Last week I wrote a blog post on why we need more kindness, which really seemed to resonate with a lot of people.
This week, I wanted to write more about some of the important things I have learnt in my (almost) fifty years on the planet. I am not as arrogant as to believe that I have all the answers. But I have learnt two very important principles that I like to try and live my life by and I encourage my children to do the same. These two principles are:
What goes around comes around.
Take time to enjoy the journey rather than wait for the destination.
I am a great believer that in life it is imperative to behave towards other people in the way that you wish to be treated and that what you put into life will come back to you. It’s a very simple rule but it really does make a great deal of difference.
When I used to drive, I was very bad at parking. I had no end of bumps on my car from dreadful manoeuvres and a lot of the time, I would end up damaging someone else’s car in the process. If this happened and the other party got out of their car, looking angry and as if they were about to rip me apart, I would immediately go to the other person and be incredibly apologetic. “I’m so sorry.” I would say,” I’m just a really bad driver and the fault was all mine.” In nearly every case, the person whose car I had damaged, would look at me, quite shocked at my reaction and tell me to forget about the damage. It really did placate the irate driver!
We all love to hate people sometimes. It’s usually people in the media like Gemma Collins, the Kardashians or other reality stars. We can’t help ourselves from slagging them off in some way, to our family and friends. It’s easy to say bad things about someone and start off on a cycle of hating. However, if you start to live your life in this way, the negativity will ultimately come back to you.
Equally, if someone does something to you in life then it’s vital to ask yourself if their comments came originally from a good place – such as out of caring, or if they are just someone being nasty.
If you doubt me as to how effective this is, then give it a go. Here’s one little experiment. Go on social media such as Twitter or Instagram and task yourself with writing only positive comments. Don’t lie but say good things to people about what you genuinely like. You will be amazed how soon the comments will be returned. Social media is certainly not real life but if you show empathy to others and try to understand their behaviour then you will soon reap the benefits.
I was reading the newspaper the other day and I saw a story about Roxanne Pallet. For those of you who don’t know, Roxanne is a soap opera actress and something of a drama queen. She is prone to exaggeration. In the Celebrity Big Brother House last year, she accused a fellow housemate, Ryan Thomas, of being a ‘wife-beater’ when he had in truth only jokingly pretended to fight with her. He barely touched her. Of course, the truth came out and Roxanne was vilified in the media for being a liar. The Media tore into her. For a while the story was forgotten, only to be reignited last week when she appeared on another reality show. I agree that she needed to be punished in some way after what she did in the Big Brother House. Yet the persistent way in which she is being hounded by the press, runs the risk of turning into another form of bullying. A line needs to be drawn. The cycle needs to be broken. Too much negativity becomes a downward spiral.
I’ve always found it difficult in life to sit still and do little. I like to be doing something even when I am sitting down and watching television. For many years I fixated on getting to a destination rather than valuing the journey. I’d be at work and constantly thinking about what I was going to do when I got home. I’d be in one job and constantly thinking about what job I was going to do next, I’d be on holiday thinking about my next holiday. You get the picture? Once I shifted my focus to concentrate on what was happening at the time, then things became so much more enjoyable. It is the same with constantly wishing for something. Oh I wish I were on holiday, I wish it were the weekend. It changes your life when you learn to focus on the present and what is happening now.
Similarly, I used to get so anxious when I would think of all the things I had to do in a day and if I would have time to finish them. So I started saying to myself, “I’ll do what I can, as and when, and enjoy each task”. I started to relax and get more done and enjoy myself more. When you are writing too, it is easy to become fixated on what needs to be completed. We may have to write a certain number of words to reach a deadline. However, I try as much as possible to enjoy the writing experience. I make sure that my phone is off. I put a scented candle on. I listen to white noise to ensure that I am not disturbed. Last year I wrote a hundred-thousand-word novel. Again, it was easier to focus on writing a thousand words each day, rather than worry about the magnitude of writing a book.
I am by no means an expert on life and I think it’s an important life lesson for us all to know that we are all learning on this journey called life. What are the principles that you live you life by? I’d love to hear them.
I’m off now to enjoy my Saturday night with a nice gin and tonic and I shall relish every second. Have a great weekend!