The power of thoughts…..

You may consider a thought about something is nothing important. Something transitory and fleeting and in many ways, this is true. Thoughts are impermanent but their effects on our entire wellbeing can be quite extraordinary. The power a simple thought has can be found in our reaction to it.

When we begin to identify and react to our thoughts, we allow ourselves to become what we believe to be true. ‘I am positive. I am rubbish at this. I can do this. Nobody wants to be with me. I am worthwhile.’ The list goes on. How many thoughts do you have during the course of a day that you would say are useful and positive?

You can think about anything you like. You can choose what to believe, what to feel and what to say. You are in charge of how you react to yourself and the world around you. When you are aware of this, it becomes so much easier to see that there is a choice when it comes to how we feel. We can choose which thoughts to react to and those we ignore.

Emotions are a constructive tool we can use when it comes to changing how we feel. Instead of reacting to emotions without an awareness of why we are experiencing them, we can effectively learn to watch our negative thoughts without reacting to them.

A lot of stress and anxiety can be managed simply through becoming aware of our emotional ‘triggers’. Only you can know what they are. Is it a thought or a feeling? An event perhaps? It could be anything.

What you need to remember is that the thought or feeling itself is just what it is. Your reaction (or non reaction) to it is the key point that will either create a good or a bad day.

And we all want to have a good day. It is easier than you might think….

Just be aware of your thoughts and the choices you have…..:)

Feel good and be happy….

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Forgiveness…learning to let it go.

Sometimes when we have been badly hurt and let down, we feel as though we want to lash out, blame and accuse those who we feel have done us wrong. Feelings are those of anger, frustration and pain. ‘Why me?’ Holding a grudge is not going to make everything better. It doesn’t justify anything. Will it make you happy? Not a chance! Anger and bitterness only serves to make you unhappy, twisted and miserable.

Who needs that?

It is so much simpler to allow yourself to see the truth…it is not your problem! The only thing that is your responsibility is how you choose to react to the experience. That is within your power and control.

It may feel like you have acquired some strength momentarily but it is actually a thief of what energy you have. The ego feels good for a moment (albeit briefly). If I feel angry and upset, I feel so distracted. I cannot concentrate on anything and I am not living in the present moment. I might as well stay in bed for the good I feel I am to anyone when I’m in such a state! Chocolate, angry music and punching pillows for me… oh wait no..that’s p.m.t 😉

Why is letting it all go so difficult sometimes especially when you feel someone has done you a wrong? You naturally want to feel that wrong righted and no matter how angry you feel, it is justified in your mind somehow. Playing over the events, the words spoken, what you said, what they said, what you would love to say had you the chance to go back…what would be the most hurtful thing to do and say in order to make them feel the pain you have felt?

All of this mulling and brooding is actually causing you pain. Nobody else is being affected. Your own mind is actually crucifying you slowly. Yes, perhaps you have been betrayed. Perhaps someone did something very bad to you and yes, you feel pain. Of course you would. It is only natural to feel upset to a point – you do have a choice though and that is what we can all forget.

‘Don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out!’ (Robert Tew).

Don’t let someone mess with your mind and your feelings. You are in control at all times and can decide how you deal with everything. We give and abuser power when we allow them ‘in’ as it were, into our personal space. As soon as that happens, we not only lose a sense of perspective but we also lose ourselves eventually. Emotion takes over completely and before we know it, we are reacting to emotions that have no grounding in the true reality of things.

It isn’t actually your pain you are feeling though. It is their own pain and negative emotional state you are seeing reflected right back at you. Whether we choose to react to and continue that cycle of pain in our own mind is our choice alone.

When someone treats you badly, it is a reflection on how they have behaved. You may feel that person deserved punishment for what they have done. If they seem to get away with everything, it only seems to make everything worse. We are not judge and jury though. (Even though sometimes we feel we should and wish we could be, it is not our place).

Do people really get their karma in the end? They do. It isn’t a desire to see them suffer in turn. I personally want to see those who have caused me pain learn and eventually understand why their actions have caused so much disharmony. I don’t like to think of anyone suffering. They have a chance to grow in their experience of pain. It isn’t about watching another person suffer and enjoying the fact that they are. Far from it…

It is hoping that someday, that individual will see the error of their ways and karma is a transformative vehicle for that change. It may take a very long time (perhaps another lifetime even if you believe in reincarnation) but time is a matter of perspective only….from my experience, things happen when they are meant to do so.

Have faith in natural justice. We are all learning. What goes around, comes around…for all of us.

© Christina McDonald 2014

‘Just stay positive…’Managing the ups, the downs and the messy inbetween stuff..

‘Life is what happens while you are busy making others plans’.

