A Little Perspective

Kids are great aren’t they? They can teach you so much about yourself that perhaps you never knew or wanted to know!

My son had been grounded yesterday and was supposed to come straight home after school but he didn’t. He arrived home late and brought along his old friend Attitude too. Not only was I unhappy that he didn’t come home directly after school and that he came home at a ridiculous hour, I was now not happy about his offensive attitude with me. He marched in ready for a fight and was determined someone was going to get it!

So being the adult I rose to his offense much to my dismay and as any parent knows, if you rise up to your kid’s challenge, you have automatically let them win. Mum loses control, shouts and gets upset. One nil to him.

Granted – most days I rise above it but I’m only human so some days I don’t do very well! Instead of jumping in and giving him what he wanted – an argument – I should have stepped back and walked away. If I had have given myself space to think about the situation I would have perhaps wondered at why he needed to ‘let off steam’. I could have allowed him to calm down and then had a chat with him later to see if anything was upsetting him.

As it happened, something was upsetting him – a rather amazing teacher had told him that he perhaps was the dumbest boy in the entire school. And how did I find this out? Only after I had upset him! So not only did he feel devastated that his teacher had upset him and humiliated him in front of his class mates but his mum was now having a go at him too!

So next time your child seems keen to pick a fight or his behaviour seems more volatile than usual – step back and think about what might be going on inside their head instead of automatically focusing on what is going on inside your head. Okay it’s not nice to be on the receiving end of verbal abuse however if we realize that something has to be driving this behaviour then we begin to see things differently and respond is a more positive way.

Most people when hurt or upset lash out at those nearest – it’s nothing personal yet most of us take it personally. Next time someone you love seems to be more verbal or volatile than usual – perhaps wonder at what it is that has upset them instead of launching right back at them. We all need gentle handling at times especially when we are hurt or upset and that is no different for children.

Respect that kids too get upset that they lash out in frustration at times too after all they are only kids! Give them space to calm down instead of adding fuel to their fire. By focusing on what is driving their upset you change the focus off yourself (I am so annoyed that he is talking to me like this) and place it on them (I will give him space to calm down and see if he wants to talk about it later).

Start thinking about how others think and feel – at why they might be upset or behaving badly. There is more than just one person in this world so start looking at how others work and what motivates their behaviour. By seeing things from a different perspective you can begin to gain an understanding of how other people ‘tick’. Only when you learn to understand what motivates other people can you begin to build better relationships.

Remember the world doesn’t revolve around you – other people get upset and need space too – so appreciate this and walk away don’t push them away. They will come to you when they need too.

Hindsight is a great thing but pretty much defunct too – unless you learn from it and change. So change your perspective and look at situations from other peoples point of view too. There is always a reason people behave the way they do and you know what – most times it has nothing to do with you!

How Could They?

I was passing time waiting for my a-wall child to return home watching a show on TV which was utter trash – but it kept my mind of the ticking clock. It was called the Millionaire Matchmaker (you still need to use a dating agency with all that money?) and the owner of the dating agency was ‘shortlisting some women for two millionaires. The only saving grace was that for one guy the women needed to be educated as well as being stunning!

Anyway the matchmaker took a particular dislike to one woman’s appearance and literally slated her – told her in no uncertain terms what she thought of her. She was rude, over the top and offensive and worst of all she expected this woman to stand there and accept a) her opinion and b) her abuse! To say I was shocked was putting it mildly!

With a self satisfied smile she settled down in her seat after her tirade of abuse and was subsequently appalled when the woman launched a counter attack on her. She came right back with some pretty hurtful comments yet the matchmaker had the audacity to be offended and affronted by this woman’s attack of her. She stood up, became hostile, aggressive and threatened violence – so offended she was by what this woman has said.

After the woman left she turned to her colleagues with a look of disbelief on her face as if to say ‘who did she think she was?’ Surely the question she should have asked herself was – who on earth do I think I am?

If you set out to offend, belittle and upset people then surely you have no right to be offended if the person retaliates? If I was rude and offensive to someone I would expect them to come right back at me – and rightly so! I was flabbergasted that this woman could not comprehend that in some way her offensive and vile behaviour had caused the counter-attack from the other woman.

What makes people feel that they have a right to offend and belittle other people yet they act offended if they receive the same treatment themselves? If you go out and slap someone is that okay? If you are aggressive to someone or rude – is that ok because it’s you that is doing it? Does it only become ‘wrong’ when someone mirrors your behaviour and treats you rudely? Is it only wrong if someone slaps you?

