Are you stuck in “should?”

Are you stuck in “should”? Do you feel like something’s missing?
Do you tell yourself:

**I should be happy
**I should have lost the weight by now
**I should be married by now
**I should have had children by now
**I should be more successful by now

Should is one of the most toxic words in the English language. If you are really paying attention to your inner dialogue, how many times a day, an hour, a minute do you use this word?

Think about the role language plays in human existence. We have feelings and see images on the screens of our minds that we experience internally and privately. Others cannot feel and see what we see so we use language to approximate and communicate the essence of what we are experiencing. We load words with energy, emotion and images that we wish to convey to another person in an attempt to invite them to understand our unique, internal experiences. We also use these words internally to process life.

Every word carries implied energy. In addition, these energetic implications can vary from person to person depending on our unique history with the word. The word “should” implies expectation—expectations that we are placing on ourselves or that others have placed on us. It takes us out of the present moment, generates anxiety and can lead to feelings of disempowerment.

Life is not made to be lived in the “shoulds”. This word zaps our energy, invokes feelings of guilt and shame, and takes away all of our motivation. Together, we can uncover what YOU want from your one and only life….not what society has told you you “should” desire. As your life coach, I will walk alongside you to give you the keys to unlock a life of fulfillment, purpose, and confidence.

Who’s in Charge?

Human assumption is that we are in full control of not only our day but our lives. Reality suggests, however, that this may not actually be the case. The human design is a fascinating one. When we take a deep look into the psychology of the mind, emotions and human consciousness, we find the most brilliant of all smart, organic technologies. To truly take control of our lives, there are a few systems we must understand.

#1 – Mind

Where attention goes energy flows.

1. Mind. Where attention goes energy flows. Our superpower as human beings is our attention. We possess the ability to harness and wield powerful forces of energy through the direction of our attention and ability to focus. The Jedi force is within and how we access it is through focused attention.

#2 – Emotions

Emotions are the biochemical consequence
of the thoughts we are thinking.

Emotions are the biochemical consequence of the thoughts we are thinking. The thoughts we think, the stories we tell, and the truths and lies we believe, not only are the result of practiced attention but also trigger the conversion of electrical energy to chemical energy in our body that we then experience as emotions, moods or feelings. It is important to understand we have the ability to actively influence our emotional output by minding our mental input.

#3 – Consciousness

There are levels of awareness we must be familiar with.

3. Consciousness. There are levels of awareness we must be familiar with to truly take charge of our lives. Conscious awareness is our awareness of self and the world around us in real, present moment time. Ego awareness is the awareness of ourselves as identified by the voices and emotions within that are separate from the external world and whose primary focus is preservation and survival. Subconscious awareness is the neuro and bio supercomputer technology that is our body, specifically our nervous system that can take in massive amounts of information at the level of energy, has infinite memory and operates beyond time in past, present and future simultaneously. The subconscious is what builds our reality, the conscious is what directs our reality and the ego is what experiences reality.

Understanding the basic operating systems of human psychology serves to empower us. When our conscious mind is not actively directing our reality in the present moment due to its preoccupation with the past or future, the subconscious programs kick in and take charge. The problem with this is that the subconscious is limited to experiencing only what it has known in the past and the ego loves this because what is known is safe. This means our past is directing our future unless we actively engage our attention in the present.

So, to truly take control of our lives we consciously decide what to pay attention to in the present moment, carefully selecting our thoughts and gently guiding our focus toward those things that make us feel good.

Mindfulness and the Monk

I once heard a story about a monk who went to visit his master on a rainy day. The monk and the master spoke for a while and then before the monk left, the master asked, “What side of the umbrella did you leave your shoes?” The monk thought this question was absurd and trivial. Did it really matter where his shoes were when his purpose was of a spiritual nature? The monk replied, “I do not know.” The master then said, “Go and meditate another seven years for you are not ready.”

Monks spend years in monasteries studying with the Masters to learn what the meaning of life is all about. Humans have spent countless hours contemplating the existential purpose of life. Where in their understanding of life have they arrived? The place that never leaves us and shows up every day—the present. 

Existential philosopher or not, we are all driven, at some point, to search for purpose, power and presence. Presence is where our power resides and where we find our power we find our purpose. So is there a key that unlocks all three—presence, power and purpose?

Mindfulness. The quickest way to access the power in the present moment that leads to the discovery of our purpose is through mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a tool through which we can experience life at its most fulfilling level. When we are mindful we allow the universe to fill our minds and hearts with the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches available to us only in the present moment.  When mindful, we feel as if we exist in a constant state of flow. We achieve mindfulness when we are able to remain in unreactive presence. Mindfulness is the power of now.

When we ‘fall asleep’ or allow our minds to fill with future plans and past experiences, they become dams that have no room for the flowing, creative, universal stream of consciousness to replenish its waters. In a sense, we have grown attached to the stagnant pool captured behind the dam. Furthermore, while our mind is preoccupied with the stagnant pool of the past and future, our present becomes governed by our autopilot—our subconscious programming—our past.

We must learn in our own way how to exist in a state of mindfulness. In order to be freely who we are, we must remove the obstructions that block us from realizing our true potentials. We must override the cruise control that has us living in the past and choose to live in the present moment.

Mindfulness is the conscious saturation of multiple streams of data available to us now. Opening ourselves up to receive and experience this information builds the presence that accesses the power that yields our purpose. And that is the meaning of life.

The Silver Lining of 2020

2020 has most certainly been a challenging year. Unexpected twists and turns have met us around every corner. It seemed as if each time I adjusted to the ‘new normal’ and felt as if I could rest in a routine, along came another unforeseen turn of events. Each time it would blow my house of cards down and require yet another adjustment. To survive this year, I’ve had to grow increasingly comfortable with the unknown. I’ve had to allow myself to accept the unexpected. I’ve had to learn to live with a progressively unclear future and an uncertain timeline. Time itself has felt as if it slowed down and sped up simultaneously. Any attempt to try and control conditions, let alone time, led to massive amounts of stress and overwhelm. The silver lining of this chaos? A desperate need to let go of planning for an uncertain future and the relief that focusing on only the present moment provides.

It’s common as we near the end of any year for us to take inventory of our lives and our progress. Where have we succeeded? Do we have any regrets? Where can we improve next year? In taking inventory of my own life, I have grown to realize some very important things. When 2019 was drawing to a close and I was eagerly anticipating the gifts and opportunities 2020 would carry, I chose a word, an intention that I wished to focus on for the year. My word was alignment. Little did I know that I would be taken on quite the roller coaster ride to show me in the clearest ways possible exactly what alignment means.

Like many, I often get stuck on the hamster wheel of my mind. Of the tens of thousands of thoughts I think every day, many of them are not only the exact same thoughts from the days before, but also the thoughts I have acquired from others over my lifetime. Specifically, any of the thoughts that follow words like ‘should’ and ‘need to’ quickly indicate that the ideas following do not originate with me.

Albert Einstein (amongst many other brilliants) pointed out that all things are made of energy, including us. Energy vibrates at varying frequencies causing the infinite expression and transformation of itself into all that exists in reality. We too are vibrating energy and each of us has our own unique energetic signature—a song if you will, that is played in perfect harmony when we are in alignment with our authentic selves.

Alignment is defined as a position of agreement or alliance. When we are in alignment, what we think, what we do, what we feel, who we are, how we express ourselves, who we spend time with, are all in agreement or coherence with our unique and individual energetic signature. Alignment happens when we build an external world that matches our internal world.

What is the point of any of this? We are all seeking happiness. However, we will never find sustainable happiness in an external world that is not in alignment with who we are. When we insist on forcing ourselves to fit into a misaligned reality, we become the enforcers of our own suffering. So we must consider this: it’s not always that we are failing to find the happiness in the moment. It’s possible we are standing in the wrong moment. Moments that are misaligned with who we are. When we find our moments, the ones that match our unique energetic signature—our people, our passion, our power—we feel alignment. Unknowingly, we’ve had it inside out. If the point of it all is to feel happy, we must seek alignment first. Happiness is the side effect of alignment.

May we all set our compass toward alignment in 2021 in order to invite the peace and happiness that we all deserve into our lives.

Keyword: Thoughts

Everything we desire is right in front of us but we are unable to see it if our brain doesn’t have the program to perceive its existence. We possess the power to install the very program that’s needed to make what we desire a part of our reality. Thoughts are key. They leave imprints on our mind. When we are not getting what we want in life it is likely due to a lack of focused attention toward our desire.

Imagine that the subconscious mind is like a computer search engine that has the access to fetch any piece of data that exists on the internet. It’s important to note, the internet is infinite in nature. It is constantly expanding. It has infinite memory. It is also where all data is stored and can be accessed as long as we are providing the correct keywords. The internet does not exist inside the computer. The computer is simply a tool by which we can interact with and access the internet. Consciousness is very much the same.   

The subconscious is the search engine,
thoughts are the keywords,
brain is the hardware
and mind is the user.

All information that is available on the internet is available to us. Limited access to information happens not because there is some force outside of us that is restricting availability. Limited access is the result of limiting beliefs, limited focus, undisciplined attention and quite simply a lack of understanding exactly how the machine called consciousness works.

So, what is it that you desire most in the world? Intentionally choose the thoughts that support this desire and you will begin the process, through persistence and repetition, of installing the program that will allow you to perceive its existence. When we control our own attention, direct our own thoughts and choose our own actions we become the chief programmers of our lives.

Looking Into The Mirror of Relationships

​Let’s take inventory of our relationships. Relationships reveal so much about us. We are the vibrational average of the five people we spend the most time with. Therefore, our relationships are very much a mirror reflecting back to us our beliefs, our mindset and our self-image.

Quote from Tharwat Lovett, Life Coach: Our relationships are a mirror reflecting back to us our beliefs, our mindset and our self-image.

​As individuals and as a collective, we project beliefs, attitudes, behavior and expectations into our relationships and onto the world. These projections influence our life experiences. A mindset is a set of attitudes or beliefs held by someone. If reality is a mirror, then it is our mindset that is the key to changing our lives, improving our self-image and healing our relationships. To shift, we must gently and with grace train our attention toward the data that will build the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that lead to changes in what we project. We can use the information available to us from the reflections of our relationships to help us shift.

Image of a mirror reflecting the sky with a quote from Tharwat Lovett, life coach in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The world acting as our mirror, will always reflect back to us what we have projected onto it. While standing in front of a mirror, do we lock horns with our frowning reflection demanding that it smile at us first before we agree to smile back? This is futile! Most of us understand that if we wish the reflection in the mirror to smile at us, we must choose to first smile into the mirror.

Woman reaching out for help, reflected in water with clouds overhead, illustrating a quote by Life Coach Tharwat Lovett in Little Rock, Arkansas.

How we treat ourselves informs others, the mirror reflections of aspects of ourselves, how to relate to us. If I am judgmental of myself, I will be judgmental of you and you in turn will be judgmental of me, hence the frown. If I am compassionate toward myself, I will be compassionate toward you and you in turn will be compassionate toward me, making it easier to smile.

We can only see without what we are able to see within. We can only feel without what we are able to feel within. Allowing our imagination to consider this, we enable ourselves to take ownership of what we project. This is where the real power to shift lays.

"We can only see without what we are able to see within" - quote from Tharwat Lovett, life coach, illustrated by an image of a mirror reflecting the sky.

I Get To Choose. I Get To Decide.

Gone are the days of taking emotional responsibility for all those around me.

Gone are the days where I judge everything as personal.

Gone are the days of expecting my conditions and the people in my life to be or behave in a certain way for me to feel happy.

And gone are the days of me riding that emotional roller coaster, wondering when I wake up if today is going to be a good day or a bad day. ​

Quote by Tharwat Lovett illustrated by a roller coaster image.

​Today I embrace the power that resides in me. Power is the space between stimulus and response. Power is choice. So to embrace my power, I will remind myself in every moment that I have a choice. I get to choose how I respond. I get to choose the narrative. I get to choose how I act. I get to choose the intentions and goals I set for myself each day then make the decisions and take the steps that will lead me toward them.

Power is choice - quote by Tharwat Lovett, MAP.

Today I invite peace into my life. Peace is the release of expectation. Peace is the relinquishing of external control and the embracing of the discipline of internal regulation. Peace grows as I become unconditional by letting go of judgment because judgment of others leads to judgment of self. I get to choose the thoughts I think. I get to direct my own attention. I get to decide how I tell the story. I get to eliminate the contingency between my emotions and my conditions and I get to choose who I invite into my life.

Image of a Ferris wheel and sky, reminding people to seek peace; do so with the help of someone like Tharwat Lovett, MAP, Little Rock, AR.

​Today I will make my number one priority my vibration. My vibe is my job. My vibration is influenced by my emotions. My emotions are regulated by my thoughts. My thoughts are the byproduct of my trained and subjective attention. I will take control of my attention. I will intentionally choose my thoughts. I will build my own self-image by not allowing the people around me to define me. I will not judge myself. I will train my focus on what I do have rather than on what I lack and I will give myself the grace I freely give to others.

