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How to Let Go of What Other People Think

I’ve been studying this for years because I really find it fascinating! I find it fascinating because I’m aware that it impacts on my life and my decisions (I’m definitely a recovering people pleasing perfectionist) so I really had to dig deep into it!

Another way of describing being real or true to yourself is being “authentic” and there is an amazing quote from the expert in this field, Brene Brown. She defines authenticity as ‘the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are’
Think about that for a moment- a daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.

Why is it a daily practice?

Well, because it’s really hard!

Never mind having to psyche yourself up to do it on a daily basis, sometimes you have to psyche yourself up to do it on an hourly basis! It’s hard because we’ve been raised with an idea/a notion of who we’re supposed to be- it’s all around us, it’s been programmed into our minds since childhood- expectation and pressure is rife and that can be difficult to overcome. That’s the letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be side of things but the 2nd part of being authentic is embracing who we are. That’s equally as challenging, as for many of us, we don’t actually know who we are! How can we embrace who we are if we don’t know who she is- or if we think she is weak/flawed in some way.

So, where does the whole worrying what other people think come from? Well, it’s seeped into our lives gradually! When you were a kid, the answers to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” were limitless and varied. My future career plans included being a pilot, an astronaut, the president of Ireland, a writer, a teacher and a supermarket checkout clerk because I liked the sound of the beeps (a desire which has been satisfied since the introduction of self-scan!) Your answers may have been similarly ambitious or bizarre – but there were at least focused on things you were passionate about as a child.

When we were kids, we didn’t worry about things like getting a mortgage, eating sensible meals, promotions or biological clocks! We saw adulthood as a place of amazing freedom: when you’re an adult, you can cross the road on your own, buy as many toys as you like, go to Disneyland by yourself and eat cake for breakfast.

But somehow by the time we reach our early twenties, this world of vast possibilities has completely narrowed. We go to college, because that’s what everyone else is doing. Then we look for a sensible, entry-level job, because that’s what everyone else is doing. Pretty soon, we think about buying a house, getting a better car, working towards a promotion, watching crap on TV … because that’s what everyone else is doing!

What Happened to our Amazing Life?
Life isn’t supposed to be a dull, day-in-day-out routine where work is just about bearable and evenings are spent going through the motions: eating dinner, watching TV, surfing the net … waiting for it to be time to go to bed, sleep, get up and repeat.

Life can be an adventure, it can be fun, it can have you at the edge of your seat in anticipation sometimes, it can be a leap into the unknown, a chance to grow, and an opportunity to do something that makes a difference after you’ve gone. This is what you wanted at one point in your life! What went wrong? The answer is that you started to care what other people think!

Some people have no problems with “peer pressure”: they’re self-declared rebels who have forged their own path since they were two years old without any worries about what their parents, siblings or friends might think!

The rest of us though, find that other people’s expectations and opinions can begin to rule and run our lives. In some ways, this isn’t surprising at all.

As humans, we’re social creatures and if we behave in a way that raising a lot of eyebrows and causes disapproval amongst our social group, we risk being excluded or rejected by our community.

An extra factor in this is that girls especially have been raised to be people pleasers: as children, we delighted in praise from parents and teachers, and we continue seeking this as adults.
So, tell me! Does the voice in your head go something like this?

• I really don’t want to go out to the pub tonight, but the girls will think I’m no fun if I stay home and they’ll be talking about me when I’m not there.
• I’m under pressure and struggling with my workload already but I can’t say no when someone asks me to do a favour as they might think I’m mean, a bitch or that I’m struggling with my workload!
• I know that this relationship isn’t working, but how can I say that to Tom? He’ll hate me. I’ll go with the flow for another month and see what happens.

If it was your best friend saying something like the above comments to you, you would give her a swift kick up the ass; tell her to cop on to herself and to do what she wanted and what would make her happy. “Who cares what other people think!” you would say.

Remember, no-one else in the world knows what is going on inside your head (thank god says you); you can’t read minds and know what’s going on in their heads either. It really is a waste of time to worry what other people will be thinking: more than likely we will be wrong and we end up dramatising everything into gargantuan proportions! Even if other people are thinking negatively about you, what real impact do other people’s negative thoughts have on your life?

I’ve often worried what people will think and I used to hold myself back to a huge degree. I’m self employed and I really struggled to put myself out there when I set out on my own – I was terrified of ‘being exposed’ to a mass of strangers. I had no idea how people would react to a nervous 27 year old giving a seminar on ‘Self Esteem’ and I would dramatise it in my head, playing out different scenarios, each one worse than the last. (In my mind dramas, no-one threw anything at me, but many people muttered under their breath and walked out mid-seminar). If I had allowed worrying what other people thought of me to run my life, I would not be where I am right now. I would probably be living a miserable life always wondering ‘What if?’

“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing” Aristotle

You are not here because you want to say, do and be nothing! On the contrary, you want to say what you want to say, do what you want to do and be who you really are! So, you may well experience some criticism! I’d love to just say, ‘fuck it, do what you want to do, be who you want to be and say what you want to say! Who cares what other people think!’ but in reality I know it’s not that easy! This is a process and is something that will take some time! I’ll just quickly talk you through some of what you’ll be working on!

1. Cultivate self-acceptance.

The first step in letting go of what other people think is to strengthen your core foundation so that you feel strong enough to go with what feels right for you. By feeling strong within yourself about your own decisions and choice, you will no longer feel the need to look to others for their input or approval.

Start a self-appreciation journal and on a daily basis acknowledge the things you’re most proud of about yourself: decisions you’ve made, times you practiced self love and respect, insights you’ve learned, things you like about yourself, situations that you’ve stayed true to yourself, or whatever feels right for you.

2. Stop looking for validation from other people.

Secondly, you need stop looking for validation from other people about the decisions that you have made and more importantly, for who you are.

This means noticing when you you’re seeking approval and wanting someone else to say you’re ok, that you made the right choice, or that you did the right thing. It takes a while to be able to catch this but in your journal you can note down your triggers!

Instead, give yourself the thumbs up! When you do make a decision, check in with yourself first that it feels right and remind yourself that it is your decision to make! This is your life and you are living it for you, not for someone else.

