“Change your priorities and you change your life”

I finally got around to opening “The subtle art of not giving a f@ck” by Mark Manson, and I have to say, 20 pages in and it is really resonating with me. I spent a lot of these pages nodding and laughing as I recognised myself in so many of the key points.

For me, the title was misleading. I had conjured up the imagery of not caring, and cruising through life without setting goals or creating meaningful relationships. Because of this, I didn’t really think this book would be for me. I care deeply. I feel deeply. I am blessed with many meaningful connections, and I am most definitely a goal setter.

But here is the thing, I know what I care about, and for those things I give my all and do whatever I think is required at the time. The connections and goals in my life are created around these priorities. My energy is invested into these areas. I know my priorities. It isn’t about not giving a f@%k, it is about knowing what to give a f@%k about.

For all those things that do not align to my vision, my intentions and my people, my energy is limited. This is not to say I won’t do anything in other areas, nor will I not care at all. But here is what happens in the areas I have not prioritised: I say “No,” I don’t get wound up or over emotional, I brush things off (comments, negativity etc.), and I just don’t spend my time in these spaces.

Many people don’t set, or even know, their own priorities, which is something I see regularly with coaching clients. Not setting these for yourself can create the following issues:

          It can lead to spreading yourself too thin, and so nothing gets done at the level you would want, nor are you getting to spend the quality time on the areas that really matter to you. This in turn leads you to feel incompetent, which can cause you to put more energy into proving to yourself and others that you are…it is a nasty spiral!

          It can create an emotional rollercoaster. There just isn’t enough time in the day, nor enough energy to care about all the things! To keep yourself more centred, you need to know the areas that you chose to invoke deep emotions within you.

          You can become the “Yes” woman. It is hard to say “no” to things if you are clear in what it is you want and need to say “yes” to. In turn, people learn you will always be the one to do something, consequently your load increases (again not in the areas important to you necessarily). We really do teach people how to treat us!

          This all can create an increase in stress!

So the art of “not giving a f@#k” for me, means to know what it is you do care about. Once you know this, you can declutter your mind, your time, your emotions and your energy by not stressing over everything else. Here are some questions you might want to use, to really help focus this, and work out your priorities:

          What is it you want out of your life?

          Where do you want your energy going?

          What and who do you want to be investing in?

          What is your purpose?

          What does your ideal life look like?

          What do you need to be doing to achieve your ideal life?

          Rank, in order of importance, your daily tasks. Does your time allocation match this ranking?

Some of these questions overlap and as such you do not need to answer them all. Different ways of asking the question help different people to clarify things for themselves, so see if any of these questions work for you. Brainstorm, take notes, or write freely after reading some of these questions and see what it is you come up with. You can then use this to say “No” to things and people that don’t align or go back to this when you are fretting over something to remind yourself of its lack of importance.

I wish I had done this years ago, really figuring out my own priorities. It would’ve saved me a lot of time, heartache, and stress from investing myself in areas that were wrong for me.

“The key is to not prioritise your schedule, but to schedule your priorities” – Stephen Covey.

Mel H x

P.s – Let me know how you go with answering these questions, did it help in any way, or what struggles came up for you!


Slow and steady wins the race…

I have always been one to do things a million miles an hour. I have always been a sprinter, I get stuck into things as soon as they present, I put all my energy into it and I want it done now. As a child I would rush home telling my mum that I needed to get an assignment started now, and we should have been at the library yesterday. After questioning me, mum would soon discover I had just got the assignment today, not weeks ago as my agitated state suggested. Moving into the work force I applied the same attitude and behaviours. I eventually had a boss who pulled me aside to tell me not to respond to emails or get things done for people so quickly as it set up an expectation and would mean more people would come to me in the first instance. This would increase my workload and leave me less time for the project work.

This conversation led me to stop and reflect on why I ran myself ragged to get tasks completed as quickly as I could. After digging deep internally I realised that this behaviour was driven by a deep-rooted fear, the fear of being viewed as incompetent. I was constantly trying to show people that I was competent and one of the ways to prove this was by completing things before it was expected, and being able to carry such a high workload.

