The Key to Happiness

Happiness. The thing that we all strive for, dream about, search for and yet, for many of us, it is elusive – why? Most of us have periods of happiness in our lives but they are often over-shadowed by misery caused by events in the past or worries about the future. I am not going to say ‘live in the moment’, even though it’s excellent advice, because, for most people it’s impossible

Happiness. The thing that we all strive for, dream about, search for and yet, for many of us, it is elusive – why? Most of us have periods of happiness in our lives but they are often over-shadowed by misery caused by events in the past or worries about the future. I am not going to say ‘live in the moment’, even though it’s excellent advice, because, for most people it’s impossible. We are a product of our memories (which live in the past) and our hopes, dreams and fears (which reside in the future for the most part.) What I am going to say is that happiness is something that needs to be worked at….

If you’ve ever learned to play the piano – you didn’t get to the end of the first lesson being able to play a concerto, you didn’t learn the alphabet and then were able to write a dissertation on War and Peace. Rather, you practiced, doing the same thing over and over again until whatever it was you were learning came to you naturally.  Do you remember how hard it was the first time you tried to write your name? Do you even think about it now? It seems to me that the same logic applies to being happy. This is only my opinion but it’s based on the things that I’ve learned over the last few years.

After I lost my husband I grieved and that’s perfectly natural but it was also what I focused on. I needed to cry, to find ways to let out the emotion that was crippling me so I listened to sad music, watched sad films, read sad stories – you get the picture. After a couple of years I found that I wanted to be happy but, each time I was, I was plagued by guilt – how could I be happy when my husband was dead – so I reverted back into a state of depression…..which then became the norm, a safe place if you will. Essentially, I was comfortable with being depressed.

The trouble with depression is that it’s so easily reinforced. We find a moment’s happiness but then tell ourselves ‘ something will come along to screw it up, I just know it’ and guess what? It does. Then we tell ourselves that we were right (everyone loves to be right) and obviously that means we don’t deserve to be happy or that, even if we find happiness, something will come along to ruin it. What we have on our hands then is a self-fulfilling prophesy and those are buggers to deal with!

I was trapped in this circle for years and then I started to get pissed off with it. My husband’s death had taught me that life is short and we only get one crack at it so I started to look at ways of breaking this incredibly destructive cycle. I began to search for inspiration on YouTube of all places and, because I was looking for it, I found it. There are meditations which will calm you mind and body, there are TED talks which explain our thought processes and what we can do to change them, there are yoga practices, we have Tony Robbins and Brene Brown, Sadhguru and Ajahn Brahm. In short, there is all the material we need to kick start our minds out of depression and into happiness.

So why isn’t everyone happy? Because it isn’t easy to change years of mental and emotional programming. There is comfort in the familiar, there is a certain self-indulgence in misery and our memories, good and bad stay with us. However, being comfortable generally means not moving and, if we don’t move, what’s going to change? Self-indulgence isn’t a bad thing unless we over-indulge – think half a pound of chocolate and a full tub of ice-cream! As for our memories, we can’t erase them but what we can do is change the way that we feel about them, the emotions that we attach to them. I will always feel sad when I think of the last days of my husband’s life but I have attached a very strong feeling of gratitude and love to the fifteen years we spent together before those last few days and, now, that’s what I try and concentrate on but it takes work.

It’s easy, when you’re feeling down, to lie on the sofa and watch TV – it’s hard to get up and go for a walk.

It’s easy to listen to The World’s saddest love songs and cry for a lost love – it’s hard to put on a Madness album and dance around the living room

It’s easy to talk about negative feelings and listen while others do it – it’s hard to put on a set of headphones and follow a guided meditation

Funny thing is, however hard they might be at the start, like everything else, over time, they get easier. What we tell ourselves has a direct effect on our experiences whether they be positive or negative. I’ve realised that we have the ability to create our own narrative and constantly referring to misery, sadness, loss, grief, pain in our words, our writing and our thoughts serves only to reinforce those feelings. Being happy is like anything else – it can be learned but it takes time and effort and I have decided it’s worth the effort. So, am I happy every minute of every day? No, but I’m working on it and life is getting so much easier in the process!