3. Surround Yourself with a Supportive Tribe

It is not just you. There is nothing wrong with you and you do not need to be fixed! What can be invaluable is having a supportive tribe who get you and who have your back. That’s why I’ve created the ‘I Am More Than Enough’ private group which is a safe space for you to show up, practice being real, being brave and we will have your back! Plus, we have a 7 Day Confidence Boost Challenge starting next week! And it’s all FREE!

I hope you enjoyed this blog!

See you in the group!

P x

Be the lighthouse, not the electricity…

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Anne Lamot

The first time I heard this quote it both cracked me up and also resonated deeply with me! I was Be the lighthouse not the electricityintroduced to this quote an concept by my spiritual teacher Rebecca Campbell and I’m curious if it resonates with you too?

You see, from my own personal experience and from working with so many women around the world, I can see that we have a tendency to be the electricity for other people. We allow other people to plug into our energy, our vibrancy and our light- we become their source of light. This can occur in many different ways and relationships- perhaps you’re in a relationship with someone and you know it’s not working for you, but your partner is very dependent on you. Or on your team in work, you have become the Go-To woman for everyone’s problems or perhaps you keep offering your attention and energy to others if you feel they need help…..

I was the electricity for others for many years and it didn’t serve me well. I didn’t have clear boundaries in place and often I would get phone calls or texts late at night from friends, family and even friends of friends who needed help, a lift or if they’d had a row with their partner and needed to talk. I allowed people to plug into me so they’d always feel lighter and brighter leaving me but I’d feel drained and duller as a result.

It took a long time to learn to be the lighthouse instead of the electricity. and it didn’t come naturally. One of the main reasons why I struggled with becoming the lighthouse was because of my desire ‘to be needed’ and this is something that comes up regularly with clients! Even though it’s draining and a pain in the ass, it can be a great ego boost to be ‘the one they run to’. But over time, I was able to that I had been doing people a disservice by being their energy source. I was enabling their ‘helpless’ states instead of challenging them in a kind way and pointing out their strengths and resourcefulness.

Through learning how to coach people, studying emotional agility, wellness and working on my own boundaries and self worth, I gradually become stronger and more solid within myself. My focus now is to connect to my own light through taking care of myself and living a life that is in alignment with who I am and what I desire. That allows me to do work I am passionate about and where I can teach people how to do that for themselves.

So, how about you? Are you running around the island looking for ships to save or are you focused on becoming strong and grounded within yourself so you can shine brightly like a lighthouse?

P x

How to Do Your Own Quarterly Review

It’s almost halfway through April already can you believe it? Time is going too fast!

Remember in January when you were looking at the year with fresh eyes, full of dreams, wishes and aspirations for 2017? Maybe it was eating healthier, changing jobs, working on your personal relationships, planning that world trip……

How are you getting on with that sweetie?

In order to make your life one that brings you joy and excitement, one that makes you feel you’re stepping up and moving forwards- you need to be aware of what you want and the progress you’re making towards it.

Busyness can take over and life will pull us in a different direction to our desires if we don’t actively take charge and figure out what’s working and what’s not working.

One of the ways I do that is by doing a Quarterly Review and I’m inviting you to do the same. In this 60 minute free video I walk you through this process where we will take stock of where you are at, we will celebrate your wins, acknowledge your losses and learn from them, make new goals and continue to pursue our main goals with renewed passion and vigour.

If you’re not into videos then that is cool! I’ll briefly explain the process I use so that you can do it yourself!

Getting Ready to Do Your Quarterly Review

First, gather any materials you have from the beginning of the year that has to do with your theme, goals, resolutions etc.  If you don’t have anything like that – it’s okay!  You can start from fresh!

If you were a member of the Wisdom Circle 2017, you can use your Week 3 workbook. If you weren’t a member, you can download the week 3 workbook via this link or you can use a blank journal or word document!

Step One:  Review the past 3 months (January, February, March).

  1. Looking back over January, February and March- was I being the woman I wanted to be? Was I doing what I truly desired to do? Did I feel how I was desiring to feel?
  2. What worked really well for me in the past 3 months?
  3. What was particularly challenging? And what did I learn from that?
  4. Did I honour my theme word so far this year? In what ways?
  5. Did I honour how I wanted to behave so far this year? In what ways?
  6. How can I build on the wisdom I have gained in the last 3 months?

Step Two:  Evaluate your Progress on your 1st Quarter Goals.

Did you achieve what you wanted to in the first three months of this year?  Have you celebrated your success?  Do you need to change any timelines or strategies? Was there failures that need to be acknowledged and learnt from? What will you do differently moving forwards?

Step Three:  Prepare for April, May & June

  1. How can I carry forward the Wisdom I’ve gained in Winter/Spring?
  2. What am I yearning for next? I love this question! Breathe into it and really think about it from an emotional perspective- how do you want to feel? What is your heart, mind, body and soul craving? What are you yearning for? What are you desiring? Pay attention and listen to yourself!
  3. Who or what am I particularly grateful for during the past 3 months?
  4. What 3 things can I improve on for the next 3 months? And what actions will I take to work towards that?

Step Four:  Create your Goals for April, May & June.

The first thing to be aware of here is the difference between a ‘project/deadline’ goal and a ‘lifestyle/maintenance’ goal. For example, creating an online dating profile and committing to go on 3 dates a month for the first three months is a project/deadline goal. It’s clear, it’s defined and it can be ticked off your list.

For a lifestyle/maintainence goal- it is different and will require a different mindset. This is about something you want to bring into or eliminate from your life so for example, it could be eating breakfast every day, practicing 10 minutes of mindfulness in the evening before bed, it could be a daily yoga practice or getting more sleep. This is a goal that will require regular committed action.

  1. Come up with no more than 3 goals that you want to focus your attention on for the next 3 months. Be clear about whether they are project goals or lifestyle goals.
  2. Write out your ‘why’ for each one- why it’s important for you to acheive it, what the benefits will be.
  3. What actions do you need to take to acheive these goals? (If you’re unsure, then just come up with the first step- often the path is unclear until we start walking down it)
  4. What systems could you put in place to support you? (This could be anything from buddying up with a friend for weekly accountability, hiring a coach to work with you, prepping your breakfast the night before so that you remember to eat well, leaving your gym clothes out to remind you to bring them with you- think of small things that you could do that will support you!
  5. Start making some magic and take action!

