Yes be proud of your mistakes, they made you who you are today. Can you accept that your mistakes are something to be proud of? It goes completely against everything we are taught as we are growing up. We do something wrong as a child and we are told off, then we get to school and punished for our mistakes.
Life is About Evolving
The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be – Oprah Winfrey
Without making mistakes we can not evolve. I remember when I was studying for my computer science degree, those endless hours spent trying to write computer code. The only way I could ever get the code to work was by making mistake after mistake, until finally it worked.
So why is it that we think we can get through life without making a mistake? And when we do why are we so hard on ourselves?
Surely we should be proud of our mistakes because ultimately what they lead to are our successes.
Life Begins Outside of Your Comfort Zone
The thing is in life we avoid making mistakes by sticking to the things we know. We live life on auto pilot, do things without really noticing and just go from day to day repeating the same thing. Because we think anything outside of our familiar world is somehow dangerous or risky.
But in reality to really taste life we have to come out of this comfort zone, we have to take risks and feel life at it’s core.
Does that somehow make you feel uncomfortable?
I speak to people all the time about getting out of their comfort zone, about pursuing their dreams because life is not going to last forever. This sometimes sparks a self protective reaction, like it’s a personal attack. It’s almost like they just don’t want to be pushed to see how they are limiting their life out of the fear of making a mistake. Unfortunately these people are usually the first ones to complain about life or to criticize people who don’t just settle.
Better an “Ooops” than a “What if”
So what exactly do we fear when we hold ourselves back, is it the actual mistake or something else? Personally I think we fear other peoples opinions of us. Our greatest fear is not being liked by others, not fitting in, not being part of the group and not belonging. After all we strive for a sense of belonging from childhood.
Perhaps we also want to be the good girl or boy, we grow up being told what is good and what is bad that by the time we reach adulthood it’s not questioned. We tow the line, behave as we are told and anything outside of that is deviant or worse criminal.
But really successful people don’t follow the rules, if they did they certainly wouldn’t have made it. That doesn’t mean you have to be a criminal or break laws, it just means learning to play the game, the game of life. And that requires a little risk taking, sometimes a lot, that depends on what you want out of your life.
Time is like a river. You can not touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of your life.
Living Life According to Others
Living your life according to what others expect will guarantee you fit in, that you are part of the group but over the years it can build up into deep resentment. If you never connect with your true desires, keep them bottled up and cover them up thinking they will pass, then one day you may look back on your life with regret.
Problem with regret is, it can become soul destroying.
If you fear making a mistake because you may disappoint someone, then perhaps you need to reassess your relationships. Real love means unconditional acceptance.If they love you they will want to see you happy. And they will be there for you even if it doesn’t work, even if you make a mistake.
Stop letting other people define you – Be yourself and Be Proud of It
Be Proud of You – Be Proud of Your Mistakes
I guess I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always had a sense of self worth and self confidence that’s been difficult for anyone to break. Even after my marriage ended I didn’t lose sight of who I am, it’s a sense of self belief that I developed as a child and having to rely on myself for most things.
I’m proud of who I am, I’m not too worried if others like me or not because I enjoy, no I love being alone. And that’s why it is important to first be comfortable with who you are, comfortable with your own company and enjoy just being you. Then you live according to you.
My mistakes have been the most important teachings I’ve ever received. Don’t ever regret your mistakes but do make sure you learn from them.
The definition of selfish is “lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure” Such a negative connotation, not many words hurt as much as being called selfish.
The most recent topic we’ve been discussing in my group practice has been self love, self compassion, taking care of our own needs, being our own best friend and being kind to ourselves. Often people will respond with reactions such as “It sounds so selfish”
How can looking after your own needs be selfish? Why is it that we have lost our connection with ourselves and become totally focused on fulfilling everyone else’s needs?
Selfishness is the very nature of our human existence, without our instinct to look after ourselves we would not have survived.
The Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying “if we wish to be truly selfish, then we should be wisely selfish rather than foolishly selfish”
When is being Selfish Not A Good Thing?
When we commonly talk about selfish people it’s usually in a way that is hurtful. In other words their behaviour has hurt us or others. But I’d argue that this is more to do with them being deeply unconscious of their place in the world or in their relationships.They have no regard for others.
This is very different from being selfish, it is much more to do with self awareness or more like lack of self awareness and how it impacts on others.
Selfish in this sense is:
Ego Centered – Only looking to protect or satisfy one’s own ego
Self Protection – People who have been hurt and close themselves off to protect being hurt again
Skewed interpretation of Strength – yes usually people act in a selfish way because they think this makes them appear strong, when in fact it is exactly the opposite.
