Pride, Respect and a Little Thought

Pride is a double-edged sword, too much and you appear pompous and false and too little and you appear unkempt and slovenly, so where it the elusive ‘happy medium’?

Pride is what lies beneath our self-esteem – pride in who we are and what we do and this pride is essential to both our self-confidence and self-esteem. However too much pride borders on the edge of arrogance and even aggression. Yes it’s great to feel pride in what you have accomplished but pride is not shouting about it from the rooftops or forcing your opinions on others!

Taking pride in our appearance (clean and tidy) shows we respect ourselves however spending hours and too many pounds on looking good indicates quite the opposite. It shows the outside world that we don’t accept or respect ourselves for who we are or even who we think we can become. Low self-esteem is tied into poor body image and the need to impress others and is reflected in those who ‘take too much pride in their appearance’ (and notice how they will always justify this by pointing our your lack of pride in your appearance!)

Respect is inextricably linked to pride. When we respect ourselves as human beings we take pride in what we do. Ultimately those who respect themselves are more than likely going to respect others too. Why? Because in order to accept and respect ourselves we need to accept the good with the bad (we all have things we’re no good at right? And that’s okay!) and by doing so we learn to appreciate the flaws in others too.

However those who refuse to accept their flaws will take every opportunity to hide them whether that be through appearance, arrogance or anger. So taking a good look at yourself and noticing that you aren’t perfect is okay. Because no-one is perfect are they and by being unique we create diversity amongst the human race?

So the next time you feel the need to impress someone – ask yourself what it is about yourself that you feel ashamed of? What is it that you wished were different? And if you can change it or improve it then great, but if it’s something that really isn’t that important or you feel you will only be doing it to impress others, then accept it as part of who you are and instead focus on those things that you do well instead!

So focus on what you do well and acknowledge that you are not perfect as this lessens the anxiety we place on ourselves to always be the best. Strive to do your best at those things that you wish to achieve and enjoy and leave the rest to those that can do it better!

But…..And

Next time you go into a conversation with someone with the intention of coming out with an agreement think about your ‘buts’ and ‘ands’.

When ever someone is presenting an argument or fighting their case they will ultimately use the word ‘but’ to signify something that they disagree with or are not happy with and it’s something we have learnt to expect over the years. As soon as I say ‘but’ to my son he switches of automatically or gets frustrated because he’s expecting a rejection or a negative response.

Just as the word ‘and’ suggests that there is something else to expect doesn’t it and you would be right wouldn’t you? So choose your words wisely whenever you are seeking an agreement from another party. If you wish to negate the other person’s argument avoid the ‘but’!

Consider the two statements below.

‘I feel very strongly about this issue and I appreciate how you feel too and that is why it’s important to get this right’

‘I feel very strongly about this issue but I don’t think that you do so how are we going to come to any agreement?’

Which statement is letting the other person know you ‘hear’ them and want to work towards a compromise? Which one is more likely to open up the other person to your ideas too?

Likewise consider how each of the statements below would impact on the receiver.

‘I know I ask you to work late some nights but that’s why you got the job in the first place and why you’re still here’

‘I know I ask you to work late and I really appreciate all your efforts but without your valuable contribution we may fail to hit our target’

At the first but (in the first statement) the person is waiting for the negative and they get it so it really doesn’t matter what you say after that as the person has already got the ‘but’ and switched off!

However in the second statement the ‘but’ is qualified by a positive statement (your valuable contribution) and as a result is a more persuasive argument.

The ‘and’ works in the second statement too as it suggests something other than the expected ‘but’ and it allows us to add in a supporting and positive (persuasive) statement too before ending on the ‘but’, which takes the persuasion up another notch.

So yes you can use the ‘but’ but ensure you follow it up with a positive and persuasive argument and use the ‘and’ to negate their argument in a more positive and inclusive way.

It’s The Way You Tell Them

Have you ever wondered why you sometimes say the things you do? Or ever thought about what you actually say? Or do the words tumble from your mouth like the water cascading from a waterfall?

When we speak we wish to be heard or we would keep quiet wouldn’t we? So if we wish other people to listen then perhaps we need to consider them in the equation too. If you want to gain something from a conversation then it has to be a two way stream and not a waterfall, gushing forth in one direction only.

If you want to reach an agreement whether that be at work or at home, then it’s important that you let the other person know that there input is just as important as yours, that way they will feel more open to compromise and therefore reaching an agreement.

If you had laid your request on the table so to speak and the other person had come back with “I don’t care what you think I want……” how motivated would you be to reach some form of agreement?

However If the other person had listened intently and had then begun with “I hear what you are saying and I understand how important this is to you and I would like…..” how much better does that feel? You begin to feel that they actually give a damn  and as a result you are more than likely going to be more open to listening to their side of the argument and reaching a compromise, because they actually ‘care’ don’t they?

