What Do You See?

Life is very much what you make it and that goes for the people you meet, the relationships you have and the job you do. And what one person my see as black another person my argue that it’s more a dark grey than black yet both will be right in their map of the world.

When you ask someone what they think of such and such you generally find that most people will have varying opinions which is hardly surprising as we are all unique human beings with different tastes, cultures and experiences and besides, wouldn’t life be dull if we liked the same things and people? Ask my children what their opinion of me is and you will get three very different views. Ask my friend or my ex sister-in-law what they think of me and you will get very different views!

Yet what we see in others is what we see in ourselves – so when you meet someone who you feel at ease with because they seem easy going – there will be a part of you that is like that too. See someone as bitchy – then guess what – there is a part of you that is a bitch too.

It is down to us to recognise that perhaps our views of others isn’t the truth more our interpretation of the truth. If you are determined to loathe someone you will – you will look for all the negative things in them that back up your view whilst if you seek to look at the positives – you will see someone completely different. What you seek you will find!

Relationships can be tricky at the best of times but when you have to ‘get on with’ or like a family member, your friends boyfriend or the new guy at work, then sometimes it can make like a little tedious. However if you are struggling with a relationship that does impact negatively on your life then there is a simple way for you to let go of your judgement and see the other person in a new light (and maybe give them the chance they need!)

It can seem impossible to like someone if you have taken a dislike to them or to forgive someone for hurting you – but it is not impossible. Simply seeing people through the eyes of love can change how you think and feel about them. Not sure? Well try this.

Sit for a few moments – take a few nice deep breaths and close your eyes. Now bring to mind someone you love very much or something that makes you happy (and if that’s shopping then shame on you!). When you begin to feel that wonderful loving feeling flooding through your body – really get into how great it feels. Notice where you feel this love in your body – is it in your chest, your stomach even? If it was a colour what colour would it be? Would it be warm or cold?

Really focus on how fabulous that feeling is and as you feel this incredible loving feeling throughout your body I want you to bring in an image of the person who you have a problem with. Begin to see them through the eyes of love. Focus on the feelings of love whilst looking at this persons face and you will begin to feel a shift in how you feel about them.

If you can feel negativity rising up as soon as you bring in their image then bring back the loving image again – focus on the great feelings and then focus on the individual again. You will begin to feel less bothered about the person to begin with and over time you may well begin to see them in a completely new light. It’s hard to dislike or hate with love in your heart. You begin to see the other person as an individual with flaws just like yourself (and if you think you are perfect – you aren’t!).

What happens when you look at someone with love – you begin to see them for who they are – flaws and all and you recognise that you yourself aren’t perfect either – we all make mistakes. You will feel less judgemental and more open minded. So what if they let you down that time, haven’t you let people down? Yes they can be a bitch but can’t you be too? Maybe your treatment of them resulted in their rather cold response to you?

There are very few really evil people in the world and sometimes it suits us to have an enemy as it can allow us to feel better about who we are or it can even make us feel ‘good enough’ when we compare ourselves to ‘them’ but to enjoy life isn’t it better to love more and hate less? After all if you are bitter about someone – they probably aren’t even aware of it whilst you sit bubbling and simmering with hatred!

So next time you find yourself overcome with bitterness or feel in the need to judge others – sit with love and see them with different eyes – it really is an eye-opener! We can’t like everyone in life but we can certainly let go of our judgements of them or our negative feelings towards them especially if they impact on our lives – so make a conscious effort to spread the love and you may be surprised at how much more wonderful the world really is.

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Is Obesity An Illness?

I read an article in the Daily Mail (‘Labelling obesity a disease is an excuse not to diet’) and it highlighted a very worrying trend. As a Weight Management Consultant I have helped countless people lose and maintain weight loss and the main emphasis of my program is health and responsibility. I help my clients to change habits, behaviours and even what foods they find appealing, yet they are clear on one point – they have been responsible for their weight gain and accordingly, they will also be responsible for their weight loss too.

There are, more often than no,t emotional triggers to overeating and this is one of the first things I tackle with my clients, however, regardless of whether their triggers are conscious or unconscious – they still have a choice. Each and every time you put something in your mouth you have a choice. Each and every time you drive to the shops or school – that is your choice. When you say yes to that third piece of cake – that is your choice – no one else’s.

