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You know the times when you feel really crap about yourself? Like the days when you go clothes shopping and nothing fits, or you get a rejection letter from a job you went for. Then there's the day you bump into an old school friend, who is now so attractive and sickeningly successful that it makes you feel like you've wasted your life in comparison. When you eventually get home on these days from hell, all you want to do is hide under your duvet and never come out again. But there is a way to make yourself feel a bit more optimistic about yourself. Even if you've put on several stone recently, lost your job and feel you have nothing to live for, my method will help, trust me. Wallowing under your duvet, downing vodka and feeling sorry for yourself won't help you one bit. You need to take your mind off current events and focus on happier times. First you need a box. An ordinary shoe box will do. Decorate it with things that you like- something that feels nice and reflects your personality. Maybe purple velvet, or bright pink fake fur. Whatever tickles your fancy basically, and makes an ordinary shoe box look a bit more special. Now you need to find things to go in your ego box. Here's some ideas: ** Photos ** ONLY use photos where you look happy and which bring back nice memories. I have a few photos where my hair looks nice and shiny and I'm laughing which cheer me when I see them. Pictures on days out, on holidays and at parties are all good ideas, so long as it wasn't a day out where you rowed with your partner, or a party where you were sick in the kitchen sink. Think nice, positive memories and choose your photos carefully. Something I used to do which provided good material for happy photos, when I was on a night out and a little "merry", I would drag a friend to find a photo booth, pay the £3 and have our photos taken whilst making faces and laughing hysterica
lly. I am always happy and laughing after a few drinks so these photos show me at my best, relaxed and grinning. Try it! At least you'll get to see what you look like half-cut! DON'T put any photos in where you look minging (that WON'T cheer you up) or any photos of ex boyfriends (no matter how gorgeous..) ** Phone Numbers ** When I used to go out a lot more than I do now, and get chatted up, if I was ever given a mans phone number, I would always save it. Even if he turned out to be an idiot and I never called him, I kept the little scrap of paper and saved them all in a plaster box. When I am bored or feeling low I sometimes look through them and have a good laugh, trying to picture the men. It?s flattering to look through them and think of these men who came to chat me up, some of whom I even ended up going out with. So if you are given a number, save it and stick it in your ego box. Unless they turn out to be a complete and utter waste of space, in which case you should burn it to get rid of any negative feelings. ** Autograph Book ** I have an autograph book, not for famous people to sign, but which I have used on "last days" at school- primary and secondary. It's full of comments, signatures and notes from old classmates and teachers. I found my book earlier tonight and spent a pleasurable half an hour reading through it, laughing at some of the entries. So if it's your last day at school, or a job, why not take a little note book for people to sign? It's something you can save and read back over years later. It's up to your friends what they want to sign, some of my entries remind me of funny incidents that happened at school, or of private "in jokes" I used to have. Either way, reading through it cheers me up and reminds me of old times. I'll be self indulgent now and share one of my favourite entries, which reads: Dear Katy, I've enj
oyed your drama over the last 2 years- I think you're really talented and should put it to some use. Stay at the crescent and tell me when your next in a show and I'll come and watch. You're a star, stay that way! Keep on shining! Now, how can I read that and not smile, even after the shittiest day? **Letters/Postcards/Cards** If you have any letters you have received which make you happy, include them. Ideas may be: Acceptance Letters from Universities or Jobs Love Letters Telegrams announcing a birth Birthday cards from a loved one Some other ideas for things you might like to stick in your box are: Small toys from your childhood- maybe you had a special teddy or doll which you named and kept you company through the nights? Pictures which your children/niece/nephew drew for you Concert/Exhibition ticket stubs Anything which brings back good memories and makes you feel all cosy inside. Use your ego box whenever necessary, but ideally restrict it to when you really, really need a boost. That way it will be more effective, whereas if you use it twice a week you will dilute the effect. See your ego box as the adult equivalent to a security blanket. How can something which cheers you up and takes your mind off how shitty things are at the moment, be a bad thing? Now go and make one and tell me what you put in it!
When Jill Murphy invited me to write about my favourite things, it was so hard to pick just one. I think my favorutie thing is daydreaming. Even though I dream of winning the lottery and having a Posh and Becks lifestyle, I do wonder if I would be happy. I think we need the dreams to keep us going, sometimes reality can be such a shock to the system. The rich people in life seem to have so many troubles in life. They get depressed, take drugs, become alcoholics and marry 300 times. Maybe my little world is far better after all. I think winning the lottery would take all my dreams away from me, it would be as if there was nothing left to wish for. I think we all need our dreams to keep us going, but if they came true, what then? I also love daydreaming, about faraway places in the sun, I do love planning to go on as many holidays as I can. The minute I come back from a holiday, I'm on the internet daydreaming away to where I can go next. I still can't work out which is best, I really think the best part is planning the holiday, not actually being there. I research for months until I've made a decision to where I want to go. When I get depressed which is quite often, this really keeps me occupied, it uplifts my mood, then I can dream of faraway places.I have to have something to keep me going, I've been like this for years now. A sudden black cloud might sweep over me from nowhere and even anti-depressants aren't strong enough. If I couldn't daydream and wish, then where would I be?. I sometimes wonder. Also theres my sense of humour, I work in a job where at last I can be me. I love the chit chat I can make with my customers, I'm only selling boating holidays, but knowing I love going on holiday so much, makes me feel wonderful that I've booked something for them. It really makes my day when somebody says "thankyou you have been so helpful and pleasant&
quot;. It costs nothing to be cheerful and pleasant to customers, I would also like to be treated this way when dealing with someone myself. There are too many miserable people about, just because you have had a hard day doesn't mean you can't be civil to somebody else. I have a silly sense of humour, but I make so many people laugh, it makes me smile to see them laugh. Try it yourself, see how many people you make laugh, or smile. Laughter makes everybody feel a whole lot better. Well sorry if this doesn't make sense to you all, what I'm trying to say is, Whatever your circumstances are, try to be happy, if only on the outside, smile a bit more after all there are worse off people than yourself. Daydreaming doesn't cost anything and if it makes you happy, then do it. "Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August
Throughout most of my student life, I was also a part-time barman in a club in the centre of town. One Christmas, when everyone I knew had gone home to their families and the delights of parental cooking, I stayed in Manchester to work. My boss had offered me full-time status and, crucially, pay, over the festive season and I wasn't in a position to decline. Then came news that a living legend from the dance fraternity was doing a six hour set at an all-nighter. I briefly weighed up the ignominy of going clubbing by myself against the chance to see him DJ live, and bought my ticket. As it turned out, I had a storming night which made it all the worse when it came to an end and I and my fellow revellers were ushered by the bouncers out of the building and into the early morning light. Towards the end of the clubbing experience it's definitely preferable to be amongst your mates and as I trudged up the road to find a taxi, the euphoria of the night was fast evaporating as I looked enviously at the groups of people walking off together in search of their own transport home. I thought of the prospect of coming down by myself, of the fortnight ahead returning from late shifts to an empty house. Of the fact that I had to work over Christmas in the first place. And I was mighty peeved. Halfway up the street from the club, I passed a doorway where a body lay prone in the corner. There was a pervading stench of alcohol and empty beer cans were strewn about the figure's head. A dirty blanket that I wouldn't have used to dry the floor was their ultimate protection against the winter temperature. Manchester city centre has always had its beggars - less so in recent years now that I think about it - and every so often I'd give them something small, but never much thought. Outside the club where I worked, there was often a young lad, or at least until the doormen arrived for the evening shift and moved him on. I got talking to him
once and he was surprisingly well spoken. He was an ex grammar school boy until various things went wrong and he ended up on the streets. Every morning when I got off the bus on Oxford Road, there was an old man sat opposite the Palace Theatre with a dog on his lap. He never said a word other than a mumbled thanks if you dropped some change in his cup. Seeing that brown heap in the doorway made me wonder what those two had in store for them over the festive season. Even before heading out that night, I knew the overall cost of activities would have covered a fortnight's groceries. Two weeks of food versus one night of indulgence. Hmm, tough. But what would young lad/old man/dirty blanket have given to be in a position to make such a choice? How much would they have welcomed the option of catching the train home if they just couldn't be bothered with it all? I put myself in their place and imagined facing the onslaught of winter without a roof over my head. I thought about how it would be to yearn for a job, even if it meant serving other people having a good time. I visualised needing alcohol, and more, to see the day through. Worse still, being aware of that dependence yet remaining powerless to fight it. When I snapped back to the here and now, the feeling of relief was immense. I wasn't any of those things - I was me and all of a sudden, it felt extremely good to be me. These days, whenever I find myself wishing things were different i.e. better, I remind myself that they could also be much, much worse. You only have to put the news on to see how some people live in other parts of the world - or even the country - and it immediately puts your own woes into perspective. I'd call this the principle of relativity but then Einstein's lawyers would shortly be making my acquaintance, so perhaps I won't after all. 'Positive thought' actually has theological connotations, particularly with fait
h healing and white/black magic. That's never interested me though and this opinion is about the layman's concept of it as a general state of mind. It's about putting yourself in a more positive state of mind, a happier mood if you like, by consciously focusing your thoughts. The facts don't change but your perspective of them can. At the least you can concentrate on what is good in your life - and very few people would have absolutely nothing they could smile about. Why would you want to do this? Because it makes you feel better and, whilst I don't have any empirical evidence to hand, I have no doubt this will in turn do wonders for your physical health. I wouldn't want you to think that the extent of it is to think that there's always someone who's worse off. That was just the first occasion when I was aware of being able to shift my mood by thinking things through. The year after I walked past that doorway, I split up with someone I was still in love with. Putting it mildly, I was devastated. My days and nights had revolved around her for so long that her absence left a gaping chasm. I stopped going out with my friends because I couldn't bring myself to join in the merriment and every moment out of work and college was spent in my room, thinking, moping, despairing. She was funny and sensitive and a host of other wonderful attributes, not least the ability to turn heads wherever we went. Indeed, long before we started seeing each other, I'd convinced myself she was way out of my league and I never stood a chance. Those thoughts came rushing back but with an added footnote - I would never be so happy again. What then of this much vaunted relativity? Could anything be worse than losing someone you love? Well, yes. I read the following somewhere once and it's stuck with me ever since, "It's better to love and to have lost than never to have loved at all."
