Tag Archives: mindfulness

7 Simple Steps to Remember if You’re Overwhelmed

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker & Empowerment Coach

Life Can Be Overwhelming

Life Can Be Overwhelming For Sure

But it doesn’t have to be & it doesn’t necessarily always have negative implications, for instance you can be overcome with gratitude or in-undated with good wishes in all manner of happy circumstances.

In day to day life it becomes problematical when we realize we don’t have the time to do the things  we need or are expected to do and before we know it we’re gripped by the ‘not enough hours in a day syndrome’ accompanied by full-blown anxiety often bordering on panic as we strive to fulfill our obligations on time.

Obviously everyone’s different but most of us have reached the point of feeling lost because we’re totally overwhelmed as life unfolds haphazardly around us and we struggle to successfully balance children, finances and career etc because we don’t have the time, the energy or the strategies needed to bring order to the chaos and strike a balance.

If you reach this point it’s seriously time to take stock & reassess how & why this is happening and declare…

Enough Already!

That said where do we begin redressing the balance & ow on earth do we make a start?

As an intelligent species we’re aware that the amount of time we have in a day is finite and as such how much we can realistically expect to accomplish during its course.

We can start by reminding ourselves of the two major components of the concept of time management – the prioritization & duration of everything we need to do within a given time. If we aren’t doing this consistently we are essentially sending an open invitation for chaos to become a staple part of our life.

Meaning? 

It’s a fact of modern-day life that if we’re not mindful we hit the floor running every morning with a seemingly endless array of things to get done; work and/or educational commitments, household chores, family issues, medical appointments, grocery shopping to mention just the obvious and that’s without factoring the all important daily chunk of  ‘me’ time we should have but which in reality is usually the first casualty in our efforts to get everything done.

We don’t look at the bigger picture before committing to something and for those of us who can always be relied upon to say yes when no would be the most sensible and appropriate answer the slippery slope to overwhelm becomes self-perpetuating unless we learn and quickly to apply the brakes.

Firstly acknowledge the absolute fact that the currency of time just like every other commodity is limited…whilst we will all experience widely differing overall lengths of time here on planet earth, on a day to day basis we are all afforded the same amount;

24 hours. 1440 minutes or 86,400 seconds to be precise! 

Having taken this small yet massively important reality check what next? Well simply put it’s time to prioritize yourself & your time every day, preferably in advance. In itself this will naturally lead you to addressing your organizational skills or lack thereof given that you’re feeling overwhelmed but you’ll very quickly become amazed by just how much you can achieve when you set your mind to it…after all there’s a reason it’s called a mindset.

As a younger person my grandmother would often remind me that by failing to plan I was planning to fail and speaking as someone who perceives failure as nothing more than an invitation to find another way to make something work I took her point to heart and learned how to plan!

So it’s time to set yourself up for success!

When planning your day, week, month or even further ahead remember to be realistic and cut yourself some slack. You have 24 hours in a day, assuming that you get your average 8 hours of sleep, you instantly know you have 16 solid hours to achieve everything you realistically can (don’t forget to eat)…note that doesn’t read everything you should or even want to do.

Start by being strict with yourself & others when it comes to planning what you want to achieve in those 16 hours & always factor in the chunks of time that are non-negotiable each day: time to eat, sleep & work for example.

When we bring structure to our days we are giving ourselves the best opportunity to achieve the results we want. Here are:

7 Simple Steps to Remember if You’re Overwhelmed

  1. Look at your list in detail and then sub divide it into area specific tasks – work, household, personal & family
  2. Take each area individually and prioritize its list whilst at the same time removing from it anything which can reasonably be done at a later date
  3. Cross reference and link any task which could apply to more than one area and decide which is its area of most importance thus removing it from the other
  4. Form one new list and prioritize in order of importance the things you have to do in total within the time you have available
  5. You will inevitably be served a curved ball by way of unexpected occurrences – A call to pick a sick child up from school – where possible advise anyone else that having to do this will affect
  6. You may not be able to achieve certain things on your list due to circumstances beyond your control – Receiving an out of office until…auto res-ponder – instantly begin a list for the date of is return
  7.  Even with forethought certain things may take longer than anticipated meaning that you may fall behind – Remember you may be able to buy time due to being unable to achieve other things

With a much reduced ‘to do’ list in front of you the things you need to do will seem far more achievable and as a result you will feel less pressured. At this point take a further reality check and having acknowledged that your day is infinitely more manageable than you initially thought also acknowledge that

Remember that you need to acknowledge and accept that you can control the things which you are able to do but you cannot control the actions, reactions or otherwise of others which may serve to derail your best laid of plans.

