It’s Okay To Say No Without Feeling Guilty

One of the most difficult things for women to do is to say, no. We have been socialized, taught, and trained to always think about others needs. It has been drilled in us since childhood, to be polite, don’t be rude, to say thank you after someone does something nice for you. However, we weren’t taught to learn our own limitations. To know when to say no to requests or demands that are overwhelming, unrealistic, or just aren’t something we want to do. Overextending yourself, leads to poor mental health, stress, physical aches and pains, irritability, and low mood.

Saying no, does not make you a mean, rude, or nasty person. Saying no to requests or demands that you don’t like, feel uncomfortable doing, or seem to be too much for you is necessary and smart. It’s important to be aware of your limitations and your right to decide if you want to accept or deny a personal request made from friends, family members, or loved ones. In my years of working as a mental health therapist, I’ve found that most women feel guilty when they say “no” so…. they just don’t say it. They overextend themselves to help others, please others, provide services to others, and overlook their own needs and over tax themselves. It’s important to know that it is your Personal Bill of Right to be able to say “NO” to requests and demands that you don’t want to do. It’s also important to not feel pressured into giving answer right away. It’s okay to say, “Hmmm, I’m not sure, let me check and get back to you later” or  “Let me think about it and I will let you know later.” That way, it gives you time to really think about the request and if it is something you want to do, will be able to do, and or willing to do. So go ahead…try saying “no” to unrealistic requests and or demands, and watch how you start to feel. It’s going to be hard when you first start but, just like anything, practice makes perfect. To learn more about how to learn how say “no” without feeling guilty and receive 1:1 coaching on it, please visit my website at http://www.nicolearkadie.com

-Dr. Nicole L. Arkadie

saying no

 

 

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Attitude Check!

I have found that attitude is everything. It affects the way I perceive things, my experiences, and my engagement or lack thereof. If I have a negative pessimistic attitude towards something, then I am less prone to want to perform the activity and I am more likely to procrastinate doing it or completing the task. Doing a check on my attitude has helped me to enter into interactions and experiences in a more balanced manner.

I used to have a sign posted up above my office door that read “Attitude Check.” The sign reminded my staff to check their attitudes at the door. Some interpreted the statement to mean, they were not to enter into my office with a negative attitude. Whereas, others interpreted the statement to be more of a directive for them to be reflective of the state of mind they were in. I allowed my staff to place their own interpretation of the statement and would enjoy engaging in discussions about it. Attitude Check simply means to be mindful of your state of mind.

As multiple authors, theorists and poets have said “if you can’t change your situation, change the way you are viewing.” Your attitude goes a long way towards having a balanced mindset. If you stay negatively stuck on something or in a constant state of complaint, then you will eventually view everything in a negative manner and not find joy in anything. A negative attitude prevents you from meaningful engagement with others and it robs you from finding joy, peace, tranquility, fulfillment, satisfaction, etc.

I find it necessary to routinely perform an Attitude Check on myself. Now…I am not unaware of the fact you are not always going to be in a positive mood or frame of mind. A little bit of negativity isn’t necessarily harmful, if it allows you to be more objective in your assessment of a situation. I do recognize that if you find yourself in a constant state of negativity, you have the power to bring yourself out of it by changing your attitude. You can CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE and take authority over it and how you allow it to affect you. How’s your attitude? Now it’s time for an Attitude Check!

Dr. Nicole L. Arkadie

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Where Have Our Creative Minds Gone?

I sat in my bedroom and watched an episode of a popular TV show called “Shark Tank.” It showed an 11 year-old child who’d created a business selling dog treats. I thought to myself “wow how creative of him.” It was an interesting and amazing episode because it showed how a young child created his own business that was first sparked by his creative mind. He wasn’t afraid. He saw a need for his own dog, thought of an idea, and then took action. Can you remember when you were a child and all the creative ideas that ran through your head? Can you remember a time when your imagination ran wild with limitless possibilities of the things you wanted to do? What happened?

Unfortunately, many of us have allowed our creative minds to dry and wither away. To be replaced with the cold reality of the what I call “adult-ism” kind of close to cynicism.  When we reach the mature age of being an adult, the realities of the world takes over and then our youthful creative minds diminishes. There are those individuals who do not totally loose their creative minds and you will usually find them working in creative fields. I am not saying that we need to all stop thinking with the left side of our brains and give up the logical and analytical mind. I am simply saying that there needs to be a healthy balance of incorporating creativity into our lives. It is when we allow our minds to visit the world of possibilities and imagination that we can shake off some of the stressors in our lives. It is always good to think about alternative creative possibilities to the way we approach life, so that we can find the fun in life no matter our circumstances. Laughter is an important key ingredient to having a creative mind, living longer, and reducing stress.

