Category Archives: Self Compassion

Woes of being New

5155783-3799102610-shutt It is normal to have ‘newbie’ anxieties when ever we start something new that we are not familiar with…like starting a new job or having a new baby.

The only way to get to grips with being new at something is to take it easy. I know it’s easier said than done, trust me, I know but it is the best way, take it easy and take it a step at a time. As you get a feel for the new role, get used to lots of new things, those anxieties will go as your confidence grows.

Remember what it was like learning to drive a car? You had to think of everything, every little thing; having to look at the gear stick to get into the right gear, not being able to multitask (I mean, come on, hill starts?!?), forgetting to look in the mirrors or to indicate. And now? Now you’re able to simply concentrate on the road, aware of others and figure out where you’re going. All those details you used to worry about are now second nature and you don’t even have to think about it, you do it all subconsciously.

The same will happen in your new role; all these things you are learning will become second nature. Be gentle with yourself and take it a moment at a time, day at a time and before you know it, you will not be a newbie 🙂

What do I need?

When was the last time you asked yourself, ‘What do I need?’, ‘What do I want?’.

Many of us never ask ourselves that question and we carry on, regardless of what is going on around us and regardless of our needs.

When we’re full of anxiety or so low and depressed, we still carry on like nothing has changed. We are the ones with the problem and we try to ‘fix’ it with coping strategies – some good and some dangerous.

How about trying a different way of doing things? Maybe a better, deeper and more fulfilling way?

When something goes wrong and we end up living with something like anxiety or depression, we are trying to tell ourselves something. We are screaming at ourselves to change things but we don’t hear it because we are not listening.

Take anxiety for example. Why have you got it?

Are you doing too much and not resting, keeping your mind and body fully alert, even when it’s not needed?

Are you putting yourself in situations where you are out of your depth, with little or no support or guidance?

Is there too much going on and you feel like you are spread too thin and being pulled apart trying to keep everything going?

There is a reason you are feeling anxious, maybe many reasons.

A good way to deal with this is to hear what Anxiety is trying tell you. Maybe you need to write a list of all the demands on you and talk to someone in your support network to talk about the pressures you are under.

Write down what is immediate, in a few months and what is long term. Breaking it down like this will help you tackle things at the appropriate times. Anxiety loves to think and stress about everything (even something 20 years in the future!). By breaking it down, you will be able to see, clearly what needs to be actioned or thought about when, releasing some of that tension.

Keep asking yourself, ‘What do I need right now’ and hopefully you will start to listen to the answers and learn to trust your instincts. x

Perfect vision

They do say hindsight is 20/20 and almost everyone I know does this; We look back at the past and we beat ourselves up with the most commonly used words, ‘I should have known better’.

So many of my clients say this to me, ‘I should have known better’, or ‘It was my fault’ and there is great difficulty in forgiving themselves.

How do we start to turn this around though? How do we start to feel better about our regrets from the past?

Of course it’s easy to look back, knowing the full impact of decisions and events but at the time, you only know what you know. (you know!)

In any moment in time, we can only do the best we can, at that time. Perhaps we are tired, exhausted even. Perhaps we were rushed, or we reacted and it was all just too overwhelming.

The only way to let go, is to acknowledge you tried your best at the time, you know now what would have been better BUT at the time you didn’t. Perhaps you will do things differently but the main thing is to realise that because of what has happened, you are wiser and you know more. Some call this life experience and we do learn the most from mistakes and bad situations.

You couldn’t have known better because you maybe didn’t have that particular knowledge at the time.

Remember, you are always doing the best you can (taking into consideration all the drains on you) and you can’t know everything. Trust yourself and your instincts, learn to be your own best friend and talk to yourself to meet those needs no one else can meet and learn from bad situations.

Turn your ‘I should have known better’ to ‘Next time, I will know better’.

Breathe, be in the moment and forgive yourself.

It’s ok to let go and move on.

It’s ok x

PS I love you…but do you love yourself?

Have you seen the movie, PS I love you? You will need a whole box of tissues if you do watch it. For me, the movie is amazing and very relevant to all our lives.

