Choose “Selfcare” over “Selfsabotage”

There are automatic thoughts that block us. This leads us too chose the same dysfunctionnal situations, like running in a cage. Even though we do not think to look back at the past, future is often the re-creation of the same schemas… until you choose to discard.

I was recently reading about the concept of free will and selfcare. In other words, how to make truly free choices that correspond to your will, not with kindness for others, but with kindness for your own self ?

We sometimes think that spontaneity and “feelings” guide our choices, when in reality there is often a whole background.

The theory of schemas was created by the American psychologist Jeffrey Young in the 1990s. This theory is today a fundamental aspect of behavioral and cognitive therapy, and offers an explanation to the situations we are constantly recreating.

One of the causes for which we would fall into this mechanism, would be a feeling of frustration in the childhood, related to the acceptance by others, or to the reception of emotions by oneself and by others.

If we cross this analysis with what is written about children (and adults) which have a different type of intelligence, as they develop a sense of rejection (more or less conscious), we can think that they are more likely to develop this kind of schemas.

Adults, we are often persuaded that we act by intention, when in reality we create our own situations of failure.

For example, thinking about an action step by step, I realized that the result of that action would not suit me, so finally I did not do it. Yet at the base, I really felt like I wanted to do it, like it was a real real will.

In reality, these are automatic thoughts that block us in our personal development and in the development of our self-confidence.

This leads us to choose dysfunctional situations, generating loneliness or anxiety, that people do not explain.

So, it’s not enough to believe that positive thinking (or just thinking anyway) will lead you where you want.

Understanding our own mechanisms is an essential step to get where you want to be.



Why Annecy is also always a good idea

Annecy is one of my favorite cities, in the east of France, in Savoie near the Swiss, famous for its lake. I go there several times a year. It’s about 4 hours from Paris by TGV, and 2 hours from Lyon by car.

This is one of the cities I fell in love with for the history and the beautiful location close to the mountains. The whole is very poetic.  It’s an historic site because the first traces of life around the lake go back to prehistory. The lake was formed at the end of the Glaciation, corresponding to the gradual melting of the great alpine glaciers, that is to say during a period around -17000 before JC.

The story of the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau is also very related to the region. He lived in Annecy around 1730, where he fell in love with Françoise de Warens. He later wrote about Miss de Warens : “Je l’aimais trop pour la convoiter” (in english “I loved her too much to lust for“. He also made his musicians debut at St. Peter’s Cathedral. The relationship will end gradually until 1742, when Rousseau leave definitely in Paris. 

Savoie was Italian. It wasn’t until March 12, 1860 that the secret preliminary convention recognizing the cession of Savoy to France was signed at Turin. A plebiscite is held in April 1860. Voters must answer the question “Does Savoie want to be reunited with France?“. The answer is almost unanimous yes, and in June 1860, Savoie officially becomes French

Nowadays, Savoie is a destination appreciated by tourists. “Savoie Mont Blanc Tourism Observatory” publishes statistics every year. Savoie Mont Blanc is by far the first French destination for winter mountain tourism, bringing together about 30% of the market (Hautes-Alpes : only 8%). It’s also a great destination for the summer. Lake Annecy is full of activities for children and adults.

Here are some of my favorite places/activities in Annecy. I can not name them all and I will probably add others when I have time!

Annecy Public Library: This is not necessarily the first place we think about when we are on vacation, but the public library of Annecy is a nice and quiet place, with lots of books for children. Surely a better idea than putting them in front of screens! I have seen that since recently they have organized writing sessions for teenagers and adults. That’s great !

1 Rue Jean Jaurès, 74000 Annecy –

Biking : Biking around the lake is really top and quite accessible to all. Uh, I mean “to all” if you don’t take the unbounded paths… always funny to venture but not with a child’s wheeled bike. The landscape is really beautiful from the top. You can easily stop and have a picnic, and there are often spaces made for. 

Aquatic activities: There is a lot, lot, lot of fun things to do on the lake (boat, “pedalo” – don’t know the word in english, I’ll search…, or just swimming !). I love taking the motor boat to go swimming further. You can rent them for like few hours or less. I think remembering that for 1 hour it is like 50 or 60€. It depends on the boat, and there are some that are conductive without a license. 

La Cave (Wine Bar) : Ok so I looooove Wine so anywhere I go, I always check winebar. There is a wide choice of wines. You can eat oysters, charcuterie, cheese.

8 rue du Pâquier, 74000 Annecy –

“Beer O’Clock”: It’s a cool place to have a beer with a lot of varieties. There are sometimes theme nights (halloween for example) and concerts. You have a prepaid card system that allows you to use beers directly, with the quantity you want.

