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Acceptance, Change, Personal Power, Resilience, Self-love

Using compassion to deal with bullies – the Four S Approach

I was asked by Kindred Spirit magazine to outline how we can use compassion to deal with bullying.  I have learned from a lifetime of dealing with bullying, first as the victim and then as the strong advocate of anti-bullying workplace cultures, is that the bully is as much imprisoned by their own actions as their victims.

Bullies are always wracked with uncertainty and anxiety, which is often what drives their behaviour. They have very little belief in themselves, which is why they can show very little belief in anyone else. By understanding that you are dealing with a deeply insecure individual, it can help you to feel more secure in your own ability. Sticking to what you are good at and not giving ground, you can show that you have the skills and confidence to deal with a situation which will ultimately minimise the impact of the habitual bully.

The other thing to remember is the power of your own thoughts. Our thoughts create our reality, and if you allow these thoughts to be created, shaped or controlled by the bully, you will certainly find yourself playing the victim very quickly. Keeping strong positive thoughts in your mind, especially during a bullying incident is highly effective in minimising its impact.

If you are the victim of a bullying in your home or work life it can be very undermining and make you feel isolated and unhappy. Using compassion to tackle bullying does not mean being weak, in fact it means the very opposite. We need to connect to a stronger sense of our love and compassion for everyone, even the bully, in order to transcend their effects on our well-being.

One of the most undermining things that a bully can do is to infect us with their own lack of belief. Every time you start questioning ‘Is it me?’, stop that thought in its tracks and hold on to a mental picture of all the times you have handled the situation perfectly well before the bully came into your life (or when you were outside of their influence).

The only way that a bully can belittle us is when we start to accept their view of the world, with all its projected anxieties. If you have a sustained and long-term bullying situation, start to use your own mindfulness practices with strong affirmations of your own ability to minimize any caustic effects they may be having. The ultimate act of compassion is towards yourself, and if you know that the situation is not going to change, then seriously think of removing yourself from it.

Try the Four S’s to bring more compassion to a bullying situation:

  • Show concern. Even after an aggressive outburst by the bully, show concern for their well-being. Share your observations that they seem upset, angry, tired or unhappy. Ask them if they want to talk and offer them some time if this feels right.   If they continue to behave inappropriately, tell them you are there for them when they are ready to calm down and then gently extract yourself from the situation.
  • Smile. This one simple act has an immediate effect on our own sense of well-being and a positive impact on our relationships. For the bully that seeks to belittle or undermine, the smile can be very disarming.
  • Speak up. Bully’s get away with their behaviour precisely because people are afraid to speak up; yet you take away their power by doing exactly that. If you cannot address the bully directly, then start by talking to someone you trust. Many organisations have a welfare line to report the incident, or talk to your local HR who often have policies that will help to address the situation. Or if its at home, start to share your issues with a trusted friend.
  • Say thank you. Although this sounds like the very last thing you should do, saying thank you for the person’s feedback and telling them you will bear it in mind, gives the bully and their bluster very few places to go. It’s hard to keep going on at someone who appears to have agreed with you. You have done no such thing of course, for you have only thanked them for the feedback, not agreed with their comments, but you have used gratitude to stop them in their tracks.

Remember that everything we experience in life brings important life lessons our way. When we explore more mindfully what we might be learning through this situation, it can help us to navigate and overcome the effects of bullying.

 

Change, Coming Home to You, Mindfulness, Personal Power, Resilience, Self-love

How to be resilient, when thing go wrong. Recent Feature in Irish Times

Resilience is the art of bouncing back when setbacks or challenges come our way. There will be many times in our life when we are beset by failures, painful situations or conflicting priorities and these can really undermine our self-confidence and belief. Yet resilience is like a muscle that we need to build and test over time so that we can become more and more honed in life’s forge, like a master blacksmith will temper a great sword, so that we can arise stronger each time.

Sometimes when we are in the midst of hardship it is hard to see any silver lining, yet if we persistently focus on the negative and reinforce our undermining self-talk, we are likely to find our self-confidence dwindling before our eyes.

But with practice, we can build our resilience and learn to take life’s knock backs in our stride.

There are four steps we can take to build our resistance:

The building blocks to resilience

Having a healthy belief in ourselves
This is the cornerstone to building resilience. We cannot achieve anything if we do not believe in who we are and what we stand for.

Staying connected to the present moment
Resilience comes from understanding that the only moment that is real is the present moment. By connecting to this through our breathing and through our awareness that all moments will pass, including the present one, we can learn to release difficult and painful experiences more easily.

