Are You Abandoning Yourself?

Are You Abandoning Yourself?

You know that moment, when you develop deep insight? As if something within you has shone so deeply that there is no more hiding? For me, I had one of those experiences on the weekend when I was having a conversation with a friend on my birthday. After the conversation, the following quote came across my path and again it resonated so deeply with me.

“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard

Subsequently, today I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts on abandonment, including 3 ways we can abandon ourselves. Let’s get started…

 

What is Abandonment?

So we are on the same page about abandonment, I went back to the dictionary and found some definitions. These definitions of abandonment include –

  • “the act of abandoning something or someone” ~ Merriam-Webster
  • “an act or instance of leaving a person or thing permanently and completely” ~ Dictionary.com
  • “the act of leaving someone or something or of ending or stopping something, usually forever” ~ Cambridge Dictionary

And these are the couple I found on abandon, which links to the above –

  • “to give up to the control or influence of another person or agent” ~ Merriam-Webster
  • To withdraw one’s support or help from, especially in spite of duty, allegiance, or responsibility; desert” and “To give up by leaving or ceasing to operate or inhabit, especially as a result of danger or other impending threat” ~ The Free Dictionary

As I was writing those definitions, I thought abandonment relating to ourselves and created the following from the above.

 

What is Self-Abandonment?

The definitions of self-abandonment created from the above –

  • the act of abandoning our selves,
  • an act or instance of leaving our selves permanently and completely, 
  • the act of leaving our selves or of ending or stopping something, usually forever, 
  • to give up to the control or influence of our selves
  • withdraw our own support or help, and
  • give up on our selves by leaving or ceasing to operate or inhabit, especially as a result of danger or other impending threat.

Are there any other additions you would make to the above on self-abandonment?

 

3 Ways We Can Abandon Ourselves

Over the years, I have discovered many ways I have abandoned my self, including –

  • Wanting other people’s approval,
  • Getting a good idea, however not following thought on it, and
  • Saying ‘yes’ to something, when I would have preferred to say ‘no’.

1. Wanting Other People’s Approval

Now if you have been around here for a while, you might know I spent many years untangling my own approval addiction. This became very draining for me personally and I needed to learn another way. Fortunately, I did and continue to practise trusting myself. I like how Susan Jeffers referred to self-trust –

“Remember that underlying all our fears is a lack of trust in ourselves.”

2. Getting a Good Idea

Ever had a good idea or a dream and not follow through on it? Yep – I have been there as well 🙂 However, I have learnt to honour those ideas and now have a process in place to honour them. This process helps me to decide if I want to follow through on them or not. Oprah said it this way –

“There is nothing worse than betraying yourself.”

3. Saying ‘Yes’ When You Want to Say ‘No’

Have you ever said ‘yes’ to something, when you would have preferred to say ‘no’. Don’t worry, you are not alone. Yes, I know saying ‘no’ can be changing, however what I have realised is that I needed to learn to say ‘no’ to some opportunities as they were taking away from the time and energy I could invest following my own dreams. As Paulo Coelho so eloquently said,

“When you say ‘Yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘No’ to yourself!”

Other Ways We Can Abandon Ourselves…

There are also other ways we can abandon ourselves, including –

  • Purchasing items that you know you don’t have the money for,
  • Avoiding challenging feelings and emotions (i.e. loneliness),
  • Looking for people to ‘complete you’,
  • Not taking care of your needs,
  • Comparing ourselves to other people,
  • Being friends with people who hurt you, and
  • Not being present in the moment.

 

Why Does Self-Abandonment Matter?

For me, self-abandonment matters because you matter. Yes, truly! Your feelings, your dreams, your health, your voice. your relationships. they all matter as they are part of you and you have a gift to bring in to the world that only you can deliver:)

 

4 Quotes to Remember that Relate to Self-Abandonment…

Following are 5 of my favourite quotes to remember around self-abandonment that might help or inspire you to start listening to your self –

  1. “If love is universal, no one can be left out.” ~ Deepak Chopra
  2. “When you abandon making choices, you enter the vast world of excuses.” ~ Wayne W. Dyer
  3. “To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings.” ~ David Whyte
  4. “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” ~ Mary Oliver

Do you have any other quotes that inspire you to start listening to your Self? If so, feel free to share them below!