The ‘human touch’ is essential in all agreements because we all want to feel valued don’t we and by simply choosing how you respond to an individual’s request or how you put forward your own ideas is crucial to a successful outcome.

So next time  you want to ask for a raise, get the kids to tidy up or get your partner to do a little bit more round the house, then respect them as individuals and express your opinion first (always use ‘I feel’ or ‘I would like…’ never open with ‘you make me feel….’!

And when they come to talk then listen and TELL them you are listening and understanding how they feel even if you don’t! It’s always nicer when someone one ‘understands’ you isn’t it?  

So if you want the kids to tidy up tell them that ‘mummy feels upset when you don’t put your things away and she understands that you don’t like doing it but imagine how great you are going to feel when you get a reward for doing it?’

Try it out tonight and see what response you get and the reward can be an extra bed time story or some cocoa, just a little something to show that you appreciate what they have done just as you would like their appreciation (a little more often) for all the hard work you do!

 

It’s just a thought

Thoughts are amazing aren’t they? They rule our lives without a second thought (pardon the pun) from us.

Thoughts make us who we are. They drive our beliefs, our moods, our choices and even what we have for dinner. So why is that we give so little attention to what is actually going on in our heads? Why do we not question our thoughts more often? Perhaps because we are unaware of the thousands of thoughts we have everyday!

It is estimated that we have around 50,000 thoughts per day and that 70 – 80% of those are negative (Wow, no wonder we feel so bad most of the time!) So as you can see it’s virtually impossible to keep on top of every thought we have however we can begin to notice those repetitive negative thoughts that lie behind limiting habits, behaviours and feelings.

Awareness is key to change, so it’s important to become more aware of your thoughts. So choose one area in your life that you would like to change say weight loss for example or anxiety. So when you notice those cravings or the need to overeat, ask yourself ‘what am I thinking right now?’ and focus on your thoughts. You shouldn’t be surprised that they will be based on either food, feeling better or the desire to do what you want (eat excessively).

Make a note to be aware of your thoughts surrounding your cravings etc for a couple of days. Each time you have the urge to overeat – ask yourself ‘what am I thinking right now’ and make a note of any thoughts on your mind. This will give you an insight as to what drives your cravings and motivates you to overeat. Perhaps you may notice that you feeling sad or lonely, maybe it’s a voice telling you how much you like chocolate or it may even be a thought telling you that you have a right to eat what you like, but listen to these thoughts and write them down.

As you become more aware of what drives your overeating you are better able to successfully tackle the issue. Also REMEMBER a thought is just that. It’s a thought. It has no impact on you what so ever – only if you let it – so realise firstly that these thoughts are just habitual thought patterns that you are ‘used to’ and which you respond to without question.

When you are aware of your thought patterns – question them!  Yes chocolate tastes nice but surely nothing tastes as good as thin feels? You have every right to eat what you want but you choose to be healthy and slim instead don’t you?. Once you are aware of these thoughts it’s easier to question their validity and then change the negative thoughts to more positive and motivating ones instead and you can do this by using something known as a Pattern Interrupt.  A pattern interrupt is an NLP technique which  is incredibly simple yet can blow apart those negative thought patterns easily and quickly and replace them with ones that are more beneficial for you.

Basically you stop the negative thoughts as soon as you become aware of them by saying STOP in your head (or CANCEL) and then you immediately introduce a positive more motivating thought pattern instead (click here to watch a video on how to carry out this pattern interrupt). I use this technique all the time which is great however the most powerful change for me is that I now realize that a thought is just that – it’s a thought and as such I can listen to it, ignore it or change it. It holds no power over me. How incredibly liberating!

If you have OCD and upsetting negative thoughts then it’s worthwhile to remember that your thoughts are just thoughts. They only control you if you let them so if you want to take back control of your OCD then STOP those thought patterns by using the pattern interrupt. OCD is repetitive negative thoughts so this Stop! Pattern is an excellent way for you to take back control of your thoughts, your life and your emotions too. So give it a go and if you need any further help then give me a ring today on 07532 110457.

Try this Stop! Pattern out – but remember – a thought is just a thought………..

 

 

 

Stop! Pattern – Pattern Interupt

Break any habit or negative thought pattern easily with this simple NLP technique! Re-write your thoughts and habits and change how you think, feel and act yourself. Perseverance is key here however the more you do this the more positive your life will become! Good luck.

The Sun is Shining…..

………However not for everyone this morning it seems!

A typical fraught Monday morning in our house and just about out on time for school, with my eldest choosing to walk behind in a sulk (he had to get his books ready for school much to his disgust!) A lovely morning with the sun shining and a biting wind – it looks like spring even if it feels like winter.

