5 Things that help you become stronger

There are times in our lives when we feel down, aches and pains seem to envelop us. There is no energy or will to move on. However, life has to go on and only we can actually get ourselves out of this dismal state. The top 5 things that helped me to move on in dark times are ….

1. Forgive those who have hurt you

Definitely not easy, it takes a lot of strength to actually overcome that negativity and trauma. However, it has become my no.1 survival technique. I forgive not because I am selfless and have a big heart but because I cannot carry that heavy baggage around. Unless I put aside that baggage, I am unable to see the road ahead. Makes sense? .. Try it you will definitely feel much lighter and stronger.

2.  Stop living in the past

How can we ever see a new future when we constantly think, complain about or dwell in the past. What happened earlier, happened for a reason. Learn from the challenges and mistakes and start a new chapter in your life. Your life is what you make of it. Follow your dreams, life is too short to be wasted in self-pity and anger.

3.  Look after your well-being

Eat well, sleep well, exercise daily. A healthy body develops a healthy mind, it keeps you energised and charged to take on whatever life throws at you. Meditate, pray, practice mindfulness .. spend sometime on emotional and spiritual well-being.

4. Stay away from negative people

We absorb the energy of the people around us. Surround yourself with people who make you feel confident and happy and stay away from those who only put you down. Learn to differentiate between sincere advice and criticism from  a good friend and judgmental callous remarks from others.

5. Practice Gratitude

Every single day, every moment of our lives we have so much to be thankful for. Develop an attitude of gratitude by focussing on what you have not what you don’t have. See the shift in your mood when instead of complaining for the electricity or gas bills of your home you feel grateful that you have a home to go to, unlike countless people who are homeless. Every breath you take naturally, every step you walk on your own is a reason to be grateful for your health. Try thinking of at least three things to be grateful for each night you go to bed and you will surely be blessed with good sleep and a fresh start in the morning.

What strategies helped you survive the dark times? Is there anything you wish to add to this list?

Coaching can help you overcome the barriers that are weighing you down. A coach can be your mentor and confidante who keeps you focussed and helps you achieve your dreams.  For details contact me or book a complementary Discovery Call on our Facebook page @thesparklingnewyou.

Refugees – How do you look upon them?

June 20 is marked as the UN Day for Refugees. Most people are know about refugees but seldom do people know the full story. What people know is mostly fed to them by the media. We are led to believe that the world is now dealing with a refugee crisis, the fact is that Refugees and asylum seekers constitute roughly 10 per cent of all international migrants

There are an estimated 285 million international migrants who comprise of 3.4 percent of the world’s population. Half of these are women. Female migrants outnumber male migrants in the North, whereas male migrants outnumber female migrants in the South.

Half of this increase took place in countries of the developed regions (the “North”), while the other half took place in the developing regions (the “South”).

We need a shift in the way we see migrants,unfortunately the media mostly portrays them as destitute persons who are a burden on the local resources and social services. The fact is migrants make significant contributions to both their host and home countries. 48% of these migrants are women who send a higher percentage of their earnings back home.  However this positive growth is not reflected because of political reasons and penalising asylum policies,  Global goals targets include Protecting labour rights, Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, reduce costs of migrant remittances , End abuse, exploitation, trafficking

Migration is a powerful poverty reduction tool, which can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs

Labour migration can reduce poverty for migrants themselves, their families, and their origin and host countries.

Migrants and their families benefitfrom increased income and knowledge, which allows them to spend more on basic needs, access education and health services, and make investments – directly impacting SDG 1, SDG 3 and SDG 4.

For female migrants, increased economic resources can improve their autonomy and socioeconomicstatus, impacting SDG 5.

SDG targets related to migration

To reap the positive effects of migration we need to

SDG 8.8:Protectlabourrights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

 

10.7: Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobilityof people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. ……..Humanitarian visas

 

10.c: By 2030, reduceto less than 3% the transactioncosts of migrant remittancesand eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5%.

 

SDG 16.2:End abuse,exploitation,traffickingand all forms of violence against and torture of children.

