The Four Wings of Personal Growth Lessons on self-love, self-awareness, self-care and self-empowerment

Sunday, August 4, 2019


Last week I wrote about setting boundaries and this week on my facebook page I explored connecting with our values.   Being real and true about what is important to us is crucial when setting boundaries.  If I don't know what's important to me, I won't know what I want and need,  and I certainly won't be able to communicate those wants and needs to anybody else.
So what are values?
They are the driving forces behind our search for happiness and they are continuously reflected in our behaviour. If, of course, we are behaving from a place of integrity.  That is to say, in alignment with what is important to us.
Sounds rather obvious doesn't it.  "If it's important to me then of course I will behave accordingly!"
Well that is not always the way it goes.
Honesty, has always been one of my core values.  Being honest with myself and with others, is in my opinion essential to living a quality life.  But there was a specific time in my life, when I completely ignored this value. I won't get into the details of this experience, suffice it to say, it was an experience that taught me a lot about myself and others.  But, the point I am making now, is that for that period of time, I was not living in alignment with my value of honesty, and as much as I tried to push that truth aside it impacted my health, physically, mentally and emotionally.  We can deny our truths but our soul or higher self will not. And that denial will end up eating away at us in one form or another.
Were do these values come from?
We develop them over time through our experiences and how we interpret these experiences based on our innate characteristics.   They can definitely shift and change but there are some core values that remain relatively consistent throughout our lives.
Here is a list of possible core values from Brené Brown's book "Dare to Lead".
List of core values - Brené Brown
I invite you to pick your top 10 from the list and then use a worksheet similar to the following, to observe and consider how your values are reflected in your everyday life.  You can create your own worksheet, use a journal or email me at My email for a printable copy.
You can fill this out at the end of everyday, once a week, whatever works for you.  The important thing is to walk away with an idea of how your values align with your lifestyle.  You might want to change some behaviours or you might even decide that some so called values are not as important as your thought.  Just remain open and honest with yourself throughout the process.

What are some examples of how my behaviour was in alignment with this value?
What are some examples of how my behaviour was not in alignment with this value?
What changes would I like to make?

1. Honesty

I told my husband the truth about what I was feeling today and did it in a constructive and respectful way.
I lied to the telemarketer about someone being at the door.
I would like to be able to assert myself with telemarketers without compromising my value of honesty.
Create an awesome day!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries....two words...easy to say, not necessarily easy to do.
Of course, some of us are better at setting boundaries then others but most of us have some areas that need some attention.
I became pretty good at setting boundaries at work.  Sometime in my 30's, I identified my priorities and was able to say no to things that were not important to me, and yes to things that were.  (most of the time 😝) Learning to do that was a process.  I think my upbringing and my personality made it easier to accomplish setting boundaries at work.  But, doing the same in my personal relationships, that was a bit trickier and still is a work in progress. 
For a long time, I did a lot of what I thought other people wanted from me and then resented the hell out of it.  So I can tell you with certainty that, if you find yourself doing things and then bitching to your spouse, or friends or even to yourself, after the fact, You have boundary issues. 
Learning to set boundaries, is by no means a one step deal.  Like every other area of personal growth, it involves a process of self-discovery, courage, action and commitment.  But if you are at all interested in creating the life you want and the one that is absolutely yours to have, it's an essential step.  And well worth it!!
Here are a few strategies to support you on your journey towards setting boundaries:
In what specific areas in you life do you feel a need to set more boundaries?
This is different for everyone.  Take the time to journal and reflect on this question?  Check out my facebook page for some journaling prompts to support you in doing this.
Know what is important to YOU!
Were do You want to be spending your time?
What's important to You....Your time? Your freedom? Your relationships? Your Health?
Does what you spend your time on at work or at home reflect your values or someone else's?
How could you change that?
💗You can't set boundaries if you have no clear understanding of your own priorities.  
If you are not sure, give yourself time to think about it!
If you are in the habit of often saying yes to things and then regretting it, start by developing the habit of saying "Let me think about it and get back to you."  One, this helps you break the habit and two, it gives you time to properly assess whether saying yes really aligns with your priorities. 
Avoid saying yes when...
You are stressed, tired or sick.
When you would be dealing with something that is not your responsibility.
When saying yes, makes you feel used or not quite right. (listen to your gut) Better to say no and reassess, then to betray yourself. 
Believe you have a right to communicate your wants and needs and learn to do this in an assertive, direct, non confrontational manner.
This might require a bit of work.  First of all, you have to know that you are deserving of what you want and need.  This might necessitate a bit of work in the self-love and self-worth department.  Then you have to develop the skills that will allow you to communicate your needs effectively.  Might sound like a daunting process, but absolutely doable!!
💗These are but a few starting points. If you are interested in exploring, with the support of a coach, how you can better learn to set boundaries in your life, please feel free to email me at
Create an awesome day!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Update on the Eighty Four Day Experiment