Have an awesome Sunday one and all :O)

Lisa x

Aren’t We All Human?

What are your feelings on immigration, illegal or otherwise? Yes, I realise it’s a contentious subject but it seems to be one that angers many people and I’m at a bit of a loss to really understand why. The media portrayal seems to be that immigration = more crime and less jobs for the indigenous population but is that really the case or the result of our prejudices?

What are your feelings on immigration, illegal or otherwise? Yes, I realise it’s a contentious subject but it seems to be one that angers many people and I’m at a bit of a loss to really understand why. The media portrayal seems to be that immigration = more crime and less jobs for the indigenous population but is that really the case or the result of our prejudices?

In the UK, people who’ve lived there for years are being deported, in the US Trump wants to build a wall to stop people entering the country. In Italy, they are claiming that their economy is in a state of emergency due to the large numbers of immigrants that the EU have insisted they take. In fact, all over Europe and in the US people are complaining about these ‘foreigners’ who are ruining their way of life, taking their jobs and threatening their sense of security. Why?

I suppose I can understand the problem in the UK, it’s an island and there is limited space, especially in the capital. The NHS is over-burdened and in a state of near collapse and, an additional 250,000+ people arriving in the last year alone is not going to help matters…..unless they work. So, what is the UK doing to encourage new businesses to to open their doors in that green and pleasant land? Taxes are high and extremely complex, people want cheap food and cheap clothes so much of what is for sale is imported from China or India (where people often live in destitution), salaries are low because business expenses are getting higher and higher, especially for insurance and legal costs, and therefore motivation and morale have plummeted.

lawyer quoteEven small companies hire law firms just to keep them up to date with the increased burdens caused by a mountain of employment law. Actions by employees are now the responsibility of the employer so, if an employee makes an off colour remark, the business can be sued because they didn’t offer enough “awareness training in matters of equality, diversity or the possibility of unconscious as well as conscious prejudice”.

The welfare state is such that you can spend your whole life living on handouts without too much trouble. Free healthcare is a huge plus for UK residents as it’s so expensive elsewhere in the world but the system is abused; the litigation budget alone is astronomical, running into the tens of billions each year. Everyone is so aware of their ‘rights’ that new ways to sue the State and businesses are being found every day and, with the advent of Social Media people are finding more ways to complain about their ‘unfair treatment’ which results in increased levels of dissatisfaction with their lives and the State.

Dissatisfaction promotes unrest and unrest leads to increased levels of violence, also often attributed to immigrants and yet some studies show that first generation immigrants are less likely to commit crime than second or third generation so that argument doesn’t really stack up. Perhaps by the second generation they’ve had time to become disillusioned and dissatisfied?

What may be a contributing factor is the fact that the media promotes jealousy; the rich and famous are lambasted and adored in the same paragraph. Young people can make millions by posting pictures on Instagram, by setting up YouTube channels, by taking part in reality TV……..and then, once they’re successful they are wholeheartedly criticised by their peers. They’ve gained weight, lost weight, drunk too much, paid too much for their new clothes, worn too much make-up etc. etc, You name it and they’ll be pulled apart for it.

Newspapers will tell us how much people earn, how much they paid for their house; they won’t mention the struggles they may have undergone to find their success or what it cost them mentally or emotionally to get to that position. Rather, the cry is invariably ‘it’s not fair’. We have a new generation that screams persecution and discrimination at the drop of a hat because they are not given the ‘respect’ that they demand; long gone are the days when respect was something that we earned! All of this has led us to a point where many feel deprived if they are not millionaires by the the time they’re 21 and hatred for those that have ‘made it’. In a nutshell, they want to be people that they despise………

We have become dissatisfied and, if this is true in the UK, it would seem to be doubly true in the US. American cities pay out an average of £1.2 billion each year to people who have sued them for one reason or another. Medical malpractice suits resulted in payouts of around £4 billion in 2018 which means that healthcare insurance is now out of reach for many people. On top of that there are more frivolous lawsuits filed than one could hope to count. Maybe all that began when Stella Liebeck was awarded almost $3 million when she burned herself by knocking over her just purchased cup of McDonald’s coffee?