 

Over to You…

I hope this has given you some insight in to the ways we can abandon ourselves. Are you abandoning yourself, if so are you ready to stop and start listening to yourself instead?

Remember – life is an adventure and we are here to grown and evolve. So be kind to yourself 🙂

 

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

The Gift of BEing Authentically YOU!

The Gift of BEing Authentically YOU!

I came across this story a little while back from my previous training as a telephone counsellor. There was no author, however I like the meaning behind the story and serves as a good reminder about the gift of BEing authentically YOU!

 

The Gift of BEing Authentically YOU!

“Every moment of every day we have conscious choices. We can be happy or unhappy. We can dread getting older or aspire to wisdom through new experiences. We can believe we know or be open to new discovery. We can look for approval from others or give approval as never before – and so it is with love. 

Explore the freedom that comes from forgiveness. It is time to acknowledge our resentments and non-forgiveness and move through them.

Our limitations are reputations of past patterns, and every pattern of thought that is challenged can be the doorway to miracles.

Each of us has feelings and each of us has the right to perceive as we do. Become a good listener, not a judge, and thus experience a panoramic view of life through many eyes.

We all long to be heard, and most of us have cried out for this since childhood. To hear ourselves and be heard by others, we need to practise listening at every opportunity, rather than contradicting others.

Remember that the future only exists in our minds at this moment. If we fear it, our minds are full of fear. If we look forward to it, then our minds are full of hope. 

Behind everything there is a purpose. Chaos only exists in our minds if we allow it to. With the stilling of the mind will come peace, understanding, wonder and a new awareness of our inter-connectedness with all life.

Whatever our physical circumstances, we can know excitement, ecstasy and awe. We are so much more than our physical bodies alone.

Revel in every moment given to you. Time never runs out on us – we run out on time. Each moment contains such abundance and overwhelming quality.

The past is gone – let it go. The future is not born. The present is the greatest present you could ever be given. 

Try to waste as few moments as possible with regret, guilt or self-attack. You are loved more deeply than you realise.

Never forget that you are a human being. Your imagination can take you into worry whirls. You can lock away your creativity and suppress your feelings. You can have a totally false concept of the perfect person you should be, and despise yourself for falling short of the ideal. You are a human being who has become very complex. Relax and become more simple. 

Be patient with you. Be loving with you. You deserve it. As a child learns to walk, it stumbles and falls many times. As you move through the physical seasons of life, as you aspire to grow in wisdom rather than grow old, you will need to pick yourself up over and over again.

Take small, consistent steps. Enjoy your uniqueness and never imagine for one moment that life has been unkind to you.

Welcome every day. Laugh with yourself and chuckle deeply.

Know that every day in every way you are becoming wiser, wiser and wiser, and enjoy the journey over the hills and through the valleys of life. 

Whether you can see it or not, your being brings colour, opportunity and meaning to more people than you will ever know. Thank you for being you and please thank yourself – for me!”

~ Author Unknown (if you know who it is can you please let me know so I can give credit? Thanks heaps).

Over to You…

What did you think of this poem? Feel free to share any insights, questions or comments below!

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and be happy by connecting with your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

Remembering to Celebrate and Take in the Good!

Remembering to Celebrate and Take in the Good!

A couple of weeks ago now, I opened a letter on September 16 that I had picked up from the post office the day before. I used to go to the post office each day, however now I just go when I feel it is time. When I opened the letter, I saw it was dated September 1, 2021. As I read it, I couldn’t believe my eyes as celebrating my past was not something I was great at (for a few reasons). 

