Stop comparing the sharing.You are real, social media is not.

I have a love and hate relationship with social media. It’s a truly wonderful platform to grow your business and expand awareness of your company. It can be inspiring and a place to connect with some truly amazing people.  It is also a place of egos, insecurities and judgement.

How many of us have flicked through the images found on someones Instagram or Facebook accounts and unconsciously made judgements about the kind of life they have?   

If you follow me on any of my social media platforms you have probably come to some of your own conclusions about my own life.  From the images I share you may think that I am someone who likes to lead a fairly spiritual life, I enjoy yoga and I meditate. I love nature, my dog, and our endless country walks together.  You probably view me as career driven, very sociable and a lover of all things fun.  Social media tells you that right? It gives you an insight into someones life?

But do you really know me? What you won’t know from my social media pages is that I am in fact incredibly private, private about the things that really matter to me. You won’t know anything about my family relationships, or the details of my closest friendships.  You won’t be privy to the fact that I don’t have children, or why. You won’t see pictures of my husband or my nephews, or my life.  You know, the life that is personal and sacred, the same life that I deem as far too private to be shared across the internet in a selection of images or quotes for the world to see.

I had lunch with a friend recently, a good friend who is currently dealing with one of life’s curve balls. You know the type, the ones that are thrown so quickly and come out of nowhere, that it literally knocks you clean off your feet. He is struggling, and for him, right now life isn’t the best it’s been.  Over our coffee he mentioned that he had recently posted an image on his Facebook page, it was one of him at a party with his friends. Soon after he had posted it someone had casually commented that his life ‘was always so glamorous and exciting’.  At that moment in his life, he felt it was neither. The irony.

Social media can actually help us be more mindful.  We can begin to acknowledge when we are viewing something from a place of ego or judgement.

I am a qualified therapist and healer, I have also studied mindfulness and Buddhism for many years. I often post things relating to depression, and mental health issues. I have neither, but a lot of my clients do.  I love to share images or quotes about self-love and positive body image, some may misinterpret that as me having a low self-esteem.  I don’t.  I post things about relationships and dealing with various emotions, that doesn’t mean that particular topic I am sharing relates directly to me.   When we look at images that people have shared on social media and we start to try to reason as to why they have shared them, we are in fact coming from a place of judgement, or even ego.  Try not to create stories in your head, about that person’s life. Unless you share their journey personally with them, you don’t know them, or their stories.

Just as we judge others, we can also judge ourselves.

How many times have you seen images on Instagram or Facebook and suddenly felt your life is inferior to that of others?   Theirs seems so much more glamorous, adventurous or even fun! Or like me, have you found yourself looking at the thousands of images of those women with perfect yoga bodies, you know the ones, they are always perfectly placed in some advanced asana with a backdrop of vast mountains or deep blue oceans. You see them,  and for a moment you think ‘She looks incredible, I wish I looked like her.’ Lets be honest, we’ve all done it at some point.

So much of what is posted on social media isn’t real life.  That image you longingly look at could be the one image that’s been selected from the hundred taken before it.  The lighting has been tweaked, the angle perfected and then every filter has been used to create the final shot that the world gets to see. The people in those images will all have their own insecurities, they will face their own challenges, and for many of them life will be a constant journey of ups and downs. But that image doesn’t tell you that, that image is nothing short of perfect. So much on social media is in fact fake.  Stop comparing your life to the random images you see.  You are real, filtered photo’s are not.

When we learn to stop comparing the sharing, have less judgement and remember to be grateful for the many blessings in our own lives, we are in fact living with more presence, more compassion and more truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Learning to walk in love not fear.

Everything we do, say or feel is driven by love or by fear. When you become consciously mindful of how your actions and reactions impact others feelings and happiness, you can begin to c

As human beings everything we do, say and feel is driven by love or by fear.  Every single day our actions and reactions are impacted by these two powerful emotions, and more often than not we aren’t even aware of it.

Acting out of  fear will in fact cause us further frustration, upset and unhappiness. But when we consciously choose to come from a place of love, no matter the challenge we are facing, life flows more freely.

How often do we over think things and start to imagine certain negative outcomes to situations we are currently experiencing?  We tend to live our lives so much in the future, in a world of what ifs, rather than choosing to remain in the present.  We over analyse people’s actions, words and opinions, and often take things too personally in the process. When this happens we are sitting in the space of our fears.

