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How to be present when others are losing it

Do you struggle to know how to be present with someone when they are upset or angry, or when you are tired or going through it yourself? I’m very often struck by how people can lack the ability to “be with” people emotionally, especially those who work professionally with people in challenging situations. It’s like our buttons get pushed or we feel inadequate or lack the resources we need. Somehow, people say, they “aren’t qualified” to handle it.

It will be all right
It will be all right

When people kick off

I remember once on a Gestalt training course unpacking a whole load of grief around the impact of divorce on my contact with my younger son, and how I verbalised it to the group in a way that the facilitator later said she was “out of it” for the duration of my work. I recall she was a parent herself. So this can challenge even seasoned professionals. Luckily I had another who  worked with me.

Yet this doesn’t just apply to professionals. Anybody can face this at times. What about when your partner kicks off about some hurt or pain and it’s you that happens to be there – and they need you to be there? What do you do? Do you do what so many do, and shift about uncomfortably, tell people “not to mind” and “it will be OK”, and not get upset, etc? Who are you really helping here, the person kicking off, or actually you yourself? Are you really telling them to stop?

What we don’t like is being faced with powerful emotions that tap into our own stuff, especially if it touches our own doubts and inadequacies. Yet, there are resources available, if you choose to access them.

Being resourceful: self awareness and self management

One is self awareness and self management, in this case the ability to be aware of your own process and how your buttons can get triggered by other people’s stuff. It helps to know yourself enough to know what is your stuff in this situation, of course! This is often all about personal development – that doing your own journey bit, dare I say, that many of us are today afraid to do. It is also about how you self manage, in this case choose not to get caught up in your own stuff but put it on one side, the rule of epoché in Gestalt terms.


Another is the ability to be present, to be right there in the moment, thoughts and feelings on pause (I’ll say more about that in a moment), in the “here and now”, still in yourself, centred, at One as I keep writing on this blog, connected with some energy  centre or chakra within like your heart centre region or, in the case of powerful emotion, perhaps your power centre in the  solar plexus region. So that you are aligned with  Source as you are “with” another. “Being with” is all about being present with them. So you are truly “with” them, in support, with mind, body and soul, right there in the moment.

Empathy and respect

Your stance matters hugely too. So think about  it. Here is needed Carl Rogers’ empathy and unconditional positive regard. So you respect utterly the  other person right there where they are and what is going on for them. No judgement (this can be tough, but it really matters). No conditions attached. In fact  you  are unattached to everything, including how you feel. You have to let go of all that. And you empathise with them, which is to seek as far as humanly possible to see things from their perspective, although  you cannot “know how they feel”. Thus you can hear their story. And you hear it like you get it. So that they feel heard, which is what so many people need. They may not need to be fixed (which is what so many men try to do  with  women, by the way!). Here’s where you truly stop and be with them in their pain.

Then they will feel supported. You don’t have to take their side, or agree with them, or blame them. Just be there. In peace, bringing peace. Om shanti.

I coach people and give training in these core skills. To contact  me, click here

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Is the love-hate relationship between peoples out of control today?

Am I imagining it or is the love-hate balance tipping too far towards hate? Are you feeling uncomfortable about the seeming rise in antagonism towards minorities? Where’s the love and peace? We seem to be in the middle of one of those phases in public life where there’s a desire to blame the ills of life on scapegoats, be they Muslims, benefit claimants, Roma gypsies, immigrants, another religion, another nationality or whoever. Equally we have extremists who have fundamentalist outlooks and see themselves engaged in some climatic struggle against the forces of evil. So, how do we respond from a mindful perspective?

Just recently Muslim fundamentalists in Paris killed a number of journalists for publishing cartoons of the Prophet and attacked a Kosher supermarket. Around the world there’s been protests: “Je suis Charlie”, banners proclaimed, as many asserted the right to free speech. Others insisted on the right to offend, while many Muslims protested against the insults to their religion. All this of course is great recruiting material for extremism, Muslim, Neo-fascist or whatever. You might get the passions aroused, the mutual indignation, and sense of righteousness.

So what might God think of this? Righteous too on one side or the other, or bemused? I remember some words of a teacher of mine, “the benign indifference of the universe”. Taking “sides” doesn’t really fit from this perspective. S/he might simply be reflecting on how humans experience themselves and s/he too through them.

