Tag Archives: relationships in your 20s

This is a bit personal…..

There’s no hiding it anymore, the bump is literally out! Yep, I’m pregnant.. very pregnant! 30 weeks in fact and it has been really hard to keep it quiet! This is why my newsletters have been a wee bit irregular the past few months!

Myself and Colm are thrilled and I feel very lucky and in awe of the whole thing. But if I’m completely honest, it really threw me. It’s only in the past few weeks that I really felt I’ve got a grasp on it. It’s something I’ve always wanted but I’ll admit that seeing that positive result on the test completely freaked me out. I was terrified, wondering was I ready? Can I really do this? Will my life ever be the same? The past few months have been a real rollercoaster and it’s only recently I’ve started to get that excited buzz. A new adventure is about to begin and life as I know (and love it!) is all about to change!

This is probably the most personal blog I’ve ever written and for those of you who have been reading my blogs for a while, know that I’m not really one to hold back on my story and who I am. The reason this is personal is because it’s still raw and uncomfortable and challenging but I wanted to share it with you because after all, it’s going to impact my work as The Quarter Life Coach.

The last few months have been tough, really tough. I don’t want to moaning and groaning about everything, but seriously, I never expected it to be this tough. The lack of sleep already, the total and utter exhaustion, the physical pain to turn over in bed or walk, the hormones, the crazy emotions, the heartburn, the anxiety, the reality of being a self employed expectant mama and trying to stay on top of everything with The Quarter Life Coach!!!

To make things a bit more tough, my nan passed away last Autumn, about 10 weeks before I found out I was pregnant and even though its months later, there’s still tears as I write these words. My Nan was my soulmate, best friend and absolute rock. Most of my childhood was spent hanging out with her and my cousins and when my own mam died 12 years ago, my bond with my nan just got stronger. The idea of becoming a mother without these two incredible women by my side has been really hard.

The baby is due to arrive in August and we’re choosing not to find out whether it’s a boy or a girl (which means right now, we have 34 potential names on a list!). It’s a completely wacky ride and one which is asking for total surrender- which for a bit of a control freak is quite difficult.

But for now, I will say this:

Just over 5 years ago, my life was completely different. I was in a relationship that wasn’t good for me and that wasn’t working, I was living at home, I was in a job I hated and I was absolutely miserable. I had zero energy and was just living day to day going through the motions.

Within the space of a few weeks, that relationship ended and I got redundancy from my job. I had some big decisions to make about what I wanted from my life in the future. I made those decisions and started to work on making them happen.

  • I wanted a strong, happy, loving and healthy relationship with someone I absolutely adored and who adored me.
  • I wanted to do work I love and to make a difference.
  • I wanted my own home with a garden and an office.
  • I wanted a dog.
  • I wanted to feel strong and happier within myself.
  • I wanted to get married and have a family.
  • I wanted to be work from home so I could be at home with my kids, dog and husband and have that freedom!

You see, often we accomplish our dreams but we forget to notice because we quickly move on to the next thing, so I just want to take a moment and say:

Yay me! I did it!

What a difference a few years can make when you know what you want, why you want it and are working towards it.

Believe it or not but it was actually this time 5 years ago that the seeds were planted! Watching the eurovision with pals, having a chinese and a few drinks putting the final touches to my ideal life and relationship plans.

So thank you 25-year old self for having the dream that I get to realise 5 years later. Thanks for envisioning this amazing future which is my current life today. And even though life has its ups and downs and challenges- thank you for putting systems in place which meant that I have so much freedom, that I was able to spend so much time with my nan in her final weeks, that now I can nap as much as I want and do whatever I need to do to take care of myself and baby bear! I’m just so grateful to my 25-year old self for having this dream and even though it was scary and I didn’t know how I would achieve it, I took it a baby step at a time and I grew faith in myself.

Phew, ok so on a lighter note! One of the main reasons I wanted to share all this with you is because there are going to be some changes with The Quarter Life Coach over the next few months! Everything is a bit up in the air – hence the total surrender! I will absolutely continue with my newsletters but it will be every fortnight from August instead of weekly!

I also plan to add a new-mama programme to The Quarter Life Coach and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and if this is something you expectant mamas and mamas would like? I’ve heard so many people tell me how they were afraid of losing themselves when they had kids or like me, having a new mama meltdown. The Quarter Life Coach is me, it’s an extension of my life and so it’s only natural that it will evolve with me!

I’ll be running my ‘30 days to Be Your Own Fairy Godmother‘ programme once more this year in June, to secure a spot now, click here.

But the biggest offering I want to make to you is my ‘Thrash It All Out‘ session. This is basically what my 25-year old self did- took some time out, invested in myself and my dreams, made some big decisions, created a plan and put it into action. It is an intensive session and we spend half a day together thrashing it all out with a few coffees and treats! I have 6 of these sessions available before I take a step back for a while so if you want to work with me privately this year, this is your chance! Drop me a line now to find out more info and see if this is suitable for you!

