Chronic illness is a bitch. I know this first hand. As someone who has had anxiety and depression on and off for most of my adult life and Fibromyalgia for at least the last five, I know what it’s like to have chronic illness and chronic pain creep into your life, permeate your existence and literally change everything from the shoes you wear to how often you see other humans. But there are things you can do that will really make a difference...Read More
If you’re going to kick some serious goals, you need the energy to do it. If you’re already working, and you’re already a Mum or Dad then you’ve got enough on your plate as it is. In order to do additional stuff, that energy and focus and motivation and clarity needs to come and you need your health to be in a vibrant state. You don’t just need to not be sick… you need vitality.Read More
I can’t tell you how much having structure and routine makes me thrive. I love what I do, I love being able to help people and I especially love creating content that helps people to create a better life for themselves. Which is largely why I’m jumping straight into the deep end; coming back with a bang.Read More
It really doesn't take long for chronic pain to put you in a dark hole. Prone to depression or not, you can get there quickly when chronic pain is a factor. When your whole body hurts, even things you are meant to enjoy get invaded by the pain. It's pervasive, it's relentless and it doesn't care what mood you're in or how hard you are trying not to feel pain or how hard you are trying to not be afraid of being in pain.Read More
The truth is, this week, I am struggling. It’s not a morbid, depressed and anxious type of struggle it’s more of a seeking, a searching for something I can’t seem to put my finger on. I don’t know exactly how to put that into words, and it’s possible that this is something that happens almost every time I have some time off.
Luckily I know what to do with this...Read More
One of the biggest challenges in creating a great life, especially if you come from a traumatic background, is learning how to create a safe space for yourself. When you grow up surrounded by drama and people with drama fuelled lives it's easy to believe that that is normal. Violence, rage, manipulation and edginess can easily become what you are used to and especially when you yourself are part of that cycle it is super hard to get out of.Read More
This week, I’m going to talk about ways you can create community, so whether you’re feeling lonely and isolated, or you want to engage with a wider group of people, or you feel stuck in relationships that you know you’re in purely because you don’t know how to find better ones, this episode will cover ways to engage and create community, things to look for when developing relationships, what to avoid when creating relationships and how to overcome some obstacles that might arise for us in this area.
I wasn’t born with a brain for relationships - I grew up thinking that you were meant to keep everything to yourself, and I was told to never talk about what went on in my home. I was taught not to trust people outside of my own family. As a result I think I was quite guarded, and isolated because my conversations were kept trivial and not very meaningful. I didn’t let people in. I thought that was inviting trouble. I learnt to build up walls and keep people out. But healthy relationships don’t have walls - they have fences. You use fences to keep the good in and the bad out. To connect with others you need authenticity and to have deep meaningful connections with others you need to be able to share your life, and your thoughts and your heart and what matters to you. You need to be heard and understood, and you in turn need to be able to listen and understand. We all have varying needs in this area, but good friends are what makes life great and when you don’t know how to have good freinds, sometimes you just have bad ones and then life’s not that great either!
So, if you’re in a position where you’re looking to develop some new, healthy relationships, whatever your reason is a couple of ways to do that is to
Join a group that exists - that can be anything from a playgroup if you have little kids, a P&F if you have older kids, a mothers group, a mens shed, volunteer in the canteen, join a local association like the Lions Club, or CWA, or even something like Toastmasters or if you’re that way inclined you could join a local church group. Most communities will have an information centre where you can find the groups that already exist, or you can find access to the lists of organisations in your area. Find something that obviously appeals to you - if you hate chess, don’t join a chess club - find what feels good.
Create a group that doesn’t exist - if you’re looking for something and it doesn’t exist - create it - those of you who have listened to my previous episodes will know I’ve created a walking group. You can often find local facebook groups that connect people in your area - make a post about a group you’d like to create - have a designated public meeting place (I don’t suggest inviting strangers to your house), but meet out, do that thing you’re interested in together, and start building relationships that way. The good thing about doing it like that, is often you can start to build rapport online, so when you do meet face to face it’s not quite as daunting.
Connect with people within the groups that you are already a part of: you might already be a part of the local school, so when you volunteer, strike up a conversation with the people you’re their with. Ask them what they do, ask them what they do for fun - look for the common ground. Often it is only after a few conversations you realise that you’ve actually got quite a lot in common with someone. Talk about what you like, what interests you, what’s important to you - resist the urge to bitch or moan about things you don’t like as it’s a quick way to get healthy people to avoid you.
Look for people with common interestsHealth, fitness, recreation, spirituality, personal growth, hobbies, schools, sports, games, bikes… even quilting (yes that's a thing).
When you find you do have something in common, or you’ve met a few times and you know that they’re not the kind of person you should avoid (which I will cover later), suggest after the meeting or group get together, a coffee - often after the walking group if I’ve hit it off with someone I will go and get coffee with them and have a one on one chat so I can get to know them better and develop that relationship.
A couple of things to look for when developing relationships:
People who are responsible. By this, I mean listen carefully inside the conversations. Look for where they acknowledge what is within their power and what they’re contributing. As in, if they’re having trouble with their children, or their ex, or other people, look for how much ‘blame’ they’re putting on others. People who blame everyone around themselves and never look at their own involvement are generally not growing, and not taking responsibility for their life. They end up sucking the life out of you because it is one drama after the next… and then when that ones finished, another drama comes up. It will never be a balanced relationship unless you are joining them in giving up your personal power and whining about life. Then it will be balanced but you’ll both be feeding each others’ drama and that’s not healthy. Look for people who tell it like it is, but that acknowledge they need to do something, or acknowledge what they are working on in the situation. Even people who are struggling but asking the question “what can I do with this”, are better than the ones who are too busy pointing at everything that sucks.
People who are stable - what does that look like? By stable, I mean, good friends are the friends that don’t change with the wind. There are people out there that are one person one minute and another person the next. Healthy people tend to be one person in almost all circumstances. Look at the way people engage with others - if you notice any duplicity and by that I mean, one person to someone’s face and then totally different behind their back - run.
Either comfortably single or comfortably not-single. I know sometimes being single sucks, and sometimes being not single sucks - relationships are hard work. But avoid people who are in perpetual states of drama, constantly cycling through members of the opposite sex, or trapped in super unhealthy relationships. Ultimately you’re looking to find healthy relationships here and either one of those extremes are big fat red flags.
Non-drug dependant - people dependent on drugs or who use drugs frequently are not dealing with something bigger. Healthy, stable, mature, wise people don’t use drugs and don’t drink to the state where they are incapable of being in control of their own actions. We are grown ups now - at 17, things might have been a bit different, but at this stage in life, if we’re wanting transformational personal growth, we need to be surrounding ourselves with people of a similar mindset.
Not violent or aggressive - this goes without saying really. But when you’re first meeting someone and deciding if that person is a potential friend, you need to listen for language - even violent language and hate speach is a big red flag. Haters be haters and it’s only a matter of time before it’s directed at you.
Able to disagree with respect - healthy people are able to disagree with you. They’re not yes men, and they’re not going to pick a fight with you… they can calmly share a different perspective. If someone disagrees with you and they do it with grace and maturity - this is one big fat green flag because it means that not only are they able to express themselves well, it means that they are comfortable with being themselves and being authentic. It also means, that when you’re doing something that’s bad for you and they can see it they won’t let you get your canoe all the way up shit creek before they tell you that you’re heading the wrong way. Good freinds are great for that. They help you identify red flags and help you to make decisions that are good for you, and when you make decisions that they don’t agree with, they can talk about it with you without giving you grief and ruining the relationship.
People who are responsible for themselves (emotionally, financially, spiritually)
People who are part of a community and who engage with others well.
What to avoid
People who are dishonest
People who are disrespectful (to anyone - the old saying, someone who is not nice to the waiter is not nice).
People who have a chip on their shoulder or believe that ‘life isn’t fair’ and who are always out to even the score for themselves
Heavy drinkers or people who use drugs
People who avoid reality
People who abuse boundaries
People who don’t respect themselves
People who talk about people behind their back.
People who are duplicitous (two faced)
That’s all we have time for this week, but don’t worry there’s always more where that came from and if you have any questions as always send us an email and ask away!
And lastly, for my good news! I have had over the space of the last six months (and actually over the past few years) quite a few people contact me to see if I would work with them one on one and I have felt that that not only was I unqualified to do anything of real substance one on one, I didn’t have the format or structure to do something like that effectively. In short, I like to help people as best I can and for the last while, not having a framework for one on one has meant just sharing my stories and my own lessons in this format and from a stage. HOWEVER. Seeing as though so many of you wonderful people have been interested in working with me, and how much I have LOVED the few sessions that I’ve had with the few of you who I have had the opportunity to Skype with and get to know, I thought I should get myself trained as a life coach. So that’s what I have been doing. Yes. On top of everything else. I’m still chipping away at getting my qualifications BUT I am opening up a waiting list. So if you are keen to be notified when my books are open for coaching, let me know. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and get in touch with me and let me know what you would like to work on with me. I’m specialising in basically everything we chat about here on the podcast, but in coaching sessions I will be able to really personalise what we are doing and help you create the transformational personal growth you would like to see in your life.
* UPDATE: I am now qualified to take clients *
So go on and email me right now… go on… just do it. And then have yourself a fantabulous week!