Learn to take criticism well
Nobody likes being told that their idea is rubbish or their plan is unrealistic and if we are caught up in the excitement of our own ideas we tend to shy away from getting any realistic feedback. Yet criticism, when offered constructively, can help us to avoid pitfalls and failures which come down to our own lack of experience.

Be realistic
Learn to be more self-accepting and more gentle with your inner thoughts. A harsh inner critic is hardly motivating if you are trying to pick up the pieces and move on. Self-love will be a much kinder way to move forward.

If you want to start building your resilience today, start by connecting to what really excites you in life and build your ideas around something that matters to you. Your own belief and passion will take you further and help you to cope with setbacks better than anything else.

 

Read the full article HERE

Acceptance, Change, Personal Development, Personal Power, Self-love, Women in business, Women in Leadership

I was asked recently: If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be? – this is how I responded

I have been very busy with various publicity interviews and articles as interest for my first book, ‘Coming Home to You‘ grows.  In one interview, I was asked: If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

Here is what I said:  I think it would be about increasing their belief in themselves. There are many successful and inspirational women leaders in business, but they are very much in the minority for the business world in general. What I see more than anything in women is a lack of belief in themselves and their abilities, often times when their skills far outweigh that of a male colleague who they watch climb the career ladder.

Success starts on the inside, and if capable and talented women believed in themselves more I believe we would start to see some shifts in the workplace gender balance.

 

If you want to see the full article, read more HERE

Acceptance, Coming Home to You, Emotions, Featured, Happiness, Healing, Personal Power, Self-love, Uncategorized

Make peace with your body

Humans are the only mammals on the planet that have a negative image of their body.  Nothing else quite demonstrates the madness of our human condition, quite as much as the way that we reject, abuse or ignore our bodily needs.

Think about it for a moment.  An orangutan does not sit and brood at her companions and clan and feel disgruntled that her body is not as lithe or shapely as that of others around her.  A leopard does not sit and mope that his spots are not quite as well spread out as other males in the group.  In fact the idea is quite laughable.  Yet, when we turn the lens our ourselves, we seem to find it perfectly acceptable to compare, contrast and condemn our own body, based on some external notion of what it should be.

If we become disconnected and start looking at our body in negative or fragmented ways, it leads to many difficulties. We start to see our body with a critical eye to its external appearance and how this compares unfavourably to other people. Women in particular are prone to this dissatisfaction with their body due to this external pressure to conform to unrealistic expectations.  Bombarded as we are, by images of thin and under-developed models. When we start to over-identify with these images we become unhappy with ourselves and start to put our body through harsh regimes to try to achieve standards it was never designed to meet.  The thoughts we send to our body are equally negative and punitive; ‘You’re fat’, ‘You’re thin’, You’re ugly’, ‘You’re too tall’, ‘You’re too short’ or perhaps the most defeating of all, ‘You’re not good enough.’  Since our thoughts create our reality, we are allowing ourselves in these moments to create a battlefield between us and our bodies.

blog body image
Photo credit: Archishadownlight.com

When we separate our thoughts from our body, we stop listening to its needs.  We start to develop body dysmorphia because we are literally unable to see our body the way it is.  When someone has become extreme in their eating habits, through too much eating, or starving themselves, they have stopped connecting to their body.  The mind and the body are working in two different spheres.

Making peace with our body starts with learning to connect and communicate with it.  Read more here

Guided Meditation, Happiness, Personal Power

Free Guided Meditation – Power up your powerhouse!

Solar Plexus

This brief guided meditation will help you to connect with your inner power house – your solar plexus. This energy centre can be found just above the belly button. If we are feeling weak and overwhelmed, this can often be due to a lack of energy or alignment in the solar plexus. Listen to this brief guided meditation, to help you to reconnect with your inner sun centre and feel reconnected and grounded again. Enjoy.

Book Writing, Change, Featured, Happiness, Personal Transformation, Resilience

Radio Interview with TippFM

TIPP FM logoToday I was invited onto the Fran Curry show at TippFM, a local radio station in Tipperary, Ireland.

Our conversation covers many things including the process of coming out to my parents thirty years ago, how to turn our troubles into tribulations and how to manage the nagging voice in our head.

I hope you enjoy it.

 

Book Writing, Change, Coming Home to You, Featured, Personal Transformation

Coming Home to You featured in Irish Press

Mary in tree 3 (3)More books are sold between September and December, than at other time of the year. Precisely because of this, I have started the publicity campaign for Coming Home to You.  I’ll feature press clippings and radio interviews here over the next few weeks.

