Tag Archives: positive

How To Customise Your Christmas and Cut the Stress

Do you sometimes feel it’s all too much?

Do you feel caught in a Christmas trap?

I used to. I worried about every aspect of the approaching ‘Festive Season’, feeling far from festive. And then my son, who knew how I was feeling said this:

‘Mum, why don’t you choose the parts of Christmas that you like and leave the parts you don’t like? You don’t have to do all of it!’

I was reminded of when I bought my new Mini.

I knew the colour I wanted but that was it. The salesman had to talk me through how I could customise my new car. He explained which features came as ‘Standard’ and then presented me with choices for all the rest of the spec. Bit by bit I built up the picture of the car I wanted, choosing fabric or leather seats, interior and exterior colours, automatic or gear shift and so on.

The Mini I collected bore very little resemblance to the one in the brochure because I’d chosen how I wanted it to be. I’d ‘customised it’.

You can do this with the Christmas holiday.

 There are no rules apart from the fact that we all celebrate (or not) on the same day. You do need to be positive and assertive (not arrogant) but with a bit of practise, you can do this!

What comes as ‘standard’?

  • A day for giving gifts
  • Food
  • Decorations
  • A tree
  • Cards
  • Family time
  • Parties
  • Carols

You will want to add more to my list but let’s look at the first three.

How to customise.

  • Gifts.

You need to get ahead on this one, if you’re going to change from the ‘standard’ requirements. If you want to change who you buy for, perhaps only for children and not for adults, let people know your intentions well in advance, to avoid embarrassment or upset. It’s not easy to change a long-established routine but it is possible to do it if you are sure that’s what you want to do.

You could write down what you’ll say and even practise saying it until you’re confident.

  • Food

Ok, so the turkey roast followed by Christmas pud, mince pies, large amounts of cream and custard, is fairly ‘standard’. But you can customise!

Christmas food should be special. That get’s hard to do when we have the ridiculous amounts of ‘special’ food in the shops all year round.

One way to customise your Christmas food is to choose your favourites. If you love fillet steak but it’s a rare treat, or your mother is coming and her favourite is steak and kidney pie then that’s what you have! Try to have the food that’s a ‘treat’ for as many of your guests as possible.

If you choose to spend the day with your OH then it’s easy to have your favourite food but it can still be done with the family. Not everyone wants turkey when they can have it on any day of the year.

  • The family.

Not so easy to customise but not impossible. Here are a few suggestions:

Decide, well in advance, where you and your family want to be for Christmas. At home? On holiday? At your parents? Your parents at yours? Once it’s decided, stick to it. A few feathers might be ruffled but there’s no rule that says you have to do what you always do. You can change the habit, if it’s a habit you don’t like…

Do you spend much of the holiday driving your children to see step – parents, grandparents, divorced parents, so much so that everyone’s bad-tempered and the children hate it? If it’s what you want to do, and most importantly, if it’s what the children want to do, fine. If not, decide how to customise.

It’s about forward planning. It’s about taking the ‘I ought’ out of the equation and replacing it with ‘I’m happy to’.

I was delighted, and still am, with my beautiful blue Mini. Every time I drive it I smile. (Except in snow.) It suits me fine but I know it wouldn’t be everyone’s choice.

You can customise Christmas, to suit your capabilities, needs, emotions and stress levels.  It’s not selfish in a bad way, it’s simply deciding what you can cope with. As my son said, so wisely, you can include the parts you love and leave out the parts that concern you. That way, you might even enjoy it!

How do you deal with the varying ‘obligations’ of the Christmas season?

Are you changing things this year?  

 Have you ‘customised’ Christmas?

Do pass on your hints and tips.

 

Header by cursedthing, post image by the mullett, on Flickr.

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How To Be Brutally Honest With Yourself and Still Remain Positive

Guest post, especially for us, by Kiesha Easley from WeBlogBetter…  Thank you Kiesha.

I won’t lie, being completely and brutally honest with yourself is not the most pleasant activity.  In fact, it can get down right ugly.  Especially, if like most people, you’ve done some things in your past that you’re not too proud of.  No one likes to think of themself as the bad guy, but it happens.

What’s even worse is that while we’re doing hurtful things to people, it rarely bothers our conscious until the consequences slap us in the face.