See you next episode!!!
Delia turned her back on conventional talking therapy, after completing her Masters in Psychology. Since then she's immersed herself in the fascinating world of nutrition and the brain and offers a focused and insightful approach - based on solid science - into how specific foods can improve your mood, concentration, memory and learning ability as well as help you stay calm and happy in our busy, stressful world, regardless of your age!Read More
I know sometimes it’s hard. Sh*t happens. When it rains it pours, when one thing goes wrong it can very easily snowball into everything turning to crap. You can lose your mojo. You can feel stuck, powerless and miserable. You can literally hate your life. I’m not here to judge you for that. I know what it’s like. I’m here to tell you how you can turn it around, and how by doing so you can actually begin to create one that makes you feel inspired, empowered and that not only lights you up, but lights up those around you.Read More
This week in the Transformational Personal Growth Podcast I spoke with Sophie Manolas on her own personal story; from being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome at 19 years old, to dealing with the weight gain and subsequent trouble she had during treatment. After being prescribed the oral contraceptive pill, Sophie had to deal with extreme mood swings and weight gain and eventually a blood clot in her lungs would land her in ICU. Sophie's story is inspiring in that rather than feeling powerless over her body, and going with the doctors diagnosis of it being an incurable condition, Sophie began her own research - eventually becoming a fully qualified nutritionist and managing her Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome through diet and lifestyle alone.
Sophie is now devoted to helping other women overcome a number of issues through diet and lifestyle - at her website www.theediblepharmacy.com and has just released her first book 'The Essential Edible Pharmacy'.
Check out the interview and the show notes and links to Sophie's website and book by heading HERE.
What are you struggling with? Perhaps we can interview an expert on that topic and you can listen in ;)
This week we are going to talk about comforting someone and to make that a little clearer I’m talking about comforting someone who is dire need of comfort. So whether that’s because they’re flash bang in the middle of a breakup or because they’ve just lost someone they love, or they’ve lost their job, or they failed at something they’d been working on super hard, or their dog died, or they’ve just had a diagnosis that has shaken them to the core… whatever it is... (I know I am bunching a LOT of stuff together, but everyone handles things differently and what might be a small issue for one person could bring another person undone). What I’m talking about is when they’re struggling with something and you’re struggling because someone you love is struggling hard. That’s what we’re going to look at. What to do in that moment when someone is looking to you to be there for them because they can’t handle it on their own or don’t want to have to handle it on their own… and let me be clear here, that’s not a sign of weakness. Them breaking down with you is not a sign that this problem is going to destroy them. It’s a sign of trust and it’s a sign of human connection and vulnerability when someone chooses you to fall apart with. And while you MAY be thinking to yourself ‘Holy shit, they’re losing it and I don’t know what to do’, the very fact that you are there, that you are available to them, and that you are paying attention to their pain and acknowledging it, IS a something. So don’t feel like you’re powerless to relieve their pain. Being there IS doing something and while it cannot take the problem away, it can very much be the something that they need in order to begin to heal, and at the very least, relieve the burden of it being solely their own. WHICH IS SUPER IMPORTANT!
I am trialling a completely new way for me to record these podcasts (and share this blog) and that is to record them on facebook live. So I’ll be recording them as a live video broadcast on facebook, and then also releasing them on their actual release date. So while this one is being presented right now live on Facebook, it’s also on iTunes on Tuesday the 9th of August. If you’re reading this now as a blog and you’d like to watch the video, the replay of the live video will be up in the Transformational Personal Growth online community group… you can find that HERE.
I mentioned the other day that this is not something that has come natural to me. I am naturally good at comforting when things are workable but when shit really hits the fan, I used to just clam up and freeze. I told a story about an ex work colleague who I was close with and close with his family and that his daughter had an accident which left her on life support. I was useless. I had zero tact, zero ability, zero skill to even do something as simple as send a bloody hallmark card. I was paralysed by my fear that she would die, or that I would say the wrong thing, or that I was imposing and so I did NOTHING. I still, over a decade later, wish I had of had the ability or knowledge to handle that better and at least show them that I gave a shit.
Often that is the case; when you care so much that seeing the people you care about in pain is overwhelming, it CAN be paralysing. There’s no judgement here. I get it. It’s awful. But if this is something that you struggle with, keep paying attention because I’ve got some things that may help.
In the middle of pain, in the middle of human suffering, one of our greatest needs is someone to hold space for us. Now what do I mean by that? I mean, that if I am hurting, if I am crying and I am overloaded with emotion and I am coming to you with it - I need something. If you care about me, and you care about my wellbeing, then you will have the desire to try and take my pain away. That’s natural. That is a natural response - to want to take the pain away when someone you love is hurting. BUT. While of course, every situation is different, most of the time there are some things to consider that are the same for most cases:
- Someone you love is in pain
- You CAN’T take that pain away and it’s very likely that you cannot fix this situation at all, it’s just horrible and it’s going to continue to be painful no matter what you do or don’t do or say or don't say.
- That person, if they’re bringing this to you, trusts you, loves you, and needs you right now to do something for them and the main thing that is:
Now before I tell you what exactly that is and why it is important let me first tell you what it isn’t. Holding space for someone isn’t shutting them down mid-sentence to find out what YOU want to know about the situation. Holding space is NOT you letting YOUR emotions about the situation get in the way of what needs to happen for the crying person. That’s not to say that you aren’t allowed to have an emotion, it’s just that for right now, in this moment, you need to postpone as much of your own reaction as you can. You’ll have time for your own processing, and you’ll have time to ask questions, just reserve the need to react right NOW.
Also, holding space is NOT solving their problem for them - right now, in this moment we aren’t fixing, we are holding space. One more thing that holding space is not - and that is that holding space is not doing NOTHING. Often we feel the overwhelming desire to DO SOMETHING! STRAIGHT AWAY! But that’s not what this situation calls for. Holding space seems like doing nothing, but it a very active, and deliberate response and is also one of the most powerful things that you can do. Why do you think that people pay for therapy? Because sometimes that’s the only place they feel they can go to have an emotion that makes everyone else uncomfortable. Half the time a therapist doesn’t even say anything at the end - they just let that person unload! Moving on…
So what is holding space? Holding space for someone means going into that discomfort with them at THEIR PACE. It is biting your tongue while you listen to them cry it all out. It is letting them speak and get to the end of their sentences before you ask any questions. It’s about keeping your own emotions as absolutely neutral as possible in that moment in order for there to BE space for their emotions to flood out of their heart and their body and their mind in whatever way is natural for them. Just by doing that, actively doing that, you are creating the space for their emotions to exist and get outside of them. You shut the door. You turn off your phone. You get present. You get messy with them. Yes, it’s hard sometimes but mostly because you feel like you’re doing nothing to help the situation but if you are able to actively create that space and hold it for them, that is one of the biggest, most caring, most helpful things that you CAN do, and believe me, it’s doing something.
So what YOU physically do in that moment, is hold them if they want to be held. Give them physical space if they need physical space. Take your cue from them. Listen. Listen and listen. Be silent while their tears flood their eyes. Show them that in this moment their pain has validity and is allowed to exist. Like I said, shut your phone off. Ignore the world. Be present. Truly present. After a while, you can pause and reflect and ask them questions if you’re confused about something but make sure your language and tone are gentle and understanding, and for the most part you just listen. No judging. No ‘I told you so’s’. No hating on the person or thing that hurt them, no ranting about the injustice, no storming off to go punch someone, no trying to fix the situation or problem. Don’t minimise their pain, or give them cliche advice or point out how it could be worse (I am so guilty of this by the way).
I can give you a long list of reasons why NOT to do these things but the biggest and most important one is, that almost any of those responses will cause the person who is sharing with you to shut down. If they feel that their emotions are too much for you to handle, they will clam up, shut down and may not choose to share this stuff with you again. That can be a really devastating consequence if they feel like you were the only person they were willing to come to with this. So work with them, not against them. This is not solely your responsibility to carry the burden of this, but in this moment, the best thing you can do is make sure that they know that the burden of this is not solely theirs either. Let them know you really hear them. That you get it. That even though you might not fully understand how they feel as you’re not them and you're not in their shoes, but you understand that they are seriously hurting right now. That it sucks and that you love them and you are right there with them. In this moment, you’re creating space and holding it for them so that person can get it all out. So that everything - the emotion, the tension, the fear, the devastation, the everything, that is building up inside of them and threatening to overwhelm them can come out and be released. Like letting a little air out of a balloon that's about to explode. Believe me, it’s like what they say about farts… ‘It’s better out than in’... Yes, yes I did just use a fart analogy.
Once they’ve said everything they need to say, which you will know by the silence (and please do yourself a favour and allow the silence to be for a moment so you can really tell that they’ve said all they need to say), you can again take their cues on whether or not they need a hug, but then and only then do you ask questions about the situation and you do it gently, without judgement on them, or anyone else involved, and you watch their face for permission to keep asking. If what they need from you is just to be held while they continue to sob, that’s what you do.
