Discussion Times for Couples or Others

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Discussion Times for Couples or Others needing to make an effort to get along

  • Make short pre-arranged times to come together to discuss a few things so that people can prepare for this instead of having things sprung on them.  Obviously ensure this is a good time for all, so that it doesn’t clash with favourite programmes or things that need doing.
  • Prioritise just a few of the most important things needing discussion so that no one feels overloaded.  You could make a few headings for things to come under (much like an agenda), such as Finance, House Management, Relationships.
  • Make it a rule that everyone gets a fair turn, and others listen properly, but no one is allowed to waffle on too long, they must learn to be concise.
  • Also, if anyone becomes too emotionally worked up, it is better to call a short break, walk about, stretch, get drinks etc, before continuing.
  • The main thing about this as that everyone learns to trust each other to try to make this a constructive thing to do, that isn’t stressful, so keeping it short and fair is very important.
  • Bear in mind that not everything has an answer, so don’t expect too much from your partner – sometimes it is okay to accept that there may not be an obvious solution to an issue, although that should not be used as an excuse to not give things due consideration.
  • Also remember, that while you can ask others to consider your needs, you cannot necessarily expect them to fulfil them.  Obviously everyone can try to take things into consideration to a point, but relationships are not there for fulfilling each other’s needs, they are for working together as a team, and loving with freedom to let each other be who they are in themselves, and each person should aim to be self empowered rather than too dependent on each other.
  • Look for small steps rather than expecting everything to happen at once – for example, to arrange to pay small amounts on each bill until there is more income (or prioritise the most important bills), or go to the park if you can’t afford to go out for dinner to spend time together.  Don’t assume your partner will only accept big solutions, don’t be afraid to suggest compromises.
  • Try not to criticise each other – show what you do like by giving compliments and showing appreciation etc, for example “I loved the way you texted me out of the blue today, it made me feel so cared for”, or “Thank you for listening so carefully to my feelings”, and you could always ask them if there is anything they would like to share in return.
  • Always try to leave room for each person to express themselves without interruption, as long as they don’t overdo it.  If things get too much, then ask for a break, or suggest that they speak about it again when they have better collected their thoughts so that they can be more concise and clear, or so that the emotional levels are cooled a little.  Don’t continue if you are becoming distraught, but do promise to speak / listen again when things are more calm, and things can be expressed better.  Writing things down can help take the emotional heat out of it, and also help you clarify which bits are important, so that you can prioritise a few points and present them as clearly and concisely as possible.  This is also a good thing to do if your mind is going over something at night to prevent you from sleeping, or anytime you are upset.  (Sometimes a first draft of what we write would be long and emotional, but a second draft would be much shorter and make more logical sense, so you would never show the first draft to anyone else as it would only confuse things.)
  • Try to leave room after your meeting to relax before going to bed.  It is always better to go to sleep on good terms, rather than stew all night.  It is much harder to regain a warm outlook towards each other if you have left it until the next morning.  So reassure each other after your meeting, that you are done with the discussion for now, and anything else can be set aside until next time, etc.  Maybe there is something you could add to help, like some relaxing music, or even meditation?  Or rubbing each others backs in a warm bath?
  • However, don’t always carry things over to next time, do try to conclude some things at each meeting, otherwise the meetings will become a drag.  Okay, so if you did not find a solution for something at one meeting, and people have agreed to think about it until the next one, then it is okay to have it on the agenda again, to see if any bright ideas or different perspectives have emerged, but don’t dwell on something too much.  Of course some things that need doing in stages or steps will have to come up again, for example revising payment plans, or if you have paid off one bill, then you would want to agree how to redirect the funds no longer needed for that one, etc, but these are generally the more practical things.
  • Even though you leave space to settle down after a meeting before bed, it may not be the best night for sex, but remember that a cuddle does not have to mean sex.  Closeness should be shown in many other ways.  It is better to have warmth and friendship between you than to feel pressure to perform, then when you do want to try sex, it will come more naturally.
  • Massage is a wonderful way to show your caring side and to treat each other (make sure it goes both ways, unless one prefers an alternative reciprocation, but it doesn’t have to necessarily be the same time, so one could be treated one night and the other the next, for example).  It does not have to be a huge thing, just a few caresses or strokes is better than nothing.  A few strokes, or even just a warm hand resting on you, can release a lot of tension from the body.  Don’t forget the head and face, these are areas people don’t often get touched outside of intimate relationships.
  • Respect is vitally important.  Respect for yourself as well as for each other.  So each person is making an effort in the relationship (or team), and in their own lives, and feels they have a right to speak and to be heard – so you do listen to each other as long as they do not treat you disrespectfully.  If anyone has trouble with self esteem, they should perhaps consider getting some help with this.  Our pasts can have a huge influence on our behaviour, especially if we have been treated badly, and we may need help to move beyond certain patterns and to feel more empowered (in a balanced way, that does not try to control others).
  • Meditations and visualisations can be wonderful tools to use individually and as a couple.  They can enhance your sense of deeper self, and all your relationships (family, friends, work, etc.)  I have several of these available on you tube, including an anger management one, and I will be continuing to add more.
  • There are some simple things you can do here – before your meeting you could sit facing each other for a moment, maybe holding hands, and close your eyes.  Breathe deeply and call up your love to help you be calm and gentle at your meeting, so that it can be a successful / positive experience for all.  You could even say something out loud, such as “I promise to try to be calm and loving”, or “I promise to honour and respect you and listen to your points of view, and I ask you to do the same for me.”  Call on each other’s highest (deep) selves to be present.  You could also do a similar thing at the end of the meeting, for example, holding hands in a circle, and saying “Thank you” and sharing your love in the same way, silently for a moment, blessing your relationship.
  • Children can be included in family discussion times from quite an early age, so that they feel empowered to have a say, learn about responsibilities, and share feelings.

Blessing to all, Julia Woodman

www.radiance-solutions.co.uk

Any suggestions to add?  Please feel free to comment.

A Holistic Approach to Wellbeing

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I take a holistic approach to Life and Wellbeing. Everything
is interlinked – our minds, our bodies, and our spiritual
selves. I’ve helped people of all ages, from a wide variety
of backgrounds, each with different experiences and
perspectives, and each reflecting what life is like for them.

Our beliefs, attitudes, and emotions all affect our physical
health. We can easily learn to slightly change the way we
look at things, and do things, in order to increase our sense
of wellbeing.  Becoming more aware of our options gives us
huge power to then choose how we want to live.

Of course I focus on the areas people want to focus on, but it’s important to consider the
broader picture, otherwise we are in danger of just patching symptoms.  We need to look
at lifestyle, work-­life balance – how we treat ourselves and each other, whether or not we
are happy in our relationships and in what we are doing.  All these add up to present a
picture of where we are at the present moment; and it is only by looking at the whole
spectrum that we can really get to the root of things.

This is why I’ve done a range of training – from healing, to counselling and stress relief,
to life coaching, and more.  I aim to help each person find their way back to balance –
empower them to find what works for them personally, and give them the confidence and
the tools to enable them to progress as they wish.

Stress is a prime example of how distress about a situation can manifest itself in a very
physical way.  We can soon see if changing the situation is a possibility, or if we can
make small changes in our approach, to help us deal with it better.  Even if we choose to
stick with something challenging, we feel much more empowered, because we’ve looked
at the how’s and the why’s, then made that choice in a very aware way.  We no longer
feel at the mercy of the situation ­ and our reactive emotional responses to it. With this
clarity, things can be turned right around to become a success story.

We are all, in our way, trying to make sense of life.  We can easily become caught up in a
chain of events and reactions, yet if we become aware enough to understand ourselves,
then we can take a very different, and more objective, approach to life – appreciating the
beauty and variety in it – the amazing way things work – taking our chances to be the
unique individuals we are, choosing what we wish to experience.

As a Life Coach, I can help you decide what you want to do and plan how to achieve
your goals in a very practical way.  My pdf “1 step, 2 step, 3 …. Life Coaching to
help you Achieve” explains in more detail how my life coaching service works, and I
have Life Coaching Tools also available here – which give you the guidance
and the forms to use if you’d like to do this for yourself, but I can help motivate
and support you.

As a Counsellor and Stress Consultant, I can help you deal with any issues.  Emotional
baggage can set you back, but I can help you let it go.  We sometimes get in our own
way, allowing fears to sabotage our attempts to progress, but I can help you move on, and
feel comfortable with yourself, and others.  Effective communication is vital, whether it
be at work, or with family, children, or friends.  I can also help with relationships and any
changes or situations at home or at work, or with your studies.

I have written articles that cover many aspects of living holistically – about self
empowerment and self confidence, creativity, communication, parenting, and about
stimulating young children, and helping teenagers grow and develop into adults.  Also
articles about dealing with depression, addiction, and stress, about sexuality and
relationships, and about our spiritual balance, and our place and purpose here on earth.
All of it is part of our life experience – of our being whole.

I also have guides such as “Confirming your Joy”, “Stress Busting”,  and my Meditation
one.  All are available here,

Meditation is a wonderful tool that we can integrate into our lives to give us inner
strength.  We all have a connection to that still ground of being that we originate from ­
which gives us consciousness and life, and a fundamental sense of peace … which is also
reflected in a sunset, the surface of a lake, or the view from a mountain top. If we have
forgotten our link to this, and thus our interconnection with everyone and everything,
then we can feel very lost. Awakening to it once more is the most wonderfully joyous
feeling, like coming home into open arms, where you feel supported, and safe.

In my Blog about Loving our Bodies and our Lives, I discuss how we can love the
physical side of life, then say: “It’s more than just the physical that we can love.  I
advocate total mind, ­body, ­spirit balance if you want to really make the best of life,
and give yourself every reason to love yourself, and your interaction with the world
around you.”

We need to find ways to stimulate our minds, and have fun at the same time.  We also
need to make life satisfying and meaningful.  And we need to be creative with our lives,
as well as developing practical skills, and using our minds as tools. We should take time
to notice and enjoy details – about nature, and the world around us – about ourselves, and
how our minds and bodies work ­ and we can learn new things, all of which enhance how
we live.

