HOW TO GET A PAY RISE (7 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF)
With several thousand articles on pay rise, I am guessing you might be asking yourself what I have to offer that others haven’t said. I guess the only thing I have to offer in a real sense of it , is experience of trying this out. In terms of value of this experience, I will let you be the judge of its value.
As some people that know me can testify, I am a big believer in experiential learning. In the past I had read way too many “personal narratives” of the way to success and I realised that while there are some similarities, there are many ways to the same goal. I am also a believer that people should not talk about something they either haven’t experienced in their lives as if they have or dish out directed advice (i.e if you do this, you will get this )
This brings me to the topic at hand, about 2 years back I decided to undertake a bit of a social/work place experiment on what I felt to be a very tricky issue. As you have probably guessed from the name of this, I decided to try to get a pay raise. After all, what did I have to lose?
Now before I continue I would like to quickly put a disclaimer out. I am in no way saying that this is a guaranteed way to get a raise however this is what actually worked for me. Also as you will soon be able to tell, I am not a writer nor am I an aspiring one. I am simply someone with a story to tell. I also would never ever advice anyone to experience something in order to know if it was true in all circumstances and to discard written work (some of which is based on good research). That is simply bad advice. My advice here applies mainly to me and my experience in seeking a raise.
Now, let’s go back to where I was. I have chosen the road of writing about the 7 most important questions that guided my “quest” for more money for a few reasons. Firstly, I don’t think you will get much value in me talking specifically or in detail about what I did every day . Secondly, there is a good chance you would get bored and scroll to the end if you are anything like my loving wife (see what I did there J ) so I will keep this short and reader friendly. Thirdly, while this is from experience and at no point from beginning till the end did I refer, read, watch or listen to any other writing, articles, peers, videos or audio advice; I am not so brave or silly to not give this some thought before attempting to proceed.
To cut a long story short, while trying to get a pay rise these are the 7 main questions I asked myself and a brief outline of why.
1) Are you really worth more? (Honestly?)
Let’s be honest here, most people think they are worth more than they really are or worth less that they are. It is very important to use your introspective skills (Introspection is the examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings). Do a personal combined analysis of past achievements, professional accomplishments and development and your present value to the business compare it to similar businesses and similar jobs in those businesses (try to compare apples for apples if you can). It’s important in determining if this might not be the right time to ask for a raise. Your chances are quite slim or I dare say would be based on luck if this isn’t asked first.
2) Can you prove you are worth more?
While it is all well and good that you think, feel or even know something. In today’s world nothing means anything if you cannot “prove” it. Now I did not go creating a super power point presentation of why I was worth more but, a few things like feedback from colleagues (seniors and direct reports), past reviews, attendance history and lateness records would help a lot. What would help even more is if there is something to compare it to. Now, I must state at this point that I am in no way talking about showing how much better you are than specific colleagues as that would be very unprofessional. If you must compare, make sure it is generic data, such as average statistics for that department (present and future).Make sure it is relevant also.
3) Exactly how much more do you want?
Everyone would like a million pound pay rise. Yet there are very few occupations in the world where you could actually be asking for that and it would be realistic. There is no point asking for something and not knowing exactly how much more you want. It is usually best to keep it in percentages (10%, 15%, 20%) etc. Also ask yourself, Is it feasible or unrealistic for the company? This for me tied directly with the questions of worth. For every business there is an expected return on every pound or dollar spent. You need to know if you can deliver this back. It’s called human resources for a reason (hopefully that doesn’t sound too harsh). Do not be un-aware of it. I was taken more seriously because I had an exact figure I wanted and why I wanted it.
4) Who should you be speaking to about more money?
Now this one is something I honestly did not know mattered at all. I always felt that if you wanted a pay rise you should simply speak to your manager. However, 8 out of 10 times, this is probably correct but in my case it really wasn’t. Unfortunately sometimes your boss through no fault of theirs is more a figure head than anything else. Find out who determines the acceptance of your case and build the earlier steps again for that person also. You would still need to speak to your manager even if they aren’t the ones that determine if it is accepted or not but there is a good chance it could be more to inform them than anything else. It could be your bosses boss or even HR that determines this (though extremely rare for the latter)
5) What is the overall perception of you?
Now let me start by saying that there is a real difference between your real self (who you are) and your ideal self (who you aspire to be). Some people have managed to become who they aspire to be but for most of us, this is not the case. It is also important to note that just as a perceived grievance should be treated as a real one. It does not matter if who people think you are, is not really who you are. People would always treat you based on who they think you are. I guess a simple explanation is would you allow a perceived (not a convicted) serial killer into your home? Does it really matter that there is no proof to support your belief? Try to find out (using a soft approach) about who people really see you at work. You might need to fix an image problem before proceeding. Do not under estimate the power of the “right impression or perception”. Are you seen as a model professional, lazy, difficult, a work complainer or untalented?
6) Are you ready to negotiate?
Let’s start with a quick reality check. You are in an office that only stays afloat and profitable by their ability to mitigate risk, manage costs and expenditure effectively and negotiate its existence amongst competitors and new entrants and now you are asking for more money to do the exact same job. You must be prepared to have a conversation or a few about your request. Do not expect to win or get what you wanted just because you asked. You are attempting to navigate the ever tricky waves of price versus value. You must treat this as such. Be prepared and in my case it ws very beneficial to ask for slightly more than what I would have been okay with.
7) Are you prepared to fail and try again?
No thanks is a very real possibility. Think of this like the first time you met a person you were interested in. Now unless, you think you are God’s gift to the dating world or have an over blown ego, there is a chance you knew you could get shut down. There is also a chance you knew you would have to reattempt the exact same thing again. The main difference between this (looking for a raise) and that (dating) is If at first you don’t succeed, make sure you find out why. Dont just say “it’s okay, thanks for looking at my proposal”. If possible get a review date.
Now in my opinion, by combining this 7 things I managed to get almost 50% pay rise in 2 years (two different pay rises).
Be prepared and good luck with yours. Please feel free to let me know if this helped and better still if it worked for you.
Its been a long time since I wrote, I guess I just needed time to re-process things and hopefully understand the things before me.
Life can be complicated but sometimes it can be blissfully simple. In the period I took to step away I discovered that reflection and meditation on circumstances is no longer a luxury afforded by only the wise but now a necessity of every man.
I have had time to think about family, love, wealth (money), work and religion. The more I searched, the more answers I felt I got yet in those answers new question arose. This made me come to the inevitable conclusion that no matter how much value we place on the things around us a few things come on top as priceless.
Yet, in all I see three main things a person cannot or maybe I should say, should not do without.
1) A Sense of Direction, Ownership and Belonging (D.O.B): Similar to the blessed trinity the most important thing comes in three.
A) A sense of Direction: I used to dream about days when I would wake up and not have a single thing to do or place to go. I don’t know if you were/are like me and dreamt about winning a massive lottery.
It was the best of my dreams and then one day it happened. I had taken a 6 month leave from work (lots of reasons why which I won’t go into details about) I woke up with nowhere to go and to be honest it felt great for the first few days, I stayed home, looked after the kids, did the laundry and dishes, made meals. It was amazing and then the days turned into weeks and then months. I am not saying it was all bad as I had the option to go back to work earlier if I wanted. What I am saying is that a taste of this allowed me a unique learning experience. There is no life without purpose.
I am not saying that your purpose should be work, all I am saying is that at least when I woke up every day I knew exactly what was needed of me and weekend rests felt better because they felt earned. I am convinced that a sense of direction is vital but even more so that it is only a third of a perfect piece.
B) A Sense of Ownership: This is the second piece of the puzzle. When I was home I realised that even when I was at work I did not exactly feel accomplished. I felt like I had failed to some degree. Did I hate my job? Not at all, I loved it. I loved meeting new people every month. I knew almost everyone. I was respected by my colleagues, delegates and superiors.
Yet something was missing. I realised that what was simply missing was that it wasn’t mine. It was a good job, not the best pay but good enough but it wasn’t my company. I felt no responsibility for the job. This allowed me come to the conclusion that responsibility is also a good this and it brings with it ownership.
What am I saying here? I am simply stating the obvious, My family (son, daughter and wife) are my responsibility and because of that simple irrefutable fact I know exactly what they need from me (doesn’t mean I always do it though). There is ownership in the family unity and this allowed me to enjoy the challenges that come with it. I relish the challenges and pray I am up to them but they are no longer negative. A sense of ownership is very important but even with direction and ownership there is still something missing.
C) A Sense of Belonging: I am not sure you even need me to explain why this is even important but I will all the same. Have you ever thought about the tragedy of abandonment and the evils that sometimes come from people that have suffered isolation and abandonment? Or ever thought about radicals or gangs? What makes people give up their lives for a belief? What makes life and family mean so little in comparison? It is a sense of belonging. It is such a powerful motivator than it leads people to abandon everything they see and know and in extreme circumstances to abandon morality. A sense of belonging can also be used in a positive way. An example that comes to mind is missionaries delivering food, help, health aid and charities with international reach. At this point I feel that I would be writing an irresponsible post if I do not interject and state that a sense of belonging does not in any way mean an abandonment of your own desires or who you are.
As a matter of fact I believe that they go hand in hand. A quote that comes to mind that explains it perfectly is by Brene Brown;
“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.”
She also goes on to echo my discovery when she states “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick”.
For anyone that has never heard of her, she is worth researching. My sense of belonging comes from more than just myself. I belong to my family as much as they belong to me. I belong to my friends and I belong to this world. I am responsible for how I leave this world when my time is up (no matter what day that happens).
You see, in order to fully appreciate a sense of direction you must see it in connection to ownership and belonging and then and only then do you see the full picture of why they are important as individuals yet part of a family.
2) Love: I am glad I discovered this well into the early years of marriage. The love of a wife can be a bedrock. Before I could really understand this I first of all had to understand that I am not perfect in anyway. The fact I have love does not mean I will not abuse it or take it for granted and this only helps to make me take a step back and see how lucky I am. When I talk about love here, I am in no way talking about love from Hollywood movies or from romantic books.
I am talking about love where you are hurt but still don’t want to leave. The kind you are afraid to lose and it keeps you working on yourself to become better. I am talking about the kind you know and you feel as real as your own hands. I won’t bore you by telling you all the details of how I came to this conclusion all I will say is whoever you have let them know. If you can’t say it , then write it. If you can’t write it then sing it, if you can’t sing it ask someone to help but don’t stay silent. Love breeds love. Can you imagine a faith worse than loving with nobody to love? If you are lucky enough to have someone to love and someone that loves you back then they deserve to know. Love forgives, love cares, love appreciates, love grows, love never dies, love never looks back but love also needs love to burn brightest.
