Have you ever noticed how the things you want to get away from, will keep following you? No matter how many times you swear, “I’m never going to be in this situation again!” you will somehow find yourself back there for another round. It could be your new partner sucks you into a dysfunctional relationship (just like the last one!) or you get a new job and the work never really feels fulfilling (just like the last one!).
Often these patterns will jump across various parts of our lives. You have a boss who bullies you and a family member and a boyfriend who does the same? What a coincidence.
But the truth is, it’s not a coincidence. Unfortunately. And when you realise that you are the common denominator in all these repeating situations, you also have to face another crushing truth – you need to change something in you to break the repeating patterns in your life.
In my case, does that mean I deserved to be disrespected by men repeatedly in the past? Um, no.
Does that mean I deserved to have bosses who bullied me overtly and covertly? No.
But it sure as heck meant that I needed to do something differently to stop it from happening again.
As you become more self-aware and self-accountable, these types of realisations are difficult to avoid along with the understanding that, despite all the red flags, we still rush headlong into the very situations we want to avoid – until we change something in us.
In my case, I dealt with a repeating pattern by learning how to set healthy boundaries and then maintain them. I won’t say it was easy (actually it was kind of scary for me) but once I did it a few times the pattern stopped.
I still have other patterns to deal with (we all do) but once you can identify them, develop an effective strategy to do something differently, then implement it consistently, the pattern stops being an issue.
I confess this all sounds fine and very practical but it is also incredibly annoying because I can’t play the victim for long periods of time anymore. After all, you can’t be a victim if you played a role in putting yourself there in the first place.
As you grow in self-awareness you have to deal with your ‘stuff’ and it’s not always fun or comfortable. But it’s the trade-off we make if we want to evolve and, in my case, break a pattern of bullies and dysfunctional relationships.
If you’re ready to break free from the patterns that have been holding you back for too long, check out my Nights for Spiritual Beginners – six powerful nights over six weeks to help you kick your indecision and self-doubt to the kerb, connect to your intuitive power and insight, and step forward confidently so you can live your Soul’s Mission. Email me to find out more>>
Today I’m at Eurochocolate in Perugia and they’re creating some every special and interesting things out of very large and ordinary blocks of chocolate.
This struck me as a rather good metaphor for life. You can treat your life as a big block of ordinariness that can’t be changed. Or you can look at your block and ask yourself, “What am I going to create out of this?”
You’ve only got one life. What are you going to create with it? Is it going to be amazing or is it going to be a big block of ordinary where nothing ever really happens? It’s completely up to you to make your life into something wonderful.
My client Maddy recently gave me feedback on one of my programs. She said her life is now “exhilarating” because she’s connected into what she wants and she’s doing it!!
I feel so blessed to work with women like Maddy who say things like, “It’s my life and there’s more than this so what do I have to do?” If you’re that kind of woman then I want to hear from you too.
My new three-month intensive program is called LIVE ON PURPOSE and it’s designed to help women connect back into their passion, own their intuitive power and discover their purpose.If you’re ready to carve out your block of chocolate and create something magical then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or PM me on Facebook.
It’s that time of year when many of my students get a wild look in their eyes. The look suggests they’re almost having an out-of-body experience as, although they physically sit in my class, their brain has floated off to focus on all the things they must do before the end of semester. Being present and in the moment is almost impossible for some of them.
It’s this inability to be present coupled with an immense pressure to do well that can make life really difficult. These students will be extra hard on themselves, procrastinate (because starting an assignment is often scary because…what if they don’t do well) or totally mess up their submission because they’ve over-thought the whole thing and made it far more complicated than it needs to be.
As a former student with a strong perfectionist streak, I look at these students and can totally relate to their experience. But with the benefit of hindsight and yes, a couple of decades, I know that seeking perfection is a complete waste of time. As I said to one stressed teenager the other day, ‘Perfection doesn’t exist in nature so how could it possibly exist in humans?’
It’s a recurring theme and I feel like a lot of people keep trying to be perfect when they should just be themselves and know that’s enough. I mean, doing well at university is important because it will help you with your job prospects. But punishing yourself because you did your best but your marks aren’t as high as you would like is a pointless exercise. Far better to learn from what you did wrong and then apply that knowledge the next time – because you’re not perfect.
Similarly, worrying about all the things you haven’t done yet or will have to do at some point, is also a waste of energy. These types of thoughts will fry your brain with negativity and stress so that, when you finally sit down to do the work, you’ll already be exhausted and definitely not at your best.
Of course, this drive to be perfect and to constantly worry about or plan for the future is wholeheartedly supported and propagated by much of our mainstream media. Its focus on physical forms that are out of reach for the average person (um, supermodels are genetically wired to look like that) and the sentiment of needing to push for success and live the capitalist dream are everywhere. To be successful is to have money, have a high profile, look as physically perfect as possible and always be on the look out for the next best thing.
The voices advocating for looking within for your answers, accepting who you are as you are, doing your best and doing what is right for you, are frequently murmurs in the background rather than heard from the loudspeakers in our contemporary cultural conversations.
So, as I look at my students (who are frequently merely reflections of a much younger me), I just want them to know that if they do their best it will be enough. I want them to know that, if they can just be present in every moment as much as possible, it will help them to do better at their studies and at life. And above all, I want them to know that the pursuit of perfection is a journey without end. It is the pursuit of a mirage that will never take a tangible form.
