Archive by Author | happinessweekly

Congratulations Australian of the year! Here’s what I want to say to Rosie Batty…

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My friends, family and followers know that I was the target of domestic violence in 2013 which left me traumatised until I reached the point of frustration: this shouldn’t happen to people!

From there I became a powerful machine, driven to start campaigning on my own … but no one died and no one knows about the trauma experienced – therefore it’s just another case forgotten. No headlines, no news. So I want to contact Rosie Batty and ask her for support in my quest to change AVO laws – nationally, and build in mandatory support to stop the abuse cycle and change the statistic that one target of domestic abuse is murdered each week.

I have a solution and I want it to be heard. So here goes…:

Dear Rosie,

Congratulations on becoming Australian of the Year! I can’t express how much it means, even to someone like me who was also a target of domestic abuse – you have demonstrated a shining example that trauma can lead to growth – and that can start immediately.

Your strength is inspiring beyond words. I don’t think anyone could comprehend your experience and in that isolation you’ve found this amazing light that you are now radiating out to others. The education you’ve raised about domestic violence and why women don’t leave is also inspiring. You have done some amazing work.

As you know, there’s more to be done. And it’s so important this is implemented as soon as possible, because as long as it’s not – people are at risk. You know it, I know it and anyone who has been the target of domestic violence will know it.

One of the reasons people are dying in these situations is our Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (AVO) laws are not breaking the abuse cycle, and therefore they’re not forming the protection they should. In fact, there’s two issues that are very apparent: first – no one thinks it will happen to them. Second: everyone thinks an AVO means people automatically have to stay a certain distance away from each other. That was ALL I wanted! Yet to get this, there needs to be serious threat to life demonstrated. So you can get an AVO against someone and then head straight out to the pub together after and talk about how they’re not going to stalk, harass, molest and assault you. How is this even allowed? If it’s serious enough for police intervention, and serious enough to take time off work to stand in a court room, then how come that piece of paper makes ZERO attempt to cut through the abuse cycle whatsoever. And don’t get me started on how you need to put your address forward for it!

I am the first to put my hand up and admit I was addicted to a man who abused me, and that in itself destroyed my self esteem and self worth, and kept me in the cycle even longer. He tried to kill me on three separate occasions, the last time he tried to run me down in his car … that wasn’t a threat, it was the action, right there. To the point that he ramped into me – the physical body of me trying to get away – three times. It was on CCTV, however, I thought I deserved it. I blamed myself. How could I put myself in that situation again … and yet he was nice again right after: “It wasn’t like that, I’d never do that to you”. And he’s the believable type … I was an intelligent woman and yet, I kept going back to him.

If an AVO was in place, where I could have trusted it would break the abuse cycle, I would have taken that option. But it didn’t exist. And it still doesn’t. That terrifies me. And what’s worse – and you would be first to know – it doesn’t protect children: at all. If I know anything about my abusive partner, it’s that the first thing he would go after if we had it was our children, our pets and then me if he could find me. Where my abuser kept getting me was he told me he was “hurting” because I didn’t love him anymore and I “just didn’t care”. Being empathetic, I’d fall straight back into his trap – exactly as he wanted me to. Let me share an email I received from my abuser, which the police still refused to respond to because there was no direct “threat to life” in it:

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A lovelock is a padlock with our names on it and the dates we dated. Is it not insane that I’m being threatened for something you could just buy at Bunnings? And for the record: Narcissistic Abuse/Psychopath 101 is their obsession on soul mates and their romanticised philosophy love that is so far from fact and not the basis for a healthy relationship.

Now, the thing is, at 5 foot 2, meaning it was out of reach, and with NO muscles and nothing to use to cut it down with … I did not cut that lovelock down. But why did I not flinch that it was gone? Why did I not respond to this threat except to go straight to the police? Because if he didn’t have it – he couldn’t come back to me weeks, months, years later and hoover me back in: AGAIN! I knew whatever pain was ahead for me would be the last of a very LONG dark and painful period for me. It was a romance that isolated me from all friends and family and kept me trapped, terrified and silenced. But I was not going to find it, least of all have it returned to him.

Following my relationship, with zero support from our law and police because there’s no “threat for life” in this message, I put myself into my own witness protection program. I changed everything about myself as best I could and I spent more than ten thousand dollars trying to get safe from him.

What I needed?

I needed an AVO that not only said he couldn’t contact me, but I couldn’t contact him. Why? Because he manipulated what happened and he made it look like I didn’t care, which made me go to him and hoovered me back in. But if I knew legally I couldn’t go there and if I did then there would be consequences, then I would’ve been out of there and his ongoing harassment also would’ve stopped. Keep in mind as I write this, 2/3 of women served with an AVO in New South Wales are known to be the target of ongoing domestic violence according to New South Wales Woman’s Legal. And I look outwardly to other women, the women who are slain or where separation abuse does escalate … and I’m talking about situations like yours, Kate Malonyay’s and more recently Leila Alavi.

What I’m trying to say is if there was an AVO that literally cut through the abuse cycle: if the accused was to be punished, with harsher penalties for breaking it (because let’s face it – psychopaths aren’t deterred by two years in prison and a $1,500 fine … at least not in New South Wales) and the target was to be at risk of the current penalty – then perhaps that would be enough. And once that order is in place, there’s no relinquishing it.

Talk to the police – listen to their frustration as they chase their tails seeing the same cases over and over again. Why does this happen? And how is it that when I went to get help I was told “It’s just a piece of paper, it’s not going to do anything … if he wants to kill you, he will”. How terrifying are those words to someone in a domestic violence situation? How is it that our police are so desensitised to the fact that AVOs don’t work that they actually drive people way from getting the protection they need?

Ironically, the police were so sloppy with my case, I never would have trusted them to protect me. I guess that’s the issue … when you experience it and you know how bad it is: only you know, at the end of the day, what protection you need and how to go about getting that. And when I say that: let me make it clear I mean in escaping and vanishing from their radar, not in counter-attacking or anything like that. Just like most targets, I was just trying to get away…

Anyway, that’s my first suggestion.

