Life’s surprises are not always welcome

As I look back over my life there are probably a dozen incidents or more that were a significant blow to my equilibrium. The sort that makes everything else seem petty and unimportant.

I am sure that we all experience these things from time to time. My first experience I remember was when my school friend’s father died. He worked at our school and was very popular with all the kids. It was my first encounter with death and the aftermath.

I have since experienced marriage break-ups, sickness and deaths in the family, tragedies such as a five-year old neighbour’s child drowning, losing my brother and sister-in-law too soon …

I am not unique – similar things are happening every day to people around us. When I am in my ‘happy space’ I may not even be aware of others’ suffering.

I don’t know what I am trying to say today – just that life can be tough at times – we need to love and care for each other.

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What is the opposite of depression?*

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*According to writer, Andrew Solomon, it is vitality! That makes a lot of sense to me.

I listened to his talk on the video below and could relate to much of what he said. I had my first encounter with depression when I was in my 20’s and have experienced it on and off over the years. I have used a variety of methods to help me feel and do better.

Solomon raises the issue of “psychological vs physiological” and proclaims that we don’t have enough scientific evidence to choose either one. Maybe in time there will be a better answer.

Most of the time my depression is not noticeable to other people. I function quite well. I remember learning about “putting one foot in front of the other” and another tip was “just keep breathing” – these sayings were helpful at times.

Anyway, I won’t go on about depression apart from asking you to be aware among your family and friends and be brave enough to ask them if they are okay and be prepared to listen to their response. Thanks 🙂

Life’s lessons

I have heard the following expression at various times in my life. Are you familiar with it?

” Whatever or whoever is in front of you is your teacher.”

It is not always easy to remember this when I am in an uncomfortable or awkward situation. Sometimes I might get caught with someone talking about things I don’t believe in. I try to stay silent and listen – after all, they may have some greater insight into the issue than I do.

Or maybe someone doesn’t turn up on time when I am on a tight schedule. Maybe I need to learn patience or that some things are more important than punctuality.

What about when it is a really tough situation and I don’t feel like learning? The word compassion (for myself and the other person/s) comes to mind plus the ability to distance myself from the situation and try to be objective.

Not an easy thing to do, however I acknowledge there are still plenty of lessons for me to learn in life and I try to remain open to them. Just because I am in my sixth decade doesn’t mean I can put my feet up and relax! And yes, sometimes I get it wrong.

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It will pass …

In my life there are times when I experience intense emotions – sometimes good and sometimes not. I am sure we all do.  I have found that the secret to riding out these emotions is to try to remember the following:

  • My emotions are not me – they are but a tool or instrument in my experience of life
  • They will pass. Sometimes it feels like an eternity but just like the tides, my feelings ebb and flow and are forever changing – and that is OK!

This too shall pass

Tools to boost self esteem

Recently I wrote about dealing with negative feelings. It helps to have some tools or ideas to counteract them when they hit with full force. I developed this acronym a while ago and try to memorise it when I need some positive input. It is an acronym for the word CONFIDENCE and reminds me of what I am capable of or what I need to do to feel more confident.

C is for capable – I have the basic knowledge to do the task

O is for often – when I do something often I become more confident in my abilities.

N is for now – I need to focus on NOW and the task at hand.

F is for follow – I can follow instructions and directions rather than just guessing what is required.

I is for interest – if I have a genuine interest in what I am doing I am more likely to do it well.

D is for determination – if I am really determined to succeed, chances are that I will.

E is for elements –  I can break a task down to its smaller components and give full attention to each part.

N is for new – I need to be open-minded and curious about learning new tasks and that will get me there in the end.

C is for cheerfulness – if I approach the task with a cheerful attitude and be friendly to those around me the job will seem a lot easier.

E is for effort – putting in an effort and a bit of hard work can produce good results.

If I experience self-doubt I try to recall the above suggestions however it doesn’t really matter if I can’t remember them because I just look for another positive word beginning with the same letter.

It works for me 🙂

I was thinking of a new one today based on the word WIMP. I sometimes accuse myself of being a wimp. How about Warm, Intelligent, Magnificent, Person? Any other suggestions?

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Some wisdom about negative feelings …

Another gem from the School of Practical Philosophy: All negative feelings are the result of our habitual response to events and people who are not the way we want them to be.

I have been testing out the above quote on some real life situations and to date it is 100% correct.

Negative Feelings

An old friend once suggested that I became unhappy when life didn’t follow the script I had in my head. So true.

I need to be aware of this tendency and just acknowledge the negative feelings but not hook into them and then the feelings will not linger.

That has to be a good thing 🙂.

Step toward achieving that goal

I am an ideas person! I love coming up with new ideas, however, putting them into practice is another matter. Sometimes I let my ideas go because when I think them through they are not practical or I am not really committed to developing them.

I find this happening a lot more since I am semi-retired but accept that it is OK to carefully explore a range of options before putting energy into achieving them.

On the other hand, I sometimes doubt myself and my abilities to meet my goals. I do like to partner with other people and share ideas and concepts and find it a bit hard to go it alone. Not sure if I am a wimp or if it is just my personality type :-).

Anyway, I found this quote to be encouraging and decided to adopt it as one of my own.

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I like to find image quotes online that capture how I am feeling. I came across this one this evening. I often feel like this – some days more than others!

I have this vague feeling that I missed out on getting the rule book handed out at birth :-). At least today I can accept that is just how I am and not fret about it too much.

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Introvert or Extrovert?

I believe I am an introvert.

As time goes by, I realise that being introverted affects many areas of my life. I am not much into group activities and feel much more comfortable in a one on one situation.

Last year I did a writing course online and I really got into it (I had to as there were assignments to do). In doing the course I found a way to tell my stories from the privacy of my own home.

Once I completed the study I went cold on writing – you see I can’t just write a funny story or science fiction or fantasy – for me it has to be real, and in being real, it is often deep and sometimes painful.

But now I realise that I am a bit afraid of telling these stories but I can choose to overcome the fear if I really want to. Do I want to? Not sure … Perhaps I can invent a pen name -) and remain anonymous!

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Optimism … easier said than done?

This time last week I wrote about a couple of people I spoke with during the day. Both were facing major issues – one was dealing with sickness in the family and the other had serious business problems.

Today I caught up with the business person again and ventured to ask her if she had any success in fixing a major piece of machinery. Last week she said it could not be fixed and she would miss out on the busy holiday season. Today she was much brighter as she told me the problem was resolved. She said she had a couple of really tough days worrying about going broke.

I was really pleased to hear the good news. It is so easy to get overwhelmed when things don’t go the way we expect.

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