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Month: July 2014

There is always hope-sometimes you just have to look harder for it

 

Photo credit-iStock
Photo credit-iStock by og-vision

A plane goes down.

A war escalates.

Floods or fires destroy whole communities.

Even if -like me- you aren’t an avid consumer of the news on commercial TV, most likely images, headlines and conversations about these events will cross your path somehow and some way. I hardly watched any of the news reports about the recent MH17 disaster and still know more details than one would expect.

I know in my heart of hearts what we focus our thoughts, beliefs and emotions on expands and comes back to us individually and collectively.

But what does the mean for how I respond to situations like the recent tragedies with both Malaysian Airlines flights?

  • How do I respond to this with a sense of hope without seeming callous or insensitive?
  • How do I show compassion for those who lost their lives and those who are left behind without becoming so consumed with it that I miss the precious passing moments with my beloved family and amazing group of friends and fellow entrepreneurs?
  • How do I  focus my thoughts to expand the positive energy rather than expand and attract more fear, anger and grief?

As I wrestled with these important questions I was reminded of three positive steps to take while keeping those touched by tragedies in our hearts.

Look for the helpers

Dr Fred Rogers who had a children’s show called Mr Roger’s neighborhood said:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.  Just on the sidelines. ‘ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in this world.” (From The World According to Mister Rogers (Kindle Locations 645-647).

If you look for the helpers (journalists reporting sensitively, prayer vigils by strangers for strangers, rescuers and many more) you will find hope. As you increase your thoughts of hope you find more and more examples of hope in the midst of tragedy and  reminders of all the good that there is in the world.

 

 Pay attention to and express gratitude for the ordinary things of life.

When my girls were  growing up, I’d often say:

‘Appreciate the everyday things because life as we know it can change in an instant’.

In 2011 after the floods in Queensland and the earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand,  I wrote this reflection:

Tonight as I sat at Moseely Square (in Glenelg, South Australia), looking across to CIBO, McDonalds and the Dublin Pub, I marvelled at how our routines and lives were still intact. I tried to imagine what it would be like if Glenelg and so many of our neighbourhoods had been decimated by flood or earthquake. And as we yearned to return to normal, we’d find ‘normal’ had been totally wiped out and we were just left with rubble, dirt and many lost friends, family and colleagues. I have a renewed sense of appreciation for the fact that I still have access to my routine, my neighbourhood, friends and ‘life as I know it’. Somehow traffic, people who undermine me, and work pressure seem less bothersome and more cause for giving thanks.

Gratitude has been proven to enhance our immune system, push us up the emotional scale to positive emotions, relieve some forms of depression and expands to attract to us more things to be grateful for. Gratitude breeds hope.

 

Balance grief and empathy with presence

As a mother of two daughters who often travel internationally I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for those parents who said ‘Good bye, have a great trip,’ to their young adults on their way to adventure-to find hours later their cherished children would never share another birthday, phone call or conversation with them.

As a person who prays, I pray for the families-parents who’ve lost children, children who’ve lost parents and grandparents, aunties, uncles and treasured friends who will never return.

That others come into their lives to help them navigate this awful time and situations that bring rays of light into their darkened lives. worry

Pre-occupation with worry and grief  for those families is no help to them at all. It won’t bring back their loved ones either.

Worrying about the next international flights my daughters will take will only send out energy of fear that will return to me more things to be fearful about.

For me this was a good reminder to be fully present with all of the people, situations (including work) and abundance in my life.

Appreciate them.

Put the phone away when I’m talking to them.

Really listen.

Do what I can to love, support and encourage them.

Put my energy in to love and gratitude instead of (usually unfounded) fear.

Plan like you have 100 years left, live like you have a day left.

As Bon Jovi says ‘I want to LIVE while I’m alive’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The playlist in your head: friend or foe?

 

Image source: iStock
Image source: iStock {peolsen}

 

 What songs are you playing in your head?

A client complains.

Your boss highlights an error you made. (been there with a boss who made a meal of my error).

You post a comment in one of your Facebook groups and only get one like compared to the average 20 likes everyone else gets-(and it is a group where you see who has seen your post and many of your ‘supposed’ supportive friends have ‘seen it’ and not put an encouraging comment or like.)

You show up to a social event in jeans and find everyone else is dressed like they are in a fashion show. (This happened to me recently!)

You send a newsletter and find an error after it has been sent – even though you did your OCD proofreading before. (YUP done that, as many of you would know!)

You walk into work’s Friday night drinks. It ‘s your first one as the new contract worker. Everyone just looks at you as you walk into the room. No  one says anything and they just go back to their conversation. No one asks how you are settling in or even attempts to start conversation with you. (Been there once)

You get a project or workshop evaluation and you get 30 5/5 and one 2/5. And spend the rest of the day focusing on the 2/5.

