Therapy For Hearts & Minds

Category: Mental Health Page 1 of 2

Always Align Your Career With Your Values

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I know too many people that are just plain unhappy in their careers working in jobs they despise just to pay the bills. If you are one of them then read on. The main reason people feel unhappy at work is due to how it makes them feel. Generally speaking, we feel good when we do what feels right. What feels right is often influenced by our own core beliefs and values.

So the basic formula in achieving job satisfaction is to ensure the work itself is in line with your values. Supportive staff and managers are of course important as well. I have personally been in jobs that clash with my values and have suffered the consequences.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of job satisfaction on the psyche. After all, we spend most of our lives at work so if we are unhappy in our jobs then we are unhappy most of the time. This can lead to anxiety, low mood, depression, and a whole plethora of mental and physical ailments long term.

Whether we like to admit it or not work affects every area of our lives and more often than not we take it home with us as well. Particularly now with the pandemic working from home has blurred the lines of work and home even further.

Our personalities, life experiences, and ambitions can all be connected through our choice of career. For example, we are not all cut out to be salespeople. For some, the thrill of closing a deal and the banter of selling to customers comes naturally. Knowing who you are, what you believe in, and what you stand for help when choosing a job that aligns with your values. So before you evaluate your current job, start a new one or go back into studies to retrain, you have to be honest with yourself about your goals and values.


Brainstorming Ideas

It helps to brainstorm at this stage so write a list of your values down on paper. Then list the types of professions and industries you’re attracted to, what salary you would need to live comfortably, and what your professional strengths and weaknesses are. It also helps to list what you do not want and what you are averse to in respect of work ethics and values. For example are you a people person and enjoy face-to-face direct contact or do you prefer working behind the scenes? What roles lend themselves to your preferred way of working? What transferable skills and experience do you have that might fit across the roles you are considering?

  • If you are at a crossroads in your career it might help to ask yourself these questions:
  • How do I feel about my career right now? Am I feeling fulfilled or frustrated?
  • What are the deal breakers?
  • What positions or companies have I enjoyed working in so far?
  • What roles or companies do I want to avoid?
  • What values am I looking for in a job/company?
  • What professional interests do I have?
  • Do I need to retrain and return to studies or is my skills set enough to switch jobs imminently?
  • Where do I see myself in five years?

Next Steps

Having completed the above steps you are ready to seek out a role that suits you and start making applications. However, it is important that you research the companies you apply to. You need to know each company’s values, mission, and background before you get to the interview stage otherwise you will be setting yourself up to fail. Be realistic in your approach and acknowledge that you’ll probably never agree with every aspect of a company but there are some things to consider:

  • Is the companies mission and values statement in line with your way of being
  • What products or services does the company sell?
  • Who are the company’s clients?
  • Do you respect what they stand for?
  • Read the annual report from the last two years (if available) to see how the company has performed and recognize any pitfalls/positives / negatives about their way of working.
  • Can you buy into their way of working?

Be Selective 

To ensure you find the right personal and professional alignment you’re looking for, you have to filter through and be selective on the jobs you apply for. Remember all your research and use that to make an informed decision. At this stage, it could help to list the “pros and cons” of each role you are considering applying for. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is it about the role that makes you want to apply- is it just the salary, or the role itself?
  • Does the role excite you?
  • What worries do you have about this offer
  • Do you feel this role will offer you the opportunity for professional growth?

Trust Your Gut

I was once told by a high court judge whilst representing a family in court, that our gut instincts are the years of experience and knowledge accumulated within our psyche. They offer unique insights that help to inform our decision-making process internally. As such we inherently know what is right or wrong for us based on our own life experiences so far. This intuition doesn’t mean that we’ll automatically know exactly what to do next -but offers us guidance and options to explore based on how we are feeling. It helps to trust our instincts and assess what is in front of us. It might be worth trying to visualize yourself working within the company, how does it feel? Do you think you can get along with the staff there? Do you feel confident with the job specification and functions? Can you see yourself as part of that particular company?

Money Isn’t Everything

It can be tempting to take the highest paid role but if job satisfaction is missing and the role goes against your values you may find yourself wanting to change jobs again. Even though it might seem obvious to choose the role that offers more money, remember your goals, your values, and your gut feeling about it all. It’s not all about the money.

