4 Habits Of Superbly Confident People

I have learned from my mother, who had unshakable inner trust in life, that the ability to create the life you want is not based on resumes and degrees, but
on giving yourself permission to be who you are; accepting yourself the way you are; trying new things; not being afraid to fail; and using this world as your
playground, knowing that you are writing the script as you go along. But often in our minds and creative imaginations, we start to write scripts that have
negative outcomes that undermine us. Our critical voice stops us from attempting something new and following the spark of a new idea. I think Shakespeare
said it best, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/agapi-stassinopoulos/confidence-tips_b_4412316.html

Why Intimacy Is The Secret Key To Health

When we talk about intimacy, most people immediately think of intimacy in a romantic way, which as we all know, comes and goes and has its own ups and downs. There is, however, another kind of intimacy, which is one of the greatest ways we humans have available to us to access ourselves. I learned that from my mother, who used to have the ritual of spending time with friends or new people she would meet at our kitchen table. She would always prepare special little goodies, sharing food while immersed in conversation. You would get the sense that the outside world would disappear and one would feel that you were in the presence of something almost sacred. She used to call these encounters my “human communion.” She would be so fully present with someone and undistracted, she would listen to them, share with them and offer her magical insights, making the person feel like they were the most important person in the universe. This could have been anyone, from someone she just recently met to an old friend to a bank clerk who she randomly connected with at the bank while she was making a deposit, and the next thing you know they’ll be sitting at our kitchen table. That is the gift of human intimacy, which after all, means Into-me-see.

As I have gone on in my life, I too, aim to practice this kind of intimacy when I am with another person. These kinds of intimate connections become food for the soul. Actually I must confess, I am a bit of an intimacy addict. I cannot go without my daily fix. It takes a certain courage to drop one’s own agenda, such as “What can the other person do for me?” or “I want them to like me,” or “I want to impress them.” All of this can cloud the genuine caring for another person.

In this fast-paced world, most people are always focused on getting to the next thing, missing the moment, which creates anxiety and leaves us with a feeling of discontent. I recently heard a woman at the panel say that she realized that she had not been making contact with her children’s eyes because she was so preoccupied with with moving on to the next thing. Missing these precious moment hardens our hearts and deprives us of the sweetness of life.

The remedy to that is doses of intimate moments, experiences and interactions. This is more of a healthy choice and it takes conscious effort, but the end result is a sense of deeper calmness and peace. The sense of urgency disappears and you now have become in charge of your own time. Beyond our public image, and behind the masks that we wear before leaving the house there is the real person, the real heart and the real lives that we all have that. What my mother often demonstrated was the ability to disarm the other person, where their masks and pretenses would fall off and the real person would emerge. She embodied this authentic unconditional caring that made the other person’s walls crumble. I have been very blessed to have real authentic friends in my life, the kind of friends who ask you how are you and you actually tell them, because you feel safe, you feel heard and they have time for you.

I have recently experienced this gift of intimacy with a friend who lives out of town. I found that whenever I would be on the phone in conversation with him, there would never be a sense of rush or zoning out. As the recipient of this gift, I felt there was all the time in the world, and I realized at the end of the conversation that I felt closer actually to myself! What often happens in a relationship is we sense when the other person is on automatic and they don’t really have space for us, they are somewhere else, so we don’t share what is really going on with us, and rightly so.

Imagine what life would be like if we made a point to have more intimate experiences in our lives. What my mother communicated without words was the presence of caring, that was beyond the person’s position, title or status. It was as if her undivided attention was broadcasting “I care for you because of YOU.”

So the reason I was called to write this blog is because I think a shift needs to happen in our culture. The shift that when we are in front of another person, it could be a business meeting, it could be a new encounter, it could be a colleague at your work place, it could be your child’s teacher, we make it our business to practice this deep caring. What it really comes down to is practicing radical generosity in offering your undivided time and energy to another, that is the gift that comes back to you in spades.

Will you share with us how do you practice intimacy in your life, and how are you the recipient and giver of that.

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on conscious relationships, click here.

