It may seem easier to stay in the comfort zone of your life now and dream of how things could be different, rather than to actually initiate a change. However change is a part of life and sometimes it’s necessary to make that change to have a more positive and fulfilling life.
Making that change can be particularly difficult when the situation you’re in is quite comfortable and the alternative is unknown. For example leaving a job you don’t enjoy but pays you well, or ending a relationship in which you’re stuck in a rut but not really unhappy.
The fear of change applies to smaller life decisions as well. You may have realised that your a people pleaser and want to change your behaviours, but a fear of how others will react may stop you. Or perhaps you’ve decided to get fit but the fear of failing means you don’t even get started.
This uncertainty about what will happen next maybe scary but if you focus on all the positive things that might happen instead you will find making the first step easier. It’s worth remembering the statement;
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”
So next time you find yourself saying “I wish I could…..” choose to say “I will…..”
As a working mother myself, I can empathise with mums who feel they haven’t got the balance right between work, family and goals. This goes along with a constant feeling of not doing any job as well as you would like to.
So here are some of my top tips to feel better about yourself:
Drop the guilt. No one could do it all and having that guilty feeling doesn’t help any of you. Identify what specifically the guilt is about and make a plan to improve that issue.
Stay in the present. If you’re working and feel you should be with the kids or with the family whilst work sits waiting. Then focus instead on what you are doing at that moment, being in the present will help push those thoughts aside.
Set realistic expectations. You may feel you should put the kids to bed every night but why not make an agreement with yourself to achieve that twice a week and stick to it. You will feel happier and the kids will learn the routine.
Learn to say No. It may feel good to join the PTA or help out in school, but you need to prioritise your time. It’s okay to say no without repeatedly apologising or justifying yourself.
Remember yourself. Mums often put themselves bottom of the list and this can lead to stress, anxiety and a feeling of resentment. So ensure you build some ‘you time’ into your week, every week. I’m sure the ironing can wait!
Life is all about trusting someone or something, the important thing is to know where you are placing that trust. Perhaps you trust the bank to look after your money, the waiter to advise which dish to choose or your friends on whether an outfit suits you? These could all be sensible decisions, but how often do you trust yourself and your own intuition?
A key part to accepting yourself is trusting your gut feeling and the decisions you make whatever anyone else says. Obviously you’re not perfect and things may occasionally go wrong, but doesn’t that sometimes happen when you take others advice anyway?
Intuition and self trust are like a muscle, they need regular exercise to develop and become stronger. So here are a some exercises to give your gut feeling a workout and build up your self-trust:
1. Think back over the last year for any examples of when you trusted your own gut feeling over a decision or action. What happened in those situations?
2. Think back over the last year for any examples of when you were persuaded to a different decision or action by someone or something else. What happened in those situations?
3. Challenge yourself for one day to only trust yourself in all the decisions and actions you take. This means really focusing on what you actually think or feel not what you believe you ‘should’.
“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” ~ Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby
I hope you found step 3 useful. The next part of the process of self-acceptance is to learn about self-sabotage and to become aware of when you are sabotaging yourself and your goals. The reasons that you may self-sabotage are:
If you are expecting to fail because you don’t believe in yourself, you might ensure you make this happens
When things are going well you may bring about failure to ensure you’re still in control, as you believe it will all go wrong soon anyway
Habits such as alcohol, drugs and anger
The need for something different to happen or to ensure a change or to create excitement.
Perfectionism. If it’s not perfect you may sabotage it as it’s not good enough
It is the negative critic inside you that can encourage you to doubt yourself or expect failure. If you can become aware of this voice and challenge, ignore or replace it with a positive thought, then you can avoid the sabotage.
My recommended exercise for step 4 is:
Listen out for that negative self critic voice and write down what it says.
When you have recognised a repeating phrase or theme then challenge yourself as to logically how true these statements are
Whenever you hear the voice again you can tell yourself it is wrong and to ignore it
When you can accept yourself and not the negative voice, you’ll find the voice gets quieter and quieter and your true self becomes louder.
Self-Acceptance Step 3 – Accepting Yourself as You Are
In my last blog Being Kind to Yourself I challenged you to stop criticising yourself and to be kind to yourself for a day, how did that go? In this post I will be focusing on loving and accepting yourself as you are. rather than waiting until you’ve lost weight, met the perfect partner or made lots of money.
