Month: September 2017

Do you put your own needs after every one elses?

Have you ever heard of the burnt chop syndrome? It’s based on the  on the metaphor that if there are three good pieces of meat and one burnt one the person with the burnt chop syndrome will give the others the best bits of meat and keep the burnt one for herself every time. This is a metaphor for how many women operate in all areas of their lives. In other words, they often make themselves the lowest priority the majority of the time. Reality check! We are now grown women and if we don’t look after ourselves no one else will. Our health and happiness will suffer. We have physical emotional and spiritual needs that must be met. We must build a friendship with ourselves ad attempt to fulfill our needs so we can have fulfilled lives.

Women will often make themselves the lowest priority the majority of the time. This is recipe (no pun intended) for burn-out.  This was definitely the case for me.

After about 10 years of saying yes to every single thing that people asked me to do my health really started to fail.  I became chronically tired and even struggled for energy on my wedding day.

I knew I had to do something different or I was going to develop permanent chronic fatigue syndrome. So I went on health kick and basically became a health food shop junkie – trying out every health food on the market. I decided to become vegan also.

Improving my diet made a huge difference but it wasn’t quite enough on its own to fully restore my health.  I also needed to change mentally.

As I said when I was really struggling in life I’d always put everyone else’s needs before my own. If someone asked me to do something for them, I would automatically make this top priority on my list, even if my own health and well-being needed attention. This was due to insecurity and a desperate to be liked by everyone.

However, this was a deadly habit that really contributed to the level of burnout I found myself at. The reason I found it hard to say no was because I could not stand the guilt I’d feel at the disappointment of others. But,

I needed to learn to care for my own health and needs before I helped others.  I needed to realise that disappointment is a normal part of life and we all need to let people down at certain times.

When I finally started saying no to things and started staying home from some events when I was particularly tired and saw what a difference it made to my health, I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

My energy crisis made me realize I had to change how I lived.  I knew I had to learn to speak up when I felt my rights had been disrespected or I’d simmer away with resentment and that affected both my health and happiness.  I knew I had to learn to say no more and I knew I had to look after me better. So I did and that is when everything started to improve.

So what about you? Do you have some lifestyle habits that aren’t serving you? Are you ready to change them?

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Do you avoid things that challenge your comfort zone?

“ Fortune favours the bold” – Latin Proverb

Life challenges. We all have them right? It is part of being human. However, it is so easy and tempting to run away from a challenge rather than deal with it. This is because this avoidance temporarily makes life easier.  You don’t have to have that difficult conversation with your mother in law, you don’t need to think about that stressful assignment you need to do, or that scary talk you have to perform. Yes avoiding it makes it go away. But there is a HUGE cost in the long run which is missing out on the growth and freedom that lies on the other side of that discomfort.   Women need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable some of the time.

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could get into a mindset where we were actively able to face fears every single day? Wouldn’t it be incredible where our life would go?  This thought really illuminates how much hiding we all do. Think about all the things we worry about:

What people will think, will they think we are………fill in the blank (crazy, stupid, desperate, dumb, weird, unrespectable etc).  We spend soooo much time letting other people control our lives with these worries but at what cost? What are we missing out on with these fears…Following our dreams and passions that’s what!! What if you just said: Who cares!!  What I want to do and achieve in my life is actually more important than what anyone thinks. What if you priortizsed what you wanted to do above all else? Your life would be unrecognisably free! Its simple in theory but not so easy in practice as we all want approval. The funny thing is if you do what you need to do for you some people will approve and some won’t. Same as if you try and please everybody. Funny how it is really a no brainer. Yes if you follow your dreams some won’t get it and think you are crazy and you may get rejected and fail at times but you will achieve so much more of what you want and this will make you a happier person.

Love Honor xx

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Do you tend to repress your feelings, dreams and needs?

Because we are conditioned to put everyone else first, struggle to speak up for ourselves, repress our feelings and feel generally unworthy, it can be really difficult to listen to our own feelings dreams and needs. However, unless we have the courage to try new things and reach for our dreams we will always feel stuck.   We need to learn how to unlock that passionate energy that we all have so that we can feel truly alive.

Self-awareness is a vital element we need if we want to make a change in ourselves because if we are aware of the way we are then we have to power to adapt.   Self-awareness is about being tuned into what is going on within our body, mind and soul.  This may take practice if you are not used to it.  But that is okay.  To be self-aware we need to create space to reflect and tune into ourselves.  This can either be done by physically taking time out such as going to a quiet place to think, or by shifting our focus inward for a few moments in the middle of what we are normally doing.

