Mental Health: The “Silent Epidemic” Killing Men

Mental Health in Men

The epidemic may be silent but enough is enough, men, we need to continue and raise the conversation on mental health. Did you know that suicide rates are higher among men, than in women, and that this seems to be a global trend? Furthermore, the suicide rate is steadily increasing with age, which means, guys, the longer we keep bottling up our emotions and suppress what we feel, we’re only more likely to arrive at that point of no return. There's hope though, but keep in mind my advice and concern can only go so far. In truth, only you can truly save yourself, but you’ll have to drop the ego to do so, and let go of every way in which you define yourself as a ‘Man’.

Despite what we’ve been led to believe, we’re not born as fearless heroes and we’re not born to rule the world. I promise you that the world will not fall apart if we express a little emotion and communicate the truth about how we feel. In-fact, we’ll be doing the world a favour by doing so, making it more equal and life more liberating for all.

I coach a wide variety of clients internationally, but this year alone I have worked with more men. The number of men I worked with in Vancouver alone has also significantly increased, and first off let me tell you, mental health does not discriminate. Whether your white and powerful, or you’re brown and proud no one is protected from this. If your old and wise, or young and resilient, you are not protected from this either. Money, sexuality, what you do for a living, your relationship status, your good morals, your tough exterior, your balanced upbringing, and whichever other way you define and associate yourself with, will not protect you from the emotional ailments that feed on the suppression of truth. So if you think that this does not apply to you, you are very very wrong, and is just another reason why this problem among men has been dubbed a “silent epidemic

Coaching both men and women, I’m constantly learning of the many perspectives people have of the modern day man, and the issue restricting men really comes down to representation and how it shapes expectation. For example, what parents expect of their sons, what partners expect from their men, and what men expect for themselves is something that is probably learnt and not naturally inherited.

Hero

Everywhere we turn there seems to be a representation of men being brave, bold, strong and successful, predominantly fearless in the face of a challenge and affirmed in his character. Physically weaker men and emotionally sensitive men are often portrayed to desire a stronger more masculine exterior, for they’re usually presented as inadequate and unattractive; as the ‘lesser-man’. Watch nearly any mainstream superhero or action movie, and it won't be long before you see these characterizations.

Men with emotional ailments are taught to “man-up”, because, again, it is taught that it isn’t natural for a man to suffer emotionally. It seems the message we receive as boys teaches us that our self-worth is determined by our masculinity, and what it means to be a “Man” - which is a message that is very much incorrect. Now I’m not saying that these representations are negative traits, I mean as men we have little to complain about when it comes to positive representation, but if that’s all we’re represented as, then is it any wonder we have a difficult relationship with vulnerability?

We’re rarely represented in a vulnerable light, which is why the world doesn't expect us to be vulnerable, nor do we really know how to be vulnerable without compromising our emotional integrity. It’s why we fear being seen as vulnerable too, because it conflicts with our learned expectations. As men, we need to widen the representation pool and campaign for more vulnerable depictions of the male identity, and we can only start this process when more of us open up about how we feel behind closed doors. It seems as if we’re programmed to forget that feeling vulnerable is a human trait, and that every man is human. Which I suppose is an accurate statement to make, as we only have to look back at religious texts dating back many millennia - the media of the day - to realize that most Gods and God-like characters in society were referred to as “he” and depicted as men.

God

I work with motivation for a living and as my career develops, I realize everyday the fundamental mistake we make when defining ourselves as men and why so many of us, all genders included, fail to attain any sense of self-realization. Truth is, we put our gender identities before our very own existence. We somehow fail to realize we’re human, and that our conscious experience is a human experience first and foremost, not just a gendered one. Any emotions you see depicted, and every single emotion you experience, they’re all human emotions, and any emotion that humanly exists can impact any one of us at anytime. It’s entirely a myth to believe that men aren't affected by certain emotions, such as: insecurity and anxiety, nor are we resilliant to depression, because they’re all human traits designed to help us navigate through life. Therefore, to deny or suppress such emotion is, from my experience and understanding, an extension of self-harm.

Being a “Man” is the equivalent of playing a character, and it’s when you don't feel like that character, is when you fail to perform - in every interpretation of the word. It’s a human trait to want to survive, so if you’re not feeling like you can go on any longer, and you’re losing the will to live, then drop the role and realize you’re having a human experience, instead of a male one. Don’t think about resolving your issues like a man, you must resolve your issues like a human, unbound by gender.

Crying is a human trait; sadness is a human trait;  fear is a human trait; expression is a human trait; desire is a human trait, and anyone who judges you (yourself included) for any human trait, is just another being who has lost touch with their humanity, and submitted themselves to a restrictive human-like character.

Our human potential is where our focus and attention should be, and exploring life as a human as opposed to just a man, will detach us from the roles and ideologies which meddle with our self-worth and esteem. Deal with your emotional ailments as any human would, and set yourself free from the limiting beliefs of Man.

"Why do I struggle to get out of bed?"

With the weather in Vancouver taking a dreary turn and the rain giving us yet another excuse to not get up out of bed, we may as well take the opportunity to evaluate and reflect. To help you get started, I put together a short explanation on why you may struggle to get up in the morning, and why procrastination becomes so appealing. 

Vancouver Entrepreneur - Podcast

Click to listen online!

Click to listen online!

I had the pleasure of speaking with Robert Szmigiel of VancouverEntrepreneur.ca about running VanCity Life Coach Inc. and what it's like being an entrepreneur in Vancouver, B.C. It's been an incredible journey so far, and reliving how it all begun was quite emotional, and also realizing how everyday I feel like it's just the beginning! I hope this podcast interview inspire you to share your ideas and explore your potential, the time to act is now!

For an iTunes link, click here.

5 Alternative Ways to Improve Communication in A Relationship

Relationship Goals

It’s no secret that the dating scene in Vancouver is pretty bad, but rarely do we speak about the state of actual relationships in our beautiful city.

As a relationship coach, I’m incredibly aware of the difficulties people face behind closed doors and I wanted to write a post in an attempt to remind people why we need each other.

I apologize if you’ve navigated to this post looking for dating advice, because this is not a post on dating. However, now that you’re here, you may as well realize the purpose of being in a relationship since you’re looking to be in one.

