Categories
Emotional Honesty Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Reduce Stress Relationships Self Care and Self Love

Sorry, Not Sorry.

Are you waiting for an apology that just hasn’t come? If so, you are not alone. It’s a state that many of my clients find themselves in and it keeps them stuck. Waiting for someone else (or an organisation) to own and apologise what we perceive as a major transgression, and their continued unwillingness to do so, ties us to the past hurt and stops us moving forwards.

There is also “contrition for show” where there is an apology of sorts, but it’s more for public perception. We can feel the difference between being publicly sorry about being caught, rather than privately remorseful for what actually happened.

When an apology is disingenuous it doesn’t give the relief or peace we seek and so it doesn’t count. Contrition for show feels very different to genuine apology and can actually add insult to injury.

Why don’t you get your apology?

Well, genuine contrition means the risk of genuine shame. Shame is one of the most uncomfortable emotions there is. Not everyone has the emotional chops to let themselves feel it. It’s far less about avoiding contrition to you and far more about avoiding the self-knowledge and it’s implications to them. They don’t want to live with the shame; so you live with the lack of contrition. And so holding out for genuine contrition – does it actually help?

It might feel right and fair and just and what “should” happen: but the fact is – you are not getting it and your need for it actually only damages you further and keeps you bound to the original injury.

Know that if someone has done the dirty on you, even if they don’t own their behaviour you can still own your future.

The fastest way to move past the hurt is to assert that not one element of your life depends on them apologising to you. That you want your future more than you want their contrition. Someone else’s contrition can be of far less value than you think.

Take back your power by dropping your need for it.

If you liked this blog, you will lovelovelove my Coaching Academy. 

Smart, practical tools that you can download, put into practice and get support and accountability as you up-level your wellbeing in an amazing community of like-minded women. Create a life you love, and a body you love living in and enjoy wellbeing without the overwhelm – just click here to join and I’ll see you inside!

Categories
Emotional Honesty Live Happy Inspiration Relationships

How to DEEP Listen.

I will be a Deep Listener

Want to make someone feel special? Your partner? Mother? Ole’ Gramps? Neighbour? Niece? The barista you see twice a day every day?

You don’t need to give fancy spa vouchers to someone to make them feel special (although that’s nice, obvs!). You don’t have to whisk them off for a fancy razzle dazzle dinner (although that is also nice, Café Hanoi if you are asking). There is a far simpler and more powerful way to make someone feel special.

I call it Deep Listening. For someone to feel completely seen. Completely heard. Completely understood. And completely and utterly special.

You just need to LISTEN.

Not just with your ears but with your HEART too. Listen WITHOUT the intent to rush in and FIX IT. Listen WITHOUT the rush to judge, mentor, compare or provide a solution. Listen WITHOUT the intent to pile straight in and say, “oh yes, me too, it was so awful when I had an experience a bit like that”, and segue into your own stuff without giving their experience time to breathe.

Listen without splitting your focus to the TV or your phone.

Deep Listen.

Listen with the intent to hear what is NOT being said, as much as what IS being said.

Listen with interest: even if it’s not of natural interest to you. Listen with the intent to understand what might make that interesting to them. Why is your sister so craycray about cross stitch / cross fit /cross country?  What can she see that you can’t?

Listen between the lines. Listen behind the, “I’m fine”. Listen beyond the platitudes.

The rarest and most special gift of all in this frenetic, ultra-connected, multitasking era is the gift of true attention and deep listening.

When someone feels truly seen and truly heard without judgement, you have given them something far more valuable than any spa voucher.

How do you deep listen?

Firstly, you ask some simple open-ended questions.

Secondly, you actually listen to the responses.

Thirdly, you are genuinely interested in the content of the answer.

Then, you ask some more questions and dig a little deeper. Not rocket science, clearly. It’s rare, yes, but it’s not hard.