It’s not so easy to see our own shadow at work, that we too can be like this at times. How often have you flipped from respect to antagonism towards another? It’s hard to acknowledge that we humans have this inside us, that we have both the polarities of love and hate at the ego level. Yet this kind of awareness and humility can be helpful, since change starts with ourselves and releasing hate within us. Then we can more truthfully love. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”, and he campaigned through non-violence.

There’s also a clue here, about our state of being. If you breathe, step back and witness all this, what are you aware of? I don’t know, but there might be you being aware of having just taken a breath and paused, and then a remembrance of all those thoughts about humans in the world of duality, of being polarised, and love and hate, and all that stuff. And here’s you, being more present and aware.

So, that stuff is not all of you. There’s also you, being present. So you can change your state of being, just like that.

So, there’s all that love-hate stuff “out there”, and “in here”, now here, not nowhere, there’s another sense of who you are.

You could explore “now here”, mindfully, and not be caught up in “out there”. The world of duality, the world of illusion, is how we experience life at the level of ego. But it doesn’t have to be like that. The more we live “now here” the more connected to love we are likely to feel. Then we can manifest “as That” when we make contact with those “out there” who might still be caught up in ego. We can feel God within, whatever our belief system and however we understand it, and we can also see God in each other too.

Then we can be at peace, which by the way is one meaning of the word “Islam”.

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Do you feel dumped upon emotionally by other people?

Do you often find that you’re dumped upon by someone? Like it’s their stuff but somehow you’ve got the problem, particularly if they have the knack of making it look like it’s your problem, or you have a way of taking it on board and thinking it is your problem. It’s easy to feel the victim in such circumstances but not so easy to hand the problem back to the other person, especially if you are not so assertive. Then if we try to hand it back, it comes back at us big time!

It helps if we can pause and see what’s really happening.

Feeling at fault

You might for example be one who easily feels “at fault” in situations and blames yourself. You might too readily take the blame. You might not feel so good in yourself and so when another directs anger or upset at you and implies that you are the “cause”, you might quickly act as if it is really you and your problem that has made this happen. You might too readily say “sorry” and apologise, to reinforce the other person’s sense of righteousness. They may act as the innocent party.

You might want to please the other person so as to preserve a good atmosphere and avoid conflict and angry exchanges. You might be afraid of their anger and thus give way too easily or endure their anger and moods to get a quiet life.

It’s not so easy in all this to take a step back and see what’s really going on. Yet this is what we need to do, be the witness.

So, let’s pause.

Pause…breathe in deep…breathe out long…and do that again…and let go…and allow the truth to be present.


Problems in relationship, whether at work or at home, are co-created. We together make it happen, although it feels like it is the other person or us ourselves. Angry, aggressive, critical, irritable people tend to get together with people in the opposite polarity, more non-assertive, more passive, quieter, more peaceable-seeming. Some grab the power, others give it away, and one gets together with the other. Yet, we’re both doing it.

To break the cycle, one of us needs to step outside of the racket, see it, stop it, and let go of it.


We also need to see that each is a projection of the other, our shadow. Yes, we may take on board others’ stuff too easily, but we don’t find it so easy to see that we can be like that too, but tend to disown it and project it on to others. The key is to take back our power, be more assertive, but also acknowledge that the stuff we experience from others is also our own. “There I go too”.

This point may seem abstruse to the point of obscurity, but is very often the case. What we experience in others belongs to us too. There is usually a grain of truth. It can take a lot to see it, and it may not be the same as what we find in others but it can contain an element that is important to us. When we find it and express it more authentically it can be a great breakthrough, a blessing even. It may not be nasty and it can be simply be a power that others appreciate and find good.

We also need to recognise that we are taking on board other people’s stuff too, and of course hand it back. The art is to get off the “blame game” racket.

When we find truth in a situation, there is calm and peace. All is OK, because we feel OK. We have re-claimed ourselves, and know who we are. Then we can more easily love one another.

I give coaching in handling relationships, both at work and personally. To contact me, click here.

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Are we losing our ability to have empathy and to connect?

We must have all done it, a family gathering at Christmas and at a quiet moment you come into the room and everybody is on their phones or tablets, with snippets of conversation in between. Perfectly normal, you might think: everybody is wishing friends a Happy Christmas. Except that that is what occurs a lot right through the year where people are together or alone. This world is now getting brilliantly connected. Yet do we notice any disconnect with others we’re with?

