What does your soul want to DO?

Earlier this week I pulled a muscle in my neck/shoulder, which has given me a few days of being laid up at home, watching Salt, eating muffins and musing!

Inspired by Lissa Rankin’s articles, I want to share something with you to hopefully help anyone who is feeling in a one-step-forward, two-steps-back place.

Your souls calling

In one post, Lissa asks us all ‘what is your soul dying to create?’. And i realised that my soul does not want to create.

Creating can be quite an earthly, tangible thing. It springs to mind a business, a book, a radio show, a house, a baby, a table, whatever it is! To me, ‘to create’ implies output.

And i realised that part of me had a belief that if i’m not producing (or creating) something, then whatever it is i’m doing is worthless. If there is not tangible, quantifiable ‘thing’, then what do I have to show for myself?

That’s a terrible space to be in when your souls calling is truthfully not attached to outcomes. If you’re in the headspace where tangible, quantifiable outcomes (the book, the show, the project etc) denote how well-spent your time is, or how much value you are worth, then you will look down on things that don’t produce an obvious outcome. Things that you love to do for the pleasure of, the process.

My soul does not want to create anything. I know that for sure. My ego wanted to create EVERYTHING. It wanted an impressive bio full of books, movies, acting roles, gallery showings – tangible ‘things’ that prove i’m contributing to the world, being productive.

Nope, my soul can do without all that. For me, it’s about what my soul needs to ‘come out’ – how it flows out into the world. It’s like energy that just needs to have space. Anyone else ever feel that? I feel my soul doing it’s thing when i’m on the dancefloor, when i’m singing & playing along to songs at ukelele jam, when i’m in the flow at stage combat class, and of course sex. I have NOTHING to show for myself at the end of these activities – no souvenirs (unless someone else has been filming it) , no products, i haven’t been working towards anything – just enjoying myself in the moment.

My soul seeks opportunities, spaces, platforms, to do her thing, let her hair down, give it all to that space, then leave.

So is this true for you, i wonder? What does your soul need? And what does your ego need?

Resistance

When i opened up to what my soul really craves (spaces to be free), I hit some gnarly beliefs.The main one being that my soul’s desires are worthless.

How awful is that?! I know!!!

I’m sure it’s an accumulation of many factors – let’s face it, most of us have grown up in an education system that’s results-based, and its likely that out parents geared us up that way too. Worthiness, productivity etc is often based on output and measurable things. So the things we do with no measurable output (other than that we love doing them) are left out of the equation. Even thinking about sex, ‘How many orgasms did you have?’ can be considered more important than ‘how pleasurable was the ride?’

I don’t know if this is to do with living in a masculine-skewed world, and i don’t think it matters too much if it is – what matters is that we start to change our minds. The fact is, for some of us, we have to start unhooking ‘worthiness’ and value from productivity/outcomes.

The main reason why this is so important is that if you don’t feel your soul’s desires (to express, rather than to make something tangible) are worthy, that they don’t matter, that they’re not good, then you are pretty much telling yourself that you aren’t worthy, don’t matter, and are no good. And how the fuck can you live your life from that space?!

This is hard work. For me, i’m finding it hard work. To know that when i hit the dancefloor at class, just ‘doing my thing’ is enough. That my unique expression in whatever arena is enough. No-one ever told me that. Rarely has anyone ever said ‘just bringing your spirit into a space is valuable in itself‘.

Holy crap

Have you ever been valued for who you are, rather than for what you can do for another?

You’re not ‘of worth’ because you produce an outcome, or fix a problem, or make someone else’s life better. Your value doesn’t come from being measured in terms of output or meeting anothers needs.

Your value does not come from output. Not from metrics. Not from what you can provide another. Not from what you can physically go out and change. Not from anything measurable or quantifiable.

Your value comes from your being. When you walk into a room. The way in which you make pancakes. That your presence alone can make someone else feel safe. That’s your significance. Not the trophies, the certificates, the goals met, the number of followers – not that, none of that. Just your presence, your existence, and what your essence brings – which you carry with you all the time.

That’s the value, the worth, the gold.

And I raise a valiant middle finger to the world that has distorted things so much that we don’t feel worthy unless we’re being over-producers, over-achievers, constantly looking to prove our worth.

The sting, the rub, the beginning, and now the end

I know a lot of this stuff isn’t ‘new’ – god knows i’ve read it before. But i’m having a proper bing-bing moment so please bear with me.