I have no doubt that if I told my clients that obesity is an illness the results I would obtain would be far from the excellent ones I get now! Labelling obesity as an illness does change the mind-set of most people (not all I hasten to add). It gives obese people a ‘legitimate’ reason as to why they are overweight and gives them a ‘valid’ excuse to do absolutely nothing about tackling their obesity (which this article highlighted).

Basically labelling obesity as an illness is a cop out clause – ‘I’m overweight because I have an illness’, ‘I can’t control what I eat – it’s an illness and there’s nothing I can do about it’, ‘I’d love to be slim but I’m ill’ and so the excuses go on and on.

By labelling obesity as an illness you are taking away the crucial component of any successful weight loss – responsibility. In order to lose weight you have to accept that you and only you are responsible for your excess weight – not McDonalds, not KFC or even your partner for cooking unhealthy meals – you are 100% responsible for your weight – no-one else.

That’s a scary prospect to many obese people as it means that they actually have to do something about their life style in order to lose weight – they have to make some serious choices in order to shift their excess weight and that means two things – they have to reduce calorific intake and increase activity level – there is no other way to lose weight. And whilst change can be scary – it can also be uplifting – imagine being slim and healthy and feeling more and more confident and positive each and every day? That is a choice too!

And if you are prone to sitting all day eating and blaming everyone and the world for your obesity – well that’s an easy alternative to face than some major life style choices, however, is an early death an easy choice to make? Is the prospect of diabetes, liver disease or cancer an easy option to face? What about choosing to be slim, healthy and focusing on enjoying life – that’s a choice too?

Obesity is a life style choice and it has been proved time after time that there really is no biological reason for obesity (the elusive fat gene). The cause of obesity is pure and simple – it’s a compulsion to overeat.

Whilst there may be many reasons why people feel compelled to overeat (and I have felt compelled on many an occasion!) you still need to accept that it is you that is overeating or responding to those cravings! Once you deal with your compulsion, you will find that your eating habits become more healthier naturally and with little effort.

Anyone can overcome emotional eating and I would rather have the hope that I could overcome something than be told that it’s an ‘illness’ and there is nothing I can do about it (to be honest even then I would still do something!) It is your choice whether your remain overweight and face a future of complications due to your obesity (proper illnesses such as diabetes and coronary heart disease) or do something about it now.

Chose a healthier lifestyle – it is your choice – or chose to blame your ‘illness’ – your choice. I know which one I would choose – no matter how daunting that may be.

If you would like more information on how to overcome your emotional eating then visit http://www.mcrhypnotherapy.com or try my new Be Slim Weight Loss Hypnosis CD available on Amazon uk ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mairead%20russell&sprefix=maire%2Caps)

The View From Up Here

I was at the doctors yesterday morning when during our consultation he asked what I did for a living. I told him I was a hypnotherapist and he asked did I do smoking and weight loss. I said I did along with anxiety too and he became intrigued with my view on the cause of anxiety.

He asked me in my opinion, what caused anxiety. I told him that stress may well bring on anxiety however the cause is more likely to be an event – traumatic or otherwise – from the person’s past, usually childhood. He seemed to agree with my view (which has been evidenced in several studies and personal experiences too) and believed that the majority of all pathological issues such as depression, anxiety and other more serious illness such as psychosis seem to be rooted in childhood and more specifically linked to relationships with parents/primary carers.

We had a great discussion about how a child’s relationship with their parents can impact on their behaviour, beliefs and relationships as an adult and of course this is true to an extent, however issues such as anxiety may well be caused by events other than relationship issues.

We moved onto an area I have been writing about a lot recently – responsibility. We both agreed that whatever relationship you have in your life, you go into it with a means to extracting something from it whether consciously or subconsciously. When we befriend someone it’s usually because we enjoy their company or they may provide us with a shoulder to cry on or a chance of a good night out – but there is a reason why we befriend that person in the first place.

Likewise in romantic relationships, we seek something from our partner and that tends to be something that we feel is missing either from our life (companionship) or from us as an individual (low self worth). When we feel unloved we depend on our partner to fill the void inside of us – which invariably they rarely do as only we can do that ourselves – so when they fail to live up to our expectations they become the ‘problem’ and not us.

Whilst I can totally appreciate how my conscious and unconscious needs impact on every area of my life including relationships it can be difficult to get my clients to understand this concept. ‘Well he was the one who cheated/hit me/never let me out’ so it’s his fault the relationship is the way it is. I have no doubt that your partner treats you disrespectfully but who is allowing him to treat you that way? Why did you ‘invite’ him into your life in the first place? 

