How to survive a storm and stay classy

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The truth is that each and every one of us will either go through or witness someone else going through a crisis at some point in our lives. That is the reason I believe that life skills should be taught in school. At some point between learning the names of clouds and how to calculate area under a curve our children should learn how to deal with challenges that they might face in their lives. Money management, rejection, relationships, confidence and self-worth- all those things play such a huge role in determining the quality of our lives (and at times determining life itself), yet they are completely left to chance. By the time we reach adulthood we pick up so many damaging beliefs and unresolved emotional issues that it is no wonder so many of us struggle to keep it together.

Who is happy the weekend is over? It was certainly a tough one. First it was storm Denis bringing in wind and rain and causing floods and disruptions all over the country and then the horrendous news of Caroline Flack’s suicide. Its mind numbingly scary to think that a beautiful young woman in her prime reached a point where she could see no way out, no hope, nothing left to live for…

Storm Ciara raged through our country only a couple of weeks ago. That was the day when I had to abandon my warm and cozy home and bring a loved one to seek help with their personal issue. I did an impromptu LIVE on my private group (Soul-centred stylist for mumpreneurs) that day encouraging everyone out there, going through a storm themselves, to seek help, speak to someone, reach out. Following last weekend’s event I decided to go a little step further and continue this difficult

The truth is that each and every one of us will either go through or witness someone else going through a crisis at some point in our lives. That is the reason I believe that life skills should be taught in school. At some point between learning the names of clouds and how to calculate area under a curve our children should learn how to deal with challenges that they might face in their lives. Money management, rejection, relationships, confidence and self-worth- all those things play such a huge role in determining the quality of our lives (and at times determining life itself), yet they are completely left to chance. By the time we reach adulthood we pick up so many damaging beliefs and unresolved emotional issues that it is no wonder so many of us struggle to keep it together.

I’ve been through a couple crises my-self. I was quite depressed as a teenager and struggled greatly with confidence and bad body image. As an adult I went through a family break up and struggled with my own identity for years. When I faced bullying at work a few years ago I started looking for an escape from constant stress and tension and I found self-development. For the past 4 years I have been studying, reading, attending seminars and webinars, working with coaches, cleansing and meditating, all in pursuit of inner happiness and fulfilment. I must say, it’s not easy to come here and say these things about my past, but if we only have ‘nice’ conversations all the time, we will see more and more women (and men) struggle with their demons in silence and more and more of them might lose the fight

So having invested years of my time and thousands of my money to find a path to my inner happiness I thought I could share some of the lessons with you (for free J) This isn’t something I have conjured up myself, these are lessons I have picked up for amazing experts in many different fields from all around the world. These are lessons I have used myself. I tried them all and then some! I was really determined to be happy. And as Denise Duffield-Thomas says, it’s your happiness, throw everything at it. So here it is:

 

Lesson no 1

Know your story

 

In my style coaching programs I teach women to get clear on their style story. I ask them to think about who they are, what are their best qualities, what they are good at, what they bring to their families, work places, the world. What are their goals? Why they want to achieves them? How would that benefit their lives? Who else would benefit from their success (personal and professional) How would it feel… How do they want to feel?

The reason knowing your story is important is because you need to know who you truly are. Each and every one of you is so much more than just a mum, just your job, just your relationship, just your looks. You must know all the different aspects that make you who you are. Getting clear on all of the above is like growing roots. If your whole identity is linked to only one aspect of your life then you are trying to grow and flourish getting nourishment and support from one wispy strand of roots. It’s not strong enough to support you and as soon as a storm hits your whole identity comes tumbling down. I’ve recently spoken about Taylor Swift and her documentary on Netflix (Miss Americana). In that documentary she openly admitted that since the age of 13 she got all her validation from applause. She worked really hard to be liked and loved and when all that came crashing down on 2018 (Kanye West drama), Taylor came crashing down with it. Her perfect good girl public persona was all she had and when that was taken away from her, she felt completely lost. No one saw her in public for a year. Taylor’s story is a happy one though. She retreated to the safety of her family and her true friends and she re-grouped. She re-evaluated her life, her goals and ambitions. She acknowledged some of the delusional stories and beliefs she had live by for years that ultimately lead her to this break down and she was willing to change. She was willing to dig deep to find out who she is, what she stands for and what she really wants in her life, how she wants to feel. She eliminated everything that was not aligned with her new ‘feel goal’. This brief re-cap is a perfect example of what I am trying to say. Knowing who you are and what you stand for is a great way to ground yourself so you have the strength and the support to weather the storms that lay ahead.