So, I encourage you to think holistically rather than putting too much emphasis on one
area ­ try to optimise your overall life experience.  Loving it all means that you cannot
help loving yourself because you are part of it.

Having spent my life doing many different things – always learning what I wanted to
know ­ I would now love to be able to share that with you ­ through my books, articles,
blogs, and downloads, and by working directly with those of you who contact me via
phone or email. Of course, I will continue to learn more as I go … the journey always
continues.

Julia Woodman – Life Coach, Counsellor, Stress Consultant, and Writer
Advice & Support available via phone, post, or email.
http://www.radiance-solutions.co.uk

xx

Some Coping Strategies & Support Ideas for Mums with Young Children

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Effective Strategies to help you Cope if things have got Tough, and also
to help you re-engage Joyfully with life and make Practical Plans for further
Goals. T
his is especially slanted to suit mums, but is helpful for anybody.

by Julia Woodman – Life Coach, Counsellor, Stress Consultant, and Writer

rbrtymoment1

How about keeping a special book to write down lists, notes, responses and observations as
you go along.  This is a special record of things you will want to know where to find and refer
back to easily from time to time.

If you are setting out on this journey with young children, then use a large scrapbook for them
as well.  Encourage them to explore the world around them and draw and stick things into their
scrapbook as they go.

Make the best of what you have.  List all the good things about and around you, and focus
on appreciating them by referring to your list every day.  This should include :

• Things about yourself (assets, skills, attributes – for example, you might have child care skills,
be a good cook, a loyal partner, have beautiful hair, strong arms, be friendly, have a great sense
of humour, good health, good home, job that fits around family so that you can be there for them,
considerate, helpful, creative)

• Things about your friends and family etc – listing each person separately is probably best
(very similar to above, including things like: loving partner you can communicate well
with, great children, sensible teenager, friends you can chat at ease with, parent you can
ask for help, practical brother, understanding boss, etc.)

• Things about your surroundings ( beautiful hills and valleys you can walk in, rivers to fish
or swim in, amazing flowers or butterflies you can look at or smell or draw or photograph,
places to go out and listen to music and dance, gym, martial arts or yoga etc classes,
seaside for watersports, swimming pool, good school, other kids that your kids can
spend time with, good weather for growing your crops or veg etc, access to good health
support, libraries, college, jobs, etc.)

You can also refer back to this list to make sure you remember to make use of
the good stuff – for example, keep a diary perhaps to just take note of inspiring
things at any time, and to draw in or write poems in about the beautiful things
in any wild spaces you visit.

You might like to cook a special meal for your partner or family or even just for yourself,
find ways to ensure that you keep up with your friends (even if just via the internet if they
are far away), find fun ways to keep fit, set aside time for good movies or comedy shows
or music events, access resources and knowledge available, play games with your friends
and family, etc.  Remember to give praise to partners and children when you can.

When taking walks or going on trips with your children it is great to point out how things
work along the way, and show them the beautiful details in nature, encourage them to
draw or write about it, or stick things in their scrapbooks, such as leaflets about where
you have been.  You could help them draw a flower or leaf, and then press it between the
pages of a heavy book in greaseproof paper (which keeps it more vibrant than tissue paper).
Then later on when it has dried you can compare it to the drawing, maybe even
stick it into the scrapbook next to the drawing.

“Beauty is alive in every moment, riding the breath of life
to remind you of the 
flower that is your heart.” Global Love Project

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” Mary Oliver

Basically, if you practice paying attention to all the beauty and detail of life,
you are bearing witness to what is possible, and showing appreciation
of the diversity,thereby also increasing your own sense of joy in
being alive,and your capacity for learning and creativity.

Young children can understand a lot more than we tend to think, and it is crucial to keep
their curiosity, sense of wonder, and thirst for knowledge alive.  You too can enjoy their
delight if you help them for example by using illustrated information books.  It is
wonderful if you can put on a little act and exclaim with delight or awe at some of the
amazing details.

mandala

Effective communication is vital, whether it be at work, or with family, children, or
friends.  Be prepared to ensure that you have your fair say in a respectful way.  Again, it
is good to write things down in preparation so that you are clear about what the most
important one or two things you want to discuss are, and don’t muddy the waters with all
sorts of vague bits and pieces.  I do have more detailed articles and videos about
communication available via my website www.radiance-solutions.co.uk

Let go of small things that niggle at you by concentrating on being grateful for the good
things.  What does the other stuff matter by comparison?  We all know that no one is
perfect, so let’s stop expecting them to be.  If you give praise for the good stuff it will
make everybody (including yourself) feel more willing to try to be their best.

List the knowledge and skills that you already have, and appreciate those too.
These are the building blocks of your life. No thing is too small, so put them all down.

If you are lacking in confidence then use affirmations to help build this up.
There are also some of these available via my website.

You can also learn to write your own – they must always be written in the present tense.

A wonderful affirmation that helps balance your mind, body, and spirit because it aligns
you with the earth and the universe (both of which crucially allow and support life) is to
simply say “I love, and I am loved”.  You need to be comfortable, take a few deep
breaths to relax and focus, and then say this aloud and feel that it is true.  Your
relationship with the universe and with the earth is fundamental to who you are.  Be at
ease with yourself, and let the energy flow up and down your spine as you stand upon the
earth, holding your head steady, repeating this until you know that it is true.

When we are balanced, it is easy for others to love us, because we hold a steadiness in
our hearts and do not react to trivial things.  You are regaining your connection with the
deep self and the real world beneath all the crazy stuff and meaningless rules we have
piled on it.  Breathe deeply and feel yourself to be more free.

Imagine6

As you progress through all these ideas here and in some of my other materials, you will
find that your confidence increases quite naturally.  You have to know that you are
worth it.  Everyone has an equal right to live their lives as they choose because each one
of us is a vital part of the overall diversity of life and consciousness. You are a unique
human being come to experience life on this planet so you should aim to learn from
everything, even what we would normally term as negative because the most challenging
things usually have the most potential to teach us stuff.  Even illness can be viewed as the
body trying to show us that it needs attention, so once you start listening to that and doing
something about it, you are taking the positive steps you need to.  It is your life, and you
have the power to choose to make it good for you.  You should not be afraid to follow your
heart and fulfil your dreams, don’t listen to people who tell you otherwise, or to any
niggling doubts in your ego ­mind.

Our minds can be used as tools to help us help ourselves, instead of allowing
ourselves to be subjected to some of the silly thoughts, fears, and worries that tend to go
round in our heads if we let them.  Stop listening to that sort of negative stuff and focus on
the positive.  Think about it – worry is a total waste of energy because it does not achieve
anything productive.  All it does is show us that perhaps we need to take care to prepare
for whatever it is we are worrying about or fearing, so that we can face it instead of letting
it knock us down.  Fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real – usually if we just
get on and do what we are afraid of, then we find it is all fine after all – so we need to learn
to stop our minds getting in the way, and use them instead to help us move forwards.

By making these lists of all the good stuff, we can then remind ourselves of things to
inspire and motivate us.  We can say “AHHHH YES I CAN DO THIS. Look – I already
have some of the skills, and I can learn the rest, and find out what I need to know and do
to be successful.”  You can learn to follow your heart to be who you truly want to be.

If you feel stressed or depressed, then look for my articles that can help with such
issues, which are again available on my website www.radiance-solutions.co.uk

There is a full Stress Busting guide available too.  Don’t let these things steal your power,
learn how to deal with them!  I also have some simple visualizations to help you relax, but
meditation is even more powerful, so if you are prepared to put in the work, go for my
full meditation guide, and you should be well rewarded for your efforts.  Meditation takes
you into a sense of bliss that arises from a combination of personal and universal power.

Promise yourself that you are going to stop beating yourself up about anything –
you are doing the best you can for the moment, and as you find out how best to move forward,
you will continue to be doing the best that you can in each moment.  Of course, as you
learn and plan and achieve, that best will be better than it was before, and you can
congratulate yourself for every step that you take.  Meantime just do not expect too much
from yourself, we can only do what we can, given the tools we have in each moment.

Don’t judge yourself (or others) – each moment is only one step on our journey.  Even
if you take a step backwards, don’t waste time and energy on berating yourself for that, just
get back on the track.

Everyone needs a bit of space to themselves once in a while, so ensure that you
do get this, and don’t let anyone else make you feel that you can’t take it – we need to rest
and renew ourselves, recharge our energy.  We all have different ways of doing this, so
plan for it as part of your life, just don’t overdo it – there is a big difference between taking
time out now and again to do something inspiring, and withdrawing or retreating from
things.  It should be time to do something positive for yourself….. yes if you need to sleep,
then sleep, but ideally you could meditate or read or write or draw or play music, go for a
walk, visit a friend, or do anything you love.

Meditation is fantastic for regaining and strengthening our deeper sense of self.
It can also be used as a tool to train our minds to do what we want instead of getting in our way.

Plan lists of anything else you want to learn or achieve – You can come back to this
later, it is just to get your thoughts clear for now  Don’t just think about work, think about
hobbies, enjoyment etc too, anything that might help you (and your partners, and
children, if you have them) have more fun.  Obviously sometimes you may need to do
things on your own, but this can be planned for – if you really want to do it, make sure
you put it on your list, don’t leave anything off or limit yourself just because your logical
mind says it isn’t practical!

Writing all these things down helps to give them more potential.  If you faithfully
make your lists as suggested, then you will find it useful to refer back to them to remind
yourself of your thoughts and renew your positive motivation.  Another main factor about
writing all these things down is that it clarifies your intentions, which helps you focus on
what you want.  If our minds are less muddled then we are simply much more likely to
follow what we have set down, so this focus removes the muddle and sets you on track.

We can go a stage further and use life coaching charts to actually make step by step
plans of how we are going to get from point A to B.  These are different from the
lists above, because these exercises here are looking at your whole life really, whereas in
life coaching plans you need to focus on one or two specific areas – for example how to get
to do what you want at college, how to plan to move country, how to give up a bad habit,
how to save or pay off debts, how to get fit or lose weight, how to basically achieve any
goal we choose to.

