Change your story, change your life…

You might have seen a video of this gifted LA subway singer that went viral. A truly beautiful lady with a tragic story. Given up for adoption at two, a gruelling Soviet childhood and a violent marriage…

Domestic violence often features in such tragic stories, often shapes such tragic lives… I had my personal experience with domestic violence. In my experience domestic violence is much more complex than historical example described by Dostoevsky more than a century ago. And not only ‘peasants’ are affected. My sister-in-law’s nose was broken once by her ex – he was a medical doctor by trade. ‘First do no harm’ says the Hippocratic Oath of ethics historically taken by physicians – yeah right…

Domestic violence knows neither geographic nor cultural borders.

Looking back I can see how my personal experience with domestic violence started shaping my life, shaping my story, leading to a bad end… Luckily I had a wonderful friend who made me stop, read and re-shape my story

Every day is an opportunity for you to change your life, to change your story. Change what you do not want in your life. Change what makes you unhappy. You have the power to change your thoughts and your thoughts have the power to change the story of your life….

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Credits: Image from Change your story, Change your life.

Are you being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved?

“We had 11 truly joyful years of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership that I could imagine … He gave me the experience of being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved – and I will carry that with me always. Most importantly, he gave me the two most amazing children in the world…

Dave was my rock. When I got upset, he stayed calm. When I was worried, he said it would be ok. When I wasn’t sure what to do, he figured it out…” wrote Sheryl Sandberg in a moving tribute to her husband.

 

How many women are lucky to have such amazing, empowering and supportive men in their lives? Men, who empower them to achieve their full potential in life and do share the load of less glamorous family chores to support them. Men, who hear women’s voice and treat women’s choices with respect. Men who recognise that “if we tapped the entire pool of human resources and talent, our collective performance would improve… the achievements will extend beyond those individuals to benefit us all”.

Respect, Give It To Get It

As Sheryl Sandberg points out in her book Lean In, “women still face real obstacles in the professional world, including blatant and subtle sexism… Too few workplaces offer the flexibility and access to child care and parental leave that are necessary for pursuing a career while raising children. Plus, women have to prove themselves to a far greater extent than men do… A 2011 McKinsey report noted that men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishments.”

discrimination against women in the workplace

Sheryl also notes that “in addition to the external barriers erected by society women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves. We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising out hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in. We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives… We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve.”

So true. I’ve observed that so often during my University years. While the majority of male students were charging in the exam rooms totally unprepared but still full of confidence, the best female students were spending days and nights preparing for exams, however were still trembling with fear of a failure.

After the exams male students often credited their success to their own innate qualities and skills, while female students often attributed success to good luck.  Interestingly enough, after a failed exam male students were often blaming bad luck, while female students were more likely to believe it was due to an inherent lack of ability.

While some women are happy to stay at home looking after their family and children, others might want to pursue career. In both cases they need to have a choice.

Unfortunately, as Sheryl Sandberg points out, while “professional ambition is expected of men” it is “optional – or worse, sometimes even negative – for women. “She is very ambitious” is not a compliment…

Men are continually applauded for being ambitious and powerful and successful, but women who display these same traits often pay a social penalty. Female accomplishments come at a cost….

The stereotype of a working woman is rarely attractive. Popular culture has long portrayed successful working women as so consumed by their careers that they have no personal life. If a female character divides her time between wok ad family, she is almost always harried and guilt ridden…”

While acknowledging biological and some psychological difference between men and women, it is important to recognise that, as Sheryl puts it, “in today’s world, where we no longer have to hunt in the wild for our food”, both men and women should be given a fair chance to make their own choices. ”

However “until women have supportive employers and colleagues as well as partners who share family responsibilities, they don’t have real choice. And until men are fully respected for contributing inside the home, they don’t have real choice either. Equal opportunity is not equal unless everyone receives the encouragement that makes seizing those opportunities possible. Only then can both men and women achieve their full potential. …

Men's New Role as Househusband Challenges Chinese Tradition

We all want the same thing: to feel comfortable with our choices and to feel validated by those around us. If more children see fathers at school pickups and mothers who are busy at jobs, both girls and boys will envision more options for themselves. Expectations will not be set by gender but by personal passion, talents, and interests…

My greatest hope is that my son and my daughter will be able to choose what to do with their lives without external or internal obstacles slowing them down or making them question their choices.”

Thanks Dave and Sheryl for giving us a real example of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership in which you both were supporting each other in making your choices in life and reaching your full potential.

A photo of Dave Goldberg, the Facebook executive, who died suddenly on May 2, 2015. He is pictured with his wife Sheryl Sandberg. Photo posted by Sheryl Sandberg on facebook.

