Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reinvent yourself - Change the way you live your life!

Reinventing yourself – Change the way you live your life.

The topic of reinventing one’s self is a life theme that is particularly close to my heart. In fact as I write this blog post I feel my eyes begin to well up with tears of positive emotion and immense passion.  There is just so much to say about this topic.

Reinventing yourself takes courage and a great amount of strength and determination. Once you decide that you want something different for yourself, for your life, then that is when the magic begins. There is something wondrous that is awakened deep within the chasms of your soul and psyche, and that awakening is your awareness.  Once the proverbial light has switched on and you are finally at home within yourself to see, then and only then can you begin the adventure of your life, to live, love and appreciate every moment of it!

What does it mean to reinvent yourself?

Simply put, it means to change the way you live and or exist. To change your life.  Now this change could be radical or gradual, superficial or deeply cognitive and cerebral, you could be looking for a complete paradigm shift.  For example you may be changing your career, or you have decided to get divorced, or lose weight.  Maybe you need to overcome some kind of anti-social or self-destructive behavior, or you may want to become more assertive, or more popular, or to change religion. Maybe you have decided to live openly as a gay person. The list could go on…   The point is that you identify an area in your life that needs to be improved and changed, in order to achieve the authentic life that you want for yourself, or at very least a better state of existence. But that’s easier said than done!

Why is it so difficult to suddenly change within the situation you are in now? Because of ‘social expectation’ and ‘social identity’:  Social expectations are a set of expectations and beliefs that other people around you have about you. It’s very hard for some people to let go of beliefs they hold about you because most people believe that people do not change. The reality is, as in life, nothing is static, energy flows, things change and life is fluid!  Your change will progress more smoothly and successfully if the people in your immediate life are aware that you are reinventing yourself, and they support your transformation. It is important to be open with the right people in your life regarding your self-reinvention.

Social identity relates to how we identify ourselves and what we think of ourselves in relation to others. For example, we can identify ourselves according to religion or culture, political affiliation, vocation (writer, artist, neurosurgeon), or relationship (mother, father, great-aunt). You can have many social identities, for example as a South African, Jewish, black male who works as a writer. So as you can see, our identity is not made up of only one dimension, it is multi-dimensional and may be subject to change, and reinvention.

The way you see yourself may be just as difficult to change as the way others see you. Social identity can provide people with a sense of security and a framework for socializing, so it can be scary to find a new way of being.  You need to change your own way of thinking as the first step in reinvention.   However, how you view yourself in terms of your own social identity also influences how other people treat you. It is up to you to show that you are in a state of transformation and change, or have self-reinvented, it is up to you to show people how the new you is to be treated; what is acceptable and what is not with regards to your self-identity change. Stick to your guns, they will eventually have to accept you in your new state of being.

“People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.” Warren G. Bennis

Take time to reflect on the things that you would like to improve and change. Visualize the authentic life that you would like to live and set high goals, but please be realistic! I just mean set goals in order to achieve the change. Break the components of your self-reinvention up into workable, digestible and achievable tasks. 

Find your passion; find it in every aspect of your life, from work, general interests, love and life. To live in a state of passion is a true gift!

Stay motivated, be resilient and flexible within your transformation – remember everything is everything! Whatever life throws your way is all part of it! Keep going and progressing with your self-reinvention.  This is your story, this is your life; the opinion of others belongs to them, not you! You have a responsibility to yourself and your life to live a life that is authentically fulfilling and abundantly happy! With this comes freedom and the knowing that you can reinvent yourself when and as needed.   The time for self-reinvention, transformation and change is now. It’s always been now. Embrace it!

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” C. S. Lewis


Marie Joshua

Wellness Practitioner & Psychological Counselor

Edited by Alison Best


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Self-acceptance as a catalyst for flourishing in your life – live your extraordinary life!

Self-acceptance as a catalyst for flourishing in your life – live your extraordinary life!

In psychology self-acceptance is defined as affirmation or acceptance of self in spite of weaknesses or deficiencies. It’s got to do with accepting the good with the bad,  the positive and the negative aspects of yourself, as well as being completely comfortable in your own skin.  This is easier said than done for most people. Self-acceptance can be one of the most challenging and difficult life shifts one can make, but it's also the most rewarding and life-changing!

