Explore

confidence

wellbeing

Protecting yourself against energy vampires

February 14, 2020
energy vampires

Do you have someone in your life that has the ability to take the wind out of your sails? They seem to suck the joy out of any situation – and you end up walking on eggshells around them all the time…? Well that, my friend, is an energy vampire.

The problem with energy vampires

Energy vampires essentially drain all your energy. They tend to be selfish – because they only care about their feelings, and not the impact on yours. They manipulate, gaslight and deflect so they don’t have to acknowledge their own behaviour, instead making out they’re reacting to you. In my experience, they tend to have Jekyll and Hyde personalities; turning on the charm when it suits so you’re never quite sure what version you’re going to get. 

Frankly dealing with energy vampires is exhausting.

Behaviour is a mirror of internal feelings

One of the most crucial things to remember in life is that people’s behaviour is a reflection of their own internal makeup – it’s not to do with you. I know that every time I’ve had an attack of the green-eyed monster and been snarky about someone else’s success; it’s completely down to my insecurities and feeling that I’m not doing as well as I could or should be. It’s never to do with them. 

Now that doesn’t mean we should condone poor behaviour thinking, well, it’s ok because they’re clearly miserable about their own pathetic life. They’re making you feel unhappy and that’s not ok.

I’m just using this to show that it’s not to do with you – it’s to do with them. 

We can’t control other people

If I had a pound for every time I’d thought of a withering put down after a difficult conversation, then I’d be sipping cocktails by a Hollywood Hills pool right now instead of drinking herbal tea in Peckham. However, the reality is the slightest hint of confrontation makes me want to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction. 

The fact is, it doesn’t matter how much of a sassy honey pot you are, we can’t change how people behave. We can only control how we react.

Taking the emotion out of the situation

Sadly, I do believe the lower you feel about yourself, the more susceptible you become to energy vampires. It’s like they feed off it.

However in the name of balance, I also feel we can turn it into a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for ourselves. We start to look out for incidents where we feel this person is picking on us to confirm our thinking. It may be that we misinterpret situations because we’re reading too much into it. Just playing devil’s advocate here…

This is one of the reasons why it’s good to take out as much emotion as possible and protect your own vibrations.

How to protect yourself against energy vampires

As much as we can’t change people’s behaviours and how they treat us, there are some simple steps we can take to protect ourselves from their negative energy.

Establish boundaries

The biggest myth about boundaries is that they’re some magical potion that will change how people behave towards you. They’re not. What setting boundaries does, is help you determine at what stage a line has been crossed and what you will do about it. For some people, this is second nature. For other people, such as me, this comes a bit less naturally and I have to think about it.

Be objective

In my experience, patterns of behaviours aren’t just exhibited towards one person – people are generally quite consistent. By this I mean, if someone’s rude to you, the chances are they’re rude to other people too. Try to depersonalise their behaviour and not let it dull your sparkle.

Equally, sometimes there is truth in what someone else is saying. So have some self-awareness where you’re able to reflect on your own behaviour too. Take responsibility for what’s yours – and let the rest go.

Recognise it’s not for you to make the situation better

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we cannot control other people’s behaviour. Yes, we can change how we react – and to a degree how we feel. But, it’s not down to us alone to make things right. There are some relationships / friendships / situations / delete as applicable that are just not meant to be and are never going to get better. You could give every ounce of your being and it still wouldn’t be enough. Recognise that and move on.

Trust your instincts

How many times have you had that uneasy feeling in your gut telling you something isn’t right? That’s your gut instinct. Trust it. Now this doesn’t mean, be suspicious of other people’s motives or looking for signs that someone’s out to get us: always assume best intentions until shown otherwise. It just means that if your instincts are telling you something is off, then it probably is.

Alternative ways to protect your energy ✨

Create an aura bubble

Stand up with your feet on the floor and imagine white light coming down from the Universe. It comes down to the crown of your head, then flows down over your body and down under your feet. You’re now surrounded by a white light bubble. This will help protect you from any negative energy around you.

