Category Archives: Self-therapy.

Your Fear of Upsetting Others by Saying No Might be Overblown and Here’s Why.

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Your Fear of Upsetting Others by Saying No Might be Overblown and Here’s Why.

Are you like me? Do you tie yourself into so many knots over upsetting people that a group of Boy Scouts could not unravel you? Well, fear (k)not. I have had a realisation that may be able to help you.

Time to fess up. It was not a realisation as such. When those close to me and the universe have spent so much time slapping me in the face and saying ‘I am trying to tell you something’ it seems unfair of me to take the credit for realising something so bloody obvious.

So, let me rephrase. I was led slowly and patiently to realise that my thoughts on upsetting other people have been ever so slightly skewed. Not wanting to upset others is no bad thing. Not wanting to upset others to the point where it is a detriment to yourself might want some evaluation.

Let me clarify what I mean about upsetting others. I am not talking about you walking down the street and knocking an ice-cream out of a child’s hand for no good reason and for the sheer lark of it. That would be a douchebag move. I am referring to when you think you are going to upset someone for saying that you do not want to do something.

So why is this? I think there are various factors. One issues that I have (and maybe you do as well?) is with being selfish. I would rather feel bad than make others (or suppose that I have made others) feel bad. The question I ask is this – is it a negative to listen to what you want to do and do not want to do?

I would argue that it is not. Life is hard. There are a lot of things that can make it more difficult and simply being able to say you can’t face that thing someone wants you to do is a great first step in listening to yourself. It is about being honest. Do not make your life harder by doing more than you feel comfortable with.

Another thing to think about is that you may not actually upset a person by saying you don’t want to do something. Chances are, if someone you know is a decent and understanding person, they will not give you a hard time for saying no to something. Thinking you will annoy someone else before you even know that you will is giving yourself a hiding for nothing.

Also, if you know someone and they do you give you a hard time for not wanting to do something because you are having a hard time, then it is likely that they are not that helpful a person to have around anyway. That does sound harsh I know, but is it harsher than  you being swayed by someone who does not have your best interest at heart?

In the end, I think it is fine for you to be kind to yourself. Take it easy when you need to. Do not do more than you feel fine with doing. It is your life. It is completely ok for you to say no.

I am only giving thoughts on things I have noticed in my own life and I am by no means an expert. If you have ever felt like this or similar, then please let me know and share your thoughts too.

 

 

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In Therapy with Myself.

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In Therapy with Myself.

I have done a lot of self-reflection recently. The problem with this is that it is much like looking in a mirror. At first I think ‘Ok, looking good’ but the longer and more closely I stare, the more the imperfections and flaws are noticeable. I often feel like I am both the therapist and client in my head and this week I have felt more like the client, so this is my way of being the therapist and making sense of what I am telling myself.

Client: I have a conundrum and a paradox rolled into one. I want to talk about something and at the same time I do not want to talk about it. If I talk about it, I am admitting I think it and I do not want to admit I think such things. In a strange way, it is the not wanting to talk about it that makes me think I should. If I do not want to discuss it, then perhaps others do not want to say it, so maybe if I do, then they can feel more at ease to talk.

Therapist: What is it that you do not want to talk about?

C: I have realised a few things this week. The first thing I noticed was that I am now aware of knowing when something is bothering me but that it might be another few days before I realise what it is that is actually bothering me.

T: How does that feel?

C: On the one hand it is good because I know I can now sit with it and accept that I am feeling a certain way and that the whatever the problem is will probably come to me eventually.

T: On the other hand?

C: It is horrible because I am sat with this horrible feeling in me and I can’t lance that boil without knowing what is causing it. I just have to sit there and try and contain the hurt, or upset or whatever it is and try not to let it come out at other people.  But, I do feel a sense of improvement in that I now know that there is a problem and rather than getting angry and not knowing, I can relax a bit, relax in a kind of way because I am not just getting angry and not knowing.

T: You accept that not knowing is ok?

C: Sort of. I feel a bit better about it at least. Better than knowing that I don’t know about any of it. Or that only makes sense looking back at when I didn’t know I didn’t know and how I used to react to not knowing. Now, I know I didn’t know at that was part of the problem.

T: I get the sense that you are going back and forth between how you think you used to be, how you feel now and how you want to feel in the future?

C: Yes. It is the past, I think, that affects me most about how I see myself now. How I see myself as I used to be, how people saw me, or how I think people saw me, it all bleeds over into the present and dyes my perspective on others and myself.

T: Can you give an example?

C: This is hard to say, I realised that I have spent a while thinking that people hate me. I get that they probably don’t or at least not all of them, but that is what I have been feeling. I can see now that it is a unfair view, but that doesn’t stop the thoughts creeping in and me believing them for a time, I can come out of it and say I am being silly, but the feeling is still there, or the memory of the feeling. I don’t like thinking things like that. It seems crazy.

