sea grass
blogging

Dealing with that Inner Voice of Criticism

How do you treat yourself?

We are often harshest in our treatment of ourselves in the way our inner voice reprimands us for making mistakes.

Rather than an objective assessment of our actions, we strive for perfection in ourselves, and are disappointed or angry with ourselves if we cannot attain that desired standard.

Source: https://forestwoodfolkart.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/58006-1ye5vss3wrvp7nv7b51ldzw.png

Trying to be Perfect

Perfection is impossible, yet we continue to strive for it. Let us face it, we are all imperfect beings in some way. So it is a natural and normal state to be imperfect.

We may feel anger or diappointment when we judge ourselves to be useless, inadequate or ineffective.

If your critical inner voice is devaluing who you are, answer back with self-kindness … this is the antidote.

Medium.com
Singapore orchid gardens

Turn negative statements into neutral statements

One easy way to adjust our damaging self-talk is to change “always” and “never” statements into specific truthful ones.

“I always fail at ….” Really, is this accurate? Or, is this statement better?

“It seems like I fail every time I try something I find difficult, but telling myself that doesn’t help or support me in any way and each time it happens, I am learning something about what doesn’t work for me.”

Even in simple situations you might catch your self-talk saying, “You always forget where you put your phone/keys/wallet.”

Imagine how less disappointed you might feel if you change that self-talk to, “When life gets really busy, it is easy to forget where I left my phone/keys/wallet, but that is okay. Next time I might take more notice where I put them.”

If you make a mistake in your work, instead of labelling yourself, useless, using more nurturing phrases under your breath can feel less reproachful.

“I stuffed up this time, but that is okay because I am still learning how best to carry out this task and next time I might do better.”

“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” –Brené Brown

Here is another example from medium.com

Let’s say your inner voice tells you that you’re fat, and you think:
I did gain five pounds. She’s right, I’m ugly.” You feel miserable, right? Neutralize that negative statement so you feel good about yourself. Paint the situations your inner critic is nagging you about, in neutral colors. Name the facts. Add what you think will help you to make it better.

“Yes, I want to lose a couple of pounds. Last week I was too stressed and tired so I ate more and skipped my exercises. I’m more relaxed now, and I can go back to my usual routine.”

medium.com

Be kind to yourself.

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?

Motivational

Playing the Devil’s Advocate

Why do we think negatively when we know better?

“If I expect the worst, I am pleasantly surprised when something turns out well.”

Such an approach to life situations, is modus operandi for some members of my family.

I do get why people do get into the habit. I used to do this myself.

Some don’t like to get their hopes up and experience disappointment. They would rather enjoy the pleasant surprise when everything works out well. Sounds plausible and positive, but is it good for our mental health?

Is this a productive way of thinking – in that it supports us in dealing with our daily issues?

If you do this, does it work for you?

Image

You might even be a “prepper.”

Not the kind that are preparing for the apocalypse, but those folk that prepare for the worst-case scenario, exploring alternatives, or problem-solving the task or situation at hand in order to understand everything that can go wrong, so they can handle it better, when or if, it does go pear-shaped.

In preparing for the worst-case scenario, they feel they begin to process their own grief reaction to crises or adverse circumstances in their life.

Thinking negatively, expecting “the worst,” seeing the downside of positive situations, and even downright expecting failure, all convey a kind of backwards-thinking, emotional insurance policy.

Marc and Angel

When things work out well, people use this mental strategy to feel good about the uncontrollable nature of life.

They are innately rewarded unconsciously for this way of thinking.

This leads them to use this technique to deal with life again and again. Then it becomes entrenched as a habitual response. A habit like this can be extremely hard to shift.

sunset

I used to think more often in the negative, thinking I was preparing for unfavourable outcomes. I would worry about things, trying to process them, and by so doing felt I would be better prepared for the worst of the worst outcomes, if that eventuated. In the meantime, was I setting myself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Sometimes, as foolish as it sounds, we’d rather be right about our negative predictions than have a positive outcome prove us wrong.  And since negative thinking leads to negative actions, or no action at all in many cases, by thinking negatively we create a self-fulfilling prediction for ourselves that confirms that we were right about the circumstance all along.

In other words, we think negatively, predict a negative outcome, act negatively, and then receive a negative outcome that fulfils our prediction. Of course, none of this is what we truly want or need in our lives.