; Or similar. Actually it didn't stick so well that I'm sure I've got it word for word. If anyone can correct that or name the source, I'd be most grateful. Anyway, some may disagree but this is a sentiment I strongly adhere to. What's the alternative - going through life as a one-(wo)man show for fear of being hurt? That's not life. As I relived some of our best moments together for the umpteenth time, I realised the memories were equally capable of raising or lowering the corners of my mouth. Really, the choice was mine. And as for all those times I'd inwardly smirked at the other lads gawping at her - supposing I'd been among their ranks and was offered the chance to be her Other Half but on the condition that one day it would have to end? It didn't take a doctorate to work out what the answer would have been. Looking at it from another angle, she could have had her pick of the bunch. That she chose to spend so long with me was welcome reassurance that there was hope for me yet. The transformation wasn't instantaneous but I eventually shook myself out of that self-pitying stupor and grew to look back upon our time together as an extremely happy period of my life and nothing else. Something that no-one and nothing could ever take from me. It was over now though and it would be foolish to deprive myself of the present in order to dwell on the past. On a similar note, if you'll excuse the expression, I once harboured thoughts of being a musician. Pragmatism eventually won the day and I chose a more prosaic but steady profession. A few years down the line, I went through a stage of really missing it and wondering what might have been. How good could I have been? I wasn't just thinking about commercial success but also the self-rewarding feeling of being involved with the music at the highest level of skill. Many of the greatest pieces of classical music eve
r written require years of dedicated specialisation to do them justice. As a kid, there was always the thought that one day I would reach that level. Cue the present day, I'd opted out and the harsh reality was that I would never attain those heights. Once I reminded myself of the logic behind dealing with splitting up from my ex, this became an academic exercise. OK, I couldn't manage the Tchaikovsky violin concerto but I could play the Beatles on the piano. What if I couldn't even do that? As for my current music of preference, dance, DJ'ing had come 'naturally' to me thanks to years of reading, counting and visualising classical music. Lots of things I took for granted were actually the result of a privileged childhood. Count your blessings, lad. I have a confession to make. This op started out as a favour to a very good friend. She's come to the end of a relationship and, having tired of me always harping on about positive thought and how there're plenty more fish in the sea, asked me to put it into words. By the miracles of modern technology, someone who I've never met or even spoken to has also asked me to write something. "August will be the four year anniversary of cancer-free living for me. And it would be lovely if you could help me celebrate that by writing an opinion about one of your favourite things. It could be a place, some music, a book, a child's toy, a game, it could be anything at all. Just a favourite thing of yours. It's not a write-off, there won't be any winners or losers, it will just be a celebration of the fact that no matter how rotten life can be at times, there is always something to make you smile." This isn't the place to expand on my friend's situation so you'll understand if I focus on Jill for a bit. Returning to the idea of relativity, anything I've ever had cause to complain about pales into
insignificance compared to what she's gone through. But if it wasn't for the more serious ops that actually go into what's happened, you'd never have guessed that anything had ever been amiss. On the face of it, her pleasures in life are the simple ones - the children, the cooking, the reading to name but a few - but that's not to detract from their worth. The enjoyment that she derives from them is clear and genuine, and we benefit too because the positive thought of it all is unmistakeable and contagious. It seems a bit risky, making such assertive proclamations about someone I've not met. Isn't it possible to be who you want to be behind the mask of a modem? Yes, but this requires a ridiculously high level of concentration. There are definitely characters on Dooyoo who shouldn't be taken at face value but these are usually geniuses e.g. Cammij or Quentin who seek to entertain. When someone writes about themself and/or everyday affairs for long enough, their true character inevitably shows through. I've got very little in common with Jill but I have the utmost respect for the person that she is and for what she brings to this site. Sadly, whilst it is clear that both requests merit their own, dedicated ops, I've nonetheless taken the easy way out and halved the effort required by yours truly. Fortunately, the miracle that is modern technology also means I can deliver this to both of them without ever stepping within slapping distance. thequy xx ---------------------- Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YO
UR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August.
One of the biggest personal problems I have had to overcome in life is dealing with anxiety and depression. My warning signals for an attack of either is that my thought patterns gradually change from general head ‘business’ (which I think is my natural state of mind) to crippling thought patterns that can lead me literally into hell. My inner demons take up the shreds of my personality and weave them into a gibbering wreck too afraid to go out, too paranoid to accept the hand of friendship and so forceful they can make me believe that I have no future to hope for or aspire to. I become a mere shadow of myself – something that cannot think, has trouble speaking and cannot listen to anything other than the barrage of cruel voices that come from within. Now perhaps some of you won’t have experienced this to this degree of self-destructiveness and perhaps some of you have. Either way – I hope to offer you something of what I have learned about thought and reality and the nature of positive thinking. Positive thinking as a popular concept is perhaps much more of a preventative measure than a cure. I know that in my darkest moments someone smiling brightly and enthusiastically saying “Come on now – think positive!” is more likely to get a smack round the chops than an open receptive Whitehorse! To me, positive thinking is about learning to watch for warning signs within myself and to act on them – before I descend into something that couldn’t have a positive thought if it tried. THE NATURE OF FEAR One of the main things I have learned over the years is to actually listen to my what those nasty little voices are saying – yes I said listen to them. Your fears can be great teachers if you allow them to be. Imagine a small child keeps pulling at your arm and wants attention. Maybe you push them away over and over again until the child starts to scream the house down. Now you have no choic
e but to focus on the child and find out what it is they want or need. This to me is rather like fear. Fear is a useful thing in that it keeps us alive and healthy. Fear can give you the extra kick necessary when you think you can’t go on. Fear used wisely can become strength in itself. Fear has a voice and if you ignore it, it will inevitably scream so loud in your head you won’t be able to hear anything else. An exploration of your fears can bring you to new insights about the nature of your true self and perhaps what you really need than think you want. I always say that nightmares are a gift – they offer us an opportunity to discover what is holding you back from living the life you want to live. Nightmares experienced via daydreams are no different. F*** FEAR! Okay – the first word is FILM! When we experience fear we often have a film reel running in our head to accompany this feeling. The film reel dictates how much fear you will experience. So for example say I feel a little anxious about going out. My film reel starts rolling and by the time I’ve had a bath and washed my hair I have imagined my way into getting mugged, someone laughing at my clothes, falling over etc. etc. Does this help my anxiety? – No of course it doesn’t. It simply FEEDs my fear. Fear is a hungry beast and will take all it is given until I’m left sucked dry of inspiration. So – we FILM fear and we FEED fear. What can we do to change those things? How can I acknowledge my fears without feeding them? How can I learn from them? How can I watch the FILM and ‘get’ the message? WHAT IF…? One thing I love about Phil McGraw (see my op on his book Life Strategies) is his comment on playing the ‘what if’ game. He basically says if you are going to play the ‘what if’ game then play it right – follow through. A great deal of fear is based around “what if such
and such…” happens and he advises to follow this thought through but in a practical way. So – to use my examples above What if I get mugged? I’ve been mugged before. It’s scary but I survived. I can make a contingency plan not to carry my money and keys together. I have learned from my experience What if someone laughs at my clothes? Okay – this hasn’t happened since I was about 12! If they laugh what does that mean? They don’t like them – so what! I like what I’m wearing and if I’m taking on what they think and identifying myself through the eyes of others then that suggests I need to do some more work on my self esteem. What if I fall over? I get up, laugh and move on. Or – someone calls and ambulance and I’m cared for. Either way I’ll be okay. Do you see where I’m going with this? To play the ‘what if’ game properly you need to answer the question! Fear at is highest level is often accompanied either by an exaggerated version of the truth or a faceless, nameless unknown and as animals we generally fear the unknown more than the known. If your fear is contained in one glorious image of disaster then congratulate your imagination for its inventiveness and answer the question honestly. Sadly we cannot escape the fact that ‘bad things happen’. Disaster happens, people die, accidents happen but they don’t happen to you or me every day of the week. IDENTIFYING INNER VOICES This week I had a dream. At the beginning of the dream I was screaming at someone – giving back all the anguish and fear I had felt. Laying everything they had given me by way of negative self talk firmly at their feet. I did all this and stood still for a moment and an incredible wave of peace came over me. I suddenly knew what it was just to be myself – to be me without any introjected values or internalis
ed voices. I suddenly knew what it would be like to be stripped of everything that says “I can’t” leaving only “This is me and I can”. It was a powerful dream and it shook me to the core. What this dream illustrated was how much I have taken on from past experience. The voices of our parents, siblings, friends, lovers, colleagues can all seep into our minds. When we are close to people or live closely with others their voices become internalised. For example sometimes when I am interacting with others or even just thinking I can clearly hear in my mind what my best friend would say about those things or my Mum or Dad. All those voices would be different and all would likely be learned from my close association with those people. It is easy therefore to internalise the negatives – certainly from childhood. We are shaped and moulded by what we hear as children. We learn quickly what our family/carers approve and disapprove of and as adults these thoughts often appear as “shoulds”. I SHOULD do this, that or the other! It is always worth checking yourself when you hear this word in your mind or voice it because it nearly always belongs to someone else. Why ‘should’ you? Who says you should? My above example of someone laughing at my clothes is a good example of inner voices at work. Basically, if someone says something that you don’t believe then it cannot damage your self-confidence. If I am feeling shaky about my appearance then a comment from the outside simply confirms what I have already been thinking. It triggers the internalised voice that tells me I’m scruffy or too fat or unfashionable or whatever and that voice becomes top dog. If however I was feeling positive about my image, my body etc. then any disparaging comment from an outsider would simply be ‘their stuff’. Sure I might feel annoyed with them for being rude and certainly would feel a
little hurt if someone close to me said that but it would still be “their stuff”. COMMON NEGATIVE SELF TALK Negative self-talk often revolves around issues such as rejection/acceptance and safety/danger. Oooh I just heard you dear reader saying “but what about pass/fail issues?” Well – those are covered in rejection. Often our idea of failure is associated with failing someone else and you may have to look a long way back to discover who that is. Sure I didn’t like it when I failed my driving test for the second time but it wasn’t devastating failure. It just told me that I wasn’t ready. If I’ve failed that means that I am not safe enough to be driving on my own just yet and better safe than sorry. I did pass in the end and quickly learned that I hated driving anyway – lol However – other potential failures have been a different matter. Failure in a job or relationship seemed to strike at the very heart of me and it took me sometime to figure out why. I began to understand that I was so busy trying to live up to the expectation of someone else that failure became something equated with rejection. “If I don’t do this…they will reject me”. Many people experience love as a conditional thing rather than the life-giving unconditional kind that we all need so badly to function well in life. Working through issues about failure has also lead me to think a great deal about what exactly ‘failure’ is anyway. Afterall – as my driving example shows, everything happens for a reason. Common thoughts include I’m not good enough I can’t do that I shouldn’t do that Nothing ever works for me No one will like it if I do that REALITY IS WHAT YOU CREATE Our thoughts create reality and therefore if your thoughts are confused or full of internalised conflicting voices then it’
s no wonder the reality you perceive may not be what you desire it to be. The human being has an incredible ability to act on its deepest fears and therefore if you have not accurately named your fears and dealt with them one way or another then those fears will define your reality. I believe that everything I have in my life right now is because I have created it. Thoughts are powerful and those that I do not acknowledge even more powerful. A stereotypical example of this is someone who constantly but subtly sabotages relationships because they have not consciously identified that they are afraid of getting hurt (afraid of being rejected). The constantly crave people around them but then push them away in a myriad of ways – then wonder why they always feel isolated and lonely. They may get angry with others or they may internalise the fear and become angry at themselves. What is manifesting in their life is an unconscious driving fear that says “I need to protect myself”. In Christian teachings thought is immediately linked to creation “In the beginning was the Word and the word was God…” This is similar in Pagan traditions to in that what is thought becomes manifest. You can have all the spell paraphernalia in the world but if your intention is not clear the spell will never work. Another non-spiritual example is that if you believe it – it will manifest. You might believe that you are going to die in some horrific accident by the time you’re 35. You firmly believe it but at 35 you are still here. Okay – so the thought didn’t become manifest or did it…? Does someone who firmly believes they are going to die bother to try and achieve long-term goals? Will they take on long-term relationships? Will they prepare a pension fund or get a mortgage? The person who believes they will die in a horrific accident at 35 may not actually die but they may be d
ying on the inside for the rest of their lives or until they realise that that fear has manifested itself in other ways. I’m using extreme examples to try and get the point across about how powerful fear and negative self-talk is when it goes unrecognised. BEGINNING TO BREAK THE CHAINS THAT BIND So – already above I have suggested a few ways to break out of fearful thinking Watch the fear film objectively Change the film! Listen to fear with acceptance not judgement Play the ‘what if’ game in full Identify voices that don’t belong to you Understand that fear can create your reality when you don’t acknowledge it. What else can you do? One thing I try to do each day is make a mental note of things I am grateful for or inspired by. So today – I’m grateful I have a roof over my head, food in the cupboard and friends I love. I’m inspired by the fact my friend has just bought her first house and glad that she has found somewhere she likes. I love the dream that I had last night that gave me a bit more information on my book on nightmares. See how easily this could be turned into negatives I hate where I live I’m jealous of my friend I had nightmares last night! Sometimes it seems as though you need to work hard to find the positives but they are there – they are there in the laughter of your children or in the beautiful colours of the autumn leaves or in the phone call to your friend when you cried your eyes out. For me right at this moment in time – the joy is there as my dog licks her lips with eyes smiling as she’s just eaten her dinner and the cat chasing my pen across the floor. The small things count! You can of course write down these things thereby creating a gratitude journal such as Oprah suggests. You don’t need to be religious or spiritual to do these things a
nd acknowledge the beauty that surrounds us in every moment. Reality is as you create it to be. Another thing you can try is an inspiration altar. This can be created in a small space in your house or even by just using a box. Gather together things that inspire and motivate you, things that remind you of your achievements and your goals (YOUR goals as opposed to what you think you ‘should’ achieve!). I have the luxury of living alone so most of my house contains stuff that inspires me and motivates me. This room I sit n however is where I spend most of my time writing so I have things more overtly displayed here. I have an altar which is my sacred altar and contains objects that I love and work with on a spiritual level. Two giant paintings of whitehorses adorn the room and here I keep all my writing and books. A rosette I won from dressage on my favourite horse years ago is on the wall and there’s a folder that I call “Progress” which contains certificates and letters from people that I value. When I feel fed up or upset or doubt myself I come in here and look at these things and remind myself that there are things I have achieved. I listen to music I have created and re-member my voice and my spirit. On your altar or in your box you could put pictures of your children or partner or friends. You could include a tape of your favourite upbeat music, a little book of your favourite motivational quotes, a history of your achievements from the smallest to the greatest, a pressed flower – anything. Anything at all that inspires you, motivates you and reminds you of who you truly are. Go back into your childhood and remember your favourite stories, popstars, filmstars, sportstars. What were your favourite toys, teachers or lessons? Can you define those moments when you just knew that what you were feeling was something so deep and powerful it expressed who you truly are? What do all these things say about y
ou? Focus always on the things that define you – expressed something of you. Discard the things that were put onto you – the things you ‘ought’ to like and ‘should’ do. I knew from a young age that I hated the meat market atmosphere of clubs and refused to go to disco’s and the like. For years I thought I was just plain weird and I was told so by my family (internalised voices) – you might think so too but now I’m comfortable enough with this to say – hey – I’m not weird, it’s just not my cup of tea. Now if you love clubbing and the vibe and your favourite party place is a great place to be then wonderful – we both have identified something about ourselves that we like. Me – I like the quiet… Everything is as it’s meant to be. LIFE IS NOT ABOUT CRIME AND PUNISHMENT THERE IS ONLY EXPERIENCE AND RESPONSE So many times in hindsight we look back and say “If that hadn’t have happened then I wouldn’t be here now” Often it is only in hindsight that we realise that a seeming ‘mistake’, ‘bad decision’, or ‘failure’ actually served as a steering wheel to get us onto the right path for us. Always however it is our RESPONSE to what we experience that dictates the reality we create. Certainly there is a place for guilt, fear, anger and other emotions that we commonly term ‘negative’ but they are only negative when we act upon them inappropriately and blindly. When identified, explored and understood, all these ‘negatives’ can offer powerful and potentially life-changing insights. I can’t change the past but I can change my perception of it This brings me back to the title. Angels in disguise is how I see my fear and negativity. I used to get caught up in the polarity of good and bad. There is no
black and white – the demon and the angel are the same and it is only my perception that changes their face and interprets their words. It seems to me that it is no coincidence that Lucifer in Christian mythology was the Light Bringer who got thrown into hell and became the greatest symbol of fear. Fear can lead you into the light – if you care to talk with it a while. For a whole host of links to articles and resources about positive thinking go to http://www.selfgrowth.com/positive.html
Having read through most of the opinions in this sub category I soon realised that very few have related this to the main category, which is complementary health and is generally concerned with alternative therapies and medicines. I have decided to write this opinion because while there are certainly benefits in ‘positive thinking’ it does have what you might call a darker side. On the one hand it may seem a relatively easy self help therapy but on the other it might be seen as another aspect of the modern religion of consumerism – seriously egotistical – it promotes the philosophy of I want therefore I can have. Positive thinking is a mind –science thing and like most of the other ‘mind’ sciences it derived its techniques from the occult. Although many people may not be aware of the fact, many of the forefathers of psychology etc. were involved in the occult. Most obvious is Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) who popularised hypnotism and both Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) and Carl Jung (1875 – 1961) were involved in the occult too. ~~~ The history of positive thinking ~~~ “Positive thinking” is a part of a philosophy which emerged from a movement in the US during the latter half of the nineteenth century generally known as ‘New Thought’. The New Thought movement has been described as "the religion of healthy-mindedness" or "the mind-cure movement." Many New Thought advocates worked in and through ‘Christian’ churches and many formed their own such as Christian Science, the Unity Church of Christianity and many other churches which include ‘science’ in their names. Many of the ideas have now emerged and been adopted in the mainstream churches and in popular culture. The originator is said to be Phineus Quimby, who was a hypnotist who believed that illness originated in the mind. One of his patients was Mary Bake
r Eddy who in turn founded the Christian Science movement. The term ‘positive thinking’ is most associated with Norman Vincent Peale who wrote a book entitled ‘the Power of Positive thinking’ (1952). Peale himself admitted that his theology of positive thinking came from Ernest Holmes founder of the Church of Religious Science and the phrase itself from Charles Fillmore, a founder of the Unity church. The movement was very influential and one can see its influences even in children’s books of the time such as Pollyanna, the glad book, by Eleanor Porter. Most of the leaders in the New Thought movement and related ‘churches’ were also students of the occult, eastern religious traditions or involved with ‘secret’ societies such as Freemasons. The same was the case with similar European movements such as Theosophy and Anthroposophy. The new thought movement initially were only concerned with ‘healing’ not with wealth or success but gradually this changed and “Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore stated flatly that poverty is a sin, and the Greek word translated sin means "missing the mark." God intends for all of His children to live abundantly.” This is the philosophy we see preached by American TV Evangelists all raking in a great deal of money from the faithful and indeed living abundantly themselves and the philosophy taught in motivational management seminars which stimulate successful businessmen and make the consultants very rich too. This is also the philosophy behind the many ‘self help’ books and seminars abounding today. Most of these quasi religions have utilised the idea that all things are possible for man and from this have posited some sort of utopian existence in this world rather than in an afterlife. The basic idea is that everyone should be healthy wealthy and happy all of the time and if not it’s entirely your o
wn fault. However reality shows us that a significant percentage of this world lives in poverty, pain and probably unhappiness. Tell any of them to ‘think positively and they would probably say with Nikkisly “DON'T tell me how to think, damn you!” and with good reason. I think it is well to be aware that the people who founded these movements were, on the whole, rich, upper class and privileged. The philosophy continues to be preached by rich white middle class Americans. This is not a philosophy which could have come from the poor, black, ghettos. ~~~ So what is Positive thinking? ~~~ Actually, ‘positive thinking’ is what some people would call ‘magic’. The techniques used are all derived from occult or eastern practises. The idea that you can effect change in accordance with your will is the very basis of magic, repeating positive statements over and over is actually a form of mantra or chant and visualisation is the most powerful technique used by occultists. Many of the opinions in this category are about taking a positive attitude to life and there is nothing wrong with that. Nor is there anything wrong in trying to improve one’s inner self. But at least one opinion states that ‘we can have absolutely anything we want’ – health, wealth or happiness and specifically uses ‘money’ as an example. Now in terms of ‘magic’ this would be considered a very ‘grey’ area – I mean somewhere between white and black - and with the understanding that black magic is that which may harm others. Now, it is obvious that wanting some money for oneself or even for someone else on the face of it does not seem harmful. One would expect, perhaps, that the money would come out of thin air by a lottery or competition win for example. But, in reality, this is not quite how things work. If you read any of the self help books you will find that
they tell you to focus or visualise the end result not on the ‘how’. This is because there is no way of knowing the ‘how’. The ‘how’ is outside your control and doing what you think is good for yourself or for others may result in harm happening to someone else. The desire for ‘money’ may result in someone dying, and not necessarily peacefully in old age, and leaving an inheritance. I personally know of two examples of this happening – they may, of course, simply have been coincidences – but the people involved didn’t feel that way about it. Therefore, it is very important to consider very seriously what you really want. Is it really ‘money’ you want or something else more personal, the freedom to do something that money would give? Why do you want it? As I have already mentioned the basic techniques are those of magic many of which in turn are often derived from meditational techniques of Eastern religions and philosophies. These, however, were not as a rule used to achieve health, wealth and happiness but had a far more spiritual purpose. It is no coincidence that when the Buddha found enlightenment he returned to the world to help others not himself and there are many other more recent examples one could cite. True positive thinking is probably almost the opposite of what we think it to be and is aware of the pain of the world and is selfless not selfish. So positive thinking can work but be aware of how it works, what methods you are using and your reasons or goals for using it. If you want to improve yourself perhaps you would be better seeking motivation directly from someone learned in one of the traditional schools of Taoism or Zen rather than from some self styled guru using a hotchpotch of techniques from goodness knows where. But don’t expect miracles overnight. I am sorry if I have seemed to be a bit cynical or pessimistic in this opinion but I
felt it necessary to point out the origins of ‘positive thinking’. I perhaps should go on to deal with the more positive side and give some examples of how it works for it certainly can help in some circumstances but there are plenty of other opinions which will say how wonderful it all is.
