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Friday, 2 December 2016

Beating the darker times

In a rare and brief dalliance with daytime television today, I came across an interview with Terry Waite.

It was a name I hadn't heard of for many years, but one I had always remembered, because of this man's amazing strength and tenacity in enduring five years of torture and captivity at the hands of Beirut terrorists.

In the brief snippet on ITV's This Morning, this humanitarian and author was a true inspiration and the words he said that struck me most were these:

"If you allow anger to fester, then ultimately it will end up doing you more harm than those you feel the anger towards.."

In no way could I compare my own experiences to this outstanding man, but yet I realised that this powerful statement could apply to and help every single one of us. Even down to lesser circumstances, such as my dad's road rage and me telling him that only his stress levels would be affected by his rant.

The quote also applies to pain and the way we deal with it. If someone hurts you, whether intended or not, the only way to deal with it has to be to let it go.

Earlier this week my heart broke into many pieces and for a time my life went black (and so did my Facebook profile). Life felt pretty effing sh1t (yes my potty mouth diminishes drastically in the written word for some absurd reason).

But, quickly, I realised the negative contribution that allowing myself to hurt for long would cause. Yes, crying is good, releasing the pain is good. But, dwelling on it or allowing it to fester can only be bad.

So here are some of the ways I've picked myself up off the floor this week and hopefully they might help you feel a little more positive through the dark times too.

  • Exercise - (had to be first now didn't it). I still get a load out of the feel good hormones that exercises produces, so I upped my weekly workouts from three to six and felt better for it.
  • Be silly - act the fool, whether on your own or with friends. In my case it was doing a really silly, loud and crazy version of rockabye baby with my children. It made them laugh their heads off and me smile too.
  • Give yourself something to look forward to. Whether it's a night out at the weekend, shopping trip, or couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day.
  • Be nice - it's so easy to feel bitter, but hate and resentment only serves to make you feel worse more than anything.
  • Keep telling yourself good stuff. Be your own biggest fan. Find stuff that's good about you and keep reminding yourself about it, until you believe it.
  • Catch up with friends. Laugh, joke, have fun.
  • Be pragmatic - look at what you have got, rather than focusing on what you haven't and make the most out of it.
  • Get outside - yes, it's been flipping freezing lately, but wrap up warm and get out for a good walk, take some good, deep breaths and feel your soul cleanse.
  • Do something nice for someone. It always makes me feel better anyway.
  • Dance like no-one's looking. Stick on some crazy tunes and really go for it. Go on, you know you want to ;)
So what do you reckon? This is how I picked myself up this week and what I'm going to keep doing until the pain starts to ease and I don't have to think about how I'm going to feel good anymore.
If, like me, you've found yourself wanting to close yourself off in a dark room and cry your heart out for days on end, maybe try these instead?

Friday, 18 November 2016

Compliments to complement your day

As you all might have gathered from my constant banging on about exercise, getting in a good workout is one of my favourite things to do. And Pilates of an evening I find is a great way to de-stress and set yourself up for a good night's sleep.

So, following a Pilates class recently, I was all ready to head home for my cup of green tea and bed (oh, how my halo chokes me), when another lady who had been in the class approached me. Out of the blue she said: "You really are good at this. I was watching you do some of the exercises and really hope I can do them that well one day."

Just like that. A random compliment from a stranger, who then disappeared into the night without a by your leave. And do you know what? She probably has no idea, but it made my night.

You see, these days, it's so easy to go about our lives oblivious to those around us and even if we do notice something nice about someone, it's rare that we say it. Perhaps, people assume that if you look good, that you know it already, or, if they tell you something nice, then you might wonder what they're after.

But personally, I think I speak for the majority of people who don't have the benefit of walking round thinking how amazing we are and when someone says something nice it can make all the difference to our confidence and self esteem. At least for the next five minutes or so, anyway.

That compliment doesn't have to come from a stranger either. All too often people get so used to seeing their friends and loved ones around them and forget to say when they're looking particularly nice or have done something particularly well.

A compliment isn't a guy staring lasciviously at your boobs, or some sycophant saying what they think you want to hear in order to gain grace and favour. Like with the lady at Pilates, it should be an observation, made freely with no hidden agenda. Something that simply is what it is. And it's these kind of compliments which can make all the difference, not only to the individual, but to society in general. Because genuine niceness and decency is infectious.