“We don’t want to punish the target, they’ve been through enough” … one police person told me.

Bullshit! If this was in place, would your experience have happened to you? Would it have happened to Kate or Leila? Sometimes you need to put harsher terms in place in order to protect people. And if there’s a child involved, they should be protected by the same order as their primary carer. How is that not already the case?

“But my daughter loves her dad,” one of my friends told me who has been trapped by domestic violence and staying solely for this reason. Really? I loved my ex partner … I didn’t even know he was abusing me really, until I got out of there and clear from him, and does that mean he’s the best thing for me? Because I loved him?? One thing I think you know once you’ve suffered as bad as it could get, is if they can do it to you, they can do it to anyone and the defenseless are the ones who should come first. Ironically: they don’t!

I did what I had to do to get clear and safe of my situation and while my abuser intended me to feel shame for it – I don’t and I never will. For me, it’s not what he did to me, but it’s what I do what was done to me. I’ll never go back to seeing him for the man he wanted to be, but for the person he really was. And as heartbreaking as it was for me to accept, they were worlds and lifetimes apart from each other.

Second, there’s nothing mandatory with an AVO. Perhaps a target is “offered” counselling, but it should be a mandatory six week to six month program with specialist assistance, paid for by the government. How is it that we can afford Jury Duty but we can’t afford this kind of support? Why? Do people in domestic violence situations deserve to be there? Is that the overall belief?

And what about the alleged psychopath who is served with the Apprehended Domestic Violence Order? Why isn’t there follow up with a mandatory six week to six month anger management course? Because according to police there needs to be a threat to life before anyone will take action against anyone. How is it ok for these people to be on the street??

So what I’m proposing is the minute that court hearing concludes and an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order is put in place (let’s hope the magistrate puts the correct address on the order to begin with … and that’s not tongue-in-cheek!) then these people set up six weeks of appointments for their mandatory counselling to get rehabilitated.

Will this stop one person in Australia dying each week at the hands of Domestic Violence? I don’t know – but I do know it’s enough to break the abuse cycle. I’m confident of that. I’m confident that it stops the time-wasting bullshit associated with our current AVO and domestic violence system that has things going in circles, and if anything – ironically, it supports the abuse cycle in itself and worse: it ties these two people together.

One lawyer went as far as to tell me that an AVO is the “ultimate control” against someone. Want a bet? The ultimate control is what you have, Rosie: it’s not just stepping away and forgetting it to keep safe – it’s owning what happened and helping others with your knowledge.

Rosie, people listen to you: please help. Not for me, but for the sake of the lives of so many other people.

I hope our legal systems and police will continue to listen to you and support you in your quest.

Best wishes,

Sarah.

The underworld of toxic shame and how to release it

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Like moss, shames grows in the dark. Vanquish it by bringing it into the light, Ross Rosenberg

Have you ever been in a relationship where you were forced to feel overwhelming guilt just for being you? Your partner made you feel as though you were flawed in such a way there was nothing you could ever do to fix yourself? Did you believe you were fortunate to be with this person although they treated you terribly? Have you finally broken free of the relationship but you’re not sure if you will find someone who ever understands you?

You’re not alone in your experience. This is the underworld of toxic shame – what toxic and abusive people use against their targets to isolate them, degrade their self esteem and cause them to undermine their self worth.
Many people have come to me to describe their experience with toxic shame and their struggles to release it and move forward. If your partner has subjected you to toxic shame, is causing you to doubt yourself until your self worth has evaporated, and you’re feeling isolated and confused about who you are and what you should do next, this blog is for you. This week, Happiness Weekly looks at how you can release toxic shame and move on with a happier and more fulfilling life than what you currently have.

What is toxic shame?
According to John Bradshaw toxic shame is: “The feeling of being flawed and diminished and never measuring up. Toxic shame feels much worse than guilt. With guilt, you’ve done something wrong, but you can repair that – you can do something about it. With toxic shame, there’s something wrong with you and there’s nothing you can do about it, you are inadequate and defective”.

Still unsure? People who experience toxic shame demonstrate the following behaviours:
– Co-dependent
– Irrational paralysing feelings of worthlessness, humiliation, self loathing
– Stopped identifying with themselves or lacking a sense of self
– Other people bring them more peace than they feel they could ever bring to themselves
– When they’re hurting they are very quick to disengage, disconnect or detach
– They are comfortable being abused and often don’t recognise it – friends may see it first
– They feel completely unlovable and less-than human
Toxic shame is what holds us in toxic and abusive relationships and prevents us from leaving and people who are targeting you will depend on it to hold you there.
Experts say toxic shame is linked to childhood traumas, and while I agree this could trigger toxic shame in adult life – I don’t think it’s essential to have a traumatic shaming childhood experience in order to suffer from toxic shame as an adult.

People who experience toxic shame will demonstrate the following behaviours:
– Lack of intimacy in relationships
– Poor communicator
– Engage in relationships with: non-productive circular fights, manipulation, games
– Vying for control
– Withdrawing
– Blaming
– Fear of anger – your own or someone else’s
– Ongoing short-term relationships (caused by a subconscious fear of people getting to close) and this can be demonstrated in romantic relationships or jumping from job to job
– Low self worth and confidence
– Prone to knee-jerk reactions to benign comments, inquiries or situations to attempt to maintain some control (Note: Coming out of an abusive relationship – this behaviour not an unusual experience and can be part of self-preservation following your experience)

If you recognise these symptoms in yourself, it’s time to change. NOW!

Can you fix toxic shame?
Absolutely – but it’s a journey and it is down to the individual experiencing the toxic shame to recognise it and fix themselves. Unfortunately the co-dependent element strongly linked to toxic shame often leads these people to more romantic partners in an attempt to avoid dealing with the core issues linked to their toxic shame. This can force them down the obsessive path of love, sex and people addiction.

If you recognise these things in yourself and then you find yourself thinking it will be different with your next partner as you begin to seek your next partner out – I urge you to stop. Toxic shame creates big gaping voids, and while it’s tempting to resolve the loneliness and isolation it causes by placing another person in the hole – it won’t resolve your issues until you’re ready to face them head on.

