Find certainty in yourself, even when there isn’t certainty in the world

 

If you’re coming out of lockdown feeling stressed figuring out a whole new way of engaging with the outside world, yoga can give you conviction as you step into the new normal.

Yoga to Step Into the New Normal – $97 for a $232 value
🌼 We’ll have a private session together to give you individualized yoga strategies and coaching to support you right now. You’ll be able to tap into your clarity and confidence in interacting with this new world – today and in the future.

🎁 Bonus – Access to the Yoga to Recalibrate in Uncertain times online course that will help you when the overwhelm hits giving you yoga techniques on and off the mat to regain your equilibrium. You can dip into it any time suitable to you. This course can be taken as separate modules, or you can complete the course in an hour.

Yoga Gives Us Clarity Over Who We Are in Our Midlife Chapter

Yoga Gives Us Clarity
Over Who We Are

As we enter midlife, it often feels like there’s endings without beginnings. It’s a time where there is so much change – change for the bad. Yet why are we buying into that! Midlife can and should be a wonderful time. Time to dig into this assumption.

Yoga helped me make this journey – it led me to see midlife as an exciting new chapter.  Yoga can help you too through giving you clarity over who you are.

Yoga Gets You Strutting

It’s time to make friends with your changing body – no good will come of being at odds with it.  Being negative about our body is ingrained in us from an early ago – it’s time to break that habit.

The beauty of yoga is that it it not only gets your body humming, it creates that mind body connection so you begin to hear your body an understand it more. Maybe it’s the poses themselves, maybe it’s the linking of breath and movement, maybe it’s because yoga reduces stress and grounds you – whatever the reason, the magic of yoga is that it gets you and your body having a conversation.

You’ll start to feel more connected to your body and more confident in your own body. In fact, you might start strutting like I did – I got a full on Saturday Night Fever thing going!

Then Yoga Gives Us Clarity Over Who We Are

You’ll start to notice that the chatter you hear is relentless and not even your own voice, in fact – it’s drowning you out. Who are these voices so full of these rules and shoulds that you follow and do they have your best interests at heart.

As women, we tend to put ourselves last don’t we?

As we enter midlife, our youth orientated society tells us what we can and can’t wear, tells us we are invisible, past our prime!

What’s up with that?

(Check out my blog on style Dress Your Identity and why it’s even more important in midlife)

Yoga – on and off the mat – cuts through this noise so you are able to tune back into your own beat, your own rhythm – and see if it matches the drum you’ve been marching to. You’ll start to know know what you want to keep and what you want to jettison.

You’ll find yourself gaining clarity and confidence in who you want to be in midlife. You’ll begin to feel it’s an exciting new chapter, and yoga helps you get there.

Unsure how to gain clarity?
This lovely self authority meditation is a great place to start.

Want to go deeper? Check out these prompts and excercises

Confidence Navigating a Situation – Confidence in Yourself

Confidence Navigating a Situation – Confidence in Yourself

 



When you are supported stepping out of your comfort zone, it has the most amazing knock on effects. It goes so far beyond, helping you assess situations with confidence.  

Yoga helps you get the space and the quiet to separate out what the voices in your brain are saying. You can figure out which ones you want to dismiss as false narrators. That could be something like a parent’s voice saying ‘you’re useless, you can’t get anything right’.

This is how you can gain self confidence – scroll to the bottom for free breathwork to get you started.

 
Becoming Independent as a Child
 
My parents always wanted me to feel that I could navigate any situation and I learnt Independence a young age. When I was about 14, I started to visit family friends in France for half term. This was logistically fairly complicated, involving buying tickets for the train and the ferry, traveling across Paris by Metro to get another train out to Orleans where these friends lived. I did the trip many times, always looking forward to the warmth and enjoyment at the end of the journey.

Sizing up a Situation

One trip when I was about 16, I boarded the train at the Port of Boulogne to find it heaving – sardines doesn’t do it justice. I barely found a corner for my bag, sitting on it and standing through the several hours it took to get to Paris.
 
On the way back I was aghast to see the train was going to be equally crowded. What to do? I sized up the situation and went to sit in first class, paying the supplement with the credit card I had on my parent’s account. Still, I was trepidatious when I told my parents – but they gave me a big pat on the back.