Tharwat can help you learn how to raise your vibrational energy; like she says here: "My vibe is my job."
Give yourself grace. Learn how with Tharwat Lovett.

When Life’s Plan Differs From Our Plan

Tharwat Lovett, MAP

How many times have you made plans for your day, week, month or year only for those plans to be interrupted by life? It is not an uncommon occurrence for reality to fall short of, or occasionally exceed, our expectations. Expectations are predicted outcomes or preplanned courses of events. When expectations are met, we feel safe and prepared. When expectations are exceeded, we feel joy and gratitude. When expectations are unmet, we feel angry or disappointed. Point being, the establishment of expectations and their relationship with reality yield emotional reactions. As a result, expectations give our conditions power of influence over our emotional state of being. 

If we are reactive human beings, then we allow our emotions to influence our mental narratives. When we do so, we give up a certain amount of control, allowing our conditions to heavily impact the story of us. Author Stuart Wilde believes negative emotions are a human creation—that they do not exist in the universe outside the human expression of them. He goes on to say that what triggers these negative emotional reactions are the gaps between expectations and reality. When we expect compliance from our conditions, when we require conditional conformity to the prescriptions written by our expectations, we in essence are giving up power to the people, places and things from our external world. 

How do we take back our power? First and foremost, becoming aware of our expectations will allow us to begin the process of taking inventory. Identify which ones we may be willing to eliminate altogether, which ones we can edit and for those we feel are necessary, which ones we can prioritize. It is near impossible to eliminate expectation all together, but we can train ourselves to expect cautiously and sparingly. 

Secondly, we can learn the art of responsiveness over reactiveness. This means when reality goes off script from our plans, we resist the urge to emotionally react instantly. Instead, we create space and observe. Viktor Frankl suggests that true power is the space between stimulus and response. In this space we have not only the power to observe with greater clarity, but also the power to choose an intentional response—therefore, responding to our conditions rather than reacting to them. 

When we successfully remove the contingency of our emotional state of being from our conditions, we not only invite a great deal more peace into our lives but we also succeed in taking back the control and power that is rightfully ours.

What's the key to success? Love. A blog post by Tharwat Lovett, emotional and wellness coach, from July 2020.

What is the key to success? LOVE.

If you wish to be a good parent, love your children.

If you wish to have a successful career, love your work.

If you wish to live your life to its fullest potential, love every moment of it.

If you wish to fulfill your life’s purpose, love who you are.

If you wish to be surrounded by people who respect and support you, love yourself.

There are so many scenarios in life, so many ways of being and so many potentials swimming in the sea of possibilities. There are so many rules and so many exceptions to those rules. There are so many examples, stories, truths, paths, practices, traditions and rituals but there is only one map with one word that will guarantee we arrive at our individual and unique destinations…and that is LOVE.

The heart is the map and love is the feeling we get when thinking about or doing those things we are aligned with. Love is the needle of the heart’s compass. When it is aligned with our individual truth, feelings of joy, pleasure, excitement, peace and ease begin to flood the cells of our human bodies. 

A Mother, Not A Martyr

“Responsible motherhood is to become a mother not a martyr.”

Glennon Doyle

I am a mother of four children, who was raised by a mother of five children and a grandmother who had seven children. It’s no wonder that I find being a martyr so much easier than being a mother. Most of my maternal models have taught me that being a mother is self-sacrifice and service to others—at one’s own expense. I’ve learned the hard way just how important self-care and self-development is, for me and for my family as well. Being a mother takes a tremendous amount of daily energy. The martyr model is an unsustainable and non-renewable use of energy. Self-care and self-development teach us how to tap into the well, the source of limitless energy, inside of each of us. 

Here are some things I’ve learned about becoming a mother instead of a martyr. As you read it, remember: I mess up all the time. We are all going to. Once I realize it, I take responsibility and discuss it with my kids. They need to see me make mistakes and then course correct. Remember, children do not listen to what we say, they watch what we do, taking their cues from our actions. 

The list is a little longer than usual, but this is a lifetime journey. I hope that something here will be useful to you exactly where you are today.

1. Love freely and openly.

We love differently as human beings. It is our responsibility to learn how our people wish to be loved then make it a point to meet them there.

2. Communicate clearly. 

Even though this seems simple, the number one cause for breakdown in relationships is a failure to effectively communicate. 

  • Focus on “I” statements rather than “you” statements. 
  • Use mirroring, or repeating what the other person has said, to enhance communication.
  • Speak up about what you are proud of or grateful for—especially the little things. Take every opportunity to share love (even if it’s “thank you for putting one dish in the dishwasher”). 

