The Truth About Forgiveness

when-forgiveness-sets-us-free

Forgiveness can be really hard, but the beautiful truth about forgiveness is that it actually sets us free.

Anyone can hold a grudge but it takes a person with character to forgive. When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what happened was ok, and it doesn’t mean that person should still be welcome in your life or that you should forget what happened. It just means you have made peace with the pain, and are ready to let go. You see, forgiveness is not something we do for other people, but something that we do for ourselves to heal and move forward.

“One of the most courageous decisions you’ll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul”.

~ Brigitte Nicole

The ability to forgive and to let go of past hurts and pains is one of the hardest challenges many of us face. It certainly isn’t always easy to forgive someone who has hurt you but it is absolutely necessary in order for you to sustain long term peace and happiness. In the process of uncovering and letting go of anger, we can restore hope and move on with life. Real forgiveness takes courage and determination.

“People, upon rationally determining that they have been unfairly treated, forgive when they willfully abandon resentment and related responses (to which they have a right) and endeavor to respond to the wrong doer based on the moral principle of beneficence, which may include compassion, unconditional worth, generosity and moral love (to which the wrong doer by nature of the hurtful act or acts, has no right.)”, Dr. Robert Enright.

Here are some key points about forgiveness:

  • Forgiveness and trust are two different things. You can forgive someone for their behaviour and still decide this isn’t someone to trust in your life, or maybe you can allow them to build back that trust over time.
  • You can forgive someone and still hold them accountable for their actions. You can forgive someone without condoning or excusing what they did. Forgiveness does not minimise or justify the bad behaviour. It just allows you to release your own emotional pain to bring you peace and freedom. It allows you to heal so the other person’s bad behaviour no longer holds power over you and keeps you ‘stuck’ in anger and resentment.
  • Forgiveness is a choice. You must be willing to forgive, even if you are not sure how.
  • By forgiving we refuse to play the victim and we let go of the control and power that the offending person has over us. We choose not to allow grudges, hurt or pain to define our lives.

How do we let go and forgive?

  1. Acknowledge what hurt or offended you:

Accept what has happened and reflect upon it. Take note of how you reacted and how it has affected your health and well-being. Don’t try and sweep it under the carpet or down play the offense. Admit what happened and how you responded or reacted.

Practice articulating what was unacceptable about the situation.

  1. Look for a broader perspective:

Make an attempt to understand the other person. Was the offense deliberate, or merely mindless and insensitive? Does the other person even know they’ve hurt you? Were they being selfish or reckless or are they suffering from something else that was at play?

Going through the process of trying to understand the situation sheds new light on the matter and can reduce the level of hurt. Sometimes it can even dissolve it. Perhaps they were having a bad day or perhaps you yourself had been insensitive?

If the behaviour was deliberate and intended to hurt you, reframe it. Accept that the other person’s bad behaviour is only a comment on their own state of mind and not a comment on you. After all it was their behaviour. It belongs to them.

  1. Work through the emotions:

Acknowledge the emotions but do not get stuck in them. Anger is a secondary emotion to pain. Label the emotions as this can help decrease the strength of the emotion and allow it to pass. Practice stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, exercise – anything soothing. Write your thoughts out on paper, or express your emotions to a close and trusted friend. Do not deny yourself the right to your emotions. Accept them and let them go.

  1. Commit to letting go and moving on:

Remember the first reason for forgiveness is about allowing yourself to move forward in peace. Letting go and moving on can take time so be patient with yourself too.

There are many negative consequences from holding onto anger and resentment.

