Category Archives: Tips for Living

Why We Struggle Saying No

noSaying No seems like it should be easy.  It’s just 2 little letters after all.  We learned it so well when we were toddlers!

The little word “no” can be one of the toughest words to get out. And I’ve started thinking about why.

Is it about avoiding conflict? Or maybe it’s all about timing, or not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings?  Or could an inability to say “No” be tied to underlying fears or insecurities?

5 reasons we might have trouble saying no:

1.  We have been trained.

Remember that 2-year old whose first words included Dada, Doodoo, and… No?  Oh dear, that wasn’t acceptable!  We train our children to stop saying no, and heaven forbid they say it to a teacher.  We have been trained to be compliant, and that makes speaking up for ourselves and our needs a little difficult.

2. We want to be liked.

It feels BAD to disappoint someone.  To see their face drop, or to get a sad-face emoticon response. We want people to like us, and we often internalize their disappointment into messages of our own worth and likability. That makes it hard to say no.

3. We want to be “good.”

This goes along with the compliant learning, but I think there is something in us that often tells us that “good” people are always helpful and always social.  We don’t stop to think about how always being that way would make a person burn out or become resentful (uh – opposite of good).

4. We feel rushed.

Because of our ingrained training, we often don’t take time to think about our answer, and the automatic “Sure!” comes right on out.  In our instant gratification society, taking a little time to think about an answer can be frowned upon (and that takes us back to #2 – no frowns desired).

5. We fear rejection.

I think this is the bottom line. When we tell someone “no,” they have the opportunity to dislike us, form an unflattering opinion of us, or dismiss us completely.  We fear isolation, disconnection, and disapproval.

These desires and fears are real.  They are powerful.  And fear can keep us in a really unhappy place if we let it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible to say No to others and still be liked, still be good, AND take care of yourself too.  We’ve had a lot of practice at being compliant – now it’s time to incorporate a little self-care into the our lives, and stop saying yes when we really mean no.

It will be OK if you do.

Need help saying no? Free Webinar!Click the image to learn more about my free webinar June 24th!

doing some training and always laughing!

Christine Morgan is a Professional Life Coach, Counselor, and Teacher. She began her career empowering others through Social Work and Education, yet her personal journey is a muddier road than any resumé implies. She knows the effort it takes to cope, to believe in yourself, and to let go of what other people think or expect. If you are tired of feeling stuck or overwhelmed, and would like new skills and support on your journey, contact her today!


Setting Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries are an interesting topic – we love to talk about them, talk about when other people violate them, and sometimes even acknowledge that we have trouble setting them clearly. But many of us don’t really know methods for setting them effectively.

So we set boundaries awkwardly, aggressively, or not at all.

And then we get angry at, or critical of, ourselves or others for “violating boundaries” that weren’t well expressed in the first place.

setting boundaries can be difficult and awkward, but don't stop

What if we never learned where “I” end and “you” begin?

Maybe no one set healthy limits when we were growing up.  Maybe we didn’t have any effective role models, or maybe we didn’t have support or encouragement. Or maybe we had our boundaries completely violated without our consent.There can be many reasons why we didn’t develop them, but none of those reasons actually help us move forward.

And so we find ourselves unable to say no, unable to accept when good things are meant for us; we find ourselves feeling selfish whenever we think about self-care, or we find ourselves controlling and deciding the needs for others.

But it’s not too late. Because setting healthy boundaries is a skill. It’s a skill that can be learned and adjusted as needed. Our boundaries adapt depending on the situation, yet revolve around our central values.

Boundary work requires practice.  So how do we start? Maybe with these 3 As of healthy boundaries.

The 3 A’s of setting healthy boundaries

1. Awareness

The first step in any healing and learning process is becoming aware of where we currently are, and what we want to learn or heal.  In what situations are you allowing others to control you? In what situations are you trying to control (protect and rescue included!) others?  How does this impact your life?

2. Action

In order to make any changes in our lives, we have to take action. We can be aware of all kinds of things, but unless we take steps to heal and learn new skills, we will get stuck just living in the same routine.  What new steps can you take today to make changes?  And can you allow yourself to do these steps imperfectly as you practice and learn?

3. Acceptance

If you have trouble letting go or saying no, then you have to know that about yourself, and be gentle with yourself.  Learning a new skill isn’t easy – imagine you were going to start learning the piano today… would you be a master of it tomorrow?  Accept that this is an area of work in your life, and promise to be kind to yourself, and others as you practice.