We make the steps along the way realistic and achievable alongside time frames that
again are realistic and achievable.  We also add in details like who is going to help or
support you where help is needed, for example you may need a child-minder so that you
can attend college, or you might just need to be able to phone someone up for moral
support if you are feeling tired and demoralised.  Or you might just be able to refer back
to your book where you have written your list of reasons for doing this in the first place
to regain your sense of motivation.  In any case, your plan will also include rewards for
achievement along the way to help keep up your motivation.  We need to bear in mind
that any cycle of change is bound to have slight setbacks once in a while as it is normal to
feel very motivated to start with then run out of steam a bit if things get tough, but the
thing is just to get back on up and on with it again as soon as you are ready, and not waste
time and energy regretting the setback.  If we are prepared well enough, then we will
have the support in place to help us get back on track.  I have life coaching charts
available on www.radiance-solutions.co.uk/essenceguides3.htm so that you can use them
yourself if you wish to.

If you want to find something to do and you are not sure what that is yet, then I do also
have a system included in my Life Coaching packages to help you tap your
subconscious 
to identify what you most want.  This might help mums returning to
work or mothers whose children have left home, for example, to decide what sort of a career
or business they might want to go for, or define what hobbies or college course might suit
someone.  Again, this is on my website www.radiance-solutions.co.uk/essenceguides3.htm

I also love to help Young People and have specific materials available about communication
with them, and helping them to make the transition into adulthood.

I have other guides such as ‘Confirming your Joy’, as well as the Meditation and Stress Busting
ones, all available via www.radiance-solutions.co.uk/essenceguides.htm  There are ones
related to Creativity, and Spirituality, and Evolving Consciousness as well.

Creativity is not just about the generally recognised arts, it includes all sorts of
things, like cooking, sewing, woodwork, gardening, flower arranging, decorating, you name it,
we all have some creativity in us.  Creativity is also often an outcome of curiosity, which
children usually have in abundance, so looking at things around you can naturally lead on to
creating something in relation to that.

Creativity helps you express yourself, and your appreciation of life.  Both of those
help add to your sense of confidence and satisfaction because you are interacting more
with the world around you through your creativity, which also involves a deep level of
noticing details.  So I always advocate that people watch other people, animals, plants,
anything at all, and really note the finer details of behaviour, natural beauty, and the
amazing diversity of life, the interaction between things, and also how things function so
incredibly well – including our own bodies.  It is equally inspiring to know that even if
we may not function that well all the time, we can always do something about helping
ourselves return to our optimum state.


More details of the HELPFUL LIFE COACHING TOOLS
available hereThere are some specific pointers in there that will be helpful to Mums returning to 
work, plus an example form called “Improving Belief in Self as Parent and as having
Valuable Skills & a Right to a Career of Own Choosing”.Life Coaching ­ Pack of All 3 Achievable Goal Planning Sections ­
How to Maximise Success, Help to Decide, and all FORMS ­ £6.50
(which gives a saving of 50p on buying them separately as detailed below).
[The sections are also available separately so that people who don’t need the “help to
decide” section can save by just buying the other two.  And sometimes people just want
the “help to decide” section and then take it from there themselves because they might
already know about life coaching, but that is a unique extra developed by me.  Or people
might just want to use my forms and look at my examples, although I do obviously
recommend looking at the 2nd section too, as there is so much useful information in it.]
Life Coaching 1 ­ How to HELP yourself DECIDE WHAT you really want to do ­ £1.50Help with deciding on your goals in the first place.  It’s best to get really clear before you
begin the planning stage so that you don’t waste time and effort.
For example, you could be trying to decide which course to study, what to do as a career
(or change of career), or for a hobby etc, but you can also apply it to any decision you
are not sure about (like moving home, ending a relationships, travelling etc).
We do sometimes subconsciously block our own progress, particularly if we are not sure
what we want, or if we don’t have enough self esteem or confidence in ourselves.

Life Coaching 2 ­ HOW TO develop achievable Goal Plans, and put realistic
Timescales, Support, and Rewards in place TO MAXIMISE SUCCESS ­ £2.50

Includes details of what to think about before starting your plan.
Includes details of how to prepare plans successfully by avoiding certain pitfalls.
Includes details of how to keep motivated and communicate your needs to rally support.

Life Coaching 3 ­ Goal Setting FORMS ­ £3

Includes blank form for your use, plus a tutor form with guidelines on,
plus several examples.

Examples include: 1) paying off debts, 2) losing weight and getting fit alongside study
times, job, and committee member obligations, 3) planning workshops with all the admin
etc included, and 4) Improving Belief in Self as Parent and as having Valuable Skills
a Right to a Career of Own Choosing.

IN CONCLUSION

I really hope that this has been helpful, and that anyone interested in planning to achieve
goals will take the next step and get the life coaching packs, but please do also feel
free to phone or email with any questions, or if you would like further support.

Whatever choices you make
best wishes!

Links to other articles pages via our TOOLKIT page

radsolcirccheart2b

Helping our Young People to Think for Themselves

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In response to a blog about young people self harming despite
their parents trying to do everything right, and questioning if
there is too much stress with lots of homework and other things
they have to do, another person wrote that young people these days
seem to be given things on a plate and organised too much.  I made
a further response to this:

Most people I know of my generation did have very bad things going
on when they were kids, but somehow we were tough enough to deal
with them, although they do still affect us, obviously. We never expected
to be given things on a plate, we were brought up to think for ourselves,
and to be versatile, and figure out our own ways of coping.

Yes, children now are often organised so much ­ to fit into a system ­ but it is becoming
obvious that there are things wrong with that system, so perhaps we should be helping
our young people become more able to cope with challenges and changes instead of
channelling them into specialised paths quite so much.

By the way, we had 2hrs of homework every day right through high school ­ because I
was boarding, there was no choice but to go to the homework period between supper
and lights out ­ not to say that I actually DID homework though ­ I mostly wrote poetry!
I used to swim 50 olympic lengths before school and before dinner every day, and do
long distance running ­ but it was all very definitely MY choice to do these things.  I
think I still had some time to muck about with my friends, but I only got to see my
parents one weekend a month from age 11.  When I was home, I used to wander about in
the wilderness most of the time though, so it must have been when I was very young that
the free thinking and versatility stuff was instilled in me ­ unless I was just born that way.
There is a lot more that I wanted to say though :

We know that giving kids things on a plate tends to make them self­-centred, and less able
to cope, yet this still happens.  ‘Love’ so often then becomes a sort of ‘cupboard love’
which depends on the visiting relative or friends giving gifts or providing really fun days
out, so it also teaches them to be devious!  This can especially apply when couples have
separated ­ the children can soon learn how to get things from each parent by turning it
into a sort of competition if you aren’t careful.  If one parent, or a friend, decides not to
play this game they can find themselves ‘dropped’ just like that.

And yes, children are organised so much ­ to fit into the system ­ study hard, get a job,
get a mortgage, have a family, accumulate things, and continue the cycle into the next
generation.  Do we ever question whether there could be another way ­ of not being
slaves to the ‘system’, which we can easily see has its problems if we stop long enough to
think.  So many people are not really thinking though, because in their limited spare time
they seem to be sucked into the TV, which tells you a carefully concocted version of
reality that’s very different from the real thing (newspapers too), or the pub where they
can numb their thinking with drink and superficial conversation, or more business deals.
I suspect that some of our young people are having trouble understanding why we go on
round and round in these meaningless circles, and this could be a source of much
emotional distress.  When I was a teenager my poems were all about the terrible things
humanity was doing to our natural world, and I know for sure that a lot of our youngsters
are very concerned about these sorts of issues.  Even those who have an outlet for their
feelings such as writing poetry or writing and playing music, still struggle with the huge
chasm between their understanding, and the world where people seem to be switched off,
just working and drinking and acting as if the most important thing on earth was to be
rich enough to both socialise and compete with people who have the same priorities.

Basically the system gives the message that if you comply you will be given some of the
‘sweets’, just the same as spoilt kids – and once you start going down that road it is very
hard to turn back, so you end up turning a blind eye, and doing all sorts of compromising
things to ensure the sweets keep coming – particularly if you have now got a partner and
kids to answer to if the supply stops.  Have you asked them though, what they really
think, do you actually know?

Not everyone wants to be like that.  Many young people are much more grown up and
aware than that.  If we don’t encourage our young people to think for themselves,
seek alternatives, or at least let them know that we accept their need to do so, then
they are going to feel very trapped, and also probably worried about disappointing us.
Those benefiting from our current systems are not our young people at all ­ unless of
course they really are brainwashed enough to want to be the next big business magnet.

Our system perpetuates specialism rather than versatility, which means that you then tend
to rely on others to provide the services and things you cannot do or produce yourself,
and thus are relying on the continuing system whether we like it or not. We tend to be left
thinking that we can’t break out of it, but this isn’t really true at all.  In fact, once the oil
runs out, we will probably have to survive at more of a local level anyway, so we need to
all be learning to be more versatile really.

However, if we went off now and did our own thing, or local community thing, then the
big boys of the banking and business world, and the governments, wouldn’t be making
money out of us; so they are constantly seeking more ways to shackle us and herd us
dumbly forwards.

They want to keep us deeply entrenched, with our mortgages and other debts, and our
taxes and other commitments.  But they also keep quietly adding more rules, regulations,
restrictions, and requirements to tighten the hold – to be able to take more from us, and to
stop us from doing much for ourselves.  Many of these threaten our freedom and health.

They also want to keep us blindfolded, concealing the truth about just how incredibly
awful they have been in their manipulation of events in their attempts to grab everything
they value, and control the world, because of course they are afraid of retribution.

However, most people, and organisations, who are awake to what has been going on are
quite spiritually mature, and are more interested in putting things right than in retribution
or revenge.  We just want to see everybody in with a fair chance of survival – with our
freedom and health intact.  We want to find sustainable ways of living, helping each other
and yet continuing to be our unique selves, and continuing to evolve consciously into a
species capable of living in harmony.

