Awareness

Many people feel unhappy in their lives and they want things to be different. The first major step to change involves making one important connection. Realising that the only person you can change is yourself. From there, the rest is easy! Okay, maybe not easy. But if you spend your days blaming everyone around you for your own unhappiness, you’ll have a hard time moving forward.

Change is something that can be very scary. Even if we are doing negative things over and over, knowing they are not helping us, we continue. Often because it’s familiar, the familiar can be very comforting. The unknown is scary and what proof do we have that we’ll be any better off? The truth is, you don’t. But a good indicator that things may need changing is how happy you feel, how truly happy you feel. Ask yourself some important questions:

  • Are there a long list of things you want to change in your life?
  • Do you feel there is something lacking, an emptiness within you?
  • Do you assume everyone hates their job/living situation/life?

Maybe you are surrounded by friends and family who like yourself, feel that life is crap. To be completely honest, I would answer ‘no’ to all of the above questions. I love my life and in the past if I didn’t, I changed it. But I first had to start asking the hard questions and answer honestly.

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You don’t have to be miserable and not everyone is. However, ‘misery loves company’ so those really negative people can bring you down. They can make you feel as though happiness isn’t attainable. I promise you it is. But it starts with yourself. You need to look at your thoughts and feelings and decide if you want to continue on the path you are on.

All you need to do is begin to notice how you speak to yourself about the world around you. Maybe you’ve been looking through a negative lens for so long you weren’t aware things could be different. Awareness seems like such a small step, but it is so important. You cannot change that which you aren’t aware of. Once you have gained awareness then speaking negative is a choice. Once again the responsibility is on you to change.

Good luck and remember, awareness isn’t about beating yourself up for being (or not being) a certain way. It’s about noticing something and saying ‘Hmm, that’s interesting.’

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”  – C.G. Jung

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Comparisons

One thing that has become very evident to me is how dangerous it is to compare ourselves to others. Many of us walk around life making assumptions. We assume the man with the nice car has his life sorted with a great job. We imagine that the beautiful woman is happier. We gain very little knowledge about someone in a glance. While you are putting those around you on a pedestal, you are lowering yourself below it.

When you don’t witness the nitty gritty of everyday life it is very easy to assume others are doing better than you are. However, at some point in their lives everyone struggles and overall very few people feel ‘sorted’. But when you spend your time and energy making up wonderful lies about those around you, you drain the joy from your own experience.

Sally got a new job. Michael got engaged. Social media can lead to these comparisons happening more often, which leads to us judging ourselves more harshly. I don’t imagine you have often read an update that said, ‘Spent all week in my pyjamas, didn’t have the energy to go outside.’ or ‘I’m so lonely.’ Although we all have times like that.

We all want the outside world to see our best selves. It’s safer. Often we distract others with false smiles and things we cannot afford.

Instead of jumping to conclusions about how perfect the lives of others are, reflect on your own journey. You have struggled and fought and you have made it to this point. Assuming others are better than you detracts from all you have done and earned. Put that energy to better use, if you are unhappy change. (Easier said then done, I know that.)

Instead of wishing you were someone else, wish you were your best self. Then start doing what you need to make that happen.

“Don’t underestimate your worth by comparing yourself with others.” – Jaachynma N.E. Agu

A good read

January certainly feels like a month to hibernate. If like myself you find the evenings too dark and the air too chilled, perhaps picking up a new book is something you want to do.

I love books that offer a fresh perspective, a new way to look at the world around us. Below I offer a list of some things I have read over the years that either made me intrigued, content, baffled or a long list of other emotions that reading can trigger. I have supplied the title, the author and the description. The rest is up to you. Happy reading!

Life Between Life – Joel L. Whitton, Joe Fisher  : The ancient Tibetans called it bardo. Doctor Joel L. Whitton, metaphysical expert and researcher, calls it metaconsciousness. It’s the wondrous state that occurs after death – the threshold of consciousness that separates one incarnation from another.

The Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Miracles and Belief – Gregg Braden : In 1944, Max Planck, the father of quantum theory, shocked the world by saying that this “matrix” is where the birth of stars, the DNA of life, and everything between originates. Recent discoveries reveal dramatic evidence that Planck’s matrix – “The Divine Matrix” – is real. It is this missing link in our understanding that provides the container for the universe, the bridge between our imagination and our reality, and the mirror in our world for what we create in our beliefs.

The Secret – Rhonda Byrne : In this book, you’ll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life — money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You’ll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that’s within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life.

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Bossypants – Tina Fey : Bossypants is an autobiographical comedy book written by American comedian Tina Fey.

E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality – Pam Grout : E-Squared could best be described as a lab manual with simple experiments to prove once and for all that reality is malleable, that consciousness trumps matter, and that you shape your life with your mind.