Carry a piece of black tourmaline crystal with you

Black tourmaline sucks up negative energy and transforms it into positive energy. It’s relatively inexpensive and worth carrying around when you feel you need some protection.

wellbeing

How to stop being a victim and take responsibility for your own life

April 22, 2019
Stop being a victim and take responsibility for your own life

Stop being a victim

Confession time: I was the world’s biggest victim. I felt everything was stacked against me.

The reason why my relationships failed? That was down to my turbulent childhood and not having good role models. Why I never got promoted at work? That was because no one appreciated my efforts. If someone spoke down to me, well, that was because there was something about me that made them think it was ok. I didn’t come from money and had no safety net to fall back on so I couldn’t follow my dreams.

I felt life wasn’t fair.

Life isn’t fair

The truth is, life isn’t fair. Some people are born into exceptionally difficult circumstances. Sadly, the situation of our early years wrongly has a massive impact on our life chances. Our health: mental and physical can also be a lottery and completely outside of our control.

I’m not saying this to try and illustrate life can be much harder for other people so just suck it up. If someone had said this to me, I would have felt even more useless and misunderstood. Plus, there was truth to how I was feeling.

I’m using it to illustrate that we all will deal with issues: some people more than others. It’s what you do afterwards that really counts.

Please note, afterwards is a very long time so don’t use that to beat yourself up either.

Truth in your feelings

The truth is a lot of my feelings were valid.

It’s harder to understand what a healthy relationship is when you didn’t grow up around many of them. I had quite a black and white view: relationships are either good or bad and I didn’t really understand they require work.

I also had zero confidence so whilst people speaking down to me is absolutely their responsibility, I just didn’t know how to navigate it.

I had the self-awareness to realise these issues were the root cause of most of my problems.

What I didn’t realise was they were things I could change.

Changing the narrative in your head

Where I was going wrong was to use how I felt as the story of my life.

I would never do well because I lacked confidence. I was really good at identifying situations or events that backed up how I felt. However, I never reflected on when I’d done well.

The reality was that on paper, I was reasonably successful. I perhaps hadn’t fulfilled my full potential, but, I wasn’t doing too badly either. I just didn’t realise it.

I was letting my feelings dictate the course of my life by telling myself they were fact.

Take responsibility for your own life

I was a bit late to the party in realising the only person with responsibility for my life was me.

I started to stop searching for someone to come and look after me and decided to make myself happy instead.

The biggest and most simplest change I made was my gratitude practice. I’ve written about this in previous blogs and how it completely reframed my thinking. I stopped focusing so much on what was wrong with my life and saw what was good.

I also realised there were certain things I was telling myself that maybe weren’t true anymore. I’d always said I was bad at public speaking and so avoided it like the plague. I would always let other people take the lead at work and pull out of job interviews if they had presentations involved. I decided to stop saying no, and you know what.. it’s really not that bad. Yes, I still feel self-conscious but the narrative in my head has changed.

This made me realise there were more things I was hiding behind that were no longer the case.

I always think it’s important to think of change as a sliding scale involving small incremental steps.

We would never expect to run a marathon overnight without any training; yet we expect to become different people overnight and then have feelings of self-loathing when we don’t.

Change is gradual and often there is progress where we don’t even see it. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s a journey.

I’m never going to be the world’s most confident person and that’s ok. I think about it far less and look at it when it’s an issue.

I also recognise the buck stops with me. I’m no longer waiting for someone to pluck me out of obscurity. I don’t need the external validation as much as I used to. Plus it’s up to me to manage my own life.

Sometimes it’s worth drawing a line in the sand to say, this was then, and this is now. The past is the past. It doesn’t determine your future.

mind

Are you suffering from imposter syndrome?

March 17, 2019
are you suffering from impostor syndrome?

A few years ago I got promoted at work. Despite being more than qualified, I spent the first year waiting to be pulled into a meeting room and told, ‘we’ve made a terrible mistake’. I lived in a state of panic and regardless of any positive feedback, I still couldn’t relax and enjoy my new role.