So let’s re-­assure our young people that we are prepared to go for this, or at least enable
them to do so.  Let’s talk about it in families – there should be no taboos.  Let’s give them
something to identify with, hope for, and help carry through.  It’s not the first time that
we will be making some big changes, as history will show, so they had better believe that
we are capable of it.  There is already so much good stuff going on that they should take
heart from that too – thankfully the internet has proved to be an amazing tool for sourcing
information and co­-ordinating efforts.  Let’s do this – let’s pull this team together now.

Our website is www.backtothegarden.org.uk and
“Back to The Garden” facebook group is open for anyone to join,

We are building links to useful sources of information & inspiration,
and co­ ordinating global meditation link­ups for positive input into the collective
consciousness – the compost bed from which our new garden will grow.

A Holistic Approach to Loving our Bodies and Our Lives

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To get a bit of healthy discussion going between our experts, Julia has a follow up post to last weeks Wednesday Wisdom on Body Confidence. (This was on another website, but I have left the mention in so that it makes sense as you read.)

I agree with Star’s 11th July Wednesday Wisdom Blog “Body Confidence”, but of course there are many other things we can love about our bodies than how they look.

I am continuously amazed by how well we are put together, how our bodies work, and the incredible things we can do with them.

I am grateful for the systems that function to keep me alive and well.  Just look at the details – isn’t it incredible?  Aren’t we incredible!

I like to feel strong and fit, and am pleased that I can do physical work sometimes, and feel that different kind of tiredness at the end of a day that is really satisfying, and bodes for a sound night’s sleep that is really renewing.  The more muscles we use the better – it’s not so great to do things that strain some areas and leave others untouched – but we can remedy this by doing other things which do provide more of a balanced form of exercise and make us feel good all over.

I love to dance.  It’s amazing how we can wriggle and shake and twist, bend and spin and kick.  I revel in the feeling of it, and being able to express a response to good music in this way is wonderful.  I make sure to roll my shoulders to release tension, and sway and rotate my hips at least some of the time, to prevent them from stiffening up as I get older.  I often have a good laugh too, by the way.

trnderness

Yoga and martial arts are great, not only for the movements that stretch us and keep us supple, but also for the balance we develop.  From the centre of our bodies we can then move our limbs more effectively.

Lots of sports test your abilities and skills.  I tend to prefer individual non-competitive ones such as windsurfing and climbing, but of course there are loads of team sports and things you can do with your friends too.

Swimming is fantastic for overall body exercise and way of keeping fit, and doesn’t put any weight bearing strain on your skeletal frame. Walking is absolutely excellent for you, especially if you can do it in a lovely natural environment which is soft underfoot and beautiful to enjoy.  The steady movement not only exercises us in a balanced way, it also allows stress to seep away, and our breathing to deepen and cleanse us.

Exercise has many added benefits – it boosts good brain chemistry (but don’t overdo it as it can actually become addictive because of this).  It also helps toxins to clear from all areas of our bodies as we move and breathe to stimulate all our systems.

It’s great if you also drink more water to help clear toxins out after exercise, or anytime in fact, rather than go for other drinks all the time.  If we are exercising well, then we also tend to go naturally for more healthy foods, rather than comfort foods.  Food is something else we can really appreciate and enjoy in a sensory way – the taste and aroma’s, as well as the visual.  And if we eat the right things for our bodies, that of course also helps them to function better.

Of course, it is more than just the physical that we can love.  I advocate total mind-body-spirit balance if you want to really make the best of life, and give yourself every reason to love and appreciate yourself, and your interaction with the world around you.

We are physical beings experiencing life here – ideally in energetic balance between the earth and the universe.  We need to find ways to stimulate our minds, and have fun at the same time.  And we need to look at our spiritual side too, to make life satisfying and meaningful.  I can help with this.  Why not take a look at some of my guides and other articles on this blog or on my website, such as “Breathing to Balance….”, “How to Feel Great”, “Philosophy & Sensuality”, “Spiritual Coaching”.  “Being Lighter than this…” looks at a blend of the mental and physical to optimise performance in any area, including sports, studies, interviews, and public appearances.

I really advocate being creative and sensual in life, as well as developing practical skills, and using our minds as tools. We can use our awareness and intention to notice and enjoy things, as well as to learn new things, all of which enhance how we live.

We can fine-tune ourselves to live optimally, and really get the best out of life.  As a Counsellor and Stress Consultant, I can help deal with any emotional issues that might get in the way of finding your balance here, and of becoming comfortable with yourself and with others.  And as a Life Coach, I can also help you to plan how best to move forwards with anything you might wish to achieve.

We can look around us at the amazing complexity and diversity of things; how the many eco-systems of the earth work, the intricate details and variety of life, and also how the solar system incredibly allows life to exist here.  I hope that you can enjoy a sense of wonder at it all, and share it with your children too.  If we can hold onto that sense of child-like wonder in life, and not let it be dulled by work and other pressures, then it stimulates both mental and spiritual curiosity, and boosts your overall enjoyment of life.

Look also at the amazing skills and unique attributes we have, or can develop.  Life is chock-full of opportunities to use them, to explore, to learn, and to become more and more of who we can be.

So, I encourage you to think holistically rather than putting too much emphasis on one area, and try to optimise your overall life experience.  Loving it all means that you cannot help loving yourself because you are part of it.

x

John Lennon – in the Collective Consciousness – Being Real

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I suddenly started looking up John Lennon quotes on Goodreads the other day – which helped inspire me to write this article. I didn’t know then that it was the anniversary of his tragic death – I only found that out a day later when I started seeing posts on Facebook that made it obvious that a lot of my friends had also been looking him up and replaying his music. I don’t think it was just a co-incidence that I made that connection, I do think that his spirit is still very much with us in our attempts to find better ways of being at peace with ourselves, and living more in harmony with the planet.

As I co-administrate a Facebook open group called ‘Back to The Garden’ some of his quotes were particularly relevant – such as “I’m not really a career person; I’m a gardener, basically.” Also, “The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.” Our group is already named ‘Back to The Garden’ because of the 60s song ‘Woodstock’ which says “We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”. Our aim is to share information to help us try to live sustainable lives by creating supportive local communities, and to participate in global meditation link-ups to help influence the collective consciousness towards achieving this. We also share creative inspiration to help express our ideas.

So, back to my original article – which basically shows why I think John Lennon is such a great example to us all – of how to truly be ourselves.

John Lennon was such a thoroughly REAL person. His quotes reflect all sides of human nature, from the sad and withdrawn, to the desperately painful, to the angry, to the loving and celebratory, and from the arrogant to the humble, as well as from the serious to the exuberant humour-filled sheer absolutes of expression. We all have many sides to our nature but we tend to try to pretend that we don’t, mostly because we are afraid to show some of it. Does society make us think that if we remain on a bland even-keel we are more agreeable to others? Surely we are more interesting if we share what we truly feel? It’s perfectly possible to be honest without being horrid. Why can’t we just accept all of it and be this real? Okay, we don’t all need to be huge public characters, but we can be quietly firm about who and how we choose to be.

Another quote of John Lennon’s which is staggeringly beautiful in its stark honesty is “When you’re drowning, you don’t think I would be incredibly pleased if someone would notice I’m drowning and come and rescue me. You just scream.”

If you are facing a period of ‘depression’, why not allow that to simply be for a while? I generally have 3 days of it every now and again. I learned from a very early age to manage it. You could say it was artistic temperament, but it isn’t just that – we all have natural cycles energetically and physically, which affect us emotionally, and I believe we are better off listening to these than trying to deny them. (Of course, you should look after yourself with good nutrition, exercise, and the right amount of sleep, because imbalance in these areas can exacerbate or oven trigger such periods.) I give myself permission to let it happen and actually explore it – I write or paint myself through it. I don’t do anything I don’t want to – I just live with it. Okay, so I don’t usually publish what I’ve written at such times – but I do learn from it – and I am well aware that I am processing emotion, dealing with it – not trying to suppress it. I know that after the 3 days it will go again because I have given it the space to play through. Often, I make positive changes in my life after these stages – so they are like transition phases. I seem to gather strength and insight from actually allowing them to really work through, and somehow grow from the experience. Perhaps by allowing the darker side its space, I then get recompense by gaining access to more of the light, because sometimes it is straight after one of these periods that I produce my best work. Maybe if we looked at it as if we are like snakes shedding skins so that we have room to grow some more, we could learn to process these phases naturally, we could all deal with them. Maybe they wouldn’t hang around then – we could trust ourselves to get through them – not let them overwhelm us, or leave us stuck half in half out – we could go into them fully and come out the other side. I think it is healthy to allow one’s self to honestly explore all sides of your nature, as that is probably the only way you can truly get to know and trust yourself. I think that is why I love John Lennon so much – he trusted himself to be real – and he told the truth.

Art of any form – music, writing, painting, are the most obvious ones, but there are many more, (and we don’t have to be ‘artistic’ to express ourselves, you could just write letters you may never post, or notes to yourself) – any of this helps us to truly face the world and explore it and the human psyche. We may begin with ambivalence, but we soon become fearless if we explore thoroughly enough. We become powerful in ourselves because we are learning to understand ourselves. We can’t ever really hope to understand everything around us, but we can learn to understand ourselves in relation to anything else. If we know what we stand for and how we feel about things – then that never changes no matter what else changes around you – you become like a rock, yet at the same time feel floatingly free. (Of course if you do learn from new information and experiences or learn to respond differently to situations, your outlook does evolve, but you are still the floating rock that is you growing as part of the conscious universe).

You know we need variety in life to make it interesting. There has to be variety to even enable us to exist as individuals. So you stop blocking it off – you accept your curiosity and begin to explore, and the more you do this, the more you tend to then celebrate and appreciate the variety. You also accept your vulnerability, yet at the same time feel incredibly strong because you have opened fully to life. Life feels magical – even in its madness and confusion – it is staggeringly intoxicating.