 

Today the Irish Press interviewed me for a feature article on how Coming Home to You can transform lives.  Read more HERE

 

I hope you enjoy it.  More to follow.

Change, Emotions, Featured, Gratitude, Happiness, Meaningful Work, Personal Transformation

Finding happiness at work

happiness

Our jobs are such a big part of our life and when we are not happy at work, it can colour every aspect of our lives. Work defines a large part of our life, precisely because we spend so much of our time there. Yet, when we look around, we find many people are very dissatisfied with their work; feeling trapped and unable to see beyond their current circumstances.
Happiness and Work are rarely used in the same sentence. In fact, our level of dissatisfaction with work is widespread. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) over 25% of us are unhappy at work. One in four of the working population really wish they were somewhere else.
We can however turn what appears to be a negative into a positive. We can learn to enjoy work, leave the pressure of it at the office and then come home ready to fully engage in family life.
To do this, we need to embrace the habit of happiness. Far from being an emotion that is dependent on our external circumstances, happiness is a choice, a state of mind and an inner practice. True happiness always comes from ourselves, rather than from our environment. We have the power and the ability to bring happiness into our life not only every day, but in every moment, through the simple practice of welcoming it in.
My own journey to happiness was a long and arduous one. I grew up in a very unhappy household, became a rebellious teenager, leaving school without any qualifications and started to drink heavily. In my younger days, I associated happiness with external circumstances, such as being out with my friends, having money to buy things I thought I wanted or being praised by others for my actions or abilities. The difficulty with this kind of conditional happiness is that it is completely out of our control; we have no real say in when or how it happens. When we observe the animal or natural world in its natural surroundings, we do not see the same need for approval from its own kind. A tree strives to be the best version of itself it can be; it does not look at the other trees and make comparisons that turn into a negative self-image. The same is also true in the animal kingdom.

 

Making a choice about happiness
For happiness to be part of our lives, we must first make a choice about it. Do we for example, want to be happy? How would we recognise our own happiness? What in ourselves helps to maintain this happiness? By looking more deeply within for the source and opportunities for happiness we start to reverse perhaps a lifelong trend of looking outwards for its source.
Once we have gained some insights into our inner source of happiness we can then look to how we can change our habits and behaviours to make room for happiness in our life. If we know that we enjoy sports, getting creative or have a passion for writing, we can start to set some time aside to follow these passions.

Finding Happiness at Work
One of the traps many people fall into about their work and their satisfaction with it, is to assign conditions which, when met will bring them happiness. They say; “If only: my boss/colleagues would leave; I’d get promoted; I could have a pay rise…” In the long run however, these conditions fail to satisfy. They are transitory victories, which are swept aside as soon as a new cause for unhappiness settles in. Happiness, real happiness, has little to do with external factors. It is an inner space and place, which has a constant smile and self-assuredness. Once we arrive at this place, which requires no external conditions, we can find happiness in the most unlikely workplaces.
Our life purpose will be found somewhere in the simple act of giving and contributing. What we give will depend on our talents and gifts, but all of us have something to offer. Work is one of the places outside of the family where we can share our gift. If we arrive at our work happy, kind, considerate and compassionate, we make our day and everyone else’s enjoyable; we contribute. We don’t look around and feel resentful if someone else has a more favourable relationship with the boss, or compare our salaries, or workloads. We simply smile and look at how we can do the best job possible or how we can help our colleagues with their work.
Look at ways you can bring your talents into your work life. If your talent is numbers, offer to support the accounts department, or perhaps build up meaningful reports on performance and data, which will help your team to work better. If it’s music, but your day job is in elsewhere, perhaps start a community choir, which can raise money for good causes and give other colleagues an outlet for their creative talents.

Start your happiness habit today

Some simple practices that will welcome happiness into your life include:

  • Smile. This one simple act has an immediate effect on our own sense of well-being and a positive impact on our relationships. Practice your smile today and make it a regular habit throughout your day.
  • Start a gratitude Journal. On a daily basis, write down all the things that you are grateful for in your life. Your health, your family, your work, having money to pay bills, your food. The list is endless. Taking time to acknowledge all the things that make your life better is a great shortcut to happiness.
  • Get close to nature. Our natural world is one of the best antidotes for depression or unhappiness. Use your lunchtimes to walk in a park, or at weekends take a walk in a forest, near a lake or by the sea if its close by. When we spend time with nature, we can put our life and our worries into perspective when we look at the greater majesty of life which abounds all around us.