So, now over to you!

Everything you’re doing today is preparing you for the life you’re going to live tomorrow.

So, what is your big dream? What seeds are you planting for your future? What actions are you taking to specifically nurture those seeds? I’d love to hear what you’re creating so please drop me a line or join the conversation over on the facebook page!

P x

Do you know her?

She is a smart woman, she found school interesting and fun yet she would never let on! She always enjoyed exams and tests because she was able to stay calm. She accepted that what she knew then would have to be enough and she felt empowered. She enjoyed that feeling as she felt special, everyone else seemed to be panicky and stressed. Part of her misses that school but again, she’d never let on!

She gets an anxious feeling in her chest or around her heart every now and then, she’s not 100% sure what it is but it bothers her. It means that she knows she’s holding back from something- that there’s something that could be better but she’s too afraid to do something about it.

She’s a very open and warm person and tries to see the best in everyone. Sometimes though, she can be played and people take advantage of her. She doesn’t like to be angry and feels guilty at the idea of hurting someone else’s feelings. She would rather take the hit herself than to hurt someone she cares about. This causes her to numb her feelings quite a lot. As a result, she tends not to really know what’s important to her or what she really wants. She’s quite open to other people’s influences and suggestions.

She is curious and imaginative and loves new things, exploring, parades and gatherings of people. She loves having something to look forward to although she doesn’t allow herself to get excited until it’s actually happening. She has a bit of a short attention span and can get distracted easily. She will start new courses and projects, make big bold resolutions and then not follow through.

She speaks to herself harshly, she is her own worst critic and her own worst enemy. She is a sensitive soul and she needs to be alone every now and then to soothe her soul and recharge. She will get upset if she doesn’t have a chance to do this and the only reason she won’t get the chance is because she is too harsh with herself. She will look forward to a massage or something special for herself and then she won’t allow herself to do it or have it because she doesn’t deserve it, she hasn’t earned it.

In a relationship, she can be easily taken advantage of as she would never want to hurt someone she cares about and if her partner knows this, he/she can exploit that. She is very loyal and loving and will always try to help her partner as much as possible- often she would end up in a relationship with someone who needs a bit of help and support– a lost soul. She will always fight for the underdog and help make him top dog and it will be really hard for her when he turns and bites her. She is very low maintenance and easy going.

She loves the little things in life and in a relationship, the little things are just as, if not more important than any grand gestures. She loves to feel she can talk to her partner about anything. She wants someone who will treat her with respect but she would never demand it.

In work, she is really hard working. It is important that she feels authentic- it’s important that she knows what she is doing and feels confident. She suffers from imposter syndrome sometimes and is terrified that she will be caught out or that her boss or colleagues might find out that she doesn’t have the answer. Relationships in work are important and it is vital that she has respect for her colleagues and most importantly, she needs to respect and admire her boss. If she doesn’t, she will never feel comfortable or honest in her career.
If she finds herself in a career or relationship that doesn’t ‘feel right’ for a long period of time but doesn’t do anything, her self esteem and confidence start to suffer. Her values start to get fuzzy as well as her sense of who she is and what she’s about. Because she’s a sensitive soul, not wanting to hurt anyone else, it will normally take a lot before she does anything to change her situation.

The straw that broke the camel’s back is normally what happens for her. Something simple, something silly, something small- just a moment when she just thinks

“Oh my god, is this it? Is this me forever? Is this my life?”

Once she reaches this point, things start to happen. She rebels a bit, she notices that she doesn’t really care about certain things, she’s not really sure who she is anymore and starts looking for answers. She is entering a metamorphosis and knows that she needs to make some changes……

Do you know her?

She is me. I wrote this about myself a few years ago. If you’ve read up to this point, then I’m guessing she is you as well!

I’m often asked what I do and who I work with.

I work with her. I adore her. I work with her to help her find her own place in the world, to practice self love and self respect, to be real and authentic. I work with her to help her find her answers. To help her find meaningful work and loving supportive relationships. I help her to adore herself and be happy within herself.

I’d love to hear if you resonated with this! I really would love to know if you know her? Please drop me a line to paula @ myquarterlifecoach.com or pop over to the facebook page and let me know!

Here’s to her!

Paula xx

Want to know what’s at the core of a Quarter Life Crisis?

The answer is Decisions…

You see, we’ve been raised with the myth of ‘having it all’! We are in fact the first generation (women especially) who have been raised and told that we can have it all! But the reality is that it is simply not true!

There is an opportunity cost for every decision that we make and that makes things quite uncomfortable for us. For example, if you were deciding whether to go to college straight after school- the opportunity cost would be 4 years salary and progression in a job. If you decided to be in a  committed relationship, the opportunity cost of that would be dating other people. If you have children and decided to work full time, the opportunity cost of that would be that someone else will be looking after them when you’re in work. If you were  to decide to stay home, the opportunity cost of that would be not making as much progress in your career as you may like. If you decided to do a part-time degree, the opportunity cost of that could be not having as much free time or money to go out with friends and have fun.

