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Advent Calendar 2 – Help en route to become gentle with myself

Advent Calendar 2 – Help en route to become gentle with myself

December 2, 2018
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Pondering what has helped me learn how to be gentle with myself, I realize me, myself and I have been my foremost help and aide on this journey. I have let myself open up for insight, for new thoughts. For asking questions, and listening for the reply. I excel at intake, reading, listening, talking, taking in new stuff, getting hints and ideas worth trying, to see what I might gain from them.

Leonard Cohen famously wrote that there’s a crack in everything, and that’s where the light comes in. Then I recently read somewhere, that the crack is also where the light shines through from within. And that’s what I’ve let myself do (and become), a person where light can both enter, but also exit. I take in light – and I transmit light.

My loved ones have also been an integral part in me learning to be gentle towards myself. My ex-husband played a big part, and my children. They are the reason why I started therapy some 12-13 years ago or so. I didn’t want to be such an angry mom for them, and took help, because I was at a loss on how to transform myself.

I’ve attended a myriad of different courses, specifically coaching courses and summits of various kinds, but neither of these courses I’ve picked with the specific purpose of becoming gentle to me. And yet… they have all helped me reach the place where I can say, with complete honesty, that I am. Not 100% of the time and in all situations. Of course not. But that’s not a goal I strive for, becoming “perfect” in this sense.

My Mastermind-group and my #skolvåren back office-gang. Funnily enough these two major parts of my personal development (in many ways) both have their moment of birth in the first months of 2013.  The amount of stuff we’ve worked through together, sharing beliefs, knowledge, questions, fear, longings and bas the basis has been a general sense of curiosity, we’ve helped each other grow and expand. Enriching ourselves through continuous discussions  where the underlying love and respect we all have for each other sets the tone.

And then… all the conversations I’ve had. These have been a huge factor as well. Conversations with myself, as well as others. I have a few very intimate friends whom I’ve shared so much with – and thanks to their knowledge and wisdom, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of myself. And that in turn has also helped me become gentle towards myself.

And the benefits are massive. For myself, of course. Being harsh or gentle in my inner dialogue definitely makes a huge difference. For me. But it also impacts those I meet. If I am harsh with myself – it’s much more likely I will be harsh with you as well. Even thought that isn’t what I aim for. And logically, the opposite is true as well. The more gentle I am with me, the easier it is for me to be gentle with those in my vicinity.

Thanks to me opening up to both myself as those around me, letting these different avenues all help me learn to be more gentle with myself, my experience of life today is one which has me smile softly just writing these words. And I love how my body and my emotions so visibly guides me by showing me what serves me, and what doesn’t.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 2 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 1 – Being gentle

December 1, 2018
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I decided to join the #BusinessBoomutmaning (i.e. challenge) in December as well, doing 21 FB Live’s, just like I did in November. This time around, I will be doing my live’s in Swedish, and as an Advent Calendar on the theme of being gentle. But I also wanted to share my current thoughts on this subject here, as this entire site is centered around Being and Doing Gentle. So I will do a written advent calendar here on the blog, in writing sharing what I share in words on Facebook (in Swedish). The background for why I landed in Being Gentle is simply thus: I have spent 75% of my life in the opposite corner, being extremely harsh with myself.

My inner dialogue was hard up until around ten years ago when the following occurred: 
I was headed to my therapist, and as I hadn’t taken the time to withdraw cash from the ATM the day before, I went to the small kiosk along the way, with the intent of buying something small and withdrawing cash at the same time. However, as I came there, the phone lines were down, so they could not accept my credit card. Hence… I came to my therapist without cash to pay her. And I felt awful. Horrendous. Disrespectful towards her, with the knowledge that I was a dreadful and despicable person for not living up to my end of the bargain.

I told her as much… and she looked at me (with the kindest and most curious of gazes) and stated the obvious: You are very hard on yourself. 

I nodded, a bit perplexed, and asked: Don’t you have to? 

She shrugged her shoulders, and said, gently: No. If it had been me, I would simply have said that I’ll bring double the money next time. 

And, like the wrecking ball that Miley Cyrus sings about, my beliefs shattered. The beliefs that I had to be hard on myself… or perhaps rather, the belief that that was the only way to be me in the world. All of a sudden, I got a glimpse that perhaps there was another way of talking to myself, one that did not make me feel so bad, much (most…) of the time.

From then on, I have worked at transforming the ingrained habits of 30+ years of living life being hard on myself, into living a life of being gentle towards myself. Have found ways of being and doing gentle towards myself, and today, wholeheartedly, I can say: I like being me. I enjoy the way I am with myself, and how I show up as me. And I love myself. But that was not the basis for this transformation, that has been a bonus effect!


