How To Be Your Best Self

How T Be Your Best Self

Be Your Best SelfHave you ever asked yourself how you could  be your best self? I have, and I used to think that meant struggle but no more.

Now I believe that the first step to being the best you can be is to take words like struggle, hard, strive, work etc., out of the equation.

I was reading a blog post today by a couple of very popular bloggers and they have clearly come to a very different conclusion about this. They wrote, “YOU need to do HARD things to be HAPPY in life”. They go on to say this is because, “the hard things ultimately build you up and change your life.”

Is this true?

Is going hard the best way?

Why do you want to be your best self?

Because you believe it will bring you happiness.

Is struggle your idea of happiness?

Can the destination really be different to the journey?

Choices

HappinessThink of every choice you make as a decision to put your boat in the water and paddle either with the current or against the current. Going with the current is going to get you where we want to go a lot faster and a lot more easily than paddling against it.

Paddling with the current is working with your needs profile and is how you will most effectively meet your needs, because that’s what life is all about. Everything you do everyday is an attempt to meet a need.

But what if what you want is against the current? There are infinite ways to meet your needs and you will find plenty of options when you choose to go with the current. Go with the flow of your life, don’t try and go against it.

You can never be your best self while you are forcing your way against the flow of your life.

Paddling against the current can seem like the only option but you are chasing a want rather than a need.

A want is something that you think will make you happy or at least prevent pain, a need is something that will actually make you happy.

It might seem easier to hang on to destructive habits or a lack of healthy habits like exercise, but that’s paddling against the current. No one needs to be unhealthy and endure all the associated outcomes. What keeps you heading in that direction is all the stories you are telling yourself about why your choices are a good idea.

  • I don’t care about my weight
  • I’ve tried everything and nothing works
  • I can’t give up smoking
  • I need alcohol to wind down
  • I hate exercise

The Best Way to Make Change is as Comfortably as Possible

How T Be Your Best SelfThere’s a process of creating new habits and making new neural pathways which can seem uncomfortable but a lot of that discomfort comes down to how you think about it. If you tell yourself something is hard it will be hard. If you think what you’re doing is enjoyable it will be. Maybe not at once, but it will happen.

Unless you actively use your mind to be your biggest supporter, it will be your biggest challenger. Unless you turn your thoughts to supporting your actions you’re unlikely to be successful with them in the long term.

If you’re trying to lose weight and you keep telling yourself that you miss your treats, your food is boring, or it’s not fair that you can’t eat like your skinny sister, you probably won’t succeed. Change your thoughts to something that is true for you but supports your goal.

“I miss my treats,” ➡️ “I’m finding some really nice new snack food that keeps me losing weight (and follow up with action to do that)

“This food is boring,”  ➡️  “I’m finding some really interesting new food I can eat.” (and follow up with action to do that)

“It’s not fair that I can’t eat like my skinny sister.” ➡️  “I can have anything I want in small quantities.”

Building skills through practise, changes something from hard to easy and changing your MINDSET is the hardest thing you need to do!

Repetition is the way that your body, including your brain learns. Repeated thoughts and actions will become your reality.

Change requires commitment but it will only be as hard as you make it. By heading with the current towards your needs, rather than chasing what you think you want, you will become your best self and find happiness faster.

For clarity around your particular needs you can download a needs profile checklist in the sidebar.

If you are feeling stressed and anxious check out our online course here.

Thanks for reading 😊

As always if you have any questions, comments or feedback we would love to hear from you in the comments below. Your comments help others by your sharing and they also help this post to rank in Google where people can find it amongst all the online noise. So if this is something you think is valuable please take the time to leave a comment below before you go.

Thanks again

Deb🌻

How to Improve your Relationship

Good Relationships

RelationshipsJust a heads-up 😊 We made it into the top 100 Personal Development blogs on Feedspot this week👍 .

Chances are that over the past few months you have been spending more time with your significant other than ever before. How is that working for you? Has the closeness of contact brought you closer together, or has it driven you further apart? The answer to that question is likely to depend on whether your relationship is based on Internal or External Control Psychology.

Internal and External Control Psychology

What do these terms mean? In simple practical terms, external control is when you have a belief that, “if only he, she, it or they were the way I believe they should be, then I would be happy.” Your efforts are then primarily focused on trying to make them be the way you think they should be. Internal control differs in that when he, she, it or they are not the way you would like them to be, you self-evaluate your own behaviour and work out what you can do differently to get a better result.