Being a big user myself but also a coach of relationship and interpersonal dynamics, I’m frequently observing what occurs in the use of the gadget in one’s hand. As the law now recognises, people can’t effectively concentrate on driving and use a mobile phone. The focus gets drawn into the latter and people miss crucial and sudden events on the road, with sometimes fatal results. When we focus on our gadget, our attention is drawn away from what is occurring around us.Thus we are at best only partially present to those around us. To another, it can feel, if they are so bothered, that “the lights are on but nobody is at home”.

The “inner world” of the phone or tablet is very absorbing. It is also very addictive. It’s now reckoned that people up to the age of 18 now spend over 7 hours a day so connected. However, more concerning is the potential cost to interpersonal relationships. It has been found from social-scientific studies by Sarah Konrath that there are now 40% lower levels of empathy for the age group under 30, that is roughly the so-called Generation Y, than earlier age groups had. It is also being suggested that people are losing the ability to cope with “doing nothing” and where we don’t have a distraction.

Empathy is arguably the crucial area of development for people interpersonally, and a fundamental aspect of emotional intelligence. As we grow and mature, we realise more and more the need to understand and relate to others and take their needs into account. Empathy is the ability to tune into another and get a sense of where they are coming from, to gain some awareness of their perspective. Without “social awareness”, people can struggle to connect at a meaningful level and others may sense they do not really have a relationship with them in a way that fulfills.

Being connected with others is not a digital occurrence although that is one way we can communicate. What is crucial is the ability to be present and aware of another, right now, in the moment, person to person, in the room, with all our senses engaged, and with our thinking, feeling and behaviour. We hear, see, feel, smell and taste another. Psychologically we are “there” for another, available, conscious, valuing, caring. We notice what happens for another. We respond appropriately. We become attuned and resonate, and become as one.

You don’t get all that from a screen.

The challenge is that there are many who don’t have good levels of empathy. It’s a major weakness for those in business, for example. Leaders who lack empathy are poor leaders at the people level. If you are in a job where people skills matter, it can be costly. In personal relationships it is what makes for a good relationship: how often do you hear people complain that their partners are not “there” for them when they need them?

The danger is that people don’t know what they are not aware of. Thus building self awareness is an important starting point, and getting feedback from others.

I give coaching to help people develop their emotional intelligence and their relationships with others, personally and in work. To contact me, click here.

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Do you let loneliness get to you or choose to change?

After all the activity of Christmas comes the loneliness of January, in the depths of winter, with cold, grey, sunless days and long nights. What was all that festivity about if life is really like this? There are those who feel lonely in relationship and want a change, but there are very many today who aren’t in one and feel the lack of company very much at this time of year.

Statistics abound about the rise in the number of people in the UK living alone, around 16% in recent surveys, and in the US it is over 50%. Of course it will depend on what kind of singledom we are talking about, single parents, elderly retirees, professionals being consciously single, unmarried couples, young people, divorcees, etc. Yet, with this rise also comes increasing evidence of how loneliness is impacting people’s health and wellbeing. Such people are more likely to suffer from depression and other “mental health” problems, as well as poorer physical health and lower life expectation. As one writer states, it is the new, silent killer.

Curiously, we are social beings, having evolved over millenia in groups, the family, tribes, villages, friendships, etc. You can see how it works by observing human behaviour. When one person laughs in the room, others automatically smile. Equally one person’s upset triggers responses in others around them. We feel for others. People seek out partners in order to build the nest and have children. It is a biological driver. It is described by psychologists as a human need, to bond, connect and love. Much of a human’s difficulties in life can be put down to disconnects and breakdowns in those primal relationships early in life.

No wonder therefore that we feel the absence of such connection. We can avert our attention through distractions that abound in our current materialistically-driven society and yet it creeps up on us at some point, such as after Christmas. Some live with it, some make a virtue of it, some have given in to the reality of it reluctantly, and for some it is an ongoing pain.

Yet we can turn pain into a driver to action. This is why we have emotions after all, to draw our attention to what is perhaps out of balance. We don’t have to remain in resigned helplessness in relationship to how things seem. We can feel like we’re the only one having this experience, when in fact there’s countless numbers in the same situation. We have to find a way through what can seem like an impasse and shift our state and our attitude to one where we are motivating ourselves to reach out and make connections with others in some way. It is our own impulse to change that is the key driver for things to happen, rather than allowing ourselves to be the victim in relation to life.

