MARY McILROY Counsellor in London Bridge,
the City of London & Muswell Hill

Developing Confidence. confidence how to

How to be confident

When we are nervous we speed up, this clues you in.
Slow down, meditate.
Breathe, consciously slow down your actions to your breathing.
Expect success.
Tell yourself: "the only way out is through".
You have to encounter experiences that forces you to learn so take the risk.
Remember, failure is inevitable and, it doesn’t matter so get back up!
Appear confident, dress appropriately.
Improve your posture,
Make eye contact, hold your gaze.
Have approachable body language.

Think confidently:
Recognise your talents and list them.
Remember everyone struggles with confidence.
See confidence as a process, not a single achievement.
Remember we were born confident.
Get out of your head and be in the present.

Practice confidence.
Practice your confidence, find and embrace your interests.
Talk to strangers, don’t over-apologise.
Accept compliments gracefully.
Build confidence by helping others, they will come to you for positivity.
Drop those who bring you down.

Developing Confidence. jeden

Improve your confidence

Do you sometimes want to slink away, holding onto that glass to steady a shaking hand, cringe inwardly wishing you were more like ‘so & so’?
We all need an extra boost of confidence at some stage.
When you find yourself speeding up that’s a clue you are nervous and below are useful tips on how to be confident:

Expect success
Consciously slow down your actions to your breathing
Appear confident - dress appropriately
Improve your posture
Make eye contact - hold your gaze.
Have approachable body language, so roll back your shoulders, get out of your head and be in the now.
Think confidently, recognise your talents and list them.
Practise your confidence.
Talk to strangers, don’t over apologise.
Accept compliments gracefully.
Build confidence by helping others - they will then come to you for positivity.
Drop those you bring you down.
See confidence as a process, not a single achievement.
The only way out is through, you have to encounter experiences that force you to learn so take the risk.
Failure is inevitable and it really doesn’t matter, so get back up.

Developing Confidence. confidence how to

Linking Thinking with Confidence

Tell yourself:

The people who look beautiful are the same as you, the difference is they tell themselves they look good, that shines through.
The people who say the most profound witty things as the same as you, they are letting go and being who they are.
The people who appear confident and relaxed are no different, they push themselves through fearful situations and tell themselves they can make it.
The people who are successful are the same as you, they tell themselves go ahead and develop your gifts and talents, set goals.
We are all the same as the people on TV. It's what we tell ourselves that makes the difference.

So give yourself a big hug, tell yourself you are alright, you can be wonderful. Is a change of thinking needed?

Developing Confidence. ed

Linking Thinking with...allowing your inner voice to speak.

When we hold back we act differently (people may judge you as unconventional /unique!).
We might not speak to that cute girl/guy, keeping our hearts closed rather than risking
possible pain/rejection (don’t be surprised when you see her /him with someone else).
We have our pride after all!
We put up defenses rather than expose our vulnerabilities or be taken advantage of.
We stubbornly don’t name our emotion until we get what we want first.
Often we are more fascinated in other people’s feelings than our own.
We may end up wishing we hadn’t rather than we had.
Why not take a chance or you could end up thinking “what if”

Do you have difficulties expressing what you’d really like to say?
How many people can you really open up with?
Do you ever admit to crying in bed, dread socializing, or do you say:
“I’m fine thanks” yet feel “I’m not good enough”?
Even our nearest and dearest might never guess what lies below the surface.
It’s easier to tell yourself:
“Hold-on, be strong, admit no wrong.
Be the cool lone-ranger, keeping independent saves us from vulnerability and danger”.
That mantra has helped us survive all along.

Yet we may long for a confidant, a close friend, warm company to share with.
We may burn to discuss the bothersome boyfriend /boss, to unload the night-dreads,
to placate the inner chat which fuels the worry, the indecision,
the embarrassing panics, doubts and loneliness.

Releasing pent up stress actually has health benefits.
Learning to express your truth can boost confidence and self-image.
Being able to open up to people can improve friendships and build social groups.
If you don’t speak your mind how will people know what you are thinking?

But where can our secret inner world and outer realities meet safely and find resolution?
Some of us have never really had the transforming experience of openly discussing our
inner world.

