Just being Honest.

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“Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom”.

Thomas Jefferson

To me being honest is not just about calling a spade a spade and to hell with the consequences. For some people it is but I do not believe that is necessarily the best or the kindest way to behave or the most productive and motivational. For the small percentage of people that a direct and blunt approach works, I find that there is a far larger percentage that it will fail to achieve anything at all helpful and in many cases actually causes more harm than good. There is no doubt that being honest and fair is the best way to live life but what you say and how you say it can be done gently and with kindness rather than with a sledgehammer and still have a powerful and motivating effect. And, it is the same when you are being honest with yourself. There is seldom any good positive motivation received when you criticize yourself and tell yourself how wrong you have got it or how badly you have done. I find that when people adopt that approach to try to motivate themselves it often has quite the opposite effect and will in fact demotivate and make them feel even more useless  and miserable ,resulting in more bad choices and poor strategies.

Yes, we need to learn how to be honest with ourselves and to stop making excuses for making poor life decisions or for holding on to strategies or behaviours that obviously do not work for us. If we do not reassess our choices and take personal responsibility to make positive changes to improve when we get it wrong, then we are unlikely to feel as happy or even as stable as we ultimately could feel and we will really just be surviving life rather than thriving in life.

To make it easier to adapt and learn new ways to behave it is important to look back objectively at the areas in our life where we feel we could do better and could improve upon. Stop looking at them as our failures and see them more as lessons we need to look over again in order to get a better understanding of them. Using the benefit of hindsight we can look back on them and decide how much better and differently we would handle it now and by figuring that out, we have also established a new and more positive strategy for ourselves.

A short sharp shock of truth can change lives but frequently that change doesn’t last. As soon as the initial shock wears off old habits can creep back in. Being straight and honest with ourselves can bring about very important life changes but I believe that by doing it gently and with kindness it will help us to maintain these changes and provide us with long term benefits.

Self sabotage or self support?

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“If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it—through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated.” Victoria Moran, Lit From Within: Tending Your Soul for Lifelong Beauty

Usually the voice we listen to the most is our inner voice. It is the one which urges us to go for it or to hold back and reflects how we are feeling. It should be positively working in our best interests but all too often we are actually sabotaging ourselves by allowing our inner voice to sound negative and disparaging towards us. It becomes not just our inner self talking to us, but all the negative people we may have had in our life who have held us down or belittled us and occasionally it might even begin to sound like them. Listening to that is never going to give us the confidence to achieve what we dream of and worse still we it may well impact negatively our behaviour and actions making feel insecure and doubtful and that in turn will in turn reflect outwards potentially causing others to doubt us too. We all need to regularly stop and listen to what we are saying to ourselves and if we find that we are always being harsh and unsupportive in our self-talk we must take the time and make the effort to change it. Every time we are faced with a choice, an opportunity or a request, in fact any time that we engage our inner voice to give us help, motivation and support, we need to stop and listen to what we are actually saying to ourselves. Is it supportive and encouraging or are we putting ourselves down and making ourselves feel insecure and even insignificant. If so we need to change it and simply start by thinking how we would want someone we love a lot to be spoken to and then use the same tone and the same words that we would like them to hear to motivate ourselves. Often we find that learning how to do this has a double benefit for us as if we can be kinder towards ourselves it makes it much easier to feel more kindly towards others and that in turn is how we enrich our life. Have a great day, Karen x

How a dog sees it.

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Like for most people the run up to Christmas in our house is a very busy time with lots of different things seemingly requiring immediate attention to make sure everything is organised in time for us all to relax and really enjoy the holidays. To add to our fun we also have two birthdays to arrange, as one of my daughters was born on Christmas day and another two days later. Both naturally like to have their birthdays kept separate from the festive arrangements to ensure that they are personal for them. Obviously this means that I have to work from many lists to ensure that I get everything done on time. I pride myself on being able to accomplish this and resolutely stick to my set programme.

We share our home with our family of dogs and a cat and to make sure they are not left out I also need to factor in to my schedule time for their daily play and exercise. One of our dogs had been very ill and had eventually to be put on steroids to control his condition. One of the side effects of these are that he has gained quite a lot of weigh. To ensure that this is kept under control and to give him some fun, especially as we are so grateful to still have him here with us, I make sure that included in my daily routine as well as normal exercise periods there are  several play times for him to chase his ball around the garden. Yesterday I was busy as usual and on checking my watch noticed it was time to take him out to play. As I stood in the garden mechanically flinging the ball for him I was mentally planning what I had to do next. Suddenly I became aware that he was not coming back up with his ball as normal and when I looked I saw that he was half hidden in the bushes. Well his head and shoulders were hidden but his rear end was still sticking out for me to clearly see. Teddy though was unaware that I could see him. In his world because he couldn’t see me I obviously couldn’t see him. For a moment I was puzzled and wondered what on earth he was doing. Then when I shouted his name, I noticed that his tail was wagging and the more I shouted and pretended not to see him the happier and more excited he became until it all eventually became too much for him and he bounced out and ran up to me. His tail was wagging furiously and his face beaming with such joy that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Then I could have cried as the realisation came to me that Teddy didn’t just want to play ball. That was not the main source of his fun. The “fun” was clearly he and I playing, engaging in having fun together and when he realised that I was not having any fun he had decided to create some for me and bring me back in to the game which was why he had hidden. It got my attention and brought us both back to sharing this time together and mutually benefiting for it. This made me feel a bit emotional because it made me realise that somehow along the way I had lost the meaning. It was not about arranging everything perfectly it was about participating in something together, sharing and really interacting not just going through the motions as a means to an end. Life I think can be a bit like that and sometimes we get so lost in existing that we forget to live and life can pass us bye at a tremendously fast rate. As John Lennon said “ Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” After playing for a while longer I went back in and sat with my lists. I prioritized by keeping the essentials such as food and gifts, I would feel a bit mean if I didn’t provide these, and ripped up the rest and wrote spend quality time with the family. Today we had a lovely trip out to see some beautiful decorations in a local garden center and my eldest daughter, who was sensibly born in August, and her partner treated us all to a lovely coffee and cake. We sat and watched the world go by, chatted and had fun and thanked our Teddy for his little lesson.