Yoga Helps You Get that Confidence – it’s never too late

Yoga, self confidence
 
 
Yoga helps you get the space and the quiet to separate out what the voices in your brain are saying. You can figure out which ones you want to dismiss as false narrators. That could be something like a parent’s voice saying ‘you’re useless, you can’t get anything right’.
 
Curious how to do this – enjoy this pranayama / breathwork  Self Authority

Dig even deeper with these free exercises!

The Importance of Support in Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

The Importance of Support in Getting Out of Comfort Zone

 

Do you hesitate to take on new challenges because you’re absolutely convinced you’ll flat on your face? It’s always difficult to step out of your comfort zone and because of that you need support. Did you get that support when you were a child?

comfort zone, yoga, support

Were You Thrown in at the Deep End – without being taught to swim?

Perhaps you were thrown in at the deep end without being taught to swim. Talk about setting someone up for failure. This happened to someone I’ve coached. She was just expected to ‘get things’ when she was a child. Somehow it was considered normal by the adults in her life that she could just step up and do something new and scary with absolutely no guidance.

As a result, she felt like all she ever did was fail. It’s still really hard for her to put herself out there because in the back of her mind she still thinks there’s no way that she can actually succeed when stepping out of her comfort zone. She’s had to do a lot of work to realize that she’s not destined to fail and I’m very proud of the progress she’s made – and her success.

The Importance of Support – It Can Make All The Difference

I understand the importance of support, the feeling that someone has your back and to know that even if it doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world. You can you make it work next time. This is because that’s exactly how my parents acted.

One time when my mother literally role played with me sticks out in my memory. I was about six years old and we were staying with my grandparents in London. Mum wanted me to call Paddington Station to ask about train times. This seemed far too scary for me and I baulked. Mum would never have made me call, but she suggested that we role play the call. Doing that made all the difference.

I realized it was not a difficult thing to do after all and I felt like I’d worked out the kinks during the rehearsal. The role playing gave me the confidence to go ahead and call Paddington. I got the information we needed!

If mom had said ‘just do it’ in an annoyed voice, I would bottled and felt small. As it was, that bit of support was all I needed – and I remember how it gave me such a boost to be able to step out of my comfort zone that way.

comfort zone, yoga, support

The Importance of Support – It’s Never Too Late

You can still get guidance and support, I can help and yoga can help. 

When you do a yoga practice, it’s the support you give your body and the support your body gives you that helps you out of your comfort zone.

Try this: getting out of your comfort zone is stepping back pushing and thrusting to get to a more difficult variation. Getting out of your comfort zone is going deeper into the pose and seeing what that tells you.

Want to work with me –  send me an email to chat about how I can help you.

Check out my free meditation – click here to get to it directly

 

Self Confidence – how we get it and how Yoga builds it

Self Confidence – how we get it and how Yoga builds it

click here
take me straight to the journaling prompts  pdf

Being Set Up For Success

 
My parents felt it paramount that they raise me to feel like I can always take care of myself. People tend to say I give off an aura of competence and that’s something I believe everyone can and should develop.  My mother would talk me through something I thought was a sticky wicket – sometimes even role playing with me. This gave me the confidence that I could do it. My parents built up my belief in my own ability to navigate any situation.
 
You should always feel you have the ability to change or navigate a situation. That doesn’t necessarily mean you know the answers or take charge, it doesn’t mean you know everything or even that you always make the best decisions. It’s about an innate sense of the ability to rely on yourself to see you through and do what’s best for you. It’s about believing in your own abilities.
 
So often people are brought up to be reliant and they don’t trust themselves. This is the crux of it – it’s that lack of trust in their own ability to look after themselves.
 
It keeps people – more women than men – in bad situations and impedes them living the life they should. Yet you can build up your self confidence.
 
Self Confidence

Yoga and Developing Self Confidence

 
The physical and mental aspects of yoga are just right to help expand self confidence

Physical

As your body gains strength you’ll find yourself striding out with more assurance in your body and more general confidence.
 
As you move through your practice, as you do your pranayama breath work, you’ll ground and feel more centered, calmer. This promotes your ability to trust in yourself.

