blogging, Philosophy

Why is Everyone So Unhappy?

It seems that the happiest lives are built on forgiveness and loving kindness that breeds contentment.

If you are forgiving but still unhappy, consider the role you might have taken in life could be triggering unhappiness and discontentment.

Roles in Life Limit our Self-Image

The roles we set for ourselves may define and limit us. Past wrongs or mistakes shape our feelings and our self-image.

Do you identify with any of the following roles in life? Are you:

  • The person who tries to control outcomes by making everything perfect
  • The son or daughter who is never good enough
  • The victim who is repeatedly hurt by others’ words or actions
  • The person who is always trying to be pleased so that they may be loved
  • The person who starts but never finishes
  • The stoic who never feels emotion
  • The person who looks for happiness in the external possessions
  • The people that emphasize what they do is more important than who they are
  • The people that focus on the past and the future -forgetting they are living only in the present.

Underneath we all just want to be loved. Can anyone deny that they want to be loved?

You can change the role you have mentally set for yourself.

“Find the role or roles that suit you best and decline the rest.”

How?

If someone says or does something that upsets you, see beyond their words and actions.

Change your reaction and you change your role in life.

Snow m-quote

Attitudinal healing looks beyond words and practises forgiveness.

Have you radically changed your attitude to someone close to you with which you had difficulty? How did that work out? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Blog logo on transparent background
fjord norway with jetty
blogging, Philosophy

The World in Our Mind

Experts lay the origin of certain mental health complaints squarely at the foot of one’s early life experiences. That said, can they really account for as much as is suggested? If not, should psychological interventions be tailored to take this thought into account?

responsibility quote Gabor Mate

Environment and Genetics – Nature versus Nurture.

Marsha hosts a Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge –#WQWWC which I am joining in a little early today – as it is Wednesday here, already.

I believe the theme this week is Trustworthiness. My take on this theme is a little skewed, but I thought – Can I trust my intuition, my own thoughts? Should I trust my intuition?

Yesterday two things came to mind, nothing serious, just thoughts and today, those two things were most significant in events, both, in my house and the larger region where I live.

Intuition or coincidence?

Does this ever happen to you?

If you have pre-cognitive thoughts, do you or should you, trust them?

stpa logo
beach at low tide
blogging, Philosophy

Is Life Getting Harder?

If we only look at things through one filter, one lens, they will always seem the same.

seeing

Never forget that no matter what anyone does, you are responsible for how you feel.

The brain is a powerful filter that moulds experiences and perceptions of reality. If you think the world is a dangerous place, your brain is wired to hunt for evidence of danger. 

If you believe it’s a loving place, you spot more loving opportunities. 

What you focus on, you get more of.

Marc and Angel
Norwegian proverb life

I enjoy finding inspirational old quotes and sayings. Their wise words so succinctly contain good counsel and recipes for life, if we are open to learning from them.

Livet er fullt av store ting for dem som evner a omgas de sma ting fortrolig

Life is full of great things for those who have the innate ability to enjoy the small.

Norwegian proverb

Do you agree with these old Norwegian proverbs?

woman friends having a drink
blogging

Priorities

As I contemplate what to write in a ‘death letter,’ to my daughter, I came across the following text.

They are not my words but I thought it important to reproduce it here for others to read. I do not know the author. If someone knows who wrote this, please let me know in the comments and I will gladly update the post and credit them.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The Important Things in Life

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car… The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’

The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com
dog drinking juice
blogging

How to Deal with Internet Criticism

Carol Burnett once said:

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.

Carol Burnett

Carol’s quote came to mind recently, when I received some strongly-worded criticism in response to a post I’d made, on a social media group. Whether my words were truth or lies, seemed less relevant than the individual opinions of the responders making the comments.

It seemed some people relished an opportunity to vent their spleen, albeit in an anonymous way.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Normally, I’d be a little rattled by heavy-handed criticism, but I’m no longer surprised by being hammered with a critical counter-argument, at least on social media.

And yet, in distancing myself from reacting to the negative commentary, I began to feel like some kind of stone-hearted internet troll.

Aristotle was unsurprisingly philosophical about criticism:

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Aristotle

I wondered should we ignore all negative feedback and scroll on, or respond to critical comments? If so, how?

