Anxiety, jealousy, depression: It’s not who you are

Ok, so I am stealing this off a friend of mine, a three principles practitioner… this wisdom is just too good to keep to myself.

David Bowerman three principles not who you are.jpgMy friend, Dave. Source: david-bowerman

Last night I explained a problem I was having in which I felt jealous of someone.  And this is what he said to me about my worries: “It’s not who you are.” The jealousy, while being an emotion I feel, is not me. It’s a transient feeling that I felt. And it doesn’t define me.

I also suffer with anxiety and suddenly I realised – I am not my anxiety, and I am not my anxious thoughts, either! … Which led me to the conclusion that I am not an ‘anxious person’, as I had once thought.

monkey-mind-heather-gorhamMonkey mind. Source: Heather Gorham

These moments of stress happen to all of us. And sometimes there’s nothing you can do about them. But once you’ve felt that stress – knowing the fact that it doesn’t define you forever – is redeeming.

It’s not about denying that you feel anxious. It’s about knowing that, it really doesn’t matter.

nothing-hapennedNothing. Source: ironbridgefurniture

“Until mind says something happened, nothing happened.” Mooji

And then this can also apply to things people say or do around us. Life can knock you down, but how do you take it? Do you think it’s about you? Or just a new direction to take you in? Is it only meaningless pain, or do you prefer to see a purpose to the pain, or a lesson to be learnt?

… So if someone rejects you, or you don’t get the job you want, or you’re broke, you’re body is in ill health right now, these labels do not define who you are.

What does is deeper than that. It’s the true you.

videezy-lightLight. Source: videezy

Ultimately, we’re not the avatars we create. We’re not the pictures on the film stock. We are the light that shines through it. All else is just smoke and mirrors.

Jim Carrey

We are the peace we feel when walking through the forest on a snowy day, the calm after meditation, the sleepy feeling when it’s warm under the covers in the morning. That is the light shining through.

And we are insights, and doing what naturally occurs to us.

Even the pain of anxiety is leading us towards ourselves, because it points us in the direction of what we want.

Oprah realises who she is. Source: The Tube

“All trial stands outside of yourself.”

Oprah

We are the person observing the feeling of calm, or anxiety. We are the calm once the storm is gone. The feeling of home within us.

ooo-peaceful-skySky. Source: paper4pc

“It is not who you are.” – It made me remember. We are not the clouds. We are the sky.

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How to Love your Peccadillos

armadillo-sunglassesArmadillo. Source: armaraban

How to love your perfect imperfections?

Easy.

First, call them a cute name, like peccadillos, instead of ‘mistakes’. Or call them anything else that sounds like armadillo. That will work, too.

Next,  smile.

Good.

Next, hear the pain that you feel when you think of how you’ve ‘failed’, or how you fall short, listen to yourself with a friends ear. Then say to, ‘oh, that must be hard for you, love.’ Hear yourself. If you feel like it, cry.

Next, remember the things that you like about yourself. Then remember the things you’d like to change, (and often you can!), and love those things, too.

Born this way. Source: The Tube

Feel that. And listen to a great song and dance around like you own your imperfections – own your weirdness!

Repeat after me: I’M A FREAK, AND I LOVE IT!!!

Omg, I think I want that on a t-shirt, don’t you? If there’s enough of a demand, I will make some.

Much love to you, my lovelies.

Peace.

how-to-love-your-peccadillos-hairy-armpits-gaga-for-gagaGaga for gaga. Source: Pinterest

“This is who the F*ck I am.”

Gaga

 

 

Falling in love with … me

falling-in-love-with-me-loving-thoughtsLoving thoughts. Source: positively present

So I recently listened to a morning meditation by Louise Hay on self-love.

This TED talk suggests falling in love with you first, before anyone else. And I always liked the idea, but I had no idea… how?

In her meditation Hay suggests doing mirror work, like a lot of the self-help gurus out there. But unlike most she suggests telling yourself you love yourself EVERY time you look in the mirror.

I mostly was pretty skeptical that this could have any effect at all. I’ve tried it a bit before. And noticed small changes. But not much. But trust me – from one self-help junkie to another – it works.

im-falling-in-love-with-me-rolfe-art-mirror-workMirror work. Source: Rolfe Art

My Mirror Work Experience – Two Weeks of Self-loving 😉

At first, it felt weird. I have told myself I love myself in the mirror before, and I’ve had a sign of unconditional love on it for a few years now, too. And I did feel some small positive effects. But this time was different. This was EVERY time I saw myself in the mirror, I was to say ‘I love you, I really love you.’

