The Truth About Rejection

Rejection is a process of punishment.  We are biologically wired to suffer deeply from rejection.  This is because it causes harm, even if it is claimed to be to an act of protection.  It is based in fear or intention to harm.   Thus rejection has no place in Respectful Communication or Accountability.

Generally the practice of rejection hides a fear to face ones own shadows, ones personal rejected aspects.  It may also be due to ignorance or immaturity, poor skills and poor accountability processes.

Rejection causes harm to the strong biological drive for connection and acceptance, our need to belong.  It is the opposite of inclusion and empowerment.  Being inclusive does not mean it is necessary to embrace all around us.  This too can be very harmful in numerous ways.

We all have a right to say No!  It is when and how we say no that makes the difference.   The alternative to rejection is Intentional Selection.   Respectful Intentional Selection (RIS) is carried out using validation, clearly articulated guidelines, empowerment and appropriate redirection.

Rejection results in broken trust and shattered relationships, not just between the specific individuals of any specific incident.  The impact of rejection ripples out to others and inward to ones inner self.   For the target rejection wounds ones sense of worth.   For the instigator(s) it wounds the inner connection of self-respect and humane compassion, separating oneself further from the aspect of one’s self that is hidden in the shadows as well as those being rejected.

While witnesses, whether directly or indirectly, experience a wide range of psychological harms can occur.  It includes promotion of fear, one maybe the next target, self worth, strengthening of their shadows and disconnection from their inner self, harm to relationships in general, as well as associated stress which easily leads to physical poor health.

While, RIS results in recognition of acceptance and self worth, as well as empowerment that supports the achievement of an appropriate outcome for all.  Empowerment may mean redirection to a more appropriate source for ones request or support to obtain the required resources or development of appropriate skills.  I repeat the opposite of rejection is not to embrace all.   It is very appropriate to select what one embraces. Respectful Intentional Selection is a powerful alternative or rejection.

Rejection is a form of punishment that causes harm and thus is counter to Respectful Communication.   While the opposite of rejection is inclusion, inclusion does not mean one needs to embrace all.

Respectful Intentional Selection is inclusive whilst the respecting right of choice by empowering the right to say no appropriately. Respectful Intentional Selection means using validation and empowerment or redirection as appropriate and choice, to support respectful outcome for all.



Who’s Ruling Your World? Assholes or Beautiful Souls!

Robert Sutton (2010) officially brought the term Asshole into the business world to describe those I usually refer to as Toxic Individuals.  In his book ‘The No Asshole Rule’ he describes the damage such individuals tend to wreck.  Whether it be at home or at work, Assholes with their domineer and disrespectful ways, cause much harm for others and organisations alike.  Sadly they are increasingly encountered in our society. At the same time there is another kind of individual, those I refer to as Beautiful Souls, who have the opposite effect on others.  Beautiful Souls bring respectful caring to the world. Fortunately we can chose whether we allow Assholes or Beautiful Souls to Rule our World.

In order for us to select who Rules Our World we need to be able to recognise and distinguish Assholes from Beautiful Souls.   Happily it is not hard to do. In order to distinguish them we’ll examine the difference between Assholes and Beautiful Souls in more a detail.  Once we can distinguish them we can select whether Assholes or Beautiful Souls Rule Our World.

Characteristics of Assholes include their overwhelming need to maintain control and they often enjoy observing others suffer.  Indeed they will create situations purely for such enjoyment, without remorse.  They are habitually dishonest, whether it be small twists of truths to serve them or outright lies.  They believe they never make mistakes, thus apologies are not heard from Assholes.  Instead they rapidly and skilfully shift blame for things that go wrong, while easily claiming ownership for others successes.

Due to their selective treatment of others, some people will think a specific Asshole is a wonderful person and find it hard to believe the ‘stories of abusive behaviours’ by that Asshole.  At the same time Assholes persistently leave others, their targets, feeling disrespected and demeaned.  Usually Assholes, at least, believe they have power and or social status over their targets.

On the other hand Beautiful Souls are persistently polite and warm to others, regardless of their social position.  They are those that consistently leave others feeling good, no matter who they are.  Beautiful Souls are respectful, caring, and appreciative which they communicate in their very presence.  In addition they take responsibility for their actions, they are comfortable apologising, are helpful, listen well and are willing to adapt.   When I think of Beautiful Souls I think of Dali Lama.   Beautiful Souls are amazing people who overflow with kindness, authenticity and respect for all.   Unfortunately we don’t see many Dali Lamas in our society.

