Improving your relationships part 1 – start with yourself (3 min read)

This is the first of a 3 part series looking at how you can improve your relationships. This week is …

Improving your relationship with yourself.

Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. And unlike any other relationship this one is lifelong, you can’t go away from yourself. Now, as you all know; I love nature. Especially because it can be used to mirror our own personal development. So if you imagine that you are the seed of your relationships. The central part from which everything else grows from. If you are a gardener you will know that it is impossible to get a healthy plant from a rotten seed. Likewise it is impossible to create great and healthy relationships,  if you don’t have a healthy loving relationship with yourself.

What does a healthy relationship with yourself look like? It is loving yourself, accepting yourself and truly respecting yourself. With this comes a sense of contentment and empowerment that without a doubt makes you a strong, powerful and happy individual. And when you feel like that you’ll know that you have a healthy relationship with you.

Now that’s easy for me to say, but how easy is it to do? Actually  it’s easy peasy. Like any seed needs to be constantly nurtured, fed and watered, so too does our relationship with our self need constant nutiuring.

But this doesn’t have to be a hard and time consuming process. Loving yourself is a fun experience. It makes life more joyful and enjoyable.

Follow the guidelines below, give yourself a week of love and be amazed at the feel good results by Sunday!

Know your strengths :

It can be challenging to identify your strengths and good points, however it is possible. You need to be objective and even a little bit clinical. Fold a piece of paper in two. Make a pros list on one side  and cons list on the other side, remember this list is  all about you. What are your pros, what are your cons? Once you have written tear the two lists apart and throw away the cons list. Put the pros list where you can see it every day. Read this list once a day and remind yourself how awesome you are!

Look after your machine and get some air:

I know I say it alot (and it is to remind myself as much as to remind you guys) a body and spirit can not function at it’s best if you don’t give it the proper fuel. Eat healthily, drink water, exercise and get plenty of fresh air. Getting outside is seriously important for improving your health. Not only does it get you away from the computer, it actually improves the body’s digestion system, blood pressure and makes you feel happier and more energetic.

Respect you:

Make choices that show yourself you respect yourself. Hold to your personal beliefs and make choices  that support those choices. Also be acting in a way that shows you respect such as taking pride in your appearance and asking yourself what thoughts am I wearing today? Not eating Macdonalds when you want to because you want to loose weight. All of these things increase your self pride and self respect. And that makes it easier to love yourself.

Look for the beautiful in you:

Ok we all have those bits of us we hate, but when our numbers up how much time will we have wasted criticising our appearances. The negative and judging voices in your head are loud and it’s up to you to silence them. Look in the mirror and instead of instantly finding the bits you dislike, find the bits you like. Say something like I don’t like my hips and I do love my eyes”. Find at least 5 things and do this every day. Mirror experiences will become more fun and you’ll feel great and loved.

Show you that you love you and take yourself on a date!

We love creating a wonderful experiences for other people and showing them we appreciate them,  but what about doing it for ourselves. That we are not so good at. Why? because it’s easy to put others first. Plan a date for yourself. Go out somewhere, have dinner, see a film go for a sauna and a swim. Do something that makes you feel loved and lovely. Try and make 10 mins a day where it’s you time. Read a book. Give yourself a hand massage. Be luxuriously loving to yourself. You deserve it.

Have a wonderful week getting to know and love you (and doesn’t just have to be one week, reminder you are there for you for life.) Tune in next week to find out how this loving seed grows into the roots of stabil, healthy and loving relationships.

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#Lifelessons101- Little acts of kindness go a long, long way; also known as the Punk and the Doll’s knickers ( 2 min read)

In childhood there are events that shape us, change us and are often the first flutter of our life beliefs forming. One of the most profound moments in my childhood actually came about because of a pair of dolls knickers and has taught me life lesson I have never ever forgotten.

At a very short age (not sure of the numerical age, I can just remember my world perspective as being surrounded with legs), my Mother and I were walking along a very busy pavement in a local market town. Mum had a firm grip on my hand and in the other hand, was my beloved rag doll Jemima, dangling in the traditional way a small child can hold a toy.  She was my pride and joy, a copy of the Play School rag doll that my Mum had made for me. She had a blue and white spotted dress and knickers to match.