Mental

When you are in a place of more calm, when you feel more grounded – you’ll find the space and quiet to cut through the noise and the mind’s chatter. 

You’ll start to see what has undermined your belief in yourself and where it came from. Maybe you were thrown in at the metaphorical  deep without being taught to swim, rather than being buttressed and coached – and this taught you that you were a failure. 

Yoga helps you see and embrace your competences and not doubt yourself. It will help you learn to size up a situation and know that you can rely on yourself to see it through.

Ready to give it a whirl – here are some journaling prompts – my gift to you.

click here
take me straight to the journaling prompts  pdf

I recommend you get the breath work too and then answer the questions again. What differences do you notice?

Epilogue: What Does Living a Self Confident Live Look Like – take a look at Isabella Bird Bishop

n 1836, when Isabella Bird Bishop was no more than five, she sneaked out of her sick bed where she had been told to stay in no uncertain terms. Isabella was desperate to see the bed of ranunculus that were in glorious bloom.  That’s what was important to her – the flowers
 
Isabella was born with an adventurous spirit and a quirky one. She marched to her own drum. Isabella travelled extensively all over the world, writing well-received books about her trips. She went on many literal journeys yet like so many of us, the course of the journey of her life was greatly influenced by her childhood. It was a life of high adventure and mundane duty. It was full of highs and lows. It was a life where Isabella was securely at the helm. We may not wish a life like hers – but surely we all wish for a life of such self confidence.
 
Childhood Shapes You
 
As a very young child, Isabella would ride in front of her father, encouraged to observe the world in front of her. He would point out what they saw and explain the things they passed. This gave Isabella an interest in observing what was going on in front of her and understanding it. She developed keen and accurate powers of observation and this, along with the way her words painted a picture gave Isabella’s books their lift and led her to be the first woman elected to the Royal Geographical Society.
 
Isabella’s father was a cleric and Isabella was brought up in an atmosphere of causes and service to the community. Her family was progressive and politically active as well as being very involved in good works for father’s parishes. Isabella was quick witted and spoke her own mind, which, unlike many Victorian parents, her parents did not quash. Six year old Isabella asked the local MP, “did you tell my father my sister was so pretty because you wanted his vote?” She obviously also had a keen understanding of human motivations and how the world worked.
 
Isabella Becomes an Adventurer – and balances this with home commitments
 
Isabella began her global explorations when she was in her early Twenties. On the advice of her doctor to take a sea voyage, Isabella set sail for Canada. It was that happenstance which set Isabella on a different road. She knew her own mind and she seized the opportunity, travelling around Canada and the US for ten months before returning to the UK and writing a book about her impressions and experiences. This set a pattern of travelling and writing about her adventures that she repeated throughout her life.
 
After this trip, Isabella travelled in the UK but it was years before she went abroad again. Isabella had summered in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland since childhood and continued to spend time there. Echoing her upbringing, she threw herself into helping the local crofters who were facing the potato famine and also aided Hebrides Islanders emigrating to Canada with their paperwork and by writing  about them to people she knew to ease their arrival. Isabella even made new wardrobes and eased the emigrating crofters on their way, making sure of a good landing. Being of service was woven into the fabric of Isabella’s life from childhood and it never wavered.
 
Yet Isabella grew restless, she felt the call of the open sea again. She had set up home with her sister and while busy and engaged she began chafing at the same old round of life. Isabella felt unfulfilled. She would leave the UK again and again.
 
Isabella wrote during her at the start of her next voyage – a journey to Australia: 
“At last I am in love, and the old sea-god has so stolen my heart and penetrated my soul that I seriously feel that hereafter, though I must be else- where in body, I shall be with him in spirit ! My two friends on board this ship have several times told me that I have imbibed the very spirit of the sea. It is to me like living in a new world, so free, so fresh, so vital, so careless, so unfettered, so full of interest that one grudges being asleep; and, instead of carrying cares and worries and thoughts of the morrow to bed with one to keep one awake, one falls asleep at once to wake to another day in which one knows that there can be nothing to annoy one no door-bells, no “please mems,” no dirt, no bills, no demands of any kind, no vain attempts to overtake all one knows one should do. Above all, no nervousness, and no conventionalities, no dressing. It sounds a hideously selfish life, but in the inevitably intimate association of people in all circumstances for months of almost entire isolation, human relations spring up and human interests and in some instances warm feelings of regard, which have a tendency to keep selfishness in a degree under.
 
