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.

Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Challenging Thoughts and Reality

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Marcus Aurelius
Banksia

If you think of yourself as the best thing since sliced bread, that will become your reality.

Likewise, if you think you are broken, or a failure, then in all likelihood, you will feel broken and miserable.

If you feel you have some faults but are working hard to improve them, you might also feel differently.

Individual thoughts become your reality.

If you feel the future is hopeless, it is extremely hard to find a solution.

Even if your reality is realistic and accurate, intrusive thoughts have a way of sneaking into our mental vocabulary. Ann Koplow had some great pointers to remedy those. Perhaps it is useful strategies for all of us?

Challenge Labels.  If you label yourself negatively, such as “a fool” or “a loser,” remind yourself that such absolute terms are subjective and meaningless, and that human beings are too complex to be reduced that simplistically. Also, consider the possibility that somebody else may have given you that idea about yourself, and that they were wrong.

Reality testing.  Ask people questions to find out if your thoughts and concerns are realistic or true. This is a particularly effective response to the distortion of mind-reading.

Thought stopping.  If you notice an unhelpful thought, cut it off immediately. Typical techniques include visualizing a big stop sign, saying “STOP!” to yourself, and giving yourself a sensory cue (e.g. snapping a rubber band you wear around your wrist). A “gentler” version of this is to notice an unhelpful thought and tell yourself, “That’s just a thought.”

https://annkoplow.wordpress.com

Something to Ponder About this Sunday

Japanese garden
Community, Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday sayings – Frustration Tolerance

banksia

Everything is a gift of the universe–even joy, anger, jealousy, frustration, or separateness. Everything is perfect either for our growth or our enjoyment.” – Ken Keyes Jr.

Frustration is an emotion that arises from challenges that stand in the way of us achieving our goals. How we deal with frustration depends on how much we can tolerate that discomfort.

Do you give up easily or procrastinate when starting difficult tasks?

If you find it difficult to suffer fools, or become irritated by everyday inconveniences like traffic jams, noisy kids, or waiting in line, you might fall on the lower end of the frustration tolerance spectrum.

People with a low frustration tolerance may often have difficult relationships as they tend to have a short fuse and are easily triggered.

Annan manns lyte er lette å sjå.

The blemishes of another are easily seen.

Swedish Proverb

Signs of Low Tolerance to Frustration

  • Frequent procrastination due to an inability to tolerate the frustration associated with a tough or boring task
  • Impulsive attempts to “fix” a situation due to impatience rather than waiting for the issue to correct itself
  • Exaggerating temporary discomfort
  • Insisting on pursuing immediate gratification
  • Giving up immediately when presented with a challenge or obstacle
  • Growing irritable or angry about everyday stressors
  • Thinking or insisting, “I can’t stand this.”
  • Avoiding tasks that might cause distress

Causes

  • Depression and Anxiety lower our frustration levels.
  • Intrinsic personality traits – some have less/more patience and less/more expectations with others.
  • Core beliefs and values may contribute to how each person deals with frustration. Using language such as “It isn’t fair,” or “Life should be easy,” or “Why don’t they just do it.” [this way.]

Changing Frustration Tolerance

Frustration tolerance can be learned. Life will throw some curveballs. Thinking that you have a harder life than most, or are singled out for unfair treatment fuels thoughts that kick off frustration triggers. Sitting with mild discomfort of a distressing thought, for short periods is part of acceptance.

“Why do these things always happen to me! This is horrible.”

Is this something you can change or do you need to change the way you respond?

Can you re-think your attitude, or is it better to accept it and move on?”

Do not Doubt your Ability to Cope

A certain amount of frustration can stem from doubting your inability to tolerate distress. Thinking “I can’t stand to wait in line,” or “I am too old/broken or overwhelmed to try again,” will only increase your frustration. These thoughts do not help or support you and can even stop you from achieving any growth or progress.

Breathe.

Deep breathing is the best instrument you have at your disposal to calm your body.

Breathe deeply and sit (for a short time), with the uncomfortable thought or feeling, before taking any action. Meditation, exercise or muscular relaxation can also assist in calming the mind and body.

We can alter some feelings by keeping it real, more often. Instead of thinking about how “unfair” life is, that it is always going to be bad, we might reduce runaway and triggering thoughts by questioning the reality of what we were thinking. There are going to be difficult moments in anyone’s life.

Like any new skill, dealing with discomfort and thinking more realistically takes practice. A low frustration tolerance doesn’t have to be permanent.