Here are a few Deep Listening Questions to get you going:

  • Tell me more about that…
  • That does sound tough. What else happened?
  • How did that make you feel?
  • How did you know that was the right thing for you?
  • What worries you the most about that? 
  • Is there anything else about that that bothers you? 
  • I so get that. Makes perfect sense to me. What else is on your mind about it?  
  • What would help you most right now?
  • What do you wish people understood about what you have going on right now?
  • That’s interesting/sad/downright terrifying. Tell me more about it.
  • That sounds so fun/exciting/crazy-pants unusual! Tell me more about how that came about.
  • What a cool experience/person/opportunity. What was the real highlight for you?

The easiest of these to remember is “Tell me more about that…” you can repeat that to fade. It’s the ultimate Deep Listening tool. If you remember one, that’s the one for any occasion. That’s the Swiss Army Knife of Deep Listening.

If you are disconnected from someone special, the chances are high that you have not properly listened to them for a long, long time. You have surface listened but not deep listened. You have had functional conversations but not profound ones. That you know what is going on with them but at a superficial logistical level. It’s an exchange of top level logistics. That’s fine and it keeps things ticking along: but if you want someone to feel special, give them the gift of deep listening. Park your own stuff way past the point where you want to jump in and deep listen.

Don’t let yourself off the hook with “I’m too busy” or “I’m not good at it”. That’s a cop-out and you know it (tough love: you are welcome). Deep listening used to be an integral part of the human experience back in the days where we would have been huddled around the fire after supper without multiple screens to amuse and distract us. Our entertainment and connection would have come from the people around us, not the TV or our Facebook feed. Deep Listening would have been a way of life. There would have been the time and the space for it.

Not so much now: we have so many more competing demands on our time and attention. However, what that means is it raises the value of Deep Listening, as so few people actually extend themselves enough to practice it. It makes it even more valuable when you do do it. Hence the power of deep listening to make someone feel special. It’s rare, so it’s instantly, massively special.

You can completely transform your relationship with someone by busting out some well chosen Deep Listening questions and truly listening to the answers.

The bottom line is this: it’s not enough to ask someone special how their day was, if you are not really listening to the answer.

If you liked this blog, you will lovelovelove my Coaching Academy. 

Smart, practical tools that you can download, put into practice and get support and accountability as you up-level your wellbeing in an amazing community of like-minded women. Create a life you love, and a body you love living in and enjoy wellbeing without the overwhelm – just click here to join and I’ll see you inside! 

Categories
Emotional Honesty Relationships

Hug Them Heart To Heart.

I will say something when there is nothing that can be said.

When you don’t know what to say, SAY SOMETHING. When tragedy strikes, many people run for the hills because they feel awkward and they don’t know what to say. I get that. It’s a very human response.

Here’s the thing.

SOMETIMES THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN SAY THAT WILL MAKE THINGS ANY BETTER FOR THAT PERSON GOING THROUGH THAT THING. N.O.T.H.I.N.G.

Nothing you say will change the situation or lessen their grief or shock or make it any better. There is no casserole you can make that will make things okay.

NOTHING YOU CAN SAY OR DO WILL MAKE THINGS ANY BETTER FOR THAT PERSON GOING THROUGH THAT THING.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t say anything. Or you don’t do anything.

When we feel socially awkward in the face of pain and we don’t know what to say, it’s FAR easier for us to be silent. Wait until we figure out what to say or how to help. Just sort of step back until we know what would be the best approach.

Thing is. That is a LOT more about us REDUCING OUR OWN ANXIETY than doing what we know to be right. When someone is in massive pain, the goal shouldn’t be about reducing our own social awkwardness.

When we wait till we know what the right thing is to say, we are marking time and leaving them in a void. That moment where the “right thing” to say magically comes to us will not arrive. When there are no words, time will not make the words come. So, however awkward or anxious it is, we need to rise up in the moment.

LOOK THEM IN THE EYE. HUG THEM HEART TO HEART. ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR PAIN, knowing you cannot take it way, but that you SEE THEM AND YOU ARE WITH THEM.

Sometimes all you can say is, “I am so sorry. I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know I am with you in any way you need it, whenever you need it”.

Some people might want a shoulder to talk about things with. For others that is the last thing they need, they will appreciate distraction. For others, the best way of showing love is practical assistance, where that casserole quietly delivered with love is a demonstration of practical love. You don’t get to dictate that. You can only respond.

