The next few posts are all in line with my book, titled The BITCH Pad, which I'll be releasing later this year.
In line with the B in BITCH standing for Brave, what better way to begin the next phase!
This post is the more practical aspect of my full podcast episode on this subject. I highly recommend listening to the podcast episode as I use my intuition to share a heart connecting message with you to help you feel into your bravery. I share my stories and why being brave is so important if you're to step forward into the life you want for yourself.
Carry on reading below for the top 10 tips I have for helping you to feel braver in life. But I highly recommend the accompanying podcast episode for the anecdotes I weave in and the meditative tone I provide to help it all sink in deeper.
My message around bravery is this:
Be brave For yourself, not in spite of yourself.
There are of course things in life that we all have to do. They are called responsibilities. And adult life brings them in by the bloody bucket load. But I will always maintain that there is flexibility to be found, especially when your life is getting you down.
We can all handle short term nonsense because we have to get through a period of time, work our way up, make ends meet, deal with a crisis or adapt to harsh changes going on around us. But when we do this for a long time, it eventually takes its toll if we're not aligned with the wishes of our hearts, and we are going after goals that don’t really do anything for us deep down.
Does that sound familiar?
When food needs to be on the table, a roof needs to protect us from the outside world, and we need to get a good night's sleep, our responsibilities often mean we have to suck up the stuff that actually sucks, and just get on with it.
Now, I don’t believe in painting life with a plastic positive paintbrush in the hope that it’s the magic bullet to creating your life’s masterpiece, and I don’t expect you believe that to be true either. A positive outlook is key to living a fulfilling and meaningful life, but it must be grounded in a sense of reality to keep you fed and watered, safe and satisfied.
Now I’m sure you’re thinking that this doesn’t really sound much like the upbeat vibes you’re used to from The Bitch Pad, but hold on there, I’m coming to that bit.
Whilst it’s absolutely crucial that we meet our responsibilities, it doesn’t mean that we’re stuck with the stuff we’ve been having to suck up either. A quick look outside of our own little world shows us that someone else has found another way to meet the same demands. And rather than compare in a way that gets us down, we can use our observations to see other ways to meet our wants and needs to serve them in a way that suits us better. And this is worth its weight in gold when we’re feeling dissatisfied, unfulfilled or at worst, sense that we are slowly dying inside.
Have you ever had that feeling?
When we feel that way and we long for more, it's a sure sign it's time to look at being brave to serve ourselves better.
So, what do I mean by… being Brave to Serve You?
Being Brave for ourselves may sound selfish when we have commitments to consider, but it's far from it. Being brave for ourselves means being brave to serve ourselves in a way that lights up, which only ever helps us to serve others as well. We can inspire others by creating an opportunity for us to offer our gifts to the world, which you can only do when you’re shining bright as uniquely you.
It means doing stuff that means something to you, and not feeling guilty about it or shame for what that is.
And, if all or any of this seems like a big ask then you’re clearly far from selfish, so please, do yourself a favour and consider what you could do for you, just once!
If your immediate response to this is somewhere along the lines of, 'well, that's all very well but there's no chance when you've got kids, a house to run, a full-time job etc. etc,' because to that I say: Give Over.
This isn’t about putting pressure on you to do more, this is an opportunity to revaluate how you’re doing what you do, and whether there’s a different way that will enhance how you live your life for the better.
So, let's break it down to make it easier to see how things can evolve with some simple changes, assuming of course there is a willingness to be open to make those changes.
You see, there is only a way if there is a will in the first place!
Ways to be brave for you
Some of what I’m going to say might not align with what you had in mind for a podcast about being brave. But that’s the point of being brave for yourself. It’s about the little gestures you offer yourself that confirm that you value who you are and what’s important to you, in order to create a solid foundation to make larger leaps. The large leaps are possible, but if you take them from an unstable foundation you’re not going to leap as far as you’d like, or you’re going to stumble your way through or feel like you’re close to falling off the edge. And that’s no way to live.
A lack of sleep or nourishment are common factors causing people to lack the energy they need to reach their goals. But beyond this, not putting yourself first will stop you getting to where you want to be. And it’s not that you have to be the centre of your universe in everything you do, but unless what you do is aligned with who you are and your deepest desires, you’ll never feel satisfied.
It’s essential to get clear on what you value to be able to evaluate whether your life aligns with the core of who you are.
10 key pointers
To help you build a strong foundation to help you be braver in a way that serves you.
Number 1: Say no sometimes 'No' is one of the first words we learn. As an adult it is sometimes necessary to remind yourself how to say it. And when you pluck up the courage to do so, you might then have to tell the guilt that rises within to basically, ‘go do one’.
