10 ideas about unlocking people’s potential

Dear reader,

everyday we have a chance to discover and define ourselves brand new – who we are and who we want to be. I like the saying that goes we are an average of 5 people we spend most time with (so choose wisely!)

Recently, I took on a new challenge. I’ll be working as a coach with a feminist organisation in London, supporting young women in reaching economic justice, independence and fulfilling their potential. Working with young people 1-2-1 or as group work has always been at my heart and seeing young people unlocking their potential is  one of the most exciting parts of professional life. But what is our role in helping them unlock it? Is our call to make a difference? Help people?

I’m not sure I believe in the concept of “helping” people. Such a statement somehow resonates in taking away the credits they deserve in the process and in helping professions we often paradoxically divert the verb “helping” away from its core by calling ourselves helpers, leaders, difference makers, uplifters, etc.

We are not gods in a sense to have something that others don’t, be it superpowers, super tools, a vision or other “supreme” qualities. Therefore, we must be very careful what verb we choose to describe what we do with people and in this world. Otherwise we might end up “getting people to do something”. And we shouldn’t. Not our place to get, move or make people do anything as if without us they would not be able to do it. There is an equal amount of divine energy in all of us when we let it show itself, so how can we allow that to happen and be in this world that might benefit others while they are unlocking their own potential? Here are a few ideas that emerged when thinking about my presence and doing my job better. I would like things working out for you so that you leave with:

  1. Having confidence about you that is going to guide and support you, as you are figuring out where you want and can go in your life.
  2. Having more clarity and energy as well as feeling like riding on a cloud rather than mere coping.
  3. Having a full sense of who you are by embracing this world in all its fullness that it is and learning to appreciate all of the components of it that have led to where you are now.
  4. Being a person that anyone who comes in contact with you will benefit as a result of being near you.
  5. Not feeling bad when the above doesn’t happen.
  6. Being kind, acceptant and friendly of yourself and anyone around you even when they do their lives differently. We are not perfect, we are never going to get our shit done and as such, we can’t get it wrong for life is happening for us, not to us, differently for everybody.
  7. Having way more fun on the way.
  8. Sleeping good and eating well however that looks for you.
  9. Tuning into the frequency of who you really are and spreading the joy of it.
  10. Wanting others to have that too.

These 10 ideas have been immensely helpful in thinking how I want to do my job as well as how I want to be in this world as a professional. Without having to step on a stage and shout how cool these ideas are. They may sound completely rubbish. Or totally useful. Both ways can lead to you discovering your own.

Guitar time now.

Biba

morning eagerness

I feel most myself when waking up with the sense of having a potential that inspires people to feel good about themselves. What about you?

Ever done a job interview that changed someone’s life?

Dear reader,

hope you’re hanging in there, during or post lockdown and are being kind to yourself. Here in London, we are witnessing all sorts of emerging practices of how people are keeping themselves busy, hopeful and entertained. Certainly an interesting time to be alive.

Recently I went through a recruiting process and a job interview for a position of a remote coach for young women. Not a full time job, but the recruiting process as well as competition was quite complex and demanding. I still don’t know about whether I’m going to get an offer or not, but this whole process so far has been a really enjoyable experience.

The interviewing team really made efforts so I could show my best sides.

And this is a very important sentence. It was not so much me being at my best (or not), it was about them creating deliberate conditions where my performance could surface. In interviewing processes this isn’t a common practice, I think. Not that I’ve been through many interviews but I know from many HR workers, career counsellors and candidates themselves this isn’t so.

Job interviewers haven’t got an easy task. Out of many candidates, sometimes similarly  qualified, they have to choose the right candidate for the company. So during the interviewing process, they have to find ways of getting to know the candidate and discovering their strengths, ways of working, nature, flexibility, manner etc. in order to contribute to company’s development as well as wellbeing.

Having this in mind, together with my friend and colleague dr. Leah Davcheva, we have designed an online workshop, where we would together with job interviewers like to share and experiment ways and tools of asking questions in job interviews that would provide the HR and management with information that would make the recruitment decision pleasant and easier. So if you work in HR, company or you even own one and need to recruit new candidates every now and then, and could benefit from offering a satisfying experience pre, during and post recruitment process for you and your job candidates, this might be of interest to you.

The workshop will be a one-time event on June 1st. Details can be found here.

And about my own job interview – I will find out by the end of this week. And if I get selected, that would by no means stop my work as a trainer, however it would enable me to work with young women, a group I’ve always been very fond of, but always unhappy to charge. This way I might have both. Wait and see!

With appreciation and wishing you best of luck in the job industry, process and practices!

Biba

Picture1

My old career is dead

Dear reader,

I am one of the thousands of people who are self employed and who have lost their businesses. I am also one of those, who used to live out of a suitcase and used to travel the world for work and now this career has been postponed, if not completely ruined. My future work is uncertain – there is no employer on my back, I may have no income for months and yet this won’t count towards trying to argue who will pay for my expenses like rent and food. This could have been more than enough to take onboard and be frustrated, stressed or really sad about. Not to mention worrying for the future and mere existence. But call me crazy if you wish, I don’t see it like that at all. I see it as an invitation to let new things in. So if you are one of people whose current careers have died, welcome, you are not alone. This blog might be useful for you.

Change happens all the time and life offers us different experience – variety of which count towards the overall experience of living. I’ve had a fantastic life so far and have probably experienced enough of it not to have regrets now that it is gone. So holding onto it and wishing for “the old to be back” may be a way to go, but it might also waste time. Waiting for things to “go back to normal” might be similar – there won’t be the “old normal”, there will be a “new normal”. So here it is – a new blank chapter of life to decide how to live and which life experience might be joyful to allow for yourself NOW.

I really like how our worlds have changed. How we have come back to basics in so many ways. Putting away all the fancy clothes, shoes and jewellery makes it so liberating. Wearing comfy clothes and shoes is much better for the body. No makeup as well – for the skin as well the Earth. Making the living and working space nicer, which is the space we spend most time in for weeks, is fun to do – cushions, pillows, candles, I even started growing plants and am thinking of painting something on my ceiling. Spending quality time with people, not ringing them only while queuing for boarding or waiting for another train to arrive, but deliberately set time aside for them, makes a difference. Video calls are a fantastic invention.

Cooking at home, simplifying meals and shopping is also fun and liberating. If offers chances to decide what kind of nutrition you would like your body to feed from. You also know exactly what you put in your meals if you are conscious about that. And our London house started having all those little rituals of cooking together and burning food together (which is rather a thing to do for fun, because none of us is particularly talented in cooking). Cleaning the house has also become massively enjoyable. I used to hate cleaning. But now it’s like exercising, with a visible outcome. And it never goes out of fashion.

My work has transformed and is transforming. I used to love to travel and work with groups, really enjoyed doing so. And I have had enough of that in my life, so now it’s time for something new: exploring ways how to train online and continue developing and working with groups remotely. It’s early stages, but I can already see the benefits of human relationships with the help of IT and digital facilitation. Lots of my current thoughts are dedicated to online training and with my team, we have designed and launched our first courses, which we have been working towards being succinct, high quality learning and satisfying experience, adjusted to online learning, which is very different to face to face. If interested, you can check and join our courses here. So here is an appeal for all of you, who would like to make a difference – if you support causes and corporations, why not supporting people you know who are doing work that you approve? Helping each other could be our “new normal”. I’d certainly much rather support my friend who is building webpages, rather than hire a company which has been making millions of profits.

All of the above does not mean being patient and just swallowing all the limitations of the new, current life we are living. It’s not about accepting. It’s about allowing for new experience to come to us. And explore ways how this experience can bring us joy, raise our collective consciousness and contribute to a better world. So I don’t really mind if the world is “never back to normal”. However am really curious about what’s emerging, how our daily work and rituals are changing and how all of us are growing with it.

What about you – what have you been noticing about your new lives that brings you joy?

With so much love,

Biba

IMG_4950

Here I am. And there you are. And there is so much life has to offer to us.

