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How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways! February 15, 2011

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This past weekend I ran into one of my readers and she commented that last week’s blog, which contained the Virginia Satir essay, Declaration of Self Esteem, moved her to create her own essay which she calls My Personal (Wo)Manifesto of Self Esteem. She gave me permission to reprint it here. Hope you love it as much as I did!

My Personal (Wo)Manifesto of Self Esteem- or How Do I Love Me?-Let Me Count the Ways!

#1. I am creative. I can take nothing and make something of it. I can take ordinary objects- trash even- and make art out of it- woo-hoo!

#2. I am loveable. I love myself and try my best to see the love in others-even when it is most difficult, as it often is. I give and receive love easily.

#3. I am funny- silly sometimes. I have the ability to laugh at myself. I am working on the ability to laugh at my mistakes and go on.

#4. I am an object of desire- I am pretty damn hot for age 55!

#5. I can cuss like a sailor and fart like a boy! (So my husband tells me- and he should know!) This is not something I can or SHOULD easily share, but boy, at times they both come in handy!

#6. I have great hair- I love my hair! It is full, luxurious, pretty, and sexy. It makes me feel good! (I am cracking myself up right now!)

#7. I love how I am comfortable with my age. It doesn’t scare me-if it ever did. I am proud and grateful of/for every year I have been on this planet- maybe not of all my actions, but, looking to the future and working on that!

#8. I am open to learn new things, to experience life in all its glory, to look at the bigger picture, to accept people where they are-for the most part. This is a work in progress-as I am!

#9. I love that I am not on the eternal treadmill to lose weight or maintain a certain body image. Sure, I know I need to lose some lbs. I would feel better, it would improve my health- and I am working on it. But I am not consumed with the idea. Basically, I like (love!) me and fhow I look, not that there is not room for improvement!

#10. I am glad I am an optimist! I know that I have and will ALWAYS be taken care of by the Universe, Great Spirit, Allah, God, Goddess- whatever you choose to call it. I have seen and felt it, time and time again.

#11. I love myself even when I screw up, say and do the wrong things- I can forgive myself and go on!

#12. I love that I am calm most of the time- grounded in my beliefs, my faith, my actions- with my life, my friendships, and love as my foundation.

Not that I don’t have plenty to improve upon! But, I am not beating myself up over these things. Life is a school-not of hard knocks and hard times, but, it is an opportunity to grow and learn and be open to changes and opportunities. It is actually such a gift- a welcome mat laid at our feet.

We choose, not always to our benefit, but I believe no choice is totally wrong. Even a so-called wrong choice can put you on the road to a correct or better one. Who knows what that path may offer or where it will lead – however hard it might seem at the time.

I love my life and I love my friends, and I love this fickle, crazy, scary, magic, beautiful world we live in! Ah, we are but guests- and must act polite and gracious-except when we feel the need to speak out and act!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it was as much fun for you to read as it was for me to write it! Please share if you decide to write your own personal manifesto!

– Francie Cooper

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What’s Love Got To Do With It? February 1, 2011

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“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” 
– Morrie Schwartz
 
Boys and girls, it’s here.  February.  Lo-o-o-ove month.  That time of year we traditionally express our deepest, most heartfelt, gushy, mushy feelings.  My question today, however, is, “What’s love got to do with it?”  And, what is it anyway?  For the sake of our discussion today, let’s say it is greater life satisfaction.  What does love have to do with our level of happiness?
 
As it turns out, there are actually many benefits to love.  Research shows that a loving environment encourages a person to better reach their potential, to be more giving to others, and to have greater trust.  Love can also help someone muster the resiliance to go through the most difficult times.  It is, clearly, a feeling that we all need just a strongly as we need to eat.
 
It’s also been shown that love reduces stress, relieves tension, reduces pain, and helps you live longer.  Do you agree?
 
This month, I urge you to take one small step to create more love in your life. 
 
You may be thinking, “But I don’t have a lover in my life right now.”  To that I say, acknowledge your love to a friend, parent, child, and/or grandparent.  Even a simple hug, shoulder squeeze, back-slap, or arm rub can lower stress hormones and help you feel more connected.
 
Or, you may be thinking, “Romance?  What’s that?  We’ve been together for years now.”  To that I say, “Do something novel together.”  There are ways to reignite the flame, though going out to your favorite restaurant for dinner is probably not one of them.  Research shows that you both need to engage in something new and challenging to get your brain to produce love hormones.  Try rock climbing, dance lessons, riding Segways, sleeping in the zoo overnight, handing out blankets to the homeless, horseback riding, plate painting, a cooking class, batting cages, a comedy club, or a helicopter ride, just for starters.
 
Another idea might be to come to a few sessions of couples Coaching together!   You’ll find new ways to connect, have greater intimacy, plus create a stronger bond. 
 
As an added bonus, you’ll be entered in my Valentine’s Day Give-Away!   You could win dinner for two, movie tickets for two, or a box of Godiva chocolates to enjoy with the romantic movie, “Love Actually.”
 
For details, check out my January 24 blog.
– Francie Cooper

Whew! That Was Fast! December 28, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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Wow, I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone already. Did your holiday observations and celebrations meet your needs this year? That’s what I’m thinking about this morning, trying to discern what worked for me and what didn’t.

First, the plan of simplifying decorations went well. I didn’t miss having tchotchkes perched on every horizontal and vertical surface. The small tree, mantel and table centerpiece satisfied that need nicely without being too overwhelming. What also worked were many gatherings with family and friends. That seemed to be the balm I needed for creating a sense of peace, joy and love.

I didn’t miss the chaos of shopping in ever-more-frantic crowds of people – my few forays into the madness left me shaking my head at the ire of yelling and fist-shaking by angry shoppers when parking spaces were stolen. I admit, though, I did have difficulty shaking the feeling of Scrooginess.