 
In 1872, Isabella sailed for Australia and then Hawaii and the Continental US, returning to Britain in 1873. This set another pattern of Isabella returning home, writing about her adventures and doing her duty then setting off again to discover a different part of the world to visit and write about – Japan, Korea … . 
 
In between, Isabella nursed her beloved sister Henrietta as she was dying of Typhoid and later saw her husband through his last illness. She was always actively involved in her local British society, helping people and advocating for change – like she helped the Hebrides Island crofters emigrate.
 
Adventurousness but not Selfish
 
Isabella knew who she was and she was confident in her own mind. She stepped forward in life with this self confidence and certitude. Isabella managed this through a mixture of her upbringing and how she journeyed to her own understanding of who she was. This was a lifelong process of leavings and returns, of the familiar as well as the new and far-flung. Isabella had a strong start in being given self confidence, yet this is how Isabella evolved, and she had the self confidence to follow it.
 
Isabella always worried she was selfish because she was followed her own adventurous spirit. Yet she was always there, reliable, and had a strong sense of the importance of  being unfailing and steadfast.
 
What a great way to live a life of self confidence! Figuring out who you are and what has influenced you. Looking into what you want to keep and what is undermining – ridiculous expectation or an unreliable voice. Isabella made it look effortless to glide along confident in herself, yet to do this in a way that took into account those she loved.  She shows how it’s possible to be self confident, to follow who you and who you want to while at the same time, give thought for others.

How Can We All Connect?

How can we all connect?

Rubbing shoulders helps us connect

I spent much of my childhood on public transportation and airplanes. We travelled a lot. I was a gregarious kid and travelled hopefully in life. What was going to be the next exciting adventure? It helped show me from an early age that we are all connected. When I was about three, I woke up on a flight – probably overnight from New York to London. The lights were dim and I was bored. I decided to work the plane. I wandered around, keeping my eyes peeled for someone who looked like they’d engage with me. Probably not long after my mother came rushing over and apologized to the man whose ears I was pinning back. He laughed it off, amused.

Fast forward to today – I was telling my husband that I had ‘connected’ with the security guard that the supermarket. I go there regularly and we smile and say hi – exchange a few pleasantries. He even came over with one of the small carts, knowing I prefer them. Those little daily interactions help strengthen our bonds.

Life on on public transportation helps with fear of ‘other’

New York City, Subway, 1970New York City, 1970 New York City, Subway, 1970 New York City, 1970 New York City, 1970

Photos are all from The National Archives

Mum and I spent many hours on the London Tube, Long Island Railroad and the the New York Subway. We regularly took the subway to the Loehmann’s in The Bronx – the Kingsbridge Store. This was in the 1970s and many people wouldn’t go on the subway, thinking it too dangerous – let along taking it to the Bronx. Some might have been horrified that my mother did this.

Mum has a very good radar and we never felt threatened. She’s the type to strike up conversations with whoever happens to be next to her and find and instant rapport.  I learnt it as normal to chat with everyone.

Changing neighborhoods

I saw London change. My grandparent’s flat is in Whitechapel, an area that has always taken in immigrants, put them on their feet and sent them on their way. When I was young, it was still cockney and Jewish. As my childhood rolled along, things began to change as Bangladeshis moved in. The street market outside Whitechapel tube station evolved from cockney accented stall keepers calling their wares – always with laugh and some joshing – to fruits and vegetables that we didn’t know and bright colors against the dull London sky with spicy aromas from the new restaurants. 

See photos that give a good feel for Whitechapel in the 1970s
here and here and
this photo is how I remember just west of Whitechapel Tube Station from that period. 

How Can We All Connect?

I benefited greatly from these experiences which helped me feel that we are all connected. I met people from all walks of life and learnt that ‘we’re all in the same bloody human predicament’ as my mother liked to say. This was a great gift – I can approach people as individuals, rarely making assumptions. I don’t tend to go in with preconceptions.

