Tag Archives: good people

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.

Being Thankful

This is going to sound a bit odd, but my husband and I are just back from visiting a very good friend, of many, many years, in hospital where he was recovering from a severe and acute illness, one that very nearly killed him, and we had the best nights craic ( that’s Northern Irish for fun and laughs).

We had both been concerned at his appearance at his mother’s funeral two weeks earlier, but did not expect to get the phone call we did from his distraught wife on Sunday morning.

We drove up to the hospital with knots in our stomachs, fearing the worst. But it was great to see him sitting up and back to his grouchy ( in a good way) form, giving us the low-down on his dramatic escape.

And maybe that’s what it was. Maybe we all (his wife, her friend, my husband and I) felt like we had escaped that gaping black hole of grief at the loss of someone we love.

It was a time to laugh at the old times, go over those old stories, when we were ALL there to enjoy them once again. It was a time to let these wonderful people know we love them and our lives have been enriched by them being part of it all. And we did.

My youngest daughter phoned while we were still there to ask about our friend and to give him her love. This guy normally pretends to be oblivious to sentiment, but not now. He lowered his head and nodded, “Oh, that’s nice”, he muttered, still looking down.

Don’t wait to tell those that are important to you how much you love them.

I am so thankful our friend is still here, so grateful of the lesson in this.

My Mother

My “issues” with my mother were brought sharply into focus when I found myself watching a particular episode of “The Sopranos”, the one where Tony attempts to suffocate his mother, Livia. Before I knew it I was cheering him on, feeling all of his pent-up hurt, frustration, anger and bitterness as it shut out everything else his conscious self had told him for years; how he should love, care for and respect this woman who had brought him into the world, indeed, given him life.

I looked at “Livia’s” face and saw my own mother.

But instead of feeling shame at my true feelings towards her I acknowledged them and the long path that led to this conclusion. I do not love my mother. I can’t.

Shame has been replaced now with acceptance, albeit an acceptance tinged with real sadness.

Mothers do not give their children life, nature does that. Our children’s’ lives are not our property, not ours to trash as and when the stress of life gets too much. We are merely the guardians, the caretakers (literally) until they can safely take control of their own destinies.

I am so far from being the perfect mother, or even the mother I had hoped to be, but perfection is not what being a parent is about.

For me it’s about loving my kids through all those bad times as well as good, with that same ferocious and undying love I felt the first moment I saw each of them. It’s about putting your arms around them when you really feel like kicking their ass.

And, most importantly, it is about those children growing up knowing, without question at all, that they are loved and lovable.

The reasons for where I am to-day in my relationship with my mother are many and painful, from my parents eventual divorce after years of hell for all involved, to her now obvious mental health problems, but in the end all of this is irrelevant.

I at least understand it is not my fault! It’s just what it is and that is all.

I have no magic answer for how I progress this. It’s just a day at a time.

What About Saying What You Feel??

No-one can stop us from feeling what we feel, but how about saying what we feel? Is that OUR right, all of the time?

I don’t believe so, because it depends on the WHY. Why are we choosing that moment to speak what is in our minds? Is it to exercise our right to free speech or is it to hurt, to put another down under the camouflage of ” Well I was just telling you the truth.” And whose truth is it anyway? It’s theirs, and their truth at that moment, regardless of however little knowledge they have of whatever is going on.

And then there is the flip side to this,( as with most things in life), because how many people really, REALLY want the truth; yours or anyone else’s. How many times have folk said to me, ” Now, tell me honestly,” or “I need you to be straight with me,” and I look at them and think, ” Who are you trying to kid. You want affirmation of your own thoughts/actions and couldn’t give a hoot for my opinion if it is going to clash with your own.”

So, I will temper my response by how close these people are to me, how important the matter appears to be and how genuine their need for my version of the truth is. But at no time will I feel imbued with some God-given right to wound another soul with what I feel is the “honest truth” on any subject or issue.

