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7 days ago · · 0 comments

How To Stop Feeling Guilty In Your Relationships

Stop Feeling Guilty – The 5 Steps Everyone Should Know

stop feeling guiltyGuilt is a funny emotion. It should only be used as a barometer to gauge when you have done something to hurt another and the behaviour needs to be rectified or apologised for. A good example of this, is when you break a promise to a loved one and you have deliberately hurt that person’s feelings. The ‘guilt’ emotion was designed to provide you with empathy. This way you can evaluate your behaviours and maintain healthy relationships. However, guilt is often misused as a self-punishment mechanism or to manipulate others into doing things. Guilt becomes very debilitating – hence why there is a STRONG desire to stop feeling guilty wherever possible.

Thus, guilt is often misused in modern life. People feel guilty for EVERYTHING. Just today I was in a meeting and a colleague was saying she felt so guilty for being sick and forgetting to water her plants. Does this really warrant strong feelings of guilt? It’s a nice quality to want to ensure the livelihood of a plant. Though punishing herself and feeling like a bad person as a result of being too unwell to think to ask someone to water a plant for her, seems excessive to me. The guilt is NOT serving any purpose here, other than to make her feel bad about herself.

When you deliberately or unintentionally hurt someone, guilt should serve to provide you with remorse and to find ways to question why you engaged in this hurtful behaviour. It also serves as a way of evaluating what you can do to appease the situation and move forward. It should not be used as a way to manipulate or self punish.

Guilt is also often misused in relationships

Within a relationship, you may find yourself wracked with guilt over the most minor things. Often in private practice we see people desperately trying to find ways to stop feeling guilty, because it’s ruining their relationships.

Guilt is worthwhile if it serves to enhance, soothe or improve your relationships. However, guilt often eats at your self esteem and consequently results in unhelpful or destructive behaviours. This is particularly the case when others are placing unreasonable demands on you – playing on your propensity to feel guilty. Imagine, a partner who makes a wife feel guilty every time she puts her needs first, or when she wants to say “no” to yet ANOTHER request. The wife learns to give in just to keep the peace and stop feeling guilty, for fear she may upset her partner. In this example, usually, guilt is used as a manipulation tool in order to get what the partner wants.

So, how do you stop feeling guilty in your relationships?

Step 1: How to stop feeling guilty – Evaluate if the request in unreasonable

stop feeling guiltyFirst of all, you need to evaluate if the request is unreasonable. We see from an early age children saying to each other “if you don’t do what I ask of you, I won’t be your friend any more”.

Already guilt is being laid on very thick from an early age! Children learn incorrectly, that saying “no”, or making someone unhappy leads to being un-liked or unloved. This very poor lesson stays with most people throughout life.

 

So, it’s much healthier to unlearn this childhood lesson by first asking yourself:

a) am I saying “no” because I really don’t want to do this?

b) am I saying “no” because this request clashes with another commitment?

c) am I saying “no” because I am not in the mood right now?

e) is the request fair?

Answering these questions will give you a glimpse into why you are saying “yes” in the first place.

Step 2: How to stop feeling guilty – Assess your intentions

In order to stop feeling guilty it’s important to look at your intentions. Using the example above, my colleague’s intention was not to starve her plant. Her intention at the time was to improve her health. So guilt was not appropriate. It would have been more appropriate to feel disappointment and to accept that in her ‘sick’ state she could not possibly have expected herself to remember everything.

Her intention in that moment was NOT to hurt the plant. Her intention was to get better. Therefore, she can rationalise that she did not starve her plant deliberately and next time she will remind herself to simply ask others for help.

stop feeling guilty

Step 3: How to stop feeling guilty – Question the outcome

Ask yourself whether or not you have done something to hurt someone else. This is very different from asking yourself whether someone will be MAD at you for not adhering to their requests. It is important to be supportive in relationships. So there will be times when you don’t really feel like doing something, but you do it anyway, because you know it will help someone you love. Being there to support someone in need produces feel-good hormones and this further enhances your relationship. However, there needs to be reciprocal support within a relationship.

If your loved ones begin to take advantage of your kind personality and expect you to do more and more, you may begin to feel guilty every time you feel like saying “no”. This is a good example of when it is appropriate for you to think about whether or not saying “no” has hurt the other person, is has just caused a tantrum. Look at the request at hand.

Examples requests where you are likely to hurt a loved one if you say “no” or do not try to appease the situation/ find an alternative solution:

a) picking up a loved one from hospital or the airport after a long trip

b) making little attempts to be present for milestone moments (eg graduations, awards, plays, tournaments, parties)

c) not helping a loved one in times of real need

stop feeling guiltyExamples of where you are likely to be bullied into saying “yes”

a) you are about to go out for dinner with close friends and your son calls to ask you to cancel everything because he doesn’t feel like being alone right now

b) your child begins to cry because she wants to eat ice cream for the 3rd time this week

c) your boss asks you to stay back at work again, knowing you have an important event to attend with your family that evening

 

It is really important to be able to look at what is going on behind requests and to really question whether you are going to hurt someone else for saying “no”, or whether you are going to appease a bit of bullying or neediness.

Step 4: How to stop feeling guilty – Stand up for your rights

Ask yourself, do I have a right to say “no” here? This is probably the most important question to ask yourself in order to reduce guilt. As I mentioned above, there will always be compromise in relationships, however, you have a right to say “no” to something when a request:

  • does not feel right
  • clashes with your values
  • causes you or someone else to be hurt
  • is not feasible with your current time constraints
  • is unreasonable

stop feeling guiltyStep 5: How to stop feeling guilty – Appeasing the hurt

You are human. There are going to be times when you snap, or misjudge things. There will be times when you have to make difficult decisions that will hurt another person. In these circumstances it is very important for the health of your relationship, to look at ways to appease the hurt. For instance, let’s say you have been asked to be a bridesmaid by your husband’s best friend’s fiancé. However, your husband has been excluded from the bridal party and is very upset about this.

