Author Archives: RALifeCoach

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The Irreconcilable Difference

Rosemary Macadam

Recently my partner and I had a couples session with Chris and Ronna. My partner and I were struggling with what felt like a core issue.  This issue has been present since the beginning of our relationship causing much conflict and tension. The conflict centres around the amount of time we spend with each other; I need more independent time and my partner needs more time together. How were we going to solve this? Would we be able to overcome our opposing needs and desires? When we sat down with Chris and Ronna they told us this: “At the heart of every relationship is an irreconcilable difference. Welcome to yours.” I was flabbergasted. What? You mean at the heart of every relationship is a fundamental difference that will never be resolved? Yes. 
 

They don’t teach this in school. You will not see it in love stories on the silver screen. Hearing this really helped me, and our relationship. It normalized our struggle to hear every couple has a major difference that cannot be resolved. Most importantly, it lessened the energy around this issue. Instead of feeling stressed when this conflict arises, I now accept that we may always have this difference, no matter how much we talk or cry about it. This is our irreconcilable difference. Now that I know this is part of being in relationship, I can welcome it and see what it has to teach me. 

What can the Irreconcilable Difference in your relationship teach you? – 


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Judging Judgement

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Samantha Mansfield

Judgment

“Acceptance is to experience fully, without judgement.”

In revisiting this principle of Radical Acceptance I thought, “What the heck, Chris and Ronna! Haven’t you been encouraging me to realize how much I judge things/ people/ places/ events…pretty much everything, for years?  This principle sounds like you’re not encouraging judgement at all. What’s that about?”

It turns out, I was missing a step. Radical Acceptance doesn’t encourage lovey-dovey concepts such as never judging anyone ever and living in harmony with everything all the time. Instead, it invites me to take an active role in deciding what to DO with the judgements that arise.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of self-judgement lately. I’m unemployed at the moment; even the word – unemployed – conjures up this stirring beast of venomous criticism, waiting to attack. I’ve had so many delicious judgements; you are poor, you are not contributing to society, you have nothing worthwhile to share. The trouble is, I’ve been living with these judgements of myself without really questioning them, without taking an active role in what to do with the judgements as they arise.  While giving up these judgements may not be possible, by accepting my inner judge, it has less strength and influence over my self-worth and self-esteem.

Although we will never stop making judgements, perhaps we can learn to give them a bit less credence, and aspire to experience our lives and ourselves more fully.


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From Self-Criticism to Self-Compassion

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Lauren Corindia

Self-Criticism

Self-Criticism

For a long time, self-criticism and I have been the best of friends. Recently, I’ve been inviting more self-compassion into my life.  As self-criticism is the opposite of self-acceptance, and given that it hasn’t motivated me to be the person I want to be, as I believed it would, I thought I would try something different.

In her Ted Talk on self-compassion, Kristin Neff makes the connection between self-criticism and unhealthy, high stress on the body.  “When we criticize ourselves, we are tapping into our body’s threat defence system, the reptilian brain.”  Neff talks about how when we feel threatened, in this case by our thoughts, the body releases adrenaline and cortisol as a fight or flight response mechanism.

She says, “Self-criticism releases a lot of cortisol. If you are a constant self-critic, you will have constantly high levels of stress, and eventually the body to protect itself will shut itself down, and become depressed in order to deal with the stress.”

Instead, Neff suggests that we tap into our mammalian caregiving system. “By giving ourselves compassion, we reduce our cortisol levels and release oxytocin and opiates, the feel good hormones.” I also agree that we are better able to function from this place. While tapping into this caregiving system isn’t easy, when we can grow to accept more and more of who we are, we have less need for our inner critic, thereby lessening the stress of constant self-rejection.


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My New Year’s Resolution: Stay Angry

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Lauren Corindia

Angry

The Importance of being Angry

An important piece of Radical Acceptance work I did before 2015 came to an end centred around acknowledging and owning being angry.  Without access to my anger, I have no access to my POWER. This can result in having difficulty setting boundaries and creating direction. I realized that I had been suppressing this power for much of my life.

One thing I’ve noticed is that when I get angry, I go silent.  Silence is now my clue to bring awareness to those moments when I am actually mad.  My goal this year will be to keep noticing those times that I am quietly upset, and instead externalize it, in order to feel my power.