Self-Acceptance Why is it so amazingly difficult?!

I thought self-love was hard, and I was right. BUT, before you even go there you need to accept yourself. Many of the ‘self’s’ such as self-love, worth and esteem are related to each other but each a little different. Acceptance (and awareness) is really the start, the first brick giving you a base to build the rest.

im so awesome

Accepting the great parts of ourselves is easy.

Oh wow, you are so funny, healthy, intelligent, kind…..any of those things people have said to you that become a positive story in your mind. Easy to accept. Well most of the time.

Sometimes these things can be difficult to accept too and if you want help with that you can get in touch for a free call to see how coaching and positive psychology interventions may help. Send your availability through this contact form and I will get back to you.

What about these things… Oh wow, you are so stubborn, grumpy, jealous, naughty, emotional….
These things are harder to accept.

thats not me
Now sometimes of course people may have said these things to you to be mean.
However, sometimes, if we are honest with ourselves, we have maybe been these things. I am stubborn. There I admit it. Finally, after 37 years.

Once I accepted this trait, I found it much easier to recognise, cope with and change. I also found it easier to know when someone was being mean and saying something to me that was not part of my reality. I am more aware of this now as I am more accepting of who I am and more aware of who I am.

Why is it important we accept ourselves unconditionally?

We are a work in progress, all of us. Humans change and grow throughout life. Your sense of who you are is therefore always changing. As you age, face different life events, find new meaning, purpose and values, your ‘self’ will change. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY FINE.

people change
The key thing to remember is: Unless you accept who you are it is very difficult to make the changes you may want to make to improve your life.

Try this: Have a go at writing down all the positive things that you can accept about yourself right now. Enjoy these things about yourself and celebrate them.

Then to start the journey of self-acceptance and self-love head over to our online workshop. Self-discovery is waiting for you.

Set Goals and Achieve

GOAL!!!

giphy goal
How great does it feel when you finally achieve a goal? Something you have wanted to achieve for ages. Have worked hard towards. I know I feel AMAZING.

giphy amazing

Quite often though, I will admit, my goals have fallen by the wayside. Left in a pile of other uncompleted tasks and things that I just don’t feel motivated to complete. How many of you have a New years resolution in this pile? One of my resolutions was to eat less sugar. As I am currently eating chocolate while writing this, we can assume that is in the pile too!

Why do some goals never seem to get going? Well for me with the less sugar example… I didn’t really want to. I love chocolate. I want to eat it so therefore there is no motivation to not eat it. If you have made a goal because you think you should or because someone else tells you you should, it doesn’t always align with your values.

Try this: What do you really, really want? Really. Totally honest, up front without the little voices in your head telling you to stop being silly. That right there is a true goal, that means something to you. It matters. If it matters, you are going to stick to it for longer. Write down the things you truly want and turn these into goals.

giphy spice girls

Sometimes goals don’t fall by the wayside because we don’t really want them. Sometimes we get lost on the way to achieving them. Things get in the way. Life takes an unexpected turn and the goal takes a backseat and can get left there. There is nothing wrong with this. Life happens and we sometimes have to put other things ahead of what we truly want for short time periods. The problem is when they get left in the backseat and become and little nagging concern that we can’t shift. Its always good to revisit these lost goals. Re-evaluate them. Do you still want it? If not, then get rid. If you do still want it, then read on.

Try this: Break goals down into smaller more manageable steps. If I set a goal to be able to Olympic weightlift, I wouldn’t just turn up and expect to start chucking heavy weights above my head without issue. I would need to break the goal down into steps. Starting with smaller weights and moving up as I gained strength. All goals are the same. Break it down into steps that give you little moments of achievement along the way.

As always, remember that wellbeing takes practise. Take time to reflect on how far you have come and where you want to go at varying points throughout the year not just in January. If you want help with this we have an hour long workshop taking place in Biggleswade on Wednesday 29th January or you can seek help via 1:1 sessions in person or on skype.