So. I ask you this very important question. Are you prepared to allow your mind to think creative thoughts and to venture into the world of imagination and limitless possibilities?

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Guilt and Shame

The word guilt has such a strong meaning and can make people react and respond in various ways. To feel guilt is to feel bad about something, to be heavily weighed down and ashamed. When a person feels the emotion of guilt another deeper feeling soon comes along for the ride…shame. As a society we do not often talk about shame and it’s affect. Those things that we are ashamed of we tend to keep silent and hidden, to never be discussed with others. However, the more that we keep quite about the shame then the guiltier we will feel, making it difficult to overcome and heal from the shame. The only way to overcome the shame and not allow it control us, is to name it out loud. To not allow the shame to rule you and guilt you into making unwise decisions that you will not be able to change. Yes, we will all have guilt at one time in our lives and may even feel shame, but we can learn how to overcome those feelings. When you verbally acknowledge the shame that you are feeling, you will have a sense of empowerment. Acknowledging and facing those feelings of shame and guilt is the first step to moving forward and obtaining peace. Remember, “Don’t Allow Fear to Paralyze Your Voice

I Love Myself Flaws & All

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You Are Not Suppose To Be Perfect

The concept of perfection is a myth. Yet, it is something that many people keep striving to be and trying to obtain. Trying to be perfect is an unrealistic and unobtainable goal. What does it mean to be perfect? Can you really do everything exactly right, every time, all the time, without any mistakes or errors? Webster’s dictionary defines perfect as: having no mistakes or flaws, being completely correct or accurate, satisfying all requirements, and being entirely without flaws.  I don’t know about you but, I have flaws, I make mistakes, and I am not correct 100% of the time. Everyone makes mistakes. We are not supposed to be perfect. We are supposed to strive to do our very best. To be our very best. The only person that was perfect and walked this earth was Jesus Christ. In my daily life, I strive to be more like Christ. Knowing that I am not perfect, that I am a person with flaws, and that there are areas I strive to change and other areas I am ok with.

I don’t know about you but, I love my flaws and imperfections. It is the cracks in a mural that tells a story. The crooked lines in a painting that gives it depth. The lines on a face around the mouth, that shows a person who knew how to smile and enjoyed life. The lines on a mother’s stomach, that shows she gave birth and life to another human being. The grays in the hair that demonstrates age, wisdom, and knowledge. Life would be so boring and dull if we were all perfect and did everything exactly the same. I don’t want to live in a world without flaws and imperfections. These things add character and tells a story. Just try to appreciate who you are while working towards bettering yourself. No one is perfect. So…stop trying to be perfect.

I Love Myself Flaws & All

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The Value of Life

Is one person’s life more valuable than the other? Does one person have more of a right to live than someone else? After watching a movie I began to question how a person could devalue another’s life. I found the movie quite disturbing. Children were born and raised to be body and organ donors for the whole of society. The children were isolated from the rest of the world, began to donate their body parts upon turning 18 years of age and would die by the third time they donated, usually living no longer than 25year of age. These children and then young adults were seen as dispensable. I recognize that the movie was pure fiction. However, it stirred up my emotions none the less. I sat there thinking “how could people be so inhumane and not care about the value of a person’s life.” It just did not seem right to birth children for the sole purpose of having them give their life so that other people could live.

Can you place a price tag on person’s life? Life is a precious thing that we all have. We will all eventually die, but until we do we should learn to appreciate the life that we have. We must learn to be grateful for every single life experience we have. Each encounter should be viewed with the mind set of ‘how can I get the best experience out of this.’ It is when we take life for granted that we become disenchanted, depressed, and unhappy with our lot in life. If we would just grab a hold of each new experience (the good and the bad), sit with it, embrace it and accept it for what it is, then we can truly say that we are living. We are not promised tomorrow so we need to make sure to make the most of today.

Do you value the life that you have been given? If not, what are you willing to do differently in order embrace the life you’ve been given and fully live to your true potential?

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Living With the Voices in My Head

This is a great Ted Talk about how one women’s perseverance helped her to overcome a diagnosis that many would say is the Mecca of mental health disorders. I was truly inspired by watching this video clip to really question the training and concepts I had received regarding treating people with Schizophrenia. I am now interested in doing further research on “hearing voices movements” because I believe that we as a society tend to pathologize and diagnosis everything that is considered different and outside of the norm.

There are some societies that do not frown upon a person hearing voices inside of their heads or talking to themselves. How many of us find ourselves thinking out loud and then smiling apologetically if someone walks by and gives us that weird look? I think that we as a society can learn to ask more questions to get a fill of what a person’s story is before we first judge them and want to medicate them in order to make ourselves feel more comfortable and secure.

I hope you will enjoy this clip as much as I did. It just may make you think twice before you are ready label someone with a Schizophrenia diagnosis as “hopeless” or beyond saving.

Remember: “Don’t Allow Fear to Paralyze Your Voice.”

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Everyone Needs Sleep

Everyone needs sleep. Sleep is the time that our body takes to repair all the damaged cells that we have in our body. Without the proper amount of sleep you will not be able to adequately function at work, school, around your kids, family, and or friends. No matter what others may say. No one can survive for long without finding themselves succumbing to our bodies natural need to sleep.

When you become tired make sure you turn off the computer, hang up the phone, turn off the tv and close your eyes to sleep. I do not understand the concept that many Americans have about the need to work as many hours as God created without taking the time to break and rest/sleep. How can you expect to function when working around the clock and not giving your body the sleep it needs to recharge it’s self? Constantly supplying your body with energy drinks in order to keep going is not the solution. Giving your body the sleep it needs is the solution.

Unfortunately, some people are so used and accustomed to depriving their bodies of sleep that they are not even aware that they are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can have multiple negative effects on the body and cause a person to make excessive unnecessary mistakes. A person can’t function properly or think effectively when they are exhausted.

Do you find yourself grouchy? Do you have dark circles under your eyes that were never there before? Have you been having headaches? Do you feel off-balance? Does your vision become blurry at times? These may all be signs and symptoms that you are exhausted and your body is craving for sleep. Our body will let us know when it is tired if we only listen to it.

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Being Grateful

As I sit here and watch my family open up their Christmas gifts, I am grateful. I am grateful to have such a loving family. I am thankful for all of the many blessings God has bestowed upon me and my family. Yes. My children do run me ragged at times, but I am grateful for the many opportunities we have together and the multiple experiences we share.

To see the joy on my children faces as they opened their Christmas gifts was priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. To see my husband’s gratitude for the gifts he received was very special. To see my children smiles as I opened up the gifts they helped their father choose for me was memorable.

I can’t help but to say once again, how grateful I am for the life that I have and for the many mistakes I make. I believe that life is all about learning and growing and how can you learn or grow if you never make any mistakes? I try not to say “God why me” whenever something challenging or bad happens. As my dad told me as a child “why not you.” I try to look at life experiences as a learning process and just another opportunity for me to grow.

I AM SO VERY GRATEFUL!!!

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Stay in Your Lane

This past Sunday my pastor delivered a very powerful message. A key thing that I took from his message was to “walk in your specialized field.” As children of God we are considered special to him and he wants us to walk in the specialty he has called us to be. The specialized field that I work in professionally is in human behavior. More specifically I work as a Clinical Social Worker. I often find clients who come to see me for therapy services struggling with the very concept of staying in their lane. I often find many colleagues struggling with the same concept.

One of the things that I often teach my children, is to be themselves in what ever they do and to try not to be someone else or emulate one another. God has called me to walk in my “specialized field” as a Saint of God. It is also expectant that I also stay in my lane as a mother, wife, daughter, and professional. I can only be who I am and try to enhance that which I God has gifted me with, It is when we try to be something that we are not or try to be someone who we are not that we find ourselves lacking and frustrated. If I am running a race and constantly look into the other runners lane, then I am not focusing on staying in my lane or running my race. If I were to run into the other runners lane I would be disqualified from the race. Thus, I must look straight ahead, concentrate, and stay in my lane.

God has called each and everyone of us to be who he has made us to be. It is with his grace and mercy that many of us find peace and joy. It is through his word that we find strength, help, and completeness. It is through the comforter, Jesus Christ that we find happiness and fulfillment. However, if we do not recognize God for who he truly is then we may have a hard time recognizing and accepting who he has called us to be. When you do not know who you are then you run the risk of straying outside of your lane and being exposed to the elements therein.

Try it. Just stay in your lane and except who you are, the good the bad, the ugly and the flawed. Because, God doesn’t make any mistakes and he made you.

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