Archives For personal development

Understanding

As we are deepening relationships, learning and growing we will continue to change. As we change we affect our environment and life becomes less predictable and more spontaneous.

When we meet new people we cannot know where they are in their personal journey and the changes that might be going on in their lives.  We can’t yet know what they might need from us, or what we might receive from them.

It strikes me that we need a great deal of understanding of ourselves, and each other.  Some of us are good at showing understanding to others and tend to value individuality and difference.  Other people like everyone to be the same, preferably similar to them.  But we are all on different paths in our journey of life so why do we judge others by our own journey?  Understanding enables us to be more honest to the variety of choices and possibilities there are without needing to feel that our way is worst or best –  just different.  Appreciate your uniqueness and that of others.

Sometimes we give a lot of attention to visible differences such as race, gender, religion and disability, but hidden differences can have as big an impact on our daily experiences.  Think of someone who hears voices or has certain food allergies and how they would experience the world differently to how they would be viewed from the outside.  With understanding we can find empathy for others and empathy for ourselves.  Studies show that when we are harsh on others we tend to be harsh on ourselves too.

Do you try to be understanding of the people you encounter in your daily life? Would you say you have too much understanding, too little or just enough?

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

If you would like to order ‘An A-Z for your life’ so you can work through it at your own pace then simply click on the book cover on the right or go direct to http://www.ana-zforyourlife.com and order your signed copy today!

If you are interested in my counselling services then check out www.envisioncounselling.co.uk and email me: shirley@envisioncounselling.co.uk

 

 

Responsibility

When we are children, we are often under the control of our parents, siblings and school and we have limited power to change our environment. Once we begin to have some control over our life then we become aware of our relationships and have a sense of how our behaviour can have an impact on these.

If your early experiences make it difficult to make friends or trust people then it is possible to discuss this with someone who can help. Maybe you need to figure out what you are interested in and find other people who are also keen on your hobby. Gaining confidence with likeminded people will help you and relationships will probably get easier over time.  Intimate relationships may also need attention and again the approach is the same; explore your expectations (therapy or counselling), increase your awareness of and openness to such relationships and it will become easier. Empower yourself to take responsibility by finding out how you work and taking steps to be all that you can be. You do not have to repeat the mistakes you may have witnessed around you.

No one is perfect and you do not need to be. It always amazes me that we learn so much from age ten to age twenty and yet expect to learn very little in subsequent decades. This is not only about world knowledge but self-knowledge too. We run around looking for answers and we carry them within ourselves.

We are all affected by the world we live in and the various challenges that exist but we can still take some responsibility for our lives.  Are you blaming others for the life you now lead? How can you take responsibility to make the right choices for yourself going forward?  I have decided to take responsibility for my whole health by creating more downtime to relax my body and mind. Tell me what you are taking responsibility for.

Slowing down

During my recent holidays I found myself becoming more aware of my shifting perspectives in a variety of nuanced ways.  Reflecting on this I could feel myself letting go of certain perspectives and giving others more space in my consciousness.

So although I was worried about children ruining their hearing by standing near to loudspeakers I needed to let go of that because I could not stop it.  On the other hand it took a while to remember how friendly people are and to share greetings with strangers on the buses.

This may only be temporary but it was a good opportunity to shake things up and feel open to new possibilities.  Many people do this all the time whilst some are expecting their holiday locations to provide them with all that they left at home.  How flexible are you when on holiday away from home?So, what was I letting go of and what was I embracing?

Letting go of:

Fun at the fringe

  • Options for the day
  • Work tasks
  • Working and living environments
  • Regular ‘to do’ activities
  • Sources for news and information
  • Familiar viewpoints

Embracing:

  • New daily activities and routines
  • Different choices
  • More reflective time
  • Different environment
  • Having less control
  • Less familiar viewpoints
  • New ways of implementing familiar activities

I am sure there is nothing new here but by consuming less social media I had more time to connect to my awareness in my changing environment. This ranged from different conversation styles to modes of transport to bedtime routines.

Having returned to the familiar environment known as home there is time to reflect on this and what changes might be helpful.  Life feels like a continuous opportunity to fine tune our living, being and doing to be the happiest and most fulfilled we can be.    Often times having a break can help us see what we do well and what we do less well.  Some people avoid breaking away from their daily environment or routines because it scares them so much.

What do you think?  Have you made any changes to your living as a result of a recent break?

Orbit and Olympic stadium

I remember being excited as the LONDON 2012 games approached but I wasn’t exactly sure why that was.  Could I sense the impending flow of competitiveness, national pride, personal stories of triumph and family sacrifices?  Or was I simply fed up with the negativity of naysayers and wanted to support the hardworking people trying to organise a global event?

Whether you were supporting a sport, a national team, or none in particular, you could not help but be moved by the Olympians and Paralympians.  We have seen so many people demonstrate what hard work, good coaching, focus and commitment can do.  We have become so cynical that it took a while to engage our attention.