So that’s it!

Give yourself the gift of a few hours of ‘you’ time to really dig into this review.  

Creating change and living the best possible life, the most meaningful life for you takes attention and intention. You are worthy of your attention.

To Being the change you want to see,

Until next time,

P x

 

My Ex came to dinner…

Last week was a busy one, but fun as I got the chance to reconnect and nurture relationships with friends and family that I haven’t seen in ages! One of those being my ex, who came to my house for dinner with his wife.

A lot of people find my relationship with all of my ex’s a bit weird- I’ve had 3 serious relationships in the past and I’m still friends with those 3 guys. I’ve been on holidays with an ex, my family have gone to the wedding when my ex got married, they’ve shown up for me at my Nan’s funeral 2 years ago.  I still care for each of them and I know they care for me and that’s why we’re still part of each other’s lives.

Now, this wasn’t an easy thing to do and for each one, there was a long period when we did friends with your exhave to keep our distance because emotions were too raw. And, initially with each one I thought it would be impossible we could never be in touch again because of how painful it was.

But I know myself and I know that when I’ve healed, that I consciously try to hold space for that person in my life in a new way. It always seemed important to me; I never really knew why however…..my parents split up when I was young and it was probably the best move that they made for me and my sister. They didn’t suit each other, they grew apart and although they loved each other in their own way it simply wasn’t working. It took an awful lot of work on their part to build a new relationship with each other but they did it and I think they were really good role models for me. That’s what I’ve been thinking at least!

Anyways, I know I had to do a lot of work for me to heal from the hurt of relationships ending, especially the ones that ended really badly. It was really hard, there were lots of tears, anger, tight throat and chest but I did it for me, not for them. I did it for me, to heal so that I wouldn’t keep carrying the hurt.

“Holding onto anger and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”
Buddha

Now, just to be clear, I am in no way saying that forgiving someone is the equivalent of saying that what they did was ok. It doesn’t mean that you excuse or condone their behaviour- it means that you are doing something for yourself to help yourself move forwards in a light and open way. The only thing you can control is how you feel about the experience. If you’re still drinking the poison and they have moved on with their life- how does that serve you?

It doesn’t.

So, when I felt ready I started the process of letting go and healing. Unknown to me but I was using a  version of a simple yet powerful Hawaiian ritual for forgiveness called Hoʻoponopono. This is how it goes:

  1. I’m sorry
  2. I forgive you
  3. Thank you
  4. I love you

This is a mantra that you use yourself. It’s about taking responsibility for yourself and it calls you to show up in the process of forgiveness. This is an example of how I worked it.

I’m sorry….

I’m sorry this relationship ended. I’m sorry we’ve hurt each other so much. I’m sorry you’re such an ass and I never noticed before now. I’m sorry I didn’t have the courage to walk away years ago. I’m sorry I hurt you because I didn’t have the courage to walk away years ago. I’m sorry I hurt you and I’m sorry you hurt me. I’m sorry we were too young and immature to manage our feelings. I’m sorry we said horrible things to each other. I’m sorry we were so cold to each other. I’m sorry I said horrible things to you. I’m sorry I was so cold to you.

I forgive you.

The ‘I’m sorry’ piece helps with this step as it enables you to view the situation from a different perspective. Most of the time, I didn’t give many reasons here, I just repeated the mantra and thought of the person but to give you some real life examples.

‘I forgive you for breaking up with me by text after we’ve been together for 6 years; I forgive you because I wasn’t brave enough to do it myself when I knew we weren’t right for each other’.

I forgive myself for not being braver. I forgive myself for lazing around the house the past few weeks eating and watching crap.

Thank You…

This is to acknowledge the good times, the reason why that person was in your life, to allow you to see it wasn’t all bad and to thank them. I also used it to thank myself for allowing myself to feel it and going through this process. Also, I’d thank the fact that I was hurt as it meant I cared and to me, that’s a good thing!

I love you…

This one is for you and if you want, for the other person. Initially when I start this process, I may think there’s no way I could say ‘I love you’ towards the other person but most of the time I do!

This process really helped me heal and change how I felt about situations and people. It’s simple but very powerful and it can be quite emotional. You can use this process for lots of different situations- your relationship with family, friends, colleagues, your boss, with yourself especially!

When I changed, the relationships I had with people changed because I was different. I didn’t blame or point fingers because I didn’t need to anymore.  I was able to move forwards, be civil, respectful and allow myself to be my bright shiny self again. I was able to be open to new people and new loves. Sure, I was still scared of being hurt again but I knew that worst case scenario I could handle it.

I’ll be honest, sitting back with a glass of wine and watching your husband and your ex chatting away is a very weird experience but one that I’m so grateful to have!

Every week, I speak with a client who has been hurt in the past and is still drinking poison. Try Hoʻoponopono and see what happens!

To loving yourself enough for you to move on with grace and heart,

P x

It’s our 3rd wedding anniversary tomorrow! Here’s a little peek into our day!

Where are you in your Cycle of Life?

Hey,

I hope you’re having a fantastic week so far! I’m a bit pumped today as I’m sitting out in 25 degree sunshine listening to waves while Sarah is napping! We made a last minute trip to sunshine and I’m really loving the fact that I have the freedom to do this! This was a pipe dream many moons ago! My vision board for 2017 is starting to look more real every day!

I’m in a good phase of life at the moment, I feel like I’m making progress and am feeling really good about things BUT I am aware that this is a phase of the cycle that we tend to go through in life. I came across it a number of years ago and as soon as I saw it in my own life, I saw it everywhere with clients as well!

I wanted to share this with you today because it’s such a useful tool to have to hand. It also helps us be kinder to ourselves as well! I don’t know about you but when I know WHY something is happening or WHY I’m feeling the way I’m feeling- it makes it much easier to navigate through!

It appears that we go through cycles in life and I’m curious if you can pinpoint where you’re at right now? There’s no set time frame for each period but it goes something like this:

  1. The Phase of Discomfort

You’re going along in your life and it’s not great, you feel agitated, uneasy, frustrated in any areas- it could be relationship, career, you want to settle down, it could be financial but you know that you need to make a change. You need to make a new decision, do something different and it is scary. There could be a lot of anxiety, uncertainty during this period and it can last a while, until you make that change or you make that new decision and then you move into stage 2.

