Should you feel guilty?

Hello gorgeous,

First of all, I would like to apologize for not having written for 2 weeks, it was school holidays here and my planning had to adapt… Moreover, I saw it as an experiment for me: am I going to feel guilty and how is that feeling going to develop?

I think guilt is a very common feeling in our culture and I don’t know anybody who does not feel guilty from time to time (and I think mothers are the worst ;-)). But to me, there are 2 types of guilt: the first, dictated by our education (in which religion also plays a part), where we position ourselves as kids getting told off by our parents for having done something “wrong” in their eyes. The second is the one that we feel ourselves, independently from education, as adults having their own judgment on good and bad and what we should do or not do (lying and betrayal are perfect examples where everyone has to decide for themselves, based on their own situation…).

I remember when I stopped smoking, years ago. A few months later, I woke up after a dream during which I had smoked again, and the feeling of guilt woke me up, like, no, I haven’t done that, have I? It was my own decision to stop smoking and nobody had pushed me to do it. Still, I was really nearly in panic because of that dream!

I think that, as much as we would like to get rid of that, more often than not, we are torn by this feeling, as if we were still young kids waiting to be scolded and punished. I am not saying that we should never feel guilty; obviously we should know what we do now and act consequently! But I would like tot suggest that we ask ourselves the question when that happens: is this guilt feeling coming from me or from my parents/family/education? Because when it’s the latter, we might want to learn to release it, to free ourselves from it, so we can be fully ourselves instead of still fitting the parental mould.

So, if you are curious about how not writing felt to me… I would say: deliciously guilty! It evolved of course during those 2 weeks, and I knew I would come back to you after this break, but I made sure I was aware of it, and I wanted to enjoy it as well, to fully embrace it, because it was fully mine J.

So, tell me, are you feeling guilty for anything right now? And is it really yours?

I don't feel guilt.Whatever I wish to do, I do.

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

I wish you a great week.

Much love, Madeleine

Advertisements

Who are you?

Hello gorgeous,

I am going to follow a training this week and I am busy preparing my trip. Like every time, I started thinking about meeting new people and having to introduce myself. For me, as an introvert, it is always a difficult task to go through. And yet, I have practiced a lot in the past years and thrown myself into a lot of networking opportunities, so that it would become easier… So it did, a bit, but the very shy teenager that I was always comes back and I need to force myself every time again.

Moreover, I noticed we always tend to define ourselves by the things that we do, the job we have, not by who we are, independently from the current job we might have – or not have. So I thought it would be a nice exercise to try and define ourselves with sentences using the verb TO BE instead of action verbs.

So my first ideas about me were: I am a crochet and DIY addict ;-), I am French, I am 50, I am a slasher / multi-passionate, I am a wife and a mother of 2, I am a personal development freak, I am warm, friendly, kind, driven, curious, I am a lifelong learner, I am bad at difficult conversations, I am good at helping people, I am sometimes not focused enough to finish all I want to finish… And there it becomes difficult to continue using the TO BE verb and not switch to another one to finish my description…

Do you want to give it a try and see how far you can go? Keep asking yourself the question: “Who am I?” until you come up with enough traits.

And then, looking at that description, I want to take some time to reflect and ask myself if I am happy with how I describe myself. Does it feel like me? Does it feel honest, true? Does it represent all of me? I guess not yet ;-). What did I forget? Am I happy with being all of that or do I want to change some aspects of myself?

That brings me to an exercise I did some time ago: to do a Be / Do / Have list. It’s a simple list you can do on a piece of A4 paper (or on Excel ;-)), where you do 3 columns, and start filling them with what you want to be, do or have. It works best if you give it a deadline, and review it regularly. Even better is to get yourself an accountability partner to review this list with, so that you can’t really make up excuses for what you didn’t manage…

I trust I have given you enough self-reflection for the week ;-). Let me know how that goes!

You can only make a difference

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine

To live is to choose…

Hello gorgeous,

Oftentimes we forget how many choices we make in a single day.

Some very insignificant, and some much bigger.

Some out of habit, and some out of willingness to try something new for once.

Some dictated by conditioning, and some dictated by passion.

Some out of fear, some out of love.

I just wanted to sit still for a minute to remind you of those choices. Yesterday I was again suffering from headaches, so the choices I made were dictated by my physical state. Which is important, as it seems that I am not listening to myself enough, so the headaches are my body’s way of saying stop!!! Yesterday I listened, and stopped. But I also know from myself that, had I not had such a strong signal I would have just gone on forever… Because of my own conditioning, always doing more, more, more, and always in the “doing”… instead of relaxing and not feeling guilty for relaxing…. I know I still have a lot to learn! Don’t we all have? 😉

The first thing I noticed is that I am now more aware of those moments when I make choices.

Then, when I make them, I ask myself questions like: What is really important here and now? Can that wait? Will I miss it if I don’t do it?

But also questions like: Why am I choosing for this?

And: What would my higher self do?

