Ruthlessly forgiving.

Forgiveness is about you, not the other person. If someone has disrespected you, hurt you, wronged you or treated you in a way that you don’t deserve it is important to be able to forgive them and not hold on to any anger, however, that doesn’t mean they deserve a place in your life. That doesn’t mean you have to allow them your time or company. That is for you to assess yourself. It is not about holding a grudge or being stubborn, it is about you having standards and boundaries. It is about establishing who deserves your time and who doesn’t. You can love someone without being near them or giving them any time at all. If they do not appreciate you for the magnificent being that you are then why are you wasting your time? Why are you using your energy on them instead of someone who will appreciate you. 
You don’t have to go cutting a load of people out of your life but it’s helpful to observe those that are around you and how they treat you, without anger, without resentment, without expectation. Just know what you will and will not tolerate and make no exception! Forgive those who wrong you because they cannot possibly see what is in front of them. But they will, eventually, whether you know it or not…..but that’s none of our business!
Only accepting the best for ourselves Pride!

Build it your way

There is no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’ of doing anything.  There is only the  way it feels right or wrong to you.  There is no higher power saying you must get all A*’s on your school exams or you will be a failure.  There is no higher power saying you must eat with your fork in your left hand or you have no manners and there is no higher power saying you must work for someone else all your life, get married and have children before you are able to relax for 20 years.

There is also no higher power saying that any of the above are wrong.  See where I am going?  Everything we see in society has been created by other humans and we then try to fit in to that way to feel established.  But that isn’t a way of establishing yourself, that is a way of establishing someone else’s influence or idea of ‘right’.

Now I am going to give you some advice but please, feel free to dismiss it, because again, it might not be right for you:

DO WHATEVER YOU FEEL TO DO

Follow your heart, follow your dreams.  Don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done.  Anything can be done.  There is no rule book.  There is no set way of doing things.  The only real thing we do know is that:

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

Apply yourself freely to what you love and you shall reap reward.

Be kind to others and you will create a kinder world.

Love conquers all.

There is no such thing as failure, only a chance to learn.

All of these things need to be remembered.  You do not have to be earning a certain amount by a certain age to be deemed successful.

You do not have to have a 9-5 job to be taken seriously.

You do not have to meet someone and settle down to be considered loveable

You do not have to love women, or men, or both or for that matter, neither.  You should love who you  love (I must question the woman who fell in love with a tree though, but hey, each to their own).

You can create any life you want and by never forgetting that you are a living example to others and you will help them live a free life true to themselves.  Fear is the only thing stopping us so let’s be brave and be everything we want to be.  We are all headed out of this life the same way, don’t spend it following the herd!

Here’s to living Pride!

Live live live!

Follow your heart.  If it feels right then it is the right path for you to take, don’t worry about the money, don’t worry about what others think and don’t wait for something better, live now.  Don’t miss out on something good because it’s not the way you imagined it, keep your expectations relaxed and your standards high and the world will treat you right! 

SCAREDY CAT OR WARRIOR LIONESS?

Are you ever scared? Shy? Embarassed? Nervous? Weak?

Do you ever make mistakes?

Do you break down in front of people?

Do you admit these feelings in front of anyone?

If not, why not?

Somehow, someway, society views admitting these feelings as a sign of weakness. A sign of being dramatic or seeking attention. But we all have these feelings. We all share the same feelings and emotions, our circumstances might all be different and some people will feel some more than others and they will mean different things to different people, but we all have the same feelings and emotions. So why on earth are we made to feel like we should hide some of them?

The only reason we hide these feelings is because of fear. Fear of being judged. Fear of being ridiculed. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of facing them, I could go on and on but you get the idea.

In this life we have two types of feelings – good ones and bad ones. These are then broken into many categories but the bottom line is we either feel good or we feel bad. We need to be able to feel both to appreciate our lives. If you never felt bad you would never understand how great it is to feel good. If you never felt good we would have no purpose.

So again, why do we feel ashamed to feel bad? We need to own it. We need to be true to ourselves. I don’t mean to imply we should tell every passer-by our deepest and most personal fears and worries, but we shouldn’t hold back from talking to someone, or opening up to someone when we feel the need to. We shouldn’t feel silly for how we feel. You are not silly, you are human. Being human means you have a soul operating a fantastically complicated machine and you need to work out how this machine works so that it doesn’t spiral out of control. We cannot do this by ignoring parts of it.

