Andy Murray got me to therapy

This is a short n sweet thank you note to Andy Murray, the British tennis player (as well as the fantastic Olympians and Paralympians).

I attended the team GB victory parade on Monday, then later that night found out about Andy Murray’s victory at the US Open. Inspiration overload!

Watching Andy triumph, finally, after years of not quite breaking through to win a Grand Slam – I saw a guy stepping into his power and being the best he can be. It was like he’d managed to break through his own glass ceiling.

He thanked his new coach, the tennis legend Lendl, and it really hit me that if you want to be the best you can be, beyond even your own imagination, you need to do whatever it takes to support your growth – including having someone to help you break through any bad habits.

It seems that Lendl has helped Murray keep his composure on court, to be emotionally fit which helps him get an edge, and not be rattled when things aren’t going his way on court.  I think this has been a key part in helping Murray win an Olympic gold medal as well as get the US Open. Alongside having great coaches, medics, physios, masseurs, managers, he also needed someone to refine his emotional fitness.

So when i saw Murray thank Lendl in his champions speech, I decided that I too needed to do whatever it takes to get me to be my best self. I need a Lendl.

And so the very next day I went to my first psychotherapy session.

I had considered (and very nearly gone ahead with) therapy before, but never felt compelled enough to follow through – I questioned if i really needed it, if it was a luxury. But there was something about seeing Andy Murray win that made me think ‘i too want to be at the top of my game and i need to do whatever it takes to do that.’

So this is a thank you to Andy Murray for inspiring me to honour my ‘best self’ by getting help. It’s not enough for me to be grinding in third gear. If i want to be at the top of my game called life, i need to respect my talent/soul/capacity and support it by getting rid of any bad habits that may be blocking me. It’s this desire that’s driving my butt to therapy each week, and what a great reason to do so :)

I hope that you were inspired in some way by sport this summer – maybe, like me, in a really unexpected way.

Have an amazing week, we are all champions

S xo

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

Your gut sometimes speaks loudest in darker times

This weekend was pretty emotional and big for me. I moved out of my family home (I’ve been staying with my mother and brother) to lodge with a friend, and I’m the first person in my family to have done this – none of my cousins, aunts or uncles, or parents ever moved out from living with their parents to live independently. All of them went from family home to living with fiances/partners. It’s common in my family for kids to stay with their parents til their mid-thirties when they get hitched, so to have flown the coop under thirty and be a single girl is almost pioneering.

Many of you reading this probably left home after college, or are married, and probably wonder why is this such a big deal.

Well, everyone you meet has their ‘area of challenge’. For some people, it could be an eating disorder. For others, it’s debt. For others, it’s being in bad romantic relationships. You know an area of challenge – that part of your life you wish you could change, but for some reason you keep replaying the patterns and habits? Well for me, my area of challenge that has taken a long time to handle has been moving out to live independently. That’s why it’s a big deal.

In this area of challenge I have had the fear, I’ve had the emotional issues, I’ve had habits that stopped me from taking a risk to change. I’ve had resistance – both within me and from my family. And I’ve had to make tough decisions and draw on a lot of inner reserves to stay the course.

So, post-move-out, I’ve been learning a lot of things about myself already. I’ll share one with you now: It’s funny the things that can bubble up when you walk through fear. Fear can be an amazing clarifier. When the true survival-instinct kicks in, it can guide you without you even having to think what your next steps are. For example, on my first night at my new digs I felt homesick and worried, and I had a headache, and I was trying to adjust to not being part of my family household. But I just couldn’t think. So I let my body go into autopilot, and listened to my gut. It would tell me what to do. “You need water” “Go buy some bread” “Read your book” “Wash your hair”. It was SO clear. I was in an emotional place where I didn’t know what the hell to do with myself, yet there was this powerful, clear ‘voice’ guiding me through it all. After I’d carried out my inner guide’s ‘instructions’, instead of feeling sad or anxious or overwhelmed I just felt exhausted and crashed into bed.

I’ve been learning that you can be as scared or confused or tearful as anything, but you can still get your ass to work, or cook dinner, or take care of yourself. You can walk through the fear, feel AWFUL, and still function. Fear, sadness, confusion, all those ‘negative’ feelings can affect you hugely but they will not kill you. And alongside all these feels, you’re bound to bump into your inner guide to anchor you while you meltdown.