You are responsible for every relationship you have – and if the relationship turns sour or abusive you have a choice. Stay or leave. Understandably there are relationships that you can’t walk away from – your kids for one – however the same still applies to these relationships too. What is it about the other person that upsets you? What is it in you that you see in them?

I have a friend who allows her son to smack and throw things at her. He punches and kicks his grandparents as she sits watching. She is finding him a ‘handful’ and doesn’t know what to do with him. Start by drawing some boundaries based on respect first. If she learnt to respect herself and other people her son will learn to respect others too. What is lacking in us can, due to our lack of awareness, also be lacking in our kids (‘the sins of the father’).

So next time a relationship presents a problem for you – ask yourself what is it about me that is creating this problem – it may not be pleasant (I know!) yet it gives you the chance to rectify those relationships that deserve to be saved  and break free from those that cant be. Whilst responsibility gives you the opportunity to transform relationships and your life it doesn’t mean in anyway that things are always your fault. It merely means that as part of the ‘problem’ you need to address the fact that you are involved in it – like it or not – and because you are involved you have the ideal chance to resolve the issue. 

Self awareness begins by accepting responsibility for all the problems in your life – no one can hurt you unless you allow them too – so if you are in a hurtful relationship then why are you in it and why are you putting up with it? As you begin to learn more about yourself, your limiting beliefs, values and what you want from your life you begin to take control of your own destiny – if you hand over responsibility for every problem in your life to others – then you will always be at everyone else’s beck and call!

Take responsibility today and live a more fulfilling life. Love yourself, nurture yourself and forgive yourself daily and watch as others begin to love you, nurture you and accept you for who you really are. After all only you can change your world.

Perception and Judging

I was trying to explain the idea of perception to my eldest son this morning in a bid to get him to assess his behaviour and how it impacts on his life. (He is on report for his poor behaviour at school – he has special educational needs and if he struggles to cope with work in class his behaviour is affected (why he is on report and not assisted in class is a different issue and discussed on my other blog! http://maireadrussell.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/nowhere-to-run-to/))

Needless to say I didn’t have much joy with this – he struggles to understand how his behaviour impacts on others let alone how the perception of his behaviour and impact negatively on how teachers respond to him! So I left it and vowed to come back to this issue another day.

However this brought to mind my own experiences of how our perceptions of people are swayed by other people’s judgements. I was teaching at a school in Botswana and was informed that I would be teaching a boy, let’s say his name was John (it wasn’t) , who had been expelled from his last school due to poor behaviour.

Thankfully I didn’t go in with any preconceived ideas of how this boy’s behaviour would be – I didn’t have the time to think about it in all honesty as I was teaching him that morning. I was surprised by what I discovered – I actually quite liked the boy! He was outspoken – yes – and he liked to have a bit of a laugh but that was manageable. He was bright and if you kept him busy he quietened down considerably.

Later that week I was praising John’s behaviour and work and was met by blank stares from some of his other teachers. They were aghast! They found him to be rude, disruptive and a problem. It was my turn to be stunned. Was this the same boy I was teaching? Unfortunately it would appear that a number of teachers had prejudged this boy based on his past history and had him earmarked as trouble before he had even entered their class. So what ever he did – rightly or wrongly – was prejudged. He didn’t stand a chance!

We have all unfortunately prejudged other people at some time or other, based on other’s perceptions of them. It is part of human nature to prejudge (it makes life simpler – we don’t have to judge for ourselves) but it leaves us sometimes with a tainted view on how we perceive another individual.

As we have already formed an opinion of them we meet them with preconceived ideas of how they will behave and because we do this so well, we then begin to look for evidence to back up our opinion of them. And it’s amazing what you can find when you go looking for things – even if they don’t exist!

There have been several studies looking into how our perceptions of others affect how we respond and how when we are given incorrect information about an individual, we subconsciously begin to look for evidence to back up this information. One such study was done in a school in the States. Teachers were provided information on students that was incorrect. So children who were underperforming were reported to be gifted; child who were reported to struggle  were in fact gifted, and another had behavioural issues when in fact this was far from the truth.