Do you need help to dare speak up and voice your inner truth?
Contact me for help at

Developing Confidence. epilepsy

The Pros and Cons of Epilepsy

Usually, I never stop to think about my epilepsy, it hangs out at the back of my mind. I find acceptance of the affliction the best medication and then get on with life. Being asked to write an article about epilepsy, however, has made me stop to make sense of the pros and cons of my disability. So here come the tears to blur my vision. Please forgive any overtones of anger, they are not intended.

Hey ho lets start with the pros:
• I am inspired by some of the mighty great’s (quoted below) who also lived with this condition so push myself a little further than I might otherwise.
• “All that is really worth the doing is what we do for others” Lewis Carroll.
• I experience the kindness of strangers, usually I don’t have the opportunity to thank them so:
• A BIG THANK YOU to the lovely people out there who have helped me on my journey.
• “Epilepsy has taught me we are not in control of ourselves” Neil Young
• Adversity can bring with it a new challenge helping us explore new perspectives and opportunities. Epilepsy helped me forge a new career in counseling and a new interest in life (which is bee-keeping) when I had to give up my teaching career and the adventures of climbing.
• “I am not an adventurer by choice but by faith” Vincent Van Gough

Some of the perceived difficulties of life for a person with epilepsy:
• A person with epilepsy could easily injure themselves by hitting their head, walk under a car, cause injury to others, bite their tongue, die, go insane…and more.
• “it is happiness to wonder, it is happiness to dream” Edgar Allen Poe
• “Courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you do not have the strength” Theodore Roosevelt

Some of the actual difficulties of having epilepsy:
• Other people’s perceptions and discrimination. Discrimination exists at every level. Before my epilepsy kicked in I worked in schools and nurseries (I’m a qualified teacher) however, equal opportunity laws didn’t protect me once my epileptic condition was brought to the heads attention.
• “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another” Charles Dickens
• Unemployment is not much fun, especially after training for years to follow ones chosen career. There is a link between unemployment poverty - depression - isolation.
• “5%, of a randomly selected group is likely to have an episode of clinical depression. If you take 100 patients from a general practitioner’s office, roughly 10% will have had an episode of clinical depression. If you consider 100 patients with epilepsy, 33% have, or will have an episode of clinical depression” George Tesar, MD
• Socialising can be challenging, especially when others are concerned with their public image. I have a strong memory of being at a party and a neighbor telling my son to “take your mum home” (epileptics have no feelings of course) when I had an ‘absence’. Read between the lines: epileptics are an embarrassment, and not much fun to have around.
• “Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people” Prince
• People (even our nearest and dearest) have extra leverage when tempers rise and “ARE YOU ALRIGHT?” really means “you are not alright mentally”.
• Even medics find it ok to relieve their stresses on ‘mental‘ patients, I have been shocked by the lack of empathy by some in this profession when I:
Overheard my pediatrician tell a nurse angrily “why is she having a baby, she’s epileptic!”
When I was chastised by my GP for daring to complain that my prescription wasn’t ready.
When a chemist reprimand me for forgetting to renew my prescription (once in 2 decades).
When my own GP told me I’m lucky, if I was born a few years earlier I’d be in an institution.
“When anyone tells me I can’t do anything…I’m just not listening anymore.” Flo Jo
• “To anyone who has a dream I say follow that dream. You are never too old. It is never too late” Susan Boyle

I would like the general public to realize:
• Living with epilepsy is by nature living dangerously only as the risk (of another seizure) cannot always be fully managed by medication. Apart from this risk people with epilepsy live a ‘normal’ life. People with epilepsy work, think and even have sex. We want to fully live our life.
• I liken epilepsy to Diabetes which also has a risk of seizures. Diabetes somehow seems a more respectable illness to live with, having diabetes is not seen as a ‘mental’ condition despite it also causing seizures and I would like to be awarded the same kudos.
• Epilepsy is a neurological, not an intellectual condition.
• People with epilepsy are mostly open to talk about it (unless they are hiding it from their employer). I consider myself fortunate as I work among considerate people who don’t judge me, they are all counselors like myself. The big paradox is, in a center for Talking Therapy nobody ever talks about it .