Sometimes we need to vent as a one off and sometimes we need to discuss a problem over and over and over again. There is no set way of opening up and you have to do what you have to do to work through it. Sometimes the best way is to simply talk about it out loud. The chances are that other people have felt something similar and will be able to empathise and even help.

I know I have touched on this subject before but it seems that it is a subject that needs to not only be touched upon, but really and truly fondled!

Taking you so, so seriously as a member of the pride, fellow Lionesses…and of course Lions!

The ‘Single Disease’

Although everything I write about today is true, it is also written with a pinch of salt and a little exaggeration for entertainment value. Today I am a voice for all of us out there that are single and…..wait for it……happy!!!!! I know right? Single and happy? Is that even possible? Well yes it is and guess what, we are sick of being treated like it’s a disease being single.

I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I was in a very long-term relationship for most of my teenage and early adult years and I have also been single for a good while.  I have also dipped my toe in and out of the ‘dating sea’. It is safe to say they are two different worlds.

Being single is seen as somewhat of a curse by all those that are safely coupled up around you (of course with the exception of a few people, but I am talking in general before anyone objects….and then goes back to snuggle with their other half). You are continuously asked about your dating success and when you haven’t found love with a recent ‘potential’ or you are not dating you are thrown looks of pity and given words of encouragement. I would like to point out that in about 98% of these cases we haven’t sought advice on how to console our ‘miserable and lonely’ existences, nor have we implied that we are unhappy being single.

We are also treated like children or animals, by which I mean decisions are made for us that wouldn’t be done if we had a significant other, for example:

  • Where we will sit at events and how we feel about that.
  • Where we will be accommodated and who we will share with – and how we will feel about that
  • What will be done with us when we are amongst a group of other couples – and how we will feel about that
  • What we will be available for and how we can help out – and how we will feel about that
  • What is important in our lives and what is not – and how we feel about those

If we are not on the road to marriage or children – god forbid we have other priorities – then we are seen as lonely and pathetic – we are pitied and decisions need to be made for us (because obviously we can’t make good ones otherwise we would have met someone). Perhaps our careers are taken seriously but that is about it. Now imagine the same considerations listed above were given to a couple – you know, decisions made for them. Oh no I don’t think so, both their individual needs have to be considered in any given situation and it is perfectly acceptable for them both to be as difficult, fussy or demanding as they like. If a single person does this then they are committing a crime or even worse, being irrational. What is it about being in a couple that makes you superior to those that aren’t?

Well, I have some things to say about this:

  • I don’t want to be sat next to your weird nervous friend and expect to be the person that entertains them – If you attempt to do this, I will instead talk non stop about myself and my meaningless existence unless I am paid a wage to do otherwise. Entertainment is to be valued and you pay for what you get – no wage – no entertainment.
  • I am not happy to be placed in a vehicle or room with any Tom, Dick or Harry. Instead, I will place myself at my home, where I will enjoy the company far better and am able to sleep naked and sing to myself.
  • If I am the only person in the group to not have a significant other, leave an extra space at the table or event anyway, we can pretend that one day it will be filled and I will not be unhappy and alone forever – It’s good to dream. Failing that I will bring my cat and we will both beg for extra food.
  • I am busy, always – just assume this. I will not be happy to be a dogs-body. In fact anything you want from me you should request well in advance. My social life is packed full of fun events that are far more tempting than your partners, mothers, friend’s dog’s birthday party. Ask one of your couple friends for help then you get two sets of hands, my nails are far too pretty to work.
  • My life is free and exciting and I am on a road of self discovery. Enlightenment is a stone’s throw away. Everything in my life is valuable and the way I choose it. It is all important. I care much more about my next adventure than your new garden table.
  • I am not gossip for you. Just because you are settling into evenings in front of the television and cleaning nappy’s it does not mean you should look to my dating life – or lack thereof – to get your gossip fix. Yes we notice that you look disappointed when we have none for you. May I recommend Jeremy Kyle instead perhaps.

Being single is not a curse. Settling with someone so you are not alone IS!

I have so much fun in my own company. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want without the responsibility of compromise. Yes falling in love will be great, building a family will be magical and taken into consideration a handful of people before I make any single little decision in my life will surely make me feel more complete than I can ever imagine – when the time is right. Not a moment before because quite frankly, I am totally and utterly in love with myself. I get to explore places, take in the world, learn amazing things and live each day in wonder. I am not lonely being alone. I do not want to rush my life and being me is so much fun. Whilst you are cooking dinner and making children and seeking other couples to double date with I am living my life too, just in my way. I am sleeping in a quiet bedroom that is disturbed only by the sound of my cat purring – this does not make me a lonely cat lady – I am cleaning up after only me – and I am pretty tidy. I am not surrounded by noise and people demanding from me. I still understand priorities because I have my own that are important to me. Just because I don’t want children tomorrow it doesn’t mean I have no meaning in my life. Just because I go for long walks alone or with a friend it does not mean there is no magic in my life.

