Patty Brisben

All posts tagged Patty Brisben

Releasing Guilt

Published April 11, 2012 by Patty Brisben

Lately, I’ve been thinking about and discussing with my friends a theory about women and why we do the things we do. It has to do with guilt. I’m starting to believe that most of what women do is driven by guilt or that we are in the constant pursuit of avoiding it. We do something to avoid feeling guilty and we do something and then feel guilty for doing it.

Let me give you some context. Say an acquaintance invites you to a party. You think about why you should go, why you shouldn’t go, and cringe at the thought of feeling bad—guilty—for not going. You attend the party because you don’t want to feel guilty for not going. Think about a friend’s birthday that you forgot about or about picking up your kid from school later than usual. How terribly guilty does a woman feel about something like that?

Women fear guilt, yet guilt is woven into our everyday. Science backs this up. Based off a study from 2009, women feel habitually guilty more often than men. This habitual guilt indicates anxiety related to the guilt as well. I’m not entirely surprised by these findings. Men tend to go about life making decisions that benefit themselves and their families. Women naturally put others before themselves. We tend to go about life contemplating which decision is going to offend whom; we think about how not to hurt others’ feelings. Whichever choice leads to a more peaceful outcome, we’re going to choose that. Even if it means doing something we really don’t want to do.

While I understand why women are the way we are, I think we have to learn to let go if we want to live happy, healthy, less anxious lives. We have to release the guilt. This may mean learning to say no more often. It may also mean having to be honest with yourself.

When you give in to guilt, you’re preventing yourself from making positive actions Feeling guilty only perpetuates negativity. The more often you feel guilt and the longer you let yourself feel it, the more you’re preventing yourself from flourishing. And yes, this is a feeling you can choose to feel or not to feel. You have to give yourself permission to do what’s best for you and your family, regardless whether you feel guilt. If you stand up to guilt just once, it will become easier every time thereafter to stand up to it again and again. Stand up to guilt enough and it won’t even cross your mind.

Having a conscience and awareness is good, but constantly fearing guilt and acting from that fear is damaging. Release the guilt and move toward the positive. Stop wasting your time on breeding negativity and shame.

Making a Facebook Transition

Published March 28, 2012 by Patty Brisben

Being a businesswoman comes with lots of surprises. You learn to work with a multitude of personality types, you learn how to manage the ins and outs of finances (you’d better!), and you learn the importance of keeping all projects and your schedule organized. These are all things you know ahead of time; you know they are a part of business. Often times, these thoughts keep me up at night.

However, one thing I never, ever anticipated when I set out as a businesswoman 30 years ago is a little (ha!) thing called Facebook. Facebook, the social media platform that initially was created to help college kids connect, now keeps me up at night. I know, I never would have expected it, either! Facebook has become a social necessity—I have to stay connected to everyone. That’s just how it works in 2012.

Several months ago, I started hitting the 5,000 friends-mark on my profile page. I was excited to gain more and more friends, but I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t let me have more than 5,000 friends! Turns out, that’s just a Facebook rule. Personal profiles are not allowed to have more than 5,000 friends. Is there an “un-like” button for that?

To accommodate my friends and fans, though, I have made the tough choice to ask all my friends to “like” my Facebook brand page. I will be shutting down my personal Facebook profile on April 26. I want to stay as connected as possible to everyone, so please make the transition with me—and please continue to spread the word!

Facebook has turned being web-friends into a business…and I can’t say that I blame them. I just wish it didn’t keep me up at night! Please remember to make the switch with me!

The Key Is Compassion

Published January 9, 2012 by Patty Brisben

As we strive to achieve our goals this month (and hopefully throughout the new year!), it’s easy to become overwhelmed with wanting to do so much in so little time. By the end of January, we have plans of grandeur that we hope we’ve accomplished. One thing we must remember is that goals aren’t always cut and dry. Sometimes goals are just like humans: a constant work in progress.

What’s common for women to do when they set up their resolutions is that they feel guilty when they’ve slipped up. You’re probably familiar with how this goes. “Well, I already ruined my diet with those fries at lunch. Screw the rest of the day. I’ll restart my diet tomorrow. I am a failure!” Dramatic? Sure. But it’s probably not that far off from what’s happened in your own life. We slip up and then we berate ourselves. For some reason, this is just what women have a tendency to do. One slip-up and we call ourselves worthless failures with no talent or qualities to be proud of.