In this scenario, you have two choices to make. First – say “yes” and hurt your husband further. Second – say “no” and disappoint your fiancé who is also a good friend. This is a very difficult situation. Either way someone gets hurt. Whichever selection you decide on, it’s important to explain your choice and do what you can to appease the hurt. Be gentle and kind and accept that you will not be able to please everyone.

Another example of hurt feelings could be yelling at your child when you’re tired. Instead of feeling guilty and punishing yourself about this. Learn from it, explain to your child the way you displayed your anger was not appropriate and say sorry for yelling. You can still say you had a right to be upset if that is appropriate, but appease the hurt that would come from you overreacting. This way your child learns his actions were not the best BUT he is NOT a bad person. By doing this, you separate the individual from the behaviour too.

So just to recap

The 5 Steps To Stop Feeling Guilty:

  1. Evaluate if the request in unreasonable

  2. Assess your intentions

  3. Question the outcome

  4. Stand up for your rights

  5. Appease the hurt

By taking note of these four steps you will stop feeling guilty very quickly. You will also ensure that you protect your self esteem which is vital for the overall health and success of your relationships long term.

Lizzie O’Halloran, Author of Perfect Mum & Refresh Your Life books

 

1 month ago · · 0 comments

Good Parenting Advice – The No.1 Thing Every Parent Should Know

Are you engaging in good parenting?

Good ParentingThis question of ‘good parenting’ is a common one every parent asks themselves from time to time. As a parent of a child (of any age), you can quickly begin to doubt your parenting skills when you hear the latest parenting news that contradicts what you thought you were doing well. For instance, your parents were most likely taught to sleep a new baby on it’s tummy. However we now know this is dangerous and SIDS advice is to sleep a baby on it’s back to avoid the potential for sudden infant cot death.

So how do you know if you’re doing a good job?

 

Besides the basics of ensuring your child is safe, secure, healthy and happy, there is one key ingredient to effective parenting

The No.1 Thing All Parenting Should Know Is How To Parenting With Consistency (including learning from mistakes & starting again)

Consistency has two elements:

  1. Being consistent with your parenting approach
  2. Tweaking things when your approach isn’t having the desired outcome

Let’s break these down a little further

Being consistent with your parenting approach

Good ParentingOne of the most important (yet challenging) aspects of being a parent is being consistent. Consistency provides security and boundaries for children and helps them to develop healthy self esteems that are not dictated by your moods. When you parent inconsistently, your child becomes very insecure and riddled with self-doubt. This outcome of inconsistent parenting is often seen in older children who find it very stressful to make decisions, out of fear of making a mistake.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your child’s ‘pester power’, your moods, your child’s moods and the influence of others – all can impact on your ability to parent consistently. Children have a way of finding a parents weak spot and pestering until you let go – often after a few minutes of arguing. This behaviour of course makes being consistent a BIG challenge for parents.

You may have decided to be a calm, rational and reasonable parent, who is supportive and caring to your child. But… how does this parenting style hold up against a tantrum in public? How do you remain calm when you’re exhausted from work, or you’ve had a really bad day? These are the times when it is really hard to be consisten and yelling or raising your voice can become the norm. Contrary to your explicit desire to be calm and rational with your children. So what’s the answer?

The key to being consistent in your parenting style is trusting in yourself and in your methods of parenting. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a consistent parenting when you have low self esteem.

Let’s say, one very hot afternoon, you finish work, pick up your child from school and decide to buy her an icy pole on the way home from school. You enter the service station store and she asked to have an ice cream. You are concerned about her recent weight gain, so you say “no” and offer her the icy pole again. She continues to pester you and begins to stamp her feet and get angry with you when you won’t give in. This scenario could go a number of ways:

Scenario 1: You ignore the tantrum. You continue to calmly ask her if she would like an icy pole. You finally tell her if she doesn’t want the icy pole, you’re happy to leave with nothing. She finally calms down and takes the icy pole. Later when things calm down you explain that her behaviour was not respectful and ruined a nice gesture from you. Next time, you hope she can be more gracious. She apologises and you move on.

Scenario 2: You get angry over the tantrum. You start yelling at her and telling her she is being very disrespectful and selfish. She responds by saying you don’t care about her and only think about yourself. You start to feel guilty for saying “no”. You give in to the tantrum and buy her the ice cream. She is so happy, but you feel terrible for giving in to something you things is unhealthy for her. She has also learnt to just keep pestering you until you feel guilty and cave in.

You can only engage in Scenario 1 when you feel self confident and self assured in your parenting decisions. If you feel doubtful or insecure, then you will give in when your child hits the right note!

Tweaking things when your approach isn’t having the desired outcome

Good ParentingThere will be times when you are consistently trying an approach to parenting, but it just isn’t working. As a result, it’s making you frustrated and causing you to derail your  desired parenting style. For instance, let’s say you have decided that your child should be in bed by 8:30pm every night (unless it cannot be avoided). Your method of getting your child to bed is by providing a routine you follow every night. However, when it comes to ‘lights out’, your child begins to perk up. Every night is takes longer and longer to get your child to sleep and you end up having to yell to get him to sleep. By this time it’s ridiculously late and you all wake up emotional and tired the next day.

