Monday, 14 October 2013

Hi everyone,
Thank you for visiting my blog.

I'm currently working on a new blog, a blog dedicated to showing women how to have a happy marriage that lasts a lifetime.

Everyone deserves a loving and lasting relationship and I think it's sad that many marriages are disintegrating and causing immeasurable suffering to children and families.

It is for this reason that I'm dedicating myself to inspiring and empowering women to invest in themselves, in their relationships and families with the hope of making a difference in this world even in a very small way.

Thank you and please don't forget to visit my blog: and leave your email address so I can contact you when it finally launches.

Be well and happy.

With love,

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Amazing Sydney Street Arts

Welcome to my collection of Sydney Street Arts Photos I took around Newtown, Sydney. Enjoy!
By Nila Sweeney

Sydney's Street Arts

 Welcome to my collection of Sydney's Street Arts Photos I took around Newtown, Sydney. Enjoy!
By Nila Sweeney

Friday, 9 August 2013

How to subdue your fear

Your fear is like your shadow. It's scary because it looms over you. Yet it doesn't have power over you. 

By Nila Sweeney

Once upon a time, we were all fearless creatures who believe we can do anything we want. We were not afraid to do things, say things and push our limits. We were convinced we can do anything. And we did, most of the time.

And then one day, we did something and suffered some unpleasant consequences.

Maybe we got punished. Maybe we got told it’s too dangerous. Slowly, little by little, we lost this gift. We learned to be cautious. We no longer want to take risks.

We were afraid to try new things for fear that we would fail and make mistakes. We’re afraid to say what we think for fear that we would be judged harshly and won’t be accepted by others.

So we started to put up appearances, overcompensating for the things we’re really afraid of by doing the opposite in excess.

And so we go through our own lives taking the safe route and living an average life. We never dare to stand out for fear that we’ll be ridiculed. We try to hide behind a facade to cover up our fear of not measuring up, of making mistakes and looking stupid.

I’ve lived like this for the longest time in my life. I was always afraid of rocking the boat, so I would always agree to do things no matter how much I wanted to refuse.

I’d say the “right” things even if I don’t really mean them, just to be accepted. I didn’t take many risks such as investing because it’s too “dangerous”, I could lose my life’s savings. So, I’ve let many great opportunities passed me by.

Yet I know in my heart that the gutsy girl who used to ride motorcycles and do deep ocean dives is still in there somewhere. All I needed to do is to reconnect and awaken her from her long slumber.

After many attempts at confronting my irrational fear, I’ve finally made some progress. Have I eliminated them? Of course not. That wasn't my goal. My aim was to subdue my fears so they no longer control me.

I know now that my fear is like a shadow. It never leaves me. But like a shadow, it has no real force or power over me unless I let it run wild.

So how did I tame my fear? Here are a few techniques that helped me. It may help you too.

Know your enemy

You may have a clue in your head about what you’re really afraid of, but unless you write them down, they’re just nebulous ideas.

By crystallising these irrational fears, you’d see what’s triggering them, which in turn help you to deal with them.

Say hello to your fear

Acknowledging that you are afraid is an important step in confronting your fear. Trying to pretend it’s not there will only make it more potent. Getting your fear out in the open and facing it squarely will lose its impact.

Remember that your fears are like shadows. They’re scary because they loom over you, but once you turn around and confront them, you’d see they’re nothing but a feeble threat, with no ability to hurt you unless you allow them to.

Assess the potential damage
What’s the worst thing that could happen if this irrational fear materialises? The reality is, the imagined future is scarier than what happens in real life.

For example, we may be afraid of losing our jobs and unable to provide for our families and pay off our debts.

Yet if push comes to shove, we will find a way, no matter what, to earn a living to support our families.

Assessing the worst case scenario goes a long way in putting things into perspective and subduing your fears.

Take a small step out of your comfort zone
For some people, the only way to confront their fear is to go all out and stare it in the face. There is nothing wrong with that. It can be cathartic and effective.