Social distancing is not the same as social absence

Dear reader,

I received an article today on longitudinal empirical evidence of COVID-19 spread in numbers and figures. The article took 26 mins to read, but I’m a slow reader and need time to process and analyse the meta level of author’s context, undertone and aim of the whole narrative, so I read it in about an hour.

Most of the world as of today is going into quarantine, self-isolation or compulsory prohibition or free movement. In other words, for many people that feels like a prison. As someone who used to work in a prison, allow me to make this comparison, as black and white as it may appear. This post is in no way trying to diminish or minimise the article’s point and I think it is very useful that we are aware and acquainted with the facts that are surrounding us. But I advocate that facts need to come with a bit of balance of interpreting as well as a balance of the effects we are wanting to spread among people when trying to do the best thing – help them. So here is my view, which I hope would add and build on hope.

The implications of the pandemics are not only economical. They will affect people’s mental health and wellbeing, not just because of the fear of getting ill, but because of restricted freedom and dictated ways of being. History shows us that taking away one’s freedom and isolation are one of the most commonly used means of torture. As much as our current state is for now nowhere near imprisonment, it is likely to leave similar effects. Have a look at numbers of divorce in China and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

The article highly recommended social distancing. And avoid leaving home if one’s been experiencing symptoms. This is backed up by evidence that social distancing works in trying to keep the spread low and gradual. But there is one discourse misunderstanding I see people make when trying to obey the recommendation (or order in some countries/cases). And here is the thought that I would really like to communicate across

Social distancing should not be interpreted as social absence – completely removing yourself from social life.

Having no (or little) physical contact with others is by no means implying that one should not have emotional and social contact with others. Social life has not disappeared. It is changing. Re-defining. You do not have to avoid your neighbour across the street if you see them appearing on the door to take the rubbish out. The virus does not spread by looking at each other and making a remote friendly gesture.

I do hope that as much as we need to stay vigilant in these tough times, we do not become socially isolated. We have not disappeared from each other, we are still here and in this – together. I will soon prepare a webinar on that. The one that will help us stay vigilant and hopeful. If you are interested, send me your email at biba@ribalon.org. And take care of yourselves and each other in the way that makes your lives worth living.

Biba

0AD8CDC2-F3E9-4285-BF25-A87476AFAFA8 2

How many do we really need?

My Birthday, Our Future

Dear reader,

another year turned around and if you are here, you are lucky. Many people are dying these days – more than normally. Death is part of life, but life as is happening now, is something most of us are not used to. Not in a good way.

I walk the streets of London and they change day by day. Massively. Less and less people, trains and Tube feeling like Phantoms, shops either empty or overly crowded while people aspire not to be too close to one another. Schools closing. Shops and restaurants closing. The Covid-19 has touched all of our lives and it feels like we are fighting an enemy we don’t know, don’t see and don’t notice when it’s present, but we are aware that it is there, among us every second we dare to live.

This is the time where it is very easy to collapse, fear and lose hope. I watch people and they are petrified. Closed down. Or pretending nothing’s happening.

This is also the time where care escalates. Where public and private sectors continue to work and make trials and errors to get us all through this. Our street has received community notices on the door to educate us how to protect ourselves and our loved ones. And in the shop today, as people were queueing to enter the store, they still found some kindness and consideration to let a mother with a buggy enter first. The neighbours still say hello to each other, even though from the distance. And families who have locked themselves in their houses, are spending quality time together. It seems as if winter is coming even though the nature is sprouting but undoubtedly, there will be scent of cinnamon and freshly baked biscuits breezing through the windows. There will be small acts of kindness everywhere, among increased crime and impatience. As much as we cannot know or predict how long this uncertain period will last or when its peak will be, we do have a choice to direct our focus: either on how our systems are collapsing, or on how our systems are coping. You will find evidence of both. And imagine what difference it might make to your wellbeing (and possibly health, definitely mental health), if you choose to focus on what (still) works.

I hope that in a year time I will write another blog for my birthday. But if I don’t that’s fine too. It has been some ride, this life journey and I am glad we are all still here. As a mental health professional, I am also minding that the general pandemics will cause people to experience mental health difficulties they haven’t experienced before. I do hope that if it happens to you, you will get in touch with someone who can be with you through those times and help you sustain your wellbeing. You can also write to me.

Wishing you all sharp focus of your choice and wash your hands in the way that is right for you and others around you,

Biba

IMG_4492

SLO: Certifikat iz k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa + prva novica o novih strokovnih usposabljanjih v Sloveniji

All the international readers, I hope you do forgive me for offering a post in my mother tongue – I am so proud to announce a very fresh set of Solution Focused trainings in Slovenia as well as a very first certificate process for Slovenian professionals who would like to take their Solution Practice further, to a certified level. Ribalon Institute has been bringing Solution Focused practice to Slovenia since 2014 and has every year organised trainings for Slo audiences. After I left the country, there was a slight risk those trainings would stop, however I promised to myself to give my best and stay true to my roots by continuing to spread the SF word, skills and knowledge in my country. And so, for this autumn we have something special prepared. Whilst Slo friends are invited to read further, the rest of you may take a break and have a good and long summer! Thank you all!

Spoštovana Slovenija,

vsi, ki ste z nami že opravili usposabljanja in uporabljate pristop, za vas smo z ekipo iz UK pripravili program, ki vam bo omogočil večjo prepoznavnost in odraz vaših veščin. Certifikat, pridobljen z usposabljanjem in izkazom veščin k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa je prva stopnja kvalifikacij, ki jamči, da prejemnik:

  • Pozna osnove k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa
  • Zna ustrezno, kompetentno in etično uporabljati pristop pri svojem delu
  • Skrbi za lasten profesionalni razvoj in refleksijo svoje prakse.

Certifikat se podeli posamezniku/-ci (v nadaljevanju »kandidat«) na podlagi opravljenih strokovnih usposabljanj in izkazane kompetentnosti pri uporabi veščin in orodij k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa.

Pogoji za vstop v proces certificiranja ter pridobitev certifikata

Kandidati za vstop v proces certificiranja opravijo najmanj 8-dnevno usposabljanje iz k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa, ki ga izvaja Ribalon v Sloveniji oz. njegovi partnerji v tujini (BRIEF ali SFP) in obvezno vključuje opravljeno osnovno usposabljanje. Udeležba na delavnicah, ki niso usposabljanje ali predstavitvah na konferencah za proces certificiranja ne šteje, šteje pa opravljeno usposabljanje znotraj drugih organizacij, v izvedbi Ribalona ali partnerskih izvajalcev.

Vloga za certificiranje

Kandidati, ki dosegajo zahtevane pogoje so vabljeni k oddaji pisne vloge, s katero izkazujejo razumevanje k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa.

Vloga naj obsega do 10 strani (brez virov in literature) in zajema naslednja poglavja:

  1. Opis kandidatovega trenutnega delovnega mesta, znotraj katerega uporablja k rešitvam usmerjen pristop
  2. Opis opravljenih usposabljanj
  3. Razumevanje in opis k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa in modela
  4. Opis uporabe k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa in predpostavk pri kandidatovem delu
  5. Študija primera: podroben opis in dokumentacija konkretnega primera
  6. Skrb za profesionalni razvoj (supervizija, strokovno izpopolnjevanje)
  7. Viri in navedena literatura, kjer je to potrebno

Vlogo pošljete dr. A. Bibi Rebolj na elektronski naslov biba@ribalon.org z referenco “certifikat iz SF”. Po oddani vlogi boste prejeli povratno informacijo o odobrenem certifikatu ter podelitvi, ali morebitnih dopolnitvah ter dodatnih pojasnilih, v primeru, da vloga še ne dosega standardov za podelitev certifikata. Ocenjevalci so dr. A. Biba Rebolj, Ben Scott, Greg Oberbeck in po potrebi, svetovalno telo inštituta Ribalon.

Ob uspešni in pozitivno ocenjeni vlogi, boste Certifikat prejeli v fizični obliki, povabljeni pa boste tudi, da postanete eden izmed Ribalonovih priporočenih praktikov.

Navodila za pripravo vloge

Pri pripravi vloge sledite spodnjim navodilom ter obsegu. Vloga naj bo v MsWord, poljubne pisave, velikost 12.

  1. Opis trenutnega delovnega mesta, znotraj katerega kandidat uporablja k rešitvam usmerjen pristop – do 150 besed
  1. Opis opravljenih strokovnih usposabljanj: navedba kraja, datumov, izvajalcev, trajanje posameznega modula ter skupno število dni (ur).
  1. Razumevanje in opis k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa in modela – do 600 besed

K rešitvam usmerjen pristop lahko opišemo na različne načine, bodisi kot nabor orodij in tehnik, bodisi skozi predpostavke, bodisi skozi razmišljanje o tem, kako pristop dojema spremembo, kliente, načine dela, ipd. V opisu nas zanimata kandidatova interpretacija in razumevanje pristopa in v tem smislu ne zahtevamo opisa zgodovine in razvoja pristopa, pozdravljamo pa sklicevanje na relevantno literaturo.

  1. Opis načina uporabe k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa in njegovih predpostavk pri kandidatovem delu – do 1300 besed

V tem delu kandidat izkazuje sposobnosti uporabe k rešitvam usmerjenih predpostavk in tehnik v različnih kontekstih, znotraj katerih deluje, npr. pri delu s klienti, morda pri poučevanju, izvajanju skupinskih srečanj, pri svetovanju, vodenju sestankov, ipd.

  1. Študija primera: podroben opis in dokumentacija konkretnega nedavnega primera, kjer je uporabljen k rešitvam usmerjen pristop – do 2500 besed

V tem segmentu kandidat izkazuje kompetentno uporabo k rešitvam usmerjenih veščin v praksi. Kandidat izbere primer iz prakse, kjer je uporabil k rešitvam usmerjen pristop in tehnike:

  • Izbran primer naj bo odraz nedavnega dela in ne starejši od 6 mesecev od prijave za Certifikat.
  • Primer naj bo samostojno delo, ne npr. delo v paru z drugim k rešitvam usmerjenim praktikom ali soizvajalcem
  • Pri opisu naj se kandidat osredotoča na uporabo SF veščin in ne na opis primera. Ne opisuje se zgodovine primera in podrobnih okoliščin klienta, temveč se izkazuje kompetentno uporabo k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa. Posebej dobrodošli so transkripti dejanskih pogovorov.
  • V študiji primera se lahko opiše eno ali več srečanj s klientom ter celotno sodelovanje skozi daljše časovno obdobje. V kolikor obstajajo informacije, se opiše tudi učinke po tem, ko je bilo delo zaključeno.
  • V opisu primera kandidat jasno opiše kako je vzpostavil dogovor oz. sporazum s klientom in kaj je ta vseboval.
  • Nato opiše kako je potekal opis željene prihodnosti, pri čemer demonstrira kako se je v vprašanjih osredotočal na znamenja, ne na korake ali cilje – poudarki pri opisu željene prihodnosti so na znamenjih, ne akcijskem načrtu.
  • V kolikor so bile uporabljene lestvice, kandidat navede kako jih je zastavil (kaj je bila 10, kaj je bila 0), kakšna so bila nadaljnja vprašanja in čemu je dal največji poudarek.
  • Ob koncu napiše svojo refleksijo o tem, kaj je po lastnem mnenju naredil dobro ter kaj bi si želel, da bi naredil drugače (ter kako, v kolikor bi imel še eno možnost).
  • Kandidat navede tudi kako je poskrbel za ustrezno varnost in zaščito klienta in/ali njegovih bližnjih, v primerih, kjer je bilo to potrebno.
  1. Skrb za lasten profesionalni razvoj (supervizija, strokovno izpopolnjevanje)

K rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa se hitro naučimo, vendar je potrebno veliko nadaljnjega razvoja za dosego nivoja kompetentnosti. Kandidat v tej rubriki navede kako ohranja stik s prakso ter skrbi za etično in kakovostno izvajanje svojega dela.

  1. Viri in navedena literatura

Za citiranje se uporabi APA standard, kjer se sklicuje na reference.

