Once Upon A Time, There Was A Little Girl Who...

This post is taken from my old website. It's message is so important to me I've re-posted it here for good measure!

It's taken me a long time to get to where I am today, and to feel comfortable with who I am.

On with the story....

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who... Circle of Daydreams. www.circleofdaydreams.com

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, who turned into a grown up girl, who liked to please everyone.

If someone invited her somewhere, she went.

If someone needed a lift, no matter how far out of her way..... she offered.

If someone needed a loan, she gave it.

Because.... it's good to be nice, right?

It makes you a good person if you help others, or do what they want, no matter how you feel about it, doesn't it?

Self sacrifice has to be good.

Surely it means you can feel worthwhile because you're always the one others rely on, and who can be relied upon to be there when others won't?

Once upon a time, there was also a little girl, who turned into a grown up girl, who often felt exhausted and used.

She felt guilty if she didn't turn herself inside-out to help others. But, resentful when others took advantage.

She wondered why people didn't offer to help her as often as she helped them. Why they always turned to her to off-load..... but didn't seem to pay much attention on the rare occasions she revealed she needed support, and someone to listen.

And why, oh why, did all this doing of good and wonderful things end up seeming like an obligation more often than it should?

Of course, as you've already guessed, that girl was me.

I used to be a 'people pleaser' out of what I now consider the false belief that 'people won't like you if you don't do what they want'. And, 'if you're invited somewhere but you don't go.... people will never invite you again'.

Etc. etc.

To the detriment of my physical, and sometimes mental health, I did whatever I 'thought' it should take to make sure others had no reason to dislike me.

I thought being nice and being compliant went together glove in hand. That one couldn't exist without the other.

Fast forward from my early 20s to my late 30s (about 12 years ago), and I started to realise there were plenty of other people around who didn't run themselves ragged like I did. People who none-the-less had plenty of friends and were almost universally liked.

And, I started to ask why?

Why did I have to put in all this spurious effort to be liked when they didn't?

What made them so different to me? Were they better? Smarter? More lovable?

Of course, the answer was, they weren't any of those things. It was all in my head! I think much of it stemmed from my very first boyfriend. I fell dangerously in love with him. I thought I had to jump through numerous hoops to keep him happy (at the expense of my own emotional stability), or risk being dumped by the school 'spunk'. And boy, did he like hoops. And control. And obedience. My complete naivety with regards to the opposite sex, and my secluded country upbringing, left me a bit open to this sort of manipulation.

After many trials and tribulations, plus much reflection, I now firmly believe that caring for myself MUST come first.

I don't have to accept every invite, help every person, and give more than anyone else to be liked or valued as a friend by others.

What a relief!

Of course I still love to help and be there for my friends. BUT, I also say 'no' when I need to protect my own health and mental well-being.

If I'm tired or feeling unwell, I no longer feel bad about refusing an invitation or letting others help instead of me.

I also no longer feel bad about missing things simply because I plain old just don't freaking want to go. For no other reason than I'd have a crappy time, or it's not my thing.

If I really don't want to go, I say no.

Everyone wins this way. I get the relaxing evening with my partner, nap time, or quiet creative space I've been craving. My friends don't get the version of me that's pretending to be pleased to be somewhere.

They don't deserve that version.

They deserve the me who's not feeling resentful, or just a teensy bit annoyed because I'd rather be somewhere else as that's what my body/mind/soul needs at that time.

Of course, sometimes once you get yourself up and out, you end up having a ripper of a time, and the company of good friends is a real boon. But, for those times when I just can't see that happening, I now give myself a break and just say 'no'.

I trust my gut, and take time when I need it.

Of course, sometimes saying no is hard.

But, what I've learned is, you actually don't need a reason most times.

Simply saying 'I won't be able to make it,' has always been accepted as reason enough in my experience.

No need to blather on with long-winded explanations. Once people hear the 'I won't be able to make it' statement, they're usually starting to move on in their mind.

However, I get that we often feel like we need a real reason when we're delivering a 'no'. Something to provide us with a bonafide excuse so we don't hurt anyone's feelings.

I now have the perfect reason nearly every time.

It's basically the same one, and it's almost fail-proof.

It's always true, it's generally received with grace, and it gives you a valid excuse.

It's only one line, and it's easy to deliver....

... "I have an appointment/engagement already booked at that time (or the equivalent)."

Or a simple, "Sorry, I can't make it, I'm already booked up then!"

The appointment is usually with a good book, my cat, the couch, creating something.... but they don't need to know that!

No-one's ever asked what the appointment is for!

Or who my prior engagement/booking might be with.

The most a couple have asked is if I'm okay (they think it might be a doctors appointment). I always say 'I'm sure I will be fine'. And I am.... once I get to my book/couch/cat!

You'd be amazed at how effective this is.

Linda. xox

PS. If you don't already, you can get a monthly(ish) Daydream Delivery personally delivered by joining 'The Circle of Daydreamers'. No need to find your way back to the blog! I'll knock gently on your inbox door, and hand over any matching freebies with the latest musings.  It's a convenient way to keep getting the things I make! As a welcome gift you'll also receive a free 25 page booklet featuring the 3 best affirmations I know (plus gorgeous images to print).




Goal Setting and Daydream Manifestation With A Nod To Leonardo Da Vinci! (Plus Free Goal Setting Sheet)

Life is pretty simple. You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. Leonardo Da Vince. Circle of Daydreams. www.circleofdaydreams.com

I really do like this quote.

In itself, it's simplicity personified.

It reminds me that several times over the last few years during professional development sessions, we've focused on how to write and carry out simple yet effective goals.

One easy way presented to us involved thinking about a goal and the things you needed to STOP doing, and START doing in order to reach it.

For instance, if my goal is to create a bedtime ritual conducive to sleep, I need to STOP reading my iPad in bed, and START going to bed at the same time each night.

I also need to STOP drinking copious amounts of tea after 7 pm, and START eating my night time meal a little earlier so I have time to relax and unwind.

Once I've decided on my STOPS and STARTS, it's time to get busy and put them into action!

Just as Leonardo said.... do more of what works, and stop the things that don't.

Are there any goals you'd like to work on at the moment?

Any daydreams you'd like to see come to fruition?

Just in case, I've created a nice STOP/START goal worksheet (with Leonardo's quote to pretty it up) to help you out.

You can download it right here (no strings)!

Linda. xox

PS. If you don't already, you can get a monthly(ish) Daydream Delivery personally delivered by joining the 'Circle of Daydreamers'. No need to find your way back to the blog! I'll knock gently on your inbox door, and hand over any matching freebies with the latest musings.  It's a convenient way to keep getting the things I make! As a welcome gift you'll also receive a free 25 page booklet featuring the 3 best affirmations I know (plus gorgeous images to print).




The Book That Made Me Cry The Most

As you may know, I LOVE books with a passion. When I was little, they were my refuge, my escape, my friends, and another home.

Whole new worlds, mind-blowing plot twists, gardens of delight, humans and animals who felt like kin, things I could only imagine.... they were all at my fingertips.

Over the years I've had many favourites. When I was younger, Middle Earth (The Hobbit), Narnia, Cornwall (The Dark Is Rising series), regions of Scotland (The Weirdstone of Brisingamen + The Hill Of The Red Fox), and isolated mountains (My Side Of The Mountain) were all places I loved to hang out (among many others).

When I grew up (supposedly), I still loved the genre of fantasy more than any other, although mystery, crime, and thrillers fast caught up. Wales took centre stage with the thrilling books of Phil Rickman (who's so nice he answers his emails with a great deal of wit), and various parts of Great Britain were visited via the anecdotes of Robert Goddard.

Fantasy went into the realms of Midkemia, The Wheel of Time, and the mystical and intriguing worlds of Charles De Lint and James Herbert.

Books are a uniquely portable magic. Stephen King. Circle of Daydreams. www.circleofdaydreams.com

All of these involved characters or places I felt deeply connected to in some way, and who became a part of the fabric of my life, at least for a while.

Of these stories and books, one, in particular, made me cry my heart out like no other.

I'm an animal lover from waaayyyy back, and feel a direct affinity with quite a few (owls and foxes for example). This story involved a link between a boy and an animal that was so intimate and connected that I could only wonder at what that would feel like.

I won't go into detail, because you may read the book one day, but the part of the story in question (which was one book into a second series) made tears stream down my face in utter distress. I was in bed reading, and had to stop. Even though I'd known this thing was sure to happen, I'd kind of hoped there would be a miracle and it could be avoided somehow (after all, it was a fantasy book!).

