Regaining my Self Confidence

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When I was a child I used to get teased mercilessly. I was short, very skinny, and had teeth way too big for my mouth. When I was about 8 years old I developed double pneumonia and became extraordinarily ill. So ill in fact, that I was in hospital for over a week and my parents were worried they’d lose me. Thankfully the hospital staff did a wonderful job, and were able to stave of the infection with a mighty amount of penicillin. Unfortunately, that mighty amount of penicillin had a very unwelcome side effect. My two front teeth developed a distinctive yellowy-brown stain. Needless to say this made an already awkward kid even more self-conscious, and the teasing increased tenfold. I was so self-conscious that I rarely smiled with my teeth showing, and to avoid looks I would stay quiet and keep to myself most of the time. It wasn’t until high school that I was finally able to get braces (also awkward, but better) and bleach the stains.

When I look back on this time in my life it was a really pivotal moment in my development. I lost a lot of confidence in myself from an early age, which I didn’t really regain until I reached my early twenties. Although in my early twenties I believe I really just learnt to mask my low self-esteem. I masked it so well, that I believed I had become a confident person. But just like any other mask, the cracks appear eventually.

Over the years these cracks showed up as unreasonably emotional responses to comments that were directed at me personally. A work colleague may have had an unfavourable opinion of me, and I would go home and cry and worry about it for days. If my partner and I were having a disagreement I would cry on the spot as soon as he said something critical of me. And so on. These incidents would then spiral me into periods of low self esteem and self loathing. I would hate myself for being the way I was, and I didn’t understand where these emotions were coming from.

Eventually I would pick myself up by wearing clothes that made me feel good and “faking it till I made it”. But these are only surface solutions that achieve surface results. Eventually the cracks will appear again, and the cycle continues on.

It was only recently that I did some healing work, and “little Melissa”, that shy, awkward little girl came forward. I remembered all the horrible times she had, and I felt unbelievably sorry for her. All I wanted to do was give her a hug and tell her she was perfect just the way she was. So I did.

I spoke to ‘little Melissa’, comforted her, and told her that it wasn’t her fault. It was never her fault, and that I loved her dearly.

From that moment on something changed in me. I was truly comfortable with who I was for the first time since I can remember. I felt light hearted and smiled when I looked at myself in the mirror. I realised that most of my confidence issues stemmed right back to 8 year old me. I had resented her for so long that it had never occurred to me that she needed me. By healing those very first hurts I could finally let go.

If you take one lesson from my story I hope that it’s this. Surface fixes achieve surface results. No matter what the issue, whether it be confidence or anger. Go back to those first events that shaped you forever and make peace with the ‘little person’ inside you. Your little person was only doing the best they could at the time with the information they had, and they’ve been paying for it ever since. Tell them you love them,  tell them they’re perfect just the way they are, and watch the magic happen.

Your little person needs you.

Love and blessings,

Melissa

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An Oath to Me

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“If you don’t believe in yourself no one else will”

The other day I was speaking to a client about an extremely important topic, “being your biggest supporter”. Too often we are waaaaaaaaay too hard on ourselves, and when we don’t reach the goals we set ourselves or behave the way we expect to, we can turn into our own biggest soul destroyers.
“I should be better at my job”, “Why didn’t I just speak up when I had the chance?”, “No one is ever going to love me”, “I can’t believe I did that in front of everyone”.
These are the things that spin like a revolving record in our heads, and the longer this goes on the deeper the needle scratches these beliefs into our record. It’s human nature to want to better ourselves and strive for our goals, but there are more positive ways to achieve the results we want. Would you berate a child because he didn’t win the race? Or would you applaud him for trying his best, and encourage him to better himself for the next one? Why should it be any different when dealing with yourself?
Nobody is perfect, and I myself still struggle with the negative impacts that have evolved from years of self shaming. It’s something that clients regularly bring up in sessions, and something I hear almost daily from friends and colleagues. The idea of working against yourself pops up so regularly around me that I’ve made it a little pet project of mine, and I’ve developed a little exercise that I want to share with you.
Find a quiet space and take out a piece of paper. Sit with yourself for a moment and really think about the things that you say to yourself. Are they kind words? Do they inspire you to exceed your own expectations? Are they things that you would say to another person? If not you have a choice to make. Either continue as you are, or decide to become the loving, supporting person to yourself that will carry you through good times and bad.
If becoming your own best supporter is the choice you decide to make, solidify this commitment by writing an oath to yourself. Write your oath promising to always support you when you need it most. Promise to love, nurture and encourage, just as you would someone very dear to you. Make your oath meaningful and when you’re done carry it with you, read it daily, and remember the choice you’ve made.
We live in a society of ambition and aspiration, but only you have the power to decide how to get there.
Love and blessings,
Melissa
xxx

A Day of No Complaining

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Do you ever get stuck in a negativity rut that seems to last for days on end? The kind of rut where you wake up annoyed at the world and go to bed even more so? A rut where nothing seems to go right and no amount of perfectionism, willpower or encouraging words from your loved ones seems to help? It’s no secret that even the most positive and optimistic people get into a looping negative headspace sometimes.