You teach people how to treat you.

Teach them well.


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Finding your Safe Spaces

When you were a kid, where was your secret space?

Safe space hidden in the treesDid you hide in your closet, or under your bed?  Did you have a tree house or fort, filled with adventure and spiders?  Did you take a flashlight under your covers, and set sail on your bed/boat across the vast ocean of carpet?

Finding secret and safe spaces seemed easier as a child.  The requirements weren’t rigid; only the rules we created applied.

As a child, maybe the monsters were more obvious; perhaps we were just less aware of the dangers.  Maybe we just didn’t worry as much; maybe we just didn’t take things so seriously.

What made a space safe wasn’t due to solid craftsmanship, immaculate cleanliness, or the construction budget.  Only a few things were required to make a space safe:


A space that feels warm and cozy, to our skin and our soul – be it tucked under blankets or soaking up the sun and fresh air. A safe space brings us comfort and security.


No idiots allowed - safe space from brothers!A cruelty-free zone, filled only with love and acceptance, laughter, imagination, and delight. Not many people are allowed here, nor are thoughts of negativity or comparison.

Free from Fear

Monsters and worries are not permitted in this space.  There is nothing to fear in this space, and nothing is allowed to harm you.

As adults, it might be a little harder to find them, but we still need to make efforts to find those safe space – to create those safe spaces.

And what makes a space safe is the same for us now as it was for us then.  Do you have somewhere comfortable and friendly? Do you have a place to sit with freedom from fear?  Do you know how to create such a place when you need one?

I encourage you today to create your space. To take things a little less seriously.  To let go of the monsters.  Because we need those spaces of safety, we need those times of comfort, and we need those moments of healing freedom.


Take a blanket out into the sun. Listen to nature sing of freedom and joy. Climb under the blankets with a flashlight. Sail your bed-boat across those vast oceans, so when the monsters rise up out of murky waters, you have strength and energy to defeat them.

And a coach makes an excellent first mate! :)


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It’s Not Personal

To Sarah, it seemed like everyone woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.  Her boss was snappy, giving orders to make some changes to a project without even a hello. Two of her coworkers greeted her “Good Morning” with a point to their earphones.Someone even gave her outfit for the day a scowling once-over. She knew it was going to be a rough day.

Frustrated Woman photo by John De BoerAnd it was. Bickering started with the person in the next cubicle – via email.  Someone decided they liked the looks of her sandwich, and it disappeared from the fridge. Then the cherry-on-top of this soul-sucking day was in a department meeting, when blame for a failed project (disguised as accountability) started getting tossed around the table like a hot potato.


So how does Sarah, this enlightened fictional woman, deal with this day?  How does she not absorb all of the swirling negativity, the anger, the tossed about attempts to create shame?

When the world is swirling around you in a negative way, it’s hard not to absorb it.  But you can, with one simple reminder.

It’s not about you.

None of these events need to be taken personally.  In this scenario above, none of these people are even thinking about Sarah, and in your life, they typically aren’t thinking of you either.  These people are thinking about themselves.

Lost in thought photo by Martin WallsPeople are scowling because of their own internal dialogue, their own feelings of low self-esteem, of dissatisfaction, of disappointment.  People disengage with the humans around them because of a drive for task achievement. People hurl blame out of their own fear of rejection, of conflict, or of insecurity.

It’s about them – the things they are going through, the experiences they are living and have lived.  It’s about how they feel about themselves at this very minute.  It’s about how their mother spoke to them last night on the phone.  It’s about how they messed up at home and fought with the kids. It’s about how they don’t feel peaceful, joyful, or filled with love.

It’s about their tough day, and it doesn’t have to be yours.

So how does Sarah make it through the day?

Awareness. She lets it all go.  She sees each person as trying to deal with their own path in this life, and she knows that it doesn’t have to color hers.  She takes a deep breath, exhales the negativity, imagines a bubble of light surrounding her, and she treats herself to a special lunch. She makes it through her day at work, and then surrounds herself with positivity – friends, family, online support, books, shows… connection – any chance she gets.

All the while remembering it’s about them. It’s not personal. It could be directed at anyone (it often is), and it says nothing about Sarah’s like-ability, her capabilities, or her worth.  She let’s them own their own behaviors; she lets them be responsible for their own way.