In my case, I had to take it slowly. Making changes in the way I do things in small doses were more manageable for me than to go full on straight away.

Arm yourself for battle

If you’re afraid of speaking in front of people, get trained. Practice a lot.
If you’re afraid of investing, educate yourself so you know what traps to avoid.
If you’re afraid to fail in your project, have a game plan to follow and mitigate the risks.

As one wise person once said:

“Fear is a dark, pessimistic force that makes our future gloomy and bleak. 

We attract what we fear and when we confront the fear, they disappear.”

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

On quitting and picking yourself up again

By Nila Sweeney

I've tried. In fact I've been trying for days.

No matter how long I've stared at the screen, I couldn't come up with anything meaningful, let alone witty and brilliant.  Again and again I would start typing, only to get stuck after the first paragraph.

When it started happening, I dismissed it to be nothing but a temporary setback. My creative juices would flow soon. So I kept telling myself.

Except that they didn't. No matter how I tried to find that elusive creative spark, I came out empty-handed.

Predictably, I started believing that little voice in my head telling me I'm not good at this blogging thing.  

I ignored it at first, but then it grew louder as I started seeing proofs. I have half a dozen half-written articles with so much promise at the start, but have since been consigned to the article graveyard.

How picked myself up

At this point, I just wanted to quit and join the ranks of the 99.9% of bloggers out there who failed and abandoned their blogs. But a bigger part of me was headstrong and perhaps too proud to stop.

So I had to pick myself up. To do this, I had to stop listening to that nagging voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough. Most importantly, I had to get clear about why I was stuck.

So I went to the gym.

I tend to get the best ideas when I’m working out, so I decided to give this old brain some oxygen.

As I walked towards my local Fitness First Club, I noticed myself thinking, “Why can’t writing be as effortless as walking? Why is it so hard?”

That’s when it hit me: I've been forcing it. I've been trying too hard. I had this fantasy that I would always come up with amazing stuff. Every time.

Of course, with such an unreasonably high expectation, I was so afraid of being judged.

I've also realised that I've been trying to write about topics that didn't truly touch and inspire me. I've been a fake.

While my aim was to write inspiring posts, my intention in this particular instance has been less honourable. It was in fact about looking good and less about what I can offer.

This is what I've learned from this breakdown

Lesson #1. The truth will set you and your creativity free
Duh, I knew this. Obviously I haven’t truly learned this lesson; therefore I must go through the painful process of learning it.

I pretended to be wise and all-knowing. The hard truth is, I have a long way to go. I’m still suffering from insecurities. I’m still scared of baring my soul.

Admitting to this and vowing to work with honesty and integrity is the way forward for me.

Lesson #2. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness
In fact it’s the opposite. The strongest people I've known were not afraid of admitting to their mistakes.

Instead of hiding behind my bullet-proof vest of pretensions, I can now let the bad news out: I’m a phony and I’m weak. 

Now that’s out of the way, I can now focus on letting this go and become the strong person that I know I am.

When you’re no longer concerned about people judging you, betraying you or hurting you, you’re free to do and live as you please.
You become at peace with yourself and your world. You unleash your creative energy.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

My manifesto for living a happy life

By Nila Sweeney

I give up craving for approval, knowing that those who give it can also take it away on a whim. By placing my self-worth and happiness at the mercy of others, I became unnecessarily needy and despondent when I don’t get my fix.

I know now that the only way I can truly be happy is to do the things that I love and that makes a difference to others. I shall no longer be a hostage to other people's opinions.

I give up being a coward, knowing that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. Being afraid of taking chances has cost me some of the biggest misses in my life. I’ve wasted precious time that I can never take back and opportunities that may not be repeated due to my cowardice.  

Having survived the things that I went through earlier in life, I know I have what it takes to thrive. It’s now time to liberate myself from the self-limiting fear and open myself to life and everything it offers.

I give up being a perfectionist, knowing that making mistakes is a part of being human and the best way to learn life’s lessons.