 

Author Kamarun Kalam- Article also published in Illumination Publication via Medium.com

Publications

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A warm welcome to all my readers, and my past, present and future clients.

The ‘I’ In Me: “Who Am I Anyway?” by Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

Learn more: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08DKZLQYW/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_3hviFbZPSAXBJ

Paperback link uk- The ‘I’ In Me “Who Am I Anyway? by Amazon

Learn more: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08DBYPZ6R/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_ilviFb54TGQZC

Audiobook Link http://The ‘I’ in Me: “Who Am I Anyway?” https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08PKQFY1P/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_eBldGbFRQYMQE

Author page Kamarun Kalam

Ebook Preview Link – https://amzn.eu/5euAhQc

                      

Medium Articles

About Me – Introducing Kam –https://link.medium.com/tuD0dx3cidb

Being A Decent Human Being -Poetry from the heart. https://link.medium.com/1AGsHHApwdb

Diary of Mr Anonymous In Therapy-https://link.medium.com/GqzZ4V1bidb

Hard Times- Poem https://link.medium.com/n224ExYpwdb

The Buzz Of First Dates- Poetry – https://link.medium.com/Vh0rtb4bidb

The Best Advice Ever Given-https://link.medium.com/zGwrldacidb

Future Self Letter-https://link.medium.com/mNAR5Wccidb

Haiku After Dark-https://link.medium.com/rtAL7ofcidb

5 Truths In Life-https://link.medium.com/IYXaOHjcidb

Infinite Knowledge-Haiku – https://link.medium.com/vQdX39qcidb

Is There Life After Death? –https://link.medium.com/8dcjm2tcidb

Patience (Sabr) –https://link.medium.com/Tv5Tx3wcidb

Radical Acceptance- https://link.medium.com/QTlfh3zcidb

Welcome 2021- https://link.medium.com/VBAKuqDcidb

Everybody Hurts – https://link.medium.com/efP4pQFcidb

What Is- Soulful Poetry-https://link.medium.com/3GDmv1Icidb

The Trouble With Letting Go Is –https://link.medium.com/aTzcBqMcidb

Old Habits Die Hard – https://link.medium.com/I78YIcPcidb

The Joys of Yesteryear –https://link.medium.com/su1f10Rcidb

Dear Me- https://link.medium.com/l26DgsUcidb

Relationship Tips For When Children Are Born-https://link.medium.com/kSfyAOWcidb

Random Acts Of Kindness- https://link.medium.com/sjIBKZ0cidb

Conquering The Assassin Within- https://link.medium.com/UkAPF2odidb

Is Online Dating Safe? – https://link.medium.com/lJ5NOGrdidb

Brene Browns Pearls of Wisdom on Being Vulnerable- https://link.medium.com/UDAhcbvdidb

Yes You Can! – https://link.medium.com/dxq5vbzdidb

Beat The Winter Blues – https://link.medium.com/MheNluBdidb

Personal Power – https://link.medium.com/tXlHvCEdidb

Diseases Of The Heart – https://link.medium.com/kDHq8gHdidb

The I In Me- https://link.medium.com/VTOXGAJdidb

It’s The Unsaid Stuff That Haunts Us The Most- https://link.medium.com/CkmDbXLdidb

Look Inside Yourself- https://link.medium.com/WPBDETOdidb

Life..

What is…

 
What Is…

What is death but the absence of life.

What is a body without a soul?

What is the sky without the sun?

What is a branch without a tree?

What is the day without the night?

Everything is connected but often we don’t see.

The beauty of having opposites to the contrary.

We live our lives in separate ways, but still believe in community.

What are we without each other?

But a group of people needing lovers.

What is light without the shadow?

But a false view of reality.

For most of us it seems to be- we know things by their opposites.

If this is truly so… then there is a truth that we must face.

Only through the darkness can we find our own light.

———————-

Soulful poetry published on Medium by Kamarun Kalam -click the link below:

https://link.medium.com/Dwr2I8s0ocb

Patience & Gratitude

Being Patient and Grateful improves mental health

Its not often we stop to reflect on our blessings and show gratitude. As a species we have evolved into very busy beings, and with such little time for contemplation we have lost patience with ourselves and others. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to stop, and just be.