  1. The Phase of Pulling Apart

You feel like you are pulling apart at the seams. You’re having to break down relationships, maybe you move house or country, maybe you change career or go back to college, maybe it’s a period when you’re no longer tolerating certain behaviours or people in your life and it requires you to be firm and put boundaries in place, maybe you feel like you’re hurting people you care about but you know you need to do what you’re doing for you. You are pulling apart, tearing down the old to make way and make space for the new. You’ve started a transition of who you are and what you’re about and you move into stage 3

  1. The Phase of the ‘Jigsaw Puzzle’

You’re now in the process of putting the new picture of your life together. Finding the pieces that still fit, creating new pieces. There is of course still uncertainty and you feel a bit wobbly but you are more determined now, you’re gaining clarity and focus. You’re starting to see what that picture could look like and it’s exciting- still scary and oftentimes difficult but you’re putting in that work and you’ve built up your resilience and you move into stage 4 which is progress.

  1. The Phase of Progress

It is so welcome! You finally feel like you’re in the right groove, you’re gaining confidence, momentum , you’re seeing the results of your efforts. You’ve got that business plan done, you’ve been on some really great dates, you’ve lost that weight, you can run that 10k, you’ve saved that deposit- whatever it is for you! You’re thinking life feels good here, it feels charmed and magical. You’re moving forwards and closer to your dreams and you feel aligned- comfy in your own skill and strong within yourself.

The latter parts of this stage can be difficult to navigate- you’re so close to the big result, the big dream and fear often kicks in. Mind monkeys show up and question you- who do you think you are to have what you want? To be happy? Successful? This is normal and so so common and you need to keep moving forwards. Bring in the support teams in this period, bring in the coach, the trainer, the financial advisor- whatever you need to keep you on track! Far too many of us get so close, and then give up. Know that this doubt is often part of the process! When you stay on track, then you hit stage 5!

  1. The Phase of Elation

You’ve done it! You’ve hit the big dream, you’ve done what you set out to do, you’ve published the book, you’re actually travelling the world, you’re engaged or you’ve bought the house, you’ve had the baby, you’ve got that promotion, you’ve started the business! All of that good stuff! You’re there! This is the year that everyone wants to have  and when you’re here, savour it like we talked about earlier! Suck as much goodness out of it as you can! You’ve up-levelled your life and you have those feelings of certainty and being in control- you know everything is ok.

Guess what happens then! When we are comfortable, have a sense of security and certainty about our lives? Guess what happens? We get bored, we get agitated, we get uneasy! And we slip back into stage 1 again!

This isn’t gospel! Maybe you’ll get bored and go back into the jigsaw stage and change a few pieces and then can go back to elation, maybe you’ll stay in elation for a number of years.

All this is a framework upon which you can try and place where you are right now, as well as helping you identify what’s next! So, what resonates with you the most and if you’re were to make a guess- where have you come from and where are you going?

For me, I’m definitely in progress and stepping into Elation and I need to put firm structures in place to ensure I continue to support that as well as bring in something new and exciting to my life to ensure I don’t get bored! Good time for a holiday so!

Something to ponder anyway! I’d love to hear where you’re at!

P x

P.S Check out my Half Day Thrash It Out session! It’s the perfect way to get so clear on where you’re at, why you’re there and create a plan to take you where you need to go! Check it out- it’s the ultimate 1-1!

Your Inner Critic

Self doubt has been something I’ve always struggled with. It’s a pity I never joined a debating team because by the time I was in my twenties, I had plenty of practice! There was a never ending debate in my head about everything; it was as if I had a split personality. I would want to do something but then I’d have that little voice in my head saying ‘Oohh, be careful- you could screw it up and make a show of yourself’.

The more I wanted to try, grow, learn and experience, the more that little voice spoke up. It got to the point that on many occasions, I actually listened to it and I held myself back. I think one of those times was in fact the decision as to whether to join a debating society in college- the little voice in my head told me I’d make a balls of it so I didn’t even put my name down to try.

The inner critic is that internal chatter that tells you that you are not enough, it’s that inner voice that makes you doubt yourself, your abilities, makes you think you’re not ready, that you don’t know enough to offer an opinion. What I’ve learnt from years of coaching and working with other women is that one of the main reasons why women don’t behave in a loving and kind way towards themselves is because of an underlying belief of not being enough, worthy or deserving. The inner critic plays a key role in our ability to love ourselves as well as our ability to feel confident, take risks and trust our own minds.

All women struggle or as the case may be, battle, with self doubt. For some of us, the voice of self doubt and not good enough speaks up in relation to our career, for others it speaks out about being single or as a mother, for some of us it speaks out about our body, our weight, our aches and pains, getting older! For others, it speaks out about our passions, our dreams, our creativity. For most of us, it’s a combination of all the above!

The thing is that because most of us are so used to hearing this voice, we just believe that it is who we are! We believe it is our voice and since we don’t really chat to people about our insecurities and fears, we don’t learn or realise that other women – women we admire because they ooze confidence- hear the same mean, irrational, harsh crazy talk in their own heads too.

The inner critic costs us so much- think of all those times you stayed silent in a meeting, ideas you never put forward, all those times you didn’t ask for what you wanted or stated what you needed, all those times you didn’t ask the question, all those creative ideas that were parked, all those talents and strengths unused, gradually getting quieter and quieter. Think of all the joy and fulfilment women have missed out on because self doubt got in the way. It is everywhere and we have lost a lot because of it. That’s the bad news.

The good news is less well known. You don’t have to find a magical well of confidence, you don’t need to do past life regression to work through the roots of your insecurities and you don’t need to figure out how to banish fear and self doubt from the face of the earth! Instead, you simply need to learn how to live with that inner voice of self doubt but not be held back by it. To hear it, but not take direction from it. That’s what I want to talk to you about today!

Why do we have an inner critic?

The answer is that we’re hardwired for it. The inner critic is an expression of the safety instinct within us- the part of us that wants to stay safe from potential risk. It’s been with us since the time of the saber tooth tiger and various other animals with large teeth. Nowadays, we don’t have to contend with wild beasts but that instinct to keep us safe is still there and the biggest risk to us now is emotional risk. So these days, the safety instinct aka the inner critic tries to keep us safe from hurt, failure, criticism, disappointment or rejection from our community. It’s a smart cookie….