And at first it seemed a bit pointless, until the first smile of recognition. The time when,  I heard it and felt it on a core level. Something shifted, and it felt good.

I held myself differently when talking to my family and friends. I felt more confident  because it was reassuring: I could say the stupidest of things, and I still had my back.  I knew that if someone didn’t like what I did or said, I still liked it, and still liked me. In theory, I always had my back, always loved myself, but this was one of the first times I actually felt it deep down.

I began feeling more free to be myself.

So I carried on. Each day I heard all of the insults my mind so kindly brings up, and then told myself I loved myself anyway. I saw myself in the middle of the night looking tired and dopey (when no one should see me!) and I told myself I loved myself. When I felt upset and broken and beaten, I told myself.

im-falling-in-love-with-myself-yoga-beachHeart chakra yogi. Source: elephant journal

The Results…

Little things have changed over the past few weeks of this practice.

Normally, when on my own as much as I have been recently, I would crave a relationship, I would crave… something, I would feel incomplete. But since the mirror work, my own self-love has been enough for me (naughty!) The cravings are still there, but diminished from huge forest fire, to happy campsite fire.

And I take care of myself just a little more than before, I enjoy putting some Manuka honey oil on my face at night. If there’s a problem or something I’m upset about, I’m not so quick to judge, I’m a little more likely to listen to what’s going on for me, to hear the problem.

I smile more. I like to look at myself in the mirror. I tell myself I’m pretty on my off days.

How crazy is this – I sing songs to myself now! And it makes me smile when I fell like sh*t!

Oh, and when I am craving, I work out what would make me feel better.

Little shifts. It’s quite fun that way.

falling-in-love-with-me-heart

I just wanted to share this, because it might help someone else out there who is lonely, or feeling like something is just… missing in their lives. If you do fancy trying out this practice, I say, go for it! It’s free and imo, fun.

If you like small challenges that might change your life in a positive way, give it a shot, and who knows, you might just end up falling in love with… yourself.

Sending love my lovelies!xx

 

“Oh feeling blind, I realise, all I was searching for was me.”

Ben Howard

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Finding your flow

the-riverThe river. Source: Pinterest

Yesterday I went for a walk by the river.

There was a section where most of it was blocked off by leaves and stones. There were small fish trapped in this pool, unable to continue down stream, and I could empathise.

I have felt trapped in poverty for years now, with only low paying part-time jobs, rent and a large loan from my Masters to pay off, I have felt very much like a small fish stuck in a small pool.

In this particular pool a thin white layer of pollution whirled and bubbled on the surface. A poison inevitably building up and stagnating when things don’t flow in life. That poison to me, symbolised my poverty. I saw myself as trapped in those swirls in which the water only ever turned and never flowed through to the next part of the river.

What would I do, I thought to myself, if I were a fish, trapped in that pool, as they were? Perhaps I would have to jump, to push myself to the limits, so that I could escape? But that still didn’t seem like the answer…

I continued to consider the swirling water, the trap. Perhaps I could take away a stone? But they were out of my grasp and a small fish couldn’t have moved them, anyway. I thought about throwing a stone into that swirl vortex. I wanted to change the flow, to change… something. I was frustrated, there seemed no answer. I resented the trapped feeling this pool of water represented.

And so as I began to walk away from one of the most beautiful spots in my little town, I took two stones, and angrily threw them into the water.  The first stone, I threw and saw the flow change for a second. The second, changed the flow further.

river-lanternsRiver ripple. Source: Pinterest

I felt elated. I had changed the flow. I had made it possible for something other than being stuck in the swirling water, possible. And hopefully I hadn’t hit one of the fish.

But then, of course, the flow slowly turned back to it’s natural state. I realised it made no difference how many stones I threw in the water. The water would always begin swirling in the same direction, still just as stuck and stagnant as before.

If I were to stay circling round this current, then I would never get anywhere. It was at that moment that I saw there was a small gap, through which a small amount of the water was flowing. The pool was not completely stagnant. So if I were a fish stuck in the pool, I would simply have to find that gap.

And what I saw in terms of my life, and my career,was that there would always be a small gap in between the rocks. It is just finding it. This gave me hope.

 

In an instant, I knew that this was the only way I could solve my problems. I had to find my very own ‘flow’.

Following that experience, I happened to watch this video:

“Surrender is like a fish finding the current and going with it.”