I am no angel and I know I have upset people in my past and will continue to do so either thoughtlessly or intentionally. I know if I am rude I can expect the same treatment back – bring it on! But if you treat someone disrespectfully then how can you expect them to come back at you with respect?

I would consider myself as open and honest and if asked, I prefer to tell the truth. I expect the truth back too. However more often than not my truth is simply my opinion – not yours or anyone else’s but my opinion. It isn’t fact it is just how I feel about something. Likewise other people can tell me the truth about how they feel about me, what I do etc and that is their opinion too – not mine but theirs.

So I can chose to be offended by your ‘opinion’ or I can chose to let it go or do something about it. However if you wish to be offensive in your manner then please do not be offended if I retaliate. Yes of course we are told to rise above it and most times I generally do – but come on – if you start something then please be ready for someone else to finish it!

You get out of life what you put into it and if you continually disrespect, mistreat and abuse people then do not be surprised that this will be how people treat you in return. If you find that most people are offensive and rude to you – ask yourself how you treat other people. You may find that your behaviour is prickly or you may find that you abuse, mistreat and disrespect yourself.

So next time you want to let a guy down gently – just tell him he’s not the one for you – no need to tell him he’s ugly/you wouldn’t go near him if he was the last man on the planet. If your friend asks (always a difficult one to answer this one) ‘does my bum look big in this?’ tell her the other dress suited her better and not that she had better be careful when she goes out as people might mistake her for the back end of a bus!!!

So next time you wish to express your opinion remember it is just that your opinion. Also think – how would I like to be treated?

Respect is such a wonderful thing yet very understated.

Anger, Aspergers and ADHD

Sometimes it easy to get locked into your own ideas of how things should pan out and how people should and shouldn’t behave. And sometimes the expectations we have for other peoples’ behaviour can be that high that all you are doing is leaving them and you, up for failure.

My son’s behaviour can be incredibly challenging at times and most days I deal with it in a positive manner yet there are days when I find it hard to spend time with him let alone say a kind word to him. His bedtime routine won’t change – I know that – yet there are nights I wish he could go to bed ‘nicely’ like his brother but he doesn’t.

I know that if he doesn’t get out on time for his bus in the mornings for school he will have a melt down and kick off – that’s just him. He likes his routine – he gets a certain bus and if he doesn’t get that – to him it’s almost the end of the world – to me – its simply a case of ‘why doesn’t he just get the later one anyway as the one he gets is way to early anyway’.

However, as I have explained to him on a number of occasions, his mind works differently from mine – and that’s okay however what isn’t okay is when I try and bring my mind into play on working out his mind! Whilst I can see the logic behind simply waiting for the next bus he can’t. He sees something completely different and until I learn to accept this 100% I will always have a problem with his behaviour.

Just as I struggle at times to understand how he fails to think ahead, to see how his behaviour has a consequence – I have to accept that that is how his mind works and no amount of logical reasoning by me on his behalf will change that. Yes I can employ strategies that can help however if I lower my expectation of what I expect from my child – I will ultimately be less disappointed, less upset and angry and therefore in a better place to help him with his daily struggle with life.

It isn’t easy having a child ‘in the syndrome mix’ but it certainly makes it a lot more simpler if you just accept that they are different, that their behaviour can be challenging to us ‘normal’ folks. It can be a whole lot easier to accept that their mind doesn’t work on the same operating system as ours and yet it can be equally frustrating too. You will never be able to get inside their heads but as long you get into their hearts – you have won the battle.

Let your child know that you are always there for them no matter what. Apologise if you’ve lost it with them – it lets them know that you are human but appreciate that they will lose it with you a lot more than you would like them too! Drop the guilt trip too – that will only ever make a bad situation worse. Love them and be there for them – the world is a scary place to them – to us it has some challenges – to them it’s a constant battle.

Love your child for who they are – that way you will never be disappointed – and who knows – you may begin to see more positives in their behaviour when you begin to look for them.

Clear Out the Junk

I had a pretty low day yesterday. The boys went back to school and I had a mound of work to tackle but little motivation to do it. I didn’t feel like doing my morning run but did it anyway. I didn’t run as far – my heart wasn’t in it and that was the problem that morning – my heart wasn’t in it.

I dragged out my laptop and opened my mail and feeling more like going for a long walk than work, I decided to take 20 minutes and meditate instead. I use the Ho’oponopono clearing prayer when I feel ‘blocked’ by anything in life or .n I find it hard to focus or calm my mind. So I sat down focused on my lack of motivation and began to meditate, repeating the mantra

I love you

I’m sorry

Please forgive me

Thank you.

