Disrespect Me – Disrespect Yourself

I saw a recent affirmation that said something along the lines of – I’m sorry that I wont allow you to disrespect me and if that makes me ‘difficult’ then OK (obviously worded much better than this!)

And this resonated with me. So many times we blame others for out bad mood or our bad behaviour or out bad attitude yet the only person truly responsible is us. People can annoy the hell out of us, be rude to us or be completely offensive to us – yet we respond is our choice.

This also resonated on another level too. I work with difficult children and live with two too! I can become the garbage bin if I allow my students to constantly dump their rubbish on me – though to be honest – it’s more all over the floor and no where near the bin.

What’s important when you work with people, deal with people or live with people – is to NOT allow people to disrespect you. This does not mean that you have to rise up to every slight. it just means that you allow the other person to accept responsibility for their behaviour. By pointing out their poor behaviour you allow them the opportunity to learn and possibly adapt their behaviour. This is growth.

Not only are you not accepting their crap, you are allowing them the opportunity to grow.

On the other hand, if you constantly avoid dealing with people’s rude behaviour on a continual basis, it not only wears you down (there is a difference between ignoring it and allowing it) it also enables them to continue on their path of poor behaviour.

And it’s so much easier for them to label you as ‘difficult’ rather than to address their behaviour. And you know what – it that makes them feel better than fine. That’s their story and don’t make it yours.

So next time someone is disrespectful to you . Point it out. Calmly. And if they don’t like it – hard shit. Remember you didn’t much like their behaviour either!

We can be so ineffectual at dealing with rude behaviour and sometimes we need to bite the proverbial bullet and deal with it. It’s really not worth our effort if it’s a one off thing but with people we are in contact with often, it’s time to lay down some boundaries, dole out some home truths and allow the other person to grow.

 

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Weight A Minute

I have a lot of respect for people who ‘own’ their problems and as a therapist, in order to help people overcome issues in their lives, they have to accept responsibility for them. That does not mean to say that they are to ‘blame’ for these issues, it merely means that they are willing to admit that these issues are affecting their lives.

I work with many people who are overweight and I am more than happy to help people who accept that something they are doing, or not doing, is leading to their weight issues. After all, if people refuse to believe that they are in any way responsible – how can I help them? I can try and tackle the manufacturers of the crap they eat, or the owners of the fast food joints they are addicted to – but seriously, even if I managed to close these guys down, would that really help my client?

I offer free consultations to all perspective clients and I met a woman recently who asked for help with her weight issues. During the consultation it become obvious that she refused to accept responsibility for her being overweight. She failed to see how anything she did or didn’t do resulted in her firstly being overweight and secondly, her inability to shift the excess weight. She had no health related issues that would affect her weight.

Asking about her past it became apparent that she had a lot of unresolved anger surrounding her apparent mistreatment by her parents. Once again, she refused to admit that carrying around anger from her childhood was her choice and hence her responsibility. In fact she was incredibly upset that I was not on her ‘side’ with regards to how she had a right to still feel angry fifty years later.

At the end of the consultation I asked her how I could help her. She stated plainly, ‘by helping me to lose weight.’ I nodded to show I understood. I then asked her how she believed I could help her. She was stumped.

I then went on to explain how I worked with weight loss clients to overcome any emotional attachments they may have to food, as well as poor eating habits and any unresolved issues or misunderstandings from the past that could impact on their eating habits at present. However, as she had clearly (and adamantly) stated during the consultation, that she had no such issues, I was unable to help her at this time.

Needless to say she was less than happy, very angry at the wasted time and off she went, never to be seen by me again!

However, if she had have been open to the fact that something she was doing was causing her issues, like every one of the clients I see, I could have helped her. But how can I help someone who does not want to be helped? How can you help someone if they cannot see their part in the problem, especially when they know there is a problem? You can’t.

Until you appreciate that every issue you have is your issue – regardless of where it came from – you  cannot move on. You cannot resolve any problems until you see that you are responsible for resolving them or dealing with them – no one else. It doesn’t matter how they came about, all that matters is that you realise you have a problem and that it is down to you to do something about it.

I have helped hundreds of people shed their excess weight – and I love seeing how thrilled they are when they get the results they wanted. The best thing is, these clients were totally honest from the start, some embarrassed by their poor eating habits or mortified by their lifestyle choices, but they bit the proverbial bullet and took ownership of their part in their excessive weight and as a result, were rewarded by an amazing and wonderful weight loss experience!

So next time you moan about your weigh,t ask yourself what you can do to help you let go of your excess weight. No one else can lose your weight for you – only you can do that. And you can only lose weight if you are honest with yourself first.

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.

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.

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.

 

Who Is To Blame?

I have just come home after having a very interesting chat with one of the parents at my kids school. We started on the general stuff such as ‘how are you’ and then sunk deeper into societal issues within the UK.

Discussing the shocking news of three teenagers murdering a homeless man (two of whom were only 14 at the time) for a dare, we turned to the element of responsibility.

When I hear of tragic and disturbing stories like this especially concerning kids, I automatically (and perhaps wrongly in some cases) presume that the individuals who committed such atrocious crimes must have had a really bad childhood because how else could you make sense of such cold blooded murder? Surely there was some motivating factor other than a dare that pushed these ‘kids’ to carry out such a crime?