Visit Agapi’s website Unbindingtheheart.com.
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What to Do When Nature Calls

My last blog was about finding purpose, “5 Essential Questions to Lead You to Your Calling.” In this blog I want to address another calling — nature’s calling. And there is only one answer to that calling: When nature calls, we must honor it.

I was recently at a meeting with a young girlfriend. She’s a passionate entrepreneur, and I was introducing her to some investors for her new venture. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half, and it went very well. As we were leaving and going down the elevator to exit, my friend grabbed my arm, crossed her legs and in a panic said, “We have to find a bathroom right away because I am dying to pee.” I looked at her in amazement and asked her, “Why didn’t you go to the bathroom while we were in the meeting?” She responded, “Oh no, I wouldn’t do that. I didn’t want to interrupt the meeting.” We ran to find her a restroom at a restaurant next door and when she came out I said to her, “Here’s a piece of advice. Honor your bladder first, and if you do, you are going to be much more present in everything you do. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing, how important the meeting is, who you are with. First and foremost you must honor nature’s calling.”

After speaking at an event recently, I had a similar experience. I was signing books and kept wanting to go to the bathroom, but there was a long line. So I kept going, and an hour later I turned to a girl who was helping me and said, “I MUST go to the bathroom,” and she said, “just go,” as if I needed permission for somebody to tell me it was okay to go. I ran to the bathroom, came back and everyone was of course still in line waiting for me. Since then I have spoken to many friends and they have all shared with me that they often too delay going to the bathroom not to interrupt whatever they are involved in. So it got me thinking: What is the issue?

If we do not listen to our basic needs, eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired, stretch when our body is tense, or drink water when we are thirsty, what other signals are we ignoring? What else in ourselves are we neglecting? Why do you think we do that? Could it be that we don’t want to appear normal, vulnerable, of human or that it may cause the wrong impression? Or do we think our meetings are more important than our physical well-being?

Our basic need to go to the bathroom, to eat and to sleep are completely natural urges, and if we suppress them for the sake of what we consider social correctness, we are paying a price.

It is interesting that Michael Bloomberg, during his radio show this week, stated as one of the keys to success, “Take the fewest vacations and the least time away from the desk to go to the bathroom or have lunch.” I say the opposite. Take as many bathroom breaks as you need, recharge in every way you can and return to work renewed and full of energy instead of dragging yourself, and I promise you you are going to be way more productive and, yes, even more successful. Dear Mr. Mayor: When it comes to the question to pee or not to pee, there is no question. Make the time. Interrupt the meeting. Excuse yourself. Visit the closest bathroom.

Do women do this more often than men and why? You must all have a story or two. Would you share it with us?

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

Visit Agapi’s website Unbindingtheheart.com.
Article source >

What To Do When Nature Calls

I was recently at a meeting with a young girlfriend. She’s a passionate entrepreneur, and I was introducing her to some investors for her new venture. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half, and it went very well. As we were leaving and going down the elevator to exit, my friend grabbed my arm, crossed her legs and in a panic said, “We have to find a bathroom right away because I am dying to pee.” I looked at her in amazement and asked her, “Why didn’t you go to the bathroom while we were in the meeting?” She responded, “Oh no, I wouldn’t do that. I didn’t want to interrupt the meeting.” We ran to find her a restroom at a restaurant next door and when she came out I said to her, “Here’s a piece of advice. Honor your bladder first, and if you do, you are going to be much more present in everything you do. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing, how important the meeting is, who you are with. First and foremost you must honor nature’s calling.”

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/agapi-stassinopoulos/nature-calls_b_3860443.html

5 Essential Questions To Lead You To Your Calling

The funny thing is that I am writing this blog as I am sitting with my Greek friend Stavroula, who works with me, having a glass of wine, some mozzarella and tomatoes in NY’s Little Italy. I’m watching people in the summer evening walking about at a slow pace, licking ice creams, couples holding hands and kissing, children running around, men cruising and tons of people sitting on the pavement having dinner, stress-free, enjoying life in the moment. As I am witnessing these rich moments in others’ lives, I can’t help but think to myself that maybe the sixth and most important question is: “Are you enjoying your life, my dear?” and if the answer is no, ask yourself why not. If not now, when.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/agapi-stassinopoulos/finding-your-calling_b_3727704.html

Are You Feeling Depleted? Discovering Your Boundaries

“Treat yourself as if you were someone inexpressively dear to you.”

