It’s Day 6 of Rejection Therapy and I’ve done the following:
- Asked out an international superstar (no response)
- Asked all 447 of my Facebook friends if they wanted to hang out with me (nothing came of that either)
- Said hello to lots of strangers (all bar one said hello back)
- Asked for a discount on the entrance ticket to a nightclub (my cheekiness didn’t pay off but I got a kick out of asking)
- Chatted up a hot guy (it worked)
- Texted aforementioned hot guy (no reply – more on that in a sec)
- Struck up a conversation with a man who was waiting for me to finish with the parking ticket machine (he was very friendly)
- And other stuff that I do anyway on a daily basis but I guess it still involves putting myself out there (adding friends on Facebook, posting revealing blogs on t’internet, opening up to my peers, asking people to do things with/for me)
In other news, the young lad got back in touch. I decided to react with integrity. I told him that I feel we’re not on the same page and I wished him luck. He didn’t respond. But I feel empowered. In Matthew Hussey’s words, I’m a High-Value Woman. I deserve better. And I’m sending out that message from now on.
As for the hot guy, he gave me his number and told me to text him. So I did. He didn’t reply either.
I have to admit, it stung. I found myself diving into a negative spiral of All or Nothing thinking. No guy ever wants to get to know/go out with me. I began to question the point of this whole Rejection Therapy game.
Moments later, I wondered what I’d do today in order to get rejected. And that was enough to get me back on that horse and stop dwelling on one guy I met once.
Six days in and I’ve learned that I’m human. I accept that I have an ego and that rejection hurts. But I can handle it. I pick myself up and I move on. And it does get easier.
Six days in and I realise that it’s the fear of rejection that stops us from putting ourselves out there. And if we allow ourselves to be controlled by that fear, we could be closing ourselves off to many amazing opportunities.
So maybe it is worth feeling rejected every once in a while if it means being open to an abundance of possibility.
As I drive home tonight, I have two big awarenesses:
- Because I presume I’ll be rejected, I close down. I don’t make any effort to connect, which likely pushes the other person away.
- I react not to actual events but to my beliefs. When I believe that I’m always rejected, I experience rejection. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does because what I believe is true for me.
So all I need to do is change my beliefs. For instance, when Hot Guy doesn’t reply, it doesn’t have to be because he doesn’t like me and no guy ever wants to date me. His reasons for not replying aren’t actually important. What is important is that how I feel about myself (that I’m beautiful and worthwhile) doesn’t change in accordance with Hot Guy’s actions.
All this challenge and introspection may seem like hard work but it’s strengthening my foundation of self-worth so that, pretty soon (hopefully), it will be, I will be, unshakeable.
Posted in Personal development, Positive Thinking, Random
Tagged abundance, acceptance, anger, attraction, awareness, beauty, beliefs, blog, blogging, bravery, challenges, confidence, connection, core, courage, dating, depression, disappointment, ego, emotions, empowerment, experience, facebook, fear, feelings, foundations, friendship, get the guy, high value woman, human, insight, introspection, learning, life, living, love, matthew hussey, men, negative thinking, negative thoughts, nights out, openness, opportunity, positive thinking, positivity, possibility, power, reality, rejection therapy, relationships, resilience, sadness, self-esteem, self-worth, strength, thinking, thoughts, vibes, vulnerability, women, writing
Yesterday evening, I watched a documentary called Happy. This film explores what makes people happy. It was a welcome reminder of what happiness really is and all the ways we can work on and maintain happiness in our lives.
Interestingly, our genetic makeup determines 50 per cent of our happiness. Some of us are just born happier! Circumstance (where we live, our job, life events) only contributes 10 per cent towards our happiness. So we have a whole 40 per cent to work with. We have the power to boost our own happiness. It’s a personal choice. And one well worth making.
So because it’s always good to be reminded of how to be happy, and especially coming up to Christmas, I’m going to share a few of the best ways to promote happiness.