The dominant psychology of external control is so endemic that really good people are caught up in it without understanding that what they are doing is destructive. It starts early in a relationship when one party begins to take a controlling position. “This is how things have to be…”, “Don’t do this or say that….” ,”This is how I want things to be..” and a myriad of similar statements.

On the surface it seems reasonable, they have probably been told somewhere that what they are doing is being assertive and believe that they are simply stating what they want from the relationship. However if it isn’t balanced with an effort to find out what the other wants and to negotiate something that works for both, then it is controlling and damaging to the relationship.

It may even seem to work for a while, as long as the other person is prepared to go along with it for the sake of the relationship. However this can’t last, as resentment builds up and the other starts to fight for what they want or may even withdraw from the relationship altogether. This fighting or withdrawal may last days, weeks, months, years or even decades, but eventually the relationship will fail.

Over the years Jeff has worked with numerous couples in counselling and has concluded that there are several things necessary if a relationship is to survive and ultimately to thrive.

Responsibility

  • Taking responsibility for your own actions is essential if your relationship is to survive. As long as you blame your partner for how you are feeling, thinking and doing, then little progress will be made.

Self EvaluationFeel Better

  • William Glasser’s quote, ” I have noticed that happy people are constantly evaluating themselves and unhappy people are constantly evaluating others” has great relevance here. Successful relationships are the result of the participants focusing on self evaluation and choosing more successful behaviours for themselves, rather than judging each other’s behaviours.

Let it Go if you Can

  • Pick your battles. Before you decide that something needs to be changed, think carefully about whether it actually does. Does it really matter if your partner doesn’t colour code the pegs when they hang out the washing? The simplest solutions to you feeling better about it might be your acceptance of it, or for you to do it yourself.
  • If it is a bigger problem which really does impact on your ability to meet your needs, not just your wants, then negotiate fairly. Come up with something that works for both of you. Remember, if it works for you but not your partner, the relationship will be damaged.
  • If you can’t negotiate over something that is important for you to be able to meet your needs, you will have to decide whether you can accept it for the survival of the relationship or not.
  • If you are the victim of domestic violence, whether emotional, financial or physical your should seek support. You can do this by searching online for domestic violence assistance in you area, or by connecting with a good counsellor or psychologist. If you believe you are in immediate danger you should call the police.

The Only Person You can Control is You

  • This is a critical thing to understand. The belief that if I just keep coming back to the issue often enough, long enough and hard enough, that eventually I will wear you down and win…. is the dry rot which destroys the foundation of any relationship. If your relationship is very strong to begin with, and while it is new, it may not seem to have a damaging effect. But that is the nature of dry rot, it quietly works away without you noticing……until the whole structure collapses.
  • If something is not working for you, you should focus on what you can do to make it better.

Perceptions

  • It’s important to understanding that how your partner sees things is as real to them as how you see things is to you. Respect and acceptance, even if you don’t agree with your partner, are connecting and will put you in a better position to negotiate fairly than nagging and ridiculing them.

Feelings and Motivation

  • None of us knows what another is thinking or what they are feeling. Resist telling your partner that you know better than them what they are thinking and feeling and what motivates their behaviour. Accept what they tell you and move on to what you are going to do so it works better for both of you.

Future Focus

  • No one can change the past. A willingness to focus on how you can improve your relationship ……..rather than on how it has been, is important in order to move forward. Acknowledge what each believes has happened, but shift quickly to jointly creating a picture of how you want it to be in the future.
Good Relationships
Photo by Văn Thắng from Pexels

Sexual Satisfaction

  • Typically sexual satisfaction is higher when everything else in a relationship is working well. Dissatisfaction over sex is still relatively common however, whether you’re with a new partner or have been partnered for many years. 
  • Jeff has designed an online quiz to help you better understand your own sexual needs and those of your partner. It’s free, anonymous and only you get to see your results.  Click here if you would like to complete the quiz

Couples in successful relationships put the health of the relationship before the wants of the individual. We all have needs that must be met, but our wants are only one of an infinite number of possible ways to meet those. A willingness to give up what you want so that you can better get what you need, is the hallmark of a healthy, creative and mature approach to a relationship.

If you would like further assistance with your relationship, please use the contact us page. We can answer any further questions or arrange online or face to face counselling and support.

Please also share a comment below, your engagement will help others and also give me ideas about what kinds of things I should write about in future posts.