If your inner critic just said the words, ‘don’t apply for the job’. ‘don’t write the book;, ‘don’t fall in love’, ‘don’t put on a bikini’. These things are far too dangerous – you would laugh- if you listened to it at all in the first place! You’d probably tell the voice to get lost and that you were grand, thanks!

So the safety instinct has learnt to use a more effective approach, instead it says things like:

  • ‘If you leave your job you’ll end up miserable and jobless, you won’t find anything else. You’re lousy at what you do anyway, how have they not caught you out yet? You know that every success is a total fluke’ ,
  • ‘Your writing is mediocre, you really can’t compare yourself to the pros can you?’
  • ‘If you let yourself fall for that person, you’ll have your heart broken, it won’t work out and you’ll waste time and you can’t afford to waste time, you want a family’,
  • ‘How could he be attracted to you? You’ll look like an idiot if you let your guard down’
  • ‘If you put that bikini on, people will think you’re mental, they will look and point, and judge and stare’.

The critic has learnt to speak with a sharp tongue of viciousness and brings in something personal- something that triggers a fear of embarrassment, rejection, failure or pain.

Loving ourselves and following our passions and dreams puts us in a vulnerable place. I know a lot of people don’t like the word vulnerability but the definition of vulnerabilty is ‘exposure to emotional risk’ so if you ever want to grow, try something new, have relationships with other humans then you’ll have to experience it. However our own safety instinct seeks to protect us from that potential vulnerability by mouthing off self criticism and self loathing so that we stay where we are.

Your safety instinct doesn’t give a monkeys whether or not you feel fulfilled or self actualised- it doesn’t care if you’re self comforting every night to numb the feelings of boredom or loneliness.

The safety instinct is happy as long as you stay in the zone of familiar. What it says to you to get you to stay there isn’t necessarily true.

Its job is not to be honest, it’s job is getting you to avoid perceived risk.

When we start to understand that our safety instinct, which has been with us since the dawn of time, uses the inner critic as a strategy to keep us in the zone of the familiar, and that what it says is not actual truth or reality, we start to take away its power. We can say to ourselves in the moment ‘I hear that voice, but I know that’s not the voice of truth and I choose not to take direction from it’.

Self doubt will always be a part of our lives as we move forwards towards our true desires and the mission is not to eliminate self doubt. It will never be gone so that’s a fight we simply can’t win. The mission is learning how to let the inner critic be who it is and do its things, without taking direction from it. The goal is to hear the inner critics voice but not to let that voice determine your choices. The mission is to build a relationship with it in which you understand why it does what it does and for you to step up, do some adulting and tell it that everything is ok, that you got this!

If you want to learn how to manage that relationship with your inner critic then join my ‘All You Need is Love’ programme! Week 2 is all about the Inner Critic and we will deep dive into it so that you learn the tools you need to manage and master that relationship once and for all!

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent..including you!

Doors close on Wednesday 1st March so just go for it!

P x

All You Need is Love

How is your relationship with Money?

Today, I’m talking about your relationship with money because the topic keeps coming up again and again with my clients and for myself personally!

We all have a relationship with money and having a healthy relationship with money is just like any other relationship. You can break up,  kiss and make up,  get so mad and frustrated, fall head over heels, you can be wooed and become smitten, be impulsive, be cautious, you can feel unworthy, undeserving and push it away, you can get blinded and have ups and downs!

But ultimately we want to live happily ever after with our money and like all relationships- it takes love and attention to do that!

Money is an emotive topic so if this triggers you, get curious about it!

Your relationship with money really is an intimate relationship and one that perhaps you’ve been neglecting. Or perhaps you feel it’s the other way around, that money has been neglecting you or even abusive and causing you to play small in life. Perhaps you feel that money doesn’t care about you at all and forgets you even exist!

Trust me though, regardless of where you are; this particular relationship can be salvaged and you can turn this around into a caring and loving partnership.

I had a major realisation this morning, what we coaches call an ‘aha’ moment. The relationship I used to have with money reminded me of relationships I had with exes. It was neglectful, undervalued, dramatic and dysfunctional. Now, I have been working on my money relationship for a few years and it’s improving, but if I’m honest I still have a lot of work to do!  How about you? Does your relationship with money mirror other relationship history? Something for you to ponder…..

Let’s look at what money is; basically money is an exchange of value.

In life, there are transactions in which we exchange money in return for value. That value may be clothes, holidays, a home, a pair of boots, a smoothie, bin collection etc. We earn money in return for value. We provide a service or our time, a particular value is placed on that service/time and money is exchanged for it.

So, if we don’t value ourselves, if we tell ourselves we’re not good enough, not worthy enough then we undervalue ourselves and the exchange of money is reduced. Think about it;  performance appraisals, interviews, negotiations.. any time that you had to talk about the value you add- did you own it? Did you claim your own value or did you play it down?

In personal relationships, it took me a long time for me to realise that it was ok and safe for me to have a healthy, nurturing, respectful relationship. It wasn’t what I was used to. When Colm opened the car door open for me when we were dating, I thought he was a weirdo! Every single time, he would hold it open, wait for me to get in and then walk around to his side. Then I would lean over and open the door for him. We still do this 7 years later and my friends laugh about it but really it was a baby step for me in learning how to have more respectful relationship and it stuck with me.

Anyways, back to money! It is possible and more than ok for you to learn how to fall in love with money! Imagine that, a relationship with money that is full of love, respect and caring.

Here’s what to do:

Identify the characteristics of your current relationship with money:

Is the relationship neglected, respectful, dangerous, loving, thrilling, fun, abusive, nurturing…?

Who are you in the relationship you have with money?

Are you dismissive, are careless, are you nurturing, are you disrespectful, are you jealous, are you obsessive, are you caring, are you clingy? Don’t worry about what your current reality is because once we’re aware, we can start to make changes.

What is your all time favourite love story?

If you had to pick the most romantic or the best movie relationship, something that inspires you, what would it be?

Perhaps you’d choose The Notebook, perhaps any of the Love Actually couples, maybe Notting Hill, maybe Pretty Woman, maybe Mamma Mia! Have a good think about it? Look through your favourite movies! I would choose a movie called ‘Ever After’ with Drew Barrymore- it’s a Cinderella story but basically she does end up with her happily ever after and her prince but she rescues herself!

