Survival strategies for the ‘Festive’ season

For those of us to whom Christmas doesn’t equal ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, dread has been slowly creeping up since the first decorations entered high street shops (in August!!).
Not partaking or being able to partake in ‘the festive season’ can leave us in a very distressed state. There is such an extreme pressure for our lives to be perfect: to be invited to and enjoy parties, to have the perfect family to share the day with, reconnect with those long-lost friends and do it all in the perfect home that is filled with luxurious food. In short: The ‘festive’ season is Instagram coming to life and forcing you to apply a filter so that it all looks amazing.

The festive season is an absolute nightmare of forced perfection.
So, how do you get through it when life is hard enough without all this added pressure?
The answer to this question will be unique to everyone, so the key is to find your own strategy.
I will try to provide some key strategies that can help you. Please do add your own, as you might just help out someone else that feels like you.

Don’t linger in Christmas past.
I tend to do this. My biggest dread about Christmas is remembering how wonderful it used to be. Decorating the tree together with my partner and/or friends, drinking hot chocolate after ice skating, relaxing by the fire with the family. I am constantly recreating my past in better and brushed up ways. I brushed away the tension, the fights, and in my mind Christmas past is the best time in the world. Also, it is a Christmas that will never return, ever. I invented the best form of self-torture in the world.
The first strategy is to let go of the past. The past has passed, and it will not return. If someone died or left you, they will not be there to open presents or cut the meat. However hard you want them to. You will have to face this and try and move forward. Your whole being might scream ‘I can’t’, but I promise you: you can. You’ve made it so far, you are pretty incredible and deserve to be in a good place.

Be honest about your feelings.
I used to go around and lie about ‘yes, I’m looking forward to Christmas’, at least three times a day. Each time in my mind remembering how I really was not.
This is what we do, every person that dreads Christmas lies about it. Not only does it make you feel that you are the only one not looking forward to the whole ordeal, it also prevents you from meeting others that might feel the same.
I stopped lying. I do not care that people feel uncomfortable in the knowledge that they have a friend that feels terribly lonely and like a failed human being every Christmas. Yes, it does mean that several ‘friends’ avoid me like the plague come December. Guess what? Not real friends!
Since ‘coming out’ I have found several people that feel my pain, and that have come forward and shared their story about feeling too pressured. It helps having someone near that says, ‘let’s do this thing then’, with suitable discontent.

Practice mindfulness and learn how to deal with anxiety.

I breathe in and making my whole body calm and at peace.
I am breathing out and making my whole body calm and at peace.

Whenever things get hard, I repeat the above mantra in my head as I breathe in and out.
I only takes a few breaths and I am back.
You can do this little exercise anywhere anytime, in a busy shop, at the train station, if you wake up drenched in sweat in the middle of the night.

Other things that might help:
– Petting a dog or other pet (go visit a shelter if you don’t have your own pet, plenty to pet there, and it’ll get your mind off things)
– Exercise, go outdoors if weather permits and get some vitamin D
– Find a creative outlet, doodle or paint or write poetry
– Write it out, find a notebook and write down everything you feel, even your deepest feelings, no shame and no holding back, you will be surprised how much strength you find in yourself after you look at all the stuff you carry in your soul and deal with on a daily basis
– My personal favourite: Hard rock / metal music, really loud, let your body move in whatever way it wants and scream at the top of your voice. Of course…I do not live in an apartment.

Find your own niche, think of something you really enjoy doing and start doing it!

Avoid triggers.
If you know that those commercials showing the ideal Christmas wind you up, turn off the tele and watch a movie online or read a book. If you feel pain walking through a busy shopping street, then don’t walk through a busy shopping street.
If your social media makes you feel inadequate, log out.
If you can’t stand pretending you are in good cheer in a pub surrounded by drunk people, then don’t go or leave the moment those negative feelings kick in.
As a society we have build in this weird concept of doing stuff that really hurts ‘because it makes you stronger’. Stop that behaviour right now, give yourself permission to go home, cuddle up under a blanket and have a little cry. Then get up and make yourself a cup of tea, and if needed call or text a friend or the Samaritans (https://www.samaritans.org/branches).
If you are more comfortable in an anonymous setting, find an online support group (https://www.dailystrength.org/groups).

