DO YOU NEED TO INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE, OR ARE YOU PERFECTLY IMPERFECT?

DO YOU NEED TO INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE, OR ARE YOU PERFECTLY IMPERFECT?

Need to increase your self esteem and confidence, or are you perfectly imperfect?

Confidence and self esteem are talked about so much, and thats usually because we are looking for an answer on how to improve ours! If you look up what these actually mean you will find there are many different explanations and variations depending on who you follow or read about. I like to take everything back to as simple an explanation as I can see with my own understanding and experience. For me these words could be substituted for many things like, self belief, self love, self image and so on, but it all ultimately leads to the same thing for me, which I want to share with you below.

As a human being we will always fall into the trap of judgement, particularly about ourselves and when we are criticising and judging ourselves we are by default getting further and further away from showing ourselves love and compassion. Despite what we tell ourselves at times, it is not about looking for the perfect finished article of a confident person, (which doesn’t exist, or does it?) But more about realising that we always have the gift of perspective and therefore constant change is possible for each and every single one of us. If you were to question your level of self esteem or confidence in any given moment I would probably ask you to reflect by asking yourself the following;

How much do you like yourself right now?

How much do you value yourself right now?

How do you see yourself right now?

What are your beliefs about yourself right now?

I am sure you get the picture, and the reason I add ‘right now’ onto each question, is because this will always change, it’s never static. This is why I would never describe a person as having, or not having low self esteem or confidence, as I accept and see human nature as one momentary experience after the other, no two moments the same. This is actually good news as this means that by default, there is always opportunity for a new experience, in other words a new way to see ourselves and a different way to treat ourselves – hopefully with more compassion! Instead of how do we become more confident or increase our self esteem, reflect on how compassionate and loving you are towards yourself.

If we all gave ourselves a daily dose of compassion as a general rule, the difference in our experience of life would instantly be uplifted, and filled with so much more contentment and peace of mind. Often people don’t see the value in this and the power it has to show ourselves compassion, and yet when it comes to others we often instantly see the value in it? In fact we will talk about it as though it’s a necessity for us to support others, see the good in them, reach out to them and be a shining light, and yet it somehow seems alien, unnecessary or maybe even too indulgent to do it for ourselves?

We were not born this way! If this is something you find challenging, you have ‘learnt’ or ‘thought’ your way out of naturally seeing your core nature of love and compassion. The reason I said above does the perfect finished article exist, is because in my eyes it does, but maybe not in the way you initially think of perfection! We are all perfectly imperfect. Part of my own experience of showing myself a tonne more love, compassion and understanding was that I could accept that I was not and did not need to be perfect, and in actual fact it is all of me that makes me perfect just the way I am. Instead of always thinking I need to be better and do better, I am much more able to lower my expectations and the pressure on myself so that it is much easier to see myself as good enough just as I am, I change the goalposts, not myself.

One more thing to mention is that I know some people will read this and say there are some things people do need to change and there are habits that I have that I don’t want to continue with, they are not good for me or my life. Thats OK so do I. These are my habits and they can change without me having to be a super human and in fact the irony is, if I lower my expectations, the pressure I put on myself and accept myself as I am. A large part of getting a quieter mind and there for feeling better in ourselves starts with that daily dose of compassion, so you can start NOW, right this very second!

Self Esteem

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SARIE TAYLOR:  Procrastination; does it stop us from getting where we want to be?

SARIE TAYLOR: Procrastination; does it stop us from getting where we want to be?

PROCRASTINATION; DOES IT STOP US GETTING WHERE WE WANT TO BE?

It’s September and routines are changing again, a time to find our feet with a new schedule again, and maybe get all the things done we haven’t managed to do during the summer. Easy? Or is it? Maybe you find yourself lacking in the motivation to get things done, and then end up procrastinating and avoiding moving forward?