This shortage of True Beautiful Souls is because as human beings we have a tendency to drop, at least on occasions, into Asshole mode.  This is quite different to True Assholes. Sutton (2010) refers to these individuals as temporary assholes.   Myself I consider them either difficult or challenging individuals.

As Assholes are increasing in number they tend to Rule Our World by default.   To have Beautiful Souls Rule our World requires a conscious choice.  However by selecting Beautiful Souls we increase our health wellbeing and general success in life.  If individual takes on the challenge of being a Beautiful Soul, I refer to them as Beautiful Souls in Training.  And this is where the challenge sets in.  Distinguishing Beautiful Souls from Assholes is quite easy, however in reality we are far more likely to encounter difficult, or challenging individuals and Beautiful Souls in Training than true Beautiful Souls.  Distinguishing them from Assholes is not quite so easy.

Beautiful Souls in Training are those who have consciously chosen to Have Beautiful Souls Rule their World.  They are Skilling Up to improve their self-care, self-awareness, communication and relationships skills so that they are more frequently in Beautiful Soul Mode.  You can recognise Beautiful Souls in Training by their generally Beautiful Soul approach to life.

Beautiful Souls in Training are respectful, open, apologise, express appreciation and usually leave others feeling good about themselves.  However on occasion they slip and demonstrate Asshole behaviours, which they generally regret.  Beautiful Souls in Training realise mistakes are made in the journey of Becoming a Beautiful Soul and accept the slips as part of Becoming A Beautiful Soul.  They do however reflect on how to reduce the slips.  In addition we also have to consider difficult and challenging people.  Those that are not Assholes but at times display Asshole Behaviour without taking on the challenge of Becoming a Beautiful Soul.

Importantly by focusing on the key difference between Assholes and Beautiful Souls, including Beautiful Souls in Training, we can distinguish by the impact they have on others.  Assholes have two effects on others, those they feel worthy see a nice person, while those who are considered below them are left feeling dreadful; while Beautiful Souls leave others, regardless of their status, feeling good about themselves.  And Beautiful Souls in Training are consciously increasing their practice of being a Beautiful Soul thus more frequently than not leave people feeling respected and good about them self.

Now you know the difference between Assholes and Beautiful Souls and the impact they have on others it is time for you to consider Who Rules Your World, Assholes or Beautiful Souls?  If you choose Beautiful Souls you can start by becoming a Beautiful Soul in Training.  This is a foundational choice to make.  We’ll look at this process of Becoming Beautiful a Soul in the next article.

If you enjoyed this and would like to read more similar article please press ‘Like’.

Life was meant to be enjoyed.

Dr Janelle Sheen


Sutton, R. 2010 The No Asshole Rule Piatkus London






The Problem with ‘Toughen Up’

All too commonly to ‘Toughen Up’ is to pretend all is well when it is not. ‘Toughening Up’ is to ignore yourself, to deny yourself, to not respond to how you feel or accept that what you think doesn’t matter. This is to disconnect yourself from yourself. To ‘Toughen Up’ in this way is an act of violence. It is to tear your mind, heart and soul apart.

Often others tell you to ‘Toughen Up’ so acts of violence can continue, especially low-level violence. You know when others are rude, mean, and hurtful or disrespectful. Often you are told to ‘Toughen Up’ so you accept these acts of violence as normal and ok. People that behave in ways designed to hurt or disrespect you are carrying out acts of violence. ‘Toughening Up’ in response to such actions perpetrates such violence.

When someone tells you to ‘Toughen Up’ they might be well intentioned thinking that ‘Toughening Up’ is a form of self-protection and a means to strengthen you. It is not. It is weakening you as it tears you apart and creates disconnection at your core. This results in reduced ability to think clearly and respond, that is chose to act in your own best interests in a healthy and respectful way. Instead you are more likely to react, come from your biological flight fight fawn or freeze nature.

There is a way to become stronger, to protect yourself from the harms of such violence. You could choose acts of self-respect instead. This requires you to ‘Skill Up’. To ‘Skill Up’ with self-respect is to protect your self while maintaining self-connection. This means you need to pay attention to your needs and act on them in a nourishing and protective manner.