There is so much to admire.    They encourage us to take time to explore our talents, work to get better at what we’re good at, see competition as a way to bring out the best in us, collaborate with others when we can for a team performance, set goals and work towards these, share the struggle, accept our individuality, try to overcome adversity and keep an eye on the rest of the world to give us perspective.  A wonderful reminder of what our fellow human beings are capable of.  This could help to motivate us to keep going through our own challenges and disappointments.  Many participants vowed to perform better in London than they did in Beijing and others are planning to improve for Rio; we have our own performance timelines to work towards.   We don’t need to do their best, just ours.

At the Paralympics wheelchair basketball final

I was lucky enough to get tickets for both Olympic and Paralympic events and able to absorb the atmosphere first hand. It is simply incredible to see people performing at their best and being part of the elite group in their field.  When else do we get the best in the world and have them compete to find the best of the best?

And it’s been great experiencing that community feel with people talking and laughing with strangers, smiling staff offering high 5’’s and people offering to take pictures for others.  And I even saw someone offering free hugs at a few events.

I am really pleased that Team GB performed brilliantly and Team Grenada won its first gold medal! I am left with a good feeling and a plan to get fitter and focus my energies better.  How did you feel before the games came, once they started, and now that they are over?

I recently enjoyed the film “A Man’s Story’, a documentary covering 12 years in the life of fashion designer Ozwald Boateng.  It covers highs and lows in his personal and professional life during that period.  His life is depicted as being full of continuous motion where he seems to have several projects on at any given time.  At one point he appears to be working in Paris and Los Angeles whilst living in London!  He certainly knows his passion and fashion seems to fuel him physically, emotionally and spiritually.  The problem is passion is not enough to encourage a balanced healthy life.

There are poignant moments in the film when he clearly desires an opportunity to stop and reflect but he is pulled, pushed, driven along by the commitments he’s made and something else deep inside.  It takes getting to the end of filming and watching himself on screen for him to reflect a little on his life during the 12 years of filming.  Hindsight often makes things clearer.

We may not have our own autobiographical projects but we also need to find ways to spend time reflecting and just being.  Constant activity is always about the next thing and does not allow for time to appreciate where we are now.

By stopping for breath we might also notice a conflict in what we say we value and how we actually spend our time.  I discuss this in my book An A-Z for your life; discovering and revealing who you are today.  Our values need to reflect the time we give to them.

 Weekends and holidays can be useful times to punctuate activity although these have become more action packed in recent years.  The counselling space is another place to stop, reflect and just be.  Sometimes painful experiences such as bereavement, illness or relationship breakdown force us to stop and see things differently.

How do you punctuate your life?  When do you take time out to reflect and just be?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

I stood with one hand under my chin, arms folded and looking at my feet.  If you saw

me at a distance you’d think I was feeling miserable.  The truth is I was enjoying the

sunshine and engrossed with the ladybird trying to climb up my shoes.  A grounded

moment in a busy day.

 

What we are thinking and feeling is not always obvious to those around us.  If our aim

is to deceive then that’s great but if we wish to deepen relationships and develop trust

then opening up is necessary.   We could be smiling or crying on the inside, who

knows?

 

What we see from the outside is

always a partial picture of the

truth, and even we may not fully

understand ourselves.

 

 

 

For myself I find it is very powerful to be really seen, even if feedback is sometimes

difficult to receive.  It is very exposing and moving to have someone give honest

feedback on how they experience us.   With my clients I offer my reflections gently.

 

If we are experienced differently from what we believe to be the truth then it is up to us

to explore this. How are we living or being that gives them that impression?  Is there a

conspiracy or is there some truth in how others experience you?

I would love to have your responses.


As I get older I really appreciate the opportunity of a new year.  It gives me a chance to reflect on how I spend my time, looking back, looking forward and in the present.We do not need to feel overwhelmed by setting unreachable goals.

 

It could simply be an opportunity to change our direction slightly.  This could be as simple as being more adventurous or having more fun or keeping in touch with more friends.

 

If we’ve had a difficult year, then maybe just keeping going is achievement enough.

 

 

A new year can be a chance to reconnect to our heart’s desire for our life.

 

If you have not read it yet, my book An A-Z for your life is a good way to start exploring different aspects of who you are and what you want from life.

 

For 2012, I would like to keep many things as they are but there are a few things I’d like to change.

For me:

  • More writing
  • Less over thinking
  • More exercising
  • Less rushing around
  • More meditation/quiet time

Is there anything you would like to change?

Please leave your comments below to share your hopes for 2012.  Thanks

I saw Marianne speak at Alternatives in London a couple days ago and wanted to record something here.  At this time when there is so much conflict and stress in the world it’s good to have other voices.  She does not ignore the problems but talks of us needing to come together to find a new way to unite good actions and have a positive impact.  Marianne is wise, confident, charismatic and caring.  I am amazed at how she can speak of God and not sound religious but spiritual.  In the Q&A that followed she showed great empathy to those asking difficult questions, wanting guidance on working through their painful experiences.  Very moving.

This is not so much a summary of what was said but noting the aspects that resonated:

  • We find God through and in each other
  • We can value the differences and separateness of our embodied selves but would do well to recognise ourselves as spiritual beings also
  • Our assignment is to be our authentic selves and take responsibility for our lives 100% of the time
  • We may already know what we feel called to do in life so now it’s about taking action

Do any of these ideas resonate with you?