When I think about how I used to treat my younger sisters when we were kids, my heart often aches with shame. I really neglected them and avoided spending time with them like the plague.  I’m nearly 10 years older than them and as a teenager, I just didn’t want to be bothered.

I’d yell at them and kick them out of the room without a second thought, and taking them to the playground was out of the question.

After we grew up, things got a little better, but nothing to receive awards over.  Yet, despite all of this, I was surprised and hurt when-

I overheard my sister tell someone that I wasn’t as nice as everybody thought I was.

Ouch! That hurt and my first response was sadness, as if I were the victim, when really what my sister was saying was totally true.  How nice could I really be if I could treat my sisters the way that I did?

I took some time to reflect on it and realized that the truth is that no matter how hard I try to be nice to others, sometimes I get grumpy. Most mornings I’m grumpy and unpleasant to be around.  I don’t like admitting it, but it’s true.  In order to be able to love and live with myself, I have to simply accept that fact.

The good news is that nobody has to be perfect; everybody is flawed in some way.  So why do we expect to be any different?

There are tons of things about myself that I don’t like, but I’ve learned that once I acknowledge the flaw, I can make a choice to try to improve the things that I can and learn to be at peace with things that I can’t.

That’s how I’m able to be brutally honest with myself and still keep a positive attitude.  That’s what keeps me from constantly blaming others; that’s what helps me accept responsibility for my actions.  Sometimes, I just have to apologize for being a jerk, and then do what I can to fix it and move on.

Have you ever been around someone who couldn’t accept responsibility for their actions to save their life? 

I know a few people who are always blaming others for their mistakes. They do this so much that even when there’s no one around to blame, they will still manage to find an excuse. If one night while driving alone, they ran a red light and crashed into another vehicle, when asked why they did it, they’d quickly blurt, “It wasn’t my fault! I was distracted because my girlfriend keeps stressing me out!” instead of accepting the brutal truth that they simply weren’t paying attention.

You don’t have to hate yourself for mistakes you’ve made. In fact, being able to accept the truth about yourself and still love yourself is a sign of maturity and integrity.

So what about you?

Do you ever have a hard time loving yourself when you think about the things you’ve done wrong over the years?

What do you need to accept about yourself?

 

Header image by cursedthing, post image byAnita Robicheau, on Flickr.

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What Two Ladybirds Taught Me About Friendship

It was the bright red that caught my eye. It looked stunning against the dark green of the mint leaves that grow by my kitchen door. They shouldn’t have been there, not  in November.

Constancy...

I bent down, feeling my eyes widen with a curious smile. I sat down on the step and watched them.  What a privilege it was.

As I watched I knew they were ‘friends’ for that was how they behaved and the sight of them stayed with me all the rest of the day. Now, every time I pick some mint I look for them, but they’ve flown away. I hope they return…

These two tiny insects taught me so much that morning and because I like to notice the ‘small stuff‘ I knew I’d have to write about them. A new blogging friend, Kathy Sprinkle, of ‘Bliss Habits’,  said she was wondering what I could possibly write about ladybirds when I told her my idea, so this post is for her in particular.

Here’s my Positive Spin about…

What two ladybirds taught me about friendship.

1.   They were on one  another’s side.

They were crawling up the mint stem, side by side.

Sometimes we don’t agree with what a friend is doing or saying.  We listen and watch and although their decision may not be ours, we’re still on their side. We defend them and help them get where they want to be.

2.   They took turns to lead.

It was strange. First one of them was way out in front, then it seemed to wait for the other to catch up, even allowing it to overtake.

Friendship should be like that. We take turns to have the ‘good ideas’ or the ‘fantastic’ plans. We are delighted for our friend when they succeed at something, just as they are for us. When my friend overtakes me in, say, cooking, travelling, keeping fit, losing weight; that’s fine. It’ll be my turn another day.

3.   They eased one another’s path.

They really did! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! One ladybird actually seemed to hold down a leaf to help her friend across a ‘chasm’! She waited while her friend slowly clambered over and then they continued up the stem, one behind the other.

That’s what friendship is all about, isn’t it? Easing one another’s path? Listening when they cry down the phone, helping when they’re not well, enabling them to make a decision, giving advice if they ask for it. 

