Tag Archives: positivity happiness

Mistake or Opportunity?

Mistake or POST

‘’ No matter how many times you stumble or fall, the greatest lesson is loving yourself through it all ‘’
Barbara Streisand

Mistakes! We’ve all made them right?

We all of us make mistakes some tiny, some huge & a small percentage of which could potentially be disastrous. In times of stress or emotional overload the propensity to make mistakes increases and because we are human so does our need to apportion blame. That blame could be leveled at us or by us towards ourselves as well as others and dependent upon our interpretation of the gravity of it so the level of blame and by association guilt increases in line.

Rarely does a mistake happen without an accompanying negative reaction in response and very often it is the reaction as opposed to the action (mistake) which is the cause of most stress for those concerned. Alongside that runs the at times almost overwhelming need to right perceived wrongs, justify how/why the mistake was made (to be fair sometimes by trying to absolve ourselves of any blame) and moreover apologise profusely & repeatedly as if insistent repetition of sorrow will right any adverse effects of the said mistake.

However the single biggest error of judgement we any of us make in the above scenario is that we quite simply forget that we are indeed human and as a result of which we have the option of choice and it is this factor alone when making decisions which is responsible for mistakes being made!

We all make mistakesThink about it there surely can’t be anyone who falls into the category of having made a mistake, taking that as give, the only thing that makes each of us unique in this area is our reaction. What is it that can determine such variety & extremities of emotion in situations which are perceived as being wrong in that a mistake has occurred? It has to be purely a matter of mind-set. There are those of us who go through life apparently oblivious to the results of their actions & to be truthful probably wouldn’t care less if they did. In stark contrast there are those who rather than cause upset, inconvenience or harm albeit unintentionally would go to the ends of the earth to avoid doing so.

Speaking for myself I accept that as a human I can & do (frequently) make mistakes and to be honest as each and every one occurs my reaction is dictated purely by the circumstances surrounding it as opposed to the actual ‘’error’’. For instance my reaction is more likely to be highly emotional if any mistake I may have made should impact negatively on another. Whereas if I poured milk on a desert instead of cream I would simply laugh at my own ‘’stupidity’’. In both scenarios though I would these days definitely adopt the sentiment that ‘’a mistake is only ever a mistake if we fail to learn from it’’.

It wasn’t always the case; as a person it took me a very long time to understand that making a mistake, any mistake is not only ok it’s actually acceptable because generally speaking it’s simply an error of judgement which at the outset wasn’t meant to intentionally cause harm. That said I could, would & still do even now on occasion fret, worry & obsess that something I had done or said maybe could have caused someone else at best an inconvenience, at worst a massive issue as a result. At times when an apology and/or reparation were rightly made (& accepted) even then I would work myself into a near frenzy as I allowed myself to become convinced of the fact that the only reason my apology had been accepted was nothing more than good manners on the part of the ‘’injured’’ party and that despite their acceptance they didn’t mean it because (in my mind) I was an idiot at the very least!

This statement alone says so much more about the frailty of the human psyche than anything else I think. The fact that even having been absolved of blame I (anyone) could & did refuse to accept that whatever the transgression, in the bigger picture of things it really didn’t matter and in many instances hadn’t even registered for anyone else.

Ere go what is important to one person is often not even a consideration for the next.

So to the matter in hand;

Think About ItA mistake is nothing more, nothing less than an error of judgement which was never meant to harm, distress or ridicule any person, thing or situation.

As such it is a waste of time and effort to pay more than the minimum amount of attention to it in order ‘’to put things right’’.

Any expenditure of effort should be limited to;
• acknowledging that a mistake has been made
• taking responsibility for it (where it was your mistake to begin with)
• defining what went wrong & why
• ensuring that you have taken the opportunity to learn from the experience and avoid repeating it in future

BECAUSE as Einstein once very rightly said;

‘’The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again yet expecting a different result’’

The need to punish ourselves or indeed others for the mistakes we/they make has become almost second nature for us a species. We are all too ready & willing to jump on the universal bandwagon of negativity because truthfully it is often the easier and more popular option.

This journey through life can at times be difficult enough without inflicting negative self-talk upon ourselves when there really is no need. As with anything that is worthwhile it takes time & effort to be mindful of the fact that we’re all of us doing the best we can day to day and whilst we may not live up to the expectations of ourselves let alone anyone else then it really, really is alright because there is not one of us on this planet who is perfect.