Coming to a road, we waited to cross however the woman in the car stopped and waved us across, so we smiled and showed our appreciation. My son commented on how nice it was that ‘that lady’ let us cross and I agreed.

Coming to another side road my son was about to cross when I told him to wait. He wrongly presumed that because the other woman had stopped and let us cross that this person would too! She didn’t, in fact I had a sneaky suspicion that if she could have mounted the pavement she would have, so vexed her face appeared.

I warned my son that he should always stop and wait to cross the road and to NEVER assume that people would stop. So should I have waved on the kind woman previously and not crossed or should I hope that my son has the common sense to see that not everyone is necessarily kind or thoughtful enough to let you cross?

He has to learn for himself! We all have good and bad days however it’s a choice how we respond to people or situations so ultimately it is our choice whether we have a good or bad day too! I chose to get upset with my son this morning – my choice. I chose to change my grumpy mood and ‘lighten’ up, just as the kind woman chose to stop and let us cross.

It’s not other people’s fault when I’m in a bad mood is it? Likewise I shouldn’t have to depend on others ‘making my day’ either. We are responsible for what goes on in our heads and the thoughts we think so that means that we are ultimately responsible for how we feel and interact with others.

So next time you find yourself giving off to about the car in front or glaring at that mad woman for being so bloody happy, remember, you have no right to force your feelings onto someone else! Likewise those happy chappies who believe we should be cheerful all day long can not expect us to be happy 24/7 if we choose not to be!

Yes I would rather be happy than miserable and yes middle lane drives infuriate me but those are my thoughts, my opinions and I need to respect that other people have their own opinions too. After all that’s what makes the world go round!

So if you want to smile, smile and if you want to be miserable then be miserable just don’t take your ‘mood’ out on the rest of us!!!

The Butterfly Hug

I mentioned in an earlier blog about a simple way to help your child (and indeed yourself) release any negative emotions that they are experiencing and this was in relevance to anxiety suffered as a result of Aspergers, Autism and ADHD.

The Butterfly Hug is based on EMDR which is an incredibly powerful technique which incorporates bi-lateral stimulation (tapping on either side of the body simultaneously) and focusing on the image/emotion/thoughts that you wish to let go of.

Try it out and if you kid suffers from anxiety this is a great way for them to take control and learn to accept responsibility too for their emotional welfare. And it feels great doing it too!

So happy tapping!

The Butterfly Hug

Recently I have mentioned the Butterfly Hug which is a really simple yet powerful way to release negative emotions such as grief, anxiety, depression and trauma and this is an excellent tool to help kids who suffer from anxiety due to Aspergers, Autism, ADHD etc as it’s something they can use themselves easily once taught.

Believe it or not….

…….But kids do love responsibility! Why? Because it gives them the feeling that you trust them enough to do something themselves.

I was sick and tired of tidying the tip that is my sons’ bedroom. Even I was bored of listening to my whining voice droning on and on ‘why don’t you ever put dirty things in the wash’, ‘please pick your clothes/toys/books up off the floor’ etc etc!

Something had to give. Surely it was time they took responsibility for keeping their room tidy? I did the washing and put things away so was it too much to ask that they put their dirty clothes in the wash basket and toys away? Not unreasonable at their age no.

I had to admit that I was partly to blame because I would eventually tidy up the mess and they knew that but now I needed to show them I was serious! They were old enough now to take on more responsibility and to learn to keep their room tidy.

So I dumped all their clothes from their wardrobe (not the things hung up but the things shoved in that they’d obviously worn or pulled off the hangers but not put back), stuff from under the bed or shoved under duvets (some clean and some dirty), along with their socks, underwear, pyjamas and toys too, which were literally thrown in at random in any drawer (hence not being able to find socks in the mornings) into a lovely big pile in the middle of their bedroom. Boy did that feel good. They on the other hand were not impressed.

I gave them simple instructions on how to tidy up the mess and asked them to repeat the instructions so that they wouldn’t use the ‘you never said that’ excuse and left them to it, informing them that if they wished to go out and play with their friends they would need to tidy up first.

As you can imagine it took them a good few hours to do, not because they had much to tidy up but because as usual they fought amongst themselves, shouted down the stairs at me and refused to do anything for an hour at least. However when it became apparent that mum wasn’t playing ball or getting involved and that tidying up was the only way they could get out and play, they eventually tidied up.

One son had done exactly as I asked and he went off happy but he other one (who is the major culprit) had just shoved everything back wherever he could be bothered to put them, obviously still upset that he’d been asked to do this in the first place. So his drawers got tipped out again and he was asked to put them back properly this time or the same thing would happen again.  As you can imagine he was less than happy but this time, knowing I meant business, he tidied up in less than fifteen minutes!