When I was in my early twenties I briefly dated a guy who seemed incredibly charming, charismatic, open and warm.  He made me laugh and I enjoyed the time that we spent together.  We would message one-another regularly and enjoyed several dates. He was very open with his feelings about me, speaking about our future together and everything seemed to be going so well.  Then one day, out of the blue he just stopped contacting me. No explanation, no reasoning, just no more contact.  If I messaged him, his replies were brief, almost cold and there was always some reason or another as to why he couldn’t meet up.  The whole experience left me feeling incredibly confused, unhappy and in truth quite hurt.  Because of this unconsciously and without wanting to, I stepped in to a place of fear. I started feeling unworthy of his attention and affection, and my mind would run away with me regarding all the reasons why he had obviously made a choice to simply avoid me. Maybe I wasn’t pretty enough, or funny enough? Or maybe he had met someone who he found intellectually more stimulating, or attractive?  Wrongly, I wholeheartedly viewed his actions as a direct reflection of me as a person, when in fact his actions were a direct reflection of him.

A few days after the last message I sent, one that he simply ignored, I began to acknowledge that I was allowing the whole situation to have a significant negative impact on my thoughts and also my life. I wasn’t sleeping well and I was emotionally exhausted.  So one morning, after my yoga practice I chose to consciously step into a place of complete acceptance and peace. I invited myself to bring all of my mindfulness practice into play and began to view the whole experience with a more open heart.  As soon as I did this, I allowed myself to look at the situation with a greater sense of softness and deeper understanding.  Over time the shift in my thought processes slowly enabled my feelings to change. I transitioned from a place of fear into a place of love. Rather than judging my friend for acting in a way that I had initially viewed as insensitive and unkind, I began to accept that he was probably just acting in the only manner he felt he was able to at that time. For whatever reason he wasn’t comfortable enough to just be open and honest with the whole situation, and he certainly wasn’t able to be honest with me. Initially I had judged him for not acting in a way that I would have done had I been in his shoes. I hoped that had I been in the same situation myself, I would have been honest enough to explain why I no longer wanted to see my friend. I would have considered their feelings as well as my own, and explained my reasons in the kindest and gentlest way possible.  But when we begin to judge peoples actions on the way we conduct  our own lives, we are in fact acting out of ego and not from a deeper sense of compassion.  I chose to instead to think that maybe he hadn’t even considered how his actions could have been impacting my self-esteem or sense of happiness, or if he had, then he just didn’t know how to approach the situation with me, and that was fine. Due to his own sense of fear, a fear of my reaction or non-acceptance of his feelings it was easier for him just to blank me and hide away. And in doing so he was actually protecting himself from having to face any kind of awkward conversation, one that would no doubt be very uncomfortable for him.

On reflection I realised that if I looked at everything from a higher perspective, all of this was in fact o.k.  Not all of us are always able to tackle our life experiences with a sense of courage, gentleness and compassion, and not everyone is comfortable with speaking from a place of truth.  I acknowledged, that deep down all I really wanted was for my friend to be happy and if that meant he would be happier without me, that was how it needed to be.  The end result was still the same, and that was all that mattered to me.  That night I meditated on the whole situation and I sent my friend the deepest sense of love that I possibly could muster up. Within my heart I wished for his onward path to be bright and blessed, and hoped that one day he would find the one who would make his soul shine. And then, with a deep sense of relief, I simply let it all go.

Each and every one of us approach both life and it’s challenges differently, that doesn’t make any one of us better than another, it’s simply means we either view our experiences from place of love or a place of fear.

When you can choose love, life becomes a little easier, a little happier and so much fuller.  Love will always send you back into the truest essence of yourself, you become more understanding, more compassionate and in truth, you become more you.

 

7 Tips On Making The Life Changes You Desire

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“Change only takes place through action, not through meditation and prayer alone” – The Dalai Lama

A new year always brings hope of making small or even bigger changes in our lives, maybe changes we have been thinking about for some time, but haven’t had the energy or courage to really focus on during the months that have passed.  We may be longing for a new job, or a new relationship, maybe we truly wish to have more quality time with our partners or family. It could be we want to get fitter, lose weight, or just simply take a little more care of ourselves.

For many, change can be scary or unsettling, dipping ones toes into the unknown can throw us out of our comfort zone and even fill us with fear. For others change is seen as an exciting adventure, something to embrace and actually trust in. Many of us are in fact creatures of habit, and although we long for areas of change in our lives, we stick with something we may not necessarily be happy with, simply because it has become our routine, an existence that we have actually accepted as being part of our life, it’s just the way it is.