Over time, the child who was ‘gifted’ made amazing progress and was pushed to excel. His teacher noted how bright he was. The child who struggled (he was in fact gifted) did indeed gain poor grades and the ‘naughty’ child was of course found to be naughty! So now you can begin to understand how your preconceived ideas about other people may well be affecting how you respond to them!

So next time you listen to mindless gossip or your work colleague expresses an opinion on the new manager, make a note that what the other person is expressing is merely their perception (which might even be based on somebody else’s perception too) and not fact. When you meet someone new base your opinion of them – on what you see before you and not what you have heard. After all, wouldn’t you prefer someone to judge you for who you are and not who other people think you are?

Whilst perception is based on a number of factors other than just other people’s opinions (your own life experiences, past relationships etc) it is important to remember that who we see in front of us is not necessarily who other people see and neither is it ‘correct’ either – it is after all our perception.

So next time you find yourself forming an opinion about someone who you haven’t met – think again. Perception is just an opinion, an idea – it is not fact. So make sure you make up your own mind about other people just as you would like other people to make up their own minds about you and remember – who you see might not be who they really are!

I Am Sorry….but

Three little words, just like I love You, which speak volumes and have the power to transform your relationships with other people including the relationship you have with yourself – I am sorry. However how many people use these words genuinely and with the intention that they were meant – to apologize sincerely for what they have done or said?

When we hurt someone or do something to offend another person or indeed ourselves, a simple yet heartfelt apology can undo damage caused. An apology lets the other person know that we are sorry for what ever it is that we have done and that we accept responsibility for our actions. It lets the other person know that we value them as a human being – that we understand that they get upset – we appreciate that we have upset them and are sorry.

Yet how many of us hand out apologies with little intention of a sincere apology? How many people apologize because they feel they ought to or that it might in some way be beneficial for them to apologize? How many of us use an apology as an means to lay blame at the other persons feet – ‘I’m sorry but you did……’?

A genuine apology should be just that – genuine. There should be no hidden agenda in it – the only agenda behind a sincere apology is to let the other person know that you are indeed very sorry for the pain that you have caused them and in apologizing you recognise your part – you accept that you are responsible for what you have done.

I had a very scary moment last week – I narrowly avoided a head-on collision with another car. My mind was elsewhere (looking for my son who hadn’t returned from school), the sun was in my eyes and before I realized it I was on the other side of the road with a car coming right at me! I pulled my car back over to the left as the other driver did the same. I was visibly shaken yet felt awful – the poor woman in the other car!

We had stopped almost side by side and I wound my window down and apologized straight away, confirming that the near miss was indeed all my fault (it was) and the first words out of her mouth were a barrage of expletives and insults. Now years ago I would have taken offence at this – how dare she speak to me like that when I have apologized? I could have retorted that to be honest it wasn’t my fault – not really – the sun had blinded me etc. I have witnessed many people withdrawing their apology and becoming defensive and aggressive when the other person has vented their hurt but why?

I now realize that the woman had a right to be angry with me – I had nearly caused an accident. I can now understand that she had a right to let off steam – I had nearly caused a crash! I could see she was visibly shaken and all I could do was let her know how sorry I was for the shock that I had caused her (unintentionally or otherwise) and I kept repeating ‘I am so sorry, it was all my fault’. In less than a minute the other driver had visibly relaxed – the wind knocked out of her sails so to speak by my continual apology.

Her final words to me where ‘well that’s ok, it’s just that I have recently had an accident and this really shook me up’. She had felt the need to offer me an explanation as to why she had reacted in the manner in which she had. She was happy that I had apologized and that she had vented her shock at me. The situation as far as she was concerned was resolved and off she went.

I was still shaken after the event however I felt a whole lot better for having accepted and apologized for what I had done. It could have been worse – I could have taken affront at her slating my apology – but I didn’t. I could have blamed the sun, the parked car etc. but I didn’t. My apology was sincere and I was determined to let her know it was. She seemed more than happy with my apology and for that I was just as happy. The last thing I had wanted to do was upset this poor woman any more.

So when we upset someone – either intentionally or unintentionally or – a heartfelt apology not only offers us a way of rectifying what we have done – it also helps both parties move on and feel better.If the other person can see that you are genuinely sorry they will more often than not accept your apology which is great because that means that you too can move on too. We are all responsible for every action or word we say – so own that and if you offend others – accept that and apologize sincerely.