If any of you remember the doll she had long arms and legs, with not so much in the way of hips. Which unfortunately meant she had a habit of losing her knickers. Who knew that a child’s toy could be such a jezabelle!

Now as I said before it was really busy. In the rush, and being so small I got knocked about a bit in the bustle. I can remember clearly seeing a man in a blue suit striding towards me. He of course hadn’t noticed me, bashed into me and I went flying. So did Jemima. So did the knickers. The suited man looked down at me, made a frustrated tch sound and walked on his way.

A kind voice beside me helped me up and handed me Jemima. The voice was accompanied by the biggest pink Mohawk I have seen to this day (it was the 80s) , a smiling face full of piercings and a leather jacket covered in patches and safety pins. Scary looking but smiley. He popped me on my feet, dusted me off and gave me to my Mum. We walked off only a few minutes later to have said punk running after me holding Jemima’s lost knickers. (He too was obviously a Play School fan too.)

I don’t remember this part but my Mum has told me (countless times) that I turned to her and said “Isn’t it funny Mummy. The man that looked nice was nasty. And the man that looked nasty was nice.” In that moment I learnt two of the most important lessons in my life. That kindness comes in all shapes and sizes, and that people’s appearance doesn’t always reflect their inner personality.

According to my Mum this was around 36 years ago and yet I can remember it as though it was yesterday. (I still own Jemima and her knickers too. )It’s amazing the impact these moments can make in our lives. A moment of truly seeing the inner person. An act of kindness,no matter how small, can make a huge difference in the world.

So I challenge you this weekend. Go out and do one small act of kindness for a stranger. Make an impact and send a ripple of positive kindness out into the world.

You never know whose life you may change, even if  you are punk holding a pair of dolls knickers…

 

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Be the change you want to see – Take 7 days to change your life around, live your truth and attract abundance (4 min read)

We all have something we truly believe in. A personal motto to live our lives by. Be the change you want to see is one of mine. This motto (sorry it’s not a quote by Ghandi although many think it is) reminds me to live my truth no matter what. It guides me away from disharmonies and lack of consistancy in what I say and do. And in doing this it keeps me  conciously living and brings me constant abundance. Yes, I did say abundance. Why? Well when you want to contribute to the world and mirror the changes you wanto see that will be positive for everyone, life provides. Said simply you give and life gives back.

Being the change doesn’t have to be about the big causes, it can be about the small changes. Being the change you want to see is really about living your truth, walking your talk and facing your fears. Often we can be afraid to do things in our lives that are not socially acceptable even though we truly believe in that thing. For example you might want to be a vegetarian but your family business is a chain of Butchers shops and therefore it would be incredibly difficult to be in your family group if they interpreted your actions as judging them, so vegetarianism for you could just be a dream.

Of course this is an exaggeration but if you think deeply there is in all of us, something we want to change in the world, whether that thing is for our own world or the wider world. Allowing ourselves to live that truth and make the change brings our life and dreams into harmony and feels great. But how do you do it?

As always the only thing most of us have the power to change is ourselves. How does that make a change in the world I hear you ask? Just remember what we send out reflects and amplifies in the world around us.

So how to be the change you want to see? Simply said you have to take action into consciously changing your life for the better.

Follow this 7 day plan and see how easily you can adopt being the change you want to see into your life AND see the abundance it brings to you and the world around you.

Day 1 : Be grateful and show it to the world.

Time to start appreciating what you have. When we are grateful we feel more abundance. However when we share that gratitude, such as thanking the bus driver for the trip, we spread the feeling of gratitude and appreciation around you.

Day 2 : Look for good in the world and create it

The world is full of good and kind acts. If you search online there are hundreds of positive news stories about compassionate acts. And why let it be something you just read about, do something kind today and make it a goal to help someone.

Day 3 : Let go of the need to be right

We are not always right. And wouldn’t you rather have a great day then argue with someone about being right. Let go of this need today.