Once you’ve committed to facing your toxic shame, the next area many people get stuck is knowing what to do next. Stick with me, I’m about to tell you! The following steps will hopefully lead you to a path where you’re feeling back on track rapidly. It is better to recover on your own than to bring someone else into your recovery with you.

What do I do if I suspect I’m suffering from toxic shame but I’m not entirely sure?
Keeping a diary may assist you to process what you have experienced or are experiencing. The more you speak about what is happening, the easier it will become to digest, process and recover from. It may also lead you to a point of self compassion, which is one of the steps we will look at to help you in your recover.

You can seek help through a psychotherapist, life coach, psychologist or counsellor to work through your experiences. I am also available to assist people all over the work, so you can contact me via email on sarah@relationshipfree.com.

What will happen if I don’t get help?
Without the correct help, toxic shame will manifest all throughout your life in self destructive ways.

For example, you may continue to leave relationships or jobs as you avoid letting people get close to you; the big gaping void of loneliness and isolation that you suffer coupled with your horrible helpless feelings caused by lack of self worth and identity won’t go away and you’ll never have the opportunity to develop your true, authentic self.

Or it may even get worse. You could become co-dependent with obsessive tendencies that steer you toward love, sex and people addiction. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will become dangerous but it means you will have to overcome your addiction before you can deal with your toxic shame – so it’s better to nip it in the bud.

So how can I release my toxic shame?
1. Switch on the self-compassion light
Often toxic shame festers in people who are particularly hard on themselves. If it was a friend in a similar situation, this person would be able to empathise and demonstrate compassion – but because they’re close to it, they become hard on themselves for experiencing it. Shame is a “soul-eating” emotion according to Carl Jung – it survives as long as someone is fearful and negative and causes these people to be insecure, self-loathing and self-doubting.

Keep a process journal during your recovery. First I want you to write about your most shameful experience – and there are two approaches:

If you experienced shame in your childhood – try to remember the very first time you experienced it and what happened and write it down in your diary. This exercise deals with the core shame and is the most powerful approach of the two options. Once you have written about your experience, detail what you would’ve liked an adult to say to you directly after you experienced the shameful incident.

If you have only experienced shame in your adult life – try to remember the time when you experienced it at its peak. This exercise deals with “situational shame” and will assist you to process what you have recently experienced. Once you have completed writing about the incident, write what you would have liked an authority figure to have said to you directly after you experienced your situation.

Alternatively, you could write the story as though a friend experienced the exact same situation and write down what you would say to them directly after the event. Then say it out loud to yourself and see how it makes you feel to hear those words from yourself.

2. Enhance self worth by embracing your inner child
Find out about various ways you can connect with your inner child – I highly recommend this meditation by Mark Ryan. You can work with a psychotherapist, life coach or hypnotherapist to do this. Once you have connected with your inner child and created a platform for self-love, you can start embracing your inner child by finding out the things they like. When you reward yourself going forward, be mindful of your inner child and the things they enjoy. With the right ground work and assistance from the right support, this process will help you to feel security in an unconditional sense – it’s very, very powerful!

3. Take time off dating
If you are single, take at least six months off dating to detox from what you’ve experienced and allow yourself to process and find your true authentic self. During this time, challenge yourself to banish any unhealthy or limiting beliefs that may keep you in your current cycle or the state of harbouring toxic shame. Be mindful of your self talk (you are listening!) and challenge yourself to shift your focus to positive and healthy things as much as you can – as Tony Robbins says: where your focus goes, energy flows! It takes practise. I’d recommend getting a life coach to assist you to stay on track and really stretch you to reach some great achievements during this time. If you are codependent, I highly recommend “Codependent no more” by Melody Beattie and attending CODA meetings to start to break this and developing a self-care plan for yourself.

4. Learn to trust yourself
Toxic shame causes us to lose our faith in ourselves, so while we’re taking time out from other people to rebuild, it’s important to start looking at how you can build your self trust and test it in various safe environments. Quit putting yourself in self-sabotaging situations and instead work to break the cycle. Rebuilding self trust can be a frustrating task, so again, I’d recommend working with a life coach, psychotherapist or counsellor for this. One of the things I ask my clients to do is create the ideal of what they’re looking for and then find small ways to test if the quest to obtain this is possible – for example a healthy relationship with the perfect man, my clients would set boundaries and know the consequences to each being crossed and sticking to those boundaries to prioritise their self-preservation as a way of developing self respect and self trust. This is one of my specialities, if you would like to work with me – contact me via email at sarah@relationshipfree.com.

5. Reassess the people you associate with
Nurture all relationships with people who recognise and appreciate your fundamental and naturally defining value. If a client comes to me having left a toxic or abusive relationship, I often recommend they cut contact with their ex-partner, which includes limiting communicating to mutual friends if they need to maintain the friendship at all. Part of the reason for this approach is that it’s very difficult to drive a car forward – and not crash – when you’re looking in the revision mirror.
Then once you’re ready to enter back into a relationship, only allow yourself to be with people who can see your self-worth based just on who you are, not what you do. Setting clear boundaries will assist with defining who may best assist you on your journey to detoxing from toxic shame.

6. Keep promises you make to yourself
You may have noticed you often tell yourself “If you do this, you can have that” – as a parent would, but once you do it, it’s like an anti-climax and you don’t reward yourself as promised. From today forward, keep all the promises you make to yourself – particularly when it is around achieving something – this is a really simple and effective technique which will assist to build your self worth back up.

7. Be mindful of your shame
When you do begin to experience shame, be mindful of it. Have a look at the meaning you are attaching to events in your life and ask yourself “What else could it mean?” or “What else could I feel as a result of this situation?” Instead of relying on external validation and other people to tell you how you should feel, ask yourself what you feel or how you should feel, decide on it, and make your next move from there. There are some fantastic mindfulness Apps you can download on your smartphone which will assist you to practise mindfulness including Headspace (10 days of 10 minutes) and Smiling Minds.

8. Spend time with pets or children
Spend time where you can getting unconditional love from pets and children. Watch how they make you feel about yourself. Then take that feeling home and try to replicate it on your own with one of your self-care activities. It’s important to teach yourself unconditional love, towards yourself, so you’re not relying on receiving it from others.

