Tag Archives: gratitude

5 Ways to Harness the Power of Gratitude

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker & Empowerment Coach

Gratitude Can Be Severely Underrated

The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has for many been popular for years and is becoming widely accepted by increasing numbers of people who have witnessed firsthand the beneficial changes the act of being grateful has brought into their lives. Indeed, long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and even a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are programmed to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. In order for gratitude to meet its full healing potential it needs to become more than just a word we pay lip service to. We have to learn a new way of looking at things and begin to think differently in order to create the shift needed in our mindset to facilitate the long-lasting and sustainable change it takes to establish it not only as a new habit but a way of life and that can take time.

That’s why actively practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life, everything; the good, the bad & the indifferent as both the opportunities & blessings that they truly are.

However, it’s important to remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world without a shadow of a doubt but when we learn to focus on the gifts of life, we gain an often previously unfelt sense of well-being because gratitude in and of itself helps to restore balance and gives us hope.

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker Coach Author

What’s on your list?

For me true wealth lies in life’s intangibles and on a daily basis if we choose to see them there are many things to be grateful for: the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, waves crashing on the shoreline, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, the unbridled laughter of children, our health, butterflies………………

 5 Ways to Start You On the Road to Practicing Gratitude

  • Keep a gratitude journal and establish a routine where you spend just 5 minutes of every single day (for me bedtime is the ideal time) and write down as many things you can for which you are grateful AND why. It doesn’t matter what or why. It doesn’t have to be anything other than something – anything – which has/does cause you to feel grateful in some way…there are no limits & trust me when I say that in ‘giving voice’ to your gratitude in this way you will very quickly come to realize just how much you truly have to be grateful for
  • Make a gratitude collage; paste, copy, stick, draw again it doesn’t matter how you do it, just that you give it a try. How amazing would it be whenever you feel sad, upset or miserable say to be able to glance at a visual reminder of all that you have to be grateful for. Think about it you glance over & in one spot you instantly see images of your kids, better half, a sunrise, next/last year’s holiday destination maybe even a picture of yourself before & after a life altering experience (losing 100lb in weight for example) ANYTHING for which you’re grateful. How would that make you feel, how powerful would that be in lifting your mood?
  • Practice gratitude ACTIVELY at every opportunity. When we make a conscious effort to be thankful by showing others that we appreciate them on a daily basis the world around us responds in kind. The most obvious example of this would simply be the act of showing your appreciation by actually saying thank you be that verbally, by text, a nice card or even sending a small gift as a token for something that others have done and not even necessarily for you.
  • Instigate a gratitude challenge. When you or those around you start complaining about something challenge yourself or them to find the hidden positive, blessing if you will no matter the situation. It’s not always easy but it is possible, remember it’s a simple law of physics that for every negative there is an equal and opposite reaction. Given time and practice you’ll be amazed at how better you start to feel.
  • Take time and be mindful of how being grateful impacts positively on your life. Notice how your attitude and that of those around you change for the better. Concentrate on living fully in the present and notice how deeply grateful you are becoming for even the most mundane of things which have previously gone unnoticed and then celebrate the new improved reality which will begin to unfold around you.

When we make a conscious choice, because like everything it is a choice, to make practicing gratitude a way of living an inner shift begins to occur and you may be delighted to discover how content, realigned, more focused & fulfilled you begin to feel and which has the most profound of effects in every area of our lives be that home, personal, relationships & careers and that sense of fulfillment my friends is:

 GRATITUDE AT WORK!

To find out more about making long-lasting, sustainable positive changes in your life I invite you to take the first step & connect with me to claim your FREE Strategic Discovery Call

Not for you? That’s great but should you know of someone who would benefit by reaching their full potential please feel free to pass the invite along.

‘Empowering You To Have The Courage To Be Who You Really Are”!                                    suecurr.com 

I can be reached via: Email – suecurr@suecurr.com  

Sober. Proud. Grateful…3 Years On!

3RD Anniversary Post

”No matter how many times we stumble or fall, the greatest lesson is loving yourself through it all” – Barbra Streisand

TODAY is the 3rd Anniversary of the first day of the rest of my life. It is the day when I was faced with the prospect of not seeing the next 24 hours let alone my children carve out their adult lives for themselves. I lived. I learned. I grew.

Welcome to my life. My new sober life!

