How long since you have thought about it?

The older I get I’ve decided it’s a privilege to age – and I really want to say/hope that I’ve become more wise with age too (it was my birthday this month, I was 35, not sad about it, but just cannot believe it!).  One point I have certainly noted though, is the true value of having a village.

 

This is also resonated in my professional learnings – connection is so crucial to us as humans doing well in life, or as we like to refer to it as ‘Choosing a Marvellous Life’

 

Today’s blog is really just a series of statements on why villages are required to Choose a Marvellous Life.  I’d love to hear your comments on the topic too!

 

We come across so many people in our lives but truly the village are usually the people who seriously, just keep turning up, the ones who make you a priority with no agenda.

I want to include here that villages aren’t always determined by physical location. I’ll give you an example – when someone moves away, yes the type of support they get they from their village might change a little but they are able still absorb the love and warmth of relationship from afar.  No, they might not be able to pop in and look after children or cook a dinner but the emotional support they provide via phone/video call is still valid and appreciated.

 

It also necessary to point out that our needs change and as a result, villages do accordingly too.  I mean, to be honest, if we aren’t changing then we aren’t growing….I’ll leave that one with you….  A real life example of this is when you hear people say they’ve ‘grown out of’ someone – has this ever happened to you?

 

Relationships are at the core of, literally everything we do! An example of this is teachers – they can know curriculum backwards but it’s pointless if they, first, don’t have a relationship with their students to share it with them.  Think about this example for yourself – at school, did you have a favourite teacher and/or subject? Why were they your your favourite? If I was a betting woman I’d, say your favourite subject wasn’t taught by a teacher you didn’t like, just a guess….Am I right?

 

Can you hear my enthusiasm about this topic?  I hope so, it’s pretty important in the big scheme of things!

 

My closing points about villages are really just some quick questions to ask yourself. It’s about the need to truly evaluate who is part of your village. Why do they have such an important place in your village? Is it that they are your family and only want the best for you? Or in your mind are they friends who have been in your life so long that they feel like family? What is it that you get from them? and why is what they bring to your life so important?  If it’s not important, are they truly part of your village?

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Why Practising Self-Validation is Important.

Do you know someone who pretends?  And who requires ‘approval’ from others?

I’m not talking dress ups.

More of the ‘trying to make out they are someone they aren’t?’ type.

To be honest, I’ve never, personally, really understood that.  I’m more of a ‘what you see is a what you get kind of person’.

Masking one’s true personality is easily done on social media – you just post what you want people to see and there you have it – an identity that may or may not be a true reflection of the person.  That identity though, is often cultivated to seek external reward from the people they are trying to impress.  Unfortunately that reward on social media is short lived, people move very quickly to their next ‘like’.

Will the number of likes, shares and comments help you live a full meaningful life? And are we in control of these?

We all know the answer to both questions….(No)

The truth is that we can only truly control what we think of ourselves – we need our own internal ways in which we are able to self-validate.

Psychology Today (2014) tells us that ‘Self-validation is accepting your own internal experience, your thoughts and feelings.’  Which means recognising and managing your own thoughts.  Given a chance, I’m always talking about mindfulness – it fits in really well here and is a great place to start with self-validation.

As with mindfulness, self-validation is something we require practice at.

Will you practice?

Is it a far better an alternative that relying on the external validation from social media? (I think yes.)

‘Comparison is the thief of joy’

Lets be honest, those who say they don’t love a good selfie, are liars….hehehe

Selfies, posts, likes, shares and tagging – all words that now make it into our everyday conversations – and multiply that for young people!

I ask you a question (ok, a few) – what is social media doing to your ‘sense of self’?  How can we possibly measure up to the often staged, filtered and photoshopped photos that fill our feeds daily??

Studies have shown us that a staggering number of people say social media has affected their self-esteem and yet, we go back for more of our social media ‘fix’, for most people, everyday!  Everyone wants to feel accepted and liked – but is it worth the damage it can do to our minds?

BUT knowledge is power – so the fact that we are aware of social media not always being helpful is a step in the right direction.  By choosing marvellous, we get to decide how much influence we allow social media to have our lives.  How about starting a conversation about this topic over the dinner table this week – especially if you have young people with you – the results could create questions for them.