So let’s grasp the bull by the horns and dare to be real – you’ll be amazed how great it will feel…. Not to be sucked in any more, not be afraid any more. You will feel powerful, filled with energy, draw yourselves up, and take control of who you want to be.

Neale Donald Walsch said “You are all in the process of defining yourselves. Every act is an act of self definition.“

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

And Shakespeare said “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

John Lennon also said “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

But wait a minute, just as with Lennon (and many others) – those in power don’t want us to be real do they? They want us to go on consuming their goods (with poisons in them), and watching TV (with all the pap they’d like us to believe). They want us to feel powerless so that they can continue to lead us blindly into wars and other money making schemes, and so that we accept their laws and judgements, instead of questioning them or standing up for ourselves and our rights. If we are real then we become a threat to them, and they feel a need to deal with us – exactly, you got it – but now there are too many of us, and things are going to have to change. If we stop listening to them, if we stop using their systems, and simply walk away – that is all that is needed.

Then we will look after each other at community level – ensure we are can access healthy food, work together at projects that sustain us – not them – keep things local – it makes much more sense. Trade our skills, make things that last, that don’t waste raw materials and fuel, things that are truly useful – not junk to make profit out of others. We can take back everything they have been trying to take away from us completely, bit by bit, over centuries, sneakily.

Marianne Williamson said “Do you really not know what to do? Or do you just lack the courage to do it?”

Ghandi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Van Morrison said “You can’t stop us on the road to freedom, you can’t keep us ‘cause our eyes can see.”

And John Lennon said “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”

Another thing John Lennon taught us was never to be sucked into trying to fight those trying to exert power over us at their own game. He said “If you want peace, you won’t get it with violence.” And “There’s no separation. We’re all one. Give peace a chance, not shoot people for peace. All you need is love. I believe it. It’s damn hard, but I absolutely believe it.”

So don’t allow yourself to be diverted – firstly it infects you with their level of thinking, secondly it takes your power away. Save your power for doing the good stuff, dismiss the rest as insignificant. As long as you remain complete in who you want to be, you will keep your absolute power. The minute you slip into something else – you lose some of it to them. Don’t give it away, keep you power quietly to yourself, and you will always be free, they cannot defeat you. No matter what they do, your power remains yours – they do not get a jot of it. Look at how we remember the great people like John Lennon – that’s because they never lost anything at all. He has become untouchable, and yet we can all touch him and his dreams, and help make them as real as he believed they could be. He said “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is reality.” And “Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are…..”

More notes regarding depression.

Cognitive Dissonance might arise when you begin to realise there are things wrong in the world but can’t see the whole picture so your bits don’t fit or make sense, or you might be disappointed by the difference between your expectations and what has happened, or of people. As Lennon said “The more real you get the more unreal the world gets.”

So you need to re-adjust. Surely allowing ourselves the time to do this rather than try to fight it is actually healthy? Look closely at how you are feeling and thinking. Express how you feel through safe means – artistically, or by speaking to a friend, therapist, or to an inanimate object or imaginary person, or by writing letters or notes. Even ask rhetorical questions, or ask for what you want to happen – it helps you clarify things and you might even find answers. Recognise your autonomy – you can seek clarification in your understanding, or you can actually just choose to change the way you want to feel or do things. Medication obviously is useful in that it can give you the break to rest and steady yourself, before beginning to explore what is happening. If you view it as a tool to get back up a few steps, not as an excuse to just lie down at the bottom – then it is a positive and empowering act rather than something you are succumbing to. You should ideally always have a plan with your doctor to ensure that you are helped to withdraw carefully and gradually as you take back your power. You do sometimes need to be firm with your doctor about this, take responsibility for your own best interests, but never try to do it completely on your own.

Khalil Gibran wrote that “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”

Plug into the umbilical cord of power through meditation and recharge yourself. Connect with the beautiful energy of the planet too. You are a rock between the earth and the reeling stars. Stand there feeling it deeply. Reach out your arms, dance if you want to, swim in the moonlight, sing or shout. Feel the processes in yourself re-adjusting, and renewing – and you will emerge with magic keys – re-enter life in the next stage of growing.

Remember your connection with the harmonics of the universe. You are one aspect of the one life force, manifested as human consciousness – everything else is a distraction. Focus on your relationship with the life force and yourself – who you are being – how you want to be. Other worries often pale into insignificance when you look at the bigger picture. You begin to realise that none of that small stuff can stop you from choosing exactly who you want to be. When you appreciate the astonishing variety of life around you, you tend to just find it easier to allow other things and people to just be as they are. Reasoning doesn’t matter so much anymore, even forgiving doesn’t matter much anymore – because you see that there is no need, you just let go of the small stuff and walk on deep into the wonder of being fully alive.

As John Lennon said: “Limitless undying love – which shines around me like a million suns – it calls me on and on across the universe.”

Lennon Quote Pic 1

He left us a great legacy – an example to follow – and the power of his honest to goodness words, actions, and amazing creativity lives with us still.

Communication with Teenagers

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Communication with Teenagers 

You may have been used to having a child whom you have often needed to tell or
ideally show what to do, but now you have a teenager who needs to learn to be an adult.
They still need guidelines so that they know where they stand, and help with some
things too, but you can let them know that there are times when they can really help
you as well.

You could include them in discussions as if they were another adult about the place,
asking their views about family and other things.  You might be surprised at their
insight, but you will need to be prepared to accept their honesty!

They need to learn how to deal with practical household things, and financial details
too, so if there are decisions that need to be made about how to handle bills, or set up,
fix, or replace something, do include them in that too.  One day when they move out,
they will need to have an understanding of these things if they are going to be successful
at living independently.  Of course they should help with the chores and DIY, but be
careful not to turn this into a battle, and make allowance for their busy study schedules etc.
It needs to be about willingly showing a little responsibility rather than doing things under
duress. You should make sure they understand that everyone has bits to do so that they
can see the fairness of it, and it might be an idea to change things around a bit every now
and again, for example offering them a choice of what they might like to get some practice
at this month or next.  Try to gently teach them what they want to know, for example they
might like to make a meal for their friends, or for Dad’s birthday perhaps, or help make
sandwiches for your party (and be allowed to stay up a bit late to offer them around the
guests). Even adults need to be praised for the positives instead of always criticised, so
remember to notice if they do something particularly well or think of something for
themselves.

If there are changes of job or working hours, or moves to be made, including your teenagers
in discussions helps them to understand your viewpoints and reasoning, a) so that they won’t
get the wrong end of the stick, and b) so that they won’t feel hurt or rejected or angry with one
or other or both of you.  You can see how there could be a danger they might misunderstand
things if they were not included in discussion; for example they might make assumptions that
Dad made Mum suddenly go out to work when they were used to having her at home, when
really it might have been Mum who wanted to get into doing something.  Or they might
presume that Dad was sacked when really he decided to give up a job to become self
employed, or to have a break for health reasons.  It’s also obviously important to try to
give them an unbiased view of things, not a one-sided account from one parent or the
other, as that tends to manipulate their feelings and loyalties unfairly.

Even if there are family difficulties, it is far better to share what is going on.  It’s
unrealistic to try to shield your teenager too much from the realities, whether the
issues are at home or in the big bad world out there.  If you shield them too much
then they may get some very nasty surprises later, and possibly struggle to cope if it
is all too sudden.

Reasoning with someone you have helped to mature is the best way to come to
agreements about where they should be allowed to go and what time they will be
expected home, and what to do if they are in difficulty, etc. (for example, it’s okay
to phone home for a lift if they are stuck somewhere).  Ask them what they think
reasonable rules are – you might be surprised at how responsible they can be if you
start out by treating them as if they are responsible.  Show them the respect you want
them to show you, by negotiating firmly but fairly with them, instead of leaving them
to drift into a state of confusion and disconnection, or backing them into a position of
resentment and alienation.  Young people need a strong sense of identity and belonging,
so it is ideal that they can still feel comfortable at home.  Being brought into family
discussions makes them feel valued, and being helpful gives them a sense of responsibility;
both help them feel as if they belong.

Your teenagers need enough freedom to discover age appropriate things, like music
for example.  If you are going to try and prevent them from going to an event they can
hear down the road, then don’t be surprised if they disobey you and sneak out.  Try to be
realistic, then it is easier for them not to be tempted to defy you.  Far better to sit down
and say that you realise that they ought to be allowed more freedom as they grow up,
and say that you trust them, and hope that they will always feel able to come to you if
they get into any tricky situations.  Ask them to let you know if they feel the rules need
re­-negotiation as they prove themselves, and if they have any questions anytime at all.

Even much younger children can be really good at understanding situations.  When my
lads were still at junior school I would ask them why they thought it was wrong to do
certain things, to check their understanding, especially if something was dangerous.
I also sometimes asked them what punishment they thought they deserved for a
transgression and they were really harsh on themselves.  Even as toddlers standing in
the shopping trolley, I would ask them why they thought it was not a good idea for a
mother to buy the sweets her child was yelling for – and they knew well enough that if
you bought them under those circumstances, then the child would always know in future ~
that if he hollered loudly long enough he would ultimately get what he wanted.  So I would
reward good behaviour with a treat rather than the other way around, sometimes as we
left the shop and sometimes later – they knew I would be fair.  We used to have a red
plastic cake container that we kept those miniature versions of chocolates in, and also
little boxes of raisons (which they loved), and if it had been a good day they were often
allowed to pick a ‘red tin goodie’ after supper.  They would help choose the goodies for
the ‘tin’ in the shop, and that of course was a good opportunity to show how it was a good
idea to go for the special offers – 3 packets for the price of 2 meant the tin was fuller
and there was more choice.  They were really good at judging when they needed to go
to bed too, so showed good signs of developing self­-management skills.

So, I always say that children and young people ought to be given a lot of credit for their
understanding and good judgement, and consulted on things whenever possible.
Obviously you do not want to stress them by giving them too much inappropriate
information too early, but introducing things gradually makes it a lot easier for them to
grow up sensibly.  You wouldn’t want everything to come as a big shock all at once later on
would you?  Of course, spoiling people of any age can turn them into lazy users or even
manipulative control freaks, so you wouldn’t want to do everything for them anyway.
It doesn’t do them any favours in the long run as, apart from not learning anything, they
don’t have a chance to develop self respect or satisfaction through achievement and inclusion,
so they can become sullen, and bored too.  It is important to help them develop self esteem
in a balanced way, giving them the chance to try things, and win praise, but not so much that
they become over inflated either.  We want them to gain confidence but not become too
self­-opinionated.

Our Young People can become quite distressed and confused about life as they come
across so many new things going on. They tend to be quite sensitive about what is happening
in the world as they are trying to make sense of life and what it might mean to them, and
figure out what they want to do.  Things like wars, third world suffering, animal welfare,
environmental, ecological, and economic issues, powerful people getting away with things
they shouldn’t, etc, can all be great cause for concern.  It is no good trying to brush these
things under the carpet as that will not gain you respect; your young person does need to be
able to discuss them properly, form opinions, and consider things they might be able to do
to help change things, otherwise they might become depressed, or cynical.  They might also
be wondering why your generation has allowed these things to happen.  If you don’t really
know how to deal with these issues, then at least help find them places and people they can
turn to for information and advice.  Lots of organisations offer online information as well as
actions that can be taken, such as the chance to sign petitions or get involved in fundraising.

Teenagers also ideally need events to mark and celebrate their transitions into adulthood,
things that offer real meaning, that touch the deep person inside, so plan birthdays etc carefully
I have workshops to help with this transition, and information will be in one of my forthcoming
books, but in the meantime I will aim to write more articles about it. Young people might like to
do some things that are a bit different or special to help them on their journey like rock climbing,
martial arts, canoeing, etc –something to help them focus on a mind­, body, spirit level, to
integrate all these aspects of themselves into a balanced being.

Sometimes you might want to have a meeting with you, your partner, and one teenager at a time,
for discussion or debate.  Ask them to suggest topics to bring to the table, and you can do the
same, so you sort of have an agreed agenda.  You should make an effort not to sidetrack too
much so that you can focus on what you agreed, and don’t get into areas you haven’t prepared
for, or get caught up in emotional slanging. Everyone should be prepared to consider everyone
else’s feelings and viewpoints, and try to understand why they think and feel that way.  Don’t try
to coerce people to agree with you, or try to lay down any laws. Everyone should be allowed to
question or challenge, as long as it is done politely. Who knows what you might learn from your
teenager’s insight.

If you are coming to these sort of ideas late, when your teenager has already become
frustrated and bewildered, and there may be behavioural issues at home or at school or
both, then you could try explaining to them that you did not know what to do before but
that you want to try now.  You could ask them to help you to know how to help them.
It would probably make things worse if you said “You need to do this…. Or that…. Or
else…..”  Surely it would be better to say “What do you think we could do to help?”
Even if they reject you now (due to their pent up frustration or other emotions) don’t give
up, just say that you will be there for them if they want to approach you when they are
ready.  You can then suggest “Let’s sit down and discuss what we can (realistically) do to
make things work out better for everyone”.  Another suggestion could be, “We would
like you to help us understand how you feel and what you think about things so that we
can try to help…… “  There might also be a good time to point out that parents just don’t
always know that much about being parents, no one gets training, it’s just something you
try to learn how to do as you go along.  This can often defuse blame and anger in both
directions, as they suddenly realise that you can’t actually be expected to know
everything, and by the way, neither can they.  So hopefully we end up with both parties
now being willing to try again, because after all you do still care about each other or you
wouldn’t be having the conversation.

I don’t think it ever hurts for young people to know if we are struggling a bit with things,
it means that they will recognise that it isn’t an ‘us and them’ situation, we are all in this
life together, and it would be really great if we could be a team.   Of course, you don’t
want to overdo it and fall to pieces in front of them, just be natural.  A lot of the time
I think that people are too afraid to open up and share their feelings because they don’t
think that others can understand or empathise, so it makes them feel vulnerable to
ridicule; but actually it makes us all more human.

If there are things that parents find too difficult to handle themselves, then there is
nothing wrong with turning to outside help.It is far better than letting things slide.
You may find that a grandparent or uncle might be the right one to help, or it might
be the parents of one of your young person’s friends that they feel more at ease with,
or maybe even a professional mentor, or perhaps someone via school or college might
have the relevant experience.  It is that much easier for someone who is a bit detached
from the situation to bring a clearer perspective to things, so don’t feel jealous or
inadequate, just be grateful that your young person is getting some help.  Too often
in today’s society, families have been separated by having to move for a job, or other
reasons, so it is sometimes not so easy to access extended family support, which puts
all sorts of extra pressure on parents anyway.  Just try to make any outside help seem
as normal as possible rather than stigmatise it.  Whether it is official or unofficial it is
still essentially just a friendly ear, with perhaps some practical advice.

Hopefully you won’t have much problem, especially if you are already open to ideas such
as those expressed here.  Even if there are issues now, try not to panic too much about the
future, because things can always be improved with a little effort.  In the end, family love
usually wins through, and things get better sooner or later.  Stuff can be forgiven or put
into perspective, especially once your young people have children of their own and they
find out for themselves what it’s like to be a parent!

See our blog – Helping Our Young People to Think for Themselves

Power of Logic & Affirmations (for Anger Management etc)

Video

Power of Logic & Affirmations to Free us from Destructive Emotional Storms & Reclaim Respect & Control.

What is your relationship like with yourself?  Sometimes we let ourselves down, getting sucked into destructive emotional storms, even though we can see this ultimately works against our desired objectives.  Storms spew out far too much at once and thus tend to break everything down.  If we lose control in this way, we lose the respect of others, and might even lose respect for ourselves.

If we can stand back from our emotions and look at them logically, we can then find ways of training our minds to handle them differently.  To start with you can only do this after the event – when you are not in the midst of being caught up in the storm of emotions.  Gradually though, you will learn to do it as you begin to feel the emotions rise, or even in the middle of an event, to calm you down again.

It is much more logical to NOT LOSE or GIVE AWAY the power of positive possibility, by not giving in to negative turmoil, so don’t let yourself be overwhelmed!  If you do, then you are literally just giving away your power to the other people involved, or losing it to the situation itself.

So, let’s consider these affirmations to help us build up positive power and learn to keep it going for ourselves.

Could you please ensure you are sitting comfortably in a position that allows you to breathe deeply and slowly as you listen
Please try not to put up resistance to the affirmations, they are designed to help you get past blocks, and the more you listen to them the more they will help you.
Please try to listen with your eyes closed so that you are relaxed and focused.  They will be read out slowly enough for you to absorb them, like a guided meditation.
If you really feel a resistance to the idea of listening, then please at least read the affirmations through to yourself.  I suggest doing this several times over a period of several days, until you do feel ready to listen to them.  Being relaxed and just listening will help them get through at a deeper level, when you are ready to be open to this.

THE AFFIRMATIONS

I feel confident in myself as a person, to do what I need to do in life.

I do not let what other people think affect this, however I am willing to learn from valid comments, and let go of all the rest as being irrelevant.

I do not waste my power and energy on worrying about what others think, I merely reconsider my own situation honestly, and move on.

I will not become upset by criticism, or take any of it personally.  I am not responsible for other people’s thoughts or needs, only for my own.

I will simply consider if there are any points worth learning from, and let go of anything else.

I do not react in a way that shuts me off from the possibility of learning.

Sometimes I accept that people are going to say things because they believe they should, and I am able to let that go, like water off a ducks back, if I feel it is not valid.

I do not let it anger me, I let it slide off, let it go.

I realize that melodrama can be addictive.  It may seem exciting, but it really gets in the way of things.  I therefore choose not to waste my time & energy on that, instead of progressing.

It is more important to use my time and energy to move forward with situations.

I do not allow myself to succumb to reactions that get in the way of making the best of things.

I simply breathe to let emotions go, and move on with life.

I accept that people have a right to their opinions, but they do not need to affect me, unless I think they have a valid point for me to consider.

I accept that sometimes they may even wish to help me, and I accept that sometimes this may actually be of benefit, so I don’t allow my emotions to cloud my ability to listen.

I do not allow negative emotions to get in the way of my progress.

Any judgement is gently dismissed – as if blown away on the breeze.

I will not put up resistance, I will simply let it go.

I understand that if I try to resist something it only brings negative power to the situation, when it would be better to move on to something more positive.

I do not give away my energy, and precious time, by indulging in these negatives, but turn instead to directing my energy towards the next steps.

I am focused on making something new and better.

As I breathe out, I take my attention to more positive thoughts.

I begin to see more clearly what I could do next to improve the situation, instead of being caught up in churning it over and over.

I notice the good things around me, and in my life, and smile to myself.

I can even see the good things in people more easily, and the positive potential of situations.

I know that if I can let go of irrelevant stuff and relax, I am much more able to do well.

This applies to all my relationships, as well as to situations – partner, children, friends, and even those I have to do business with.

I am also developing a better relationship with myself.

I know that I can get on well with myself and my life if I let go, rather than let myself get wound up by others.

I realize that letting others wind me up only gives them power over me, so I choose instead to keep my power for myself, and direct it to where I want it to be.

I realize that anger, resentment, and bitterness actually sabotages myself.

So I do not allow myself to shoot myself in the foot, because this is obviously illogical.

I focus on my breath instead, and calm and let go in each moment.

I consider things logically later, when I am in a safe place to do so.

I know that I have the power to be COOL, CALM, and COLLECTED and to not allow others, or situations, to affect my own best ways of managing things.

I breathe in the calmness and let it fill my body right up.

I focus on feeling it coming in with each breath.

I feel powerful and in control.

I know I can find my best way forward whatever the situation.

I trust myself to keep steady.

I allow myself to unwind whenever I need to so that I can then get on with moving forwards.

I realise that animosity and stubbornness can get in my way.

I can see that there is nothing to be achieved from arguing over a point.

It is best for me to consider things later and decide for myself how to best move forward.