Life would be a better place if we saw the true value of a sincere apology – we are not always 100% to blame for problems however we can accept 100% responsibility for our share in them and apologize – and who knows – you may actually feel better for doing so. In the long term – if you learn to accept responsibility and apologize you carry around less guilt – and that has to be good doesn’t it?

So start using these three little words and see how differently the world and it’s inhabitants respond to you. Words have to power to heal – so heal your relationships, your life and this world!

I love you.
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.

The Power Of Love

As a rather logical and analytical person I love to ‘work out’ how people tick and how to make them feel better – that’s why I do the job I do.

I use the power of the mind to help people overcome phobias, panic, depression, insomnia, low self esteem as well as many other life issues and I fully understand the concept behind the use of hypnosis as a healing tool. The mind or rather the unconscious mind is a very powerful tool – it is larger and more powerful than the conscious mind (will power) and hypnosis allows us to access this amazing ‘machine’ in order to release limiting beliefs, fears, negative thinking patterns etc more or less instantly.

But where is our mind located in our body? Most of us presume our mind is located in our brain but there is no conclusive evidence to suggest this is correct and whilst our brains are phenomenally powerful – no question about that – does it house our mind?

The left side of our brain is referred to as the logical mind – this is where we analyse information we receive in order to make decisions etc. The right side of our brain is the creative part and is where the subconscious mind lies. This is the part of the brain we use when singing, dreaming, or doing anything creative such as drawing or writing.

Our brains are incredibly powerful and can bring about incredible transformations in people when stimulated directly or indirectly (NLP, Hypnosis etc) however whilst our brains have incredible power, our hearts are where the real power lies.

When we compare our mind power to that of the heart – we can see that our hearts win hands down when it comes to sheer power. The following information is from the Heathmath Centre in the States –

HEART FACTS

Research by the Institute for HeartMath in California4 has shown that the heart is the most powerful generator of electromagnetic energy in the human body:

o The heart’s electrical field is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the electrical activity generated by the brain.

o The magnetic field produced by the heart is more than 5000 times greater in strength than the field generated by the brain

o The electromagnetic energy of the heart not only envelops every cell of the human body, but also extends out in all directions in the space around us

o Our cardiac field touches those within 8 – 10 feet of where we are positioned (and perhaps in more subtle ways at greater distances)

o One person’s heart signal can effect another’s brainwaves, and heart-brain synchronization can occur between two people when they interact

o Research conducted at the Institute of HeartMath suggests that the heart’s field is an important carrier of information

Our mental and emotional state impacts the quality of contact we offer to another person. When we touch one another with safe, respectful, loving intention both physically and emotionally, we call into play the full healing power of the heart.

So when we consider all of the above information and take into consideration that our heart has the power to impact every cell in our body as well as influence how other people feel – why do we not use this powerful source of loving energy to transform how we feel and the world we live in?

Love is the most powerful emotion which can bring healing to our bodies and minds. By focusing on the power of love (calling to mind loving memories or the feeling of love) we can not only change how we feel immediately, we can begin to change how we feel long term too. Love can help you transform limiting beliefs, improve health and fitness, help heal wounds in relationships as well as helping you to lose weight!

The heart has more power than your brain and can influence every cell (including your brain cells) in your body. So if you want to feel happier – focus on loving thoughts whilst repeating ‘I feel happier and happier’ or if you want to curb those cravings, call to mind some loving feelings (from a memory or bring to mind someone you love very much) and they repeat in your mind ‘I am in control of my eating. I enjoy eating healthily’.

I use loving meditation all the time to change how I feel, to bring more peace into my mind and relationships, as well as transforming limiting beliefs into supporting positive ones.

So next time you come up against a problem in your life, take five minutes to sit down and bring to mind some loving memories or feelings and as you do focus on a solution to your problem. I recently wanted to change how I felt about someone I was meeting (I wasn’t particularly sure of how I felt about them) as I felt my reservations may impact negatively on our meeting. So I sat down for five minutes focused on some happy memories and then focused on the person I was due to meet whilst sending loving thoughts to them.

When I opened my eyes I felt more positive about this person and this was reflected when we met. As I shook there hand I felt a genuine warmth for them which created a more conducive atmosphere for a successful meeting.

Love really is all you need to change your world and I will be posting a video some time this week on how to transform your limiting beliefs with loving thoughts. So watch this space!

Spread the Love!