You can take steps which could lead to a more fulfilling life experience.

How do you deal with frustration?

Geraldine
Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Unhappiness

“The unhappiest people in this world are the people who care the most about what everyone else thinks.”

Unknown

Many of us want to be right!

We think we are right.

We try to be right.

We even try to convince others that we are right. It may be because it elevates our social status, or own our self-esteem, or because we are perfectionistic and being wrong is equated to being bad.

It is our desire to want to be right that might be the reason we subconsciously choose negative thinking.


There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.

‘Some day the negative voice inside you will have nothing left to say.’

Unknown

Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to always happen, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for the moment.

burst of colour
porch in Sweden
Community

Sunday Sayings – Wisdom

Weekly Proverb

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader.

schnauzer dogs
It is good to stand out from the crowd

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

–Ingrid Bergman

Sayings offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned.

Weekly Quotes


“I hate that word: ‘lucky.’ It cheapens a lot of hard work.”


–Peter Dinklage

Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Do you feel that luck has a lot to do with success? Are some folks luckier than others? Does that give them an advantage in life?

Or is it merely the rhythms of chance, and life ‘evens out’ in the end?

Isn’t life not always fair and even?

Something to Ponder About

I invite you to join in the discussion by leaving a comment.

Everyone’s opinion is important. What is yours?

Trondheim
Community

Poetry Challenge for July

The A and I Bilingual Poetry Challenge runs each month until October.

The prompt for July is:

Turn on the radio to any channel.

Write a poem inspired by the first thing you hear

(lyrics to a song, a commercial, etc.)

This is my contribution.

 

A Mother’s Lament

So innocent, and vital, that smiley young boy,

With giggles and laughs, so charmingly coy.

Growing so tall after you donned that uniform;

Jumping so eagerly at war, which the suited men had spawned.

At home here we hear of the deathly horror you’ve seen,

It seems like everything turned black, when you turned 19.

Half a man returned home; as your soul is still there.

Seeing you broken is more than a mother can bear.

Each day, the gulf between us slowly widening,

as you keep running from the shadows, there’s no denying.

No more giggles, no smiles and never a laugh;

I don’t understand why you avoid photographs.

You close down any talk, you’re consumed with hate,

War’s legacy sinks down on us all, like a lead plate.

But my clock’s running down as time’s marching on,

I  only hope for small reconciliations, before I’m long gone.

I see that smiley young face in the photo on the bureau,

realizing sadly, he’s a stranger, I once used to know.

Amanda – July 2018

For the Afrikaans version of the Poetry Challenge – Visit Ineke at   scrapydo2.wordpress.com

 


 

 

Instructions for Joining the Poetry Challenge:

Sign up by leaving a comment on this post, so we know you are interested.

Ineke and I will post a poetry prompt and writing tips and links, around 1st day of each month.

You might need to follow our blogs so that the posts show up in your WP reader.

  • Using your own idea,  or the monthly prompt supplied, write a post with a poem, either fun or serious and post before the 27th day of that month.
  • Include in your post a link or pingback to both:

  scrapydo2.wordpress.com

 Something to Ponder About – forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com

  • Please add the tag A and I Poetry Challenge on YOUR BLOG POST.
  • As ping backs sometimes don’t work, please also leave a comment at Ineke’s blog, scrapydo2.wordpress.com and Amanda’s blog, Something to Ponder About, with the url link to YOUR blog post on the challenge post for that month.   N.B. If you do this, others can find their way to your challenge post and create a supportive community too.
  • Include the Poetry Challenge badge in your post, if you so wish. (optional)

folk art eggs
Community

Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader.

Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures.

They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

 

The proverb this week comes from Poland.

 

Christchurch Cathedral Square

 

 

In a game it’s difficult to know when to stop. ~ Polish Proverb

 

I do believe that there is another layer to the Polish quote. But what is it?

The game of Life? 

Does it refer to our competitive natures? Or the overwhelming desire to win?

 

If indeed that proverb relates to competition, we would do well to remember this saying –

 

“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” ~ George S. Patton

 

 

U.S. Army General George Patton earned the nickname Old Blood and Guts and served in both World Wars, so perhaps he had incisive terms of reference, for his quote. 

Do you believe we have an innate ability to spring back from rock bottom, often called in contemporary times: resilience, or, can it be learned through education? 

I would love to hear your thoughts. Join in the discussion by leaving a comment below.

 

 

 

Blog

Now posting on Fridays

Indeed this is something for us to ponder about

~Amanda