Whilst being kind to & taking care of ourselves be it physically or mentally should always be our priority it needs to begin with accepting that although perfectionism is a wonderful ideal, realistically it sets us up for failure & at times emotional distress especially if we look upon any mistakes we make as falling short in some way, failing if you will instead of what they really are which is nothing more than:

Opportunities to learn & grow which by definition means we are succeeding

As we go through this life of ours then, we should all of us strive to remember that when on occasion we stumble and make errors of judgement that we are human & we were not designed to be perfect. Making mistakes is part of the tapestry of life, they are little more than pointers enabling us to increase our understanding. We need to be secure in the knowledge that regardless of anything it does not mean that by making mistakes we are lacking in any way rather the opposite in fact and that is simply;

We are ENOUGH just the way we are!

Be True To Yourself

Be True To Yourself POST

”I think of life as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself & so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.”

Shirley MacLaine

Whatever you do? Don’t ever apologize for being you!

It has taken me most of my adult life to even consider that no matter what the opinions of others are with regards to me (on any level) in actual  fact are absolutely…

None of my business! 

Now I can hear people saying ”what? of course it is!” BUT…

How dare you settle for less

 

In all honesty I can truthfully say and with conviction that it really isn’t.

Of course  whilst it’s always nice when someone takes time out of their day to compliment you in some way be it; how nice you look, congratulating you on a job well done or praising you in public and indeed will often do wonders for your self-esteem, it’s crucial to stay well grounded and realize that more than likely there will be another who would be all too willing to proffer a negative counterbalancing opinion.

For instance during a particularly difficult period some months ago I was struggling on many levels; stress, insomnia & health issues all serving to ensure that for a time I wasn’t ”at the top of my particular game.” One day I was due to meet friends for lunch and spurred on by my innate need for punctuality was as usual first to arrive. The first of my two friends followed me in & after the usual hugs & perfunctory comments about the weather et al she looked me straight in the eye and said ” my God you look awful, how long is it since you’ve been to sleep” a brief conversation ensued as to why, how long etc. When the second friend arrived just minutes later she immediately proclaimed ”wow, you look so much better than last time I saw you.” I laughingly pointed out that our mutual friend had just commented to the opposite effect.

My point here is simply that, among friends, on the same occasion and just minutes apart, even people we know & love can & do form instant opinions about us based purely on having interpreted what they saw. Now obviously this example is very safe in that both opinions although differing came from a place of love and as such didn’t serve in any way to make me feel threatened, undermined or worse still unworthy.

However if we take the basic lesson learned here –  being  that thoughts form a view or judgement about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Then it becomes easy (at least it did for me) to de-personalize how, what, why someone, indeed anyone could or would want, to even think let alone speak or write about me in any manner even if it were complimentary (but that’s a whole new conversation about self-esteem!) because lets face it to put it in its simplest terms anything said about you is either a fact or untrue!

If someone states as fact – ”You are Italian” – there is absolutely nothing to be done except to agree. However if someone were to form say an exaggerated (hyperbole) opinion  ” You are a fat, lazy Italian because you eat too much pasta” –  which may or may not be either true and/or taken literally then you are faced with the age-old dilemma of choice. Do you become outraged, feel insulted, embarrassed or even moved to tears as you recoil from the rhetoric? Or do you choose to acknowledge that as ill-informed & potentially hurtful as it was, it was no more than the view of another and as such can have as much or as little impact on you as you allow it to.

For me the really, really liberating experience of knowing that I can control and thus either limit the negative impact or allow the positive impact to enhance my life was the pivotal moment when I truly understood that:

I am in charge of my thoughts, my emotions & my reactions especially when it comes to taking on board that I may or may not measure up to the expectations which others have of me. In short I can choose how, if at all to react. If I am indeed ” a fat, lazy Italian who eats too much pasta” (sincere apologies for the sweeping generalization used here) then I have  decisions to make.

Whatever the circumstances you have to ask yourself

‘What difference to my life and to me as a person would it make if ………..

………and would I be happy with that? You fill in the blanks to fit your own circumstances.

The thing to consider and in my experience the only thing which really matters is that when making these decisions you should always, always strive to be yourself. It may well be that like me, you have along the way actually & often by default lost sight of ”who you really are.”

In my case I became a caricature of what I thought people wanted to see. I hid behind a very carefully constructed  barrier over which I projected an image that even I began to see as the real me. Before long anything & everything I did or said reinforced what I later came to call my ”fake self image” I didn’t know it then but I was in hiding, hiding from the ”reality” of how people would react, treat, question me if they were allowed to ”see the real me”.

