I Should What? Bigger, Bolder, Braver in 28 Moves or Less

Life doesn’t breathe because of the big moments. It’s about the small ones that collect together in unexpected ways and lead to something extraordinary – a conversation, a chance meeting,  an idea, a wrong turn, a deep breath in. It’s about that one moment when you decide you will – or you won’t – and that only ever happens in a moment. So here we are … at a collection of simple ideas that might lead to the one that matters. 

  1. Don’t pass by Mr Wonderful to keep looking for Mr Perfect – you won’t find him. He only exists in fairy tales and chances are he’ll judge you on your form in a glass slipper. What happens when, post wedding, babies and time for decent daily workouts, there’s no chance of you fitting that dodgy glass shoe? Mr Perfect will put rockets on his pricey patent leathers and he’ll be out of there. Mr Wonderful will tell you he’s always preferred you without shoes anyway – before laughing with you at the sanity of the fool who thought glass be a good idea for footwear.
  2. Mirrors, scales and size tags are dirty little liars. You’re so much more than a number. Always have been. Always will be. Remember that.
  3. Act as though you deserve to be here – you do. Remind yourself every time you walk into a room – it will change the way you feel and the way you’re seen.
  4. Speak as though you deserve to be heard. You don’t need anybody’s permission. Nobody is doing you a favour by ‘letting you’.
  5. Only kiss people who think you’re wonderful.
  6. Hang on to the one who makes you feel it.
  7. The one reason to stay – how he makes you feel.
  8. The one reason to leave – how he makes you feel.
  9. Say ‘thank you’ like you mean it. Few things will leave a bigger impact than letting someone know they’ve made a difference. Whether it’s a stranger, friend, lover, colleague or child – it’s a basic human need to know that what we do matters. The smallest act can have the most profound effect.
  10. Treat yourself as you would your best friend. Don’t say things to yourself that you would never say to people you love, or to people who are not shy of venting on Facebook. You can be kind to yourself or not – they take the same effort but one will leave you feeling less than.
  11. Know that when you say, ‘No offence,’ or ‘I’m just being honest,’ you’re  not fooling anyone.
  12. Swap ‘won’t’ for ‘can’t’. Can’t speak French? You could if you put in the effort. Can’t sing? You could if you worked at it for long enough. It’s actual science that effort is more important than innate ability in determining how you perform. Effort makes a difference to everything. Everything. Except getting along with difficult people, which brings me to number 13 …
  13. No jackasses. Don’t be with people who shrink you. They’re looking for someone to be less than they feel. Don’t be their someone.
  14. Get out of your own way. Stop thinking of all the reasons you ‘shouldn’t’, because the one reason you ‘should’ is the only one that matters.
  15. Laugh. A lot. Especially at yourself – but if there’s nothing laugh-worthy there, funny Youtube clips were invented for the exact purpose of pulling a laugh. Good to know they’ve got your back.
  16. When your path is in need of roadworks – a break up, losing your job, wanting to break up with your job… the usual suspects – eat cake in bed. The potholes won’t look as vast the next day. (And if they’re still looking bad, there’s always leftover cake to pretty up the view.)
  17. It’s science that rejection from a long-term relationship triggers the same part of the brain as addiction, or withdrawal from addiction. Remember this and know it will get better. Science has proven that too. In the meantime, buy new linen, new pj’s and eat cake in bed.
  18. You know that feeling you have when the thought of somebody lingers in you and they have no idea? You’ve been that person to somebody. Probably to many somebodies. Know that you make a difference. And act like you do.
  19. Kiss slowly and kiss often. 
  20. If at first you can’t find it in you, look again. Always look again.
  21. Spend time with your tribe. They’re the ones who energise you, love you (even when you’re not that loveable), make you laugh, tuck your hair behind your ears when your face is wet from tears, bring you lemonade when you’re sick, hold you when your sad, and remove sharp objects and email sending capacity when you’re crazy with hate.
  22. Red lipstick will change the way you feel. Don’t wear it just for ‘special’. Wear it for the fun of it – to the shops, to breakfast, or to get a bottle of milk. It’s science that aspects of your physical environment (temperature, colour, light, smells, comfortability – to name a few) and aspects of your physical self (what you wear, the way you stand, sit, speak – to name a few more) has an effect on the way you think and feel. That aside, the day a girl can’t wear red lipstick for the sake of it is honestly the day I’m done.
  23. Have an open mind with everyone you meet. Everybody has loved. Everybody has been loved. Everybody’s been hurt. Everybody’s lost. Everybody has something to lose. Everybody. And everybody has a story to tell.
  24. That said, refer to point number 13. Your story has nothing to gain by letting jackasses write your script.
  25. Never take ‘No’ from anyone who can’t say ‘Yes’.
  26. Look after your body – it’s the only one you’ve got. It’s yours and it’s doing a mighty fine job. Love it, cherish it, respect it and pamper it. It deserves it. Share it only with those who agree. 
  27. If you’re in a room full of people and you know nobody, speak to the person on their own. They’ll be grateful and chances are you will be too. Out of all the people in that room, you’ll be the one that’s remembered.
  28. Remember birthdays and celebrate yours.

What are your rules for happiness?


This article has been written as part of a collaboration of diverse ideas from 40 different minds on ways to kickstart 2015. The list and the links can be found here. There are plenty of great ideas – but it only takes one to make a difference.

