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Monthly Archives: February 2019

09 Your body is not an ornament

It comes up in my life all the time, and it may be something you're familiar with as well. It's when I compliment a female friend on either a photo of them or how they're looking today, such as their hair or their outfit, and  they deflect that compliment. I see it on social media when someone puts up a photo which gets a compliment and their response is "No, I'm looking old/ fat / having a bad hair day" and they find some way to turn down that compliment.

 It's not our fault - we're all conditioned when we see magazines with certain body types on the cover, Hollywood movies and TV shows with certain types of females and female bodies that are deemed acceptable by the media. I do think this is improving, but for those of us who are around my age we've had a long lifetime where this has been the case.

When we're feeling unhappy with our bodies, or we wish there was one thing we could change to look a certain way, it really comes down to the fact that we've been given the wrong paradigm for viewing our bodies.

We always seem to think a body needs to achieve a certain type of appearance. When you think about we are seeing our body as an ornament that needs to look a certain way. But our body is NOT an ornament. It's not here to look a certain way. It is the vessel through which we live. The function of our legs is not to be slender and a certain length and to look a certain way in short shorts. The function of our legs is that we can walk and run and get to where we need to be. The function of a torso is not to give us an hourglass figure. The function of our torso is to contain all the vital organs that keep us alive.

Our body is the vessel through which we look at nature, look at a beautiful artwork, and smell that divine food that someone's cooking for us or our coffee in the morning.

Our body is the arms and torso that we throw around someone in a hug when we love them. That's what our body's for -  it is to experience life through our senses.

And our body is the vessel through which we live out our dreams. When we have a dream to go to a certain country, or to write a book, or to achieve something in our career, or whatever the case may be it's our body that fulfils that dream for us.

It's our brain and our hand and our eyes that write the book. It's our mind that works out how to book a plane ticket and it's our body that boards that plane to go to the country we wish to visit.

So our body is a vessel through which we experience our dreams - we fulfil our dreams and experience life. It is not an ornament. And it's only by shifting that perception of ourselves that we can start to see our body in a better way.

We feel that our confidence in our body and our positive feelings towards our body relies on us looking for our "good" features. We're still using the paradigm about our body being an ornament and we can never win that game. And the media don't want us to win it, they want us buying expensive products and going on diets that don't work. It keeps us spending money, it keeps us controlled by them.

But we can think for ourselves and see our body in a whole new light. Not as "good enough" because "even though my hair is frizzy at least I like the colour of it".  It's not about that at all. It's about loving that our body is doing it's best to fulfil the goals that we set it.

 We're upgrading from the idea that our body is an ornament that needs to look a certain way and having good points and bad points that are all visual. To view your body as a vessel that's for experiencing life. And you can still have fun! Getting your hair and make-up done or buying an outfit that you love. But see it as a CELEBRATION of your body not trying to make your body enough. 

For some people I hope you already view your body in this way, and for others I hope that you're open to seeing your body in a new light. In a way that you can enjoy your body and celebrate it rather than always wishing it was a little bit different. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments, or women I'd love you to jump into my Facebook group Sisters With Heart and share your thoughts there.

08 – Be inspired by your future self

I have a beautiful Facebook group -  Sisters With Heart - where one of the lovely ladies asked me "how do I get inspired by a vision of my future self - rather than being caught up what I want now, how do I use the vision of my future self as inspiration".  I love this question because it's true : a vision of our future can keep us inspired on a goal. However there are a couple of ways this can be done, and one is more effective than the other.

How NOT to use a vision of your future self

The first way people do this is when they see a future self of how they feel they should be. They feel they should be thinner, or more fit, or wealthier or have got further head in their career. They want to be better in some way to be worthy.

When we use that idea of how we "should" be as our future self it really demotivates us.  We're thinking we're not all we should be now. When we come from this position of lack and feeling not good enough it's hard to get motivated by ANY version -  in particular the very version that reminds us we don't think we're good enough already.

A more helpful way to vision your future self

In truth we are all good enough and we deserve to have a future that lights us up with joy.

If I'm already worthy -  and I am  - what will bring me more more happiness and light me up, and will give more meaning to my life? Imagine THAT future self and that's a future self that will help you stay motivated towards your goal. Our  goals ideally will direct us towards that version of our self, not the vision of how we think we should be to be worthy.

Take some time as you're lying to go to sleep or having a shower, relaxing or driving along (safely).    

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    Think what future version of you would light you up and fill you with joy and bring you extra meaning, knowing that you're good enough and worthy already.
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    Ask yourself: what is the next right step in that direction?  

You don't have to know the whole pathway. You just need to know you're facing the right direction: the future that lights you up and take that next right step.

 I'd love to know how you go with this idea and what your vision for your future self is. Let me know in the comments. And all those who identify as women please jump into my beautiful Facebook group Sisters With Heart and let me know what your future self is. I can't wait to see you there.

07 Why it’s good that stress affects each area of our life

There are different ways stress affects our life, but this is good news, I promise. 

If you think back to a time when stress was really affecting you and think about all the parts of your life that were involved.

It might be that your emotions and thoughts were affected, how you look after and feel in your body. It might change your habits - perhaps comfort eating or scrolling social media endlessly as a distraction. It might affect your environment - with clutter in the house or an overflowing inbox at work. It may even build up enough to affect relationships if you are taking it out on your partner or kids. Energy and spirit are affected too.

Here's the good news - while stress affects all these parts of our life, how we handle each of these aspects of our life also has an impact on our total stress levels.

If we are really good at processing our emotions, think constructively, have healthy habits, look after our body with rest and nourishment, set up our environment to support us, have healthy relationships and look after our energy and spirit then this will have a massive impact in reducing our total stress.

This is awesome news because it means if you are feeling stressed you can work on any of these areas - ideally eventually all of them - but you can begin with any of them to reduce your total stress levels.

For example if you have a stressful relationship issue with stress building up and you are feeling triggered but you are unsure how to deal with it at the moment directly, you can begin by taking care with all the other areas of your life. SO make sure you are allowing time to process your emotions, looking at your thoughts and the beliefs being triggered by this situation, getting enough sleep so you are better equipped to handle it (everything is better on a good night's sleep!). Are you setting up good habits and does your environment support you? There are energy visualisations for unhooking from a relationship trigger and letting it go, and spiritual tools can help guide you to the next right step for approaching it.

This is the same with any kind of stress. If you are dealing with a chronic illness, and your body is stressing you out, you can begin by setting up your environment to support you, establishing healthy habits, addressing your emotions and thoughts about your body and getting support in your relationships. 

Any one area can help in all of the others as well. I dive deep into this in my beautiful book, Transform Stress to Self Care. It addresses each of these 8 areas and how we can manage them to better reduce stress in all of the others.

Whether you grab the workbook or address these areas yourself, consider where you can make tweaks in one or two of these areas to support your life. 

Is there a habit that would help you? Can you set up your environment so it's a haven not a source of stress and clutter? This includes anywhere you spend time - work, home or even your car! I set up my care to be a sanctuary back when I was driving around each day to get my little one to sleep. Which of these areas can you begin to make changes to support your happiness and your peace of mind - emotions, thoughts, body, habits, environment, relationships, energy, spirit?

Let me know where you'll be making a tweak to support your happiness in the comments or join in my community for heart-centred women, Sisters With Heart, and let us know in there.

Until next time, take the very best of care - because you deserve a peaceful mind, a happy heart, and a life you love.