Believe it or not, many parents will just continue with a routine like this that isn’t working, because they believe the method MUST be right. Yet all children are NOT the same. When a consistent parenting approach isn’t working, it’s time to tweak something so that you get the desired outcome without having to get upset. In this example, a reward chart could work really well, or a written list of things to do before bed might work. This way your child can physically be involved in the routine. You could trial different methods until you found the one that worked best. Then be consistent in your parenting approach with this new approach.

So, there you having it. The No.1 good parenting tip for all parents is to learn how to be consistent and to tweak this consistency as needed for your specific child.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Author of Perfect Mums & Refresh Your Life

1 month ago · · 0 comments

How to Deal With Rejection – The 3 Best Steps You Can Take Today

When you learn how to deal with rejection, your whole life changes for the better

Have you ever been really mad at a friend, ignored them for a while to calm down and then just picked up the friendship again as if nothing happened? This is often the way that people learn how to deal with rejection. They get mad, stew over it for a while, feel bad later for ignoring the person who rejected them, then continue the friendship. However, the problem with doing this is there is built up resentment,

Learning how to deal with rejection is often associated with confrontation

how to deal with rejectionOne of the most difficult parts of friendships is dealing with confrontation. Often you can be scared to tell friends or partners they have hurt you, for fear you may be rejected. If you come from a family in which confrontation is not handled well, you are likely to take this awkwardness into your extended relationships. For instance, if every time you tell a family member she hurt you, you are attacked or criticised for being insensitive, you will be fearful of doing the same with others. Regardless of whether or not you believe you are right or wrong.

The problem with not standing up for yourself though, is that it builds up resentment. If you allow others to treat you disrespectfully on a regular basis, you are also likely to build low self esteem.

In this blog I am going to show you 3 easy and effective strategies you can use to stand up for yourself, without having to worry about what your friends might think or say. The key is in believing you deserve to be treated with respect and trusting you have a right to stand up for yourself when it’s appropriate and warranted.

The 3 Best Steps For Learning How To Deal With Rejection

STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES WISELY

Think about what really matters to you and what’s worth fighting for. Some battles are best left alone. These are the ones that slightly bother you, but you don’t really care too much about them. For instance, whether your friend is 10 minutes late to pick you up from time to time. Others (particularly when there is a consequence) are important. These are worth taking a stand over. For example, being ignore by your best friend on a social outing with her new work friends.

Being late a few times is likely to be something you can laugh about or manage. However, being ignore by your best friend when she’s trying to impress others, is not acceptable. So the latter is important to talk about so that it doesn’t happen again.

It’s important to choose your battles wisely so that when you do stand up for yourself you have the impact you desire. This way, you won’t be viewed as someone who is ‘difficult’ or just complains a lot. Also, when you are standing up for something you really believe in, it gives you the confidence to say something without worrying about what other think. The cause you are standing up for outweighs the worry of upsetting someone else.

how to deal with rejection - free self esteem guide

 

 

STEP 2: START EARLY

It’s important to respond to behaviour in the moment. It is much more difficult and stressful to stew over things and to then attempt to bring them up out of context.

Let’s look at an Example

Your friend organises with you to catch up in a few days time. You contact her the day before the event to finalise the arrangements. You hear nothing. The next day, you hear nothing until the afternoon. At this time she proceeds to tell you that something came up and she couldn’t make it, but she’s happy to meet another day.

What’s wrong here?

a) She never called you to explain her situation

b) She didn’t give you an opportunity to make other plans

c) She put her own needs above yours

d) She has assumed that you have nothing else to do and are happy to just go along with her reschedule

e) This is the 5th time she has done something like this to you

Based on items a) to e) above, it’s well above time to say something.

You have a number of options in such a scenario.

  • Tell her you are no longer available and you had specifically put this time aside for her
  • Ask her to explain why she never called you
  • Ask her to give you some notice next time

It’s important in this scenario for your friend to understand the behaviour is disrespectful. However, it’s just as important for you to be assertive, otherwise your friend assumes you are just so easy going that anything goes.

It is an unfortunate part of human nature that some people will take advantage of others if they do not show how they really like to be treated. This is not because humans are inherently mean. It’s more a reflection of how busy everyone is and that people live in a world of competing demands. So you friend might rationalise that your needs are not as important, because you’ll accept anything.

STEP 3: ASSESS YOUR RELATIONSHIP EXPECTATIONS

This is a really important one and often gets people into trouble. It’s easy to expect that all friendships should be the same and subsequently all friends should treat you equally. However, this could not be further from the truth. There are the basics in relationships like kindness, fun, respect, but the time and priorities others have for you will differ depending on your level of friendship. So, it’s really important to categorise your friends and to raise or lower your expectations of these friendships accordingly.

Let’s look at an Example

A friend from school that you see occasionally for coffee, should not be expected to see you as often as a close friend that you have had for many years. This friend is also not expected to be as reliable, or someone you can confide in all the time, or ask for regular support. These should be reserved for closer friends that you have invested in over time and who have shown you they are invested in your friendship.

Start learning how to deal with rejection today

The next time you fee rejected by a friend, go through these three steps to ensure:

  1. The battle is worth having
  2. You stand up for yourself in-the-moment
  3. That you have assessed your level of frustration matches your level of friendship

how to deal with rejection - free self esteem guide

 

 

 

lizzie o'halloran - how to deal with rejectionLizzie O’Halloran

Author of Perfect Mum & Refresh Your Life

Founder of Help For Mums

2 months ago · · 0 comments

Weight Loss Motivation – The 3 Key Steps Your Need

Weight loss motivation is the key to long term health

Weight loss MotivationDiets do not matter. That seems like a bold statement doesn’t it? By this is the truth. If you’ve been blaming yourself for not having enough will power or weight loss motivation to stick to a particular diet, you will forever find yourself on the yo-yo diet circuit. You are likely to go from one diet to the next looking for the perfect solution to your weight loss issues. However, this is where most people go wrong. Diet experts and weight loss gurus who pitch particular diets often believe if people could just stick to their plan everything would be OK. The problem is that the diet is not the answer.