To respectfully protect oneself is to stay in touch with what is happening with caring and act on that caring with skill.   True sometimes that means to postpone an act of nourishment. Acts of self-protection may require us to postpone nourishment temporarily; they are not about denying our self that nourishment.

The big difference between ‘Toughening Up’ and ‘Skilling Up’ with respect is the act of paying attention to yourself, to acknowledge your need and to act on it effectively. This requires Respectful Communication, the acknowledgement of your need and do your very best to act on your need. This includes and requires developing ones skills to do so, rather than pretend there is no need. If you’re best in any one moment is not overly successful. That is ok. It just means it is time to repair any harm and develop new skills. That is life.

Acts of Respect requires one to feel capable and considerate, exercise self control, and respond in an empowering way. Acts of disrespect can be either reactive acts or planned acts that disempower for the purpose of gaining control.   They are opposite in the power flow and outcome.

Disrespect is to                                          Respect is to

Disregard                                                      Relinquishes control

Act to disempower                                     Pays attention and                                                                                 validates

Attempts to Control                                   Act to empowering

Disconnects                                                  Connects


Outcome (and often source)

Feel threatened and insecure                 Feel Safe Capable and                                                                              Considered


To ‘Skill Up’ with self-respect is to develop your ability to care for yourself, to pay attention to what is causing pain and act on it in a protective yet not disconnected manner. Some ways to ‘Skill Up’ so you become stronger with self-respect are:

  • Develop and maintain your self connection
    1. Build self awareness and other empathic skills
    2. Implement self care
    3. Be true to your self
      1. Act on your own needs and desires respectfully
  • Develop skills in remaining calm
    1. Meditation
    2. Deep breathing
    3. Releasing stored emotions / triggers
  • Stay curious and exploratory in nature
    1. Continue to learn
    2. Recognise ‘failures’ and ‘mistakes’ as opportunities to grow/ learn
  • Build your self belief and confidence
    1. Implement self accountability
    2. Start small with goals and complete them
    3. Acknowledge and appreciate each of your achievements
    4. Gradually stretch, make your goals more challenging
  • Build your reliability
    1. Speak your truth with kindness
    2. Keep your word
  • Learn to recognise and let go of what you cannot do anything about
    1. Develop your ability to take personal responsibility for your life
    2. Grasp the reality that you can not control anything but yourself
    3. Clearly define your roles and responsibilities and use them to guide your actions
  • Remain hopeful, have a dream that you can realistically move toward
    1. Back to Building Your Self Belief
    2. Remember to do Develop and Maintain your Self Connection

Remember its ok to make mistakes, developing skills is a journey, mistakes are made and they’re for us to learn from.


Like this? Want to read similar topics?  Hit the like button and let me know.


Self-Determination for Life Satisfaction

Ok I confess for sooo long I lived for others.  Trying to do the ‘right thing’. Trying to keep others ‘happy’.  Even trying to ‘stay out of trouble’.  Well after many many years I have come to accept: no matter what I do there is no ‘right thing’, its not possible to keep others ‘happy’ nor am I able to ‘stay out of trouble’.  The truth is everyone wants something different and it’s just not possible to please others, especially not all the time.

The truth is the only way anyone is going to truly be happy, with his or her life and relationships, is to be self-determined, to live by their own rules and standards. Each person needs to do this for him or herself.  No I’m not saying to ignore others.  That would be disrespectful and wrong in my book.  Nor am I saying stop caring about others and your impact on them.   That would be a breach of my core values of caring kindness and respect.

What I am saying is, it is essential to know what is important to you, and how to look after yourself.   To choose to live in such a way as to fulfil your needs and desires and trust you will find others who are like-minded.

To empower you to live a Self-Determined life here are five steps to being Self-Determined and experiencing greater Life Satisfaction.

First reveal what is important to you.  And I do mean YOU.  Not what you have been told is important.   You might need to give yourself permission to seek out and reveal what is important to you.  If so go ahead.

Now, how to reveal the things that are important to you?  Well think of the things you enjoy doing, the things that inspire you into action.  The things you do naturally and think nothing of.   These are good indications they are important to you.

Second start discovering ways to have more of these things in your life.  Some maybe easy to achieve, perhaps you love reading (OK I do).  So ensure you get to read often, if not every day.  Oh and what you love reading.   I knew a lad who didn’t want to read at all, he was into learning practical skills.  Yet when provided with the catalogues for the local hardware stores reading became a thing to do.  He didn’t love reading but he did love doing practical tasks and discovering the best tools at the best price, which enabled him to get more tools so, he could do more practical things.  Sometimes we do things we don’t love doing simply because they give us more of what we do love doing.