Ninety eight days ago I started the Eighty Four Day Experiment with the following question.
"What happens when I set clear action steps around specific goals 
and hold myself accountable by blogging about the experience for 84 day?"
Well, for starters, I did not blog everyday for 84 days. I modified this action step by blogging every week.  And, for those of you who have read all my blogs, the topic has varied.
As for the other action steps I set for myself:
Improving my nutrition by cutting out unhealthy carbs. (sometimes)
Journaling my progress, challenges and successes on a regular basis. (never)
One hour a day spent working on my coaching model. (some days less, some days more)
One hour a day spent working on my workshop series. (sometimes)
One hour a day spent working on marketing strategies. (sometimes)
One hour a day working on my talk series. (most days more)
So here I am a self proclaimed "Life coach" and if I were to give myself a grade on how well I did with these goals, it probably would be "below average."  Luckily, coaches don't assigned grades! 
Recently, I had a client get really down on herself because she had not accomplished all the actions steps she had set for herself between our sessions.  I recommended that she focus on what she had accomplished.  A little self-compassion and a shift in mindset can go a long way. So, I am trying to apply this wisdom to myself.  Why?  Because I know that criticizing my actions or lack there of won't in any way shape or form be helpful.  
Asking myself some important questions will.
  1. How can I make my goals SMARTer?
    1. Specific
    2. Measurable
    3. Achievable
    4. Relevant
    5. Time bound
  2. How will I make a distinction between my goals and relevant action steps?
  3. What was more important then accomplishing these goals?
  4. What limiting beliefs got in the way and how can I transform these into empowering beliefs?
  5. What is me overall vision and how can I move towards that vision in a SMARTer way?
  6. What support and resources will I need to accomplish this?
It will be important for me to take some time and ponder these questions, as well as any others that come up.  I have a few coaching sessions coming up with my colleagues and I will definitely explore these with their support.
So what is my biggest take away from this experiment?
That moving towards my goals is an ongoing process of action, assessment and reflection.  
And that, that process needs to be experienced within a context of compassion, perseverance 
and self-awareness.
Create an awesome day!
Joanne 💗

Sunday, July 21, 2019


This past week my facebook posts have been about adding more fun into our lives.  The timing was good for me given that I spent the week at one of my favourite places, the beach.  There is something about being near water that soothes and calms me.  Looking out at the water hitting the horizon makes me feel connected to something bigger then myself. 
I love to grab a raft or tube and just float around for hours.  Sometimes the water is calm and I just enjoy the feeling of freedom I get from looking up at the blue sky.  Sometimes, there are waves and then I turn into a little kid, laughing and enjoying getting thrown about. 
I think fun can be a very personal thing.  I love organizing anything that can be organized, closets, cupboards, storage spaces.  I completely lose track of time when I'm putting things in order and purging.  Some people might call that work, for me it's fun.
What is the difference between work and fun?
Work : "activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result."
Fun : "enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure."
They are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  I tend to believe that every person has to define fun for themselves depending on factors such as strengths, talents, character and preferences.  What is fun for one person is not necessarily fun for another....and that's ok.
So how do you figure out what's fun for you?  Try new things, old things you did as a child, things you would not think to never know. 
I'm wanting to try one new thing this week. 
So here's a favour, write down your ideas and I will pick one and report back at the end of the week on how it went.
And, do the same.  Try something new and let me know how it went.  Would love to hear from you.
Create an awesome day!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Living Our Passion

