You look great today!

What is your reaction when you are paid a compliment?  Do you push it away by saying something negative, do you feel your whole body stiffen and find it hard to make eye contact.  Do you even hear it?

Often our responses to being complimented are because we have a negative self view.  As a nation, we find it hard to see ourselves positively and to own it at the risk of being seen as big-headed and arrogant and so we find it hard to acknowledge our own strengths, abilities, looks or intelligence.  We want to shrink and hide away instead of hearing the compliment and taking it in – and feeling good about ourselves.  I remember being like this through my teenage into my late twenties/early thirties.  I had to learn to firstly hear it, then accept it without pushing it away.

A compliment is like someone giving you a gift.  When you negate it or bat it away, you are pushing back the gift and saying you can’t accept it.  Think about how you feel when you tell someone something you appreciate about them – ‘You look lovely today’ or ‘I appreciate your time’ and they bat it back to you – does it feel good?  No.

When you give another person a compliment and they smile and say “Thank you, that makes me feel really good”, it feels good to you too doesn’t it?  It’s an exchange and you both feel a connection in that moment.

Celebrate National Compliment Day and when you notice something you like about someone, tell them.  If you receive a compliment today – breathe, pause, hear it, let it in and say “Thank you”.  It may be difficult at first – you don’t have to believe it, just hear it. Over time, the more you practice, the better at receiving you will become and the better you will feel about yourself.

Its ok to not be ok

I recently did a talk at an event where I shared my story of how I made a mistake and got myself into a very difficult personal relationship.  The mistake was that I had not listened to my higher self, my intuition, ie my feelings, and I had carried on, logically finding my way through the fog that uncertainty brings. The choice I needed to make in order to bring an end to this relationship was such that I knew others would be hurt.  I avoided making that choice for quite some time.

During this unahappy period of my life I had kept it a secret, I hadn’t spoken to anyone about it.  This was partly due to loyalty but a big part of it was feeling stupid, as in “I should have known … seen the signs … not let myself be x y or z”.

After the talk, I had a conversation with someone who had been in a similar situation and who also had found it difficult to speak to anyone about it.  “I didn’t even tell my Dad”.

It’s hard to admit that we are in emotional pain or in a situation which we perceive as our own fault sometimes.  When we do take courage and share ourselves with another, we can begin to come back to ourselves and clear the fog by identifying our feelings and our true selves..

Whether it is a close friend, a stranger or a professional, there is an incredible power in hearing ourselves speak of our circumstances, feelings or fears to another.

There is nothing unwell or wrong about asking for help.  The recent statements by our HRH The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry raising awareness of the issues around mental health have highlighted that it can be an issue for anyone, even the seemingly privileged.

Getting to therapy can be hard, picking up the phone and saying “I have a problem and I need help” is in some ways the hardest bit. People who do that are well in that they have admitted it to themselves, taken the brave step of sharing it with another and are on the first step to recovery.

It’s ok to not be ok.

A bit scary but lots of fun!

Dawn Alba and I got together last Friday to trial our event later this month.

DSC_0043
With wigs by Dawn and make-up by yours truly we spent the morning working on an idea we had been thinking about for some time.  Now that we had found a venue which could work for us it was time to get going.

I know, and have lost, many girlfriends who have lost their hair during treatment for cancer and have wanted to do something to raise money for the fantastic work done and support given by Macmillan Cancer Support.  When Dawn and I met a few months ago and she told me about her new wig business, the opportunity presented itself.

Macmillan

It was quite scary seeing myself with long blonde hair – and I’m not sure about the lighter bob – it takes a bit of getting used to.  But in the spirit of walking the talk and getting out of my comfort zone we took some photos to show that, actually, its really fun to do.

Afterall, the great thing is that if you don’t like your hair and make-up, you can just take it off!

See the Events page for the results more details of the event.

You Look Disgusting

I saw this beautiful woman, Em Ford, on BBC News this morning.  She was interviewed about her video ‘ You Look Disgusting’.  I was shocked by what I was hearing, although, sadly, bullying on social media is something I hear about more and more.  Em Ford is raising awareness of the ease with which people are abusive to another via social media.  Bullying is presumably much easier behind the disguise of a username via a keyboard.

I recently posted images of myself without make up on my Facebook page and also on this website.  I was extremely fortunate that I received no abuse.  I can tell you though that the risk did cross my mind.  Being a mature woman and making myself vulnerable in that way was scarey but doing ‘the work’ I do on myself and with my clients, I know that ‘Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change’.

The experience for Em Ford, although, distressing, makes her stronger and I am filled with awe at her bravery and beauty in this endeavour.

Her video speaks for itself.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_0cZVAIcWOWiYxnY32gSgg

Let go of shame and step into the Arena

A year ago I was profoundly influenced by Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability so I was really excited when I saw that she was at TED this month talking about the community’s response to her talk but also her response to having made herself vulnerable to, not only the 500 strong TED audience, but also 4m people when her talk went viral!

Her research and her eloquent delivery her message, “that being vulnerable is absolutely essential to wholehearted living”, gave me new insights into my own vulnerability and also a better understanding in my work with my clients and my ‘Forever’ team facing their challenges to go out into the world and do what they needed to do to be emotionally, physically and financially healthy.

This latest work and talk from Brene Brown has given me a new way of thinking about my own  ‘failing’ – particularly by her telling of the ‘Man in the Arena’.  I certainly know my own critic very well.  I’ve been standing outside the Arena too, also thinking I’m going to go in there when I’m bullet proof and I’m perfect.  How about you?

Come with me and we will dare greatly!