Reclaiming My Courage By Acknowledging and Navigating Fear

Reclaiming My Courage By Acknowledging and Navigating Fear

During the past few weeks, more changes and opportunities for transformation continue to present themselves in my life. Yes there are the obvious changes being presented with our current situation with the pandemic, however I also have a number of others.

In the past, these changes would have sent me straight in to fear, worry and panic as I didn’t know there was a gap as you can see by the image. Over many years of practise, I have remembered I have a choice in each moment of each situationI find myself in and I can those choices from a place of fear or a place of love (i.e. my courage).

Freedom to Choose

 

Why I Created a Fear List…

Many years ago I created a fear list. I created it like a reverse bucket list as I knew fear was one of the emotions that prevented me from living a whole-heartedly connected life. So we are are on the same page, fear is –

  • “…an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.” – Google and Oxford Dictionaries.
  • “…an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events.” – Wikipedia, and
  • “to be afraid of (something or someone)” or “to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

 

Identifying and Acknowledging My Fear

Wondering how I identify my fears? It is simple really – I have a number of them identified on an excel spreadsheet. However, I also stay alert each day with my feelings and have learnt to be able to identify when I am being triggered around things. For example – not having enough money to pay expenses.

When I discover my fear, I acknowledge it and use some self-compassion and mindfulness techniques I have learnt over the years. For example – the STOP Technique.

 

The STOP Technique – One Way to Acknowledge and Navigate Fear

One strategy I continue to use to interrupt fearful thoughts so I can choose to respond rather than react, is the STOP technique. This technique, helps me interrupt the ‘automatic pilot’ by bringing you back to the present moment. A brief description of how I use the STOP technique is –

  • S – stop. I stop to interrupt my fearful thought pattern or ‘automatic pilot’ by coming back to the present moment,
  • T – take a breath. I then take a breath and focus my experience of the in-breath and the out-breath (when it feels OK to do so),
  • O – open to observation. I connect to the experience of this moment and inquire with a sense of curiosity –
    • What am I seeing?
    • What am I feeling?
    • What am I sensing?
    • What am I hearing?
    • What am I smelling?
    • What am I thinking?
  • P – proceed. I then proceed and reconnect with my surroundings and the activity I was doing in the moment.

I have also used this process to journal, so I can untangle from the fearful thoughts.

 

Over to You…

How do you identify and navigate your fear? Feel free to share any comments below.

Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

Figuring Out Emotions Using An Emotions Diary

Figuring Out Emotions Using An Emotions Diary

One of the skills I am passionate about developing is emotional literacy. There are many reasons why, however one of the main reasons is because I knew I needed to relearn. One of the main ways I have learnt to figure out my own emotions is by using an emotions diary/ journaling guide. However, before I share how I started to figure out my emotions using an emotions diary, let’s discuss emotional literacy and why it is important.

 

Why Develop Emotional Literacy?

Emotional literacy is the building block of emotional intelligence. Subsequently, when we develop our own emotional literacy we can access and develop important information about ourselves and others and process any emotional baggage (don’t worry we all have it!), take better care of ourselves and look after wellbeing.

 

What is Emotional Literacy?

Just as learning to read and write begins with literacy of letters and sounds, learning to interpret and manage feelings begins with emotional literacy. The term “emotional literacy” was coined by Claude Steiner in 1979.

The definitions of emotional literacy include –

  • “To be emotionally literate is to be able to handle emotions in a way that improves your personal power and the quality of your life and – equally important, the quality of the life of the people around you. Emotional literacy helps your emotions work for you instead of against you.” ~ Claude Steiner
  • “Emotional literacy is the ability to put feelings in to words so that those feelings can be understood within some sort of psychological context.” ~ Tian Dayton
  • “… lets us sort out all of those feelings, name them and begin to understand their causes and effects. It is the basic building block of emotional intelligence.” ~ Joshua Freedman
  • “Emotional literacy helps us precisely identify and communicate our feelings. Naming them helps us identify our unmet needs; communicating them helps us identify those people who voluntarily assist us in meeting our needs. The key to emotional literacy is using simple, clear and direct three-word I messages like – ‘I feel sad.'” ~ Steve Hein

After reading the above, do you agree that emotional literacy could be a useful skill to develop? If so, read on as I share one way I have been figuring our my emotions using an emotions diary.