My favourite courses in university were my psych courses.  Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by human behaviour.  I have this deep hunger to understand what makes us tick, why we do the things we do?
Why are some people more successful, happy, ambitious...etc then others.  Why do we hate?
Why do we love?  Why is there random violence and why do we hurt ourselves and others?
To me, it seems that uncovering the mysteries of our own psyche is what will allow us to rid the planet of pain and suffering or at least to lessen its effect.  Ok, I know that we are complicated and that this might be an impossible task.  Who knows, maybe humanity will become extinct before we find answers to all the questions related to our darker side.  I don't care...I want to learn as much as I can about us while I am around.
I realized this subject was a passion of mine somewhere in my twenties.  And from that point on, I became addicted to books on philosophy, psychology, self-help, growth and development and spirituality.  From that addiction developed a conviction that each and everyone of us, has a potential that is often left untapped.  I think that more often then not we accept our status quo, not realizing that we could have a lot more joy, peace and love in our lives.
In my 30 year quest for knowledge and understanding of our human nature and capacity, I've discovered of few ideas that resonate with me.  I try to live my life in alignment with these, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.  Here are two of them.

As long as I am living and breathing, there is room to learn, to grow and to move forward and to succeed I have to learn to do that without judging myself.

       I consider myself a life coach.  Not because I do life better then everybody else...far from it.  I have screwed up big time and my guess is that I will again.  But, I think I've learned to try to look at myself honestly and consider my weaknesses without judging myself.  That allows me to improve on what is not working so well.  As I write this, I think of the many shortcomings that I have yet to overcome, maybe out of fear, maybe because there are things I still need to learn.  But giving up is not an option.  When I uncover one layer, something else shows up and that's ok.
As a coach, I want to give my clients the non-judgmental space to do exactly that.  As a school leader, I learned that a problem can not be solved until it is clearly identified and defined.  Well, we cannot improve or overcome our own challenges and problems without being able to honestly look at ourselves.  When we judge ourselves we make it often impossible to do just that.

There is no innate meaning to life.
We are the creators of that meaning for ourselves.

     This I learned from Mr. Victor Frankl.  I think one of my mentors suggested his book "Man's Search for Meaning" and I read it quite of few times, once for an assignment when I was completing my Masters.  When we give ourselves the sole responsibility of creating meaning in our experiences it gives us immeasurable power.  If Mr. Frankl could do this in the concentration camps of Auschwitz, I think I can do it in my own life.  I believe that when we look for meaning in all our experiences good or bad, we give ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow through that experience.  If I see the end of a relationship as an opportunity to learn about myself or to learn how to be more independent,  I will still feel the pain but I will not feel victimized by the experience.  The meaning is highly individual and can differ from one person to another.  It will depend on where the person is on his or her journey.  This is another role I play as a coach.  I help clients create meaning in any and all experiences.  This creates a growth mindset rather then a fixed mindset.  For anyone interested in learning more about growth mindset, I highly recommend Carol Dweck's book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success.

Basically, these blogs are about those lessons that I have learned in my 30+ year quest of attempting to understand myself and others a little bit better.  Hence, the title Damselfly Lessons Along the Way.
Ant the quest continues....

Create an awesome day!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Day 71 - Yes I'm crazy....and???

So...I have been working on my talk for July and I have been trying to get in as much practice as I possibly can.  One of the things I love doing is walking first thing in the morning and it just happens that mornings are my most productive, creative times of the day.  So, for the past few days, I had been debating practicing my talk while walking.  You can see were this is going right. Awkward!! 
"Crazy Barrie woman, walking around town, talking to herself!"
Well, you know what?  This morning I decided, I don't care....I feel like practicing my talk while taking my morning walk and that is exactly what I am going to do.  So what if people see me talking to myself as a walk by their house.  And people did.  It was kinda funny.  At one point, I looked up and some woman was staring at me with this weird look on her face.  I just laughed and kept on going.  What exactly is the problem with talking to ourselves anyway.  Come on, admit it!  You do it all the time right?  We just normally avoid doing it in front of other people. 
So, if you see me walking around Barrie talking to worries.
One, I'm just giving everyone the permission to follow their natural urge to talk to themselves when they want to.
And two, I'm not crazy, I'm productive and creative!
That's my story...and I'm sticking to it.
Create an awesome day!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Day 64 - Self-talk

This week, on my facebook page, I have been exploring the concept of self-love. 
One of the four key aspects of my Damselfly Coaching Model.
Self-love isn't a luxury and it is far from self-indulgent.
It is 100% essential if we are to move forward, face challenges and live our very best life.
But, how do we love ourselves? What does that even mean?
Well, first of all, it's important to remember that love is a verb, not a noun. 
It's an action, not a feeling. 
So, self-love is first and for most about how we behave towards ourselves.

How do you talk to yourself?
What kind of words do you use to describe yourself?
Are you kind and gentle or mean and judgmental?
When was the last time you thought about your self-talk?
Are you more cautious of the tone and words you use towards others than towards yourself?

Self-talk can be an act of self-love or an act of self-betrayal. 

According to research we have anywhere between 50 000 and 80 000 thoughts a day and 80% of those thoughts are negative.  Have you ever taken the time to notice how many of those negative thoughts are related to what you think and feel about yourself? Now trying to notice every single thought we have is obviously impossible and I am certainly not suggesting you try.  But I am inviting you to become a little bit more aware of which of your thoughts support self-love and which don't.
How does that relate to self-talk? Self-talk includes anything and everything we say to ourselves throughout the day.  Sometimes we might say these things out loud but more often then not, they  come up as a thoughts.  Often, we are not even aware that these thoughts are present even though they may be impacting both our mood and behaviour.
So how can we become more aware of our self-talk and get a sense of what messages we our giving ourselves on a daily basis.
For example, what do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror every morning?
"I am looking fine today!" or "Crap, look at those ugly bags under my eyes!"
Can you guess which of these is loving and which is not?  Now, for those of you who are saying, I don't think anything when I look in the mirror, well, dig a little deeper my friend.  Chances are you are thinking something.  If you are thinking about the weather fine, no worries, but make sure there are no lingering negative thoughts going on deep down in your unconscious.  These thoughts play on your self-esteem and your ability to be the empowered woman you are meant to be. So make sure they are not sneaking in there without your permission.
Here are some strategies to support you in developing your self-awareness around your self-talk:

  • Journal about a particular event that might have brought up strong feelings and emotions during the day.
  • Notice strong emotions and feelings that come up and try uncovering what thoughts preceded these emotions. 
  • Slow down and be present.  
  • Meditate.
  • Spend time in a relaxed environment on a regular basis.
  • Get curious about what thoughts are coming up when you are:
    • doing the dishes
    • driving
    • taking a shower
    • sweeping the floor
    • taking a walk
  • Basically, use any opportunity you have to examine and get curious about your self-talk.  The more you practice doing this, the better you will get at it.  
When you start noticing that your self-talk is not so positive and empowering, you can change it. 
Talk to yourself as you would someone whom you truly love and care about.  Someone you want to support and encourage, like your child or your best friend.  
At the end of the day, loving yourself is your responsibility my friend.
Create an awesome day!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Day 57 - Self love

What happens when you put a little time and attention into learning to love yourself.
Self-love should not be something you attend to after everything else gets done.
It is essential to your physical health, the health of your relationships, your ability to give to others and your overall sense of well being.
If you are not convinced that this is an area worth focusing on, here are some ways developing self-love will and can improve your life.
When you work on loving yourself...
💗You take better physical care of yourself because you respect the fact that your body is the only one you have and that it is there to support you in creating your very best life.
💗You develop increased self-confidence because you tap into your strengths and consistently remind yourself that you are someone worthy of joy and peace.
💗You establish boundaries with those around you that allow you to say no to what doesn't feel right and yes to more of what aligns with who you are.
💗You maintain relationships with people who respect you and motivate you to be the best you can be.
💗You learn to forgive because you are not interested in hanging on to negative energy and resentment.
💗You believe you deserve the best and hold yourself accountable for creating the best life for yourself.
💗You possess a strong sense of who you are.  Your identity comes from a place of deep self-awareness, authenticity and truth.  Other's opinion of you are no longer relevant.
💗You develop resilience.  You do not beat yourself up over failure.  Far from taking them personally, you embrace mistakes and transform them into opportunities for growth and learning.
💗You understand that comparing yourself to others is an act of self-betrayal.
💗You respect your needs and know that you are the best person for getting them met.
💗You stop being an approval junky.
💗You love spending time alone cause you know how awesome you are!!
Create an awesome day!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Day 50 - The Power of Music