T: Do you think you are the only one that thinks like that?

C: No, probably not. I do not think I have enough self-esteem to believe I am that original. I don’t think like this all the time you know? I have my good days, I have very good days. I don’t feel hopeless merely concerned that I feel this way sometimes and sometimes is too much for me.

T: What makes you think people hate you?

C: Weirdly, it was talking to someone and realising they really didn’t hate me, in fact that they really liked me and that made me feel stupid for wasting so much time thinking people hated me. That is the thing right there. I keep doing this thing where I sort one problem in my head out and rather than feeling better about myself, I go straight to looking for another thing to worry about. It is like a dependancy. Or a habit might be a better word. I have got into the habit of looking for the worst in myself. Then again, and this is a good thing, if I have realised that I am aware of when things bother me, then I am aware that I am step closer to resolving them. Isn’t that what life is? A constant search for ways of looking at it be a happier person? It might not always happen fast, but what I find comfort in is that I am still trying, that I will always try. I don’t know if any of this makes sense.

T: Isn’t that what you are saying? That it is ok for it not to make sense now? That it will make sense at some point and that is ok too.

C: You know what? That is what I am saying. It is ok to feel bad at times, but it won’t last forever. It is ok to not know what the problem is because it will be revealed at some point and then I can deal with it. I think my time is up. I will see you next week.

The World Does Not Revolve around You (Or Me) And That Is A Good Thing.

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We all know people that think the world revolves around them. In the same way, we all know that the world does not revolve around them. Luckily, I am not here to talk about them, as they do not deserve mentioning, except for when using them as an intro to a blog post. I am here to talk about when we think the world revolves us in terms of everything being our fault, and hopefully, to help people feel less bad about themselves in that regard.

There are many ways people do see that they are the root of all evils. Seeing as I can speak most confidently from my own experience, then that is what I shall do. I will give a simple example of one of the ways that I do this. When I look at people to meet their eye, to say hello in my own unintrusive way, if I get anything other than a resounding and unmistakably happy smile in response, my first thought will be ‘What have I done to upset them?’.

I know realistically, that it is unlikely that that I am the one that has upset them. They might not even be upset. They could just as easily be bored, or tired, or well, anything really. However, as much as I know this, it does not stop it from being true that my first instinct is to think that I must be the reason they are upset. It is not even a question of ‘I wonder if I have upset them’, it is a fact (in my own mind) that I have upset them. The only mystery is the question of how.

The benefit of writing is that it helps me think through things, and through writing this, something has occurred to me. When I look at people to meet their eye, to say hello in my own unintrusive way, when I get a resounding and unmistakably happy smile in response, my first thought is never ‘What have I done to make them happy?’.

By my own logic, both ways of thinking should be sound or neither of them should be. I never think about being the reason someone is happy, but I do think about being the cause of someone’s sadness. Added to this one sided and unfair point of view is the idea that I clearly think that of all the possible things going on in another person’s life and all the people they know or any random thing that could have happened to them, of all those possibilities I must be on the top of the list for making them upset. I can’t decide if this is a negative form of narcissism (not that narcissism is generally seen as a positive trait, except of course by narcissists)  or the mother of all guilt complexes.

The point of this post is to help me work through an issue I have and to hopefully help others who feel the same way. As I do not feel comfortable telling people what to think (after all, what the hell do I know?) I will say the following to me and suggest it to you.

I am asking myself, how likely is it that I am the cause of other people’s sadness? Or is it likely that I am the cause on such a frequent basis as I seem to think I am? Even if someone was upset with me, wouldn’t they say something  to me about it?  If I am not the cause then why am I adding needlessly to my own problems. I wonder if it is possible that I so much want to matter in the world that I will settle for mattering in a way that makes me feel worse and is not even true? I think this is possible for me but I do not presume to speak for others.

Now we come to what should be the conclusion to this post. I have struggled with this in the past, but I have realised something that explains my previous struggles and also the lack of conclusion.

When thinking about or discussing the human mind and how we think, I do not believe there is a conclusion. We change the way we think, we are taught new ideas by others, we can revert back to previous ways of thinking and then overcome then again. Being alive is a continuous process of change and evolution, or stagnation and devolution and a myriad of varieties in between.

What I conclude for myself is to be mindful of the negative ways of thinking and try and change them. I might have to try a few times, or get past them and then regress. The point is to keep trying to be a better person and a happier one, or at the least, a person that does not make life more difficult than it has to be. We ourselves that at least.

 

When others notice you are down.

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When others notice you are down.

Something just happened. I got a text from a very kind lady who said the reason she contacted me was that she had read my blog posts and thought I was feeling down and unhappy. I am very touched that she cares enough to offer help. It did get me thinking and I need to get this off my chest as I am meant to be working on my book.

Stream of thought.

Reality. Long term at school. New job. Challenging class. Winter. Dark. Lack of energy. Not having headspace or motivation to write and follow my dreams. Family problems. Worried about becoming depressed again.

Partial reality. The above is true, but only for portions of my recent existence. There were also times when I was very happy and filled with joy. Times when I felt valued by myself and others. Times when I saw my future as a bright event on the horizon. (I wonder why I didn’t write more about these?)

Another reality. Keeping going. Staying positive for the most part. Not being unrealistic about feeling tired and down and allowing for it. Seeing that others care and will look after me if I let them. Not giving up on dreams even when they are hard to follow.

The reality of reality is that it is not always real. Or if it is real, then it is not permanent. It is not stuck in stasis and unalterable. It can be seen in a multiverse of different ways. Choose a reality that suits you.

By talking we open ourselves up to help. We may not know we need it, but the offer of help is an act of kindness that shows the best of humanity. I applaud that.

If I/we/you need help ask for it. You may not get it, but you are more unlikely to get it if the request is never made.

I offer help to anyone that needs it. I will accept help from anyone that offers it.

Stream of thought closed (for the meantime).

There is a time to surf and a time to wax your board.

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There is a time to surf and a time to wax your board.

The title of this post is from a 1990’s sit-com called Game On and it has stuck with me through the years mainly because it makes a lot of sense. Me being me, I do not always follow concepts that would make my life easier. This weekend however, it was most certainly time to wax my board. (Not a euphemism).

In case you are unclear on what I mean by this phrase, think of it like this; there is a time for doing and a time for not doing. Many of us are doing things all the time; working, cleaning, cooking, laundry and this list can go on and on. A lot of this is unavoidable. What I am going to suggest to you is to find time, even a little, when you don’t do anything. I can already hear people saying there isn’t enough time and this may be true, but I believe there is always room for a little of time for ourselves.

Let me set the scene. Last week was the penultimate week before my school breaks for Christmas holidays and we were rehearsing for the Christmas play. Teachers and pupils alike were tired and everyone was a little down in the dumps. I was exhausted by the end of Monday and still had the rest of the week to go. When I came home, I blogged, worked on my radio show, tidied and basically found anything that I could to keep busy in spite of the fact that I really wanted to do nothing.

I was my own worst enemy in this respect and as I look back I can see that I was creating my own problems by moaning about having to do all these things when in reality, they could have kept for a day or two. The laundry needed doing, but it did not need doing the second I stepped through the door. I wanted to blog but I did not have to blog as soon as I stepped through the door. They both could have kept, but then it wouldn’t have given me the chance to grumble about how busy I was and that I did not have any time to rest. In case you don’t know, I am English and we do tend to like a good grumble.

The crunch point was on Thursday when I actually told a pair of socks to f*** off. Yes, I swore at socks for being on the floor (where I had left them) and for being dirty (because I had worn them). Then I sat down on my floor and laughed at myself. The situation was absurd. I had other socks to wear and I knew I could do laundry on the weekend when I had more time.

I had wound myself up like a masochistic watch until my springs were ready to go twang. I needn’t have made my life as difficult as I was but I was caught up in a cycle of not stopping even when I really needed to and then getting annoyed for not stopping which then made me more tired and stressed and more in need of a break.

I made a plan for the weekend to break this cycle and I hope it helps you if you are in the same situation. There were things I needed to get done at the weekend. I needed to finish my Christmas shopping, do laundry, sort my mum’s Christmas dinner out, go to a Jazz evening and spend time with my girlfriend. All of this was achieved, but not before I gave myself a chance to breath.

I had a little lie in then I went shopping. I gave myself time to shop so it wasn’t stressful. I went to a Jazz evening. On Sunday, I did laundry, got the last of the presents bought online and paid for my mum’s Christmas dinner. Then I watched The Flash for a few hours before sorting dinner. By episode two of The Flash, I could feel myself brightening. I was happier, less grumpy and feeling rested and ready to take on the world. Rather than force myself to write a blog post that would have been rubbish, I decided to wait until Monday (aka now) to write as I knew it could wait.

That is my advice to you. Ask yourself if what you think needs doing know, really does need doing now. If it can be done later and you are stressed and tired, do not make it worse by forcing yourself to go past your breaking point. Ease your foot off the peddle and slow down. It will still be there to be done later and you will make a better job of it by being rested.

Take care buddies,

David.

 

Personal Growth Advice From A Money Tree.

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Personal Growth Advice From A Money Tree.

I was sat in my flat last night looking at a Money Tree I have on a table. One side of it has been facing the window for a while and has grown outwards. The opposite side has been facing away from the window and has not grown that much at all. It occurred to me that I am somewhat like my Money Tree.

There are areas of my life that I have been focussing on more, such as work, domestic duties, family etc. There are other areas that I have been neglecting like writing, being romantic or having any time to simply sit and think. If some areas are being watered and put in the sun they will thrive. If others are being shunned they can shrivel and die.

What I need to do is do what I did for my money tree; I need to turn the side that is not growing around so it can face the window. There has not been much growth so far, but I can see signs of new leaves budding. Sadly, I am not a tree so it is not as simple as turning myself to face the window.

The reality is that I am struggling at the moment. It is two weeks until the end of term and I am tired all the time and frankly have no headspace left at the end of the day to do much of anything. Even writing this feels horrible and difficult. However, I do think that this is one of the first steps of letting untended aspects of my life flourish once more. Doing anything that is close to writing is better than not writing at all.

Acknowledging that I am indeed tired and a bit stressed and accepting that it does make it harder to be creative is better than giving myself a tough time for not being perfect and being able to work a full-time job, be a homemaker and still come home and write quality material. Also seeing that it makes it harder, but not impossible is some comfort.

Another thing for me to consider is that it is winter and there is not a lot of sunshine to help me grow at the moment, but growth can be a very small thing sometimes, and while it may not be fast, it is at least happening. Some growth is better than none.

I have been resisting the urge to delete this post all the time I have been writing it. I know full well it is not even close to my best work. The reason that I have not hit the delete button is that I am forcing myself to do something. I have the safety of knowing that no-one has to read this.

From my scattered thoughts I am doing my best to set down something coherent, but even then, I am not that worried. It may not be coherent. Maybe coherence will come with more practise and perseverance.

I will stop here as I can’t even tell if this makes sense. The hope is that I will come back another time and use it as a benchmark to improve my next post.

Eurgh!

Blogging – My road map to where I was, where I am and where I might be going.

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Blogging – My road map to where I was, where I am and where I might be going.

I started blogging nearly a year and a half ago. When I started I was quite depressed and about to go into therapy. Now, I am relatively happy and finished therapy some time ago. Looking back on my older posts, I am struck by how things have changed for me in that time.

I think we can all look back on our lives and think ‘I can’t believe I used to be like that’. This can happen in two distinct ways. I look back sometimes and ponder that I was so much more depressed than I am now. I can also look back and wonder why I worry so much now about what people think when I used to not care what others thought of me.

The post in which I wrote about self-harm is still the one that startles me the most simply because I can’t believe I did that. I literally still have the scars to prove it, so I have to face the fact that I did. However, that was where I was, and now is where I am. I do not do that anymore and the only thoughts I have about it now are the ghostly reflection of a now dead thought process.

I can see how my blog posts mostly were on an upward curve during and after therapy. There were of course the occasional dips but therapy does have the habit of unearthing things I had not realised I felt or recalling times I had completely forgotten. That’s therapy for you. What I really like about my blog is that I can’t change the way I remember my life. It is there for me to see in black and white with warts and all.  It is also there for me to see all the good and happy moments I have had as it is all to easy for me to forget the 99% good in favour of the 1% bad.

Yes there were low moments, but what I focus on is that I had a lot more good moments and the low moments lasted for a lot less time. That process led me to where I am now. Where I am now is a good place, but I can’t help but feel I need to drive myself forward to really achieve what I want from life. So, where am I going? Now, that is a question.

Having seen where I have been and where I am now, I am desiring to go to a place I actually want to go. That place is to be happy, positive and of help to others. I am seeking to achieve this by simple steps at first. I have decided that I am going to focus on positive or happy news on my radio show as there is enough doom and gloom to go around as it is and I think the world deserves to be seen in a better light. It is a wonderful place afterall.

I am going to blog more about being positive and happy as I am hoping that it can turn into a positive rather than vicious cycle. I believe that if I concentrate on the good I can feel the polar opposite to how I felt when I focussed on the bad and was depressed. The wheel can go both ways.

Finally, I going to try and be happy and positive. This last one is hard. It is not always easy to do this. It is cold outside, I am tired and want the work week to be over. However, I can look at this another way. I am inside in the warm, I can sleep well in a bed tonight and I am lucky enough to have a job that pays enough for me to be comfortable, if not extravagant. Then again, I never was much one for extravagance. Then I plan to keep trying to be happy. I might falter on the way, but I believe it is a better plan to have than to let my emotions be at the mercy of life’s whims.

Take care buddies,

David.