I’m settling in okay now ;) More lessons from this to come…

This week’s question: When do you hear your gut / inner guide clearest? Has it guided you through difficult times?

Have a great week, see you the other side of fear!

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

Tough Love… and going natural?

In the self-help/personal growth landscape (particularly on the more feminine/spiritual side) it can be pretty cuddly. Wounds need to be nursed, for sure, yet sometimes we need to have our butts kicked to move ourselves forward. I’ve realised that I have been my best in situations where I’ve had someone pushing me outside of my comfort zone in a ‘take no BS’ way – sometimes we need a Seargant Major making us do one more push up instead of someone commiserating with us or allowing us to give up.

Why does this work? Well, the way I see it is that those who dish out ‘tough love’ in its truest meaning (rather than being a cold heartless ass) are doing it to show you that you CAN do more, be more, despite whatever your fears or ego is telling you.They believe in your capacity and are pushing you to fight through your crap. Would you rather have someone agree with your doubts that you can’t do something, or have someone ignore your BS and show you that yes you can do it? Tough Lovers refuse to see you as a victim, so even when you’re getting pissed off whilst being pushed to your limits, you will discover something pretty precious – heightened self-esteem and proof that you are not a slave to your doubts. Hell yes!

Unfortunately I think tough lovers (in the truest sense) are rare. Folk can either be the cuddly mother types who don’t want to push you as they don’t want to see you in any ‘pain’ – run from the fear to avoid going through it. Or, there are the fake tough lovers who think being mean is tough love! Nope, being mean, depriving people of things in a way that isn’t in their best interest, or making things difficult for someone when it’s not aligned with their goals is not tough love. Yet there are parents, teachers, bosses who think it is.

Anyhow, back to genuine tough love.

Seek it out. I dare ya! When or if there are challenges that you doubt you are able to rise to, look for tough lovers who can ‘push’ you up that mountain, who know you can do it even if you’re disbelieving, and who won’t let you let yourself down. Too many folk who think they’re being supportive will actually allow you to let yourself down because they don’t wanna be ‘mean’ to you, so they’ll let you give up. Find tough lovers who expect more from you because they know you have it in you and want you to succeed. It can make all the difference.

If you can’t bust through an inner issue, you can probably transform your bathroom shelf

I am always hungry to find ways to live WELL, and do the right thing – whether that’s changing something on the inside or living better in the ‘real world’. Last weekend I had some time to kill before a dance battle and stumbled upon a WholeFoods at Piccadilly Circus. Now, I’m not 100% convinced of these stores (£4 for fancy bread, ah, nooo) however their beauty section was muy interesante!! Lots of 99% chemical free natural products for hair, body, skin.  I’m not going to promote any particular brands but I will say this: If you are even a tiny bit aware of the amount of chemicals that go into ‘regular’ products (shampoos, deodorants, perfumes, skin products, feminine hygeine etc) then please start to move away from these products and slowly build up a collection of natural, organic, 99% chemical free products. And be a little vigilent – there are products that have ‘some natural extracts’ in them but that does not mean the product overall is natural (i.e chemical-free or with a very low chemical content). Look them up online to see if you can get deals on prices – often they’re not much more expensive. There are plenty of reasons to go natural – whether it’s for your own health and to avoid cancerous additives, to protect the planet using biodegradable products, you might be against animal testing (natural products TEND to not do animal testing) or be looking to support a vegan lifestyle, or maybe you want to support smaller independent brands.

Or, like me, maybe you feinted in the perfume section of a department store when you were 12 and have been avoiding chemical sprays ever since.

There are plenty of websites that can tell you the benefits of switching to natural products, so do look into this. If you have the time and inclination you can also look into d.i.y beauty products using organic household items (brown sugar with olive oil as a body scrub!), which would be even cheaper, but I dig that sometimes we just wanna wash and go. It’s empowering to make choices about what you’ll use to wash with, spray on your body, soak into your scalp etc, so if you feel inspired, take 5min to consider what item(s) you could change from chemically-loaded to natural.