I had to compose myself after quite a bit of blubbering and snotty nose syndrome, but then cried again in the shower, on the toilet, and walking up and down the hallway.

Amazing.

A book, a story, a writer, can make you feel so much, in such depth.

Obviously, the telling of this tale struck a particular chord with me for various reasons, because my reaction was quite overwhelming. Looking back I think I know what triggered it (the death of my Dad years before), and it was all about the depth of a relationship and what it can mean when things change so horribly. And then, how we go on when we must, despite the desolation we feel.

The author expressed so poignantly the ways in which you can feel utterly bewildered and bereft by something, and yet go on to let the joy of something else co-exist with this sadness.

The book, in case you're wondering was by Robin Hobb. It's the 1st book in the second series about Fitz, his life, and the goings on in The Six Duchies.

 
Fools Errand by Robin Hobb. First book in The Tawny Man Trilogy. Circle of Daydreams. www.circleofdaydreams.com
 

The entire series, particularly that book, had quite an astounding effect on me at the time. And, the feelings lingered for quite a while.

There first series featuring the same characters was 'The Farseer Trilogy.' The second series, continuing on from where that one left off was titled 'The Tawny Man Trilogy'.

Is there a book in your past that has effected you deeply?

Do you know why?

Linda. xox

PS. I've added this post to Open Slather over on One Mother Hen!

PPS. If you don't already, you can get a monthly(ish) Daydream Delivery personally delivered by joining the 'Circle of Daydreamers'. No need to find your way back to the blog! I'll knock gently on your inbox door, and hand over any matching freebies with the latest musings.  It's a convenient way to keep getting the things I make! As a welcome gift you'll also receive a free 25 page booklet featuring the 3 best affirmations I know (plus gorgeous images to print).




Witness Your Week - A Free Gratitude Journal For You

Gratitude has played a huge part in the way I've lived my life over the last few years. Between learning how to let go of things as required, and being grateful for all the ordinary moments I'm so lucky to experience, I've become more content.

Even through times of incredible hardship, loss and strain, I've found simple things to be grateful for.

I make it a point to stop multiple times a day, look around, and give thanks for the things I have. Whether it be at work, at home, or while I'm out and about, I've so much to be thankful for. My friends, my colleagues, a job that provides me satisfaction and challenges. A work office that overlooks a lake, a small but incredibly cozy place to live, loving relationships, a quirky cat, books to read, food in my pantry... the list goes on and on.

I may not be rich, but I have enough to eat out now and again, go to the pictures, see a popular local band, keep up this website, buy new clothes when I need them, and pay my bills.

Compared to many around the world, this is a life of unfathomable richness.

Putting my earnings into www.globalrichlist.com was truly eye-opening. I make a good living by many standards, but I'm certainly nowhere near wealthy by the standards in my country. I come from a 'working class' family, and I guess I'd probably be considered 'middle class' now. I'm frugal, spend my money carefuly (experiences over things), and focus on my goals.

Checking out Global Rich List, scrolling through the info once I'd put in my amount, and reading about the rest of the world, was humbling. This little exercise will take you only a few moments. I encourage you to give it a go.

Another site I've found incredibly inspiring is www.365grateful.com. Watching the video about Amy was heart wrenching and uplifting at the same time. Take a few minutes and see how a regular gratitude practice can change your life. Amy's video is the one on the right under 'stories.' You may need a box of tissues.

I also find writing down the things that I'm grateful for embeds and solidifies my feelings of gratitude. And, I've created this little Gratitude Journal called 'Witness Your Week' for you to try the practice yourself!

There's a months worth of pages below, for you to give it a try!

I hope you like them.

I've added this post to 'Open Slather' too!

You can download the 'Witness Your Week Gratitude Journal' for free here (no strings).

Linda. xox

PS. If you don't already, you can get a monthly(ish) Daydream Delivery personally delivered by joining the 'Circle of Daydreamers'. No need to find your way back to the blog! I'll knock gently on your inbox door, and hand over any matching freebies with the latest musings.  It's a convenient way to keep getting the things I make! As a welcome gift you'll also receive a free 25 page booklet featuring the 3 best affirmations I know (plus gorgeous images to print).