Feeling Proud

Good morning blogging world, I hope that you’re having a great day! I thought I’d share with you a little something and nothing just because I am feeling rather proud about it. Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while will know that, in the past, I haven’t had an awful lot of self-confidence and found social situations quite challenging; I know that many of you have had the same problem.

Good morning blogging world, I hope that you’re having a great day! I thought I’d share with you a little something and nothing just because I am feeling rather proud about it. Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while will know that, in the past, I haven’t had an awful lot of self-confidence and found social situations quite challenging; I know that many of you have had the same problem.

Anyway, to get to the point, I joined a social group a couple of years ago but had never attended an event because, quite frankly, I didn’t have the balls. The thought of going somewhere on my own and talking to people I didn’t know scared the bejesus out of me but, last night, all that changed. I received an invitation to go to a ‘red carpet’ evening at a hotel in Monaco and I went! Alone! I dressed up in my best frock, stuck on some high heels, slapped on some make-up and a big smile and entered a room full of people I’d never met.

Within 2 minutes I was chatting away to a lovely woman who I spent most of the evening with, within 15 minutes we were talking to two other ladies (in French which usually doubles the anxiety for me) and it went on from there. I must have spoken to at least a dozen new people! I was even chatted up two or three times and, do you know what, I had no fear……it could have been the couple of glasses of wine but I honestly don’t think so. You know what it feels like to have mad butterflies in your stomach when you’re anxious but I didn’t even have that just a mild sense of anticipation.

So, what changed? Well, one I have been listening to motivational talks on Youtube about self-confidence which have really helped but, more importantly, I suppose I just got sick and tired of hiding from the rest of the World and feeling sad. I decided that, whatever time I have left on this planet, I want to enjoy it, I want to live my life and be happy. Now, I’ve said that, it all seems so simple and I wonder why I’ve waited all this time but, I guess, I just wasn’t ready. I’m ready now, it’s my time to shine and I’m feeling pretty damn good!

Have you ever had a breakthrough moment like that? Please let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

Lisa x

Be Seen

Good morning blogging world! I have a question for you – have you ever come across something that touches you or resonates with you at exactly the moment that you need it? Something happens and you feel as though the Universe itself is speaking to you? I had exactly that experience yesterday and I’d like to share what it was I came across with you.

Good morning blogging world! I have a question for you – have you ever come across something that touches you or resonates with you at exactly the moment that you need it? Something happens and you feel as though the Universe itself is speaking to you? I had exactly that experience yesterday and I’d like to share what it was I came across with you.

Ever since I lost my husband, 5 years ago now, I have almost been hiding from the World. I don’t mean that I’ve been living like a hermit in a cave but I have stopped myself from making meaningful connections with the world at large. I have my friends but, beyond that, I find it extremely difficult to engage with strangers, I don’t like meeting new people and I don’t like going to places, especially new places, on my own. I always put it down to being shy or unsociable but, last night, I realised it’s because I haven’t wanted to be seen. I haven’t wanted to open myself up to people, be vulnerable in front of them, so I put on a mask and hide behind it. That way I don’t have to engage with other people and, although my mask is only in my mind, it’s also meant that other people haven’t engaged with me and that’s meant that I’ve felt lonely for a very long time. Obviously there was something in me that wanted to try because I have opened up with you guys on occasion but, then again,  I can’t see you and, more importantly, you can’t see me.

I have also, since I was a child, struggled with the idea of not being ‘good enough’. I’ve always tried my best and by no means have I failed at the things I’ve attempted in life but I’ve always felt second rate. I have often put on a veneer of confidence but one word of criticism, one negative judgement and the whole thing would fall apart leaving me feeling ashamed and inadequate. What that does for the psyche is to give me another brick to put in the wall that I’ve surrounded myself with, another excuse not to engage with people and ‘proof’ that I am right not to do so.