I do not waste time and energy on arguing because I know it is much more important to focus that energy on moving forward positively.

I keep my eyes on the positive because this allows the negatives to just slip away.

I do not give my energy away, or allow it become scattered.

I draw on it to help me, and those close to me, to succeed and be happy.

I hold my power gently within the centre of my body.

I can use it for myself and those close to me anytime I want to.

I realise that it is better to be humble and considerate, which lets life flow,  than to shout and wrestle, which only puts up resistance to life.

I do not let animosity and stubbornness arise, I simply breathe in to CALM and move on to a more positive focus.

I realize that volatile emotions are usually destructive, and I know that I do not want to destroy relationships or situations, so I breathe out to let any unwanted emotions go.

I want to give things the best chance of working out, so I direct my energy to that, and the positive things I can do.

I always remind myself to let go and calm, so that I can keep focussed.

I breathe to relax so that I can go on as positively as possible.

I CHOOSE the power of logic over the power of destruction.

I choose not to waste my energy on anger, bitterness, and fear of results, but to focus my energy on getting the good things done instead.

I choose not to waste my energy on worry either, as I realize that it is all hypothetical, so I use all the energy to ensure getting the best results.

I focus now and every day on moving things forward positively.

I know that I can do this.  I trust myself to do this.

I breathe in the calmness anytime I need it, and I let go of all the negatives, so that I can be the best I can be.

I do not put undue pressure on myself though, I relax wonderfully into being my best self.

I feel power gathering in me when I breathe, filling me up and helping me to progress steadily.

I feel power, like oxygen, in every cell of my body, and smile, or nod.

The smile, or nod, switches on a light in the centre of my body, and in my head.

I feel the light filling me up too, as it flows around my head, and around my body, in my blood.

I feel that I am growing as I become more filled with light and gentle power.

I feel the strength of my self-belief expand in a calm and sure way.

Now I am easily able to let go of stuff I don’t need – anytime I want to.

I trust myself to be calm yet powerful.

Calm, DIGNIFIED power fills me, and lifts me, now, and anytime I need it.

I now understand how to conserve my personal power, as well as how to build it up.

I am now ready to begin to live in each new moment with more  and more of this steady power available and able to help me.

I know that I am now able to take more and more control of my future.

I will use these affirmations regularly, because each time I do so, I will take them on at a deeper level, and become more and more able to use them consistently, and even automatically.

I feel confident in myself as a person, to do what I need to do.

By facing up to things instead of obscuring them with emotional storms, I earn more and more respect.

I know now that quiet assertion is a much better way to say what I need to say, than to get sucked into melodrama.

I am now able to focus on the important points, and communicate effectively & efficiently, instead of wasting time and energy going in circles and dragging in unnecessary stuff.

I now command & deserve respect from others, and I also have more respect for myself/

I am steady and focused as I now go about my life.

Now open your eyes and stretch or move around to ensure you are fully awake.
Have a drink of water maybe.
Discuss your impressions if you wish, or simply hold them inside you for your own reference.

Take the power with you at whatever level you are ready to choose, and return to the affirmations anytime you wish to remind yourself about them, or to take them on at deeper levels.

Note if your impressions & responses change each time you do them.

There are many more self-help tools available via our website www.radiance-solutions.co.uk

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Spiritual Coaching 1 – Video

Video

Top Tips – Our Total Wellbeing in this world – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual – related in sequence of our relevant energy centres.

SCRIPT – Spiritual Coaching TOP TIPS

Hi, I’m Julia Woodman, Writer, Counsellor, Healer, & Personal Development Coach (amongst other things), and my main TOP TIP is that

EACH ONE OF YOU has the power to be the masters of your own life.

Develop confidence by using spiritual or personal development tools, and allow yourself to grow gently through the years – training your mind to help you rather than hinder you. Be heart centred and steady instead of emotionally volatile and vulnerable.

Now I am going to split my main tip into seven sections to match the (coloured) energy centres of the body from the base upwards.

• ROOT – Grounding, and Safety or Security.
Anchor yourself to the world so that you can experience life fruitfully here. Understand that F.E.A.R. stands for ‘false evidence appearing real’ – know that you can learn to see beyond it and be the master of your own life. Aim to develop a sense that you can cope with life, using a combination of your own instincts and skills, plus the help of others in this human team. Be willing to help others in return, though it may not be the same ones who helped you, it’s all a cycle. Life itself is a natural cycle. Maintain an awareness of your roots.

• SACRAL Centre – Vitality, and Connection with the Wonder all around you.
Be aware – observe details in nature, and consider animal and human behaviour. Appreciate the incredible beauty and unlimited variety in life. Find ways to be creative, and nurture ideas. It is amazing what we can do, and how things work. Focus on the vitality in your body and mind as you move and think and enjoy life. Collect inspiring motivational quotes and natural beautiful things. Enjoy the raw energy available in life.

• SOLAR PLEXUS – Self Esteem and Confidence.
Recognise that you can change your views any time you choose to. You are the sum total of what has been passed on to you, and of what you have learnt, thus far — therefore it always keeps changing as you grow. Nobody has all the answers, and each of us has a slightly different perspective anyway, so don’t hide your individuality, express it, and respect the individuality of others. Feel your self esteem growing as you realise that you have the power to keep learning new stuff and making your own choices about who you want to be and how you want to live. Take responsibility, seek experience, and learn what you need to, with the express intention of fulfilling your sense of self. Let the sun shine for you.

• HEART – LOVE dissolves all negativity.
We come from the same origins, but have differing viewpoints, so don’t judge others, let them be. Accept that they have as much right as you, to do what they wish, to make ‘mistakes’, to learn or not. Forgive them instead of taking anything personally. Holding onto resentment only hurts you, so surrender it. Boost yourself with positive thinking tools such as affirmations. Look for the positive sides of people & events. Take the opportunity to learn from things that ‘go wrong’. Let the wonderful greens and pinks of nature caress your heart.

• THROAT – Clarity and Communication.
Be clear with yourself about what you want from life, as this will automatically guide you. Communicate with others clearly, and with patience & consideration. Show them how to understand your viewpoint & let them show you how to understand theirs. Try not to bother with small stuff, focus on what is most important, and plan your approach. Show gratitude for all the good things. Let the clear stream flow.

• BROW – Follow your Intuition.
It is a path into the deep side of yourself that knows things that you may not consciously be aware of, especially if your mind is cluttered or stressed. Use tools such as visualisations, and meditation to help train your mind to be steady and more able to work for your specific benefit, instead of getting in the way. Trust that deep blue.

• CROWN – We all seek the Bliss of Union.
From trusted friendships, to lovers and life partners, to connecting with what we might think of as an ultimate creative force, or being, or stream of consciousness. Allow yourself time for this, but don’t try to force it, everything will flow into place naturally as you humbly become more and more of yourself. Let the beautiful spiritual purple bathe you.

Good luck — and do feel free to ask me more about this.

Julia Woodman — Radiance Solutions

http://www.radiance-solutions.co.uk

Does familiarity really breed contempt or do we just get lazy with our communication?

Standard

Of course, when you’re getting to know someone you really like, you pay special attention to each other and to what you do together.  You go out of your way to please, perhaps you even take time out of other things that you normally do. Then you get to a stage where you feel you know each other pretty well and you start to relax, and catch up with yourself a bit.  That’s fine and it works really well a lot of the time, especially if you aren’t living in each other’s pockets.  But even then it can sometimes start to appear to the other that you are taking them for granted….. for example if you are paying particular attention to another new friend and expecting your longer term friend to understand that this is just because you are making the effort to be inclusive, rather than meaning to exclude them. You tend to expect them just to know that they are safe in their established role as a friend or partner, and join in accordingly.  But they night not feel that confident in certain situations, and you still need to pay enough attention to realise if they need encouragement or reassurance, or they might start to feel as if you are making a special effort for everyone else except them.  Children might feel similarly that their mother is being especially nice to other children, and just mean or strict with them.  I think we do tend to expect those closest to us to know that they are always the most special to us, but we should realise that they might not always be confident of this, especially if you are suddenly being less attentive than you used to be. When you have been around someone a long time you also tend to act as if you think they should know how you feel about everything, but no matter how much in tune you may be, there is lots of room for misunderstanding, particularly if their awareness is hampered due to them being tired or unwell, or preoccupied with an issue or task, or if you simply didn’t explain things properly. Quite often you may well be in tune enough to know what the other is feeling, or thinking, or talking about, but we should not take this for granted and get frustrated with them if we have not been clear enough about what we mean.  It can only take a very small lapse in communication to create a huge misunderstanding – for example if your wife is talking about one thing and you start talking about another thing without specifying what, she may well assume you are discussing her topic and not realise that a new one has been introduced.  Then later you might be surprised to find that she is adamant that you said something you know you didn’t, or that she did not respond to something you thought you’d specifically mentioned.  Things can easily be misheard too, in the noise of offloading a van for example, she might have asked you “Should we leave these?” and you replied “Yes” because you thought she asked “Do we need these?” only to find that she has now left them behind.  Try not to be too annoyed, just try next time to be more specific…. For example she could have said “Should we leave the box and the tape in the van?” or you could have said “Yes, I want everything upstairs, then at least she would have realised that you had misheard her first question.  When we are busy, too often we are doing things at the same time as talking, so you can’t always hear if someone is walking away from you for example.  It is useful to stop and do a checklist with each other at some point – “have we got everything now?” for example – and go through the list.  Try to leave time for such checks as they often save a lot of time and/or trouble in the long run. Couples obviously tend to be around each other quite a lot, and even though you have chosen this situation, it can certainly be quite challenging to remain amicable.  Humour helps, but it has to be real humour for both parties, the kind of stuff that lets things wash off, not a humour that masks bitterness or pain, as can sometimes be the case.  You do need breaks from each other, time with other friends, time to pursue personal interests, and lots of trust to allow each other the freedom to do their own thing.  Ideally you want to support the other in doing what they want to do, in being themselves, but that doesn’t necessarily mean tagging along!  Often people try to cling or control, or just butt in when perhaps they shouldn’t.  Something else to watch out for here, is that things should work both ways, each should be given roughly equal support and leeway.  A girl shouldn’t expect to go off with her mates and then complain when it is her fellow’s turn.  A wife shouldn’t end up feeling that she gives way more support to her husband than she gets in return, or that he sees her as providing a certain role.  If things do get out of balance we need to remind ourselves that we are responsible for making our own choices, so if we don’t speak up about it then we can’t complain if things don’t change…. We need to take the initiative to discuss it and ask for more help for example, or say that you will be doing less as you need the time to get on with some of your own stuff, for example, or that you need more rest.  Everyone has a right to ask for consideration. I am not saying we all have to do things equally, obviously it often makes sense for one to do more of what one is best at, or to do more of one thing for example so that the other can get on with something they have a special skill for – it’s like a trade off – if I do the cooking and the dishes, you do the DIY.  If one is earning more income from going out to work then it makes sense for the other to do more at home, and it may swing the other way next time.  One person’s career should not be seen to be more important than the other’s unless you both agree that this is the case, each should be allowed the time to devote to this, and anything in your life that helps create a sense of personal fulfilment.  Sometimes we might agree that one has priority for example if they earn a lot more for their time, but careers are not just about money, they are also about self worth and validation, and helping other out too, so this all needs to be taken into account. Obviously finances can be a tricky area – but if we are working as a team, then it is a team effort really too, so if the man earns a lot more perhaps he will agree that it makes sense for him to cover more of the costs, but that she will do more of the home chores for example – or if we are both earning then when we go out we should each pay a share. A woman should not just expect the bloke to pay!  Fights for rights have been no bad thing but sometimes they have pushed us too far the other way, or confused us a bit – women who tend to want to be everything can end up stressing themselves out trying to prove that they can, when often it is better to make some logical choices.  These are all things we need to discuss in detail with our partners as we all have our personal views and needs.  It is not a woman’s fault if society still tends to deem that she earn less.