But, don’t say nothing and wait till you know what to say. Sometimes there is nothing you CAN say.

In those times, we all remember the people who did not shy away however awkward, but who looked us in the eye and held us even though there was nothing they could do. We also remember with all too much clarity the people who backed away, said nothing, pretended nothing was happening. We know exactly who those people are too.

Sometimes all you can do is be a COMPASSIONATE WITNESS to someone else’s pain.

You think you are not doing anything but actually, you are.

You are becoming part of the healing.

Just because there is nothing you can say, doesn’t mean that being fully, compassionately present to say nothing is not valuable.

It is. More than you will know.

If you liked this blog, you will lovelovelove my Coaching Academy. 

Smart, practical tools that you can download, put into practice and get support and accountability as you up-level your wellbeing in an amazing community of like-minded women. Create a life you love, and a body you love living in and enjoy wellbeing without the overwhelm – just click here to join and I’ll see you inside! 

Categories
Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Reduce Stress Relationships

A Smart Man With A Dumb Phone.

Last year I stayed with some treasured old friends from uni in the English countryside. They live in this fantastical house. It has a turret! It has a moat! It has one of those amazing freestanding roll top baths like the Cadbury’s Flake advert! It is a testament to the wisdom of the best piece of financial advice being to marry the right person in the first place, and stay married to them.

Now then, he is a big city lawyer, partner of a London law firm. Top level, big cheese, commercial lawyer…but….he is also easily one of the most laid back and chilled guys to be around. I was wondering how he pulled this off given the pressures of his role and a pretty epic commute…and then I saw him put his phone on to charge. It was a fully old-skool style Nokia 3310. The unsmartest of phones. It looked like it belonged in a 1990’s museum exhibition.

“Er….is that your phone?” I said incredulously.

“Yup”.

“But you have a work phone too, right?”.

“Nope”.

“That can’t be your only phone?” I persisted, my brain struggling to compute.

“Yes. It’s my only phone. It’s all I need”.

“But…but…you don’t have a smart phone? With a screen? With internet? At all? Anywhere?” I’m scanning the room as if to see a top of the range iPhone or Samsung magically appearing out of thin air.

“Nope. This phone is it.”

Huh.

I don’t mind telling you I took a few quiet minutes to let that sink in. This is a man with a seriously massive job, running his life off a Nokia 3310. This is in great contrast to me and his missus who had had a fab day shopping and pottering but between us had used Google maps to find our way around a diversion, MyFitnessPal to compare protein consumption, Facebook to look up what country another old friend was living in (Denmark), IMBD to settle the score on who was the actor in a thing we couldn’t’ remember (Mathew Broderick), and Pinterest for a twist on a mojito recipe (raspberry and cucumber).

If you are dumbfounded by this dumb phone revelation, consider that one 2017 study found that Americans spend an average of 5 hours a DAY on their phones, another that some teenagers are spending up to NINE hours a day across assorted social media platforms.

A term has been coined to describe that mild (to (be honest now) extreme) panic that sets in when you can’t find your phone or it’s out of charge:

Nomophobia (No Mobile phobia, geddit??).

No wonder France led the way last year by passing legislation to reduce pressure to respond to work queries out of hours calling it the “right to disconnect”.

It’s a modern-day paradox that we are increasingly disconnected in an uber-connected world. That with some people if we don’t get an instant reply, we wonder if they have, in fact, been kidnapped. Is all of this connectivity good? No. Is all of it bad? No. It is, as it usually is, all about finding the optimal balance. Spending that weekend with someone in a huge job incongruously twinned with a Nokia 3310 did however make me consider that the belief, “I have to be connected and contactable for work”, might not be as true as I thought. Perhaps for many of us, “I need it for work” is an excuse for smartphone addiction and that comforting dopamine rush of being needed or liked with each ding or red flag notification.

Being over-connected to our phone dramatically reduces our capacity to be present. The perfect example of this is watching the telly with two screens. If you have ever sat in front of a show and been scrolling through Instagram at the same time, you will know for sure the impact that has on your comprehension of the show. You have missed key bits, only have the gist of what’s important, and the amount of empathetic connection you have whether that is crying at the sad bits, or being scared at the scary bits, or laughing at the banana skin fall will be significantly reduced.