 

Some of you may really disagree with me on this, but I don’t believe anyone is lazy or chooses to be lazy, which is a word I often hear used in conjunction with procrastination. People say things like ‘I am just being lazy’ or ‘I just can’t be bothered to get started’. I don’t think this is strictly true. Nobody chooses to get behind in life, in fact it will often cause us more stress and suffering when we view ourselves as behind, but what if there is no such thing? We all have expectations in life of what needs doing, and where we think we should be up to, but these are thoughts not facts.

 

Most of the time that we end up procrastinating is because we are not being realistic or compassionate with ourselves and our expectations, the pressure we put onto ourselves is too much. Think of it like being stood at the bottom of a mountain looking up and thinking I need to get to the top! This may be followed with many thoughts like, ‘Its too much, I will never make it, It’s too difficult!’ And so we may find ourselves deciding not to even bother getting started, and put it off for another day, when we feel more ready. Imagine you are stood at the bottom of this same mountain and look up again but this time you decide ‘I will just walk for the next 15 minutes and see how I get on?’ Would that feel any different? I am sure it wouldn’t feel quite as overwhelming to give yourself permission to just get started and see how you go. You may find that you end up feeling more motivated to keep going by the end off those 15 minutes, or you may want to sit and rest and take in the view where you are anyway as you see its just as beautiful!

 

Everything is easier and more enjoyable in life with a quieter mind. When we start to jump too far ahead in our minds to everything that we feel has to be done, and how are we going to manage, we are already taking up energy and brain space with the what ifs, that could be far better used in the moment to just get started. The next time you find yourself procrastinating, remember this is your minds way of trying to slow you down, reduce your expectations and just get started, pick somewhere small to start as motivation often comes when we get going. If we wait for motivation to appear before we get going, then we could be waiting forever! Also remember to give yourself praise and credit for getting started, so instead of focusing on what is ‘still’ left to do, recognise you have started and that is good enough, and you are much more likely to keep going with more ease.

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What others think of us is actually none of our business…

What others think of us is actually none of our business…

What others think of us is actually none of our business…

This is something that I continually remind myself and my clients of. We can spend so much of our time and energy on worrying about other peoples opinions, as well as the general opinions and expectations of society in general. We could say its not always a bad thing if we consider other people, however, if we are making decisions about our lives based on what others think instead of primarily considering our own needs and desires, then this can have a huge knock on effect in many areas of our lives.

 

I recently shared a picture of my husband and our eight week old baby on social media. He had the baby in a carrier and was sweeping the floor at the same time. He is actually taking the majority of the paternity leave as I run my own business, and so it was not an option for me to be off for any decent amount of time as the business doesn’t run without me, and so he is now off taking on the majority of care for our baby for the next seven months. As you can imagine this will potentially divide opinion, as it isn’t the norm in our society for men to take extended paternity and for women to go back after two weeks, but it has worked out wonderfully for us. We get to spend so much more time together as a whole family, my husband has had the opportunity to bond with our daughter on another level, and the flexibility has worked our really well for all of us. We know that we are very fortunate to have this option, and it hasn’t come without some challenges (certainly for me!) but overall we definitely wouldn’t change it.

 

The reason I am sharing this with you is because when we were deciding whether to take this option, it did come to mind how both of us may be perceived for making this choice, and some people were shocked and didn’t necessarily think this is how it ‘should’ be! Opinions such as me not fulfilling my duties as a mum by going back to work too soon,my husband ruining his career opportunities by taking time off and so on. If we had worried about being judged by others we could have been in a very different situation right now, both trying to juggle work and a new born as well as a teenager and what for? To reach approval from others? To fit in with societies expectations? It was a consideration, and I know that so many people stop themselves from doing what feels best for them due to fear of disapproval and judgement. Who decides what is best for us anyway? All of societies norms and people’s opinions are simply a build up of conditioned beliefs that they carry over a period of time, that are not often challenged, and also regularly do not actually suit us or our lifestyle but have simply become so habitual.

