Live A Little

Mornings with kids and a dog can be pretty hectic especially when you work. So this morning was no different than most school mornings. I had to chase my middle child out of the door to get the school bus, then take the dog out for a quick run, dash home in time to get the youngest up…..and so goes another school morning.

I know like many parents, I go into ‘automatic’  mode on these school mornings. Get kids up, ensure they get dressed, shout at them to hurry up, get breakfast, shout again to ask what they are up to as it’s been fifteen minutes and they are still not dressed or downstairs. All the while I’m getting myself ready, along with breakfast and lunches, if I didn’t have time to do them the night before.

Mornings become a mundane ritual of shouting, chasing the kids and general chaos.  I look forward to the half an hour out with the dog to be honest! However, do my mornings always have to be so ‘moody’ and intense? Why do I always have to rush around and shout? Is it not possible to approach the start of the day in a more proactive and fun way? Surely there must be a better start to the day than chaos and noise?

My youngest came in to my room this morning to ask if I’d signed a letter which of course had to be in today – so I was less than chuffed as we had only a few minutes to get out. He sat on the bed and gave me a hug. Then he said ‘after three lets just fall back.’ My initial reaction was to say no, don’t be silly, we need to get out to school and he immediately picked up on this even though I changed my mind at the last minute and we both feel back laughing.

He knew what my response would have been. No fun mum before school! Instead I thought what the hell, he’s my son and why not have a few minutes of fun time instead? So we had a tickle fight and both of us ended up laughing so hard we had tummy aches. Now that was certainly a better way to start the day than the ‘norm’.

We both went off on the school run in better spirits and will undoubtedly have a better start to our day as a result. By showing him that mornings could be fun, his whole mood lifted. Lead by example. It’s hard for a ten year old to be full of beans in the morning if all you are doing is nagging them!

So next time you feel your life becoming stagnant or too prone to dullness – take a few minutes to inject a bit of fun into your life – it makes a huge difference to how you feel and how you approach life too. And besides, others benefit from your upbeat mood too.

Instead of shouting at the kids to get ready, make getting ready into a game. First one downstairs dressed and ready for school gets to chose the DVD that evening. Or set a timer and record their times for getting ready and ask them if they think they could beat their best time yet. Kids love a challenge and a competition! Tell them that if they beat you getting dressed they get a treat ….use your imagination! Your kids will be more willing to have fun and get ready believe you me, than listen to you nagging each and every morning. And if they feel happier and more motivated to get ready, imagine how much better the mornings will be for you too. Who knows you might even start the day with a smile!

So many people have forgotten how to have fun – and more depressingly cant even have fun with the kids – and no, dragging your kids shopping is NOT fun. Get them out  on a bike through the puddles. Get them climbing trees. Lighten up and you may begin to notice that the whole world lightens up with you!

Change the mundane. Have fun. Smile and be happy. It IS a choice. So choose well and live a little..

Advertisements

Great Expectations

There is only ever a problem in relationships when the parties have different expectations of each other. If all parties had the same expectations of each other life is usually rosy however if I expect something from you and don’t get it I might begin to feel a little disappointed in you.

I had a bit of a standoff with my son this morning after he wiped his nose on my nice new clean sofa – as far as he was concerned his behaviour was okay. I on the other hand did not think it was okay – not only did he wipe his nose on the settee (eeewww yuk) but he’d also done it 2 days after me taking it apart and washing all the covers!  He didn’t like me pulling him up for his poor hygiene (the didn’t see it as a problem – he needed to wipe his nose and the arm of the settee was the nearest thing for him to wipe it on!!!) and I did not appreciate his dirty tactics.

When you expect something from people and they fail to live up to your expectations you may well feel a little peeved – but do you have a right to be annoyed with them? Do you have a right to express your disappointment? Or are you expecting too much from your relationships and sabotaging them?

If you want more from me than I am willing to commit then that is something you need to deal with – not me. If I expect you to join forces with me on something that I feel strongly about and you say no – I don’t have a right to be upset with you although you have a right to say no! If you don’t want the same things as I do – then hey that’s okay – that’s life, but throw a hissy fit instead – then who ends up being even more disappointed? 

When we expect people to do what we want them to do – then we will always be disappointed. If we expect more from people than they are willing to give then you will always be disappointed. If you expect someone to want the same as you – you are open to disappointment. If you accept that people are intrinsically the same but have very different views, opinions wants and needs – then you are less likely to have problems in your relationships.