Seriously just sit for a minute -don’t do anything and try to think about one thing you are grateful for in your life. Got it? Ok now think about one thing you could do for someone else that would make them happy. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture it could be a smile, running an errand or visiting for a chat.

The idea is that you appreciate what you do have instead of focussing on what you don’t have.  Also to carry out an act of service for another person encourages connection, love and warmth.

We are all in need of a bit of love, care and belonging to feel human. Accepting who we are and being accepting of others is key to a more satisfying life. Nobody is perfect but we can all be our own kind of normal, and thats good enough. 🤗

So what are you waiting for? Start practising being more patient and grateful and watch how your mood and life improves.😃

If you need help to explore your life and its highs and lows feel free to contact me for some Counselling sessions in the Birmingham area.

Love Kam.

Future Dreams

What do you dream of for your future? Retiring early?

Travelling the world?

Downsizing your home and moving to the countryside or near the sea to live in a cute bungalow?

Have you stopped to consider how your life might look in the future or are you just trudging through each day just getting by?

It’s useful to visualise yourself in the future and see what you want it to look like as you then train your mind, plans, thoughts and actions to meet that desired need. Almost like training your brain to think and act in order to achieve that goal. So what are you waiting for?

Create your own vision board either via scrapbooking images and words about what you want to happen in your life or via a digital slideshow of images and words to reinforce your wishes to the universe and to yourself🤗

 

Anger Management

anger pic

Anger management is a term used to describe the skills you need to recognise that you, or someone else, is becoming angry and take appropriate action to deal with the situation in a positive way. Anger management does not mean internalising or suppressing anger.

In today’s society there are so many ways we can lose our temper, a forgotten anniversary, a job loss, road rage, pressures at work, home and in relationships are all things that press that stress button and can turn into anger when things feel out of control.

What is important to note is that anger like any other emotion is not bad in and of itself. Anger has its place in the emotional spectrum of life and serves its purpose well when used effectively and in a healthy way. For instance being angry about past childhood abuse and expressing this by picking up the phone and venting to a trusted freind could release repressed anger. Or going to the gym after an argument and exerting yourself physically as a way of releasing negative emotions is a constructive way of managing anger.

There are instances when anger is needed for instance in a survival situation, if a person was physically attacking you, the natural instinct is to fight back, anger would form part of the necessary emotions that would be present. Feeling angry is a human reaction to something that happens, such as someone scaring you, it is natural. Feelings are not the same as actions, most people feeling angry do not abuse others. Identifying and expressing your anger directly can help you to protect yourself and others.

Being open and honest about how you feel inside is a way to raise your self esteem and to let others know where you stand whilst still respecting others. In contrast supressing anger can use up energy, cause physical problems, or burst out in a way that wasnt meant to happen.

What helps is finding a safe way to express your anger, and controlling your anger by recognising your own triggers, reactions and patterns when getting angry. Anger becomes destructive and harmful when out of control.

incredible-hulk-1527199_640

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you the type that holds their anger until you burst? Or do you get angry in a flash but then calm down just as quick?
  • What makes you angry?
  • When angry what do you do?
  • What do you say?
  • How do you behave?
  • Do you know your triggers?
  • Do you feel out of control or can you hold your temper well?
  • What techniques do you currently use to calm down?
  • Can you manage your anger, expressing it whilst remaining respectful of yourself and others?

As children we learn how to cope with life’s challenges from our parents and other significant adults in our lives, this can help or hinder our progress into adulthood depending on how they managed their anger. If being angry was a scary volatile thing we may shy away from expressing it. If anger was used to get things needed in life we may use it to assert ourselves. If anger at home growing up was the cause for violence or substance misuse we may follow through in similar patterns as parents are often role modelled by children. It is about recognising that patterns can be changed and that you dont have to react in the same way. You can learn new ways of managing anger that are healthy and not abusive. Anger is a powerful emotion but more powerful is the way you choose to manage it.

