Self-improvement-3

13 Super Simple Things Proven To Boost Your Self-Esteem

Feel better about yourself in one minute or less.

June 23, 2017

Why I’m Making My New Year’s Resolutions All About My Partner

Because what’s more important than your relationship, really?

December 22, 2016

Why It’s Vital To Learn How To Say No

It’s been said that the key to failure is trying to please everyone.

RELATED: How To Say No Without The Guilt

And, growing up, young girls are often taught to be ‘people pleasers’ and then womanhood, plus a lack of assertiveness, equals disaster; women often find themselves super-stressed after taking on way more than they can handle.

Let us not teach our daughters to believe that it’s ‘nice’ to please others rather than thinking about what they want themselves! Assertiveness is vitally important and lacking in a lot women, I believe. And I’m guilty of this myself, on occasion, as are many of my friends: it seems that saying no can be very hard indeed.

There are family, work and social commitments to juggle for starters, let alone some precious alone time, which we all so desperately need for our good mental health. Women can feel so stretched in all directions, you can lose your head, if you’re not careful. No is such a tiny word – so, why is it so hard to say?

But say no we must in order to protect our best interests – why do something you really don’t want to do? And, if by saying yes to something you’ve compromised yourself in any way, you know you’ve made the wrong choice. Maybe learning to say no comes with age; you start to care less about what people think of you and start pleasing yourself a lot more. And, importantly, we all have limits on our time, energies and capabilities: learning what our top priorities are each day and saying no to all else accordingly is a vital life skill.

assertiveness, self-improvement, saying no
Relationship experts say personality characteristics such as insecurity, low self-esteem, lack of assertiveness or fear of disapproval can make it very hard for women to say no. Someone for whom it is important to be approved of and liked and who lacks confidence can find it difficult to challenge a partner, friend or boss who attempts to use them and makes unreasonable demands on their time, generosity or values.

But ladies – it’s terribly important you realise that you can never please everyone and to be strong enough to receive some negativity and criticism without falling apart. Love and nurture yourself enough to set yourself safe boundaries and both accept and deflect any disappointment or disapproval from the person you are saying “no” to. Don’t put everyone else’s interests ahead of yours!

So, how do we actually say no in actual practice? It’s a small, but mighty word that packs a punch. But you don’t have to deliver it in a nasty way: I prefer a “thanks so much for asking me, but no thanks” approach. I love this quote from US educator and author Steve Covey: “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.”

assertiveness, self-improvement, saying no

Relationship experts also say if someone is asking you to do something that you don’t feel comfortable doing or which is clearly not in your own best interests, you need to be assertive even if this feels difficult. Assertiveness is about having your own needs met without impacting on the needs of others. Give a clear and decisive “no” and a brief explanation as to why you are unable to fulfil the request. Perhaps give a brief apology, but don’t overdo it; remember that your needs are every bit as valid as the other person’s and ain’t nobody got time for whiny apologies.

Being assertive gets easier with practice, so give it a go. You may even learn to love it because sometimes it feels really good to say no. Finding your voice and asserting yourself are both very important life skills; seek help from a psychologist if this is a problem for you.

What do you think? How do you say no?

Images via the Telegraph, Live Free Blog and Living Brilliance Now

 

 

 

July 21, 2015

Why Busy Is Another Word for Arsehole

Is the glorification of “busy” killing your close relationships?

RELATED: Communication Skills For Healthy Relationships

Are you always too busy to meet up with your dearest friends? Or, is your partner always using the “busy” card as his excuse for not calling you when he said he would?

The word “busy” carries much weight; it’s such a small word, but it can cause untold damage to our dealings with loved ones.

We’re all busy in this day and age; it’s all about priorities. If you really love and value someone, you’ll always find a way to make time for them.

relationships, better communication, busy

American comedian/author and former Sex and the City writer/consultant Greg Behrendt (pictured) said it best in his hit self-improvement book, He’s Just Not That Into You, which he co-wrote with Liz Tuccillo; an awesome read, I highly recommend:

“Busy is another word for ‘arsehole’. ‘Arsehole’ is another word for the guy you’re dating. You deserve a fucking phone call.”

This advice can be applied to all intimate relationships, I believe – don’t be the person who’s too busy to show they care, or put up with people who treat you the same way.

And my other fave bit of sage advice from Behrendt’s and Tuccillo’s 2004 No.1 New York Times best-seller, which was later adapted into a 2009 film by the same name, is:

“I’m about to make a wild, extreme and severe relationship rule: the word busy is a load of crap and is most often used by arseholes. The word ‘busy’ is the relationship Weapon of Mass Destruction. It seems like a good excuse, but in fact in every silo you uncover, all you’re going to find is a man who didn’t care enough to call. Remember men are never too busy to get what they want.”

Why Busy Is Another Word For Arsehole

So true! No one is ever too busy to show they care.

And in the era of the selfie, have we lost sight of what really matters?