Marc and Angel

It seems that our desire to want to be right, or feel in control of the changeable nature and vagaries of life is one reason why we subconsciously choose this negative strategy, through no fault of our own.

In fact, whatever it is we are seeking will rarely ever come in the form we’re expecting, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.

Afterthoughts

Choose to ignore negative thoughts because they do not support you but do not feel guilty if this is not easy or achievable.

Life can be good even if it isn’t perfect.  Too many people miss a silver lining because they’re expecting pure gold. Life can be good even if it isn’t perfect.

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

Someday, the negative voice inside you will have nothing left to say.

National garden Japan
things you worship
Mental Health, Motivational

The Things you Value and Are Important

Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be cathartic. Recently I was given a journal of self-exploration, and it challenged me to circle the things that are most important to me in my life. Things I really value above all else. The trouble is I am prone to over- analysis.

things you worship
What is important to you?

Adding a magnitude of difficulty is that the list was finite. Trouble? I think so.

For example:

  • Do I value Laughter? Well of course, but does that include mocking, self-serving or sarcastic laughter – NO.
  • Travel – In hindsight I should have circled travel – but it isn’t really essential to contented life, is it? It is more of a bonus in life.
  • Earth – I am an environmentalist – I feel a stab of guilt that I neglected to circle this.
  • Sight – ???? I didn’t circle it so what does that indicate?
  • Home – who doesn’t value their home? Even homeless folk value homes. But what is a home without family?
  • Honesty – does that make me a dishonest person. Why didn’t I circle honesty?
  • Shoes – I am not a girl obsessed with shoes. Why is this even an option? Then again, it is pretty hard to go without shoes altogether.

You see – Over-analysis. It is a problem!


journal, self-help
The Journal of Self Introspection or Over-Analysis

I framed the book’s question as matters most essential to me – things that I would not want to be without. But they needed a few more options, I thought.

Things I would add to this list:

  • Respect,
  • Compassion,
  • Nurturing
  • Care,
  • Empathy
  • Hope
  • Blogging!!!

The final task in this exercise in self-exploration was to circle the things that you would rather worship/admire/value.

My list looked like this:


things you worship

Are you noticing a theme here? I circled the same seven things!

If you completed this exercise, what would it be that you circled?

What are the things you worship/value/that are most important to you in your life ?

What then would you circle as things you would rather worship/value?

What else do you think should be included in the darn list?

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Something Important to Ponder About

Mental Health, Motivational

Left to Pick Up the Pieces

There can only be one thing more nightmarish than hell itself, and that is to lose a child to  suicide. Gut-wrenchingly sad and tragic that a young life is lost. Gut-wrenchingly sad and tragic that the person has felt such emptiness and despair. Gut-wrenchingly sad and tragic that someone could feel so lacking in hope, so consumed with mental pain and anguish that this was even considered an option. And yet for their own family, who are left somehow to pick up the pieces, the consequences of this act can be so viscerally devastating, it is akin to a nightmare without end. Is it a selfish/revengeful act? An aberrant impulse? A distorted  or dysfunctional thought?

While the tortured soul focuses completely on their inner world, of thoughts and feelings, they fail to realise the contagion of misery and desperation will afterwards infect the rest of their closest allies, their own family or friends. How does one face the world and continue with life, after the loss of a close family member or child?

Many lives have ended here
Many lives have ended here

The strength humans display in the face of this kind of tragedy, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. To bury one’s own child is heart-breaking, but to experience a child who deliberately ends their lives is completely unfathomable. How do people get over such an act? How do they lift themselves out of the depths of  misery?

Moldiv_1401336598966

And now, this week we have a man appear to conceal a mental illness and commit suicide on a German aircraft, taking 150 innocent lives with him. Not only that, but he has also taken his own family’s normal life and that of the victim’s families, on the path to a living hell, that is only just commencing. These people have to pick up the pieces of their own lives, and continue on, somehow.

Last week, a young boy from Australia drove a car filled with explosives into an army base, intending to cause maximum death and destruction and in the process, killing himself. A selfish act? A nutter? A kid with nothing to live for? A criminal? A sociopath?

I don’t have an answer. I don’t have a magic solution. Perhaps there isn’t one.  Each case of suicide is different, and each individual is different. Every socio-economic group, every ethnicity can be affected – no one is immune. But it is cowardly and selfish. The most selfish act imaginable. Australia, the egalitarian vanguard, has the highest rates of youth suicide in the world.

