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I watched my car being towed away this morning… The windscreen wipers stopped working on Christmas Eve so my plans were scuppered over Christmas to visit family and friends. This morning with the garages re-opening I thought I’d take it to the main dealer as they may have the parts in stock… however, this morning my car wouldn’t even start so I had no choice but to get the rescue service to tow it to the garage (for which I am grateful ).
The windscreen wipers seem such a trivial thing in many ways… two thin blades that swish across the screen and yet even when it’s not raining – prevent us from safely driving. I had to cancel my plans to visit my family over Christmas and now it seems my New Year plans maybe scuppered.
When our cars work we tend to take them for granted, but when they don’t, it is then that we really appreciate how magical it is to have our own transport (after all I don’t know how they work!).
I think that is true of so much in life. We can be so busy rushing here and there we don’t remember to take time to appreciate just how fortunate we are. We may not have all the material things we’d like to have or the perfect health – but there will be something for all of us to be grateful for. Perhaps having arms and legs that work? It may be having eyes to see your loved ones or ears to hear the birds singing? May be having a strong connection with friends and family feels good to you?
When was the last time you stopped what you were doing to feel gratitude for all that you have and all that you experience? When we choose to relax and feel gratitude, it changes our ‘state of being’; we become filled with a blissful feeling… and at that moment we cannot have negative emotions of fear or anger. Love and fear cannot be felt at the same time.
It’s so easy to change your emotional state – if you choose to. If you have just had something not very nice happen or said to you, if you’ve had cross words with someone or feel like everything is going wrong take a moment to STOP.
Take some deep breaths and feel some gratitude for what you do have or what you do love… if you’ve just fallen out with someone – think about the reasons you became friends with them or what they do that makes you laugh – or why you love them – choose to feel appreciation for something connected with them. It’s about choice – choose to feel better – letting the anger or disappointment go. Decide to put yourself back in control rather than a victim. Ask yourself “do I want to stay feeling annoyed or would I rather feel ok, or even happy?” We tend not to make good decisions when we’re angry or annoyed.
My girls and I often start our day with a question ‘what am I grateful for?’ Often they say “it’s not raining so I won’t get wet walking to school” or “Ghd’s (hair straighteners)”… it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s heartfelt. It can be a great way to start the day – something positive rather than pulling back the duvet and thinking… “ugh… it’s cold, I’ve got that horrible meeting today”…. having negative thoughts is so disempowering – wouldn’t you agree?
So I’m not sure when I’ll get my car back – but I’m going to choose to appreciate my friends for helping me, the public bus, the garage and the fact I can delay my New Year plans if I need to… I’m choosing to be ok with this unexpected adventure .
What are you grateful for? What can you see or hear right now? Think of a time when you felt really happy or bursting with laughter – what was that occasion? Can you feel the feelings again? How easy would it be for you to have this memory as something to draw on when you’re not feeling so good – a memory that can conjure up the good emotions? Perhaps, find a piece of paper (or better still a notebook) and write down a list of what you are grateful for – you can then refer to this list daily – or when you feel the negative feelings creeping up on you. We have choice, sometimes we forget – or don’t realise. It’s so much better when we focus on what we want instead of what we don’t want. As I blogged yesterday, sometimes our greatest growth comes from achieving what we think we cannot – consider what benefits may come from facing challenges more positively. Life is supposed to be fun! Let’s make it fun
I’ve been thinking about the importance of helping others and how this impacts on ourself and our emotional states. You see, I used to put everyone else’s needs and wishes ahead of my own – those of my children, partner (s), family, friends… etc and myself at the bottom of the pile.
I would rush around ‘being’ what others needed, wanted or expected (or so I thought); morphing into a nurse, a taxi driver, a baby sitter, a personal assistant, a shoulder to cry on etc and not really thinking about what I wanted or needed. For years I felt drained and tired. Life was about what others wanted (which was my make-believe) and I had no time for my own goals or dreams – I felt I needed to fit in or around others goals or dreams.
I guess I was running on empty. My self esteem was very low and I had forgotten who or what I was. Being there to help others is a fantastic thing – provided you are doing it for the right reasons. I think sometimes I allowed myself to get busy with other peoples challenges because it distracted me from my own, it temporarily made me feel needed, useful and worthy. It fed my low self esteem, I was searching for something to make me feel significant – it did not help me to help myself or even to love myself.
Does this pattern sound familiar to you? Do you know people like this?
I realised through some intensive personal development work what I was doing and why I was doing it. The analogy of the air steward when showing passengers the safety instructions or putting the oxygen mask on oneself before a child is just spot on. We must help ourselves and grown emotionally strong before we can unconditionally help others. If we do not take care of ourselves, consider ourselves as numero uno then who will? We must learn to love ourselves, respect ourselves and feel good in our own company. We are on this earth to have a rich and fulfilling experience – not to allow ourselves to become lost in the jungle of a chaotic life or worse to become a doormat. It is our own responsibility to make our life fulfilling, no one else’s. I do not want to leave this earth feeling like I’ve been a passenger on the bus – but the driver of my own journey. Is that true for you too? I choose to take control of my life, make decisions based around what I want and not feel guilt or selfish. Some people are born with the strategies to appreciate themselves – others take time to learn them – but the good news is: it’s never too late.
It is liberating to make decisions based upon what is right for me and then for others. What feels right – in my heart not necessarily in my head. Following my intuition and give myself choice in all situations. By acknowledging change was necessary I allowed new habits to develop – this does not mean I’m always on track, but with continued focus I know I’m making the changes lasting. By truly loving oneself and having self respect life becomes a beautiful thing . Loving friends and family unconditionally is wonderful. Helping others, because I choose to (it’s no longer a need for significance) feels great. I help when they ask for help – or offer if it feels appropriate and believe it or not I can say ‘no’ too. It can be far more empowering to allow someone to face their challenge than take the challenge away from them; we grow far more by achieving what we think we cannot.
Sometimes I think we forget life is supposed to be ‘fun’ and enjoyable. Often if look hard enough we can find choices in our situations. It’s ok to look for the positives too .
How do you honour yourself? How many of the words you say to yourself are positive? When you help others – is it always for their gain or are you looking for significance it gives? What do YOU really want? How would you like your life to be different? Imagine, if there was a magical genie, what 3 wishes would you ask for? What if you could have more than 3 wishes – what else? How can you make these wishes become your reality? What challenges will you face? – Will you fall at the first hurdle or will you get up and keep on track? How will you keep on track? How important are wishes?
I love helping people, making a difference, inspiring, empowering them and I continue to learn about myself and my life strategies. If you would like to know more about my coaching – please go to my website www.daringdamsels.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org