How Full is YOUR Glass?

Do you ever get the impression that somehow your moods are being determined for you and that there’s not much you can do to change how you feel?  I am constantly in touch with people of all cultures, creeds and financial situations and everyone seems to have one thing in common – an on-going battle to see the glass half full, when life is throwing curved balls their way. Somehow these challenging moments often coincide with the end of the calendar year and the Christmas season. This is a time when families are often separated and loneliness itself can be debilitating. How can one cope when you are feeling sad and abandoned and spending the holidays alone?

Glass 285x201 458985955Depending on where in the world you find yourself, it shouldn’t be too difficult to identify others whose circumstances are far worse, or at least comparable, to your own. Just reaching out to give them some encouragement often helps to alleviate your own feelings of sadness or despair. If you are able to cheer up another person  and maybe even get them laughing, it’s amazing how much it impacts on your own mood. I am not talking about major depression here, that is a different situation entirely, and medical intervention is critical to prevent potential self-harm, especially at Christmastime.

Missing someone who has recently died and handling the grief process makes it virtually impossible to see the glass half full. Something which I found helped me tremendously after losing a best friend through cancer, was to sit down and write her a long, chatty letter, telling her all my latest news. Having spoken  to her son and his family, I was able to tell her about her young grandson whom she had never met. It was very emotional to write this letter, but once I had finished it, re-read it and then disposed of it, it felt just the same as when we used to have our regular conversations before her illness. A cathartic way of channelling sadness which may be of help to others.

A totally different way to try to lift the cloud of negativity is, and I know this is a cliché, to do some form of exercise which will produce the endorphins in the brain which in turn will assist in a more positive frame of mind. All of you personal trainers out there will most likely be endorsing this advice.  It can be so tough to actually force oneself to get up and at it and do that dreaded exercise. However, it is amazing how much better you often feel after a good workout, whether it is running on a treadmill, going for a long walk, riding a bicycle, bashing a punchbag with great gusto or having a swim. The results are much the same, although the amount of stiffness the next day depends on the activity chosen!

Cartoon Frog

The moral of the two frogs

The story of the two frogs who fell into a tub of cream is another example of seeing the glass either half full or half empty and acting accordingly.

The first frog looked at his situation and, knowing he couldn’t swim in the cream, just gave up and sank to the bottom of the tub and died. His brother on the other hand realised that if he kept on kicking his little legs he could stay afloat in the tub of cream. He kicked and kicked and carried on kicking. Suddenly the cream began to turn into butter, and guess what? The little frog was able to hop out of the tub of cream and life carried on for him.

So, the moral of the story is that things are not always as bleak as they may first appear. Sometimes one has to try to look outside the box to find the answer to life’s problems. When all seems to be lost just carry on kicking your way to the top.

When the glass still seems half full, the following poem might help to keep you focused on the fact that everything changes, and when you are really down, the only way is up!

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DON’T QUIT

When things go wrong,
As they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging
Seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and
The debts are high,

And you want to smile
But you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest, if you must…but don’t you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.

And you never can tell
How close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar.

So stick to the fight
When you’re hardest hit…

It’s when things go wrong
That you MUST NOT QUIT!

Anon.

Update and Comments: December 10, 2018

Being rather technically challenged where IT is concerned (another shortcoming along with astronomy – planets, stars, galaxies etc.,  which are still a total enigma to me), I have a “behind the scenes” assistant who is presently still familiarising himself with WordPress. Therefore, I must admit that the blog is still “under construction”! I hope you will bear with me on this one!

I have lots of plans for keeping my blog one which should be interesting and, hopefully, appealing to many people who have varied interests and opinions. To prevent you from only hearing my voice, there will be a section for “Guest Contributors” and this will give an insight into the lives and passions of a variety of people from totally different backgrounds. I am not going to say too much about this section right now but you won’t have to wait too long for the first contribution.

Taking selfies is not something which appeals to me and I have never really enjoyed being photographed. I will, however, be replacing my unusual “About” photo once I find one which is more the real me – one which highlights just how much my looks have changed!

I realise that initially my posts tended to be too long, and the objective criticism I received in this regard has resulted in my splitting them into portions which should prove to be more easily digested. I do not want you to feel that you have to wade through my writing to get to the point.