It can be very hard when lonely to see where we are at. The great advantage of mindfulness is the ability to take a metacognitive approach, like the helicopter view, and observe what is happening to us and how we are thinking. We don’t always see how we are boxing ourselves in and not seeing where we have options and choices. Like the choice to connect. It is us who have to reach out, or to allow others in. It is us ourselves who change, in our minds. We can live in isolation, at the lonely end of the polarity, and then we can also live in connectedness, as One. It’s our choice.

I give life coaching to help people develop or change their relationships in some way, and create new direction. To read more, click here, and to contact me, click here.

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Are you living your life in a way that really serves you?

In these holiday months it might be customary for some of us lounging by the pool in some sun-drenched beautiful location to reflect on the pace of life, and ask why do we put up with it and why can’t we do things differently. The lazy discussion on living your life as you really want, after say some complaints about the sharing of tasks, might result in some intentions to make changes. Yet like lambs to the slaughter we go back to our driven, city-centred life-styles and very quickly all the relaxation and sense of wellbeing has vanished and we’re back on the treadmill. As is also probably customary at these times people like the BBC put out articles on this subject, as with this comparison of the UK with Denmark, and we indulge in ritual self-mortification about how we’ve got it all wrong.

Contrary to widely held belief, we’re not the most driven country. The other day I was reminded about how in the US people work longer hours and have just two weeks’ holiday, and don’t seem to think a lot about it. Yet, as the above-mentioned article makes clear, Denmark is according to a UN survey the world’s happiest country. What is striking to read is the difference in values that is evident, with a lower priority given to achievement and “keeping up the with the Jones”.

Yet, humour apart, this time out to think about your work-life balance and your values is a very useful activity, and I’ve personally met as well as read about people who have actually followed up by making significant changes in their lives as a result. There’s one thing to have the debate, and it’s another to take action and have the courage to change.

It is worth asking yourself a few honest questions about the price you are paying for what you are getting. What are the current implications of the current choices being made? What is the impact on you, your health and wellbeing, and on your relationship if you are in one, and on your family and your friendships. In fact is the last-mentioned losing out. I often work with people who have all but dropped their friendships, giving lack of time and distance as the reasons. All the evidence about what fosters wellbeing points towards the importance of relationship in all its forms as a major contributor. Yet I find people who don’t really get time to spend quality time with their partner and/or children. I meet people nearing retirement who have no friends and are not in a relationship. Such people on average live less long and have more health problems.

A useful exercise to do is to imagine yourself at 85, let’s say no longer able to do very much or get about so easily and sitting in your proverbial rocking chair, and now think about what you have in your life now and have had in the last two or three decades, as notional figures. What comes to mind? What do you most value and cherish. Do you come up with a list of material things (because when you’re dead you can’t take them with you – well unless you’re a Pharaoh)? Or do you think of more qualitative things, things that touch you more deeply, that have an emotional resonance? Might there be something there about relationship (in whatever form) or spirituality? What really matters to you when all the trappings of modernity are stripped away. Do you want to go to the pearly gates and say, “Hey, God, I’m really proud of that Mercedes”? Or might you say that you’ve been blessed to find and enjoy enduring love, bliss and contentment. Or that you finally fixed that tendency to blame others and take it out on them when things didn’t work out as you wanted, or that pattern of resentment towards your family, or that deep-seated anxiety that plagued your life, or some other way in which you lived your life that didn’t serve you. Or that you finally gave up on your angst for not “having enough” of whatever it is, and finally learned to accept and feel grateful for what there is in your life. Or any one of those things that we allow to stop ourselves being happy, contented people.

It can come down to thinking about your values, and what is really important to you, and then going about making it happen. Which brings up that other matter, the courage to change. For this, see the next post!

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Time to have those change conversations

It’s holiday season and many of us are now headed to nice places on long-anticipated breaks. Despite the desire to de-stress and get some leisure and family time it can often also be time to think and reflect on where you’re going in life too. We might seemingly need to leave work well behind us, and yet for those for whom work hasn’t been so good recently, or that simply the change signals are cropping up, we might have some questions to ponder on. That long-needed break can be when we can just allow our minds to wonder more creatively over what might be possible. This can also apply in other areas of our life too, where we might need to have those long-postponed change conversations with our partner, or think about making some change in our personal life in general and have our own change conversations with ourselves too!