It’s a day that I am fortunate to be seeing and there is not one day since the 26th September 2012, that I have not offered up thanks for the miracle that is my life as I live it these days. Now I don’t mean that to sound evangelical, nor do I say it to solicit sympathy or even pity. I say it simply because it’s true, a simple, honest fact. Due to my extremely poor lifestyle choices as a result of Mental Ill Health and having tried and failed (although that’s a word I dislike intensely) to sort myself out with the usual cocktail of prescribed meds and varying forms of therapy, I had slid almost unconsciously (the irony of that word isn’t lost on me as for the larger part of a period totalling about 15 years..that’s largely what I was unconscious) into the dangerous, un-policed area of self medication. Except my drug of choice came in a bottle or 3 a day rather than a blister pack of little white pills.

My descent into a self-induced state of oblivion started off relatively slowly but as is the way with all addiction gathered pace quite spectacularly and as I’ve told you before I almost became a guest of the Grim Reaper when my liver and other vital organs started to shut down. Fortunately I lived to tell the tale and my life since that date  has gone from strength to strength. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally & very definitely physically. Quite simply on every level I am a different person.

Someone asked me recently if I was a better person because of it. Honestly? At the time I couldn’t answer her…largely because I didn’t feel that was my call to make. However having had chance to digest the question properly and if she asked me again today…particularly today, given that it’s 3 years hence my answer would have to be a great big, fat resounding...

Yes it is and not only that I am prouder than I ever imagined possible about the fact.

I’m happier, healthier and more whole than ever before and because of this I’m more confident, less paranoid, have an improving opinion of my self-image and I know I am more than enough just the way I am. All of the above have led me to be more relaxed, less anxious, most certainly less self-absorbed these days and as a result I am more emotionally and mentally available, as such I’m more in tune with and receptive to the needs of others in a way which quite honestly I was totally unable to be 3 years ago. So yes I think I can say with all honesty yes I’m a better person for the experience. As frightening and unpleasant as it was the lessons I learned because of it have made the person I am today…and do you know what? I actually for the first time like who I am. BONUS!

That said I very firmly still consider myself to be a work in progress..living, learning & growing every single day. My historic battle with Mental Ill Health & its resultant poor lifestyle choices saw me almost rob myself of seeing my family thrive & grow…the fact that I did leaves me full of a gratitude which is beyond measure.

If I’ve learned anything it’s that this isn’t a rehearsal..grab each day by the scruff of it’s neck…tell those you care for how much you love them and make every single second count leaving no room for regret. We’re all born, we all die..it’s what we do in between which becomes our legacy NOT what there is in the bank..the box we’re leaving in bar a few inches is gonna be the same size and we ain’t taking anything with us folks so make it count…while you still can.

I firmly believe the adage that in life there are no mistakes only lessons to be learned and trust me this particular one is very definitely one which will never have to be revisited let alone unlearned. I’m not naive enough to think that I will never be tempted to partake of the demon drink again..indeed in recent times of extreme stress the thought has in all honesty crossed my mind BUT I owe it to myself and those I cherish to love this life I live & live this life I love with every fibre of my heart and soul cleanly, openly & honestly thus absolving them of the need to worry about me.

Addiction makes a person very selfish and as that selfish incarnation of yourself you truly cannot think or process anything which threatens the false reality you’ve created for yourself as you hide from the cause of the pain which you have strived so hard to forget. In becoming so self-absorbed nothing else matters, not yourself or your health, not your loved ones or the pain they feel on your behalf and you certainly don’t even think about happiness, let alone actually being happy. In short you care about nothing only where your next drink, fix, high,,,whatever you’re chasing is coming from.

This more than anything else is something which even if I was tempted myself? I would never, ever put those I love through that pain again…and so going back to the previous question.

Has it made you a better person? Oh God I do hope so…YES! I’m done being selfish, I’m done being miserable, I’m done hiding. I fully intend to carry on doing exactly what I now implore you all to do which is to;

Do what makes YOU happy, be who or what YOU want to be and understand that we all of us have the power within to do just that…live life mindfully with gratitude and whatever you are KNOW that you are ENOUGH!

Trust me if I can do it….anyone can and I highly recommend it!!!

For those of you…and you know who you are…who have loved & supported me unconditionally along the way my eternal gratitude knows no bounds..I love you today, tomorrow & ALWAYS

LIVE! LAUGH! LOVE!

Sue – Clean. Sober & Happy for 1096 Days today!!

We Should Never Forget That Children Do Listen

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker & Empowerment Coach

Children Do Listen

 

Everything we ever do is a learned behaviour

And let’s face it the job of the teacher…initially at least…falls squarely on the shoulders of our parents and carers.

Without doubt parenting is the most important role with the most significant responsibilities around… not a statement I make lightly….and yet it’s practically the only job in the entire world which anyone can take on without any formal training.

The second we’re conceived we become part of the lottery of life. As children our future is mapped out and there is little we can do about it until we take responsibility for our own life as we grow up.