Želimo vam veliko uspeha pri pripravi vloge. Veselimo se vaših vlog in vas pozdravljamo med kompetentne in razmišljujoče praktike!

Hhrati vas z veseljem obveščamo, da so objavljeni novi datumi za jesenska usposabljanja, ki jih najdete tukaj.

dr A. Biba Rebolj, 2019 za Ribalon in SFP ©

Slovenian Certificate in Solution Focused Practice

So now you’re a Doctor. What next?

Dear reader,

we have a new Doctor in the house. Not a medical one, but a PhD. Last Wednesday I passed the last formality and am now officially Dr Biba (which is strange, because my bibliography will say I obtained it in 2018 but here we go – done and finished!). I couldn’t have wished for a nicer ceremony and my farewell to the academia. Lovely memories, lots of gratitude, appreciation and a huge relief.

One of my Committee members, a professor, said it’s easy to obtain a PhD, but after, the person holding it must prove every single day they’re worth it. With such a title comes responsibility, as does with talents. Talents are not only gifts, they are duties as well. The holder’s got duty to use them for the benefit of not only pleasing themselves, whatever the talent may be – art, science, children upbringing, cooking, craft, etc.

My professional path has taken many unexpected turns and I’ve no ambition to stay in the academia for now. But if it wasn’t for my university, my supervisors, extracurricular activities as well as setbacks, I would have probably never left Slovenia and discovered the field I am so passionate about at the moment. Time for the next step. My ambition is the world. My passion is Solution Focused Practice.

So here comes some bits of news I have been looking forward to telling you for a while: I am not alone in this. About a year ago, a fortunate coincidence crossed paths of three people: Ben Scott, Greg Oberbeck and myself.

IMG_6708

A thought that brought us together concerns the future of SF and how to spread its brilliance to the next wave of practitioners. All of us have been training others in SF and recently, we formed a trio called SF Possibilities (SFP). We have noticed there are many frontline workers, practitioners and enthusiasts worldwide, who are keen and curious about SF and haven’t got access (geographical or financial) to high quality training. We want to respond by providing international Solution Focused Training with up to date observations from our own frontline practice.

What is uniting us is our wish to keep the SF approach simple, minimalistic and straightforward. The core of our ethos is continuing to follow the guiding principles our teachers at BRIEF have been inspired by for 30 years. Innovation, observing and presenting our own work as well as staying humble is something that brings us together, in spite of our personal differences and training styles which we see as beneficial and enriching.

So this is where I am going from here. It has become a “we”. We are “coming out” at the UKASFP Conference this July in Bath and before that, if you’ve ambition, you can join us in a 3-day training course in Solution Focused Practice in Bedford, UK. The invitations will go out soon, as will our web presence. Meanwhile, you are welcome to have a look at this page. We’d love to have you with us!

Dr. Biba, SFP

6D36781A-32AD-4B3C-A020-01DA6D6CB7A6 2

#Succinct #Minimalistic #Straightforward

 

New Generation of Solution Focused professionals has arrived!

Dear reader,

just got from Bulgaria, Sofia, where we celebrated 25 years of EBTA (European Brief Therapy Association) in a form of annual international conference. Solution Focused Brief Therapy has evolved massively since its beginnings in the early 1980’s. Today it is widely used not only in therapy and social work, but also in counselling, coaching, consulting, management, HR, education, even sport. Basically wherever there’s a need or a desire to build (or discover) rapid change towards a better future.

I am not very young anymore, yet still, a millennial. And have been practising Solution Focused practice for four years. That might not seem like a long time, but it is long enough to embrace the responsibility and even duty to take the approach further. Since SFBT is not mainstream, as has radially different outlook on therapy, relationship with clients and change, it has not been very good at politically establishing itself like positive psychology has done for instance. And that means that it might be widely unknown. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it is also a pity, because people like me might not know about it. I can speak for myself, that I was somewhat desperately in need for such an approach while I was working with students with mental health problems at university. But I was simply unaware of SFBT’s existence. Accidental discovery has made such a difference to me personally, professionally, that I decided to dedicate my entire career to it. And hence “only” four years and I am already an international presenter and speaker. Because I am so passionate about it. And I feel the duty to tell as many people I can that there is another way in doing therapy, coaching or whatever the setting in working with people. So EBTA has been truly supportive and welcoming. And I am taking it further – together with emerging new generation, new “kids” on the block, who come from different countries and who will hopefully be brave enough to trust, love and work in the way that will do our ancestors Steve and Insoo and others, justice.