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 1 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection November ’17

December 1, 2017
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self-honoringLetting myself off the hook – allowing myself to stay attached, even though it doesn’t make sense anymore. Long after the original meaning has been lost, the decision had been made and step after step had been taken, increasing my  distance to what was once there, I still let myself be attached… until, one day, I woke up ready to let go of my attachment.

I read what I wrote in the paragraph above, and exhale and relax, knowing this is not something I would never have granted myself, had it happened 5+ years ago. What a long way I’ve come, in being gentle towards myself.

The difference that makes the difference? Self-honoring, perhaps? Learning h o w to be gentle towards myself, as well as slowly coming to terms with the fact that I deserve it, I am worthy of love and tenderness, also from myself? Learning not to take myself too seriously, and most definitely not to believe all the thoughts that come whizzing through my head?

I cannot say there’s one difference that has made the difference, rather, it’s a combination of things that all have been working in synergy, leading up to this place in time, where I know how to, and do, let myself off the hook, letting things unfold within without me pushing, prodding, persuading myself into letting go before I am ready to. No longer ripping myself apart, because I think I should this or that, making me do it, even though I’m not ready for it. No. No more. That violent behavior towards myself that was my modus operandi for years and years, for decades even, it has been – permanently I hope, trust and believe! – replaced by me practicing the art of being gentle to myself.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection August and September ’17

September 25, 2017
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I don’t know if you’ve noticed the absence of my monthly reflection on how I do gentle to myself; I did. But I didn’t act upon it, so in a sense, that’s me being gentle to me. It’s not a m u s t to write these monthly reflections, it’s an intention, a gift I give myself, but also one that I can refuse, if that’s what feels best. And honestly, I didn’t really know what to write.

Acceptance on chestnutYou see, it’s been a time of winding down, a time of less emotional storms and upsets, a time of me simply being. At the same time it’s been a time of winding up, of getting my sh*t together, a time of me figuring out what being me means, right now, right here.

A chapter is closing, and I am deliberately trying to close it with gentleness and great care. And that feels really good – that’s what’s deserved.

At the same time, I know I’ve been necessarily blunt with others at times, and the only thing I can do (after saying sorry) is to take heed, to remember what it felt like, what it lead to, and try to behave more in the way I want to (being proactive rather than reactive) from now on, and most importantly: to not beat myself over the head for my bluntness. That won’t make it alright, and it certainly doesn’t serve either party, so, no. I am not taking that route. And I hope I’ve learned that lesson to the degree that I will never again chose the ”beat myself over the head”-route. I’ve done that enough, and nothing good comes from it.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection June ’17

June 28, 2017
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So much of what I’ve been writing about in these monthly reflections run like a thread through my experience of life, my self-gentleness takes on similar expressions from month to month, but what I did do in the month of June that was truly gentle to me, was to host a very special birthday party for myself. I sent out the invitations a while ago, hosting an open house from afternoon until the last guest would leave, with a request for each guest: to bring something edible that would do well at a buffet table, be it a snack, a starter, main course-type food or a dessert of some kind. In return I promised to take care of the drinks.

At three o’clock when I’d said people could start to come, two things struck me:
1) I was filled with energy, which felt different to most parties I’ve hosted. By the time the party is about to start, I’m normally exhausted from cooking and cleaning and preparing and getting everything in place. This time – not at all. I’d fixed tea and coffee, and put out assorted drinks, glasses, mugs, plates and cutlery, but that was about the extent of it. Great feeling, I tell you!
2) There was no one there! That gave me food for thought, because, of course, I had told everyone that they could come whenever it would suit them best, so perhaps I would be waiting for hours? I didn’t have to wait for long though until the first guests started to drop in, which was somewhat of a relief.

The family tradition holds that the celebrant gets to drink from the silver crystal glass. Photo: Annika Jeppsson

The family tradition holds that the celebrant gets to drink from the silver crystal glass. Photo: Annika Jeppsson

Having left it completely up to my guests to bring whatever they felt like, when one guest asked for coffee and cake, all I could say was “Sorry, there’s no cake yet!” because no one had brought any. We did get some cake eventually, so all turned out well.

It was a great adventure to see what everyone would bring. We got freshly baked bread and olives, melons and quiche, cheese pie and potatoe gratin, chicken sticks and lots of assorted cheeses, a taco fry with tortilla chips, pizza and apple pie, chia brownies and hazlenut/peach cake, and lots more.