Day 4 : Stop judging

No-one likes to be judged. Whether we judge ourselves or others it is never a pleasant feeling and always creates a negative environment within or without. If you catch yourself judging stop and analyse your actions. Often our judgements come from a place of disharmony in ourselves. So ask yourself why are you judging? Is it actually because this person is doing something, wearing something that you wish you could? Use your empathy instead of judging today.

Day 5: Accepting and pampering

If you can’t accept where you are in your life right now, without judging and/or blaming others, then you are creating a whole heap of unhappiness for yourself. Accepting your current situation is the first step to creating change. And while you’re about it accepting can sometimes be challenging so it’s also a time for being nice to you. Reward yourself for conciously living and taking charge of your life. So while you are accepting things pamper yourself and be kind to you. You deserve it.

Day 6: Connect with your sense of purpose, your dreams and beliefs

Take time out today to ask yourself what is really important to me? What do I truly want? And which of my core beliefs am I not truly living? For example you could be wanting to loose weight, but eating junk food every day or care about the environment and don’t recycle or believe family comes before work but yet you take every bit of overtime even when you don’t need the money.  These things are disharmonies between your inner world and outer world. Once you identify them then you can do something about them.

Day 7 : Action Plan for change

Today look at your brainstorming from yesterday. Choose one of your disharmonies and make an action plan of how you are going to change it. Step by step. Make it simple, logical and measureable. Don’t try and do more than one. Baby steps towards balancing the inner world and outer world. 

So what now? Simple. Steps 1- 5 are easy, things you can do every day for yourself. Continue them after this week and follow your plan. When you feel that you have got a handle on and this disharmony is now harmonious make a new plan for one of the other disharmonies. Slowly and effectively you will feel yourself slipping into a harmonious rhythm in your life and the world around you.

Being the change you want to see is an empowering and enriching experience. It frees you from half assed beliefs, can give your life drive and purpose and has the benefit of a feel good factor when you truly live your truth and walk your talk.  The more honestly and truthfully you live and give, the more you will attract abundance into your life, simply because good attracts good. 

So take the next 7 days to initiate change in your life and start to truly live the life you’ve always dreamed of by being the person you have always wanted to be.

 

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Keep working on your dreams………..inspirational people when you need them the most- J.K Rowling (4 min read)

Most of us have a dream. And when we first find it, it seems so easy. Our confidence is high. This dream is achievable. And then after time the vision grows dimmer. The possibilities of actually manifesting our dreams seems less and less likely. And it’s at this point that we need inspiration and fortunately there are many in the world that have had the same experience and still manifested their dreams. So when the chips are down and the goal seems impossible it’s to these real life stories we can turn to, to re inspire us .

As most of you know I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I love the universe, the characters and the magic. However the story behind the book is just as amazing as the books themselves.

J.K Rowling had a vision and a dream which took her through the hardest parts of her life. Over a period of five years the first of the Harry Potter books became her comfort and escape. She didn’t give up on the dream of having the book published and in the end her hard work paid off. A true rags to riches story.

Rowling had a relatively uneventful childhood, she was known as a child that lived in a fantasy world  and was always writing in a notebook. She finished her education by graduating Exeter University with a diploma of Bachelor of Arts in French and Classics. She moved to London and worked as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International, but she knew that it was not for her.

Whilst returning from Manchester on the train, Rowling was inspired by the idea of Harry Potter, the whole story of the first book and the wizarding world. She had no idea where the idea came from. She began writing the book at once.

It was also at this point Rowling’s life began a downward spiral. It started on 30th December 1990 with the death of her mother at the age of 45. The shock of her mother’s death sent Rowling into a depression. 9 months later to escape she moved to Portugal where she met her first husband. Unfortunately after a period in the training assembly Rowlings husband was unable to find work and she supported the family until the birth of her daughter in 1993. However a few months later her husband beat her and drove her and her daughter out of their home.

Rowling retuned to the UK and moved in with her sister in Edinburgh. By the end of 1993, Rowling hit rock bottom and saw herself as a failure. Her short-lived marriage had collapsed, she was unemployed and she was a lone parent and as poor as it was possible to be in Britain. However Rowling can recall these years as both troubled and valuable.

During this period, Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide. Her illness helped her to invent the characters known as Dementors, dark creatures, introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Even in this troubled period Rowling kept her dream alive.