3. Validate feelings, not fixes.

Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Mothers are fixers. Our kids approach us with problems and we immediately want to help them solve those problems. We are not helping our children by fixing them. 

  • Problems are something we will all deal with our entire lives. 
  • Your child’s ability to explore and find solutions increases significantly when you offer emotional support and validation instead of a fix.
  • Invalidated emotions demoralize. Validated emotions vanquish. 

4. Challenge conclusions.

Life is rarely about what actually happens; it’s far more about the conclusions we draw about what happens. Our conclusions are influenced by our mind’s narrative – the story we tell from our perspective. Our perspective is limited to our point of view, and the narrative in our mind will make or break us. 

  • Stretch your perspective by considering alternative points of view. Teach your children to do the same.
  • We can’t change what is happening, but we can change how we see and understand it – the conclusion we draw. 
  • By doing this we change the story, alter our experience, and transform our lives. 

5. Manage expectations & resist judgment.

When life hands us what we expect, we judge it as good or right. When life hands us something contrary to what we expect, we judge it as bad or wrong. Judgment goes hand in hand with expectation. The gap between expectations and reality is where negative emotion grows. Peace in life comes from handling expectations and judgement:

  • Resist the urge to establish an expectation at all. 
  • If you must have (or insist on) an expectation, take care to not emotionally tie yourself to the outcome.
  • Cultivate the ability to lay (good/bad, right/wrong) dualism down. Instead, consider that in life there is only loving and learning. If I am not loving who I am with or what I am doing, I am learning from it.

6. Become aware by observing reactions.

We aren’t aware of the many ways our brain works to protect us. Every person has a unique pattern of subconscious survival defense mechanisms. We only become aware of our own patterns by observing our reactions—both healthy and toxic. Once we become aware, then we have a choice, and choice is where real human power exists. Aside from love, awareness is the greatest gift we can give to our children. 

7. Redefine perfection and seek alignment.

We’ve been taught (and unwittingly teach our children) that perfection is a destination and that achievements are the stones that pave the road. Re-conceptualize or redefine what you understand perfect to mean:

  • Perfection isn’t a destination, but the state of being in alignment.
  • Alignment is when our behavior, thoughts and feelings are allied. What we think, feel and do are all on the same page. 
  • Living in alignment feels like flow and ease. 
  • Cognitive dissonance (what happens in our mind when we are not in alignment) is the enemy of perfection. 
  • It is essential that we find our own alignment.
  • It is crucial that we give our children space and support to find their own alignment and understand that as the definition of perfection.

8. Listen and live authentically.

Each of us has our own energetic signature—our song vibrating on its very own frequency. We need to listen to that song and make sure our life and the people in it harmonize. That is authentic living. And, we cannot assume our children’s song is identical to our own. We must learn to hear and honor the songs of our loved ones too.

9. Know and speak your truth.

As we practice living authentically in alignment, we come to know our truth. Our truth is that which honors who we are.

  • Our truth allows us to live our life with doors wide open—nothing hidden, nothing held back. 
  • There is no judgment of that which is not a match to our truth. Acceptance is the byproduct of authenticity. 

10. Teach others how to treat you.

No one can read our mind or automatically understand us. As we understand our truth, we become better equipped to communicate that to others. We recognize what our needs are and then educate those around us; teaching others how to treat us is our responsibility. When we respect and love ourselves, we show others how to respect and love us too.

11. Practice presence.

It is easy to get lost in the past or the future, which feeds anxiety and depression. We will never have power or choice over what happens in the past or future. We only have power over what we are experiencing now, so we must settle our mind in the present moment and model that to our children. 

12. Take time to rest.

In a world that overstates achievement, it is easy to lose ourselves in everyday survival. We all know work is productive, but what about rest? We honor and live our truth by resting when our body, soul and mind ask us to. Our children need to see us rest just as they need to see us work. 

13. Give yourself grace. 

Glennon Doyle tells us we must learn to identify the language of indoctrination: should, need to, have to, good, bad, etc. These words trigger a mind that is polluted with conditions and expectations. The mind will hold our feet to the flame, demanding perfectionistic ideals. The imagination, however, is a storyteller. The mind fears while the heart imagines. We give ourselves grace by recognizing when the mind is trying to control something better left to imagination. Grace allows us to let go of expectations of others, and more importantly, ourselves.