1. Gratitude: Recalling all the things you’re grateful for really makes you appreciate all you have. I’m currently keeping a 30-day gratitude journal where I write 10 things each day that I’m grateful for and the reasons why. Afterwards, I read them aloud. So by day 30, I’ll have 300 wonderful things to read. I’m only on Day 6 but already I’m feeling the change in my mood and my energy. And it’s making me more aware of the abundance of things I have to be grateful for as I go about my days.
2. Compassion: Caring for others is guaranteed to make you feel good too. Try completing a random act of kindness. Give a stranger a free parking ticket, donate clothes to the homeless or volunteer to work with the ill or the elderly. Helping others unites you with your fellow man. Doing meaningful things with your time fills you with a sense of purpose and pride. Another way of bringing compassion into your life is to do a Loving-Kindness meditation where you focus on sending love and kindness to yourself and to others. This form of meditation has even been known to help with depression.
3. Flow: Do things that bring you into a state of flow. When you’re in flow, you’re totally in tune with what you’re doing. You’re present. Time stands still. For some people, this could be painting or playing piano. It could be scuba diving or upcycling, surfing or sewing. Uncover your passion, get your creative juices bubbling and enter the flow.
4. Dopamine: Dopamine is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. In simple terms, it’s a feel-good chemical. We release this chemical when we perform rewarding activities like eating and having sex. However as we age, this hormone is produced less and less. The good news is that the more we show our bodies that we need this chemical, the more our bodies will continue to make it. It’s like a muscle that gets bigger the more we exercise it. Aerobic activity is great for stimulating dopamine release. Interestingly, if we work out in novel ways, even more dopamine is released. So instead of your usual jog, sign up for The Color Run. Rather than hitting the gym, go rock climbing or white water rafting. Replace walking around the estates with a hike to a spectacular location.
5. Mix it Up: Following on from the previous tip, another way to prevent yourself from sliding into monotony is to change things around. Take an alternate route when you’re walking your dog. Try out a different café. Attempt a fresh recipe from that book that’s been collecting dust ever since you received it three Christmasses ago. Join an adventure club. Attend a Meetup outing and make new friends. Travel to a destination on the opposite side of the map. After watching Happy, Bhutan is now on my bucket-list. Bhutan is a place located on the slopes of the Himalayas that officially uses Gross National Happiness as an indicator to measure quality of life in holistic and psychological terms. Now that’s my kinda country!
As you can see from the list above, the road to happiness is simple. And it’s free. In fact, once our basic needs are met, money does very little to increase happiness.
Happiness is sharing a meal with your loved ones. Happiness is laughing over a latte with friends. Happiness is being present with your children. Happiness is being astonished by the beauty of nature and the miracle of life. Happiness is when you realise just how rich you really are.
Posted in Personal development, Positive Thinking
Tagged abundance, adventure, ageing, altruism, appreciation, art, beauty, bhutan, challenges, change, charity, comfort zone, compassion, connection, cooking, creativity, dopamine, eating, emotion, energy, exercise, feelings, flow, friendship, generosity, gratitude, gross national happiness, happiness, happy, hobbies, holistic, homeless, humanity, joy, laughter, life, living, love, meetup, money, mood, music, nature, painting, passion, presence, psychology, purpose, random acts of kindness, rich, sex, sport, the color run, upcycling, workout
Something happened this week that left me feeling extremely vulnerable. Instead of acknowledging my reaction, I ignored it and hoped it would disappear all by itself.
This morning, I set off on a fairly long journey. I switch on the radio to distract myself from how I’m feeling. Just as I turn up the volume, I miss my exit. I want to cry. But that won’t do. I’m wearing mascara.
I know that my upset isn’t really about getting lost on the motorway. It’s about the vulnerability that I’m trying to suppress. Issues around love, rejection and self-worth are simmering beneath the surface.
I want to be strong and independent. But now that I’m well and truly lost in a foreign part of the country, I realise that a lot of that is fake. I’m putting up walls in an attempt to protect myself. Act like you don’t care, Sharon. Then you can’t be hurt.
Where’s the logic in that? Is anybody benefitting from this performance? I think not. And I know it’s not real. So of course I can still feel pain. I’m just hiding it from others. And while I’m feigning nonchalance, I’m disconnecting from the full potential of the present experience.
I don’t know where I am or where I’m going. I allow the tears to roll down my cheeks. I give myself permission to feel the fear, to embrace it, to listen to its voice, and to open up to what is.
As I drive into unfamiliar territory, I spot a lone tree in a large green field. I feel an irrational kind of sadness for this solitary tree.
But who’s to say the tree is on its own? Is the tree separate from its roots and leaves and branches? Is the grass beneath it a part of it too? And the air that caresses its limbs? Where does the tree begin and does it ever end?
In The Infinite Way, Joel S. Goldsmith writes:
“The wave is one with the ocean, indivisible and inseparable from the whole ocean. All that the ocean is, the wave is; and all the power, all the energy, all the strength, the life and all the substance of the ocean are expressed in every wave. The wave has access to all that lies beneath it, for the wave really is the ocean, just as the ocean is the wave, inseparable, indivisible, one. Note here this very important point: There is no place where one wave comes to an end and the next wave begins, so the oneness of the wave with the ocean includes the oneness of every wave with every other wave.”
If there is no separation, there can be no rejection. It is only my thinking about abandonment that causes suffering. In my resistance to what is, I’m floundering.
I let go. It doesn’t matter what happens. And what has already occurred is perfect too. I surrender.
A sense of calm settles around me like a blanket of sunbeams. I feel cleansed. I really am okay. I’m whole and open and connected.
I take a chance on an unknown direction and it brings me to where I’m meant to be.
Posted in Personal development, Spirituality, Uncategorized
Tagged abandonment, acceptance, acting, beliefs, belonging, calm, connection, control, emotion, experience, fear, feelings, future, healing, humanity, hurt, illusion, independence, irrational, joel s goldsmith, journey, letting go, life, living, logic, lost, love, openness, pain, past, peace, perfection, presence, present, pretending, reality, rejection, relationships, resistance, sadness, self-love, self-protection, self-worth, separation, strength, surrender, the infinite way, thinking, thoughts, unfamiliar, unknown, upset, vulnerability
As I climb into bed, various opinions and pieces of advice that people have given me over the years flash into my mind. I recall their musings on my life and on what I should and shouldn’t be doing.
After bulldozing in with their tuppence worth, these supposed do-gooders continued on with their lives without a second thought. Meanwhile, I attached more value to their throwaway comments than to my own lifetime experience of being me.
I’ve spent long enough caring about how others perceive me. I’ve winced at their judgements, flinched at their criticism, basked in their compliments, and hoped for their approval.
Before taking action, I presumed how other people would react. This ineffective technique of mind-reading actually influenced how I was feeling and the choices I made.
Now in my thirty-fifth year on this planet, I’m finally getting sense. I understand that anything anyone says is coming from their perspective. People dish out suggestions that are based on a minuscule snapshot of my life. And even that tiny glimpse is filtered through the lens of their own history and beliefs.
Last night, as I walked alongside my sister, I was tempted to ask for her thoughts on something I’d spoken about earlier. But I realised that I would be doing it out of habit. It didn’t really matter what she thought about this subject. Getting her to advise me would be a waste of her energy because I knew that I would go with my gut anyway. And I mightn’t even want to hear what she had to say.
Not many people enjoy being told what to do. Nobody likes feeling judged either. And how can anyone know with absolute certainty what’s right for another person? By doling out our opinions and “friendly” advice, we run the risk of blocking the flow of communication.
All we have to do is be there for one another. We don’t have to stress about giving the right guidance. What a relief not to have to be responsible for coming up with the answers or fixing everyone else’s problems.
Instead of handing out answers, start asking questions. This will facilitate lateral thinking, which will enable the other person to open up to previously unexplored options.
Support your friends/family/partners/clients in whatever course of action they decide to take. Listen to them. And more importantly, really hear what they’re expressing.
All we really want is for someone to just be with us and really hear what it is we’re saying. Because when we are heard, we feel understood. And when we feel understood by another human being, that is the beauty of true connection.