But before I go any further, I just want to clarify that I’m not taking about ruts where major problems are happening. E.g. you’re getting divorced or you’ve lost your job. These are legitimate issues/situations where I believe you have every right to feel bad (as long as it doesn’t continue on forever and ever). I’m talking about the general frumpy patches we go through, that have us looking for all the negativity in our life. They can get so intense that you end up road raging in an uncalled for situation, or you might find yourself getting worked up just because you have to wait in a queue for more than 5 minutes. It’s the little things that just really start to get your goat.

This was exactly me a couple of weeks ago. I had a bad day at work, and that bad day carried over to the next day, and the next day, and before I knew it I was hating pretty much everyone and everything. But luckily I have a trick up my sleeve which gets me out of it pretty much every time. It’s an exercise that I also use with my clients when they’ve reached their tipping point. And let me tell you, I get some fabulous feedback from it.

Let me introduce you to “A Day of No Complaining”, or a DONC day as one of my friends affectionately termed it. This exercise follows pretty much as you would think. From the time you get up in the morning to the time you go to bed you are not allowed to complain in any way shape or form. Not even to yourself in your own head. This can be really tricky, and requires a degree of awareness of your own thought patterns, but the rewards can be truly satisfying.

“So how do I maintain this while everything is going wrong around me” you may ask? The trick is to attempt to find the silver lining in every situation. For example, if your internet is running particularly slow you would remind yourself of the fact that at least you have internet. Or perhaps your colleagues keep barging into your office with more and more tasks to do. You could tell yourself, “at least I have a job that challenges me”.

Now, I’m not saying that you’ll get through the day without complaining once, but the aim of the game is to try and actively appreciate your life and regain perspective. This is really an exercise with an underlying tone of gratitude. You may struggle at first, and if you fall of the bandwagon, take a deep breath and try again. You will come to realise just how easily your mind can turn to negative thoughts, but also how much more smoothly your day can go when you defeat them.

I’ve had clients tell me that they didn’t realise how negative they were in general until they tried this exercise, and it really opened them up to changing their entire outlook on life. I’ve also had people thank me because they’ve actually had a really enjoyable day after trying this. Personally I really like the fact that I get my worldly perspective sorted out. Nothing is ever as bad as I think it is.

So what have you got to loose? A DONC day may be just what you need.

Love and Blessings,

Melissa x


5 tips to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions

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Well Christmas and New Year’s has come and gone, and I’m happy to say that I’ve also just finished celebrating my 30th birthday. With all of this going on I’ve taken a longer than usual break from regular life, and will be back in full swing next week. But before I get too caught up with the hustle and bustle of going back to work, and all the things we do in our busy lives, I’m taking the time to sit and reflect on what I want to accomplish this year.

Many a time has New Year’s come around and I scoffed at the thought of making New Year’s resolutions. Outwardly I used to think it was a bid of a fad, something that people did when caught up in the freshness of starting a clean slate, but ultimately something that people forgot about and usually failed. Inwardly I realised that I didn’t want to create these resolutions because I didn’t want to deal with the disappointment in myself for never even seriously giving my goals a red hot go. This is the plight of a serial procrastinator.

Over time I started to realise the value of making resolutions (or goals), no matter what time of year it was. I didn’t want to float aimlessly though life, waiting for life to happen to me. I wanted to reach for what I wanted, and I wanted to be proud of myself for overcoming the fears that were stopping me from going there.

Despite the somewhat cliché of making New Year’s resolutions, it is actually a fantastic time to set some new goals for yourself. For most people, you’ve had time to relax, time to spend with friends and family, and time to do some of the things you love to do just for yourself. Your spirit is somewhat at peace, and ready to face the new challenges that the year ahead will bring. But if you’re anything like I was you might not see the value, or might be too afraid to set some goals for yourself. But I can tell you right now, if you follow these 5 tips that I’ve learnt over the years, you’ll be proud of yourself that you did.

1. Write your goals down

This might seem highly obvious, but you would be surprised at the amount of people that don’t. Writing things down stops these thoughts floating in and out of the ether that is your mind, and makes them external, concrete and real. It also makes you think about your goals more solidly because you have to form the words to put to paper. It ceases just being a vague idea.

Once your goals are written down, place them where you’ll see them every day, so that you are reminded of what you’re striving for.

2. Break your goals down

Quite often my clients are overwhelmed by the seemingly lofty nature of their goals, and so try to back away from them with excuses of why they “can’t”. I can tell you that you’ll never climb a mountain if you can see the whole mountain in your vision. You will be standing so far back from it that you’ll never get there.