What separates people who achieve their goals from people who don’t might be how kind one is to herself. New research suggests that people who are more compassionate toward themselves are more likely to be happy and less likely to be depressed. After falling off the wagon, a self-compassionate person tells herself, “Whoops! I made a mistake! It happens. Oh well, let’s start over right now.” A person who is not compassionate with herself thinks, “Ugh! I am terrible. Why am I even trying to be healthy? I should just quit.” Now, which attitude do you think will get you somewhere? Exactly!

We’ve already taken care of the details of our resolutions and goals. What you need to do now is tend to the emotional side of your goals. Be mindful of not just the emotions that made you create your goals, but the emotions that accompany your actions when trying to achieve them. Pat yourself on the back when you’ve smoked one less cigarette, volunteered an hour at a food bank, or made it to the gym more than once a week. Don’t fall into a uncompassionate mindset that says you didn’t do well enough, that you should have smoked less, you should have spent every afternoon volunteering, or you should have made it to the gym every day. One small success leads to a multitude of greater successes down the line, so don’t waste your time feeling bad about a slip-up or the feeling that you haven’t done enough. Compliment yourself instead!

I believe that being kinder to yourself might make you more likely to achieve what you want. At the same time, though, it’s important not to confuse being kind to yourself with lowering your expectations or standards. Just because you’re cutting yourself some emotional slack doesn’t mean you should start to think you can’t achieve something and nix your goals altogether. Your standards for yourself can absolutely be high, and you can still manage to be nice to yourself when things don’t go according to plan.

What all this goal making and self-compassion comes down to is this: When you care about yourself, you care about choices. When you treat yourself well, you make choices that affect you in a positive manner. Keep this in mind as you continue to make progress on your New Year’s Resolutions. You are your own worst enemy, just as you are your own solution.

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A Very Special New Year’s Eve

Published December 30, 2011 by Patty Brisben

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Instead of singing the traditional song “Auld Lang Syne”, which translates to “old long since” or “days gone by,” my family and I will be celebrating of the end of one chapter and the beginning of another in a different way.

Every year, we kiss the past goodbye and dive into the future. New Year’s Eve is like a marriage to the New Year. We fully dedicate ourselves to it and trust it with everything we have. On this New Year’s Eve, my daughter will be leaving not only entering a new year and starting a new era. She is parting from one family to join her husband in founding their own. Lauren and her soon-to-be husband Andy will start their life together in marriage as soon as 2011 ticks over to 2012.

I’ve always loved New Year’s Eve because it’s starting anew. Ahead of you is a blank canvas that you can turn into anything you want. For those, like my daughter, preparing to wed in 2012, you have to consider what being a wife means today and what marriage brings to the forefront. One of the things you’ll learn is that what you put into your marriage is what you get out of it—and marriage is hard work!

Over the years I’ve heard it all, but more commonly nowadays I’ve been able to find a common theme. Women young and old, engaged or married, are struggling to find the definition of what it truly means to be a wife and how to be a wife without losing yourself.

Biblically, the bonds of marriage are to supersede everything else, for better or worse – in sickness and in health. But do those vowels really overcome lack of desire, boredom, unhappiness: the power of marriage is supposed to remind the couple if their commitment to overcome any issue that comes their way.  However,  Culturally, we are still figuring out who should play what role; can the woman be the breadwinner?; can the man be the stay-at-home dad?  The answer is Yes, if that works for you and your spouse.

Millions of women have felt the pressure of needing to give up her own dreams, hopes, and life in order to fulfill her husband’s wishes or to fill the role she thinks he wants her to fill. It’s natural to be nervous about stepping into new roles. But know that you don’t have to give up anything; you just have to rearrange. Self vs. Wife and Mother vs. businesswoman—it’s all possible. You just have to figure out how to make each situation and dream work for you.  No one can define your marriage or relationship for you but you. And by the way starting anew does not mean forgetting the rest of your roles.