I think one of the biggest issues we have in doing that for someone is we want things to be fixed immediately. We want it sorted right now. We want to rip off the bandaid and get it over with. For the most part in today’s society we bandaid our pain away. We drink it away, we eat it away, we do all sorts of things to actively avoid pain - ours or others. The problem is, when we don’t have the space in our life to feel it, when someone doesn’t create or allow that safe space for us to fall apart, we internalise. We push it down. We don’t acknowledge it and that is when things can get dangerous. If someone doesn’t feel safe to crumble with you because you don’t let them, that’s when you can be doing more damage than good. If there is nowhere for someone to come undone, that’s when they feel truly alone. And the most important thing we need as humans is connection and to know that we’re not alone when we feel like we can’t do this on our own.
It’s funny isn’t it… these days with so many different forms of communication… we are both more connected and less connected to each other in so many ways. But this is becoming more and more important. As much as we feel like we have more ‘friends’ on the internet, our suicide rates are climbing. We do not share our darkness because we are afraid. We are afraid that it is too much. Too much for us, and too much for the people we love. But it’s bringing it out, into the light that creates the healing and for that to happen, we need the space for it to happen safely. Sharing our grief on public forums might gain us some support from strangers, but it’s then that we truly need human connection in its purest form. Sharing on social media also carries the danger of inviting ‘advice’ from keyboard warriors when we are at our most vulnerable so it’s important that we do this in a safe place, with people who love us.
So if someone is crying to you or in front of you or trying to come to you with their ‘stuff’, take it as a sign that they trust you, and take it as an opportunity to really make a difference for them. BECAUSE… when we can fall apart with someone, be heard, be understood, and have someone holding space for us to be messy and to be not OK… it’s then when we get to the end of ourselves and after the pouring out of our hurt, we can be held, we can feel heard and understood, and then there, in that space we feel like things will be OK again soon simply because we aren’t alone and because someone cares that much for us that they were willing to be there when we could no longer hold it together.
That’s love right there.
The greatest healing power in the world. So while you think you might not be doing something by doing holding space (which can definitely feel similar to doing nothing), you’re actually doing the most generous, helpful, powerful thing that you can do in that situation.
It’s ok to let someone fall apart. In fact, it is MUCH safer to let them do that with you, then to have them push all that shit down and carry it around on their own and not let anyone else see it. Let it be seen. Acknowledge it. Be part of it with them. Journey that crap with them. As uncomfortable as it is. Whether they make the decisions you think they should or not. And when it’s crushing YOU because someone you love is hurting so badly, remember this will pass, the space you are holding is not forever and in fact, by being there in this way, you are actually helping them to speed up their own healing process in a really healthy, connected and supported way.
So. Questions. Remember this is a new format I’m trialling so bare with me. This will be available as a podcast tomorrow on Tuesday the 9th of August on iTunes and is also being livestreamed as I speak right now. That's a lot of balls in the air right now, but I’m more than happy for that as I know it means that we may reach a lot more people and help more people and that makes me super happy.
So questions - leave your question as a comment below and if you’re listening to the podcast head to the website and you’ll see the video there. If you have any questions you can still comment even after the podcast has aired and I’ll do my best to answer them in a future podcast. Speaking of which, next week we have an interview with the lovely Sophie Manolas of theediblepharmacy.com - Sophie is a fully acredited nutritionist who is about to release her first book ‘The Essential Edible Pharmacy’ and I am very pleased to be sharing her interview with you all next week.
If you’ve found this useful, please head to iTunes and leave us a review, share this content with your friends and family and come on over to the website and join the mailing list.
If you’re after one on one coaching I do have a couple of vacancies at the moment so feel free to email me at email@example.com and we can work something out that may be helpful for you!
I hope you have a great week and I will see you next episode!
Depression is an awful thing. It eats at your will to live. It eats at your ability to enjoy anything. It leaves you hollow and empty and feeling like you’re worthless. The trouble is, some of the most effective ways to treat depression require you to really look after yourself. Which, is quite an effort when you don’t feel worthy of looking after. It’s really a catch 22. If you don’t look after yourself, you won’t get better. But finding the will to look after something you feel like is a waste of space and time and energy is almost impossible. So here’s the trick: Treat yourself as if.
(This blog is available as a podcast on iTunes - click HERE.)
Treat yourself as if you are worth looking after. You don’t need to believe it, you don’t need to feel it, and you don’t need to ‘fake it’. What you do, is you look after yourself as if you were something worth treasuring, something worth investing in, something worth really developing and helping. Ultimately you are. But you don’t need to believe that. You don’t need proof of it. You just need to do it. Treat yourself as if you were worthy of really looking after.
What happens from this, is that firstly, the cycle of perpetual gloom is broken. That cycle looks like this:
You feel like you’re crap.
You treat yourself like crap.
You feel more like crap.
Everything you touch turns to crap.
Then you have EVIDENCE that you’re crap and
You feel more like crap and THEN
You treat yourself even more crap and it goes on and on.
Break that cycle the one place you have some serious control. Your actions.
Because your thoughts might be out of your control at the moment… In the thick of depression often your thoughts are really influenced by your brain chemicals, but you still have control over your actions.
Break the cycle. Treat yourself well. If you’re not already IN therapy, invest in it. Make that investment into your mental health and getting better. It’s a long term investment and if it was someone really worth looking after you’d do it - so do it.
Then, start feeding yourself well. Stop filling your body full of crap and start looking after your body like it was something worth treasuring. No more over processed crap. No more soft drink and alcohol and stuff that you know is bad for your body. Start giving your body the premium fuel that it needs and you’ll get better results fast. It will impact your brain chemistry and start to help you feel better quickly.
Exercise. If you’re not doing any exercise right now, start slowly. Don’t go like a bull at a gate or you’ll injure yourself or overdo it and lose motivation. Just start with a ten minute walk. Get your body moving regularly and your body AND your brain will thank you for it.
When you’ve done this for a bit, and you’re starting to notice some positive changes, then is a good time to add some affirmations. Start noticing the good things about you - and the things you like about yourself and begin to speak to yourself about them. If you’ve been suffering with depression it’s likely that you’ll have this inner voice that has been beating the living shit out of you for a while now. I call it the bad wolf and if you’ve heard the tale about the two wolves you’ll know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t it’s simple: We all have two wolves. One of them’s sole purpose is to destroy - your self esteem, your goodness, your potential. Every time it speaks to you with fear, greed, hate, jealousy, it grows. Every time you act out of those spaces, it grows… It’s time to develop your best weapon against that evil bastard. It’s worst enemy: The good wolf. If you’re in the thick of it, your good wolf has taken a hit. It’s been weakened and needs to be fed and nurtured. In order for it to battle well against the bad wolf you will need to retrain it, strengthen it, feed it, and give it some weapons. Positive self talk is its strongest weapon and if you’re not feeling the positivity it’s quite understandably hard to come up with the words on the spot. So write them down. Google the shit out of affirmations and find the ones that you feel will empower you and your good wolf and read them out loud.
“I am a decent human being”
“I am worthy of looking after”
“I am powerful beyond measure”... what ever resonates with the you that you WANT to be - not who you think you are at this very point in time.
You don’t have to believe them yet. Just read them. Train that good voice to be louder and stronger and it will eventually have the strength to drown out the bad wolf. The more you feed the good wolf, the stronger it will be and the weaker that bad wolf will get. I guess they call depression the black dog for more than one reason.
It is important that you do these things on a regular basis, so developing some strategies around maintaining that certain level of self care and then building on it is important. I talk about that in episode 39 so go back and have a look at that if you need to. One thing that I do is I have daily checklist that I go through every single morning to make sure that I’m doing the things that I need to do in order to get on top of things and stay on top. It’s so important because if depression has been part of your life, it is so easy to fall back into it before you even realise you’re on the way down. Maintaining your mental, physical and spiritual health has to be your number one priority. Especially when life happens. When the big stuff happens. When you get busy and you feel like more important things are taking over your life. You need to have a system in place that supports you and holds you there but I do go on about that back in episode 39 - what holds you together, so have a look there.
Once you have these basics down, you can add into them. Adding things like investing in your education, your personal growth… continually reading or listening to podcasts that encourage you to learn and grow will help stop you from stagnating and letting that rot sink back in. Consistently moving forward stops you from getting stuck in a rut.
Also, having things to really look forward to as well. So set some goals that you can work towards. They don’t have to be financial goals, or career goals - even things like a holiday, or being able to run a marathon - things that you need to work towards, but that will have their own reward once you achieve them will be really helpful. Be specific and have it broken down into achievable doable steps. I’m going to talk a bit about goal setting next week so if you get stuck here hang in til next Tuesday.
The next thing: Make space in your schedule and your life to do things that you love to do and do them on a regular basis. Often when depression kicks in you forget about the things you love and even when you have the time, you don’t have the inclination to do anything. So actually locking things into your diary with a friend becomes an important way to ensure you actually allow yourself (and sometimes force yourself) out into the world to have a bit of fun.
These are all important things, and you’ll find that most of them are things that people who are well, tend to do naturally. The problem that occurs when you have depression is these things don’t come naturally anymore. But that’s when they’re even more important. You deserve good things not because you have done something to deserve good things, but simply because the good things in your life, will call out a better YOU. When a better you comes forth, you are bringing a better human out into the world and you’re making the world a better place. So if you have trouble doing things just for you - remember that by doing things for you, nurturing you, will create a better you and a better you will create a better world.