And so Life is a roller-coaster. It is unpredictable, full of hard times and challenges, and if you are so blessed, many good times too. For some of us, success doesn’t happen and when life becomes too overwhelming, we feel like quitting, or we might feel like ending the pain, yet there is always Hope, waiting, watching, willing us to believe that things will improve.

There is always Hope.

Can we stop suicide? 

What can we do:

  • We can be there to comfort and support our loved ones and our fellow man and woman.
  • We can make an effort if others appear stressed or unhappy.
  • We can appreciate every moment we have with each other, no matter how bored, tired, hungry, frustrated we may be feeling.
  • We can encourage others to seek help and reassure them of our support.
  • We can speak up, without shame, to others, when need dictates. Secrets kill….
  • And We Can  Listen to each other!
  • Reach out to one another – There is always hope!
  • Take a break – and relax!

Every person is a child of the Universe and has every right to be here.

Remember, “Everything, like the weather, passes.”

A final word from Marc: Whatever you believe to be true about yourself and life in the long-term becomes your reality.  Your beliefs are ingrained patterns of thinking that you build up over a lifetime.  They are habitual ways of processing the world around you.  If those beliefs don’t work in your favor, you can change them.  How?  In the very same way the negative beliefs formed in the first place – via repetitive thoughts that you accepted to be the truth.  Ingrain new beliefs by consciously choosing and repeating messages that lift you up.

Something sobering to ponder about.

If you need help or wish to talk to someone:

beyondblue.org.au

kidshelp

Lifeline

Mental Health

Do You Fit In? Anxiety, Emotions and Friends

Do you sometimes feel misunderstood, or like you just don’t fit in? Is socializing painful or something you avoid? Is mixing at a party or large group a torturous experience?

Image0252-2

If so, you could be suffering from social anxiety? People suffering with this are often introverted by nature and feel that they are constantly being judged negatively by everyone around them. As such, they find it difficult to make new friends or maintain relationships.

These people are often drawn to online friendships, as the cyber world can be anonymous and much less threatening. Without the need for eye contact or body language, contact with others  over the net, can be much less overwhelming on the senses. The written word on its own, can be tolerated by someone with social anxiety, as it can give them the time they need to choose their words carefully and to be sure to express themselves in a way that would not be perceived critically. For this is what someone with social anxiety feels every minute of every day: that they are being negatively judged or critically perceived by others. For some, it destroys everyday life and  they are confined to the only place where there is no anxiety, the sanctuary of a solitary existence at home.

Although there appears to be  a genetic basis to social anxiety and its evil partner depression, there are a number of behaviours that can be un-learnt  just as easily as they  are learnt as a coping mechanism for anxiety.

As a result of these thoughts and anxieties, people with social anxiety have few friends and find making new friendships very difficult and not just because of trust issues. Their fears and negative thinking can render them vulnerable to friendship with toxic people, who in turn, erode their self-esteem and self-concept, even more and it feeds into a vicious circle.

Relationship gurus, such as Marc and Angel, list some common toxic behaviors to social interactions which is useful information for those who have social anxiety and who may wish to improve their social interactions:

1.  Taking everything too personally. – People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything happening around them is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them.  The truth is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you.  People’s reactions to you are about their filters, and their perspectives, wounds and experiences.  Whether people think you’re amazing, or believe you’re the worst, again, it’s more about them.  I’m not saying we should be narcissists and ignore all feedback.  I am saying that so much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally when it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of others’ good or bad opinion of you, and to operate with your own heart, intuition and wisdom as your guide.

2.  Acting like you’re always a victim. – Another toxic behavior is persistent complaining that fuels your sense of victimization.  Believing you’re a victim, that you have no power to exert and no power over the direction of your life, is a toxic stance that keeps you stuck.  Working as a life coach with people who’ve suffered terrible trauma in their lives but found the courage to turn it all around, I know that we have access to far more power, authority, and influence over our lives than we initially believe.  When you stop complaining, and refuse to see yourself as a hapless victim, you’ll find that you are more powerful than you realized, but only if you choose to accept this reality.

3.  Obsessive negative thinking – It’s very hard to be around people who speak incessantly about the terrible things that could happen and have happened, the slights they’ve suffered, and the unfairness of life.  These people stubbornly refuse to see the positive side of life and the positive lessons from what’s happening.  Pessimism is one thing – but remaining perpetually locked in negative thoughts is another.  Only seeing the negative, and operating from a view that everything is negative and against you, is a skewed way of thinking and living, and you can change that. Seek out positive people and look out the way they perceive obstacles and problems in their life.

