Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Why I talk about the things I do

I don't mind looking a bit stupid either ..
You may have noticed I sometimes talk about topics that are not often discussed, particularly amongst guys. I don't see myself as particularly special for this - anyone who's been through as much as I have would find it pretty easy.

I aim to raise a bit more awareness of issues that men do face, but are often too scared to talk about, for fear of appearing weak or because they can't get past society's stereotypes of what men are supposed to be.

I say - fuck society and be yourself.

Also, some men need help. It's very easy to find a website or coaching service which is all about empowering women. I haven't yet seen anything similar for men. Men do seem to have been a bit left astray, and it isn't helpful for society to have so many men who lack purpose or a sense of who they are. Whilst women have been treated disgracefully over history, and sadly still are in certain cultures, this doesn't mean that all men are bastards. And anyone who thinks that men aren't discriminated in any way should try being in my shoes for a year - it's not easy being a highly sensitive person, but even more so when you're a man.

It's time this stupid macho culture is started to be put in this place. It's time that men and women stopped fighting against each other, and it's time that people started to be their true selves. In my country, it is an absolute disgrace what this monstrosity of a government are trying to do to people. Let's not kid ourselves, the likes of Cameron, Duncan Smith, Osborne and Hunt are very nasty, malicious people without a shred of compassion or humanity. But perhaps this will be the start of a wake up call. The system as it is, is very outdated, and it will take big change for this country to be truly great again. I am hoping that people will wake up and start to speak out against injustice, and not let the greedy people at the top walk all over them without a fight.

But it's important to talk about the issues that people are scared to talk about - so many people have emotions that are buried beneath the surface. The things that people fear to talk about are the exact same things that will keep people from living their best life.

So this is some of the reasons why I don't mind talking about some uncomfortable topics.



Monday, 25 January 2016

Rejection .. let's talk about it

Image courtesy of Flickr
There doesn't seem to be much talk about this subject in the self-help or spiritual communities. Perhaps because (a) People are told to 'man up' and get over their fears, by others who have not been through the same thing or (b) Rejected people go into victim mode and don't do anything to improve their lives.

Neither outlook is helpful, but rejection is not a subject that should be ignored. Some people are badly affected by rejection, and it's not something that you can just get over. To an extent, the fear of rejection affects most people, but in some cases, it can be completely paralysing and prevent people from living a fulfilling and successful life.

CHILDHOOD ROOTS
It is essential to be accepted by your peers and loved by your family during childhood. To be rejected in childhood is emotionally devastating, and I don't think you realise just how much until you get a fair bit older. For those who don't know, I was very, shall we say 'different' as a child, and something of an outsider. I hardly spoke to anyone, and was not very popular. Subconscious beliefs that I was unlovable and a reject formed in my mind, and left me with a fear of rejection which has dogged me most of my life.

An obvious example of this fear is in a romantic relationship context - rejection in romance became absolutely devastating to my ego, so much so that I would not tell someone how I felt. But fear of rejection is seldom limited to one area of life. The prospect of being rejected by a book publisher, for example, might be hard for me to deal with.


If you've ever dealt with a really deep, paralysing fear of being rejected - I mean a fair bit worse than the average person - you'll know it's not easy to shift it. As much as you might want to overcome it, the subconscious fears lurk in the background and prevent you from taking action.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Further thoughts about relationship struggles .. and tips from what I've learnt about myself and life

One thing that us guys never seem to talk about much is the kind of challenges men face in the dating and relationships department .. and guys can also find it difficult to look within as to what is causing their issues.

When you have certain personality characteristics, and are picky as to what you want, and the rules of relationships appear, on the surface, to be a certain way, it can be very tempting just to give up and resolve to be single and happy. But something still pulls at you that says 'Don't give up.' 

This is kind of my experience. When you're a guy that is introverted, still quite shy at times (although not so much now), and finds it difficult to take the initiative in anything that involves other people, that puts you at a big disadvantage when it comes to romance. Tradition has always said that men should make the first move - and, even though things are starting to change, it is definitely harder to find a relationship when you're wired this way if you're a man, than if you're a woman. 

I am more or less coming to terms with 'whatever will be, will be', and trusting that I'm in the right place at the right time, and will meet the right people at the right time. That doesn't mean to say I don't have my moments. I honestly wouldn't wish my struggles in relationships (or the lack of them) on anyone - but I am slowly coming to see that, perhaps, this is one of the ways in which my soul has chosen its life plan. 

I totally get that women find it difficult to help initiate relationships considering how things have been, and there are men that believe that it's 'manly' to take the initiative. I'm not for one moment suggesting that the tables should be turned and women should always take the initiative, but I honestly think that a lot of men would appreciate it if we got a little more help. It might also mean that women stand a bit more of a chance of finding a decent guy - because the 'bad' guys possibly find it a bit easier to approach a woman. It can be slightly soul destroying to send messages on dating sites and never get any replies - although you have to stay as detached to outcomes as possible. And I reckon there are probably more guys than you'd think that struggle with finding a suitable partner, and there is a sad lack of resources to help in these situations.

Here are some (hopefully) helpful pointers for people who struggle in romance.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Being 'spiritual' or 'religious' doesn't mean a problem free life

Cats, however, have an easy life :)
This has been a bit of an 'a-ha' for me. Yesterday, I watched this great video on YouTube of a spiritual, cool guy talking about his motorcycle accident. As well as saying that the accident turned into an opportunity, he also mentions that living the spiritual or 'good' life, surrendering to 'what is' etc, do not guarantee a life without incident or pain.

One of my favourite teachers, Jeff Foster, says that 'acceptance' can be masked as accepting something in order for it to go away.

