Archive for the ‘sensuality’ Category
August has been a month of inspiration for me. I was in Edinburgh, Scotland with my man, sister and brother in law for the first part of the month. In addition to castles, caverns and churches we went to shows at the largest Fringe in the world. That’s a story in and of itself! Then home for the second largest Fringe in the world. At both Fringes I saw good, mediocre and poor shows. Shows that inspired and shows that made me laugh.
For inspiration, one of the shows I saw here at home was Marathon written and performed by Fringe veteran, TJ Dawe. TJ has been on a growth and discovery path over the past few years and these themes appear in his shows. One of the topics he discussed in this show was the three instincts from the Enneagram personality system.
The Three Instincts are:
- Self Preservation: This is the instinct to be sure you are safe and taken care of. This instinct features a great deal of independence and desire for comfort. It is a gathering of energy.
- Sexual: Despite the name, this is not all about sex. This instinct is about one on one connection and seeking new experiences. It is a giving/releasing of energy.
- Social: This instinct leads to seeking the company of others. It is a sharing of energy.
Everyone has all three instincts. We all have one that’s our fallback, the one that makes us feel safest.
- Self Preservation types are the ones who over pack for trips “just in case”. They always have water and snacks with them. Everything about their surroundings is about being sure that there are no surprises and they won’t have to ask for help.
- Sexual types look for chances to take risks. They often do things alone or with one other person. They like to be stimulated and surprised.
- Social: types love to be around groups. They will make sure that they go out with lots of friends. They look for ways to connect with many people at a time. They feel best surrounded by others.
We also all have one that’s in balance. It exists in us without running our life.
The third instinct will be our challenge. It’s the one we have to make an effort to cultivate. Not sure what it is? Look at your life and if it’s the one you “brag” about when you do it, that’s your challenge spot. Proud when you remember your water bottle? Self Preservation is your challenge. Pat yourself on the back when you do something new? Sexual is hard for you.
For me, it’s Social. When I’m in a social situation I can appear very comfortable as I’ve been working on it for years. However, I always have anxiety and have to talk myself into going to anything in a group. Especially if it’ll be mostly strangers. Then, when I do get myself to go, I make a big deal out of it. I’ll list it in my successes for the day. I’ll pat myself on the back. I may even tell someone else about how amazing I was because I talked to two new people! Wowzers.
I thought for sometime as to which of the three instincts are my strong point. Without doing a full analysis based on the Enneagram method, this is what I’ve concluded.
I switch back and forth between Self Preservation and Sexual depending on how I’m feeling about myself.
When I feel lost or unsure of myself, I’m all about Self Preservation. All I want to do is stay safe. I’ll worry about the future. I’ll make sure I have as much safe padding around me as possible so I don’t feel out of control. I get more introspective and withdraw.
When I’m feeling good about myself and my direction, I’m all about the Sexual instinct. I put myself out there. I take risks. I speak boldly. I’m creative and out of the box. Self Preservation still exists (I tend to have water and snacks with me) but it’s more secondary, more in balance.
So, what does this all mean? Well, to be completely honest, I’m not sure. I found this concept very interesting and wanted to share it. I think it’s important to be aware of how we function and what makes us tick, what runs us. I look forward to learning more and getting more insights on how these manifest in my life.
This information has really helped me see my patterns. Awareness allows us to be clear about what we need to go forward and what is holding us back.
Knowing that I struggle with the Social instinct (which is really not a surprise) helps me put more attention on building it up.
Knowing that I flip flop between Self Preservation and Sexual helps me be aware of when I’m in my passion and when I’m struggling with direction. This awareness can help me seek solutions to the latter.
I’d be curious to hear what your thoughts are on the Three Instincts. What are your strengths and challenges and how does it manifest in your life?
Have a PURRfect day!
Hugs, Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
On the CBC show Head too Toe yesterday there were some parents talking about keeping their young girls from participating in the princess craze that seems to be running rampant. The concern of these parents was to keep their daughters from thinking that this is the only way that you can be a girl. Their solution was to ban it.
While I understand the desire to teach their girls that they don’t have to wait for Prince Charming to save them, that they are strong and capable of anything, I feel that their approach is misguided. Banning one point of view does not help confirm another.
How is this any different from banning your boys from playing with dolls? Or banning girls from playing in the dirt? Or from telling your girl she’s pretty and your boy he’s smart? Or from dressing your boys in blue and your girls in pink? Or from telling them that girls are good at some things and boys another?