Poet, Mark Nepo. Source: The Tube

And it was then I knew this was a lesson I was truly meant to learn that day. And I am glad to share it with you.

And I saw my ‘aha’ moment being expressed by someone else. That often happens in life and love; often the things I need to learn keep coming back to me through different sources, until I have really got it. Do you ever find that?

Anyway, this is just what I learnt one sunny afternoon when I went for a walk.

girl-river-hairy-armpitsFreedom swim. Source: Pinterest

“On the other side of resistance, is the flow”

Unknown

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10 ways to survive being in a job you hate

full-back-phoenix-tattoo

Phoenix. Source: slodive

There is much self-help advice on choosing a career you love, following your dreams and your passion, and following your bliss. The problem lies when you are on your way, but you’ve got to find a way of paying the bills somehow. You’re stuck in the interim. And your job sucks.

I feel your pain, my friend. And that is why I have written these ten simple tips for surviving a job you loathe while you’re on your way to greatness.

messed up toes

Toenails. Source: Pinterest

  1. Paint your toenails

This is a tip I got off of a friend of mine – if you paint your toenails a bright colour, they can symbolise your individuality and remind you that you don’t truly belong there. You can walk around your office/work space, with only you knowing that underneath your shoes and socks, you secretly know you don’t belong here, that you were meant for better things.

So when things get you down, think of your toes.

  1. Breathe

Whenever you find yourself stressing out, find a way of getting out of there, and take a few moment to come back to yourself, connect with yourself and those feelings, and just breath in and out, ten times.

  1. Focus on the future

When you are thinking about how many years you have worked in this godforsaken hell hole, the future, when you think about it, doesn’t look that bright now, either. But when you think about how you believe you’re going to rock it in the future and how this will just be a funny story, life doesn’t seem as awful as it did a second ago.

(1min 30seconds in) Source: BBC

  1. Call your boss ‘darling’

I discovered this one the other day. -When I saw my boss with a loving energy, like I was doing them a favour when working, I enjoyed the moment of saying ‘yes’ to a request. It was also slightly comical to me, and reminded me of Steven Fry.

Any other silly things you can bring to the table at work that will break the monotony will be good for you in the short-term.

  1. Be optimistic

You have to have the belief that something better can come after this, no matter what is going on in your life right now. Just because you have always known a certain job, or are stuck here for the time being, that doesn’t mean that you will be forever. Even though it may feel like it.

Just like when you’re in a scary nightmare, it can feel all encompassing. But don’t worry, one day you will wake up.

  1. Trust yourself

It can be easy to beat yourself up for having this awful job. Or to get angry with how your colleagues or customers are treating you when you’re in a job you hate. That’s completely understandable. But any shame or anger can be averted and turned into something positive.

The next time you feel down on yourself especially, remind yourself during those times, that you trust that you will work out a way to make life better. Focusing on how great you are, despite the sucky job, and how you are progressing towards something better, might just keep you sane out there.

clay for kids

Making clay. Source: artful parent

  1. See what you can transform your work into

If you can see other possibilities inside of your work place that might be better than your current job, give extra value in your current job. This could mean going out of your way in the present, or asking for what you want directly.

  1. Do a hella things outside of work

Do things you love outside of work. Make the most of this precious time in which you have to do what you love and what brings you to life. If you are working on monetising your passion, try to find some extra time from somewhere or other, so that you can invest in it.

If you can, drop a shift and sacrifice the money. Or decide to dedicate one hour an evening to doing it, instead of watching tv. Seeing yourself developing and growing, despite being in a job you hate will give you more of an inner life. And that inner life, will lead to you having more energy and more passion. Plus, the more time you invest on your great escape, the more you are likely to care about it, and believe in it.

  1. Set a date

Set a realistic date for yourself, so that you can get the hell outta there. If you choose an unrealistic date, good for you! But I would advise a date that you truly believe you can be doing something else that will bring you a source of income, and you can truly believe in it as being the date you will leave.

 

Mark the date on your calendar. Plan a party for it. Imagine how good it will feel when you’re doing what you really want to do in life. When you are free from your corporate shackles.

indie

Making the great escape

Get some steps together and work out how you’re going to make your great escape, get support from at least one person who actually believes in you (you will need them when you fall off the wagon), and when the steps don’t work, try something else. Make it a must in your life to leave. Let that fire light in your belly. And keep going until you have your dreams at your feet.

Listen to your favourite happy music in the morning (bonus point!)

Singing in the morning makes us happier. So does having sex. If you can, try to employ these tactics on a regular basis. 😉 (Not necessarily at the same time!)