Oh The Power Of Positive Thought…….. I read an absolute cracker of an opinion yesterday by the girl with the fluffiest slippers on site about positive thinking, and thanks for the inspiration for this opinion fluffyslippers. Can that girl write or what and talking of brilliant writers where are you grinchgirl? Anyway I am a big believer of the power of the mind and do honestly believe that you can make things happen in your life with the power of thought. Now I know a lot of people will dive in with examples of how this didn’t work for them but come on and be real here, not everything you wish for will come true. But if you set your sights on something that is within your goals and sow the seed in your mind and think positive it will happen. For the really negative people on the site I will send you an email later explaining what positive means ok… Now I know a lot of you will laugh at my next statement but are you religious? I am a big believer in the fact that something bigger than us decides our every move and I believe that the positive thought must be similar to a prayer. Nothing beats the power of prayer and trust me it works as it has for me on numerous times, but it must be positive and it must be something realistic.. I agree with Fluffy on the visualization bit, as to make it happen you have to see it happen. I am the sort of person who when I want something and it is within my goal I will get it. Take my car, for years I didn’t have a car and then one day I fancied having a car again. I pictured myself driving that car in my head and decided to make that picture a reality and I did. So how do you do it, it’s easy by believing in yourself and really believing that you can make it happen…. To make my head more clear for positive thought I am into yoga and meditation, especially the meditation bit. I and I am sure fluffyslippers knows that this is really good for both
your physical and mental state. I would sit in a darkened room, put on a bit of music and just let myself drift. When you reach the that point were you are completely relaxed then let the thoughts of what you want out of life drift into your head. Do this continually and be positive about it and your life will change for the better… I know I may come across the down trodden husband figure but in reality I am a pretty contented sort of guy. I always think positive and I do find that I end up better for being that way. On the other side if you continue to just think negative thoughts you will find that you will attract nothing but negative things in your life….. To a lot of people this all sounds mumbo jumbo and is something to have a good old laugh about. I am old enough and have seen enough things happen in my life to know that something bigger than us is running our lives. And I also know that a bit of thinking on the positive side makes your life better and of course not forgetting the prayer bit as well….. Trust me on this opinion because one day life might just rise up and bite you hard and you will think to yourself then why didn’t I listen to art1954 about both positive thinking and the power of prayer, it’s a true old saying “What goes around comes around” and you are what you think……. I thank you yet again for the read, may I just say that I am saying a prayer for my good friend Elvira as her mum is not to well and I hope you don’t mind me saying that Sandra. Take care all, as ever your friend online…………. Art….12th November 2001…………
INTRODUCTION ************* There is a direct relationship within our bodies between our nervous system (how we think and feel) and our immune system (what impact that has upon our physical and mental well being). Our bodies possess messengers that tell us how to feel and respond to different situations. 2% of these messengers are carried via small electrical impulses The other 98% are delivered to different areas of our bodies by a chemical process. They carry and receive messages via our blood stream, our endocrine system and our nervous system. This is an emotive process and one, which can have a positive and negative effect on us. We can produce chemicals, which have the effect of depressing our mental thinking, and slow our physical functions down, this can cause problems. We can also produce chemicals, which over stimulate us too. This is just as bad. MENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS ********************* Our conscious is invisible isn’t it? We cannot see it or touch it physically but we know it is there. Buddhists have a word for it, they call it “Emptiness”. Others say, as the conscious is the source of all feelings it is found within the heart chakra, our feeling centre. Each one of us has the ability to tap into our resources and optimise our well being. It is the power of thought. No one knows for certain how the mind and brain connect with one another. What is known is that there are endless limits to the brains capabilities and inventiveness. It is a bit like a computer. It holds amazing capabilities. Anyone can be as imaginative as they wish for themselves to be. We can be as instinctive or analytical as we ask ourselves to be. The brain works according to the instructions that we give it. We set all limits for ourselves. It is a fact that if you “think “ something bad will h
appen it probably will, you have programmed your mind to head towards this. The same thing goes for thinking nice thoughts too. As some of you know during my work as a Stress Therapist I have looked into many alternative therapies that can help stress levels. Ultimately it is thought that has a direct action on any one therapy. If you think something is working for you then it almost definitely is. Why? Because your mind has programmed the rest of your body, both mentally and physically to receive this information. There are many types therapies associated with positive thinking, but for this opinion I am going to concentrate on just one. It is simple to learn and easy to practice in the comfort of you own home. It is called Inner Feng Shui. INNER FENG SHUI ***************** Feng Shui is a word you may have heard of. It is a Chinese art, which teaches us how to live in harmony with our surroundings. Inner Feng Shui is a little like rearranging the “room” you have within your mental consciousness, allowing both physical and mental energies to flow more easily and so promoting health. Sounds quite strange doesn’t it? It is just a means of tapping into the power of thought and altering our well being, so lets see how it works then. The Chinese believe our lives are influenced on 3 things: - 1. HEAVEN LUCK- This is based on astrology. Where we were born and the circumstances of our birth are things we have no control over, but it is believed to influence the pathway our lives will take. 2.EARTH LUCK- This is the Feng Shui you may have heard about. Earth luck offers guidelines on where you work, eat, live and sleep and how these environments may effect certain parts of you life. It is Pranic health. 3.MANKIND LUCK- Also known as Inner Feng Shui. It is based on what we ourselves create for ourselves through our attitud
es, thoughts and actions. This is the aspect of Feng Shui we are interested in. Inner Feng Shui is a sensible approach to learning positive thinking. THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS ************************ If you look out of your window at the moment perhaps you can see a tree. It is autumn now so it will be without its leaves. If you cannot see a tree, well tough, you will just have to imagine one won’t you! Back to our tree. Imagine branches coming from its trunk, and, these branches divide into even more small branches. Imagine that every branch corresponds to a thought that you may have had and that every branch leading of that branch is another thought about that thought. Confused yet? Let me explain then. Every thought and feeling about that thought you have always leads to another thought and another feeling, sometimes a thought can even hop from one branch to another. Thoughts and feelings are often direct responses to something, which has happened in our past. This is called involuntary thinking. We have these thoughts and feelings on more of a subconscious level. Voluntary thoughts are our conscious aspirations. Thoughts can be happy or sad, Light or dark, heavy or light, in-fact, thoughts can be anything you wish them to be. Feelings can be compounded, added to and strengthened both in a positive and in a negative way. The only person to have control over your thoughts ultimately is you. It is the end result that is important. What direction your thoughts take is what makes your life progress in the way it does. It is only by being aware of your thoughts and learning to understand them and control them that you can control your feelings, moods and emotions. Since we know that the way we feel has a direct response on our physical health it may be true to say that thinking and feeling have an effect on our physica
l well being also. THOUGHT POWER ************** Like words we know that thoughts can be either positive or negative. In fact thoughts have greater power than words. Thoughts are messages that are delivered to the mind. Your mind will inform your brain that these messages are true, whether they are or not. So inevitably what you think is what you are. Inner Feng Shui is a form of positive thought training. It teaches us to control our random thoughts and channel them into positive energy instead of negative energy. Random thoughts can become very habit forming in their negativity. The Feng Shui technique teaches us to be in control of our thoughts through mental exercise and so promote positive thoughts and physical and well being. MENTAL SPRING CLEANING *********************** It is hard to be assertive and positive if in your early years you have been scarred mentally in some way. Emotions can become repressed, leading in later life to a physical or mental illness if not dealt with effectively. Anger, jealousy, hate, fear and resentment are poisons to the body. These are the things that make us scared to hope and to have dreams of a better life. If you feel these things then it is more than likely you are also going to attract the same feelings from others, a vicious circle then. It is not easy to work on your self-image with all this baggage, but there is a trick to learn to help dissipate it. When you first wake up in the morning Think.... I do have a lot of unhappy feeling. I just cannot seem to get through life happily and no one seems to like me. Then think of all your negative thoughts... Think about any incident that happened the day before that somehow mad you unhappy or angry etc. Tell yourself... It is all in my mind and these attitudes have no real basis. I have the power to wish them away. This is the hard
part, convincing your mind that you can indeed wish all the negativity away. You have to imagine an antidote for your feelings and keep imagining it. Think.... Every reaction I perceive as getting from others is only my perception based on my own negativity. If I think that somebody does not like me it is only my thinking making this up. These thoughts are not real and I do not need to believe them. Do this for 5 minutes every morning each day. You are effectively reprogramming your mind to receive positive thoughts. An aid to strengthen this technique is to write down all things about yourself that you do not like. Write down everyone you dislike and everything that makes you feel afraid. Include all the things that have made you envious or jealous and perhaps rejected. Study the list; take as long as you like. You may feel upset or angry when you take a look at these things and that is ok. Allow yourself to feel these feelings then tear the paper up and throw it out with the rubbish. You are throwing out of your mind rubbish that does not need to belong there, the same as you are throwing away the piece of paper you have written on. THE NEXT STEP---WORKING ON SELF IMAGE ************************************** Once you have looked at your emotional negative baggage it is time to progress on towards a sense of positive thought energy. You may have already got rid of a lot of negative mental baggage, but your mind is still sensitive to negative things. It needs to be trained in a different way to that which it has been used to. So where is a good place to start? When you wake up in the morning your mind is very receptive to what information it can receive. This is the best time of day for positive affirmations. Before getting out of bed, allow yourself 5 minutes to concentrate on your self as a person. Think strong and good positive thoughts ab
out yourself, even though you may not even feel that positive you are training your mind to overcome its inner negativity and take on other thoughts. Your subconscious mind is being trained by your conscious mind to receive these thoughts and will, with practice accept them to be true. It is only your inner self that sets any limits you may have. You need to create a view of yourself and that all things are possible, that any limits you did have are but illusions. So think.... As a person I am great. I am the best I can be. I believe in myself. I feel totally confident. I am in full control. It is so easy to relax. Every day I am becoming better and am learning new things about myself. I can achieve anything I want to achieve and I am useful in the way I contribute to other people’s lives. I am filled with boundless energy for the day and I know whatever happens I will feel good about myself and nobody else can change this. I am happy to be me. I feel physically well and strong. I deserve good luck and good health. I am attracting love, luck and wealth into my life. Ok, at first you may not believe any of the above positive thoughts, you may think it is all a load of nonsense, but it does work. Physically what you are doing is administering various chemical messengers to your body that are positive responses to your thoughts. Not only do they help you mentally but also physically to cope with pain, illness and disease. We all have the power within us to help heal ourselves. If you instruct the body to utilise its resources to combat a physical complaint, then with the power of affirmations this can help. THE POWER OF AFFIRMATIONS ************************** Positive affirmations are mental statements of our inner self-approval. Affirmations are simply the use of thoughts and words that strongly suggest you are a positive person. It is useful to re
member: - 1.Affirmations need to be clear and specific. 2.The messages need to be clear and simple statements. 3.The statements need to contain only positive messages. 4. You need to choose sentiments that you honestly believe in. 5. Learn the value of regular repetition. The way you communicate your affirmations can take many forms. Write them down on cards or in your diary, wherever you want to have them. This will mean you can look at them whenever you wish to and it will reinforce your positive energy throughout your body and so attract positive things to you. I had a wish. I didn’t want to work full time anymore, I have children and wanted to spend more time at home, but I was working long hours and had important commitments. I wrote down on a piece of paper: - I have no need to work full time. My finances can afford me the ability to be at home for 6 hours during the daytime. I work for myself. I dictate the hours I work. This was my “wish list”. I was positively projecting what I wanted to achieve into my mind as if I had already achieved it. Within 3 months I had done it. I was doing what I had wanted to achieve. I had written these statements everywhere where I could think I would see them and be reminded of my affirmations. In my diary, by my computer, in the bathroom cabinet, on the fridge door, in the kitchen cupboards, even in the car. Affirmations will counter whatever negative blocks you may have. At first they will give you hope and make you feel that you do not need to feel all the negative things about yourself that you do. Of course you are bound to meet up with some resistance. Negative attachments are not easily shaken off, but as your mind progresses mentally it starts to believe it is “safe” to feel positive and eventually negativity is rubbed out. RECORDING YOUR WAKING THOUGHTS *********************************