In my line of work I often get to hear about how people are mulling over making changes in their lives. This process comes around every few years, as we grow older, as life changes come along, as people have children (or decide they want them), or as children leave, as we form new relationships, or split up, or as we decide we want to live somewhere else, or a move is long overdue, or as change occurs in work forcing us to re-evaluate where we’re going and what we want. These and other change points are part of the process of life, and sometimes we welcome them and sometimes we don’t. Yet we do need to face and deal with them, before life has a way of thrusting them into our face and saying, “Now deal with that one”.

I was hearing recently how one couple were planning both to get married and to make a move, in one person’s case back to where she was born and grew up, where her friends were, and where she would now like to have children. Her partner was coming out of a major career and was thinking of taking a uni degree course. Both would be leaving jobs that they had been in a while. It was a lot of change, and it looked like it could be both exciting for them but also challenging for them both too. Would they both get what they really wanted and how would their relationship stand up to the test?

So it’s when we get breaks from the usual routine that we might find ourselves thinking about and discussing our needs and our aspirations and how this fits with other people and commitments. I think that with the recession many people are finding this process is long overdue, as people have in many cases had to put plans on hold. Thus the frustrations can build up. Sometimes too people don’t like to talk about change and can avoid it for the difficult emotions it can bring up. Yet, as I said, if we aren’t open and address these issues, they can come back to bite us. So despite all that stuff about getting away from it all, having a good review while on holiday can be very healthy. Change needs to be faced head on. Put yourself at the head of change and it follows and supports you.

I help people work through change issues that are coming up in their lives. Click here.

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People need to feel more connected to you

Do you find yourself talking about a matter perhaps quite close to you and somehow people don’t seem to quite understand? You might for example be talking and there’s a non-reaction in your audience, like there’s no energy in the room, and people looked switched off, and perhaps bored and distracted. It’s likely that they’re disengaged. So how do you get them so they’re more connected to you and what you’re saying?

Today people need to get from you how it really is. Which sounds good, except that often you don’t know how to convey it, at least not in a way that people really get it. This can be about moving from your facade to how it really feels.

Talking from your facade can be quite easy. It might be habitual. Your facade might be what you present to the world, what you think works with others, behind which you can operate quite safely. Jung called it the “persona”. That way you can keep people from getting uncomfortably close, especially those that haven’t passed the entry test yet.

A clue can be in that you talk “about” something. You might use words like “it is” rather than “I think” or “I feel”. “It” is further away, at the level of the facade. It’s not that you’re being false necessarily, and then you might be, but just that you’re keeping it “out there”, not close in “here”. “Aboutism” is how we talk about what’s going on in a detached, not so emotional way, as if we’re describing something that tells the listener “about” the matter, without bringing them in close to how you really feel about it, what it does for you, and how really plugs into your emotions.

To move to how it really feels is to make it more personal, like what lights you up about it, what it has to do with your life and with your passions, and how it really matters to you in some way. People then feel they can connect with you, resonate with you, feel like they are more at one with you, like it could be their journey too but it’s your’s that you are talking about.

Some people I think seemingly do this a lot, although even this apparent self-disclosure, tears, warts and all cannot necessarily take you close to them. It’s about how you authentically feel. People can put on a good emotional act. One test is how you feel around them.

Thus, to be able to let people in so that they get you authentically, you may well need to do your own journey to get what your authentic self really is. People often don’t know that and you may not know that either! Also you may need to cross the self confidence and self belief threshold about speaking about yourself in front of others. That can involve letting go of the fear and feeling good about you around others. The two can often go together. Then when you’re clear about that, you can trust to let go and be yourself with others, and truly bring people into your world and know that space truly for maybe the first time.

Knowing who you really are, and being yourself, also involves letting others in. Then it comes full circle and we then really know ourselves completely. For it is also through others that we can come to know ourselves. It’s a paradox.

This is why the journey to being authentic is not just about helping others to really get you, but also to finally help you to fully get you.

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When you are caught up in anger remember that there is a field

Are we being “paranoid” and over-suspicious of state surveillance and control allegedly conducted in our interests or do we simply accept what we can’t influence? Is state (and organisational) surveillance by democratically elected bodies something that we have nothing to be fearful of so long as we act in integrity and are law-abiding? How far is surveillance and individual autonomy a hazy boundary and to some extent something we also create through our own insecurities. Is this sort of issue also an aspect of a human tendency to be fear-based at the ego level?

In a week in which we have contrasting manifestations of the oft-times precarious relationship between state power and personal rights, there has been a massive protest movement in Turkey and revelations of state snooping on digital data in the US. Both confront us perhaps with matters of consideration that are relevant not just in politics but in our personal lives too and how we function at the civic level and in relationship with others.

In personal development terms it can be worth reflecting on the extent to which you (or I) get “caught up” in concerns about authority, control, independence, individuality, and autonomy. One way this can manifest is, as Transactional Analysis would have it, in the ego style of the rebel when in “child” mode as opposed to adult mode. It’s worth being aware of when we can get into “rebel” mode in relation to people or bodies who have an authority role. The paranoid style might be present when we get overly suspicious of others and their motives and not trust others as we might. Also the preoccupation with secrecy and control “out there” might also be part of our shadow, where we don’t acknowledge our own fear of others and our own tendency to want to be secret and controlling. When the rebel gets overly invested in reacting to authority they might be also projecting their own characteristics on to others. And in writing like this about these human psychological characteristics, I might be being paranoid too!

When stuff is going on at the macro level we might have our views about that, and express those views. But it is also worth having humility and looking within and asking, “Is this also a part of me?” This is often a useful self enquiry, since it helps us get things into balance, not get too wrapped up in things like a sense of injustice and anger, and become more balanced. Also, when we let go and centre ourselves, we let go of attachment to  “issues” and “right and wrong”. As Rumi wrote,

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there” (Rumi)

Whenever the ego gets invested in anger and injustice, there’s a time too to let it go and have peace. While invested in anger, we also have polarity and difference, and we become unable to reach each other and find our common connection. This anger begets more anger and we remain stuck in the polarity and are unable to find common ground and connect. So when we observe humans beating hell out of each other, it is worth remembering the field. I’ll meet you there.

[youtuber youtube=’’]

(Youtube video by enea)

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To define who you are by your work or relationship has its dangers

To define who you are by work or relationship risks a loss of a sense of self

We’re reaching that time of year when the winter is almost but not quite over, we’re feeling bedraggled and we need a holiday.  Easter time is nigh! Thus lots of us are now heading off to various climes with a good book or a well-stocked Kindle, miscellaneous bits of kit for activity long missed, plans for conquering distant hills and vistas, and with maps, guides and packets of tea. The sense of adventure and new horizons stimulates a tired brain and brings new life.

Whatever it might be, spare a thought for those who are less able to take a break, are short of cash, have used up their leave in visits to the doctor (it does happen), or who just don’t take holidays. Yes, some people don’t use their annual leave, or not much or it, and prefer to work. Rather than leaping to thoughts like “How sad”, it might be worth pondering on how attached we get to our work. In fact not a few think you have to drag yourselves away from your work to have a much-needed break. There are those who define who you are by your work, where it gives you a sense of who you are, an identity. You can notice it when away, where there’s for example a sudden sense of anonymity. After all when you are introduced to a stranger, an immediate question often is, “What do you do?” Imagine therefore the problem some have when they get to retirement and feel bereft.

It’s important to get what you’re attached to, that you hold on to and which gives you meaning but which might not serve you. Your job can be all-consuming, is undertaken perhaps during anti-social hours, keeps you up late, makes you constantly busy and can even feel like it fills your world. Similarly a relationship can do the same thing. You might believe that your partner is your world and your life. Your connection makes you feel, lets say, secure and comfortable and you feel cared for. In fact, you no longer talk about your partner and you, you speak only of “us” and “we”.

Thus we can get very confluent in such a situation, where there’s no clear boundary between our own sense of self and that which we are caught up with. The sense of self is in a way merged with that “other” and the latter comes to define us.

Therefore, when for some reason it comes to an end, we’re confronted sometimes with a terrible sense of loss. This happens for people who lose jobs and/or partners where they’ve had the kind of relationship just described. The journey then becomes one of re-discovering an authentic sense of self, who you really are, as opposed to a confluent identity.

So, as you go off on holiday, you might not be quite in relationship with your job as I have described, you might still perhaps reflect on how attached you get to it and how much you might need to create and sustain something that isn’t just “work”, as in our example.