Thanks for reading

Deb 🙂

 

5 Self Care Tips for Nurturing Yourself

5 Tips for Nurturing Yourself

5 Tips for Nurturing Yourself

The Greatest Gift you can Give Yourself

The greatest gift you can give yourself is learning how to nurture yourself, how to give yourself what you need, and how to not feel guilty about it. This is not to say you shouldn’t nurture others and allow others to nurture you, but building a foundation of self-care, where you take responsibility for meeting your own needs is the strongest foundation you can have. Nurturing your friends and family by supporting them to meet their needs is the strongest foundation on which to build relationships.

It’s easier to accept these words than to live them, so as promised here are some tips to get you started.

1. Set Boundaries

Boundaries come in all areas of life but it makes sense to begin setting boundaries wherever you need to most. For some people, the most important place to start is in relationships. This might be relationships in general or in one to two specific relationships. Where do you feel that you need to shore up your boundaries? Are you able to negotiate a fairer boundary so that the relationship (or relationships), can continue but in a more reasonable way?

Other types of boundaries relate to time and space. Everyone needs balance in their life because everyone has a number of different needs to meet: survival, love and belonging, fun, freedom, power.  Although some needs will be more important to you than others, if you spend too much time on one need and neglect others it will not be sustainable. If you allow yourself to become a workaholic, for example, you may be meeting your power needs but you will have little freedom or fun, and your health will inevitably suffer which will impact your survival needs. If you would like to learn more about your specific needs.

If you would like to read more about needs and what your needs profile pop your details in the form on the sidebar.

2. Cultivate Self Awareness

The better you know yourself the more effectively you will be able to nurture yourself. Invest some time in understanding your needs, your perspectives, and your ideas about what brings you happiness (your Quality World Pictures).  Observe your thoughts, challenge thoughts that don’t serve you, and replace them with thoughts that do. Work on cultivating a growth mindset. 

3. Invest time in Relationships and Relaxation

A Balanced LifeNeeds that are most often neglected are love and belonging, fun, and freedom. If you don’t prioritize meeting these needs you can easily sacrifice them for power and survival needs (work and money). You might get away with this for a while but it will catch up with you. Don’t wait for other people to force you to take a break or until you are so burned out that you have no choice. Life should be joyful but there is little chance of achieving a joyful life if you don’t create areas of relaxation, fun, and connection with other people that you enjoy. Creating a balanced life is not frivolous it is fundamental.

4. Find Work that is Meaningful and Enjoyable

Life is too short not to createLife is too short and too precious to spend too long doing work that is unenjoyable and unrewarding. You might not be able to throw in a job that is not meeting your needs right away but you can plan an exit strategy. Alternatively, you could work on yourself and on your job so that you are a better fit for each other.

Your needs will stay the same throughout your life but how well they are being met and the way you meet them don’t need to. Thankfully you are no longer confined to the career you decided on when you finished your formal education. As you become more self-aware and as you grow and develop, your potential for making a living in ways that successfully meet a number of your needs is far more likely than when you first entered the job market.

5. Let go of what you Can’t Control 

The only thing that you can control is you. You can control your thoughts and your actions. That is about it and that is enough, especially when you consider that many people don’t even do that. Letting go of what you can’t control is challenging but it is more painful to invest your time and energy in things you can’t control. Fortunately, however, there is usually something you can do about most situations. Take Covid, for example, you can’t do anything about the pandemic, or the restrictions, but there is a great deal you can do about how you respond. You can stay connected to loved ones via video calls, you can begin an exercise regime you love, you can start a new hobby, and possibly the most valuable thing you can do is train yourself to be optimistic.  The idea isn’t to do nothing but that you focus on what you can control, which is always your response.

If your thoughts and actions are in line with what you want in life then you have a good chance of achieving your goals. If despite all your work you can’t achieve your goals there is no shame in resetting them. Continuing to chase the unattainable is probably not going to meet your needs, but if you have given a goal your very best shot there is bound to be something that has come out of all that work that you can channel your aspirations into.

Self-care is about so much more than a healthy diet, exercise, getting enough sleep, and the odd meditation. Of course, all those things contribute to self-care but they are just some of the tools you can use to meet your needs. Understanding your needs and how you can arrange your life in order to meet your specific needs profile is the crux of nurturing yourself. If you would like to learn more about how you can do this pop your details in the sidebar and we’ll send you a Needs Profile.