Break your “mountain” down into smaller goals that seem more achievable. Smaller steps keep that feeling of overwhelm at bay, and can keep the inspiration alive when you complete the smaller goals one at a time.

For example if your goal is to “lose weight “, where do you start? Break down this goal by creating smaller ones that you think you’ll be able to achieve. Start with how much weight, and break it down from there at a pace you can handle. E.g. 5 kilos by the end of February. Another 5 kilos by the end of March. 3 kilos by the end of April etc.

Give your goals the depth they deserve.

3. Create an action plan

Ok so now you have a goal, and it seems achievable because you’ve broken it down. But how are you going to do it? Write down all of the steps you can take to help you achieve your goals. Along with these action steps create a time frame, and create space in your calendar.

In the weight loss example, the first step you might take is to go to the doctor and have a check-up. Talk to the doctor about what your limitations might be, and get some helpful advice. Next you may want to research into getting a personal trainer to help guide you with exercise, and so on. Put these appointments into your diary and make sure you give yourself enough time to complete these steps.

If you’re not one for making a timetable and sticking to it, you may find that you’re a daily list person instead. Find the method that works for you.

4. Tell people your goals and ask for help

I cannot begin to express how important this step is. Many people get discouraged and uninspired because they are going it alone. Humans are naturally social, and we often reach our best when we have the support of those around us.

Talk to your friends and family, and ask for their assistance. This help may be in the simplest form by getting them to drive you to an appointment, or more complex as your family changes the way they eat to support you. Who knows, your goals may even inspire someone else to do it with you.

Your success dramatically increases with the support of those around you.

5. If you falter take a moment and get back up

I’ve known a lot of people (including myself) that tend to give up when they make a mistake, or fall off the bandwagon so to speak. You can get so discouraged and disappointed in yourself that you think it’s just not worth the pain carrying on.

It’s at these exact times that you need to go back to the reason why you made this goal in the first place. The reason why we do things is what’s important here. Did you make this goal so that you can have the energy to play with your children? Did you make this goal so that you can create a secure future for yourself and your family? Why did you make this goal, and is it still important? If it is then breathe, realise you’re only human and that we all make mistakes, and get back up again. If necessary modify your goals or the action plan to make it easier for you, but don’t give up.

You are worth every second of effort you put into yourself.

I hope these tips help you stay on track for the New Year. Happy 2015 and I wish you all the success you deserve in accomplishing your dreams.

Love and light

Melissa ❤


Mindful in May Update

Well I’ve been meditating for over a week now, and I’d have to say it’s getting easier and easier. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ve taken up the Mindfulness in May challenge to meditate for a whole month. In doing so hopefully I’ll raise some money to help provide clean water to those that need it.

I actually look forward to and enjoy the time I’m taking out for myself, even if it’s for just 10 mins. One thing that really stands out at the moment is how much calmer I am throughout the day if I do my practice in the morning, and similarly how much better my sleep is if I do it at night. Hmmm I may have to up the anti and go for double trouble.

Don’t forget if you want to make a donation, head to my MIM page here. Or check out the MIM website here. This charity is something I really believe in, because everyone deserves to have fresh, clean water available to them.

 

Love & light,

Melissa


No time to meditate….

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Meditation is one of those things that you know is good for you (there are countless studies showing the benefits) but somehow if you’re like me you have trouble making time for it. Why is that? Surely we should be jumping at the chance to sit down and essentially do nothing for a change?

I’ve really been thinking about this a lot lately, mainly because of the guilt it causes me when I don’t do it. I know it’s good for me. I’ve experienced wonderful changes in my health and mindset through regular meditation practice, but when I stop for a period of time I find it difficult to get going again. So I’ve had a good heart to heart with myself and come to a few conclusions.

Firstly I think I have trouble being alone with myself. This may sound weird, but I really think a lot of people have this problem. Human beings are social creatures. We crave the attention and interaction with others, which is normal. However we can have the tendency to use others to fill a gap within our own being. If people aren’t around we can also use other distractions to avoid dealing with ‘the gap’, e.g. TV. Whatever gap that is for you, being alone with your thoughts often causes you to evaluate yourself in some form, and brings with it thoughts and feelings you may not be ready to accept.

If you identify with this, I will give you this piece of advice that I’ve recently learned. Self evaluation and unwanted thoughts are a natural process of meditation. When the body is at rest it begins the healing process. You know this, because the first thing everyone tells you to do when you get sick is to….? Get some rest so your body can heal! When you begin meditation you are bringing your body into a rest state. In the rest state that you achieve during meditation, your body wants to heal itself emotionally as well as physically. Learning to be at peace with these thoughts and feelings that come up is key to mastering the art of meditation. I haven’t quite gotten there yet, but I’m well on the way!

