The way we think and feel moment by moment has a huge influence over the results we experience. Use this simple, easy to remember strategy to keep feeling at your best when you need it most.

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I am very excited to bring you the first in a brand new video series: “The Life Happens Little Lessons”. These are short, snappy personal growth and development tips and insights to keep you firmly on the path of success and happiness.

In today’s video I’ll share with you a simply and easy to apply strategy to get you back into a resourceful frame of mind for those times when life wants to see what you’re made of! We all face daily challenges; its what we do about them that ultimately determines our results.

Warm wishes,

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how to love yourselfAs Whitney sang, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love off all”. But what makes self-love so vital in life? And why is it often so hard to do?


This episode of Life Happens LIVE Paul sheds light on these questions and gives you a practical exercise to nurture the most important relationship you have in your life – the one you have with yourself.

You’ll learn:

  • How your relationship with yourself influences every aspect of your life.
  • Why we resist thinking more highly of ourselves and what that costs us.
  • 3 ways to strengthen your foundation of self-love.

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Whitney Houston sang, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” But why is self-love so important? And why is it the hardest kind of love to master?

“Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion.” – Margo Anand

Self Love

Imagine that you and I are standing face to face and I proudly tell you, “I love myself”. What would your initial reaction be?

Would you think, “That’s nice, I’m pleased he feels that way”?

Would you think, “Er, OK, that’s a weird thing to share openly”?

Or would you think, “Wow, he’s full of himself. He must have an over-inflated ego”?

Of course, what you think will be in some way based on the existing beliefs and perceptions you already have of me, but interestingly, it will also be (and perhaps more so) indicative of your own comfort level with the topic of self-love.

Virtually all personal growth and spiritual disciplines throughout time point towards the importance of loving and accepting yourself. Psychologists call it ‘positive self regard’. And it is not important just because it feels nice; it’s important because your attitude towards yourself shows up everywhere in your reality.

[pullquote align=”left”]”…there is no shortage of happiness in the world, only a lack of clarity about where it comes from.”[/pullquote]The desire to overcome any problem you have in life is really, at its core, a desire to heal the relationship within. It may not look that way on the outside, but unconsciously you recognise that the world is just a mirror reflecting your self-image right back at you.

As happiness expert, Dr Robert Holden, writes in his book, Loveability, “The quality of your relationship with yourself determines the quality of your relationship with everything else.”

This is the ultimate truth about where authentic lasting happiness really comes from.

The more willing we are to accept and love ourselves just the way we are, the less we go looking for comfort and happiness in the wrong places. I guess one way of looking at it is that there is no shortage of happiness in the world, only a lack of clarity about where it comes from.

No amount of comfort-eating can come close the comfort of self-acceptance.

A credit card transaction can never love you like you can love you.

Judging and proving others wrong will never give you the same inner satisfaction as when you give up judging yourself.

Obsessing that your partner doesn’t love you enough becomes irrelevant when you love yourself enough.

So why is the whole self-love thing so hard?

A lot of it has to do with our conditioning. We want so badly to be accepted by others and to maintain a ‘meaningful’ identity, that the truth about who we really are gets concealed by our glossy personas. Anything we think or feel on the inside that contradicts our socially pleasing outer image becomes a target for our own disrespect.

Self-love gets a bad press, particularly in the western world.

We are taught to value humility and are put off by self-righteousness. We confuse self-love for narcissism and so comply with the social expectation of loving others more than we love ourselves. The irony is that the way we offer our love to them is driven by own capacity for self-love.

[pullquote align=”right”]”The extent to which you find yourself comfortable in your own skin is the extent to which you are willing to accept yourself unconditionally.”[/pullquote]When we say things like, “She really loves herself”, we often don’t mean it in a good way. If we don’t like it in others, we’re certainly not going to like in ourselves. But what we are resisting there is an ‘egotistical’ self regard, which is very different to the more authentic kind of self-love that heals our lives.

I used to have an awful relationship with myself. I had a lot of love to give, but none of it was for me. The mistaken belief I had was that my happiness was dependent on how much other people approved of me.

I had a lot of friends, but I put so much energy into trying to be what I thought they wanted me to be that I was always anxious about being exposed as a fraud. Weirdly, my strategy for finding happiness was the exact same strategy that was making me miserable.

It wasn’t until I learned about the true nature of happiness that I felt brave enough to look my insecurities in the face and see what love could do. What I noticed was as I treated myself with more kindness and compassion, everything in my life got better. I felt happier, healthier, more present, more authentic and more available to others.

If you only ever set one goal in life, make it the goal of loving yourself wholly and completely. It might be the most challenging journey you ever embark on, but no other journey will be as rewarding or have such a vital impact on so many areas of your life. Make it your mission to observe how your relationship with everyone and everything improves as your relationship with yourself improves.

 

HOMEWORK

 

Here are three things you can begin to focus on right now to strengthen your foundations of self-love. Grab yourself a journal, sit somewhere quiet and be generous with the time you spend reflecting openly and honestly on this exercise.

1, Appreciation

List 5 qualities you genuinely appreciate about yourself, exactly as you are, right now. Perhaps its your courage, your caring nature, your parenting skills. Whatever they are, let yourself sink in the feeling of appreciation that these qualities are present in you, and positive difference they make to your life.

2, Forgiveness

It is impossible to truly love yourself and hold onto judgment at the same time. List 5 things you are willing to forgive yourself for. Perhaps its for the times you’ve put yourself down, for past errors in judgement, or for not looking after your physical / emotional wellbeing.