3) Attitude: I guess this might come as a surprise to some, as attitude is very often not discussed as an important part of a purposeful life. Attitude is simply a settled way of thinking or feeling about something.
Why is this important? I guess it is simply because we are all a victim or product of our perceptions. We react to the world based on the way we see the world. Our attitude is governed by it. Yet we very often forget that though we may not have the best of everything or anything. We have a choice on how to behave. My friends please don’t kid yourselves the way I have always done. We have a choice in every situation. We have a choice on how to react when we get fired, when our partner leaves us, when we fail to get what we want, when someone cuts in front of us (we all know how irritating that can sometimes be). We can “chose” to rise above it or chose to dwell on it. Our attitude is our choice and ours alone. We are not even victims of our biological urges as most people like to believe. We own our attitude, we own our choices, we own it and must take responsibility for it.
Now the best part about attitude is that even if you have a poor attitude, this can be fixed. It is not something you were born with. It is something you develop. A very useful strategy to develop is “looking at the bigger picture”.
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
― Walt Whitman
A few examples might help. When I was 8 years old, I fell “in love” (as much as a child can) for the first time. I was totally crazy for a girl I met in school. I felt that this was the single most important thing in the world to me. I never told anyone about it but to me, she was everything. In that moment at that time I felt like if I did not get her then “life was not worth living”.
I don’t think she ever knew who I was or how I ever felt. Now, over 20 years after and it makes no difference what I felt then. It has no impact on my life and thankfully I am still here. Now before you disregard this and call it “puppy love” please note that this was very real to me. If a person perceives something as real then it will always be in your best interest to treat it as such (regardless of your own personal inclinations). I was just as hurt then as I would be now.
Another example is one that is very personal to me. Almost a decade ago (during my freshman year) I met a lovely lady who turned out to be a very good friend. She made my first year at university that much easier. She was nice and though we never had romantic feelings for each other she was as good a friend as I could ever ask for. About 3 years ago she unfortunately took her own life. It looks for all indications to be as a result of lost love. I was so devastated by this because we had not been in touch for over 2 years and I just wished I could have offered her what she offered me when I needed it. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain her family is going through even till date. She really was a saint yet in a similar situation she just could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I cannot blame her ex-boyfriend as he has a right to pick who he wants to be with. He has a right to choice.
In the present world of social media it is quite easy to develop a negative attitude, especially when one looks at what “the rest of the world” seems to be doing.
A few realistic steps might help
1) Be careful when developing your attitude and never compare yourself to anyone. What a tragedy it will be if we ever forget the thing that makes us uniquely us. Our experience are uniquely ours and what makes us beautiful and stronger ( A treasure chest of wisdom).
2) Whatever people say is simply their opinion. They are entitled to it but it does not mean you have to take it (obviously I still recommend listening to good counsel). No one can make you feel inferior without your consent so stand firm on who you are.
3) Smile and do what makes you happy as long as it isn’t harmful to yourself or others. We still have a responsibility to others so one unfortunately must reflect on this advice more than all the others. I am in no way asking you to stay with someone you know you do not love at all for fear of breaking their heart. I am simply saying pleasure must be enjoyed with caution.
4) Ignore people who simply tell you that you cannot do it and never offer advice as to how to overcome a problem. What good is it telling someone of a problem if it is not backed with a solution? You need positive people around you especially because there will come a day that you might lose belief in yourself. You will need someone who helps you see it.
5) Enjoy yourself in everything. Enjoy the unexpected or result that were not what you expected. Many people have discovered great things in error. A positive attitude will help you see through it all.
6)Have a positive vision and be happy for other peoples success. I know it might be hard to be happy for your ex when they find someone else they love but try to understand that true love involves being happy for someone else even if they are not with you.
7) Finally, always be true to yourself. Not who you think you are or what you would like to be but who you really are (strengths and weaknesses). Never beat yourself down and never compromise or search for dodgy shortcuts. Work smart and not harder but always know who you are what you stand for lest you fall for anything.
Your attitude to success will ultimately be the thing you rely on when things go wrong. When (and not if) problems come along the way. A positive attitude will keep you focussed and goal oriented. It will give you power over your circumstances. No matter what you face in life always look at the bigger picture. Are you worrying about work? Well, If you got fired today, your company will be fine as there are several hundreds to do your job (so take a break and enjoy life). Your life has been lived many times before you by many others before you (so enjoy the ride and love the people around you while you still can). There will always be wealth on earth (so try not to spend your entire life looking for it). In work, in family in life, always give more than you expect to receive in return. These my friends is how we find real purpose in life.
“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?”
– C. JoyBell C.
If you have any more suggestions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.
<a href=”http://www.hypersmash.com/dreamhost/” id=”fP835″>read more</a>
Daddy’s dark smile (song on living a lie, written at the request of Samuel Ishie)
Light of the world
I look in my daughters’ eye
Crying to daddy wondering if she will be alright
My little light
Today is here again
I cant hold this pain
Feels like I am in chains
If only you looked close you would see it in
Daddy’s dark smile
Daddy’s dark mind
Where daddy stays a while
Where daddy cries a mile
Yet it’s hidden in
Daddy’s dark smile
Another day just like the day before
Need to be brave
Can’t let it make me a slave
I feel another closing door
Want to let it go
Can’t take it any more
I lay on the floor
Hoping maybe today I won’t feel so sore
I can’t think of me
My baby needs me
Cant let her see my weakness
Only let her see her uniqueness
Daddy must keep smiling
Daddy’s dark smile
Daddy’s dark mind
Where daddy stays a while
Where daddy cries a mile
Yet it’s hidden in
Daddy’s dark smile
Baby come in
Hold daddy’s hand
Daddy will smile for both of us
Till you are ready to smile on your own
All my love I will throw
All my strength I will show
This can’t be the end
Something good, God shall send
All you have to do now is look at
Daddy’s dark smile
Daddy’s dark mind
Where daddy stays a while
Where daddy cries a mile
Yet it’s hidden in
Daddy’s dark smile
NB: Not a true story but written as a challenge. Picture is Sacred Angel of Comfort by Terese Nielsen (Very good artists, check her work out).
I sat there with my sister Annette looking at the clock opposite us, at Clinic 6 at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, it was first thing in the morning and we had been sitting for nearly an hour, because my records had failed to be taken from archives. But however they eventually came and the long awaited call; “Mr Smylie?” rang confident from behind us.
“Good Morning, Sam how are you feeling?”, asked the Consultant Hematologist, as we sat down next to his disk, situated against one wall of a sparsely furnished clinic examination room. With a bed on the other side and a trolley of medical equipment against the other.
“Fine Doctor”, I replied considering I had just spent a week in hospital having all manner of tests, both routine and very painful, performed on me; after being told at my first visit to the blood donation clinic on Nelson Mandela Place just of Buchanan Street, in Glasgow City Centre, that I should probably go into A&E immediately.
I was 17 years old and all this was starting to get a little daunting for my young confident and growing mind. The Doctor looked at me confusingly, the way a lot of medical professionals were starting to look at me these days, not that I have, by this time, came in contact with a lot, apart from my GP and friends and family working within the field.
“Explaining this can be difficult”, started the Doctor, my sister shifted in her seat,
“Try your best Doctor”, I prompted,
“Okay, you have a rare Bone Marrow Failure Disease called Aplastic Anaemia”, I stared at him blankly, so no cancer? I thought.
“It caused by the bone marrow failing to produce blood cells to a particular degree that it may become fatal”, the Doctor went on to explain, now I shifted in my seat, my sister remained still.
“From what we can see you don’t have any underlying conditions that may have caused this to happen, we are unsure is it is hereditary, because we just don’t know. However your condition seems to be stable and not fatal”, chimed the Doctor as I struggled to take everything in.
“But Doctor, I don’t feel unwell at all”, I protested.
“Most people with this condition look and fell absolutely fine until the “final stages”, in other words if we hadn’t found this condition your bone marrow may have continued to fail until there was nothing left”.
So we left the clinic, and for the next 6 years I attended the same clinic, talking with the doctors and giving blood samples. No real complications ever came about apart from some very severe infections, that were caused by my lower than average white blood cell count.
However I was feeling deflated because dreams of becoming a Police Officer or joining the Armed forces were now non-existent, my girlfriend left me because she couldn’t cope with my growing depression, another added weight came about when I lost my father not long after diagnosis to Lung Cancer.
So I decided to work hard at university; which eventually paid of when I was offered a job with a large and respected IT outsourcing company, with great benefits and a career plan which will challenge me and allow me to mature and develop as a professional. Then after six years of stability everything failed, literally failed. My bone marrow had started to fully pack in, and from being able to run 1.5 miles in about 12 minutes I couldn’t walk half a mile without feeling breathless, frustrated and tired. I began to bruise easily, as well as bleed regularly from my gums and nose. My active life of weight training, running, swimming and learning to snowboard halted.
My social life became non-existent, as I could not go to busy places, work became increasingly more difficult (resulting in me being taken to hospital on Saturday afternoon), and then cam another blow.
“I would advise you not to go to your new employer this year”, advised my new consultant, who had taken the case because of the rapid decrease in stability in my condition.
So there I was on the telephone with the man who had hired me into my new high flying job explaining to him that I couldn’t accept the employment due to my decreasing condition.
I had lost my job, and my freedom then the biggest heart wrenching feeling came as I was advised that I would need to have a Bone Marrow Transplant or things could become getting a lot more difficult and very quickly, I obviously accepted and now here I am.
Never less the past year hasn’t been all bad, by my side I have had my very own guardian Angel, my beautiful girlfriend Rochelle has stood by me through all the disappointment, all the fear and the increasing feeling of frustrated anticipation as knowledge of the future is out of our reach as human beings. With her help I have managed to stay calm, collected and proactive in my treatment. To date I have had 4 blood transfusions to decrease the risk of heart attacks, organ failure or strokes, as I await for my transplant.
I have been in touch with the Aplastic Anameia Trust, the only charity in the UK that focuses on helping people with this rare disease, as only 150 people are diagnosed in the UK every year. That is equivalent to 2 in 1 million people in the whole Western World. Aplastic Anaemia is a killer, just like cancer, it sucks life away each and everyday and the survivors are truly inspirational people.
I still fight to this day, as the BMT draws ever nearer knowing that at the other side of an email, or a telephone I have someone there for me. But most importantly as my condition continues to get worse my angel is still by my side, hand in hand, until that day when I am better, and I can be the man I always wanted to be too her.
To The Man I Called Daddy.