 

Figuring Out Emotions Using An Emotions Diary

To develop my own emotional literacy, I chose to create an emotions diary. I used this diary regularly, not just when I was going through a difficult time. It also helped me to understand and learn to manage my emotions more effectively on a day-to-day or maybe more accurately on a moment-to-moment basis (and yes I still journal with it).

An emotions diary is basically keeping a journal or ‘notes’ on your emotions. You can write about the name of the emotion/s, shifts in them, what was going on at the time or leading up to you noticing the emotion, whether or not you thought the emotion/s was appropriate and were any other people present. Also, I chose the word emotions instead of feelings as it resonated with my intention more. Basically an emotions diary is an empowering way to reconnect with your self and explore what is going on within you.

 

An Example of An Emotions Diary

There are a number of pre-made journals available, for me I like to keep things simple, so all you really need is some paper and pen/pencil. Following are the key aspects I include in my emotions diary –

1. Date / Time:

I include the date and time so I can look back on how I have changed and evolved over time.

2. Description of Emotion:

Trust me, I know naming an emotion can be challenging as learning to identify and label an emotion are skills in themselves, so when I started I just did my best and when required used these “primary emotions“. I then also like to add – does this emotion feel good or bad? Up or down? How intense is the emotion on a scale of 1-10 (1 = low intensity and 10 = high intensity).

3. Event / Situation:

Was there an event or incident that led up to the emotion? If so, I write them down. I include (if relevant), where I was, who I was with and what was going on.

4. Physical Sensations:

What did I notice going on in my body and where did I notice it?

5. Behaviour / Action:

What behaviour and/or action did I take? Was this behaviour / action a reaction or a response? Was this appropriate? What helped me cope with this emotion?

6. Moving Forward:

Is there something I can learn from this? Is there anything I can do in relation to the event / situation and/or emotion? If so, what? How can I move forward and/or release this experience?

 

Over to You…

Remember, figuring out our emotions using an emotions diary can take a while, It is not something you master over night, it takes time to see results (and I continue to learn). If you choose to start to use an emotions diary, I recommend taking your time, bringing your self-compassion with you and discover what works best for you as we are all unique.

Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

5 Reasons Why I Started to Judge Myself Less

5 Reasons Why I Started to Judge Myself Less

Why do we thinking that self-judgement can help us in life? Or why do we allow it

Women who dare to start the adventure of looking after themselves often share with me how much guilt they feel. Comments like “I can’t go to the gym, I have to ______ “, “I really wish I could, but I ____ ” or “I shouldn’t have ____”.

Well, what if we looked at this a little bit differently and recognised that when we look after ourselves, we actually have more to give other people?

In this post, I am going to share –

  • The Gift of Mindful Self-Compassion
  • What is Self-Judgement?
  • 5 Reasons Why I Started to Judge Myself Less

Let’s get started…

 

The Gift of Mindful Self-Compassion

Before we start exploring self-hate and self-judgement, we need to make sure you have some mindful self-compassion. Therefore I am going to share a few definitions of self-compassion with you.

In his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions Christopher Germer refers to self-compassion as “… simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” 

Dr Kristin Neff in her book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, refers to self compassion as having three components –

  1. Self-kindness – be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental.  
  2. Common humanity – feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering (i.e. experiencing our imperfections). 
  3. Mindfulness – that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain and exaggerating it.

Also, in the The Force of Kindness, Sharon Salzberg wrote – “this kind of compulsive concern with “I, me and mine” isn’t the same as loving ourselves… Loving ourselves points us to capacities of resilience, compassion and understanding within that are simply part of being alive.”

 

What is Self-Judgment?

Yes, this is probably self-explanatory, however just so we are on the same page 🙂 There are many definitions of self-judgment including –

  • “the act or fact of judging oneself” ~ Dictionary.com
  • “Self-judgment results from thoughts individuals have about themselves and the meanings attached to those thoughts. The thoughts, hence, produce related feelings such as anxiety, anger, and depression. Judgments (The process of forming an opinion, or reaching a conclusion based on the available material.) people make about themselves can become habituated as they are used to explain and validate unhelpful thoughts (e.g., If I am harsh on myself, other people will not be as harsh) and they might, accordingly, be intended to protect people against emotional pain, failure and rejection.” ~ Springer

Subsequently, I am glad I started to develop emotional intelligence and self-compassion towards myself.

 

5 Reasons Why I Started to Judge Myself Less

After reading the above on self-judgement (thinking), I am hoping you can see there is a more useful and compassionate way to move towards your dreams. You may even beginning to think self-compassion looks like a good option and easy enough to transition towards. However, the research indicates it is a little harder than it first seems. Well for many people anyway, particularly women.