With every decision that we make- there is an opportunity cost, you are losing or sacrificing the next best alternative. This doesn’t sit well with many people because as I mentioned before, we have been raised and told that we can have and do it all but the reality is that it’s not possible! So what happens is that we sit on the fence and then we get stuck there because we’re not making decisions or taking action out of the fear of what we may lose out on if we commit to one particular path.

 This is the core of the Quarter Life Crisis- you know that you’re at a point when you need to make a decision on where you are going to go, what you’re going to do and what type of person you want to be but you’re not feeling able to make that decision and so you remain stuck and life seems to be passing you by.

Look at this time in your life as a crossroads, you’re in between who you were in the past and right up to this moment and who you’re going to be from today, tomorrow and onwards. It’s a time when a lot of questions will come up for you, questions about who you are, who you want to be, where you want to go, what you want to achieve or accomplish, where you want to live. It’s a time of confusion, anxiety and frustration which to be honest, no one really prepares us for, but it also seems to be a really normal experience for our generation! This is the New Normal guys!

What fence do you need to get off?fence life pass by

P x

 P.S Remember, you are who I work with!

Already I’ve worked with over 100 people just like you from all over the world to help them overcome their Quarter Life Crisis! It’s what I do!

I would love to help you do the same so check out www.myquarterlifecoach.com to see how we can work together or sign up for The Fairy Godmother Programme starting in less than 2 weeks on the 31st May 2014!

Top 5 tips for a healthy relationship!

 Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take

but by the moments that take our breath away –

Maya Angelo

As Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I’m sure it’s no surprise that this issue of my ezine is devoted to the big L word- Love. I’ve been referred to as the ‘Relationship Queen’ by some of my friends but please bear in mind that this title wasn’t given to me because my relationships were perfect, rather because I was always in one! But a few years ago, I found myself single after a 6 year relationship ended via text message! Talk about ouch!! It was never going to work but it was only afterwards that I realised why. I want to share with you the lessons I have learnt and taken with me from that experience.

TOP 5 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP

1. Love Yourself

I don’t mean a vain, conceited self love rather a strong, healthy appreciation of who you are as an individual and what you bring to the relationship. By acknowledging your own worth, you are setting the standard for how you want your partner to treat you so ensure that you set it at the level that you truly deserve.

2. Know Your Partner’s values

This is so important and is the root of most conflict in relationships. You must find out what is most important to you and to your partner. Your values shape your decisions and therefore the direction of your life. If there is a conflict in the values of two individuals, there will be a conflict in the relationship as you will be pulled in different directions. For example, if one individual valued adventure and freedom and his/her partner valued security and family- can you see how there could be conflict in the relationship?

3. Communicate

Talk to each other. Don’t let issues fester and build up. If something is bothering you, ensure that you talk to your partner about it.  If you can’t talk openly about your needs and your feelings, then I would encourage you to ask yourself why not and perhaps look over tip number one.

4. Respect

If there is mutual respect, your relationship will be so much smoother. It is just so essential for a healthy relationship. An interesting thing however, is that people have different ‘rules’ about what respect means. For example, I may believe that you show the other person respect by being open and honest about your feelings, even if what you say be hurtful while my partner could believe that you show respect by never saying a bad word, raising your voice or by leaving the room if things got heated. If an argument occurred and I behaved my way and he behaved his way, we would both feel completely disrespected even though the intention on both sides was to be respectful! We are complex creatures which is why it is so important to understand tips two and three.

5. Enjoy time apart

Finally, enjoy time apart. Don’t lose sight of who you are as an individual and morph into a ‘we’! It tends to happen quite easily so keep an eye out! Nurture your relationships with your own friends and pursue your own interests. Your relationship needs to breathe and so do you!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! While I was writing these tips, I was asking myself ‘What’s the main difference between my past relationships and my current relationship?’ The answer really is tip number 1- Love Yourself. You see, now I have a strong and healthy appreciation of who I am and what I bring to the relationship.I know my own value and worth and I communicate what I will and will not tolerate. That was something I had always been scared to do in the past, I was always afraid of upsetting my partner in case he got mad and left. Basically, I put his needs ahead of my own because I was afraid of losing him. That relationship ended with my getting dumped via a text message after 6 years together so needless to say, that wasn’t a very healthy relationship!

Learning to love and appreciate myself was a tough journey and one that I’m still not done with but the changes in my life over the past few years have been incredible. This is one of the core modules that I teach in my ‘Be Your Own Fairy Godmother‘ Programme! If you need to stop being so hard on yourself, allow yourself to open up more and start to appreciate your own worth and power then I would highly encourage you to join us on the 21st February! Make it a gift of love to yourself this month!

Chat soon,

P x

The Fairy Godmother Programme

30 days to Awaken Your Personal Power

Starting February 21st 2014

fairy_godmother_package_image4

Have you been feeling like this?