Criticism of others’ opinions via the internet, and indeed, cyber-bullying, itself, has seemingly reached pandemic proportions. Thankfully the blogging world is mostly immune to negativity, but it did make me wonder how others dealt constructively, with heavy-handed criticism.

An American Politician, Sam Rayburn once said,

Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it.     

www.wiseoldsayings.com

Marc and Angel advocated creating space between hurtful words and feelings.

“Accept that someone else’s opinion is NOT your problem.”

“How you seem to someone and how you actually are, is rarely congruent.

Even if they get the basic gist of who you are, they’re still missing a big piece of the puzzle. What someone thinks of you will rarely contain the whole truth, which is fine.”

Marc and Angel

A measure of acceptance that we are all flawed and that we are all different, is echoed in this anonymous saying from wiseoldsayings.com

Criticism is the disapproval of people, not for having faults, but having faults different from your own.  

Perhaps we can all agree to disagree?

Have you experienced reactive negative criticism on the internet to a post you made?

How did you handle it?

Is there a better way to respond?

lady overlooks mountains in japan
blogging, Philosophy

The Value of Life and Possessions

Weekly Quote

Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another and themselves, according to Wikipedia

When I was young, I don’t think I was such a compassionate person. I think I may have been caring and kind, but I do not think I was truly compassionate.

I did not go out of my way, nor did I always take the time to remember the details of others’ lives. I came to realize this was important and meant a lot, when someone takes a moment to enquire how they are faring.

Animals have the ability to teach compassion to anyone.

Possessions

We are possessed by the things we possess. When I like an object, I always give it to someone. It isn’t generosity-it’s only because I want others to be enslaved by objects, not me. Jean-Paul Sartre

http://www.azquotes.com/author/13003-Jean_Paul_Sartre

Satre may have been considered to be selfish to want others to be enslaved by beautiful things. This could even have been considered as lacking in compassion.

Or, did he think that others would be less bothered by the entrapment and possession of objects to the same extent that he was?

Existential thoughts

What is your relationship with the objects you possess?

Do you jealously guard treasured possessions or give them away if they are no longer useful to you, regardless of their value?

Why is it we want to accumulate so many material objects in our lives, knowing that we cannot take them with us when we are done?

Do you think Simone de Beauvoir’s quote is valid?

Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below.

Australian beach cliff sunrise
blogging, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

It Started with the Door

I was washing the Schnauzer Dog this morning and the young pup and rest of the family kept interrupting me, pushing open the door hitting me in the shoulder, when I was working with the dog in the tub, full of shampoo.

If it wasn’t the pup pushing open the closed door latch, it was the Moth a.k.a. ‘Man of the House,’ (New homes appear to have internal doors that don’t securely latch closed, unless you slam them).

Each time the door was opened, the very wet and soapy Schnauzer, now full of shampoo would repeatedly try to leap from the tub, and and you can just imagine how slippery a fully soaped up dog was. It was a slightly exasperating situation.

Dog washing complete, I then set about cleaning the laundry and the same scene repeated, much to my dismay. Newly cleaned floors covered with either Schnauzer paw prints or Moth footprints as suddenly everyone wanted to get into the laundry for some reason. Grr.

I felt the tension rising in my body. I was irritated by the door latch not staying closed and the laundry suddenly becoming busier than Central Station. After a few grumbles under my breath, I paused, took a deep breath and tried to remember the wise saying I read earlier this week:

When you are upset, remind yourself the cause of your discomfort is your own attitude.

This is Freedom.

Dr. Lee Jampolsky

If there is something you don’t like, you can either change it or change the way you think about it.

Each and every day, the real battle for freedom takes place in your mind.

 Ingen kan hjelp den som ikke vil hjelpe seg sjøl.

Noone can help someone who will not help him/her/themself

Norwegian proverb

Do you have a way of dissolving tension that works for you?

If so, I would like to hear it.

dog smelling flower wiht bird
Motivational, Philosophy

Growing More Confident

So many of us seek, even actively chase, a sense of peace and fulfillment. We enjoy the fruits of life that we find bestowed on us, in parochial measure, but can we say that we truly treat ourselves kindly or are content, with ourselves?

Ethereal

Kindness as an act, is something we do in treating and interacting with others. Whatever your beliefs, as a child of this universe, we are all deserving of kindness and respect. It is a fundamental human right.