 

I wanted to write this as a reminder to anyone who feels they want more from life. That feels that they are holding off doing certain things due to fear of being judged, that you will be judged and thats OK! What if it doesn’t matter what other people think? What if it’s actually none of your business was they think? Take it from a 43 year old mum of a new born, with a stay at home husband, that your happiness will definitely not come from pleasing others, it will come from you putting yourself first ,and that involves sometimes making decisions that challenge the general norm. Go for it! You never know it may even turn out better than you ever imagined.

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SARIE TAYLOR: READER’s QUESTIONS

SARIE TAYLOR: READER’s QUESTIONS

READER’S QUESTIONS

This month we wanted to answer a couple of reader’s questions. Thank you for your submissions and we hope you find these answers helpful!

How to be empathic to someone who is going through high anxiety without it triggering you or making you feel too stressed?

 It is extremely likely that we will all go through our lives and experience either ourselves getting anxious, or a loved one, so firstly it’s important to know you are not alone in this. It can be very tempting to want to try and fix the other person, let’s face it, we don’t like seeing those we love suffer, and so it would make sense that we would go into problem solving mode. The difficulty with this, is that we can’t fix how someone else feels, and if we continue trying, we are likely to burnout ourselves at some point. Here would be my top things to consider when supporting a loved one who is suffering with anxiety;

 

  1. Be there to listen. I mean really listening, so not listening with what you think you already know is the answer, or what you believe they need, but actually listening with an open mind. Just them knowing you are there to listen will mean so much.

 

  1. Prioritise yourself. I know this can be difficult when you feel like they need you more, but in actual fact you are much better placed to listen and support them when you are feeling more grounded in yourself. Do not be afraid to reach out to professionals and get outside support rather than taking it all on yourself. Remember nobody has the ability to ‘make’ you feel a certain way, so any stress you feel whilst supporting them comes from your thoughts and the pressure you put on yourself, so be mindful of that and listen to what your body is telling you.

 

  1. Communicate. Encourage conversation when possible but equally don’t force it. They will talk when they are ready, and so all they need is a reminder that you are there to listen when they are ready to talk.

 

  1. Remember that this is all temporary, and although it can feel so overwhelming for all of you, it isn’t always going to be this way. Try and encourage your loved one to do things that bring them some joy. When we are suffering it can be so easy to see everything in life as a struggle, and take everything so seriously, but there is always space for love & laughter and maybe you can remind them of that.

 

  1. Reassurance that they are still loved can be helpful. Often when people are feeling anxious they have an element of negative self talk and their self esteem may be low. They may see themselves as inadequate or not enough but that is not true. Tell them and show them they are still loved.

 

  1. Compassion is like a super remedy. It can be frustrating and stressful when a loved one is anxious, but what they really need is compassion and understanding. Try and take a step back from it all and remember they are doing their best given their thinking at the time, and so if their thinking is off, it may seem that they are making poor decisions or not helping themselves as much as you believe they could, try and show compassion.

 

My anxiety just won’t go away, so how do I handle it?

 

Everything in the answer above also applies to you! Show yourself patience, love and compassion where possible, it will really help you. Understanding how human nature works is also really beneficial so I will start by sharing three key points with you below;

 

  1. We are human beings not robots, and so when we are doing too much, not listening to our mind and bodies, our bodies will slow us down or even bring us to a grinding halt. This may manifest in coughs, colds, illnesses or mental illness like anxiety or depression. The better we get any recognising the signs earlier, the less likely we are to end up feeling completely overwhelmed.
  2. Thoughts create feelings. If you have a busy mind, it’s likely that you will have physical symptoms associated with a busy mind such as feeling tired, sick, headaches and so on. If we find ourselves in a cycle of overthinking our body will start to produce a lot of adrenaline (which can feel very physical) and this can then be another thing to worry about. It’s a completely natural process and as soon as our minds start to settle so will the adrenaline levels.

 

  1. Acceptance is key. I regularly hear people talk about fighting or battling their anxiety, showing it who is boss. Now this may feel like it works temporarily, but it often doesn’t last. The reason for that is that anxiety isn’t the enemy, but rather an indicator that our thoughts are off in a negative direction, and that we need to listen and slow down. This is actually a gift, a love letter from our body to alert us. If we pay attention, and as a result, reduce the pressure we put on ourselves then the body and mind will naturally reset to a wonderful place of innate wellbeing that is within us all!

