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.

50 Not Out

50 Not Out is a heading on an article in the latest FSB magazine ‘First Voice’ which caught my eye this week.  4,000,000 people aged 50-64 in the UK are classed as ‘workless’.Unfortunately, a large number of this section of people have been made redundant several times in the last few years or have realised that their pension will not be sufficient to live on.  The article tells us that they are having to deal with the shock of redundancy and are struggling to come to terms with changing personal circumstances resulting from it.

For the over-50s, the biggest obstacles to overcome are often rebuilding self-confidence and a fear of not having the necessary skills.  So why is it that around 400,000 people in this age bracket want to work for themselves as sole traders or by setting up a business?

Perhaps it’s because we are told our life expectancy is increasing and along with that, we realise that with the changes in retirement age, we are going to be around longer and working but the current economic climate is not encouraging or allowing us to find work.  If you are over 50, starting your own business might be the only way to make a living but if you have always been employed, this could be quite scarey.

Encouragingly, the article also tells us that “A business started by someone over 50 is more likely to survive five years than one started by someone in their 20s or 30s”.  Perhaps this is because we have experience and a bit of know-how?  I recognise that even though I am over 50, I still have a lot to give and a lot to do.  I have dreams, goals and ambitions.  True they are different from the dreams, goals and ambitions I had when I was in my 20s and 30s but I am still going forward.

I am very interested in hearing from anyone reading this who is over 50 and would like to start their own business.  I have the perfect vehicle.  Have a look here and get in touch if you would like to have a chat about how I can support you to build a great business, with the full backing and support of a stable, global organisation.

If starting your own business isn’t something you want to do but you are feeling the effects of redundancy or lack of confidence then there are many Bach Flower Remedies which can help with that.  Contact me and give me an idea of what you are experiencing and I would be happy to recommend some remedies for you.

Just as a rough guide, here are a few:

For getting over a setback – Gentian

For dealing with shock – Star of Bethlehem

For backing off from something you really want to do but you lose your confidence – Larch

For dealing with changes in your personal circumstances or lifestyle – Walnut

You can buy the Bach Flower Remedies from good health stores or I can make a remedy and send it to you.

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!