Subsequently, today on my journal I wanted to explore more about celebrating and one of the main reasons why I feel it is important to celebrate and take in the good

 

Meaning of Celebrate…

Am gathering you know what celebrate means, however just so we are on the same page, so of the definitions or meanings of celebrate include – 

  • “to take part in special enjoyable activities in order to show that a particular occasion is important” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • General sense of “commemorate or hono(u)r with demonstrations of joy” ~ Online Etymology Dictionary, 
  • “to do something special or enjoyable for an important event, occasion, holiday, etc.” or “to praise (someone or something)to say that (someone or something) is great or important” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary.


One of the Reasons Why I Have Learnt to Celebrate Over the Years…

As you might know, the brain is wired to have a negativity bias. Basically what that means, is as human beings we have a tendency to focus on what goes wrong in our lives, rather than what goes right. Subsequently – we need training to rewire and focus on what goes right.

Don’t believe me? Think about an average day at work. When you go home, what do you think of most? Is it the challenging comment that was made by a colleague or the project that is behind schedule? The compliment from your boss for a job well done or the acknowledgement from a client?

In Flourish, Martin Seligman writes –

“For sound evolutionary reasons, most of us are not nearly as good at dwelling on good events as we are at analyzing bad events. Those of our ancestors who spent a lot of time basking in the sunshine of good events, when they should have been preparing for disaster, did not survive the Ice Age. So to overcome our brains’ catastrophic bent, we need to work on and practice this skill of thinking about what went well.”

Unfortunately, the constant focus on negative events and situations makes life challenging and can make life harder than it needs to be. However, over time I have learnt to take in the good and part of that has been celebrating achievements (which I didn’t tend to do much growing up). 

 

How Have I Learnt to Celebrate or Take in the Good?

There are a few ways I have learnt to take in the good and one way has been using Rick Hanson’s HEAL framework. In his book, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence Hanson writes –

“…taking in the good is the deliberate internalisation of positive experiences in implicit memory. It involves four simple steps – 

  1. Have a positive experience
  2. Enrich it
  3. Absorb it
  4. Link positive and negative material.” (p.765).

Each step serves a purpose, when step 1 activating the positive mental state and step 2, 3 and 4 installing it in the brain and you can read more about it here and also watch his video. 

 

Over to You…

Is celebrating one of your habits for wellbeing? If so, feel free to share your favourite ways to celebrate below – is it similar to the taking in the good strategy? Also – if you have gotten this far, sorry I hadn’t shared what I was celebrating, however it is outlined in the graphic below 🙂 

If you have any comments, please leave them below or pop over to our Facebook page.

 

Reference –

Hanson, R. (2013). Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence. New York, USA: Harmony Books.

Seligman, M. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. New Your, U.S.A: Free Press.

Mental Health Is Every Body’s Business

Mental Health Is Every Body’s Business

Today is World Mental Health Day. Subsequently, today on the blog, I wanted to share about mental health and how it relates to life. Let’s get started…

 

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is a term often used to describe an individual’s mental state. The World Health Organisation defines it as:

“A state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stressors of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

As a term ‘mental health’ is frequently misunderstood. It is often referred to as a substitute for mental health conditions (e.g. depression, schizophrenia and anxiety conditions). However, as you can see by the definition above, everyone can benefit from looking after their mental health.

 

Mental Health Intervention Spectrum

When I was working in a National Mental Health Initiative, I was fortunate enough to learn quite a bit about mental health. I also supported schools to increase their knowledge and understanding of mental health. One of the ways we talked about mental health this was through the spectrum of interventions. As you can see by the diagram below it looks at – mental health promotion, prevention, treatment and maintenance.

More can read more about the diagram here.

 

Mental Health is Everybody’s Business

As you can see by the diagram above, at the core of mental health is providing strategies for promoting wellbeing and quality of life. The strategies will be different for different populations, however the intention remains the same – promoting well-being and quality of life for everyone!

 

How Does Mental Health Relate to Life?