Other things will not be so easy.  For example I love empowering others.  Facilitating them learning things they want to learn and enabling them to do more of what they want.   This takes more skill and positioning.   So I work on that, knowing I am increasing the chances to do so magnificently.

Third consider the type of person you want to be?  What qualities do you want to uphold?  Perhaps you want to be an explorer?  Yet the very idea is overwhelming.  Ok, so consider something small you could explore.  The local parkland.  The best place to find magnificent coffee or hot chocolate.  Then go do it.  As you build confidence in practicing this activity you will find it easier do it more.   Do you want to be seen as a caring person?  What would that look like how would you enact it.  Do it?  Think of a number of qualities, select one and work on that until it is part of you.  Then choice the next one and continue on.

Fourth consider the type of person you want to hang out with.   Do you want to hang out with people that are supportive kind considerate?  What would these people be like, what actions would they take?  Look for them and spend more time with the people who act this way.   Spend more time with people you enjoy.

Fifth consider your long term desires.  What do you want to be known for?  What are the dream things you’d like to do?  Yet are currently out of reach.  List them and start developing plans for achieving these and then start actioning the plan.  Small steps are still steps.  Often once on your chosen path amazing things happen and you find you achieve your desires sooner than you expect.

Follow these five steps and see what a difference they can make to the quality of your life.  Remember this is not about being disrespectful of others.  It is important to consider others, practice caring kindness while enhancing your life.

It is about being respectful to yourself.

How to do both at the same time???  That is another blog for sure.




Connection for Better Conversations

So when was the last time you had the experience of attempting to talk with someone and feeling that they just were not listening!  You know, the feeling of disconnect.   Perhaps it was obvious their thoughts are else where, or their replies just didn’t relate to what you said.   Maybe you just sense it despite their apparent attention.   Whatever way it happened it didn’t feel so good, did it?

Maybe it was you disconnecting.   I know I did it just the other day.  I was driving along, having a conversation when I needed to pay more attention to the road; as a consequence the conversation lost my attention completely.   ‘Sorry ‘ I said, ‘I had to concentrate on the road’ ‘That’s Ok’ they said, ‘I understand’.   Or as often happens when I arrive home, worn out, unable to provide much attention to the requests then made of me.   ‘Sorry’ I said, ‘right now is not a good time I need to rest a moment’.

Disconnection in conversations is part of life.  Something we need to embrace as a part of reality.  If we don’t we are likely to feel a lot of pain from a sense of rejection.  Perhaps forgetting we do it too.  Whatever reason disconnection occurs it prevents satisfying conversations and effective communication.

The thing is that today, Facebook and phones, computer games and TV shows, not to mention movies, are adding to reasons we are taken away from the important task of conversing.  The natural occurrences of disconnection are escalating, possibly out of control.  The result. Well, increased feelings of isolation, rejection and loneliness.  These not only feel terrible, they also have a detrimental affect on our relationships, as well our physical and psychological health.

So how about we turn the tide?  Increase connection, have better conversations and enhance our relationships and heath as a consequence.  Here are six fairly easy steps we can all take.

  • Set aside time for conversations.

Put aside all distractions and potential distraction for the time.  There is very limited truth to the idea of multitasking.  You can only fully focus on and give proper attention to one thing at a time.  Respectful communication requires proper attention.

  • Smile and use gentle eye contact.

A genuine smile with gentle eye contact supports the provision of a safe space inviting your conversation partner to partake.  Oh and I do mean a genuine smile. You know the ones that come from inside and light up your eyes.

  • Give your conversation partner your full attention.

Focus on being present, in the here and now and being really with them.  This empowers your ability to partake in Respectful Conversation.  Providing full attention intentionally and regularly helps overcome the times you are disconnected due to natural moments of distraction.

  • Listen deeply.

So what are they saying?  And not just their words listen to their tone and observe their actions as well.  What are they saying at these levels?  Remember it is best to enquiry and clarify, than assume you have heard them accurately.  After all we interpret their message and could get it wrong.

  • Respond to what they say, appropriately.

Respond from your heart, not your head. All too often we spend time thinking of what to say rather than listening deeply and responding respectfully.   Thinking about what you are going to say, when they are speaking, draws attention away from them undermining your ability to truly hear them.   Then take the time to consider the kindness of our reply.