Leave a comment below: How have you experienced tough love? What did it help you with? Have you dished it out to others and seen positive effects?

Have a great week

S xo

Lesson from Fear:Going around the houses

Today I read an article by an actors marketing coach about how fear can create the same ol’ pattern of behaviour: you get an idea, you get scared that it won’t work/you’ll get rejected so you overanalyse it then you either trash the idea, or use it in a highly diluted, un-fun way that is a million miles away from the original idea.

I see this often. Not just about creative ideas but decisions in life, too. Do I approach the guy I fancy? I want to do this (insert wildly outlandish activity), but will it lead me anywhere or make me successful? I want to create a blog on this topic, but will people read it and what’s the point of it anyway?

Personal story.

Years ago when I first got the idea that maybe I’d want to do acting, in my mind what I *really* wanted to do was be in action movies – anything from Kill Bill to Batman to Lara Croft to the Bourne series. Running around, kicking booty, helicopters n motorbikes, yes please.

Me, yesterday

But what happened.

Fear stepped in. Instead of me taking the most obvious step, the step that would have me doing what I REALLY wanted right from the get-go (take stunt acting classes!), instead I listened to my fear which said ‘you have to be a “serious’ actor”. This lead to a winding road of theatre acting classes, Shakespeare, falling asleep whilst watching plays at the National Theatre (true story), and going to networking events trying to hold conversations with actors who wanted to discuss plays.

I hate going to the theatre.

But my ego kept telling me ‘if you wanna be an actor, this is what you have to do, else no-one is gonna give you a break, no-one is gonna take you seriously, and you have to compete with all these theatre types who have theatre training.’

As time went on, I started to feel like I wasn’t really ‘an actor’ because I didn’t wanna talk about Chekov or the more academic side of things (which is crazy – if you enjoy acting as an activity then you’re an actor). My passion waned, and possibly worse, I felt frustrated and lost. I thought I enjoyed acting – so why did I feel like a fish out of water?

I took a break. I didn’t act for about a year. I took up freestyle dancing, and through that re-connected to my passion for self-expression through movement. And the call of acting came back.

This time, I’m gunning for what I want and love. I refuse to let my fear or ego trip me up. No more going round the houses. Just direct.

I took a ‘dramatic violence’ class last week and I was completely in my element – grappling, fake-strangling, punching ;) It felt RIGHT. There is much more of this to come, so brace yourselves.

This week’s takeaway:

If you identify something that you want to do, or something that you love, ACCEPT it and take the shortest, most obvious route possible towards bringing it into your life. Don’t listen to the BS that says ‘well if you want to do this, you have to do XYZ first’ or ‘you’re not a proper ____ if you don’t do XYZ’. Don’t let fear take you on an unnecessary journey away from your core desire. Don’t negate your desire to make it more ‘acceptable’ or seemingly less ‘risky’. Because

  1. You may waste a lot of time, money, effort
  2. You may begin to question if you really want what you want in the first place – self-doubt
  3. You might start to even dislike or become jaded about your original passion
  4. You might find yourself amongst people who are NOT on your wavelength, feeling pretty isolated

All bad beans.

In the past couple of years I’ve learnt that when you ACCEPT what you are truly passionate about, and stick with it, your passion will grow, doors will open, you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who you love and who support you, and your sense of self will start to feel more solid. When I really got into waacking (the dance form I do), even if other elements of my life felt turbulent or unsure, I knew that at least one thing was true; I am whole-heartedly a waacker and I had that to hold onto. And you know, if I had let fear lead me round the houses when it comes to dance, I’d probably be a jaded unfulfilled ballerina, missing out on the passion, friendships and competitions I get to do with waacking.

I think something I was prone to doing was looking at how I could ‘maximise my chances of success’ by picking the most popular or mainstream area, even if I wasn’t lit up by it. And aiming to be the ‘all-rounder’ rather than an expert. Being an action actor is quite niche, waacking is a very niche dance form, even the things I write about in my blog (life lessons) is kinda niche.  But you have to love what you do, not try and alter it so it fits into what ‘most’ people like or ‘respect’. It’s unsustainable. Passion is pretty much the only thing that will keep you going the long-term. So don’t let fear rob you of falling in love with your passions and missing out on opportunities for success! And when you follow your niche, you’re bound to become an expert in it much much quicker.