You where always there for me from when I was 2 years old, Why did you go? Why did you leave without an explanation? You where the one i looked up to even when you and mum split up. It takes any man too be a father, but a real man to become a daddy, that’s what you told me when you split up with mum. I hated your “new family” even though you never left me out even when your own children where born?
The night you rang me, telling me that you loved me and are always there, i remember thinking you had went nuts, it was so random. If only i knew that it was your way of saying goodbye i would never have hung up. The next day when i was watching tv and mum called me upstaires, she was sitting on the bed her eyes red, her face stained with tears, i knew something was wrong but nothing could have prepared me for what she was about to tell me.
“He’s gone, he was found by hospital staff, i’m sorry he’s dead,”
I couldnt understand it, collapsing to the floor tears filling my eyes, i was 11 how could you do it? you told me you would always be there. the next couple of days where the worst, finding out that you took your own life still haunts me. Whay wouldn’t you talk to someone, you obviously didnt realise how much people loved you, how much people caredfor you.
Mum tryed to act strong for my sake, but i know that it broke her heart that you where gone.The night before your funeral i sat looking through my pictures of “our family” laughed about the things you said and did to cheer me up. Cried that i’ll have no more new memories, getting up to go to Your funeral, i could hardly speak, i felt like i would choke on my tears if i tryed talking. i wanted to be strong, no more tears you would say when i was younger if i had hurt myself, i wanted to be a “big girl”
My theory never worked..
Mum thought it would be best if i didnt go in before your coffin lid was closed, i hated her for not letting me say a proper goodbye,wasnt until i got older i understood that she was protecting me.
Im glad i can remember you , as the way you where, the happy, funny, man that you where.
As your coffin was carried to the grave i held onto mums hand, afraid to let go. I hope now you know how much you effected people when you where alive, no one has ever or could ever say something bad, there really wasnt a bad bone in your body.
Im thankful for the years that i had you in my life, and i will never forget you, or your words of wisdom.
You helped make me who i am today and im eternally greatful.
“in the arms of an angel now, spread your wings and keep us safe”
forever in my heart, forever in my memory
Don’ Judge My Path If You Haven’t Walked My Journey.
Have you ever thought that everyone in the world is against you? Ever thought that people stop too condemn you?
Being a young mum (19) with two small children (2 year old, 1 year old), I have had all the comments you can think of.. Don’t get me wrong not everyone has said bad things but there is a bunch of very small minded people who think that i’m a “typical young mum.” I love my children unconditionally, I give them the best I can, And they never go without things that they need. They are my everything. One day out grocery shopping, my oldest was in the trolley eating a bag of crisps, as we where walking round a woman stopped at me and tutted telling me that crisps is not a good choice for my child to be eating, then she started asking my age, telling her, she then turned to me then my son and with a spiteful look said, “children can’t bring up children,”I was gob smacked that a stranger could say something like that. I don’t think that I’m the worlds best, most perfect mother, in act i’m probably far from it, but i am a good mother, who would do anything for my children to make sure they are safe and happy. I just hope that someday them small minded people actually grow up and realise that just because I am young I am still very Mature, And that I can bring my children up, to be the very best that they can be. No matter what they do I’ll always be behind them 100%.
I’m trying to make a life for me and my children, I am currently looking into going back to school, my son will be starting nursery next year, I have my own house and will be starting part time work soon as well, I do not go out unless my children are with me and if I do they are left with a family member. so what am I doing wrong?
I’m hoping reading this that people realize no matter what you do someone will always try to put you down, but don’t let them!!
“worrying does not empty tomorrow of it’s troubles, It empties today of its strength.”…..Corrie Ten Boom
“You are pregnant,” The words I heard and couldn’t believe at 18.
I couldn’t believe it, I was 18 and going to have my second baby. What would everyone say? How would i cope?
my head was full of emotions, Going home looking at my Calvin, my first baby, I got my head round the idea that
in 8 month’s I’ll be having another..
My first scan was great at 11 weeks 4days gone, no sickness no nothing I felt brillant. As time past and my bump grew all our family knew that there was going to be a new addition to the family, I couldn’t have been happier. Thinking back I wondered why I was so worried at the start.
At week 16 my Back had got really sore, migraines, was being sick and tired constantly, the doctors had put it down to being pregnant and with my first child just being run down a bit, giving me iron tablets, I went home. Something to me still didn’t seem right.
Having my next scan to look forward to i put it to the back of my head. Two days later I was at my midwife. asking how I was, I explained how I was feeling, asking if she could take a few swab tests and urine sample I thought it was just procedure. Then she hit me with the most shocking thought that could have ran through my head. Group B Streptococcus or “Strep B” is a more common name for it.
I had never heard of it so she told me not to worry and read through a few pages of information, Going home ringing my mum and granny explaining to them. They had never heard of it either, so I just carried on, taking things easier.
Then it was finally time for my “big” scan. I was so excited, my mum and partner came with me, as we sat round looking at my baby bouncing about sucking its thumb. Then, “Would you like to no what your having?” looking at my mum and partner sitting at the end of their seats I knew that we all couldnt wait, “A very healthy Baby Girl,” I was so happy My first baby was a boy, we’ll have a “gentleman’s family.”
The minute I got home all other thoughts went out of my head, all I could think of was names. At the end of that week I had 2 names picked. My phone rang, “Hello, its Charleen would you be able to come into the surgery, your results have came back, getting Calvin babysat I went up, my partner was at work, so I just went myself, nothing to worry about, the sonographer said a healthy Baby Girl after all.
As I walked into the midwife’s room she brought me down to a room at the end of the hall, walking in my heart sank, ” Hello, I’m a Doctor from Royal Hospital, please take a seat.” “your results have came back, You have Strep B and, we want you to go for a scan”. I explained that I had my scan at the hospital at the start of the week, everything was okay. “For the results that we need you need more of an advanced scan, we can do it now, or you can travel over, and get someone to go with you.”
Knowing that nothing was wrong I got it done there.”Im afraid you have advanced Strep B, in this case 1 in 32,000 people get this, it has been passed on to your unborn baby.”Asking what that meant, and what I had to do I stared to panic. They gave me strong antibiotics to take to try flush it out of my system and had to go back three days later.”please don’t panic about this, your baby needs you to stay relaxed.”
That night I sat and cried, then I decided on a name, “Chloe” meaning, A strong little flower. Going back to the doctors, they explained the antibiotics didn’t work, my other options where limited, “Carry on with your pregnancy and get antibiotic injections every week, but there will be a strong possibility that your baby will be seriously disabled and a lifetime of health problems, also it will be very dangerous for you to have a natural labour, What we suggest is you having a late abortion and although this will be very hard, we think it will be the safest choice for you.”
At that moment my world fell apart I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, then “kick” my baby was trying to tell me something at that time, “I’m carrying on with this pregnancy, Whatever way my baby is i’ll love and care for her as much as I can.
And that was that, I carried on with the injections, praying that my baby will prove them all wrong I took things as easy as I could.
1st June came round and going out to my mums house to leave anniversary cards to my aunty and uncle for the next day I still had over a month to go.
The sun was shinning, at my aunts I was walking about, couldn’t sit still. Later that evening mum asking was I okay, I told her I had cramps. drinking hot water, and lying down, they wouldn’t budge. Going home later, I got in and packed my hospital back, just in case I remember thinking. 6 o’clock in the morning, I woke my partner and told him to ring his mum and get her to mind Calvin, we had to go to the hospital, the baby was on her way.
In the car the contractions where getting stronger. I could hardly walk to get in. straight down to delivery, the baby’s crowned.
Looking at the clock it was 6:16 am on the 2nd of June, getting into delivery I thought back to my first labour. 38hours 43minutes, not this time though 6:30 am I was holding my Healthy Baby Girl. 6lb 13.5oz at a month early she was as healthy as any other baby.
I remember looking at her, “We did it baby, we proved them wrong, she was brought for tests and everything came back fine.
Chloe is now 15months, has been walking for a month and doing what all other baby’s her age should be.
She will always be “Mummy’s little strong flower,”
Picture a child of three, healthy, full of energy, smiling. Beautiful. Now take away the energy, take away the chubby exterior, see the Energy drain the energy, go ahead and drain the colour from her skin. Now the smile, it’s hard to picture when everyone around the child cries, or shouts in frustration. Doctors say there’s nothing wrong, the mother must be crazy right?
Imagine Christmas Eve, a happy child gets washed and dressed so quickly eager to get to bed, excitement fills the air, Santa is coming! Now take away the happiness, exclude the excitement. Replace the bed with a hospital cot, beeping machines and drips. The child is dying.
Undiagnosed diabetes, the blood is sticky with blood, acidic with ketones and organs are failing. Dr Carson his rounds dressed as Santa, to spread some cheer other night, delivering twin baby dolls to the dying child, a happy memory to leave with.
Amazingly death does not become her. The child lives and leaves hospital weeks later with two new babies.
Let’s skip ahead a few years. The child becomes a young teenager, attends a grammar school, is doing well. Duke of Edinburgh’s award comes along, she eagerly applies, keeping records of community services, extra curricular activities and a sport, on top of the map work and weekends camping with friends, sounds good, right? Now add the show an tell to leaders the girl has to do to teach them what to do in a diabetic emergency, add the extra weight of insulins and hypoglycemic kits to the already heavy rucksack. All part of the experience!
The weekend doesn’t start well with a broken down bus and late arrival to the start point, the heavy rain and blowing gales make it all the better. All the girls trudged in the dark for hours, 1.30am arrived before they made it to the camp site, but no rest for he wicked, tents have to be erected.
Birds chirp, sun slithers into the tents, waking the girls from slumber, only this girl realises herself and two companions perched at the edge of a cliff. The darkness of the night before had concealed why could have been a fatal fall.
no time to dwell, miles of walking lies ahead! At first our girl keeps up, walks with her group and even did her share of map reading and leading. The energy starts to deplete, the headache kicks in and you don’t even want to know how badly she wanted to vomit, frequently! ‘Just keep going we are half way there’ the older man dubbed as leader repeated more than once.
The camp site was a welcome site indeed, trangias popped up all over to cook up some delightful boil in the bag or pack of noodles. Our girl wasn’t hungry, she crawled into her sleeping bag and slept. Not even the violent shaking if the tent from her companions awoke her the next day, ‘girl problems’ was the diagnosis, ball everyone agreed she could board the bus and skip the remaining days walk!
Back at the school, she slumps in a corner, forced to wash trangias before fleeing to the arms of her mother, an straight to an A+E. Have you ever seen on T.V how the lights blur past and faces swim in front of the acting patient’s face, that really happens!