So we have looked at ways to turn our thoughts to positive energy and so enriching our lives, but it is important that we keep a record of what we think when we do wake up in the morning. When you have completed your morning positive affirmations record them and before you go to sleep at night look at them and reflect on them. Let them flow through your mind and create positive “branches”. COLOURS AND VISUALISATION ***************************** Inner Feng Shui also concentrates on colour visualisation to attract positive “luck” to our inner selves. Inner Feng Shui colours have layers of meanings. Red is associated with fire. Blue signifies water. Green is wood. Earth is yellow. White is metal. Male and female energy is represented by yin and yang “chi” or energy. Red and white are yang colours. Black and blue are yin colours. Inner Feng Shui teaches us how to direct positive luck to our inner selves. Visualising rays of colours is an effective technique in encouraging this positive energy. METHOD -------- 1.Take a compass and map out where north, south, east, west, north east, north west, south east and south west are in relation to where you are sitting. 2. Imagine yourself in the centre of the compass points and visualise soft rays of colours coming towards you from the eight directions. 3. Think of the rays entering your body through the top of your head. 4.Red from the south creates recognition luck (I know I am a good person). 5. Dark yellow from the southwest brings romance luck (everybody loves me). 6. Light yellow from the northeast brings wisdom (I can achieve anything). 7. Light green from the southeast attracts wealth (I am able to provide for my needs and myself). 8. Dark green form the east brings good descendants luck (my family is wise and strong). 9. White from t
he west brings pure health (I am physically at the peak of my fitness). 10. White coming from the northwest also brings vital heaven luck (I am aware of my spiritual needs). This is a form of meditation and if practiced several times a week will encourage the mind to relax and be more able to open itself up to positive thought. SO WHO CAN IT HELP THEN ************************** Positive thought is good for everyone. We are what we think we are. Positive thoughts are especially good at controlling pain and anxiety and depression. When we are positive our bodies are more able to fight illness both physically and mentally. The more positive we are the more likely we are to lead a productive life. Positive thought techniques are good for everyone. USEFUL SITES ************* AFFIRMATIONS FOR POSITIVE THINKING http://www.affirmationsforpositivethinking.com/ THE DAILY MOTIVATOR http://www.greatday.com/motivate ? FENG SHUI MADE EASY http://njanet.tripod.com/fengshui.htm I hope you have enjoyed the read. Fluff.
Positive thinking is without doubt the key to self-esteem and I have been giving the topic a lot of thought recently. To explain why I need to help myself with positive thinking, I will first explain how I got to where I am today – and who failed me along the way. I was brought up in a household where we all joked about one another – we still do actually. We were always more likely to make fun of one another than compliment one another. I think my parents thought that if we were complimented too much we might grow up to be big headed, so joking was the order of the day. Even at a young age I thought that I understood that it was done in fun, but looking back I now think that I was picking up subliminal messages from it all. For example my dad used to say things like – ‘Are you kind to animals?’ to which I would say ‘Yes dad’ and he’d reply ‘Well, give that monkey his face back then!’ Or maybe we’d be watching something on TV and dad would say ‘You could be a model’ pause for effect ‘For Toby jugs’. As I say I knew he was only joking as both he and mom have always thought the world of us both and have given us the best start in life that they could. I now realise that somewhere in my subconscious the inferiority complex was being nurtured. As I got older I would be getting ready to go out somewhere special, and in those days us ladies wore long dresses to go out – yes – I’m THAT old! I would come downstairs feeling pretty good and my dad and uncle would say things like ‘Why have you got your nightie on? Are you going back to bed?’ Again all only in jest but I would have loved someone to tell me that I looked nice occasionally. The other way that my self-esteem took a battering when I was young was that I always felt that I had to try and be as good as my cousins. I have a cousi
n who is 10 years older than me and was the first of our family to go to university. When I passed my eleven plus I was told that it was the first step towards going to university like Cousin Joan. At the age of 11 the thought of university terrified me! My other cousins were four very pretty sisters, the youngest of whom was the same age as myself. When we visited them they would always ask if I had a boyfriend (this was from when I was about 13 onwards!) and when I said no, they used to be SO sympathetic and tell me that I would do one day… Of course, being so pretty, they all had boyfriends from a very early age. One further fact of which you need to be aware was that I have always been cuddly. In fact I have a wonderful photograph of me as a child of about 12 and I look just like Bessie Bunter! So, of course, talk of boyfriends was just cruel as no one was going to look twice at me. Anyway there I was growing up trying so hard to be as clever as Joan and as pretty as my other cousins, never realising that I was worth something for who I was. I remember going to my uncle’s 70th birthday party about 10 years ago. He is the father of the pretty cousins and my father’s brother. I was about 35 at the time and feeling a little fragile as the man who I was seeing at the time had refused to come with me as it was a family do, so there I was alone, again, as usual! At one point mom said to Helen, my sister, and I, ‘How did your Uncle Harry come to have such beautiful daughters?’ So Helen said ‘Don’t you mean how did Uncle Harry AND dad come to have such beautiful daughters?’ and mom said ‘No’. All the feelings from my childhood just flooded back and I went into the ladies and cried my heart out! After a few weeks I managed to keep calm enough to discuss this incident with mom and she was appalled that she had upset me. She genuinely didn’t thi
nk that it would have done. We talked at length about this sort of thing and how I felt about it, and she was so upset as she felt that she and dad had failed me in some way in my upbringing. I pointed out of course that there is always the flip side to any coin and in this case it is that if they had always told me that I was wonderful I might well be such an arrogant madam by now that I wouldn’t have any friends at all! As any of you who are parents know – children don’t come with a set of rules, you have to make it up as you go along and do the best that you can. To be fair I don’t think my parents made a bad job of either of us! Well, that gives you some of the background as to why I have very little self-esteem. When I did begin to go out with men, I picked the ones that treated me badly. Oh, I don’t mean that they beat me up or anything, just that they treated me as though I wasn’t really worth very much, and that I was only good for doing the housework, gardening etc. I had been taught by the parents’ actions that the way to get people to like you was to be kind and loving and look after them etc. My mom in particular appeared to withdraw her love if we did something wrong, so I always felt that I had to do more and care more to restore that love. So, with the men I chose, I thought that if I showed them I loved them and did everything for them, making their life as easy as possible – they could not fail to love me! I never understood why they still treated me as though I was worth nothing. In 1997 I went on a course from work called Springboard. It was advertised as a ‘women’s development course’. I have to confess that explanation put me on my guard immediately. I had low self-esteem because of who I was not because I was a woman! Anyway I decided to give it a go and I am so glad that I did. I expected it to be very Americanised,
with mantras and affirmations etc, but it was really good, interesting, easy to understand stuff. Most of all it was down to earth and in language that made sense in everyday life. We studied assertiveness, self-knowledge, stress management and much more. I discovered one piece of information by doing this course that had previously eluded me. I did not need everyone to love me, no one is ever going to have that state of affairs. What I needed was to be respected, even by people who did not particularly like me. In order to achieve this I needed to respect myself. I had always laughed when I read in books and magazines that we continually pick men who will be bad for us. Why should I do that? It would be stupid! Having followed the Springboard course I could see it quite clearly and realised that, since I had no respect for myself, I was inviting people to have no respect for me either. This was quite a life-changing piece of information. I went on to get rid of the man whom I had been seeing for about 10 years. He had always enjoyed coming to visit me so that I could cook for him and then wash and wipe up while he went to sleep on the sofa! I used to put up with his moaning and his constant refusal to go out anywhere with me, and think that was all I was worth! Now I knew different and I made the break once and for all. It was difficult but I did it. I remained single for a while until I met Dave my current partner, but I know that we are together for the right reasons and that I have his respect and love at all times. I changed jobs in 1998 to work in a different part of the local authority where I had worked for nearly 30 years, and I was successful. I began to feel for the first time in my life that I was worth something for who I am, not for what I can give to people. Unfortunately the work situation became beset with problems which caused me to be ill with stress and depression. I was not helped at all by
the people at work, although there are guidelines in place for that help to have been given. Eventually I was dismissed, as I was not able to return to work. (I have since sued for unfair dismissal and settled out of court by the way.) The stress at work had the knock on effect of bringing all my previous anxieties to the surface and I asked my doctor to refer me to someone who could help. He took 12 months before he actually referred me to a specialist. The first time I saw the specialist he talked to me about how I felt and where the feelings came from and he prescribed Lustral to help me get a boost out of the despair that I was in. This did help and he saw me again a few months later, when he told me to keep taking the tablets and that was all. I saw him last week and he said that I was much better than I was before so he didn’t need to see me again! So I have still not had any real help. It is now time for me to look back at the Springboard notes together with a few of self help books which I have since read, Being Happy is about the best of these, and to recreate the feelings of well being for myself. It’s a certain fact that, apart from Dave and my family and friends, without whom I would not have survived the last couple of years, no one is going to help me except ME! And I have to be determined to do it! Positive thinking isn’t always easy, especially when I am feeling stressed or depressed as I think that I am the only one who thinks that I am worth something and that I am swimming against a tide of negative feelings about me. I know in my rational mind that this is not the case, but it isn’t easy to be rational under these circumstances. Thank you for reading all this – it has really helped me to put it all into words. I wondered whether I would be able to say what I wanted to when I started, but it has just flowed, maybe it has got some of it out of my system? T
hank you again - Susan
Don't ask. I know it's a peculiar title, but, you see, I wanted to write a book review of Mr Tickle - by Roger Hargreaves, and one of the silliest, funniest, daftest books I read, and giggled at, as a child, and I also wanted to write something on 'positive thinking', whatever that may be. So I'm standing in the middle of this little messy kitchen. Ellie is merrily bonding with the computer which has pretty lights, hums, and she thinks it might be hungry. She's offering the CD rom drive a bit of apple, just to make sure, anyway. Dinner is sort of being made, in a bit of a haphazard way, and I'm juggling Roger Hargreaves with the blueberries for the muffins, and watching to see if our computer really is hungry, and will accept the proffered apple, and if so, how? I want extraordinary long arms, and I want to be in bed, too, with Mr Tickle, who can reach out his extraordinary long arms and take biscuits from the jar downstairs. I'm not sure that I trust self-help books, but I'm sure I read a particularly useless one years ago, and wonder if I could find it would it shed any light on positive thinking, at all? I'm not sure I trust 'positive thinking' you see. It smacks of all those dreadful books which tell you how to make friends and influence people, and keep making little quasi clever remarks about how you, too, can become a size 8, make shed-loads of money, the perfect cake, and improve your memory, simply by reading something. I'd rather read, oh, almost anything, even a back of a cereal packet, than a self-help book. But I've not got one, I've got Mr Tickle, who by now is awake, setting off through the wood, having made his bed, and he's looking for someone to tickle: "Looking for anyone to tickle", in fact. Dooyoo already has some extraordinary good ops in this category, too. Johndmr and Peel.rebekah's. I love those. Full of fantastic advice, and t
ips, and helpfulness, and everything. Not like Mr Tickle at all, who's just seen a teacher writing on a blackboard, and is about to do something really, really naughty. I like the idea of positive thinking, though. I like the glass being half-full, rather than half-empty. I like the way that if you do things when they arise, you don't end up with loads and loads of stuff to do, a mountain, in one big lump. I used to shove all my bills under the bed, and ignore them, until I realised that organising your finances was less to do with piling everything in a heap, and if I actually rang my bank manager, he was usually quite nice. Some things can't be made positive though. Some things are just negative through and through, and however hard you excercise, and force yourself to look on the bright side, you still end up feeling as if you've been hit by a big black emotional sledgehammer, and if you don't crawl under a rock for about a year you might get hit by it again. Sometimes thinking, all by itself, is negative. Sometimes the only way to make a situation better is to go out and do something, if you can. There's all sorts of tricks, and dodges, you can use to stop yourself falling into a heap, but sometimes they just don't work. I make things. When I'm feeling really low, I make cards to send to friends, or embroider something, or bash hell out of a lump of dough. You get something physical at the end of this, you see. Even if the bread sinks, you've still 'made bread', and even if the drawing is lousy, you've still got a card to send. Mr Tickle? Well, he tickles, I suppose. He's about to tickle, at this very moment, in my kitchen: He "grinned a mischievous grin", waited another minute, "and then tickled the teacher again. This time he kept on tickling until soon the teacher was laughing out loud and saying,"Stop it! Stop it!" over and over again.