A relationship is supposed to be the safest place for you to bare your soul. To be able to express yourself openly and honestly so that you can fulfil your desires and expel your demons.

This is why, for example, it hurts so bad when you’re cheated on, and why people cheat - it’s all connected to truth and it’s ability to be expressed and accepted. The motivation fueling most relationship problems are the result of either an unfulfilled desire, or the compulsion of an inner demon or a mix of both.

Actually, here’s a free dating tip: if you don’t have a partner, find an avenue to express yourself and as you progress down this avenue, you increase your chances at bumping into someone on the same path.

You can really pinpoint a lot of relationship problems to one’s ability to express themselves honestly, so here are my 5 alternative ways for you and your partner to learn about each other and communicate:

1. Bathe your partner.

1. Bathe your partner.

1. Bathe your partner.

It’s romantic bathing with your partner, and a great way to spice things up in you relationship, but if your partner is going through something, bathe them. There’s a certain nurturing involved when bathing someone, and bathing your partner may just help them open the door to their vulnerability, just enough to let you in to understand what they’re going through.

This presents an opportunity to open up about mental health issues and personal truths which cause an inner torment. Also great to ease moments of intense distress, i.e. loss.

2. Lights out.

2. Light out.

2. Light out.

One of the most difficult things to switch off during conversation is perception, because our senses are constantly picking up on information and interpreting it. Limit bias from sensory input by turning off the lights and having a conversation in the dark. You’ll notice very quickly how much easier it is to listen and communicate, when you’re not concerned with interpreting facial expressions and body language.

This is a great way to communicate inner desire more confidently, as well as a great way to discuss and open up about difficult circumstances.

3. Be Antisocial

3. Be Antisocial

3. Be Antisocial

Will your relationship survive without bragging rights? Is your relationship worth more than the number of likes you get for that romantic shot you so carefully constructed? The world has outstayed their welcome and it’s time to kick them out of your relationship. Wipe the existence of your relationship from your social media platforms and focus your attention on your partner. You’d be surprised how hard this is for people to do, because often it makes you face a truth you really don't want to face.

Reclaim ownership of your relationship, kick the world out and start talking. It’s shocking at how many relationships depend on the validation from others, which I think makes being in a relationship ironic.

This will highlight a lot of key issues within the foundation of your relationship, or, help you realize how solid it actually is.

4. Break routine.

4. Break Routine.

4. Break Routine.

How many times have you repeated the same evening over and over again? There’s tons of ways you can break routine but the idea is to encourage conversation. One of my my favourite recommendations to couples, is to face the sofa away from the TV and enjoy time and space together. Get into a reflective mood, and relax in each others company - do everything to spend the most time in this space: order take out food, light candles which can be easily blown out, grab a bottle wine and a couple of glasses - have everything you need within reach.

Breaking routine is a nice way to refresh energy and enter a reflective conversation; an opportunity to approach unresolved issues.

5. Meet the parents.

5. Meet the parents.

5. Meet the parents.

This one’s a little tricky, but, if feasible, build a relationship with your partners parents. Really want to learn about your partner? And want your partner to really understand you? Then spend some time alone with their parents. Spend enough time and you’ll learn about their influences growing up, clues into trauma, and how they may have developed certain behaviours and habits.

If you ever want to learn about someone's outlook on life, spend time getting to know the people they were exposed to growing up.

I call this one the grenade, the saving grace, the very thing that could make or break your relationship. Why? Because you don't know what you’ll uncover. If you do this, proceed with caution.

I hope these tips help you and your partner open up about the world within, and if you need further support, do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a complimentary consultation.

Hack Your Reality: We're Sponsoring Jason Silva!

Jason-Silva-Vancouver

What an amazing year it's been so far, and what a great way to enter fall.

I'm a fan of Jason Silva's YouTube series, Shots of Awe, and I'm glad that we're sponsoring his event right here in Vancouver. He's touring Canada with a series of talks designed to teach you how to 'Hack your Reality' so that you can create a life of "freedom, happiness and abundance"

He opens his tour at Vogue theatre tomorrow, October 14th @ 6PM and I have no doubt that it's going to be an impactful show, full of high energy, and leaving you feeling inspired to "spend more time in the present".

Jason has this unique ability to activate a flow state, practically on cue, and I for one cannot wait witness a stream of consciousness live and direct. As you've already gathered I'm pretty excited about this event, because it's going to be brilliant!

For my local Vancouverites, you can get your tickets here, and for my lovely's around the world you grab tickets to the Live Stream here, and join us in digital spirit!

See you there!

Newsletter: Getting Social, #techforacause, and moving.

Greetings!

It’s been an incredibly busy summer and I cannot express enough gratitude for all the support I’ve received thus far. There’s been some exciting developments this year and I’m excited about the new projects VanCity Life Coach Inc. is going to be launching and be a part of.

So, what’s new?

-       A new blog post on taming the Ego! - Success can significantly alter our path, and it’s important to keep the Ego in check to ensure we remain true to who we are and our intentions.

-       Introducing the VanCIty Life Coach YouTube channel! – I am trying to make more of an effort with social media, so please do help me spread the word.

-       I’m also very excited to announce that I’m working with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Innovation Lab, to develop an app to help prevent and reduce domestic violence – a cause I’m deeply invested in.

-       VanCity Life Coach Inc., now also accepts Bitcoin for all coaching programs and packages!

-       New Burnaby Mountain workspace! I have finally opened the doors to my new coaching sanctuary for both clients an coaches-in-training alike, and a place I also call home.

-       Lastly, I want to introduce Sonia Hayre as my new Administrative Manager, and VanCity Life Coach in training! Sonia will be heading a lot of the operations in the new year, and soon the Group Coaching program. Sonia will also train as a Life Coach with a focus on family and relationship coaching! You’ll be hearing more from Sonia in the new year!

There’s more to be mentioned as we approach the fourth quarter, so do keep in touch for more news.

I hope everyone has had a great summer here in Vancouver, and wherever you are around the world, I hope the middle months have treated you well.  As always, do reach out if you’d like to schedule a complimentary consultation; learn about your potential and how you can navigate your life into fulfillment.