Everyone knows all you have to do is reduce your calories and exercise to lose weight

It’s irrelevant which diet you choose to take up. People who have succeeded on a particular diet will swear by it and tell you it’s the best diet in the world. But… what they have failed to recognise is that the diet per se was not the answer – it was their level of weight loss motivation. They just happened to be on that particular diet when the timing was just right for them.

Having motivation to achieve any goal (weight loss motivation is a common goal for many people) is driven by your level of self worth, how important you believe the goal and how confident you are that you can succeed in it. So, when friends tells you their diet worked, it is because these three elements were in perfect sync. Self worth was high enough to believe they deserved to lose the weight in that moment. The desire to lose weight was brought on by a strong need. For instance they believed it was so important to them at that time to lose weight in order to have the energy to play with their children, reduce an illness, or look good for a special event, and so on. Thirdly at that time they believed they could succeed because they had succeeded at other goals in the past, or they believed this diet could not fail, etc.

Click Here To Boost Your Motivation

Three Steps To Boosting Your Weight loss Motivation

Step 1: Trust that you’re worth it

You would have no hesitation in telling a friend that she is a worthy person who deserves good things. So it’s time to give yourself the same respect. Think about what makes you a worthy person? Why do you deserve to feel healthy, have more energy and live a life where your weight is never an issue? What would it mean to you to feel and look your best? These are the questions to start with. By delving into your self worth, you begin to find the source of thoughts and feelings that are holding you back. You also soon realise that ‘of course’ you are a worthy person. Of course you have a right to put your health needs first.

You may begin to think about all the great things you do in your life for others that you just take for granted. For instance, how much you do every day for your family, colleagues, or friends. Think about what you do every day to help run your home or office. You may prepare meals for others, support those in need or just provide a shoulder to cry on. Think about what those closest to you would say about you too. These people see the real you.

Step 2: Make sure it’s important for you

Think about what it would mean to you or someone you care about to lose weight and get into shape. Would it mean that you would be happier and subsequently be more relaxed and fun around your family or friends? Would boosting your weight loss motivation impact your overall health – for instance improve your skin tone, reduce the chace of heart disease or high cholesterol? Do you have a fantasy of impressing someone else by looking your best on a particular day? Would your loved ones stop worrying about you if you make your health a priority? Whatever it means to you… find what makes getting into shape REALLY IMPORTANT FOR YOU

Step 3: Look at past successes

Where in your life could you draw confidence from past success? When was a time that you set out to achieve a goal and you did it. It might be a course you completed at University. Perhaps you successfully completed a renovation you set out to finalise at home. Did you have the wedding of your dreams after all your hard work and dedication? Have you ever stuck to a budget, or achieved a financial savings goal. The key is to look for times when you set a goal and you had the motivation to see it through. That’s the key element to believing you can succeed at achieving your weight loss goal.

Losing weight should not be a negative for you

It’s important when you are trying to boost your weight loss motivation, to see it in a positive light. Think about all the things you are going to gain that make boosting your exercise levels and improving your diet really worth it. How much better will you feel as a result.

Click Here To Boost Your Motivation

lizzie o'halloran - weight loss motivation

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help For Mums & Happy Life

 

2 months ago · · 0 comments

Married with Kids – When You Clash With Your In Laws

Relationship problems with your extended family often begin when you’re married with kids

family conflict - Married with KidsWhen you fall in love with someone, life seems great

Then you meet your partner’s family and soon enough your in laws become part of your life too. In the ideal world, you would seamlessly slot into your partners extended family and vice versa. Unfortunately this is not the case for many couples and relationship problems often arise, especially after you are married with kids. One of the main reasons for this is that the family dynamics need to change when a new partner settles into a family as a new family ‘team’ is formed.

When you become a ‘couple’, you essentially combine one set of upbringing with another and hope for the best

Relationship problems often arise when a new partner does not seem acceptable to a family. In other words the new partners lifestyle, personality, beliefs or occupation are not accepted by the extended family. This can cause conflict for the person torn between previous and new family values and expectations. For instance, if you have always done whatever your parents ask of you (even if it’s unreasonable) and this conflicts with what your partner is asking of you.

In these situations there needs to be an understanding that adult children will need to develop their own lives and new family rules of behaviour. However, as a parent you can begin to establish family routines that can be maintained even after your children leave the nest, so old and new families can both feel important.

The concept of being a ‘team’ in a partnership is often neglected by many couples when they become married with kids. 

childcare decision - Married with KidsWhen children enter a family, issues with in laws can really intensify. Some inlaws become insecure and possessive of grandchildren. They may be critical of your parenting practices and place demands on when they should have the children. If you are having this experience, it can be very difficult to manage, particularly if your partner is in conflict with you. The ideal thing would be to discuss any concerns you have before your child arrives. Place some ground rules in place early, so potential conflict does not arise.

If you already have children and you are experiencing conflict with in laws, the way you communicate with your partner is vital to keeping the peace within your new family. It’s important to also keep in mind that your partner is trying to keep the peace. This can be difficult when in laws place pressure on your partner to see their point of view.

In order to manage this pressure once you’re married with kids (and not allow it to lead to significant relationship problems), always keep 4 things in mind

1) Always work as a team and get to the heart of these issues so they do not impact your relationship.

2) Do not allow these differences to impact how you feel about, or treat each other.

3) Talk about why you each have your point of view.

4) The key thing to always consider is “what’s in the best interest of our child?”

