All posts by De Yarrison

  • Self-Compassion – The Power of a Pronoun

    In a coaching conversation earlier today, my client and I went on a journey that began with a messy situation (literally!) with her kids to which she reacted in anger and frustration, and ended with compassionate connection and self-support. Her inner dialogue shifted from a blame-based: “Why do I always…I never,” to a unity-based: “I’m with you…Let’s look at this together.”

    A pivotal moment leading to her inner shift came when she was able to experience herself as a “You” rather than just an “I.” Let me explain…

    When we refer to ourselves, we pretty typically use the pronoun, “I.” I did this, or I said that. When others refer to us, they use the pronoun, “You.” You did this, or You said that. Each of us, in fact, is both “I” and “You.” Big deal, you may say. The big deal comes when we think of ourselves in terms of “You.”

    • I extend to YOU the same kindness that I extend to other people.
    • I extend to YOU the same ‘benefit of the doubt’ that I extend to other people.
    • I recognize that YOU need my compassion, just like other people do.
    • I extend to YOU my understanding that I would extend to anyone else.
    • I extend to YOU the same forgiveness that I extend to other people.

    Consider that the YOU being referred to in the above statements is, well, you, the person reading this post. Now re-read the above five statements, this time, imaging yourself as the subject of each statement. Try inserting your own first name, such as: “De, I extend to you the same kindness that I extend to other people.”

    Wow. Feel a little strange, perhaps?

    As you said each statement aloud, some may have felt true or right. Others may have felt inauthentic or like a stretch for you to believe. In the case of the latter, there may be an underlying belief or assumption we are holding about ourselves that contradicts with the statement. For example, if saying, “I extend to you the same understanding that I would extend to anyone else,” has you thinking, “Yeah, right. No way can I do that!” you may be holding a contradictory belief, such as:

    • It’s not ok for me to make a mistake.
    • It’s not ok for me to need help or ask for help.

    Let’s just call these what they are – lies. It’s fascinating to press pause on the automatic conversation that unfolds in our minds throughout the day and write down the words we’re speaking to ourselves. Would we utter these words aloud to any other human being? Would we hold our best friend to the same unrealistic standards to which we hold ourselves (never make a mistake, never ask for help)?

    As I’ve shifted my view of myself to a YOU, I’ve been more and more able to replace the unkind self-talk with compassionate and supportive self-talk. Seeing myself as YOU, helps me remember that I too am a human being with valid needs, just like you are. I too am imperfect and doing my best, just like you are.

    Let’s close with a prayer.

    Heavenly Father, I pray that you will guide us as we journey along the pathway of self-acceptance and self-compassion. Help us to grow in loving relationship with ourselves. Thank you that You’ve made us each whole and in Your image. Please help us to see ourselves more clearly. To see ourselves as You see us, Lord; as we truly ARE.  Amen!

  • Be of Good Courage

    Being courageous is a matter of the heart. Not of our muscles or our bravado. Our hearts. The continuing natural disasters and horrendous violence occurring around us have been calling me to pray for a more courageous heart; a courageous heart to lead me in bringing greater compassion, humility, and charity into my little corner of the world, beginning in my own home.

    So, what does a courageous heart in action look like? Well, I’m still learning…here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

    1. Courage is not always about BIG, BOLD action. The times I’ve behaved most courageously in my relationships have involved being still, closing my mouth and opening my heart. Moving beyond the habitual desire to fix, rescue, provide solutions. Led by a courageous heart, I am more present, more able to listen empathically and connect on a deeper level to someone who is hurting or angry or anxious.
    2. Courage means following my heart. The word courage comes from the Old French ‘corage’ and the Latin ‘cor,’ both meaning heart, innermost feelings.
      If I listen to my mind-chatter going round-and-round long enough, I can talk myself into or out of just about anything. When I choose courage, I get still & quiet in my mind so I can tune into my heart. I think of it as tuning into God’s voice within me rather than the noise of the world with all its what ifs, you should, you shouldn’t, but then they’ll think
    1. To be courageous is to be vulnerable. Courage is born out of our vulnerability. Opening myself up and revealing my vulnerabilities requires strength and courage. Putting on “a brave face” or “staying strong” in the midst of my hurts doesn’t actually require much courage. Invulnerability is easy and comfortable. However, for me to lean on my husband or a close friend and say, “I’m not doing so good today and I really need to talk” or asking “Will you help me?” takes courage!
    2. Courage is unnecessary unless we are afraid.