  •  Completely defeated and low energy? You’re working your ass off but it doesn’t feel like life is progressing at all
  • That everyone else is doing so much better and are so much happier than you
  •  Your confidence is feeling low – you need a boost!
  •  You’re feeling completely overwhelmed that you’ve lost all direction for your life
  •  You’re wasting time and energy and money (and you know it)
  •  You don’t know where to start with getting a plan together
  •  You KNOW you have so much potential and power inside you and you’re ready to finally GO FOR IT!

Is this YOU??? If so, you are DEFINITELY NOT ALONE!

Don’t miss out on this!

A year from now, could you bear to be in exactly the same place, doing the same thing and feeling the same way about your life?

My 30 day ‘Be Your Own Fairy Godmother’ Programme starts on February 21st 2014! I won’t be running this course again until May/June 2014!

So sign up for this 30 day programme and get ready to Be Your Own Fairy Godmother and start making magic in your own life!

It’s decision time!

P x

Christmas. Sofa. Easter. Holidays…..

Christmas. Sofa. Easter. Holidays………..

What am I on about? Have I finally lost it and gone away with the fairies? Why the random words?

A couple of weeks back, these words were said to me by my coach. She looked at me expecting a reaction, I stared at her with a blank expression!

She said it again ‘Christmas. Sofa. Easter. Holidays.’ ‘What does that mean?’ I asked. ‘You tell me’ was her response.

I thought about it for a minute and then I cringed, ‘Oh my god, that’s life!!’

We’re coming out of Sofa and heading straight into Easter at the moment- have you noticed? In every shop, there are easter bunnies, mini eggs, creme eggs and very shortly  Easter eggs will be on the shelves of every shop and supermarket if they’re not there already!

After we’re done gorging on chocolate, we will be bombarded with messages of sun holidays and breaks away, magazines and tv ads telling us that we need to get a ‘bikini body’. Many of us will try and eat a bit healthier, get out more and generally feel not enough when we look at other people who already have their ‘bikini body’! But no sooner have we put the suitcase back in the attic and all of a sudden, it’s Christmas again- in September!

Christmas takes us from September to January with a short break allowed in for Halloween! Again, we’re bombarded with messages about the perfect gift, we’re rushing around, spending and trying to keep up with everyone else! Christmas flies by and all of a sudden, we’re in Sofa!

Sofa is an interesting one! It kinda sneaked in there! I’m not sure if I’m noticing it now because I’m older but all the ads from Christmas Day onwards are selling sofas! It’s furniture, home improvements! Maybe it’s because everyone has been sitting down a lot more than usual over the Christmas period so we start believing that we need a new sofa, but then, guess what- we’re back into Easter again and the merry go round keeps on going!

We would normally look at these periods as Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn but I have to admit, referring to them as Christmas, Sofa, Easter, Holidays has really given me a kick in the ass! Time seems to have sped up in recent years, not just for me but for everyone I’ve been talking to! We have more to do and we’re busy busy bees getting on with our lives! Time is progressing but are we? Are we getting caught up in Christmas, Sofa, Easter and Holidays at the expense of achieving the very best of what we want for our own lives?

Christmas, Sofa, Easter and Holidays are going to happen anyway but the important thing is that we don’t get caught up in the flow! We need to make sure that our lives are directed by what we want and who we want to become so in this edition of Progress…..

I want to encourage you to step off the hamster wheel and take stock of where you’re at and look at what’s going on in your life now-

‘Where are you now?’ and ‘Where do you want to be?’

and

‘What do YOU need to do to get you there?’

 

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress!

hamster wheelIf you’d like to get off the hamster wheel, get crazy excited about your life in 2015, ACTUALLY make the changes you want to make and ACHIEVE the things you want to achieve, then check out The Fairy Godmother Programme! This is my best selling 30 day programme where together we will work through topics like ‘Life Vision & Focus’ ‘Mindset and Confidence’ and ‘Decisions and Follow Through’! You will have access to a private facebook community where you can avail of support and coaching and you will also get 2 x 60 minute Q & A sessions with me! All for only €99 for the entire programme! Check out The Fairy Godmother Programme in the ‘Work With Paula’ section now!

 

Two Questions vs Four Questions

When it comes to our lives, most of the time we ask just 2 questions. They are:

What do I want?

And

How Do I get it?

But the funny thing is that often, we’re not 100% sure what we want so we look around us to try and figure out what we should want. We’re told by others what we’d be good at, what constitutes a ‘good life’. We are influenced by our friends, our families, our parents, media and our culture. We are conditioned to move towards things that we’re told we should want.

So anyway then we ask the second question, How do I get it? We’re told the path- it’s generally work really hard, put your head down and keep going. So we duly oblige, we work really hard and pursue that path only to get there and realise that it doesn’t really fit us!

If we’re lucky and have the resources, we may be able to go back a step and ask the first question again’ Ok, what do I want now since that didn’t work out too well? And what happens; we spin ourselves right back into the same loop again.