When is being Selfish A Good Thing?
So now we come to why being selfish is a necessity. Simply put because if you do not look after number one, you are neglecting the one reason you are living. Your life is precious, it’s priceless and you owe it to yourself to value it as such.
The difference is that being selfish does not mean you step over others, treat them badly or disrespect them for your own gain. Actually it’s the complete opposite; to really love yourself means you will go out of your way to do good for others because it makes you feel good. That is selfish compassion, it’s not the only reason you do something good but ultimately it is what makes us all be kind towards others.
Selfish in this sense is:
Looking after yourself because you want to be happy, being happy has a positive impact on those you love.
You love yourself because if you can’t love yourself how can you expect anyone else to?
You put yourself first because when you are meeting your own needs, you do not need others to meet them for you. This liberates both you and your loved ones. You release those close to you from obligation, feeling they have to do something. But when they do, it’s because of their own desire to make you happy.
We look after our own needs so we don’t become resentful. When we expect others to fulfill our needs and they fail to do that, we become resentful. Or if all we do is do things for others, sooner or later we will resent it.
It is ultimately your responsibility to be “consciously” selfish – To be a fulfilled and Happy Individual
Yesterday was International Woman’s day which got me thinking about what it means to be free and independent. I’ve always been an independent woman, not really one to rely on anyone else. In spite of that I still managed to compromise my personal freedom for my marriage. Now being single again, I have learnt to value my freedom too much to be able to give that up again.
What does Freedom Mean to Me?
To me freedom is being able to go where I want when I want. It’s about being free to make my own decisions without having to consider someone else. It’s about mixing with the people I like and not having to compromise friendships for the sake of being a couple.
Having the freedom to think my own thoughts and have my own opinions without thinking how they may cause friction in the relationship. Of course I am speaking from my experience and fully accept that healthy relationships do not require so much compromise.
Brighton Seafront – Saturday Morning
I prefer dangerous freedom to peaceful slavery
Why Do We Give Up Our Freedom For the Sake of a relationship?
In a healthy relationship people keep their own identity and there is still room for the individual to be who they are at the core, without having to give up so much of themselves. Unfortunately many relationships develop into needy attachment making it difficult to separate who you are as an individual. We give up our freedom of thought and freedom to be who we are to maintain what we think is a worthy relationship.
In fact a really happy relationship consists of two people who are comfortable in their own skin and who somehow are able to respect each others uniqueness.
Society has us believe that to be in a happy relationship we must do everything together, like the same things, have the same friends and be “one”. In reality that is suffocating and in the long run causes unhealthy attachment.
And it is this attachment that keeps us in a state of fear of ending unhealthy relationships.It is no longer about love, respect or even friendship and much more to do with staying in a make believe comfort zone because we can not conceive life outside this relationship.
Looking back on my own journey, the pain was caused mainly by my attachment to the relationship not the person. Now I see how life is so much more fulfilling when you are free to just be who you are, totally free to live life as best you can on your own terms.
Does that mean I no longer believe in loving relationships? Of course not, we are humans who thrive in healthy loving relationships. But not at the expense of losing yourself and losing your freedom.
Remember that the best relationship is the one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other – Dalai Lama
We tend to live our lives according to the stories we tell ourselves. These stories become ingrained in us as children, starting from our parents and then our teachers, our peers, our siblings and others close to us.
I’ve just enrolled onto a writing course because I really want to improve my writing skills. Years ago I would never have thought it even possible to write, let alone share my writing with others. As a child I was always told by my teachers that I wasn’t bright enough. I avoided reading at school and wasn’t allowed to use a pen until a lot later than most of the children in my class.
The most damaging comment from a teacher was in my last year at school. He wrote “Anna should not go to university, she should consider an admin job!!”. I still have this report, actually it’s served it’s purpose, it has been in the back of my mind pushing me to do better. The sad truth is that this teacher never knew me, he always slept through our classes. How irresponsible. Oh and the fact that I was bilingual didn’t even figure in their assessment.
I went to university in my late thirties and achieved a first class honours degree, post graduate and a Masters. I read my first full book after leaving school, I think I was around 18 at the time. This was no simple book, “The Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance”. I’d say it takes a pretty intelligent young person to read this book.