So I want you to dig deep and ask yourself – what is that thing that really gets me feeling alive? What is the thing, or things that get me feeling really excited and perhaps a little bit intimidated? (cos you know often the thing we really want is a little bit scary to go for, excitement and fear often go hand in hand – I think it is because we really CARE about the things we are deeply passionate about). Then once you have found one or more things , can you think of one tiny action step that you can take to move towards that thing?

I help women to trace the roots of where low self- esteem developed to help them separate these events from their true worth which helps them build confidence. I also assist them in dropping their mask so they can be authentic in all situations.

Love Honor xx

P.S If you like this article please share it and stayed tuned for the rest of the article and vids in the series. For ones you may have missed please visit honornewman.com/blog.

P.P.S I hope you have found this helpful and I ‘d love to talk to you further about these things and you’re your feedback on what you thought. Please leave a comment or send me a message with constructive feedback. Alternatively if you’d like me to phone you to chat further please send me your name, phone no and email to: Honor@honornewman.com

How we often wearing a mask that all is well when it is not

For fear of being judged by others women often put on a mask that says to the world that everything  is going brilliantly when inside they are suffering and sometimes to a serious degree. They are afraid that when people see who they truly are they will reject or abandon them. They also fear judgement, when really they are their own harshest critic. This is a true tragedy as a woman’s biggest strength is her vulnerability. This is how she connects on a deep emotional level with others and where true intimacy can occur.

Wearing these masks can be isolating.  Let me tell you a story about Ms Perfectionism.  Ms Perfectionism lived in this beautiful house that was neat and clean and decorated lovingly. She was always welcoming to her guests and had freshly baked cookies ready and waiting whenever they visited.  Her friends all loved her, as she always had a listening ear for them and was always so well frankly ‘nice’. However sometimes, when Ms Perfectionism had had a friend for a longer period of time for some inexplicable reason to the friend, they would become frustrated with her.  And feel resentful and jealous which felt really out of character for them.  What was happening to these friends was that they were subconsciously reacting to the things going on under the surface with her friend. They were feeling beneath her mask and into her deep insecurities about needing to be liked and accepted and flawless and they were actually finding it frustrating to not be able to get behind these defences. They were also on a level tricked into thinking her life was flawless and finding it hard to be friends with someone without any seeming vulnerability- which is the level that we connect on for intimacy.

You see if you are wearing this perfect mask all the time you can’t let anyone in! Yes it protects you, like a huge wall, it makes you lonely. Self-acceptance is required so you can allow yourself to be flawed, knowing that you are still amazing.

Love Honor xx

If you like this article please share it and stayed tuned for the rest of the article and vids in the series. For ones you may have missed please visit honornewman.com/blog.

 

 

 

Do you repress their voice and bottling up distress?

I’ve written a lot about assertiveness and this is because it is such a big issue in our culture especially for women. There are so few of us that seem to be able to be effectively assertive in our relationships and this creates a lot of problems. Assertiveness is about being able to set boundaries, say no and talk through conflict in a healthy way. I hear a lot about from women about how they are struggling to speak up for themselves in life especially with a difficult person or bully, often a family member that cannot be dealt with through pure avoidance.

So why do we struggle with this as women?

Well there are a few reasons. One is how we have been socialised – to be peace keepers, to please everyone and to keep them happy. And if we don’t fulfil this role we are risked being shamed as a ‘bitch’.

The other reason I think may be due to our feminine nature which can communicate quite indirectly as opposed to masculine bluntness/directness.  This means sometimes our communication can be too subtle for some people to recognise.  So we need to learn in some situations (especially with men!) to communicate in a more blunt and direct way to get our point across.

However to be assertive we first need to understand what we want. This requires us to listen to our own needs, wants and emotions. Things we can often bury in busyness and looking after everyone else.  It requires some time and quiet reflection and some self -acceptance of – yes I feel this or I want that, and that’s ok!!!

Being assertive will improve your inner strength and self-confidence (and health) because you make a conscious choice about how you are going to respond to a person or situation, either verbally or through actions, rather than being at the mercy of your own annoyance.

If you like this article please share it and stayed tuned for the rest of the article and vids in the series. For ones you may have missed please visit honornewman.com/blog.

Love Honor xx

Do you believe you are not good enough in life?

Women often believe they are not good enough

This little nasty belief lies at the centre of everything – I’m not good enough. This belief creates nearly every single symptom of distress women experience.  It is as if we in the West, despite all our material luxuries , are experiencing a low self -esteem epidemic.   So many of our symptoms, unhelpful behaviours and self sabotages stem from this one simple belief.

