How to be More Open Minded

 

On a scale of 1 through 10, how would you rate your open-mindedness? Are you usually accepting of people’s beliefs? Do you typically give a confused poodle look when others’ opinions contradict your own? Do you rarely say yes to invitations to new activities because your mind tells you there is no way you would have fun or relate to the people? Have I completely lost you with this interrogation? I have been there quite a few times. The pushback to being open is the fear of the unknown and the tendency to keep the same thought patterns most of our lives.

If you are ready to step up your open-mindedness game, I’m sure you will find at least one way that inspires you from the list below.

Be Social and friendly. You’ll discover being social will create the possibility for new experiences. Go to that belly dancing class your friend invited you to. Say yes to the girls’ road trip to Lake George, especially if a person you’ve never met is attending. The chemistry in your brain changes with new environments and new people. New scenery, new thoughts, and new people will allow you to try on a different personality. If you usually show your intellectual side, try a bubblier side. Be the carefree version of yourself! Walk over to someone of a certain age if you typically feel more at ease with those of the same generation. There is so much to discover from those much older as well as those much younger.

Contemplate a different opinion-Allow the other person to give their supporting arguments for their point-of-view. Listen with interest. Don’t focus on what your response will be. Could you be willing to try their opinion on for size? Could there be legitimacy to their perspective? How could acknowledging this perspective widen your social circle? Perhaps you hear an insight that you agree with but never crossed your mind. Creating an opening for a different view will make you a more conscious individual.

Remember our interconnectedness– Dr. Kristin Neff the self-compassion rock star/ expert once said, “When we’re in touch with our common humanity, we remember that feelings of inadequacy and disappointment are universal.” The false belief we are separate from one another, and nature is the primary cause of sadness. Every single person you meet is going through pain in one way or another. Pay attention to your word choices, they will affect people you don’t even know. Remembering this will increase your self-compassion which will increase your tolerance and flexibility. You will co-exist more peacefully and be a higher-value human being for it.
 Be Curious– What exactly does this mean? It’s a state of mind like dropping intellect, drive, and desire for knowledge into a drink. Then shaking it up like a mixologist for a more sophisticated emotion. Curiosity can not only boost one’s skills but can be the conduit for social bonds. This occurs by encouraging engagement with others’ smorgasbord of perspectives. It’s like a magnet for relationship building. As humans, we are more attracted to people interested in us than those interested in themselves. One study suggested that curious people have a greater ability to accurately read social cues. This capability has some amazing outcomes. It enhances our overall well-being as well as resilience to rejection.

Stay Calm– Being in a relaxed state increases the likelihood of starting any conversation in a softer tone. Your tone is a big predictor of how an exchange turns out. According to the Gottman Method, the way we start a conversation is the way we end it. Think of going on a blind date after a big business deal fell through and your three-month diet resulted in zero weight loss.  Now tell me how open this will make you during the date. Now think about having a productive day an easy day. In which of these two scenarios do you predict being open to listening and learning about the person in front of you? Correct 🙂

Being rigid emotionally and mentally takes away many life-changing opportunities. Be it making new friends, participating in new cultures and cuisines, and even reducing your sensitivity to rejection.

Sending light,

Irene

If you’re interested in my new Walk & Talk Warrior sessions or would like to learn additional methods of being-open-minded, please feel free to schedule a quick complimentary breakthrough session(link below) or simply say hello on Instagram. I love putting a face to your names and getting to know you!

https://coachingwithirenescheduling.as.me/freeBreakthroughCall

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How To Make Friends As An Adult

 

How To Make Friends As An Adult

Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. This is according to one of the world’s longest studies by the Harvard Study of Adult Development.

Making new friends is scary. I do not believe there is a specific type of human being that feels differently. In first grade it made me feel like an awkward wet washcloth and the anxiety didn’t get easier as I got older. But… research is crystal clear that we are wired for connection. The quality of those bonds determines the quality of our HAPPINESS.

So, what exactly are we to do???

There are many benefits to getting older and wiser (they are not always linked but let’s pretend for the sake of the blog) and using our experiences to stuff friendship hacks in our fanny packs, is one of them. Below are some tips I’ve learned and some others from friendship experts and science-backed studies.

