Naughty or Ice?

So I am sure by now everyone has heard of and possibly taken part in the ALS ice bucket challenge. It has created quite a lot of attention and lots of different opinions so I thought it would be a good topic to discuss this week.

I first started seeing some shared videos on Facebook of celebrities having buckets of ice water poured over there head. They were also nominating other people to do the same. I had no idea what it was for or what the hashtag ‘ALS’ was about. Gradually I was seeing more and more videos and soon enough people I knew were doing their own.

I then came across a video on Facebook called ‘ALS the real ice bucket challenge’ that someone had shared. Having no idea why everyone was talking about this I clicked on to it. The video was of a man talking about a condition – ALS. He begins by making a bit of joke out of pouring ice water over himself dressed in a bright bikini top and shorts. He then talks about the people in his family that have suffered and are suffering with ALS. He too suffers from the disease. He very honestly talks about caring for someone with the disease and his own fear of ALS. I was so touched by this man’s honesty I decided to read up more about ALS. Below is the link to video I am referring to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h07OY8p8Oik

To those of you who are unaware of the disease here is a very brief overview of ALS that I have borrowed from http://www.also.org If you want more information please check the website.

‘Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as ‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease,’ is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.’

It is a terrifying disease that leads to an undignified dependant ending. I cannot imagine how hard it is watching a loved one go through the symptoms, let alone facing the disease yourself.

So, now we have covered the important facts I will get to my point. I have seen a lot of positive, indifferent and negative responses to the ice bucket challenge – as expected with anything that begins trending on social media. I have heard a lot of people dismiss the challenge because they disagree with everyone jumping on a trend just to ‘attention seek’ by uploading a video of themselves. I have seen a lot of people wanting to see proof of people donating money to the cause. I have seen people upload videos just to mock others taking part in the challenge and become frustrated that people have missed the point and should be just donating instead of filming themselves. I have even seen comparisons to people in Africa not having enough water whilst people are ‘wasting’ water with the challenge.

On the flip side I have seen a lot of people praise the cause and take part themselves. I have seen a lot of people get involved in learning about ALS. I have seen people try to raise awareness for other charities and foundations that are important to them. I have seen people show compassion towards others.

So which one is right?

This is what I think and before I share this with you I am not saying I am right or wrong, this is just my opinion and I would love to hear all of yours too. I am interested in the reaction that this challenge has caused so the more different opinions there are the better.

I believe that the ice bucket challenge has brought a large number of people together to stand up for something. It has been fun and people have smiled and laughed throughout it, hopefully some of the people affected by ALS have been able to laugh and smile at some of the funny videos too. People have generously donated money towards helping find a cure towards a terrible and frightening disease. Without the ice bucket challenge I would never have known what ALS is and I wouldn’t have opened my heart to want to help anyone suffering or caring for someone suffering from ALS. I wouldn’t have smiled at almost everyone I know getting a big cold shock and looking a little bit silly on a camera. I wouldn’t have felt that little bit of extra pride for my 9-year-old god-daughter standing up for something she wants to change in the world. I wouldn’t have seen extra awareness raised for the struggle to find clean water in parts of Africa. I wouldn’t have heard about some of the other important causes my friends were passionate about. I wouldn’t have felt the extra bit of faith I have been given in the human race.

Anything that raises awareness in the world and brings people together in a happy and positive light has to be doing a small amount of good in the world right? How can that be a bad thing?

What do you think about the ice bucket challenge, is it helping at all?

icebucketchallenge

SECRETS

Whilst in LA a fabulous new friend of mine showed me a song by Mary Lambert called ‘Secrets’. This song put a smile on my face for a many number of reasons and before I go into these I have written the lyrics below for you to read. You can also check out the video on YouTube here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqqqV50zaAc

Mary Lambert
“Secrets”
I’ve got bi-polar disorder
My shit’s not in order
I’m overweight
I’m always late
I’ve got too many things to say
I rock mom jeans, cat earrings
Extrapolate my feelings
My family is dysfunctional
But we have a good time killing each other

They tell us from the time we’re young
To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
Inside ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I’m over it

I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are) So-o-o-o-o what
So what
So what
So what

I can’t think straight, I’m so gay
Sometimes I cry a whole day
I care a lot, use an analog clock
And never know when to stop
And I’m passive, aggressive
I’m scared of the dark and the dentist
I love my butt and won’t shut up
And I never really grew up

They tell us from the time we’re young
To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
Inside ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I’m over it

I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
So what
So what
So what
So what
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
So what
So what
So what
So what

I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are)
So what
So what
So what
So what

First of all I have to say thank you to Mary Lambert for this song. The message here is so unbelievably powerful.

Hiding who we are because we are worried about how others will judge us is actually giving other people power over you. You run the risk of someone else ‘exposing’ you into an air of humiliation and shame which then attacks our self-esteem and self-worth, simply because you do not accept these parts of yourself. If others tread on the parts of you that you are trying to hide from the world you become vulnerable. Lionesses do not give their worth to others, they know their worth and own who they are, the good bits and the bad bits.

The good news is that you can make small steps to change this right now and take your own power back. Choose something within yourself you are not comfortable with and become best friends with it, own it. It can be anything. For example, I have always wished my mouth was a little bit bigger (a lot of my friends will be laughing reading this but I mean in a physical sense). I would love to have one of those smiles that goes from ear to ear. So, with this thought in mind the statement that I would think in my head would be:
My mouth is too small, I wish it was bigger.
So if someone then says to me ‘your mouth is small isn’t it’ I will immediately blush and feel a little bit more unattractive because I agree and do not like this part of myself. But, I do not wish to give my power to others so instead I choose to say:
My mouth is in a good proportion to my face and is a very nice shape. I love that!
I have focused on the good bits. If I couldn’t think of any good bits I would simply say:
I love my mouth

The point is you have GOT TO LEARN TO LOVE YOU! This is so infinitely important that words just do not cut it. Why do you think the ‘bad’ bits are bad. Who says they are not the good bits? You do. You are the only one who can make you feel good or bad about yourself.

If someone has something nasty to say about you then why should their opinion be of more value than yours. Their opinion can only have value if you agree with it.

I am a UK size 10/12, I have curves, legs and a bum. I have fair skin and freckles and I have a good set of teeth. I eat healthy and occasionally eat too much sugar – in particular chocolate is my weakness. I am strong and getting stronger but not as strong as I would like to be. I can use my body and lift it’s weight. Sometimes I procrastinate and don’t do all the things I should do. I have had good experiences, bad experiences, good friends, bad friends. I have been a good friend and I have been a bad friend. I have broken hearts and had my heart-broken. I have succeeded and I have failed. Who knows what will happen next. I’m not worried about it and I’m not going to stop until I have tried everything I want to try. Not one person on this earth can make me feel like I am not good enough because I know that I am and not one person can tell me any of those things I wrote above are bad because I just can’t accept that. There is no good or bad there, there are only descriptive words about me. I am however always appreciative of sincere compliments and constructive criticism because they come from a place of love, consideration and compassion (besides a flattery is always welcome to the self adoring Lioness).

Think about what you say to those around you, does it help them? Make them feel good? Valued? Strong? empowered? If it doesn’t then why are you saying it? Would you want someone to tear you down? We are not here to hurt people, even if they hurt you, teach them kindness and love by using only these towards others. Nasty and cruel words come from a heart that is in pain. The same goes for the nasty and cruel words you say to yourself, heal your pain and love yourself. Every bit of you, the good and the bad are all beautiful!

What are you going to say or do differently today to show yourself how fabulous you are?

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

These days we are always rushing and thinking, working and planning, busy and arranging but where are you?

Where is your mind?

Many people are forward thinking so their mind is in the future but they are also worrying about consequences they suffered in the past, so, their mind is also in the past. So your mind is being pulled in two directions, but where is your body? In the now, in the present moment.

For us to fully function, happily and in line with our true path we need to be here, in the now, feeling the present moment. Try to lose some expectations and understand that a lot of your worries are based on past occurrences and that you can’t truly predict the future.

Stop rushing, there is no such thing as time, it is man-made. Somehow time controls us when it is meant to be used simply as a measure, a guide, to serve us.

Is time serving you or are you serving time?

When everything feels a little too hectic, stop, take a deep breath and look around you. Think about what you can see around you right at this very minute. Name 5 things you can see right now, the ground, your shoes, a tree, anything. This will help bring you back to the present moment. Acknowledge yourself in the present and then continue with your day. Remember you can only effectively do one thing at a time so put all your efforts into doing each task and each task will be completed to the best that it can be with you fully present to complete it.

How do you slow down and bring yourself to the present moment?

THE SECRET TO CONFIDENCE….

Think about the most confident people you know, the people you aspire to be as confident as. Think about the way they do ‘terrifying’ things with such ease. Nothing phases them. They don’t fear other people or situations and are comfortable in their surroundings. Ever wondered how they do it? How they have so much confidence? How you can have the same?

Well, it’s completely possible for every one to gain access to as much confidence as they want to by adding the following ingredients into your daily life:

A sense of self-worth:
Confident people understand that they are worthy of their place in the world. They give themselves respect, love and appreciation. They know that they are entitled to be here just as much as the next person. They are kind to others and kind to themselves. They don’t need to ‘trample’ on others to feel worthy, they know that it was their birthright to hold a seat in this wonderful show called life! This attitude allows them to set standards and boundaries. They do not tolerate these being disrespected because they will respect the standards and boundaries others also set for themselves, so they can only accept the same from others.

If you feel you lack self-worth then start changing this today. Look at yourself in the mirror and say the following:

‘I am as good as the next person and better than most’.

Say it everyday, 10 times a day, 100 times a day until you believe it. You are at least as good as the next person and you have to believe you are better than most to take risks and believe you deserve to receive opportunities and good fortune.

Basic acting skills or the ‘show and tell’ tactic:
Something that is so important to know is that even the most confident looking person will suffer with nerves, feel embarrassment and on occasion, even feel a little shy. The trick to overcoming this is to act as if you don’t feel this way. A phrase I have grown to love is ‘fake it ’till you make it’ . They say smiling when you are sad actually helps to cheer you up and it is the same with confidence. Pretending you are not shy when you meet someone quickly gets you past your shyness. Acting like you are not nervous quickly helps you overcome your nerves. Acting like you are not afraid of embarrassment means you quickly realise it doesn’t need to stop you from doing something and that you soon feel more comfortable in those surroundings. It is a case of ‘grabbing those balls’ and doing it anyway. In fact, you can probably start to see signs of this from the people you consider as confident. Quietly observe them in situations and look out for them calling upon the ‘confident character’ within. Try using this technique for yourself too.

The other tactic is what I call the ‘show and tell’. I myself use this one quite often in more informal situations. If I am feeling nervous, embarrassed or shy ever (yes it happens often) I highlight it. I make a joke that I am shy and slightly exaggerate the ‘shyness’. This always leads to a friendly laugh about why I am shy and it is quickly moved on from with me feeling more at ease. I also never hide my embarrassment. I have one of those faces that can’t hide embarrassment, I immediately blush. So, instead of trying to hide this I will make a joke or a statement about me going red or being made to blush. I embrace it. As soon as I do that I have taken away the ability for anyone else to point it out and embarrass me further. I own my embarrassment, I don’t hide from it. The reason for this is simple. We are human, sometimes we get embarrassed so why should it be a problem? What we resist persists so just be who you are. It is exactly the same as feeling nervous, tell someone and you reduce the feeling. Being nervous means you are excited, you care about what you are doing and you face a fear. Imagine never feeling nervous. How incredibly dull would that be? If you are thinking now that you don’t ever feel nervous go and do something that scares you right now so you can enjoy the feeling!

The choice to make decisions:
Making decisions are a must for the confident person. Getting what you want isn’t a bad thing. Doing it your way might be fun or helpful for other people too so let them try it. Recognising that you want something and asking or choosing it is a way of displaying your self-worth. Why shouldn’t you ask for what you want? We are all different so we like different things. Sometimes it is nice to compromise but not at the expense of you doing something you don’t really want to do. When we make decisions for ourself it doesn’t matter if they are the right or wrong ones, the right ones are pleasing and the wrong ones give you something to learn from. At least you are willing to make choices and deciding to lead your life. If someone doesn’t like your decision then it is THEIR responsibility to communicate that with you and that is when you can aim to compromise.

BEWARE OF FAKE CONFIDENCE
Fake confidence is a dangerous quality that stems from ego, pride, self-doubt and a lack of self-worth. The fake confident person usually displays the following behaviour:
⦁ They speak over people and tell them what to do.
⦁ They rarely listen.
⦁ They put others down and are intimidating or ‘scary’ in their approach.
⦁ They do not take criticism well.
⦁ They see disagreement as a personal attack.
⦁ They can’t admit when they are wrong.

This kind of person is not truly confident. They lack self-esteem and self value and therefore need to feel more important than others to feel worthy. Although they have strong characters they will not easily lower their pride to see that there could be a more beneficial way of doing things. They therefore keep themselves stuck in a vicious circle of false confidence.

One thing I feel that is important to say is that although I refer to people being confident/not confident and falsely confident, in reality we are all made up of ALL of these qualities, we might have more of one and only a trace of another but we all have strengths and weaknesses, simply the amount and where they are is different. It is just easier to explain these qualities as separate and complete people. Also we all have certain things we are more confident and comfortable with. Bearing this in mind we can see that we all have a way of helping and also empowering each other. We are complexed beings and are made up of so many challenges, strengths, weaknesses and experiences that sometimes it is good to break it all down and simplify it and then add the simplicity to a complex situation. Ironically that last sentence was far from sounding simple but hopefully you get my point! ;)

So, be you, be proud to be you, be proud to like the things you like the way you like them. No one has the right to TELL you what you should and shouldn’t do, think, or be so take on board advice that you think is helpful and let go of anything else….if you want to of course!

Be so proud to be you!

20140806-220343-79423439.jpg

Beautiful picture sent to me by a good, honest and real lioness that I am proud to call a friend. I had to share it with you.

Don’t be ashamed of any part of you, no one has the right to judge you and everything that has happened in your life has made you who you are today. Be grateful to be you. Tell yourself how much you love you, look in the mirror, smile and say those three little words. Go on. :)

CHANGE IS FOR THE MIND, THE BODY WILL OBEY ONLY THIS.

Often we have things about ourselves that we want to change. We want to be a bit slimmer, a bit healthier, a bit more muscly. Sometimes we wish we had more energy, better organisational skills, more will power. So what do we do about it? Well, we join a gym and decide to go 4 times a week. We decide to follow a whole new diet, cutting out any and all of the ‘bad’ foods we normally eat. We may decide to go to bed 2 hours earlier every night so we feel more awake in the day or choose to rearrange our house to make it perfectly organised. We decide right then and there that this is the best idea and that we will not stop until we complete all of these things.

So what is a common outcome of this?

We join that gym and go 4 times a week….for the first 3 or 4 weeks….and then it gets in the way of everything, it’s hard and tiring and it’s ok to miss a couple of days a week…the excitement has gone and it’s just hard work, being a regular gym goer just isn’t part of who you are. After clearing out the cupboards of all the foods you are trying to avoid you come home and are really craving something that tastes nice and fills you up, you are bored with the ‘healthy’ stuff and just want a little treat for doing so well, may aswell get something quick and easy and tasty. Soon enough the fresh food in the fridge is thrown away as it has started to go off and the old ways are back in. Going to bed 2 hours earlier was a silly idea because you don’t get everything done in the evening and you simply lie awake for most of that time anyway. Ok it’s the weekend lets rearrange everything in the house. It all begins brilliantly, you are clearing stuff out the cupboards and drawers, throwing things you do not need, there is stuff everywhere that you are in total control of…..wow, there is a lot of stuff, it is everywhere, what should be done first? This isn’t fun anymore and is never going to get finished!

Now I am aware that for a lot of you I may be slightly exaggerating but I think most of us can relate to at least one part of this. So why does it go so wrong?

It is because you are asking yourself to change very drastically, very quickly. You have spent a lot of time and effort towards becoming inactive and unmotivated to train yet overnight you want to become a fitness fanatic? You have become accustomed to your current eating routine and your body habitually craves the foods you are used to eating. You are in a sleeping pattern that you have set in place for weeks, months or even years. You can’t suddenly become tired just because you lie in bed. Trying to rearrange a whole house full of stuff in one day is a ginormous task and if you lack organisational skills to begin with then it can be very overwhelming. You are setting yourself up to fail by asking too much of yourself. If it was that easy to change then none of us would have any problems.

The solution:

Work with your mind to change the habits of your body and character, as a team. The only way change can occur and become a new way of living is to team up with your mind and plant and nurture a will power seed. Taking small steps and setting realistic goals is the best way to a new and improved you. For example:
Instead of jumping in to 4 days of exercise a week, start off with 1 or 2 max. Stick to these days and decide to commit to them, do not give up, even if it gets tough. Stick it out. If you can’t manage 2 days then just stick to 1 until it becomes part of your weekly routine, then introduce another day and as the weeks go on, another day.

Instead of changing everything you eat break it down. Decide one small change to start with. A healthier breakfast 5 days of the week, to drink more water each day, to ask yourself if you are actually hungry or just bored before making something to eat. One small manageable change at a time will help implement new eating habits. The rest of your eating should continue as normal and be guilt free. Remember we are only focusing on one small change at a time and that is the only one we observe and HAVE to stick to.

Try going to bed 20 minutes earlier and turn off all electrical devices 30-60 minutes before this. This won’t make such a big change to your routine and you won’t feel like you are missing so much time.

Choose one small area of your house to organise. One drawer a day or every other day. Don’t push to do more. Stick to what you decide to do. Before you know it you will have a nice organised house.

Be kind to yourself and set small, manageable and realistic goals. Most importantly if you decide to do something make a promise to yourself to complete it and NEVER break a promise you have made to yourself. There is no point in beating yourself up about what you are not doing. Focus on little things you can do and then do them. Always remember that a quick fix will be exactly that and will just as quickly be reversible like I said in my last post – ‘Start small, grow tall!’

Task for today:
Ask yourself this: If you spoke about your friends the way you speak about yourself, would you have any friends left?