9. Rephrase “I am…”
Often when we feel shame we are also assigning blame … to ourselves. If someone want to say to you “Finish this sentence: ‘I am …’” what would you put after it? Be mindful of what your self-talk says and start to find healthy endings to that sentence and then go out of your way to prove it to yourself where ever possible. This is the affirmation for your life.

10. Change the ending
Going back to that shameful experience you wrote about, you could also change the way it ends. Write this out in such a way that you become the powerful hero of the story. Pick a character who resembles this powerful hero (a good one is Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games), and when you feel toxic shame is taking over again or can see signs of it, ask yourself what this character would do before you take action.

Have you experienced toxic shame? Please share your recovery experiences below.

Need more help? I’m a qualified life coach who specialises in recovering from failed, toxic and abusive relationships, whether they’re romantic, career-related, family-related or friendship-related. For personalised assistance, contact me via email for my rates: sarah@relationshipfree.com

How to kick-start your new year and why 2015 will be better than 2014

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2015 is the year of opportunity!

Winston Churchill said: A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

In order to be the year of opportunity, it is also the year of letting go:

Let go of past hurts

Let go of bad memories

Let go of judgements

You need all the space you can create to allow for these great opportunities to come through, so de-clutter your mind, body and spirit, release anything toxic or negative, and get set to thrive and achieve!

This year believe that everything coming into your life that doesn’t or won’t serve you, will bounce off the white light surrounding you, protecting you in your journey forward.

So how can you really kick-start your new year? Sometimes people want to start the quest but don’t know the steps to get there so here are some ideas:

  1. Set your New Year Resolutions (if you haven’t already) and make them specific and clear
  2. Make a commitment to love yourself – only allow positive and healthy things into your life
  3. Challenge yourself to achieve something you haven’t done in previous years
  4. Whatever you’ve been putting off: make it a goal to do it within the next six months
  5. Make yourself proud! Be your best self every day. Define what that means to you and start striving towards it
  6. Failure is a stepping stone to success. Don’t worry about failure, just be open to learn from your mistakes
  7. Find people like the person you want to be and surround yourself with them as often as possible
  8. Write a 101 life-goal list … it’s a list of 101 goals for your life. Google examples and go for it! Start achieving today
  9. Find a new mentor to guide you through the year
  10. It’s the Year of Opportunity! You create your own luck but also be open for opportunities to come your way. The rule of thumb this year: if it moves you forward – do it!

As for how you can ensure 2015 is better than 2014?

  • Do things differently: try something else for anything that didn’t work
  • Get motivated and get excited: it’s a new year
  • Leave the past behind and start fresh – it’s new, how can you tell? Because you have a past and past is experience. Use it to further you, but leave the baggage behind
  • Don’t wait for things to be perfect: The Arc was built by amateurs and Titanic was built by professionals – go for it!
  • When you attach meaning to something ask yourself: what else could it mean?
  • Live each day to the full, be in the present moment and go forward with confidence!
  • Love yourself to the point that you need no one else

Looking for a personalised plan? Book a coaching session (45 mins – 60 mins) by contacting me at sarah@relationshipfree.com to free yourself in areas of business, relationships and everyday life and achieve your best.

Follow Relationship Free on Facebook: www.facebook.com/relationshipfreepage

All the best in 2015 xx

A special Christmas message with love, Sarah xx

Hello,

I just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe holiday season from Sydney, Australia.

I’m taking holidays for the next little while as I try to cement some really exciting things for 2015!

If you need my assistance in the meantime, you can contact me by email at: sarah@relationshipfree.com

In the meantime: set yourself some awesome goals for 2015, reach for the stars and achieve more than you set yourself. Always step things up. Challenge yourself at every opportunity. Believe in yourself always!

Catch you in 2015!

Best wishes,

Sarah xx

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Removing limiting beliefs

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Conquer your limiting beliefs and nothing can prevent you from achieving success in anything you want. Jerry Bruckner

What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are. Tony Robbins

Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that dis-empowers them or one that can literally save their lives. Tony Robbins

All personal breakthroughs being with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief. You must feel deep in your gut that not only has this belief cost you pain in the past, but it’s costing you in the present and, ultimately, can only bring you pain in the future. Then you must associate tremendous pleasure to the idea of adopting a new, empowering belief. Tony Robbins

I often tell people, if you want to succeed at something, if you want to improve an area of your life, one of the things involved is taking a risk, being able to step outside your comfort zone. What have you done this year that is outside your comfort zone? If the answer is nothing, why have you not had the confidence to step outside the comfort zone? Clint Ebbesen, Entrepreneur

Limiting beliefs are our little subconscious voice arising when we’re ready to take a risk that stops us from moving forward. Recently I was having a reading and healing session with the delightful Nandini Kumaran and she was talking to me about my dreams for the future and what was to come. (Perhaps this is a bit alternative for some of you, but stay with me, this is leading somewhere!) I want to dedicate this post to Nandini – she was one of the kindest souls I connected with while I was in the darkest place.

Nandini made a suggestion about my future that I was actually currently working on, but at that moment I thought to the failure of that product. At that moment she said “Wow – I just felt your heart shut down when I said that, just be open, have faith in your ideas because it will be a success, and your new direction is right for you”. From that moment, I promised myself I’d be more conscious of my limiting beliefs and work at being open to all possibilities. This week, Happiness Weekly looks at how you can shift or remove your limiting beliefs to realise your full potential.

 

What is a limiting belief?

A limiting belief is a belief that is held consciously or subconsciously that serves only as obstacles to manifesting and attracting what you want. They become filters to our reality. Initially they are there to protect us, particularly after we have been hurt or had a negative life experience, but ultimately they only hold us back.

 

Where do limiting beliefs come from?

A lot of the work I completed over my break in May and June this year was to do with removing limiting beliefs. For a long time I had some massive stories in my head that included Blame, Excuses and Denial … and I needed to put them to BED (see what I did just there?)! During these two months, I had a full life clear out. I reassessed friendships, my career, my health, my very being. Once I was finished clearing my closet, I decided on my clear direction, I set goals and I am so excited because I have started moving in the direction I want to be.