The next time you use the “busy” card as an excuse for not calling and/or catching up with someone – and we’re all guilty of it – but you still find the time to post a pic on Instagram, or send a tweet to strangers, is it high time you actually picked up the phone to a loved one to show you care?

Perhaps it’s imperative we all started spending more quality time reconnecting with the actual people we know and love. Just saying…

What do you think? Is “busy” just an excuse for poor communication skills?

Images via agbeat.com; hairbrained.me; timemanagementninja.com; and huffingtonpost.com.

March 23, 2015

How Are Negative Life Patterns Affecting You?

Do you have a string of bad relationships? Can’t quit smoking, reach that goal weight or feel worthy of that promotion? What about finishing things? Perhaps you have some attainable goal that just seems to keep evading you? All these things are negative life patterns at work. Unconsciously you may be doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome or stuck in a familiar way of doing things.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about personal boundaries

Unfortunately life patterns can be much easier to recognise in others than acknowledge in ourselves. For example, we can often see our friends or relatives enter the same types of relationship time after time but never find happiness. The problem is they seem oblivious to what’s right in front of them.

We all experience this in one form or another. For some it’s worse than others, such as people who unintentionally sabotage themselves with unhealthy behaviours or continue to place themselves in violent relationships. It’s only when life patterns are recognised and acknowledged that change can begin.

How life patterns form

Barbara Findeisen, psychotherapist and world renowned expert in pre-and perinatal psychology, believes life patterns form before birth whilst still in the womb. She explains that here we begin learning patterns of trust and security.

This strongly supports the theory that life patterns evolve on a sub-conscious level. For example, knowing that things covered in fur which have four legs are usually animals. We don’t remember when we learn these things, but most of us eventually do.

We also learn what to expect in various situations and from other people. Like if we walk down a dark alley alone at night we’ll probably feel scared, or if we’ve done a good job at work we may receive praise. Combined these things form our unconscious perception of what we know and what we anticipate to happen. If we anticipate a negative or positive outcome we act accordingly.

Remember this happens on a sub-conscious level. Many of us aren’t aware that we intentionally set ourselves up for success or failure, but ironically that’s exactly what happens. The only way to move forward and overcome it is to recognise your life patterns for what they are and make some essential changes.

Negative self-defeating life patterns

If you have a string of bad relationships, can’t finish things, feel stuck in a rut or just can’t seem to meet goals you set for yourself, you may have a self-defeating life pattern. People with this type of life pattern learn a negative perception and often repeatedly behave in a way that supports it. This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy and occurs due to positive feedback between beliefs and behaviour.

For example, they may be attracted to a particular type of person and this is why the relationships they enter into end badly. Maybe they sub-consciously feel they can’t be in a relationship or that they don’t deserve happiness. They will choose partners based on this unconscious perception which supports this belief. When the relationship ends badly it’s familiar and expected, which in turn strengthens this belief.

How to fix negative life patterns

According to Kevin D. Arnold, a psychologist and Board Certified Cognitive & Behavioral Psychologist, there are some simple ways to overcome negative self-defeating behaviours.

1.Know what triggers your self-defeating behaviour

When you know what you want to change, work out the pattern which has lead you to defeat in the past. For example, you might eat when you’re tired rather than hungry. You might have a date with an ideal partner but not answer their call for a second date. Each behaviour has a trigger, so keep a diary and work out what you’ve been doing in the past which has prevented your happiness or success.

2.Control your triggers

This is pretty self explanatory, but pull yourself up on whatever the behaviour is when the trigger presents itself. Recognise it and the best method of control is replacing a negative behaviour with a positive one.

3.Replace Self-defeating habits

We learn every behaviour and most are a reaction to a trigger. The idea is to swap the behaviour for a non-defeating positive behaviour. Identify one which will work and replace the behaviour which is holding you back. It will become a habit over time and far easier to sustain a change.

4.Keep moving forward

We can’t change the past, so focus on the present and future. The idea is to shift your perspective of negative self-belief into positive self-belief. The power of positive thought works equally as well as negative thought, so if you have a choice, why focus on the negative? Over time your new behaviours will change your perception. They will confirm your positive perceptions and new self-fulfilling prophecies will develop.

Image via completemortgageprocessing.net

February 17, 2015

The Fine Line Between Sexy And Skanky

A prominent fact of life is that all people judge each other by how they look and what they wear. Some people attempt to be consciously non-judgmental and try to look past appearances, but they still make unconscious decisions based on initial impressions on whether a person is a potential friend or foe. This phenomenon goes back to the time of the dinosaurs and it’s ultimately how the human race has survived.

It’s due to the importance of making a good impression that people generally take care of how they present themselves. Yes, there are times when you just want to sleuth out so some situations are more important than others, like going for an interview, a night out on the town or going on a date.

During these times if you are aiming for that sexy and sophisticated look and are actually leaning toward skanky, you will be repealing the type of life opportunities you deserve. The most imperative thing in these situations is to know the difference.