Oh, by the way, I will also have a contact page on my blog in the not too distant future.

Well, that’s all for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

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Update and Comments

I do hope to be able to communicate my plans for my blog with you, the reader, using this section in the weeks and months to come. Sometimes I won’t be doing a full post, but will just jot down some thoughts and opinions right here which I trust will be meaningful and possibly thought provoking?

 

R.I.P. our Loyal Friend

Just a few days ago we had the heart breaking decision to make to take our beloved 13 year old German Shepherd, Rudie, to our compassionate and trustworthy vet, for the last time. To take oneself out of the equation in order to do the right thing is never easy. The devotion and loyalty that Rudie has given us throughout his entire life meant that it would not have been fair to prolong his pain. He suffered from hip dysplasia which only came about a few years ago. Being on good medication which helped alleviate his discomfort meant that he was able to live an active and happy life until recently. However, he stopped wanting to eat and slept most of the time. I did give him some bacon that last morning which he devoured with relish- making me think of death row prisoners and their final meal.

Rudie came from a highly recommended breeder and his lineage was excellent. His mother had been trained and used to sniff out explosives in war regions and his father was chosen for his temperament and intelligence. We brought home the most gorgeous, fluffy 8 week old long haired pup who grew up into an amazing family dog. He was always wary of strangers – typical of this breed – and was protective to the very end.  I do believe that if one is going to give a home to a potentially vicious breed of dog then it is critical to know as much as possible about the parents as well as the history of the pup.  Even a young puppy who has been roughly treated from birth could potentially become a difficult dog to train and early training is so very important.

We miss him every minute of the day, but have some wonderful memories – not least of which is trying to get him to stop helping to water the garden. He constantly made holes in the hosepipe so the only solution was to give him a rubber chew toy to stop the destruction!

One day we will start the process once again of bringing home a fluffy baby, endure the puppy socialisation classes and give the new addition as much love as we gave to dear old Rudie.

RIP our trusted loyal boy. You will never be forgotten.

Accepting the Inevitable…..or Not???

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I read an article once, written by a celebrity who said that, whilst walking down a high street, she glanced at her reflection in the shop window and was shocked to see her mother! The reality hit home that she had aged and now had to face the fact that youth had passed her by! The way in which we choose to handle this inevitable fact of life is  often dictated by one’s financial status.

This article is not meant to be sexist in any way, as it can apply to male readers as well as female.  So, all you men out there, whether hetero, homo, or for that matter, bi or trans, one hopes you too will find it informative.

Most people know of someone who has decided to fight the ageing process by undergoing some form of cosmetic surgery. Many of these people never discuss what they have had done to improve their looks, but often the results speak for themselves – and not always in a positive way either! The cost of cosmetic surgery, or enhancement techniques, can often be extremely prohibitive and for the average person it’s often just a pipe dream. However, if one feels that there is a way to get help to lift the droopy breasts, firm the butt, remove sagging eye lids etc. it is critical that research is done regarding the professional one is going to trust to do the job.

Any kind of surgery carries a certain amount of risk but, by choosing a qualified practitioner who comes recommended by satisfied, bona fide patients, one is reducing the risk of disappointment as well as disfiguration. It has become apparent that, due to the high cost of many procedures, people search the internet for cheaper options. In order to save money, many people have opted to have treatments done in countries other than their own, and the results in some instances have been less than perfect.  Standards of hygiene and the skills of those performing the techniques in foreign countries can be questionable.

It is a known fact that many foreigners come here to South Africa for cosmetic surgery, which, when one is paying in dollars or pounds, is much more affordable than in their own country. Plus, the standards for such procedures is known to be high. If you are thinking of having a procedure done purely for cosmetic reasons, then the advice is to check the credentials of the person in whose hands you are putting your trust. It is probably acceptable to ask for contact details of past, satisfied, patients, and also to see the qualifications of the professional you wish to have operate on you. Just having a sexy hunk of a man willing to improve your breasts, or lift that sagging bum may sway you into trusting him. Don’t let yourself be coerced by sales talk either. You are the person footing the bill. You need to know all the risks involved in the relevant procedure, and what the potential outcome will be for you. Like most things in life today – you get what you pay for.  Cheaper often becomes costlier in the long run. However, more than that, you are entitled to get as much information regarding the procedure as you can.