And that night in her prayers, she asks the Creator for these cranky, scared, insecure, imperfect people to be blessed as they each travel their own, very difficult, roads.

And she asks for a new chance to shine light tomorrow.

at sunset photo by sanja gjenero

Being a Sheep

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

It’s the lunar new year, and it’s the year of the Sheep (or goat, or ram, whichever you prefer).

Chinese new year 2015

So this got me thinking…

Have you ever been called a sheep?

It’s often thought of as being a negative – being a sheep.  I’ve heard it used to describe someone as weak-willed, following the crowd, conforming to fit in without really thinking for themselves, or just going along with what everyone else wants them to do.

But I don’t know if that’s fair – to people, or sheep.

Because maybe it’s good to be a sheep…

Sheep are friendly.  They like being together in a herd, and get stressed when separated from others.  New sheep don’t have to look the same, act any certain way – they are just accepted.  What if everyone in the world chose connection?

Sheep protect each other.  Flocking is a natural behavior among sheep.  They will run from things that frighten them and band together to stand against an enemy.  What if people always protected each other?

Sheep collaborate. They don’t get in power struggles, or need someone to be the boss – there is no one leader in a flock of sheep – they often follow just the first one that moves.  What would our world be like if people all worked together?

Sheep are peaceful.  There are no turf wars or alpha struggles for sheep. They don’t care about any particular piece of land, as long as they are together.   They don’t care about being in charge, or getting the credit.  Sheep want to just be. What if we could spend more time just being?

Sheep are aware.  Sheep rely on their senses to observe the environment and are constantly surveying.  They have a wide field of vision (up to 306 degrees!), can pinpoint the location of a sound, and even smell water. What if we used our senses to be more aware of what’s around us, in this moment?

Sheep are intelligent.  Sheep recognize and remember faces. They can remember complex mazes.  They have been known to search out healing plants when not feeling well, and even rolled themselves over a cattle grate in Yorkshire to get to a better field. What if we focused on creative problem-solving?

Being docile doesn’t mean weak.
Being peaceful doesn’t mean less intelligent.
Accepting others openly doesn’t mean conforming.

In fact, being tender-hearted, friendly, collaborative, always thinking and observing – these are the ways I do want to be.  And, with a good shepherd to guide me and a flock to help protect me, I know these are the keys to enjoy a good life.

Just like a sheep.


Lambs photo by TouTouke

Info Source: I got my new learning about sheep here and here


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Overcome Limiting Beliefs

So, by now, you are in the middle of it, right?

Charging ahead, working on those “New Year, New You” resolutions.  Headed to the gym before work, reading a new book each week…


Oh wait.. no?
Are you feeling defeated?
Are you losing some steam?
Feeling discouraged or overwhelmed?

Psst – it’s totally normal.

Have you heard of limiting beliefs? It’s a concept we talk a lot about in coaching.  Limiting beliefs, simply put, are lies we tell ourselves that stop us from succeeding, that stop us from even moving. We’ve picked them up over the years, through watching our parents figure out their own place in the world, from crabby teachers who don’t like children, from bossy friends telling us how to fit in – even from society at large giving us “information” on what women and men “should” be like.

Limiting beliefs tell us when we “can’t” do something. Falsely.  These lies create little stories in our head and attach emotions such as fear, doubt, or shame.  Powerful, paralyzing emotions.  And those thoughts, paired with emotion, over time, become habits.  It becomes normal to sabotage our dreams, to believe we can’t achieve goals we set.

Samples of limiting beliefs:

  • I can’t quit, addiction is too powerful.meLpMPsa
  • I’m never going to be as good as she is, so why try?
  • I don’t deserve it anyway.
  • No one even cares what I do anyway, so why try?
  • It doesn’t matter what I do.
  • No one will like me that way.
  • Being rejected is too painful to risk it.
  • I’m just going to embarrass myself by trying.
  • I’m not good enough.

Lies. All of them.

What if … we stopped believing the lies?

Does it seem possible to stop believing the lies?

I will admit, it’s not easy.  It takes time, it takes practice, and it takes a real desire for change. And sometimes, a new wave comes up and you have to start over again. (Another thing that’s normal!)

But the good news? These thought patterns ARE YOURS.  You are the only one who has the power to change them, and you can overcome!