Find the things that you do like and build your own Festive season.
If you do like how people become very charitable around the Christmas season, find a volunteer opportunity. Shake a bucket or work in a soup kitchen for a day. What is in it for you is that you will feel that you have something worthwhile, and that helps your feelings of self-worth.
If you do love a good pudding, make yourself your favourite one, spend time perfecting it and then only share if you feel like it.
If you do like singing, find a place where people meet to sing together.
Start rebuilding your festive season, filling it with the things that you love.

Remember that it’s only a couple of days.
With the lead up starting 3 months before date, it can feel like the nightmare never stops.
Just keep reminding yourself it’s only a couple of days. Soon it’ll be January and this episode will have passed, with nothing but a half-price sale to remind us.

I hope that some of the above will help you. If you do feel like talking, contact me.

Namaste

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Spiritual Bypassing

A couple of weeks ago I was at a meeting and something really ticked me off. I was trying to control my anger still, when walking into the next meeting. We started the meeting telling each other how we felt in this specific point in time and I came clean: ‘I am livid’, I said.

One of my companions in return said: ‘I have a lovely poem here that can help you’.

I just looked at her. Not feeling seen or heard.

Spiritual bypassing. It’s when one takes spiritual practice to avoid feeling what the present moment brings you. Everyone on a spiritual journey has probably done it at least once. Many people have made a practice out of it. Including me at one point.

The human journey is here to be experienced. We would not be here in this point in time, if we did not have something we need to learn and experience. Those experiences do not have to be pleasant. Often those experiences are very much unpleasant. If we do not work through them though, they will not leave us. Acceptance and expression are a big part of this.

Expressing how we feel is not accepted in many cultures. If someone is expressing their anger our gut instinct is to soothe the situation, or to avoid it. If someone is expressing grief we automatically go out of our way to offer comfort, making the grief go away.

But what if we wouldn’t do this?

What if my companion, rather than bypassing my anger, had looked my straight in the eyes and said ‘how would you like to express your anger?’. I would have taken a moment, maybe screamed, maybe stomped my feet, and then got passed it. Because I was seen and heard.

Acceptance is something we can only do ourselves. Acceptance is the start of any journey. In any good adventure story the hero always first has to accept his or her mission.
In my situation, I needed to accept the fact that I was feeling quite angry. It is scary to accept yourself as an angry person. To accept that something outside of yourself upset you to the point where you do not have control of your feelings (or actions).

Luckily I got to hang out with 2 friends after my encounter, who allowed for my anger to be expressed. No poems were involved in my expression.

For me, this helps to allow negative feeling to come into expression:

I feel like I am ready to accept my [anger] in this present moment.

I want to express it.

In order to allow myself to move onwards.

 

I see you.

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking all the rules

This month has led me on the path of the Abrahamic traditions. Abrahamic traditions are those religions that trace their origin back to the figure Abraham. Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Eastern Monotheistic religions. Or, in my world, the religions of ‘right and wrong’.

Rules are there to be broken. My favourite story to illustrate this, is based on the experiment ‘Cultural acquisition of a specific learned response among rhesus monkeys (the Hollywood version).’

An experimenter puts 5 monkeys in a large cage. High up at the top of the cage, well beyond the reach of the monkeys, is a bunch of bananas. Underneath the bananas is a ladder.

The monkeys immediately spot the bananas and one begins to climb the ladder. As he does, however, the experimenter sprays him with a stream of cold water. Then, he proceeds to spray each of the other monkeys.

The monkey on the ladder scrambles off. And all 5 sit for a time on the floor, wet, cold, and bewildered. Soon, though, the temptation of the bananas is too great, and another monkey begins to climb the ladder. Again, the experimenter sprays the ambitious monkey with cold water and all the other monkeys as well. When a third monkey tries to climb the ladder, the other monkeys, wanting to avoid the cold spray, pull him off the ladder and beat him.