The key is not taking away one thing hoping they will gravitate to another, it’s about teaching them balance.
Playing princess is not inherently a bad thing – whether it’s your girl or your boy. It’s one of many ways that children explore who they are and what is possible in their lives. It doesn’t mean they’re going to want to “be a princess” when they grow up. Unless, of course, they get the message that that’s the best option along with the dresses and shoes.
One story I loved in the show yesterday was the woman who was looking through a book on Princess Di with her daughter. In that book she saw pictures of her in jeans and body armor and in various situations. This was a moment to let her daughter know that being a princess isn’t all about pretty dresses and living in a castle. It’s about helping people, about love and caring, about taking responsibility and being strong – just like everyone else in the world.
It feels to me that the need to blur the lines between gender has gone too far. There is nothing wrong with being female or male or a little of both.
Another story I recently heard on CBC gave a little more hope. It was about a young boy in Edmonton who started life as a girl. He knew from a very young age that this just wasn’t right. He confided in his little sister who then told their parents. They talked to their daughter about her need to be treated as and eventually be a boy and realized that it was real. Now this 13 year old is living as a boy. He won’t be able to get his gender reassigned for some time, but in the meantime, he is treated as a he. His friends accept him, his family accepts him, his school is behind him.
Gender is fluid and solid at the same time. It’s important at a young age to be able to explore. It’s important for parents not to freak if their children waver from what they think their gender means and simply let them be who they are in that moment.
When I was young I wanted to be a boy. There were many reasons for this including that my parents divorced when I was young and as the oldest I felt I needed to be strong and, for me in the early 70′s, that meant being more boy-like. I always wanted to be the dad when playing house. I would put a ball in my pajamas to see what it would be like to be a boy. I never felt I wanted to be a boy, just more like the boys. It passed. It took me a long time, though, to really accept that I could be as strong as I felt I was and needed to be as a woman.
The important thing is to teach our children – and accept ourselves – that anything is possible no matter what genitals are attached to our body. Whether we are dressed as princesses or bikers. Whether we decide to be nurses or rocket scientists. Celebrate the individuality we are all born with.
I just got back from Edinburgh and while there, I checked out some shows at their giant Fringe Festival. The show No Belles was the one I enjoyed most. It was 3 women telling stories about women, well known and less known, who excelled in science. It was a well structured show that really touched my heart. Despite all odds – no pay, sickness, lack of respect and more – these women went ahead and made a difference.
If your little girl is into princesses right now, it will pass. Tell her stories, let her wear pretty dresses, let her watch the Disney movies and, at the same time, give her other options and tell her stories of women who made their own way and made a difference in the world.
Allow yourself and your children to express who they are, to look into options and ideas, to follow their dreams and just be. Even the princess craze is OK.
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
Recently I was listening to a comedian who compared women to dogs and men to cats. What! If this is true, I might have to change my name!
It was an very funny piece. I can’t really do it justice, so go ahead and listen to Jodi Miller explain why men are cats and women are dogs.
Can you see her point? The aloof cat expecting to be fed and looking out the window at nothing? Yep, that’s a man. The dog eager to please, wanting company, cleaning up after everyone. Yep, that’s a woman.
A little more clinical, but just as funny is this explanation between men’s and women’s brains and how they work. You could still use the word cat and dog to explain them as well! Check out a Tale of Two Brains.
I can totally see that comparison. However, the reason I call myself – and all women – Bad Kitties still stands.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, this is why:
Cats are all individuals. They all have their own unique personality. We bring them into our home and expect them to behave in a certain way so when they scratch the furniture or eat the plants we yell at them “bad cat!” They will stop what they’re doing – until your back is turned.
Cats are always true to who they are.
We, like cats, are born perfect and beautiful with our own unique personality. We are also born into a society that expects us to behave in a certain way. Wanting to be loved and accepted, we take those parts of ourselves that we are told are “wrong” or “bad” and put them into little boxes with tight lids. We take those boxes into the sub-sub basement of ourselves and put them behind a 12″ steel door with 14 padlocks and pretend it doesn’t exist.
We then go through our lives wondering why we have lost our passion, keep making bad decisions, set aside our dreams and, in general, can’t seem to be happy.