Unfortunately, our society is not this way. We live in a world of consumerism. In America and a large majority of the world, when something is broken, we toss it aside for something new. With marriage, a couple has to work through the sometimes difficult and ugly circumstances that occur instead of merely escape them. Again, what you put into your relationship is what you will get out of it. That said, over the past three decades I’ve been blessed to recognize that people have want to believe in love, marriage and the power of the relationship – and the hope that they are willing to do what it takes to communicate, spice it up or start anew.

My New Years wish is that each of you recognize that as humans, with the power of choice it can be hard deciding what idea to support. But it’s time to recognize what the majority of couples fail to realize: that marriage and your definition of it, as well as your role within it, is entirely up to you and your partner. You can define it however you want. It doesn’t matter what your best friend’s or parents’ marriage has been like; the inner workings of every couple is and should be different. There is no right or wrong. At the end of the day, you have to know that you’ve both contributed to your relationship and to making it work.

And truly take into account that we ALL (including you) have our faults. Our partners do, too. Sometimes, because of our egos, we can’t set the past aside and we let our past errors affect our future. Until we choose to work through our feelings of the past or we choose to leave the past behind, we can’t get beyond the negativity. You have to stop and forgive yourself as you go. Be kind to yourself and realize that what’ you’ve gone through happened in order to confirm what you do or don’t want to do in your future. Forgive as you go along, and be sure to forgive your partner, too. The hardest thing for couples to do is to give and treat each other with grace. This is something to strive for in all your relationships: the one with your partner, your family, your friends, and most importantly, yourself.

Whether you’re single, engaged, on your way to the altar, or wed, the New Year offers everyone an opportunity to refresh their relationships (even your relationship with yourself). Treat the New Year as a new chapter in your relationship. Evaluate what your relationship is like now, what you love about it, what you’d like to change about it, and how you can make your relationship even better.

Give grace where you would want it given to you.

It’s never too late to make things better. It’s never too late to start working on your own dreams again. And it’s never too late to find true, respectful, lasting love.

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Best of YOU List!

Published December 27, 2011 by Patty Brisben

Allure magazine prints its Best of Beauty list every year, honoring awesome products and salons around the U.S. The Grammy awards acknowledge the best artists, albums, and performances of the year. The Oscars honor stand-out actors, films, and musical scores. Every city, publication, and industry honors its best qualities and moments of the year. But do you acknowledge your own best qualities and moments of the year? Now is the time!

Fill out the below list about yourself to see how you’ve done in 2011!

My favorite moment of the year was __________________________________________________

I deserve the _________________ award this year because ________________________________

My most stylish moment was _______________________________________________________

The greatest personal success for 2011 was ______________________________________________

I’m most proud of myself for ____________________________________________________this year

I never thought I’d do it, but in 2011 I __________________________________________________

I had the best time with my friends when we _____________________________________________

I had the best time with my family when we ______________________________________________

I had the best time with my significant other when we _______________________________________

I felt sexiest when _______________________________________________________________

My healthiest choice of 2011 was _____________________________________________________

My happiest memory of 2011 is ______________________________________________________

The biggest learning experience of 2011 was _____________________________________________

Now that you’ve reflected on your 2011, think about how you filled in the blanks. How did you feel while you were filling this out? Probably happy, I hope! Think about these moments you wrote about: What’s the take-away? What can you learn from those experiences to make 2012 even better? Focusing on the good you created in 2011 will help you create a surplus of favorite moments in 2012! Remember the effort, energy, and attitude that went into creating your bests and figure out how to emulate that time and time again. Let’s make 2012 the best year yet!

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Are YOU on Your To-Do List?

Published December 5, 2011 by Patty Brisben

December—a time that should be dedicated solely to family, friends, and enjoying life—is when life gets even more hectic for me, and probably for you, too. For me, it means wrapping up this year’s business, searching for the perfect gifts for my children and grandkids, celebrating numerous birthdays, attending countless holiday parties, planning a Christmas celebration for my whole family, and prepping for my daughter’s New Year’s Eve wedding (and the list could go on). All this magically fits within the time span of four short weeks.

My to-do list is never ending, yet there is one important to-do I have to remember to add: me. In the month of December, perhaps more importantly than ever, I need to remember to make time for myself. This past year has been a whirlwind. With the expansion of Pure Romance in South Africa and Australia, the launch of the e-book I co-wrote, working to raise funds and awareness through the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health, and always improving the Pure Romance product line and business, I have been so busy I’ve lost touch with myself a little bit.

When you have your business, family, and demands of life on your to-do list, it’s more than easy to nix “me” time from the mix. “Why do I deserve time to myself when there’s so much that needs to be done?” you might think. Well, think again.

There is a quote that is everywhere right now. It says, “Keep calm and carry on.” Ninenty-nine percent of the time, women do just that. We feel stress, but we suppress it and carry on until the tasks at hand are complete, or the other people in our lives are happy. This month, I challenge you to stop and take a minute to yourself instead of powering through. Stop, breathe, read a magazine, take yourself out to dinner, get a pedicure—whatever it is that you want to do, do it. And then carry on with your tasks. There is only one you, and people understand that.

It’s also important to remember that not everything needs to be done. It’s not the end of the world if something waits an hour. Do not see this as giving up. Instead, think of it as giving yourself a mental break. Stress bodes well for no one. It can negatively affect everything from your sex drive to your sleep—and we all know what stress can do to one’s mood. If for no other reason, put yourself on your to-do list so you stay relaxed (as relaxed as possible, that is), happy, and healthy during this holiday season.

Give yourself the biggest gift of all: Make yourself a priority. You’re likely to have everyone and everything else on your to-do list before carving out time for yourself. It’s time to change that. Those closest to me know I have an impossible time slowing down, relaxing, and doing things for me. But this December, I’m making the impossible possible. I’m making myself a priority in the midst of chaos, and because of this, I’ll be able to enjoy my own company as well as my family and friends even more. Having a happy holiday season means making yourself happy, too.

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Giving Thanks…to Yourself!

Published November 30, 2011 by Patty Brisben

In the U.S., we spend the whole month of November giving thanks to everyone else. Now it’s time to turn the focus to yourself. For some reason, thinking or talking about one’s self for an extended period of time can make one feel uncomfortable or wasteful. Why spend so much time on one’s self? If you aren’t thankful and in love with yourself, how can you expect others to be thankful and be in love with you? I say you should treat others how you’d like to be treated, and treat yourself how you’d like to be treated, too! Use December to work on YOU!

This month, give thanks to yourself. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Suspend judgment of yourself. Let go of negative self-talk. Stop thinking of the things you don’t like, the mistakes, or the body that you think isn’t perfect. It’s going to take practice and effort, but stop those thoughts in their tracks—they are no longer allowed.

2. Name all the things about yourself that you’re thankful for. This may feel awkward or arrogant at first—you’re probably not used to focusing so much on you. But the more you allow yourself to see the wonderful things about you, the more wonderful things there will be (and the longer your list will grow!). When creating your list, try to flip any negative thoughts you once had. Your list might sound something like this:

-I am thankful for my inner strength.

-I am thankful for opportunities to grow.

-I am thankful for a body that carries me through anything.

-I am thankful for learning to become more forgiving.

-I am thankful for my good hair days.

-I am thankful for being an excellent mom.

-I am thankful for always being a good friend.

-I am thankful for my integrity.

3. Reflect on your list. Read through your list several times over. Let it sink in. Think about why you wrote what you did and where it stems from. You really are deserving of self-recognition.

4. Put YOU on your to-do list. Putting yourself on your to-do list will benefit your mental health, your physical health, your family, and everyone around you. Making yourself a priority is thanking yourself. I’ll expand on why this is so important in my next discussion.

5. Carry your list with you at all times. Whether you memorized your list of things about yourself for which you’re thankful or you’ve written a list, always have that list with you. In times of stress, pressure, anxiety, or sadness turn to your list. Read over it. Remember what inspired you to write those things about yourself. Feel the positivity about yourself that went into the list. When you carry your list around, you’re really promoting your own self-love.

Your list will always help you remember the real you, the core of who you are, no matter the situation. I find it helpful, especially around the holidays, to be thankful for everything, including myself. Being grateful produces more things, situations, aspects, and people to be thankful for. Being thankful for you will be a huge step to creating and maintaining a happy, full life.

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