Like most people you can probably list the things you don’t like about yourself much easier than the things you love about yourself. However when you regularly reject these parts, you become scared of being rejected by others. This results in you being less assertive and focused on pleasing others rather than yourself.
To help you start to accept yourself as you are try this exercise:
Make a list of things you like about your body, your personality and your achievements
Make a list of the things about yourself you are finding hard to accept
Then imagine you love the things about yourself you’ve listed in number 2. How would your life be easier and better as a result? What would you have to change to feel like that?
Good luck and please leave me a comment about how you’re getting on with these steps.
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Self-Acceptance Step 3, Accepting Yourself as You Are
Following on from my last blog Step 1, Knowing Yourself, I hope you have a clearer understanding of exactly who you are.
Step 2 is about being kind to yourself. I find that a lot of my clients have created a lot of standards and rules for themselves. As a result when they don’t achieve these standards and rules they are very hard on themselves.
I ask them if they would speak to their friends or children this way? If not then why would you treat yourself so harshly?
So I suggest that you make a pledge, that for the rest of the day you will not criticise yourself and will treat yourself with genuine kindness.
My next blog is Self acceptance – step 3 – Accepting yourself as you are
Self -acceptance is about trying to stop changing yourself into the person you would like to be or think you ‘should’ be, so that you can actually find out who you really are.
Do you accept yourself as you really are, even though you may not like everything about yourself? Or are you constantly comparing yourself to an ideal and falling short? Try rating your level of self-acceptance from 0 to 10, where 10 is full self-acceptance. Is that score a surprise?
In my next few blogs I am going to give you tips and ideas on how to increase your self-acceptance level and then you can see if there is a difference in your score.
Step 1, Know Yourself
This means more than just your job, your experiences, your successes or failures but actually who you are and what you want to be remembered for.
What qualities have you shown throughout your life so far and what qualities have people told you that you demonstrate?
What are the values that you hold strongly and that upset you when they aren’t met? Such as loyally, empathy, honesty, freedom or respect.
What are the things that you want to achieve in your life or that you have that are most important to you?
What are the parts of your personality that you find hardest to accept?
Reflect on these questions and if you are finding it difficult to answer them, imagine yourself in a job interview or writing a biography and think about how you would describe yourself.
Use your answers to get a clearer knowledge of exactly who you are.
January and February can feel like bleak months, with celebrations over, dreary weather and New Year resolutions. However a shift in your perception can make them months in which you can prepare your mind and body for the year ahead.
At the moment you may see this time of year as the period when you deprive yourself of the good things in life, these could be drinking, spending money, eating what you like and having time off work. Instead why not think of them as the months when you treat yourself kindly, by giving your body the healthy food and drink it needs, plenty of sleep and your mind a chance to relax. You could treat yourself with simple things like a home beauty treatment, long baths, reading, meditation, exercise or phone calls with friends.
Use January and February as a time to re-invigorate and pamper yourself, look after yourself in same the way you would for good friend who was feeling down or tired out. It’s a time to invest in your body and mind for the exciting opportunities to come.
Christmas happens every year and yet it is often rated 6th in surveys of the most stressful events in life. If you are a perfectionist it can be a nightmare. You may expect to buy the best presents, cook the best food, create the most fun and ensure everyone is happy.
So for this year at Christmas KISS ‘Keep It Simple‘, set yourself realistic standards and use these tips to ensure you enjoy it:
Don’t take too much on. You don’t have to do everything, let others help with dinner or, provide entertainment. Make sure you build in some downtime and aren’t constantly socialising or entertaining.
You aren’t responsible for everyone’s happiness. If members of the family argue or don’t join in or your Mum doesn’t like the way you cooked the pudding, that is their responsibility and not yours. You have provided the Christmas surroundings, it’s up to each person if they have a good time.
‘Good enough is good enough’. You don’t need to light up the whole street with your Christmas decorations or have a gourmet buffet prepared at all times. Save time and money by ‘Keeping it Simple‘ and consider giving some of either to charity instead.
Get some fresh air. Not only will this help burn off the extra calories but will also refresh everyone’s mood.
Think back to last year. What was it that made Christmas great?Was it the most expensive present or the excess of gourmet food? It’s more likely to have been the company, the festive spirit and the smiles on faces.
So this time KISS at Christmas and have a Confident New Year.