I have been having a heck of a time getting back to my habit of walking everyday.  It has definitely been one of my biggest challenges in the past few years.  But anyone who knows me knows that I don't give up...I'm nothing if not stubborn when it comes to getting what I want.  And I want exercise to become an everyday part of my life.                                                                                          But....apparently some part of me is in serious disagreement with this idea!!!😩
So, on a constant quest to work through this challenge, today, I decided that rebuilding my walking playlist might me just the thing I needed to reboot my motivation.  Most of the songs were old songs from my past and they just felt like....well old songs from my past and were just not doing it for me anymore.
So first thing this morning I did some digging on good old google and managed to come up with a new, one and a half hour playlist, filled with inspiring, confidence boosting, yes I can do this music!!!....
And actually made a difference!!! 😲😃 
I too often forget how awesome music can make me feel.  Starting out the day listening to an inspiring playlist can literally improve my mood for the entire day.  And if my mood is improved,  I tend to make better choices, have more energy and be nicer to the people around me (you're welcome!).
And that was my AH!AH! moment today.💖💖
So I thought I would share a few of the songs that inspired me this morning.  I invite you to grab your coffee and really take the time to sit back and connect with the songs.
I promise at least one of them will change your day!
Create an awesome day!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Day 43 - Personal leadership

This past week my facebook posts have been on the topic of personal leadership.  I first started reflecting on the notion of leadership in my late twenties.  I believe I had been reading Principle-Centered Leadership by Stephen Covey.   It became clear to me at that time that leadership wasn't necessarily about a position or formal role one held, but was fundamentally a state of mind or philosophy of life.  It's recognizing that our actions, words and behaviours influence others.  It's about integrity.   Which means walking the talk.  If I believe love, peace and compassion are important values I should model those values.  It comes down to leading by example, no matter what your roles or position in life.  We often hold politicians or people in formal leadership roles accountable for their behaviour but we should know that our behaviour is no less important then theirs.  We all have a circle of influence, that is were our leadership lies.  I use this quote by Gandhi often when I write or give workshops because I find it so relevant, especially in relation to the concept of leadership "Be the change you want to see in the world."
Then, there is the type of leadership that holds us accountable for our experience on this planet.  It's the conviction that our life is a reflection of our own beliefs, our own thoughts and our own behaviours.  Yes, there are many things that "happen" to us that are out of our control, but personal leadership means clearly identifying the areas that are in our control and committing to taking responsibility for those areas.  We don't waste our time complaining about people and things that are none of our business because we are way to busy playing and creating within a strong and clear internal locus of control.
When we decide to exert leadership in our own lives we :

  • Take full responsibility for our emotions and do whatever we need to do to take care of ourselves.
  • Take full responsibility for our actions.
  • Become curious about all our experiences and use them as opportunities to learn about ourselves and grow.
  • Understand our limits, realize and recognize what is out of our control and then identify what is, in order to move forward.
  • Never play the victim and expect other people or outside circumstances to change in order to suit our needs. 
  • Set boundaries and clearly communicate our needs to others.  
  • Feel empowered to create the very best life for ourselves because we know we can!!!
Create an awesome day!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Day 36 - Forgiveness

In order for forgiveness to occur ....something has to die.
I heard this in a conversation between Oprah and Brené Brown yesterday and it really resonated with me.
Forgiveness is something that has always eluded me.  I can't say I quite understand the concept.
For a long time, I thought it meant just moving on and letting go of the hurt from the past.
A big part seemed to be forgetting what someone had done to hurt me in order to maintain the relationship. It seemed selfish to hold on to past pain and not move on.
But I realized that in doing that I was sometimes opening myself up to being hurt again.  And I was also often expecting the person who had hurt me to be different after I forgave them.  Like my forgiveness would be some kind of catalyst for outer change.
But it doesn't work that way.
So what does have to die for forgiveness to occur?
I think when Brené talks about death she is equating it with grieving.  And I think part of the process of forgiveness involves grieving our own pain.  Not just shoving it down and pretending it did not happen because that would suit those around us or even ourselves.  It means honouring the fact that we have been hurt and that we have a right to sadness, anger and even feelings of hatred.  These are normal emotions when someone betrays us mentally, emotionally or physically.  We have to allow the process of grief, of feeling our emotions, our pain.  Just like we would a three year old who is crying because he scraped his knee.  We don't tell him to be quiet and stop crying.  We hold him, hug him and let him cry it out, knowing that he will feel better after he does.  The same goes for our own pain.  We will not be able to forgive those who have hurt us if we do not allow ourselves the process of grief.
And like every thing else, it's inner work.
We have to acknowledge and grieve our own pain and not expect others to do that work for us.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Day 29 - The damselfly