How would you describe the relationship the characters have?

So for example, is it exciting & sexy, is it romantic and respectful, is it empowered and enduring, is it loyal and stable, is it romantic and loving?

If you were to merge your love story and your money; describe what your relationship with money would be like?

  • How would you know you were valued?
  • How would you feel spending money on you?
  • Who would you be in this new relationship?
  • How would you show up and let money know you cared?
  • How would you expect it to treat you?
  • What would you be doing regularly to nurture the relationship?

 This is all for you to ponder! Answer the questions, give it some thought because sometimes looking at something from a new perspective can lead to massive change. So, for now please remember that it’s more than ok for you to have an amazing money relationship, it’s ok for you to feel supported!

But remember that you are responsible for what you bring to the relationship; you can’t be neglectful and then resent it because it’s never there when you need it!

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this topic so please feel free to shoot me an email or pop over to my facebook page!

Until next week,

P x

Lessons from a serial dater…

This is a really hot topic at the moment with my 1-1 clients, and yes excuse the pun! Whether you’re recently or long term single, dating can be terrifying or absolutely brilliant fun- depending on your mindset!

I remember being in my mid twenties, when a 6 year relationship ended and enough time had passed to allow me heal, I thought about meeting someone new. But it was a completely different ball game, totally new rules, new environment- everything had changed. It wasn’t a friend of a friend ‘will you meet/shift my mate?’ type scenario any more, I was an adult now and I had NO idea what to do!

So, one Spring evening with my girlfriends, Chinese food and wine- we put together  a profile of the type of guy I wanted to meet including values such as ‘family needs to be important to him’, ‘he needs to be respectful, fit, intelligent, be able to cook, clean, look after himself and be great in bed!’ (Yes, we were drinking!)

I decided that I was going to start an experiment in dating, like going out on dates and being proactive in meeting new people. I wondered if anyone would even want to date me in the first place – it was something I hadn’t done before and it was scary and exciting! The first approach was nights out in town with friends, going to a club, having a boogie and it was great fun! 80’s music, just the girls in Eamon Dorans, McGowans in Phibsboro and all different random clubs! Absolutely fantastic nights out with my girls! Did it work for dating…No! Yep, I met a few guys but all they wanted was someone to go home with that night.

Next adventure was speed dating in the Church bar, again, good fun, good few drinks, boogie afterwards, fun with my pal and we met 2 nice guys we chatted to for most of the night, but again it was more of a short term affair they had in mind!

After that, I decided to give online dating a try. Firstly, I found myself getting sucked into checking profiles almost constantly so I had learn to start setting limits. I responded to everyone who contacted me and felt it would be rude not to engage with someone. Again, that was another lesson. I made a lot of mistakes and learnt a lot of lessons which I’ll share with you below. I met a lot of guys that year, probably close to 20. Two or three guys, I dated for a few weeks- the rest I never saw again.

I grew up a lot and changed a lot during that whole period. Towards the beginning, I felt a ‘need’ to have these guys like me, I wanted them to want me and desire me so I was flirty, tipsy and a bit outrageous. But then, I had a wakeup call. I had driven almost 3 hours to the guy I was ‘kind of’ seeing, getting there quite late in the evening, only for the next day for him to announce he was going golfing with friends. I felt like an idiot, hugely disappointed and I spent the 3 hour drive home vowing to make major changes. During that drive, I realised that I was desperate to be loved. That was what was driving all this behaviour so I took a step back, took a deep breath and paid attention to myself.

For want of a better way to explain, I started dating myself.

I started getting to know myself, appreciating myself, admiring my strengths, stories and passions. I started owning them and falling in love with them. That was still scary but at the time, I had just started my accredited life coaching course, which encouraged me to start looking after myself properly and treating myself with more respect.

I was progressing in my life, in my career, in my relationship with myself and so I continued to date but I changed the rules to better serve me. I met Colm a few weeks later online, he had no profile picture but I found his description of himself interesting so I got in touch and we agreed to meet the following week at 10am in a coffee shop in my local area and the rest is history!

Paula’s top tips for dating!

  1. Be Proactive

Yep, I can hear it now, the cringe and the awkwardness but that is the way it is now. You need to be proactive if you are wanting to meet someone. The level of pro-activity is up to you. A baby step is to start engaging more with people around you. Make eye contact in shops and cafes, say thank you to your waitress/waiter, hold your head up high as you walk down the street and smile and nod at people. It’s a small step that can help us boost our confidence and sense of self as well as making us more aware or how many people there are around us! Another step above that could be actively dating, starting small and easy and building up from there.

  1. Make it work for you

If ‘dating’ is too freaky or would make you feel awkward, then change it so it works for you. This is the mindset piece. I knew that part of my coaching course would require me to work with pro-bono clients which meant I had to learn how to meet new people, break the ice, build rapport and allow people to feel comfortable with me. I had no idea how to do that, it scared me so that was part of the motivation to start ‘dating’- I was learning and developing new skills that would help me in my career. I looked at it as an experiment and a challenge. I learnt a lot along the way and changed my approach until I was comfortable.

  1. No alcohol

A big mistake I made at the beginning was meeting people at night and having a few drinks. I’m not a big drinker anyway but wanting to be seen as ‘cool’ and fit in made me drink more than I should have. Alcohol does impair your judgement and meeting at night often means there will be an initiation to go back to their place or your place.

I changed my approach and met people for a coffee during the day instead and I have to say, it was brilliant and made it much more fun! The guys I met were much nicer, they were really genuine and I started really looking forward to my coffee dates! We’d meet say in Bewleys on Grafton street on a Saturday and take a walk up to the park, sit on the grass and chat. They were nervous, I was nervous but we both knew each other was being real. Do not underestimate the light of day! It also then made it easier to transition to the evening dates and dinners etc because we’d already met and I knew we liked each other!