 

Always,

Terry Sidhu

Life Coach, VanCity Life Coach Inc.

 

Now accepting Bitcoin!

Life_coaching_Bitcoin

We now accept Bitcoin on all coaching programs and packages!

Contact booking@vancitylifecoach.com to schedule a complimentary consultation.

How does life work?

The hardest thing in life is finding the courage to pick up your desires and navigating them to fulfilling life experiences. I hope this video helps you understand how life works, and the importance of navigating your life into fulfilment. - VanCity Life Coach.

In this video, I use a simple children toy to explain how life, essentially, works.

Video bought to you by, Vancouver Life Coach, Terry Sidhu.

How I keep my Ego from controlling my life.

Feeling like I'm on top of the world...

Feeling like I'm on top of the world...

Vancouver is a wonderful place to call home, and I've found a lot of success here. However, I can sometimes lose sight of who I really am, when the "success" is all that my life becomes. I'm a great Life Coach, I can say that confidently, but it's not all who I am...

Click here to learn about how I keep my Ego from taking over my life, and what you should start doing to navigate your life into a happier, more fulfilling direction.

5 Must-Know Networking Tips for Life Coaches

Life Coaching in Vancouver has been a rewarding experience. However, I remember the days I used to struggle to even get seen. Now that I've established myself within the industry, I want to do as much as I can to guide others in their own path. Whether you're starting out or you're a fully established coach, click on the link below to learn about my top networking tips for Life coaches:

Click the image above to access the article: 5 Must-Know Networking Tips for Life Coaches

Click the image above to access the article: 5 Must-Know Networking Tips for Life Coaches

There are two types of people in this world…

There are two types of people in this world…

Just imagine how much more successful we all would feel and be, if we could unapologetically self-express, feel safe and secure enough to present our most authentic selves, and communicate to each other honestly and openly.

This is why you're afraid.

DaVinci Vancouver

I’ve been quiet on the social media front for a while, and I’d like to say it’s because I’ve entered a new realm of self-awareness, but in truth it's been busy.

A few months ago, I successfully launched my group coaching program and what started out as a project to make life coaching accessible to the wider community, became an eye opening realization for me.

Imitation = Fear

Imitation is an expression of fear, because we imitate to blend in, to be accepted by society, and for others to notice that we fit in and that we belong. We imitate because we’re afraid of being rejected should we ever reveal our truest selves.

Many of us, predominately in the West I feel, are searching for that sense of belonging from a very early age. Think about how a toddler behaves, they walk around confidently, wearing the rawest version of themselves. Forever curious, they’re always in search of answers. Although it may not last too long, toddlers are also very compassionate, incredibly loving and confidently expressive.

I think as conscious awareness develops, there comes a time when we become curious about ourselves and our place in this world, and I think it’s at this crucial point when fear of expression starts to develop. It’s like we spend most of our lives slowly breaking free from a cocoon and once free, we’re very quickly misguided.

As we develop some independence we turn to the world around us for guidance on this human experience. However, the world is still very much an unequal place and as we receive its messages, predominantly through mass media, the majority of us feel underrepresented. When we do not see ourselves being represented, we quickly learn to feel that this is a world in which we do not belong, so what do we do? We imitate.

We buy into popular trends, we follow false idols, and we mimic those who are presented as most-self-actualized. We often do this so blindly that it becomes normal, until the distance between who we really are and who we’ve presented ourselves to be is so wide, that we become afraid to face the truth, and/or unsure of it.

It develops an anxiety of sorts, an uncertainty about the future and thus the quest for happiness continues to be a trivial pursuit. We feed fear each time we deny ourselves the opportunity to be liberated.

Creating a safe space.

In just under 8-weeks my group members had shown phenomenal personal growth. The majority of my clients started out the program feeling insecure and unsure about their future. Towards the end, they all reported feeling happier and unafraid to explore their potential, and reported feeling sure about where they’re headed in life.

I think the success of the group coaching program, was largely due to being a safe space for participants to reconnect with and explore their truest selves, and realize that they’re not alone. I think for many it was the first time they understood how their identities became so blurred and as the weeks progressed, participants became more expressive and compassionate toward one another.

The program became a safe space for them to freely explore their potential without limits. For example, I had one participant who started out as this rigid, hyper-masculine character and he joined the program wanting to learn how to be more productive, and maximize his earning potential. Towards the end, we learned that his procrastination and lack of fulfillment were down to pursuing a path he did not align with, nor particularly enjoy. He had spent so much time imitating an identity attached to confidence and wealth, that he became afraid to pursue something he was actually passionate about and good at, which was art. He learned how to set goals mindfully and how aspirations are achieved, and now he’s enrolling in design school alongside his 9 to 5, to pursue a career where he can do what he loves and impact social change.

In my trial group, I had a participant who joined the program to learn about her place in the world. She was uncertain about her relationships and felt anxious about pursuing her independence. In the program, she learned to trust her emotions for guidance and it turned out, she didn’t fit the image of conventional relationships, of which she was afraid of:

What are you afraid of?

I suppose we can measure fear by how much of our lives we spend imitating others. The world accepting us for how well we imitate it, is not the world accepting us. We’re merely helping the powers at be reinforce their egos. If we want to be represented then we must show the world who it is that needs representation. However, chances are we’re all one of a kind and when we accept this we probably won’t care for representation, because instead we’ll be seeking only inspiration.

Remember the key to fulfillment, in any aspect of life, is a strong and affirmed identity.

Be you. Be inspired. Be Inspiring.

What is Integration?

At the start of 2017 I officially launched a complete integration program, and started harm-reduction consulting as additional services of my life coaching practice. Traditionally, I’m serving clients engaged in, and/or post, psychedelic therapy. However, upon developing the integration program, I've found that the needs of this service actually stretch beyond the revival of the psychedelic and spiritual revolutions.

In my work, I define the service of integration as helping people integrate an awareness of two or more ‘systems’, for lack of a better term, into one. These systems can be likened to an individual connecting with different truths; ideas; beliefs; ideologies that cause an unsettling. Being aware of each system causes the individual to question one, or the other, or all systems, in order to seek a truer understanding of themselves and/or the world around them.

A further personal conflict arises when an individual believes that they must commit to just one system, and that only one way can be the right way. Therefore, first, integration helps the individual acknowledge and accept that each system coexists with one another. Then, the process guides them on utilizing the positive aspects of each, in order to direct their lives forward, and guides them on developing from the negative aspects of each, to reduce harm and difficulty in life. Thus, integrating the two systems into one; integrating the alternative system(s) into a primary one.

For example, say you spend most of your life believing that if you go to school, study hard and get a really good education, that you’ll secure a good job with lots of benefits. A job that will provide you with a lot of money, give your life purpose and meaning, and allow you to live happy and fulfilled. Let’s call this your primary system, the one you've spent most of your life investing in.

Then, let’s say you meet someone who proves to you that there is an alternative way to achieve happiness and fulfillment, a way that doesn’t rely on money perhaps. They have now presented you with another system, and your belief in their system now causes you to question your primary one. So, you find yourself feeling unsettled because you have a belief in two systems that are causing you personal conflict, because you’re unsure of the direction moving forward:

  • Do you dismiss your primary system? To which you’ve already invested most of your life into.
  • Do you dismiss the alternative system? Which you also believe in and is personally desirable.
  • Which system is better for you? As they both seem to offer personal benefits.
  • Which direction should you take? As each system causes distrust and uncertainty upon the other.
  • What if that person is wrong or was misguided?
  • What if you’re wrong and have been misguided?
  • How do you decide?

It’s like these systems are people who have both positive and negative influences on you, and integration is the process of evaluation and reflection to establish who is most beneficial to you, and when. Like who you can turn to for motivation when you need it most, and who can help you maintain your responsibilities, and who will inspire confidence, and so on. Integration enables you to give each system purpose, and by doing so it works to reduce a lot of inner conflict.

I like to refer to integration as finding a healthy balance, or middle, by merging very distinct life experiences into a mindful one. After all, it’s our experiences and beliefs that shape and navigate our identities, and we shouldn't dismiss parts of who we are just because it doesn't fit with a certain life model. Perhaps, you could consider my integration service as helping you develop your very own life model to live by. A safe process that allows you to accept and explore each system openly, to understand and utilize them, and encourages you to be your best self, and to live your best life.

Our minds are designed to think openly and without restriction, and when we shape our lives to the minds design, we realize our human potential.

If you wish to learn more about my integration services, please email: info@vancitylifecoach.com. To learn more about the role of psychedelic in the treatment of mental health, check out the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, (MAPS).

Disclaimer: Please note that VanCity Life Coach Inc. does not condone the use of illicit drugs. It is recommended that drug use, of any kind, be under the observation/recommendation of a licensed professional, and in accordance with the law.

An Understanding of Depression

Depression

Depression is a heavy burden to carry. Day by day it breaks away at our identities and pulling ourselves out of a depressed state, is incredibly challenging when we struggle to recognize our own self-worth.

From my perspective, depression, along with most other negative mindsets, develop from the disconnect between the mind and body. I firmly believe that our emotions are the true senses of our consciousness, and that our physical senses merely help us navigate our conscious experience. With this in mind, I’m learning that depression and other mental structures alike, are the result of neglecting the truth.

Our life experiences should invigorate our identities. We should be constantly learning new things and expanding our zones of comfort to learn more about ourselves, and what we were put on this planet to do. This is how we strengthen our minds against negativity. Most of us know when we’re in a situation or environment that isn't right for us and restrict us from developing who we are. When we go against the feedback from our minds and physically remain in restrictive situations or environments, we stunt our human experience.

It’s not entirely our fault though, all of us start our lives in a blissful state but when we naturally go in search of meaning, most of us are derailed. The messages we receive from very early on in life cause us to feel insecure. There’s not much room for self-exploration and self-expression, in a world that often dehumanizes anyone who doesn’t fit the profile of what it means to be human.

When we force ourselves to live life against our true nature, the mind soon takes notice and wants us to do something about it. It may start small, perhaps in the beginning we brush off our negative thoughts as being ungrateful. However, the longer we neglect the truth the harder the mind will try to encourage the body do something about it, and a few negative thoughts grow into destructive ones. Eventually we begin to develop a desire to run away and get away from it all, but the insecurity keeps us attached to the lives we’ve invested so much in. Soon enough, we're stuck in a cycle of thought and our minds start to disconnect from the unrecognizable lives we’re living, and the false identities we’ve developed. As we continue to neglect the truth within, the wounds of this neglect deepen and the mind will want to end this neglect and will start to look for a way out.

We should investigate the motivation behind these negative thoughts, and what we’re fueling our minds with. For example, if our minds are telling us we’re not good enough, chances are we’ve fueled this thought by exposing our physical senses to this belief. If we’re feeling like we don't belong, chances are we’re not being encouraged to be ourselves. We're more consciously involved than we like to admit, we just have to become consciously aware to navigate change.

My advice, if you have the opportunity to travel and explore, do so. If you don’t and you have responsibilities, then break into new territory in your home environment. Put simply, if your current practice of living isn’t working, then change as much of it as you can. Try new things and experience the energy of new people. Fuel your sensory inputs with new stimulus and if there is nothing that engages you, be the creator of something new.

This post is just the start of a much lengthier discussion, but I hope it encourages you to evaluate and reflect on a few things. I’ve said this many times before but it’s worth repeating: you’re only conscious of this one life so make the most of it. Guide your physical experience to where the spirit yearns to go, and reconnect your mind and body to embrace your soul.

Empower Your Identity, and Plan Your Life in A Group Life Coaching Program

I’ve always tried to make life coaching accessible for as many people as I could, and it’s this mission which has encouraged me and my team to develop this one of a kind group coaching program, right here in Vancouver B.C.!

Spread across 8 weeks, group members will embark on a course in empowerment. They’ll learn to harness the power of their individual identities, and tap into their potential. From the very first workshop they’ll experience a sense of liberation, and feel ready to take control over their lives.