I believe those last 2 are really important ones, which can help you especially when you find those choices difficult to make. Because those questions can also help you detect what’s left of your conditioning, what it is that you haven’t let go off yet, what it is that you still do because you always did it like that, or because you mum did it that way etc. Isn’t it nice from time to time to do something different than usual? (and to get a different result ;-))

So my advice for this week would be to become more aware of the choices you have in your everyday life, and of the choices you make and why J.

Let me know how this is going for you!

No matter what the situation, remind yourself %22I have a choice%22. Deepak Chopra

I wish you a wonderful week!

Much love, Madeleine

Taking on too much?

Hello gorgeous,

As I am sitting in front of my computer to write this post, it’s currently May 1st, which means in France that nobody should work today (and that we should get a sprig of lily of the valley!). Well well well…

We had an interesting discussion in my mastermind group this week, about doing too much and saying no… That happened when I shared I was already having headaches for more than 2 weeks in a row. So one of the ladies thought maybe I did not know how to say No. Well, I know how (and I explained it here), but it does not mean I am going to do it… I believe my problem is rather to not recognize when I am taking on too much, which ends up in my body giving me strong signals, because it’s probably the only way I am going to at least slow down… Which is why I am now also working on developing my intuition more, so that I can see the signs before they come in too strong!

Do you recognize any of that? Pushing yourself to your limits? Taking on too much? Not recognizing signs early enough or having to go through the same thing many times before you start doing something about it?

The question now is: what can I learn from it? What can I do differently? (Well I still have to undergo all kinds of tests for my headaches but I believe the main cause is stress!)

I believe the following:

  • I should be able to do it all (after all some do it so why not me?)
  • It will get better (less busy) after next week, next month, in July etc…

And looking at what I just write is already eye-opening: I am fooling myself here. I don’t have to do it all (at least not at once), and it will only get better if I decide to take on less, because I can always find something else to keep me busy (and yet, I have the control of my agenda, don’t I?)

So, today, on this 1st of May, I decide: to spend time at least once a week to evaluate my workload for the week, and to make sure I have enough time for fun and energizing activities (which for me be learning, reading, singing, DIYing, gardening etc).

So, if any of that resonated with you, I strongly encourage you to stop for a minute and have a good look at your beliefs about what you should be able to do, and who controls your agenda… And to commit to yourself to regularly (at least once a week, why not on a Sunday morning or evening) take time to evaluate if you can do all that’s currently planned or if you need to postpone some of your commitments, and finally if you have planned enough fun time in your week!!! And if you feel you have difficulties committing to that, why not take a buddy who needs it too?

Life and time are the world’s best teachers. Life teaches us to make good use of time. Time teaches us the value of life.-3

I wish you a wonderful week!

Much love, Madeleine

How to choose your glasses?

Hello gorgeous,

Even though I really need to get a new pair of glasses for myself and I often have difficulties knowing what shape and color suits me best, this is not exactly what I want to talk about today ;-).

I want to talk about the pair of glasses you use to look at the world. We all have one. We all see a different world, based on our vision of how it all works, our education, our school system, our religion etc. And it might serve us well, or not.

Remember, when we fall in love, we see the world through a pair of pink glasses? How everything looks beautiful, simply because we are in love?

And how, when we are depressed, it all seems black or grey?

Did you ever heard of that management game, the 6 thinking hats? (Click here if you want more info, it was created by Edward de Bono). The idea is that each hat has a color and represents a certain way of thinking. By mentally wearing a certain hat, we take on the corresponding role and express ourselves accordingly. For example, a Green Hat symbolizes creativity, so the person wearing it will look for possibilities, alternatives, new ideas, and new concepts. While wearing the Yellow Hat, you will explore the positives, show brightness and optimism. And if you wear the Black hat, you are the devil’s advocate and will spot difficulties, dangers, and all that can go wrong. So while this last one is useful, too much of it is also depressing 😉

So… which color do you think your most used hat is?

And you know what, the best part is that you get to choose, from now on (in case you didn’t know you could!). I know it can feel difficult to try and switch your mood from depressed to positive in a split second, but I am sure it helps visualizing yourself with one of those colored hats (or glasses, if you prefer!)

Now, changing hat or glasses will not change the world around you (yet), but it will change your point of focus, and that’s a lot! When I tell people I don’t watch the news, most react surprised, like they would not even think of not watching them, like I am crazy! But why am I doing that? Because I choose not to be polluted with negativity every day, I choose to focus on what’s positive instead. I will no doubt know about all those terrible things happening because I will come across them on Facebook or somebody will tell me anyway, but at least I decide what I get to watch and I decide to focus on the positives in my life and around me.

And that comes back (again) to the Law of Attraction, as the more I see positives, the more I see good things to be grateful for in my life, the more I will attract more of those good things.

Do you think you can give it a shot? Focus on the positives, putting on a Yellow hat for a while (or pink glasses!), and let aside (as much as possible) the negativity around you? Even if it’s that time of year when you have to do your tax declaration, or annoying papers, can you look at the task ahead with optimism and looking at the bright side of it?