By understanding that for any number of reasons beyond your control you may well reach the end of your day with things left undone and that’s not only ok it’s totally acceptable, you are in essence giving yourself permission to start afresh the following day with renewed focus and determination.

Have an awesome day whatever you’ve planned and remember Superman is a comic book hero and mere mortals like you and me have to make do without the use of superpowers to help us because we’re….

ONLY HUMAN!

If you or someone you know would like to know more about how to bring order to the chaos in your life then I invite you to reach out & connect with me to Schedule a FREE, no obligation 30 Minute Strategic Discovery Call to not only start you on the road to finally creating the reality you dream about but should you choose to, explore the ways in which I can further enable you to do so CLICK HERE >>>>>‘Empower You To Have The Courage To Be Who You Really Are’

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

 

Time. Blessing or Curse?

==Time Blessing POST

‘’The trouble is you think you have time’’ – Buddha

Time, we never have enough of it, right?

It’s a common problem. An everyday occurrence. People all over this world of ours can be heard daily, sometimes several times a day bemoaning the fact that the precious commodity that is time is all too short. But when you think about it, REALLY think about it our lives are governed not so much by the harbinger of time….the clock……..but rather what we choose to do at any given point of any given day. It is our choices to do or not do something which impacts negatively on our lives and when we couple THIS with the problems we cause ourselves as a result THEN the situation caused by our inability to do or say something within a promised or expected time frame is the end result and we fall prey to the all too willing ally of time STRESS !

How we as individuals view the concept of time (our mind set) must also be taken into account when considering our stress levels together with how we can utilise this intangible commodity which holds such formidable sway over us, in a positive and user friendly manner.

As with most things in life it can only hold the amount of power over us which we are willing to surrender.

Whilst it is true to say that the world as we know it would cease to exist if time were to be abolished I’m inclined to suggest that as a species mankind would be so much better placed to return to their natural state of  well rounded and balanced beings in touch with not only themselves and their individual needs and wants but those of their loved ones too.

Before the advent of time as a commodity man was governed by the rising and setting of the sun which by definition meant that work was done according to daylight hours, food was naturally grown seasonally and so on. Life was hard for sure BUT it was simple, uncomplicated and people knew the value of the things which mattered. Things began to get very complicated when:

Every moment of every day not only could but largely HAD to be accounted for on the back of the invention of time as we know it!

Time like money is a man-made illusion, a yardstick if you will designed to keep our lives ordered & manageable.

It is both a blessing & a curse.

The blessing being that it affords us the opportunity to plan & organise life in such a way that it becomes enjoyable, fulfilling , exciting even AND we can look forward with eager anticipation to things which we know will bring happiness & pleasure thus enriching our lives. The very fact that many, many people actively seek out ‘’quality time’’ to spend with loved ones, recharge their minds and bodies and actually choose to live rather than exist bears testament to the fact that in its purest form time can be a massive bonus and spent wisely a much needed relief from the rigors of life.

The flip side however is that it can also become a curse which brings with it the burden of limitation, we become limited by the largely self-imposed time scales we set to achieve our objectives, be they in the work place or in our ‘’real’’ lives and thus the joint realities of pressure and stress rear their heads.

There are instances when all around us seems chaotic or even to be falling apart, times when everything seems to be out of control….not our power of control…. just a random feeling of free fall where nothing makes sense and the outcome not only seems uncertain but so far out of reach that you cannot even begin to imagine it and then suddenly we become all too aware that we are being manipulated by time constraints which are carrying us along as we willingly buy into the trap that is;

Forever keeping one eye on the clock for fear of falling short in some way.

The key as with everything in life has got to be balance.