Some Tips

  • Always think before you speak –Often we do a lot of damage in the heat of the moment, what is said cannot be unsaid. Try not to say something you’ll later regret.
  • Fresh air and physical exercise-Going to the gym, or taking a walk for some air can help reduce stress, and help you to calm down. Whatever works, for some it may be putting on their favourite song and having a moment, for others it could be going for a jog around the block thus removing themselves from the situation long enough to reset emotionally.
  • Express your anger once you feel calmer and more in control-In order to communicate your message so that others can hear it do so once you are thinking clearly, and can express your frustration in an assertive but non-threatening way. Share your concerns and needs clearly without hurting others or trying to control them.
  •  Own your feelings- Try not to use accusatory language that sounds like you are blaming or criticising (even if you feel like it) “you never help me you just come and go as you please using this place like a hotel!” Sound familiar? This may antagonise the situation. Flip the script try saying “I feel upset that the house is in a mess and would like some help with clearing up.” It’s about being respectful and specific and owning how we feel using “I” statements. Also try to avoid over exaggerating issues by using seeping statements and over generalising, like “you never remember my birthday” it can have the opposite effect and cause more tension.
  • Explore possible solutions-Try to think of how to make things better instead of getting worked up over what went wrong. Work on resolving the issue at hand. What caused the anger, how can it be managed if that same scenario played out again? For example: Feeling overwhelmed with household chores? Ask for help- draw up a schedule and delegate tasks to other family members so that the pressure is not upon you alone. Remember that anger won’t solve any problems, it may make things worse.
  • Humour helps- It is possible to use humour to diffuse tense situations. It can help to explore what’s making us angry. Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations for how we want things to be, in recognising this we can address matters. Be careful that any jokes, or humour used do not come across as minimising the issues, sound sarcastic or offensive. This could hurt people’s feelings and make things worse.
  • Breathing and Relaxation- Try practising mindfulness techniques of deep breathing, meditating and imagining a calm scene. Maybe a favourite holiday destination sticks in the mind- lying in a hammock on a sunny sandy beach beneath palm trees with the ocean lapping at the shore and fresh cocktails and exotic foods within your reach. (works for me) Music helps so if you like put on your favourite song. Some people like to write so if poetry is your thing then read or write some poems, pen some lyrics for a song, or journal as a way of putting thoughts on paper. Do whatever works for you.
  • Improve communications by agreeing to disagree- Sometimes we just cannot reach a resolution due to differences in opinion but this doesnt mean that there is no way forward. Learn to respectfully agree to disagree and not force ones opinions on another. We are all unique and operate at different levels. Variety is the spice of life so dont feel that your way is the only way forward, be open and receptive to try new things. Most of all respect that everybody is entitled to their own opinion.
  • Forgive and move on-Try not to hold grudges, it takes up so much more energy to hate than to love. Forgiveness is freeing and can release you and the other person from the grip of negativity. Re-hashing over events can cause stuck-ness in relationships and result in an unhappy bitterness that feels horrible to live with. Be open, honest and share how you feel, ask how the other person feels-in this way you can work together to find a resolution, do so respectfully- you may both learn valuable lessons from the experience.
  • Recognise when to ask for support-Controlling anger is a challenge for us all and every now and then we could all do with some additional support, tips and techniques. It might be worth considering help with anger issues if your anger causes you to say and do things you regret, if when angry you become violent, aggressive or hurt others, and when angry you feel out of control.

If you feel you need support with managing your anger dont hesitate to contact me for therapeutic support. couple counselling pic

Couples Counselling

Couple counselling can help by looking at relationship patterns, dynamics and conflicts. By working together, potential areas of difficulties can be identified, explored and addressed to help couples move forward and resolve issues arising that may be causing stress and upset.

Couple counselling can be carried out with couples in any kind of relationship: hetero-sexual; homosexual, bi-sexual; transgender; married or co-habiting; separating or divorcing; love marriages and arranged marriages. Essentially it is about finding common ground between two people who care about each other and re-negotiating ways of being with one another to promote a harmonious union. Therapy can support couples to improve how they communicate and offers a safe space for both to feel heard and understood.

Issues That Bring People to Couple Counselling

  • Poor communication and problem-solving
  • Repetitive arguments
  • Sexual issuescouple pic
  • Porn addiction
  • Jealousy
  • An affair
  • Ex partners causing issues
  • Feelings of distance in the relationship
  • Feelings of anger or resentment
  • Managing a separation or divorce
  • Broken trust
  • Differences in parenting style
  • Loss of attraction to partner
  • Poor body image, low self esteem impacting on the relationship
  • Gambling Issues
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Financial stress
  • Loss of respect
  • Domestic or Financial abuse
  • Past childhood sexual abuse
  • Lack of intimacy and other supportive and positive aspects of healthier relationships
  • Strained extended family relationships

The above list is not exhaustive and often couple counsellors deal with many more issues that are not listed.