I had a blast, had great fun botanizing amongst all the yummy stuff brought by everyone, and am absolutely enamored with the idea to ask the guests to bring something to eat – for sure, this is the way I will do hencefort when I want to invite a larger gathering over for one or another reason.

Not least because this was truly an act of gentleness towards my self. I do recognize though, that for someone not as used to letting go of all sense of control, it might be somewhat stressful. But I have let go of that. What would come, would be what we would be eating. Period. And I mean, it’s not as if my fridge, freezer and larder are empty, and there’s always take-out, so, I mean, there’s really nothing to worry about, nothing at all!

Welcome to my writings, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. I reflect on a monthly basis on what that means to me, in the moment, and this is one of those reflections. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future reflections.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection May ’17

May 25, 2017
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And so another month has passed in this thing we call Life. Capital L. Deliberately. Because that’s how I, today, believe Life should be lived, as if it’s something to pay attention to, to be deliberate and intentional about.

Well, that doesn’t feel very gentle; on the contrary, aren’t you putting a lot of pressure on yourself by stating this? As if Life is all about the results and performance, stacking up some pretty high expectations there, aren’t you?

No. That’s just it.
I don’t laden Life with high expectations, with a number of unspoken demands of result, or believes about what is the Right way to live it. At least, that’s not how I experience it nowadays. On the contrary. Life, to me, is filled with all sorts of events and non-events, the entire range of emoitions avilable to a human being and is somehow a container for everything between heaven and hell.

The difference lies in my wish to live Life with delibreration and intentionality, being aware and conscious. Loving fully – except when I can’t, and then I can practice not-loving fully. Laughing and having fun, contrasted by times when I am desperately sad and grieving.

come rain or shineCome rain or come shine, wherever you go, there you are Jon Kabat-Zinn says, and I think that sums it up. Knowing this, deep in my bones, while taking responsibility for what situations and surroundings I place myself in, the company I elect to keep, the stories I feed myself. This is how I live Life. Deliberate. Intentional. For me, these are words of possibilities, like champagne bubbles within. And what better way to be gentle to me than to live a Life of possibilities?

Welcome to my writings, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. I reflect on a monthly basis on what that means to me, in the moment, and this is one of those reflections. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future reflections.

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#blogg100 – Gentle care.

May 11, 2017
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gentle care”Treat yourself with gentle care.”

The theme for this entire website centers on being gentle towards myself. It is something which I have had to learn how to be; during my upbringing and entry into adulthood, I got extremely good at the opposite, at being very harsh with myself, rather than gentle. So I’ve worked hard at ridding myself of dictatorial and judgemental inner voices, slowly releasing them, paying less and less attention to their commands, understanding – after a while – that I truly did not have to take the word of the inner voices as Truth, as Orders, as something which I had to abide by.

”Treat yourself with gentle care.”

Yesterday I got a new opportunity. I have assignments to complete, and had, at the same time, promised my presence in another project all day today… and the two simply do not add up. So I cringe, falter, hesitate, feel embarrassed that I cannot live up to my promise to take part in the meetings planned for today… and finally come to the conclusion, that I have a choice. Between the two. One or the other will have to take top priority today, both cannot. And I chose. I chose the assignments, that are sorely late as they are, and given other assignments the upcoming days, if I did not, they would fall even farther behind.

”Treat yourself with gentle care.”

The relief in making a decision. In communicating it. And in having the most wonderful gentle response back – with understanding, and a great capacity for work-arounds, my presence will be missed, yes, but the meetings will take place anyway, and will be well-managed at that. I could have been faced with harshness, with hurt and a wish to impose feelings of shame and inability to live up to promises. I was not, and for that I am grateful, but even if I had – the fact still remains: I have a choice, and I chose. So now I will throw myself wholeheartedly into the assignments of the day, making sure I give it my full attention, with no sense of regret. This is what is, and it is as it should be.

If anything, I am patting myself on the back, prodly telling myself how good I’m gotten at treating myself with gentle care!

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 72 of 100.
The book “The parents Tao Te Ching” by William Martin.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection April ’17

April 26, 2017
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I wonder if this last month has possibly been the month of me being the least gentle towards myself, that I’ve experienced in the past several years… A month of intense work and too little time to simply be. I haven’t been intentionally mean towards myself, not at all, but there’s been deadlines looming that have made me step into a get-it-done-mode where the soft and silent inner voice has been completely run over. Especially since I let that part of me run the show in February; a month where a lot of the work could have been done that I’ve been doing this month as a consequence.