When we’re born our responsible adults start us on a learning curve that is never steeper than during our first 5 years of life. Every second of every day we are learning on every conceivable level largely without even being aware of it.

When I say every level I do mean every level as babies we’re naturally programmed to react to and learn from everything our senses are being continually bombarded by.

Sight, Sound. Taste. Smell & Touch

Our grown ups are aware of our responses to stimulation but unless we react suddenly to loud noises, they rarely if ever remember that children will and do listen.… all the time even when they appear to  be engrossed in other things.

It’s a common misconception that young children in particular are unaware of what is being said in their presence and whilst that may be true before we ”understand the words” it most certainly isn’t as we grow.

It’s an error of judgement that  can and does cause serious consequences for both the children that we are and the adults we become!

The vast majority of parents or carers quickly get to grips with the mechanics of teaching the day-to-day practicalities involved in the rearing and shaping of us into responsible adults in our own right. Including the…for some….not too obvious aspects that form part of the package our spiritual, emotional and mental well-being.

They simply ”forget” that children are like sponges soaking up everything including what’s said to, shouted at, spoken to others about, even muttered through clenched teeth….. at them!

Children listen constantly especially when it’s about them!  

By the age of 5 the majority of us will have heard and absorbed all manner of information much of it about us and if we’re lucky we will have come to learn that we are bright, intelligent, lovable, funny, pretty, in other words we are secure in the knowledge that we are loved and wanted which is exactly as it should be

However for every well-balanced, secure, confident child that’s raised there are children who grow up thinking that they are stupid, naughty, noisy, cheeky, bad and who grow up to be less well-adjusted, nervous, shy, insecure with little or no self-esteem and for an unfortunate proportion of these children this tends to be the beginning of their journey through the battlefield of Mental Ill Health a place I’ve come to acknowledge as being the loneliest place on earth.

There are far too many who are unwilling or unable to extend their duty of care to their offspring in a manner which sees them learn, grow and mature into whole, rounded, well-balanced adults in their own right and that’s where some of us come unstuck!

Why? Simply because adults severely underestimate the power of the spoken word!

As human beings and particularly as children we do over time tend to forget the words that have been spoken and the things that have been done in their finer detail but we never forget how we’ve been made to feel. If the parents and carers of this world could somehow see into the future and be held accountable beforehand then so many lives would be very different from that of…

A ‘’lifelong battle with Mental Ill Health’’ and the resulting suffering

When I was 5!

When I was 5 – I knew how to laugh but learned how to cry
When I was 5 – I knew how to shine but learned how to hide
When I was 5 – I knew how to be happy but learned how to be sad
When I was 5 – I knew how to play but  learned how to sit
When I was 5 – I knew how to be real but learned how to be fake
When I was 5 – I knew how to read so learned how to escape

As children we adapt very quickly to the circumstances of our day-to-day lives. If we have been molded to be timid or insecure, feel anxious or unloved we learn how to people please. We learn how to ”behave” because we’re afraid of doing something wrong or being lacking in some way and we grow up feeling stupid or worthless but most of all unlovable.

It can take years to overcome the behaviour patterns, insecurities and traumas we may  have experienced throughout childhood..some of us never do. Because we grow up believing that everything we have ever been told or have heard about ourselves from the mouths of ”our grown ups” must be true because they ”were big and we were small” and that’s just the way it is!

If as responsible adults we understood that it takes much less effort to raise a whole child than it does to mend a broken adult then life and this world would be a much brighter, happier place. Our children are but a gift, ours for a very small window of opportunity it’s our responsibility to raise them to be the best version of themselves that they can possibly be.

When I turned 50

When I turned 50 – I knew how to cry but remembered to laugh

When I turned 50 – I knew how to hide but remembered to shine

When I turned 50 – I knew how to be sad but remembered to be happy

When I turned 50 – I knew how to sit but remembered to play

When I turned 50 – I knew how to be fake but remembered to be real

When  I turned 50 – I knew how to escape but remembered it was enough to just read

We owe it our children to raise them properly and that means looking after their spiritual, emotional and mental well-being in equal proportion to their physical needs. They shouldn’t have to spend their lives trying to become who they really are……….I was lucky I now know without doubt that I am worthy, I am enough, I am lovable and funny and smart and anything else I want to be because I matter!!!                                                                     

Pity it took me 50+ years but that’s ok because everything that has ever happened to me, made me who I am and AM PROUD TO BE today   

If you would like to begin living your life with both purpose & passion in your own way & on your own terms without feeling the need to apologize for, justify or explain yourself BUT lack the rock solid foundation of self-esteem & confidence then I invite you to reach & connect with me here by Claiming a FREE 30 Minute Strategic Discovery Call

 

Mistake or Opportunity?