I was spinning for a good while before I realised that I needed to ask four questions, not two. These 4 questions honestly changed my life and have changed the lives of so many people that I’ve worked with. The four questions you need to ask, in this order are:

 1. Who Am I?

2. What Do I want?

3. Why do I want this?

4. How Do I get it?

 1. Who Am I?

How could we forget this most basic question? The first time I asked this of myself I hadn’t a clue! I couldn’t answer it without just saying I’m Paula. But really, the question is all about getting to the core of you. What makes you tick? What do you enjoy? What’s most important to you in your life? In your work? What do you value? What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about other people? What do you believe about the world? What shapes you? What did you love to do as a kid? What makes you you? You are completely unique! You have a unique set of skills, life experience, passions, characteristics, traits, thoughts and emotions to anyone else in the world!

Do you think it might be worthwhile to spend some time getting to know yourself first before you make decision about what you want to do with your life?

 2. What do I want?

We’ve met this question before but I assure you that the answer for a lot of people is quite different if they’ve taken the time to really figure themselves out first. There is clarity, confidence and a huge boost to your self esteem when you ask this question aligned with the knowledge of who you are.

3. Why do I want it?

This is the safety net question. If the word ‘should’ is in your answer then I want the Star Trek Red Alert noise to play in your head! By asking this question, you are making sure that you ‘own’ your decision! To make sure that there’s no influence or interference from people who are not you! To make sure that it is in sync with who you are.

 4. How do I get it?

If you approach your career asking the above questions, you’ll have greater clarity about who you are and what you want to offer the world, you’ll know exactly what you want and what you need to prioritise, you’ll know the motivation behind your desires and that will be the driving force to get you to take action and because of your confidence, focus and passion, you will figure out how to do it.

It doesn’t seem like a big deal but it is one of the most powerful and simplest ways to take control of your life, how you feel about the decisions you make and more importantly how you feel about yourself!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! If you’d like to explore these 4 questions in more detail then check out The Quarter Life Club! This is my monthly membership programme with a private facebook community, Live Coaching Sessions once a month and we tackle a new topic every month including Life Design for Girls; Goal- Setting for Girls; Overcoming Not Good Enough for Girls; Belief Systems for Girls; Assertiveness for Girls and many more! All for less than €10 per month! Click here to find out more!

Until next time, ask yourself the right questions!

P x

Who do you need to be?

Life’s not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

Some people say that your culture and environment determines your personality and character. Others believe that you are born with your character intact and your destiny is already sewn up. What do you think- does biology or the stars decide your fate? Are we purely the products of what we have been raised to be? What I believe anyway is that we always have free will. Who you are right now is of importance but what is paramount is who you will become.

Who you will become is who you need to become. It’s completely up to you how far you stretch yourself. If your life goals are non-existent, if you want to just ‘see what happens’, get by, be able to pay your bills and keep a roof over your head; then you will become someone who will strive towards that.

 If your life goals are vast and exciting, for example to pay off your mortgage within 10 years, have adventures, travel the world, swim with sharks, go in a hot air balloon, learn a foreign language, have a passionate relationship full of fun and excitement, be financially free; then you will become someone who will strive towards that. Even if you don’t hit the mark every time, your life will still be fuller and much richer than if you were just trying to get by.

 Stepping Up

A lesson I have learnt over the past few years is to step up. I was working with my own coach at the time and we were discussing my life goals – (what I wanted my life and my business to look like) and the fact that I wasn’t really getting anywhere with it! The issue was that I was scared; I was afraid of everything. Afraid it wouldn’t work, afraid of what people might think of me, afraid of putting myself out there and I was even afraid that it would work! Some of the excuses and reasoning I came up with included:

  • ‘I’m a bit shy’
  • ‘I’m too young’
  • ‘I’m too lazy to do this’
  • ‘I’ll get bored and distracted by something shiny’
  • ‘I couldn’t handle it if I failed’
  • ‘I’m just not the type of person who could actually do what I want to do!’
  • This is my dream and if I try and it doesn’t work then I’ll be devastated. What will I have to dream about then? It might be best to keep my dream as a dream and that way it’s safe!

 ‘Who do you need to be? she asked. The question hit me right between the eyes and stopped me in my tracks. This is what we coaches call an ‘Aha’ moment. I knew the answer.

I had to step up and be a better, stronger, more confident version of myself if I was to do the things I wanted to do and have the life I wanted to have. That was who I needed to be. I needed to be Paula 2.0!

 Who you are is who you have been – up until this moment. It is our choices, how we respond to our environment and the goals we set for ourselves that ultimately shapes our lives. Once the deck has been cut, you’re the one dealing the hand. It’s all up to you!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! If you want to set yourself up properly to STEP UP in 2014 in all areas of your life; relationships, career, health and fitness and financial then join me on December 29th at 2pm for a FREE live webinar that will teach you the four steps you need to turn your New Year resolutions into Real Results! (Click here to register now)

This webinar will walk you through the four steps that you need to have in place to make lasting change in your life and help you create the momentum that will you drive you to get there!