A few years ago a friend of mine shared this quote with me, and I think every woman should frame it and have it in front of her bathroom mirror.

I have just returned from a wonderful conference at the Grail Springs Lady Fair in Bancroft, Canada, where I spoke to a group of beautiful, soulful women. When I asked the women at the fair, “What is the main purpose of this event?” they replied: “To transform.” Wow! Unlike so many conferences women attend to network or create career opportunities, this conference had the focus of nurturing, healing and transforming. As I stood in front of these women to speak, I felt a familiar sense of knowing them, and how they were all fundamentally healers, caretakers, givers, and mothers, yet I also felt that they were looking for something for themselves.

So I asked them, “How many of you feel depleted?” Three-quarters of the room raised their hands. It seemed to me that most of these women have been taking water from the well to quench the thirst of others, yet they have forgotten to dive into the well and replenish themselves. I know what it feels like to care so deeply for the needs of others, to the point where one’s own needs can be put aside. During the event, a beautiful woman shared how she feels her life was constantly filled with overcoming challenges, taking care of her family, her work and her parents non-stop. When she would experience some kind of joy or happiness, she couldn’t fully let herself experience it because she felt guilty that her parents were in so much distress. “How do I have the right to be happy when my parents are so unhappy?” she would ask herself. She expressed her feelings of despair as if there was no end to it, but at some point in the sharing she allowed herself to release her tears, and that was the beginning of giving her something she really needed, which was to cry. As the event progressed, she found little things that she could do for herself that could reconnect her back to her original joy. “When I sing, while I am driving, I am the happiest,” she said. “Why do you only sing when you drive?” I asked her. “How about singing when you get dressed, or take your children to school?” If singing triggers your joy, then why ever stop singing? Go to work singing. Some people might think you are strange, but some people might join right in.

Like so many women, she did not know how to ask for what she wanted. She could not have her needs taken care of, because many times she, like so many of us, have not even defined our needs. There is a delicate balance between self-care and care for others. We want to be there for others, but if we are doing it to the detriment of our own wellbeing, we are doing a great disservice to who we are.

So my question to you is: Are you giving from your overflow, or are you giving from a tilted cup, overextending yourself and therefore depleting yourself?

It seems to me that this guilt is one of women’s fundamental misconceptions that directly hinder their ability to be happy. This belief has been imbedded in us, a belief that our happiness is dependent upon the happiness of others. We must absolutely give ourselves permission to rewire this wiring and affirm to ourselves, “My happiness and joy only enhance and contribute to other peoples lives, and I will honor my right to be happy, despite others pain and suffering.”

I remember recently meeting the wonderful Zainab Salbi, who works with victims of rape and war, with women who have seen indescribable pain and suffering. Zainab is a woman who absolutely exudes joy, love and enthusiasm. I asked her, “How do you sustain your joy in front of all the pain and suffering you see?” and she said, “If I let my joy die, I would be doing a great disservice to the women I am serving, because I can stand as a reminder to them to find this joy inside of themselves and I can ignite it.” I was so struck by this comment that it has stayed with me. I know so many people, men and women who fall into the trap of taking on others’ pain. In my book, Unbinding The Heart, Chapter 27, “Taking Off the Band-Aid,” I write how I remember when I was 7 years old, playing with one of my friends, and she fell and hurt her knee. She was crying so my mother put a Band-Aid on her knee, but my little friend continued to cry even more because she hated the Band-Aid. My mother turned to me and said, “Agapi, why don’t you put on a Band-Aid as well — that will make her feel better,” so I did. Years later, I realized I have developed a very bad habit of taking on the pain and suffering of others, thinking that I would help them relieve it. When people I cared for would go through something, I would go through it with them. I remember a good friend of mine went through a terrible divorce and when people would ask me, “How are you?” I wanted to say, “Really bad; I am getting a divorce,” when I wasn’t even married. At some point I realized I had to take off that Band-Aid. I had to realize that putting on that Band-Aid didn’t really help my friends at all in feeling better. Putting on the Band-Aid doesn’t help anyone; it is an illusion. Since then, I have been practicing the joy of learning to be empathetic while being conscience of my boundaries, so that others may be lifted, instead of sinking with them. That change in itself can be transformational.

