BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND

Too often I come across women who just do not value themselves as they should, we all do it from time to time but it has got to stop. We need to be our own support system and then we can really be each others too.

Think about a time when your best friend has fallen for the wrong guy, you know he’s not worthy of her, her other friends know it and you know deep down she knows it too, but there is no stopping her. You listen to her cry down the phone about how badly he has been treating her as she wails that she doesn’t know what to do. How do you feel? What do you say to her? How often has it been one of the following:

⦁ You deserve so much better
⦁ You are amazing don’t let him make you think otherwise
⦁ Why do you put up with this, he’s never going to change
⦁ I hate seeing you this unhappy I wish you could see what I see

For our best friend we will say this over and over and over until we can say it no more. So what happens when you are in the same position. Sure your best friend says the same to you but what do YOU say to you?

What I want to know is why we can preach such good advice but we struggle to practice it. This is where we have to introduce ourselves to our own best friend voice, your inner Lioness voice (ILV). Once we give our ILV a microphone we can start walking our talk. You can listen to your ILV in your head or out loud. So often you will see me talking away to myself as if I am two people. When faced with a situation I always consult my inner Lioness to see what she has to say. The trick in doing this is to pretend your best friend is in that situation. What would you say to her. Would you question going back to the cheating boyfriend? Your first thoughts might want to excuse his behaviour – ‘it was just once’ ‘he was drunk and didn’t mean to’. Ok, let’s consult your ILV, what would you say to your best friend – ‘If he loved you he wouldn’t disrespect you’, ‘if he can do it once he can do it again’. Ok so why on earth are you going to make excuses to tolerate this behaviour? Why shouldn’t you follow your own advice? If you truly believe in what you are saying then you need to be a bit stronger and value yourself AND your advice.

So that is the challenge for this week, learning to be our own best friend and catching any damaging thoughts and putting a stop to them.

What is your ILV going to say to you first?

HAVE YOU SWEPT YOUR DOORSTEP?

Something I hear alot from people is what and who they are. A constant reminder of their qualities and traits. I often find that what people spend their time telling others that they ‘aren’t’ or ‘are’ are usually the exact type of things that THEY aren’t or are.

I also notice the things they talk about disliking in others often contribute to a big part of their own make up.

Bearing this in mind I started to observe the things I was saying to other people. I would notice things I woud say often about myself, in particular the things I would say I didn’t like in others. I actually realised I wasn’t all the things I thought I was and I saw similarities of my dislikes in myself. I noticed that some of the things I was saying about who I was were actually traits of who I wanted to be, but I wasn’t actually being them.

I feel it is so important to express the value of observing people around you. In particular when someone tries to put you down. I find it so interesting that people will subtly attack someone else for traits that they in fact have in themselves. It’s almost hypocritical except I honestly think that they believe they are different.

Being aware of this provides us with a good opportunity to be able to look inside ourselves, to grow and to learn more about who we are and why we are that way. It is also an opportunity to observe our judgement of others. Do you really know who you are or do you try to convince the world you are the way you want to be?

Easy to say, how do we do?

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Are you doing this? Are you in control of both of these in your life? If you are then please share tips on how because you could help empower a fellow lioness in training.

When you are alone you need to remember you have your own best friend inside of you that should stand up to any negativity. When you are around others you should try lifting them up by acknowledging their strengths and successes.

These are two of my ways, what are some of yours?

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?

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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?