Now one monkey is removed and a new monkey is introduced to the cage. Spotting the bananas, he naively begins to climb the ladder. The other monkeys pull him off and beat him.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The experimenter removes a second one of the original monkeys from the cage and replaces him with a new monkey. Again, the new monkey begins to climb the ladder and, again, the other monkeys pull him off and beat him – including the monkey who had never been sprayed.

(source: http://johnstepper.com/2013/10/26/the-five-monkeys-experiment-with-a-new-lesson/)

What do monkeys have to do with the way we spiritually live our lives?

Do not indulge in evil thoughts and sights (Num. 15:39)

Do not crave something that belongs to another (Deut. 5:18)

Issue 2061: If a person does not possess any wealth, and it is obligatory on him to maintain his dependents, like, his wife and children, he should start earning. Moreover, to earn is recommended for Mustahab acts like providing better means of livelihood to one’s family, and helping the poor persons.

Above are just 3 religious rules that seem so common, we often don’t even question the impact they have on our life. Yet, hands up if you feel a slight ping of guilt moments after you have a negative thought towards that lady who struts through the office like she owns the place and doesn’t even acknowledge your friendly smile.

I am definitely not saying, stop being kind. Please do not stop being kind. What I am saying is that we need to look at the background of the ‘rules’ in our lives and why they are there.

Being a true rebel though, means you question the rules that are in place and challenge them. Being an avid fan of dr Martens I would say ‘kick them’, but appropriate footwear does apply here.

An Ammonite or Moabite shall never marry the daughter of an Israelite (Deut. 23:4)

A widow whose husband died childless must not be married to anyone but her deceased husband’s brother (Deut. 25:5)

If menstruation stops during Salat and the mustahaza woman does not know whether or not it has also stopped internally, and if after her prayers she understands that bleeding had totally stopped, and she has sufficient time at her disposal to offer prayers again in the state of purity, it will be an obligatory precaution for her to act according to the rules applicable to her and pray again.

This is just a very small selection of the rules that I will continue to question. Why should any woman feel shameful about her monthly period, which is natural as sin? Yes, I said natural as sin. Meant it too!

I was having a great conversation around the topic of rules this morning. My conversational partner asked me: ‘if you were God, what rule would you create for this world?’

My statement being, ‘are rules really necessary?’.

My dream is to live in a world where we do not need something written down in order not to do stupid stuff like harming each other. We could just try taking our own responsibility and act from a place of wisdom and love. ‘Dream Big’.

The most interesting part of the conversation, was talking about the rules we set for ourselves. I was challenged to think of the rules I set for myself, being a woman who stands in her own authority.

My main rule is to live my life to the best of my ability, whatever that might mean in any point in time.

Secretly I do set myself a lot of rules. During the course of this day I am becoming more and more aware of what they are. ‘Do not have more than 2 cups of coffee a day.’ ‘No television during the day.’ ‘take 1 day a week to practice spirituality.’ ‘any day off should include a minimum of 30 minutes cardio exercise and yoga afterwards.’ There is no use of writing all of them down, but maybe it is time for a good review of my personal rule book.

 

“I am free, no matter what rules surround me.

If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them;

if I find them too obnoxious, I break them.

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

 

 

 

 

 

The God in Me greets the God in You

I, the fiery light of Wisdom,

I ignite the beauty of the plains,

I sparkle waters,

I burn in the sun, and the moon, and the stars

There are few words that come with more pre-conceived notions than the word God. I will tell you that I have plucked up all my courage in writing this blog, because of the responses some people might have to it, and the assumptions people might have about me, daring to write about God.

I am not a Christian, or Muslim, or Jew, or any other religious label. I consider myself spiritual, but not bound by man-made religion. One of the challenges I am going to face this year is my relationship with God, and since this blog is about spiritual journeying, this is part of it.

Personally, when I hear the word God, I am taken back to my Christian background, to lessons of good and evil, and to fearing the wrath of God.