Being a Bad Kitty is about grabbing a blowtorch, heading down to that sub-sub basement and cutting off all those padlocks. After flipping open the door, take out the little boxes, flip open the lids and take back those parts of yourself that you’ve been hiding.
When that happens you become a Bad Kitty:
B eautiful (as you are; no changes required)
A uthentic (you are amazing just as you are; no changes required)
D ivine (honoring your spirit, your passion, yourself)
K ompletely (no compromise)
I ndividual (beautiful in your uniqueness)
T otally (every bit of you adds up to something fabulous)
T rue (constant, unaffected by the standards of others)
Y ou (yes, YOU are a Bad Kitty!)
Whether you feel more like a dog or a cat, you deserve to live your life as a Bad Kitty, given the definition above. So find ways to be true to you. Love yourself in all your crazy fabulousness. Take care of the body you’ve been given. Honor your dreams and goals. Stand up for you!
Because you, yes YOU are a Bad Kitty. Be Beautiful, Be YOU!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
Last night I had an amazing experience. I went to the Queen with Adam Lambert concert. And I learned some lessons from Queen.
I’ve been a big fan of Queen for a long time. Let me define “long time.”
I grew up in a fairly sheltered musical environment. When I was very young my sister and I listened to the radio and our mom’s records. A lot of Neil Diamond and oldies. When I got a little older, we were fundamental Protestant church goers so only listened to “Christian” music such as Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. Even Christian rock was frowned upon. We did rebel a little on that but only listened to our Petra records on the sly.
We heard songs on the radio and at school but didn’t have any “secular” music in our home. There were plenty of songs that I liked that were “satanic” but I didn’t really know band names or details of the music, just that I enjoyed the beat and knew the lyrics.
It wasn’t until I was much older – late 20′s and on – that I started to put together who performed some of my favorite songs. Three of the bands that I realized were my favorites were AC/DC (which I saw a few years ago and LOVED), Eagles (which I’ve never seen) and, of course, Queen.
When I heard Queen was coming – with Adam Lambert attempting to fill Freddie Mercury’s shoes – I wanted to go. When might another chance like this come along? Having seen Adam Lambert on Glee, I was fairly certain he could do a decent – if not better than decent – job.
One day on Facebook I saw a post – a friend couldn’t use her Queen ticket. TADA! I was on my way.
Lesson: The universe listens when you put out your desires.
People often ask me how I can do things like concerts, plays, and so on alone. My philosophy is that I’d rather go alone to something than miss out because I can’t find anyone to go with. Granted, someone may have come with me, and if I had waited to find someone, I might have missed out on the chance.
Lesson: Jump on opportunities that arise!
The show was 2 hours of magic.
Two original members – Roger Taylor and Brian May were so incredible! They are certainly getting up there but watching them was a revelation. There are a lot of good – even great – musicians out there, young and old. The thing about these guys was not only how amazingly fast their fingers and arms move, it was about skill and finesse. One of my least favorite parts of rock concerts is the drum and guitar extended solos. They usually turn into a mass of noise as the players wank off showing how fast they can go. After a 5 minute guitar solo by Brian, I was still mesmerized at not only the speed of some parts but the musicality overall. 40 years after their first hits, these guys are masters of their craft.
Lesson: When you have the talent and passion, age is not a factor.
Adam Lambert had big shoes to fill. Freddie Mercury is a legend. Even though I never had the opportunity to see him live, his reputation certainly precedes him. Adam didn’t try to imitate or overshadow Freddie. He was the perfect mix of respect and individuality. His 5 costume changes and respectful pauses as video of Freddie played during Bohemian Rhapsody showed the right amount of bluster and reverence.
Lesson: Change can be good.
To close the show, they did their biggest hits, of course – Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are the Champions/We Will Rock you. During Bohemian Rhapsody, Adam took a break while video of Freddie played on the big round screen. During the middle section they played part of a music video. The whole show was so beautifully produced and this part was truly magical. It brought me to tears. We Are The Champions was virtually a religious experience with everyone standing and swaying with their hands in the air. I was moved by the whole night. The talent, the music, the joy, the respect, the awe of the entire experience.
Lesson: Beauty comes in many forms.