Information is power! Take your time, ask the questions, and if you feel that you will be happier after the surgery and you trust your practitioner – go for it and never fear that looking glass again!!

Motivation

A great many people have, over the course of their lives, been influenced to a certain degree by  attending seminars presented by motivational speakers, or others professing to have the secrets of personal success and financial independence at their fingertips. Strangely enough, if one were to conduct an extensive, world-wide survey it would probably become apparent that the only people who really have become financially independent through these seminars are those who are themselves the presenters and/or motivational speakers. Their wealth has often been the result of their international  presentations  as well as the sale of their books and videos, (in the past it was tapes) which attendees had been encouraged to buy.  Humans are often vulnerable and open to brainwashing in one form or another, and when the financial aspect of their lives leaves a great deal to be desired, it stands to reason that it would be fairly simple to fill the halls where a well renowned  speaker is going to impart the secrets of his success.

The hype which accompanies the actual seminar is often extremely euphoric and attendees are still fired up with optimism and enthusiasm as they leave the conference centre. However, to take what they have heard, and to read the books and implement the theories which are often outlined, is not a simple matter. Life has an uncanny knack of interfering with the positive plans which have been emphasised by the motivator. Notes have been taken down during the session, books have been  purchased and possibly even personally signed by the presenter of the seminar and now it’s all going to fall into place. Or is it? It would be cynical to say that no-one benefits long term by these ra-ra sessions as there are often some incredibly meaningful messages coming out of such events.

There are many successful motivators or experts on improving one’s self-esteem, or current situation, and Dr. Brian Jude was a well known motivational speaker whom I was privileged to hear  when I attended one of his seminars in Johannesburg, whilst being involved in direct selling. Several of his anecdotes have stayed with me ever since. One was GOYA – get off your  arse!  Only by getting off your butt and putting thoughts into action will there be any change. Another one was WIIFM – what’s in it for me. When dealing with potential customers it’s necessary that the person you want as your client sees that you are giving him a good deal, or excellent service. Taking yourself out of the equation and putting your client’s needs first makes him realise that you have his interests at heart. Both of these anecdotes could assist in growing one’s income potential.

Changing one’s attitude and becoming more successful in various areas of one’s life is a journey which involves so much more than merely attending a talk, and reading the right books. They can certainly help in gaining perspective but believing in yourself and seeing the glass half-full as opposed to half-empty can be extremely difficult for many people and there are so many factors which play their role.  Confidence, self-love, feelings of self-worth, encouragement, are all words which come to mind when this subject is broached.

Whilst being involved in the training of young staff whilst owning a restaurant, an exercise which I found very useful in encouraging them to feel more confident  was to ask each of them to list 6 things that they liked about themselves. It was distressing when there was one teenager who just could not come up with anything at all. In a situation such as this, the intervention of a qualified counsellor could have surely assisted in building his self-esteem.  Just a thought?

We all thrive on positive input from friends and family as well as business associates and clients. However, it is very easy to become disheartened and to start doubting one’s capabilities when we receive negative comments. Very easy to say “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, but as humans most of us have fairly fragile egos especially when our capabilities are being questioned. This is where one’s childhood and upbringing come to the fore. Where parents have built self-esteem from a young age, then in adulthood it is usually easier to handle criticism. However, a child who has constantly been demeaned and put down by parents may never really have the confidence in the big bad world to reach their full potential

To keep positive in a world full of negativity and stress, it is certainly a good idea to surround oneself with material which can regularly be used to help improve one’s state of mind. Amusing videos, books which lift the spirits, friends who make you feel happy when you speak to them, and never forgetting  the importance of good health and regular exercise in the maintenance of a positive self image, are all important factors to bear in mind. Yes, motivational seminars can provide one with good ideas which one can try to implement, but ultimately maintaining a healthy mental attitude to life and oneself is a constant work in progress.

Mother

 That dear, familiar face I’ll see no more,

Nor hear the voice I loved so well.

You’ve gone from me now to that place far away

Where time will have no meaning,

And pain will be a stranger you once met.

Thank you for your love – and my life.

How can a Mother ever be repaid?