But I apologise. I started this blog about ” feelings” which is not always about truth. I still think the same applies though; as long as you do no harm in expressing your thoughts then, there should be no problem. And to see both the good and the bad aspects of this subject we need look no further than “Facebook” , “”Twitter” et al.

Modern media has such incredible capacity and power for good, and yet, in the hands of those who would, in the past, have been no more than village gossips, they can now go global with their determination to tell us all, just what they feel, about anything and everything.

What we need now are filters! Big ones and built-in to our brains, with off buttons for bullshit, whinging, bullying etc and an “On” switch for all the good things in life.

Say What You See!

Do you remember that phrase from that really annoying TV quiz? Well I do, but I want to talk about it  with a slightly different twist.

You know, you’re upset about something or someone and you think to yourself, “If I go quiet then they will notice and realise I am unhappy and ask me why and tease it out of me and then comfort me and make me feel better.” 
In your dreams, and just for the record, somebody else’ nightmare!
Life is not the movies! You don’t stand, enigmatically, looking out of the window, whilst clutching at the silk drapes, a lace hanky dabbing at your nose and then have the hero somehow read your mind, come over to you, putting a strong arm around you and tell you everything will be all right.
REAL LIFE =  You standing looking out of the window while the “hero” shouts, “Where are my underpants?”  His version of reading your mind? ” She’s being a moody bitch again.” 
Sorry men; cheap shot; true, but cheap! Anyway, this isn’t really about male vs female. It’s about us all.
None of us have the time or energy to figure out what’s going on in the mind of those around us. If you’re anything like me, I can’t even figure out my own mind. So, when we are faced with someone being quiet, withdrawn, not speaking to us, we don’t immediately think, ” Oh, maybe X has happened and she/he needs me to do Y.”
Do we bollocks! No! We think, ” There they go, being a moody cow/git again.”  We Say What We See.
So ask; ask for help or understanding, whatever it is you need. When people find out your “mood” is not their fault they are usually very relieved and happy to console or listen; but ask. Give others their comfort zones and you may be amazed with what you get in return. 

The “Great Put Down”….?

Yes, I have laughed along with the best of them when a smart comment seems to take the ground from under a politician or other such publicity hungry individual who has apparently grown too big for their boots. The individual that deals the blow seems to grow in stature, to be feared and revered at once. Who has not admired the skilled comedian that leaves the heckler speechless and regretting he bought his concert ticket.

While we laugh along with the giant-slayer we are part of the crowd, anonymous and comfortable, relieved that, for now, we are not the victim of the barbs. But it can come to us all.

I have been told that no-one can put you down without your co-operation; a sentiment I understand and appreciate, until you remember that we all have weak spots. Those more subtle slights that compound our self-doubt can be more deadly than an outright assault, one we see coming and can fend off with a smart repost.

Who among us is bullet-proof when in the line of fire?  Not I. I have way too many faults and weaknesses to want anyone to “take me down”, humiliate or destroy me as part of some great sport. I would also take no pleasure in inflicting that on anyone else.

So leave it to the wannabe politicians and their inquisitors.

A “Great Put Down”. No Thanks

Life Is A Lottery..

I had to laugh at the retired couple who won £53 million on the lottery and thought it was an April Fools joke! The husband explains how he had to wait for four hours to tell his wife as she was away, helping at an OAP’s lunch. It’s a really lovely story, but I can’t help thinking how differently I would react if I had just matched the winning numbers myself.

Well, if I actually survived the shock, I don’t think I could manage to wait four hours to tell anyone, honestly!

I remember sitting at the lunch table with a bunch of my female friends and discussing just such an occasion and how we would all react. I thought for a moment or two and then reckoned, depending on the amount of the win( and £53 million qualifies) that I would come into work, stark naked, save for a pair of very high red patent shoes and, as for my resignation letter, well….. I daren’t tell you where I would hide that!  It put one of my friends right off her lunch!

