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Lights On! A Reflective Journey

LightsOn Book by Claire Knowles"Here's a quick peek at the Table of Contents" of this exciting new book! Women in Leadership...focus your attention to Chapter 10 especially!

Sample Chapter - "Sometimes we all need a little push."

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Lights On! Seeking Approval? Validation?

Written by Claire Knowles on . Posted in Authenticity, Empowered by Choice, Lights On!


Let’s be honest. We often spend much of our time and energy seeking approval and validation. Our desire is to be well liked, (or appreciated, respected, needed, etc.,). It is often so strong that we can lose ourselves, and our values, in search of recognition, praise or simple affirmation. We fear rejection. We fear being put down, humiliated, disrespected., or criticized. Yet in the end we know that what counts is not at all what others think of us—it is about each of us accepting and loving ourselves—just as we are!

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” ~ William Shakespeare

You Are Not Alone….that inner child, once wounded….is a definite part of you!

Everybody’s psyche, according to psychology articles, gets victim-wounded somehow, someway…and usually prior to the age of 7. It is a wound that unconsciously becomes one we can long-carry with us; we try to smother it and rise above it as we move into adulthood. Yet those hurts, fears, humiliations and angers can form emotional baggage—of the clinging variety. (No one escapes the wounding).

Our inner child takes in an untruth….someone has said something mean/hurtful to us and as an authority over us, claims it is true, so your child mind concurs….”I’m not adequate, I can’t do it, I am stupid, I’m not smart enough, I’m not enough, I’m not liked, I’m not respected, I’m not good enough, I’m ugly, I’m unloved.” And then, as life plays out, those very wounds, if not dismissed immediately by one’s child-mind, (or balanced out by huge love, caring and nurturing), can get distorted, then reinforced by related rejections, exclusions, repetitions, etc., as time moves on.

All this easily connects to our self-esteem and our perceived self-worth…..all unconsciously.

Low-level simmering is happening on the inside!   If, for example, we don’t really believe that we are worthy on the inside, (worthy of achievement, applause, respect, praise, etc., because we’ve bought in to that deep wounding), then we’re always going to be seeking some degree of validation or appreciation or respect from others that tells us we are okay. The problem is that no matter how much others tell us that we did a great job, have their respect, are honored by our presence, appreciate our achievements, are loved, deep down we don’t believe it. (Unconsciously, we reject their attempts). So when we don’t get or when we dismiss the validation we are needing or unconsciously craving, then the simmering continues, and resentfulness and even anger can become part of this cycle. We become our own worst enemy—victims of playing out a story-line that holds no truth—and never did. We have to find our own ways of coping and rising above the old wounds.

How do you overcome this?   The number one answer is that you have to be AWARE of the elements of this cycle and all the places in your life where it shows up. For example, as a youngster I had the label of “loser” put on me when playing board games with older kids and it was humiliating. So much so, that today I rarely play board games. I am aware of the label. I am aware how often I have to tell myself, that “I’m okay, I can do this, I can muster the new courage to take on this new situation, task, career move, etc., and that I am not a loser, I’m a winner!”  I talk myself into overcoming the label that was erroneously implanted into my mind as a child.   I know it was a wounding, limiting label and I know that it does not represent who I am or what I am or how I am.    By recognizing the falseness of the label and the origin of the wound, I create the inner balm necessary to heal the wound…not just a bandaid, but a healing. I move forward, inspite of that old wounding—not allowing it to get the better of my present moment, not letting it erode my self-confidence or erase my joy.

Of course, this is a complex subject and just as there are negatives that we carry in our psyche, so there are positives. There are positive phrases that were told to you as a child….positive phrases that you bought into also…Can you remember them?   Positive phrases that have served you well!

Take some time to do some focused self-examination. Consider the phrases that you tell yourself, especially when you are stressed. What are the words you use when you self-criticize? (Where did they first come from?) You can get to the root of your destructive self-talk and then consciously work to erase/minimize it. You can integrate into your adult psyche and underscore the wonderful person that you are…as a human being, and an individual and in all that you do. Awareness is key. Affirmations provide you with a powerful way to freedom from that old emotional baggage! Here’s to your Awareness and your Affirmations!

Recommended reading: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Lights On!

Claire Knowles


(Claire Knowles is a distinguished career HR & Labor Relations Manager, author of two Amazon Best-Selling books, “Lights On! Illuminations to Move Your Life Forward”, and also “Can You See Them Now? Elephants in our Midst.”  See www.ClaireEKnowles.com for bio, consulting and speaking engagement info.)

Lights On! Why a Summer Reading List? Because…

Written by Claire Knowles on . Posted in Choice, Empowerment, Lights On!

You are lounging at the beach, or you’re swinging in the backyard hammock, or just relaxing on the porch….The sun is shining….The scents of summer surround you. You’re on your second glass of your favorite beverage. All you want is a book that doesn’t make you work too hard. Or really, at all. You want one of those books that if you put it down, you can easily pick it back up again.

There are few things that go together as well as a relaxing day and a good read. It is in the summer time that I find myself most able to enjoyably devour books. I don’t know if it’s my inner child coming out and telling me it’s time to pursue that summer reading list (remember those from middle school?). But the summertime is definitely the time of the year when I read the most.

