Hope Sets Healthy Boundaries

Isn’t it interesting how we can tell others what to do but not apply that same wisdom to ourselves?

In my life coaching ministry at GateWay, I often ask women, “What are you doing for fun?” We track their progress and talk about the importance of setting healthy boundaries.

Sometimes we refer to an emotional boundary as setting a fence around the heart. fence-autumn

Likewise with my writing clients. I may ask, “What are you doing for an artist date?”

They tell me about roaming through bookstores, writing morning pages at a quirky and fun coffee shop or choosing a new journal.

Terrific success for my coaching clients. Not such a good job by their coach.

I find it increasingly difficult to schedule artist dates and/or find some time for fun in my busy schedule. Am I too busy? Yes. How can I remedy that? Hmm.

One of my friends recently asked me, “What are you doing for Rebecca?”

I had to stop and think about that question, because we often define fun as something we do that costs money.

But I need to consider other things that are just as relaxing and important for me – activities that cost little or nothing. Fun might include playing the piano, banging out chords that help release some of the pressures of a stressful day.

Walking through crunchy leaves or strolling through colorful chrysanthemums at a garden store. These joys remind me of the creator and how he blesses us with an autumn Kansas.

Other possibilities for fun:

  • An occasional movie
  • Watching the baseball playoffs with my son
  • Jayhawk basketball and OU football
  • Pulling out my coloring book and finding a quiet moment on the deck
  • Singing
  • A new color of fingernail polish
  • The turquoise and corals of a Kansas sunset
  • A haircut
  • One of the autumn craft shows
  • A new journal or reading through the old one with an attitude of praise

These are some of the things that bring me joy, however I need to work harder at getting away and forcing myself to relax. Is that an oxymoron? Forced relaxation?

Even now, I feel the need for some time away to reboot my soul and refresh that creative spirit in me.

I write better after a break when I feel more energized to connect sentences that form paragraphs, outline chapters and introduce new characters to the world.

So I need to be more proactive about using my time off. I need to actually schedule a writing retreat and a personal sabbatical – wherever and whenever I can – soon.

As 2017 approaches, I need to discipline myself to do the same thing I ask of my clients – to find that special place of inner rest, to plan an artist date, to find my own creative boundaries.

Hope asks accountability of others but also demands spiritual nourishment of the self. Even as I help others, I need to do a better job finding myself and define that fence around my heart.

Anyone else want to join me in the search?

©2016 GateWay of Hope – repost of RJThesman.net.

How To Experience Guilt-Free Living

It’s always exciting to find a new book – that special topic I’ve been looking for – at a bargain price.God is not mad at you - book

Last week, I discovered the book by Joyce Meyer, “God is Not Mad at You.” In her usual fashion, Joyce speaks the truth about perfectionism, legalism, shame and learning how to live guilt-free.

These are topics we deal with regularly at GateWay of Hope. And the root to many of these struggles is the pain of rejection.

We can feel rejected because of various circumstances:

  • Losing our parents at an early age
  • The comments of children and/or teachers at school
  • Struggling through adolescence and the volatile teen years
  • Failing classes or failing at a job
  • Betrayal by a spouse
  • Comparisons to other women or even to our siblings
  • Abuse of any kind

When we feel rejected, we may try to be perfect – to reach that high bar others have set for us. And we may think we need to be perfect for God as well, which can trap us within the lies of legalism.

Then all sorts of damaging emotions can plague us, causing even more mental and spiritual problems which may lead to more rejection. And the cycle continues.

Some of these emotions may include:

  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • A critical and judgmental spirit
  • Constant comparisons to others
  • Feeling defensive at any type of criticism
  • Distrusting anyone in authority
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • A stronghold of fear
  • Feeling hopeless
  • A poor self-image
  • Jealousy
  • Plus many more negative emotions

So how can we get past these issues, dig out the root and prevent the bitterness that leads to false guilt? How can we find freedom to move on?

