Is your opinion hurting or helping?

Last night I couldn’t sleep.

 I tried, and tried and tried, but I had all these thoughts swirling around my head and on the rare occasions that this happens (not being able to sleep from thoughts) there is always something that I do…

“Morgan, hey baby are you awake”

 “hgnagogngoag” (his noise he makes to tell me sort of, but he would be more so if I didn’t just ask him if he was awake).

 “I need to talk about something so I can go asleep”

 “babeeeee. Is it important ??”

 “Everything is important” (haaaa – not really because sometimes I’d like to talk about unicorns and my affinity with glitter but recognise that probably isn’t important to Morgan at 11pm at night)

 “Ok baby I’m awake, what’s up”

 “I need to just talk about this whole notion around opinions vs empathy”

 “that’s what you woke me up for? To talk about your opinion on opinions”

 ….. and away the conversation went.

 You see, here is the thing, the older I get, and hopefully SOME the wiser, if there is one thing I am learning for sure it is this.

 There is absolutely no one person who is right over another when it comes to opinion. I believe, (and this is just my opinion of course – ha) that when it comes to opinions, who is honestly to say who is right and who is wrong. You are BOTH right.

 Why?

 Because it’s all just perception at the end of the day.

 I know it’s a touchy subject, but I don’t care, as it’s SUCH a great example to use to articulate my point the best –  and that is, the global women marches that have recently happened (for whatever reason it happened, I am not getting in to semantics).

 As a HUMAN (not a woman, a human) I am super proud of all the women (and men) who marched showing unity and solidarity globally. I am also proud of women (and men) who decided to post their support of it on their social media and get behind something they believe in (aka have an opinion).

 But guess what?

 As a HUMAN (not a woman, a human) I am also equal parts proud of all the women (and men) who chose NOT to march and feel that that in itself was showing unity and solidarity globally for whatever they believed in. I am also proud of the women (and men) who decided to post their lack of support on their social media and not get behind something they didn’t believe in (aka have an opinion).

 BOTH of those decisions was based on their belief systems and values and PERCEPTION of what it stood for, making it their opinion.

I am not about to argue and get upset by someone elses opinion, what I WILL show however is empathy.

Neither was technically right but neither was technically wrong – it just is what it is. It is their opinion, and because that opinion is based off of their perception of what THEY believe in – really if you actually thought about it they’re BOTH in fact right.

THAT is why, you need not ever get upset or worked up over another person’s opinion. Its not YOUR truth, it’s THEIR truth and that’s ok.

 And I know what you’re thinking, (those that disagree with this sentiment because your opinion differs so you think you’re right …) “what a weak stance to have, she needs to grow a back bone and stand for what she believes in”.

 And to that I say;

 I have a backbone, and I have a range of opinions on a range of almost every topic, the difference is, I don’t get angry, spread hate or say things in the heat of the moment when someone has a DIFFERENT opinion to me.

 I simply recognise that my own opinion is based off my own belief set and values and perception of how I personally view the world which could be the polar opposite to someone else’s belief set and values and perception of how they personally view the world giving them a completely different opinion.

 That isn’t to say I am right and they are wrong. Or that they are wrong and I am right.

 That’s just the thing about opinion, we are both right because we both believe it with our whole soul.

 I swear on everything I love, the day I really fully truly actually understood this very sentiment – was the day my life became calmer, happier, less drama filled and did I mention happier?

 You are religious and have some super strong religious beliefs? Awesome.

You are atheist but believe in the amazing power of the universe? How beautiful.

You are a feminist and get angry about a lot of things? Good for you.

You are a woman who is anti feminists thinking they take us back 200 years. Bravo.

You are someone who vehemently argues for adopt over buying a dog from a breeder? I think that is beautifully noble of you.

You are someone that is an ambassador about buying a dog from a breeder vs a rescue as you know then you’ll have your forever dog and it won’t end up in a rescue shelter? All power to you.

 You see – it doesn’t matter what side of the argument you’re on, your both right, and there is not point getting angry and being mean or loosing sleep over someone elses opinion.

 What people believe and therefore stand up for is THEIR truth.

And what you believe and therefore stand up for is YOUR truth.

 Your truth is your truth and generally speaking, no one can take that away from you or change your mind on it, and I don’t think they should.

There are ALWAYS exceptions to the rule as well, I am not saying we just have to walk around and be zen to all opinions and accept them with no recourse. When I am talking about with all of the above I just have, I am talking about the opinions that obviously don’t hurt other members of society – every day stuff that is discussed far and wide in and offline. If someone has a violently differing opinion to you that is generally upsetting, by all means, use your internal indicators to know that that doesn’t bode well with you. You still however don’t have to get in a big debate with them, because I can almost guarantee its not going to change their opinion anyway – you just get the wonderful choice to unfollow, or unfriend or close that chapter with having them in your life. Simples.

The best part about this whole piece I have just written as well?? It’s just an opinion 😉 One you may agree or disagree on, but that’s just the best part, if you DO disagree, its your first chance to put in to place the whole idea of not getting upset or angry about someone having a differing opinion and simply accepting this as MY truth, and being ok with that.

The world doesn’t need more separation and arguments, it is crying out for more empathy, and it starts right here and now, with you.

And I promise you, truly deeply wildly promise you, that living in this way, will make for your most peaceful and calm life yet.

Image: here 

Overcoming resistance … I’m back (daily – almost)

It’s 8:44am and I am sitting here looking out over the beautiful marina in my cozy little neighbourhood about to start this blog piece with a fresh new commitment to writing, every.single.day.

But immediately, the inevitable happens, what happens every time I go to write. Resistance slowly and sneakily takes over – and without even realising it, just under 10 minutes has passed and I realised I have been sitting here scrolling Instagram.

I silently tell myself ENOUGH in my mind, put my phone down and start to write.

And here I am.

Back to my happy place. Writing. And here you are, back at maybe your happy place of exploring the internet, reading it. Which I am so eternally grateful for. Always.

I started writing on my blog – ‘this’ blog (it’s had a major re brand from lifesshinyprettythings to annaandmorgan is all) in May of 2011, so on 23rd May of this year, I will have been sharing my life in this space for 6 years. Back when I started, I had a commitment to write almost daily. I would work 10+ hour days in Federal Politics, (sometimes 18+ hours if it was a Parliamentary sitting week), but every night, still get home and go in to my home office which I still so lovingly dub my zen den, and write in this space. Why? Because I love to write, it was and is writing that makes me happy.

You know those books and quotes and eye catching phrases that talk about finding the things where you can be doing it for hours and hours on end but have barely even noticed the time? That is writing to me. It’s of showing up to a blank piece of paper and just beginning to type or write and seeing what comes out.

And yet, somewhere along the way in this last 6 years, my commitment to daily writing has become almost non existent. I journal, sure, privately and almost daily – but it used to be those journal pages that I would share online, instead of writing in a book privately, I would write it on this blank white paper on the screen, in this space, and that is what made this space (in my opinion) so special.

So I am back.

Because I am done with the excuses of I don’t have time, or every.other.tiny.little.excuse that I throw up in my mind daily when I keep telling myself to sit and open that laptop with no wifi and just write. With no interruptions and before I do anything else in my day.

I can’t promise it will be every day, well actually no – I can. I can promise it will be every day, but I can’t promise it’ll be published every day.

My commitment is to show up to my blank pieces of paper on my screen and write NO MATTER WHAT – some days it might be absolute verbal vomit on a page – other days it might be the most profound or craziest thing I have shared. Most posts will make the cut I am sure, but some won’t. Either way we are back on this journey together.

Gone (finally) are the feelings that every single thing I write has to be a lesson for you or 5 steps to blah or content that you NEED to take something away from.