When considering the fourth point above, ask your partner questions like:

  • what are our family values in terms of how often we want to socialise without our child and how much we want to be the primary influencers of their upbringing
  • is it in the best interest of our child to be left with a grandparent one day per week versus childcare?
  • are you leaving our child in family members care just to appease them and to stop having to feel guilty for saying “no”?
  • how does our child feel about being left in this family members care?
  • do we believe this career physically and mentally capable of looking after our child unsupervised?
  • would this person be a good influence on our child?
  • will our child miss out on important social interactions if grandparent care substitutes childcare?
  • how often should we leave our child with family members – what are we comfortable with?

It’s important to feel confident and comfortable with your child’s carers when you’re married with kids

When you take away the emotion and just deal in the world of facts, you can have a reasoned discussion about how often, where and when in laws should look after your child. This way personal feeling are not hurt and you can look after the best interest of your child. That’s what really matters.

There is no right or wrong way to make decisions about childcare

Your (and your partners) personal and family values and beliefs will have a significant impact on your childcare decisions. For instance, if you have come from a stressful upbringing, you may be more inclined to want to protect your child from any potentially negative influences. In contrast, if you have come from a very warm and caring background, you may be very comfortable with your child being raised by various members of your family.

The most important issue for your new family, is to communicate your feeling. Be specific with your partner about your reasons behind your views on childcare. Be open to your partner’s views and concerns too. This way, you always work as a team with the primary aim of keeping your child safe, secure, healthy and happy.

What if we just can’t agree on childcare?

If you are having difficulties communicating with your partner about these issues, see help now before you experience further relationship problems. Take advantage of our August 2018 special and receive $80 off your first couples counselling session. Simply download your free coupon here and email us at info@happylife.net.au to book in your first session now. OFFER ENDS 30 Aug 18. If you would like to take up this offer, but are unable to attend counselling in Malvern victoria (where our office is located), we offer couples counselling via Skype also.

Grab your Free Couples Counselling Coupon Now

marriage counselling offer - married with kids

 

3 months ago · · 8 comments

The 3 Key Steps to Feel Good About Yourself

How to feel good about yourself?

feel good about yourselfIn the past few weeks I have spoken to lots of people who have told me they are currently feeling really flat. They feel disheartened and defeated by life and don’t feel good about themselves as a result. This is coming from people who are usually very positive and upbeat. So it got me thinking…. “what’s going on?”

Modern life can be a struggle at times, particularly if you are suffering (or have ever suffered) from low self esteem. The news does not help either, as every day seems to be filled with more negative things happening. However, a lot of the current level of low self worth and depression is centred around what is happening in personal relationships. The increase in mental health issues, has also placed a strain on relationships and the breakdown of healthy communication.

We live in a world of Mass Social Media where we are bombarded by opinions and new research daily, so people are quick to judge others and blame others for things they disagree with. This places further pressure on relationships as you develop beliefs about what relationships ‘should’ be like, how people ‘should’ behave and how people ‘should’ look.

In addition to these expectations, comes the expectation of time. Work, family, friends and you personally all demand parts of your time. When you do not meet these external expectations, you are often met with more pressure and disharmony. So what’s the answer? The answer really lies in being confident in the decisions you make about yourself and your immediate family (e.g. your partner and child/ren) and boosting your self esteem to be able to cope with the opinions, beliefs and expectations of others that conflict with your own.

The 3 key steps to feel good about yourself

  1. Find your purpose in life and love it
  2. Cultivate healthier relationships
  3. Absorb the true positives others see in you

What makes you feel good about yourself?

There is the obvious answer to this – how you view yourself in the eyes of others (what you think others think of you). But deeper than this is how you live by the rules you set out for yourself.

The way you feel about yourself is a direct measure of the expectations you believe you should live up to and the value you believe you give to this world. This is why negative external comments by others can be so painful. They directly attack the need we have as human beings to feel valuable in this world. If you have every experienced or known someone who has experienced bullying, you will be able to acutely identify with this.

Step 1: Find your purpose in life and love it – to feel good about yourself

You spend so much time at work.  Wherever you go, people will ask you “what do you do?” So a lot of your self value is based around work.

Happiness is directly related to having a purpose.

Therefore, having a clear purpose is one of the keys to feeling good about yourself. Make sure you have a purpose and make sure it is something you are proud of. If you don’t like your job, find something within your work or personal life to give you purpose until you can move on to another job.

At work you may find purpose in helping others, providing a good service to your clients or customers or knowing you are a part of an industry who’s goal it is to serve the wider community.

Step 2: Cultivate healthier relationships – to how to feel good about yourself

As noted above, personal relationships are the major key to feeling good about yourself. Unfortunately most people persist with very negative relationships in their lives. These negative relationships infect the self esteem and over time, often lead to anxiety and depression.

It is imperative to find ways to protect yourself in negative relationships. Make sure you are not being taken for granted. If you are allowing others to treat you with disrespect, it’s important to first build your self esteem. Then you will have the strength to stand up for yourself. Being assertive does not mean yelling at others or getting into confrontations with others. It means assessing situations and saying “no” or offering alternative solutions when it’s appropriate.

Watch my free video on The Secrets To Successful Communication in Your Relationships to find out how you can improve your relationships today.

Step 3: Absorb the true positives others see in you – to feel good about yourself?

Whilst there will always be challenges in life, there are always others in your life who treat you well. It is really important to get life into balance and note when you are treated well. It’s a little thing, but even when you go into a store and you are treated kindly and with respect, take note of how nice these people were.

When you receive a complement from someone, don’t just dismiss it.  Absorb it. Think about what the person said about YOU and how much he/she values you. These are the world to remember, not the minor negative comments you may hear from time to time. Fill your mind with the TRUTH about what others truly see in you.