After reading the above, can you see the importance of mental health and how it can relate to life? For example – do you think it is important for individuals to –

  • have a safe and supportive environment to work and live in?
  • be able to learn from their mistakes and others challenges in their work and life (i.e. develop resilience)?
  • develop competence, resourcefulness and strategies to look after their mental health? and
  • feel a sense of empowerment over their work and also their life?

Yes? Me too! Also – if you need immediate support with your mental health, there are a list of help lines here. Please use your discretion when choosing these services.

 

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to what is mental health is and some ways it can relate to life? I truly believe mental health and wellbeing is everybody’s business. If you have any comments, please leave them below or pop over to our Facebook page.

 

Reference –

Barry, M. (2001). Promoting positive mental health: Theoretical frameworks for practice. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 3(1), 25-34

Releasing + Healing – the Day I Threw 99% of My Trophies in the Garbage…

Releasing + Healing – the Day I Threw 99% of My Trophies in the Garbage…

Before reading this, please understand I did this for own healing adventure, not to upset anyone. It truly was something I felt I needed to do and up until now only a handful of people knew I did it. 

I remember it like yesterday, it was September 7, 2010. I woke up and meditated as per usual. Meditation and mindfulness had been a familiar practise for me since I went to my first 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat in December 2008.

Whilst I was meditating, I saw clearly that it was time to release my trophies (over 200). I had already come to the realisation that I was something else other than an athlete, so it felt like an easy thing to do. Subsequently, I showered got the trophies down from the cupboard, pulled the name plates off them and rang a few places to see if they wanted them, so they could be recycled. However, I couldn’t find anyone, so I disposed of them in the garbage.

 

Releasing Some of Societies Pressures…

The experience was very freeing and healing. That day, I felt I was releasing a number of societal pressures I had experienced as a young person growing up as an athlete. For example –

  • what other people said I “should” have done in my tennis career is more important than what I did,
  • that my achievements and number of wins I had as an athlete defined who I was/am as a human being,
  • other people were better than me because they achieved more and won more/bigger tournaments,
  • my trophies / possessions, defined who I was/am.

When I told a few of my inner circle – I experienced a variety of responses. And needless to say, some were not very happy. However, as I said at the start of this post, I did this this for me and my own healing. Being a professional athlete is not what most people see in the media. Like most things in life, it needs to be experienced in order to have a deeper appreciation of it.

 

What I Started to Reclaim that Day…

There are many things that I started to reclaim and continue to reclaim since that day. Some of them include –

  • a deeper sense of acceptance and appreciation for myself and who I truly am,
  • gratitude for the experiences and people I met whilst I was an athlete (yes they are in my heart and I do not need the possessions to define them),
  • a greater depth of confidence and trust in my true Self, and
  • deeper sense of connection with my heart and what’s truly important to me.

“It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized.” ~ I Ching (p.25).

 

Over to You…

Do you have any questions or comments? Either way, feel free to share your insights below (or any questions).
Deliberate Practice – The Gold Standard of Practice

Deliberate Practice – The Gold Standard of Practice

One thing I know for sure is to improve, get better or unlearn a skill we need to practice. Whether that something be a skill in sport, learning a musical instrument, self-compassion or mindfulness we need to practice. However, what is important to remember, not all practice is equal.

Subsequently, today I wanted to share more about the 3 different types of practice, including deliberate practice – the gold standard of practice.

 

What is Deliberate Practice?

The term “deliberate practice” was coined by Dr K. Anders Ericsson who focused most on his research on expert performers. According to Ericsson and Lehmann, Deliberate Practice consists of –

“individualised training activities, specifically designed by a coach or teacher to improve specific aspects of an individuals’s performance through repetition and successful refinement.” (p.278-279).

The 3 Types of Practice – Naive, Purposeful and Deliberate Practice

Before I elaborate further on deliberate practise, I wanted to share more about Naive and Purposeful practice. These two types of practice are generally how people practice.

Naive Practice –

This is generally the type of practice most people do. In their book Peak, Ericsson and Paul identify Naive practice as –

“essentially just doing something repeatedly, and expecting that repetition alone will improve one’s performance.” (p. 442). 