There is no place for guilt simply for saying no to something that doesn't serve you. And even less so when you say no to something that hurts you.
But when the guilt rises (because it will), allow it, feel it, breathe through it and let it go. You do not need to react to it by saying 'sorry' every time you say no.
Does that resonate?
When we apologise for standing up for who we are and for our wants and needs, we sacrifice who we are to please others. And in doing so we spite ourselves.
I think it’s always worth looking at why we might struggle to say no to people, and when we do, why it makes us feel guilty.
So, ask yourself, what are you holding onto?
Number 2: Set strong boundaries
Ask yourself why this is a difficult one.
If setting boundaries is difficult for you, ask yourself the question, 'what do you get out of situations when you allow people to keep crossing your boundaries?'
Then answer honestly…
Is it attention?
Connection (even when the connection is questionable)?
Do you gain stories to tell or excuses for why shit keeps happening to you?
This may sound harsh, but you're in control of you!
What do you gain from not setting clear boundaries?
If other people can do this then so can you. And if it feels too late, kick that excuse into touch and start anew. People will just have to get used to it. And if they don't, well you don't have the respect you deserve from them anyway. They can either jog on forever or until they learn to respect you. But you’re going to have to show them the way by setting firm boundaries that you communicate clearly and kindly.
Draw a metaphorical line to represent only what you are willing to accept and don't let anybody cross that line.
Without that line, how are people supposed to know what your boundary is in the first place, if you don’t know? Get clear for you first, then set it in stone.
Number 3: Do things that light you up.
Start with something small.
Even if it's how you choose to sip your favourite drink, do it your way. Then try something else that you enjoy and keep adding to the list. And all the things that you don't like doing, but have to do, try changing the way you do them until they drag you down less, so the balance overall leans more towards you feeling lit and in control, rather than burnt out and the world happening to you.
A supermarket shop is a simple example of this. You can change the destination, the time you go, what you buy and whether you mix it up online, all to make it less of a chore if it’s something you dread. Think in the same way for anything that feels like a bore or a chore to you and it’ll feel lighter and leave you feeling more buoyant for the good stuff if you change it up.
Number 4: Reconnect with who you are.
Begin by taking short moments just to breathe.
Sit and just be in the silence of your own breath. Get away from others, even if only for five minutes a day. It's a good start to assist you to listen in. Listen to the whispers of your heart to reconnect with all that you are and all that you want.
I've been known to hide out in a toilet cubicle at work to get some moments I need alone to reconnect before I face the next phase, but that's in times of crisis.
Find a regular way to do this in a less escapist way to tune in to who you are again.
Slow down your breath, deepen it and listen in.
Who are you and what do you want?
Number 5: Separate who you are from what you do.
You are neither your job nor your art.
Do you take criticism as a personal attack? You don’t need to if it isn’t about the essence of who you are. Most likely it’s about something you’ve done, which is behaviour, not you as a person.
Take it as a learning opportunity or find the courage to request feedback to be delivered to you in a constructive way. Markets, fashions, societies and trends change all the time, and that means doors close for reasons outside of your control rather than because you are unwanted. Nurture your identity separate from what you do to stay strong and ride the waves of change.
You will not be to everyone’s taste and that’s okay.
Try to avoid taking rejection personally because that only keeps you stuck in the story that your mind wants to invent which is rarely ever true.
Anything that we are faced with that makes us feel uncomfortable, is an opportunity for growth rather than a dead end. Ask for feedback, reflect on what the future might look like instead, seek alternative options and understand that some things just aren’t meant to be.
Likewise, I hate to tell you, but you are also not the centre of everyone else’s world. People make decisions that involve you that are wholly about them. Avoid jumping to conclusions that their choices are about you, as it only gives you a role to take; something that was never yours in the first place.
Detach yourself from their choices.
As their choices, at the end of the day, are for them!
If you can see the truth rather than the story, or just accept that you may never know what it’s all about, and move on, you are gifted a brand new start.
Number 6: Focus on you.
Nourish your mind, your body and your spirit.
Have you ever thought about food in terms of what it offers you? How happy you are for the food that you eat to actually be passing your lips?
Are you kind to your mind in the same way you would treat someone else’s? Think of yourself as a spiritual being, not a vessel, and that being is sacred and deserving of loving kindness from you.
All of this is essential to your wellbeing, and your confidence towards being truly you out there in the world.
Be brave enough to be your own guardian angel, fairy godmother and wise witch with the wisdom of how special you are.
Look after yourself by serving yourself lovingly.
Number 7: Take time out from the daily repeats
Break the patterns that don't serve you.
Think short and sweet, like taking a walk at lunchtime instead of chaining yourself to your desk. Pop outside for fresh air instead of bingeing the next box set. Travel to work a different way. Visit a new town or change what you eat each morning just for some simple variety.
