Monthly Archive: May 2019

A False Sense of In-Security

 

A few weeks ago I listened to a friend, passionate about safe bike riding, speaking about how bikers seems to have a false sense of security – they feel safe when they aren’t, and lull themselves into complacency when they need to be alert.

I began to muse on how our society as a whole seems to have, in other arenas, exactly the opposite – a false sense of insecurity:  from our politicians and political policies down to the belief that anyone with children must have a metal-clad SUV to drive their kids around in.

How often have I witnessed lately – and even participated in – people opting for solutions based on protection and nothing else? How often have I witnessed overly aggressive reactions to anyone disagreeing to such a stance? Before I became a therapist and life coach, I was often involved in leading teams to protect companies from potential disaster. I’m used to thinking about protection – probably more so than most others. And this may be why I can recognize this trend today.

As a former disaster recovery expert, I’ve learned that the best solutions to protecting ourselves from possible disasters are always the simplest ones: building in redundancy; ensuring that whatever backup solutions you have are seamless and easy to implement by anyone.

Ironically, experts tell us that we in the Western world live in a time of unparalleled safety. And yet we feel insecure. It may be that we are unused to feeling safe and suspect it. Or it may be that our expectations are unrealistic.

Whatever the reason, this false sense of insecurity is epidemic, and it generates mistrust. Even aggression.

What can you do about it?

  • First become aware of what it looks like, and how it makes you feel. That, in itself, will help you begin to change your approach.
  • Develop a healthy scepticism to anything that generates this false sense of insecurity, by learning to question it and determining its legitimacy.
  • Once you have a clearer picture of what’s happening, you will also have a clearer picture of your options.

Just because we live in a culture of insecurity doesn’t mean we have to participate in it. Feeling insecure is disempowering. You don’t have to live that way.

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here .  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

 

Our Variable Memory

 

About 4 years ago, I was out with friends camping. We had some tools that were available to us all, and were instructed to handle them with care.  About 3 days into being there, the guy responsible for signing out the tools approached me and accused me of mishandling them, saying it had to be me because he’d seen me going over to where they were stored earlier, and that no one else had been there since.

In fact, I hadn’t been there and hadn’t used the tools that day at all. But he was unshakable in his certainty. It wasn’t until the person who had actually been there volunteered to say so that I was off the hook.

It was a dramatic moment – being accused of something I’d never do, from someone who was so certain he was right.

In my family, my mother was notorious for having different memories of the same event at different times. So, I grew up knowing that people can be certain of something that ends up being false.

How can this happen?  According to Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist and specialist in false memories, the key is suggestibility: a false memory is most likely to develop in situations where a person is exposed to suggestive information.

As an example, read this list: sit, write, eat, legs, seat, desk, arm, sofa, wood, cushion, rest, stool. Now count to 30.

Did you spot the word “table”?  If so, you experienced a false memory, because even though the words in the list were associated with “table”, the word “table” wasn’t one of them.

In Apr 2019 Psychology Today – How Memory Became Weaponized – the author argues that our brain is wired to believe what it hears. I’ll add to that our wonderful ability to conceptualize – bringing a number of different things together by recognizing their similarities. This ability of ours is essential for thinking and learning – and it has at least this drawback.

Most of the time, it’s not critical and doesn’t get in our way. But sometimes it does, and sometimes people will deliberately feed us misinformation to steer us in one direction or another.

So, what can you do to arm yourself against such manipulation and mis-direction? Three things.

  1. First, learn to always check the “facts” when determining the truth of something that’s important. Look for supporting evidence, for repeated instances in similar situations. Develop a healthy sense of disbelief.
  2. Second, examine your own motives for wanting to believe something – or not. If your motives are strong enough, it could blind you to what is really true.
  3. Finally, check in with your own inner knowing to see how the information sits with you. Our inner knowing doesn’t have a true/false indicator, but it does have an automatic “feel” that – once we learn to recognize and trust it – provides us with a sum of all our experiences to date, measuring it against what is in front of us at the moment.

It takes a while – sometimes a long while – to learn to trust this inner knowing, but it’ the only way I know of that will lead us a good sense of what’s true.

Elizabeth Loftus – the fiction of memory

 

Quote of the Week

Nostalgia has a way of blocking the reality of the past.”
― Shannon L. Alder

 

Announcements 

Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co .

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

 

Our Variable Memory

 

About 4 years ago, I was out with friends camping. We had some tools that were available to us all, and were instructed to handle them with care.  About 3 days into being there, the guy responsible for signing out the tools approached me and accused me of mishandling them, saying it had to be me because he’d seen me going over to where they were stored earlier, and that no one else had been there since.