And yet, we shy away from practising loving self-care towards our own bodies and minds, because it gives rise to feelings of guilt. Or, we see it as some kind of character flaw, a sign of weak indulgence or self-centred narcissistic navel-gazing.

Body Image and Disliking Ourselves

Some of us take this even further developing an intense hatred or discomfort with parts of our bodies, for whatever reason. We seek to change the way we look via cosmetics, surgery or decoration.

We may have been unkind to ourselves over time, seeing ourselves only through others’ eyes. It is all too easy to be hyper-critical of an imperfection, when comparing oneself to others. It is important that we see that this kind of perspective, or lens, distorts the way we think about our own bodies and our sense of self suffers. Over time, these thoughts become hard to shift.

..there is no hurt, no lost or berated part of ourselves that cannot be touched by our own loving kindness. Indeed, little kindnesses towards ourselves made habitual in daily life are enough to turn any tide, bit by bit, day by day.

Meredith Gaston

Whatever we think of ourselves, at this moment, we must not forget that we ARE INDEED unique and valuable to this world.

Countering Anxiety

In apportioning loving kindness to all, we can consciously practice self-care.

Being kind to oneself, on a regular basis, is a useful life skill which can help us more readily soothe and quell anxiety and distress in the face of difficult challenges, or thoughts.

dog smelling flower wiht bird

Furthermore, when we are kind to ourselves, (and others), we begin to see that we are indeed worthy of tenderness and this, in turn, may strengthen not only our own self- confidence, but also feelings of comfort and support.

It is never too late to be kind and loving towards ourselves. The past is gone and the future has not yet arrived. Focus on thinking that will sustain and support you.

Treat yourself with the kindness you deserve.

bridge through a garden in japan
Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Whose Fault is it, Anyway?

“When you blame others,

you give up your power to change.”

Robert Anthony

http://www.awakenthegreatnesswithin.com/

Blame and finding fault teaches us to avoid facing up to some truth about ourselves.

It encourages us to search for what is wrong and who we think was responsible because of an underlying often unconscious belief, we carry, that infers if we are always right, we will be happy. If we could control other people and their actions, then that might be possible.

We all know that controlling others is, pretty much, impossible.

When controlling others fails, as it inevitably does, our innate Plan B might be to use guilt, fear, domination or manipulation; even conditional love and criticism to get what we think we want, or feel that we need.

If there is no value in holding on to guilt, why do we do so? Why is it so hard to let things go?

Forgiveness is the key.

Forgive yourself as well as others, for your own sake.

Tolstoy suggested a bad mood might be the reason we blame others. How often do we hear:

“If only they/it would/didn’t/can ………”

Yet blaming others is not likely to lead to feelings of serenity. Instead it may create more negative feelings and paint your own self as a victim, as the following quote alludes.

“Some people love being victims because they love being able to blame someone else. Accountability is too much for them. They don’t like being responsible for who they have become or where they are in life.” Anonymous

http://www.awakenthegreatnesswithin.com

Therein, blaming may be linked to feelings of remorse, or regret, about where one is in life’s journey.

The only thing we might ever really change is our own attitude.

pier on bridge
Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Criticism and Feeling Positive

 Gode ord skal du hogge i berg, de dårligere i snø.

Carve your good words in stone, the bad in snow.

Old Norwegian Proverb

I do love the way old words of wisdom offer us a way forward when we are stuck in our heads, with thoughts that do us no good at all.

Old proverbs offer us succinct suggestions and have many layers of interpretation, if we are open to listening.

Not only does the Norwegian proverb relate to criticism of others, it might also give us advice on how we view ourselves and how we react to criticism from other people.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Criticism from Others

Is it possible to eliminate criticism?

Du kan unngå kritikk ved ikke å si noe, ikke å gjøre noe
og ikke å være noe.

You can escape criticism by not saying anything,

by not doing anything and becoming nothing.

Danish Proverb

The only way to escape criticism entirely is to follow the Danish proverb’s advice.

Accepting that there will always be people who criticize, regardless of what you do or how well you do it, is something we might have to hear, but not something we have to internalize.

If you say you want to be a dancer, they will discredit your rhythm.  If you say you want to build a new business, they will give you a dozen reasons why it might not work.  They somehow assume you don’t have what it takes, but they are dead wrong.

It’s a lot easier to be negative than positive – a lot easier to be critical than correct.

Spend time with Positive people.