It's for this very reason that I compliment my children when they've done something good, or made an effort too. It's in the hope of a brighter future. One where it's ok to be nice to others, to smile, to be happy and make others happy with no personal gain, other than the knowledge that you've done something good.

So, instead of keeping yourself to yourself, why don't you dish out a few genuine compliments today and see how much better it makes you feel!

Thursday, 30 June 2016

It's ok to say how you feel.. It really is!

Been thinking a lot about honesty and transparency these days. Ever since I became a mum, while being a lot more comfortable talking about things like poo and willies (so much so that my non parent friends cover their eyes and ears), I've also seemed to develop a thicker skin. And I think it might be a mummy thing.

So much stuff goes over your head when you've got ten million things to think of and remember at once. Jokes, insults and blatant truths are nowhere near as shocking or offensive as they used to be and I've found myself so much more adept at laughing stuff off.

I think it's something to do with just not having the time to be bothered. And let's face it, when you've been in labour and given birth in the most undignified way, there's not much after that that's going to floor you either.

One thing I do value these days above anything else isn't hiding your feelings for the sake of politeness, but honesty, openness and transparency. Whether I like what I hear or not, I value the fact that people are honest with me.

You don't like me? Fine, I can handle that! You think something I did was wrong or misguided? Do feel free to tell me, because I value your opinion and truly believe that you have a right to feel the way you do. (Unless you're a 70 something tutting at my child for making the slightest sound, as though all those years back your children really were seen and not heard... Really? Were they? I think you might be going a little senile in your senior years my dear 😁)...

But in all honesty, I prefer people to be real with me, no matter what it is they have to say. Wonderful examples of this are my friends, Michelle, Hayley and Ang. Yeah they can be down right offensive at times, but it's their opinion and honesty that comes with it that I value more than anything. It's also the reason why I love them so much. None of it is malicious and there's no back stabbing, in fact 99% of the time we have a laugh.

These are people who would much rather let you know their thoughts than tell other people in the roundabout hope that it will finally make its way to you and I just wish everyone was like it.

All I'll say is be confident in your opinion and if you can back it up with reasoned and intelligent argument, why feel scared to express it?

Honesty, transparency and openness are my buzzwords for this year as I truly believe that taking away the underhanded nature of backstabbing will help people be happier and more positive all round. Ditch the negative vibes, express your problems, deal with them and move on. Problem solved.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Why I'm inspired...

Sadly it's become all too apparent in the last year how important it is to make the most of what we have. There was a time when I thought I was invincible. That I’d never grow old and I’d never die (to quote the Lost Boys) but now, only recently people my age have started getting sick, some unlikely to recover, and that’s just not right.

Some of the brightest, strongest, most beautiful, most intelligent people I’ve ever known are being affected by devastating illness and there’s no rhyme or reason to any of it.

No matter who you are or what you’ve done, your time to jump off this mortal plain can hit you right between the eyes, just when you’re not expecting it, so what can you do in the meantime?

I’m always banging on about being good to others. About making the world a better place one person at a time and I still stand by that sentiment. Be inspired to do good and inspire the same in others and together let’s change the world. But there’s something else we can do too and that is to become masters of our own destiny.

Believe that you deserve to be treated decently. Believe that you’re beautiful, because no matter how you look, if you’re beautiful on the inside this will always shine through. Treat others how you would expect to be treated yourself, but this works both ways. If people don’t treat you well, why hang around? If someone makes you feel unimportant, unloved and you’re not liking yourself because of it, do something about it.

Move on. Give that love that you’re so good at giving to someone who deserves it and in doing so become master of your own destiny. Allow yourself to be loved, cared about and respected in the way that you should be. If someone is making you feel less than you are, then that’s their fault, not yours. Have people around you who love you for you. Take the negative influences out of your life and surround yourself with love and laughter. In doing so bring happiness back to your life and begin to notice the beauty all around you once more.

Life is precious and life is short, so do yourself a favour and become master of your own destiny. Believe that you deserve a life and allow yourself to live it.

And back to the title of this post… if you’re wondering why I’m inspired, it’s because of those beautiful, strong, courageous people out there that I mentioned earlier. Those who I might not be able to have a coffee with for very much longer. They are the ones who have inspired me. To help myself as well as others and to start feeling better inside.