No.

Now I so fully understand that the very practice of just showing up, daily, is a lesson for you in itself, to show up to the ONE thing YOU love, every single day, no matter what.

And the magic, the real magic of my writing and this space, is just that also, the fact that I DO show up as myself, always, and just share what’s on my heart – some days it may be lessons, other days I might be sharing the craziest day that happened whilst travelling the world, or hell, even talking about sex.

Just know this, I will write for as long as you show up to read, and even then, I will continue to write when you don’t.

I am so excited to go back on this journey with you, and can’t wait to see where it takes us both.

Are you living a life of TRUE Freedom?

Freedom

Freedom. 7 little letters forming a word that can mean so much to some and conjure so much emotion in others. Here where I sit, I could never know what that word means to you or what kind of emotion it stirs, and maybe, hey maybe it conjures no emotion for you, but if I may, I would love to share here what it means to me – and I hope you might get something out of this too.

I believe Freedom to be exactly what it has always intended to be – the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants.

Let’s go a little deeper on that though.

To me, the SINGLE HANDED most free’ing ‘thing’ in the world you can EVER gift yourself is not caring what other people think about you. Letting it ALL go. Knowing that their perception and opinion is just that, THEIR’S and it’s shaped by their own life experiences and beliefs and values. And that’s ok. My favourite quote is “it’s their stuff, not yours”.

I see it everyday. In every way. People desperate to speak up, to act out, to have a voice, to laugh loudly, to share a positive message – and yet they are so frozen in fear of what other people might think or say or how they might be perceived, they stop themselves. They stay silent. They muffle the laugh. They choose to not spread a message dying to come out.

You have to understand this though and understand it well, if you are one of the extremely lucky ones to live in a free country with free speech – to silence yourself is a heartbreaking choice.
Some of you may be thinking, who am I to bring this truth to you, and I SHARE this truth because I have lived on both sides. Giving away my freedom and now reclaiming it back and knowing I have the power and right to act, speak and think as I want.

TED TALK QUOTE

I remember it well. I was 23 and I really started to ‘change’. I didn’t want to have all my conversations with my friends revolve around other people anymore. I didn’t want to be so negative and anxious all the time and so I started to change. I read more books and went on a huge journey of personal development. I started to become who I wanted more to be – positive, happy, I wanted to share the inspiring quote on facebook with the most loving of intentions, I wanted to share the journey I was on.

Like all people will experience many times in their life though, I had people in my networks that really didn’t like I was changing. So they would be extra negative and berate if I tried to be positive.

They tried to take away my freedom and right to act, speak and think as I wanted too.

Luckily I never listened, for long. Initially, it hurt, I got angry and upset and almost let them stop me for a whole…hour. And then Morgan my amazing husband clearly with much more wisdom and insight than me said “are you really going to let these negative opinions dictate your future – GO AND BE SUCCESSFUL REGARDLESS”. So, I stopped caring what they thought of me, I realized it was none of my business, it was THEIR stuff, not mine and finally took those steps for the first time in my life, it was the greatest gift I could have ever given myself. It was the very definition of freedom to me. I had never felt more free.

I know if I had of cared what other people thought of me I would never, ever, ever be where I am today. No way, no how.

And it didn’t just happen when I was younger either. At 25 I joined a network marketing company and wanted to get my health back on track with their world class nutritional cleansing products.

I was so excited. I was ready to grow again, to try something new, to be positive and make an impact. But again, people in my networks didn’t like that I had chosen something so, so different.

They didn’t like that I was again, changing – which you HAVE to understand is incredibly crazy when it has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else but yourself when you ARE going through a change in your life.

I was told I was crazy, an idiot, I was questioned by girlfriends who thought it was all a façade saying, ‘as if you’re really that grateful and happy Anna’ – it was like they needed me to actually not be getting ahead and to stay stuck where I was. I lost friends over it, their doing, not mine. I was mocked, bullied viciously and publicly vilified.