By the way, I think that it is good to involve children to some degree in discussions that involve who does what or how the bills get paid.  I don’t think we need go into a lot of detail, but I don’t think we should shield them from reality – or they will get a fright later on when they are suddenly faced with everything at once.  I also think that is much better for them to understand how decisions are made, otherwise they might make dreadful assumptions – for example thinking that one parent is treated badly by the other when that isn’t actually the case as you have agreed to do things a certain way for certain reasons that seem good and obvious to you, but that they might never have thought of. They might think that a parent is a failure because they left a job for example if it isn’t explained that this was a choice that was made on purpose and why.  They might think that one parent is ‘bad’ and the other ‘good’ simply because they know about some things and not about others.  Later when they find out that there was actually more of a balance than they thought, they can then end up feeling guilty for having judged in the first place – even though they could not have known any better.  Hopefully we learn to let things go as we mature – there just isn’t anything good about holding onto resentment or guilt. Hopefully our young people will eventually realise that being parents is a huge learning curve!

Couples should ideally be friends as well as partners, and so have the potential to make a very good team, or functional unit – and so focus on communicating properly with each other from this point of view as well as on the more personal and intimate levels. Relationships based just on physical attraction can be pretty emotionally explosive, but then so can any relationship if we let things slip.  Good communication is essential really, otherwise how can you work anything out together? I think no matter how good we might think we are at getting along, we always need to be careful, keep reviewing things, make sure we are treating each other with fairness, respect, and kindness. Sometimes it’s a good thing to remind ourselves when we feel tempted to criticize, that we also do silly things.  “Do not judge lest ye be judged” is always a good quote to bear in mind.  Couples and friends need to be tolerant of each other – not expect too much – we are all human, with human foibles, idiosyncrasies, and imperfections.  We all get tired and tetchy sometimes, or forgetful, or locked into something we are focused on. Don’t expect your partner or friend to always be attentive and tuned into your needs, take the responsibility to stand up for yourself if you think there is something they are forgetting, but try to do it at an appropriate time, when they are likely to be able to listen properly.  There is no need to be upset or take it personally, just remind them, or just do what needs doing if they are really too busy, and hope that they do the same for you when you forget something. There is nothing even to forgive, we are all innocent, bumbling along, having a try at life and love, and mistakes are bound to be made. [Obviously this is very different from someone deliberately deceiving  – all we need is to be honest with each other, and love will keep us wanting to go on trying.] Yes, when you are really close up to someone you tend to notice all their ‘faults’ – but are they really faults?  We all have them – they are just the way we are – yes we can all learn to improve our ways, but we are all on the way all the time, we never become perfect, except in the sense of being perfectly human, warts and all. Other mis-communications are omitting to explain something, for example, “I can’t do that job yet because I need the builder to finish the trimming before I can know the right measurements” will stop her wondering why he won’t get on with it.  However, she also needs to remember that she shouldn’t expect him to get on with it, as he is bound to have his reasons.  We also shouldn’t expect people to do things perfectly – they will simply do as they can. No one can do everything perfectly, and sometimes they may not be feeling well, or might be in a rush to get on to something else.  Our priorities are different, so it can be good to explain for example “I’m going to have to make the dinner a bit later as I really need to finish this first”, or we could ask “Would you mind making dinner tonight as I’m really busy with……” and not just expect them to work it out for themselves. There is no good reason to start feeling contempt and disrespect for our nearest and dearest – if you love them, just accept them for who they are, and hope that they do the same for you.  Try to accentuate the positive, giving praise as often as you can.  We are all like children really, responding well if we are praised, and inclined to give up if we are knocked down too much.  Be nice to each other, nurture what you have, appreciate it.  Don’t be lazy, don’t let it drift, as that is when you do get into trouble.  Keep being clear about the specialness, or risk losing it.  Keep being clear about how you communicate and express how you feel, so that you can keep on working things out together.  If you get lazy about communication this can start to cause huge problems and a build up of resentment.  Don’t sit back and let poisons seep in, keep on top of things.  Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself when needed.  Be true to yourself and step up to the mark for the good of the team.  Love and trust and mutual respect are the gifts we have – don’t chuck them away, make the effort to keep things going as well as they possibly can.

Other Communication Points:

  • ·        Listening – ask to be listened to when you have something important you want to communicate – don’t just spit it out when the other is in the middle of something – ensure you have their attention.
  • ·        If you are not sure you are getting things across, ask for feedback such as “Can you see why I need to do it this way?” or “Can you understand how I feel / why I reacted that way / made that decision / needed some time with my mate / wanted to go windsurfing by myself for a change…?” Etc.
  • ·        If you are still not getting things across, try explaining in a different way, perhaps making comparisons to similar situations, perhaps turning it around as if your partner or friend were in your place.
  • ·        If it is difficult for you to get your point across, you might like to ask to be listened to without interruption for a while so that you can find the right words for example, but try to balance that by saying “of course, once I have made my attempt, I will be very happy to listen to your point of view and take that into consideration / hear what you think / feel about it.
  • ·        If speaking is difficult, try writing things down, at least at first.  It will also give you time to allow any anger etc to dissipate, and you will see things more clearly.
  • ·        Try to remember that your friends don’t usually mean to criticise you – if they put forward an opinion they are probably trying to be helpful – so don’t take it as a personal sleight, try to see things from their point of view and maybe admit that they might have a point.  If something seems hurtful, try to use your common sense to remind yourself that they would be unlikely to set out to hurt you on purpose, so asking for further clarification would be a good move – much better than reacting hotly!  You might even say “I know you wouldn’t want to hurt me, so I must be misreading this a bit, could you try to clarify what you mean?” On the other hand, if someone really does mean to be hurtful then try to understand why – it may be because they are already hurting themselves.  Maybe they feel that you just said or did something hurtful to them, or maybe they feel you’ve let them down somehow, or maybe they are just upset about something else.  You could ask “Ooh, that feels really hurtful, have I done something to upset you / are you okay?” – and try to give them time to talk if you think they are going to open up – or offer it later if they don’t seem ready just then.
  • ·        Don’t forget your sense of humour! Every so often we need to have a good laugh at ourselves – “Do you remember that time we misunderstood each other and I went off in a stupid huff – ha-ha-ha – let’s not do that again in a hurry – let’s talk – always try to sort things out rather than be miserable, try to lighten up and not over-react..”
  • ·        Don’t ever feel like you don’t have a right to say what you need to say – we all have a right – and we can all learn from each other – everyone is a teacher in their own way.
  • ·        Also try to remember that the best way to teach is to show rather than to tell – be an example of how you would like others to treat you.  So treat your loved ones well, but if they just seem to then take advantage of you, you will need to point this out – don’t let them ‘walk all over you’, as that builds up disrespect.  Being nice needs to not be overdone either – it isn’t good to ‘spoil’ someone, that’s why it is called ‘spoiling’ them….. it teaches them to expect things from / of you, rather than to appreciate, or to learn how to do things for themselves, so it is actually ultimately unkind.
  • ·        Fear holds many of us back, from speaking out, from making our points. We need to try to remind ourselves that there really should be nothing to fear from our nearest and dearest. Even if they don’t agree with what we are saying, they should still respect our point of view.  In fact no one should speak down to another – we all have our place in this world, with our particular unique personality, views, and skills.  Your nearest and dearest should obviously have your best interests at heart, so would probably be mortified if they realised you were suffering in silence, so the sooner you manage to share what you feel the better.
  • ·        Often it is possible to start a communication by first saying something positive to reassure the other person that you are not out to attack them…. For example you might be able to say something like “I really love the way we go out a lot together, but do you think that you could try to bear in mind that sometimes I am very tired from work and try to make some compromise about what time we leave?”  You could also add maybe “If there is something you want to stay out really late for when I need to get up early the next morning, maybe you could go on your own.  I know I tend to go as I drink less and so can drive home, but perhaps on this occasion, you could drink less, or get a taxi?”

So, if we pay attention to our communication, hopefully contempt will not arise, and we will be able to enjoy our familiar relationships as a continual blessing instead. It can be a good idea to regularly do a little reality check to remind ourselves of this.

by Julia Woodman