  1. Have boundaries in place

One big fear about online dating or any dating is safety. From speaking to hundreds of women on this topic- the main resistance tends to be 1. It’s not how I dreamed I would meet someone and 2. What if I meet an absolute nutcase. Fear can stop us, it has a job to do which is to keep us safe however that doesn’t mean you have to stay home and wait for your dream guy or girl to knock on your door. I’d encourage you to challenge the fear. What measures can you put in place to make you feel more secure? I’ll give you some examples of what I learnt to put in place. 1. I never gave out my number or address online- I would arrange to meet someone at a certain place and time through the online messenger on the dating website, if they asked for numbers/address I said no and explained why, if they were disrespectful or slagged me about it then it didn’t progress. 2. I’d normally have a time limit on how long we’d meet for – if you’re meeting during the day then most of the time, you’ll have somewhere else to be! 3. I told my sister where I was going, who I was meeting and when to expect me home.

I didn’t do any of this at the beginning but as I experienced more and became more respectful towards myself, these steps came into practice then.

  1. Come from a place of wholeness

This is the most important aspect of dating. You need to be ready and come from a place of wholeness. Initially, I was looking for someone who would make me feel better about me and the result was I gave the other person too much power. I wanted to be liked, loved, desired so often I would find myself behaving and speaking in ways that weren’t authentic to me. It was like I was trying to be whoever my date wanted me to be. Ultimately, all that does is make you feel lousy about yourself.

It took a lot of work and a good few months for me to shift away from that nervous, flirty, yes girl in the club who felt desperate to be liked to being a strong woman walking down the street at 10am on a Wednesday morning looking forward to meeting someone new for the sake of be curious about someone new. I distinctly remember that morning, I felt really strong and happy within myself, I was wearing a vest top, jeans and runners with my hair pulled in a pony and felt like I was more than enough by being myself. It was an amazing feeling and quite liberating.

I hope my sharing my experience and lessons with you is helpful in some way! As I said, it’s a hot topic at the moment!

If you want to nurture and develop the most important relationship in your life- the one you have with YOURSELF, then please check out my course ‘All You Need is Love’.

It is so incredibly important.  All of the rest of it — everything else you’re wanting in your life like meaningful work, finding your voice, standing up for yourself, asking for what you need and want, putting yourself out there, making new friends as an adult, cultivating new romantic relationships, committing to romantic relationships, making decisions on your future….. it all sits on the foundation of Self-Love.

Until next week,

Shine bright like a diamond!

Love,

P x

Detaching from Love and hardening…

In the early hours of the 21st November 2002, I held my Mams hand as she took her last breath. It was 14 years ago and I was just 18. We were in St Francis Hospice in Raheny; Mam had been there for 3 weeks. She had been sick for a good while and had put on an amazing fight but the cancer had spread everywhere. The days that followed feel like a blur but at the same time are etched so vividly into my mind that it could have been just yesterday. Time moves on regardless of what has happened in our lives, the world keeps spinning and everything goes on as if nothing has changed (it’s very bizarre)

We took time, cried a lot and somehow slipped back into day to day life. As the days, weeks, months and years passed though, I changed. I hardened. I’d also been particularly close to my Nan, my mams mam and when anyone asked of my own mother and I told them she had passed, I quickly followed it with ‘It’s ok, my nan raised me’. What absolute bull. Every time I said those words, I felt guilty and then hardened that bit more. I had detached myself from my Mam because it made it easier for me when she wasn’t going to be around. I told myself that we weren’t really that close, that we didn’t know each other, that she was always busy with work- all of these stories I told myself to harden my heart and to protect myself from the truth.

The truth is I love her and I miss her. The truth is my life changed completely. I miss her running her fingers through my hair as I sat on the floor in front of the couch watching Touched by an Angel and Dr Quinn Medicine Woman on the Disney Channel. I miss our chats and our fights, I miss Lionel Richie and motown music in the background. I missed her at my wedding and it breaks my heart that Sarah will never meet her Nan.

It took me sooo long to admit this truth and I’ll admit that even writing this hurts, my throat is tight, my eyes are watery and I know there will be tears later! But I wanted to share it with you because I know I’m not the only one who does this- who detaches from love, who closes their heart,  who puts on armour to protect themselves from feeling all the crappy feelings of hurt, pain, loss, grief, disappointment, anger.

Also, it became a pattern for me in many different areas of life. If I felt like something wouldn’t work out, I would detach and harden. If myself and Colm were having a rough few days, I would detach and harden. Put on the armour and pull up the drawbridge. F**k that, I ain’t getting hurt so I’m not going to care. But I did care. I always care.

I see it all the time.

Loving other people, pursuing careers that you’re passionate about, following your dreams and trusting your heart takes a hell of a lot of courage because we know that it could possibly cause us heartache, disappointment and pain.

Love opens us up to vulnerability.

If you want to avoid the heartache, the disappointment and pain?

Then, you would have to do what I used to do. Detach. That you would have to put on armour to protect yourself. It would mean that people wouldn’t really get to know the ‘real you’ because you would be hiding under a mask or a duvet! It would mean that you wouldn’t have those strong connections with people. It would mean you are not truly honouring yourself and the other person. It would mean that your dreams and your hearts desires would be abandoned.

Over time, I learnt that this wasn’t serving me. I did care and I was tired of carrying this tonne of armour with me. Through coaching and counselling, I learnt to be more expressive, have a better connection between my head, my heart and my voice. I learnt to have the courage to be real and feel.

The bravest people I know are also the people who are the most vulnerable. They are the ones speaking their truth, following their dreams, leaning into their emotions and living and loving with their whole hearts. We admire these people. We look at people who put themselves out there, who are open about who they are and what’s important to them and we respect them.

But we are slow to follow in their footsteps because we don’t want to feel vulnerable!

To allow ourselves to be vulnerable takes a lot of courage, it means that we have to be real. It means that we have to be open and love and express ourselves. It means we have to connect with people. It’s a richness that we all desire in our lives- that true feeling of connection, of being seen, of being who we are. Real Love makes us vulnerable, whether that’s loving our partners, our families, our children or our work but you know what, even understanding that love and vulnerability go hand in hand, now;  I’d choose love any day.

How about you?

I’m going out tonight with my gorgeous sis Lyn, to a restaurant that the three of us used to frequent and we’re going to raise a glass to toast the incredible woman that we were so lucky to have as our Mam.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! I’d love to hear your thoughts on love and vulnerability so drop me a line and let me know!