Once I did all that I stopped. What if my limiting beliefs returned? It’s possible. This can be the hindrance of having conservative parents who only want the best for you, and don’t want to see you getting hurt, because if you don’t say it to yourself first, they’ll be sure to tell you – right? Not just this, but your mind draws links to events and assumes the outcome based on past experience.

The pattern will go like this: the event will happen, you draw false generalisations based on that specific event, then assign questionable meanings to that event which leads to disempowering interpretations of what happened. Consequently, your mind blocks you from taking certain actions even though they may be reasonable or intelligent.

The good news is, you have control over your limiting beliefs. You create and manifest them, but you also have the power to eliminate them. Rest assured, if you don’t do this consciously, your ongoing behaviours that are holding you back will force you to reassess and there will come a point when the frustration will force you to change.

 

The best way to eliminate limiting beliefs

Working with a life coach and taking part in Schema Therapy are both fantastic for assisting in permanently removing limiting beliefs, particularly if they are linked to our core beliefs. But not everyone can afford this kind of help, so how about trying this:

Once you’re conscious of the limiting belief…

  1. Question the limiting belief

When you hear yourself think something limiting, stop and ask yourself – Really? Does it always happen? Consider the last time it happened and that outcome occurred … now consider the time before that, and the time before that … did it always happen exactly the same?

  1. Stop identifying with the limiting belief

Many of us subconsciously use our limiting beliefs to harshly define ourselves. “This happened, so that means I am this!” We almost use it as evidence for why we think and act the way we do, and then it becomes an excuse as to why we keep going down that path. In order to permanently remove your limiting beliefs, it’s essential that you stop identifying with the belief, because in doing so, you’re giving it power.

  1. Resist thinking to the conclusion

A limiting belief comes into our mind and we go “Oh yeah, I’ve been here before, last time this happened it lead to this!” It’s like seeing the beginning credits of a movie and fast forwarding to the last five minutes – because we already know what happens, right? This is exactly what we’re doing when we immediately draw conclusions to an event. What ever happened to keeping an open mind? Consider this – in any given situation: you don’t know, what you don’t know. Don’t assume because it shuts off possibilities and opportunities. Every conclusion you draw is a limiting belief, ensure you question it before believing it.

  1. Put assumptions to the test

This is your opportunity to prove to yourself that this limiting belief is not serving you. Step out of your limiting belief head-space for a moment, suspend your judgement about what this event will lead to and challenge yourself to see what the outcome is by doing something slightly different to break the pattern. Trust yourself. Realistically assess the outcome. An action must be taken to put your conclusions to the test.

Jordan Gray Consulting has some more practical ideas for removing limiting beliefs that I recommend you take a look at. I always think doing is habit forming and in order to break a habit we need to challenge it by doing something different – it’s similar to what Einstein said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

 

It’s what you do with your limiting belief that counts

Sometimes our limiting beliefs can be shifted to a positive. For example, one of my limiting beliefs following my abusive relationship was that no one could understand and therefore they just couldn’t help me. It was at this point that I stopped seeing counsellors and instead started learning how to cope through various courses and workshops so that I could help myself. Once I got those skills, I was able to help others – just like when a coach told me that it’s like the air mask in a plane, you need to help yourself before you can help others.

 

How can I be more conscious of limiting beliefs?

While growing awareness of your limiting beliefs is an important part of the solution, it’s not the entire solution – you need to put a little more conscious effort in than that. When you feel a limiting belief rise, you can stop and ask yourself: “If that wasn’t an issue or if it was resolved, what would I do?” That immediately helps you rise above your limiting belief for a moment to see what’s on the other side.

 

I still can’t shift my limiting beliefs

If you are still grappling with limiting beliefs in your life, I highly recommend you check out these empowering beliefs that you can use to replace your limiting beliefs by Tony Robbins. I recommend using these as affirmations each day to assist in driving you forward:

1. The past does not equal the future.

2. There is always a way if I’m committed.

3. There are no failures, only outcomes—as long as I learn something I’m succeeding.

4. If I can’t, I must; if I must, I can.

5. Everything happens for a reason and a purpose that serves me.

6. I find great joy in little things… a smile… a flower… a sunset.

7. I give more of myself to others than anyone expects.

8. I create my own reality and am responsible for what I create.

9. If I’m confused, I’m about to learn something.

10. Every day above ground is a great day.

 

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How do you challenge and/or remove your limiting beliefs?

Tips to a more patient you

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Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. Robert H. Schuller
Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. Napoleon Hill

They say that the universe always provides for us – ask for patience, and you’re likely to find a line at the bank or you could just test yourself and head to the post office during your lunch break. Imagine the frustration you would encounter if every time you looked for patience you got tested in some way. Patience is a skill, that’s why often we hear the term to “practise patience” – we can actually practise it and strengthen our ability to be more patient in all circumstances! This week Happiness Weekly gives you some tips on how!

Know your triggers

If you know what makes you feel impatient, you can avoid it when you are already feeling irritable, but you can also use it to challenge yourself when feeling calm to strengthen your patience in various situations.

Let go

Letting go can be difficult, but once you’ve packaged everything in a box and handed it to the universe, trust your journey to guide you. If you find directly challenging yourself with frustration is too difficult, you could also get in touch with your inner zen and practise:

  • Mindfulness: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
  • Meditation: a written or spoken discourse expressing considered thoughts on a subject.
  • Affirmations: the action or process of affirming something.
  • Visualisation: a technique involving focusing on positive mental images in order to achieve a particular goal.

Look at the big picture

When you’re finding it difficult to practise patience, sometimes stepping out of the situation and looking at the bigger picture can make the discomfort feel more bearable. Remember your goals and direction and then decide if enduring discomfort is necessary or worth it for what you desire.