Some examples of naive practice include –

  • I just swung the racquet and tried to hit the ball, or
  • I just listened to the musical notes and tried t remember them.

After a certain level, most people do not improve and may try purposeful practice.

Purposeful Practice –

Purposeful practice is a step ahead of and more superior than naive practice. In their book Peak, Ericsson and Paul identify Purposeful Practice as –

“… the term implies. much more purposeful, thoughtful and focused that this sort of naive practice.” (p.451).

Purposeful Practice has the Following Characteristics…
1. Well Defined, Specific Goals –

It is about putting together a range of small steps to reach a longer-term goal. This is an area where SMART goals come in handy. For example –

  • Today I am going to run 10 x 100m sprints in under 20 seconds,
  • On Friday, I will write 3 heartfelt cards/notes to people I am grateful for, or
  • By the  end of each month, my expense tracker up to date and income / expenses are entered.
2. Focused –

In Naive practise, there may be times when you are distracted, however in purposeful practice you are focused as it’s rare to improve without your full attention on the task at hand.

3. Involves Feedback –

When we are learning there are many times that we need and/or require feedback. This feedback can come from yourself (i.e. internally) or from a teacher, mentor, coach or parent (i.e externally). Without feedback it becomes more difficult to figure out what you need to improve upon.

4. Requires Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone –

Yes, going beyond your comfort zone is important for improving your performance and growing beyond what is familiar. Ericsson and Paul identify getting out of you comfort zone as meaning –

“…trying to do something that you couldn’t do before.” (p.523). 

An example of getting out of you comfort zone is to “try differently” not “try harder”.

So they are the four areas of purpose practice if you want to improve something, however this is just the start. The Gold Standard of Practice is called Deliberate Practice.

 

Deliberate Practice – The Gold Standard of Practice

In Peak, Ericsson and Paul indicate say that deliberate practice is the most effective method of all –

“It is the gold standard, the ideal to which anyone learning a skill should aspire.” (p.1547). 

Deliberate Practice is similar to purposeful practice, however has two differences. They two differences are –

  1. It is in a field that is reasonable developed, and
  2. Requires a teacher who can provide activities to help improve performance.
1. Deliberate Practice is in a Well-Developed Field

A well-developed field is identified as a field where performers have reached a certain level of performance and separates them from other people in the field. For example – musical performance, sports, dance or chess. Specific fields that don’t qualify are ones that have little or no direct competition (i.e. hobbies such as gardening and professions such as electricians, consultants etc.).

 2. Deliberate Practice Requires a Teacher Who Can Provide Practice Activities

Ericsson and Paul indicate –

“…we are drawing a clear distinction between purposeful practice – in which a person tries very hard to push himself or herself to improve – and practice that is both purposeful and informed. In particular, deliberate practice is informed and guided by the best performers’ accomplishments and by an understanding of what these expert performers do to excel.” (p. 1759). 

To summarise the traits of deliberate practice from Ericsson and Paul, deliberate practice –

  1. Develops skills that other people have already figured our how to do and for which effective training techniques have been established,
  2. Take place outside one’s comfort zone and requires a student to constantly try things that are just beyond their current abilities,
  3. Involves well-defined specific goals and often involves some aspect of the targeted performance,
  4. Is deliberate and requires a person’s full attention and conscious actions,
  5. Involves feedback and modification of efforts in response to that feedback,
  6. Both produces and depends on effective mental representations,
  7. Nearly always involves building or modifying previously acquired skills by focusing on particular aspects of those skills and working to improve them specifically.

 

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to practice and you can see that not all practice is the same. If you have any questions, please leave them below.

 

References –

Ericsson, K.A., & Paul, R. (2017). Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. Boston, USA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Ericsson, A., & Lehmann, A. (1996). Expert and exceptional performance: evidence of maximal adaptation to task constraints. Annual review of psychology, 47, 273-305 .

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