For me it’s very similar to a plant. You prepare the soil, you plant the seed. You don’t get angry at that tiny little plant when it sprouts just because it’s not a giant tree straight away! You nurture it. You feed it, you water it, you fertilise it and you make sure it gets sunlight. When it does, it grows. Just like you. You will grow if you make sure you have the things you need and if you keep doing it, then eventually you won’t be this fragile little plant that is so easily trampled on. You will be strong. You will be great and all the hard work will be worth it.
You have no chance of becoming that great tree that you compare yourself too if you don’t nurture yourself through all the other stages of growth first.
If you are thinking that having a system in place to help you go through some of these tools in a way that you can build upon, our new course ‘un-funk’ yourself might be for you. We have extended the early bird price until the end of July so if it interests you go and check out transformationalpersonalgrowth.com/course.
This weeks episode is all about treating yourself as if. Treat yourself as if you’re worth investing in… whether that is the course, or a counselor, or a personal development program - invest in yourself. I had to learn to do that too because I was so focussed on just surviving. To get past that place you really need to learn to do things differently. So invest in yourself and educate yourself.
If you’ve found this weeks episode valueable I would really appreciate it if you could share it with your social networks, your friends, family etc… ALL our free content we are happy for you to share with as many people as you like because it’s all about helping people to help themselves. On our instagram page and facebook we have a lot of downloadable quotes and pics so feel free to download them and print them and do what I do and stick them up all around the place to remind myself of the things I really need reminding of.
I hope you have a great week and I will see you next episode!!! This blog is available as a podcast on iTunes - click HERE.
Anyone who has experienced the cycle of depression or anxiety or even chronic illness would have some experience of the highs and lows. Even without depression and anxiety or chronic illness, life can go through these cycles. For me, I know that I have gone through periods of my life where everything is awesome, I’m feeling on top of everything and I am kicking some serious goals… Next minute, life gets that little bit more difficult, slowly things start getting harder and I feel sluggish and worn down and then I get tired and eventually slide into that old familiar territory of not having the energy to do anything, feeling terrible about myself, not feeling like things are worth trying for and I get myself into a funk. I start playing the old tapes in my mind; thoughts like “I’m not good enough, I can’t do this, I will fail, I’m afraid”, start coming back… they creep in through the cracks and start pulling me apart from the inside, tearing down the hard work that I have put in. It’s like high tide and low tide and if either of them are to the extreme they can drown me if I don’t have something to hold onto.
In business, the things that hold the business together are the systems. The operations. The little things that get done every day that make sure that over time everyone stays on top of things. In life, the very same thing can apply. Rather than waiting for the tides to sweep me up and overpower me and leave me at rock bottom again and having to build myself up from scratch each time, I can put systems in place that help me to notice where I am at and keep me on top of my needs well before they become ‘symptoms’. I can stay on top of my physical, emotional and spiritual well being if I have a system and a plan that I stick to.
Now the thing is, that we all, already have a system - it’s just the functionality of that system that differs. If for example, you didn’t eat every day it wouldn’t take long for your body to break down. If you didn’t get out of bed and shower it wouldn’t take long for you to stink and feel like crap. So to some extent, in order to just function at a really basic level you have to already have some systems in place.
Over the years, my systems and habits have changed. Because of this, so has my base state. So for example a decade ago, my base state would have been one of heightened anxiety, I was pretty depressed most of the time, I was angry and agitated and not really enjoying my life. That was actually my base state. The systems and habits that I had at that time were very poor. I smoked like a chimney, I drank like a fish… I stayed awake to ridiculously late hours and then I slept half the day. I ate shitty food and treated my body like crap and didn’t exercise enough. I was a mess. I had systems but they were not very healthy ones and they weren’t exactly conducive to living a healthy, happy life. Fast forward to now, and my base state is very different, in fact my base state is one where I feel pretty good about life, I have no anxiety, and I’m on top of things. BUT that’s because the structure and systems in my life are so different. If you change the systems and the habits and the structure - you will change the way you are. There will be highs and lows still, but like for me, the lows are no where near as low, and the highs aren’t quite as manic and I don’t lose sight of my goals when I’m super happy which is what used to happen. So before, for example, I would have a high and get these massive ideas and get so motivated I would start working and working and working, I would lose all sight of balance and then BAM come crashing down. NOW, even if I have a new idea, I put it into my ‘ideas’ bank, and stay focussed on my current tasks and throw my enthusiasm into where I have already been placing my effort. I also, ensure that even though I am super motivated, I stop work at a certain hour, I deliberately disconnect from social media, and I chill out. I keep to my regular routine and I go to bed at a decent time. This means that this ‘feel good’ part of my cycle goes for a lot longer because it’s sustainable. It also means I don’t come down with a crashing thud. I just slowly transition into a different state because that’s pretty much life really, but THEN when I am in a low-tide, what I do, instead of letting things really get me super low because I’m not doing what I think I should be able to do and then judging myself too harshly, I stick to my system. Part of my system includes daily affirmations. I tell myself good things about myself and my life. I speak into my life deliberately every single day and the power behind that is huge. I am saying positive things to myself before the negative voice even gets a chance to make its appearance! Because when I am going into low tide, while I used to just get swept away by it and forget to look after myself properly and neglect all the things that keep me on top of things, now I have a system that holds me. I don’t have to keep coming up with what I need to do and what I don’t need to do, and I have a bare minimum of what I will accept from myself even when I’m sick and tired and don’t feel like doing anything at all. This system, built from adding onto my original good habits and modifying them over time, keeps me moving forward, even if it’s just at a slow easy pace, one foot in front of the other style, while I wait patiently for my energy and motivation to return. It means it’s not so hard for me to get back into things because I haven’t had to go through this time where I’ve not looked after myself, I’ve neglected the things that keep me well and I’ve been talking myself into awfulness and negativity. So then, I don’t have to wait so long before the tide starts transitioning again.
When I first work with a client one of the things we look at is where they are at with their health and their habits. What does their normal morning routine look like? What do they do, every single day without fail? Why do they do those things? Then, when we look at their goals and where they want to go with their life, we look at how we can fit some small adjustments into their normal routine… make some tweaks, add some stuff, take some stuff out, and over time keep adjusting until they have a system of habits that truly work for them.
Where are you at with this? What does your morning look like? What do you know you need to do to stay on top of things? Do you have a system that holds you in place while you’re not feeling well? Do you have habits that keep you on track even when you feel like you’re falling to bits? How do YOU stay on top of things?
If you don’t know these answers, it might be time that you sat down and had a look. If you keep falling into the same cycle, falling into the same old traps and having life just slam you around each time your own emotional tides change, perhaps its time to build something you can hold onto. I am working on a course at the moment that starts where you are at, and builds relevant, transformational structure that can help you get on track, and stay on track regardless of what tide you are in. I know that the things I have learnt have helped me to do this so much and I think it will help anyone who is trying to get back that sense of balance and keep their life in a more even space. If you find yourself falling into a funk every now and again and taking ages to un-funk yourself this is definitely the course for you.
The course starts July 1 and will cost $399 in total for a 10 week course. It includes a one hour discovery session with me. If you’d like to do the course, head to transformationalpersonalgrowth.com/course and register today. Early-bird registration will allow you to buy the course for $197. This means that you will save over $200 and you still get the one on one session with me so technically you’re getting a 10 week course for $47. But that’s only for early-bird registrations which run out once the course goes online.
I don’t want you to think that today’s episode is all about selling you something. I truly believe that having the right systems and structure in place to hold you in a good space is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself. If you don’t want to work with me personally to help you to create that, there are ways that you can do that for yourself. Start looking at people who you know consistently maintain a good sense of balance. Look at what they do as part of their regular routine. Start looking at integrating that into your own life - find what works for you. Start small as well. Trying to implement a whole new way of life overnight won’t be sustainable so build on what you already have. It might be as simple, as as soon as you get out of the shower that you have every morning, you write a list of the things you’re grateful for. It might be adding a glass of water to your bedside table and drinking it before you get out of bed. Adding small things, over time, begins to have changes that all add up. One of the most important things that I personally do as part of my morning routine is I look at my long term goals, my fortnightly goals, and then I make a list of things I need to do today. When I have my long term and fortnightly goals fresh in my mind, it makes it easier to stay consistently moving towards them. It also reminds me that right now is not my final destination and helps me to stay motivated. The other part, is when I have my values and affirmations so clear I know that one of the most important things I need to schedule for myself is down time so I don’t run myself ragged. I do believe working through all these things with someone is the best way to do it but it doesn’t have to be me. There are plenty of life coaches out there and you can even do it with an accountability partner. Find someone you know that wants to start creating changes in their life and meet once a week - look at progress and hiccups and challenges and have a little think tank about how you can overcome the challenges and begin to build on your progress. Obviously I will talk more about ways to do this sort of stuff via the podcast too, it’s just the course is a fantastic way to stay on track and get the information and downloadable resources to help you to tailor the program to your own needs.
