Instant gratification. The symptom of the 21st century, it seems. When I grew up, I was taught that "money didn't grow on trees" and that "good things came to those who waited". These are things that have stood me in good stead throughout my life. I still have the belief that I have to save up before I can have some luxury item I want. So often, nowadays, the gap between people wanting and getting has narrowed until it can barely even exist. We are taught by the advertising execs that we want just about everything there is. We are shown that items will make us cooler, more popular, more successful and, as the ads have been created in such a way, we buy in. We were then sold credit on a massive scale, so the excuse of "I can't afford it" becomes less and less viable. And finally, we've been inspired by the personal development industry that we deserve the good things in life. All in all, it can be very hard to resist.
by Ros Kitson
I'm currently in an amateur production of Goodnight Mr Tom The Musical. The story isn't new to me - I've seen the film a few times. However, what has struck me most by revisiting this story, is the way Tom handles the trauma that William goes through. For those who don't know the story, there is a scene towards the end where William is in hospital after his traumatic imprisonment. A psychiatrist is talking to Tom about what is best for the boy in terms of treatment. Tom wants to take him home but the psychiatrist believes the boy's best interests would be served by putting him in a children's home and subjecting him to psychiatric analysis - something that was probably cutting edge back in 1940. William is quite rightly frightened of the medical profession who have sedated him every time he cries out, since he has arrived in the hospital. This was done so he doesn't disturb the other patients. Tom challenges the psychiatrist on this, and suggests that "mebbe he needs to" cry out. He also says that it's obvious as to what's wrong with the boy - "the boy ent had a lot of lovin'". This raises an important point in any therapy situation. The need to allow the emotions to come out and the need of everyone to have love and acceptance in their lives. Both are vital to healing.
So says the famous song from the Disney movie, Frozen. But what does it actually mean? Letting go is something we regularly need to do. Beliefs become outdated. Baggage, we held onto once, we find we no longer need. Fears we had start to limit us. All these things are examples of where we need to let go. In the song, the character is undergoing a transformation. She has magical powers, which had caused problems in the past when she was too young to understand or control them. We all have powers, even if our powers aren't seen as magical in the Disney sense. Leadership in adults is often seen as being bossy in children. Intelligence can be defined as being a "know it all"; confidence as a show off. Extreme sensitivity can be labelled as weakness by people who don't understand the gift it can be. Many of us have learnt to hide our light under a bushel as did Elsa.
by Ros Kitson
I've spoken to people who, when their lives take a turn for the better after a period of stress, suddenly find they start to struggle rather than finding that things become easier. I'm talking about fears, barriers that come up, unpleasant feelings, all happening when things start to improve.
So, why does this happen and what is going on?
Well, when we've been struggling with whatever challenge we've been facing, whether it caused stress or made you feel unsafe, we start to put up our barriers. If we feel we need protection, we will do this to the exclusion of everything else. Issues that we faced along the way may not have been processed, but instead filed away until we were in a better place emotionally to deal with them.
When things start to go right in our lives, we relax. We no longer need to be on red alert all the time. We finally feel safer and we start to open up.
And guess what? All that stuff we buried when we weren't feeling so great comes up. As human beings, we have an innate draw towards healing ourselves, so as soon as it's safe to do so, this instinct takes over.
However, because we're often not versed in the ways of emotional healing, we can find this a bit overwhelming. When unresolved issues come up, they don't have a flag attached saying "emotional residue from that time when I felt hurt by my ex" or similar. Oh no. We just get an unpleasant feeling. We may feel upset, we may feel angry, or any other emotion might come up.
The most logical assumption is that the present situation is causing you to feel that emotion. This will either cause internal conflict as you try to work out why you're crying when your current situation is so great or you will find problems in your current situation to match the emotions, where there really aren't any.
The good news is that these things have come up because we're feeling safe enough to deal with them. So, if you are experiencing this, life is probably going well for you and you are in a place where you feel supported.
It is, however, important to process these issues and let them go in order to move forwards with our lives. We don't need to understand them, but often a memory of where they came from will also surface which might give us some clarity we need. Then once we've let them go, we're free to carry on enjoying the good times that life has brought us.
Grief is probably something that most of us have had to experience at some point in our lives. The most common and well-know reason is the death of a loved one, but we grieve to some extent for other reasons as well. We grieve for any kind of loss, be it the end of a relationship, the loss of a friendship or even a change in situation.
Some of these events may only require a small amount of grieving; others may need a grieving process that lasts years. I grieved for the sale of my old car - a classic mini that I'd got myself far too emotionally attached to for my own good. I grieved for about an hour after the buyer took her away, and then I was able to move on with no regrets. However when I grieved for my aunt, who died when I was 19, the whole process lasted about 10 years.
There's no procedure for grieving and there's no formula to follow. No-one can tell you how long it will take, or what form it will take. It's not linear and it's not rational. However it is very necessary.
Grief is the process that takes you from the painful state you find yourself in at the point of loss, to acceptance of the situation and an ability to let go and move on. I think the most useful thing to know about grief is that it comes in cycles. You think you're coping really well and then something comes along to knock you sideways - again.
Often we fall straight into the grieving process. If our sorrow is strong and we are comfortable with our emotions, we will naturally start to go through the stages. However, often we block it and this is where we get stuck.
I've heard many people say they just can't cry. Sometimes we can't connect with our emotions as they are too painful so we block them away. Other times, there is a fear that if we break down, we'll never stop crying, so we prevent ourselves from even starting. Maybe we think we need to be strong for someone else - a child or a partner. This might be a necessary protection for the initial intensity of the emotion, but if we don't go back and address it, then we can't let go.
Letting go doesn't mean we are forgetting. Sometimes we don't want to grieve because we don't want to let the memory of a loved one go. But if we have such a highly charged emotional response to them that we can't even think about them, then are we really remembering them in a way they or we'd want.
Going back to my aunt, who was the first person I had to grieve for, I went through a lot of emotions. For years, I believed I could have done something to prevent it, which was hugely unlikely and probably quite arrogant about my influence as a teenager. For years I blamed those around her for not being able to help her. But that is also unfair. Eventually I came to accept that it was just a tragedy and a belief formed that she is probably happier now she's in the spirit world.
The thing that shows I've reached acceptance, is that I can remember the good times we had with happiness and joy. I can remember what she was like with love. I can remember my relationship with her without regrets.
The process was far from straight forwards. After the initial shock of losing her, my days ran pretty normally. Sometimes I'd think about things when my mind was quiet, but because I didn't see her day to day, my routines weren't affected. What I noticed was that every so often waves of emotion would come up and hit me and I'd find myself crying again. Over the 10 years after her death, these happened less frequently and less intensely. Each time they happened my thoughts and feelings processed a bit more and I began to make some sense of my loss.
If we don't grieve for whatever reason, we become stuck emotionally at the point the person died. We have to keep carrying the pain around with us and this can cause us to close up to prevent the emotions accidentally spilling out. Often people may "expect" us to have gotten over the loss by a certain point, so then we can feel it's even more necessary to hide the unresolved grief away. Grief can include many emotions, such as anger, regret, self-pity and others. If we don't complete the grief process, we won't have resolved all the individual emotions.
As you probably already realise from reading my other blog posts, if we have unresolved emotions, then we will likely be reacting to present events rather than making conscious choices. Imagine if you still had unresolved anger within you, you could well find it bursts out when you least expect it. If you are living with unresolved regret, you may find that you are living in the past a lot.
There are many ways to resolve these emotions, but the main one is to intend to grieve. Intention is a great starting point and often just allowing process to follow is enough. We may find we attract supportive people who we can talk to, or maybe we meet someone else who's gone through a similar experience. Even if there is no-one around who we feel understands us, a supportive hug can still help us along our journey. Nothing anyone says or does will make the pain disappear overnight, but it's important to keep the process moving forwards.
So, if you know there is a person or event you haven't grieved for, please consider going through this process to set yourself free and allow yourself to remember the positive memories without pain.
This is a term I use to explain what we do when we make connections that end up limiting us in our lives. Often these connections come from a stressful situation. Eg if someone harshly takes the piss out of me when I tell a joke, then I might learn that it is never safe to tell jokes. Whereas there might be times when it isn't safe, or a good idea to tell them, it's hardly true that it is never safe. Hence the title of this blog 2+2=5. We over connect and come up with conclusions that aren't really true. We would normally know that these things aren't linked. However when we are either very young, or we encounter a situation that stresses us, we react from a different part of our brain and we can easily make these links. We do this to protect ourselves. It comes from the flight or fight response. If, back in stone age times, we saw someone attacked by a wild animal, then when we see that type of animal again, we run before it gets near us. We learn that the wild animal will harm us and that knowledge keeps us safe. Nowadays, we don't usually encounter dangers of this type, but we've retained the mechanism for making connections. I often treat clients who seem to think they shouldn't have made these connections, as it somehow means they weren't being very smart, but actually the opposite is true. The more intelligent we are, the better we are at making connections, and the more likely we are to make these kind of connections when under extreme stress. The good news is that all these connections can be taken apart at a any stage when they are no longer serving us - either with the help of a therapist, or just with good self-awareness.
I recently have undergone some therapy. I do this often - I think most therapists do, maybe more than most, because we know just how beneficial it is. But I digress... This therapy included listening to some hypnosis CDs each day. That sounds easy, right? Well, I've managed to stick to it, but what was interesting was that I noticed quite a lot of resistance to it at the start. To briefly summarise, the point was to re-programme my subconscious, which is great and just what I wanted to happen. However, my subconscious, which I learnt recently, only develops until the age of 6, didn't wholly agree that it wanted to change and tried to throw a childish tantrum. I got some mild headaches and I got very tired. I also got the feeling that it would be easier if I didn't bother. Luckily, having been in this business for a while now, I recognised these symptoms for what they were and my conscious (the adult part of my brain) decided to override these impulses. I also had a gentle chat with my subconscious, thanking it for dealing with things the best it could in the past and telling it kindly that it didn't have to take on all these extra duties, which were really the role of the conscious, any more. The next time I listened to the CD, I felt a much greater relaxation and felt energised at the end. Now, this can happen with any holistic therapy. As we heal, part of ourselves can want to hold on to the old ways of being. It may be that the old ways were a form of protection. It may be that this part fears what will happen when change comes. The key is to be aware of the resistance for what it is. We can't fight resistance; we have to gently coerce it to change. Think about how you'd like to be approached in order to change and use the same approach when you talk to your subconscious. You may find amazing things happen.
A couple of days ago, I met up with a friend, who was not feeling her normal positive self. She had a couple of nerve-racking events coming up, but she seemed very flustered generally. She said she felt heavy and seemed to lack her normal confidence. So I thought I'd write a little article about why this happens and how we can get ourselves out of it. Firstly, I'd like to say that this is a pretty normal reaction to the stresses and strains of every day life. From time to time we're bound to slip off the positivity plateau that I'm sure all my readers frequent on a regular basis. Oh, you don't? Well read on... There's a big difference between falling off this plateau and staying down. The second state is one which hopefully you can avoid. Our emotional state is one which will always fluctuate. The word emotion can be broken down into e-motion. The "e" stands for energy, so emotions are energy in motion. Hence they are designed to move, ie fluctuate. There is no problem with feeling anything in life. The problems come when you get stuck there, as anything which is stuck can't move. The other point to recognise is that this movement is in a vibratory pattern. How fast or slow these emotions vibrate depends on how positive or negative they are to us. In simple terms, the closer they are to love or fear - love being the most positive and fear being the most negative. Try it out for yourself: what order would you put the following: contentment, anger, frustration, bliss? The next thing is what to do about it. Well there are a few options. The easiest and quickest is to use your self-talk to boost your emotional vibration. Your what, I hear you cry? Your self-talk - the little voice inside your head which, if you're feeling negative, is probably saying ridiculously untrue things like "I'll never do it", "I'm not good enough" and often gets worse and worse as we spiral downwards. For some reason us humans find this state quite sticky. We can very easily get immersed in such a state, but we do ourselves great harm with negative self-talk. So the obvious solution is to monitor what we're thinking and change it for the opposite. So if we find ourselves saying "I'll never do it", immediately change this to "I'll easily do it". You may not believe it straight away, but if you keep replacing the negative statements with positive ones, then you'll soon start to. You only believe the negative ones because you've repeated them so much. This works very well for sudden emotion drops, when they are a temporary state. For more long term states of low emotion, we often need to do a bit more. It's still worth replacing your self-talk, but often we find it harder, or the results come more slowly, which can discourage us. It might be worth interrogating the emotions (gently) to find out where they came from. We might recognise them as the voice of a parent or teacher from when we were younger and that might be enough for us to disown them and replace them with a new positive voice of our own. If we're still not getting the results we want, chatting to a friend can help. Remember, it's great to talk to someone who can empathise with the fact you're having a hard time, but not someone who's going to agree with you that life sucks, unless you really want to remain stuck in a low vibration. And if none of this is helping, it might be worth getting some professional help. I can help you find the root cause of the negative emotions and help you transform them in to positive ones. There's no need to stay down.
I first learnt about forgiveness when I was in school. It's mentioned in the bible and in the Lord's Prayer, but I never really understood what it was all about. I thought back then, that it was all about letting the other person off the hook; saying "I'm OK with what you did to me". I thought it was all about setting the other person free.
We heal when our buried past surfaces and can be released. We all have some buried blocks as we've all had stress in our pasts which we couldn't resolve, but for the most part they stay buried. We carry on with our lives, our often very busy lives and we tell ourselves we don't have time to relax, let alone be ill. However sometimes that's exactly what we need to do. When blocks start to surface, they often feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we don't understand why we're feeling that way and even find that we can't actually pinpoint our exact symptoms. We're not exactly "ill", but we're definitely not feeling ourselves. This is often the time we reach for our addictions: a bar of chocolate, a cigarette, a glass of wine or even a pattern of behaviour. These addictive behaviours may make us feel better in the short term, but what they're doing is numbing us to what's happening and pushing the blocks back down into our bodies. Be warned, however, our bodies want to heal, so they will resurface again and again until we release them. Space also encourages our blocks to come up. This is why some people feel uncomfortable when they find themselves on their own with a whole day to fill and no clear objectives. We may moan about the pressure we find ourselves under in our lives, but it keeps us safe from having to deal with our past and having to feel the discomfort that can arise. However, I find that this discomfort is usually worse if we resist the process. If we give ourself the day off, listen to our body and address its needs, whether that's a day in bed, or a long walk, or curling up with a good book, the process will progress all the more easily. If we can't give ourself a whole day off, an hour each evening when we do nothing can be extremely beneficial. Also, it's important to remember that these emotions can't hurt us. It's our associations with the feelings and our resistance to the emotions that cause the problems. Also our panic that we don't know what to do about them. The word emotion comes from energy in motion and the motion bit is important. In fact, all we have to do is notice them, breath and watch as they flow through us, probably changing a few times on the way, and eventually go. And to do this, all we really need is time to heal.