In our Boundaries classes at GateWay, we teach women this truth, “I am not responsible for how someone else thinks.”

So if another person compares us to someone else or says something ugly to us – we don’t have to believe that or receive it into our spirits.

We can fight against it with the truth. “I’m not responsible for what you think about me.”

We can also learn to love ourselves and appreciate who we really are – separate from all the things we do.

As Joyce writes, “No matter how many other people love you, if you don’t love yourself, you will still feel lonely.”

Through Counseling, the support of relationships in groups and Coaching, we teach women how to be authentic, how to be honest and not afraid to be vulnerable, how to truly love themselves.

When we feel secure in the knowledge and truth of who we really are, when we accept ourselves as we are – then we don’t have to be perfect or meet the standards of someone else.

The most important path to guilt-free living is to realize we don’t have to earn God’s love. He accepts us and loves us. Period.

He won’t love us any more if we do great things. He won’t love us any less if we do nothing.

He has a special place in his heart for his daughters, and he will never abandon us, reject us or leave us alone to struggle through life.

When we truly know how much God loves us, then we can begin to love ourselves even more and stop living in the land of rejection.

And if you struggle with these issues, give us a call at GateWay of Hope. 913.393.GATE (4283). We’d love to help.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

How to Care for Yourself After Sexual Assault

saam - women 3By now you probably know that GateWay of Hope is honoring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). In our first blog post this month we looked at who is affected and how it affects them. (Click here to read the previous post.) We also examined how to help prevent sexual assault/abuse. In our second post, we explored how both individuals and churches can offer support to survivors.

Before we consider today’s topic – caring for yourself – I want to add three more suggestions for walking beside a survivor of sexual trauma:

  • Acknowledge your own inadequacies – to yourself AND your friend. You don’t have to have the answers or solutions. You are not called to make everything okay. You are simply called to be there and offer love. It’s okay to feel weak and not know what to do. Now you know how your friend often feels.
  • Be willing to witness intense pain, multi-layered anger, and unanswerable questions. The kind of evil your friend has faced will be hard for you to hear and look at. You may be uncomfortable at times. You may also be triggered if you have your own unresolved pain. If that happens don’t ignore it, but take care of yourself. Know this will be hard for you as well as her.
  • Pray. Pray. Pray. This woman is in a battle for her life. She needs your prayers. But always ask her permission before you pray in her presence. She may be angry at God and not want to have anything to do with Him at this time. Don’t force God on her, but keep praying for her anyway.

Today’s blog post is for the woman who has survived the tragedy of sexual abuse or assault. If you don’t happen to be one of those women, thank God…but please keep reading. You too can learn something.

In our first blog post we learned sexual abuse affects our entire lives: bodies, emotions, relationships, thinking and spirits. In today’s post, I want to encourage you to take care of yourself in all of those areas! I know this will be hard because some of you may not think you are even worth taking care of. But that just isn’t true. You are valuable. You have worth. It’s time to take care of you.

  • Physically – Be kind and sensitive to your body. It has been through a lot and needs your care. But first you will need to acknowledge your body. For many of you who have faced sexual abuse/assault, you have disconnected yourself from your body to such an extent you hardly know it’s yours. Or if you do know, you may hate it. Some of you may be rolling your eyes or shaking your heads, but please hear me out. You know the basics such as: get enough sleep, eat right, exercise, but I want to go beyond this to include your attitude toward your body. Reconnect to and appreciate your body. Embrace yourself.
  • Emotionally – Acknowledge how and what you feel: rage, grief, fear, numbness, helplessness, discouragement. These emotions are normal. You don’t need to act on them; just accept them. Many survivors are adept at pushing emotions down, trying to bury them, deny or ignore them. It doesn’t work…at least not long term. Until you acknowledge how you feel, you can’t do anything about it. Try journaling or talking with a trusted friend or counselor. Do some artwork that expresses your feelings. Here’s an exercise for you – identify what you are feeling and then assign a color that represents that emotion.
  • Relationally – So many survivors of sexual trauma find it difficult to trust – men, women, God, anyone. They also find it hard to say “No.” They want to be in relationship, but to do so feels unsafe. They must take a risk to be in relationships. So it is very important to learn how to know whom to trust. Take small, very small, steps. Not everyone is trustworthy and safe; but neither is everyone unsafe. Consider reading “Safe People” and “Boundaries” by Drs. Cloud and Townsend. Or sign up for a Boundaries class at GateWay.
  • Cognitively – Lies, lies, lies. So many lies develop when you face trauma. Healing comes when you replace the lies with truth.