You’ll gain clarity about where you’ve been, where you are now and where you want to go! I want to help you create a simple plan to set up your 2014 so that it excites you, compels you and is finally Your Year!

Make sure you’ve got a pen and paper handy and I’ll chat to you on the call!

In the meantime, Step Up!

P x

Click the link below to sign up for your FREE spot on New Year, New You webinar on Sunday 29th December at 2pm!

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3180840215197156098

Setting Better Boundaries

This is a work in progress for me! It’s something I’m much better at, but I still need major improvements. Every experience I have where I’m being polite and obliging when I feel frustrated, pissed off and a firey rage is slowly building on the inside is a ‘learning experience’.

 I had a ‘learning experience’ the other day!

 I pride myself on having a very free and flexible working life. I work from home and it’s fabulous. The problem is, sometimes it’s a bit too free and flexible. If I get a spur of the moment invitation for lunch, I would often say yes! A friend who has been away for a while was back home and text me to see if he could call over for lunch, I said yes; that I was working but was happy to stop for lunch with him. He said no problem, he’d be over in an hour for an hour. Great stuff!

He arrived anyway, 2 year old nephew in tow! We couldn’t really have a catch up, he was too busy running around after a 2 year old and I was running around after my puppy, Lilo, who was so liloexcited to have someone her own size to play with. (How cute is she!!!)

Ninety minutes into this one hour ‘pop in for lunch’ visit, we finally sat down and had a sandwich. At this stage, my shoulders were tense and I had that tightness in my chest where I could feel the rage rising in me.

The mind monkey chatter in my head was yapping away, having a great debate saying things like ‘Tell him to get lost, he’s totally disrespecting your working day’ ‘It would so rude to ask them to leave’ ‘what would he think of you if you behaved that way?’. ‘He’ll think you are a right bitch if you say that’ etc etc.

So, what was going on here? I was getting annoyed with myself because I was allowing my friend to disrespect me and my time. Oh yes of course, I wanted to blame him for the fact that he was hampering my working day and putting me under pressure. But it wasn’t his fault at all! It was all me. I was the one offering more tea, I was the one who wouldn’t speak up, I was the one who wasn’t setting clear boundaries, I was the one assuming that he would know that I was very busy. On the outside, I was a hospitable hostess. On the inside, I was a raging, irritated crazy psycho bitch!

As I said, I’m normally much better at this which is why I think today made such an impact. Because I hadn’t seen this particular friend for a while, I simply fell back into an old pattern of behaviour. I hadn’t clearly established my new boundaries.

I know this isn’t just me! I’ve had so many emails and questions from other women in their 20s and 30s asking ‘How do I say no without feeling guilty? or ‘How do I set clear boundaries and stop letting people take advantage?’

 So, why do we do this??

From the moment we are old enough to curl our hands and snatch toys from our fellow playschool companions, we are told not to be selfish. We’re told to ‘put others first and don’t be so greedy’ etc etc. It’s no wonder that we’re all so concerned about being perceived as selfish or mean; that we now feel terrible for ever having the audacity of putting ourselves first and saying no. We may win friends with our selflessness, but the damage this causes to our own self-respect is huge!

Boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and a healthy life. Setting and sustaining boundaries is a skill. Unfortunately, it’s a skill that many of us don’t learn! We might pick up pointers here and there from experience or through watching others. But for many of us, boundary-building is a relatively new concept and a challenging one.

Having healthy boundaries means ‘knowing, understanding and communicating what you will tolerate and what you will not.’ Here are a few tips on building better boundaries and maintaining them. (I’m reviewing my old lessons and journals to bring you these tips as I need them myself today!)

1. Tune into your feelings.

There are two key feelings that can be red flags that our boundaries are being crossed. They are: discomfort and resentment. If in any situation you are feeling strong feelings of resentment or discomfort, ask yourself ‘what is causing that feeling?’ ‘What is it about this situation or person that is bothering me?’

Resentment usually comes from being taken advantage of, disrespected or not appreciated. It’s often a sign that we’re pushing ourselves either beyond our own limits because we feel guilty or because someone else is imposing their expectations, views or values on us.  Women in general tend to have weaker boundaries than men due to our upbringing because we’ve been raised to be ‘good girls’, polite, respectful etc!

2. Give yourself permission.

Fear, guilt and self-doubt are big potential pitfalls to setting boundaries. We might fear the other person’s response if we set and enforce our boundaries. We might feel guilty by speaking up or saying no to a family member or friend. Many women believe that they should be able to cope with a situation or say yes because they’re a ‘good/nice person’, even though they “feel drained or taken advantage of.” Boundaries aren’t just a sign of a healthy relationship; they’re a sign of self-respect. So give yourself the permission to set boundaries and work to preserve them.

