Saturday 28 December 2013

So, How Was it for You?

Christmas is rather like sex. Really? How so?

Just think about it. Some people take a while to warm to the idea; others are up for it right from the word go, any day, any time; there are those who relish the slow build up to a stupendous crescendo, but some enjoy a last minute rush and wouldn't have it any other way. But there are always those that are left feeling disappointed after the event - all that promise and expectation, but in reality you're left feeling ruffled and empty, with a mess to clear up. So what can be done?

If it's not working, then something needs to change. 

Change doesn't necessarily have to be anything too drastic - a change of approach and/or attitude is much simpler and can be surprisingly effective - but it does require a concerted effort and a bit of work to resist the temptation to revert to what went before. And this applies to both sex and Christmas!

In the case of Christmas - there seems to be a real Marmite thing going on. People either love it or hate it. For me, Christmas this year was wonderful, magical and joyous, with lots of giving and receiving -  gifts, food and good company. But it hasn't always been like this. I lost my Christmas mojo for a while and I felt I'd become a real Humbugger - I even had the hat to prove it.

But now I've got it back - and some! So what changed for me?

Firstly I recognised  the fact that I didn't like being a Christmas Grumpalump and wanted to feel the magic of Christmas once more. I then identified all the things I thought I hated about Christmas - the commercialism, the feeling of hollow giving, the competitiveness and the enormous feeling of overwhelm at the thought of shopping and food . And finally I changed my approach completely, and strangely enough, my change in attitude just followed on by itself.

And the one simple thing that made all the difference? 

Asking for help - and accepting it gratefully and gracefully when offered, in it's very varied shape and form. 

I still hate Marmite though - can't win 'em all!

Monday 9 December 2013

The Best Christmas Present Ever!

Forget elbowing through crowds, late night shopping and on-line trawling. Here's an idea for the best Christmas present ever! 

You don't have to spend a fortune on it - nor do you have to hunt high and low and then spend hours queuing up at the check out. It's suitable for all ages, sizes and genders and it's not difficult to wrap. Veggies will love it just as much as omnivores - it's 100% organic, locally grown and totally PC. It's even compatible across all platforms.

It's very simple, yet powerful and comes in a very neat package. Guessed what it is yet? 

It's TIME. 

Just four little letters, but you can make it last for as long as you want.

Spending QUALITY TIME with family, friends and loved ones at Christmas speaks volumes - far more than anything money can buy. Time allows us to reconnect, to listen and to show that we care.

But surprising though how such a simple gift can prove for some to be so hard to give. 

Time is something we have precious little of in this day and age, so it is important that we use it wisely and we're selective about who we share it with. What a wonderful gift it is to be able to give 100% of our undivided attention to those closest to our hearts. We can exercise a little self-discipline by switching off  the TV and our mobile phones; if we don't double-book then we won't need to clock watch or plan our exit before we've even sat down. We need to allow ourselves time to give quality time to others.

So how much will you be giving this Christmas? 

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Would You Have Done This Too?

We all do it, even though we know (or should know) better. We tell ourselves, our juniors, our peers and dependents not to do it - and we all take heed. But from time to time, we forget ourselves and before we know it - there we go, we've done it again! 

I'm one of these people. I'm guilty of all of the above - and yet I still managed to do it the other day, knowing full well that I really do know better. 

'Did what?' I hear you ask.

I made a judgement about a person based solely on what I saw. I made my assessment within the requisite 10 seconds, and would have based the whole of the rest of the encounter on this scant information had it not have been for this person making the effort (and knowing what I know now, it really was a supreme effort) to reach out to connect with me. And I'm bitterly disappointed in myself because I feel now that it should have been the other way round - I should have reached out to this person, and not with my 'therapist' hat on, but with my 'empathetic, normal human being' hat on.

What I saw was a person who looked rather disheveled, with multi-coloured hair, tattoos, piercings, weird clothes* and frankly in need of a good wash. None of these things were particularly outlandish, but most noticeable was the spaced-out look and lack of eye contact. It was this that led me to make my first wrong assumption - druggie, I thought. How wrong was I.

I could feel myself looking for excuses to cut short our encounter, but through this person's tenacity, our conversation persisted and it eventually came to light that they had suffered a recent, extremely tragic loss - the worst possible kind - the sudden death of an infant. 

And then it all made sense. That's what shock does to us - we retreat into our shell to hide away from further hurt, so that to the outside world we appear to be functioning, but in fact we are really only existing. The expression 'lights on, but no-one at home' says it all. 

If I had met this person in my treatment room, I would have carried out a treatment to counteract this very obvious reaction to shock without hesitation. And I would have persisted in establishing and maintaining a connection, because support, understanding and a listening ear were what they were crying out for. 

And I was too busy formulating my judgement to hear.

*There you go - another judgement. Weird by whose standards?