Another great example is Megan Markle. When the news broke that herself and Harry have decided to resign as senior royals, I am sure there were millions of girls around the world who questioned HOW CAN SOMEONE NOT WANT TO BE A PRINCESS? If I am totally honest, for a split second I question that too (blame Cinderella and Snowhite) but as I paused to think about it, their decision was so clear to see. They are so much more than royals. They have personal values, goals, dreams and limits which have all been breached by this relentless media hounding of Megan. The poor girl could do nothing right. That is not what life should be. No one deserves to be torn down and criticized in every single thing she does. She is a beautiful, talented woman, a mother and a wife before she is a royal. Herself and Harry are grounded in their values and their self-worth and choose to give up the part of their identity that no longer aligns with everything that they are. It makes total sense. I applaud them for their bravery and their honesty.

 

Get super clear on WHO YOU ARE! You are more than your looks, your job or your relationship. Do not place all your validation on one external source. Had Megan done that, her story might have ended the same as Caroline’s.

 

 

Lesson no 2

 

Your results never lie

 

This is what a lot of coaches and mentors would say to someone who is lying to themselves or trying to BS. You can tell yourself or others whatever you want, that your life is great, that you are fine, really, everything is fine, but your RESULTS NEVER LIE. I remember after I got married, I was so blissfully happy. For a while. I was in love with a wonderful man who loved me, I had beautiful kids, a business that I loved and a circle of great friends to hang out with on weekends and everything was fine, really! A few months passed and I found myself crying in the utility room, sitting beside my laundry basket. I felt like this massive grey cloud came over my perfect little world and I couldn’t shift it. I went to my doctor and asked him what was wrong with me, I had nearly everything I ever wanted , why can’t I just be happy? WTF??? I still remember his words- at times of great happiness when our true fears are revealed. Needless to say, I didn’t get it that day. I kept looking for external factors to make me happy. I took a back seat in my business and returned to corporate career thinking that now that I have love and family bliss, I must be missing financial security a corporate career will bring. Then I will be happy! Guess how that worked out for me?

No matter what we tell ourselves or everyone around us, in the silence of the night when everything is quiet and its only you there, are you happy? Are you at peace, falling asleep with ease and have a restful night waking up refreshed and re-charged? Or are you lying awake, wrestling with all your problems that seem to be coming out of every dark corner like relentless demons that won’t leave you alone? Are you feeling fearful, hopeless, exhausted and run down? Are you struggling to fall asleep without a glass of wine (or something stronger) to numb your pain, to numb your feelings, to numb you? Are you relying on people, parties, lovers or kids to fill your days so with so much noise so you couldn’t hear your own thoughts? Are you using drugs, professional achievements, shopping, food to give you a temporary satisfaction just to find yourself needing more and more of them to make yourself feel better? No matter what your outer persona does and how she lives out her days, how ‘Insta worthy’ is her lifestyle, at the end of the day when there is no one else there- are you happy and at peace? That is the only result that truly matters and it never ever lies.

Coming back to my own story, you cannot rely on external factors to make you happy. True happiness same as true beauty comes from within. If you have completed lesson no 1 and you are now clear on who you are and how you want to feel it is time to start taking action. I’m not going to lie to you, sometimes, as in Megan’s and Harry’s case, the action might be a tough one to take, but as long as it is a step towards your inner peace then trust me, it will be worth it  and when you know exactly what you are trying to achieve, you can feel it in your blood, it will be the most liberating decision you will ever make.  In my case, I didn’t need to make any drastic decisions like that, I simple needed to work on myself, my perception of me, and my true goals. I am still married to the same wonderful man, still have great kinds (even added one), I’m still working in finance on a part-time bases but with a whole new perception and I am pursuing my dream career as a style coach in order to help women find their confidence and their inner peace too. After years and years of losing sleep, worrying, feeling scared, lost, over looked, not good enough… you name it, I felt it… I can finally say that I am happy. I practice choosing love in everything I do and it works for me. You should try it too

 

Lesson no 3

 

Practice Gratitude

 