I do however, find it so reassuring to see rebellion against this endless comparing.  The #nofilter pics and the ones that are portraying the downs as well as the ups.  That’s what we want, a generation who realise there is much more to life than how many likes they got on their photo post compared to their friends.

Let’s be real and honest and not let social media take over our ‘real lives’

 

**Also, I just wanted to add, I’m not anti-social media.  As I sit to write this blog – I feel like that’s the pitch I’ve taken.  Its not that at all, but my goal is to increase awareness of the potential effects it can have on our sense of self.

 

Do you have ‘tricky people’ in your life?

We’ve all come across tricky people in our travels.  They are lurking everywhere actually – at your work, in your family, at parties and even in romantic relationships!  The tricky person in your life could even be you?  What if it is??

I invite you to read on!

I’ve owned this book for some time and the more I reference it, the more I know it to be true.  The book I’m referring to is “Tricky People”, authored by Andrew Fuller, Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist.  I’ve actually had the privilege of hearing this guy speak in person – I honestly could have listened to him for the entire day (that didn’t get to happen, by the way!).

The book, Tricky People – How to deal with horrible types before they ruin your life, had lots of ‘aha’ moments for me.  I love how Andrew writes, it’s real and honest and has come from a wealth of experience.

The book is laid out really well – chapter one is the overview and the remaining chapters talk about the different types of tricky people.

The first chapter actually looks at our own strengths and vulnerabilities – and profiles whether we are ruled by the north, south, east or west.  Note: as self aware as you think you are, depending on the day and your frame of mind, this can slightly change your strengths and vulnerabilities. Interesting, huh?!

I really enjoyed that it is a book that doesn’t have to be read all at once and can be referred back to easily when you encounter said tricky people.

I know you’re wondering – in the ‘spotter’s guide section, Andrew classifies the groups of tricky people as:

Back-stabbers and White Anters

The Blamers and Whingers

The Bullies and Tyrants

The Controllers

The High and Mighties

The Avoiders

The Competitors

The Poor Communicators

Again with brutal honesty, the book even tackles if the tricky person is YOU!

I think you will find it to be such a great read – entertaining as well as helpful AND it is full of actual applicable skills to approach tricky people.

Go forth, recognise the tricky people in your life, and then get your hands on the book!!  And please do share your highlights, we love feedback!

No, they aren’t selfish!

Conflict can be so tough.  Any skills we can learn to help us deal with it would be beneficial, right?

The blog today is going to be talking about ‘I’ statements – as touched on the Facebook live earlier in the week – check out http://www.facebook.com/wellnessassist if you didn’t see it.

Firstly, we probably need to get this out of the way – ‘I’ statements aren’t selfish!  In fact, they are a really effective way to respectfully and effectively communication feelings.

They are though, just one way of getting your point across.  There are obviously others but I like these because they are simple but yet so powerful.

Just the power of recognising and labelling feelings is phenomenal.  If we can teach this to children and adolescents – we can help make sense of situations that may have previously perplexed them!  I know myself, when I can be specific about my own feelings, it is so much easier to work through them.  Ok, and maybe I’m a pros and cons list kind of girl – useful when you have time, but not so useful when you need to respond quickly!

I think one of their ‘features’, if you like, is that they are focused on solutions – and if you have ever been part of a really effective team, solutions are always a way to move forward!  Interestingly, most people often know what they want to happen when there is conflict – by using ‘I’ statements as a model just allows us to communication what we want.

Let me give you an example:

Your friend Robyn always cancels plans at the last minute.  The final straw was that she stood you up, leaving you standing outside a fancy restaurant.  You could choose to use an I statement…something like this…

Robyn, I feel like I’m not a priority when you keep cancelling plans.  It makes me feel so rejected!  Can you please not commit to plans unless you are sure you can make it and then we can keep having great times together.

Even typing that felt awkward!!  But you get the idea, simple but to the point and clearly using your own words.  It does take practice, but man, its liberating when you can get it sorted!

Choosing to actively deal with conflict and communicate using ‘I’ statements gives us confidence and I look forward to hearing how they go for you!  Feel free to connect to let me know how you find them!

 

What’s your default?

Let me ask you a question – truly, when was the last time you really thought about all the good things you admire about yourself?  Was it this week?  Last month?  Last year?  Or at worst, never, maybe you have never taken the time to notice the positive things about yourself??

