“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” Mark Twain
So often we are seeking outside approval in order to feel worthy, accepting and happy with who we are. This may be a parent, a boss, a spouse, a friend, or in cases I have seen, from a child. This all tracks back to earlier years when perhaps the messages we got made us believe that we aren’t good enough, that we can’t do anything right, that we are not as good as a brother or sister, the list goes on. This message could have come from a parent or a teacher, in other words a significant adult. They may not have even said anything to us but we witnessed that we were being treated differently. We all have filters that we are seeing the world through and the observation that we are being treated differently, is seen through those filters. Those significant adults had no intention of hurting us and making us feel ‘less than,’ those around us. We see them get praise, we don’t notice when we get praise, because at some point we have set our system to see the majority of the negative comments ahead of the positive ones.
I was at a function last night where I was talking to a mother who was raving on about one of her children and noticing the negatives of the other 2. I said, “We all have our strengths.” But oh no, this mother disputed that about her son in particular. We all deal with those silent messages we are getting day in and day out from others and we can’t please everyone, not even your mother, I was seeing. I hasten to add that when I talked again to her later she repeated her comment and in her explanation I could see that it was coming from a place of concern for his future wellbeing. But you can see that we ‘can’t please everyone all the time.’ So how about reframing that and concentrating on pleasing yourself. Notice the positive, good things that you do, reframe the negatives e.g. “That’s not like me, I don’t usually behave like that, respond like that…… “ whatever works for you. Praise yourself when you do even a small thing well. Remember if we wait for others to give us approval we could be waiting for a while and if they do give it, they can also take it away. Do you want to wait for that?
Enjoy lifting your own spirits!
“Life and Death Are in the Power of the Tongue” Proverb
This may have been a proverb but now it is being proven to be so true. Through the amazing abilities of the functional ‘Magnetic Resonance Imaging’ (MRI), we now how true this is. This technology is able to show what areas of the brain light up when feel we are being judged, excluded or limited in some way. This is usually the area that has been called the Amygdala which is the stress centre of the brain. It is responsible for pumping out chemicals. You are probably all familiar with cortisol and although we all need some cortisol to get us out of bed in the morning, we don’t want the amounts that are going to shut down the part of our brain that is called the executive brain. If we are stressed enough that will happen, and we won’t be able to reason well, to empathise with others or create a good connection through conversation.
If on the other hand we are treated with appreciation, celebration and we are included, the front part of the brain, the Pre-frontal Cortex pumps out a chemical known as Oxytocin. This is also called the Bonding or Hugging Hormone. The heart feels good, and we open up to the other person we are communicating with. We trust the other person and we are able to co-create a conversation that is healthy for both people. It may not be literal death with cortisol or life with oxytocin but it can feel very different to hear words of inclusion and appreciation, than it does to hear criticism and judgement. How can you mind the power of your tongue going forward?
Enjoy seeing the results of ‘Minding Your Tongue!’
“I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.” Kahlil Gibran
Have you heard of shadow work? Debbie Ford wrote a great book, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.” In it she talks about how we all have aspects of ourselves that we don’t want others to know about because we’ve been brought up to believe that those aspects are not acceptable in some way. However my beliefs about unacceptable behaviour may be completely different from yours or other cultures. My parents & their parents have been brought up with certain beliefs about different behaviours and these have been instilled into us over the years. This may not be conscious but when we see it in others it may ‘trigger’ us or ‘pushes our buttons.’ This awareness can actually be a lesson for us to examine why we have such an aversion to their behaviour. What is it about what they are doing that we wouldn’t want others to see in us? Debbie went on to write a second book called “The Shadow Effect,” with Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson. They both wanted to lend their weight to the topic that they think is so important to us all.
And strange as it may seem, there are ‘gifts’ in those shadows that emerge as we shine the light on them. The gifts that Gibran talks about. There is a Law of Polarity that says, there are 2 sides to everything, so if you can be intolerant you can also be tolerant. The joy is in being able to accept that you could be something you absolutely don’t want to own, we all could be. In the same way, that if you notice some great things in others & don’t believe you can be that either. This is called the Light Shadow, and if you don’t acknowledge this then you are shutting yourself off from living from the full spectrum of emotions & behaviours. Start noticing what is irritating you in others & check in to where are you, or could you be that & what is the gift! Also notice when you see something you admire in someone else & feel into whether you could be that as well.
Enjoy finding those gifts!