4.  Lack of emotional self-control. – An inability to manage your emotions is toxic to everyone around you.  We all know these people – those who explode in anger and tears over the smallest hiccup or problem.  Yelling at the grocery store clerk for the long line, screaming at an employee for a small error she made, or losing it with your daughter for spilling juice on the floor.  If you find that you’re overly emotional, losing it at every turn, you need some outside assistance to help you gain control over your emotions and understand what’s at the root of your emotionality.  There’s more to it than what appears on the surface.  An outside perspective – and a new kind of support – can work wonders.

5.  Cruelty (or lacking empathy and compassion). – One of the most toxic behaviors – cruelty – stems from a total lack of empathy, concern or compassion for others. We see it every day online and in the media – people being devastatingly unkind and hurtful to others just because they can.  They tear people down online in a cowardly way, using their anonymity as a shield.  Cruelty, backstabbing, and hurting others for any reason is toxic, and it hurts you as well.

6.  Needing constant validation. – Last but not least, people who constantly strive for validation by others are exhausting to be around.  Those men and women who get caught up in the need to prove their worth over and over and over, and constantly want to “win” over everyone around them, are unintentionally toxic and draining.  Know this.  Overly-attaching to how things have to look to others can wear you out and bring everyone else around you down.  There is a bigger picture to your life, and it’s not about what you achieve in the eyes of the masses.  It’s about the journey, the process, the path – what you’re learning, how you’re helping others learn too, and the growing process you allow yourself to participate in.

What can you do to help someone/be a friend to someone you suspect has Social Anxiety? 

  • Be alert to when they attempt to join into conversations and listen to them with consideration, and without judgement.
  • Be aware that although they might appear rude and abrupt, they would never intend to come across in this way, and it is often their lack of social experiences that make them withdraw, or be incapable of responding appropriately.
  • Accept them the way they are, and always remain positive whilst empathizing.
  • Invite them to social outing without pressure, such as small groups situations or in a situation that they would not find threatening, such as stopping by their desk each day for a quick chat.

Something to Ponder About

Mental Health, Motivational

Anorexia – Beauty is more than skin deep

I am thirteen, and I hate myself. Hating is easy, but love takes courage. Courage I hope to have some day. For now, I just take each day as a gift. That is why they call it the present, a cliched expression says….

But this is not where my story starts, for I am the product of many years where I have cultivated the darker side of my personality. The thoughts, the distorted perceptions don’t flourish overnight; they  slowly sneak up, unnoticed, all the while sucking the life out of  my soul. Yet they are all of me.

They call it anorexia, an eating disorder. Yet it is nothing to do with my stomach, I feel it in my head, and in my heart. Do not judge me. I want to be judge, and jury.shadow3

My past haunts me, and is me. I am broken, but this is where I feel safe and whole. I feel in control of my body. Or am I?

People, such as this girl with anorexia, have complex problems, and strive for perfection and control that is difficult in an imperfect world. We all are imperfect, in many ways, we all fail, yet everyone still has a rite to be here and to be accepted without expectations.

Beauty is not just how you look on the outside. Can you make the world a better place? Can you make people feel good about themselves? Can you help others?  People like this are 100 times more beautiful than the cover girl on the fashion magazine. Inner beauty never needs makeup, or fad diets, or a stick thin body.

As Steve Maroboli writes:

“Get off the scale! I have yet to see a scale that can tell you how enchanting your eyes are. I have yet to see a scale that can show you how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it. I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humor, and contagious smile. Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perseverance when challenged in life.”

Laurie Halse Anderson says:

“Food is life. And that’s the problem. When you’re alive, people can hurt you. It’s easier to crawl into a bone cage or a snowdrift of confusion. It’s easier to lock everybody out.
But it’s a lie.”

Hating is easy, but love takes courage. Courage I hope she will have one day. For now, she  takes each day as a gift. That is why they call it ‘the present.’

Something Serious to Ponder About

Community, Mental Health, Motivational

Are You OK?