Why do we find it so hard to show compassion towards ourselves? Maybe the following reasons, which I have included under myths and realities about self-compassion from Dr Neff’s book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself can help us change our perceptions around self-compassion.

Reason 1 – Self-Criticism Can Cause Us to Feel Insecure:

Myth: “If I’m too self-compassionate, won’t I just be lazy and selfish?”

Reality: Despite being socially acceptable, self-criticism is not a helpful strategy to helping us fulfil our potential. It can actually do the cause up to feel insecure and inadequate.

Reason 2 – We Are All Worthy of Compassion:

Myth: “I am not worthy of compassion.”

Reality: Everyone is worthy of compassion – as we have all made mistakes, no one is perfect.

Reason 3 – Know Your Challenges Are Important:

Myth: Self-compassion is just a form of self-pity or self-indulgence.

Reality: Self-compassion means I think my problems are also important and worthy of being attended to as well as your problems. Self-compassion is about being with our challenges and seeing them as they are not numbing them or pushing them away, which is more self-indulgent.

Reason 4 – We Are All Similar:

Myth: We have to earn the right for compassion.

Reality: According to the Dalai Lama, “Human beings by nature want happiness and do not want suffering. With that everyone tries to achieve happiness and tries to get rid of suffering, and everyone has a basic right to do this.. Basically, from the viewpoint of real human value, we are all the same.”

Reason 5 – There Are Other Ways to Motivate Ourselves:

Myth: Self-criticism is an effective motivation strategy 

Reality: self-criticism is not a helpful strategy to feel better despite it being socially acceptable. In fact, it can cause you to feel insecure and inadequate.

 

Starting the Adventure of Practising Self-Compassion

There are many ways to start practising self-compassion and they are unique. For me it has been a challenging process and something I needed support in remembering how to do it. I love the following quote from Brené Brown that I have found useful to remember as I continue to BE whole-heartedly ME

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” ~ Brené Brown The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.

Over to You…

Can you see how knowing these reasons how might be able to help you judge yourself less? Do you have any questions? I hope my short explanation on the reasons why I started judging myself less can help you start to untangle from any self-judgement you may have.

Ready to reconnect with your heart and start living a more connected and whole-hearted life? Then click here to receive the toolkit 🙂

 

References:

Brown, B. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. USA: Hazelden.

Germer, C. (2009). The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and EmotionsNew York: Guilford Press.

Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. New York, USA: HarperCollins Publishers.

Salzberg, S. (2010). The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life With Love and Compassion. Canada: Sounds True Inc.

I Am Me by Virginia Satir

I Am Me by Virginia Satir

Virginia Satir was an American author and therapist,whose work was done under the umbrella of “Becoming More Fully Human.” I Am Me was written for a thirteen-year-old girl who apparently asked Virginia about what it takes to lead a fulfilling life.

 

I Am Me by Virginia Satir

“In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me
Everything that comes out of me is authentically me
Because I alone chose it – I own everything about me
My body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions,
Whether they be to others or to myself – I own my fantasies,
My dreams, my hopes, my fears – I own all my triumphs and
Successes, all my failures and mistakes Because I own all of
Me, I can become intimately acquainted with me – by so doing
I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts – I know
There are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other
Aspects that I do not know – but as long as I am
Friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously
And hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles
And for ways to find out more about me – However I
Look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever
I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically
Me – If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought
And felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is
Unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that
Which I discarded – I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be
Productive to make sense and order out of the world of
People and things outside of me – I own me, and
therefore I can engineer me – I am me and
I AM OKAY”

 

Over to You…

What do you think after reading that poem? Does it promote curiosity of different ways to lead a fulfilling life? Anything you would add or does it resonate with you like it did with me? If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

 

Reference –

Satir, V. (1995). Making ContactCalifornia, USA: Celestial Arts.

 

Starting to Transform the Shame from Being a Professional Tennis Player

Starting to Transform the Shame from Being a Professional Tennis Player

As they say – life is a daring adventure or nothing at all. On Saturday 12/1/19, I travelled to Melbourne and a flood of memories came back to me from my tennis career. I decided to share what I was feeling on my personal Facebook page, and also the Habits for Wellbeing FB page and Instagram and this is what I wrote after the introduction above…

“You see – it’s 25 years since I reached the 3rd of the Australian Open Singles event, played on Centre court and was featured on A Current Affair (yes I was 21). And I have been to the Open once from memory after I finished playing in 1997 (it may have been twice, however didn’t check – I went to receive my Elite Coaching Course graduation, which co-incided with the coaching conference and why I am not sure if it’s once or twice).