 

SDG 17.18:By 2020, enhance capacity building support to developing countries, including for Least Developed Countries (LCDs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)……………Support funding to UN agencies

 

Ref: https://www.odi.org/publications/10913-migration-and-2030-agenda-sustainable-development

 

What can we do to change the narrative?

“Mirror mirror on the wall, do I have what it takes to be…..”~an exercise on self-reflection

 

Are you a pussy cat who sees themselves as a lion? or a lion who appears to be a pussy cat? How realistic are your perceptions of yourself?

Are you in the midst of repositioning yourself in life. Looking for a more challenging and fulfilling career? Or at a crossroads deciding on which path to take? Often when we are faced with an important decision we start to contemplate and think about who we are, are we strong enough to take that jump or do we prefer to stay within our comfort zones.
Change can be very exciting as well as nerve racking, all depends on your state of mind. However, no matter at what stage in our life there is usually a vision in our minds. Successful people train their minds to visualise success. The law of attraction is simply about attracting things in our lives that we focus on.
This post will introduce you to a simple exercise that I find very effective at un-decisive times. Through self-reflection we are able to clarify our thoughts and focus on our real goals.
Start with a vision board of the ideal place you see yourself in, visualize the tiniest detail. What are you doing? Where are you living? What does your work area look like? How are you behaving? What are you wearing ? Who are your friends? What are you doing on a holiday etc., you can either draw this, make notes or even create a collage of pictures cut out of a magazine.
Once you have your vision in place, you know where you are headed. Now its time to find out if you have what it takes to be that person you wish to be. Whether you want to be the Chief Executive of a large corporation, a successful writer or a great father, you have to start acting like the person you wish become.
Its time to have a good look at yourself in the mirror.
What do you see? Who is this person in front of you? Do you identify with him/ her? Do you like this person? or you feel hopeless ?What is this person saying with his eyes, his look, the slight curve of his mouth.
Note the things you see, what you like and what you wish to change. Seems simple right? but it’s really not that simple.
How you perceive your physical reflection has to do a lot with how you perceive yourselves. Are there any nagging thoughts? What is your mind saying to you?
“I am the best and I deserve all success” or “I can never be the person I want to be”. “I don’t have the brains, or the confidence”, “I am not smart enough”, “I can’t do this because I don’t have time”, “I can’t do this because my husband won’t allow me”… 
Are you the blamer, the procrastinator or the risk-taker?
Keep going back to the mirror and quizzing yourself. Make a note of the voices you hear in your head. This mind chatter is not senseless, its your sub-conscious manifesting itself and making you take decisions. Look for repetitive patterns. These voices are your guide for the future.
Note down everything you hear your mind say.
Then sit down and rate each statement. How close to reality is each statement. Rate yourself on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being the highest score which represents your reality. Start working on the gaps you find. Depending on what your personal scoring is, you will be able to take an informed decision. Listen to your heart and if you really want an objective assessment discuss your analysis with a friend.
Your friend can be a good coach. In the darkest and most challenging phases of my life my friends have been my mentors and coaches I feel really blessed to have them.
To help you on your path practice the following:
1. Write positive affirmations about yourself start with at least 10 affirmations. These should reflect what you want to be or what you wish to do with your life. Always use the word ‘I’ and use the present tense.  eg. “I am always good at my job”. Read them aloud, this will help you get the negative thoughts out of your mind.
2. Look within yourself. Ask questions about yourself and understand your behaviours and your thoughts. Your subconscious makes you the person you believe you are. Meditate, reflect , start a journal.
3. Keep visualising, be creative, DREAM BIG!… YOU are UNSTOPPABLE
If you like contact me for an informal discussion. Coaching can help you to not only take an informed decision but also challenge you to be the best version of yourself and reach the heights of success you were born for…