At some point at the end of the workshop, we built teams that supported each other to help create and manifest what we want more of in our lives, with a commitment to make ourselves a priority. At the end I played the song by the Black Eyed Peas called “I’ve Got a Feeling.” In the middle of the tent, where the gathering was taking place, there was a pole, and in the most spontaneous way, we started to dance around the pole, unbinding our hips and hearts and applauding each other while doing it. It was quite a celebration to witness each woman give herself permission to dance and have a good time and become a little more carefree and uninhibited. Isn’t it about time we realized that what the world around us needs more of is our joy, our happiness, our beauty, and our self-expression? We will never stop being the caretakers and the healers and the lovers and the mothers and going the extra mile for all those we care for, but learning to put healthy boundaries around us to know that the woman that lives inside of us requires our personal care, our own nurturing and our attention as much as we give it out there. We will then experience a new sense of aliveness, and we will harness the feminine power that is bestowed within us, our wisdom, our compassion, our ability to create from a place of grace, rather than struggle to find solutions to our challenges.

Tell us what you do to take care of you? What do you do for you, to harness your energy and bring you JOY.

Zainab Salbi, Women for Women, http://www.womenforwomen.org/about-women-for-women/zainab-salbi.php

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

Visit Agapi’s website Unbindingtheheart.com.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women’s conference, “The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power” which will take place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.
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Agapi Stassinopoulos: Are You Feeling Depleted? Discovering Your Boundaries

I remember recently meeting the wonderful Zainab Salbi, who works with victims of rape and war, with women who have seen indescribable pain and suffering. Zainab is a woman who absolutely exudes joy, love and enthusiasm. I asked her, “How do you sustain your joy in front of all the pain and suffering you see?” and she said, “If I let my joy die, I would be doing a great disservice to the women I am serving, because I can stand as a reminder to them to find this joy inside of themselves and I can ignite it.” I was so struck by this comment that it has stayed with me. I know so many people, men and women who fall into the trap of taking on others’ pain. In my book, Unbinding The Heart, Chapter 27, “Taking Off the Band-Aid,” I write how I remember when I was 7 years old, playing with one of my friends, and she fell and hurt her knee. She was crying so my mother put a Band-Aid on her knee, but my little friend continued to cry even more because she hated the Band-Aid. My mother turned to me and said, “Agapi, why don’t you put on a Band-Aid as well — that will make her feel better,” so I did. Years later, I realized I have developed a very bad habit of taking on the pain and suffering of others, thinking that I would help them relieve it. When people I cared for would go through something, I would go through it with them. I remember a good friend of mine went through a terrible divorce and when people would ask me, “How are you?” I wanted to say, “Really bad; I am getting a divorce,” when I wasn’t even married. At some point I realized I had to take off that Band-Aid. I had to realize that putting on that Band-Aid didn’t really help my friends at all in feeling better. Putting on the Band-Aid doesn’t help anyone; it is an illusion. Since then, I have been practicing the joy of learning to be empathetic while being conscience of my boundaries, so that others may be lifted, instead of sinking with them. That change in itself can be transformational.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/agapi-stassinopoulos/personal-boundaries_b_3577167.html

Overcoming Self-Doubt, From Heart to Heart

I recently spoke at the wonderful Claudia Chan SHE SUMMIT event to a group of women who all came to be inspired and supported in what they do in the workplace and move forward in a successful, creative and connected way to make a difference in the world. Whenever I speak, I always share my own personal story and experiences with the audience of how I overcame some of my own inner struggles to regain my sense of what I am here to do and contribute. I ask the audience if they struggle with self-doubt, and usually three-quarters of the people raise their hands — and I think the other quarter most likely didn’t hear me. This audience was no different.