It seems that pretty much everyone is unhappy about something and they’re quite happy for their lawyers to find someone to blame. So, what happens when half a nation is unhappy? The same thing, they’ll look for someone to blame and what better place to start that someone they don’t know? Immigrants are essentially faceless and they are all bandied together in a big pile labelled ‘trouble’. If there aren’t enough jobs they make the perfect blamehound, if crime levels go up the same applies, if the economy is in trouble well, it must be their fault. The media fuels the fire because it sells and people whip themselves up into a frenzy on social media. Of course, there are many studies which show that crime rates actually haven’t risen but in these days of ‘fake new’ who knows the real truth?

In the case of the US we should also probably consider that millions of families are only third or fourth generation so, in fact, their forefathers were all immigrants. We only have to go back 400 years (roughly 12 generations) to find the very first immigrants on American soil.

aren't well all human 4Of course, despite that many people will argue that immigrants only take from a country and I suppose that some do but many don’t, many contribute enormously for example: Albert Enstein, Levi Strauss, Joseph Pulitzer, Rupert Murdoch, Oscar de la Renta, Arnold Schwarzenegger….the list goes on and on. Maybe it’s only the illegal immigrants that are the problem? The ones who aren’t ‘approved’ to life in their country of choice? Well that would be Arnold Schwarzenegger out for a start (yes he worked illegally in the US as did Melania Trump apparently!)

What is it that we fear? Are immigrants who can speak English less of a worry for English speaking nations? Are those who have money in their pockets more welcome than those who don’t? Are we scared that somehow our lives will be less as a result of their staying in ‘our’ country?

Maybe it’s their desperation? Whatever it is that drives them to travel thousands of miles, in terrible conditions, knowing that they will risk deportation or imprisonment wherever they finally land. The thing that makes men leave their wives and children and then risk their lives trying to find a place that will accept them and allow them to earn enough money to save their families from starvation. Perhaps we fear that genocide may, in some way be contagious and that the terrible trials visited on millions of suffering people could somehow find a way into our lives?

Internews' Community Radio Stations in Eastern Chad

Perhaps what we fear most is ourselves. The part of us that can find hate in our hearts for people who want all those things that we are so dissatisfied with. Minimum wage instead of $5 a day, an emergency room that they can go to that will actually have the medicine they need, protection from the State rather than persecution, the freedom to speak about politics and current affairs without risking their lives. Do we fear ourselves because they want the things that we take for granted…. want them so much that they are willing to risk death. ……..

Let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you

Lisa x

The Learning Slope….

What, do you find, is the best way of learning? If you have to put together some flat pack furniture, for example, do you read every word of the instructions, carefully lay out every last screw and nut or do you just sling everything on the floor and figure it out from there?

What, do you find, is the best way of learning? If you have to put together some flat pack furniture, for example, do you read every word of the instructions, carefully lay out every last screw and nut or do you just sling everything on the floor and figure it out from there? The first way will ensure that you spend a lot of time reading and preparing but you will have a perfect bookcase, or whatever, at the end of it. The second way bypasses the boring bits and may or may not result in a bookcase depending on how many screws you lose and how many bits are thrown out of the nearest window in a fit of frustration…..

I am definitely a ‘let’s get on with it and see what happens’ type of learner…I pick things up as I go along. My husband was quite the opposite; building flat pack furniture in our house was definitely a one man job……I made the tea and stopped the cats from ‘helping’. Anyway, one day, for reasons that escape me, we decided to go skiing; as we lived in Essex the only options available to us were a plane ride to somewhere with snow and mountains or a trip to the local dry slope, we chose the latter. I am a bit of speed freak and was looking forward to hurtling down the slope like a lycra clad rocket; the reality was just a tiny bit different…..

BoredFirstly I was not allowed to buy any type of ski wear because, apparently, I might not like skiing. I argued – I’d be whizzing down a slope with two strips of wood strapped to my feet, what’s not to like? – I lost. So, there we were one Saturday morning in jeans and jumpers (!) full of anticipation and ready to hit the slopes. Well, I was ready, my husband just wanted to listen to the instructor as he explained how to put the skis on. After a few minutes my husband was gingerly manoeuvering himself towards the slope while I was still trying to work out what was wrong with my skis (apparently I was trying to put them on backwards). After the instructor had explained, again, and I had listened, for the first time, we were off…..