Also, I have been around too many people that sigh at the mentioning of God. God is owned by the likes of Ned Flanders and the do-gooders of this world. People that do not have fun and have to pray all the time and live by rules such as ‘girls need to wear skirts and have long hair’. This is not who I am, and this is not want I want to be associated with.

Too many people have used the name of God to do evil. It is time for some positivity around the true meaning of God. God is not a set of rules to live by, God does not tell people to do harm to each other, God does not install fear.

I think it is time that us good, fun-loving, kind hearted claim God back for our own.

Everyone will have a different definition of who or what God is. I personally do not think of God as a white bearded man that sits on a big throne somewhere in the sky. Although, it is pretty hard to let go of this image, having been brought up with it.

I also do not believe God is 100% good or 100% evil. For me, God, is neutral, not male, not female, but an all-sustaining energy force that is in perfect balance and that is there to keep the world in perfect balance, preferably by spreading love and light. I call ‘God’ the spark of divine energy that is the same within all of us. I see God in everything around us, plants, animals, everything that has life has God. It’s what makes us all equal and it’s what should stop us from wanting to do harm to one another (that and just being a decent human being of course).

Thinking of God and my definition of God brings about a lot of questions, which I hope I get to find answers for in this lifetime.

The Tao Te Ching reads:

Know the strength of man,

But keep a woman’s care!

Be the stream of the universe,

Ever true and unswerving,

Become as a little child once more.

 

Know the white,

But keep the black!

Be an example to the world!

Being an example to the world,

Ever true and unwavering,

Return to the infinite.

 

Know honor,

Yet keep humility.

Be the valley of the universe!

Being the valley of the universe,

Ever true and resourceful,

Return to the state of the uncarved block.

When the block is carved, it becomes useful.

When the sage uses it, he becomes the ruler.

Thus, ‘A great tailor cuts little.’ 

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. This is not about wrong or right about what God is or does. It’s what God means to you, and how it affects your life and ways.

 

Namaste: The God in Me greets the God in You

Of Fear and Love

Two weeks ago I was reading the book ‘Conversations with God’ by Naele Donald Walsh.

If you like books that make you think and laugh at the same time, I very much recommend you read it.

This sentence really struck me, as it seemed so applicable in my life right now:

‘…Every human thought, and every human action, is based in either love or fear.’

I was still brewing on this sentence, when last week I was in a deep conversation with someone and this person told me that in the end every human action is based on either fear or love.

This is when I knew. This is big, and this is something I need to work with.

I think we all love to consider ourselves people that work from our heart. We know we are kind and we mean well. But are we really?

I will be the first one to stand up and say that for 90% of the time, yes, I am the kind loving person that I desire to be. Every now and then though, this little scared voice in me speaks and says things like ‘but what if you get hurt? I don’t think that person likes you. I bet you that they talk behind your back.’ I think we’ve all heard that little voice inside of us. It is the voice of fear. It makes us do things that might not be as nice and kind and friendly.

It is the voice of fear that makes us be the first one to talk bad about someone else, to do little things to get ‘even’ with people. It is the voice of fear that leads us to actions that often hurt others to a point where they feel the need to hurt us back.

So what if we start challenging the voice of fear?

The last week I was walking around seeing if I could determine whether things that people said and did were based in love or fear. I tried to stay completely neutral and really hear what the other person was saying. I must say that it was an eye opener. Some people that I very much considered being in a place of love, actually turned out to be in a place of fear.

Then something even more interesting started happening, as I recognized the fear in people, I actually started feeling more love towards them.

I started feeling more friendly towards them, as I recognized in them what I recognize in me. I recognized that they must have the same small voice inside them that is feeding actions that are best described unkind. Now, I didn’t get up in the middle of 50 people to walk over and hug them, I do have some self constraint and adhere to social guidelines. I did sneakily send them a little imaginative ray of light and a kind thought though.

I would love for you to challenge yourself for a week, and start noticing which people around you act from love or fear. See if your recognize a bit of yourself in them, and see if you can send them a little ray of light.

Namaste.

Be

‘Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life.’