Charlotte Dawson’s tragic death, reminded me of a recent campaign that highlighted the issue of mental illness, primarily depression and suicide, in our community. The R U OK? Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging all people to regularly and meaningfully ask ‘are you ok?’ as a support to colleagues and those who may be struggling with life. They aim to get people talking, by one person initiating a natural conversation that could change the way the other person is feeling or thinking. It won’t necessarily cure or solve a problem, but it may be an opportunity for us to show work colleagues/family/friends that someone cares, and who doesn’t want to feel that they were listened to?

How often do we hear comments following a suicide such as: “I thought they were fine; He seemed to be doing well /he was really happy; as if this was a total surprise. And maybe it was, so R U Ok? is a great way to identify people who are seemingly, “doing fine”, but are, in reality, suffering inside before they take any drastic steps.  It gives them an opportunity to talk, if they so wish, and may avert the downward spiral of their negative thinking.

R U OK?

Four steps were identified in the R U Ok? conversation:

1. Ask R U OK?

Start a conversation somewhere private

Build trust through open and relaxed body language

Ask open – ended questions: How, what, when, why, where, anything that does not generate a Yes No response. Paraphrase their answers so you are not firing off one question after another. You don’t want them to close down because they feel they are being interrogated.

2. Listen without judgement

Give them  time to reply

Avoid suggesting how they ‘solve’ their problem

Don’t trivialize what they are feeling

3. Encourage Action

Summarize the issues/ Paraphrase their comments

Ask them what they plan to do *** – don’t tell them what to do

Urge them to take one step towards that solution

4. Follow up ***

Put a note in your diary to call them in one week

Listen without judgement again

Ask if they’ve managed to take that first step

*** These aspects are particularly important, as they can galvanise the person into actually taking that first step, and not just thinking about it.

N.B. If they deny they have a problem, it might just mean that they are not ready to talk about it yet. so check in with them again soon. And remember… It is ok to say, “I’m not OK.”

BOUNCE BACK

The acronym BOUNCE BACK can also help individuals counteract negative thoughts.

B ad times, like bad weather, does pass. It doesn’t last. Things can always get better. Stay optimistic

O ther people can help if you talk to them. “I’m really not feeling ok”

U nhelpful thinking makes you feel more upset

N obody is perfect – not you and not others

C oncentrate on the positives (no matter how small) and use laughter (Laughter really is the best medicine!)

E verybody experiences sadness, hurt, failure, rejection and setbacks sometimes, not just you. They’re a normal part of life, don’t personalize them.

B lame fairly – how much was due to you, to others, and to bad luck?

A ccept what can’t be changed (but try to change what you can change first)

C atastrophising exaggerates your worries. Don’t believe the worst possible picture.

K eep things in perspective. It’s only one part of the spectrum of your whole life.

Mental Illness, depression, anxiety in the modern world is on the rise. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the most commonly presenting mental illness in the world today.

R U OK?

Something sobering to ponder about.

Mental Health, Motivational

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

It is so very easy to follow routines every day, release the brakes on the weekends,  or days off, and let “life [be], what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans”, as John Lennon famously sang. If  you look back and find too much time has passed by without you really being aware of it, perhaps these five suggestions from Marc and Angel can help re-set your focus and experience all you can from life, as opposed to simply existing. I have added my own ‘take’ on their words that comes from my experience.


1.  Appreciate the great people and things in your life. – Sometimes we don’t notice the things others do for us until they stop doing them.  Don’t be like that.  Be grateful for what you have, who loves you, and who cares for you.  You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they’re no longer beside you.  Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you.  Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it to live.*

*My take on Point 1:  I think I will say or do one thing to the precious people in my life, today to let them know I really appreciate them. It is too easy to let the days slide by and take them for granted and they will never know how you felt.

2.  Ignore other people’s negativity. – If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative before you know it.  Ignore un-constructive, hurtful commentary.  No one has the right to judge you.  They may have heard your stories, but they didn’t feel what you were going through.  You do not have control over what others say; but you do have control over whether you allow them to say these things to you.  You alone can deny their poisonous words from invading your heart and mind. *

  • My slant: No one has the right to judge you. This is important to remember both for our self-talk and when someone might be aggressive or rude. But it is also desirable to let go of this urge to ‘control’ and ‘be right.’ These awful words are the ones that slide off your back  and don’t stick!