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Sarie Taylor: Overwhelm

Sarie Taylor: Overwhelm

Overwhelm – anxiety, stress & worry

Feeling overwhelmed? Our resident Psychotherapist, Sarie Taylor gives us some tips to reduce our stress and anxiety when juggling work and family life…

Let’s start by looking at what we even mean by overwhelm? Usually we are talking about when we feel like we have too much on our plate! Too much to do, or to think about, and we often get to a place where we feel like one more thing will happen and it will tip us over the edge!

There is often an innocent misunderstanding about overwhelm in that we believe it stems from the challenges we face, the external things in our lives that cause us to get overwhelmed, our work, our family and so on. I really get it, and believed this wholeheartedly myself for many years until I was able to understand more and see things differently. Bare with me whilst I explain!

Life does throw so many challenges our way, as well as opportunities, and at times it can feel never ending as though we are being faced with one thing after the other, and we have no control! Now there is some truth in this in that the majority of things day to day are actually very much out of our control. The issue comes when we find discomfort in what we can’t control, and so we try to control the uncontrollable using the gift of thought, our minds, queue the worry!

Lets just say it was the external stuff that caused the overwhelm directly. We would all have the same levels of overwhelm and stress about the same things and yet we don’t. Something I find stressful may be a breeze for you, and then something you really fear may be an everyday easy occurrence fo me? It’s our response to the challenges we face, our perspective and our thinking about what is happening that creates the overwhelm. Overwhelm comes from the inside out, not outside in!

I would actually go a far to say that the overwhelm is caused 99.9% of the time from the pressure and expectation we put on ourselves, often habitually without even realising, we just get so good at it. Let’s take guilt as an example, parental guilt is talked about a lot. Our feelings always come from our thinking and this includes guilt. Feeling guilty as a parent often involves feeling that you are struggling to be all things to all people and somehow not quite hitting the mark (your expectations). This is not a reflection of your ability as a parent, it does not correlate with whether you are enough, doing a good enough job or getting it ‘right’. It is simply an indication of where your thinking is at…

“I feel bad I haven’t spent much time with me kids”

“I am behind at work because my child has been unwell”

“I feel selfish but I just need a break”

We could go on, and I am sure we could all add hundreds if not thousands of comments and thoughts to this! All of these thoughts create feelings of not quite being enough and then naturally cause us to feel overwhelmed. What if you could change the goal posts yourself? What if you could lower your expectations? Even with all the challenges we face as parents, we can still change the pressure and expectation we put on ourselves. ‘Yes but’ I hear you say! Well you can come up with all the reasons as to why you cant reduce the pressure or expectations, but ultimately if you don’t, your body will slow you down anyway, through feeling burnt out, overwhelmed, catching every cough and cold you come into contact with amongst many other things. It’s our bodies job to slow us down when we don’t take notice. We are humans not robots.

The other aspect to overwhelm, that we don’t always notice, is that we are not often concerned with that present moment, (as we are actually managing and more capable than we give ourselves credit for), but again we are more in our head about what happens next! Let me give you some examples.

‘My child is ill and I feel overwhelmed’ – usually translates to, what if they get worse, what if I am off work for another day, how will I manage (future what ifs)

“I just don’t get a minute to myself” – usually translates to if I carry online this what will happen, when does it end? (Future what ifs)

“I keep getting terrible headaches” – usually translates to what is wrong with me, is this something serious, how will I manage if it is, who will take care of my children? (Future what ifs)

I would love you to reflect on how much of your suffering is really about the here and now, or if it is in actual fact more about the what ifs, the stories we create trying to predict the future and believe we are in control!

How can you start to reduce your overwhelm starting right NOW? Even just picking one will make a difference!

*Treat yourself with compassion NOT criticism

*Adjust your expectations, lower that pressure

*Remember we are only ever doing the best we can given our thinking at the time

*We are enough!

