Spring clean your life.

springAfter what seemed like a pretty harsh winter (am I a woos?)  –  Spring has finally sprung and with that a brilliant reason to refine the ‘stuff’ we have been accumulating, hoarding and growing like a wild crop of kale in our garden.

As we de-clutter, it’s also a good time to think about a good clean out for the mind. Marie Kondo (dubbed the Queen of clean) says “Tidying is just a tool., not the final destination. When your room is clean and uncluttered you have no choice but to examine your inner state“.

Think about what’s in your wardrobe. There are the classics which make you look and feel great. Your favourite leather jacket, your go to shoes for ‘heels and earrings’ nights or for men, your favourite white basic tee which makes you feel awesome. However if you’re honest there a few items you’re ‘waiting to fit’, an old flames t-shirt and a pair of jeans which will definitely come back into fashion (do they really ever?) or a top from your Mum that never really worked for you.  Kondo says you must review your wardrobe and ask does this bring me JOY?  If not, it needs to go.

Our mind is a bit like a wardrobe. It stores useful and not so useful items but how often do we edit the data we’re storing in there? Let’s just look at our beliefs as an example.

A belief is simply a feeling of certainty about something.  For many of us our M.O. (modus operandi) is to operate off the basis of beliefs formed about ourselves when we’re kids and we never re-visit them to review how much reality there is actually behind it.

As you Spring clean your wardrobe,  garage or kitchen this month and put back the items that are going to stay, do this too with your mind. What is useful? What needs to be removed and replaced with something to get you moving in the direction you want?

For your spring edit of your wardrobe: Marie Kondo emphasises learning to let go (works on so many levels). Be honest with the “might need  it down the track” pattern. If the favorite but slightly too tight jeans have served their purpose but no longer bring you joy or are relevant to who you are as a person, let someone else benefit from them.

Try this belief detox: Write down your top ten beliefs about yourself. Which ones are working for you? Great, they stay. The ones that aren’t need to go. Depending on how old that belief is you may need to work with someone externally. However for now,  experiment with remembering where the belief came from. Was it something you overheard as a kid at school? Did a parent or elder tell you directly? Go back to that time and look at the situation as an adult now. How much gravitas have you given one comment? Are you holding onto it like your safety blanket? What are you getting from keeping this belief about yourself (you’re getting something otherwise you wouldn’t be holding onto it). Finally your old belief needs to be replaced with a new one and evidence of it. So if you want to fit your favourite jeans, have a belief you’re worth it and set up systems and habits to make it easy for yourself.

 One final edit – social media. We might not feel like we can get away from it but we can choose  how often we engage with social media and what we see. We seem to feel like watching people who are skinnier, more flexible and have more glamorous lives than us will make us feel more awesome. But if you’re waking up every morning to images or rants which aren’t cool for you – detox away. I am officially unsubscribing to any more breakfast bowls & any impossible yoga poses. Yes, some of it can be inspiring but if it’s not making you feel alive, invigorated and happy with yourself, you have a choice. Follow or unfollow.

The Momentum Series kicks off on Monday 12th of October.  A focus will be around de-cluttering your mind as well as becoming clear on your intentions for 2016.

Sign up for some lovin’ this Valentine’s Day.

So, yes yes it’s Valentine’s Day this week. And as the smug happy loved up ones prepare in excitement and the not so in love ones make plans to avoid it, I decided to go on a completely different tangent and make a big deal of SELF LOVE. Before you barf in a bucket or think I’m going on some vain rant please hear me out.

A quick google revealed a few stories around the origins of Valentine’s Day but the most consistent is based on a Roman priest from around the 3rd century who allowed soldiers to be married against the Emperor’s law. He was martyred and later canonized. The first actual  Valentine’s Day card professing one keen punters true love however was not send until around 1840.