I informed both boys that I would do this exercise again if they ever let their room get in such a state again and guess what, their room has been tidy since (okay there is the odd pyjama bottom still on the floor and the bed’s never made quite right and the clothes may not be put back quite as neatly as I would but at least they’re doing it!) and all I do from time to time is remind them of what I will do if I find their room in such a mess again.

However now that they are responsible for keeping their room tidy they take it seriously now which is amazing! I have an ironing basket where I put their clothes ready for them to put away (I still put most of it away) which they do without question. However one day my youngest son came into his room when I was hanging up their uniform and told me in no uncertain terms that he was meant to do it! He was actually proud to look after his room!

Their room is now their room and they enjoy the fact that they are responsible for it now, even down to the hideous posters they want to put on the wall. I have asked them to accept responsibility for their room so I can not then take it away from them by asking them to take down the posters and tatty bits of hand written paper of their walls! If they keep their room tidy they keep the posters. They have decided to swap beds now too and I feel it’s because they feel it is their room now so therefore it is their decision. Not mine.

Your children are up to accepting more responsibility however it’s more likely us parents that withhold this because we are worried that they won’t quite match up to our expectations (and because sometimes it can be hard work lets face it) and guess what? They know that too so show them that they more than match up to your expectations and let them accept more responsibility around the house, whether that’s feeding the dog, washing the dishes or setting the table for dinner, just let them know that you trust them enough to do a good job (and don’t moan if they don’t quite get it right just praise them for doing it!)

Accept responsibility yourself for helping your child as there will ultimately come a time when they will have to accept more and more responsibility out of the home (going to secondary school, getting a job etc) and the more they get used to it the better able they can cope with the added pressures of life as a young adult.

Change the movie

Grief is a painful experience isn’t it and one which differs from culture to culture?  The east celebrate the life of a loved one where we in the west mourn the death of a lost one. Even the language is completely different!

Grief is a process which we are led to believe goes through several stages from anger to guilt to sadness etc but do we have to be burdened with the pain of grief or can we change the movie we run in our mind?

I lost my brother to cancer years ago and was devastated. Not only was he one of my best friends but I was living out of the country and never had the chance to say goodbye. However on reflection I was never sure whether I was glad or not for this because my last memory of my brother was a ‘good’ one (he was still healthy and alive and smiling), however the movie I ran in my mind over and over again, when I  thought of him after his death, was his hearse coming into view. This was the moment when his death became earth-shatteringly real to me.

Each and every time I thought of my brother this image would come into my mind and attached to this was the intense pain I felt at that moment. So what if I changed the picture I associated with my brother to one where he was very much  alive, would that change how I felt? And if it would, would I really want to feel less pain because surely that would mean I didn’t love him enough?

Unfortunately for those who have lost a loved one the movie we tend to play in our minds is one from the final weeks where they suffered  or their actual death (a ‘bad’ image) and we replay this scene over and over again and of course, attached to that movie are all those painful feelings too, so it’s no wonder we feel awful each and every time we remember this person.

Now I know there are many of you who would feel cheated if they did’nt hang onto the pain of loss however ask yourself if this is what your loved one would have wanted? Probably not and you know what, isn’t it more respectful to remember your loved one when they were alive, healthy and well because that was the ‘real’ them wasn’t it?

So next time you remember your loved one and you find yourself focusing on a ‘bad’ memory just say CANCEL in your mind and instantly bring to mind a cherished memory. Not only will this make you feel better in that moment but over time it will become an automatic process that when you think of your lost loved one the first thing you recall is a ‘good’ memory.

If the grief is still very raw and overwhelming then try out the butterfly hug which is specifically designed for trauma and grief. Not only is it quick but it’s comforting too ( For more information on how to do this check  out yesterdays blog here ). Or give EFT a go – I use this with my clients and even after one session the pain has dramatically reduced and the ‘bad’ image they see has moved further away and becpes less focused too which means that your mind is beginning to process and release the grief (when the’ bad’ image is quite literally in your face as your recall it the pain associated will be worse however if you push the picture away from you on your mental screen the pain lessons).

So if you are ready to leave the pain of grief behind and smile when you remember the person your lost, then change the movie in your mind. When you become aware you’re focusing on a ‘bad’ memory say CANCEL in your mind and immediately bring in an image of the person when they were alive and healthy and preferably smiling too.

It’s okay to let go of the pain because you can always hold onto the love that you had and keep your loved one close at hand at all times in that special place in your heart. So remember your loved one for who they were and celebrate their life and yes you may still have a good cry at times and that’s only human but the raw pain will be a thing of the past.