In the movie, the husband, who dies from cancer, has written letters to his widow and organised for her to get them after he has died. The letters are so moving but they are his way of making sure she starts living again after he has gone.

With days like Valentine’s Day, the shop full of red roses, adverts on what to buy for your loved one, the pressures is being put on.

Pressure on those in relationships; ‘Oh I must remember to do something romantic’ and pressure on those who are single; ‘I’m unworthy because I have no one to share Valentines with’…what pressures are you feeling about Valentines?

Can I share something with you? I’ve been with Iain since I was 17, that’s 23 years of my life with the same guy. He has loved me when I was skinny, when I had body image issues, when I hated myself, when I had my numerous breakdowns, when I got fat, when I had my kids, when I’m happy, when I’m ill…yes, I’m really luck to have him in my life and feel deep gratitude.

Want to know a big secret? It didn’t matter that I had someone who loved me unconditionally. It didn’t matter because I didn’t love myself and not matter what he said, I couldn’t believe it because I knew my own personal truth.

Since doing all my counselling studies, I have learnt to show myself unconditional love, to be self aware and self compassionate. I have learnt that even though I don’t belong or fit in, it’s ok because I am me and I’m ok.

I AM.

By the end of the movie, PS, I love you, by the end of all the letters, the husband had given his wife, Holly the best gift ever; he gave her the chance to find herself again, to remember who she was, to remember her dreams and to remember what made her happy and feel alive.

So on Valentine’s day, or on any day, show appreciation for those who have loved you, but first and foremost, sit down with yourself and say, ‘I love you’.

I love you, just as you are, perfect in your imperfections <3

Boobs, boobs and more boobs!

I love boobs! The best thing about having kids were my breast going from a 32B to 36DD! Yes, they did and I loved it…and still continue to love my boobs.

OMG, how can you say that and talk so openly about them like that!! Have you no shame?

NO! I have no shame. I love them, I love them when I’m with Iain and I loved them when I was feeding the kids. Yes, I said it; I love them in a sexual way and in a motherly way.

Working with a client the other day the Mum asked me, “Is it OK if I breastfeed ‘baby’ here or should I go into another room?”

It honestly broke my heart that this question had to be asked in the first place. What sort of society are we in that something as natural and normal and magical as feeding your own child becomes something we are ashamed of??????

I proudly told her that I breastfed Anisha until she was almost 20 months old and Dan until he was 12 months old (he chose to stop which was heartbreaking for me!). I told her that it is the most natural thing in the world to do and I could see her completely relax and start to feed.

I don’t think it should be breastfeeding mums that should feel shamed and feed their children in secret. I remember feeding my kids was the most magical experience I was blessed to have, knowing that my body alone was keeping this baby alive, was keeping them healthy and helping them to grow big and strong.

I think society needs to change its ideas on what is acceptable and what is not. We need to remember we are organismic beings and what our primary purpose in life is. We need to stop being so precious about our bodies and stop fighting against what we are made to do and how we are meant to be. Let’s trust our instincts a bit more and be proud of what our bodies can do.

So the next time you see boobs, be amazed, be very amazed because you know what?

They are wonderful!!!!!!!!

(Please note, this is about me and NOT a judgement on those who chose not to breastfeed <3)

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

So one day you wake up and you don’t recognise the person in the mirror. Every morning and night, you see yourself in the mirror when brushing your teeth, when applying make up, maybe you even have a mirror by the front door for you to double check yourself before you go out.

But one day you really LOOK at the person looking back at you and that image doesn’t match the image in your mind of what you look like. Years of (maybe) smoking, drinking, sunshine, bad eating, [insert your own activity] has finally had an effect on you. You suddenly look OLD.

Are there extra grey hairs that you are certain were not there yesterday? Perhaps there are a lot more wrinkles than you remembered….You look at yourself and your heart drops. It’s finally happened. You ARE old.

One of the participants on our last eCourse had this very same problem. She spent years looking after others as a carer and mother, then one day she looked at herself in the mirror and really saw herself. She didn’t like what she saw.