That’s it for this week, I hope that you have found something of value in this week’s podcast and if you have, I ask that you please share it with your friends and family and leave us a comment on the blog or on the facebook group. Join the Transformational Personal Growth Community if you haven’t already - you might be able to find your accountability partner there! That’s it from me, have a super week, build on your good habits and I will see you next episode!!!
xo - Michelle
We need goals. Something to aspire to and road maps to get there. But what happens if we set our hopes too high? Forcing ourselves into burnout is only one of the consequences of setting our expectations too high… So how do we balance that? I talk about balance a lot. I also talk to you guys about how I'm not actually super awesome - I'm far from it - I'm just learning too and often I'm learning my lessons out loud. So you get the nitty gritty. You see where I make mistakes and you hear how I mop up the messes I create for myself and what I learn along the way.
(Listen to this as a podcast HERE)
Well. I have one for you this week and it's on topic. Last week I told you I was launching my new super awesome thing early July. Since then I've been injured and got that same stupid sickness back. So I have been ploughing through everything and am now on my fourth course of antibiotics. My fibromyalgia is playing up - which means my whole body aches and things are getting on top of me. I get so passionate about my ideas, and because I can see so clearly HOW I can bring them into fruition it’s super easy for me to rattle of my list of things to do, and then make this assumption on how quickly I can achieve them. After all, if I’ve broken them down so well, then they’re so small so of course I can get them done quickly and easily. Except when I can’t! I’m not a machine. I am subject to outside forces (and internal ones for that matter). I have emotions, I have other humans to deal with and I have weaknesses and also things happen that are outside my control. If I have my goals set too high for me, even if they’re broken down into bite size chunks that I’m always talking about - if I have put too many on my list at once and not left breathing room then it only takes one thing - getting sick, kids getting sick, having to go and pick someone up from school, having to take one day off because I’m run down then trying to force myself to play catch up - then I’m behind the 8 ball and I’ve put too much pressure on myself and things start to fall apart. I feel like I’m not in control. I feel like I’m chasing my tail and you know what? I don’t operate well from that space. I lose sight of the end game. My priorities get mixed around. I get caught up in the small stuff and I get overwhelmed and it all comes crashing down. Then, I have to start again, go back to the drawing board often because I look back at the work I had actually done during that period and it’s sub par. It’s falling well short of what I’m capable of and that’s not fair on anyone, least of all me. I don’t want to be disappointing myself! What kind of a life is that? So for me the answer, as per usual, is balance. Rather than just taking into account what is physically possible for me to achieve, I have to take into account what it looks like when I’m enjoying the work load. When it’s not just possible, but it’s flowing. Taking into account that there will be road bumps. Given I’ve had this illness for a while, it’s pretty safe for me to take into account that it’s not just possible I will have a bad day or two in the space of a fortnight - it’s actually probable. If I factor that into my time frame then what happens is, the pressure is off. I have a work load that is going to get me moving forward at a reasonable rate, but if something happens I’m not going to be too off put by it. If I have a bad day, I am then able to rest that day, knowing that it’s been accounted for and I’m still on track! So I’m not beating myself up, and I’m not feeling bad that I won’t reach my quota because I will! And on top of that, if it turns out that I actually get through a week or two WITHOUT anything happening to slow me down or force me to rest, I can exceed my quota - OR - wait for it - schedule in some fun with a friend or two to celebrate and further enjoy my life. I guess we need to ask ourselves what we’re doing this all for occasionally. Are we doing our work to provide for our family? Is our family our priority then? Are we doing this to stroke our own ego and make ourselves feel important? We already ARE important. Having our priorities clearly outlined with the most important things at the top is one way to consistently re-assess if we are ontrack with who we are and what we want from life. Because it is so easy. It’s so easy to get swept up in all the stuff that needs to be done. Urgently. Immediately. Right now. But most of the time we need to be looking after ourselves right now. In the moment. Immediately. Looking after our needs and our hearts and our bodies and our minds, ensuring that what we do put back into our work and into our family is quality stuff. So one thing that I’ve done is push that launch date back. It’s not going to be July. That’s humanly possible of course, but I want to actually enjoy my life in the meantime. I want to still have time for my NUMBER ONE GOAL which is my own physical, mental and spiritual health because that is actually not just my committment to me, but it’s my commitment to my family and even to you. I need to be walking the walk not just talking the talk and every single one of these podcasts, the upcoming project, my coaching stuff, all of it - it’s all about improving the quality of life so that you get the best life for you. I need to practice what I preach and sometimes that means admitting that I’ve had a brain fart and put too much pressure on myself. It means taking some stuff off my plate. It means extending deadlines. Readjusting priorities, reevaluating not just what is possible but what is going to be fruitful short term AND long term. If you’re currently putting out fires all the time - just flying around getting to the urgent stuff - you won’t have time for the long term stuff and that is the place where the important growth happens. It’s digging. I’ve spoken about digging before. Preparing the soil. Like a garden - you want your life to look a certain way (you want a beautiful garden); you can’t just expect it to get there by magic. You have to dig. You have to fertilize and prepare the soil, and you have to water the plants… If you’re still just madly picking out weeds you’ll never get to where you want to go. So make sure that if there is too much going on for you - take some stuff off your plate. Make some space to breathe. Write out what your priorities are and put them in order. Then look at where your time is spent… is your time spent where you say your priorities are? Or are you out of alignment? Don’t wait until you burn out to make some adjustments. That’s when you get conditions like Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. Look after yourself NOW. I have an app I use to track my time that’s useful. It’s called ATracker and I’ll put a link to it on the webpage. Check it out and use it to measure where you spend your time against where your priorities are. Life isn’t meant to be all hard work. We are meant to have breathing space. Space to enjoy one another. Time to be with each other and connect. To get our heads out of screens and look each other in the eye. To laugh with our children and play with them. To hang out with our friends and spouses and not just when we are exhausted because we have finished everything else and they’re getting the leftovers. When it’s all over we aren’t going to give a crap about how much money we earnt. It’s going to be those memories, with our loved ones that’s going to have made our lives worth having been lived. Last week I mentioned a special and I mentioned that I had 20 spots available for a free half hour discovery session with me in June. Given that I am scaling back pretty much everything so I don’t lose the plot, I’ve decided that I’m only going to take significantly less spots so that I don’t overdo that either. I am only taking 5 more spots for June So if you want one of them, head to transformationalpersonalgrowth.com and hit the survey tab. Once you complete the survey I’ll be in touch to let you know that you can pick your spot and I’ll give you the code to book in for a free half hour discovery session with me. I also have TWO spots available left for new coaching clients so if that is you - hit me up there as well as once I hit that target I won’t be taking any more one on one clients for a while. Also, about my big news. We will not be launching ANYTHING in July. That was crazy talk. Sure I might be finished and prepared by then, but I might not be so it’s better that I wait and see how I go with all the prep before an official launch date is released. Again, if you want more info get onto our mailing list at transformationalpersonalgrowth.com because that’s going to be the place you hear about things first, but it’s also where you will get access to my free resources that will go along with the new podcast and video series. I am really really proud of this upcoming project and when it is finally finished I hope you will be too. Send me an email if you’d be happy to help me to spread the word in the lead up to launch day, and I’ll let you know exactly what’s going on, what we are going to do and how it’s going to work. Email firstname.lastname@example.org If you’ve found something valuable in this this week, please remember to share with your network of friends and family and let us know in the comments below what you’ll be taking away from this episode and how you can apply it to your situation… Are you making your dream bigger than it needs to be? Are you overloading yourself? OR have YOU found a way to keep things doable? Do you have a system you use to not overload yourself? Sooo want to hear from you.
Also look for us on facebook - we have a closed group ‘transformational personal growth’ but just ask to join HERE and I’ll add you in - that group is designed for each of us to share the things that are inspiring our own personal growth journey with each other so we can all learn from each other! I hope you have a week where you can breathe and see clearly and I will see you next episode.
Confidence is a slippery little sucker. It’s one of those things that has a chicken and egg type phenomena to it. People with confidence DO things. Then, because they have experience, this experience gives them confidence… BUT how do you find confidence, or develop confidence when you don’t have it naturally, and how can you have it in an area that you have no experience in?Well, that's what we're covering today... ;)Read More
Well, are you? How do you know if you’re a good friend, or if you’re a strain on the relationship economy? We have covered in other episodes, what to look for in a friendship but in the last week I have really been thinking; we don’t focus enough on what WE bring to it. If you want good friends, you really need to learn to BE a good friend.
This is important for more than a few reasons, but mainly, if you’re in dire need of a good healthy friendship, that is only going to happen if you’re bringing your half to the table. We spoke last week about what can happen when OTHER PEOPLE do the wrong thing and don’t have appropriate boundaries and start putting their crap in your canoe, but what if it isn’t the other people that’s the problem? How do you tell if it’s YOU that’s messing things up?
One of the first ways to tell if YOU are the problem is to notice the patterns. If you’re thinking about someone in particular ask yourself a few questions if you are beginning to have conflict:
- Is this a similar conflict to one I have had before?
- Does this person have similar conflicts with other people?
- Is this something that seems to happen with all my relationships?
- Does this person have healthy happy relationships with everyone BUT me?
Looking for the patterns, and the common denominators will help you to differentiate whether or not it’s the other person with the problem or poor behaviour or if they are simply responding to YOU. Often we can make the mistake of thinking that everyone else is in the wrong, but it’s really US that needs to create better boundaries… after all, the saying goes, ‘You teach people how to treat you’.