  • Enjoy 

Did I mention the importance of relaxing into the moment and enjoying the conversation, the genuine connection with another?   Really this is the first and the last point.  Every moment in between will be so much more effective and valuable if you remember to relax and enjoy the incredible time you are connecting and sharing with another.

Here’s to turning the tide and increasing more daily connection with others in conversations.  It will definitely enhance your communications, relationships and life satisfaction.

Want to learn more?  Practice your communication skills?  Check out my latest events in Melbourne


Managing Feelings of Being Bullied.

Bullying is illegal!  In Australia significant bullying is covered by ‘Brodie’s Law’ as well as Stalking[1] and is a criminal offense.  However most bullying apparently falls into the civil law domain.  Either way in theory, the law protects us from being bullied.

Yet the ‘reality’ is that many, to my horror, ‘instigators’ get away with bullying and many ‘targets’ accept it as part of life and often are ‘instigators’ in turn.  Thus despite bullying being illegal and the broad use of anti-bullying programs bullying is still rife in our society.   As a consequence learning how to manage feelings of being bullied is critical.

The reasons to manage feelings of being bullied, effectively, are important because disrespectful discourse, let alone bullying, is demonstrated to have profound impact on individuals’ health and wellbeing, including physical, mental and social health.   In organisations the impact is compounded by reduced member engagement, productive and profit.  For a more satisfying and productive life and organisations, it is time to deal with the issue of disrespectful communication and bullying.

Many people see no point in developing the relevant understanding and skills, for these people bullying tactics are accepted as normal and appropriate behavior, not as ‘bullying’.   I am aware of five main reasons for this:

  • Bullying is so common placed it is accepted as normal practice.
  • A lack of skills in distinguishing abusive and bullying behaviors from respectful communication.
  • A lack of knowledge and skills to deal with bullying effectively.
  • A lack of willingness to address the issue.
  • Difficulty in providing evidence.

As a consequence, while a respectful communication is ideal, other methods for managing feelings of being bullied are required.  Steps to managing feelings of being bullied are to:

  • Ensure one has a clear understanding of what bullying and abusive behaviors are.
  • Know relevant policies and procedures for dealing appropriately with bullying.
  • Develop relevant communication and achievement skills.
  • Acknowledge the feeling and objectively examine them when they occur.
  • Articulate the experience and feeling effectively.
  • Respond selectively and effectively to bullying experiences.
  • Have the courage to address the experience and potential outcome of doing so.

Most of these steps are clear and apparent, however the 7th may be unexpected.  I listed courage for addressing managing feelings of being bullied for two critical reasons.

Firstly to do so is going against the current social norm.   While bullying is illegal it is still accepted as normal behavior.  Excuses and justification are rife. As a consequence most bullying is currently swept under the carpet.   It is not easy to go against the norm, to reveal the hidden dirt; as a consequence many don’t what to deal with.

Secondly it means facing our own inner reality and behaviors, such that we must face our own struggles, lack of skill and take responsibility for them and our own life.  It means moving away form blame by claiming our own power and being willing to be held accountable for our own experiences and actions.  This is essential for respectful communication and achievement.   Accepting this responsibility also requires understanding and acceptance that it is journey of growth that empowers us to a more satisfying life.

I have simplified the above steps, to managing feelings of being bullied, into three key steps:

  • By having clear understanding of what bullying is and effective methods for dealing with it.
  • Managing your feelings and behaviors in your own best interest.
  • Responding selectively and effectively to ‘instigators’ behaviors.

I will address each of these steps in following articles.  The question for you right now is are you prepared to be courageous enough to face yourself so you can effectively learn and develop appropriate communication and achievement skills to up hold our social ‘ideology’ against bullying.




Responding to accusations of being a Bully!

The 10th of October is Mental Health Day!

Thus now is an ideal time to consider the issue of bullying.

Anti-bullying campaigns are everywhere these days.  And rightly so!  Bullying has a significant negative impact on mental health and numerous other aspects of life. However the anti-bullying programs appear to be lacking in effectiveness, as bullying is still a major issue for our society.

Part of this relates to issues around the commonly used definition of bullying which makes it relatively easy for ‘bullies’ to get away with their actions.  I suspect the intention behind the issues is to protect people from inaccurately being accused.  It is more effective to discuss what you can do when accused of being a ‘bully’ and you genuinely are not one?