Her self esteem was based on her looks and with getting older, she suddenly found her self esteem slipping. With low self esteem she found she was loosing her confidence and her happiness.

BUT there is good news! On the course the most powerful exercise for her was when she took her self portrait. It took great courage for her to take photos of herself but once she did the image and answered the questions I had set, she found herself changing. She found she could forgive herself for the feelings she had of not looking after herself and started drinking more water and eating healthier. She found herself changing her hairstyle, realising that people did not ‘throw up’ when they could see her face. (Her words!)

AND best of all, she found herself accepting herself just as she was. She was more confident with this new found acceptance and in turn, people reacted to her better. She now wants to start a business helping older women feel better about themselves.

What an inspiration!!!!

So the next time you see yourself in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, know that there is a way to change your mindset through the power of self compassion <3

Step 2 – Love your body; Detox your mind

I am sure you have heard of a body detox? Well, we are going to look at detoxing our minds.

I believe one of the main reasons we as women are in such a state about our bodies is because we are mean. Now, be honest with yourself, think about all your female relationships, or think about when you watch TV or flick through a magazine. What goes through your mind? What do you say when you have all your girlfriends together? When you talk about other women?

“Wow, she’s put on weight!”

“She’s so skinny, that bitch!”

“She really shouldn’t be wearing ‘skinny’ jeans”

Can you add some more? Be honest, what have you thought in the past week? Month?

Now turn it around and think about what has been said to you. Take a few minutes here to jot down some hang ups you have in your life because someone has made a comment about it?

“You know you’d look so much prettier if you did your eyebrows this way” or

“Your bum looks so big in that”

Ok, maybe those are lame examples but have a think and write down some examples of your own. Now have a think who said them to you. Where are they in their lives? Do you want their lives? To be like them? Have they actually got any expertise in the area? Do they have your best interest in mind? Does their opinion really matter that much?

What have you come up with?

The point is, there are people out there who are so quick to put you down to keep you from becoming confident.

By mindlessly bitching with your friends, or at the TV, you are training  your mind that it is ok to talk like that. It is ok to pick out imperfections. It’s ok because that means that person is not perfect so you can feel ok about yourself.

It’s ok to put others down so you feel ok.

Is it really ok?

We now come to the real reason why we need to retrain our minds. By talking this way about others, and training our minds that it is ok, it begs the question:

What exactly are we saying to ourselves?

You know, that voice in your head that says things. I’ll bet you that voice isn’t very nice to you, is it? You know it’s your voice and  you don’t like it but you let it say these things AND YOU BELIEVE IT!

Here are some examples of what other women have said from a survey I sent out:

“I am not good enough to be part of anything and can’t do anything.”


“I am just existing and smile through the pain, living in my own personal hell.”


“If anyone else treated me I do to myself, I would take them to court for abuse and yet I feel I deserve to do this to myself.”


“I have let myself go and am not good enough to be part of society. I don’t fit in, I don’t belong.”

Write down all the things you can think of that the voice has said to you. Has the voice been kind to you? Do you like it? Can you image living life without this negativity within you? What would that be like?

Be mindful of the voice and what negative things it is saying to you. For a day or so, just notice and make notes if you need to. Notice what you say to yourself, what your friends say to you, to each other, what is said on TV, in the magazine. Just notice how much negativity is out there.

You can’t really control what other people say or do but like I said in the intro, this is your life and you are in control, and you choose what you do and where you go next.

You CAN start changing your mindset.

Every time you hear yourself being negative, say THREE nice things to counter act it.

So if you see a large woman wearing a pair of skinny jeans a few sizes too small, and you’re thinking “She should not be wearing those!”, bat that thought away with “Her hair is a beautiful colour, her eyes are full of so much happiness, she has put that outfit together so well”

Try and think of three positives to every negative and you will soon find your mind is being retrained. Maybe you will even stop thinking of negatives all together? Maybe you will start seeing beauty in all these women around you where before you only saw flaws?

Now, can you image doing that to the voice in your head? For every negative thought you have to say to yourself, can you say three nice things?

3 positives – 1 negative = 1 happier woman!

