Do you value your own relationship with yourself?  

I think this is something that most people do not prioritise until it’s too late.  But when is it too late?  Is it when they can no longer bare to be with themselves?

I know that we are social creatures and it’s rather important to have healthy relationships.  I have come to notice that we are okay when we are born, to be in our own company, and then we serve our needs with our mother or motherly figure.  For instance, for contact, for food, for our entire wellbeing.  

We further develop into solitary play and discovery.  We may not mind interaction, infact we may find it interesting.  And then we inevitably face complications as we are unable to share, and our lack of language skills may encourage our screaming, our hitting, biting, pinching, or whatever we have come to learn at that moment.  

How nice it becomes when we finally learn to play cooperatively.  Though this is not always successful, or long lasting.  Fighting, unfairness, miscommunications, and just bad moments may account for new frustrations.  But I don’t think this is all so bad.  After all, this is how we learn and develop.  We learn to deal with others and with ourselves.  Our emotions begin to develop and then we become individuals who learn to deal with different circumstances our own way.  Bring on life’s challenges!

Then we progress to close friendships and close conflicts too.  We do things that make us proud and then we do things that make us confused and therefore unique.  

The school years prove challenging as we feel vulnerable and crave acceptance.  Some receive the healthy attention that they long for and some do not.  These are crucial years.  Many adults often make reference to their younger years, and the disappointments that they endured.

How difficult it becomes when adulthood approaches.  It’s exciting and scary too.  Some take the journey with its bumps whilst others get stuck unable to get over the bumps.  What happens in your mind when you face challenges?  What makes you different to your family members or to your friends?  Critical periods can be so testing.  They test our patience, our courage and our logic.

When we venture into the workforce we find our own loneliness and challenges.  Notice, challenges are in all stages of development?  I just love challenges.  They are our opportunity for learning.  We grow, we succeed and we create ourselves.  Sure some challenges can set us back, but most of the time it’s mindset.  We can find that we become disheartened and we lose track of pushing through the tough times.

I remember my own interruption to my smooth daily routine which also then created a fancy roller coaster of emotional distress.  This meant also that my strength to face daily challengers diminished and I found it difficult to manage.  Moments like that you become grateful for your partner and your friends who can carry you while you feel heavy.  

What makes us heavy?  What makes us light?  Sometimes we are light but we can’t soldier on.  Sometimes we are heavy yet we make it through the day. It’s amazing that we can at times get through tough times, and at other times struggle through those same moments.  But hey, that’s life and we cannot dictate this.  So I’m here to say, just own it.  What ever comes with it, just own it.  And when those feelings creep up that disturb your entire bodily system, own that too.  

Receive all the messages your body delivers to you. That’s right, that’s what they are…messages.  So how do you respond when you receive messages? When your friends give you messages, you respond don’t you? Or at least you want to.  So what about when your body gives you messages?  Do you respond or do you shy away.  Im going to suggest you respond to that in a way that will form a partnership.  You see partnerships aren’t always smooth.  But they are there through such conditions.  Ride the wave together, let the weather shine and then rain.  But no matter what, the day ends and a new day rises.  So let’s consider that this, is all that’s required of you.  Just to ride along.

So often we focus on our worries.  I was having a coffee with my cousin the other day who reminded me that stress is one of the biggest killers.  The small vessels in our brain cope with our increase in blood pressure during short bursts of stress.  That’s what the human body can cope with.  But these days we are putting our bodies through ongoing stress (like years) and this takes a real toll on the body.  This is enough an incentive for me to look for other channels to relieve and cope with stress.

So when there comes a time that someone you know totally flips out on you and you don’t deserve it, you have a choice.  In one instance you may decide to join the party and flip out too.  Or, you may decide to not attend that party and let your friend just entirely own their own flip out.  This is what I call an amazing resource.  The resource within you that allows you to be unaffected and emotionally unattached.  Sure you may initially react and be surprised, and then with this realisation you may decide you are not getting dragged into their own unresourceful state.  Yes, state.  I was taught that there are no unresourceful people, only unresourceful states.  So each moment of the day and how you behave is represented by the state you are in.  

We become challenge daily, and sometimes hourly (if we dare go into specifics).  I certainly have had my fair amount of challenges and yet I respond differently depending on my resourceful states at any given time.  I have come to understand that everything, every interaction, feeling, thought, message, etc contributes to our state.  We may have intentions but they don’t always serve us.  Consider for instance being a parent with a child who challenges you with their communication style.  Quite often the path leads you to an argument.  What’s the difference between those moments where there is success and those moments with conflict. 

