365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

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Day 144 – Are you a bitch…, or know someone who is…?

Hi! I am Anine and I love to optimize my energy and support you in optimizing yours.

Day 144What is the single most unattractive and demoralizing, anti-kind act we woman can engage in; and which also impacts marriages negatively?

I think most men will say – being bitchy.

Girls can at a young age, even as early as 10 years old become sassy and snazzy, to a degree that can feel very hurtful to others. Some girls can be vicious towards girls and boys that are sensitive and not strong enough to stand up for themselves.

Many girls can be mean, bitchy and competitive towards each other until their forties. By then they may have matured, and feel more secure in themselves and in who they are. And finally by then, they may have made the realization that they gain nothing by being bitchy.

What is it about women that make them seem entitled to be bitchy?

I think that it is partly related to how some women’s mind work when they are not aware of insecure emotions and are unable to articulate feelings and desires. Perhaps women’s innate reaction is to become bitchy when men instead act aggressive.

So how does this bitching come about in little girls? I think it is partly genetic and it begins when girls begin to realize that they are in competition to “win” boys. This is an unconscious realization, as strange as it may sound to realize something and yet be unconscious. Even though they might not even “win” the boys, they still behave in a bitchy way towards the girls that they perceive as prettier, or more cool than them, as they subconsciously believe that they will feel better and maybe even succeed in deflating the pretty girls. How completely wrong they are!

A girl can maintain her bitchiness, even if they win the boy/man, and turn the same energy towards him, perhaps subconsciously saying that he should not take her for granted – because “this queen bitch” might very well find another man. Being bitchy is a an unwritten entitlement women give themselves as a way to control people around them, making sure others are not feeling too strong about themselves and thereby not posing a threat.

Not all girls behave like this of course. Not the ones that have healthy role models and those that receive feedback from their environment that it is unacceptable and that they will lose with this type of behavior.

This character trait of being bitchy is something most men detest and are allergic to in women. In a man’s world, you just don’t sneer at someone and put them down for no good reason. Men do not scan each other’s outfits and look with critical eyes – they do not look up and down at their friends and evaluate how they are dressed, how much makeup they have on or how their hair is done. Men are buddies and they focus on having fun, playing and talking sports, joking, developing themselves and generally supporting one another, rather than being in competition.

Many women complain about their men, and it can go something like this: They are difficult to talk to. They are poor listeners. They are simple and not very deep (and therefore uninteresting). They think too highly of themselves. They are unwilling to do any form of work on themselves and grow emotionally. They are egocentric and think they should be exempt from sharing the work at home with children and all, and they behave like they are entitled to have more free time than their wife/partner.

Men have often one major complaint about women and that is that their woman can be bitchy.

Girls got plenty to learn from men. Imagine what women lose by acting this way, and how many people who have been negatively impacted because of bitching?

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The magic formula to reduce conflicts with your partner

DAy 143Have you ever been in a long heated discussion with your spouse?

Sometimes this can last for a full day or more, and none of the two can get out of their fighting positions?

How do you get to peace, without hiding the issue under the carpet and pretending that nothing happened, and learn from the heated discussion, so it has not been a waste of energy?

During the day after the fight, both partners can have distance and perspective and see what was so sensitive from both sides. It is worth to take the time to discuss and learn. Then we are able to articulate calmly what we want from one another in the future, to avoid similar conflicts. We can set a follow up plan, where we will check in once a week to track our progress and give each other uplifting affirmations when we show that we have made improvements in our habits. If we slip, we can talk about it, and give feedback and assistance to see what else is needed in order to achieve the needed and agreed changes.

Most couples have “hot issues”, that will be triggered from time to time and cause continuous conflict if we do not talk about these thoroughly. For each time the issue is triggered, it will feel increasingly energy draining. After many years of struggling with the same issues, our body can revolt to a degree so that it feels almost an allergic like reaction. When our body speaks to us so strongly, it is a clear sign that we have to address the issue; otherwise it can even impact our health.