This concert will be a highlight of my live performance experiences whether it be theatre, music or other. Queen lives up to their name. They reign supreme!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
Sexy. What a loaded word. When you hear it what do you see in your mind? A slender woman in a bikini on a beach with her back slightly arched and one leg bent? A man with his jeans down around his hips, shirt off with a coy smile and defined six pack? A larger woman owning her body working her positive attitude? A balding man listening to you intently as you talk about your bad day? A woman dressed in a form hugging dress and 4″ stillettos? A tall man in jeans that cup his butt? An older woman who owns her wrinkles? A small man with a large personality?
What is sexy? Let’s start by talking about what it is not:
- It is NOT how you dress. A slit up to your hip or down to your belly button can be sexy and so can a high neck and long skirt – it just depends who is wearing it.
- It is NOT how you look. Short, tall, slim, heavy, light, dark, fit, fluffy, scars, smooth skinned, however you happen to look – no matter how far from the media ideal – you can be sexy.
- It is NOT sexual. Sexy really has very little to do with sex. It is about who you are.
Sexy is about what draws people to you. It is an aura you carry with you. It is a way of being that portrays your best self in every situation.
There are Seven Secrets of Sexy. If you have, or can cultivate, these seven things, you are sexy. The more you have, the sexier you are.
- Authenticity: People who are truly themselves are always sexy. It’s a hard quality to quantify as it’s more a feeling. We can always tell when someone is being true. Sometimes people can fool us for a short time, but eventually the cracks begin to show when someone isn’t fully authentic. Cultivate your own truth. Live by your own values. Know what is important to you. When you honor yourself, it shows and others are drawn to it because it’s a rare and super-sexy quality.
- Confidence: Confidence and authenticity go hand in hand. When you really know yourself, you are automatically confident. Confidence allows you to speak your truth. It gives you the strength to ask for what you want and need without reservation. Confidence shines through in how you dress, how you carry yourself, how you speak, how you treat others. True confidence is admired – and totally sexy.
- Positive Attitude: Negative people are not sexy. They give off a vibe that makes others uncomfortable and unhappy. A positive attitude, on the other hand, lifts others up. People love to be around those who make them feel good. Feeling good and loving life is definitely sexy.
- Kind/Loving: Treating others with respect and love comes from all of the above. When we are authentic, confident and positive we are more patient with others. In our busy society it’s easy to forget that other people have feelings. That there is often a good reason for what they do – if we just took the time to find out. That everyone needs to be treated with kindness. Live by the Golden Rule and you will definitely be sexy.
- Playful: Loving life creates a sense of play. Playfulness is an attitude and a way of life. An easy laugh, a funny comment, a sense of joy are all playful. So is running toward the swings at the playground you pass on your evening walk. When you are willing to play physically, emotionally and in conversation your sexy side is obvious to the world.
- Fearless: When we are fearful, we play small. That is not sexy. The fearless take risks. They push themselves personally, professionally and physically. They play big. They don’t hide from a challenge. You don’t have to be a secret agent to be sexy. Just take a risk or two.
- Sensual: We’ve spoken about sensuality many times in this blog. Simply re-stated, be in touch with your senses. Whether it’s truly tasting your food, smelling the flowers, enjoying the feel of the fabric on your skin, appreciating a beautiful view. listening to your favorite music or using all your senses during sex – sensuality is a key to being sexy. It makes life so much more enjoyable and keeps you present in your life. Yep, that’s sexy.
It’s time to stand out. It’s time to own what makes YOU sexy. Use these Seven Secrets of Sexy and discover YOUR sexy side. You deserve it and the world needs to see more of these qualities of sexy.
Have a PURRfect – and super sexy – day!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
Happiness. It’s something we all strive for. It’s something that often seems elusive. And yet, it really isn’t rocket science. Like anything else in our life, it’s a choice.
“Happiness is not the ideal of reason, but of imagination.” Immanuel Kant
Keeping it simple, you get to decide. Am I happy or not? A lot of books have been written on the subject. Here’s an amazon search if you feel the need to dig deeper into the subject.
People talk about all the things that they would be happy if they could have/do/be.
“I’d be happy if I had a better relationship.”
“If I had the job I really want, I’d be happy.”
“Living in a different city would make me happy.”
“If my family was like that, I’d be happy.”
“More money would make me happy.”
And so it goes on and on and on. I have news for you – life is short. Why not be happy NOW. Why not choose to be happy? Why not see all the wonderful things you have rather than focusing on what you don’t?
To quote the chorus – “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. Clap along if you know what happiness is to you. Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do.”