Can Couple Counselling Help?

With the aid of therapy couple’s can re-discover what first attracted them to one another, re-ignite a lost spark and can bring peace, stability, and healthy communication back into the relationship.

Couple counselling can help in a number of ways:

  • To communicate in a more open, honest and constructive way
  • Listen to, hear and understand each other with an open heart.
  • Own feelings and be more sensitive to partners needs
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Break negative cycles and patterns which cause hurt and stuckness
  • Work together to negotiate difficult decisions
  • Reconnect with each other physically, sexually, emotionally and intellectually
  • Enjoy the relationship again, have fun and learn new relationship skills
  • Explore the impact of change and loss
  • Achieve goals and develop solutions for resolving problems
  • Think, feel, and respond more effectively with each other at home, work and in social situations around freinds and family.

As with all things in life one size does not fit all, and each couple will have their own unique issues to address. It is up to the couple to decide what issues to explore and the counsellor to facilitate. In some cases one partner may not wish to attend counselling and in such cases only one partner can attend to discuss issues individually. However when both people are in attendance it is more conducive to change as both would be committed to attend and seek a way forward together.

There are certain circumstances when couple counselling may not be appropriate for instance when there is domestic abuse or violence in the relationship. In such a situation safety is of paramount importance and individual counselling would be better suited as working with both partners may not be advisable.

Some Tips

  • Saying and hearing ‘thank you’ for everyday tasks
  • Listening without trying to fix each others problems
  • Apologising for mistakes made
  • Gently introducing troublesome issues
  • Seeing each other’s point of view even if you disagree
  • Respectfully withdrawing from distressing arguments
  • Appreciating what is at stake in the relationship
  • Comforting and listening to each other’s deeper feelings and concerns
  • Seeking and accepting invitations for close connection
  • Giving equal importance to each other’s feelings values and beliefs
  • Expressing curiosity in each other’s activities
  • Holding onto our own dreams whilst supporting each other’s dreams
  • Standing up for ourselves without putting each other down
  • Accepting the things in life that cannot be changed
  • Seeking agreement with each other about the ‘meaningful things’ in life
  • Shifting from a life of constant ‘doing’ to a life of peaceful ‘being’

If you are in a relationship and are struggling with any aspects of it, please do not hesitate to contact me for support. I can see you alone or together with your partner whichever you feel most comfrotable with.

 

 

Identity Loss

who

How do you ‘lose’ your identity?

Losing your identity can be a long process that occurs over a period of months or years, but can also happen suddenly following a major life event or trauma. Loss of identity can follow various life changes personally and professionally in the workplace. Loss of a job or profession, loss of a significant loved one, such as a child, parent, or spouse. Loss leaves gaps, empty spaces. Such lossess can trigger increased levels of anxiety, low self-worth, depression, isolation and feeling alone, all of which impact on our ability to maintain relationships with other people.

Identity can also be lost when merging into a relationship that becomes imbalanced. A healthy relationship offers both partners the opportunity to connect with one another without cutting off the outside world. It promotes reciprocation in respecting the other and maintaining an individual sense of self. We may lose some identity, even in the most healthy of relationships, as we try to adjust our behaviours, and accommodate our partners, to create a dynamic that works for the relationship. There may be some changes in our levels of independence as we lean on our partners or have certain expectations, a level of co-dependency may occur. However, in abusive relationships this change could be more obvious, resulting in one partner dominating the other and removing choice, control and independence causing a total loss of who you are. This can often be seen in families where domestic abuse has become ‘normalised’ via systematic conditioning over time.

Often when we lose our identity and sense of who we are, we look to others for our sense of self-worth needing external validation and fulfilment. We feel the need to seek reassurance from others and what they think of us shapes how we view ourselves. We glean our self esteem, confidence and self worth from others based on how they percieve us according to factors like how we dress, our physical appearance and financial status. We seek praise from others to feel OK about ourselves – but in reality, our emotional well-being depends on how we feel about ourselves. We are the only ones that count but often dont realise it. It is what we think about ourselves that is the key, without being influenced by others. At the core of ourselves do we like, accept, value and respect who we are and what we stand for? If not why?