Mistake or POST

‘’ No matter how many times you stumble or fall, the greatest lesson is loving yourself through it all ‘’
Barbara Streisand

Mistakes! We’ve all made them right?

We all of us make mistakes some tiny, some huge & a small percentage of which could potentially be disastrous. In times of stress or emotional overload the propensity to make mistakes increases and because we are human so does our need to apportion blame. That blame could be leveled at us or by us towards ourselves as well as others and dependent upon our interpretation of the gravity of it so the level of blame and by association guilt increases in line.

Rarely does a mistake happen without an accompanying negative reaction in response and very often it is the reaction as opposed to the action (mistake) which is the cause of most stress for those concerned. Alongside that runs the at times almost overwhelming need to right perceived wrongs, justify how/why the mistake was made (to be fair sometimes by trying to absolve ourselves of any blame) and moreover apologise profusely & repeatedly as if insistent repetition of sorrow will right any adverse effects of the said mistake.

However the single biggest error of judgement we any of us make in the above scenario is that we quite simply forget that we are indeed human and as a result of which we have the option of choice and it is this factor alone when making decisions which is responsible for mistakes being made!

We all make mistakesThink about it there surely can’t be anyone who falls into the category of having made a mistake, taking that as give, the only thing that makes each of us unique in this area is our reaction. What is it that can determine such variety & extremities of emotion in situations which are perceived as being wrong in that a mistake has occurred? It has to be purely a matter of mind-set. There are those of us who go through life apparently oblivious to the results of their actions & to be truthful probably wouldn’t care less if they did. In stark contrast there are those who rather than cause upset, inconvenience or harm albeit unintentionally would go to the ends of the earth to avoid doing so.

Speaking for myself I accept that as a human I can & do (frequently) make mistakes and to be honest as each and every one occurs my reaction is dictated purely by the circumstances surrounding it as opposed to the actual ‘’error’’. For instance my reaction is more likely to be highly emotional if any mistake I may have made should impact negatively on another. Whereas if I poured milk on a desert instead of cream I would simply laugh at my own ‘’stupidity’’. In both scenarios though I would these days definitely adopt the sentiment that ‘’a mistake is only ever a mistake if we fail to learn from it’’.

It wasn’t always the case; as a person it took me a very long time to understand that making a mistake, any mistake is not only ok it’s actually acceptable because generally speaking it’s simply an error of judgement which at the outset wasn’t meant to intentionally cause harm. That said I could, would & still do even now on occasion fret, worry & obsess that something I had done or said maybe could have caused someone else at best an inconvenience, at worst a massive issue as a result. At times when an apology and/or reparation were rightly made (& accepted) even then I would work myself into a near frenzy as I allowed myself to become convinced of the fact that the only reason my apology had been accepted was nothing more than good manners on the part of the ‘’injured’’ party and that despite their acceptance they didn’t mean it because (in my mind) I was an idiot at the very least!

This statement alone says so much more about the frailty of the human psyche than anything else I think. The fact that even having been absolved of blame I (anyone) could & did refuse to accept that whatever the transgression, in the bigger picture of things it really didn’t matter and in many instances hadn’t even registered for anyone else.

Ere go what is important to one person is often not even a consideration for the next.

So to the matter in hand;

Think About ItA mistake is nothing more, nothing less than an error of judgement which was never meant to harm, distress or ridicule any person, thing or situation.

As such it is a waste of time and effort to pay more than the minimum amount of attention to it in order ‘’to put things right’’.

Any expenditure of effort should be limited to;
• acknowledging that a mistake has been made
• taking responsibility for it (where it was your mistake to begin with)
• defining what went wrong & why
• ensuring that you have taken the opportunity to learn from the experience and avoid repeating it in future

BECAUSE as Einstein once very rightly said;

‘’The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again yet expecting a different result’’

The need to punish ourselves or indeed others for the mistakes we/they make has become almost second nature for us a species. We are all too ready & willing to jump on the universal bandwagon of negativity because truthfully it is often the easier and more popular option.

This journey through life can at times be difficult enough without inflicting negative self-talk upon ourselves when there really is no need. As with anything that is worthwhile it takes time & effort to be mindful of the fact that we’re all of us doing the best we can day to day and whilst we may not live up to the expectations of ourselves let alone anyone else then it really, really is alright because there is not one of us on this planet who is perfect.