3.  Be who you really are. – If you’re lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everybody else, don’t change.  Uniqueness is priceless.  In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self.  And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same.  It takes a lot of courage to stand alone, but it’s worth it.  Being YOU is worth it!*

*My take: Much of our early lives is about conformity. At daycare, primary and high school, it is all about fitting in, being the same because that is easier for those around you. Do you really want to be just the same as others? No, because your life is different to theirs, so why try to distort it. If you find it hard to exude confidence in being yourself, pretend, and practise. It is not as hard as you think. You will overcome in the end. What a boring world it would be if everyone was the same? Celebrate and feel good about your differences from others. Laughter is a great antidote to cynicism.

4.  Forgive those who have hurt you. – I forgive people, but that doesn’t mean I trust them.  I just don’t have time to hate people who hurt me, because I’m too busy loving people who love me.  The first to apologize is the bravest.  The first to forgive is the strongest.  The first to move forward is the happiest.  Be brave.  Be strong.  Be happy.  Be free.* Me: I’m still working on being strong and brave.

5.  Let go when you must. – It’s not always about trying to fix something that’s broken.  Some relationships and situations just can’t be fixed.  If you try to force them back together, things will only get worse.  Sometimes it’s about starting over and creating something better.  Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over again with a smile on your face. *

  • My take: Persistence is always rewarded. Letting go is difficult, as familiarity is so comforting. Change might feel threatening but deal with it, one step at a time. Change is a natural part of life and your individual journey.

The final words from Marc and Angel:

What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while.  What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it…

Something to Ponder About

Community, Mental Health, Motivational

How to Stop Worrying about What People Think – social anxiety and bullying

Socialising does not come easily for everyone. As hard as they try….No matter how ridiculous other's think may look, be yourself and don't care what people are thinking.

For some people, social anxiety and harassment comes hand in hand and bullying can take place at school, home and in the workplace. How they cope or don’t cope with it, can have a huge impact on their lives. My son is still working through some of these issues. Prevention of harassment and bullying or treating self-esteem issues or negative thinking/anxiety is not just about protecting the victims, or eliminating instances from occuring, through education, (although this is still important), but also should be about supporting a proactive approach rather than a re-active one. In every instance, it can be helpful to arm the victim with the right “cognitive tools” to cope with social anxiety and or harassment. Here is a few ideas about worrying about what others think of you. I found whilst browsing the web. They are not my original ideas, I have added to their insight from my experience.

Get comfortable with not knowing what other people think.

How much energy do you  waste worrying about this?  I’ve gradually learned to relax with simply not knowing what others think about me or my work. Sometimes I slip back and that part of my mind dwells on the negatives, but I now understand that the way we think determines our world, so I do everything I can to stop thinking that way.

Some problems in life, such as not knowing what others think of you, are not really meant to be resolved.  How people perceive you may have more to do with them than you anyway.  They may even like or dislike you simply because you’ve triggered an association in their minds by reminding them of someone they liked or disliked from their past, which has absolutely nothing to do with you.

So here’s a new mantra for you – say it, and then say it again: “This is my life, my choices, my mistakes and my lessons.  As long as I’m not hurting people, I need not worry what they think of me.”

Know that most people are NOT thinking about you anyway.

Ethel Barrett once said, “We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.

Forget what everyone else thinks of you; chances are, they aren’t thinking about you anyway.  If you feel like they always are, understand that this perception of them watching you and critiquing your every move is a complete figment of your imagination.  It’s your own inner fears and insecurities that are creating this illusion.  It’s you judging yourself that’s the problem.

My experience: A lot of people are so self-absorbed that they have more important things in their life than to be thinking about you all the time.

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

How many times have you looked at a person and initially misjudged their brilliance?  Appearances are deceptive.  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.

If someone forms an opinion of you based on superficialities, then it’s up to them, not you, to reform those opinions based on a more objective and rational viewpoint.  Leave it to them to worry about – that is, if they even have an opinion at all.

People will think what they want to think.  No matter how carefully you choose your words and mannerisms, there’s always a good chance they’ll be misinterpreted and twisted upside down by someone.  Does this really matter in the grand scheme of things?  No, it doesn’t.

How others see you is not important.  How you see yourself, means the world.  When you’re making big decisions, remember, what you think of yourself and your life is more important than what people think of you.  Stay true to YOU.  Never be ashamed of doing what feels right.  Decide what you think is right and stick to it.

Be fully present and aware of how you DO want to feel.

It’s OK to know how you do not want to feel, but that’s not all you should be thinking about.  Imagine someone trying to learn to read by spending all their time focusing on how they do not want to not be able to read.  It doesn’t really make any sense, does it?