I’d seen the dry slope as we’d driven in and I couldn’t wait to get started; it was huge and white and people were flying down it; oohhhh I was so excited!

“Here we are then” said the instructor

He was standing in front of, what I can only describe as a miniature hillock. It was tiny and where we would learn the basics of skiing apparently.

“First we will learn how to make our way up the slope”

“Don’t you have ski lifts?”

I asked after watching the instructor inch his way up to the top, sideways, in a matter of seconds

He and my husband both gave me a look and then ignored me. The ascent was not as easy as it had first appeared and required exercising muscles that I hadn’t previously realised I owned. It seemed that balance was a bit of an issue as well and there was some falling over and quite a bit of swearing before I made my way to the top. Quite frankly, by this point I was bored. This was not what I had imagined when I thought of skiing; there was no elegant gliding, just lots of wobbling and sweating. However, I was cheered by the thought that, after our clumsy ascent, we would now be able to do the fun bit and slide back down again…..

But no. We were given a lecture on safety and then told that we would  be learning how to make our way down the slope slowly and carefully. This involved trying to turn our knees inside out in order to bring the tips of out skis to a point, which would slow us down and then stretch thigh muscles to twanging point to part the skis which would enable us to glide forwards. My husband was doing exactly as instructed and asking lots of questions as well; he was given praise and encouragement for his efforts; I was told off for going too fast. You see, I had mastered the going forward bit but my knees didn’t really want to turn inside out so slowing down and stopping was a bit tricky (this is a lie, I was bored and wanted to go faster).

There was a fence at the bottom of the slope so I sort of turned my hips to avoid crashing into it (I have a great sense of self-preservation) and, lo and behold I stopped. I was again told off for not using the method that we’d been taught but I thought ‘what the hell’, I didn’t hit the fence and that was good enough for me! We had several lessons after that and even moved on to a taller slope. My husband was still following every single instruction with great care and progressing well, earning lots of smiles. I was ignoring most of the boring bits and having great fun going faster and faster down the slope; I could stop but still hadn’t really mastered slowing down. I earned lots of frowns, both the annoyed and worried kind.

Finally the day arrived when we were taken to the BIG slope. Hurrah!! This one did actually have a ski lift. It was not quite as I’d imagined as it pretty much involved  just shoving a pole between your legs and hanging on for dear life before letting go once you’d reached the summit; it was nothing like I’d seen on the TV! Anyway, we reached the top and I was ready to soar. Both the instructor and my husband were offering last minute advice and words of caution but all I could hear was the wind in my ears; I got into position and I was off…..

expectation.pngIt was amazing! I really felt as though I was flying………for about 30 seconds. I don’t really know what happened but I was going off course and heading towards grass…very, very quickly. My turn and stop had worked pretty well on the little slopes but now my hips were pointing resolutely forward while my eyes were fixed, staring at the grass and…..oh shit, the concrete steps that I was hurtling towards. I tried to remember my lessons but there was just nothing (mainly because I hadn’t been listening) so I did the only thing I could think of; I threw myself sideways, crashed to the ground and slid for a bit before eventually coming to a stop, nose down.

It turned out that, what looked like snow from a distance, was actually a lattice work of some kind of plastic. At some point during my tumble my finger had got caught up in the lattice; it had a choice of supporting my entire body weight which was still travelling at some speed or snapping; it chose the latter. I seemed to be missing a fair amount of skin from my arms where my jumper had tried to escape during the fall (I was sure that would not have happened had I bought the appropriate clothing) and bruises were already forming. I cried. I was humiliated and many bits of me hurt….

My husband, on the other hand, had managed a slow but perfect descent and was gaily waving to me as he mounted the ski life for his second go; I tried to smile through the pain! I went off skiing a bit after that and I don’t think we ever went back again. Now, I live very close to the Alps so, come January, I’m going to try skiing on actual snow; I will print off this post and take it with me……….

Have you ever had an episode like that which resulted from ignoring sage words of advice? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

Lisa x

 

 

 

One Step At A Time…

Do you have any phobias or fears that you know hold you back in some way or stop you from trying something that you’d really like to do? Mine has always been a fear of heights; three rungs up a ladder and my knees seem to liquefy and my stomach feels as though its full of butterflies…on speed! 

Do you have any phobias or fears that you know hold you back in some way or stop you from trying something that you’d really like to do? Mine has always been a fear of heights; three rungs up a ladder and my knees seem to liquefy and my stomach feels as though its full of butterflies…on speed!

Now, as I like to travel, I’ve had to conquer my fear of flying and, on the flight back from the UK I actually managed to look out of the window during take off and landing without having a fit of the heebie geebies. That gave me a bit more confidence, to the point that I started thinking  about jumping out of a plane (attached to someone who knows what they’re doing and with a parachute obviously); the thought no longer scared the crap out of me. Oddly, the fear is less when I’m 35,000 feet up in a plane than when I’m standing on a ladder…

One of my closest friends, Floriane, knows about this fear and does everything she can to support me and help me get over it, including taking a 4 hour round trip that should have included a bungee jump somewhere in the middle. After I went as white as a sheet and bottled out, having briefly glanced over the edge of the bridge into the abyss below, she didn’t complain or try to bully me into it, she just said ‘OK we’ll start smaller’.  From that point on, we have climbed stairs up to castle ramparts, walked along walls and generally taken every opportunity to get high…no wait that doesn’t sound right…high up maybe?

Anyway, yesterday we decided to take a walk in the mountains. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny and, as we hadn’t seen each other for a couple of weeks, we had plenty to catch up on. We walked upwards and onwards and eventually reached the top and WOW!! What a view! Here, I took a couple of photos for you:

 

They can’t do justice to that view but they’ll give you an idea – the sea on one side and the Alps on the other, just amazing!

We carried on and came across an old fort with a wall all round it (I’m sure there’s a name for the particular construction but I have no idea what it is). I looked over the edge – OK no  problem – then Floriane proposed that I stand on the wall…hhhmmmmmmm. The drop was around 20 feet I suppose, I can’t be sure as I’m rubbish with estimated measurements (although, allegedly, men find this quite endearing) but, for me with my 3 rung issues, it was pretty damned high. What did I do?

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I stood on the wall! I wasn’t particularly comfortable and I can’t say I enjoyed the experience but my knees remained in solid form and I felt pretty damned proud of myself. In terms of conquering this particular fear, it’s one step at a time (although, in the case of this particular construction, not literally…for obvious reasons ;O) )

What about you? Any fears that you’re trying to conquer right now? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you

Lisa

x

Do Not Read This Post…

I mean it, walk away now please, it’s honestly for your own good. Read someone else’s blog or a book, do something in the garden or watch TV but do not, I beg you, read this post.

I mean it, walk away now please, it’s honestly for your own good. Read someone else’s blog or a book, do something in the garden or watch TV but do not, I beg you, read this post.

You’re reading it aren’t you? Why do we do that I wonder? Curiosity, morbid or otherwise, perhaps? It’s like when someone says ‘don’t think of a pink elephant’; what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Yep you’ve got it! ‘Don’t’ is an instruction which gets our attention and ‘pink elephant’, the words that follow, become our focus and all of  sudden we can’t think of anything else other than rose tinted pachyderms.

Anyway, to get back to the point of all this………..

Imagine, if you will, that you have been locked in a room by a person or persons unknown; you went to bed last night and just woke up in this room. You have none of your personal effects other than your PJ’s and the room is completely bare. The walls floor and ceiling are all painted stark white. The only thing in this room in fact, other than you, is a large red button and on it are the words:

DO NOT PRESS

How long would it be before you pushed the button? 5 minutes? An hour? A day? How long would you retain your sanity if you didn’t press the button? You’re locked in a room with nothing to do, read, or listen to; you’d go crazy in no time wouldn’t you?

Pushing the button may cause an explosion that could result in your death but it could be the release for the door which would result in your freedom. Not pushing it means that nothing will change, as far as you know, you will be trapped for ever more in a sterile white box with nothing to do and no-one to talk to…..

What would you do?.

Of course all of this – the white room and the button – is just a metaphor for life.  Only by taking action will we see a change; it may be a positive change or it may be negative, we can never know, but isn’t it better than sitting in a sterile white room, doing nothing, waiting for the end of life or our sanity?

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you

Lisa x

Are You Ordinary?

Be honest, was your first thought ‘no I’m not, bloody cheek!’ Was your second ‘oh crap what if I am ordinary’ followed by a feeling of ‘I need to do something extraordinary….now’. That would certainly be my normal thought process but this morning I questioned why. What’s wrong with having no special or distinctive features (dictionary definition of ordinary in case you were wondering), what’s wrong with being ordinary?

Be honest, was your first thought ‘no I’m not, bloody cheek!’ Was your second ‘oh crap what if I am ordinary’ followed by a feeling of ‘I need to do something extraordinary….now’. That would certainly be my normal thought process but this morning I questioned why. What’s wrong with having no special or distinctive features (dictionary definition of ordinary in case you were wondering), what’s wrong with being ordinary?

bestWe are constantly being told to strive for more, to be the very best that we can be and that’s all very well, there’s nothing wrong with ambition, but what if the heights we are being pushed towards just give us vertigo? In the name of ‘motivation’ we are told to ignore fear, exhaustion, problems and just reach for the stars. We are told that we cannot be successful without confidence, strength, determination and a relentlessly positive attitude. We are constantly having great men and women held up before us as bastions of achievement: the rich, the famous, the beautiful, the athletic, the intellectual, the spiritual. We are presented with so many images of people that we should aspire to that it’s easy to lose our own face when we look in the mirror…..

hayleyMany of these people that we so admire, and often feel so inferior to, have their place in the halls of fame for no other reason than genetics; they are born with a symmetrical face, a beautiful body, intelligence, athletic ability etc. Yet we often feel that we can’t live the life of our dreams if we don’t somehow attain these attributes; what do we think we can do? Go back and change our parents? Of course not, that’s impossible, so we do what we can: we have plastic surgery, we diet, we study, we work out, we push and push and push until we are satisfied……are we ever satisfied?

Invariably no because there will always be someone cleverer, more attractive, more successful, more talented…or is that just what we tell ourselves? We look at those people we aspire to, we want to swap our lives for theirs but what do we really know about them? All we ever really see is a media image, a reflection of their success. How many ‘stars’ have died young from drug overdoses, how many have broken marriages, how many have become a recluse in an attempt to escape their world? How many are accused of assault or are victims of the same? They struggle with their weight, their mental health, alcoholism, drug addiction and often lose those battles over and over again.

Their lives are ‘ordinary’ inasmuch as they suffer from exactly the same challenges that everyone else faces; they are merely extraordinary because they face them under the glare of the spotlight. Yes they have success, fame and money but none of those things will detract from the pain of grief or betrayal; they will suffer no more and no less than someone who has nothing.

To say that we are ‘ordinary’ is to say that we have nothing special that defines us but each of us is unique; there is no-one else absolutely identical to us on the face of this planet. We are one in 7.5 billion. Isn’t that extraordinary? If you found a flower that was a one-off, never seen before or since, wouldn’t you cherish it and protect it from harm? Wouldn’t you shower it with everything it could possibly need to keep it alive and thriving? Wouldn’t you hold it up for the world to see so that you could share its unique beauty, the traits that no other flower shared?

You, exactly as you are, at this very moment, are far from ordinary. If you want to change something about yourself then do it but not because you want to be less ‘ordinary’, you will never be that….