All because I chose to again make a choice to better myself and move myself forward.

These people, tried with all they had to take away my power and right to act, speak and think as I wanted to – they tried to take away the very definition of Freedom, in a free country, with free speech.

And guess what I did? I again didn’t listen. I didn’t care for 1 second about their opinions. By this stage in life I had learnt that unless you are living the life I want to lead, of love and happiness, of contribution and making something of yourself – I wasn’t ever going to listen to your opinions and I certainly wasn’t going to care what you thought of me whilst I set out to live my own life.

free

Paying zero attention to the opinion and judgement of others is ALWAYS done in a loving intention as well, it’s never, ever a “I don’t give a f what you think” .. ever. It’s a “I love you for where you’re at and what you think of me has no bearing on who I am or how I will live my life” – the greatest thing of all now though is I don’t even have to actually say that now, because to defend an opinion or judgement of someone is to give it energy, and to give it energy is unnecessary when you can continue to just go out and keep living your life of love and adventure.

Did it take me a long time to get to that stage? Yes of course, it is absolutely a muscle you have to flex and build and truthfully, there are still fleeting moments I of COURSE slip up (we are all human after all living a beautiful human experience).

The KEY to being ok with not worrying about what people think though is surmised beautifully in this quote – “in order to love who you are, you can not hate the experiences that shaped you”.

I don’t run or hide from my past – so NO ONE has power over me.

WHY on EARTH should you be ashamed or embarrassed or hide from what you did when you were failing forward (I still am and always will be), when we do that we hand over ALL of our power and of course get affected by what people think or say about us.

The moment you can honour every part of your past, good and bad, and be ok with it is the moment you start reclaiming some of your power.

Who you were back then doesn’t have to have any affect on who you are becoming or who you WANT to be.

So I want you to think about this, where in your life are you stopping yourself from saying what you really feel? Or doing what you really want? All from fear of what other people might think or say.

I have some news for you and I want you to really be ready to hear this – but….

 you’re allowed to change.

Me

You’re allowed to have been a crazy party’ier and now want to stop the drugs or alcohol and lead a more positive life.

I did.

You’re allowed to have never been sure about what you wanted and where you wanted to go and now found something you’re REALLY passionate for and GO for it.

I did.

You’re allowed to have been someone who has never had a clue about fashion and now loves to at least try to keep up with the trends if that is what makes you happy.

I did.

You’re allowed to have been someone who was really negative and an asshole and now actually like people and want the best for them (in fact if that’s you then I am cheering you on so loudly)

And guess what? You’re allowed to SHARE ALL OF THAT. You’re allowed to be excited by it. You’re allowed to want to go on that journey and not do it in secret. You’re allowed to say how you feel and enjoy the transition.

YOU’RE ALLOWED TO HAVE THE POWER AND RIGHT TO ACT, SPEAK AND THINK EXACTLY AS YOU PLEASE without anyone attacking or judging or bringing you down.

And if that happens – maybe those people aren’t ready to move in to the next phase of your own life and that’s ok too, just love them where they’re at, don’t spend time with those that make you feel horrible about yourself and keep moving forward.

I think you are remarkable the way you are – flaws and eff up’s and bad choices, silly mistakes and ALL and I know who you are becoming is a beautiful best version of you and you shouldn’t be afraid to step in to that power and share it, not for one second.

So love YOU and start understanding that what people think of you is NONE of your business and start stepping in to more of who you WANT to be but have been scared to because of what ‘others might say’ … remember that those who matter won’t mind and those that mind don’t matter.

Cheering you on as you step in to who you were born to be, not who society has told you to be.

Remember those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music … so it doesn’t matter if people can’t hear your music, JUST NEVER STOP DANCING TO THE BEAT OF YOUR OWN DRUM and where that beat takes you.

Drums