Our self worth or– our ‘identity’ – should be informed by our own experiences of self and not from what others think about us. Too often we worry about others judging us and we put way too much emphasis on how we look, or behave in order to ‘fit in’ be accepted and be liked. What we forget is that others have their own stuff going on too. Each person is waging a war with their own selves and could be projecting onto others their own insecurities. Hence being measured  by others we often fall short of their requirements and expectations, so what do we do? We act, we become the big pretenders, create an illusion of self that seems more acceptable -but wearing this mask can become exhausting. Showing the world our ‘best-self’, socially when really inside, we may be feeling very different can contradict our emotional selves. We hide the real ‘me’ underneath, afraid of rejection or of not being good enough if we show our true selves. It can become problematic when this is happening all the time, when we are more our ‘created selves, than our genuine selves’.

It can divide the psyche causing incongruence between what we say, what we do and how we think, such contradictions can lead to personal anxiety and unhappiness. Our dependency on external validation prevents our true selves from being out there, and impacts on our personal growth, as well as the opportunity for happiness. Our life experiences shape who we have become and often looking at the past we can track our life changes and see what led us to who we are today. For example a person who was bullied in childhood and had abusive parents may suffer with low self esteem into adulthood if issues were left unresolved. Parental neglect, abuse and trauma from childhood will impact on how we view ourselves and in turn how we interact with others. Such feelings may be re-triggered by major life events, or a change in life circumstances. For instance a person who was picked on at school and has low self confidence, finds himself in adulthood being bullied by their manager at work , this could trigger an emotional response and they may regress back to that childhood state of being fearful and anxious as the associated feelings become overwhelming.

This longing for social acceptance and reassurance from others; to be noticed, to be loved, to be wanted and needed, to be cared about. What if we could offer all of those things to ourselves? How amazing would that be? To be ok as ourselves and not afraid of showing others who we really are. It is a challenge but with the right support, determination and an open outlook such things can be achieved. It all begins with trust, if you can learn to trust in yourself, listen to yourself, have self compassion, and value who you are then the greatest love of all can be achieved- in Whitney Houstons words “the greatest love of all, is learning to love yourself”

I will end this article with my favourite lyrics from Whitney Houston’s song ‘The Greatest Love of All’ for you to reflect on….

“I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all”

 

Bereavement & Loss

Bereavement and loss are often used interchangeably; however it is important to note how each term can mean different things to different people. For example, someone going through a trauma like losing a loved one has suffered a loss and is bereaved. Whereas someone who has lost a job is not bereaved but has suffered a loss. Two very different scenarios. There is a massive difference in the impact and the pain felt in each case however they would both be classed as a loss. It is in understanding the significance and impact of the type of loss a person has suffered that we can only begin to try to understand what it means, so for example losing a spouse or child have different connotations but huge emotional impact for loved ones left behind.

For some losing a job could be felt acutely, the key here is to try not to draw comparisons, but to look at things from the other’s perspective. To understand what it means for the individual to have lost a loved one, their job, or a pet, because it would impact each person differently in each unique circumstance.

We are all different and in this difference we manage and cope using a variety of methods from taking medication, using talking therapies, to utilising support from freinds and family. Bereavement can feel overwhelmingly difficult to manage and no matter what anyone says only the person going through it can fully understand the significant impact of loss felt. What others can attempt to do is try to understand through being present, listening and really hearing the person to offer empathy and try to imagine what it might be like to walk in the bereaved persons shoes for a time. To appreciate just how difficult life may feel for them or the challenges it may throw up, change after loss is inevitable. Lives are often turned upside down and nothing is the same again. What was a ‘normal daily routine’ for some will forever be changed.

In the case of a bereaved person there is often a story to be shared, about the life that was led before. A story of a family or friend that lived amongst them and the experiences that were shared, the relationship that is now no more of this world but contained in the memories of those left behind. Celebrating the life of the person who has passed and the legacy that they left behind is often meaningful to loved ones. In sharing these experiences some people find solace and it can form a framework as a strategy for coping because by remembering loved ones who have passed away there is a sense of connection to them.