You'll be surprised by how encouraged your mind is to think differently when you change things up, and it will naturally shift you away from feeling stuck.
The more of the new you can introduce, the braver you will be to invite more things into your life that align more closely with your deepest and highest needs.
And when you’re out and about changing things up, how about speaking to someone new as often as you can and observe how it lights both you and them up. Human connection is so important, even for the introverts.
And of course, there are always grumps, but if you bump into one just smile and move on. You don’t know what’s going on in their world. Who knows what your smile might do for them that day!
Number 8: Be selfish sometimes instead of eternally selfless
Put yourself first for once.
If you're known to be the one that is always there for others, people may take some time to adjust to you being there for you as well. But consider this... if you're always putting someone else first, you're going to run out of steam for them eventually anyway. And when the shit hits the fan, and you have nothing left in you, for you or them, and nobody comes to help you either, what are you going to do?
Knowing when to say no is a big part of forming a future that has more of you in it. And by doing that your energy will remain strong for you to give to others as well. So, certainly not selfish.
Number 9: Learn to love you
Be kind and care for yourself.
Showing yourself kindness is about the words you say to yourself out loud and inside your mind. It’s about the gestures of self-care you offer yourself to look after your basic and deepest needs. Practicing forgiveness for your past and reminding yourself how special you are.
All of this is essential to your continued well-being and sense of inner peace. Both of which support you to move beyond the mere focus to survive and empower you to lean into the desire to thrive.
A desire you deserve to move forward with.
Number 10: Rest
Relax before bed and beyond your bed.
Going to bed a touch earlier once in a while to wind down fully before you go to sleep, helps you to experience a more rested sleep. And reducing the number of activities in your week that really should be treats rather than regular events reduces the likelihood of burnout. And allowing your mind to release the churn of thoughts that get you down, helps you to find deep emotional rest to improve your sense of self. And how you cope in life.
And if all else fails, just stop.
Close your eyes.
Get comfortable and breathe.
Find the peace within you and around you.
And just breathe.
Peace for me, means separating myself from others sometimes, and investing in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones.
Peace also means walking in nature, miles away from a road or a flight path.
It means being by the sea, listening to the waves roll in, and the whisper of the wind.
It means making choices that empower my heart.
It means making sure I release my creativity.
It means being able to hear myself breathe...
And they’re just a few of the things that bring me peace.
What does finding peace mean to you?
When our lives are busy, our diaries full and we are committed to more than we have the capacity for, it’s likely that some time alone, spent in the silence of your own breath will help to find the answers to all that I’ve shared today.
Whether that’s a whole day you get to yourself, a few hours or only some spare minutes at the beginning of the day for you to be alone, serve yourself that time to tune in to who you are, and what you need and want.
I love alone time to get my heart and mind aligned. I also find it essential to rest and replenish my nervous system when things get to much. But I do understand that the thought of being alone for too long can be scary for some, especially if you fear getting trapped with your thoughts. But being with others can sometimes feel lonelier than being alone, if you surround yourself with people that don’t support you or cause you to drift away from yourself.
Time alone can be like hitting a reset button even if it comes in small doses to begin with.
And you might just have to brave to face your shadows, and seek what you need, and find ways to seek out that support you might need to find a sense of peace.
Be brave and dig deep... for you.
If you can't be alone because you can't face something, what you really mean is that you don't want to face it. And that’s a sure sign it's time, and probably has been for some considerable time, to face what you are running from.
And remember, if the thought of this triggers you because of emotional or psychological struggles you’re experiencing, or have done in the past, perhaps a professional can help you. I am more than happy to provide you with therapeutic contacts if that is your wish.
You don’t ever need to struggle alone.
So, being brave in the context of The Bitch Pad means...
Being brave to serve you by doing things that don't spite you.
Putting yourself first sometimes.
Even when we think we're doing the right thing it can sometimes actually be in spite of who you are, what you need and what you want.
So, consider disrupting your life a little, in simple ways first. Move towards a life that serves you more than it spites you.
Take some time alone to rest and sense how peaceful you feel inside... or not, and get comfortable with who you are and what you want even if you actually feel uncomfortable with that to begin with.
Then take some simple steps back towards yourself.
Taking time for you isn't selfish. It never is. It’s actually necessary for your wellbeing and growth.
Particularly if you'd like those little steps to turn into leaps towards a more heart centred future that serves you better than the life you are leading now.
And I do hope you take time for you, because when you do, you'll also be serving the ones you love too.
Be a better version of yourself for you and sit back to witness how you shine brighter when you focus on you.
When you focus on your needs.
When you focus on your wants.
And be brave about that.
We all need you to be you...
Wishing you well.