Where does this split occur, where we start to believe we need to prove our worth & value in the world by going after external things? Even those of us who have let go of material things (fancy cars, job titles etc) still probably have other things we believe we need to have or do or be in order to be considered of value – whether that’s creating output that others need, or doing something that we believe will have an impact, in order for us to feel valuable.

I can pin it down.

God bless my parents.

What did you have to do to get love? What did you have to do, who did you have to be, to feel recognized, valued? When you were a kid – did your parents project a role or their needs onto you? Or did your parents allow you to just ‘be’, getting their needs met from others or met by themselves in a healthy way?

Let’s just say that both my parents were unable to provide themselves with the happiness and healing they needed, so I had a lot of stuff projected onto me.  I lived in a world where my value, worth, came from what i could provide these people with – that i met their needs that I shouldn’t have met. I wasn’t valued for simply being me – messy, hanging from the trees, plastering-barbie-with-punk-make-up me. I was valued based on what i could do for others – be that fan their social status, or be an emotional rock.

And i guess I’m starting to crack that idea that i’m valuable just for being me, not for my output or for what I can give or do for others ( I enjoy helping empower others – i’m talking about enabling and/or martyrdom…).

So my big ol’ Q’s for the week for you are: What are your feelings, memories, ideas around ‘being of value’? What do you value, what have people made you feel valued for? What’s your lifeblood, is it different to what others value from you? What does your soul want to do, and do you value it? If not, why not?

And with that, I’m done. High fives to all who made it to the end of the post.

Your value is in your happy glory

S xo

Valuing Anger

There are so many perspectives on ‘anger’, and i know i’ve had many different opinions/feelings towards it through my life. Yet as i’ve grown, i am also falling in love with my anger.

I am not a particularly angry person in general. laid back, have perspective, rarely hold grudges. I can be pretty accepting of people’s behaviour in general.

However. There is something to be said for having some healthy anger.

I’ve been noticing that it points you in the right direction, at times. that anger can be an amazing clarifier. If you feel lost or stuck in any area of your life, get in touch with your rage, what pisses you off, and you’ll find some clarity there!

Anger is also an amazing sign that something or someone is flagging up a boundary or self-integrity violation. For me, anger flares up when i feel someone is not honouring or respecting my independence, my right to have a differing opinion, or literally not respecting my physical space. That doesn’t mean i then go apeshit – it can be as simple as ending the conversation, saying no, calmly telling the other person that they’re making me feel uncomfortable, or walking away.

Honouring your anger means standing up for yourself. If you can’t take a stand for yourself, then you are not ‘for’ yourself, and that is not very loving. Anger can be a sign that you deserve much better, and that if you stay in this angry-making situation you are doing yourself a disservice.

Recently i watched the latest Batman movie. Without giving too much away, there’s a part in the film where the only way Batman/Bruce Wayne can motivate himself enough to save his life, as well as the lives of others, is to get angry. By tapping into his anger, this also spurred him on enough to move past his fear and ultimately be successful. He was so angered by injustice that he didn’t care if there was a chance he might die on his crusade. Without the anger he was in a malaise, and nothing was ‘worth’ taking action for – without his anger, Batman was in a slump.

Most of us aren’t caped crusaders, but i think we can learn something from this. How often do we talk ourselves out of our righteous anger? Maybe you’re in a relationship with an utter dingbat that pisses you off, yet you swallow your anger and put up with their crap, disempowering yourself and letting a cad get away with less-than behaviour. What would happen if you tapped into that anger? Might it propel you out of the relationship?

I remember once seeing my mother get so angry at my dad, after years of a bad relationship, that she stormed home one day and pulled her wedding ring off. Whatever doubts, fears, justifications for staying might have been swirling around her head, pure energy surging through her body prompted her to say enough is enough. That was the beginning of her shifting out of that destructive relationship.

That’s what can be so great about anger – not the ‘that guy cut me up on the road’ anger or the ‘my friend spilled red wine on my white rug’ anger. But the anger that clearly cuts through all your personal bullshit that keeps you disempowered, keeps you in a dead relationship, keeps you in a job you hate, or that keeps you quiet.

Anger can make you more visible. You will be making waves in the world – whether that’s through marching in the streets for a cause, standing up to your parents, saying ‘no’ to someone who expects you to be compliant. so you have to be kinda brave to be angry.