All the children were laughing too at such a funny sight. There was a terrible pandemonium". There's pandemonium in my house, too, but it's a bit more grammatically correct - oh, and the apple gift has been gratefully accepted by the CD drive, so lets just hope it'll be regurgitated soon. I'm making the blueberry muffins because one of my best friends in the whole world is coming up this weekend, and she's really miserable, and needs a bit of a break. We're going to go out and pick elderberries, to make jam, and we're going to picnic in the middle of a field, and drink too much white wine in the evening. Hopefully she'll be talking about it all, too. It's when you bottle things up, I think, that situations can get really dire. When you ingore your own feelings, and all the displaced emotions well up and tweak out of you in the wrong places, like toothpaste escaping from little holes in the side of the tube, when you squeeze it, and making a nasty mess all over the bathroom. I think self-help positive thinking is probably throwing away the whole tube, and brushing your teeth with a different polish. but I reckon the really positive thing to do might be to channel all that energy into making something, or writing something, or going somewhere, or just picking up the phone and yelling at the bank manager. You, at the end of the day, can't change who you are, you just have to accept it, and make the best of it, and learn how to compromise with yourself with all the things you aren't very good at. Mr Tickle doesn't really have to worry about that. He's only really good at one thing, and that's tickling. That's what he does, even if he's just caused a traffic jam, by tickling a policeman (make jam instead, it's better for you, honestly). Oooh, now he's tickled a grocer who was piling up apples, and all you can see are the grocer's shoes,
sticking out of a pile of green circles, that actually look like peas. Roger Hargreaves illustrations are basic, you see, to say the very least. They're all big shapes, drawn and coloured in with felt tip pens, and they're all totally without perspective, or any 'shading' so to speak of. Never mind. At least that's playing on his strengths, since the stories are a bit basic, too. What he's good at (the characters, and the silliness) is complemented by what he's bad at (drawing), so you don't really notice the fact that the apples look just like enormous peas. He's quite good with words, as well, even if they aren't positioned in a totally grammatically correct way. He uses 'long words', exciting words, and just a few of them, but repeated. He doesn't overstrech himself, and I think he enjoyed writing this book. It's gleeful, really. If I've got to do something I hate I tend to reward myself, too, with something I like at the end of it. I write lists, as well, of all the things I have to do - but I decorate them, so it looks fun, at least. Oh, enliven life by using the odd long misplaced word sometimes. Otherwise things just get dull, and grey (Mr Tickle is bright orange). He's having a lovely day, is Mr Tickle. He's tickled a station guard (making the train late, and all the passengers furious), the doctor, the butcher, and the postman. Mr Tickle is really, really naughty, you know. I'm not. I'm a good girl. I'm making my muffins, and doing the washing, and reading a nice worthy book, except that Mr Tickle keeps getting in the way, oh, and the house is a tip, and I've four million things to do (all beautifully decorated), on the wall, and what I really, really should do this afternoon is finish a picture, and make telephone calls, and what I'm going to do is bop around the garden, and email lots of people that I like. Well, that's if the co
mputer hasn't got indigestion. If I do, well, six boring things, then I can do maybe six nice things afterwoods. If I get really bored, then I can always daydream. Daydreaming is lovely, I think. If you can't escape somewhere in your head, and imagine you're somewhere completely different, while you hoover, or wash up, or go around sainsbury's, then life would be really dull. Reading helps you imagine, and reading uplifts me, sometimes, too. Laughing is the best thing of all, though. Mr Tickle is laughing: "Sitting in his armchair in his small house at the other side of the wood, he laughed and laughed every time he thought about all the people he'd tickled" Tickling is his sole purpose, you see, so I don't think he needs to know what 'positive thinking' is, which is good, since I'm not sure I know either. If you're really, really down, then I don't think it helps. I'm not sure that tickling would help. Mr Tickle's extraordinary long arms can only do one thing.......they can tickle you! They might well be about to tickle you now, unless they tickle me, and I drop the blueberry muffin mixture all over Ellie, so she can post blueberries into my hungry computer. I'll laugh, I shall, I promise, because if I didn't I'd get cross, and I don't need any bread at the moment. Lots of things make me laugh. Music can make me laugh, books can, tv programmes can, and people can. All these things can also depress me, or make me think, uplift me, and make me daydream. Being tickled makes me laugh, of course, too, but only in small doses. Maybe it's a question of balance. Trying to balance your life so that you don't just dwell on one aspect of it. You need to laugh, and love, and cry, communicate, and dream. You need to be naughty too, sometimes, just like Mr Tickle.
I've had dark times of my own, and have seen friends go through far darker periods - self harming, suicide attempts and a catalogue of misery that I won't subject you to. The pain and misery of depression is very real, and very hard to deal with. Perhaps some of these suggestions will help. It's very easy to get into a downward spiral, - if you feel low you don't take care of yourself, so you feel worse, so you don't eat, or you binge, and then you feel lousy, you look in the mirror, what you see makes you feel like cutting yourself, but if you do that, you look worse..... and on it goes. Breaking out of these destructive patterns takes will and energy - things you will be lacking if you are depressed. So what can you do? The best cure is prevention, so looking after yourself when you feel ok will help to keep the demons at bay. Quite a good thing to do is write yourself a letter on a day when you are feelig good and together. Give yourself a list of things to think about. Mine included things like "If this is over a bloke, remember that you've been through it all before and you survived it perfectly well last time." You know yourself and a sharp personal reminder in the form of a letter can jolt you out of self pitty and paralysis surprisingly well and stop your cycling down into somewhere horrible. The earlier you can catch yourself in the downwards spiral, the easier it is to stop yourself from falling. Be vigillant, but try not to get obsessive. Keeping a diary is a good way of monitoring yourself, and writing everything down is a really cathartic process. Diaries also help you to generate a sense of perspective. Looking back over events you can get a clearer idea of what is happening to you and why. If you can work out why you are unhappy, it can help you deal with it. I write last thing at night, which I find calms me and helps me to sleep. Food - the starve and binge habits of depression a
re very counterproductive; they harm the body, leave you sick or debilitated and always make things worse. Comfort eating is tempting though, as is puishing yourself by deprivation. Be conscious of this, don't just fall ito it. If you want to comfort eat, try warm soup, as this can be really nice but isn't so terrible for calories. If your inclination is to starve, try punishing your body by taking it for a jog, a long walk or a trip to the gym - exersize can get rid of all that pent up self hatred, and by the end of it, you will probably feel hungry.... A good diet can actualy make you feel a lot better - if you don't eat well, your body doesn't feel good, you get depressed - after all, your body uses the resources you feed it, and if it isn't run properly, it goes wrong. Exersize - lethargy and a lack of energy often lead to depression and depression leads to lethargy and round it goes. Taking regular exersize is a good preventative measure. If you are fit, you are more likely to be healthy and will have more energy, plus, when you exersize, stress is relieved and nice chemicals are released into the body, which will cheer you up. This is really good if your woes are reationship related, as the endorphins you get from exersize will help to counter the physical suffering induced when a relationship breaks down and you no longer enjoy any physical affection. There's plenty of exersize you can do alone, but you might want to consider joining a group or making it a more social activity, if you aren't lonely, you are less likely to suffer. Sleep - sleep is vital for good mental health. Depression causes and is caused by sleep deprivation - another circle to get trapped in. If you aren't sleeping, pills from the doctor are an option, as is a glass of alcohol to relax you, but these aren't ideal. Try warm soothing baths before bed time, and cutting back on the caffeine. Exersize will help you to sleep more easily. If
you suffer from nightmares, try leaving a radio on in your room as you sleep - I've found this works for me and it means that while you aren't sleeping, you can listen rather than fretting in the darkness. Productivity - apathy and loss of energy often go with depression, and not doing anything, lying in bed, etc can lower your self esteeme and make you feel worse about yourself. If you do things or make things, it can lift you up, give you a sense of achievement. Pick small, reasonable things to try and do - perhaps not the things you normally do. I play musical instruments, I also find that making things really helps me when I'm feeling down - being able to say "before there was nothing, now I have made ....." often relieves me of feeling worthless. Having made something that you can hold, see, touch or possibly eat is really empowering, plus you can often get other people to say nice things about it, which can be cheering. Sex - if you have a partner, sex can seem threatening during depression. Low self esteeme makes it harder to relax and enjoy yourself. You need to talk to your other half, and get them to understand how you feel if this is the case. However, you may well find that cuddling, masage, stroking and generally being pampered wil help you to feel better about yourself - again, this always cheers me up. A good partner can literally be a life saver. If you are single, absence of sex in your life can really get you down, and that sense of being unloved is often crippling. Physical comforts can assuage this to some degree - it's worth paying for reflexology, aromatherapy of any other natural healing that will make you feel pampered. Feeling good about yourself wards off deperssion. If you feel good, you have a better chance of attracting a partner, which can be a real motivator. Talking - getting it out of your system is good, try and find someone you can talk to. If there isn't anyone, try talkin
g outloud, may sound nuts, but hearing yourself say something can be surprisignly helpful. You can always seek professional help.(no first hand expereince of this but it seems to work for other people.) To fight depression you have to believe that you are in control, and you have to feel together enough to take resonsibility for yourself. You have to care about yourself enough to try, or care about someone close to you enough that you will fight to save them from watching you suffer (how many times has that one motivated me to fight back?)Anyone can become depressed, and you have to take care of yourself if you want to reduce the chances of it happening to you. If there are reasons for your unhappiness, try to deal with them. Remember, you do have the power to change things, there is always a way out, and there is always a solution. However hard it seems, there is always a way out of the darkness and back into the light. All you have to do is want it, and that can often be the hardest thing to achieve, self destruction is seductive and anyone can succumb to despare. Either through personal perserverance, medical intervention, counselling or whatevr else you find, there are sources of relief to be had. The hardest part is realising you are ill, that you should be well and that you can do something. Manage that, and everything else will come readily enough. Do not succumb to feelings of powerlessness and you can fight your demons off.