In the spirit of being happy, even as the weather is dreary outside my window, here’s a small list of what makes me happy.
- My cat sleeping and purring on my lap
- Getting a surprise phone call from my niece
- Finding something I love that I thought was lost
- My dog jumping all over with her own happiness when I come home
- Hearing a song I love that I haven’t heard in a long time
- Trying something new and enjoying it
- A baby’s laugh
- Good chocolate
- Coming across a movie I love by chance on TV
- Getting a kiss from my partner after a long day apart (it always seems like a long time apart)
- Making a discovery that inspires me
- A great smell – bread, turkey, cut grass, oranges, flowers
- First snow
- Going on a new adventure
- A great book
- A surprise that makes me laugh
That’s only 20 things. I could keep going. How about you? It’s time for you to make your because I’m happy list.
When you get overwhelmed or feel sad, look at your list. I have no doubt that at least one things will either be present or easy to find in the moment to make you smile. Hold onto that feeling when times get hard or even when you’re feeling a little down for whatever reason.
Do SOMETHING that makes you happy, even if seems silly. Happiness is worth a little effort. It doesn’t take much. And it’s so much more fun that wallowing!
Because I’m happy – and choose to be – clap along and have PURRfect day!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
I’ve been thinking lately that it’s been far too long since I’ve done something to stretch my comfort zone. Honestly, mine is pretty broad so it’s hard to stretch it. The problem is, that since I haven’t challenged myself in awhile, I find my comfort zone shrinking. I find myself saying no to things I would have jumped at not that long ago. Or making excuses. Or simply taking a blase attitude.
I don’t like it! I love taking risks, having fun, going out on a limb. How about you?
I find when I do something that stretches me, a few things happen. These are the 3 stages to stretching your comfort zone:
- Feel some resistance – even fear – at first.
- Decide to do it anyway.
- Feel great afterwards – like anything is possible.
My question is isn’t going past the fear/resistance worth the end result? For me it certainly is.
Everyone is different. We all have things that are hard for us that we are still curious about or interested in. This is different from what we were discussing last time – those things you know you are bad at that you don’t care about. For example, I hate sports, yet I still like stretching myself with physical activities like rappelling, rafting, dance, yoga, zip lining and so on. Because I’m not athletic, I find these things challenging AND I enjoy them.
I’m not a very social person. I’m an introvert. I find mingling in groups very difficult. Making small talk is far from one of my strengths. I still push myself, though, because I know it’s valuable and I feel great when I make a new contact as a friend or for business.
What is this thing for you?
Here are some things to think about to help you find things to stretch your comfort zone:
- What is something you’ve wanted to do that freaks you out and excites you at the same time?
- What is something that makes you uncomfortable that you know will give you personal benefit if you overcome that discomfort?
- What is something that you’ve tried before that you would like to do again at a higher level?
- What is something that you see others doing that you wish you could do?
- What is something that is totally out there that makes you giggle and think, “that looks fun – and crazy! I could never do that.”
Recently I was listening to the radio and they were playing a game of “would you rather” which puts two equally desirable or undesirable (for most people) things together and asks, which you would rather have to do in your life. It can be a fun game since there are no consequences and you learn a lot about the people you’re playing with.
One of the challenges posed on the show was “Would you rather have to french kiss every stranger you meet or never kiss anyone ever again.” I immediately thought I would rather kiss strangers. I love kissing and I’d hate to never be able to kiss anyone ever again! I know I’ll never have to make this decision, and yet it’s stuck in my mind.
Then I saw a video that’s been making the rounds this week. 20 Strangers Kiss for the First Time. Well, look at that! 20 people VOLUNTEERED to kiss a stranger. Talk about getting out of your comfort zone! It’s a pleasure to watch the transformation of these people. At first they’re shy, giggling, wondering what they got themselves into.
The resistance/fear stage.
Then you can see them shift from fear to acceptance. Well, I said I’d do this so let’s get on with it.
The do it anyway stage.
Then they do it. They get intimate with a stranger. They go deep. They give this person they just met- and may not even remember their name – a real, full on, open mouthed kiss. Their faces and physical connection with their partners afterwards says it all.
The feel great afterwards stage.
I’m making a commitment to start stretching again. Like a muscle, the comfort zone atrophies if not stretched. One way I’d like to start is by emulating these two guys and do some dancing behind people in public places. If you have anything you’d like to do, please share. Let’s play together!