According to Shepard (1979), self-acceptance refers to an individual's satisfaction or happiness with himself, and is thought to be necessary for good mental health. Self- acceptance involves self-understanding; meaning a realistic, albeit subjective, awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses. It results in an individual feeling that he/she is of "unique worth" in spite of real or perceived imperfection.

In clinical psychology and positive psychology, self-acceptance is considered a prerequisite for change to occur, in other words, we can’t change or improve what we don’t acknowledge and accept of ourselves. This can be achieved by stopping the self-criticizing, and stop trying to solve the ‘so called defects' of one's self.  In other words, it’s tolerating  one's self to be imperfect in some parts.

For example, something horrific or traumatic might have happened to you during your life which makes you think of yourself negatively, something that you blame yourself for. You might not be able to accept certain things about 
your family, or your upbringing. There could be things that you have not accepted about your body;
 Maybe you never finished your education, or you were fired from your job, you might be dyslexic, or you might be really tall or really short, or bald, skinny or big. You might have a crooked smile, or only one leg. This list could go on, but I think you get the idea…

Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t always strive for self-improvement, I am the biggest advocate of striving towards self-actualization! Self-acceptance is not an excuse to avoid self-growth, but instead it allows us to accept and get over the bumps in the road towards flourishing in our lives.  What I mean is that somewhere in our lives we need to make peace with certain parts of ourselves, and the only way to do that is to acknowledge and accept that they are there.  Sometimes we just need to let go of the self-hate, regret, anger and frustration!

…But how?

The journey to self-acceptance might be terrifying at first, because it forces you to dig deep into the quarries of your heart and mind. But it also awakens your self- awareness that allows you to soar to the zeniths of your soul and psyche.  The result of self-acceptance is a radical paradigm-shift of how you see yourself and life, and how you live your life going forward in relation to yourself and others.  You will become "anti-fragile" (it means that something does not merely 
withstand the shocks of life, but actually improve because of them)

I have identified a few key elements in order to progress to a level of self-acceptance, some of which I have applied in my own life.

·         Self-forgiveness

·         Self-understanding and awareness

·         Regain your power

·         Stop comparing your life to others

·         Allow for flexibility in your thinking and reasoning

·         Let certain things go

·         Find your sense of humour

·         Don’t take yourself so seriously

·         Be inspired

Live well and love yourself! Remember that life is fluid and not static, and in the words of Gandhi  “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Marie Joshua  - Wellness Practitioner &  Counsellor

Friday, August 2, 2013

The empowered woman - Warrior Woman!

What is women's empowerment?

Women's empowerment has five components:

A women's sense of self-worth;

Their right to have and to determine choices;

Their  right to have access to opportunities and resources;

Their  right to have the power to control their own lives, both within and outside the home;

Their ability to influence the direction of social change to create a more just social and economic order, nationally and internationally.
(UN’s definition of women’s empowerment)

How do we become more empowered?
Become self-aware. Forgive yourself if need be and accept who you are. Know yourself and be very comfortable in your own skin! That way, nobody will have power over you!
Know that you are worthy and have a right to be here or there, to ask for what is needed, and to be heard. Don't believe the lie that you can't, are not worthy, or that you are incapable as a person, or a woman! It's just not true.
Educate yourself, both formally (if within your means) and informally (read). Learn and absorb information that will enable you to take the next step with the confidence of knowing your stuff.  You will be enabling yourself to make informed and empowered choices on your own, and for 

Set goals! Without goals you won't have any direction. Decide what it is that you want for your life and why, and plan a way forward. Seek out and use all resources available to you, and go and get it! Nobody is going to do it for you! It's as simple as that.
Become truly present and engaged with life and in life; feel and experience. If you don't know how, then go and find out what that means.

Pay yourself first. Saving your money for your own sake leads to financial empowerment. This will impact on your life choices.
Keep your body in good condition! Exercise and nourish it well - it's the only one you have. This will do wonders for your self-esteem, and your mental and emotional well-being.

Stay connected with people. Engage with like-minded people so that you can feed off each other's positive, progessive energy. Find yourself a mentor to guide and inspire you.