Well today, if you do nothing else, I want you to sit down and be truly kind to yourself. And maybe it has to wait until everyone else is in bed for you to have five minutes alone, that’s ok, it won’t take long!

You are going to practice writing a list of (or at least start with one thing) that you wholeheartedly admire about yourself.  You will be kind to yourself in a way you would be to a valued friend, this is the practice of self-compassion.

Let me get things started – I love how determined I am once I set my mind to something. When I was a child, I imagine this was quite punishing for my family, but it has absolutely set me in good stead as an adult.  What’s the first thing on your list?  Maybe you can write five, or more? Do that now.

Ok, good, tell me you have something written, or at least is in your mind – the task for the coming week is to pick one of the things you admire and say this to yourself each day.  Repeat as often as you like.

So, to be fair, it might take more than a week, but there are a couple of good reasons to practice this:

  • we need to regularly practice being kind to ourselves (so when there a threats to our self-esteem, self-compassion, not self-criticism, is our default),
  • Even our minds need reminding how awesome we are sometimes AND
  • when we hear something enough, it changes the way we think about ourselves – and that itself, is really powerful!

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How do you perceive physical activity?

As i write this, I’m literally days away, 2, in fact, from my first marathon – I’m not telling you that so you can send messages of congratulations – I’m telling you that to show you that the way we view physical activity is most definately about perspective.

This is a little about my running story, hope I don’t bore you, but really the morale of the story is about perspective and mindset.

5 years ago , actually, even 12 months ago, I’d say the thought of running marathon could have made me physically sick, or at least twitch a little! Of course, I wasn’t sick, but I viewed it as torturous!  It was SO far out of reach, not to mention, my comfort zone.

Since then, I’ve slowly increased my running, and along the way just decided I needed to do one marathon in my life.  That was pretty much all – I made a conscious decision, rallied my beautiful girlfriends to be support crew, booked flights, accommodation and registered for the event.  To be honest, I’m still feel amazed at what the body is capable of when we set our minds to it!

I’m not implying everyone needs to do a marathon or similar, for you, it might just be starting to committing to using the stairs every time there is an option, instead of the lift!

Today, I’m, yes, a little anxious but strangely excited – excited for lots of reasons.  Here are some random thoughts for race week and a few things I’ve noted and learnt in the last 6 or 8 months:

I’d be a liar, liar pants on fire if I said it’s all been super easy! Did I want to get out of bed and run every time the alarm went off? No! But I did (except for maybe a few times, when I couldn’t logistically sort my children to be safely looked after!)

Training for a marathon is a rollercoaster of emotions – on the days I didn’t run, especially if a few in a row, I’d start to talk myself out of it! Questioning my decision and perspective! In comparison, after I’d run,, I knew I could do it!

A runner I know was telling me how he cried at end of one of his marathons!  At the time, I felt sorry for him and was thinking, he’s soft, who’d do that?!?!? I so get it now, after all the training and commitment, the support (and well meaning questioning) from loved ones, the ups and downs, I might just get a bit terry too!

I’m going to be towards the end of the finishers, and that’s cool, but I absolutely cannot wait to know I am capable of a marathon! I feel like, my view of the world will change even more – I’ll let you know!

My marathon perspective took on a whole new level of meaning when I also decided that the Jake Garrett Foundation would be my beneficiary for my fundraising efforts.  Again about perspective.  The Jake Garrett Foundation provides emotional and financial support for parents whose precious children have passed away.  Thank you to everyone who has generously donated. When you see a friend and her family having to face this, marathon training isn’t even on the radar of degrees of difficulty.  The marathon is half a day and families have to be without their little person forever.

Please, let my gradual shift in perspective be proof that once we change the way we view things, what we’re capable of changes!  For physical activity – just get moving!

I have a gorgeous friend who has been sending memes in the lead up to race week – all supportive, some hilarious – so I have a few quotes to share:

You will never grow if you stay in your comfort zone – cliche but true – how we view a challenge matters!

We always over estimate what we can do in the short term but under estimate what we can do in the long term – just start!  Go for a walk around the block to reward yourself. Make it a priority instead of making excuses why you can’t, just make it happen, and see how it feels!

That’s what I’ll be doing on Sunday!