18 Faubourg Sainte-Claire, 74000, Annecy, France –

Annecy Castle : architecture of the Middle Ages, there are collections from medieval sculpture to contemporary art. Children can also participate in a workshop visit related to the collections. 

Funny Parc : “Funny Parc” is a playground for children, with mini golf, trampolines, inflatable castles, etc. etc. and it’s in front of the lake.

30 Avenue d’Albigny 74000 Annecy –

Walk in the old city in the evening: The old city is even more beautiful at night, with illuminated streets, often animated.



The new midlife crisis with adults barely grown up

Before the anguish was to die in a life already built, whereas now, the anxiety is to die as a bald teenager 😉

It’s unlikely to go through a midlife crisis when we’re barely grown up. Paralyzed by the idea of making the right choice (professional or private) in front of multiple, life is passing by and we are becoming teenagers with wrinkles, unconsciously guided by our modern society.

No judgment, just observation. If you live in a “big” french city (Paris – Lyon – Marseille – Bordeaux – Toulouse – Lille – Strasbourg etc.) , you probably have at least 60% of your 35-year-old friends who order UBEREAT, live alone in a 50m2 (or at least 35 in Paris), are on Tinder, spend most of their evenings drinking beer and watching netflix. It’s unlikely to go through a midlife crisis when we’re barely grown up 😉

It’s quite surprising not to have an article which deals with the fact that in 2019, the 40’s crisis can’t be apprehended in the same way than in 1965.

It’s the psychoanalyst Elliot Jaques who creates the term “midlife crisis” in 1965. He said it was the period when a personn becomes aware of her own mortality. He wrote that, at this point, the death is no longer an idea in general, or the loss of someone else : it becomes a personal affair. 

In its classic definition, the midlife crisis was about boredom, lassitude, and the feeling of being bored in a professional and family life. In some ways, it meant a form of anxiety linked to the feeling of having nothing new to live before the death.

What is very funny is that some recent articles only say that Elliot Jacques’ theory was wrong because you can’t identify a specific crisis… But Elliot Jacques wasn’t necessarily wrong at his time, it’s, in part, a social and psychological analysis that depends on the time. So it’s completely stupid to say 50 years later that his concept is right or wrong, without re-contextualizing it. However, Jacques Elliot himself presented his theory as timeless. He quoted Mozart among others to explain that this crisis among “high” spirits was worse.  

On this point Jacques Elliot certainly did not anticipate the big change that would come into our lifestyles: digitization, social networks, studies always longer, etc. etc. With these big changes, both in human relations and in personal life, the mid-life crisis, if it still exists, is no longer the same.

At 35 years old today, most of my friends (men) living in big cities, do not have children, they do not live in couple, they have their own apartment. Many of them have never even lived with a woman (or a man). We have to note a difference with women, who are usually in couples at the same age. Perhaps the biological clock has its unconscious (or conscious) role in this difference. In both cases, they are mostly not in a relationship for years, and don’t have the same lives as the time of Elliot Jacques. 

The new mid-life crisis, if one were to be defined, is that this 35/40-years-old generation realizes that she is just entering adulthood, and that she has been living for years in a kind of unending teenage life, while death is not so far.

What has replaced the anxiety of having lived everything, is the anguish of having lived nothing. This seems to engender a kind of paralysis, time is becoming “precious”, the right to the error is restricted. Life goes on with our past choices and our teenagers’ mistakes. Everything must be perfect because there is no time left, so finally we watch the trains go by wondering which is the right, to finally be unable to take risks. The information is immediate, the choices are multiple and the fear of being wrong is tenfold.

Everything becomes kind of heavy and dramatic because of the focus on the purpose of finally building something.

There is also an anxiety of being a strange person, unable to found a family by comparing our times to standards of another century.

This subject is taboo and people will often tell you that they are doing very well. Spleen is (quite) out of fashion, mostly on Instagram 😉 The truth seems to be that most of these people are now experiencing a real anthropological anguish, for example in not having children yet, or real others achievements that are related to the life of “adult”.

It’s perhaps on this point that there is a connection with the theory of Elliot Jacques : it’s the age where we realize that our ONE life has an end. 

The difference is that before the anguish was to die in a life already built, whereas now, the anxiety is to die as a bald teenager. 



The French prison school model

Days are long and students are passive, from kindergarten to university. This creates generations of adults who continually need to be mentored, and frustrated at not being able to find their field of excellence. Everyone is good at something.

In France, the model of school organization has not changed much since the end of the 19th century: it remains based on a kind of prison system that does not emphasize the autonomy of the child.

French schools teach children to obey and to be certified copies. You have to be in the unique model. In many European countries, especially in Northern Europe, the school is much more focused on the autonomy and emancipation of the child (eg in Sweden).