3. Make self-care a priority.

You need to make self-care a priority – this involves giving yourself permission to put yourself first. When we do this, our need and motivation to set boundaries become stronger. Self-care also means recognising the importance of your feelings and honoring them. These feelings serve as important cues about our wellbeing and about what makes us happy and unhappy.

Putting yourself first also gives you the energy, peace of mind and positive outlook to be more present with others and be there for them.” And when we’re in a better place, we can be a better partner, friend and co-worker.

4. Seek support.

If you’re having a hard time with boundaries, seek some support! A great thing to do with friends or family is to make it a priority with each other to practice setting boundaries together and hold each other accountable.

Setting boundaries takes courage, practice and support. And remember that it’s a skill you can master.

I actually did decide to speak to my friend and explain how I had felt as a result of his visit. I took personal responsibility for my feelings and said that I hadn’t explained my boundaries to him but that it was really important to me that I honour my working day and structure even though I work from home. His response was

 ‘Awww, Paulie, I’m really sorry, I didn’t realise.

You should have just said!’

 

Do you treat yourself well?

I’ve just spent 4 blissful days in Connemara, completely disconnected from TV, phones and internet. I hate to admit it, but it did take a bit of adjusting!! (I hadn’t realised I had turned into one of those people who constantly checks her phone, who takes pictures and records videos rather than watching and experiencing for myself!) Lesson learned- for now anyway!

In my opinion, holidays are all about treating yourself but how to actually do that is another story! In fact I think that ‘treating ourselves well’ is a skill which we ladies desperately need to learn. What I’ve discovered from working with so many women in their 20s and 30s is that we don’t treat ourselves very well. We frequently put other people’s needs, wants and wishes ahead of our own. Yes of course, we will be good to ourselves occasionally- when we’re on holidays!

But honestly, how often have you denied yourself something you wanted because you felt like you didn’t deserve it, that you hadn’t earned it or that you weren’t good enough. I remember years ago, when I was going through a rough patch- I desperately wanted a massage. I needed it as I was so stressed at the time and just going around in circles. I booked in for a full body massage but in the hours leading up to the appointment time that inner voice started yapping! It said, ‘you haven’t done x,y,x, you’re a lazy bitch, you don’t deserve it, who do you think you are to spend €60 on yourself’. I cancelled the appointment.

Things like that happened so often, I’d see something I would like in Penny’s and feel like I haven’t earned it or deserved it so I wouldn’t allow myself to have it (or I’d buy it then return it). But if I knew that my partner, sister, friend wanted something, I would be the first person to go and get it for them. Interesting eh?

Because of who I work with on a daily basis, women in their 20s and 30s from around the world, I have seen that this is really common. We just don’t treat ourselves well. We feel that we need to have earned it, that we have to deserve it and the catch 22 is that the times when we need to treat ourselves well are the times that we’re feeling low, unworthy and deserving. Treating ourselves well and with compassion is the only way to lift ourselves up so that we can keep on keeping on!

Demanding more and more from yourself without ever giving yourself a break is unsustainable and will lead to complete burn-out. Often after the burn-out, you realise that you are a million miles away from where you thought you would be in life because you never stopped to give yourself a break or to check if you were actually happy!

What I found helps immensely is goal treats! So, without further ado, I have a 7 day treat challenge 7daytitlefor you!

Every day for the next 7 days, give yourself a really good treat: just because you are you. No excuses and no exceptions! If for some strange reason you actually enjoy being kind and compassionate with yourself then by all means continue!

It might seem strange or repellent at first but once you repeatedly associate treating yourself well, these treats will start to become comfortable and even indispensible. They have a very important function: they provide enough consistent short –term gratification to sustain trust and happiness when the going gets tough, the path to your vision looks scary or if you need to make a difficult decision. Giving yourself a treat a day is so crucial to making progress in your life. It’s all about treating yourself right!

Now, my definition of ‘treat’ is anything that makes you feel like smiling’. Some people think that’s a strange definition but I mean a real, genuine, heartfelt smile as opposed to the fake social smiles we put on which sometimes that makes us feel like we are violating our souls!

So, as an exercise I want you to compile a list of natural smile starters. You can start this simply by observing your behaviour for a day, what makes you smile? We know that every woman’s magazine on the planet will advertise things like massages, getting nails done, pedicures, hot baths, chocolate, candles etc and yes, they’re all lovely and great but I’m talking about a really custom made treat. Something that actually gives you joy, something that makes the smile start from the inside and you just can’t help but grin! Something that delights your senses!

I’m talking going to bed on a winter’s night with a hot chocolate, a great book and fresh sheets with the sound of the rain and wind banging against the window. That would be a treat that would actually get me excited! It doesn’t have to cost a fortune or cost anything at all! Anything that indulges your senses is definitely a winner. Think about it! What do you love the smell of? What do you love the feel of? What do you love the sight of? What do you love the taste of?

