Taking control of Fate.

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“I have noticed that even people, who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”
Steven Hawking

Isn’t it funny how we can all too often decide to abdicate our own responsibility, our own power to change things and hand it over to Fate? Is that not just a bit of a “cop out” an easy way of giving up or giving in and not just making that little bit extra effort to get it right and make it work?
Don’t get me wrong I honestly believe that if you have given your all and did everything you possibly could to get something to succeed and it doesn’t then the chances are there is a good reason for that and something else may well be coming along that is much more suited to meet your needs. It may sound glib but I base that belief on looking back at past experiences in my life that have not worked out as I had hoped or planned .However instead of being sad and disappointed about them when I look back I can clearly see that there was a good reason for them not to work and that what eventually replaced them was infinitely better for me in the long run. Yet, despite knowing that, I would never advocate not trying to change your life for the better or not focussing on your dreams or suggest that you leave your life to see what fate has in store for you. To me that is foolish and will more than likely leave you with a very negative and frustrated outlook on life. I believe that fate needs a helping hand, yours. The initial effort and desire to achieve something has to come directly from you. If it doesn’t you are simply unable to recognise the opportunities that arise around you. These only become visible to you when you actually start to look  out for and expect to find them. And ,you expect this  when you are actively pursuing your dream and your awareness is raised. If you are simply sitting back and waiting on life to suddenly start for you without making the effort to start it yourself, then opportunities will pass you by and you will be simply not aware of them passing. By switching on your brain to look for positive ways to help you to find whatever it is that you are looking for, you also send out a signal to the universe that you are ready to receive.
In life seldom do we get what we want handed directly to us on a plate and that is not a bad thing as part of the pleasure we can all get from life is achieving something we have worked hard for. Working hard for something and succeeding makes us happier and keeps us healthy, as long as we make sure we balance our life and it is not all work and no play of course. So today my advice is simple, instead of waiting for your life to change for the positive, change it yourself. Make the effort to start taking the action you need to turn your life in to the one you have always wanted it to be. No more excuses, just positive steps towards a new you and give your fate a helping hand.
Have a great Day. Karen x

A different View

 

 

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A short time ago I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and took on something new, well new to me, Instagram. I was very apprehensive about posting pictures publically and feared getting daft or cheeky comments .Such a silly thing to be bothered about really, as what it would matter I could always have deleted any if they did arise? My conscious mind knew that but the inner me was still a bit concerned that I might well get my feeling hurt.

Well eight months on and I can honestly say that I have found it to be a truly inspiring and uplifting experience. I think that I actually have started to view my surroundings in a different way, by looking to see the beauty in everything. I have seen many, many amazing pictures from around the world that I would have missed out on seeing had I not joined and made friends with people from all corners of the globe. The support and care shown to me throughout this new learning process has also been quite exceptional.

All a fantastic learning experience for me but it is the knock on effect of this supportive environment that has had perhaps the biggest impact upon me. I find now that when I watch the news and feel rather down with all the anger and sadness in it, instead of ruminating on the things I cannot change I change my focus from negative to positive by going to Instagram and view the world again from a different and for me more constructive standpoint. Or, I go out in to my own environment to reconnect and remind myself of the things that give me joy and energy. I can then take a quick pictures to store in my phone for a quick” pick me up” whenever needed and post it on the site in the hope that it will give the same positive lift to others also.

I am sure as everything in life has an opposite that there must be negative and draining people on the site also, but I have not met them. It no longer would worry me if I did, as they can only exist in my world if I give them permission to and I have no intention of doing that.

I guess it is looking at the glass half full or half empty. In order for me to have the personal energy to actually go and do something about the things that I care about, I need to have my internal energy batteries fully charged up. Listening to and viewing only negative things drains me and makes me feel powerless to do anything to help facilitate change. However, when I go on and connect to such a tremendous positive energy source it helps me to see how much more constructive people actually can be and renews my faith in my and every other person’s ability ,should they choose to use it, to be able to change things around and make their world a better place to be. As Mother Teresa once said “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the Ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

If you have been sitting for too long in your comfort zone as I was, perhaps it is time to stretch yourself a little. Push yourself to learn something new or just go out and, meet new people and expand your horizons. Every little positive thing that you can do in your life can make a much bigger impact than you would at first think possible. Don’t take my word for it, go try it and see.

A time to Change

 

 

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“Change isn’t easy…. changing the way you live means changing what you believe about life. That’s hard…When we make our own misery, we sometimes cling to it even when we want so bad to change because the misery is something we know. The misery is comfortable.”

