Measuring Up

We live in a world full of comparisons.

Does she have a sexier figure than me? Does she look younger, or better for her age? Is she so much smarter? Have a better career? Do people think that she is funnier than me?

I suspect it all begins in the early years of life when we start fighting hard to get our parents’ attention.

But it’s a process that continues for the rest of our life.

And it’s a process that leads to insecurity, as well.

For at any point in time we could cease to measure up – and we could lose the affection of those who matter most.

Like our family, or close friends.

Like our partner, or our spouse.

Yet each of us is different – individual and unique.

And we start to lose ourselves when we make comparisons.

But comparing’s so ingrained, such a feature of our lives, that it’s hard to switch it off. To stop weighing up our worth.

Yet we cannot love ourselves if we reject part of ourselves.

If we always see some defect, or we view ourselves as flawed.

And those differences in outlook, in personality, in interests and experiences, in qualities and looks, are what make us so unique.

Fascinating.

Not a clone.

And being youjust you it’s a gift you give the world.

You touch and nourish lives in an individual way.

If only you could see that this person who is ‘you’ is precious as you are.

You don’t need to strive, or change.

You are free to be yourself.

There is no need to compare.

Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” – Iyanla Vanzant

Quote of the Day

“I hope you know the world is a better place because you are in it.”

Read that sentence again. Do you believe it is true?

I know it can be hard to believe that for ourselves. Especially when we’re hurting, and we’re battling despair.

But those words above – they are absolutely true.

– Right now, I want you to think of 5 people who’s lives have been enriched because you’ve been their parent, friend, sister, daughter, colleague, and so on.

– Next, I want you to think of 5 thoughtful things you’ve done to improve the life of someone else.

– Finally, I want you to imagine someone who really knows and cares about you is writing an obituary for you. What would they say? What would they highlight?

Your life matters.

You matter.

The world is a more beautiful place because you are in it.

Keep Fighting

This is for the ones who are struggling right now. This is for the ones who have been having a rough day, or week, or year. The ones who feel like this storm will never end. Keep fighting for YOU. Not for your friends, not for your family, but for YOU.

Keep fighting because deep down you hold a tiny voice that you were meant for far more than this sadness and pain you are feeling.

Keep fighting because the person you will be on the other side of all of this is cheering for you so much.

Keep fighting because you will get there.

And it will be worth it.”

– Nikki Banas

I want you to know it will be worth it.

I want you to know that YOU are worth it.

Keep on believing as an act of self-love.

Keep on fighting as an act of self-care.

You will turn a corner and you’ll find your life has changed.

It is absolutely worth it.

You will get there in the end.

The Truth of Who You Are


Sometimes I wake up and have to remind myself:

‘There is nothing wrong with me.

I have patterns to unlearn.

New behaviours to embody,

And wounds to heal.

But there is nothing wrong with the core of me, and who I am.

I am unlearning generations of harm

and remembering, Love,

It takes time.’”  

Is this a message for you today?

You are not flawed.

You are not inadequate.

You have been fed lies, and been made to feel this way.

Please believe me when I tell you: This isn’t who you are.

You are beautiful, resourceful, resilient, strong, empathic, gifted and lovely through and through.

These are the facts.

Let this sink into your soul.

This is the truth of who you are.

Quote of the Day


“She distanced herself to save herself.”

Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to put some distance between ourselves and others. This is especially true when we’ve experienced a trauma, or we’re dealing with a crisis of enormous proportions.

We need to step back from our life and, maybe, give ourselves a break as we haven’t got the strength to explain ourselves to others.

And we haven’t got the energy to deal with all that judgment. All the questions, and the comments, and the whispers, and the looks.  

We don’t want to deal with people.

We just want to be alone.

We want to curl up in a ball.

We want the world to go away.

We don’t need that extra stress. It is hard enough to cope with the heartbreak, and the sorrow, and the mess – that is our life.

So, really, this is not the time to be out there in the world.

Taking questions.

Giving answers.

Being scrutinized and watched.

We can’t worry about others.

No, we mustn’t.

No, we can’t.

It is time to close the shutters, and to focus on ourselves.    

Just for Now

breathe

Imagine life without the painful thoughts being stuck on ‘repeat’ and replaying in your mind.

Imagine a peaceful, contented state where you lie back in the sun, and soak up its soothing rays.

Imagine simply resting.

With no anxiety.

With no struggle or resistance.

With no triggered memories.

Oh, wouldn’t it be lovely to set aside that load, and to mindfully inhabit the present.

Just for Now.

 

Holding on to painful memories is like clutching burning coals and hoping they won’t burn you – though, of course, we know they will.

Sometimes we cannot help it. The unconscious takes control. Emotions overwhelm us and the past resurfaces.

But maybe we can break out of that prison for a while.

We haven’t healed completely.