 

6 Comments

Alesha

Wonderful article; one that I’ll be printing out and putting in my wallet for the times that I get unhappy!

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‘Brave’ doesn’t always feel like certain, or strong, or ready. In fact, it rarely does. That what makes it brave.♥️
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We teach our kids to respect adults and other children, and they should – respect is an important part of growing up to be a pretty great human. There’s something else though that’s even more important – teaching them to respect themselves first. 

We can’t stop difficult people coming into their lives. They might be teachers, coaches, peers, and eventually, colleagues, or perhaps people connected to the people who love them. What we can do though is give our kids independence of mind and permission to recognise that person and their behaviour as unacceptable to them. We can teach our kids that being kind and respectful doesn’t necessarily mean accepting someone’s behaviour, beliefs or influence. 

The kindness and respect we teach our children to show to others should never be used against them by those broken others who might do harm. We have to recognise as adults that the words and attitudes directed to our children can be just as damaging as anything physical. 

If the behaviour is from an adult, it’s up to us to guard our child’s safe space in the world even harder. That might be by withdrawing support for the adult, using our own voice with the adult to elevate our child’s, asking our child what they need and how we can help, helping them find their voice, withdrawing them from the environment. 

Of course there will be times our children do or say things that aren’t okay, but this never makes it okay for any adult in your child’s life to treat them in a way that leads them to feeling ‘less than’.

Sometimes the difficult person will be a peer. There is no ‘one certain way’ to deal with this. Sometimes it will involve mediation, role playing responses, clarifying the other child’s behaviour, asking for support from other adults in the environment, or letting go of the friendship.

Learning that it’s okay to let go of relationships is such an important part of full living. Too often we hold on to people who don’t deserve us. Not everyone who comes into our lives is meant to stay and if we can help our children start to think about this when they’re young, they’ll be so much more empowered and deliberate in their relationships when they’re older.♥️
When we are angry, there will always be another emotion underneath it. It is this way for all of us. 

Anger itself is a valid emotion so it’s important not to dismiss it. Emotion is e-motion - energy in motion. It has to find a way out, which is why telling an angry child to calm down or to keep their bodies still will only make things worse for them. They might comply, but their bodies will still be in a state of distress. 

Often, beneath an angry child is an anxious one needing our help. It’s the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. As with all emotions, anger has a job to do - to help us to safety through movement, or to recruit support, or to give us the physical resources to meet a need or to change something that needs changing. It doesn’t mean it does the job well, because an angry brain means the feeling brain has the baton, while the thinking brain sits out for a while. What it means is that there is a valid need there and this young person is doing their very best to meet it, given their available resources in the moment or their developmental stage. 

Children need the same thing we all need when we’re feeling fierce - to be seen,  heard, and supported; to find a way to get the energy out, either with words or movement. Not to be shut down or ‘fixed’. 

Our job isn’t to stop their anger, but to help them find ways to feel it and express it in ways that don’t do damage. This will take lots of experience, and lots of time - and that’s okay.♥️
The SCCR Online Conference 2021 is a wonderful initiative by @sccrcentre (Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution) which will explore ’The Power of Reconnection’. I’ve been working with SCCR for many years. They do incredible work to build relationships between young people and the important adults around them, and I’m excited to be working with them again as part of this conference.

More than ever, relationships matter. They heal, provide a buffer against stress, and make the world feel a little softer and safer for our young people. Building meaningful connections can take time, and even the strongest relationships can feel the effects of disconnection from time to time. As part of this free webinar, I’ll be talking about the power of attachment relationships, and ways to build relationships with the children and teens in your life that protect, strengthen, and heal. 

The workshop will be on Monday 11 October at 7pm Brisbane, Australia time (10am Scotland time). The link to register is in my story.
There are many things that can send a nervous system into distress. These can include physiological (tired, hungry, unwell), sensory overload/ underload, real or perceived threat (anxiety), stressed resources (having to share, pay attention, learn new things, putting a lid on what they really think or want - the things that can send any of us to the end of ourselves).

Most of the time it’s developmental - the grown up brain is being built and still has a way to go. Like all beautiful, strong, important things, brains take time to build. The part of the brain that has a heavy hand in regulation launches into its big developmental window when kids are about 6 years old. It won’t be fully done developing until mid-late 20s. This is a great thing - it means we have a wide window of influence, and there is no hurry.

Like any building work, on the way to completion things will get messy sometimes - and that’s okay. It’s not a reflection of your young one and it’s not a reflection of your parenting. It’s a reflection of a brain in the midst of a build. It’s wondrous and fascinating and frustrating and maddening - it’s all the things.

The messy times are part of their development, not glitches in it. They are how it’s meant to be. They are important opportunities for us to influence their growth. It’s just how it happens. We have to be careful not to judge our children or ourselves because of these messy times, or let the judgement of others fill the space where love, curiosity, and gentle guidance should be. For sure, some days this will be easy, and some days it will feel harder - like splitting an atom with an axe kind of hard.

Their growth will always be best nurtured in the calm, loving space beside us. It won’t happen through punishment, ever. Consequences have a place if they make sense and are delivered in a way that doesn’t shame or separate them from us, either physically or emotionally. The best ‘consequence’ is the conversation with you in a space that is held by your warm loving strong presence, in a way that makes it safe for both of you to be curious, explore options, and understand what happened.♥️
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#mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #parenting

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