I think about people who are taught from an early age to have a voice. To be able to articulate what is going on for them, to be able to say the words “Hey, that’s not ok with me”, and how powerful those words are. It takes a lot of courage to be able to tell someone when they’re doing something that is hurtful but often that is exactly what the situation needs. If someone is telling YOU that (with their words, actions or otherwise) then it might be helpful to really listen and distinguish if this is something that you really do need to work on.
So here are my top tips for being a good friend.
- Listen. Listen to them. It’s one thing to be a talker - I’m a talker and I know that about myself so I deliberately force myself to shut up occasionally and let the other person talk. Ultimately I want my friends to know that I care about them and part of that is understanding where they are at and what is going on for them and I can’t do that when I’m talking the whole entire time. Plus, people get sick of you if you don’t let them talk back. This is a friend - not your counsellor.
- Don’t judge. You can have an opinion, and you can think that that person is doing the wrong thing but before you open your fat trap and tell them that, have a think about what is going on for them. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to understand their point. Genuinely care about WHY they are engaging in behaviour that might not be healthy for them, or others. When you can understand first, you might just be able to identify the core needs that are motivating the unhealthy behaviour and then you can make suggestions for what might help instead of shunning your friend (which by the way, never helps). I’ve been in both positions. I have had friends who didn’t agree with my choices and made their position quite clear; but it wasn’t done in a way that said “hey I love you - what is going on with this”. It was done in a way that said “you’re wrong and I don’t like it” so what happened there? I didn’t go back. In essence I ended the friendship because it made me feel so shit about myself. Now had they have tried the other approach, maybe there could have been some progress. At the very least, I would have been able to talk openly about what was going on for me at the time. But it was a lesson for me. I love my friends so much. If they’re doing something that’s stupid and probably going to end badly - well guess what? That doesn’t make me love them less. They’re adults and I have to let them make their own choices I can’t make them for them. I can be there when they need someone to talk to and I can support them as best I can but I will never turn my back just because I disagree with their choices. If their choices are putting crap in MY canoe - well that’s a different story. Creating space is important there. But you get what I’m saying.
- Ask for feedback. Watch for feedback you’re not asking for as well - look at them. Listen to them. Look at the body language… did you just offend them? Have you just hurt their feelings? Ask! “Did what I just say offend you? I’m really sorry.” Pay attention to how your behaviour affects them. I’m not saying that you should turn yourself into someone else, but if your behaviour is hurting another person, maybe there is some new choices to be made. Adjustments to your tone, or wording… Perhaps you need to learn to not tell that person things that hurt? Everyone is different and it’s about learning to tell what your friends needs are and balancing them with your own needs which are EQUALLY important.
- Don’t say hurtful things. Now of course, you cannot always tell what will hurt and what won’t hurt and I go back to number three for that - ask for feedback. But don’t repeat stuff that you’ve heard or that someone else has said. No one wants to hear awful stuff said behind their back. They just don’t. At the end of the day my philosophy has always been only to say positive things. If someone says something nasty about my friend; I follow that up on the spot. I say something like “that would be my friend you’re talking about and that hurts my feelings hearing you say things like that - if you have a genuine problem you should talk to her or him” or whatever the case may be. Another one I used YEARS ago when a friend used to bitch about our mutual friend I said “When you talk about her behind her back like that and you never tell her what you’re thinking, all it makes me do is wonder what you’re saying about me when I leave”. I’ve mentioned that story before but it’s so true. If someone doesn’t have the guts to tell other people what’s going on for them that is there problem. Don’t make it YOUR problem. Get that crap out of your canoe.
- Be of service. The whole point of having friends is having friends makes life easier and makes life better. Don’t just be a taker. Be of service. Find out what your friends needs are and try to meet them. Don’t be ridiculous though - it’s a give and take thing - there needs to be balance but there needs to be a reason that someone would bother being friends with you. Maybe you’re a good listener. Maybe you’re reliable, dependable, loyal, caring. Maybe you don’t judge them and are always on their side. Find out what they need the most from you and try to fill that need as best you can. An interesting and effective way to do that is investigate the 5 love languages; I’ll leave a link to that book on the website.
Relationships are important. Super important. Whether that is with friends, family members or members of your community. We really do need each other and while it’s important to choose good friends, you want to be picked by them too. Healthy people choose healthy friends, so you need to BE that in order to receive it too.
So that’s the summary of this week. I hope it’s helpful. If there’s anything that you need help with, or you have questions or ideas for the podcast, head to the website transformationalpersonalgrowth.com send us an email and while you’re there fill out our personal growth survey which helps YOU define the areas you need to grow, and helps US to serve those needs better.
I hope you have an amazing week, and that you take the opportunities to put some of these things in practice. Enjoy your friends and be the kind of friend that they can enjoy too and I will see you next episode! :)
I think sometimes life can really wear you down. By life, I mean people. People can be right shits and have no idea the impact that they’re having on you. Sometimes they know and even hope that their actions are tearing you apart. They deliberately try to create a shitstorm in your life and it can suck. The time we spend thinking about that, dwelling on it and letting it get to us can allow their actions and hurtful words drag us down, rendering us unable to move forward, stealing our joy. I think of it like this. If you’re paddling a canoe - and that’s your metaphor for life, right, you’re paddling along the river of your life in a canoe… and people come along and dump their crap in your canoe… It can happen once or twice without dramatically affecting your ability to keep rowing… You see it there, you keep rowing, you look at it, turn it around, sort out if its yours or not yours, toss it back out of the canoe and keep rowing. That’s life. That’s how we handle the crap that people shove at us and its all good and well until it’s more than one person shoving their shit in your canoe, and it’s happening regularly. Then what happens is you are really tested. If you don’t know how to get that shit out of your canoe and get it out fast then it’s only a matter of time until you sink. If you can learn how to get the shit out quick, you’re onto something, but even then, it’s even more effective if you can learn how to protect your canoe and not let other people’s shit get in there in the first place.
I talk about healthy relationships a LOT and in my opinion choosing your friends wisely is the quickest way to protect your canoe. Straight up, choosing people who don’t dump their crap in other people’s canoes is going to prevent soooo much crap getting in and dragging you down. BUT what happens when you’re trapped in an environment where you’re not able to choose. Still living at home with toxic relatives, or in a work environment where your co-workers are consistent shit-chuckers. Even studying, being in any environment where you’re grouped with people you didn’t choose, can place your canoe in a vulnerable position.
So this episode, let’s have a look at first how you can protect your canoe (which is a metaphor for your heart and soul), and then we’ll have a look at the ways to get other people’s shit out of your canoe and quickly, before your boat starts to sink (which, by the way can look like you’re losing your shit, getting emotional, overly frustrated over things which don’t normally get to you, or even further down the scale can manifest itself as anxiety or depression).
One thing I will say before I go any further; if you’re hurting, you need to do something. Pain, physical, mental or otherwise is life’s way of telling us to stop and have a look. There is a choice to be made. There is action to take. Physical pain might be telling us to take our hand off the hot stove, while mental anguish might be telling us that we need to step back from people who are hurting us, or that we need to create clearer boundaries, or something. Learning to listen to your pain, decipher what it's telling you and work with it to grow is a huge part of maturing. People who hide from their pain by medicating it, drinking it away or ignoring it don’t learn from it and then they don’t grow, and the same shit happens over and over and over. We don’t need to keep repeating this. If it hurts - good - let it hurt, and let that hurt motivate you to change something.
Ok, so on to protecting your canoe. Let’s start with a reminder of WHY we look after our own heart and soul:
Proverbs 4:23 says Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.
Now, no, I’m not going to start trying to convert you to a particular religion, but that instruction is definitely up there with one of the wisest pieces of advice I have ever heard.
As a mother, if my heart is damaged, if I am hurt, I get closed, I get hard, I get harsh. If that’s the case, and that is the place that I am coming from, how can I love my kids well? How can I bring to them the best of me? As a child, a friend, a member of my community, the same thing applies. So you might not have kids but if someone damages your heart and you’re having to be ‘hard’ in order to keep going and in order to survive, then not only are you unable to bring the best of you to the people you love, but you’re also unable to receive the love of the people who care for you and who AREN’T trying to dump their shit in your canoe. If you can’t be vulnerable you can’t be open, you can’t receive and you can’t give well.
There’s your reason for looking after your heart. Sometimes, if you’re already suffering with a low self-esteem, it’s easy to think that you’re not worth looking after. But when you see it like this, and you frame it so it is not all about you and whether or not you and your heart are valuable, it helps you to prioritise looking after your heart whether or not you’re feeling worthy of being looked after. In short, looking after your own heart and soul is not just for you - it’s your responsibility to those around you as well.
So now we’ve covered the why, let’s look at the how. In previous episodes I have already spoken about choosing good friends, the why and how to do that. This episode its’ not about that, because I’m assuming you already have that knowledge: good friends don’t put their shit in your canoe. Now lets look at how to protect your canoe from people who may not be good friends, or even friends at all.
If you’re finding yourself forced to spend time with or be in community with people who are serial mojo killers, let’s look at ways that we can limit their impact.