Posted in Personal development
Tagged acceptance, action, active listening, advice, approval, awareness, beauty, beliefs, blocks, choice, clients, co-dependecy, communication, connection, ease, empathic listening, energy, family, fears, flow, friendship, guidance, habit, history, insight, judgement, life, life coaching, listening, living, love, now, open, opinions, past, perception, presence, problems, questions, reactions, realisations, relationships, responsibility, self, self-esteem, sense, stephen covey, stress, trust, unconditional love, understanding
Recently, a friend asked if I wanted to join her in giving gifts to the homeless for Christmas. As soon as she suggested it, I knew that this would be my priority for the day.
I bought socks, hats, gloves, scarves and chocolates and we set out one cold, windy evening. I hoped that the heavy rain would disappear before we wandered around the city but then I realised that this was just one evening out of my life, unlike every evening that the homeless had to endure. The following Feed the World lyrics came to mind: “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.”
For the next couple of hours, we handed presents to the homeless. We were greeted with smiles and thank you’s. One man was so surprised, he continued to shout his thanks long after we’d left. It broke my heart and opened it in one fell swoop.
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes about the Win/Win Paradigm of Human Interaction. This is the mindset that sees life as a cooperative, not a competitive arena. It’s based on the principle that there is plenty for everyone, that one person’s success isn’t achieved at the expense of others. “It’s not your way or my way; it’s a better way, a higher way.”
Many people have become jaded with the ways of our world. There is war and violence, theft and abuse. There is illness and death, grief and sorrow. But there is also love, connection and altruism. There is laughter, joy and sharing. The opening speech of Love Actually says it so perfectly:
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
What if it’s not you versus me, and us versus them? What if we came together, helped one another, and recognised that we are part of the same whole? What if we gave love to ourselves and others? And accepted the love that is all around?
Last night, I attended an amazing gig – Paddy Casey and The Secret Light Orchestra featuring the Shannon and Dublin Gospel Choir. The song Paddy started with was There is Light. I’ll finish with his beautiful words:
“We are everything, we are everything. And we have wild and precious songs to sing. We are lights that shine, throughout all time. We have all of this and more to bring… And the love that moves between us all knows we are the same.”
Posted in Love, Modern Society, Spirituality
Tagged 9/11, abundance, abuse, africa, airport, altruism, beauty, christmas, competition, connection, cooperation, death, dublin gospel choir, earth, evil, feed the world, gifts, god, greed, grief, hatred, help, homeless, illness, joy, laughter, life, love, love actually, lyrics, music, one, oneness, paddy casey, plenty, scarcity, shannon gospel choir, sharing, songs, sorrow, spirituality, starving, stephen covey, success, the secret light orchestra, the seven habits of highly effective people, theft, there is light, twin towers, universe, vicar street, violence, war, win/win paradigm of human interaction, world
Last night, I went to see The National in the O2. They were amazing. Matt Berninger’s voice sounded just like it does on their albums. And he really got into the performance.
The person with me commented: “They don’t write songs for the public, they write songs for themselves.” This really rang true. The lead singer appeared to let go when he was on stage. It was like he was losing himself in his passion, exposing his darkest thoughts and deepest emotions, sharing his heart with all of us. It felt raw and honest.
We could only get seated tickets, which was fine as The National’s music is quite relaxing. But there was no dancing or jumping in our section of the arena. However, after a while, the energy of the musicians rippled into the crowd. The woman in front of us started raising her hand and standing after each song. The man beside me played air guitar. And I swayed and roared in appreciation.
I gazed at a beautiful visual behind the band of the ocean and a sun-streaked sky. I was brought back to times when I swam in the sea or bobbed on a boat. I had felt free and alive.
I thought: How often do we experience these things in our everyday lives? When do we allow ourselves to let go and become one with that joy, that aliveness?
Perhaps when we drink alcohol, take drugs, have sex or go on holidays. Or when we attend gigs like this one. We connect with that passion when we witness someone living their dream, when another human being lets us in to the honesty and depth of their authentic selves.