There is still work to be done.

But maybe – for this moment – we can let the weight slip off

And wallow in the lightness.

And the freedom.

Just for Now.

Quote of the Day

I know it's a hard lesson to learn

Loving yourself starts with respecting yourself, and love shouldn’t equal pain.

If the person you love is breaking your heart and causing you to live in anxiety then that isn’t love at all.

Remember that.

“Honey, you are sacred land. Choose your travellers wisely.”

Della Hicks-Wilson

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

this is the beginning

Sawubona.

This beautiful word in the Zulu language captures so much more than the word hello. Behind the greeting is the powerful message:

“I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being.”

And for me, this loving greeting begs the fundamental questions (questions that I think we all should ask ourselves):

“Do I see myself? Do I really see myself? What do I see when I turn my eyes on me?”

Answering those Questions

1. If you’ve been truly loved and valued – the way you should have been – then perhaps you see the beauty and the gifts that you possess. You know you are important. That you should be listened to. Your viewpoints are worth hearing. People take you seriously.

Yes, you have so much to offer. Take those opportunities. You’re bound to be successful. Doors will open up for you.

And someone’s going to love you, for you’re worthy of true love. You’re pretty and you’re funny. People want to be with you.

2. But if you’ve been abandoned, or rejected or mistreated, perhaps your view is different; it’s distorted in some way. And the petals that were opening have shut tight in self-protection. They cannot thrive and blossom in the darkness and cold air.

And there’s things that you’re ashamed of. You might think you have no value. There’s parts that you keep hidden. You’ve been criticized and judged.

And those lies are so destructive. They have killed your self-compassion. You now believe their message, and you cannot see your worth.

Who are You Really?

But you’re not that individual. You are beautiful and precious. Your value? You are priceless.  Can’t you see this for yourself?

And this woman, she is strong for she’s survived some hellish moments. She dealt with pain and heartache – but she’s fought through, and survived.

Yes, this woman is amazing. She has character and courage. She’s brave and independent. A role model for us all. And her spirit’s strong and healthy. Storms and trials don’t defeat her.

Can you see her? Really see her? For this woman, she is you.

Sawubona.

The Most Important Thing is How You Treat Yourself

the one thing you can change

Self-compassion is the extension of kindness, care, warmth, and understanding towards ourselves when we’re in despair, or we’re struggling with life.

Often, this is difficult and challenging for us. It feels counter-cultural – and, sometimes, even wrong – and especially for those who have learned to “be strong”, and to always put the needs of other people first.

However, there are various exercises that can help us practice this – so that showing self-compassion feels more natural and right. We’ve included a couple of these exercise here. (These are based on the work of Kristin Neff, the founder of self-compassion therapy).

Exercise 1: How Would You Respond to a Friend?

  1. Think of a time when a close and valued friend was struggling with something that was difficult for them. If you were able to be with them, and could offer them support, how would you have wanted to respond to your friend? Think of both your verbal and non-verbal messages. What sorts of things might you have said to that person? What would your tone of voice have been like? How would you have wanted them to feel about themselves after opening up and sharing their deepest self with you?
  2. Think of those occasions when you’re struggling in life. How do you talk to yourself at those times? Note your words, your tone of voice, your attitudes and body language. In general, are you cruel, harsh and demanding or encouraging and kind?
  3. Compare and contrast your responses to these questions. To what extent do you treat yourself in the same way, or differently from how you’d treat a treasured, precious friend? Brainstorm and list some possible reasons for this.
  4. Is there anyone in your life who, in the past, treated you the way you treat yourself now? Are there any fears coming into play? What are your core beliefs about yourself, and other people?
  5. How might you feel differently, and how might you change, if you treated yourself the way you treated a good friend?

Exercise 2: Making Time for Self-Compassion

  1. Choose an area of life that is a source of stress for you. As you review the problem and its impact on your life, try to get in touch with all your different feelings and emotions. Where and how do you experience stress in your body? What sorts of thoughts run through your mind?
  2. Now it is time to practise mindfulness. Begin by reminding yourself that this is something that is genuinely difficult for you. You feel weakened and you hurt; you feel helpless and weighed down.
  3. Next, it is important to remind yourself that you are not alone – despite how cut off and disconnected you might feel. That is, suffering is common, and it happens to us all.
  4. Next, take your right hand and gently place it over your heart. Now slowly and tenderly massage that area around your heart. Allow yourself to feel soothed and comforted by this.
  5. As you engage in this activity, try to speak the words you need to hear right now – words of comfort and compassion, of gentleness and love. Some example might include:
  • May I be gentle and tender with myself.
  • May I be kind and compassionate towards myself.
  • May I accept myself completely.
  • May I believe in myself.
  • May I be patient with myself
  • May I forgive myself.
  1. Relax and rest like this for as long as you need.