Whilst being kind to & taking care of ourselves be it physically or mentally should always be our priority it needs to begin with accepting that although perfectionism is a wonderful ideal, realistically it sets us up for failure & at times emotional distress especially if we look upon any mistakes we make as falling short in some way, failing if you will instead of what they really are which is nothing more than:

Opportunities to learn & grow which by definition means we are succeeding

As we go through this life of ours then, we should all of us strive to remember that when on occasion we stumble and make errors of judgement that we are human & we were not designed to be perfect. Making mistakes is part of the tapestry of life, they are little more than pointers enabling us to increase our understanding. We need to be secure in the knowledge that regardless of anything it does not mean that by making mistakes we are lacking in any way rather the opposite in fact and that is simply;

We are ENOUGH just the way we are!

Be True To Yourself

Be True To Yourself POST

”I think of life as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself & so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.”

Shirley MacLaine

Whatever you do? Don’t ever apologize for being you!

It has taken me most of my adult life to even consider that no matter what the opinions of others are with regards to me (on any level) in actual  fact are absolutely…

None of my business! 

Now I can hear people saying ”what? of course it is!” BUT…

How dare you settle for less

 

In all honesty I can truthfully say and with conviction that it really isn’t.

Of course  whilst it’s always nice when someone takes time out of their day to compliment you in some way be it; how nice you look, congratulating you on a job well done or praising you in public and indeed will often do wonders for your self-esteem, it’s crucial to stay well grounded and realize that more than likely there will be another who would be all too willing to proffer a negative counterbalancing opinion.

For instance during a particularly difficult period some months ago I was struggling on many levels; stress, insomnia & health issues all serving to ensure that for a time I wasn’t ”at the top of my particular game.” One day I was due to meet friends for lunch and spurred on by my innate need for punctuality was as usual first to arrive. The first of my two friends followed me in & after the usual hugs & perfunctory comments about the weather et al she looked me straight in the eye and said ” my God you look awful, how long is it since you’ve been to sleep” a brief conversation ensued as to why, how long etc. When the second friend arrived just minutes later she immediately proclaimed ”wow, you look so much better than last time I saw you.” I laughingly pointed out that our mutual friend had just commented to the opposite effect.

My point here is simply that, among friends, on the same occasion and just minutes apart, even people we know & love can & do form instant opinions about us based purely on having interpreted what they saw. Now obviously this example is very safe in that both opinions although differing came from a place of love and as such didn’t serve in any way to make me feel threatened, undermined or worse still unworthy.

However if we take the basic lesson learned here –  being  that thoughts form a view or judgement about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Then it becomes easy (at least it did for me) to de-personalize how, what, why someone, indeed anyone could or would want, to even think let alone speak or write about me in any manner even if it were complimentary (but that’s a whole new conversation about self-esteem!) because lets face it to put it in its simplest terms anything said about you is either a fact or untrue!

If someone states as fact – ”You are Italian” – there is absolutely nothing to be done except to agree. However if someone were to form say an exaggerated (hyperbole) opinion  ” You are a fat, lazy Italian because you eat too much pasta” –  which may or may not be either true and/or taken literally then you are faced with the age-old dilemma of choice. Do you become outraged, feel insulted, embarrassed or even moved to tears as you recoil from the rhetoric? Or do you choose to acknowledge that as ill-informed & potentially hurtful as it was, it was no more than the view of another and as such can have as much or as little impact on you as you allow it to.

For me the really, really liberating experience of knowing that I can control and thus either limit the negative impact or allow the positive impact to enhance my life was the pivotal moment when I truly understood that:

I am in charge of my thoughts, my emotions & my reactions especially when it comes to taking on board that I may or may not measure up to the expectations which others have of me. In short I can choose how, if at all to react. If I am indeed ” a fat, lazy Italian who eats too much pasta” (sincere apologies for the sweeping generalization used here) then I have  decisions to make.

Whatever the circumstances you have to ask yourself

‘What difference to my life and to me as a person would it make if ………..

………and would I be happy with that? You fill in the blanks to fit your own circumstances.

The thing to consider and in my experience the only thing which really matters is that when making these decisions you should always, always strive to be yourself. It may well be that like me, you have along the way actually & often by default lost sight of ”who you really are.”

In my case I became a caricature of what I thought people wanted to see. I hid behind a very carefully constructed  barrier over which I projected an image that even I began to see as the real me. Before long anything & everything I did or said reinforced what I later came to call my ”fake self image” I didn’t know it then but I was in hiding, hiding from the ”reality” of how people would react, treat, question me if they were allowed to ”see the real me”.

In truth I came to learn that Dr Suess was indeed spot on with  the statement:

”Those who matter don’t mind whereas those who mind don’t matter.”

It was a time of enormous enlightenment for me and the lessons I learned along the way will stay with me for ever. I now know that by living in denial of who we really are we are not only doing ourselves a great disservice but we also at times severely underestimate those closest to us.

