Addiction

newproject_1_original-6Addiction lives everywhere, out in the open, behind closed doors, within families, between friends and between co-dependent partners. Some addictions are not immediately life threatening. Many people still smoke every day and drink every weekend. In society these are the lesser evils because they do not immediately ruin lives. They may kill you in the end but the impact on those surrounding you are, for the most part, minimal. Unless of course you’re a raging alcoholic. Most addicts are addicts in secret. They are used to operating in secret by covering up their ‘signs’ and they usually have ‘enablers’, who can be just as detrimental as the addiction itself.

Sadly, as a society we are quick to judge addicts, particularly those whose problems involve Class A drugs such as heroin and crack. ‘Bag head’, ‘tramp’, ‘druggy’, ‘user’, ‘addict’, ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’ etc. Unfortunately, addiction isn’t easy to break, hence why some people remain addicts all their life. Breaking addictions takes enormous, willpower, bags of love and in some cases absolute force. The difficulty of this is that families usually fall apart one way or another and the support isn’t there. This could be due to the addict relying on thieving, lying, scheming and manipulating, to gain whatever substance or elation they are seeking.

20170729_124355The only way to start removing addiction from someone’s life is to first stop their enabler. Enablers are the people who provide the means for addictions to continue. These people are always prevalent where addiction lives, particularly gambling addiction. The addict can spend their entire months wage on bets in a single day and the enabler will replace that for them, usually because they are terrified at what will happen if they let them sink. It is imperative though that you LET THEM SINK. Don’t be fooled by love or obligation. You are literally helping this person destroy themselves and the life they have built. In the moment you refuse to ‘enable them’ they will say absolutely anything to change your mind, ‘I will kill myself’, ‘I will tell people your secrets’, ‘I have no money for food’. This can be alarming and it takes a morally strong person to see through the deceit and say ‘HELL NO’. Nine times out of ten the addict won’t do anything, they have just hit rock bottom and will resort to any means to manipulate you. Even if they did take drastic action at your refusal, that responsibility lies with them not your conscience. The more you enable addictions to continue, the less likely they will ever end, meaning you are20170729_124419 also now in the vicious cycle. When you have nothing more to give, the addict will push for you to bring in another enabler to fund the addiction. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that the wheels will eventually drop off because there isn’t an endless supply of money. The addict will either end up homeless or facing the music of the person they were hiding their addiction from. The only way out is ultimate acknowledgement and acceptance. An addict must really feel what they have done to others and themselves and let it consume them, so they can resolve to do better and start to rebuild their own self-worth.

Self-esteem plays a major part in addiction. For instance, gambling may not be the root issue, it could just be symptom of something deeper like anxiety, depression or trying to fund substance abuse. Substance abuse can stem from manipulation, control or physical abuse at the hands of someone else, whether in childhood, adolescence or in a very present situation. Whatever the facts of the case, don’t be too quick to dismiss an addict. Of course there are those that have completely fallen off and can’t be brought back but many are crying on the inside to be saved.

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Dealing with an addict is a balancing act. You don’t want to be a hero and risk your own life being stolen to fund the vices of an addict and you don’t want to completely ignore their plight. If you are personally suffering in such a situation then you need to create and implement your own strict rules. This could be never having the addict your house, however, you will arrange to meet them elsewhere such as a café. Stop giving them money but offer emotional support and be their voice of reason. Prevent yourself being emotionally entangled by their pleas of desperation by being brutally honest. ‘I can’t eat today’ they say and you respond ‘but you could’ve if you hadn’t wasted the money you had yesterday on your addiction’. 20170729_124527This may sound cruel, although it does put the addict in a place where they have to consider and be accountable for their actions and the circumstances they have created for themselves. Remind them of their potential and how much you love them, even if it falls on deaf ears. If you have the strength to continue this mantra then it may progress to you convincing them to seek professional help once and for all. Leaving addiction behind takes baby steps so don’t get frustrated if the addict takes five steps forward and ten steps back. As long as you are protecting your own interests and wellbeing that’s all that matters. If they never change, at least you know you did everything in your power to help them in the correct way.

If the addict does not get to a point where they want to change their life for the better then it may be wise to accept this and exit their life for good.

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The first step to happiness

newproject_1_original-5The meaning of happiness is different to each and every one of us. For some it is treasuring the time spent with family and friends, for others it is financial freedom. The rest is made up of hobbies, whatever those maybe, travel, sport, reading etc. All of these aspects of happiness are reached with the same first step, which is:

Realising you have the right to choose.