This isn’t an idea that I’ve come up with; it was explained to me by a woman called Brene Brown in a YouTube video that I came across last night and it had a profound effect on me. More accurately, there were two things she said that tore away the blinkers from my eyes and made me view my world entirely differently:

Have the courage to be imperfect

Have the courage to be seen

Over 10 million people have watched this 20 minute video – now I understand why. If you haven’t seen it already, I really hope that you enjoy it as much as I did and, if you have a spare minute, I’d love it if you’d share something that’s had this kind of profound effect on you.

The last thing I want to say is: I am not perfect and I do, finally, want to be seen.

Lisa

x

Size Does Matter

Although I seemed to be sweating profusely and had developed an irritating and uncontrollable jiggle in my left leg I didn’t think I was doing too badly, all things considered.  

When I lived in the UK I didn’t really think too much about driving; I have a love for sports cars and their size was never a consideration, only the size of the engine. My last car was a V8, had a 0-60 speed of 4.6 seconds and I absolutely loved it! I thought about buying something similar over here (I live in the South of France) and then I drove over here and thought better of it very, very quickly. I now drive a Fiat 500 and have no plans to change any time soon. Why? You may well ask!

As I had never driven abroad and never driven a left hand drive car I thought it prudent to ask a friend to go with me the first time I ventured out in my little red Fiat. He, assuming that, as I could drive,  I could drive anywhere, took me through the centre of Monaco. That, in itself, wasn’t so bad once I got used to being on the wrong side of the road and having to constantly look in my side mirrors to make sure I wasn’t going to hit the kerb, go over the white line or have a collision with one of the thousands of scooters that wanted to overtake me on both the left and the right sides. Although I seemed to be sweating profusely and had developed an irritating and uncontrollable jiggle in my left leg I didn’t think I was doing too badly, all things considered.

Monaco place des moulins
The road in question

That was until we arrived at the entrance to one of Monaco’s many car parks. Don’t get me wrong, I love Monaco; it’s honestly one of my favourite places in the World BUT I swear that a couple of the car parks were designed by someone who has a pathological hatred of  motorists and/or cars. The one that my friend had chosen for me was in the middle of a single lane road (the scooters were still over-taking on both sides) which, to my uneducated mind, was very narrow. This could have been the panic setting in as buses use this road every day seemingly without issue. The entrance itself was, again, narrow and at the top of a steep hill, with a bend in the middle……..

I drove in at a snails pace and could feel beads of sweat breaking out on my forehead as I negotiated the entrance. Then it got worse. The car park itself was so tight that the only way I could negotiate some of the turns was to turn the wheel, then reverse and then go forward again. Not only that but the designer, for reasons best known to his demonic self, decided it would be a really good idea to have 8 inch kerbs on both sides….just to make life really interesting! Unfortunately for me, my confidence was waning the deeper into the bowels of the car park (hell) we went and I completely misjudged one of the bends. The result was that there was a very unpleasant sound of metal scraping on concrete. At this point I burst into tears and my friend took over.

Monaco bends
It’s not like Essex!

That was the last time I drove for about 3 months. My little Fiat stayed outside my apartment gathering dust   and I took the bus (if you ever visit this area the bus service is incredibly cheap and efficient). However, one day I was late for an appointment and I had a choice: either I could phone the person I was meeting and tell them that I was delayed OR I could take the car and not the bus would be a lot quicker. I still find it very difficult to have a conversation in French on the phone and, at the time, it was impossible so, I steeled myself and got into my car. As it turned out, it was fine, yes I got lost but that’s nothing unusual for me (as my friends put it, I have no internal GPS) but I arrived for my meeting on time and without incident.

Monaco F1
Don’t know how they do it!

For 3 months I had put off using the car just because of a single incident. I’d let fear come between me and my love of cars (not to mention between me and my independence). To be fair, it took me a while to get used to the mountain roads, I had previously lived in flat, mountainless Essex, but the freedom that my little car brought me felt wonderful. It’s now 2 years on but I still have no intention of buying anything bigger – for me, size does matter!

 

 

Yes, your bum does look big in that

Did your hairdresser have a psychotic episode when you were in the chair? That’s the only excuse I can think of for that hairstyle!