Two screens equals a massively reduced emotional connection. It’s not just like this with the TV, of course, it’s the same with the person you are with if your attention is split between them and your (or their) phone. You miss the full emotional impact of the share about their mother’s dementia, or the child sharing their delight at bringing you the dandelion, or they miss your natural enthusiasm for the raspberry cucumber mojito recipe.

The present moment is where our joy, happiness and purpose live.

We cannot experience them anywhere other than the present moment. If you want to set your 2019 on fire then one way is to tweak your digital boundaries and balance. Thing is, for me, there have been a number of times where having a smartphone with Google maps, or a receipt in my email, has absolutely saved not just my bacon but the whole pig.

So, you also might not want to go the whole hog and ditch your iPhone for a retro Nokia, but you might want to think about the following:

 

  1. Can you take your email off your phone? Delete it completely? Do you really need it there? Really? Think about it: if your office knows you do not have email on your phone you reduce all expectation that you will check it or answer it out of hours.

 

  1. Do you want to delete your social media off your phone? What will you do when you would otherwise be mindfully scrolling? Hmmm…that’s food for thought isn’t it?

 

  1. There are a huge array of apps that have been developed to stop you using your other apps so much. Ah, the irony. So, you can download an app like Offtime which helps users unplug by blocking distracting apps like Facebook and games and filtering communications. It also includes some fairly alarming information on how much you actually use your smartphone and on what.

 

  1. Curfews and boundaries can be very effective. Studies have shown that the blue light from our screens affects our natural sleep response, so a no phones in the bedroom or a phone curfew an hour before bed might work well or you.

 

  1. A no 2-screen rule might work for you too. So if you are watching TV, do that, be fully present and enjoy it. When you are checking Facebook, do that and do the same. Split focus means reduced enjoyment.

 

  1. Choose to be present when you are with people. Be fully all there. Phone away and preferably on silent so the notifications don’t take your attention from the person you have decided to actually spend time with. Focus deliberately on real-world, real-time connection. Maximise your attention and reap the emotional rewards from that choice.

 

A smart man with a dumb phone? Just maybe he is onto something.

 

If you liked this blog, you will lovelovelove my Coaching Academy. 

Smart, practical tools that you can download, put into practice and get support and accountability as you up-level your wellbeing in an amazing community of like-minded women. Create a life you love, and a body you love living in and enjoy wellbeing without the overwhelm – just click here to join and I’ll see you inside! 

Categories
Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Reduce Stress Relationships Self Care and Self Love

Relative Harmony #2

A seasons sprinkling of final top tips for a harmonious festive season for you today, plus a little Christmas gift for you at the end!

#3. YOU teach other people how to treat you, and you are allowed to update that treatment from 1985.

One of the core principles I work on with my clients and my Wellbeing Warrior programme members is, “What you allow is what you endorse”. Essentially, we teach people how to treat us. We educate others what is acceptable to us by the way we lay out our expectations and the way we react to their behaviour around us. Strengthening our boundaries is the way we keep the good stuff in and bad stuff out. It’s that simple, and in adult life we are generally pretty okay at it. When it comes to family though…well…whoa….that can be a whole different kettle of fush and chups. If we have been allowing a certain behaviour since childhood for example, when we had minimal say in the matter, it can be much harder to assert a new boundary as an adult of, “it’s not okay to speak to me like that”. However, it can be done.

You are allowed to have different standards of behaviour that you expect for yourself and your life than you did in 1985. And you are allowed to update that standard and bring it into 2018. Being able to firmly state “It’s not okay to talk to me like that” and reiterate it with consistency to the point that it becomes the new standard is possible. I would pick your battles here though, some are so small and you may see your family so infrequently, it might not be worth the drama to you. But, for the big things if it needs an update; be firm, don’t whine, don’t argue. Just state what you need and expect, spell out the consequences and follow through if need be. You are a grown-ass man/woman: you are allowed.

#4. Don’t sweat the small stuff (and most of it is small stuff!).

Most of the Christmas stuff is small stuff, isn’t it? The detail of it all. That’s what causes most of the arguments and overwhelm: the myriad of tiny details and expectations of ourselves and others. Being able to stop, step back and gain some perspective is key.