Decide if you will take me up on the challenge and make out your list! Share your list of treats on the Quarter Life Coach facebook page and if you find yourself resisting this terrible treat regimen, tell us and we will hold you accountable and if needs be, give you permission to treat yourself well, every single day until you learn to do it for yourself!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress; that you got something valuable from it and could relate! Please get in touch on the facebook page and share your treat list!  I can’t wait to see!

Until next week,

P x

Who Are You in Your Relationships?

Myself and Colly were out walking the dog last weekend, chatting and reflecting on our relationship, 11218467_10153286501107893_778273589560183537_nour marriage, our daughter and our lives and how it’s incredible……….. and for both of us, that fact is still quite strange!

I do have to pinch myself every now and then to remind myself that I’m not dreaming! Personally, I know I have changed a lot in the past few years. I’m really me now, here and present in this relationship.

In previous relationships, I was who I thought my partner wanted me to be and I wasn’t even aware that I was adapting my behaviour to suit him. We would be watching a movie at home or at the cinema and I would keep glancing at his face to see whether he was enjoying it or not. If I had picked the movie and I could see from his facial expressions that he thought it was lousy, it would seriously take away from my enjoyment of the film.

It was all little things, his favourite food, his favourite hobbies, his favourite everything. His favourites that I had never really had any interest in; became a part of my life. All of a sudden I had sports jerseys as part of my wardrobe and I was shouting at the TV on a Saturday afternoon!

This was all good and fine and I’m not for a moment saying that it’s wrong to embrace your partner’s interests but what happened was that after 6 years of morphing into this person I thought I should be, I got dumped. By text message might I add!

Of course there was heart break and sadness and anger and all of those emotions but they weren’t a patch on ‘losing myself’. During the course of those 6 years, I had lost myself in the relationship or to the relationship. I had defined myself by it and by what we did together. Without that, I wasn’t sure who I was!

I don’t mean for that to sound as dramatic as it does, what I mean is that I really didn’t know what my own interests were, what I enjoyed doing, who I enjoyed spending time with, what I wanted for my future. I actually decided to start smoking again, an actual conscious decision because that’s what I did before that relationship! I had been a smoker! I was trying to find anything that would give me that sense of security within myself. Anything I could cling to that I could say ‘I am a ……..’

Just to top it all off as well, I was made redundant within a month or so of the dumping and then shortly after that my sister and I were told that we had to sell our home! So needless to say, I wasn’t in the best space!

I was absolutely broke in every sense of the word but with my redundancy cash, I invested in a life coaching course- for me. For a solid year, I worked so hard getting to know myself. It was difficult and uncomfortable at times but I got me back! I got a new zest of life and I was so happy being me again!

When myself and Colm started dating, I resisted so much because I was afraid of being hurt but most of all, I was afraid of forgetting all I had learnt. I was afraid I’d go back to my old ‘people pleaser’ ways! The question that I had to find the answer to was ‘how to be in a relationship and not lose myself?’ How to be part of a we without losing me?8dc683cfe1f05ea2c75ea144ad45bd27

The goal was to be close in the relationship but still maintain my own identity so I went out and found people who I thought had great relationships and I asked for their advice! Here are some of their strategies! Trust me- it’s good stuff!

Top 5 tips for a great relationship without losing yourself

1. Spend time with your friends.

It’s great when your partner and your friends get along, but your friends don’t want your other half all the time! The time spent with your friends is different when your boyfriend is there and it’s important that you still have your girls’ nights out, weekends away and giggles!

2. Identify the hobbies and interests that you don’t share

You and your partner aren’t going to share the same interests so it’s important to identify the things you don’t have in common and to continue doing it. If you love dancing but your partner has two left feet and would rather get a root canal done than go to a club, do not let that stop you. If he wants to go to support his team at an away game, you don’t need to tag along! Support each other’s interests.

 3. Express yourself.

 While committing to someone is a lovely thing, giving up your needs for that person absolutely isn’t. Never compromise or undermine your own desires just because you’re scared that you’ll lose him if you need something different. A healthy respectful relationship makes room for what both of you need, and your partner can’t know what you need if you don’t tell him directly (he’s not psychic!). If he walks away when you do make your needs known, that is a good thing. Trust me, better that than losing yourself to someone unwilling to listen to you and respect your feelings.

4. Don’t become too dependent.

Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook when it comes to managing yourself and your own life. It’s easy to look to your partner to protect you from the big bad world when everything makes you want to crawl under the duvet and hide, but continue to fight your own battles. When you have a bad day and want to talk, it’s nice to have someone who wants to comfort you, but make it clear that you don’t want your partner to ‘fix’ anything!

5. Never hold back in your own life

 Don’t resist further education, making more money, success or a promotion because of your partner. You should never need to boost his ego or spare his feelings by playing small in your own life. Someone who truly loves you and who is worth loving is secure enough to cheer you on.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress, that you got something valuable from it and could relate!

Until next week,

P

P.S My best selling programme ‘30 Days to Be Your Own Fairy Godmother’ is starting on the 22nd February and you could WIN a place! Click here to enter now! Winner will be announced on the 21st at 9pm!