How to begin to overcome your limiting beliefs:

limiting beliefs1. Make the choice.  First you have to want to, really want to, let go of those old thinking patterns.  It’s hard – even when they are unpleasant, they are still comfortable. They are known. So the first step is to set your mind, set your will, choose to step out of this dirty comfort.

2. Get some help. Because these thoughts are habits, they are quite comfortable. So it’s hard to recognize when we are falling into these old traps. Get a friend or a coach who will hold you accountable. Someone who will gently remind you of what is truth, what is possible, and what you can really do!

3. Replace the lies.  You need new truth to fill the thought space of your old thinking.  And you need to remind yourself constantly of this new truth!  Put post-it notes on your computer screen, your bathroom mirror. Change your passwords, your screen-savers, your lock screen on your phone to phrases that will remind you of all that you can do.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice.  It takes time to train your brain. Just like learning to play the piano, it takes time to learn a new skill. So be kind to yourself  while you learn to make new statements and let go of the old.

Samples of overcoming statements:

  • I am more powerful than addiction.
  • With God’s help, I can do anything.
  • I am doing what I am meant to do.
  • I am meant to fully live this life.
  • Through my work, I can help others.
  • Everything I do is a learning experience.
  • I am enough.

Your statements will be yours.  They will lift you up, remind you of who you truly are and all you meant to be.

So play with this idea. Talk with a friend about what holds you back and what would get you going again.

Because we have to recognize it in order to conquer it.
And we can.

Working Together

who knew togetherness was so cute?

What do you think about working with someone else on a project instead of just by yourself?

Some of you LOVE it – you find greater creativity, a divided workload to ease the burden, and loads of laughs you couldn’t have by yourself (without being looked at sideways).

And there are some of you who probably HATE it.  You end up doing all the work, people never understand what you mean, or everything takes twice as long to complete.Credit: Endless Origami

Isn’t it funny how working together can bring such diverse reactions?

When we struggle with working collaboratively, it’s often due to a lack of effective communication.

Such as…

  • Not knowing how to say no… so I end up doing the whole thing alone.
  • Not knowing how to get my opinions out without sounding bossy or condescending.
  • Not knowing that someone else’s differing opinion doesn’t mean that mine is “wrong.”

                   The cool thing is – it doesn’t have to be that way.

teamworkYou CAN retrain your communication skills.

You CAN learn ways to speak up for yourself without being bossy.

You CAN practice listening to different opinions without feeling attacked.

It’s all a matter of choice.
We first choose to learn,
then to find a teacher,
and continually to practice the skills.

You can do it – if you want to.

My Latest Project

We crack ourselves up!

I’m excited to share that I’m having a great time working together with Patricia Love, Life’s Cheerleader at her website – the Portal to a Positive Self Image.

Want a chuckle today? Watch our trailer videos on YouTube!

We run a new self-improvement class every month, encourage and provide coaching support for achieving goals and believing in yourself. The first 30 days are free – I would love to have you come join me.

Then WE could be working together!

Working together
gives us a chance
to make something good
into something great.

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So Many Rules!

You can't make me!Are you following the rules?

For some of you, that question brings up a feeling of panic:
Wait, am I?

For others, it inspires instant rebellion:
What are you going to do about it if I’m not?

Whoa! Hang on there…
I’m certainly not here to tell you ANY rules, I’m here to help you CLAIM the ones you choose as your own.

Here’s what I mean:

We get so caught up in our day to day life, that I think sometimes we forget that we are adults and that we have choices.  Some of our responsibilities can be so heavy that we feel like we have no choice… but we ALWAYS DO.

You could always choose to walk away. You could always choose to say no. You could even choose to give up. You always have the choice.

Sure, every choice has a consequence, and some of them feel dire. But the choices you make today, right now, even those that help you fit in and to follow rules given to you, those also have consequences.

So if you ever feel like grumbling because you are always being told what to do, or feel forced to make certain decisions, remember that you are choosing that path. You are choosing it because the consequences are the easiest to deal with, because you want to have other options in other areas of your life, or because you have let go of your personal power.  There are a myriad of reasons why we choose, even subconscious ones, but we are always choosing.

So let’s claim our choices!  We choose our circumstances. We choose our steps. We choose our path.

We choose our rules.

My choices, my rules.


Life is for living.
Don’t let rules in your life
take your personal power.
You are an adult.
You make a choice.
Every time.

~Be blessed! Christine

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