The days are long and the children are passive, from kindergarten to university. This disciplinary order is considered so fundamental in France, that since September 2019, the school is compulsory from 3 years old.The only way to get the child out of this boring and conformist order is to be able to pay for unaffordable schools for most people, which concentrate high social classes or/and high potential children thus preventing any social mix. The other solution is schooling by “CNED” which is a public institution under the Ministry of National Education whose purpose is to offer distance education. This solution doesn’t socialize the child and seems to be accompanied by extra-curricular activity.

In general, France appears as a country struggling to reform.

Children seem to be regarded as a burden, future adults to channel so that they pay pensions slowly; and not as people who can think and think for themselves.

The major disadvantage of the French egalitarian system is to risk annihilating talents of all children. All children have a talent of their own but because of this standardization of education, few of them will succeed in finding their true fulfillment.

This creates generations of adults who continually need to be mentored, and frustrated at not being able to find their field of excellence. Everyone is good at something.

One of the goals of the school should be to find that talent in every child, and not to want to lock it into a single uniform box. I also think that it has repercussions in the personal life because the school creates people scared and not very enterprising.

Society still looks badly at innovation and free spirits. From the beginning of the school, fantasy and originality, difference, are not valued.

There are no ideal solutions but the school of the republic should think about reforming itself deeply by looking at other models. The school must be at the service of the child.



Why I don’t want to make Disney a must

The journal Sex Roles also published a study that aimed to determine the effects of images propagated by Disney on the conception of femininity. The little girls were asked what to do to be a princess : the answer was mainly to be well dressed and to be saved by a boy.

In fact, in 2019 we are still waiting for a Disney where the princess is both a tough girl and at the same time happy in love

Snow White : stop cleaning.

Aurore : wake up without a man.

Cinderella : guess what, he is probably a bad shot in bed, are you really going to marry him ?

Beauty and the Beast : there is a Stockholm syndrome hanging there.

Ok so big subject that this one : does Disney influence children ? Is Disney still anti-feminist ? 

It’s no secret that in the classics, boys fight and perform while girls … mainly wait, sleep, clean, sing. Let’s be clear I have nothing against singing (my neighbors, maybe). The only independent women are witches. Independence is therefore associated with cruelty, ugliness, and marginality. If you are independent, you will live in a wood.

In fact, if we analyze the classics of disney for two seconds, it can provoke two reactions:

– Or you want to kill all the men of the world to take revenge on a historical exploitation;

– Or you dream that your charming prince will come and saveeee you. 

Uh, there is in fact also a third solution that comes from schizophrenia :

– you want to kill men BUT you also want a prince to come and save you from … uh who knows what ?

In recent years Disney has thought to make efforts by putting forward a so-called independence of its main characters. 

But, even in the (quite) recent “FROZEN” (la reine des neiges in french), we can heard this sentence : “you can’t marry a man you just met”, and then Anna the heroin discovers that the charming prince didn’t like her, but like her kingdom, let’s say her money or her power if we have to traduce

2 things. First point, I don’t see any problem in marrying someone (girl or boy) if you truly think you love him (or her) in the second. Just maybe not at 15 years old and not with an insane one. And second point, why does this prince can’t like a TOUGH GIRL ? Moral from frozen : You can’t be a tough girl and be loved, so be more like Snow White or The Sleeping Beauty, in fact she had her prince even if they have spent their life sleeping Ha ha ha (uh uh uh).

The scientific journal Sex Roles (peer-reviewed scientific journal published by Springer) also published a study that aimed to determine the effects of images propagated by Disney on the conception of femininity. The little girls were asked what to do to be a princess : the answer was mainly to be well dressed and to be saved by a boy. Obviously a study on few girls can not be considered serious, but this result is not very surprising.

In fact, in 2019 we are still waiting for a Disney where the princess is both a tough girl and at the same time happy in love. 

Of course I will forget my analysis for 2 hours to visit the castle of cinderella with my daughter. 



High potential kid and social relations

Interview of one : “I took a long time to consider that I had a real handicap. When I was a kid, I saw only benefits of being gifted. As an adult, I realized that this intelligence was generating a systematic social shift from which an existential suffering difficult to counteract”.

At what age were you diagnosed gifted and how old are you know ?

4 years old and I’m 37. 

What is your school path?

I was very bored at school but, thanks to being diagnosed, I always managed to adapt to the school environment. I skipped a class. I have 4 masters degree and 1 PhD (some gifted kids stop early school, this is not an indicator).

What was your relationship to others children ?

I thought the other kids were different. It was clear in my mind. The diagnosis of my giftedness probably helped me to better understand this difference between them and me and to have no problem of integration. I voluntarily did things that others did to do like them, like football. Football was a sport of recreation but also a knowledge.