Lisa x

Time to Put on My Big Girl Panties…

One foot in, then the other and hoist! Hard! You know that your mental health is not what it should be when you start wishing that you were a fictional TV lawyer and your comfort zone feels like a prison; well, I say ‘ENOUGH!’ Sorry to yell like that but I need to be shouting this from the rooftops because I am getting on my own last nerve at the moment. When you don’t like your own company, you know it’s time for a change…

One foot in, then the other and hoist! Hard! You know that your mental health is not what it should be when you start wishing that you were a fictional TV lawyer and your comfort zone feels like a prison; well, I say ‘ENOUGH!’ Sorry to yell like that but I need to be shouting this from the rooftops because I am getting on my own last nerve at the moment. When you don’t like your own company, you know it’s time for a change…

Instead of writing about the negative shit that I’ve been feeling lately (which I am sure contributes to the miseries), I am going to use this post to kick myself up the arse until I am back at the fork in the road again and can start walking on the path that leads to happiness. Here goes:

FearThe only thing that stops you having the life you want is fear and what is fear? It’s nothing more than a chemical reaction to the pictures that your imagination creates. That’s the equivalent of being scared by a movie for God’s sake! The really daft thing about it is that you don’t even have to watch the movie, you’ve written the script and chosen the images so change them! You are not Mystic Meg, you have no idea what the future will bring: essentially, you are scared of something which does not yet exist…….

The headaches, tiredness, tension in your shoulders? All caused by stress and stress is nothing more than worrying about something that may or may not happen. How will that serve you? Life will throw things at you, both good and bad, deal with them head on. Don’t waste time analysing and over-thinking because that will change diddly squat; it’s your actions that matter.

The fluttering in your stomach, heart beating faster? Those are the physical manifestations of fear BUT they are also the physical manifestations of excitement; you get EXACTLY those feelings when you’re having the time of your life on a jet ski or a motorbike; accept them as such. You are not scared of meeting new people or having new experiences, you are excited by it!

mind-reader-i-am-notIf you meet someone new and they don’t like you,  so what? It doesn’t mean that you are not fundamentally likeable, it’s just that you haven’t made a good connection with another human being. Why worry about it, there are another 7.5 billion other humans out there, go and make a connection with one of them. Anyway, why do you worry so much about what other people might think? You can’t know because you’re not a mind reader, you just imagine their thoughts based on your own negative self image. All this low self-esteem nonsense doesn’t come from other people, it comes from you; you don’t think you’re worth it, you don’t really like yourself so why should anyone else? Well, you know what? You are all you’re going to get, there isn’t another you on standby so focus on the good stuff….(this is the hard bit, deep breath)………

You are kind, intelligent, funny, compassionate, loyal and sincere. You have a beautiful smile. You are affectionate. You are loveable. You were loved by the most wonderful man in the World because you are worth loving. You are generous. You have an infectious laugh. You’re a good writer. You are honest. For all these reasons and more, you deserve to be happy; let yourself be happy Lisa…..

If you try something new you might not like it………..and? What’s worse – trying something new and not enjoying it or sitting around, feeling miserable and waiting for someone else to hand you a happy life on a plate? It doesn’t work like that Lisa, the only person who can change the way that you’re feeling at the moment is you! Stop hiding behind the excuses ‘I’m shy’, ‘I don’t have any self-confidence’, ‘I’m grieving’ because they are just that, they are things you tell yourself to justify your fears.

At the root of all of it, the fear of people leaving you because loss is what started all this in the first place. Think about this logically: if you don’t get close to anyone because you’re scared you’ll end up alone aren’t you creating a self-fulfilling prophesy? You push people away and hide from the World – that’s called being alone and it’s your choice but it’s not what you want so STOP IT!! Open up, be vulnerable, be yourself, love other people and let them love you, yes they may leave but they may not and, at the very least, you can enjoy the time that you spend with them NOW.

AcceptHere’s a final reminder before I kick your backside out the front door and into a better life: You don’t do regret, you never have because you can’t see any point in it. You can’t change the past, you did what you did and said what you said and that’s that.  So here’s my question for you: do you want to get to the end of your life, which could be in 20 years time or in the next 5 minutes, and think ‘I wish I had’? No? Didn’t think so……

This post was prompted by 3 things:

A comment from my lovely friend Tom

A comment from my best friend Will

A comment from the voice in my head (stop being so fucking miserable, in case you were wondering).

The desire to change my life, for the better, stemmed from words; they have such power don’t they? It’s just a case of knowing which ones to listen to….