So what are they? Firstly, the difference between sexy and skanky is attitude related. Regardless of how you look, if you feel and behave like God’s gift to men, you are probably projecting yourself as skanky. Sexy, sophisticated women don’t pounce, they lure and there lies the big difference.

Traditionally, males are the hunters and that still applies to the battle of the sexes when it comes to work and play. Whether you are being interviewed for a job, at a club or on a date, the majority of men don’t like to be chased. Regardless of the advancement Feminism has made, men still judge women who chase them and prefer the company of women who don’t.

Now, apart from attitude and behavior, how you look adds to the art of luring and seduction. Sexy, sophisticated women have this down pat. When it comes to how they present themselves, less is certainly not more and if you want people to notice your brain instead of your boobs, don’t shove them out there for everyone to see.

Sexy women show just enough cleavage to be alluring, dress their age, add make-up only to enhance their natural beauty, limit accessories and emulate femininity. They avoid revealing clothing like ultra short shorts, skirts or dresses, exceptionally plunging necklines and items which look more like lingerie. They also know how to style footwear. For example; many people refer to long full length boots as cum-fuck-me-boots. If you are going to wear them you need to know what message they are sending and how to style them with elegance and grace.

So, unless you’re heading down to the beach, cover up a bit and let the imagination work its magic. I’m not being a prude either. After years of experience, having male friends, work colleagues and a couple of long term partners, I have an excellent insight into the way they think. It’s not just men either. Other women are probably your most cynical critics and many will notice if you look skanky.

If you are unsure before you step out the door, check out how you look in the mirror. If you’re about to have a wardrobe malfunction and your breasts are about to leap out of your top, stop! If you bend over and get a peek of your underwear, (lets hope you are wearing some) stop! Turn around and choose something else. Plus, if your makeup has you looking like someone else, you are probably overdoing it.

Lastly, it doesn’t matter if you are 19 or 69, if you look skanky instead of sexy, it will make other people uncomfortable. That will limit valuable life opportunities, including jobs, friendships and relationships. Sure, you might get a fair bit of attention, but you need to aim for positive attention to ultimately get the best out of life.

Good luck!

Image via cmarchuska.com

December 13, 2014

How To Develop A Better Body Image

There’s not a woman alive who doesn’t experience a love-hate relationship with her body at times, even if it’s merely fleeting. We all have “fat days” – when how we perceive our bodies doesn’t often equal the image in the mirror. “Wow, you look great!” a loved one might say. “Ugh, really?” you respond, grimacing at yourself in the mirror. “If only I was thinner, bustier and less curvy…” and so the list continues.

And in this pursuit of self-improvement and unattainable perfection, in 2012, Australian women are said to have spent $850 million on modifying their looks and bodies. Australia’s leading organisation for eating disorders and body image, the Butterfly Foundation, says poor body image is significantly linked to dieting. In addition, dieting is the major factor in the development of disordered eating, eating disorders and a significant contributing factor in the development of obesity.

Butterfly Foundation CEO Christine Morgan stressed the critical importance of prevention and early intervention strategies in limiting the development of, and suffering from, negative body image and eating disorders. “Body image is not what we look like – it is how we feel about how we look,” Ms Morgan says. “Someone with positive body image is comfortable in their own skin. Conversely, someone with negative body image is often dissatisfied and fixated on trying to change their actual body shape.

“Unfortunately, in many instances negative body image descends even further and the person suffering from it believes they will not be successful or worthwhile, so long as they have that body shape and size. Pretty heavy stuff for most people; almost unmanageable if those thoughts are striking in the teen or primary school years.”

So, how do we teach our sons and daughters to have a positive body image? How do we, as mothers, curb our own issues so as to help our kids? “There are a number of pressures within our society that can contribute to negative body image and parents need to be mindful of everyday talk at home about food, body shape and self-esteem,” Ms Morgan says. “Children tend to learn more from what parents do than what they say.

“Adulation of physical appearance is a recipe for disaster. When parents talk about their own body images, they are fostering the same beliefs with their children. The strongest and most effective way parents can deliver a balanced and positive message around body image is by role modelling healthy behaviours.’’

Here are some tips on how to be a good body image role model for you and your child:

Love and accept your own body: Being aware of your attitude towards your own body will help you be conscious of the messages you send to your kids. Try to avoid looking in the mirror and making negative comments about the way you look. If your child sees that you feel comfortable and happy with your body, this can help them feel comfortable in their own skin.

Don’t talk about diets: Dieting is the biggest risk factor for an eating disorder. Try to avoid talking about diets, your “naughty” eating habits, or your weight and size. This can give kids the impression that weight and size are highly valued by you and they might feel pressure to look a certain way or be a certain size. Celebrate diversity and emphasise how loved and valued your child is no matter what their weight, shape or size.

Talk to your child: Encourage your child to talk with you about their feelings regarding their bodies. If your child feels safe talking to you, then they are more likely to share feelings about their bodies with you.

Visit thebutterflyfoundation.org.au.

By Nicole Carrington-Sima

June 24, 2014