My experience is not uncommon. I’ve heard of chief executives googling how to run a company and high profile celebrities talking about feeling like a fraud. It’s so well known, it has its own terminology: imposter syndrome. This is where you believe you’re not good enough despite evidence to the contrary.

What is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where feelings of self-doubt and low confidence levels are so intense they make you feel like a fraud. Researchers say it’s more common in high achieving women. However, statistics show 70% of millenials have experienced imposter syndrome at some point.

Whilst I think it’s a far nicer character trait to be under confident and overachieving, as opposed to overconfident and underachieving, the reality is that imposter syndrome can stop us from realising our true ambitions without us really realising it.

So what can you do to overcome it?

  • Awareness of an issue is generally the first step to overcoming it. Take notice of your feelings, thought processes and whether you feel a fraud for no real reason.
  • Try tracking your achievements so you can look back and see how far you’ve come. Some people keep a compliments folder or write lists.
  • Recognise lots of other people feel this way and you are not alone. It’s a sign that you care.
  • Open up to friends about how you’re feeling. Their perception is likely to be different to yours and it might be useful to get an impartial view.
  • Focus on adding value in the short term and remember you won’t feel this way forever.

mind

Six ways to boost your confidence (that actually work)

June 21, 2018
ways to boost your confidence

The biggest thing I wish I’d known in my 20s is that confidence is something you develop; rather than being a permanent effect of your life situation. I spent far too much time feeling restricted and paralysed by my lack of confidence often to the point of just giving up. I constantly compared myself to others – especially those who seemed so much more confident and thought opportunities only happened to people like them and not ones like me.

 My lack of confidence was also a story I told myself and used as a form of self-protection. It was easy to hide behind so I didn’t have to push myself out of my comfort zone. When things went well, I put it down to luck and everything else, I blamed on low self-esteem.

It was only when I realised that confidence is something I could control, that I decided to do something about it. I started to recognise confidence isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something we need to develop and there are ways to boost it. Confidence is essentially a muscle that we grow and build upon.

Six ways to boost your confidence

Affirmations

There’s a reason why affirmation cards are so popular and that’s because they work. Positive affirmations help retrain our brain away from negative self-talk to thinking better about ourselves. There are lots of cards available online or write your own and put them somewhere you’ll see them regularly like your bathroom mirror or front door.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Perception of confidence is relative and only something we can determine for ourselves. There are some people who come across as being widely confident, who aren’t; and others who appear much less self-assured but have an inner strength. I constantly compared myself and judged myself on what other people thought of me. Whilst feedback can be hugely beneficial, it’s fundamentally important to find a sense of your own self and determine your own criteria of success.

Practice being confident

We all know the phrase, ‘fake it until you make it’ and essentially that’s what we need to do – we need to practice being confident. I used to be really horribly shy and felt awkward around people I didn’t know. With my friends though, I’d be the life and soul of the party so I came across as being aloof and only interested in people I knew already. I made myself be friendly to people even when I was cringing and dying inside. The more I did it, the easier it became and I feel pretty confident when meeting new people now.

Positive body language

Amy Cuddy, an American psychologist gave a Ted Talk all about how standing in a power pose will boost your feelings of confidence. It’s not always appropriate to break into a Wonder Woman pose but just smiling and standing upright are instant confidence boosters.

Be conscious of negative self-talk

I made a conscious decision to stop the running commentary in my head criticising my every move. It still appears from time to time – but I am more able to recognise it as just a voice in my head and not my reality. Try writing a list of the qualities you really like about yourself and keep them to hand (such as the notes section of your phone) so you can refer to it whenever you need a boost.

Take baby steps

Remember confidence is something we grow and develop over our entire lives.  It’s a habit we need to get into. Make sure you check in regularly and reflect on how far you’ve come. Each little step forward is helping your confidence to grow and grow.

%d bloggers like this: