From panic buying at the shops, to job insecurity and school closures. No one knows what the future holds and the sense of everything changing rapidly can be overwhelming. We are getting a constant news stream of what is going wrong, and what may go wrong. It’s very easy and entirely understandable to emotionally ‘invest’ in the news. However what is said and what we hear can be two very different things. It’s very similar to our reaction to is happening and what may happen. Let’s look at panic buying as an example. At no time has the government said they plan to close supermarkets, indeed they have gone to great lengths to insist there is enough food for everybody, and yet we still see daily pictures of ransacked shelves. Are people not listening? What prompts somebody to buy more than they need despite zero threat to their food supply? The answer lies in the pictures we create. When we watch the news, it feeds our anxiety and we start to create a future in our mind where we are left bereft of food. The actions that follow are carried out because we think that will keep us safe from our own irrational fears. It will keep us safe from a future that only exists in our head. Of course the reality is it creates a social tension, a sense of ‘every man for himself.’ Our energy is then spent on anger and derision at the actions of others. Haven’t we enough on our proverbial plate without creating internal angst at the actions of others? It’s vital we deal with what IS happening and not what MAY happen.
So how do we decide what is worth our focus? How can we become calmer and more resourceful in times of stress? What would society look like if we didn’t escalate beyond the facts?
Firstly we need to accept our place in the order of things. Unless we work in the higher echelons of government we’re very unlikely to be able to shape policy and change the way others behave. So why invest our energy? Secondly we must acknowledge what can we directly effect, or in other words, what is in our control? Our minds don’t tend to do well when they’re carrying a lot of information, especially if that information is corrosive to our well being. Thirdly, ask yourself who is responsible for your thoughts and actions? As individuals we are very capable of making these decisions, and the more we concentrate on what is truly important the more resourceful we become. Lastly, and most importantly we need to be able to switch off, guilt free. This doesn’t mean pretending everything is OK, far from it. It means giving your head a rest so it’s as healthy and calm as possible for the coming months.
Look after today, and tomorrow will get better in time.
We’ll have salt and pepper chicken wings, a portion of spare ribs, beef in black bean sauce, and two portions of egg fried rice. Oh, and some prawn crackers.
Ahh. . . Chinese takeaway.
The perfect food whatever the weather, but particularly when you’re comforting a friend who recently ended their marriage. Lots of things can contribute to the breakdown of a relationship. The pain it causes means that at first It’s much easier to lay blame elsewhere, sometimes at the estranged partner or outside influences like ones career or money. The last thing we want to do is look at ourselves for the part we played. Did we enable or subconsciously promote undesirable behaviour in our partner? The disconnect between what we want and what believe we are worth is very prevalent for a lot of people. We just aren’t consciously aware of how our behaviour and thought patterns effect us and the person we want to love us.
People act in the way you subconsciously want them to act.
What does this mean? Well, do you have a friend, family member or work colleague who always ends up with the same ‘sort’ of person? You can warn them, advise them, laugh with them, but nothing seems to stop the inevitable slide into another unfulfilled relationship. What does this suggest? That the person is actively looking to be hurt, unloved or not appreciated. . . Not for a minute!! However if we subconsciously believe that this is what we are worth then we frame our choices within that belief system. We chase love, affection, and quality time with someone because we believe we aren’t worthy, so we over compensate. This can mean the other person becomes used to things being easy for them, so they stop investing in the relationship because they don’t have to. The very things that we want we drive away. The old adage the more you give the more they take is very true.
We can’t control what others think, and we can’t take responsibility for somebody else’s happiness. However what we can do is understand what are value’s are. What are our red lines? I can’t promise anyone happiness or love in their relationships, but I do know this – the more you love you, the more you know your value, the more will you be pleasantly surprised by who comes into your life.
Once the searing honesty had subsided, I thought for a second about my eight year old’s pearl of wisdom.
‘Well, it’s good to a bit weird. I replied.
When she said this, I’d like to think she was referring to my love of Spandau Ballet. (Fair cop). But I sensed it was my commitment to an impression I was doing to make her laugh. It struck me afterwards about how we define ourselves and others as ‘weird’ or ‘not normal.’ Is it the job we do? If you are a deep sea diver off the North Atlantic then you are in the minority compared to a factory worker. However both equally provide for an individual and their loved ones. Is it our colleagues? The person who is socially awkward at work? Maybe they haven’t been given or shown the tools to cope in life? Is it our family? Why is one sibling totally different from the rest when given the same upbringing by their parents? It strikes me as ‘weird’ how quickly we see the difference in others without looking at our own oddities. . .
Why do we conform to being ‘normal’ or at the very least wanting to be perceived as normal? Must have kids. Must earn loads of money. Must get married. There is nothing wrong with any of those choices as long as they are your choices and they don’t come from a need or desire to fit in socially. So often we miss out on what is around us because we are consumed by where we aren’t, what we’re not earning, who we are not with. How much of our lives do we spend thinking about fitting in, instead of embracing who we really are? I’d like to think we are all bit weird, we all have parts of us that we suppress out of embarrassment or fear. But the truth is, this is where our soul lies, it’s what makes us an individual. What makes you stand out? What makes you, you?
I’ve heard this line many times in my life. When we think about what defines us, we can often blame our behaviour and thoughts on things that have happened to us. A big indicator for this is our parents. The things we learn from them as we are growing up stay with us into adulthood, and if we aren’t consciously aware of what those learnings are it’s easy to fall back on old patterns and put barriers up when life throws things at us. An example would be when we feel we can’t do something or we don’t want to feel a certain way. Clients will often say to me, ‘I’d love to be able to do it, but I don’t feel confident enough.’ They will then go on to tell me various other areas of their life where they have shown great confidence!
As people we are reservoir of resources, so what are we choosing to not know about ourselves?
The things that we see as negative in ourselves are also our greatest strength. What does this mean? Well the person who is sensitive and takes things to heart, is also the same person who is very good at listening, and empathising with people. The person who is shy, is also the same person who is confident. All of us are many things to many different people. Think about how many different parts of ourselves we must utilise in a single day to make of the most it. We are who we are because of what has happened to us, not in spite of it. So the next time you want to blame a parent, sibling, or friend for your behaviour, blame them for all the good in you.
We often see things
through the narrow prism of our own experience.
Our opinion and view of the world is of course the ‘right’ way to think,
and we reinforce this belief by talking to other people with similar views to
our own. The difference we see in others
can lead us to thinking our view is superior or others are not as enlightened
as us. We see this a lot in politics at the moment, where the word democracy
means different things to different people, depending on which side of the
fence you sit on.
So who is right – you or the other person?
Leavers or remainers? Or are we asking
the wrong question? It’s very easy in life to frame our thinking and attitude
around external things, the paper we read, the news we choose to listen to, the
friends we surround ourselves with. How often do you hear people say “I
believe in this view because it was how i was brought up”. These are all examples of a way of thinking
which takes away all our responsibility for independent thought. Can we not
think for ourselves? Sometimes It’s easy
and more comforting to blame the other person or the other side rather than
looking within. However, we can’t grow
and move forward if we don’t have a degree of self awareness and an ability to
expand thinking outside of ‘what we know.’ The key here is this – in how many
areas of our life do we limit ourselves and our opportunities because we
quickly decide ‘they’re not like me’ before even putting ourselves in a
position to find out?
The more we listen the more we learn, and maybe if we accept our differences and enhance our similarities our lives would be more fulfilled.