Write a positive change list – At the beginning of each year, I actually like to take a moment to reflect on the year just gone, as well as creating a moment of positive focus on the year ahead. During a period of ‘quiet time’, I’ll put on some beautiful music, light some candles and simply meditate. This helps me become grounded, calm and peaceful, a beautiful and perfect state to be in, when you wish to make positive change within your life. After which, I will sit down and write a list of all the life changes I wish to make during the next 12 months ahead. Writing them down, for me, re-enforces not only my desire to make those things happen, but also helps me truly focus on the things that really matter.

Take positive action, small steps at a time – Two years ago I saw the Dalai Lama speak in London, it was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life. During his talk he spoke of how change can only come through positive action. Manifesting the changes we wish to see within ourselves, our lives or the world in which we live, can only come through each and everyone of us taking sole responsibility for those changes to occur. We cannot rely on areas of our lives to alter, if we simply think our desire, or our deep longing for something to happen, will in fact, make it happen. If you truly wish for change to occur in some area of your life, then you alone, need to find the courage to start acting upon that wish and take full responsibility for that change.

Face your fears and let go – Sometimes, inviting change into our life, actually means facing our fears. We may be too scared to leave a job we really hate, because we are fearful of not being able to find another one or pay our bills. We may be frightened to leave a unhealthy relationship behind us, as we are deeply fearful of being alone. So instead we choose to live in a bubble of happiness, because it’s easier to give in to our fears, fears that we have in fact created for ourselves inside our own little heads.  What we have to acknowledge is, that in certain situations, the life we are actually hoping for, actually exists outside the edge of our comfort zone, and unless we have the courage to leap into the unknown, we become a victim of our own fears and subsequent unhappiness.

Imagine the happiness you wish to experience and feel it deep within your soul –  I strongly believe that our own thoughts and actions have a huge affect on life that we experience.  The sacred law of karmic return, or the law of cause and effect.  If one is mindful of every thought and action one has, as well as keeping a positive mindset surrounding the type of life one wishes to experience, then one is actually inviting this type of experience into their own reality. This doesn’t mean to say, you won’t experience challenges, disappointment or sadness in your life, these things are always present to teach us, but keeping your mind focused on love, positivity and kindness, actually re-enforces the love, positivity and kindness that you will in turn experience within your own world. Positive thought creates positive action.

Share the changes you wish to create – Sitting down with friends or family and sharing details of the changes we wish to create  in our lives can actually help us keep focused on the task ahead. It can also provide an unexpected support network of people, all of whom wish to encourage you to reach your goals. A few years ago I was really unhappy in my job, and I was desperate for a change. I was so unhappy, that every morning was literally filled with dread about the day ahead.  It was a well paid and very secure job, one that I had been in for 13 years, and the thought of leaving actually filled me with fear and anxiety, but I was knew it was beginning to impact other areas of my life. Once I had told my friends how unhappy I was, I was overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I received. It felt as though I was no longer facing the dilemma alone, and I eventually found the courage to leave and search for a much happier existence.

Don’t Give Up – Change generally doesn’t happen over night, often it’s something that we have to continue to strive for. Even when the light may seem a very distant glimmer at the end of a long tunnel, don’t lose focus of that feeling of happiness you know you deserve. Re-visit the list of positive change you wrote. Go into meditation and ask yourself for guidance of how to can implement these changes. Spend some quality time with a positive person that you may know, someone who will inspire you to reconnect with your own desire to make the change at hand.  Trust in yourself that you can succeed and remind yourself that it will happen when you have learned everything you need to from the experience.

Don’t hide behind excuses you create within your own mind, take complete responsibility – When we are anxious of making a change in our life, it’s very easy to hide behind excuses of why we believe we cannot change that situation. Instead of creating excuses of why you can’t do something, start to focus your attention of creating solutions to those challenges.  An excuse, is often manifested in our heads as a direct result of an emotion, an emotion which is usually fear.

Trust in the fact that sometimes the journey is the lesson, not the change itself – Looking back at my own career change, it was, without a doubt, a very long, difficult and exceptionally challenging path (I wrote a post about it last year, as it had such an impact in my life). But on reflection, even though it was really hard at times, I can see that journey itself actually taught me a great deal about myself and my ability to let go and trust. The life lessons I learned from having the courage to truly acknowledge, that I was the only person in charge of my own happiness is a teaching I will always be grateful for.

6 Tips On Dispelling a Negative Mind

Kim-Kardashian-Happy-Positive-Thinking-Day-Quotes-010-491x491We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves” – The Buddha

When I was a teenager, I was a real worrier. I’d often spend my Sunday evenings, working myself up into a complete frenzy about how certain situations at school would work out. My little brain would go into over drive, imagining things that hadn’t even happened. I’d convince myself I would fail the math exam coming up, or my drama presentation would be a complete flop and everyone would laugh at me. I look back now and realise that I was in fact a prisoner of my own negative thoughts. Many a Sunday evening would be clouded by my worries, and in turn cause me a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. A little cloud of anxiousness, created by a fear within my own head.