It is also important to bear in mind the circumstances around the death of a loved one whether it was an accident that was sudden, a terminal illness that was gradual or a suicide that left more questions than answers. Each of these unique circumstances will have different effects and impacts on how people cope with their loss.

So why do people struggle around the topic of loss? What do you say? How do you behave?

Firstly never make assumptions. Nobody can claim to know how another is feeling- but we can use empathy to reach out to others and try to understand. There is a whole range of emotions that can be felt from anguish and despair, to relief and guilt, and everything in between. Therefore no two people will feel exactly the same it will vary according to the relationship and experiences shared.

Listen -try not to make it about you. Often when talking to a bereaved person there can be a temptation to say and share experiences that we have felt ourselves about a loss that we may have had in the past. Although this may be useful for you to draw on emotionally to try and understand it may not be the most appropriate time to share it. Try to stay focused and hear whats being shared.
There can be a level of fear and uncertainty amongst people when it comes to saying and doing ‘the right thing’ around those who have lost loved ones. Truth be told there is no ‘right thing’; it is about having respect and offering support without being intrusive, being available if needed and using empathy to try and understand what they may be going through.

Sometimes support extends beyond words. You don’t have to ‘say’ anything. Just being present, emotionally available and supportive is enough.

Often people hold back from talking about their loss for fear of ‘ruining the mood’ socially but this can lead to feeling isolated and alone. It is often people’s own uncomfortableness around death and loss that makes them avoidant. There is nothing worse than being told “its been a while now- shouldn’t you be over it?” Like losing a loved one is something you need to ‘get over’.
What happens in reality is we learn new ways of adjusting and adapting to life without that person. We never forget, and may never ‘get over’ them but understand that life goes on and with each passing moment our love for them is not diminished but kept alive by remembering them. Hearts and minds can be powerful storage units that enable us to carry on going through life and living without compromising memories of loved ones. This doesn’t mean that by marrying again or having more children it detracts in any way from the painful loss, it just allows life to go on safe in the knowledge that everyone we love past and present have a special place in our hearts. Consciously aware that one does not replace another.

There is no disloyalty, no guilt, no shame and no fear when choosing to live life onwards after losing a loved one. Time helps but having an open and loving heart that contains a space for every special person is what carries us forwards.

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The ‘I’ in Me

How often do any of us really sit and reflect on our selves and our lives?

“We have no time to- life is so busy” this is often the resounding answer.

So what does that mean-The I in me?

It refers to the core of ourselves, the innermost hidden parts that we may not even be aware of or that we guard well. There is so much more to us than meets the eye.



(Image by Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net)

We are not only defined just by our names, ages and roles we play in life. We are defined by so much more which makes each and every one of us unique. This blog has been designed to make you think, reflect and appreciate the diversity of life within yourselves and others. To really focus on the I inside each of us that is often unheard, forgotten or ignored.

We are made up of so many different aspects, and have various selves- our physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, cultural, religious and sexual selves.
This is not an exhaustive list there are many other factors that make us unique- our age, gender, class, economic status etc.

Our personal experiences in life shape who we are, how we think and how we behave towards others. We all share a natural curiosity to learn more about ourselves and others in order to enrich and enhance our personal and professional relationships with others.

I invite you to share your views and reflections about your own personal journeys in life- to celebrate the diversity of life and appreciation of the self and all it encompasses- the beauty of being you. Feel welcome to share anonymously or by stating your names its entirely up to you.

You never know who you might inspire with your own stories, poems, insights and revelations.

To help get you started I have compiled a list of questions to think about…

Who am i to me?

What makes me who i am?

Who am i to others?

Do i like me?

Do i think others like me?

What do i think of myself?

Do others perceptions of me match my own views of who I am?

Who is the real me?

Who is the me i show to the world?

Who is the me i hide out of fear, guilt, shame, embarrassment or just plain secrecy?

Who is the me i pretend to be?

Who is the me I would like to be?

What does being me mean to myself and others?

What parts of me do i like?

What parts of me do i dislike?

Why?

Is there a difference between me now and the person I want to be?

How can i bridge that gap and make the I in me stand out?
Lots of food for thought….

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