So for all my fabulous students and every other student struggling with the pressures of end of semester, my advice is this: be present, be yourself, do your best, and know that is enough.
I’ve been talking to a lot of clients and friends lately about relationships and getting our needs met. Sometimes those relationships are with our love partners, other times they are with our friends, work colleagues or family members. Wherever we go in life we are ‘in relationship’ with someone and the smooth running (or not) of these is dependent on meeting or, at the very least, acknowledging the needs of the other person.
It seems to me those needs are things that a very specific for every individual. Whether they are the result of nature or nurture (or a combination of both), I can’t be sure. But we all have them and, when they’re being ignored by the person we’re in relationship with, things go downhill very quickly.
One of the most obvious examples of this is in a love relationship. If Person A needs some kind of structure and security to feel safe and happy in a relationship, and their partner (Person B) doesn’t have those same core needs and doesn’t acknowledge/isn’t aware of those needs, or refuses to make space for them to be met within the relationship, then neither of them are going to be happy for long.
I’m not saying you need to compromise who you are to make the other person happy – if you do that, it’s not going to work. Instead I think it’s about understanding the other person in the relationship is coming from a different and equally important perspective and, for that relationship to thrive you both need to acknowledge and make space for the other person’s core needs to be met.
Let me offer another example and this time I’ll use me. I’m a very creative and highly intuitive person. For me this translates into a need for space in my life to allow my creativity to flourish and acceptance of my intuitive gifts (i.e. who I am). If I was in a love relationship with someone who couldn’t acknowledge and make space for those needs to be met, we would come up against some very serious challenges.
Of course, sometimes we need help to understand what the other person’s needs are. They may not be able to tell us or even understand them fully themselves. This is where you need to work together and talk it through. Being courageous enough to openly acknowledge and own your needs can be a big step and involves trusting the other person will be open to hearing where you’re coming from. There will be times when the other person doesn’t ‘get it’ and isn’t interested in understanding or making space for what you need in that relationship. That’s when you need to decide what’s best for you and you may need to move on. However, for some, a third party can help you get clear on these things so you can move forward together.
If you are experiencing challenges in relationship with someone else, whoever it is, perhaps all that’s needed is recognition firstly of your own needs, then theirs, and the development of a way you can both have those core needs met. Ignoring your needs, or theirs, is never going to be a successful long term strategy for happiness or contentment in a relationship.
As a 20-something I was often wracked with indecision. I would spend days/weeks/months agonising over what I should do (or should have done) about particular parts of my life. By my early 30s, as I balanced on the edge of the cliff that was my slowly destructing marriage, my indecision had reached a crescendo.
I spent so much time seeking the advice of everyone else about what I should do with my life. My faith in my ability to make the best decisions for me about major life situations was extremely limited. I thought everyone else was wiser and more sensible than me. I didn’t trust myself and it just got worse and worse.
This was hardly surprising because, as my marriage began to splinter, my own behaviour spiraled. I made decisions that weren’t reliant on good judgement. My recklessness sometimes scared me. It was only later that I’d realise that this woman who seemed just a little out of control was simply breaking the chains that had held her captive for too long. I was breaking the chains that I’d tied myself up in for a very long time.
I could say these were the result of being an eldest child, getting married young, low self-esteem, anxiety, my family upbringing, a strong perfectionist streak and a long list of other reasons. And maybe some of those things contributed to me being the way I was.
But honestly, I think I was just never shown how to go within and trust myself. So one day the Universe gave me a solid kick up the you-know-what and shocked me out of the life I’d created. Forces bigger than me knocked me out of my sensible shoes and serious suits, and showed me a glimpse of something else. If you want to know more about that process, you can read my book, The Men I’ve Almost Dated, when I self-publish in the near future.
But the point I want to make is about what happened the day I decided to leave my marriage and every day since. The day I made that decision I chose to trust myself implicitly. It was an incredibly hard thing to do particularly as I knew a lot of people (including my family and many friends) would disagree with my choice. It was the first day I truly chose to back myself no matter what.
Choosing to do that takes courage when you’ve never been shown how to do it. It means you have to take a risk, choose yourself first and know you might still get it wrong.
Over the ensuing years I’ve continued to grow that trust in myself. Like a garden in the Brisbane heat, it often needs watering, weeding and fertilising. There are times when I’ve almost let that garden become a desolate wasteland because I’ve fallen back into the habit of trusting other people instead of myself. I’ve been challenged again and again, to return to my inner voice and trust it even when the dissenting opinions of others scream more loudly.
Self-trust is a lifelong journey. It’s a challenge and sometimes feels like the longest and loneliest march into a foreign world. But if I could go back now and talk to my 20-something self, I’d tell her that no matter what she must learn to trust herself. I’d advise her to listen to that inner voice that tells her when she’s going the wrong way and to take notice when that same voice tells her to keep going or have faith when it seems like madness to everyone else…even if it seems completely loopy to her very rational and reasonable brain.
Trusting myself is my biggest source of strength and my inner voice always speaks the truth. But the thing to remember is that ‘truth’ is ‘my truth’ so it’s not always going to make sense to anyone else. And it doesn’t have to.
The most important thing is that I know that my inner voice, my intuition, is always there to help me to learn, to grow and experience the beautiful things this life has to offer. It is my protector and the character that holds my hand as I leap off the next cliff into another adventure.
It is for me and me alone and will always be there inside. I just need the courage to listen for its soft tones.