John Lennon

The messy bits in between make life worth living….nothing is apparent or clear until we make our way through it all. Walking a path through the chaos is the way we find the path…

If there was anything I could say is ‘wrong’ with my life that I would want to improve, it is the inability to stay positive. I can remind myself to be positive on difficult days. Staying positive – well that is another whole kettle of fish sometimes. I can’t just stay positive all of the time. I’m moody and have loads of ups and downs. I’m just not one of those people. I’m more of a ‘if the glass is half full, then…I’m out of booze, fill it up with a large tequila to make me feel better….please God.’

(I usually snap out of it soon enough!)

I can bring myself back to a state of positivity but I’ll be damned if I can maintain it sometimes! I have a positive outlook on life and I am a great believer in being positive. Being negative for no reason sucks. The only problem is I am very sensitive and emotional and my mood goes up and down from one day to the next. A human sponge. I am conscious of other people’s moods and sensitivities and I am liable to pick up someone else’s bad vibes as a consequence. How can you negate the bad vibes and focus on the feel good stuff instead?

Don’t Think Too Much:

That is a curse in itself. Thinking too much places your entire day in a self-imposed bubble of nonsense. The chattering mind will not help you to gain or keep perspective. It makes you feel gloomy for no reason, even if everything is going well. Thoughts are just thoughts. Your reaction to thoughts means more than the actual thoughts themselves. I would rather think too much than too little though…(Not that I think too much or anything and end up tiring myself out over nothing…. (I gotta work on that one…)

Don’t complain about other people (no matter how much they get on your nerves):

Seriously – how often do we feel we want to get some annoyances off our chest? I do. A lot! I try to let those feelings go. Usually, I can feel myself getting very angry before I feel a tirade coming on.

So cue the following – ‘Deep breaths, calm blue ocean, let it go, let it go…one glass of tequila please’…:)

Learn to Laugh at Yourself:

Life can be hilarious sometimes. Just look around you. Taking things too seriously is no way to go. Take things seriously enough and that will be just fine. If you don’t laugh at life, you will end up being miserable. When s*** happens, smile 🙂 How often do things ever really go to plan? They will always work out but not according to the way you might have originally thought they would. They may even work out better for all you know….

Break your routine:

It is so easy today more than ever before to get trapped in a behavioural rut if we are not aware of it. We all work very long hours and especially in the city, it can leave you feeling comepletely drained. Many of us our a slave to routine. There is nothing like a good stable routine to make you feel secure sometimes but it can also weigh you down and make you feel as though you have nothing to look forward to.

Do something fun and shake it up! 😉

© Christina McDonald 2014

Post Valentine’s Day Reflections…..Relationship maintenance – 5 Key Suvival Tips.

We all need and want to be loved. This is a fundamental human need. As important as needing food, warmth and shelter is, love is usually portrayed as something to be ‘attained’ in the same way. I am not sure whether or not it can ever be something to be achieved that can permanently last. Married, single, divorced…we all have our own experiences of love. It is not something that ever conforms to a stereotypical view in my opinion. It is something we are all familiar with and all identify with differently. My experience of love will be completely different to yours but both experiences will have the same inherent value.

I remember going out with the first serious love of my life when I was 25 years old and I felt like I was in heaven. I had fancied him for months and was thrilled to bits (and slightly nervous) that he had asked me out. The nerves, the anticipation, the butterflies in my stomach…it was new and scary but magical as is any first time love.

But soon, it felt like torture more at one point. I said to myself ‘If this is what loves does to people, I don’t think I really want to feel like this anymore.’ I was drained from excitement, desire and sleepless nights when all I did was lie in bed thinking about him. ‘No’, I told myself. All this pain is worth it. He’s worth it.’ I couldn’t work it out – was I in love or in hell?

Soon, everything I had convinced myself to be true was promptly shattered to a million pieces. One day, he broke up with me out of the blue. I knew he had been under a lot of pressure with studies but this…this was an unexpected killer blow. The torture of loving someone had adopted a new twist. The torture of being without the person who you adore and need most of all. The most frustrating question was why? We were having a great time, we enjoyed each other’s company, we laughed so much and had so much in common. What went wrong?

I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What did I do? I hadn’t actually done anything in fact. Was there someone else? I was a woman possessed with ‘why.’ Love turned to hate, hate turned to revenge and the cycle of addiction went on and on. Love one day, hate and plotting my revenge the next. What I thought I had, was lost.

All I had were memories and even then, they all seemed worthless. A waste of time. Was it though? The cycle of wanting and needing seemed to be a force that was draining me in numerous relationships throughout my early to mid twenties.I hated the fact that I felt I needed someone. It made me feel weak and pathetic. Such is the power of emotion to make us feel so good and equally, so bad.

I always remember a quote I stumbled across many years ago in a book shop in Leicester Square written by Osho, the Indian mystic and philosopher who said:

 ‘No relationship can be secure. It is not the nature of relationships to be secure and if any relationship is secure, it will lose all attraction. …If you make it completely secure, absolutely secure, then you cannot enjoy it – it loses all charm, all attraction.’[1]

This made me think. At first I thought it was nonsense. If no relationship is secure, then what’s the point of even trying? I promptly put the book back on the shelf and continued questing for some kind of revelation. The quote still bothered me for days after. Soon, something started making sense. Was I so afraid of losing the person I loved that I had become jealous and possessive without even being aware of it?

If we are afraid of losing someone we love, then what of love and intimacy? I realised all this time, every relationship I had ‘endured’ was stemming from my own personal fears and insecurities. I was too afraid to love and I am sure every boyfriend I had from my early twenties had sensed this to be true. I wanted to be loved and was more concerned with that than actually genuinely loving another person without fear of being rejected. I knew it meant I had to take a leap of faith and drop my controlling possessiveness to find the love I needed.

Needing someone is a double edged sword. We all need companionship and that is something that is very natural. At the same time, we don’t wish to be dependent on someone else in case we lose them somehow. Needing someone then becomes something negative, almost a weakness. What if they leave us? (What if they don’t?) Loneliness is a very big problem in today’s society and this is especially prevalent in the ageing population today.

Losing a partner we have loved and lived with for many years and mourning that loss is something many of us have had and will have to deal with sometime in the future. It is painful but a very sad and intrinsical part of being human. Nothing lasts forever. If we are alone however, because we are content and used to being alone to some extent, then perhaps it isn’t so bad.

Some people enjoy their own company (not unlike myself). There will be a point when I will want to be around people again and meet up with friends after having had some time to myself. This is quite normal for many of us. What if our ‘needing’ someone is based on deep seated, conditioned insecurities within ourselves? Then, our relationships become negative, controlling and suffer from needless outdated emotional reactions that have no place in our lives. So, what strategies can we adopt in order to ensure we do not fall into the trap of addictive relationships?

 Place emphasis on loving and not on being loved:

 To be loved firstly, is not essentially a need. When I say ‘need’, our quest for love should not be covering up feelings of low-self esteem, insecurity or lack of self-worth. There is no better form of exquisite pain than finding someone who mirrors back our own pain, self-doubt and anger. This is how an addictive cycle of pain begins. When we crave love and attention in a negative way, it is replacing something we feel we lack. Any relationship entered into from this perspective will be based on a prospective partner constantly having to attend to your emotional insecurities which have no basis on reality, just a fear of loss.

Become more aware of your emotional state in relationships:

Developing your awareness in regards to how your emotional habits form is something that requires practice. Are there any trigger points you could isolate in your behaviour? Think about what went wrong before and analyse it. Don’t just sweep it under the carpet and hope that will clean the mess up. To do a thorough clean, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty to do a really good job. The same applies to relationships and to understanding yourself more. Mentally and emotionally, you have to remove the cobwebs otherwise you will become the fly that traps itself in your own web!

 Learn to be content with being alone:

Being on your own and being content with your own company is a great strength. There is an important difference between being alone and feeling lonely. We all feel lonely from time to time, (even when we are in relationships) and events in life are stressful. If you are happy within yourself, you have no reason to believe that finding the right person will complete you. It may add to your existing happiness immeasurably but it is not essential to your personal experience and feelings of happiness. When that special person comes along, you will not feel the agony of craving something you don’t understand from them and you can simply enjoy being together.

Talk is cheap….but very effective

Finally, communication (with a trusted friend or with your partner) can help to unravel complex feelings. If you can work through your difficulties like this, then you are already off to a flying start. Having a shouting and screaming match and breaking cutlery against the wall may feel cathartic at the time but it will cause more damage in the long-term and will perhaps drive a huge wedge of resentment between the two of you. Keep ego out of relationship difficulties and focus on what matters which is the problem at hand.

Enjoy the ride

Life is too short to be caught up in worry and anxiety over relationships. If you do the necessary ground work (which is learning how and why you relate to others in the way you do) everything should become much simpler. Remember nothing – even the best and most emotionally fulfilling relationships don’t last forever so don’t forget to enjoy the moment and be happy no matter what….relationship or not.

© Copyright Christina McDonald 2014


[1] ‘Intimacy – Trusting Oneself and the other, Insights for a new way of living,’ Copyright © 2001, Osho, pg 64.