I use this Ho’oponopono clearing prayer when ever I feel the need to offload any emotional baggage of if I am experiencing any problems or relationship issues. Not only does it help calm the mind (it works like a mantra) it also helps to raise your energy vibrations too. The words you use believe it or not do have an effect on your body (look at the study of words on water by Dr Emoto) and by repeating the above prayer you can change your body’s energy field thus lifting your mood.

When yo do this clearing exercise focus on the words and their meaning as it really helps to make you feel better after all love is the ultimate healer! When you focus on the words ‘I love you’ say them with meaning – focus on love. When you say ‘I’m sorry’ mean it and if you find something coming up – either a memory or a feeling then work on that. It has surfaced for a reason!

So next time you feel a little ‘flat’ or your heart isn’t in something – do this clearing meditation using the simple prayer above. If you are having problems in a relationship then use the prayer as a way to clear out the negativity in the relationship. Focus on the person when you say the prayer and mean what you say. Tell them in your mind ‘I love you’ and say it with heartfelt meaning – apologise for anything in you that has caused the problem (there will be something even if it’s at an unconscious level). When you say thank you again say it with meaning.

I did this recently with someone and within an hour the person had apologized for their less than wonderful behaviour. I use it with a close family member and whilst his behaviour has calmed recently it is more his willingness to apologise for his poor behaviour which is the most noticeable change. When ever I experience any problems now I turn to this prayer – it really does work miracles!

Go on and give it a go – if it only clears your head and gives you peace of mind – it has worked. But use it to clear out any problems in your relationships too and see if you can notice the difference.

Your Life – Your Responsibility

I wrote a post on my other blog recently about responsibility and how it underpins an ancient Hawaiian healing process known as Ho’oponopono. Ho’oponopono works on the premise that we have to accept 100% for everything that happens in our lives and whilst this is a massive thing to take on board, it is in fact the only way to bring harmony into your life.

Our life is a mirror of our mind – what we perceive in the outside world is what we project from our inner mind as wonderfully illustrated in the ode below:

‘Why is everyone here so happy except me?’

‘Because they have learned to see goodness and beauty everywhere’ said the Master

‘Why don’t I see goodness and beauty everywhere?’

‘Because you cannot see outside of you what you fail to see inside.’                                       Anthony de Mello

If we fail to see love in the outside world it’s because we fail to see it inside ourselves. If we fail to see generosity in the world around us it is because we fail to see it in ourselves and in our minds. What we see in our minds – good or bad – is what we see in the outside world.

We project a mirror image of our internal world onto our outside world – ‘perception is projection’. What we perceive in others or the world is what we see in ourselves (project) based on our past experiences. What we see in our world can be very different from what other people see and we tend to overlook this fact especially in our relationships.

If two people go into a relationship with different views, beliefs and opinions they will no doubt see things differently but also have different expectations from one another too and that’s okay as long as both parties recognise that each is unique. Problems occur when we fail to see other people as individuals with individual needs.

For example, if a woman goes into a relationship believing that she isn’t good enough, she may seek continual reassurance from her partner in order to feel less inadequate or insecure. If she doesn’t receive this continual reassurance she may feel let down or even rejected and/or she may begin to see the other person as cold or withdrawn.

Her partner on the other hand may value freedom – perhaps he has been in a controlling relationship in the past – so he expects to do what he wants when he wants. So as their relationship progresses she becomes more demanding – seeking continual reassurances in order to make her feel good enough and he begins to feel smothered, so he asserts his right to freedom by pulling away from her. This leaves her feeling even more in need of reassurances and him wanting more and more freedom to escape her continual demand for attention and so the cycles begins.

So when the relationship ends (she feels let down because he was  ‘cold and uncaring’  and he feels disappointed because she was so ‘needy’) both seek to blame the other because they feel so hurt and let down. Neither accepts any responsibility in the doomed relationship though both we involved, so they go on to do the same thing in their next relationship and the one after that and so on and so on. How many times have you heard people saying ‘I always seem to attract the wrong man’ or ‘I always end up getting hurt’?

By accepting 100% responsibility for every relationship in your life you can break the continual cycle of disastrous relationships. If you blame every one else for your failed relationships then how can you begin to change future relationships? You cant! By looking at how you, not the other person, contributed to the relationship breakdown, you begin to gain some valuable insight into how you see yourself and other people and how this impacts on each and every relationship you have.

When you ask yourself   ‘what can I learn about myself from this relationship?’ you can begin to gain a better insight into how you contributed to the success or failure of any relationship. You can begin to see that perhaps it was your continual need to be valued that drove the other person away or perhaps it was your fear of rejection which meant that you were too demanding?