Rowling decided to rent a small apartment in Edinburgh. As an unemplyed person she had to live off state benefits, 70 pounds per week.  Rowling was ashamed of her distressful situation. Every day she went out for a walk with her daughter and wandered through the streets to make her fall asleep. Then, sitting with a cup of coffee at Nicolson’s Cafe, or at the Elephant House, Joanne, continued to work on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In writing she could forget about everything, all those failures and hardships helped her to become stronger, teaching her how to succeed, even when life seemed hopeless.

In 1995, after five years of writing,  and the rewriting chapter 1 fifteen times Rowling finally finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Rowling had such faith in her book that she made drawings for the future illustrators. Rowling printed several chapters on an old typewriter, put them in a folder and sent them to some literary agents. After she was looking forward to their responses. 

But she received such replies as “It is too difficult for children,” “It is too long”, “Children would not be interested in it.” At this stage, she  thought that life was meaningless. Her sister came to help and said “Rowlings never give up!” So they sent some chapters to Christopher Little, the famous literary agent. Who at first rejected the book. But after reconsideration book was sent to 12 publishing companies all of whom rejected the book.

Just as Rowling was beginning to despair in 1996 there was the first light of success. In August the book finally got a green light (and a £1,500 ($2,300) of advance) by Barry Cunningham, an editor from Bloomsbury, a publishing house in London.  However although Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book, Rowling was advised by them to find a job since she had a little chance of making money in children’s books. Soon, Rowling got a job as a teacher of French.

However slowly success came in dribs and drabs. In 1997, Rowling received a £8,000 ($12,500) grant from the Scottish Arts Council to enable her to continue writing. In June 1997, Bloomsbury published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with an initial print-run of 1,000 copies. 500 copies of the book were distributed to libraries. When the book was presented Rowling read out the passages from her book only a few people came to listen to the unknown writer. Nevertheless, she felt herself triumphal. At this point there was no indication of the success that was to come.

The readers took to the book and the boom began. Five months later, the book won its first award, a Nestlé Smarties Book Prize. In February, the novel, beyond comparison, won the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year. Soon, the novel took the Children’s Book Award. In early 1998, Scholastic Inc. during the auction that was held in the United States won the rights to publish the novel won for $105,000.

In October 1998, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to the first two novels for $1.5 million. And JK. Rowling’s success has grown and grown since that day.

J.K Rowling’s story shows dedication to a dream in spite of all the hardships and barriers.She worked hard all the way and kept the vision in mind no matter what.  In her own words “I believe you’re working and learning until the day you die”.  These three things, holding the vision, learning all the way and working hard will take your dreams to a reality.  If JK Rowling could do it, so can you.

So no matter how hard things are allow your dreams to be your guiding light and keep working on them. And remember as Rowling says that ” Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

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#Lifelessons101 – Tired? 7 steps to creating new energy for you (2 min read)

I am exhausted.  Not in the I am a bit sleepy sense, but in the if I close my eyes I am going to fall asleep on the train and up in Timbuktu. (Well not there ,it’s not in Denmark. Probably I’ll end up in Middelfart – yes this is a real place.) And it’s been this way all week.

Here now the clocks have changed, the first snow and frosts have come . The world around me is beginning its winter hibernation. Except, of course, the humans. Our lifestyles don’t allow for hibernation. Even when we crave it, it’s not part of our make up or in many cases our culture. Yet traditionally in the wheel of the year, this is the time for slowing down in our lives. A time to recuperate and re energise for the coming work in spring. That’s all very well, I hear you say, but I have deadlines, Christmas shopping and a hundred and one things I need to do. And all those things seem harder in the winter. Well my friends that is because you are fighting your natural needs.

Is there a way we can harmonise with our natural needs, recuperate and raise our energy and achieve everything we want to and need to do?

The great answer is yes we can! With a little effort and surrender to your body, you can create this possibility for yourself in 7 simple steps.