By being a perfectionist, I've alienated even my closest allies due to my unreasonable demands. I realised I've only been seeing what’s wrong and never what’s done right. It’s time for me to start appreciating people even more.

I give up being judgemental, knowing that I, too, have many flaws. Being judgemental has made me suspicious and distrustful of others. It also gave me permission to blame them for being the way they are.

People don't get any chance with me when I’m judgemental. Even before they make the first move, I’ve already diminished their worth in my head, justifying my choice of avoiding them altogether.

Therefore, I shall stop judging people, and instead spend time getting to know them on a deeper level. I know I would be pleasantly surprised with what I discover. 

I give up procrastinating, knowing that I am wasting precious time and not accomplishing the things I set out to do. If I’m really honest about it, I’m procrastinating because I’m afraid to take action. It’s time to let go of my excuses and start acting. The time for procrastination is over. It's time to take that leap.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

How to find inner strength

By Nila Sweeney

Do you sometimes wonder how you've managed to face and handle tough situations in the past? Those times when you thought you’ve finally able to regain your footing; another wave of failure or losses knocks you down all over again?

I’ve been thinking about those myself, especially at times when my confidence is taking relentless battering from the problems that’s been coming in rapid succession.

Yet when I look back at my past troubles and then look at my current predicament, I'm amazed at how resilient I've been. No matter how difficult the situation was, I’ve always managed to pull myself out of the hole.

Each time I was about to reach my breaking point, I somehow got handed in a new lease of life, a hope and incredible inner strength that enabled me to bounce back.

Experts believe that some people have a natural predisposition to resilience and are able to bounce back from traumatic or difficult situations without trouble, while some people simply fold and crumble.

I believe anyone can cultivate resilience with a bit of effort. Here are the things that helped me develop inner strength and how it may help you too.

Nurture supportive relationship at home and at work.
Being nurtured by caring people makes you stronger, there’s no doubt about this. No matter how tough things get when you know you can count on someone for their unconditional support, you become more confident to face any challenges that come your way.

Let go of your need to control events.
Equanimity enables you to regain your footing during turbulent times. It’s a refuge or an island where you can rest and find stability.

Accept that some problems are outside your control. What you can control is the way you react and handle these situations. Focus in managing your thoughts, actions and habits. These will help you better deal with any adversity.

Face your problem squarely.
Avoiding the problem will only delay the inevitable fall out. It's better to confront the issue sooner than later so you can move on. Take stock of the situation and then take positive action.

A well-known Indian poet sums this up nicely in a beautiful prayer.

"Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
But be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
But for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
But hope for the patience to win my freedom."
-Dr. Rabindranath Tagore 

Trust yourself.
When faced with seemingly endless litany of woes, we sometimes forget that we do have the mental, emotional and physical faculties to deal with these challenges.

We sometimes allow ourselves to be complacent, maybe even arrogant in maintaining a sense of entitlement. “Why should I have to deal with these issues?” “I deserve better!”

The thing is, when you adopt this line of thinking, you often end up suffering unnecessarily and unable to find a workable solution to your predicament.  As a result, you’d be stuck in the fall out.

You’re stronger than you think. You’ve been here before and you have the mental and emotional toughness to face this crisis. You just have to trust yourself. 

Be humble.
Humility enables you to see and admit to your role in this crisis. It helps you learn from your mistakes and enables you to focus on the positive steps you need to take to improve your situation.

Let go of the drama.
Sometimes we make things more difficult than they really are because we love drama. We tend to magnify the damage and blow it out of proportion either to elicit sympathy or just want to punish ourselves. When we let go of the drama and approach the problem as it is, we’ll be able to handle the situation better and find an appropriate solution.

Embrace change.
Everything is in a state of flux and nothing stands still. This means that no matter how difficult your current situation is, it won’t stay that way forever. It will get better.

Change is scary and uncomfortable, but it also brings possibilities and endless potential. No matter how difficult it can be at the start, trust in yourself that you will adapt and you will thrive.