So as you strive to be true to yourself  please consider the following;

Never try to hide who you really are for you are enough. 

Do what makes you happy

 

You, your past & your present in fact everything that has ever happened to you will shape your future and there were reasons for all of it. When you learn from what has gone before there can be no mistakes and therefore regret is a waste of time.

Always stand up for what you believe in because you have a right to be heard.

By all means listen to the opinions of others but unless they can prove otherwise they are always just that. The only way you will ever engender the respect of others is by showing them that above all else you respect yourself.

Most importantly, be who you want to be.

Do your thing, never apologize for being you & remember;

WHOEVER & WHATEVER YOU ARE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH IF YOU’RE

HAPPY

Because TRULY the opinions of others REALLY are NONE of YOUR business!!!

Choice, Life Is A Choice

Choice, Life Is POST

”It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”  J.K.Rowling

Life!

The singular thing we all have in common. However having said that there are only actually two things which for sure will happen to us all.

We will be born. We will die.

Stark but nevertheless completely true.

Equally true is the fact that many of us do actually treat the experience that is life as a final destination. We all too easily lose sight of the fact that it is actually a journey. Each day, for each of us is completely unique and thus our journey in turn becomes as individual as we are and in all honesty most of us never even consider that it is our choices along the way which make it so.

The amazing thing is that we all of us do have the power of choice.

It is after all the most basic of our rights as humans. We can all of us, if we so choose be compliant and ”allow” life to happen to us OR we can become proactive and choose to be the architect of our own journey and subsequently our destiny.

So my friends I would urge that you give some thought to the gift which is your life and the like of which you will not receive again. As you go through your day tomorrow pay attention…..be mindful if you will.… as to the number of choices you will actually get to make during it’s course. In addition to the those you would make automatically……what to eat, what to wear, where to go…….concentrate on each moment as it occurs and realise that everything in life is a choice;

Positivity. Negativity. Gratitude. Happiness…all of it

Those choices in turn have the power to alter your life for the better or worse. Any given point on your journey through life is in direct correlation to your words, actions & attitude and it is you alone who are responsible for it.

There are those amongst us who will say ”Oh no it’s not  my fault… ???… did this, said that and so on which would all be very true HOWEVER the key here is that the other person is the one who has to take responsibility for their actions whilst it is YOU alone who must take responsibility for your REACTION to the situation/ feeling they created. You have the power to allow or disallow how anything impacts upon you. You can CHOOSE and it is this choice alone which will dictate whether you are compliant in or an architect of your life, your FUTURE!

So having urged you to be mindful as you go about your day tomorrow you should consider the possibility that you have inadvertently become compliant in ”allowing” your life to just happen to you. If you should come to realise that you have in fact been ”happily” accepting your lot then it may come as somewhat of a surprise to find that you have always had the option of CHOICE.

It would be unrealistic to assume that choosing a positive option will either be simple or easy

Indeed at times it will be very far removed from these two particular emotions. The difficulty comes with the slow realisation that (in many instances) we have been accepting the unacceptable as being the only option open to us without ever having truly considered any alternative just because ..”that’s the way it’s always been”….! When you think about it would you buy meat from the same butcher every week regardless of the fact that it had ”gone off” just because your family had always shopped there? Of course you wouldn’t because you would be able to see, smell & taste the badness.

However when it comes to something as intangible as ”happiness” our recognition and/ or acceptance of it is based on the largely intangible, meaning that whilst we can witness someones happiness by seeing them smile, we cannot touch it, taste it or smell it. By default therefore we become more inclined to be accepting of something which cannot be physically evidenced as being otherwise and as such it enables us to trust that things are as they should be.

After all how often do we say things such as; ” it was just a gut feeling” about something?

So having decided (which in itself is a choice) then that everything in life is a choice, let’s take the a fore mentioned emotion of happiness. People have often said to me things like ”you’re either happy or unhappy, that’s all there is to it” I would for a long time have agreed with them UNTIL that is I had my own what I like to call ”light bulb moment” and realised that I like you can choose happiness.

It took me quite a while to get into the habit of choice and for me it became easier when I realised that the opinions and or actions of others for instance, could only hold sway over my emotions if I ALLOWED them to. The bottom line is that we all of us have responsibility for what we allow in our lives. For me I have actively chosen not to allow or embrace negativity from any source. If we try and remember that the negativity we encounter on a daily basis particularly from another person is THEIR negativity and as such has no place in or power over our lives we soon come to realise that it’s just a small step to choosing between a smile or a frown!

In CHOOSING HAPPINESS I now also understand that (to quote the song) –

”You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”  and it feels AWESOME!!!

