Review, Reflections and Resolutions

Well 2016 has begun, already we are on day 4 and I already have a few plans, but first a summary and  reflection on 2015.

A year of firsts

In April  and May I had 3 firsts, my first visit to Scotland not cold weather at the time either, I attended my first political hustlings which apparently was the most lively one in my area and I started my work at the hospital. June I baked banana bread for the first time and August baked Chocolate Caramel shortbread with two of the Bubble family whilst they visited me

A year of outings and events

Three visits to Middlesbrough, one to Manchester and a trip to Blackpool, and visits from my friends in Middlesbrough, a friend form Yorkshire, and a  visit from my friend in Scotland.  A trip to the theatre with my friends Mr and Mrs Bubble, several trips to cafe’s, restaurants and pubs with friends.  I didn’t have 4 weddings and a funeral rather it was one of each, both were impacting for different reasons.

Old and new

Bumping into friends I hadn’t seen for years and meeting new people, also creating a couple of groups one that had been in the planning for a long time, another almost done on the fly.

That was my review of 2015 now my reflections, in particular what I’ve learnt.

1  A year of firsts

A realisation that I still enjoy learning new things and experiencing new places and meeting new people. Scotland wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be and letting the Scots know I’m not anti Scottish.  I can still try new things when baking even if it doesn’t taste quite as nice as you think.  Some of the people I have met have been lovely.

2 It’s still ok to be vulnerable

When I was ill I lay thinking that I felt vulnerable but I also knew that it’s ok to feel that way.  I will write a post on vulnerability in the future. The fact is vulnerability isn’t something to be feared rather it is something to be embraced.

3 Surprised by reacquainting with others

Surprised because Two people I hadn’t seen for a while had been through some bad times which was saddening to see and hear about, one other person I hadn’t seen for years I hardly new and was pleased to find that although when I first knew them I didn’t think I  had much in common with I found they had more in common with me than I originally thought at the time, they also were informative and fascinating.

4 I can enjoy weddings or rather the receptions

I learnt at weddings or wedding receptions Joy has a way of spreading, people meeting in happy circumstances can create a great atmosphere and openness with others, it’s a bit like those who get drunk their inhibitions come down and they become more extrovert or feel relaxed and happy, that’s what an atmosphere at a wedding can do.

5 Getting more comfortable being myself

Embracing more and more of who I am, still more work there but I’m making progress. Celebrating my overall introverted nature but at the same time knowing that at times I do have an outgoing streak which I’m comfortable with too.  Knowing I’m a  peacemaker and the one that keeps going when things are tough.

6 Losing and finding your way and letting go

It’s ok to lose your way and you can find your way back whatever situation you maybe in from losing my way in Manchester to losing a sense of direction in my work situation. Letting go of not knowing, and to some degree of control again of outcomes.

Now to the resolutions.  Well I’m no fan of those, instead I have a few aims.

1 Walk more

I started walking yesterday so I aim to walk everyday, weather and whereabouts permitting.

2 Hone in on my communication skills and seek to widen their sphere of influence.

I want to write more expand on what I’m doing, my dream is to expand in the oral side of communication too not just the written, but it’s finding the vehicle to hone those skills  is the difficult one.

3 My relationships

I hope to see more of my friends this year and allow those relationships to grow or diminish just let go of what’s not important to be able to hold on to what is.  I hope some reading this will stay in touch.  I saw a good quote stop thinking more about personal ends rather than personal friends. I hope to see more of my family too.

4 Still visit more places

I want to visit more places both old and new, I hope if I get work to go on a proper holiday.

5 Try and get work.

I got something rolling towards the end of last year but with my health hiccup it has got put back lets hope that isn’t stalled for long.

6 Continue to be grateful for what I do have in life.

The gratitude project was a good plan but I didn’t keep it up as I’d wanted to much more important is to have a grateful heart and when the chips are down  to focus on what is good.