This blog is not about happiness. This blog is about the journey.

As humans we are always on a journey. We are either looking forward to what is coming, looking at the past to what was, looking in the here and now, establishing our current state of mind and seeing where we sit with it.

 

I myself am very good at journeying. Not just in my car for hours on end, day in and day out, but also in my mind. I am on a continuous journey of self-improvement. Many of us are.

I am very good at establishing what I like and not like about myself and my life, and am forever changing things, changing my attitude to things or walking away from things.

 

About a month ago someone said ‘I am tired’. This resonated so much with me. Because I am, I am tired. I am tired because in this continuous journey I forgot something.

I forgot to take moments to just be.

 

To just sit here, by the fire, not doing anything specifically spiritual, not being intentionally mindful, not noticing anything specific around me, not consciously connecting with my feelings to establish what is irking me. Just to sit here, eating an apple and looking at the flames. Quiet.

 

There is no technique for just being. I can tell you to just sit in a comfy chair and do nothing. Whatever voice is coming in your head about doing the recycling, washing your hair, making tea, just let it be. Allow yourself some time. I promise that if the world were to come to an end, you can be happy as weren’t doing laundry in the last moments of time.

 

To just be involves accepting the fact that you are human and you don’t have all the answers. That is fine. Making mistakes? That is fine. Low on patience? That is fine. We are who we are. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s fine.

 

As I realize more and more that all I need to do is just be, I find myself letting go.

There are many battles in my life I do not want to fight. I am trying to establish if these battles are presented to me so I can pick up a fight with the other person, with myself or with the universe. I don’t know, I don’t have the answer. So, I am going to continue on being who I am and I accept that I don’t have the answer. I assume that if there is an answer that is to come to me, it will. Acceptance.

 

Namaste.

 

 

 

Spreading Divine Joy

‘Beginning with the early dawn each day, I will radiate joy to everyone I meet. I will be mental sunshine for all who cross my path. I will burn candles of smiles in the bosoms of the joyless. Before the unfading light of my cheer, darkness will take flight.

Let my love spread its laughter in all hearts, in every person belonging to every race. Let my love rest in the hearts of flowers, of animals, and of little specks of stardust.

I will try to be happy under all circumstances. I will make up my mind to be happy within myself right now, where I am today.

Let my soul smile through my heart and let my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter Thy rich smiles in sad hearts.

I will always behold in my life the perfect, healthy, all-wise, all-blissful image of Source.’

The text above was written by Paramahansa yogananda, and it inspires me.

I live my life attempting to spread joy to everyone I meet. Granted, sometimes I fail miserably, but that definitely will not stop me from trying. After all, once I master spreading joy absolutely everywhere I go, it’s job done and time to move on J

I was driving my car home from work during the week, when all over sudden, out of blue, the words ‘I am so happy’ escaped from my mouth. And I do, I feel happy inside. Regardless of the external world and all that is happening in it, there is a sublime piece of joy inside me that I can always reach out to. I so wish for every being on this planet and beyond to have that same ability, and that is why I make it my job to help whoever wants to feel this joy.

When I think of the archangels, the one I feel closest to at most times is Jophiel. Jophiel has a beautiful golden yellow ray of joyous energy, which I call upon often when I am ‘just not feeling it.’ Calling upon the ray is simple yet powerful:

‘Archangel Jophiel, Archangel Jophiel, Archangel Jophiel, please allow for a ray of your beautiful, uplifting, joyous energy to wash over me. Please let this ray of your energy make me feel light and joyous, being fully aware of all the blessings that are in my life right now. In love and light, love and light, love and light.’

Of course, the above is just an example of words to use. Whenever you call archangel Jophiel’s name 3 times and end with a heartfelt thank you, it will work.

Just to show that there are no coincidences when it comes to divine signs: as I was typing the last sentence, all over sudden my music stopped at 36:44. 3+6=9= 3+3+3, and 44 is the number of angelic presence in general. Number 3 is the number of Joy, very much linked to archangel Jophiel. I have a very special connection to the number 3, and whenever I see it I know.

