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.

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Take the Happiness Litmus Test!

There is a tremendous quote attributed to the late, great author and poet Maya Angelou which declares,

‘I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.’

I like these three random items a lot – they provide a handy and instant Happiness Litmus Test as to our general happiness set point – are we a glass half full or a glass-half-empty kind of person?

Happiness is a temporal sensation, and if we want to feel happy more often we have to keep finding reasons to keep happiness present, and not get knocked off course by the inevitable small stuff that comprises a life. Some people will find that the small stuff not going as expected will derail their entire day. Others can seem to deal with the bad thing but press the reset button after it’s done, and keep seeking things to feel good about as they move through the rest of their day. They stop the downward spiral into A Bad Day before it even starts. Knowing what our habitual patterns are, and if they serve us, is so powerful, which is why these three ordinary happenstances are such great check-in questions:

Do we choose to be deliberately cheerful about a rainy day, seeing it as an unexpected chance to catch up on some house chores, or explore an art gallery or have fun at the laser quest? Or are we bummed and restless that the planned picnic is off the cards and why is it always raining at the weekend?

Do we manage our emotions when we get that sinking feeling that our bag is just not going to appear on the luggage carousel, and follow it through courteously with the staff at the lost luggage? Or do we rant and rave and say it’s spoiled the whole holiday, and this kind of thing always happens to me, and the airline is blatantly useless?

Do we patiently try each bulb trying to reignite the sparkle of the Christmas lights to eventual success / calmly give it up as a bad job and a fantastic opportunity to upgrade the lights to something newer and sparklier, or, do we swear and cuss our way through trying to fix them, blame the person who obviously didn’t put them away properly last year, and generally bring no goodwill to all men as we try and make them work, goddamit?

How we handle a small thing can be indicative of how we handle a big thing.

If we lose our temper over something as small as the Chrimbo lights, then this often translates into how we handle the bigger stresses in life. We all know the lost luggage, the lights, the rain, are all fairly inconsequential happenings, but our emotional response to them is an excellent indicator as to how we will deal with the big stuff when it hits. How we will deal with redundancy; or financial worry or family drama or moving house. If we sweat the small stuff big time, we are far more likely to drown in stress and negativity with the larger life challenges.

Life is full of challenges. Big ones, small ones, some we expect, some out of the blue. That’s an inescapable fact, and participation is not optional! This Happiness Litmus test is such a great way to explore ourselves as our own experiment with curiosity rather than judgement. Observe how we deal with the small stuff. See if we can make that a little easier on ourselves and the people around us. Figure out strategies that allow us not to sweat the small stuff so much, and so to glide through each ordinary day with more ease and grace. Then, when the big storms of life blow in, as they inevitably will, we will be better equipped to handle them.

Now…where are those fairy lights?

Reduce Stress

Christmas Musings

How to dial down the Christmas Stress-5

Christmas isn’t something you buy

Christmas is something you feel


Christmas isn’t something we wrap up

It’s a something we open up within ourselves


Christmas isn’t about the sparkle of the lights

It’s about us spreading a little sparkle wherever we go


Christmas is so much less about a decorated Christmas Tree

And so much more about embracing our Family Tree


All the exciting new toys and gadgets to connect

Never forgetting the greatest joy is the connection of hearts in the room


So much talk about where we will GO for Christmas

And it’s actually so much more who will we BE for Christmas

The kindest, least judgy, fun-est, lightest version of ourselves?

I hope!

Be happy. Be thankful.
Be fully in the moment – that’s why it’s called “The Present”

Make some amazing memories + magic this year.

Happy Christmas


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Reduce Stress

How to dial down Christmas Stress

A quick google on a “stress free Christmas” will get you a fantastic list of sites stating the obvious. How to dial down the Christmas Stress
Startlingly informative gems such as:

“Set a budget and stick to it”
“Shop off peak”
“Make a list of all the gifts and food you wish to buy and shop early.”
“Bring a plate”

And my personal favourite
“Make a list”

Phew! No idea how I’d have made though the silly season without THAT advice. It’s right up there with “Eat Less, and Move More!” as a weight loss tip.

As you know we like to do things differently round here! So here are a few top tips which incorporate the place where all stress starts – our mind and thoughts. This is a handy checklist for when you are seeing red, and it’s not just Santa come down the chimney early.

1. It’s an obligation-fest of driving 4 hours there, and 4 hours back for a thing you don’t really want to go to.

Righto. Here’s the thing. Embrace the power of choice here. You don’t “have to” go. You are choosing to go. The only thing you HAVE to do is breathe, everything after that is a choice. So, you have the option:

a) Choose not to go. Choose what feels right for you + your family. And feel good about that, because that’s what you are consciously choosing. Let other people’s reactions be their reactions – you can’t control that.
b) Choose to go, not because you “have to” but because you are choosing to drive all the way there rather than offend Great Aunty Gladys and her award winning pav. That’s your choice and you are making it. So – you are actively choosing it, no one is making you, so be happy about it! You are doing what you WANT so enjoy it, eat the pav and drop the resentment.

You have full choice here, so make it and own it, and drop the resentment right out of the equation. This is a huge stress reliever and immediately ups the enjoyment and peace factor.