Yes the other person may well have treated you with little respect but how did you contribute to this? Did you allow them to disrespect you? Did you speak up about how you felt and allow the other person a chance to change how they treated you? If you did and they still treated you disrespectfully,  did you walk away?

If you continually seek to blame the other person you continually fail yourself.  If you accept 100% responsibility for your relationships you allow yourself the chance to let go of blame, bitterness and the desire to always be right. Instead you find it easier to say ‘I’m sorry’ and move on with your life. Each of us is responsible for how we treat others and each one of us is responsible for how we let others treat ourselves.

However – and this is where most of the confusion occurs regarding accepting 100% responsibility for every relationship you have – whilst I accept 100% responsibility for my relationships – I do not accept the ‘blame’.

If you mistreated me or abused me or hit me I accept that there was something in me that allowed this to happen however I neither condone or accept responsibility for your behaviour. You are 100% responsible for how you allow others to treat you, for your behaviour, your actions and how you treat me. I am 100% responsible for how I allow others to treat me, for what I say and how I behave.

We all contribute to every relationship we have (and if you don’t contribute then perhaps that’s why you are on your own!) so we each need to accept 100% responsibility for them. I can accept 100% responsibility for my relationship with you but I can not accept 100% responsibility on your behalf – only you can do that.

Whilst I can accept 100% responsibility for my relationships I can not expect others to accept any responsibility for theirs and neither can you. Some people have neither the emotional intelligence nor the maturity to accept any responsibility for anything let alone for the relationships they have however once you begin to notice that you are allowing these people into your life, you can begin to weed them out!

All people come into your life to teach you valuable lessons – whether it’s to teach you to respect yourself more or to show you how wonderful you truly are – they are in your life for a purpose. The more you learn from each and every person in your life, the more fulfilling your life will become.

Be the person you want others to be and they will become the person you want them to be. If you want respect you need to respect yourself. If you want to be valued you need to see value in yourself.


Ho’oponopono, Responsibility And A More Fulfilling Life

As a therapist I have studied many disciplines and self-help techniques from the logical to the spiritual and one which has resonated with me more recently is Ho’oponopono. Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian healing process which looks to ‘make right’ issues or relationships in our life by accepting that we – not the outside world – are fully responsible for them. This is similar to the NLP principle which states that what we ‘see’ in the outside world is what we project onto it from our own life experiences.

Nothing in life has any meaning until we give it meaning and the meaning we give events is more often than not based on our own internal reality or on our past experiences. For example, two people could meet the same person and come away with two very different perceptions of that individual. The first person may think they were great whilst the other person may find them arrogant. Who is right? Arguable neither as they have merely formed an opinion based on similar experiences with other people in their past.

We all bring into any relationship we have, whether it’s with your wife, your kids, your friend, your colleague at work or your lover, certain beliefs, opinions and perceptions of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, or what is deemed to be respectful or disrespectful etc. The opinions we hold are based on experiences from our past – not fact. What I find disrespectful you may find perfectly ‘normal’ yet who decides what is right or which is reality?

When a relationship turns sour it can be easy to blame the other person involved especially if they were violent, manipulative or controlling and I must admit, after one disastrous relationship when I was younger, I blamed the other person 100% for the relationship breakdown. They had been controlling, manipulative and abusive so I felt totally exonerated and left them with 100% of the blame for the failed relationship.

I only began to accept some responsibility for this failed relationship once I began my role as a therapist – I had to practice what I preached! I graciously accepted 50% responsibility, after all I could have left couldn’t I?

More recently after studying Ho’oponopono I am more willing to accept 100% responsibility (not blame) for the relationships in my life including this disaster. Why would I want to accept total responsibility I hear you ask?

When I accept 100% responsibility for any relationship in my life I am giving myself the chance to rectify the problem. Think about it for a moment – if I lay the blame at your feet – how can I begin to change the dynamics of our relationship? I can’t because by blaming you I have given you full responsibility for any changes in our relationship.

But by accepting total responsibility I can begin to understand why the relationship failed and begin to learn how I can improve the situation. If that means I begin to see his manipulation as child-like ways to gain attention or that I need to respect myself more, I begin to understand how what I believe has led to the relationship failing how I – not the other person – have brought about this problem.

If I respected myself more would I have even encountered this man let alone had a relationship with him? If I didn’t feel as isolated as I did at the time, would I have got involved with him? Again probably not. So the only reason the relationship existed in the first place was because I allowed it to happen, I made it viable. Scary isn’t it – but true? So if I gave it life then I am 100% responsible for it!