So I’ve painted a really nice picture of my big transformation. I have learned that looking for external factors (husbands, kids, bigger house, smaller butt, promotions) to make you happy will never work. Once you achieve one goal you will move on to the next and the happiness will always feel out of reach. You will spend years saying to yourself ‘I will be happy when…’ They key is finding a way to be happy NOW, right where you are, exactly the way you are and practicing gratitude is a sure way to achieve that. I am a big fan of Abraham Hicks, I could listen to them all day. At one of their events a girl spoke how wonderful she feels when she is meditating and asked would it be possible to feel that way all the time. Abraham said ‘You could feel like that all the time, but you would have to croak’.  We are all chasing this complete happiness but the truth is, we will only achieve complete happiness, peace, get rid of all self-doubt and limitations and have no more problems to deal with, nothing else to reach for when we come to end of our time here. So stop rushing. Life is about the journey. You’ve heard that before haven’t you? We have to learn to reach for our goals, seek improvements on ourselves and our experiences knowing that we will never be complete. While I say that I have finally reached a point where I am happy, I know that this isn’t it and I can now relax. I still have so much to clear, forgive, release, so much to reach for, so much to experience and to learn. What I am trying to do is enjoy the process because the process is all I will get in this world. This is it! I don’t need to postpone my happiness until this or that, because I will never ever tick everything off my list. The list is alive and it is evolving and growing with me. I just need to keep moving forward and try to appreciate and enjoy as many moments along the way as possible.

There are many ways people practice gratitude. Some people pray, some write gratitude journals, some share their happy moments with others (I’m talking about actual real happy moments, not the ones staged for Insta likes!) They key is noticing them! Whatever practice you choose, make a decision today to notice moments of happiness.

When you get really good at practicing gratitude you can apply the same tool to moments of pain too. It is easy to be happy when something good happens, but learning to appreciate and find positive in painful events takes a lot of skill and perseverance. When things don’t work out for us the way we want, it is easy for us to feel let down by the universe, blame others, feel victimized but I have learned that painful events are results too. Normally negative things happen to us due to decisions we made guided by limiting beliefs or some misguided stories we learned as kids. After initial shock, tears and some release of emotion (do not bottle your emotions! Feeling want to be felt) try and find the lesson behind what happened. There is always a lesson there, trust me. Usually things don’t work out for us because what we were trying to achieve externally isn’t aligned with what we want to feel inside. We might not see it straight away, but just remember that expression ‘blessing in disguise’ has been invented for a reason and the old folk saying ‘it will all work out in the end’ has a deep meaning too. Look for ways to be grateful as much as you can. It is impossible to be sad and grateful at the same time. Try it! Which emotion would you rather feel? Remember, moment by moment you have free will to choose.

 

And here it is! 3 big lessons I have learned in the past 5 years. I live by them now and I recommend them to you too. We will all face downfalls, failures, painful lessons, most of the time we will bring them onto ourselves. We will never be complete but we can live a joyous life of progress, evolution and wonderful experiences if we stay on the path that is true and right for us and if we pause to appreciate the good times (and the bad)

 

Bonus Lesson no 4

 

In the title I did say I will tell you how to survive a storm and stay classy, so here is the classy bit- self-love!

In order to survive difficult moments with grace and class we must have grace and class to begin with and I believe it starts with how we see ourselves and how we carry ourselves on daily bases. I set high standards for myself and for how I allow others to treat me. I believe that I am worthy of respect and love and I rarely allow anyone to breach that standard. Once those standards are breached, I grieve, reflect, forgive and move on. This is in part due to my gratitude attitude (looking for lessons in all experiences and taking responsibility for what I attract) but also due to self-preservation. I guard my happiness with all I’ve got (I took me a lot of hard work to get here) so engaging in bitter feuds is a total waste of everyone’s energy.

Another aspect of self-love that helps survive a storm I have learned from the author of ‘Grit School’ Tish Hawken. First you need to admit that you are going through difficult times and get help. If you are not willing to openly talk to people about your feeling at least delegate some of your tasks and commitments so you can deal with whatever you need to deal with without getting overwhelmed. Remember, it is ok not to be ok for a while. There is no shame in admitting it. If you ever feel like you cannot keep it together anymore, there are plenty of people who are willing to keep it together for you for a while. If you cannot see a way out, I can assure you there are people out there who are trained to find a way for you. For most of those people it’s their passion and their lives calling and they would love nothing more than to help you. It takes a lot of maturity and self-love to reach out and in my eyes there is no classier way then to say ‘Hey, I’m going through something and I think I need some help!’

 

Take good care of yourself my beautiful lady, there is only one of you in this world

 

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