Then there were the comments from my parents “oh you are the clever one and your sister is the pretty one!” Wow how ignorant was that? So here you are a young child being told at school that you are not clever enough and then at home being told you are not pretty enough. Lucky for me, I used most of these negative comments to create a new voice for myself and I told myself a different story.
In the end, it’s the story you tell yourself that matters.
Of course as a child you don’t understand and take everything your parents say as the truth. As adults it’s our job to tell our children stories about how wonderful they are, how their lives can be wonderful and how you as their parent will always be there for them whatever happens. They are not naughty, they are children, they are not bad, they are children.
But somewhere along the line we must create our own stories, we must drop the stories others have been telling us and see the truth of who we are and who we are capable of being. We do not need to be limited by the limitations others have of us. Not even those of our parents and definitely not those of our teachers.
So here I go embarking on a writing course, Miss who wasn’t clever enough! Let’s see where that takes me.
Today I attended a short course, the theme being an Introduction to NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) . It was a day full of interesting information about how we can model human excellence. I’m no expert on this so I won’t try to explain in detail except to share this brief definition of NLP
“Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s”
Usually at this type of workshop you are thrust into group activities that take you a little out of your comfort zone. Here you are with a group of people you have never met before sharing personal stuff, making you instantly a little vulnerable. But that’s the name of the game at these training events, you learn so much.
To the point, one of the group activities was to stand with three random strangers and ask a set of questions. The task was to watch for behavior patterns when the questions were being asked and to see how much of the information we could retain.
Who Are You?
The first question was simple Who Are You?
The common response is actually pretty straight forward, isn’t it? I am Anna. Full stop.
But that’s not true at all because Anna is just the label I was given at birth. When you start to really think about that question, Who Are You? it becomes a much deeper exploration.
If you take away all the labels you have attached to who you think you are, then you find the essence of who you are. Most of us came up with, I am a mother, a wife, a teacher, an athlete, an artist and the list goes on. But these words only describe roles we play in our life, they don’t really explain who we are at our core.
That got me thinking about another question. If we associate ourselves with the roles we play in life, what happens when that role changes or disappears altogether? What happens when you lose your job, you get older and can no longer be an athlete, your marriage ends and you are no longer a wife or husband? When that label you have identified yourself with for so long goes, then who are you?
When you lose your labels do you cease to exist? I doubt that very much because you are much more than the roles you play in life or the labels you attach to you. You are part of everything that exists and that is way more than a label.
I wanted to share a poem that has inspired me through the difficult times. It has a powerful message, it acts as a reminder that this journey we call life is our journey. Nobody else can live our life just as we can not live anybody else’s. (more…)
The one thing that I have learnt in the last year is that I spent a lot of my life people pleasing. Making too many compromises to keep the peace and to ensure I didn’t upset anyone.
During my marriage I often just accepted things as they were because it was easier than causing trouble. My role was to make sure everyone was happy, my own needs came last. To a certain extent as a mother that is acceptable but should not be the case as a wife.
People Pleasing is the Number One Cause of Unhappiness.
I’ve finally got to a place where I don’t care what people say or how they see me, that’s no longer my problem. And I will not apologise for who I am because I’m happy with who I am.
“I will not conform to the stereo typical middle aged woman just to fit in because I have no need to impress anyone.”
I have learnt to accept the fact that sometimes people won’t like me, sometimes they may get upset with me but that’s life and I can live with that.
“Lost myself trying to please everyone else, now I’m losing everyone else trying to find myself”
Being Your Authentic Self
This journey that I started over a year ago has turned me inwards, by that I mean that all the work, all the learning has been within. I’ve not looked outside for solutions, happiness or answers, I’ve done the work on myself and continue to do so.
This inner journey has uncovered many uncomfortable feelings, I’ve struggled to find my authentic self because through the years I buried her deep inside. I did this so I could fit in, to conform to the expectations of a good wife, mother, daughter and the numerous roles I took on during my life. It’s what we do because we want people to like us and love us. But what we fail to see is that when we are not really being authentic, people don’t really like us, they like the person they think we are.
“Knowing Yourself is the Beginning of All Wisdom”- Aristotle
What Happens When You Stop People Pleasing?
You start to pay attention to your own needs and preferences – Yes you put yourself first – No that’s not selfish.
You start to honour yourself. If you don’t honour and respect yourself how can you expect anyone else too?
Yes you will lose friends or people you thought were friends. But guess what, you suddenly find new friends who love you for who you are.
You become comfortable with yourself and ultimately happier in your own skin.
You know that inner battle that is always going on inside, well it will start to calm down because you no longer fight your authentic self.
