Archive

Monthly Archives: September 2016

September 24, 2016

How to receive more compliments

How did you interpret the title of this post? Did you wonder, "How will a post make me get more compliments?" Well I have no magic wand for that one, and I'm certainly not advocating fishing for a compliment!

Instead take a moment to reflect on the difference between what you get​ in life, and what you actually receive.

We've all had times when we felt we weren't receiving enough - enough money, love, support, compliments. The good news is, how you receive is up to you. Receiving is an action that you take. And it's not a matter of what you're not getting, but rather what you're deflecting.

I know a lot of women who feel much more comfortable with giving than receiving. Deep down, they like themselves better when giving to others, and can find it hard to allow themselves to receive. This plays out in many ways. I'd like you to take a moment to imagine I've just complimented you on something. Maybe a job well done. Maybe your outfit. Maybe the cake you served me when I visited for afternoon tea. How would you respond?

"Oh no, I'm not photogenic at all. You are much more photogenic than me!"

"What, this old thing?" 

"You're much better at this than me"

"It's nothing"

Are you sensing a pattern? All of the responses above, and others in the same vein, prevent us from receiving. When someone offers a compliment, support, help or a gift and we deflect it, we are preventing ourselves from being in a receiving state. When our self worth relies on being a giver, the message we are telling ourselves is that we don't deserve to receive, or when we receive we are not "earning' our worth as much as when we give.

This underlying pattern erodes at our self worth and reduces our ability to replenish ourselves to maintain a giving nature. It also subtly but tangibly rejects the person who is trying to give to us.

Some of us have started to learn to be more gracious receivers and shine some of that generosity of spirit towards ourselves. But watch out for more subtle ways we deflect too. This can be the immediate need to reciprocate, before the receiving has been felt - because the feeling of receiving is too uncomfortable. This may show itself in returning a compliment, saying "Right back at you" or "You too"; or trying to quickly return a favour or gift.

Stop. Just stop. And take a breath.

Even if it brings up discomfort - especially if it brings up discomfort - sit with the receiving. Breathe and soften into it. If you need to say something, acknowledge what you have received rather than trying to give back immediately. "Thank you" is a good starting point.

Notice how your energy feels when you receive. You will learn to tell if your energy is in a receiving or deflecting state when you respond. Be gentle with yourself. For some of us, receiving is something to learn with observation, self-kindness and time.

Start with this: Receive what you need from yourself. If you need support, arrange it for yourself. If you need a break, give yourself permission. And if you need a few words of kindness, they are here. You're doing great. You matter. You deserve it. Breathe.

I'd like to hear from you - how are you learning to receive? Share your thoughts below. And if you know a kind woman who could learn to receive more, send this post to her or share it. If you'd like to receive an environment of support, join me in my cosy corner of Facebook in Sisters With Heart.

September 14, 2016

Can you forgive your body after it really let you down?

She curls up in a ball, in the dark, after another child is taken from her dreams to her nightmares. The world tells her it's no big deal, and she watches as if from a great distance as another friend gives birth to another baby....

Every part of her wants to run far away from the doctor's office: the place where her biggest fear is realised, and she hears the word she dreaded most. Maybe the word is cancer. Or stroke. Or diabetes. Or infertile. Or terminal...

A woman stands alone in front of the mirror, looking with a sense of disbelief and horror at what her condition and time have ravaged across her body. She wants to hide from the one who loves her, and she fears what has happened to her may be stronger than that love...

Another woman is filled with revulsion when she is forced to be confronted by the most taboo parts of her body. She is scared to be too far from a bathroom, and feels embarrassed and ashamed. It's easier to be alone than to go out and meet her friends, and she is hurt by how quickly they begin to move on...

Can you relate to any of these women? Have you been let down by your body in a massive way? One of the hardest things about it can be that the very experience  sets us apart from the world, and even apart from our own body. These women have different paths that led them to this point, and may have different regrets, fears and struggles. But one thought bound to cross their minds - as it has mine - is "How can my body do this to me?"

​Feeling let down by our body can leave us fractured through our very soul. We battle daily with the enemy we must carry around wherever we go. We feel betrayed. And the more our body has let us down, the more we are told we must take care of it. There's a disconnect and pain that others don't understand.

Nothing I say here on this page today can change the health of our bodies - yours or mine.​ And I can't speak for your journey or your truth in getting through these challenges. But in love I offer you one thing that has helped me - the paradigm shift of truly connecting to your body.

At one point in recent years, shortly after I made the choice in my own heart to build resilience and learn to get up again after Life had knocked me over, I decided to have a conversation with my body. I could not bear to continue carrying around this burden any longer of having a lack of peace with it. The conversation would be about me attempting to forgive it for what it had put me through. Or so I thought.

Sidebar... I'd recently started studying naturopathy (natural medicine) and re-learning about the physiology of the body. There is one law that each of our bodies always obeys to the best of its ability: The Law of Homeostasis. This is the absolute scientific law of returning our health to balance, of continual correction.​ Your body is doing this now. Mine is too. You see, disease is not something the body does to us. All our body does to us is devote all of its energy and capacity into coping with invasion, disruption and disease, to create the best outcome for us that it possibly can. Our body would keep us alive and in perfect health for eternity if it possibly could. Our body forgives us when we fill it with rubbish, and tries to right itself. Our body compensates when we don't sleep. Our bodies give everything to combating that problem, just as we do.

So when I was lying awake one night, prepared to offer my body a forgiveness I didn't yet feel... it suddenly occurred to me. Our bodies never let us down at all​. There is nothing to forgive it for. 

These words might give rise to a mixture of emotions from relief to resistance. But through all that, I'd like you to consider this: if the child you love most in the world had this illness that you have had, would you feel anger at that child's body? Or would you gather that little body into your arms and whisper, "I'm so sorry this has happened to you. You are doing your best. I will love and support you no matter what. Have courage. Keep going".

And that is how my conversation ended up. When I truly connected my heart to my body with a genuine desire to communicate, I realised my body was not the enemy I carried at all. It was the beloved who always takes the journey with me.​ 

If you don't yet have words of your own to get you through, trust that they will come, and allow yourself the connection to your body where it can happen. And if you too find yourself lying awake one night, overwhelmed with the same sense of betrayal, place your hands on your heart and join my whisper, 

"I'm so sorry this has happened. You are doing your best. I love and support you no matter what. Have courage. Keep going".

If you'd like to develop a healthier relationship with your body, join The Body Love Challenge below. And I'd love to hear from you - what will you be doing to create peace with your body?

September 4, 2016

Are you scarred by the era of the super models?

As a kid growing up in the 80s, I would steal a furtive look at my sisters’ magazines and absorb the seemingly glamorous world within. Christie Brinkley, Cindy Crawford, Paulina Paroskova and Elle McPherson were the role models, the ones who truly had it all. In the 90s as a teenager I had my own magazines and the era of the super model was in full swing. Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Linda “I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000” Evangelista, Helena Christensen, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington. None of us put up the slightest resistance to the impact they had on our ideals and dreams.

The problem was not a lack of goals, but misdirected goals of wanting to be slimmer, more glamorous, tanned, “gorgeous”. Eventually in the late 90s Anita Roddick had a self esteem campaign for The Body Shop that reminded us “there are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do”. The problem was, we still saw the message as “those 8 are more beautiful”. I loved Anita’s campaign and I have gratitude for it also. We needed this voice of reason. In hindsight, though, I see that the message I craved was not “you can never reach the heights of the supermodels” but rather “the pinnacle of a life well lived is not a certain waist circumference. The reason to love your body is not a bra size.” In fact, the purpose of our body is not to be found in the mirror, on a set of scales or via a tape measure at all.

Our bodies are not decorative objects. We as women are not aspiring arm candy. Our bodies are the sacred vessels that we experience life through. When our favourite meal makes our taste buds sing, when we long for the embrace of the one we love, the exhilaration of dancing to a song that can’t be ignored, the warm balm of spring sunshine on our faces after a long winter…this is the nature of our body.

So make a vow to yourself to be the conscious observer of the thoughts and attitudes you hold towards your body. When you catch yourself chastising part of your body, remember that you are seeing it in a reductionist light that misses the point entirely, and switch your attention to the real dreams of your life.

Be the example you hope the daughters and nieces in your life follow. Rejoice in what your body allows you to experience. If you hope the young girls in your life will always look in the mirror with benevolent eyes, then do the same yourself. If you hope their minds will fill with academic challenges to triumph over rather than counting of calories or obsessing over thighs or a dress size, then turn your focus to a worthy thought first. And if you dream of that young girl being deeply loved, spiritually fulfilled and inspired by life… then don’t reduce your self to being merely a number on a scale. What you are cannot be measured. What you are is Love.

ANd now I’d like to hear from you – how are you committed to showing your body kindness? Let me know in the comments! I would love to welcome you to cosy and kind community of open-hearted women… if that sounds like you join your Sisters With Heart here.