Who doesn’t want to lose herself in a good book then? And why is it important to pick the right book for relaxation? The key difference for summer reading is the word, “relaxation.” That’s the word that delineates summer light reading from heavier novels, mystery thrillers, or heart-pounding adventure sagas. Themed short-story collections, romance, art/gardening, and positive motivational books tend to fill summer reading lists.

So what type of books fit that “relax in the summer” description for you? If you haven’t decided yet, I’ll share my list—certainly not as extensive as Oprah’s, but definitely sufficient to bring me joy. And therein is the key…what are the summer reading books that just want to jump off the shelves and find their way into your hands and heart?

I’m re-reading (again) Rosamunde Pilcher’s “Flowers in the Rain” and “The Blue Bedroom”…(short story collections). Beatriz William’s fast-paced love story, “A Hundred Summers” is on my list. Paula McLain’s “The Paris Wife” of Ernest Hemingway’s days, should prove to be an intriguing historical novel. “Monet’s Passion”—Ideas, Inspirations and Insights from the Painter’s Gardens, by Elizabeth Murray will stay on my porch side-table all summer.  As part of my health focus, I have “The Complete Guide to Women’s Heart Health” (American Heart Association) as a new protocol read, and in my continued pursuit for a meaningful life, I’ve added “And Never Stop Dancing” by Gordon Livingston to the list…which may go to the front of the line! It is important to continually hone my consulting skills, so books on “Influencing with Integrity”, “Coping with Difficult People” and “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” round out my reading list!

I would be remiss if I did not bring up my own best-selling book, “Lights On! A Reflective Journey…Illuminations to Move Your Life Forward with Ease” as a suggested “positive lifting read” for your summer list. It meets the criteria: Wisdom-filled Vignettes, Heart-warming stories, Reflections on Everyday Life, Bursts of Positivity, and Guidance for women and women in business leadership roles…all of which are intended to propel you forward with your Lights On!. It became an Amazon best-seller 18 months ago. I’m pleased to share that “Lights On!” has been recommended for summer reading by the On-Line Healing Circle/The Heart Speaks (Atlanta, GA), specifically because it is a compendium of positive, self-help, articles that propel you forward. How neat is that?

I grew up in the country – on a farm in Western New York. My parents were dairy farmers. And our summers were busy. We had one of those big old farm houses with a wrap-around porch. And when my siblings and I were not working—fulfilling those assigned and demanding chores and being responsible…guess where we were? And what we were doing?
Yes, we were on the front porch. And if that front porch could talk, it would share stories of many pitchers of lemonade, comfy chairs and always, always, good books to read!

A wonderful memory I have of my Dad was that he always asked us, when we finished a book, to tell him about the most important piece of the book—specifically how and in what way did it speak to us? In modern day language, that means, “what did we take away from the book.” I think of Summer reading books, as those books that generally “lift us up a bit”—are gentle like the breeze, bring smiles and sunshine—positivity in to our lives, or transport us to those emotional levels of joy, peace, tranquility, and comfort.
Perhaps there is something about “summer” being not just a season, but also a metaphor for light, warmth, and sunshine…..and soft breezes. (Unlike the harshness of winter, or the renewal of spring, or the readiness of Fall. Summer is about our softer, gentler side of rejuvenation. )

Lastly, there’s another great reason for light reading in the summer for relaxation. And this is to stimulate deep, abdominal breathing. Yes, if you nod off , while relaxing and reading on the hammock or the chaises lounge, did you know that having a small book on your stomach, actually helps to make visible the rise and fall of one’s diaphragm…and the more the diaphragm works with our breathing, the deeper our breathing becomes—a practiced relaxation technique. (Shallow breathing…be gone! Bring on the diaphragm expansion technique! After all, It’s summer!) Lights On!

What was Happening in Your World when You were 10-12 years old?

Written by Claire Knowles on . Posted in Authenticity, Empowerment, Leadership for Women Leaders, Lights On!, Moving Forward

images  Whether they be Good or Bad, Your Cultural World Experiences at

the age of 10-12 Matter!

Several decades ago, a leading psychologist, Morris Massey, noted that culturally, the experiences that we have at about the time we are 10-12 years old, shape our lives in pivotal ways…and tend to define whole generations…with those shared experiences. His work was detailed in a video called, “What You Are Is Where You Were When….”

What was happening in your world when you were about 10-12 years old?
World War II and Victory Gardens? The Cold war? Hiding under desks during nuclear drills? (False sense of security?); Vietnam? (Loss of confidence in leaders?); Neil Armstrong/man on moon? (Yes, we can do it! Triumph!); JFK/Martin Luther King Assassinations? Columbine? Challenger? (Need for self-reliance?)  The “Yes, We Can”…dream team Lake Placid (Hockey) Olympics?  Did those years hold positive experiences or more negative ones for you?  Is there a shared experience that defined your generation during that time?

Do you recall positive social/cultural events or negative social/cultural events? Or both? How did these influence you? Your generation? Recognizing that such socio/cultural events do have an impact (as do those of your community, your family, your ethnic value experiences), still, think about what was happening when you were 10-12 years old—it can be an important introspection.

Postscript:  I’m a Boomer. My 10-year old experiences stem from the late 1950’s and I can certainly trace certain opinions I hold, to certain shared experiences of that time. I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to contact me at: Claire@ClaireEKnowles.com  or Claire@LightsOnBook.com