      Being terrified but moving ahead and doing what must be done – that’s courage. The one who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward. – Piers Anthony

      So long as we are alive, we can expect to feel fearful, at different times and to varying degrees. As the quote above says, to live without feeling fear is “foolish.” We are fooling ourselves. Denial. To live in collusion with our fear is cowardice. A trick of the enemy to keep us quiet and small. To acknowledge my fear, and move ahead anyway, is courage.

     

    Biblical Reminders

    Here are a few truths for us to hang onto as we seek to approach our daily lives with more courageous hearts!

        • God is with you every single second – ALWAYS. (Matthew 28:20)
        • You are designed for greatness, made in the image and likeness of God himself. (Gen 1:27)
        • God has a mighty plan for you. You were not born to play small. (Jeremiah 29:11)
        • You can do all things through Christ! (Phil 4:12)

    This is one of my favorite scripture verses and always gives me courage: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

    A Closing Prayer

    As I was writing this post, the scene in the garden of Gethsemane came to mind. The scene where the soldiers came to take Jesus away. Peter was ready to fight, drawing his sword, and taking a bold action, which may have looked courageous (Matthew 26:51). As I thought about that, I became aware that every time in my life when I’ve chosen “fight” or “force” over peace and acceptance, I was driven by my fear, not my courage. Jesus chose peace and acceptance while enduring ridicule, torture, and even death. I pray that I will look to Jesus as the source of my courage:

    Heavenly Father, I pray for a more courageous heart! I pray for the courage to endure my trials with my eyes always on You. Give me the courage to sit with others who are hurting and the grace to stay quiet and simply listen. I pray that I may follow the way of Jesus in opening my heart to those who would mistreat, misunderstand, or misjudge me. Show me how to stay open and courageously vulnerable so I may not miss any of the highs or the lows that You would have me experience in this lifetime. Please help me to get quiet everyday and listen for Your voice. Thank You for Your constant love and guidance. AMEN.

  • The Power of Perspective Shifting


    My mom and I are taking a trip across the country in a few weeks. We, along with my two teens, will fly from Philadelphia to Seattle, stay in a beach house in Port Angeles, and attend my cousin’s wedding in Olympic National Park. The other night, Mom and I were sharing concerns about the trip: are we spending too much money? Should we have rented a house at the beach or just stayed in cheaper accommodations? Will we even know anyone at the wedding? Is Zach going to be ok without me for 5 days??

    Worrying is not very much fun. Thankfully, I had my coaching hat with me 😉 .

    With my coaching hat on, I thought, you know what’s done is done and what’s to come will come. Worrying won’t change any of it. So let’s try on a new perspective. How do we want to feel right now?

    Peaceful. Excited. Grateful for the opportunity to travel together.

    Together we decided to stand in the perspective of “cross-country adventure with my grand-kids / kids.” Any adventure worth its salt will contain the unknown, the unfamiliar, and the unpredictable. Through the lens of “cross-country adventure,” facing the unknown, unfamiliar, and unpredictable excites me, raises my curiosity and sense of anticipation. Which feels infinitely more fun than worrying!

    What circumstance or area of your life would benefit from a perspective shift?

    Here are two ways to begin:
    1. First is prayer (isn’t prayer the best first step for everything?!). Father God, I ask for Your help to shift my perspective about ______. I’ve been worrying rather than trusting You. Help me to see this situation/person through Your eyes. Please correct my thinking; remove any thoughts that cause me to step off the path that leads to You – to light, truth, and peace. Place new thoughts – Your thoughts – into my heart and mind. Saced Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You!

    2. Second is a fun little exercise…
    Pretend that you are taking off a pair of glasses and setting them down on a table. These glasses hold your current perspective. All your thoughts, worries, fears, and assumptions about that circumstance or relationship. Before you on the table are dozens of other pairs of glasses, each with a different label.