Enough is enough!  Forget what you do not want to feel for a moment.  Work out how you DO want to feel right now in the present moment.  Train yourself to live right here, right now without regretting how others once made you feel, or fearing the possibility of future judgment.

Speak and live your truth.

Speak your truth even if your voice shakes.  Be cordial and reasonable, of course, but don’t tread carefully on every word you say.  Push your concerns of what others might think aside.  Let the consequences of doing so unravel naturally.  What you’ll find is that most of the time no one will be offended or irritated at all.  And if they do get upset, it’s likely only because you’ve started behaving in a way that makes them feel they have less power over you.

Think about it.  Why be fake?

In the end, the truth usually comes out one way or the other, and when that happens, you’re standing alone if you’ve been living a lie.  So live your whole truth starting now.  If someone gives you a hard time and says, “You’ve changed,” it’s not a bad thing.  It just means you stopped living your life their way.  Don’t apologize for it.  Instead, be open and sincere, explain how you feel, and keep doing what you know in your heart is right.

You cannot make someone respect you; all you can do is be someone who can be respected.  The rest is up to them.  No matter how much you care some people just won’t care back.  It’s not the end of the world.  At some point you have to realize the truth – that they no longer care or never did, and that maybe you’re wasting your time and missing out on someone else who does. (MarcandAngel.com)

A life spent ceaselessly trying to please people who, perhaps, are incapable of ever being pleased, or trying too hard to always be seen as doing “the right thing,” is a sure road to a regretful existence.

Do more than just exist.  We all exist.  The question is:  Do you live?

I eventually realized existing without ever truly living was not what I wanted for myself.  So I made changes If you are in the same place I once was, seeking approval from everyone for every little thing you do, please take this post to heart and start making changes today.  Life is too short not to.

A Will Smith quote, “Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions”

If you keep worrying about how the people in or out of your life don’t like you, you’ll miss those who are already in your life or who want to come into your life, the ones who, perhaps, can help you to the next level.

Once you stop caring about what others say about you, your life changes forever.

When people tease and or bait you the next time, look at them with a puzzled, sympathetic look and say, “Hmm, you must be so unhappy.” and walk away. They might be so surprised and embarrassed, they say nothing further. But if they pursue you, or try to argue with you, let them rant on while you have a bored expression on your face, and then say, “I see,” in a bored voice, and walk away. They’ll quit bothering you because you’re not reacting and staying cool and calm and – it makes them look foolish.

Some important life skills for all of us to ponder about.

Community, Mental Health, Motivational

Have you heard of the Cockroach Theory for Self Development?

From Nigella Feasts on facebook:

4 November 2013 at 21:46Butterfly

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach. Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.

The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group.

Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama. The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter. The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?

He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos. It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me. It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.

Lessons learnt from the story:Do not react in life. Always respond. The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, just and right to save a situation from going out of hands, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger, anxiety, stress or hurry.

Share with friends and family.

Something to ponder about.

Community, Mental Health, Motivational

Self – Respect – Are we good enough for ourselves?

Self-respect 2013-09-11 07.16.55

Self respect is a basic physiological need. If our basic needs for self- respect are not met, we  may become depressed, socially anxious, withdrawn or stressed. Marc and Angel has some thoughts on this matter this week:

If you ever felt you are not being good enough…

Don’t be too hard on yourself.  There are plenty of people willing to do that for you.  Do your best and surrender the rest.

Tell yourself, “I am doing the best I can with what I have in this moment.  That is all I can ever expect of anyone, including me.” 

Love yourself and be proud of everything you do, even your mistakes, because your mistakes mean you’re trying. It’s better to have a life full of small failures that you learned from, rather than a lifetime filled with the regrets of never trying. Have you ever seen a toddler learn to walk?  They stumble and fall numerous times before getting it right.  Mistakes are learning opportunities.  It takes failure after failure to create success.  So don’t let time pass you by like a hand waving from a train you desperately want to be on.  Don’t spend the rest of your life thinking about why you didn’t do what you can do right now.

If you feel like others are not treating you with love and respect, check your price tag.  Perhaps you have subconsciously marked yourself down.

Because it’s YOU who tells others what you’re worth by showing them what you are willing to accept for your time and attention. So get off the clearance rack.  If you don’t value and respect yourself, wholeheartedly, no one else will either.

Sound advice from Marc and Angel to ponder about.

Read more here: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/09/18/7-things-fear-has-stolen-from-you/