In truth I came to learn that Dr Suess was indeed spot on with  the statement:

”Those who matter don’t mind whereas those who mind don’t matter.”

It was a time of enormous enlightenment for me and the lessons I learned along the way will stay with me for ever. I now know that by living in denial of who we really are we are not only doing ourselves a great disservice but we also at times severely underestimate those closest to us.

So as you strive to be true to yourself  please consider the following;

Never try to hide who you really are for you are enough. 

Do what makes you happy

 

You, your past & your present in fact everything that has ever happened to you will shape your future and there were reasons for all of it. When you learn from what has gone before there can be no mistakes and therefore regret is a waste of time.

Always stand up for what you believe in because you have a right to be heard.

By all means listen to the opinions of others but unless they can prove otherwise they are always just that. The only way you will ever engender the respect of others is by showing them that above all else you respect yourself.

Most importantly, be who you want to be.

Do your thing, never apologize for being you & remember;

WHOEVER & WHATEVER YOU ARE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH IF YOU’RE

HAPPY

Because TRULY the opinions of others REALLY are NONE of YOUR business!!!

Choice, Life Is A Choice

Choice, Life Is POST

”It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”  J.K.Rowling

Life!

The singular thing we all have in common. However having said that there are only actually two things which for sure will happen to us all.

We will be born. We will die.

Stark but nevertheless completely true.

Equally true is the fact that many of us do actually treat the experience that is life as a final destination. We all too easily lose sight of the fact that it is actually a journey. Each day, for each of us is completely unique and thus our journey in turn becomes as individual as we are and in all honesty most of us never even consider that it is our choices along the way which make it so.

The amazing thing is that we all of us do have the power of choice.

It is after all the most basic of our rights as humans. We can all of us, if we so choose be compliant and ”allow” life to happen to us OR we can become proactive and choose to be the architect of our own journey and subsequently our destiny.

So my friends I would urge that you give some thought to the gift which is your life and the like of which you will not receive again. As you go through your day tomorrow pay attention…..be mindful if you will.… as to the number of choices you will actually get to make during it’s course. In addition to the those you would make automatically……what to eat, what to wear, where to go…….concentrate on each moment as it occurs and realise that everything in life is a choice;

Positivity. Negativity. Gratitude. Happiness…all of it

Those choices in turn have the power to alter your life for the better or worse. Any given point on your journey through life is in direct correlation to your words, actions & attitude and it is you alone who are responsible for it.

There are those amongst us who will say ”Oh no it’s not  my fault… ???… did this, said that and so on which would all be very true HOWEVER the key here is that the other person is the one who has to take responsibility for their actions whilst it is YOU alone who must take responsibility for your REACTION to the situation/ feeling they created. You have the power to allow or disallow how anything impacts upon you. You can CHOOSE and it is this choice alone which will dictate whether you are compliant in or an architect of your life, your FUTURE!

So having urged you to be mindful as you go about your day tomorrow you should consider the possibility that you have inadvertently become compliant in ”allowing” your life to just happen to you. If you should come to realise that you have in fact been ”happily” accepting your lot then it may come as somewhat of a surprise to find that you have always had the option of CHOICE.

It would be unrealistic to assume that choosing a positive option will either be simple or easy

Indeed at times it will be very far removed from these two particular emotions. The difficulty comes with the slow realisation that (in many instances) we have been accepting the unacceptable as being the only option open to us without ever having truly considered any alternative just because ..”that’s the way it’s always been”….! When you think about it would you buy meat from the same butcher every week regardless of the fact that it had ”gone off” just because your family had always shopped there? Of course you wouldn’t because you would be able to see, smell & taste the badness.

However when it comes to something as intangible as ”happiness” our recognition and/ or acceptance of it is based on the largely intangible, meaning that whilst we can witness someones happiness by seeing them smile, we cannot touch it, taste it or smell it. By default therefore we become more inclined to be accepting of something which cannot be physically evidenced as being otherwise and as such it enables us to trust that things are as they should be.

After all how often do we say things such as; ” it was just a gut feeling” about something?

So having decided (which in itself is a choice) then that everything in life is a choice, let’s take the a fore mentioned emotion of happiness. People have often said to me things like ”you’re either happy or unhappy, that’s all there is to it” I would for a long time have agreed with them UNTIL that is I had my own what I like to call ”light bulb moment” and realised that I like you can choose happiness.