If you are in any kind of malaise at the moment – if you feel emotionally dead, or psychologically stuck – tap into your anger. What fires you up? What makes you want to bark like a snarly dog? Sometimes feeling angry can tap you back into your true self again – it awakens vibrant life energy in you and forces you to take a stand.

Have a great week. Be healthily angry

S xo

Is there such a thing as being ‘too’ conscious?

Reading through personal development, spirituality, and self help books there can be a lot of talk about consciousness and making conscious choices. To ‘co-create’ you life, make the best choices you can to build a life in line with your visions.

I dig that, and think it is important to live life with as much clarity as possible. Consiousness/awareness is the key to begin changing unhealthy habits, patterns and relationships. Consciousness helps you make the best choices for yourself.

However, I found that my ‘consciousness’ or self – ‘awareness’ could sometimes throw up a batch of other problems – questioning my decisions (are they honourable, the best choices?), cross-checking myself, wanting specific things rather than being open to what I *could* have, and generally judging or analyzing myself throughout the day.

Anyone else fallen into that trap?

A friend of mine was telling me how a few years ago she had this problem too, hers had an eco-warrior flavour. She checked all her choices against how environmentally-friendly she was being, to the point of not wanting to take up any space on the Earth as she was using up its resources (including the air). Her ‘consciousness’ when it came to decision making and ‘being’ in the world had got to the point where she was effectively boxing herself in, limiting her life and creating mental turmoil (as well as guilt).

Yesterday on a whim I went to watch the Olympics men’s road cycle race as it went through my local park. If i had been more ‘conscious’ about how precious my time is and the activities i REALLY want to bring into my life, I probably should have worked more on my website, gone to a dance class, or used the time to clarify my week-ahead-goals. Instead, I went to watch the race (I’m not a cycling fan, by the way) and had a fantastic afternoon. The excitement of the crowd, mingling with people from all over the world all having a good time, it was great.

And i realised if I had stuck to my ‘conscious’ decisions, I probably wouldn’t have gone. And i would have missed out.

Be conscious – use awareness to shine light on problem areas in your life so you can then transform them. But don’t use consciousness/awareness to berate yourself. Don’t use it to analyze yourself or pull your every decision apart. It should be a tool for empowerment!

Love and gold medals,

S xo

If you are not your job title, who are you?

Super-stoked to have had an article featured on Tiny Buddha this week, if you haven’t read it yet check it out here!

I was also really lucky to catch Gabby Bernstein lecture here in London, if you haven’t ever been to a transformational/healing/spiritual talk (and get most of your info online) I really recommend getting yourself to a talk – sharing a space with other like-minded folk is a powerful experience.

So on to this week’s topic – detaching yourself from identifying with your job/work title!

This week i started a new part-time job, mostly to feed two needs – to get more money alongside my editing/coaching work, and to get me off the laptop into a more public-facing role.

The job is by no means one you need much qualifications for, and it’s not high-falootin in the social status stakes. And if i’m really honest, a small part of me is feeling ‘you have a Masters from the LSE! You’ve worked for some of the top creative organisations in London! You are too good for this!’ Ah, the ego! How it likes to judge, and how it cares about things like status. How it can tie your sense of self or self-esteem to something like a job role :o !

A good friend of mine went through a similar situation a couple of years ago. He was a stock trader in the City and quit to pursue a new career in illustration. To pay the bills whilst he was starting out and retraining, he took retail work. I’m sure his ego was on his case too! It’s not that there are jobs or careers that are better than others, or that if you work in certain sectors you must be smarter/better than people who work in other sectors. It’s more to do with other people’s perceiptions & projections of you depending on what you do for work, and to do with your sense of self if you tie it too closely to whatever role you’re working at a given time.

This has been a great learning opportunity for me, and as always i want to share my lessons with you guys.

Yesterday whilst at this job i had a moment of feeling really happy and peaceful. I’d been choosing to engage with the job, to make the most of what was in front of me at any moment (for example, talking to a customer about their holiday plans or talking with my co-workers about the company). I’ve been very ‘present’ with this job – not thinking about the future, or the next day, or even the next hour. Just staying present and wondering what might come next.

And i realised that i am not my job.

Job titles, who you work for, what your role is, none of it defines you. None of it ‘is’ you.

Who i am instead is the person who smiles and chats with the lonely security guard in the lobby. I’m the person reassuring the tourist who can’t speak english so they feel safe while i serve them. I’m the person who spends time with whoever is in front of me at any particular time, getting to know them, taking interest in them, and making the most of the interaction. I’m the person who wants to do the best for whoever i’m serving.