The damselfly/dragonfly took on a special meaning for me in the spring of 2006.
I invite you to follow the following link were I describe in detail why that was.
After that serendipitous encounter, I began to research the damselfly.  I needed and wanted to know more and what I discovered made this chance meeting all the more meaningful.
The damselfly/dragonfly symbolizes change, emotional maturity, adaptability and self-realization.
It's incredible wings make it the most powerful navigators among all the flying insects.  It can fly in all directions, fly backwards and through rough winds.  For this reason it is associated with direction and purpose through challenging and difficult times.
Damselflies have incredible eye sight.  Each of their two large eyes is made up of thousands of six sided units.  This allows them to have near 360 degree vision, detect the smallest of movements and see the world in ultra-multicolour.  Hence, it's connection to curiosity, mental agility and the ability to view experiences or problems from all angles in order to decide the best approach.
In Japan, the dragonfly is considered a symbol of strength and courage.
An encounter with a damselfly can mean that she is sending you a challenge, to trust in the experience and to open yourself up to what life has to offer.
The way she scurries across water represents the act of going beyond what is on the surface and looking into the more profound meanings and implications of life.
The iridescent nature of the dragonfly holds a magical element.  This characteristic links it to the unmasking of the real self and honouring one's true identity.
After discovering all of this symbolism surrounding the dragonfly, I was humbled and incredibly grateful to have witnessed her transformation.  She has since become my spirit animal and a powerful force in my life.
Two years ago, on a trip to Ecuador, I was lucky enough to witness a huge swarm of dragonflies.  There must have been hundreds if not thousands of them flying in all directions. 
I had never seen anything like it....
Create an awesome day!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Day 26 - Synergy

For those of you who read my blog everyday (thank you for the support), you might have noticed thatI have missed a few days.  I have been giving some thought to my intention in writing this blog.  In order to expand on the ideas I have written about so far and on other subjects of interest in the field of personal growth, I have decided to write once a week.  Not because I don't love reflecting and writing everyday but because I want to allow myself to go deeper into the topics and give you, the reader, a deeper more complete understanding of these ideas.  
I will be expanding on what I call The Four Wings of Personal Growth.  These are self-care, self-love, self-empowerment and self-awareness.
I will expand also on why the Damselfly has taken on such an important role in my own growth, and it's symbolism and meaning in my coaching model.
This blog is written with the intention of supporting myself and others in our journeys towards reaching our full potential.  My hope is that it will support you in your reflections on where you are presently on your journey and give you some tools and strategies allowing you to move in the direction of your goals and aspirations.  It's about inspiring one another and finding our own unique purpose and place in the world.  We all have a purpose in this life.  I believe that purpose is connected to our ability to love and make a positive difference.  No matter how small and insignificant that difference might seem at times.  One person at a time, one small positive change at a time will change things for the better, in unexpected and greater ways then we might think.
It's the power of Synergy : A state in which two or more things (individuals) work together in a particularly fruitful way that produces an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects.
With the power of that synergy in mind, I reach out my hand, to you, dear reader, and invite you to join me in making a difference.
See you on Sundays! :)
Create an awesome day!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Day 24 - Focus, perception and self-awareness

What we focus on influences our perception of reality.  Check out the following video.
The Monkey Business Illusion
As we focus on counting the passes we can completely miss the Monkey.
How often does this happen in our everyday lives?
What can cause us to "miss the monkey"?
When we walk into a situation, let's say an interaction with another person, we bring to that situation passed emotions, beliefs and thoughts.  These act as filters to how we perceive what is actually happening.
Humans have a natural tendency too look for proof that their beliefs are true.  It's what's called Confirmation Bias.
Our moods can affect how we judge a situation.
When information is missing we often fill in the blanks based on passed experiences.
Now missing a Monkey in a video is no big deal.  Missing essential information when making a decision or interacting with our environment can have huge consequences.
How do we avoid this?  It can be as simple as asking ourselves a few questions.
Here are some examples.
What information am I missing?
How are my beliefs influencing my thoughts and reactions right now?
If I were to look at this situation from a completely different point of view, what would I notice?
What am I feeling right now?  How is that affecting my behaviour and my actions?
Is my current perception helpful, constructive?  Is it 100% accurate?
Where is my focus?
Becoming mindful of where our focus is and how it can be influencing our perceptions is a step towards self-awareness.   And self-awareness is key to making your dreams and goals a reality.
Create an awesome day!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Day 23 - Patience

