boundaries

Soft heart, strong back

I thought being kind and having boundaries were mutually exclusive. I struggled to reconcile having my own needs met without making others feel like I’m being selfish and unkind.

We all want to be liked and we all want to be kind to others. It’s one of the best qualities of human character. We are taught from a young age that we must be kind to all of creation. Compassion and kindness becomes the yardstick by which society judges our humanness as we are growing up. Striving to cultivate this character trait is worthwhile as long as we remember to include ourselves into the equation. Just like we cannot truly give unconditional love to another until we love ourselves unconditionally, the truth is that we cannot truly be kind and compassionate to another until we are kind to ourselves and practice self-compassion.

True kindness and compassion to others can only exist in a relationship where both party’s needs are being met and healthy boundaries are in place. A relationship between two people have to be a continuous exchange of giving and receiving. If one party is a giver and the other is a receiver, the relationship is not healthy and there can be no trust built. When we are the giver and we deplete ourselves by giving, we are left with no reserves in our tank and eventually we will become resentful towards the receiver.

But how do we create boundaries when we have already set up unhealthy relationship patterns and how do we communicate our intention to maintain the connection in the relationship but still make sure our needs are met?

The short answer is that it’s a practice and the most difficult time is when we first start practicing setting boundaries. In the beginning, it will feel very uncomfortable for us and be very confusing and frustrating for the other party.

The trick is to keep the heart soft and the back strong and firm.

Resentment and the anger at the realisation of our over-giving can sometimes lead to us get tough and lash out at the other party. What’s happening is that we are feeling so vulnerable about having to set a boundary that anger feels more comfortable.

Kindness and boundaries must exist together in a relationship in order for us to be truly compassionate because we cannot be kind to others when they are taking advantage of us.

Setting a boundary with a soft heart and a strong back would mean that we have to be willing and vulnerable enough to say “I love you and I appreciate you and you are important to me but I’m going to have to say no because this isn’t going to work for me.”

 

Soft heart = I love you and I appreciate you and you are important to me

Strong back = I’m going to have to say no because this isn’t going to work for me

 

The follow up conversation will be to explore another option that might work better for both parties.

Practice doing this when you need to set a new boundary in a relationship and in time you will create a new relationship where your boundaries are respected and your needs are met.

Today (3)

Be Brave, Live BIG !

I thought I was shrinking because I was afraid of how others would perceive me, but then I realised I was shrinking because living BIG meant I had to let go of blame & judgement and take full responsibility for my life. Ouch!

Blaming and judging seduces us into believing that our world would be a better place if others would just change the way they do things. Why can’t they just see that what they are doing is wrong. Surely they must realise that their actions are affecting us and them negatively.

From this place we are helpless and we are dependent on others to change in order for us to live a better life. We remain small, resentful and unhappy.

It takes courage and strength to let go of blame. Letting go of judgement is even more difficult because we are wired to judge. Whether we want to admit it or not, judgement is our way of saying “I’m not so bad” because look he/she is doing “this or that”.

When the penny dropped for me on this one, it hit me hard. Coming face to face with my self-judgement and my judgement of others was a bitter pill to swallow. What I learnt was that in order to live the brave, courageous and purposeful life I intended to, I had to learn how to live BIG.

Living BIG as described by Brene Brown is when we learn how to set Boundaries, act inside of our Integrity and we are Generous with our assumptions about others.

B –oundaries (communicating what’s ok and what’s not ok in our relationships with others)

I –ntegrity ( choosing courage over comfort, choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast and easy, practicing our values and not just professing them)

G –enerous ( assuming that people are doing the best they can and checking in with them if we need to)

From this place, we can set up positive relationships and we can take responsibility for what works and what doesn’t work for us. We can give others the opportunity to improve on the things that they struggle with in relationship with us and vise versa.

When healthy boundaries are in place in relationships, everyone knows what’s ok. When we live in integrity and aligned with our values everyone knows how we will show up on any given day. There’s no guessing, no manipulation and no game playing. When we assume the best about others and check in with them when we feel uneasy about their choices, we develop mutual respect and trust in our relationships.

Living BIG will mean we may need to have difficult conversations sometimes. It may mean that we have to re-evaluate our own actions and be honest about our intentions in relationships. It may even mean that we have to let go of toxic relationships where our boundaries are not being respected.

While playing small keeps us tucked away cosy in the victim mode looking at others to fix themselves in order for us to feel better, living BIG gives us the freedom to choose how we want our lives to look and feel and how we want to show up in our own lives.

Living BIG is awkward, it’s messy and it takes a willingness to be seen but it’s also real, raw and authentic. It shifts the happiness responsibility to YOU. Which means it’s empowering and it’s freeing.

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story teller

Is the story you making up diminishing your worthiness?

You know how things happen to you and you find yourself making up a story about it and basing your decisions and choices on the made up story?
This used to happen to me often until I started becoming more aware and conscious about the stories I was making up in my head.
It never occurred to me that a lot of the choices I was making about my life were automatic, patterned and sometimes even predictable.
This is what we call habitual behaviours. We start forming these behaviours from a very early age and we learn most of them from our closest relationships in childhood.

One of the biggest habits we have created in our lives is story formation. This is when we make up stories in our heads about a situation or life experience. We are hard-wired for story which means that every time something happens in our lives our brain immediately starts making up a story about it. The interesting thing is that it doesn’t matter to the brain whether the stories we are making up are true or not, the brain needs a good guy and a bad guy in order to be satisfied. And because the brain’s job is to protect us, we are always the good guy in the story and the other party or parties are the bad guys.

This can present us with a problem because unless we can own our truth and our part in the story as it really is, we will make decision based on a false interpretation of a situation.