Have you ever been perfectly honest when people ask you a question that you’d really prefer not to answer? The type of question that makes you think ‘nooooooooooooo!’ Does my bum look big in this? What do you think of my new hairstyle? Do you think that I should marry Darren? I think most of us take the kindly friend route which enables us to answer the question without risking any hurt feelings:

  1. You’re so pretty it doesn’t matter what you wear
  2. Oh wow! Amazing! That’s a big change for you isn’t it
  3. The only thing that matters to me is that you’re happy

What would happen if we said what we actually thought:Crazy hsir

  1. Frankly your arse, in those trousers, looks like two puppies fighting in a sack – what were you thinking?
  2. Did your hairdresser have a psychotic episode when you were in the chair? That’s the only excuse I can think of for that hairstyle!
  3. I can’t stand Darren and I think it will be the biggest mistake of your life if you marry him.

Big bumWe would probably find that our circle of friends diminished pretty quickly but why? Logically, when someone asks our opinion it’s because they want an honest answer no? Not really, what people want is verification of their own opinion or they don’t trust their own opinion so they look to someone else to confirm that they’ve made the right decision when they’re not sure. When people have doubts they look for affirmation and support but are we really do the best for them by acquiescing?

Whether you think someone’s bum looks big or their new hairstyle doesn’t suit them is really not  going to be life changing in the course of most friendships but what about relationships? What do you do if you know for a fact that Darren is incapable of keeping it in his trousers and cheated on his last 3 girlfriends? If your friend really loves this guy would she believe you if you told her what you know? What if she already knew about his previous girlfriends but is 100% convinced that Darren was a reformed character? Will she stand by her man no matter what and turn on you because you ‘tried to ruin her relationship’? Is it better to be Switzerland in these situations and stay neutral?

Angry womanThe fact is that none of us knows how someone will respond to our true opinions because most of us so rarely offer them if they’re negative. We don’t want to risk hurting our friends but we also don’t want to draw their ire so we say nothing and brace ourselves for the fall-out should everything go wrong. The only problem with that, in the Darren scenario for example, is that the floods of tears and the vows to tear Darren limb from limb will inevitably be followed by ‘why didn’t you tell me?’ Therefore, it’s often pretty much the case that you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

So, being brutally honest doesn’t work and lying through your teeth in the name of friendship doesn’t work so what should you do? In my opinion the only way way to keep your integrity and your friends is to be honest but kind with it and keep your fingers crossed that your friends are actually good enough friends to accept a little well meant criticism every now and again. It also helps if you follow the criticism with a little bit of flattery.

  1. To be honest, those trousers are not the most flattering thing I’ve seen you wear; the dress you had on last night, for example was gorgeous on you…
  2. To be honest, I preferred your hair the way it was before but that’s just my taste – I prefer long hair…
  3. To be honest, I know a few of Darren’s previous girlfriends and they all told me that he cheated on them; maybe things will be different with you but I thought you ought to know.

What should you do if you want someone’s honest opinion? Just ask them, tell them that you wont be offended but then don’t be if they don’t tell you what you want to hear. Alternatively, have confidence in your own judgement and always look at your bum in the mirror before you buy a pair of trousers ;O)

 

Chchchchchanges

It’s so easy to repeat the same old patterns, to get ourselves in a rut and have the ‘what’s the point’ attitude

One of the hardest things we can do as human beings is to change but, if we don’t change ourselves, we can’t expect our lives to change and sometimes that’s exactly what we need. It’s so easy to repeat the same old patterns, to get ourselves in a rut and have the ‘what’s the point’ attitude, especially as we get older. For many people the thought processes change from ‘what can I do next’ to ‘I’m too old for all that’ and, as we lose our dreams and our expectations, we strive for less and eventually reach a point of stagnation but it doesn’t need to be like that……..

 

This video shows the journey of a 48 year old guy from fat to formidable. He didn’t go to the gym, didn’t have a personal trainer and worked out in his garage at home. What he did have was massive determination to succeed.