Well we’ll see how that goes in the meantime Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three words

There’s a statement I’ve been thinking about that contains three words that I don’t think we use enough, it’s not the phrase that most people think of, I bet your thinking it’s that phrase I love you.  No it’s not that one.  Speaking of that phrase I’ve noticed that most people will say love you and miss out the I, is that because they don’t really love the person they are speaking too or is it just laziness, it’s more likely the latter rather than the former in my view  and it depends on context I suppose.  Anyway those three little words aren’t the words I’m thinking of.

I’m thinking of a statement or phrase I should use more than I do, and I know why I don’t.  Anyway , here’s  examples of where it might be used, or more likely when I should use it. You ask yourself what your response would be to these questions.

Do you think the Conservatives will get in again at the next General Election?

What do you think of penal substitution?

Should milk or water be put in a cup of tea first when making it?

What most of us tend to do when answering a question is come up with a positive or negative opinion on these kind of questions, but there is a third option that many of us rarely use because we are expected to have an opinion on anything and everything yes you’ve guessed it I’m sure, the phrase I was referring to earlier was I DON’T KNOW.

How many times people have asked you something expecting an answer of some description from you and rather than saying I don’t know you come back with a yes or no, or some convoluted answer that’s meant to sound intelligent when in reality you simply have no answer, you  haven’t thought about the question long enough, not had the experience or never really thought the questions was necessary.  I certainly have been in that position.

We as human beings thirst for knowledge, knowledge means power and to a large extent gives us a sense of security.  None of us want to look stupid in front of our friends or family when we simply don’t have an answer or an opinion to something.  Our problem with our thirst for knowledge though is that it can lead to pride.  Ever come across someone who seems to have an opinion about everything, do they get on your nerves, it’s happened to me, mind you when I was in my early 20’s I could be just as bad.  I’m more careful now not to get into arguments where the need to be right all the time is the goal.  Because at the end of the day none of us know everything.  It’s freeing to sometimes say I don’t know, yes it’s disconcerting to others, leaves you with a sense of uncertainty but that’s ok.

Over the last few years I’ve learnt that it’s ok to not know everything, I’ve found it very liberating personally.  Does it really matter that I don’t have the answers or that people don’t look to me for an answer or be the answer.  The truth is that sometimes there is no right or wrong answer there is the unknown, we can’t possibly know everything about anything or anyone for that matter. So don’t be afraid of using that phrase no matter what others might think.

Regarding the questions I listed above the first question is speculative, the second question involves some theological knowledge and the third question I ask is it really that important whether the milk is put in before the water for a cuppa?

OK I suppose you want to know what my answer would be to the three questions I listed above.

Well, the answer to all 3 is I just don’t know.

Musings from an introvert

If I say to you how do you describe an introvert and if I told you I was one what would you think and say.  Most people when you say your an introvert they naturally assume that an introvert is quiet and unsociable, doesn’t have a lot to say and are not leaders or change makers.

The truth is an introvert is someone who gains energy by being on their own and finds social situations overwhelming and draining.  Whereas an extrovert is energised by social situations and is probably the sort of person who cannot cope with silence for too long and would get edgy and bored.  There are those who lie somewhere in the middle (they are known as ambiverts) but normally there is a dominant trait of being either primarily an extrovert or introvert.

I’m now going to address some of the misconceptions about being an introvert. One  assumptions is that they are not sociable.  In a group for instance if an introvert is quiet it is deemed they are not engaging.  Not true in a group an introvert is fully alert, they are observing, listening and waiting patiently for a spot to put their point of view across or a make a comment.  I remember a time when I was at a friends house quite a number of years ago and we had some kind of party I think. After the food we all sat around and plenty of chatter was going on It may have appeared to some that I wasn’t happy, but on this occasion far from it, I was basking in the happy atmosphere of my friends, I was also feeling the joy of the connection I had with the group, I didn’t feel I needed to speak just being in the presence of that particular group of people made me feel content.  So don’t assume that if someone you know in a group is quiet don’t assume that they are bored or antisocial , but just make sure that they are ok and having a chance to speak if they want to and most important of all enjoying themselves.