So much for now. I’m training the third generation of Slovenian professionals this upcoming days – four day professional training in Solution Focused practice. And this is my little contribution before leaving Slovenia. And now let me feed my cat 🙂

Biba

IMG_4210.jpg

How did my butt get so big??

Dear reader,

funny story, this will make you laugh. Easter holidays and people are having days off, meaning shopping malls to be crowded, heavy traffic and loads of food. Perfect. I managed to break my husbands teapot and a big water jug, but hey, I’ve always been quite clumsy. Promised him to get him a new one and so there we were, today in the morning, putting our rain-boots on and getting ready to conquer the mall.

As I was putting my coat on, I looked at myself in the mirror. I was wearing pants not very flattering for my body shape, and as I looked at myself from behind, I went:

Omg since when’s my butt become so big?

My husband replied with: “No wonder it’s been big, you’re sitting 24/7, that’s what you’ve been doing.”

Now every woman ever will know that he screwed up big time. So there I was, my turn to react (or not). I could think of at least 246 choices. Here are a few:

  • I could have been devastated and could have spent another 2 hours examining my look from behind from every angle and trying to figure out whether he was right.
  • I could have bursted into tears for him being so rude and for telling the truth.
  • I could have felt really really bad, humiliated, ugly and unattractive and might have started thinking about dieting or exercising (but that’s not possible at the moment, because I can’t even walk).
  • I could have fallen into despair.
  • I could have tried to defend myself by shouting at him.
  • Or pretend to be an ostrich and not deal with the whole thing at all.
  • I could have killed my husband for being an idiot.
  • Or send someone to do that for me.

Now, before you send someone round to shoot my husband, please note that he’s never been very good with verbal expressions. Not that I am defending him or anything.

I know so many women to whom an event like that would spoil their entire day or week. And in a millisecond before starting to shout at him, I played several scenarios and how that might impact my day, I decided to do some assessment and pick the most useful response. Not for him, but for me.

  • My husband made a rude remark, which I will ignore and will not let it impact any of my thoughts or actions, except for writing this blog.
  • He is well aware it was rude. I’ll leave it up to him to deal with it. His laundry is none of my business.
  • It’s true that I’m sitting a lot lately. But it’s not because I would chose to do so, it’s because I am currently in too much pain to do any exercise or walk.
  • It’s the time of the month when my body’s doing its best to hold a possible baby. So consequently I might be a bit bloated. My breasts are bigger (and welcomed), so why would my butt not be allowed to be as well?
  • If my butt indeed has become bigger, so what. It is still my butt, I love it, it is serving me very well and I’ll keep loving it.
  • Big butts are very sexy.
  • If it will indeed bother me or will become uncomfortable, I will do something about it. But at the moment I am totally okay with it.
  • I am actually looking forward to having a big butt. In the upcoming months I will be sitting a lot and it is better to sit on a soft cushion than sit on a bony footstool.

See the difference? The trick is you can always, ALWAYS chose how certain events might affect you. Today I was in a good vibration, so I managed to do it elegantly and in only a second. And you got a witty story 🙂

Here’s to our butts,

Biba

Happy National Kissing Day!

Eating disorders are wasting your time

Dear reader,

This is a very personal post and I have never written about this subject so openly.

For some reason, I remembered some of my teen idols. I was so in love with a French dancing figure skating pair, Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, especially with their performance of “Esmeralda” and “Time to Say Goodbye” in the early 2000’s. Watching them skate again today, brought many memories of my early, young, fragile age, so I decided to go on with my orange-reddish hairstyle 🙂

Another recent idol has been Yulia Lipnitskaya, a young Russian figure skater, who, at the age of only 15 won the gold medal (well deserved!). I was wondering what she might be up to today, 4 years later, and found out that she’s retired from sport, due to severe anorexia.

