Raise it to Resolve it

Recently I sat through a work seminar on bullying and harassment. They are pretty common training sessions now – and sadly there is never a shortage of examples of degrading and quite embarrassing behaviour.

As the presenter spoke I started to feel uncomfortable. I’m emotionally super sensitive and discussions like this are very hard for me to hear – especially when I don’t think it’s asking too much for people to just be decent adults that behave respectfully and courteously.

I was fortunate growing up that the bullying stuff never stuck – or I was far too naieve to notice. As an adult though this is an entirely different ball game – I no longer justify bullying behaviour – there just aren’t any excuses to make bad behavior tolerable.

The presenter made a simple yet vitally important point ~ “raise it to resolve it”.

We don’t raise bullying or harassing behaviours for so many reason:
– we feel silly,
– we don’t want to attract attention,
– we don’t want to be that person who makes a complaints,
– we don’t want to start trouble,
– we don’t want to miss a promotion,
– we are concerned about any fallout from raising it.

Instead, we start to modify our behaviour:
– we work quietly and lessen interactions with others,
– we avoid people, areas, situations, anything you think wont bring attention,
– we worry whether what we do will inadvertently upset someone,
– we stress,
– we can develop anxiety about work, or about emails or phone calls coming in, or meetings we need to attend,
– our sleep becomes disrupted,
– it impacts our family life, our friendships our mood…

And then we get to a point where we have done absolutely everything we can possibly think of to no longer come to the attention of that person… but the degrading behaviour continues – most likely in new creative shapes and forms – this leaves us more confused and perhaps we start to wonder why – is it me? Is my personality the offensive part? So we try to shrink yourself out of existence…

Let me tell you a little secret… that basically everyone knows…
…it’s not you…it’s not us… we are not the problem… we are the target… we are the dumping spot for this person to offload their crap without regard.

Our self care is absolutely paramount in these situations. This is the time where it is vital that we actively engage in ways to look after our mental health.

I beg you – raise it… raise it to resolve it…

Instead by not raising it we give that other person more power to continue. Our self esteem and self love takes a huge hit.

We change because of it and our mental health is too important to risk out of feeling silly about calling out bullying and harassing behaviour – irrespective of who the culprit is.

It is never wrong to speak up when you aren’t being treated well.

And when you raise it, make sure you are heard. If the person you have raised it with isn’t taking you seriously raise it higher and higher and louder until you are heard. Your gut instinct is hardly ever wrong…

~ F.P

Advertisements

Life, dreaming and what I have come to learn

On the eve of my 30-B birthday, I started compiling a list of all the lessons I had come to learn along those 30-something years of life. I struggled, not because I couldn’t come up with a list but because it just did not do justice to the thoughts of my heavy heart on this day – and my life isn’t really about lists.

In my quiet moments of reflection, I have packaged by thoughts into a nutshell and this is what I have come to learn:

Life is amazing – Life is too amazing not to be authentic about it …

… About who you are 

…About what you like 

…About what you do.

It’s okay to feel it – It’s okay to say it – It’s okay to do it (generally).

 

The rules are the ones we create for ourselves. Let’s for a moment replace rule with general guideline. In the practice of law, we often refer to issues being viewed in context and on a case by case basis – nothing is a one fits all approach, arguably, the only way upon which we can assess life circumstances on a case by case basis is if we are present in our own world. It’s easy to feel as though we are dragged through life and running to keep up. Things in life will happen – we may be seeking a higher meaning to justify a negative life event – to ease pain and sadness by blaming the universe – if this works, sure, why not! Blame the universe… full moon, life moves in cycles, there is a greater purpose… one door closes for another to open. Some things will never have an appropriate justification and you will be angry without direction and that’s okay – but whatever the life circumstance allow your soul to heal. Breathe through the sadness and give your heart the time and the nourishment to heal and to keep moving forward.

Feel confident enough to ask yourself the hard questions – does this life fit me? Are there things in my life that are counter productive to my happiness? Are there other things that I want to do and can do? 

It’s equally okay not to have all of the answers – It’s okay to have some answers – It’s even okay to have the answers but you haven’t implemented any changes. The reason it’s all okay, is that you are at the very least being an active participant in your life. That’s the authenticity in it.

This is life – your life – Own it – All of it, even the parts that aren’t fantastic or flattering or life events that make you cringe when you think back to your own actions. Own all of it because that is part of your life’s history and your blue print – it helps to shape your world, of which you get to choose how your life is shaped.

