A blond moment

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I’m not sure if this one qualifies as a blond moment. Nevertheless I thought to label it as such. The moment was more or less the same blondish colour that my hair was when I was 3 years old.

As many of you reading the blog know, I recently started my own business. Everyone tells you that networking is the way to go. You need a good network if you want to make it on your own. That it is the best way to get new clients. So, I listened and decided to attend a networking event. I did all my preparation for my one-minute pitch, had my business cards and printed flyers for my upcoming workshop. I spent time to ensure that I looked professional.

It was a lunch hour networking event. So, the communication clearly stated that you needed to be there 15 minutes before the start. I’m usually very punctual so I arrived 17 minutes before the time (what I thought) that the networking event will start. Much to my embarrassment I had the time wrong. I was an hour late! When I entered the room the last person was pitching her idea.

The organisers were kind enough to allow me to pitch my idea as well. So, there I was with a very active Inner Critic (the voice telling you that you once again screw up) in my head. Standing in front of a group of businesswomen pitching my business and informing them of the workshop I run that covers topics such as the Inner Critic.

I managed to take the most out of the 15 minutes that was left of the event. Afterwards, I could only laugh at myself. I used one of my tools, which is to tap into my inner child – that smiling blond haired 3-year old. All I could do was to laugh about it. It just shows that nobody’s life is perfect. Not the therapist, the coach or the trainer presenting personal development programmes. We are all human and every day gives us an opportunity to practise the tools we share with others.

This may sound funny but I’m glad I had this blond moment. It gave me an opportunity to embody my teachings. I’m proud to say that I did not fall back on my old default pattern that would be to criticise myself the rest of the day or to buy chocolate to eat away my sorrows. No, I rather made myself a wonderful cup of yoge tea and wrote this blog. Life is one big learning curve!

Learning: Life is one big learning curve.

Healing question: How can I bring laughter and lightness into this moment?

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Be life curious

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Photo: unsplash.com

When last were you curios about your life and all its aspects?

Curiosity is an inherent quality that we all have. It is our innate explorative behaviour as well as our desire to know and understand. Studies show that when we are curious about something we learn far easier at a deeper level and remember what we’ve learned longer.

When you observe 2-year old children you see that it is in their nature to be curious and inquisitive. They have a healthy fascination with their beautiful world. They explore with all their senses and a feeling of wonderment. According to Jean Piaget (a Swiss psychologist) children are intrinsically interested in novelty and motivated to improve their understanding of the world. Children actively seek problems to solve and do not wait for others to present problems to them. Their curiosity is the tool with which they acquire information and develop their intellectual and creative abilities.

Unfortunately, as we grow older we tend to express our curiosity less. A possible reason for this is the way we are schooled. The full curriculum does not always allow time for kids to ponder and enquire. We also become less tolerant of wonderment when the focus is on accomplishment and performance. Later when we start to work we are constantly reminded that ‘time is money’. The time pressure and heavy workload hinders our curiosity. Which is sometimes exactly what is needed to unlock new energy and possibilities.

 Research indicates that for the brain to develop new connections we must allow ourselves to curiously and playfully enjoy novel experiences. We must make time to ask questions, ponder and reflect. Albert Einstein said: ‘ I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.’ If you struggle with a difficult situation at work or maybe want to change a personal habit, I would like to invite you to become ‘passionately curious’ about it this week. Foster an environment that is curious and not judgemental. Look at the situation through the eyes of a 2-year old. Reconnect with your sense of wonderment.

Learning: When I become curious about life, new learnings open up.

Healing question: What will I learn about my work or life if I become ‘passionately curious’ about it?

First year of life: Love & trust as basis for safety

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Photo: Liane Metzler, Unsplash

I tried to imagine how it was during my first year of life. I could not remember anything but as I was thinking back I experienced a sense of safety. I am of the opinion that it is due to the love I received as a child and the knowing that I could trust my parents. In order to verify my theory I did some research on what some of the well-known psychoanalysts wrote about the emotional development during the first year of an infant’s life.

In our first year of life the brain already starts to write the emotional manual for happiness. We write this manual based on our experience of the world. Melanie Klein (a psychoanalyst) states that two things form our experiences; what our caregivers provided as well as our ability as an infant/child to make sense of it.

As an infant our ability to make sense of things is very basic. According to psychoanalytical theory the ‘ID’ is the original system of personality. The ID wants to reduce any tension or pain. Its main aim is to satisfy the need for food and pleasure.

When the baby is hungry it wants to be fed to alleviate the suffering/ pain that is caused by the hunger. When the desire is satisfied the baby feels loved.

During our 1st year we live in the reptilian level of consciousness. Our life is only centred around day-to-day survival activities such as search for shelter and fulfilment of instinctual needs. According to Erikson if our basic emotional and physical needs are met in that stage of our lives, we develop a sense of trust. We start to build our ability to trust others and ourselves. The love we receive from our caregivers strengthens our bond with them and provides a sense of security that enables us to develop emotional healthy pathways in the brain.

However, if our desire for security was frustrated and our need for love not met, it may result in mistrust towards others. We may later in our life have an inability to trust. We may even fear forming loving relationships with others.

Therefore, some of the first notes in our emotional manual for happiness, is:

  • If you fulfil/satisfy my needs, I can trust you. If I can trust you, I am safe.
  • If my needs are met, I am loved. If you love me, I am safe.

The problem with these early notes, as Thomas Keating accurately indicates, is that ‘it starts out as needs, grows into demands, and can finally become ”shoulds’’. The result can be that the notes later in our adult life can look like this:

  • You should satisfy my needs before I can trust you.
  • You should meet my needs otherwise I can’t love you.
  • If I can’t trust or love others and myself the world is not safe.

The good news is that as adults our level of consciousness is more developed than when we were infants. We can change or rewrite our manual. Love can be reborn. Christene Caldwell writes:

‘When I accept myself, love is reborn. When nothing will make me abandon myself or hurt myself, love is present – I am loving myself in the same unconditional way that a parent can love a child. If I did not get this unconditional love the first time around, I must discover and re-create it in myself.’

Not every baby that is born in this world is privileged enough to experience the necessary love and trust. Many babies don’t experience the world as a welcoming place. Which in turn may influence how they behave later in life. The question I’m pondering on is how does knowing this change the way I behave towards others? Maybe a portion of the answer is in accepting everyone as they are. Maybe then love and trust can be reborn. And we can all start to build a safer world together. A world where it is safe to be vulnerable.

Learning: By loving and trusting others and myself I create a safe space to be vulnerable.

Healing question: How can I give myself (and others) the necessary love and trust in order to feel safe?