Every now and then I get upset with myself for not doing something I should have or for doing something I shouldn’t have. For me it’s often about how I’ve been as a parent. I feel guilt and regret and think, if only I had done it differently.
Is it a given that things would have turned out well if you had done things in another way?
Well maybe you could have done things differently (there’s always scope for growth) and there is a possibility that the situation could have turned out better but how do you know that things would have turned out the way you think they should have?
Maybe not much would have changed or maybe the scenario would have gone in a completely different direction (good or bad). Maybe you worry a lot about things you can’t control. After all you can’t change what has already happened. At the most you can apologise and make amends and work at changing the way you behave now.
We have expectations about how life should be but life doesn’t happen in neat little packages. It happens the way it happens and we often have very little control of the outcome.
Instead of holding on to guilt of the past, rather spend your energy being the best you can be now. Beating yourself up is going to do nothing except give you bruises.
Remember people only post what they want you to see on their instagram or facebook pages.
Somebody’s amazing marriage or perfect children, fabulous home, high powered job in real life is also filled with angst just like your life is. What you see (on facebook and instagram) is not what you get. Nobody’s life is picture perfect. Nobody smiles all the time.
Be thankful for the life you have and love it for what it is.
p.s. So excited that my products are finally here! For South Africans only at the moment.
We deceive ourselves by making up stories in our heads. Here are two examples.
Peggy was concerned because a good friend of hers seemed to be ignoring her text messages and not replying to any of them. She started getting anxious thinking something was wrong. When we analysed it together we noticed that the thoughts that had been going on Peggy’s mind were along the lines of: she’s purposefully ignoring me; I must have upset her; she doesn’t like me anymore, I’m not loveable. The truth is we don’t know any of those to be true, we make stories up and believe them as though they are real. How can we know if she’s purposefully ignoring her or if she’s upset or doesn’t like her anymore, maybe she’s just busy.
Lulu saw someone at the shop and the person looked her up and down in what seemed to be a disapproving manner. Lulu had already been feeling self conscious that morning having eaten a half a slab of chocolate the night before.The thoughts that she had unconsciously been thinking were: I look terrible today; I’ve put on 3 kilos from the chocolate I ate;this woman knows and she’s thinking that I have no self discipline; I’m a terrible person. Now all of these thoughts that Lulu thought are unverified and therefore the answer to them is unknown. How on earth could she know what this random stranger was thinking? For all she knows the woman saw the colour she was wearing and was thinking of her ex-husband whose current girlfriend had a dress in that colour.We never know what other people are thinking.
I do not mean to undermine Peggy’s or Lulu’s experiences here. I am trying to demonstrate how we subconsciously think thoughts that seem real to us and we get freaked out. These thoughts however, are just thoughts. Often though they relate to experiences we have had previously in our lives which trigger us (almost like flicking a light switch on) and it’s as if we are reliving that same moment from many many years ago. These experiences can be unravelled and put into perspective with someone who has experience in this area.
We continue to deceive ourselves and make our lives a misery by thinking thoughts and believing everything we think to be true.
I sat working at the coffee shop and watched a father and two boys who I assumed were his sons walk in. They sat together at a table, the father hunched over his phone, not looking up. The two young boys had a phone between them and were playing a game on it. Neither the boys nor the father acknowledged each other. The manager came over to greet them. The child holding the phone didn’t even look up. They were there for about 15 or 20 minutes, collecting takeaways and then they left. In all that time they didn’t interact.
Most of us are guilty of this to some extent.
If we keep in mind the things that are important to us, we will put our phones down, close our laptops early and switch off the tv.
What 3 things are most important to you?
When you identify what they are remember them when living your day to day life. There’s a good chance it will feel satisfying and connecting.
The word “busy” has powerful connotations. When we keep saying we are busy it means we have no space left for anything or anyone else.
We fill our lives with so many activities and there’s no time to just chill.
There are things we want to be doing but we are just too busy. Usually those things are the most meaningful ones. Like going to see a play, getting some fresh air at the botanical gardens, doing a good deed, taking the family on a really nice outing or having a long relaxing bath.
When we leave out the things which mean something to us It’s because we haven’t really thought too deeply about it and therefore don’t have proper direction. When we have direction and intention and know why things are important to us we make place for them in our lives. Filling our time up with rushing leaves a certain emptiness or frustration within us at the end of the day.*
It’s the same for our children. I hear some of my children’s friends say that they don’t have time for social arrangements because they are too busy. How can a child be so busy that they don’t have time to play? If that’s what is happening to the children then certainly for us as adults it must be worse. These children are also perpetuating a “busy” value system into their lives and when they are adults they will do the same thing and won’t have time for what is important to them.
The consequence is burnout, depression or physical ailments.
What really fulfills us is meaning, fun, laughter, love, giving, sharing, connection. We won’t find those things in filling up our days to the brim. Look at your schedule and see if you can take something out. Leave time to lie on the grass and look at the birds flitting around in the trees. The other day I had the amazing opportunity of seeing a bird of prey on my roof (I think it was a kite – click here to see what a kite is). If I had been on my phone or rushing around doing lots and lots of stuff I would have missed it.
Yes of course there is a lot to do but try and take out something and put yourself and the things which mean something to you into your calendar. If necessary physically write them into your diary and make them as important as any appointment would be.
I stayed up on Sunday night carefully planning my week so that I could be very productive and get a lot done.
At about 4:30 on Monday morning I woke up to the puppy crying and scratching on her box to be let out. This was the second time during the night that she had woken up, the previous time was before midnight when I had been asleep for an hour or so. She has been with us for only a few days and we are all trying to adjust to having a baby (albeit a dog) in the house. She went out into the dark and cold to go and do her business all by herself and came straight back. She’s only 8 weeks old! I put a warm water bottle into her bed and comforted her a bit until she went back to sleep. My older dog is a late sleeper and doesn’t take too well to being woken up before dawn but he comes to check on her anyway with a soft growl telling her to go back to sleep. It’s honestly adorable watching these two (although not so much at that time of the morning while trying not to wake up the entire household with the commotion).
I went back to sleep at about 5:15 and my alarm woke me at 6:30 only to find that I had a headache which would last me until the next day. I walked into the kitchen feeling a bit like a zombie and realised that I had a lot of washing up to do after my children’s party on Sunday and didn’t feel like it at all and hadn’t added it into my diary.
I could see my plans for the day beginning to evaporate like steam off the road after a summer rain.
So what I decided to do was take it one step at a time. Take pain killers, lie down, do a few dishes, work a bit, and then repeat most of the above steps.
Basically I took it slowly and went according to what the reality was and not what I had hoped it would be. We can plan to our heart’s content but when things don’t work out we have an opportunity to practise being flexible and letting go of our expectations.
By the end of the day although I hadn’t done everything I had wanted to do my day was still good and I did manage to fit in a few of my diary entries. I scheduled the rest into other time slots for the week. Even though I had a headache, I actually landed up having a chilled, enjoyable day.
“And suddenly you know…. it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings”
Today I realised something about myself that I hadn’t realised before. I’ve been acting in a certain way that bothers me if others do it. A remarkable woman I know revealed this to me and with an uncomfortable giggle I admitted she was right.
I’m grateful she showed me where I’m going wrong because it’s not how I want to be. I could continue in my old ways of course (which is the easier option) and enable others to do the same or I could leap into the unknown which is a bit scary but has exciting possibilities and that’s the route I’d rather take.
I’m trusting the magic of beginnings, I’m trusting that the path I’m taking will lead me closer to where I want to be as a person. It most likely won’t be all clear sailing because when I change myself there are adjustments to be made by everyone involved and people – generally speaking – don’t like change.