Make the First Friendship Move

While at work, in line at Starbucks, or at a party, simply smiling is a good icebreaker. Ask how they’re enjoying said place, how do they know the host, have they tried the new pumpkin Chai latte? Intentionally striking up a conversation or word like hi is also a low-stakes option and a great first step. This has the benefit of a) getting you out of your comfort zone and b) helps to non-verbally express your openness to having a conversation. Remember. More than half the US adult population feels lonely, a study from Cigna health insurers found. This means THEY TOO would love to make a new friend. So initiate the friend date. MAKE THE FIRST MOVE! This could be with someone you met at a good friend’s birthday dinner and you both realize you have an interest in spirituality and astrology. This just recently happened to me, and I plan on reaching out to this woman for a coffee date. Weve already connected on Instagram. Small steps forward. You may end up meeting your future sister-in-law or traveling partner to you dream destination.

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Know Your Friendship Qualities.

There exist friendship superpowers only you possess! Maybe you aren’t even fully aware of them, but others most likely are and here are some ways to be conscious of them as well. Knowing this allows you to develop these awesome characteristics, and gift them to others more assuredly. When you’re sure of what you have to offer, you will be more confident to approach them with a sense of ease. Go ahead, ask the cute girl with the delicious-looking grilled branzino if she would recommend it. Here are some questions to ask yourself in case you can’t come up with your friendship qualities.

What advice do people come to you for?

 What do you often get thank you’s for?

What qualities would your closest sister, friend, co-worker say you possess?

My Answers: I think I offer empathy, a calm space where friends can be exactly who they are, and a compassionate ear.

People ask me for advice on their love journeys.

I get thank yous for being there when a friend truly needs me. I’m still learning to be a better in-real-life friend.

Assume People Like You.

The biggest barrier to making new friends in adulthood? Fear of rejection. Turns out, that’s pretty common, and there’s even a name for this phenomenon: “the liking gap.” But research has found that after strangers interact, people generally underestimate how much they were liked. An Individual who has mastered the friend-making game, walks into new situations with the assumption that they’ll be accepted and liked. That’s what really facilitates them reaching out to others.

So, the next time you cross paths with a potential pal–whether virtual or IRL—believe in the power of your own likability. After all, wouldn’t you want to be friends with you?

 

Get Out There.

I hesitate even typing this since it’s a phrase that makes the hairs on my entire body stand up. But this is still the #1 way to potentially make new friends. It doesn’t mean you need to go to bars alone. Here are some ways I’ve found getting out there has led me to form new friendships. I met up with a friend at a restaurant for a girls’ night out and ended up building an acquaintanceship with the jewelry designer who happened to be sitting next to me. Intentionally saying hello to the blonde woman with the playful German Shepard on my daily walks. I accepted a pool party invite from an acquaintance and met Babs who later became a hiking and book-lover friend. Once I joined my hubby at a business garden gathering where the partner’s daughter channeled people’s energy on canvas, and I connected with an adorable heavy accented Spanish couple. I didn’t form a friendship there but in hindsight, I see this could have been an opportunity to get their contact and possibly meet up when I visited Newport Beach. In conclusion, accepting the uncomfortable feeling and getting out beyond your comfy place, may very well be the catalyst to meeting your next bestie!life coaching los angeles

Be Vulnerable.

Ahhhhh…..TRUE INTIMATE FRIENDSHIPS STAND ON EMOTIONAL SAFETY

Keep sharing your time.

As Oprah always says “time is our most valuable asset” so everyone knows that utilizing that precious time with another is one of the most precious gifts we have to offer.

Once you get to the acquaintance stage, keeping in touch regularly is key. For the soon-to-be friends, become their cheerleaders when they share something positive. Encourage them to smell the roses with you. Remind them they are worth the playtime with a friend. Come up with fun activities. If all the time you have is a 15 min chat at the corner bakery shop, do that! Remember an activity they mentioned they wanted to try and get tickets for it?

I absolutely need to adhere to my own advice. In recent months I’ve prioritized friend-time with people I love but never see. The same thought permeates my mind the entire time…why do I not organize these friend dates more religiously?

Staying in consistent contact allows us to get to know each other on a deeper level. It increases the likelihood of being vulnerable, which is one of the three principal legs of a real friendship according to Shasta Nelson author of Frientimacy. The second leg is a 5:1 positive to negative interaction. This is great info. What it means is that the best friendships have 5 x’s more positive exchanges than negative ones. People want to be around you more when you are uplifting. The third is the amount of time you spend together. There is research that says the more we see people the more likable we find them. This is called the Mere-exposure effect.

Interact with your potential new friends doing things that you both enjoy. Think about your friend’s super-power and make a point to compliment them on what is most valuable to them. EX: If your friend takes pride in her work, you can say something like “wow I have never seen anyone with this much dedication. You are going to be an even bigger success than you already are.” The idea is reflecting to someone in words or behavior the best in them. This goes the extra mile when they have forgotten how wonderful they are.

Signal Likability.

 Rejection is terrifying. It results in never having the courage to risk it by showing anyone we like them. Monica Moore, Professor, and psychologist at Webster University found that even if we think we are showing people we like them, we really aren’t. She found it takes 13 glances for a woman to signal to a man that it’s ok for him to approach her.

How to signal well:

-Light touch on shoulder when speaking with them

-Smile

-Use their name

-Comment on their posts

-Ask them if they want a coffee when you’re going to get one

Find your Kindred Spirit.

weve all been told « join activities you’re passionate about lalalala… « And that is still top-notch advice BUT if going to a class alone makes you feel queasy, you can find your groups on social media. Love yoga? Follow yoga instructors that resonate with you in your city. Positively interact with their posts. The more you engage with them the more both of you feel like you have become friends. When you feel a sort of kinship, it will encourage action like joining one of their online zoom classes or iRL classes.

Support Groups & Group Coaching

We all have our vices, sometimes it’s hard to get the support we need. Fortunately, you can learn how to meet new people in your crisis via a support group OR group coaching. For example, if you suffer from an eating disorder, you can research then spend time with people discussing how to cope with eating disorders. Sharing our struggles in groups with others is therapeutic. We no longer feel alone.

I hope these suggestions were helpful!

If you would like more support on creating new or getting over the loss of a close friend or social anxiety, feel free to click on SCHEDULE  TAB above and book a complimentary Soul Session with me.

Blessings!

Irene

https://CoachingwithIreneScheduling.as.me/?appointmentType=21011478

Book Recommendations

The Relationship Cure by John Gottman- This book focuses on relationships in mid-life with all the important people in your life. This is focused on emotional availability which is a pillar of all healthy relationships. The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your …https://www.barnesandnoble.com › Books

Here to Make Friends by Hope Kelaher, LCSW. This is a great book on how to move past small talk and strategies on how to build a meaningful community.

Here to Make Friends by Hope Kelaher | BookLifehttps://booklife.com › project › here-to-make-friends-7…

Do You Need to Grow a Non-Judgmental Attitude?

Do you ever find yourself knee-deep in a shit show of regret after being overly judgmental with someone? Each day we subconsciously make small critical judgements that can have some very big effects on our overall happiness and our relationships with others. We scrutinize Instagram clothing choices or lack thereof-, the car they drive, how quickly they accomplish a job, their intellect and whether or not they’re worthy of dating.

Even though we genuinely want to respond graciously, personal opinions can quickly veer into the territory of exploding brain matter, boiling blood and hurling slurs. This could permanently damage a relationship. The ego is conditioned to fight with word daggers since it keeps us safe, but it also prevents us from connecting. It prevents us growing.

Below are some ways you could be blocking healthy communication.

  • Looking down on a friend for their choices in (fill in the blank)
  • Criticizing your partner for not perfectly placing the dishes in the dishwasher
  • Second guessing a close friendship due to political differences

These reactions all come from impulses (responding without thought of consequences) rather than responsiveness. Vince Gowmon author of Let the Fire Burn, has a brilliant way of looking at it: “Instead of trying to stop ourselves from thinking judgmental thoughts, an easier way is to look through the eyes of wisdom and compassion”.

It only takes a nano-second pause for awareness to be acknowledged

Leo Babauta in his simple 4-step method to avoid being judgmental, uses DUAL

(and no, that doesn’t mean hand your sparring partner a sword):

  • Don’t pass judgment. We can’t assume what’s best for anyone but ourselves (and maybe our children–and even that’s debatable, just ask a teenager)
  • Understand. What’s their backstory? We can never know what unseen trauma someone has endured.
  • Accept (try to). We’re all doing the best we can. Yes, even your self-centered little brother and or emotionally numb mother
  • Love them…and yourself. This is not a “love is blind” type of thing where you stuff it down with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Loving someone despite the differences changes lives. It diffuses turmoil and leads to a brighter existence without unnecessary frustration. We’re all here to evolve our way back to our true nature–Love.

Here are some common impulsive reactions we’ve all been guilty of, and some response substitutions that are much more helpful:

❌ You aren’t doing this right

✔️This is different from what I expected

❌ If only you would stop…

✔️ It seems as though __X__ might be getting in our way

❌ Why did you do that?

✔️ What motivated you to do that?

❌ You’re wrong

✔️ My experience has been…

✔️ I see this differently…

❌ You’re lying. I don’t believe that.

