Friday, July 20, 2012

Remove the Negativity Around You!

A life lesson that was hard for me to learn, remove the negativity around you.  Other people who are overwhelmingly negative.  This is a tough one because often these people are friends and or family, they maybe kind and generous and have other good qualities. If their negativity is too much then it's time to make that tough choice.  Sometimes just limiting time with them will help but in some cases you have to remove the cancer.  I say cancer because negativity spreads like a cancer.  Try as you might to stay positive, if you are hanging around someone who is negative it will wear on you.  Often times we pick up the bad habit ourselves and are not even aware of it.  It becomes a competition of sorts, Ms. Negative says, "I'm so tired."  Mr. Negative counters with, "I'm so tired, I had to work 10 hours today and I didn't sleep well last night."   then things snowball from there. 
If you are aware of the persons negativity and do your best not to engage in it, it can unfortunately still have a negative impact as it creeps into your soul and brings you down.  It is too heavy to be around.  My therapist calls these people energy vampires as they suck the energy from you.  One can only with stand hearing so much negativity before it starts to suck the life out of you.
Unfortunately I have had to do this in my own life.  I was an energy vampire, I use to be that person that complained about everything, didn't see the good in the world and just wasn't fun to be around.  I couldn't understand why people didn't want to be around me, I was kind, loving, generous etc.  Then one day someone pointed it out to me and kept reminding me of it.  They were a professional so I was more open to receiving the feedback.  If it had been a lay person I think I would have just felt hurt and continued to complain.  I am thankful now that I got this feedback as it has changed my life.  Once you realize this and change it, you will find it difficult to be around others that do so.
More then once I have had to remove friends from my life as they were too negative and it was keeping me down.  We are should surround ourselves with people who are up lifting and joyful.  I became overwhelmed with hearing about their pain, fatigue, things they were angry with or unhappy about.  Sometimes it's easy, you can just limit your time and they just move on to complaining to others.  Sometimes it is not that easy and you actually have to address the issue.  If this is the case remember to only address the behaviour and not the person.  Don't say things such as, "your too negative."  Try, "I feel impacted when you tell me multiple times how sore your neck is."  The first is an attack, the second is an assertive way to address your feelings, if the person takes offence, it is their issue.  As long as you are assertive, use I statements and don't insult, you are doing all you can.  Just remember you are doing it for the sake of your soul, positivity nurishes the soul, negativity eats away at it. 
This doesn't mean the first time a friend says's my back hurts you should get rid of them.  All of us at some point or another have minor complaints.  It is when the person is overwhelming with their complaints.  Their back hurts and you hear about it for the entire time your out to dinner.  I try to redirect the conversation but some people will not let go and continue to complain.
It is important to have friends that share the same values as you and positivity is an important value.  I have strong opinions and values but an open mind.  I do not judge people based on income, social status, race, religion, sexual orientation etc.  People are people and we have all had different opportunities and challenges that lead us to where we are.  This is another reason I don't like to hang around people who are negative, I often find they are also judgemental.  If you are anti gay, racist or believe the poor are lesser then you, I don't want to be around it or listen to is as it is a very negative and hateful way to live.  I don't want any of that rubbing off on me.  It boggles my mind how people can make comments about people of another race and then say their not racist.  Well what are you then?
Valuable lessons can be learned from everyone in this world if we only take the time to listen.  I had a homeless man who told me, "it's important to remain positive, you won't get anywhere with a bad attitude, that's why I'm always smiling."  What wonderful insight this is, from a man a lot of people chose to judge as, a low life, worthless, lazy, etc.  Funny thing is, he has a better attitude about life then the people who judge him.  I am taking his advice and trying to keep my attitude about the world positive, I hope you will join me in this quest.  Positivity is a much nicer thing to spread then negativity.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Think Like A Dog

