Take Control, and Stop Controlling!

Your spouse does not understand you. Your kids are stubborn and disrespectful.  Your co-workers, colleagues and employer raise your blood pressure.  And your extended family and friends either compete with you for attention and praise or they dump all of their problems on  you.  Enough is enough!

Is any of this sounding like what you might be facing from day to day?  As humans, our first reactions to this type of treatment tend to be just that – reactive responses.  We get defensive, feel defeated and misunderstood, try to “fix” the problems with others and our relationship with them.  However, I have found in my life that when I replace being reactive with setting boundaries and caring for myself, I wind up feeling at peace.  I have learned to set boundaries in a loving but firm way.

Now I’m not saying others around me snap to and change into what I would like them to be as a result of this.  But  I am saying I genuinely leave it where it belongs: with them.  Then I act accordingly.  This means I may have to make decisions as to whether or not I need to keep myself emotionally safe by staying away from certain people.  Or it could mean I plan how I am going to handle certain others when I am not feeling respected.  Joyful Souls, maintaining your dignity is life-changing.

Next time you are feeling a relationship of yours is all one-sided and out of control, step up and take care of yourself.  Kindly excuse yourself from the room or situation.  Think about what you are feeling.  Decide which boundaries you will set, and be prepared to follow through.  This is the most important part, because if you don’t follow through on what you say you plan to do, nobody will see you as strong and loving.  On the contrary, the opposite will happen and they will end up treating you with more disrespect.

So give yourself time to think it through.  Take control of yourself! That’s right, take control of yourself, not them.  Changing their behavior, outlook, or thought processes is their job, not yours.

Figure out what you’re feeling as a result of the exchange you have had with this person.  Humiliated? Disrespected? Insulted? Anxious? Unloved?  Then take care of yourself.  After giving yourself some space and tuning in to your feelings, have a conversation with the person who is upsetting you.  A loving, kind, but firm conversation about how you are going to handle the situation, and the steps you will take if they continue to treat you in a way that is unacceptable to you.  Be direct.  There is no room for misunderstanding here.  Finally, do what  you say you are going to do.  If you can’t trust yourself to follow through, how can anyone else trust you to do so?

Notice I did not recommend that you tell them what to do or how to behave.  Notice I did not tell you to expect major changes in them.  Also notice I did not tell you anything will change.  What I am telling you is that you will feel more at peace, in control of yourself, and healthy.  You will not feel like a victim any longer because you will not be a victim.  YOU will change.  You will be  a healthy, content adult worthy of respect, who knows how to take care of yourself.  That’s JOY!!!

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Prayer and Meditation

From Chapter Two of Joyful Soul: A Promise Worthy of Trust (Copyright 2013 by Laurie Mattera)

We live in a busy and hectic world.  I don’t know about you, but many times I get to the end of my day thinking, “I had planned to accomplish so much more today, if only I had more than twenty-four hours in a day!”  And no matter how much I plan and organize and motivate myself, there is always more to do.   As a result, I was often under the impression that to take 20 minutes out of my day in the morning and another 20 minutes later in the day for prayer and meditation was not possible.  Worse, I sometimes believed it was a waste of my time, which is already a priceless commodity to me.  And so I soldiered on, depleting myself and continuing to run non-stop on what I can only liken to a hamster wheel.  I had an intuitive sense of needing to stop for a while each day and recharge.  I always had God on my mind, praying to Him for guidance but splitting my attention between my tasks at hand and longing to connect with God.  Occasionally, I would set time aside to pray and meditate on my best course of action for the day.  Those times always left me feeling peaceful and recharged.  Even though I did not get specific answers all the time to my dilemma of the moment, I emerged stronger and refreshed, at peace, and knowing an answer would come.  Continue reading “Prayer and Meditation”

Locus of Control (from chapter three of Joyful Soul: A Promise Worthy of Trust, copyright 2013)

Locus of Control

            Locus of control is a psychological term to describe one’s sense of responsibility for his/her own life and behavior.  Those who believe forces outside of themselves are responsible for their ill or good fortune or current life situations have an external locus of control, while those who view their life situations or fate as a result of their own doing have an internal locus of control.

Healthy, responsible adults adopt an internal locus of control.  They are able to make life changes if necessary in order to flourish and progress in life.  These individuals are able to acknowledge their own efforts and choices as key to accomplishing life goals and situations.  In other words, they have a sense of their own power.

Alternatively, those who do not accept responsibility for their own actions (perhaps by blaming others, making excuses for their circumstances in life, or their “bad luck”) exhibit an unhealthy external locus of control.  They give up their power.