First, we have our physical space, our physical boundaries. In short, keep away from them. Unless you’re being forced to share a small space with them, for the most part, use physical space as a boundary, keep out of their space, keep them out of yours. If they deliberately seek you out because they want to put their shit in your canoe, move. Go somewhere else. If you need to speak to someone about that; do it. In the big world there are legal ramifications to stalking or harassing someone. If you’re in an educational institution talk to the student support person, or a teacher about where you can go for support, or what you can do to prevent that person from continuing to harass you. If you are in a work environment, speak to your supervisor or your boss. If you’re in a community and the situation calls for it, speak to the police. No one has the right to continue to come into your personal space with drama and bullshit no matter what they think about you. I know ‘noone likes a dobber’, but at the end of the day, this is your life. This is YOUR canoe. Looking after it is way more important than adhering to a code that to be quite frank, came from someone who wanted to get away with doing the wrong thing. That’s who came up with that; criminals and bullies. My code is this: you mess with me and I’ll use whatever I can to make sure you keep your shit out of my canoe. My canoe staying afloat is my number one priority because ultimately I have a purpose for my life and I have goals and dreams and gifts and abilities to really make a difference to the world I live in and I won’t be able to do any of it if I’m too busy trying to keep a sinking canoe from sinking.
Physical boundaries are big. You have space, and you have skin. Remembering someone’s words can’t get under your skin unless you let them is a big trick too. If someone makes it past the physical boundaries of space and moves into your personal space bubble, use your skin. Move away as quickly as possible, but remember they are talking to the outside of you; what they can see, what they have judged with their own flawed perception and that’s not the real you. The real you is nowhere near your skin. It’s so much deeper than that. Let them talk to your name badge or your uniform but know that the real you doesn’t have to be there and listen. It’s really helpful in customer service roles where you’re dealing with complaints. When they’re all up in your grill abusing YOU because they’re not happy, you can remember that it’s not YOU they’re unhappy with - it’s the service. You are not the service. So you can let the abuse fall on the outside and not take it inside with you. In terms of community and ‘freindship groups’ I have a really special bit of information especially for women: The better you are, the more amazing, bright, brilliant and gorgeously talented you are, the more the haters will hate. It does go for anyone but I have noticed that women can be especially viscous when they’re jealous. Haters will literally hate anything because that's what they do but if it’s especially venomous, spiteful and deliberately trying to cause you emotional harm, know that it’s probably fueled by jealousy and just pity them because it is very clear that they don’t understand the beauty inside of themselves. They don’t value themselves, and they don’t love themselves (the evidence is that people with a good sense of their own value and worth don’t go around being awful) so seriously pity them and remember that’s a really rotten space to be in and it has NOTHING to do with you. They just have too much of their own shit in their canoe and they’re trying to shove it in someone else's’ canoe - it just happens to be yours this week. You can’t make them love themselves. You playing smaller, being uglier or less popular or more stupid will not increase their self-esteem.
There’s a quote I’ve quoted about a thousand times and here it is again:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others". - Marianne Williamson from 'A Return To Love'.
It’s true. Not only will you being brilliant inspire more hate from haters because they haven’t figured this out for themselves yet, but on the flip side, that other person who isn’t taking out their frustrations or low self-esteem on other people’s canoes is just waiting for someone else to shine so they can shine too. Sometimes we need permission from someone else. Sometimes we ARE that permission for someone else. So every time that someone is hating on you for being awesome, remember that at the very same time, someone out there is looking at you and growing in strength because of YOU and looks at YOU for inspiration. When that shit comes at your canoe - think of that. Think to yourself “this is not my shit and it does NOT belong in my canoe”.
The other part I will touch on is social media and text messages. There are so many keyboard warriors in this day and age; people who are big and tough when it comes to sending something via the digital world but would never in a million years say it to your face. BLOCK THEM. If someone is an asshole - BLOCK THEM. If they use their friends accounts or phones: BLOCK THEM. If it doesn’t stop, screen shot it and send it to someone who can do something about it. I once had some abusive text messages from a man and he soon stopped when I started to forward them to his mother. I had a woman who saw me at a gig and it was hate at first sight - she stalked my website, she sent hate mail, she commented on everything I put out… I blocked her. She can’t write on my website any more. Eventually she gave up. What was important was that I knew, deep down in my soul that her hatred had NOTHING to do with me. Her words couldn’t touch me simply because I knew that they were deliberately designed to cause as much hurt as possible and for someone to have that much hatred for me without even knowing me - there was only one motivation behind that: jealousy. It must suck to carry around that much rage at other people simply because you don’t love yourself enough to pursue your own dreams and your own life and place your focus and energy there.
The other thing I will touch on before I go, and this is something that I have witnessed more than once - I’ve had it happen to me (not recently), but I’ve seen it happen with people I love. When you’ve had friends and it turns ugly. You know what, you can’t make people’s choices for them. You can’t make people have integrity and values that align with yours. You can’t stop people from being a hater. So first, remember this when you’re choosing them. If they’re hating on other people it’s only a matter of time before that gets directed at you. But if it’s happening to you right now you need to remember that this person is not your friend. Good freinds don’t call you names. Good freinds don’t treat you like shit. Good freinds don’t bitch about you behind your back. Ultimately, you get to choose in this instant. They might have been your friend before but they will never be good for you. Choose to have good freinds now, and in the future. Let their actions be reminders that you will only let good people into your life. Treat them just like you would a stalker or random stranger hater because they aren’t your friends. Block them, delete them, keep them away physically, do what it takes to create as much space as possible, and don’t let their shit in your canoe.
I have one more tip for surviving the shitstorm but just before I get to that, I’d like to let you all know that I am officially open to take clients for life coaching. If you’d like to make a booking head to transformationalpersonalgrowth.com/bookings and don’t panic if you’re not in Australia - I do meetings over Skype and I have an international calendar where you can put in your time zone and work out the time that works for you.
If you haven’t joined the mailing list yet, you can do that at transformationalpersonalgrowth.com - I like to send out weekly inspiring emails to remind you (and me) what’s really important and what we focus on is especially important when we are dealing with humans that are trying to create a shitstorm for you. That’s the last thing I will leave with you. If someone does say or do something hurtful; don’t ruminate on it. Those words aren’t important because they’re just someone elses issues coming up for them. That’s theirs. Don’t allow that to be your focus, or it ends up in your canoe as dead weight dragging you down. Take your immediate focus, and look at where you WANT to go. Look at your goals, look at who you want to be, remember who you are, and where you’re going and row, row, row that boat.
If you haven’t figure that out - that’s where coaching with me can help. Oh yeah, nice plug for my services right there… BOOM!
That’s it from me this week. See you next episode!
This Blog was released on iTunes as a podcast - Episode 35 of The Transformational Personal Growth Podcast... Listen HERE.
I first heard of 'The Imposter Syndrome' in a podcast and I'm actually sure I've heard it in both 'The Good Life' podcast and 'EOFire'. Both podcasts, if you're an aspiring anything are pure gold for the self-help enthusiast. EO Fire is especially great for people who own their own businesses or are keen to break the mould when it comes to the standard: get a job for someone else and then pay off someone else’s mortgage. There's so much juice in there, and seriously, if you haven't checked it out I highly recommend it. The good life is brilliant too. Some amazingly beautiful, inspiring conversations with awesome human beings. There's great insight and inspiration to learn from and apply to create your own version of a good life. That aside, my version of 'The Imposter Syndrome'. For me, it's a voice in my head that tells me simply, that I'm just not good enough to do what I do. I know so so many people in my life who suffer from the same stupid syndrome. This fear that someone else with more qualifications could do what I want to do, but that if I do it I'm probably not quite qualified. I have a few examples of where I see this at work in others and I kind of just want to shake them so hard it falls out of their ears and gets out of their head. If you are one of the people I have spoken to who has told me what you want to do with your life, but you haven't made the steps to do it because you're afraid you can't, or you don’t have enough credentials, or you just need to wait until you get ANOTHER piece of paper validating your experience: STOP IT. Stop it right now, and take a little step back. This is what I did for me, when that stupid imposter syndrome sunk its teeth in for me. I could hear the voice loud and clear saying "Michelle, you can't have a podcast about self help. You are not a psychologist, people are going to get angry and upset that you're giving advice when you're not a qualified doctor or anything. Who are you to give advice?". And you know what, if I was writing about things that I had no clue about and then trying to pretend that I was a qualified therapist or mental health practitioner, then they would have a legitimate reason to be angry. But I'm not. So this is what I did with the voice this time. I took a step back. I sat myself down and I had a think from a different perspective. I asked myself this question: "If you were a farmer, and you wanted someone to understand you and someone who had been there to tell you what they did to get their farm successful, would I want to listen to someone who had been in Uni for years studying Agriculture and whatever else, or would I want to listen to someone who had lived on the land for 20 years?" the answer was clear to me. I would want to listen to someone who had been there. Who had lived it. Who had waded through the shit themselves and got out and survived. I am that person. I'm not pretending to understand depression. I'm not pretending to know what it feels like when anxiety sneaks up on you and grabs you around the throat and squeezes every last ounce of confidence out of your body. I'm not pretending to know about post-natal depression and what it's like to love your baby with all your heart and still want to die. I'm not pretending to know what it's like to drink your pain away until you've burnt almost every bridge and damaged every relationship you've ever had. I'm not pretending to know what it's like to hit rock bottom and decide that you know what? I need some help. I have to be better than this. I can't do this alone, but I don't have to and if I get some help this time, just maybe I'll survive. I'm not pretending to know what it's like to turn your life around, to start from scratch, to learn about boundaries, and how to have healthy relationships and how to keep shitty people from abusing you or manipulating you. I'm not pretending to know how to learn optimism and how to have a world view that sees the beauty in life instead of all the crap that continues to rain on ones head. None of that stuff is pretend. I know it. I've lived it. I've breathed it. And not only is it my desire to share some of the crap I've been through so that it helps even one person feel like they're not alone, I also feel like it’s my responsibility. I have the experience, I have the desire, I have the ability and means to do this and if I didn't do this in spite of the fear that I wasn't good enough, then the person who emailed me last week telling me I changed their life, wouldn't have had their life changed. I wouldn’t be in the ears of so many people, helping them to change their lives, or their perspectives or at the very least making them feel like they aren’t alone in this.
