Spilt milk

Sometimes a person will reach a point in life where they come to a devastating realisation. ‘It’s all my fault’. In any aspect of our lives we may spend a considerable amount of time feeling that we are the victim and blaming others for our bad experiences, and then suddenly we reach a certain breaking point and it hits us that we are the cause of everything we are experiencing.

It often happens after things have been piling up over a long period of time. You gradually become overwhelmed with all the choices you have made and the path you have found yourself going down.

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freedom - represented by a barbed wire fence and a plan in the background

As I write this I’m stuck in a prison – the prison of the mind. A lot of people run aground in their lives and stay in that place most of the time. I am determined to break free and live a life of freedom. Sure, things, or should I say, circumstances, happen in one’s life but the most important emotion is our reactions to these. We can be negative and feel sorry for ourselves or get into a positive state of mind and ‘tighten our belts’ and move on to the next chapter. The most important piont in your life is to not compare yourself with others.

You have been given a blank canvas and it’s up to you what you’re going to paint on it. My own life has had its ups and downs and most of my life I’ve let the downs keep me from experiencing the joys that life has to offer: low in confidence; feeling worthless; lack of self-esteem and hiding away. My aim is to break free and break these chains, start a new journey and use every part of the canvas to paint my picture.

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Controlling anger isn’t something tigers have to think about. These are incredibly beautiful creatures. They represent concepts of pure wildness, untamed beauty, strength and power. Tigers have a reputation for being unpredictable and incredibly dangerous. Keeping a tiger as a pet is definitely inadvisable. It is their wildness that we admire most. A tiger doesn’t need to apologise for being a tiger.

Unlike tigers, we sometimes need to be able to control our anger. Anger is sometimes a perfectly natural response to a situation. Like all emotions it is a signal that something needs to change, and there is something new to learn.

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Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant

I grew up with Hugh Grant. Not literally of course. To be fair he only really came to my attention in my early twenties, as Clive in the Film ‘Maurice‘. His role in the E.M. Forster classic was very different from his roles in most films. The film was ahead of it’s time and I remember finding it quite challenging when I first saw it.

These days if you think about Hugh Grant, you are far more likely to think of him in his blockbusting comedy successes such as ‘About a Boy’, ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, ‘Notting Hill’, ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ and, well, ‘Love Actually’, actually. I don’t know how Hugh Grant feels about that, but I’m fine with it. I love, Love Actually, actually.

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woman with a question mark instead of face

Self-esteem is defined on Wikipedia as ‘an individual’s subjective evaluation of their own worth’. Valuing yourself, knowing your core identity and believing in who you are is a key issue that underpins many problems in life. I have written on this subject before.

There are many ways in which we can work on our self-esteem. There are habits we can cultivate. We can change our self-talk – the way we tend to talk about ourselves to others and in our own minds. There are journaling exercises, and many Neurolinguistic Programming inventions. We can see a hypnotherapist or a Timeline Therapist and we can get some coaching.

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ball of string representing how long will it take

One of the questions I get asked in the early stages of working with clients, is ‘How long will it take to get better?’ When you are suffering from anxiety and depression, coping with a phobia or dealing with stressful situations, you want to get better as quickly as possible.

The traditional view of psychiatry is that you go and see your ‘shrink’ every Tuesday afternoon over a period of 2, maybe 3 years. You lie on her coach and tell her everything. How your mother didn’t love you. You father dropped you on the head when you were 6. All the traumatic experiences you endured, and of course every sexual encounter you have ever had. Through this the therapist has you come to some realisation that immediately makes you see the world differently. However once you often have that realisation you still need to work with it and come to terms with it.

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“Why am I different?” – It’s a question I get asked a lot by my clients about themselves. “‘I try to be like everyone else. I try to fit in. I wear the kind of clothes that other people my age wear. I join in with the conversations that go on and try to look like I am totally on their wavelength. I pretend to be interested in all the things they like to do, and I take part in the socials. I turn up for the charity events and I even turn a blind eye to the things that make me uncomfortable.

“I don’t agree with some of the things people say, and some of it is just so wrong, on so many levels. I daren’t say anything though, so I just smile politely. That makes me feel really bad inside. It just emphasises even more that I am different, and I don’t think people would like me if they knew what I am really like.”

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Anybody who uses Facebook will be familiar with the insidious way in which it manages your daily experience. Click on a picture of a dog, and you’ll get flooded with pictures of dogs. You’ll get doggy treat adverts, dog adoption groups and cute videos of dogs cooking paella. In fact you don’t even need to have clicked. Such is the subtlety of the Facebook ‘algorithm’.

You only have to slow down or stop scrolling on your device to inform the social media site that this is something you are interested in and you’ll get more of it. It is almost impossible not to do that if something catches your eye.

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coping with coronavirus and social distancing

I don’t know with certainty if you can have too much of a good thing, but it’s definitely true that you can have too much of a bad thing. This is, without doubt, the most testing of times. Coping with coronavirus is unlike coping with anything we have ever experienced before and it is a massive ‘reframe’.

A reframe is when something comes along – an experience, a therapy, a different way of looking at things, that causes you to suddenly completely change your way of living and being.

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Past hurt, couple scowling

Past hurt is inevitable. It is almost impossible to go through life without conflict. There are always going to be people in our lives with whom we don’t see eye to eye.

Marriage break-ups cause more rifts than just those between spouses. Children are swept up in drama, families take sides and friends are forced into awkward situations.

Sometimes there are feuds over money issues, and some people can even bare a grudge for years over a misplaced word or a throwaway sentence.

In an ideal world, perhaps, we would confront these people in our lives. We might sit down and talk it out with them. There might be a row to clear the air. We could seek forgiveness or agree to put the past behind us. These are mature ways to deal with conflict that can and do work for many.

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