bad

With a little help from my friends… or with money?

With a little help from my friends… or with money?

February 11, 2019
/ / /

When I have a need, say of a long ladder so the chimney sweeper coming for his annual visit can get up on the roof, or a car for a few hours or a day, or help to take care of Pop the cat for a few days, or whatever really – my first instinct is to think about my friends. Might there amongst them be someone who can help me, or at least point me in a direction that could solve my problem/tend to my need?

I think it always has been my initial reaction. But I’m not sure.
I know I started to get really good at asking for help once my first marriage crashed and burned five weeks before the birth of my eldest child. Have a hard time to recall if I was as good at asking for help before that, but have a feeling I was. At least pretty good at it. But ever since that crash and burn, I’ve gotten really good at asking for help, and am proud of it!

The other possible reaction is to look for a service provider to tend to the need. Buy a ladder. Call a taxi or book a car in a carpool. Get Pop a few days vacation at a cattery.

These two approaches to life, and to solving one’s needs, are just that, two different approaches. I for one instinctively go for the first, and if that doesn’t work out, choose a suitable service provider to ensure I get my needs met. Neither approach is inherently good or bad. But… at the same time, the benefits of the first approach, of asking near and dear ones for help, has some (perhaps not so) hidden advantages to it. If I ask you for help, and you can help, the likelihood of you asking me, or others, for help when you need it increases. In this way, we weave a tapestry of relationship, of friendship, of live, concern and care. If I always turn to a professional service provider to help me out, I am effectively not weaving myself into that tapestry of mutual relationships, and I think that’s a dangerous path to choose.

We know that one of the most significant indicators of happiness is the strength of a person’s relationships. Asking for, and responding to requests for, help, is definitely one important part of relationship-building. We are better together, that’s the superpower of human beings. If I don’t do my bit in giving others the chance to help me, I am holding back on strengthening relationships not just for my own sake, but also for those close to me, am I not? And what message am I sending, by not asking for help? Is it a signal I want to send?

So perhaps… I am wrong in saying there’s nothing inherently good nor bad in these two approaches? Perhaps there is more good to be had from asking for help, than from paying a service provider? At least if I never ever ask anyone for help. But perhaps people like that simply do not exist?

Read More

Doing gentle – 4 – Understand that feelings are neutral

February 7, 2016
/ / /

doing gentle 4Can you tell me three good feelings? And three bad feelings?
I’m sure you could.

Love, generosity, happiness. Hatred, greed, envy.
Gratitude, joy, satisfaction. Anger, suspicion, jealousy.
Or any other combination.

There are a lot of feelings available to pick from, and there might be some differences in what I deem good and bad, and what you judge good or bad. But generally, I think we have a fairly similar take on it. Only thing is, there’s no such thing as a good or bad feeling. It’s the story we tell ourselves about those feelings that make them appear positive or negative. Feelings just are. Neutral. It’s the action we take based on them, that makes us judge them as good or bad, positive or negative.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling hate, jealousy or envy. Just as there’s nothing wrong with feeling happy, generous or satisfied.

What makes us judge feelings as good or bad, positive or negative, is what actions they (might, could, often do) give rise to. If I feel happy, I might laugh, give you a hug, dance around in my living room. Whatever. To a large part, actions that serve me.

If I feel hate, what actions will I take that will serve me? What if I lash out at you, screaming I hate you, or I write a vitriolic comment on a Facebook post, letting all my hatred flow out through my finger tips, onto the social media platform. How does this serve me? What serves me, out of these actions? Do they serve me at all?

Sometimes, actions taken from hatred, will serve. Sometimes actions taken from love, won’t. I can’t say with certainty that all action I take from love will serve me. Just as I can’t say that any action taken from hatred won’t. The deciding factor lie in the moment and the chosen action.

Being conscious to what you feel, in the moment, and actively choosing your action, makes a much better basis for life, than painting the world in black and white, saying feelings are either good or bad. Because they aren’t. They are neutral. Once I grasped this, I started to become aware of the stories I’d told myself around certain feelings. And as my awareness rose, I could start to let myself feel what I felt, without beating myself up over it.

Welcome to my new website, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I will be sharing thoughts on how I do gentle, and this is the fourth of those. I hope you enjoy it and if you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.
Read More