4.   They withstood the ‘storm’ together.

There was a sudden breeze, disturbing the mint. For those tiny creatures this was a ‘storm.’ The stems swayed about and I expected at least one of them to fly away but she didn’t. She stayed where she was, quite still, beside her friend.

The phone rings in the middle of the night. There’s a crisis. You drive to the hospital with her. Or her car breaks down, or her she’s worried about her teenager who still isn’t home. You stay with her, because she needs you. As she’d stay with you. It’s called constancy.

I won’t forget those ladybirds. Some might say I’m silly with my imaginings but it’s noticing the small stuff that makes my life fascinating and thought provoking. I could easily have missed them. And their message.

Do you notice the ‘small stuff’?

What can you notice today, that’s easy to miss? Do you look for the ‘small stuff’ too?

What positive message does it have, for you, and for me?

Header image by cursedthing, post image by nutmeg66, on Flickr.

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Hey! We Have a Guest! Look For The Good in People; it’s Better for You

I’m very excited!
We have a Guest!

I’m delighted to introduce Kiesha Easley, from weblogbetter. She has written this post for us here on Positive Spin and you can read all about her here.

I know you’ll all make her welcome and pay her the compliment of leaving some comments.

One sunny afternoon, my hubby and I were driving Downtown and we saw a guy riding a pink girls’ bike.

The guy looked a little unkempt, and seeing him on it piqued my curiosity, so I said, “What in the world is that guy doing on that bike?”

“He probably stole it,” my hubby replied.

“Why would he do that? It’s probably the only bike he could afford; probably got it from a thrift store or something…”

“There you go, always trying to find the good in people. Why can’t you just accept the fact that people aren’t that good? Some little girl is somewhere crying about that bike and here you are making excuses for him.”

“That poor man is probably on his way to work. Maybe he works at a construction site and had no other way to get there.” I quipped back.

“Like I said…” my hubby continued, “You’ve just got to see the good in people…”

Now, neither of us really knew what this guy’s story was, but each of us had created scenarios based on our opinions. We’re probably both wrong, the guy could’ve been riding his daughter’s bike home after getting a tire repaired for all we know… or he really could’ve done something terrible.

But regardless, we could’ve gone on all day creating scenarios about that guy, and no matter what, I would’ve continued to choose the positive side.

Why, you ask?
Because you get what you look for – you look for the good, that’s what you get.

People who insist on focusing only on the bad are more likely to be grumpy and angry all of the time. They tend to believe others are out to get them – when that’s not the case at all.

These people build walls around themselves that they believe will shield them from the bad without realizing that it’s also shielding them from the good.

While they’re trying to protect themselves, they’re missing out on the best in life; the good and the humanity that resides in all of mankind.

Looking for the good in others might seem a little delusional, especially in a world where serial killers run rampant and war is the norm. I’m not pretending those things don’t exist, but I make a conscious choice not let it control my opinions.

I look for the good in people because it helps me to see the good that is within me. It takes the sting away from the fact that I; that none of us can ever be perfect. It allows me to keep my good mood and helps me forget the times people have done me wrong. It’s a far more nourishing way to live.

It’s funny, because people seem to be divided – they are either pessimistic or optimistic about the nature of people and life in general.

What about you?
Are you leaning to one side or another? Do you always notice the bad or the good in others and why?

Kiesha blogs at WeBlogBetter.com. She’s a writer, writing instructor, and blog consultant for small business owners. Connect with her on Twitter @weblogbetter

Header image from cursedthing, post image from woofiegrrl, on Flickr.

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Beginners Guide to Solving The Problem of World Peace

It's our problem...

‘World Peace? Our problem? Stop it… now you’re being very silly…’

Errr, no. I’m not. Being silly, that is.

Every drop helps to fill an ocean…

Every Positive Action we take in our tiny ‘world’ will help to bring peace to the larger world, if we all join in.

We can do something to help.

All of us.

If we take the time to think it through.

 

I thought it through and I came up with:

The Beginners Guide to Solving the Problem of  World Peace.

1.   What if… we waited?

Not easy. Doesn’t come naturally. We tend to put ourselves first. 