More often than not, we live for other people. We may not intend to but the pushy overbearing natures of some individuals leaves us backed into an uncomfortable corner. Before we know it we are spending Christmas in the place we said we definitely wouldn’t, we‘ve paid for a holiday we don’t want to go on and we’ve committed to a slap up meal at an expensive restaurant we can’t afford. It could even be other burdens like looking after family and/or friends.

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Yes I said it.

Not everyone wants to spend their life looking after others but they feel they are obligated to, usually by other people. Just because someone is your family or friend, it doesn’t mean they have the right to dictate anything to you, especially how to live your life. There are stories of people losing those close to them because they did not choose them as a bridesmaid, invite them to an event or visit that person. Are these really people who care? If someone loves you and cares for your wellbeing, they will tell you to do whatever makes you happy, even if that means them missing out. Sadly, this species of human is few and far between. More often than not, the people surrounding us have set expectations of our actions and often presume and assume we will do whatever task they conjure up next.

So how do we get out that one?

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Simple. We say no!

Saying no takes balls if you are not naturally assertive and it is always better to say no in a polite way. You may want to offer up an explanation if you feel really bad, although it is probably better not to bother. If you are 100% soft 99% of the time then the people who know you will be so taken a back at your ‘no’ that they may sense it is unwise to question you further. If they do ask why you’ve said no, try get into the habit of saying ‘I just don’t want to’, or ‘it’s not for me’. Just like you are not obligated to cave into their demands, you are not required to provide evidence to satisfy them either. Whatever reaction you have received you should not feel guilty because you have been true to yourself. If the person wants to make an issue of it then they have not considered you and your feelings anyway.

Keeping your behaviour and responses surprising keeps others on their toes. They are 20170724_123911less likely to harass you to do x y z when you’ve just finished a b and c for them. They will also start to treat you with respect the more you give answers that are true to how you really feel. If this does not breed respect then you will have to use some ruthless scissors to snip them from your life. Life really is too short to tolerate shitty people who refuse to understand and accept you.

Another aspect to the first step of happiness is accepting that others may reject you on the quest for their own happiness. They have the right to say no too and the best way to respond to them is with humility. Their decisions should not determine your worth or your life path, so don’t take offence!

Ultimately, you should want anyone you care about to be happy and as stated, that usually means the freedom to do what they want without negative feelings, or people unnecessarily holding them back. We all risk waking up one day to find we have ran out of time to do what we really wanted to.

So start saying no to others…and say yes to yourself!

Your Opinion

newproject_1_original-4Many conflicts arise from a difference in opinion. One side cannot accept that the other disagrees with their clear logical determination of a subject. What they fail to see it that the other side feels the same way as they do, they just accept they’re different people. The aggressor’s outright blindness and refusal to entertain a thought they don’t agree with is ultimately related to ego. Admitting they have been hasty in their opinion or having their facts proven wrong can be an enormous hit on personal pride, self-worth and self-allusion.  If you are a particularly intuitive person then you may sniff these people out as soon as you meet them and have the smarts to keep conversations with them ‘safe’, by avoiding any controversial or sensitive subjects. If you are somewhat away with the fairies when it comes to tact and other people’s emotions, then chances are you have already upset many people by refusing to give in to their opinion.

Humbling one’s self to consider an opinion we disagree with is a major opportunity for learning and self-growth. Not only does it make us better communicators, it boosts our self-esteem because we have no ego to try hide.  People aren’t admired for always being ‘right’, they are admired for their uniqueness, which only radiates out of us when we are being truly open and honest about who we are. The more we allow ourselves to be…ourselves, the less we get offended by the opinions of others. After all, we all take different paths and experiences so having different opinions are a natural extension of that.

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Another aspect of your opinion is WHEN to give it.  Our internal drive to help, be right or just get involved in an issue without invitation can be damaging when it comes to our relationships. We must consider if our opinion is really needed. Will it help? Will it add value to conversation? Will it cause argument? Is this really anything to do with me?

For instance, a friend comes to see you and they’re feeling very down and upset after having an argument with their partner. All they really want is light company, consisting of emotional support and positive vibes. Instead you flip out and tell them they are stupid for getting together with them in the first place and that they are deluded if they go back. Does this really help? Does what happen under their roof directly impact on your day to day life? No, probably not. So, in that moment you can help your friend heal quicker by showing them kindness and compassion.