I am not unhappy and I am not desperately searching for someone to validate my life.

Where is the celebration for this? Where are all the presents for me being me? Where are all the nice clothes and traditions for being independent and happy? Quite frankly your relationships cost far too much, you get married (find someone to have sex with forever)  and have children (by having sex with that person)  and we have to celebrate this and shower you with gifts, it costs us time, money and energy. Where is the celebration for the time we have given you? Where is the celebration for being celibate for so long? Surely that is an achievement? Where is the equality?

All jokes aside, I am very happy for those around me that have found someone truly amazing. It fills me with happiness to see them happy and loved and respected. To see them build families and loving homes is so special. I very much enjoy being around them. But, I wouldn’t trade places with them for the world. I feel that same happiness toward my life. So please, those of you that do any of the above, consider the possibility that your single friends probably don’t want to be you, they probably turn up to a lot of events because they love and support you but may not always want to do the couple thing, family thing or snotty children thing. They are there because they love and support you. Do the same to them and treat them like a respectable adult who has opinions and preferences too.

Here’s to each of you Pride, each one of you individually, coupled up or not. We are all fabulous.

STONE COLD

Often I am told that I am quite ruthless with people. That I will cut someone out of my life all too quickly, in particular, men. The reason they say this is because if I suspect something isn’t right I listen to my instinct, I may sit on the thoughts I have for a little while and observe the situation, but I always listen to me. If I am hearing those all too familiar excuses – however they may be dressed, I walk away. If I am made to feel confused about how someone feels about me, I walk away. If someone’s pride is more important than me, I walk away.

The reason for this is quite simple – I have heard it or seen it all before.

Excuses can be dressed up in so many different outfits by so many different people. The guy himself, your friends, even you will excuse someone’s behaviour, however, it is important to remember that these ARE excuses for behaviour that is less than worthy of the person that you are. Excuses are made to justify actions or behaviours that make us feel unhappy. If someone is treating you right you don’t justify it, you accept it exactly the way it is and accept that the person is kind or caring or considerate – whatever it may be. So why is it that when someone is not making the effort or putting you down or acting suspiciously do we then feel the need to pretend that there is a valid reason?

The answer – Fear!

We fear being rejected, lonely, not important enough. We fear so many things that we tolerate all kinds of terrible behaviour that we shouldn’t tolerate.

So why do I walk away? Do I have a heart of stone? Am I a cold person? Am I fearless?

Well in truth none of the above but I have done one thing. I made a promise to myself and I hate breaking promises. I promised myself that I would not let anyone undervalue my worth. If someone doesn’t treat me the way I deserved to be treated and the way that I would treat them, I walk away – simple as that. In some cases I may act in haste and I may have to apologise for acting abruptly but I have never, ever regretted standing up for myself. For only accepting the best. For not letting someone walk over me. For not being treated and respected as the amazing woman I am. Each time I am true to myself and how I feel and I don’t apologise for who I am I feel proud of myself. I feel faith in myself. I trust me to always have my back and that feeling is priceless. The right person will admire and respect you for you, not try to make you feel like you are ‘needy’ or ‘demanding’ or any other controlling and manipulative terms you might have thrown at you. You should be completely in love with yourself and overjoyed at every part of who you are.

I’m not saying that every time someone irritates you or does something wrong then you cut them out of your life for good with not so much as a blink of your eye, I am however saying that you should be able to recognise when someone is not treating you to a standard you deserve. If you treat that person so much better than they treat you then you have to make some decisions. Perhaps have a conversation about it, perhaps write a letter and explain, whatever you do, don’t justify their behaviour. If it doesn’t make you feel good then something is not right.

This is why it is so important to fall in love with ourselves. To love our imperfectly perfect selves entirely. To know that no one determines our worth. We don’t need to apologise for leaving a situation that doesn’t feel right, we don’t need to justify our feelings, we need to trust them. After all, we will still have ourselves and that is the best person you could ever ask to be stuck with!

Only accept the best Pride!

Be Quiet!

Listen.

Listen, listen, listen.

