Category Archives: Life Blog

How To Improve Your Social Skills, & Relax At Social Events

Yes, I’m a social dummy.  I’ve apparently been one all my life but had it confused with social anxiety, so I forced myself to plow ahead making the same mistakes in social settings time after time, leaving me feeling bad about myself without understanding what had happened.  Fortunately self-awareness has grown keener as I’ve aged, leading me to the place finally where I have developed a strategy for not only having a relaxed experience in social situations, but also walking away feeling good about myself.

If you find yourself dreading social events, but feel like you’re missing out on a fun and important part of living if you avoid them, my tips may be just what you need to break old social habits that aren’t working for you, and learn some new effective techniques:

  1.  Old way to start a conversation:  I’d have some topics of conversation prepared before the gathering.  Approach people and start talking about your subjects.  This works for a limited time, but I soon found people would just walk away from me, leaving me blabbing by myself.
  2. New way to start a conversation:  I wait quietly until someone comes near me or approaches me.  I let them start the conversation, or I comment on something in the moment, like complimenting their outfit or making an observation of the room.  I found natural conversations evolve from this approach, and no one walked away.

1. Old way to chit-chat with someone you don’t know well that you are sitting with:  I felt afraid to sit silently in a social setting because I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.  I’d panic at the thought of being at an event and having no one to talk to, and walking away feeling lonely and rejected.  So if a person I was sitting with was not a big talker who would take over the conversation, I’d pepper them with questions.  This can get very uncomfortable after asking questions for several minutes when the other person simply answers the question without asking anything back.  I would foolishly keep on asking until one of us left.

2.  New way to chit-chat with someone you don’t know well that you are sitting with:  I ask a question or two, and if they don’t ask me questions, I just sit silently, and I find it is OK.  I focus on my breathing, and sit there until someone else joins the table, or I leave the table.  In other words, I relax and don’t let my fear of being alone get me into an uncomfortable conversation.

  1.  Old way of reading social cues:  being an extrovert, I enjoy talking about myself, and I found I would mistakenly think a certain type of person wanted to hear all about me when they simply ask how I am.  When they would walk away from me, I’d realize I gave way too much information and misread them.  Becoming aware of this about myself was transformative.
  2. New way of reading social cues:  I recognize now that just because someone seems to be very nice, has maybe known me all my life, and seems to ask me sincerely how I am, they most likely do not want to know everything about me.  I can now recognize the situation, give them a simple friendly answer, and wait to talk about deeper issues when, or if, they ask specifically about them.

Simply put, if you find yourself standing or sitting alone, don’t panic and overcompensate.  Ask yourself, “what would a relaxed person do?”  Take some deep breaths.  Keep yourself sober, but relaxed, having a drink or two at the most.  You will find, as I did, that by letting go of the need to control conversations, the most amazing talks with unexpected people develop.  It will leave you feeling calm, confident, and relaxed, which allows humor and genuine connections between people to happen.  Now that’s the way to enjoy a party!




Beating Depression & Negativity by Changing Your Stories: Exactly How To Do It

Like many of you, I’ve suffered from depression on occasion, and have been paralyzed by worry other times, unable to shake my negative thoughts until something happened to relieve my worry. Try as I might, I couldn’t block these negative thoughts and feelings as they were happening, even though I was aware that I was missing out on all the lovely things happening in my life at the same time. After reading some methods of beating depression and worry, and trying them out, I have successfully diminished these periods of negativity so that they are small and much less painful, and I’ve been able to turn them into opportunities to improve the conditions of my life. To make a long story short, here are the instructions on how I was able to do it:

  1. Whether the incident you are depressed or worried about is large or small, take a minute to examine it, and identify the story you are telling yourself about it. For example, the job you thought you loved has taken a turn for the worse, making you feel upset and unhappy. You might feel upset or depressed because the story you are telling yourself is that you are hopelessly unhappy there, there is nothing you can do to improve the situation, and you can’t leave your job because you will be a failure, and you won’t be able to find anything better.
  2. Now that you have identified your story, retell it in a way that makes you feel happy. For example, you have become aware that you are no longer happy at your job because you have outgrown it. Your soul is ready to move on to something better, and you will be successful at finding something. You are a smart capable person, and you are ready to make some changes despite conventions or social norms that say you should stick with a “good” job no matter what. Then take some action based on your happy story like looking for a new job or finding a way to move out of the situation you find yourself in at your current job.
  3. What about worrying about someone else? This can be more difficult to shake because we feel powerless over the poor decision-making or conditions of someone we care about. Again, start by identifying the story you are telling yourself about their situation, then tell yourself a positive story about what is happening to the person.  Remind yourself of the positive qualities the person has, and imagine them becoming the best version of themselves.
  4. This doesn’t mean that you bury your head in the sand, or give yourself permission to ignore a troubling situation. In fact it means to opposite. It means you are brave enough to fully acknowledge the hard truth about something, so that you can clearly see why it is causing you worry or depression. It means you are strong enough to do all you can do to confront the situation, but then trust that what you have done is enough, without torturing yourself until it is resolved. Sometimes there is nothing you can do right away, and in that case you must trust that if you are meant to share words of wisdom or direction, the time will come when you will be made aware that the person is ready to hear you.
  5. Every time you find yourself worrying about the same thing or feeling depressed about it, remind yourself of your happy story about it again. Your happy story is also actually true! This may be hard to do at first. While you are training your mind to think of happy stories, doing things that demand your complete attention is an effective way to shake your negative stories lose. For example, playing a musical instrument, learning a new craft or skill, or going somewhere new are all ways to distract your worrying tendencies. Yes, it’s OK to do things that make you happy when something worrisome is going on, in fact, it is imperative that you do so.
  6. Now for the magic: in her book “Finding Your Way In A Wild New World,” best-selling author and Life Coach Martha Beck says that these positive thoughts can actually cause positive outcomes to manifest in real life. International dream guide, author, and scholar Robert Moss also cites examples of the power of conscientiously engaging in the bigger world through our dreams and meditations in his seminars and books. They believe and have experienced a connectivity in the universe between all living things that react to each other and from each other. In fact, just focusing on the big picture of life changes your mood by changing your prospective.  Nature is inherently happy, and you can feel that happiness even during the worst times if you take a minute and focus on it.
  7. The final step is to be open and aware of the positive things that begin to happen once you have told yourself your new happy story and imagined the best outcome in a situation. Make a mental note of each some good thing that happens, this is very important!

This method may be hard at first, as your worries overtake your positive stories. You may have to battle yourself to keep the happy stories coming, but the more you do it, the easier it gets, I promise you. The battle is part of our human evolution as we evolve from a primitive species whose survival depended upon our ability to identify danger quickly.  It takes the power of our brains that have evolved over time to stomp out the warnings from our primitive animal, and actually create better living conditions as we imagine the best outcomes and possibilities for all.  This is not to be confused with wishing for a particular outcome of a situation, rather it is imagining a positive outcome, letting go of your personal wish for it, and accepting and celebrating the resolution as being the best outcome for all in the big picture of life.


What Do Animals In Your Dreams Mean?

The more you become aware of your dreams, the more animals and insects will start appearing in them. If you’re like me, they stand out clearly, and are there for a reason, but figuring out their purpose or message is not always clear, so I developed the following process to help you understand them or invite them into your dreams:

1. First and foremost, take the emotion out of it. If you’re scared by an insect or animal in your dream, the fear is most likely your human response to it, and remember, it is there to help your soul, so put your human reaction to it aside.

2. Learn about the animal or insect. In other words do some research and find out what characteristics it has. For example, a wolf is a loyal pack animal, an amazing tracker, and has fierce survival skills. Bees are master architects, and loyal to their hive. Tigers are strong and cautious, with acute senses and sharp eyesight. They are determined and persistent creatures, making them strong leaders, and fearless. Hawks fly over the world, using laser focus to assess a situation and make quick decisions.

3. Remind yourself that a power beyond our physical world is trying to help us to master our lives by feeding our souls, and helping us to achieve our spiritual purpose in life. This power delivers messages through people, animals, insects in the physical world, and through the images and events that play out in our dreams.

4. With all that in mind, think about your dream, and what the energy or characteristics of this animal or insect could be doing to help you. For example, I was fighting a man in a dream, and I finally got away from him, and as I looked back I saw the face of a huge bright tiger, and realized the powerful strength of a tiger had joined me, and was helping fight off negative situations, and win.  I continue to imagine the tiger face when I come across scary situations in my life, and it helps me to be calm and believe in my ability to handle them.

Another time I dreamed (and actually had the sensation as I woke up) that I was covered with bees, and trying to brush them off, but they kept coming back. I realized the healing power of bees was rebuilding me emotionally after I had been grieving a loss in my life.

5. Finally honor the visit from the creature in your dream in some way. You can draw a picture of them in a dream journal, buy a statue of them, put up a picture, or make one as a craft project. Whatever way you decide to do this, it will to help you to absorb the positive characteristics of the animal or insect, and become a stronger, happier person as your soul grows, heals, and fulfills the purpose of your life.

Honoring the animal also builds a relationship between you and the spirit world, strengthening the channel, making it easier to receive messages, energy, strength and direction as your awareness grows, your fears subside, and you are able to take action in your life with the confidence and instinct of these amazing animals that are coming forward to help you. Gradually you’ll become aware of how joyful your life has become, how situations that used to be challenging now pass by quickly and easily.

If you’re not seeing animals or insects in your dreams, or have few dreams in general, doing things like practicing yoga, having a Reiki healing session, meditating, or spending time in nature work to open your sensory awareness. Being creative in any form is also an effective way to disengage from your everyday life, allowing the space for messages and energy from the spirit world to reach you. In other words, trust in letting go of controlling things in your life, open yourself to the wave lengths of the natural world, and watch the magic begin. ROAR!