I realised that i take my Self into any situation. I could work for another company or be running my own business and i’d still be the same person – taking time to be friendly to other staff, engaging in what is set in front of me, no matter the location.

And so, i am not my job – the job is just an arena for me to be. And the arenas change, and that’s okay. I won’t ‘lose’ myself if i change jobs or lose a job. ‘I’ am always here, and can take me wherever i go.

That’s pretty effing empowering. So many people identify themselves by their job title, professional credential, label such as ‘artist’ or ‘entrepreneur’. To be from from that attachment is liberating.

Of course, there are some jobs, tasks, careers that i’m likely to be more suited to and it makes sense to play to my strengths, go for the gold.

But to know that if need be, if i have to take work that isn’t necessarily my gold for a period of time, i can bring myself to it and not be identified with it, well it’s super liberating.

It feels like – i can put golden gates around my essence and say ‘this light is me’, and a job role is just a place to be in. Like drawing boundaries. ‘This light within is me, this job is not me’. Pretty damn sweet.

So how about you? Do you identify closely with your work? Do you enjoy the label or role you use? Or do you draw lines between You (your essence, your flavour) and your work? Even if you make art and proudly call yourself an artist, can you draw a boundary between your creative essence and the actual ‘work’ of being an artist? If you are a stay-at-home mother, can you distinguish between who You are in your essence and the current role you are in?

It’s an interesting thing to think about. If you can make this distinction between your Self and your job, role, or work, then I reckon you will be able to get through any career set backs or losses with a huge amount of grace, whilst others who identify heavily with their work role would really suffer.

Our roles in life WILL change, it’s inevitable. We won’t always have the same job, we may not be married forever or have the role of mother forever, we may not always have the same level of health – all the kind of things we might identify with can change throughout life. So knowing that these things are not ‘you’, and being clear about who you are at your core, is going to really help empower you as you go through life.

Have a great w/e y’all

S xo

Coaching spots available, ladies! – Inbox me at s_l_byrne@hotmail.com

It takes a village….

Hands up who considers themselves Wonder Woman?

Strong willed? Resolute? Can do anything and doesn’t need anyone’s permission? Makes things happen and will do it all by themselves just to show others that they ‘can’? Who needs help when you can do anything, right?

Wrong!

Sometimes we need a posse of folk who can help us storm the castle. Some battles are just TOO big to handle alone.

I’ve been learning that the past couple of years. If you are in your own private war (be that to overcome an addiction, unhealthy habit, to get out of a toxic relationship, to make a radical life change) and let’s face it most of us have at least one area in life that causes relentless drama – then you need to recruit comrades.

I had to learn this lesson the hard way. For years I had tried to make changes in my life by myself – on sheer willpower and sometimes reading articles or books to guide me. And that would get me so far. But for real change to occur, I had to be able to reach out to buddies.

When the going gets tough, you need to have someone available for you to drop an email, have a call, even meet up. If you’re being pushed to an emotional limit, you need to know you have someone you can reach out to. I’ve had moments where sending a text or quick facebook message were like lifelines – friends are able to give you perspective and remind you that you’re not alone on your journey.

And not only is having a support system important for getting you through the tough times, keeping you on course, and holding you accountable, it’s also super important to have people you can share your journey with! Yes they will be there during the difficult times, but they will also be there for the successes, sharing in your celebrations.

And as the goal appears on the horizon, when you’re coming to the battle’s end, the final fears that might be coming up get overshadowed by the immense gratitude you have for your posse. You can make the final furlong because you will not let them down. The journey is no longer just about you – it’s about bringing everyone across that finish line. They wanna be part of your success, so you have to cross that line. Fear has to take a hike!

So whatever you may be going through, don’t go through it alone – whether it’s overcoming something you’d like to change in your life, or working towards a big goal. Reach out! Not only will it help you through the difficult times, but it will spur you on to keep going.

Love love,

S xo

It’s not about you. So dump the issues!

Woot! Last Friday I was interviewed by my good friend Clari who runs the website Inner Ambiance, about all things FUN. Check it out (and my pink wig) here!

And now onto this week’s topic.

So this weekend I had a huge 180degree shift in how I’d been interpreting a relationship, and I want to share this as it may help you if you have any issues with a parent or loved one. Let’s face it, that’s probably most of us.