Happiness you will come to understand is not only a choice but a way of life and it’s contagious so………..what are you waiting for???

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!

Dont be so POST

”Love yourself first and everything else falls in line”

Lucille Ball

I have long struggled to reconcile myself to the fact that practicing Self Care  as opposed to being Selfish is not only ACCEPTABLE, it’s NECESSARY! Whilst for me at least being selfish has never been an option on this journey through life, the alternative and far healthier choice of caring  positively and in a loving manner for oneself, I have for a very long time mistakenly believed to be the same thing. In fact NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Self Care;  Looking after ones self in a healthy manner be it physically, mentally or spiritually
Selfish;  lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

When you look at the definitions side by side the difference in meaning is CLEAR for all to see. Yet in my minds eye the fact that on occasion when I chose to utter the word NO in response to say a request to do something for another the guilt and anguish I experienced at my own PERCEIVED selfishness  simply because I had ”refused to help someone” in some way, knew absolutely no bounds. Unfounded guilt, coupled with  equally unfounded paranoia that they would deem my negative response to their request as me being SELFISH fueled a self perpetuating decline overtime into the unrealistic realm of me responding with a compliant YES to requests REGARDLESS of whether I needed to do something different at the time or not!

In real terms what that meant on the most basic of levels is that in the great scheme of things when asked to do……..(you fill in the blanks)….and regardless of circumstance, situation, time constraints, personal commitments I would more often than not be heard to proffer an enthusiastic YES (when actually feeling anything but!) and usually at great personal expense in terms of the impact on both my physical and mental well being. Simply put I had done an OUTSTANDING job of convincing myself that without doubt to proffer an equally firm but polite NO would mean that I was SELFISH personified!

In essence I had decided at an extremely young age that I would in no way become a SELFISH person,  A noble premise but one in which aiming to achieve, I had unwittingly applied a totally unrealistic set of principles for negotiating the minefield of life. Principles which would see me time and again put the needs of others over and above those of myself regardless of personal cost. In all honesty the cost incurred was probably an equal mix in terms physical, emotional and mental decline. The concept of SELF-CARE never having even been allowed the opportunity to be considered. In my ”quest” to become ”all things, to all people” a modern day mix of Mother Theresa & Nelson Mandela if you will, my default setting had turned me into a somewhat substandard version of Mary Poppins as I had very definitely become ”practically IMPERFECT in every way”.

The pressure I had put myself under by striving to reach the unattainable saw me buckle under my PERCEIVED FAILURE to be the person I THOUGHT others wanted me to be as opposed to the person that I ACTUALLY AM! Such was my physical and mental decline that I was the last  one to realise just exactly what my self imposed mindset had cost me.

Almost too late I realised that those who I loved and who loved me in return did so simply BECAUSE of who I AM and NOT because what I can do for them. All they wanted (had EVER wanted) was for me to be HAPPY, HEALTHY & WHOLE! Were I on occasion willing and ABLE to help them out in some way then that would be ENOUGH.

I WOULD BE ENOUGH!

So late in the day I came to understand the concept of SELF-CARE! Together with it’s implications and benefits. The outcome for me (and hopefully those of you who may also lack self awareness) is such that as a matter of priority I  now strive everyday to seek BALANCE in life: a healthy, balanced diet, quality sleep and enough of it, to spend quality time with loved ones and above all else to make time to relax and just ”be” – whether sitting, reading, meditating, essentially doing something where I show MYSELF the love I now know I DESERVE and which without forethought I make so readily available to others.

When you truly come to understand AND practice the art of SELF-CARE, see it in action for yourself AND THEN realise that life as you knew it has not only NOT ceased to exist BUT in fact IMPROVED BEYOND MEASURE then you will know without a shadow of a doubt that to;

”Love yourself first and everything else falls in line”

……..probably number amongst some of the truer words ever spoken! Never lose sight of the fact that when it comes to being loved then you are right up there at the top of the list so remember going forward

”Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!”

Be Grateful, For What?

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle

Gratitude? What the hell have I got to be grateful for?

Well I guess that would depend very much at how you look at life?

Gratitude is defined as being; the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.

It is a woefully underused sentiment. In all honesty is there one person on the planet who has absolutely nothing to be grateful for? I’m fairly convinced that the overwhelming answer would be of ”course there is, there must be millions of people who have absolutely nothing in their lives.” If we were to take that sweeping statement at face value then most of us I’m sure would be inclined to agree.

The reality however is that we all of us have that one vital thing, which without it, we would none of us be able to be grateful for anything ever and that quite simply is the gift of life.

So whilst it’s fair to say that a millionaire stockbroker having lost his fortune due to bad choices would lament that all was lost, by the same token it would also be fair to say that the homeless guy sleeping in a shop doorway down the street would thank his lucky stars if someone bought him a bacon butty for breakfast. Everything is relative!