Accept and Surrender

Today we fight the winter energy. Which actually drains rather than energising us. If you want to balance recuperation with effective functionality then you need to first accept that your energy levels are low. This week my own to do list has been stripped down to a minimum. It has helped me so much. I have less I need to achieve leaving more time to re- energise. So cut out what is not immediately necessary and surrender to your bodies needs. Remind yourself it’s sometimes the wisest thing to do is to take the easy option. Don’t make a four course dinner when you can hardly lift your arms, have a night off and reheat a leftover or order in. It’s ok to not be perfect and do everything all the time.

Assess your energy levels

Get to know the ebb and flow of your personal energy. I don’t always have a lot of energy mid morning. Mr T usually has no energy around dinner time. nowing the curves in your energy pattern helps you plan your day to your personal rhythm. It’s just so much easier to flow with a natural rhythm rather than against it.

Stimulants

When energy is low then it seems so appealing to reach for the espresso or an energy drink. But these fake boosts of energy last only for a short while and come with a draining comedown experience. So before you reach for the coffee filter, ask yourself if this is really what your body needs. (That said dark chocolate does give an energy boost so sometimes something unhealthy in moderation helps too).

Water, sun and fresh air – Healthy Stimulants

Instead of the bad and often expensive simulants, healthy stimulants  are available to the overly tired person. With the bonus of usually being free.  Drink water and rehydrate yourself as often as possible. Eat healthy. The body needs fuel, good food to kick start it again. Get out in the sun and fresh air. If you don’t want to walk, take a blanket outside and lie in the sun for 10 mins. If winter weather is also getting you down I can recommend taking vitamin D (although please take the advice of a professional health practitioner.) Gentle exercise (or high energy exercise if you prefer it) produces dopamine into the body increasing the body’s capacity to function and your happiness levels. One of my favourite things to do is go for a swim and a sauna. A little exercise and a little pamper goes a long way.

Call in and give support

As I lay with my head on the breakfast table the wonderful Mr T asked me what help do you need? He had energy, I didn’t. That evening he was exhausted and asked me to sort out dinner. A fantastic energy exchange and took the pressure off both of us to individually do everything.  It’s okay to ask for help. Humans were not designed to do everything alone. Try it it works well. Life so much easier when we help each other.

Be cosy

You’re tired. That’s ok. So be cosy with yourself. Wear clothes that make you feel warm and cosy. Light the candles when the kids have gone to bed and snuggle up with a duvet on the sofa. Make time for being cosy. In Denmark we have a word for it hygge. Make hygge time for you and energise yourself.

Sleep

Having a good sleep cycle is the best thing in the world. But the secret is not about the amount of hours you sleep, it’s about the quality of sleep you have. Glen Rhodes has written a fantastic article about healthy sleep cycles and recommends you plan your sleeping cycles around 90 minutes. So for example sleeping from 22:00 – 6:30 gives you 6x 90 minute cycles. To understand more of this theory have a look at Glen Rhodes article http://www.glenrhodes.com/132/ .

And there are also Catnaps (now rebranded as the powernap). Many countries culturally include catnaps into the day. And why not? A short quality sleep gives you renewed energy during the day. If you can’t sleep during the day (I struggle myself) then take the catnap time to lie down and do nothing.

So if like me you are tired and exhausted right now, take time out to find a way you can re-energize during the coming week. A body that never gets a chance to rest makes you unproductive and unhappy. If you want an happy energised life then in today’s society you have to create that for yourself. So follow the 7 steps and re energise your life.

Have a wonderfully, cosy and relaxing weekend and coming week. Now it’s time for me to have a cat nap…….zzzzzzzzzzzz

 

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Dance with your Shadow self – learning to love you (5 min read)

It has been said that you need to love yourself before you can truly love another or accept their love of you. That’s easier said than done. Well in part. After all we all can find something we like about ourselves, however big or small. However we are all exceptionally brilliant at finding things we dislike about ourselves. A lot of things we dislike. The thing C.C Jung (the Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist) called the part of you, “the thing that no-one would want to be”. Your shadow self. The dark side.

However if you want to be able to truly love yourself, then you need to be able to accept and love your dark side too. Our Shadow offer us insights into our very being. Into why we are who we are and what makes us tick. Our Shadow is our deepest, darkest, secrets, and our deepest fears.  And although it might not feel like it, there is strength to be found in these dark places.  To understand our Shadow is to understand ourselves. To understand your shadow disintegrates the boundaries between the negative and positive parts of you that you like and dislike, creating a simple whole, balanced and integrated you. A stronger you.