Today as I sit here… at the age of 32, I distinctly remember in my early 20’s thinking that I couldn’t wait to be 32 – It was an age I had come to believe would be the age where life would fall into place or everything would be figured out – I am confident enough with myself to allow the roaring laughter at naivety  – I probably have more questions than I did at 19! Again, that’s okay – I am likely to have even more questions at 42, 52, 62…

At 32, life is full of questions, hopes, aspirations, vision boarding, dreaming! All of these blissfully romantic thoughts sit along side the domestic life in my brain because at 32 my life is also full of clothes patiently waiting to be washed, a daughter who is fiercely independent but needs mummy cuddles (on her terms obviously), a thoughtful and loving husband, my awesome tribe of my dearest family and great circle of friends… my work, my writer dreams and glasses of wine for those challenging days…

 

Today will look different to tomorrow. Life will keep happening – whether I have caught my breath or not. I will continue to be shaped by experiences, both the positive and the challenging and that’s okay.

 

I work at life everyday to be in it and to steer it and to make it a life that I continue to feel blessed to live in all of its messy, chaotic and authentic glory!

 

~ F.P

A Letter to my Daughter on Love

To my dear angel heart,

At this moment, you are light years away from any meaningful walk down an isle that is not the local grocery shop, better described as chaotic zigzagging to touch anything you can reach.

You are miles away from a heartbreak that may shape your idea on life and love and you are enjoying the blissful age of showing love with few words and through your innocent affections but at this moment, I choose to pen the ideas of marriage in hope you too come to learn.

So my dear daughter…

Fall in love.

Be not afraid of any future heartache for any guarding of the heart may lose you the opportunity to find the greatest love story of your soul.

Age does not determine the ‘rightness’ of your love. Your daddy and I feel in love as young and spirited teens. We grew together-we navigated life together-made mistakes together and learned but we knew, we always knew that we are a commitment and two souls living our life’s path in compliment to one another and not in consumption of the other and we continue to love each other madly.

Embrace the fear accompanying love. Giving your heart to anyone is one of the greatest acts of taking a leap of faith. You cannot control the response of another but be not afraid for those three words to leave your lips to land on another’s heart. The greatest regrets come from the times we have not more than the times we have.

Throw out the idea of a perfect love. Love takes work, it takes faith and it takes courage.

Settle not for stable. No stability in life is worth the sacrifice of true, awesome, heart pounding love.

Be cautious of distractions by glamour and promise. Be not dazzled by promise of lavish gifts and exotic escapes-love can flourish merely between the souls of each other-minus the fireworks, the roses and any grand gestures.

Marry the person you can laugh at life with… Because when life throws you lightening bolts of chaos sometimes the only option open is to laugh!

Marry the one who holds you tightly when you cry, swooping your hair back caught in your tears and still manages to make a little smile appear… But be cautious if your tears are forever falling over them.

Marry the one who you find yourself caught up admiring.

Marry the one who’s compassion shines especially when they stop to pat a puppy.

Marry the one who dreams your dreams and encourages you to dream to greater scales.

Marry not merely because you were proposed to but because your soul sung the song of a hundred angels rejoicing over the path of fate.

Marry when the time is right by your souls clock and not by the expectation.

Your daddy and I waited until the universe aligned with our souls and life schedules which was not always the accepted situation of those who questioned our motives for delay.

I will tell you a secret – there was no ‘perfect’ time for a wedding.

There was no perfect time for our wedding…we had already well and truly committed our love and that did not need the approval of others as you won’t either because in every love story, you write the rules.

Or marry not at all.

You choose the path of your heart and above all-be genuine and navigated by love.

~ F.P

Happy International Women’s Day

Today I pay my respects of love and gratitude for the women who came before me to pave through a challenging road to grant me the rights I have today…

…The right to vote;
…The right to own land;
…The right to be educated;
…The right to work;
… The right to become a mother ~ or not; and
…The choices I make over the life I choose to live.

I also express my respect and gratitude to the woman who has shown me what it means to practice real, unconditional love; to develop the patience of a monk and to dream as grand as your imagination can stretch, then be so determined, confident and strong willed where the only option is to have your dreams and goals realised. That woman is my mum.

An important lesson my mother taught me is that whilst I shall embrace my life as a woman and as a mother… above all else, I am a human part of the global community who chooses equality of all. I do not define myself as a feminist, a female or woman but I am defined as someone striving for fairness and equality for all of us and not because of my gender or the colour of my skin or things such as my sexual preference but based on what I believe to align with my moral and ethical compass.

Today I show my gratitude to the women of our past and the women of my past and my present and also of my future.

