Tag Archives: Assertiveness

Boundaries Are Super Important

I used to be a ‘YES’ person and I always put the needs of pretty much everyone else in front of my own.

I don’t know when it started, but when I became a mum it pretty much became second nature and I relegated myself to the bottom of the family pile. I had no boundaries in place and soon became the person who did just about everything because I couldn’t say ‘NO’.

But do you know what constantly being that kind and caring person who helps everyone else does to you if you are not careful? It makes you resentful and bitter and can leave you wondering why no-one else seems to put you first. You feel like you are being walked all over and to be honest you pretty much are being, but only because you have let it happen.

It’s a weird kind of logic and it can well and truly suck you in if you let it. Trust me, I know because that’s exactly where I was heading before I decided to put myself first and practice some real self-care.

So, how did I stop being a doormat and start to find my own inner strength?

Initially I had to get clear on how I wanted to feel and what was important to me. This process was made much simpler by The Desire Map and coming up with a list of my core desired feelings. Once I got clear on HOW I wanted to feel every day, it was easy to filter requests through those feelings and decide whether or not they were right for me.

At the beginning I simply said ‘NO’ a little more. If something felt like it wasn’t in my best interests or the request was just because it had always been easier to ask me to do something than to do it themselves (and don’t we all know people like that!), then I stopped and made a real effort to trust myself and my own feelings.

Surprisingly it changed the way I felt really quickly. By setting boundaries and treating myself the way that I wanted to be treated by others helped me regain my self-esteem. I knew that the things I actually said yes to were because I really wanted to and not because I was worried what other people thought of me.

The knock-on effect of all of this is that I am now inspiring others to review their own boundaries too! Just last week I received a friend request on Facebook from someone I had met in a group but not met in person. I sent a message kindly letting them know that I am happy to connect in groups and via my business page, but that my personal profile is for family and friends, and here’s the response I received:

“No problem at all, Holly. I totally admire and respect your boundaries! Thank you for letting me know. Plus you just helped me redefine some of mine thanks x”

My boundaries are set and I am happy to move and change them as circumstances and people change, but now that I follow my own intuition and filter everything through my core desired feelings and I am happier and healthier for it – and giving my children a much better example of self-care!

I hope this post encourages you to put yourself first and create your own boundaries too… keep-calm-and-set-boundaries-5 Make your own KEEP CALM poster at: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/#create

Weekly Words – Trust Your Intuition

IntuitionIntuition is a topic that I am often called to write about. It is defined as:

“a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence : a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why.” 

And maybe that is why it scares us so much to trust our own intuition. Our society values evidence above feelings and we are taught from a very young age to believe what we are taught, even if it doesn’t feel or sit right. We often hide our own intuition and go against our gut feelings because we perceive other people’s feelings and reactions as more important than our own.

But what if we flipped our thinking and relied more on our own intuition and led our lives to our own beat?

That is essentially what listening to my intuition or gut feeling is for me. A great example of this recently was when I was asked to join a network marketing opportunity. Now, I have been involved with two other network marketing companies before and they just didn’t feel right for me. I never bought in to the way they work and have even lost someone I thought was a really good friend over the sales tactics that one of these companies used. But as I listened to the sales pitch, I let my logical mind and promise of cash override my intuition and I got sucked in – AGAIN! I signed up and started the online training but that terrible niggle wouldn’t go away. Eventually I decided to meditate on what was bothering me and I ‘tried on’ different scenarios – one where I remained a member and one where I didn’t – and really tuned in to the feelings that went with each one.

Yup, you guessed it – the scenario where I was no longer part of it and followed my own business dream made me feel light, free, excited, inspired and creative whilst the scenario of putting a lot of effort into network marketing made me feel sluggish, heavy, demotivated and just like another cog in a wheel. So, the very next morning I sent all of my information back, cancelled my training and left a message for the person who had recruited me. I apologised for wasting their time and wished them well, because at the end of the day this type of business works for them and they love it. When I put the phone down I had a huge smile on my face and I felt free again. My own business got far more attention that week and I have a clearer image of where I want to be simply from knowing where I didn’t want to be.

My point? My intuition was right on the money the first time and yet I still ignored it and followed someone else. BUT, as soon as I realised this, I had the courage to change the situation – and that’s my lesson from all of this – it is NEVER too late to change your mind and follow your own intuition.

In January 2014 I wrote Bravely Trusting My Intuition and it is just as relevant today as it was then. Hey, I’m still learning and as my story above proves, I still forget sometimes too!