I know I get disappointed with my children’s behaviour because I expect them to behave more appropriately – but then again they are only kids. If I accept that they have very different ideas from me then I can begin to accept them as individuals and as such lower my expectations of what to expect from them. They are kids and as such will be silly, annoying, loud, etc and if I expect them to act like kids and not as I would expect adults to behave – then there will be a more peaceful air around the home (that’s not to say I ignore bad behaviour!)

So next time you expect too much from your friend and they let you down – lower your expectations. If you believe you colleague at work should help you to complete that report and they run a mile in the opposite direction – then ask yourself if you are asking too much from them – should they be helping you anyway?  

What you expect from others are notions about how they can help your or improve your life – not ideas on how you both can work together harmoniously. So next time you expect too much from your friend or colleague – ask yourself did you consider them in the equations or was it just what you wanted? And if you felt you did consider their needs – then perhaps think again – not everyone wants what you want!!!! 

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.

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!

Two Ways To Improve Your Relationships

I love this guys blog and what he says makes a lot of sense – so give this a read and see if you agree!

Power of PIES

One of the great means of peace while living on this earth is pleasant relationships. It’s not always easy. It is wonderful that God has blessed us with different personalities, gifts, and points of view. However, because of these differences, it is sometimes difficult to live in harmony.

I was doing some reading today about mind focus, and as I reflected, I was lead to two simple ways to enhance and improve any relationship.

Before I share, I will say that one word can make all the difference. That word is focus. Here’s how:

1. Focus on your best self. At this point you may ask, “aren’t we supposed to focus on the other person’s needs to help the relationship grow?” I will answer yes. However, you cannot give to someone else unless you are aware of your own positive qualities and strong points. When you focus on your own…

View original post 313 more words

Say NO and Mean It!

Reading an article yesterday I felt compelled to write on the subject of saying no. No is a simple two letter word. There is nothing complex in it’s pronunciation or interpretation. No is the opposite of yes. No is a full sentence and does not need clarification or justification. No means simply no.

So why do some of us have difficulty saying no and meaning it? Whether it’s saying no to the PTA or your kids or your boss at work who seems to have singled you out for extra work and unpaid hours. When you say no it should mean no and not ‘well I might be able to’ or ‘you know that I really don’t want to’ or even ‘I hate letting people down and they will probably not like me if I say no’.

People soon get used to the ‘weak’ no and consequently will try and force your hand based on past experience however isn’t it time you stood up for yourself, for what you want and for what you mean? Yes it is!

If you have problems saying no to people then try this simple exercise below and soon you will be saying NO in an assertive way that everyone will understand and no-one will doubt!

1. Think about a couple of past situations where you wanted to say no to someone but failed. You may have started with no but ended up with ‘okay if you want’ (what about what you want?!!)
2. Go through these scenes in your mind and find the point where your ‘no’ became a ‘yes’. Notice how you felt, what you said, what the other person said etc.
3. Now go through these situations again but this time change the end result to a positive outcome. When you get to the point where you gave in before, see yourself now saying no and meaning it. As you visualize yourself doing this notice your body posture, the tone of your voice etc and how much more assertive you look and sound. Go through this a couple of times and notice everything that is different about this new you that says no and means it!
(a few suggestions here would be seeing yourself standing tall, relaxed, possibly smiling (though not manically) whilst saying something like ‘Thanks for the opportunity but I really can’t right now, so I am going to have to say no’. And LEAVE IT AT THAT! No does not need to be justified it simply means no, however you can be polite about it which is more likely to appease the other person. Say no with a smile (creates a feeling of warmth) and simply say ‘No thank you, I am fine/I really haven’t the time right now/it’s really not something I enjoy/I do not accept what you say’ etc. When you have said no simply see yourself walking away or changing the subject.)
4. Next write down all the ways that you can say ‘no’ nicely, firmly and mean it. Read them through and practice saying them with conviction. This does not mean shouting or raising the tone of your voice, if anything lower the tone of your voice just slightly as this sends out a clear message to others that you mean what you say! (I use this technique in class with students and it’s far more effective than shouting which merely lets others know you have lost control).
5. Now practice saying no to people who take advantage of you, in front of a mirror preferably. See yourself looking calm and in control, maintaining eye contact (vital!) and smiling before saying no. And then practice defending that no – ‘As I have just mentioned I do not have the time……but thank you again for asking’. etc! Make sure the outcome is the one you want!

When you run through this exercise you will notice you begin to feel more confident about your ability to say no and mean it! If you have a situation that you know requires a no then practice saying no before hand and remember always picture a POSITIVE outcome i.e. the one you want!