Yoga teaches us that we are all connected and that has been my life experience. Sometimes it can be hard to feel that way when we meet people who are not like us. Deep feelings can well up: of not understanding, of fear of the unknown – and that is a signal that we have something to probe and figure out.

It’s only by bringing these uncomfortable feelings into the light that we can address them. One of the important things in yoga is to take time and quiet to hear all these voices – we need to understand them, or be at their mercy.

As we move into this year’s holiday season, our feelings of connection will be tested. We will be stressed as we run about. 

Tap into your connections with these free journaling prompts!

Yoga Helps You Gain Clarity Inside and Out

Yoga Helps You Gain Clarity
Inside and Out

Yoga is more than physical – It helps you gain clarity inside and out

Many of us come to yoga for its physical benefits – I know I did! I loved the feeling of how yoga moved me. And it is an important part of the yoga experience.

I’ve written several blogs on asana itself – on aspects of physical yoga practice.

Three Reasons to Use Yoga Straps
How to do Chaturanga and keep your shoulders safe
3 Reasons to use yoga blocks

Yet there’s that moment when you feel something shift inside you and you realize  yoga isn’t just about your body.
Have you noticed yoga  helps you gain clarity inside and out?

yoga, orchids, meditation

The inside shift

Have you pondered how yoga creates more connections in you:  more connections to your body, more connections to your mind and also more connections between your mind and your body.  It’s that connection to our mind that sets yoga apart.

Tell me how you noticed the way yoga affects you overall – how did it move from being simply about your body to a more harmonious combination of mind and body.

Yoga helps me channel my emotions

Overall yoga has helped me be more open to change and to be curious about life,  to face things with equanimity – but there are constant changes in the way I feel.

The first thing I noticed yoga giving me was that I was able to channel my emotions better. I have big emotions that flare up inside me in an almost physical way and I can find it hard to come round from what should be a small funk. Yoga helps me shrug off those small things as just a minor blip.

I find it particularly hard with food to adjust. Cooking – my meals – food overall – is an important part of my life. Recently a friend and I were deciding what to order. We each chose, and because we thought the brussels sprouts sounded good we decided to share a portion of them.

When the dish arrived, it turned out my friend had had a different brussels sprouts dish in mind! I felt really bad, but she wasn’t fazed at all. We joked about it, because it barely bothered her and I know if it had been the other way around I’d definitely have work to do adjusting to the different dish.

The things we can shrug off easily as opposed to those that are harder vary from person to person. what do you find hard to shrug off?

Navigating change

We all know that change is a constant in our lives – but it is still difficult and unsettling. Yoga helps us navigate change – both those small tacks we have to make to our course every day as well as the big life changes we have. 

Claim your free video to a luscious short standing side stretch sequence.
It’ll nurture your body, mind and emotions.

What is it about yoga that helps us navigate change?
Before I discuss that in another blog, let me know what you think!

Marie Kondo Method – yoga and friendships

Marie Kondo Method – yoga and friendships

Tending and Ending Friendships

Have you noticed that friendships evolve over the years? We talk a lot about how to tend or how to end a romantic relationship – but not so much about friendships. Perhaps it’s because I’m an only child, but my friendships are very important to me. I nurture them and they give me great joy. What do the Marie Kondo method, yoga and friendships have in common?

My husband’s family have a habit of giving speeches on special occasions. At my Fiftieth birthday party, he gave a speech on the theme that I have a genius for friendship. I would like to think I do, and certainly we should all value our friendships. Yet it doesn’t necessarily mean that all our friendships have value.

Does the Marie Kondo Method relate to friendships? I’ve been seeing articles on that, which has made me think about how my friendships – and my view of what friendship means – has evolved.

How To Use Marie Kondo Method To Break Up With Friends
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Your Relationships)
How to Marie Kondo Your Friends – How to Breakup With a Friend

Yoga will change your friendships

We have different chapters in our life and and what is important to us will change. That means your friendships will ebb and flow. We all hope to have some super friends for life. But as we move through new chapters, our focus will change and we’ll look to different things from our friends.

Perhaps good company and being up for some fun in friendship has given way to valuing loyalty and generosity in the friendship. Time changes what we hold dear in friendship.