    There’s the Mountain-top Perspective glasses, the Forest Perspective glasses, and the Bubbling Brook Perspective glasses.
    – What if you looked at that circumstance from the “mountain-top” perspective? Standing high above, up out of the
    mucky details, where the air is refreshing and crisp. Get curious about what you might see from this bird’s-eye-view.

    There’s the Salsa Dance Perspective glasses and the Waltz Perspective glasses.
    – What fresh thinking might be available to you while considering the Waltz perspective, with it’s smooth, flowing,
    comfortably rhythmic movement?

    There’s also a long line of glasses labeled with colors.
    – How would your world look different if you chose to wear the Yellow Perspective glasses today? The Hot Pink
    Perspective glasses? The Sage Green Perspective glasses?

    Worry, anxiety and frustration can leave us feeling stuck or powerless. The truth is, we have the power at any moment to create a new experience for ourselves. The very moment we become aware of our worry, anxiety, or dissonance, we can gently pause our thinking, take a breath, and begin to pray for help to shift our perspective. Whether our circumstance ever changes or not, isn’t the issue. When we shift our perspective, we shift how we’re feeling about the circumstance and how we’re choosing to relate with that circumstance.

    And this becomes the difference between being captive to our circumstances or going free.

    The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:5-6

  • I’m good, thanks.


    I’m good, thanks. How many times do I hear these words, or some variation on the sentiment, in a day? Here are a few recent examples:

    I accidentally bumped into a young man in the market and said, “Excuse me, I’m sorry.” To which he replied, “No, I’m good.”

    I said to my 2-year-old, “Zach, I’m tired. Let’s take a rest.” To which he replied, “No Mama, you good.”

    Two weekends ago, I was chaperoning a youth retreat. I was walking across campus to meet my group and two girls passed by me. One was coughing, choking on something. I asked her if she wanted a bottle of water. She replied, “no, [cough-cough], I’m [cough] good.”
    Me: “I’ve got three unopened bottles in my backpack. Please take one.”
    Her: “[cough] No, I’m good. [cough]”
    Her friend was just staring at her like, “take the water already!!”

    I set my pack down, pulled out a bottle of water and practically forced it on her. She did take it and drank nearly the whole thing in one breath.

    What is going on? When did we decide that we’re all “good” and don’t need to accept help or apologies or even water from one another? How did this sentiment become so commonplace that it has become an automatic response from my 2-year-old?

    And perhaps more importantly, I wonder what we’re not saying when we’re saying “I’m good.” I have a hunch that we might not be saying things like:

    • Yes, I could use some help right now.
    • Thank you for noticing [me].
    • I would really like that, thank you.

    Vulnerability. A knee-jerk, “I’m good,” dances around our vulnerability.
    What makes us vulnerable is what makes us beautiful: giving compassion, laughing out loud, praying with someone who is hurting, showing spontaneous affection. These authentic expressions are the source of connection and intimacy in our lives.

    Hearing “I’m good” lets me off the hook. Frees me up from seeing your vulnerability, spending time listening to your story, and experiencing your need.
    Saying “I’m good” lets me off the hook from showing my own vulnerability; from sharing the truth about my needs, worries, or difficulties. I don’t want to do that anymore.

    “speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15

    What will it mean or do for us when we speak and listen to the truth from one another? Without having answers or rushing to solution. Simply giving the gift of our presence to one another.

    Copyright 2017 De Yarrison

  • Verse, April 30

    “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 11:19

  • Verse, April 29

    “As we pour out our bitterness, God pours in his peace.”
    – F.B. Meyer

  • Verse, April 28

    “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” – Isaiah 40:29

  • Verse, April 27

    “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” – Exodus 15:2

  • Verse, April 26

    “Come, and see the victories of the cross. Christ’s wounds are thy healings, His agonies thy repose, His conflicts thy conquests, His groans thy songs, His pains thine ease, His shame thy glory, His death thy life, His sufferings thy salvation.”
    – Matthew Henry

  • Verse, April 25

    “God never made a promise that was too good to be true.”
    – D. L. Moody