I’m sure there are a lot of folk who think that is too much money for anyone to win. Well, not me! Where is the issue? If you have too much money and are so afraid it is going to corrupt you; for one thing don’t do the bloody lottery in the first place and, secondly, give away anything you don’t want or need. There are so many good causes out there that would be more than happy to take some of it off your hands and sooth your conscience.

As for not knowing who your “real” friends are? They are the same ones you have always had, so, keeping that in mind, just share the love. Surely the real joy in having an amount of money like that drop into your lap is the happiness and good you can bring to the lives of others.

Money is not the root of all evil, but the greed for it is.

Hi There..

Here I am, back again and very glad to be so.

We all see the good and bad in people in our everyday lives, but usually to a more mundane extent than I have witnessed this last few weeks. I have already written about finding who your true friends really are, when it really counts and your back is against the wall.

Well, very sadly, a remarkably good, kind and much-loved person died last week and I attended their very moving funeral, a service full of love and support for the surviving family and friends. What was mentioned time and again was this persons love for life, right up to the end, their lack of bitterness at the cancer that was taking their life, way too early, and their loving thoughts for those they were leaving behind. What this individual and their wonderful family faced was awful, not deliberate or in any way avoidable, but completely life-changing for all concerned. Yet, despite the palpable sadness of loss, the overwhelming feeling in the chapel was of love for a life well-lived.

Now, I have always had an issue with that certain meanness of spirit I have found in some people throughout my life, the kind of people who take joy in the misery or misfortune of others, seemingly begrudging folk the air they breathe, but, standing in that chapel all I could think was of the total futility and waste of time it is to spend even one precious second of my life carrying anger or hurt in my heart at the actions of others.  It changes nothing and that burden weighs heavy, leaving no room there for love and affecting my ability to take joy in the rest of my life.

So I will take some of that positive energy from the way this good person both led his life and faced his death and use it to drive the fear and negativity from my mind and from my soul.

Thankfully, kind, loving and warm people still vastly out-number the shitty ones.

The Calm Before The……..Whatever

I keep checking the mirror to see if I still LOOK like me, because I sure as shootin’ don’t feel like me! I should be running around , crying, ranting, chewing my fingers to the bone, but I’m not. I feel strangely calm with just flutters every now and then of mild panic, quickly subsumed by this… “peace.”

I highlight this because it is common to a few situations close loved-ones have found themselves in lately as well. They have gone through horrendously stressful times, struggling with a life-changing decision, only to find that having taken the leap this same strange peace or calm descends. Other strong forces (sadness, grief, regret) can still take their toll, but, for me, the knowledge that matters have come to the only conclusion they could and should have, make the rest of it bearable.

But I am very, very fortunate. This could all sound incredibly trite to others without the level of support and kindness I am blessed with. I may yet be typing another entry in this blog with one hand, while tearing lumps of my hair out by the roots, cursing myself for putting my own happiness before my duty as a wife, daughter and mother. But what use am I to anyone without my soul and what example would that set to my adult children.  “Yes kids, live your lives but don’t believe that you deserve happiness, or peace, or self-esteem, or joy, or hope.”  No, I don’t think so.

I remember when my children were born saying the “only” thing I wished for them was that they be happy, truly happy. Some friends of mine hoped their children would be doctors or dancers or successful….you get the picture.  At this stage of my life I look back and think my wish may just have been the most ambitious.

The Absolute Right To Free Speech

So a meeting to discuss “Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression”, is the latest casualty in the terrorist activities of Islamic extremists. One person is dead and three injured, though looking at the photographs it is amazing there were not more people killed or maimed.

All of us need to come out now, and demand the right for all,  to “Free Speech”, without fear of murder and mayhem. We may not always like what we hear, but without it we have dictatorships and lives ruled by those with the biggest sticks.

Women will lose everything our predecessors fought so hard for and whatever version of equality we have to-day, all of us will lose the right to take to the streets in protest; should it be about fracking, a local hospital closure or whatever flag is flying in your town/city.

We all need to look at how we can contribute to the continuation of this most basic right, whilst ensuring others are allowed to do the same.