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Jenni Trent Hughes is a life strategist, social commentator and motivational speaker, who specialises in relationships and family issues. She is also a successful TV and radio broadcaster, author and magazine columnist. Originally from Jamaica and lived for several years in the US, Hughes now lives and works mainly in the United Kingdom. We have partnered with Jenni who challenges us to take a long hard look at ourselves – ‘Get Present to your Presence’ is her motto and she truly knows the meaning of letting go.
From the beginning of time women have been multi-tasking. We built the houses, tended the livestock, cooked the meals, gave birth and raised the children, kept the fire burning, made the clothes, repaired the hut - never mind washing the clothes by hand down at the riverbank. If we were to go back in time and ask Ms. Cavewoman was she 'stressed or busy' she would probably grunt and walk away.
In the 21st Century we have become overly attached to our busyness. If you're not busy or stressed then you must not be doing enough. Your job must not be that important, you are probably not taking care of your family properly, your health must be suffering and we won't even discuss the state of your relationship. Busy and Stressed have somehow become inextricably linked with Success.
In order to be really successful in 21st Century terms we need to let go of these antiquated attitudes. Think of it as carrying a wagon behind you, the more that is in the wagon is the harder it is to pull. The harder it is to pull is the more tired you will be and the less distance you will cover.
We are luckier than women at any other time before us. Yes we have a lot to do but we have more help, information and labor-saving devices than anyone could ever have imagined possible. We can do our grocery shopping from the comfort of our living room and have it delivered to our door. We can put food in a slowcooker before leaving for work and come home to the perfect meal. Many of us have partners who are willing to participate in the running of the house in a way that other generations didn't.
Yet so many of us refuse to Let Go. We want to be martyrs. We almost enjoy saying repeatedly to anyone who will listen 'I'm exhausted'. What is that all about? You owe it to yourself to be calm, strong, and efficient and the only way to do that is to take care of yourself.
If you have a piece of equipment that is very important to you chances are you take good care of it. You have it serviced, if it breaks down you get it repaired, you value you it and know that to get the best out of it you have to be kind to it. Why do we not apply that same logic to ourselves?
Take a look at your life. When was the last time you put a Do Not Disturb sign on the bathroom door and climbed into the bath for a long soak? When was the last time you sat on a park bench for even ten minutes and did absolutely nothing. No searching through your emails on the phone. No playing games. Nothing. Looked at the sky, or as the saying used to be 'stop and smell the roses'. You owe it to yourself and the ones you love.
People remember the moments that you create with them not the things that you give them.
'Get present to your presence'. Take a long hard look at yourself. Is there a sparkle in your eye? Is there still a slight skip in your step? How often do you find yourself laughing at absolutely nothing? If you met yourself at a party would you think 'Oh I'd like to be friends with her!' If you don't like the answers to those questions then maybe it's time for a rethink. Time to look and see what you can do, or stop doing that will take you back to being that person. It's in your hands. No one else can do it and funnily enough most of it isn't about things you need to do it is more about things you need to let go of thinking you need to do.
Turn off your phone and or tablet for 30 minutes per day. You can divide the time if you'd like but nothing smaller than ten minutes each time and it must be off. Not on silent. Perhaps choose this for your commute home, when you're preparing your evening meal or when you're soaking in the bath. But ALWAYS off.
Read a frivolous book, crochet a scarf. Look at holiday brochures. Meditate. Do NOT plan your next work day. Do NOT worry about the kids’ homework. Do NOT read celebrity gossip stories and worry why you’re not managing like Gwynnie.