Mary McGuire holds an MBA and MSc in Human Resources. Her early career as a social worker, led on to becoming a Chief Executive of a charity for people with Autism. For the last 20 years she has worked as an international business consultant, working with companies and leaders all over the world. More recently she has trained in Energy and Shamanic healing at Omega Institute in New York, and offers Healing clinics in Donegal, as well as international coaching and speaking engagements. Her first book ‘Coming Home to You’ is available on www.findyourjoyfullife.com and on Amazon. Email Mary@findyourjoyfullife.com

 

Change, Coming Home to You, Featured, Meaningful Work, Personal Development, Personal Transformation, Resilience, Uncategorized

3 steps to living a life of intent

goals“Intention is the driving force in our life. It is the fuel of our actions and gives purpose to our goals.  To become intentional and live a life of meaningful action, we need to learn to harness our thoughts and the energy all around us.  If you have tried to make changes in your life but find yourself going around in circles or making little progress, learning how to harness your intent will make all the difference.”

 

There is a power, which we all hold, which allows us to move forward with our goals and plans. It is always with us and available to us whenever we need it. That power is intent and can be accessed through focus, belief and new habits.

It takes intent to live a life of action and to achieve our goals. If you have a burning ambition or goal you want to achieve, try these three steps to help you to move forward with confidence and ease.

1. Believe in yourself
People who struggle to attain success may be holding self-limiting beliefs of what is possible or what they are capable of achieving. Beliefs are often hidden from us, held deeply in our sub conscious mind, related to events that may have occurred many years ago, but had a lasting impact. The messages we receive from people around us such as parents, peers and teachers shape and form our beliefs. We are not always conscious, in our early years, of forming these beliefs about ourselves and the world around us, but they will have a profound impact on how we go forward with our lives for years to come.

The best way we can understand our beliefs is to learn to question what we are thinking on a regular basis. This will give insight into what has been the anchoring force behind our current situation. By asking ourselves questions and writing down the answers, we can understand patterns which are having a profound effect on our life. So if you see yourself reacting to something in a particular way – ask yourself: what is this reaction really about? Where did those thoughts / feelings come from?

Once we have a clearer understanding of our beliefs, we become empowered to change them into new beliefs. And the great news is that changing beliefs can have an instant and profound change on our whole life.

2. Focus on what you want
Observing and changing our beliefs will help to break down barriers to our success. Now we can set about focusing on what we do want.

Change often fails because of a lack of focus on where we are going, and why. How many times have you seen someone leave a situation because they are unhappy, only to find themselves repeating the same pattern again and again? This happens when we only focus on what we want to run away from, but have less clarity on what we want to move towards.

The same is true for those who are constantly focused on the future, sharing big plans that are rarely realized because their feet do not seem to be planted on the ground. They cannot make an accurate assessment of their starting point, to help them navigate the journey to achieve their goals.

We can avoid these pitfalls by holding in our mind a clear understanding of what we want to achieve and where we are starting from. Having a powerful vision is a way of focusing our effort and energy on moving towards something new.

Take a few moments to write down what it is you want to achieve in your life. Make it really clear and descriptive, so you will know when you have achieved it.

When you have written your vision, take a few moments to look at it and breathe deeply as you read it. Feel the emotion in your heart, as if you have already achieved it. Put the statement out somewhere you can see it every day and take a few breaths every time you see it and connect with the emotion in your heart.

3. Create new habits
When we have a clear vision of what we want to achieve, we need to look at how we change our behaviours and habits to allow room for the new reality to emerge. Change will not come from the heavily trodden path we have already followed. It requires us to lift ourselves from the patterns of our life and create new paths and new space for the real magic of change to emerge.

We tend to view habits as ingrained and very difficult to change. The reality is that we can create a new habit at any moment. If we create new habits that give us more pleasure, we are likely to release old and unwanted ones. This is a much gentler and supportive way to bring about change without using a negative or judgmental inner voice, which is often applied to ‘break’ bad habits.

Habits are incredibly easy to create, once you have put your intent and vision behind them. It takes three weeks of daily practice for a new habit to form. This means any area of your life where you are struggling right now, can be turned around in three weeks simply by creating a new habit.

Ask yourself what one thing can you start to do for yourself today, which will make a big difference to you and your life?

Write down your habit and then regularly review your progress over the next 21 days.

Do you have any experiences of making big change in your life that you would like to share? Do leave your comments below. Best of luck with allowing intention to drive your life forward.

For more hints and tips on how to make positive changes to your life visit: www.findyourjoyfullife.com

This is an excerpt from Chapter 4, The Power of Intent in ‘Coming Home to You – A Handbook for Personal Transformation’ by Mary McGuire Available here, independent bookshops  and all online retailers.