It is very effective to be in movement when we discuss an issue that is sensitive. Conflicts carry with them pretty heavy energy. It is easy to get stuck in destructive arguments of anger, which brings no resolution but further distance and low energy. To be in movement while talking with the aim to understand and be understood, frees the body and mind. Take a walk next time you have an important and possibly hot issue to discuss with your spouse.

My husband and I try making sure that when one person speaks, the other does not cut in before the point is finished. We have found this to be crucial to avoid escalating arguments. To be heard and understood relaxes our bodies and open our hearts and allow for re-connection and closeness.

Healthy marriages without any conflicts are rare. Experiencing conflicts from time to time are part of most intimate relationships. In order to be intimate we need to speak our mind. Sometimes when we do, it can lead to conflict, unless both individuals are good at listening, understanding, and negotiating calmly.

Most of us carry with us some sort of “baggage” from our upbringing as we enter a marriage or partnership. Some carry small, others carry big loads, from our childhood. We are often blind to see our own dysfunctional patterns, habits, and other peculiarities, because we have most likely been living under circumstances during our upbringing that brought about these habits and tendencies and we consider them normal.

Being in a good and constructive relationship where we help one another to grow can be the most effective way to heal our childhood wounds and stop unhealthy habits and patterns. If we look at conflicts this way, as an opportunity to grow, we might become less conflict averse and take the time to do the work of listening and speaking and arriving to a resolution – “to a peace with progress”.

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When a man loves a woman

Day 139

How much love can you give?

Have you heard the touching song “When a man loves a woman,”sung by Percy Sledge? You can listen to the song here:

The lyrics goes like this:

When a man loves a woman
Can’t keep his mind on nothing else
He’ll trade the world
For the good thing he’s found
If she’s bad he can’t see it
She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend
If he put her down …

When a man loves a woman
Spend his very last dime
And trying to hold on to what he needs

He’d give up all his comforts
And sleep out in the rain
If she said that’s the way, it ought to be

When a man loves a woman
I give you everything I’ve got
Trying to hold on to your precious love
And baby baby please don’t treat me bad

When a man loves a woman
Deep down in his soul
She can bring him such misery

If she is playing him for a fool
He’s the last one to know
Loving eyes can never see

I think that many men can relate to the words in this song when they truly love their woman.

Men have a huge capacity to love their woman despite what women often think and say. They have the capacity to perhaps love a woman more than a woman can love a man. How do you like that perspective…?

So if men has this great capacity to love, why then do men fall out of love? As in the case in the story I shared yesterday, it is quite obvious. If we give our man no attention or affection, love will not and cannot grow. Men need to feel loved as much as women do, if not more – in order for them to feel satisfied and not “run away” and get busy with other things, such as work or sports, or even another woman.

Men often feel it is complicated to love a woman… and they often fall out of love with their woman because she has changed and become different in the relationship.

Too many women forget to love and show love towards their men, as they are so busy doing everything they “think” is essential… especially after having children. This is partly because mothers are genetically wired to take on the responsibilities to love and nurture their children. Mothers’ love for their children often satisfies women need for love, while their children are young. But then once the children are more independent, they wonder where their man went…?

Well he got busy doing other things….

But children are not the only “obstacle” to loving acts towards their man. When the initial romantic stage is over, and women do not know how to love deeper, they can exchange their need for love by investing their time at work or with friends instead with their man.

Many men rely on their women only, to fulfill their need of being loved. They do not have the deep connection with their male friends that women have with their girlfriends. Sadly, men do not have the same capacity to find love somewhere else, and therefore can feel very lonely and sad in their relationship with their woman.

Women often feel that their children’s and friends’ love fill them up, and in that case they do not need as much love from their man…, which makes them more susceptible to not be so loving towards their man.