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker Coach Author

What the hell have I got to be grateful for

As for me? Well…

My life today is so different to what it very nearly turned out to be. In late 2012 and faced with declining health due to extremely poor lifestyle choices, I was told I would not be around long enough to bear witness to the lives my children & grandchildren  would come to carve out for themselves. More by good luck than judgement  it was a reality which didn’t come to pass and several weeks after being told to prepare myself  for the worst I walked out of the hospital on my own two feet to resume my life.

My new life! One which was to be built upon a rock solid foundation of GRATITUDE

New because the instant I was faced with my mortality and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that were I (regardless of the manner) given a second shot at life then I would grab it firmly and things from that point on would be very different. Some would say that  the feelings of desperation & panic associated with finding out that you were about to die would naturally result in promises being made that things would change if you didn’t, only for them to be swept away on the tide of euphoria following a sudden, unexpected upturn in your fortunes. For me I was instinctively aware that I could not allow that to happen for fear of descending into the behaviour patterns that had caused my situation in the first place.

I have to say that in the first weeks of being allowed home & looking  forward to being around for a while longer the first word I decided to incorporate into my new daily vocabulary rather than gratitude was that of responsibility. It was to become the cornerstone of the foundations upon which I slowly but surely came to rebuild my life. Once I made the step of assuming that which many struggle to do and took responsibility for my life, all of it my choices, my attitude, my thoughts & my outlook began to change, almost imperceptibly at first but things were different somehow. I was different. I knew without reservation that going forward my life would not only be different it would be all the better for it!

The realisation that by taking responsibility for and therefore by default ownership of my life its past, its present and its future I had opened myself up to  the possibility of choice.

My first choice going forward then from that point was the easiest one I have ever made it was & remains that of the choice of gratitude.

In order to underpin my newly made decision to actively practice gratitude I had to seriously contemplate how best to ensure it remained a major player in my new life and to the extent that it became as natural as breathing. I realised that to try to adopt what essentially would be a completely new way of thinking, I had to rid myself of each and every one of the self-limiting, self-destructive thought patterns I had learned along the way in the previous 50 something years. That thought alone absolutely terrified me. Those same thoughts and beliefs after all had been my faithful and constant companions for literally my whole life. Never mind that they, in cahoots with their bed mates Bi Polar Disorder, paranoia, OCD & a shed load of addictive traits just for the hell of it had, along  with my all too willing compliance, allowed them to ride rough shod over a mind which had relinquished ownership and had opted to exist as if being remotely controlled!!!

And so began the eviction of the squatters in my mind………. I forced myself to go back and think, really think about how & why I had made the life choices that I had, perhaps not unsurprisingly the first evictee was that of blame, blaming others for the choices I had made based on historical events as opposed to those of the here and now. So out went blame and in moved responsibility. Next it was the turn of self-pity, out went the ”why me” syndrome to be replaced by the much healthier alternative of ”why not me.” The list of the unwanted bats in my particular belfry grew smaller as the weeks went by and come Christmas 2012 just 3 short months since the news of my expected impending doom I was celebrating the festivities with my family & friends. It felt right somehow to be celebrating the gift of a second chance in life at just the time when millions of others were giving thanks for the birth of a baby boy who was to bring us the values of peace & goodwill to all men. The more I replaced the old negative self talk with positive affirmations the happier I felt. It became a surprisingly easy habit to form and with it the absolute certain knowledge that everything in life is a choice and that same choice can if we allow it provide us with the solid foundations to build not only a happy & positive life but one filled with gratitude and love.

The restoration of my hard wiring after I decided to reboot my mindset continued apace and I know will do so for as long as I’m in residence on this 3rd rock from the sun. So now moving forward and going back to my original question;

Gratitude? What the hell have I got to be grateful for?

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker Coach Author

I would simply say this; I now realise that everything that has ever happened to me is part of the reason I am who I am today. The good, the bad, the indifferent, all of it. So I am grateful for my less than perfect childhood, I am grateful for the poor lifestyle choices I have made along the way, grateful for the jobs I’ve had and lost, grateful for my family & friends, grateful that you’re reading this post of mine because by definition that means we’re both of us alive and for that my gratitude knows no bounds.

I can truly say that at this point in my life I am happier, healthier,  more whole than ever before and better still alive I am mindful that every new day brings with it the opportunity of choice and the right to choose to be happy and that my friend is a pretty damn good reason to be grateful.

 

I can honestly say that when we are grateful for the things we have, we suddenly become so very aware of just how much more there truly is to be grateful for.