Give yourself quiet time and the space to reflect. Reflection is fundamental to your growth so it's important to find quiet calm in your chaos.
Never never never never never give up or lose hope! You are stronger than you think.  You are a warrior in the fight against adversity, the only way out is through...

Your victory will be empowerment!
Have an empowered women's day and month!

Much care!
Marie Joshua
Well-being  Practitioner & Counsellor

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Well-being with Marie - Extraordinary living: Kissing, it’s all in a kiss…The science of kissing...

Well-being with Marie - Extraordinary living: Kissing, it’s all in a kiss…The science of kissing...: Kissing, it’s all in a kiss… The science of kissing - Philematology Hmmm kissing, yummy, delicious, sensual… Just imagine it, the i...

Kissing, it’s all in a kiss…The science of kissing - Philematology

Kissing, it’s all in a kiss…
The science of kissing - Philematology
Hmmm kissing, yummy, delicious, sensual…

Just imagine it, the initial exhilarating - electrifying attraction. Before your lips actually make magnetic contact, there is that intoxicating, dizzying, barely there, close proximity, intensity - eyes with a downward gaze, fixed on the fleshy facial objects of desire.  By this stage your bodies are connected by parallel contact of some form.  This is the ultra-sensual, pheromone like, hypnotic pull towards each others inviting luscious lips… 
Then, in a trance like state, there is the deep automatic inhalation and the final lip lick, just split seconds before your blood filled, moist & ready lips pucker up and engage with one another’s .
We explore with our tongues, caress with our lips. Unconsciously, we inhale deeply - Olfactory senses kick in! We are literally breathing in each others scent, and tasting each others saliva. This is either going to draw us closer, or make us head for the hills… 

There is also something to be said about the “kiss of death” (not the kind as in the Mob movies) Meaning, a kiss could be the start of something (brief or long term), or right of the bat, be the end, right there and then.  Never under estimate the power of a kiss!  A kiss has the power to change your life, or thinking about someone, and your course of action.

Ok, ok, calm down everyone! There is a science to the this wondrous ‘madness’,  and it’s called Philematology - or the science of kissing. It examines kissing from a biological perspective and studies, among other things, pheromones and the chemicals released in the brain while kissing.

Very exciting and interesting stuff I tell you!

The studies went on to show, that we obtain much information about the other person via our sensory systems, when locking in a passionate kiss.  Fisher said, a kiss transmits smells, tastes, sound and tactile signals that all affect how the individuals perceive each other and, ultimately, whether they will want to kiss again.  It also showed that women are more drawn to males who possess immune systems that are different from their own. Fisher said, they subconsciously detect information about a partner's immune system through smell during kissing. This is to ensure the strongest genes are transferred to the offspring.

Research led by Wendy Hill, professor of neuroscience at Lafayette College, looked at how kiss
ing affects the hormones oxytocin, sometimes called the "love or bonding hormone," which is associated with social bonding, and cortisol, a measure of stress.
That rush that sweeps through your body, during those particularly great kisses? Fisher knows it well.
"Kissing is contextual," she says. "A kiss can be wildly sexual, wildly romantic, or it can be deeply gratifying because it's an affirmation of attachment. Kissing somebody for the first time, rather than the 200th or 2,000th time, creates a situation of incredible novelty."
That rush you feel is probably from two natural stimulants -- dopamine and norepinephrine, Fisher says. "They tend to be activated when you get into a novel situation."
Fisher says there are three different stages one typically goes through:
  • lust -- the craving for sexual gratification
  • romantic love -- the feeling of giddiness, euphoria, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite when you meet a new love
  • attachment -- that sense of security you find with a with long-term partner.
"Each of these is associated with different chemical systems in the brain," says Fisher. Sex drive and lust are triggered by testosterone, in both men and women. Dopamine and norepinephrine kick in when romance begins. Oxytocin is a factor in at the attachment phase, bringing the sense of calm and peace you find with "the one."
On the basis of brain imaging, Fisher proposes that there are three distinct brain systems involved in mating and reproduction: sex drive, romantic love, and attachment. Sex drive compels us to seek partners, romantic love tells us to commit to one, and attachment helps us "tolerate this person at least long enough" to have a child, she said. Kissing evolved to stimulate all three of these systems.