The Secret History of The World – Jonathan Black, Mark Booth : A complete history of the world, from the beginning of time to the present day, based on the beliefs and writings of the secret societies.

Yes Please – Amy Poehler : In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love, friendship, parenthood and real life advice.

“We read to know we’re not alone.” – William Nicholson

A gift to yourself

The only thing any of us can control are our reactions and the only people we can change are ourselves. If you want to make a positive change for yourself check out this 8 week course for a happy new you.

You can learn:

  • how to have more confidence
  • increase your self esteem
  • feel less stressed and anxious
  • the skills to attain your own personal goals

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The course is offered in Dublin city centre and begins the 19th of January from 7 – 9.30pm. The cost is €320 for the eight weeks where snacks and materials will be provided.

If you feel like you want the new year to start with a new more positive you, I recommend you get moving as places are limited.

For more information contact Gerry: siochancounselling@gmail.com

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” – Libba Bray

Resolutions

As today is New Year’s Eve I imagine many of you have started thinking about resolutions. The most common ones people choose are to loose weight, quit smoking or join a gym. It’s not that these are bad things to aspire to change. But often times the reason people are over weight, have addictions or don’t give themselves the time they deserve is not acknowledged.

Perhaps if you want to make some positive changes in your life you should start with why you want to make a change. Do you want to loose 10 pounds because you don’t feel as comfortable in yourself as you would like? Or because you think you’re fat and ugly? Before you make changes look at reasons behind them.change-4-1imepyc

It has also been found that making a large list of resolutions is never a good idea. What happens is that when one resolution isn’t reached, we think we might as well throw out the rest as well. So start small.

Observe the way you think about yourself. Notice what the internal voice says about the way you think or look. If it’s negative don’t judge it, just make a note and decide if you want it to continue. If you want 2015 to be more positive, start with your inner self.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein

‘Tis The Season

Happy Holidays to all of you out there! I hope it is being spent slowing down and enjoying the year you’ve had; without pressure to change or needing to judge.

This time of year we often want to focus on others. If you feel like that’s how you want to spend your time, I recommend reading this great article from TinyBuddha.com. It’s all about how to make others feel special.

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Enjoy this time away from the busyness of life and please try to slow down! It’s rare Western society gives such permission, take it.

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”  – Charles Dickens

Grief

At some point in our lives we will experience the loss of a loved one. Through my interactions with clients, friends and family I have seen how grief can change over time. I also know about the changing of grief from my own experience, today I am going to break therapist protocol and share some of my own story.

Ten years ago my father died and the world I was familiar with came crashing down around me. Suddenly and without warning everything I knew changed forever.

The days that followed his death were incredibly surreal. I had never allowed myself to imagine this scenario before; the thought was too much to bear. Therefore it did not seem real when I was met with the reality of never seeing him again. It seemed like a cosmic joke with a punchline I didn’t get. When we lose someone I believe our head and heart work at different speeds. Your brain can understand the concept that someone has died but the heart can take much longer to catch up.  Especially when you still feel them and see them everywhere you look.

When someone we love dies there is the initial shock. Even if we think we are prepared for the death, the moment it happens we can feel that we aren’t equipped. The shock can last for weeks, months or years. If we do not give time and space for grief, it can be difficult for it to leave us. It may take at least two years to grieve the loss of someone close to us. Two years where you give yourself time to reflect and time to mourn. There are very few people who I have met who gave themselves that sort of timeline. Often by the first anniversary there is an internal consensus that you should be able to move on. Which is incredibly unfair, especially if you look at how profoundly the person you lost touched your life.

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After my father died, someone shared with me that they had lost their father twenty years prior and still missed him everyday. In that moment, I hated those words. The thought that I would have to feel as I did then, for what sounded like forever, knocked the wind out of me. Only with the passing of time could I gain an understanding of what they meant. And they were right; I miss him everyday. But it’s different than in those first few weeks and months. In the early days it felt like the grief and heart-break was going to swallow me whole. However, over time that changed and it doesn’t hurt like it used too. Now if I feel that dull ache in my chest, it demonstrates what a huge place I had in my heart for him and him for me.

When someone we love dies it can end up changing the course of our entire lives. I know that I would not be where I am, or who I am had I not experienced such an earth shattering loss. It has defined me in a way that I did not let in for a long time, acceptance was not easy. But acceptance is a better feeling than bitterness which could have grown within me.

If you find yourself grieving at the moment please remember that it is okay to be sad, angry, disappointed and every range of emotions you can muster. You are starting to live in a world that feels new and scary without that person you loved so dearly. Get support if you need it, like all things that happen to us in life you don’t have to go through it alone.

“No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true.” – Walt Disney