As I grew older and under went my own spiritual training, I began to accept, that if I wanted to live a positive, happy and fulfilled life, I needed to learn to control my own negative thought patterns. For I believe, like the Buddha once taught, the energetic vibrations of our thoughts, attract experiences to us and therefore we become what we think.

Become truly aware of your thought patterns – There is nothing wrong with having negative thoughts, we are human, lets face it, it’s going to happen. But when it does, try to really acknowledge that thought and take time to explore it, replacing it with a positive action. For example, you are due to give a presentation at work, and you realise you are thinking that it is all going to go wrong. You are going to slip up, forget the words, not get your point across and the boss is going to hate it! As soon as you truly acknowledge that thought. Stop. Breathe and explore the that it is in fact totally pointless convincing yourself this is going to happen, as in truth, when you really look at the situation, you actually have no clue how it is going to turn out! You are simply falling into the pattern of your own negative thought process.  Explore the possibility that it could in fact go marvelously well, you may deliver a presentation that everyone finds interesting and enjoyable. Your points are seen as strong and encouraging, and your boss in fact loves it!  Don’t allow your negative thoughts to own you, acknowledge them, but don’t attach yourself to them. When you refuse to give them power, they will dispel on their own accord.

Every time a negative thought arises write down 3 things that are positive in your life – My own spiritual tutor gave me this task when I first started teachings with her. It was a gracious way of teaching me the art of being thankful. When completed properly, every day, it really is helpful in keeping your mind focused on all that is good in your life. The trick is to think of 3 different things every time.  It can be as simple as being grateful that your train was on time, you wake up and the sun is shining, you are able to enjoy a fresh sandwich and a cup of coffee at lunch time. Or you can explore more meaningful reasons why you are happy. You are grateful for your loving partner, your clean bill of health, your beautiful kids or the roof over your head.

The Power of Positive Mantras – During times of challenge or turmoil, I love to write mantra’s on little post it notes and I stick them around my house and office. A will say them in my mind every time I see one. For me, they act as a gentle reminder that I am in fact completely in charge of my thought process.  I use sayings such as “Everything is always as it should be, I grow with every challenging experience”, “Positive thought is positive action”,  “Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful”  You can obviously make up your own.

Be mindful of playing the victim – For some, life is a complicated journey of stresses, strains and constant challenges. For others, life is a wonderful adventure, full of exciting opportunities to grow, experience and develop. When we truly start to accept that our thoughts have a direct and powerful effect on the world around us and the experiences we face, challenges suddenly become a learning tool, rather than an opportunity to dwell in self-pity, sadness or worry.  When something challenging happens, truly step back and take the opportunity to explore that experience in a completely different light. Acknowledge how the situation is making you feel, and explore how those feelings are showing you or teaching you something. I truly believe, every experience is sent to teach us something, that in itself, helps me embrace both the good and the moments that take a little more insight to accept.

Create a positive vision board or personal journal – Positive thought needs to be backed up with positive action. During quiet times I like to write down in a journal what I want to achieve in my life or where I see myself in the next 12 months. This applies to personal goals, emotional well-being, career path and family life. For me, writing it down actually reinforces it my mind. I am putting out to the universe through my thoughts and actions, of where I want my life to be heading. In my office I have a vision board, on it I have pinned various photographs, magazine cuttings and sentences or words. Each give me inspiration every time I look at them, reminding me of the things that make me happy and keep me motivated. I change it every 6-12 months.

Embrace the silence – In the west in general, we find it exceptionally difficult to embrace silence. To simply be present in pure wholeness, with no noise, no distractions and no interruptions that are constantly demanding our attention. To just simply sit, and be comfortable with the healing light of ‘nothingness’, is actually one of the most positive actions you can honour yourself with, every day. Stillness forces us to be comfortable with ourselves in our truest form. It enables us to be present in the moment, with everything else stripped away, things that usually pull us in every direction. Stillness, invites you to truly discover yourself, including your thought patterns and subsequent emotions. If you find silence too overwhelming to begin with, you may find your mind chattering away too much (which is fine by the way), then try listening to a short 10 minute meditation for positive thought. There are many on Youtube, or various mindfulness websites. Try and do this at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and in the evening. Learning techniques that will help you to tap into your deeper nature and explore the reasons behind your thoughts, will help you to gradually view them in a more productive light.                     

If you have enjoyed this post you may also enjoy ’11 things to give up to step closer to happiness’.