I didn’t realise until this past week how much shame I have carried with me around my tennis career. I’ve realised now how much I had taken on board other peoples stuff (i.e their opinions, beliefs etc.) and deep within me, had the belief that I was a mistake and a bad person because I did not live up to other people’s expectations of me around tennis.

Trust me, I did my best and I now know I am not a mistake or a bad person for not living up to your expectations (thanks to the support of my coach) and I can finally be proud of what I did as a tennis player 🎾

Why do I share this with you?

Because these past few weeks I’ve been hearing the judgements come up around the performance of players. Those judgements are yours and rarely do they have anything to do with the player. I can only imagine the players are doing their best as I did. We really never know what is going on in another person’s life, unless we are privileged enough to be apart of it. 

I also share this as I know shame is a debilitating emotion for many and it cannot live in the light – it only lives in the dark ❤️

I’m super grateful I’ve been able to learn the difference between my stuff, other people’s stuff and the bigger picture. As well as what is my responsibility (and other people’s). And I really hope other athletes can as well and have the courage to work through to the core of their own story and be who they are.

Remember you are a human being, first and foremost and not a machine. Being an athlete comes down the list 💕❤️”

Following are a couple of photos from that day 🙂

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share them below.

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

 

Three Steps to Start Developing Your Emotional Intelligence

Three Steps to Start Developing Your Emotional Intelligence

Are you ready to start developing your emotional intelligence? Great, you are in the right place!

In this post, I will share with you briefly what emotional intelligence is and three steps to start developing your emotional intelligence.

 

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Originally John Mayer and Peter Salovey (1997) defined emotional intelligence as involving the abilities to –

  • monitor one’s own and other’s feelings,
  • discriminate among them, and
  • use this information to guide’s one thinking and action.

However, since 1997, Mayer and Salovey have redefined emotional intelligence as –

  • the ability to perceive emotions,
  • to access and generate emotions to assist thought,
  • to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and
  • to reflectively regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).

Then in 2016, Mayer et al, further refined their definition as the four-branch model of emotional intelligence, with the four branches being –

  1. perceiving emotion,
  2. facilitating thought using emotion,
  3. underfunding emotions, and 
  4. managing emotions. 

 

Developing Emotional Intelligence

Now we are on the same page about emotional intelligence, let’s look at a 3-part process to start developing emotional intelligence. Six Seconds developed this three-part model in 1997, as a process to provide a practical and simple way to learn and practice emotional intelligence, A bit like an action plan for using emotional intelligence in daily life.

This model of EQ-in-Action begins with three important pursuits: to become more aware (noticing what you do), being more intentional (doing what you mean), and being more purposeful (doing it for a reason). Basically –

  • Know Yourself (K) – gives you the “what”. When you Know Yourself, you know your strengths and challenges, you know what you are doing, what you want, and what to change.
  • Choose Yourself (C) – provides the “how”. It shows you how to take action, how to influence yourself and others, how to “operationalise” these concepts.
  • Give Yourself (G) – delivers the “why”. When you Give Yourself, you are clear and full of energy so you stay focused why to respond a certain way, why to move in a new direction, and why others should come on board.

The basic model, “KCG” or “Know, Choose, Give” is simple and easy to begin putting Emotional Intelligence in to action. You can see the model is a CIRCLE and that is deliberate as it is a process (not a list). The process works when you spin it, like a propeller moving a ship. As you move through the “Know, Choose, Give” you gain positive momentum!

 

Three Steps to Start Developing Your Emotional Intelligence

Following is a short clip from Joshua Freedman one of the creators of Six Seconds. In the clip, Joshua elaborates on the above model.

Over to You…

Now you have read the 3 steps to start developing your emotional intelligence, what empowering choices are you going to make? Remember, it’s up to you as you are the Sovereign of your own life. If you would like to know more about the Emotional Intelligence Assessments, please click here (as I am a Certified 6 Seconds EQ Assessor).

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

 

References –

Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In D. J. Sluyter (Ed.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Educational implications (pp. 3–34). New York, NY: Basic Books.

Mayer, J. D., Caruso, D. R., & Salovey, P. (2016). The ability model of emotional intelligence: Principles and updates. Emotion Review, 8, 1-11.

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