The key steps to remember to feel good about yourself

  1. Find your purpose in life and love it
  2. Cultivate healthier relationships
  3. Absorb the true positives others see in you

If you focus on building these 3 elements in your life you will begin to really feel good about yourself and create healthier personal and professional relationships in your life aswell.

lizzie o'halloran - feel good about yourself

lizzie o'halloran - feel good abuot yourself

 

 

Founder of Help For Mums & Happy Life

Author of Perfect Mums & Refresh Your Life

4 months ago · · 1 comment

Stressed Out – 3 Steps To Help Mums To Cope With Stress & Guilt

Feeling guilty and stressed out are the biggest factors for many mums returning to work

A 2014 study conducted by Care.com, found that of the 991 working mothers they studied many were highly stressed out and emotional after returning from maternity leave. Here are some of the results they found:

  • 1 in 4 mothers cry at least once per week
  • 1/3 fight with their families at least once per week
  • more than 50% fear they will miss everyday moments
  • over 50% do not feel they spend enough quality time with family
  • most spent an average of 6 hours or less alone with their partner
  • 80% felt stressed about getting everything done

Returning to work is a highly emotional time

Working mother after long day stressed outAs a mother you want the best for your child. When you are pregnant with your first child, you don’t know exactly how you are going to feel about retuning to work. Unfortunately the research clearly shows that many mothers return to work out of financial necessity, rather than desire. This is the case especially when their children are younger. This leads to a lot of the guilt and feeling stressed. Mothers often don’t really want to leave their child to go to work, but have to. This pressure leads to mothers HAVING to find ways to cope with this inner turmoil.

No-one really prepares you for how to cope with feeling stressed out in motherhood once you are retuning to work.

If you are lucky enough to love your job, or you feel like you need an emotional and physical break (very normal by the way), it releases some of the pressure and guilt of leaving your child in someone else’s care. However, as just noted, this is not the norm for many mothers. Many mothers might enjoy working, but would like to either have a more balanced job or to not have to work at all. Modern society and the higher cost of living has made this option of staying at home to care for children untenable.

So how can you make returning to work a more pleasurable experience?

As a working mother, the first thing to recognise is that you have power. Research shows that mothers make some of the best employees, because when they are at work that are focussed on getting the job done. Working mothers don’t have time any more to go out for long lunches. They don’t have time to dawdle in the kitchen chatting to colleagues, to check out the latest news or gossip on the internet when bored etc. Mothers are focussed on doing their best to provide for their families and advance their careers. So, use this leverage.

Step 1. Ask for what you really want

A mother can get done more in 4 days than many staff get through stretching out 5 days. If you would like to spend one day a week home with your child, just ASK and negotiate this. Deal with the facts. If there is still a pushback you can ask for a trial period to see how things go. Often mums are scared to ask for flexible working arrangements for fear of being fired. However, if you negotiate in a professional manner, you will create a more balanced arrangement that reduces guilt and stress for everyone in the family in the long run.

Step 2. Seek help so you can spend more time doing things you love

Most mothers do not ask for help for 3 reasons:

  • fear they will look like a failure, or feel like a failure
  • they believe it is too expensive
  • they feel guilty about asking for help

If a lot of daily stressed out feelings result from returning to work to start the second ‘housework’ job. If you can relate to this it’s important to research options for getting some more help. If you are still finding it too expensive, ask family members to help out if possible. Think about the things that make you feel the most stressed in the home and ask for regular support in these areas. For instance, ask your partner to do the vaccumming once per week, or the bathrooms or windows. However, whatever you ask your partner to help with – DO NOT COMMENT ON THE JOB. Even if you think the job has not been done to your liking, accept it and move on. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s still better than not being done at all.

Step 3. Ask for regular updates

Regardless of who you leave your child with, ask for regular updates and photos throughout the day so you see how your child is coping once you leave. This is particularly important when you have to leave your child in tears. Often, just seeing your child is happy, is enough to reduce your guilt and help you to continue to work with a clearer mindset.

You don’t have to be Supermum

9 out of 10 Australian mums are damaging their health trying to be Supermum. As a mother, you can often feel like YOU have to be the one doing EVERYTHING to look after your child, but this is NOT the case. The key to happiness and reduced guilt in motherhood is to work out what balance works best for you, your partnership and your child/ren. Then, you will feel so much more relaxed and comfortable in the moments when you are engaged with your child and you can be focussed and ‘in the zone’ at work when you need to be aswell. If external pressures, such as housework, are getting you down, seek help (paid or unpaid). If not exercising is getting you down, find a way to incorporate fitness with your child/ren, or ask for help so you can go to the gym, a class, run etc.

A healthy and happy mum is the best gift you can give your child, so don’t struggle alone. Pushing yourself to the edge to be Supermum and constantly feeling stressed out never helps anyone!

lizzie o'halloran stressed out

 

 

 

lizzie o'halloran - stressed out

 

5 months ago · · 0 comments

How To Stop Being Insecure – The Top 5 Answers You Have Been Searching

Learning how to stop being insecure is a skill

In order to learn how to stop being insecure, you must first begin to understand your self esteem. Self esteem, begins early in life. Low self esteem is the product of your upbringing and life experiences and manifests in feelings of insecurity, fear and anxiety. Feelings of insecurity are learnt along our journey when you (incorrectly) learn through negative experiences to connect negative events to being rejected.