Are there times when external forces do indeed have an affect on our lives?  Yes, it is possible. For example, if a natural disaster strikes or if we are coping with other tragic or traumatic circumstances that many of us experience at one time or another in our lives, we are not responsible and do not have the power to change what has occurred.   Rather, these are trials which compel us to use the coping strategies and skills we’ve learned in order to pull us through them.

However, when referring to locus of control for living a balanced and healthy life, I am not referring to these extraordinary situations.  I am referring to how an individual approaches life in general.  It might help to think of it as an overall philosophy of life and attitude or “way of being” in the world.  Additionally, it is helpful to recognize that even when circumstances that we cannot control manifest in our lives, we do have the power to choose how we deal with and manage the adversity and trials that come our way.

So where is your locus of control?  Do you need to be truthful and honest with yourself and others about your current situation in life?  Are you blaming others or life circumstances for the choices you have made?  Would you describe yourself as “powerful and loving”?  Knowledge is power.  If you believe that you have taken a victim status (not in control) and would like to make the transition to a life of power, you can do it!  All it takes is practice and a willingness to change. ~Dr. Laurie Mattera

How do you choose a career path?

Hello Joyful Souls!  One of the things I can tell you for sure from my years of career consulting, is that you need to find a good “fit” for yourself when contemplating a career path or career to study while in college or trade school.  You will want to take time to reflect on your values, interests, personality traits and talents.  Where do these four overlap?  If you can find a profession that offers you a bit of each one that fits for you, you will most likely be very happy in your career choice.  Keep in mind though that at times, interests can override talents (this will mean you will have to plug along a bit more to keep up with colleagues) and values change over the lifespan.  The most important aspect of all of this is to make an informed choice, rather than go willy-nilly into a big decision such as this.  Another key point to contemplate is what are the daily functions of the job?  Will it be a good fit for you in that respect?  I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on this topic.  And please, feel free to set an appointment with me if you would like help in figuring out the best path for you!  Be Joyful ~ Laurie

Today’s AOF: Your relationship!

Hello Joyful Souls!  Today let’s focus on your relationship with your intimate partner.  This is taken from Chapter Five of my book, “Joyful Soul: A Promise Worthy of Trust”:

You don’t even have to agree to do it together or talk about it…just start loving your partner and believing they love you, trusting your partner and being trustworthy, respecting your partner and expecting respect, and fostering the friendship between you.  Watch Joyful miracles happen.
~Dr. Laurie Mattera


Will it matter in 100 years?

Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed, and the fear of forging ahead gets the best of me, I ask myself this question: Will what I’m worried about matter in 100 years? This question has a calming effect on me, as I realize I’m only harming myself by putting such stress on my body.  After all, if plan A doesn’t work, there is always plan B, right?  What are some of the things you are stressing about right now, and can you change or control them?  If so, go for it!  If not, take comfort in knowing that you are doing what is in your power, and that which is not in your power is out of your hands.  Turn whatever it is over to a higher power.  Be Joyful!joyfulsoullogo

Be Reasonable :-)

When we try to do more than is humanly possible in 24 hours, we become overwhelmed.  When we become overwhelmed, anxiety and stress take over.  Devise a daily plan for yourself and make it reasonable (like it has to fit into 24 hours and you have to eat and sleep…and even relax a bit!) then turn the daily plan into a weekly, monthly, and yearly plan.  You will accomplish great things!  Stay Joyful!


Sacrifice is Okay

Joyful Souls: Often we hear how important it is to take care of ourselves, give ourselves good things, and believe in ourselves.  All of this is true, and very important, because if we do not love ourselves, how can we truly love and be giving to others?  However, my philosophy is that giving to others is a very important part of life.  Taking care of them, sacrificing for them, and giving of ourselves are all vital aspects of enhancing important relationships with family and friends, and for a sense of well-being.  Sacrifice is not a dirty word.  When you give, do so from a well informed place of sincere intention.  Know why you are doing what you are doing, giving what you are giving, and sacrificing what you are sacrificing.  Do not expect anything in return.  And watch how the JOY enters your life.  Stay Joyful!


Welcome to Joyful Connections!

I am so excited to connect with you here, on my blog! This is the first of many.  Enjoy, and please come back soon.

I just love this and try to live my life by these words. Yes, it is a good thing to be good to yourself, but I think sometimes we don’t focus enough on others in our lives. It’s always okay to sacrifice for another! It brings Joy to your Soul!
Dr. Laurie Mattera