How frequently we read or hear the words 'Positive Thought' (or Thinking). It may be in an interview with a celebrity on TV or in the press, a chance remark in casual conversation, on a book in a high street shop or a library, an e-mail sent to you and several others by a friend. Or even the latest posting on the Dooyoo front page. Without a healthy dose of it, we probably wouldn't last that long - or get far, at any rate. After all, isn't it just the next step along beyond basic confidence - faith - trust? You know you're going to complete that car or train journey on schedule; you're going to get that shopping or gardening done; you're going to finish writing that letter or reading that book; and you'll load up that website you're dying to check pronto without your PC crashing first. If you're more ambitious, then you just know you'll get that article accepted for publication, or that job for which you're being interviewed. If not, you'll give it your very best shot, and achieve that goal next time you try. If only it all worked out that way. Would that there were no such hazards lurking like that flat tyre or heavily-delayed train, that PC virus, that interview you suddenly screw up, or whatever. To quote P.G. Wodehouse, you may end up being that somebody who, 'chasing rainbows, has had one of them suddenly turn and bite him (her) in the leg.' Some of us probably stumble on P.T. by the negative route, the "I'll show 'em!" way. How many of us have been faced with an arrogant boss or acquaintance with a supercilious "you'll never do that in a month of Sundays" attitude, and inwardly vowed to accept them wrong? Alternatively, if you're easily discouraged or prone to depression, how can you use P.T. to get yourself into the right frame of mind? I won't revisit old ground here as I've already posted under Depression
, but on the mercifully rare occasions when I've hit a really low point in my life, somehow somewhere I've found the inner resources to climb out of the pit. I'm not going to sound self-congratulatory about it, and to some extent the problems causing those situations sorted themselves out. But a sense of determination, even defiance, certainly helped in each case. I think there's a balance of extrovert and introvert in all of us. Even if you can be the life and soul of the party without even trying, you probably like to have your own space once in a while and retreat into it. I've generally seen myself as an introvert who has paradoxically liked showing off a bit, and just trying to get my head round the 'stop being shy' bit the best I can. For ages I found it hard to meet and talk to people as a rule, especially after times when a few disastrous judgments about other people drove me back into a shell from which I thought I'd escaped. I was a worrier, always anticipating the worst that could and probably would happen. On the other hand, with confidence gained of experience, going into pubs as a singer, armed with guitar, harmonica and microphone, or later as a DJ with decks and boxes of records, held few terrors for me after the first few gigs. I think that was largely P.T. John the public performer was not the same John as that self-effacing, self-deprecating, tongue-tied character, who hovered ghost-like on the edge of conversations and groups in parties without contributing, maybe even drinking himself silly as it was all he could do. (Like he did at the Freshers Party in his first week at college, staggered back to his room afterwards, crashed out and woke again fully dressed about 3 a.m. next morning). The sad person. Perhaps P.T. should be seen as a basic essential life skill available to us all. Some of us need it more than others. The natural optimists who can do it all without tr
ying (doncha just hate 'em! - unless you're one yourself, I'm sorry!) don't. At the risk of going into self-pitying mode, I was bullied at school sometimes (not all the time), and the prevailing culture was that you sorted it out yourself. Assertiveness training, counselling and Childline didn't exist then. (Where were you when I needed you, Esther Rantzen?) That I made it through to the other side was down to P.T., even if I didn't recognise it at the time. Lately, I've come to see it as like having all your skin intact. On some days everything is going well for you, with no major worries or problems that you can't take in your stride, no baggage lingering from dark corners in the past. Then something goes wrong, you become vulnerable. A layer of skin is suddenly gone. Let me take an instance. Not long ago I had some correspondence online with a friend whom I've never met but have known on the net on and off for almost a year. I gathered that all was not well with her, and in a harrowingly frank exchange I learnt of some past history of hers which reduced me to tears. Wiping my eyes, I offered a few thoughts which I'm glad to say were of some comfort, yet I still woke up hurting for her the following morning. I'm sure some good came out of it, and I was touched when she thanked me for listening. Sometimes good can come from bad. To conclude, here are a few little pointers of my own to P.T. This will be cheaper than going to Amazon and ordering the latest in an endless list of handbooks on 'How to find eternal happiness in five easy stages' by some American psychologist-turned-mobile lecturer. They're mind-numbingly obvious, perhaps, but they work. Give a few words of praise. Tell someone to their face that an idea of theirs is brilliant. If you find this difficult, why not go and leave a glowing comment on somebody's Dooyoo op, always assuming it merits i
t. It doesn't have to be this one. (Not that I'm going to stand in your way if it is!) Accept, delight, revel in praise yourself. I'm slightly ashamed to admit that there have been times when, if anybody praised me, I wondered whether they really meant it or whether they were being sarcastic. Eventually I learnt not to be so suspicious. About a year ago I had a memo sent through the internal post at my place of work, a single sheet of A4 from our Principal at college, saying "I have just read your e-mail to --- --- about your current activities and am writing to say how proud I am to be associated with you." I was on cloud nine the rest of the day! And I keep it in my drawer at work, to look at again whenever the grind gets too much and I need that little restorative glow. Believe in yourself. It took me a while to act on that one. And conversely, even if you're reluctant to trust other people (yes, here comes the cautious if not negative note), think twice about bad-mouthing them in public, no matter how tempted you are. They may turn out to be better people than they appeared at first, but even if not, it's often safer to give them the benefit of the doubt. At least, keep your criticisms to yourself. Finally, there are the obvious ones. I don't know if they actually count as P.T. but I think they come close. (I 'Positively Think' so. If I'm wrong, what category should this go in, eh?) Spoil yourself a little by making time to put your feet up and watch that much-loved video again, re-read or dip into a favourite book, or play a favourite record at full volume. And if you opt for the latter, to quote from a message sent to me and several others by a Dooyoo member not long ago, 'dance like nobody's watching'. After all, you've only got one life.
Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about Positive Thought. I've read books, watched videos and naturally read all the opinions on Dooyoo. Yet, whilst I can say that I largely agreed with most of them, I can also truthfully say that a lot of the things I've studied in recent months have appeared...well... lacking. If I've properly understood what I've read, then 'Positive Thought' is a question of accepting that what will be, will be. Of always finding the glass half full, rather than half empty. Of turning disasters and disappointments to your advantage and, instead of focusing on lost opportunities, thinking about possible found ones. It seems that, with the benefit of 'Positive Thought', a person could almost conqueur the world. Yet, in all my research into the techniques required for practising 'Positive Thought', I have so far failed to come up with a solution to my own problems. You see, I have an illness. Or, then again, maybe I don't have an illness - it all depends on which doctors opinion you agree with. I'm sorry, I'm talking in riddles here. I'll try again. I definitely DO have an illness. Hospital One says that what I have is an extremely rare disorder which will be nothing more than a minor inconvenience and will allow me to live to a ripe old age.Hospital Two, however, has given me a different, but no less definite diagnosis - with which Hospital One disagrees. Hospital Two also say that I have a rare disorder. A different rare disorder. An incurable illness which gives me a much diminished life expectancy. Most sufferers live for about five years after onset and, this week, I entered my fourth year since the symptoms started. But there is more. I could die suddenly tomorrow - or the day after that - or the day after that. Or, I could just as suddenly become totally paralysed. I have done all the practical things that need to be consi
dered at a time like this. I have made a will, sorted out all my paperwork and told everyone that matters how much I love them. I have even organised my own funeral. It's going to be quite a party, I promise. We're having a recording of Michael Jackson singing "Gone too soon" and a real oldie from Chairmen of the Board called "I'm on my way to a better place".At the end, everyone is going to stand up and do the "Time Warp" from the Rocky Horror Show ("It's just a jump to the left..."). You're all invited - provided you don't wear black. So now, all that's left for me to do is 'Positive Thinking'. It's not easy, but I want - need - to do it my way. I don't want to be told what I should be thinking, no matter how well meaning the person telling me is, no matter how helpful they're trying to be. I've had so many comments over the last year, mostly prefaced by the command "Think Positive" There's "Think Positive! You might not even have the terminal illness!" True. But do I ignore the possibility totally? Do I bury my head ostrich like in the sand and hope that it will go away? Or, do I accept the possibility, make my peace with the world and face whatever comes prepared? Do I assume the best - or fear the worst? And is the fear simply fear of the unknown? Would it lessen if I simply accepted my fate and got on with living the remaining life I have, be that one year or fifty? Then there's the idiotic "Think Positive! At least it's not cancer!". Quite. But if it were cancer, then I might stand a chance of treatment with chemo or radiotherapy. With "not cancer" I have no chance. Would you think me wicked if I told you that at times I have sincerely wished that I did have cancer? But the most frustrating one has to be "Think Positive! You'll outlive us all!" Hmmmmm. So you're di
smissing my fears and concerns as nonsense, then? Do I really want to outlive anyone if I have no quality of life? I'm already reliant on morphine to do many of the day to day things most people take for granted. I have no doubts in my mind about the benefits of 'Positive Thought', but it's just never been my way. For me, the glass has always been half empty rather than half full. I'm a natural pessimist - that way I'm never disappointed but get more than my fair share of pleasant surprises.I sincerely want to embrace the concept of 'Positive Thought', but, on the other hand, I don't want it forced down my throat as a panacea or cure-all. Can positive thought move mountains. I don't know, but I'm sure as hell going to give it a try. In fact, give me five years and I'll let you know whether or not it works. For definite. But, please, let me do it my way. Don't assume that you know what it's like unless you've been there. Walk a mile in my shoes before presuming to laud the benefits of 'Positive Thought'. Only one comment so far has been remotely helpful. My best friend cried with me for the best part of an hour at the injustice of it all, passed me a constant supply of tissues, then gave me a hug. "Think Positive!" he told me "You could be run over by a bus tomorrow!". It worked because it made me laugh, and laughing in the face of adversity is something that I might have to become expert in over the next few months. Let me have my 'downers' - I promise they don't last too long. Let me talk, if I want to, allow me the occasional tear but let me get on with my life in my own way. Stop right now with the Pollyanna business. Please, don't continually exhort me to "Look on the bright side" or "Think Positive" because, if you do, you risk having to use your own "Positive Thinking" as a way of hea
ling a fat lip - of THAT I am positive. Don't sympathise. If you want to help, and 'Positive Thought' is your way of coping, then think 'Positive Thoughts' on my behalf. Don't tell me about it, though and don't tell me - or more importantly any other person who is sick, depressed or has similar problems - how to think. Often thoughts are the last remaining dignity in a body that is gradually succumbing to illness. In my own mind, I'm going to grow old disgracefully. I'm going to wear Levi's to my 80th birthday party and flirt outrageously with my friends grandsons. I suppose this constitutes 'Positive Thought', but I'm still very much a beginner. Everyone has problems.Yet, no matter what those problems, we all have freedom of thought.Please,don't try to make people do it your way. Think before you say the words "Think Positive" - they might not always be well received.