You see, I have a life-long habit of over-the-top gift giving and cutting back on that was what I imagine going through withdrawals might be like. But, I realize, in the end, it really was okay and didn’t diminish the love I experienced from family or friends.

That’s just a small glimpse into my holiday experience, and now I invite you to take a look at yours. Were your needs and desires met? In what ways? Were there things you wish had gone differently? What were they? What changes can you make next year to assure that will happen?

Speaking of changes, have you started to think about what you’d like your 2011 to look like? I’d love to sit down with you to help create your intentions for next year, and then create an action plan to make that happen. Give me a call at 817.929.9599 or shoot me an email at coach@franciecooper.com and we’ll set up an appointment to do just that!

Happy New Year, One and All!

– Francie Cooper

Holidays, Money, Giving December 1, 2010

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This week, Steve Coxsey and I are discussing the issue of spending too much money during the holidays and what some alternatives might be.  Check out  our latest podcast at Tapa Palapa.com.

Great Little Video on Thankfulness November 24, 2010

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I saw this great little video on thankfulness this morning from Daily Candy.  They interviewed New Yorkers asking what they were grateful for this Thanksgiving.  It made me think about my own list. 

I’m grateful for: my sons:  Mike for his sweet, generous spirit, and Will for his enthusiasm for life and that he is coming home for Thanksgiving; my comfortable home;  precious friends;  kind, smart cool-leagues; open-minded and open-hearted clients; a great church home; delicious coffee every morning.  Well the list could go on and on.

Tell me what you’re grateful for this year!

Top 7 Strategies for a Successful, Committed Relationship October 27, 2010

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All month we’ve been exploring the importance of commitment to self. So this week, let’s switch it up a little and look at what it takes to be successfully committed to another, specifically a spouse, life partner or significant other.

There’s a great, relatively new book, for better – the science of a good marriage, by Tara Parker-Pope, that summarizes the current research on the positive steps we can take to keep a relationship healthy. In this well-researched work, Parker-Pope points out, “Researchers have identified several small, positive changes on which couples can focus that have the potential to reap big rewards in overall satisfaction with your marriage… Good marriages require daily maintenance and positive feedback to help couples stay connected.”

Parker-Pope distills the findings of several studies to come up with seven strategies to stay happy and bolster the strength of a relationship:

  1. Celebrate Good News – “Research shows that couples who regularly celebrate the good times have higher level of commitment, intimacy, trust and relationship satisfaction.” Bust out the champagne!
  2. Know the Mathematics of Marriage – “In stable marriages, there are at least five times more positive interactions than negative ones… Sometimes the positive are spoken, “You look nice today, honey.” Sometimes they’re gestures – pats on the hand or back, a hug, a tousle of the hair, a kiss for no reason.”
  3. Keep Your Standards High – According to a study by University of North Carolina psychologist Donald H. Baucom, couples who expect a lot from their relationships tend to get exactly what they ask for.
  4. Pay Attention to Family and Friends – “The happiest couples are those who have interests and support beyond the twosome.”
  5. Don’t Expect Your Spouse to Make You Happy – “Marriage triggers an initial boost in happiness, but after about two years, people, on average, settle back to the same level of happiness they had prior to marriage.”
  6. Just Do It – “Over time, regular sex can improve your mood, make you more patient, damp down anger, and leads to a better, more hapcontented relationship.”
  7. Reignite Romance – “Protect your marriage by regularly trying new things and sharing new experiences with your spouse.”

So how ‘bout it friends? How many of these do you apply on a regular basis? My suggestion this week is that you take an honest look at which of these tips you’re using and which you’re not, then make a plan on how you can integrate them into your life with your beloved. Better yet, email this to him or her with a note that says, “Hi, honey. I love you and would love to talk about these! Want to go on a date tonight?”

– Francie Cooper

Have You Ever Been to an Abundance Swap? July 14, 2010

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I read a story recently about a few friends who organized an Abundance Swap for their community. Here’s how it worked:

On a Sunday afternoon, the friends opened the doors of a local dance studio, loaded a CD player with music, made some apple cider and waited to see what would happen.

They had emailed a few hundred invitations that essentially said “Come help create a new tradition: The First Annual Abundance Swap.”

They asked invitees to consider that:

  • Our nation accounts for 5% of the population and 40–50% of the resource consumption on the planet.
  • Some of the good stuff we already have isn’t being well used or fully enjoyed.

Then they asked participants to:

  • Find 3–5 quality items in their home, shop or office that someone else would enjoy – fun, useful, interesting or beautiful items in really good shape that weren’t important to them any more.
  • Take them to the meeting place. Don’t just drop the stuff off. Stick around to visit, tell a story or two about what they brought and find some things that they’d like to take away.

Those were the rules.

According to the story, at 2 p.m. a small, steady flow of people started filling the studio. Each laid a blanket or towel on the floor and spread out a few nice items. Then they started moving around, kneeling or picking up an item here or there, but mostly passing without taking anything. Some asked, “If I brought three items, does that mean I should also take three?” And, “What if the person whose item I want doesn’t want anything I brought?” Or “What if the value of what I brought is less than the value of what I want to take?”

The organizer explained there were only two rules: Bring some quality things you’d like to give away, and then help yourself to some things you find here that someone else has brought.

That was enough. Within minutes, the room was filled with bright movement and laughter. Jewel boxes and bronze sculptures were held up to the light. Sweaters and scarves were tried on for size and color. Hand tools were examined for sharpness and heft.

This whole idea struck me as a perfect way to manifest abundance for a whole lot of people. I’m going to organize one in my neck of the woods. I invite you to do the same wherever you live!

– Francie Cooper