However having mentioned this to the other parent her first response, quite rightly was “yes but when do we expect kids, who may well have had a troubled childhood to accept responsibility for what they do?’

And I am with her on this one. Most of us, with only a few exceptions, know from an early age what is right and what is wrong. We know that stealing, fighting and almost certainly murder is wrong, so does it make it any less tragic if the kids involved in this murder were neglected or abused as kids? Should it be appropriate to bear childhood neglect/abuse in mind when sentencing these kids or should they simply have the ‘book’ thrown at them?

When should we as ‘civilized’ human beings start to accept responsibility for what we do? And how long can those who have had a tragic childhood get away with blaming their parents/carers and their past on their actions as teenagers and adults?

There comes a time when we know what we do is right or wrong regardless of whether our parents taught us or not, and that is the time to accept responsibility for what we do. Granted if a child is severely neglected then his idea of what is right and wrong may not be realistic, if indeed he has any concept of this idea at all.

However, a two year child has to accept that if he has hit his sibling then he is responsible and therefore should be reprimanded in some way and told that his conduct is not appropriate and why. After all we need to understand the ‘whys’ to things to make sense of them don’t we?

So responsibility is ours for the taking. I am responsible if I lose control and shout at the kids. I am responsible for being rude to my work colleague regardless of whether they said or did anything to upset me. My son is responsible for kicking his brother. The boy is responsible for terrorising the class. Yes, such and such may well have upset you or annoyed you and you got really angry as a result but you are still responsible for how you respond!!!! There is no discounting the fact. No one else is in your head telling you what to do, only you. And if you can not control your anger then isn’t it about time you did?

Responsibility is something that we all need to accept. It is something that many people duck and dive from perhaps because they are scared that by admitting they are wrong it makes them seem less than perfect. But non of us are perfect are we? Isn’t it true that it’s better to do what’s right for you rather than be right all the time?

So next time you do or say something you know is wrong at least have the courage to admit it. Sorry goes a lot further than that row that last for days.

So let your kids know what’s right and what’s wrong. They are your responsibility after all and the earlier you do this the easier it will be for you, for your kids and let’s not forget, the people they come into contact with on a daily basis.

A parent is a parent is a parent and with parenting comes the most important responsibility of all. The responsibility for another’s welfare.

You Drive Me Around The Bend…..

Now I like to feel that I do my ‘bit’ each day and I am sure you do too although your  ‘bits’ may be very different from mine!

I like to spend some time with my kids each day (and yes some days it’s easier) and one great way for me to achieve this is to spend time walking and talking (and snowball fighting if weather permits) to school. Granted I don’t live so far away or I don’t have to dash off straight to work either so perhaps it easier for me to do the school ‘walk’ than others,(why is it called the school run when basically the majority of parents drive their kids to school?)  however there are so many parents that could walk their kids to school but wouldn’t even think about it let alone do it and why is that?

A neighbour of mine opts to drive to school with her daughter and believe you me it would take longer to get the car ready to drive at this time of the year that it would to walk to the school, and I always wonder why she never walks? She’s not working at the moment so that’s not a valid excuse and she’s missing out on something really great. Walking is a great opportunity to spend some valuable time with your kids so why do we drive ourselves quite literally ‘around the bend’ instead of walking?

Now this neighbour could benefit from losing a bit of weight and a walk could help her increase her daily exercise,  but she is also missing out on some fresh air and quality time with her daughter. I see parents with young kids drive them everywhere and rarely see parents walking with their kids these days. So why do we prefer to take the car? Laziness perhaps? Convenience yes, but like everything we can chose to rely less on our cars and more on our feet and legs!

If you walked every day just think of the benefits you would gain. You would most certainly be fitter and feel healthier, you would not doubt feel better emotionally too (a good walk can ‘clear the head’) and you would be doing your bit for the environment too. Walking with kids, family or a loved one is a great way to spend quality time together, talking whilst you walk and based on recent research us parents need to make more of an effort spending quality time with our kids (and NO quality time does not mean watching the match on TV or playing on the Xbox with them that is more about you being lazy and uninterested!).

A young family moved into our close a couple of years ago and I never knew until recently that they had kids. I have never once seen either parent taking the kids out for a walk, even in a trolley, or for that matter actually seen them outside playing with the kids! Are we so ‘lazy’ with our time that we can’t even give the people that matter most, our time, energy, love and attention? Are we that obsessed by the TV or PS3 or Facebook that the most precious things in our world get forgotten?

I could rant and rave all day about the lack of time we spend with our kids and how a simple ten minute walk every morning or evening is a fantastic way to get to know your kids! It’s a time to laugh, to talk, to have fun, to discover what they enjoy, to find out what they did that day at school and not one of us has the right to deny our kids some valuable time – time is love, pure and simply. time with your kids lets them know they matter and more and more these days I see parents neglecting their kids with the one thing they need the most. Time, nurturing and love and attention, not to mention exercise!

We are not doing the best we can for out kids by letting them lead a sedentary life and I do not believe that for one moment, you really think that spending time cooped up all day inside is great for your kids. So get real and take some responsibility. You had kids so you need to do what’s best for them – just because you can’t be bothered or would rather lounge around all day does not give you the right to neglect your kids!

Get up, get out and get walking and who knows, you might actually enjoy it!