Every relationship you have in your life can teach you something about yourself, especially those that prove to be more difficult. By accepting that we are responsible for every relationship we have we can begin to question our automatic perceptions of the world. Was he really being disrespectful or were your expectations simply different from his? Were they really too pushy or was it your inability to commit? Is she really not interested in you or is that she has been too busy to phone?

When you begin to question your automatic assumptions and perceptions you can begin to see a more realistic world out there and not one which has been created in your mind. You can begin to see that each one of us is unique and each one of us holds differing opinions, beliefs and views of the world and that’s okay. What isn’t okay is believing that everything you ‘see’ in the world is reality because you believe it to be. It isn’t. It is merely your perception.

I have discovered that key relationships in my life have changed once I began to accept total responsibility for any problems in them. I have a clearer insight into how problems manifest themselves in relation to how I perceive the world, my place in it and other people. That does not mean that every relationship I have is flawless – that’s not life that would be pure fantasy (and reality is not fantasy) – it just means that the relationships I have now are the ones I want – good or bad. And as long as I keep learning from every relationship I have I can continue to let go of those things that stand in the way of more fulfilling relationships.

So next time you feel vexed with anyone or you seem to invite the same kind of people into your life – ask yourself this one simple question – what it is this relationship trying to teach me about myself? It may be that you need to let go or it may be that you need to change a limiting belief about yourself but by learning you are able to transform and improve your relationships and how you feel too.

Give it a go – take 100% responsibility today and be amazed at what you discover. It can be truly liberating!

A Little Respect


If you want respect – then give a little!

Call me old-fashioned or call me just plain old – but I find respect an invaluable part of life. And talking of age – (perhaps I am turning into a grumpy old woman though I must profess to not being that old yet!) – has respect become a thing of the past as the younger generation loose sense of their responsibility in this world due to their ability to hide behind social media?

Self respect and respect for others is something I was taught as a child and whilst I respect many people there are indeed those that I hold in contempt especially litter louts! I find their disrespect of the environment and the place where they live truly disgusting. If they don’t give a damn about where they live – who do they think will?

I respect that people have feelings and I respect that on occasion I may well step on toes yet it isn’t beyond me to apologize for my oversight or offence caused, even if non was intended. I respect people who are not afraid to speak openly and honestly – even if what they say may hurt of offend others – however I do not respect foul-mouthed, rude people who make it their sole intention of upsetting anyone that appears to cross their path.

Respect is a two-way street. If you disrespect someone how can you bemoan their less that respectful treatment of you? If I can respect your culture, your opinions and the fact that you eat dead animals then I fail to see how you cannot respect my opinions, my vegetarian diet or my drive for spirituality. After all whilst I may respect your views – that does not mean that I accept them. It just means that I can appreciate that we each are unique, we each have different outlooks in life – if we didn’t the world would indeed be a dull place.

However I do not respect you ramming your views down my throat or killing my kin folk in the name of religion. So no – I will never respect oppression, violence or abuse – those are intolerable in any society. But what I will respect is those that stand up and fight for what they believe in, for what’s right and just. I will respect those who make it their lives work to help those less fortunate than themselves. They deserve respect even if they don’t set out to gain it.

The sad fact about society today is that many people, especially the younger generation, are more inclined to spend their time networking on social media sites that on a one to one basis. It’s easier to be rude and ‘in your face’ when there is no face to look into. It’s easier to play roulette with other people’s feeling, in the reassurance that you are unlikely to meet the people you have so rudely disrespected. Social networking is a place for cowards and breeds lack of respect – however that is my opinion and I respect that you may well not agree with my opinion and that’s just fine!

If I can see your hurt I can begin to respect your feelings. If I can see how my words offend you then I can begin to respect your needs. If I can understand how life affects me then I can begin to respect how life can affect you too. Respect is learnt – so learn it well because if you can respect others you can allow others to respect you. If you disrespect others then how the hell can others begin to respect you? If you demand respect you may fool yourself into believing you have gained it – but come on – seriously? Get real – learn to respect others and they will learn to respect you; learn to respect yourself and others will learn to respect you too.

Most of us are aware of our own feelings and what makes us tick, what makes us smile and what upsets us and whilst this can be such an individual thing, we can not hide behind our ignorance that others are not dissimilar to us.  So tread wisely – show some respect and you may begin to see how differently people begin to treat you.

Respect yourself. Respect others. Respect your environment. It really isn’t that difficult!