The big picture is that however annoying someone might be in the moment (and like we said last week, no one pushes buttons so effectively as family!) you actually love them. The big picture is we love them very much.  That for every family member tearing their hair out about the way that Dad insists on making such an all-encompassing performance about the turkey or Aunty Pat’s penchant for un-PC jokes after too many sherry brandies, there is someone silently weeping that they do not get to spend that time with those that they love or loved. The big picture is that the small stuff is not worth sweating and that Christmas is something you feel not something you do. The details only matter if we let them. The big picture is really where it’s at.

I do hope you are spending your festive season with people you care about and who hold you in their warm embrace. I wish you all the most fabulous Christmas time, thank you for being along for the ride this year and I can’t wait for more in 2019.

I do have a special Christmas present for you all to thank you for reading this year, and for all the amazing emails and messages you have sent me. I have ONE scholarship to my online life coaching programme ~Wellbeing Warriors~ to gift to you lovely readers this festive season! To enter just hop over to www.louisethompson.com/winascholarship and take 30 seconds to enter to be in to win a year of your best wellbeing with support from me! One lucky winner will be drawn on 21 December 2018 and advised by email.

Categories
Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Reduce Stress Relationships

Relative Harmony #1 (of 2)

(AKA How Not to Murder your Family This Xmas!)

There is a tremendous quote from American spiritual teacher Ram Dass that I thought would be particularly pertinent as we hurtle towards the festive season:  If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family”. Nothing, bar nothing in this world (with the possible exception of the current incumbent of The White House) pushes everyone’s buttons so thoroughly and consistently as family, however much we love them. Here are my top tips so you can spend Christmas kicking back with a cold one on the beach not hiding in the walk-in wardrobe from your extended whanau drinking gin through a straw.

  1. You can change the dynamic

If the way things usually roll out drives you crazy, you don’t have to accept the status quo: shocking news I know, but true. It only takes one person to change in a dynamic for all sorts of subtle shifts to occur. If you are sick of the sniping and bitching, the next time your brother comes to you to moan about the way your sister is organising the beach cricket, don’t get into it: ask him to address it with your sister directly. If you are sick of being the one that does all the buying of the food, email round a list of bring a plate responsibilities ten days before. I’m not saying people will like it, but I am saying you can shift the dynamic by making deliberate shifts yourself.

  1. The only thing you “have to do” is breathe. Everything else is a choice.

Christmas is not only the time of good tidings towards all men, but can also be an absolute obligation fest filled with “have to’s” and “should’s” of varying shapes and sizes. Nothing creates overwhelm and burn-out like an obligation fest: so if the pressure is rising, I’d like for you to step deliberately back into your personal power and remember that the only thing you HAVE to do is breathe, everything (truly, everything!) else is a choice.

Driving on the roads at the same time that everyone else is, is a choice.

Doing 19 different side dishes because everyone must have their favourite because it’s Christmas is a choice.

Choosing to write a Christmas card to everyone you have ever met since you were at school as you don’t want to be rude is a choice.

So, choose well.

The reality is, you have a finite amount of time, energy and attention: make powerful choices about where those finite resources get spent. “I have to” is disempowered, “I choose to” or “I choose not to”; that’s owning your right to decide where your most precious resources go. There is no apology required for using discernment and saying no. Reaching Christmas Eve a frazzled mess serves no one!

Your Christmas: your choices, so no guilt needed for opting out of excessive obligations.

Choose decisively and well.

One of the best Christmas gifts on offer to those you love is being energised and present and full of mojo and sparkle!


To celebrate the 3rd birthday of my Life Coaching Academy ~Wellbeing Warriors~

– and to thank you for reading my posts this year and for all the amazing emails

and messages you have sent me – 

I have a special present for you all.

I have one scholarship to my online life coaching programme ~Wellbeing Warriors~

to gift to you lovely readers this festive season!

To enter, just hop over to www.louisethompson.com/winascholarship and take 30 seconds

to enter to be in to win a year of your best wellbeing with support from me!

One lucky winner will be drawn on the 21st December 2018 and advised by email.