Don’t demand yourself be perfect

We can all be perfectionists. We all want to do the best and be the best. But what if for just one day it was ok to be yourself, exactly as you are and that was perfectly perfect enough? Sometimes when we’re on the brink of frustration it’s because we’re demanding too much of ourselves or expecting too much. Consider how you would treat your best friend in the same situation. Treat yourself accordingly. What you’ll eventually notice is that being hard on yourself won’t change the outcome.

Intentionally practise patience

Deliberately put yourself in situations time and time again where your patience is constantly being tested. For example you may:

  • Choose to stand in the longest line
  • Drive behind a slow driver when you’re in a rush
  • Take the longer route to get somewhere
  • Make yourself wait longer
  • Deliberately miss a deadline

Laugh at the problem

Laughing at anything is great at reducing stress. If you’re irritable and you laugh, you will instantly feel calmer about the situation and be able to feel more patient in your situation. When I can’t find the funny side in a situation, I have a lot of friends who will find it for me! If you’re having difficulty, talk to a friend and tell them their job is to find the funny side in your story. See how you feel once they find it and you’re both laughing.

Remind yourself what’s important to you

Is it really important that you achieve that goal exactly on time? What happens if you don’t? What is it about that particular thing that is frustrating you? How does it honestly affect you? Really think about it before you wind yourself up too badly over something. Sometimes simply reminding yourself what’s important to you is enough to practise patience.

In becoming more patient and practising patience you will reduce your stress levels, feel happier, make better decisions, be more empathetic and compassionate to others, and be better able to understand the process associated with growth.

How do you practise patience?

With love The Happiness Hero

happy_2I’m really excited to announce Happiness Weekly is back online! Our Facebook account is now active and we’re set to go with some very exciting news to share, new blogs, a different writing style and more!

During the break I actually received a submission for Happiness Weekly from my colleague, Craig, who saw something on the way to work one morning and it reminded him of Happiness Weekly. That afternoon he returned to the spot to take photos of it and I wanted to share the Happiness Hero’s action-packed version of events:

 

“Picture this…

Pulled up my car in a side street…

Walked to the bus stop where the chair was…

People everywhere…

When I took the photos I was standing in the middle of a bus lane – pretty wild – cars traffic…

Some chick called out “Are u a reporter?”

Well I could not resist the opportunity: “Yes I replied – I am on an assignment for “Happiness Weekly.org.”

For a minute I really thought I was a reporter – till a bus tooted me and shocked me back into reality … Doooohhh!

Have a good day!”

 

Here are the photos he took for us:

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Thank you, Craig the Happiness Hero!

If you have a submission you would like to make to Happiness Weekly, email it to info@happinessweekly.org and we’ll put it up for you or you can post it on our Facebook page and we’ll share it for you.

Happy Independence Day everybody – catch you on Monday!

Get celebrity confidence with these simple tips!

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Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. Norman Vincent Peale

Have you ever noticed in celebrity interviews and on the red carpet that these people – human beings, just like us – have this amazing, shine about them? And then we look in the mirror and there we are … just little old us. No shine, no makeup, no glitz and definitely no glamour … just us. It’s magnetic! It makes you want to be around these people. So what is it that makes them glow like that all the time? This week, Happiness Weekly looks at how you can build your own celebrity confidence.

One of my favourite celebrities with the confidence I’m referring to here is Jennifer Hawkins. Even in her no-makeup selfies on Facebook, she looks amazing! Her self-confidence always seems to shine through whenever there’s a camera in sight. Even just her Facebook photos glow better than the average-jo’s.

Watch your wardrobe

Stop looking for external validation in what you decide to wear. Emma Roberts dresses only to please herself because when she feels good nothing else matters.

Sleep well and stay hydrated

Drink approximately 2L of water each day and aim for eight hours of sleep each night. Jessica Alba says stay hydrated and sleep well and what’s on the inside is really what matters.

Be as healthy as you can be

Eat well, exercise regularly and concentrate on the positive things in your life. Jennifer Hawkins says she’s most confident when she’s the healthiest she can be (eating and exercise) or wearing a great outfit that she’s comfortable in.

Be positive and believe in yourself

Maintaining a positive mental attitude is a reoccurring theme among many celebrities. Jennifer Hawkins says she tries to focus on the good things in her life while Katherine Schwarzenegger (Arnold’s oldest daughter) says “Having a positive attitude is a daily effort. Every morning, make a decision to think positively about yourself.”

Be prepared or experienced where possible

Knowing what you’re doing, being prepared or experienced enables us to approach something with confidence. Prepare yourself as much as you can and go forth with confidence.

Let’s hear it straight from the celebrities themselves. This YouTube clip is called This is where celebrities really find their confidence. Do you think you can mirror that?

Now I want to share this very empowering video with you: Meet yourself: a user’s guide to building self-esteem – Niko Everett.

 

How to be confident – without celebrity guidance – according to Nur

Here’s her video and some of the highlights from what she says is below:

Surround yourself with positive people

Reassess your friends. Surround yourself with the people who make you feel good. They’re happy when you’re happy, they’re supportive when you’re discouraged, they’re there when you need them … if someone in your life doesn’t make them happy, clear them out and move on.

Watch your self-talk

Take a look at your self-talk. For example, many of us use internet dating sights to meet our match these days – what are you telling yourself when you log in? Are you putting yourself down? Are you telling yourself negative things about the people you will meet? If you are – stop it or shift your talk.

Be present when you enter a room

Have your chin at least parallel to the floor and be present as you enter. Put your phone away. Sit up straight with your shoulder’s back. Be conscious of your body language.

Get comfortable on your own

Learn to be completely on your own, without your friends and get comfortable with that. Think about the last time you saw someone on their own – did you stare at them and think “What a loser?” No, probably not. So give it a try! This process will also help you in being decisive as you get to know yourself.

Genuinely say nice things

Compliment people when it’s genuine. Being authentic is critical to your confidence. Praising other people shows you’re not insecure. If it’s not genuine, don’t speak. If you have something negative to say – don’t say it, it will actually hurt your confidence.

Rely on self-validation

Accept compliments with confidence – because you already know. Take compliments and criticisms in the same way. This ensures you are responsible for your highest highs and your lowest lows. Take ownership of your happiness.

Speak with confidence

This is from Nur’s follow up video. Speak slowly, expand your vocabulary, be decisive and unashamed in your decision – delete: “I think”, “I don’t know” and “I guess” from your vocabulary, don’t be verbose in your communication – get to the point, be conscious of your tone, keep a consistent volume even when you’re getting towards the end of the point you’re trying to make, think before you speak, fake it til you make it – make a mental commitment and go for it.

Where’s the gap?

There will always be an area of weakness which really affects our confidence. It’s important to acknowledge that everyone has their own insecurities. Instead of focusing on yours as a negative, embrace them and work to strengthen them.

 

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Letting go – the easy way

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How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar. Trina Paulus

Look around you. Right now. What do you have in your life that’s important to you?

Now imagine that gone. Completely.

Generally even the thought of losing whatever it is makes us feel sad, overwhelmed or possibly even angry.

`While going throughout the journey in life, you’ll eventually come across a point where you need to let go. It may be letting go of a person in your life, it may be letting go of negative thoughts and feelings, it may be letting go of material things. Letting go is the steepest learning curve in attachment. This week Happiness Weekly looks at how you can let go the easy way!

 

Acceptance

Part of letting go is acceptance – acceptance that it is gone, acceptance of your feelings and acceptance of the feelings other people have around you about whatever is gone. For example let’s say we lose someone close to us through a relationship break up or death – there’s not a lot we can do about it, it is what it is – but we will have feelings about it and the people around us will have feelings about it. If we can accept what has happened quickly, then what other people think will bounce off us rather than consume us.

 

Self-validation

I’ve been talking about this a lot lately because it’s true – a lot of the time we look for external validation – but why? We live our lives! Stuff what other people think: What do you think? How do you feel? That’s what matters. Check in with your self and make your internal or self-validation a priority in your life.

 

Be conscious of attachment

If you know you are attached to something (dependent children are different) – let’s say we’re talking about a house, a spouse, a sports car or a romantic partner, start distancing yourself emotionally from whatever it is you are attached to. Practise thinking about letting go of it in the most positive way you can. This is key in recovering quickly if you are to lose it. Even if you just practise it as a passing thought rather than doing a deep meditation over it – if you are to lose it, your mind is prepared and your subconscious will return you with “Oh yeah, you prepared for this – remember when you were thinking this would happen and this is what you thought…” Don’t panic, it’s not the Law of Attraction, it’s preparing for what may eventually happen.

 

Challenge your limiting beliefs

If you were to lose whatever it is you’re attached to, what would it stop you from doing? What is it about that thing that you are so afraid of losing it? How does this thing make you a better person now than what you could be without it? If you lost whatever it is you’re attached to, what would it stop you from being? You’ll find when you start challenging your limiting beliefs about the thing you’re attached to, that you’re able to create distance from it. In fact, you may even discover the thing you’re attached to is holding you back.

 

Believe in yourself

When you believe in yourself, you know exactly what to do. The only way you can believe in yourself is to know who you are. Spend some time on your own exercising your self trust, self acceptance and self love, and learning about yourself and the things you love. Once you know all these things, you’ll be able to believe in yourself, your confidence will grow and you will be ready to face whatever challenge comes your way.

 

Break it down

Take it one day at a time, one step at a time, one moment at a time. You don’t need to let go all at once. But if you use each day to detach piece by piece, you’ll feel stronger because every time we let go of something, we give more energy and power to ourselves. If you are strong enough to let it all go at once, then more power to you – letting go quickly enables you to start your healing journey faster whereas letting go gradually can sometimes just prolong the pain.

 

Let it go

If it comes time that you need to put this into practise: give yourself permission to let it go. Consider other positive stories where people have been in your exact situation (or something very similar) and as a result, have gone on to achieve much bigger and better things. Focus on what you do have, not what you don’t have. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. Read positive affirmations and encourage yourself to let the situation strengthen you. Allow it to make you better not bitter. And remember: When you’re going through hell, just keep going – keep going and going until you’re so far removed from that hell that before you know it, you’re floating with angels again. Remember: nothing can hurt us forever.

 

Finally, if you really want a lesson in letting go, try packing your entire life in a small suitcase and moving overseas to a completely different country … indefinitely. What’s stopping you? Remove the blocks and excuses – and go for it – it will be one of the most empowering things you ever do.

 

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How to get angry and seek healthy revenge

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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. Buddha.

You probably think I’ve lost it – the chief blogger of Happiness Weekly who prides herself on spreading peace and happiness worldwide is writing about getting angry and seeking revenge? What good could come out of embracing an emotion such as anger and responding out of revenge? And I’m not only talking about getting angry but actively seeking revenge?

Yup … I’m crazy. Or am I?

Holding anger in, or suppressing it – which is basically the same – can be unhealthier and even more detrimental to your long-term health, than to actually get angry and respond. Suppressed anger leads to premature death (ie. by 50 years old), long-term depression, increased risk of heart disease, cancer, accidents and suicide.

Not a lot of us have been taught how to get angry. In fact from a young age it’s an emotion that is often to be neither seen nor heard – in my social circle I’ve found that particularly being female impacts this as you’re almost expected not to get angry. Unfortunately when we swallow anger, we also swallow other emotions along with it – such as fear.

I’m often told of people doing the wrong things by each other. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to my friends, it’s happened to colleagues and I’m almost certain at some stage in your life it would have happened to you. In fact, maybe you’re even the person who does the wrong thing sometimes out of anger. That can happen – we’re all human and sometimes we make mistakes – so long as no one gets hurt. So I’m excited about this week’s blog post because this week Happiness Weekly looks at how you can get angry and seek healthy revenge.

 

Embracing anger

Have you felt that overwhelming sense of anxiety, where you have so many emotions as a result of someone hurting you that you actually don’t know what to do so you’re trembling in silence and almost suffocating in agony? All you seem to be able to feel is sheer frustration combined with immense pain? You may have also felt fear.