Gift giving traditions around the world

Gifts-Busy-Parents
Gifts are an important part of building relationships but did you know you could actually offend someone if you did not present the gift in a certain way. It is a good idea to do some research when giving gifts to people of other cultures.
Below is a compilation of some useful advice I gathered from the internet. Please do add to the list any particular traditions you may have come across. After all the intention is to spread love through gifts not cause offence. Right?
Experts say that “giving gifts is a surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction, helping to define relationships and strengthen bonds with family and friends.” It’s an evolutionary trait that even the earliest humans participated in. While the tradition of gift giving is universal, there are some specific cultural rituals. Here are some international, gift giving traditions that may surprise you:
  1. Know your colors. Most cultures have certain colors that they avoid in gift giving. In Brazil, it’s best to avoid giving purple items as a gift since this color represents mourning. In Morocco, the colors pink and yellow are associated with death.
  2. Luck in odd numbers. In India, it is back luck to give gifts wrapped in white or black paper. And if you give a monetary gift it’s best to give an odd number value like $101 for good luck.
  3. Polite rituals that bring good fortune. Like in India, it’s a Chinese customto add a monetary contribution if you give someone a wallet, even if it’s a penny. It’s a way of wishing them good fortune. Gifts associated with the number 8 are considered lucky. And in China, it’s also polite to refuse a gift before accepting it.
  4. Avoid a faux-pas. Japanese culture also dictates that one should refuse a gift a few times before finally accepting it. It is also important to receive a gift with both hands to show gratefulness. Lastly, giving a potted plant is considered taboo because it is thought to represent sickness.
  5. Remember to think twice. Think again before sending flowers. In Egypt, giving flowers is reserved for weddings or if someone is sick. It is also traditional for gifts to be wrapped twice with two different colors.
  6. Handle with caution. If you travel to Thailand remember to handle gifts gently. It’s considered rude to rip the wrapping paper when opening a present. It’s always best to unfold the paper.
So whether you’re at a business meeting in Seoul or visiting a friend’s home in a small village in Provence, there are destination-specific guidelines you can (and probably should) follow to offer and receive gifts without causing offense. Here are some traditions to be aware of on your travels.
Insist a little China, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan
In many countries in East Asia, when offering a gift, you should expect to be refused once, twice, or even three times. This is done to avoid seeming greedy or impatient. If you’re being offered a gift in one of these places and want to be polite, you’re well advised to do the same. Also, when the person finally accepts, you’re expected to thank them.
Hand it over with care India, Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia
In Asia and the Middle East, how you handle gifts is very important. In India and the Middle East, the left hand is considered unclean so use your right hand to give and receive gifts (unless they’re so heavy two hands are required). In East Asia (China, Thailand, Vietnam), always offer or accept a gift with both hands, palms up.
Give gifts as a thank-you Asia, Russia
Throughout Asia, gifts are given to show gratitude after receiving a gift and as a thank-you for hospitality. In Russia, thank-you cards are thought of as impractical; send a small gift to your hosts after a dinner or overnight stay instead.
Leave sharp objects at home East Asia, Brazil, Italy, Peru, and Switzerland
In more countries than you might imagine, scissors, knives, and basically anything pointy or sharp represents the severing of ties and relationships—a gesture you’d probably prefer to avoid if you’ve gone to the trouble of buying and wrapping a present.
Avoid taboo objects China, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan
In China, don’t give someone an umbrella—it means you want the relationship to end. Also avoid giving a green hat; in China and Hong Kong, they communicate the decidedly unfriendly message that your wife is cheating or your sister is a prostitute. Straw sandals, handkerchiefs, and clocks are also taboo in these two cultures because of their association with mortality. Skip brooches and handkerchiefs in Italy for the same reason, and in Japan, forget about handing over a potted plant as a hostess gift—it’s thought to encourage illness.
Pick a lucky number Asia, Europe
When you’re gifting multiples of flowers, money, or chocolates, always be sure to steer clear of unlucky numbers. In East Asia, even numbers are lucky. Number four, which has the unfortunate luck of sounding like the word for death in many Asian languages, is an exception. On the other hand, odd numbers, with the unsurprising exception of 13, are locals’ choice in Europe and India.
Wrap it up Everywhere
Etiquette experts from around the world agree that gifts should always be wrapped. That said, the symbolism of colors varies from country to country. Avoid white, black, and blue gift wrap throughout Asia, as they’re associated with mourning. And while yellow paper is cheerful and appropriate for celebratory gifts in India, in China it’s covered in black writing and used exclusively for gifts to the dead. In South America, black and purple are eschewed because of their association with death and religious ceremonies, and in Italy purple is simply considered unlucky. To avoid any of these faux pas, have gifts wrapped by a pro in your destination. Color, folds, and ribbons aren’t just an important element of presentation—in many cultures they’re symbolic and the wrong wrapping could send the wrong message.
No gifts, please Yemen, Saudi Arabia
In these countries, receiving a gift from anyone but the closest of friends is considered embarrassing. If you do happen to have a best buddy from this part of the world, expect to have any gift you give thoroughly examined—it’s a sign of appreciation and respect for the gift and giver, who’s expected to carefully select the best quality available. For men, don’t give anything made of silk or gold.
Source:
We live in a world full of countries and cultures that possess fascinating and downright bizarre gifting traditions. Did you know, for example, that Santa Claus originates from a small town in Turkey and not a grotto in Lapland? And were you aware that, in rural Soviet Russia, the most valuable gift you could give someone was a piece of firewood? Humans are a curious species, and our interactions and gestures of goodwill provide some good examples of that.

