding on to my position?
  • What is it that I’m so attached to being right about and why?
  • What, if anything, might I have done that I need to reveal to my partner?
  • What fears are underlying my fear of losing (or staying in) this relationship?
  • What unfulfilled needs or desires have I failed to disclose to my partner, and why?
  • What forms of manipulation have I used to try to coerce my partner into accommodating my desires?
  • Am I making my partner responsible for fulfilling needs within myself that are my responsibility, and not theirs?

The common thread that runs through all of these questions is that they are all self-referential. They require us to redirect the focus of our attention away from our partner and look instead at ourselves, to look at our part in the chain of events that has led us to the point where we currently stand. Doing so does not absolve them of their responsibility in the breakdown, but it empowers us to focus our energies on the only person that we have the power to control in this scenario, and that is ourselves.

Taking our attention off of our partner will enable us to embody a higher level of vulnerability and encourage him or her to feel less defensive and consequently, more inclined to listen to our concerns and needs with a more conciliatory attitude. Such openness will promote a greater likelihood that our partner will reciprocate by responding more cooperative themselves, thus interrupting the cycle of defensiveness that turns ordinary differences into destructive conflict.

There is no guarantee that their response will be reciprocal. Our vulnerability is merely an invitation to them to respond with vulnerability. It is not assurance that such a response will be forthcoming, but it does increase the likelihood of them doing so. There is no better way to find out how willing your partner is to disarm himself than by modeling what this can look like by disarming yourself of your own defenses.

When we can interrupt these patterns, we can move beyond the concerns of day-to-day survival, and raise new questions having to do with greater possibilities such as “How great could our relationship really be?” Once we understand that there is so much more that is possible than we previously realized, old dreams are reawakened and new ones come into being along with a newfound confidence in our ability to implement them.

Paradoxically, it is only when we accept that there is no magic involved in the process of relationship-building, and no perfect person with whom we can effortlessly co-create the partnership of our dreams that we begin to experience the degree of ease and joy for which we may have previously hoped.

But first we need to free ourselves of our limiting beliefs and expectations. To find the partner of your dreams you first become the partner of your dreams. In so doing you will become more irresistible to that person that you have been waiting for, whether you haven’t met the person yet, or you’ve been married to them for thirty years!

Based on the book Happily Ever After…and 39 Other Myths about Love. Copyright © by Linda and Charlie Bloom. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. www.NewWorldLibrary.com

Linda Bloom, LCSW, and Charlie Bloom, MSW, regularly teach at Esalen Institute and the Kripalu Center and have served as adjunct faculty at institutes of higher learning including UC Berkeley Extension, and California Institute for Integral Studies. They live in Santa Cruz, CA. Their website is www.Bloomwork.com.

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07 May

What’s Stopping You? Tips to Stop Resisting

Fitness instructors have shared with me that many of their clients are reluctant to commit to a fitness routine.  Underlying their resistance is often fear – who will they be if they lose weight or feel healthier and stronger.  There are so many objections that come up and two of the most common are I am too busy and there is not enough time in the day, So today we are going to bust those fears and empower you to get moving and losing – fear, weight, doubt, old stories and fully express your new found strength.  Whatever change you are wanting to incorporate into your life, this tapping sequence will help you say, "yes" and mean it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTsc7kLEGp8

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05 May

Do You Know How Amazing You Are?

One of the most difficult things to do I have discovered is to love and accept ourselves.  I had no idea that was at the root cause of so many of my challenges throughout my life.  I learned to act confidently, but deep down I was filled with loathing, self-judgment, and never feeling like I was enough.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I have a feeling there is a part of you that feels this way too, and I know that you are amazing just like I am.

You see, once you really accept that part of yourself, your lives opens up to love, joy, happiness, health and abundance.  I know because as I began to heal my inner pain, my life opened up in ways I could never have dreamed.  I stopped letting pain and illness be my story.  I no longer allowed people to treat me disrespectfully.  I learned to set boundaries and to honor them, so that others would, too.  I stopped repeating family history when it came to lack of financial success.

Relationships that were important to me began to flourish with my attention and love.  I began to release the need to be in relationships that were not healthy. I learned how to forgive, others, and eventually myself.  I stopped giving my power away to everyone else, and begin to embrace my inner rebel instead of hating her.  I created a business that is rewarding on so many levels.  I raised the level on my happiness, love, success, and prosperity ceilings.

I have been willing to do the deep inner work that is necessary to change my life, and the rewards have been bountiful!

Everything starts from within.

So if inside you are not loving, truly loving who you are, your experiences, your pain, your joy – then the outside results will match up to that.  You are amazing and deserve so much more!  I have helped hundreds of women access their inner wisdom where the keys to their freedom lie, and I would like to help you.  You have to believe that you are worth it; you have to believe that you are important enough to receive support, just like I did and continue to do, to reach your highest potential.

For the longest time, I insisted on doing it myself.  I thought there was something wrong with me if I needed help.  Then I realized that we are not meant to struggle.  We are not meant to be isolated.  It is not weak to ask for help.  It is powerful to be collaborative and work together on common visions.  I am so grateful to my mentors, coaches, teachers, healers, friends, and family who saw my potential, held that space for me and helped me become a better version of myself.  I am blessed to continue to have this support.

Do you have that kind of support in your life?  If not, please know there are many ways to receive this support.  If you have a vision of greatness for yourself, then I am here to guide, love, and support you.

If you are wondering if we are a good fit, please watch this video.  Ed Doris, owner of Good Karma Café and the host of “You Are Amazing” which broadcasts on public television in Exeter, NH, interviewed me this week.  He is passionate about making a difference in people’s live and giving back to the world in gratitude for all the love, support, and kindness that has come his way.

He brought tears to my eyes when he introduced me.  He completely caught me off guard when he made a most generous offer to the audience.  You have to watch the video to find out what that it is.  Will you be one of the five who receives his generosity?  If you are seriously wanting to up-level your life and your business, move beyond challenges and blocks, and would love support and guidance, then please take advantage of Ed’s generous offer to cover the cost of a consultation with me.  I hope to speak with you soon!

With love,

Cheri

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dav551fcSjQ

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02 May

How to Safely Vent and Tap When Someone Annoys You

It is not always easy to take the high road when someone hurts or upsets you.  A natural reaction is to lash back.  My choice is to come from a loving space, but often I find I need to allow myself to feel what I am really feeling – hurt, upset, disappointed, angry, resentful – and then I can feel more peaceful. However, just venting alone does not always do the trick.  It’s a temporary fix.  Watch this video, and tap with Amy and Cheri to vent your frustrations and release tensions and negative emotions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh2sGbvBp64

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29 Apr
11 Jul

My Friend is Getting Married and I’m Jealous

We have all experienced the jealous loved one before. Maybe you are even the jealous individual. The topic comes up frequently on relationship advice message boards. “My friend is getting married. I’m jealous of their happiness. What do I do?” It is not uncommon for single individuals to feel jealous when a friend or loved one is getting married. Often someone may feel a juxtaposition of happiness for their friend and worry about their own future when it comes to love. What do you do if you experience jealousy? How do you handle it through Yoga wisdom?

First we must discuss the reason that may cause jealousy. One reason is you may believe love is a random thing, a random experience that happens out of the blue to only people who are very pretty, very successful, or just plain lucky. And if it doesn’t happen to you think you are not pretty, you’re not successful, or you’re just not lucky, that belief leads to you not feeling good and you take that negative energy and it becomes jealousy.

The yoga approach to love is consciously creating love with intention. For example, if you want to get a better body you follow a certain set of processes and over a course of months you’re going to have the change in body and if you do everything right you become stronger and fitter. You have the same opportunities to get into shape and be physically fit as anyone else. The playing field is even for everyone. The same can be applied to love. If you practice yoga techniques to find love you will find love as well.

There is one very important thing to keep in mind that is often overlooked. You should always bless a happy married couple. Always send them healing and peace. Be genuinely happy for them because you are anticipating your moment, and it’s like a rehearsal for your experience. You can say “Oh wow this is how it’s going to be for me. Awesome.” Know also that from a karma perspective every time you are jealous it’s going to lessen your chances for finding love. So it is for your own good that you don’t indulge in jealousy. There are techniques in the Yoga & Love book that teach you how you can consciously create that love experience. Love is a consequence of your own thoughts and feelings. What you feel inside is what you will attract.

Yoga Wisdom:

  • Understand the real reasons behind your jealousy.
  • Know that love is not a random event for people you may view as more worthy.
  • Just like everyone has the same opportunities to get into physical shape, you have the same opportunities to find love.
  • Instead of feeling jealous, bless a married couple. Be genuinely happy for them because you are anticipating your moment when you find love.
  • From a karma perspective, every time you are jealous it decreases your chances of finding true love.
  • What you feel inside is what you will attract.
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