Yoga gives us many tools to navigate change, and as we develop our yoga practice we will see our friendships with new eyes

Find Your Supportive Community – Marie Kondo, your friends and yoga

There’s a Buddhist concept of Sangha – that’s your supportive community. It means you surround yourself with people who will be there for you.

Your sangha should of course ‘spark joy’ and have your back – but it should also stretch you and help you out of your comfort zone, encouraging you to be your best self. This is where yoga comes in. As you practice yoga you connect more with who you are.

Valuing Friendship

Three friends and I have a birthday club! I’ve known these people for years – two of them for over twenty years. We get together for lunch four times a year on a weekend near each other’s birthday to celebrate.

As you’d expect, we’ve been through a lot together and we know each others strengths and foibles. I’m the one who can be particular and rock the boat. I’m not rude or incredibly demanding, but I’ll ask if we can have a different table or mention that my chili is luke warm and would I be able to have another bowl steaming from the pot.

Recently I’ve been thinking more about this. I was a very easygoing child, and somewhere along the way I became a bit more rigid.

I could do with more relaxing. In fact, I haven’t so much been thinking about it as yoga has been evening that out a bit more. It’s one of the profound changes yoga is bringing to my life. I talk more about that in an earlier blog I wrote.

Yoga isn’t making me fully into a ‘go with the flow person’, but it’s helping me to understand where I want to put that energy. I mentioned this recently at one of our birthday lunches and got a round of applause. These friends kindly rib me about my foibles but also support me as I try to grow.

At the same time, food is important to me and being able to increase my enjoyment of a meal out gives me great joy. I still want see if my delicious bowl of chili can be nice and hot – that would really enhance my enjoyment. Yoga is giving me the ability to work through things and zone into my true self.

Finding Joy in Your Friendships

Yoga helps us understand what it important to us – and important in our friendships. It also helps us navigate change so we can have harmonious friendships that we enjoy.

Unsure how to delve into your friendships? I’ve a free meditation to help you on this journey.

Good Boundaries Free You

Good Boundaries Free You

Last blog dug into ‘I have no choice’: how it takes away your power and how you can take  back agency through a considered decision. There’s another part to this – and it’s boundaries. Good boundaries free you.

When we make decisions from a place of agency,
we understand why we’re making that choice.

How can we continue to feel good about that choice
and stick to it?

Good boundaries free you

It can be hard to hold a boundary. Some people don’t want to take no for an answer and are trying to guilt you into changing that to a yes. Perhaps they’re even used to you caving in if they keep wearing you down.

Have you unwittingly trained people to keep nagging you –
knowing you’ll eventually cave in and change  your no to a yes?

Do you want to give your valuable time and energy to the person who tries to wear you down pushes the hardest.

You can hold you boundaries with love: out of love for yourself and for those you care about. You can do it with a loving intention.

Know where to put your energy

A while back I was making dinner for a relative who was in town. About an hour before she was due for our nice get together, she started texting me a stream of moving targets telling me how late she was going to be for dinner. At first it was half an hour – I think she ended up an hour and a half late. I was upset – it didn’t feel this was at all respectful of the fact that I was timing cooking our dinner and that we’d planned a nice evening together.

She arrived full of apologies. She had been helping a friend and it took a lot longer than she thought it would. It seems this friend kept telling her things like ‘oh it’ll be just  another few minutes’ and ‘I don’t know if I can finish this on my own’.

It’s so easy to go along with that – the person in front of us often gets our atttention. Yet there was another action she could have taken.

She could stepped away from the pressure of her friend, realized that her priority should be to the person making her dinner and offering hospitality. She could have stayed firm to that and left, lovingly saying ‘I’m sorry this is taking so long – but that means I now have to leave.  I’m already late and it’s unfair on the person cooking me dinner’.

It was hard for her to step way from the the friend she was helping’s pressure – but if it had been you, wouldn’t you have felt better being kind but firm you had to leave and honoring the meal your relative was preparing?

Have the conviction of your values

This is where digging into your priorities and how you actually want act is so important. Then you’ll find good boundaries free you – and help you feel confident in how you move through life. 

When you do that, and when you’re grounded in that way, not only do your actions come from your values and your heart, it is so much easier to be clear about this and to stick to it, with grace and love.