Many people believe that by working with themselves their shadow self will disappear. It won’t. The shadow self and our lighter self (what Jung called the “persona”) have to be integrated to be whole. Imagine it as though you are creating a yin yang with the two sides of your personality.  So how to begin this part of your self love journey. How to work with your shadow self?

  Personally I believe there are four steps.

  1. Find the shadow self
  2. Understand the shadow self
  3. Accept the shadow self
  4. Integrate the shadow self

Finding the shadow self

There are two simple ways you can find your shadow self.  The mindfulness solution and the reflection method.

“The Mindfulness Solution,” is a simple exercise to begin to identify your shadow self:

  • Make a list of 5 positive qualities that you see yourself as having (e.g., compassionate, kind, witty, etc.)
  • Look at each positive quality that you wrote down – describe its opposite (e.g., unfeeling, stingy, dull, etc.)
  • Picture a person who embodies these negative qualities vividly in your mind.  Roughly, this is your shadow self.

Reflection Method:

We all know the people that irritate us or have experienced that when we meet someone we take an instant dislike to them. In theses situatitions we are actually projecting our dislike of something in us onto the other person. Both of these experiences are good guides to finding parts of your shadow self. Try to mindfully pay attention to each time someone around you does something, says something, or “is” a certain way that irritates you or upsets you.  Ask yourself why certain qualities are so bothersome to you? What is it about yourself that you dislike that you can see reflected in the other person.

  • Make a list of the qualities that you vehemently dislike in others.
  • Take each trait and see if that is a quality that you have demonstrated in the past, are exhibiting currently, or are capable of manifesting in the future.

There is another way to try this exercise. It’s more challenging and it takes a fair bit of nerve.

You find the person you dislike and tell them you dislike them. I know it sounds crazy but I promise you it works. I once did this process at a workshop with a woman who was actually giving me a lift home. Awkward, but it really worked. The lift home went really well. The idea behind the process it that you explain that the point is for you both to learn something about each other and to create a better relationship between you both. (As you will often find if you dislike someone they also dislike you). You are basically projecting your dislike of you onto someone else and this exercise is about discovering what it is that you dislike.  Done in an open and honest way this is really powerful. (Although you may experience that they do not wish to participate, their loss. Do the exercise alone)  

Understanding the shadow self

Understanding comes from knowledge and by investigating your shadow self you begin to know your shadow self. When you understand something it makes that thing less powerful. In a way you demystify it. Understanding takes thought and analysis. It maybe that you have identified a fear of relationships as part of your shadow self. Well where does that come from? Find the root of the things you have identified. Often behind our shadow self you will find a lot of fears.

For example I have always had a serious problem with jealousy. It turns me into the proverbial green eyed monster and has in the past led me to do some things of which I am not proud. When I investigated my jealousy, it became painfully obvious that is sprang from my low self esteem and through that created a disbelief that I was unloveable, therefore my partners would always find people more attractive than me. The insane power of our negative thought patterns. These days when its pops up, (and unfortunately is does from time to time) I now know I need to look at myself esteem and talk to both myself and Mr T about the feelings it provokes.

Letters to yourself

A great way to understand your shadow self is to write a letter to yourself. This is a powerful writing exercise :

On a sheet of paper write  “Please reveal to me what I am not seeing about myself… about my relationship…, my work, my ability to earn more money, (any issue you want answers or information about).  Also write; “please answer me through my pen.”

On the next line, write “Dear _______________” (your name)

Take a few more breaths and start writing anything that comes through your pen.  Don’t look for anything to make sense.  Just let streams of thought come through your pen.  When the streams of thought ends, read what you have written.  You might be surprised.

Accepting the shadow self.

This is a long process and is one that does not happen overnight It is  an ongoing life process. To accept you have to forgive yourself. Having a shadow self is not a bad thing. Every human has one. All of us. And to make mistakes, to do things we are ashamed of is also perfectly normal. “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” You need to take responsibility to forgive yourself, to own your shadow and accept this part of you, without judging.