Cheers x

P x

Coming out of the Broom Closet

So sadly, Halloween is over and done with for another year! I’ve always loved Halloween! I was 8 when the movie Hocus Pocus came out and I was obsessed with it! My mam came home from work one night with a gorgeous deep purple hooded cloak because I loved the witch Sarah from the movie! That’s who I dressed as for about the next 3 years straight! I loved the idea of witches, magic, casting spells and being able to make things happen!

natural-witchAs a kid I would study wise women from times past- intrigued by how different things were then. Women were different, or at least society was because men and women were both seen as equal. If anything, society was more matriarchal. The earth itself, nature was seen as feminine ‘Mother Earth’ and as women brought forth life, they were respected and revered.

I learnt about and adored the idea of sitting in circle, of sharing wisdom and the ‘moon tents’. Did you know In many ancient cultures, a woman’s cycle or “moon time” was considered sacred and she took time to rest, renew, and regenerate. Women gathered in ‘moon tents’ or ‘red tents’ because their cycle was often in sync with the women close to them and in sync with the moons cycle. In these places women slowed down, nurtured themselves and each other, took time to reflect on their lives, listened to the wisdom of the grandmothers who came to counsel and support the younger women; and looked forward to the coming births and the coming of age ceremonies for the girls. How amazing would that be? Could you imagine doing that now?

They were wise women, wild women and empowered women. They drew strength from within and the natural world around them. They worked with the earth and paid attention to their bodies and intuition. They were in touch with their power and they shared their wisdom.

Sadly, over the millennia things changed and because of war, greed, religion- women lost their place as sacred and became seen as property and subordinate. The passing of ‘wicce’- meaning ‘wisdom’   between women would see them hung, burnt or tortured for witchcraft -meaning ‘craft of the wise’. It was no longer safe for women to be powerful, to speak up or share their wisdom so we didn’t and so it was for generations after generations.

I’ve always been fascinated with this because I’ve always been scared to allow myself be myself. Always playing small, hiding part of myself, scared of what others may think of me if I allow people to see the real me. Through my personal development work over the past decade, it’s getting easier but even sharing with you guys my fascinations and interests is a bit scary.

But the truth is, I do believe that women are incredibly powerful. I do believe that the majority of us are playing small. I do believe the majority of us are afraid at some level to be ourselves, to fight for ourselves, to look after ourselves (in case someone calls us selfish). We spend so much of our time, energy and resources on morphing ourselves into what we think we should be, how we think we should look etc. Or maybe we don’t do that anymore, but we used to and the memory remains.

When I was pregnant with Sarah in 2015, I was LOST! I was terrified, I was scared- I kept being told what I had to do, what I couldn’t do, I was SO tired and uncomfortable but societies message to me was ‘you’re not the only woman who’s been pregnant’ – basically ‘man the fuck up’ so I tried that, I dug in deeper, pushed myself harder and ended up having a panic attack outside the hospital on the day of my big 20 week scan. I wasn’t allowing myself to be a woman- strange as that sounds! I was pushing myself with masculine energy instead of allowing myself to be softer, gentler and more nurturing with myself.

My saving grace was going to a Women’s Circle on the Hill Of Tara where a ceremony called the ‘Mother Rites of Danu’ was being performed. I had NO idea what to expect but I went and for surrender to supportme, that experience felt like coming home. Finally! It was different, it was a rite of passage into the role of ‘Mother’. I sat in a circle with a small group of women (complete strangers!) and each of us spoke about what ‘motherhood’ or ‘birthing children/ideas/businesses’ meant to us. We spoke of our hopes, our fears, our expectations and we were heard by each other, we were seen by each other and we were simply held in a safe space by each other. We laughed, we cried, we drank tea and had some biccies and it was an amazing few hours of my life. It changed a lot within me as it showed me a different world- it showed me the world that I craved does in fact exist in the here and now.

Over the past 18 months, I’ve been exploring it more and more deeply, allowing myself to be more myself. Allowing myself to tap into my natural wisdom and intuition that bit more. Knowing if I feel unwell or have cramps, that lighting candles, putting essential oils in my bath, making tea, going for walks- all with an intention of healing and self care- makes a huge difference. This is our natural wisdom- our instincts, our self trust, knowing ourselves and allowing ourselves to be who we are. A few hundred years ago, saying these things would have had me hung as a witch. I went to a women’s circle talk in the RDS last weekend and the facilitator Karen echoed the same sentiment- that a few hundred years ago anyone of us sitting in that room listening to her words would have been hung, burnt or tortured.

Thankfully, times have changed. It’s never been a safer time to be a wise woman. So why then do so many women still feel powerless? Why are we fearful that we won’t be supported, why are we so afraid to be ourselves, why are we holding back, not speaking up and not coming close to reaching our full potential? And why do so many of us struggle with the concepts of ‘self-love’, ‘self-worth’ and ‘self acceptance’ and yet constantly carry around the weight of feeling ‘not good enough’?

I believe that it is because women have lost touch with their natural wisdom.

We keep seeking approval and validation from everyone but ourselves, so much so that we’re unsure of our own minds, we don’t trust our own intuition and we’ve forgotten how to tap into our inner strength – in short, we’ve lost touch with our feminine side.

I’m still learning how to reconnect with that part of myself but it’s been an incredible journey so far. I’d love to help teach you parts of what I’ve learnt so far, I’d love to hold a safe space for you to talk about this, I’d love for you to explore who you truly are at the core and allow your wise inner self to come out to play. Do you need to come out of the broom closet too?

I’ve put together a 30 day programme called ‘All You Need is Love’ and it’s the foundation piece that needs to be in place for everything else. We’ll be exploring what proper self care looks like and how it differs from self comfort. We’ll be looking at the inner critic – that voice in your head that makes you hide, play small and hold back and we’ll be learning how to relate to that voice from a more nurturing perspective. We’ll also be looking at how to tap into that wiser part of you- that’s deep within and teaching you how to recognise her voice. We’ll be exploring the idea of ‘confidence’ and what that truly means. We’ll be looking at how there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to confidence and that is why a lot of what you tried in the past hasn’t worked. Finally, we’ll be looking at how to integrate all of this new knowledge and wisdom into your day to day life so that you get to experience lasting change.

It is ‘hard/heart’ work but I know you’re ready for it.

Love always,

P x