In fact, I hadn’t been there and hadn’t used the tools that day at all. But he was unshakable in his certainty. It wasn’t until the person who had actually been there volunteered to say so that I was off the hook.

It was a dramatic moment – being accused of something I’d never do, from someone who was so certain he was right.

In my family, my mother was notorious for having different memories of the same event at different times. So, I grew up knowing that people can be certain of something that ends up being false.

How can this happen?  According to Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist and specialist in false memories, the key is suggestibility: a false memory is most likely to develop in situations where a person is exposed to suggestive information.

As an example, read this list: sit, write, eat, legs, seat, desk, arm, sofa, wood, cushion, rest, stool. Now count to 30.

Did you spot the word “table”?  If so, you experienced a false memory, because even though the words in the list were associated with “table”, the word “table” wasn’t one of them.

In Apr 2019 Psychology Today – How Memory Became Weaponized – the author argues that our brain is wired to believe what it hears. I’ll add to that our wonderful ability to conceptualize – bringing a number of different things together by recognizing their similarities. This ability of ours is essential for thinking and learning – and it has at least this drawback.

Most of the time, it’s not critical and doesn’t get in our way. But sometimes it does, and sometimes people will deliberately feed us misinformation to steer us in one direction or another.

So, what can you do to arm yourself against such manipulation and mis-direction? Three things.

  1. First, learn to always check the “facts” when determining the truth of something that’s important. Look for supporting evidence, for repeated instances in similar situations. Develop a healthy sense of disbelief.
  2. Second, examine your own motives for wanting to believe something – or not. If your motives are strong enough, it could blind you to what is really true.
  3. Finally, check in with your own inner knowing to see how the information sits with you. Our inner knowing doesn’t have a true/false indicator, but it does have an automatic “feel” that – once we learn to recognize and trust it – provides us with a sum of all our experiences to date, measuring it against what is in front of us at the moment.

It takes a while – sometimes a long while – to learn to trust this inner knowing, but it’ the only way I know of that will lead us a good sense of what’s true.

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here .  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

 

That Darn Inner Critic

At a recent conference, standing in front of her peers, Maria had a moment of panic: she found herself wondering why she thought she could impress these people in any way; that if they only knew, she’d be exposed as a fraud.

Never mind that she’d been in practice for over 40 years and was well respected in her field.  In that moment, she felt like a phony, an outsider, unable to belong.

It also didn’t matter that she was mature, astute, and knew what was going on. At least, it didn’t stop the voice – the inner critic.

Our inner critic is powerful – awesomely so. Unchecked, it can and will run our lives. Even Maria’s awareness and experience couldn’t stop it.  But, that awareness did alter its power.

We all have an inner critic, but it isn’t same as being that inner critic. You might say that our inner critic is that part of us that keeps us safe. Some call it our lizard brain. It’s a pre-logic part of us that we share with all other animals. Its only function is to keep us safe. As a result, it sometimes ends up undermining us in order to protect us from shame and possible failure.

That darn inner critic isn’t bad. It isn’t something we need to get rid of. In fact, we never could – nor should we. But it is something we can learn to use in a way that works for us and for it.  Think of it as a little person who is under our protection. That little person lets us know right away when it’s feeling unsafe. When that happens, if we pay attention to it and are aware of it, we can learn to heed what it’s feeling and take action that makes it feel safe again.

Back with Maria, she reassured her inner critic by reviewing what she’d done to prepare for her talk. She’d done a lot, really knew the topic, and had something to say that she knew would interest her audience. That calmed her critic. In fact, what began as fear and anxiety suddenly turned into excitement.  That little critic of hers – in that moment – became her ally.

Self-Compassion

Quote of the Week

We are all failures- at least the best of us are.”
― J.M. Barrie

 

Announcements

Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co .

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

 

That Darn Inner Critic

At a recent conference, standing in front of her peers, Maria had a moment of panic: she found herself wondering why she thought she could impress these people in any way; that if they only knew, she’d be exposed as a fraud.

Never mind that she’d been in practice for over 40 years and was well respected in her field.  In that moment, she felt like a phony, an outsider, unable to belong.

It also didn’t matter that she was mature, astute, and knew what was going on. At least, it didn’t stop the voice – the inner critic.

Our inner critic is powerful – awesomely so. Unchecked, it can and will run our lives. Even Maria’s awareness and experience couldn’t stop it.  But, that awareness did alter its power.