So try saying No when you really don’t want to do something and start saying Yes to the things you do want.
It’s Friday today, I’m sitting at home working on my blog and it’s completely silent, only the loud wind outside is slightly disturbing. The thing is that I’m beginning to love this time I get on my own, doing what I want to do and really importantly, never having to wake up to an alarm clock. This to me is freedom, to be able to decide how your day goes, that’s so liberating.
I don’t say this to try to belittle anyone in a job they enjoy. Our lives are a personal choice. I made a real commitment to myself to turn my life around after it was turned upside down. I made a commitment to live life true to myself and that also means daring to be different.
Daring to be Different – The side affects
Sometimes this different path can be difficult because it takes away all stability and what we perceive to be security. My experience has shown me that to live in that world of grasping at security and stability is only deceiving yourself. To be able to live life on a day to day basis, with a total focus on today is unnerving but so much more healthy.
The three things that daring to be different does:
Isolates you from some friends, family and to an extent to a certain part of society. If you are not playing the game anymore, then nobody wants to play with you. That’s the way it goes.
Certainly isn’t always comfortable. It feels less safe because you have to carve out a new path and this can be challenging a lot of the time.
It requires you to be totally flexible and open to new experiences, new people and try to go with the flow. Again that removes a lot of what we perceive to be secure in our lives and it’s not easy.
Once you know there’s a better way, it’s impossible to go back.
And there lies the biggest challenge because once you start seeing things differently, you just can’t go back to what was. Just to remind you, little over a year ago I was married, working in a well paid highly respectable job and thought I’d made it.
Now I look at that time with a little sadness because actually I wasn’t really being me, I was being the person I needed to be to fit in.
Daring to be different is what it takes to be you.
And what you realise when you start to be authentically you is that you attract into your life the people who value you for who you really are. You attract people who dare to be different themselves and your relationships become meaningful and deep. There is real connection rather than everything being on the surface.
So whatever happens, just dare to be different, dare to be you!
The biggest problem with most of us is our inability to stop and listen to our inner voice. What does that mean? What is our inner voice?
We go about our lives in a constant sleep most of the time, until something happens to shock us and wake us up. But through the course of our lives there’s this feeling that sometimes arises. For all of us it will be different, it will feel different but it’s there and mostly we ignore it.
The thing is that this inner voice is what guides us to what is our purpose, to the things that will really make us happy. The more we ignore it, the more uncomfortable we feel about our lives. The more we ignore our inner voice, the more life will throw up lessons for us to learn from, until we actually listen deeply.
We ignore our inner voice because of our conditioning, the way society has worked it’s magic on us and taken away our ability to stay with our true feelings. We have become accustomed to being in autopilot, doing things that we are supposed to do because that’s how we fit in.
Listening to your inner voice can also cause you a certain amount of turmoil because it will challenge you to make changes that can be completely out of your comfort zone. But because something is challenging doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be followed through, quite the opposite I would say. Here’s a few tips to help you start listening to your inner voice:
Remember that your inner voice is authentic, it’s the one voice that really knows you. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, it will only make you feel more uncomfortable. You know that feeling that something is not quite right? That’s your inner voice talking.
Does your inner voice scare you? Mine certainly does, it’s pushed me to do things that were at times very uncomfortable but the end result is so worth it.
The greatest rewards in life come through the greatest challenges. Your inner voice might be pushing you to do things that you prefer to ignore but for how long can you really ignore this without losing yourself on the way?
Remember that the more you listen to your inner voice the more you will become best friends with it. Over time you will have hard evidence that actually your inner voice was right all along.
Meditate every day. In meditation we get to connect directly with our inner voice.
Don’t ignore your inner voice – it’s your most dearly trusted friend.
One Day You Wake Up and Realize You Have Lost Yourself
A man writes a letter after finding out that his wife was having an affair for over ten years. He shows no anger but realises how much of his life he has wasted and how much of his real self he has lost over the years.
Your True Self – You never lost it You just covered it up and forgot it
In this video I talk about how we forget our true selves. Most of us spend a lot of time on a journey searching for our true selves. Note I say “forget” our true selves because in reality it’s always been there, it never left. It’s just that you piled so many layers on top of it that you forgot it was even there. This is what makes us have these uncomfortable feelings in our lives, when we slowly move further and further away from our true selves, it’s there underneath all the rubbish calling you to remember.
This is a short story about when I first realised I was covering my true self in order to fit it and to make sure I belong.
If my story sounds familiar why not share your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook and let’s get back to our true selves together.