  • What if we waited…. and let the car out in front? (What?)
  • What if we waited…. without moaning, in the queue? (No,I can’t…)
  • What if we waited…  for the other person to speak and not interrupt?(Impossible…)
  • What if we waited…  before jumping in with our opinion? (But….)

2.   What if …we took responsibility?

It’s easy to lay blame. I do it all the time. It’s not my fault.

  • What if …we admitted when we’re wrong? (Don’t be ridiculous…)
  • What if …we stood in the other person’s shoes? (Why should I?)
  • What if …we acknowledged when we’ve upset someone? (But that’s hard…)
  • What if … we… (good grief!) apologised? (But…)
  • What if …we stopped making excuses for our behaviour? (I can’t do that, because… well, just because…)

3.   What if… we took a back seat for a change?

Oh dear…

  • What if… we spent time listening to a friend’s problem, even when we’re really busy with our own stuff? (Not enough hours in my day!)
  • What if… we didn’t rush away when someone wants to chat and it’s not ‘convenient?’ (But I’ve so much to do.)
  • What if… we didn’t try to influence other people’s choices? (But they’ll get it so wrong!)
  • What if… we said ‘yes’ to a simple request, even when we ‘d rather not ‘because it’s too much trouble’? (Must I?)

4.   What if…we smiled rather than frowned?

It doesn’t seem to come naturally but people are surprised when you do!

  • What if… you smiled and waved at the driver who ‘cut you up’ on the motor way?  (He’d be very surprised! OK, or she would…)
  • What if… you smiled at the waitress when she brought you the wrong order, and just quietly pointed it out? (I suppose I could…)
  • What if… you smiled rather than exploded when you lost a document on the computer, because it was your mistake and no-one else’s? (OK, I get your point…)

5.   What if … we stopped  blaming?

I could write a lengthy list of all the people who’re responsible for everything that goes wrong for me. Starting with computer designers…

  • What if… it wasn’t the government’s fault that our schools don’t meet our children’s needs? (But it is, isn’t it?)
  • What if… it wasn’t the chocolate makers’ fault that you put on weight? (They shouldn’t make such tempting stuff…)
  • What if… it wasn’t your partner’s fault that the washing machine won’t work today? (It has to be his fault, I didn’t overload it…)
  • What if… it wasn’t your child’s fault that he missed the bus? (Of course it was.)

The more I think about it the more I realise that we could all do more to make – 

  • our everyday lives more peaceful,
  • our family’s lives more peaceful,
  • our friends’ lives more peaceful,
  • everyone we meet’s lives more peaceful,

(see where I’m going with this?)

What do you think?

  • Am I being too idealistic?
  • Am I being silly?
  • Or… can we help solve the enormous problem of world peace?

In a small way?

Join our World Peace Chain, mentioned in the comments!

What will YOU do?

 

Header image by cursedthing, post image by Cayusa, both on Flickr

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How To Stop Putting Up With Stuff You Don’t Want To Put Up With

‘I can’t believe you never exercise!’ 

‘Why on earth would you want an i-phone?’ 

‘You really should drink more water!’ 

Hold on a minute! 

  • You’re over twenty-one!
  • You get fed up with people telling you what you should do or not do!
  • You feel undermined!

So what do you do? 

  • You sit on it.
  • You put up with it.
  • You keep your mouth shut.

Why? 

  • Because you hate confrontations.
  • Because you want to stay friends.
  • Because you always do…

OK, Spinners! Here’s…   

How To Stop Putting Up With Stuff You Don’t Want To Put Up With 

from bret polok on Flickr

 

Problem: You’re worried that you’ll find  yourself agreeing to go to your sister’s again for Christmas.. 

Solution:  

  • Sit down quietly and decide what you want to do.
  • Write down exactly what you want to say.
  • Set aside a time to speak to her, in person or on the phone
  • Stay calm and state clearly what it is you want to change.
  • Start with a ‘positive’, like ‘I do appreciate the hard work you put into Christmas.’
  • Then: ‘We’ve decided to have a quiet Christmas here this year. ‘
  • Then:  ‘We’ll arrange to get together as soon as Christmas is over/in the New Year/in February…

Problem: You always end up buying the clothes items  your dominant friend suggests. 