Following this line of conversation, my heart to heart also revealed I feel some guilt or pressure around taking time for myself. I always have a long list of things I need to do for the day, and the practical side of me always feels that meditation is time is an indulgence that could be spent doing things that ‘need doing’. But really, since bringing this association to light, I realise this is silly. Nothing is more important than me and my own wellbeing, so that I can be the best person I can be. The more I meditate, the more I also realise that my focus and productivity is so much better after meditating that there’s no reason for me feel guilty. This point can be especially pertinent to parents that look after a busy household. You really do need to take care of yourself so you can take care of others.

The last point I’d like to bring up is about not knowing what to do, or thinking that you do it wrong. When I asked myself why I avoid meditation this was a big point. And when I looked into this thought a little deeper I realised that I was trying to live up to an unrealistic expectation. I thought that during meditation I was supposed to reach a state of peaceful bliss and enlightenment. Buddha did it right? Well sadly this doesn’t happen for most of us. Yes there are times when I have touched a state of bliss, but it has never lasted. Instead my feelings and thoughts flow back and forth, and I’m learning to be ok with that. Meditation is not about trying to be something or trying to reach something you’ve predetermined. It’s about learning to be at peace with what you’re feeling and who you are.

I hope my little self analysis has left you open to explore your own feelings, and questions about making the time to meditate. Questioning ourselves and our beliefs is a big part of spiritual development.

I’d also like to leave you with a fun and exciting opportunity to learn and experience meditation on a daily basis while raising money for a worthy cause. Mindful in May is a meditation challenge that you can take part in for the month of May, and the money raised goes towards building clean water wells in the developing world. The challenge starts today, but registration has been extended to the 15th, so if you’d like to join me in developing your meditation skills I’d encourage you to jump on board. If you’re not so keen on signing up yourself, you can still make a difference by sponsoring me to meditate for 30 days straight! I’ll be posting weekly updates here to let you know how I’m going. Everyone deserves to have clean drinking water.

Love and light,

Melissa

xxx


Overwhelmed?

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Do you ever feel so overwhelmed by all the changes you think you should be making in your life that you end up falling into old patterns? Or perhaps you never even start?

This is exactly how I’ve been feeling the last month or so. I’ve had to start organising getting my business up and running, work full time, study, try and stay on track with my diet, organise catch ups with people I should have seen long ago, and fit some time in there for me as well. Phew! I’ve found it very hard to motivate myself to work on the things I needed to because I had no idea where to start. It was all too much. But finally I’m getting myself on track, and it’s not as hard as I made it out to be. Here are a few of my top tips to get out of that rut and into action.

1. Write out your goals- I know it seems silly. You know what you want right? Perhaps, but putting your goals on paper makes it more real. You have to formulate the right words and think about whether or not you really want to achieve them. Writing out your goals also puts your intentions out into the universe, and that can do wonders on its own.

2. Break down your goals into manageable steps- I love lists! There I’ve said it. I love writing lists, and I love ticking things off lists even more. If you have a series of steps to follow tasks never seem as overwhelming as if you’re looking at the bigger picture. You also get great satisfaction from seeing your progress as you tick items off the list, and see your goal becoming a reality.

3. Tell someone what you are trying to achieve- I have a great support network of family and friends that help keep me accountable to my goals. It also makes me strive harder to achieve them because I hate failing in front of others (probably a personality trait I need to work on 😀 ). Teaming up with people with similar goals to your own can also benefit you greatly. I have a girlfriend on the same healthy eating regime as me, that sure keeps me in check!

4. Scheduling can work wonders- now I’m not a big scheduler, in fact I’m pretty lousy at it. But I definitely notice the difference it makes when I plan my tasks ahead of time. I’m more productive, and again I get great satisfaction from keeping on top of the things I’ve set myself to do for the day. At the end of every week I make time to plan out my tasks for the next, and it’s a lifesaver! Another tip is to make sure you put events/invitations/appointments into your planner as soon as you know about them. This stops things popping up unexpectedly because you forgot about them. Don’t forget to schedule some time for yourself!

5. Stop listening to that voice in your head that tells you you can’t- you know the one I’m talking about. Your mind will always make excuses not to do something for one reason or another, and 90% of the time it’s out of fear. Fear will get you nowhere, and you’ll look back on your life with regret. Yes things may be risky or scary, but holding back will never allow you to grow.

6. Ask for help- you don’t have to be superman/superwoman. If you’ve taken on too much, or you’re not sure how to proceed there’s no shame in bringing in someone to help. It could just be asking a friend to run an errand for you, or getting in a professional to take the burden off. Stress is one of the worst things you can do to your body, so the extra time you get from receiving help can go towards chilling out 🙂

Hope these tips help you in reaching your dreams!

Love and light,

Melissa

xxx