There are so many influences and assaults on our self -concept – the parenting we experienced, the educators we are exposed to, the media, our gender role, our culture…these all send powerful and often subliminal messages to our emerging self -concept from a very early age and continue quite relentlessly well into our lives without us quite realizing the full impact on us until we wake up one day feeling like there is something missing. Or everything just turns to shit and we don’t know why, or we just keep stuffing everything up.

So how might this low self -esteem show up in day to day life? I’ll give you an example:

Misty wakes up to the sound of her alarm blaring. Her first thought is – oh I don’t want to face another day of work bleugh…She reluctantly gets up and starts what she feels is the daily ‘grind’. At work she whinges with other colleagues about how it sucks that it is Monday.  All day at work she’s clock watching for 5pm when she can get out. But once she’s out there’s not much joy either, nothing to look forward to really, just a brief interlude before she’s back at work the next day.

How many people do you know operate like this?  To me it is tragic. What about if when Misty opened her eyes, she felt excited and inspired by another new day and couldn’t wait to get started on her new projects?  Because she’d cared about herself enough to follow her passions and give them an outlet. Rather than staying in a job she hates and feeling like every day is a chore.

This is just one of many examples of how this core belief can filter down and impact our life on a practical level making it feel dull and lifeless.

The good news is, if we can change this belief within ourselves we can create massive amounts of change in our lives. Could you take one micro-action – say to stand in front of the mirror every day and say to your reflection: I am enough. And just see how your life changes…

Love Honor xx

Practicing detachment in relationships

I recently ended a marriage of 13 years. This even was a shock to me. I was hoping we would get to old age and be grandparents together. My parents are still together so that has always been my model. I don’t have a blended family model or a single parent model etched deeply into my consciousness. I just knew it was over. Run its course. All that. And a huge part of me is totally okay with that. Ending it has made me realize I was too dependent on this relationship for too many things. And since I have started dating I’ve had to learn that detachment is really important. Because during this process you never know if it is going to be the last date, or the last text or whether you will ever hear from or see that person again. This experience helps you separate out your happiness from what others do and to simply receive the gifts that they give you from that interaction. Let things flow in and out without gripping on. This has been a great exercise. This could also be transferred into longer term relationships as a way to really prevent taking the other person for granted – they could be out the door tomorrow. Likewise it stops you relying on them too heavily emotionally or otherwise.
I ‘ve realized I personally need lots of outlets and sources of fulfillment so I don’t get too dependent on any one thing or relationship because who knows how long it will be around. And then there are the nights where you have to sit with the aloneness. Sometimes this is beautiful and welcomed and other times it feels really deeply ,sucky. I think I’ve been afraid of loneliness but I’m realizing it passes and it is so important to tolerate it to be a self -fulfilling person. I’m also just constantly amazed by people – each and every one has so many gifts to offer.

Illusions in life

I’ve come to realize lately that there are a lot of illusions in life. The illusion that security can be found in relationships and jobs etc. and that we can protect ourselves from pain through living a comfortable life with a steady job and a long term partnership. Even if we live comfortably, underneath this comfort, there may be dissatisfaction with the lack of passion.  Or some life event may hit us out of left field and blow all our ‘security’ apart – something like a breakup, an illness or death etc.   Or things simply change and they don’t fit together well any more.

The only real way to live is passionately and wholeheartedly, and humbly and a lot of the times more vulnerably than we may comfortably like to.   And sometimes things are so frickin’ painful it is unbearable and we don’t know how we will ever get up again.  And it is this feeling we try to avoid, but in reality we really can’t. It is true though that life can feel so incredible at times and at others it feels too painful for us to handle.  But I think the truth is – that LIFE. That is the reality underneath all the illusions. Don’t you just wish someone had told you that right from the start? How huge the highs and lows of it all can be? Don’t you wish someone had just told you the TRUTH!!

So as a psychologist I can tell you how to cope better with lows but at some point it is up to you to understand this and find your own way through it because no matter how well you function psychologically there is pain in life. There are also and anxiety and fears.  These are realities we can’t avoid.  And no one can really, truly tell you how to cope. You have to find your own way.

This brings me to the concept of control – we all love to feel in control but the reality is we can’t always be. There are a lot of situations where we don’t have nearly as much as we would like and it can be a real challenge to sit with this.  However if we can there is real beauty in that.  It opens us up to the spontaneity of life and the sense of adventure about the possibilities that can open up to us.

 

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