        In her book “On the Threshold of Hope” Diane Langberg writes, “All of our thinking has been shaped by the experiences and people in our lives.”  

Sexual assault impacts the way you think. Find a friend, pastor or counselor who can help you sort out the lies and then replace them with truth. Here at GateWay, we are ready to help you. And don’t forget to ask God to speak truth into your heart so you can displace the lies that are controlling you.

  • Spiritually – When scripture is twisted to sanction abuse, it keeps us from trusting God. Or when your father (or father figure) sexually abused you it seems impossible to trust God as your “Father.” But know that your heavenly Father is so very patient and, unlike your earthly father, God NEVER forces Himself on you. He will wait until you are ready. Be honest with Him because He can take your anger. Write out your prayers and questions to Him. He’d much rather have you be angry and honest than pretending to love and worship Him when you really just want to shake your fist and scream. I promise you, He loves you, even if you don’t love yourself. Please allow Him to comfort you in your fear, grief and pain.

If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, take care of yourself. At GateWay of Hope we are available to help you in any way. Please call 913.393.GATE (4283) or email (deborahs@gwhope.org). We are here for you.

©2016 Deborah Simon, LCPC – Director of Counseling – GateWay of Hope Deborah Simon

 

When Women Believe Lies

preferred liesHave you ever believed a lie and then directed your life toward that lie?

One of the reasons we deal with authenticity at GateWay of Hope is because knowing the truth helps us become who God created us to be.

But if we center our lives around the topic of the lies we believe, then we can’t be authentic and we can’t move toward being our true and incredible selves.

What are some of the lies women believe?

Lie # 1:  God Doesn’t Really Love Me Because I’m Not Good Enough.

In the hallways of GateWay, women often hear this phrase, “You ARE enough.”

God has never said, “I only love the people who are good enough, those who do lots of good things, women who exhaust themselves with good activities, people who have all the right attitudes, etc.”

God IS love, so wherever he is – which is everywhere because he is omnipresent – that is where love exists. His love for us never depends on how good we are or how many good things we do.

He just plain old loves us. Period.

You want proof? Jesus told the thief on the cross that because he believed, he would go to paradise that very day. The thief didn’t have a chance to do anything good – in fact, he was being crucified because he was a thief.

He simply believed in who Jesus is and accepted God’s love for him.

We can try to accomplish many things, be as perfect as possible, follow every commandment and spend our lives being as good as possible. God will not love us any more than he does right now.

We don’t have to be good enough for God. He loves us more deeply and more sincerely than any other being ever created. His love is eternal, pure, kind and perfect for each of us.

Lie # 2:  Physical Beauty is More Important Than Inner Beauty

Although our brains tell us this isn’t true, our actions don’t always follow the truth.

We look at magazines and see models who have no wrinkles, no gray hair, no sagging skin, et cetera, and we suddenly feel old and decrepit.

We compare ourselves to air-brushed models and photo-shopped pictures. We believe the lie.

The truth is that we are holistic beings – body, mind and spirit. Our physical selves represent only one piece of the puzzle and aging is part of life. Actually, some of the most glowing and beautiful women on the planet are elderly, and their wisdom and spirit continue to inspire us.

Having a healthy mind and spirit will allow us to be our true selves, authentic in every way.

Sure, we want to be physically healthy. That’s why we exercise, watch our nutrition and schedule annual exams. But that piece of us is merely the outer shell.