Solution: 

  • If she tells you she doesn’t like your choice, simply smile and say, ‘ I can see you don’t like this coat/dress/sweater but I love it and I’m buying it!’

Problem: You’ve allowed the situation to escalate. Your friend is used to you always going along with her plans. 

Solution: 

  • Decide to put a stop to it.
  • Next time she tries to ‘organise’ you, step in and make it quite clear you’ve decided what you’re going to do.
  • When she invites you to go to the cinema/meal/coffee shop, say, ‘I’ll get back to you on that’ or ‘That won’t work for me. Can we leave it for a week or two?’
  • When she suggests you should do more exercise, drink more water, buy a more up to date phone, tell her it’s your choice to make.

Problem: You find assertiveness difficult. 

Solution: 

  • Watch people when they’re being assertive, on TV, in a film, anywhere!
  • Note how they behave and practise copying them, their body language, speech, attitude.
  • Practise saying what you want to say, in the car, alone in your home, out for a walk, until it comes more naturally to you.

 Remember this: 

  • You have a right to an opinion.
  • You have a right to a choice.
  • You have a right to be heard.
  • You have a right to be ‘different’.
  • You have a right to disagree.

Don’t put it off! 

Make your voice heard there and then, next time you think about ‘putting up with it’, without anger, without fear, calmly, confidently and assertively. 

Do not put up with stuff you don’t want to put up with. 

 I read this over on my friend’s blog: 

 ‘The shoe that fits one person pinches another. 

There is no recipe for living that fits all cases.’ 

Carl Gustav Jung 

Over to you! 

What are you putting up with? 

And… 

What are you going to do about it? 

Header image: thanks to cursedthing on Flickr

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3 Simple Ways To Make This Your Most Positive Day…Ever!

‘You’ll just have to wait.’   

‘You can have some sweets later.’   

‘In a minute.’   

Yes… that was my mum.   

I always had to wait…   

until later…   

but later never seemed to arrive.   

In this post I wrote about how my mum saved many of the gifts we gave her ‘for best’ and ‘best’ never came.   

She seemed unable to give herself permission to enjoy herself, possibly as a result of her childhood.  Much of this habit was passed on to me and I have struggled to ‘give myself permission’ to enjoy myself ever since. I’m pleased to say I’m much better now but something happened yesterday that made me sit up and think about how to make every day as positive as I can.   

A very good friend collapsed in a coffee shop.   

He was unconscious and turned blue.  The crash team were worried but, thankfully, he recovered.  He’d suffered a seizure. Very scary and very shocking for everyone but particularly for him of course.   

I have learnt some important lessons from this event and would like to pass it on to all you ‘Spinners’.   

3 Simple Ways To Make this Day Your Most Positive Day Ever!   

Yes! You're allowed to have fun!

 

1.   Give yourself permission.   

  • Whatever will delight your day and make you smile – just go for it.
  • Perhaps you’d like to stop ironing/cleaning/writing/driving for 10 minutes to go and breathe the fresh air with your eyes closed? Go for it.
  • Perhaps you’d like to stop whatever you’re doing for a few minutes and listen to your favourite track and dance, unseen, around your room? (Unless you’re in a public place of course…)  Go for it!

2.   Whatever you’ve been putting off… do it!   

Take one tiny step towards doing whatever it is…   

  • Booking a weekend away? Go for it!
  • Going surfing for the first time? Go for it!
  • Starting a piano class? Go for it!

3.   Always remember – today is all there is.   

It’s always going to be ‘today’. Tomorrow never comes.   

So…   

  • Add some small things to your diary to enjoy today. Small things count, like listening to the rising wind, appreciating the slight, subtle coolness in the late August air, tasting the sparkle in a glass of fizzy water, noticing the feel of your pet’s summer coat.
  • Pay attention to your OH or whoever you love and care about. Make them a drink when they don’t expect it, take out the rubbish without being asked, gently smooth away their worries.  Or even, as I read today on Jane’s site, write a love note…
  • Give yourself a break – you’re doing the best you know how to do. Take pleasure in that.

So, my friends, how are you going to make today your most positive day ever?    

And then…do it again tomorrow…   

  ‘Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.’ Anon. ( I think.)

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