Who wants to stretch with me? Remember the 3 stages to stretching your comfort zone. Going through the first 2 is definitely worth getting to the 3rd.
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
On Sunday I spoke at the local Welcome Wagon Baby Fair. I was asked by the new organizer to talk about keeping sensuality alive after baby. The staff member at the event was a little concerned about my topic. I told her not to worry, it wasn’t going to be a raunchy talk and gave her a quick rundown. “Oh, things every woman needs to remember. I love it!”
Whether you’re a mom, wife, single, business owner, employee or retired, the following 5 keys of sensuality are for you!
1. Be present to your senses. We have 5 senses – see, hear, smell, taste, feel – and yet sometimes we can go through a full day, or several days, without even registering anything with our senses. Women have what is called “diffuse attention”. That means we are aware of what’s around us. We notice things like piles of dishes when others – especially the men in the household – don’t seem to notice them at all. There is a lot of stimuli in our world. There’s a lot for us to keep track of and take care of. For that reason we often skate over top of our lives so we don’t get overloaded. My suggestion for you is to be present. Rather than adding to your overload, it will lessen it. It’s like feeling an emotion, when you push it away it grows and eventually overwhelms you. If you feel it and release it, you can move on. Being present to your senses allows you to really feel, to really be aware and to know what is really important. Notice the sights, sounds and smells around you. Take the time to taste your food. Notice how things feel on your skin. Oh, and this goes for inside the bedroom as well as out!
2. Take care of yourself. It’s so easy to put our own needs on the back burner when there are so many demands on your time. I have some bad news for you – you can’t really help anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself. If you’re constantly trying to drive on an empty tank, you will eventually come to a complete stop emotionally and/or physically. If you really want to be there for your family, friends and/or career, you MUST take time for YOU! Write down a list of “selfish goals”, take classes that nourish your interests, have some quiet time daily, read, write, walk – whatever feeds you, DO IT!
3. Accept compliments graciously. I’ve talked about the importance of this many times and it bears saying again. Until every woman can honestly say “thank you” when given a compliment, I’ll keep bringing it up. It’s good for your confidence and esteem and it honors the giver. JUST DO IT!
4. Be your own best cheerleader. It’s part of human nature to look for outside approval. Unfortunately we can’t rely on it. Others have their own worries and concerns. Even if they appreciate you, they may not say it at all or as often as you want. You need to practice being your own cheerleader. Get in the habit of celebrating your success. You did well, you have a right to say it, to know it, to celebrate it. Pat yourself on the back, give yourself a gift, smile in the mirror and remind yourself how amazing you are. Ra Ra Sis Boom Ba!!!
5. Ask for what you want. This can be hard to do, especially if you don’t know what you want. Refer to your selfish goals list, that will help. Being present will also be a big help. When you are clear, then start asking. It will be difficult at first. I promise, like anything, the more you do it the easier it will be. Make your requests in a way that you know you will be heard. This isn’t volume and intensity, it’s doing it at a time when you have the other person’s attention and using clear, specific language. You can’t get what you want/need if the other person/people don’t know what it is. The only person you have to blame if you’re not getting results is yourself. If you think you are already asking for what you want, evaluate how you are asking, what you are saying, when you are approaching people. Modify until you see results. This applies inside the bedroom as well. *wink*
Be your sensual self. Use these 5 keys of sensuality daily. Remember, you are a Bad Kitty; Beautiful, Authentic, Divine, Kompletely, Individual, Totally, True, YOU!
Hugs, Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
How have you been doing with accepting compliments graciously? If you’ve been making an effort for the past two weeks, I’m sure you are seeing results in the ease of saying “Thank you” and nothing else and a difference in how you see yourself when you look in the mirror.
Now, let’s take a look at expectations. Sometimes we get confused and feel compliments and expectations, if not the same, are at least close cousins. They are actually not even in the same family.
A compliment is “an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration” whereas an expectation is “the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.” (dictionary.com)
Based on these definitions, let’s take a look at how expectations and compliments differ:
1. A compliment is based in the now. An expectation is based in the future.
2. A compliment is based in reality. An expectation is a hope for something that doesn’t yet, and may never, exist.
3. A compliment is meant to make you feel good. An expectation can make you feel inadequate.
4. A compliment is what another person sees in you. An expectation is what they would like to see.
5. A compliment is truth. An expectation is projection.
Take a moment and think about the compliments you have received. Compare them to expectations that have come your way.