They’ll learn how to effectively evaluate and reflect, understand how motivation works, and how negative behaviors develop. Then, they'll progress into identifying the changes they need to make in their lives, and connect with the things they want from life. The group will also learn how to set mindful goals, and how to successfully achieve them. I want people to realize that the future is theirs to decide, and this group coaching program will show them how to manage the unimaginable.

Each person will be placed in a group associated with a key demographic, so group members will have something in common with the people they’re mutually supporting, and each individual group will form a larger cluster. Furthermore, everyone gets an individual coaching session. After the program, they'll be invited to a social gathering where they'll get to connect, and network with members from the other coaching groups.

The model I have developed is fueled by the psychology of motivation, and utilizes principle marketing tools used to manage and grow corporations. Furthermore, I’ve incorporated functional spiritual practices such as: mindfulness, detachment, and balance. Having assembled these three focuses to work in unison, people will learn how to navigate their lives into complete fulfillment, and succeed in doing so.

My aim is to coach as many people as I can into fulfillment, and in this type of group setting, people will not only feel supported, they'll be part of a community. Additionally, they'll be able to guide others with their new found confidence, enriching their own networks and communities.

The first set of group sessions will commence in May of 2017. If you're interested in learning more and/or attending a free information session, please sign up below:

 

 

The Personal Development Cycle

The Personal Development Cycle

The Personal Development Cycle

I’m unsure if you feel it too, but there is a lot of positive energy in the air and I hope all of you are taking a moment to soak it all in. Perhaps it’s because we’re all happy to see the back of 2016, (I don’t think we need another recap of last years events), and that this year represents a fresh new start. However, I can't help but be aware of the fact that we’ve done this before. We start a new year eager and hungry for change, only to settle into old habits and complacent behaviours when it gets too hard.

If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that we can no longer sit and wait for positive change to come knocking on our doors, we actually have to invest the effort and energy to drive our lives forward, in the direction we want them to go. Fortunately, we can kick start positive change by investing time in personal development, and it doesn't have to be a daunting task either, for personal development works as a cycle that functions in both directions, and we can start wherever we feel most comfortable:

Develop an awareness before committing to an investment.

First off, let’s change our attitude to the way we see the world, because realistically it isn't all that bad. It may seem that way because of our access to information, but that's the force behind change, awareness. For example, we have less racial inequality now than we did 5 years ago, although there is still a ways to go, we’re closer to equal rights for all than we ever have been before #blacklivesmatter. We’re also becoming aware of global elitism, and how a small group of people seem to impact the wellbeing of our everyday lives, both home and away. We’ve become so aware of our ignorance, because we’ve made ignorant decisions fueled by anger and frustration; #brexit #trump2016. Yet still, that’s the beauty of awareness, it makes us curious about things that were once not so clear, and feeding that curiosity inspires us to become even more aware.

As an additional note, even though my personal opinions were so against certain political directions, we must never forget that we’re in this together. We all desire the same emotional experiences in life and unfortunately, these desires can be manipulated and used against us if we’re not aware. If we’re shown something that we truly desire, associated alongside something that seems to get it for us, a lack of awareness can really fool us into believing the association to be true #propaganda #advertising. Therefore, it’s important that we develop an awareness and increase our knowledge and understanding of something before committing to it. We have access to the world's knowledge at our fingertips, it’s time we all realise how lucky we are and make use of it. Let’s collectively become aware of the world that surrounds us, by first becoming more self-aware. Let’s look for, access and accept the truth wherever it resides, and then drive change.

Learn to face and embrace your truth.

The best advice I’ve ever given, can ever give and I believe I will ever give, is to be true to yourself and live honestly. Until we face our inner truth, life will not move in the direction of our truest desires. As mentioned earlier, we are all striving for the same emotional experiences in life and these experiences will not be felt earnestly, unless we’re living true to who we are and how we feel.

Furthermore, our purpose in life becomes ever more apparent when we live by this philosophy. Distractions also become less of a bother and emotional restrictions, like anxiety and depression, start declining. I wrote a personal post not too long ago titled ‘Live Life with Integrity’ and mentioned how I was liberated from a lot of fear and anxiety, just by accepting my truth and sharing it with the world. It set me free to explore life in order to uncover my purpose, to trust it and then stand by it. Living true to ourselves enables us to get on with, and pursue the lives we want to build, and encourages us to make life the best experience possible.

Becoming more aware really does help us connect to and enter this stage of truth, because we soon realize what truly matters in life; we soon become aware of the benefits of living more honestly, not only for ourselves, but for our relationships too. Becoming aware of poverty and war for example, like our brothers and sisters from Syria fleeing their homes for their lives, should make us appreciate the opportunities we have available to us, and inspire us to drop the insecurities that restrict us from pursuing them.

On the other hand, as we start accepting truth we slowly start becoming aware of the things that we’re not so clear before. I personally realized that I was choosing to hold onto fear and that I could’ve let go a lot sooner, had I sooner accepted my truth. It really opened up my mind and made me aware of a world full of opportunity, it made me feel confident to explore curiosity, because I became curious about the things I had once feared and avoided.

Get comfortable exploring curiosity.

Exploring curiosity is one thing that can really propel personal growth and development. Just as children grow and learn by being curious, we must hold onto this quality for the entire duration of our lives. Life is meant to be explored and being curious is the best way, perhaps the only way to explore it completely.

Our awareness increases as we’re curious, becuase we learn more about ourselves, about our capabilities and also about the world around us. Curiosity is life’s teacher and can really help us answer so many unanswered questions, and it helps us to develop confidence and strengthens self-belief. For example, I had a client who was unemployed and believed she was uninteresting and that no one would ever be inspired by her, a belief based purely off of perception. So, I signed her up for a volunteer program she had always been curious about, but never pursued because of her belief. I only encouraged her to feed her curiosity and the rest she developed naturally, today you should see how her identity shines. She never realized how much she actually had to offer people. She was able redefine her personality traits from what she dubbed as “passive” and “timid”, to comforting, supportive, open-minded and kind. Now she’s putting herself through school and carving out a career as a Nutritionist.

We develop confidence whenever we push the boundaries of comfort, and as we expand our comfort zones, we hold onto the confidence we develop. Confidence is all about ownership so as you can imagine, the more confident we become the more sense it makes to live life more openly and honestly, and really take ownership of our own lives. Lastly, we realize that life is much more fruitful and exciting when we’re constantly engaging with something that’s fresh and new.