It took me quite a while to get into the habit of choice and for me it became easier when I realised that the opinions and or actions of others for instance, could only hold sway over my emotions if I ALLOWED them to. The bottom line is that we all of us have responsibility for what we allow in our lives. For me I have actively chosen not to allow or embrace negativity from any source. If we try and remember that the negativity we encounter on a daily basis particularly from another person is THEIR negativity and as such has no place in or power over our lives we soon come to realise that it’s just a small step to choosing between a smile or a frown!

In CHOOSING HAPPINESS I now also understand that (to quote the song) –

”You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”  and it feels AWESOME!!!

Happiness you will come to understand is not only a choice but a way of life and it’s contagious so………..what are you waiting for???

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!

Dont be so POST

”Love yourself first and everything else falls in line”

Lucille Ball

I have long struggled to reconcile myself to the fact that practicing Self Care  as opposed to being Selfish is not only ACCEPTABLE, it’s NECESSARY! Whilst for me at least being selfish has never been an option on this journey through life, the alternative and far healthier choice of caring  positively and in a loving manner for oneself, I have for a very long time mistakenly believed to be the same thing. In fact NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Self Care;  Looking after ones self in a healthy manner be it physically, mentally or spiritually
Selfish;  lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

When you look at the definitions side by side the difference in meaning is CLEAR for all to see. Yet in my minds eye the fact that on occasion when I chose to utter the word NO in response to say a request to do something for another the guilt and anguish I experienced at my own PERCEIVED selfishness  simply because I had ”refused to help someone” in some way, knew absolutely no bounds. Unfounded guilt, coupled with  equally unfounded paranoia that they would deem my negative response to their request as me being SELFISH fueled a self perpetuating decline overtime into the unrealistic realm of me responding with a compliant YES to requests REGARDLESS of whether I needed to do something different at the time or not!

In real terms what that meant on the most basic of levels is that in the great scheme of things when asked to do……..(you fill in the blanks)….and regardless of circumstance, situation, time constraints, personal commitments I would more often than not be heard to proffer an enthusiastic YES (when actually feeling anything but!) and usually at great personal expense in terms of the impact on both my physical and mental well being. Simply put I had done an OUTSTANDING job of convincing myself that without doubt to proffer an equally firm but polite NO would mean that I was SELFISH personified!

In essence I had decided at an extremely young age that I would in no way become a SELFISH person,  A noble premise but one in which aiming to achieve, I had unwittingly applied a totally unrealistic set of principles for negotiating the minefield of life. Principles which would see me time and again put the needs of others over and above those of myself regardless of personal cost. In all honesty the cost incurred was probably an equal mix in terms physical, emotional and mental decline. The concept of SELF-CARE never having even been allowed the opportunity to be considered. In my ”quest” to become ”all things, to all people” a modern day mix of Mother Theresa & Nelson Mandela if you will, my default setting had turned me into a somewhat substandard version of Mary Poppins as I had very definitely become ”practically IMPERFECT in every way”.

The pressure I had put myself under by striving to reach the unattainable saw me buckle under my PERCEIVED FAILURE to be the person I THOUGHT others wanted me to be as opposed to the person that I ACTUALLY AM! Such was my physical and mental decline that I was the last  one to realise just exactly what my self imposed mindset had cost me.

Almost too late I realised that those who I loved and who loved me in return did so simply BECAUSE of who I AM and NOT because what I can do for them. All they wanted (had EVER wanted) was for me to be HAPPY, HEALTHY & WHOLE! Were I on occasion willing and ABLE to help them out in some way then that would be ENOUGH.

I WOULD BE ENOUGH!

So late in the day I came to understand the concept of SELF-CARE! Together with it’s implications and benefits. The outcome for me (and hopefully those of you who may also lack self awareness) is such that as a matter of priority I  now strive everyday to seek BALANCE in life: a healthy, balanced diet, quality sleep and enough of it, to spend quality time with loved ones and above all else to make time to relax and just ”be” – whether sitting, reading, meditating, essentially doing something where I show MYSELF the love I now know I DESERVE and which without forethought I make so readily available to others.

When you truly come to understand AND practice the art of SELF-CARE, see it in action for yourself AND THEN realise that life as you knew it has not only NOT ceased to exist BUT in fact IMPROVED BEYOND MEASURE then you will know without a shadow of a doubt that to;

”Love yourself first and everything else falls in line”

……..probably number amongst some of the truer words ever spoken! Never lose sight of the fact that when it comes to being loved then you are right up there at the top of the list so remember going forward

”Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!”