1. Britain

Lottery tickets are bought and exchanged here more than they are anywhere else in the world, and often make a suitable birthday gift. Though diamonds originally symbolised 75 years of married life In the UK, they are now associated with 60, as Victoria’s 60 years on the throne marked her Jubilee.

2. China

Again, Chinese gifting is a bit of a numbers game. As an example, anything to do with the number four is a bad omen, as in Chinese it sounds similar to the word ‘death’. After receiving a red envelope, children will customarily touch their envelopes under their pillows for seven nights as a wish for good luck. Birthdays, however, aren’t formally celebrated until one turns 60.

3. India

As left hands are considered unclean in Indian culture, gestures such as touching, passing money, or giving gifts are to be done with the right hand. Contrary to some other cultures, an odd number of objects or currency denotes good luck. For example, £11 should be given as opposed to £10.

4. Israel

Despite the kind gesture, thank you cards and notes are not a common part of the gifting custom in Israel. Contrary to the way American Jews exchange gifts during Hanukkah, those from or residing in Israel won’t typically receive gifts from one another.

5. Italy

Italian kids are certainty a bit spoilt. In addition to a visit from Santa, children have their stockings filled by a fallacious witch at the end of Epiphany on January 6. Interestingly, gifts are not exchanged between or within companies, as the act is deemed a little tacky.

6. Japan

There are staunch traditions when it comes to gifting etiquette in Japan. One of these guidelines stipulates that presents should be refused up to three times before their acceptance. Also, every year on March 14, men are expected to return the value of their received gifts threefold.

7. Native America

Native American gifting etiquette is exactly the opposite to that of any other culture. Traditionally during weddings and powwow celebrations (birthdays aren’t always recognised), guests are the receivers of gifts rather than whomever the host may be.

8. Russia

Due to the way Russia was governed during the Soviet era, Russians celebrate New Year with more gusto than they do at Christmas. While Vodka might seem the most suitable gift for a Russian, a lot of them would see it as an unimaginative gesture. Many even perceive the notion as insulting.

9. South America

The majority of people from South American countries will see the offering of sharp objects as a sign that you want the relationship with them severed, so scissors and cooking knives are best avoided. On the eve of January 6 at the end of the Christmas period, Argentinian children will customarily leave their shoes by their beds to be filled with small gifts. Meanwhile in Brazil, seaside settlements will send gifts of flowers, fruits or jewellery out to sea to honour the Goddess of Water.

10. Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, it is not uncommon to be directly asked for a gift. When one has been bought even without requesting it, the worst you can do is to refuse the offering, even if the family giving is starving. Also, gestures of thanks are preferred over verbal reciprocation. These may include jumping up and down, dancing, or whistling.

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