Sometimes self-forgiveness comes easy and sometimes there is resistance. If there are things about yourself you find hard to forgive, please stick with it. The purpose of forgiveness is not to simply make ourselves feel better about the past; it is to restore ourselves to our truest potential, so we can extend our best, most loving selves out into the world.

3, Acceptance

On a spiritual level you are already perfect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your soul. But on a practical, human level, there are always going to be things that you are good at and things that you are not so good at.

The extent to which you find yourself comfortable in your own skin is the extent to which you are willing to accept yourself unconditionally. This means loving your rough edges too.

List 5 ways you can be more accepting of your whole self. For example, see if you can love your body just the way it is right now? It doesn’t mean you won’t still work at getting into better shape; it just means you don’t have to hate it while you do.

Can you make your peace with not being the most gifted driver, diplomat, artist or intellectual on the planet? None of these abilities have anything to do with your ability to accept and love yourself fully now.

 

I hope you are inspired to focus on you today. Please let me know how helpful this post is to you by dropping a comment in the box below.

With love

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Radio-microphone-440x360It was recently interviewed on Shoreditch radio by a good friend, Edward Nelson, about my journey into the personal growth world and, more specifically, what it has taught me about living a purpose centred life.

I was honoured to have been asked to be a guest and it was an experience that I enjoyed immensely. This was my first radio interview and I was a little nervous, but delighted to get to talk about my story and the impact it has had on my life and work.

So this edition of Life Happens LIVE is a departure from the normal format. It is simply a conversation in which you will learn:

  • What diamonds, horse manure and nail polish have to do with the way we experience life
  • Why your inner wisdom is like a faint flute playing against the din of a big brass band
  • How to cultivate a space for listening to your authentic self
  • Why you are already an enlightened being
  • Why it took a personal crisis for me to embark on my own journey of self discovery

I would love to hear your comments, questions and feedback on the interview. If any of the topics we covered resonate with you, please drop a line in the comments section below.

In a world where the rate of technological advancement and scientific discovery is speeding up, it seems that our threshold for being amazed is getting higher and higher.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”  ~ Mary Oliver

Wonder of flightIf you could go back in time to 1990 and tell your younger self that in less than 20 years you’ll have this really cool thing called the internet on your mobile phone, which itself will be a fraction of the size of the brick you currently lug around (if you even have one), the younger you would no doubt be amazed.

As I write this post I am sat in a Starbucks enjoying a cappuccino that I paid for using my phone. And later, probably before I leave, I’ll have emailed these words to scores of people dotted about on every continent. I think that’s pretty cool. I could not have imagined it as a possibility 10 years ago. I’d barely even heard of Google back then.

We’re all used to this kind of way of life now. But does that make it any less amazing?

I’ve just returned from a short consulting trip to Dubai, which I thought was an amazing place because of its scale and opulence. Even on the flights there and back I was amazed at the availability of WIFI and 3G access throughout. I was amazed at how the colossal A380 I was travelling on could take off, stay up and land with such elegance and control.

I don’t know about you but I LOVE being amazed.

In the personal development world we talk a lot about the importance of gratitude in living happy and fulfilling lives. It seems to me that the state of being truly grateful comes more naturally to us when it is preceded with a sense of amazement and wonder. It’s pretty hard for us to be positively amazed by something and not to, at some level, be thankful that we are around to be a part of what’s happening.

But we don’t have to wait to be dazzled. We don’t have wait to be presented with something groundbreaking and revolutionary before exercising our wonder muscles. If we are just willing to consciously lower our ‘amazement threshold’ and notice the incredible nature of everything that surrounds us moment by moment, we can all be reconnected to our innate childlike wonder.

For instance, the next time you get yourself a glass of water, take a moment to consider that every drop of water you are about drink are the exact same drops that arrived on Earth around 4.5 BILLION years ago on icy comets from the far reaches of space. And how that transparent liquid is responsible for all life on this planet. And how if it weren’t for some fluke (or miracle) of universal physics, that water might not have arrived and you wouldn’t even be here to observe it. Isn’t that mind blowing?

How about looking down at your hands? Wiggle your fingers. Observe them with a sense of curiosity. How much of what you do in your life is only possible because of those weird, spindly, tentacle like tools?

Isn’t it fascinating how a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly?

How amazing is it that we, as a relatively young species, have managed to achieve and create so much? From harnessing energy and sending humans into space, to being able to jump in the car and go to the supermarket.

Your homework for today is to see how far you can lower your own amazement threshold.

Amazement, wonder and gratitude are nutrient rich supplements that nourish and inspire the soul.

I’d love to know what simple things amaze you. Please leave a comment below and help to inspire us all.

Namaste

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My special guest for today’s ‘Living With Purpose’ interview is Colin Hiles, aka The Midlife Maverick’. Prepare to be inspired by his story!

colinSomeone once said’ “It turns out that happiness is about sacrifice. You have to sacrifice what isn’t important for what is.”

Colin is a shining example of someone who has taken courageous steps to overcome fear, make difficult decisions and risk everything in honour of living with purpose. In this interview he generously shares his experience, insight and wisdom for what it takes to recognise and answer your own calling.

Here is what you will learn:

  • How Colin went from being a health product salesman with low self-esteem to being the co-creator of a multi-million pound personal development business.
  • What a year on a small spanish island with no technology and more goats than people taught him about real success and fulfilment.
  • What a film starring Clint Eastwood has to do with finding your purpose (can you guess which one it is?)
  • What you should definitely have printed on your next business card.
  • How Colin has turned his experiences into a six step process that has helped thousands of people to live a life they feel great about (and raised bucket loads of cash for charitable causes along the way)

If this conversation inspires you, please click like it, tweet, +1 and share your comments below.