Resilience

Resilience is all about getting back up and carrying on even when life is hard. It is about being able to get through the tough times. When obstacles get in your way it can be about having the flexibility to work around them.

anna

I thought the moment where Princess Anna in Frozen 2 gets up and moves forward to do the next right thing shows what we mean by resilience in the face of a setback. I won’t tell you what the setback was I don’t want to spoil the film if you haven’t seen it. You can check out the song I am on about here…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6g1yQV0dIY

Sometimes we try to avoid change, but it is always there. Life is always changing even when we may not want it to. Resilience can help us cope with this. But how do we become more resilient?

giphy lion king

Resilience is something we learn, and we can become more resilient. It is important to remember that being resilient does not mean you do not experience negative emotions or difficulties. Saying ‘I don’t care’ or ‘it’s fine, it doesn’t matter’ when something has caused us pain is not resilience but avoidance.

giphy care o meter

 

Try this: Accept that things change. We can’t stop things happening to us and we can’t control other people. Mindfulness is great for learning acceptance and you can try to become more mindful through daily practice. Keep scrolling down to the mindfulness posts from January 2019 if you want to learn more about it.

 

Many things can help us feel more resilient. One is other people, our positive relationships. We have spoken about the importance of social connection before as many aspects of wellbeing build up to help us feel more resilient. You can scroll down to find out more about positive relationships too. Who can you talk to? Who can you share your worries, problems and feelings with? Having a strong support network can help with resilience as we have people to turn to in times of need.

 

Try this: Write down all the people who you can talk to about your problems or the things that worry you. If there are not many people on this list look at how you can increase this. Try finding a social club to join, or a group of people with a shared hobby for example. There are also many helplines, charities and professionals out there who can be added to any list of people to talk to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people when you need it.

Resilience as all parts of living a full and well life take practise. We need to build our mental health skills just like we build our physical fitness with exercise.

What we practise grows stronger as we grow and change as people.

The season of kindness

Our theme for this month is Kindness and Gratitude. This is very fitting as it is nearly Xmas. I think Christmas is all about kindness particularly. Watching the new Netflix film ‘Klaus’, Santa really does represent ultimate kindness. Giving a present to every boy and girl just because, not expecting anything in return.

santas coming

Kindness spreads kindness. If you do one kind act for someone it makes you feel amazing, it makes the person who receives your kindness feel amazing and anyone else who happens to see the kind act, they feel amazing too. No wonder Father Christmas is so jolly!

jolly santa

Try this:
Complete an act of kindness. It can be anything. Bring your neighbours bin in. Pick up some litter that someone else has dropped. Hold a door open for someone or offer them help if they are struggling. It really can be anything no matter how small, an act of kindness is still kindness.

How does it feel when you are kind? How does it feel when someone is kind to you?

The great thing about kindness is that it brings us all together. I’m keeping this one short and sweet this month as I don’t think there is anything else that needs to be said.

‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ The Dalai Lama

kindness

Motivation

We can all have those moments where we feel our motivation has left us. We call this A-motivation. The feeling of ‘I can’t be bothered’. But why does this strike us? Sometimes even when the task is something we had been previously excited and motivated to do?

cant be bothered
I have had this recently (the last few days). I had been excited but when it got to it, I felt nervous, couldn’t be bothered and like I just wanted to stay in bed forever. Why?

Well there are three main things that can affect our motivation whether you are child, student, parent or teacher. In fact, all humans 😊

other people matter
Relatedness: This is about other people. As I have said a few times before, we need other people, they are important to our lives and wellbeing. Relatedness has been my motivational issue the last few days. I had been upset by someone and then everything seemed to snowball. If you are struggling with a relationship and it doesn’t feel very positive such as friendships at school, it can be hard to have the mental power to motivate yourself for anything else.

Try this: if something is bothering you, such as a friendship issue then sort this out first before you tackle motivating yourself. You will probably find that once the worry of the issue is resolved or accepted you will be free in your mind to do more for yourself.

autonomy

Autonomy: Did you choose the activity you need motivation for yourself? This can be super hard at school where we must take part in certain lessons that may not be quite where our values lie. We looked at values back in the summer when we covered meaning and purpose.

Try this: If you are struggling, then find the value in the task you must complete. How and why will this task be helpful to you? What will it mean to you or others that are important to you if you complete the task?

not easy

Competence: Have you suddenly found yourself less motivated because your task has become way too easy? Or alternatively have you hit a block and it is way too difficult? Look at the challenge and skills you have.