As we continue to learn new things, to concentrate on our passions and our souls, to operate from our core values – we develop the inner beauty that outlasts and outshines our skin.

Who we really are – our personalities, our core values, our hopes and dreams – that is the true woman inside. And that is the truly beautiful part of us no one can touch.

Lie # 3:  It’s All My Fault

Some of us were told this lie as children. When we didn’t take care of younger siblings, when our first attempts at cooking burned the supper, when we couldn’t finish our homework on time or any number of other scenarios. We’ve believed the lie for a long time.

As mothers, we often false-guilt ourselves when our children make poor choices. Or when our husbands choose a younger and different model because of their own lack of strength and integrity.

We blame ourselves and shame ourselves into thinking it’s all our fault.

This lie actually began in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, Adam tried to shame Eve. He told God, “This woman you gave me – she gave me the fruit and I ate it.” He blamed her for his own rebellion against God.

Women have been believing that lie and shaming themselves ever since.

The truth is that other people make wrong choices, and we can’t fix the negative consequences. We are not responsible for how other people think or the choices other people make.

We can train our children, but we can’t make good choices for them. It’s not our fault when they choose a negative direction.

We can love our husbands, but we can’t ensure they will be faithful. It’s not our fault that we’re not beautiful enough, skinny enough or enticing enough to keep them faithful.

We can work hard, but we’re not responsible for the choices of other people in the workplace. It’s not our fault when something goes wrong that we could not have prevented.

We don’t have to live from the shame and blame others try to put on us, and we don’t have to believe this lie. It’s NOT our fault.

Check out the book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, “The Lies Women Believe.”

Think about some of the lies you may be carrying around.

Then fight those lies with the truth and march toward being the incredible woman you are.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

How to Counteract Stress

We all experience it in some form or another and sometimes – we actually expect it. Within our busy lives, we expect to meet some version of stress.depressed woman

Stress usually makes itself known as we react to it. We yell at the kids, kick the dog, scream into our pillows and tear old love letters into pieces. We write long passages in our journals, comfort ourselves with a half-gallon of Rocky Road ice cream and promise ourselves that we’ll never, ever do whatever it is that has caused the stress – again.

And even if we manage to take a refreshing vacation, soak in a lavender bath or finish off that half-gallon of ice cream – stress can reappear. We can learn how to manage it and find some relief, but living with stress on a long-term basis can be downright dangerous.

At GateWay of Hope, we deal with the issues of women in a holistic atmosphere. We know that emotional stress can cause physical illness and spiritual apathy. Studies have suggested that prolonged stress may be a factor in certain cancers or the onset of early dementia and Alzheimer’s. And stress can cause a number of joint ailments, headaches, stomach and digestive issues as well as affecting our social relationships.

In our American society, we focus on productivity. We work hard, play hard, exercise hard and expect our bodies to keep up with the demands. Talk to a woman who has flamed out from stress and she will tell you – it’s not worth it. Yet most of us continue to do whatever we can to keep up with all the busyness, sometimes not even realizing what we’re doing to ourselves – until it’s too late.

As insidious as stress can be, it can also lead to burnout – which is even more dangerous. Burnout often manifests as numbing. We’ve become so stressed by a toxic relationship that we no longer have feelings. Or we’ve worked so hard and so long, we can no longer think clearly and lose a job. Or we withdraw and isolate ourselves, wrapping our souls in a false sense of comfort that may lead to depression. Check out some of the signs and symptoms of burnout.

So what can we do to counteract stress?

