For any of you who have known me for a while, you may be aware that blogging is something I have done for a long time. Over the years as I've struggled with my health I found blogging a helpful way to offload, and I felt I had a lot to share with others who may of been going through similar issues. At the end of last year I made myself a promise that I would utilise my blog on Bridge the Gap to maintain a personal view and perspective on why I choose to do the work I do, and to keep people up to date on my goals, dreams and challenges.
I second guessed myself as a desire to keep a 'professional' spin on all things is easy to get drawn into, but so much of what I do is solo, so I need people to believe and trust in me. I ask for transparency from parents and teachers in my training so I want to encourage that transparency by doing the same. I would only share what I feel safe to, and some of my words are best left in the training room, but there is a lot that I feel I can share to help parents and practitioners know that they are not alone.
The wonderful Lisa Cherry (watch her video on this topic here) tweeted a couple of weeks back exploring how we tend to have a belief that professionals don't have lived experience; it's like we don't see the two as existing together and that needs to change. It's not easy, I don't know how to change this perception. How do we create environments where professionals feel safe to share? Often we use the word 'disorder' at the end of a human experience, how does that impact people's perceptions? Something resonated with me - If i'm not open and honest then am I contributing to change in the way I would like?
In a world where the strive for perfection is high, is this another area where this exists? As my own children and many others continue to worry about not being perfect it's certainly worth contemplating; it's not just filters and airbrushing that add to that pressure, it exists in many areas of society. I'm not saying children shouldn't experience stress, I'm saying that we need to try and prevent toxic stress, we need to teach children about emotions and experiment with strategies to process and live through them, we also need to have more balance. So many areas of children's lives have the subconscious message that being brilliant all of the time gets rewarded, how is that setting them up for the long-term? Do they feel safe to take chances and make mistakes, or does the thought of not getting a 'positive point' or having their name moved down a board inhibit their full engagement and intrinsic motivation? Do they stop challenging processes and begin to answer questions instead of asking them? It's all huge food for thought, and something that every one of us should explore.
Do we feel this way in our own work lives? How many of us don't talk about our emotional health for fear of it inhibiting our progress at work, or changing how people view us?
My passion for emotional literacy has developed my emotional intelligence more than I could of realised, I have more ability to own and process my emotions, as well as support others with theirs; it's testament to the significance of being proactive about emotional health (I hate the term 'mental health' I may write a separate post about this). I have learnt so much but I still have a lot to learn; I believe that statement will always ring true.
So as I put myself out there in the bid to show myself as a professional with lived experience, in other words a human being, I'll leave you with this post written 4 years ago. Food, body image and self-worth are things I have struggled with most of my life, but I continue to grow and find peace within myself; even since this was written. My issues with food are eliminated (unless I can't eat for any reason, this is a trigger for me and to be avoided at all costs) and I have more than an acceptance of my body, I like it, it has gone through a lot but it still has me here working, parenting and living; I think that's pretty darn great and I'm so thankful. I'm not perfect and it's not possible to be, I can only hope that my own children find this peace within themselves much younger than I did, but I know I'm giving them the best chance, and that's all any of us can do.
Last night I went out to celebrate my lovely husband’s birthday with friends. We dropped the children off at my Mum & Dads and we got ready to have some drinks, good food and lots of laughs.
It’s not something we often have a chance to do so I can get a little frustrated with myself when getting ready; it’s all too easy to get drawn into thinking that we should look ‘perfect’ for these occasions.
Lately I have been struggling a little with anxiety and some lovely surgical menopause health issues that have stopped me from feeling on my ‘A’ game but last night I was determined to not let my mindset ruin a special night.
The thing is we haven’t the money to spend on a night out we won’t enjoy so it’s important to put negative body issues aside and actively coach myself into not focusing on the bits about myself I don’t like, and concentrate on the parts I do! Whenever a hurtful thought came into my mind I told myself I had to counteract it with a positive one, “my hips look too wide” to “my skin is looking good” you get the idea.
I know we’ve all heard of these strategies before but I almost feel like we (well me anyway) dismiss them as being nonsense or write them off, “well that won’t work” before giving it a go. Like anything in order for us to be good at something we have to practice it and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it…it works!
I stopped focusing on my ‘Achilles heel’ and started layering on the red lipstick digging out my old faithful black skirt, favourite heels and telling myself how precious the time spent with friends is.
I could of gone out and spent money on a new outfit but that wouldn’t of made me feel the same way as laughing with good friends does. Other people don’t notice the flaws we see in ourselves the same way, when you look at your loved ones you don’t hone in on one area of them you look at the whole person, inside and out and just, well, love them.
Money spent is precious and I think that what I have concluded is that I would rather spend it on moments, creating memories and gaining new experiences than on ‘stuff’ and if that means I have to talk to myself in the mirror about how hot my red lip looks then it’s a no brainer…*pouts in mirror and blots lipstick*