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What do you think? Is there anything YOU do to make your job more fun and less like hell? Or, had a terrible job that now you’ve left? What was your worst ever job?! I want to know – in the comments below.

 

How to Empathise

We all need empathy. Someone to listen to us and understand what we are feeling, where we are coming from. Yes, if you are an enlightened being, you might not feel the need to connect.

(Check here for more posts on growth.)

But there comes a point when most gain a thirst to connect with others. And this article is all about connecting empathically- that being, when someone is feeling something and they want you to connect with that. With this short guide, you will be able to see and feel that on a deeper level than before, just by trying out some of these ideas.

What Is Empathy?

How to Empathise surfer dude

Source: Pinterest

This is the best description I have heard of what empathy is, and it inspired me to try it out:

Have you ever been surfing? Imagine you’re on your surfboard now, waiting for the big one to come. Get ready to get carried with that energy. Now, here it comes. Are you with that energy right now? That’s empathy. No words – just being with that energy.

Marshal Rosenberg

Let’s Start by Saying What Empathy Is Not

Here are a few common misconceptions of what empathy is, that do not serve connection, but take away the focus from the person needing empathy, and their feelings:

empathy is not

Source: Pinterest

Taking Care of Yourself – When NOT to Empathise

If someone seems like they don’t need empathy or it just isn’t their bag, drop it. Only empathise if you’re getting more connected to the person, not less.

Otherwise, there will be times when empathising is not a fun thing for you to do. Usually, when someone is asking for it, but you yourself really need some empathic connection, this will be a time you simply cannot give it. In this case you are probably best trying to find someone else who can hear you better.

How to Empathise -the Basics

Simply being there with the person in front of you in the moment, not intellectualising their experience, and not judging their feelings, is a consciousness that will serve you when riding the wave of empathy.

Being Aware of Feelings and Needs

If your intention is to connect with the person, to understand their feelings, then this will come across. You don’t even have to say anything, they will sense your sincere wish to connect with them. This can be the most precious gift in the world at a moment of crisis.

For example, if you are stood at a bus stop and someone began repeating the phrase to you, ‘the bus is late’, you could guess that they mean they are stressed out, because they perhaps have a need to get home and rest. If you seem open to hearing them, they will likely tell you.

Begin by Listening

How to Empasthise friend listening to friend source- emergent visions

Source: Emergent Visions

Don’t do something, just be there.

Old Buddhist saying

This one is the most simple of them all, and if you’re feeling at all uncomfortable with the idea of empathising, this is probably your safest bet.

Keep your focus on the feelings and needs of this person. And while maintaining the intention of  connecting, you can simply listen and nod when you feel appropriate.

Reflecting Back Feelings

How to Empathise mirror reflection

Source: Shamans Collective

This is something you might find useful if even when being listened to, the person in front of you finds little relief, and perhaps is emphatically repeating themselves, perhaps telling a long story over and over again.

If the moment feels right, try reflecting back what they seem to be saying: ‘Are you feeling worried about that?’

If they answer yes, they will tell you about another feeling or concern. Or, if the answer is no, they will think about what it is they are really feeling. This focus allows feelings to be acknowledged and expressed.

For a guess at what they might be feeling, check this out:

How to Empathise feelings inventory source- Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Reflecting Back Needs

Once you have considered their feelings, it can help to guess at what the person is truly wanting: ‘Are you feeling sad (feeling) because you wish you had more love (need) in your life?’ for example.

Check the full list of needs below if you aren’t quite sure of what to guess:

How to Empathise Needs inventory Source- pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Knowing When Someone’s Had Enough Empathy

It is easy to spot when someone has had enough empathy because you will see them relax. Their speech will slow down or stop, and even their breathing will slow down. Often they will thank you for your gift in being so attentive. They are often much more likely to see a solution to the problem, or feel hopeful that they will now find one.

A way of being sure is by asking; ‘Is there anything more you wanted to say?’ It’s good to be sure, because when pausing for a long time they may simply be getting up the courage to go even deeper with their feelings.

 

So, there you have it. I hope that this skill will enrich your lives as it has mine. I found people opening up to me in ways I had never seen before, and expressing gratitude to me, and I found deeper levels of connection with the ones I love. I wish the same for you.

 

P.S. If you’d like to find out more about NVC (Non-Violent Communication) where a lot of my understanding of empathy came from, head over to cnvc.org. (nb, I am in no way affiliated with this organisation, but my life has been touched deeply by learning about this concept, and practicing it in my everyday life).