I can only thank the universe for sending me on such a great divine mission.

jophielwednesday

Meditation on your own Divine Light

I love all things simple yet powerful when it comes to meditation.

Meditation is such an empowering tool, and it is there for everyone, free for all.

During the week I found myself reading a book as one of my clients cancelled her appointment very much last minute, while I was already on my travels. As everything happens for divine reason, I found this beautiful meditation I would like to share with you. I hope you will get peace and joy out of it.

Look at a light and close your eyes.

Forget the darkness around you and watch the bright red colour within your eyelids.

Look intently into that violet-red colour. Meditate on it and imagine that it is becoming bigger and bigger.

Behold around you a dimly shining sea of violet light. You are a wave of light, a ripple of peace floating on the surface of the sea.

Now watch carefully. You, the little wave, are tossing on an ocean of light. Your tiny life is a part of the all-pervading Life.

As your meditation deepens, you, a little shallow wave of peace, are becoming the deep, wide ocean of peace.

Meditate on the thought, “I am a wave of peace.” Feel the vastness just beneath your consciousness. The wave will feel the sustaining life of the vast ocean beneath it.

From Metaphysical Meditations by Paramahansa Yogananda

Namaste ❤

Happiness

So many people say they ‘just want to be happy.’ However, when it comes down to what they think will make them happy, they find it very hard to answer this.
I have only recently discovered the answer to what will make me happy. What I have discovered is that what will make me happy is not something external. I have come to the fantastic conclusion that I already am happy. Having made this discovery makes me feel grateful to the universe for allowing me to discover happiness.

I am sure you are wondering what I mean with ‘I am already happy.’ Does it mean that I always happy? No.

This blog isn’t about how to always be happy. I personally do not believe there is a person in this world that is always happy. Things happen, life happens, and being the beings that we are, we respond to that.

For me being a happy person means that no matter what comes at you in life, you have the ability to see happy things regardless. This enables us to get passed life’s little upsets and live a life that feels free. My life feels free because when things happen that upset me, I allow myself to feel upset, and then I look in the other direction and am able to enjoy a beautiful sunset.

I would love to tell you at what point in my life I gained the ability to see the silver lining in most everything in my life. To be honest, I cannot. Like many innate sensitive people I have gone through life for many years, wondering where I would fit in. I have gone through periods where I felt very alone, and have even battled a short stint of depression related to PTSD.

Somewhere along the line I discovered that I cannot allow my happiness to depend on things external to me. I believe it was this realization that first brought about a massive change in me. Happiness is not related to the colours of your wall, it is not related to the size of your trousers, it is not related to number of zero’s in your bank balance, and it is not even related to the person sitting next to you. ‘If only this changed in my life, then I would be happy,’ is not the sign pointing towards destination happiness. It is a joke-sign that pretends to lead to happiness, but really only leads you on a treasure hunt of ecstatic moments.

Answer this question, hands on your heart: ‘I am happy because…’

Try to name at least 5 things that make you happy and focus on the feeling in your heart space when you think of the things that genuinely make you feel happiness.

I tend to do this exercise when I notice that my mind is wanting to wander off into creating horrendous things that could happen in the future. Not only is it a great mindfulness exercise, it actually makes me feel good.

Much later in my life I realized something else, something equally important. If there is something in your life that is making me unhappy, I am allowed to let go of it, no matter what it is. In the end I have the power to decide what I do and do not want in my life, it is my life, it’s my gift, and I can do with it whatever I want.

I am not telling you that you should quit your job, leave your partner, move house and country. What I am telling you is that you always have the option to quit your job, leave your partner, move house and country. That choice is yours. You choose your life.

I know there are things in life that we cannot change, believe me, I know. Things happen in life. Situations occur with other people that might not have a positive mind set. Circumstances surround us that might not feel ‘fair.’ Absolutely, it’s all part of this magical journey called ‘life.’

We might not change these circumstances, but we can change our attitude towards them.