*Ask yourself…would you treat your closest friend or family in the same way you treat or talk to yourself?

*Ask yourself…right in this very second am I OK?

– will it all get too much to handle? (Not sure how you want to start it or how you plan to do the title)

Let’s start by looking at what we even mean by overwhelm? Usually we are talking about when we feel like we have too much on our plate! Too much to do, or to think about, and we often get to a place where we feel like one more thing will happen and it will tip us over the edge!

There is often an innocent misunderstanding about overwhelm in that we believe it stems from the challenges we face, the external things in our lives that cause us to get overwhelmed, our work, our family and so on. I really get it, and believed this wholeheartedly myself for many years until I was able to understand more and see things differently. Bare with me whilst I explain!

Life does throw so many challenges our way, as well as opportunities, and at times it can feel never ending as though we are being faced with one thing after the other, and we have no control! Now there is some truth in this in that the majority of things day to day are actually very much out of our control. The issue comes when we find discomfort in what we can’t control, and so we try to control the uncontrollable using the gift of thought, our minds, queue the worry!

Lets just say it was the external stuff that caused the overwhelm directly. We would all have the same levels of overwhelm and stress about the same things and yet we don’t. Something I find stressful may be a breeze for you, and then something you really fear may be an everyday easy occurrence fo me? It’s our response to the challenges we face, our perspective and our thinking about what is happening that creates the overwhelm. Overwhelm comes from the inside out, not outside in!

I would actually go a far to say that the overwhelm is caused 99.9% of the time from the pressure and expectation we put on ourselves, often habitually without even realising, we just get so good at it. Let’s take guilt as an example, parental guilt is talked about a lot. Our feelings always come from our thinking and this includes guilt. Feeling guilty as a parent often involves feeling that you are struggling to be all things to all people and somehow not quite hitting the mark (your expectations). This is not a reflection of your ability as a parent, it does not correlate with whether you are enough, doing a good enough job or getting it ‘right’. It is simply an indication of where your thinking is at…

“I feel bad I haven’t spent much time with me kids”

“I am behind at work because my child has been unwell”

“I feel selfish but I just need a break”

We could go on, and I am sure we could all add hundreds if not thousands of comments and thoughts to this! All of these thoughts create feelings of not quite being enough and then naturally cause us to feel overwhelmed. What if you could change the goal posts yourself? What if you could lower your expectations? Even with all the challenges we face as parents, we can still change the pressure and expectation we put on ourselves. ‘Yes but’ I hear you say! Well you can come up with all the reasons as to why you cant reduce the pressure or expectations, but ultimately if you don’t, your body will slow you down anyway, through feeling burnt out, overwhelmed, catching every cough and cold you come into contact with amongst many other things. It’s our bodies job to slow us down when we don’t take notice. We are humans not robots.  

The other aspect to overwhelm, that we don’t always notice, is that we are not often concerned with that present moment, (as we are actually managing and more capable than we give ourselves credit for), but again we are more in our head about what happens next! Let me give you some examples.

‘My child is ill and I feel overwhelmed’ – usually translates to, what if they get worse, what if I am off work for another day, how will I manage (future what ifs)

“I just don’t get a minute to myself” – usually translates to if I carry online this what will happen, when does it end? (Future what ifs)

“I keep getting terrible headaches” – usually translates to what is wrong with me, is this something serious, how will I manage if it is, who will take care of my children? (Future what ifs)

I would love you to reflect on how much of your suffering is really about the here and now, or if it is in actual fact more about the what ifs, the stories we create trying to predict the future and believe we are in control!

How can you start to reduce your overwhelm starting right NOW? Even just picking one will make a difference!

*Treat yourself with compassion NOT criticism

*Adjust your expectations, lower that pressure

*Remember we are only ever doing the best we can given our thinking at the time

*We are enough!

*Ask yourself…would you treat your closest friend or family in the same way you treat or talk to yourself?

*Ask yourself…right in this very second am I OK?

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