I’m going to enjoy my day to day and I hope that you do the same :O)

Lisa x

 

 

 

I Want to be Alan Shore……

Yes, I know he’s a fictional TV character from Boston Legal…and a man… but bear with me on this. He has, in spades, the thing that I’ve always craved and never really been able to muster: self-confidence. Like or hate him, you have to admit that Alan Shore is completely himself and he makes absolutely no apologies for it; how do you get to be like that, can anyone explain it to me?

Yes, I know he’s a fictional TV character from Boston Legal…and a man… but bear with me on this. He has, in spades, the thing that I’ve always craved and never really been able to muster: self-confidence. Like or hate him, you have to admit that Alan Shore is completely himself and he makes absolutely no apologies for it; how do you get to be like that, can anyone explain it to me?

He is totally self-aware and accepts all his flaws; is that it? Is that what gives us self-confidence:

“You’ll recall I once advised you fleeing the practice of law because it’s an ugly occupation which calls opponents participants to do ugly things. I’m very accomplished to the practice of law, Jerry”

This comment acknowledges that he does ugly things sometimes. The words are not an apology by any means but they are, in their own way, humble when you read between the lines. Yes, he says ‘I am very accomplished’ but, in the same breath, admits that he is massively flawed because he is capable of being cruel to others in the course of his work.

He is extremely attractive to the opposite sex, not because of his looks but because he is utterly determined in his pursuit of them. Is that self-confidence? To talk completely openly to someone you’ve never met, to lay yourself on the line risking all kinds of rejection but not fearing it? He is also brutally honest about what he expects from a relationship:

” I demand only one thing in a relationship, Christine, that I remain utterly alone.”

That may sound nonsensical at first glance until you realise that, in most relationships, people are absorbed into a ‘couple’, often losing something of themselves in the spirit of ‘compromise’. Is it self-confidence or arrogance when someone refuses to change to meet the whims or desires of another person?

Alan shore 2Alan is supremely intelligent, is that what gives him his self-assurance? He has the ability to make a witty comeback to any criticism or verbal attack but without getting overly emotional. Is it that he doesn’t fear confrontation because he knows that his verbal dexterity cannot be bested? Is he unemotional because he doesn’t care or because he realises that, when you lose control, you lose the argument?

He admits his fears: he suffers from night terrors and a fear of clowns and, what’s more, he asks for help, from his friends, in over-coming them. Is that self-confidence? To disclose your fears in all their dark glory and acknowledge that you can’t conquer them alone?

Whilst Alan can cut others to the quick with his retorts he is, at the same time, a great humanitarian who sees the injustices in the World and wants to do something about them. Could there be a connection between self-confidence and compassion?

Alan: You know what I miss most about our country, Denny? Not the loss of our civil rights so much as our compassion, our soul, our humanity.
Denny Crane: Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh. Soul, that’s a religious thing. State… church… it’s unconstitutional for the United States to have a soul.
Alan: Apparently. We seem to be becoming a mean people. Learned Hand once said, “Liberty lies in our hearts, and once it dies there, no constitution can save it.”
Denny Crane: Just once, I wish you’d quote a Republican.
Alan Shore: “I want a kinder and gentler nation.”

Finally, the man is a romantic at heart. He has endless affairs and dalliances but admits that he is desperate for love and is open to it, what’s more, he understands it. Does self-confidence stem from our ability to love and allowing ourselves to be loved?

Denny Crane: Do you believe married people can stay in love?
Alan Shore: Oh, I believe they can know even more profound joys be it with children, the depth of the relationship itself can evolve into something they can’t possibly live without. And yet, it’s something that doesn’t quite so resemble love. It’s not the romance of love.
Denny Crane: I never knew you to be such a romantic.
Alan Shore: My problem is I’m too romantic. No woman can possibly live up to the promise of tomorrow that love holds for me.

I don’t really understand where Alan’s self-confidence stems from but I wish I had it so, there you are, I wish I was Alan Shore……..

If you have any thoughts on this I’d really love to hear from you :O)

Lisa

x

Ps, If you’ve never seen Boston Legal and don’t know Alan Shore, here’s a perfect example of his eloquence in court…