At work, you have a colleague who you absolutely detest. Another colleague, who you quite like, is getting on swimmingly with them. Do you pull them to one side and say ‘hey, in my opinion they will screw you over.’? No, you do not. For the simple fact that they may relate to that person in a way you never could. They are their own person and if they’re of working age, then they’re grown up enough to determine who is worth building rapport is and who isn’t. The best way to play it at work is to not give a negative opinion on any relationships you witness, just treat everyone equally and with respect. It’s always okay to have an opinion but it’s not okay tear people down with it.

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In the right situation, your opinions could propel you further that ever. It’s about choosing the right moment for the right impact. If your friend dumps that bloke they were crying about then giving your negative opinion might just cheer them up! And if that colleague has the trouble you predicted then you can emotionally support and advise them with your own opinions and experience.

The bottom line is, if you make people feel stupid or berate them for thinking or acting in a way you disagree with, then it is likely you will lose them. Analyse the situation and think if it is wise to give your opinion. If they request your honest brutal judgement then give it to them with a bit of understanding, like the nice person that you are. If you are aware that some big stuff has gone down with someone and they haven’t asked your opinion, then they clearly don’t want it, so leave them to their business.

The only exception to this discussion is if you think someone is being physically harmed or there is something taking place which is severely detrimental to them, perhaps emotional manipulation and/or control. Even in these circumstances though, caution and compassion must be exercised so you don’t push them further away.

20170720_195016Lastly, if you find people avoiding conversations with you then try considering if your mouth is overtaking your head. Some people just don’t enjoy hearing the uninvited opinions of others and having their own beliefs challenged. Especially if you’re ramming your life’s accumulation of thoughts down their neck so they don’t know who they are anymore.

 

Accept that everyone sees the world differently and concentrate on moulding yours.

Just my opinion 😉

 

DIFFERENT CLASS by Rebecca Gatenby

 

Well hello there sir,

Yes you, opposite me on this train

 

Suited and booted

Upper lip curled

Carrying a look of disdain

 

I am sorry dear sir

If my attire offends

Suits like yours are not often required around these ends

 

I will hazard a guess that you’re just passing through?

I can’t imagine any business here would concern one as smart as you

 

May I enquire what you’re reading?

You assume too intellectual for me?

 

Shoes polished

Cigar in mouth

One hand on your knee

 

Ah it is a Bronte novel you hold in the other hand!

A change of expression, you do not understand?

Well of course I’m well acquainted

They were women of my land

Do not presume your status sir gives you the upper hand

 

As a literate man, you should know better than to judge a book by its cover

Yet in life it appears you don’t apply this rule

You have no urge to discover?

 

We may seem like simple folk

Simply spoken, simply dressed

But there’s much more than meets the eye

With our minds, not clothing, we’re blessed.

 

We are each from a different class

Yet we are but the same

We both possess a functioning brain

And blood runs through our veins

 

We are not so different you and I

So, try not to look down your nose

You may end up in my position ONE Day sir

Depending which way the wind blows.

Realisation Blog #61

newproject_1_original-3Those people who just seem to have it all. No financial worries, loyal friends, self-employment and a life full of adventures. The decisions they make do not, for the most part, backfire and they continue their upward spiral. Do you ever look at these people in wonderment or even envy? How did they do that? How did they end up there? Well, many of these individuals have a good start in life whether it be a secure family unit, a decent education or parents with sacks full of cash. Then there are those who didn’t have all those wonderful things tied up with string and they had to literally build their life from the bottom up, brick by brick.

And therein lies your answer.

There is a choice. The choice to realise your own true potential or to bury it and live in the system that so many of us curse. The realisation that we have this choice hits people at different times in their life. Some realise it young and dive into their dreams headfirst, others live with their heads in the clouds for a few decades then it clicks… and the rest may never realise it. This potential isn’t literally about being rich and successful, it is about discovering what gives you fulfillment and chasing it down until it is yours.

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In every corner of the world there are successful people who appear to be idiots. Noted, that isn’t a nice statement to make but we have all thought this about someone at some point. ‘How do they even do this or have that?’ The difference between the successful and the stale is that successful people 100% believe in their personal goals and ambitions. Another part of the ‘realisation’ is that nobody apart from you is willing to give your dreams a go. The fear of failing can be paralysing even though we know the consequence of failing…is failing. It doesn’t mean we can’t try again by adapting our approach.  We may need to adapt it 100 times. And this is how success is made, by not giving up.

Screenshot_20170717-202709Like any new project, you must get your teeth into it and have the willpower to be consistent over an extended period. If there are aspects to your dream you don’t understand, like running a day to day business or something random like painting techniques, then there are ways and means of finding out. It is all dependent on the level of effort you are committed to putting in. For instance, this blog may have never appeared if the writer chose to waste hours watching others live their dreams out on YouTube, however, willpower overrode that desire and now you’re sat reading this!

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So, we are programmed to settle for our circumstances. Even though every one of us can break the ceiling we were born under and reach new levels of our self. The first step is to plan, the second is to implement and the third…is to not let your arse drop out at the first hurdle. Dreams die when dreamers stop dreaming and outside influences tend to impact heavily on this. Tell people your dreams and they will say you’re aiming too high, wasting money, wasting time or that what you are doing will not work. But how do they know if they have never done it?

The truth is people have a fear of you realising your potential and acting on it. It could be out of love or hate but either way, realising your potential breeds change and change is scary for those who want you to stay exactly as you are.

 

 

The Power of Silence

newproject_2_originalPeople want to be heard and they use words and gestures to achieve this (duh). If they do not receive the response or attention they want, they may raise their voices louder and make grander gestures. Whilst this is an obvious point to make about humans, it is often forgotten that silence can be even more powerful.

A typical example is bartering. A proposition is made to buy something for £10. The proposition is declined and a counter offer is made of £20. This is declined and the buyer asks to meet in the middle at £15. The seller pauses to consider this and a silence is created. If the buyer assumes in the silence that the seller is going to say no, he may break the silence and say, ‘what about £17.50?’. The seller is immediately happier as the price is nearer to his original asking price. Had the buyer let the silence hang in the air, the seller may have concluded that it was in fact reasonable to meet in the middle at £15. This art of negotiation can be used for anything, as long as silence is utilised effectively.

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If you ask someone a direct question, always leave it to them to break the silence, otherwise you disturb their thought process and inadvertently end up where you didn’t want to be. Silences like this can be majorly uncomfortable, although once you see the rewards of staying silent, you will find things go your way more often and it is easier to do. The reason for this is that the respondent often feels pressured to answer a direct question quickly and are therefore more likely to  please in haste. In a sense, it is ruthless, however, this skill is beneficial in official settings such as debates, business and protests.

Another way that silence is powerful is when someone or a group of people are attempting to tear you down, either mentally, physically, or both. This behaviour is mainly rooted in jealousy. Jealousy is just as powerful as silence, but it is a negative emotion that can be destructive. If someone calls you a name or spreads hate about you, the worst thing you can do is respond. As soon as that response is made you are in the same categories as them, petty and childish. Remember…

‘Queens don’t leave their thrones for peasants throwing stones’

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The people who know you personally will not pay attention to such comments anyway and any external people who feed hateful behaviour are not worth your time. We live in a politically correct yet judgemental society which is for the most part ‘noisy’. This means silence is now our greatest power. Show people how to behave and progress by focusing on enjoying and furthering your own life. Don’t brag just live! We’re not all born with thick skin but we are born with the ability to be indifferent. In time, the negatives will realise that they are not going to get the response they want from you and that they look more and more ridiculous each time they attempt to strip you of your worth. Let them show the world who they are. Your silence speaks louder than their voice ever could.

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This is applicable to other situations, such as people trying to engage you in negative conversations. If Sandra tells you that she can’t stand Sharon for X, Y and Z reasons, but you like Sharon, don’t sell her out just for the bants. If you stay silent, Sandra will be forced to reconsider if what she just said was appropriate or not. She may continue venting in your silence, or she may pause, think and then break the silence by back tracking, ‘but Sharon’s alright really’. Lols. Engaging in negative conversations about others does not result in positive outcome for yourself. Your circle is representative of who you are, so use your silence to reveal people.

Silence is also an educator for children. It can be majorly frustrating when a child misbehaves or simply won’t listen. Many parents get into the routine of telling their kids off and even arguing with them to stop bad behaviour. The easiest tool to use is…silence!

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This must be backed up with all the willpower you can muster though. Children want attention and they do that by making noise. If you stay silent they will get louder and if you give in at this point then silence can no longer be your weapon of education. However, if you stay silent and let the child’s noise levels peak (even if they’re screaming!) they won’t be able to sustain it in your silence.

20170414_133905No words, no eye contact, no moving them or yourself away. Just still silence. As children’s attention spans are short, they will eventually move on to doing something else. Stay silent until they show a positive action or say positive words. Doing this consistently builds into the child’s consciousness that if they do positive things they will get a positive response. If they do negative things, it will isolate them. Let’s face it, that’s how it is in the adult world and if they grow up with this skill, they will use it effectively in their adult lives. Win win!

So, there you go, a few ways to make silence your all conquering friend.

Are you suffering from Chronic Stress?

wp-1491043434690.jpgDo you ever feel, that if you must say, hear or feel one more thing then your brain and body will just explode out of frustration?

If yes then you have the stress.

The problem with chronic stress is that it can take some time to identify if you have got used to coping. Unless you have very close caring people around you who see the subtle changes in your mood and looks, others will attribute them to you just ‘having a bad day’, ‘being out of sorts’ or ‘having a late one’. It is quite concerning how much stress is brushed off as something minor. Even if you recognise it in yourself, you may be reluctant to make anyone aware in case they accuse you of being unable to cope or that you’re being melodramatic…it is okay to feel this way! The emotion needs to come out eventually, although it should be in a constructive way.

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A little bit of stress can be beneficial such as helping you run away from danger, completing tasks under pressure or making a difficult decision. It becomes an issue when it is the only emotional response you are experiencing over a prolonged period. When the body detects stress, it releases hormones and adrenaline, a fight of flight response if you will. Being stuck in this state for a long time will send your body haywire and ultimately strip your immune system of its strength.

Whilst I try to err on the side of mentioning myself in these blogs, I have experience of this unforgiving feeling. Forcing myself to cope with stress resulted in following ailments for nigh on six weeks-

*Cystic Acne- A real confidence destroyer. Scientists can only speculate why this happens but they assume the high hormone levels promote oil production. Cystic acne is deep within the skin and can take months to heal.  The face feels tender and pressurised. Picking it will make it stay, trust me.

*0-100 Irritability- Reacting to comments and situations literally faster than lighting. Shutting down negativity with aggression because you just can’t bear to hear anymore from anyone. Every noise sounding like an atomic bomb. People’s voices sounding like nails on chalk boards. ‘Burn them all!’ is my Cersei phrase of choice. FYI- If you don’t watch GOT that sentence will mean nothing to you.

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*Broken sleep- Sleep is my first love and if left alone with it, I can easy do a peaceful ten-twelve-hour session. Stress took this pleasure from me and said I can only have 4 hours a night…in intervals of four. Thanks.

*Unable to fall asleep- Turning off electronics, lighting incense and melts, audio books, massage, working out late, none of it helped. Sleeping for a few hours then tackling a 12-hour day just spells disaster.

*Unexplainable rash/hives- As I have resilient skin in that I can use any washing powders, soaps etc. I was surprised when I developed hives on my arms and behind my ears. If this happened to you it is your immune system telling you ‘we’re done, good luck!’. An anti-histamine will only sort it in the short term.

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Lethargy- Walking into the gym ready to do a heavy weights session, feeling pumped. I try to warm up and feel my body rejecting the exercise. Muscles seize up, mind clouds over and suddenly I can barely lift a dumbbell, never mind the 55kg squats I usually do. Sad and defeated I blubber my eyes out in the sauna, feeling like a big fat failure of a woman. My body and my brain had given up on me.

Migraines- These are prompted by all manner of things from lighting to food to lack of sleep. Nonetheless, it is also a characteristic of stress. Your brain is trying to force itself through the cloud of raging hormones and stress to think clearly. The blood vessels are under pressure and the stress increases. Then boom you’re in a 24 hour migraine that medication can’t penetrate.

Feeling alone- This is the worst part of chronic stress. The reality of this world is that most people are only concerned with themselves. We all have that right and I am true believer that you must look after yourself first and foremost. Nonetheless, showing kindness when someone is projecting a negative feeling can go a long way to helping them.

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Getting rid of chronic stress is doable if you are willing to ask for help. You also need to learn to draw the line in all aspects of your life. People pleasing, taking on too much, feeling singled out, resentful feelings, confrontations, making assumptions and all other destructive behaviour/feelings will ensure you burn yourself out. Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell people you are stressed, or if you think that they are being inappropriate and it is impacting on you. Most importantly, it is about choice. What you choose to listen to and how you choose to respond will shape your response to stress.

On some occasions, you will simply have to re-evaluate your environment and you may conclude that it needs a complete overhaul. This could be moving house, changing job, ending a relationship or cutting off toxic people. Remember that it is your right to live in peace and if you’re stressed you’re not living at all.

Take a step back, breathe and look after yourself…FIRST!