‘We need a drip now’
‘her heart rate is dangerously fast’
Sharp pain explodes across her back and the scene from the exorcist unfolds, then nothing.
Kidneys shut down, respiratory system needed assistance and the heart almost gave up. Amazingly death does not become her. Pneumonia can be fatal.
Let’s jump forward again, past the usual school business of new friends, new loves and stressful exams. Picture our girl now 16, cramps aren’t uncommon at this stage, but hers won’t go away. So what happens when the pain suddenly becomes sharp and a little more tithe right? Hospital.
Sitting in a bed, the doctors don’t believe her, but she has a pain, so let’s keep her in overnight, just to be sure, right? So what happens when the skin starts to turn grey? Is that still normal? Blood tests suggest it isn’t really, poison? From where? Remember the right abdominal pain? Bingo!
‘This is ICU madam we only allow two members of family in at one time to see patients’
Apparently an appendix can be fatal, amazingly death does not become her.
With life experience like this, what future does this girl have? One in nursing of course, give something back, afterall empathy is needed in such a career!
Year three into her degree, the headaches come. It’s not an easy degree, ward placements on top of university work and exams, anyone would suffer a headache or two, right? So what so you do when it doesn’t go away? What so you do when you can’t write in a straight line? Back to A+E of course. Only this time our girl leaves the hospital with two pain killers and no chance of a ‘just in case overnight stay’.
Give it a few days, rest up, relax, it will go away, right? Wrong! The only thing disappearing for her was her sight. Slowly, but surely. The GP suggests an urgent appointment with an Opthamologist, he suggests an over night stay with a brain CT scan to investigate further. Imagine the fear when one CT scan isn’t enough. Two CT scans and an MRI later, everyone is still being quiet, but you know that look? That sympathetic look when someone knows something and you don’t? Everyone had it. Finally a doctor appears, why the huddle of other doctors and nurses? Apparently they are a specialised team, to devastate a life with the diagnosis of a stroke.
A torn artery to the neck can be fatal, luckily a clot formed, too bad it broke free and settled in two parts of the brain. Amazingly death did not become her.
This girl, the one you have imagined time and time again in different scenarios, well she is real. She lives on today with a nursing degree, a child and a fiancé, in the hopes that death continues to overlook her, to let her live a full and happy life with her family. Not to forget the two dolls, who can now legally drink in any country!
I can feel my hands shaking a bit as I sit down and write this. I can’t tell if it’s from fear, love… Or if I’m just casually about to have a nervous break down. Never the less, stay with me here.
I’m not to sure when reading this how many of you can relate to it but it’s something that is so close to my heart that these words are easy for me. It feels like the pen is just gliding over the paper. My hand seems to have no control.
Where do I even start!
I think most of us have that one person in our life that no matter how many days or years pass they will always stay at the front -line of our hearts, floating around with a huge stick waiting to harass and deny entry to any passers-by. You Love, you lose.. You don’t move on. Typical woman.
I could sit here forever and talk about the many characteristics he has that I adore, or about how each one draws you into him. I could tell you about his heart and how sometimes I swear I could feel it holding me. But I will most defiantly start hysterically crying.
Anyway. All you really need to know to understand my story is that I loved him. He was not only my boyfriend but my best friend. Someone I had and still have unconditional love for. The guy that gave me that beautiful sick feeling in the pitt of my stomach. The guy I found myself completely infatuated with. William. ❤
I’ll take you back to a distant summer were a group of 4 decided to start making memories together. Me and William, my best friend and Williams best friend. They made up couple number two. May I add they are still together and will be getting married this year. Let’s all aw at once. Or let’s not cause happy people are shit let’s face it :/
We all pretty much from day one insisted on spending every second of every day, morning, afternoon and evening together. Just creating memories..
Let’s cut the crap and fast forward one year – everything is still perfect. Must have been about 6pm. At home prancing around like a spring chicken waiting for the boyfriend to arrive.
So 7 o clock came, but he didn’t ..
And then 8 o clock creeped up, but he didn’t… 9 o clock came and still no sign. No call. Nothing.
So you can imagine at this point I’ve got my CSI face on and I’m ready to start interrogating him until either one of us starts crying. Dibs on me. I cry over anything. I’m pathetic like that. So I start tapping away with my obese little fingers in some sort of hysterical rage mode. Seeing not much else but red at this point.
“the mobile phone you have called is currently switched off please try again later..”
Right. So…. He’s ditched me?
Ready to lose the plot any second really. Hands are sweating, my hearts racing I hate the unknown. I’m now just thinking the absolute worst. Or so I thought.. I had no idea my whole world was about to be flipped upside down..
I’m not one to chase, I’ll leave you to your own devices until your ready to come at me. Although saying that.. I did stalk his mobile for a good couple of hours until I gave up and fell asleep on my own dribble n tears. I woke up in the morning and obviously he was the 1st thing to mind. But no miss calls.. No text messages. Nothing. Nada. Not a sausage.
At this point my hearts sunk to the bottom of my stomach and I can feel it starting to wretch. Before I’ve had the chance to do anything I’ve got the wife calling. Perfect. I can vent n find out where this idiot was last night. So unlike him.
“Hello babe, please tell me you have spoken to wiggle…?”
She kinda went a bit silent for a few seconds and then proceeded to change my life as I knew it. All I can really remember is putting my head into my hands and dropping to the floor.
…”He’s dead Sara.
He had a car accident on the way to you last night and he died.”
……… I can’t really explain the feeling I felt, it’s like no other emotion I’ve ever come across before. I just went numb. I couldn’t feel my hands. I couldn’t feel myself breathing. I was ready to die. No doubt in my mind. I wanted to die. I didn’t care how, I just needed to see his face again. Just no words to explain the pain that ran through my heart. I felt like I was crying blood. And every tear that dropped took apart of my soul with it.
I spent every night screaming in the dark. Not wanting to leave my bedroom floor. I couldn’t and didn’t want to feel any comfort. Because it wasn’t possible. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that could have eased my pain. Nothing. I know longer had any concept of what comfort was. I just turned cold. The feeling of emptiness is indescribable. It’s so overwhelming that you have no choice but to let it take over the whole of your mind, body and what’s left of your soul. Grief stops clocks, it stops every aspect of your life and you just no in your heart that life will never be the same again.
What is left?
What do I live for?
Being touched by death transforms your life, sobers your mind and changes your life forever. You never ever stop grieving. Ever. This happened in 2006 and to this DAY my heart has never found a way to fully heal and everyday I am still reminded of him. Everyday.
The funeral was to overwhelming and I couldn’t bring my self to attend the burial. My last thoughts of him, 6 feet under.. I couldn’t do it. I never wanted that thought to be mixed up in all the memories I hold 🙁
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition..and unspeakable love.
I came across this quote recently and felt that I must share it with you. It is beautiful and thought provoking. I hope you enjoy it.
“The Paradoxical Commandments
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”
― Kent M. Keith, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council
I remember the very first time I came across Emotional intelligence. I was so fascinated by it as it tied in with the ideas I felt my life had been teaching me. It seemed like someone had taken my mistakes through wrong reactions and tested them and after doing that he came up with a theory. It was brilliant yet so simple. I had made so many mistakes and taken so many wrong turns. I wished there would have been an easier journey to make this conclusions but I guess I learnt so someone else does not have to.
I should probably point out that these are just the opinions of one man and as such there is a high probability you might not agree in total. If you don’t then please by all means share with us all (in the comments section). After-all isn’t that the whole idea behind this site.
I guess before I start to talk about emotions and gaining control I should at the very least talk (even if ever so briefly) about emotional intelligence and what it really means.
Here it goes, please try not to fall asleep just yet. 🙂
Emotional intelligence is a form of intelligence rising to fame by Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book rightly called “Emotional Intelligence”. He defined it as Emotional intelligence is the innate potential to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, describe, identify, learn from, manage, understand and explain emotions.
Goleman identified the five ‘domains’ of EQ as:
Knowing your emotions.
Managing your own emotions.
Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions.
Managing relationships, ie., managing the emotions of others.
Emotional Intelligence embraces and draws from numerous other branches of behavioural, emotional and communications theories, such as NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Transactional Analysis, and empathy.
Goleman believed that IQ contributes about twenty percent to the factors that determine life success.
Whether you believe that emotional intelligence as an idea is real or that it determines success in life or not, the fact of the matter remains. Human beings have over 6,000 emotions and you either control your emotions or they control you. The way I see it, emotions must be controlled to avoid making potentially bad decisions. I learnt that this unfortunately is not a magical process that occurs as you grow up. It takes time and willingness to try to achieve this and nothing shows you just how much you lack this as a relationship that doesn’t go how you want it to.
To be able to control your emotions you must first of all truly get to
Know your emotions. There are probably over a million ways we feel, but scientists have classified human emotions into a few basics that everyone can recognize: disgust, joy, acceptance, fear, surprise, sadness, anger, and anticipation.
However according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association there are four major emotions that give us the most trouble, These are anger, fear, anxiety, and depression.
After knowing your emotions we must accept that that emotions don’t just appear mysteriously occur. In other words you were not born angry or in-love. Many times, we’re at the mercy of our emotions on a subconscious level but by bring them to consciousness we are better able to control them. I have never advised anyone to repress their feelings or ignore them as it always inevitably means that it gets worse and could lead to a psychotic break (in extreme cases). A simple exercise could be to try to keep a small diary of your emotions and what triggers them and rate your emotions on a scale.
Try to be aware of what was happening at that time and what was going through your mind. Find out what triggers that emotion. Sometimes it could be as simple as the look in someone’s eyes. Whichever way this will help you also determine if your emotions are irrational or provoked.
At this point I will have to trust that you have your best interest at heart and would like some help on this so I will need you to write down what evidence (proof) supports this emotion and to also write down what evidence supports that this might be incorrect or misplaced feelings.
Now we must move on to a little bit of introspection. Ask yourself if there is another way to look at the situation that is more rational and more balanced than the way you might have seen it before? Keep in mind first glance can be very deceiving and you just might be surprised at your own honesty and result.
Next I will need you to take time out to consider your options. There is always an alternative way to re-act even when someone tries to kill you so know that there is always an option. To be perfectly honest in most cases there are three main possible options. The first being react, second do not re-act and the third re-act in the opposite way of what you normally would have done.
After you have considered your options on how to re-act to the situation or feeling. You must make a choice. Your choice will usually be based on principles or logic. In other words what matters the most to you or what is the most rational way to re-act.
Finally, the above steps show how to not let your emotions control your behaviour, but not how to change the emotions themselves. If you want to control your emotion you must change the way you see the world.