And it’s ok. I mean, I am still fit as a fiddle, eating, sleeping (well… could do with a bit more sleep, truth be told), knitting and taking time for family gatherings, so it’s not been 100% work, far from it. And the masochist within takes some pleasure in the getting-it-done-mode also; it’s rewarding to see a delivery become more and more defined, pieces falling into place and making sense, not to mention the thrill at shipping it, only to be allowed to follow it up with an invoice for a job well done.Tired and lack-lustre

But I am tired.
Sit in the sofa yawning like crazy.
Feel lack-lustre.

It’s as if life is taking its toll, all of a sudden, and I just want to Be. Doing nothing. Throw away all ToDo’s, cancel all meetings and assignments; put life on Pause for a little while.

But I won’t. Because I don’t want to, truly.
But yes, postponing ToDo’s that are possible to postpone without serious consequences, for sure.
Saying no to meetings and or assignments that aren’t crucial, definitely.
Asking for help and assistance, as and when I need it; listening within and being open with my needs, you bet.
And stepping up for myself – hell yeah!

All in all, being gentler towards myself, supersizing on Gentleness this next month, as I replenish and recharge while simultaneously finishing off my last large assignment for the year.

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. I will be reflecting on a monthly basis on what that means to me, in the moment, and this is one of those reflections. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future reflections.
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Being gentle to me – Reflection March ’17

March 28, 2017
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There’s this thing come July, that I simply do not want to do, this year around. I’ve done it a handful of times, and it’s given me so much. Connection, exploration, insight, fun and laughter as well as frustration and realization of the boxes that block creativity from flourishing… often for a good cause, but leading wrong, so wrong.

This year though – I do not want to go there. I do not want to be there. I do not want to put any energy into it.

So I said it.
Straight out.

I don’t want to go there this year. 

Sick and tired of it.
I felt it already last year, that my heart wasn’t in it. And even less so this year.

So I said No, to this, which translates into a Yes, to me.

GardeningI will be going next year. Next year there’s a reason, a project I’m involved in, which is very close to my heart. This year, there’s not, and so I want to stay at home. All summer, actually. I haven’t made any plans for the summer, no travels booked or anything, I simply want to stay at home. Resting. Relaxing. Enjoying the garden, the summer evenings, letting myself slow down to the speed of life.

Saying No to this, and Yes to me, is how I’ve practiced being gentle to me, in the month of March.

It’s not the first go I make at saying Yes to me, I’ve been practicing, making it easier each time. It also helps when the person receiving the No, realize it’s not about them. It’s all about me. It’s a No for now because of my need for a Yes right now, for me. And I am proudly honoring myself by granting me the respite I need.

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. I will be reflecting on a monthly basis on what that means to me, in the moment, and this is one of those reflections. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future reflections.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection February ’17

February 27, 2017
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It’s been an odd month. A lot of hopelessness and despair, frustration and fear, surrounding me. So what have I been doing to be gentle to me, under these conditions? Well… I’ve let myself off the hook, in many ways. I’ve let up on some of the requirements I normally meet, have let my confused and muddled mind be. A lot of knitting, which for me is a very relaxing activity, where my brain can simply let go. A lot of The Good Wife on Netflix, which works perfectly together with the knitting. I’ve not had the wherewithal to read, so no books. I’ve not been able to make myself focus on some aspects of work, so less of that as well. I’ve done the top priority activities, but cut back on the rest.

Wellbeing picking up againAnd now?
Well. The wellbeing is picking up, on all fronts, mine as well as for those in my surroundings. And it makes it easier to start to focus again, to get into the aspects of work that I’ve not been able to make myself sit down with in the past month. The items that require a bit more from me, a coherent thought, an arc of intention, that demands my full attention. And today, for the first time in a few weeks, I finally truly felt that again. So I enjoyed it, getting into the flow of things, of digging around in a system, searching for the common thread, pondering the best way to recreate it, into a new system, utilizing the best from the old, and trying to let go of the less good bits.

And throughout it all – this underlying knowing that it’s not forever. It will not last, the sense of hopelessness, the lack of energy due to despair. It cannot. Nothing ever does. The flux of life will pick up it’s frequency again, starting to swing back and forth, back and forth, providing me with high’s and low’s. Coupled with the knowledge that whatever it is I am not doing, is noting that won’t keep, the worst case scenarios of me not giving it my all – for a month – simply aren’t that bad, even if I use all of my imagination.

So. Being gentle to me this past month has been about cutting myself some slack, allowing me to recharge my batteries and giving me space to simply Be.

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