Fully Human book by Steve Biddulph

Interview with bestselling author Steve Biddulph

Author Steve Biddulph, creator of bestsellers including Raising Boys and Raising Girls will be hosting a brand new online parenting seminar based on his acclaimed latest book Fully Human.

Fully Human book- Steve Biddulph

The talk, recorded at Steve’s home in Tasmania, will demonstrate how to use the insight and teachings shared in Fully Human to support parents, especially when it comes to helping their children overcome anxiety, be at ease in their own skin, manage emotions better and get along with others.

To care for children well, it helps to be in a good place yourself. In this groundbreaking seminar, Steve introduces a whole new way to understand your own mind, and listen to its deepest signals. This is SUPERSENSE – an idea explored in detail in Fully Human – the part of our minds that quietly whisper to us about things we really need to know and pay attention to.

Steve Biddulph says: ‘I wanted to give people immediate ways to manage their own minds better and neuroscience has just broken through on understanding how our gut feelings are the key. You can teach this to a 5 year old, and it can certainly help you as a mum or dad’.

Fully Human, published earlier this year by Bluebird, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, is the culmination of more than 40 years’ experience from this educator, therapist and internationally bestselling author. His most famous book, Raising Boys, has sold in excess of 3 million copies and is one I read as soon as I had my first son Oliver (I’ll be reading Raising Girls shortly in preparation for my baby girl’s arrival in November), and he remains one of the world’s most influential parenting voices.

Fully Human goes far beyond the author’s previous work to provide an astonishing toolkit for re-activating the power of our body-mind system. In what is a pioneering new publication, Biddulph investigates how we can harness the potential of the subconscious mind to lead more fulfilled and meaningful lives.

Steve Biddulph-copyright Scott Gelston

Copyright: Scott Gelston

The event will be live for 24 hours, from 11 am (UK time) on October 21st and can be viewed from anywhere in the world.

Tickets for the seminar are available at: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=802301&.

 

It is an honour to interview Steve on my blog and a true balm for the soul to receive the advice he shares below.

Thank you Steve.

 

Congratulations on Fully Human Steve, can you share the inspiration behind the book and briefly describe your Four-Story Mansion concept and how this might help your readers become happier?

Everyone’s mental health is pretty shaky lately and we need new tools to get through the 21st century, for sure.  As an old grandpa concerned for everyone,  I kept thinking about what had helped my patients over the last 40 years, and what we learned from their journeys through really tough situations. It turned out (and the research was there to prove it) that people who are emotionally strong do some things very differently with their minds.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a 5 year old, or an eighty year old, they USE ALL THE FLOORS OF THEIR MANSION!

Now what that means is we don’t stay stuck in their feelings (which are the second floor) or their thinking (which is the third floor), but we go further down.

Inside our bodies, down below our emotions, there are, ‘gut feelings’ which are our mind’s way of letting us know how to be alert, balanced and well.  And if we are in danger, or are actually quite safe.   This is the wild creature part of our mind, and it is very wise.  Yes – you –  or your child – have a panther or a brown bear or an eagle inside you and it wants you to notice it.  It’s the key to your mental health. It’s what I call, ‘supersense’ (though cognitive science calls it right hemisphere parallel processing, for goodness sake!).

In the book, I tell the story of a 16 year old girl talking to her mum about whether to have sex with her boyfriend, who is putting pressure on her.  She is feeling very mixed up.   Her mum says, ‘Well, what does you body say?’ And straight away this girl knows the answer.  She loves to kiss and cuddle but if he ‘comes on too strong’, she feels rushed and pressured. She doesn’t want to have sex with him yet.  The point is, there is always somewhere inside us that knows.  And a parent can help a child to listen to their body’s signals.

We still use our thinking part.  In fact, you get your logical part to talk to the wild animal part of you, and it will answer with a feeling in your tummy or chest to say yes or no.  The key is to use ALL the parts of you, and feel that lovely spacious sense of being able to move freely inside yourself.  It’s mindfulness on steroids.

We haven’t space here to talk a lot about the fourth floor of our mind, of our four storey mansion – which is spirituality – but that too helps us.  Even patting a dog, dancing in the kitchen, going to the park,  listening to loud music, are spiritual activities because they get you out of your skin.  If a child feels lost in activity or nature or art or a big soft cuddle with a pet, they are on the fourth floor, part of everything and not separate.  They are growing their spiritual sense.


Which personal experiences shaped the content of your book?

When I first became a therapist, in the 1970’s, I knew almost nothing which was wonderful, because it made you humble.  We just listened, and cared, and our patients taught us.

One young mother checked me out for a couple of sessions, then told me, ‘I have something to tell you about, and I just want you to listen, and not say anything at all’.  And she told me the first ever account of child sexual abuse that I had ever heard.  Her childhood had been a nightmare.  I kept our agreement, and only listened, and at the end, she said it was what she had wanted and needed to do, that she had told no-one ever before.  And she would be fine now.  A really brave and amazing person.  Everything I know, I learned from my patients, and I still do.

 

How do you feel the pandemic has affected us all?

It has of course massively added to the stresses of parenthood, and taken away the things that help children’s mental health – friends, play, activity, belonging, space and freedom.   But perhaps, deep down, it is the kind of slap the human race needed, to stop heading for disaster.  Mother Nature giving us a chance to change our ways.

 

Doctors I’ve interviewed have said the second pandemic is a mental health pandemic. How can your book Fully Human, help us heal and reconnect with ourselves and others?

Supersense – the right hemisphere animal part of our minds that talks via gut feelings – is the organ of connection.  It reads faces, it understands relationships, and it knows we are part of nature.  It is our social and natural radar.  It can help everyone, large and small, to feel more free and alive and loved and loving.



Will your book help young children as well as adults and if so, how?

Children haven’t lost their supersense, but we don’t talk about it or nurture it, so it withers as the get older.  In the book, and in the talks even more, we show how to just ask and encourage and guide our children to tap into what their body is telling them.  To use it to heal upset and trauma.  And the most important thing of all, to use it ourselves to be present for them.   They supersense that we love them, and can feel safe.



How can we become more in touch with our emotions without becoming hyper-sensitive/ experience health anxiety/ be totally consumed with worries which is something many of us are experiencing living in these deeply uncertain times?


Mums, dads, grandparents, children and teens who can move about inside their own mind – down to gut feelings, up to emotions, up into clear thinking, and beyond into being in the flow of larger life – these mean you can handle literally anything that life throws at you.  You can cry and shake and shudder and let things go through you and be at peace.

That’s what my patients taught me, and I want everyone to have these tools.

 

Can you share 3 top tips to living a more content life?

Slow down.  Listen to your body.  Let things move through you – feelings, thoughts, soul yearnings, and sensations in your body – and they will start to work as one.

You will be Fully Human!

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