Men vs. Women and kissing…

According to evolutionary psychology, women kiss to assess the commitment of a mate - is he really that into me, and would he make a worthy mate? - While men kiss as a means to an end - let's get it on (well most of the time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he will hit it and quit it.) The study determined that men like their kisses wetter and with more tongue: To be precise, 33 per cent wetter and with 11 per cent more tongue, on average, than women do.

Men may have an ulterior motive for preferring wetter kisses, Dr. Gallup says. Swapping spit involves an exchange of hormones, and one hormone in male saliva is testosterone, which increases female arousal, thus increasing the chances for sex.

"Men also get romantic pleasure and connection from kissing, and both men and women will use kissing to advance to more intimate sexual acts," Mr. Christian says. "... We're all sensitive people - Marvin Gaye said that, and he was right. Women have a sexual side that's very powerful as well."

… But when all said and done, kissing is one of life’s wonderful pleasures, a  'little gem' I would call it! Enjoyed by both sexes & same sexes.  The bottom line is that both sexes experience oral pleasure. The beauty of kissing is that it has so many chemical benefits, with maximum pleasure & reward.
So in words inspired by Marvin Gaye, let’s get it on, our kissing that is! Remember life is shorter than you think! Kiss a lot, as often as possible for your pleasure and your health & well-being!  

Live well and kiss a lot!

Marie Joshua Jones

Wellness Practitioner & Psychological Counselor


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Platonic friendships and your well-being, how do w...

Well-being with Marie - Extraordinary living: Platonic friendships and your well-being, how do w...: Platonic friendships and your well-being Platonic friendships, opposite sex bonding and attraction patterns… Is it possible to main...

Platonic friendships and your well-being, how do we maintain our platonic friendships????

Platonic friendships and your well-being

Platonic friendships, opposite sex bonding and attraction patterns… Is it possible to maintain & sustain a friendship with the opposite sex, or of the same sex if gay, without actually having SEX?
As an eternal ‘TOM-BOY’  “Definition  - noun -  an energetic, sometimes boisterous girl whose behavior and pursuits, especially in games and sports, are considered more typical of boys than of girls.” 
... And as a ‘FREE SPIRIT’ “definition - noun - a person with a highly individual or unique attitude, lifestyle, or imagination; nonconformist.  I can tell you that it is highly possible!

Meaningful deep friendships between heterosexual opposite genders (or same sex if gay) are possible, yet can be tricky, especially if at times feelings may become blurred or confused. The important thing is to think through the attraction! The initial attraction that you may feel towards your friend of the opposite sex is perfectly normal, and is nature’s way of bringing us into proximity.

Attraction connections have four components:

1. Physical Connection- a physical attraction between two people. This occurs when one person is attracted to the physical attributes of another person. Common thought associated with this type of connection: “Wow, I think he/she is so hot!
2. Intellectual Connection- a mutual interest in the same thoughts, philosophies, topics of discussion, books, social interests, news items, or hobbies. Common thought associated with this type of  connection: “We can talk about things,debate topics or hangout for hours- time just flies by!”
3. Emotional Connection- this super-mental connection occurs when two people can communicate deeply at times without words or without full verbal explanation, and is not just based on superficial body language. Common thought associated with this type of connection: “Boy, they just ‘get’ me! We could finish each other’s sentences or know what each other mean without saying a word while other people are clueless.”
4. Spiritual Connection- occurs when two people have similar spiritual knowing (as opposed to beliefs) and are on the same spiritual path or share a common spiritual purpose; they see a relationship as a respect for and encouragement of each other’s spiritual growth. Common thought associated with this type of connection: “I feel a sense of bigger purpose in our relationship- I think Spirit/God/Source/Universe conspired to have us meet!” A true spiritual connection can last the span of lifetimes.”
 In other words, when thinking through why you are attracted to, or drawn to this person, you would need to decide, is the attraction physical & aesthetic? Or intellectual? Emotional? Or spiritual,  as appose to lustful and sexual. Or are you just lusting after your friend in the hope that he or she may eventually have sex with you.  
The tricky part is, that if you have at least three or all four of these attractions, i.e. physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual, then I’m afraid to say that you could be falling in, or are already in romantic love with your so called platonic friend…  In there lies the rub!