Can you relate to this? Have you let fear lead you on a merry dance, rather than just dive in to what you really love and want to do? Are you doing that right now, and if so, what do you truly want and what can you do to move towards it, rather than away from it? Leave comments!

Off to practice my bad-ass action girl swagger,

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

How Bad Does It Have To Get? (this is a positive post!)

Well. A parable.

About six months ago my laptop started to have ever-so-slightly-irritating malfunctions. The left-hand mouse button had to be pressed quite hard to work, the integrated webcam stopped working, and the screen would flicker if it wasn’t at the right angle. I could still use my laptop, there were just these minor niggles. Because getting it repaired would mean being laptop-less for potentially 2 weeks (noooo!) I just put up with these things – I’d rather have my not-quite-right laptop than be without for a couple of weeks.

This week the mouse button situation had got so bad that I had to use all my strength to even make it work. My fingers were aching, even my shoulder was starting to strain. Enough is enough! I called repairs and they’re gonna be taking my laptop away tomorrow to be fixed.

This little episode made me think about how I, and perhaps others, let things get to the point of unbearability (hope that’s a word) before we take action or get things fixed.

Some of us may be so good at ‘putting up with’, enduring, living with low-level inconvenience for a long time (rather than going through a higher level of inconvenience for a short burst), that it takes great ‘pain’ to make us tackle the problem.

Rather than ‘stopping the rot’ earlier on, there’s a tendency to endure until it gets so bad that action is unavoidable. Does this ring true for you at all in any area of your life? Finances, living conditions, relationships, health/wellness? What are you putting up with and how bad does it have to get until you make a change?

I took a very quick scope of other places in my life where I had let this happen – from the minor (putting up with an old bed til I started getting backache) to the major (living in debt til my available credit ran out). Clearly, some part of me in certain areas likes to avoid sorting things out until forced to – until ‘the last straw’.

Where does this tendency come from? It’s not true for everything, and I’m sure if you can relate to this behaviour on some levels it’s not true for all areas of your life either.

I did what any good gold-digger does – got out my flashlight and looked to who/which situations early on gave me this idea that the best way to handle things is to ‘put up with until dire’ rather than ‘tackle head-on as soon as trouble arises’.

Not wanting to name names but immediately one person in my family springs to mind. They stayed in a long-term relationship for way.too.long, a relationship that was damaging, because they hoped things would one day get better. Despite all the dysfunctional behaviour and pain, they held on. The only reason they got out of the relationship was when their partner left them!

This person also suffered a chronic health issue which they, to an extent, ‘put up with’ – they received medication for it but did not explore alternative measures to try and help. Decades passed. It took a recent accident to motivate them to reach out for alternative treatments, physiotherapy, psycho-sematic inquiry etc.

I know of another family member who worked a job they couldn’t stand, suffered from behavioural problems, and wouldn’t seek outside help (therapy) until they lost everything (their job, financial security, their partner etc). It took a major life upheaval for them to turn things around – rather than sorting out their work situation and getting therapy earlier.

So my ‘put up with til super-bad’ behaviour is likely to be learned behaviour (these people are close relatives). That makes me feel a little more peaceful – learned behaviour can always be changed.

So if you are ‘putting up with’ some sort of BS – big or small – where did you pick up this tendency? Who taught you that it’s better to put up with low-level discomfort until it turns into a bigger problem? Once you’ve uncovered that, you can then start to create a new script for yourself – one that says ‘if I see problems, no matter how small, I will intervene to prevent them turning into a chronic problem or turning into a major problem’. This could be through seeing the truth for what it is, enquiry into what options you have, then taking the best right step to change, remedy, or leave the situation.

I hope this helps you in some way. I think for some people it’s quite common to stay in a situation until it gets unbearable. We suffer until we are literally pushed. This is of course learnt behaviour, and once you bring awareness to that, you can decide for yourself that you are no longer willing to make this behaviour your chosen behaviour anymore.

If any of this resonated with you, if you have stayed in situations waaay longer than you ‘should’ have, or if you have learnt this lesson the hard way and have tips on how to ‘stop the rot’ early, please leave a comment below :)

S xo