I borrowed some of these quotes from a personality test I developed when at University and I believe that every item here is a lie
I must be perfect in all respects in order to be worthwhile. The simple fact is that not a single person can ever be perfect
Because things in my past controlled my life, they have to keep doing so now and in the future. We all know that change is possible and our past does not guarantee our future. People change and sometimes they are completely different from who they were. In thoughts and in actions. It’s simply the truth.
I must be loved and approved of by everyone who is important to me. A simple fact of life is that not everyone will love you at least not the way you might want them to; you either accept it or be destroyed by it.
I can be as happy as possible by just doing nothing and enjoying myself, taking life as it comes. I think it is quite likely that nothing will drive you closer to despair and depression like doing absolutely nothing or why do rich people still work?
Misery comes from outside forces which I can’t do very much to change. I accept that it isn’t always our fault when things don’t go according to what we want but we must learn that how we deal with it is ultimately our choice.
When people treat me unfairly, it is because they are bad people. Let’s be honest everyone is a mixture of good and bad and that includes you, so don’t be a hypocrite as we all make mistakes.
If something is dangerous or fearful, I have to worry about it. I learnt that worry adds nothing to you. Not a single thing so it surely does not help solve a problem.
It is easier to avoid life’s difficulties and responsibilities than to face them. I agree that it is easier but the truth is that it is not wise as we are who we are because of what we have been through and sometimes we learn life-long lessons in some of our most painful times.
It is terrible when things do not work out exactly as I want them to. No one can predict with accuracy the course of their life so it cannot be terrible if it is not something peculiar to you;.
You see controlling your emotions can change your life and gaining a new view on life will dramatically redirect your life. The first time I noticed this was when I went to a church in Edinburgh and I was completely baffled at how the people in the church seemed to not have a care in the world when they sang praises to God. No-one spoke to me but I could see it in them that this was real unexplainable peace. Something I had longed for, for so long and was struggling to find. I was very certain that these people had the same anxieties I possessed but dint understand how it seemed to all dissolve and then it hit me. It dissolved away because their perspective on their life changed. Their problems did not magically disappear. Their life did not change but what they felt because they knew God was in control of their life affected their outward appearance and demeanour. This is what happens when broken relationships and marriages get mended. They simply got a new perspective and then they learn to appreciate what they thought was a failure. Sometimes this is all it takes to see what was there all along and what was obvious to everyone but you.
Surrounding yourself with positive things and looking at life form a different view will certainly help you live a happier life and review everything you once thought was a train wreck. It’s simply like someone with cataract getting a new pair of eyes.
I learnt that we can spend our whole life looking for something we felt was missing and return home to find it was always right beside us. I also learnt that irrational emotions is often the reason why we never see it.
I will end this post with a story I read as I think it best describes what I hope you (the reader) will get out of this
A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.
As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man’s name embossed in gold. Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, “With all your money you give me a Bible?” He then stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.
Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and a wonderful family, but realizing his father was very old, he thought perhaps he should go to see him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make the arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.
When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. As he was reading, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words… “PAID IN FULL”.
How many times do we miss blessings because they are not packaged as we expected? Or love because they don’t look or act exactly as we felt the package would be? Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
Sometimes we don’t realize the good fortune we have or we could have because we expect “the packaging” to be different. What may appear as bad fortune may in fact be the door that is just waiting to be opened.
—— “Essay” China Daily
If you are lucky to have a job, work hard at it. If you are lucky to have friends, cherish them. If you are lucky to be loved unconditionally by someone embrace it and don’t look back, no one said life would be easy they only said it would be worth it. All you have to do is enjoy it.
I hope in some small way I helped make your life just a little bit better and give you a little more perspective than you began reading. I hope that after reading this you would look back at the number of times in life that you fell down and see it as the number of times you stood up and fought. Reading this was another step in that direction so take heart in the fact that you chose to try and not to lie down and drown.
I know what you’re thinking, right off the bat; how can there be any ‘Best’ things about being Homeless. I also know you’re probably curious as to where a homeless guy is writing about being homeless from exactly? Do they have free iPads’ and Wi-Fi attached to park benches now?
No. No, they don’t. If they did they would be covered in vomit, dog shit, some Super Strength Lager cans, and that’s if they hadn’t already been sold to buy said lager. But I digress.
Fortunately I have climbed out of that dog shit and vomit flavoured cocktail of park benches and clambered into a shelter. I thank my stars every day as it was the single worst period of my life. I’ve been a lucky man for most of the rest of it, having had nice houses, cars, high powered jobs, and most importantly of all – a beautiful girlfriend and precious daughter.
Sadly, I succumbed to the oldest cliché of all and became a functioning alcoholic, on the way to then becoming a completely non-functioning and very ill homeless man.
5 Worst Things about being Homeless
Oh God, the fear!
It’s probably not surprising to imagine how being homeless would be a ‘bit scary’ to anyone aside from perhaps those that had done a few tours of Afghanistan or something, but being ordered to leave the comfort of your old home with nothing more than a hastily packed bag of essentials is downright terrifying. ‘Drunk’ is also not a great time to rely upon yourself to pack ‘essentials’ either btw.
Where do you even begin?
The thought of walking up to the nearest fellow vagrant and saying “Sup bro, wanna hang?” is akin to the thought of walking up to a Tiger, kicking it in the balls and calling his mother a dirty great big stripy slut.
So you decide to go it alone and ‘see how it goes’. The idea of stepping into the night with no clue as to how you ‘be successfully homeless’ makes you whimper and shake like a newborn puppy cast into a snowdrift.
However, this initial trepidation pales next to the first night, after deciding upon a bush under which to park yourself, every rustle or noise or sight of another human approaching fills your pants with the same kind of shit as you’re probably sleeping on a makeshift bed of at that very moment.
Up until this point in life I had somewhat prided myself on being ‘a bit handy’ and wouldn’t back down from a fight with all but the toughest of tough guys (OK, up until High School. I never said I was Mike Tyson, alright?!). It became apparent that within any second of that entire night, I’d have squealed away from a squirrel if I thought it had even the merest of a ‘wild glint’ in its eyes.
As a person ‘with home’, you know that if you get caught up in your average downpour, frosty night, or blowy day, you are safe in the knowledge that you can dry off, warm up, etc the second you step back inside your front door.
When you’re literally braving the elements it doesn’t matter if the weather is ‘dickish’, mild, or even pleasant; you are always one (or a combination thereof), too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too flustered.
Sure, some of these are easier than others to cope with, but you’re never really comfortable and are all too aware that it can (and probably will) get worse. Think of it as Mother Nature’s punishment for you soiling her trees and hedgerows day and night. I’d never known what it was like to be truly frozen to the core, appreciate what it’s like to live in the Sahara, or feel as if your skin in its entirety has actually gotten trench foot.
What’s more, when you get kicked off the porch by whomever is donning the ‘shit-kickers’, clutching just a small bag of belongings (and I was one of the lucky ones) you don’t exactly have the correct seasonal wardrobe of raincoat, a light jacket, perhaps some darling waterproof woolly gloves, the right blend of hat options for snow and sun glare, and so forth.
In all fairness, you wouldn’t want to have to lug it about anyway and would desperately try and stow it in a bush and hope you remember where you left it, and or that it didn’t get stolen by a fellow bush-pisser.
That’s why you tend to see homeless people wearing a thick coat, hat, jacket, and boots whether it be baking hot or pissing it down. And it truly feels as bad as it smells, I assure you.
Like most of us on this site, I am a regular technology user, be it Smartphone, internet, social networking, etc. I also similarly rely on the ability to contact anyone/anytime. Oh, and damn if I am feeling really adventurous I even communicate with family, friends, and colleagues – in person!
Homeless people don’t often choose to spend their money on mobile phone top-ups, but I was actually different. Sadly, one night someone managed to wrestle the phone out of my weak, sleep deprived hands, and so I was left with no means of talking to anyone, finding out about the outside World, or keeping in touch with my ‘old life’.
I’ve never been much of a crier and enjoyed my own company, but for the first week I cried a lot. I was so gut-wrenchingly lonely and just wanted to see my daughter smile for Daddy, to have my girlfriend tell me everything would be alright, to hear my Mum tell me she loved me, to make my boss proud – just one last time.
Now through a series of events stemming from my drinking, lying about drinking, or being too stubborn to seek the help to stop drinking, I had let all those closest to me down. Understandably they had walked away one by one. And now finally I was stark-bollock-nakedly alone.
If you ever wish everyone would just get lost and leave you alone; Trust me, you don’t. Not for long.
Following on from The Isolation (and remember not everyone is an alcoholic like myself) is really just the realisation and questioning of exactly what happened to your life; the people you know, the complete removal of your self-respect and self-worth, and for me obviously; the utter and complete shame of being the un-intelligent person who made yourself homeless .
As a chronic binge drinker I’d have long periods (gradually dwindling, admittedly) of sobriety, where life was pretty damn sweet and I’d be in control. In short, I’d ‘beaten it’. Why didn’t I stop before I had thrown it all away?
Now, ironically I didn’t actually have much of anything much to do all day except drink, or think about my shame, or both. Instead, I walked endlessly around and around the park, replaying every despicable, nasty, selfish, cruel, dishonest, awful thing I had ever done. I was in a continual cycle of self-torture and persecution and I couldn’t escape it.
You can run away from home, or you can run home. Where do you run to when you don’t have one?
The Lack of Emergency Exit Signs
“Excuse me World!
Having contemplated being rock bottom for a LONG time and having stopped the drinking, I’d like to climb back aboard now please.”
Nuh uh, not quite so fast buddy…
Once more, I am sure you have seen for yourself the sheer amount of homeless people out there; with or without drink, drug, or miscellaneous issues. If not, I can tell you. It’s a metric tonne.
I’m not here to tell you why everyone else got into their own messes, or whether it was deserved like my own. However, regardless of how you dug your own hole, rest assured there are a lot of people ahead and behind you in the queue for help.
There aren’t loads of places in government sponsored rehab programmes, there aren’t a bunch of halfway houses out there offering free board. Fuck, it’s hard enough to jostle for some free coffee and bread at the local soup kitchen.
There certainly aren’t any big, flashing neon signs that say – “This way to your new life homeless dude!”
You’ll largely have to find out where you can get help for yourself, knock on a whole bunch of doors (and get a lot of them slammed back in your face), and once you do see any glimmer of help available you sure as hell better fight for it, both emotionally and sometimes physically, and make sure you don’t throw it back in anyone’s face in the process as I saw a lot of people who screwed up the moment they had a foot in the door.
Don’t misunderstand me, there are people out there trying to help, charity organisations, even kind hearted people who WILL try – if you help yourself. But it’s still a bloody hard slog and although I am now thankfully homed in a shelter, I know I continue to have a long way and plenty of time to go before I once again have a place to call HOME.
There are also some not so bad times, honest…
5 Best Things about being Homeless
It’s a bit of a revelation to sit in the sunshine and watch the world go by, completely oblivious to any of its problems. To be rid of job responsibilities, housework, clearing up baby sick. Woohoo! You are free as a bird once more to make your own choices!
After the initial horror, nay, Armageddon of being kicked out of your lovely and painstakingly house by your amazingly patient and gorgeous girlfriend who gave you your beautiful young daughter; pet your dog; watch TV at leisure, oh or eat, there is (believe it or not!), a fleeting yet blissful period where you feel the weight of the World slide away and you begin to think about this ‘opportunity’ to start over in life and make better choices.
To be honest, these ‘better choices’ often became clouded somewhat by the odd can of Super Strength Lager, but a proverbial fresh start was somehow now attainable. Much more than when I was being herded along by my rat race existence, in a job I hated, unable to swim against the tide of ‘regular life’ and do some things I wanted due to simply the perceived ‘lack of time’. Writing for example, reading a book, doing NOTHING but sit by a river in silence.
All those things were brought back to me, in the most horrid way, but I now will make sure they are always a part of whatever the future holds. In short, I’d face planted hard, but I was freshly ‘grounded’ in more ways than one.
In my previously employed incarnation, I had become a mindless middle management drone – sharing the same few conversations with work colleagues about the latest episode of The Walking Dead (how apt…), Call of Duty, the pressures of ‘having to spending time with her indoors’, and of course fatherhood. It’d been a long time since I’d met anyone who felt new, or who’d led a different kind of existence, or who wanted something different out of life.
Now I was meeting and sometime hanging out with characters such a ‘Wheelie Dave’ (he had a wheelchair – us crazy homeless sure know how to give a dude a nickname, eh?) Mental Mickey (oh yeah, they just keep-a-coming!); Stevie (OK, not so hot that one); Father Ted (UK sitcom character – GIYLF), and so many random encounters with ‘normals’, i.e. dog walkers, retirees, commuters, etc.
If you took time to speak politely, they wouldn’t always offer you money but they would often share a tender moment from their own lives, or maybe enquire about your own predicament (if they were feeling especially brave). From these tales of highs, lows, joy and woes, I (as a writer) suddenly had a whole new bank of inspiration, countless fables to regurgitate and regale. Hey, I wasn’t really a homeless alcoholic – I was simply researching for my book!
Either way (and like the corniness or not), unless I was starving hungry or jonesing for a beer/cigarette, such moments often lifted my spirits immeasurably more. There are a lot of very interesting strangers out there to meet and share your life with. Never mind on Facebook and Twitter. Talk to someone! A lot of them also still care about other people. You might just have to prove you’re not a mental or likely to get a bit stabby.
It’s worth making the effort to share your stories with others though, however that may be.
Man Make Fire, Strong Like Bull
Before my excursion into whimpering myself to sleep each day (you NEVER sleep at night unless the lagers were really flowing that day…), I was a successful videogame producer with a love of techno, comics, sci-fi, i.e. a financially affluent geek. I’d had a middle class upbringing and I couldn’t honestly say I had lived in the vague vicinity of anything resembling ‘Da Ghetto’.
As such my survival skills were somewhat limited, to things such as ordering pizza, a bit of DIY, and a pretty good range of ‘Streetfighter’ noises. Putting it bluntly I was no Bear Grylls or Andy McNab.
OK, you got me, I’m still not, but I can now: –
· Find a secluded spot in any park where I won’t be seen or smelled by passers by. Similarly, I can tell someone approaching from about 500 yards away, more if they are upwind and smoking a cigarette.
· Start a fire even in damp conditions with damp paper.
· Erect a makeshift shelter from nothing more than cardboard boxes, using preferably a waterproof groundsheet (I never said I was back in the literal Dark Ages), and make sure I remained largely dry and out of the wind long enough to attempt a power nap.
· Find food via a mixture of scavenging from the bins at one of the local bakeries, donations from kind strangers (thank you again, whoever you were), and bartering for cig/booze with fellow wanderers.
· Last but not least – Find a place to crap. As long as there are no kids about or persons likely to take offense, most men will whip it out and have a pee, but you don’t think of how difficult it is for a homeless person to find place to make number 2 until you are one.
Public Toilets aren’t around like they used to be, and the newer ones even require ill afforded payment, so you are required to either beg a local pub/restaurant/cafe owner to let you walk through their establishment and using the facilities (not easy!), or you learn to hide in the bushes, arse in the wind, and make sure you collect discarded newspapers where you can. Yup – it really is that glamorous!
Humility and Appreciation
Probably the best thing for me personally was re-learning humility and appreciation. *Stop puking at the back!*
In all seriousness though, I’d taken for granted my girlfriend and daughter, had stopped giving them the life they deserved; I’d thrown my family’s love back in their faces time and time again, they all enjoyed a drink so why couldn’t I?
I’d messed up my career, relying on the many ‘last chances’ my former bosses had given me thanks to my past glory (during the ‘dry times’) and imagining it impossible they would dare let me go.
I’d been a complete shit to any friend who had tried to just be a friend for friend’s sake or to try and help me; my ego seeming to think they would always come back because deep down I’m a great guy, remember?
Underneath it all, I had been a successful big shot at major companies, and had it all, so even though I deep down knew the success was fading, and people were becoming disenchanted; there was simply no way I could really lose it all. Was there?
This whole experience has made me remember how lucky I have undoubtedly been in my life. It has rediscovered my drive to be an honest, loving, grateful man and fix those relationships I have messed up. Most of all I was appreciative I was even still alive. I had been remind of my desire to be the Father my Dad never was (he died 3 years ago incidentally, aged just 55 years old – I’ll let you guess what of).
The Only Way is Up
Another possibly contrite statement, but true nevertheless – I have never been to such depths of hell as I have during my relatively brief time on the streets. I’ve tried to summarise it above, but there are a million other ‘worst’ things, yet not so many ‘bests’ about this colossal fall from ‘grace’ of mine.
Un/Luckily, the only way for me is up now. I don’t want to go back there. I CAN’T. I’ve been forced to remember who ‘Sober Louis’ is, and you know what? I kinda like him. Other people kinda like him too.
I am starting from scratch and hopefully by regaining the trust of those around me and with their forgiveness combined with mine to myself, maybe I can even reconnect with my own little family, circle of friends, and career path. ..
Perhaps, I can even go home.
By Louis J Hayward
FALLING IN LOVE OR PICKING WHOM WE LOVE
It is an age old question. Do you fall in love (spontaneous) or pick who we love (spend some time to consider everything)? Which one is forever?
While some people never have to ask this question (lucky ones) for some of us we need to decide. It might seem like quite an irrelevant question but it is a very important one. Do you let all your emotions do all the work in your love life or do you give your brain a chance to help out?
One sunny afternoon while in university, two of my female friends came over to my house in school because it had been a while since we were able to catch up. I was so excited to see them. The only thing was that they had forgotten to tell me that they would be coming with someone else. Where do I even begin to start in describing this lady? She was so beautiful to me. She had the perfect smile, the perfect size, the perfect height and she even dressed perfectly. Her name was so unique; I had never heard it before. Ooh! It was love at first sight.
Days after the visit, I could not get her out of my mind. I just had to see her again. I asked my friends who eventually introduced us. I spent every day over the next 3 weeks with her. We had exactly the same experiences, our families were alike, we coped with things the same way and even knew exactly how the other one felt about certain things even before we discussed it. It seemed like we grew up together and saw the world the same way. It was so exciting I missed classes just to be with her and I simply could not get enough of her. Everything you can imagine you feel during love. I felt it all (heart beating fast, nervous to the point it becomes draining).
We started to date and within a month she said “I love you” and I said the same back. I was so happy I cannot even begin to express by how much.
One evening while at home I decided to give my new love a call (just to see how she was doing), we had only been dating for about 3 months then. It was a short call and at the end I parted with the usual “take care of you, I love you”. Then I waited for the reply but all she said was “take care, ok”.
This was a little weird but I could not make a big deal out of it. I ignored it and tried the same thing the next day. I got the same answer. I tried it the third time and I got the same answer. I could not ignore this anymore so I gave her another call and asked if there was anything wrong or happening with her that she wanted to talk about. After several reassurances that her life was fine, I asked her why she could not say “I love you” anymore.
She simply replied that “she did not know if she still felt the same way anymore”. I was relatively calm when I was told this and I asked her to take time out to figure this out (obviously assuming she would come back to me) and to tell me when she is ready to start dating again).
Two and a half years later I still did not get that phone call. Talk about a long wait, right?
I expect everyone would have their own example of a time when they fell hopelessly in love at first sight and how it ended. It might have taken longer to end than mine but ultimately it must have happened in the same cycle ( Meet, like, love, reason, end). No matter how much you care about a person today it could all be over in a month. That’s just life.
I had spent all my time concentrating on the emotional side of things. The excitement and everything that love at first sight came with had completely clouded my reasoning. When I take a look back, this girl could not have been more wrong for me. Her history and signs showed so much and to be honest I should have known better. I got so lost in feeling lived that I forgot and made excuses for everything I had seen. I learnt it doesn’t matter why someone is the way they are, it just matter who they are now. If you are selfish from being alone, you are selfish and that’s all that matters, after-all every character a person shows gets there somehow. Remember humans are born with no character at all.
You see the main problem here was we had the same characteristics and my chance of becoming emotionally whole would have been eliminated. I am a big fan of being an individual and that’s not what I am talking about here. I know it would have been comforting to have someone who thought like you but it would have inevitably been crippling to have someone who never criticised or challenged you.
As I grew older I learnt to discard all those attributes and things we feel when we meet a new attractive other and focus on the things that make her “perfect for you”. It is important to be attracted to your partner but it is not the most important thing. This is simply because as human beings we already have the ability to identify and be passionate about even the simplest items (like a pen or book) if it is presented to us with the right perspective. So worrying about attractiveness is relatively unimportant.
Each and every one of us holds an innate psychological design containing some-what exact details about our life and the scars left by our experiences. This contains our fears, anxieties, defence mechanisms, our coping mechanisms and in some cases it is something we are not even aware about ourselves.
The amazing thing about this innate item is that it works like a scanner and gives us the capacity to identify another person’s psychological map. I believe that the people we are most attracted to are the people whose psychological design complements our own. We are often searching for similarities but we should be looking for differences. Please note that I am only talking about complimentary differences, nothing else.
I think I must state at this point that we should have already differentiated between our “real” self and our “ideal” self before thinking about this. If we do not know who we really are we might be searching for the wrong type of complementary characteristics. Like I tried to explain earlier If your first reaction to a very complex situation is anger even though it might be advantageous to see yourself as being gentle do not deceive yourself that you are gentle. This could result in you making a terrible mistake in relationship choices. We usually know ourselves best by how we re-act when we hit rock bottom not when things are great for us.
Now here is the kicker believe it or not but opposites attract. The purpose of this unconscious fit is to find someone who can complement our experiences. This could be someone who’s the same as us, but most likely we would be looking for someone we think we might be able to learn a thing or two from; someone who has developed coping mechanisms and defence mechanism that are different from our own. This would be someone that can provide a different perspective to any problem we might find ourselves. This is often someone who has struggled with similar problems along the course of life but has come up with a different way of dealing with it. A way that we personally can appreciate them for. To put it quite simply, our ideal partner would be our best chance of becoming psychologically whole. The sad part is very often he could be the one you have trained yourself to ignore because her/his words are too close to the truth.
Although no two relationships are ever the same, there are still some ways to classify them. These classifications often happen unconsciously and shape our roles in our relationships.
Idol and worshipper– This happens when one partner puts the other on a platform, this often indicates an issue with competition or a fear of failure. To avoid any form of comparison, both partners unconsciously agree to play this game.
Master and slave–This is often found in relationships that existed before the feminist movement. There is uneven distribution of authority and control. The partner who avoids responsibility often obeys the rules of “Master character” and they often describe this as a laid back attitude and describe their partner as control freaks.
The run-a-ways– This type of relationship typically exists amongst teenagers but is not exclusive to them. Both partners have a fear of intimacy and in some cases rejection and they keep chasing each other. Occasionally the chase will swap around.
Birds of a feather– This is typically the couple that most people love to hate. They often believe they are in their own perfect world. They dress like each other, finish each other’s sentences, they hate the same things , share the same interests and believe it is them against the world. Chances are that you know at least one couple like this.
Parent and child type–This is actually more common than you might think. It is a relationship status characterized by dependency and trust in which one partner takes on the role of a child and the other the parent. The general idea here is that if they act needy and dependent their partner would take care of them. This however this often leads the “Parent partner” to deny the need for dependency and thus create later problem if they ever feel they might need it.
Warriors – on the surface these partners look as though they should never have even met. They argue incessantly over anything. They both avoid intimacy by living in a war zone. This are very intimate people and it usually a very bad idea to take any sides during an argument or to attack any one as they very often gang up when threatened.
My classifications are a little un-orthodox, based purely on observation and it is very possible to see some elements of your relationship in all or some of these categories. For example, in a time of grief and vulnerability you may act out the parent and child model, while many couples become like babes in the wood following the birth of a child. Or in times of financial struggle take on the warrior role.
Good or bad chemistry?
All categories serve a single purpose. They are designed to protect ourselves from potential anxiety. Chances are that we are not aware of this until something happens to change it. We all grow and mature, our needs change and our relationships need to adapt to those changes.
Very often in life we spend our time growing up through the years and we look for characteristics that complement our view of our self when we were kids (our ideal self) and we never remember to discard some of this as we grow up and become who we really are.
This often leads to varying interpretations of chemistry. What is good chemistry? Good chemistry is really simple to identify. It is when your relationship is simply effortless. When you feel like you could be naked and have a body full of embarrassing illnesses and still be able to show your SO (significant other). This is very rare to find and should be cherished when we are lucky to find that person.
Most people confuse an effortless relationship to signify a boring relationship. I believe it is quite the opposite. Along life either through television, books and instruments of socialisation we have been conditioned to believe that all the attributes associated with anxiety (such as a fluttering heart, butterfly in your tummy, getting hot all over) are actually signs of a fantastic relationship. While they may be signs of passion they are not signs of a lasting relationship and this is why very often when these feelings disappear people often assume their relationship is heading for the gutter. Understanding that an ideal partner is simply someone that is good for you, someone that makes you feel safe, someone you don’t have to be polite around or mind your quirky habits around, someone you can always count on and someone who you know will do anything to keep you safe. This would normally be someone that can see things differently from you and can provide you with a different perspective on any issue without disregarding your opinion. Like having two sides to a coin they are the ones that give you a shot at being psychologically and emotionally whole. This could be the difference in finding happiness and remaining happy. Let’s face it, people like that (designed specially to deal with you and all the additional stuff you bring) do not come very often.
However be alert and try to see people for what and who they really are. Do not project characters onto people just because they seem like they should be the one.
Most people learn this the hard way and very often they learn this is when the “ideal partner” has come and gone. This usually happens because as we grow up we often forget to discard the information we thought we knew about ourselves. We see the perceived best of us (based on our aspirations and what we feel we need to succeed) and often ignore the reality.
To explain that statement let me use an example. Stephanie wanted to become a singer when she was only 4 years old. It is all she has ever wanted to be and with every passing day her desire to be a world famous singer starts to grow. She spends every day practicing her tones and training her voice. The only problem here is that no one told Stephanie when she was growing up that she could not sing to save her life. Stephanie grows up projecting certain characteristics that are found with singers onto herself. She thinks she sounds marvellous, is very composed, courageous, very hardworking, very dedicated and a bit of a diva.
Along life Stephanie gets several very bad reviews but she always managed to convince herself that they were all not worthy of her “enormous” talent. Stephanie spends all her life trying to make a career in music and she never succeeds. At 60 years of age it finally sinks into Stephanie that maybe she was not as talented as she felt she was.
Stephanie thinks; “It is a pity it is too late to go change my career path, maybe I could have been a success at something else in life. Why wouldn’t anyone tell me I really could not sing?”
When you think about it with that pespective in mind, who would Stephanie’s ideal partner be? Would it simply be someone that saw her for what she was and managed to re-direct her without killing her passion to succeed? Would it be someone that complements her characteristics and will help her succeed not someone who is the same as her and who deludes her into continuing on this fruitless journey all her life. Wouldn’t you agree that the two sound more likely to be true?
When you pick whom you love, remember that it is not about using a person. You have to let the person pick you and you also have to be someone that can be loved. What I am trying to say is that to have a perfect fit you have to complete each other and not just be a one sided affair.
Love at first sight is a fleeting emotion. How do you really love someone you do not know? How do you love someone you cannot yet trust? How do you love someone that you don’t know their bad side (everyone has some)? I love the idea and the concept but to pursue it vigorously is unfortunately responsible for a number of failed relationships. When you meet someone for the very first time discard whatever feeling you might have for them (if only for a little while), good or bad and learn what makes them unique and right for you.
Take your time when you find yourself attracted to a person and learn the ways in which you can complete each other. See the fun in the person and when you meet someone that makes you feel safe, someone that makes you feel like you and someone that provides you with a psychological, emotional or mental edge. Hold it tight and know that it is yours for later in life all beauty and physical attraction passes away and nothing else matters.
Most men in their forties don’t brag about having the most beautiful wife. They brag about having the most caring wife. The most devoted mothers and the most thoughtful partners. To be perfectly honest you could probably find a similar argument in women of that age.
“Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of its trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse for impossibility, for it thinks all things are lawful for itself and all things are possible.” Thomas A. Kempis
LEAVE A COMMENT OR SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS POST
A POEM To my unborn child.
I am writing this letter to my unborn child
From a fathers heart to a heart straight from my God
Who before its first breath my heart already loves
I love you more than even life can ever hold
My beautiful wife, what precious life you will bring
I love you even more for keeping you till this day.
I know its naive to love someone unknown
Yet in my silliness I feel at peace
For in your eyes yet unseen I know I shall come close to seeing my lord.
My child , My life, what simple words to speak
Counting down the days have been the longest wait of my life
Soon I shall meet you , knowing my life will never be the same
To cuddle, to nurse, to kiss your tears away
To cherish, to keep warm all the days of your life
As every day passes and every fear rises
Wondering and praying that you will be all you can be
Looking to my Lord to keep you safe when I cant
Oh, how hungry I am to show you a wonderful world
To hold your tiny arms till you can walk on your own
And keep you in my strong arms till yours grow stronger than mine
My beautiful child don’t be lonely in heaven
Make friends there my child for no one can harm you there
Remember to say hello to the lord and tell him I am doing all I can
To be ready for his gift.
Tell him not to worry for I will do everything to keep you safe and remind you where you came from
My darling child, kiss his feet and tell him I said I know I am lucky for soon
I will have you in my arms.
There is light after the DARKNESS
I woke one morning looking through a dark room
thinking life’s moving too soon
No light to behold
No sign of troubles after
Wanting to fight yet not knowing how
for a second I gave up praying
nothing to believe in
Then I found your book,
A little hook was all it took
Your heart, your soul
every word like freedom here, bringing me back to life like CPR
every promise a reminder that my story cant be over before it begins
No sitting here looking like life ain’t life no more
No point looking outwards for things you gave before I could walk
You taught me lord to walk proud
I had all I could
showed me the path
Walking the roads of champions
Push myself to the limit
Making a mockery of all the wisdom I acquired prior to your word
To those that say you will never make it,
those that used their words to do nothing but break you
we love you all
Those that felt you gave your all
No hard feelings
I thank you for your words
Your words made me who I am
If not for you I would never have fought
I would never have given my all to see those words untrue
Never have put it all in to ensure I dont believe those words
I thank you because I almost believed the words
I thank you because your words brought me to him,
your little reminders lifted me in a way I will never have found
I learnt opinions ain’t facts, you take it and let it be
I learnt to walk in nothing wearing nothing but my heart on my sleeves
And the days courage walked away I learnt to run out and pull it back
Being who you are comes from the heart
Telling you, that you can be all you set out to be means nothing if you don’t see it yourself
And if you cant see it now, look through the eyes of the one that never sees you as less
Look through the eyes of the one that doesn’t tell you one thing and act differently
Walk with me brothers and sisters
Leave all those lies behind
Let me show you the path I found for I know I can never walk alone
The father walks with us all
Reminds you of things long forgotten
For as long as he reigns,
your story hasn’t even started yet.
Motivation comes in short bursts. Always act while you still are, for motivations are only useful till they have been achieved.
I remember my very first job interview in the uk. It was a hot day (unusual for Scotland). I was as nervous as you can imagine. In the middle of the interview, I was asked a question that made me ponder for a while. Little did I know it would be the same question I would be asked in every single interview throughout my life. The question was what keeps you motivated now and what would be your motivation in five year’s? The question is quite simple to answer but I think it is one of the most pointless questions you can ask a person.
My reasons are simply that whatever keeps me motivated to work now and write would most likely not be my reasons for continuing in a few years and I have absolutely no idea what my motivations would be in five years. Or can we see the future? Nevertheless, I understood her point and what she really wanted to know.
When I was 15 years old all I lived for was to find a way to buy a car. I worked to buy a car, woke up with nothing but that thought in my head, even left my home country to go abroad and work a bit so I can afford my dream BMW. It seemed like I could do almost anything for that car. Three cars later as you can imagine I did not care about that anymore. Then there was University and I thought it was all about making good grades and towards the end of my first degree. I felt it was all about self-improvement so I can get a good job. During these period/ stages in my life nothing else was more important. Today it is all about achievements for me. Constantly working to make the lives of people that I care about better and believing I will get to a point where I can help much more than that. Improving my life and learning as much as I can. Teaching with whatever little wisdom I have, how to get on and do great things in life and hopefully transfer my knowledge to someone else who might need it.
Whatever it is you feel motivated to do, go ahead and do it. Do not waste time contemplating on how you would do it, grab the moment.
That little period of motivation could be the defining point of your life and what a tragedy if that day comes and we do nothing about it. If you are artistic use your arts. If you are creative, create something. Be bold and act.
During my masters years I worked as a carer for the elderly. I remember a conversation I had with a man named Steve. Steve was 78yrs old and he had been diagnosed with dementia. He had brief moments of lucidity and when they came he spoke about his life. Steve was a former farmer who later went on to serve in the army. He had spent his whole life on the farm and his parents had died when he was young and shortly after that he enlisted into the army. According to him, he had wanted nothing more than to be a song writer. Steve confided in me and told me that he often had some very beautiful song in his head but often found out that every time they came even when it was just a few lines. He was either knee deep in Animal leavings or in active battle. He felt that he never had a pen to write things out and never managed to complete a single song. This little tragedy had haunted him all his life that his last desire before he dies was to complete just one song. I cared for Steve for almost a year and watched his health deteriorate and watched him never complete a song. The world would never get to know if Steve was right. Maybe Steve was really the greatest song writer that could have been?
I promised myself that it would never be me. I would work when motivated, write when motivated and act when motivated. Life would never pass me by with such regret. What a catastrophe if we miss out on the one thing we are most suited for.
I think the point of this is really clear and simple so I won’t ramble on about it. It is a bit of a cliché to say never give up on your dream but I believe that we should never stop for as long as we are still motivated. Aim with everything you are and work with everything you have, remember that whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.
So don’t just be motivated, Work it till you have nothing left to offer.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom”. Ecclesiastes 9:10 (The Bible NIV)
The quality of life is more dependent on our perspective of life than our circumstance. Inevitably we become whatever we think we are.
As everyday turns to weeks and weeks to years, we see, feel or hear things whether it is from our mentors, a stranger on the street, a person we knew only for a few weeks, a former lover and even from a foe. An action touches us and sometimes that action is so powerful that we carry it on with us till the very day we die. Sometimes the experiences are good and sometimes terrible but it is often the terrible ones that can either make or break us.
Hopefully some-one will learn from this but I must remind you that this is not designed to tell you what to do or how to live your life (eventually you will have to make that decision yourself and live with the consequences). It is designed to show you various options to any given situation by focusing on why we interpret things the way we do
Behavioural psychologists have long debated on whether the first emotion a baby feels is shock or fear. This is because of what is termed the Startle Reflex (is the response of mind and body to a sudden unexpected stimulus, such as a flash of light, a loud noise (acoustic startle reflex), or a quick movement near the face). Many researchers believe that it is the later (fear). So take solace in knowing that even if it doesn’t feel macho to be afraid sometimes, realize that you were born this way (afraid).
There are many sources of fear, some are unreasonable (to everyone else but the person experiencing them) others are considered unhealthy such as Phobias (Please note that just cause you are afraid of something doesn’t mean it can be classified as a phobia). But whatever the source – a sense of the unknown, the future, physical danger, spiritual warfare, financial crises or reputation issues – FEAR IS REAL AND MUST BE FACED HONESTLY.
By now you might have noticed that in most human beings when faced with danger/ challenges that demand a unilateral answer the two foundational responses that appear to be hard wired into our psyche are flight or fight. So are you a fight or flight person becomes the next fundamental question?
Our fears more often than not can make us or break us. In an ideal world they should be treated as a stepping stone and taken one step at a time, even if the steps are baby steps. But we all know we don’t live in an ideal world. It is simply easier to let fear consume us than to fight through fear.
In my experience the best way to overcome a fear is not through dwelling on the fear but by focusing positively on resources we have to overcome it. In my case it was rejection. I was afraid that there was something about me that people might never identify with. Something I needed to prove and show that I was good enough. I wanted to connect with the world in a deeper way but was more afraid of rejection to even try.
You see before I had gotten my first proper job after my first masters degree I had sent over two thousand applications, this was no exaggeration as the true amount is probably closer to three thousand. I had been selected and gotten to the last stage with several graduate placements and in one case I actually got to the last three out of over three thousand applications they said they received and still never got picked. I was in a world where I was good enough to go through different stages for the job application but never seen as good enough for the actual job. Eventually after several years it took me a while to realise that what was truly missing was a sense of worthiness. A sense of direction became no existent, a sense of belonging a fairy tale and a sense of true ownership had no place in my being. I was no longer courageous I had been rejected so many times I felt I did not deserve it. I stopped applying for jobs and no longer cared. I tried to start my own business but needless to say the same fear of rejection came across. This was part of my “journey to self confidence” but at the time I did not know this.
I had made certain what ultimately was not and that is why it hurt. I had believed that I was a perfect gift with no blemishes just waiting to show the world that I was the best thing since sliced bread. I had told myself I would get the job during every interview because I had read so many books about “what you believe you will achieve”. That I never realised that there was second side to the coin which one must also learn and this was the art of rejection or failure.
What was truly missing was not courage in the way we understand it today but courage in its original meaning (i.e from the latin word cor meaning heart). You see I wanted the world to see me for who I thought I was that I had forgotten to make sure I saw myself for who I thought I was. I had missed the most important foundational principle for motivation. This was courage to believe in yourself, courage to accept your own imperfection.
In order for others to believe in you or accept you, you must first of all accept yourself. This will bring about real, genuine and lasting connection with others. You see after all this while I forgot to truly embrace myself. Embracing your strengths is easy but accepting your weaknesses takes real courage. This is what makes you unique and you.
In life nothing is ever really guaranteed but having courage through your fear or vulnerable side helps you to face this uncertainty. It helps you date and interact with the people when searching for a partner even though there is no guarantee the person you meet is the perfect one for you. It helps you to seek a goal you though eluded you even though you might never live to see the extent of your own success. I am speaking about something deeper than just motivation for a project.
Fear either of shame, failure or rejection is not a bad thing. Your ability your ability to deal with it is what will ultimately make you succeed.
You see fear is not just the foundation of rejection it is also the foundation of love, belonging, ownership and true inner strength. If you are afraid to love, you might never find love even when it is standing right in front of you. If you are afraid of rejection by people you will never find connection. I am not talking about numbing fear or pretending like it doesn’t exist. As I believe that emotions exist on a continuum. (i.e removing one removes the other). If you remove the ability to feel an emotion as strong as hate then deep love is ultimately eliminated. I am talking about feeling it and accepting it. I am talking about getting to a point where you realise that you are more than enough to achieve what you want if you chose to learn from mistakes, battle through fears and accept that nothing in life is truly guaranteed, all you can do is always give it your best. What quells the motivation most people receive after reading a book is fear that they might not succeed. What should keep you going is understanding that just because you did not succeed immediately does not mean you will not be a success.
Please remember I can only tell you the truth, you will ultimately have to decide what to do with it. My real turning point in life started the day I decided to let myself be myself. To be seen, heard and hopefully understood regardless of what may come. I dropped so much emotional baggage that day and haven’t looked back.
This did not mean I no longer faced disappointments but I had found a new way to accept disappointment.
When we face disappointment and adversity how we handle them is more important than the disappointment themselves. There is an old Japanese proverb that says “Fall Seven times, Stand up eight times”. This proverb emphasizes getting up more times than we fall. Life will always have trials, it will always contain problems. You will be hurt more than once and disappointed more times than you care to count. This is almost a guarantee because life simply is unpredictable.
However, our survival tomorrow is largely dependent on how we solve our problems today. If you believe you can achieve it, you will most likely try to find a way to achieve it (This is no way means that believing is all that it takes to achieve, it is just a part of the process).
I have learnt that the result of letting a fear consume you is too painful to explain and the feeling when released from that fear is too amazing to be ignored. Life will always throw challenges our way and as we grow older our fears change and anxieties morph but when we decide to face the fear at any given time we can be empowered and very often we discover depths in our ability to persevere and develop patience that we did not know we were capable of.
Do not grow weary when you get afraid for every fear you manage to overcome can only prove to you just how much you have to offer this world. Please note that when I speak of fear I am not making reference to just things we can hold but sometimes to intangible things such as a false belief system based on anxieties. A good example would be a lady that never goes out for dates because according to her all men are losers when the truth might be that she has a deep fear of rejection.
One thing one must put to mind is that “Courage is not the absence of fear but the realisation that something else is more important than being afraid.
You see fear ultimately can cripple you. Fear ultimately has two mantras
a) You cannot do it because of ……..?
Then just when you manage to get through it all then comes the second part
b) Who are you and why do you deserve it?
The two answers are simple.
Answer to A: Despite my fear of …… I can still make it. My fear reminds me that I am human.
Answer to B: No-one deserves success as it is not a gift but I am worthy of it because I believe in myself and what I am doing.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”- Lao Tzu
I have a very good friend who has an almost irrational fear of germs and this affected every area and every aspect of her life. She cannot enjoy outings like most people and even though she always tried to ignore her fear it seemed to take so much from her and she never really felt any sense of relief till she got home and took a shower.
It wasn’t just about her outward appearance but it affected every part of her and every time I watched her do what with any additional intensity could easily be called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and often wonder how much more at peace she would have been if she faced her fears rationally. The fact is the human body can deal with more germs than she cared to admit.
This does not mean that I think she was irrational. Her situation was neither good nor bad, it was what it was. I just observed as it seemed to completely possess her to the point when she was constantly on the lookout and often distracted because of this. This example is only used to put additional emphasis on the fact that fear is sometimes more than just external and can have internal and extended implications.
Dealing with fear is like greasing the machine of motivation. Embracing fear allows you to finally be in a position to take action.
A belief is not just an idea the mind possesses but an idea that possesses the mind– Robert Oxford.