Today I am reflecting on the relevance of patience when moving towards our goals.  Without patience we do not allow ourselves the time necessary to make informed decisions.  We can expect and want things to happen faster then they can or even should.
Impatience is kind of like an anxiety that sets in, that gives us the impression that things should be different then they are.  When we behave and live from a place of patience we:
Give ourselves time to reflect and clear our thoughts.
We allow emotions such as fear and confusion to settle, so that we can better assess where we are.
We allow uncomfortable feelings to be, without judging them or ourselves.
We trust that we have the capability to work through challenging times.
We know that to accomplish or get something we have never had, we will have to develop mindsets and or skills allowing us to do just that.  And we respect that this takes time.
We often hear that getting out of our comfort zone is a good thing. This is because new opportunities and growth exist outside of our areas of familiarity.
It is therefore important to realize that impatience might show up when we are courageous enough to push through what is familiar towards what is unknown.
Create an awesome day!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Day 20 - Self-Love

I"m guessing that there are people out there who have, and have always had, a clear understanding of what that concept means.  But it took me a while, and a lot of frustration, before I even had a clue.
After my separation, I went through many years....actually what felt like an eternity of very challenging times and experiences.  During that period, well meaning therapists and friends would tell me that I needed to learn to "Love myself".   I'm sure they meant well, but at the time, hearing those words made me want to punch someone. I had no idea what the hell that meant!!!  Ok...Cute...I thought!  I need to love myself?? How in the hell do I do that??
The most relevant reference I had to the idea of "Love" at the time, were very strong feelings I had for a particular individual.   Truth be told, I was involved in a very dysfunctional relationship with someone who was treating me like crap and I was allowing it.  Looking back,  I now know that I was behaving like a co-dependent junky. But, that's kinda what I thought love was.  A feeling of not being able to live without someone.  It was needing someone and not feeling whole or complete without them.  How did I make sense of that in relation to what it meant to "love myself"?
During my quest for answers, I met an individual, who specialized in the area of co-dependancy and relationships.  He pointed out to what extent love songs, encouraged this longing for this type of "love" and how misleading that actually was. (google co-dependant love songs...there are lists of them out there) That kinda resonated with me and I started to seriously question my idea of intimate relationships and how that influenced my beliefs around the concepts of love and self-love.
Then I found this book....
I know, terrible cover isn't it...but it makes a point!!  Reading it, started to shift my understanding of the importance and definition of self-love.   Part of my process, was understanding what "love" was in the first place.  I had often heard or read, that love is a verb, not a noun and not necessarily a feeling.  That seemed very relevant to me but I wasn't sure that I truly understood it.
I distinctly remember a defining moment,  when I had an epiphany about just what loving myself would look like.
I had been feeling disrespected by a certain individual in my life and anger and resentment were starting to set in.   I was debating how to handle it.  Should I talk to this person or just let it go?  That was when the relationship between self-respect and self-love became crystal clear to me.  I knew then that allowing others to disrespect me was a huge act of self-betrayal and it became quite apparent that self-betrayal was not at all in alignment with the concept of "Self-love".
I think I had heard the phrase "Turn the other cheek" one time too many in my catholic upbringing. I had come to believe that the honourable and right thing to do when someone hurt you was to "turn the other cheek".  I'm sure I misunderstood what this phrase actually means.
It became evident to me, that had a responsibility to myself NOT to allow others to disrespect me.  If my child was being bullied, I would defend him.  If a friend was being talked down to or disrespected in any way I would have her back.  So why was I not doing that for myself?  From that point on, setting boundaries for myself, and asserting my right to being respected became not some selfish request but an act of self-love and self-respect that I hold myself accountable for.
When I look back at my journey towards understanding self-love, I am sometimes embarrassed by the mistakes I have made and how confused I was. The road to discovering what self-love is, was not a straight one and I continue on my journey.  But I now know,  that self-respect and expecting to be respected are essential parts of the equation.
Create an awesome day!