You can speak badly about me all day long, you can tell the whole world lies about me, but there is something you cannot do: control how I think and feel about life. If I decide to be happy in life and fill my life with positivity, there is nothing anyone can do about it. They can try, believe me, certain people will try, but when you have decided that for your sake, you want to be happy, you become untouchable. No external being can reach into your mind and yank out your positive thoughts and affirmations. Sometimes it can feel that they can, but in the end it is something that we control and allow. Personally I make a stance against anyone who tries.

That is a big one. It might be the biggest thing about a happy life yet. Working with awareness that your mind set is untouchable. For me, this is why leading a happy and content life equals freedom.

If you want to find out what happiness means to you a great way to start working with this is to keep a happiness journal for a minimum of 21 days. Every day write down what made you happy and why. If you had more than 1 things making you happy, great, elaborate as much as possible. You might find that as you go along you find more and more things that make you happy, some big and some small. After 21 days read what you wrote each day and see how your happiness journey got started and how you have grown from there.

Believe me, once you start working with a happy mind set, your life will improve in ways you would not imagine possible.

Your very best friend

Take a moment to think about your best friend.

Think about all the qualities that your best friend has that makes them so great.

It’s great to have someone in your life that is always there for you, gives you unconditional support, offers a shoulder to lean on and you can have fun with.

Now, I bet that the people thinking of themselves when thinking of their best friend are to be counted on 1 hand.

When we think of the truly great people in our lives we do not tend to think of ourselves.

Yet, we live with ourselves 24/7. There is no part of the day where you can switch yourself off and live without yourself for a while. For that reason alone it is so important to fill yourself with all the qualities you like to see a best friend.

Most of us are living with a self that is often critical, talking negative, unaccepting of our own behaviour. Imagine having a friend like that, would you like to hang out with that friend this often? Probably not, you would probably seek out someone else and have a good whine about this person’s behaviour and question if you should keep them in your life.

Why accept this behaviour from yourself then? Shouldn’t you, of all people, give yourself support, loving kindness and fun?

For me a loving relationship with yourself really starts with being able to have fun with yourself. I am saying ‘having fun with yourself’, not ‘making fun of yourself’.

Having fun with yourself is the ability to be by yourself and do the things that you love to do, just because you love doing them. Be it singing out loud in the most off key way that is humanly possible (a personal favourite of mine, sometimes I actually forget to turn off my silly voice when singing), or running in the garden without purpose and arms flapping to your sides. Anything that makes you think ‘I am the funniest person on this planet’.

Another big part is self-acceptance. Especially for women, we are so used being told how we should look, behave, what we should like, and dislike. We expect ourselves to be able to be great entertainers, mothers, employees, friends and partners, all while looking flawless and without a hair out of place. We expect ourselves to be able to take on the world without a flaw, because this is how the ‘ideal woman’ is portrayed.

We need to accept the fact that we are human. Everyone has limits and so do you, there is no need to criticize yourself for your limits, as this is never going to remove them.

There is no need to criticize yourself for finding your hand in the cookie jar. There is no need to criticize when your mascara smudges. There is no need to criticize yourself when you forget your umbrella. There is no need to criticize yourself when you do not make a deadline. There is no need to criticize yourself when you feel tired and not up for anything. There is no need to criticize yourself for wearing uncomfortable shoes, or comfortable ones for that matter.

Not at one point in your life do you have to criticize yourself. There simply isn’t a need for it.

You are who you are and you are living life to the best of your abilities.

Not at one point do you get up in the morning thinking, ‘today I am going to make all bad decisions that are going to bring really bad things into my life so that I can then beat myself up over them, because that is what I really like to do’. If I am wrong and this is the way you are leading your life, fair enough, I am afraid it will not bring you much happiness.

So, just for now, take a mindful moment. Sit with your hands on your heart, close your eyes and imagine yourself in a pink bubble of light and love.

Imagine yourself being filled with love, a warm comfortable blanket of love and self-compassion, a great big hug of your higher self. Allow yourself to sit in this wonderful energy for as long as you please, knowing that this is a place you may always return to, it is always there for you, 24/7.

Love, love, love.