Categories
Dream and Goals Emotional Honesty High Energy Happiness Live Happy Inspiration Love the Skin You're In Positive Thought Strategy Reduce Stress Relationships Self Care and Self Love

Change The Game

This picture meme I came across at random is everything I believe.

Physical wellbeing is *obviously* really important.

But it is often given far higher importance than our emotional, mental and spiritual health and wellbeing.

Change The Game

The interesting thing is that when we attend to our mental, emotional and spiritual health (with smart, easy to apply coaching tools) we start to feel comfortable in our own skin in a way we may never have done: and that becomes the foundation for almost effortless physical health choices.

Those diets that stop, start, stop, start: you just start to eat healthy ongoing because you want to.

It stops being hard, and becomes the obvious choice.

That excessive habit wagon you have fallen in and off time and time again? You don’t need another 30-Day miracle boot camp promising you the world or a gym membership that lapses and you feel guilty about; you need to attend to your boundaries, learn why you worry about stuff and exactly how to stop it, and generally expand your level of self-awareness and trust: and, guess what…you’ll exercise regularly because you want to, because it’s just what you do. No fuss. No struggle.

That crazy lack of rest and downtime, running on empty and lack of balance? Do the deep work and watch that fall into place. Start honouring your mind and body with appropriate self-care without force or guilt.

If you are O.V.E.R. doing the same thing, listening to the same old promises, falling on and off the same ole wagon with the same ole excuses…

Do. Something. Different.

Learn how to take care of your wellbeing – emotional, mental and spiritual – and watch your physical wellbeing fall into place.

Do. Something. Different. For. You.

Something that the woman you want to be in 2019 will thank you for.

You want change?

You want to look different?

Feel different?

Change. The. Game.

Join 700 smart women in my life coaching Academy, and do wellbeing differently.

We have been doing it differently in there for 3 years now.

We have a formula that changes the game because it changes YOU.

If you are ready for real change; then I’m ready for you.

Join up right now, you won’t regret it!

 

 

Categories
Emotional Honesty Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Relationships Self Care and Self Love

Radical Unsupport

I coach a lot of strong, smart, independent women. And there is something I want you to know.

Just because they are strong and smart and independent, doesn’t mean that stuff isn’t affecting them.

It doesn’t mean that currently being partnerless or financially under pressure or a single mum or childless isn’t totally killing them inside.

It just means they are very good at not showing it.

Just because they get on and they deal doesn’t mean some days are not super hard.

It just means they are not asking for help.

I see so many, TOO FREAKING MANY, smart, independent women who are RADICALLY UNSUPPORTED.

Unsupported because THEY DON’T FIT INTO A PARTICULAR BOX.

Because they don’t fit at the school gates. Or at the dinner parties that are all partnered up. Or the camping trip of big family fun. Or the fancy restaurant where avo on toast is twenty bucks.

So, they are excluded. Not deliberately, not at all, but by oversight. But excluded they are.

And they can feel alone. And like they are a bother. And that no one sees them.

And so they just put their game face on with a cheery “I’m fine!” and rock on.

But underneath they are RADICALLY UNSUPPORTED.

I don’t think any of us want that and I honestly think we can do better.

I think smart, independent women who are hurting can get FAR better at reaching out – saying – “Y’know, I need a hand or a hug here” – without it compromising their identity of being smart or independent – which is, by the way, the main quality of self definition that gets them through the inadvertent exclusion.

I think societally we can be better at supporting those who look like they don’t need support but actually do.

Look up. Listen Up. What’s NOT being said?

That friend of yours, who always looks like she permanently has her shit together and her game face on, and doesn’t need your help or invitation: I bet you she needs it more than you can imagine.

I am seeing more smart, independent women – who don’t fit the box – being radically under supported than ever. By accident, not by design. It’s a trend. It’s increasing. I don’t like it.

All it needs is a little more thought and attention to her, and less attention to the box.

I’d love you today to contact two girlfriends and let them know you are there for them in any way they need. The one who you think needs you right now – and – the one who you think doesn’t because she is so strong.

She might appreciate it a lot more than you imagine.