Yes, that's right, think like a dog.  Now some of you may already know why I say this.  Other's may be thinking I have just lost my mind.  I am not crazy, dogs are some of the most positive creatures I have ever met. 
Dog's don't judge based on colour, creed, religion, economic or social class.  They don't judge people with disabilities, mental health issues or on anything for that matter.  As long as you treat them with loving kindness they like you.  It doesn't matter if you make a million or are living on the street, their happy to see you and accept you as you are.  A dog never tries to change their human, they just love and accept.  What a beautiful way to live.
Another reason I admire dogs is they never give up or beat them selves up.  I have watched my dog try to get up on the bed that is too high off the ground.  When he misses he doesn't stop, he doesn't say, "I can't do this."  He just keeps going, keeps trying.  As humans we let our thoughts get in the way, our negative self thinking and sometimes we give up.  If we took on the mentality of my little mutt, we would be much kinder to ourselves and never give up on our dreams.
One of the things I love most about my dog is he thinks he's fabulous.  No word of a lie, he struts, he holds his head high and I'm pretty sure he thinks he's the bomb.  Recently the boyfriend and I attempted a home groom, I say attempted.  In the end my dog looked like a Muppet with alopecia.  He was near bald all over, cut far too short except his legs that still had all their hair.  He didn't lose his confidence or charm.  There was no, loss of self-esteem, no concern that he was being laughed at, as he was.  This little guy just held his head high and greeted everyone with the same attitude as when he's perfectly groomed.  Bottom line, he thinks he is fabulous and we need to learn to feel that way about ourselves.  
Live your life as you see yourself, not how others see you.
My dog has never worried what people think of him, he only cares that you are kind to him.  If your not, he doesn't stress or worry about it.  He just moves on. I truly believe that if we all took some lessons from the dogs, we would be a lot more positive and think we are just fantastic.  Wouldn't that be great?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Self Talk

Another way we fall into the trap of negativity is through negative self talk.  We are essentially our own worse enemy as we are our worst critic.  People say things to and about themselves that they would never dream of saying to a friend.  For example if your friend lost her key, would you call her an idiot and ask her how she could be so dumb?  No!  If you did, you wouldn't have a friend for very long.  So why do we talk to ourselves this way?  It's cruel and unusual punishment to subject our self too.

It's time to stop and watch, a lot of the times we do it without even noticing.  Start to take notice, that is the first step.  Notice every time you say something negative to or about yourself, either in your head or out loud.  Once you notice it, say thank you brain but I don't need that (or your own version).  I like to put my negative self thoughts on dragon flies and watch them fly off.  Then insert a positive thought, something kinder and much gentler.  More along the lines of what you would say to a friend or loved one.  With enough practice you will retrain your Brain to be kinder and more loving to you.  

If you need help, ask your friends and family to catch you, you can do the same for them.  It can be a game of sorts. ""Ha ha, that was negative self talk, rephrase it.""  Laugh about it as it really is silly when you think about it.  The most important thing as that you become kinder and gentler with yourself, no matter the method you use.  I have been practicing this for four years and still just the other day I caught myself doing it.  You may think, wow four years and she still does it.  Yes but the important part is I noticed it as soon as it was out of my mouth and I re framed it.  Soon your negative thoughts will stick out like a sore thumb and you will know they don't belong.

It is also good to practice saying kinder things to yourself.  There are many ways to do this; write it down and repeat it,  post it where you will see it the most, use it as a meditation mantra.  I personally like using Mala beads and repeat over and over with each bead what I need to practice.  Have lot's but really focus on the one you need the most.  For me, I needed to practice I am loved so I worked with that one on my mala for months (three usually works, sometimes less, sometimes more).  I also have others on colourful shapes around my apartment.  For example, I am beautiful, I am smart, I am worthy...etc.  If you put real effort into this it can change your life.

Another important way to stay positive is to stop pointing out things that are wrong; I have a headache, I'm tires, my back hurts.  Saying these things only perputates the problem and no one wants to hear it.  Instead of focusing on what hurts, (we all have it and we're all tired) focus on what is good.  Your ankle hurts, say wow my head feels great today.  Your tired, say wow I have enough energy to finish my work day, that's great.  Focus on the good and you will notice a lot of those aches and pains and fatigue will melt away.  Plus people won't dred hearing you complain about how tired you are or how much your back hurts.  It's too heavy and people will either distance themselves from you or tune you out.  Neither are good for maintaining healthy relationships.  So tell them what is good that day, hour, minute.  Your feet hurt, say wow, my feet did a great job of carrying me through my day today, thanks feet.  Sounds corny but it works.  

Bottom line, be kinder to yourself, gentler with yourself and much more loving of yourself.  You will feel better for your efforts.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Self Nurturing

We go through our lives at a very busy pace and often we forget to stop and take care of ourselves.  We've all heard the old adage, "if you don't love yourself, no one else will."  Bottom line is we have to take care of ourselves, treat ourselves with love and kindness.  This sends a direct message to our brain that we are loved and worth the effort.  When we deprive ourselves of self nurturing our self esteem begins to dwindle and then if enough time goes by we forget how to self nurture.  Some of us were never actually taught to self nurture.  Lack of taking loving care of ones self will lead to depression and anxiety, it is not a matter of if but a matter of when.  For these reasons I am listing self nurturing activities and I encourage everyone to engage in at least one self loving activity a day.  More if you have time.  :)  Now my list may not fit every one's taste but it will give you an idea.

  • Take a warm bath
  • Have breakfast in bed
  • Take a sauna
  • Get a massage
  • Buy yourself some flowers
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Walk on a scenic path in a park
  • Have a manicure and or pedicure
  • Stop and smell the flowers
  • Wake up early and watch the sunrise
  • Watch the sunset
  • Relax with a good book or soothing music
  • Watch a funny movie
  • Play your favourite music and dance to it, yes even by yourself
  • Go to bed early
  • Sleep under the stars
  • Play with your pet
  • Take a "Mental Health Day," off work
  • Fix a special dinner just for yourself and eat by candlelight
  • Go for a walk
  • Call a good friend or several good friend (not one who likes to moan about their sore back or how tired they are).
  • Go to a fine restaurant just by yourself
  • Go to the beach
  • Take a scenic drive
  • Meditate
  • Buy new clothes (not if you have shopping issues).  :)
  • Browse a book or record store for as long as you want
  • Spend time with a special person
  • Buy yourself something special that you can afford (again, not if you have shopping issues)
  • Go see a film or show
  • Go to the park and feed the ducks, swing on the swings, etc...
  • Visit a museum or gallery
  • Let yourself dawdle (take more time then needed to do what you are doing)
  • Work on a favourite puzzle or puzzle book
  • Take a hot tub or jacuzzi
  • Record an affirmation tape
  • Write an ideal scenario concerning a situation and then visualize it
  • Read an inspirational book
  • Write a letter (not email) to an old friend
  • Bake or cook something special for yourself
  • Go window shopping (again not if you have shopping problems)
  • Listen to a relaxation CD
  • Listen to a positive, motivational CD
  • Write a diary about your accomplishments or things you are thankful for
  • Exercise
  • Go for a swim 
  • Take a leisurely bike ride  
I could go on and on but you get the idea.  Now I hear a lot of people say they don't have time, there are not enough hours in the day.  There are always enough hours in the day to take care of ourselves, if you watch T.V., surf the net or play video games, then you have time to engage in a self nurturing activity that would serve you far better then any of the above.  Not enough time is just an excuse, stop making excuses and start doing it, you will thank yourself for it.  

Equality for All, What a Good Idea.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Healthy Boundaries

I wanted to start a blog on positivity as I run a women's social group and I thought it would be helpful.  It will also be beneficial for me to help maintain a positive attitude.  :)
One of the main ways to stay positive is to maintain positive relationships, this is one of the areas I find many people struggle with the most.  So this is where I will begin.

A lot of us engage in boundary violations without knowing we are doing anything wrong.  Check and see if you do any of the following.  Non of this is meant to judge as all humans cross boundaries or allow their boundaries to be violated at some point.  This is simply a guide to help you be aware in order to build and maintain healthy relationships.

The following two lists are not simply my opinion but information received while in a cognative behavioural program.  I just thought they would be helpful to others who don't take the course and they would be important to share.

Possible Boundary Violations
Silent treatment
Insults/put downs
Giving ultimatums/orders
Saying "Shut up."
Pressuring others/talking them into something they don't wish to do.
Sarcasm-Saying hurtful or rude things then following it up with, "I'm only joking."
Rolling Eyes
Dirty Looks
Storming/stomping around
Interrupting-Asserting your point when someone is mid sentence.  Changing the subject to you.
Holding Grudges
Acting superior-You think someone is stupid.  (means you have feelings of more then/lesser then)
Stereotyping/prejudice- All immigrants are on welfare.
Refusing to admit when wrong/refusing to apologise
Dominating conversations.-If the person you are with isn't saying much, you may not be giving them a chance.
Denying self/others right to feelings.-Telling someone or believe your feelings are stupid, wrong or too sensitive.
Aggression, verbal or physical.
Constant advice giving-Only give advice if asked.  If someone says my boyfriend broke up with me, be supportive and empathetic but don't give advice.  Giving advice without being asked for it is one of the fastest ways to distance yourself from others, people don't like this, even though you think your helping.
Depriving self or others their privacy.
Being uncooperative.
Chronic Lateness.
Getting even/vengefulness.
Touching someone.
Calling someone "TOO SENSITIVE."

Signs of Unhealthy Boundaries

1. Telling all-When you first meet someone you tell them all about your life, problems, health issues and or physical pains.  This will distance people from you as someone who doesn't know you doesn't need or want all this information.  It's too heavy.  Try asking about the other person, show an interest in the person and what they have to say.

2. Going against personal values or rights to please others-You do things you normally wouldn't or don't speak out against things you do not believe in.

3. Not noticing other's inappropriate boundaries and/or when they invade yours-So if you don't notice when you are crossing other people's boundaries, they likely won't want to hang out with you.  Also if you don't have your own boundaries people will be able to walk all over you and you will feel lesser then.  
An example of crossing other people's boundaries would be invading personal space.  An example of having no boundaries would be telling people all your woe's.

4. Touching a person without asking.

5. Taking as much as you can get for the sake of taking.

6. Giving as much as you can give for the sake of giving.

7. Allowing someone to take as much as they can from you.

8. Letting others direct your life.-A partner telling you when you must eat and what you must eat is just a simple example of this complex issue.

9. Letting others speak for you or describe your reality.

10. Letting others define you.-For example I can't live without him.  I'm no good unless I have a guy.  She likes shopping so I should go with her even though I don't enjoy it, she'll think I like it too, then we will be friends.

11. Believing others can anticipate your needs.-Reality is people cannot read your mind and most people are worried about themselves and their life and aren't thinking about what you need.  You have to tell someone, don't demand.  "You have to spend more time with me," won't work. " I feel lonely and would like some company might work better."  However we cannot expect others to meet our needs, we must be fulfilled in ourselves.

12. Expecting others to fill your needs automatically.-If you say I feel lonely and would like some company, the person may want to help fill that need but in their own time.  If you expect them to drop everything and fill that need immediately you will be disappointed.

13. Falling apart so someone will take care of you.

14. Self-abuse.

15. Sexual or physical abuse.

16. Acting on first sexual impulse.

17. Food and chemical abuse.

18. Talking at an intimate level with someone you've just met.

19. Falling in love with a new acquaintance.

20. Falling in love with anyone who reaches out.

21. Being overwhelmed or pre-occupied by a person.

22. Accepting food, gifts, touch or sex that you don't want.