For instance, as a child, you learn to feel insecure if you are brought up with caregivers engaging in inconsistent parenting. This happens when your parents’ or guardians’ disciplines in an inconsistent manner. This inconsistency results from parenting being mood dependent, rather than consistently being based on particular rules, norms or expectations.

how to stop being insecureAt school this inconsistency is highlighted on a regular basis amongst friendships. Children are going through so many hormonal and emotional changes at school, that emotional reactions and hurt feelings occur daily, if not weekly. If you were taught to perceive these changes as simply emotional and not personal, your self esteem would stay in tact. However, often children internalise these daily rejections to mean they are not liked or unwanted. Even after children make-up (which also happens daily), they can be left with the scars of potential rejection. Children then learn early how to ‘walk on eggshells’ to avoid being rejected again. Thus perpetuating feelings of insecurity.

 

The same insecurities can develop in personal relationships when there is inconsistency, or highly negative consequences to your behaviours. Examples of how insecurity in relationships develop are as follows:

  • A close friend gets angry any time you have to say “no” to doing something with her, regardless of your reason
  • Your partner yells at you every time he is overtired or stressed out
  • A mother in your mothers group argues against every opinion you have about parenting
  • Someone close to you ignores you when you are in a group
  • Your x-partner cheats on you, so you become paranoid every partner will cheat on you in the future

How To Stop Being Insecure In Relationships

The above points highlight negative behaviours that can lead to the development of fear of rejection and feelings of insecurity. Each of these examples highlights other people’s behaviours, which were internalised incorrectly as self-blame. However, this internalisation was incorrect. The examples above would best have been internalised as external responses resulting from the other person’s personal issues. Let’s quickly dissect each example:

  • A close friend gets angry
    • This is a reflection of your friend’s insecurities and has nothing to do with your behaviour. You have a right to say “no” when you are busy too 
  • Your partner yells at you
    • Your partner’s moods are dictating his reactions towards you. His moods are the issue, not your behaviours 
  • A mother in your mothers group argues against you
    • This is a reflection of the mother either feeling intimidated by your opinions, or insecure about your role within the group. You have a right to have a different opinion to hers
  • Your close friend ignores you in a group
    • This is either an oversight, or the other person is overcompensating for their own insecurities, or jealousy, by focussing on those who may need more work to become close friends or family 
  • Your x-partner cheats on you
    • This is a reflection of your x-partner and has no bearing on you within the relationship. Regardless of anything occurring within the relationship, cheating is only the fault of the person engaging in the behaviour

The Top 5 Answers For How To Stop Being Insecure

The answer to how to stop being insecure lies in

  1. Rebuilding your self esteem to ensure you have the strength to cope when things go wrong and to be resilient to negative experiences
  2. Questioning honestly whether someone’s behaviour  is a reflection of their issues (not yours)
  3. Trusting in yourself and in your instincts
  4. Being open and honest with those you care about to express how you’re feeling and question inappropriate behaviour
  5. Living in the world of facts, not perception. So you only act on your insecurities when you are 100% confident your judgement is accurate (e.g. ask if necessary before you act).

How To Stop Being InsecureStart by Rebuilding Your Self Esteem with my Free ebook you can download here.

This free guide will help you to reduce fear and anxiety and rebuild your self confidence.

 

 

The most important thing is to trust that insecurity is not a healthy emotion and leads to negative and destructive behaviours. It’s not your fault that you feel insecure, but as an adult you have the choice of either continuing to feed this insecurity, or challenging it and overcoming in. In doing the latter you will enrich your relationships, enhance your career and live a much more healthy, happy and successful life.

lizzie o'halloran - how to stop being insecure

 

lizzie o'halloran - how to stop being insecure

 

 

 

Lizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums & Author of Perfect Mums & Refresh Your Life

5 months ago · · 0 comments

Relationship Counselling – Do You Feel Unappreciated?

Do You Ever Wonder If Your Partner Really Appreciates You?

One of the things that often occurs in long term relationships is complacency. You get so used to your partner, you do the things you HAVE to do to keep each other happy and you assume your partner should just know how you feel. Affection drops, you look around and it feels like every other couple is ‘loved up’, holding hands and happy. Just look at the recent Royal Wedding! This lack of appreciation is a common thread in many relationship counselling sessions.

relationshp counsellingOf course life gets busier as the years pass in your relationship. When you add children to the family unit, life gets even busier, as a lot more your of  your energy needs to be directed towards raising a family. With or without children, life becomes more complex and financial responsibilities increase. As a result, couples often forget what it means to really show their partner they are still in love. They love each other, but often forget the important aspects of intimacy and expressing love. If the love is still expressed, it is often only reserved for special occasions, such as Valentines Day, Birthdays and Holidays.

How Do You Show Your Partner You Care – & Vice Versa?

Do you ever stop to asses how you and your partner like to give and receive love? Consider the 5 love languages described by Gary Chapman:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch 

If your preference is for Quality Time, but your partner’s preference is for Receiving Gifts, miscommunication of love can easily occur. One is not better than the other, but they are very different.

What often occurs in relationships is each person is expecting to receive love in the same manner in which he/she prefers to be shown love. Everyone has elements of each of the 5 love languages, but one is almost always more prominent. If your prominent preference is lacking in your relationship, you can feel very hurt, unloved and resentful. Confusions strikes when one person is showing love through their preferred love language, but it is falling on deaf ears. This is something I see often in my marriage counselling practice with couples.

So what can you do to bring love back so that both people feel loved and satisfied?

Firstly you need to understand how each of you prefers to receive love. Then, it’s time to talk about it honestly. Sometimes you need an impartial therapist to guide the conversation during relationship counselling and not deviate towards hurtful conversation. Then it’s also important to understand how you prefer to communicate. This is achieved through the Myers Briggs. It’s a wonderful tool for helping couples to understand their respective personality types and the best ways to communicate to really hear each other. For instance, the Myers-Briggs helps each person within couples discover:

  • if they prefer details or bigger picture themes in a conversation
  • whether they make decisions based on facts rather than feelings
  • if they need to be alone or around other people to reenergise before engaging in ‘partner time’ after work

and so on…

These issues are so important to help to understand each other and in turn avoid each person taking conversation or behaviour the wrong way. Miscommunication often happens as a result of each person within the relationship operating within the confines of their own Myers Briggs personality type. Thus not really understanding how their partner prefers to communicate.