And if it’s you, if you are the smart, independent woman who is feeling unsupported, it doesn’t make you weak to reach out and ask for what you need. It’s a show of strength. Speak up. Lean harder.

We are all in this together.

Categories
Live Happy Inspiration Relationships Self Care and Self Love

Serve From The Saucer

Are you one of life’s born givers? I suspect you are. And  – as much as you get joy from lifting up and loving the people around you – I also bet that sometimes you can get depleted, tired or resentful, or feel just a teensy bit taken for granted. Well, if that sounds like you then I have something for you today.

How can life’s natural givers find that elusive balance of give and take?

Well, firstly please know that dialing down our natural instinct to people please is not about us becoming selfish biiiiatches (miiiiiaaaaooow!!!!), it’s much more about knowing that when we consciously redress the balance – we actually have MORE to give, but it comes from a different place – a place of SERVICE, not a place of guilt or resentment. So much better!

A concept I really admire on this is from author and speaker Lisa Nichols: it’s such simple analogy I can’t believe I didn’t think of it first (dammit!) that I wanted to share it with you today:

Don’t keep serving people and giving, giving, giving from your cup.

If you do that your cup gets empty real quick. Cue resentment, fatigue and depletion.

You should fill your cup FIRST.

YOU need what’s in your cup. You NEED it.

So you fill your cup, with things that replenish you.

That might be exercise. Or silence. Or nature. Or cross-stitch. Or bedtime stories. Baking or Boxing. Colouring in or clearing out. Skiing or Snoozing.

So you consciously fill your cup, with things that lift your spirit and energise your body.

And then you FILL IT a little MORE until it’s literally overflowing…

And then you can joyfully GIVE to everyone else from the OVERFLOW!

So…

You give from the saucer, not from the cup.

Beautiful, yes?

When we keep giving from our own cup, we are giving away what we actually NEED. When we SERVE from the OVERFLOW we are giving from a place of abundance. The way we serve others and the world is elevated from that place. We have much more to give, and the supply is more stable. It comes from a place of plenty and not shortage, generosity rather than resentment.

Figure out what and who are your cup fillers. Where do you find engagement, love, energy, support, and feel your cup filling? What elevates and replenishes you and leaves you ready to give with abandon? Where do you find yourself lost I the flow of the moment? When does time disappear? Which people do you leave feeling high? What stimulates you? Where are you when you feel the knot of tension in your shoulders unwind? Who makes you belly laugh?

If we give from the overflow on our saucer, not our cup – EVERYONE is better served.

When we have more to give, we can give with abandon.

Categories
Emotional Honesty Happiness Relationships

Are you in a relationSHIP or a relationSHOP?

How to tell the difference and transform your friendSHIPs.

FriendSHIPs and relationSHIPs are usually the source of our greatest joy in life. The relationSHIPs with our family, partner, children, siblings, friends, colleagues, clients. They are also the source of some of our greatest angst and worry!

Give when you can: take when you must.

There will always be a natural ebb and flow to a relationSHIP, sometimes we need to give, sometimes we need to receive. I really love the maxim ”Give when you can: take when you must”.That for a relationSHIP to work well we need to sometimes be open to being vulnerable enough to ask for help and to receive it with gratitude. We also need to be generous to give support in when it’s required.

In a healthy relationSHIP you can feel this natural tide of giving and receiving of attention, talk time, physical support, gifts of service, compliments and so on flowing back and forth in a natural rhythm. Sometimes one person will be having a harder time, sometimes the situation is reversed, but there is this natural flow that evens itself out over time. This is a relationSHIP.

A relationSHOP is quite different. RelationSHIPs can turn into relationSHOPs very easily.

A relationSHOP is where the flow of give and take becomes unequal, one-sided. Where someone is always wanting something from the other. Where one person becomes the perpetual provider and one the perpetual receiver. The go-to place, the shop, for support, assistance, attention, whatever. How we handle it when that transition happens is crucial.

Two particular friendSHIPs spring to mind for me, both of which got out of balance, and which had very different outcomes.

Friend A was very good to me at a hard time in my life. A debt which I was anxious to repay. It turned out that that was easy: there were so many opportunities! Her life lurched from one crisis to the next. At first, I thought it was an extraordinary amount of bad luck and I was super supportive.