Once I realised this, I was able to address it; challenging my thinking and changing my behaviour.


–          I journaled a lot. I wrote down my thoughts and evidence that refuted the idea that I wasn’t competent. I recorded people’s responses, and wrote about assumptions and perceptions which helped me see that.

–          I read books around self-limiting beliefs, fears, rushing women and similar topics. This lead to a lot more journaling.

–          I used positive affirmations: I am competent. My competence is not hinged on others’ perceptions. My time is valuable.



–          Plan in advance. By having my deadlines in my calendar and inputting checkpoints for my work I know where I need to be for everything. This helps me see how much time I actually have to do other pieces that present themselves.

–          Stick to my calendar. To allow for deeper critical thought, and to comply with my slower pace I keep to the checkpoints I have put into my calendar, rather than trying to get it all done in one sitting.

–          Not ‘squeezing’ people in. I don’t want to be rushing my catch ups with loved ones, nor do I want them to feel as though they are just another meeting. Rushing people is not who I am, so I have stopped doing it.

–          Knowing my priorities. I know, I say this in like every single piece of writing I do, but this is how important it is! For example, I know that exercise is a non-negotiable for me, I don’t put it in the “if I have time” category, it is scheduled, it is a priority. Knowing this means that rather than continuing to work on a project for hours on end at full speed, I know the tasks I need to move on to as they are priorities.

–          Breathe. An action we do so regularly at the unconscious level, yet it is such a powerful an important tool to use for peace, mindfulness, and in this instance taking a step back. When I feel that energy overload kick into my system, the adrenaline starts surging (oh yeah I am a self-labelled geek and I love it!) with a deadline or a new project I just stop and take some deep belly breaths. My mind clears and I am able to reflect back on my priorities before rushing off at a million miles an hour.


Having this “I must get it done quicker than humanly possible” mentality has had its benefits, but it also created a highly stressed individual who was always working to tick things off a list, struggled to stay focused on one task at a time, failed to enjoy the process and had moved critical thinking and peace down the list of priorities. As I already mentioned it was also driven by an insecurity, which was kept alive by this out of control behaviour.

This is something I have actively worked at for the last few years; just allowing myself to spend time on tasks, spend time on my own pieces and reducing my stress levels that were created by rushing around all the time. This is not to say that I don’t fall back into old habits every now and then, nor do intentionally choose to “go all in” on very specific pieces of work – though this is after careful consideration and for a range of reasons.

If you could relate to this need to get things done, the fear of being seen as incompetent or running at a high stress state regularly I encourage you to work deeper into this space. Try some of the things that I did, do some of your own research or reach out to me!

Mel H x


Don’t be a bystander, be a stand up human!

One of the intentions I set for 2018, was to call out racism, sexism, homophobia and the likes. I have been in uncomfortable situations where people are saying, writing or posting commentary that is dangerous to our society and I have not said anything. I am sure many of us have thought at one time or another “it’s not worth it,” “they are set in their ways,” “there is no point,” or something similar, only to reflect later and wish you had said something.

Here’s the thing I realised, when I was saying “it’s not worth it” what I was actually saying was its not worth it for ME at this point in time. I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable, or have negative feelings directed towards me. I was not focusing on the cause, those who were marginalised or the bigger societal picture. I also checked myself on my “there’s no point” thinking. How do we even know someone will reject our opinions until we express them? It may be the seed that gets planted, or it may be the last piece they need to have a paradigm shift. I am also conscious of the other bystanders. We never know who else could be listening or reading something which could influence their thinking or provide them support in a space where they are feeling the hate, judgement and oppression.


At first, I told myself ‘well its not like I am being racist/sexist’ to try and make this realisation easier to take, to make myself feel better, to feel more comfortable in my silence. And although that technically may be true, I am perpetuating it. I am not doing anything to challenge or change those thoughts, and in some cases social norms. I am letting people who say, write, and post about these things think I agree with it, think that it is ok.

It is not ok. I am not ok with that. This is not who I am.

This realisation was quite confronting. I thought I was someone who had strong social values, and a strong sense of social justice, who had fairness and equity in her DNA, yet my behaviour was not supporting this.

So, back to my 2018 intention of calling this out, and no longer being a silent partner in the fight for equity. I have unfollowed people on social media as a show of ‘voting with my feet’ of sorts. I have commented on posts that contain dangerous narratives, even if I am the lone voice and comments are made in other places that are negative towards me. I have told people I disagree with what they are saying, or simply questioned their statements. And it feels good.

Sure, people may in turn unfollow me, say negative comments or have ill thoughts about me. This says nothing about me, it says something about them. I am confident in my views. Sure, I have more to learn in these spaces, and I can still respect differences of opinion, however, I am confident that racism and sexism are never ok. And, as I said above, maybe I have given someone else the support or release, or voice they needed at that time.

The other part of this 2018 intention for myself, is about being ok with expressing myself from an emotional space or viewpoint. I do my research, I am connected with some pretty amazing people in both the feminist and racial equity spaces and engage with them regularly, my background is one rooted in education, and I feel like a good argument has sound evidence. However, this thinking, coupled with the societal push I feel for only having a perspective based in cold hard facts has meant I have dismissed my own anecdotal pieces, my own experiences and my own emotions. These topics are emotional. I am allowed to be emotional, and I will not try to hide this or pretend it is not part of my calling out. I believe there is so much research in these spaces, but let us not forget an individuals voice or story. I want, and feel some people need to see and hear the emotion that is attached to these areas.

I am already connecting with some amazing people, making new connections and being exposed to new opportunities through the calling out, challenging, deconstructing, questioning and not accepting of these attitudes and social norms.

So, there it is, one of my intentions for 2018. I will no longer stand by and be a silent witness to the ‘isms’, I am standing up.

In what areas, and how do you stand up?

Mel H x


For your reading and viewing pleasure…






The Art of saying “No!”

Only two letters; N and O, but oh how hard they can be to put together and say out loud.

Through the feeling of social obligation, trying to prove oneself in the work place, not wanting to let a friend down, not being able to escape a role that we have played (the one that gives good advice, the nurturer etc.), or simply not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, we end up committing to things that can in fact be harmful to us. By harmful I mean by putting ourselves in a social situation that could be upsetting, by trying to take on too much and raising our stress levels, costing us sleep by fretting over it, and overall not putting our own well-being first. By saying “Yes” to something, are we saying “No” to ourselves?

Time is a limited resource we have, and one we can not get back. It is our choice how we use our precious time, and so we need to ensure we are investing this in areas that align with our goals and with us personally.

This is an area I have become stronger in over the last couple of years, and in all honesty, I have had to say “No” more to protect my heart with matters surrounding the infertility space. I have said “No” to baby showers, children’s birthday parties, and large group catch ups with groups of mothers. I have said “No” by unfollowing people on social media who only write about babies, or those who write comments that are highly insensitive and offensive to someone with fertility struggles. I have declined seeing people when I need some space and time to recharge. This is not easy. Feelings of guilt arise at not being there for other people, particularly for important milestones in their lives. I have had concerns of how I am making friends feel by me making that choice to not attend events, which again makes me feel guilty. I have wondered whether I am being too sensitive and actually silly at other times, and whether it is detrimental in some way to not be following certain people in the ‘wellness’ space. Then I remember how I am left feeling, the tears, and the upset phone calls to my sister (who will always tell me to unfollow them, leave their house, or tell them you are not doing it NOW) after these have taken place.

My well-being is affected.

I am not practicing self-love.

Saying “No” is done out of self-love.

To improve my art of saying “No” I have learnt the following things:

–          Don’t say “Yes” to things straight away. You can say you will think about it, get back to someone or simply take time to respond (obviously depending on the forum, this may be awkward standing there silently in a 1:1 conversation). Having this space to think about it will allow you to say “No” upfront, rather than a last-minute cancellation which does let people down, or going along with something you didn’t want to.

–          When saying “No” you do not owe an explanation! This is one of the hardest parts for me personally. This comes out of wanting to minimise the guilty feelings, and wanting to avoid other people thinking poor of me. You can of course provide an explanation, but you do not need to, “I don’t want to” is explanation enough!

–          Why are you apologising? This is linked with owing the explanation, and minimising the negativity towards ourselves. By all means, if you are actually sorry about something (there is a clash), then apologise, but if you aren’t sorry, don’t apologise.

So sorry, I can’t make the group dinner as I have something else on. Hope it goes well x”

–          Be proactive. By telling people what your priorities and goals are, what is upsetting and what you are focusing on for your own well-being it becomes easier to decline. This means being vulnerable, and may not be possible in every situation, but it also creates an army of sorts that surround and support you. I have been in very uncomfortable situations where I have had someone back my stance simply because she knew where I was coming from.

–          Practice makes perfect it easier. The more you say “No” it does get easier, the guilt subsides, the explanations and apologies dwindle. For me, this was because I realised it was coming from a place of self-love and not being mean or selfish.

–          Know your direction, priorities and bottom lines. Brainstorm these areas out for yourself. When you know where you want to be heading, and what you will not accept it is much easier to decline things that don’t align to you!


If this is an area you know you need to work on, maybe “I love myself enough to say No” could be a personal mantra or affirmation you regularly use.

I challenge you to say “No” in whatever form that is for you, as part of your self-love practice. Let me know how you get on, what works and what is difficult for you.

Say YES to YOU!

Mel H x


The worst that can happen is failure…and I can deal with failure.

How did you react to the title of this blog? Did you agree, or did you react strongly with thoughts around how bad failure can be?

A common deep fear people have is that of failure. The thought of not being able to do something, at everyone discovering that we couldn’t do it, losing things because of our incompetence or just not feeling we are good enough in this space prevents many people from taking action.

Fear of failure, like many things, lies on a continuum. Rather than simply having the fear or not, most people have this fear to an extent, but the impact it has on their life and how they engage with it varies:


Embrace the failure

I have had clients who will admit they still don’t like failing, but they understand it is part of the process, it is where growth happens, and they don’t attach their self-worth to it. They view failure as a step towards amazing success and part of living. Although, as I said, they don’t like it and will still have negative feelings towards it, the feelings towards themselves are not altered, and they are quick to move into the positive space.

“I see failure as an opportunity”


Weigh it up

For many, fear of failure plays out in their risk aversion. They will look at the likelihood of failure, and weigh that up with the outcome, output or reward for taking that risk. They will be willing to take a bigger risk if the reward is bigger, or they may be more comfortable taking risks in certain areas of their life. Although they understand failure is part of the world we live in, it is still something they would rather avoid, and it can take some work to actually take the action required. These people can see that failure does not always reflect them as people, there are other factors involved, but they can be too hard on themselves too.

“It could be worth it”


Dragging their feet

This group of people will find any fault with the new piece, procrastinate heavily or look for ways to stay in the same position they are in, convince themselves they are happy where they are. They can often self-sabotage before even trying, ask other people to confirm their resistance, or will do things behind closed doors, so no one will need to know. These people believe that most failures are personal, that blame should be laid squarely on their shoulders, and they will struggle to not attribute it to themselves regardless of the evidence.

“But I guess I could actually like where I am at now”


Staying here

Those that have the fear of failure as their central fear, and have not challenged, addressed or worked on this will do almost anything to avoid failure. They will remain in unhappy relationships, unfulfilling careers that are beneath their capabilities and aspirations, and will not create or seek out new opportunities. Any failure is attributed to themselves, and they will seek to confirm this, while ignoring any contradictory information.

There is no point in even trying I won’t get it anyway”


This is by no means THE groups that you could fit in, as I said to start it is a continuum. You might recognise yourself in a few of these examples, or think you are somewhere between them.

As I am sure you have picked up by reading through the different examples of places along the continuum that I have given here, the fear of failure is linked to self-worth and self-compassion. Not attributing all external pieces to one’s self internally is part of our self-worth, while being able to say ‘I made a mistake’ or ‘that didn’t work out, but it is ok’ is part of self-compassion.

At times, we are all going to have that fear that something may fail and what that could mean for the company, for lives etc, but it shouldn’t become so strong that it prevents us chasing our dreams, or opening up new spaces for us. We shouldn’t sit, unhappily, in the same spot because this fear far outweighs the unhappiness we are feeling.

–          Where do you sit along this continuum?

–          Do you view failure as an opportunity for growth and learning, do you avoid it at   all costs, or are you somewhere in between?

–          Does the fear of failure affect your functioning or your direction?

If you can relate to this, or realise through any of these examples or questions that the fear of failure is affecting you, addressing your self-worth could be the place to start. Have a read through some of my other blogs, try journaling, read some texts in this space, seek out a counsellor, or reach out to me.

Mel H x


“I am a fraud…”

Have you ever sat in a roomful of people and thought ‘Why was I invited, what can I add to this?’ or had lingering feelings of doubt around your own capabilities even when people were saying otherwise. Have you thought that people will ‘finally catch on and realise you aren’t even good at this’ or sabotaged yourself to avoid being in a situation where others will ‘figure it all out’.

Well, you are like so many other women!

Many women experience what professor Pauline Clance and psychologist Suzanne Imes coined as the imposter syndrome (Bell, 1990). They studied high-achieving women and found that although many of these women were functioning and achieving at a high level they felt as though this was not due to their own capabilities, it was due to external factors. They have a disabling belief that they are imposters.

Imposter syndrome is where you are unable to internalise your achievements, even when evidence indicates this is the case. Ironically, this often occurs after a positive milestone; a promotion, a new business, acceptance into a scholarship programme of area of study, the invitation to an event or group or winning an award. They often downplay their success, dismiss their abilities and this leads one to feel as though they don’t really deserve to be where they are at, and that at some point everyone is going to figure out they are not actually capable of the space they occupy.

Although imposter syndrome occurs across the board, women have been found to suffer from it at a much higher rate. In her research, Bell (1990) found that men were more likely to attribute their success to their own capabilities, while women were more likely to attribute it to external factors. Bell (1990) commented that the socialised gender role expectations in society create conflicting messages to women about their achievements, which consequently make it difficult to internalise success.  These social constructs suggest that women should be secretaries and nurses etc, and not in leadership positions. This can lead to women who are ‘breaking the mould’, to have feelings of not fitting where they should, they feel they are imposters simply because of their gender. The socialisation of gender also means many women hide their capabilities to avoid being targeted, to avoid jealousy and envy, to not appear ambitious or bossy or career focused etc.

If you find yourself feeling like a fraud and struggling to internalise your success here are a few things to help:

–          Not setting excessively high standards. I am not talking about having goals and striving to achieve these. It is the excessively high standards, the chase for the myth of ‘perfect’, having to be the best at everything you do. It also means not setting these ridiculous standards for your children, employees, colleagues or loved ones. This often sets people, including yourself, up to fail which causes negative self-talk around your own capabilities. When you do achieve one of these items it becomes the exception and so it is difficult to internalise this.

–          Stop with the comparison. I feel like I could put this bullet point in pretty much every blog I write, and with good reason. Comparison really is a killer. Comparing your own life and achievements to someone else is comparing roses to orchids, we all bloom in different seasons. If your baseline of success is based on what someone else has achieved, nothing will ever be good enough and someone will always ‘be better’ which leads to similar thought processes as having excessively high standards.

–          Evaluate yourself. Really engage with yourself and evaluate you. What are your strengths, what are your capabilities, areas to improve on, blind-spots, areas for opportunity etc. Try and be specific with your evaluation; “I am good at presenting information to an audience in a way that is easy to understand. I am also an engaging presenter” rather than “Good presenter”. Ask other people what they think for the areas I have suggested too.

–          Link your evaluation to examples. After you have done the in-depth self-evaluation, think of the times you have achieved something and use this evaluation to explain it e.g:

Example Evaluation points New explanation
I was asked by my manager to present to the whole staff.


I am good at presenting information to an audience in a way that is easy to understand.

I am also an engaging presenter.

I am reliable.

I have a strong work ethic.

I have strong research skills.

I am good at developing presentations.

I am able to think on the spot.

I can articulate answers well.

I am a good learner.

I am thorough.

(you get my drift!)

My manager asked me to present to the whole staff because she knew I was competent, and had the capabilities to do so.


–          Be a good boss/friend etc. This means not micro-managing people. You are sending the message that you do not trust them or think they have the required capabilities by doing this. When they do succeed then, they will not take any internal credit as they will not feel they did it anyway. It means to give people the chance to show their capabilities, provide help and training where it is needed and let them achieve themselves. Be supportive and empower others in their success, think about how you acknowledge or praise others, does it allow them to internalise success or are you creating ‘imposters’ by saying they were lucky to be given the opportunity, were able to do so because of the structures in place, or without their team they would have struggled etc.

–          Use specific affirmations. Use affirmations that highlight your capabilities “I am good at..” etc.

It really saddens me that so many of us women (I was definitely one), have these feelings of being an imposter. So, let’s change this! Own your capabilities, celebrate your success, walk with pride knowing all you have achieved, and it is ok to acknowledge external factors, but be sure to internalise it ladies, because you are awesome!

Mel H x


Bell, L. A. (1990). The gifted woman as imposter. Advanced Development Journal, 2, 55–64.


Being authentic matters to everyone…

I recently was in a situation with a group of friends, where via a group chat they were discussing a group catch up. Without going into too much detail, it turned into a discussion around the catch up becoming one where all the children would come too, rather than just a girls brunch. It went on about how cute it is when the kids are together, and a lot of other kid talk. As each message came in to my inbox, I got more and more upset (we have fertility issues and are unable to conceive naturally), I even shed a few tears. It is that constant reminder of what we are unable to have, and how it impacts all facets of our lives, like wanting to avoid hanging out with my own friends! I wrote out a few responses, and then deleted them. I felt that any response I gave was either not going to be my authentic self, or I was going to hurt my friends’ feelings by being honest, and vulnerable.

I sat on this for six days, and I really did stew over it. I was weighing up if it was worth saying something, what was the point when it was only going to hurt people’s feelings, and this was something I just had to get accustomed to, and basically just harden up. I also did not want to say anything, which would lead my friends to feel awkward, or created an elephant in the room with all future interactions. However, after writing my thoughts and feelings out it became clear to me that I had to say something:

          How did I expect this situation to change in the future when my friends had no idea it was upsetting to me? If they were unaware of my reaction to this conversation it was highly likely that similar conversations would occur in the future, which was not good for anyone.

          It was not ok for me to feel this upset in a casual conversation with some of my closest friends, and I did not want to lose these friendships because I was avoiding any contact that led me to be so upset.

          These are girls who actually love me and although I know they would hate to feel they had upset me, I know they would rather know for future reference, and so they could understand my feelings and consequent behaviours.

          It was not ok for my friends to not have the truth from me. To not have the authentic, vulnerable me. To not be honest with them.

I sent them all an email, outlining my feelings around the situation. I highlighted that it was not about hurting anyone, and I didn’t want anyone to feel bad for the conversation, but this is how I was feeling. I suggested that in future I am happy to be left out of these conversations (which people probably feel like they can’t do). The responses I got back were amazing, of course they were, these are my girls! I love them, and they love me.

The whole situation highlighted to me how important being authentic really is. By being authentic I have created stronger connections with loved ones, I have saved myself future heartache, and allowed my friends to understand me and my situation further.

It can be scary at times to open ourselves up like this, because the fear of rejection when it is our true self can hurt. However, by being authentic we are being true to ourselves and those that love us will recognise this and love us all the more. Most importantly, you can walk with peace in your heart and your head held high as you know you have spoken your truth.

Mel H x


Self-worth: are you out-sourcing it?

One of the common things I hear in coaching and in general conversation is “I will be happy when..” “I will be able to… when…” and the ‘when’ is almost always based on external items or situations. When you out-source your own self-worth nothing will ever be enough, the shine wears off the new thing that you ‘needed to be happy’ and you are still the same you; the you that is not happy.

A common external focus for people is appearance, on what they wear, their make-up, nails, tan, lashes, and most commonly their weight. Not only do people end up punishing themselves with gruelling exercise and not nourishing their bodies they will never be happy with their appearance anyway, if they are not happy with who they are. I am by no means saying that you should not have these things, I love getting these things done, but your self-worth should not be attached to them. Your self-worth should not fluctuate with regrowth, clear nails, natural blonde lashes, or a change in the bathroom scales.

Out-sourcing self-worth to other people is another common occurrence. People take their self-worth from what other people say, which is all subjective and often just opinion. Nobody else dictates your worth, and seeking their approval often leads to doing things that don’t align to your goals and values, and consequently you end up feeling worse about yourself. You can end up running yourself ragged just to please other people, while you are not pleased about anything for yourself.

The new house, the boat, trips overseas, and all the new gear also don’t determine your self-worth. Logically, this is obvious. Objects do not say anything about our value as humans, but still we hear ‘retail therapy’ and even with a quick scroll through social media we see that people do give weight to the objects in their lives, as if these things are a reflection of them. When they are no longer new, ‘the high’ of the purchase has worn off, or the newer model is released what happens then? If your self-worth is attached to these things, then purchasing needs to continue to feel worthy.

For me, it was status, my achievements. When I was receiving external achievements and recognition I felt my self-worth increase, and this continued until my mid-20s where I changed careers and for a few weeks lost some of that (self-imposed) status. This was the best thing for me. It was the realisation I needed to happen, to really stop and reflect on where my value came from. I was still the same person with the same characteristics, personality, strengths and weaknesses, and I was still loved. I realised then, that my self-worth had been out-sourced to external achievements and the status that came with this; the salary, the title, the awards. I was embarrassed. I had never thought that these things were actually important, nor did they reflect another person’s value as a human, so why was I giving it value to myself? (If you read my previous blog on unmasking the insecurities you will see exactly where this has come from).

So, what did I do? I stopped and rediscovered my internal self-worth:

          I read, listened and watched speakers on topics around self-worth, shame, guilt, love etc.

          I journaled on what I had learned and insights I had to myself.

          I brainstormed what mattered in my life, focusing internally.

          I recorded what my strengths were, and made a list that was decent, not just a handful of things.

          I challenged negative self-talk. I recorded it, and used logic and facts to quiet it.

          I used positive affirmations daily.

When you out-source your self-worth not only does it lead to no change in your internal happiness but it lets comparison take a front seat also. When you have bought a new outfit, or are hanging on to someone’s compliment and then you see someone else with a better wardrobe, or get higher praise it can be crushing. It takes that away from you instantly, and your self-worth plummets.

This is why social media effects people differently. For those of us who really value ourselves, and have our self-worth tied up in who we are as people, our true internal self, social media is a way to connect to others, see cool pictures, watch inspiring videos, use it as a business platform etc., it does not touch our self-worth.  It can be harmful however, to those who have out-sourced their self-worth, and are therefore able to directly compare that (appearances, objects, status etc.) self-worth to others.

If scrolling through your social media makes you feel shit:

          Look at the accounts you are following. If there are certain accounts that are doing this…delete/block/unfriend!

          If it is more general then I would suggest you limit your social media use as a start, while you start looking at your own self-worth. Try some of the things I mentioned above, or contact me.

See, I know that lots of people have better bodies, better houses, products, more lavish holidays, and cooler stuff than me, but you know what? No one is me! My value is me.

Mel H x


You’re toxic, I’m slipping under…

Firstly, I apologise for the Britney reference in the title, but it just fit so well. Secondly, the picture reflects what I think when I think about a non-toxic environment. Right, I will get on with the blog now…

We have all been in a toxic environment, whether it is at home, a situation with a group of ‘friends’ or most commonly from what I hear; a toxic work place. Sometimes we realise it immediately and will escape, like the frog placed in boiling water, but other times we don’t realise it slowly creeping up on us, as the frog placed in cold water remains in the water as it boils. (Apologies for the graphic analogy and animal cruelty, but I think it really highlights how we get stuck in situations and don’t realise it has happened, until it is “too late”).

If an environment is causing any of the following you need to think about why you continue to put yourself in it:

          Sleepless nights. I am not talking about when you lose some sleep because you have an important presentation/meeting/deal etc the following day. I am talking about a loss of sleep for no reason other than just having to be in that environment.

          Dread in getting out of bed in the morning (this is more particularly focused on a toxic workplace). Again, there are some days we just want to stay in bed, even when we are completely happy, but you know the difference I am talking about. It is that feeling of dread, and it is not a once in a year thing.

          Anxiety, anxiety attacks, panic attacks. This is your mind and body telling you, please do not put me in that environment. The way to stop it; listen to your body and get out of the environment.

          Your eating habits change. For some this means a lack of eating, while for others it is over eating, in particular sugary foods.

          You are exhausted. You get home from the environment and you have no energy to do anything. This can result in leaving exercise out of your daily routine, and poor food choices,

          You find yourself constantly justifying it; “at least I have these friends/this job/this relationship” “I have to stay here because…”. If you have these lines playing through your head, you have to ask why are you trying to convince yourself? If you were in a healthy place you would have nothing to convince yourself of.

          You don’t feel appreciated. We don’t expect medals and certificates for everything we do. But if you feel a relationship is one way and you continually recognise that, or you don’t feel your work place appreciates your work let alone acknowledges it, it is not healthy for you. We all need to feel valued.

You can see, even from the small list I have compiled here, that remaining in a toxic environment can ultimately impact your whole life, including your wellness. So, it begs the question, why do we stay in these environments? When I am working with my clients, and from conversations with friends and past colleagues the reasons that often come up are:

          Financial. People ‘need’ to stay in jobs for the money.

o   You will be able to get another role though, and even if it isn’t as much money, what is the cost of your wellness?

          The people. You build good relationships with others in the group, or certain colleagues.

o   Is your unhappiness, and poor wellness worth it for others? The people that matter will remain in your life regardless of whether you are still sitting at the desk next to them, or if you are attending the group meetings or monthly catch ups.

          Fear of change. Better the devil we know and all that right?

o   I challenge you to change your perspective, see this is an opportunity. It is a chance to reflect on what it is you actually want, do things for yourself, and think about who you want to spend your time with.

          Lack of self-worth. People do not feel as though they deserve to feel good, they don’t feel they can achieve anything more, including their happiness.

o   You so are. You are unique, you have transferable skills, you deserve to be happy. You are good enough. You are  worthy.

I worked in a retail store years ago, was not on good money, and wasn’t following a dream of any sort, yet I was happier there than many work places I have been since. I felt valued, I was heard, I had opportunities ahead of me, and I worked with people who wanted to have fun, supported each other and worked for the team not the individual. The point is, it is not all about the status of the role or the salary paid, it is about being internally happy, so that we don’t accept an external environment that harms us in any way.

I have been in this position, and I know it is hard to get out of. Once it starts to drag you down and your eating, energy levels and sleeping suffers your self-worth often takes a hit. This then makes it even harder to remove yourself from the environment. Talk to someone, journal, do things that make you feel good, seek career help or engage with a life coach because here is thing…you are worth it! You are the star of your life, and you are too important to stay in a toxic environment. You are too important to not feel valued…you are worth more than that!

I encourage you to reflect on the environments in your life, are they healthy or harmful?

Mel H x