I couldn’t believe it. It made me so so sad. She is far from lonely case. I dedicated my whole life to classical ballet, up to the age of 21. For years I was suffering from eating disorders. It started as I was getting ready for Ballet Nationals and my teacher made some crude remarks about my weight. At the age of 16, I wanted to do my best to “fit in”, succeed, meet the standards, regardless of how inhumane or devastating they were. I forced my body to do things most people couldn’t even imagine was possible. I pushed it beyond every limit and won the second place, dancing with a torn calf muscle. I could go on not eating for days, or bring every single meal out whenever I wanted. Still, no signs of fatigue or lost strength or physical ability. I had complete control over it. It was my absolute slave.

I made my best friend my slave. And as most things I was up to, I succeeded 100%.

It all got worse at about the same time, when I was almost expelled from school for anonymously publishing an article about certain practices and behaviours at our school. What I’d written was nothing but truth, but the reaction I got from my teacher was awful. I was excluded, humiliated, yelled at so that the entire school could hear and after that I learned to keep quiet, swallow all the injustices and simply pretend everything was fine. Pretend I was okay. Suppress all the emotions, desires, hopes. Just work, work, work. At the age of 16 my wings were broken. Crushed. I thought it was my fault. Everybody was pointing at me, confirming it was my fault. People watching me go down the road of slowly getting more and more exhausted, bystanders not knowing what to do, friends disappearing.

Eating disorders are lethal. They are one of the most damaging addictions. Vicious things, lurking in the back, taking over your life slowly, while you are fooling yourself believing you are in control.

I was so sad to read about Yulia. Such talents, such beautiful souls carried away by this disease. Many professionals are claiming, one cannot escape this circle. That the victim will always stay trapped in the cold hands of anorexia or bulimia. I say they are wrong.

I managed to recover myself. It happened as everyone else gave up. Doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, all sort of professionals. They gave up because they failed to ask me one single question:

What are your best hopes?

All of them were focused on ways how the disease was messing up with my life, or worse, how it’s become my life. None of them bothered to ask me about my other sides, my passions or hopes, probably because they assumed I had none. I believed that too. But it was not true. It was only that my wings were broken, but that doesn’t have to mean that I would not be able to grow new ones. Being kept in an environment where everybody was constantly reminding me that I have “screwed up”, “will not make it again” and “can’t do it myself” has been more damaging than the wounds I cut myself.

So at one point, after years of suffering, I decided that I won’t let my 16-year old down. I’ll never hide again and will never bow, even if and when my mouth will get me in trouble. I’ll never stand people for having the wrong energy, because I learned to be protective of myself and of people around me. People who are affected by eating disorders have several wonderful traits – they take it all on them, which makes them very pleasant company. They are incredibly talented, intelligent and resilient. But they simply don’t know that yet or don’t believe it. Eating disorders are a way of withdrawing, distracting from pain, focusing the punishment onto yourself, even when someone else is guilty. But in the cold light of dawn, eating disorders are a waste of your time. And a terrible waste of your potential.

Again, I was so sad to read the news about Yulia. And I know many girls like her, even some boys. I used to be one. And I can also show you that you, YOU ALONE, can manage to spread your wings again, fly, or grow whatever you need in order to lead the life you want. Yes, you can, without medication, painful questions and all sort of experts, who will pretend they care and will pretend they know better than you. No-one knows better than you.

Connect with me, if this sounds appealing and you might benefit from my experience. I was extremely lucky, that a couple of years after recovering, I accidentally bumped into Solution Focused Brief Therapy, which was exactly how I managed to restore my best version. The version that will never shut up and will never ever bend again. So naturally, I became a SFBT therapist and am now trying to make a difference with the approach and care, I needed, but was simply not there. With all my love and all my passion, both of which at some point I thought will never be on the menu of my feelings again. So I got lucky, but not because faith had it, but because I looked out for it.

With so much love to all the Yulias,

Biba