We all have an inner critic, but it isn’t same as being that inner critic. You might say that our inner critic is that part of us that keeps us safe. Some call it our lizard brain. It’s a pre-logic part of us that we share with all other animals. Its only function is to keep us safe. As a result, it sometimes ends up undermining us in order to protect us from shame and possible failure.

That darn inner critic isn’t bad. It isn’t something we need to get rid of. In fact, we never could – nor should we. But it is something we can learn to use in a way that works for us and for it.  Think of it as a little person who is under our protection. That little person lets us know right away when it’s feeling unsafe. When that happens, if we pay attention to it and are aware of it, we can learn to heed what it’s feeling and take action that makes it feel safe again.

Back with Maria, she reassured her inner critic by reviewing what she’d done to prepare for her talk. She’d done a lot, really knew the topic, and had something to say that she knew would interest her audience. That calmed her critic. In fact, what began as fear and anxiety suddenly turned into excitement.  That little critic of hers – in that moment – became her ally.

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

 

Imperfectability

Imperfectability

The last time giving a talk, or holding a party, or hosting an event, or even simply having friends over for dinner.  Noticing one person in the room who looked disapproving, feeling you somehow failed because you didn’t gain that person’s approval – or possibly interest – even if everyone else loved it.

Those days you feel a failure because you can’t silence every critic, delight every customer, and interest every person you approach. Then when the inevitable happens – when someone misunderstands you, or has the wrong impression of you and simply won’t give you a chance – you take that on as something you failed to catch. That it’s somehow on you, and that you have the power to change it and get that person to like you.

The truth is that perceived dislike has nothing to do with you. People have their reasons for feeling dissatisfied, or disliking something or someone. The reasons are mostly emotional and personal, and if it’s directed at you, that likely means you were in their line of sight at the time.

A sensitive man just got yelled at by his mother; then you come along, strangely like his mother in some indefinable way, and he finds a reason to dislike you.  A woman you’re slightly acquainted with is regualarly bullied by her boss, and takes it out on the first person she can. You, as it happens. Or, what you have to offer simply doesn’t interest the person you want to interest, and never will.

Whoever you are and whatever you have to offer, it simply can’t interest and delight everyone.

If what you are trying to perfect isn’t giving you joy, then it’s an addiction – the addiction of imperfectibility, as defined by Seth Godin. And like every addiction, no matter how much you do it, it will never satisfy you.

So what’s the antidote? Re-focus.

Re-focus on what you truly like to do.  If that happens to be striving for perfection for its own sake, great! But if that striving is about trying to gain approval from someone who you aren’t likely to get it from, stop! Walk away. And focus on something important to your sense of joy. On something that feeds your soul.

And don’t worry about that other person. They have their own journey.

Teach girls bravery, not perfection

 

 

Quote of the Week
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
― Salvador Dali

Announcements 

Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co .

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

 

Imperfectability

Imperfectability

The last time giving a talk, or holding a party, or hosting an event, or even simply having friends over for dinner.  Noticing one person in the room who looked disapproving, feeling you somehow failed because you didn’t gain that person’s approval – or possibly interest – even if everyone else loved it.

Those days you feel a failure because you can’t silence every critic, delight every customer, and interest every person you approach. Then when the inevitable happens – when someone misunderstands you, or has the wrong impression of you and simply won’t give you a chance – you take that on as something you failed to catch. That it’s somehow on you, and that you have the power to change it and get that person to like you.

The truth is that perceived dislike has nothing to do with you. People have their reasons for feeling dissatisfied, or disliking something or someone. The reasons are mostly emotional and personal, and if it’s directed at you, that likely means you were in their line of sight at the time.

A sensitive man just got yelled at by his mother; then you come along, strangely like his mother in some indefinable way, and he finds a reason to dislike you.  A woman you’re slightly acquainted with is regualarly bullied by her boss, and takes it out on the first person she can. You, as it happens. Or, what you have to offer simply doesn’t interest the person you want to interest, and never will.

Whoever you are and whatever you have to offer, it simply can’t interest and delight everyone.

If what you are trying to perfect isn’t giving you joy, then it’s an addiction – the addiction of imperfectibility, as defined by Seth Godin. And like every addiction, no matter how much you do it, it will never satisfy you.

So what’s the antidote? Re-focus.

Re-focus on what you truly like to do.  If that happens to be striving for perfection for its own sake, great! But if that striving is about trying to gain approval from someone who you aren’t likely to get it from, stop! Walk away. And focus on something important to your sense of joy. On something that feeds your soul.

And don’t worry about that other person. They have their own journey.

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .