Tag Archives: Choices

Our Children

I hadn’t intended to do another blog tonight, but I have just watched one of those short films on FaceBook that made me think about the subject matter of my earlier blogs.

In the film a child is complaining( some might say whining) at her mum. The mother attempts to still the child and this resonated with me.

Is this when we start teaching our children about negativity? Is this when we start to instill the “glass half empty” mentality?

“Don’t go out in the rain, you’ll get wet.”

“Don’t speak out, people may be listening.”

Don’t, don’t, don’t!

Well then, they won’t, won’t, won’t.

They won’t try in case they fail, they won’t laugh in case they offend, they won’t ask for help for fear of anger.

Children are sponges for everything around them; their environment, their family and their friends are key in influencing their outlook on life.

Why not break the chain of negative reactions in a child’s life somewhere?

Show the children you know the good in life, the positive in life and invest in the healthy mental attitudes of tomorrows adults.

Mmmm, I Wonder…

I wonder if anyone actually enjoys spending time around those who wear their negativity loud and proud, who feel the rest of us owe it to them to bolster their self-esteem and “make them happy.”( as if ). How delusional do you have to be not to notice people recoil, break off conversation when you approach or wait until you are not quite out of earshot before uttering,

“What is it with her?”

Yes, it takes all sorts and around Christmas time I wrote a blog called “You get more with sugar than with salt,” where I talked about a man I had worked for in the not so distant past. He believed (and still does) that you get far more from folk by treating them fairly and with respect, a viewpoint I completely agree with and which contributed to such a positive working environment that going to work became a real pleasure. He gave off positive energy (most of the time) and usually got positive back.

Now, I would never pretend to be a modern-day Pollyanna, permanently cheerful and constantly “glad” about life, as you will see from my earlier blog in fact. But I have to wonder, as I said, about some of the joyless, life-sucking and toxic individuals I have encountered lately and what drives their mind-set.

I would love to think you could hold up a mirror to these folk, a mirror with the power to reflect back upon them all that they normally cast outwards, that they could then see and learn and understand.

Is it ever too late? Is it a learned behaviour or are some just born this way?

It may be loneliness, unhappiness, bitterness or disappointment. Who knows. Sadly it usually ends up, “Who cares”. I suppose our response depends heavily on our connection to them.

At what point, when I would find myself alone, without a friend or family, would I wonder,

“Was it something I said?”

Giving It Up.

I have read so many self-help books, listened to so many experts and attended so many seminars, all aimed at helping us give up the struggle, the stress and the negative thoughts and behaviour that marks our lives.

And I get it! Honestly, I do. Let’s face it, the vast majority of it is plain, good old common sense.

But, what it is NOT, is easy; hence the enormous quantity and re-hashing of similar information.

But, no-body said it would, or should, be.

What it is, is worth it.

Each time I hand over a particular stressor to my life’s path, I gain a relief and sense of peace I would not swap for any amount of money or possession.

I am where I am supposed to be, for whatever reason, and I will find happiness here and now.

I have lived with more stuff, more money, more ego, more fear, more stress.

Giving up the fear of losing something you never “owned” in the first place is liberating, and underlines that well-known saying,

“Less is more.”

Heroes

The stories of heroism are starting to filter through now from the horror in Tunisia at the weekend and they are breathtaking and poignant. And so, so heartbreaking.

Their acts were spontaneous and selfless and none believed, when booking their holiday in the sun, the label “hero” would soon be attached to them.

Heroism takes many forms but this is the one I am sure no-one wishes to be tested on; the instant, life or death form, the one that over-rides your fear and your instinct for self-preservation.

For the survivors of this, and the countless other atrocities and disasters around the world, comes the next challenge; to survive being a survivor; a heroism in its own right.

Good-Bye Mr.Blatter

So the bold Sepp is to step down!  Such a shame he could not have mustered even an ounce of dignity and withdrawn from re-election last week.

What I know about football you could write on the back of a postage stamp, but then I don’t think you need to be an expert in “The Beautiful Game” to realise there was something distinctly rotten going on in FIFA.

Allegations of corruption have been bouncing about for years now, but the brass neck of this man to stand for re-election, claiming that his some seventeen years of experience made him the “best man” for the job of clearing house……well…where else would you get it?

Someone in the media likened FIFA to a sinking ship and we all know what usually happens to the captains of said vessels!

Mr.Blatter has clung on long enough, and divided the Association to such an extent, as to have destroyed the very thing he claimed to have worked so tirelessly for.

The huge amounts of money involved, and the power that comes with it, were too much of a temptation for those in positions of trust.

FIFA should be dismantled. Those at its helm, those wielding the power that led to this, should be stripped of influence. It needs a “root and branch” type clean up and protocols put in place to prevent so much power ending up in so few hands ever again.

Personally, I would love to know what has transpired in the last few days to cause the U-turn from this egotistical individual, but then I don’t think we will have long to wait to find out.

I’m Confused

I’m reading an article in “The Telegraph” about the Canadian court that has ordered British American Tobacco to pay £5.5bn to one million smokers who are either unable to stop smoking or are now suffering from throat or lung cancer, or emphysema.

“The plaintiffs argued that the companies neglected to properly warn their customers about the dangers of smoking, and failed in their general duty “not to cause injury to another person”, according to the Quebec Superior Court.”

The article points out these actions were originally lodged in 1998 but only went to court recently.

Let me first of all say I am very sorry for anyone suffering from any of the above illnesses, but…… I am genuinely at a loss as to who would NOT have been aware of the links to cancer with smoking , or of the other dangers from this habit.

I am fifty-one and have always been told, since a very young age, to never start smoking and the issues around it. My father was a very heavy smoker and, long before I was born, wound up in hospital with breathing difficulties. The doctor told him then, in the 1950’s, either he quit smoking or his lungs would pack in within six months.

For people of my parents’ generation I can understand, folk now in their 80’s and 90’s, and perhaps some in their 70’s. But younger than that; how could anyone be unaware?

Back in the day, before the links to cancer were confirmed, smoking was promoted as a glamorous and sophisticated pastime with Hollywood leading the way; the images of its movie stars, cigarette in hand and a halo of smoke surrounding them, being the de-rigeur.

In my younger days I used to enjoy the odd cigarette myself, usually on a night out and having had a few drinks. But it was always one bad habit I knew I could never take up. There were just too many scare stories, too much evidence of the dangers, to justify the imagined benefits.

But my confusion continues on the point, “failed in their general duty, “not to cause injury to another person.”

If this is the case then why are cigarettes still being sold? Are the fast food giants going to be charged with this? Are the companies producing and selling alcohol going to be charged with this?

I do not smoke and I am no supporter of B.A.T or any other tobacco company, but every time I eat a burger, a bar of chocolate or drink a vodka and lime, I am absolutely aware of the health implications in continuing to be overweight and taking substances into my body with the potential to do me harm. This is my responsibility and I am not about to sue the various companies for my life choices.

It is all a game of russian roulette, but it’s my finger on the trigger for me.

Life’s Compensations

Wasn’t it Oscar Wilde who waxed lyrical about “Youth being wasted on the young.” He sounds embittered whereas I feel sorry for young people; not just todays young’uns, but for the youth of every generation.

I know all stages of life have that double-edged sword aspect, but the angst and self-doubt of my teens, twenties and even thirties blinded me to the opportunities and energy that were within my grasp. Is that what nature does; she gives you the wisdom and self-awareness of middle age and saps your drive to maximise their benefits. We grow into ourselves just as our bodies start to creek and groan with the passing years.

Is it all just a see-saw of gains and losses?  Yes, on all levels.

New technology gives us speed and ease of access in communication and yet so many more of us report feeling isolated. Air travel is common place for most and yet the flight is usually a fraction of the time it takes to get to the airport, get through security, and cope with the delays etc. Our houses have every labour-saving device our grandmothers could have hoped for and every gadget to prepare a healthy and nutritious diet, but we have less time for friends and family and, for most of us, eat less home prepared food than ever before.

So, are we ever any further on than of predecessors? No.

Until time travel is invented future generations will go through the same growing pains me, my parents and their parents did. The scenery and specifics may morph but they will remain centered around those insecurities that haunted us all.

But what about the upside of youth; the energy, strength and enthusiasm. They don’t know the limits, so why are we imposing ours on them?

Would You Believe It?

The news is full of stories illustrating “mans inhumanity to man”, but rarely do we get to hear about those moments of inspiration that so perfectly show what the power of many can do.

Last week approximately one hundred passers-by rushed to the aid of a cyclist trapped under a double-decker bus in Walthamstow, London. Together, they lifted the bus enough to allow the injured man to be pulled clear. Their behaviour flies in the face of the theorists that say, when we become part of a crowd we are slow to react, electing to stand back and wait for “someone else” to take charge.

I doubt anyone there stopped to check out the person on either side of them, to assess whether they would ask them round to theirs for tea on Sunday; they just took a place beside them and, together, their joint strength and will moved, not mountains on this occasion, but a huge, heavy bus and for the benefit of one.

This happened three days ago and I have been wishing ever since we could work like this on a larger scale, politically and socially.

Well, to-day it is wonderful to find that we have.

The news of the breakthrough in the treatment of cancer is nothing short of spectacular. This result is not only the amazing work of the scientists involved, but of every charity collector in the street, every mini-marathon runner, every patient that has taken part in clinical trials and every man, woman and child that has donated time, money and energy to find and fund a cure.

Our own future health is a mixture of good diet, reasonable exercise, genetics and luck, but the vast majority of people I know have invested, in some shape or form, in this research, without waiting to see if they are going to benefit from it personally and without wishing to monitor those that may benefit from it.

We have the power to do wonderful things when we focus on the hope that unites us instead of the despair that divides.

Just Doing What Comes Naturally

How many times have you heard this? Does it usually spring up at the very moment someone is about to attempt to justify the unjustifiable?

Mmm, me too.

“It’s only natural,” is as bogus an excuse for bad behaviour as it is in the labelling of a lot of snacks and convenience foods. In a civilised society we are supposed to temper our “natural” inclinations, to take into account the feelings of others and the impact of our actions on our environment.

Pity then our children trying to make sense of a world where the media makes much of those that shout loudest, stomp on the weak and celebrate/revere the rude, crude and thoroughly undignified.

I feel bombarded by media showing the monetary success this kind of celebrity can bring and, even at my age, have problems processing the quantity and quality of the information, so how on earth can we expect young people to make sense of it, or to be able to filter the myth from the reality.

Unfortunately, and very sadly for all of us, when they try to emulate their modern-day role-models aren’t they then,

“Just doing what comes naturally?”

Be Your Own Best Friend

Throughout my various blogs I have referred many times to the quote,

“Love thy neighbour, as you would love thyself.”

I have also gone over how I did not “get it”, for years, that you need to start with the second part of this before you can understand loving others.

The veracity and truth of this comes back to me so many times, that, each time it does I feel I get a better understanding than that first light-bulb moment.

Friends are wonderful and I am very blessed with mine, but until you learn to listen and respect your inner voice, your inner self, you will continue looking for answers to your problems from others. And no-one can fulfill that role, can know what is truly best for you, better than you.

The act of talking an issue over with a friend is great; quite often allowing you to hear the solution and the sense of it. It can provide a clarity and a comfort that comes with sharing and their loving support.But, ultimately, the answer was within your grasp all the time.

In being your own best friend you need the honesty that comes with this kind of relationship and also the same generosity of spirit you would show to that friend when needed.

Finding peace in being alone should not isolate you, but provide you with a strength of self-awareness and allows you to be a better friend to those you love.