My father wasn’t around much when I was a kid. He worked fairly long hours, came home around 8pm, and wouldn’t hang out with me or my bro. At weekends he was busy with a personal project. When he was around, he had anger issues, kept himself to himself, and could be very controlling. Lord knows he had his issues, but unfortunately at the time didn’t deal with them. I’d interpreted this as ‘my father doesn’t want anything to do with me’, or ‘he doesn’t care about my feelings’ etc. I think it’s pretty common for children of ‘absent’ parents to start to question their own self-worth and if their parents really loved or wanted them.

Whilst I’d acknowledged that he worked hard to provide for us financially, and I could understand on that level why he did what he did, I just still had those issues of thinking ‘you know, if he liked me as a person then he would have wanted to have spent time with me and treated me nicely. Issues or no issues, why did he behave the way he did towards me when i was a cute bundle of joy?’ :o !

Then I had this recent light bulb moment which was like blasting clean white light into the past. It pretty much rocked my world.

My father wasn’t deliberately neglecting me emotionally (I,e not spending time with me) because he didn’t want to be with me.  No, he was avoiding being present in my life because he was scared of being an inadequate father, and scared he might screw me up.

If you’re scared you might hurt someone, what do you do? You probably avoid them! If you’re scared of screwing up (as a parent, as an employee, as a spouse etc) what might you do? Shrink from the relationship, or try to avoid that role altogether. You don’t think you’re worth being in relationship with that person.

When I saw this situation from this perspective, I realised none of what my dad had done was ‘about me’ – meaning, he didn’t choose to stay away or be controlling because I was bad, or smelt funny, or wasn’t good enough to have his time spent on me. It was about his fears, which manifested in avoiding his kids and using control to ‘manage’ the situation rather than create emotional bonds.

I felt waves of relief with this insight. All the ‘was it me? Wasn’t I loveable?’ BS is fading fast. It’s liberating. Good enough? I always was! I didn’t do anything wrong, durr.  And I feel more compassion towards my father because I can see that even though oftentimes it was hard for me, in his own way he felt he was protecting me from himself and his issues, the best he could. His actions, whilst hurtful, didn’t come from a malicious place. He acted on his own idea that he wasn’t good enough to be a good parent :(

So, my takeaway is this: Is there someone significant in your life, maybe a parent, that didn’t treat you the way you deserved to be treated, or even hurt you? If so, what do you think their biggest fear was, that was driving their behaviour?

It could be anything from the fear of being an inadequate parent or failing as a parent, to the fear of feeling empty inside and needing meaning in their life, to the fear of abandonment, to the fear of not being loved back.

It could even be based on this person not wanting you to go through something they did, to the point of unhealthy behaviour eg. a mother who was bullied for being overweight as a kid might now be obsessing over her daughter being slim, because she’s scared her daughter might get bullied if she’s not slim. And this can then manifest in the daughter getting body image issues or eating disorders. – not because the mother is mean and only values her daughter on how she looks, but because the mother has a deeply felt fear around her daughter being picked on due to how she looks, and wanting to protect her from that.

This is not to say that their behaviour is ‘right’, instead it helps to understand that their motives probably came from a ‘good’ place underneath it all – wanting to protect you from something, even protecting you from themselves or their own fear.

I hope this helps. It’s really helping me. It’s like a whole new paradigm shift.

May your perceiptions shift massively,

S xo

Need some coaching for the summer? Have an issue that keeps repeating itself that you want to blast through before 2012 is out? Get in touch, let’s shift that perceiption and clear the way for you to move forward! Email me at s_l_byrne@hotmail.com

Let your feelings be your guide to create YOUR normal

This week I’ve been thinking about how some of the biggest game-changers have been recognising when a situation or state of being is ‘not healthy’.

This may not be as easy or obvious as you might expect.

There are lots of things that are prevelant or ‘normal’ in our families, peer groups, society, yet are not healthy or ‘right’.

For example, debt is actually kinda normal – it’s likely that you know a few people who are in debt, and reading the papers there is lots of talk about the normalcy of consumer debt.

Likewise, co-dependent relationships (between romantic partners or even in families) can be considered ‘normal’ – the ‘need’ to have someone complete you, or to give your all to another because ‘that’s what relationships are about’.

Working a job you hate then binge-drinking and partying hard at the weekend could be seen as normal in certain circles!