Sometimes things happen, whatever our good intentions, and some of us struggle with difficult mental health issues. A lot of the time, people turn to spirituality or religion in order to have a better life, and (for me at least) with the hope that certain issues will be solved and that they won't have to go through more trauma.

I can tell you, I have tried for years to solve my issues in regard to fear of intimacy and rejection. Read books and articles on the internet. Tried to change my thinking. I'm sure part of the reason I have done the self awareness and meditation thing (which have helped a lot) is to help me solve these so called problems. Because surely, if we become more self aware and discover our true nature, these little pesky demons will disappear, right?

Not necessarily so. We have come to earth to experience being human, which comes with some pretty tough assignments. Most of us don't enjoy the painful stuff - and dealing with physical and emotional pain can be brutal at times. We try to fight it, push it away, try to overcome and get rid at all costs. The 'acceptance' thing is another game we play. What is true acceptance?

Monday, 14 December 2015

When the pain gets a little too much

Be chilled out, like the cat ..
Like many people, I was drawn to the 'spiritual' journey because my life had not worked out well - in other words, I was fucked up. Whilst my journey has undoubtedly helped me survive the curveballs that life has thrown, it certainly isn't easy at times.

Most of us have emotional pain buried inside us, and it takes a while before we are ready to deal with the really deep stuff. When the shit really starts to hit the fan - it can be bloody painful. That's putting it nicely.

It's important, extremely important, to accept whatever is happening rather than resist it. But that doesn't mean it's easy. It seems like human nature to want to run away from adversity. Having been through more than my fair share of tough times, I find it difficult to deal with anything painful. There are certain issues that make me want to run a mile or fight them with everything I have.

Even though I know that allowing myself to feel the pain (as opposed to fighting it) would be helpful, sometimes the fight or flight reaction gets activated. Today, for example, I felt pretty bad, and this became compounded by dropping a tin of pasta sauce on the ground outside, causing it to break. That really set me off ..

I sometimes ask myself how we can truly stay present and focused when we are facing things that bring a strong emotional charge. The first thing is not to expect too much of ourselves. It's easy to think 'I really need to accept and allow this painful situation in order that I can become healed' - but almost everyone has spent years pushing away their pain, because that's all they knew to do. It's unlikely that we're going to be magically able to always accept rather than resist pain. Sometimes it can take an immensely difficult and traumatic situation to enable us to surrender and accept 'what is'.

Secondly, one thing I do is resolve to face whatever needs to be faced, as best I can. Even when things are difficult and I cannot see a way forward, I know that those are the times when I really need to stay focused as best I can.

Thirdly, it's wise to take a break from things from time to time, and just breathe.

Number four - don't get caught in the comparison trap. It's easy to think that your issues are worse than others (and it is true that some people have it more difficult than others) but you are on your own journey.

The pain has hidden jewels within it - running away is not the answer. Be curious - ask whatever issue is bugging you might have to teach you.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Post 41st birthday musings

And I don't look a day over .. oh okay, I'm in my forties now.
This is one of these days where I want to write something but not sure exactly what I am going to say. Ok, I have some idea .. but let's see where it goes.

I have recently celebrated my 41st birthday. Had a great time with my friends. I am very blessed with the friendship connections I have made this year. This is possibly the best thing to come out of 2015. Other than that, it's not been an easy year. I still struggle with a lot of the same things, but I'm starting to accept myself a bit more. It is not always easy, though. 

It's hard when the things I crave seem out of reach, and I can't seem to stop my cravings and desires. I can't seem to overcome my fears, no matter what I try and do. It's hard when one of the things I would supposedly like the most comes hidden under some of my biggest fears. The subconscious mind sometimes seems like a bit of an insurmountable beast that is trying to hold me back.

I still worry about the future and regret the past. 

I have felt lethargic and deflated far more often than I would have liked, and I hope one day this will stop or at least lessen. Or maybe it won't. 

Perhaps the biggest questions I ask about myself can be grouped under this question - 'Why am I not healed yet or why I haven't got over certain things or thought patterns?' There isn't really a concrete answer to this, and searching for an answer will probably only cause further conflict. Sometimes, it seems like - whatever we try to do or even not do - these same thought patterns persist and there's very little we can do about them. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Conflict - Part 2 - Work stuff

Yep, this is me in one of my jobs :)
I wasn't expecting to do this post quite so soon, but I thought it would be good to articulate the kind of conflicts that have been going on within me over the subject of work, for the last few years.

My work history has been limited and, in the last few years, somewhat frazzled. After a fairly steady job at Liverpool Victoria (now LV=) who were good to me after I had a couple of long term absences when having the two breakdowns. After moving to Yorkshire, it was clear before too long that I was no longer passionate about working in accounts. To cut a long story short, I did a few temporary jobs, and then became unemployed for a year after the recession really started to bite. I then took a job in Harrogate for a company that wasn't particularly ethical and is no longer trading. The job started off well and I worked in a team of two where me and my colleague were very much on the same page, which was great.

Most of the people there were working under a lot of stress, although my job didn't get too stressful until a bit later on. But it wasn't great. I had a boss who I didn't see eye to eye with, and it was a bit of a blessing in disguise to be made redundant. I then got a temporary job in another organisation, which in itself was okay, but I didn't enjoy the job itself - it was very mind numbing and quite pressurised, and I would sometimes go home in a right state. After an outburst at work one time, it was clear that I had to leave, and I did so soon afterwards.

I then went through a fairly traumatic time after one or two things didn't work out, came to live in Huddersfield and probably should have taken some time out then. I found a job a little while later which probably made the other two jobs seem tame in comparison.

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