2. You can’t find the perfect gift for Mum/Dad/The Dog

Well, you know what – perfect doesn’t exist, and the quest for it is majorly stress inducing. Change that thought from “I absolutely HAVE to find the perfect gift” (just feel how pressured that sounds!) to “Showing my love and appreciation is the most important thing – the gift is just a symbol of that – it doesn’t need to be perfect – it just needs to be nice”. And then reach for the nearest Karen Walker ring/Ecoya candle or Beach shorts/T-Shirt (you can never have to many of any of those) and be done with it. If you find something “perfect” great but don’t torture yourself endlessly. Good and nice will do, take the pressure right off perfect.

3. You feel like you are running out of time.

You’re not. You are just trying to fit too many things in. You have exactly the perfect amount of time. What you have is too many things saying they are a priority. Stop. Pick the top 3 most important, focus on those and know that the less important might not get done and that’s okay – the world will keep turning. Much more important, you ENJOY doing those three things and bring a bit of Christmas cheer into making the cake/buying the crackers/cleaning out the spare room. Stop – and say “I have the perfect amount of time to attend to what is truly important” – feel the stress reduce as you prioritise with more discernment.

4. Everyone is bickering.

Well, you know you can’t control that. I know you want everyone to be nice like the whole Christmas period but where there is copious booze plus unlimited time, and everyone all thrown together, a few little disagreements are probably par for the course. If we can change our expectation from “We should all get on the whole time” to “We are doing remarkably well spending all this time together, a few niggles are par for the course” then as our super high expectations drop, our stress levels drop too.

5. You just want it to be perfect.

What is perfect? Perfect is a feeling. It’s not all the napkins matching and the tree just so. It’s the feeling you get when you realise how blessed you are to spend time sharing with the people you care about. If the voice of perfection starts to rear it’s head slap it down with a big dose of gratitude. Okay – there might be a few things missing from your Christmas – but focusing on who or what isn’t there only makes that gap seem wider. Giving thanks for the multitude of elements that are present takes the focus out of overwhelmed and stressed and straight back to joy.

We spend so much time saying “Where are you going for Christmas” – the bach, the family congregation, the road trip. And that is cool and important. What’s just as important is where are we going in our HEADS when we think about Christmas? Are we setting ourselves up for stress and overwhelm with expectations of perfection and total harmony, or are we embracing slightly more relaxed expectations that allow us to more easily connect with the joy in the experience.

When we are getting stressed about Christmas, it’s not about making a list of what we need to DO – it’s much more asking ourselves who we can BE as we experience Christmas. Can we bring our most relaxed, fun, light-hearted, joyful selves to the party? Who do you want to BE this Christmas? I am hoping for the most fun and relaxed version of ourselves.

Also – you know – shopping off peak is really good too!

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What a frog can teach you about happiness

There is an anecdote about boiling a frog that I kind of like. It’s from the 1800’s when experiments of this type were much in vogue. The premise is that if you put a frog in pan of cold water and then heat it up very, very, veeeeeeeeeeery slowly the frog won’t notice the incremental change in temperature and, instead of simply leaping out to save it’s own life, will in fact sit there until it boils to death.

There is much scientific dispute about the veracity of this principle, however I don’t care because I love the analogy. This is because for many years I was that frog. I was getting more and more ill with Adrenal Fatigue in a corporate job that I hated but amazingly I just kept on rocking up, going in each day even though it was literally killing me. I couldn’t see it because it had got worse so incrementally; little by little my body was packing up and my soul was being crushed. If it had been a big thing, like I had been hit by a car, or the company had been in an acquisition with new management I would have noticed and made the obvious decision to get the hell out. But the descent into illness and misery was so gradual I literally couldn’t see it.

I see so many clients who have a job/ health situation/ relationship/ living arrangement/whatever/ which, on the face of it, looks completely and obviously untenable. It is remarkable that they are still in what it is that they are in. They are exhausted beyond measure or bullied at work beyond sufferance, or in a marriage of together alone. And yet they will say “it’s fine, really”, and it is, because it’s only 0.005% worse than it was yesterday, so it’s really not that bad.

Sometimes a reality check is in order. If someone had to come in fresh and be in that relationship, that job or that health situation, would they trade places with you? If “quite obviously not “ is the answer something is obviously and objectively not right. Consider you may be living a “Boiled Frog” existence in part of your life. If someone else would come fresh in and say “this is MADNESS!” and change it straight away they are frog who can feel the heat. That’s someone coming in from the cold: accurately assessing the temperature of the environment and taking evasive action.

Have a look at what you are putting up with. No-one likes to be a boiled frog but it’s so easy to do. Take a temperature check on the key areas of your life. Step back and look with perspective. What’s the real temperature? What’s the temperature difference from cold, not the difference from what it was yesterday? Is it a comfortable temperature for you? Is it a temperature that you can happily stay in long term or does it need to change?

There is a famous Thoreau quote Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”. I think it’s the saddest quote ever. I used to look at it and think “who the hell would live a life of quiet desperation? That’s pathetic when we have so much choice.” but now I know it can creep up on us all if the conditions change gradually enough.

Take a temperature check. Don’t be that frog.


Have you ever been that frog, what helped you?  Share your thoughts in the comment box below … I LOVE to hear your comments!   If you liked this share it, my greatest wish is that by writing these blogs and sharing my experiences, someone out there reading this will realise, “Hey, I’m not alone… I can jump out of this pan!”

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