Another occasion where a similar thing may occur is in meetings in a workplace or any other place where a more serious discussion is taking place where important decisions are being made. If a colleague or friend is being quiet don’t assume the misconception I mentioned above.  Here’s what happens when I’ve been in meetings, a discussion takes place, I’m taking everything in, observing the interactions between different people, listening to what people are saying and how others are responding, mulling, analysing and processing all that’s being said, by the time I’ve come to some thoughts of my own the chair has moved on to the next topic, this is common amongst introverts, I only learnt this recently, I thought this was me being slow, far from it I just process and handle information differently from external sources.  What I used to do in situations like that a few hours or days after that meeting I would go to my boss and share with him or email him some of my thoughts regarding that meeting.  So if there’s anyone in your office/church/group who doesn’t appear to be engaging in meetings, either give them a chance to speak or ask them to see you if they have any comments to make regarding the meeting that’s just took place or  to send them in an email or speak with them later.

It’s easy to assume from observation that an introverted person should not be considered for promotion or take charge of a particular project that involves other people.  Introverts given the right dynamics can really shine in groups, they make good chairs in meetings as that truly is an observational role, they can set the pace, and tend  not to shoot from the hip as much as an extrovert is likely to do and consider a decision carefully before opening their mouth.

Introverts love people it’s just the way they interact with others is different and the amount of time required.  Introverts generally prefer one to one conversations rather than group discussions, they can become more extrovert in those circumstances and anyone can see that an introvert has a lot to say on many subjects, introverts are less comfortable with small talk and prefer to get into meaty topics of conversation but  also like diverse conversations, where the topics are stimulating.

For me as an introvert it can be difficult in groups the conversation flows and I can’t get a word in edgeways, the extroverts are constantly interrupting each other with hardly a breath of space.  I can’t tell you how many times I start to say something in a discussion group and I’ve been interrupted or over talked.  People will say they don’t hear me, others say that’s not the case they can hear me fine.  So I can sit in silence knowing full well that a conversation will take place that I can’t enter into much as I want to.  I then feel drained because I’ve say spent a few hours listening to everything everyone else has been saying digesting it all etc, without feeling I’ve participated.  People then have the perception that I’m antisocial or aloof, which is not the case.

The additional hearing loss I have doesn’t help, I’m having to concentrate more in noisy environments, I often think if I wasn’t hearing impaired I probably would be more of an extrovert.

Another misconception is that introverts don’t know how to have fun.  Well that’s not true. I certainly love having fun, just not in public places and only with friends who I trust, who I can let my hair down with, in those situations I can be just as crazy and silly as any extrovert.

A recent experience for me is a great example of how I can interact as an introvert.  Every couple of months or so myself and 3 fellow female friends go to a local Chinese and have a meal and chat.  It’s great, it’s a small number of people in not too busy environment (although the environment can be noisy sometimes) we all get chance to chat, share and laugh while having a nice meal.  I find my conversation flows easily with others and I don’t feel drained when I go home.  I can enjoy myself with a group of people being sociable and its possible in certain situations that people would not even realise I was an introvert because even I can be loud and outgoing.

So next time you see someone or know someone who seems generally quiet but pipes up on a one to one, your most likely dealing with an introvert.  If that person tends to refuse invites to large parties or gatherings you may well be dealing with an introvert.  If a family member tends to be seemingly passive in a crisis they may well be an introvert.

Generally introverts are better at speaking than writing.  I can speak well sometimes if I’m prepared, but not if I’m put on the spot.  Introverts are great communicators their style is just a little different.  So please don’t assume they can’t do public speaking or write for a publication, you may be surprised what they can come up with, if given some warning!!

Introverts don’t really feel comfortable  being in the limelight and find it hard to do self promotion, but again I think it’s down to preparation and timing, just being thrust in the limelight is difficult for an introvert, but if they are given time to emerge gently then they can handle it better.

Finally  a note to my extrovert friends.  I value you very highly, those bubbly outgoing  social butterflies, I think you are awesome.  It’s easy to assume that extroverts are thoughtless individuals.  Well many of my extrovert friends are pretty thoughtful and caring people.  Have recognised my need for one to one time, so I respect their need for loud open spaces.  Some of them will recognise that I’m quiet and will ask me if I’m ok or if I have anything to say.