So how do we challenge the stories we make up and get to the truth of situations that challenge us?

We need to become more curious and conscious about what we are feeling, believing and accepting to be true. When we take the time to ask ourselves questions like
“what’s really going on here” or “ what story am I making up about this” and we go inside of ourselves to find the answers we may be surprised to learn that there really is no bad guys in the story.

Brene Brown, a researcher who studies shame, vulnerability and connection says we should rumble with the story until we can find it’s truth and own it. What this means is that we need to check in with those who are part of the story to see if how we are interpreting their part in the story is true.

deny story

For some of us this might be uncomfortable or awkward because we’de much rather believe the story we’ve made up than check in with others to confirm.
In relationships that have little effect on our lives, this may not be such a big deal but when it comes to personal relationships like partners, parents, children, siblings etc there is so much more to lose by buying into the stories we make up without challenging their validity and truth. And what about the stories we make up about ourselves and our worth.

Brene says “the most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness”.
When we experience the disappointment of failure, the hurt of betrayal or the pain of loss, we make up stories about our worthiness to be loved and to belong.
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When we take the time to get curious, challenge the story and own our part in it, we get to write the ending and we get to choose how it shapes our future.

blog-gratitude

How gratitude will help you go from poverty to prosperity

I heard someone say we need to watch our spending because everything is going up in price and if you are not careful you will not have enough money.

I used to buy into this reasoning and this mindset until I realised that there is so much money in this world that we certainly can’t run out of it anytime soon.

There’s something about your mindset that seems to drive what shows up in your reality. Ever notice how some people never have enough money, others seem to have sufficient and then there are those who have an abundance. I’m thinking that those with abundance must be operating from an abundant mindset. They don’t believe that there is too little money, they just have figured out how to get money to flow to them.

Look I’m not saying there isn’t poverty and that people just have to think about more money then they will get more. No, I’m saying that when we live from a place of gratitude for what we have and we stop complaining about what we don’t have, money will start to come to us.

Just like we keep love away from us when we close our hearts, so too do we keep money and prosperity away from us when we shut out possibility. Ever notice how some people can make a living by doing things we would never have thought of? They’ve learnt how to open themselves up to possibility. (P.S and I’m not talking about anything illegal or unlawful).

Gratitude is the language of GOD. Every expression of gratitude opens the lines of communication between us and GOD. When we learn the language of God we speak with faith and anything seems possible.

blog-intentions

Intention, the solution to reaching fulfilling goals

As I get more and more invested and familiar with the Life Coaching profession I am learning that there are so many people who are still so stuck on chasing goals and making the next big dream come true.

Traditionally Life Coaching started as a profession to help people set clear goals. The coach helped the client develop a S.M.A.R.T plan to reach these goals. The role of the coach being to motivate, support and give the client tools to realise their dreams and achieve their goals as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

Having clearly defined goals and striving towards them with focus is admirable and will certainly bring with it a wonderful feeling of accomplishment once the goal is reached.

Goal-orientated coaching is focused on the outward achievement of material things. Reaching this goal means that the client will now start focusing on the next goal and this becomes a never ending chase to the finish line so that the trophy can be won.

The negative about being so focused on goals is that there is a chase to reach the dream and in the process the journey towards the dream is lost.

When we set an intention, and live them in our lives, we are allowing our values to drive how we show up and we are aligned with what is most important to us. In our moment to moment living we are connected to our inner experience of the journey towards our goals.

Setting clear intentions AND having lofty goals is a much better model to bring to the clients life. In partnership the two can bring so much more fulfillment and achievement.

Intentions are in the present moment and are felt, goals are in the future and are reached.

Many people have not yet realised that every goal they are chasing is because they believe that reaching it will make them experience some emotion.Whether its the feeling of love, security, freedom, happiness or accomplishment, the end result of what they really want is to feel something not only have something.

I believe that bringing intention into the goal setting and coaching the client to connect to the feeling even before the goal is achieved brings a new level of depth to the clients life.

If you have a goal you’ve set for 2016 and you are focused and working diligently towards it everyday, I’de like to invite you to set the intention to really enjoy every milestone reached on your journey towards your goal.

There is a big difference between climbing the mountain to reach the top AND climbing the mountain to reach the top with the intention of enjoying the flowers, wildlife, weather and scenery along the way.

blog-gremlin

My little gremlin, the voice of fear

Have you noticed that the tough decisions we have to make is almost always the one’s that gives us the most fulfilling and satisfying feelings once we are brave enough to face them?

Deciding to step into my purpose and pursue life coaching and mentoring as a full time job was easy in the heart but oh so tough in the mind. You know that feeling when your heart says “YES, this feels right!” and your head says, “what on earth do you think you doing?” Well I battled with that feeling for a long time and even after everything aligned and fell into place, I still have moments when I think, what are you thinking?

Because I’m a trained coach, I know this kind of self-talk. It’s the voice inside our head which is fear-based and wants to keep us safe at all cost. Some call it the ego but I like to think of it as my little gremlin who feels threatened by my personal evolution and transformation. She’s so sly. Making me think she’s just so concerned about my well-being when in reality she’s just so afraid of being replaced with wonder, magic and abundance. I’ve listened to her for so many years, living in fear of “what ifs” and remaining small and invisible. But not anymore!

Replacing the voice of fear with the voice of abundance and love is no easy task. It’s not something you can do once and then your fears are gone forever. We have to do it everyday. And on somedays the voice of fear is SCREAMING and the voice of abundance and love is really battling to make itself heard.

I’m sure you have your own little gremlins who speak to you in that fear-based voice when you want to step out and do something different. Next time you hear her/him whisper in your ear “what if”….. take a deep breath, go to that quiet place within and ask yourself “why not”.