When things like this happen to you, what does the voice in your head say? For many of us it is things like:

  • I’m so embarrassed, this makes me look like such a complete incompetent. I’ll probably never get a promotion.
  • What a loser I am. Everyone likes everyone else and of course, they don’t like me–why would they?
  • Why is it that I ALWAYS am the one making these mistakes? How did everyone else know what to wear?
  • Oh that one typo will kill my business and my reputation forever.
  • I’ll never fit in here. I guess I’m just a social misfit.
  • A 2! I never get a 2! Maybe I should just give up doing this kind of work.

Many of these responses are somewhat exaggerated, but give an idea of the self talk that automatically plays in our head in these situations.

And most times they are thoughts not truth.

You create your own themed playlists of songs.

You go through life with a constant self talk streaming through your mind. Just like an iPod playlist! And the thoughts usually trigger emotions that either undermine you or elevate you.

The negative songs (thoughts) usually relate to your coded subconscious beliefs about

  • not being good enough
  • not loving ourselves enough
  • fear of not belonging
  • fear of failing-that is usually more of a fear about what people will think than the fear itself
  • fear of criticism
  • fear of making a lot of money -even though on the conscious level that is our aim
  • fear of showing our true selves.

Sometimes the playlists (thoughts) are triggered by a situation or experience.

Other times they’re the playlist on repeat that fills your head all day long with self talk ‘songs’  about your worth, your value, if you are liked, your progress, your possibilities and your potential for success.

The power of your thoughts

Your thoughts impact your health right down to the cellular level.

Pretty sobering truth.

And if that wasn’t enough, your thoughts also create your experiences, your relationships, your wellbeing and your successes.

In other words, your ability to manifest your desires.

To manifest the life you want you must create self talk playlists of  gratitude, love, forgiveness, belief in receiving your desires and self acceptance-and put them on repeat so they are continually going through your mind. Sometimes easier said than done!

Change your story

How do you do that? Change your story and your explanation and interpretation of events.

Let’s look at how some of the responses I mentioned earlier can be converted to constructive, health creating self talk.

  • I’m so embarrassed, this makes me look like such a complete incompetent.
    • It is just this situation-and just one error. I am a competent person. I can learn from this and improve in this area. I have control.
  • What a loser I am. Everyone likes everyone else and of course, they don’t like me–why would they?
    • I don’t comment or press like on a lot of Facebook posts, but quietly celebrate and send love to all the people whose successes and challenges I read about. That is probably true of others. Facebook is no high school. I’ll focus on giving instead of receiving.
  • Why is it that I ALWAYS am the one making these mistakes? How did everyone else know what to wear?
    • I made the decision based on the information I had. And it was a logical one. Wearning jeans among fashionistas does not change who I am as a person and if I focus my conversation on others, the jeans will not even matter. (probably would not matter anyway).
  • Oh that one typo will kill my business and my reputation forever.
    • Pedantic Penny will see it as a fatal mistake, but most people can relate to it because they have done it themselves and know it is far from a fatal error, move on and connect with the message not the typo!
  • I’ll never fit in here. I guess I’m just a social misfit.
    • Everyone wants to fit in. I can change this experience by initiating contact with my new colleagues and finding out more about their work. (I did this and became known as one of the most liked contract workers. The outcome could have been very different if I gave into my insecurities.)
  • A 2! I never get a 2! Maybe I should just give up doing this kind of work.
    • If it is truth, take it on board. Don’t take it personally.  If not, see it as a success that you are demonstrating you can’t please everyone.

This will not be a perfect journey and you will  have times when the negative play list comes back with a list of songs that bring you down. That is normal! As you become more aware of it, you will change the playlist more quickly.

 What we focus on expands.

Positive thoughts expand your energetic field, increase your immunity, increase your mental and emotional wellbeing and expand your ability to create success and receive abundance. This is not just airy fairy stuff. There is serious science behind this.

What are some examples of new songs to add to your playlists?

If  you regularly play these thoughts you’ll  forge new neural pathways that will scan your  environment to notice and absorb more positive things than negative things.

Make Thank You your continued mantra for a few days a week

Spend a day or two where you are constantly in you head saying ‘thank you’. Go on a binge of appreciation and try to find as many things in the day as possible that you can say thank you for and really put emotions into those thank yous.

 When something negative happens or you have a setback, train yourself to think something like:

  • All is well, everything in this situation is working out for my highest good. Only good can come from this experience. I am safe. (Louise Hay)
  • I always do the best with the information and experience I’ve had. I learn from my mistakes and have the power to improve them.
  • What other’s think of me is none of my business. People’s unhelpful negative reactions, competitiveness or hostility comes from their own places of insecurity and fear. I send them healing energetic vibrations (through my thoughts) of love and acceptance.
  • One, three or five years from now, it is very likely this incident won’t even matter to me.
  • It’s not the mistakes I make that matter…it is what I do afterwards.

What about you? What self talk helps you? And what hinders you?

How can you change your story to further create more wellbeing, abundance and fun?

And…

You may find it interesting to watch the video I recorded

Resilience: How do you explain negative events to yourself?

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