That old saying ‘live each day like it’s your last’ seems so limiting to life experience to me, so I say, live each day like it’s your first! Make each day a brand new day to get excited about, be aware, be true and be curious, and don’t live another day in vain.

Happy New Year!

Why Do People Breakup?

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Relationships are the assembly of individual identities. They’re about support, equality, balance and most importantly, acceptance. - vancitylifecoach.com/about. Preserving these types of values keep relationships alive, and help us rise above a lot of relationship challenges. However, if these core values are neglected, communication starts to breakdown, intimacy begins to dwindle and we’ll no longer feel understood by each other. Which then establishes the foundation for every disagreement and difficulty that soon proceed. Indeed, it’s drifting away from core relationship values which carry us into ‘breakup’ territory.

We’re all conscious beings full of complicated emotions, and we’re driven by what we desire from life. When two of us decide to align our lives together, we do so because we’re enthralled by each other's identities. As we explore each other’s physical and metaphysical worlds, an intimate bond develops, and makes it easy for our emotions to intensify, and for our personal desires to get blurred. In these moments, we become very present and nothing else matters but the here and now. We want nothing but to hold onto these feelings for a lifetime; we want nothing to change because of how we feel within ourselves.

We all want to be completely understood and want to be accepted and embraced for who we are, and it’s never more realized than in newer relationships. When we meet people who make us feel this way, it’s easy to develop an attachment towards them. It’s about how we feel. We long for these traits because they help us believe in ourselves and help affirm our identities, and this is how we need to feel in order to fulfil our own desires. Being truly understood, accepted and embraced, these are the innate, underlying intentions we all share when pursuing a relationship, because they allow us to love ourselves. If we’re not feeling any these fundamental emotions within, love, generally, cannot grow and the relationship will struggle to fulfil its purpose. Instead, we can find ourselves holding onto an attachment that lacks substance, and that’s when the doubts and uncertainties start to arise.

We tend to forget, or pay very little attention to, our own contributions during the growth stages in relationships. In the beginning, everything is new and exciting, the future is brighter, we’re feeling good and if, by, some sort of sorcery, we manage to become just as valuable to our partners as they are to us, but it’s easy to lose sight of that for a number of reasons...

We become so mesmerized by the other person in the beginning, that we’re not mindful of the conscious exchange that’s at play. If the balance of the exchange is not maintained, and the scales tip in favour towards one person or the other - i.e. we receive more love, appreciation, understanding and acceptance e.t.c., than we give, or, give more than we receive, or, don’t give each other any at all - a pressure or burden begins to amount and that’s when we start drifting apart.

...for one, we live in a world abundant with messages that reinforce a certain ideology of love, and we get so caught up in these ideas and ideals, that our natural intentions get skewed. It’s a wicked conditioning that uses our motivations against us. We’re bombarded with associations of what love and belonging looks like, sounds like, tastes like and what it’s like to touch and smell love. These imitations reinforce a belief that love is limited to our 5 physical senses and as a result, we start moulding ourselves to appeal to these senses. It’s a reason why ‘profile dating’ even exists, and why it’s difficult to develop the courage to strike up a conversation and get to know somebody. It’s a reason why inequality is still a struggle today, because we’ve been taught to believe that love is not blind, that love is biased and that true, genuine and honest emotion can quite possibly be bought.

Political, social and economic conspiracies aside, we shouldn't be entering relationships being understood, accepted and embraced, for qualities that do not represent who we are. Qualities that do not represent the conscious being within (our trues heart's desire). Otherwise, we’ll find it difficult to sustain any emotional connection with anyone, because the core relationship values would’ve been built upon a fallacy. I think all of us can agree that no matter how hard we try, the truth of what we’re feeling will always find a way to surface. The weight of that truth will continue to get heavier and more unavoidable over time, and places a strain on our relationships.

If truth cannot reside within a relationship, how much longer an individual go on feeling misunderstood? How much longer can two people live with misaligned desires? How much longer can an individual live complacently?

However, there are still many of us who have managed to escape the influences of the world and have established and maintained very honest relationships. Breakups that do occur in these sort of bonds are the result of mutual understanding. If we’re constantly being honest about how we feel, and we completely unveil our truths as soon as they surface, then issues are given the opportunity to be resolved. We can avoid a lot of prolonged upset and heartache, if we preserve an environment where we can open up and communicate. After all, a lot of arguments and frustrations are the manifestations of unresolved problems.

In summary, relationships should empower us to explore life fully, so that we can each discover and/or fulfill our individual purpose. When we form a relationship, we enter a mutual agreement based on this very philosophy. We don’t enter them to feel restricted or suppressed, nor do we want that for our partners.  Therefore, if any of us are ever feeling this way in our relationships, we have duty to ourselves and to each other to open up about how we feel, and work towards a resolution so that we can each continue to progress our lives forward.

Live Life with Integrity

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We don’t honor ourselves enough. You and I are designed to accomplish great things, we’re built to withstand tough challenges and we each have a unique purpose for being here. We do ourselves a great dishonor whenever we allow anything, or anyone for that matter, convince us that we’re not worthy enough or that it’s not possible for us to follow our true calling in life.

We often talk of purpose as if it’s some cosmic gift from above or some declaration that society hands us and because of this thinking, we never feel like we’re quite good enough unless someone else affirms it. We’re constantly doubting ourselves and we’re seeking validation through notifications to which hold no real value. We diminish our self-belief because we’re not seeing purpose as a natural birthright; we’re to own who we are and to be free to explore life, so that we can grow into our purpose and courageously stand by it.

What I’ve written already may sound a little cryptic, but I’ve recently experienced a shift in perspective and discovered why so many of us struggle in our daily lives. A lot of us don’t feel supported enough to share how we truly feel and therefore we burden ourselves with our truths rather than opening up about them. We then learn to cope with our burdens instead of overcoming them and we hide away our truths under a guise of denial; resentment; anger; sadness; frustration; silence; avoidance and so on, always a guise nonetheless. I’d bet that many of you feel misunderstood, but that feeling isn't going to shift until you drop the guise, set free your truth and allow the healing to begin.

Too many of us are good people working hard and trying even harder to build happy and fulfilled lives. Even at our lowest of lows, we muster whatever energy we have left and rise out of bed in the morning to live through another day. I’ve coached enough people to understand that this statement resonates within a lot of us, as it did with me for a very long time. I’ll even admit that I’ve thought about ending all this despair too, because if I can’t live openly then for me there’s no reason to live at all.

I grew up in a Sikh household and the very first words that appear in the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy text) are “Ik Onkar, Sat Naam” which roughly translates to: There is one God, Truth is his name. Now anyone reading this believing that there is a mystical being in the sky shaping our lives really hasn’t understood what this ancient teaching is trying to clue us into. The only thing we should live our lives by and the very thing we should actually honor, seek out, respect and worship is the truth. It really is that simple.

It’s said that the truth will set us free and my God does it ever. Think about it, the reason why many of us feel isolated or alone, outcast or trapped, or even misunderstood and lacking purpose is because we’re not living truthfully. We lock up how we truly feel; who we truly are; what we truly desire from life because we’re too attached to mass produced ideologies that misrepresent us. Our attachment to these ideologies cause us to judge one another as we’re conditioned to follow each other like sheep and lead the same old meaningless lives over and over and over again. You and I are worth so much more than that and if you ever want to get over your burdens, you need to liberate yourself from them and live life with integrity, if you genuinely want to feel like you matter.

The day I felt self-realized and more confident was the day I decided to live true to my nature and embrace the very traits that make my identity as exceptional as the mind I have. Just as exceptional as you are with the remarkable mind you have. So I’ve decided to write this post today to encourage you all to free yourself from any burden you feel buried under, because you are way too valuable to live your life in vain.

You all know me as Terry but not many know that my true name Is Talwinder Singh Sidhu, a name that I’ve only recently learnt to be proud of and respect. I believe we are all born equal in an unequal society and the only way we’re going to make positive change, is if we stand up and continue to fight for equality on all platforms. On that note, I’ve also recently accepted that gender isn’t a factor for me when it comes to relationships and sexual attraction. However, sometimes I’m not even attracted to anyone at all and although you may associate me with a specific label (trust me I’ve tried on many) I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m free-sexual and so are you. Furthermore, in any relationship albeit personal, professional or intimate, I only hold onto people who have crystal clear integrity, so you can imagine how long it took for me to build a positive relationship with myself. I don’t believe in God, well not in the traditional manner anyway. I do believe in rebirth and I reckon evolution is a profound indication of it. I no longer fear people who judge, because I know those who do judge ultimately fear being judged themselves. I know I’m really good at what I do because I’ve accepted that there is always so much more to learn. Lastly, I believe that every single one of us on this planet is destined for greatness, but only those who live truthfully will achieve it.

Living with integrity will help you uncover your purpose and give you the courage to pursue it, because you’ll no longer feel bound to the same life design everyone else is following. Your relationships will improve because you’ll only support ones that are mutually supportive and as a bonus, your tolerance for ignorance will increase too. Finally, when you do step out from underneath your guise, you’ll finally give people the opportunity to understand you fully. Although it can seem incredibly terrifying at first and there may be some 'consequences' to face, in time you will realize that you'll have nothing left to fear and that freedom will get you to wherever it is you need to be.

I’m going to march on forward with my own life now and continue to live each day trying to fulfill my purpose, because when the time comes to guide the next generation, I’ll do so with pride, honor and without regret.

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5 Ways to Harness the Power of Negative Emotion

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Negative emotions tend to make us feel powerless, but the powerful effect of negativity can be quite useful. Negative emotions cloud our identities and restrict us from building fulfilling lives. The longer we allow negative emotions to linger, our thoughts turn destructive and we begin losing hope of ever feeling truly happy/happy again.

Negative emotions are always a burden and coping with them is certainly exhausting; maintaining a positive presence is difficult to upkeep, especially when we feel like we’re crippling inside. However, with a little guidance and support, we can channel that negative energy into something useful.

I’ve found that negative energy can be an opportunity to increase self-awareness. Think of how we feel when we’re physically hurt, the pain makes us aware of the wound so that we can heal it. Is it so naive to think that our negative emotions work in a similar way?

  1. An Indication to Evaluate and Reflect Behavior.

We can get so wrapped up in negative thought that it’s easy to overlook this key indication: to wear our objective lenses and pay attention to the way we’re living out our lives. We must acknowledge our feelings first, assess negative behaviors and then investigate how we arrived at such a burden, to understand the triggers and piques.

We should become aware of indulging activities that leave us feeling regretful and shameful, such as: overeating or loss of appetite, short tempers or feelings of emptiness, frivolous sexual pursuits or lack of sexual desire and self-loathing and obsessively comparing ourselves to others’. These are just a handful of examples that feed negative emotions, but we must become aware of behaviors that are deceitfully healing, because they actually deepen the wound.

  1. Realize That Life Is Directed by A Series of Choices.

I believe that every single one of us has an opportunity to achieve great things. What's standing between us and a great destiny, is a series of choices. Wherever or whenever we feel like we don't have a choice, know that it’s down to a negative perception of reality; fear and a lack of understanding is all that keeps us from making the choices we really want to make.

We can choose to go to the same boring job everyday, or we can choose to invest any free moment looking for new opportunities. We can choose to indulge negative behaviors, or realize that we can employ positive ones. We can also choose to be happy, if we choose to deal with negativity head on.

  1. Embrace The Opportunity for Change.

Prolonged negativity should act as a catalyst for change. When we’re feeling like we’re ‘stuck-in-a-rut’, disconnected from life and/or living complacently, it’s time for change. What’s the point in perpetuating a life that’s negative, when we have the power to change it?  We just need to remember that change is a process. Often what deters us is the uncertainty, but when we break down change into manageable steps, anything becomes completely doable.

When we’re feeling negative we get frustrated and when we feel frustrated, we become disheartened and impatient. It’s probably why many of us seek out ‘quick-fixes’ to cope with negative emotion. If we become more aware of the changes we need to make and take the first step towards directing change, even if it’s just research to begin with, we counteract and overcome negative emotion with positive behavior.

