Dr Eddie Murphy: Self-compassion the key for this year's Operation Transformation leaders

Operation Transformation psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy's weekly column

Dr Eddie Murphy

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Dr Eddie Murphy

Dr Eddie Murphy: Self-compassion the key for this year's Operation Transformation leaders

Leader Felicity Maroney does not want to pass on her bad eating habits to her daughter

What an amazing bunch of leaders we have on Operation Transformation this year (RTE One, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8.30pm).

It is early days yet but I think there is a unique bond between them all. In the psychology world we say when it comes to new group that the process of ‘Forming, Norming, Storming and Reforming’ takes place.

It’s too early for the ‘Storming’, it will happen but at the moment there is great excitement and teamwork.

This year I am all about compassion. Too many of our leaders have harsh internal critical voices; their challenge is to learn to have self-compassion. It’s this supportive voice that will provide emotional freedom and room for psychological growth.

Now that’s Transformation.

Sarah O’ Callaghan, 27, Ballinagh, Cavan

Sarah is on the pathway from surviving to thriving. She is a feisty fighter, who exudes resilience.

Her life was threatened by aggressive cancer and her weight, body image, confidence, sense of self was rocked to the core.

Sarah is just amazing and in her mum, dad and partner she has the building blocks of essential social support that is required when faced with adversity.

Food was her old habit when it came to self-soothing. Operation Transformation is replacing that with health habits that last a lifetime.

Health is Sarah’s number one goal. When you are given a second chance life becomes even more real. I think Sarah will teach us all many lessons.

David Cryan, 38, Dublin via Tulsk, Roscommon

Dependable David doesn’t want to let anyone down, his family, friends, An Garda Siochana. He won’t. David is solid.

However, I frighten him. David doesn’t do emotions, or so he thinks. He bottles up his emotions and stress, but it leaks out.

You can’t put a lid on these things. David is the classic carer who puts everyone else first not himself.

In week 1 he made an OT record losing 1 stone 2.5lbs. Amazing. I might have used an expletive when I heard this the first time!

Imagine losing that in seven days. Stress management and emotional recognition is the key for David.

He doesn’t have to be afraid of me. I am a nice person. But I will talk the ‘unmentionables’ — the bits we think and feel but don’t say out loud.

Mary Diamond 52, Kiltimagh, Mayo

Mary has all sorts of bits going on. She loves chocolate and she engages in ‘Mindless Eating, Emotional Eating and Secret Eating’.

What a deadly concoction or triple whammy.

Different tools are required for each of these, but first of all is raising the conscious awareness as to what’s happening so that you are not engaging in these behaviors.

Mary is normally confident, but now she has become socially withdrawn as she is disgusted in her body image.

She had put on a stone each decade. She was eight stone when she got married, now she is over 12 stone!

She is naturally worried about the future as she has a son with Down Syndrome and this is a key call to action for Mary to address her health.

I want to see her happiness on that list too.

Felicity Moroney, 30, Artane, Dublin

Felicity is a bright, engaging and bubbly person. At the young age of 12 she lost the main anchor in her life, her mother.

In the short time after this, she entered puberty. In psychology it is known that this is a particularly vulnerable time for children if traumatic events happen.

Felicity also went from national to secondary school all major transitions at a vulnerable moment. Felicity was triggered to start Operation Transformation by her desire not to visit her poor food habits on her daughter.

Planning and organisation will be her friend. She has a great supportive partner, Dan, and together once she gets her health back in-check they will achieve many great things.

To me Felicity represents true grit, someone when the chips are down will divert her energy into the task.

Felicity struggles with anxiety and I hope we can do some work on this that we can share through the program.

Wayne O'Donnell, Mallow, Cork

A recent photograph confronted Wayne and he asked “How big I have become?”

He had stopped sports due to serious elbow injury three years ago but fear has played a significant role in this particularly avoidance. Remember avoidance will always strengthen your fear muscle.

With the exercise program we can already see Wayne's fear dissipating. There is a lot of potentiality and possibility in Wayne.

That’s so exciting. Nobody knows where this is all going to end. Wayne needs to learn that you can’t out train a bad diet! I was concerned initially about the life-skills or lack thereof that Wayne had, but I was wrong. He too is a tenacious terrier that wants to put a number of adverse years behind him.

More on our leaders next week.

Dr Eddie Murphy runs a psychological and counselling service in Portarlington, Co Laois. If you are organising a speaker or training for school, community, voluntary, sporting or work groups, call Dr Eddie on 087 1302899 or go to www.facebook.com/ dr.eddie.murphy.psychologist