Wouldn't it be lovely if we could create all that our heart desires? Well we can according to those who advocate affirmations. Affirmations are statements that are repeated with the sole aim of altering your mind set from a negative frame of mind to a positive one. Also by influencing the subconscious mind you are (in theory) able to manifest in the physical what you think in the mental. Feed the mind positively and you will create abundance and positivity, feed it with negativity and you will get the reverse in your life. To create your affirmations you need to establish a goal and understand how you want it through love rather than fear. Repeat often throughout the day and mentally visualise reaching your goal. Put your affirmations near your computer, on the mirror, where you walk through the house, anywhere where you will see them and think on them often throughout the day. Some affirmations you might try are; My life is filled with abundance I am happy and healthy I am a successful person I wouldn't like to say for certain if it works. I am a very positive optimist anyway so I don't know what the effects of positive thinking would have on a naturally negative person, but it's worth a try isn't it?
As I stretched out my arms and opened my eyes I knew that this was going to be a good day. Blue sky was peeking at me between my open curtains and all was well with my world. I went about the routine of getting ready for work with a tinge of excitement for the day ahead. I surprised myself with some unexpected fun in the shower, my coffee and Alpen tasted delicious and there was a letter from an old friend in Australia on the mat. This was going to be some day. I drove to work, no holdups (other than my stockings), all the lights were on green and, just as I reached my office block, a car pulled out and I drove into the perfect parking spot. And so the day continued. Lots of laughs at lunchtime, a nice commission deal clinched in the afternoon and a girlfirend phoned to say we were all meeting up in the evening at our favourite restaurant. Could a week day be more perfect? Unfortunately every day isn't like that! Sometimes I awake feeling sluggish, my shower is too cold, the coffee tastes bitter and there are bills on the mat. Driving to work is hell, red lights and jams all the way and then I can't find anywhere to park. And so it goes on, no time for a proper lunch, business is slow and in the evening I feel exhausted. So why the difference between my days? Is it because some days I have positive thoughts and others negative? I don't think it's quite as simple as this. There are other factors at work as well. I feel that I am positive by nature. If you ask me how I feel I'll say, "Great!". I tend to smile a lot and people say I look happy. If I'm challenged to do anything I'll have a good try at it - I don't like to be beaten. I won't just think of all the negative reasons why I can't achieve anything. I know pretty much what I want and I've done quite a few of the things that I wanted to do, even though other people have said I shouldn
9;t or couldn't. So that's positive thought surely. So why is it then that some days don't work out so successful? I believe that holding positive thoughts is essential to my success and how I feel. What I can't control, however, is how quickly my positive thoughts will come to fruition. It seems that everything ticks over at a certain pace and I sometimes have to wait for the results to materialise. There also seems to be cycles of time. Something like the idea of bio-rhythms that was quite popular a few years back - though from what I remember these were far from accurate. I feel that our years are divided into cycles and, guys, I don't just mean that this is a 'woman's thing'. There appear to be cycles of highs and lows for us all. It's a bit like playing a game of cards or gambling. Sometimes you just can't go wrong, nearly every hand wins and yet, at other times, even what is considered a good hand will lose. My theory is that even positive thoughts cannot alter this cycle. When things are not going well it's a natural state so I accept this. I just have to ride out these days the best way I can. Perhaps go to bed with a good book - or someone who's read one! Now at the peak of the 'Success Cycle', as I call it, you really have to 'cash in'. These are the times when it's possible to achieve great things, clinch deals, have fun, promote yourself and generally be successful by being positive. So I suppose the question is: If everything goes in cycles is there any point in thinking positive? After all there are going to be lows and highs anyway. My answer to this is a big, "Yes!" I feel that we create our own lives. Occultists, for example, will tell you that we get what we deserve. I think this is partly true, though it's a big discussion point that I won't develop here. What I do beli
eve is that it's up to me what I make of my life. It doesn't rest with anyone else. If I'm happy and successful, "Well done, Kay". If I'm miserable and things are far from right in my life, "It's your own stupid fault, Kay". I'm quite happy to have the responsibility of my life in my control. Some will argue that there are many outside influences on our lives, which is true. However, it's up to me to recognise these and get rid of them if necessary. I don't have to accept other people's thoughts, ideas and influences if I really don't want to. It's therefore necessary (I'm talking about myself here) to be full of positive thoughts. Positive thoughts will help create my tomorrow. If I can keep faith with them when I'm low in my Success Cycle they'll make the high even higher and eventually the lows won't be quite so low. It's a bit like religious people keeping the faith - who knows perhaps that's what it really means. Keeping this faith isn't easy, but I look on it as something of a test. Let's face it when things are going well it's very easy to be positive. The hard bit is to see good when things are difficult. I always fall back on that philosophy that there is an equal amount of good in every bad. I know this isn't an original thought but it works for me. This outlook quite puzzles my boyfriend when I'm trying to see the good in such things as a leaking hot water tank or a night of passion which lasts three minutes. Hey, but the plumber was very nice (blush) and ... well, let's just say if I look for some good I can often find it. If I don't bother to look I'll just be miserable which doesn't help anyone. 'Seek and ye shall find' and all that sort of thing. This leads on to something else. How things are in my life is all in my head. I'm the head girl - woops, do
n't take that the wrong way! I can look at things as being good or bad, positive or negative. It's entirely up to me. If I think, as an example, that my flat is great, just what I want and I'm happy living there, then that is what it is. If I was to think differently and say it's much too small and completely unsuitable, then again that is what it would be. It's also the flat that my friend calls a haven of sunshine and my boyfriend's mother thinks needs decorating. Still the same flat! Just positive and negative outlooks. As I've already said, as far as I'm concerned, it's essential to think positive - or at the very least least to try . Even if it should turn out that I'm just fooling myself it doesn't really matter because, I can honestly say, it makes me happy. I like looking on the brighter side of life, so all together now, "Always look on the bright side of life ... Dooyoo? ..." ;-> Kay
Well hello! Thanks for joining me once more in this opinionated land of ours. Today’s item for your delectation is one regarding stress and general fed-uppedness. Shall we...? Stress happens to us all – it’s perfectly natural. I think, however, that some people do not react as well to stress as they should. To some extent society has become a bit more extreme and neurotic (shown adequately by my boss pulling another sickie today!) – in some cases feeling glum is said to be depression, and what may have been stress 20 years ago is claimed to be a nervous breakdown today. I’m not going to go into a full diatribe on dealing with stress this time, but share with you something I use when feeling a bit stressed at work (but it could apply anywhere). If you are feeling stressed, stop and think about it – are you REALLY stressed? If you are STRESSED then drastic measures need to be taken. On the other hand, if you are feeling down in the dumps, or a bit glum, then try the following: Firstly, think of something you really like. The first thing that comes into your head and makes you smile. Find a picture of it. Stick it to a sheet of paper, then type, or write the following alongside it: TWENTY THINGS TO DO IF YOU ARE FEELING FED UP 1. Eat a piece of dark chocolate 2. Talk to a friend and have a giggle 3. Recall happy memories 4. Go for a brisk walk 5. Listen to the sounds around you when you are outside 6. Put flowers on your desk or kitchen table 7. Go to the garden centre or buy a sweet smelling plant 8. Sex, or even a cuddle, will cheer you up 9. Plan a weekend away 10. Choose a treat for someone you love 11. Make something 12. Visit somewhere quiet and peaceful 13. Go on a guided tour of your home town 14. Buy something you never dared to buy before 15. Clear out a corner that has always been a mess 16. Polish something;
shoes, piano, nails (finger nails, not 6 inch metal pins) 17. Put on a rock’n’roll record 18. Learn tap dancing, ballroom or salsa 19. Make the most of any sunshine 20. Go somewhere to watch the sunset 21. Visit Dooyoo on the ‘net! (optional – 22. Read every single one of Mush’s opinions and think about how happy it will make him!) Stick this up somewhere prominent, and if you are feeling blue, go and read it. The chances are (if you are anything like me) that you will feel better without actually having to do any of the items! If just reading the list doesn’t help, then pick one and do it! If none of the items work, then maybe you are too stressed... The list is not exhaustive, and can be added to or bits removed – it’s about making yourself feel good, so if something makes you feel good, then add it! If any of the list make you feel really good then write them in bold or underline them. Some of the items on the list have biological benefits and reasons why they work: Dark chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that boosts endorphins, the body’s natural relaxant (see my chocolate op. for more info). Recalling happy memories also has a chemical effect, boosting the levels of protective immunoglobin A in your body. Exercise has numerous effects upon your body and is one of the best morale boosters. Some of the more creative suggestions are more psychological in nature, and will have an effect my changing your mindset, or just taking your attention away from everything else. Even if you don’t manage to fulfil any plans you have made (such as the trip away), simply planning alone will make you feel better. Again, with the suggestion to make something, it doesn’t matter what you are making (a cake, a mud pie, a mess) – the action is more important than the product. It might be worth pointing out though that these ti
ps won't actually deal with a problem situation, rather give you a break to sort yourself our before getting back to things - you will eventually have to deal with the problem! There you go...think that should do it for now. Next time you feel a bit moody, come back to this op and give it a try. It might just do the trick! Be happy Mush