Researchers have noted the following consequences:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling that life lacks meaning or purpose
  • Loss of valuable connections
  • Physical illnesses
  • Reduced immune system
  • Increased risk of alcohol and drug abuse

Scientists and researchers have also discovered many benefits to forgiveness:

  • Increased happiness
  • Increased immune system
  • Restored positive thoughts
  • Overall positive psychological well being
  • Increased compassion and understanding
  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
  • Ability to function better a t home, in the workplace and in interpersonal relationships
  • Increased hope and optimism for the future.
  1. Get Professional Help if you need it:

If you find it too difficult to let go, if the incident was too traumatic or ongoing, consider enlisting the help of a professional. Having peace of mind and being able to move forward clearly are more than worth your while. You can enlist a counsellor / coach like myself who is certified in NLP, Matrix therapies or a psychologist or even a kinesiologist.


An Exercise in Forgiveness:

  1. At the end of the day today, schedule in some alone time to unwind.
  2. Make sure you’re in a place where you feel safe, and will not be interrupted or feel judged by anyone.
  3. Write the name of the person you need to forgive on a piece of paper. If you want you can write down the names of everyone you need to forgive.
  4. Now forgive that person or each person. Say it out allowed “I forgive [name]”.
  5. Think about each and every one of those people, and wish them the best in life. Understand that the only way they would have hurt you was if they were in a bad place themselves. Find a place of compassion for their own pain and wish them healing.
  6. If a lesson has been learnt thank them for the lesson.
  7. Hope for them to find peace. Say “I hope you find peace [name].”
  8. Let out all of the pent up emotion. Cry if you have to. We spend way too much time trying to look strong in front of the world, suppressing all our pain, and this is what causes us to snap at people over petty things because we store up angry energy. Tears are a washing away of this ego, of releasing these negative emotional energies and they allow you to feel new again.
  9. When you are all finished, burn the piece of paper. Allow it to represent a moment of closure. A moment to move on to what life has in store for you next.

Stay beautiful.

Verity xx

Teaching our daughters the truth about beauty.

Teaching our daughters the truth about beauty.

We all want our daughters to be So a few days ago in my private Facebook group, The Beautiful World of Women, one of the ladies posed a dilemma about what’s appropriate in regards to make up and self expression through fashion when raising young girls.

I also have 2 young girls, 7yrs and 10yrs, who have been begging me for make up for years! They love stepping into my heals, they love wearing my cocktail dresses, they’ve been caught with my goddess red lipstick in hand much to my horror and I’ve freaked out at their insistence on wearing 80’s corn blue (aka porn blue) eye-shadow!!!

But how much of this is harmless self expression and where do you draw the line in order to protect them from sexualising themselves and from what is now termed by sociologists as ‘slut culture’. Yes it’s now an actual term!

You know those young women who dress with too much skin exposed solely to express their sexual self in order to seek approval from the boys; the overtly flirtatious giggles, the way too short barely there skirts, the teeny tiny dresses that even as adults we can’t figure out if it’s a dress or if she forgot to put pants on under her slightly longer than normal t shirt, the shockingly over the top garish make-up; the girls on the hunt to attract male attention in order to validate their sexual self as a worthy prize.

Maybe it’s a natural part of growing up, maybe it’s a product of low self esteem, a lack of boundaries or society’s warped perception that women exist for men’s sexual gratification… I mean the marketing world exploits the whole ‘sex sells’ concept on a daily basis. Do we really need to allow our daughters to accept this a ‘coming of age’ stage? What if we, as parents, challenged these perceptions and educate our daughters to validate themselves internally, to feel comfortable in their own skin, to express themselves creatively and through intelligent thought and conversation, to value the virtues on the inside more then their ‘assets’ on the outside (why do we even refer to breasts and buttocks as ‘assets’???) and most importantly how to maintain healthy boundaries and know how to decipher which boys also value Virtues over Vulvas?

In our household my girls know my stance on little girls and make up. It’s a no-no. I’ve set the boundary that they can’t own make up til they’re 16yrs. That’s my boundary and we all need to find our own boundaries that sit well with us as individuals.

In the mean time there’s a few exceptions to the rule, such as dance performances, weddings, adult birthday celebrations etc, and the occasional bonding girls night where we paint our nails and experiment plaiting our hair and lip glosses. I don’t think a total ban on make up is necessary, it just needs its boundaries as much as junk food does.

I think it’s also important to have age appropriate independent use of make up rules ie clear lip balms til 10yrs, then maybe a tinted lip balm after from 10yrs old. Again families need to find their own levels of comfort, but a clear lip balm never hurt anyone but the wool carpet it gets mushed into.

I’ve also found it useful to teach the girls about why I wear make up. I wear “barely there” make-up to work on a daily basis and keep it basic and use neutral colours, but I also love getting expressive with make-up for date nights and playing with sparkly gold glittery eye shadows and coloured eye liners. I’m pretty fond of my poppy red lipstick, my Chanel N’5 perfume, my black eyeliner, my bronzer, my highlighter, a good blush, eye primer….. ok so you get the picture – I LOVE to play with make up!  So I like to emphasise to my daughters that make-up and fashion is a creative process and a form of self expression vs the ‘I wear make-up to make myself look pretty’. Make-up will not fix your life and nor is it a solution for low self-esteem and self-worth.

It’s a fine line because we all know the power of a red lipstick that instantly boosts your confidence and the magic of mascara that lengthens our lashes to frame the windows of our souls….. but confidence and highlighting our assets are concepts I feel are too much for young girls to navigate when they haven’t yet learnt that confidence and beauty come from within first and foremost!!

The most empowering concepts I can talk to my girls about as we navigate these issues heading into puberty, is to have open discussions about beauty and what beauty means, not just to me but to them as well; to help them understand that real beauty is something we cultivate from the inside and not from a $25 lip gloss.

We won’t always know if our conversations are really sinking in at times until those golden moments, like last month, when Olivia was watching me getting ready in the morning and commented, ‘Mummy you don’t need make up to be beautiful. You’re already beautiful to me just as you are’.

Those are the mornings now I put my own eyeliner down and find myself trusting in the beauty they see in their own eyes…..

So what do I want to teach my daughters about beauty?

To be honest it hit me the most when I went through all our photos trying to find the right image for this blog. The most beautiful photos I could find were the crazy ones of us, pulling sill faces, throwing our heads back with laughter, celebrating birthdays, Olivia learning to surf, Lila shoving our beloved chicken down the slide, the first time Olivia and I went scuba diving when she was 8yrs, the holidays we bonded, the giant bubble spa baths that got out of control, my daughters with a face covered in food…..our ability to create beautiful memories…. now that is true beauty.

If you want more information about re framing the idea of beauty as concept of creative self expression, download The Truth About Beauty ebook, and check out our Mother & Daughter workshops!

Stay beautiful xx

#TheGoodGirlRules

#TheGoodGirlRules; The Story of How to Lose Oneself

Do you still play by #TheGoodGirlRules?

Did it give you everything you ever wanted? Are you completely and utterly loved and adored and if so is it for being The Good Girl or for being who you truly are……?
I’m pretty well experienced in playing the Good Girl. If there was a “Miss Universe Good Girl People Pleaser”, I’d have won it a thousand times! Which is probably why at 32yrs, I finally broke. Oh I cracked big time! After years, fine, decades of playing by #TheGoodGirlRules, I finally lost who I truly was, I was running on empty with nothing to give anyone, I fell out of love with my husband (who is actually a lovely guy) and I fell out of love with myself. My life did not resemble anything I had hoped for and the cracks were beginning to split right open.

So I decided to FUCK The Good Girl Rules. Yep I said it. #FuckTheGoodGirlRules

 

So what are #TheGoodGirlRules?

They’re all those messages we grew up with from our parents, peers and society on how, as women, we can learn to be a valued member of society….

 

Why is this an issue? Don’t we want to be good?

A week ago I put out a call for a group of 14,000 women to share the “good girl” rules they were brought up with. I was sick and tired of being told I needed to follow a set of rules to be successful, fit and happy and wanted to know if others were tired of it too.

The response was overwhelming, passionate and shocking. Some of the stories were humorous but the majority of stories unearthed that there are still massive sexist stereotypes and social expectations of women worldwide. Patronising, diminishing, weakening, dis-empowering, shaming….. What started off as a post for my own outburst/tantrum turned into a massive group therapy session for over 100 women divulging their own personal experiences about having suffered by #TheGoodGirlRules. And what’s worse is that we are still living by these ‘Good Girl Rules’.

You see these #GoodGirlRules keep us in “our” place, they stop us from expressing our own deep desires, they curb us from being free to speak up and speak out, they shame us into being meek and diminish our true beautiful inner strength. They keep us small and scared.

All fired up and based on all the responses and research, I dissected it all into 9 basic #TheGoodGirlRules. Follow them if you must but I’d advise you wait til you read part 2 of this blog….. #FuckTheGoodGirlRules (on cue – smile sweetly).

 

THE GOOD GIRL RULES;

1. The Good Girl is obsessed about the “right thing”.

After all being right is being good. The Good Girl does the right thing by her parents and her teachers. She avoids answering questions in school (what if she’s wrong?). She grows up worried about ‘what if’ she does the wrong thing! The Good Girl never takes risks; she always plays it safe. She takes the safe job. Marries the safe option.  She lets others make the big decisions for her. It’s nice to have dreams but let’s just keep those silly little dreams to ourselves shall we? Good girl.

2. The Good Girl is perfect all the time.

The Good Girl dresses as well as she can, looks the part and acts the part. She can’t break the rules, she can’t make a mistake, she can’t get it wrong, she can’t disappoint…. She must do what she’s told. Keep flawless, that will please the others. Don’t crack the facade…. She lets everyone think she’s happy. Don’t let others see the truth. Oh with this rule she can marry the good looking wealthy boy, who doesn’t care about her needs too. Take another happy selfie for Instagram. Keep up the outside appearances and you might want to just cut back on the cake…. There, that’s a Good girl.

3. The Good Girl never makes others feel inferior.

This means the Good Girl can never shine too bright in fear that her success or happiness might make someone else feel bad about their own circumstances. She dumbs herself down, she talks herself down, she refuses compliments, she tries not to stand too tall in her own shoes and therefore shrinks herself just enough to not be a threat to others. This also encourages her to believe she’s not really enough (one should keep herself caged). Remembers one can’t shine too brightly and heaven forbid embarrass the boys. This also mean that The Good Girl must suppress her natural talents. You see if she is of service to others, they will find her valuable BUT if she actually uses her natural talents or her brains (what do girls need maths for anyway) and outshines someone, she will be a threat. Stop shining and start serving. Don’t cast shadows on others by shining so brightly. Turn the light off. Shrink back. Step back. Out the way. Thank you, you’re such a good girl.

4. The Good Girl must constantly seek external validation.

The Good Girl constantly watches herself through the eyes of others, analysing what they must be thinking of her, quietly adjusting her behaviour continuously so as to keep the status quo. Yes, it’s exhausting constantly worrying about the opinions of others but if she stops seeking this external validation how would she know who she is pleasing, who will validate her, who will love her? How will she know if she belongs? If she’s accepted?? Keep watching, keep smiling…. there’s a Good Girl.

5. The Good Girl does not rock the boat – Part 1.

Don’t speak unless spoken to. Little girls should be seen and not heard. Don’t offer your opinion, it might upset someone. Don’t speak your mind because someone might disagree. Nod politely. If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all. Strong + Independence = Threat. The Good Girl threatens nobody (see rule #3). The Good Girl should be concerned only with what is “right” (see rule #1). If she doesn’t upset anyone she’ll be accepted. She’ll be easy to get along with.  A pleasant girl. A nice simple girl. A Good Girl.

6. The Good Girl does not rock the boat. Part 2.

The Good Girl doesn’t get Emotional. Look pretty, act cute, smile sweetly now. Yes, even if you’re sad. No, please don’t show your emotions or be emotional! Good heavens! No one else wants to be brought down by your own burdens! Emotional means you have needs after all and The Good Girl doesn’t acknowledge her needs unless she is alone where her needs won’t intrude upon other people’s lives. Emotional = hard work. So chin up! Keep smiling! What a pretty looking girl. What a Good Girl.

7. The Good Girl loves to please others. (“Loves” or “Lives” to please others? So hard to tell these days…)

Parents. Children. Husbands. Lovers. Employers. Friends. Hell even strangers. The Good Girl lets others go first, ensures she made her parents happy and proud (she’ll sacrifice her own dreams to please anyone!), ensures her husband is well fed, his shirts are ironed (even though he has arms), house is tidy (he also lives here), children are bathed and their little lives are completely organised, errands are run, presents are bought (for everyone including the in-laws), bosses are happy (the guilt of taking sick days when the children are ill or even worse if she is ill), friends are never let down (even if she’s not well enough to attend their parties)….. The Good Girl pleases everyone regardless of how stressed, exhausted, hungry, sick and miserable she may feel. Only then can she truly confuse ‘self love’ with ‘selfish’. The Good Girl starts forgetting who she is. What a very Good Girl!

8. The Good Girl keeps house.

While the boys get metal work and welding The Good Girl takes up Home Economics (or How to Keep a Husband 101) learning how to cook and clean and sew a pillow case. Good Girl! This also helps with keeping up appearances, pleasing the in laws, being worthy of a good husband regardless if he’s worthy of you (This isn’t about The Good Girls’ needs anyway remember!). And in the mean time she might even have a full time job (well it’s only fair as he works too!).

9. The Good Girl doesn’t have sex.

The Good Girl must keep her legs crossed, eyes down and be meek and mild. Good Girls do not flirt. Good Girls do not giggle at boys. Good Girls cover up. Good Girls must never even kiss boys and must never express themselves sexually unless in a serious committed relationship. Even then it must all be kept behind closed doors. Good Girls must act virginal and innocent. No man wants to marry a bad girl! It may seem like double standards as boys can sleep with as many girls as possible, but boys will be boys! Your body doesn’t really belong to you anyway, it’s a present for a man, after all HE doesn’t want a “tainted’ women or second hand goods! Legs crossed! Good Girl.

In fact while writing these rules it became clear that no wonder women are so overwhelmed by what they ‘should’ do, or who they ‘should’ be.

No wonder women are over burdened by juggling so many balls in trying to be it all and have it all.

No wonder so many women struggle to separate their own needs and desires with the needs and desires of those that they love.

No wonder so many women don’t speak up and don’t step up to leadership roles.

No wonder we struggle to find own place in the world or struggle to even begin to entertain the thought that maybe, just maybe….. there’s something more for us in this world.

To be perfectly honest writing even these 9 #GoodGirlRules made me feel nauseous. I’ve been caged by these rules, I’ve been enslaved to desperately wanting to be the Good Girl purely to make others happy and I’ve seen it in others too. While they may seem slightly dramatic there is truth in every single one of them.

The world is definitely changing, but unless we’re aware of what the ‘rules’ are that we’ve been conditioned to live by as women, how do we know what rules to break? Now don’t get me wrong! I love to sew and I like to cook good food for my family. I love serving my clients and I love supporting my family and friends – but these are now CHOICES I freely make and not things I feel are expected of me in order to feel valued or of worth to others.

Today I validate myself. I exist to be the best possible version of myself. It’s my responsibility to make me happy and to live a life that is true to MY passions and MY purpose. And there is nothing more powerful than drawing the line in the sand, digging our heels in, staring the world in the face and saying  #FuckTheGoodGirlRules.

It’s time to break free.

To be continued….

If you’d love to read Part 2 #FuckTheGoodGirlRules, sign up to ‘Notes from A Beautiful Truth’ to stay connected!

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When Beauty Turns Ugly

When beauty turns ugly

When does beauty turn ugly? How do you be truly beautiful without buying into all the marketing and pressure of looking like Australia’s next top model? How can you get beautiful without the Chanel eye shadow and spending $10,000 on breast implants?

Today’s blog is all about exploring beauty and how you can embrace your own unique style of beauty in your life.

Let’s explore real beauty….

Beauty is found in many things; in harmonies in music, in waves crashing on the shores, in the strokes on a canvas, in the hand sewn seams of a carefully constructed couture gown, in the simple gesture of holding someone’s hand, in the colours of a sunset, in fashion magazines, advertising…. Beauty and ideas of beauty are everywhere.

 

What is beauty?

Beauty is in essence is a combination of qualities that pleases your sense. Its leaves you in awe and inspires. So why is ‘beauty’ so hard to get? Why do so many people struggle to feel beautiful? Why do you struggle with feeling beautiful?

True beauty, real deep beauty that awes and inspires, is beauty that’s based in ‘creating’ not ‘competing’.  ‘Creating’ comes from a place of empowerment and inspiration while ‘competing’ comes from a place of fear and ‘not good enough’.

You see, that’s really where I think the problem with beauty lies.


When beauty turns competitive, beauty turns ugly.


 

You start comparing your bodies to someone else’s who is skinnier, curvier, more glamorous hair, bigger eyes, bigger breasts, prettier, taller, smaller thighs….. and your level of confidence slowly starts to erode.

That’s when you stop appreciating yourself and start to criticise yourself instead, slowly picking yourself apart, opening wounds and tearing at your self-esteem and self-worth. When you compare yourself to another person you stop seeing your own true self-worth. You stop seeing your own personal and unique beauty. Instead you start seeing yourself as ‘not good enough’.

How do you create beauty in yourself?

Cultivating or creating beauty in you is actually pretty easy. It does however require a conscious effort which can be the hard part. Here are 3 simple steps you can start with today!

1.Know who you are;

This is about knowing your strengths and the great qualities that make you who you are. It’s also about knowing exactly what you are and what you stand for i.e. your truth. It’s crucial to know and really be firm in believing what you bring to the table. This is the basis of your self-worth.

2.Stop comparing yourself to others;

In other words STOP tearing you down! When you know what you bring to the table, focus on that. Stop focusing on models splashed on front pages, because they’re been edited to an inch of their lives. Trust me – I worked in the industry! Even size 8 Miss Universe contestants have been digitally sliced and diced to an inch of their lives.  Media doesn’t portray what’s real. It’s manipulated to pray on your insecurities. Don’t buy into it. Appreciate who you are and what you are capable of. Everyone has that little voice in their head that tells them ‘I shouldn’t’, ‘ I can’t’ , ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘ I’ll never get this right’….etc. Learn to stop the inner critic and become your own cheerleader.

3.Discover you ‘why’;

‘Why’ is BIG news right now!! Major international companies are rewriting their policies and company statements around their ‘why’. Why? (Couldn’t help myself!) Because your ‘why’ is your driving force, this is what motivates you and is the basis of your ‘purpose’. Your ‘why’ is your passion.

Not sure where to start with these tips? Be Beautiful Be You Workbook

Easy ! “Be Beautiful. Be You” is a little workbook designed work book that’s been created to inspire you to start to discover your authentic self in order to embrace and bring forth your true unique inner beauty. Grab it here.

Bonus points and gold star if you came back and tell me the difference it made to you!

For more inspiration sign up to “Notes from A Beautiful Truth”, a monthly dose of love, beauty, truth and inspiration.

Remember;

There’s no competition in real beauty.

Only creation.

 

Stay beautiful xx