Controversially this Saturday I’m proposing we all take a little moment for ourselves –  whether you’re loved up with someone or not – give yourself some self-love time.  Without sounding particularly dodgy or suggesting you buy yourself a new Audi Quattro or Tiffanys earrings let me explain.

Every week I meet many resilient, good looking, smart men and women single and in relationships who often appear very self-confident. However somewhere along the way they have decided that they are not worthy or loveable and look for ‘evidence’ to help prove their point – “No one looked at me at the pub” “I never heard back from that chick, I must be a loser”, “I’m not smart enough to have my own business”   and they build up a big database of ‘facts’ to fall back on when rationalising their situation. And then when someone does say something nice about them it means the absolute world because they are in a habit of looking for external validation to make themselves feel good.

And how do I know all this so well? Yes, from my clients but also that was most certainly me for quite a long period in my twenties and early thirties.

I would cringe when people said ‘you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else’, I would run if people said ‘just start by loving yourself’ and eventually I gave in and just said yeah, of course I do. But like a wise woman or two have told me it is not what you say but it is the action you take that counts.

And when I look back, those actions they were not too great. I loved to go out, have too many vinos and then become ‘entertainment on wheels’ by getting people to laugh at my ridiculous stories of encounters with blokes, a faux pas at work or just a general public embarrassment like walking around the city with my skirt tucked into my undies.  I loved the laughs I received, the validation I felt from making people say “Oh my god Bec, you are hysterical” and the popularity I felt.

speakself

The problem with this was over time these stories were wearing down the Bec love. Every single bad word/story I said about myself my ego heard. Like a good quote I read the other day “Be careful what you say about yourself, you are listening”. And my mind didn’t get to hear it just once. Oh no, I have a large circle of lovely friends across the globe so each story was retold like a stuck record numerous times.  And as we know the survival part of our mind absorbs negative thoughts like Velcro and any positives are like Teflon which allowed the old ego to gather plenty of repetitive evidence over time to say Bec, you are not worthy of your own lovin’. While others were being entertained I was starting to feel like rubbish.

I was also not ‘being’ true to myself about what I really wanted to do in terms of career. I stayed in a ‘safe’ job for years but I knew it wasn’t where my passion lay and I felt disappointed and frustrated with myself that I didn’t have the guts to get on with something I found more fulfilling.  I was also trying to gain the approval of others close to me to ‘do the right thing’. Worrying about getting approval from others is very debilitating.  As I read somewhere once  – the amount of approval you require from others is in direct correlation to how you feel about your own self-worth. The less you have for yourself the more you require from others.

Once I let go of trying to be the entertainment dolly bird and getting approval from everyone (self-acceptance is a big part of this but that’s another blog topic) and focused on what was going to make me truly happy in a career and then actually doing the gutsy out of comfort zone stuff that made me proud, the self-love and respect slowly began to build. Becoming more mindful and present, taking good of my body, staying centered and holding myself to my values and boundaries all contributed. Going a little easier on myself when life wasn’t going to plan, being open to learn from my mistakes and surrounding myself with ultra supportive family and friends were key too. It’s very much still all a work in progress but the self-love odometer is look a lot healthier. Though yes, I still share the odd ridiculous story now and then. You have to be able to laugh at yourself right?

But wait. Isn’t all this self-love getting a bit selfish, self-centered, self-absorbed and self-oriented? Sure, there are some folk who can take it a little far, giving themselves a sense of entitlement and being unable to learn from their failures. However for the majority of us the more self-love you have, the more you encourage others around you to express themselves in a similar light, allowing for healthier relationships and welcoming in people and situations which support you on your life project.  It’s a win-win.

So this Saturday set aside some time for thinking about where your self-love is at. Does it need some tweaking or re-engineering? I know of a few friends who have a good half hour of self-love every morning (!) with exercise, journaling or meditating just to keep them focused and centered especially when they are feeling a bit off balance. As a famous kiwi icon Rachael Hunter said (in a Pantene ad no less) “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”.

Valday