It takes time. However once you begin to accept it, you will find that in your shadow self you have a strength, strength that you probably didn’t know was there. By facing fears you own them. By acknowledging that your personally judged negative qualities are part and parcel of you, you begin to integrate and accept yourself more.

There are many ways to accept your shadow self. Creativity is one of the most therapeutic methods for example writing, painting and dancing with your shadow self.  Practice the automatic writing exercise often.  The more you do it, the clearer the messages become.  You can also use meditation,  Breathwork, walks in nature or any other way that makes you connect with you inner self/higher self. Some people prefer talk therapy or journaling.

Integrating the shadow self

Integration of the shadow self is key to the process of loving your self. The most important part of accepting your shadow is not to ignore it. Become friends with it. Dance with it. Learning about your shadow in your personal development is about pushing away your preconceptions. Remember in nature nothing is bad nothing is good it just is. We are part of nature so there is nothing bad or good within us, we just are.

You are you, not bad not good, just you.

By integrating your shadow self you are acknowledging its existence in a healthy way. To integrate your shadow self you can try many techniques such as:

Changing the story

At the beginning of this process you probably viewed your shadow as the villain and you as its victim. With this perspective, you closed the possibility of learning anything the shadow self could offer as new possibilities for knowing yourself more deeply. Try recasting your shadow from villain to teacher and be open to what it might have to teach you.

Be aware of your shadow self.

Use what you have learnt about your shadow self to increase your awareness of it and when your shadow self is negatively effecting your life. As I do with my jealousy. Instead of reacting through your shadow allow yourself to open a dialogue with it, try to see what insights it’s appearance brings.

The healthy quality

When the shadow self appears and you have found the teaching ask yourself

“what is the healthy expression of this?”

Find the answer and bring it into your life. I do this in regards to jealousy by both having a dialogue about my feelings with myself and Mr T. However it may be for you that you want to go on workshops, work with a coach, meditate, take shamanic journeys or visualisations to bring this healthy quality into your life.

Shadow work is a huge process. It takes time and energy. And when you give it that time and energy you gain an abundance of both strength and knowledge.  There is so much power to be found in facing your shadows, your fears. Working with your shadow  is personal and individual to each of us. Therefore you need to apporach it in a way that works for you. There are many other ways than I have suggested, to work with this process and you may find that google, workshop or a therapist brings you something else that works for you. There are also processes for working with your light self your persona and they will be explored in a future article.

However you make your balance with your shadow and your light. Know that by taking this journey you will begin to appreciate yourself on a new and deeper level. Appreciation is the first step on the path to love. So if you can appreciate yourself completely, you can and will love yourself.  

So bring your shadow into your light and dance with it. It is shadow that makes  light  beautiful. Your shadow makes you beautiful. It is your perfect imperfection. It is your vunerability which makes you so attractive to all of us, just sitting there waiting for you to discover and love it.

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#Lifelessons101 – Positive banks, storing the memories you love (2 min read)

We all have memories that make us happy, Facebook is full of photos testifying to that. But what about the memories you can’t photograph. Life is full of little moments like that. Little things that make us happy and glow. But a few days later they are gone, forever forgotten.

But what if you could keep those memories. Store them up for times when you need the happiness boost the most. Well the good news is you can!

What you need my friends is a Positivity Bank.

You will need a sealable container. (This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A simple jam jar will suffice.) And you will need a lot of paper. The idea is simple. When something good happens that makes you smile, proud or happy, you write it on a slip of paper, fold it up and put it in your bank.  This can be anything small or big.

Once the bank begins to fill up you can take out your positive memories if you need them or like me you can store them until the end of the year and read them all at once. The greatest thing is that when you read the memory you get a sensory memory of how you felt, even what you saw at the moment you have written about.

A positive bank actually provokes stronger memories than all of the pictures on Facebook. Although if you combine them you do get a wonderful energy boost and insight into how fantastic you and your life is.

Positive Banks are a simple and beautiful way to bring a smile to your face and give you a feel good feeling that lasts all day. Start your positive bank today and store away the big and small special moments that make life worth living.3414cc6edfbf287e5b41773b5151e126.jpg