How often do you take the time to listen to someone else? Do you enjoy talking? Do you enjoy people listening to you? Do you do the same for others?

I mean ask yourself, are you paying attention when someone is talking? Or are you thinking about what to cook for dinner? What homework the kids need to finish? What to wear on the weekend?

People know when you aren’t listening. I mean sure it can be a little obvious if you pick your phone up in the middle of someone talking to check what your friend has tagged you in on facebook, but, even if you are just thinking about something else, people know. They may not always say it, but they know.

For goodness sake listen. Put your phone down for five minutes, take your focus out of your own head and actually listen to the human being who is talking to you. If you don’t want to listen to them then don’t give them your time and let them find someone who will be considerate enough to listen.

If someone I am with is clearly not listening to me when I talk or they pick up their phone, I stop talking. Simple as that. I stop mid-sentence and you wouldn’t believe that so many of those times the other person doesn’t even realise I am no longer talking and when they come back round or put their phone back down they begin talking about themselves, as if I wasn’t in the middle of talking to them in the first place (perhaps I should stop talking about paint drying). These are the people who I no longer waste my efforts talking to about anything important to me because they do not deserve to hear it.

Sometimes your friend, partner or family member will just need you to listen to them, they may not need advice or your opinion but just your ear. So lend it to them. It is important. I am sure you like it when people listen to you.

So challenge for this week: Let’s all shut our mouths a little bit and open our ears and see if we make a difference in someone’s life. It might be just what someone we care about needs.

Listening carefully Pride!

If you don’t know, now you know…

(photo from anonymous source – Facebook)

This is something we all need to be reminded of.  Stop hiding who you are, how you feel and what you think.  When you feel you are being walked over – say it, don’t allow it, show them who is boss – do something!  When someone has upset you tell them, cry about it, have a tantrum and then say sorry for over reacting but be you!  You are glorious and wonderful and magnificent and HUMAN!  Stop hiding this.  Stop being embarrassed of this.  Stop doubting yourself and your actions.  You can always apologise if you do something wrong. Hiding who you are is wrong to yourself, to your wonderful soul.

Put on that crown and show the world who is boss!

Always be kind pride and watch the jewels sparkle!

HATE YOURSELF BEAUTIFUL

So there seems to be this worldwide phenomenon, a way of working towards the ideal you. You can reach utter perfection just by following this simple tip. All you have to do is hate yourself perfect. How on earth can I reach the perfect me I hear you ask? Well I will tell you:

  • Feel too fat? Just hate every inch of you that you think is fat!
  • Feel too thin? Just hate all the skinniest parts of you, look at each rib in disgust!
  • Feel too tall? Look at all of those that are shorter than you and put them higher up than you in worth!
  • Feel too pale? Look at yourself in the mirror and point out how disgusting you are
  • Feel you aren’t smart? Easy, envy all those that you think are clever and tell yourself you are stupid!

Does the above work well for an advert? No? There is something wrong with this tactic? Are you telling me you wouldn’t go and see a ‘hate yourself perfect’ life coach????? Well there goes that money-making scheme!

The thing is though, nearly everybody uses this technique in some part of their lives to motivate them to change. Here is the thing though:

YOU CANNOT HATE YOURSELF TO IMPROVE!

This means:

  • You cannot hate yourself healthy
  • You cannot hate yourself happy
  • You cannot hate yourself beautiful
  • You cannot hate yourself to success

For a start each of these goals listed above mean something different to everyone. What you think is beautiful is the complete opposite of beauty to someone else. What you think it means to be healthy is the complete opposite to someone else. What you think it means to be happy is the complete opposite to someone else. What you define as success is the complete opposite to someone else.

Do you see the pattern here?

Truly happy, successful, healthy and beautiful people have certain traits in common:

  • They appreciate themselves
  • They are attracted to themselves
  • They recognise their strengths
  • They acknowledge changes they want to make and enjoy working to change.
  • They don’t compare themselves to others
  • They don’t try to fit in

Hating yourself does one thing – It makes you feel bad. So stop!

Easier said than done right? I mean hating any part of yourself has required work and dedication. It has taken a lot of time and effort. So how can we change this?

We have to start recognising this behaviour as it happens and then we can start to change it. So here is a simple exercise to start doing this. Standing in front of the mirror I want you to look at yourself and say:

I am amazing. I am perfect. I am smart and I am beautiful. I love me.