Everyone has the right to say no and some say it more or less everyday whilst others fear the consequences of their no. Sometimes it is appropriate to say no – if it’s to the attention seeking child to the annoying friend or to the guy down the road who keeps you chatting for too long about his health problems!

From today make a commitment to say no and stick to it! Say no and mean it!

Confident Children And Imagination

My son was a very anxious boy this morning. He is playing in the school team this evening in a deciding match for the league title and he is scared!

As a mum it’s all to easy to say ‘don’t be ridiculous, you’re a great player’ and leave it at that, but if your child is really worried about something or lacking confidence then surely there is a better way to help them that just offering reassurance?

Well thankfully there is! Confidence is based on perception i.e. your child’s own idea of whether they feel they can do something well or not and like us all, confidence can be diminished through ‘bad’ experiences. And when I say ‘bad’ the experiences themselves may not necessarily be bad but the meanings we take from them may be.

So your son is anxious about a match or your daughter feels scared about doing her Show and Tell – how can you help them?

Two ways really and both very simple and incredibly powerful.

The first one is to get them to ‘rehearse’ what they are going to do in their mind and talk them through it with as much positivity as possible. Make them feel incredible and make sure that every detail is positive and that the outcome is a success.

Not only will this boost their confidence as you are doing the exercise but it also programs their mind to do what they have been ‘rehearsing’ too! So when they stand up in front of the class or get in front of that goal, their mind goes ‘ah right, I know what I need to know now’ and more often than not, they will get the results the practiced.

However be realistic. Don’ set them up for failure! You son will probably not score 10 goals even if he is up front and not in defence! The idea is to get them to focus on the skills needed to get the results they want and to program their minds for success and remember what the mind can see you will achieve – so if your child focuses on failure (which is probable if they are worried) they are more likely to fail. So get them to always focus on what they want from this moment on (and you too!)

To help them feel more positive towards doing this and the following exercise, mention how all the top sports personalities carry out this exercise and how it improves their game/race etc.

Another great way of boosting your kids confidence (which can be incorporated with the exercise above too) is know as the confidence switch. This is quite simply setting up a physical anchor which when ‘fired’ produces feelings of well being and confidence in your child. 

So how do you literally turn on a confidence switch? Well the first thing you need to do is decide what the switch will be (a good place is a knuckle on one hand, the back of the hand or even their nose) and ensure you keep this ‘switch’ and that the pressure used is the same too i.e. press the same place all the time and with enough pressure to register the touch but not too much that it’s obvious. Also once this is set up the switch needs to be something that you child themselves can access themselves if and when they need it. So discretion might be key.

Once you have decided where the ‘switch’ will be then you need to set it. So get your child to remember a time when they felt really great, perhaps when they scored a goal previously or when they were doing something they loved doing such as dancing, singing or simply a time when they felt really great – perhaps playing with friends or on the rollercoaster! 

Get them to close their eyes if they want to (it’s ok if they don’t want to) and get them (with a little help from you) to talk through the positive experience as if they were actually reliving it again. Ask them what they see, what they hear and ask them to really focus on how great they were feeling and as you know yourself, when you focus on happy memories those old feelings flood back don’t they? 

So when you see that your child has associated into those feel good feelings (it will be very obvious with a child when they are!) simply touch their ‘switch’ for roughly 10 seconds. Then stop.

Get them to go through the memory again maybe this time bring in more details or try another memory. Again get your child to really focus on all that they remember and when you see them accessing those happy feel good feelings again, anchor them by touching their knuckle again.

Do this a couple of times at any one go – don’t overdo it as your child will get fed up! Do it again with them the next day or the next to ensure that their confidence switch becomes more powerful.

However one of the best things about the confidence switch is that your child doesn’t even have to know what you are doing! You can get them to focus on happy memories whilst you anchor these feelings by touching their hand (in the same place and the same hand!)/knuckle/nose in such a way that they are unaware of what you are doing. 

Also every time they are feeling happy, confident or at ease with themselves you can simply top us this switch by touching their knuckle for a few seconds. 

You need to go this exercise around 4 – 8 times and then try out the switch. Get you child to focus and then flip the switch and ask (and watch out for signs) them what they noticed? Keep topping up this confidence switch – whenever you child is doing something they are enjoying, when they tell you about a fab goal they scored at school or how they did this incredible dance move – just switch that switch. The more you do this the better the result.

They will be delighted with their new weapon of  mass construction! So give this a go – it’s easy to do and will make your child feel so much more confident and in control. Furthermore, the more they use this switch the more likely the behaviour is to become a natural part of who they are. 

I will keep you posted on the result tonight!

Take care and speak soon!!!