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!

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.

 

 

Bitter & Sweet

The woman was bitter,

it danced around her lips.

The girl was sweet,

she walked with swinging hips.

 

For a time they conversed,

with a hint of uncomfortable air.

Sweet kept the peace

and Bitter’s nostrils were in flare.

 

Over time it became quite clear

that they could not get along.

Bitter was full of venom

and Sweet was full of song.

 

Sweet exuded empathy

for the hate in Bitter’s heart.

Bitter exuded aggression,

tearing Sweet apart.

 

Sweet changed her name to Stress,

she could not take the pain,

that Bitter insisted giving,

leaving Sweet in the rain.

 

Just as Sweet changed to Stress,

Bitter began to change too.

Her heart was blackened beyond repair,

then Evil emerged anew.

 

Evil reduced Stress to Nothing.

At least that’s how she felt.

Evil took pleasure in knowing,

she had one more under belt.

 

Then Nothing began to realise

she could not sink further.

The only way was up.

And Evil was in for murder.

 

Nothing changed her name again,

she emerged to the sun as Hope.

As Evil saw her changing,

she knew she would not gloat.

 

For Hope is neither above or below,

she stands alone instead.

And as she grew taller,

she looked down at Evil’s head.

 

Evil changed her name again,

she became the face of Pity.

For she knew that her heart

was no longer pretty.

 

Rather than change to Remorse,

Pity wallowed in her life.

Now every day in every way

she seeks to cause some strife.

 

Whilst Hope was sad at this,

She did not dwell for long.

For Hope found the world was better

when she sang her old Sweet song.

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.

Birthday Blog

newproject_1_original-7Today is my birthday. (Edit…it was two days ago)

Born 9th April 1988, on the 100th day of the year, on the 142nd Grand National Day, just after 1pm. My dad lost his bet…a great start.

Throughout my twenty-nine years on this earth I have pretty much had as much freedom as I have wanted. What a beautiful thing. Reflecting on that, I admit I did not use that freedom wisely most of the time, which is selfish when considering how much some people would simply like freedom. On turning twenty-nine I still unashamedly enjoy some of the same things as I did when I was 9 or 19. I feel I have also learned a million life lessons…but I didn’t feel like that when turning 28…

…interesting.

It is a common notion that knocking on thirty’s door is a time of growing up ‘properly’ once and for all. No more excuses for bad behaviour or for not looking after yourself. Spontaneous drinking sessions with friends fade and those annoying things start to batter at your walls…
…expectations.

As the big 3 0 looms closer, there are suddenly one hundred and one expectations placed20170411_102615 on us. ‘When are you having kids?’ and ‘When are you getting married?’ …are the most frequently asked questions if you haven’t already done those things. Of course, millions treasure the idea of domestic bliss…but not all. There are still those who are happy to embrace the opportunities that arise from simply being one with oneself. The absence of responsibility and obligation is its own fairy-tale and it’s not one that we can all give up easily. It is a little bewildering as to why some view this as unusual or horrifying; ‘time is running out if you want to settle down!’. These kinds of responses can push us in to thinking we must act to keep up with the ‘norms’ of society, instead of growing old alone in a cardboard box somewhere as our heart really desires.

Even when you do embrace a life other than the domestic one, it won’t be good enough for everyone. If you haven’t completed their imaginary list of things to do before you’re thirty then you’re a big fat failure. When our minds cloud with other people’s expectations and ideals we ultimately lose ourselves. And that is the key to happiness at any age. The relationship with Self. Living in the moment by doing what you enjoy as an individual will attract what you truly want in life. Any energy dispelled on people who can only give you negative opinions, rather than adding value to your life, will only hold you back in the long run. They will make you second guess yourself, go against your gut and before you know it you’re knocking on the door of the next decade wondering where it all went wrong.

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People with expectations about how others should live have little going on in their own life (or they’re insecure so they pull others down with them). Let them do that while you do you with a happy mind, whatever your age. The moment you allow yourself to chase life validation you begin to fight a losing battle. Only misery and disappointment will ensue, simply because you’re not living your own truth.

So, in this last year of my twenties, I solemnly swear…to be myself. Young at heart with my mind closed to the expectations of others.

Keyboard Warriors

wp-1485965304685.pngThe first step to getting along with someone with an opposing opinion (and possibly changing their mind and creating peace), is acceptance and understanding. Even if that means accepting you can’t change their mind or understand their view. This can be difficult if the topic in question is sensitive such as racism, sexism, religion, Brexit or Donald Trump. I myself was called a fascist this week, which made me laugh myself to tears. I’ve also been called diplomatic but it was meant as an insult…yes seriously. Am I supposed to scream and shout and carry a weapon instead? Apologies for treating humans as humans, my bad. Unfortunately, those who label others don’t realise they feed the right-wing mindsets of this world and ultimately assist in promoting fascism, racism, religious intolerance and all manner of other evils. The bottom line is, any group that is organised is hierarchical and to truly understand the mechanics of the world we must step outside it and look at the wider context.

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Perhaps being a historian allows me to do this a little easier, as I am forever required to put myself in different historical shoes; men, women, devout religious followers, politicians, soldiers, indigenous peoples and so on. The notion that you cannot possibly understand something until it has happened to you is a bit too extreme (in my opinion, please don’t cry). Humans have compassion and empathy built into their DNA, although using it is by choice. If you claim someone does not ‘understand’ without knowing anything about them, then it makes you the ignorant bigot. And this is the problem with our society in the twenty first century, we’re all social media keyboarding bigots.

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Keyboard warriors just cannot help themselves. They type without thinking. I have been there myself when feeling passionate and instantly regretted it. This approach  just does not work. If you cannot have a debate without it turning into a heated argument, then you’re probably better just logging off for your own wellbeing. Those who continue relentlessly usually aren’t well read and most likely eat up the headline of every article they did not read. Finding the truth or getting to a place of understanding (understanding something doesn’t mean you agree!) takes research and a degree of cross referencing. Being unable to entertain a thought you don’t agree with means you’re being close minded. This approach will make it difficult for you to place people and events in a wider context. It also results in a lack of personal growth. Sadly, many individuals go with majority opinions without researching topics themselves because they either-

  1. Don’t know their own opinion or how to form it.
  2. Are brainwashed
  3. Are attention seeking
  4. Bored of their existence

Those who are adamantly opposed to any opinion but their own will always focus on the negatives. They will find numerous problems with your solutions and anything you verbalise will fall on deaf ears, even if it makes sense. It is admirable and strong to stand alone in your opinion, although speaking to be right only wastes time and energy and does not bring any form of peace or understanding. You’ll know if someone knows their stuff because they will debate, not argue with you. Anyone who evokes their anger does so due to feeling uninformed and backed into a corner, as they do not really know enough to keep the debate going peacefully.  Anyone with a well-informed opinion will stay humble and hit you with facts. Don’t be too proud to admit it if you have come around to their way of thinking either. This is how society should operate!

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In closing, there is no shame in changing your opinion or sticking with it, providing you are willing to consider and examine the views of others. Those who respond with anger by labelling you or getting upset are the ones that create mass panic in this world. Only brainless people will be keen to jump on that band wagon. Unfortunately, social media is full of people like this so 99% of the time you will face persecution if your opinion differs from the majority. Don’t let this get you down though, things could be worse…you could be living like them… with your eyes wide shut.

So, remember, knowing is being well read, taking time to read between the lines and coming to your own conclusions, not taking a headline and running with it. Do this and at least your opinion will have understanding from all perspectives, rather than the agenda of someone else.

WHY MEN CHEAT

 

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monogamy

noun

  • the practice or state of having a sexual relationship with only one partner.

 

Some believe that monogamy is not human nature and like wild animals we are supposed to mate using our instincts. If this was the case (which for some it is), no doubt we would quickly overpopulate the earth. Others argue that monogamy is a worldwide conspiracy set up by governments to control the world population! An interesting topic to explore…but we’ll shelve that one for now.

There are of course those traditionalists (or some us call them ‘normal people’) who believe in monogamy and they can’t wait to dance in the joys of marriage, babies, glitter and cheesy selfies. But how do these hopeless romantics, who appear to have the world at their feet, end up in a place where the man decides to cheat?

Well, there are countless reasons that could be put forward, however, in general, there is a pattern amongst men… and women.

Men are animals in their nature. They have basic needs ‘eat, sleep, sex, repeat’, with maybe a workout and a console sesh in-between. Many can have sex as a leisure activity and not be emotionally effected by it the next day. Women often ask their adulterating partners ‘how can you cheat on me if you love me?’.  Well, having sex with someone else does not necessarily mean they do not love their woman any more, it may just be that they are unhappy with them or themselves. It could be they’re not getting what they need physically because the woman is upset and is withholding sex.

Unfortunately, some males also like shiny new things they have never played with beforewp-1484593586884.png and they cannot exercise self-control. Males who act this way on a regular basis are in fact boys, because their head has not figured out what they want and so they lead with their helmet and hope for the best. On the other hand, they may have an enormous ego and are happy to boast that they can have their cake and eat it. These beings are soul destroyers so do not let them charm you into their bed.

Another reason men cheat is due to self-esteem. Jealousy can be a driving factor and they feel they need to get one over on you by exerting their manliness and to prove that they can still successfully ‘hunt’. A boy on his way to being a man will usually realise the gravity of his mistake once he sees what he may lose because of his actions. They say ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’, however, this is not always the case and forgiveness and remorse can make for a strong foundation going forward…see blog 49!

Long term relationships are at risk of going stale and couples may spend more time as individuals doing their own thing. The more this happens, the less sex happens and the more likely the man will meet someone who creates a new spark. If that spark starts flaming on a regular basis, then he is on a slippery slope to being a cheater. This is where phrases like ‘it just happened’ come from, even though they have been emotionally cheating for months. After a while, relationships can feel like an obligation, so the excitement disappears and instead of listening to why the Mrs is annoyed with him, he’ll seek solace with the woman who makes him feel good. Ultimately though, both sides have a duty to keep the flame burning in the relationship and to be completely honest if they think it is going down the pan. People only stay together for years because they want to!

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Lastly, some men are just evil manipulators. They see a vulnerability they can exploit and in turn you unknowingly meet their needs, either sexually, emotionally, financially or just by making their life easier in general. Whilst you’re playing Mother Hubbard, he is unapologetically sleeping with several different women. Sadly, these can be the most addictive men because women just want to be their number one. Women can easily get wrapped up in these games by making the mans conquests a target of their destruction instead of him…and all it does is increase his already embarrassingly big ego.

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The bottom line is…if both people in the relationship are happy then none of them will cheat…unless they’re mentally unstable. If you have ever been cheated on, please don’t give up on love as it will only make you bitter. Forgive, forget and move on. It is important that you do not tarnish any new man in your life with your ex’s brush, or you’ll push them away with your insecurity. If your partner cheated and you want to forgive them then remember…many couples who experience cheating eventually move past it and have a better relationship in the long run. As long as your happy everyone else will move on too 🙂

And don’t worry guys, I am not man bashing…it the women’s turn next!