My Nan could often be heard to say ‘’a little of what you fancy does you good. Everything in moderation never harmed anybody’’ – she was quite correct.

So that said, surely it should follow that we become naturally mindful of the fact that there are only 24 of the man-made illusion that are hours in any one of the given 365 illusions that are days in an equally illusionary matrix of a year and so on. As such then the ‘’time available’’ to us becomes by definition both finite & constraining in nature. Sadly we humans are not perfect and our obsession with time and so its management instead of being our blessing becomes by default the thing which becomes the master to our self-imposed slavery and thus our curse!

For instance on the odd occasion when for once we may have time to sit, be still & perhaps relax in the company of special people or in a place of natural beauty & are thankful to be doing so, the illusion of time can even then be cause for anxiety as we perhaps begin to feel the burden of guilt bring force to bear as it prompts us to remember things left unfinished or even worse not yet started way after they should have been.

As a species man has in part lost either the habit or ability (possibly both) to disconnect from the treadmill of a life, that no matter how hard we try to tame it, is largely executed as a result of the dictates of an invisible time lord and ultimately the anxiety associated with the often impossible task of meeting deadlines or keeping promises rashly made increases by default causing angst and stress, even emotional turmoil along the way.

Time related anxiety may be brought about perhaps because we have little or no control over any external factors which may be threatening to derail our efforts to either resolve problems or finish a project for instance .Thus the curse of the illusion of time brings with it a pressure which is almost unbearable as you see the keeper of time…..the clock……slowly, relentlessly but or so very surely tick by as it moves ever closer to either the conclusion of a scenario or the start of new beginnings. The metaphoric sound of every single tick, each signalling the fact that we are one step closer to that which is unfolding and know we have no choice other than to relinquish control & trust that whatever happens is how it has to be whatever the outcome; positive, negative, happy or sad.

The element of curse remains in this instance to remind us that we should always make or have made use of every single one of the ‘’man made’’ seconds in our life leaving nothing undone nor unspoken for fear that the after effects of those uncompleted acts alone will become yet another self-imposed cause for regret – that the illusion of time has been wasted. In fact it is not time which has been wasted simply because if we take it as a given that it is indeed an illusion then by definition it does not exist!

This ‘’thing’’ then that has been wasted must only be that of opportunity.

The opportunity to have acted on feelings, the opportunity to have addressed any given situation which may have been the cause of anxiety or stress or fear of the unknown. The opportunity to validate ourselves & our loved ones each & everyday is surely the essence of which is why we are all here & why we should very definitely take the curse of this man-made  illusion and turn it very firmly but positively around and neutralise its negative aspects by using the time calmly, wisely and with purpose allowing us to be safe in the knowledge that nothing has been left unspoken or undone thus limiting the impact of regret which when coupled with this perceived thing called time can, if we allow it become a self-imposed prison from which it can be almost impossible to free ourselves……. !!

If we are diligent in our efforts to offset the unwanted attention of and undue pressure from our illusionary ‘’friend’’ by being mindful of its adverse effects, then every day will see us become increasingly aware of the need to adopt an attitude which will see us address each and every situation requiring our attention and as a result we will have overcome that thief of time: procrastination. In having done this we will by definition have more of it at our disposal and will be both willing and able to effect lasting positive changes in our lives overall.

In reality living fully in 21st Century mode means we will rarely if ever come close to living as nature intended; by the sun. BUT by practicing the choice of mindfulness and taking responsibility for our actions and reactions to the demands which time consistently and persistently make upon us we can come closer than we would perhaps think.

Think about it for a second;

More quality time to spend with loved ones, more time to practice the art of Self-Care, more time to do more of the things you love or would love to be able to do. In short more time to improve the overall quality not only of your life but that of those you love.

In having chosen to react positively as opposed to negatively and claim victory with regard to LIMITING the stifling constraints of time and its unwelcome side effects then we have without even realising it enabled ourselves not only to overcome hurdles be they real or otherwise but by association, diminish the all too real impact of both stress and pressure.

It is at this point that we have given ourselves the positive and confidence boosting opportunity to

Live & Learn & Love & Grow
Which is exactly how it should be

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!!!

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!”