The Australian Human Rights Commission (2017) states:

‘Bullying is when people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing.  These actions are usually done by people who have more influence or power over someone else, or who want to make someone else fell less powerful or helpless.’

The major issue with the definition when it states to intentionally…cause distress and risk to their wellbeing.  This is purely because individuals say  ‘I didn’t intend to distress them or risk their wellbeing’  ‘I did not intent to bully’.

As a result, too often, they get away with inappropriate behavior.  Individuals involve rarely intend to be a ‘bully’.  They don’t want the label.  And often there is no intent to ‘do harm or risk wellbeing’, simply because the idea may not have cross their minds. They are not thinking about the other at all.

What they are thinking of and do intend is to ‘have their own way’.  The do intend to use fear to gain control over others.  They do intend to use their, actual or perceived, position of power to ensure what they want is achieved.  They may intend to ‘get back’ at the perceived injustice that someone ‘would not go along with their wishes’ or ‘made them look bad’, for having done a perceived wrong.  These are the intentions of a ‘bully’.  These intentions result in the intimidating and coercive behaviors that cause the distress and risk to wellbeing.

Another, more useful, definition of Bullying is:

‘the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behaviour is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict (Juvonen, J. Graham, S., 2014).

Fully fledged bullies, while denying they are bullies, know they are doing the wrong thing.  Their timing and sneakiness indicates this.  They behave differently in front of others, especially those they perceive as having more power than themselves.  They hide and actively deny their actions.   Yet they believe they have the right to do as they do.

At the same time it does happen that people feel they are being bullied, treated inappropriately, when it is genuinely not intended.   Yet regardless of the intention when it is experienced as bullying the same negative impact can occur and it is important to deal constructively with the incident.  These situations maybe because:

The accused has poor relationship or communication skills or

The target’s individual perspective

Resulting in misunderstandings.

This reality highlights the need to remember that ‘Bullying usually is a relationship issue and thus relationship solutions are recommended’ (National Centre Against Bullying, 2017).  At the same time there is a limit to the potential effectiveness of relationship solutions.

If there is no mutuality in the relationship discussing the issue in the relationship is not likely to work.  Too often it only makes things worse for cooperative individuals. Someone who believes they have rights of dominance may ‘go along’ with the ‘orders’ from the higher power, but they are also likely to find another way to achieve their intention.   This escalates rather than resolves the issue.   In such cases further protective action is required on behalf of the ‘other’ or ‘target’.   These situations are not the focus of this article.

Today we look at when there is no intention of bullying, or harm, or force and there is respectful mutuality in the relationship.  In these situations the way to respond to accusations of bullying is very simple: Listen and then ADDE value.

You need to Listen to the accusation and accept that is the others experience, despite your intention. Respond to their experience.

Apologise this lets the other now you didn’t mean for them to experience what they did. This action also reminds you that you have made a mistake and need to take corrective action, even if it was only to increase awareness of the others perspective.

Demonstrate your good will by reassuring the other. This includes: addressing their concerns; explaining your intention; where appropriate explain the policies and procedures you are following; and ask for and carry out suitable actions to repair the harm. It may take time to build or rebuild trust.

Discuss the situation until both parties are clear and comfortable with the intention of the communication and relationship.

Enhance your skills in order to prevent a similar situation occurring again. It is very important to follow through. Where required, ensure skill development occurs.

If you have been accused of being a ‘bully’ first be honest with yourself, do you think you have the right to dictate to others?  Or perhaps you have a right to ‘get even’?  Do you treat those you perceive as having more power than yourself differently to those who you perceive to have less power than yourself?   If neither of these is the case and your intention is for a mutually respectful relationship, an appropriate response to an accusation of bullying is to Listen and ADDE value.


Australian Human Rights Commission NA What is bullying? accessed 8th October 2017

Juvonen, J.; Graham, S. (2014). “Bullying in Schools: The Power of Bullies and the Plight of Victims”. Annual Review of Psychology. Annual Reviews. 65: 159–85. PMID 23937767doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115030.   Via

National Centre Against Bullying Definition of Bullying accessed 8th October 2017


Pain is a Form of Communication.

Pain is an uncomfortable sensation we experience.   It is uncomfortable for the specific purpose of drawing our attention.  Pain is a message, a form of innermost communication, to let us know there is a change that maybe harmful.   Often the discomfort is instantly interpreted as potentially or actually harmful.  Yet this is not always the case.

Sometimes the discomfort is because we are not familiar with the process that is being carried out.  Learning is an excellent example.  When we go through the learning process, ideas we have established, practices we are use to, may need to be broken down to enable a rebuilding of a more complex idea or skill.   This breaking down and integrating process and cause a sensation of discomfort.  Yet if we want to grow in our ideas and skills then this is a necessary process.  It in itself is not going to harm us.  It maybe uncomfortable but it is OK.

Indeed before long the process will settle down and a little later we’ll be established in our new knowledge or skill level.   Until the next developmental sprout, that is. If we do this often enough we’ll adapt and recognise the learning process, become familiar with the sensation and the discomfort will be no more.  Instead we’ll go ahh the learning process. YES!

Sometimes we look at the source of pain and can instantly see the cause and know what to do. Damn a paper cut.  Oh well, its OK.  I just got to stop this blood flow.  Oh no that’s a massive deep cut, it looks like I’ll need stitches.  Best go to the doctor.  AWWWW looks and feels like a broken leg I need help.  Call an ambulance.   Generally we are well trained in dealing with such forms of pain.

Other times we don’t know what is going on.  Something hurts, and we don’t understand.  In these situations we might ask for help.  We might distract our self, until we can’t ignore the pain any longer.  Then we ask for help.  When we don’t understand what is happening it is so much easier if it is physical pain.  Too often psychological and emotional pain is ignored.

This is the worst kind of pain, in my mind, because, too often, we are taught it is a weakness and we simply need to toughen up.  As a consequence we feel we have to live with, deal with it on our own.  Yes it is true there are sources of pain we have to live with.  Life is full of painful experiences.  However the idea we have to manage them on our own or we ought not even have them is a problem.

Yes the discomfort can be in your thoughts, however it is still telling you something isn’t going well for you.  The source still needs to be identified so you can determine an appropriate course of action.  Denying the pain, pretending it doesn’t exist; being afraid to ask for support will only make it worse.

Remember pain is a form of communication.  It is telling you something needs your attention.  Pay attention, identify and evaluate the source, is it really potentially harmful?  Whether it is or not it is important to acknowledge the message, identify the source and develop a pain management plan.  You may need assistance with this.  This is definitely the case if you can’t identify the source or managing the source is beyond your ability or know how.

Always listen to your innermost communication.  It’s not knowing and being alone with the pain that is ineffective for responding to the message.   Ask someone, get help. Whether it is physical or psychological the message of potential harm still needs to be attended to otherwise it will keep growing until it has your attention.

Manners: A better way?

What has happened to manners and being polite?  A question so commonly asked today. We need to be polite!   It was driven into many of us as children.   Say ‘please’ ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’.   It all sounds rather good and nice.  The problem was we were trained to do this.  That is ‘do it’ even when we don’t ‘mean it’.  Worse still he had to accept others insincere politeness and act on it!

Being polite and respectful somehow drifted into social correctness and insincerity. Rather than the appropriate respectful use of the phrases, please, thank you and sorry, the deep meaning of them has been lost.   Consideration of others drifted into self-denial and disrespect or worse.  Little white lies, some call it.  In the name of being kind!

 I don’t see how disrespect and insincerity are ‘good’ or ‘nice’ or ‘kind’. Do you?

‘Please’ a respectful request, to me, has almost become a begging.   Worse I have noticed often there is an element of expectation attached to it. I said ‘please’ so you have to do it. Ouch! What happened to the right to say no.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am all for requesting.  Demanding is not a first choice, it too takes away a right of choice. Y et sometimes, when boundaries are broken, a demand actually becomes appropriate.  I just think I don’t need to beg or expect my fulfilment from one particular source.  If you say no, I can ask someone else.

‘Please’ really is about letting the ‘other’ know they have a choice.   So the phrases:    Could you? Would you? Often seems more fitting to me.

‘Thank you’, an automatic couple of words so often empty and lacking a sense of gratitude.   Come on you know what I mean.   They said ‘thank you’ but was it a genuine appreciation or just empty words?

Appreciation radiates a sense of connection and satisfaction that draws one in, so we can do it all again.  That is what is it about.  We want to make a difference.

 Genuine appreciation and gratitude guides us to use our energy where it makes a difference.

Did you like it?   Did it make a difference for you?  If so, say ‘thank you’ with ‘meaning’ and draw that experience in some more.  Acknowledge what you like.  Say thank you with appreciation, so the source knows it wasn’t wasting its time and energy.  Believe me, you will experience more pleasure this way.

‘Oh sorry’, now I can do it all again.  What!  No that’s not what ‘sorry’ is about!  Yet isn’t that a really common practice today?  ‘I said sorry, what more do you want?’

Well actually I don’t like it, so I don’t want it.   I want to experience something different.

A genuine ‘sorry’ is about recognising an inappropriate action and correcting it.

The words are empty if there is no experiential difference for the ‘other’.  Yet this doesn’t mean you have to change for others, to fit in with them all the time. T he trick is understanding what is important to you and being able to let go of what isn’t.  Being creative enough to find ways to meet everyone’s needs when appropriate.  Sometimes this means looking at our priorities and remembering to let go of ‘others’ so they can grow.

It is unfortunate that being polite, intended as respectfully considerate of others, has become a form of social correctness.   This social correctness is what concerns me.   That is when good manners are token empty gestures or requires us to go along with the social norms and commonplace behaviors that reinforce disconnection and lack of authenticity.

The genuine use of requests, appreciation and appropriate behavior adjustment, along with candid caring communication lead to more fulfilment and life satisfaction.  Yet candid communication maybe portrayed as disrespectful, in reality, I think this claim is a means to prevent growth and maintain questionable social practices.

Learn to speak candidly with respectful kindness, and how to develop relationships where you know the other has your best interests at heart and will support you being your self!  And that you will do the same for them.   Let others know what you appreciate and that you are aware they have a right to say No. 

The Importance of Self-Care

Monday 24th of July is International Self-Care Day.   In honor of the day lets acknowledge the importance of Self-Care and consider how we can enhance our Self-Care skills.  For Self-Care is our first and primary role and responsibility.   It is about honoring our health and wellbeing, as well those around us.

Effective Self-Care is the practice of constructively paying attention to, and fulfilling one’s own needs, so as to nourish and maintain one’s health and wellbeing.

Constructively refers to being effective and respectful, respectful of our self as well as of others.  To be effective and respectful we must be aware of our own needs, be able to distinguish our self from others and recognise that we have separate and often different needs and desires.   We need to believe in our ability to fulfil those needs, while considering others’.  Finally we need the skills to consider varies options, before selecting and actioning the most appropriate way to have the need(s) meet.

As a babe we did not hesitate to let others know our needs until others fulfilled them, or we learnt helplessness.   As we grew we developed skills to fulfill our needs and desires or remained in a space of learnt helplessness and decided we wouldn’t have what we wanted.   Some of us learnt effective Self-Care skills.  We were empowered.   The result being we had the skills for a fulfilling and satisfying life; we experience health, wellbeing, quality relationships, personal success and how to deal with the challenges of life. Unfortunately many of us did not.

Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable,  and you are worth the effort.  Deborah Day

If we have unfulfilled needs they tend to fester and break out.  They may break out as irritation, passive aggressive or outright aggressive behaviors.  These behaviors have damaging effects on our health, wellbeing, relationships, and consequently our life.   As an adult it is our responsibility to develop our Self-Care skills so we can be both self-determined and respectful.   To do this we need the skills of self-awareness, empathy, creativity, negotiation, decision-making, action taking, and accountability.   Learning these skills are Self-Care essentials.

Self-Care means being able to give the best of yourself,  rather than what is left of yourself.   Katie Reed

If you already have many of these skills, in honor of Self-Care Day I suggest you put aside time to consider an act of kindness for your self and your loved one’s and action it as soon as possible.   For kindness is another foundation of Self-Care.

If you are struggling with your personal Self-Care, I recommend giving yourself permission to not only determine but also meet your personal need and desires.   First steps include taking the time to consider what actions make you feel better and which do not.  AND committing to doing more of what helps you feel better.  Start with the simple things.   Perhaps taking time to read a good book, talk with a friend, sitting down to savor a nourishing bowl of fruit salad, or vegetable soup.   Importantly, know you deserve to enjoy your life and that the little things that nourish you are the backbone to doing so.

What action are you taking today to enhance your Self-Care?

How are you celebrating International Self-Care Day?

Other potential resources:

For specific ideas of Self-Care check out: 45 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul.

Self-Awareness exercises.

The Art of Empathy by Karla McLaren

Crucial Accountability by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, and Ron McMillan