At GateWay of Hope, we have several ideas:

  • Boundaries – this summer we’ll offer a class called “Beyond Boundaries.” Register now by calling 913.393.GATE (4283).
  • Group relationships – it helps to share with other women who are feeling the same type of stress.
  • Counseling – check out our website  for the counselor you would like to see.
  • Coaching – move over those obstacles that are causing stress and march forward in life.
  • Pay attention to your body – it will often tell you about stress, so listen and learn.
  • Break unhealthy habits – what can you do to eliminate some of the stress?
  • Set realistic goals – perfectionism often causes an increase in stress. Be realistic and practical but at the same time, reach for your dreams.
  • Develop new and healthy relationships – any time we’re in a toxic relationship, it causes stress. Check out the book “Safe People” by Cloud and Townsend.
  • The Serenity Room – we have a special room at GateWay of Hope where women can come to de-stress, spend some time journaling, read a book and/or pray. Our sign-up calendar is in our front entry.
  • Journaling – we’re beginning another journaling class in April. You can register now by calling 913.393.GATE (4283).

All of us deal with some type of stress, but we can learn how to counteract some of its effects. Let us know if we can help you find some peace and protect yourself from too much stress.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Transforming the lives of women to create new legacies

How to Determine More or Less in 2016

Statistics show that most New Year’s Resolutions have already been broken.Coaching - where you're headed

We begin, determined to exercise more, eat less sugar and move toward new goals – then something happens. We realize how much we don’t WANT to change. Or we finally accept the fact that change requires some stretching and sometimes stretching hurts.

Rather than focus on resolutions, let’s pare the subject down to More and Less. Then, to make it even easier to manage – let’s focus on just one month – February.

This is how it works…

During February, I want to do MORE:

  • More exercise / week – any type of movement counts as exercise. Even walking in place while you’re watching TV is a type of exercise. Parking farther out in the parking lot and walking the increased distance counts as more exercise.
  • More fun activities – schedule fun into your life by including it on your planner or weekly events page. Set a timer on your phone, “Go browse through a consignment shop.” Determine to color on a certain day of the week. Take yourself to a movie and yes – buy the popcorn. Find time in February to do something fun.
  • More inner reflection – we can all learn from listening to our inner Spirit and spending more time with inner reflection. Journal more frequently. It doesn’t have to be every day, but how about once / week – maybe on Sundays? Write down how you want 2016 to look, what some of your visions are for this year and how you will feel when you see those visions come to pass.

Check out this website which gives you a daily devotion: http://www.daily-devotions.net/. As we focus on the inner self, think about what the Bible teaches about the spiritual life and how important it is for our total health.

Think about the things you want to focus MORE on during February. Then take a look at the things you want to do LESS of in February.

  • Less sugar – most of us can eliminate a bit of sugar from our diets without feeling deprived. February is a difficult month to consider this idea – with all the Valentine’s candy in the stores. But we can save one day of the month for our sugar and chocolate fix, then determine to eat less during the other days of February.
  • Less negative self-talk – it’s easy to mentally put ourselves down, especially using those negative shoulds.  “I should have been more effective at that meeting.”   “I should have paid more attention to my children / my spouse / my family.”  “I should have been a better housekeeper, cook, teacher….”

Mental put-downs often focus on past behaviors and keep us from moving forward. We feel paralyzed in the fears that we’re going to repeat bad choices and everything will turn out awful. Not true.

We can turn the negative self-talk into something positive by admitting, “I am enough.” “I am not responsible for how other people think.” “I’m doing the best I can today as I let go of the past.”

Sometimes we need help with those negative voices. At GateWay of Hope, we have counseling, coaching and support groups to help you move past those lies and focus on the truth.

  • Less stress – by setting boundaries, we can eliminate some of the “I should do this” activities in our lives and focus on what is really important to us. In the More list, we included more fun activities. We can’t have that fun if we’re stressed out with too many activities. Attend a “Boundaries” class at GateWay, order one of the Cloud and Townsend books and begin to set healthier limits around your life.

Try the More and Less goal-setting plan for the month of February. Then let us know if we can help you with any of your goals. Let’s make February one of the best months of the year.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

How to Make Important Decisions

question markSeveral years ago, Dr. Charles Stanley presented a seminar on how to make important decisions. He included four points that are helpful to consider whenever we wonder about the best direction we need to take:

1. What does God say about this situation? Listen carefully to your inner Spirit and what you believe God is saying to you. Pay close attention to those inner nudges and/or the red flags that are trying to warn you about a certain direction.

2. What do other people say about this situation? Proverbs 15:22 reminds us that by listening to many advisors, we receive wisdom. Ask other people who may have been through the same situation. Talk to experts, counselors and pastors. Do some research and find the best solution for the answer you need.

3. What does the Bible say about this? Especially for Christians, the Bible is our guidebook and its wisdom transcends generations. By paying attention to what it says and by searching through similar passages, we can find the direction we need. Pay attention to the particular culture addressed and to the historical significance in the Bible books you research.

4. What do the circumstances tell you? Sometimes the answer we need is just plain old common sense. You want to move to the warmer climate in California, but you have no job, no family or friends who live in California and you have no money for the trip. That decision is easy. Wait until more of the circumstances look like a move is a good idea. 

Or perhaps you’re living in a toxic relationship. You know that to remain in the situation is dangerous for you and for your children. The circumstances have become unbearable and you can’t even think straight. So … get away for a while. Find a safe place to be and give yourself time to think about all the consequences and all the possibilities.

This type of circumstance tells us to protect our hearts and the lives of our children. For a safe place, check out this site: www.newhouseshelter.org

Dr. Stanley reminds us that all four of these points don’t always coincide. But if we consider the majority of them and what they show us – we’ll have a better idea about what decision to make.

We would like to add another point that is also important:

5. Do you have peace about the decision? Although we sometimes experience fear when we deal with life-altering decisions, the right solution points us toward a place of peace. When we know we’ve done the right thing, we will feel confident about the decision and move forward with peace and joy.

At GateWay of Hope, we teach a Boundaries Class three times each year. We teach women how to say, “No” and when to say, “Yes.” We help women set those important fences around their hearts and around the lives of their children so they can live out of their giftings and their strengths.

So if you’re facing an important decision, ask yourself these five questions and honestly answer them. Journal through each of the scenarios and then make your decision, knowing that God has your back. You can trust him to guide you.

If you need help working through a decision, call us at GateWay of Hope 913.393.GATE (4283) or email us at Info@GWHope.org. We have professional counselors and coaches who can assist you.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

How to Live Life

One of my friends recently sent me an encouraging note that said, “I hope you are living life to the fullest.”looking up

Smack in the middle of the winter blues, I wasn’t sure if I could totally embrace her encouragement. So I started thinking about it.

What does it mean to live life to the fullest?

For me, it begins with the practice of acknowledging who I really am. If I am living an authentic life, then everything I do will somehow encompass my core values.

I can’t live life to the fullest if I’m lying to myself about who I am or if I’m living out of activities that don’t fit with my core values.

So I have to know my core values and determine that every activity is in sync with them. If not, then I need to get rid of that activity.

I am also an introvert and a writer. Although I love working with women and coaching them here at GateWay of Hope, I also need my space and my quiet time.

So I set boundaries around how many people I serve each day and what that looks like. I carve out time to write and I spend time each day in quiet meditation.

Living life to the fullest also includes setting goals for my own growth and planning how I will progress forward.

Since I’m a coach at GateWay, I know how to do this. I help women do this every week. But I also need to be proactive about my own growth and make sure that I’m moving toward my own goals.

If I don’t help myself, I can’t help others.

One of my goals for 2015 is to engage in more artist dates. I pencil in on my calendar the places I will go and the things I will do to nurture the writer within and keep me creatively fresh.

So right now…I set an artist date for myself for Feb. 28th. I’ll be visiting a bookstore in the area and browsing through the art of other writers.

And … just because … I may even indulge in some chocolate on that day.

It’s a good practice for us to occasionally check out our core values and make sure we’re living authentic lives. Then as we set boundaries and move toward our goals we live life to the fullest.

I hope you’re doing the same today.

©2015 Rebecca Thesman, CLC
GateWay of Hope – The Helping Place for Hurting Women

11 Tips for Dealing with Holiday Grief

The lyrics from a Christmas song suggest that this is the most wonderful time of the year. Yet for women who are grieving, the holidays represent fresh sorrow.Christmas ornament

How do we survive the holiday season when everyone else acts like cheerful elves while all we want to do is curl up in the fetal position and forget?

Perhaps some of these tips will help:

Express Your Feelings. It’s okay to grieve, even during Christmas. Others may not understand but you are not responsible for how they feel. You are only responsible for yourself and your own reactions. Allow yourself time to grieve.

Be With People You Enjoy. Although it’s okay to grieve, it’s also important not to isolate yourself too long. Surround yourself with a support group that will encourage you and help you through the grief.

Embrace the Memories. Hanging ornaments on the tree often brings back special memories. Make that special holiday food or play that favorite Christmas song. Remember the good times.

Re-examine Your Priorities. You don’t have to do everything you once did to make the holidays special. Eliminate any unnecessary stress. Set realistic expectations. Simplify.

Take Care of Yourself. It’s easy to eat too much of the wrong foods, drink too much and miss out on rest. Especially during the holidays and especially while you are grieving, take care of yourself.

Exercise. This tip follows with taking care of yourself. A brisk walk in the cool air will clear your head, boost your endorphins and help you deal with holiday stress.

Remember, it’s just one day. Soon, the holidays will be over and you will launch into a new year. This difficult season will be past. Keep looking forward, keep trusting God and think about tomorrow.

Do What Feels Comfortable. Set your own boundaries. You don’t have to meet everyone’s expectations, and you don’t have to be involved in the same activities as before. Do what you want to do.

Create New Traditions. Your world is not the same as before, but you still have the freedom to do whatever you want. Try something new and create a new holiday tradition.

Do Something for Others. One of the best ways to get beyond our own grief is to consider the needs of others. Visit a nursing home. Make a treat for your neighbors. Go caroling at a hospital. Get beyond yourself and offer hope to someone else.

Consider Counseling. If you’re feeling as if you can’t cope, consider counseling. Take care of yourself by doing whatever is necessary to make it through the holidays and move forward with hope.

What about you? How do you best cope with holiday grief?

2013 GateWay of Hope – The Helping Place for Hurting Women

10 Laws of Boundaries

With gratitude to Doctors Henry Cloud and John Townsend, we reiterate the importance of boundaries. These 10 laws are studied in our Boundaries group, and they are referred to in many of our individual sessions with women. We believe every woman should review the Boundaries books and/or attend a Boundaries group as a refresher every few years.fence

Why? Because women have such a hard time saying, “No.” Because we sometimes forget what life has taught us. Because the consequences of living a no-boundaries life can be dire.

So…read, think about and put into practice these 10 Laws:

The Law of Sowing and Reaping – Actions lead to Consequences. Always.

The Law of Responsibility – We are responsible TO each other, but not FOR the choices of others. We are NOT responsible for how anyone else thinks.

The Law of Power – We have power over some things, but not over everything. We cannot change people. They have to make choices for themselves.

The Law of Respect – If we want people to respect our boundaries, then we need to respect theirs. This refers back to the first law of sowing and reaping. Respect others if you want respect in return.

The Law of Motivation – We are free to say, “No.” We do not HAVE to say, “Yes.”

The Law of Evaluation – Remember to evaluate the pain our boundaries may cause others. But we don’t need to say, “Yes” from a place of false guilt.

The Law of Proactivity – We act to solve problems based on our values, wants and needs. Be proactive about seeking change in your life.

The Law of Envy – If we focus outside our boundaries onto what others have, we will not receive what we really want. Envy puts us in a state of discontent and steals our peace.

The Law of Activity – Take the initiative in setting limits. Avoid passivity, especially when setting personal boundaries.

The Law of Exposure – Communicate personal boundaries to each other so that everyone knows what to expect and where to draw the line.

What has been the most important boundary in your life?

©2014 GateWay of Hope – The Helping Place for Hurting Women