  1. Identify and Let Go of Any Enablers.

When a person is given a chance to be honest, their identity shines through. When we begin to understand one another, we notice how special and unique each of us truly are and we can help each other overcome our obstacles. How many people in our lives allow us to shine? How many of them can we be truly honest and vulnerable with, without fear nor judgement? I evaluate the people around me by this philosophy. We shouldn't need to be anyone else other than who we are and if there are people around us that restrict this birthright, then we must rethink some of these relationships.

Furthermore, our identities need to shine in order to learn and grow. If we have people around us that restrict our identities, then it only reinforces the message that we’re not good enough, not worthy enough or perhaps that there is something wrong with us. Honest relationships are crucial to personal development. I’ve personally found by being honest myself, I’m also creating an opportunity for others to open up and be honest themselves too. Slowly but surely if we all adopt this same philosophy, we can help each other get through life. We can nurture an environment that’s safe enough to be vulnerable in and together, we can grow and prosper. We must learn to let go of dishonest relationships and embrace those who are accepting of others.

  1. When All Else Fails, Take Some Time Away and Go Alone.

Nothing works better than entering a new and unfamiliar environment alone and realize how many challenges we can face and overcome. I believe it’s why many of us find travel so liberating and probably why many people find India in particular, so life changing. If our physical senses are overrun by overwhelmingly new sensations, what energy do we have left to upkeep a negative attitude? At some point that survival instinct kicks in as we’re forced to overcome one hurdle after another and we have no other choice but to trust ourselves. A change of scene almost forces us to look objectively into our lives and highlight the negative aspects of them.

Having some alone time allows us to honestly connect with the way we truly feel, as opposed to rationalizing our negative emotions to coexist with current ideologies we feel entangled in. Going away to a foreign place alone, is like embarking on a pilgrimage to self-realization; to realize that we all have purpose and that we’re capable of overcoming anything.

How to Cope With Isolation

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You may notice that I tend to disappear for a while and I hope that the message in this post will help you understand why.

I grew up feeling segregated because I didn’t feel connected to the world the same way my peers did. I remember my insecurities developing because of an eagerness to fit in and become like everyone else. I would find myself trying to adopt trends I didn’t agree with and personas I didn’t I identify with, just to associate myself with what felt like a herd heading towards their own slaughter. Each day I denied myself the opportunity to be me and do the things I wanted to do, I restricted my potential and kept my aspirations at bay.

Although I found success through traditional pursuits, the success never felt genuine. It felt more manufactured and less actualized because it lacked authenticity; it lacked me and my presence. As I followed the rules and marched on like a good corporate soldier, I could feel my identity slipping away.

Living a life I was unhappy with, I began feeling the negative burden of isolation quite quickly. Mentally, my thoughts would always wander into a depressive abyss. Always reasoning with negative thought, I would convince myself that I was alone in feeling this way and that I should feel more grateful and fortunate for my situation, even though I felt like crap.

Physically, I’d become incredibly aware of my isolation. When we’re physically alone it’s hard not to face the emotions we shy away from, so naturally I filled my time with as many distractions as possible: going out and connecting with the wrong type of people, binging on alcohol, fueling my body on the worst kinds of food and indulging on unimaginative TV and media. These were the vices I funneled my misery into.

Needless to say I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the way I was living my life and decided to neglect many aspects of it. From my health through to my relationships, I felt like there wasn’t a reason to take care of any of it. When we face struggles like this in life, awareness and acceptance of the truth is what we must face.

I remember being offered a promotion, or at least the option was on the table and I thought to myself “This is it. This is what my life is going to represent.” There was no excitement, just expectation. There was no passion, just resistance and I’d never felt more disconnected from the aspirations I once held for myself. I’ve always wanted my life to mean something, I believe we all do, and I just felt like I couldn't dishonor my own existence anymore.

What turned my life around and helped me nurture the confidence to make the bold decisions that drastically altered my destiny, was my relationship with isolation. I figured, if the world I’m living in doesn’t understand the way I’m feeling, and I’m feeling like I don’t fit in, then my isolation will be the safe haven to exercise my identity.

Rather than reason with my negative thoughts I embraced them, I lifted up the rug and faced the emotions I had swept under it. At first, trying to cope with them internally felt crippling so I started to externalize my thoughts by writing them down. I would end up writing thousands of words about how I felt and without really noticing, I was developing and facing an awareness I had long spent avoiding. Upon reflection it was like writing a tragic novel and it was about my life! Seeing my misery displayed back to me was incredibly awakening, and I could foresee where my life would end up if I continued to perpetuate a life I was unhappy with. Whenever I would return to my life and exit moments of, what I started to call 'therapeutic isolation', I’d feel uplifted.

Slowly I started feeling like myself again and although I wasn't ready, rather unsure about the next step I should take, I knew I wanted to continue down this path I had embarked on. I started to make use of my isolation to research and construct my next move and change the course of my story. The first step was quite simple and it was to stop fueling my own misery, first thing to really change were the people I surrounded myself with.

In my isolation I felt empowered and excited. I was always exercising my own identity and connecting with stimulus that encouraged me to think freely and openly. I felt my isolation also acted as a form of measurement, of who I am against the reality of who I was becoming. Eventually I began falling in love with the freedom I felt when alone, so I began gravitating towards a life that felt the same way.

I felt encouraged to connect with people who allowed me to think and live as freely as I could on my own. Anything less than acceptance and understanding wasn’t enough for me. I eventually started to move into places I connected with and in these places I seized opportunities that truly spoke to me. Through honest challenges, I eventually found success that did feel genuine.

Today my isolation is my sanctuary: a mental and physical space to explore the depths of my identity and engage a state of flow. Moments to set myself free and exercise my own potential. A time and space to explore and develop my ideas so that I fully understand them first, then prepare myself to confidently present them to the world.

You don't need to feel trapped when you feel isolated, nor do you have to view isolation as a negative aspect of your life. Use moments of isolation to refuel your identity and realize that you can develop a life worth living.

Post by Vancouver Life Coach:

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