Independence Part 5: Coping with losing your independence when your sick or disabled

This is the final part of my series on independence, however when I started writing on the subject of Co-dependency I thought of another topic in relation to that, whether I will add it to this series or put it as part of another I don’t know yet, but for now this is the final part.

Some might think reading this that I have no authority to write about this particular subject after all there hasn’t been a time when I haven’t been disabled.  But I believe although I may not have the qualifications or expertise to write about this subject, I’ve had to learn to adapt to the world around me with the disabilities that I have, I’ve also seen others find it difficult to come to terms with their lack of independence.  I’ve had people comment how well I cope and I think if that is a lesson to people maybe I can give a few tips, maybe in their own minds if they see me manage they may be able to do so too.

I feel for those whose independence has been removed from them abruptly as a result of illness or disability the road is often much harder whereas someone who knows a condition they have is going to get worse is not a great thing to live with but at least you have more time to come to terms with it and better timing and resources at your disposal in order to prepare for the eventuality.

1     Acceptance

Much of the way to deal with losing your independence is down to our thinking.  Acceptance is the first step, accepting you now are disabled or sick is vital for you to progress forward, that doesn’t mean you should define yourself by your disability or sickness, or even have it as part of your identity.  That disability or sickness  doesn’t own you doesn’t belong to you but it is something you have to learn to live with. By the way when I say it doesn’t belong to you I mean you didn’t choose it.  You don’t have to let it control your life either.  But you do have to accept that it’s there that it does change your life that it does give you limitations.

2     Do get angry

It’s ok to be angry about this change to your life yes be angry that you no longer can walk the distance you used to, you can’t read the paper anymore, you can’t pick up the cup with your right hand without spilling the contents, that’s fine.  Yes be angry when people are being rude to you or ignore you and treat you like a second class citizen, but process that anger properly.  Vent your anger on your own  or share it with someone who would understand.  As time goes on you may find that the length of time you are angry about a situation is a little less each time as either you learn to adapt or you get a tougher skin round others who may be unpleasant or who lack compassion.

3     Be honest when your not coping

It’s normal to feel depressed too, understandably you may have been through a trauma before your sickness and disability and now your having to adjust not only what’s happened too you before this happened but now adjusting to the outcome.  Don’t hide the fact your struggling to come to terms with your disability or sickness, let someone know or speak to a counsellor about your fears, anger and tears,.  It’s not a shame to be sick or disabled but it is a shame to hide that pain away from those who care about you.  They may already know that your not coping and it may be a relief to them for you to share that with them.

4     Get all the help you can

Get all the support you need from healthcare/social services professionals and any charities related to your condition,  Find support groups where you can go to and obviously if your reading this there will be social media support groups linked to your condition.  There are benefits available for people who are sick or disabled, don’t be ashamed to take them .  The government has made provision for them,  undoubtedly you’ve paid your taxes or national insurance  in the event of this happening so you will be entitled to take them, these benefits will help you be more independent.  The money may pay for you to get a cleaner if you need one or a support worker, to help reading your mail or take you shopping  or a qualified carer to deal with your hygiene needs, to give that family member a break.

5    Get adaptations

There are plenty of adaptations available on the market these days, from large print clocks to specialist gardening equipment, which means you may still do the things you want to do with the right equipment.  I for instance have screen magnification software  on this laptop so I can read the print on the screen, I have speech if  I need it too, I can change the size of print, the size and shape of the cursor and even the contrast of colours  if need be.  Some adaptations can be got through social services such as a chair lift for the stairs, or a  hoist for a bed.  There numerous products out there that will make it easier for you or a family member to be more independent.