Not clear on what an expectation might be? Here are some examples from my life:
- you’re so patient, you should work with the developmentally disabled (I’m not really all that patient)
- you shouldn’t have sex until you’re married (well, that didn’t happen!)
- you’re so good with kids, you’ll make an excellent mother (yes, I’m good with kids, but I decided not to be a mother)
- you’re a good little church girl, maybe you could do missionary work (now I hear “what happened to my good little church girl”)
- you’re tall, you should be good at sports (nope, definitely not!!!)
Now, think about the expectations you’ve heard throughout your life. How do they make you feel? Especially the ones you didn’t live up to? Not nearly as good as the compliments you’ve been accepting, that’s for sure.
Let’s look at how to release expectations in 5 steps:
1. Recognize that they are based on someone else’s filters of the world. Usually an expectation expressed by someone else has to do with how they see the world more than who you are and what you want or what talents/strengths you have.
2. Accept the good intentions of the other person. Expectations aren’t meant to hurt. They are often meant to be helpful or even to inspire. Even if that fails, the good intention was still there.
3. Release any hurts you may have felt from the good, even if misguided, intentions of others. There are many exercises to help with releasing hurts including but not limited to energy work, writing a letter, visualization and more. Here are a couple of resources for you: The Forgiveness Project blog, 5 forgiveness exercises and an article on the power of forgiveness.
4. Create your own expectations – called goals. Look at what is important to you and set goals/intentions for yourself weekly, monthly, yearly. Make them realistic while also pushing your comfort zone. Remember, we often overestimate what we can do in a week and underestimate what we can do in a year. Keep revisiting your goals and modify them on a regular basis.
5. Celebrate your journey. For every step you take, be sure to acknowledge your progress. No step is too small!
Enjoy your journey!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
Accepting compliments. It seems like a simple thing. Someone says something nice to you, you thank them and enjoy the fact that you’ve been seen and acknowledged. Yet, in our society, we’re taught that we must be “humble” so we have forgotten how to accept compliments just in case we get a big head and become proud.
Hogwash! One of my purposes in life is to get people to accept compliments graciously. Pretending that you aren’t worthy of a compliment doesn’t serve anyone.
Here are the top 3 reasons to accept compliments:
1. It is a gift. When someone takes the time to notice you, it is a little out of the ordinary. Most of us spend a good portion of our waking hours wrapped up in our own thoughts, issues, concerns. A compliment shows that for that moment, the complimentor stepped out of their own hamster wheel in their brains and noticed you. Consider every compliment as a big box wrapped in shiny paper with a big bow. Would you throw that in the garbage? NO! So don’t throw a compliment away by not acknowledging it with a sincere thank you.
2. It allows you to see outside yourself. You, like everyone else, are on a hamster wheel in your head. We spend so much time worrying about how we look, how we will be perceived, whether or not we will be accepted. A compliment shows you that you are beautiful, you are seen in a positive light, you are accepted. Why would you not appreciate that confirmation? Get out of your own stories and criticisms for at least that moment and say thank you!
3. It builds confidence. Allowing yourself to see that what others see may actually be correct builds your sense of self. If you think you are unattractive and someone keeps telling you you’re gorgeous, why argue? If someone tells you you’re talented when you think you don’t measure up, why not accept it? If someone tells you they think you’re amazing, who are you to say that you aren’t?
My challenge to you is:
- Accept compliments graciously. Get in the habit of smiling and saying thank you. Before you know it, you won’t even need to think about it anymore.
- Keep track of the compliments you receive. Get some stickers and keep a notebook. For every compliment you receive – and accept graciously – record it with a sticker. Or get a noise on your phone that you press to reinforce the compliments you’ve received. Be creative! A client of mine used stickers and put them around her mirror. She used to look in the mirror and tear herself down. Now, she says, all she sees is how beautiful she is and how much she is loved.
- Look for patterns. As you start to listen to compliments rather than deflecting them, you’ll start to see patterns. Maybe a certain color or outfit gets more compliments than others. Maybe one thing you do at work is acknowledged more than others. A certain body part might get more notice. Play up these parts of you, be your best, put your best self forward and see how that changes your life and your perception of self.
Have fun accepting compliments! You deserve every single one of them.
Next time we will discuss the difference between compliments and expectations.
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty