#My1000Hours: Stay positive and focus on your achievement
Given the weekend that has just passed it's fitting that this week we talk about love, but we will talk about it a little differently. You're right for thinking 'what does a performance psychologist know about love' and the truth is, like everybody else, I'm trying to figure it out as I go.
In my last column I said that self-awareness and self-acceptance were the starting points to powerful and lasting transformation. To really understand who you are, what makes you special and what makes you fully you, is a great journey to take.
The most important Valentine's card to write
So here is this week's challenge. Imagine that you are writing a Valentine's card to yourself. For a second, turn off the modesty, the self-doubt, the shyness and the judgement; instead think about three kind things you will say to and about yourself.
See yourself through the eyes of someone that deeply cares for you and continues to love and support you. We can easily write Valentine's cards for our partners, our children and our friends and in a second write out the things we love about them.
They can easily write out a card to us and they can list the things they love about us. Yet when it comes to us writing cards to ourselves we struggle. Why can the world see our positives and we can't?
If you take the example of a golfer, very often after a round they will come back to the clubhouse and what they are thinking about are the shots they didn't hit well or the opportunities they didn't take. They might have hit 72 shots and yet the only ones they talk and think about are the three that didn't go well, totally ignoring those 69 perfect shots.
The moments in life where we don't perform to our best are often the ones filled with emotion such as regret, sadness and maybe even embarrassment. Our strongest memories are always those linked with strong emotion.
After living a day, a week or a year our memories can be more focused on our mistakes and we can completely forget about the million little great things we did.
When we write a Valentine's card to someone else we focus on the things we love about them and we allow these positives to outweigh the mistakes they make. So let's do the same for ourselves.
I have no doubt in the last year you have done some incredible things that meant so much for someone or maybe for yourself. It doesn't matter how small- write them down, record them, and value them.
Shift your focus away from any mistakes you made and focus on the kindness, the resilience, the bravery and the love that you showed this year. Focusing on your mistakes does nothing but trap you in the past and hold you back.
The past is simply gone, it's over and what we have is the present and the learnings we take into the here and now.
By focusing on the past you are inhibiting yourself from fully engaging and sharing the moment with yourself and the people you love. Letting go of the past is not just a gift to yourself, it's a gift to those you love.
Building the Four Pillars
Love is about four key pillars:
1. Feeling Valued, 2. Feeling Trusted, 3. Feeling Respected and 4. Feeling Connected.
We simply can't build these pillars if we focus on the past and the things we didn't do well. We can't fully love something or someone outside ourselves if we are not fully connected to who we are in ourselves.
Imagine a coach that only tells his athlete what they do wrong, only speaks to them about their mistakes. There is no way we see this as a great way of coaching and there is certainly no way we see it as a way to treat a loved one and yet it is often the way we treat ourselves.
This Valentine's, experience love, real love, let go of mistakes, let the ego take a holiday and let the heart nurture and enrich us. Go out and pick a card that you think is special, not just any card, the right card.
Take a few minutes and be brave, realise that you are a special human being and that all of your life to this point, your successes, your mistakes, your fears, your heartbreaks and your smiles have all come together to do one thing - and that is to make you a richer, more experienced human being with a heart that is deeper than ever before.
We are simply not put on this great planet to be anything less than our incredible, perfectly imperfect selves. It's our experiences, ups and downs that add colour and richness and adventure to our life canvass.
Health & Living