6     There is hope

Just because you are now sick or disabled it doesn’t mean that your life is over, for some your life may have just begun.  Don’t try and run before you can walk, pace yourself, laugh when things go wrong.  It is possible to work when you have a disability I worked for 13 years in a media business,  just be honest about your limitations and what you need and you should survive.  In order to work you may have to learn new skills, colleges and University’s should have support workers and adaptable equipment for courses.   You can still travel but you can book assistance you can get someone to help you on and off the train, they provide wheelchair assistance on and off trains.  If you can’t hear very well anymore you can get adaptable phones, so you can still communicate.  There are many people who have learnt to adapt to their particular illness or disability so can you, as long as you are patient with yourself in your progress you can learn to adapt, don’t compare yourself to others in their progress whether they are doing better than you or worse, don’t give up, when things are tough, just remember you are not alone, many HAVE been in your shoes before you and many will still in the future. There will be good days and bad, there will be days when you may take two steps forward and two steps back.  Count your blessings, you may not be able to speak the way you used to but you can still see and hear the people around you and hug those close to you.  Other parts of our bodies can do the things other parts can’t anymore but in a different way, there’s a lady who can paint with her feet.

I know this may not be a comprehensive response to cope with losing your independence, but my tips above are a starting point, if need be follow my blog, I have my good days and bad days too, it’s not a bed of roses being sick or disabled but there are plenty of things to laugh about.  I’ll end with a funny story.  One of my relatives had bought a motorbike, he took us to show us the bike in his garage, well I took a photograph and what I took was not of the motorbike but of the lawnmower! Bye for now 🙂

Letting Go

I was sitting on a train home following a visit to my friends and I thought I saw someone I knew, only from behind, I kept wondering is it them or not, my curiosity was really strong, I was thinking I wish they would turn round then I would know for sure, I wouldn’t want the embarrassment of mistaken identity which is a common thing with Vi’s.  But it got me thinking laterally about other things. my plans and dreams, I knew that I’ve got work to do once I returned home in relation to those things, but I found myself thinking  specifically about the need to let go.  Letting go of the fact that some of my dreams and plans may not come to fruition.  The application form for a course I want to attend I may not be accepted on, this blog may not flourish, the new fb group I’ve created may not gain the momentum I want it too, my current voluntary work may not lead to anything more than it is, therefore it was time to let go.  Also time to let go of not being able to be the kind of friend I want to be to some people, to let go of my expectations of others, of not being the most charismatic individual around.  The list goes on.

Of course I’ve had to let go in the past sometimes I’ve been in no other position but to do so, the death of my mum in 2012, my job when in 2013 the company I worked for went bust.  Believe me those were painful experiences.  But this time on the train I felt these were just clear choices.  The thought was in my mind does it really matter if these things never come to fruition or bear fruit.  So what if I don’t get accepted on the course I want to do would it really be the end of the world?  What about the relationships I have with those around me and my expectations or theirs is it such a big deal?  The fact that I don’t always feel valued and understood by those around me is it really necessary that I need to explain or make myself understood and be valued?

Strangely I felt a smile spread across my face at the thought of letting go, because letting go can mean letting other good things in, there are no limits, we often think our options are limited if we let go,  our fears are that if we let go nothing else will come in its place, hmmm.  Does this mean I should not do what I can to make things work such as this blog and the rest, of course not, my passion for the things I have in the pipeline are still valuable, but passion fuels me to do what I do but it doesn’t rule me.  So I’m  left with a sense of peace about my future after all often we are afraid of the future and what it entails.  I can still make effort with my relationships with the people around me without allowing what I think they need from me to control me.

I rather see my life being like a tree, a tree cannot grow new leaves without shedding some dead ones, but in the place of those leaves new shoots of life replace the dead leaves.  In other words my life has stuff that’s not right  or good in it those things get shaken off and new things or better things come in their place.  I just have to trust that when things die or don’t work out new green shoots will form and grow and produce life and if things don’t work out it means better things are ahead or adaptations need to take place.   Another analogy is the passage where Jesus talks about the seed that has to fall into the ground and die before it bears fruit.  In my case I’ve seen that happen.

