Expert Insight: Filling the Spaces of Your Life with Positive People

“Boundaries can be used in two ways – by limiting the actions of the people who have hurt you, and by including the people who’ve shown themselves to be trustworthy. In other words, boundaries prevent harm and allow benefit.

…When a friend proves trustworthy, see that friend again. Risk a little more. Notice when you are treated kindly. Pay attention when someone offers you trust. As you become more discriminating about the people you let in, the spaces of your life will fill up with positive people, and you’ll have less room for the harmful ones.”

– Anne Katherine, “Where to Draw the Line: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Every Day”

Often we think of boundaries as a means solely of keeping toxic people out. But, as Anne Katherine explains, they’re also how we let trustworthy people in.

But how do you know who to allow close and who to keep at a distance?

Continue reading “Expert Insight: Filling the Spaces of Your Life with Positive People”

Who Do You Trust?

I was horse mad as a child.

I was born and raised in Australia until the age of nine and, along with a modest collection of pony books and stickers, I had an imaginary horse I kept tethered in our backyard. Truth be told I had about fifteen imaginary horses – all with their own names – but that’s another story.

More than anything, I wanted to ride a real horse.

When I was about eight, I came across a brochure for a kids’ activity camp. I can’t remember how but it immediately caught my eye because there on the front cover was a photo of children smiling as they rode horses through the countryside.

Continue reading “Who Do You Trust?”

Food for Thought: Waking Up to Our Boundaries

“Boundaries are the lines we draw that mark off our autonomy and that of other people, that protect our privacy and that of others. Boundaries allow for intimate connection without dissolving or losing one’s sense of self.”   

– Amy Bloom

I love this definition of boundaries by Amy Bloom – psychotherapist, author, screenwriter and probably my new shero.

Boundaries make it safe for us to engage with others, without compromising our independence.  They separate us from each other, while at the same time allowing us to be close. Rather than a barrier to relationship, boundaries give us the means to connect authentically.

But what if we don’t know where they are?

Continue reading “Food for Thought: Waking Up to Our Boundaries”

What Mask Do You Wear?

As I was showing her into the room for the start of her session last week, a client asked “how are you?”.  I launched into an extensive account of what was going on in my life, including my concerns about my cat’s digestive issues and my feelings about Brexit.  Half an hour later, she got to talk about her stuff.

Of course, this didn’t happen.

Although I strive to be authentic and transparent in my responses to clients, it would be highly inappropriate and unethical for me to talk about myself in this way.

I simply replied “I’m fine, thanks”. Continue reading “What Mask Do You Wear?”

How Can You Make Sure You Have Fun at Christmas?

“And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun,
the near and the dear ones, the old and the young…”
– John Lennon, “Merry Christmas (War is Over)”

Ah, Christmas – an enchanting season of celebration and wonderment…and hectic shopping trips and online deliveries, endless food preparation and overeating, feeling bloated and uncomfortable.

Wait, let’s try that again.

Continue reading “How Can You Make Sure You Have Fun at Christmas?”

Why Must Fat Shaming Stop?

“A final message Ellen wanted to share was about the fat shaming she endured from the medical profession.  Over the past few years of feeling unwell she sought out medical intervention and no one offered any support or suggestions beyond weight loss.  Ellen’s dying wish was that women of size make her death matter by advocating strongly for their health and not accepting that fat is the only relevant health issue.”

This is an excerpt from the obituary of Ellen Bennett who died on May 11th this year, aged 64.  Shortly before, Ellen had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and was given just a few days to live.  According to her family, she was “an unforgettable character” who enjoyed careers in politics, film and TV.

Continue reading “Why Must Fat Shaming Stop?”

Why Do We Need To Let Other People Own Their Feelings?

You’re about to send an email and you’re re-reading it for the tenth time to make absolutely sure there’s nothing in it that could be misconstrued and cause offence.   Then you check it another ten times after you’ve sent it – just in case…

You bump into a friend in the street.  As you walk away, you replay the conversation over and over in your head trying to work out if you said anything “wrong”.  You’re still rerunning the conversation in your head as you lie in bed that night…

A work colleague seems a bit off with you.  You instantly rack your brain to recall your most recent interactions with them.  You spend the day desperately trying to work out what you did to upset them so you can apologise and make things right…

Sound familiar?

Continue reading “Why Do We Need To Let Other People Own Their Feelings?”