You can tune out the noise and the pressure, tap into what you should be doing to be true to yourself and then lovingly hold your boundaries.  Maybe you’re even on time for dinner!

Want help tuning out the noise and pressure
so you can keep you steady center? I’ve a free brilliant calming and centering meditation to get you on your way.

I Have No Choice And Gaining Agency

I Have No Choice And Gaining Agency

I have no choice and gaining agency

Does your life feel out of control? Do you find yourself saying in your best harassed voice I have no choice? So often we end up rushing around, feeling like we’re on a hamster wheel, muttering I have no choice. I’ve been caught up in this, just like you  – and we react this way because it seems like there’s no time to do anything else.

I used to be that way. We are so giving aren’t we – and it’s in our nature to say ‘yes’ so we do. We then tie ourselves in knots fulfilling all these commitments.

This had to stop – I was run ragged and resentful. I knew something had to change. Lets examine I have no choice and gaining agency.

Where is your agency?

I Have No Choice

I’m radically against the phrase I don’t have a choice. Your choices might be limited and seem unattractive – but there are still choices to be considered. Are you just floating along bemoaning the situation and going in the direction of whoever is pulling hardest through things like guilt and manipulation?

Are you just floating in the direction of whoever is pulling hardest – using guilt and manipulation to wear you down?

Comfort with Agency

How often do we go into situations with our arms crossed, determinedly knowing it’s going to be hideous?

This often happens with something related to work or family because of obligations. Lets talk about a family member we don’t like but feel we have to visit. This really happened to me – I’m guessing you’re familiar too! We roll our eyes and sigh and try to put it off.

Joe is mean to you and his family. He says things that are snide and belittling using guilt and manipulation to get his way. In short, Joe is nasty and demanding. Unfortunately, he also complains bitterly if you don’t visit. After months of this sniping, you sigh and say – I don’t have a choice, I’ll just have to hold my nose for a few hours and visit Joe. Lets get it over with. When, in the end, we arrive at the front door you are sure it’s going to be awful. Your arms are crossed. You think I don’t want to be here – but I have no choice.

We’ve all been there – this is not an unusual situation.
So how do we re-frame it and why do we go anyway?

In fact, you do have a choice – you can just not visit. You can let Joe be as nasty as he likes. You can be cheerful about it and ignore it as interference, not worrying about any flack coming your way – it’s more about Joe than it is about you.

So lets dig deeper to see why you still choose to visit Joe. Obviously, you don’t want him to complain and moan about you. But is there more?

You know Joe will go on a rant to his family about you, because that’s what he’s like.  He’s the type to go on multiple tears. If you don’t visit, Joe will  sound off to his family about how selfish you are and how that’s not how family behaves  etc.

Joe’s family will have to bear the brunt of your decision not to visit. You might not have to deal with his meanness, but the unpleasantness will be passed onto them.
His family will pay the price if you don’t visit.

In fact, you realize your visit helps the rest of the family!
This is why you do it – so you can give them some relief!

You’ve made an altruistic choice. It’s something to feel good about. You’ll also find that when you understand why you’re doing something, it resentment. Surely you don’t want to be a martyr?

Understanding that you’re helping out members of the family can help you to sail through visiting Joe with grace. Rather than feeling like I don’t have a choice you understand why you are making this visit and you feel good about it.

Agency – owning our decisions

What’s hard about taking back our agency is seeing clearly. This digging deep into why you’re making these decision is difficult. There is so much noise – in our lives and in our head. It makes it hard to tune into your choices and understand why you are making these decisions.

It’s all the noise – the cacophony of daily life that gets us pulled hither and yon, so you’re reacting rather than acting.

When you make a commitment to yourself to tune into understanding why you do things you will step forward with clarity of purpose as you say ‘yes’ or even ‘I won’t be able to help with this – but I wish you well’.
Your resentment will decrease and you’ll be freeed up! That can only be good for you and those around you.

I’ve some luscious free journaling prompts to help you on your way.

This is deeps stuff – so find a quiet few minutes to dig into understanding when and why you say I have no choice and transform reacting to acting with clarity. You owe it to yourself and others – you’ll step forward with equanimity and less resentment.

Interested in digging deeper? Email me to set up a chat.