Anger, when we don’t know how to deal with it properly, will often manifest as other emotions. When our anger finally does explode, we will generally overreact to something impulsively, irrationally and also may not have as much control as we would if we’d dealt with our anger at the time we felt angry. By dealing with our anger at the time, rather than keeping it suppressed, we can continue living a harmonious life. This doesn’t mean you can punch people out when they do the wrong thing by you, although it may be tempting, so today we’re going to look at the healthy ways you can express your anger.

First, it’s important to acknowledge the upside to anger according to Dr Gary J. Oliver, “One of the many potentially positive aspects of anger is that it can serve as a very powerful and effective warning system. Healthy anger can help us identify problems and needs and provide us with the energy to do something about them.”

 

How to express your anger in a healthy way

As I said, it’s best not to go knocking people out every time they wrong you – but it’s almost important to allow yourself to have your feelings and ensure you feel validated in feeling the way you do.

When I first considered the concept of getting angry in a healthy way, it was such a foreign concept to me that I kind of laughed. “I don’t even get angry! I just cry!” It was brought to my attention that those tears were caused by years and years of swallowed and suppressed anger. I had actually had a lot of anger bubbling under the surface but I didn’t know how to let it out so I’d never released it.

One concept I had grasped correctly about anger is that anger is an emotion, not an action. This means you need to express it and in expressing it, you need to figure out a healthy way of doing it – such as seeking “healthy revenge”.

Recognising that you’re angry and dealing with it appropriately won’t hurt you or anyone else. As Dr Gary J. Oliver pointed out, anger can carry messages that act as warnings to us – when we swallow our anger for a long time these loud warning bells start getting dimmed and we start overlooking them and accepting circumstances we don’t like, which links back into my article about cognitive dissonance.

 

How to express your anger in an acceptable way

There’s no right or wrong rule of thumb here, but let’s set some ground rules and boundaries around this to ensure we’re safe and the people around us are safe as well.

–          No one (you or others) should get hurt as a result of your expression of angry (this includes hurting their wellbeing or negatively affecting their life)

–          There should be no consequences from your actions and if there are, you need to accept the punishment

–          Part of knowing how to get angry properly is knowing how to fight fair – if you get angry and then don’t fight fair then you never actually won that fight, whether you feel better about the outcome or not.

Anger Management classes will obviously identify and establish healthy responses to anger. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re passive aggressive (as the movie may suggest) or that you have issues in over-expressing your anger. A few tips for expressing your anger in an acceptable way may include:

–          Assertive communication or waiting until the anger has died down and then communicating

–          Acknowledge that you feel angry and validate yourself

–          Go for a run and really pound your feet against the pavement

–          Smash a pillow onto your bed

–          Healthy revenge – which I’m going to tell you more about now.

 

How to seek healthy revenge

The first thing you need to do is cut the fantasy. Yup, you have to stop fantasising over writing rude words in your neighbour’s lawn with weed killer because their loud partying kept you awake til 3am last night. Stop thinking about slashing your ex’s tires because they cheated on you. Stop thinking about picking up your ex-girlfriend’s sleazy best friend to get back at her. Can you see how these fantasies only make one person look bad at the end of the day? Carry it out and I guarantee the only person who will feel bad will be you. Although I’m sure each fantasy may enable you to express your anger, none of them do anyone any good. In fact, these thoughts waste energy, people’s time and money at the end of the day. Although it may make you feel validated at the time and as though you “won”, none of these things will lead to a positive conclusion. So, instead of bothering with any of that, we’re going to concentrate on how you can really get your anger out and win. The best way to do this is to act for the greater good.

OK, now you’ve quit wasting your time on fantasising and let’s work out how you can actually deal with this anger in a healthy way and then how you can seek healthy revenge.

 

How do you seek revenge in a healthy way?

Warning: DO NOT SEEK REVENGE WHILE YOU’RE STILL ANGRY! If you’re still angry, keep on with the first part of this blog or see a professional psychologist about how you can deal with your anger. Anger is the strongest emotion that can manipulate our responses, causing us to act irrationally.

Now that you’ve dealt with your anger and released it in a healthy way, you’re in a better position to seek revenge. That’s what the first part of this blog was all about, getting in the best possible position you can so that you can use your anger to seek healthy revenge. OK – we’re going to do is something quite radical now…

Instead of seeking revenge on the people who did us wrong, we’re going to look at how we can use this incident to help other people. So literally we’re taking the pain from the situation and we’re going to turn it into power. This is what I’ve been referring to as healthy revenge. This is the only actual revenge that shows you as a positive and balanced individual that is striving for success rather than hurting others as a result of the pain you are feeling. Your response by taking action this way will speak louder, encourage powerful outcomes and create a positive difference – people can see that you got angry in order to take that action but they, and you, will be grateful for the outcome. A really good example of this is Tom Meagher from Melbourne, who contacted the parole board to change their system in order to enable our justice system to protect other women so they don’t get hurt like his wife did. The value that he has added to our world by using his anger to seek positive revenge is incredible.

 

Well that sounds great! But how do we know what action to take?

This is similar to how you were fantasising about plotting revenge, but instead of listing negative scenarios, we’re listing positive scenarios that will assist you in moving forward from the event that hurt you and left you angry.

The best, most dignified way to get angry about something that happened to you, is to make something positive from it. It’s just up to you to come up with what action that may be.

Here are a few steps you could take in order to take healthy revenge:

Step one: Give yourself permission to go on a healthy revenge mission. A big part of this will include forgiving yourself for any part in what happened

Step two: Consider the most positive thing you can do with your anger – for example, I started supporting a domestic violence charity that shuns violence against women after my experience with narcissistic abuse. This action was just one step in seeking healthy revenge, but it was certainly the most empowering response I could’ve had to the situation.

Step three: Get creative. If you’re really angry, spread it out and get creative about it. Contact politicians, start your own business based on the event that affected you, write the story and educate as many people about what happened to you as possible (imagine if it went global and you saved thousands of people from going through the same thing), hit the gym and workout to be strong enough to defend yourself in case it happens to you again … the list goes on.

Events are just events until we add perspective to them. Anger is the one emotion that leaves us feeling completely powerless – unless we do something positive with it. Even negative revenge is a temporary fix. Don’t let your anger beat you.

 

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Anger management techniques

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