Developing Confidence. happy life

The Formula for Happiness

We spend much of our lives stressing about what never happens. We lie awake at night feeling anxious about what may happen. We can argue, criticise and shout about what isn’t happening while holding onto hope that at sometime soon we will taste our due of happiness.

Happiness is what happens now, we are alive now, now is all we have. Happiness happens when life seems to be going your way. Happiness is equal to or greater than the difference between the way you view the events of your life minus your expectations about how life should be. Instead of waiting for happiness to come know that our default state should be happiness.

Once Maslow’s basic needs are met: to be fed, clothed and cared for, we should be happy. Much of our understanding of what happiness is and where to find it is distorted. We think happiness is at the end of some high-achieving rainbow, that we have to strive to earn it.
We need to be happy now because now is all we’ve got.
In a nutshell:

The algorithm for happiness says there are 6 grand illusions-
“Thought, self, knowledge, time, control and fear –that affect our happiness. 7 blind spots-
Filters, assumptions, memories, predictions, labels, emotions, and exaggerations which delude our judgements of life and the distorted picture makes us unhappy. -5 ultimate truths-
Now, change, love, death, design are the key to enduring happiness.” Mo Gawdat

Our brains produce 3 types of thoughts to make sense of the world –
Insightful thoughts, experiential thoughts and narrative. The first two problem solve and perform tasks, but we allow our brain to produce endless chatter with the third which keeps us stuck in useless stress and suffering thus blocking the simple happiness of the now which may not be that bad. The confusing voices inside can block decision-making and project starting through its endless loop. The voice often goes unnoticed as we fail to notice what we fail to notice.

If you would like to strip away your remorseless inner chatter and find what remains
Contact me in London Bridge or Muswell Hill at

Developing Confidence. shoes

Change the now by healing painful memories

You may have formed ideas about how relationships work which keeps your past behaviour alive in the present.
Do you fear rejection or commitment?
Do you isolate yourself or push people away?
Do you distrust or need control?
Untangle these thoughts and live in freedom from them.
Find your middle path, not by leaking emotions all over the place, nor by stuffing them down.

If you define yourself by your past you are living a fraction of your life.
Life presents a passing array of experiences, thoughts, emotions, symptoms that are all in you but they are not you.
Life is being aware of who you are. Find peace now by letting go of the past.

Your present experience in the now is keeping the past alive. The past is what you are aware of now,
memories are the thoughts you relive in the present.
Therefore the way out of your suffering is in the present so change your perspective by focusing on something different.

You may have an emotional reaction to thought’s and feel justified with your anger, this keeps it alive.
It doesn’t serve you to hold onto these thought’s, they delay your freedom to experience other emotions now.
Neutralise the story so it loses its power and the thoughts are no longer a dark cloud over you.
Hold onto the idea that peace, freedom, sanity……is possible. Look at how the stories of the past impact you:

What you focus on will grow.
If you cultivate anger, sadness, revenge….. they will become a reality.
An alternative is think differently, contemplate not defining yourself by your past.
The ball is now in your court. Your happiness is your responsibility, no one else’s.
You may be familiar with feeling a victim, this mind set is passive, un-empowering, and leaves you waiting for
word’s / actions / events you can’t control. Instead of being stuck in the past
lose interest in your stories of victimhood
notice the physical symptoms:
tension, burning, grinding, perhaps symptoms you never noticed.
Now are you suffering?
No, you are simply being aware of and experiencing symptoms.
Your mind is clear
This is freedom from the past
Pay no attention to the story
Experience the symptoms coming and going
You are clear, undisturbed in the here and now.

Beliefs can get in the way.
You may hold onto beliefs of what needs to happen for you to let go.
These are simply more thoughts that keep you distracted from living your life now.
Possibly you feel justified in staying stuck with your painful memories
-I was wronged. It’s someone else’s responsibility to make me feel happy.
If I let go, that means I somehow approve of bad behaviour.
I need an apology.
It was so bad I’ll never heal.

Life begins now, in this moment, its present, here and now.
You can always begin again.
Don’t feed limiting thoughts.
Proceed to discover the real you.
The biggest part of you is still here and still whole.

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