What do you think? Ever had someone hear your feelings in this way? OR have you tried this out yourself? What happened? I’d love to know, let me know, in the comments below.

 

If you liked this article, you might also like:

How to let go of relationship cravings (when you’re desperate)

PTSD: Getting to healing

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How to let go of relationship cravings (when you’re desperate)

We’ve all done it. Sent that drunken text. Checked and re-checked some random guys’ Facebook wall. Dreamt for hours about the perfect relationship. This one is for all the girls who have been through the desperation mill, just like me.

 

Check more growth posts here!

 

Here’s how I changed from desperately clinging to guys, to feeling empowered:

 

  1. I Won’t Take His ‘stuff’ Anymore

I know what I want. I also won’t put up with anything that doesn’t equal what I want. You don’t have to be the only one texting, or to be sleeping with someone in the hope that they will love you, ever. If that’s the way a guy is behaving, I know now that I just wouldn’t stand for it. If you can get away from this kind of an unequal relationship, try to (at your own pace).

being a writer

Source: Pinterest

  1. I Changed My Career

This one took some time. Now I am writing for a living, I feel I can do anything. I feel invincible, and so I don’t need a man to remind me how great I am, because I do it, everyday when I wake up and do what I love. Find something you can feel proud doing, and then start doing it.

little-girl-with-lipstick1

Source: Pinterest

  1. I Messed up, a Lot

Sometimes you just need to make a mistake, one, two, or ten times, before you are satisfied that acting in this way is not going to work. The world of love can be flummoxing at best, and even the strongest of women give in to something that they know in their hearts is not the best thing for them. But once you’ve been through enough of the pain, you see that it just isn’t worth it.

  1. I Had a Relationship

When you think that a relationship is the be all and end all, you can’t help but think that everything would be perfect if you had one. But once you’ve had one, you realise that one person cannot meet all your needs. That’s when you learn how to meet them yourself, because you know it’s the only way you’ll ever truly be happy.

chill out hammock

Source: Pinterest

  1. I Learnt to Let Go and Chill Out

Craving means having a lot of anxious thoughts about something that you don’t have. Or maybe you do have it, but it isn’t doing you any good right now. I learnt how to chill out about it by doing things like yoga and meditation. By calming down about what I think I need, I give myself the option to simply want it, so that it’s not be such a big deal.

  1. I Love to Do My Thing

I enjoy going to see girlfriends, and doing my work and following passions outside of work. Because of all the things I do, I feel like I’m a whole, complete person, who relies on me for happiness. If a guy is around and we have a good time, yes, that can feel awesome, but it’s a perk in my life, not the main event.

woman paris bike hat

Source: Pinterest

  1. I Worked out What It Was I Really Wanted

When I was dating a guy from Switzerland I thought I was going to be able to move there, meet his friends and improve my French. The idea of this adventure sounded awesome to me. When we split, I realised that I didn’t need him in order to have an adventure of my own, and so a year later I moved to France.

  1. I Have a Strong Support Network

If it’s companionship you’re missing, then having some cool friends and a chat can be majorly freeing. Knowing that I can have that, rather than needing to rely on a boyfriend the whole time, is liberating.

revolution love self loving graffiti

Source: Pinterest

  1. I Learnt to Love Myself

I know it’s so cliché, but it’s true. Loving yourself can lead to you feeling worthy of love, and more whole and happy. Giving myself what I need and knowing that I can trust myself to be there has been such a huge revelation for me. It takes away the stress of trying to get anyone else around me to do different from what they already are.

  1. Anyone Who Didn’t See the Beauty in Me, I proved Them Wrong

Growing my awesomeness now is helped by the fact that I know any rejections I might have had when I was really craving love; when I was seen as desperate or weird in some way, helped me out. I want to be able to meet these guys and say ‘see, you just didn’t get me back then’. So make your pain your fuel for growing and become stronger than ever before.

women having fun

Source: Debut by Juan Carlo

So go out, have fun, don’t care what anyone thinks, know what you want out of life and your relationships, and don’t accept anything less. Because you know you deserve it.

Trust me, going from clingy to independent has been a long process for me, and not an easy one. And I’m still learning today. I just hope that the mistakes I made in my past mean that you can drop any cravings with ease, begin to feel good for you, and move on with your awesome life.

 

What do you think? Have you had any clingy experiences where love seemed a mile away? Ever had someone be clingy with you? Let me know, in the comments below!