We can’t be complacent in relationships. We need to regularly check in with each other and be mindful of each person’s needs. In doing so, each person feels really heard and truly loved.

Is Relationship Counselling Right For You?

If you are struggling within your current relationship, it’s important to speak to an expert. A Relationship Counsellor can really help to get your relationship back on track and to also tap into the real issues behind relationship conflict. Relationship Counselling takes place in a supportive and trusting environment. It’s a place to work through issues that you are your partner are struggling to resolve alone.  Relationship Counselling is not about casting blame on to one person within the partnership. Therapists take an empathetic and objective view of your personal circumstances, so that they can assist both parties to achieve happiness and peace.

Find Out More

relationship counselling

Author, Therapist & Motivational Speaker

5 months ago · · 0 comments

Is Your ‘The Grass Is Always Greener’ Thinking Holding You Back From Being Truly Happy?

Do You Engage In “Grass Is Always Greener” Thinking?

When you engage in “grass is always greener” thinking, you are rarely satisfied and always looking forwards or backwards, assuming life is better ….over there. This type of thinking leaves you feeling frustrated, unhappy and constantly searching for something external to bring you happiness.

If you engage in these types of thoughts on a regular basis, it is highly lightly you are engaging in grass is always greener’ thinking:

  • “things will be better when…”
  • “if only I had [xxx], then I’d be happier”
  • “when I get [xxx], then my life will be easier”
  • “things were better before this”

grass is always greener thinkingThis type of “grass is always greener” thinking style leaves you feeling very dissatisfied with life. It also welcomes too much upheaval into your life as you pursue happiness in the form of change. Lastly it creates low self-esteem because you no longer learn to trust your instincts and easily question decisions that you finally make. This makes it very stressful for you and for those around you. You regularly break promises, disappoint and change your mind to satisfy your insecurities and hope that new decisions will ultimately lead to happiness.

Despite all these negative arguments, MANY people engage in the “grass is always greener” thinking style.

 

Has the “grass is always greener” thinking style held you back?

Think about your life this past week in your life. How many times did you think to yourself that life would be better if something changed? Yet, how many changes have you made and how many goals have you achieved over the course of your life? Do you recognise these achievements, relish in them and feel happier – long term – as a result? The problem with “grass is always greener” thinking style, is that it leaves you constantly dissatisfied. You feel happier for a moment when you achieve yor desires, but this happiness is only short lived and you soon look for (and find) problems with this outcome. This negative thinking then creates a dissatisfaction with your current situation and you search for change again.

Good example of “grass is always greener” thinking, include when:

  • you search for a new relationship, but soon find problems within it
  • you buy a new car and soon crave a newer/shinier model
  • you move to a new location and soon pine over the old one you used to complain about

grass is always greeneAre you convinced yet that the “grass is always greener” thinking style is NOT good for your health?

What if you learnt to trust your instincts and relish if your achievements and desires? Imagine how much more enjoyment you would gain from your life, if you consciously decided to STOP engaging in this negative thinking style. Let’s look at an example.

 

EXAMPLE: Engaging in “grass is always greener” thinking

You are feeling unhappy at work. You begin to engage in the “grass is always greener” thinking. You tell yourself, you will be so much happier if you just get out of there. You spend every effort to move into a new job. You settle into your new job, but soon the same personalities begin to annoy you. You soon begin to feel just as agitated and dissatisfied as you did before you left your last position. In fact, you begin to look back with rose coloured glasses to find positives in the job you just left behind. You feel very dissatisfied and start looking for a new job again.

EXAMPLE 2: Curbing “grass is always greener” thinking

You are feeling unhappy at work. You begin to engage in the “grass is always greener” thinking. You tell yourself, you will be so much happier if you just get out of there. You stop yourself and you begin to question what your dissatisfaction is really about. Are you unhappy with the work location, the hours you’re putting in, the work you’re undertaking, your pay scale, or the people you’re working for? You pinpoint what’s going on. You’re feeling undervalued. You decide to have a meeting with your boss to discuss the issue, but you do not feel much better after your meeting. You decide to look for a new position, but you focus on looking for a job where your skills will really be valued and you can shine. You project this through the interviews you sit and you finally secure a job that provides you with that validation you have been missing. You settle into your new job and begin to thrive. You leave that “grass is always greener” thinking style behind and feel so much happier. You love your new job.

The key difference in both these examples is questioning WHY you might be engaging in “grass is always greener” thinking. Most likely, there is something underpinning this thinking tendency. When you identify what is really going on, you can address the issue at hand and stop yourself from looking for change to make you happier.

But isn’t change as good as a holiday?

They say “change is as good as a holiday” and this is true. You feel great when you go on that holiday, but very soon after you return, life goes back to normal. If you were feeling dissatisfied before – you will feel dissatisfied again. The holiday does not fix any internal issues, it just helps you to ignore them for a while. Whilst this is a nice distraction, it’s not the way to resolve personal issues, because they are all there waiting for you when you return. The change, just gives you a break. It does not make you happier long term if you continue to search for happiness externally to yourself. The first place to start building your happiness is internally, but focussing on building your self esteem. Then, you will be in control of your life and your destiny.

lizzie o'halloran, grass is always greener blog article

lizzie o'halloran, grass is always greener blog article