Now I know that this can be particularly hard to do especially if you don’t believe any of this so if you find it a struggle I want you to imagine you did believe it, imagine how you would feel if you believed all of these. Imagine how you would stand, how you would smile, how you would brush your hair. How you would adjust your clothes. How you would walk past the mirror. Just imagine and then pretend you are that person JUST while you say those statements.

One more exercise I want you to try is one where you can call upon your ILV (Inner Lioness Voice). This one takes a bit more effort in recognising your own thoughts. Every time you hear yourself wishing you were different or putting yourself down I want you to stop and say to yourself

Excuse me, don’t say those things about me, I am wonderful and amazing and shame on you for thinking anything else. Get out of here!

Not only that but I want you to feel annoyed with that other voice, as if it is a person. How dare it try to put you down. That is not a kind thing to do and you won’t stand for it.

Now you are either excited to try this or worried about the amount of voices in my head but just give it a try. Print this out or write down the exercises and just try them. If they don’t work at all then you have lost nothing but you should demand the very best for yourself because you are worth it (sorry Loreal for stealing your tagline).

Admiring your greatness Pride!

THE PERMISSION TO HAVE THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH

You have the right to say whatever you want.  You are free to speak your truth….right? That is in fact what we are told, yes? How many of you actually have the courage to say what you really feel without being judged or ‘told off’ for it?

In the workplace for example, a more senior member of staff holds a meeting and is talking about new ideas to improve the company, he/she gives a spiel about a brand new idea to improve a current system and you feel that it is a bad idea, do you speak up? If you speak up do you feel you will be listened to or is it likely you will be penalised for speaking against them? I am actually referring to a story I was told recently. A friend of mine spoke up and gave her reasons why she didn’t agree that the new idea would make staff feel valued or happy in their job. The senior member of staff then went on to ‘acknowledge’ what she said by saying in a not-so-direct way that they didn’t want people like her in the company. She was left feeling worried that there would be repercussions for her input and that she could get into trouble.

I can almost understand, in a workplace, if you were to get up for example in a meeting and say ‘oy baldy, you are talking an absolute load of crap, this is rubbish’. But to actually be made to feel like you will lose your job for questioning a new idea and considering the effects it would have on the employees of the company is just unacceptable to me.

I work for myself and many people who have worked with me before almost laugh and joke that I am ‘unemployable’. As an employee I can be difficult. Why you ask? Because I cannot keep my mouth shut. Too many companies employ staff that get away with treating other employees badly and most importantly illegally. I was never someone who liked to lose an argument so I would always know my rights. I would speak up for myself and I would always speak up if I witnessed someone else being treated badly. Yes, it can be scary and many people wanted to get me out of the job because they didn’t like me standing up to them. They never succeeded though because I wasn’t just shouting and screaming aimlessly or through anger. I was standing up for what I believed in.

Now I am not suggesting you should all go and shout at your bosses but, I do believe in this world you should never be afraid to say what you feel is right. You should approach it calmly and with reason behind it but you should never be bullied into silence. By anyone. The rude next door neighbour, the friend who always lets you down, the manager that tries to belittle you, the policeman/woman who think they can speak down to you because they have a badge or even the Queen. Nobody is better than you and nobody can actually own your freedom. They can just convince you they do and make it scary to take control of it yourself. So pick your battles wisely and always be true to yourself and stand strong. We all enter this world the same way and we all leave it the same way and we all survive on food and water. That is that. Don’t put anyone on a throne higher up than you.

The same goes with relationships and dating. I have seen and experienced far too many times one person ridiculing the other for their beliefs or preferences. It seems that this tactic of mocking someone is in hopes that they can sway the opinion of the other person to give in to the THEIR way of thinking. Well it is not on. If you want someone to agree with you and do as you say then go and pay for it, there are services that provide that. It’s not real. If someone laughs at you or mocks you for not being ready for something or thinking a certain way, stand true to yourself. Their way of persuasion is not an intelligent one or a correct one. It is an immature way of belittling you and manipulating you to give in. Laugh it off and simply say ‘you don’t have to agree with me but there is no point in trying to push me to feel another way, that is how I feel and that is that.’ You will be amazed at how powerful you feel when you stand up for yourself.

The truth is we do have freedom of speech, no one can stop us talking. They can only scare us or bully us into believing we can’t speak up. You are the one that gives you permission to talk freely. Nobody else. So own it. Know that you are free and entitled to say and think whatever you want. Just choose wisely when, why and what you are saying and always remember words that hurt others don’t define the other person, they define the person saying them.

Speak loud and free Pride!