I would strongly suggest you write down the positives, or if you wish, take a photos of the positives (don’t worry if you’re not ready yet, there’s plenty of time for that).  Collect these positives and look at them often, you will start seeing yourself in a new light and you will start believing how wonderful you are, and how beautiful you are and most importantly, how worthy you are.

Remember, you need to go through the process to see the results.

You can also try a Love ritual which will help you feel better about yourself.

Stand yourself in front of the mirror and say,

“I love you, you are beautiful, you have every right to have a place on this earth and you are worthy of everything.”

Do it as often as you can but promise yourself you will do it at least twice a day. Maybe when you’re brushing your teeth? That’s twice a day 🙂 Change what you say to yourself by all means, as often as you like, to suit what you need at the time, but make sure it is positive.

Going up a rung

The hardest thing about becoming a mother is the realisation that you have gone up a rung.
What do I mean by that?

Well, we are children first with parents and perhaps grandparents. Then grandparents start to die and we start to have children…so we are now the parents and our parents are the grandparents.

For some of us, this new identity can be quite overwhelming, especially if we start to care for our parents. There is such a mix of emotions and we need to process. Suddenly, we can find ourselves in the middle of everything and everyone, supporting those around us whilst also working and keeping the house.

No wonder we disappear and lose our identity!

We are not children anymore and have this huge responsibility looking after another person
We are not parents yet as we are just starting out and learning
We have to learn to cope with seeing our parents getting older and their mortality coming to the foreground
We become parents to our parents which is very strange and takes a while to get used to
We are still children within but we don’t play anymore because we are drowning with all our new obligations
We try and keep everyone happy
We try and do everything, perhaps the job of 3 or more people
We don’t take time out for ourselves
We are exhausted
We are not who we used to be…

That’s a lot for one person. A hell of a lot.

Be kind to yourself and take it a step at a time. Thank you for looking after everyone else, please make time to look after yourself too x

 

Self Compasssion

From a young age we are taught to think of others and to be kind. Has anyone ever taught you to do this for yourself? I bet you that you are the kind of person who puts everyone else’s needs above yours, that you are so kind and caring everyone comes to you for help. I bet you encourage those around you and build them up when they are down.

In the same breath though, I bet you don’t do any of these things for yourself, do you? I bet you are pretty hard on yourself and you are always telling yourself off, right? Your self talk is very negative and you put yourself in your place;

“I should know better!!!”
“I am so pathetic”
“I’m such a looser”
“[add what you say to yourself]”

Why on earth do we do this to ourselves? Why do we think everyone else is more worthy, more able, more capable, better, wiser, MORE.

Well, this stops today!!!! From when you read this email, you will change things because my dear friend, you are worthy, capable, better, wiser and ENOUGH.

Trust me, I know 😀

So where does self compassion come in?

The easiest way I describe it for it to really work is to imagine your best friend or child or person you love and give so much to is going through what you are.

What would you say to them?
How would you help them?
How would you be with them?
Talk to them?

Act towards yourself as you would towards them.
Talk to yourself as lovingly and caringly as you would talk to them.
Be with yourself as you would be with them.
Use positive and encouraging words to yourself as you would them.

Does that make sense?

It really is that simple.

By doing this, you will start to learn to accept yourself and if you don’t, in time you will start to like yourself.
You will build your self worth and grow in self esteem and confidence.
You will not feel lonely because your best friend is right there within you.
You will always feel loved.
You will be comforted.
You will always feel like you belong.

Now that sounds like a step towards happiness, don’t you think?

Honour the seasons your soul is in

The theme of seasons is really resonating with lots of people at the moment.
Nature is such a fantastic teacher and we see how trees get ready to sleep in the autumn ready for winter, bloom in the spring and are at their full glory in summer.
So why as humans do we fight the seasons we go through?
We have periods of winding down, sleep, bloom and reach our full glory.
If we acknowledge the season we are in, we can prepare and protect ourselves from it
For example in the winter we wear extra clothing to keep us warm, so if we are going through a hard time, we might need extra compassion and support.
Does that make sense?
Honour the season your soul is in <3

4-seasons-1-tree