One of her strongest memories from childhood was of being told, over and over, "You can do better than this!" And she could have done better, if she hadn't had ADD. But whatever she did was never good enough. She has a severe problem finishing things and with organizing. Wilton has a poor self-image; her inability to finish projects makes it worse. Feeling bad about herself sets her up for trouble with boundaries and taking care of herself and dealing with supervisors Wilton is afraid of her feelings, especially anger. She finds it difficult to speak up for herself when she needs to; instead, she becomes strangled on her anger, gets red faced and bursts into tears; she becomes ineffective. She also has trouble setting boundaries and in protecting herself. Her job involves helping people. She gets tangled up in other peoples' problems and swallowed up and used up, and not just on her job. For example, she has difficulty untangling and getting off the phone, so her time gets used up. We've worked on triage, which means sorting out: some problems you can help with a reasonable effort, some you maybe could help but would use up most of your resources, and some you couldn't help no matter how much time, energy and resources you spent. In her particular job, Wilton needs the ability to triage, and also the ability to take care of herself. Sometimes when I try to be assertive, my friend takes it the wrong way and gets offended. We've all done it; we've all compared ourselves to others and gauged our own abilities, relationships, resources etc. on what we believe other people have and what they can do. How often, though, do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us and consider ourselves blessed? More often, we compare ourselves with someone who we believe to be better, or have better or more skills, abilities or personal qualities, and better or more resources and possessions. We compare ourselves with others in negative ways, comparing what we think is the worst of ourselves to the best we presume about others. Comparing ourselves with someone else is an inaccurate and irrelevant measuring stick. It's a faulty comparison.

Take, for example, a quiet, calm and introverted person who likes to spend periods of time on their own (and feels there's something 'wrong' with them for this). What do they get by comparing themselves to a gregarious, outgoing person (who actually gets bored by an hour alone with themselves)? What kind of illogical conclusions can result with this comparison? That the extrovert is better than the introvert? Of course not. Each individual has their own qualities and strengths but in different ways. Yes, that can happen. People can easily mistake your assertiveness for aggressiveness, especially if they have had some aggressive encounters with you before. Hang in there! Your friend will most likely adapt in the end. Assertiveness can be stressful in the short term, but it is usually good for relationships in the long term. One of the major reasons why people eat is stress. It therefore makes sense that since meditation relieves stress, it can be useful in helping put you back on the road to healthy eating. One idea I like especially is to use meditation to reduce food cravings. Fr. Jamie Zimmerman suggests learning how to handle food cravings with awareness and intention: Problem: "I feel really uncomfortable when I try to act assertively!"It is normal to feel a bit uncomfortable when trying out a new skill. However, sometimes this discomfort comes from beliefs you have about assertiveness that may prevent you from embracing this communication style. Here are a few beliefs that get in the way of assertiveness, and some alternatives. Assertiveness is all about winning. Actually, assertiveness is not about forcing others to do your bidding, rather, it's about freeing yourself to choose what you will do, even if you choose to compromise or give in.

You'll use the acronym STOP to help you through moments of fear and weakness. S stands for simply that: stop. T stands for take three deep breaths. O stands for observe. P stands for proceed, in a way that supports you and those around you. You'll use this acronym to understand where the craving is coming from and what it means. What thoughts are going through your head right now? What is your craving telling you? What do you imagine will happen if you act on the craving? Breathe deeply and allow yourself to discover what you truly need. An important principle is that you need to take care of yourself first or you won't be able to help anyone else. That's what the flight attendants always tell us: " In the event of an emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then on your child." The Red Cross teaches, "If someone is drowning in the pool, don't jump in with them. Use a pole or a life saving ring and stay on the side." That's one of the reasons I'm taking this week off. I won't be available to help others this week, but when I come back next week, I'll be better able to help. Wilton gives a lot and doesn't receive much in return; she spends her time taking care of others, but she has trouble taking care of herself. We don't do well with a boss. Comparing ourselves with others is one of the most insidious forms of negative thinking because there's no end to the possible number of comparisons you can make; there will always be something - or someone - else to compare yourself with. There's always someone you meet, see, listen to or read about that you can perceive as having more or doing better than you. You may think that you're making a fair comparison between yourself and someone else but, in fact, confirmation bias prompts you to look for evidence to support and confirm what you've already decided is true; the negative ways in which you don't match up. Because you already think that the other person is better than you in some way, and/or because you're feeling bad about what you do or don't have, you look for and accept evidence of what you don't have, can't do, will never be etc.

These sorts of negative comparisons add no value, meaning or fulfilment to your life. They only create resentment and a sense of unfairness and deprivation. You have nothing to gain, but much to lose. Like me, Wilton doesn't do well with a boss; we function better independently. Although competent, we both carry a sense of inadequacy, connected to our deep shame. So we're hypersensitive to anything that suggests we're not totally adequate, like someone else telling us what to do, for example. Part of Wilton's problems with her bosses is about not finishing projects, part is her trouble speaking up, and part is not taking direction well. So she is usually mad at the boss. The angrier she gets, the harder it is for her to finish projects, and the more she doesn't finish, the more trouble she has with her bosses, and then that makes her angrier yet. But she's only beginning to be able to be aware that she's mad; she's more likely to feel overwhelmed. It is selfish to be assertiveNot true! Everyone has a right to their preferences and opinions. You can express yours without demanding that others agree with you. If you take care of yourself, you will be better able to help others. People will only like me if I do what they wantIn fact, it is possible to be yourself and still be loved. Think of the people that you care about; do you only like them because they always give in to you? Or do you like their more assertive qualities, such as their confidence or the way they show their personality? My only role in life is to help othersIt is OK to do some things for other people, and to get some feelings of self-worth from helping others, however, it's easy to take this too far. If you feel guilty or worthless whenever you do things for yourself, it may be helpful to learn to respect and care for yourself as well as others. Open up your binder or computer, and answer the following questions.

What is your past experience regarding meditation? Write your experience. Are you currently practicing meditation? If so, what type of meditation, and what is the benefit of meditation for you? Last year, Gina came to me for some career coaching sessions. She told me that reading her friends', family's and colleagues' social media posts recently, it seemed that everyone was doing better than her. Gina's younger sister had just announced that she'd been promoted to a management role. A colleague had posted pictures of a business trip to Europe. One friend had posted pictures of the house he'd just bought. Another had been accepted onto a Masters degree course. Two others had announced their engagements. I</a> feel like such a loser,everyone else is doing great things with their lives. I know I should be happy for them but it just gets me down when I realize how far behind I am compared to them.' When I asked her what she meant about being so far behind' her friends, here's what she said:I'm 29 years old and I still haven't got into a management role. I haven't travelled anywhere on business. I don't earn enough to buy a house or even a decent car. I'm single and it seems like all my friends are either getting engaged or married. And to top it all, it's my school reunion this summer. Everyone's going to be talking about their great jobs, relationships, their travels and so on. I can't bear the thought of it.' When you meditate, are you clearly focused or does your mind have a tendency to start drifting? How do you think you can get focus?