As part of my post last year I shared three steps to getting you started on trusting your own intuition, and I thought it would be great to share them again here:

  1. Give yourself time – if someone asks you to do something you really aren’t sure about, give yourself permission to take some time to think about it. Ask if you can get back to them once you’ve made a decision and don’t feel rushed into answering on the spot. Spend some time thinking about the request and how it makes you feel. Do you feel excited and nervous (if so, it may just be a fear of the unknown and something you really do want to do) or does it make you feel sick, frustrated or resentful (these are generally good reasons not to do it). Working your way through your feelings is the best way to start listening and trusting your own intuition.
  2. Stick to your guns – if you really don’t want to do what you have been asked, make sure you stick to your guns when you say no as people who are used to you accepting any request will take a while to get used to the new you! They may try to cajole you into whatever it is they want as they think you’ll go back to doing as they ask.
  3. It’s OK to change your mind – as you practice following your gut instinct you will sometimes read the signs and follow the wrong one. Trust me, that’s OK and normal, but the important part is that you actually change direction once you know you’re on the wrong path. Don’t be stubborn and get resentful; instead admit that you’ve had a change of heart and start down the right path. It’s important to correct yourself (but not berate yourself) as you go along so that you learn to read the signs better next time.

Be brave and trust that you know yourself better than anyone else does – it really is worth taking that leap.

H x

Weekly Words – Empowerment

I must admit that I hadn’t really figured out my word for this week’s post until I spent some time thinking about the messages I have been receiving from all of my activities this week.

It has been an amazing week – networking, dancing, a high impact women-only seminar, an impromptu girlie coffee catchup and my first two (female) students qualifying as Crystal Therapists after a year of hard graft! I have smiled, laughed, cried, been inspired and felt connected, but most of all, I have felt an overall sense of EMPOWERMENT.

“To experience empowerment we must act on a sense of self worth, value and give voice to our own needs, and give equal validity to our own needs as to others.” Judy Lightstone

I met so many women whose jobs involve empowering other women – in business, in life, in their kitchens, in their mindsets and in their own bodies, and it has been truly inspiring to speak to them and see the passion they exude as they talk about their businesses.

Image from Self-Empowerment article by Judy Lightstone found at http://www.psychotherapist.org/SelfEmpowerment.html

Image from Self-Empowerment article by Judy Lightstone found at http://www.psychotherapist.org/SelfEmpowerment.html

So, I would like to encourage you to spend some time putting yourself first this week and empowering yourself to make your voice heard. We all have important messages to share with the world and your story may just be the one that someone else needs to hear.

Have an empowering week,

H x

Links to some of the amazing women who have inspired this week’s post:

– Andrea of Mama Quilla Fertility
– Karen of Karen Williams
– Michele of Ms MoneyMaker
– Joanna of Pool Green Kitchen

Weekly Words – Openness

I thought it would be nice to share the word that came to me last night when I sat quietly and just let the Universe speak to me.  It took a while, as it often does, to calm the noise in my head – the list of things to do this week, the things I should have done that day and all the other little reminders that sneak in when you are trying to really listen to the Divine.  Finally, when I let all of those thoughts go I ‘felt’ the word that I needed to think about this week: “Openness”.

To me openness is about letting go, being honest, being who I am, letting other people get close to me, giving and receiving and enjoying life without inhibitions.  We have all had our hearts broken at some time or been let down, deceived or hurt, but keeping our hearts open to new experiences, people and feelings is so important for our spiritual and personal growth.  Being true to who we are meant to be in our soul is the reason we are here.

I found this quote and it really resonated with the whole reality of what openness means to me. The image behind is my own taken last year at St Bees in Cumbria.

Openness

 

I will be working on my own openness this week and challenge you to think about yours.

H x

Weekly Words – Choose

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

No-one is perfect and like most of us, I get it wrong sometimes. It doesn’t make me a bad person, but it does show that I am human and have my own fears, worries and concerns to deal with.  So when the word ‘choose’ sprang out at me last night it really did make a lot of sense.

Road Sign 1I choose to take responsibility for my actions.

I choose to accept every set-back knowing that only I can decide how to respond.

I choose to opt out of negativity and use each experience to improve my life for the better.

I choose to forgive myself and others.

I choose to be happy.

I choose to follow my dreams.

I am grateful for those who support and love me for who I am (you know who you are!) and thank my growing network of fellow Desire Mappers for their wise words, genuine opinions and vibrant energy. You are all amazing and I am excited to be on this life-changing journey with you all.

“Try to be like the turtle – at ease in your own shell.” ~ Bill Copeland

My ‘Weekly Words’

Every Sunday night I spend a quiet few minutes meditating on what I need to know or work on for the following week. I like to call it my ‘Weekly Words’.  Sometimes just one thing will come to me and sometimes I feel or hear more than one thing. Where do these words come from?   Continue reading

Listen and Do

8rewardchartspage8

My hubby and I are very lucky to have two young sons, and like many parents we use reward charts (on and off).  One day while updating their charts for another week I read one of the ‘rules’ we’d written – “Listen and Do”.

What struck me was not that we were asking our children to listen to us and do what we asked them to, but that as adults we often do not listen to our own inner voice guiding us in the right direction, but instead listen to others and often end up going a way that feels uncomfortable or just plain wrong. Continue reading