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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When things feel hard or the world feels big, children will be looking to their important adults for signs of safety. They will be asking, ‘Do you think I'm safe?' 'Do you think I can do this?' With everything in us, we have to send the message, ‘Yes! Yes love, this is hard and you are safe. You can do hard things.'

Even if we believe they are up to the challenge, it can be difficult to communicate this with absolute confidence. We love them, and when they're distressed, we're going to feel it. Inadvertently, we can align with their fear and send signals of danger, especially through nonverbals. 

What they need is for us to align with their 'brave' - that part of them that wants to do hard things and has the courage to do them. It might be small but it will be there. Like a muscle, courage strengthens with use - little by little, but the potential is always there.

First, let them feel you inside their world, not outside of it. This lets their anxious brain know that support is here - that you see what they see and you get it. This happens through validation. It doesn't mean you agree. It means that you see what they see, and feel what they feel. Meet the intensity of their emotion, so they can feel you with them. It can come off as insincere if your nonverbals are overly calm in the face of their distress. (Think a zen-like low, monotone voice and neutral face - both can be read as threat by an anxious brain). Try:

'This is big for you isn't it!' 
'It's awful having to do things you haven't done before. What you are feeling makes so much sense. I'd feel the same!

Once they really feel you there with them, then they can trust what comes next, which is your felt belief that they will be safe, and that they can do hard things. 

Even if things don't go to plan, you know they will cope. This can be hard, especially because it is so easy to 'catch' their anxiety. When it feels like anxiety is drawing you both in, take a moment, breathe, and ask, 'Do I believe in them, or their anxiety?' Let your answer guide you, because you know your young one was built for big, beautiful things. It's in them. Anxiety is part of their move towards brave, not the end of it.
Sometimes we all just need space to talk to someone who will listen without giving advice, or problem solving, or lecturing. Someone who will let us talk, and who can handle our experiences and words and feelings without having to smooth out the wrinkles or tidy the frayed edges. 

Our kids need this too, but as their important adults, it can be hard to hush without needing to fix things, or gather up their experience and bundle it into a learning that will grow them. We do this because we love them, but it can also mean that they choose not to let us in for the wrong reasons. 

We can’t help them if we don’t know what’s happening in their world, and entry will be on their terms - even more as they get older. As they grow, they won’t trust us with the big things if we don’t give them the opportunity to learn that we can handle the little things (which might feel seismic to them). They won’t let us in to their world unless we make it safe for them to.

When my own kids were small, we had a rule that when I picked them up from school they could tell me anything, and when we drove into the driveway, the conversation would be finished if they wanted it to be. They only put this rule into play a few times, but it was enough for them to learn that it was safe to talk about anything, and for me to hear what was happening in that part of their world that happened without me. My gosh though, there were times that the end of the conversation would be jarring and breathtaking and so unfinished for me, but every time they would come back when they were ready and we would finish the chat. As it turned out, I had to trust them as much as I wanted them to trust me. But that’s how parenting is really isn’t it.

Of course there will always be lessons in their experiences we will want to hear straight up, but we also need them to learn that we are safe to come to.  We need them to know that there isn’t anything about them or their life we can’t handle, and when the world feels hard or uncertain, it’s safe here. By building safety, we build our connection and influence. It’s just how it seems to work.♥️
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#parenting #parenthood #mindfulparenting
Words can be hard sometimes. The right words can be orbital and unconquerable and hard to grab hold of. Feelings though - they’ll always make themselves known, with or without the ‘why’. 

Kids and teens are no different to the rest of us. Their feelings can feel bigger than words - unfathomable and messy and too much to be lassoed into language. If we tap into our own experience, we can sometimes (not all the time) get an idea of what they might need. 

It’s completely understandable that new things or hard things (such as going back to school) might drive thoughts of falls and fails and missteps. When this happens, it’s not so much the hard thing or the new thing that drives avoidance, but thoughts of failing or not being good enough. The more meaningful the ‘thing’ is, the more this is likely to happen. If you can look behind the words, and through to the intention - to avoid failure more than the new or difficult experience, it can be easier to give them what they need. 

Often, ‘I can’t’ means, ‘What if I can’t?’ or, ‘Do you think I can?’, or, ‘Will you still think I’m brave, strong, and capable of I fail?’ They need to know that the outcome won’t make any difference at all to how much you adore them, and how capable and exceptional you think they are. By focusing on process, (the courage to give it a go), we clear the runway so they can feel safer to crawl, then walk, then run, then fly. 

It takes time to reach full flight in anything, but in the meantime the stumbling can make even the strongest of hearts feel vulnerable. The more we focus on process over outcome (their courage to try over the result), and who they are over what they do (their courage, tenacity, curiosity over the outcome), the safer they will feel to try new things or hard things. We know they can do hard things, and the beauty and expansion comes first in the willingness to try. 
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparent
Never in the history of forever has there been such a  lavish opportunity for a year to be better than the last. Not to be grabby, but you know what I’d love this year? Less opportunities that come in the name of ‘resilience’. I’m ready for joy, or adventure, or connection, or gratitude, or courage - anything else but resilience really. Opportunities for resilience have a place, but 2020 has been relentless with its servings, and it’s time for an out breath. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a year that wraps its loving arms around us. I’m ready for that. x
The holidays are a wonderland of everything that can lead to hyped up, exhausted, cranky, excited, happy kids (and adults). Sometimes they’ll cycle through all of these within ten minutes. Sugar will constantly pry their little mouths wide open and jump inside, routines will laugh at you from a distance, there will be gatherings and parties, and everything will feel a little bit different to usual. And a bit like magic. 

Know that whatever happens, it’s all part of what the holidays are meant to look like. They aren’t meant to be pristine and orderly and exactly as planned. They were never meant to be that. Christmas is about people, your favourite ones, not tasks. If focusing on the people means some of the tasks fall down, let that be okay, because that’s what Christmas is. It’s about you and your people. It’s not about proving your parenting stamina, or that you’ve raised perfectly well-behaved humans, or that your family can polish up like the catalog ones any day of the week, or that you can create restaurant quality meals and decorate the table like you were born doing it. Christmas is messy and ridiculous and exhausting and there will be plenty of frayed edges. And plenty of magic. The magic will happen the way it always happens. Not with the decorations or the trimmings or the food or the polish, but by being with the ones you love, and the ones who love you right back.

When it all starts to feel too important, too necessary and too ‘un-let-go-able’, be guided by the bigger truth, which is that more than anything, you will all remember how you all felt – as in how happy they felt, how loved they felt were, how noticed they felt. They won’t care about the instagram-worthy meals on the table, the cleanliness of the floors, how many relatives they visited, or how impressed other grown-ups were with their clean faces and darling smiles. It’s easy to forget sometimes, that what matters most at Christmas isn’t the tasks, but the people – the ones who would give up pretty much anything just to have the day with you.

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