Well we all know that saying; it takes two to tango.  But I also know that the tango can often be encouraged by the audience.  So let’s say the audience contributes to how you tango.  Consider for a moment,  if you are ready and calm to communicate and your child is also calm.  Well these are great conditions for effective communication.  But what if you are inflexible, say you are in a rush and you only allow yourself time for a one way communication.  Obviously as you read this, you know with your own logical mind that this is not ideal, and you would recommend against it.  But during your daily interactions, you may still decide that it would be a good moment to attempt this communication.  You hear something from your child that annoys you and then you have a big fight.  You are in a rush remember, and so you don’t even handle the end too well.  

Forward this scenario to the following day when you have a migraine, well its not the right time then either is it?  So are you starting to get the picture?  Sometimes you can’t wait for the right time, it may not come.  Face the challenges and do the best you can at any given moment with the challenges that face you.  You want to look back at your actions and know that you handled it the best way that you knew for that moment.  This is what I call resourceful.

Easier said than done.  I know.  But why not practice this way of being.  One step at a time and one day at a time.  The result means that you will become more comfortable with life’s uncertainties, and challenges.  You will be able to handle yourself and not rely on ideal scenarios (which are also often unrealistic).

So, that’s one thing I want you to take away from this.  Be ok with what comes your way.  You won’t be able to deal with it all.  But can you park it, and then move forward, rather than get stuck?  After all, there may not be another way out of this hazardous road.  

What makes that person who gets in a car and drives to unfamiliar territories, different from that person who will only drive to a familiar place?  Which type of person are you? And which type of person do you desire to be?  My guess is that most people prefer to be the former.  There is something we can admire about this person.  But judge not.  That same person may not have the skill to interact in a social situation, or to complete a task by its deadline.  My point here is we are not all ideal in our ‘whole’ selves, but we certainly have some of our own strengths.  This is what we need to remind ourselves next time we choose to focus on what others can do.  

There will always be others who can do things that we cannot, or who can do things better than us.  And isn’t it interesting that we are quick to notice, yet we often do not credit ourselves for our own strengths and accomplishments.  So the only way to do this is to make an effort practicing acknowledging our own abilities.  And when we do, we must take the time to notice how we can use our strengths in other areas of our lives.  

This is one thing I notice becomes an experiential gap with most people.  Take me for instance, I have a Science Degree with a Major in Psychology.  I love experiments.  I love turning things into other things. Yet ask me to make a food dish and I feel overwhelmed.  So why do I find cooking harder than a scientific experiment?  Both involve a recipe and both involve ingredients.  Both involve a method.  So let’s say both are experiments.  The difference here is my mindset.  And I know it.  Can I change? Sure.  So why haven’t I?  Because I have no desire to. I’m just being honest.  But I’ll say this too, if I wanted to learn to cook, I would and I could, because I would have adapted the mindset for it.  So this is why people who  want to change, (not wish, but want) often do, because they learn to use their existing resources to implement change.  

One last example for fun…I have read so many text books.  Three degrees and a few diplomas later, of course I had texts to read.  Not a problem for me.  I loved it.  But get me to read a fictional book like the way most people do on the plane, I can’t think of anything worse.  Thats like torture.  I guess I am missing out on so many amazing books, but I just feel I am wasting my time if I am not learning from an educationally based book.  I can’t get rid of that mindset.  Not that I have tried.  And one last confession…in my early years of being on the floor in my child care centres, my worst part was reading stories.  Some educators love reading stories.  Not me.  I chose to deliver learning outcomes through creative and imaginative story telling, or felt board stories, or puppets, figurines etc. Isn’t that interesting.  When it was time to purchase books for our kids, I would always send my staff out to choose.  They would choose better than me, after all they would read the book before they bought it.  No way was I doing that.  I was only interested in reading policies and procedures, and other legalities.  No wonder they called me a “nurd” (in a loving way I hope).

So there you have it.  Its mindset.  We need to want to change our mindset if we wish to make a change.  If we don’t want to make a mindset shift, we will not easily make a behavioural change.  So you choose your plan, and work on it.

Good luck with your mindset, I hope you enjoyed my chat with you.

Amanda Dounis

Positive Thinking Clinic

1/7 Magdalene Terrace

Wolli Creek, 2205

0458 850 850