Are you being deeply understood, truly supported and
completely and utterly loved?

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Image 1: from http://img-hd.com/dave-goldberg/
Image 2: from http://dailytechwhip.com
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mage 3: from http://unitedtruthseekers.com/
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mage 4: from Are You Discriminating Against Women Employees Without Even Knowing It?
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mage 5: from http://what3words.tumblr.com
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mage 6: from http://247moms.com
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mage 7: from http://www.womenofchina.cn
Image 8: from https://queerguesscode.files.wordpress.com
Image 9: from http://www.theguardian.com

Fathers in today’s modern families can be so many things…

“Fathers in today’s modern families can be so many things.”

Oliver Hudson

From http://www.wrightsmedia.com

“My friends Katie and Scott… are both Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who work full-time. About a year ago, Scott travelled to the East Coast for work. He was starting a late-morning meeting when his phone rang. His team only heard one side of the conversation.

“A sandwich, carrot sticks, a cut-up apple, pretzels, and a cookie,” Scott said. He hung up smiling and explained that his wife was asking what she should put in the kids’ lunch boxes. Everyone laughed. …

There’s an epilogue to their story. Scott went on a trip and discovered that Katie forgot to make the kids’ lunches altogether. She realized her slipup midmorning and solved the problem by having a pizza delivered to the school cafeteria. Their kids were thrilled, but Scott was not. Now when he travels, he packs lunches in advance and leaves notes with specific instructions for his wife…”

From ‘Lean in’ by Sheryl Sandberg

lunchbox-dad-1From Lunchbox dad

“The may be an evolutionary basis for one parent knowing better what to put in a child’s lunch. Women who breast-feed are arguable baby’s first lunch box. But even if mothers are more naturally inclined toward nurturing, fathers can match that skill with knowledge and effort…

We overcome biology with consciousness in other areas. For example, storing large amounts of fat was necessary to survive when food was scarce, so we evolved to crave it and consume it when it’s available. But in this era of plenty, we no longer need large amounts of fuel in reserve, so instead of simply giving in to this inclination, we exercise and limit caloric intake.

We use willpower to combat biology, or at least we try. So even if ‘mother knows best’ is rooted in biology, it need not be written in stone. A willing mother and a willing father are all it requires… As women must be more empowered at work, men must be more empowered at home.”

From ‘Lean in’ by Sheryl Sandberg

lunchbox-dad-4
From Lunchbox dad

Lunchbox Dad
From http://www.lunchboxdad.com/

Let’s appreciate such truly amazing dads!

🙂

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You DO matter and you DO make a difference

“When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other.”

Margaret Wheatley

From http://www.themastershift.com/

As human beings we are hard wired to seek connection with other human beings. Being connected is the only way we can really get to know ourselves.

We all need special people in our lives who see everything we are and won’t let us be anything less. They see our potential and through their eyes, we start seeing ourselves the same way, we start re-discovering ourselves, we start realising that we do matter and can make a difference in this world.

From http://belfastcreativecoalition.org/

You DO matter and you DO make a difference!

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Engaging reluctant ‘badgers’: what would you do?

BadgerReluctant badger from ‘He Got Caught’ cartoon

I always liked old Russian cartoons that I used to watch in my childhood. While they might look less colourful and dynamic than Disney’s animations, their characters are truly endearing. I still enjoy watching some of those cartoons and as an adult, I always discover something new in them, something I have not spotted when I was watching them as a child. Here is one of my favourite Soviet cartoons called “He got caught”. The little mouse in this cartoon is so much like me as a child. Although I was the youngest and the smallest in my family, my explosive temperament and stubbornness (oops, I mean persistence, determination and resilience 😉 ) were definitely making up for my inferior physical characteristics.

My children came across this cartoon the other day.

“Which character in this cartoon resembles me?”,  I asked, expecting them to point at the little mouse.

“Oh, you are so like this squirrel”, they giggled.

“The squirrel? Hm…”. Their answer puzzled me at first, but then I thought they might be right. I looks like I did change my ‘character’ over time. I’m not a little mouse any more, I’m more of a ‘squirrel’ now, just like the one in this cartoon.

“The little mouse is me,” added my youngest child with a big grin. So true. Other children laughed.

“And I’m the beaver”, chuckled my oldest child.

“And the badger”, they all burst into laughter; “We have the badger in the family too…”

“Oh yes, the badger,” I thought. We definitely have the badger too. I bet you have seen such badgers in your life. How would you get such reluctant badger to engage with family life and activities, to get out of his or her comfort zone, to develop new skills? What would you do?

HumanBadgerFrom The Medical Journal of Australia

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