The joy you brought us all

Will stay in our hearts forever.

When the pain has eased and we laugh once more,

We’ll remember the pleasure we gained

From our times spent together.

Rest in peace Mother.


Judy Binns Nemeth –
 This poem was written several years ago for a friend whose mother had died suddenly whilst spending a holiday with him and his family.

 

Feeling Good About Yourself?

Very few people are totally content with their physical appearance. Although most learn to accept slight imperfections, sometimes these flaws can lead to bullying in childhood and low self-esteem.  With professional help much can often be done to alleviate the problem.

A child who has prominent ears may be laughed at and called Mickey Mouse or Dumbo. Pinning back the ears by a plastic surgeon is apparently a fairly common and not an overly complicated procedure. It is probably somewhat easier for a girl to disguise her ears with a particular hair style than for a boy, but that is not always possible.

Nowadays the wearing of glasses is a fashion statement so it doesn’t appear to be as much of a problem as years ago when a short or far sighted chid was called “four eyes” and made fun of.  It would appear that more children are being prescribed spectacles than in previous decades, possibly due to computer usage or an excess of television viewing.   However, with the advent of contact lenses, the wearing of glasses may become a matter of choice.  In adulthood there may be the option of surgery to correct the short sightedness, by a qualified ophthalmic surgeon.

Anything which makes a child stand out as different can have long lasting psychological effects. A big problem these days is obesity. Even though there are more and more fat children, they still are often a target for teasing. Often the reason for the obesity is psychological. An unhappy home life, sexual abuse, and generally a poor self esteem can culminate in a child finding comfort in food – and the wrong kind of food.  The rolls of fat may offer the child a barrier to the world of misery in which he finds himself. The bigger he becomes, the safer he may feel. However, it is a catch 22, as the bullying and verbal abuse from other children may continue unabated.

Sadly, the damage to a person’s self esteem during the childhood years may not disappear once one is an adult, even though the person may be seen to have succeeded in their chosen field.  However, it is possible to get help in correcting the problem, which in turn can give back confidence and a feeling of self-worth. If a problem is allowed to continue, depression and even suicidal thoughts may result.

So much can be done nowadays to help people gain confidence and to feel good about themselves, but it is imperative that the professional one chooses to help alleviate the problem comes well recommended. Attending seminars hosted by motivational speakers can point a person in the right direction as far as building up a positive self-image and therefore self-esteem.

Areas which seem to cause adults misery can be ugly teeth which were not corrected in childhood, unhappiness with the size of one’s breasts, a perceived unattractive backside and more commonly nowadays, sagging skin from having been morbidly obese and then losing a huge amount of weight.

Worldwide there are top class professionals in all the medical fields who could be approached to help rectify the problem but, unfortunately, it is usually up to the patient to foot the bill, as anything deemed to be cosmetic is generally not covered by normal medical insurance options. If the condition needing to be rectified can be proved to be causing serious psychological problems, it may be that certain types of medical insurance options might be more amenable to covering some of the costs of the procedure.  Obviously, there would have to be psychological assessments done to prove that this is in fact the case. If there are seriously deep-rooted psychological problems, then cosmetic surgery to increase or reduce the size of one’s boobs or to gain a Kardashian-type butt may just prove to be a total waste of hard-earned cash which does not alleviate the negative self-image. Seeking psychological help may have been a better option than enduring the painful surgery!

Self-Esteem

Living in today’s world with all its technological advances seems to have created a situation whereby people tend to be less satisfied with themselves and their lives than their parents  or grandparents ever were. For example, social media, whilst having many benefits and allowing people to keep in touch with one another instantaneously, has a dark side as well. Spending time on viewing the lives of others can result in feelings of failure, insecurity and low self-esteem. After all, by nipping and tucking photos with the help of photoshop, even the most ordinary looking person is suddenly able to look like a movie star.  It is also a way to brag about one’s life – wonderful holidays, great social life, amazingly happy families. The list goes on and on.

There are many reasons for having  poor self-esteem or poor self-image and one could write reams on the subject and many people have already done so. My hope is to discuss some of the factors which can have either a negative or positive influence on the way in which people perceive themselves. There will be several articles linked in some way to the first one which concentrates on self-esteem.