✔️ I’m confused about…

❌ That’s ridiculous

✔️ I hadn’t considered that. How will that work for both of us?

❌ You make me mad

❌ You’re making me feel…

✔️ I get upset when…

✔️ I feel…

It takes effort to build a communication bridge between two humans especially when we haven’t dug deep enough to find commonality. The antidote is curiosity about the other person and where they’re coming from.

I challenge you

👉🏻👉🏽👉🏿 Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to observe your thoughts and triggers today. Notice when you want to spontaneously punch someone (call them names, push them into traffic) you catch my drift. Then…you have a very small window between your desired reaction and your actual one. PAUSE and take two deep breaths. Only then give yourself permission to respond with compassion or tell them you need to excuse yourself and take a ten-minute break. Release the constriction in your body so you can return to the conversation with poise.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Irene Abbou

Im very interested in your thoughts and any ideas on new topics 🙂

You can always reach me on Instagram

Https://www.instagram.com/irene.abbou/


DEAR REPRESSED EMOTIONS


DEAR REPRESSED EMOTIONS,

“Im on the path to being somone Im equally terrified by and obsessed with. My true self.”

~Troye Sivan

 

Welcome to a new year, beautiful!

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my fill with all the social media rah rah of New Year New You. I think this phrase is a crock and sends a message of you’re not enough without purchasing, signing up to or altering some part of you. No-one needs to become someone new. We’re brilliant beings with our own quirks, our own crazy and our own radiance. We just need to take a big step out of the rational mind, and listen to the voice that speaks when we are most at peace.The part of us that knows there is NO WAY we are not going to show up, stand tall and live the life we were meant to.

 

I’m happy to be writing on repressing emotions because it affects pretty much everyone in one way or another. It could be with your boss, your silent mom, or friends that escape to a magical world for weeks on end.

 

Although repressed and suppressed feelings are often swapped around, their meaning is different. Repressed emotions are when unconsciously our mind decided -without asking our opinion- certain emotions were not ok. So, in an effort to protect you, it made them dis-appear. Suppressed emotions are when we consciously push feelings away.


Here’s the thing, repressors (totally made up word) of feelings don’t know they’ve bottled up their feelings. What they do know, is something is not quite right with their communication skills. Often others don’t “get them.” They find themselves being impatient, judgmental and sometimes challenged with social cues. Empathy doesn’t come naturally. On the flip side, the majority of the ones I have known are high achievers, annoyingly educated and can outwit anyone intellectually.



According to Amelia Nagoski best-selling author of Burnout, emotions are biological cycles that happen in your body. Like digestion it has a beginning a middle and an end. How cool is that? We know that if digestion gets stuck somewhere in the middle of its cycle, some upsetting things will happen. The same is true for emotions.

 

They can show up as:

● Never feeling loved (for the real you)

● Being judgmental

● Difficulty with vulnerability

● Emotional detachment

● Poor self-esteem

● Difficulty with patience

 

Why do people hold back emotions?

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry notes that emotional detachment can be the result of neglect, physical or emotional abuse, or even the loss of a caregiver through death or separation. In addition, it can be a response to being shamed or never witnessing feelings expressed as a young person.

 

Bottom line? Repression isn’t a healthy, long-term strategy. So let’s pull them out of our 501s and do this instead…

 

Release your repressed emotions

 

💕 Acknowledge that ignoring your emotions has been a barrier to forming authentic connections. They’re habitual and often unconscious, so this first step is often the toughest.

 

💕 Don’t judge yourself so harshly.

Repressing emotions is a survival mechanism we needed as children. You’ve likely experienced some form of trauma where it either felt uncomfortable or unsafe to express them. Instead, speak to yourself with compassion. Try to identify both the feeling and the real reason behind the feeling, not the B.S. our mind tries to convince us of.

 

💕 Practice using « I feel » statements.

It can sometimes be confusing when we’re not used to naming our feelings. Try to identify them by saying “I feel disappointed,” “I feel excited,” or “I feel embarrassed.” It gets to the heart of the matter. But saying “I feel like you’re an idiot” doesn’t work because it’s not a feeling.

 

Use this prompt:

 

“I feel >>emotion<< because >>situation<<.”

 

💕 Try EFT.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a short-term non-invasive therapy designed to release energies that disrupt our wellbeing. It uses fingers (yours or a practitioners) to stimulate specific energy points. It is simple and can be practiced anywhere. This technique evolved from the theory that negative emotions are trapped in our body and need to be released to alleviate emotional suffering.