In Feb 2000 I got offered an opportunity to do some work for a company I wanted to work for, but it came to nothing, my then pastor mentioned that scripture I mentioned above  that was already confirmation to me, I let it go.  Nine months later I got offered a job at that same company and stayed there for 13 years.  So letting go can be a good thing and it brings peace.

Ok so back to my original  starting point.  So now you maybe wondering did I get to find out if who I saw on the train was the person I thought it was?   Well when the  train finally pulled into my final destination , the assistant met me just at the door of the train, he walked me to the bus stop where I could wait for my bus.  I’d been standing there for a few seconds then I looked to my left, walking away from me was the assistant talking to the person who I thought I recognised on the train, unfortunately again it was from behind so I have no way of knowing whether the person I saw was who I thought it was, and it could have been a different person entirely to the person I saw on the train  so that will be a mystery to me and something I have let go of , so now you will have to let go of knowing who It was I thought I saw 🙂

Independence Part 3: Codependency

In my series on independence, I’ve covered what it means to be independent, are we really independent, now I address a more complex subject that is relevant but difficult in many points.  At what point does dependency become co=dependency?   Let’s try and define co-dependency, by it’s nature it’s tricky, simply put  it’s when dependency has  gone too far.  Now before I go any further I want to say that co-dependency is necessary for some, but I’ll elaborate on that further later.

Co-dependency is mostly seen in abusive relationships or when someone has an addiction.  The persons needs become damaging to the relationship, either way both sides of that relationship there are benefits.  The roles of victim and saviour come to mind, the person playing the victim needs rescuing a saviour comes along to save them, the victim needs a saviour and the saviour needs someone to rescue, the saviour is drawn to people who are needy who they can help the victim simply suck the very life of the individual making demands, becoming manipulative, intimidating and controlling.  The rescuer or saviour has a deep need to be needed and relishes helping that person but unfortunately does not help them become independent, they continue to allow them to need them.  This link has  a great blog post on the 10 signs of a Codependent relationship, she has put it in a much better way than I could have done.  http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17039/10-signs-youre-in-a-codependent-relationship.html

One thing she brings out though which is very valid is the role of fear in a relationship, if the relationship is based on fear or your needs are fear based that’s a strong warning sign all is not well.  One thing worth pointing out is the rescuer is often afraid of letting go of the victim, they are afraid of what would happen if they “abandoned” the victim in their apparent neediness, this is particularly apparent where there is an addiction involved.  I’ve heard different people talk about what they do to assist their relative who had a drug/alcohol dependency, they are often scared of letting go because they think that person will hurt/kill themselves, but never consider that actually that person may come to their senses in those circumstances, or someone else may come along who may not become their next rescuer, but be able to have the strength to say no to their co-dependency, which is often hard.  Let me say I’ve been on both sides of the fence, thankfully the victim  side a long time ago, I now don’t need anyone in a sense, and I don’t need to be needed either. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having needs as long as they don’t become demands or they breach healthy boundaries.

Now I come to the more tricky issue of those who are sick or disabled. By very nature they will be more dependent than the average person and may even become co-dependent because that sickness or disability has not happened to them by choice and coping mechanisms are not easy to learn.   First to the person that has a sick or disabled family member or partner, don’t be afraid to ask for help when it all becomes overwhelming.  If your starting to feel resentful that may be a sign you are either doing too  much or examine why your doing something.  I know from personal experience that a disabled person doesn’t want to deal with someone who feels resentful for helping you.  But neither should the disabled person go without support if needed, here communication is necessary, if you feel you are doing too  much for that person, tell them but don’t be brutal about it.  For instance, If your constantly taking that person everywhere by car leaving little time for yourself just tell that person that your willing to help them but do they know anyone else who can help too, or even suggest someone you know who would be willing to help, most disabled people do not want to be a burden so sensitivity is crucial in these issues, equally to the person with a disability or sickness, be sensitive to people who help you, encourage the person assisting you the most to let you know if things are getting on top of them, and try and find others who can support you, don’t try and rely just on one person. be fair, be reasonable but above all respect that persons need for their own time.  In this situation It would be rare that a sick/disabled person is deliberately taking advantage of your help, just communicate when you sense things are starting to get out of hand. Obviously bear in mind if someone has very severe sickness or disability they will be co-dependent for instance if they have Alzheimers, in those circumstances  do  not be afraid at getting professional help.

