Wow! Almost the end of the year! How are you feeling as we begin to say goodbye to 2018? Naturally the end of the year is a time of reflection. People tend to look back. Some people. Not all.
So if you are one of those people… continue reading this blog as I take you through a journey of reflection and contemplation.
Can you remember how you were feeling when you woke up on the 1st January 2018?
Did you wake up in peace? Did you have a hangover? Were you raring to go, feeling motivated with all that you wanted to achieve this year? Or did you just want to hide under your duvet at the thought of facing, yet another year?! Maybe you were indifferent – what’s all the fuss about right, it’s just another day?! Did the thought of the new year feel like a blank canvas – a fresh start!?
Just take a few moments to reflect on the beginning of the year.
Did you start 2018 with new years resolutions? Did you begin the new year with clear intentions of what you wanted to manifest? Maybe you were not sure what you wanted?
Through my work as a therapist and a manager in counselling organisations I come across so many people whose mental health has been effected for a variety of reasons. Whether it be due to family issues, loss/bereavement, abuse, ill health, life changes… somehow along the way those individuals and families have struggled to cope with aspects of their lives.
We all experience mental health from time to time… me, you, your neighbour, your colleague and so forth. The misconception of mental health having to be something ‘major’ or ‘serious’ is thankfully reducing, the stigma is getting less and people are realising that actually ‘stress’, ‘feeling anxious’ and ‘feeling low’ at times, is all part of our mental health.
It does not mean there is something ‘wrong’ with you – it is just a normal part of life, which if we try to resist, it will persist. So the power is in ‘facing it’ and ’embracing it’ – not only with mental health, but life in general and obstacles you stumble across.
Reflect back at 2018 – What challenges have you been faced with? What obstacles came your way? Was it work, relationships, family? Or was it YOU? Your own inner critique, ego…demons?!
The truth is as you come face to face with obstacles, there is no success in blaming external factors or expecting others to make things better for you – Only YOU can do that.
Sadly I see a lot of relationships based around ‘ownership’ and not ‘partnership’. No one will ever be truly happy if they expect others to make them happy. Only we are the drivers of our own happiness.
You have the power to turn your life around.
My work has allowed me to have the privilege to be a part of so many people’s journeys. Watching them turn their lives around has been phenomenal, especially as some had totally lost hope and lived with ‘symptoms’ that held them back from truly living life. Often it is only one small change that a person may need to make. This can be enough to create the power to change their life, release their suffering and open new doors…. this creates a ripple!
The important thing is they made that choice! They decided they wanted something to change in their lives. They took responsibility. They took their power back – no longer being a victim of their circumstances.
‘Purity and impurity depend on oneself; no one can purify another ‘ Buddha
Look back at 2018 – when and where did you take responsibility for your own well being?
Did you take enough time out for you or were you consumed with being a support for others? When did you say YES to you and NO to others? Saying no to others can be hard, but if you constantly put other’s needs before yours, then you dis-honour and neglect yourself and your own needs. If this continues, you may not be any good to anyone.
As you reflect on this, remember all the small things you did for YOU too, they are all just as (if not more) important. Such as eating well, drinking enough water, getting enough rest, treating yourself to something nice, having a cup of tea in peace, going to the doctors when you needed to, having a soak in the bath, having a duvet day…
Celebrate your achievements and self love!
What has been your biggest achievement this year?
What has given you the most joy?
What has ignited you?
What has been your biggest lesson?
What experience gave you the most growth?
The thing is as Buddha says, suffering is inevitable – we can not avoid that. We have no control over what life will throw our way. The only thing we can control is how we choose to manage and deal with the hardships we experience.
Learning to face life and challenging situations with love and respect for yourself and others rather then fear and resentment is one of the most liberating feelings. Once you can get past the ego, which stops us from responding with love as it perceives this as a weakness… then you are half way there.
If you are reading this and feeling uncomfortable at the thought of responding with love, then I would suggest there is some work to be done around what you perceive as strength and weakness.
Did you work on your own blocks in 2018?
In my recent ‘Self Love & Empowerment’ Workshop I asked participants to think about all the potential barriers that may stop people from ‘loving themselves’. Here are some of their answers;
- Time (not having it!)
- Excuses (Avoidance)
- Feeling guilty and selfish
- Breaking formed habits
- Where to start?
- Other’s expectations
- Being in a comfort zone
- Self doubt
- Culture / Society
Did any of these reasons resonate with you as you read through them?
Reflecting back on 2018 have you too experienced any of these as barriers stopping you from putting your own needs first?
If you did, then maybe you found a way to overcome them or do they still act as a block!?
The question is, what do you want to be different about you and your life in 2019? Which of these blocks do you need to work on?
If time is a factor, then what do you need to do to create more time for you? Maybe you need to add it onto your calendar – even if you only start by 30 minutes a week.
If being in your comfort zone is a block, then take small steps to bring you out of your comfort zone.. baby steps…one foot in front of the other. Test the waters, you don’t have to break through your comfort zone in one leap!
If not knowing where to start is a block, then rather than getting overwhelmed with too much to do and in turn not doing anything, why don’t you set small achievable goals with specific deadlines…maybe write an action plan and make it do-able!
If it is Judgement that is stopping you – whose judgement are you fearing? Family, friends or your own? Why are you allowing others the power to have such control over your life!? How long will you allow the fear of judgement stop you?
If it is feeling guilty or selfish that stops you, then you may need to work on building your self belief; that you not only deserve but are entitled to have time and space for yourself. Give yourself the permission!
Make 2019 your best year
So, with only a few weeks left before we embark the new year… bearing in mind what came up for you as you read this blog… can you enter 2019 with the intention to clear any of the blocks that you have allowed to hold you back?
I write ‘you have allowed…’ because it is not the block that has held you back, it is you that has allowed that block to hold you back.
So are you ready to change this?
Do you want to change this?
Someone sent me the following quote today which fits so perfectly with Decembers Self Love Blog, so I will leave you with this quote below as I draw this blog to a close.
No-one changes unless they want to. Not if you beg them. Not if you shame them. Not if you use reason, emotion, or tough love. There’s only one thing that makes someone change; their own realisation that they need to do it. And there’s only one time it will happen; when they decide they’re ready.
So are you ready?
Best Wishes to you all!
My next Self Love & Empowerment Workshop will be on Sunday February 10th 2019, from 10am to 1pm ‘Make Self Love your First Love’.