If you had a different concept of yourself, everything would be different. Neville

I wish you a wonderful week!

Much love, Madeleine

3 tips for managing your energy level

Hello gorgeous,

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of knowing yourself well. Because knowing yourself is also knowing what you want and what you don’t want, and it allows you to respect your boundaries as well as to expand your wings when you decide to. And if there’s something that’s not working for you anymore and you recognize it, then you can do something about it.

We all have a certain amount of energy available to us. It’s how we function. Some have more (I have a girlfriend who really impresses me with the amount of energy she has ;-)) and some have less. Sometimes we are having a dip and have a lot less than normal too. Some things that we do give us energy (when we love what we do, we could just go on forever…) and some take up our energy (like negative people, or not liking our job, or pushing ourselves to do something that just doesn’t fit us etc.)

Obviously, ideally, we would always be aware of that and make decisions based on our own energy barometer. But we are only human and sometimes we get too ambitious (planning too much in my agenda – that’s me) or we forgot how negative those friends are and how energetically drained we are after meeting up with them (oh the joy of being an empath…).

And then, there’s the need and the will for expansion, for growth. Entrepreneurship is a really good school for that, as it seems it forces us to grow all the time. But you don’t need to be an entrepreneur to get opportunities for growth, life will no doubt give you enough of those too. When they are there, on a silver plate, it’s up to you to look at them, and accept them gracefully and decline politely. And if you are feeling fear when looking at an opportunity to expand your range, it’s ok; it’s probably your ego trying to keep you safe ;-).

I’d like to finish by giving you a few tips:

  • Before making a decision, always ask yourself: will this give me energy / drain my energy / have a neutral impact on my energy level? If the answer is drain, say No, and if you feel you can’t say No, ask yourself how you can compensate, for instance by doing something else that will give you that energy back (a good laugh, watching a movie, a walk in nature, a nice phone call with a good – and positive – friend etc…)
  • It’s ok to change your mind. Yes, it is! If you have taken on too much and you feel you can’t cope anymore, it’s ok to cancel some things and simply admit that you planned too much, it does not make you a failure… After all, if you don’t do that, your body will remind you later and it might not be so subtle when it comes…
  • If you have friends that are – nearly – always draining your energy, there are different ways to go about it: stop seeing them (a bit radical I agree), see them less, protect yourself before going to meet them (for instance by visualizing yourself in a light bubble where nothing can come in). If you saw them and you are exhausted, a quick 5’ dance session (even though you just feel like crashing on the couch) will shake off that negative energy so that you will feel again as yourself.

I'm not lazy, I'm on energy saving mode-2

I would love to know if you have other strategies, feel free to share them here!

Have a wonderful week!

Much love, Madeleine

4 beliefs that could be blocking your decision-making

Hello gorgeous,

About 3 times today, the topic of decision came to me, via different ways, so it felt the sign was too big for me to ignore that I needed to write on it!

Decision-making is a process that can feel difficult for some of us, and for my part I know that it has become a lot easier with time (and evolution, dare I say ;-)). That’s why I want to tell you what I think are the limiting beliefs we should smash in order to make it easier for ourselves!

  • You think, “A decision is definite, you can’t undo it”. Well, at the end of the day, there are actually very few decisions that are definite. The only one that comes to mind is the decision to end this human life and give this human body a rest. But for all the others, I don’t think so. This belief is only creating a lot of pressure for us to make the “right” decision. However most of our decisions are only valid until we change our mind, or until we feel we can take another one. Let me give you a few examples. I changed career many times, and more than once, I thought, “that’s it, there is no going back” (leaving food industry behind me), or “this is it for me” (getting into HR). I came back to Food Industry when I joined Unilever years after going into IT and saying good-bye to my field of study. I realized once I was in HR that I actually did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would…
  • You say to yourself “I still need to know more before I can make a decision”. I used to be like that, I would not want to give my opinion on something, let alone make a decision, if I did not feel I had all the required information I needed up front. Then I learned to trust my gut. And it completely changed my decision-making process! I can still gather evidence if required (by others), but I don’t need it anymore.
  • You consider that “It’s easier to let others decide for me”. Others, or fate, or circumstances… Yes it is easier, but is it better? I don’t think so! We are all responsible for our lives and what we make of them, even though many of us give away that responsibility to others and prefer to take on a victim role. But when we know it’s all up to us, then we prefer to be in the lead and make that decision ourselves.
  • You believe that “Making a decision is a serious matter”. Well, is life a serious matter? Isn’t Joy the purpose of life? When we believe it is, then no decision is a serious matter, it should on the contrary be fun to make a decision! Should I take the red one or the black one? Do we go left or do we go right? All roads lead to Rome, don’t they? And if you pick the wrong guy, well, you can change your mind, right? 😉

You cannot change your destination overnight. You can change your direction.

I would love to know from you if you came across other beliefs you have about making decisions that are making it difficult, or on the contrary, that are helping you decide!

Have a wonderful week!

Much love,

Madeleine