After 12 months of 2 am mercy dashes inexpensive cabs across London, I realised that much of it was largely self-created drama. It was an exhausting friendSHIP as weirdly she wanted to be there for me but only when I was in a crisis too. She just wasn’t that interested in having fun and enjoying the good times, just the dramatic bad times. I realised that being around this girl tired me out. She lived in a storm of largely self-created chaos which she thrived on but which drained me completely.  I am ashamed to say I did not sort this friendSHIP out in a grown-up way, I just moved country and stopped messaging.

I dealt with it very badly which I regret, but I don’t regret having this unbalanced friendship out of my life. It wasn’t a friendSHIP it was a friendSHOP. Whenever she got in touch she wanted something from me. I couldn’t just be me, I had to give support to a drama or crisis in her life, or manufacture one in my own in order to be interesting. It was a relationSHIP of provision, not equality.

“What we allow is what we endorse”

The second friendship that really springs to mind was with Friend B. We had a very equal and fun friendSHIP. We flowed between good times and bad times, we were there for each other, it worked great. Then things subtly changed over time from a friendSHIP to a friendSHOP.

She went through a really hard time. That went on over a couple of years. Our roles subtly changed to supporter and supportee. I was always doing the giving. And I did it willingly and with love. However, eventually, a number of epicly bad things happened in my life and friend B was nowhere to be seen. Literally nowhere.

The flow of energy and support had become entirely one way. It wasn’t her fault, it was just as much mine, I had allowed this to happen and trained her to think I never needed anything. As you know I always say “What we allow is what we endorse” and I had been as much a party of creating this unequal relationSHOP as she had. I had willingly become the provider, the shop of listening. It did not feel good.

But this time, however, I am pleased to say I was brave, I actually spoke up about it. I valued her friendSHIP as a person but the style of friendSHIP we had mutually evolved into was not working for me. The equality had gone. There was no ebb and flow. So my heart beating super loud in my chest I spoke my truth, gave some specific examples and said that it was not okay for me. That I wanted to go back to a more equal friendSHIP or the relationSHIP would have to cease.

There was a heavy silence on the end of the phone. It. Was. Awful. The next week, however, she appeared with flowers having thought it through. She had looked at it and realised the balance had gone way out and could we start fresh. So we did and our friendship today is more fun and more equal than it’s ever been. I am so glad I was brave and spoke up. And I am proud to have a friend who values what we have enough to change things up and make it work. She is a great girl and I love her and value having her in my life enormously.

Do you have any relationSHOPs in your life you want to re-evaluate?

When a relationSHIP has become a relationSHOP you can feel it. It feels icky. It feels tiring. It feels a bit like you are trapped. You feel you give much more than you get (or that you get much more than you give).

You may get that sinking feeling when you see his or her number on the phone. It’s important not to ignore that feeling, but to acknowledge it and figure out where it’s coming from. Then you have choices.

You can a) continue as you are but remember things are unlikely to change. Other people are not mind readers and if you don’t tell the person there is something wrong they are blissfully unaware there is anything wrong, however screamingly obvious it might be for you. So ignoring it, means you are accepting it.

Or, b) you can choose to let the friendSHOP drift and gradually disappear into nothingness as I did with Friend A. It wasn’t a particularly courageous move on my part however it did get the desired result.

Or, c) if you value and love that person you can be brave. You can speak up. You can say I want a balanced relationship with you, you are important to me, that’s why I am being brave and saying this. That the way it is now is not okay for me. Define what you need in a relationSHIP. Give the other person the choice to create a friendSHIP that works for you both or to walk away. The good ones will take it on board and your friendSHOPs will be transformed into genuine lasting golden friendSHIPs.

Do you have a few friendSHOPs in your life that could do with a changeup? Today is a great day to re-evaluate: you deserve to have the best!

Don't forget!...

Grab your printable
workbook
worth $27… for free!

This 23-page
printable
LIFE COACHING
WORKBOOK
is for constructive,
guided reflection
so you come out of
tricky times stronger
than you went in!
My gift to you.

Worth $27