However, because something is the norm, or seemingly widespread, does not make it right or healthy.

So if you’re in an environment where it appears certain negative behaviours are the norm, how do you ‘know’ or have the lightbulb moment that this behaviour really is not healthy or right for you? Your peer group, the media, your family etc could all be ‘showing’ you that it’s normal behaviour, so how do you carve a different path?

Listen to your gut. Look at how this behaviour is impacting you. Give yourself some quiet time away from everyone and everything to reflect on what is true for you.

Think about a time when you were not in debt, not in a co-dep relationship, working a job you enjoyed, a time when you didn’t turn to an addiction or comfort food. Even if that means going back to when you were a kid or teenager.

Realize that your unhealthy state of being in debt/co-dependency/overeating/overspending/living an unhealthy lifestyle is NOT YOUR NORMAL.

Create your own standard of normal. It doesn’t have to be the same as everyone elses. Just make sure your standard of normal benefits you, makes sense to you, and will improve your life.

As an example, when I was in debt, I thought that was normal for a while. My father had been in debt, as a student I readily took on cheap/free credit and my fellow students were in debt, and in my early twenties a lot of my peers were also living on limited means, often relying on credit cards. It just seemed like debt was a normal part of life.

As i worked to get out of debt, one of the biggest things that helped me was holding on to the belief that ‘being in debt is not my state of normal’. I had to look back through my life to pick out the times when i was not in debt (which proved to me that it is possible to be out of debt), and believe that being in debt is a temporary injury that i would recover from.

Temporary dysfunctions can often become very long-lasting states of normal. That is why setting your own standard for ‘what is normal for me’ is so important. If you have an inkling that there is an issue affecting your life, tell yourself that this is not your normal and like an injury, you will recover.

It may also help you to start sourcing stories, people, ideas that all support your desired ‘state of normal’. So for me, i spent a lot of time visiting financial guidance websites which had case studies of people who had cleared their debts and instead were using their money towards savings. It was important for me to be surrounded in any way i could be with people who didn’t believe debt was normal.

So this week, I encourage you to look at one thing in your life that isn’t serving you, yet is a continuing problem. Does it feel normal to you? Are the people around you all doing the same thing? Do you feel ‘comfortable’ with this problem even though you might know it’s not working for you?

Once you establish your new normal in your mind (eg my new normal is to be debt-free, my new normal is to have clean relationships, my new normal is to exercise every day), your problematic behaviour will start to feel less comfortable! You can use these new-normal phrases as affirmations each day to keep you on track (eg ‘my new normal is to be debt-free’).

This will really help you begin to take steps to move away from the negative pattern. Sometimes we have problem areas in our lives just out of habit, so this can be a good step towards breaking the habit.

I hope this helps you – it’s really helped me. Perceiving any undesirable habit or behaviour as an injury to recover from, not a state of normal, is a powerful way of handling these situations.

Have a great week

S xo

If you would like one-to-one coaching to turn around a negative pattern and/or to create a new ‘normal’ for yourself, get in touch!

‘Are you sure?’

Scrap these words from your vocabulary.

If someone is offering you money, to cook you dinner, gift you, do something for you for free, accept graciously and DO NOT SAY THESE THREE WORDS

Perhaps you’ve been raised to be ‘polite’ and say these three words whenever someone offers you a second helping of cake, a sneaky freebie at an event, offers to waive a fine or entry fee just cuz they’re in a good mood.

Don’t say those words!

If your bank offers to lower your interest rate, randomly, don’t say these three words. If you get asked to participate in activity you don’t think you’re ‘qualified’ enough or ‘good’ enough to do, don’t say these three words.

“You want another biscuit?” “oh, are you sure?” “WHY WOULDN’T I BE IT’S JUST A BISCUIT”

Because these three words are the tip of the iceberg of what you really mean, or what’s really underneath them.

  • ‘Are you sure’ you want to give this to me, wouldn’t you rather give it to someone else who deserves it more?
  • ‘Are you sure’ you trust me with this?
  • ‘Are you sure’ I can handle this?
  • ‘Are you sure’ this isn’t putting you out, because I’m not worth having the fuss?
  • ‘Are you sure’ it’s okay that I can receive something so easily, since I’m used to paying my dues and having to struggle to be treated well?

‘Are you sure?’ isn’t a question you’re asking the other person. It’s you voicing your own self-doubt. The more you say it, the less graciously you accept kindness from others and/or opportunities that can enhance your life.