Wise words from Marc and Angel.

Mental Health, Motivational

You are Not Alone

I came across an interview as a follow on from a friend’s blog.

It was on a sensitive topic.

I have lived through a family member’s depressive and suicidal behaviour, and spent a long time trying to analyse and digest what and why.

There are always questions and no answers. A puzzle that is never complete.

A mystery without a solution.

If a tragedy involving a young adult occurs, the parent is forever changed. There are no magic answers for dealing with it, no rulebook. It leaves a black hole of despair, a permanent scar, for which there is no cure.

How can we help to prevent it?

Suicide occurs less in impoverished circumstances, as opposed to those who have resources and might be perhaps more comfortable in a socio-economic sense.

“I think you can say that when there is a suicide the entire family becomes totally unhinged. And even though we all seem to go back to normalcy, something has been broken forever.

In my own case, having been abandoned by my father in a way – he never was much of a father and then having being abandoned by Jim. The only person who never abandoned me except when he died was Johan Oosterveld, the farmer in the Upstairs Room, the man who saved my life. He was always there for me. He even left a closet, in his attic, with a hole that you could crawl into, where I had hidden from the Germans.

Because he always said: ‘You never know – it might come in handy again, and then Annie you can come back from Neuf York and you can get right back in there.”

Johanna Reiss, author of a Hidden Life.
auschwitz fences

 Johanna Reiss explains it in a better way than I could:

“The middle class and the upper class are much more likely to commit suicide than those who have to find their daily bread, so to speak.

(In) Elie Wiesel’s book. I had read that in concentration camps, the biggest goal for most of them was to get the next crust of bread. And they were already being punished by the Nazis, so they didn’t think they had to punish themselves too.

There were very few suicides in concentration camps, which is strange when you think about it, it surely seems like a place you’d want to get away from.”

www.thebrowser.com/books/interviews/reiss
auschwitz railway

“‘There has to be a reason for people to stay alive, there has to be hope, and there has to be somebody or something that is so important, that you couldn’t possibly leave it.’

Elie Wiesel, a Romanian-born American writer, Nobel laureate, and Holocaust survivor wrote that he was considering running into the barbed wire once, but he didn’t because his father needed him. And that’s the only time he mentions the allure of suicide.”

It is vital that the sufferer does not feel abandoned, that they have a reason to be.

You are not alone.

If you feel it is just too much, speak up and tell someone you are not okay.

Call a friend.

Send a message or text.

Tell someone that you need support.

Tell anyone you feel you can speak to, be that medical, commercial or religious.

Just speak up.

Let someone know.

Trondheim
blogging, Mental Health, Philosophy

Kindness – An Antidote to Self Criticism

“The happiness of life is made up of the little charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment.”

~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In the wake of #Black Lives Matter, some folk appear inclined to believe that being strong is a way to win respect, when it is just a way to promulgate fear.

They may have mistakenly learnt that in being strong they achieve more, or receive more. Does being strong ever bring happiness and contentment?

The two just don’t seem to go hand in hand.

Does a staunch or rigid boss even win respect from his workers by being hard-core? Or they do live in fear of disappointing him? Does a hard-line leader win support through negativity or merely decrease morale?

If a boss shows too much kindness in the workplace, do they feel they are a push-over?

Kindness is not to be mistaken for weakness, nor forgiveness for acceptance. It’s about knowing resentment of any kind is not on the path to happiness.

Unknown

Weekly Proverb

Self – Criticism

We may be in the habit of berating or criticising ourselves for perceived shortcomings, constantly putting our own needs last, or inadvertantly disallowing ourselves the time, space and patience we deeply need to rest, heal and, ultimately to feel more content. In short, we are unwittingly being unkind to ourselves.

We may be our harshest critic; it may have become second nature to criticise ourselves and very challenging to praise and comfort ourselves or others.

But we cannot pour from an empty cup.

Kindness can fortify life, and seeing ourselves and others through a kinder lens can make a world of difference to all.

Regular practice of kind words and actions is infectious and it might just be the highest real success we achieve in this life. And it needn’t cost a thing.

Ultimately it is up to us as the sole creator of our thoughts.

Do you think you will appear weak if you show kindness to others?

Would it feel indulgent or selfish to show kindness to yourself?

Is there a time when you must display strength, without kindness, to survive?

Join the discussion by leaving a comment below.