If you are in a relationship that is suffocating, give yourself some space and think about what is happening.   Are you happier when your not in it? Are you the one squeezing the life out of the other person or is someone doing the same to you. If either is happening give yourself a break from that relationship or end it if you are in a position to do so, and get counselling or support.

In summary I would say

1     Have healthy boundaries in your relationships

2     Communicate when things are getting on top of you either way.

3      Seek help and counsel if things get difficult

4     Take a break if things are getting on top of you

5     Learn to say No to unreasonable expectations or demands

6     Recognise where there’s fear in your relationship

7     Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been on either side of the equation it’s possible to change.

In Part 4 of this series I will be covering the topic of Interdependence 

 

 

Gratitude Why it’s so important

As I look around the room, I notice many things books on the shelves, stack of CDs,  good lighting photographs of beloved family members.  I also feel the warmth from the central heating, taste the tale end of a piece of Thorntons Chocolate, hear the relaxings sounds of Chopin from the speaker, I appreciate and am grateful for all these things and more, the beautiful sunshine streaming through my window during  the last few weeks (not today though), laughter with friends, tickets for a show I’m seeing in February and feeling healthy and also content.  But I haven’t always felt like this.

In the late 90s I found myself out of work for four years, I was told just before I was made redundant that I would get depressed (How nice!) for the first three years that didn’t happen but the last year it hit me bang, no work, no future, no hope.  No amount of praying seemed to help, eventually I prayed Lord show me your goodness.

Around the end of August of 2000 I happened to turn on the TV and Oprah Winfrey was doing her show and the topic was on gratitude. I knew this was speaking to me, she shared about composing a gratitude journal, which I decided to start myself it seemed there were some great results in doing so, which I will get to later.  I actually started the blog on 25 October of that year, I’ll just share a piece from Fri 27 October 2000.  “Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the beautiful sunset on my way home all the oranges across the sky and the pink strips before hand” etc.  I won’t put the rest of that piece it may just overwhelm those less spiritually inclined, and I don’t want to do that here.  I kept that up fairly regularly up to July of 2001, not always daily but regularly.  During that time I had a new carpet on a good deal, started to feel joy, discovered I had an interview then got a job!!! The depression had also gone, amongst other things.

From time to time I’ve started writing in that journal and at the beginning of the year I started a 365 daily gratitude/positive/good report about my day.

Here’s what I’ve discovered in producing a gratitude journal.

1 It gives you perspective

When circumstances are bad it forces you to look for the good, you find as time goes on things are just drawn to your attention the good things people and events in your life that are GOOD.

2 Attraction

I personally think it’s a law of attraction good things just seem to draw themselves to you including people,.

3 Negativity is fleeting

You tend to focus less on the negative and you can’t handle having it being around for long.  I don’t recommend burying your head in the sand that is quite frankly has great consequences. But it means those negative things don’t seem as huge and impossible.

4 You appreciate the small stuff

You appreciate even the littlest of things like finding something you have lost , or you managed to get something from the shop you needed before they ran out.

5  People are impacted by your positive attitude and appreciation of life

This is the best thing of all I think, this affects others, if you are positive it not only affects other people but infects them as well, they start to respond to your outlook and may even behave likewise.

I’ve also discovered its actually harder to write something positive on a good day, because the good things don’t stand out so clearly on a generally good or non happening day, it’s on the bad days the good seems accentuated.

If you are inspired to produce a gratitude journal or daily facebook post on things to be thankful for here are some tips.

  • Don’t fret about doing it daily, regularity is the key
  • Reread old entries
  • Notice your mood and perspective change over time
  • Read other peoples gratitude entries, they can inspire you.
  • If you can’t think of one thing to be thankful for just remember where there’s breathin your body there is always hope.

I hope this page gives you something to think about and a little cheer to your day. And Thank You for reading this blog post it’s much appreciated :).