Dean Koontz

It is unfortunately very true that sometimes we cling to the familiar far longer than we should even when it is causing us pain to do so. We can hang on to failing relationships, bad habits and destructive attitudes because of fear and that very fear  can deplete us of the energy we require to change things around .Creating a sort of double edged sword for us to hurt ourselves with. Often what then happens is that we need to hit what we feel is rock bottom before we decide that enough is enough and find the necessary incentive and energy required to let go  of that old negative behaviour and belief system which has been pulling us down. It doesn’t need to be that way though. We can choose at any time to say “enough” and take positive action to let go of our self-destructive behaviour and relationships.

It is a bit like wearing old comfortable clothes that we know are well past their best. Sometimes in order to make ourselves wear the new clothes and “break them in “we need to dump the old ones in the bin. If we keep them, even in the back of the cupboard, we will occasionally take them out and put them back on. Likewise when we decide that we are going to adopt a more constructive and positive approach to dealing with our lives we must make sure that we discard completely our old bad habits in order to create new better ones. That means that we change our habits by changing our attitude. This has to be done consciously at first and daily we must remind ourselves of why we want and need to change.

To assist us maintain daily changes we can use post it notes around the place to have visual reminders and in addition to those, using positive daily affirmations can also  be very helpful. To begin with it will feel strange but if we focus on the positive things that we wish to bring in to our lives it will make it easier for us to change. Persistence and perseverance are the keys to building a  new and more positive,constructive attitude to living life to the full. If you are consistent in your desire to bring about a new you  and continue with your new positive daily habits ,it won’t take long before you will feel as comfortable with the “new “you as you did with the old.

Pick yourself up.Dust yourself down and start all over again.

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Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.

Henry Ford.

It is impossible to get it right every time and yet we all seem to fear failure so much that it stops us trying to reach for more. We can restrict ourselves to living what we may consider to be a mundane and boring life, whilst secretly yearning for something else. Yet never try to find a way to change it and achieve our dreams through fear of failure.

This fear is a learned experience. Babies are not born to be frightened to try to learn to walk. It doesn’t matter how many times they fall down they just get up and try again. Does a baby thing “Oh dear tried that walking thing a few times haven’t quite got the hang of it yet ,so think I will give up in case people laugh at me? Of course not they simply keep trying until they get it right. At some point as we grow we learn to become fearful of other peoples ridicule or derision of our efforts and then allow that to begin to limit us.” How sad it that? There is a world of infinite opportunities and experiences out there for us if we just have the desire and the confidence to go try them out and see what we are good at and enjoy. We could change our whole way of living if we just lose the fear of failing.

Does it matter if we fail a few times if we learn from each experience and allow it to teach us to help get it right? Often we learn better by first making a mistake. If we can learn how not to do something then at the same time we have actually learned how to do it, it just depends how you look back at it. We just have to be able to look at everything as an experience rather than a success or a failure. If we consider each thing we try in life this way we can learn from them all and grow stronger. The new learnings obtained will help move us forward in life in a way that suits us and makes us happier and more fulfilled.

Every journey as they say begins with one small step. If you have the desire to achieve something start by looking at how you would go about it. Look up what you would need to be able to do to reach your dreams. Then draw up a plan. It really doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there only that you begin the journey. If you have been trying to follow a plan and feel frustrated or held back by failure look at what has gone wrong. Stand back and view it as if you are watching a movie about it. Knowing what you know now, how would you do it differently the next time? By adopting this detached way of analyzing events you are enabling yourself to learn and then act on the new learnings. This builds up bit by bit your abilities and confidence and help you to achieve more. Just try it and see how well it will work for you.

Its not always personal

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Since others have to tolerate my weaknesses, it is only fair that I should tolerate theirs. William Allen White

I wish I had read this quote when I was assisting on a course in Glasgow a few years ago. The course was being held in a Glasgow hotel. Every day when I went in the hotel receptionists would say a cheery good morning and ask how I was and we would exchange small pleasantries. That was every receptionist except one. Each time she was on she would bury her head in her desk as I passed. No matter how cheery the “good morning” I shouted to her she would ignore me or worse just look like through me as if I wasn’t there. As each passed I grew more and more fixated about trying to get her to acknowledge me. I went out my way to be friendly and to smile and be nice. It didn’t seem to matter what I did she completely ignored it. Finally I thought okay she wins I will just ignore her too and for the remainder of the week I walked past without glancing her way or I acknowledged the receptionist beside her but not her until finally the week was over. As I said goodbyes to the other course participants one of them excused herself from the rest of the group and explained that she was going to over to speak to Mary, the receptionist that had ignored me all week. Fortunately I said nothing as she went on to tell us all that she knew Mary through her church and that Mary had been going through an awful week. Her mother who was suffering from dementia had been admitted to a home and her cat of twenty years had just died. She expressed amazement that Mary had managed to drag herself in to work but had done so not to let her colleagues down. She said that she could barely function and that everyone who knew her were very concerned for her wellbeing because of the stress she was under. I felt immediately ashamed of myself as I had not for one moment considered that she might be unhappy had just thought her rude.

Why had I made it personal? Perhaps my own insecurities were part of the problem or my ego; after all I was supposed to be a good communicator. Whatever the reason I have made sure never to judge another like that again. For me it was a lesson well learned. Time and time again though, as I watch others reacting to people the same way that I had and taking a strangers behaviour personally, I want to stop and tell them my tale. None of us know the burdens another person carries yet often we act as judge and jury. Many times we react perhaps because it is easier to take out our own frustrations and angst against a total stranger than deal with the issues that are making us feel so fragile. It could be that we are all a bit stressed with the multiple daily roles that we have to do and the slightest break of our rules can push us over the edge in to an overreaction. Whatever the reason or whatever the apparent justification I  now  believe it is better to “turn the other cheek” and walk away rather than add to the angst and misery another person may be suffering. Who knows perhaps one day it could be someone you love or you who forgets to say hello or inadvertently cuts someone off in their hurry to get home because of an emergency or problem. Wouldn’t you like to think that they would be “cut some slack”   rather than potentially be harassed or hurt by another person’s frustration and anger when they were already distressed?  It goes without saying that of course you would.

I now try and treat others, even those that are apparently rude with the same care I would want others to show my children or anyone that I care about. I feel better for it. Sometimes I need to take a deep breath and count to ten but always when I manage to walk away or drive away without an angry exchange I feel better. It really does take practice but for me it is worth it.

This quote by Phillips Brooks sums up my new found philosophy “Be patient and understanding. Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious”.

It takes a lot of energy to be angry or nasty, energy I would rather keep to use for something more constructive and positive. I feel stronger being able to walk away from negative situations with strangers I am unlikely to ever meet again and happier that by walking away I am not contributing to the negativity around them or their pain. If you have been finding it easy to react negatively to others behaviour why don’t you just take a deep breath and walk away?  See how much better you feel for doing it and move on without dragging someone else’s negative baggage with you.

How to win friends and Influence yourself

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“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” – Bob Moawad

How many of us waste our time seeking affirmation from others to find out who we really are? Teenagers often go through a stage of looking to their peers to find themselves. Trying to conform and fit in to a group even if it is the group who believe they are non-conformists! Generally they band together which is strange because they say they value their individuality. When we mature we are supposed to know ourselves and to have grown to be self-confident and self-aware but often this is not the case. Each relationship we enter into we should be going in as an equal, yet often I find adults trying still to fit in and relying on others daily to tell them if they have succeeded or failed. The problem with this is obvious. If you give away your personal power to another person or group, even if they love you, then you are giving away control of your life and the responsibility for your decisions. Some think that this is a way of feeling secure but it is in fact a false security. Someone else’s or a groups values, beliefs and goals even if very similar to our own, are not our own, and they are going too unconsciously and consciously influence your decisions based on what they believe is right for you rather than what is actually right for you. Giving them this power makes you vulnerable to not being able to achieve what you want or be who you really want to be and nine times out of ten that leads to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

To have a belief in one’s own abilities is essential to live a happy, contented life. We can make mistakes that we wish we hadn’t but that is a learning process through which we can grow as a person. If these decisions were not ours in the first place then how can we learn from them?

“It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine.” – Byron Katie

We need to start by actually liking and having confidence in ourselves. In order to find ourselves again we need to reconnect to what makes us function. What do we hold dear to us? What in life do we consider important? Are we being true to ourselves or are we following someone other life plan? What do we wish if anything that we now had in our lives? What would we like to get rid of? Answering these questions gives you a basic structure for change and self-discovery. Start gradually and work your way through the list creating a new you with recognition of new strengths and abilities as well as building upon those you already have. Remember as they say “Rome was not built in a day” just taking the first step on the path to self-acceptance is a big achievement.

When we like and have confidence in ourselves a wonderful thing happens, we begin to attract like-minded people who like us too. It is not a case of becoming so egocentric that we begin to believe that we can do no wrong and therefore alienate others .Rather it is a gentler acceptance of ourselves as doing the best we can, with the best of intentions and finding companions along the way that love and accept us for who we are rather than who they want us to be. If we do the same with others we will create a happier healthier environment for us all to live and journey in.

When we stop looking to others to tell us whether we are doing the best we can and start instead to look at ourselves, we take back control of our life and can then start to steer it in the direction we want. Those close to us can help us on our journey, as we can help them on theirs, now working together as an equal team and no longer as extra baggage. Life is a journey to be experienced and not just tolerated. When we reach the end of our journey on this plane we should as Frank Sinatra said be able to say we did it our way.

We are not all Doomed

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Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.

Charles Spurgeon.

I find that nowadays it is easy for a normally rational person to become anxious and irrational in minutes just by watching the news, reading an article or even simply reading the possible side effects of bog standard medication. It seems sensational scary headlines and information disguised as informative but often quite misleading, is the order of the day. They give us bite sized facts but do not give space for the more reassuring explanation of these facts which might actually take away the fear. The effect of this is that we are all left feeling various degrees of anxiety and fear. Emotions which can overwhelm and trick us in to believing that we are quite powerless and just have to  sit and await our inevitable doom. Well, that is until the next scare changes our anxiety from one direction to face another and the whole cycle starts again.

I experienced a variation of this first hand following the birth of my youngest daughter. All my girls were born by caesarian section as I had as it turned out what the consultant kindly called an “incompetent womb” it seems that my womb tried hard to work properly, too hard, but was in fact pushing the baby out in the opposite direction to where it was supposed to be going. Not particularly comfortable for me and actually quite distressing for the baby. So when their heartbeats dropped dangerously low both my first two children were delivered by emergency caesarian section.

My first C section received few comments but after my second I received a lot of sympathy from well-meaning Mums who were sad for me not being able to have a natural birth and angry for me that the doctors had interfered with the whole process! My second birth was on Christmas Day. At the time there was a huge movement towards promoting natural births and lots of literature was about that suggested Doctors were delivering babies by section in order to keep to their own timetables. Whether this was the case or not I can’t say, it could have happened, but and it is a big but, each case is different and caution should always be used when trotting out information indiscriminately. In my case their facts were fiction. The same as my first delivery, progress was slow and I was wired up to show my baby’s heartbeat. The wires showed when my daughter’s heartbeat dropped from 140 beats a min to 60 and then 40.She was delivered by section less than 5 minutes later.

Fortunately the senior registrar who was in charge of my delivery had been on for the birth of my first daughter 18 months previously. He had witnessed everything that had happened and the speed of the problem when it occurred. The consultant however, who was in overall charge of my care only read the notes, which apparently showed no obvious reason for my previous failure to deliver. At this time ,coincidence or not, there was a group of pro natural birthers looking at the hospital c section figures and  it was suggested to me that the hospital wanted to please them by giving them as many “natural” births as possible. The Consultant had decided that I should be managed as a natural delivery. Had I not had a section my daughter would not be here. Of that there is no doubt. When my third daughter was due to be born there was no question that it should not be by any other method than elective caesarian section. After a smooth and successful delivery we were now confronted by another anxiety inducing situation.I was immediately asked to sign a form giving permission for her to receive a vitamin K injection. This form advised my husband and I that a small study had shown a potential link between giving vitamin K and early childhood illness. However, it also pointed out that failure to give this could lead to bleeding on the brain. I was really upset. We gave permission because we felt that we had no choice. When I came home I couldn’t sleep worrying about what we had done. I saw my GP and she shook her head and gently explained to me that both of my previous daughters were given vitamin K injections as soon as they were born as it was essential. I just hadn’t been asked because at that time there was no protocol for asking. She looked up the study concerned and pointed out to me that there was little if any link with cancer found and in her opinion this should not even have been mentioned. When I went home I did my own research and finally was able to sleep at night. It made me mad as well as scared that they would present me with such a tenuous piece of information just to self-protect, regardless of how worried it made me and other parents feel who were asked to sign.

From then on I developed a pattern. If something scares me I do my own research. I tell my clients to do the same. Do not look at terrifying headlines telling us we are all doomed and go away scared to live. Research it and take action to change if you need or dismiss it as you need. Some people thrive on being the prophets of doom. It gives them energy, yours. Sometimes it is simply stupidity in that they repeat what they have heard without thinking of the consequences of what they are saying and without checking the facts. Do not hide your head in the sand, be informed, but be correctly informed and for that you need to recognize that not all learning and information comes from the one source. Take charge of your life and your emotions and you will be less anxious and happier for it.