I believe that most women do not know how to love a man. If you are a woman reading this, you probably are reacting strongly now…, because you feel that it is just the opposite, that your man does not know how to love you. That might be true as well, but I think that women, who have generally a greater ability to sense their feelings and put words to them, also have a greater capacity than men to understand their man and find a way to make him feel loved.

If it really is so that a man that feels loved will do anything for their woman… what more then can you do to love him?


Freedom gives energy

Day 137Yes you can!

My body scrunches, when someone says, “you can’t do that” or “you have to do this.” It is a revealing sign that a value is important, when our body talks to us.

One of my highest values is freedom. It is also a top values of my husband – luckily enough. This value has directed many of our major life choices; such as wanting to work for ourselves, living abroad, adventurous travel, etc. This value also impact our behavior at work, towards each other, our children, and our friends and even our ways with our animals – our dog Lucky has walked without a leash forever.

I asked my husband when we were out for a walk on the lovely Swiss countryside along green and flower fields with snow capped peaks in the background, how his value of freedom impacts how he lead people in his company. It was very interesting to hear his answer. He says that he believes that one of the reasons people like to work in the company and seldom quit, is that employees have freedom to do their own things. The company is built on respect and trust and a belief that each person who receives the freedom to find their own way, will also feel more empowered and will be more resourceful, creative, productive and responsible. There are of course frameworks and guidelines within the company, but leaders do not watch over the employee’s’ shoulders.

When an employee introduces a new idea, the goal is to provide opportunities to try and test the idea. By giving them freedom to explore, it will inspire responsibility, engagement, and creativity. The ideas might turn out great and if it does not turns out so well, then the person will have learned much better by trial and error, rather than having been told that the idea was bad. That could very well have been discouraging impacting their energy, creativity and engagement in the future and as a byproduct, their productivity.

Most Swedish organizations operate with a relatively flat organization structure, which promotes independence, creativity and responsibility, with the aim to achieve higher productivity, retention and profitability and not to forget, more happiness at work.

I like this quote and find it funny, “If you were meant to be controlled you would have come with a remote.”

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Dead or alive

Day 135“When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourselves in the world.” Echart Tolle

Today I had the most extraordinary experience while I sat in my garden fully concentrated on writing some reflections about the beautiful book I just finished; “I skymningen sjunger koltrasten,” – in English called ”The blackbird sings at dusk” by Linda Olsson. I heard a huge noise in the bushes and trees behind me. I quickly turned around, and out of the sea of leaves bounced my cat with a helpless little bird in its mouth.

I ran to see if I could save the poor bird. The cat let go of the bird when I insisted, and I gently laid the little bird in my hand. The small chest heaved up and down, and its little eyes looked at me and blinked again and again – and its stare almost looked human like.

Deep red blood seeped onto my hand. I had never studied a living bird up so close before. I felt so much for the poor bird, and with a desire to help and without knowing what else to do to, I stroked it gently while removing the few feathers that was ripped off. I felt the warmth of this creature in my hand. (This is the second time I see my cat having caught a bird in its almost 11 year lifetime. Thank God it is not a habit of our cat.).

After some time I decided to bring the bird into the house to show my daughter, but as soon as I approached the entrance of the house, the bird started to flap its wings and all of a sudden it showed so much life and seemed to have all this strengths. It first gave me hope that it might live. So I laid it down on a leaf hoping it would recover on its own. But when I went to check on it after some minutes I found it dead.

Day 135b

The blackbird is a symbol for magnificence and life in the very touching and inspiring book by Linda Olsson. She beautifully illustrates the hopelessness people can feel when they are different, rejected or alone. The common interest in literature between three neighbors – who are the main characters of the book – and the respectful, patient, warm and caring attitude they show for each other – help to turn all their lives around, as they develop deep relationships, and achieve a sense of purpose, love and joy.

This profound book spoke to me deeply because of the realism of the characters and how much people can help and give to each other by being interested, caring, supportive and generous. One part of the red thread throughout the book is the importance of living with a sense of purpose in order to feel fully alive.

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NO – one of the most important words to getting things done…

DAy 133We are 133 days into the New Year. We have still got 232 days to get this year right.

During the last couple of days I have written that we have more capacity to do the things that truly matters to us, than what we may think. Most of us, who are not engaged in what is truly important, are wasting time doing things that do not really add to our overall quality of life, nor help us reach our goals.

The matrix below by Stephen Covey can be used to give us a good overview of how we spend our time and if it adds value to our lives.

As you go through this matrix, why don’t you reflect on and write down which one or two of the quadrants that you spend most of your time!


The first quadrant represents things we have no control over and that are both urgent and important. If we tend to procrastinate, we will often end up spending time in this quadrant and very well know what it feels like to be stressed out, as we have to run to try to squelch fire most of the time. I have in the past had a tendency to spend too much time here.

In the third quadrant we find people who are a bit all over the place, and often being directed by other people or other outside input . Here we find “yes man” and people pleasers, who spend their time with other people’s issues and needs, as they seem more urgent and important than what truly is important to them.

In the fourth quadrant we find slackers; people who are truly wasting their time by doing mindless things that is neither important nor urgent. Many teenagers are here.

The second quadrant represents people who are prioritizers and are consciously aware of their values. They schedule their time according to what will bring long-term satisfaction and wellbeing. These people have developed a strong character and are often achievers of excellence. Don’t we all want to find ourselves in this quadrant?

Today, I want to emphasize the very importance of saying NO to the things that do not lead us closer to our goals and things, which we truly value. We need to learn to say NO, even to the things we enjoy doing, like watching TV and films, talking on the phone, browsing on the computer, spending too much time on social events etc. We even have to say NO to what might seem healthy and good for us – such as doing too much sport, reading etc. – in order to leave time and space for other values and goals.

I consider myself as someone who does not waste a lot of time on mindless things. My problem is that I am a maximizer. I admit it. I have had a hard time saying NO to the things that I am accustomed to and enjoy, such as exercising. For several years I would spend too much time doing various sports – and if I looked around in the gym, I could see that I was not alone.

It is important to take a reality check and see if we perhaps hide and are stuck in our comfort zone by doing things we are used to and feel comfortable with. Anything we do in excess may be a sign that we are avoiding (perhaps out of fear of failure or fear of even success) the things that really would make a difference to the long-term quality of our lives.

Tomorrow I will talk about how we go about prioritizing our time around our values and how to attack BIG Goals.

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Trade Offs

Day 132Battling with YES, NO, or YES and 

Yesterday we explored the question; what would life be like if we could have it all…to stretch our imagination of what more is possible for us.

To actually have it all is of course impossible. If I say yes to something – I have to say no to something else. If I say yes to have dinner with friends, I cannot at the same time be home with the family. We cannot have the cake and eat it too.

However, thinking in terms of that ‘trade offs’ are always necessary can be limiting, because it is often based on scarcity thinking. “There is not enough” – not enough time, not enough for everyone to go around etc. This mentality may restrict our imagination and hold us back. We may think that by adding something new to our lives, we have to give up on what we have and that prevent us from stepping up and go after something new. Our minds do not like trade offs, which perhaps is why so many of us do less than what we are capable of.

Questions expand our mind and stretch our imagination. E.G. How can my life, or this situation etc, get any better than it is? By playing with the bold idea that we can have it all, we open up to possibilities that we did not imagine before. And since many of us have not reached our full potential, taking another look at how we relate to the concept of trade offs can be useful.

If we look back at our lives and our busiest time, many of us have had the experience that we can manage much more than we earlier thought was possible. (As the Obama campaign encouraged: Yes, we can! :)). With our personal experiences in hindsight, we can most likely add meaningful activities to our lives, without having to sacrifice or give up ‘too much’ of what we already have.

What is something that you would love to do that you have not thought was possible? Why not go for it and give it a chance – believe that you can do it – and I believe that your gain will be much larger than your pain.