And to my daughter…

To my dear, strong willed, determined and spirited daughter ~ be strong enough to fight for your beliefs, yet humble enough to listen to the opinions of another and have an open soul, willing to welcome a change in your perception, should you be inclined… but dear daughter, strive for greatness not because you are a woman but because the world deserves the brightest future possible ~ as does you.

~ F.P

The rise of Trump and the Wall…

Millions of kilometres away in Australia, I felt the vibrations of the emotions erupting from the hearts and souls of the world – both in America and abroad.

Last night, as the coverage of the U.S election ran around the clock I chose to turn the t.v off. As social media filled with heated debates, commentary and memes I resisted checking.

This is all I felt I had the power to control in a time where chaos has erupted.

In this moment, I feel heavy and worn down.

I am not one for politics but I am a global citizen who on a very base level feels as though an election should not breed such hate and segregation. Supporters of either party are fiercely defending their vote and in the wake, are creating an unsettled world. We as a global community are vulnerable. There is much to heal from and yet the suffering continues to be inflicted.

This morning I watched the innocence of my daughter as she played happily and unaware of the pain of many people around the world – because regardless of the outcome, either way there was going to be extreme disharmony. As I watched her, I thought of this wall – this promised wall – promised to be built to keep a group of people out because of one factor – of where they originated from and nothing to do with who they are. In the heaviness of my soul I thought – how do I explain to my daughter that in the 1940’s in Berlin an historical wall was built because one man had a view and a vision and this caused suffering that still vibrates the world more than 70 years later and then in 2016, one man was elected who promised to build a wall just like that one…

image

 

How long will it take to heal this time?

~ F.P

Today I urge connections…especially when all seems calm

In this connected world, the loneliness is deafening.

We are privy to the snippets of another’s world but how often do we touch deeper than surface? How often to we check in in a meaningful way? How often do we give people the space to breathe out their pain. How often do we feel as though we are heard and hear others?

Just moments ago I called a friend. Not text, not Facebook messenger, not liking a social media pic but actually picked up the phone, it dialled and I waited for her to answer. The moments of silence on the other end were unmistakable. She was not okay – but we connected.

We are able to hide and do so well. Sometimes we pretend that we are chugging along well because if no one asks, we don’t need to confront the question in fear of the truths surfacing. And if we are not faced with the question then we can continue to lie to ourselves that we are coping when perhaps the greatest release is falling into the familiar non judgmental comfort of another and cry it out that in this moment of time, life is kicking our butt. Sometimes our reality tricks us into feeling we just don’t know how to reach out.

It is not a shameful position to feel we are floundering. Often it’s merely a moment in time and fleeting while other times it lasts a little while longer… But in all circumstances connections can be the saving grace when we feel broken.

We should never feel as though we have come to a point when it is such a mess that we feel we now need to reach out for survival. We are all part of a connected society. Connect!

Don’t be afraid to connect! Don’t be afraid to feel as though you are leaning on another – that is humanity. We should not feel afraid of judgment because needing help is not a weakness.

So today I urge you to connect.
Ask how another is.
Be open to listening to the genuine answer.
Allow them to answer free of judgment in return.
Don’t be afraid to ask what they need.

Today when I asked my friend what I could do for her, her response caused my heart to ache in guilt and in gratitude.

“You called”… That was all she needed. I called…

I called was something simple I could have done moons ago and something I will remind myself to do more… And in this moment I will take the time to reach out and connect, even when the surface mimics and calm and serene ocean because connecting is the very least I can do as being a citizen of humanity.
~ F.Pimage

When grief teaches patience

Grief teaches us many things. One of which is patience.

images-9

Im tired.
My body aches all over.
My head is thumping.
But my soul is grateful.

I am a mother. One of the only titles that holds a million emotions in a single noun.

My 16 month old is unwell. Its 2.30am as I sit here with her, night two of a restless, uncomfortable and tiring night waiting desperately for the antibiotics to start their job to take over fighting for my tired toddler.

My own bug ripping through like a tornado in my body…yet my heart is overflowing in gratitude.

Its easy to lose sight of perspective in the haze of exhaustion. It is easy to feel as though life is a series of never ending unfortunate events, but grief has taught me to count my blessings – in that moment.

Grief has taught me that the toughest moments are where the best blessings arise from.

Grief has taught me that there are life events that just are. The universe is not conspiring to break me. Life happens.

So tonight I count my blessings because grief reminds me that tomorrows are never guaranteed and the me of tonight will always look different from the me of tomorrow… with or without a night full of sleep.

~ F.P