It doesn’t matter whether they’re sure or you’re sure. If an offer is on the table, you can either gladly take it or gladly reject it. ‘Are you sure’ muddies what was originally a clear intention.

If you find yourself saying these three words to others, or even to yourself when an offer or gift comes along, take a moment! Recalibrate. If they weren’t sure, they wouldn’t have offered. Say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but never ‘are you sure?’

If you find that you say these three words pretty much everytime someone offers you something, spend a quick minute checking to see what’s under the doubt – what’s under the iceberg. Do you not like to ‘put people out’? Do you feel not ‘good enough’? Do you have a general disbelief that people want to be nice to you just because, without a hidden agenda?

Have an amazing week,

S xo

So that misery-guts you know… are they messing with your self-esteem?

This will either make you go ‘duh, of course’, or you’ll have an epiphany. Fine line, folks.

Think about some of your closest relationships – this could be friends, siblings, partners, parents, co-workers. They might not even be people you are necessarily ‘close’ to, but for whatever reason you are frequently in their company – housemates, classmates, your partner’s best friend etc.

Now be honest. Are there any of these folk who are perpetually displeased? It could just be one person, or a couple.

Whenever you see them, there’s some kind of crisis or problem. To them, life is stacked against them, and when you know you’re going to be seeing them you expect the expression on their face to be one of worry, fed-up-ness, complaint, bitterness, or concern that the country’s gone to the dogs. Everyone has their down days, but these people are permenantly living life like it’s hell.

Overarchingly (I don’t know if that’s a word but it seems good) they are resentful toward their life, and emmit grim vibes towards most people they come across. God forbid if you’re happy when they’re not. They often also perceive others as a dumping-ground for their woes, which are neverending.

Got an idea in your head of someone you know who’s like that?

Ok. How do you feel if you’ve been around them for a while? Probably climbing the walls if you’re anything like me, or heading desperately for the nearest emergency exit.

Yet I realised something this weekend.

When someone was scowly around me, I seemed to take it that it was because I was bad

There’s at least one major ‘woe is me’ person I know who manages to make me feel bad around them. Or at least tries to. They are perpetually displeased and I think for a while I unconsciously interpreted it that they were displeased with me! And that’s no good. No-one likes the idea that someone you come into contact with frequently is in a bad mood because of you.

Yet I feel like that was what was going on. I’m used to people being chipper around me, so perculiarly figured that if when I came into contact with the miserablist they were miserable around me, then it must be because of me.

Now, people all have their own stuff to deal with and of course you may be in a bad mood cuz you missed your train so when you finally meet your friend you might be a bit huffed but after some banter it’s bygones. But as ‘the friend’ you’re like ‘oh okay whatever any gloom is not about me, it’s about the train fandango’ and you know it’s cool

But with the perpetually miserable (or, ‘the glass is always empty and no one will ever fill it up for me’ types) there is hardly any light. The gloom does not pass. It gets carried like a blanket. It shifts from one thing to the next with the same frequency, whether it’s losing their keys or a health scare. To be in their company is like having a living breathing walking talking bad-news programme with you. Misery is their lifestyle choice.

Maybe they are displeased with you :p

And maybe they are pissed or resentful that you are happy. Maybe? Maybe some of their woe comes from you not being able to ‘fix’ their problems. Maybe they are displeased, not just by life, but with you, because you refuse to join them in the gloom. Maybe they are displeased because you think their issue isn’t really an issue at all. Maybe they’re mad because they want to sit and snark all night about what everyone else is wearing and you wanna hit the dancefloor. How. dare. you.

And if they are displeased, or you perceive they are displeased with you, what do you do?

I internalised it for a while. I started to believe perhaps I was doing something wrong – otherwise why isn’t this person happy, or at least content? I figured, people aren’t unhappy for no reason, right? So if they’re with me and just exude misery, and complaint, then that paints me as being a wrongdoer in some way, no? If i was good, loveable, a positive force, they’d be happy in my company, right?

I’m bringing this up because when I had my lightbulb moment, and saw that in some ways I had been letting miserablists make me feel bad about myself, I wondered if there are other folk out there who are in similar situations and don’t know what’s going on – that maybe you think you can ‘put up with’ these folk, and you know intellectually that their woes have nothing to do with you, but at a subconscious level they might be affecting your self-esteem.

I’m still processing this for myself, and I don’t know what the answer is (other than spending less time around these folk LOL). But I do know that this is true:

Some people are just perpetually displeased with everything and that has nothing to do with you.

Some people can turn a party into a funeral. Some people can ruin a holiday. Some people can watch a joyful celebration and criticise it the whole way through. And some people can be in a constantly foul mood with everyone, even you, and it’s NOT ABOUT YOU.

They’re not this way because of you. They’re not reflecting back to you pain, anger, hate, victimhood because you are presenting them with something terrible or hurtful. They are just set to default pain-mode. And if you dance around for them in an animal costume to cheer them up you’ll get even more displeasure reflected back to you.

My version of a fan dance

You don’t have to cheer them up. You don’t have to feel bad for them. You don’t have to empathise with them. And you don’t have to take any responsibility for their doom and gloom.

I’m going to start practicing holding this idea really clearly in my mind whenever I encounter the miserablists. ‘I am not the one making them feel bad’.

How much better would your self-esteem be knowing that? How relieved would you feel knowing that it has nothing to do with you, you’re just a witness? How much attention, effort, energy would you save by not trying to cheer them up? If they choose to be pissed at life, then let them be!

It’s not easy. Sometimes the miserablists can be people close to us, and in those situations we really do wish we could shift them to a happier state – we don’t want to see them in pain. But if they’re choosing to see life and everything in it with misery, there’s not much we can do. Fan dances and motivational speeches don’t work. I’ve tried.

If you get one thing from this post let it be this: Don’t let miserablists make you question who you are as a person. They are not pissed off because you have done something wrong/are a bad person/aren’t good enough. They’re pissed because that’s their default mode.

For anyone who’s ever had to endure a few rounds with the perpetually displeased, this is for you. Make sure your self-esteem is okay. If you feel it might have been shaken a little by the woe-is-me’s, get yourself surrounded by some supportive & happy folk STAT.

Onwards!

S xo

Don’t let other people’s issues be your issues!

This week’s post is gonna be short n sweet

I tend to have a bit of an influx of self-growth newsletters and blog posts come through my inbox – covering a range of topics from body image to finances to diet to ‘how to manifest’ etc. I don’t sign up to them all because I have problems in these areas, rather I like to be tapped in to other people putting out positive, supportive content on the interwebs. Generally speaking their ‘voice’ is empowering, and about making life as good as it can be.

However.

I had a moment. I was reading a newsletter (aka blog post) all about women’s body image. And whilst, yes, towards the second half of the newsletter they were talking about the beauty of women being in their spirit, energy, self-love etc which is all super good stuff, for the first half of the newsletter they were highlighting all the things that could give you body issues eg what the media say, women’s propensity to compare how they look with each other, possible bullying at school etc. It was a way to empathise with readers, and probably did resonate with many people reading it. Yet of course, for some readers it would not be such an issue, and for others it may be exactly what they need to work on.


For me, i’m very lucky to feel pretty okay about my body image. I work out a lot and have a clean diet, so feel I do the best I can with what i’ve got. Yet when I was reading the first bit of the newsletter, stating all the reasons women may have body image issues, I started feeling like ‘oh, maybe I have body image issues too’. Even though prior to reading this I was feeling good and kick ass in my work-out gear. I was empathising with all the reasons why women (including myself) may have issues, that a teeny part of me wondered if i did indeed have some doubts that need work.

When in reality, i have bigger fish to fry right now! And i’m looking alright thank you very much.

So this week, I encourage you to be mindful about seemingly good/uplifting content out there, whether it’s online or in magazines, that may subtly make you wonder if you’ve got an issue (that you probably don’t have).  Even well-meaning writers can start their articles saying things like ‘most women feel xxx about their xxx’ or ‘in this economy, it’s not surprising if you feel xxx about your finances’ etc. And maybe before you read that article you felt fine, but now you’re like ‘oh god, maybe I do feel a bit xxx about my finances in this economy’ or ‘well, maybe I do feel a bit xxx about my xxx’.  (that could be ‘I feel judgemental about my skin’)

Don’t buy into it. Unless of course you are conscious that you do have an issue that you specifically would like to address. Otherwise, be mindful. Sometimes even seemingly empowering content can make you wonder if you have an issue when really you don‘t!

Thank heavens for media literacy, people.

S xo

p.s If you want some juicy group coaching to help you live a rockin life, Terri Cole & Ashley Turner’s program starts shortly, can not recommend them enough. Details here.