Conversely, it is very possible to be in platonic love as well “definition of platonic love - a pure, spiritual affection, subsisting between persons of opposite sex, unmixed with carnal desires, and regarding the mind only, and its excellence; - a species of love for which Plato was a warm advocate.”

 Platonic love would comprise of two or three, or even all four attraction elements i.e. physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual - BUT without any sexual interaction!  In other words, don’t have sex with your friends if you care about the friendship!

  “According to Post Media News, Dr. April Bleske-Rechek, the study's principal researcher, said men's behavior might be "more sexually opportunistic" as they "faced the risk of being shut out, genetically, if they didn't take advantage of various reproductive opportunities"

Platonic relationships can be wondrous, fulfilling and energetic when they work well – a non-judgmental friend of the opposite sex can offer you much in the way of objective advice, support, conversation, and differing perspectives –But Be realistic as well!, it just may well be that some of the deliberately suppressed tension within your platonic relationship, is what provides both of you with the spark to make it work so well. This never- physically fulfilled, but potential reality, can be the source of incredible creativity, discovery, problem solving and natural positive energy.
Some studies have shown that sustaining and maintaining platonic relationship(s) can promote longevity and well-being. This is due to the nature of social interaction, and the multitude of “feel  good hormones” released by the endocrine system during positive social engagement with the opposite sex in a platonic way.
 …And this may even give your romantic relationship with your partner or spouse an electrifying energy boost, of magnet proportions…

“Tis the perception of the beautiful, A fine extension of the faculties, Platonic, universal, wonderful, Drawn from the stars, and filtered through the skies, without which life would be extremely dull” --Lord Byron

"Ok, so how can we safe-guard our platonic relationships and our romantic love relationships?

1.       Understand that sexual tension and energy exists, this is natural and very normal!  There is always the possibility of sparks with someone of the opposite sex, who thinks and feels like you do. It's nature's way of getting us together (into proximity.) So if you have a jealous partner or spouse, or his or her religious & moral beliefs are in conflict with the notion of platonic relationships, then you are going to run into problems!!!

2.       Set some boundaries and ground rules, be open and honest. If you both agreed that having a sexual romantic relationship was off the cards, for reasons such as married status, work or study pressures, distance, religion, etc., the "potential" for a romantic affiliation hangs there unspoken. It is much better to make it clear that you have a friendship that matters, in which both of you care for one another in a sibling-like manner by watching out for one another and spending time together but that friendship is all it remains.

3.       Think of all the benefits of a platonic relationship. It helps to remember what is gained by remaining platonic rather than ever being tempted to throw that away in a moment of romantic weakness. The benefits of platonic friendships include: They endure because you trust one another and share a lot together at a spiritual, emotional and shared experiences level. You aren't plagued by the intimacy of romantic love and sexual relations, with all the accompanying doubts, jealousies, complications, etc. Neither of you need to perform in front of one another; you are who you are.  You can learn about the opposite sex from one another in a safe and uncompromising way. Both of you benefit from each other's perspectives on challenges facing you in relations with other people. There is always someone you can go to for genuine, fearless, and forthright advice - platonic friendships tend to have a quality that transcends the often unspoken competitive and conforming needs of same gender friendships 

4.       Reassure others who might be impacted by your platonic relationship. Where there are partners, spouses, lovers, etc., involved, it can be helpful to clear the air with them early on about the nature of your platonic friendship. Do likewise for your platonic friend's other half where politic. Stay out of potentially compromising situations. Acknowledge that sometimes the partner's concerns about your platonic relationship can be the hardest part of maintaining a platonic friendship. Your spouse needs to know that (a) you aren't talking or complaining about them, (b) you will be open with your spouse about what you say and do with your platonic friend, (c) there will be no secretive actions, and (d) you will not let the platonic friend supplant the relationship you have with your spouse!"

“No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.” --
Francois Mauriac

 Examples of great platonic friendships: George Washington and Betsy Ross, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway, etc. Also some famous fictional depictions include: Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, Maxwell Smart and 99, and Harry Potter and Hermione Granger.
 Live well & love well!
Marie Joshua Jones
Wellness Practitioner and Psychological Counsellor