Rebecca Perkins, coach and author of Best Knickers Always: 50 Lessons for Midlife shares her top 7 lessons.
1, Take Time For Silence
“Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods,” Ralph Waldo Emerson taught us. We live in a noisy world. There was a lot of noise in my head. I longed for silence in a mad world. I have taken up meditation again, and this time I am guided in my daily practice. I take 20 minutes simply to sit and be aware of my breathing, allowing thoughts to come and go. I focus on my intention for my meditation. I have learned to take time for solitude and self-reflection. It is a healing remedy for the mind, body and soul.
What activities or thoughts encourage a sense of peace for you?
2. You Are The Only One Standing In Your Way
I battled for a long time with my own demons. I got into the blame game. It was my husband or my parents or my schoolteacher or my boss…. And then I realised that it was me. No one but me was stopping me from making choices for my life. I decided to get out of my way and move towards creating a brighter, inspiring and more fulfilling life. Take a long, hard look at the person you see in the mirror and ask yourself. What if I were to stop the excuses and get out of my own way?
How are you being the main obstacle on your path?
3. Question Your Beliefs
How often do you hear someone else’s words coming out of your own mouth? How often do you do things because you’ve always done them? I began to question my beliefs and found that many of them I no longer held to be true, because they had never been my beliefs in the first place. My English teacher told me that I had no imagination and couldn’t write… 40 years later I no longer believe her words. I no longer choose to believe the dogma of the church within which I was raised. Today I believe that I am good enough and loveable just as I am. It’s liberating once we let go of others’ beliefs, as they are usually the ones that limit us. “Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul.” ~Walt Whitman.
4. What beliefs are you willing to question and change?
“When Going Through Hell, Keep Going”
The quote is one of Winston Churchill’s and relates to his depression. How this quote kept me strong! Even in the darkest moments I had a sense that it was easier to keep moving forward than turning back or giving up. Depression is not about feeling sad. It is not about feeling a bit down or being in a bad mood. Depression is a blackness. Depression sucks all emotion from us. Depression drains the world of its colour and sound and taste and smell. I have written at length on my blog of my own “black dog” how it affected me, and how I worked my way through it.
What mantra or affirmation keeps you going forward when life is tough?
5. Allow Yourself To Be Human
We are all perfect in our imperfections. We ALL make mistakes, so cut yourself some slack. We allow those we love to make mistakes, to be human—so, as a dear friend challenged me, “What makes me think that I’m any different?” Being human is enough. Lighten up! Life is far too important to be taken seriously. Make mistakes, learn from them, and move on.
What is good enough right now?
6. Ask For Help
Superheroes live in comic books and films, not in real life. It took me a long time to realise that asking for help wasn’t a sign of weakness. Have you learned this lesson yet? We do not live in isolation—we are social animals, and we all like to feel useful. Sometimes we need help from others. We might need to talk through our problems, ask for assistance with the housework, seek administrative support at work, or get help with our children. There are no special prizes for worn-out would-be super-heroines.
Where are you too hard on yourself?
7. Make Time For Celebration
Most of us neglect celebration—and some reserve only the most special of occasions for it. When you’ve had a good day, when things are going your way, wouldn’t it be lovely to mark the moment by stopping for some act of celebration? Reward yourself for tiny achievements especially during tough times. Give yourself a high-five in a way that suits you. Even those low days, the days where we’ve felt pretty dreadful let us not neglect to celebrate that we did in fact make it to the end of the day. How will you celebrate? A few squares of your favourite chocolate? An overdue phone call with a friend overseas? A pizza out with the family? A long candlelit soak in the bath? A manicure?
What deserves celebrating in your life?