I believe that our dreams are placed in our hearts for a reason. I believe that our experience never goes to waste. If we can use our history, our talents, our past crap, the mistakes we've made, the lessons we've learnt, to help others, then that is NEVER a bad idea. If that imposter syndrome is what’s holding you back. Sit down. Talk to it. Fear is there to help us, and save us from danger, but sometimes we need to look at what the real danger is. We need to acknowledge the risk, what can go wrong, put things in place to avoid as much risk as possible, but then, sometimes we need to tell that fear that 'Hey, you know what buddy? It's gonna be ok, I have this covered. There's no tiger or lion or bear (oh my) that's going to eat me if I do this. Yes, there's a risk, but this is going to be worth it".
Let me tell you right now, that putting myself out there, warts and all, has been daunting. It's been scary, and it has been something that at times I have seriously struggled with. But, you know what? It's worth it. Every time an email hits my inbox and someone tells me that my podcast is impacting their life - it's worth it all over again. I would do this for YOU. I would do this for my cousin, for my aunty, for my Mum, or for my brother but you know what? I would do this for a stranger. Because I know the impact that someone can have on another human being. Because I know how alone you can feel sometimes in this life and if I can take some of the edge off that for anyone then it's worth it.
Whatever your thing is. Whatever you have been wanting to do and putting off, let's have another look at it. Instead of letting your fear lie there unexamined, just quietly holding you back, lets look at it square in the eye. What is your fear around this? What is holding you back? What is the worst that can happen? But how about this now: if you do this thing, and it works, what is the impact that it will have on others? What impact will it have on you? How will you feel if you achieve this? Are you going to look back in five years and regret not doing it? Is the fear valid? As in, are there risks in this that you're not prepared to face? Are you literally unqualified to do what you want to do and if so, are you taking steps to get qualified? LOOK AT IT. Face it. Then ask yourself this: "If someone else, with my background, my experience, in my position wanted to do this, what would I tell them to do?". Then trust your own answer because nobody knows this answer better than you.
If you need some help with this, I am more than happy to chat through your idea. I have some experience with building things and nutting out ideas. I also have experience with mentoring. But more importantly I also have friends who are life coaches, business coaches, and counsellors, so if you want to chat with me, lets chat and if I can point you in the right direction, then I'll do that. Email me at email@example.com or head to the website at www.transformationalpersonalgrowth.com and check out the resources page and we can organise a time. But let’s remember this offer has a time limit. So if you're a bit behind and don't find this until March 2035 then it's probably not on offer anymore. We have a two week limit for this. Email me before November 10, 2015. Otherwise, of course, you can email me at any time I just may not have the time to do one on one work after that!
That’s it from me this week. Thank you for reading, now get going and make yourself some plans to kick that imposter syndrome in the face. See you next week.
Today I honestly can't think of anything worse than having to sit down and write a motivational post. If you want the truth, today I feel like crawling into the foetal position and crying until my throat bleeds. But, I still sit here and write and you know why? Because the truth is, we all feel like this sometimes. Regardless of our backgrounds, regardless of our history, our pain thresholds, what life throws at us, how easy or how hard we've got it - life sometimes throws us curve balls. Sometimes they hit us right where it hurts, and it hurts. No matter how well you are, or how well you think you've got it together, sometimes things just suck and the human response is to hurt.
Today that's me. I'm not going to go into the why's and the details and the whole entire story because I'm not even in the space where I want to talk about this stuff to my closest friends and family. I don't want to say the words out loud and really, the more I think about it the harder it gets so it kind of feels like there is no point hashing it out. I know cognitively that there's no definitive answer to this one - I'm just going to have to ride it out. But the pain is there, and I think the pain is worth acknowledging, if only to let you all know that hey, pain and heartache, it's part of the deal and no matter how hard it hurts, no matter how much you just want to give up, whatever this pain is, wherever it's come from and whatever its for, it's NOT GOING TO LAST. It's going to get better and you're going to smile again. You might even find reasons to laugh today - little glimpses of light in amongst the darkness that threatens to consume you. Don't let it consume you but don't ignore it and try and pretend it isn't there either. Sometimes, just the gentle acknowledgement that right now, this is how you feel and sometime soon you're going to feel completely different is enough to just allow yourself the room and space to feel. Depending how exactly how much pain there is will determine how much time you allow yourself there. You don't want to let it drown you but you don't want to pretend it isn't there or when that tide turns it will come crashing down like a tidal wave where you feel like you have no control at all. So if you can, allow just enough time to acknowledge the pain, to work through a little of it, and maybe even rest for a bit too. Cry and sleep if you're safe enough to do that. Then some pleasant distraction is in order so maybe once you have pulled it together call a friend you can just hang out with. Go for a walk. Watch a movie that has a happy ending. Cuddle your dog. Run yourself a hot bath with some Epsom salts. Anything that says to yourself "I love and care about you, and it's going to be ok". Sometimes I wish I lived closer to my family because if I did today would be the day I went to my aunties house and lied on her bed and didn't say anything at all.
If you have someone who can do that for you, someone who can just be there who can understand that you don't want to talk, but that they're there if you do - go and lie on their lounge and watch terrible daytime television. If you have to work, then again, it will depend on how bad you're feeling and how many sick days you have. Sometimes you need to say "I have to look after myself today", just so you can show up functional tomorrow. Other times you need to say "Ok, I'm ok to push through this, but tonight, I'm going to take some time for myself" and actually do that. For me, I think I'm going to take some time to journal some of these thoughts out. Get them onto the paper. Write a song. Let it hurt. Let it go. Make sure that splinter isn't still deep in my flesh, festering. I can't just bandaid my stuff because I know it just gets worse if I try and cover it up and completely ignore it so instead I'll let all the gunk out and get in there with some disinfectant. I will write down the things that make me happy. The things I'm grateful for. There are heaps of those things and when you get down they get so hard to see. It's like sitting at the bottom of a well, and all the good things are out there, on the other side of the wall, in the bright sunny light that you can see at the top that feels a million miles away, but if you sit down and write them out, it pulls down some of the rocks in the well and the light gets closer and you can use the rocks then to help you climb out. I have a list of 'go to' things that I use when I feel like giving up. The first thing I do is remind myself how many times I've felt like this and which response works the best. I've found that doing a little bit towards getting better, combined with a little bit of rest and self-care is the best combination. So I might run a bath and soak in it and go to sleep for a few hours but then later force myself out of the house and into the sunshine to get some exercise and get some endorphins running through my system. You can find a some of the things that I do HERE. One of the the other things that I do is I play a playlist that I keep on my phone. It's the playlist I call 'Life-changers', songs that kind of acknowledge that where I am right now is a bit sucks, but that I don't have to stay there, and I can get through it and come out on top. I have that list HERE too. So feel free to go on a song-downloading rampage and get your own playlist up and running. I find music one of the quickest ways to turn it around. One of the silver linings of getting down so low so many times in my life, is that I'm super-keenly-aware that this doesn't last. I know because I've been here so many times. I have the first hand knowledge that when life seems to kick the living crap out of you and leave you there in the dirt, you can always get back up again. I think the best part of that is that I can tell you about it. I can tell you that right now, no matter how you're feeling, if you're feeling fantastic - hang onto it! Make the most out of it! Because we don't feel fantastic forever so run with that, kick some goals, spread the love, enjoy your friends and family. But, if you're feeling low, if you're feeling like it's never going to get better, remember it will. It will get better, and especially if you take some time to show yourself some kindness and love today, tomorrow will be a better day. In the next few weeks, I am interviewing a few amazingly inspiring human beings. Last week I interviewed Jan Milne, a white ribbon ambassador with an amazing story. Domestic violence is a huge issue and the interview was both heart wrenching and inspiring and will hopefully be incredibly helpful to anyone out there who is dealing with issues surrounding domestic violence, whether its you personally or a friend or family member. Jans interview will be aired on the 24th of November, on the Transformational Personal Growth Podcast the day before white ribbon day and we will be reminding you well before then. I truly hope that today you are well. That today you are feeling great and you're ready to do some amazing things with the one life you've been given. But if you're not, I hope that this week's podcast has helped you to give yourself permission to just look after yourself today and I hope it's given you a little bit of encouragement to persevere, and the knowledge that you're not alone in this. We all have bad days. Here's to a better day tomorrow! I hope you have a great week in spite of any challenges you face, and I will see you next week! Michelle