 

The best visual I can use for keeping emotions at bay is holding a beach ball underwater. It takes so much effort and its only a matter of time before it smacks you in the face. I highly recommend getting some sort of outside support if you believe you have many of the above characteristics .

 

My biggest wish for you this year is to PLAY MORE and bring your feelings in to awareness! Put an end to emotional repression and let’s work together to create genuine human connections.

 

Here’s to feeling truly loved,

 

Irene💕

 

 

Irene is the creator of the Happiness Within Reach program which coaches single, freedom loving women on the foundational skills of building a meaningful relationship with themselves so they can attain the love they dream of. She is an ICF, ACC Certified Personal Development coach who holds two certifications from the University of Pennsylvania on Positive Psychology and is trained in the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy. Irene is an advisor to the Keeepr app as well as a dating coach to the Three Day Rule Matchmaking Company. She is also an Amazon best-selling co-author of the book How To Be Crazy Amazing During Difficult Times and has been interviewed on podcasts such as Chat With Leaders and Beyond Barriers. Her mission is to remind women of their indisputable worthiness and capability of creating the extraordinary soul on fire life that is their birthright.

 

You can reach me on the link below:

​Https://www.instagram.com/irene.abbou/



Benevolently Sexist or Chivalrous? Whichever, More Please!

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I have missed you and am so excited to get back to writing you!

Let me preface by saying I know for some; this post might stir up big emotions. My intention is to offer you a wider lens with which to view some well-meaning men that live by a set of traditional masculine morals. I won’t be focusing on what I believe to be the exceptions; men that pay for dates expecting sex in return or those that offer to carry heavy grocery bags implying we are too weak to do it ourselves.

I’m speaking of gentlemen. Yes, I know, they actually exist! The well-educated men that respect women’s professional drive and accomplishments but simultaneously feel good about taking the initiative of asking a woman out on a proper date, paying for most and making sure she is safe by walking on the traffic side of the street.

I can hear some of you thinking “great Irene but what the hell is benevolent sexism?” I’m glad you asked because I had never heard of the term before last night, but felt inspired to learn more. It refers to a theoretical framework developed by social psychologists Peter Glick and Susan Fiske which reinforces traditional gender roles signaling women need to be protected by men.

One study posted on Journals.sagepub.com published by Kathleen Connelly and Martin Heesacker explains that even though previous research proposes benevolent sexism as an ideology that sustains gender inequality; some very much support it, as it has also been linked to greater life satisfaction. Besides these findings Connelly is against it as it presumes “women are wonderful but weak.”

Although the second- wave feminism movements overarching goal was to achieve gender equality, it confused the hell out of many men that value more traditional behaviors. Gentlemen in the baby-boomer generation knew how women expected to be treated. They had a more courteous approach towards women. Men wanted to lead and believed it was their role to provide a certain type of security; financial and physical towards women they loved. Today roles are undefined both men and women aren’t sure how to act, what to say and what is actually desired by the other.

I had such an interesting coaching session last week with a charming Gen-X male entrepreneur whose topic of conversation sparked my curiosity and moved me to dive a little deeper on this subject. He said he was raised to believe it was common courtesy to open doors for women and pay for dates but sometimes felt torn to act with integrity as he didn’t want to be viewed as a sexist ass.

As a result of this conversation, what really sparked my interest was, what do women, especially devoted feminists feel about men that express some old school courting?

A study of 782 women in 5 experiments conducted by Pelin Gul a post-doctoral research fellow in the Dept of Psychology at Iowa State University found that women were more attracted to benevolently sexist men than their counterparts, despite knowing these men were more likely to be patronizing and controlling.

The findings show women interpret men who confidently go after what they want and cherish women as signs of a partner that will commit, protect and provide. The reality is, women want men who make them feel physically, emotionally and financially safe, period. This is the case no matter how professionally successful they are.

Drinking the Kool Aid of women don’t need men and we can have and do it all on our own came with the cost of believing we should be doing everything on our own. This led to a whole lot of high-achieving but lonely women.

There has never been a time in history where women had more pressure or expectations on their shoulders. We’re juggling building businesses, managing employees and doing whatever it takes to keep up with the ridiculous cultural beauty expectations while simultaneously taking on twice as much on child care and housework. How much more fulfilling would our lives be if we released some of our control and allowed these men to take the lead and do more for us?

Wishing you a wonderful rest of your day!

P.S. I would love to be connected with you on Instagram and see what you too are up to.

You can find me @Irene.abbou

XOXO,

Irène Abbou