I think most human beings struggle with some form of doubt. I believe that doubt is the No. 1 killer of the human spirit. And it is imperative that we see it and address it and shake it loose. With fear, you can still feel the adrenaline and get the energy to overcome it, but doubt can paralyze you and you don’t even feel it. You don’t even know you are doubting. It is the equivalent of being in a dark hole under the earth and not knowing that there is a whole world above you full of light. How would you know? You are under the earth!

The voice of doubt whispers in our ears and draws us into this dark hole. And we listen to it. Things like: You can’t do that, you don’t know how to do that, who do you think you are, you don’t have it in you, keep quiet or you’ll get fired, rejected, disliked, disapproved of — fill in the blank. You are not important enough, you are not good enough, you are this, you are that…

This voice can come in as we are trying to take a new step in our careers, to form a new relationship, to launch a creative idea, to start a hobby that gives us joy, to let go of living in an environment where we feel stuck and unfulfilled, to ask for a raise, to ask for help — in any place where we want to expand into new territory. Shakespeare said it best: “Our doubts are traitors / And make us lose the good we oft might win / By fearing to attempt.” We betray ourselves by denying ourselves even the possibility of attempting something new, and then our mighty spirits shrink a little and our gorgeous hearts shut down.

Those of you who are familiar with my story know that I was raised by a mother who was always bigger than her doubt. She would always say to us, “I have no doubt that if you want to do this or that (whatever that was) and set your mind and give it your full attention to it (oh yes, she was very big on giving something your full attention!) you will do it.”

I now have my own little tribe to remind me of this — all of us ready to remind each other of who we are and what we are capable of doing. We have a promise to ourselves and each other that the minute we feel the doubt creeping in, we call it in. “Darling, I am in it. I am doubting myself. Send me a love rope to pull me up.” And all we really need to hear on the other end is, “I believe in you, I support you in what you want to do, and I’ve got your back and your heart.”

The amazing thing is that someone else will often spot it even before I know it, and vice versa. I’ll say to my friend who I see doubting without even knowing it, “Darling, don’t you know who you are? Have you asked for help? Are you trying to do it alone?” And then I send down a love rope to help my friend climb back into the light. I move in with the love of a mama bear to help shift the doubt, and I am ruthless with the part that’s undermining us to stop us from being who we deserve to be. And they do the same for me when I am in doubt.

Imagine if we became secret spies of the truth and any time we saw someone in doubt we had the courage to go up to them and say, “I hear you doubting yourself. How can I support you to move past it?” And the person might say to us, “How do you know that?” And you’d say, “Because I have a become an agent of the heart, and I hear your heart, and it wants to do something. You are blocking it with doubt and I am here to help you open the latch. What can I do? What can I whisper in your ear or shout in your other ear so you’ll hear that you can do it? That if you fall I’ll catch you, that if you quake I’ll hold you, and that if you’re afraid to jump I’ll hold the rope on the other side?”

Imagine if we had that deep understanding and compassion for one another — that we heard each other’s cry and each one of us opened our heart to others to pull them out of that dark. I know that this is the power of our human heart, and I know the magic that comes from extending this heartfelt support. I truly believe that any pain can be alleviated from heart to heart, and that all solutions can be found as we dare to open up to each other with a spirit that recognizes each other’s greatness.

Would you share with me your story of how you found your way out of doubt — or helped someone else find their way out of theirs?

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

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Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity, and Unconditional Love


Gods and Goddesses in Love: Making the Myth a Reality for You

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/agapi-stassinopoulos/overcoming-doubt_b_3496383.html

Overcoming Self-Doubt, From Heart To Heart

The voice of doubt whispers in our ears and draws us into this dark hole. And we listen to it. Things like: You can’t do that, you don’t know how to do that, who do you think you are, you don’t have it in you, keep quiet or you’ll get fired, rejected, disliked, disapproved of — fill in the blank. You are not important enough, you are not good enough, you are this, you are that…

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/agapi-stassinopoulos/overcoming-doubt_b_3496383.html