We become truly present. We enjoy all of our senses. And we give ourselves permission to be free, even if just for one day, one night, one moment…
Posted in Random
Tagged alcohol, aliveness, authenticity, beauty, concert, connection, dancing, darkness, dreams, drugs, dublin, emotion, freedom, gig, heart, holidays, honesty, ireland, joy, letting go, life, living, matt berninger, music, ocean, oneness, passion, presence, raw, relaxation, sex, song, soul, spirit, summer, sunshine, swimming, talent, the national, the o2, thoughts, truth
I showed one of my Positive Living groups the following videos. For those who’ve already seen (or couldn’t be bothered watching) them, the first one is about how we perceive ourselves, how we hone in our flaws and imperfections, and how we don’t see the beauty that other people see in us.
The second is a spoof on the first and I cried actual tears, it was so funny.
Afterwards, we drew pictures of how our souls might look like. I instructed the class not to think too much, to just go with the feeling. Below is a picture of my soul, drawn my me.
Then, I told the class to draw a picture of how they feel the soul of the person sitting beside them might appear. I reminded them not to worry about it being a work of art, to simply allow it to flow. Because I was teaching, I was sitting at the top of the room so there was no way my partner could have seen the picture I had just drawn of my own soul. Five minutes later, I was presented with this.
We squealed in disbelief and hugged. We had drawn almost the same image of my soul, except she had made it bigger, more vibrant and even more beautiful. And it’s not unlike the Sacred Heart, which is regularly depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light. Maybe it’s not so unusual to imagine a glowing heart when connecting with one’s soul but nobody else in the class drew a heart for themselves or for anybody else.
This was a great exercise and I thoroughly enjoyed drawing like a little kid, totally absorbed in colour, connection and creation. Why don’t you try it with your children, partners or friends? You’ll be amazed at what manifests.
Posted in Random, Spirituality
Tagged art, beauty, body image, children, classes, coincidence, colour, comedy, connection, creativity, dove real beauty sketches, dove real beauty sketches - men, drawing, imperfections, inner child, laughter, positive living group, self-criticism, self-love, soul, spoof, synchronicity, teaching
I woke up crying. I had just dreamt that I heard that a guy I’d met a couple of times last summer was coming over to my family home. It was late, I was in my pyjamas, I looked tired and wasn’t wearing any makeup. I quickly threw on a bra and T-shirt and started applying some makeup. My brother ran upstairs, grabbed something and said, “We’re going out.” I heard the door slam. I stopped putting on makeup. My sister came into the bathroom and announced, “That guy is hot but they’re gone to a night-club.”
I exploded: “I am so angry with both of them. I put on a bra! And makeup.” My sister scrunched up her face. I continued: “He obviously doesn’t care about me. I feel so alone. I just feel awful.” I knew that I was overreacting, that this shouldn’t make me feel so bad, that this was a core issue that kept resurfacing. My sister hugged me.
As I lay there early this morning, I realised that this went deep. I also recognised that, if this was a core belief of mine, it would continue to come up in relationships with men, and even with friends, family and the larger whole. I would create situations time and again that would “make” me feel unloved and alone.
As I was preparing for a Positive Living class yesterday, I remembered this quote by Anaïs Nin: “We see things not as they are but as we are.” In other words, we tend to view things from our own perspective. What’s happened in the past can colour things for us in the future. I guess it comes back to living in the present moment.
I don’t know how to shift this completely but I do know that awareness is crucial. If a scenario arises again where I feel this way, I will be able to see that it could be my stuff and not the other person or circumstance. I can decide to release these emotions, to let go, to stop replaying the old record because it’s not relevant any more. Already, I am loving and caring about myself. I am opening myself to love and connection. I am aware and awake and I’ve stopped crying.
Posted in Love, Personal development
Tagged anaïs nin, anger, awake, awareness, beliefs, connection, core issues, dream, emotions, family, feelings, friendship, future, letting go, loneliness, love, past, perspective, positive living, present, relationships, release, self-care, self-love