Try this: If the challenge is too vast for the skills you currently have break the challenge into more manageable chunks so you can master new skills on the way to completion. If the task has become too easy is there a way you can challenge yourself? You need to revisit what you are doing and find a new challenge within the task.

Give it all a try and see how you get on. Like everything these things take practice. Keep going, you got this.

Mindset

I am sure you have all been told of the importance of growth mindset at school. This is where you believe that the effort you put in is what gives you greater knowledge and success rather than the ability or talent you have to start with. Our intelligence grows as we learn.

intelligence
This research was completed many years ago now and has recently been looked at again (psychologists and scientists like to repeat stuff a lot, just to make sure). The results were different to a point. They concluded that it wasn’t a ‘growth mindset’ or a ‘fixed mindset’ that caused change in our achievements but hard work that created the best outcomes.
Now, in my opinion it is a mixture of lots of things. I am a big believer in mindset, a positive mindset. One that is on the sunnier side of optimism, hope and learning goals. We can all get stuck in a fixed mindset. I used to tell myself regularly (all the time) that Math wasn’t my thing, that I couldn’t do it and that I was stupid when it came to numbers. English was my thing. I can do words. Neither of these mindsets were good for me. In Math I just stopped trying and put in little effort believing that my mathematical brain was lost somewhere. In English, I just coasted along. My ego telling me I didn’t need to put in much work because I was already good at it. Now anyone who has had to correct my grammar and spelling at any point or stick commas into my very long-winded sentences, like this one, will know that I should have tried harder.

Try this:
Look at your lessons at school. Are there any subjects where you have given up because you keep getting it wrong? Are there any lessons where you are not putting in the hard work because you think you have it sorted? What we can often do is start to think we have a ‘growth’ or ‘positive’ mindset around something because we are good at it or enjoy it. This doesn’t necessarily mean we are giving it our best effort each time. Hard work pays off.

hard work

Always remember to take a moment to check on how far you have come. We are not all going to be at the top of every class and that is ok. We must have compassion and kindness for ourselves. Look at your starting point and where you are now. How far have you come? Do not compare your progress to others.
do your thing

Keep a check on your mindset and be kind.
xx

A life of meaning…

Having meaning in life, and living a purposeful life seem very adult topics to discuss. They seem to be something we look to in the future, when we are ‘proper’ grown-ups.

grown ups

However, meaning in life is something we are always making each day in every new moment and experience we gain. Purpose is something that we can have now, it is active. We can find purpose in lots of things and not just one.

‘Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of

meaning and purpose.’ Viktor Frankl

 

Meaning and purpose come from being authentic and honest with ourselves and what we desire without fear. So, in order to have meaning and purpose at any age we need to be true to ourselves and build a positive picture of our lives.

be yourself
How can we do this with our children and students? Or how can you do this for yourself at any age?

 

Try this: We are constantly meaning making. Each experience we have helps us create more meaning. You can use strengths of character to build a confident and positive meaning of who they or you are. We covered strengths back in April. Or try this. Get your children or students to complete this sentence. ‘I matter because…’

 

When we have a reason to matter this gives us our meaning. It can be, I matter because I am reliable to my friends. I matter because I am determined to complete my schoolwork. There can also be reasons we matter outside of our relationships and school life. Having a strong and positive meaning can help us also realise our purpose.

 

Try this: Complete this sentence… ‘My purpose is to…’ And remember you do not have to just have one purpose. It is not based in the future it is now and it is active. For example, my purpose is to help others, or my purpose is to stand up for animals or the environment. Our purpose can grow and change with us as we change as people. Any positive purpose is great for our wellbeing.

 

Our values as a person play a great part in our meaning and purpose as they do in our goals from last month. If you want to know more about values look through our social media posts on the topic. Goals set that align with our values and lead us to greater meaning in life and toward our purpose are goals which will bring great joy indeed, and not just in the outcome but in the journey too.

purpose

As always give this a try and be patient. Wellbeing is a lifestyle not just an hour of thought once a month or sporadically when things feel wrong. What we practise grows stronger as we grow and change as people.