He worked out six days a week, 3 days with weights and 3 days of cardio, and he stuck to a sensible diet plan for those 6 days. On his day off he ate what he fancied and didn’t train – the results after just 18 weeks will amaze you.

This woman explains how, at the age of 50, one really awful photograph motivated her to get in shape. She started just by changing what she ate and she started to see results which prompted her to start exercising. She began with walking, then power walking and then long, all day hikes.

Although she had lost a lot of weight, she decided after a few months that her body didn’t look quite the way she wanted it to so she joined a gym, hired a personal trainer and dedicated herself to transforming her body.

At 50 years old she now has the body of a 20 something – as she says “50 is the new fabulous”!

Transforming yourself requires motivation first so think about the things that will improve in your life if you begin to transform your body:

  • You will have more energy
  • You will have more self-esteem
  • You will be healthier
  • Your digestion will improve
  • You will sleep better but need less of it

The next things you will need is determination and that’s all on you; even if you hire a personal trainer, unless you are determined you will find yourself giving them excuses as to why you can’t exercise after a couple of weeks.

But that’s really all that you need if you want to change your life – motivation and determination – if you have both those things you will achieve whatever you want to achieve.

 

Living it Large

one of the women will likely be an object of derision and the other is modelling on the catwalk in a fashion show

We are constantly being advised that it’s not healthy to be overweight. It’s true, if you are obese you are more likely to suffer from all sorts of health related issues such as diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure and breathing problems. That said, if you are underweight you may end up with a weak immune system and fragile bones so a happy medium is always the ideal.

I think that we can all agree that neither of these images presents a picture of perfect health and yet one of the women will likely be an object of derision and the other is modelling on the catwalk in a fashion show.

Around 725,000 people in the UK have an eating disorder and, in America more than 35% of people are considered obese. How have we managed to create a culture where people have so many body issues? Many say that the media is to blame; if people are looking for body images to aspire to it’s pretty difficult to live up to something which has been airbrushed and digitally enhanced. Essentially you are on a hiding to nothing right from the start – if you try change your body to copy an image which is not even real your self-esteem is bound to suffer. So why not just make the best of what you’ve got and be happy with that? It would make life so much easier.

 If you’re carrying a few extra pounds you might have got the idea in your head that you can’t go out and exercise because people will laugh or tease you – so what? What does it say about them? People’s negative comments usually stem from their own insecurities; how many people will make nasty comments about another person when they’re on their own? Very few, usually its one person in a group who will say something in attempt to get recognition from the others. The only reason they do that is that they don’t believe in their own self-worth i.e. they don’t feel that giving information about themselves will be of interest to their ‘friends’ so they look for someone else to target and deflect attention. Ridicule of another person never comes from a good place. Rudeness

If you’re happy with yourself and the way that you look no words will ever be able to hurt you; if you’re not happy with the way that you look there are things you can do to change that so don’t give up and, if you fall, get up and try again because it will all come together in the end.

If you’ve decided that you want to change something about your body look at exercise types which are going to be low impact such as swimming, walking or yoga as you will have less risk of injury and you will see noticeable improvements in a relatively short space of time which will give you the encouragement you need to continue. If your aim at the start is to run 26 miles it will be easy to feel defeated and there will be a bigger chance that you’ll give up; if your aim is to walk a mile and you achieve it after 2 weeks how amazing will that feel? You’ll have a great sense of achievement and then will want to push on to the next mile and the next. As with anyone who has taken the decision to up their exercise, you will begin to feel so much better about yourself that you will undoubtedly want to make other important life style changes. Before you know it, you will have a whole new wonderful you!

Everyone should be allowed to make decisions about their health and their body without interference and, if they are happy with the results – super! The ultimate that we can achieve in life is to wake up every day smiling and without a care in the world, secure in the knowledge that we are exactly as we want to be. Thin, fat, old, young, tall or short – we are all truly beautiful when we smile.