Do you consider yourself disabled and why ? 

I took a long time to consider that I had a real handicap. When I was a kid, I saw only benefits of being gifted. As an adult, I realized that this intelligence was generating a systematic social shift from which an existential suffering difficult to counteract. I also found that in some practical aspects of life, I had inappropriate behaviors as if I was stupid.

What being gifted has entail in your private life ? 

I used to made irrational, dangerous and risky choices that were essentially motivated by the will and the obligation to escape from the mediocrity of life. Couples “classic” often gave me nausea, as they gave me the impression of a perfect conjunction of “practical” interests (like the cost per square meter, and this is not a joke) a contractualism quiet, clean, tidy and boring.

I used to want to escape that, preferring to make catastrophic decisions. This is also that to be gifted: not being able to make rational decisions of low intensity. Getting to grips with this aspect of giftedness takes time.

Do you think it’s easier to be with someone who is not gifted, that could be described as “normal” ?

I prefer to be with someone like me because even though we are all different, it exites a common base, which is a form of weird cognitive. Someone who knows his disability can say to the other : I don’t understand everything you do or say but I hear it because I know I’m also weird. Also, there is less chances to get bored with someone with the same “base” of cognitive.

For someone who is not gifted, it will, in principle, be much more difficult to accept the other. Also, I think an asymmetry seems delicate.

What is your relationship to other adults now ?

Not very different from the one I had as a child. It’s just easier for me to meet other people like me. The others bother me quickly. I don’t like small talk and I tend to switch to an ethnographer as soon as the conversation is too commonplace.



The Perfect City Stroller

As I am often on the run, I was looking for a lightweight and compact one, that I can bring in TGV, metro and Airplanes.

Perfect for city life

If you follow me on Instragram you know I have purchased the YOYO BABYZEN STROLLER in pink. I am very happy of it.

As I am often on the run, I was looking for a lightweight and compact one, that I can bring in TGV, metro and Airplanes. I needed a stroller that folds quickly and easily. It is true that it costs a little expensive, but it remains cheaper than the BUGABOO brand. 

I must say that this stroller is not very suitable if you are tall because it is really low. My daughter’s father does not like it too much. 

It is perfect for a city life ! Conversely, It’s not a stroller made for the countryside, the wheels are small… 

The stroller weighs between 6.2 and 6.6 kg (13.6 / 14.5 lbs).

It is suitable from birth until about 4 years old. There is a suitable seat from birth to 6 months. Then, the stroller has another seat, from 6 months up to 4 years.



Suitable from birth to 4 YO  

 Cabin Luggage





Positive ways to celebrate Halloween

Choose to organize Halloween on a positive theme

without the fear, anxiety, and all the “negative” feelings which can be induced by Halloween. 

So it’s near Halloween, and I was wondering what to do with my daughter. Halloween in the beginning was a pagan festival, for the Celts it was a kind of New Year’s party. For them, it was the night where there were allowed to communicate with the spirit of the dead people. 

In France and nowadays, it’s a festive night for kids. The commercial drift of this festival pushes the apology of fear: which child will scare the other the most? which costume will be the most scary ? Also, I don’t like the idea of honoring wickedness and fear.

There are probably ways to combine fun and pedagogy without the fear, anxiety, and all the “negative” feelings which can be induced by Halloween. 

For sure, children will always love sweets and costumes.  So I think the main challenge is to give kids a fun but safe “spiritual” environment in all situations.

I choose to organize games on a positive theme, linked with Halloween. There is a lot of positive theme which can be find. I choose to deal with the Sharing value and the Open-Mindedness because Halloween is the occasion to share and discover things.

Concretly, I like the  game called “Montessori Tray”.Montessori Tray is an activity that allows the awakening of the senses in a playful way. The principle is to gather all the elements around a theme in a bin, in order to draw attention to its characteristics.

It stimulates the sense of discovery in children. Whatever the subject, the child will be able to touch, feel, play. It will increase his creativity. 

For Halloween, my special Montessori Tray is this one :

– make a cooking recipe: put in the bin a cooking book, like this one where you can learn to do Spider minipizzas, vampire blood popcorn, wizard broom, mummified vegetables : Here

– discover objects :for the little ones, it can be used to learn the difference between textures. Put it the bin balls, pebbles, autumn leaves etc.

learn to listen to stories :put in the bin a book on halloween tales. 

– understanding the seasons :Halloween takes place in autumn. This can be an opportunity to point out the seasons to the child, by taking a walk, a drawing on the seasons. Put in the bin a map for the walk, or colored pencils.

Of course, while the children are playing I recommend orange juice and seeds for adults … joke, red wine and appetizers !



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