All posts filed under: 12 Character Muscles

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12 Character Muscles // Social Awareness May

This month called on my social awareness muscle to get strengthened.  I’ll be honest, I’ve never really been on top of the news – watching it daily or reading the papers.  I haven’t been completely lost in my own world and unaware of events around me but I could definitely look outside of myself and my life a bit more.  I have, obviously, been aware of some things going on around me in my community, my country and the world but I’ve never particularly followed through on certain issues and I guess never really thought that I could make much of a difference.  That, I think is what Social Awareness May has taught me. It got me thinking again about a friend of mine who, with his wife and a team of people, runs a charity that tackles anti-trafficking and modern slavery.  I had the opportunity to visit them last year and was in absolute shock at some of the statistics and stories I heard.  This was all before actually meeting some of the girls …

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12 Character Muscles // Self – Control April

When I was about two years old, my mum thought she’d lost me.  She ran all around the house, up and down the stairs before finally coming outside.  There at the end of the garden she spotted the top of my head poking out above a bush.  She walked to the end of the garden and as she rounded the corner, there I was standing by the raspberry cane stuffing as many into my mouth as possible.  She looked at me and asked, “Hannah, are you eating the raspberries?”.  I responded with a shake of the head and a murmured “no”.  Not only did this response illustrate my courage at a young age, it also showed nerve and stupidity and some of these qualities may have persisted.  At this point I was covered in raspberry juice and looked like I was playing a much safer (and healthier) version of chubby bunnies, all by myself.  Yes, just keep shaking your head, she’ll never know. Self-control hasn’t always been a strong point for me.  It has definitely …

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12 Character Muscles // Self – Awareness March

March I’ve always been fairly self-aware.  At 16 I took myself along to counselling because, well, isn’t that what any 16 year old does?! I’ve always been a thinker, I’ve pondered and reflected, sometimes to my own detriment.   But what this month has made me question is what I am doing with all this self-awareness?  Having found flaws, characteristics and deep rooted issues, what am I doing about them?  I have a tendency to self-obsess over my faults and issues and to remain stuck there.  What March has taught me is how to start moving forward out of these and actually make progress with my self-discovery.  Unsurprisingly a lot of these character muscles work together and so forgiveness and gratitude have helped climb out of my self-made mires.  Forgiveness towards myself and past situations and thankfulness for what I’ve come through, what I’ve learned and where I’m going. Joy, hobbies and friends have also a key factor in growing in this area.  These traits work together to build health and all can be cultivated.  …

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12 Character Muscles // Gratitude February

February “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;  an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill I’ve always thought that I was a pretty grateful person, especially towards others.  However, it’s safe to say that from these first three weeks of gratitude I’ve come to realise how negative I can be and also how forgetful I am.  My default is not to wake up and be thankful for life and breath, but instead be annoyed that yet again (like clockwork) my alarm has gone off.  Although I (usually) feel grateful towards others I’ve seen that towards myself I’m pretty unforgiving and so not grateful at all.  One thing I’ve learned from my healing process is that giving yourself self-love, appreciation and worth is so important.   As gratitude and optimism have both been shown to improve not only physical health, but mental and emotional, giving gratitude a go sounded like a good idea. Like most characteristics gratitude is to be practiced and learned, it needs to be cultivated.  Sure, we all have …

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12 character muscles // Forgiveness January

As a Personal Trainer, and general fitness freak I’ve focused a lot on my physical health and bodily muscles.  But long before this I was interested in my character, in fact at 22 I proudly declared to my 38 year old coworker that I was more interested in my character than my career.  I’m pretty certain she thought I was the strangest 22 year old she’d ever met and proceeded to call me “Young Jedi”.  Anyway.  A friend of mine leads a fitness and leadership program called PayanX.  In his leadership program he talks about 12 character muscles: Forgiveness; Gratitude; Self-awareness; Self-control; Social-awareness; Passion; Curiosity; Ingenuity; Love; Resilience; Optimism and Heroism. So this year I’m joining him, and many others, to focus on one muscle a month.  Unfortunately I only just started so I missed forgiveness January, but thankfully I’m about to start gratitude February so I am grateful that there will be another January (or sooner) to work on forgiveness.  However, what I have learned about forgiveness, from either ignoring it or swallowing my …